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