Tuesday, February 21, 2006






Rob Hendrickson has earned promotion to C2 and was recognized for that accomplishment last Wednesday at our Society meeting.


Congratulations to Rob!





Who would like to referee this Sunday, February 26? There is a game at St. Mary’s and another at USF.


We also need a ref for Monday evening at Cal Maritime.


Please jump right in! Early Pelican gets the best fish!





Through the initiative and financial support of David Williamson, Professor of Sports Psychology Bob Weinberg spoke to the NCRRS Wednesday evening at St. Mary’s. Two dozen referees and coaches attended.


Prof. Weinberg is the author of Psychology of Officiating, which David highly recommends and which led him to seek out our speaker.


It was a most informative talk, with techniques to improve for all of us.


In fact, this writer has already had a chance to help another referee with these methods. One of his young charges from the Elsewhere RRS called to say he’s having problems not getting fully into the game until thirty minutes have gone by and there’s already a high penalty count. We talked about methods to short-cut that mental ramping-up.


The talk was recorded and sent on DVD to the members of USARRA’s training committee. They will be considering whether this material should be incorporated into the national training scheme.





Six visitors from our sibling society in England will be arriving Thursday, March 9. They are: Ian Baggot, Ron Gore, Gary Malpas, Nicola Reynolds, and Bob Tustin and his wife, Karen.


From SFO they will be taken to Sacramento area to be hosted for five nights. They will all have games in Sacramento or Reno, as well as high school matches if they like.


The hand-off point to their Bay Area hosts will be at our society meeting on Tuesday, March 14.


The group will be hiking in Yosemite on Thursday, March 16, staying there Wednesday (and possibly) Thursday night. 


Everyone will have the option of doing high school games that Friday and then league matches on Saturday.


There will be a society banquet on SATURDAY, MARCH 18 in SF/Oakland/Berkeley. PLEASE RESPOND IF YOU ANTICIPATE ATTENDING. This will allow us to gauge the size of room that we need.


If you can free up a day off work to help entertain our guests, that would be great. Let Joe Leisek know – he will be announcing the billets pairings soon.


Ideally, someone from the Bay Area can go along on the Yosemite trip. We’ll need transport for our guests. The group will be staying at the Yosemite Lodge, at Society expense, and Yosemite is gorgeous when there is snow on the ground and no crowds to speak of.


Trail Guide Bruce Carter will be driving up from Monterey, and the Pelicanmobile doesn’t have room for everyone. Of course, a multi-passenger van can be leased if necessary.





Stanford will host a Coaching Clinic this Sunday:


Coach Development Day will feature many internationally acclaimed coaches and coach development officers.


Many are flying in from around the United States to attend this one day session, but local registration has been, surprisingly, virtually nil.


Cost is $50, with all monies raised to be donated to the Pelican Ref Society, after the minor cost of lunch is deducted.


Pre-Registration is required. Please contact Jonathan Griffin:






An arctic air mass moved in and temperatures plummeted last Friday. The snowline in Northern California dipped to about one thousand feet.


Many of us witnessed snow-covered hills on the way to our matches Saturday, February 18. That was certainly the case for this writer, driving up Highway 101 through Morgan Hill towards San Jose, where the hills to the east were entirely white.


These are the peaks of the Diablo Range, part of the state-spanning Costal Ranges. The Diablo Range begins in the north at Mt. Diablo, near Walnut Creek, and extends to southernmost Monterey County.


Yet driving by these wondrously white geological features one also observes citrus trees, heavily laden with fruit, alongside the roads and in the yards of homeowners, keeping the birds and the bees busy.


Such are the contrasts of the coldest day of the year in Pelicanland.


We can only sympathize with the travails the weather can visit on those less fortunate than to live near the Golden Gate in the Golden State.


Awakening at 5:30 and departing by six for the drive north, our breath was visible and the temperature hovered near freezing, even through the low-altitude Salinas and Santa Clara valleys.


Near freezing but never below, because the waters of the mighty Pacific Ocean, thousands of feet deep and thousands of miles wide, remain the year around within a degree or two of 54° Fahrenheit along our coastline. This provides a heat sink in the summer but a heat source in the winter, moderating our climate, our crops and our lifestyles.


Having negotiated some dense radiation fog and arriving at Miramonte High School in Moraga at 8 AM for some high school matches, we were greeted by a herd of tri-athletes. There were scores of thousand-dollar bicycles parked around the swimming pool and their thin owners were churning up the warm, mist-producing waters, lap upon lap, calorie after calorie, the concerns of the working week fading away.


 One fellow stepping steaming from his bicycle looked familiar: Rich Anderson, looking for all the world like he was ready to participate in this week’s inaugural Tour of California. He’d obviously put some miles behind and was ready for coffee and Danish.


We were two happy campers, talking about mutual rugby buddies while acquiring the mild buzz that ignites the day’s fuse. 


You will read in the following match reports about hailstones, bitterly cold rain and wind. You will also read about brilliant sunshine and folks soaking it up. All of these are true, contrary though they may seem!


