2007-04-13 / Sports

Fisheads Compete In Historic Play-off At Aviator Field

John McCann of the Rockaway Rugby Fisheads (left) grabs the ball against the Berkshire Rugby Club in the Rockaway Rugby 7's Classic on June 17, 2006.
John McCann of the Rockaway Rugby Fisheads (left) grabs the ball against the Berkshire Rugby Club in the Rockaway Rugby 7's Classic on June 17, 2006. This Saturday night at 7:00 p.m., history will be made at the Aviator Sports Complex on the grounds of Floyd Bennett Field.

Your hometown Rockaway Fisheads will host their first ever Rugby play-off match "under the lights" at the sparkling new facility and are looking to make history many times over that night.

"Its our first ever home play-off match, the first rugby match at the new stadium and the first time Rockaway will play a night time match under the lights. Hopefully we can cap off the night with a big win," so said perennial Fisheads stalwart Grouch McCann in an interview with The Wave before a preparation match against Montclair last Saturday at Fort Tilden.

The Grouch added by saying, "We worked hard to get ourselves in this position and now we have to make it pay dividends. A good week of practice this week and the support of the local community will go a long way toward making the evening a success."

Indeed, community support will be pivotal as the visiting Boston Anchors represent Rockaway's toughest challenge in recent memory. "They are coming to win and you can rest assured we will have our hands full" said Tyrone Sperling, the Fisheads star fullback. "I just hope all who can make it show up to root us on. It makes a huge difference when a visiting team is made to feel UN-welcome if you know what I mean."

The Fisheads have done all they can to make the community feel very welcome as the evening will feature a post match party at the Aviator Complex. The event will feature live music and beverages for those people who are over 21 years of age. It promises to be a big event with some truly great Rugby talent on display for all to enjoy.

The Fisheads are optimistic but also realize the play-offs represent completely different intensity and performance levels and will require the club to rise to the occasion and a heightened level of play.

Player-coach Bob Johnson had this to say on the play-off atmosphere:

"We are hosting. So on paper we are the favored team and are expected by most people to win. The problem is, you have to perform and there are 15 guys opposite you who don't care what anybody thinks."

Johnson expects a tough matchup from the Boston Anchors.

"They want to kick your face in, so any delusions you have of a cake-walk are quickly shattered as soon as the match kicks off. It's going to be rough and we will have to fight them for 80 full minutes if we expect to win."

For many years, Johnson knows that the Rockaway Fisheads are geared up to face opponents who are as hungry as his team to win.

"The flip side is that's the kind of thing that Rugby players love and what draws them to the game. Tough, knock down drag out matches are just what good teams want because it tests them and lets them see what they are made of," Johnson said.

The Fisheads seem to have a special love for must win matches as they seem to always be on the brink of oblivion only to come back to salvage a match, a tournament and sometimes an entire season. "We live on the edge...kind of like the cardiac kids of rugby" said scrumhalf Kermit Egan. "But we have a lot of experience with pressure situations and it comes in handy in these type of matches."

Here's hoping the Fisheads win an exciting....but not TOO EXCITING play-off game and make some positive history this Saturday. To the Community: THE FISHEADS NEED

YOU!!! Turn out and support your local Rugby club and be a part of the celebration. Kick-off is at 7:00 p.m. with the party to follow immediately after the game. BE THERE.

Rugger Pluggers: Ed Shevlin would like to announce that the Combined Services Pipe Band will be performing during the match and the post-game party.

Rockaway Rugby would like to congratulate Cliff "The Hulk" Shevlin for defeating "Goosey" Kenny in a push-up competition. Shevlin, who listens to John Fogarty on his Ipod for inspiration while working out, was at a distinct advantage because his belly reached the ground faster than Kenny.

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