Tuesday, May 21, 2013



Penelope and Scriptoris are departing for France (Paris and Toulouse) for two weeks. We’ve been meaning to do this since our first honeymoon in 1982, when we first ate mussels in Toulouse and couscous in Paris.

That was a rugby tour, with the Medical College of Georgia Mad Dogs. This is not.

Enjoy the SFGG - Tonga match without us!

This will be in San Francisco.

Heroes among us, as we remember September 11:


Saturday, June 29:
Palo Alto – two pitches all day
SFGG – NorCal qualifier – one pitch, men and women

Saturday, July 6:
At Stanford – NorCal qualifier hosted by Olympic Club

Saturday, July 13:
Palo Alto, second iteration
Sac Lions hosting the final NorCal qualifier

Saturday, July 27:
Palo Alto, final iteration

Saturday, August 10:
Monterey Beach Sevens by the municipal wharf

Let Pete Smith know which events you can help out at.

Two pitches will be in use on Treasure Island this Saturday and Sunday for the Pacific Coast All-Star tournament, featuring select sides from Hawaii, Utah, Nevada, and California. The Treasure Island tournament has 4 divisions: Boys Varsity, Girls Varsity, Boys JV, and Middle School.

Please contact Preston Gordon, the Referee-In-Charge, if you are available.

The annual overhaul of the engagement cadence has been announced.

For those who can recall the resistance of the front rows to the very idea that the wuss-referee would be involved in the scrum engagement, in 1997, this may well prompt a reprise.

This new cadence will apply worldwide to all rugby in competitions that begin on or after August 1. The new cadence will be Crouch Bind Set. As before, Set means Engage.

There will no longer be a ‘hit’ to win. The players bind on Bind without coming together. On Set, they have just a few inches to close.

Every scrum will be the kinds of scrums that teams do in practice, when they don’t want to risk injury. That is probably the idea behind changing the count once again.


SFGG in the Elite Cup final against Life this Saturday in Glendale, Colo.

St. Mary’s finished second to Life College. They were looking very good in the first half, on a dry track, but things changed when a deluge began and they lost by two.

Santa Rosa to the national D2 semis, to be played June 1-2 in Virginia Beach.

SFGG and Sierra Foothills both lost out in the first round of the D3 nationals.

Single-school HS: Jesuit wins title. Dixon appears to have played for seventh, but your scribe cannot find their results anywhere – their own website, NCYRA, the usual rugby ‘news’ sources, even search engines, Utah newspapers, etc.

High school boys club: Danville finished third, Marin seventh.

High school girls: Sacramento Amazons finished fifth, Danville seventh.

We’ll be gathering at Scott’s in Walnut Creek on Saturday, June 22, to celebrate the season gone by and for the presentation of the annual Pelican Awards. Drinks at six, dinner at seven. Free for society members, guests for an amount to be announced.

Please, if you will be attending, let Bjorn know whether you and your guest would like meat, fish or vegetarian: bstumer@comcast.net


SAN FRANCISCO GOLDEN GATE 22 – Seattle OPSB 17 Referee: Aruna Ranaweera Assistant Referees: George O'Neil, Phil Akroyd
#4 Official: Eric Rauscher
Official photographer: John Pohlman

The top two teams in the west battled in a very physical, but relatively sloppy game that went down to the wire. OPSB used the wind to lead 17-8 at half and SFGG used the wind in the 2nd half to score 14 unanswered points. Both teams scored 3 tries. SFGG will meet Life in the Elite Cup final in Glendale, CO. Much thanks to George, Phil, Eric, and John for their assistance.

SFGG Women 0 – BERKELEY ALL BLUES 50 Referee: Preston Gordon Boxer Stadium at Balboa Park, 1145 Saturday
Touch judges provided by the clubs (thanks, ladies)

In this exhibition sevens match played in front of a couple hundred Play Rugby USA kids and their parents, the All Blues scored early and often. They had 4 tries in the first half and one conversion (22-0) and added a further 4 in the second half, converting all of them to reach 50-0. The SFGG ladies took advantage of the few attacking chances they had to use the ball well, but the Berkeley defense always got back in time to force a turnover or capitalize on an error. At the coin toss, I mentioned that the 15 of us were there to show non-rugby folks what the game could be like, and both teams definitely rose to the occasion while I mostly stayed out of the way.

After the match was over, while the kids played the championship round of their flag rugby tournament, the All Blues celebrated their win by doing a 30+ minute fitness workout in one in-goal area with lots of cross-pitch sprints. Everyone noticed. When I commented on this to their coach, she said "that's what it takes to win championships" - well done, ladies. This was their first sevens game of the season and I'm sure they'll continue to do well, as will SFGG's side.

The other referees in the kids' tournament were Casey Bollinger and Mark Griffin, on hand for the first PRUSA tourney in San Francisco. It was pretty cool to see these kids, some of whom I coached last year, get to play teams from other schools. Their skills have improved dramatically and these elementary school students are going to get to college with 7+ years of playing experience - watch out, world!

SAN JOSE STATE 43 – Alumni 20 Referee: James Hinkin
A rare Sunday fixture saw the SJSU men's team forget who pays for the program (to borrow from Dr Carter's oft-repeated story about an old Stanford alumni match) and take it to the old boys. Team captain for the alumni was AJ Laymon, due to the fact he was the oldest player on the field at 73.

Yes, 73. And he played. He is my hero.

With several of the alumni feeling the effects of the San Jose Seahawks end of year kangaroo court the previous night (how many charges were you brought up on, Rashad?) the match, predictably, started 30 minutes late while the alumni trickled and staggered in. The youngsters were all ready and warming up early and had the field marked out nearly perfectly (the center line was definitely not in the middle, and one flag was on it while another flag was on the 10 from the "long side"... not sure which was supposed to be the middle so I picked one and stuck with it). These clever collegians also made sure to mark out a try zone as close the the max of 22 meters that I have seen, obviously expecting to use the extra space. This ended up not being a factor with one exception when it went against the youngsters. A kick went through and into the try zone and kept rolling. The alert SJSU winger let it roll and roll until it came to a stop - a good 5 meters before the end of the try zone. "How big is this ^&*%ing try zone?" he was heard to say as he downed the ball for a 22. The first period of 30 minutes showed off the skill and fitness of both teams (Big Tony - "Hinkin, I didn't think we were supposed to play 40 minute halves?" Me - "You didn't. It just felt like it.") while the second period of 25 minutes saw the tired legs of the collegiates start to give way, no doubt shamed by Dave Richards spending the last 10 minutes asking for more time to be added to the match.

Or maybe I got that backwards...

A fun day with tries on both sides led to some solid collegiate/alumni bonding, which continued at Stanley's bar in the ice rink across the street. A successful day, indeed.

Note: Walking from 80+ degree weather after running around for a couple of hours into an ice rink is a bit of a blow to the system. At least there was plenty of beer available to soften the blow.

The IRB Refereeing Sevens course will be taught at SFGG on Saturday, June 8.

Bruce Carter and Joe Zevin are the instructors.

Sign up now on the USA Rugby website: https://www.allplayers.com/g/referees_certification_courses_level_1_officiating_7s_level_1_7s_june_8th_san_francisco_ca/register/select


Aruna and his ARs, Phil and George, prepare for the Elite Cup final, wherein they kept the boys on side, on their feet, and on the move.


For the Senate
Pelicus Scriptoris

Wednesday, May 08, 2013




Neil MacDonald has earned promotion to C2. The timing is a bit odd, given that he worked the Pacific Coast playoffs last weekend, but it was felt that he was refereeing well enough, at the end of his first season, to do those playoffs despite his grade.


Boulder, CO – The USA Rugby Referee Department is excited to announce the advent of online Touch Judge & Assistant Referee courses! These courses will allow participants from all over the country to create a collaborative learning environment and become USA Rugby certified.

This is the perfect opportunity for parents, coaches, and players to get involved and to learn more about the game from the comfort of their own home!

Using instructor led discussion, video clips and other course materials participants in the Touch Judge courses will learn when the ball is in touch, Touch Judge signals, places of throw in, positioning and Seven-a-side variations. Participants in the Assistant Referee course will learn how to adjudicate foul play, signaling and reporting, positioning, and how to use communication systems. The courses will culminate with a brief quiz to validate the participant’s certification as a USA Rugby Touch Judge or Assistant Referee.

Courses will be offered monthly in order to fit your busy schedule! It will be given over consecutive evenings, the second Tuesday and the next day of every month at 5:00pm PDT. Each session will last approximately two hours and will be taught by an IRB certified Educator. The cost of the online Touch Judge courses will be $25, as will the Assistant Referee course. Please note that space is limited, so sign up early!

Any questions or concerns can be directed to Brittany Jacobs or Tim Cornelius.

Email: Brittany Jacobs - bjacobs@usarugby.org (303) 539-0300 x111


Tim Cornelius - tcornelius@usarugby.org (303) 539-0300 x135


We’ll be gathering at Scott’s in Walnut Creek on Saturday, June 22, to celebrate the season gone by and for the presentation of the annual Pelican Awards. Drinks at six, dinner at seven. Free for society members, guests for an amount to be announced.


