Tuesday, January 30, 2007




It gives us great pleasure to announce two referees who are moving on up:

Ray Schwartz is now a C2.

Paul Smith is now a C3.

Congratulations! These guys are buying!


A dinner will be held at Hoppy Brewing in Sacramento on Saturday, February 3, in conjunction with the Sacramento Valley High School Kick-Off Tournament.

All society members and their dates are invited.

We will be hosting a number of visiting referees, including four of our friends from Alberta.

The dinner last year ran about $26 a person. Arrive early for happy hour, at seven or so to be seated for the meal. And let Ray Schwartz know if you will be attending:


Murray Felstead of the East Midlands has handled untold hundreds of telephone calls every week during the nine-month-long RRU season in his capacity as re-assignments officer. Many of us have been at Touchdowns during the rugby year and can attest that his home can take on the ambience of the trading pits at the New York Stock Exchange.

Due to pressure of work I have been forced to consider my future within the Society and in particular my position as Re-Appointments Secretary and also Chair of Promotions & Public Relations. Ever increasing demands from my Principals, for whom I act as an Agent, has forced me to reluctantly tender my resignations for both offices to the Executive Committee with effect from Monday Jan 29th 2007. I will, for the foreseeable future however, continue to act as Appointments Manager for the Central Federation and also undertake my Training role for the RFU and my Coaching role on the National Panel of Officials. Over the past 20+ years, as an Officer of the Society, I have enjoyed the privilege of working with you all on a personal contact basis, and in addition, my role as Chair of P & PR has hopefully helped to put our dinner back to a level where it rightfully belongs? I intend to continue as an active member of the Society albeit from the back of the room rather than the front, and hopefully this will give me more time to enjoy more of your company at monthly meetings than I am able to do at this time?


SFGG – SL Sacramento Lions CANCELED
Golden Gate has realized that the necessity of providing five front-row players for three men’s sides every Saturday (SL, D1 firsts and seconds) is not feasible. They will not be playing their SL pre-season schedule, with the exception of the OMBAC match on February 24.

Seahawks 19 (3) – SF/GOLDEN GATE 32 (5) Referee: Bruce Carter
The forecast all week called for rain in the South Bay on Saturday. The Pelicanmobile was gassed and loaded up with Alternate Kit C, Rainy Days and/or Wind, with the special umbrella rig to protect the new hard-disc video gear.

So what was that noise that interfered with sleep on Friday night but rain on the roof? It was all of a normal January’s precipitation in a matter of hours.

The blessed rain brought an end to two-plus weeks of morning frost on the fields of the Salinas Valley; it was fifty-degree water, actuating the photosynthetic cycle that feeds us all.

But what should greet our windshield on the drive up 101 but the blue skies of Silicon Valley, once again having re-invented itself and leading the world in venture capital and innovation?

Blue skies indeed, reflected in the deep puddles of the Watson Bowl parking lot, a promising reflection of a Rugby Day yet to come.

It was sunny and breezy for three games.

The boys were gathered at nine AM for the early Silicon Valley – Tri-Valley high school pre-season match, coaches putting them through paces. Old friends all, those coaches: Paul Bretz and Giles Wilson of Tri-Valley, Norm Boccone and Al Hogue of Silicon Valley.

Paul and Giles need to introduction in these pages. Norm will be known as the habitually-barefoot lock of recent Seahawk vintage.

Al Hogue is an old teammate, from the glory years when the Monterey Bay Rebels made the first division playoffs and won a dozen tournaments in two years. Al is a West Point graduate, now working in software and raising a family.

Chris Fisher refereed this game and did everything a referee could do to allow some brand-new front rows to participate in real scrums.

The referee was enjoying his first D1 game since being ‘demoted’ to B3, at his own insistence. The B1 that he’d carried almost fifteen years was too heavy a burden for aging legs, and he felt very comfortable having gracefully relinquished one of the principle glories of his youth.

Golden Gate scored in the first minute when everyone thought a chip and chase into the in-goal was too heavily weighted and would certainly carry dead. The ref stopped at the try line and the pursuing ‘Hawks stopped infield. But Toshi Paloma didn’t stop and the bouncing ball sat up nicely for a try inches from the dead-ball line.

The Seahawks answered with a try about ten minutes later, converted by scrumhalf James Hinkin for a 7 – 5 lead, the last they would enjoy.

Golden Gate had the run of play, especially in the second half when two Seahawk sin-bins dovetailed precisely and they had to play short for twenty minutes.

Of note, Mose Timoteo came on to play scrumhalf in the second half. This was apparently his first appearance since having ACL surgery as a result of an injury in Hayward’s CR1 game in April. That man can really energize a scrum, skillfully directing players with alacrity. Mose tested the knee further, also playing in the seconds, with no visible ill effects.

Seconds: Seahawks 10 – SF/GOLDEN GATE 50+ Referee: Giles Wilson
Both sides fielded a number of players in their second game of the day.
Where have all the "club men" gone to?

[Editor’s Note: At least one good ‘club man’ suited up: Tory Golino of the Seahawks is unable to attend training these days but is happy to put on the boots and help the seconds!]

SFGG scored many times in the first half for a substantial lead. SJ came back with a couple of well worked moves in the second half before SFGG added more of their own.

Final SFGG 50+ SJ 10 (sorry, game card at home)

Just as the game ended, the wet stuff reappeared. The sideline pizza threatened to get soggy if not eaten immediately, which proved not to be a problem at all.

HAYWARD 31 (5) – Olympic Club 27 (4) Referee: Joe Leisek
Hayward Adult School, Hayward
Touch Judges: Don Pattalock, Will Phillips (Olympic Club)/Isaac Caselis (Hayward-PelicanRefs)

A dramatic, intense affair that was not decided until moments before full-time. The Olympic Club, 3-0 in league play, provided many opportunities for the hosts in the first half. One example: An O-Club player, maybe a meter or two from his own goal line, knocks on. However, he does not really knock on so much as he launches on, very near an appreciative Hayward player who scoops up the ball and streaks into in-goal for a try. It was this sort of thing for much of the first half. Hayward, with efficiency and creativity, made them pay with four tries. O-Club did score two of their own, which gave them something to take into their halftime talk with Coach Ray Lehner, down 10-26.

There was a dramatic difference in the second half. The O-Club owned about 38 minutes of play. They retained possession expertly, and their forwards, especially captain Andrew Armstrong, Chris Clever, and Tony Petruzella, created many opportunities for their speedy backline. As much as Hayward played offense in the first half, they played defense in the second half. The O-Club's center, #13, was frequently used to crash the ball into Hayward's hard-as-nails defense. (This guy must have been hurting on Sunday.)

As the visitors attacked relentlessly and efficiently, Hayward earned three yellow cards. Two were for excessive offside and another for a dangerous tackle. From about the six minute mark to about 37 minutes gone, Hayward played with 14 players.

With this advantage and through two converted tries and a penalty goal, the visitors stormed back to take a 27-26 lead with only moments to play. However, Hayward turned it back on and scored one last try with about two minutes remaining. The O-Club just could not break through again, though they made a desperate, thrilling effort.

Many thanks to Don, Will, and Isaac for their TJ-ing help.

Hayward 31
Tries: 5
Conversions: 3

Olympic Club 27
Tries: 4
Conversions: 2
Penalty goals: 1

Seconds: HAYWARD 48 (8) – Olympic Club 0 Referee: Don Pattalock
Touch Judges: Joe Leisek, Isaac Caselis
Assessor: Bryan Porter

A wonderful game is worth the travel! 13 hours and 480 miles were not wasted. This was a more contested match than the score would suggest. Both sides played some enterprising rugby, with good fast rucks and powerful mauls. Hayward was able to turn their pressure into points, while O Club was unable to capitalize on good pressure. Several scrums were turned over by each team and the lineouts were strongly contested. Big thanks to Joe Leisek for running touch and providing constructive comments at halftime. Thank you to Bryan Porter for the attention and discussions.

DIABLO GAELS 27 – San Mateo 24 Referee: Pete Smith
Touch Judges: Jackie Finck, Tammy Cowan
Due to a scheduling conflict, my rugby day started at 9AM at Stanford with the women’s B side game against arch rival Cal. I don’t know if it was the rainy weather, the early start or the fact that they are playing their sworn enemies, but the women played this game as if ere the last game of the rest of their lives. At least two other spectators commented on the physicality of this game.

The first 35 minutes were scoreless and did not even remotely reflect the pace and flair that this game was played with throughout. Stanford finally broke through with a long, but contested try and followed it up with another almost directly from the kick off to take a 10-0 half time lead.

Stanford put in a ‘new’ player in the backline that completely changed the game with her speed. She scored breakaways the first two times she touched the ball and was not only the fastest player on the field, maybe the fastest women’s rugby player I have ever seen (and I have reffed many top women’s games).

Three minutes into the second half Stanford are cruising at 24-0, but for some reason the new speedster was moved to flyhalf and was neutralized for the next 25 minutes. During that time Cal continued to work hard and managed two tries bringing the score to 24-12. Stanford struck again and pulled back out to a 31-12 lead followed by yet another blazing run by the new speedster to ice the game at 38-12. I don’t know who this ‘new’ player is, but assuming she keeps playing-EVERYONE will know who she is very soon-WOW! I must commend Cal for playing not only with a ton of heart, but short throughout most of the game. Despite being offered players from Stanford (who had the better part of a third side milling around) to make up their numbers, they refused-“Cal are too proud to take any help or players from us”.

It was a quick dry off from the rain and off to Diablo Valley College for what I will confidently state was the game of the day played anywhere in the US. I realized Diablo started off 1-2 in league and San Mateo were undefeated, but this year’s NorCal Div 1 can be truly be won by any of the top five teams. It is almost impossible to count anyone out and on any given Saturday, any team can win.

This was as wide open a game as I have seen in years with BOTH teams spinning the ball wide and showing the flair that put them among the best teams in the country.

San Mateo struck first with a try, 7-0. Diablo answered back with a beauty of their own, 7-5. San Mateo tacked on another, 14-5. Diablo answered yet again 14-10. San Mateo were awarded a penalty try to put them up 21-10 and tacked on another penalty kick to make it 24-10 going into the break.

As they say it was the tale of two halves and Diablo, not typically known as a second half team, took it San Mateo for the second half. It wouldn’t be a fair statement to say that Diablo dominated San Mateo as the teams played about as evenly as they did in the first half, except Diablo managed two converted tries to tie the game at 24 with 13 minutes left and a San Mateo player in the bin.

The teams played a frantic pace the entire second half with the decider a long penalty kick with 8 minutes left to put Diablo ahead 27-24. San Mateo had several chances to pull this one out including penalties within kickable distance that were not taken to tie the game and they were stopped just 3 meters short of the goal line at full time.

Seconds: Diablo Gaels 17 (3) – SAN MATEO 41 (7) Referee: Scott Wood
Location: Diablo Valley College, Pleasant Hill, CA
Weather: Cold and wet (how is this supposed to be nearing a drought?)
Field conditions: Well marked, short posts, good turf

I left Sacramento with the A-Side TJs (S.O. and neophyte Jackie Finck) under sunny, albeit cool, skies. Driving across the Sacramento Valley we could see the overcast conditions covering the Bay Area. We arrived at DVC to find track and field, volleyball, baseball, and rugby events occurring at the same venue. Rob Hendrickson was being watched by Dave Williamson and Aruna Ranaweera as he refereed Lamo U23 v USF. He looked like he was enjoying the game.

Pete Smith refereed the A-side match between Diablo and San Mateo with S.O. and Jackie running touch. An interesting match that literally came down to the final seconds, but that's Pete's story to tell.

