Tuesday, May 01, 2007





LAMORINDA 46 - Hayward 24 Referee: Joe Androvich
Videographer and Reporter: Bruce Carter
Interested Spectator: Bryan Porter

A good crowd gathered at Miramonte High School to watch this 9 AM contest. The air was already warming up, still and heavy, with musical accompaniment overflowing from the swim meet down the hill.

Many of the songs drifting in on the wind were from the sixties: the Beatles, the Grateful Dead, that sort of thing.

Today’s high schoolers were born around 1990. Lennon was already ten years dead, and all of this music was twenty years buried.

This writer can attest with certainty that in his day, people in high school did not listen to music from twenty-plus years before their birth. That would have been songs like Happy Days are Here Again, Puttin’ on the Ritz, Stormy Weather, and Night and Day. No, we were listening to the Beatles and the Grateful Dead.

But one thing has changed: we weren’t playing Rugby, at least not in this country. These kids are playing some fine rugby.

Lamorinda is playing some very cohesive rugby. They scored a try from a maul from a five-meter line-out right off the bat, and followed this up with three more tries in the first twenty minutes. With their #19 and his knife-like runs, and #21 with his looping runs, Hayward had to play a lot of fractured defense.

But Hayward weathered the storm, began to retain possession of their own, and scored both the last try of the first half and the first try of the last half.

Lamo scored again, but then Hayward scored two tries to pull within seven, 31 – 24, with about fifteen minutes left.

And that was it: three more unconverted tries by the home XV put the game on ice.

JESUIT 35 – East Palo Alto 14 Referee: Jim Crenshaw
It was way to hot to play 15's last Saturday, but East Palo Alto traveled to Jesuit to play a semi final match anyway.

Jesuit scored a penalty kick and an unconverted try before EPA scored a converted try about half way through the half. Jesuit was awarded a penalty try at about the 25 minute mark and then another converted try about 5 minutes later. EPA scored a converted try just before halftime to make the score at halftime Jesuit 22 - EPA 14

The sun took its toll on both teams, with Jesuit scoring 2 penalty kicks a converted try about half way through the 2nd half, but the heat was ever harder on EPA, as they couldn't get on the board.


Would you be interested in refereeing at the Cape Fear Sevens, one of the premiere Sevens events in the USA. This year it will be played July 7 – 8. Let us know if you’d like to partake of the Southern hospitality and the best annual Sevens east of Palo Alto.


MARFU Exchange

Scott Wood traveled to referee in the Mid-Atlantic RFU the weekend of April 21:

I woke up early enough to make the 6 a.m. flight to Norfolk via Atlanta. Many bleary-eyed passengers on the uneventful flight. Took top honors in the on-flight trivia challenge.

I was met at the airport by David Chapman and Steve Myers. We drove to the lovely and austere Airport Ramada (you won't find this place very high on Zagat's list). Apparently there was a staff shortage and the room was just finished being cleaned when we arrived. Steve and I settled in and the three of us worked out plans for dinner. A brief tour of the local streets led us to rule out the spaghetti warehouse in favor of a local-to-America Chicago-style restaurant. We returned to our lodgings and watched the Red Sox upset the Yankees prior to turning in.

The wireless connection at the hotel could not fulfill my Saturday morning Super 14 fix so I had to make do with a book. After breakfast at a nearby house of international pancakes, we set off to the pitch with directions provided by David and the turn-by-turn assistance of Steve's cell phone provider.

The curtain raiser featured HMS Ocean (a visiting British ship) versus Old Dominion Alumni/Norfolk Blues/etc refereed by VRU's president, Jeff Anderson. Both teams fared well and the locals were able to put points on the board but in the end, the British Navy was able to win the battle (we still won the war).

Steve had the first of the two MARFU D2 Club Men semi-finals with Brandywine facing Raleigh. This was a contentious match with early scoring by both teams. Eventually, Raleigh was the victor.

