Thursday, March 23, 2006




This is the best part of Scriptoris’ job description: announcing promotions!

Aruna Ranaweera to B3
Joe Androvich to C2
Don Pattalock to C3
Michael Taylor to C3

Aruna has caught fire since moving here from SoCal. He just made C1 a few months ago and is now demonstrating the ability to make the toughest games look easy.

Joe Androvich, a law student at USF, is just beginning his refereeing career. He seems to have started in the middle, skipping C3 entirely. He’s not the first to do that – several Pelicans we could name skipped one or even two grades. Joe is certainly the first to skip a grade who was born in the eighties!

Don Pattalock will be known to many of our readers from his coaching days in Reno. He is a geologist for the State of Nevada.

Michael Taylor is a physician in the Sacramento area who devotes a lot of time and energy to high school and youth rugby.

All of these referees are honoring the rugby players of Northern California with their determination to improve, to facilitate safe and competitive matches.

Congratulations, gentlemen!


We would like to gauge the potential attendance should we offer a society meeting next month. It would be at the Golden Gate clubhouse, and by then we will have a professional-decorated Referee Changing Room to show off!

Paul Bretz and Mike Malone have video presentations ready to go. We can consider the second or third Wednesday or Thursday – April 12, 13, 19 or 20.

Please respond first if you would attend an April meeting and, if so, which date you would prefer.


The demands of a new medical practice mean that your scribe cannot begin to do justice to the friendships that bloomed over the past two weeks, nurtured by the greatest on-going exchange in the referee world.

Alas, a few paragraphs will have to suffice.

Have you ever been to the base of Yosemite Falls, looking up in awe at one of the wonders of this green Earth?

Have you ever been there at midnight? With the falls thundering aloud?

Have you ever been there under a full Moon, which at midnight rides the zenith of its ecliptic? With the light of that full Luna reflected and intensified by a crest of new-fallen snow?

Have you ever been there when the only souls around were a handful of brand-new and fast friends?

All of these stars aligned last week as Wednesday became Thursday, as cousins in rugby became friends in life, and as the pedestrian concerns of day to day existence became as nothing compared to the glory of God.


Thursday morning the day dawned clear and blue, the sky cold enough to break. Neither a zephyr stirred nor a molecule of precipitation fell: perfect conditions for conversation to carry onward and upward.

The dawn found a lucky thirteen trekkers breaking an uphill trail to Nevada Falls.

Some other, not quite so intrepid folks had ventured ahead and turned back, not being familiar enough with the route to forge ahead into the pristine whiteness. But when they saw the human snowplow that was the Vanilla Gorilla, Ray Schwartz, leading our party they confidently fell in behind.

It was a day of inspired exhaustion and inspirational exertions. It was day when beef jerky tasted like fillet mignon and trail mix like ambrosia, such was the intoxication of sensory overload.

It was day that all involved will remember fondly, no matter what wilderness adventures previously occupied their cerebral cortices.

The day ended, not at all an anticlimax, at the home of Frank and Clarice Merrill for corned beef and cabbage for most of the group.

Ian and Elaine Baggott had not had enough of frozen water and attended the Sharks’ game with Pete and Leah Smith.


Our guests were hosted and entertained in Sacramento and in the Bay Area by a dozen or more Pelicans, who took time off work that they will never regret and gave of time and treasure to further forge the bonds of rugby friendship.

At the risk of offending by leaving anyone out:

· All of the hosts who opened their homes and their hearts: Ray and Kat, Matt and Jennifer, Jim and Kirsten, Sam, Dixon and Christine, Pete and Leah, Tom, David and Helen, Frank and Clarice

· Sam Reagle and Teresa for the ‘insiders tour’ of San Quentin – including inside the death chamber

· Jerry Figone and Mike Strain of Cal for the tour of the Doc Hudson Fieldhouse, the closest thing to Twickenham’s Museum here in the former colonies

· Paul Berman for the four-hour San Francisco Deluxe Highlights Tour

· All who attended Saturday night’s banquet at the Pyramid Alehouse in Berkeley to honor our guests

· For the touch judges, referee coaches and evaluators who worked with the exchangees

· Joe Leisek for arranging and coordinating all of these activities

· Kudos Cum Laude to San Francisco/Golden Gate and the University of California for incredible rugby days on April 18th and 19th

· And especially to the rugby teams of Northern California for the privilege they allow us of refereeing their recreation and being part of their athletic lives


Like any diligent referee, Scriptoris looked up the CIPP registration of a player to whom he issued a yellow card for foul play on Saturday, a Lamorinda player.

Lamorinda has 180 players CIPPed. Jesuit has 169.

Got a moment when the boss isn’t looking? We might have a new parlor game: trying to find a team with more…


CALIFORNIA XV 29 – UC Santa Cruz 0 Referee: Ron Gore (EMRRS)

A game played under floodlights. This was a keenly contested game throughout with UC Berkeley taking a 22-0 lead in the first half. The second half saw both sides struggling to retain possession in the persistent rain, resulting in a number of scrummages. To credit both sides there was only one collapsed scrum in the game.

UC Berkeley scored one converted try in the second half and although Santa Cruz had a penalty opportunity to score points they chose to go for the line-out. Santa Cruz remained a strong team and had opportunities to score in the second half but lacked the speed in their backs to turn good possession into points.


JV: GOLDEN GATE 29 – Lamorinda 5 Referee: Nicola Reynolds (EMRRS)
Videographer: Bruce Carter

This was the first of three games played on the Job Corp pitch on Treasure Island.

Significant portions of the pitch were lower than the water table. That is, the ambient level of groundwater attained a higher elevation than the surface of the Earth in places.

The thing was underwater, fergawdsakes!

Nicola did a fine job with some eager and energetic youngsters. Her excellent coaching pedigree (Murray Felstead, now his American doppelganger) will no doubt pay dividends well into the future.

A highlight of the video consists of a player running in to fall on the loose ball. The ball is a couple of meters from touch. His momentum is directly in line with the center of mass of the spectators. The ball is floating on a couple of inches of water. The player is a bit of a wide-body.

The result would have earned raving tens all around at any cannon-ball competition at any YMCA swimming pool during the youth of the baby boomers.

Tri-Valley 17 – LAMORINDA SILVER 21 Referee: Bob Tustin (EMRRS)

Lamo B defeated Tri-Valley 21 - 17; a better played game than the aforementioned conditions would have suggested.

GOLDEN GATE U-23, 31 – St. Mary’s seconds 25 Referee: Bryant Byrnes

TI Rugby World Fair. Nifty game. To the extent a contested and spirited game can be a ''friendly'', this was it; SF/GG kids often go on to be SMC kids.

The skill level and team demeanor were high – good coaching shows. 19-6 at half for SF/GG, SMC scores the last one (a penalty try and conversion) to make it 25 to 31, but time runs out. I’ll bet the Gaels do a lot of tackling practice between now and the rematch.

Later that same day, on the main pitch:

Varsity: Golden Gate 27 – LAMORINDA 31 Referee: Bruce Carter

This was a vitally exciting match, with agony and ecstasy doled out to both sides.

Lamorinda opened with two tries in five minutes and two more not too much later. It was an opening much like the famous Bledisloe Cup match Andre Watson refereed in 2000 when New Zealand scored twenty-four in eight minutes.

Just like in that match, the home team came back slowly and confidently. It was 24 – 12 at the half and Golden Gate took the lead for the first time on a long run off an intercept with less than ten minutes to play.

And again, true to the model of that epic game in Sydney attended by over 100,000, the visitors scored a famous try with about a minute left to re-take the lead they’d held so long. After about the fourth of fifth sustained goal-line stand of the day, Lamorinda just managed to sneak the ball in against the ground and the goalpost pad, convert the try, and go ahead 31 – 27.