Such, indeed, are the contrasts of the coldest day of the year in Pelicanland. Enjoy reading about them in the comfort of your home or office.







By Jude Temple:

Throughout the modern history of Humboldt RFC there have been many student-athletes that have come from the high school rugby hot bed environment in the greater Santa Rosa area. The establishment of this competition represents an acknowledgement of the close connection that exists between the Santa Rosa rugby scene, specifically in the high schools, and HRFC.  More importantly, the namesake is in honor of former HRFC rugby president and captain (2001-2003), Patrick Culley, who, as member of the Gentlemen of Aspen, sustained a neck fracture during a US Super League match on May 1, 2004 and was subsequently paralyzed.


The shield will be played for every year between the Humboldt and Santa Rosa teams with the winner keeping the shield for the year, thereby instituting this annual challenge.


The Patrick Culley Shield (the shield itself) was a generously made by a Humboldt rugby alumnus who wanted to establish a challenge to honor our mate Patrick Culley.  In the planning of this we wanted start a tradition that would infuse some of the enthusiasm and zeal that is found with other “traditional” match ups.


Justin Poirier, the gentlemen who made the shield, created it from old growth redwood from a house that Patrick Culley lived in near campus while attending HSU.  He is also a founding member of the Santa Rosa JC club back in 1993-94 season and then came to Humboldt to finished school and earned his degree in Industrial Technology.  He played rugby at HSU and now teaches in the wood lab there.




HUMBOLDT STATE 29 – Santa Rosa JC 15 Referee: John Pohlman

It must be the peak of rugby season.  My third league game in four days took me to Humboldt State.  Undefeated Humboldt State hosted undefeated Santa Rosa JC.


We loaded up the car Friday afternoon.  Music, snacks and my wife Eileen for the 300 plus mile drive.  Eileen had decided to join me for her birthday weekend.  Yes dear I am not going to tell them how many years young you are.  Eileen has been involved in rugby for close to twenty years.  She went down to the LA 7's for the third year.  .What a wonderful woman I married!


What a beautiful drive: a rainbow in Santa Rosa, redwoods and coastal views.


We stayed Friday night in Fortuna, celebrating its centennial.  This reminded us that most of the economy and original purpose of this area was to log wood to rebuild San Francisco after the 1906 Earthquake.


We arrived in Eureka Saturday morning around 11:45.  Both teams were already warming up.  Humboldt was playing in Eureka after some issues with the university field.  This looks to be a blessing.  The field was truly regulation, flat, firm and well marked. 


1:00 PM kick-off saw sunny skies and a temperature of 52.  Perfect for two undefeated teams.  To add to the excitement, the inaugural Pat Culley Shield was being fought for.  Pat had played for Humboldt and helped start Santa Rosa's JC team.


Santa Rosa JC took advantage of a Humboldt turnover to score the opening try by #13 Mike Rodrigues.  Santa Rosa had lots of possession in the first 30 minutes.  This possession led to some early opportunities by a very quick backline.  #14 Chris Bergstrom fielded a kick and stormed up field.  Fending off tackles and offloading to #10 Trevor Payne for a try at the 20 minute mark.  Trevor Payne scored another try at 30 minutes to make the score Santa Rosa 15-Humboldt 0.


Then Humboldt's forwards led by the front row started to take over.  Hard crashing #12 Robert Montgomery broke a couple of tackles before scoring at 32 minutes.  Hooker Ken Hurd broke free right before half time for a well deserved score.  Half time Santa Rosa 15- Humboldt 10.


Most of the second half was played in Santa Rosa's 40.  Some great defense kept Humboldt from scoring early.  One ball was held up in goal, another knocked on in goal.


Humboldt tied the game at 16 minutes with a try by #13 Adam Bruhl.


The next 15 minutes saw Santa Rosa having numerous goal line tackles.  Finally at 30 minutes Ken Hurd scored on a sweat cut back pass.  Score 22 -15.  At 38 minutes Adam Bruhl broke a couple of tackles for the final try.

Humboldt 29 Santa Rosa 15.


The first Pat Culley Shield was kept in Humboldt.  I talked to Pat after the game.  He was excited to hear about the hard fought shield and the opportunity to be remembered and respected by two great rugby programs.


I asked Eileen how she liked the game.  She said it was a great game and the only time she noticed me was when I was bouncing off players.


These are definitely two playoff bound teams.  Good luck to all.



Wednesday, February 15


San Jose State University 7 – SANTA CLARA 63 Referee: John Pohlman

Santa Clara University dominated the local rival San Jose State in a Division II game this past Wednesday evening.


The game kicked off at 5:00PM at Santa Clara's Bellomy field even though San Jose was the host club.


The game started off with some sloppy play but good tackling by both sides.  Once John Tyler's SC side scored the gates were open.  Six try's in the first half by six different SC players. 


Most of the scores were due to breakaway runs started by missed tackles.  Once Brian McDonald's San Jose State team become committed to the tackle they will vastly improve.