For the B-side match, San Mateo primarily consisted of players featured in the A-side match whereas Diablo had a mix of B-side players including U23s that participated in the USF match. Both teams played hard in the first half. San Mateo opened the scoring by being awarded a penalty try due to a dangerous tackle. Possession changed numerous times as both teams employed multi-phase tactics. It was refreshing to have a game where the players, for the most part, maintained positive discipline at the breakdowns. San Mateo entered the half leading 19-10. The Gaels appeared to be firing off different cylinders due to a lack of familiarity with each other.

The second half opened with San Mateo on the attack. A dangerous tackle by Diablo resulted in a yellow card and a stand-off for several minutes (?) as the teams stared each other down. A brief conference with the captains got everybody agreed that playing rugby was the order of the day, not "Who wants to be a soccer hooligan?"

Diablo scored a converted try and put up a concerted defense at breakdowns. San Mateo was able to use its intra-team familiarity to create overlaps and quick, long passes to score four second-half tries to finish the match 41-17. Thanks to both San Mateo and Diablo for a good match and great discipline and the captains, Nase Vaka and Mike Chequer, for their leadership.

Baracus 11 (1) – SACRAMENTO 40 (6) Referee: Sam Reagle
Evaluator: Mike Malone
Pitch: Polo Grounds, Golden Gate Park, SF
Weather: Typical

In some ways, this game was a lot closer than the score indicates. Baracus had a great attitude all day and tried to learn from each mistake, but their tackling lacked consistency while Sacramento looked closer to mid-season form. On the other hand, Sacramento wasted one scoring opportunity by splitting the Baracus back line before downing the ball one meter short of the goal line and a couple of other scoring opportunities due to poor ball handling.

In the first half, both teams played pretty evenly with Baracus getting some lucky breaks when they appeared to be in trouble. At the 35 minute mark with the visitors up 14-3, A Sacramento player was binned for a repeated infringement. Baracus converted the penalty kick to end the half down only 14-6.

In the second half, Baracus scored an unconverted try while Sacramento was still shorthanded to bring it to 14-11 and the game was on. It stayed this way for about 15 minutes before fitness seemed to favor Sacramento as they scored 4 unanswered tries in the last 20 minutes for a final score of 40-11.

Thanks Mike for investing a Saturday on my behalf. At least it was mostly dry.

Seconds: BA Baracus 25 (5) – SACRAMENTO 32 (6) Referee: Mike Gadoua
At the historical Polo Fields in Golden Gate Park, SF, it was an overcast, chilly day at the 2:30pm kick off. With a good number of the players worn out from playing in the A side match, the teams were pretty even. Sacto led at the half 17 to 10 and both teams scored 15 points in the second half. It appeared that BA was coming on strong in the last few minutes of the match and a converted try would have tied the match. However, mixed with the veterans were new players and a penalty for failure to release ended BA’s final minute drive.

Arroyo Grande 5 – FRESNO 62 (9) Referee: Sandy Robertson
Arroyo Grande kept the game within reach through the first half which ended 17-5. However in the 2nd half Fresno's speed and ability to create turnover ball allowed them to quickly pull away, as they scored 7 additional tries.

VACAVILLE 43 (7) – Mendocino 3 Referee: JC Van Staden
Evaluator: Kat Todd-Schwartz

Game started in a very ordinary fashion. Both teams tried to move the ball through the hands, with rucks and mulls done according to the book. Vacaville opened the scoreboard with a unconverted try after playing advantage on a dangerous tackle just 10 yards short of the goal line. Mendo hit right back with a 3 pointer, which was also their last. Vacaville consolidated and overpowered the rest of the game with 7 total tries.

Shasta 5 – HUMBOLDT 27 (5) Referee: Ray Schwartz
Foothill High, Palo Cedro
TJ: Johnny Death, and others

Cool, somewhat overcast, and back in Palo Cedro for the 2nd time in 8 weeks. Shasta had numbers ready; the Old Growth traveled with only 17. There would be no extra 20 minutes for the rookies... Hard hitting action right from the start, Humboldt showed more skill and grit, constantly winning possession at the tackle/ruck. Their first try, by scrum half Justin Poirer, was remarkably awarded as he remarkably went under a driving maul, just an inch off the grass, to dot down atop the try line. Former Collegiate Pelican Mike Nattkemper always looked dangerous from fullback, but Shasta covered him, and most every other foray Humboldt would adventure on. The match was close hand to hand combat for a most of the first half.

Later in the half, former Old Growth scrum half, Aaron Stack, now moved to loosehead, pushed up the left (crowd) side on a brilliant flyhack and chase, leading to a try, one meter in from the corner. Clearly the try of the day! As Shasta approached midfield for the restart I realized the half wasn't as close as it had seemed, as Shasta had never played inside the Old Growth 50.

With 6 minutes to go, I noted an injured player at a tackle, but play moved on. A stoppage quickly came, and I went back to speak with Andrew Mittry, Andeas' son, playing wing for Shasta. He was erratic and disoriented; I thought he might be concussed, but he explained he had a finger gouge into the back of his left eye. He insisted he could play on, but when I asked him to please take a blood bin with the half soon approaching, he thanked me for talking a bit of sense into the moment.

Minutes later, Shasta finally began to put a drive together. They probed right and left of the posts, and began a driving maul back just to the right. As it slowed, the maul became stagnant, it slide sideways, it lurched... and all just 4 or so meters out. I was somewhat surprised to see several big Shasta forwards not joining the shove. The whistle came, the half ended.

The 2nd half was played much closer, with a seemingly endless number of scrums from knock ons and forward passes. Winger Nick Ray scored a brilliant and hard earned try for the home team. Captain Jeremy Drakeford and his Old Growth enjoyed the win. The sun was bright at the end.

The sides and fans retired to Shasta Captain Brian Peterson's home for Tri-Tip and Bud Light, and Humboldt proceeded to bust out their extensive song catalog. I realized it was time to start heading home once Dave Ellis started singing about English School Boys....

EAST PALO ALTO over Monterey by forfeit.

Stanislaus 20 – RENO 26 Referee: Chris Busch

Mission – Petaluma Referee: John Coppinger
The City of Palo Alto, apparently afraid of damage to its fields after the tremendous rains of this month, closed its fields and the match was cancelled. I ran touch for Rich and Dave at Stanford.

No trys, no conversions, and no points.

No trys, no conversions, and no points.

City of Palo Alto: No balls.

MARIN 17 (2) – Fog 11 (1) Referee: Bjorn Stumer
This was hard fought and, at times, ill-tempered affair between a much improved San Francisco Fog team and a Marin side brimming with experience. By the first few minutes of the match, it became clear to this referee that these were two teams with a score to settle. A number of penalties awarded and some verbal warning brought both teams' intensity under control though, and a great rugby match was at hand.

This was a percussive style event, with much rucking, and quite a bit of effective mauling. Both sides scored well deserved tries, and three penalties went across the bars. The FOG seemed the better and more determined team throughout, but a run alongside the touchline by Marin in the last minutes of the match resulted in a converted try that gave them the victory. Final score Marin 17 - Fog 11.

Although bitterly disappointed by the final result, the Fog showed up in numbers for the third half at the Mayflower Pub in San Rafael, and provided all with their customary display of flair, song, and good cheer.

CALIFORNIA 57 (9) – UC Davis 0 Referee: Jim Crenshaw
Both teams played some great rugby in the first half with Cal scoring a converted try in the 13th minute and an unconverted try in the 34th minute to make the score 12 to 0 at halftime.

The second half was all Cal as they scored 5 converted and 2 unconverted tries while holding Davis scoreless.

Seconds: CALIFORNIA 101 – UC Davis 0 Referee: Joe Androvich

STANFORD 18 (3) – Chico State 17 (2) Referee: Rich Anderson
Touch Judges: Dave Pope, John Coppinger
Evaluator: Dixon Smith

Flanked by two of the best Touch Judges around (John Coppinger and Dave Pope-welcome back, Dave), at an ideal College Rugby setting (the Stanford pitch has got to be hard to beat), I settled in for fun afternoon watching Stanford and Chico State run around the field.

The two teams did not disappoint with their enthusiasm and effort. Chico seemed to want to crash their forwards and set up their large outside center. This strategy worked early as Chico took a 10-5 halftime lead. Stanford's box kicks to the deep backs for Chico gave them edges in field position as the match wore on. Chico squandered two excellent opportunities deep in Stanford territory but held a 2 point lead late in the match, until they surrendered a late penalty, which was converted.

3 tries
0 conversions
1 PK

Chico State
2 tries
2 conversions
1 PK

Seconds: Stanford 0 – CHICO STATE 32 (6) Referee: David Pope
After a very close and hard fought 1st side game won by Stanford, the Chico 2's were too strong for Stanford. The game was very well played (at least until the teams tired in the second half) with lots of big hitting. Chico scored three tries in each half, converting only the first try of the game.

Nevada 10 (2) – ST. MARY’S 65 (9) Referee: John Pohlman
University of Nevada Reno 10 St. Mary's 65
Touch Judges Dylan Gill & Bruce Anderson
Eileen and I started a ski vacation in South Lake Tahoe with the drive to Reno. St. Mary's and UNR were playing a division one league game. What was interesting beside the beautiful drive was how nice the roads are in Nevada. You certainly do not need a sign saying entering Nevada. We were impressed with the campus and the amount of new construction.

The temperature was around 50 at kick-off. The game started at 2:00pm on the campus artificial turf field.

St. Mary's has played a strong preseason schedule, and it showed. Their forwards controlled scrums and most possession. Their backs finished the score. Center Blake scored the first of his two trys at three minutes, followed at another by winger Ryan Martens.

Most of the first half was strong forward play by St. Mary's turning into long runs for trys by the fast, big St. Mary's backs.

Half time score UNR 0 St. Mary's 41.

The second half slowed with a few substitutions and the referee needing to slow the game down due to a few marginal infractions behind the ball. UNR continued to scrap. They gained a lot more ball lead by scrum half Carl Zmaila. UNR scored twice in the last ten minutes to get on the scoreboard.
Final UNR 10-2 trys, St. Mary's 65 9 trys.

Seconds: Nevada 0 – ST. MARY’S 32 Referee: Dylan Gill
St Mary’s 2nd side came out on top in this match by taking advantage of some poor tackling by Nevada. St Mary’s showed strong pursuit lines and shut down Nevada’s offence. St Mary’s owned the scrums while Nevada dominated the lineouts. The Nevada side was lacking in fitness and cohesiveness; however, what the teams did not lack was a desire for extremely physical rugby. St Mary’s 32 Nevada 0

Cal Maritime – SFGG U23 CANCELED

Santa Clara 14 – UC SANTA CRUZ 18 Referee: Bryant Byrnes
A fast, furious match, contested to the end. And a pleasure to officiate; my compliments to both teams and their coaches. After the off sides line was agreed to, the second half saw an extraordinary amount of multi phase play-I lost count of one sequence after about 11.

The more experienced Slugs-who apparently won big last year-scored first 8 minutes in, but were thereafter stymied by Bronco hard tackling; it was 5-0 at half. The second half was even better stuff; great pace, less penalties, more points.

Seconds: SANTA CLARA 25 – UC Santa Cruz 9 Ref: Byrnes
A lot of freshmen and a lot of fun.

San Jose State 14 (2) – SANTA ROSA JC (5) 29 Referee: Larry Freitas
Game played at San Jose State's soccer team's training pitch, which was in excellent shape. Santa Rosa JC started the match with a few quick tries, as the Spartans had trouble keeping up with the pace of Santa Rosa's back line, directed from fly half by Anton Ginella, and the forward drives of their pack, allowing for quick rucking and passing. Some sloppy play followed after the first three Santa Rosa tries, with offside infringements, mostly by State players, slowing down the match. Eventually five first half tries, two of which were converted, gave Santa Rosa its points for the afternoon. Late in the half, a backline pass was intercepted by a State wing, and returned some sixty meters for a converted try.

