Tuesday, May 22, 2007




A dinner to celebrate thirty years of the Northern California Rugby Referee Society will be held on Saturday, June 23, at the Bull Valley Restaurant, 14 Canyon Lake Drive, in Port Costa.

The restaurant is located in a wonderful hidden valley, approximately 3 miles east-southeast from Crockett.

(510) 787-1135 www.bullvalleyrestaurant.com

There is plenty of parking in a free lot overlooking the Carquinez Strait & the city of Benicia on the far side.

The Society will have the entire restaurant for this occasion, and will pay for dinner for members who are active referees or coaches/evaluators . There will be four choices of entrees and house wine is included. The cost to guests and dates will be $30.

We will have the facility from 6 until 9 PM. We’ll plan on dinner at 7, with speeches and awards to follow. Formal attire is appropriate but not required.

If the conversation and camaraderie do not recognize a nine o’clock curfew, across the street is the Warehouse Cafe, boasting over 400 bottled beers from around the world & voted “one of the 50 best bars in the USA.” With a dart board, pool table, stuffed animal heads, old fashioned Wurlitzer jukebox & cast of local characters, it is a memorable place.

Please let Paul Berman know if you will be attending, and how many will be in your party. Paul will let those who contact him know what the menu options are.



The Teddington Antlers, with men’s and women’s sides, will be touring Northern California next week. Teddington is basically next door to Twickenham.

Their first match will be against Baracus on Memorial Day, Monday, May 26, at 1 PM on Treasure Island. They are trying to get a women’s game laid on for the same day.

Both of their sides will be playing in Monterey on Wednesday, May 28, and again in San Francisco at Crocker Amazon on Friday, May 30.

The Monterey Wednesday games will begin at 5 or 5:30 PM, and the Crocker Amazon Friday games at 5:45 PM.

These games will, of course, need refs. Let us know if you are available for any or all of them.


Last weekend, Paul Bretz did the Chicago Lions playoff victory while Pete Smith and Aruna Ranaweera worked the high school championships.

Paul will also be refereeing the Super League final in San Diego June 9, while Pete and Aruna will be at the women’s U-23 all-stars in Minnesota the following weekend.

Referee: Mike Gadoua

The referee for the Shinty game (before the Rugby) was running around with a microphone. At stoppages, he'd explain to the crowd what the penalty was, or what happened.

The whole purpose of the Shinty and Rugby was to demonstrate Scottish sports, along with other Scottish athletics.

He handed me the microphone after his game. I explained that I probably would not be able to explain things during the game. By this time, they were throwing the caber on the field next to us.

As they were adding uprights to the goals, I explained to the spectators, which by now had grown, about the two variations of Rugby, and specifically pointed out that the Sevens version originated in Melrose Scotland.

A gentleman whom I had met earlier in the day, Jimmy Doyle and his wife who are from Melrose, were in the front row and seemed to enjoy the commentary. In hind sight, I should have introduced him to the crowd.

I told the crowd that we were going to play two 20-minute halves of XVs, and then a few games of Sevens. I must have said something entertaining, because the crowd did laugh at one point. I finally excused myself to referee the games and got applause.

Unfortunately, and much to my chagrin, we had no Sevens players out of 40 players at the event.

The only way one could figure out whether the game being played was Sevens or XVs, was to count the number of players on the field.

Mr. Doyle was very understanding.

oh, well,

Play On,

On behalf of the Vikings and Gaels, I’d like to thank our ref, Mike Gadoua, for taking the time to referee our game. After a week of searching for a local ref to no avail, Michael stepped up and committed to our game. He came all the way from San Rafael, and not only did our game, but also got a little more exercise by doing the sevens game too. Adding to the challenge was the field, which had no 5 meter lines, and the 22 meter lines were marked at 30 meters! Also, he grabbed the mike and explained the game to the crowd. He probably would have done the Shinty game if they asked him!

It was not easy to ref our game, with the mixture of a division one, division two and high school players all playing at once, he called a good, clean, safe game.

Mike, thanks for your efforts,

Rich Hennum


Four teams representing three of the NCRFU high school conferences (two from Sacramento, one Bay and one Redwood team) met at Pioneer Park in Davis for a round-robin tournament.

