2005-05-13 / Sports

Fisheads Lose....But Proved Worth At LI Tournament

The Rockaway Fisheads failed to return to the finals of the 24th annual Long Island Rugby Tournament this past Saturday, but there was more to the results than meet the eye at first glance. The Fisheads were small fish in a very big pond, but proved themselves more than able to swim with the sharks.

Opting not to play down a level in the “Social Division”, Rockaway decided to step up and square off with teams from Division I. With many of their usual club division foes taking the elevator down to “Social”, the Fisheads decided to challenge themselves and take on the best. Akin to a good clubfighter stepping up to challenge the champ, the Fisheads did their best imitation of Rocky Balboa and gave the opposition all they could handle.

Facing the host Long Island Rugby Club’s A side in the first round, the locals drew the most difficult of all possible assignments. They responded with a solid performance, matching the home team physically, but falling a bit short in the speed and skills departments.

Rockaway had their moments throughout the first half, but fell behind 21-7 due to a few bad bounces, missed tackles and ill advised kicks that led to Long Island scores. S

till in the match and giving as good as they took, the next 20 minutes saw the locals rock their upper division foes but fail to pull ahead on the scoreboard.

Rockaway controlled much of the possession and field position fight, but couldn’t take advantage of their numerous pushes into Long Island territory.

The two sides traded scores in the second half and the match ended at 28-14. Although not the result the Fisheads would want, the locals went toe to toe with superior opposition and landed more than their share of good shots. Long Island got a lot more than they bargained for and the Fisheads knew they could hang in with the top dogs.

Rockaway had to wait 6 hours to play their second match of the day, passing the time at the palatial Long Beach estate of Bob and Tracy Johnson. Feasting on bagels and Tracy Johnson Chocolate Chip Cookies, (Universally recognized as the finest the world over) the Fisheads carbo loaded for what would prove to be one of their finest ever performances. Returning to the field at 4:00, the Fisheads took on Manhattan/New York. The opposition had easily dispatched well regarded Montauk and highly touted Bayonne and the Fisheads looked to be their softest touch of

the day. Looks would again prove to be deceiving.

Rockaway came out of the gates and dominated the action. Repelling an initial Manhattan offensive at the outset, Rockaway seized the opposition by the proverbial throat and wouldn’t let go. Dominating every phase of the game, Rockaway went to the half up 10-8 courtesy of a Danny Lunny drop goal and and Aussie Desi drive over try. The pack was playing brilliantly and the Australian connection of Desi and Glenn were gaining big chunks of real estate for Rockaway on every possession.

Division 1 Manhattan solved the riddle of Rockaway with their kicking game and notched two scores off of misplayed deep kicks. Frustrated, the Fisheads would not relent and began turning the screws on the tiring opposition. Trailing 21-10, Rockaway began another unlikely rise from the canvas. Trevor Tubridy took a multi phase pack sequence to pay dirt bring Rockaway to within 4 points of a shocking upset. ounding away till the very end, Rockaway was unable to get the go-ahead score and the final score 21-17.

It was a loss but also a win for a team playing over its normal level of competition and rising to the occasion. Much was learned and the day will serve Rockaway well when they face Danbury at home this week and look to return to their winning ways. Rockaway has split their last 2 meetings with the Mad Hatters, with both teams winning close battles on their home fields. The rubber match promises to be great, so show up at Ft. Tilden this Saturday at 1:00 for great Rugby action.

Rugger Pluggers: Much is made of magician’s who can make an elephant disappear. Yet rarely is it mentioned when Tim Kelly, the pacoderm-like prop, makes himself disappear on a Saturday. No answer at home or on the cell.....it’s like he just....vanishes! Tooch Coyne STILL MIA.

Unconfirmed rumors have him coaching the Shinnecock Indian tribe’s rugby club in exchange for tax free cigarettes. A sports psychologist hired by the Fisheads may have uncovered the origin of Mike the Russian’s uncontrollable urge to stick his hand in the ruck. It seems that the Rugby ball bears a close resemblance to Russian bread and brings back memories of food shortages during the Gorbachov years. He can’t help but grab it!!!

Phil Tufano may be the new Grouch. Upset by having to play every minute of every match this season, Phil has become a bit testy. With a chance to sit for a half this week, original Grouch McCann was injured forcing Phil’s would be halftime replacement Vladimir into action. Was this a legit injury or did Grouch McCann take a dive to sabotage his sometimes nemesis?

As with Ali-Liston 2, the world may never know.

But...would Phil really have come out of a close action packed game? Most experts doubt it. Joe Millionaire Adam Lynch returned to action and played well.

Explosion head Lunny will be re-named explosion NOSE.

A good turnout at the tournament and we hope we can expect the same at home this week against Danbury.                          

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