Monday, April 23, 2007




The Northern California Rugby Football Union Referee Society was incorporated in the State of California on April 22, 1977. The NCRRS has enjoyed tax-exempt status as a charitable organization since that time, and has dedicated itself to supporting the growth and quality of our sport in America’s rugby heartland, Northern California.

The Articles of Incorporation and By-Laws were signed by Denis Shanagher, Tony Pontin, Bryan Porter and Ed Todd.

We are standing on the shoulders of giants.

A number of our members have been fortunate enough to fly on to bigger arenas over the years. Our ability to improve and excel as referees is a result of having so many good teams to work with, for which we are grateful.

It is the belief of your writer that the Society currently is the best it has ever been, with a stronger and deeper referee corps than at any time previously. We would also predict that within a few years we will have a much higher profile nationally, as there are several fledglings in the nest who are going to soar.

At our banquet in June we will toast thirty years, remember those who came before, and prepare to enjoy the hard work and rewards that the next thirty will bring.

We are so lucky.


Under the Operating Agreement approved earlier this year, the PCRFU conducted elections for officers last week.

By unanimous vote of the ballots cast, Dave Pelton of the Pacific Northwest RRS has been elected President and Jon Moore of the Utah RRS is Secretary/Treasurer.

Matt Eason’s earlier appointment as Referee Education Officer has been affirmed.

Congratulations to these gentlemen. They are now in a position to help a lot of very good referees move forward.


Half of the men’s D1 field of sixteen played at Witter Field:

CAL POLY SLO 34 – Univ. of Minnesota 10 Referee: Aruna Ranaweera
Touch Judges: Dave Pope, Mike King
Fourth Officials: Eric Rauscher, Bruce Carter
Referee Coach: David Williamson
Evaluator: Dixon Smith

BYU 31 – Wyoming 10 Referee: Dana Teagarden
Touch Judges: Dave Pope, Mike King
Fourth Officials: Eric Rauscher, Bruce Carter
Evaluator: David Williamson

CALIFORNIA 51 – New Mexico 3 Referee: Dana Teagarden
Touch Judges: Aruna Ranaweera, Mark Zetterberg
Fourth Officials: Eric Rauscher, Bruce Carter

Harvard 14 – SAN DIEGO STATE 46 Referee: Graeme Bullen/ Mark Zetterberg
Touch Judges: Rob Hendrickson, Mike King
Fourth Officials: Tom Wright, Rob Hendrickson

WYOMING 29 – Univ. of Minnesota 5 Referee: Aruna Ranaweera

BYU 33 – Cal Poly SLO Referee: Mark Zetterberg

Harvard 10 – NEW MEXICO 37

CALIFORNIA 78 – San Diego State 0


The final four teams at Stanford in men’s D1 will be Cal playing Navy, with BYU facing Penn State.

St. Mary’s’ injury-plagued season ended with a come-from behind victory over Army followed by a second-half loss to Navy back at Penn State.

The final four women’s D1 teams will be Stanford and UC Davis in one semi, with New Mexico and Penn State in the other.

Chico State lost to Army and then defeated Ohio State, after having been rated the nation’s best team at some points during the season.

The division two finals will feature UC Santa Cruz and Iowa in the women’s game, with Arkansas State and Middlebury in the men’s.

UC Santa Cruz defeated the College of Charleston and Bowdoin, each by the score of 49 – 0.

The Humboldt State men lost to Salisbury and then defeated Northern Colorado to end their season.


Curtain Raiser:
Golden Gate OB 15 – BALD EAGLES 36 Referee: Larry Freitas
I got to Treasure Island by 9:45, expecting to ref a high school match that didn't get played, and then playing in an over 35's match afterwards. Therefore, the opportunity to adjudicate an over 35's match presented itself, as no one was scheduled to ref that game anyway. The California Bald Eagles, with a starting 15 ranging in age from 35 to 65, took on an SFGG Old Boy side at Rocca Field on a blustery and overcast day, with a greasy pitch from recent rain. This was the curtain raiser to the later Super League match, and it was quite an entertaining game. SFGG started off with a penalty goal some five minutes into the first half of a sixty minute game, but soon thereafter the Bald Eagles used their backline skills to score a converted try. Another Bald Eagle try ended the scoring after thirty minutes: 12-3 in the visitor's favour.

The Bald Eagles got off to a great second half start with two quick tries, and after SFGG countered with a converted try that started with taking a tap penalty deep in their own end, the momentum seemed to be swinging. In the last quarter of the match the Bald Eagles were able to put the opposition's hopes out of reach and scored two more tries. A father and son duo were in that BE backline: Tory and Rich Golino, and both scored tries.

After the match it was back to the clubhouse for a shower, food and drink, and seeing old rugby friends.

SF/Golden Gate 5 – BELMONT SHORE 28 Referee: Paul Bretz
Touch Judges: Joe Leisek, David Williamson
Videographer: Bruce Carter

The first half was tied 5 – 5, with Golden Gate’s pack seeming to have the better of the scrums and lineouts. Mike Hercus may have kicked for touch a little too often in those circumstances.

But in the second period, undefeated Belmont Shore’s forwards asserted themselves and Hercus began distributing from sideline to sideline with laser-like torpedo passes, which opened up their offense.


The top four men’s D1 clubs from SoCal played the top four clubs from the Pacific Coast on April 21. Two unusual things are worth noting:

All of the Pacific Coast teams are from Northern California
All of them beat their south-state rivals

Bring back the California Cup!

Five of these eight teams will advance to the USA playoffs. They will swap opponents this coming Saturday and then the final seedings will be determined from won-loss record, bonus points and then aggregate points. All four NCRFU teams earned maximum points April 21, so each currently has five to the SoCal teams’ collective none.

Played in Hayward:
HAYWARD 33 – Santa Barbara 22 Referee: Jim Crenshaw
Touch Judges: Chris Busch, Sandy Robertson
Evaluator: Matt Eason

OLYMPIC CLUB 53 – Las Vegas 13 Referee: Dave Pope
Touch Judges: Chris Busch, Sandy Robertson
Evaluator: Mike Malone

Played in SoCal:
Belmont Shore 0 – SAN MATEO 33 Referee: LuAnn Campbell
Huntington Beach 21 – SACRAMENTO LIONS 39

To Be Played April 28:
San Mateo – Huntington Beach Referee: Pete Smith
Touch Judges: Joe Leisek, John Coppinger

Sacramento Lions – Belmont Shore Referee: Paul Bretz
Touch Judges: Don Pattalock, Sam Reagle

Las Vegas – Hayward
Santa Barbara – Olympic Club


In Division 2, Santa Rosa lost to Snake River, and the Sacramento Capitals lost to Tempe.

In Division 3, Mission began their title defense by beating Camelback, while Chico lost to Bend.

Mission and Bend will both advance to the sweet sixteen.


Monday, April 16:
GOLDEN GATE 22 – Lamorinda 15 Referee: Joe Androvich
First played second at the tail end of the season in the Bay Conference in a game to determine playoff seeding.

Second won but remains in, and now is tied for, second.

Had GG won by sixteen points instead of seven, they would have won the conference.

As it is, Lamo finishes first and hosts Marin on April 21.

Golden Gate finished in a tie with Hayward. Apparently, a coin toss was conducted to determine who would advance. In any event, Hayward advanced.

Tuesday, April 17:
SANTA ROSA/CARDINAL NEWMAN 32 (6) – Montgomery 24 (4)
Referee: Joe Leisek
Touch Judges: Mike King, Ken Moeller
For Pete's Sake Field, Santa Rosa

The conference finale for both teams, and a game that would determine the Redwood Conference's second tier seedings in Northern California's U19 playoffs. A fairly close, physical game, with both halves featuring a three-ties-to-two advantage to Santa Rosa. Santa Rosa did not convert on a couple of opportunities to score additional tries, and Montgomery played catch-up the entire game. Kudos to the players and coaches from both sides. Thanks to Mike and Ken for running touch. (As of Sunday night, we learned that Santa Rosa had won its first round playoff game. Well done!)

Saturday, April 21:
Varsity: DE LA SALLE 42 – Piedmont 19 Referee: Chris Parkhouse

JV: DE LA SALLE 24 - Piedmont 17 Referee: Edward Barfels

DLS scored first at the 5 minute mark. Unfortunately, a DLS player went down on the 5 meter line with a broken leg and dislocated ankle. After discussing it with the coaches, a full game was played. DLS made the conversion kick after the 30 minute delay. DLS scored again with about 10 minutes left in the half to take a 14 - 0 lead.

DLS started the second half were it left off in the first half scoring twice to take a 24 - 0 lead. However, Piedmont came back; scoring twice to make the score 24 - 12. Piedmont scored one more time in the last minute of the game to bring the final score to 24 - 17.

I would like to commend the gentlemen of both teams for playing a good game after the unfortunate start. Both teams showed maturity beyond their ages. Coaches and parents should be very happy.

The player who got hurt had surgery on Sunday the 22nd. I am told he is in good spirits and should make a full recovery.


