2007-09-28 / Sports

Traveling Fisheads Nipped At The Wire by Montauk Sharks

The Rockaway Fisheads found themselves on the short end of a 20-19 decision last Saturday vs. the arch-rival Montauk Sharks.

In what had to be one of the most hard fought contests in the series history, Rockaway came from behind on three separate occasions, only to be done in by a penalty kick in the waning moments of the epic battle.

The loss, coupled with an opening day tie (20-20) against the Lansdowne RFC, left the Fisheads winless at 0-1-1. "A game of inches" said the normally surly Grouch McCann following another difficult Saturday for the locals.

McCann did not seem discouraged however and added the following:

"Last season we started 0-2 and won 5 straight and hosted a home play-off game," McCann said. "If we made it easy on ourselves it just wouldn't be as fun. Trust me we will run the table from here on out."

McCann's optimism has merit as Rockaway faced a defending National Division 2 semi-finalist on the road at Montauk and dominated much of the play. Were it not for their penchant for penalties, the locals could easily have a 2-0 record and looking at a very different scenario.

"It's our way....that's all I can say" added player-coach Bob Johnson. "I also know we will right the ship and finish strong."

Facing a strong Bayonne team this Saturday at Fort Tilden (12:00 p.m. kick-off), the locals will need to change course this week if they are to remain in the play-off picture.

New imports Chris and Luke from New Zealand, have added speed and athleticism in the backs. The newcomers piled up offensive yards against Montauk and should do the same against Bayonne.

The trademark Fisheads rough stuff was on display as well, as the forwards were able to dominate much of the loose play and set pieces against a younger and faster Montauk pack. Chris comes with the added bonus of a strong kicking leg and will no doubt continue light to up the scoreboard each week.

Local family man Tyrone Sperling was a force in his return to the Fisheads, notching a try and providing stability at the Fullback position.

The enigma that is Grouch McCann provided the usual Yin/Yang that comes with being the Grouch; 10 minutes in the sin bin, followed by a blocked kick which he recovered himself for a try.

In short, the Fisheads had some pretty good play, some pretty dumb penalties, and a bit of bad luck which has led to a slow start in the fall campaign.

Nonetheless, the mood is up-beat as the Fisheads have been in the situation before.

"We know what we can do and we will be fine. A tie and a 1 point loss means we are 2 points from being undefeated" said veteran scrumhalf Kermit Egan.

New team captain Brian Ward added emphatically: "See me at the end of the season. I promise you we will be where we have been the last 4 years. IN THE PLAY-OFFS."

Ward seemed totally confident as did the rest of the club.

"I will admit this week is a must win for us," Ward said. "But that's when we play our best."

Come on out and support the Fisheads in their first home match of the season this Saturday at 12:00 p.m. at Ft. Tilden.

RUGGER PLUGGERS: Oakie "Bobby Riggs" O'Connor was unavailable last Saturday as he had already committed to a mixed doubles tennis tournament with his wife. I think I hear a big "WHAT!!!!!!!" coming from the readers. You read it here!

Montauk with a great post game food selection. You could have anything you wanted as long as it was franks and beans.

The Fisheads have a new captain in the very capable and highly skilled Brian Ward. "Hail to the Chief!!!"

Pat Ward is also a welcome addition to the club and doing a fine job. Ron Kemely continues to be a versatile and aggressive tackling machine.

The Fisheads may call in a sports psychologist to analyze the Fisheads' penchant for foolish penalties. It is beyond the grasp of this writer how the same people.....get called for the same infractions.....every single week. But hey, that's Rockaway....the Oakland Raiders of rugby football.

Ladies and Gentleman... from parts unknown.... weight unknown......THE DISHWASHER!!!!!!

It's funny how every bus or van rented by the Fisheads seems to finds its way to Bob Johnson's cabana restaurant in Long Beach.

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