Tuesday, January 30, 2007




It gives us great pleasure to announce two referees who are moving on up:

Ray Schwartz is now a C2.

Paul Smith is now a C3.

Congratulations! These guys are buying!


A dinner will be held at Hoppy Brewing in Sacramento on Saturday, February 3, in conjunction with the Sacramento Valley High School Kick-Off Tournament.

All society members and their dates are invited.

We will be hosting a number of visiting referees, including four of our friends from Alberta.

The dinner last year ran about $26 a person. Arrive early for happy hour, at seven or so to be seated for the meal. And let Ray Schwartz know if you will be attending:


Murray Felstead of the East Midlands has handled untold hundreds of telephone calls every week during the nine-month-long RRU season in his capacity as re-assignments officer. Many of us have been at Touchdowns during the rugby year and can attest that his home can take on the ambience of the trading pits at the New York Stock Exchange.

Due to pressure of work I have been forced to consider my future within the Society and in particular my position as Re-Appointments Secretary and also Chair of Promotions & Public Relations. Ever increasing demands from my Principals, for whom I act as an Agent, has forced me to reluctantly tender my resignations for both offices to the Executive Committee with effect from Monday Jan 29th 2007. I will, for the foreseeable future however, continue to act as Appointments Manager for the Central Federation and also undertake my Training role for the RFU and my Coaching role on the National Panel of Officials. Over the past 20+ years, as an Officer of the Society, I have enjoyed the privilege of working with you all on a personal contact basis, and in addition, my role as Chair of P & PR has hopefully helped to put our dinner back to a level where it rightfully belongs? I intend to continue as an active member of the Society albeit from the back of the room rather than the front, and hopefully this will give me more time to enjoy more of your company at monthly meetings than I am able to do at this time?


SFGG – SL Sacramento Lions CANCELED
Golden Gate has realized that the necessity of providing five front-row players for three men’s sides every Saturday (SL, D1 firsts and seconds) is not feasible. They will not be playing their SL pre-season schedule, with the exception of the OMBAC match on February 24.

Seahawks 19 (3) – SF/GOLDEN GATE 32 (5) Referee: Bruce Carter
The forecast all week called for rain in the South Bay on Saturday. The Pelicanmobile was gassed and loaded up with Alternate Kit C, Rainy Days and/or Wind, with the special umbrella rig to protect the new hard-disc video gear.

So what was that noise that interfered with sleep on Friday night but rain on the roof? It was all of a normal January’s precipitation in a matter of hours.

The blessed rain brought an end to two-plus weeks of morning frost on the fields of the Salinas Valley; it was fifty-degree water, actuating the photosynthetic cycle that feeds us all.

But what should greet our windshield on the drive up 101 but the blue skies of Silicon Valley, once again having re-invented itself and leading the world in venture capital and innovation?

Blue skies indeed, reflected in the deep puddles of the Watson Bowl parking lot, a promising reflection of a Rugby Day yet to come.

It was sunny and breezy for three games.

The boys were gathered at nine AM for the early Silicon Valley – Tri-Valley high school pre-season match, coaches putting them through paces. Old friends all, those coaches: Paul Bretz and Giles Wilson of Tri-Valley, Norm Boccone and Al Hogue of Silicon Valley.

Paul and Giles need to introduction in these pages. Norm will be known as the habitually-barefoot lock of recent Seahawk vintage.

Al Hogue is an old teammate, from the glory years when the Monterey Bay Rebels made the first division playoffs and won a dozen tournaments in two years. Al is a West Point graduate, now working in software and raising a family.

Chris Fisher refereed this game and did everything a referee could do to allow some brand-new front rows to participate in real scrums.

The referee was enjoying his first D1 game since being ‘demoted’ to B3, at his own insistence. The B1 that he’d carried almost fifteen years was too heavy a burden for aging legs, and he felt very comfortable having gracefully relinquished one of the principle glories of his youth.

Golden Gate scored in the first minute when everyone thought a chip and chase into the in-goal was too heavily weighted and would certainly carry dead. The ref stopped at the try line and the pursuing ‘Hawks stopped infield. But Toshi Paloma didn’t stop and the bouncing ball sat up nicely for a try inches from the dead-ball line.

The Seahawks answered with a try about ten minutes later, converted by scrumhalf James Hinkin for a 7 – 5 lead, the last they would enjoy.

Golden Gate had the run of play, especially in the second half when two Seahawk sin-bins dovetailed precisely and they had to play short for twenty minutes.

