Tuesday, December 11, 2007




The Referee Development Committee of the NCRRS is pleased to announce the following promotions:

David Heath to C3
Dan Wilson to C3
Preston Gordon to C2

Congratulations! It is particularly pleasant to have some new birds in the flock.


Please send in the Saturdays you will be available to referee in January, bearing in mind that there may only be one or two games on Jan. 5.

We have no way of knowing who is available without you responding to this e-mail. IF YOU DO NOT RESPOND YOU WILL NOT BE ASSIGNED ANY GAMES – IT IS THAT SIMPLE.

There are tournaments with Sunday games the weekends of Jan 19 and 26.

We also need to know whether you can travel to a game. ‘Travel’ means more than 60-90 minutes each way from your home. Don’t worry: if you say you can travel every weekend, you won’t get remote games every weekend, but you will allow much-appreciated flexibility in the scheduling.

Here’s the suggested format to reply:

Jan 5 Yes/No Travel?

Jan 12 Yes/No Travel?

Jan 19 Yes/No Travel? Sunday?

Jan 26 Yes/No Travel? Sunday?

Thank you!


Now is the time to register for 2008. You need to renew your CIPP through USA Rugby and pay your NCRRS dues.

When you pay CIPP on the USA Rugby website, list your ‘team’ as the Northern California Rugby Referee Society. Print out the liability waiver, sign it, and mail it with your $10 annual dues to:

Jim Crenshaw
Delta Supply
1248 E. Oak Avenue, #D
Woodland, CA 95776



This was pretty cool – being able to watch the games live, for free, on the Internet.

The National Guard sponsored the competition and USA Rugby streamed the games through its website. This writer has been privileged to watch Mose Timoteo play rugby a number of times, including more than ten years ago in a military championship in North Carolina, but this was the first time he got to sneak a peek at his laptop in the office and watch another clever reverse pass or perfectly-timed feed.

To add to our satisfaction, we got to see the Pacific Coast win two games and re-claim the title, of which they’ve held the Grizzly’s share since its inception.

Congratulations to Coach Mike Saunders (a former Monterey rugger) and all the Grizzlies!


NEVADA 23 – Chico State 22 Referee: Max Marsden (RFU)

Where do you start ... I turned up to a game on a synthetic pitch with a covering of about an inch of snow hiding all but a few choice lines that had be groomed. The adjacent synthetic pitch (the football practice field) had been totally cleared of snow but apparently as the UNR football coach doesn't think much of the rugby game he'd made sure that our game pitch was still under a healthy layer of snow. That plus the -4 degrees C and howling wind didn't do any thing to spoil a great game. I thought I was walking into a friendly match but I was soon put right by the home captain who first words where "Ref I want you to know you're walking into a grudge match - I'll do my best to control the boys - but it is what it is". This warm welcome most certainly focused the mind in the cold.

The game was a great one - played with passion and big hits amongst what was for the most part a very well natured contest with little agro from either side. The forwards hit up well and the big Chico pack probably had the beating of their opposite numbers for the first half (or ‘period’ as it read on the score board!). The Chico possession allowed some dangerous runs from their backs and they went into half time winning by about 10. In the second half as it looked like Chico could easily close the game out, one moment of insanity which lead to a penalty try (without yellow card; IRB shock horror!) brought about a spirited come back from the UNR wolf pack team - lead impressively by their hard working scrum half and captain. In the dying seconds of the game UNR went over to score a final try and won the game 23-22.

As a guest to Nevada/Californian rugby I was hugely impressed by the spirit in which the game was played. There was great support for the match and both sides were gracious in victory and defeat.

It was a fantastic experience and one I'll remember for a long time back across the pond.

Also I had to come back on to referee the second team game as Phil injured himself running touch in the first game and Russ who stepped in - did the same thing in the second half of the second game. I was offered gloves to ref in and giggled at when I took my tracksuit off to referee the game (apparently referees don't have to wear shorts!!)

Seconds: Nevada – Chico State Referee: Phil Ulibarri

A cold, snowy and icy field met Chico State at Nevada-Reno Friday night, but British panel referee Max Marsden was up for the game as were both collegiate sides regardless of the treacherous conditions. "We'd never play this game in the UK," Marsden intimated, "but both sides want this grudge match to play on, so off we go."

First game touch judges Russ Wilkening and Phil Ulibarri (scheduled second game ref) both came up lame with hamstring injuries so Marsden was forced to call approximately 50 minutes of the second game as well. Ulibarri slipping on ice in goal during the first match and Wilkening chasing down a 50 meter try by Chico's Eric Heiden in the first twenty minutes of the second game. Marsden's ability to keep pace with the collegians is obviously attributed to his young age, trendy hair style (see photo), and practice outrunning snow bunnies at Lake Tahoe hot after the British physio's accent!

Chico State dominated most of the first game play with a powerful pack pushing UNR off the ball at a majority of the scrums, but Nevada kept it close with penalty kicks and eventually pulled ahead in the last quarter with some opportunistic breaks when a cold and frustrated Chico side failed to close out the full 80 for the win.

UC Davis – Vacaville Dogs Referee: Paul Berman
Touch Judge: Donal Walsh
No report received.

Reno – Sacramento Capitals MOVED TO JANUARY 12

Arroyo Grande 12 – SAN LUIS OBISPO 14 Referee: Pete Smith
Going into this game, I knew it was going to be a referee challenge not for the speed of the game, but for the temperament. Safe to say these teams have a mutual disliking for each other.