Gate came out furiously, right back down to the Lamo line, another intense goal-line stand – and, just as the referee’s watch was going beep-beep-beep, a player’s arms proved too short as he reached through the pile with the ball and dropped it the last centimeter, forward onto the goal line.

SF/Golden Gate 7 – HAYWARD 55 Referee: Joe Leisek
Touch Judges: Giles Wilson, Ray Schwartz
Fourth Official: Scott Wood
Evaluator: Paul Rosenzweig (Potomac)

A spectacular day at Treasure Island. The weather was fabulous, there was a large crowd (our East Midlands visitors and many injured Society members were among those in attendance), and there was lots of rugby. Hayward stormed SFGG throughout the match, though the home side gave their all. With Mose Timoteo directing traffic, the visitors spun the ball wide and often, moving forward with the ball for most of the match and scoring several tries. Special thanks to Paul Rosenzweig, our exchange evaluator from Washington DC. Paul is a delightful guy (and insightful evaluator) who was billeted by Bryant Byrnes.

Super League:

SF/GOLDEN GATE 56 – OPSB 0 Referee: Pat McNally
Touch Judges: Joe Leisek, Bruce Carter
Fourth officials: Giles Wilson, Scott Wood
Evaluator: Dixon Smith

Some you win, some you lose, some are born to sing the blues.

On this day, the Defenders of the Golden Gate came out of these two blowouts eight points to the good.

OLYMPIC CLUB 29 – West Sac 19 Referee: Pete Smith

What turned into an away game for both teams as the rains had been relentless all week, Olympic Club played host to West Sacramento in what turned out to be a thrilling game.

The clouds gave way to clear skies and mid sixty degree temperatures at what is commonly referred to as either Eden Park, as the field is on Eden Park Drive and Hesperian or the Pepsi Field, although I am sure neither is the true name of the field.

Ian Baggott, my East Mids Exchange referee/assessor, and I traveled up from San Jose to Hayward listening to some Kaiser Chiefs, apparently they were the new band of the year for 2005, and after a listen, I would likewise rate them quite highly.

The game kicked off a little late as some of the West Sac players and their uniforms had taken the wrong freeway and was a little late in arriving. Once there, the game was off to a cracker of a start. It looked more like a 7’s game than 15’s and one of the West Sac players even commented to me that they are more of a 7’s team. Needless to say it was wide open with both teams using every inch of field.

As I had suspected, the pace was not sustainable by either team and reduced itself to just an ‘ordinary’ great game. Olympic Club scored first and second opening up a 14-0 lead heading towards halftime, only to surrender a try as time in the first half had expired making the score at the break 14-7.

The second half had O Club playing a more consolidated game, keeping the ball in tight and not letting West Sac have any possession. They managed to push the score up to 29-7 and appeared to have the game well in hand with 10 minutes left and that is when the game started to look like the first 10 minutes. West Sac played with reckless abandon and managed two wide open multi-phased tries, tightening the score to 29-19 with just about 3 minutes left.

With under a minute to play and the full time whistle ready to be blown, O Club had a lineout in the West Sac end that turned into a maul. The maul was stolen by West Sac and off they went again. Under pressure, O Club committed a penalty, now well beyond full time and West Sac again made a charge at the line only to knock on five meters from the O Club try line-game over!

Final Score 29-19 Olympic Club over West Sac Lions.

Seconds: Olympic Club – West Sac Referee: Joe Androvich
Referee Coach: Ian Baggott (RFU)

Diablo Gaels 12 – SAN MATEO 29 Referee: Ron Gore
Evaluator: Bryan Porter

This game was played on a hot afternoon on a soft pitch with a few wet areas, particularly between the touch line and the 15m line on one side. Fortunately the players managed to avoid this area for much of the game. Tony Latu assisted me on one touch line, which he ran in front of the home supporters. Needless to say he was kept busy explaining to the vocal supporters the technicalities of the game.

Although Gaels took an early lead with a well worked try followed by an intercepted pass, which left everybody including yours truly momentarily heading in the wrong direction, San Mateo proved too be far too adept at using the impressively sized forwards to create driving mauls, sucking in the Gaels defence and leaving gaps through which to score. Diablo Gaels continued to play open rugby using their backs to good effect but San Mateo were not going to relinquish the lead once they were in front. The game saw a yellow card for each side for repeated infringements committed in the tackle area and both sides responded positively. A yellow card was given with 1.5 minutes to go for a silly push on a player by the San Mateo number 10. I think the highlight for Bryan Porter who was watching and had me wired was listening to Rap Music for part of the first half.

Seconds: Diablo Gaels 37 – SAN MATEO 43 Referee: Tony Latu

San Mateo traveled light, so they have to play their 'A players again. They faced a very young and promising Diablo Gales team. Hopefully they'll be around in years to come, and GO to practice.

San Mateo took control of the game early. But DG came back and scored 3 tries in two minutes. Unfortunately, it was too little too late.

BARACUS 42 – Fresno 32 Referee: Lois Bukowski
Field: Hayward All Weather Field

Rugby all day in Hayward as my game followed the O Club 1st and 2nd sides vs. West Sac. Pete and Joe both had good runs and tourist and friend Ian Baggott strolled the sideline dispensing coaching advice on request.

The boys of B.A. Baracus struck first with a penalty kick 31 minutes in and Fresno answered 5 minutes later. Both teams were pushing the onside limit and testing the ref. Fresno was first to the try line and Baracus tied it up with under 10 minutes to play. They closed out the scoring for the half with a beautiful pickup and rumble to the line off their scrum. Half Baracus 15 v 8.

The second half saw a barrage of scoring from both sides, hard hitting runs, slick evasive maneuvers and movement through the hands. Fresno scored more tries, but Baracus had a few penalty kicks and converted more. They held on as Fresno scored at fulltime.

Fun game!

SANTA ROSA 52 – Arroyo Grande 20 Referee: Bo Rodman
Referee Coach: Mike Malone
Venue: Jacob's Park

The visitors traveled with only 15 players and it only got worse from there. The home side took awhile to wake up - allowing Arroyo Grande to get out to an early 13-5 lead in the first ten minutes on 2 penalty kicks and a converted try. Santa Rosa started taking it straight at Arroyo Grande and the half ended at 28-13.

We were forced to go to uncontested scrums early in the second half when the Arroyo Grande hooker got 'mischanneled' and had to leave the field. The second half saw Santa Rosa turn up their pressure and finish out at 52-20.

There were a number of players who were not really interested in playing clean rugby; and, unfortunately I don't feel I did enough to encourage them to do so. Thanks to Mike Malone for telling me that there will be days like this and to use it as a learning experience.

Redding 15 – APTOS 29 Referee: Sam Reagle
Conditions: Sunny sky, muddy pitch.

With neither team consistently handling the ball adeptly, there were numerous scrums and few long multi-phase attacks. However, due to many strong individual efforts, there were some good runs and hard tackles. Redding scored first with a penalty kick from about 20 meters out, but Aptos scored an unconverted try 10 minutes later and a converted try just before the half ended to take a 12-3 lead into the second half.

The first 15 minutes of the second half was more of the same, a couple of passes and another knock-on or throw-forward to thwart the attack. On one occasion, one of the scrumhalfs knocked it on after his side stole the hook!

The last 25 minutes was a completely different game. Aptos got the ball out to their winger who made a nice run down the sideline before centering it for a converted try. Then they scored again in the corner after a multi-phase attack. Then, Redding scored between the posts using raw power straight up the middle. Then the Aptos winger scored again in the corner. And finally, Redding powered in a try off a 5 meter scrum after being held up at goal moments earlier.