Mike Villierme supplied a canopy, chairs and cooler. Rod Chance arrived with touch flags intent on working the sidelines for each match. Chris Tucker arrived to the "green" city by riding his bicycle across the Causeway. Ray Schwartz was spotted early on but rumor has it that J.C. Van Staden got him up for a Zin Fest. Jake Rubin arrived in his finest suit after attending a Bat Mitzvah in Davis.

Kudos to Michael Taylor for coordinating the event. There is a lot of promising talent and ability in these kids. One of the hardest things to do is inculcate continuity amongst players who have only played together on one or two occasions. For the most part, the players were savvy enough to stay with their support and minimize being isolated at contact.

SACRAMENTO A 13 – Bay 3 Referee: Chris Tucker
Touch Judges: Rod Chance, Mike Villierme

Redwood 0 – SACRAMENTO B 22 Referee: Scott Wood
Touch Judges: Rod Chance, Chris Tucker

SACRAMENTO A 12 – Redwood 10 Referee: Mike Villierme
Touch Judges: Rod Chance, Scott Wood

SACRAMENTO B 48 – Bay 0 Referee: Chris Tucker
Touch Judges: Rod Chance, Mike Villierme

Redwood 0 – BAY 35 Referee: Scott Wood
Touch Judges: Rod Chance, Mike Villierme


SF/GOLDEN GATE 38 – Old Blue 20 Referee: Richard Parker
Touch Judges: Dave Pope, John Pohlman
Fourth Official: David Williamson
Assessor: Dixon Smith

Golden Gate won their home super league quarterfinal and now travel to Long Beach to play against Belmont Shore on June 2.


Santa Clara University 27 – Alumni 27 Referee: John Coppinger
There was a fair-sized Alumni presence at Bellomy Field on the Mission Campus in Santa Clara on Saturday as SCUTS (Santa Clara University Touring Side*) faced off against the SCUTS Alumni; however, it was a much younger than usual SCUTS Alumni group that actually laced up the boots and took to the field against Coach Chris Kron's club.

For some reason, the SCU administration limits the SCUTS to 8 matches a year, a paltry number that certainly limits the chance for substantial improvement. (*There are also no tours, rendering the SCUTS name a historical note at this point in time.)

Hopefully, the new coaching regime of Chris Kron and Scott Rees, a team commitment to the playing of the game (and not just the social side of things), and a renewed Alumni effort at supporting the SCUTS led by Ross Malinowsky (former PAXO Grizzly) and Rich Kelly (former Mission RFC Grizzly and Peninsula Green Coach) will persuade the administration to abandon this shortsighted policy.

In years past, the tradition was for the Alumni match to be played the night after the SCUTS end-of-year party, which generally gave the Alumni a distinct advantage. Times have changed. This year, the arriving alumni found SCUTS running drills. Coach Kron announced his squad's intention to treat the match as a full-on and at pace match and, until the end, the match was played at pace and with an intensity that has generally been lacking in the 30 years that I have been an Alumni participant in the fixture.

Also, I believe, this is the first time that anyone asked the NCRFU RRS to appoint a referee to the fixture. Thankfully, Bruce appointed me (SCU Class of 77). Since I was appointed by the RRS, I felt I could not allow one of the major traditions of the Alumni match to continue, that is that the Alumni could not be penalized for anything short of murder. The only concession I made to the Alumni was to allow them to play with the wind the entire match, which the sides agreed would be divided into 4-twenty minute periods.

Despite the Alumni generally being mostly recent grads, the first try was scored by my undergraduate teammate and classmate, Terry Ryan (former Mission player and current Palo Alto Old Boy), who added the conversion with a dropkick from the touch line. Terry would add two more conversions.

Generally the match was pretty tight, although the SCUTS controlled the ball for long periods while the Alumni scrambled to play defense and had the occasional breakout.

After three periods, the score was 27-22 in favor of the Alumni. B/c of the need to get the Women's game underway, the fourth period was shortened to 10 minutes. I know we started with 15 alumni at the kickoff b/c I counted the Alumni players on the pitch at the request of the SCUTS' captain, who remembered that the Alumni often resort to 16, 17, or, occasionally, 18 players in the later stages of tight matches.

Thirty seconds into the last period, there was a knock-on. When we set the scrum, the Alumni hooker was missing. Apparently, he just decided he was done and departed shortly after kick off without so much as "an excuse me." Without a volunteer to step in at hooker (which is so typical), I handed my referee's shirt, whistle, and watch to Rick Kelly, as Rich Anderson (Class of 82, current Pelican, and mere spectator in this match) declined the whistle not wanting to interfere with his mental preparation for his pending Canada exchange (either that, or not wanting to mess up his comb-over).