Playoffs are now underway in Tier A and Tier B among the various NorCal conferences. The Bay Conference regular season continues.

The first and second place teams from each conference advanced to Tier A. The quarterfinals have now been played. The semifinals will be this coming weekend, with the finals to be played on May 5.

Elsie Allen 20 – HAYWARD 29 Referee: David Williamson
Touch Judge: Joe Leisek, Jake Rubin

On Saturday night in Santa Rosa, Elsie Allen (Redwood Conference first-place) hosted Hayward (Bay Conference second-place). The venue was Elsie Allen's football stadium, complete with lights, scoreboard, and an announcer. When Elsie Allen's Lobos scored, the wolf howled -- long and loud.

The grassy field stayed in good condition, despite a drenching rain that fell throughout the contest. Both teams utilized a kick-and-chase style of play quite often, even though it seemed to favor Hayward's speedy backs, who ran with plenty of support. Elsie Allen's usual pick-and-jam approach wasn't very successful this evening against Hayward's strong forwards.

The teams traded tries at the beginning of the match before Hayward pulled away, leading 19-10 at half-time. The scoring was even in the second half, with both teams scoring a converted try and a penalty goal. While Hayward never relinquished the lead, EA played gutsy rugby to the end, never shying away from contact. The last play of the match was on Hayward's goal line, with Elsie Allen in possession. The ball went forward after a crunching tackle, ending the game.

Both coaching staffs have much to be proud of in terms of the players' skills and decision-making.

JESUIT 38 – Peninsula Green 3 Referee: Sam Reagle
Conditions: Overcast

With the threat of rain looming, we kicked off the high school playoffs with a game between two well coached teams. After some jockeying for field position early, Jesuit scored a pair of converted tries against a penalty kick for Peninsula Green for a 14-3 lead midway thru the first half. A short time later, Peninsula Green missed an opportunity by knocking on in goal as they tried to down the ball and Jesuit scored 2 more tries to finish out the first half up 26-3.

In the second half, both teams moved the ball well, but only Jesuit could add to their score as a P.G. player dropped another sure try right at the goal line that was recovered by Jesuit.

Both teams came to play good, strong, clean rugby. I compliment both coaching staffs.

EAST PALO ALTO 10 – Vacaville 8 Referee: Chris Parkhouse
As you can see from the score in this game this was a very tight contest that could have gone either way. A tough exchange with both sides leaving everything on the field.

Vacaville led at the half 8-7 following a penalty and unconverted try to a try and conversion. The only score in the second half came after 25 minutes of play with East Palo Alto playing with 14 men and opting to take a penalty from right underneath the posts following offside by Vacaville at a scrum.

Vacaville did have a chance to win the game at the death. Following a line out at around the 35 m mark, East Palo Alto came up too quick and following a driving maul and eventual ball loss was brought back for the penalty offence. Unfortunately for Vacaville, the last kick of the game saw the ball pushed left of the post. A tough way for any team to go out at this stage but it’s East Palo Alto that moves on to the next round.

Sunday, April 22
LAMORINDA 69 (11) – Marin 12 (2) Referee: Joe Leisek
Touch Judges: Tony McKenzie, Marin club member
Campolindo High School, Moraga

After cold, heavy rains the night before, Sunday was a sunny day for rugby. Campolindo High's football field accommodated a good crowd of hometown supporters, along with friends and family members of the visiting team. Lamorinda was the Bay Conference #1 seed, while Marin was second seed in the Redwood Conference and had spent its spring break on tour in Ireland.

The game started fast, up and down the pitch, without anyone gaining significant advantage. However, Lamorinda did have more possession, and it was in the seventh minute that they scored the first try of the game. In the next 23 minutes, they would score six more. The 45-0 halftime score tells the story. Lamorinda scored in a variety of ways, taking advantage of Marin's lackluster tackling and defensive gaps. The visitors did break through for two tries in the second half, for which they deserve much credit. Thanks to Tony and to the young man from Marin (I regret I did not write down his name) for running touch.

High School SEMIS, April 28:

Jesuit – East Palo Alto Referee: Jim Crenshaw

Lamorinda - Hayward Referee: Joe Androvich

FINAL, May 5:

Referee: Tony Latu


USA Rugby Referee Development Officer Ed Todd has announced that there will be a meeting at the Doyle Family Rugby Clubhouse at Stanford University on Tuesday evening, May 8.

All NCRRS members are invited. Consider it our May meeting. Dinner will be provided.

Trevor Arnold, Ed’s counterpart with Rugby Canada, will speak about the role of fourth, fifth and sixth officials. This will follow-on nicely to our touch judging sessions at April’s meeting.

Alan Gray, a Canadian National Panel Referee, will also speak. The topic is not available at present.

The Referee Development Committee will meet at 6 PM, with the Society meeting from 6:30 to 8:30.

Please respond if you plan to attend. And please plan to attend if you are going to be a #4, 5 or 6 at any of the upcoming events.


1. Go to
2. Enter "San Francisco to London"
3. Be sure you can meet requirement #29

History Making Team of Three
Two honorary Pelicans, Melanie Ryding (née McGowan) and Nicola Reynolds of the East Midlands Society, recently helped make history as the first all-women team of three to work a series of Internationals.

Joining them was Claire Hodnett of the Notts, Lincs and Derbys Society, the East Midlands’ immediate neighbor to the north.

In the photo, left to right: Melanie 'Shooter' Ryding, Claire Hodnett, Nicola Reynolds

Read about it at:


For the Senate
Pelicus Scriptoris

Monday, April 16, 2007




We are critically short this coming Saturday – and all of the games are big. We need every referee we can get, pronto.

Here’s what the NCRRS needs to cover:

Super League game – touch judges
Two CR1 games- refs and TJs and Match Commissioners
Four USA men’s D1 college playoffs at Cal – TJs, fourth officials
Four high school playoff games – refs

We are four people short, and there’s no-where to give. If you have not previously relayed your availability and would be able to help out, please let us know right away.

From having thirty to forty referees available every week during the season, suddenly we have fewer than twenty, just when the games count the most.


USA Rugby Referee Development Officer Ed Todd has announced that there will be a meeting at the Doyle Family Rugby Clubhouse at Stanford University on Tuesday evening, May 8.

All NCRRS members are invited. Consider it our May meeting. Dinner will be provided.

Trevor Arnold, Ed’s counterpart with Rugby Canada, will speak about the role of fourth, fifth and sixth officials. This will follow-on nicely to our touch judging sessions at April’s meeting.

Alan Gray, a Canadian National Panel Referee, will also speak. The topic is not available at present.

The Referee Development Committee will meet at 6 PM, with the Society meeting from 6:30 to 8:30.

Please respond if you plan to attend. And please plan to attend if you are going to be a #4, 5 or 6 at any of the upcoming events.


Half of the sweet sixteen will be taking place at Witter Field on the campus of the University of California at Berkeley.

Friday Cal Poly will play the Univ. of Minnesota, and BYU will meet Wyoming.

Saturday will be the consolation and final of that first group, with games also between Cal and New Mexico, followed by Harvard and San Diego State.

Sunday will be the third- and first-place matches of the second bracket.

If you want to make Friday or Sunday a Rugby Day, this is your chance!


The NCRRS annual banquet will be held on Saturday, June 23, probably in San Francisco. Mark your calendars now. Plan a date night. It is always something to look forward to!

Pete Smith will of course be presenting our annual awards, and we will be celebrating thirty years as a legal entity.

This same weekend a Level 3 Referee Course will be in progress in San Francisco. Those attendees and instructors will of course be invited to attend dinner with us.

We are also looking for volunteers to billet the level 3 students. These are, of course, all B-level refs with bright futures. They will need a place to stay Friday and Saturday nights, June 22 and 23.

Please respond if you would be able to help out with hosting.


Just in time to be completely outdated with the advent of the World Cup and many Law changes that are almost certain to follow, the one-hundred lawbooks that we ordered last November have arrived.

Jim Crenshaw has them. He certainly cannot be expected to mail them out individually to our members, but if you have paid NCRRS dues this season, you are entitled to one.

Distribution will have to be worked out. Let’s assume Jim puts them in the trunk of his car – then we’ll have to go from there.


SF/GOLDEN GATE 54 – Charlotte 7 Referee: Dave Peters
Touch Judge: Jim Crenshaw, John Pohlman
Assessor: Mark Koiwai
Spectators watching the Game, not the Officials: Bruce and Linda Carter

With only the one-point loss to Denver marring their otherwise-perfect record and playing in the toughest division in the Super League, Golden Gate needs to earn maximum points from every contest that they can.

Against winless Charlotte, they managed to do so in the first half Saturday, with four tries just before the whistle.

And five more were added in the second half for good measure.

Your reporter sat among a contingent of Charlotte supporters who were repeatedly moved to comment, “They have a lot of really fast guys.”

The key game in the Red conference will be this coming weekend, as SF/GG hosts undefeated Belmont Shore.