The second half saw some substitutions by both sides.  Santa Clara plays UC Santa Cruz this weekend and needed to save some bodies.  San Jose State has the most numbers I have seen for a few years and needed to get everyone minutes.


Second half saw SC scoring another 5 tries and State finally being rewarded at the 36 minute mark with a try.


Both teams have some good numbers and players. Good luck for the rest of the year.



CALIFORNIA 35 – U. of British Columbia 28 Referee: Pete Smith

Touch Judges: Jim Crenshaw, Bruce Carter

Evaluator: Bryan Porter



Saturday games:


West Sac 14 – HAYWARD 45 Referee: Jim Crenshaw

The referee reports that ‘they wanted to play’ and estimates fewer than five penalties in the first half and maybe a couple more in the second.


This is the kind of rugby we can brag about refereeing!


Seconds: West Sac 12 – HAYWARD 15 Ref: Crenshaw

According to a telephone report from Jim Crenshaw, this game had one of the most entertaining, spectacular and, for the home team disappointing finishes in memory.


West Sac was ahead with little time left and thought they had the ball.


One of Olo Fifita’s mighty mitts took care of that – he simply claimed possession from his opponent’s grasp and dragged a couple of would-be tacklers along until support formed. From that point, it is estimated that every Hayward player handled until the winning try was scored a minute or more later!



SF/Golden Gate 3 – OLYMPIC CLUB 61 Referee: Joe Saccomanno

Referee Coach: David Williamson


SF Fog – OLYMPIC CLUB seconds Referee: David Williamson

I reffed the second half of the O-Club 2s v. Fog.   The score for Joe's half was 64-0; the score was more lop-sided for my half..  Fog played gamely, but was over-matched.


SFGG did a superb job of hosting on Saturday.  Their U-23 team went to Vallejo, and their Super League team went to Walnut Creek.  This left them with exactly 15 players for two matches against the Olympic Club.  They put out their 15 in the first match, and were able to secure the Fog to play the seconds.


After the matches, SFGG invited the teams in their clubhouse, providing drinks and food to all--including the referees.



Seahawks 27 – SAN MATEO 51 Referee: Aruna Ranaweera

Evaluator: Mike Malone

Watson Bowl, San Jose.


This game was more evenly matched than the score would indicate.  Just four minutes into the match, San Mateo demonstrated their proficiency at the rolling maul, driving a lineout in for an authoritative try.  They used this tactic with much success throughout the match.


San Jose countered with some powerful running and quick passes to score through their backs out wide.  Both teams were very efficient in the loose and attacked the opposition with gusto, with players running onto the ball at high speed.  San Mateo took a 22-13 lead into half-time.


The second half was much of the same, with San Mateo running the ball straight at San Jose and San Jose returning the favor with no quarter given.  San Mateo's captain and number 8 was a dominant force on the field, driving his team forward to a 27-13 lead midway through the second half.


San Jose were brave in defense and their discipline paid off as they scooped up a loose ball in their 22 and passed it back and forth along the sideline to score a brilliant try.  With the score 27-20 in favor of San Mateo and less than 15 minutes left in the match, San Jose looked more than capable of challenging for the lead.


San Mateo immediately attacked San Jose's goal-line and were held back only by some fearless defence which included a goal-line head-to-head collision that sent a player from each team to the hospital for stitches.


San Mateo's scrumhalf slotted over a subsequent penalty to give San Mateo breathing room at 30-20 with 10 minutes left.  With both defenses showing signs of fatigue, the last 10 minutes featured numerous long runs by both teams.  San Jose were twice denied scores by the San Mateo scrumhalf who showed great anticipation on defense.


San Mateo showed more finishing flair in the waning minutes as they ran in three more converted tries to put the game out of reach.  Led by their captain and center, San Jose attacked relentlessly to the end, but could only manage one more try.  In the end, San Mateo prevailed comfortably, scoring 8 tries to San Jose's 4.


This was a tough, well-played rugby match with both teams putting on an entertaining display


Seconds: Seahawks 24 – SAN MATEO 34 Referee: Bo Rodman

Referee Coach: Tom Martinez



Diablo Gaels 3 – SF/GG SUPER LEAGUE 45 Referee: Paul Bretz

SFGG continued to tune up for the upcoming super league this week with a match against the Diablo Gaels.  On hand was their new coach from Canterbury, New Zealand who had them focusing on their defensive pattern.


It seemed to work as they held the Gaels to 3 points for the match.  At the end of the first half SFGG held the lead at 9-3.  However the flood gates opened in the second half as SFGG scored 36 points to win 45-3.



APTOS 29 – Berkeley 18 Referee: Rachel Lawton

In a game that is seen by the outside world as one of brutality and violence, but known to those of us lucky enough to understand this complicated and refined sport as the finest in the world, we as referees get a unique perspective. We get to understand the elegance of the finer points of the game, and deal with the violence.