Unfortunately, a few minutes later, Santa Rosa scored from a charged-down kick in State's quarter, resulting from a caught Santa Rosa cross kick that should have been marked by the State fullback. Inexperience hurt on that occasion, and a possibility for State to get back into the game went begging.

In the second half, State managed to keep Santa Rosa off the scoreboard, and eventually the Spartans added another try from a set scrum near the opposition goal. Jed Quiamboa took his halfback's pass and sliced through a gap to score. Santa Rosa threatened a number of times in the second half, but some handling errors and better State tackling kept Santa Rosa from scoring.

San Jose State has improved its game from last year, especially in the backline play, but they have some new players who still need to keep in mind the offside rules, as I penalized their forwards on a number of rucks for either killing the ball or being on the wrong side on the ground and not allowing release of ball.

LAMORINDA U23 71 (13) – U of San Francisco 0 Referee: Rob Hendrickson
Referee Coach: David Williamson
Saturday morning's 11:00 game at the Gael's home field of DVC's soccer pitch was the start of a great day of rugby. Notwithstanding the rain the night before, the pitch was well marked and firm underfoot, and the weather was perfect.

There was no score for the first 20 minutes before the Gaels settled down and scored 5 tries in the first half and went on to score 8 in the second. Most of the game was better contested than the score would otherwise indicate, with USF getting within the 5 meter line on several occasions but not being able to break the goal line.

The U23 Gaels are going to be a dominating team in their division this year.

Humboldt State women 12 – CHICO STATE 45 Referee: Mike King
The match was played on an excellent surface of the soccer field at Humboldt State in Arcata. The first side match started at 11:00 a.m. with both teams raring to go. Although there was a noticeable size differential in favor of Chico State, the Humboldt women gave no quarter in the loose and actually were winning some of the opposition scrums by the half. It was a closely contested first half, leading to a 12-12 draw, on 2 trys and 1 conversion each.

The second half started as fiercely, but the size and experience of the Chico State pack began to take its toll. They kept the ball tight and pounded ahead on second phase. After awhile, the Humboldt players were drawn in to defend, and the ball was moved out to the backfield with success. Penny Krakoff added 2 second session trys to her one in the first, and Carrie White converted 5 times out of 7 chances. The final of 45-12 does not do justice to the valiant efforts of the Humboldt State side. They showed a great deal of heart throughout the match, and with some more experience and better positioning, their performance will certainly improve.

Seconds: Humboldt State 0 – CHICO STATE 10 Ref: King
An abbreviated second side match led to a 10-0 victory for Chico. Again, the less experienced Humboldt 15 had their hands full with the larger and more knowledgeable Chico team. They held their own and threatened several times, including a long series of rucks and mauls that was only thwarted by excellent defense by Chico.

Cal women 5 (1) – STANFORD 60 (10) Referee: Lois Bukowski
Saturday morning dawned foggy and chilly; it was unclear what the weather would do…could it burn off, or were showers ahead? Turns out it was little of both as I drove through raindrops down to Palo Alto only to arrive to see blue sky patches peeking through the muted grayness.

Perhaps it was the same for Stanford women, then? Their first half was less than memorable against a clawing Cal defensive effort. Stanford was first on the board 5 minutes in with a crashing try by star center, Olivia Anglade. A backline movement and insertion by fullback Carolyn Myslewski 13 minutes later made it appear that the offense was off to the races. But the Bear defense buckled down and the Cardinal was not executing as effectively as those earlier phases suggested. Cal put some pressure on with about 10 minutes to go in the half and was rewarded after a series of pounding phases with scrumhalf Suzan Karayel diving over for the 5 pointer. Later, Stanford charged right back down into the Cal 22 and had what seemed like 2 imminent tries held up in goal with less than 5 minutes to go in the half.. Still the home side went into the second frame with a 14-5 lead.

Stanford had a wake up call at the half; they came out with blistering pace and that high octane offense fired it up, try, after try, after try. With 2 tries in the first 4 minutes; both were on long, hip swiveling, leave em in the dust, break it out of here and touch it down in the middle of the posts scores. Cal was no match for the defending National Champions; the lack of tackling and 80 minute game fitness was evident as this was both teams’ first league match.

Stanford looks to be a major force again in NorCal league as well as nationally. Their backline is full of fast, strong, athletic players, they have blistering speed in the back three and their forwards are strong workhorses looking to secure solid ball. Should be an entertaining year!

Seconds: Cal women 12 – STANFORD 38 Referee: Pete Smith
The report is above, with Pete’s report on the Diablo Gaels – San Mateo match.

Santa Clara women – UC Santa Cruz POSTPONED


GOLDEN GATE HS 15 – Jesuit 10 Referee: Paul Bretz
The main match was a tense affair from beginning to end with both teams relying on their defensive pattern to keep the other in check. SFGG won 15-10.

JV: Golden Gate HS – JESUIT Ref: Bretz
Jesuit JV defeated a keen SFGG JV side 3 tries to 1

SILICON VALLEY HS 19 – Tri-Valley 0 Referee: Chris Fisher
Videographer: Bruce Carter

LIVE OAK HS 31 – Los Altos 7 Referee: Paul Smith
1st HS game of the season for me. Started off a fun game. I was looking forward to seeing Bart Neilson, an old teammate from our SJ State, and Seahawks days together. What 2nd row has not bonded with his props :-).

I was running a bit late and showed up 5 minutes before the scheduled match, so no time to visit. Just enough time to cover a boot check, meet with the front row players to cover the new scrum engagements, and a short talk to my touch judges.

Both teams played well to start the game, with a good forward based game of tackles, rucks and an occasional maul thrown in. Unfortunately 5 minutes into the game we had a major injury, one of the Los Altos players went down with a leg injury, possibly a broken leg.
After the injured player was removed from the field (no medical personal on-site) play continued, with Live Oak largely controlling the possessions, especially with a very strong game from the loose forwards.

Overall too much east and west running by the back lines, both teams were guilty of that. Cries of "shepherding" were made from both teams, and I awarded several penalties. Halftime score was 20-5 for the home team.

After a very brief 5 minutes trying to catch my breath the teams swapped ends and play continued.

I forgot that HS matches can be teaching exercises. After penalizing for offside play several times it looked like both teams were largely clueless about what was happening. I called both teams together and explained the offside law: it actually helped!

The Los Altos team outscored Live Oak in the 2nd half, 12-10 for a final score of Live Oak 30 - Los Altos 17.

Talked with both coaches and players after the game, clarifying a couple of calls, explaining a couple of no-calls (sorry I didn't see that, and I saw that but the ball was not out of the scrum type of answers).

I enjoyed the debrief after the game. It is something I intend to continue doing.

A lost weekend of Jake Rubin:

Back From "GriffinLand"

This weekend I flew down to "GriffinLand" to celebrate the "baby shower" of my daughter's godfather, who at almost fifty-seven years of age is becoming a father for the first time. Could not resist going and the gastronomical aspects of my mini-tour will be set forth below.

Knowing that I would have most of Saturday (Rugby Day) open and available, I made contact with the powers that be in "GriffinLand" hoping to do some assessing in normally sunny climes. However, due to problems beyond my ken no specific assignment arrived.

After spending Friday evening celebrating with old men and enjoying a great steak, creamed spinach, onion rings, mashed potatoes, free flowing red wines from Napa and good New York Cheesecake at the famed Palm on Santa Monica Blvd, I had a great cigar and a good night's sleep.

Rugby Day started off with a decent workout at my hotel and then a bagel and lox at Solley's on Van Nuys. As I had no real assignment, I looked up some things on the "net" and noted that Santa Monica was playing a home match. Considering the vaunted history of this club, that they are being coached by Stuart Krohn (U.S. Maccabiah Coach) and that their current captain was the hooker for our most recent Maccabiah Team, it seemed like a decent team to watch. Also found out that their home field is at Malibu High. Rugby in Malibu. So off I went.

Little does one know that Malibu High is over twenty-five miles from Santa Monica, actually within short walking distance of Zuma Beach, for those who know their costal geography. However, the school is an expansive impressive facility, with a locker room many a college would be envious of, and where else can one park one's car and while organizing items realize that the attractive woman unloading the car next yours is Pamela Lee Anderson (whose child apparently attends Malibu High).

Anyway, off to the pitch. As I arrive I find Jason Harper (well known to many of us from various trips up here) getting ready to do the match (Santa Monica v. Huntington Beach) and we talk briefly. He was supposed to do a match in Santa Barbara and was switched at the last minute and will have to go back to Santa Barbara, with his lovely fiancée, as he cannot cancel that reservation. Then I see that the Grand Poohbah (John Curry) is in attendance. Apparently John had come off his mountain (he lives up in Big Bear) to assess the guy that Jason replaced and as John had just evaluated Jason the other week, he is just standing and watching and we talk a bit. Chris Caufield, the "young" C-3 who is set to do the second side match wants to be looked at and the Poohbah requests that I do this and I agreed, considering that this was what I wanted to do anyway.

At this point things however are changing, at least for GriffinLand. As most of you will know, it was raining rather hard in some parts of NorCal on Friday. Well, I guess I just brought it south with me. At about the same time as the match starts the rain comes in with some intensity and remains. This made the match a bit unusual as this sort of weather is relatively unknown in GriffinLand. That did not stop the Santa Monica team, who kept up constant pressure and superior speed at the appropriate times to win convincingly by a score of 27 to 8. However, late in the first half the athletic director for Malibu High showed up and a decision was made not to play the second side match, a decision that was not seriously objected to by those standing in the rain, perhaps with the exception of Mr. Caufield.

I felt sorry from Mr. Caufield, who was running touch for Jason and looked spot on in that capacity and I think I would have enjoyed watching him and writing a report on him. Being from NorCal, I had an umbrella with me and stayed adequately dry. The same cannot be said for many of locals. The Grand Poohbah went through at least four changes of clothing from the start of the match until its end.

As there was no second side match a number of folks went back to Santa Monica for the hosted party, which was at O'Brien's Pub, on Main Street in Santa Monica (one does have to stay pretty sober to get from the pitch to the party). I attended briefly, just to talk to one of the players, and to my great glee O'Brien's turned out to be the successor in interest (same location) to the famous "Oar House", where I had occasionally worked in my college days. A good place for rugby players to commune with each other.

The day being a long one and as there are certain foods available in GriffinLand that are not generally available in NorCal, I adjourned to Factor's Famous Deli on Pico Blvd for a triple decker sandwich (corned beef, pastrami, tongue, coleslaw and potato salad) and then enjoyed the sights of West LA, which are as amazing as they were when I was younger. Focusing further on my gastronomical vices, this morning, before catching the plane back, I was able to stop at Art's Deli on Ventura Blvd for a great breakfast of lox, onions and eggs made in the true Ashkenasic tradition.

Maybe one day I will be able to write up a match in GriffinLand. However, this was not the weekend. See you all in San Diego.

Hardest Working Touch Judge

Our newest C2 shows his form as The Hardest Working Touch Judge in Rugby


For the Senate
Pelicus Scriptoris

Tuesday, January 23, 2007




For purposes of record-keeping and tie-breakers, we would like to be able to record how many tries each team scored in first-side matches.

We know that you are already listing this on the match report cards which are mailed in. Please start to include it in your e-mailed match reports as well.

Thank you!


It will almost certainly be to your advantage to file for actual expenses for distant games instead of mileage. To do this, fill your tank before leaving and again on your return and submit the annotated receipt.

Here is the governing document:

IR-2006-168, Nov. 1, 2006

WASHINGTON — The Internal Revenue Service today issued the 2007 optional standard mileage rates used to calculate the deductible costs of operating an automobile for business, charitable, medical or moving purposes.

Beginning Jan. 1, 2007, the standard mileage rates for the use of a car (including vans, pickups or panel trucks) will be:

48.5 cents per mile for business miles driven;
20 cents per mile driven for medical or moving purposes; and
14 cents per mile driven in service to a charitable organization.

