Tuesday, January 15, 2008




Why delay the good news? Congratulations to John.


We could certainly use a few more refs this Saturday, January 19. If you did not previously think you would be available but you would be able to do a game – as early as 10:30 AM or as late as 7:30 PM – PLEASE LET PETE SMITH KNOW:



Please reply whether you can referee each of the following weekends, and whether you can travel to a distant game:

Feb 2 Yes/No Travel? Sunday, Feb 3: Two games in Reno
Feb 9 Yes/No Travel?
Feb 16 Yes/No Travel?
Feb 23 Yes/No Travel? Sunday, Feb 24: Two games in Moraga


The podcasts are up from tackle presentations by Tony Redmond and Paul Bretz:


Our next meeting will be February 5.


Referees in most parts of North America in early January can only dream of what we are doing right now: refereeing rugby!

SEAHAWKS 15 – Diablo Gaels 8 Referee: John Pohlman

I started my day with a high school scrimmage at 9:30AM. And then finished it with a men's game at 7:00PM. Yes rugby season is officially here.

San Jose was to host the Provo Utah Steelers. The Steelers backed out last week. Diablo has been hit hard with the flu, which cancelled their game against the Seahawks last week. Thus set up the 7:00PM kick-off for Saturday night. It made sense when it was originally explained to me.

The field was in pretty good conditions. Well marked with goals posts and barrier ropes. The far side line & one end zone was a bit dark due to poor lighting.

Diablo has had a few injuries and allot of the flu bug. They had around 17 players. San Jose looked to have two full sides. Due to the numbers it was decided two 40 minutes halves. A friendly scrimmage. At least until the whistle blows.

San Jose started at 210 miles per hour. A pace no team could keep. Diablo's defense held the original swarm.

A Seahawks wing picked up a Diablo dropped pass thirteen minutes in for the first try of the game. James Hinkin, part-time referee, now playing scrum half slotted the kick.

The rest of the first half was controlled by San Jose. Big clean outs at the rucks produced lots of ball. The Diablo defense made tackle after tackle holding Hinkin and the hawks to one penalty to finish the first half.

Diablo Gaels coach Harry's half time speech, some special Gaels half time potion or maybe San Jose substituting some players caused Diablo to come out with the speed San Jose had started the game. The Gaels forwards took control. They cleaned every ball giving scrum half and captain John some excellent opportunities. The Gaels first scored on a penalty followed by a try at the 20 minute mark.

San Jose had missed an earlier penalty thus the score with 20 minutes left was San Jose 10 Diablo 8.

Well the friendly scrimmage was long gone. San Jose started making a few more substitutions and the game seemed to even out.

The tackles became more contested. No more nice clear outs with obvious clean ball.

San Jose's winger was put away for a try at the 24 minute mark.

Diablo fought hard. Controlling the ball for the last ten minutes. Most of which was in the Seahawks 22. Numerous San Jose penalties in injury time continued to give Diablo the opportunity to tie the score. But a Seahawk would make another game saving tackle.

In the end, San Jose coach Danny Latu brought down the Gaels #12. Danny popped up quickly, leaving the Diablo player thinking he hadn't been held in the tackle. The Gaels center was penalized for not releasing the ball prior to regaining his feet.

SFGG Dev XV 0 – CAL POLY SLO 27 Referee: Joe Androvich

Touch Judges: Eric Rauscher, Edward Barfels

Seconds: SFGG Dev XV 12 – Cal Poly SLO 12 Referee: Preston Gordon
Aside from one red and one yellow card, this was a good game and an even contest (as evidenced by the drawn scoreline). Both sides were enthusiastic and ran the ball at nearly every opportunity. Inexperience showed somewhat however, with lots of sideways running and many knock-ons. Cal Poly went into halftime up 5-0, but when the match restarted, SFGG had put several of their senior players into the game and scored an unconverted try in the first minute. They added another converted try not long thereafter, and looked like they were going to hold on for a win. Cal Poly had other ideas and snatched the draw at the death after their fly-half chipped over the SFGG backline and got the good bounce near the posts for a try.

The conversion tied the score and time was up.

MARIN 58 – Mendocino 0 Referee: Tom Zanarini

Marin reds defeated Mendocino Steam Donkeys 58-0 in a hard fought warm up match. It was a beautiful spring-like day with both sides blooding new members. Match was played in four 20 min. quarters to allow for instruction to new players and the unconditioned to catch their breath. Marin took advantage of their veteran back line but the Donkeys had superior strength in the scrum. Overall the spirits were high and it was a very enjoyable day of rugby. Both sides were gentlemen and very welcoming to this referee.