A couple of tackles, one carry of the ball, 5 or 6 rucks and a few scrums quickly reminded me why some of us eventually take up the whistle.

The Alumni generally controlled the ball for the remaining nine minutes and moved into the SCUTS 22 when the ball was spilled by the Alumni in a tackle with no time left. Referee Kelly allowed advantage and SCUTS raced down the field with a two on one break. As the Alumni fullback made the tackle, the SCUTS ball carrier made a desperate pass to the trailing SCUT (the singular of SCUTS) only to have the ball float behind the receiver where it fell into the hands of Referee Kelly, who, defying the Laws of the Game (and nature) took the pass, darted towards the Alumni try line, and deftly played the ball to the trailing SCUT, who scored between the post to level the score at 27-27. In another blatant disregard for the Laws, Referee Kelly blew the whistle for full-time without allowing the SCUTS' attempt at the conversion. Oddly enough, no one seemed annoyed and attentions soon turned to post-match matters, including a tribute to Fr. Richard Coz, S.J., the long-time faculty proctor/confessor/moderator/advocate of SCUTS over the decades.

Larry Freitas, Pelican and Class of 76, played and also referred the Women's game. The Women were coached by Pelican Chris Fisher. Among the distinguished SCUTS Alumni present on the day was former NCRFU President/O Club Commissioner Mike Strain, who didn't play b/c he had to attend to his daughter, who likes cookies.

All in all, a good day.

Santa Clara University women 15 – ALUMNAE 19 Referee: Larry Freitas
The women's alumni-varsity match at Santa Clara University proved to be quite entertaining, with San Francisco Women Fog's Bridget Madell ('03) leading the Alumnae to a 19 to 15 victory with her swerving running, passing, and kicking skills.

Coming off a victory over the Stanford B side a month earlier, the Mission Campus side proved their mettle by scoring three unconverted tries in the second half of a fifty minute match, running out of time as they had the tiring Alumnae on their back foot for the last ten minutes.

There were some long passages of open play in this game, and very few penalties. With a mostly freshman squad, Santa Clara Women should improve next year, but they do lack size and numbers. This was the initial Chris Fisher Kiwi Cup Match, and most of the Alumnae were made up of players from the '02 and '03 squads. Some of the guys stuck around to watch after the men's alumni-varsity match.

UC Santa Cruz – Alumni
No referee available (insert sad-faced icon here)


Last week these pages reported that the Mission RFC would not be defending their USA Rugby D3 championship next month, that they had lost to Louisville.

This information was gained from USARugby.org Sunday night and was double-checked on Monday.

It was also wrong: they defeated Louisville May 13. Mission will be joining Hayward and the Olympic Club in San Diego June 9 to contend for titles.

If SF/GG can beat Belmont Shore on June 2, four of the twelve teams playing for crowns in San Diego would be from NorCal!


May 18-19
National High School Championships
Murray, UT (near Salt Lake City)
Report by Aruna Ranaweera:

NCRRS representatives Pete Smith and I flew into Salt Lake City on Thursday night where we were welcomed by our Pacific Coast referee colleagues, Jon Moore and the Ormsbys, Mark and Andrew. We were later joined by SoCal colleagues Dana Teagarden, Jason Harper, and Josh Tameifuna, and head referee Davey Ardrey from Nebraska, amongst others.

Tournament matches on Friday were played as 22.5 minute halves, which was a good idea in the high altitude and 90F degree sun. The tournament was played on two full-size rugby fields with a covered grandstand, electronic scoreboard, and mountain backdrop.

The level of play was pretty impressive: these high school rugby players are very well-coached: the tackle/ruck transitions were particularly smooth with quick ball availability and players on their feet. Several college and national coaches were seen on the sideline, scouting talent no doubt.

Josh Tameifuna provided very useful coaching advice to all the referees.

Each match played on Saturday (25-minute halves except the final which was 35 min halves) determined a national seed, from 1 to 16. I refereed the 3rd/4th place match, an intense contest in which Penn HS from Indiana beat Kansas City Jr Blues 22-19 in Overtime.