Of note, Mose Timoteo came on to play scrumhalf in the second half. This was apparently his first appearance since having ACL surgery as a result of an injury in Hayward’s CR1 game in April. That man can really energize a scrum, skillfully directing players with alacrity. Mose tested the knee further, also playing in the seconds, with no visible ill effects.

Seconds: Seahawks 10 – SF/GOLDEN GATE 50+ Referee: Giles Wilson
Both sides fielded a number of players in their second game of the day.
Where have all the "club men" gone to?

[Editor’s Note: At least one good ‘club man’ suited up: Tory Golino of the Seahawks is unable to attend training these days but is happy to put on the boots and help the seconds!]

SFGG scored many times in the first half for a substantial lead. SJ came back with a couple of well worked moves in the second half before SFGG added more of their own.

Final SFGG 50+ SJ 10 (sorry, game card at home)

Just as the game ended, the wet stuff reappeared. The sideline pizza threatened to get soggy if not eaten immediately, which proved not to be a problem at all.

HAYWARD 31 (5) – Olympic Club 27 (4) Referee: Joe Leisek
Hayward Adult School, Hayward
Touch Judges: Don Pattalock, Will Phillips (Olympic Club)/Isaac Caselis (Hayward-PelicanRefs)

A dramatic, intense affair that was not decided until moments before full-time. The Olympic Club, 3-0 in league play, provided many opportunities for the hosts in the first half. One example: An O-Club player, maybe a meter or two from his own goal line, knocks on. However, he does not really knock on so much as he launches on, very near an appreciative Hayward player who scoops up the ball and streaks into in-goal for a try. It was this sort of thing for much of the first half. Hayward, with efficiency and creativity, made them pay with four tries. O-Club did score two of their own, which gave them something to take into their halftime talk with Coach Ray Lehner, down 10-26.

There was a dramatic difference in the second half. The O-Club owned about 38 minutes of play. They retained possession expertly, and their forwards, especially captain Andrew Armstrong, Chris Clever, and Tony Petruzella, created many opportunities for their speedy backline. As much as Hayward played offense in the first half, they played defense in the second half. The O-Club's center, #13, was frequently used to crash the ball into Hayward's hard-as-nails defense. (This guy must have been hurting on Sunday.)

As the visitors attacked relentlessly and efficiently, Hayward earned three yellow cards. Two were for excessive offside and another for a dangerous tackle. From about the six minute mark to about 37 minutes gone, Hayward played with 14 players.

With this advantage and through two converted tries and a penalty goal, the visitors stormed back to take a 27-26 lead with only moments to play. However, Hayward turned it back on and scored one last try with about two minutes remaining. The O-Club just could not break through again, though they made a desperate, thrilling effort.

Many thanks to Don, Will, and Isaac for their TJ-ing help.

Hayward 31
Tries: 5
Conversions: 3

Olympic Club 27
Tries: 4
Conversions: 2
Penalty goals: 1

Seconds: HAYWARD 48 (8) – Olympic Club 0 Referee: Don Pattalock
Touch Judges: Joe Leisek, Isaac Caselis
Assessor: Bryan Porter

A wonderful game is worth the travel! 13 hours and 480 miles were not wasted. This was a more contested match than the score would suggest. Both sides played some enterprising rugby, with good fast rucks and powerful mauls. Hayward was able to turn their pressure into points, while O Club was unable to capitalize on good pressure. Several scrums were turned over by each team and the lineouts were strongly contested. Big thanks to Joe Leisek for running touch and providing constructive comments at halftime. Thank you to Bryan Porter for the attention and discussions.

DIABLO GAELS 27 – San Mateo 24 Referee: Pete Smith
Touch Judges: Jackie Finck, Tammy Cowan
Due to a scheduling conflict, my rugby day started at 9AM at Stanford with the women’s B side game against arch rival Cal. I don’t know if it was the rainy weather, the early start or the fact that they are playing their sworn enemies, but the women played this game as if ere the last game of the rest of their lives. At least two other spectators commented on the physicality of this game.

The first 35 minutes were scoreless and did not even remotely reflect the pace and flair that this game was played with throughout. Stanford finally broke through with a long, but contested try and followed it up with another almost directly from the kick off to take a 10-0 half time lead.