…for everyone but the Bay Conference in high school…

The Olympic Club and Hayward have finished the season at 9 – 3, while the Sacramento Lions and San Mateo are both 7 – 5. The unofficial order of finish, based on point differential, is as just listed.

(One note about the importance of exact and accurate score-keeping and reporting by referees: Sac Lions lead San Mateo by two points in the point differential.

(If the protest by Haggis/Park City were upheld and they got to participate in the CR1 playoffs, San Mateo would miss out on the post-season by a single conversion kick in any of their games.

(We mention this because the scores reported OFTEN differ from the scores we see in on-line match reports. Sometimes we get three different scores from the ref and the two TJs. We always ask the ref in such cases and frequently the answer is, “I think I might have had it wrong. I don’t have my score card any more, so go with what Goff/AMR/Gainline/the TJ/the coach of one of the teams said.”)

If Haggis is not given entry into the USA playoffs, the CR1 games will be as follows:

April 21:
Olympic Club – Las Vegas Referee: Dave Pope
Hayward – Santa Barbara Referee: Jim Crenshaw
Belmont Shore – San Mateo
Huntington Beach – Sacramento Lions

April 28:
San Mateo – Huntington Beach
Sacramento Lions – Belmont Shore
Las Vegas – Hayward
Santa Barbara – Olympic Club


Sacramento Lions 8 – HAYWARD 15 (2) Referee: Don Pattalock
Touch Judges: Scott Wood, Mike Villierme
As the rain fell on the pitch at Florin Reservoir I had several flashbacks of training in the rain and mud on this pitch and having to hose off after training just to be let into the house to take a hot shower. Fortunately for all the pitch held up well under the spring rain. The Lions started at full throttle and kept Hayward under pressure and pinned in their own 22 for the first 10 minutes of the match, coming away with an unconverted try and a penalty. Hayward started to wake up and the game became exciting with lots of attacking by both sides. Hayward struggled to find their momentum due to the weather and the aggressive Lion defense. In the end, Hayward scored 2 tries (one was a 60 meter intercept) and came away with the win. Good luck to both teams next week in the CR1 playoffs. Big thanks to Tony Latu for arranging the TJ’s and all the help and advice from Scott and Mike on the lines.

Seconds: SACRAMENTO LIONS 15 – Hayward 12 Referee: Mike Villierme
Touch Judges: Don Pattalock, Scott Wood
The Sac Lions and Hayward B sides played two twenty minutes halves, the 1/2 time lasted long enough for the players to switch direction and kickoff again. Sac fielded fifteen fresh players while Hayward played with about half of the A side. Those fellows had to be tired as they had played all 40 minutes of the first game, a track meet of a game albeit played on the bog we call Danny Nunn Park.

Sac and Hayward B's went at it, sometimes forwards dominated play or oft times it would spin out for the backs to take off on a long break. But, due to a precipitation cycle run amok here in the Sac town, too many knock-ons, too many scrums kept the score a relatively low 15 to 12, Lions prevailing.

Thanks to Don Pattalock and Scott Woods for their invaluable touch judging and counsel. And thanks to Tony Latu for allowing me to ref the match. It was a close call Tony. I was itching to have a run with the Old Boys and McGeorge Alum playing on the park next to us!

Good luck to Sac Lions and Hayward as they begin round 1 of the D1 playoffs.

SAN MATEO 31 (5) – Olympic Club 17 (2) Referee: Aruna Ranaweera
Touch Judges: Dave Pope, Eric Rauscher
The match started 15 minutes late as San Mateo had misplaced both the corner flags and goalposts. Morning rain was not a factor with the artificial turf, but a strong wind and use of football goalposts made kicking for goal difficult. Both teams often employed driving mauls and chip-kicks over the defense. Despite even exchanges in the loose, San Mateo led at halftime 14-3. Due to repeated infringements, San Mateo played with 14 men for about 20 minutes around half-time. Olympic Club was able to mount sustained pressure and score two breakaway tries through their backs out wide to take the lead, 14-17. Once San Mateo returned to full strength, however, they mounted a series of powerful pick and drives that led to three unanswered tries. To Olympic Club's credit, they foiled several San Mateo tries with committed goal-line defense. Olympic Club also had numerous forays deep into San Mateo territory, but they squandered their momentum with knock-ons and turnovers. At the end of the day, San Mateo won comfortably by playing with intensity and purpose.

Seconds: SAN MATEO 20 (4) – Olympic Club 43 (7) Referee: Dave Pope

DIABLO GAELS 36 – Seahawks 20 Referee: Joe Androvich
Evaluator: Kat Todd-Schwartz

Seconds: Diablo Gaels 14 – SEAHAWKS 22 Referee: Chris Tucker
Evaluator: David Williamson
With both squads of players depleted by the long season, the "2nds" game featured many familiar faces from the 1st XV contest. San Jose managed to win the consolation match which eventually became a trench war between two tired sides. Need to work on recruitment in the off-season....

SFGG U-23 – UC Santa Cruz Referee: Sandy Robertson
No report received, but we do know that after a close first half, SFGG ran in a number of tries to put the game away in the second.

SANTA CLARA women 36 – Stanford B 17 Referee: Pete Smith
Score is from memory, but should be pretty close. It was a great game. I had THREE penalties total. One for not releasing, one for offside as the ball was charged down and then played by an offside player and the last was offside on the backline after a lineout was stolen by the opposition. It is amazing what intelligent women who listen can produce if you work with them. I probably talked them out of 6-8 more penalties, played advantage out of at least 3-4 more and everyone had a great time. Once again, it is the sort of game that keeps me refereeing.

San Jose State 26 – ALUMNI 56 Referee: Pete Smith
SJSU’s best player was their coach Dean White who made several tackles, mostly of the text book variety, and really led his team encouraging them to stay in the game for all 80 minutes.

Word has it this is the first ever alumni game that didn’t have a major or even minor altercation in it. Players and spectators were giving props to the ref for that; I figure it was just too cold and wet to want to fight anyone.


HAYWARD 73 – Tri-Valley 5 Referee: Lois Bukowski
Felt like I was watching 7s.


On Sunday April 15, the Dixon Youth Rugby Classic for Under-15s players featured great sportsmanship, good coaching, lots of parent support, and excellent rugby. It's very encouraging to see five teams of young, enthusiastic players. The tournament was conducted under sunny (but very windy) conditions in one of Dixon's parks large enough for two full-sized pitches.

Tournament Director Rob Salaber and the Dixon team supporters did a great job of organizing the tournament--making sure each participant received a medal, and the players for the first and second place teams received trophies. Food, snacks, nearby rest rooms, and well-marked fields rounded out the event.

The teams were Lamorinda, Cougars, Dixon, Islanders, and Land Park. Lamorinda finished first; Cougars second. Referee Convener Ray Thompson ran touch for numerous games, while referees Bryant Byrnes, Michael Taylor, Brick Reagle, and Dave Williamson (pictured below) handled two matches each.

Lots of smiles.


SFGG is hosting the 2nd annual Grand Rugby Banquet with Dean Richards as the keynote speaker. Richards, the legendary England #8, had 48 English caps, 6 caps for the Lions, and played in the 1987, 1991 and 1995 Rugby World Cups. He was the director of rugby for the Leicester Tigers from 1998-2003, and is the current directory of rugby for the London Harlequins RFC.

When: Friday, July 13th 7:00 PM
Where: San Francisco Italian Athletic Club, San Francisco, CA
Who: SFGG members and friends of the club, as well as other members of the NorCal Rugby Community
Cost: $120 for three course deluxe meal and open bar; table of 10 is $1,200
Benefiting: Bay Area Youth Rugby

This event will benefit our strong Youth Rugby programs. It is sure to fill up fast, so reserve your spot now by contacting Robbie Flynn at 415-235-1819 or

Any referees who are interested in attending should reply to Bruce Carter. If there is enough interest, we will buy a table.

We had two tables of referees at the inaugural event, in November of 2005, when Rueben Thorne was the guest speaker.

Dixon Youth
Ray Thompson, Sam Reagle, Dave Williamson, Michael Taylor and Bryant Byrnes pose in Dixon.


For the Senate
Pelicus Scriptoris

Wednesday, April 11, 2007




The Promotion Committee of the NCRRS is proud to announce the advancement of Rich Anderson to C1, with Chris Tucker and Cary Bertolone to C3. Congratulations!

Rob Hendrickson has accepted the position of Recruitment Officer for the Society. Ours thanks are due to Jake Rubin for his service in this capacity the past few years.

If anyone expresses interest in becoming a referee, get their e-mail address or other contact information and send it to Rob:


Last week’s NCRRS meeting was again well-attended, quite a change from a few years ago when only a dozen or so would show up in April. The subject was Touch Judging, to prepare our members to be able to best assist the many high-level games that will be played in Pelicanland in the coming weeks.

Donal Walsh also entertained us with two presentations. One concerned the role played by the NCRRS in the development of the modern Law book (pivotal!) and the other the psychology and physiology of the referee always being the away team.