SF/Golden Gate will be hosting OPSB this Saturday at 3 PM in the Elite Cup semi-final. This should be a very good match, and as far as we know there isn’t any other rugby going on to compete with it for your attention and attendance.

SFGG in the Elite Cup
St. Mary’s in D1A
Santa Rosa in men’s D2
SFGG and Sierra Foothills in D3

ST. MARY’S 58 – Cal Poly 24 Referee: Tim Luscombe (USA)
ARs: Bruce Carter, Tom Wright
St. Mary’s will play Life College in North Carolina for the title on May 18.

Curtain Raiser:
Seconds: ST. MARY’S 53 – Cal Poly 50 Referee: Bruce Carter
AR: Tom Wright
It was hot this past weekend, mid-eighties in Moraga for our noon kickoff. Looking over the athletes warming up, I said to Tom, “This could easily be a hundred-point game. The offenses should be clicking this time of year, and the defense might not be as keen in a B-side match. Let’s just hope it’s close.”

Shoulda made book.

It was like refereeing eighty minutes of Sevens. Neither team ever had a lead of more than seven points. It was a ton of fun to referee

The Stanford women came in third, losing the semi-final on a last-play penalty to Norwich.

The California men came in second, losing on a last-play drop-goal to BYU. This was a very good game and you can find the entire thing on-line.

No NorCal teams are alive at this point, with both East Palo Alto teams having lost in SoCal and the Sac Lions having lost at home to OMBAC.

Snake River beat Santa Rosa for the D2 title. Both teams advance to the nationals.

SFGG beat Sierra Foothills for the D3 title. Both teams also advance.

D2 Semi-Final: SANTA ROSA 16 – Oregon RSU 13 Referee: Neil MacDonald
ARs: Preston Gordon and Rich Anderson
Referee Coaches: Mike Malone and Mike King
On a scorching day by Treasure Island standards, Santa Rosa met Oregon Rugby Sports Union from Portland for a place in Sunday's D2 Final. Santa Rosa were in their rose jerseys, and ORSU were in kit that appeared to have been inspired by an explosion in a Crayola factory, offering me a bewildering menu from which I eventually selected blue, the colour of most of the side with the number on it. In a match of physical committed rugby (three blood subs in first half alone), pacy backlines, and both teams willing to run straight and spin the ball wide, Santa Rosa's penalty kick and converted try edged ORSU's two penalty kicks at half time. Led by their battering ram captain whose eyes lit up every time he got the ball and had a chance to run over a defender, ORSU rammed in a try and converted it in the second half, but in the end it wasn't enough to overcome Santa Rosa, who eked out the win by 3.

Credit to both teams for a fast and exciting game, and thanks to Preston and Rich for ARing. Always a treat to have colleagues watching your back and covering the touchlines, and very much appreciated. Thanks too to Mike and Mike for taking the time to watch and coach.

D3 3rd-4th playoff: CORVALIS 22 - Budd Bay 5 (Half time 7-5) - Ref: MacDonald
ARs: Frank Merrill and Tony Levitan
Both teams had clearly restrained themselves on their Saturday night in the Bay Area, and despite a rumour of mixing teams and playing a friendly, they came to play rugby. Or at least 30 minute halves of rugby - perhaps there had been some beer imbibed the previous evening after all. A tightly contested first half saw the difference between the teams a single conversion - a great kick from out wide by Corvallis captain and #15. Late in the game, Corvallis racked up three unconverted tries to stretch their lead and put the game beyond Budd Bay's reach, in a scoreline that belied the competitiveness of the game. Thanks to both teams for a fun match played in good spirits, and to Frank and Tony for their services on the touchline - which neither of them expected to be providing until about 15 minutes before kickoff!

Report by Eric Rauscher:
The NCIT this year was held again at the very nice Cherry Island Soccer Complex just north of Sacramento. The fields are all grass surrounded by grassy little raised areas with trees planted along the tops. Give the fans a place to sit in the shade and be able to get a great view of the games.

There were eight pitches used all Saturday and Sunday. The level of play at this event is noticeably superior to that of the KOT, the beginning of the season tourney, but is much smaller. At the last second I was asked to ref one of the first games on Saturday, but since we were handed 3x5 index cards listing the teams, the time and the field which doubled as a score card to be handed in (a great idea by the way for a tourney), I failed to separately note down the info about the game. If I tried to remember it, I would I am sure make a mistake so there we are. I likewise was asked to do a gem on Sunday at the last minute, but this time I transferred the info (Game report below). I spent the rest of the time doing ref coaching.

JV Gold: Danville Oaks 14 – GRANITE BAY 19 Referee: Eric Rauscher
ARs: Ray Schwartz, Andrew Ngyuen, David Williamson and others.
Thanks to all those that stepped in to fill in ARing during the game. We were under-staffed and did our best to cover championship games (of which this was one). Since I found out that I was doing this game about five min before, I did not have time to round up ARs, but people drifted over to fill in as they could.

The game itself was as they say "a cracker". Both teams were skilled and fast and motivated. The play was fierce, but never spilled over into aggressive activity. This was the type of game I wish that both could have won, they both deserved it. Although it was a "JV" game, the skill level that the players displayed was astounding. This only bodes well for American Rugby. I have the feeling that most of the players on both sides have been with the clubs for a number of years in "youth rugby" before playing at the High School level and it shows. They don't spend a lot of time thinking about what they should be doing, they just do it, and do it well. My congratulations to both sides for a game well played and a pleasure to ref.

Report by Jim Crenshaw:
Friday, Saturday and Sunday are rugby days!!
I had the pleasure of doing 4 matches over the weekend.

Friday evening was hot and muggy in Sacramento for the start of the Northern California Invitational Tournament (NCIT)! Jesuit squared off with C.K. McClatchy at 5pm for the first of the 4 matches played Friday evening.

Temperature at kick-off was in the low 90's, no breeze and humid. Fortunately we had plenty of scoring and the associated water breaks after each score to keep everyone hydrated!!

Jesuit scored 2 tries early to take a 12 point lead, with McClatchy breaking through to get within 5 a little over the 25 minute mark. Jesuit scored another try, McClatchy answered with a penalty kick, but Jesuit finished the first half scoring with another try. Score at halftime Jesuit 24 – McClatchy 10.

The second half was a back and forth affair with Jesuit scoring first and then the teams trading scores the rest of the way. Unfortunately for McClatchy their second score was only a penalty kick and their third score was an unconverted try, while Jesuit tallied 3 converted tries. Final score Jesuit 45 – McClatchy 25

Mendocino 20 – SF FOG 25 Referee: Jim Crenshaw
Saturday I jumped into the old jalopy around 10 am and headed off over hill and dale around the north side of Clear Lake to Ukiah, to ref Mendocino playing the Fog.

The 2 pm kick-off meant another mid 90's match and both sides thought it prudent to play 4 20 minute periods to make sure we had enough water breaks. This was more a tale of 2 halves, with the Fog scoring 3 tries to 1 for the Mendo gentlemen and lady in the first half, but Mendo coming back in the second half scoring 3 tries.

Unfortunately for them the Fog scored 2 tries in the second half to hold on for the win.

It seems neither team has a kicker, as none of the tries were converted! Final Score Fog 25 – Mendocino 20

Sunday morning it was back the the NCIT for the final day of fun with the U-19 festivities! My first match I reffed pitted Sierra against Peninsula Green against Sierra.

The first half was a back and forth affair, Sierra scoring an unconverted try, then the teams trading penalty kicks, first Pen G and then Sierra, and Sierra finishing the half with another unconverted try making it 13-3.

The second half was all Sierra scoring 4 tries. Final score Sierra 39 – Pen Green 3.

The last match of the day was the boys Varsity Gold match pitting the Sacramento.

Islanders against Granite Bay. The Islander's won the toss and elected to kick off. This resulted in an Islander no-wrap tackle and yellow card, for a less than auspicious beginning to the match!

Cooler heads prevailed and things settled into a fine match. The Islanders scored first but couldn't convert with Granite Bay answering with a converted try.

The teams traded scores, first the Islanders to make it 10-7 then GB (14-10) and then the Islanders (15-14) about half way through the half.

The rest of the half belonged to GB, with an intercepted pass, with the Islanders threatening near the GB goal, turned into an unconverted try for GB. GB then scored a converted try near the end of the half to make it GB 33 – Islander's 15 at halftime.

The second half was a back and forth affair with the teams trading scores throughout the half. GB started the scoring to make it seem like they were going to make it a runaway, but the Islanders weren't about to give up.

Some shoddy tackling by GB and some inspired play by a tenacious Islander team led to to 2 tries in succession by the Islanders making it GB 40 – Islanders 27.