PETALUMA 36 – Berkeley 0 Referee: Rob Hendrickson

Under beautiful skies but on a soggy pitch with long grass and standing water in several places, Petaluma came alive in the second half scoring 5 tries after a fairly static first half in which neither side could get any traction literally or figuratively. While Petaluma controlled the scrums and took advantage of a number of key chargedowns, Berkeley more than held their own in the lineouts and played tenacious defense. Petaluma's first try was scored after a chargedown with only 5 minutes left in the first half, under the posts and in a 4 inch deep puddle of standing water, the referee having to wait for the wave to subside before the ball became visible and the try could be confirmed.

Chico – Fog Referee: FORFEIT BY CHICO

MARIN over Humboldt by forfeit Referee: Rod Chance

Unfortunately, Humboldt had to forfeit due to the lack of numbers. It was decided to have a friendly game anyway. Humboldt was able to drag people from the sidelines, players from the previous high school game and out of the stands to put together a pretty good side that made Marin work for the win.

Monterey 0 – MISSION 54 Referee: Sandy Robertson

Mission's experience dominated Monterey's youth, running in 7 tries and booting 2 drop goals, including a wind-aided bomb that threatened to end up in the Central Valley.

VACAVILLE 18 – Reno 7 Referee: Mike Villierme

Nothing in the sky for the sun to hide behind, sun screen a necessity as the wind-swept pitch in Vacaville was almost totally dry. Couple of dead spots where sand had been applied made it tough on players and ref alike as you're motoring along on fast surface then, all of a sudden, bogged down "on the beach".

Vacaville is a well organised and practiced side. They have a young team and several players in the scrum towards the end of the match I recognized from high school games I ref'd last year.

Reno came with a total of sixteen players, one a woman. She played tight head and I was ready to call for uncontested scrums but I never had to.

Both sides run north and south, not much east and west and the Reno eight and right side flank do not pass! Vacaville scored on a couple driving trys and once from a break from a scrum about 22 out.

I was anxious about this match as these are two contenders in Division three, both have some reputation for dodgey play but aside from one yellow and several penalties for the usual offside, etc., both clubs played hard and mostly within the law.

My thanks to both sides for a splendid match. I won't say I wish it could have gone on forever, no one is happier at full time than me!

SANTA ROSA JC 82 – San Jose State 0 Referee: Kat Todd-Schwartz
At Petaluma

I was scheduled to referee Chico men v. Fog in Chico, but Chico sadly forfeited on Friday night. Therefore, I was re-assigned to Santa Rosa JC v. San Jose State, played in Petaluma. San Jose is struggling this year and were outmatched. The first half was played almost entirely in the San Jose half, which was, incidentally, the very muddy half. The one benefit to the one sided match was that we then got to play the second half on the dry side of the field (which was a relief as I was knackered from the first half). The game was notable in that no one called me Lois or accused me of refereeing worse than my husband.


NEW MEXICO 30 – Cal Poly 25 Referee: Aruna Ranaweera
Touch Judges: Ron Myers and David Williamson

The Southern California league champions took on upstart New Mexico in an exciting, evenly contested rugby match under sunny skies. From the start, it was clear that Cal Poly was not on top form, as they uncharacteristically dropped several balls and seemed to overrun their passing lanes.

New Mexico poached several Cal Poly passes and helped themselves to an early lead. Cal Poly attacked wide through their backs, but did not have the support and continuity to assert control. New Mexico's most effective weapon was their Number 8, who often ran through multiple defenders in midfield before offloading the ball to his support. Cal Poly's dominant player was also their Number 8 (captain), but unforced Cal Poly errors often nullified his efforts.

New Mexico dominated the set pieces, winning numerous Cal Poly scrums and stealing several errant lineouts, which often led to long breaks by the UNM Number 8. The lead changed several times in the match, but in the end, New Mexico held on for a deserving victory and place in the Cal Invitational Finals.

CALIFORNIA 67 – Colorado 27 Referee: Jim Crenshaw
Touch Judges: Ron Myers and David Williamson

We had a real barn burner in the first half of the Cal versus University of Colorado semi-final on Saturday.

Both teams came out ready to play, trading tries through out the first half. First one team would score and then the other would answer right back, with a total of 9 tries scored in the first half, 5 by Cal and 4 by Colorado. The only difference was Cal converted 3 of their tries, but Colorado only converted one. Score at halftime Cal 31 Colorado 22.

The second half was a different story, as Cal scored 6 tries to only 1 for Colorado.


CAL POLY 37 – Colorado 17 Referee: Rich Anderson
Touch Judges: Ron Myers, Ron Gore (EMRRS)
Evaluator: David Williamson

The Consolation Match of the 10th Annual Cal Invitational was played on Sunday in Berkeley. Many referees, past and present, congregated at the field referee pit, also conveniently known as the Beer Gardens.

Cal Poly was the sharper team early in the match, capping many successful forward movements with long passes to the wings for tries.

The match slowed a bit in the middle, as both teams seemed to be showing the effects of their 2nd match in two days. Poly never trailed and regained form late in the match to cap the scoring.

It should be noted, that after the match and throughout the afternoon, referees, both past and present, continued their heady discussions in the Beer Garden, er, referee pit.


CALIFORNIA 55 – New Mexico 7 Referee: Pete Smith
Touch Judges: Ed Todd, Bruce Carter
Evaluator: Paul Rosenzweig (Potomac and MARFU)

Sunday was off the Witter Field in Berkeley for the finals of the Cal Invitational between the University of New Mexico and California. Sorry to cut straight to the final score of 55-7 in favor of California on this one, but considering the way the game went I wanted to talk about a singular aspect of the game from a referee perspective-Touch Judges.

It is not often that you are blessed with touch judges much less two of the quality that I was given on Sunday. Dr. Bruce Carter, our President, B1 referee and leader in touch judge innovations, and Mr. Ed Todd, Former National Panel Referee and current National Referee Development Officer; both men of which I have the utmost respect for and both of whom have generously given their time to me over the years in an effort to help me improve as a referee. Before the game, I confessed to Mr. Todd that I am seldom nervous from the crowd or the game itself, but rather an more so when there are a preponderance of other referees present who likely will be watching me perhaps more closely that the game itself or if my father is in attendance. As an ex-player, coach and manager, he tends to watch me with a critical eye. Mr. Todd quickly responded with a joke and I was beginning to feel a little more as ease.

Fortunately for me I had the TJ’s of the caliber I did as the game required their assistance on many critical decisions. By the assessors count they made three critical decisions, including a try, a non-try, and a red card. I would add a penalty that was awarded five meters out that resulted in a try, so by my count four critical decisions! This brings up two issues in my mind, the first of which, Touch Judging, if done properly, by a true team of three, is just that- a TEAM of three. Three people working together to provide the best product possible for the players and subsequently the fans. I think as a referee, you have an obligation to try and make the game better. I would go farther and say that as a team of three officials you are almost required to make the game better. As a kid growing up and going to my dad’s rugby games, I remember being given the touch flag (most of the time it was a bright colored sweatshirt or something someone else didn’t need) as early as ten years old! How in the world is a ten year old really going to help a referee or make the game any better? Obviously, the days of handing a kid on the sideline a touch flag I hope are over, however in many cases we have not come that far from those days. Primarily as a result of a referee shortage in general, more games are not officiated with a proper team of officials than are. It is typically only the higher level matches or games played at venues where there is more than one game and subsequently more than one referee present that get referee touch judges. I don’t think that only higher level games merit touch judges as it is seldom the level of play that dictate the need for additional officials. If you are reading this and are not already a referee or Certified Touch Judge, I urge you to consider taking the Touch Judge Certification course and make yourself available even if only to run touch at games after or before ones you are participating in.