Stanford put in a ‘new’ player in the backline that completely changed the game with her speed. She scored breakaways the first two times she touched the ball and was not only the fastest player on the field, maybe the fastest women’s rugby player I have ever seen (and I have reffed many top women’s games).

Three minutes into the second half Stanford are cruising at 24-0, but for some reason the new speedster was moved to flyhalf and was neutralized for the next 25 minutes. During that time Cal continued to work hard and managed two tries bringing the score to 24-12. Stanford struck again and pulled back out to a 31-12 lead followed by yet another blazing run by the new speedster to ice the game at 38-12. I don’t know who this ‘new’ player is, but assuming she keeps playing-EVERYONE will know who she is very soon-WOW! I must commend Cal for playing not only with a ton of heart, but short throughout most of the game. Despite being offered players from Stanford (who had the better part of a third side milling around) to make up their numbers, they refused-“Cal are too proud to take any help or players from us”.

It was a quick dry off from the rain and off to Diablo Valley College for what I will confidently state was the game of the day played anywhere in the US. I realized Diablo started off 1-2 in league and San Mateo were undefeated, but this year’s NorCal Div 1 can be truly be won by any of the top five teams. It is almost impossible to count anyone out and on any given Saturday, any team can win.

This was as wide open a game as I have seen in years with BOTH teams spinning the ball wide and showing the flair that put them among the best teams in the country.

San Mateo struck first with a try, 7-0. Diablo answered back with a beauty of their own, 7-5. San Mateo tacked on another, 14-5. Diablo answered yet again 14-10. San Mateo were awarded a penalty try to put them up 21-10 and tacked on another penalty kick to make it 24-10 going into the break.

As they say it was the tale of two halves and Diablo, not typically known as a second half team, took it San Mateo for the second half. It wouldn’t be a fair statement to say that Diablo dominated San Mateo as the teams played about as evenly as they did in the first half, except Diablo managed two converted tries to tie the game at 24 with 13 minutes left and a San Mateo player in the bin.

The teams played a frantic pace the entire second half with the decider a long penalty kick with 8 minutes left to put Diablo ahead 27-24. San Mateo had several chances to pull this one out including penalties within kickable distance that were not taken to tie the game and they were stopped just 3 meters short of the goal line at full time.

Seconds: Diablo Gaels 17 (3) – SAN MATEO 41 (7) Referee: Scott Wood
Location: Diablo Valley College, Pleasant Hill, CA
Weather: Cold and wet (how is this supposed to be nearing a drought?)
Field conditions: Well marked, short posts, good turf

I left Sacramento with the A-Side TJs (S.O. and neophyte Jackie Finck) under sunny, albeit cool, skies. Driving across the Sacramento Valley we could see the overcast conditions covering the Bay Area. We arrived at DVC to find track and field, volleyball, baseball, and rugby events occurring at the same venue. Rob Hendrickson was being watched by Dave Williamson and Aruna Ranaweera as he refereed Lamo U23 v USF. He looked like he was enjoying the game.

Pete Smith refereed the A-side match between Diablo and San Mateo with S.O. and Jackie running touch. An interesting match that literally came down to the final seconds, but that's Pete's story to tell.

For the B-side match, San Mateo primarily consisted of players featured in the A-side match whereas Diablo had a mix of B-side players including U23s that participated in the USF match. Both teams played hard in the first half. San Mateo opened the scoring by being awarded a penalty try due to a dangerous tackle. Possession changed numerous times as both teams employed multi-phase tactics. It was refreshing to have a game where the players, for the most part, maintained positive discipline at the breakdowns. San Mateo entered the half leading 19-10. The Gaels appeared to be firing off different cylinders due to a lack of familiarity with each other.

The second half opened with San Mateo on the attack. A dangerous tackle by Diablo resulted in a yellow card and a stand-off for several minutes (?) as the teams stared each other down. A brief conference with the captains got everybody agreed that playing rugby was the order of the day, not "Who wants to be a soccer hooligan?"

Diablo scored a converted try and put up a concerted defense at breakdowns. San Mateo was able to use its intra-team familiarity to create overlaps and quick, long passes to score four second-half tries to finish the match 41-17. Thanks to both San Mateo and Diablo for a good match and great discipline and the captains, Nase Vaka and Mike Chequer, for their leadership.

