Tuesday, March 27, 2007




Please respond with your availability to referee and/or run touch April 14, 21, 28, May 4/5 and 11/12/13.

There are no more games outside Sacramento and the immediate Bay Area, so travel is not going to be a concern.


The season cycle shifted gears last week, old Sol crossing the equator on his annual journey north. As happens twice a year, everywhere on Earth the sun set at the same time it had risen, shining for exactly twelve hours in between. Everywhere the night is also twelve hours long, equal night in Latin being equinox.

Spring-like temperatures, of course, may either precede or trail this particular calendar date. In the sense of a nice, warm, breezy day when people might think about modifying their appearance by catching some rays, California can have springtime in any month of the year.

But nature has other indicators of spring than the sun’s position on the analemma or the temperature in certain blessed parts of the globe. Birds gotta fly, whales gotta swim, flowers gotta bloom – all of which allow for time-telling.

We can set our calendars to March 19 by the return of the swallows to San Juan Capistrano. We know if the whales are swimming left to right off the California coast, it’s springtime.

But when we woke up early Saturday morning and noticed little white and pink bits of blossoms in the gutter below the windshield, and saw trees looking like giant Q-Tips as we motored along the roads of Northern California, we knew when we were. Just the week before, the trees were bare, reticulated nothingness. But now: entire orchards look as though someone delusional but industrious thought they were Christmas trees and flocked them one and all. Thus are the signs of the first week of spring.


We did not have a referee for the Olympic Club – Hayward second-side match Saturday. This is on a weekend for which, two weeks ago, we had six referees ‘left over’.

These coming weekend playoffs start. Eight Division 3 teams will meet in Palo Alto to determine which two will advance to the Pacific Coast playoffs. All of the other divisions continue to play league matches. There will also be a girls’ high school end-of-season tournament in Davis lasting all day.

Please check Pelicanrefs.com mid-week and watch your e-mail to see where you are assigned, and whether anything changes.


From the NorCal High School Committee Minutes:

"Bob Benson moved that NorCal High School Rugby require that during varsity games all players wear a number on their jerseys. It was amended that it be a different number and be effective April 1, 2007. It was also amended that the referee is authorized not to start the game until numbered jerseys are present and on the players. If the jerseys are not available and in place in 30 minutes the game is forfeited by the team that does not have the numbered jerseys.

“It was seconded by Ray Thompson. The motion passed."

[Editor’s Note: Presumably the phrase, “…that it be a different number…” means that the players of a team may not all wear the same number.]

The NorCal high school playoffs begin on May 5. Thus, for the last four weeks of the regular season teams will need to have numbered jerseys.

This is a major step forward. Since referees began tracking repeated infringement about eight years ago, it has been unfair to a team wearing numbers if their opponents were not: the referee could more easily track, and sin bin, players from the team with numbers.

Let it be further revealed that your writer, in his refereeing career, has had little tolerance for less-than-rigorous numbering schemes. A typical conversation has gone this way:

Your Writer: “Captain, that’s two penalties on the ground against your number six.”

Captain: “We have two number sixes.”

YW: “That’s too bad; as far as I’m concerned, they’re the same guy.”


SF/Golden Gate 21 – SEAHAWKS 42 Referee: Joe Androvich
The Seahawks won their second game of the season.

Seconds: SFGG – Seahawks CANCELED

OLYMPIC CLUB 42 (5) – Hayward 38 (6) Referee: Aruna Ranaweera
At Steuber Family Rugby Field, Stanford
Referee Coach: Dave Williamson

The top-rated teams in the NorCal D1 league met on a Sunny 70F day at Stanford's rugby stadium. Hayward's backs (especially their NA4 center) were unstoppable early as they scored three quick tries in the first half. Olympic Club stayed within striking distance thanks to some accurate place kicks and they helped themselves to two tries of their own, one with no time left in the first half. Despite Hayward's aggressive offense, it was Olympic Club that took a 20-19 lead at the break.

The second half was a cat-and-mouse game with four lead changes: each time one team scored, the other would respond. Both teams played powerful rugby with the backs and forwards linking up for multiple phases. Hayward's loosehead prop and Olympic Club's left wing were prominent. With 12 minutes left, the score was 32-31 in Olympic Club's favor. The main difference between the teams in the last 10 minutes was discipline: Olympic Club stuck to their game plan, while Hayward started to lose focus. With 1 minute left, Olympic Club had pulled away 42-31, but Hayward scored one more try for a final score of 42-38.

In the end, there was precious little between these two talented teams, but Olympic Club deserved the hard-fought victory. Much thanks to Dave Williamson for providing coaching feedback.

Seconds: Olympic Club – Hayward No referee assigned

SAN MATEO 69 – Diablo Gaels 10 Referee: Tony Latu
Evaluator: Mike Malone

I finally arrived at San Mateo High after a three hour drive from Sacramento. I felt like Gilligan and the Skipper combined. Both teams were at the side line but San Mateo asked for a 1430(2:30) kick off. Diablo beat SM at their first encounter, but this time SM was ready. Their backs were too strong too fast for the young guys from Diablo. But these young guns did not give up. They tried to stay with these SM boys, but sometimes your best is too little or too small too late. Thanks to Mike Malone for being available and watch me on Saturday.

Seconds: SAN MATEO 46 over Diablo Gaels 25 Referee: John Coppinger
Assessor: Bryan Porter

80 minutes of 7s style attacking rugby played in good sprits.

Gaels tied the match 22-22 with about 11 minutes left, only to have San Mateo run in three quick tries.

The peanut gallery swelled for the 4:30 PM kickoff with the addition of Frank Merrill, Paul Bretz and Bruce Carter, all of whom had been at the St. Mary’s – Cal game. They greeted Tony and Mike, both of whom had to leave after the first-side match, and left Bryan Porter alone to concentrate on John’s game.

A memorable moment occurred when Mr. Bretz light-heartedly heckled Mr. Batten regarding his performance as a touch judge.

“Hey, Harry! Aren’t you supposed to be monitoring the conversion kick?”

“Just like you’re supposed to monitor the offside line!”

SACRAMENTO over Arroyo Grande by forfeit Referee: Jim Crenshaw
Arroyo Grande forfeited to Sacramento, but we played after Sac gave them a couple of players. It was 87 to 7.

SANTA ROSA 41 (6) – Fresno 31 (5) Referee: Mike Gadoua
Fresno started the match with quality play, putting Rosa on its heels during the first half. At half, Fresno was up 19 to 17. However, in the second half, the younger Rosa backs got their attack in gear and proved very effective in advancing the ball. Rosa scored 22 points in the second half to Fresno's 12.

Missing key players, such as Gregg Melton (recovering from surgery), Fresno was was not able to fully compete and appeared to be affected by a rash of unlucky ball handling. Regardless, the bang of the game was much closer than the score tells us. A Rugby statute reflects that all players are required to respect the authority of the referee; and even though it is not written, the referee must also demonstrate respect to the players in turn. One of the game's foundations toward the objective of the game remains unattainable if a referee fails to respect the players on the pitch.

VACAVILLE 42 – Humboldt 8 Referee: Sam Reagle
Vacaville stormed out of the gate scoring off the opening kick-off and again about a minute later. Then, about halfway thru the first half, they added a drop kick because they could.

Vacaville has a good combination of strength, speed and youth which in D3 can be formidable. Humboldt brought a pretty strong side with the occasional grayhair thrown in, but youth and exuberance prevailed today.

CHICO 50 – Shasta 15 Referee: Mark Kottke (SoCal)

EAST PALO ALTO 30 (6) – Stanislaus 15 (3) Referee: Giles Wilson
Played at 4.30pm at the SFGG field on TI due to field work happening in East Palo Alto; toll gate delays held up a couple of Stanislaus players (leave home earlier??) who joined proceedings when they arrived, replacing their stand ins.

Both teams came to play with hard driving the order of the day; but kicking boots had been left at home. EPA score 3 first half tries to one from Stanislaus. The second half produced more of the same, mostly hard driving play with big hits producing 3 more EPA tries. Late in the game Stanislaus reverted to a more basic game, quick rucks, good support allowing off-loading from the tackle to the support resulting in 2 tries (all unconverted) for a 30 – 15 final.

APTOS 22 (3) – Reno 7 Referee: Dave Pope
It was a perfect day for rugby, a cool day on the coast, but there was nothing cool about this game. It was as physical as they come.

From the opening whistle Reno and Aptos battled. For the most part the aggression was constructive, but at times tempers flared and three yellows were issued in the game. On the day Aptos was the better team, doing a better job of finishing their opportunities.

MISSION 93 – Marin 0 Referee: John Pohlman
As some teams prepare for the playoffs, others are playing their last games of the season. Rugby referees are some of the biggest fans of rugby. Most of us do it because we want the game to be the best it can be. And we want the players to have an environment where they can compete at their best.

I start with this because this has been a year for me where I have seen some great rugby, but many very lopsided games.

I looked over my score cards from this season and here are some of the scores 84-17, 65-9, 46-7, 85-12, 31-21 yeah, 36-5, 55-7, 13-10 double yeah, 16-3, 48-0, 69-0, 48-0, 54-7, 37-7, 78-5, 50-17 and now 93-0.
Yes some great rugby but we all want competitive games.

This last week I did the Mission Rugby Club versus the Marin Rugby Club. Mission is gearing up for a repeat run at the Division 3 national championship. Marin is finishing their season with class and true rugby sprit.

Marin started the game with thirteen players. Mission offered players, but due to needing lots of points to have the number 1 seed and the fact Marin has a classy group of players, the Marin team played most of the game with 13 players.

At half time Mission offered players again. Marin #9 Captain Dave Britton and coach Robb simply stated they respected Mission too much to forfeit or take their players.

Mission captain Ohio said it would be fine to call the game early. But when I asked Marin they said no, this is our last game of the season.

I wish the Mission team and players good luck and good health throughout the playoffs. They certainly looked ready.

But I want to thank the Marin players and coach for reminding me what the spirit of rugby is all about. Never give up, respect your opponent and honor the game.

Thanks guys.

Oh and Mission looked really good and won 93-0, despite ith two knock-ons in the in-goal.

Berkeley 13 – FOG 20 Referee: Rich Anderson
This was a very competitive, hard-played Division III match between two rivals who share the same pitch. After an early Berkeley burst, the match see-sawed back and forth with he Fog maintaining a slight edge. This edge held until the end, with the Fog winning 20-13.

St. Mary's 19 – CALIFORNIA 41 Referee: Paul Bretz
Touch Judges: Mike King, Bruce Carter
Fourth Official: Eric Rauscher

CHICO STATE 27 – Stanford 12 Referee: Scott Wood

Seconds: CHICO STATE 50 – Stanford 0 Referee: Mark Kottke (SoCal)
Referee Coach: Scott Wood

Sacramento State 24 – UC DAVIS 43 (7) Referee: Chris Parkhouse
This was a highly competitive game of end to end, attacking rugby, with both teams wanting to move the ball and attack at every opportunity. Davis was always dangerous from deep in their own half and scored two tries in the first half from breakaway moves following sustained Sac pressure. In the second half only one try separated the two teams, that were really well matched. Apart from one occasion when tempers flared this was a well contested, highly competitive and entertaining game of rugby.

Seconds: SACRAMENTO STATE 25 – UC Davis 24 Referee: Dylan Gill

SANTA ROSA JC 81 (13) – U of San Francisco 0 Referee: Cary Bertolone
Referee Coach: Jake Rubin
The game was held at For Pete's Sake rugby pitch in Santa Rosa-beautiful sunny day. Although the packs were evenly matched, the SRJC backs were superior to the USF backs, scoring tries aprox. every 5 minutes with the half time score 45-0 and the final score of 81-0 in favor of Santa Rosa. The try total for SRJC was 13 tries. Everyone, even USF, had a good time!

San Jose State 5 – CAL MARITIME ACADEMY 95 (15) Referee: Rob Hendrickson
Under warm sunny skies in San Jose, Cal Maritime used its speed to get the ball out to the wings to score most of its 15 tries against a SJ State team that never gave up but had problems dealing with Cal Maritime's superior experience and fitness.



