2005-09-16 / Sports

Rockaway Fisheads Open Fall Rugby Season

The Rockaway Fisheads Rugby Club will kick off its Fall 2005 Rugby campaign this Saturday at 2 p.m. in Morris, New Jersey. Coming off a lackluster spring exhibition season, the Fisheads are looking to return to  play-off form now that the games really matter again. Grouch McCann summed it up as follows: “We know when its time to do business and this Saturday the team will play like the top caliber club it is. Spring seasons are like exhibition football in the NFL. Anyone who uses those games as a measuring stick is foolish to say the least.”

The Grouch’s words would appear to hold water as the Fisheads previous 2 spring seasons were equally unremarkable, while the subsequent Fall campaigns saw them play excellent rugby and make the ERU play-offs two years running. Said veteran club leader Kermit Egan: “There are only three play-off spots in Division 2 for the entire group of east coast New York/New England Rugby Union clubs. We have taken one of those spots the last two years and played well in the play-offs. This year we are looking to go all the way.”

Egan’s optimism appears to be well placed as the club welcomes back lightning fast Danny Lunny, Jim Tuchiano, Adam Lynch and Lee “The New Zealander”. The locals will also welcome 3 new teammates from New Zealand who will play with the club this season, and hopefully impart some valuable knowledge to their hosts. Coupled with the returning core of veterans, Rockaway may well capture the Division 2 Crown.

Veteran captain and player coach Bob Johnson (proprietor of the famous “Cabana!” Restaurant in Long

Beach) expressed cautious optimism and a veiled warning to his club: “The key is not to get ahead of ourselves. We have a great squad on paper and the league looks ripe for the taking. One thing is for sure though: We haven’t done a thing yet and we will have to go out and execute each week. Winning comes with building the momentum that results from consistently good fundamental play. As Chris Berman says, “that’s why they play the games.”

The locals will open against the Morris Lions, a team they have owned in recent years but who also looks to be much improved. “We take them lightly at our peril” said Phil Tufano, the aging but still effective second row. “I hope we have learned that lesson. We have a terrible tendency to play either up or down to the level of our competition. Bob talked about consistency and steadiness. I would like to start building some of that this week with a sound, fundamental match. Morris aways comes to play. I hope our guys are ready to go.”

RUGGER PLUGGERS: Is Local Family Man Tyrone Sperling finally through? It would appear so, but we are holding out hope. Was Oscar Prince able to clear customs and re-enter the U.S. in time for Saturday’s match? Will the team be on time or continue to operate according to the Rockaway Prime Meridian? Will Grouch McCann be sin-binned? Correction: Will he be allowed out of the sin-bin? Will Tim Kelly play or will he chain himself to the clubhouse in protest? Will Kemly make it or is he no longer allowed out now that he is married?  These and many other questions will be answered on Saturday, on the next episode of “As The Fisheads Turn.”            

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