The new rate for business miles compares to a rate of 44.5 cents per mile for 2006. The new rate for medical and moving purposes compares to 18 cents in 2006. The primary reasons for the higher rates were higher prices for vehicles and fuel during the year ending in October.

The standard mileage rates for business, medical and moving purposes are based on an annual study of the fixed and variable costs of operating an automobile. Runzheimer International, an independent contractor, conducted the study for the IRS.

The mileage rate for charitable miles is set by statute.


We have not heard from at least twenty normally-active referees for February availability. Nothing is assumed here: if you do not specifically say you are available to referee on a particular Saturday, you will not receive an assignment.

We have more than enough to cover our games on February 10. Please let us know which of the following days you can referee, and whether you can travel:

February 17
February 24
March 3


Bjorn Stumer submits the following:

1. The ties have arrived and are quite nice (especially the bow ties)
2. I have received orders from 15 referees and placed them with International Athletic. Breakdown is as follows:
a) I have received checks for $886.60
b) I am still due checks for $364
c) Society is to pay $550 for jerseys for those refs who refereed 5 or more matches by assignment in the past year

I am awaiting the final bill from IA (including S&H charges) and will submit all checks (which I had made to the Society) to Jim Crenshaw, so that we can pay with one check.

All is going smoothly, albeit quite slowly (2 refs put in orders after my submission to IA). The good thing is that from now on individual orders can be placed directly with the supplier.



Wednesday, January 17, 6:30 PM

CALIFORNIA 22 – UC Santa Cruz 0 Referee: Joe Androvich
Referee Coach: David Williamson

Saturday Games:

San Jose State 22 – LAMORINDA GAELS U23, 58 Referee: Rob Hendrickson
The Lamo Gaels U23 team came out strong and fast in the first half at Watson Bowl scoring their first try in under 2 minutes and went on to score 7 tries in the first half. San Jose made corrections over the half time, the most significant one being to drop their tackles down to the legs, which resulted in a much closer second half, with Lamo scoring only 3 additional tries to San Jose's 2 in the second half. All in all, a well played with consistently good sportsmanship shown on both sides.

Seahawks – SFGG SL CANCELED. The Seahawks had some injury issues to deal with.

SACRAMENTO LIONS 84 – SF Golden Gate 17 Referee: John Pohlman
Referee Coach: Matt Eason

I was pretty excited to have my first Division 1 first side game of this season this weekend. Went over the last two weeks of coaching reports. Reviewed the digital recording from last week’s game. Dug out previous evaluations. Reviewed my law book. Did some extra sprint work. Polished my boots and ironed the touch flags.

I arrived at 11:45 for the 1:00 kick-off. The field was lined and one of the goal posts was up. As I walked the field I saw the 22 meter line was actually the top of the soccer goalie’s box. Short, but the same for both and safe.

The game started right at 1:00 PM. A beautiful 50 degrees and partly sunny. Great rugby weather.

I had never seen the Sacramento Lions. They looked to have close to thirty players ready to go. Golden Gate traveled with around 20-25.

Game on. Both teams started out crashing the ball up with the forwards. The Lions had more possession and wore down the Gate forwards. The first try was sevens minutes in by #11 Wayne Koi. But it was really a forward driving score. Lions center John Finau scored the next two tries.
The Lions were off and running.

At 30 minutes winger Arona Palamo scored his first of either four or five tries. I called one back due to a knock on in-goal while grounding the ball.

Golden Gate never gave up. They scored one try in the first half and two in the second. The last coming at the 73rd minute.

But the Sacramento Lions are for real. They are going to compete for the Division 1 lead.

Thanks to all. Both captains and both teams were well behaved and tried to play fast flowing rugby.

I had trouble adding up the score after the game. Thought it was 81-17 but after filling out the match report this morning realized math mistake.
Final Sacramento Lions 84 Golden Gate 17.

By the way just joking about the touch flags.

Seconds: SACRAMENTO LIONS over SFGG by forfeit.
Chris Busch drove to Sacramento for this match and it did not materialize. If this ever happens to any of our other refs, please let us know. We will be taking steps to try to prevent recurrences of this sort.

OLYMPIC CLUB 35 – Diablo Gaels 23 Referee: Tony Latu
Venue: Treasure Island-SFGG field
Side line coaches: John Coppinger and Dan Hickey
Temperature: Great

After refereeing at sub-zero (well it was COLD) the week before, the OC versus Diablo was a bonus. I was looking forward for this game all week; great weather, great field (SFGG TI field) and great team. But crossing the bridge almost ruined my day...$4.00 toll, come on Arnie do something.

The came started well and ended well. OC drew first blood by a penalty in less than two mins into the game. But Diablo came back and scored on a great play by their backs. OC controlled the first half and it seemed that they might cross the line before the half. But a knock on and a long run by Diablo brought the score to 16-15 OC at the half.

OC stepped up another notch at the second half and they prevailed 35-23. I hung around to watch Joe Androvich controlling the second game. It was a good game and a great job by this young ref.

Seconds: Olympic Club – Diablo Gaels Referee: Joe Androvich
No report received.

SAN MATEO 33 – Hayward 23 Referee: Paul Bretz
Touch Judge: Rich Anderson and Mose Timoteo

San Mateo hosted Hayward @ San Mateo High school's turf field. No barriers, no problem: everybody in the stands. It makes for a much more enjoyable experience for all. I was able assisted by Rich Anderson and Timo. Fortunately for the referees Timo is rehabing his knee and is currently unable to play. I'll pay for his referee course if he decides to take up the whistle full time. Aruna Ranaweera volunteered to take some statistical data on the match and observe the proceedings. Aruna is currently also rehabing an injury.

As always this game lives up to the hype. Both teams are playing exceptionally well and are dynamic both in forward and back play. The first half was a bit slow with both teams choosing to keep the ball tight.

They traded penalty kicks. Mid-way through the 1st period Hayward # 4 Daniel Towers was sin-binned for a professional foul, offsides, on the 5 meter line. Latter in the first half Hayward # 1 Paula Fukofuka was also sin-binned for professional foul, again in the red zone.

The second bin resulted in a try from San Mateo. Half time score 9-11.

The second period opened up with a flurry of tries from both sides. San Mateo drew first blood to take the score 18-9. This sparked Hayward to action and resulted in 2 trys and 2 conversions to pull the visitors ahead 23-18.

Hayward's back line is as fast as San Mateo's and several years younger. If Hayward's backline can stay fit and work together for the entire year they are going to develop into a national contender.

Five minutes later San Mateo's # 5 finished off a multiple phase play to tie the score @ 23-23 with 11 minutes to go. 5 minutes later San Mateo was pressuring the visitors but Hayward's defense turned the ball over. The ball was dished out to Hayward # 1 who rumbled through the defense.

Unfortunately for Hayward his support left him isolated as all watched the 300 pound prop rumble through San Mateo. When they finally got him to the deck Mr. Fukofuka found himself alone surrounded by 3 San Mateo defenders all trying to pry the ball from his hands. The ensuing penalty kick sent San Mateo into the lead 26-23. They later sealed the victory on the last play of the game to make the final score 33-23.

Both teams should be pleased with their performances. From a refereeing viewpoint the game was fantastic. 6 trys, 13 penalties, and no issues of dangerous or foul play. Not a bad day at the office. The second round of this match-up should be a cracker of a game.

From an observational standpoint Northern California division 1 club rugby is as strong as I have seen it in several years. I anticipate that no one is going to go into playoffs undefeated. However I contend that all of the Nor cal teams need to get better at scrum time. No one team has proven themselves to be dominant in this facet of the game. National championships are won and lost at the scrums.

Seconds: San Mateo 5 – HAYWARD 31 Referee: Rich Anderson
As dusk settled late on Saturday Afternoon, the second sides of San Mateo and Hayward were ready to play rugby. The late starting First Side match, which I had the pleasure to TJ for Paul Bretz, started late, for many reasons. Both sides wanted to play a second game before the sun went down.

I was so anxious to blow the whistle that I didn't notice that San Mateo was playing with red jerseys and Hayward was playing in red jerseys with a tiny black stripe near the waist. As Paul told me at the first stoppage of play, I could not make a wrong call. Advantage Red. Red not rolling away. Red scrum. Red, red, red.

Play in the first half went reasonably smooth. Players were wondering how I could call a knock-on when they threw the ball backwards. I wondered also. More than a few decisions were overturned as we played re-set scrums. 10 minutes into the second half, the sun was too low in the Pacific for my eyes. Rugby was over for the day.

The final score was Red/Black (Hayward IIs) 31- Red (San Mateo IIs) 5, I think...

SACRAMENTO CAPITALS 34 – Santa Rosa 15 Referee: Sam Reagle
Weather: Noticeably warmer than last week

The pitch had some of everything except mud. There were some nice grassy patches, some deep sandy areas and some areas reminiscent of the Arizona desert (caliche). My point is that there were plenty of skinned knees and elbows, not typical in most NorCal games.

The game itself was fast and cleanly played by both sides, a tribute to both coaching staffs. Sacramento has recruited well from the college ranks as several Sac State and UC Davis alumni were in the game.

Sacramento used a pick and run tactic on the opening kickoff to quickly score down the left side. A few minutes later they did it again for another try down the right side and about 10 minutes later they broke the Santa Rosa line for a third unanswered try and a rout appeared to be in the making. However, in the span of 6 minutes just before halftime, Santa Rosa made a penalty kick, poached a pass for a try and drove over another try to end the half only down 17-15.

The intensity definitely picked up in the second half. Both teams drove up and down the pitch, but when inside the 22, the defenses stood their ground .... legally. This went on for 30 minutes. It was awesome. Remember, this was a 2-point game at this point.

Finally, during a Santa Rosa attack, the ball carrier lost the ball which was picked up by a Sacramento player who scooted down the left side for an unconverted try, beating the fullback in the open field. It's hard to say whether this inspired Sacramento or deflated Santa Rosa, but Sacramento scored twice more in the closing minutes to finish 34-15. This was a great game.

Seconds: SACRAMENTO CAPITALS 54 – Santa Rosa 19 Referee: JC Van Staden
Santa Rosa scored 3 good trys but did not have any defense in the middle field to stop Sac’s centers.

Arroyo Grande 22 – BARACUS 41 Referee: Pete Smith
It was yet another great weekend of rugby. After a quick 3 hr drive down California's central valley, through old Arroyo Grande, past the vineyards to 'The New River Bottom' park. Arroyo Grande has it GOING ON! They are well along with their new home facility and it will be spectacular very soon. They have two full size fields that are flat and level and are working on seating, AND a new two story club house with changing rooms and a wrap around deck that allow viewing of both Fields. They plan to host tournaments a hopefully some playoff games.

The game itself was quite fast paced with both teams making long breaks only to be tracked down by the opposition just short of pay dirt or worse yet, self inflicted damage-DROPPED PASSES. I expected the game to be spirited as both teams are aware they play the game with cleats, but it was only hard hitting a solid defense that dominated the first half. Baracus took an early lead with a penalty kick followed up by a converted try, 10-0 Baracus. AG dug deep and after some very strong running from their #12, they managed the same scoring line of a converted try and pk for a 10-10 half time score. Baracus took off the training wheels in the second half and and put a couple of tries on AG, but the host would not give up scoring a few of their own the keep the game in reach. Ultimately, AG ran out of gas and Baracus tacked a few scores on at the end to pull away with a 41-22 victory.

CAL POLY SLO over Baracus seconds Referee: Andy Doukas
Baracus insisted on a B side game for their new players as they traveled with 35 and Andy Doukas made sure they were given one. Cal Poly SLO had the weekend off, so they brought out their squad and hammered Baracus's B side. Andy reffed the game as I had to leave before it was over, but needless to say, it was over before I left. I am sorry I had to leave because as always Arroyo Grande know how to put on a feed. They had the grill loaded with Tri-Tip and garlic bread, side dishes galore and a few cold beverages were made available. Bo Kelly, the heart of AG rugby, has known for years that if you are going to have to travel that far for a game, his club is going to make it worth your while and you leave wanting to come back. Safe to say-Bo knows rugby! It is a real treat to be invited to AG for a game and when my game was canceled the assigned ref was unable to do the game, I was happy to make the drive.