UC DAVIS 18 – Chico State 13 Referee: Joe Leisek

Touch Judge: Scott Wood
Referee Spectators: Donal Walsh, Steve Gray, David Heath
Russell IM Fields, UC Davis

Scott Wood e-mailed a couple of days before the match, saying his match had been canceled and that he might come run touch. He did, and I appreciated it very much. (He was also doing a bit of scouting, as he will referee soon these two teams in a rematch in Chico.) Don Walsh provided feedback at halftime and after the match, which I also appreciated. And he ran touch for David in the second side match! I mentioned to Scott that Don had refereed me on this very pitch several times...a few decades ago.

And there was a game. A very physical contest, to be sure. Davis scored first, just over six minutes after kickoff, taking advantage of a Chico handling mistake and chipping through to score a try. The first half ended 13-3, with the hosts scoring one more try and kicking a penalty. Chico scored their two tries in the second half, against UCD's one. Chico had most of the possession throughout the game, and showed some serious skills in the forwards. They retained the ball for extended periods and used the pick-and-go to great effect. It was very impressive to watch. But the Davis backline defense forced errors when Chico moved the ball away from the set pieces, then took advantage to score their points. The two teams appear to be fairly evenly matched and should put on a great rematch in Chico in two weeks.

Seconds: UC Davis 0 – CHICO STATE 41 Referee: Dave Heath

Chico based their game around a strong forward platform and powerful running around the fringes of rucks and mauls. In the first half this yielded them 4 unanswered tries. UC Davis came into the game more in the second half and scored two excellent goals with incisive back play to Chico's one goal.

A good competitive game played by two teams with a good attitude.

Sacramento State 20 – ST. MARY’S 70 Referee: Jim Crenshaw

Pretty good game, but the outcome was not in doubt after 20 minutes into it. The Gaels scored the first 3 converted tries before the Hornets got on the board with an unconverted try. The Gaels scored the next 3 converted tries before the Hornets scored an unconverted try just before halftime to make the score 42 to 10.

The second half was a little slower, with the Gaels scoring 4 converted tries to 2 unconverted tries for the Hornets.

Seconds: Sacramento State 29 – ST. MARY’S 42 Ref: Crenshaw

I also ref'd the second side match. It was 14 all at the half and was close up until the last 10 minutes, when the Gaels pulled away. Final score St Mary's Gaels 42 Sac State Hornets 29.

STANFORD 36 – Nevada 20 Referee: John Coppinger

Evaluator: David Williamson
Halftime: UNR 15, Stanford 12

UNR came out running and tackling hard putting Stanford on the back foot in the first half. Stanford's captain, a big lock, injured his shoulder on the opening kick-off and went off shortly after. Stanford had penalty problems and made poor decisions under pressure in his absence; however, Stanford scored an opportunistic try just before the half to close the gap.

In the second half, fatigue and lack of training together on UNR's side, combined with Stanford reducing the penalties and focusing on attacking instead of defending, resulted in Stanford winning going away. (UNR is on-break for another two weeks, while Stanford is coming off a week of training camp in San Diego.)

My thanks to Dave Williamson for coaching and Bruce Carter for videotaping my match.

Seconds: STANFORD 44 – Nevada 26 Referee: Bruce Carter

The boys from Reno not only haven’t seen green grass since well before their game in the snow against Chico State on Pearl Harbor Day, they didn’t have enough on the trip to fill out a second side. Thus, a number of cabin-fever sufferers had to play for 160 minutes on the fast expanse of the Steuber Family Stadium against a keen and well-drilled Stanford seconds, yclept the Franck XV.

Stanford engineered a lot of breaks. Let’s see: one try was frittered away by too-quick interpassing – no time for the original handler to be put on-side by the recipient and returnee of his pass – and another knocked-on across the try line.

Fair to say though that Reno’s very useful backrow-center-prop, Gary Nagel, was denied a try as he tip-toed down the touchline.

Diablo Gaels U23, 17 – SANTA CLARA 20 Referee: Bryant Byrnes

A pretty East Bay winter's day on a soggy field. Santa Clara spent much of the pre-season playing D1 teams and took advantage of space where they found it. The Gaels beefed up their numbers and played with a discipline that was not apparent when last observed. My compliments to both captains and coaching staffs.