Lamorinda frosh/soph 19 (3) – SKYLINE (Salt Lake City) 52 (8)
Referee: Rob Hendrickson
In a game of two separate halves on St Mary's new pitch on Friday afternoon, Lamo's frosh/soph team came out on top of Salt Lake's B side by a score of 19 - 7 in the first half, while Salt Lake's A side came in for the second half (to warm up for their game against Vacaville the next day before the Cal/St Mary’s game) and used their superior size and speed to score 7 tries in the second half.

Aptos 7 – PENINSULA GREEN 22 Referee: James Hinkin
Peninsula Green traveled to Aptos for a Friday night match up that was only a few minutes late. Aptos, aware of the difficulties on Hwy 1during rush hour had the light available so nobody was rushed. The game started out with PG kicking off and an immediate penalty against Aptos for holding on as the receiver was turned in the tackle. Although the penalty attempt was wide it signaled PG’s desire to contest every ball. A few minutes later turnover ball in the tackle gave PG a wide open weak side to counterattack on and they wasted no time with a try in the corner. Aptos woke up and started contesting PG’s ball and soon were rewarded with penalties of their own but failed to convert. A good, hard hitting match then ensued with the scoreline flattering PG a bit as the game was closer than it appears. Both sides had breakaways and chances but the final pass seemed to let down the boys from the beach. The main difference was the power of the PG scrum which led directly to a couple of tries as Aptos had trouble clearing their own line. Tempers started to boil over near the end and PG had to play 14 on 15 for the last 5 minutes due to a yellow card and Aptos took advantage to score well deserved a try at full time.

SANTA ROSA 38 (6) – Montgomery 12 (2) Referee: Mike King

Friday Night Lights: On familiar ground for their gridiron teams, Santa Rosa battled Montgomery under the lights at Cardinal Newman High. The event was very well attended for a high school rugby match by a substantial and vocal crowd. Hopefully, this is the wave of the future that was established in Sonoma County by these clubs and Elsie Allen Lobo Rugby, so that there is greater fan support leading to more widespread participation in the game.

The contest pitted a more experienced and polished Santa Rosa squad against a gritty and powerful Montgomery side. Both sides gave tremendous effort, with Santa Rosa capitalizing on Montgomery’s mistakes to score 4 converted tries in the first half. Not to be deterred however, Montgomery came back at the end of the half to power over for 5 points. The second stanza was a true tug-of-war, with the Santa Rosa backline continuing to mount some strong attacks that were continually stopped by Montgomery. The latter pounded away with its forwards to strike deep into Santa Rosa on several occasions. The final tally of 38-12 resounds of the fine effort put into this match by both sides.


Antioch 10 – LIVE OAK 29 Referee: Giles Wilson
Two teams struggling with injuries and rebuilding years came together for a lively game; warm at 1pm in the delta but manageable.

Delta started strongly but couldn’t manage a score. Having weathered the storm, LO came back to score 3 first half tries – none converted and the only item of interest was the attempt to introduce a specialist kicker for a conversion.

In the second half Antioch came back hard, driving with the ball in hand and pulling back 2 tries (neither converted) to come within 5 point. LO managed long breakouts from defense, resulting in 2 more tries which they converted. Antioch nearly scored a 3rd but stepped on the dead ball line while under pressure and attempting to center the try.

LOS ALTOS 17 – College Park 14 Referee: Joe Saccomanno
Los Altos dominated the first half with two converted tries to take a 14 to nil half time lead. College Park came back and scored its second converted try with 7 minutes left in the game. Either team was in a position to win. Los Altos took the lead with 4 minutes to go with a penalty kick. College Park had an opportunity to tie the game with 1 minute left with the option of taking the penalty kick or going for the win. They choose to the latter and didn't score. Good game over all.

TRI-VALLEY 56 – Alameda 0 Referee: Joe Saccomanno
The game was totally dominated by Tri Valley. They scored 5 tries and 3 conversions in the first half to lead 31 to 0. The second half was more of the same with 5 more tries.

JV: TRI-VALLEY 25 – Alameda 5 Referee: Joe Saccomanno

Varsity: LAMORINDA 31 – De La Salle 20 Referee: Bruce Carter
Touch Judges: Edward Barfels, Tony MacKenzie

Saturday mornings, the narrow byways of inland Contra Costa County must be shared with walkers, joggers, stroller-pushers, runners and bicyclists as you make your way from Highway 24 to Moraga.

At Miramonte High School, the parking lot must be shared with tennis players, swimmers, hoop-shooters and ruggers.

And once on the pitch, the Love of the Game can be shared with thirty keen youths and many knowledgeable spectators.

These two teams are having good seasons, aiming for the playoffs. They are close enough to be natural rivals, and those who continue playing in college will make teammates of their opponents and vice versa.

De La Salle fullback Tim Maupin, a football player, is a star. On the basis of where the referee was after he made a long run for a try, he is exactly twice as fast as a broken-down middle-aged man.

It is probably both more illustrative and more flattering to the player to say that he is faster than the other players who on were on the pitch with him.

De La Salle built a first-half lead that they could not maintain, as Lamorinda proved to be better at keeping possession and gaining ground in increments.

It is a real privilege to referee good high school teams in the second half of their seasons. They have scaled the learning curve nearly to the top.

After calling out ‘Ruck’ at the first two rucks, I noticed that they knew when it was a ruck and what to do. So I quit calling it out, except when the picture was painted in shades of gray. These two teams have been well-coached, better than some of the refs I’ve seen: they knew that a ruck meant:

- You have to take your hand off the ball (If you’re on your feet and have two hands on it, the referee won’t say ‘ruck’ – it’s your ball)
- If you are on the ground near the ball, you have to move out of the way of any opponents who might want to get at it
- You have to stay on your feet
- You have to get and stay behind the offside line

So they played the game at pace and with skill, and the better team on the day won.

Frosh/soph: LAMORINDA 29 De La Salle 20 Referee: Edward Barfels
Lamo scored 22 points in the first half with 4 tries and one conversion. DLS scored just one try/no conversion. For most of the second half, LAMO did not play their larger sophomores and DLS scored three tries (making the score 22-20). However for the last five minutes, the larger Lamo players returned and dominated the game, including scoring the final try in the 60th minute. Final score LAMO 29 - DLS 20.

JV: Lamorinda 10 – DE LA SALLE 26 Ref: Barfels
DLS scored first at about the 5 minute mark with a try/no conversion. Lamo took advantage of a DLS error on the ensuing kick-off and scored a try about one minute later (no conversion). DLS scored again and made the conversion to make the half-time score 12 to 5. DLS scored first in the second half; try/ with conversion. Lamo fought hard and scored a try mid-way thru the half/no conversion. DLS made a final try/with conversion to make the score DLS 26 – Lamo 10.

Many thanks to both sides for two good games.

SF/GOLDEN GATE JV 29 (5) – Berkeley Rhinos 5 (1) Referee: Larry Freitas

SF/GOLDEN GATE Varsity 41 (6) – Hayward 22 (4) Ref: Freitas
After only being up 17-12 at half & having Hayward knot the score to open the second half, and a flurry of tries by both teams, SFGG had more gas at the end with 2 deciding tries as time expired.


APTOS 25 – College Park 0 Referee: Larry Freitas
At the Aptos High School football field, named after Trent Dilfer, Aptos Under 19s defeated College Park by a score of 30 to 0 on March 26th in a night game, played between rain squalls. The condition of the field: more dirt than grass after the football and soccer seasons, and a narrow pitch which, in my opinion, only pinned in the Aptos backs at various times in the game. Aptos has a tremendous backline, with one player from nearby Monte Vista Christian who is currently being recruited to play football at San Jose State and rugby and football by Cal; and another who actually is a Bellarmine student who lives in Aptos but not playing for College Park, who just got accepted to UC San Diego. These two have a lot of potential.

An 8-0 lead from an unconverted try and a penalty kick at halftime ballooned to twenty-five points in the second half, as College Park could not stop the forward thrusts of Aptos. Time and again Aptos blew College Park players off rucks, got the ball out to the backline, and when they took a more direct route, those backs got the ball within reach of the goal line. Mid-way through the half College Park had their best scoring opportunity, when they ran a penalty from five metres out, and several times in a row Aptos players were caught having not retreated to the goal line in making tackles on College Park's quick taps. A warning to Aptos that another infringement would mean a penalty try or sending off settled down play. One more planned move failed as the College Park right wing knocked on in a tackle near the goal, and Aptos recovered. Aptos looks good going into the high school playoff round.


Match Report: THU 22 Mar 2007, 1845

International HS Girls Friendly Scrimmage: East Bay (2) 12 vs. Surrey Eagles (2) 12 Referee: Bruce Bernstein
Venue: Willie Stargell Field, Encinal HS, Alameda
Weather: Warm evening
Comments: The pitch was hard

Bruce kindly crossed the Bay to ref his 1st international match. Three twenty minute periods afforded plenty of playing time for the 28 strong East Bay Squad (Alameda & Berkeley)

Point spread: East Bay - 2 tries, 1 conversion goal; Surrey Eagles - 2 tries, 1 conversion goal

Match Report: SAT 24 Mar 2007, 0810

International HS Girls Friendly Scrimmage: Fortuna HS Husky (4) 24 vs. Earl Marriott Secondary School (4) 24 Referee: Paul Berman
Venue: Fortuna HS, Fortuna, Humboldt County
Weather: Bright & warm
Comments: Congratulations are in order to Tina & Siana Watts & their wonderful father Bill, who have put this wonderful new programme together. They hosted/billeted 3 teams in their school gym on the Friday night before the game & entertained & fed us thrice.

This was their inaugural home game & their pitch is already the finest in our league. You played a fine game of rugby.

Thank you for inviting Alameda & thank you for inviting me to start the whistle chirping.

Point spread: Huskies - 4 tries, 2 conversion goals; Earl Marriott - 4 tries, 2 conversion goals

Match Report: SAT 24 Mar 2007, 0958

Nor Cal HS Girls Friendly Scrimmage: Fortuna HS Husky (1) 5 vs. Alameda Riptide (5) 29 Referee: Paul Berman
Venue: Fortuna HS, Fortuna, Humboldt County
Weather: Bright & sunny
Comments: The crowd & the players were willing & the play was intense. Fortuna took this game to Riptide utilising their superb No. 8 Sarah Towne & inside centre Jasmin Cervantes, who never gave up nor gave in. They forced Alameda to work for their win, all the way to the final whistle.

A wonderful time was had by all.

Point spread: Huskies - 1 try; Riptide - 5 try, 2 conversion goals

Match Report: SAT 24 Mar 2007, 1030

International HS Girls Friendly Scrimmage: Alameda Riptide (4) 22 vs. Earl Marriott Secondary School (1) 7 Referee: Adam Pinkerton
Venue: Fortuna HS, Fortuna, Humboldt County
Weather: Bright & sunny
Comments: Again a hard fought match, played with a dash of pride

Mr. Pinkerton will make an excellent Pelican, if he should ever seek the calling.

Point spread: Riptide - 4 tries, 1 conversion goal; Earl Marriott - 1 try, 1 conversion goal

Match Report: SAT 24 Mar 2007, 1400

Friendly Scrimmage: Humboldt State vs. SFGG U19 Referee: Paul Berman
Venue: Excellent!
Weather: Bright & sunny


I had a nice chat with Humboldt's Captain Jacob Nelson & Coach Renaldo Arroto before turning round & heading for home.


Piedmont U-19, 20 – HAYWARD U-19, 46 Referee: Joe Saccomanno
On a early starter, Saturday morning 9 am at Mills College, Piedmont was there at 8am warming up and as usual Hayward started rolling in around 8.45. The game started at 9.15.

The first half was a very even game. Hayward scored three unconverted tries while Piedmont roared back with two unconverted tries of their own. Half time score was 15 to 10.

