By DR. J. ZIMMERMAN
The Sharks are closing in on the Atlantic City Rugby Invitational. Prep time is becoming more crucial as we move closer to the big day. Four practices and one warm-up match, and that’s it. The team has to be ready.
The Atlantic City Rugby Invitational is Saturday, May 6, from 9 a.m. to 6 p.m. at Veteran’s Park in Galloway Township. The tournament is a men’s rugby club event with 12 teams participating from around the Mid-Atlantic region. Teams from Vermont, Connecticut, Maryland and New York will join teams from New Jersey and Pennsylvania to compete for the coveted championship cup.
The Sharks have placed third in the last two tournament events and are looking for their first championship.
Rugby tournaments are great fun for spectators. Two matches occurring at the same time continuously throughout the day. Knock-down, drag-out battles until one team is holding the very large championship cup.
The tournament will have an outdoor beer garden and barbecue food provided by Pork Island BBQ, as well as the mobile Rita’s Water Ice Truck. It is a great way to spend the day. Make plans to watch the fastest growing sport in America; hard-hitting, exciting, non-stop rugby action!
The Sharks have been prepping for this tournament for the past few weeks. Sadly, coming off two big wins in a row, The Sharks’ men’s rugby club lost a tough match this past weekend to the N.Y. Village Lions. The Village Lions have a very successful program in the metropolitan area. They have more than 50 players competing in two men’s club divisions.
Also, due to being based in New York City, the Lions attract their fair share of foreign born rugby players to their team. At our match, there were a few French, Australian and English players on the squad.
The Lions are also the hosts of a very successful spring rugby tournament, the 4 Leafs Rugby Tourney on Randall Island in NYC, which currently boasts more than 30 teams competing. Under the leadership of former Sharks Rugby coach Angelo DiBartolo, the Sharks were two-time place winners in the mid 2000s. This time winning wasn’t in the cards.
The Sharks started strong in the first half, playing very physical rugby, but the Lions held onto a 13-7 lead. In the second half, the Sharks continued to play hard rugby, but conceded a try and a penalty conversion halfway into the second half.
At that point, luck was not on the Sharks side as multiple injuries (five player substitutions) and fatigued play led to an onslaught of Lions tries. The Lions’ depth on the bench was also a huge factor.
With 30 minutes left, the Lions were subbing in a fresh players every few minutes until their allotted seven substitutions were used up. Final score, Lions 40, Sharks 7.
The Sharks have one more tune-up match, on April 29, at our home field vs. North Jersey Rugby Club. It’s at this match when the Sharks plan on implementing and owning their tournament game plan.
Dr. J. Zimmerman is the president of the Jersey Shore Rugby Club Board of Directors. He is the men’s club head coach and director of youth rugby. Dr. J. is also the team chiropractor. For more information on Jersey Shore Sharks Rugby, including our High School rugby team, or if you are interested in playing, visit www.JerseyShoreRugby.com or on Facebook at Jersey Shore Rugby Club, or call 609-652-6363, email: Jerseyshoresharks@gmail.com.
By DR. J. ZIMMERMAN