Sharks Flay Bayonne 46-5, and Now Wait for the Spring

Now the Sharks must wait until early May to find out whether they’ll advance to U.S.A. Rugby’s Division II Sweet Sixteen
Gordon Trotter, about to touch the ball down in Bayonne’s try zone above, and his teammates overwhelmed the side from Jersey Saturday. Dell Cullum

   The Montauk Rugby Club finished the regular season here Saturday with a 46-5 thumping of Bayonne, N.J., thus winding up in second place in the Empire Geographical Union with a 6-1 record.
    Now the Sharks must wait until early May to find out whether they’ll be one of the two sides from the Northeast and New England regions to advance to U.S.A. Rugby’s Division II Sweet Sixteen.
    For finishing second, Montauk will get a bye in the first round of the regional playoffs, as will the Empire Union’s undefeated champion, Danbury, Conn., a side that Montauk did not play this fall.
    Rich Brierley, the Sharks’ coach, said in reply to a question that he thought the locals were on the same level as the Connecticut team.
    The regional Final Four would probably be played on Randalls Island in New York City, he continued, adding that “Danbury will play the Princeton-Syracuse winner, and we’ll play the Rockaway-Buffalo winner on May 5, and the finals will be the next day.”
    As for the site of the Sweet Sixteen tourney, Montauk’s coach said, “It’s yet to be determined. U.S.A. Rugby puts it out to bid. I’d be more than happy if we went back to Pittsburgh. They did an excellent job last year.”
   The Sharks scored eight tries in Saturday’s game at East Hampton’s Herrick Park. “We had them moving back for most of the game, but it took us a while to get going,” Brierley said.
   There was, he said, “at least a one or two-man overlap” when Erik Brierley, Montauk’s fullback, took off on a 25-yard run down the sideline about 15 minutes into the fray, touching the ball down in Bayonne’s try zone.
   “The forwards set that try up,” said Brierley, who added that “they played great all day, especially James Lock, one of our props, and our ‘man of the match,’ who was everywhere and then some!”
Before the first half had come to an end, Jim Abran (assisted by Gordon Trotter), Connor Miller (again assisted by Trotter), and Steve Turza (assisted by John Glennon) had scored tries as well, treating Montauk to a 24-0 lead at the break.
   It was more of the same in the second half as Erik Brierley, Zach Brenneman (two), and Trotter scored. Trotter, whose wife was said to be on the verge of giving birth, did not have a great day kicking — he converted three of the eight tries — but, given the onslaught, it mattered little.
   “After our seventh score,” said Brierley, “I had it that Gordon made the [two-point] conversion, the referee had it that he didn’t, and Gordon said he didn’t remember.”