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TOURNAMENT WEEKEND OCTOBER 28
The California Tourist Board must have set up a perfect day to entice us all to wish to stay here forever.
Driving into Santa Cruz from the south on Highway One, the more-or-less straight part of the road from Aptos on in aligned perfectly with October 28th’s sunrise: old Sol was squarely framed in the rearview mirror, balanced on the horizon, at 7:30 AM.
It was a harbinger of the day to come: a full, blazing sun unobscured by atmospheric phenomena.
The setting of the athletic fields the University of California in Santa Cruz is dramatic and beautiful even under adverse weather. On a day like this, with the entire dreamy curve of the Monterey Bay beckoning the eye along its arc, the Game They Play in Heaven might have been visiting its home pitch.
A familiar experience lived through the eyes of another, one who is seeing it for the first time, is an experience made fresh anew. So it was that Santa Clara Coach Chris Kron approached wearing an even bigger smile than usual, saying, “I’ve never been up here! This is fantastic!”
Pre-season men’s college rugby was graced with temperatures in the high eighties this day. Everyone enjoyed it, knowing that the sharp line between California’s summer and winter can be drawn sharply indeed, and probably will soon be inscribed upon our days.
Scott Carson organized things so that Scott Wood and John Pohlman could start the trains running on time.
No knock-out games were played beyond the quarter-finals, as the coaches had seen what they were looking for and everyone had already played at least three matches.
The semi-finals would have included both Chico State sides, UC Davis and Santa Clara.
Beau McSwain, just off a yellow-card weekend at the Harlotfest, suited up and scored a try for the Chico State seconds.
Cal Poly looked good in the early going but had to share players to fill two sides. This cost them in the quarters.
One other note of caution: the teams listed as seconds (“II”) in some cases were the better of that school’s two sides.
UC SANTA CRUZ (Black) 21 – Cal Poly II 7 Referee: John Pohlman
CHICO STATE II 12 – Santa Clara 3 Referee: Scott Wood
CAL POLY I 45 – UC Davis II 5 Referee: Bruce Carter
UC SANTA CRUZ (Black) 13 – Chico I 7 Referee: Scott Wood
CHICO STATE II 17 – UC Davis I 3 Referee: John Pohlman
SANTA CLARA 10 – Cal Poly II 5 Referee: Giles Wilson
CAL POLY I 17 – UC Santa Cruz (Gold) 12 Referee: Bruce Carter
CHICO STATE II 21 – UC Davis 14 Referee: Ray Schwartz
SANTA CLARA 7 – UC Davis II 5 Referee: Scott Wood
CHICO STATE I 17 – UC Santa Cruz (Black) 14 Referee: John Pohlman
UC DAVIS I 41 – UC Santa Cruz (Gold) 0 Referee: Ray Schwartz
CHICO STATE II 12 – Cal Poly I 5 Referee: Giles Wilson
UC SANTA CRUZ (Black) 12 – UC Davis 7 Referee: John Pohlman
UC SANTA CRUZ COMBINED 24 – Santa Clara 5 Referee: Bruce Carter
The women’s Slugfest will be this coming Saturday. Let us know if you’d like to help out!
ALWAYS SOMETHING NEW UNDER THE RUGBY SUN
We always smile and feel and little closer to our mistress Rugby when she shows us more of her infinite variety. As the Bard wrote, it is that which age cannot wither nor custom stale.
So Saturday, at the Slugfest, the ball went into touch. The Cal Poly Captain picked it up along the line of touch.
Realizing that all of his opponents in the vicinity were backs, and all of them were heading for their lineout positions, and seeing his hooker running up to the line of touch, the Captain made quick eye contact with the referee and raised his eyebrows.
In response, the ref nodded his head.
The ball was thrown in straight, traveled more than five meters, and was caught by the onrushing hooker. No opponent took the slightest notice.
The referee, in the interest of fairness and as he always does in these situations, announced to the players that the game was afoot: “Play on!”
The hooker, even more oblivious than his opponents, ran directly into touch and prepared to throw the ball in at a formed lineout.
A lineout was indeed formed, but he had to give the ball to his opposite number to throw in as he had taken it into touch himself.
Report by David Williamson
Have you ever seen a rugby tournament start (on time) before 8 AM? How about 48 matches all starting on time?
