Rugby Fisheads Can’t Handle Long Island
A strong eastern wind blew through Fort Tilden last Saturday as Rockaway Rugby took the field for their match with Long Island. It’s always a tough decision to take the wind or play against it when choosing a game plan for a rugby match. Last week, the Fisheads decided to play into the wind in the first half and hope to stay in the game and prosper in the second half. The locals knew a high powered Long Island team would have a distinct advantage for the first 40 minutes.
As fate would have it, the visitors jumped out to an early lead. Long Island used a quicker/younger backfield to out pace the Fisheads twice with tries in each corner. With the majority of the first half played in the Rockaway end of the field, things looked bleak for the hometown.
Forward play, which has been the strength of the Fisheads for the past few seasons, again seemed to be the way back into the match. Late in the half, a strong steady drive was finally put together and a penalty kick by Wayne Fox got the Fisheads on the board.
A rejuvenated and determined side took the field for the second half and immediately started applying the pressure. Within 10 minutes, Kiwi boy Haden Kose torpedoed his way into the endzone and galvanized his teammates and the sparse but enthusiastic crowd. Minutes later, a mauling Rockaway packed methodically moved their opponents down to the 5 meter line again, where rugged front rower Mike the Russian blasted through for another score. The Fisheads were back in the game and in full control of the momentum.
It was at this point that things changed for the worse for Rockaway. After a long break by Long Island had the Fisheads on their heels, one Rockaway player was cited for dangerous play and banished from the match. Having to play the remaining 30 minutes down a man, the locals were unable to come up with any more offense and fell to their long time rival 27-17.
The B game saw a fine mix of old and young as players ranging in age from 17 to 50+ took the field in the hometown blue to take on an experienced and well drilled Long Island B side. Tim and Mike McCormack, Sean Callahan, Kevin Slakas, Tippy Tipaldo, Ooch Boyland and Keith with the long hair did well for Rockaway but came up short in the loss. This week, the Fisheads are home again with a match at 1 p.m. vs. Morris N.J.
West Virginia University owes a great debt to the Rockaway RFC as no less than 5 local boys are playing on the first side. The Fisheads anxiously await their return to the peninsula. Speed and youth are 2 important factors missing from the team this year as far too many young men are choosing bar stools, video games, and MTV over rugby. Come on fellas, get a life.