The second half was tight up till the last 10 minutes when tackling and ball handling errors gave Hayward three quick ending tries. Hayward score 5 tries and three conversions while Piedmont scored two unconverted tries in the second half.

On an ironic note, Hayward had two run away tries which were not awarded because the ball was not properly grounded in goal. The spectators were not happy about this.

SF Fog 6 – MARIN REDS 22 (3) Referees: Paul Berman (1st half), David Valentine VIRRS (2nd half)
Touch Judge: Paul Berman (2nd half)
Referee Coach: Tom Martinez
Venue: Job Corp. Field, Treasure Island, SF
Weather: Bright & cool.
Comments: The pitch was firm & clearly lined, roped, flagged & goal posts padded.

Unfortunately there was some confusion about kick-off time. The Fog had expected an early 11am start though most graciously allowed the NorCal HS Girls' Bay Round-Robin League matches to finish before they took to the pitch.

This was a tough competitive match with Marin propelled forward by their heavier, experienced & aggressive pack. The Reds struggled a little at the line-out with the lighter agile Fog forwards taking their fair share of ball. Tackling was fierce with both teams attempted to run their backs. Marin's quick scrum-half & full-back were constantly bringing the ball back to their forwards to recycle. The Fog through their centers made some impressive breaks only to be denied short of the try line.

A match played in good spirit on St. Patrick's Day.

Point spread: Fog – 2 penalty goals; Reds - 3 tries, 2 conversion goals; 1 penalty goal

Nor Cal HS Girl's League: Berkeley Yellow Jackets 0 – Alameda Riptide 44 (8)
Referee: Debra Hart
Venue: Job Corp. Field, Treasure Island, SF.
Weather: Bright & cold
Comments: This Bay Round-Robin Alameda, Berkeley & Santa Rosa saw the final 2 Nor Cal league matches of the season for each squad, played at the epicenter of Bay Area Rugby.

Point spread (Unofficial): Riptide - 8 tries, 2 conversion goals

Nor Cal HS Girl's League: Santa Rosa Lobos 7 – Alameda Riptide 7 Referee: Michael Gadoua
Venue: Job Corp. Field, Treasure Island, SF.
Weather: Bright & cold

Point spread (Unofficial): Lobos - 1 try, 1 conversion goal; Riptide - 1 try, 1 conversion goal


Again, no photo. Our tech skills are letting us down with getting the camera to talk to the computer. Sorry.


For the Senate
Pelicus Scriptoris

Tuesday, March 20, 2007




Mark Ormsby recently announced that JIM CRENSHAW has been promoted to B2 by the Pacific Coast Rugby Referee Society, after some strong showings on the pitch in high-level matches.

The Promotion Committee of the NCRRS is happy to announce that JOE ANDROVICH has been promoted to C1.

Congratulations to these two hard-working referees!


If the lifeblood of a referee society is the games that we are privileged to referee, exchanges are the air that we breathe – they invigorate us.

This past weekend was a good one for referee camaraderie. Members of the NCRRS hosted Colin Dyer and Dave Valentine from Victoria, BC, Simon Smith from Virginia, and Larry Johnson from Denver.

Colin, Dave and Simon all arrived Friday and were treated to a tour of the Sonoma wine country and Mission, and a nice lunch, prior to evening refereeing. David Williamson and Joe Leisek put the best face on an already-lovely day.

Saturday was of course a rugby day: games for all.

Colin worked the Baracus – Fresno game and was very impressed with the respect shown him by the players.

He later seemed to think it must have something to do with the caliber of refereeing these teams are accustomed to. People asked, “What game did you say you did?”

Dave, having had automatic sprinklers interrupt his Friday game, was not informed that his assigned match was kicking off at 11 AM. Thinking he was very early for a 1 PM fixture, he arrived on Treasure Island to find Paul Berman refereeing the first half of the Fog – Marin match. Dave took control of the second half.

Having heard these tales of woe, Rich Anderson stepped up to do something other than commiserate: he gave Dave his East Palo Alto – Sac Lions seconds match. Dave’s initiation to Tongan rugby players was a very pleasant one; he enjoyed the game tremendously and spoke about it glowingly at dinner.

Simon had the Sac Lions – SF/GG D1 league match at Rocca Field. With the super league season underway that day, Gate had raided the ranks of their D1 team. Simon’s match was not as close a one as we’d prefer exchange refs to have, but he was gracious enough to seem not to mind at all.

Larry Johnson arrived Saturday morning, looking smart in his Number Ones on arrival at Cal’s Witter Field. The seconds match was already in progress and it is reported that he saw that referee award a try from outside the 22. [Editor’s Note: The one flight that might have been late – arrived early!]

Larry had the Cal – Stanford match, played in front of a good crowd, with a vocal section cheering on the visitors as well. This was also not a close match, but Larry accepted the offered fixture going in knowing that he’d get a video coaching session in a nonpareil setting.

All of the exchangees and their hosts were at the Golden Gate – Denver super league match, sunshine and suds before showers and spiffing up for dinner at the Pyramid Alehouse, and thence into the night.

Thanks to Kat Todd-Schwartz for coordinating our visitors’ stays, and Dave Williamson, John Pohlman, Joe Leisek and Rich Anderson for hosting and squiring these folks around.



ST. MARY’S 68 – Sacramento State 13 Referee: Pete Smith

Seconds: St. Mary's 0 – SACRAMENTO STATE 43 (7) Referee: Rob Hendrickson
Sac State's B side downed a young St Mary’s squad following the A side game in perfect weather on Friday afternoon at St Mary’s new and hugely improved pitch.

CHICO STATE 28 (3) – Nevada 24 (4) Referee: Don Pattalock
Rugby Marathon in Reno – Part One
Friday night:
TJ: Steve "Pony Boy"/B. McSwain

This match was originally scheduled to be played in Chico on Saturday, but the thought of an additional 25 rugby players in Chico for St. Patrick's was too much for the University administration to fathom, something about riot police and Chico falling into the Pacific. So the match was rescheduled to be played at the University of Nevada on Friday night after a very important intramural coed softball game.

Kick off was achieved by 8:35 p.m.. Chico came out of the blocks firing on all cylinders and scored first with a great multi-phase series of rucks and finished the movement off with wide passing for the score. Nevada battled hard throughout the match, tackling extremely well and pressuring Chico at the base of the scrums. Discipline let Nevada down at the breakdowns and Chico was able to hold on for the win.

Seconds: Nevada – Chico State Referee: No Show

CALIF. MARITIME ACADEMY 41 – Santa Rosa JC 29 Referee: Colin Dyer (VIRRS)
This was the first time this match was NOT held in a torrential storm, and the first time Maritime won.

High school JV:
VACAVILLE BLACK DOGS 17 – Rancho Cordova Lancers 7 Referee: Dave Valentine (VIRRS)
Sprinklers popped up and drenched the pitch during this one.



Frosh/soph: GOLDEN GATE 15 (3) – De La Salle 10 (2) Referee: Edward Barfels
It was a very good Frosh game between SFGG & DLS.

SFGG scored a Try in the first half to lead 5-0. At the beginning of the second half DLS scored a Try to tie the game. However with about 10 minutes left SFGG scored again and took the lead at 10 to 5. It was a well played game - the teams and the coaches should be proud.

JV: GOLDEN GATE 31 – De La Salle 14 Referee: Chris Parkhouse

Varsity: GOLDEN GATE 25 (3) – De La Salle 15 (2) Referee: Aruna Ranaweera
Rugby on St. Patrick's Day: considering the Ireland rugby team's win over Italy in the six nations and the Ireland cricket team's upset of Pakistan at the Cricket World Cup, it was only appropriate that the high school teams wore shades of green. Both teams swung the ball out wide often and were able to recycle for multiple phases. SFGG's centers were fearless and incisive, while DLS's back three were elusive with ball in hand. SFGG led 12-5 at half. SFGG enjoyed better support in the forwards, which enabled them to retain possession more than DLS. Both teams have a number of players who will do very well at the next level (college/U23).

SF/Golden Gate 7 – SACRAMENTO LIONS 72 Referee: Simon Smith (Virginia)
Evaluator: Matt Eason
Final was a 72-7 beating of SFGG by Lions; half time 46-0.
It was a display of powerful rugby that was a pleasure to referee and to watch. Some great handling, astute kicking and powerful running meant that Lions were always in charge.

To their immense credit, SFGG never gave up tackling and running, and got some form of reward with a last minute try.

My only issue was the Lions choice of pre-match music! Bob Marley tends to induce a feeling of mellow relaxation, which is not my usual preferred state pre-kick off!

On a personal note, I'd like to thank everyone in NorCal for the weekend - it was a role model for how exchange trips should be. The hospitality was superb, and the dinner very much appreciated. Further to your request at dinner, consider this exchange heartily endorsed - I'd love to come back.

Super League: SF/Golden Gate 22 (4) – DENVER 24 (3) Referee: Dave Peters (USA)
Touch Judges: Tony Latu, Aruna Ranaweera
Evaluator: David Williamson

Golden Gate was thwarted by a try under the posts at full-time for a two-point loss.

Shawn Paga came off the bench to score two second-half tries, the second of which at eighty minutes had seemed to ice the game.

EAST PALO ALTO 29 – Sacramento Lions seconds 24 Referee: Dave Valentine
EPA filled in for the SFGG seconds, providing a good run for a visiting ref.


High School Girls: ALAMEDA 44 – Berkeley 0 Referee: Deb Hart
Touch Judge: Mike Gadoua

The first of three girls high school matches started early at the Job Corps Field on Treasure Island with the Berkeley and Alameda teams. Alameda came on strong, scoring 22 points in the first half and the same in the second half. There were a lot of good tackles and some good multi-phase rugby. The standout of the match was Marlene McDonnell, Alameda's outside center, who scored two tries in the first half. She was almost unstoppable until Berkeley started tackling low and wrapping around the ankles.

Other referees: Mike Gadoua, Paul Berman

Fog 6 – MARIN 22 Referee: Dave Valentine (VIRRS)
Evaluator: Tom Martinez
Dave Valentine and Mike Comstock of the Marin Reds, both long-time forwards, greeted each other by simultaneously saying, with a nod and a grin, "I know you!!"

Fog seconds – Marauders: Canceled


Diablo Gaels 15 (2) – OLYMPIC CLUB 57 (8) Referee: David Pope
Touch Judges: Jackie Finck and John Pohlman
On a hot day in Pleasant Hill, O Club were too strong for Diablo. The game started fast and fairly even, with Diablo scoring first from a penalty goal. O Club was then able to turn up the heat on Diablo and dominated the rest of the first half, scoring 3 converted tries and a penalty. The first 25 minutes of the second half was a good battle, with both teams scoring a couple of tries. Unfortunately for Diablo, their tackling deserted them in the last 15 minutes and they gave up 3 more tries.

Seconds: Diablo Gaels 17 (3) – OLYMPIC CLUB 50 (8) Referee: John Pohlman
Touch Judges: Dave Pope & Jackie Finck

Diablo hosted Olympic Club at Diablo Canyon College. I ran touch for the first side game and was able to convince Jackie Finck and Dave Pope to stay around and run touch for me. Thanks so much. Dave and Jackie helped me control this testy game.

This game was much closer than the score. Both teams contested hard at the breakdown and both wanted to spin it wide. O-Club was lead by their center #12 who scored at least three tries.

On the hot winter day Diablo played hard but faded in the last twenty minutes of the first half to give up four tries.

The first half ended O-Club 38 Diablo 0.

Diablo's big players started making breaks and scored three tries in the second half to Olympic Club's two.

HAYWARD 18 – San Mateo 10 Referee: Pete Smith

Seconds: Hayward – San Mateo: Not Played

ARROYO GRANDE 32 (5) – Santa Rosa 27 (5) Referee: Mike King
Arroyo Grande’s near perfect pitch was enhanced by near perfect playing weather (slightly overcast, but temperate). Santa Rosa traveled light in numbers and lighter in the pack than the hosts. It also seemed to take them time to unwind from their trip. The first half was dominated by AG, with the half-time score 20-5. The second half was a different story with Santa Rosa roaring back with nice ball handling and some breakaway runs. They scored 4 second half tries, converting just one. They were also unable to contain some deft passing and shifty running that saw a converted try followed by a disputed try near the end of the match. AG had made a long breakaway and dotted down in the corner before the flag was knocked over in the referee’s judgment. Time expired only a few minutes later after a clearing kick as Santa Rosa pressured again. A well-fought contest by all.