Humboldt 15 – CHICO 19 Referee: Joe Leisek
Manila Community Park, Manila (Humboldt Bay)

A trip to Humboldt County is a highlight of the rugby season. The trip up the North Coast offers beautiful country, friendly people, a gracious rugby community...and the opportunity to referee a good, competitive game. This weekend offered no exceptions.

Chico and Humboldt are two rivals that play each other hard but respect each other tremendously off the pitch. Both teams feature a blend of youth and experience that works well. This weekend provided sunny, cold, and breezy conditions and a very well-marked pitch. Veteran flyhalf Jeremy Drakeford captained the hosts, while Chico State grad Sean Bolduan led the visitors.

The first 20 minutes of the game were a bit choppy, with penalties called against both sides for various offenses, though no clear pattern emerged. However, in the 20th minute, a Humboldt player earned a caution for putting his team over the referee's penalty limit ...and for the next 20 minutes, players responded beautifully. Both sides retained the ball over several possessions and drove downfield through forward drives and backline movements. Humboldt led at the half by two tries to one, all unconverted. In the second half, Chico was stronger and more consistent with ball retention, and tallied two converted tries for the come-from-behind win.

In the last moments of play, Humboldt's blazing fullback Montrell Anthony scored a try, which put the hosts within striking distance. With less than a minute remaining, Humboldt attacked furiously from the restart. They were awarded a penalty about 20 meters from the Chico goal line with seconds remaining. Knowing a penalty goal would not be enough, they tapped and ran, but could not score the game-winner before full-time.

Intense and competitive; another thoroughly enjoyable rugby day in Humboldt!

Shasta 5 – VACAVILLE 36 Referee: Chris Parkhouse
Three hours to get there and 4 hours to get back, thanks to an accident on 80 that closed the freeway for part of Saturday evening. In between however a thoroughly enjoyable game of rugby played in good spirits with two teams eager to run the ball. Vacaville opened up the scoring within three minutes of the start of play with Steve Salmon (3) driving in coupled with the conversion to open up a 7-0 lead. If one thought this would be a rout, one was sorely mistaken. The game was well contested with end to end rugby the difference being Vacaville making the most of their opportunities. Two more tries were added in the first half including another one from Steve Salmon, and Vacaville went into half time with a 19-0 lead.

In the second half Redding continued to pressure and although Vacaville added another three tries, Redding finally got a deserved try right in the corner following a sweeping back row move. A real pleasure to referee.

East Palo Alto 19 – APTOS 28 Referee: Bruce Carter
The third division certainly features some hard-hitting rugby!

East Palo Alto opened the game playing fast and fiercely. They scored two tries and seemed to have the run of play in the early going, with a straight-ahead, hard-mauling style.

But Aptos kept their composure, scoring one try on a speculator kick into the in-goal, another on a blind-side nip by scrumhalf Kevin Miske, and another on a burst up the middle by a fellow called Nitro who dislocated his shoulder in scoring.

(The shoulder was reduced by the referee immediately after the final whistle.)

Each team had three tries and very vocal supporters. It was loud, rowdy and a ton of fun. The difference was three penalty goals by Aptos.

PETALUMA 18 – Marin 11 Referee: Mike Gadoua
Evaluator: Mike Malone

MISSION 52 – Berkeley 21 Referee: Jim Crenshaw
Mission proved too much for Berkeley Saturday, winning 52 to 21.

Mission scored the first two tries and led 21 to 7 at half.

Mission scored the first five tries in the second half, with Berkeley scoring the last two tries of the game.

UC Davis Aggies 15 – CHICO STATE WILDCATS 18 Referee: Scott Wood
A well-contested match by both teams. There were periods when play was a bit shoddy as the players did not want to fairly compete for the ball. For the most part, when players listened to their captains and communicated with each other, continuity and multi-phase play made for an exciting event. Both teams had problems with tactical discipline as they played the ball from the floor and repeatedly did not properly enter rucks. Near the end of the first half, Davis was down 10-13 and attacking off ruck-things from five meters out. Chico was maintaining a positive defense until its loosehead prop disrupted things by entering the side of the ruck earning him a trip to the bin. Davis tried to capitalize off the overlap only to finish the half with a knock-on.

The second half opened with a flurry of activity as both teams attacked and defended well. Nine minutes into the period, Chico returned to full strength. Eleven minutes into the period, Chico permanently lost their freshly-returned prop to a second yellow card for further repeated transgressions. Despite the 15-14 man advantage, Davis and Chico each scored an unconverted try apiece to finish the match with Chico winning 18-15.

After the match, I was greeted by a former Society stalwart, Don Walsh. You can thank Don and his contemporaries for developing the Law book as we know it today. Don asked about the Society and looks forward to attending future meetings. Don and Bryan Porter were later spotted swapping war stories on the side of the pitch during Mike Villierme's B-side match – while paying close attention to the referee’s game, of course.

Seconds: UC DAVIS 31 – Chico State 0 Referee: Mike Villierme
Evaluator: Bryan Porter
Venue: Russell athletic field...sunny, steady breeze out of the north to mess up a couple of kicks and lineouts.

Thank you to Scott Wood and Bryan Porter for their advice and critiques, before, during and after the match. Davis B's played well at all phases and scored from long range as well as from close in. As was the case in both halves, it took about twenty or so minutes to score but then it seemed to come in rapid succession. The sun-drenched, wind-whipped and mostly well-played match was marred at the 76th minute when a Davis player, Mike Belsaritas (sorry if that is spelled wrong Mike) had his ankle rolled up on and Davis FD was subsequently called to transport the young man to hospital. All of us in the community wish you a speedy recovery and recuperation.

NEVADA 24 (4) – Humboldt State 7 (1) Referee: Don Pattalock
Touch Judges: P. Ulibarri/L. Bryant

Nevada came out on top in this match by taking advantage of some poor tackling by HSU on a couple of occasions and capitalizing on some fortuitous kicking and strong pursuit. Humboldt owned the scrums while Nevada dominated the lineouts. This was not a classic match by any means. In this pre season friendly, both sides were lacking in fitness and cohesiveness; however, what the teams did not lack was a desire for extremely physical rugby. Unfortunately, most of the physical play was non-productive.

SFGG U-23, 15 – SANTA ROSA JC 19 Referee: John Coppinger
Discipline and fitness ultimately paid dividends for SRJC as SRJC moved past SF/GG U23 19-15 on the SF/GG Rocca Field. The score at half was 12-6 in favor of SF/GG and SF/GG's domination of possession in the SRJC end of the pitch should have meant a bigger lead for SF/GG. In the second half, SRFC scored a converted try and 2 penalties to SF/GG lone penalty kick.

4 penalties

2 Tries
1 conversion
1 penalty

CAL MARITIME ACADEMY 32 – Santa Clara 15 Referee: Bjorn Stumer
This was a spirited affair between two well drilled and committed sides. While Cal Maritime proved effective at mauls and at scrum time, Santa Clara proved to be ferocious tacklers.

After a fairly even first half, Cal Maritime found a fifth gear and ran away with the match. Final score: California Maritime Academy 32 - University of Santa Clara 15.


The Second Annual Stanford Women's Collegiate Tournament featured 30 matches on two pitches from 8 am on Saturday through 2:45 pm on Sunday. The weather was picture-perfect: spring-like, with clear skies. The rugby was first-rate, with about half of the 11 teams ranked in the top 25 in the US. Fair play, a sporting spirit, and dramatic finishes highlighted the play. UC Davis narrowly edged Cal for 3rd place, and Stanford prevailed over a tough Chico State team for the championship.

The Referee Society assembled three referee coaches (Bruce Carter, Kat Todd-Schwartz and Dave Williamson) and two video cameras on Saturday. Kat and Dave returned for Sunday.

On Saturday, the referees were: Bruce, Ray Schwartz, Deb Hart, Sandy Robertson, Paul Berman, Dave Buckey, Isaac Caselis, Paul Smith, and Bruce Bernstein.

On Sunday Sandy, Dave Buckey, and Ray returned, joining JC Van Staden and Pete Smith. Pete put the final touches on the tournament with three matches in a row: 5th Place, 3rd Place, and the Championship, while JC and Dave Williamson provided touch judge support.

STANFORD 41 – Wyoming 3 Referee: Bruce Carter
Saturday’s 8 AM match kicked off precisely at 8 AM, with frozen dew still glazing the pitch. A Wyoming player commented, “This is like a June morning for us. And what’s with the heavy air?”

For Stanford it was more like early May, the day of the Kentucky Derby: the horses in their backline ran wild. There were four tries from #11, two tries from #14, and one from #15.

Games refereed by Sandy Robertson:

Humboldt State 5 – Oregon State 5
Both sides kept the ball in hand, but neither was able to make ground consistently through multiple phases.

CALIFORNIA 17 – UC Los Angeles 12
The two teams supported well and generated numerous multi-pass, multi-phase attacks. Berkeley managed to get the extra try.

BYU 17 – UC Davis 0
An end-of-the-day match, with no tourney position consequences, both sides gave rookies a chance to play mixed in with more experienced players. BYU controlled the ball and had a bit more in the attacking repertoire.

(QF) CHICO STATE 33 – UC Los Angeles 12
Chico came out hard and provided a bit of a clinic in rucking, thus dominating possession. UCLA stayed game and came up with may have been the try of the tournament when a UCLA back, from inside her 22 kicked a loose ball ahead, chased it and kicked again (a Chico player was in close pursuit). After at least 5 kicks and the Chico player was only able to pounce just as the UCLA player touched it down for a try.

(Semi) CHICO STATE19 – UC Davis 0
Chico was too quick to the ball and was able to move it wide quickly en route to 3 tries.

Report by Pete Smith:

Sunday I was lucky enough not to have to work and took advantage by going to Stanford's Collegiate Invitational. I did three 40 minute games back to back and all were a treat. I started with the 5th place game between Oregon and UCLA which Oregon won.

The next game was bruising affair between UC Davis and Cal for 3rd place. Despite the low score it was a barn burner. Cal had the game in hand with a 5-0 lead when the hooter sounded, but the game continued until the next stoppage which was at the equalizing try, 5-5, with a tough conversion to follow. The kick sailed wide, but I was told there would be 5 minutes of sudden death. Five minutes later neither team had scored when the hooter sounded, but alas we play until the next stoppage. A Cal player was caught holding on in a tackle and I awarded the penalty 25-30 meters out and to the left of the posts. UCD elected to have a shot and this time her kick was true. The UC Davis kicker slotted the walk off penalty kick to seal the improbable comeback victory.

The last game was the final between Chico St and the hosts and defending National Champions Stanford. Having run touch for last years women's collegiate final, I would easily put both teams in the top four in the US with Stanford not appearing to have lost anything from last years championship team. This game was faster than I expected for this time of year and both teams were up to the pace. There was a stretch of about 10 minutes of non stop action. I probably had four penalties during that stretch with both teams tapping and going as fast as possible. Stanford managed an early try, 5-0, a second about half way through, 12-0 and one late for a 17-0 victory. If the seeding works out right these two teams may well meet in this year’s championship game. Anybody that can't appreciate women's rugby has NEVER seen a string of games like the three I refereed. The commitment of these athletes is obvious and it was a privilege for me to be a part of the game.


No report received.


Live Oak 10 – PENINSULA GREEN 22 Referee: Chris Fisher

JV:Live Oak 0 – PENINSULA GREEN 48 Ref: Fisher

LIVE OAK 19 – College Park 17 Ref: Fisher

Editor’s Note: We wrote to Chris to ask, “Did Live Oak play three games on the same day? They must be growing.”