The second point that I had to consider is “why did I need so much help from my Touch Judges on critical decisions?” My assessor asked me after the game what I felt was a weakness in my performance on the day and my response was my reliance on my touch judges. I had told Mr. Carter and Mr. Todd before the game that I would be looking to them a lot for help, but even I hadn’t guessed that I would have needed as much assistance as I did. I thought a lot about why and came to two conclusions, one good one not so good. The good is that I had full faith and trust in the decisions of my touch judges and was willing to delegate full authority to them using them as an extra pair of eyes. The not so good is that perhaps I trusted them too much and got lazy to the extent that I did not get around to the ‘other side’ of things to see what I was missing and relied on their eyes to see for me. Luxury?! Or the way it should be??

Regardless, I think the moral is if you are lucky enough to get touch judges, use them, but be careful to not stop doing the things you need to do as a referee. Don’t take them for granted, but don’t get lazy either and count on them


STANFORD women 125 – Nevada 0 Referee: Sandy Robertson

Make up of league match from February 18

Stanford's attacking game hit on all cylinders with their running angles and well timed offloads too much for the Reno women. The Reno women competed throughout the contest, adapted defensively, and in the 2nd half maintained some possession and made Stanford work harder for its scores.

CALIFORNIA women 39 – Dartmouth 0 Referee: Kat Todd-Schwartz
Treasure Island

Dartmouth is on a fairly ambitious tour and next heads down to SoCal for three matches. The score was 15 to 0 at the half, with five more Cal tries in the second half. Dartmouth pressured well and forced Cal backline handling errors in the first half. Cal was able to adapt in the second half and we had more continuity. I issued one yellow card to Dartmouth for team repeat infringements at the tackle. The Dartmouth coach kindly advised me after the game that she found that decision "disturbing"; due in part to the fact that Cal were allegedly infringing as much if not more, and that the binned player had just been substituted on. However, the coach then complimented my positioning! Overall, I took her opinion to be that I was in the correct position, but I just did not do enough once I was there!

After the game, I returned to Fisherman's Wharf, where I had dropped East Mids visitors Nicola and Gary for the Alcatraz tour. The tourists were happy, especially Gary, who was not convinced earlier he would be let back off the island. We then went to Cal, for the last 25 minutes of Pete's game (the final). We then retired to the Williamson's for a late afternoon repast. After being thoroughly entertained by tourist Ron, it was time for me to return to Sacto. Admittedly, I was very sad to say goodbye to our East Mid friends. That is the trouble with making friends from so far away; you almost never get to see them.

(Unless of course, you are a jet setting rugger who can just 'pop' over the pond for things like weddings.)


Hayward 15 – OLYMPIC CLUB 25 Referee: Ron Gore (EMRRS)

This was an evenly contested game with both sides displaying their particular strengths, which for Hayward was up front and the backs of Olympic. Olympic posted the first score from a penalty and by half time has a comfortable lead. Hayward used their forwards to good effect to narrow the gap. In the second half Olympic displayed an impressive back move resulting in a try and giving them a lead of 25-10. With then used their forwards to good effect to come within 10 points of the visitors. Olympic then had to withstand a relentless forward effort from Hayward for 11 minutes and it was only a lack of concentration that allowed Olympic to turn over the ball and clear their lines. A silly piece of play by a Hayward player resulted in an early yellow which may have contributed to the overall good discipline. This game was a pleasure to referee.


Southern California had asked me to stay the weekend and referee @ Sunday's Youth tournament in Fullerton. In the final Alan Petty’s Elsie Allen team played Shawnigan Lake from British Columbia. Elsie Allen were victorious 22-7. They controlled the match from the beginning playing hard nosed, smash mouth rugby. The Canadians would have preferred to play a finesse game but were unable to do so thanks to hard tackling and running. Elsie’s loose head and hooker are both very talented and stole 4 tight heads at the scrum.

On Saturday OMBAC played host to St Louis. OMBAC won 55-22. OMBAC is fast and has great support players. Saturday's match against SFGG will be a fantastic game.


NorCal High School Girl's Scrimmage:
ALAMEDA RIPTIDE 41 – Berkeley 0 Referee: Paul Berman
Venue: Encinal HS, Alameda, Kick-off 11:40.
Weather: Sunny & bright
Comments: Both teams played with a lot of heart.

Highlight/Play of the Game: Brushing off the cobwebs with the ladies from our neighbouring town. Watching so many rookies getting their "feet wet" and first taste of our magical game.

Points spread: Alameda – 7 tries, 3 conversions

Friday, March 17

MONTGOMERY 28 – Sonoma Valley 12 Referee: Joe Leisek
Hanna Boys Center, Sonoma

A game played very close in the first half, but Montgomery used size and strength to advantage in the second 35 minutes. Both teams have improved immensely since last season.

Silicon Valley 5 – LIVE OAK 10 Referee: Gary Malpas
Referee Coach: Tom Martinez

PENINSULA GREEN 53 – Aptos 12 Referee: John Pohlman

A bit of a playoff atmosphere at Woodside High School this past Saturday when Peninsula Green hosted Aptos. The winner of this game would still in the playoffs and loser would be eliminated.

Peninsula Green is led by captain and center Zack along with #9 Travis. They both scored at least two tries. And seemed to always keep Peninsula Green moving forward.

Peninsula Green controlled most of the first half leading 31-0 until Aptos scored a late morale-boosting try at the end of the half.

The second half started with another try by Aptos and it looked the Beach Dogs were working themselves back into the game. Minutes later #9 Travis picked at the base of a scrum and sprinted in to stop the momentum shift.

Aptos did manage another score. Final Peninsula Green 53 Aptos 12.

DE LA SALLE 45 – Piedmont 7 Referee: Chris Parkhouse

Very much a game of two halves. DLS went in at half time with a 31 - 0 lead after making the most of some missed tackles and one or two errors near the goal line. Piedmont came out in the second half having put the first 35 minutes behind them and gave as good as they got. It was very evenly matched in the second half the deciding try and conversion coming in the last seconds of the game.

LOS ALTOS 41 – College Park 15 Referee: Bart Nielsen

Evenly played first half (12-8) but LA came out in the 2nd running and CP looked tired. No incidences to speak off. A clean game.

From Friday, March 10:

Cougars 0 – JESUIT 48 Referee: Ron Gore (EMRRS)

The high score for the visitors does little to justify the efforts of the home side. Del Campo although outplayed did not give up and continued to play positive rugby and tackled relentlessly throughout. Had they not done so the score would have been much higher. The discipline throughout the game from both sides was a credit to the players.

The pitch was well marked out with the only omission being a warning sign for the swamp at one end between the 22m, goal line and the 15m lines. Fortunately only one player decided to venture through this area on his way to scoring and as I had had the necessary inoculations I confidently followed and reached the other side unscathed. The game ended as the hail began.


Under the revised qualification system, the USA opens its World Cup campaign against West Indies champion Barbados on Saturday, July 1, in Santa Clara.

We are so lucky!



“Where never is heard a discouraging word.”

We dare you to find a dour countenance among this band of brothers and sisters:

Standing: Kat Todd-Schwartz, Ray Schwartz, Nicola Reynolds, Elaine Baggott, Ron Gore, David Williamson, Dixon Smith, Ian Baggott

Not standing: Karen Tustin, Bob Tustin, Leah Martinez, Bruce Carter, Gary Malpas

Otherwise supported: Two pelicans


For the Senate
Pelicus Scriptoris

Monday, March 13, 2006





The San Francisco/Golden Gate RFC has been kind enough to allow us the use of their clubhouse facilities for our society meeting this Tuesday evening.

The referee development committee will meet at six, with the general society meeting at seven. We will finish at nine.

Out guests of honor will sing for their supper. The first hour will consist of presentations by our East Midlands colleagues. Then will ensue presentations by Paul Bretz on running lines; David Williamson on coaching conferences and training techniques; and Mike Malone with some instructional video on attackers offside at the ruck.

Our foreign friends will also be ‘handed off’ by their Sacramento area hosts to their Bay Area hosts at the meeting.