The week after the college finals at Stanford will feature the NA4 competition and the Pacific Coast High School Invitational.

Ed Todd will be coordinating referees, touch judges and ancillary officials for both all of these events. He sent along this missive:

"The iRB is requiring referees appointed to iRB sanctioned matches to be prepared to deliver sessions to local referees. Per Trevor Arnold's email below, the RC referees for the NA4 are coming prepared to do so. Would it be possible to have a Society meeting that Tuesday night? May 8? I would expect the 4/5/6 talk from Trevor (so it would be good to have those people present) and another session from Alan Gray."

Trevor Arnold will be known to most of you who have been to Canada. We are certain that he can instruct fourth, fifth and sixth officials like nobody’s business: another means to pump up your rugby referee résumé.

Everyone who would like to be a 4/5/6 for the NA4 matches, and at the collegiate championships, should reply as to which dates they would be available:

May 4
May 5
May 9
May 12

And plan to be at Stanford on Tuesday evening, May 8!


Pacific Coast Playoffs – College, Men’s D1
At Saint Mary’s


ST. MARY’S 46 – Stanford 18 Referee: Joe Androvich
Assessor: Bryan Porter

Central Washington 8 – UC DAVIS 15 Referee: Jim Crenshaw

Stanford – Central Washington Referee: Joe Androvich
No report received.

ST. MARY’S 27 – UC Davis 25 Referee: Jim Crenshaw

Pacific Coast Playoffs – College, Men’s D2
For Pete’s Sake Field, Santa Rosa



Is there a reason to hold this tournament anywhere else? I can't think of any, unless it's to rotate other PCRFU tournaments here.

This was a wonderful weekend of rugby at a great venue. When they first learned they would host this event, the volunteers of the For Pete's Sake Foundation set to work. The results showed: the field was in great shape, food and beverage vendors served the crowds, and people seemed to really enjoy themselves.

Congratulations to the hosts on a job well done.

It was also a great weekend to visit with Pelican friends: Kat Todd-Schwartz, Ray Schwartz, Jake Rubin, Mike Gadoua, Mike King, Cary Bertolone, and John Tomasin. In addition, the local rugby community was out in force.

And there was rugby!

Saturday, April 7
UTAH VALLEY STATE COLLEGE 13 (1) – Santa Rosa Junior College 8 (1)
Referee: Joe Leisek
Touch Judges: Mike King, Cary Bertolone
Referee Coach: Kat Todd-Schwartz

An extremely intense game that featured a lot of forward play and tactical (and not-so-tactical) kicking by both sides. While there were some inspiring moments, the ball stayed pretty close to the pack, with not as much passing out wide as I had expected. The SRJC backs often tried kicking for territory, especially short chip kicks that were largely ineffective due to swarming defenders. The irony is that the home side features several skilled players who know how to work with ball in hand.

By my reckoning, SRJC had the ball more often, and certainly had opportunities to win the game. A heartbreaker for the local lads, but Utah Valley's stout defense and perseverance paid the ultimate dividend: Victory and a trip to the finals.

Before the game I learned that Utah Valley State plays BYU and the University of Utah twice each during their season.

HUMBOLDT STATE 37 (4) – Western Washington 15 (2) Referee: Mike Gadoua
Touch Judges: Mike King, John Tomasin

The teams came out to play Rugby and both teams demonstrated excellent defense. The first half ended 12 to 10 to the local boys. However, the Nor Cal team continued their defense, holding the visitors to only one additional try in the second half, but flipped a switch and scored 27 points to finish the game.

Sunday, April 8

HUMBOLDT STATE 47 (6) – Utah Valley State College 12 (2)
Referee: Joe Leisek
Touch Judges: Mike King, Cary Bertolone
Number Four Official: Jake Rubin

Humboldt State really knows how to approach these kinds of tournaments. They have created such a successful program over the last few years that they seem to play best with the most at stake. They came out blazing, playing at a pace clearly above Utah Valley, scoring their first try four minutes into the game. The first half was all Humboldt, ending at 30-0. However, Utah Valley deserves credit for really making a game of it in the second half.

Best wishes to Humboldt State at the Elite Eight in Florida.

I very much appreciated the touch judging help of Mike King and Cary Bertolone. Mike ran touch for all four games in the tournament! Also, thanks to Kat Todd-Schwartz for her fine coaching tips, and to Jake Rubin for serving as Number Four Match Official for Sunday's final.

SANTA ROSA JC 32 (4) – Western Washington 29 (4) Referee: Mike Gadoua
After pounding games on Saturday, the local boys from Rosa engaged visitors from Washington State; and again, pounded each other for 80 minutes. Many of the players were recovering after a night of celebrating the institution of Rugby, but by the second half, the players’ minds had cleared and both teams realized that they were playing serious rugby. The first half ended 10 to 5 with the visitors up; but by the 80 minute, the score was tied. The teams took turns attacking well inside their oppositions’ 22 meter line. Lapses in judgment caused penalty points as both kickers were talented in putting points on the board. About nine minutes into the sudden death overtime, a visiting player made an overly assertive error in judgment, and unfortunately, inside his own 22, which ended the game with a penalty kick to Rosa.

Pacific Coast Playoffs – College, Women’s D1
At Stanford


CHICO STATE over Nevada by forfeit.

STANFORD 99 (15) – Humboldt State 0 Referee: Scott Wood
Touch Judge: Sandy Robertson, Nikos Najarian(?) Humboldt State Coach
Videographer: Bruce Carter

The pitch was fast and firm allowing Stanford to exploit Humboldt's periphery. Humboldt played very well in the middle and aggressively contested rucks and scrums. Stanford led 66-0 at the half. It is too bad that Humboldt was not afforded a chance to play a second match on Sunday.

CALIFORNIA 50 – Oregon State 8 Referee: Lois Bukowski
Touch Judge: Sandy Robertson
Videographer: Bruce Carter

Saturday was a beautiful rugby day; cool, but not too cool, dry, with just a little sprinkling. Cal jumped out to a 2 try lead in the first 12 minutes. They were recycling good ball at the breakdown and their backs seemed just more athletic than OSU could handle. A yellow card vs. Cal with 23 minutes gone made things more interesting as OSU went on to convert that woman advantage to 5 points. A penalty kick later brought them to 19-8, but Cal closed out the first half scoring with a converted try at just 2 minutes to go.

Cal continued their pressure in the 2nd half, nice crashes and loops, with some excellent help from the forwards passing in the tackle and generally all around good 15 person rugby. They rattled off 3 more tries in the second half to close out the scoring and OSU could not answer.

UC DAVIS 44 (7) – Univ. of Oregon 13 (2) Referee: Aruna Ranaweera
Forward play was sloppy on both sides, but led by their fly-half, UC Davis crafted some nifty moves in the backs to win comfortably.

Sunday: Final for PCRFU #1-2 seeds
STANFORD 43 (7) – Chico State 30 (4) Referee: Aruna Ranaweera
Touch Judges: Sandy Robertson, Rich Anderson
Sin-bin manager: Scott Wood

In front of an interested crowd at 10am on a sunny Sunday morning, two of the top women's college teams in the country battled for the #1 seed to the national sweet sixteen. Stanford started out strong, running the ball out wide at every opportunity to score 5 quick-fire tries in the first half. Chico managed two tries of their own in the first half, but could not finish as efficiently. Halftime score was 29-15 to Stanford. In the second half, Chico State kept the ball closer to their forwards and pounded forward for multiple phases. Stanford was still dangerous with the ball in hand, particularly through their captain (fly-half), inside center, and back three, but Chico dictated the tone in the rucks. Both teams showed no fear running at each other with plenty of hard hits and powerful drives. Chico's captain (scrum-half) scored a try to bring her team within 36-30 with less than a minute to play. After gaining possession from the ensuing kick-off, Chico earned a penalty near halfway with no time on the clock. Chico tapped the ball and inexplicably kicked deep, straight to the arms of the Stanford fullback who mounted a counter-attack to the right wing. Despite her teammates' pleas to kick the ball to touch, the Stanford wing sprinted 75 meters around three defenders to score under-the-post in the 82nd minute.

By winning the PCRFU championship for the second consecutive year, Stanford earned the #1 seed to nationals. Chico finished runner-up in PCRFU, also for the second consecutive year, and earned themselves a #10 seed to nationals. Both these teams should be commended for a fantastic display of committed, entertaining rugby; they will represent California well at nationals. Much thanks to the TJ's and Scott Wood for their help during the match.

California 5 – UC DAVIS 26 Referee: Scott Wood

Touch Judges: Rich Anderson, Sandy Robertson
#4: Aruna Ranaweera

This match featured a fair amount of running, good poaching at tackles, numerous scrums won against the head, and some really good pass-in-contact play by both teams. The Aggies' advantage was continuity not only in their starting XV but also with substitutes. Cal put together a beautiful weak-side maneuver to score a last-second try from a scrum 15 meters out.

