Rugby Fisheads Secure Play-Off Berth With Home Victory
The Rockaway Fisheads are going to the show for the second consecutive year. The Rugby locals locked up the third and final Metropolitan Rugby Union Division 2 play-off berth in resounding fashion, defeating North Jersey 45-5 at Ft. Tilden this past Saturday.
Saturday’s win was sweet revenge, as the Fisheads settled an old score and assured themselves a place in the Northeastern RFU play-off format at the same time. North Jersey bested the Fisheads by a single point last year in a heartbreaking, last-minute, and highly controversial climax on their home field. Rockaway overwhelmed the visitors this time and never allowed them into the match. The Fisheads finished at 4-2-1 and were separated from a 7-0 record by a scant 14 points in their 2 losses and a tie. A 12 point loss to visiting first place Long Island, a 2-point tough loss at 2nd place Union, and a careless tie with the also-ran Village Lions made the difference between 1st and 3rd place for the still play-off bound locals.
“We got into the dance, that’s the main thing. Maybe we came in the back door, but we mean to do damage and everyone knows what we are capable of,” player-coach Bob Johnson said. “This club can beat any team out there on any given day and all of our possible play-off opponents know it”.
The play-offs begin in April, after the winter weather breaks and the Fisheads aim to be in good form when the Eastern RFU play-offs begin. To recap what wasn’t much of a contest, the Fisheads came out like a thundering herd and stampeded North Jersey from the opening kick-off. Phil Tufano opened the scoring, driving 10 meters through would be tacklers and over the try line for the game’s first points. Kermit Egan, filling in for the injured Wayne Fox, kicked the 2 point conversion putting Rockaway up 7-0.
Things only got worse for the visitors from there. Bruising forward play, set scrum dominance, and lineout superiority allowed the Fisheads to bully North Jersey and open up a 22-0 halftime advantage. Tries by Bill Kelly, Tim Kelly, and a penalty goal by Kermit Egan rounded out the first half scoring. Bob Johnson switched with regular scrumhalf Kermit Egan and did an outstanding job piloting the Fisheads throughout the match. With Egan at Flyhalf, the second stanza saw the Fisheads open things up with their backs and Johnson led the creative passing and misdirection running. Barry Cowhead, Ronny Kemly, Lil Toomey, and the New Zealand connection opened the floodgates and the scoring was continuous. Mike The Russian also added a try, with comrade Vladimir and Timpy also providing fresh second half legs in the pack. Grouch McCann lived up to his moniker as usual, verbally and physically abusing friend and foe alike.
All told, the Fisheads finished the season with 2 high octane performances, crushing Morris and North Jersey by a combined 107-10 in the final two weeks. The next event will be the N.Y. Sevens, with the Fisheads entering the Club Division, and the 2 time defending Hero Division Champion FDNY Rugby Club (comprised mostly of smoke-eater Fisheads) looking to defend their crown as well. Read the Wave for all Fisheads rugby and social events.