Two Division 3 men’s social-cum-competitive clubs trying to show each other up is always fun, frustrating, and occasionally funny. But rectangular cards of red and yellow shades seem to help the players understand that scoring is more important than fighting. I say this primarily in jest. . . boys will be boys, as they say. We still played rugby, even while it hailed.


An early penalty goal gave Berkeley the lead, but they lost it as easily as they gained it. Defense would plague the players in blue as Aptos scored primarily on hard hitting pushes into in-goal from phase play and breakaways. But one of the qualities of a team that gives me more respect than anything else (besides sportsmanship, and respect for the ref) is perseverance. Berkeley had two fast-paced and exciting tries in the second half that kept me on my feet.


Aptos, and their fans, were there for a win, and they got it. But as usually happens with the social clubs, we then got social. Though we had to travel 20 miles to get to the restaurant/pub, Michael's on Main (the main sponsor of Aptos) made some fantastic food, and not of drop of skunky beer. And of course, the company of rugby players is legendary, especially when they bring their girlfriends...



Chico 14 – STANISLAUS 41 Referee: Bryant Byrnes

In clear and chilly Chico on their environmentally correct field (because of the rugby/genera geomyidae partnership). The first half was close at 9-17 for the visitors-the chirpy, chatty Modesto boys had some problems accepting the reality of the off sides line being the last foot.


Be that as it may, they quickly put the game out of reach by scoring 3 tries within 10 minutes of the second half. Two of the three were by their speed-of-light (and Irish) stand off Matt Bradford; he twice neatly inserted himself in the Chico back line going in the opposite direction.


Credit to Chico, who continued to play hard, matched up well in the scrum, and got one themselves.



Humboldt – Monterey forfeit by Monterey

Monterey was unable to muster the numbers for the trip north.



Fog 11 – MARIN 22 Referee: Bruce Bernstein

Referee Coach: Jake Rubin

Marin barely beat the Fog at USF's beautiful, but artificial Negoesco Field 22-11. 

The game was hard-fought/defensive battle with both teams unable to mount any offensive drives &/or finish with tries.


However the Fog came back to win the party 45-8, with 7 dishes including Palealla & frittata along with 4 choice beers on tap at The Metro on Market near Castro.  Oh yeah they even won the boat race which was already over by the time I had to anchor Marin's boaters. 



MissionVacaville Referee: Pete Smith

No report received.



RENO 19 – Petaluma 13 Referee: Sandy Robertson

At game time the field had a thin white blanket and the temperature was in the 30s.  The start was delayed a bit to see if Petaluma's 15th player would arrive (of course he was the one with the team jerseys).  When it was determined that he was passing through Truckee, Petaluma decided to start a man short in a patchwork of jerseys.  Reno scored two quick tries for a 12-0 lead.  As the half progressed Petaluma picked up its play and replied with 2 tries of its own. It was 12-10 at half.  Buoyed by the arrival of player 15 (and perhaps the clean jerseys) Petaluma was able to slot a penalty midway through the 2nd stanza.  Reno battled furiously and was rewarded with a converted try around 5 minutes from the end. Petaluma was unable to answer and the home side came away victors 19-13.



ST. MARY’S 68 – Nevada 0 Referee: Rich Anderson

Evaluator: Bryan Porter

The only way to top an early morning cup of coffee with Bruce Carter was an afternoon match a St Mary's picturesque pitch.  The field was in fairly good condition as the Reno squad arrived from their trip over Donner Pass, although a prop and hooker arrived just before the first whistle.  Reno was not ready for the intensity of the St Mary's squad.


The Gaels scored a minute into the match on a long try after some slick passing from forwards to backs.  This pattern was repeated throughout the afternoon.  Reno had little answers for the constant pressure.


The Gael men of match were #13 Volney Rouse and #8 Captain Josh Merliner.  The moment of the match occured midway though the second half when a clever pop kick inside the attacking 22 was touched down in the try zone as the hail or snow or whatever fell from the skies.


Seconds: ST. MARY’S 40 – Nevada 12 Referee: Giles Wilson

UNR were a little short of players but managed to round up enough to play, they also wanted to beat the snow back over the hill. They were not as tight a group but gave their best keeping St Mary’s at bay for a while – even leading briefly in the first half. St Mary’s better organization and conditioning played through, ending the half at 26 – 12 before a final of 40 – 12 with SMC playing all their youngsters.



CALIFORNIA 52 – Sac State 22 Referee: Tony Latu

Touch Judges: Marcus Williamson, Conner O'Brian

Referee Coach and reporter: Bruce Carter


Even on a day when the wind- and rain-tunnel that the mouth of Strawberry Canyon can be is fully functional, the Bears draw a crowd to see them play.


The cold, wet stuff seems to catch a vector at the Golden Gate and head straight for certain portions of the East Bay. That simply means that these fans carry umbrellas.


And the fact of the matter is, Witter Field and the Golden Bears always draw a good crowd from the visiting team as well!


But umbrellas alone weren’t the answer: it was cold. Hugging and shivering cold.