Baracus 11 (1) – SACRAMENTO 40 (6) Referee: Sam Reagle
Evaluator: Mike Malone
Pitch: Polo Grounds, Golden Gate Park, SF
Weather: Typical

In some ways, this game was a lot closer than the score indicates. Baracus had a great attitude all day and tried to learn from each mistake, but their tackling lacked consistency while Sacramento looked closer to mid-season form. On the other hand, Sacramento wasted one scoring opportunity by splitting the Baracus back line before downing the ball one meter short of the goal line and a couple of other scoring opportunities due to poor ball handling.

In the first half, both teams played pretty evenly with Baracus getting some lucky breaks when they appeared to be in trouble. At the 35 minute mark with the visitors up 14-3, A Sacramento player was binned for a repeated infringement. Baracus converted the penalty kick to end the half down only 14-6.

In the second half, Baracus scored an unconverted try while Sacramento was still shorthanded to bring it to 14-11 and the game was on. It stayed this way for about 15 minutes before fitness seemed to favor Sacramento as they scored 4 unanswered tries in the last 20 minutes for a final score of 40-11.

Thanks Mike for investing a Saturday on my behalf. At least it was mostly dry.

Seconds: BA Baracus 25 (5) – SACRAMENTO 32 (6) Referee: Mike Gadoua
At the historical Polo Fields in Golden Gate Park, SF, it was an overcast, chilly day at the 2:30pm kick off. With a good number of the players worn out from playing in the A side match, the teams were pretty even. Sacto led at the half 17 to 10 and both teams scored 15 points in the second half. It appeared that BA was coming on strong in the last few minutes of the match and a converted try would have tied the match. However, mixed with the veterans were new players and a penalty for failure to release ended BA’s final minute drive.

Arroyo Grande 5 – FRESNO 62 (9) Referee: Sandy Robertson
Arroyo Grande kept the game within reach through the first half which ended 17-5. However in the 2nd half Fresno's speed and ability to create turnover ball allowed them to quickly pull away, as they scored 7 additional tries.

VACAVILLE 43 (7) – Mendocino 3 Referee: JC Van Staden
Evaluator: Kat Todd-Schwartz

Game started in a very ordinary fashion. Both teams tried to move the ball through the hands, with rucks and mulls done according to the book. Vacaville opened the scoreboard with a unconverted try after playing advantage on a dangerous tackle just 10 yards short of the goal line. Mendo hit right back with a 3 pointer, which was also their last. Vacaville consolidated and overpowered the rest of the game with 7 total tries.

Shasta 5 – HUMBOLDT 27 (5) Referee: Ray Schwartz
Foothill High, Palo Cedro
TJ: Johnny Death, and others

Cool, somewhat overcast, and back in Palo Cedro for the 2nd time in 8 weeks. Shasta had numbers ready; the Old Growth traveled with only 17. There would be no extra 20 minutes for the rookies... Hard hitting action right from the start, Humboldt showed more skill and grit, constantly winning possession at the tackle/ruck. Their first try, by scrum half Justin Poirer, was remarkably awarded as he remarkably went under a driving maul, just an inch off the grass, to dot down atop the try line. Former Collegiate Pelican Mike Nattkemper always looked dangerous from fullback, but Shasta covered him, and most every other foray Humboldt would adventure on. The match was close hand to hand combat for a most of the first half.

Later in the half, former Old Growth scrum half, Aaron Stack, now moved to loosehead, pushed up the left (crowd) side on a brilliant flyhack and chase, leading to a try, one meter in from the corner. Clearly the try of the day! As Shasta approached midfield for the restart I realized the half wasn't as close as it had seemed, as Shasta had never played inside the Old Growth 50.

With 6 minutes to go, I noted an injured player at a tackle, but play moved on. A stoppage quickly came, and I went back to speak with Andrew Mittry, Andeas' son, playing wing for Shasta. He was erratic and disoriented; I thought he might be concussed, but he explained he had a finger gouge into the back of his left eye. He insisted he could play on, but when I asked him to please take a blood bin with the half soon approaching, he thanked me for talking a bit of sense into the moment.

Minutes later, Shasta finally began to put a drive together. They probed right and left of the posts, and began a driving maul back just to the right. As it slowed, the maul became stagnant, it slide sideways, it lurched... and all just 4 or so meters out. I was somewhat surprised to see several big Shasta forwards not joining the shove. The whistle came, the half ended.

The 2nd half was played much closer, with a seemingly endless number of scrums from knock ons and forward passes. Winger Nick Ray scored a brilliant and hard earned try for the home team. Captain Jeremy Drakeford and his Old Growth enjoyed the win. The sun was bright at the end.

