FRIDAY: SAMOA FLAG DAY SEVENS
A sevens tournament was held in conjunction with the annual Samoan Flag Day festival in San Francisco at Golden Gate Park.
Flag Day honors the political relationship of American Samoa with the United States, of which it is a Territory. The flag of the United States of America was first raised there in 1900.
After a cricket match concluded, the pitch was freed up for the Sevens artists to take center stage. Five teams competed in a round-robin format: San Francisco A and B, Santa Rosa, Hayward and Utah.
The last three all finished 3 -1. The order of finish was determined by point differential with the following results: Hayward, Utah, and Santa Rosa.
Referees on hand for the festivities were Bruce Bernstein, Bruce Carter, Isaac Caselis, Mike Gadoua and David Williamson.
SATURDAY: MARIST AIR PACIFIC SEVENS IN PALO ALTO
The final iteration of the Tonik Palo Alto Summer Sevens for 2006 was played last Saturday at Greer Park. The Diablo Gaels took home first prize and $3000.
Fifteen Pelicanrefs were in attendance. With Paul Bretz and Pete Smith occupied elsewhere, everyone essentially moved up two notches on the assignments tree, providing some great opportunities for some deserving referees.
David Williamson refereed the women’s final, won by the Grizzlies 36 – 0 over Los Banditos, a thinly-disguised SoCal Griffins side. The Banditos were captained by Sarah Davis and cheered on loudly and proudly by her father, our own Sam Davis.
John Pohlman had the high school final, with East Palo Alto defeating Peninsula Green 19 – 14.
Jim Crenshaw did a masterful job with the mile-a-minute open division final between Diablo Gaels and Las Vegas. With Vegas having won the purse here four weeks previously, visiting expectations met local-team pride.
It was tied 12 – 12 at the half, with most of the tries being via long distance. Diablo then opened it up in the second half to win 26 – 17.
Probably the most remarkable try of the summer season was scored by Mone Matangi.
Matangi received a pass out wide on the left on the far side of midfield. He had to beat one defender to make the tram tracks and head upfield, which he did with surprising ease for such a big man. The next Vegas player, covering across, forced him to make a high-speed, right-angle, right-hand turn, which brought him within the twenty-two but also within the pursuit lines of three of the Blackjacks.
The first two hit him, high and middle – and he continued to advance the ball with two accomplished rugby players doing their best to bring him down, carrying them along with him, slowing to a stagger as the arms got around his thighs.
About two meters out all momentum was lost and so too, it seemed, was a chance to score an epic try. However, the third arriving defender’s impact knocked Matangi down but actually provided the impetus which put his upper body over the line, where Jim Crenshaw was waiting with his feet in the frame and his whistle at the ready.
THE BEST SUMMER SEVENS IN THE USA
The Palo Alto tournament, thirty-five years on, continues to improve year after year. This writer has missed only a few of the four-times-a-season event since moving to California in 1980 and can say without reservation that this year was the best in his experience.
It’s not just that the two ‘money’ tournaments offered more cash than any other tournament in the USA, but also that the level of organization and the commitment of the teams continues to increase.
All four weekends found the nine AM games kicking off at nine AM – on multiple pitches. This alone puts this tournament in a class by itself!
We are so lucky.
THIS WEEK'S PHOTO
JC Van Staden, Jim Crenshaw, Dixon Smith, Tony Latu, John Coppinger and the Whirligig Pelican close out the Sevens season at Greer Park on August 5.
For the Senate