Baracus 12 – FRESNO 29 Referee: Colin Dyer (VIRRS)
Evaluator: Kat Todd-Schwartz

Seconds: BARACUS 27 – Fresno 17 Referee: Lois Bukowski
Referee Coach: Bryant Byrnes
Thanks to Bryant for coming out and giving me some good words, asking relevant questions, and tossing in a touch of motivation for a 40 minute game that the ref was not very fired up for.

Fresno won the first half (20 mins running time) and Baracus won the 2nd (but put up more points, thus they won the game!) Fun run, great BBQ at a picnic area in GG park immediately afterwards. Irish car bombs went off and several boots were shot. Fun, pre-evening St. Patty's festivities. When the bawdy songs came out, I decided that Wade didn't need to hear that stuff so early in his life...and we cruised back to the car. I could still hear the primal, booming voices from the distance and I smiled, shook my head, and appreciated the culture that is rugby. Then, I headed home to prep for the Ref dinner later that night...a much more civilized gathering.

Mendocino Steam Donkeys 0 – CHICO MIGHTY OAKS 94 (16)
Referee: Scott Wood
Venue: Eagle Peak Middle School, Redwood Valley
Weather: More warm, less humid than my match on Friday

For those who have been to Witter Field in Berkeley, you remember the "downhill" advantage presented by the slope of the pitch. That's nothing. Go to Redwood Valley and bring your slalom skis. Okay, it's not that bad but the pitch does have a significant slope.

Through a little eavesdropping, I heard Chico talk about its game plan to work on the basics of attacking up the middle of the pitch. As all plans are wont to do, this one lasted until the first whistle. Chico received the ball from the kickoff, spun it wide and sprinted downhill for the first of 16 tries. Halftime arrived with Chico up 46-0.

The second half opened up with more scoring. Colusa Legend stalwart Paul Dooley join in as Chico's hooker while Beau McSwain assumed duties as Mendocino's scrumhalf. With Beau directing traffic, the Steam Donkeys were able to power up some basic plays coming close to scoring. Unfortunately, some Chico players were keen on attacking Beau and forced a couple erratic passes.

I enjoyed watching Mendocino's development as a team during the game. It was apparent when I arrived and at the social that this is a spirited team with enormous potential.

Humboldt – Shasta No referee assigned
We simply didn’t have enough to go around this past weekend. We need more refs.

RENO 7 – Stanislaus 0 (forfeit) Referee: Don Pattalock
Rugby Marathon in Reno – Part Two
TJ: G. Walsh/P. Ulibarri

Stanislaus arrived in Reno with 11 players so the league match was forfeited but the game went off as planned with Reno loaning several players so the match could continue. Final score of the "scrimmage" Reno 66 (10) Stanislaus 7 (1). Stanislaus's main concern was that they failed to give Reno a good match to prepare them for the upcoming playoffs. I believe Reno enjoyed the run and I'm sure the boys will have had a great time in town for St. Paddy's Day.

Petaluma 10 (1) – MISSION 22 (4) Referee: Bruce Bernstein
At Petaluma’s McNear Park

Mission beat Petaluma after coming back from a 10-0 half time deficit & starting the second half one man sin-binned.

UC SANTA CRUZ 89 (15) – San Jose State 0 Referee: Chris Fisher
Great to see such big support for Slug rugby. At least 300 fans were on the sidelines enjoying themselves and supporting their team.

CALIFORNIA 87 – Stanford 0 Referee: Larry Johnson (ERRRS)
Touch Judges: Chris Arnold, Tom Wright
Video Coach: Bruce Carter

Seconds: CALIFORNIA 144 (22) – Stanford 0 Referee: Bruce Carter
Cal’s second XV is reputed to be one of the best college rugby teams in the USA. Imagine what happens when they play against a ‘normal’ second side.

I imagine that I’m still sore from refereeing it.

It was a great day at Witter – rugby homecoming weekend. One former referee face of note: Don Hart wished me well on my recent marriage – he’s still looking fit and reading Hail, Pelicus!

CHICO STATE women 66 (10) – Nevada 0 Referee: Don Pattalock
TJ: B. Hurst/Chico team representative

Rugby Marathon in Reno – Part Three

The call came at 9:30 a.m from the Nevada coach notifying me that there were two teams ready to play with no referee: so off I went. Chico fully kitted out in festive St. Paddy day green socks in celebration of the occasion; was not phased at all by the venue change and apparent abandonment by the administration: this match was also scheduled to be played in Chico. Chico had too much; possession, speed, skill and depth for the young Nevada side to handle. Nevada defended vigorously for virtually the entire match, but even the best defenses break under continued pressure. Great match. Both team play with great spirit and respect for the game.

The end.

ST. MARY’S women 37 (7) – California 5 Referee: Sam Reagle
I arrived early at St. Mary's beautifully wide rugby pitch to find Cal already running drills. I finished my latte, completed the pregame rituals and still had a half-hour until kick-off so I chatted with some of the injured Cal players. Apparently, last weeks game against UNR took its toll as a handful of players were on Injured Reserve this week as a result. This non-conference game pitted what I believe to be St. Mary's A-side against Cal's "B"'s in an effort to improve both teams’ skills.

Cal played hard, but were on their heels most of the first half as SMC attacked relentlessly. On multiple occasions, SMC was its own worst enemy as several opportunities were missed due to knock-ons and forward passes when a score seemed imminent. Halftime score: 27-0.

In the second half, it's hard to say if Cal played better or SMC let up, but play remained between the 22's for quite a while until Cal forced a turnover on their own 22 and took off down the left sideline only to be caught at the SMC 22 where Cal ran a give and go allowing the player who started the attack to score the try.


VACAVILLE BLACK DOGS 34 – Rancho Cordova Lancers 3 Referee: Scott Wood
Venue: Al Patch Park Football Field, Vacaville
Weather: Very warm and humid

Due to a "rain" delay during the B-side match, the humidity was extraordinarily high by the time my game got underway. Vacaville attacked well against a strong, albeit developing, defense. Nearing halftime, the field lights had not come on and I started wondering whether the second half would be played. Just as I blew the whistle for half, the lights came on so we would be, hopefully, good for another 35 minutes. Thanks to a wet ball, the scrum count was almost as high as the humidity. In the second half, Lancers held Vacaville to two unconverted tries while kicking a penalty goal of their own. Both teams are very well coached and enjoyable to referee.

AMAZONS 36 – Davis 7 Referee: Josh Giddens
It was a good game, with plenty of big hitting from the Amazons. The Davis team had a new hooker, so we spent some time on the scrum, and the Amazons (who were much bigger anyway) were very good at not barging early; getting level, and responded to my instructions to bind properly. I think it was a good experience for all, and the warm day tired everyone out, including me!

Delta (Antioch) 5 – LAMORINDA 43 Referee: Mike Sagehorn
Pitch: Contra Costa Fairgrounds-Antioch
Grass field, well lined with posts, post pads, and barrier ropes

Took up the whistle and gave the coaching keys to Coach Kiwi Mike (a NZ ex-pat who's actually played in the backline and is coaching the Delta kids). Mike's first rule: no Wallaby jerseys in practice.

Lamorinda, undefeated in Bay Conference play, traveled to Antioch to face Delta in the final first tests of the Gold Division season. Lamorinda was the clear favorite as Delta, promoted to Gold after a near undefeated season in Silver last year, met up with the always powerful Lamo Rats.

Though stubborn in defense, the Lamorinda backline worked the holes in the Delta line and put two trys in late in the first period. Delta's main defense led by juniors Joshua Prickett and Adam Abu-Aly kept the skilled Lamorinda duo of Bo Richter and Jack Rottici looking for outside space. Richter and Rottici teamed well and unselfishly set up more trys for their teammates.

At halftime Lamorinda came out on fire and answered Delta with a threesome of trys.

Though behind, the match was hard fought and Delta never gave up. In one instance, a Lamorinda player lifted Delta's fly-half off his feet and dumped him on his spine in a tackle that briefly left him breathless and shaken. The Lamorinda player was directed to the sidelines and after the Delta player was deemed ok a short conference was held.

The Lamorinda player was clearly concerned for the welfare of the Delta player. After a short discussion about the danger of lifting a player off his feet and the responsibility a rugby player has for his opponent’s safety the Lamorinda player joined his teammates to complete the match.

Delta's Enrique Garcia, after three hard rucks, dove over the line for Delta's lone score. Lamorinda put in a few more scores, but the match was destined to end with a clear victory for the visitors.

Live Oak JV 8 – TRI-VALLEY 19 Referee: Larry Freitas
It's not often that a high school will grant a rugby club the use of a school field that is not a high school football field with a track around it. Live Oak is such a school, with tight requirements that all rugby players must be Live Oak students, and the coach checking grades to make sure players can stay on the squad. So driving onto campus Saturday morning, and having been told ahead of time what to expect, I saw a decent grass pitch adjacent to the jv baseball field, lined correctly at near full size, and yellow painted metal goalposts that were about thirty feet high with green goal pads, representing the school colors.

The late morning match started under foggy skies, as the marine layer had penetrated this far north from the Prunedale Gap, where Moss Landing Fog filters into the San Juan Bautista area. Tri Valley got off to the start they would have wanted, with their fullback fielding a kick at mid field, and slashing through the cover defense to score a very early unconverted try. Several minutes later an infringement just inside the Tri Valley 22 offered Live Oak the chance to take a kick at goal and get three points. Late in the half Tri Valley added three more points from a penalty, and the half ended 8-3 for Tri Valley.

Both teams were fairly matched, though I noticed that Tri Valley had a little more skill at organizing their play, winning more loose ball, and seemed to be better at passing than their opponents. I was a bit surprised at the handling errors from both teams, leading to a number of set scrums that slowed the game down some. I could accuse backs on either team of thinking about where to run before the ball got firmly to hand, or of just being a bit too anxious about play overall. Likewise Tri-Valley was guilty on a number of occasions of being offside when play broke down.

Early in the second half Live Oak would level the score when their scrum half picked up a ball that had gotten away from the feet of the Tri Valley loose-head side second row, squirting out of the side of the set scrum, and allowing for the Live Oak player to scamper some fifteen meters for a try. That would be the end of Live Oak's scoring, as Tri Valley rebounded to score an unconverted try between two penalty kicks, with the score ending 19-8 for Tri Valley. Tri Valley controlled the last twenty minutes of the game.

PENINSULA GREEN 78 – Silicon Valley 5 Referee: John Pohlman
Peninsula Green hosted Silicon Valley at Woodside High School this past Thursday. This was my second time seeing these teams this year. I thought it could be a close, competitive game.

Peninsula Green led by captain fullback Zack and scrum half Trevor, both playing for the under 19 team were too skilled in all aspects of the game.

The first fifteen minutes was a clinic in possession, passing and finishing scores. P.G. scored four tries in the first fifteen minutes and never looked back.

I'll be interested in how they fair in the playoffs against teams which maybe able to contain these highly skilled players.

Silicon Valley scored a try in the second half to redeem a bit of their pride.

PITS – Hayward Referee: Joe Saccomanno

Reporting ref: Ray Schwartz
Also in from NorCal: Chris Busch
Weather: foggy and cool in the morning, nice and sunny Saturday, cool Sunday.
Pitches: dry and hard, but with broad crisp lines, great crowd control measures,
Accommodations: great food, fruit, beverage, shade, seating at the pitch, fine banquet and hotels at night. Volunteer help was awesome.

I was coaching at Cal State Fullerton (Men's Collegiate DII) in 2000 when I first met Ravi Perera, a Sri Lankan fellow, and super nice, gentle soul, and a cop in a town nearby. He told me he would start a youth rugby club because he didn't want his kids growing up not knowing the joy of the game he experienced back home as a youth. I remember my amazement. "Ravi," I would say, "you'll have no one to compete against."