The sides and fans retired to Shasta Captain Brian Peterson's home for Tri-Tip and Bud Light, and Humboldt proceeded to bust out their extensive song catalog. I realized it was time to start heading home once Dave Ellis started singing about English School Boys....

EAST PALO ALTO over Monterey by forfeit.

Stanislaus 20 – RENO 26 Referee: Chris Busch

Mission – Petaluma Referee: John Coppinger
The City of Palo Alto, apparently afraid of damage to its fields after the tremendous rains of this month, closed its fields and the match was cancelled. I ran touch for Rich and Dave at Stanford.

No trys, no conversions, and no points.

No trys, no conversions, and no points.

City of Palo Alto: No balls.

MARIN 17 (2) – Fog 11 (1) Referee: Bjorn Stumer
This was hard fought and, at times, ill-tempered affair between a much improved San Francisco Fog team and a Marin side brimming with experience. By the first few minutes of the match, it became clear to this referee that these were two teams with a score to settle. A number of penalties awarded and some verbal warning brought both teams' intensity under control though, and a great rugby match was at hand.

This was a percussive style event, with much rucking, and quite a bit of effective mauling. Both sides scored well deserved tries, and three penalties went across the bars. The FOG seemed the better and more determined team throughout, but a run alongside the touchline by Marin in the last minutes of the match resulted in a converted try that gave them the victory. Final score Marin 17 - Fog 11.

Although bitterly disappointed by the final result, the Fog showed up in numbers for the third half at the Mayflower Pub in San Rafael, and provided all with their customary display of flair, song, and good cheer.

CALIFORNIA 57 (9) – UC Davis 0 Referee: Jim Crenshaw
Both teams played some great rugby in the first half with Cal scoring a converted try in the 13th minute and an unconverted try in the 34th minute to make the score 12 to 0 at halftime.

The second half was all Cal as they scored 5 converted and 2 unconverted tries while holding Davis scoreless.

Seconds: CALIFORNIA 101 – UC Davis 0 Referee: Joe Androvich

STANFORD 18 (3) – Chico State 17 (2) Referee: Rich Anderson
Touch Judges: Dave Pope, John Coppinger
Evaluator: Dixon Smith

Flanked by two of the best Touch Judges around (John Coppinger and Dave Pope-welcome back, Dave), at an ideal College Rugby setting (the Stanford pitch has got to be hard to beat), I settled in for fun afternoon watching Stanford and Chico State run around the field.

The two teams did not disappoint with their enthusiasm and effort. Chico seemed to want to crash their forwards and set up their large outside center. This strategy worked early as Chico took a 10-5 halftime lead. Stanford's box kicks to the deep backs for Chico gave them edges in field position as the match wore on. Chico squandered two excellent opportunities deep in Stanford territory but held a 2 point lead late in the match, until they surrendered a late penalty, which was converted.

3 tries
0 conversions
1 PK

Chico State
2 tries
2 conversions
1 PK

Seconds: Stanford 0 – CHICO STATE 32 (6) Referee: David Pope
After a very close and hard fought 1st side game won by Stanford, the Chico 2's were too strong for Stanford. The game was very well played (at least until the teams tired in the second half) with lots of big hitting. Chico scored three tries in each half, converting only the first try of the game.

Nevada 10 (2) – ST. MARY’S 65 (9) Referee: John Pohlman
University of Nevada Reno 10 St. Mary's 65
Touch Judges Dylan Gill & Bruce Anderson
Eileen and I started a ski vacation in South Lake Tahoe with the drive to Reno. St. Mary's and UNR were playing a division one league game. What was interesting beside the beautiful drive was how nice the roads are in Nevada. You certainly do not need a sign saying entering Nevada. We were impressed with the campus and the amount of new construction.

The temperature was around 50 at kick-off. The game started at 2:00pm on the campus artificial turf field.

St. Mary's has played a strong preseason schedule, and it showed. Their forwards controlled scrums and most possession. Their backs finished the score. Center Blake scored the first of his two trys at three minutes, followed at another by winger Ryan Martens.

Most of the first half was strong forward play by St. Mary's turning into long runs for trys by the fast, big St. Mary's backs.

Half time score UNR 0 St. Mary's 41.

The second half slowed with a few substitutions and the referee needing to slow the game down due to a few marginal infractions behind the ball. UNR continued to scrap. They gained a lot more ball lead by scrum half Carl Zmaila. UNR scored twice in the last ten minutes to get on the scoreboard.
Final UNR 10-2 trys, St. Mary's 65 9 trys.