Directions to the clubhouse are at the bottom of this missive. Don’t miss this, our last scheduled meeting of the season!


We need two touch judges at Witter Field at the same time as the society meeting.

Cal will be playing UC Santa Cruz at 7 PM Tuesday evening. Ron Gore of the East Mids will be refereeing. If you would like to run touch for our guest, please respond.


Chris Saini and Matt Ward of the Vancouver Island RRS joined us for a long weekend March 9-12. Pelicans will remember Matt from last year’s exchange.

They were met at SFO by Paul Berman on Thursday. Paul hosted Chris and Joe Leisek hosted Matt.

Both visitors refereed in the Redwood Empire high school league on Friday. Each then did a club match on Saturday, and Matt did the final of the Pat Vincent Cup on Sunday.

Here is Joe Leisek’s report:

Welcome to California: Rain, Snow, Sleet, Hail, and Rugby

It rained when Matt Ward arrived in Petaluma on Thursday evening. It hailed in the morning when we drove to the Russian River vineyards, and sleet fell as he refereed a high school game in Santa Rosa late that afternoon. When we drove home Friday, snow was visible on the hills just east of Petaluma. On Sunday, in the cold rain at St. Mary's College, Matt's colleague Chris Saini dismissed the conditions, saying: Ah, this is beach weather back home.

It was great to see Matt again. I had hosted him last year, along with Sam Langridge. A 23-year-old med student from Victoria, Matt is a young referee who can handle men's first division rugby. He works hard on his refereeing and his studies. He's a fine young man who enjoys himself and has a great sense of humor. He took an interest in my kids and engaged them in conversations about school and their own interests. A great billet! I really enjoyed meeting Chris as well.

On Thursday, Tracy and I prepared dinner for Matt. Late Friday morning Matt and I met Paul Berman and Chris Saini at Porter Creek Winery, in the Russian River vineyards. We stopped at two other nearby wineries, then had lunch in downtown Santa Rosa. We went our separate ways for high school games: Paul and Chris to Sonoma; me and Matt in Santa Rosa. Friday night was spent at home with me, Matt, Tracy, and my daughter Katie.

Saturday was a rugby day and a dinner and friendship evening. After the rugby, Paul had organized a dinner at the New Zealand Restaurant and Pub in Alameda. Our Victoria guests were joined by me and my son Will, and Paul and his wife Ana Abraldes. It was a great evening for six good friends.

Sunday was also a rugby day, as I refereed the consolation of the Pat Vincent Cup and Matt handled the final. Conditions were miserable, but Matt did well to produce an entertaining match. Afterwards, the three of us hurriedly toweled off and changed clothes in the parking lot, in the rain, and made a mad dash for SFO. We made it 45 minutes before departure time.

[Editor’s Note: the reports of the PVC games are further down in this edition of HP.]

Matt and Chris are two great guys who certainly brought a lot of pleasure to me during the weekend, and it was great to see Paul and Ana.

And there was rugby:

Friday, March 10

Jacobs Park, Santa Rosa

SANTA ROSA HS 24 – Rancho Cotate HS 5 Referee: Matt Ward

Touch Judge: Joe Leisek

Santa Rosa proved far too experienced and organized for Rancho. The outcome was never in doubt. To their credit, Santa Rosa overcame the conditions for a well-played match. (Conditions being rain and sleet.)

The reports on Chris Saini’s games are by Paul Berman:

Match Report: Fri., 10 Mar 2006

NorCal High School Boys:

Windsor-Healdsburg 5 – SONOMA DRAGONS 15 Referee: Chris Saini

Vancouver Island, British Columbia, Canada

Venue: Hanna Boys Center, Sonoma, Kick-off 17:05

The field was scattered with boulders (I believe late Mesozoic) and grass was 8 inches in some areas. The field keeper had one too many before lining the pitch. I was hoping for snow so we could toboggan the end to end grade. Oh ya... there were no posts.

Improvisationally inclined Touch Judges were substituted for the uprights. It was hard to keep a straight face when kicks at goal were on. The severity of the field's character was matched only by the home coach's generosity and graciousness.

Weather: Four seasons in one day, including freezing rain, falling as snow at higher elevations on surrounding hills.

Comments: Both teams played with a lot of heart. Dragons’ hooker showed exemplary leadership and skill for high school Rugby. Poor tackling is what killed W-H in the end.

Highlight/Play of The Game: Early in second half. Dragons 10 scores go ahead try on 50m run. Excellent pace and multiple changes of direction.

Points spread: Sonoma - 3 tries, Windsor – Healdsburg - 1 try

Match Report: Sat., 11 Mar 2006

NorCal Div. III Men

Berkeley RFC 3MISSION 59 Referee: Chris Saini

Vancouver Island, British Columbia, Canada

Venue: Treasure Island, San Francisco, Kick-off 13:00

Pitch was very short and narrow with muddy patches.

Weather: Sunny with a slight wind out of the west.

Comments: It was a rather lopsided affair. However, both teams showed great restraint and class to not let the game get chippy (niggle et al). Mission scrum was completely dominant. After a Berkeley front row injury (early in the second half) we moved to uncontested scrums. 7 converts on 9 tries for Mission. An exceptional kicker? Well, he was good but all but one of the seven converted tries was scored under the uprights. It was excellent running by Mission. Berkeley was unable to tackle the speedy and elusive Mission backs.

Highlight/Play Of The Game: Last Try of the match - Mission #4 at 3m in the corner makes excellent underarm pass while being tackled into touch. Streaking flanker catches and scores it. It was selfless and svelte all at once. For the more technical fans - Mission's last score of the first half was a textbook pushover try.

Points spread: Berkeley - 1 penalty goal, Mission - 9 tries, 7 conversions

San Mateo 25 – SF/GOLDEN GATE SL 32 Referee: Paul Bretz

Referee Coach: Bryan Porter

San Mateo Played host to the SFGG Superleague team in its last preseason match. The hosts gave them exactly what they needed. SFGG won 32-25. At one point the super league side was down to 13 players. However the shortage was not the result of sin bin's as one might expect: at one point in the second half two players went off to stop open wounds. The new coach for SFGG decided to further test his players by making them play short. While short the defenders of the Golden Gate stopped the San Mateo attack.

Hayward 15 – OLYMPIC CLUB 25 Referee: Ron Gore (East Mids)

Seconds: Hayward – Olympic Club Referee: Jim Crenshaw

No report received.

WEST SAC LIONS 44 – SF/Golden Gate 18 Referee: Aruna Ranaweera

Evaluator: Dixon Smith

Rumors of bad weather were unfounded as the match was played under sunny skies, but on a rather bumpy field.

Both teams ran well with the ball, but West Sac had more possession and better support, offloading the ball with ease at the tackle, reminiscent of sevens rugby.

Despite fielding only 17 players, SFGG held their own in the set pieces and were able to keep the score close at the half, 19-11 in favor of West Sac.

In the second half, West Sac continued to pass the ball adventurously, with their flyhalf often switching the direction of attack following forward charges led by their number 8. The home team's forwards and backs linked up well to notch several exciting tries and could have scored more except for a number of knock-ons with the goal line in sight.

To their credit, SFGG were persistent to the end and were rewarded with a try in the final minute of play following several phases.

Final tally: West Sac won comfortably, 7 tries to 2. Overall, this was a fun match featuring two teams that play entertaining rugby. Much thanks to Dixon Smith for his time and advice as evaluator.

DIABLO GAELS 47 – Seahawks 8 Referee: Matt Ward (Vancouver Island)

Evaluator: Mike Malone

Touch Judge: Bo Rodman

Seconds: Diablo Gaels 26 – SEAHAWKS 45 Referee: Bo Rodman

Using at least a dozen recycled players from the first game the Seahawks came out strong and determined in the second-side match. Despite fatigue, San Jose was able to kick effectively for territorial gains and got out to a 28-0 halftime lead.