At the time, Devon Cotrell's Rancho Bernardo High was the only other youth or high school rugby club in all of So Cal. RB would have to travel to Tempe or the Bay Area (or host touring sides) for their closest games! But Ravi pressed on, and by sheer force of will, created one success after another, which has now mushroomed into a very healthy Youth and High School competition growing throughout SoCal. Former BATS and Eagles fullback Chip Howard started the LA Cougars (based in Pasadena) at about the same time. His side would face Back Bay in the Boys Final, Sunday afternoon.

From the ref side, Chris Lakey, who seems ageless, and is much better ref today than I remember from first playing under his watch in 1994, is serving as the SoCal Youth Referee Coordinator. This has branched away from the SCRRS. The likes of him, Paddy Mac, and Josh, ref only youth rugby today. Chris ran the refs on the day and did a fine job. Most games Sunday had two assigned TJs (several on Saturday volunteered), Finals (Cup, Plate, Bowl, and Shield) all had Match Commissioners as well. And lots of free ref coaching was being offered.

For the FYIT Saturday, Mark Kottke, a young man who earned the Cal State Fullerton MVP award in 2000 while playing lock, and now seasoned ref, much fitter, and very committed, was kind enough to pick me up at the hotel (nice to not have a rental car) and scoot me to the pitch. He reffed an early match and then had to leave to run touch with Dana Teagarden at Santa Monica (for the RSL match v OMBAC). Mark returned later in the day to ref again. Dana would join us at the Banquet and ref on Sunday.

Paddy reffed 5 games (14-minute halves), but had other commitments Sunday. Chris Busch, driving down from Ceres with his wife Heidi and two kids (filling in for an injured JC Van Staden who had taken the exchange, only to have to give it back a week later), reffed a lot both days. I was concerned about my fitness, but held up well enough to ref 3 Saturday and two Sunday, plus plenty of running (sometimes walking) touch. Autumn Arvidson had flown in from Minnesota (and reports she digs Scott Wood!). Autumn and Chris got lots of great games and coaching.

Old friend Mike Holmes had to leave early Saturday, but came back Sunday for more. Mike refs less and coaches youth rugby more these days. George Kimura, also strictly a youth ref, drove up from San Diego, DeLyn Barclay was a workhorse both days, and Roche Sanchez from Pasadena put in a full day Sunday. "Rocky" was kind enough to shuttle me back to LAX on the way home.

Some well matched teams and few blow outs. Mother Lode (from El Dorado Hills) was the sole club down from NorCal. Coburg, Ontario brought a boys and girls side, plus the Surrey (B.C.) Eagles Girls all represented Canada. Plus we had two clubs in from Arizona.

Surrey lost a nailbiter to North Shore Highlanders (Wisconsin) in the girls finals. We may have watched a few future Internationals in that game. The Wisconsin #11 was fantastic, fast, tough and intense. When she scored the only try of the game (in the corner) on a tremendous individual effort, she came up sincerely apologizing for not being able to center it! Surrey's coach Neil Grant's two daughters, plus a prop and a lock where also very accomplished ruggers.

To get to the Boys Finals, Back Bay and the LA Cougars, had to get thru strong and deep sides: The Hart District Wildcats (Canyon Country) and the North County Barbarians (Escondido). Any of these 4 sides might compete well against NorCal Varsity squads, with the Wildcats featuring two starters from the State Championship football team that beat De La Salle. We can expect to see several of these sides, and more, travel to Stanford to compete at the www.pacificcoastinvitational.com, and watch the NA 4 games, on Mother's Day weekend coming up.

For the next to the last game on Field 2 Autumn drew a tough assignment. Hawaiian Gardens was a group of very rough around the edges disadvantaged youths. So much of the game was a mess it would hard to know where to start beginning to fix it. One HG player, their fullback, seemed to be their Captain, barking instructions and cursing loud enough for all to hear, repeatedly. There was some dangerous play, but mostly poorly coached and disciplined players. I had run touch for her, and interestingly enough I drew HG for their last game on Sunday. They would play San Pedro Rhinos.

Both clubs were made of of kids "from the wrong side of the tracks." A League match they played the year before had ended in a terrible brawl. I felt it was time for the pro-active Vanilla Goriila to spring into action! I sought out San Pedro first, and caught them napping. 15 minutes to game time and I literally found every one with their boots off. I built a nice rapport with these kids, explained everything I would be expecting of them, and discussed what I had seen the day before. I said I'd be speaking to HG next, and be tell them I would not tolerate foul language. I asked San Pedro to rise above this.

I then found a lazy bunch from HG (nearly 150 yards away, and nearly game time now), I began with a boot check and realized they didn't even have 15 present yet (they had tried to suit up and play 4 girls in their earlier match Sunday!). Getting these kids motivated and focused was challenging! When I finally got them together I determined that fully one third of the squad had illegal boots. We would deal with that next. I then conducted the same pregame chat, and then focused the Captain on treating the game, your opponents and even your own teammates with respect. There would be no cursing and no talking back. I then turned to the fullback and repeated the same, but keep it friendly. We then all ran to the ref's tent where I keep a vise-grip at all times to easily remove even frozen toe studs. The Field was empty, it was time for the match to start, but I made all 5 players sit around in circles and take each other's stud out!

The game itself soon began, and turned out to be a cracker. HG scored on the final play to steal the victory, and not a single discouraging word was heard the entire way. I was rather proud to come off the pitch and have Josh Tameifuna shake my hand, congratulating me on my good control of the game.

Mark Kottke reffed the last game of the day Saturday, the Wildcats v the Barbarians, to an intense 0-0 tie. I took notes and will be sending him a coaching report. We hit the pool and polished up for the Banquet. Dana gave a great speech at the Banquet, attended by perhaps 1/2 of all contestants on the day. Mark was then more than accommodating, buying rounds at the Olde Ship, St. Patrick's Day night after the alcohol-free Banquet. Mark is flying up to handle a game at Jesuit this Friday, and perhaps one or two in Chico Saturday.

For the Finals, Dana had a cracker of a game. Whereas the Cougars appeared more accomplished and deeper, their lone try was brought back, and Back Bay would score the only points winning 5-0, in a 60-minute match. Very intense, fast-paced action. The opening ceremony, the anthems, the flag flying, the awards after each and every final,... this made for a wonder event for all involved.


Saturday, 10 Mar 2007:

Seconds: SAN MATEO 52 (10) – San Jose Seahawks 17 (3) Referee: Paul Berman
Referee Coach: Jake Rubin
Welcomed Support: Joe Leisek
Venue: Watson Bowl, San Jose.

Weather: Warm & sunny, marvelous for this time of year.

Comments: The pitch was firm & clearly lined, roped, flagged & goal posts padded.

This was technically a home game for San Mateo. Unfortunately they were unable secure their home field & the game was moved to the Watson Bowl.

Except for a change of strip these were virtually the same teams who'd faced off during Joe's A-side game.

Both sides ran in a thoroughly open, end to end affair. The Seahawks opened & closed the scoring but the 7's style running of both San Mateo's backs & pack was simply too difficult to counter

Point spread: San Mateo - 10 tries, 1 conversion goal; Seahawks - 3 tries, 1 conversion goal

Nor Cal HS Boys: Silicon Valley 12 – APTOS 22 Referee: Paul Berman
Venue: Watson Bowl, San Jose.
Weather: Warm & sunny, marvelous.

Comments: A fast passed match with plenty of rucks & mauls. Aptos were up 12-0 at the half with Silicon Valley getting the better of Aptos in the 2nd half by 2 points.

Good seeing my old pal Tom Martinez, coaching his son Paul's (captain) Silicon Valley team.

Point spread: Silicon Valley - 2 tries, 1 conversion goal; Aptos - 4 tries, 1 conversion goal

HS boys Lamorinda Colts (62) v. Alameda Fresh/Soph Referee: Jackie Finck
Venue: Lamorinda HS
Time: 1:00pm
Weather: 68F, 30%cloud cover, wind<5mph

A spirited game thoroughly enjoyed by everyone (players, coaches, ref, and fans). These two well disciplined teams made great efforts to gain possession of the ball. In the end, it was Lamorinda's long-standing experience which won them the game.

Point Spread: Lamo- 10 tries, 2 conversions; Alameda- 2 tries

HS boys Lamorinda JV (5) v. Live Oak JV (19) Referee: Jackie Finck
Venue: Lamorinda HS
Time: 4:00pm
Weather: 67F, 10%cloud cover, wind<5mph

Short on players due to the previous varsity match, Lamorinda donated 5 of their players to Live Oak to field a full side. A mix-match of players and tiresome minds made this match a bit disassembled. But with dedication and passion for the game, both teams pulled a good match.

Point Spread: Lamo-1 try; Live Oak- 3 tries, 2 conversions

LAMORINDA 65 – Live Oak 5 Referee: Chris Parkhouse

Lamorinda are looking particularly good these days, spreading the ball wide through quick hands and running at the opposition. Live Oak were out gunned in many areas although they stuck steadfast to the task of trying to hang in there against a well drilled team. At the half it was 44-0 and so Lamorinda rang the changes to give more players a run out. Live Oak managed a score from a quick penalty to put points on the board in the second half but Lamorinda ran out comfortable winners.

Vacaville 22 – CHICO 27 Referee: Joe Androvich

By Lois Bukowski

Nothing like heading to San Diego in the middle of March, not quite the Ides, but close enough. Stunning weather, getting my base tan (read rugby tan, sunburned back of the legs, face and forearms).

This was the 24th anniversary of the Champagne Classic Women's Rugby tournament. I've attended at least 12 of those years, mostly as a player, but recently as a ref. This was the first time that my family and I enjoyed it together. Wade is proving the ruby baby, he gravitates towards the rugby balls over the soccer balls, as it should be.

We arrive on the Friday, stayed with an old college roommate from Penn who remarked that she remembers me "coming home all bloody and beaten from rugby, what fun could that be?" OH, how we all know that fun...

Saturday was great, I arrived at the field relatively early, (first kickoff at 8am) and saw old friends abounding. Brick rolled in just in time for his kickoff and had a good run. My first match was Berkeley Blue vs. San Diego Surfers (go figure me reffing Berkeley). The All Blues had enough depth to enter two teams into this tourney; Coach Kathy Flores wanted to build skill and it was good for the rest of the field as it made it more competitive. Still, The Berkeley Blue rolled. After that, as I rested in the sun and worked that rugby tan, I got my whistle ready for my next match....Berkeley Gold vs. Seattle, do we detect a theme here? Hmm, Berkeley Gold victorious over the friends from the Pacific Northwest. I finished out the day with a match of the Colorado Old Girls vs. the home side of the Surfers. It was a painful match (read, lots of penalties, sloppy play and lack of discipline) but the O.G.were victorious and placed into the semis on Sunday. Meanwhile, Berkeley Blue and Gold were shoring up for a match on Sunday, against....themselves...yes, that one would be mine too!

I had the pleasure of staying with an old college roommate and having Katie and Wade with me as well. So nice when we can do that. Dinner was fun with a small gathering of refs and fellow exchange ref from NYRRC, Brad Kleiner. But, no hard partying with this crew, we had work to do on Sunday.

My first match on Sunday was Berkeley v. Berkeley. While it was challenging for them to play one another, they put that aside and the tackling, rucking and scrumming was just as contentious as one might expect. Bragging rights and the chance to compete for the Championship were at stake. Blue prevailed 19-0 and went on to defeat an up and coming, Kiwi-laden Belmont Shores club. Before that, I had the pleasure of reffing the Collegiate Final, a rematch of Army-Chico State pool game from Sat. Army was victorious the day before, but Chico brought their A talent and ran away with the victory.

All in all, a fabulous weekend, reconnecting with old friends, meeting some new ones. (I was able to coach a few newer refs on Sat and thoroughly enjoyed the opportunity). Next year is the Silver anniversary...should be another notable year.