NORFOLK BLUES 27 – Severn River 3 Referee: Scott Wood
Touch Judges: David Chapman, Jeff Anderson
Assessor: Jim Thompson

My match was between the host club, Norfolk Blues, and Severn River. Due to its lower seed, Norfolk was the visiting team. Both teams are well coached and, for the most part, maintained adequate discipline. Norfolk had several scoring opportunities rebuffed including a five-meter scrum pushover to which Severn's scrumhalf quickly put his hand on the ball before Norfolk's eightman or scrumhalf had any idea he could do so. Norfolk entered the half leading 5-0.

The second half started quickly. Severn kicked to Norfolk who spun the ball wide and the wing(?) tore up the sideline. A quick pass inside and the flyhalf(?) raced in to dot down the try. As I whistled the try, I saw the TJ's flag pointing infield to signal foul play. After a brief consultation with the TJ, it turns out that Severn's 14 tackled Norfolk's wing(?) late and dangerously. At least I did not have to wave off the try... Off to the bin went a player and wide went the attempted conversion.

During the subsequent ten minutes, Norfolk was able to score two additional tries (one converted). During one of their drives, Norfolk kick for touch from a penalty. The ball sailed over the touchline, curved, and was going to land in play when Buffoon-Spectator #1 decided to reach out and catch the ball. Unfortunately, the barriers did not run the full length of the pitch but I'm not sure that would have prevented this idiot from standing there. As he had one foot in touch, we had to go all the way back to midfield for the ensuing lineout. Suffice it to say, the sideline was cleared of everyone except the touch judge.

With both teams at full strength and the heat of the day bearing down, play settled down into a series of broken plays, knock ons, and pile ups. Severn was able to score a penalty goal and Norfolk crossed the goal line once more to finish out the match 27-3.

After a debrief with the assessor, we repaired to the motel for showers prior to dinner. David and Don met us for some legendary local fare at Fellini's. As the story goes, the food is so good the owner died protecting his recipes. Okay, bad joke, but great food (and displays of art and memorabilia).

Consolation match
BRANDYWINE 23 – Severn River 22 Referee: Scott Wood
Touch Judges: David Chapman, Jeff Anderson
Assessor: Don Musacchio

Severn put in a side primarily comprised of B-side players whereas Brandywine started ten or eleven players that participated in Saturday's match. Brandywine was able to capitalize off Severn's penalties scoring three penalty goals. Halftime score: Brandywine 9, Severn River 0.

Severn came out of halftime on fire scoring quickly in the right corner. Shortly after, Severn was on the attack when it was awarded a penalty five meters from goal. Brandywine's tighthead tackled high and hard resulting in a penalty try and a ten-minute visit to the sin bin. Leading 12-9, Severn River found renewed vigor and scored another two tries before the sinbinned prop returned.

Now back to full strength, Brandywine went on the attack charging up the middle of the pitch. Brandywine had a ruck within five meters of Severn's own goal. A quick pick off the ruck was destroyed by an infringing Severn River player as their #22 bored into the side of the piece effectively sealing his fate in the bin as a penalty was awarded.

Brandywine was able to capitalize off its one-man advantage scoring a converted try to gain the narrowest of leads 23-22. With the clock ticking away and both teams at full strength, Severn River went on the attack. Severn kicked the ball into Brandywine's 22 where errant ball handling and a poor kick resulted in a Severn line-out 15 meters out. As the teams were forming, my watch ticked off the final seconds. Unfortunately, Severn throw-in was not straight and the match ended with a whimper.

Thanks go out to all concerned for their company and time, be it running touch, assessing, playing, coaching, and any other endeavor that made for an excellent weekend.

Met NY Exchange:

Don Pattalock went on exchange to New York City:

Subject: NYC Exchange Travelog
April 20/21/22 2007
Host Union: Rugby Referees Society of New York

From the time I first received the invitation for this exchange, I could have not been more pleased with the opportunity and the venue. Having been around several players and teams from NYC, I knew that the rugby would not disappoint. Kat promptly put me in touch with TA Fitzpatrick who would be my host for Saturday and ultimately my assessor for the main match of the weekend.