A tale of two halves (was that Dickens?) After apparently waking up at halftime, the hosts came out heated in the second half. Using strong driving mauls off lineouts and rucks the Gaels were able to close the score to 2 tries. At this point the more experienced Seahawks shook off the fatigue and ran the final to 45-26.

I would say that it is disappointing to watch a young and relatively inexperienced second-side club get outclassed by a first-side playing their second match of the day. In all fairness, I watched the reverse of this a few weeks ago when San Jose hosted San Mateo. It would be better if all clubs traveled with two full sides…

Baracus 7 – SANTA ROSA 20 Referee: John Pohlman

After refereeing a high school game in the morning. I arrived at Santa Rosa's third field around 12:15. Baracus was supposed to host the game but felt their home fields would not be opened. Santa Rosa agreed to supply a field. Pete's Sake #1 and Elsie Allen #2 fields were not up to big game form. So the game was moved down the street to a park field. Most teams would be happy with this field as their permanent pitch.

It was a surprisingly nice day for rugby. Around 60 degrees and partly sunny. Santa Rosa had the full regulation pitch roped off and in very good shape. Baracus was slowly arriving. The 101 had been closed all morning due to a 28 car pile-up resulting from snow and ice on the freeway.

Kick off at 1:15.

The game was very competitive throughout. Except for a few unforced handling errors and some whining by a couple of Santa Rosa's forwards. Both teams played hard, aggressive rugby.

The first half was controlled mostly by Santa Rosa. # 2 and Captain Tyler Ahlorn scored the first try late in the half. Hard running center Chris Elkin scored at half time to make the score 17-0 Santa Rosa.

The second half saw some great scoring opportunities stopped by great defense and a few fumbled passes.

Santa Rosa fullback Aaron Anthony scored his 10 point of the game with a penalty kick early in the half.

At 73 minutes Winger Perry Pickert was rewarded with a lovely long try, handled by half a dozen Baracus players.

With the momentum shifting, Baracus's ran out of time. Final Santa Rosa 20 Baracus 7.

Thanks for some really good rugby.

Second: Baracus – Santa Rosa outcome unknown

John Pohlman says:

“They were getting organized when it started sleeting. I begged off due to all sorts of reasons. One of the first side players had a whistle and seemed capable.”

SACRAMENTO 35 – Arroyo Grande 15 Referee: Tony Latu

Saturday is always a RUGBY day, great weather with great game. I picked up Ian Baggott from Sac State en-route to the Del Paso Height in Sac. We arrived there as the Sac men marked the field. Since Arroyo Grande traveled light, second game was questionable. But as we arrived at the field Kiwi Terry informed us that there will be a second game. The old boys vs Sac B team. I was happy that Ian didn't travel thousands of miles not to ref a game.

The first game was evenly matched at the first fifteen minutes; then Sac took control. But AG kept on trucking and they scored 8 points at the break. Sac liked to run and spread the ball wide, and it worked against the AG defense. AG forwards worked hard all day, but at the end it was Sac who won the game. Sac-35, AG-15.

Great feed at the Street of London by Mason and the Sac Boys. My day or night ended at Ray and Kat's house. Food, beer and two great games, Ireland vs Scotland and Chiefs vs Crusaders.

Seconds: Sacramento 27 – ARROYO GRANDE Loosely configured B 30

Referee: Ian Baggott (East Mids)

TJ: None Whatsoever

At some dodgy inner city Sac field (Hagginwood Park)

Following on from the strongly-contested, though relatively unskilled, A-team match ably refereed by Northern Cal Society ref Tony Latu, demonstrating that a good ref with only the one functioning knee can quite adequately control 30 athletes of such ability, we had the unseemly spectacle of my first match on USA soil.

You might have thought it was concern about the safety issues arising from the entirely ungrassed top right corner of the pitch shared with the baseball diamond that held them back, but not at all. As they saw me strip off my jogger-bottoms it became clear to the players that 30 would be far too many for a man in my condition to handle and accordingly many threw themselves into reverse gear, leaving only 3 men from the visitors to take on 11 from Sac. It looked like early beer-time until they agreed to share some players and then, feeling sorry for so few men to cover such a big field area, 6 more volunteers were found, giving us numbers for a 10-a-side contest.

(In all truth, I believe the last six really didn't fancy the prospect of standing by themselves in the neighborhood - they had after all been going in groups of minimum three-at-a-time to the nearby restrooms, the latter marked by profuse gang-related graffiti and clearly-recent gunshot damage.)So I told them 15 minutes each way and ignored my watch until even the two Tongans were crying out for water. OK half-time, 22 to Sac, 10 to "Arroyo" and pals.

In the 2nd period, Arroyo cranked it up and scored 4 good tries to 1 to take the win. 1 conversion from 11 drop-goal attempts is probably a fair reflection of the skill levels.

Everyone happy and off to the "Streets of London" for chili and chips and beer. Thank you Sac Men and Arroyo Grande.

APTOS 15 – Monterey 5 Referee: Larry Freitas

Aptos prevailed in this game at Preston Park in Marina (Fort Ord) by a score of 15-5 over "visiting" Monterey. The Beach Dogs were dominant in the scrums and lineouts, though Monterey put on a good fight, especially in the second half.

After two first half tries, Aptos lead 12-0. I was anticipating a flood of scoring for the Beach Dogs in the second half, as they would have the strong wind at their backs, though going uphill, and Monterey looked vulnerable as they were having a hard time keeping or using any ball, and in defense were having trouble containing Aptos fullback Tucker Sanders, who made some brilliant counter-attacking runs. Monterey kept Aptos out of the try zone for the second half, and late in the match Monterey's Tita Latu scored from a pass out of a ruck that fromed just metres from Aptos' line after Monterey decided to run a penalty from five metres following an infringement by an Aptos forward. A few minutes before full time Aptos got three points from a penalty kick by hooker Mark Horbin, one of the original players left from the team’s inaugural '96-'97 season.

Final note: in this game the goal line was where the goal posts stand, which left for some of the shortest in-goals one can imagine, maybe four metres deep. No one came in contact with the cyclone fence just beyond the dead ball line during the match.

Berkeley 3 – MISSION 59 Referee: Chris Saini (Vancouver Island)

Evaluator: Jake Rubin

VACAVILLE 37 – Marin 7 Referee: Rod Chance

Vacaville had control of the game from the start. Their strong running and kicking paved the way for us sound victory. All in all, it was great a rugby with two good spirited teams that played hard rugby.

STANISLAUS HARLOTS 43 – Redding 0 Referee: Bob Tustin (East Mids)

Referee Coach: Matt Eason

Fog 28 – RENO 45 Referee: Bruce Bernstein

Seconds: STANFORD women 17 – CALIFORNIA 19 Referee: Deb Hart

Videographer: Bruce Carter

The first of four Cal/ Stanford rugby matches began with the Cal women second side against the Stanford women second side. The pitch looked in amazingly good condition considering the amount of rain that poured in the last few days and luckily there was no rain when I got to Stanford. The rugby gods showed their favour on the pitch from heaven.

The two teams battled in mid-field for most of the first fifteen minutes. It was about that time when the Stanford hooker came off the field with a serious ankle injury. Ten minutes later Stanford brought in the first try of the game and converted the kick. Cal fought on and scored two tries in the last ten minutes of the first half and converted both kicks.

Cal scored one more time in the 56th minute but didn't make the conversion. Stanford scored again from the wing and didn't make the conversion. One more try and conversion by Stanford would tie the game. Stanford pressed into the Cal defense and got the ball to the backs and brought it in for their last try in the corner in the 79th minute. The kick, however, was a bit short and Cal won the match 19 to 17.