This was Tony Latu’s first opportunity to referee at this storied field. He took a tour of the Doc Hudson Fieldhouse prior to the game, to get into a proper collegiate rugby frame of mind.


Both teams are showing mid-season form: periods of patterned play and reliable possession, mostly organized defensive re-alignments, and the ability to take advantage of miscues by their opponents. Other aspects of mid-season form are also present, such as the making of miscues.


Cal enjoyed territory and possession for most of the game. When kicking duels occurred, the difference was that Cal pressured downfield with an organized front of four or five while Sac State tended to have ranks of two or three players, staggered, giving the Bears more options with the possession.


Brian Lowe of American Rugby News was on hand, and we renewed our acquaintance. Here is a link to his report of the match:




Here are Tony’s impressions of the day:


My very first time at the famous Witter Rugby Field. Thus I had to leave early from Galt in order to get there in time. And I did, arriving at 1100. I saw Manager Jerry Figone and the ground crew putting the final touches on the field, which is unbelievable. Jack Clark then took me on a quick tour in their Rugby house. I suggested to one of the guys at the field house that either they build another room for their Cups or USA Rugby needs to give them smaller cups.


On Wednesday, Cal defeated UBC and Sac State on Saturday. How many teams can do that, I don't know, but Cal did. Anyway the Hornets from Sac Town thought they might sting Cal, that they had the tools to do it. Their coach, Chris Miller, a former student of Coach Clark, knows how to win and what it takes to win. But on this day it was the teacher who still taught. As for Sac State---next time.


Seconds: CALIFORNIA 72 – Sac State 0 Referee: Bruce Carter

The sun came out for the second match and the crowd melted away. Because the sky was so suddenly transformed, they all went to the beach or to a park?


Cal’s seconds appear to be such in name only. Most of the squad has extensive high school experience. Many of the players on Sac State and Cal knew each other from earlier playing days.


Cal score six tries and converted three in each half, a fitting symmetry for a game wherein their forwards and backs all played well together.



By the end of the match it was not only sunny, concrete and asphalt surfaces had already dried. There were a number of folks sitting along the top row of Memorial Stadium, next to where the referees get to park their cars.


They weren’t watching sports; there wasn’t anything happening on the oval pitch below.


The row where they were sitting not only faces the western sun, it views the distinctive profile of the City by the Bay and its framing icon, the Golden Gate Bridge. The coldest day of the year had yielded to a shirts-off late afternoon for some lucky Northern California college students.



UC DAVIS 71 – Stanford 7 Referee: Joe Leisek

Touch Judge: Mike Villierme

Referee Watchers without Portfolio: Scott Wood, Ray Schwartz


UC Davis is a very impressive side. Stanford, stocked with good, fast athletes, could not keep pace. Constantly on attack, Davis retained the ball well, made the most of nearly every opportunity presented, and ran rampant. A very fast game. My man of the match was the Davis flyhalf, a Jesuit grad. He controlled the attack in expert style and proved to be a strong runner and defender as well. He is a natural segue to my evening activity: refereeing Jesuit HS vs. Elsie Allen HS, a rematch of last season's thrilling state final.


Seconds: UC DAVIS 41 – Stanford 5 Referee: Mike Villierme

This was pretty much a repeat of the "A" match as the Aggies appear to have a better idea of how to score trys either from long breaks from a scrum or from sustained drives inside the 22. The Cardinal appear to have good instincts and will be better with experience.



Maritime Academy 7 – GOLDEN GATE U-23, 13 Referee: Geordie Hawkins

Played at Bodnar Field, Calif. Maritime Academy


The intermittent showers did not put a damper on the enthusiasm brought to the field by two young but eager teams ready to play aggressive running rugby.  With threatening skies at kickoff and an already wet field, both teams still opted to throw the ball wide and employ some running rugby.


Several knock-ons stopped play early, and after a dust-up involving several players from both teams was cleared up, running rugby was back in order.


Maritime Academy had a solid scrum and was able to get clean ball out to their backs all game.  Golden Gate's was less stable and they relied on their #8 to pick up and drive forward before getting the ball wide.


Maritime Academy had several long breaks but aggressive defense from Golden Gate kept them out of the end zone.  Golden Gate was finally able to punch over a try before halftime and went into the break up 5-0.


The second half started and the skies opened up with a steady rain falling for the remainder of the game.


Again Maritime Academy had several long runs, each time coming up short of the try line.  Golden Gate added a penalty and unconverted try to open up a 13-0 lead.  Maritime Academy fought hard and with about 20 minutes left was knocking on Golden Gate's try line.


After a penalty against Golden Gate for a high tackle Maritime Academy elected to run the ball.  Two successive times Golden Gate failed to retreat to the goal line, the second infraction resulting in a yellow card.  Maritime Academy continued to opt for the quick tap and finally punched in a try and added the conversion to make it 13-7.


Some good tactical kicking by Golden Gate late in the game kept play in the middle of the field and the final whistle blew for Golden Gate 13-7. 