GB fought back with an unconverted try that the Islanders answered with one of their own to make it 45 - 32. Within 2 converted tries the Islanders stepped up the pressure, but some mishandled passes led to a final try by GB. Final score Granite Bay 50 - Islanders 32

Many thanks to Andrew Lin and Kevin Donnelly for running touch and keeping me out of trouble, they did a great job as my AR's!!!

I owe you guys!!!!

Also many thanks to Dave Williamson and Ray Schwartz for keeping track of the substitutions and to Dave for the excellent feedback after the match!! One last thank you goes to Rob Salabar, Mateo Medrano, Jerry Ahlin, and the rest of the many folks who helped put on a very well run tournament.


The IRB Refereeing Sevens course will be taught at SFGG on Saturday, June 8.

Bruce Carter and David Pelton are the instructors.

Sign up now on the USA Rugby website: https://www.allplayers.com/g/referees_certification_courses_level_1_officiating_7s_level_1_7s_june_8th_san_francisco_ca/register/select


For the Senate
Pelicus Scriptoris

Wednesday, May 01, 2013




We’ll be gathering at Scott’s in Walnut Creek on Saturday, June 22, to celebrate the season gone by and for the presentation of the annual Pelican Awards. Drinks at six, dinner at seven. Free for society members, guests for an amount to be announced.

Please mark your calendars and get your good togs to the dry cleaners.

UNIVERSITY OF CALIFORNIA 74, US Naval Academy 6, Referee: Aruna Ranaweera
Assistant Referees: John Coppinger, Scott Wood
#4/5 Officials: Bruce Carter, Eric Rauscher

On a sunny day at Witter Rugby Field, Navy took an early 3-0 lead and were competitive for the first 20 minutes. After that, Cal dominated to lead 34-6 at half with 12 tries in total for the match. Both teams missed scoring opportunities. Much thanks to John, Scott, Bruce, and Eric for their assistance despite technical glitches. Match replay: http://video.pac-12.com/rugby-demand-navy-cal

Cal will meet BYU in the Varsity Cup final, but it's a shame an undisputed national champion will not be crowned this year as top teams like St.Mary's, Arkansas State, and Life will contest the separate college D1A championship.

ST. MARY’S 65 – Colorado 25 Referee: Terry Helmer (USA)
ARs: Tom Zanarini, Matt Hetterman
Evaluator: David Williamson
St. Mary’s will be hosting the national semi-final against Cal Poly on Saturday at 2 PM.

Sierra Foothills – SFGG
The teams agreed not to play, since both advance to the Pacific Coast playoffs anyway.

DANVILLE – Marin Referee
Don’t know the score or who reffed it, but Rugbymag.com reported the winner as Danville.

GRANITE BAY 36 – San Francisco/ Golden Gate 14
Same deal. Score from Rugbymag.com

Peninsula Green – Islanders

This game is going to be played, as it ended in a tie. The ref had the score incorrectly and told Pen Green that they were ahead with time up, so they kicked it into touch.

It turns out that Pen Green would have lost on the tie-breaking criteria, so they should have had a chance to win it in regulation.

Your editor has made this argument now for decades: in a ‘real’ sport, the players have the information they need to make decisions: the score and the time. Until rugby gets to this point (scoreboards, and clocks that are synchronized with the referee), we aren’t a real sport in a very basic sense.

HAYWARD 19 – Sierra 19 Referee: John Pohlman
[Editor’s Note: This game also ended in a tie, but does not need to be replayed as the tie-breaker criteria saved the day.]

Well, it's under 19 playoff time in the Bay area. Always impressed with these games. I got the opportunity to referee Hayward hosting Sierra Friday night. I jumped at the chance.

Hayward’s coach Blane Warhurst offered a fast, hard hitting, open rugby. Yeah, sounds like a fun challenge.

Wednesday I asked Dave Williamson the head of under 19 referees about time and roster requirements for the playoffs. He sent me the following requirements.

The matches are 70 minutes, no overtime. The tie-breaker is: tries scored, converted tries scored, cards issued and finally sudden death drop kicks (alternate kinks from the 22 meter line).

The Varsity Playoff Matches have a limit of 23 man rosters and seven (7) limited substitutions (8 for a front row player only), meaning once the player leaves the field (except for blood) they cannot return.

AR's Kyle and Nick. Both my AR's were quite helpful throughput the game. They helped at half time feedback on cleaning up the off side line infringements.

Hayward’s winger broke free 8 minutes in for the first converted try. Sierra's winger answered with a converted try 9 minutes later.

The game continued to be hard hitting and somewhat frenzied. Both sides going with pick and drives only to be met with physical, determined tackling.

I've always felt the last five minutes of the first half is an important time to step up. So did the players. Hayward’s #13 scored a converted try at 30 minutes. Sierra followed with an unconverted try two minutes later.

Half time score Hayward 14 Sierra 12

Sierra kicked off the second half. Won the ball and after numerous phases scored a converted try by their #5. Score Sierra 19 Hayward 14.

At the 8 minute mark Sierra's #3 tripped the Hayward scrum half while restarting a 22 meter. #9 Pierre was captain and went down hard. I had no choice but to give a yellow card to the #3. Sierra's #3 was my man of the match for Sierra. He seemed to make half of the tackles.

My man of the match was Pierre the #9 and captain for Hayward. He was a strong runner and kept the defense honest with his running.

Pierre stole a ball of the scrum at 13 minutes, broke a couple of tackles and scored the final try of the game. Hayward missed the conversion.

Score Hayward 19 Sierra 19.

The rest of the game was simply played on the edge. Both teams attacking.

Hayward won on the third tie breaker.

Please call if you need a referee for this week’s playoffs. That was a heck of a game.

Thanks to my AR's, both teams’ captains and coaches, who were positive and respectful throughout the game and after.

JV: SFGG 30 – Peninsula Green 24 Referee: Preston Gordon
Sheeran Field on Treasure Island, 1615

The game was scheduled for a 1600 kickoff, but we all agreed to delay it by 15 minutes to ensure that all the Peninsula Green players had time to arrive from their school's earlier varsity playoff game. I heard about that controversy from several of the coaches.

This match was an extremely even contest, and aside from one unfortunate incident, very fairly played. The first 10 minutes were back-and-forth stuff with lots of ball movement and few errors. Peninsula Green got the first try at 12', only for SFGG to answer with a try of their own at 15' (5-5). PG scored another one at 18' and managed to convert it in spite of the stiff cross-field breeze (5-12). The scorecard was not needed for the following 11 minutes of good rugby that followed.

By the 28th minute, SFGG had set up camp in their opponents' 22m area, and after winning a 5m lineout Peninsula Green was attempting to clear the ball away from their own goal line but were making tough work of it. They eventually worked the ball most of the way across the field, remaining under pressure while in or just outside their in-goal area, and managed to kick the ball away. That kick was charged down by a SFGG player, and the ball bounced back into Peninsula Green's in-goal, where SFGG #10 knocked it on while trying to ground it for the try. From only a couple of meters away I awarded a 5-meter scrum to Peninsula Green, over the objections of SFGG #10. When his objections went too far, I changed the scrum to a penalty for dissent. All was quiet for a couple of seconds (on the field; the SFGG coaches on the touchline 15m away were still highly agitated at the non-try decision), with the SFGG players having retreated 10 meters, and then there was an outburst from the SFGG #3 that earned him an immediate red card. I won't repeat his words, but suffice it to say that insulting the referee is never a good idea. That player's teammates were very unhappy with him as he departed, but they fired back only a minute later to score the final try of the half at 29', though it was unconverted (10-12 at halftime).

SFGG, now reduced to 14 men, opened the second-half scoring with another try at 38' to take the lead (15-12). Peninsula Green replied at 44' for another lead change (15-17), and things were looking interesting. The contest heated up further with SFGG scoring again at 50' (20-17) followed by the PG reply, converted, at 54' (20-24). At this point I would not have been surprised to see SFGG start to fall off the pace a bit, but they never really slowed down despite their missing prop. As in the end of the first half, they enjoyed a territorial advantage, and scored another try at 62' (25-24). After some good attacking play by PG, they turned the ball over and ended up back in their own 22m area again, where they conceded 3 quick penalties at the breakdown. I stopped for a moment to have a word to their captain about maintaining discipline, and when SFGG took a tap kick from the last of those penalties they scored in the corner at 67' (30-24).

Peninsula Green knew they had a chance at winning the game, and when they recovered the ball not long after the ensuing kickoff they put tremendous pressure on the SFGG defense. After spending nearly 5 minutes camped within 10m of the goal line trying to break through for the win, the game ended in the 72nd minute when SFGG won a counter-ruck on their own line and put the ball into touch.

With 5 lead changes in the second half, I'm sure that the multitude of parents/fans that showed up got their money's worth. It's great to see that the NorCal high school JV teams have players of this caliber, and this was an excellent game to referee. Thanks as well to the 2 touch judges, and to Dr. Brewin for taking a bunch of great pictures (he did a write-up for rugbymag.com too).