It was – as obvious from the score – an evenly and (generally) well played early season match. The Broncos had some foot speed, while the Gaels had size. Santa Clara got their best try on a nifty line out play, while the Gaels rammed one over at full time.

Montgomery HS – Pittsburg Referee: Cary Bertolone
Referee Coach: Mike Malone
No report received.

Santa Rosa JC – Western Oregon CANCELED

SANTA ROSA – Berkeley Referee: Rob Hendrickson

Santa Rosa men played a friendly against Berkeley in the third match of the day at For Pete's Sake field under sunny skies and on a firm pitch. The first half was very close, with Berkeley coming literally only inches away from going into half time nearly tied. The second half, however, belonged to Santa Rosa, which scored 4 unanswered converted tries, most coming on breakaways.

Fog 0 – BARACUS 12 Referee: Sam Davis

It was a beautiful day heading to TI. Traffic was bad (rumor there was a jumper on the bay bridge) The Rugby Hog white lined to make it to the match on time.

Baracus and Fog, a ‘friendly’ scrimmage, was a hard hitting game that surprised me. The Fog came out and dominated the scrums and line outs a lot of hard hitting multi- phase play that was quite good. Both teams went up and down the field getting close but not crossing the goal line until there was 2 min and 40 sec left in the first half.

Baracus on the attack from a scrum on the 5 meter line pitched it out to the center who broke the tackle and touched it down. Fog came back hard the second half in Baracus red zone a number of times but were unable to cross over the line. With less than a min left in the game Baracus created a break when they broke a tackle at 10 meters out split the defender and scored.

It was a great game to ref and everyone had fun.

They did a third half to let everyone get some playing time in, which Baracus dominated.

Reno – Sacramento Capitals CANCELED


UC Berkeley 5 – UC SANTA CRUZ 25 Referee: Anna McMahan

Berkeley hosted Santa Cruz on a gorgeous day for three 25 minute periods. The game was played on Berkeley's all-weather turf field, which made for a smaller, odd-shaped pitch lined for soccer and lacrosse. Despite the lack of proper field markings and goal posts, the two teams came together for a fun friendly after participating in a skills clinic.

Set pieces and forward play were fairly evenly matched between the teams, but Berkeley had a difficult time containing Santa Cruz's midfield and back three.

Santa Cruz also employed a strategic kicking game that kept Berkeley in their own half. UCSC scored three tries in the first period, and one try each in the next two periods, while Berkeley's lone score came in the last period. No conversions were attempted due to lack of uprights.

High School:

Tri-Valley 2 tries – SILICON VALLEY 5 tries Referee: John Pohlman

Tri-Valley's high school side hosted Silicon Valley in Livermore for an early season scrimmage. We kicked off at 9:30 AM with clear skies and around 58 degrees.

This was Tri-Valley's first game after three practices. Silicon Valley has already played a touring side from Australia.

We played four 20 minutes periods. Silicon Valley was much in control for most of the game. They were better organized and it was obvious they had a lot more practices.

Both teams have good athletes and coaching. If the players get in shape and make practice they should progress.



UC Davis 7 – CHICO STATE 22 Referee: Scott Wood

TJ: Donal Walsh, UCD player, Alex Triantafyllou

This pre-season Sunday match started off as a foggy affair. Both teams were testing out various configurations and getting in some competitive playing time prior to the regular season.

We played six 20-minute chukkers with the teams switching sides at the 40th minute (I honestly cannot remember if we switched again at 80). Davis led Chico 7-5 after twenty minutes but then the visitors took advantage of the home team's relative inexperience and scored in each of the subsequent periods (albeit with a penalty goal in the final minutes).

Setting Sail
It was 66° with nary a cloud in sight over most of Northern California on Saturday. A large high-pressure cell has parked over the area and paid for a week in advance.

On the way to our match we saw a tree that had dead desiccated leaves, yet to fall off the twigs, with new white blossoms peeking out from between. Spring has sprung forward, interrupting the last fallings of fall.

We did have a week of ice on the windshields in the mornings in the Salinas Valley, a little unusual, but the strawberries are blossoming right now.

What a place to live! And winter rugby, too!

Here’s a fearless mariner, setting sail as the sun goes down, with his trusty Twickenham wind vane to guide him.


For the Senate
Pelicus Scriptoris