U. OF SAN FRANCISCO 49 – U. of the Pacific 8 Referee: Rob Hendrickson

USF scored 5 tries in the first half (and in the rain) and 2 in the second to prevail over a UOP team that really came alive in the second half once all their players finally arrived.  USF's backs looked particularly strong in getting the ball outside, while their forwards had their hands full with the UOP pack who consistently could rotate the scrums through 90 degrees.  Having reffed UOP 3 times and USF twice this season, I enjoyed spending a well fought match with friends, although more than one jokingly commented that they were disappointed in me for not finding an occasion to call the police as apparently happened in the game immediately before mine.



UC SANTA CRUZ 40 – Santa Clara 0 Referee: Larry Freitas

In an important Division 2 match, UC Santa Cruz took it to Santa Clara by a 40 to nil score.  Santa Clara, having beaten up on San Jose State a few days earlier, braved the weather to travel to the Slug's home pitch on the foothills of the snow-capped Santa Cruz Mountains; the Broncos were about to be snowed under!


About ten minutes into the match, Santa Cruz started scoring, as in early and often. From a five metre scrum, halfback Chris Mander executed a give and go pass from his number 8 to touch down, converted by fullback Daniel Jarvis.  Two more tries were scored in the first half, as centre Dar Aalaei rampaged through Santa Clara's cover defense time and again.  Dar is big, fast, and a dangerous runner with the ball.  Wing Joel Oubre also scored, and the home team had a 19 - 0 lead as the first half ended.


Both teams were anxious to start the second half, as the temperature might have been 40F, with the off and on rain showers.  Several players had the sense to wear long sleeve shirts under their half-sleeve jerseys (remember back in the day when rugby shirts had full sleeves, for days like this one!).  Santa Clara came out with a juggled line up, and the bit between their teeth, and going against the weather and what little southwest wind was blowing, planted themselves time and again near the UCSC goal line.  I disallowed one try as Santa Clara's prop contacted the corner post before touching down in the corner.  Another near try had the ball knocked on touch-in-goal, and yet another scoring opportunity from a muffed halfback pass to Santa Cruz's flyhalf in-goal was touched down for the five meter scrum before a Santa Clara hand could get to the ball.


Meanwhile, long breakaway runs by Santa Cruz's backs and missed tackles by Santa Clara resulted in three more converted tries for UC Santa Cruz.  Unlike the Humboldt State match, Santa Cruz was coming away with seven points for their efforts, and not just five, and unlike that match, this one was played cleanly and in the spirit that rugby should be played.  Santa Clara didn't show much frustration, except when that one try was not allowed, and kept right on trying until the final whistle.


A number of infringements by Santa Cruz toward the end of the match, as the were doing what they could to keep Santa Clara scoreless, saw some brave tap-penalty attempts by the red-shirted squad to get some points.  Finally, as I put down the last scrum of the match with only a few minutes left, a rain shower turned to a brief snow flurry, and then it started to rain hard.  Luckily there wasn't any injury time to play, and as I drove the twelve miles back to Aptos, I had the heater going full blast, trying to stave off hypothermia, and anticipating the long shower I was about to take. I hadn't even removed my boots for the drive home!



Stanford women – Nevada Postponed due to weather

Unfortunately Nevada ladies were not able to make it to Stanford on Saturday because of snow and ice. As the Stanford ladies were ready to go I offered to ref a game if they wanted to give them a work out. They put together a mixture of A and B team players and we played a full 80 minutes of Rugby.

STANFORD (Red) 66 – Stanford (White) 43 Referee: Chris Parkhouse



Chico State women – CSUMB Forfeit by Monterey



California women 0 – UC DAVIS 6 Referee: John Coppinger

Touch Judge: Deb Hart

The match was moved to Treasure Island because of rain on Friday, but the weather held until late in the second half, when brief hail became heavy rain.


Both teams threatened a number of times, but neither managed a score until Cameron Stewart slotted a penalty with 10 minutes remaining in the match.  A second penalty goal by Stewart with 5 minutes left to play put the pressure on Cal to score a try. Cal put in a valiant effort, but fell short.


Katy Chou at #8 was solid for Cal on defense, but UCD was able to break the gain line more consistently than Cal.  All in all, a good match.


Many thanks to Deb Hart for running touch.


Seconds: California 12 – UC Davis 12 Referee: Deb Hart

Referee Coach: Dixon Smith


It was another fun rugby day!


The intensity of the first side game carried over into the seconds with plenty of hard tackling and spectator cheering.  Both sides have improved their skills over the last month and it showed in this match. The day was mostly dry but for a downpour at the beginning of the match. The first half belonged to Davis.  They brought in the first try in the 7th minute, converting the kick, and another try in the 35th minute.  There were collapsing problems in the scrum in the first half and we went to uncontested scrums in the second half.


The second half belonged to Cal.  They brought in a try in the 47th minute, converting the kick, and brought in the final try of the day near the end of the match to tie it up.