In the championship final refereed by Davey Ardrey in front of over 5000 people, Salt Lake's Highland HS defeated defending champions Sacramento's Jesuit HS 24-8, after leading 10-5 at half. The Highland team was quite impressive, with a decidedly Kiwi/Polynesian look and haka to boot.

I understand there's a Disney movie that'll be released about Highland sometime this summer called "Forever Strong". Overall, this was a fun, educational tournament to referee.


Thanks to Paul Berman for this report:

Pacific Coast Invitational Tournament, High School Girls Open Division
Steuber Family Rugby Field, Stanford University, Palo Alto, SAT-SUN 12-13 May 2007

SAT, 12 May 07

U-19 NorCal 1, 50 (8) – Hart (SoCal) 0 17:15, Field 3

U-19 NorCal 2, 3 – Fullerton (SoCal) 10 (2) 16:15, Field 3

U-19 NorCal 1, 24 (4) vs. Fullerton (SoCal) 0 10:20, Stadium, Field 1

U-19 NorCal 2, 15 (3) vs. Hart (SoCal) 0 08:50, Field 3

SUN, 13 May 07

1st Place Game U-19 NorCal 1, 17 (3) – Fullerton (SoCal) 0 13:30, Field 3

3rd Place Game U-19 NorCal 2, 12 (2) – Hart (SoCal)/U-19 NorCal 1 (Combined) 17 (3) 10:40, Stadium, Field 1
(Note: In the "true spirit" of rugby fellowship, all 5 tries scored by Nor-Cal players.)

U-19 Nor-Cal 1 3 3 0 0 91 0
U-19 Nor-Cal 2 3 1 0 2 30 27

Key: P - Played; W - Won; D - Drawn; L - Lost PF - Points For; PA - Points Against

U-19 Nor-Cal 1 & 2
Players 38 total:

22 Alameda Riptide RFC
Alex Perl, Allyson Santa Maria, Amy DeSmidt, Ashley Hom, Cassi Rayford, Danielle Bince, Flora Diamond, Katy Denton, Laura Baptista, Lynn Ensminger, Marlene McDonnell, Megan Basler, Natalie Avalos, Peliala Collins, Rachal Marra, Rachel Revey, Rebecca Pan, Rosalie Gordon, Sally Brownson, Teresa Ortiz, Tiare Salausa, Tirana Salausa

13 Mother Lode RFC
Aja Dabaghian, Alex Liebergot, Alexis Johnson, Alissa Jenkins, Beth Fasl, Gillian Chance, Jessica Davis, Jill Larson, Julie Larson, Justine Jonutz, Katelyn Ernst, Medina Noori, Taylor Harmon

4 Santa Rosa Lobos RFC
April Moran-Reza, Christina Trevino, Mariele Ponticiello, Selene Lugo

Tina Nesberg, Rod Chance, Paul Berman

Thank you for your dedication. Thank your Mother's for their understanding. Thank you for your commitment to the sport of Rugby Football Union.

CONGRATULATIONS to Sefesi Green, Commissioner, Nor-Cal High School Girls Rugby07 & Sacramento Amazons Principal Coach07 on your nuptials 12 May 07. You were with us in spirit. May the rugby gods always smile on you & the oval ball always bounce in your direction.

Go Nor-Cal Lassies!
Paul Berman
Alameda Riptide RFC Principal Coach07


People of a certain age with minds of a certain bent are celebrating the fortieth anniversary of the Summer of Love, which occurred in San Francisco in 1967.

Your writer had just turned into a teenager when this apparently spontaneous ‘event’ occurred. A continent away in Montgomery, Alabama, at the time, he remembers the summer of 1967 for one particular thing: the release of Sergeant Pepper, which he faithfully listened to in its entirety every morning before breakfast that summer.

But others recall that time in a different light.

Bryan Porter recently related to us at our April society meeting a particularly memorable game that he refereed at the polo field in Golden Gate Park in 1967. The Human Be-In was being held at the other end of the polo field.

The pitch was ‘invaded’ by a parachutist distributing LSD.

Joe Leisek has found photographic proof of the rugby game taking place that day, but alas, the referee is not to be seen:

Many of our readers came to the sport in the seventies or even the eighties, when rugby football carried a counter-cultural cachet. But have a look at the players in 1967, then go watch a game now, and you will see that we have come full circle.

At the Davis Under-17 Tournament:
Rod Chance, Scott Wood, Jake Rubin, Chris Tucker and Mike Villierme.


For the Senate
Pelicus Scriptoris