His response:

"Yeah, they are. They are a model for all emerging high school programs. They have two full sides, the support of the school and a new rugby field on campus with impressive goal posts.

"If more schools were like Live Oak, rugby would quickly become a mainstream sport within the USA.

"And yes, there were three games and I did all of them. After the last game I was stuffed."


Rob Perle visited from Gotham January 13/14 and sent back a lovely word-picture postcard:

To the Pelican Refs –

Thanks very much for the assignments this past weekend. I had a great experience in San Fran and I look forward to returning soon.

I’m a huge fan of Jet Blue, but I’m a fool for checking the bag with my rugby kit, which apparently sat in NYC and/or Boston for an extra day. Some might say that I had terrible luck, but this is not the case! It might have been bad luck if I had been visiting elsewhere. As it happened, I was on exchange with a ref society made up of some truly generous souls who thought nothing of stepping up to help a desperate referee in need. Not only did they do a wonderful job helping me with my game as touch judges, but John Coppinger and Rich Anderson loaned me cleats, socks, shorts, a NorCal society ref jersey (which John insisted I keep!), whistle and card wallet. (The only thing I wore that belonged to me was my boxer shorts which are totally ill-designed for running and left me with some discomfort that I’d rather not expand on for this missive.) After the game, I eagerly sought to return the favor by picking up the tab for a round of beers for John and Rich, but my offer was denied and summarily rejected. These are some good folks and represent all that is right about our community.

Diablo Gaels 29 – SFGG 18
SFGG controlled the game early with disciplined, if unimaginative, play and took their points when the opportunities came for a 10-point first half lead. However, the Gaels had much more explosive potential in the backline which over 80 minutes was too much for the slower team to handle. Gaels managed to pick off a sloppy SFGG ball to streak the length of the field and earn a cheap 7 in the first half which put them right back in the game. SFGG could not hold its 12-13 halftime lead as the Gaels exploded for two quick tries, answered with only one of their own. Gaels played ferocious defense in the last 20 minutes in their own 22 as SFGG, down 22-18, pounded one ruck after another and looked as though they would take back the lead. But the Gaels held and managed to not commit penalties in the clutch. After they finally cleared out of their end, the Gaels found a huge gap after a midfield maul against SFGG’s tiring defense and scored another long-break champagne try to put the game away 29-18. SFGG played three backrow players in the backline, and its scrumhalf was much less talented than his opposite on the Gaels who had a monster game scoring two tries. Given the difference in athletic talent, the game should not have been as close as it was which is testament to SFGG’s resolve. I thought play flowed pretty well for 80 minutes and the players didn’t get out of control with tempers or infringements. The pitch at Diablo Valley and the windless “winter” Cali weather made for perfect game conditions.

In 15 years of playing rugby, I cannot remember ever seeing 17.6(h) being applied (unsuccessful maul after a caught kick, catching team puts in the scrum). Then, the day after I read it on the plane, WHAM, there it happens. The players didn’t believe me, but I swore to God that it is a law and the game continued without incident.

I’m told SFGG is protesting the game because of a willful infraction of laws 3.7 and 3.12 regarding substitution. Gaels #8 left the game and was substituted for in the second half. He later came back in the game and set up the Gaels’ final try which put the game out of reach. When he returned, it was amongst several other substitutions that were coming fast and furious from both sides, and I did not make note of his jersey number. This is a clear failure on my part, especially considering this was a league match. I got sloppy because I was enjoying the fast clip of the game - lesson learned! The Gaels claim that he was put back into the game because he left the game as a blood substitution. The Gaels may have believed this, but I did not grant any blood substitutions in this match. John Coppinger asked me to comment on this as a matter for your executive committee to consider. If you have any other questions about it, please let me know.

I had a very worthwhile and insightful coaching talk with Bryan Porter and I look forward to reading his report.

Berkeley All Blues 29 – SoCal Griffins 24
When I showed up to the nicest rugby pitch I’ve ever seen in my life at Stanford University, I wasn’t expecting to referee a match between the women’s perennial national club champion and an ITT select side composed of players from other top club teams. I was also pleased to learn that the format of the weekend changed and the teams would be playing a full 80-minute match. So after 20 minutes of glorious rugby, where both teams played beautifully and traded four tries while my whistle stayed cold, I thought I was in rugby referee heaven. But it is times like these when we are punished for our sins, and this game was no exception. Out of nowhere, the terrific game I was refereeing was suddenly replaced with a Met NY Division III men’s beer-league nightmare between the Newark Swamp Slugs and the Stamford Knock-ons. The tackle/ruck infractions came from both sides in copious buckets. I worked very hard with preventative talk and then words with the captains, but to no avail and the first half saw 4 yellow cards for repeated infringements. The captains and I had another chat before second half KO, and things were better for a while, but then deteriorated again and we had another yellow and a red-card send-off, all for ruck/tackle situations (not rolling away, playing the ball on the ground, hands in, et al). In between penalties, Berkeley scored three second half tries, two of them playing one-down, and kept the game entirely in the attacking end for the last 20 minutes. SoCal put away two tries in the second half with some exciting ruck play, but they simply did not get as many scoring opportunities as Berkeley did. Berkeley could have made this more of a track meet on the wide field because they appeared to have a much faster and more skilled backline, but SoCal generally stuck their tackles and was able to maintain possession with multiple phase play. The score was 29-24 but it should have been 52-35. Set pieces on both sides were clean.

Usually, a game starts out sloppy and then gets cleaned up, but this was the complete opposite. I don't think I've had a game go pear-shaped like this so dramatically. Early in the season, even top well-coached players get chippy after 20 minutes if they aren't fit - lesson learned! I was later told that there were probably 10 Eagles on the field, and that the player I red-carded was the 2005 National Player of the Year.

While I was not scheduled to be coached this game, I had some very helpful conversations with Pete Smith and Berkeley coach Kathy Flores. My conversation with Kathy was not like one of those bitch-and-moan sessions coaches give as they pretend to give constructive feedback – she genuinely gave me some excellent tips on some things to consider in tough situations when a game deteriorates, as this game clearly did. I think she’d be a terrific referee coach/assessor. Pete also gave me a good game recap. I dig his philosophy and I appreciate the time he spent with me.

In both games on the weekend, all scrum participants appeared to be comfortable with the new engagement procedures. I’m getting there myself.

Again, it was truly a terrific weekend and I’d love to come back again any time. My only regret is that I didn’t get to meet the Head Pelican. Good luck in 2007.

Regards –

Team of Three

A proud team of three, surrounded by lesser admirers.


For the Senate
Pelicus Scriptoris

Tuesday, January 16, 2007




Pete Smith has been promoted to B1 by the Pacific Coast Rugby Referee Society.

This is great stuff!


If you are a NorCal referee, please respond with your availability to referee and to travel on the following Saturdays:

February 10 (IRB Sevens in San Diego, with about eight or ten games in NorCal)
February 17
February 24
March 3


The NCRRS has heretofore discouraged its members from claiming travel expenses in their quest of refereeing nirvana. This was to conserve our funds to provide financial support for our training and exchange efforts.

However, in light of the increasing number of distant fixtures, with four to six games each weekend in Humboldt/Redding/Arroyo Grande and many more in Mendocino/Chico/Reno/Fresno, this has changed.

The Board of Directors would like to encourage referees who travel more than two hours (one way) to file for reimbursement of expenses.

There are two ways to do this, at your discretion:
  • Actual expenses
  • The IRS mileage rate for volunteers, currently 14 cents a mile
Actual expenses can include economy hotels, non-gourmet meals and gasoline.

Be aware that if you claim a tax deduction for your rugby activities, reimbursed trips must be excluded from such claims.

Please do not overwhelm our treasurer, Jim Crenshaw, with frequent claims. Keep receipts and records to submit monthly or seasonally.

We hope that this policy will ease the miles for those who are repeatedly touring the spectacular landscapes of NorCal rugby.

An editorial by Bruce Carter

The IRB has mandated comprehensive involvement of all referees in the engagement of scrums.

This was done for two reasons: to reduce the number and likelihood of cervical spine injuries and to reduce the number of resets.

If you analyze the requirements in depth, what they are intended to do as much as anything is to make it clear who is at fault when things do not go exactly according to plan.

Early returns indicate that the referee is still often at fault. To wit: many referees, even at the IRB level, are playing fast and loose with the requirements.

The referee is to say four words, and only four words, and precisely these four words: Crouch. Touch. Pause. Engage.

There is no latitude for ‘grouping’ the commands, placing the word ‘and’ between any two of them. You can’t say ‘hold’ instead of ‘pause’. You say, Crouch. Touch. Pause. Engage.

The players in turn are expected to crouch, and touch, and pause, and engage.

The only possible exception would be when something unusual or unsafe occurs. Then you have to blow your whistle and either start over or give a free kick.

There is no allowance for variation or individuality here. The goal is to have every scrum, at every level from high school freshmen in the pre-season to the World Cup final, controlled precisely the same.

I have found that teams will comply. The calls do not have to be adapted to the situation, or the inexperience, or the decades of experience, of the front rows.

Several accommodations are required on all of our parts.

Referees should require both front rows to crouch on command, under penalty of a free kick. Thus, it becomes incumbent on the referee not to say ‘Crouch’ until both packs are visibly prepared to crouch. There’s no reason you can’t ask, “Ready?” if necessary before initiating the sequence, but once the sequence begins it is inviolable.

Bear in mind that teams are now going to be crouched longer than they used to be before engaging. Don’t string it out. Give them a consistent and predictable cadence. If anyone jumps the gun at any point, free kick them.

Only the worst sort of referee feels the need to demonstrate being in command at the expense of the game or the players. You are, in fact, in command. You prove that you deserve to be so by awarding free kicks for unsafe engagement practice, not by making crouched players wait for your call.

I tell the front rows, “If you do it the same way every time, I will call it the same way every time”, by which I mean a predictable and metronomic cadence.

I believe that coaches also need to change their approach to the engagement.

In the past, players crouched into the ‘locked and loaded’ position, ready to close the gap on a hair trigger. This is no longer advisable. Players in such a position of isometric exertion for several seconds will fatigue as the tally of scrums mounts, and will possibly be at a disadvantage to their opponents.

It is now better to crouch ‘casually’, assuming the position but not the potential. The cue to tensing and preparing for the violence of the collision is now the instruction to ‘Pause’.

This should be practiced from the first use of the scrum machine to every scrum in Thursday’s scrimmage. I would suggest crouching before the Rhino, relaxedly, touching, then tensing up on the command ‘Pause’.

The gap can then be closed with alacrity and the engagement won or lost at the command to Engage.

In 1997 when the referee’s involvement in the scrum engagement was first introduced, there was open dissention among referees and players. It was about three years before this was universally adopted and applied, even here in Northern California.

Such a slipshod approach to a key safety application is no longer acceptable. Paddy O’Brien has made it clear that World Cup appointments will be predicated on compliance. I would like to emphasize that so will those in Pelicanland.


There will be a high school Tens tournament at Elsie Allen from 10 AM until 2 PM.

There is also a women’s college tournament at Stanford, with fourteen knock-out games and the championship. This is a high-level event with several national-caliber teams.

At present, we have three referee listed for each and could use about three or four more.

Please let us know if you’d like to help out.


Thirty-six, count ‘em, thirty-six Pelicans were in attendance. We’ll put this up against any other domestic referee society for pride of place:

Rich Anderson
Chris Arnold
Edward Barfels
Bruce Bernstein
Paul Bretz
David Buckey
Bruce Carter
John Coppinger
Jim Crenshaw
Matt Eason
Deb Hart
Rob Hendrickson
Mike King
Rachel Lawton
Tony Latu
Joe Leisek
Mike Malone
Tom Martinez
Chris Parkhouse
John Pohlman
David Pope
Bryan Porter
Aruna Ranaweera
Sam Reagle
Sandy Robertson
Jake Rubin
Ray Schwartz
Dixon Smith
Pete Smith
Bjorn Stumer
Michael Taylor
Ray Thompson
Kat Todd-Schwartz
Mike Villierme
David Williamson
Scott Wood


Matt Eason taught a Level One referee course in Sacramento this past Sunday. Thanks to Matt for giving up his ‘day off’ to help some folks get started!