I was originally scheduled to depart Reno early on Friday morning; unfortunately a work conflict caused me to have to change to a red-eye which had me landing at JFK at 2am. TA provided me with an appropriate hotel 0.25 miles from JFK. So I hopped a cab and told the driver which hotel, which he seemed to struggle with its location. None the less, we were off and like a blind foreigner in a strange neighborhood, we were lost. The cabbie shut off the meter while is searched for the directions. Looking for some simple instructions since the hotel was only 1/4 mile from JFK, like "take exit 23 turn right on A St 500 yds on your left", the simple directions were not to be had. Instead, the directions were a FULL paragraph of small type! Luckily, we turned around and actually saw a sign to the hotel and arrived with a somewhat humbled cabbie wishing me luck.

Saturday morning arrived with building excitement for my match and a gorgeous day on tap in NYC. A quick breakfast at the hotel and I was out front to be picked up by TA for the day’s rugby. TA gave me the locals tour back into the city with a quick stop into the "Irish Riviera" to get a couple of the best sandwiches in the City. This was a tiny little deli that makes huge hero sandwiches on giant everything bagels! With heroes in tow, we headed off to Randalls Island for the rugby. Randalls Island is located at the base of the Tribourough Bridge and has more than 30 playing fields. With just over an hour to kick-off, it was time to put away the tourist gear and get serious.

I had been assigned a Division 1 match featuring NYRFC v NYAC B. Before the match, I was introduced to my billet for the night, Dr. Peter Rizzo. How perfect for a NYC exchange, staying with a guy named "Rizzo" in the west Village! Both sides were eager for the match and somewhat intrigued by the visiting referee. The game was played at high pace with exceptional ball handling. The difference in the match was the deft kicking by NYRFC's Uruguayan halfback. I had actually played at his home club in 2005 in Montevideo and we quickly determined that we had mutual friends at the Montevideo Cricket Club. MVCC is also the home of the Los Christians RFC of "Alive" fame. NYRFC 40 NYAC 25.

Following the match, I was quickly swept off to another pitch on the Island where the Village Lions were hosting their annual family day. I was asked to cover a Lions B v NYRFC/NYAC mixed squad friendly in front of the home crowd. Fortunately, another local ref arrived and covered the match and most likely saved my life as I had 2 other matches to run later in the day. In addition to the Lions family day, it was also Dominican Day and the baseball diamond that backed up to the pitch was washed with loud Dominican music that added to the festive atmosphere. I enjoyed the opportunity to stroll the sideline with TA discussing my match and general rugby refereeing. At the conclusion of the Lions match, we grabbed Rizzo ( who is the coach of Columbia Women's RFC) and offered to drive him up to the campus. So off we went "uptown".

Having delivered Rizzo safely to his awaiting team, we quickly turned back for "downtown" and the new Pier 40 sports complex where I was to run touch for the Super League match between Old Blue and St. Louis Bombers. Pier 40 is a new facility located on a refurbished pier on the Hudson River in Greenwich Village. TA and I continued our rugby conversations overlooking the pitch from 2 stories above as the poles were erected and the flags were put in place. Jem McDowell had the whistle for the match while Greg Nelson and I had the lines. In a 67 - 15 track meet, all three of us had plenty of sprint work to keep up with the Old Blue attack through the nonexistent STL defense.

