2013-06-21 / Sports

Rockaway Rugby Lives On!

By Gerard Gilberto

The 37th Annual Rockaway Rugby 7’s Tournament went off without a hitch last Saturday, June 15th, in Fort Tilden.

The fields at Fort Tilden in Rockaway’s west end had become somewhat depleted following Hurricane Sandy but were restored by Gateway National Park Service to host the largest Rugby 7’s tournament on the East Coast. The tournament was headed by Rockaway Rugby Club member John McCann.

“The turnout was fantastic” said Mc- Cann. “We usually average around 40 to 44 teams and this year we had 54.”

McCann and RRC member Doug MacConnell knew there was hope for the tournament and were pleased with the result. “It was tough to put it together this year, our field was wrecked, but guys are still coming out,” said Mac- Connell.

“It’s a total team effort, running this tournament, when you’re dealing with 600 to 800 people,” said McCann. “You really need a lot of hands. The help and support we’ve been getting after Sandy has been great.” McCann was quick to thank Gateway and all volunteers for their efforts, while MacConnell gave credit where it was due to McCann, “The grouch does an amazing job every year.”

The tournament was divided into six divisions. In order of skill level there is the Cup, the Plate and the Bowl or Shield division for men over 18 years old, then the women’s division, then two youth divisions: under 18 and under 15.

In the Cup division, the Montauk team defeated Old Blue in the finals by a score of 26-7. Princeton beat the local Rockaway Fisheads 19-12 in the Plate division and the team from Danbury, CT ran through the Bowl division eventually beating one of the more furthertraveled teams from Delaware, 33-5.

The Fisheads powered through into the finals of their bracket, despite losing their first round match. “They’re a young and upcoming group,” said Mc- Cann. “We haven’t seen this much of a youth movement in years. Along with youth, the Fisheads welcomed some international members to their team.

Vallon Adams, 21, played for the National 7’s team in Guyana but has been living in Rockaway for the past six months. “This was the first time I played for the Fisheads,” said Adams. “They’re a nice club, a lot of youth, pretty rugged and up tempo.” Adams will be playing with the team for the rest of the season.

This Rockaway tournament is the first in the Empire Rugby Football Union Geographic Union’s Summer 7’s Series. Teams will receive points for their results in local tournaments similar to this one and a winner will be determined at the end of the summer. With a runner-up finish in their first tournament, the Fisheads have certainly started the season on a good note.

In the women’s division the New York Women’s rugby club beat Monmouth 10-7 in the finals. The U18 winner was the Connecticut Yankees and the Young Rockaway Fisheads won the U15 bracket.

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