SANTA ROSA 33 – Vallejo 22 Referee: Cary Bertolone

Beautiful day, Vallejo showed up late, game started at 1:30 and Santa Rosa had a little bit of a surprise when Vallejo started breaking tackles and making huge, powerful hits. They surprised Rosa some more when they scored 3 of the first 4 tries, utilizing some unbelievable speed on the outside. In Santa Rosa's defense, they were resting their starters for playoffs next week, but on the other hand, as most of us know, Santa Rosa is so deep that their second side guys are not much of a step down from the starters (Santa Rosa is deep). Vallejo was up 15-8 at the half.

In the second half, I witnessed one of the best rugby games of my year. Hard hitting from both teams, hard running, good passing and Santa Rosa scored the last two tries to win 33-22. Great sportsmanship from both teams and great BBQ afterwards!!

[It must be ‘tour to English Queen’s week!]

Tony Levitan went to Virginia:

An Open Letter to My Fellow Pelicans

If Bjorn ever emails or calls to ask you to go to Virginia on an exchange, do not equivocate, do not hesitate, do not even bother to ask when and for what purpose. Just say “yes” and be prepared for a weekend of gracious hospitality, engaging camaraderie, fine libations and culinary delights, all under the watchful eye of the Virginia Rugby Referee Society’s host-with-the-most, Jeff Anderson.

After a bounce in Dallas, I arrived in Norfolk, Virginia Friday evening to be spirited off for some quality Southern Bar-B-Q at Frankie’s. The VRRS provided weekend accommodations at the lovely Founders Inn, a few minutes from my host/chauffer’s home. The Christian Broadcasting Network conference that occupied most of the hotel certainly made for a different vibe from the everyday pulse of the Peninsula, and yet the difference simply added to the exchange adventure.

With a plan to get picked up at 6:55a Saturday in time for my 8am Tidewater Invitational Tournament (yes, it does abbreviate down to TIT; they are rugby guys… what can I say?) opening round match, I scuttled off to bed as early as I could manage —being on PDT— to the howling winds of a nasty rain storm. With the prior night’s rain abated, Jeff pulled up right before 7a to tell me that opening round kick-offs had been shifted back to noon to enable proper set-up of the four pitches. Off to Starbucks for tea and conversation, I got a quick nap in before heading off to the Princess Anne Athletic Complex in Virginia Beach.

After meeting the remaining crew of tournament refs, under the organization prowess of Les Anderton, the tourney did get under way at noon. My first two Saturday matches were relatively uninteresting affairs, but things picked up with match tres, Washington RFC vs. Quantico. The fit and driven military men from Quantico pressed Washington the entire match in my best run of the day. Curious for me was having to accommodate the deaf Washington loosehead by using hand signals as a complement to scrum commands and watching the entire WRFC squad throw both arms in the air to signal a stoppage to their deaf teammate.

Greek food and pitchers of Yuengling with the referee crew spanned a number of pleasant hours Saturday evening at the Orapax Inn. Our diverse crew included an Aussie, an Irishman, an age span that began late 20s and reached into the 60s, too many former scrumhalves, and Jeff’s delightful wife, all of which made for spirited conversation and bonding.

Sunday’s more considerate mid-morning pick-up time allowed for a proper breakfast before heading back to the athletic complex, where the weather had turned a bit blustery; low 50s with strong, chilling winds. An AR stint for a semifinal match allowed me to both warm up and watch finalist and host, Virginia Beach, whom I had not seen at all the day before.

Under the watchful gaze of assessor Jim Thompson —whose ref whistle I played to way-too-many years ago — and the support of helpful ARs, Jeff Anderson and Peader Little, Norfolk walloped a stout but sorely undermanned Virginia Beach squad.

One more awesome culinary outing, this one with the Anderson family at seafood haven Rockafellers in Virginia Beach — shrimp, scallops, crab cakes, calamari, and more — and all that was left was the early morning departure and relatively hitch-free journey back west.

My thanks to our society for its support and to the VRRS for their magnanimity and warm hospitality.

Ray Schwartz and Favor Taueva went to Vancouver Island:
Reporting Ref: Favor Taueva

We arrived at the Sacramento Airport on time. Ray made sure everything was on schedule to make it to the Vancouver Airport. We prepared ourselves concerning changing from California’s nice and warm weather to the rainy, windy and cold season in Victoria, Canada. I was given some good warm clothes from Kat, representing the Pelican Society Referee Club. I was a very happy ref.

Arrived at Vancouver Airport…next thing was to pick up our belongings and look for a ferry bus to Victoria City. It was so beautiful to see Canada for the first time. It looked a lot like the rural area of New Zealand when I went for the 1989-1990 High School World Cup. Ray got us a bus ticket which takes us to a ferry, then Victoria. What a long trip to Victoria, but very beautiful to see.

John de Goede, (Victoria Exchange Officer, former National Panel Ref Rugby Canada) picked us up at the bus station, and took us straight to watch his “Junior” game (Shawnigan at Oak Bay High 2nds). John mentioned he is also the Society allocation officer, and suddenly the game was going to go off uncovered so he helped out. Shawnigan demolished Oak Bay.

Later we pick up John Buxcey, a former James Bay hooker, now a ref, but down with an injury, so he stepped up to manage the refs at the weekend tournament, and so we continued on our way to the Shawnigan Lake School.

I have never heard of Shawnigan before. We arrived there about 7 p.m. and right before my eyes was this more than five star rating school compound. I took so many pictures, but still can’t describe the beautiful landscaping. Joke was the gardener gets paid more than the school’s Headmaster. John and Buxcey connected us to the right people and from there it’s more than words can describe. People are well trained, much respected individuals.

We had a dinner with all the coaches and Shawnigan Lake School tournament personnel. Pelican Ref Society/KOT was well acknowledged by the tournament director. Ray, the man, had a chance to represent both Pelican Ref and the KOT. Ray made sure everyone had the opportunity to have a taste of California wine. Lots of good connections were established at the moment of good food, smiles and California wine.

Friday…it’s fun time. Ray reffed one of the first games and I was at the second round. I enjoyed myself very well. At the half time of my first match, they handed me the ticket for the final match of the tournament! Shawnigan Lake School rugby pitch is so beautiful and well maintained. Friday ended up very successful and plenty of food, water, oranges, etc. to go around. Dinner nearby at the ‘dirt bird,’ The Black Swan, good pub grub. Tournament Director Mark Hall joined us, as well as the sales team from Kukri Sports, as Shawnigan instructor and rugby assistant Chris Brown was our chauffer.

Saturday I had a chance to get coached by Keith Morrison (reffed in one World Cup). Between Ray and Keith, I have gained another bar of understanding concerning referring skills. I’m a better ref as a result of the Shawnigan Lake Tour.

I took an injury [now better] and was unable to ref the finals, but nothing will take away how much I appreciate those who have helped me and made this trip possible. Thank you so much for believing in me and making this trip happen.

Shawnigan Lake tour was well connected and absolutely a successful trip. I’m looking forward for another chance to represent the Pelican Ref Society/KOT.

Thank you again, Favor

Reporting Ref: Ray Schwartz

Very kind words from Favor. I was looking to go to Victoria and here the timing was right. I put my hand up offering to go, and knew Favor was also ready for the challenge. He has reffed only two seasons, but is coming along nicely and wanting to step up to “the big time.” He checked with work and got the days off. I focused on raising my fitness and on pool sales, and was lucky to close several deals all before travelling.

What we didn’t know until we arrived, was that the Shawnigan Lake School was hosting a 3-day “All Canada Independent Schools” tournament. We were being brought in to ref a ton of games all on this spectacular campus, and would be staying on campus, housed is a decent boarding room, but with shower, kitchen and laundry, and that we’d be in the “Hogwarts meets Frank Lloyd Wright” dining commons each morning.

This boarding school has got to be world class, stunning in every way, the boathouse, the rugby facilities, the gymnasium, to say nothing of the classrooms which we thankfully never saw. The architecture, the landscaping… amazing! But it is the rugby people who fill the place who are most special.

The Thursday night Coaches Dinner was in an awesome faculty lounge, and was our first glimpse of all the hard working staff that helped keep the place running in tip-top shape. Mark Hall, the Tournament Director, the moment I saw him, was happy to see me again, and fondly recalled when I had reffed his girls (vs. Mother Lode) two years earlier. The staff supplying the buffet was awesome. All the coaches were great. Buxcey and John de Goede; delightful. A bit later, the School’s Headmaster, Dave Robertson, joined us from another function, and he too remembered meeting me, in Rotorua and again in Wellington, as we both travelled for the World Cup!

The next morning in the dining commons, the buffet was perfect. I was a bit sad my match was so early I couldn’t eat a lot. I also couldn’t help but notice, the staff was busy making bagged lunches. Later that day, and for the next two days, not just the refs, but all the players and coaches from all visiting teams (18 sides in all) were fed through the hard work of this staff, w/ boxed lunched delivered up to the rugby clubhouse.