“I'm contacting everybody I can in regards to this recent problem. People claiming to be affiliated with the San Jose Seahawks are collecting donations for a bogus trip to Australia. I found this out after two women contacted me asking whether or not these people were associated with my team, luckily they were able to stop payment on these checks. However I have no way of knowing how many people have been tricked.

“If you could pass this information to anybody, that would really help in catching these con artists.

“Best Regards,
Brooks Hurd”
(President, San Jose Seahawks)

All Smiles

Thanks to Joe Leisek for this picture:

Standing: Matt Eason, Kat Todd-Schwartz, Rich Anderson, Dave Valentine, Tom Martinez, Simon Smith, Colin Dyer
Sitting: Paul Berman


For the Senate
Pelicus Scriptoris

Tuesday, March 13, 2007




A wonderful week for the NCRRS! We have four promotions to announce:

JC Van Staden has been promoted to C2.

Jackie Finck, Mike King and Colin Wallace have been promoted to C3.

Promotions result after a referee has demonstrated the ability to referee at the next level up. Congratulations to these referees, and thank you to those who took the time to help them, watch their matches, and report on their progress.


For every big rugby game there are three chances for officials to be part of the competition.

We have a lot of upcoming touch judging opportunities. We are entering the part of the season when good TJs are at a premium, and those who are effective touch judges get to work some very high-level games indeed.

The super league starts this coming Saturday. The Golden Gate team will have three home games. Cal will be hosting half of the sweet sixteen over three days, April 20-21-22. Stanford will be hosting the Division One and Two women’s and men’s collegiate championships May 4-5. There will be three, possibly four CR1 playoff games in NorCal in April.

And then there are all of the various NorCal and Pacific Coast playoffs, in multiple divisions, that we will be hosting. On April 7-8, we will have ten college playoff games each day. There are four NorCal D3 playoffs games on March 31, two the next day.

All of these games, and more, need two certified touch judges. Even better if they could have two highly capable touch judges who could help the referee facilitate a better match.

This is the time of the year when the prepared players and the capable teams start to shine. It is also the time when the demands placed on referees and the rewards for superior performance are the highest. The referee-and-touch-judges team of three comes ever more strongly into focus.

We will be asking for TJ volunteers for these events. If you are interested, take every opportunity between now and April to run touch for other referees. Read up on effective touch judging, pay attention to what the TJs do in the games you watch on-line. Let the referee know that you will help with whatever tasks you may be assigned.

With that in mind: let us know if you would be available to run touch on Sunday, April 8. Note that this will be Easter Sunday.


There will be a Society dinner at the Pyramid Alehouse in Berkeley on Saturday, March 17. Make plans now to attend and let David Williamson know how many will be in your party:


Drinks and appetizers will begin at 6:30, buffet dinner at 7:30; Society members pay $25 each, with the Society covering the balance.

Forewarned is forearmed: there may be a mascot call. Either bring a mascot or bring lots of ready cash.


Wednesday, March 7:

UC DAVIS 55 – Stanford 0 Referee: Tony Latu
Venue: Hutchinson Field, UCD
Touch Judge: Rod Chance
Time: 8:00 PM

The first 12 minutes was like two D-1 teams played for our National Champ. It was fast, non-stop and hard running action. Unfortunately, UCD crossed the line and it buckled the Cardinal’s defense. UCD was up 22-0 at the half, and it slowed down the Stanford boys.

Also ten minutes before half, this ref also slows down. Either I was stepped on something or didn't step on anything; I had to leave the field ten minutes into the second half. Rod Chance took over the last 30 minutes.

Stanford threw everything at UCD and they both threw everything at the ref, but at the end, the more experienced team won. Thank you Rod, you saved the night.

Saturday, March 10:

SF/GOLDEN GATE 46 – Diablo Gaels 26 Referee: Paul Bretz
SFGG continue to improve upon their record beating a resilient Diablo side 46-26. Both teams spun the ball wide and with abandon. However the SFGG side had too many weapons.

Seconds: SF/GOLDEN GATE 36 (5) – Diablo Gaels 24 (4) Referee: Giles Wilson
A game played with many young players on both sides along with a healthy dose of experience on another nice day on TI.

Gate had more experience an took a 15 – 5 score into half time courtesy of 2 tries, one penalty and a conversion against a single try. In the second half, Gaels started driving better and making penetrating runs, countered by the Gate resourcefulness. Each side scored 3 second half tries – Gate converted all of them while Gaels only converted two.

Sacramento Lions 22 (4) – OLYMPIC CLUB 30 (4) Referee: Don Pattalock
Touch Judges: JC Van Staden, Phil Ulibarri
Evaluator: Mike Malone

In this #1 v #2 (at least tied for #2) match we had an outstanding hard hitting rugby match on display. Both sides had plenty of possession and attacking opportunities and the momentum tended to change direction very quickly. It’s a testament to the team’s rugby skills that the match had 4x the number of lineouts than scrums. Handling was terrific throughout the match. O Club had a better set platform from which to attack from and the Lions continue to be deadly on line breaks. In the end, the steady solid game plan of the O Club held possession and kept play deep in the Lions end to secure the win.

Seconds: Sac Lions 13 (2) – OLYMPIC CLUB 20 (2) Referee: JC Van Staden
After 2 of the top 1st teams have set the pace and the standard for the day, we could expect nothing less from the seconds. Part of the good success of the 1st game was the team of three, led by Don Pattalock. All three were wired up to the teeth, and nothing on the field got overlooked. The teams quickly realized that and stepped up to the plate.

In the second match Olympic opened the score board by a penalty, followed by a penalty try for repeated infringements on the goal line. The Lions answered back with a good try through the hands.

The second half was dominated by Olympic, which showed a lot more stamina than the Lions. Running in a good back line try off advantage for a dangerous tackle. Nevertheless, with time out, last line out called, the lions turned the ball over and kicked it forward for a 95 yard try in the corner.

I think both teams felt the presence of the “team of three”, which ended up as one of the cleanest match I have witnessed so far this year. Congrats, and good luck to both teams.

SAN MATEO 44 (8) – Seahawks 12 (2) Referee: Joe Leisek
Assessor: Bryan Porter
Watson Bowl, San Jose

A match that was to be played in San Mateo, but the home side was unable to secure a pitch. San Jose graciously agreed to make their home pitch available. It was a big rugby day at the Watson Bowl: the two men's clubs would play firsts and seconds, then Silicon Valley would take on Aptos in a U19 clash.

San Mateo started off by winning possession shortly after they kicked off. What ensued for the next few minutes was a clinic in mauling. In the southeast corner of the pitch, San Mateo mauled powerfully and skillfully, driving in tight formation, designating one player to strip the ball and drive a few meters into one or two defenders, forming another maul, doing it all with precision and communication. San Jose defended well, but could not stop the inexorable mass. Finally, four minutes after kickoff, San Mateo scored from a driving maul.

Time of possession seemed to favor San Mateo, especially in the first half, but San Jose showed their mettle, defending well and spinning the ball wide themselves whenever possible. The first half was an entertaining, crisp 40 minutes, with lots of running, passing, and strong forward play.

The second half wasn't quite as flowing, with more handling errors and therefore more scrums. A San Mateo player earned a 10-minute break for excessive team penalties inside the 22 meter line while San Jose attacked. But overall result was very even: four tries for San Mateo in each half, one in each half for San Jose.

Special thanks to Bryan Porter for coming out and watching, and for his post-match debrief.

I then enjoyed watching Paul Berman referee the next game, and tried not to distract his evaluator too much (Jake Rubin).

Seconds: SAN MATEO 52 vs. San Jose Seahawks 17 Referee: Paul Berman
Referee Coach: Jake Rubin Welcomed Support: Joe Leisek

Venue: Watson Bowl, San Jose.
Weather: Warm & sunny, marvellous for this time of year.
Comments: The pitch was firm & clearly lined, roped, flagged & goal posts padded.

This was technically a home game for San Mateo. Unfortunately they were unable secure their home field & the game was moved to the Watson Bowl.

Except for a change of strip these were virtually the same teams who'd faced off during Joe's A-side game.

Both sides ran in a thoroughly open, end to end affair. The Seahawks opened & closed the scoring but the 7's style running of both San Mateo's backs & pack was simply too difficult to counter.

Point spread: San Mateo - 10 tries, 1 conversion goal; Seahawks - 3 tries, 1 conversion goal

SACRAMENTO CAPITALS 21 (2) – Baracus 15 (2) Referee: Chris Busch
Referee Coach: Kat Todd-Schwartz
This was match was a good contest of wills; there were periods where each team was successful and times when they got themselves out of their game. Final score was Sacramento Capitols 21 vs. Baracus 15.

Sac. scored 2 tries, 1 conversion, and 3 penalty kicks; Baracus scored 2 tries, 1 conversion, and 1 penalty kick.

With 15 minutes left in the match there was a neck injury. The match was stopped for 20 min then resumed. At the social I had still not heard any results of the injured player.

Seconds: SACRAMENTO CAPS 55 (9) – Baracus 14 (2) Referee: Dylan Gill
Referee Coach: Matt Eason
The 2nd side kicked off a bit late due to the A side running long. It was a perfect day for rugby in Sac. Thanks to Matt for making the trip out to watch me.

FRESNO 45 (5) – Arroyo Grande 33 (5) Referee: Aruna Ranaweera
Granite Park, Fresno

Sunny and 75F degrees in Fresno! Arroyo Grande only traveled 16 players, but they used tenacity to counter Fresno's size and numbers. Fresno led 25-19 at half. Fresno demonstrated disciplined continuity to pull away for a comfortable 42-19 second-half lead, but AG scored two more opportunistic tries to close within 42-33 with 10 minutes remaining. In the end, each team had scored 5 tries, but Fresno also added 4 penalties, which was the difference.

Fog B 40 (8) – SILVERHAWKS 50 (10) Referee: Pete Smith
On what could only be considered a perfect day anywhere in the world, I was given the privilege of refereeing at a place with one of the best views anywhere, Treasure Island. Fog B side was hosting the San Jose Silverhawks to a ‘friendly’ that worked well with my family obligations for the day. The game started slowly, five scrums in the first 3 minutes. I asked to see the ball to see if it had been greased, but no luck, just slippery hands. The number of scrums started to ease up a bit, but after 20 minutes I made the teams change balls and oddly enough the number of knock-on’s dropped to a more normal rate. All in all it was a great game and played in a spirit that all games should be played in, but don’t be fooled, people are competitive and everyone on the field played hard for all 80 minutes. Likewise, as a referee NEVER look at any game as it being easy. The players, regardless of their level, still want the best performance from the referee on any given day. They still compete at breakdowns, make hard tackles and do their best to score as many points as possible. To those ends, the Silverhawks came out on top 10 tries to 8-yes 18 total tries! Admittedly, their were no conversions taken and the scrums were uncontested as the Silverhawks only had 2/3rds of a front row, but the game was wide open flowing rugby played at a reasonable pace. It is good for me to have a game like this once in a while-It reminds me WHY I REFEREE.

I have often said that referees are not judges or police, but rather orchestra conductors trying to make the best music possible with the players for the spectators. Which brings me back to the number of scrums, I made a comment to another referee about the high number of scrums I was dealing with and he thought it odd that I keep track of such a number. Remember orchestra conductor, we are trying to produce a flowing, open, entertaining game for everyone concerned and despite the old standard of ‘penalty count’, I consider ‘whistle count’. Almost every time I have to blow my whistle, I am stopping the game. All of the recent Law changes have centered on speeding up the game and having more actual ‘game time’. The statistics I have seen are roughly 15-20 more minutes of actually playing rugby over what was the norm 25 years ago. Even the new scrum engagement was put in place to cut down on the number of scrum resets-more whistles! It is on me as the orchestra conductor to get my whistle count down-‘Was it really a knock-on’, ‘Can I play advantage out of this’, ‘Can I not blow my whistle now and manage the problem later’, ‘Can I use my voice and stop an infraction’, ‘Was it material’, ‘Will a chat with the Captain stop this from happening again’. As referees we are armed with many tools and knowing when to use them may be the differentiator between average and great referees. I do not profess to be a great referee, but I am aware of what my responsibilities as a referee are: Safety of the players, Application of Laws, and to raise the level of play.