Saturday was a fabulous day on Stanford's stellar facilities--from the cool 45 degree 7 am team check-in, through the warm 75+ degree mid-day, to the 5:15 pm close. Stanford provided beautifully maintained fields, touch judges, air horns to start and close each match, food, drink, and great organization. There were 12 women's teams, and 6 men's teams: Two women's teams from Cal, three women's and one men's team from Stanford, two men's and one women's team from San Jose, one women's team each from Humboldt, Chico State, Arizona State, Santa Clara, and SF Fog, plus one men's team each from Oregon, East Palo Alto, and Olympic Club. The men's final between EPA and the Olympic Club was declared a draw by Tournament Director Jonathan Griffin. The SF Fog prevailed over Cal in the women's final.
We were fortunate to have a diverse set of referees and referee coaches to share the wealth. Bjorn ("Early Bird") Stumer arrived in the dark at 6:30 am, and left at 3:30 pm after completing 9 matches with coaching by Kat Todd-Schwartz, Paul Bretz, and Dave Williamson. Joe ("Iron Man") Androvich reffed the first game and the women's final, completing an amazing 11 matches with frequent coaching from Dixon Smith and Dave Williamson. Lois Bukowski enjoyed reffing in the morning, completing 5 matches with coaching from Kat. Dave Buckey arrived early and watched a few matches before jumping in to ref 7 matches, and learned a lot, with intensive coaching from Dixon ("The Master") Smith, and Kat. Aruna Ranaweera got some good pre-season conditioning, completing 9 matches including the men's final, with coaching from Paul Bretz, Dixon, and Dave Williamson. Isaac ("Player-Turned-Ref") Caselis participated from mid-day to late, completing 5 matches with intensive coaching from Kat. Paul ("Double-Duty") Bretz arrived to coach (watching Aruna and Bjorn), but made himself available to ref two matches so we didn't have to call in stretchers for the others. Ray Schwartz arrived after the Slugfest tournament with relatively fresh legs and helped close the tournament. Kat gets the Parker Pen award for coaching Dave Buckey with Dixon, plus Isaac, Lois, and Bjorn on her own.
Many thanks to all for your active participation and peer coaching.
JOHN POHLMAN’S BIG WEEKEND
Six games, two days, must be pre-season rugby by the Bay.
My rugby weekend started with an 8:30 match in Santa Cruz for the Men's Slugfest. UCSC opened against Cal. Poly. The hosts had split their teams equally. Cal. Poly had two sides entered and I think this was the second side.
First half finished with Santa Cruz 14 Cal. Poly 7. The second half had the Slugs scoring another long try and finishing UCSC 21-Cal. Poly 7.
My second game was one of the highlights of the weekend. Chico 1 verses University of Davis 1. Davis had left a few first siders at home but this proved to be a fast and fun match. Chico scored first with a penalty. They then followed with a try by their strong #8 Casey at the 15 minute mark. Davis followed with a penalty kick, making it Chico 10 Davis 3.
The second half saw Davis with most of the ball and lots of scoring opportunities stifled by some strong Chico defense. The final score was Chico 17- Davis 3.
Game three was Chico versus UCSC. By this time the sides seemed to be blending together. I actually thought I saw Beau, (long time Men's, Old Boy Chico standout), out there playing scrum half. Final Chico 17 UCSC 14.
My last game of the day was a mostly rookie match of UCSC against Davis. This was the third time I had Casey as the Slug captain. I am thinking of putting him on my Christmas card list. We played unopposed scrums. This was a great spirited game. When time expired the fans and players screamed "CAN'T WE PLAY MORE". I am just a servant of rugby, so of course: play-on.
The Banana Slugs scored a few minutes later to win 12 to 7. And yes, that broke a tie.
Sunday was another beautiful rugby day, with Stanford men playing Oregon at 10:00 and Stanford Woman hosting ASU at noon.
Joe Leisek called the first game and I ran touch for him. OK it was my fifth game and I only ran touch, I'm still counting it. It was eighty minutes, after all, with lots of running in behind the posts.
STANFORD women 69 – Arizona State 0 Referee: John Pohlman
Touch Judge: Joe Leisek
The last game of the weekend was Stanford woman reigning D-1 champ hosting ASU. Joe Leisek ran touch, plus one of the very qualified Stanford coaches. Thanks to both of you.
ASU had started last season 15-1 before injuries hurt the playoff hopes. They had good numbers and looked forward to the game. ASU had put in two teams in the Stanford 10's the day before.