Shawnigan Lake School is a remote place, but they worked extra hard to make everyone feel at home. Their ‘set up’ was world class, and a direct reflection of Dave Robertson.

I helped ref coach Chris Brown and Ander Munroe, two Shawnigan coaches who also ref some. Seems they are so remote, they hardly ever get ref coached. And the Shawnigan sides are usually so dominant, they’re rarely challenged as refs. I encouraged them to raise their game. Ander was the star flyhalf for Canada in the last RWC. At 31, he’s retired from play, and could now enjoy a very good run as a ref. He is thinking seriously about that possibility.

The fields (four in total) were near perfect, the games were good, still preseason for most teams visiting from Ontario, Ottawa and Quebec, but some very good rugby was on display. Several of Shawnigan’s top ruggers are clearly All Canada players. I reffed (6) 40-minute matches on the weekend, swam in the Lake after my first match each day. The ice immersion therapy helped keep me feeling as fresh as can be by Sunday. It rained a good bit Friday afternoon (a nice change from Sacramento weather!), and so the washer and dryer in our dorm came in quite handy.

As I returned from the Lake midday Saturday, I knew Favor was reffing on the main field. I had served as AR for him earlier in the day, and joined the de-brief aftermatch with assessor/ref coach Keith Morrison. As I approached, I could hear the crowd roar off and on. I came up the hill to see the picturesque clubhouse and then the field with the two sides separate. Play was stopped, and the medics were hovering over a player down… right in front of me... But wait, it was Favor!

His boots and socks were off, and he wasn’t moving. This was disconcerting. But as I came upon him, I could see he was alive. I bent over and slapped him on the cheek. He opened his eyes and laughed. The poor guy had leapt out of the way from a tackle, had caught a boot in his calf, and sustained a deep bruise. He would limp the rest of the way… and into Tuesday… no more rugby for Favor on this trip, which is a real shame as Keith Morrison likened him to “young Aruna,” and they were lining up Mel Jones to drive in to watch him ref the Finals.

Saturday night we enjoyed a gourmet buffet with the Tournament coaches at the Headmaster’s house. Seems Dave Robertson has long-term plans that include a major commercial swimming pool installation, and I know just the guy to build it! Getting to know the other coaches proved delightful. Several had played pro rugby around the world. Many friends in common.

Sunday I got to ref a girl’s consolation match on the main pitch (Shawnigan beat Country Day School), then ran touch for the boy’s consolation (Shanwigan B v Brentwood), before relaxing to watch the Brentwood Girls lose to Bishops in that final, and then John de Goede more than capably handle the Final (Shawnigan crushed SAC, St. Andrews College). That tall man can still get around the field well.

Sounds like he, and others in the (tiny) Victoria Society (only 12 members?!), are excited about the KOT for next year as a Referee Development Vehicle, and they know I will take good care of them. Also, sounds like we will see several sides try and visit from Canada.

The Tourney all done, all smiles and warm glows, de Goede whisked Buxcey, Favor and I back to Victoria, and then on to the airport. The bus/ferry/bus in, the flight out, is the way to go, if you can find the time. Thanks massively to Bjorn and Bruce and the Pelicanrefs for helping Favor and I enjoy a trip of a lifetime! Exhausted when we got home, but all well worth it! --Ray

At Stanford. Four games each day.

Sacramento Lions – OMBAC Ref: Pete Smith
Needs another AR.

1PM D2 Snake River – Diablo Gaels Referee: Tony Maphosa (PNW)
1PM D2 ORSU – Santa Rosa Referee: Neil MacDonald
3PM D3 Corvalis – SFGG Referee: Jonathan Pasque (PNW)
3PM D3 Budd Bay – Sierra Foothills Referee: Jordan Bruno
At Sheeran Field at SFGG.


The IRB Refereeing Sevens course will be taught at SFGG on Saturday, June 8.

Bruce Carter and David Pelton are the instructors.

Sign up now on the USA Rugby website: https://www.allplayers.com/g/referees_certification_courses_level_1_officiating_7s_level_1_7s_june_8th_san_francisco_ca/register/select


The Shawnigan Stag is flanked by Ray Schwartz and Favor Taueva, with recent NorCal visitor Mike Moss to Favor’s left.


For the Senate
Pelicus Scriptoris

Wednesday, April 24, 2013




The re-scheduled April meeting of the NCRRS will be tonight at the clubhouse of SFGG on the southeast corner of Treasure Island, from 7 until 9 PM.

Food will be provided beginning at 6. Allow for traffic and if you arrive early, chow down and talk refereeing.


You can still get in a run the next three weekends, easy. Let Pete Smith know. And then of course sevens tournaments will start piling up beginning in June.


Sierra Foothills – SFGG Ref: Phil Akroyd

Cal – Navy Ref: Aruna Ranaweera. This will be at 2 PM.

St. Mary’s – Colorado Ref: TBA.
Needs ARs and 4.

Based on past years, there will probably be at least a dozen playoff games over the long weekend (Thursday-Sunday). Contact the HS assignor for your area if you can help out.

At Stanford. Four games each day. Need ARs and 4s.

Sacramento Lions – OMBAC Ref: Pete Smith
Need ARs and a 4.


At Sheeran Field at SFGG. Four games each day. Need ARs and 4s.
At Cherry Island in Sacramento. Eight pitches going all day for two days. Need 35-40 refs.


SFGG – OPSB Ref: Aruna Ranaweera. Need ARs and 4s.


SFGG – Tonga Referee TBA. We may need to assign ARs – not sure yet whether USA will do this.


Olympic Club 7 – OPSB 74 Referee: Paul Bretz
ARs: Eric Rauscher, Preston Gordon

Olympic Club seconds 24 – SANTA ROSA 32 Referee: Preston Gordon
ARs: Mike King, Eric Rauscher
TI Gaelic fields
In this, my first match after 8 weeks out due to a leg injury, Santa Rosa ran out to a 15-5 lead at halftime with 2 tries (13' and 26'), 1 conversion, and 1 penalty goal (35') vs. Olympic Club's 1 unconverted try (18'). The first half was a little choppy with only a few big breaks and nothing too fancy in terms of ball movement. In the 39th minute I had to put the O Club's fullback in the bin for deliberately obstructing an opponent chasing down a kick, but other than that the game was very fairly contested.

Santa Rosa were looking like they would pull into a much bigger lead after scoring the first 2 tries in the second half (58' and 61'), but O Club answered well and scored 3 more of their own (66' and 76', and an intercept try to end the game at 82'). Santa Rosa added another one too (72'), making the second half an even contest with 3 tries apiece, and leaving the result at 32-24 to the visitors. Thanks to Mike King and Eric Rauscher for their great work on the touchline.

OLYMPIC CLUB OLD BOYS 36 - Silverhawks 7 Referee: Bruce Bernstein
Very dominant match by O Club which could have handled many non-old boys teams.

Silvers were slowed by their age including stalwarts AJ & Fred Forrester breaking records somewhere.

Great post- match festivities with the old boys beer tent next to the try zone.

SFGG 67 – Sac Lions 12 Referee: Tevis Vandergriff (South)
ARs: Pete Smith, Mark Godfrey
Videographer: Bruce Carter

EPA Razorbacks 3 – EPA BULLDOGS 15 Referee: Neil MacDonald
AR: Stephen Valerio
An EPA derby in glorious sunshine on Saturday evening; the last match of the regular season for both teams. I am grateful to the fans' parking habits for Stephen being available to AR, having been unable to make his escape as planned. In a first half of kinetic and skillful rugby both sides came close to tries, but the difference between the teams at the break was a successful penalty kick by the Razorbacks. In the second half, the Bulldogs scored three unanswered tries, the second of which was champagne rugby. Winning a lineout in their own half, the Bulldogs kicked a huge punt downfield, and the flying chaser leapt in the air to volley the ball ahead as defenders closed from both sides, then gathered his kick ahead to score under the watchful eye of my AR. Thanks to both teams for an exciting end-to-end game, and to Stephen for giving me the rare luxury of an AR.

Seconds: EPA RAZORBACKS 33 – EPA Bulldogs 28 Referee: Stephen Valerio
AR: Neil MacDonald
With 2 local sides you would think getting to the match early wouldn't be a problem.

In any case, after a 15 minute delay we kicked-off in warm conditions. There was a decent breeze going across the pitch, but it didn't seem to help as things bogged down during parts of the match.

The Razorbacks came out firing on all cylinders and took a 14-0 lead early. The Bulldogs seemed to finally shake off the effects of the long drive (?) and pushed down to the Razorbacks 5-meter line. It was then an intense period not for the faint of heart as the Bulldogs kept picking and going but the Razorbacks held them out for several phases before finally the Bulldogs punched it in. Suddenly the Bulldogs were on the attack and ended pulling ahead 21-14. Then the heat kicked in and the set pieces got sloppy for the last 10 of the half.