Seconds: Nevada 0 – ST. MARY’S 32 Referee: Dylan Gill
St Mary’s 2nd side came out on top in this match by taking advantage of some poor tackling by Nevada. St Mary’s showed strong pursuit lines and shut down Nevada’s offence. St Mary’s owned the scrums while Nevada dominated the lineouts. The Nevada side was lacking in fitness and cohesiveness; however, what the teams did not lack was a desire for extremely physical rugby. St Mary’s 32 Nevada 0

Cal Maritime – SFGG U23 CANCELED

Santa Clara 14 – UC SANTA CRUZ 18 Referee: Bryant Byrnes
A fast, furious match, contested to the end. And a pleasure to officiate; my compliments to both teams and their coaches. After the off sides line was agreed to, the second half saw an extraordinary amount of multi phase play-I lost count of one sequence after about 11.

The more experienced Slugs-who apparently won big last year-scored first 8 minutes in, but were thereafter stymied by Bronco hard tackling; it was 5-0 at half. The second half was even better stuff; great pace, less penalties, more points.

Seconds: SANTA CLARA 25 – UC Santa Cruz 9 Ref: Byrnes
A lot of freshmen and a lot of fun.

San Jose State 14 (2) – SANTA ROSA JC (5) 29 Referee: Larry Freitas
Game played at San Jose State's soccer team's training pitch, which was in excellent shape. Santa Rosa JC started the match with a few quick tries, as the Spartans had trouble keeping up with the pace of Santa Rosa's back line, directed from fly half by Anton Ginella, and the forward drives of their pack, allowing for quick rucking and passing. Some sloppy play followed after the first three Santa Rosa tries, with offside infringements, mostly by State players, slowing down the match. Eventually five first half tries, two of which were converted, gave Santa Rosa its points for the afternoon. Late in the half, a backline pass was intercepted by a State wing, and returned some sixty meters for a converted try.

Unfortunately, a few minutes later, Santa Rosa scored from a charged-down kick in State's quarter, resulting from a caught Santa Rosa cross kick that should have been marked by the State fullback. Inexperience hurt on that occasion, and a possibility for State to get back into the game went begging.

In the second half, State managed to keep Santa Rosa off the scoreboard, and eventually the Spartans added another try from a set scrum near the opposition goal. Jed Quiamboa took his halfback's pass and sliced through a gap to score. Santa Rosa threatened a number of times in the second half, but some handling errors and better State tackling kept Santa Rosa from scoring.

San Jose State has improved its game from last year, especially in the backline play, but they have some new players who still need to keep in mind the offside rules, as I penalized their forwards on a number of rucks for either killing the ball or being on the wrong side on the ground and not allowing release of ball.

LAMORINDA U23 71 (13) – U of San Francisco 0 Referee: Rob Hendrickson
Referee Coach: David Williamson
Saturday morning's 11:00 game at the Gael's home field of DVC's soccer pitch was the start of a great day of rugby. Notwithstanding the rain the night before, the pitch was well marked and firm underfoot, and the weather was perfect.

There was no score for the first 20 minutes before the Gaels settled down and scored 5 tries in the first half and went on to score 8 in the second. Most of the game was better contested than the score would otherwise indicate, with USF getting within the 5 meter line on several occasions but not being able to break the goal line.

The U23 Gaels are going to be a dominating team in their division this year.

Humboldt State women 12 – CHICO STATE 45 Referee: Mike King
The match was played on an excellent surface of the soccer field at Humboldt State in Arcata. The first side match started at 11:00 a.m. with both teams raring to go. Although there was a noticeable size differential in favor of Chico State, the Humboldt women gave no quarter in the loose and actually were winning some of the opposition scrums by the half. It was a closely contested first half, leading to a 12-12 draw, on 2 trys and 1 conversion each.

The second half started as fiercely, but the size and experience of the Chico State pack began to take its toll. They kept the ball tight and pounded ahead on second phase. After awhile, the Humboldt players were drawn in to defend, and the ball was moved out to the backfield with success. Penny Krakoff added 2 second session trys to her one in the first, and Carrie White converted 5 times out of 7 chances. The final of 45-12 does not do justice to the valiant efforts of the Humboldt State side. They showed a great deal of heart throughout the match, and with some more experience and better positioning, their performance will certainly improve.