OREGON STATE wins by forfeit since University of Oregon decided to leave after the Stanford/Chico State match.

Pacific Coast Playoffs – College, Women’s D2
At UC Santa Cruz


UC SANTA CRUZ by forfeit over Santa Clara

WESTERN OREGON 26 (4) – Sacramento State 19 (3) Referee: Sam Reagle
Touch Judge: Deb Hart
This was an exciting game between two proud teams. Both sides struggled to control the ball in the first half as the pitch was soggy in spots from an overnight misting of rain. The Wolves of WOU missed several opportunities due to poor ball handling, but appeared in control, though only leading 7-0 at the half. The second half started well for WOU with 2 tries in the first 7 minutes on poaches of Hornets' passes for easy tries, but the Hornets answered back with 3 hard-fought tries of their own over the next 20 minutes to end regulation tied 19-all. The Wolves reasserted themselves in the overtime scoring one minute in and shutting the Hornets down for the win. Jen Williams (#13) of WOU had a banner game scoring 2 tries and setting up the game winner with a long run down the left side before dishing off to her winger.


UC SANTA CRUZ 36 – Western Oregon 7 Referee: Sam Reagle
It's hard to say if the previous day took its toll on WOU (UCSC had a bye) or if UCSC is just that much better, but the Slugs were noticeably more aggressive, dominating most scrums and driving the Wolves backwards for most of the day. Halftime score: 31-0. Both advance to the next round of play-offs in Florida: the Banana Slugs as the #1 seed and the Wolves as #7.


Diablo Gaels 10 (2) – HAYWARD 58 (8) Referee: Don Pattalock
Touch Judge: Rich Anderson
Pepsi Field, Hayward CA

Hayward appeared to be hitting their playoff stride by dominating all phases of this match. Lead by Captain Elti Fuahala with a hat trick of tries, Hayward used their size advantage up front to crash through the Diablo defensive line and utilized speed out wide to outstretch the defense for 8 tries. Diablo, young and committed, threw themselves into every tackle, but ultimately there were not enough tacklers to go around (around the very big Hayward players!). Diablo was rewarded for their efforts with two nicely worked tries late in the match which came from fast restarts and great leadership from captain and halfback John Kunz. Thanks to Rich who ran the lines for me.

Seconds: Diablo Gaels 5 – HAYWARD 26 Referee: Rich Anderson

Seahawks 15 – SACRAMENTO LIONS 31 Referee: Tony Latu
Venus-Watson Bowl, San Jose
Touch Judges: John Pohlman, Chris Bush
Kick Off---1:40

Someone forgot to cut the grass, and someone also forgot to tell the Lions that the kick off is at 1:00. At the sprit of the game SJ returned the favor to Sac and waited until Sac players arrived at the field. Apparently, SJ was late at their first meeting in Sac. As soon as they changed the game starts with no time to warm up. Sac looked flat from the start, but SJ self-destructed and kept Sac in the game. And you don't give these Sac boys any chance to run the ball back. SJ frustrated the Lions, but somehow the Lions found ways to counter attack.

SJ is a better team than their records show.

Seconds: Seahawks 27 – Sacramento Lions 27 Referee: Chris Busch
Evaluator: Mike Malone

SF/Golden Gate forfeits to SAN MATEO

Friendly Match:

San Jose State – Univ. of San Francisco Referee:


SOUTH BAY EXILES 47 (7) – Los Altos 21 (3) Referee: Chris Fisher

Varsity: DE LA SALLE 43 – Live Oak 12Referee: Edward Barfels
DLS scored twice in the first 5 minutes to take a 12 point lead. Live Oaks defense tightened up and DLS did not score for the next 20 minutes. However, DLS's offense was just too much for the Live Oak's Defense and the half time score was 29 to 0. The second half started like the first with a DLS score. Live Oak did manage a good string of loose plays to score twice; with the last score going to DLS.

Frosh/Soph – DE LA SALLE 31 – Live Oak 0 Ref: Barfels
Live Oak borrowed 4 players from DLS and a good game was played. DLS scored 19 points in the first half and 12 in the second.

Silicon Valley 5 – APTOS 27 Referee: John Pohlman
Silicon Valley hosted Aptos in a Skyhawk Conference playoff game at Watson Bowl this past Saturday.

Silicon Valley had won an earlier match and their overall record made them the favorite.

But as they say on any given day…

Aptos started fast putting pressure on Silicon Valley driving into their 22. Inside center and captain Andy took a quick tap penalty, two stiff arms later he dotted down the opening try.

Both teams settled down and played good defense. Silicon Valley continued to make mistakes/penalties at the tackle. Andy, who has been accepted to Notre Dame and Cal. scored again off a penalty at the 22 minute mark. Both of these tries were quick taps, two stiff arms, turn the corner and drive in for the try. No other player on either team was strong, fast or determined enough to score these.

Silicon Valley continued to play hard and were rewarded with a try at the 25 minute mark.

The second half Silicon Valley turned up the pressure. Making good tackles and keeping the pressure on. Silicon Valley’s often hectic pace lead to some turnovers.

They would isolate themselves or just try to do too much.

Andy continued to dominate the scoring with two more tries in the second half.
Silicon Valley at times controlled and dominated possession. But again their frenzied pace would lead to a mistake turnover or penalty.


In response to many e-mails of concern, I thought it best to respond in this forum regarding my injury.

At the society meeting last week, I was giving a demonstration of some touch scenarios when I needed to jump.

Now, I know I’m getting older and my left heel has been bothering me since September of 1991, but earlier I’d hit a long drop-goal on the first attempt and I was feeling my oats. So, I jumped.

The Achilles tendon chose this moment to detach from the calcaneus.

There is a reason the ancient Greeks chose to attribute this particular infirmity to the fastest runner, the bravest leader, the best fighter of them all: it respects neither strength, training, fitness nor planning, is not amenable to the modern pharmacopoeia, and afflicts those who otherwise seem to have no weaknesses.

Let me not get carried away here. Alexander the Great of course slept with a copy of the Iliad under his pillow and styled himself the reincarnation of Achilles. I am merely a middle-age physician who ran for pleasure, for escape, for the scenery, for solitude and for weight control for too many years. But I was betrayed by a specific weakness of the flesh which honor, determination, discipline and even faith cannot overcome.

Yep. This confirms my genome: 46 XY, male human. No exceptions to the usual rules to be made in my case. Dang it.

X-rays revealed that the tendon is densely calcified its last five centimeters, as a result of years of chronic tendinitis and comprehensive neglect: I never lay off when it was hurting, for the joy of running always outweighed the pain of the degrading, tearing fibers all these years. A typical day for most of my refereeing career was to run touch for every game but the one I reffed.

The last five years many of you have known me on the touchline with a camera. But for the fifteen prior to that I never sat and watched a game I could run touch for.

The good news is that the tear is not complete; I have no need to submit to the surgeon’s ministrations. A ‘ski boot’ cast, which can be removed for bathing and sleep, should both provide the necessary support and enforce the necessary rest.

A return to refereeing is a remote possibility for me. Alienation from rugby referee coaching, development and administration is not.

And to the friends I have made through this sport, so many that I cannot easily answer the concerns expressed in their e-mails other than in a public forum such as this, we remain bound together by the call of the oval ball until such day as we line up for Heaven’s XV, not merely to referee but to play this great game once again.


From government files:

Transmission from to

Begin intercept:

Today, during the college D2 final in Santa Rosa, the following exchange occurred:

(HSU coach berates referee about 10 meters from referee's right ear. Referee glances over in coach's direction, blows his whistle quickly to signal a time-out, and walks over to the coach.)

Referee: Did you bring binoculars today?

Coach: No, why?

Referee: Because you're going to need them to see the rest of the game. Are we clear?

Coach: Yes, sorry, won't happen again.

Thanks, Jim, for giving me the best lines. I have wanted to use that one for ages!”

End intercept.


Bay Area Touring Side (BATS)
40th Anniversary Reunion, 1967-2007

Where: Stanford's Steuber Family Stadium
When: May 4-5, all-day, at the hospitality tent adjacent to the fields.
Dinner Saturday evening TBA.

Web Site:

We're asking our rugby friends to pass the word on to the old BATS, and come by and say hi if you're there.

Organizers: Rich Hennum, Chip Howard


SFGG is hosting the 2nd annual Grand Rugby Banquet with Dean Richards as the keynote speaker. Richards, the legendary England #8, had 48 English caps, 6 caps for the Lions, and played in the 1987, 1991 and 1995 Rugby World Cups. He was the director of rugby for the Leicester Tigers from 1998-2003, and is the current directory of rugby for the London Harlequins RFC.

When: Friday, July 13th 7:00 PM
Where: San Francisco Italian Athletic Club, San Francisco, CA
Who: SFGG members and friends of the club, as well as other members of the NorCal Rugby Community
Cost: $120 for three course deluxe meal and open bar; table of 10 is $1,200
Benefiting: Bay Area Youth Rugby

This event will benefit our strong Youth Rugby programs. It is sure to fill up fast, so reserve your spot now by contacting Robbie Flynn at 415-235-1819 or

Any referees who are interested in attending should reply to Bruce Carter. If there is enough interest, we will buy a table.

