Tuesday, December 30, 2008




Men’s clubs:

The super league season begins March 14. SF/Golden Gate will play pre-season home games against Sac Lions, San Mateo, Hayward, Boston Irish Wolfhounds and O Club.

D1: Six clubs will play each other home and away for a ten-game season beginning January 10.
Hayward, Olympic Club, Reno, Sacramento Capitals, Sacramento Lions, San Mateo

D2: Eight teams divided into South and North. They play each team in their pool home and away and they play all the teams in the other pool, for a ten-game season beginning on January 24.
South: Arroyo Grande, BA Baracus, East Palo Alto, Fresno
North: Diablo Gaels, San Francisco Golden Gate, San Jose, Santa Rosa

D3: Thirteen teams play against nine of the other teams, beginning January 10.
Aptos, Berkeley, Chico, Fog, Humboldt, Marin, Mendocino, Mission, Petaluma, Shasta, Stanislaus, Vacaville, Vallejo

Women’s colleges:

D1: Six teams play each other once for a five-game season beginning January 24.
Chico State, Humboldt State, Nevada, Stanford, Univ. of California, UC Davis

D2: Five teams play each other once for a four-game season beginning January 24.
Santa Clara, St. Mary’s, Sacramento State, UC Santa Cruz, Univ. of San Francisco

Men’s colleges:

D1: Seven teams. Cal plays each team once (six games) while they all play each other twice (eleven games). Their season began December 5 and resumes January 10.
Chico State, Nevada, St. Mary’s, Sacramento State, Stanford, Univ. of California, UC Davis

D2: Eight teams play each other once for a seven-game season beginning January 10.
Cal Maritime, Diablo Gaels U23, Humboldt State, San Jose State, Santa Clara, Santa Rosa JC, UC Santa Cruz, Univ. of San Francisco

Note that San Francisco State and Sierra JC have been playing autumn games but are not in any of the league schedules.

High schools

There are small tournaments that we know of on January 10 and 17, with a number of other games before the end of the month.

The Sacramento Valley Kick-Off Tournament will be February 7-8. League play apparently does not begin until well after that.


There are two games this weekend that could probably use some assistant referees.

Phil Ulibarri will be refereeing Vallejo hosting McGeorge. This one is for sure. Also, rumors have San Mateo playing Santa Rosa– if we can confirm it, there will be a ref and he’ll need TJs as well.


Our out-going exchange program is active throughout the year, but the most of our incoming exchangees appear over the next three months.

If you are available to host, it would help us improve the experience of our visitors.

If you have been on exchange yourself, please don’t hesitate to feel obliged.

This works best if a number of prospective hosts put their names forward. Then we can pair up refs with billets based on geographic location. We also do as much as possible to make the assignments of host and guest mutually convenient.

Don’t worry: you’ll be asked whether you are available for a particular weekend before a commitment is made.

Now’s the time: resolve to let Bjorn Stumer know that you have some Pelican hospitality to spare:


DAVIS BLUE DEVILS 51 - Sierra Foothills 12 Referee: Ray Schwartz
Assistant Referee: Mark Godfrey
Penryn Park

The last day of autumn was a spectacular affair. Sunny, crisp and filled with spirited U19 rugby. With former Eagles Jay Hanson and Steve Gray leading their troops, Sierra Foothills hosted Davis in a preseason scrimmage. Just a few days, before at the SVHSRC Coaches meeting Steve had spoken up offering that he didn't know if his squad would be very good this year, but sure enough they came out with both guns blazing. Relentless pressure from a core of about 7 tough players led to numerous tries. Foothills needs to recruit some beef, they essentially had no props, and little match toughness, but everyone seemed to enjoy the run. 4 periods of about 20 minutes each gave the starters and all the subs plenty of time to test their growing skills.

Here Scrums the Bride
East Midlands referees Paul Dickens and Nicola Reynolds (both of whom have been to Pelicanland on exchange) got married on Tuesday 23rd December at Holy Trinity Church, Peterborough

Paul, a member of the RFU National Panel, married fellow East Midlands referee Nicola in front of family, friends and refereeing colleagues and they hope to spend their honeymoon in the Asia refereeing at an International 10's tournament.

Nicola who only took up the whistle 4 seasons ago has already refereed a Women's U19 International while husband Paul has refereed and touch-judged on the RFU National Panel for over 14 seasons.

Guest included: Top: David Rose, Andy Canning (eyes closed). Next row down: Ian Baggott, Darren Gamage. Lighter blue tie: Peter Johnson. Bottom stair: John Wearing, Mark Wilson, Murray Felstead, Doesn’t need a stair: Clive Leeke.
The Happy Couple: Nicola and Paul.


For the Senate
Pelicus Scriptoris

Wednesday, December 24, 2008



Here’s hoping you have a few days off that you don’t normally have, what with Christmas and New Year’s giving ‘holiday’ quite a one-two punch.

Do what we do here at the HP newsrooms: read the Laws, watch a good game, and pay attention to what the ref says.

Make sure you spend time with your loved ones and that they are aware of your reasoning.

It's also nice to have a favorite Christmas movie for annual family viewing. Penelope Pelicus chooses White Christmas, while Scriptoris goes for The Adventure of the Blue Carbuncle, a Sherlock Holmes story set at Yuletide, in the Granada Television/ Jeremy Brett version - which we've now watched for 25 years!

Also, we always pray for peace on Earth, and then give thanks for those who are willing to fight for it.

And don't forget to put your rugby resolutions at the top of the list!


BERKELEY 31 – Marin 5 Referee: Phil Akroyd
Assistant Referees: Eric Rauscher, Roberto Santiago
Assessor: Dixon Smith
Location: New Berkeley third-generation turf pitch
Conditions: Sunny, dry, cool breeze.

I had the pleasure of a full crew for this pre-season friendly with Eric Rauscher and Roberto Santiago coming out to run touch, as well as Dixon Smith coaching.

As this was a pre-season game, the format was four quarters, to allow subs and coaching. Berkeley looked as though they would run away with the game after scoring with two minutes on the clock, but only three tries were scored in the first half in total – two converted tries to Berkeley and one unconverted to Marin.

Half-time: Berkeley 14 – 5 Marin

Both teams continued to play good rugby to the end of the game, although Berkeley’s superior squad size appeared to help them stay out front and they scored a further three tries in the second half.

SFGG D2 27 – RENO 45 Referee: Paul Bretz
Reno defeated SFGG 45-27. Reno scored 5 trys in the first half. In the second half SFGG replaced several of their younger, less experienced players with superleague players. In the second half SFGG scored 5 trys to Reno's 3. The match was well played and players were in good spirits. Reno has an impressive squad. Good luck to them in the upcoming season.

Seconds: SF/Golden Gate D2, 18 – RENO 31 Referee: John Pohlman
GG hosted D-3 winner Reno this past Saturday. Reno is stepping up to second division this year. Paul Bretz did the first side game.

I got the 'seconds'. The Reno side had about ten players with San Mateo socks. GG had 7 or 8 players competing for the super league team.

This was a super fast and hard hitting game for D-2 seconds.

GG got on the board first with a fine drop goal. Reno scored next with a converted try. Reno's backs broke through for another converted try five minutes later. GG's Super league hooker scored a hard fought try at half.

At half time I got a couple of tips from Paul and asked a clarification question. GG's super league scrum half, Temo, made a sweet switch right in front of a standing Reno second row. Unfortunately a GG second row blocked any attempt to tackle. I called obstruction. I asked Paul if I should have made the call or let it go because the standing player would not have been able to make the tackle on the hard charging hooker. Paul said it was probably not material and I stopped a very good offense opportunity. O.K. sorry guys.

Half time score Reno 14- GG 8.

The second half had lots of great scoring. Five more trys in all. Mostly from turnover ball followed by some nice open field back work. GG's last try was one I had not seen. Reno kicked straight into the GG backline. GG pushed down to the around seven meters out where a Reno player attempted to kick the ball out of the end zone, only to have the ball hit the pads on the posts and the GG #8, another Super League player, score the try.
Final Reno 31 GG 18.

Diablo Gaels 10 – SACRAMENTO CAPITALS 14 Referee: Scott Wood
Asst. Refs: Rich Anderson, John Coppinger

Location: Viking Field, Diablo Valley College, Pleasant Hill

After blazing a trail across the Delta and fighting with the hordes of Sun Valley Mall-bound shoppers, we arrived at DVC to find the teams warming up. Fortunately, both teams had agreed to starting 15 minutes later as the ARs called to say they were stuck in traffic.

The first half featured a lot of possession changes due to knockons and penalties. Sacramento missed two penalty goal attempts and we entered the half with the score tied 0-0.

Diablo scored a penalty goal early in the second half but lost a player to the sin bin due to repeated team infringements. Sacramento capitalized (no pun intended) on the one-man advantage to score a converted try taking the lead to 7-3. The Capitals were gaining momentum when the numbers evened out but mobilized against a determined Diablo defense to run a dummy loop for a try under the posts. The Gaels answered with a try of their own to narrow the margin to four points. With less than one minute remaining and down 10-14, Diablo mounted an attack from their 22. Several Sacramento penalties and Diablo quick taps took the Gaels to the Capitals' 10-meter line when an attacking player dove on a tackle-ruck thing sealing the ball off from the defenders. Sacramento wisely kicked to touch to end the match.

Both teams were rusty in the first half but found their form in the second period. Sacramento had more veteran players but took a while to produce clean ball to its backs. Diablo has some hard-hitting young players who are determined but need to focus on back-foot discipline. I look forward to seeing both teams in the upcoming season.

Seconds: Diablo Gaels 7 – SAC CAPS 12 Referee: Rich Anderson
Match was only 15 minute halves per agreement with the squads.


Maritime 28 – Alumni 15 Referee: George O’Neil
It was a great event and a great turn out for the Alumni. The game had pace from the start with the current Maritime Academy coming out strong and scoring three converted tries in the first half. The second half the Alumni had a bit more spring in their step and came out and score two quick tires making it 21-15 at one point. Then a late converted try by Maritime secured the win. It was a great game, a great turn out.


With support from USA Rugby and the Northern California Rugby Referee Society, the 25th Annual Kick Off Tournament (KOT) will be running a "Kick Off Referee Development Program," to be informally called the Kick Off RDP.