Seconds: Humboldt State 0 – CHICO STATE 10 Ref: King
An abbreviated second side match led to a 10-0 victory for Chico. Again, the less experienced Humboldt 15 had their hands full with the larger and more knowledgeable Chico team. They held their own and threatened several times, including a long series of rucks and mauls that was only thwarted by excellent defense by Chico.

Cal women 5 (1) – STANFORD 60 (10) Referee: Lois Bukowski
Saturday morning dawned foggy and chilly; it was unclear what the weather would do…could it burn off, or were showers ahead? Turns out it was little of both as I drove through raindrops down to Palo Alto only to arrive to see blue sky patches peeking through the muted grayness.

Perhaps it was the same for Stanford women, then? Their first half was less than memorable against a clawing Cal defensive effort. Stanford was first on the board 5 minutes in with a crashing try by star center, Olivia Anglade. A backline movement and insertion by fullback Carolyn Myslewski 13 minutes later made it appear that the offense was off to the races. But the Bear defense buckled down and the Cardinal was not executing as effectively as those earlier phases suggested. Cal put some pressure on with about 10 minutes to go in the half and was rewarded after a series of pounding phases with scrumhalf Suzan Karayel diving over for the 5 pointer. Later, Stanford charged right back down into the Cal 22 and had what seemed like 2 imminent tries held up in goal with less than 5 minutes to go in the half.. Still the home side went into the second frame with a 14-5 lead.

Stanford had a wake up call at the half; they came out with blistering pace and that high octane offense fired it up, try, after try, after try. With 2 tries in the first 4 minutes; both were on long, hip swiveling, leave em in the dust, break it out of here and touch it down in the middle of the posts scores. Cal was no match for the defending National Champions; the lack of tackling and 80 minute game fitness was evident as this was both teams’ first league match.

Stanford looks to be a major force again in NorCal league as well as nationally. Their backline is full of fast, strong, athletic players, they have blistering speed in the back three and their forwards are strong workhorses looking to secure solid ball. Should be an entertaining year!

Seconds: Cal women 12 – STANFORD 38 Referee: Pete Smith
The report is above, with Pete’s report on the Diablo Gaels – San Mateo match.

Santa Clara women – UC Santa Cruz POSTPONED


GOLDEN GATE HS 15 – Jesuit 10 Referee: Paul Bretz
The main match was a tense affair from beginning to end with both teams relying on their defensive pattern to keep the other in check. SFGG won 15-10.

JV: Golden Gate HS – JESUIT Ref: Bretz
Jesuit JV defeated a keen SFGG JV side 3 tries to 1

SILICON VALLEY HS 19 – Tri-Valley 0 Referee: Chris Fisher
Videographer: Bruce Carter

LIVE OAK HS 31 – Los Altos 7 Referee: Paul Smith
1st HS game of the season for me. Started off a fun game. I was looking forward to seeing Bart Neilson, an old teammate from our SJ State, and Seahawks days together. What 2nd row has not bonded with his props :-).

I was running a bit late and showed up 5 minutes before the scheduled match, so no time to visit. Just enough time to cover a boot check, meet with the front row players to cover the new scrum engagements, and a short talk to my touch judges.

Both teams played well to start the game, with a good forward based game of tackles, rucks and an occasional maul thrown in. Unfortunately 5 minutes into the game we had a major injury, one of the Los Altos players went down with a leg injury, possibly a broken leg.
After the injured player was removed from the field (no medical personal on-site) play continued, with Live Oak largely controlling the possessions, especially with a very strong game from the loose forwards.

Overall too much east and west running by the back lines, both teams were guilty of that. Cries of "shepherding" were made from both teams, and I awarded several penalties. Halftime score was 20-5 for the home team.

After a very brief 5 minutes trying to catch my breath the teams swapped ends and play continued.

I forgot that HS matches can be teaching exercises. After penalizing for offside play several times it looked like both teams were largely clueless about what was happening. I called both teams together and explained the offside law: it actually helped!

The Los Altos team outscored Live Oak in the 2nd half, 12-10 for a final score of Live Oak 30 - Los Altos 17.

Talked with both coaches and players after the game, clarifying a couple of calls, explaining a couple of no-calls (sorry I didn't see that, and I saw that but the ball was not out of the scrum type of answers).

I enjoyed the debrief after the game. It is something I intend to continue doing.