We had two tables of referees at the inaugural event, in November of 2005, when Rueben Thorne was the guest speaker.


By Alan Petty:

On the day before Easter 2007, Santa Rosa resident Jesse Williams was killed in Iraq. He is survived by his father Herb his mother Janice Leonnie, along with Jesse's wife Sonya and his 11 month old daughter Amaya.

He was also a student of mine, to whom I introduced to the sport of rugby. Knowing Jesse and loving him, I cannot stop crying, such a wonderful person is gone.

My first teaching job in Santa Rosa was at Santa Rosa Junior High, Jesse was in my 8th grade history class. He was a bouncy young man who voluntarily sat in the front of the room and asked questions constantly. While school work was not his favorite endeavor he seemed to enjoy my storytelling and I enjoyed him very much. When most people see an over-active young man they see a problem, I saw a rugby player.

We started a little touch rugby club at Santa Rosa Junior, Jesse was always there. He was talented and energetic, like so many of my boys. We played a couple of games against some other kids from other schools, but basically we played because rugby is fun; the love of the game.

He went on to star for Santa Rosa High School. Jesse was part of the teams that gave the Lobos many tough games in the late 90's. Playing outside center between future Eagle Tim Omi and Christopher Golis he did very well and boy did he let us know it. He was a fine competitor and fun to play against. Jesse stayed in touch with me at Elsie Allen, occasionally dropping by, at his convenience, if class was in session or even during rugby training. I guess that he felt comfortable around us so he kept coming around. He was especially close to Terrence McCarter whose family has been a key part of EAHS and Lobo Rugby.

When he joined the army, he came by the classroom to show off his uniform and came back to play touch with us several times after that. When he married, he married into the Lobo Rugby family and his visits became more frequent. Jesse spoke to one of my classes about his first tour to Iraq. I can recall telling the class, "Here are some questions that are inappropriate to ask," then Jesse got up in front of the room and said that no question was out of bounds and answered anything that the kids wanted to know.

When people talk to me, they are surprised at first because I refer to so many people as "my kids." Jesse was one of "my kids" and while I cannot fathom the loss felt by his father, mother, and wife, the pain I feel is beyond description. A love, a bond forged by brotherhood, and a collision sport... now one of us is gone.

Godspeed Jesse Williams

Seder and Promotees
Chris Tucker and Cary Bertolone are recognized for their promotions while Bruce Bernstein, Jake Rubin and Ray Schwartz celebrate a rapid Seder.


For the Senate
Pelicus Scriptoris

Tuesday, April 03, 2007




The last monthly meeting of the 2007 season will be Wednesday, April 4 at the Golden Gate clubhouse on Treasure Island from 7 to 9 PM.

With playoffs, super league games and championships forming the bulk of our remaining games, we will focus on touch judging at this meeting.

Our members have plenty of opportunities to support high-level rugby over the next month as touch judges, and this session should help prepare them for the task.

The Referee Development Committee will meet from 6 to 7. Food will be provided beginning at 6 PM for early arrivals for the general meeting.


There was a day, not too many years ago, when the NCRRS did not have enough depth to adequately cover the many high-level games that we are fortunate enough to officiate.

This has changed.

Through the end of March, nineteen different referees have worked NCRFU men’s D1 first-side games. Three of these referees were here on exchange.

That means SIXTEEN Pelicanrefs have worked at the top end of the assignments tree: Rich Anderson, Joe Androvich, Paul Bretz, Lois Bukowski, Bruce Carter, Jim Crenshaw, Mike Gadoua, Tony Latu, Joe Leisek, Don Pattalock, John Pohlman, Dave Pope, Aruna Ranaweera, Sam Reagle, Pete Smith and Scott Wood.

There also appear to be at least a couple of referees who will be in a position to join this list next year!



Seahawks 11 – OLYMPIC CLUB 78 Referee: Lois Bukowski
Referee Coach: David Williamson

Seconds: Seahawks 25 (3) – OLYMPIC CLUB 27 (4) Referee: Aruna Ranaweera
Olympic looked the more polished side early-on, leading 17-3 at half-time. In the second half, a more even contest was achieved because Olympic emptied their bench and San Jose inserted some experienced players. After Olympic had established a 27-6 lead midway through the second half, San Jose stormed back with three tries to pull within 27-25 with 1 minute remaining. Much thanks to Dave Williamson for providing referee coaching feedback.

SACRAMENTO LIONS 15 – San Mateo 10 Referee: Jim Crenshaw
I think it was a little too warm to play rugby last Saturday in Sacramento. The Lions scored less than 5 minutes into the game and I thought we were in for track meet. San Mateo could only manage a penalty kick about half way through the half, with the Lions answering late in the half with a penalty kick of their own.. It was 8 to 3 Lions at halftime. There were lots of long breakaways, but some great open field tackles and a few inopportune knocks ons kept both teams out of the try zone.

The defensive struggle continued until the 36th minute of the second half, when San Mateo scored a converted try to take a 10 to 8 lead. The Lions fought back with a try in the corner in the 39th minute that they converted to win the game 15 to 10.

Seconds: Sacramento Lions – San Mateo Not Played

SF/Golden Gate forfeited to HAYWARD

Fresno 34 – SACRAMENTO 77 Referee: Tony Latu
Many moons ago Sacramento vs. Fresno used to be one of the best game in Norcal, fifteen or sevens. But both teams had to go through few transitions. And now, Sacramento is a different team. On the other hand, Fresno is trying to get new and young faces to renovate the team. This was a tune-up game for Sac before the playoffs. It was a pride thing for Fresno, the last game, the last stop. A chance to beat the unbeatable.

Fresno was sleeping at the first half as Sac score 45 points on them. The second half, Fresno rambles back at Sac, unfortunately, for only twenty minutes. The last twenty, Sac score more points. The final score Sac-77, Fresno-34.

Baracus 10 – SANTA ROSA 17 Referee: Rich Anderson
This was a tough, hard fought match which saw Baracus take a 10-3 lead at the half. Santa Rosa converted some Penalty opportunities early in the Second half and scored a late try to win 17-10.

Seconds: Baracus 12 – SANTA ROSA 37 Ref: Anderson

ST. MARY’S 50 (8) – Stanford 26 (4) Referee: Mike Gadoua
Assessor: Bryan Porter

Tim O'Brien's pack had little trouble dominating the set pieces, rolling in 38 points and keeping Stanford scoreless. A serious injury stopped play for a good period of time as paramedics responded to a player knocked unconscious. However, Jonathan Griffin, the Stanford coach, must have lit a fire under his team during the halftime pep talk - Stanford seemed to be a different team in the second half. The maroon jerseys spent a good portion of the clock in Blue territory, scoring four tries to St. Mary's two. Had time continued, the story may have had a different ending. However, St. Mary's 38 unanswered points in the first half proved fatal for Stanford.

Seconds: ST. MARY’S 46 (8) – Stanford 25 (4) Referee: Sandy Robertson
St. Mary’s got the early advantage with a couple of quick tries. Stanford came back and led 18-17 at half time. In the 2nd half St. Mary’s began to dominate play scoring 5 tries. Both sides used the ball well and used every inch of St. Mary’s fine new pitch.

Chico State 15 – UC DAVIS 38 Referee: John Pohlman
Touch Judges Scott Wood and Mark, a self-appointed semi-professional touch judge.

I had circled this weekend after I'd seen my assignments for March. I was hoping my drive to Chico to call the Chico State versus University of Davis men's Division 1 game would be rewarded with a playoff-type game. As they say watch what you wish for.

Both teams are headed for the playoffs and this game was for important seeding.

I arrived at 11:30 to see the Chico State women finishing their practice. Both teams were present and kitting up. It was a beautiful but a bit hot of a day.

I had the good fortune of talking Scott Wood into touch judging for me. Scott had called their previous game in January. He explained a close game and referred to it as "holding onto a tiger by its tail".

The game started fast and clean. The first couple of tackles were so well disciplined...maybe a tiger can be domesticated.

Chico forwards controlled early ball and were rewarded with a try by #13 Mickel Libaele. Chico continued to control possession for most of the first half.

Chico's scrum half Katsurada started a great 60 meter run which looked like a for sure score. As he neared the try line he was caught and offloaded a forward pass. Davis controlled the scrum and relieved the pressure.

I had to warn UC Davis #1 Reynolds for repeatedly not being behind the last foot.

Chico slotted the penalty mid way through the half. Chico 10 Davis 0.

I mention Davis's #1 because he stood out among some very talented athletes.

Just before half Reynolds blocked and gathered a clearing kick by Chico's scrum half. He then finished the play with the try. First half Chico 10-Davis 7.

The second half was controlled by Davis. Davis's forwards gave their backs enough clean ball to start to breakdown the Chico defense.