Mike Malone and Dixon Smith offered both the Level One and Two Evaluator Courses in San Francisco Friday through Sunday. Six students attended, including Lois Bukowski, Bryant Byrnes and Kat Todd-Schwartz.

All of them are now certified as level one evaluators. They can earn level two certification by completing two acceptable written evaluations.

Such dedication is what keeps our society flying higher and higher!

The student group subjected Chris Parkhouse to the Death of a Thousand Evaluations on Saturday in his SFGG U23 – San Jose State match. Thanks for falling on that grenade, Chris.


Wednesday, 3 PM
CALIFORNIA 48 – Humboldt State 12 Referee: Chris Parkhouse
Touch Judges: Pete Smith, Bruce Carter
Referee Coach: David Williamson

Chris sends his thanks to David Williamson for the following game summary:

This was the season-opening game between last year’s Division 1 collegiate champion, and a semi-finalist for the collegiate Division 2 championship. The weather for the 3 pm game was clear and cool (about 50 degrees F), with a westerly wind about 10-20 mph. The fully-sized, fully-marked field was in excellent condition.

The game began as a close contest: Cal scored an unconverted try at 6 minutes, and Humboldt responded with an unconverted try three minutes later. Cal then pressed repeatedly inside the Humboldt 22, but the Lumberjacks’ goal-line stands prevented another score until halfway through the first period. Cal closed the half with three more tries (converting two) for a 29-5 lead. In the second half, the teams surged back and forth until Humboldt scored a try at 55 minutes. Cal responded with tries at 57, 72 and 73 minutes. Both teams played expansively with a variety of methods: kick-and-chase, spin to the backline, and pick-and-jam.

The teams observed a sporting spirit with virtually no foul play. Cal started its first 15, but liberally substituted in the second half. Humboldt also substituted numerous players.

Thursday, 7 PM
Maritime Academy 15 – LAMORINDA GAELS U23, 25 Referee: Bryant Byrnes
On an extraordinarily cold Thursday night, a late (or last) pre season match. Although the Maritime boys are fewer in number, this year's team has more grit. Which was needed against the new Gaels' U23 lads, a somewhat unpolished but very athletic side; lotta ''DVD Football'' shirts were to be seen.

The Gaels scored first, but it was only 10 to 8 in their favor at half. They began to roll it up in the second half, but then unfortunately the cards came out. Three Gaels were sin binned the latter part of the game, two for repeated infringements. Regardless, this was real rugby – a match contested and played with fervor and for a large measure of skill.


Kern County 25 – FRESNO 29 Referee: Sam Davis

A nice ride down to Bakersfield a bit over 3 hours ;-) arrived to a very nice pitch with ropes, poles cushions, and very well marked. Greeted both teams and it was decided that we would play 3 30s so everyone would get to play. Fresno drew first blood with a multi phase attack that started on their 30 meter line. They were able to convert 7-0 at the 10 min mark. Kern had a number of new players that have great speed and developing their skill at rugby. The mistakes they made set up the next Fresno try which was under the post. It looked like Fresno was going to dominate the game Kern did not let up they capitalized on a Fresno off sides and got on the board with 3 points. Both teams moved the ball up and down the field it was Kern pressure that forced Fresno forward to bobbled the ball, Kern's Fly half was there to scoop it and won the foot race to bring the score to 14-8. Fresno kicked off 2nd half and stole the ball and scored. Kern came back and answered with deep tackle off a ruck stealing the ball passing it out to score in the corner. It was a fun hard hitting game both teams had a number of new folks which made the game sloppy at some time. All in all everyone had a good time Fresno had 5 trys and converted two for 29 Kern had 4 trys one conversion and one penalty kick. 25. The Party was great food, beer, and friends!


Lamorinda Gaels U23 – SANTA ROSA JC Referee: John Coppinger
The referee’s scorecard is in his kitbag, which is in his wife’s car, which is at the airport.

He clearly recalls that the Santa Rosa JC won big.

DIABLO GAELS 29 – SF/Golden Gate 18 Referee: Rob Perle (Met NY)
Evaluator: Bryan Porter

Seconds: DIABLO GAELS 36 – SFGG 8 Referee: Rich Anderson

OLYMPIC CLUB 35 – Sacramento Lions 26 Referee: Jim Crenshaw
I headed for Hayward's Eden Park for the Olympic Club's match-up with the Sacramento Lions Saturday morning, hoping that the temperature would be warmer in Hayward that Sacramento's morning low of 24.

It was warmer when I got there but it was still chilly.

The match was supposed to start at 2:30, but as of 2:15 we didn't have any goal posts or spectator restraints. They showed up at about 2:16 or so, but it took a little while for the Hayward guys to get it set up. Seems one of the posts was broken and nobody noticed it until they started loading it on the truck. That precipitated a trip to some home improvement store for the necessary parts to fix it. We finally kicked off about 2:45 or so.

The O-club seemed to control the first half scoring a penalty goal, an unconverted try, and a converted try in the first 30 minutes of the game. The O-club seemed to usually have just the right number of players at the break-downs, while the Lions seem to get tackled without support, try to hold on to the ball to wait for the support to show up and get penalized for holding on.

Late in the half, the Lions scored a converted try, only to give up another converted try to the O-club just before halftime, making the score at half, Olympic Club 22 Sacramento Lions 7.

The second half started much as the first, with the O-club scoring a penalty goal about ten minutes in.

The Lions started getting it together after that, scoring a converted try and then an unconverted try. It looked like the Lions were headed for another try, when a pass bounced off one of the Lions directly into an O-club defender’s hands, who was at full speed. We were off the other direction, just like that. The Lions’ fullback made a great open field tackle, but the O-club support was there and a couple of passes later, the O-club scored in the corner.

They missed the kick, but the momentum had shifted, with the O-club scoring another unconverted a couple of minutes later. The Lions came back with a converted try with a couple of minutes left, but it was 'too little too late' as the O-club held on for the win.

Seconds: OLYMPIC CLUB 22– Sacramento Lions 19 Referee: Mike Gadoua

Seahawks 10 – SAN MATEO 43 Referee: Paul Bretz
San Jose hosted San Mateo at Watson Bowl. The half time score was 7-3 in favor of San Mateo. However San Mateo was in full control, dictating the pace of the game by mauling and keeping the ball tight. In the second half San Mateo was able to open the game up and scored 6 tries to San Jose's 1. Final score 43-10.

Several weeks ago I had requested this match as it was Tom Phillips' going away party. Tom is leaving for a year to hang out in New Zealand. What a party it was. Several referees were in attendance, Pete Smith and his wife, John Pohlman and his wife, Ray and Kat Todd-Schwartz, Bruce Bernstein, and faces from the last 25 years of rugby in the bay area.

Seahawks – San Mateo Referee: Joe Androvich
Referee Coach: Tom Martinez
No report received.

MENDOCINO 25 – Shasta (formerly Redding) 13 Referee: Paul Berman
Venue: Eagle Peak Middle School, Redwood Valley (just north of Ukiah)
Pitch was well laid out and firm under foot
Weather: Sunny and clear, wonderful for this time of year

Comments: The drive north on HWY 101 was beautiful, particularly beyond Santa Rosa. It's incredible to see the growth in vineyards, the gift of Bacchus along the sides of the freeway, grazing cattle, green hills and clear blue sky.

I felt wonderfully privileged to referee a Shasta team comprised of veterans and youth, playing a youthful new Mendocino club.

Both clubs moved the ball well between forwards and backs.

Shasta's lock D. Batdorf had a strong game at the line-out. Shasta's hooker Kyle Barthel had an excellent game carrying the ball forward. Captain and scrum-half Brian Peterson guaranteed his side good ball. Shasta's pack dominated the final 20 minutes of play.

Mendocino were ably led by their powerful fly-half and captain Jason Page. Their centers M. Freeman and J. Blackwell each intercepted back line Shasta passes to score tries in each half. I was astonished to hear for many, this was their first season in the sport. Their full-back S. Swenson was accurate with his boot, kicking 2 penalty goals and 2 of 3 conversion attempts.
Score at the half 15 -8.

A match played in fine spirit by teams most keen to play good rugby.

Points spread: Mendocino – 3 tries, 2 conversions, 2 penalty goals, Shasta – 2 tries, 1 penalty goal

CHICO WILDCATS 29 – Vacaville Old Dogs 3 Referee: Scott Wood
Dateline: Chico, CA:
Weather: “Ice cream sales in Hell have fallen off”
Pitch: Full-size, lumpy and gopher-laden

Chico spectators turned out en masse to watch the home side defeat Vacaville. Both sides entered the match 1-0 in the first of two season meetings. Vacaville's only points came off an early penalty goal. Poor tackling technique and marginal tactical discipline led to Vacaville receiving two back-to-back sin bins for repeated team infringements. Chico managed to capitalize off the two-man advantage to close the half 7-3.

The second half opened up with Chico scoring off an overlapping pass to James Knox who dotted down his try with a textbook headfirst dive-and-slide in-goal. Vacaville's technique improved in the second half. Chico fell victim to its own lack of technical discipline. Poor tackling as a team led to two of Chico's players in the sin bin, albeit not at the same time. Vacaville lost several attacking opportunities due to losing the ball in contact as Chico maintained pressure on defense. Chico put together numerous multi-phase plays utilizing backs and forwards and a good amount of speed to finish the match 29-3.

APTOS – Monterey by forfeit
The Monterey team has ‘gone social’, forfeiting all league fixtures.

Reno – East Palo Alto POSTPONED
East Palo Alto could not assemble a traveling squad. The match was postponed and will be rescheduled.

BERKELEY 33 – Petaluma 8 Referee: Bruce Bernstein
Referee Coach: Jake Rubin
Berkeley won 33-8 holding Petaluma scoreless in the second half. Both teams could have played a lot better & undoubtedly will.

Thanks to Jake for helping me & I will use what he told me into the next game & season. In one sense it was bad being looked at in my first match of the season & on the other hand I can use it for the rest of the year.

Fog 3 – MISSION 45 Referee: Rob Hendrickson
Mission kicked off its 2007 season with a win over SF Fog at TI, in a game which was closer than the score might suggest. Both teams moved the ball well, but Mission's backs were able to get the ball out wide and with numbers leading to their 3 first half and 4 second half tries.

Fog seconds 0 – STANISLAUS 79 Referee: Paul Smith
Pitch: Job Corps Field, Treasure Island

Arrived for the first time on the very nice pitch on Treasure Island to referee what I though was SF Fog B vs Mission B. A beautiful sunny day like we only have here in Nor Cal.

It turned out the opponent was Stanislaus instead of Mission.

The coaches requested a game with two 30 minute halves instead of the normal 40.

My first surprise of the day was lining up for a boot check before the game, when I noticed a number of members of the gentler sex kitted out to play for Fog. I was told by Ken Bousfield (coach of the SF Fog). that the B side was a co-ed side by the request of club members. Co-ed rugby, hmmm. I always wanted to play co-ed naked rugby :-).