Shasta – Mendocino Referee: Colin Wallace
No report received.

Vacaville 22 – Chico 27 Referee: Joe Androvich

Aptos 23 – EAST PALO ALTO 39 Referee: Bruce Carter
Imagine that: I left the house at 11:30 and was home at 4 PM on a rugby day. This has probably never happened before.

It has been moving week for this newlywed, and I needed to stay close to home in order to continue to reduce the count of boxes stacked all over the new editorial home of Hail, Pelicus! So I asked the assignments officer to keep me in the 831 area code.

The match was Aptos at home. Even better: they play at the CSU-Monterey Bay campus on Fort Ord. This is a lovely pitch, full size, well-grassed, and fenced in with plenty of parking. It was a mere sixteen miles each way.

I have averaged just over 10,000 rugby miles per year since 1996, which is as far back as my spreadsheets go. In fact, I already have logged 2480 this calendar year. So this was a real treat, taking my grandson along with the top down as it was just over 70 degrees and the fog mercifully kept at bay out over the Monterey Bay.

And there, visible from the pitch was what used to be Silas B. Hays Army Community Hospital, where I served ten years in uniform as Chief of Medicine, training interns and residents such as Tom Coburn.

But forget all that: this was a great rugby game to referee!

As luck would have it, I also whistled the first meeting between these two teams on January 20. East Palo Alto jumped to an early 12-0 lead in that one but lost to a determined comeback largely accomplished by the penalty kicking of Kevin Miske.

However, Kevin was on the sideline today with an injury. His boot was to be missed.

Aptos kept the ball in tight control for thirty minutes and worked two tries before EPA’s captain and #8 Paula Sakalia inaugurated the wide-open style that would pay dividends for his side, breaking a tackle and setting the ball free.

After that, there was no looking back. Aptos got within four at one point in the second half but continued to yield long runs after missed tackles.

My grandson really enjoyed this game. He was very excited afterwards, especially to be able to meet the players and find out that they knew his grandpa’s name!

Marin 14 (2) – PETALUMA 31 (5) Referee: Bruce Bernstein
Venue: Redwood HS in Larkspur
Very nice field, weather (very sunny & 70 degrees) & location & fan support, having the match sandwiched between Marin's HS frosh & varsity matches. Unluckily for Marin, they lost a few players to injuries & in the beginning of the second half were only down 17-14 before Petaluma scored 3 unanswered tries with good defense & tackling.

Berkeley 9 – MISSION 40 (6) Referee: Mike Gadoua
Evaluator: David Williamson

Berkeley led at the end of the first 40 minutes, 9 to 7. However, Mission’s backs became quite effective as the second half wore on. Not be left behind in the scoring, Missions forwards were able to push over a couple of tries themselves. Mission’s assertive play and fitness seemed to dominate the match. Mission scored 33 points in the second half. Both teams were able to quiet down and play Rugby after working out disagreements in “personality.”

UC Davis 32 (4) – ST. MARY’S 36 (6) Referee: Jim Crenshaw
The St Mary's Gaels had an extended trip to UC Davis Saturday, caused by a couple of freeway stunt drivers, that added an extra hour plus to their trip. We kicked off about 1:30 with the Gaels scoring 1 unconverted try and a converted try in the first 20 minutes. It looked like the Gaels would cruise to an easy win, but the Aggies had other ideas, scoring 2 converted tries to take a 14 to 12 lead at halftime.

The Aggies added to their lead early in the second half, with a penalty kick. The Gaels scored a converted try at the 7 minute mark to regain the lead and scored a penalty kick at the 10 minute mark to lead by 5 . The Aggies scored a converted try to go up by 2 in the 16th minute. The Gaels scored a converted try at the halfway mark to again lead by 5. The Aggies scored an unconverted try in the 26th minute to tie it at 29 all. The high speed of the game seems to take it's toll on both teams as the pace seemed to slow for a while. In the 36th minute, the Aggies kicked a penalty kick to take a 3 point lead. The Aggies couldn't maintain possession of the kickoff, but it seemed like some very tenacious would hold the Gaels, but the Gaels standoff, with an amazing kick of an errant Gael pass and then beating 2 Aggies in a foot race, dove on the ball in the end zone. He slotted the kick to give the Gaels a 4 point lead. The Aggies fought back, but again, failed to maintain possession and a very exciting game ended with a Gael kick to touch.
Final Score St Mary's Gaels 36(5 tries) - UC Davis Aggies 32(4tries)

Seconds: UC DAVIS 39 (7) – St. Mary's 12 (2) Referee: Mike King
After the hotly contested first side match, nothing less could be expected of the second side match. The score itself does not clearly reflect the intensity of the action, with both sides giving their all. A few breakaway runs meant the difference. Otherwise, the tackling and loose play were ferocious.
Special thanks from the referee to Jim Crenshaw for staying and providing valuable pointers.

CALIFORNIA 69 (11) – Nevada 0 Referee: David Pope
Touch Judge: Eric Rauscher
On a beautiful day at Witter Field in Berkeley Cal was too strong for the game University of Nevada, Reno side. The final score was 69 - 0 after a halftime score of 38 - 9. Cal's points came from 11 tries and 7 conversions. For a more detailed match report (with a Cal focus, I couldn't find a UNR report), see http://calbears.cstv.com/sports/m-rugby/recaps/031007aaa.html.

CHICO STATE 30 (3) – Sacramento State 21 (3) Referee: Scott Wood
Chico came out strong and attacked well during the first half. Both teams were well-disciplined and moved the ball around. Chico chose to kick for points from penalties while Sacramento opted to kick touch. Halftime score: Chico 23 Sacramento 7. Sacramento adjusted at halftime and drove hard against Chico scoring two converted tries before the final whistle.

Seconds: Chico State 19 – SACRAMENTO STATE 26 Referee: Chris Tucker
Sac State exacted a measure of revenge on Chico with an entertaining display of rugby, with 7 tries between the two sides. Played cleanly throughout, the score reflected the Sacramento side putting their chances away, while Chico were less clinical as the goal line beckoned.

[Note to our readers: Chris is a brand-new referee, and this was his first game! He took and passed the level one referee course and has now joined the NCRRS.]

Santa Clara 7 – HUMBOLDT STATE 38 Referee: John Pohlman
I was pretty excited to be switched onto Santa Clara University Men's versus Humboldt State for this past Saturday. I had done Humboldt versus Santa Rosa last year and knew Humboldt State was one of the top teams in Division II.

Former Seahawks Chris Kron and Scott Rees are coaching the Santa Clara side and I was interested in their progress.

As things happened I got a stomach bug Thursday night and was turned inside out. By Saturday things seemed a bit better.

When I arrived Larry Freitas was calling the woman's game and both teams were warming up.

Santa Clara won the toss and elected to kick. I'm not sure giving Humboldt the ball is ever a good idea. Humboldt recycled well, hitting the rucks with controlled power. Humboldt scored five tries in the first half. Led by forward captain #3 Jacob Nelson. Humboldt's #2, #8 and center scored a try each. (Humboldt has a preprinted roster with CIPP's but not players #'s).

Santa Clara has improved in all aspects of their rugby. Starting 6 freshman and fielding two full sides their program is moving in the right direction.

The second half started with another Humboldt try.

Around 60 minutes in I started feeling extremely dehydrated and fortunately had Larry there to finish the game.

At 33 minutes Santa Clara # 8 Mike Ramirez picked up a loose ball and scored a try.

SAN JOSE STATE by forfeit over U of San Francisco

CALIFORNIA women 39 (6) – Nevada 0 Referee: John Coppinger
Cal Women comprehensively defeated UNR Women 39-0 on Witter Field Saturday morning. Half time score as 29-0.

Cal's forwards dominated set pieces and contributed hard yards and provided quality possession for the Cal backs. Cal Nos 2 and 3, Amber Noel and Joann Chang, were particularly aggressive w/ ball in-hand. In the back-line, #10 Ali Sombucetti was effective running, passing and kicking ahead to set up her teammates.

UNR struggled to gain form under the pressure of the Cal forwards. Captain Cory Lott gamely ran at the formidable Cal defense and Brittany Walter put in a number of bone jarring tackles. Unfortunately, she also picked a yellow card for dangerous tackle that was a good foot too high.

All in all, a good match on a great day in Strawberry Canyon.

UC DAVIS 70 (11) women – Humboldt State 0 Referee: Rob Hendrickson
UC Davis women scored early and often against a Humboldt team that defended much better than the score might otherwise suggest. The Aggies had some particularly strong running from their centers, who managed to break their tackles at the line and break into Humboldt's backfield for long gains. Humboldt moved the ball for multiple phases between the 22s, but just couldn't seem to tie it together past there.

Seconds: UC DAVIS 15 – Humboldt State 0 Ref: Hendrickson
This was a shortened game.

UC SANTA CRUZ women 39 (7) – St. Mary's 5 Referee: Sandy Robertson
The Santa Cruz women dominated all aspects of the game. They won virtually all their own set pieces as well as most of St Mary's scrums and lineouts. They made good use of many opportunities, spinning it wide, exploiting gaps, supporting well, kicking for territory. With just seconds on the clock St Mary's got a penalty on the Santa Cruz 22. They played the ball through several phases, including multiple changes of possession, and movement between the try line and the 22. After a couple of minutes of continuous play a St Mary's woman got the ball about 20 meters out, tight-roped down the left touchline, and scored in the corner.

Santa Clara women 0 – SACRAMENTO STATE 56 Referee: Larry Freitas
It was a warm day and a firm pitch, with a few bare patches due to some lacrosse games played during the recent wet weather. Santa Clara University's Women's team was able to field a full fifteen and one replacement for the first time this season. Some of these ladies were playing in their very first game, and Sacramento State took full advantage. The Hornet women controlled play from the initial whistle, running up a 56-0 score. Sacramento State's backline had plenty of opportunity to stretch their legs. Santa Clara came close to scoring twice, with a final push before full time. Sacramento's Shauna Grisler played an excellent game at fullback, and scored a try on a long run, countering from a failed Santa Clara movement. Jennifer Takara, Santa Clara's outside centre, showed a lot of future potential, slipping through gaps when possible for bursts up field

It was great to see early 70's football team and rugby club standouts Mike Mitchell and Clyde LeBaron at the match, with Clyde's daughter Francesca playing prop for Santa Clara, a second generation rugger.

I wasn't done adjudicating for the afternoon, as I subbed the last twenty-five minutes for John Pohlman in the men's SCU vs. Humboldt State match. Humboldt State looks better than last year's team, in my opinion.

Cal Maritime Academy 28 – UC SANTA CRUZ 36 Referee: Cary Bertolone
Referee Coach: Dixon Smith
This was my first referee assignment out of my "known" area, where I know the hecklers by first name! A beautiful, sunny day at Maritime Academy's outstanding field, they hosted UC Santa Cruz with Dixon Smith uncomfortably watching my best efforts. The larger, stronger forwards of Maritime Academy dominated the scrums while both teams exhibited great outside running and passing skills. In a seesaw battle, UC Santa Cruz scored the last two tries to win a close one 36-28. Both teams had gracious coaches and players with regard to my refereeing, making the overall experience a positive one. Dixon helped me immensely; Thank you Dixon!!


Friday, March 9:

SANTA ROSA 20 (4) v. TNT 0 Referee: Mike King
Both sides went into this match with gusto and grit. The match was marred with dropped balls and some ruck infringements, but the tackling was hard and the running was strong. Santa Rosa benefited from a bit more experience and greater numbers of substitutes. TNT gave up nothing on desire and spirit. All players showed commitment to play hard and enjoy the game above all.

ALAMEDA ISLANDERS 38 (6) – Oakland Military 0 Referee: Paul Berman
Venue: Encinal HS, Alameda.
Weather: Clear, warm for this time of year.
Comments: The pitch was firm & clearly lined, roped, flagged & goal posts padded.