The Kick Off RDP will be launched in Sacramento on the weekend of the KOT, Feb 6/7/8, and will continue to run throughout this Spring.

The objective is to introduce young (under 30 years of age, preferably under 25), experienced rugby players to rugby refereeing. Benefits to the participants are as follows:

• full training (Level 1 Certification prior to, plus class and fieldwork at the KOT; referee shadowing; coaching; ongoing mentoring)
• match fees ($25 per match after the KOT for both young referees, up to 10 matches, and for ref coaches for up to 4 matches per ref)(The SVHSRC will match funds for all High School and Junior High School games reffed throughout the Sacramento Valley)
• all expenses covered (food, hotel, coaching) while at the KOT.
• free kit (donors are still being sought as of this writing)
• potential to pursue an athletic endeavor to the highest level
• understand the game better
• all-expense paid travel within and outside US to referee games in England, Canada, Southern California, New York, North Carolina, etc. as early as late this Spring
• people management aspect of rugby refereeing looks great on the college/job resume...

This is a great opportunity for anyone in rugby who has run into injury issues, or who can no longer maintain the commitment to play, but truly wants to stay involved with the game they love. The next Level 1 course will be offered this January, if we can sign up two more candidates...

16 slots are available for the Kick Off RDP for 2009. Only 8 candidates have been identified to date, 6 in Sacramento. An opportunity to develop young referees throughout the Bay Area this Spring could go unrealized if action is not taken.

Coach/Mentors are being sought.


We’ve heard from about half our members. If you want to ref, now’s your chance to let that be known. Our mind-reading radar is busted.

Please respond with your availability to referee for the Saturdays, Jan. 10 – 31. For assignments purposes, we also need to know whether you can travel.

For the uninitiated: we have several distant games each Saturday between Humboldt, Redding, Ukiah, Chico, Reno, Fresno and Arroyo Grande. As a matter of fact, there are nine such games on January 31 – ten if we count Stanislaus.

For assignments purposes, driving between the Bay Area and Sacramento is NOT considered traveling. Two hours or so from your home or more (each way) is traveling.

We expect everyone to make a traveling game every month or so. Otherwise it’s unfair to those who will go farther frequently out of a sense of obligation that some don’t share.

Here’s the format that makes the assignments job easiest (cut and paste):

Travel Y/N
Jan 10
Jan 17
Jan 24
Jan 31

2009 Begins
Sac State hosted St. Mary’s as the NCRFU 2009 collegiate rugby season got underway earlier this month.

Jim Crenshaw, Scott Wood (who is hatching a special secret, hence the smile), Tom Zanarini and Joe Leisek


For the Senate
Pelicus Scriptoris

Tuesday, December 16, 2008




Winter arrived in Pelicanland ahead of its calendared date. The solstice won't be until 4 this Sunday morning, but folks hereabouts were digging for scarfs and gloves this morning.

A winter system brought the snow level down to 1500 feet Tuesday morning. Almost anyone in Northern California can see hills or mountains with that requisite height from their neighborhood.

It certainly makes the season shine, dusting off the year for a bright finish!


The NCRFU 2009 season begins in earnest on January 10, with play in all divisions underway by the end of the month.

We would like to make assignments for January over Christmas week, when work sometimes slows down...

Please respond with your availability to referee for the Saturdays, Jan. 10 – 31. For assignments purposes, we also need to know whether you can travel.

For the uninitiated: we have several distant games each Saturday between Humboldt, Redding, Ukiah, Chico, Reno, Fresno and Arroyo Grande. As a matter of fact, there are nine such games on January 31 – ten if we count Stanislaus.

For assignments purposes, driving between the Bay Area and Sacramento is NOT considered traveling. Two hours or so from your home or more (each way) is traveling.

We expect everyone to make a traveling game every month or so. Otherwise it’s unfair to those who will go farther frequently out of a sense of obligation that some don’t share.

Here’s the format that makes the assignments job easiest (cut and paste):

Travel Y/N
Jan 10
Jan 17
Jan 24
Jan 31

We are loath to belabor the obvious, but if you wish to referee you need to announce your availability. We never assume anyone is available. LACK OF A RESPONSE GUARANTEES THAT YOU WILL NOT HAVE ANY ASSIGNMENTS. This includes regulars and stalwarts as much as freshly-minted blowers.


Maritime Academy – Alumni Referee: George O'Neil
Referee Coach: Bryant Byrnes
No report received.

SHASTA 61 – SF Fog 17 Referee: Phil Akroyd
The conditions were perfect for rugby – clear skies, dry pitch and the forecast rains had not yet crossed the coastal mountains. After the three hour drive from Sacramento to Redding I was ready for a run and we got started on time at 1pm. Shasta looked well drilled and well turned out while the Fog were showing up in ones and twos and carrying out their warm-ups with several players short. That really set the tone for the rest of the game. Shasta played downhill in the first half and got on the score board with a penalty kick in front of the posts from 25 yards out after the Fog hooker used hands in the ruck.

The Fog could not match Shasta in any part of the game and resorted to spoiling tactics. Shasta took advantage of the many penalties and realized that the Fog didn’t have any significant defense and took the game to the visitors. The home team scored four tries in the first half to the Fog’s two that came from identical set piece scrums after basic mistakes from Shasta, deep in their own half. Shasta led 23-12 at half time.

Shasta made their size and weight advantage pay in the second half as the Fog lost several players to injury, compounding their frustration and leading to a yellow card to their #2 for persistent offside. The game continued to be scrappy but Shasta also continued to score tries on breakaways and capitalizing on Fog mistakes. The home team ran in another six tries in the second half with no response from the Fog.

FRESNO 48 – Diablo Gaels 21 Referee: Bruce Carter, Roberto Santiago
Touch Judges: Jeff Jury, Doug Harris

The Diablo Gaels are going to be playing in D2 this year, so this was their welcome to the competition. Both teams conveyed that several of their ‘regular’ players had sent regrets for the day.

Fresno kicked off. Two rucks later, the Gaels kicked ahead to chase and got their first introduction to Fresno’s very useful set of backs, who ran it in for a try.

After the conversion, the Gaels kicked off. Fresno spun it wide, inter-passed while tip-toeing down the touchline, then centered it for a second try in the first four minutes.

And so the first half went – Fresno’s very handy backs facing some apparent defensive disorganization. They have a new player named Jordan who, being underage shot a boot of milk for his two first-half tries.

Under the direction and encouragement of scrumhalf and Captain John Kunz the Gaels came back three converted tries in the second half.

The referee had to be replaced during the second half as a result of a couple of broken ribs from a mountain biking accident the previous Wednesday. Even the most incidental physical contact with players took his mind completely off the game.

Thanks to former Pelican Jeff Jury for running touch, and to Angus, back for Christmas from his teaching position in Bristol, for handling the other side.

Seconds: Fresno – Diablo Gaels Referee: Roberto Santiago
No report received.

SFGG GREEN 53 – SFGG White 38 Referee: James Hinkin
An intrasquad game of 11s played in good spirit. The game was tight until Green pulled away in the last few minutes with a couple of converted tries.

VALLEJO 26 – Harlots 0 Referee: Joe Androvich

Sacramento Amazons 10 – DAVIS DOUBLE DECKERS 32 Referee: Scott Wood
Touch Judges: Fesi Green, Adrian Pitts
Spectator-At-Large: Tony Latu
Location: Burbank High School
Weather: Cold and not getting warmer but staying dry for the moment

Never underestimate the power of out-of-season play. MBH and I made the short trip north to Sacramento, picking up coffee on the way to fend off the elements. Amazons were already warming up as we arrived. Davis came in groups--not surprising as it consists of players from Davis, Chico, Reno, Arcata and possibly other parts unknown. Both teams started slow, feeling each other out with Davis trying a variety of attacks and Amazons countering with its own front and back line plays. Not much pattern developed for the first twenty minutes. Davis' #17 bounced off Amazons in valiant, albeit feeble, efforts to attempt standup tackles. A card may have been warranted had it not been so sad to see such an effort go unrewarded. Both teams scored two tries to complete the half with Davis eking out ahead 12-10. Time for the tale of two halves: Davis drank the Kool Aid and got its act together for the second half. Their continuity improved and overlaps were exploited. Amazons were tackling well but did not seem to find much in the way of open play maneuvers. With a couple minutes remaining in the match, Davis was awarded a penalty 25 meters out. A huddle between Mary "Wilko" Triantafyllou and Lisa "Cheeks" Butts led me to suspect something afoot. Lisa took the tap and passed to Mary. Now, normally I would have followed the ball but this time held back with the suspicion that a drop goal attempt was at hand. Sure enough, Mary took the pass, lined up the posts, and converted a textbook drop goal to put the Davis up 32-10. While this was not a remarkable game-winning attempt, it was brilliant to see teammates figure out an alternate way to use the ball.

East Palo Alto – Sacramento Lions Referee: Pete Smith
No report received.


"Tonight's Society meeting was one of the best, if not the best"
- Dixon Smith

Thirty-six attended the first monthly society meeting of the 2009 season as we discussed the tackle.

We doubt if there are better-attended referee meetings anywhere in the USA. Our confidence is also high that these are probably the best around, with informative and engaging programs designed by David Williamson and delivered by accomplished referees and speakers.

Don’t send your regrets – make plans now to attend. It’s always the second Wednesday at the Golden Gate clubhouse from seven till nine: January 14, February 11, March 11, and April 8.


The Bay Area Youth Rugby Football Club is seeking players for their youth Rugby program.
Ages range from 5-14 for the youth league.
Sunday afternoons
12:30-2:30 pm
San Jose High Academy
San Jose, Ca
Jan 4th-Mar29th 2009

Coach Brian McDonald
(408) 833-5930

Coach Pat Guire
(408) 821-7284


Fresno Crew
Doug Harris, Roberto Santiago and Jeff Jury after-match on a cold and windy day in the Central Valley.


For the Senate
Pelicus Scriptoris

Wednesday, December 10, 2008




George O’Neil is one of our newest members.

George is a 2007 graduate of St. Mary’s. He has now refereed in front of two of our referee coaches and will be seen by a third this weekend, three evals in his first three matches.

Congratulations, and all the best for your whistling future!