Many thanks to Dixon for his coaching.  Referee Paul Berman was on hand as a spectator and put in his order for a Guinness for the tie. Dixon didn't give me his order but I owe him a beer too.



UC SANTA CRUZ women 47 – San Jose State 7 Referee: Chris Fisher



ST. MARY’S women 22 – Sac State 3 Referee: Bjorn Stumer

Unwisely and pessimistically, your referee packed rain gear only to find sunshine at the pristine St. Mary College rugby pitch in Moraga.  The sun remained for the duration, with rain just beginning to sprinkle as I made my way out of town after the final whistle.  Like all women sides, St. Mary & Sac. State proved to be determined, well disciplined, and fully intent to play hard within the laws of the game.


This was basically a tale of two halves with Sacramento State scoring the only points of the first one with a fine drop goal by fly-half Ellen Silva.  The St. Mary’s ladies kept Sac from scoring more and it seemed that Sacramento would return home with a victory.  Something happened at half time though.  Maybe some miracle water or some extremely effective encouragements from their coaches, but St. Mary's came back firing on cylinders that I did not even suspect they had.  Scrum half Lauren Shaughnessy seemed possessed and scored a hat trick of tries, one of which from a penalty given Sacramento for offside at a ruck when Lauren picked up the ball & caught Sacramento napping.  On another occasion from a set piece she darted through a number of opponents for a fine try in the corner.  St. Mary’s with the wind of victory at their backs scored one more try, one of which converted.  Final score St. Mary’s 22 - Sacramento State 3.  A fine day of rugby.



Chico women's tournament TODD-SCHWARTZ

Chico Women's Tournament

Kat Todd-Schwartz and Steve Jarmek



The Chico women hosted an all day tournament on Chico Campus which was attended by ORSU, Allblues and Chico State (last minute replacement for BASH). Five games were played; the last match of the day was Allblues v. ORSU, a cracker of a match with a final score of 26-15 for the Allblues. Although the Chico teams were not victorious in the tournament, they definitely can be applauded for hosting a decent tournament (especially when the women's teamswould not otherwise be playing). My cohort Steve Jarmek came up from the Bay Area to help; he first came out to the Society meeting on the Wednesday before and agreed to help out for the tournament. The lowlight of the day was when we were hailed on. I had not seen such bitterly cold precipitation since I left my cold home to the North.




CALIFORNIA women 43 – Univ. of Ottawa 12 Referee: Lois Bukowski

Who ever said Monday is not a rugby day?  On a day when the Canadian women's hockey team won Gold in Turin, their younger sisters met the blue wrecking machine that was Cal women.


Beautiful, blue sky, crisp, sunny day on TI.  Cal women arranged use of (rented) the SFGG field and clubhouse for the touring side from the Great White North.  This game was supposed to go off on Sunday, but the women from Ottawa had been snowed in on Saturday and didn't arrive in the City by the Bay until midnight last.  Tack on the extra 3 hours of time zone acclimation and we had some sluggish ruggers in the 2nd 40.


First half was a cracker with Cal nipping first blood.  U of Ottawa answered back with 2 tries, one converted.  One was a beaut... after Cal took Ottawa's tight head at the defending 5 meter scrum, Ottawa's #9 pressured the kick deep in the try zone.  She blocked a significant piece of the ball and one of her mates pounced on it for the 5 pointer.   Cal spent the last 15 minutes of the half pressing inside the Canadian's 22 and were rewarded with a penalty and subsequent score on a bruising run by flanker #6.  Kick was good and we headed into the break at 14-12 Cal


The second half was all Bears.  To be fair, this is pre-season for the tourists and the lingering jet lag was of no help.  True to rugger form, though, they never gave up and were pressing for a late try until the final whistle.  What a nice way to spend part of my day off; family in tow (at least Wade stayed awake for part of this one), a fun run and breaking some bread with new found friends.





Huntington Beach 7 – BELMONT SHORE 50 Referee: Tony Latu

Touch Judges: Chris Lakey, DeLyn Barclay

Referee Coach: Sosiua 'Josh' Tameifuna

Assessor: Ruben Moran


There were Super League players playing for the Belmont Shore side on Sunday. And it showed as they dominated the Unicorns 50-7. On the other hand the Unicorns never gave up as they finally crossed the line at the last five minutes. Unicorns have a very good D-1 side but was not good enough on Sunday. Great game, great sprit. I like to say thank you to ALL who planned and got me the opportunity to ref this game.


Editor’s Note: This was an exchange for Tony, arranged with the kind assistance of Dana Teagarden. In the other half of this exchange, Kevin McCaslin will referee the New York Athletic Club at Cal on March 4.






Thursday, February 16

Peninsula Green 12 – EAST PALO ALTO 34 Referee: John Pohlman

The high school season has officially started.  This past Thursday Peninsula Green hosted East Palo Alto at Woodside High School.  Kick-off 7:30 PM.  This is my seventh high school match this year.  I have had the pleasure to call both teams previous to this meeting.  There was excitement and anticipation in the air.