After the break the Razorbacks tied it up and the match see-sawed back and forth before the Bulldogs pulled ahead with a converted try. In keeping with the 'never say die' attitude of the match the Razorbacks converted their fourth try and with 2 1/2 minutes left centered another try to pull into the lead. I am guessing the kicker thought they were trailing and rushed the kick, leaving the Bulldogs 2+ minutes to even the score with the win still for the taking.

It may have been the cooling temperature or the end of the game push, but the last couple of minutes featured breakaways for both sides, but in every case the defense made the tackle and was eventually able to force the turnover. Both sides ran back and forth between the 22's until a Bulldog tried a kick from at hand at mid-field that sailed into touch. An underwhelming way to end a great, intense match.

Thanks to Neil MacDonald who AR'd and caught a knock that I missed when I got caught out of position. I would have awarded a try when there wasn't one. An extra set of eyes is always welcome.

D3 semis:
SIERRA FOOTHILLS 32 – Vallejo 17 Referee: Rich Anderson
Sierra versus Vallejo featured a tightly contested match in this D-3 semi-final.

A single play in the Second half probably decided the outcome. At the 60 minute mark, Vallejo scored their second try of the half to tie the match, and look like they had the match momentum.

Sierra kicks the re-start deep. Vallejo bobbles the kick. Sierra picks up the bobble and scores the go-ahead try. The tie, the momentum and eventually the match was lost in this 15 second sequence.

Sierra added 10 more points to finish the score at 32-17. Sometimes the little things are the most important.

Seconds: SIERRA FOOTHILLS 73 – SF Fog 29 Referee: Matt Hetterman
Easy going friendly, played 4x20 min quarters. Lots of old rugby heads
on Sierra, lots of rookies on the Fog.

Colusa 20 – SFGG 39 Referee: Kevin Donnelly
A very competitive match between two eager teams, both of whom came off big wins the week before.

Colusa hosted SFGG on a perfect sunny day with excellent field conditions and a very supportive home crowd. The game took 10 - 15 minutes to settle down as each team tried to figure out how to play multiple phase ball.

During this period the penalty count was high for infractions at the breakdown by both teams and players were vocal in their opinions. Revisiting the pregame instructions, I worked with the captains to get the game flowing. (This is also one of those situations where ARs would be so tremendously helpful in managing a fast antagonistic game). The game settled down, cleaned-up, and the tries came.

With a late yellow card caution to SFGG, they were up by 5 at the half (20-15).

The second half was just as fast and competitive but a key injury or two to Colusa, and a couple of excellent break-away tries by SFGG pushed the game out of reach of the Colusa side that never gave up. The final score was 39-20.

Credit to both teams for settling down into an excellent, competitive game.

SAN JOSE SEAHAWKS 56 – Sacramento Capitals 19 Referee: James Hinkin

“Spring is here, spring is here! Life is skittles and life is beer! I think the loveliest time of the year is the spring. I do, don’t you?”
-Tom Lehrer

It is hard to argue with the sentiment above when you are confronted with a spring rugby day like last Saturday. Everybody seemed to want to get into the act as dogs and kids in equal measure were running up and down the sidelines all day. Ladies were in their warm spring dresses and Tory Golino led the male shirtless contingent on his final competitive rugby match. Tory and I have over 20 years of rugby history – he has fed me more passes for tries than any other single player I have played with – and refereeing his final game was a nice coincidence set up by the rugby gods.

The early play was a bit sloppy but San Jose dominated play from the outset. The knock ons eventually dried up a little but San Jose was able to break the Sacramento line often enough to put 4 tries on the board. Their goal kicking is still a work in progress, though, and only one was converted. In fact, only one was even close, as evidenced by the comment “nice grubber” from the sideline after one failed attempt. Sacramento was not without fight, however, and created some chances of their own but never found that final pass to convert pressure into points. Not, that is, until a penalty in Seahawk territory was quickly taken and San Jose was caught watching as the Sacramento flanker dotted down. Sac’s kicker had no problems converting the points and we ended the half 22-7 in favor of the home side.

Keeping in line with our spring theme the second half was delayed by a swarm of amorous bees… or rather, one amorous queen and several drones looking for some actions accompanied by a hive’s worth of workers. I was counting players and getting ready to blow the start of the half when the Sacramento sideline ran on to the field en masse. Soon after the Seahawks scattered as the bee swarm moved across the field looking for some prime insect real estate. Or maybe they were streaking? Not the first time that has happened at a rugby match and they definitely had no clothes on. In any case, the bees soon moved on and order was restored and the half started. Sacramento seemed to have taken the halftime speech of their coaching staff to heart as they started the half much better than the first and put a couple of tries on the board. Unfortunately, while their offense was much improved their defense was still suspect and San Jose kept putting in tries of their own. Sacramento only travelled with 21 players and as the half wore on the depth of the Seahawk squad began to tell. Tired legs were no match for fresh legs as the half wound its way to a finale. San Jose ran around the outside and through the middle and Sacramento tackled well but gaps appeared as the phases wore on. The final action saw the Seahawks score under the posts with Tory Golino set up to claim the final points of his career. Knowing that he had never been carded as a player I pulled out my book and told him I thought his moustache was offensive. (note: it was. There was a country theme going on and some things just shouldn’t be) He declined to comment and resisted all my other baiting so I had no opportunity to send him off with a sending off. The rugby gods giveth and the rugby gods taketh away.

Final Score: San Jose Seahawks 56 – Sacramento Capitals 19

Seconds: SAN JOSE SEAHAWKS 31 – Sacramento Capitals 12 Ref: Hinkin
With Sacramento travelling light the captains agreed to 10s. Having played in the Cobra 10’s in Kuala Lumpur in 2004 I used what I considered the “official 10s variations”: restarts and goal kicks as in 7s; scrums are either 3 or 5 man decided by the team with the put. Lots of fun commenced as each team was trying to decide if they should play to a 15s patters or a 7s pattern. I had to reset one (5 man) scrum after a Sac player in the lock position thought he was an 8 man and picked the ball up from the back. I explained that he actually was a 2nd row player and, much like the hooker in 7s, can’t act as an 8 man. The fresh legs of the Seahawks won the first half 24 -0 but the more experienced heads of Sac won the second half 12 – 7. A good run all around and the end of a great rugby day.

Chico Youth Rugby Foundation - tournament hosts
Chico, CA
Referees: Tom Zanarini, Jim Crenshaw, Cary Bertolone, Mitch Jagoe, Beau Bergstrom, Alex Triantayfyllou

More of a celebration of rugby than a competitive tournament. The morning matches were 15's with some boys exhibition matches. The girls tournament was for a trophy, which Danville Girls won decidedly. In between the rugby the tournament organizers held a raffle for a road bicycle and had a knock-out rock/paper/scissors game where the loser of a game becomes the winners fan. As you accumulate wins, you get more fans until only two players are left, each with half of the total participants. Yeah, mayhem. The winner got a t-shirt.

The afternoon was all-girls 7's. This was more to get the girls field time with 7's. The day was getting hot, windy and dusty. Most teams were pretty spent by this time, but still looking to have a good time and gain some experience with 7's.

Special thanks to Ashley Bocast who organized the tournament with the Chico Oaks Youth Rugby Foundation. I especially appreciated the three 12 packs of Sierra Nevada as payment. Another thanks to the local Chico rugby coaches Mitch, Beau and Alex who were very enthusiastic to referee. Jim and Cary both put in a full day and I managed 3 matches.


De La Salle 19 – JESUIT 39 Referee: John Coppinger
On Saturday, 4/20/13, Jesuit defeated De La Salle 39-19 is an entertaining match played in front of a good-size crowd on the narrow confines of the DLS football field. Jesuit took a 21-7 break at the 35 minute mark by finding space out wide despite the narrow field. DLS's defense tightened in the second and it was a very competitive match played by two very well-coached clubs. Kudos to the players, especially since it was so warm on the turf field.


Final Score: Univ. California at Los Angeles 8 – BYU 69 Referee: Phil Akroyd
A/Rs: Bill Caulfield, Sean O'Connell
P/R: Kat Todd-Schwartz

Kick-off at 4pm on Storer Field, after the Central Washington V Air Force game that A.F. neglected to show up for (see George O'Neil's' report for final score). The temperature was well into the low 80s by this point, which was significant for the BYU team, as they had been in the snow 24 hours prior.

UCLA took their home town advantage and gave the National Champs a game for the first hour. After that, the tackles slipped, the rucks were less competitive and the scrums went backwards.

Final score was a lot to not much, and both teams, plus the ref were not displeased when the 80 minutes was up, based purely on the distances run, the rock hard field and the typical SoCal weather.

As always, SoCal refs treat their neighbors to the North like family. Thanks to Caulfield, O'Connell, Knowling and Thomas for the assistance and hospitality, Dave "Mike" Metcalf for the ride and LAPD for letting us go home.


The NCYRA middle school tournament was held in Dixon on Sunday, with 24 teams in three divisions participating: essentially, gold, silver and under-130 lbs.