Following the SL match, I had my third and final match of the long day; Old Blue B v NY Japanese. The Japanese provided several new challenges for me, one they hardly spoke my language, were 50 - 75 lbs a person smaller and played in a fashion that helped me understand the Kamikaze mentality. I was provided with 2 referee TJ's (Greg Nelson and Patrick Wickman). Having run over 6 miles in my previous two matches, suffered through 9 hours of travel and living on 5 hours of sleep, needless to say that my legs were not what you would call fresh. To make matters even more challenging, NYJ would not roll out of the tackles and did not respond in any manner to my voice commands to do so. After several penalties and a sin bin, my TJ suggested that I physically touch the players I needed to roll. Well I did this and it worked brilliantly! Now, it’s late in the match, I'm truly knackered and now I physically need to be at every tackle to touch the tackler to get them to comply. I set the final scrum and hoped for a quick end to the match, unfortunately for me what ensued was a period of 4-5 minutes of open play that had me praying for a knock on just to end the match. Old Blue 27 NY Japanese 5.

Following the match, Mike Cobb, Greg Nelson, Patrick Wickman and I headed over to the an Irish pub for the post match festivities. After a few Guinness and the other half of my hero sandwich, it was 1 AM now and I was sorely needing sleep, so I grabbed a cab and headed to Rizzo's. Settling in at Rizzo's, the Motrin quelled the leg cramps and I indulged in a well earned night of sleep.

The next morning, Rizzo and I headed into the Village for breakfast with the law book in hand to discuss a few subtleties in the application of the law. Following breakfast we strolled along the west side greenbelt enjoying the weather, sights and sounds of Manhattan. Rizzo had a U19 match to referee so I thanked him for his hospitality and I was on my own in the Village. I grabbed a calzone in a little pizza shop, enjoyed my free time for as long as I could then grabbed a cab for JFK feeling the wonderful aches of a great exchange full of fantastic people, exciting rugby and a wonderful city.

Thanks to the NorCal society for providing me with the opportunity to experience a different society, assessor and teams. Also a big thank you to Bjorn for making the effort to get me additional NCRRS swag as gifts for my hosts.


This is unprecedented, truly remarkable: all four NorCal teams won both of their contests against the top four SoCal teams.

As a matter of fact, San Mateo beat the odds nine ways from Sunday. Having just squeaked in due to Haggis being excluded from the process at a late hour, this team which finished fourth in our league had to play Southern California’s first and second place finishers.

Not only did San Mateo beat them both, it was by a combined score of 95 – 12! This was enough to earn them the top of the five seeds awarded to CR1.

Given that Santa Monica won it all last year, CR1 gets the top seed overall.

So, in two weeks, San Mateo has vaulted from being a last-place entrant in the regional playoffs to being the number one seeded team in the USA playoffs.

Congratulations to Coach Alatini Saulala and his players, and best of luck to all of the NorCal teams in the playoffs.

SAN MATEO 55 – Huntington Beach 7 Referee: Pete Smith
Touch Judges: Joe Leisek, John Coppinger
No report received.

SACRAMENTO LIONS 22 – Belmont Shore 10 Referee: Paul Bretz
Touch Judges: Don Pattalock, Sam Reagle
No report received.

Las Vegas 5 – HAYWARD 48

Santa Barbara 9 – OLYMPIC CLUB 26

Five teams qualified to move on from CR1, which comprises SoCal and the Pacific Coast:

San Mateo
Olympic Club
Sacramento Lions
Santa Barbara

The sweet sixteen will be played in South Carolina on May 12-13.

Unfortunately, we won’t have four NorCal teams in the final four: Hayward and the Sac Lions are in the same pool.


The regular season wrapped up in the Bay Conference:

DE LA SALLE 26 – Golden Gate 22 Referee: Chris Parkhouse
A very tough game played between two well matched sides in what must have been 100C on a very sunny Saturday afternoon. De La Salle had the better of the first half a built a 19-5 lead on the back of three tries and two conversions. Golden Gate rallied late in the second half running in two tries in quick succession as De La Salle seeming relaxed and failed to make their tackles. With two minutes to go it was a four point game with Golden Gate in the driving seat. They were not able to further capitalize and De La Salle held out for a narrow win. Needless to say because of the heat I had a water break in each half!