The first monthly NCRRS meeting of the 2009 season will be this evening at the Golden Gate clubhouse on Treasure Island.

The Referee Development Committee will meet from 6 – 7, with the Society meeting being 7 – 9. Food will be available for early arrivals.


The 2009 league season for men’s D1 colleges began last weekend. Six of the seven teams had their first ‘real’ match.


Nevada 0 – UC DAVIS 43 Referee: Don Pattalock
Assistant Referees: L. Salgado, A. Mick
The result of this match was never in question as Davis worked the ball extremely well in the first half, scoring 2 tries out wide and then 2 tries in close. Nevada was content to kick away possession all game and Davis was equally happy to counter and maintain possession. The second half was an uglier affair; Davis, with a 26 point lead at half, seemed to believe that Nevada should just roll over and let them have their way; unfortunately, Nevada decided to make persistent pests of themselves and take a pound of flesh every tackle. Both teams decided that rugby should take a back seat as the chest thumping became the game plan.

Seconds: Nevada 19 – UC DAVIS 58 Referee: Phil Ulibarri
A brisk Reno evening greeted the Aggies at 6 p.m. at the University of Nevada and they wasted no time warming up by lighting up the scoreboard within the first five minutes of the match. Clean rucks and quick passing put the backs in the gaps leading to several first-half scores as the runners sliced through the Nevada defense. Half time saw the Davis seconds ahead with a substantial lead. Credit goes to the Nevada B-Side for not giving up. There was even a glimmer of hope after the Nevada 15 scored twice through some tough pack play following minor infractions by Davis near their try line. A third Wolfpack try resultant from an outstanding dash and swerve down the touchline by the Nevada 3rd 5/8 brought them within 12 points of Davis near the beginning of the last quarter, but once the Aggies caught their second wind they quickly squashed the Nevada comeback with two closing tries of their own. Although the University of Nevada-Reno B Side played well in the second stanza the University of California at Davis B’s took honors on the evening 58-19.

MARITIME ACADEMY 67 – Santa Rosa JC 0 Referee: Preston Gordon
Referee Coach: David Williamson
This was a college D2 pre-season game.

This report pretty much sums it up:

All I would add is that the match was actually quite a good contest, especially at the breakdown. SRJC was clearly outclassed out wide, but this was actually a very good game. It was fairly cold up in Vallejo, but the pace of the match kept everyone warm. There were 2 late yellow cards, but other than that it was a clean match.

The cold seemed to get more effective during the second match, which I TJ'd for Dave Williamson. Afterwards we adjourned to the Dead Fish across the bridge for some seafood - that place is highly recommended.

Maritime Academy seconds 19 – ST. MARY’S thirds 34 Referee: Williamson
Cal Maritime hosted St. Mary's reserves on a cool Friday evening. Both teams showed lots of youthful exuberance and skillful play early in the match, but were unable to score. St. Mary's had a little more success spinning the ball wide, scoring tries at 12 and 21 minutes, and a converted try at 30 minutes. Cal Maritime kept up the pressure, though, and scored a converted try at 33 minutes. St. Mary's closed the half with another try for a 22-7 margin. The scoreline was even in the second half, with the teams first trading tries, then converted tries. A great display of good sportsmanship by speedy, young players.


Chico State 26 – STANFORD 29 Referee: Paul Bretz
I had the pleasure to drive up to Chico this weekend to referee the Stanford-Chico match. Stanford won the mach 29-26. Chico maintained the majority of possession but made too many mistakes, knock-ons, forward passes, lack off support at break-downs, which took the pressure off. Stanford was better prepared to capitalize on the mistakes. Stanford has a loose forward who is very good at poaching ball at the breakdown and has a great work rate. He was able to start several of the attacking opportunities off of the Chico mistakes. Stanford scored two tries off of poached ball and two others off of first phase ball, lineout and scrum.

Seconds: CHICO STATE 50 – Stanford 0 Ref: Bretz
Stanford had a difficult time with Chico. At one point Chico successfully maintained possession for 10+ phases as they used their forwards to pound up the ball.

Sacramento State 14 – ST. MARY’S 36 Referee: Joe Leisek
Assistant Referees: Scott Wood, Tom Zanarini
Sacramento State University, Sacramento

A classic early-December day in the Sacramento Valley, which means it was chilly and foggy. As Tom and I arrived, the first thing we noticed was the number of St. Mary's alumni and supporters who had made the trip. This was an indication that the day's games would feature a good crowd on both sides of the pitch. Great to see Chris Miller, coach of the host Hornets, and St. Mary's coaches Tim O'Brien and Johnny Everett. Also spotted: Britt and Toni Hensley and Harry Batten, whose sons play for the Gaels.

Much of the match was played in the trenches--close to the ground and near to the rucks and scrums. The hosts played a lot of pick-and-drive, which meant that they were able to break the gain line slightly in most phases, but that significant chunks of territory took a long time to gain. However, the Hornets proved adept at this vertical style, and in fact held possession for long stretches of time. And the Gaels imitated this style for a time, so we had some extended periods of well-timed, disciplined forward drives.

While the Hornets stuck to the power game, St. Mary's made the most of their opportunities, as they scored three of their six tries off mistakes by their opponents. They used the ball more often in the backline, and gradually wore the hosts down. The Gaels were hampered by their own mistakes, however, with a sizable number of knock-ons resulting in a large number of Sac State scrums. However, the hosts had their own turnover issues as well. In fact, at least two first-half tries went begging for the Hornets, through losing the ball near the goal line.

The visitors scored three tries in each half; two of which were converted in the first half and one in the second. Sac State scored one converted try in each half. It was a tough, physical contest between two teams that had obviously worked hard in the pre-season.

Special thanks to Scott and Tom for their expert assistance, and also for the sage halftime advice from referee-spectators Jim Crenshaw and Tony Latu.

Seconds: Sacramento State 17 – ST. MARY’S 22 Referee: Tom Zanarini
On a cool and foggy morning, Joe Leisek and I set out from Sono/Marin to travel to Sacramento. Now, this fog thing is getting outta hand. I thought it was restricted to staying in the bay area but no. Turns out all of Northern California is a fog bomb. Since back home the playoffs were held in 6 inches of snow, I'll stop my complaining and start thinking about the superb rugby.

Prior to my B-side match I ran touch for Joe along with our special guest Scott Wood. Joe's game was well contested, except Sac. St. had one game plan (bang out of rucks). When this didn't work or result in points, and their backs were standing around like 8 year old outfielders in T-ball, no changes were made. I suggest 3-D glasses to expand their game plan in the future. They were fit and played hard otherwise.

B-side was more evenly contested. Backs AND forwards got to handle the ball. Not too much niggly stuff for a college B-side. The players were fit and seemed to have fun. The referee sure did.

After the match we three along with Scott's new better half and Jim Crenshaw adjourned to a local brew pub for a beer and food that we shouldn't have eaten. Thanks go to Joe for the climate saving carpool, Thanks Joe!


St. Mary's women 12 – SAC AMAZONS 64 Referee: Pete Smith
The game started with poor visibility due to the fog. You couldn’t see one goal post from the other and it was cold, very cold. Despite all that the players stared out with a bang and a try for Sac in the opening minutes, followed by several more. The Sac players were bigger across the board with more experience and athleticism. The scrum half, fly-half, outside center and full back and had big days with several line breaks and tries. The SMC team was lead by their fullback/goal kicker/tackler extraordinaire that played at a rep side level throughout the game. Likewise, SMC had a very formidable second row that scored one try from a lineout and knocked on another while attempting to score. Both are players to watch for in the future. All of the players played very hard and endured their share of bumps and bruises, but in the end all had a great day of rugby.

Round robin in Berkeley:

Berkeley RFC hosted USF and Sierra College in a three-way competition of 40 minute matches on the new City of Berkeley Field Turf pitches at the foot of Gillman next to SF Bay on Saturday.

Pelicans Sam Davis, Chris Labozzetta, John Coppinger, and rookie George O'Neil (St. Mary's 2007) were on hand to officiate, while Dixon Smith has on hand to evaluate, coach, mentor, and keep good order. Also seen on the day were Pelicans Dave Williamson (coaching the Berkeley U-19 side before the matches began), Eric Rauscher, and Rich Anderson.

SIERRA A 24 – U. of San Francisco 7 Referee: Sam Davis
TJs: George O'Neil and John Coppinger

SIERRA B 17 – Berkeley RFC B 0 Referee: Chris Labozzetta
TJs: John Coppinger and Sam Davis

BERKELEY A 17 – USF 0 Referee: George O'Neil
TJs: Sam Davis and Chris Labozzetta

SIERRA A 14 – Berkeley A 7 Referee: John Coppinger
TJs: Chris Labozzetta and George O'Neil

BERKELEY B 13 – USF 0 Referee: Sam Davis
TJs: John Coppinger and George O'Neil

BERKELEY A/B 15 – Sierra A/B 5 Referee: Chris Labozzetta
TJs: John Coppinger and Sam Davis

USF – Sierra A/B--Not played.

Sierra College is young, fit, and organized. BFRC has a lot of new faces and didn't seem to play up to its potential. USF struggled with numbers and had to play with uncontested scrums after some key injuries.

Thanks to Bruce Carter who stopped by to inspect the new venue and drop off the RRS radios allowing the teams of 3 radio communication.

The Gillman fields are a great addition to NCRFU venues. The fields are lined for soccer, lacrosse, and rugby and the city provided portable goal posts (complete w/ pads). Common lines are white, distinctive lacrosse and rugby lines are orange and blue, respectively.

I see only 2 problems: On the I-80 side, balls kicked to touch often clear the fence landing on the frontage road and there is no gate on that side as there is on the Bay side, which means a lot of time is spent pleading with passing bicyclists to stop, collect the ball, and then return the ball over the fence. (Actually watching some of the bikers try to kick the ball over the fence was quite amusing, but since they were doing us a big favor, I should not make fun of them.) Secondly, during this part of the year, the late afternoon sun is just above the Bay side of the pitch, which makes it impossible to follow the match from the east side. I ran touch for Labo's last match and unless the play was right in front of me, I had little clue what was going on the pitch. (Ray and Rich--this is your cue.) All in all, a good rugby day.

Editor’s Note: baseball caps have been very, very good to me, John.