Well If you think it might take Stanford a few games to reach last years form...How does 69-0 sound?
Stanford's flyhalf Jossy is not only a slashing runner but a very good field general. Joe Leisek said at half time "Stanford not only takes advantage of the other teams mistakes but they turn their own mistakes into tries". On numerous occasions ASU's defensive pressure would cause a Stanford bad pass only to find a support player to pick up and start another opportunity.
The Stanford backs had great hands, looked to be in shape and in midseason form. I think the backs scored ten of the eleven tries.
ASU never gave up and challenged the Stanford defense for the last ten minutes.
Final Stanford 69-ASU 0.
Where's the hot tub?
Sunday, October 29
Steuber Rugby Stadium, Stanford
STANFORD 39 – Oregon 20 Referee: Joe Leisek
Touch Judge: John Pohlman
Stanford Sports Sunday! In addition to the men's and women's rugby teams in action, the immediate vicinity also featured a pre-season women's softball game, a women's field hockey contest, and a women's soccer match.
The Stanford rugby men are much improved. Shortly after I arrived, Director of Coaching Jonathan Griffin was coaching the backs on the south side of the pitch while Bill Le Clerc had the forwards working against the scrum machine just on the other side; a very professional approach that is paying dividends on the field.
Stanford has some very athletic, fast players who are learning a system and have really improved the team's performance. They played with intensity and ran whenever they had the opportunity to do so. They are also very disciplined, which helped them Sunday.
This was essentially the first pre-season match for both teams. The visiting Ducks started off in more organized fashion, retaining possession better and driving into Stanford territory for prolonged periods. They opened the scoring with a penalty goal about seven minutes in. Stanford's big, powerful number eight did his best Jonah Lomu impression to thunder through the defense and score the game's first try at about 14 minutes. This young man was playing his first game of rugby!
At that stage of the game Oregon had more possession and more opportunities. But things shifted slowly. Stanford scored another try, as did Oregon, leaving the score 15-14 in favor of the visitors as the half approached. But a penalty awarded to Stanford near halftime was converted to pull the home team ahead by two. A very tight half: lots of running and passing, all at pace.
The second half was all Stanford. Maybe it was conditioning, I'm not sure, but they pulled away in convincing fashion and I could feel their confidence building. Stanford scored three tries (the first coming only four minutes in), two of which were converted, and a penalty goal. The visitors broke through to score a try at full-time.
A crisp match with good rapport on the field and a great effort by the players. Special thanks to John Pohlman for his very effective and helpful TJ work.
MONTEREY BAY ROUND-ROBIN
Monterey hosted a small tournament Saturday with Aptos, the Fog, and Alatini Saulala’s “Under 23” all stars. These were reportedly players from a variety of teams.
Chris Parkhouse was left to do all of these games on his own because of a very disappointing lack of volunteers to referee this pre-season.
The post-tourney pig roast in Prunedale at Brewmaster Ramsay Borthwick’s home (with Borthwick’s Best Bitter on tap) was a great way to kick off Halloween celebrations for all.
Report by Chris Parkhouse:
Had a real workout this past weekend. Not really practical to provide summaries of all the games but here are the scores:
Monterey 5 – Aptos 5 (20 min each way)
SF FOG 21 – Aptos 12 (20 min each way)
MIXED Aptos / Monterey 20 – Fog 0 (15 min each way)
ALATINI’S ALL STARS 17 – Mixed Aptos / Monterey 5 (15 min each way)
ALATINI’S ALL STARS 21 – Mixed Aptos / Monterey 0 (20 min game)
UPCOMING REFEREE AND TJ COURSES
Level One Referee Course: November 4, San Francisco; Dixon Smith
Level Two Referee Course: November 11/12, San Francisco; Bruce Carter
Touch Judging Levels 1-2-3: November 18, Sacramento; Bruce Carter
Touch Judging Levels 1-2-3: December 2, San Francisco; Mike Malone
Please let the instructor know if you are interested in any of these. Late registrants and even walk-ins can generally be accommodated.
THIS WEEK’S PHOTO
A mid-week, late October trip to Tuolumne Meadow in Yosemite National Park found no-one else on the gorgeous trails on and around Lembert Dome.
Well – almost no-one: there was a Pelican resting in a tree next to picturesque Dog Lake!
For the Senate