Rockaway Rugby Win Championship! Beats Brooklyn For #1 Lead
During this season’s league play, Brooklyn (7-0) led the league in defense and Rockaway (6-1) led the league in offense. The first meeting resulted in a Brooklyn 15-10 win on the Fort Tilden rugby pitch. The second meeting gave Rockaway a 23-14 win, in what was, a great rugby battle between two very good clubs. Rockaway’s win places them as the #1 seed in the Northeast Championships to be played on November 20 and November 21 on Randalls Island.
The championship match started off in favor of the Fisheads with a nice run up the middle by Kiwi import, Strady Adams. A great kick by scrumhalf, Chris Molcher into the corner, pinned Brooklyn on the 5 meter with Rockaway attacking.
Brooklyn held Rockaway with a long try-line stance and seemed to be out of trouble with a kick to mid-field. Wing forward, Brendan Fitzgerald caught and ran to ball back to the 22 meter line and the forwards rucked and rolled to the 10m line. With the entire Brooklyn defense wide right, Albany Alum, Tom Ambery picked up and went weak-side to the corner for the first try of the match.
On the ensuing kick-off Rockaway, the ball went to mid-field with Brooklyn receiving a penalty for a ruck infraction. Mike Lugano took a fast penalty for 20 meters and created a 5 player passing line to the wing for a well handled try by Jamie Prosser in the corner. Both tries were well out of range for a conversion so Rockaway only led 10-0 mid-way through the first half. Brooklyn was again called for an infraction on the 35m line which set up a PK by Greg Bradnam.
The Brooklyn’s inside center threw a pass to the outside center but was intercepted by a waiting Tommy French. French took the ball on a 60m sprint to the try zone, out running 3 defending players and scoring Rockaway’s third try. The conversion was good for a 20-0 Rockaway lead at halftime.
The second half started with the Fisheads doing what they normally do with a nice lead. They blew it. Brooklyn started to play rugby again and pumped in two quick try through the Rockaway back-line. Rockaway’s lead was reduced to 20-14 at the 60 minute mark.
With 20 minutes to play, Rockaway’s Captain for a day, Andy Palmer rallied the troops and regained focus. Rockaway caught a break on another Brooklyn penalty and converted a PK for a 23-14 lead. For the rest of the match, controlling, fundamental rugby was played by the Fisheads, led by Brian Ward. If the forwards had the ball, they ran right at Brooklyn; If the backs had the ball, they ran towards their forward support, right at Brooklyn.
And if the ball went out of bounds, Tim Kelly would lift John McCann over Brooklyn and win the line-out.
It was simple rugby, Rockaway style as they won 23-14 to bring home the proverbial hardware and earned a much needed bye for next weekend. Rockaway has the number one seed in the Northeast RFU Championship, followed by second seed Syracuse, third seed Saratoga or Buffalo and fourth seed Brooklyn or MIT.
Rockaway Rockies Hockey Update
The Rockaway Rockies Roller Hockey program provided some well needed heat on a cold Sunday morning at the roller hockey rink on Beach 108 Street.
The Boardwalk Bagels sponsored Minor Division Red and Blue teams scorched the rink with their fiery play. The momentum of play swung back and forth as both teams tried to take control of the game. The Blue team’s efforts were helped by goals from Ryan Hogg, Brendan Byrne and Sean Errico and the continued strong skating of Christian Panetta, Justin Aleman and Jake Mackoff.
The Red team played great team hockey to even out the game. Ryan Murphy played an unbelievable all around game for the Red squad and the team’s play was highlighted on a break out pass from Andrew Burns that finished with Mikey Leahy scoring his first goal of the season from the right face-off circle.
The Major Division didn’t let the cinders cool when it was their turn. In the final regular season games of the year, Elegante Restaurant knocked off high powered Boarders Surf Shop in the first game, 4-2. Elegante’s victory turned out to be a hockey version of “Family Feud.” Brother and sister combo Danny and Jenna Hess along with twin brothers Matt and Jack McDade led the way for Elegante and were strengthened with the excellent play of Sarah Newman.
Boarders Surf Shop battled with awesome play from their own siblings. Tom and Grace Collins along with twin brothers Joshua and Ethan Hanft fought it out with the skaters from Elegante until the very end.
The later match in the Major Division pitted The Wave against Boarders Surf Shop. The Wave took the game 5-3 and secured first place in the regular season. The Wave effort was led by the trio of Megan Horgan, Frankie Ciliberti and Brian McDonald. But the team’s efforts stood on the incredible play of Goalie Ryan Schwach, who made glove save after glove save to keep the mighty Boarders Surf Shop from tying the game.
The first place finish for The Wave team gives them a bye in the first round of the playoffs which will take place on Sunday, November 14. The opening round will have Boarders Surf Shop playing Elegante Restaurant and the winner of that game will play immediately afterwards against The Wave to determine the league champions.