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