Davis started the second half with a quick score.
Chico 15-Davis 14.

Two of Davis's second half scores were from long kicks turned over by great support. It seemed the heat was not effecting any of the Davis players especially Reynolds. Davis's #1 poached at least three balls one that turned into another Davis try.

In the last four minutes Davis scored two more tries to put the game away.

Final Davis 38- Chico 15.

Good luck to both teams and thanks it was definitely worth the drive.

Seconds: CHICO STATE 33 (5) – UC Davis 21 (3) Referee: Scott Wood
A fun match in the warm Chico sun. After running touch for John Pohlman in the first match, I took to the field for the Second XV match. Both teams played well with good intensity and discipline. Chico scored two tries (one converted) to shut out the Aggies 12-0 in the first half. The visitors regrouped at halftime and whatever Davis has in its water seemed to raise their spirits and abilities as both teams scored three converted tries apiece to finish the match 33-21.

Nevada 20 (4) – SACRAMENTO STATE 22 (4) Referee: Don Pattalock
Touch Judges: P. Ulibarri, G. Walsh

The conversion was the difference in this great game of rugby. With no playoff implications left in either season, both teams played hard enterprising rugby with Sac making space out wide and Nevada grinding up the pitch with pick and drives. It was a moderately windy day and the kicking suffered. With 3 minutes left on the clock, Nevada was awarded a penalty on the 22m in front of the poles, pride and the suspect kicking spurred the captain to push for the try; which never came.

Seconds: Nevada 0 – SACRAMENTO STATE 35
Referee: Blake Crowley
Touch Judges: G. Walsh/team representative

Santa Rosa JC 10 – HUMBOLDT STATE 12 Referee: Joe Androvich


USA Rugby established the Division 3 championship in 2000. In the seven years that it has been contested, NCRFU teams have finished first or second five times.

The 2007 playoffs were held at El Camino Park in Palo Alto to determine which two teams will advance to the Pacific Coast playoffs.

Three of the eight teams competing were recent National Champions: Chico won in 2002, Reno in 2003, and Mission in 2006.

Mission and Chico will both move on to the Pacific Coast playoffs in Bend, Oregon, April 21/22.

Saturday’s Games:
MISSION 84 (14) – Berkeley 0 Referee: Bruce Carter
Touch Judge: John Coppinger, Pete Smith
Mission certainly looks prepared to defend their national title. What separates them from not only the other D3, but from most of the teams at any level that this writer has seen, is their deftness passing in traffic and off-loading in the tackle.

The ball just never dies. Even when a player is tackled in isolation, they have a knack for passing to a spot where a supporter and a hole in the defense are going to coincide a second from now.

Berkeley would tackle until there were no more defenders left, when Mission would end up in goal.

VACAVILLE 42 – Aptos 10 Referee: John Coppinger
Touch Judges: Chris Arnold, Frank Merrill
Evaluator: Dixon Smith
Videographer: Bruce Carter

Reno 21 – EAST PALO ALTO 46 Referee: Pete Smith
Touch Judges: Chris Arnold, Bruce Carter
In what may have been the most entertaining game of the weekend and if not, easily the hardest hitting, EPA surprised Reno with a 46-21 win as the 3rd of four NorCal D3 playoff games. This game was open, hard hitting and a despite all that very clean game to referee. My guess is a penalty count under 15 for the match. It was a real treat to be part of a game as well played this one was.

CHICO 31 (4) – Petaluma 14 (2) Referee: Joe Leisek
Touch Judge: Chris Arnold

Chico had more possession and spent more time going forward with the ball in both halves, and certainly had opportunities to score more points. Petaluma had a few chances that could not be converted. Fast game in spots, a bit of a grinder in others. Chico kicker Derek Brown was perfect on the day: one penalty kick and four conversions.

Special thanks to Chris Arnold for running touch, and very happy to have met Linda Carter!

Sunday Finals:

CHICO 40 (6) – East Palo Alto 19 (3) Referee: Joe Leisek
More of an open running game than the previous day, especially in the first half. Chico took a four-tries-to-one lead at the half. However, the second half slowed a bit, as East Palo Alto, a bit thin in numbers, suffered through a few injuries. Second-day fatigue began to emerge a bit on both sides. The second 40 minutes was an even 12-12 draw. Chico kicker Derek Brown actually missed a conversion late in the second half! His weekend tally: nine conversions and one penalty kick, with only the one missed conversion.

Best wishes to Chico in the Pacific Coast playoffs.

MISSION 32 – Vacaville 3 Referee: Pete Smith
Sunday saw a hotly contested match for the first 40 minutes with Mission taking the 15-3, but Vacaville just didn’t have the depth after having to fight hard the day before against Aptos. The last 20 minutes, Vacaville used many new players and the score swelled as a result as Mission pulled away for a 32-3 victory. I would hazard to guess the match between Chico and Mission may well be a prelude to this year’s National Championship game, if the brackets permit. Both of these teams are looking primed and ready for whoever comes next.



March 29:
MONTGOMERY 36 (6) – Sonoma 17 (3) Referee: Mike King
A hard fought contest, with the bigger Montgomery side able to overpower Sonoma at times. Montgomery showed improved knowledge of the game as their players have seen more match time. To their credit, the Dragons did not give up. They roared back at the end to knot 2 late tries and continued to challenge to the end.

March 30:
TNT 17 (3) – Barbarians 10 (2) Ref: King
Both sides showed great improvement over the season both as to knowledge of the rules and the teamwork necessary to prevail in this game. The game itself was slowed by a number of dropped balls and infractions, but the players kept the pressure on each other throughout the game. After a close half, TNT pulled away to establish an insurmountable lead, but Rancho was able to score in injury time to draw a bit closer.

March 31:
JV: Golden Gate 33 (5) – Live Oak 0 Ref: King
Both teams came out firing at the beginning of the game. Live Oak had 7 players on the JVs, plus fill-ins from the Varsity who had already played, and a couple from Golden Gate. They showed grit and determination, but were overcome by a more experienced side. After much of the half without a score, GG started an onslaught that led to 3 tries by half. Although Live Oak got close on several occasions with some nice runs, they came up short and were not able to punch through. Continued pressure led to 2 more tries for GG to complete the afternoon affair.

Tuesday, March 27:

SOUTH BAY EXILES 31 – Los Altos 17 Referee: John Pohlman
The South Bay Exiles, formerly Valley Christian, hosted Los Altos in a 5:30 match Tuesday evening. The Exiles play their games on the synthetic, hilltop, football field. It was very windy but surprising had little effect on the game.

The Exiles scored first with a try at the 8 minute mark with a nice run by their outside center #12.

Los Altos came right back with a try by Mitch their #8. Mitch can bring it. He led all players in tackles and took over as captain after Bobby their outside center left with an injury.

#12 again broke a number of tackles to finish off his second try ten minutes after his first.

28 minutes into the first half two of Los Altos's props scored a try. I say two because #1 drove the ball to the 2 meter mark. Then #3 picked up and scored. From my angle I could not see his number and he looked from behind identical to his front row mate. I started to call a double movement and then realized it was a legitimate score.

The Exiles backs were just too fast and experienced for Los Altos scoring two more tries prior to the half.

First half score Exiles 26-Los Altos 10.

Los Altos had the wind in the second half, but could only manage one more try.

This was a close game with two well matched packs.

But the Exile backline was the difference.


LOS ALTOS 39 – Aptos 7 Referee: James Hinkin

Aptos traveled over the hill to play a Friday night match at Los Altos. The teams were ready and eager to play on the all weather football field at Los Altos High School and with the referee forgetting to bring flags the touch judges were poised to indicate touch with t-shirts donated by Los Altos for the purpose. The game started with Aptos kicking off and immediate pressure. This started a 20 minute period of back and forth rugby with neither side gaining an advantage. The deadlock was finally broken by Los Altos with a well worked back move and support garnered a classic wing try in the corner. Los Altos put another try down with 30 minutes gone in the half with a rather unusual bit of opportunism. Los Altos was attacking near the 22 when they tried to set a ruck but lacked commitment. The Aptos #3 hit the ruck with power and blew 3 Los Altos players off the ball but in the process kicked the ball out the Los Altos side of the ruck. The alert winger scooped up the loose ball and charged down a wide open weak side to score. The half ended with A scrum being put down with no time left on the clock and a Los Altos put in. They won the ball and proceeded to string several phases together and steadily march down the field until finally breaking free and scoring in the corner. Half time score was 17-0.

The second half was more of the same as Los Altos put down 3 tries – with a highly unusual one sandwiched in the middle. Midway through the second half Aptos was penalized near midfield for not rolling away and the Los Aptos captain said “We want to go for points, sir”. I then indicated points and when he realized his mistake he said that he really meant to say he wanted to go for touch. Unfortunately it was too late as points were called and indicated. So the Los Altos kicker lined up a 53 yard attempt with the whole team ready to chase. After reminding the kicker that he must make a genuine attempt at goal the kick was taken and fell, unsurprisingly, well short. The surprising bit was that no Aptos player elected to catch it and the ball bounced back directly into the hands of an onrushing Los Altos player who dove over for a try. Aptos was able to get on the board after this with a very clever grubber through the line by the #10 that bounced kindly for the Aptos captain and center who never broke stride and outpaced the cover for the touchdown. Final score: Aptos 7 – Los Altos 39.