Best wishes and speedy recovery to the Stanford hooker with the ankle injury.

Thanks to Bruce for his coaching and videotaping of my game.

STANFORD women 32 – California 15 Referee: Bruce Carter

Goff on Rugby’s #1 ranked team played #13 in front of a loud crowd on an unexpectedly sunny day at the Steuber Rugby Stadium – and the underdogs held the lead for a good portion of the game.

Cal Wing Marlee Hahn is a very good player who scored all three of the Bears’ tries. Twice she snuck into the left corner, once after a lovely chip kick when she realized there were three defenders to beat. She, and the bounce of the ball, beat them all.

Deb Hart was invaluable to the referee, being in the corner on both occasions to ascertain that the touchline tightrope hadn’t been inappropriately tip-toed.

But Stanford’s backs, who threatened to break out repeatedly, eventually did and the score mounted in their favor.

Stanford 12 – CALIFORNIA 67 Referee: Pete Smith

Touch Judges: Tom Wright, Bruce Carter

Saturday morning I woke up to a day that I had circled on my calendar since getting assigned the games. It started with East Palo Alto at Live Oak, two of the top teams in the Skyhawk conference. (Report below in the High School section.)

From there it was off to Stanford for the ‘Big Game’ with California. The games final result it probably not a shocker to anyone that follows college rugby as Cal is probably the best team in the US at any level. That said; I have to take my hat of to the men from Stanford. The halftime score was 24-7 and it seemed closer than that. The final score was 67-12 with Stanford managing another try in the second half and if not for a knock-on at full time would have scored a third. Admittedly, Cal sat a few of their top players and still ultimately controlled the game, but Stanford played hard for all 82 minutes. I overheard one of the Cal coaches after the game complimenting the Stanford captain on his team’s performance and his general disbelief in Stanford’s record to date. I would agree with the coach and would assert that if Stanford played the rest of their schedule the way they played against Cal, their record would be substantially different.

From a referee’s perspective, I was having a miserable time with the scrums all day. My AM high school game was, likewise, a bit of a mess in the scrum department. I attributed some of it to the wet conditions and still more to the contentious nature of the games, but that is not sufficient enough excuse for the way the scrums went for me on Saturday. I talked with Bruce Carter my TJ at halftime and worked with him throughout the game as my ‘problem’ in that game were the props on his side (one of which was a hooker playing out of position and the other a bit of a grizzled veteran trying every trick in the book). It got to the point where I was dreading awarding scrums. I got through it just the same and probably learned yet another thing or two about managing the situation and spotting possible tactics.

Seconds: Stanford 0 – CALIFORNIA 116 Referee: Joe Androvich

Videographer: Bruce Carter

The Cal Seconds looked like a well oiled machine, as usual.

SAC STATE 25 – Santa Rosa JC 5 Referee: Nicola Reynolds (East Mids)

TJ: Kat Todd-Schwartz

Referee Coach: David Williamson

After a fairly leisurely match on Friday, I was fooled into thinking that Saturday's match would be fairly straightforward, but these boys were fast! I spent most of the match trying to catch them, with Sac state scoring all of their 25 points in the first 40 minutes. Dave gave me some much-needed advice at half time, after which Santa Rosa fought back but never really threatened the score-line. The game was faster and in warmer conditions than I am used to, but I enjoyed the game and I think the players did too. In any event, it passed without any incidents. Many thanks to Dave for his advice and also to Kat for her excellent touch judging and being my second pair of eyes!

Sacramento State – Santa Rosa JC Referee: Kat Todd-Schwartz

This game may not have been played. At press time we are uncertain.


Intro by Sam Reagle:

Because the weather report predicted bad weather, we (Gary Malpas of East Midlands and I) decided to leave at 9am for our 100 mile trek over the Sierra Nevadas for Gary's 2pm kickoff. Surprisingly, it was beautiful in the high country with several feet of fresh powder everywhere except the road, which was clear and dry. Upon arriving in Reno about 10:30, we decided to check out the nearby sights (casinos). After watching a circus act and learning to play craps, we headed for UNR.

Nevada 6 – UC DAVIS 24 Referee: Gary Malpas

Referee Gary Malpas continuing tour

Touch Judges: Sam Reagle & Dylan Gill

Weather: Snowing

Well this was an interesting game for more than playing reasons, my host Sam Reagle had done some pre condition checks via the web and phone calls as California was having some unseasonably cold weather, just to make sure the game was going ahead, and not hearing anything to the contrary we set off to Reno arriving in plenty of time this meant we could enjoy the local casinos, certainly a sight and sound that I was not used to because the only casinos I had been to back home would have fitted into most of the buffet restaurants that were inside.

Arriving at the pitch, the clouds looked heavy but high and it was dry, but after doing the pre match chats and boot checks the weather had decided to take a turn for the worst and the snow had started, both Sam Reagle and Dylan Gill ran touch which was a great relief as the snow by kick off meant that we were playing pretty much on a white canvas.

This meant that most of the first half of the game we spent guessing where the lines were, and the snow fell fairly steadily through the 1st half, someone had the foresight to turn on the floodlights which helped as it was pretty dark out there.

The game early on had Davis taking an early lead by scoring a converted try and looked in command to start off with but after making a penalty kick UNR had fought hard to be well in the match at half time only 3-7 down.

The snow had stopped falling for the second half but a blanket was still covering the pitch. Davis stepped up their pace and scored two unanswered tries before UNR pulled back another penalty, the game was well competed with two well drilled and disciplined teams Davis scored one more converted try at the death to make the final score UNR 6-24 Davis. Both sides would do well and flourish if they were based in the UK.

Seconds: Nevada 24 – UC DAVIS 32 Referee: Sam Reagle

Touch Judges: Gary Malpas & Dylan Gill

Weather: Changeable

By the time the "B" game kicked-off at 3:45pm, the snow had stopped and it warmed up to 32 degrees. The Aggies took control early, scoring their first try 6 minutes in and their second 8 minutes later. While attempting the conversion, I noticed the UCD kicker was wearing a knee brace with hard plastic buckles. This caught me by surprise as I didn't see it during my pregame inspection and had told the team specifically that illegal equipment was bin-able. When told that he had to insulate it or remove it, he asked how long he had to make the repair, "10 minutes", I said as I displayed my yellow card.

Within a minute, the UNR prop committed his third penalty and it was 14 on 14. After both teams returned to full strength, Davis scored again at the 26 minute mark and twice more to end the first half up 27-0. In the second half, it's hard to tell if Davis let up or UNR buckled down, but the next three tries belonged to UNR and it was 27-19 with 18 minutes to play. It was clear that the tackling improved on both sides as there was phase after phase after phase, but no scoring for the next 12 minutes when UCD earned another try to go up 32-19. It would have been easy for UNR to pack it in with only 5 minutes to go, but they didn't, scoring a try at the 78 minute mark to finish off the scoring. Both teams played with pride and control and in the spirit of the game.

HUMBOLDT STATE 12 – Maritime Academy 7 Referee: Sandy Robertson

With Humboldt's fields under inches of water the game was switched to Cal Maritime's pitch which had only a couple of spots where the water was even an inch deep. Nevertheless it was a match where everyone involved was carrying a bit more weight at the end of the match than at the start.

Maritime started off kicking for territory and in the 2nd minute was awarded a scrum 35 m out and 20 m in from the left sideline. The scrum wheeled and Maritime took advantage of the open space, ran from the base of the scrum, and scored an easy try. Humboldt took awhile to recover from the shock, but came back to score 2 tries before half-time. In the second half Humboldt put a lot of pressure on the Maritime line; Maritime retaliated with several forays into Humboldt territory; but neither side was able to add any points.