Arroyo Grande is 20 minutes south of San Luis Obispo, but they play in the NorCal league and SLO plays in the SoCal League. Read that as these two teams don’t even want to be in the same league as the other club. My hope was that we would have a high scoring game and my fear was that it was going to be the war by the shore.

Unfortunately my hopes were dashed and my fears realized as these two teams went after each other for all 80 minutes. I had to pull every management trick in my bag out for this one and still felt like this game was always one incident away from an all out brawl. The game was close at halftime with SLO in front 7-0 behind a try resulting from a charge down.

AG, as you can guess, never let up and continued to pressure SLO. SLO scored again on a break down and an overlap to put them ahead 14-0. AG’s pressure finally paid off with an unconverted try 14-5 and again with minutes remaining to pull it to 14-12. AG had a chance with a break by their winger down the far side, but SLO was able to track him down, find touch and that was that.

I lost track of the penalty count, my guess is that it was higher than the combined scores. It is tough to tell what kind of season either of these teams is going to have because the game was so choppy neither really had a chance to show what they can do other than tackle and get testy. I can’t remember a game where I spent more time talking to players/captains as that game. How the game didn’t erupt into more than boys being boys causing me to hand out more cards than Hallmark, I’m not sure.

Oddly enough, at the end, both teams were reasonably happy. They both knew what this game was going to look like and in the end, no injuries, no cards and no fights. I will say that having refereed both of these teams in the past, this game is not typical and not representative of the type of game they are both capable of playing.

BARACUS 57 – Stanislaus 12 Referee: Bridget Tannian (New England)
Touch Judge: Anna McMahan
Videographer: Bruce Carter

Bridget Tannian was in town on business. We are nothing if not empathetic with referees who wish to pick up a game while on the road, having done our fair share of it over the years.

It was a glorious day on Treasure Island until the sprinklers came on. And of course they came on at 1 PM.

But – they play rugby in the rain, even when it’s coming up out of the ground, and so the match proceeded.

Baracus had a nice multiple-phase attack that usually eventually found one of the two guys who could outrun everyone else on the pitch, and there the tale was told.

Seconds: BARACUS 3 – Stanislaus 0 Referee: Anna McMahan
Videographer: Bruce Carter

This was an abbreviated game won on a penalty-kick drop-goal with no time remaining. The skeleton crew from Modesto were very good sports to allow the Baracus seconds a run.

DIABLO GAELS U23, 65 – San Jose State 5 Referee: Paul Bretz
Touch Judge: Eric Rauscher

DIABLO GAELS 53 – Fresno 7 Referee: Tony Redmond
Touch Judge: Eric Rauscher

Despite a very heavy pitch that reminded me of many grounds in Ireland, a better-drilled, more skilful and fitter Diablo Gaels team exerted pressure on Fresno from the start and continued all through the match. The only break came just before half-time where some defensive errors allowed Fresno to score beside the posts, but apart from that it was all one-way traffic.

Fresno’s cause wasn’t helped by the fact that they were short of competent front rows. The game was pretty easy to referee and the only real problem was a yellow card in the second half for the Gaels #6 for “careless use of the boot” on an opponent’s head – the card would have been red in a more serious game or if I had thought that there was malice in the action rather than incompetence.

The only other issue to report was some “help” from Paul Bretz, who had refereed the previous game and stayed to watch the first half... after the Gaels’ second try, Paul commented that my whistle could have been louder. My retort was that at my age, I am so happy if I can get there to award scores that occasionally my whistle tone suffers! Enjoyable all round…

Maritime Academy Alumni Game
STUDENTS – Alumni Referee: Randy Boose
Evaluator: Sam Reagle

Quoting Charles Dickens, "It was the best of times; it was the worst of times". Taking into account nobody was hurt more then usual cramping everybody came out ok. It was also a blast on my end; I definitely look forward to doing this again.

(Editor’s Note: This was Randy’s first match, and he never played the game. We are happy to read that his trepidation was mastered!)

UC SANTA CRUZ women 57 – Fortuna HS SoCal 11 Referee: Rob Hendrickson
Fortuna High School girls drove down to Santa Cruz for a campus tour and friendly against the Slug women minus their seniors. As this is still pre season for the Slugs, and soccer had not yet released their lower pitch, the match was played on the upper field opposite the pool which was hosting a regional youth swim tournament.

Notwithstanding the score, the Fortuna girls played hard and well, consistently exhibiting the best open field tackling this ref has ever observed in HS girls play. The Slugs got a good run and a chance to hone their kick-and-chase game.

Marin – USF Canceled


All NCRRS referees need to sign and submit the NCRFU Safety Protocol prior to the beginning of the season, in order to receive appointments.

Representatives of all of our teams agree to abide by its provisions by signing it, as do we.

The protocol may be found on our website:


This needs to be done each year by every referee.

The form can be signed electronically if you have the software to do this and forwarded via e-mail, or you will need to print and sign the last (third) page, then mail it to:

Bruce Carter
18474 Deertrack Place
Salinas, CA 93908

Thank you.

New England Reunion
Anna McMahan and Bridget Tannian renew their acquaintance from Boston days on Treasure Island, where Anna played for Beantown until Bridget’s whistle any number of times.


For the Senate
Pelicus Scriptoris