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