The score doesn't reflect the competitive intensity of this local derby, played at break-neck speed. The Islanders scored three tries per half. The 1st three tries came from strong solo runs, a brace from the Islander's ducking & weaving inside-center, followed by a charge for the try line by their tight-head prop. The 2nd half saw a try from their loose-head prop followed by a brace from their powerful outside-center. The Islander's No. 8 with his dependable boot, kicked 4 from 6 conversion goals attempted.

Oakland Military Institute have come a long way under the guidance of Mike Sagehorn & I see only good things coming their way in the future. They played hard & never gave in nor gave up. For this observer that shows character & class.

Point spread: Islanders - 6 tries, 4 conversion goals

Sonoma HS 3 – ELSIE ALLEN 29 (5) Referee: Dan Hattrup
I marvel at the paradoxes that are California highways. In the SF area, it seems that the white speed limit signs with black print are a suggestion of 1/2 your required speed; crossing into Sonoma County, they are twice as fast as what anyone drives.

As a result, I arrived at the Hannah School to find two clubs warmed up and ready to knock the tar out of each other, which they did with great enthusiasm. I've seen Elsie Allen at multiple national tournaments and Sonoma seemed dedicated to leaving a lasting memory in my mind as well. Hard hitting tackles and aggressive play in the loose kept Elsie Allen out of the in-goal for over ten minutes. However, the experience of Elsie Allen began to show as they took the ball through multiple phases, wearing down the Sonoma defense and scoring three tries in the first half, which closed with a score of 17-3.

The second half played out much as the first, with subs from the Pack of Brothers providing fresh legs to the visitors. The dedication of the Sonoma team showed, however, as their weary players still were able to make the tackles. The two tries scored were well worked and the result of consistent pressure from the traveling squad. The only blight on the game was the number of disciplinary issues that needed to be addressed -- two yellow cards were issued to Elsie Allen, and their coach showed great wisdom and timing in a couple of his substitutions.

Jake Rubin traveled over to the game and he and Kevin Brown hosted me at Murphy's pub for an evening of Guinness and rugby stories.

Saturday, March 10:

Antioch 10 (2) – GOLDEN GATE 68 (12) Ref: Hattrup

The early morning drive from Sonoma to Antioch came entirely too early on Saturday. Arriving at the fairgrounds, I was met by a new team (Delta) and old acquaintances (Golden Gate). Knowing the quality of coaching for both teams, I was looking forward to a hard, fast match. While the scoreline flatters the visitors from the city, it was definitely Golden Gate's day. From a ruck immediately after the kickoff, a blindside move freed a winger to race down the sideline, a chip over the heads of the two remaining defenders bounced up perfectly for the ball to be gathered and the first try was scored less than a minute into the game.

The rest of the game had the same feel -- no matter what Delta did, the ball bounced up for Golden Gate, yet seemed to elude the hosts' grasp. The primary difference between the two teams was not in skills, but rather that while both teams could and did move the ball well, Golden Gate seemed to take the ball through multiple phases and then constantly crash a center through the slightest defensive gap. The players' field vision and decision making in passing is a credit to Mike Caravelli and the rest of the GG coaching staff.

Delta certainly played hard and had multiple breaks, but each time, the final pass would be sent one step too late or a defender would make a try saving tackle. At least five tries for Delta were foregone when either a final pass wasn't made, or was knocked on due to timing issues. The halftime score was 34-0, with Delta putting in a couple tries, including one just before the final whistle, to bring the full time score to 68-10. Some of the Delta parents had a BBQ set up for the players, and after grabbing a quick bite and a Gatorade, it was off down various something-80 highways to get to Stanford.

JESUIT 42 (6) – LA Cougars 13 (2) Ref: Hattrup

Once upon a time, in a land far, far away, there was a bald coach who decided to do a bit of recruiting to get the name of his team out in front of Jesuit high schools. [It's Regis, BTW. rugby@regis.edu]

For the past four years, I've enjoyed officiating two of the best high school sides in the country knocking the crap out of each other in the name of Catholicism. The Cougars describe this game as the highlight of their season, and it shows in the intensity with which they throw themselves into the match. For the first ten to fifteen minutes of the match, Jesuit seems dazed at the ferocity of tackles and loose play... and this is a team that regularly faces up to hard hitters like Burbank and Highland.

The Cougars opened up the scoring with some excellent multiphase ball, taking it over in the corner for an unconverted try. The team that plays in USC's colors was shaken from their slumber by this and immediately replied with a try near the posts. An aimless kick from Jesuit was fielded by the visitors and the counterattack was one pass from being a breakaway try. The pass went to ground, where it was twice dribbled ahead by Jesuit's back of the match before the ball bounced up for his hands and the 7 points. The remainder of the half was two teams battling back and forth, but only Jesuit was able to convert the opposition's errors into tries. Halftime came with a scoreline of 35-8.

The two games on Saturday were very similar -- while mistakes were made by both teams, only one team in each game was able to capitalize on the dropped balls or missed passes. I've often seen that high level matches aren't won or lost based on skills, they're won and lost from points you earn off the opposition's mistakes. With that in mind, it's great to see NorCal (and SoCal) rugby continuing to lead the way in great high school competition. As ever, the coaches, players and parents out here are fantastic to referee and interact with. I look forward to my next trip out here to the Republic.

Nor Cal Women's Collegiate-High School Scrimmage:

Stanford Freshmen 12 – ALAMEDA RIPTIDE 28 Referee: Dave Buckey
Touch Judge: Paul Berman
Venue: Steuber Family Field, Stanford University, Palo Alto
Weather: Warm & sunny, marvelous for this time of year.
Comments: Pitch superb.

15 brave Stanford freshmen, with no coaching staff & no substitutes (Riptide coaching staff did, in the spirit of sportsmanship offer to loan players), graciously invited a hoard of 27 Riptide kids into their home for a morning of strictly U19 laws rugby. The hosts were wonderful sports & the younger lassies got a taste of top notch varsity rugby.

Following the match, in the true spirit of sisterhood & friendship the Stanford captain invited Riptide to continue this tradition, same time, same place next year. Thank the Lord for Title 9 & may women's rugby flourish!

Thank you's must also go to Jonathan Griffin, Heather Smith & Ray Schwartz for making this happen & to Dave Buckey for officiating.

Point spread: (unofficial) : Cardinal - 2 tries, 1 conversion goal; Riptide - 4 tries, 4 conversion goals

Varsity: PIEDMONT 27 – Tri-Valley 22 Referee: Paul Bretz

Silicon Valley 12 vs. APTOS 22 Referee: Paul Berman

Venue: Watson Bowl, San Jose.
Weather: Warm & sunny, marvellous.

Comments: A fast passed match with plenty of rucks & mauls. Aptos were up 12-0 at the half with Silicon Valley getting the better of Aptos in the 2nd half by 2 points.

Good seeing my old pal Tom Martinez, coaching his son Paul's (captain) Silicon Valley team.

Point spread: Silicon Valley - 2 tries, 1 conversion goal; Aptos - 4 tries, 1 conversion goal

Varsity: Lamorinda – Live Oak Referee: Chris Parkhouse
No report received.

JV: Lamorinda – Live Oak Referee: Jackie Finck
No report received.


Sam Reagle and Lois Bukowski refereed at San Diego’s Champagne Classic this past weekend. Here is a report from Sam:

The weekend started slowly as my Southwest flight was delayed an hour, but I finally arrived in San Diego where LuAnn Campbell picked me up and shuttled me off to the Premier Inn where I settled in for the night. Dana Teagarden picked me up at 7:30 the next morning and it was off to Robb Park where LuAnn had already told me I had one of the 8am games. By day’s end, I did the first game, the last game and 2 in between for a fun, but long rugby day. As far as I know, I had the only punch-up on the day. Chico State was a couple of points down when 2 Utah Valley teammates had a go at each other. The Wildcats scored 2 more tries after the melee for a come-from-behind victory.

After Saturday’s games, there were Beer Olympics where each team represented a country. My eyeballs are permanently scarred from some of the costumes, but they were creative.

Then, I returned to the hotel where I showered and met my roommate on exchange from NY, Brad C. who did games Friday night and Saturday. We got lost twice following LuAnn's directions, but thanks to cellphones, found the Volare restaurant where we dined with Lois, LuAnn, Dana, Manuela and Mark (I didn't get everyone's last name). This place was great. It reminded me of the Italian restaurant in the original Godfather movie.

Around 10pm, we left the restaurant, set our clocks forward and headed for the hotel.

On Sunday, I did a couple of early games and then settled in to watch the collegiate and women’s final. Chico State won the Collegiates and the Berkeley Old Blues won the Plate final. OO-Rah for NorCal Rugby.


I had a twelve year old show up to practice this week for the first time. He was dressed like an American and lacked a foreign accent, but there was something very odd. He had never been out to practice before, yet was fully aware of many of the intricate details of rugby. He knew all the verbiage, knew where the offside lines were, knew when to come up flat on defense, and remain pitched on offense. He even knew when and where to strategically kick! After watching an hour, I asked this sixth grader if he was familiar with rugby. As a pre-adolescent would respond, he simply said "yeah." I asked him if he had played before, and he said "Not really." Completely intrigued, I said "Not really, what do you mean by that?" He responded, "Never in real life, but I have Rugby 2005 on my PS2."

Life has changed,
Matt Eason


On Sunday morning, March 4, some of you may have had the same pleasure we had here at the Pair-Bonded Pelican’s Roost as we leafed through the San Francisco Chronicle looking for Merl Reagle’s fabulous Sunday puzzle.

(This fellow was featured in the crossword movie Wordplay. He is the brother of our own Sam Reagle. His weekly puzzles have delighted the Senate for almost fifteen years now.)

This puzzle always appears in the weekly magazine section. You have to dig through all manner of advertising inserts to find it, but it’s well worth it even when you aren’t greeted by a full-color photograph of a lineout at Witter Field!
Click here: THE LONG, BLUE LINE / One hundred and twenty-five years of the purest of all college sports, rugby at Cal

Then, too, these links were forwarded to us by Jim Murray:

Ageless Mike Comstock loves our game:

The Marin Highlanders link the rugby generations:


Sac Valley High School Referee Scholarship:

The Sacramento Valley Rugby Foundation will be matching the $20 per High School game graciously offered from the NCRRS Scholarship, as mentioned here last week. Ray Schwartz will be visiting training sessions at both Sac St and UCD Tuesday to make a formal offer to the current student/athletes. Seniors from existing High School programs will be sought as well. The likes of Ray, Jim Crenshaw, JC Van Staden, and others will pair up with possible candidates for recruitment, help them with referee development (coaching them through their first experiences), and hopefully secure referee retention in the end.

As this is coming around at a mid-point this season, it is hoped to see a small measure of success, but one that we might learn and grow from, to come back next Fall with a more fully realized Program for student/athlete Referee Recruitment and Training in place. For this season, the modest goal is to identify and work with 4 candidates, getting them through 4 games each, with at least two coaching reports generated for each young ref.

Pacific Coast HS Invitational and NA 4 at Stanford:

Big things are brewing for the 3rd Annual Pacific Coast Invitational Tournament, to be held the weekend after the Collegiate National Championships, and again at Stanford. The Collegiates will be May 4/5; the PCIT May 11-13. In addition to the High School Competition expanding to include All Star sides, Saturday will include the two North American 4 games that were originally scheduled for Seattle. It seems the iRB took exception to the field turf facility slated to be played on in Seattle. Hard to beat the grass at Stanford's Steuber Family Rugby Stadium!

This will prove to be the closest thing to an International held in the Bay Area this year, with the Churchill Cup and the Rugby World Cup being held later this Summer and Fall in the England and France.

Please visit www.pacificcoastinvitational.com for details.

Well-Earned Smiles
NCRRS Referee Education Officer David Williamson and the Big Bird recognize the efforts and the promotions of JC Van Staden and Jackie Finck.


For the Senate
Pelicus Scriptoris