Sacramento Capitals – Santa Rosa CANCELED

SFGG COLTS 67 – Chico 32 Referee: Bruce Carter
Red-green color blindness must have played a part in this one, as a number of passes went to the other team. Two of these were returned for tries.

This game was a pleasure to referee – 99 points and only six penalties. The players were responsive to preventive commands and enterprising with advantage opportunities.

SFGG COLTS 2, 91 – Marin 0 Referee: Giles Wilson
Marin stayed at their task but were well outclassed.

SF Fog – Marauders CANCELED

FOG 53 – San Francisco State 5 Gators Referee: Bjorn Stumer
A great day of Rugby at Treasure Island's Job Corps pitch with a match on tap between a robust Fog side and a youthful San Francisco State team. The Fog "A" was to have played the Marauders, but a cancellation saw them field an A & B combined to face an obviously inexperienced SF State team.

The Fog was just too much for the State lads, and it just rolled over them with a multitude of tries. The score poorly reflects on the fitness and commitment of S.F. State which tackled hard, and gave their all. Alas their inexperience and youthful exuberance was capitalized by the FOG which ran 29 unanswered points in the first half.

The second half began with a fine try by State which seemed to take the game to hand. This due to some complacency in the Fog ranks, and due to a number of inexperienced player which came in as subs. However, the Fog soon regained its composure and ran in 4 more tries. Final score: Fog 53 (29) - SF State 5 (0). A good crowd was in attendance, and both teams showed sportsmanship and zest. The Fog got a good win, but the State players gave them a good run and, going by their post match behavior, had a pretty good time.

SJSU 25 – Diablo U23, 20 Referee: John Pohlman
The San Jose State Spartans hosted the Diablo Gaels Under 23 team Saturday. It was almost a perfect day for rugby, except for 3 or 4 degrees too warm. As I warmed up sweat glistened off my forehead. Damn December rugby weather in northern California area.

I guess I should step back a day. Because today's rugby referee starts their pre game warm-up at the computer, checking to see if both clubs are CIPPed.

CIPP verified, game kit in the car, off for my 15-minute drive to Spartan Stadium.

The Spartans played this game across from the Stadium. The field was poorly marked with no goal posts and sparse grass. This is the tailgaters spot for football games.

If San Jose continues to play rugby games as exciting as this one, they should move into the Stadium.

I arrived at noon for a scheduled 1:00 o'clock kickoff. Both coaches said their teams were ready at 12:45 so let the game begin.

This was a very entertaining and competitive game. Both teams had young, quick learning players. I do not believe I penalized the same player for the same infraction throughout. Loads of hard hits. A try saving tackle from the weak side wing. There were nine tries scored. Never was one team ahead by more than one try. I looked at my watch after the last try and it said 80:54. Wow.

Dean White, the State coach, had over thirty players warming up at noon.
John Compaglia and Barry Welch had close to 25 for the Gaels.
Both teams were eager to go.

San Jose scored first seven minutes in. Followed five minutes later by the Gaels. This was how the game would play out. Possession, tackle, recycle, bad pass, turnover. Both teams were just too careless with those 50-50 passes. Fortunately there was some very exciting and polished finishes in this game. The try exchange ended with a tied half time score of 15-15.

The Gaels looked to be tiring, this was their first game of the season whereas the Spartans had played a few. Gaels #10 and captain Bennie had heart and scored the first try of the second half. As the subs came on play got a bit sloppy in the 50-50 passes, but not in tackling or intensity. San Jose fullback Butler scored at 21 minutes. Around thirty minutes one of the Gaels had a leg injury which I do not believe to be serious but took quite a few minutes to treat. I stopped my watch, usually in a preseason scrimmage I would let me watch run, but this game was too exciting to lose any playing time.

My two highlights were the try saving tackle by the Gaels all purpose back Tufoou with about five minutes left. He played every position in the back line including scrum half. He had these glittering blue 'rugby' boots. At the time I believe he was playing wing. He covered across from his weak side wing position, on a certain Spartan try, making the tackle and forcing a knock on six meters out. Good stuff blue shoes.

The other highlight was the score by inside center Marshal Brown as time expired. Marshall had a big day. I think this was his third try of the game. On this score he stiff armed one player and stepped another to dot it down. Marshall is a Mississippi State student on transfer and is moving back to Old Miss. The Spartans will miss him.

So there you have it. Highly entertaining game. Won by San Jose State on the last play of the day, as fifty plus fans stormed onto the field in celebration.

Thanks to both teams who have a great future this year. Your discipline was outstanding.

Event: Women's Round Robin
UC Davis, Sac State, Nevada
Location: Russell Field in Davis
Weather: mostly foggy, perfect running temperature

UC Davis 15 – SACRAMENTO STATE 27 Referee: Jackie Finck
Both teams played a spirited game of rugby throughout foggy field conditions. Sacramento's no 8, scrum half, flyhalf and inside center were an elusive, strong force which assisted the team to penetrate through UC Davis' backline and take victory.

University of Nevada 19 – UC DAVIS 24 Referee: Rob Hendrickson
I reffed the second of the three round robin games between UCD, UNR and Sac State women which Davis hosted on an overcast Saturday morning in Davis. Davis had "lost" the first game against Sac State, and so it played the fresh UNR team for two 30 minute halves, and it was two different games. UNR dominated in the first half, scoring 3 tries and keeping Davis pinned back in its half for most of the play. In the second half, UNR (and Davis) made numerous substitutions to give their new players their first taste of actual playing time, and Davis took advantage, scoring four unanswered tries, three from line breaks and strong running from their backs.

SACRAMENTO STATE 55 – Nevada 0 Ref: Finck
TJs: Hendrickson
Reno played back-to-back games; they had just finished up their game with UC Davis. I thought both teams played well, contrary to what the score reflects. Sacramento's 'pick n go's' after a player went to ground (no tackle) were impressive; pick n go's and open gaps left by Reno were tactics Sacramento capitalized on.

Fresno - Alumni SELF-REF
Not everyone had CIPP and not everyone was going to get CIPP – so no Society ref.

We trust they had fun and we hope no-one got hurt.


STANFORD GRAD SCHOOLS 29 – Cal grad 0 Referee: Preston Gordon

Stanford had close to 30 players available for this Sunday noon friendly on the peninsula. Cal, on the other hand, only had a couple of subs. One or perhaps both of the teams was without a full front row, so unfortunately we had to play the entire match with uncontested scrums. Before kickoff the captains agreed to play three 20-minute periods, with an optional 4th, and allow open substitutions.

Stanford's advantage in numbers allowed them to change most of their side after each period. They were also better in the tight phases of the game, and effectively got the ball out to their wings after a couple of pick-and-goes and/or forward crash plays. Cal also didn't tackle well.

Although Cal came close on a couple of occasions, Stanford was in control throughout and put all the points on the board. The score at the end of the 1st period was 24-0; 2nd period, 24-0; and 3rd period, 29-0.

Both teams were still keen to play, so we waited for about 10 minutes while Stanford gave Cal several players to make up the numbers. This was even more of a friendly contest, with Stanford again winning 12-0.


Wild West Rugby Fest
Scottsdale, Arizona
Referee: James Hinkin

I arrived at the Phoenix airport Friday evening to meet up with Phil Klevorick (from Las Vegas via Canada), Doc Richardson (from the 1920s Hatfield-McCoy feud) and Tony Maphosa (from Seattle) and after shaking hands and some small talk we headed off to grab our rental minivan and head to the hotel. After telling stories of the previous year’s miserable weather and confidently driving us to the wrong hotel Phil got his directions sorted out and we arrived to meet up with Sam Merrill, the ARU referee coordinator and Kevin McCaslin, who seemed to be in charge. After meeting with the other referees and getting our assignments we all turned in for the night.

Saturday dawned bright and sunny with no hint of the rain that marred the previous year’s Fest and we made our way to the fields. I was fortunate to get DII champs Red Mountain in my first game and the always challenging Provo Steelers in my second so I had to get my running boots ready. My final match on Saturday was a local women’s team the Lightning and the Slugs out of Utah. Match details below.

After the games were finished on Saturday the referees were whisked back to the hotel for a fantastic bar-be-que cooked by Sam Merrill. Hamburgers, sausages and chicken cooked to perfection with beer and sodas available to wash it all down. After a quick chat about the day’s events the Sunday assignments were handed out and I was fortunate again and was selected for the consolation final. After that a few of the stalwarts went off to the main party hosted by the WWRF. A classic rugby tournament part with several of the women’s and men’s teams dressed up in costume a la Maggotfest and plenty of good natured fun all around.

The ARU hosted extremely well and I highly recommend this tournament to any referee looking to travel. It was well run on quality pitches and the comfort of the referees was assured by all and sundry. Coaching was available for those who wanted it and it was a resource I was able to exploit to my heart’s content.

Game 1:
Red Mountain 78 – Rio Grande 12

Red Mountain looked to defend their DII title with the same elements that won it for them: pace and fitness. They proved this in the opening tilt of the day by running in 12 tries in a 40 minute game. Rio Grande was a combination of several New Mexico area teams and looked disorganized and disinclined to tackle.
Game 2: Provo Steelers 31 – Rio Grande 17

A much better effort from Rio Grande as the players had by this time introduced each other but the power of the Steelers proved too much. This was a much better game in terms of balance and flow. Rio Grande tackled with heart and attacked with vision. The Steelers ran with power and punished mistakes severely. It was a great match to be a part of.

Game 3

Lightning 5 – Slugs 48

The Slugs moved with pace and power and had an Islander prop who could not be stopped, consistently dragging several tacklers with her on every run. The Lightning fought hard and earned a well deserved consolation try at the end of the match.

Game 1 Consolation Final
Rio Grande 38 – Austin Huns 0

The effects of the previous nights social was being felt on Sunday as these two teams were initially supposed to match up in the consolation semis but were the only two teams to show up so the both advanced to the final. With Rio Grande bringing 13 to the pitch (they struggled with numbers all weekend) and the Huns only having 10 (with several still drinking beer on the sideline) the captains decided on 10s played for 2 10 minute halved. It was a decidedly social match with the Hun captain asking me to penalize Rio Grande for excessive fitness. The final whistle was greeted with cheers and more beer.

Final results of a fun weekend: 229 points scored, 0 yellow cards, 0 red cards and 1 penalty try (my first – given for a high tackle by the last chasing defender 2 meters from the try line).