SOUTH BAY EXILES 43 (7) – College Park 5 Referee: Chris Fisher

EAST PALO ALTO 81 (12) – Silicon Valley 0 Referee: Joe Saccomanno
EPA came out and scored seven tries and five conversions to take a 46 to nil lead at the half. The second half was just as impressive with five more converted tries.

DE LA SALLE 66 (12) – Antioch 0 Referee: Sandy Robertson
Dominating throughout De La Salle scored 6 tries in each half. They controlled the set pieces, spun the ball quickly, and ran aggressive lines. Antioch competed throughout but lacked experience and depth.

Saturday, March 31
Site: Pioneer Park, Davis, Calif.
Referees: Giles Wilson, Chris Tucker
Report by Giles Wilson:

With short games of only 15 minute halves, the day was dominated by ties – the first game being 0-0 and then won by a single DG in the kickoff. Davis became eventual finalists with this game and their game vs Amazons won by DG kick offs.

Seven teams competed with very strong sides from Amazons, Davis, Alameda, Elsie Allen and Mother Lode joined by less experienced sides from Humboldt and Berkeley.

Amazons were seeded 1st, receiving a bye into the semis where they met Davis who’d snuck by Elsie Allen. Both teams defended hard with good low tackles and some very big hits on occasion. Davis scored a breakaway try at the end of the first half. Amazons attacked hard but weren’t able to score until 10 mins into the 2nd half. With 5 minutes to play, Amazons were stymied by a solid Davis defense and their own errors. In the kick off, the first 2 Davis players scored while the Amazons couldn’t, giving Davis a 2-0 victory.

In the other semi, defense also ruled the day with Alameda scoring a tying try as time expired and made the conversion for a 7-5 victory over Mother Lode. Subsequently Mother Lode decided to forfeit the 3rd/4th place game – efforts were made to make a combined team to play Amazons with players willing but time and organization preventing the effort.

In a tight final, Alameda were able to overcome Davis in a tight game.

Scores (Unofficial):
Santa Rosa Lobos 0 – Davis Lady Devils 0
Mother Lode 41 – Berkeley Yellow Jackets 0
Alameda Riptide 23 – Fortuna Huskies 5
Sacramento Amazons 5 – Davis Lady Devils 5
Santa Rosa Lobos 44 – Berkeley Yellow Jackets 0
Berkeley Yellow Jackets 0 – Fortuna Huskies 35
Mother Lode 5 – Alameda Riptide 7
Sacramento Amazons ? – Mother Lode ?
Santa Rosa Lobos 19 – Fortuna Huskies 0
Davis Lady Devils 5 – Alameda Riptide 17

Berkeley Rhinos 0 – PIEDMONT 27 (5) Referees: David Williamson/Paul Berman Touch Judge: Rob Hendrickson
Venue: Gabe's Field, Berkeley
Weather: Warm evening
Comments: The pitch was hard

I arrived 8 minutes in, with the game in full flow, in the capable hands of David Williamson, with Piedmont up 1 try to nil.

This local derby saw two teams charging at each other ball in hand at a frenetic pace. Each team took the ball at pace probing for weak points, turning open play into rucks & mauls if no gaps were found.

To this observer the style of play somewhat resembled 7's lines, without quite as many passes changing hands. Piedmont intermingled their backs & forwards to good effect in both attack, punching holes & defence, through fierce tackling.

Overall a clean fast paced game, stopped 3 minutes from regular time through a bad re-injury.

Sunday, April 1:

Under 15’s:
STANFORD 20 – Lamorinda 0 Referee: Isaac Caselis
Sunday, April 1st, a sunny day at Treasure Island was Lamorinda vs Stanford under 15's. Two established sides played a game that was marred with a red card that lead to the ejection of a player from each side.

The game started with both sides feeling each other out with no clear advantage for either team. Stanford scored first with Lamorinda having to tighten up its defense. Even though Lamorinda was able to move the ball, their mistakes allowed Stanford's physically larger backs to break thru the tackles of Lamorinda's gamey and smaller backs, which allowed Stanford to score two additional tries in the first half.

The score at the end of the half was Stanford 15 & Lamorinda 0.

The second half was a much different story. Lamorinda's adjustments were able to stop Stanford’s attacks thru the backs. It then became a forwards game with
Lamorinda moving the ball forward well and Stanford being penalized for playing the ball on the ground. Even with Lamorinda moving the ball forward they were still not able to score.

With one minute left in the game, and the score Stanford 20 & Lamorinda 0, much to my astonishment and dismay-and what this game will be remembered for is the fisticuffs between Stanford's captain and Lamorinda's #10 which led to a red card for both players.

I would like to thank the coaches and the two red carded players for their apologies.


This is from Ray Thompson:

I know Sunday is normally a day of rest, at least for some of us. But the Dixon U-15 Tournament is a great opportunity for some brand new, young ruggers to experience both the demands and delights of tournament play and also experience good refereeing. Please check your calendars and, if at all possible, find some time to come out..... all day, or only for a match or two.

The weekend should be something of a breather for NCRFU rugby anyway, particularly on Sunday. So make some room to come out and help bring off a memorable first tournament experience for the 8 teams of youngsters that will be playing throughout the day.

I figure we'll need the equivalent of 4-5 refs throughout the day, more at the end for running touch on the semi-finals and final. Whether you can come out for a big or a small block of time doesn't matter. We can use your help. Let me know and I'll put a schedule together... to be adjusted as needed.

I look forward to seeing you in Dixon.

Two pitches, from 10 to 5.

Contact Ray at


Help forget the pain of paying taxes:

April 15 is also the first day of the season for Sacramento Area Youth Rugby, which is flag rugby for 8 – 15 year olds. Their website is at:



Mark Kottke visited Pelicanland the weekend of March 24 and sends along this report:

Here is a quick recap for my weekend visit to Sacramento/Chico:

I ended up covering three matches this past weekend, the weather and field conditions were great for playing rugby. Friday afternoon had me center field at Rancho Cordova High School against Rio Vista. Rio came out ready to play and started off quickly to gain control of the match. Although, I believe Rancho Cordova had better talent on the pitch, Rio played better as a team, which is why the final scored heavily favored Rio. I am secretly jealous of these kids for getting involved with rugby at such a young age. Also wanted to say thank you to Ray Schwartz and Jim Crenshaw for the advice and video recording they provided.

I was able to do a double header in Chico on Sat. The Chico men hosted Shasta, and I was able to cover the Chico State/Stanford B side. The men’s match was not too exciting and dominated by Chico. The forward packs on each team were well matched for the entire game, but the backline and fitness was greatly in Chico’s favor. The game had many break away tries and I saw Chico gain possession at many 2nd and 3rd phase due to late arrival at Shasta breakdowns. The final score was Chico:50 (8 tries, 5 conv), Shasta: 15 (2 tries, 1 conv, 1 pen). I was able to keep the players chatter down and the players respected the fact I let them play while keeping them safe.

I finished up my weekend with Chico St/Stanford B-side match. This proved to be the most enjoyable game for my weekend. Chico dominated over Stanford and outscored them by almost 50 points. Both teams played very hard, played well together, and played good rugby. It was apparent that Chico was a better coached side, as seen by the final score. I appreciate Scott Wood for staying around to watch this match and provide me with helpful pointers. I would like to thank everyone up in the NorCal Referee society for helping me out this weekend. It was a great weekend and I'm glad you gave me this opportunity.


SFGG is hosting the 2nd annual Grand Rugby Banquet with Dean Richards as the keynote speaker. Richards, the legendary England #8, had 48 English caps, 6 caps for the Lions, and played in the 1987, 1991 and 1995 Rugby World Cups. He was the director of rugby for the Leicester Tigers from 1998-2003, and is the current directory of rugby for the London Harlequins RFC.

When: Friday, July 13th 7:00 PM
Where: San Francisco Italian Athletic Club, San Francisco, CA
Who: SFGG members and friends of the club, as well as other members of the NorCal Rugby Community
Cost: $120 for three course deluxe meal and open bar; table of 10 is $1,200
Benefiting: Bay Area Youth Rugby

This event will benefit our strong Youth Rugby programs. It is sure to fill up fast, so reserve your spot now by contacting Robbie Flynn at 415-235-1819 or

Any referees who are interested in attending should reply to Bruce Carter. If there is enough interest, we will buy a table.

We had two tables of referees at the inaugural event, in November of 2005, when Rueben Thorne was the guest speaker.

D3 Playoffs 2007

Bruce Carter, Dixon Smith, Joe Leisek, Pete Smith and Chris Arnold enjoy the day at the D3 playoffs in Palo Alto.


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