Fog kicked off to Stanislaus and I got on my bicycle. Lots of fast running by Stanislaus to start the day with a big pack breaking a large number of tackles and good support play by the number 8, the first try of the game was scored within 2 minutes of the kickoff. This was a hint of things to come, with a much more experienced, and much larger and stronger Stanislaus dominating the play with good solids rucking, with a maul or two tossed in for good measure. Not much set play either scrums or line-outs, with Stanislaus keeping the ball in hand and showing good support play with backs and forwards swapping positions. The few line-outs were dominated by Stanislaus, who were much larger, and had a number 8 that was boosted very well, dominating all of the line-outs except when the Stanislaus hooker did not throw the ball in straight. Surprisingly the Fog handled the scrums pretty well, especially considering they were probably giving up about 50 lbs per man, ummm person in the scrum, and about 4-5 inches of height (one of the second rows for the Fog was a young lady about 5'9" and all of 140 lbs or so. Half-time ended with a very lopsided score 34-0 to Stanislaus. Only problem I had was when the right wing for the SF Fog was penalized for not rolling away from the tackled player and playing the ball on the ground. I was explaining to the player what he was penalized for when I was told the player was deaf (I thought he was just ignoring my instructions to roll away and hands off :-) Fortunately he understood my signals when I finally got his attention.

The 2nd half was more of the same, with Stanislaus running away with the game, scoring within the first 3 minutes again. The Fog B side was definitely spirited. But lack of size and some poor tackling led to a final score of 79 - 0 to Stanislaus. Overall it was a great run. Only blew one call badly with a brain misfire on a ball held up in goal by Fog, and I awarded the scrum put in to Fog instead of the attacking Stanislaus. The guys looked at me for a moment and then decided to play on. Happily the miscue did not have a large impact, with Stanislaus winning a tighthead and the number 8 crashing over for a try, but I sure felt stupid (I really do know MOST of the laws). Overall a great day, especially so early in the season to test out the legs. Need more cardio work, but overall not bad. I'd give myself a B- score for the day.

Paul "The Seahawks have provided the most refs in Nor Cal" Smith

Editor’s Note:

The Hastings RFC produced twice as many referees as the Seahawks have:

Ed Todd A2/USA
Bruce Carter B1/USA
Dave Peters B1/USA
Dave Jaquint B3
Dave Brown C1
Mike Gadoua C1
Mike Malone C1
Dave Williamson C1
Mark Haesloop C2
Chris Nolan C2
Jake Rubin C2
Waldo Waldo C2
John Cullom C3
Mike King D

Not to denigrate the former Seahawks corps, but ask yourself where the NCRRS would be without the contributions of these fellows.

SFGG U-23, 62 – San Jose State 5 Referee: Chris Parkhouse
Evaluation by Level Two students

This friendly game proved to be a very one-sided affair. A really beautiful afternoon in the Bay Area, played under clear blue skies. SFGG opened the scoring within 3 min 30 sec of the kick of with an excellent conversion by their No 18 from just inside the touchline. This was followed with another 3 mins later that was also converted. The Spartans pulled a try back before SFGG ran in another 3 tries before half time. SFGG played a lot of expansive rugby spinning along the back line for most of the first half. They went in at half time 33 - 5 to the good.

The second half was a continuation of the first as the home side ran in another 5 tries. Two tries towards the end were opportunistic and really capitalized on their superior fitness. The first was a quick tap penalty inside their 22, followed by a series of slick passing moves that took them the entire length of the field to score between the posts. The second was from a deep kick just outside the 22 of SFGG that was chased down by the wing of SFGG catching the full back in possession. SFGG had men in support and again a quick series of passing and unselfish play by No 18 resulted in another score. It is truly unfortunate that SFGG U23 is not in any formal league as they would be a handful for many teams.

SAC STATE 31 – Stanford 26 Referee: Aruna Ranaweera
Referee Coach: David Williamson
At CSU Sacramento

On a cold but sunny day, Sac State and Stanford met in their NorCal league opener. Stanford opened scoring early with an opportunistic steal and run down the sideline, but as the match progressed, it was clear that the two teams were fairly evenly matched. Kick-and-charge was a popular ploy and both teams also looked to spin the ball wide. Stanford scored one more try off a forward-drive, but knocked on another and missed a penalty in front of the posts. In contrast, Sac State were more efficient in the red zone, as they ran in three well-crafted tries to lead at the half, 17-14.

In the second half, there was still precious little between the teams, but Sac State showed more experience, particularly in the set pieces and pick-and-drives. Midway through the half, the referee had the misfortunate of injuring his calf by stepping into a random pot-hole near the 22m, but continued officiating with reduced mobility. Each team scored a pair of tries in the second half for a late score of 31-26 in favor of Sac State. Sac State almost put the match out of reach with another try, but dropped the ball near the cornerflag to the groans of the local crowd. Stanford had several brief possessions with time winding down, but could not take advantage. In the end, Sac State were deserving winners, 5 tries to 4. Much thanks to Dave Williamson for coaching advice.

Seconds: SACRAMENTO STATE 43 – Stanford 12 Referee: Sam Davis
Referee Coach: Matt Eason

UC Davis 15 – CAL POLY 19 Referee: Tony Latu
Weather: very very COLD

After a long drive to the City of Davis, I arrived very early and watch Sam Reagle refereeing a women college game. But before I walked outside, I wore layers of clothes and pretend that I'm in Alaska. After Sam's game I have to walk back to the car and took off my ski clothes and switched to my ref. attire. I wish I could ref in my Siberian clothes.

Few smart remarks were thrown at me: which team are you playing for, you've been for the hour or so, and my favorite...not that cold, yeah right.

Anyway, I was glad that the game started at 12:55. And the coach from Cal Poly was right when he said that this is a pre-season game. The first twenty minutes was played like a pre-season by both teams. The last twenty and the second half were for real.

Davis was leading 15-14 with 5 mins. to go, but CP played until the end. With no time remains, CP was attacking inside the ten. Maul was formed and suddenly Davis came out with the ball. They passed out wide and was knocked by their winger. His opposite number picked up the ball and ran to the corner flag. They missed the kick, but they won the game.

Well Done Gentlemen.

Seconds: UC Davis 13 – CAL POLY 22 Referee: Bjorn Stumer
A great match between two evenly matched sides marred by repeated infringements by both teams. Davis in particular exhibited a propensity to join rucks from the side, while both teams enjoyed playing the ball on the ground.

The match was going Davis' way all along, when two long runs by Cal Poly next to the touch line, and ensuing tries, saw the visitors run away with the game.

CALIFORNIA 33 – St. Mary's 12 Referee: Pete Smith
Touch Judges: Chris Arnold, Rob Hendrickson
No report received.

Seconds: CALIFORNIA 90 – St. Mary's 0 Referee: Joe Leisek
Touch Judges: Rob Hendrickson, Chris Arnold

A fair bit of one-way traffic. Due to front row personnel shortages, St. Mary's requested uncontested scrums. Cal's use of the ball was as fast as any team in Northern California, and this was their reserve side! The home side scored nine tries in the first half, the first coming at about 1:22, then seven tries in the second half. St. Mary's came close three times, including once when a player lost the ball forward on his way to touching it down in goal. Special thanks to Rob and Chris for staying to run touch.

Mike Strain let me into the Field House to change right after halftime of Pete's game. I was all alone, so I conducted a self-guided tour. Quiet inside, with muffled cheers and loudspeaker music from outside: it was the perfect soundtrack.

The lady who took our photo at Treasure Island back in September, Eileen, was there. You know, she is so proud of that photo. She reads HP every week...and even congratulated me on my marriage!

The best part: She keeps the photo she took in her wallet. She made sure to show me.

California women – UC Santa Cruz Referee: JC Van Staden
No report received.

UC Davis women 7 – SACRAMENTO AMAZONS 44 Referee: Sam Reagle
Conditions: Nippy

It was a brisk 26 degrees when I arrived at UCD for the scheduled 10am Kickoff using Daniel Fahrenheit’s scale of setting zero at the coldest winter he'd ever seen and 100 at his own body temperature. Personally, I prefer Anders Celsius’ scale based on where water freezes and boils, but I digress.

By game time, it had warmed up to almost freezing, there was a small crowd gathered and both teams were ready to play. I recognized many of the Amazon players from their high school days at Burbank and a few of the UC Davis players from last year.

From the opening kickoff, Sacramento dominated play. The Aggies were playing well, but didn't really match up with the strong running by the Amazons. The bright spots for the Aggies were several strong goal line stances that prevented Sacramento from scoring on several occasions. At the end of the first half, Sacramento had the lead 24-0 and was never really pressured.

The second half was more of the same until the 53rd minute of play. The Aggies gained possession around midfield and played brilliantly with strong rucking and crisp passes to score a try just left of the posts. It was a work of art not to be repeated on this day, but surely will give them hope for the future.


Stanford 5 – SOUTHERN CALIFORNIA SELECTS 35 Referee: John Pohlman
Touch Judges: Sandy Robertson, Mike King
Videographer: Bruce Carter

Stanford hosted some premier women's teams this past weekend.

In the opening match Stanford faced a older and experienced Select side from Southern California.

The talented Southern Cal. team kept it tight and powered over Stanford 36 to 5.

Southern California's pack was too big and kept to their game plan of keeping possession and driving forward with their experienced pack.

Belmont Shore – All Blues Referee: Sandy Robertson
Touch Judges: Mike King, Ray Schwartz/John Pohlman
Videographer: Bruce Carter
No report received.

Stanford 0 – ALL BLUES 38 Referee: Ray Schwartz
Touch Judges: John Pohlman, Sandy Robertson
Videographer: Bruce Carter

On a sunny but chilly day, and on perfect pitch, I enjoyed a rare opportunity. The best Women's Club versus the best Women's University side faced off in a single 40-minute period. Age and treachery prevailed, ... mightily! Stanford showed lots of guts and skill. I was especially impressed by center Melissa Smit. But recent Stanford grad Victoria Folayan mixed in seamlessly with Kathy Flores' veteran group. Captain Courtney Warner, and Eagles Stephanie Bruce and Laura Cabrera were just a few more reasons the Lady Cardinal were denied possession and left grasping at air consistently.

SOCAL 19 – Belmont Shore 3 Referee: Bruce Carter
Touch Judge: Ray Schwartz
Videographer: Sandy Robertson

The SoCal side was led by a contingent of Scottsdale Blues players. This game was a pleasure to referee after the previous refs had softened up the players in terms of the new scrum engagement process.

There were no resets, no collapses, and no penalties. One threat of a free kick took care of everything.

STANFORD 31 – Belmont Shore 21 Referee: John Pohlman
Touch Judges: Ray Schwartz, Sandy Robertson

In the closing match Stanford faced another Southern California team, Belmont Shore.

Belmont's pack was not able to control possession and the Stanford backs produced a 31 to 21 victory.


ALL BLUES – SoCal Referee: Rob Perle (Met NY)
Touch Judges: Pete Smith, Sandy Robertson
It appears that the All Blues won by five. We do not have a score or any other form of report.


Varsity: SILICON VALLEY 29 – Live Oak 17 Referee: Chris Fisher

Freshmen: Silicon Valley 19 – LIVE OAK 27 Ref: Fisher


January 17, 6:30 PM

California – UC Santa Cruz Referee: Joe Androvich
Referee Coach: David Williamson

Would you like to run touch after work? Drop us a line.


Tim Wills writes from the latest stop in his peripatetic life:

“My wife and I have re-located from Alaska to Newcastle, NSW. Just a short report on summer referee training that occurs every Saturday mornings. Last Saturday we started with a 30 minute run followed by stretching, next came 20 minutes of ultimate Frisbee, ending with a mandatory 10-wave body surfing session. Life is rough here in Aussie. If any refs plan to come down this way they will always find a bed at my house as well as plenty of games to go around in season. These guys are very organized with an 80k bank account and a very regular exchange program. Keep in touch.”

Good Crowd

There was simply no way to get everyone in the frame at the same time without a fisheye lens at the NCRRS meeting January 10.

We can play a little Where’s Waldo. You are looking for:

Someone who is sleeping
Someone who is too deep in thought
A bright and shiny life-saver
America’s newest B1


For the Senate
Pelicus Scriptoris