Victoria Exchange, BC, Canada
Referee: Phil Akroyd

11/19/08 – 11/23/08

Wednesday 19th
I flew from Sacramento to San Francisco early on Wednesday morning, in order to get the flight directly from San Francisco to Victoria. After an hour of delay due to fog, the plane took off and headed north, giving a great view of the snow capped mountains in Washington State and then into the airport in the community of Sydney-by-the-Sea - a few miles north of Greater Victoria. I was met at the airport by Mel Jones, who was to be my host for the visit (a fellow expat, but from Wales). On the way into town, Mel took me on a tour of the area, taking in Mount Doug, the University of Victoria campus and rugby fields and nearby beaches. The weather was more like I was used to back in England, with the temperature never really getting above 50F and threatening skies overhead with a chilly wind blowing off the straits to the south.

We reached Mel’s house in the lovely village of Oak Bay – just a few yards back from the Ocean. Mel introduced me to his wife Joan who set the precedent for the week by serving up a huge evening feast with wine and dessert. I took the advantage of an early night, as there was a lot of rugby to come.

Thursday 20th
I started the day by taking an early morning jog along the sea front to get the blood pumping and to work off the previous night’s calorie intake. Joan undid my good work with a full cooked breakfast, cereal, toast, fruit, coffee and juice, upon my return to the house.

Mel and I were joined by Keith Morrison for the journey up to Shawnigan Lake School for my first assignment. Both Keith and Mel are IRB ref coaches and have been for many years, and I was more than happy to have them watch and help me. On our way to the school, we stopped by a local attraction – a small river of Salmon breeding grounds. The fish would swim upstream in order to lay their eggs in the river bed, after which, they promptly expired on account of the exhaustion from swimming. The result was a scene of thousands of dead Salmon in the river and on the river beds, surrounded by live fish, still trying to make it upriver and hundreds of Seagulls feasting on the remains of fish. Hundreds of feet overhead were up to twenty circling Eagles, waiting for the seagulls to leave and clear up the rest of the fish.

With my head filled with images of blood, death and general carnage, I prepared for my first game under the watchful eyes of two of Canada Rugby’s finest ref coaches. The location was Shawnigan Lake School – a private school on the top of a hill, in the middle of nowhere, with one of the best rugby settings I’ve seen. There were three rugby pitches, as well as a multi-purpose soccer/hockey/lacrosse field and countless tennis courts in the grounds, with a newly completed changing facility, resembling a log cabin lodge. The event was a three day, end of season tournament for local high schools of U-17 player age, with games of two thirty minute halves.

As was to be expected, the heavens opened just in time for kick-off, making the deluge conditions tricky to play in. Players from Saint Michaels University School (SMUS) and Cowichan handled the conditions well in this quarter-final game. The teams were pretty evenly matched but SMUS really took a grip of the game early on and never let go. They scored two unconverted tries in the first half while Cowichan managed to slot a penalty kick, resulting in a half time score of 10-3. After emerging from the cover of a gazebo, I headed back out into the sheets of rain that were drifting across the field and got the game back underway. Coaches and parents joked of sudden death in the second half, so that everyone could return indoors as soon as possible. Thankfully, we didn’t have to play extra time and SMUS held their lead throughout the game, although they did concede one try, giving a final score of SMUS 17 – Cowichan 10. I volunteered to TJ for local ref John De Goode in the following game, with the luxury of my wet weather gear which was getting tested to the limit. It was then back to the Jones house for match analysis, a beer and the biggest chicken curry you’ve ever seen.

Friday 21st
This was really a repeat of the previous day, but without the dead Salmon, Eagles and Bears. The weather was a little better, with precipitation downgraded to mild showers, although the chill remained. The game was a semi-final between Shawnigan (the host school) and Brentwood, who gave everything in the quarters in the previous day. The game was played on the “Canada” field – where the Canadians play their national games, when on the west coast. In the pre-match chat with school headmaster, we discovered that my high-school from England often toured to Shawnigan in the spring – small world.

Kick-off was just as school ended for the day so about 300 people came out to watch the game, complete with costumed dancers and the school band. These guys take their rugby seriously. This was the loudest game I have ever had and the wall of noise gave a real thrill as I blew the whistle to start the game. At one of the first tackle/rucks, the Shawnigan tight-head took exception to having his shirt held, so he hit his opponent square in the back. I immediately blew it up, brought the captain and the prop over, had a discussion and was assured it was down to the adrenaline, as less than a minute had gone by. Brentwood opted to run the penalty and the same prop showed up on the opposite side of the field to issue a very questionable tackle, just seconds after being told to control himself. He didn’t take part in the next 10 minutes of the game.

The match continued with no further foul play, just a one-sided game that was dominated by a faster, stronger, better coached team in the shape of Shawnigan. The final score was Shawnigan 30 – 0 Brentwood. Once again, it was back to town for a couple of pints in the Penny Farthing pub, fish and chips and bed.

Saturday 22nd
The best weather on the trip so far. My final game was played at MacDonald Park, close to downtown Victoria and just one block from the ocean in sunny and comparatively warm conditions. No gore-tex required. The teams were James Bay Athletic Association II and University of Victoria Jutes (UVIC’s thirds).

It became apparent that James Bay was by far the better team, with considerable weight advantage over the younger University team. James Bay produced excellent, clean ball and utilized their backs well. It was 27 – 10 at half-time to James Bay and one of the Justes tries was a Penalty Try after the winger was tripped while jogging in at the corner (yes, they missed the conversion in front of the posts). More of the same came in the second half with a final score of James Bay II 77 – 10 UVIC Jutes. It was then up to the University to watch the two first XVs go at it and then into the clubhouse to pick over the games over a pitcher of beer.

The evening was spent at John De Goodes house for a BC ref event – John’s legendary lasagna dinner and a selection of red wines from around the world. Notable attendees were Bruce Kuklinski, Ashley Anderson, Mel Jones, Keith Morrison, Sam Langridge, Josh Elsdon, and a selection of refs, each of which had seen action with the whistle that day.

Sunday was pretty much a travel day and true to form, as the rugby was done with, the sun was out and the temperature up.

Thanks to Bjorn for organizing things from our end, and to British Columbia Rugby Referee Society for looking after me during my visit.


SF/Golden Gate is having a crab feed this Saturday after their Green v. White match, which James Hinkin will referee. Looks like a satisfying menu: crab, pasta, salad, ice cream, with Guinness floats available as well.

After an afternoon of rugby, or shopping, or Christmas-tree chopping, you might want to drop by. $25 at 5 PM.

New Berkeley Pitch
There’s a new pitch in Berkeley, right next to Interstate 80 just south of the horse race track.

Dixon Smith and John Coppinger are there to help christen it. Note the blue lines for rugby!

Note also the weather: you’ve read this week about dense fog in the valleys and even in Moraga, just a few miles from here.


For the Senate
Pelicus Scriptoris

Monday, December 01, 2008




Looks like we have a need for at least six more referees on December 6, with one each in Chico, Sac and Davis.

And then, too, there are three night games on Friday, December 5, including two in Reno.

We’ll be happy to hear from you. Let us know.


The new Laws are not the same for U19 players as they are for everyone else. Two of them do not apply, both pertaining to mauls:


‘Head and Shoulders not being lower than the hips’

The ELV’s recommend the removal of existing law 17.2(a)

Law 17.2 Players joining a maul must have their heads and shoulders no lower than their hips
Penalty: Free Kick

‘Players are able to defend a maul by pulling it down’

The ELV’s recommended the addition of 17.5(b)

Law 17.5 (b) A Player may pull a maul to the ground providing that player does so by pulling another player in the maul down from the shoulders to the hips
Penalty: Penalty Kick

Law 17.6 (b) is modified to include the words ‘or is pulled down’


We will be meeting on the second Wednesday monthly from December through April. Mark your calendars for December 10th, when we’ll be working on our Tackle.


Maritime Academy 8 – STANFORD 12 Referee: Sam Davis
Friday night under the lights at 6:00 PM where is the sunshine ;-) oh yea it is rugby season. Cal Maritime was suited up and putting their game face on. 6:40 Stanford arrives after being held up in traffic. Kickoff 7:00. My personal opinion I believe that Stanford thought this game would be a walk in the park. Someone forgot to tell Cal Maritime.

Cal Maritime dominated the first half with their scrum and wide open play. Stanford was plagued with penalties talking, not releasing, and hands in the ruck. I as a ref lost my cool and yelled and threaten red cards if one person did not "shut up" (bad form for a ref). (My apology was accepted after the game.) Stanford’s first disappointment was a multi-phase movement to the wing back to the center. He was tackled 8 meters out and crawled the rest of the way to the goal line. You can’t do that. I did not give them the score. Play went up and down the field for 23 min and with 17 min left in the half. CM drew first blood in the corner on a wide-open play and extra effort by the pack. The half ended 5-0 CM

The second half had the same intensity. Stanford not-back-10 on20a offside penalty set up the kick, CM up 8-0. Stanford made their first score at 30 min mark; kick was good. CM 8 - Stanford 7. CM started to run out of steam. Stanford scored another one in the corner at the 3 min mark; kick no good. Cal Maritime was on the attack when time ran out. Cal Maritime will be the team to watch this year, with well-coached, big, fast players.

Good luck to both teams!

Seconds: MARITIME ACADEMY 32 – Stanford 19 Referee: Ray Schwartz
Touch Judge: Nate Houseman
My North Bay tour began Friday evening as I left Sacramento at rush hour for the Maritime Academy. Sam Davis would ref the A Side and I wanted to be there to help. Traffic flowed well enough, and I pulled up fully kitted and ready to take a flag. There was about 10 minutes to kick off so I made my rounds and quickly settled into a chat with Peter McGroarty, who helped found the program about 11 years ago with Paddy Shrimpton.

Peter teaches Seamanship on campus, and works at Chevron off. Next to him was a recent graduate (and no doubt a favorite past student), Nate Houseman, a fit and keen young man with 6 years of rugby under his belt, eager to stay involved, but who had to retire from play due to concussions. I was wearing my navy jacket with the NCRFU patch Dan Hickey kindly bestowed upon me, and Nate asked if I was with the pelicanrefs. He remembered emailing me last year about a ref course but couldn't make it then.