One thing many of us who have been around rugby for a long time particularly appreciate is that youth tournaments start on time and stay on time. A simple thing, seemingly so hard to achieve, that shows respect for people’s time, trouble and planning.

Many of us graybeards had our first rugby tournament experience well into adulthood, thought we’d reached nirvana, and knew we’d found our sport. Imagine that this had happened to you when you were thirteen.

Lots of ruggers don’t have to imagine.

It was about ninety degrees after the wind died down, but there was shade enough for the spectators and the players didn’t seem to mind.

Just a year or two ago, your writer refereed middle school games ‘differently’, applying a looser standard for things such as gate entry and rolling away, more-or-less out of the necessity to keep a game moving and letting the players play (rather than scrumming and taking penalties). It occurred to me that this isn’t necessary any more at this level.

The way rugby is progressing under the leadership of the NCYRA, perhaps we’ll be holding the Under-Eights to adult standards in a few years’ time.

And now, just when I’m getting ready to sing the third verse of praises for the NCYRA, I can’t find the tournament results on their website.

The winners, I believe, were:

Lightweights: LOS GATOS – Raptors Referee: Bart Nielsen

Silver: LAMORINDA – (Opponent) Referee: Neil MacDonald

Gold: EAST PALO ALTO 31 – Mother Lode 21 Referee: Bruce Carter
ARs: Anthony Nguyen, Travis (from Sac State)

Congratulations to these young players and all the best for your future careers.

One more comment on the youth season. My grandson’s team played its first game on January 5. They finished April 21. They played nineteen games.

This greatly exceeds what many adult clubs do in the course of a season. It’s more than double what men’s D3 played (eight games). I should hope adult rugby would follow the example of the youth (and the rest of the ruggerverse), and strive to create more meaningful seasons that better prepare players to take on the world.

Not to mention: it’s more fun to play rugby with your teammates on more weekends.


The IRB Refereeing Sevens course will be taught at SFGG on Saturday, June 8.

Bruce Carter and David Pelton are the instructors.

Sign up now on the USA Rugby website: https://www.allplayers.com/g/referees_certification_courses_level_1_officiating_7s_level_1_7s_june_8th_san_francisco_ca/register/select


Direr things have happened at rugby tournaments, but we can’t think of any at the moment...Jim Crenshaw attends to some apparently urgent business at the tournament in Chico.


For the Senate
Pelicus Scriptoris

Wednesday, April 17, 2013




Unfortunately, we have not been able to line up enough speakers to make an evening meeting worthwhile.

We will shoot for next Wednesday, April 24, and we hope this does not inconvenience anyone.


The IRB Refereeing Sevens course will be taught at SFGG on Saturday, June 8.

Bruce Carter and David Pelton will conduct the day.


The regular season ends this weekend. Playoffs continue potentially through the end of May, so let Pete Smith know of weekends when you would be able to help.


May 3-4: Women’s USA College Championships at Stanford, division one and two. We’ll need ARs and #4s for both Friday and Saturday.

May 4-5, we will have:
NCIT at Cherry Island in Sacramento (same as last year). This is the huge high school tournament that is played on eight pitches, and needs a ton of refs.

Also, at SFGG, will be the Pacific Coast playoffs for both men’s club division two and division three. Eight games needing ARs and fours.

Plus a CR1 men’s D1 playoff game that will need ARs as well on the Saturday.


SF/Golden Gate will host the Tongan national team on June 1st at Sheeran Field. They will have hosted an Elite Cup semifinal on May 11, and potentially the final on May 25.


Elite Cup:
SFGG 43 – Glendale 10 Referee: Brian Zapp
ARs: Donagh O'Mahoney, Jordan Bruno
Fourth Officials: Dave Newport, Clifton Ramsdell
Evaluator: Peter Simpson
By winning this game, SFGG finishes first in the western bracket and so will host a home semi-final, against OPSB, on May 11.

Men’s Division 1:
EPA RAZORBACKS 19 – Olympic Club 18 Referee: Kevin Smith (Victoria)
Referee Coach: Mike Malone
AR: James Hinkin
It was a sunny day of rugby compared to the weather this time of year in home country Canada. I was looking forward to a hard game of rugby. I wasn’t sure what to expect, as Olympic Club looked well drilled and organized, where as EPA were struggling to find jerseys and cones to mark the field. However, once the game started EPA were keen and eager runners with the ball in hand. Even after being down to 13 players due to yellow cards for repeated off-sides, EPA was able to score the opening try. Olympic Club had great defense, but their offence was stalled by repeated knock-ons and handling mistakes. In the end, it was a close game and I was not disappointed.

A big thank you to James Hinkin and his girlfriend Emily who hosted me for the weekend, and showed amazing American hospitality. Also thanks to Pete Smith for allocating me a great game, and for taking us out for some nights on the town.

Seconds: EPA Razorbacks – Olympic Club NOT PLAYED

SAC LIONS 12 – Barbarians 0 Referee: Phil Akroyd
Apparently the score stands – this was the score when the match was abandoned due to fighting, only a few minutes in.

Seconds: SACRAMENTO LIONS 41 – Barbarians 19 Referee: Ray Schwartz
This game happened first and was not marred by violence.

Sac Caps – Baracus Referee: Favor Taueva
No report received.

Chico 34 – FRESNO 36 Referee: John Coppinger
Saturday, 4/15/13, in Chico on the Chico High School fields, Fresno hung on to defeat a surprising Chico side 36-34. Fresno led 24-19 at half. Fresno looked to be the dominant side, but Fresno handling errors and the ability of Chico to find small gaps kept the match close. Good match, played in good spirits.

SANTA ROSA 63 – Berkeley 10 Referee: Cary Bertolone
In Santa Rosa, in the sun with a pretty good 15 mile an hour wind, Santa Rosa was relentless and scored 4 unconverted tries plus a penalty kick before Berkeley got on the board with a hard earned try of their own. It was 35-5 at the half. It took 15 minutes of hard rugby before Santa Rosa scored in the second half. It was 56-5 when Berkeley worked their way down the field and their forwards pushed in for another try on the 35th minute, showing they never gave up and played hard all the way. They almost scored a third time, but Santa Rosa had too much speed and won running away with it 63-10. Good clean rugby, a pleasure to ref!!

Seconds: SANTA ROSA 67 – Berkeley 0 Referee: John Tomasin
Having been sick all week, I recruited the services of Doctor John to back me up for the second side. I could have done it, but it was 79 degrees and I was happy John wanted the game. He, as always, did a great job and I learned a few things watching him; he's always so calm!!! It was a track meet, but Berkeley impressed once again by keeping their chins up and playing through the onslaught of tries against them. Good rugby, even though the scores were one sided. Santa Rosa can pass and I saw some unbelievable passes all day long as well as a beautiful up and under by Rob Meesen, Rosa's lock/eight man that went for 50 meters.

DIABLO GAELS 62 – Marin 20 Referee: Bryant Byrnes, Chris Labozzetta
The assigned first-side referee did not show up, which was ok until a Gaels lock tripped over his own feet and landed on my knee at 32 minutes into the first half. (Exactly the kind of thing I was trying to avoid with my upcoming trip to DC.)

Because of the injury Chris Labozzetta -who was a reserve for Marin-was nice enough to volunteer to take over.

This was the last game of Mike Comstock-or so he announced. Mike has been a stalwart fixture of the game, sui generis, at prop for at least 45 years, the majority of them at D1 level. And he is and always has been a gentleman. While I certainly penalized him over scores of games, it was never for foul or unsportsmanlike play, and never a card.

Editor’s Note: I have had a very long refereeing career, going on thirty years. And the first tournament I did, the first game at that tournament, I refereed Mike Comstock. And it was Old Boys. He qualified even then.

I learned a valuable lesson: being a new ref, I got between two players who were squaring up to fight. Mike was one of them.

After the game, he said to me, “I know you’re new. Don’t ever get between fighting players. I almost hit you, and I like you. “

I can enthusiastically second Bryant’s opinion of this fine man.


SIERRA FOOTHILL 59 – Redwood Empire 17 Referee: JC van Staden
Redwood to kick off, and the very next whistle after about 2 min of continuous playing was a try for Sierra... no whistle in between. Followed by a conversion, and then the next whistle try again... getting the drift?

Well, that was the start, and for the next 40 min, there was only 1 team on the field, playing a game plan, structured and decisive... First half 40-0 to Sierra...

Second half, Redwood played down-hill, with the wind at their backs, and "bad apples" replaced. Despite Sierra's good form, Redwood played a good half, scored 3 times, vs Sierra's 3 times, with a score of 17 vs 19. Good comeback, Redwood, and great composure Sierra.

South Valley 19 – VALLEJO 21 Referee: Neil MacDonald

COLUSA 64 – Reno 14 Referee: Scott Wood
Reno started with 11 players, had 12 by the 30th minute. Colusa didn't score for the first nine minutes then discovered how to capitalize on overlaps and gaps. We played 55 minutes until the towel was thrown. Colusa loaned Reno some players and then we played a 20-minute chukker.