Freshmen: De La Salle 15 – GOLDEN GATE 28 Referee: Edward Barfels
The first half of the game was a little slow. SFGG scored one try with conversion to take a 7-0 half time lead. The second half both teams scored three tries each. The heat took its toll on the players and their ability to tackle. SFGG made all of their conversions and DLS missed all of theirs. The final score was SFGG 28 - DLS 15.

JV: De La Salle 26 – GOLDEN GATE 27 Referee: Edward Barfels
The first half of the game was dominated by DLS. They scored three tries to take a 19-0 lead. SFGG scored a try just before the half to cut the lead to 19 - 7 at half time.

Wow what a second half was played. SFGG came out of half time fired up. They scored two tries and a penalty kick to take a 24 - 19 lead with three minutes left in the game. SFGG committed a penalty at their own 7 meter line and DLS scored to take a 26 – 24 lead. The crowd was noisy and spectators had to be removed from the field before the final two minutes could be played. SFGG regained their composure and played good rugby for the last two minutes. They drove to within 10 meters of the goal and DLS committed a penalty. SFGG converted the penalty kick on the last play of the game to win 27 - 26.

Friday, April 27
Sonoma Valley HS 19 – TNT 19 Referee: Joe Leisek
Arnold Field, Sonoma

Friday was the sixth annual Rugby Under the Lights, a fundraiser for the Sonoma Valley High School club program. This year's game drew an estimated 400-plus fans. Sonoma hosted TNT, the combined Windsor-Healdsburg high school club team.

The crowd was treated to an entertaining, spirited high school rugby match. Sonoma seemed in command for much of the first half, but kicked away a lot of possession. This allowed TNT to remain close. Sonoma kept the game just out of reach for the visitors until the final moments.

Finally, with seconds remaining, TNT wing Kyle O'Donnell scooped up a loose ball and sprinted 70 meters to score under the posts. This try electrified the crowd and, in fact, both teams! With the conversion, the match was over and players from both teams shook hands (including many Sonoma players who congratulated O'Donnell on his effort). They were all rewarded by a big ovation from the crowd.

Joe Saldana scored two tries for the hosts, with Joe Randa also scoring one. Sam Whittiton kicked two conversions. For the visitors, tries were scored by Jamal Russel, Dion Pieri, and O'Donnell. Jack Freyer kicked two conversions.

The game was played in honor of Scott Piazza McFarland, son of David McFarland, one of the Sonoma Valley High coaches. Scott was also a former high school teammate of Sonoma Valley head coach Kevin Brown, who organized the event.


Collegiate championships in four divisions will be decided at Stanford this Friday and Saturday.

Paul Bretz and Pete Smith will be refereeing, while Jim Crenshaw, John Pohlman, Joe Leisek, Sam Reagle and Lois Bukowski will be running touch.

Scott Wood and Bruce Carter, along with Tammy Cowan, will be serving as # 4/5/6.

There will also be a referee recruiting booth, sponsored by USA Rugby, attended by Rob Hendrickson and Lois Bukowski. (If you would be able to spend some time helping out in this effort, please let us know.)

SF/Golden Gate will be hosting Santa Monica in the super league, with a playoff spot on the line, at Treasure Island at 3 PM on Saturday.

Chris Draper, who played rugby at Cal, will be refereeing, with Dave Pope and Sam Reagle as touch judges.

There will be a curtain raiser for this match: the SF/GG SeƱors will host the Hayward Old Boys at noon at Rocca Field. (If you would like to referee this one, please let us know.)

The High School Final will be played at Jesuit at 2 PM:

Jesuit – Lamorinda Referee: Tony Latu

Please contact Tony if you are available to run touch:



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


The delightful directions to England referenced here last week were brought to our attention by Scott Wood.

The Field of Dreams
Dana Teagarden, Paul Bretz, Mark Zetterberg and David Williamson are happy to be at Witter Rugby Field in Strawberry Canyon on the campus of the University of California.


For the Senate
Pelicus Scriptoris