I asked if his schedule was flexible, "Yes." Where he lives, "Berkeley." If he'd like to taught/coached to become a successful rugby referee, and earn $500 in the first season reffing (10) U19 matches? Nate's answer was an emphatic "Yes!" Peter smiled, adding Nate's rugby IQ was high, and he'd make for a fine ref. Finally, I asked if he could get to Sacramento for the Level 1 Ref Class my wife Kat was teaching with Matt Eason at 9AM the next morning, "Yes!" I hit Matt's number on my trusty speed dial, introduced Nate to Matt, and then handed Nate the phone before trotting to the line as the game was kicking off.

It was that easy! Just get out there, ask a few questions, and identify a candidate for the initial Kick Off RDP. Well, I wish it was always that easy, but it was right then and there!

On my drive down I called old friend Rik Ravsten, the former and current Kent Crusaders U19 head coach, trying to convince him to bring his side down from Seattle for the KOT. He offered a good friend's son played in the forward pack for the Keelhaulers. "The only white guy named Rufus, a 6' 3" red head, can't miss him," Rik said.

As the game started I quickly learned that Rufus was both team captain and beloved by his teammates and fans. Indeed head coach Ed Roberts was pleased to have him. Peter added that rugby is the biggest thing going on campus these days, and so it appeared that Rufus was literally BMOC. It certainly appeared that there were over 200 sharing the sideline (neatly behind the field ropes), and most were pleased to cheer for Rufus! He played well from the openside flank, earning the adulation.

Stanford on the other hand seemed to play down to the D II Keelhaulers, or maybe they just played poorly. The knocked on a lot, pressing too much. A close, entertaining game came down to the wire on this cool night. It was fun stuff. At one point midway through the second half Maritime's flyhalf subbed out, walking across the touchline into his teammates box. Heard down the line from some 30 yards away, a classmate called out, "You're number 10 on the field, but number 1 in our hearts!" I had to laugh.

Oh yeah, and then I had a game to ref myself. (2) 30 minute periods for what were mostly rookies. I met the captains, both front rowers, Doug from Stanford and Bobbie from Maritime. Turns out I had reffed Bobby at least a dozen times before while he played for Alameda at the U19 level. Great kid. I was told later that Bobbie was just about the only player with any experience for his side. The rest had yet to play a single game. This was amazing, because they played and played. It was awesome rugby.

Both teams made plays, taking the game right to the edge straight from the start and all the way through. Early on, one period of play seemed to go by for about 5 minutes before I needed to blow the whistle. These boys were loving it. Some outstanding play by both sides. Stanford had a burner test my hamstring as he sprinted over 60 meters around the outside to then score under the posts. Later, Stanford's wiry scrumhalf, frustrated20to see a ball stuck in the side of a ruck, stabbed at it neatly with his boot. The ball popped out perfectly, and try was scored. Clearly a veteran play.

But it was the Keelhauler's who ultimately ruled the day. An impressive number of hard rucking, hard running ruggers asserted themselves as they grew more confident, eventually wearing out the relatively thin numbers of Stanford, who travelled with perhaps 26 players. The only persistent problem to emerge, a total failure to retreat 10 at penalties by the Keelhaulers finally affected play and drew a Yellow. Afterwards coach Ed offered that this was the one thing they had failed to coach in the weeks leading up to this first match. Something to work on, but luckily, rugby is alive and well on campus, so he'll have lots of eager students!

Postmatch meant sideline pizza, a change into dry clothes, and then a drive up through Napa to Kat's Uncle Jim's ranch in Santa Rosa. I had a swimming pool sales call early the next morning less than 10 miles away, where I met a young homeowner, Gary whose hope is to build an ambitious project on his hillside lot. This too was rugby-related, as Gary was lifelong friends with Billy Jereb, the former Collegiate All-American Captain and #8 from Cal State Long Beach. Bill grew up in Rosa, where I had helped him with his own hillside design early this summer. Upon collecting a design service fee, it was time to head off to UC Davis.

UC Davis 13 – CAL POLY 14 Referee: John Coppinger
On a beautiful late fall afternoon on the UC Davis campus, CPO-SLO came back from a 10-7 deficit at the half to win 14-13.

CPO-SLO were bigger, faster, and better organized on the day, but UCD boxed well above their weight. Three UCD advances to within 5 meters of the Cal Poly goal-line were stopped by knock-ons forced by big hits by the Cal Poly defense.

A good CPO-SLO try-scoring opportunity was lost at minute 79 when a CP-SLO forward started a slashing run towards the posts from within the UCD 22 meter-line only to cut back towards the corner where he ran into the referee, who then bounced into two UCD defenders effectively blocking them and providing a clear path to the goal line for the ball carrier. After the resulting scrum, the UCD ball carrier was bundled into touch to end the match.

A good-sized crowd, Donal Walsh among them, enjoyed the day.

Seconds: UC Davis 0 – CAL POLY 55 Referee: Ray Schwartz
Touch Judges: John Coppinger & Pete Lisson (Cal Poly dad, Mother Lode coach)
I figured this game would be a big step up from the night before. Bigger, more athletic players and greater squad depth should make it so. John had just come off the pitch from a very close match as I arrived. I hoped for the same. It certainly started out so, but as the game moved to 21-0 at the half, with Cal Poly out front, I lost hope.

Cal Poly featured some surprisingly strong players in the second side, whereas Davis had numbers but lacked quality. Poly's #8, a former player at Montgomery, was big, strong, confident and quick. They also featured number of smallish yet powerful and well-balanced backs. But I really appreciated their large, scrum-capped lock. He was the kind of guy who just kept the engine running, hitting the piles squared up and driving them back, and never really making a mistake.

In contrast, Davis had some guys unfit, whereas some of the fit ones ran too upright, or threw too many 50-50 passes. There was lots of hands in at the rucks, blocking, obstruction, delay in throw ins at the line out, etc... Poly had a tendency to go to deck, to seal of the ball at the tackle/ruck, however Davis stood by dumbfounded, or at least uninterested in taking part in the fight, so Poly's possible infractions lacked materiality.

At the half a new back, short, stocky and explosive, subbed in for Poly and soon after raced off to nearly score a long try in the corner. Both Coppinger and I were left unsighted, and it seemed there might have been a knock on before the dot down. Scrum 5 was called and no one complained, thank goodness. The same player raced off alone again several more times, a one-man wrecking crew at 5' 6" of height, until he finally scored his own undeniable try. And he was a happy camper.

Midway through the 2nd half I heard something I never expected, Davis had had it, as Poly was running away with the game. I began looking to end the match early, and when Zack Lisson raced away for Poly's 9th unanswered try, that moment was found.

Thanks for the games and the expert TJ work in Davis. Nice to report my fitness keeps improving. There is hope for this 270 pound gorilla!

Fog 5 – BERKELEY 31 Referee: Preston Gordon
(Halftime 0-17)
This was a very clean, well played match with the scoreline somewhat flattering Berkeley. Aside from one yellow card to the Fog #7, who I caught lying on the wrong side of the ruck one too many times, it was a great day.

Seconds: Fog 5 – BERKELEY 50 Referee: Dave Heath
A solid win for Berkeley, who stormed ahead into a 40-5 half-time lead, but SF Fog showed glimpses of what they can do by defending tenaciously in the second half and restricting Berkeley to just two unconverted tries, the last one as the final play of the match.

Good game played with some friendly banter, assisted by one absolute howler by yours truly that Berkeley didn't appreciate at the time but were able to smile about afterwards. Enough said!

SANTA ROSA JC 29 – Nevada 0 Referee: Roberto Santiago
For Pete's Sake Field

This is why I moved back to California: cool clear and mild in mid-November. And the rugby's good too. On this particular day the rugby was entertaining even if it was one-sided. Santa Rosa Jr. College came out strong and fast right from the opening whistle scoring their first try at the 2:00 minute mark. The young Nevada team they were facing left their games in the car early on and found themselves down 29-0 at half time. Most of the damage was done against the Nevada backline who had trouble organizing defensively.

After the half the game got much tighter and a bit sloppier. Nevada found their rhythm on D and did not allow another score for the rest of the game. They also didn't score. With both teams working their subs into this preseason tilt the second half saw a good number of knock ons and forward passes. That said both teams s howed that they are well coached and did a good job listening to the ref.

Once again it was a great day and a good time. Is this stuff fun or what?

SAN JOSE STATE – UC Santa Cruz Referee: Pete Smith
My game was more of a scrimmage with coaches on the field, open subs and mostly UCSC’s B side. To those ends, SJSU have some very good athletes and some good rugby players. They worked well enough together to score 79 points on the Banana Slugs and keep the UC kids off the score sheet. There were ten different try scorers for the Spartans who have done very well in the pre-season in Dean White’s 3rd year as head coach. Hopefully some of the former high school players can get enrolled in SJSU out of the community colleges locally and make themselves eligible to play ‘A’ side.


This event is played as a round-robin, with no champions per se. However, the Chico men’s club, the Chico State men and the Davis Double Deckers all went through the day undefeated.

Tournament organizer Mitch Jagoe insured that all of the teams and players were CIPP-compliant. This meant that three teams who had earlier expressed interest did not turn up. All three are regular-season competitors in the NCRFU, so we hope they will have their registrations in order by then.

Given that the CIPP year begins September 1, they could have registered already for the same amount of money they are going to pay for the season and enjoyed the rugby in Chico.

The sun shone all day, at that low bright angle that says ‘rugby season’ in these climes. Play began right on time, no more than fifteen minutes late. If we are to note that Joe Leisek’s game began closer to nine AM than Phil Ulibarri’s, we should also note that Phil only found out that he had an early game over breakfast as a waffle house shortly there before.

Other referees on the day were Jim Crenshaw, Don Pattalock, Sam Reagle, Bruce Carter, and Mike King, who sent in these reports:

U. OF SAN FRANCISCO 24 – U. of the Pacific 19 Referee: Mike King
In the true spirit of the game, UOP generously loaned several players to USF and may have regretted its generosity. In a very close contest involving numerous open field breaks through each defensive line, the final count favored USF. Everyone played at full tilt and both sides were able to give valuable playing time to some new players.