SFGG 135 – Shasta 0 Referee: Stephen Valerio
The weather was beautiful on Treasure Island, perfect for a full day of rugby. The Division 3 playoff was the curtain raiser for the Elite Cup match between San Francisco Golden Gate versus Glendale. Unfortunately Shasta had to make the 3 hour drive missing many of their players who were on Mission. The timing couldn't have been worse as they ran into a very strong SFGG side. Shasta stayed positive throughout and both sides managed the game well, with some clearly inexperienced players for Shasta. However, the match was never in doubt. SFGG rapidly recycled the ball and had an impressive number of flat passes which let the receiver take the ball at speed. They were metronomic in their execution and should pose a stiff challenge in their next match.

The semifinals this Saturday will be:

Sierra Foothills hosting Vallejo, referee Rich Anderson
Colusa hosting SFGG, referee Kevin Donnelly

CALIFORNIA 42 – St. Mary's 31 Referee: Pete Smith
ARs: Bruce Carter, John Pohlman
Fourth Officials: Ron DeCausemaker, Rob Hendrickson
St. Mary’s had a 15-point lead at halftime. This was a very good game, which you can read about on-line, one of the jewels in the crown of NorCal rugby.

Seconds: CALIFORNIA – St. Mary's Referee: Mike Moss (Victoria)
ARs: John Pohlman, Rob Hendrickson
Videographer: Bruce Carter
Our visitor was quite impressed by the atmosphere in Strawberry Canyon, twenty-meter goal posts and championship banners flying. We even took him on a tour of the fieldhouse to see the memorabilia.

The game wasn’t as close as we would like for an exchange ref, but he thoroughly enjoyed it and got to see his AR’s son, Carl Hendrickson, score five trys.

UC DAVIS 20 – Sac State 5 Referee: Tom Zanarini
Very warm day in Davis with some hot rugby on the pitch. A big rivalry with two evenly matched schools competing for bragging rights. Davis scored a penalty kick early in the match, then the rest of the first half was intense, back and forth, and scoreless. Davis ended up finding in-goal a few times to pull away. Sac St. had a great 70+ meter breakaway try as time expired.

Seconds: UC Davis 14 – SAC STATE 19 Referee: Bruce Ricard
Very nice and balanced game. It's good to see that teams learn at least a little bit from their games. Last week Davis got penalized a lot for not staying on their feet, and they apparently worked on that during the week, because I don't recall penalizing them a single time for that during this game. Sac State scored two converted tries during the second part of the first half, which ended on a 0 - 14 score. They scored another try at the 59th minute, to take a 19-point lead. After that Davis started to play better, and scored two converted tries. They were playing better at the end of the game, but it was too late, and Sacramento won by 5.

Even substitutions didn't slow the flow with 11 first half tries and 10 in the second half for SFGG.


CHICO STATE 31 – Sierra College 12 Referee: Kevin Donnelly
UCSC 22 – Nevada 19 Referee: Jim Crenshaw

Consolation: SIERRA COLLEGE 45 – Nevada 41 Ref: Crenshaw
Final: CHICO STATE 60 – UC Santa Cruz 7 Ref: Donnelly

Chico State advances to the round of sixteen. This is scheduled to be in Texas, but the three teams that have qualified are all from the west coast. It could be moved to Chico, in which case we’ll need ARs in Chico April 27-28.


STANFORD 48 – New Mexico 10
California 37 – TEXAS A&M 39

STANFORD 67 – Texas A&M 22

Stanford advances to play at home against Norwich on Friday, May 3. Norwich have won three USA national championships in the past eighteen months.

April 6:
Seconds: SEAHAWKS 38 – Berkeley 12 Referee: James Hinkin
On a sunny but windy afternoon in San Jose the Seahawks B side looked to avenge the narrow loss of the A side and Berkeley looked for the day’s sweep. It was a festive atmosphere as the Seahawk women had played earlier and the Seahawks had declared the day Alumni Day so many old ‘Hawks were in attendance lying about how good they were to the young ladies making up the current women’s side. The first half started out rather even as each side traded tries. The kicking that eluded the A side showed up in the B match as San Jose converted both of theirs while Berkeley only converted one for a 14-12 halftime score.

The second half saw the Seahawks in the ascendency as Berkeley seemed to tire out. Some injury-forced substitution didn’t help and Berkeley gave up 4 tries with no response… sort of. The game ended with Berkeley on the attack just meters short of the line. A final surge pushed a pile over the line and to the ground, but away from my position. By the time I got to a position to see the ball it was held up so that is what I called. The TMO was absolutely no use to me – I’m not even sure why I paid him. After the game both sides agreed a try should have been awarded. Stupid TMO.


Dixon 24 – EPPING (Australia) 29 Referee: Bruce Ricard
It's nice to see a foreign high school team flying all the way across the Pacific to come play in California. It proves that rugby is becoming more and more popular in the US.
Epping really dominated the first half. Very good technique, incredible understanding of the rules and the game. They scored a penalty kick at the 7th minute, by their fly half who seems to work a lot on that, because his kicks were as good as it gets for an 18 year old. They scored 2 tries during this half, again beautifully converted by their kicker. The second half started very quickly with another try from the Australian team at the 4th minute. After that, they got pretty tired, and the strength and fitness of the Dixon players made a big difference. They scored 4 tries (2 converted) in 15 minutes. Epping also scored a last try towards the end of the game, with a conversion just next to the touch line, and the kicker missed his first and last kick of the day by only a few degrees.

Wednesday, April 10:
Lamorinda 34 – OAKLAND WARTHOGS 35 Referee: John Coppinger
Wednesday at Merritt College in Oakland, visitors Oakland Warthogs stormed back to nip the home side Lamorinda 35-34. (I am not sure how Lamo came to be the home side in a match played on this side of the tunnel, but Merritt College is a great venue with ample room for a full sized rugby pitch).

The crucial point in the match, although it would not be known until the end of the match, came after a Lamo score near the touch line that put Lamo comfortably ahead. Although both touch judges raised their flags, the conversion was 2 meters wide right and the conversion was not awarded. Apparently the Lamo staff failed to notice that the conversion was not awarded, relying instead on the flags of the TJs.

After that Lamo score, Warthogs stormed back with very physical play and storming runs to take a one point lead with little time left in the match. At almost full time, Warthogs were attacking 20 meters from the Lamo goal line when Warthogs infringed and a penalty was awarded to Lamo. I told the Lamo captain (a very good player) that time had expired and that there was no time for a lineout following a penalty kick to touch. His response was puzzling as in "Can't I just kick out and end the game?" My response was, "Yes, but you will lose the game." The captain insisted that Lamo was ahead by a point and I responded that they weren't; the captain checked with his sideline and was instructed to end the match, which he did. Post-match, it was confirmed that Lamo had counted the missed conversion when they should not have counted it.

Good match; a little testy with two yellow cards to Warthogs for foul play.

Friday, April 12:
South Valley 7 – DANVILLE 62 Referee: Bruce Carter
I was able to get away from the clinic spot-on at ‘closing’ time of 5:30 on Friday, not always a likely prospect. The clinic being in King City, that was important because I was shooting for a 7 PM kickoff in Morgan Hill, ninety miles north.

It was smooth cruising on 101 all the way, listening to a performance of Measure for Measure on CD. Among other things, the Bard addresses how we behave when we think no-one is watching. Angelo says, “Condemn the fault and not the actor of it?” Exactly! Words for a referee to live by.

Not that these two teams needed condemning – the play was the thing, and entirely in the spirit of the game.

My pre-match was precisely four minutes: met one captain, did their boots, spoke to front rows and halfbacks; repeated for the other team; tossed the coin and met my TJs; put my Pelican coin back in my kit and blew for kickoff right on time.

Might have used a bit of a stretch and warm-up as Danville took off down the pitch and scored. A few minutes later South Valley did the same. Late-season high school rugby is a real treat to referee. I wish the season were longer so they’d play this way a larger percentage of the time, having worked the kinks out in January-February.

But Danville is a notch above most of the teams I’ve seen. They had three backs who burned people by sheer pace and their captain/halfback, Reese, has the skills to score himself or help his teammates score in a variety of ways.

South Valley draws a good crowd, and the pizza man showed up just after the final whistle. Not a bad end to the work week.

Saturday, April 13:
Berkeley JV 12 – BISHOP O’DOWD frosh/soph 43 Referee: Rob Hendrickson
Berkeley hosted O’Dowd to two games on a glorious Saturday morning on their Gilman Avenue home pitch, and I reffed the JV vs frosh/soph opener. Both teams were well coached and disciplined, and it was a fun game to ref, with virtually no back-chat. O’Dowd was able to spin the ball out wide earlier than Berkeley, and so was able to more effectively move the ball, scoring 3 tries in the first half while shutting Berkeley out. Berkeley made adjustments in the second half and came back to score two tries to O’Dowd’s 4 in the second half, for a final score of 43 – 12.


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