San Jose State 0 – UC SANTA CRUZ 70 Referee: Rich Anderson

This match was not as close as the score indicates. UCSC was dominant from the beginning, and short of some sloppy execution late in the second half, would have scored more. SJSU stayed focused throughout the match, but had no answer for some clever play from the Slugs.

Nevada women 0 – UC DAVIS 23 Referee: Dylan Gill

The game kicked off in the middle of a snow storm!


Santa Clara – GG U-23 CANCELED

UCSC women – Santa Clara CANCELED

Sac State women – San Jose State CANCELED

CSUMB – St. Mary's women CANCELED

PAT VINCENT CUP, Saturday, March 11

UC SANTA BARBARA 26 – Chico State 14 Referee: Joe Leisek

UC Santa Barbara is ranked in the top ten, nationally, while Chico has earned Honorable Mention status. The favored UCSB did not have an easy time with the Wildcats, however. Led by All-American Andrew King (son of Pelican Mike King and older brother of former Elsie Allen HS player Pat King), Santa Barbara recylcled well, has some phenomenal athletes with speed and size, and made significant gains in territory through the pick and go. But Chico proved to be up to the challenge, with solid defense and confident attacking of their own. The second half, in fact, was very closely contested. Referee's Note: I have now refereed both King brothers, which I thought put me in very select company. But Bruce Carter has also refereed them both, and their father. (I guess that's still select company.)

ST. MARY’S 34 – Central Washington 17 Referee: David Pope

St. Mary's started very fast. They kept the ball alive whenever possible, rucked quickly, passed out of contact and supported very well. They scored their first try quickly, then added another a few minutes later. All of the early conversions were missed because of the very muddy conditions. About 15 to 20 minutes in St. Mary's was leading 15 - 0 and the CWU players seemed tired. Then the game slowed down. CWU's forwards mauled well, and just before half time, CWU scored their first try.

In the second half CWU got within 3 points and had the momentum, but St. Mary's quick thinking scrum half took a quick tap at a penalty about 10m from the line and scored. St. Mary's then scored basically from the ensuing kick-off and the victory was sealed

Sunday, March 12


CENTRAL WASHINGTON 15 – Chico State 10 Referee: Joe Leisek

A tough match played in constant rain on a muddy, aromatic pitch. The teams were deadlocked 5-5 at the half, but CWU emerged with two tries in the last 40 minutes. The game was played in tight fashion, as conditions prevented a wide-open style of play. A grinding game, but well-played.


St. Mary’s 7 – UC SANTA BARBARA 25 Referee: Matt Ward (Vancouver Island)

Touch Judges: Chris Saini, Joe Leisek

Evaluator: Bryan Porter

As wet and muddy as the consolation was, the final was wetter and muddier...and colder. The better team won, and Matt controlled things well. UCSB ran with the ball inside their 22 despite a cold downpour and a layer of mud on every kind of surface: animal, mineral, or vegetable. They are committed and talented. Standouts included #5, a tall, powerful guy who did a lot of damage up the middle and set up many phases, and #6, a tall rangy flanker who played for Peninsula Green in high school. He had a great game. Congratulations to Coach Kevin Battle and the team.


Friday, March 10
Rio Linda 0 – ISLANDERS 44 Referee: Gary Malpas on tour…

Touch Judges: Sam Reagle & Eugene Baker

Weather: Cold mostly dry.

I was new here on exchange from the East Midlands society and having only landed the day before the Friday game that I was assigned to I really did not know quite what to expect. However I had had a relaxing day and was ready for any challenge that came my way.

The game kicked off pretty much on time and started really as it ended with Islanders on the attack, the only major difference was the hail stones at the end! A sign of things to come later that weekend.

This was a game where the Islanders were too powerful in open play for Rio to stop them and ended in a, at first what seems a one sided score of 0-44 to the Islanders, however Rio put up a good fight through the game willing not just to defend but attack to the very end. The game was played in a friendly atmosphere with both teams giving each other some friendly banter but still playing hard and fair. The tries came from a mix of backs and forwards steadily throughout the game.

The same positioned player sticks in my mind from both sides and that was the scrum halfs, though for different reasons. The islander S-H was a sniping Matt Dawson type player, and the S-H and Captain from the Rio side was a good disciplinarian that would not go amiss in some UK teams I have reffed, thank you guys I enjoyed the game I hope you did too.

LIVE OAK 15 – East Palo Alto 7 Referee: Pete Smith

Needless to say the game lived up to its billing as it was played with full effort by both teams for a full 70 minutes. These teams are closely matched as the 3-0 halftime score would illustrate. Live Oak managed two more tries in the second half with one converted to push their lead to 15-0 with about 15 minutes left. EPA managed a converted try with about 10 minutes to play and again it was anybody’s game. The final score ended at just that 15-7 in favor of Live Oak. The game could/should have been closer were it not for the heads up play of the Live Oak fullback/Captain Dustin Munn. From a penalty 60 meters out, Dustin charged up from fullback to tap and go around the EPA team that had their backs to the play. Take that play out and it is 8-7.

Venue: Elsie Allen
ELSIE ALLEN 49 – Montgomery 0 Referee: Bo Rodman

Both teams came into this Friday night matchup at 3-0 in league play. One side finished the evening 4-0 and it was never really in doubt. Elsie Allen showed fluidity and continuity through all phases of play and remain the cream of the North-Bay high school league.

Seconds: Elsie Allen 0 – MONTGOMERY 7 Ref: Rodman

The visiting Montgomery Vikings demonstrated a lot of determination in the abbreviated 2nd-side match prevailing 7-0. The Viking program is definitely on the upswing and just needs experience to build on their foundation.

LAMORINDA 81 – Piedmont 0 Referee: John Pohlman

Lamorinda was hosting games at Miramonte High School Saturday morning. This has to be one of the most beautiful high school campus's I have seen.

Lamorinda is in full season form. Fielding two varsity and a JV team. Everything was well organized when I arrived at 8:30 AM.

I had the 9:30 Varsity 1 versus Piedmont.

Game time saw 56 degrees, partly sunny and quite a few fans in the bleachers. The game was lots of Lamorinda.

Final Lamorinda 81 Piedmont 0.

I have refereed Golden Gate, East Palo Alto, Lamorinda, twice, Aptos, Peninsula Green and now Piedmont. I continue to be impressed with both the quality of play and coaching. This playoff season should be competitive and exciting.

I was then off for my next game Baracus versus Santa Rosa.

SILICON VALLEY 22 – Peninsula Green 10 Referee: Rich Anderson

Mother Lode 27 – JESUIT B 28 Referee: Bob Tustin

LAMORINDA beat Berkeley Referee: David Pope

This game was very close about 5 minutes into the second half, but then Lamorinda broke it open. Both teams had some excellent runners with lots of good play.


Our travel agents, Robyn and Harry Clever of The Clever Traveler of San Jose, have premium ticket deals for the Churchill Cup.

The packages include field level seats; food and drink before, during and after matches; a prime-spot parking pass; entry to post-game reception and awards presentations.

The price is $130 for one game or all three for $350. (Regular tickets will be $25 and $35.)

Contact Harry or Robyn if you would like to get in on this deal and SUPPORT THE EAGLES!



Our guests from Victoria were entertained before and after conquering the elements.

Standing, L to R: Ana Abraldes, Joe Leisek, Paul Berman

Sitting, L to R: Will Leisek, Matt Ward, Chris Saini.


For the Senate

Pelicus Scriptoris

Directions to the Golden Gate clubhouse:

From the Bay Bridge, traveling in either direction, get into the leftmost lane approaching the tunnel through Yerba Buena Island.

Exit and follow the signs for Treasure Island.

After you enter the brickwork gate, where the stop sign is, take the first Right – that is California Street.

Follow California down to the end. You’ll see the pitch on your left; the clubhouse is just past it. Parking is best beyond it.