DAVIS DOUBLE DECKER 44 – UC Davis 0 Ref: King
Due to earlier injuries, UC Davis was short 2 front row players. DDD was kind enough to loan 2 experienced and steady players to allow scrums to be contested. Scoring by DD was fairly evenly spaced every 5 minutes throughout the match. UC threatened a few times and played with determination. Experience and acquired skill prevailed in the end.

DAVIS DOUBLE DECKER 34 – San Luis Obispo 0 Ref: King
In a very physical contest with some exciting ball handling by both sides, the domination of the tireless and hard-nosed DDD women continued. While there were valiant moments for the SLO team who held their own in set pieces, DDD just had more players at the point of attack. They prevailed with relentless pressure. Kudos to both sides for an excellent contest.

Saturday Pat Vincent Cup

UC Santa Barbara 20=2 0– CENTRAL WASHINGTON 32 Referee: Paul Bretz
Saturday's semi-final match between Central Washington and UC Santa Barbra resulted in a 34-32 match to CWU. Santa Barbra scored 3 late second half tries to make the match a two point difference.

ST. MARY’S 34 – Loyola-Marymount 17 Referee: Tom Zanarini
Assistant Referees: Eric Rauscher, Paul Bretz
Assessor: Bryan Porter
On a beautiful Saturday for rugby I had the pleasure of refereeing St. Mary's v. LMU. Eric Rauscher was available to be an assistant referee and Paul Bretz was kind enough to stay after his UCSB V. CWU match to run touch as well. With the added bonus of Brian Porter as a referee evaluator I was in rugby heaven.

The first half was pretty back and forth, no team dominating but a good contest. 17-14 to St. Mary's. The second half saw the experience of SMC come to the front and they made LMU pay for simple missed tackles and lack of discipline. Good match overall. LMU showed lots of skill and power for a D2 side.


UC SANTA BARBARA 47 – Loyola-Marymount 0 Referee: Tom Zanarini
Less than 20 hours and we're back on the field. Saturday night's cold tub and pasta dinner was the right choice for this sprintfest. LMU had good general contest but couldn't hold the skill of the SB backs. 3 tries in the first half seemed ok, but SB came back screaming to score tries at 37, 21, 18, 10, 8, and 2 minutes.

Thanks to Dave Williamson for the evaluation. Post match was what Nor Cal refereeing was all about. I was able to discuss my skills will Paul Bretz, then get micked up to him and put up in the lift with Dave W. to watch and listen to Paul and discuss what how I can better my skills. Both were very selfless in their accommodation of me and I couldn't be more grateful. I learned more in one weekend here than I think is possible in a season in any other Society.

What a blessed weekend!

ST. MARY’S 32 – Central Washington 27 Referee: Paul Bretz
Sunday's final between St. Mary's and Central Washington was an enjoyable match to both watch and referee. Both teams are well drilled, have good athletes, and love to spin the ball out wide. 400 plus fans enjoyed the spectacle that saw the tightly contested Match. With 10 minutes to go the match was tied @ 27-27. St. Mary's scored in the corner after spending more than 5 minutes attacking inside their CWU's defending 22 meter line. Every time It looked as if St. Mary's was going to score CWU repelled the attackers only to sustain another attack.

This concludes CWU's season until the spring. Hopefully they can do as well in the post season as they have done to this point. Thanks go out to Giles and Eric for doing a superb job of running touch.

STANFORD women 50 – UC Santa Cruz 17 Referee: Tony Redmond
Stanford 50 (5G, 3T), Santa Cruz 17 (1G, 2T)
A pretty open game played in good spirit. First penalty after 22 minutes and no more than 8 in the entire game, the majority in the last 20 minutes after players lost their shape through tiredness, which is to be expected at this stage of the season. Stanford scored 34 unanswered points in the first half as they were faster and more controlled at the breakdown, which led to a nice supply of quick ball that their backs made full use of. Stanford scored first in the second half and then went to sleep to allow Santa Cruz to score three times (starting with an intercept try) before they finished off with a last minute score to reach the half century.


All of you who might find yourself refereeing a game in the next year need to take the time to sign and submit the NCRFU Safety Protocol.

This can be downloaded from our website:


You may sign it electronically and send it in via e-mail, or print out, sign and snail-mail in the signature page.


18474 Deertrack Place
Salinas, CA 93908

Ref Class of 2008
Matt Eason and Kat Todd-Schwartz spent a weekend training folks in Sacramento – a level one referee course on Saturday and a TJ course on Sunday.

We have a photo of Kat with the students from the Saturday course. You could have played match the faces based on their ages:

Riley Snider: Age 14; Nick Boyer: Age 15; Robert Burgwilz: Age 16; Tristan Boyer: Age 17; Byron Edrington: Age 18; David Guttridge: Age 18; Manny Galvan: Age 21; Nathan Housman: Age 24; Daniel Kaufman: Age 26; Scott McConnell: Age 35; Heath Hatheway: Age 40; Michael McCarty: Age 45.

We have a dire need for more referees. Younger referees tend to be around more years blowing the whistle, but everyone has a chance to discover how rewarding it is to enjoy the privilege of refereeing rugby games in the best local union in the United States.

Let us wish most earnestly that some of these folks join the Society and request assignments.


For the Senate
Pelicus Scriptoris

Wednesday, November 19, 2008




As noted by Kurt Oeler on his Gainline website, one of the New Zealand Heartland players commented that their recent tour was their first experience of professional rugby.

We read these comments with pride, their first match having been officiated by an all-Northern California crew appointed by the Pacific Coast RRS. It would appear that a professional job done by amateurs is indistinguishable from a professional job!


The match cards have to have CIPP numbers on them – and a team representative signature – BEFORE YOU KICK OFF THE MATCH.

Any misrepresentations will them be charged to the team/person signing the card.

Clarify ahead of time - with both teams - that they have CIPP registration as a team and as individuals. You are not responsible for being lied to. If they say they are registered and they sign off on CIPP numbers for everyone, you are in the clear.

Referees are not required to verify the information beyond seeing that it is provided. If everyone has the same CIPP number then you obviously have a problem.

REFEREES: THIS IS NOT OPTIONAL. DO NOT REFEREE THE GAME IF THE TEAMS AND PLAYERS ARE NOT IN COMPLAINCE. They can go play softball or soccer if they want to – for which they’ll have to register and pay a lot more than USA Rugby charges.

They can play if they want to – they just can’t have a referee from the NCRRS or play under the auspices of the NCRFU. Informal picnic rugby is still on.

If you don’t want to waste a Saturday driving to a game that you cannot referee, require proof of compliance ahead of time. It’s a simple matter of looking on the USA Rugby website whether the teams are registered and that they each have at least fifteen players listed as current.

The NCRRS does not want to have to discipline any of its members. However, we cannot allow loose cannon to be rolling about the deck of the Good Ship NorCal Rugby.


We will be meeting on the second Wednesday monthly from December through April. Mark your calendars for December 10th, when we’ll be working on our Tackle.


Maritime Academy – University of San Francisco
Notional Referee: John Coppinger
Thursday evening

This game unfortunately had to be canceled, in part due to our new policy requiring teams and players to be CIPP-compliant even for pre-season friendlies. It was a shame: players and ref were ready for a Thursday-evening run.

The way to test any system is to stress it.

USA Rugby changed the CIPP-year from the calendar to one beginning September 1. Colleges, anticipating serious play beginning in January, often elect to be sent an invoice in paying the CIPP fee for their teams – which of course allows them to submit it to their institutions for payment.

But once you elect to be invoiced you cannot then pay by credit card – such as when you realize that you need to be paid-up by sundown. USF’s check had been mailed Nov. 5 but not yet cashed – and they could not even double-pay to get the game rolling.

The take-home lesson is: teams, players and referees – register now. And make a habit of registering every August.

Humboldt Women's tournament
Notional Referee: Scott Wood
I woke early to prepare for my drive north. Loaded up the car, fired up the iPod, and headed out for my six hour trip. The sun shone down from a clear, blue sky. Not a cloud in site. I drove north on I-5 to Williams where I stopped for lunch at Granzella's which just reopened after a devastating fire. Continuing north, I-5 begins its slow climb out of the Sacramento Valley until Redding where my route turned west on Hwy 299. Winding roads took me along the lower reaches of Bigfoot habitat and what can be described as God's country. The highway winds into the Trinity Alps, past orchards and farms, and the Six Rivers National Forest before dropping into the Mad River gorge and out to Hwy 101. The sunset was spectacular on this Sunday evening. Yes, Sunday. You see, I planned to kill two birds with one stone and arranged to visit some clients in Eureka this week after refereeing on Saturday.

Humboldt State Women's Tournament 0
Referee 0

Nobody wins. The tournament was canceled due to “weather”. Forecast for Friday, Saturday, and Sunday: 65F and sunny....


USF – SFGG Alumni Referee: Paul Berman?
No report received.

SF GOLDEN GATE D2, 46 – Berkeley 10 Referee: Paul Bretz
SFGG Beat Berkeley 46-10. Format of the game was open substitution. SFGG started with their under 20 program and concluded the game with a mixture of div. 1, super league, and under 20 players.

Seconds: SF GOLDEN GATE D2, 29 – Berkeley 0 Referee: Dave Heath
Late afternoon sunshine was the biggest problem to contend with as the two sides played a 40 minute run out. Many of the players had participated in the previous game, so there were varying degrees of energy and commitment on the pitch. SFGG were in control from the off, and although Berkeley put together some spirited individual performances and some good passages of play they never really threatened the SFGG line, whereas SFGG picked them off whenever a chance arose.

Glorious weather, a wonderful pitch and two teams with a good approach to the game.

Arriving at Davis' Pioneer Park expecting a match between UC Davis Women and St. Mary's, I was pleasantly surprised that what was on tap instead was a mini tournament between Davis' A & B sides, St. Mary's, and USF.

On tap, four 30-minutes mini-match, and a 20-minute one to close the proceedings.

UC Davis A-Side vs. St. Mary's 15-0. The Davis ladies just too strong for a St. Mary's team which, though well drilled and committed, is obviously rebuilding. Three unconverted tries by Davis and no score for St. Mary's.