Both teams field well coached and experienced players.  They may have two of the best scrumhalves I have seen this season in high school rugby.


East Palo Alto seems to be in midseason form.  Peninsula Green had only one preseason game.


The game started fast.  Lots of good tackling.  EPA game plan looked to by crashing their big forwards and wearing down the opponent.


Five minutes into play PG #9 Travis Benson took a quick tap penalty in for the first score of the game.  Travis then converted his score.  PG 7- EPA 0.  Then the EPA's forwards hard driving charges started to break down the PG defense.  #12 for EPA touch down try at 13 minute mark.  EPA #3 Alo Sanft scored on a forward drive at 22 minutes.  #6 Fatia Vailala scored on another forward crash at 30 minutes.  Followed by another score at half time. 


Toward the end of the first half some spotty play off the ball forced a warning at half time to both teams...enough.


Five minutes into the second half #8 Tenu Tukuafe scored another forward try.   Followed by another try by a reserve back.  At the fifteen minute mark one EPA player dove on an opponent on the ground for the first yellow card to EPA.  Two minutes later another player late hit a PG player for the second yellow card.  This stopped the spotty play.  EPA played some great defense being two players down and held PG scoreless with two in the bin.


Both teams at full strength PG scored one last try by #11 Siosia Haatoa. 


Good game and I look forward to seeing both these teams in the playoffs.


Friday, February 17


Windburg 5 – SANTA ROSA 43 Referee:  Bo Rodman

Saturday, February 18, High School Games

SILICON VALLEY 39 – College Park 5 Referee: Bo Rodman



SF/GOLDEN GATE 73 – Piedmont HS 0 Referee: Dixon Smith

Touch Judge: Rob Hendrickson

On the Job Corp Field at Treasure Island the home side San Francisco Golden Gate had it all their way with big, fast, well coached forwards and backs. The smaller and less experienced Piedmont side played hard, but was unable to cross the goal line. SF-GG scored eleven tries, seven of them in the first half. Their center, 17 year old junior Threton Paloma, scored four. Threton, youngest son of past NorCal standout rugger Arona Paloma, is bigger and faster than Dad, and has his shiftiness and good team skills.



LAMORINDA 36 – Hayward 24 Referee: Paul Bretz

Touch Judges: Mike Sagehorn, Bruce Carter

Lamorinda played host to Hayward in a fantastic game of varied styles.


Lamorinda played a patterned game of support while Hayward relied on their running and confrontational style tackles.


Lamorinda eventually won 36-24. However, the match was undecided until the last play. With time running out Hayward was on the attacking side of a 5 meter scrum down only five points. Lamorinda's outside center intercepted a long pass to run 95 meters for the final score. 


Lamorinda JV 10 – GOLDEN GATE JV 22 Referee: Bruce Carter

Touch Judges: Mike Sagehorn, Giles Wilson, Paul Bretz in turn

Standing around, too lazy to grab a flag: Rich Anderson


Refereeing high school games at this point in the season can be like watching your small child who is just learning to walk: mistakes will be made, goals aspired to may not be attained and the whole process may be a bit shaky, but you know that in a short time the players will coordinate together, work in synchrony, and progress appreciably.


Both teams have some good athletes and some raw rugby skills. They are eager to have a go and, when knocked down, keen to have another.


It will be a pleasure and a privilege to see them again over the next couple of months.



LAMORINDA Silver squad 26 – Antioch 24 Referee: Giles Wilson


A spirited and balanced game with Lamo displaying their strength in depth having already played their varsity against Hayward and their JV against SFGG JV, their “B” squad took on Antioch.


The game was close, 10 – 7 in Lamo’s favour at the half but their inability to convert their first half tries would haunt them at the end. Antioch are resourceful and lead themselves well on the field; something which the US as a whole isn’t good at teaching, and this serves them well. They scored 3 tries in the second half, converting two of them, to go along with the converted try from the first period while Lamo scored another 2 – and added the conversions for these. So 4 tries apiece in a good game with a final of 26 – 24 in Antioch’s favour.



APTOS 28 – Valley Christian 7 Referee: Chris Fisher



Elsie Allen 5 – JESUIT 27 Referee: Joe Leisek

Elsie Allen High School, Santa Rosa

Drove home from
Davis, hopped in the hot tub, showered, and threw on a new kit for rugby under the lights in the Lobodome in Santa Rosa. Jesuit had a point to prove and they wasted no time. With three tries in the first half and two in the second, the Marauders scored from all over the field. An impressive display of speed and skill. Elsie scored their try in the second half, when speedy fullback D.J. Hunt chipped ahead, outran the defense, picked up the ball at about the five-meter line, and scored in the grasp of two desperate Jesuit players. Thrilling stuff that gave the home fans something to cheer about.





Newly-promoted Rob Hendrickson, featured speaker Professor Bob Weinberg and David Williamson pose in the classroom at St. Mary’s last Wednesday.






                                               For the Senate

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