A lost weekend of Jake Rubin:

Back From "GriffinLand"

This weekend I flew down to "GriffinLand" to celebrate the "baby shower" of my daughter's godfather, who at almost fifty-seven years of age is becoming a father for the first time. Could not resist going and the gastronomical aspects of my mini-tour will be set forth below.

Knowing that I would have most of Saturday (Rugby Day) open and available, I made contact with the powers that be in "GriffinLand" hoping to do some assessing in normally sunny climes. However, due to problems beyond my ken no specific assignment arrived.

After spending Friday evening celebrating with old men and enjoying a great steak, creamed spinach, onion rings, mashed potatoes, free flowing red wines from Napa and good New York Cheesecake at the famed Palm on Santa Monica Blvd, I had a great cigar and a good night's sleep.

Rugby Day started off with a decent workout at my hotel and then a bagel and lox at Solley's on Van Nuys. As I had no real assignment, I looked up some things on the "net" and noted that Santa Monica was playing a home match. Considering the vaunted history of this club, that they are being coached by Stuart Krohn (U.S. Maccabiah Coach) and that their current captain was the hooker for our most recent Maccabiah Team, it seemed like a decent team to watch. Also found out that their home field is at Malibu High. Rugby in Malibu. So off I went.

Little does one know that Malibu High is over twenty-five miles from Santa Monica, actually within short walking distance of Zuma Beach, for those who know their costal geography. However, the school is an expansive impressive facility, with a locker room many a college would be envious of, and where else can one park one's car and while organizing items realize that the attractive woman unloading the car next yours is Pamela Lee Anderson (whose child apparently attends Malibu High).

Anyway, off to the pitch. As I arrive I find Jason Harper (well known to many of us from various trips up here) getting ready to do the match (Santa Monica v. Huntington Beach) and we talk briefly. He was supposed to do a match in Santa Barbara and was switched at the last minute and will have to go back to Santa Barbara, with his lovely fiancée, as he cannot cancel that reservation. Then I see that the Grand Poohbah (John Curry) is in attendance. Apparently John had come off his mountain (he lives up in Big Bear) to assess the guy that Jason replaced and as John had just evaluated Jason the other week, he is just standing and watching and we talk a bit. Chris Caufield, the "young" C-3 who is set to do the second side match wants to be looked at and the Poohbah requests that I do this and I agreed, considering that this was what I wanted to do anyway.

At this point things however are changing, at least for GriffinLand. As most of you will know, it was raining rather hard in some parts of NorCal on Friday. Well, I guess I just brought it south with me. At about the same time as the match starts the rain comes in with some intensity and remains. This made the match a bit unusual as this sort of weather is relatively unknown in GriffinLand. That did not stop the Santa Monica team, who kept up constant pressure and superior speed at the appropriate times to win convincingly by a score of 27 to 8. However, late in the first half the athletic director for Malibu High showed up and a decision was made not to play the second side match, a decision that was not seriously objected to by those standing in the rain, perhaps with the exception of Mr. Caufield.

I felt sorry from Mr. Caufield, who was running touch for Jason and looked spot on in that capacity and I think I would have enjoyed watching him and writing a report on him. Being from NorCal, I had an umbrella with me and stayed adequately dry. The same cannot be said for many of locals. The Grand Poohbah went through at least four changes of clothing from the start of the match until its end.

As there was no second side match a number of folks went back to Santa Monica for the hosted party, which was at O'Brien's Pub, on Main Street in Santa Monica (one does have to stay pretty sober to get from the pitch to the party). I attended briefly, just to talk to one of the players, and to my great glee O'Brien's turned out to be the successor in interest (same location) to the famous "Oar House", where I had occasionally worked in my college days. A good place for rugby players to commune with each other.

The day being a long one and as there are certain foods available in GriffinLand that are not generally available in NorCal, I adjourned to Factor's Famous Deli on Pico Blvd for a triple decker sandwich (corned beef, pastrami, tongue, coleslaw and potato salad) and then enjoyed the sights of West LA, which are as amazing as they were when I was younger. Focusing further on my gastronomical vices, this morning, before catching the plane back, I was able to stop at Art's Deli on Ventura Blvd for a great breakfast of lox, onions and eggs made in the true Ashkenasic tradition.

Maybe one day I will be able to write up a match in GriffinLand. However, this was not the weekend. See you all in San Diego.

Hardest Working Touch Judge

Our newest C2 shows his form as The Hardest Working Touch Judge in Rugby


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