UC Davis A&B Sides combined vs. USF 0-0. If you lamented the fact that the USF ladies have long advertised for a coach, fret no more. One Kathy Flores (of World Cup & Eagles fame) came to their rescue, and the results were immediately apparent. Although the USF ladies are a new and inexperienced side, they are the ones to watch in the near future. A sturdy pack, and a great back line helped them keep Davis at bay. Much back & forth, but no score.

Another UC Davis amalgam & USF. USF seemed to improve as the day went by. Their pack grew in effectiveness, and their backs dazzled with their runs and their tackling. USF 5 - Davis 0. The score could have been higher if the USF ladies had passed a bit more.

St. Mary's vs. UC Davis B Side. St. Mary got the best of Davis on this one. Plenty runs, and much tackling. The close score reflects the closely matched skills of the two teams. Final Score: St. Mary 5 - Davis 0

St. Mary's - USF 5-5. USF continued to surprise as, for a new side, they play with skill and panache. This last match was an abbreviated one, with two 10 minutes halves. The first half saw a try scored by each side with no conversions. With a couple of minutes from to go in the second half, with the agreement of both coaches, I ended the match. This due to a collision between two of the St. Mary's ladies. In 35 years of Rugby I have never heard the sound of two heads hitting as hard as on this occasion - a sound like the throwing of a coconut against the wall. Both ladies went down and were assessed by a doctor on the sidelines. A visit to the emergency room was recommended for both, even though they were on their feet, albeit groggily. Spectators reported to have heard the sound of the collision clear across the whole length of the pitch. My best wishes to both players!

In spite of this frightening episode, this was a glorious day. Beautiful weather, committed sportswomen playing hard, and with their customary good behavior. A goodish crowd on tap, and fun for all."

SACRAMENTO STATE 134 – San Francisco State 0 Referee: Phil Akroyd
Referee Coach: David Williamson

Yes, it was as one-sided as the score suggests.

My old high-school coach used to say that the way you win is simple: Get the ball, keep the ball, score. That’s pretty much what Sac State did for 80 minutes. Sac’s superior size, speed, experience and ability were too much for a ramshackle San Francisco team to deal with. The game kept to a pretty similar pattern throughout with the score 67 – 0 at half-time.

The second half resumed in the same way, with try after try and little defense from SF. There was a pleasing similarity to the halves, with 67 points scored in the first half and 67 in the second.

San Francisco were eager to play a full 80 minutes and only was it in the final minute that things took a strange turn. After Sac scored their final (and 20th) try, SF restarted with a kick, which was caught by the Sac pack who took the ball up field a few meters and were tackled. For some reason, the SF #16 wanted to take something home from the game and hit the ruck/ball carrier with a punch on an opposition player. Carnage ensued with Sac #7 retaliating in a blur of fists, with boots to players on the ground. I believe that the 28 law abiding players on the field, were as confused at the chain events that took place as I was, with captains apologizing and agreeing to end the game with less than 30 seconds left on the clock. The two offending players were issued red cards and both teams retired to pizzas and sodas, putting a very bizarre end to a game that was played in great spirits by both teams.

Sierra JC 11 – SAN JOSE STATE seconds 29 Referee: Roberto Santiago
What month is it? The weather was beautiful at St Mary's College on Saturday for an early 9:00am kickoff. Both teams showed offensive skill and speed early on as the score stood at 5-5 2:30 into the game. After the quick scores both teams settled in and though they threatened each other inside the 5 meter lines both Ds held up well for a half time score that saw Sierra up 11-8.

The second half came with some subs on the San Jose side as the Spartans got bigger and faster at fly-half and in the loose forwards. Three converted tries in the second half provided the margin of victory for San Jose State. Both teams showed skill, strategy, and intelligence that reflects well on the abilities both the players and the coaches.

ST. MARY’S 99 – Santa Clara 0 Referee: James Hinkin
Assistant Referees: Eric Rauscher, John Coppinger/Rich Anderson
Evaluator: Bryan Porter

It was a typical mid-November rugby day. The temperature as I got into my car was a nippy 27 degrees but had warmed up to 35 by game time. As I pulled into the parking lot and contemplated leaving my warm car and braving the elements I saw the home side already on the pitch shoveling the remains of last night’s snow off the lines, so I decided that since I had to get out of the car eventually...Wait. Hold on. We live in California don’t we? Start again...

Arriving at St Mary’s Pat Vincent Field the temperature read a perfect 75 degrees. With no clouds in sight and a few stray zephyrs tickling the treetops it was a perfect rugby day. A match between St Mary’s B side and San Jose St was already in progress so I located both coaches, reminisced about our glory days, handed out the match cards and got set for the match.

St Mary’s won the toss and selected to defend an end, so Santa Clara kicked off and we were away. St Mary’s weathered a little pressure and countered to score within the first 5 minutes. Santa Clara kicked off. St Mary’s weathered a little pressure and countered to score. Santa Clara kicked off. St Mary’s weathered a little pressure and countered to score.

While it wasn’t quite that fast and Santa Clara had some nice, coherent passages of play they couldn’t capitalize on St Mary’s mistakes mainly due to the dominance of the SMC scrum. SCU was overmatched and managed to win their ball less than half the time at the put in. That being said the SCU team was disciplined and played hard in a losing cause for 80 minutes and there was no foul play or “frustration penalties” to speak of.

Of note, at about the 75th minute SMC had a turnover that they sent through the hands to their winger who was free on an overlap yet the SCU fullback sprinted nearly the length of the field to drag him down with an excellent tackle, and that was by no means unique. Several tries went begging due to the dogged determination of SCU chasers.

St Mary’s spread the ball and used forwards and backs in attack productively to score 17 tries. Their scrum in particular was dominant and they have skill and pace in the back division.

Seconds: St. Mary's – Santa Clara Referee: Sam Davis
Santa Clara did not have a second team. St Mary's 2nds played against themselves and I reffed the scrimmage. A lot of fun; St Mary's won ;-)

NEVADA 44 – SF Fog 5 Referee: Sam Reagle
Conditions: Perfect

I crossed the Sierras mid-afternoon for the 6pm start in Reno. It was 75 degrees in Roseville when I left and around 60 with clear skies in Reno a couple of hours later. The teams were raring to go so we kicked off at 5:45 under the lights.

The Wolfpack scored first just a couple minutes in. Seven minutes of seesaw rugby later, the Fog crossed the goal line to tie the game. It was shortly after this that the UNR pack took over the game and pushed the less-experienced Fog pack backwards time and again. The Fog had their moments with a fairly good defense, but problems recycling the ball after a good run led to many turnovers.

Seconds: Nevada 19 – FOG 26 Referee: Bruce Anderson


Santa Rosa JC 0 – STANFORD 57 Referee: Tom Zanarini
A beautiful and sunny day in Santa Rosa. This was my first match since the England tour and it felt great getting back on the pitch. Santa Rosa JC seemed up to the task of hosting a Div 1 team and played their hearts out. Stanford were just simply more skilled with more depth. Wherever the SRJC players decide to finish their college degrees, they will be impact players. Look out for #5 Jake Shull, #9 Jarrett Janssen and #10 Greg Hildebrand. Both teams played hard and fast and were gentlemen throughout.

Seconds: SANTA ROSA JC 12 – Stanford 7 Referee: Mike King
I had the opportunity to run touch for Tom Zanarini while the A sides played. After 3 periods, both sides were able to play many of the remaining subs. For Stanford especially, these were young men new to the game. Both sides played with spirit and maintained a high level of intensity for the relatively short period they played. Stanford’s players showed their potential, with several nice breaks and good ball handling. SRJC used its pounding style to put the Cardinal back on its heels, and forcing some rookie mistakes around the rucks and mauls. It was a pleasure to officiate these groups of young men.

Stanford women 19 – DAVIS DOUBLE DECKERS 44 Referee: Bruce Carter
It was hot. Summertime hot. Actually, it was hotter than summertime where I live, in Salinas. The mercury hit 92!

Stanford, nestled in the shade of eucalyptus and redwoods, basked in the mid-eighties. We had water breaks in this match, wherein the action was as hot as the environs.

Pre-game, Davis mentioned that they would try to keep the ball from Stanford’s famously-fast outside backs.

(This report assumes that players’ names are listed correctly next to the numbers on the match card, which we note contains a total of 40 players and forty non-redundant CIPP numbers.)

Three minutes in, Stanford attempted to clear from their end. This was charged down (didn’t get the number) and then Suzanne Iwatate fell on it for first blood.

At fourteen minutes, Davis’ #3, Jessica Derreira, powered into the corner for another try.

Thirty minutes in, Davis’ worries about being overmatched in pace proved specious. Heidi Harmon won a sixty-meter footrace to bring the score to fifteen-nil.

We fear we would have to review many years of match reports to find the last time the Cardinal were down by fifteen points. Their backs had been bottled up by passes that didn’t find runners in space, by sideways running, and by aggressive defense. So the forwards came to the fore.

Flankers Alyssa Tennant and Ono Nseyo each scored within a few minutes late in the first half. One of these was converted to bring the count to 12 – 15.

However, in the second half the Double Deckers re-asserted themselves, controlling most phases of the game with Captain and #10 Mary Triantafyllou shifting the ball in the most advantageous direction time after time.

Stanford managed a third try midway through the second stanza, the second one for Nseyo after a long run, which was converted by Melissa Smit.

This, however, was sandwiched between a score by Davis’ Tara McBride, a second try on a penalty-play smash-up by Derreira, and tallies by Erin Frier, Erika Lane, and Haley French.

Triantafyllou used her first five conversion attempts for warm-ups, hit the next two, then went off the boil again, for the final totals of 19 – 44.


All of you who might find yourself refereeing a game in the next year need to take the time to sign and submit the NCRFU Safety Protocol.

This can be downloaded from our website:


You may sign it electronically and send it in via e-mail, or print out, sign and snail-mail in the signature page.


18474 Deertrack Place
Salinas, CA 93908

By Praying, By Working
This is where the Game began – the Close at Rugby School.

Their crest adorns the in-goal before a match. The referee’s butterflies barely allow him to steady the camera for this pre-game shot. Your photo-viewing software will bring out the plaque on the wall between the far uprights – this is the one you’ve seen before, placed there by QE II, commemorating the exploits of one William Webb Ellis.

And how did a referee from Northern California come to be assigned such a desirable fixture? Read and heed the motto...


For the Senate
Pelicus Scriptoris