Tuesday, February 26, 2008




Chris Tucker and Dan Wilson have earned promotion to C2 and been recognized as such by the Promotions Committee of the NCRRS, and now by everyone in Pelicanland!

Congratulations, Chris and Dan.


We urgently need a volunteer to host Eastern Penn referee Dave McHugh who arrives this Friday.

Dave flies into SFO Friday evening. His game is Sac Lions hosting San Mateo and Pete Smith can transport him there. Then he flies home on Sunday.


No, not the delightful B-52’s song of 1989, this one’s plural: teams that owe in arrears for NCRRS services.

We have some crunch weekends coming up, with more severe referee shortages than normal. March 8 we have thirty games for twenty-two refs, not counting dozens of high school games that will occur.




SF Fog Men
Sacramento Amazons
Sacramento Lions
San Jose State
Santa Rosa JC


About the season starts to wind down for most of the rugby players in Northern California, it is only beginning for a number of others.

The end of March marks the end of competition for most clubs, but SF/GG’s super league team is about to begin in earnest, and those teams destined for post-season play may have three months yet to go.

But the NCRRS also has a number of Pelicans who will be spreading their wings beginning in mid-March.

Among our referees, Paul Bretz, Pete Smith and Aruna Ranaweera have received super league appointments.

Matt Eason and Bruce Carter will be running touch for SL games and USA Rugby playoffs as part of the new national panel of touch judges.

And all five of NorCal’s Pacific Coast evaluators have also received national appointments: Dixon Smith, Bryan Porter, Mike Malone, David Williamson and Matt Eason.

If you have found the season not as long as you would like, the way to extend it is to excel at refereeing, running touch or evaluating.


At 6 PM the Diablo Gaels will be hosting Haggis in the first game of the Pacific Coast D1, which involves five NorCal teams and Park City/Haggis, from Utah. This will be in Danville.

Paul Bretz will be refereeing. Let him know if you would like to run touch. It’s the perfect opportunity to help out after your own game.

There’s no rain in the forecast between now and then, so come on out and join the crowd for some great rugby!


Start spreading the word, especially to the high school teams that need a certified ref:

The NCRRS will offer the IRB Level One Referee Course on Sunday, March 9, on Treasure Island.

The course will not be offered again locally until the autumn. Please make every effort to attend if you need to course to referee competitive games or you’d like to take it to be able to help your club, college or high school when the refs are short.

The cost is $35. If you have refereed or do referee five games by appointment, the NCRRS will pay for the course or reimburse you, respectively. Plan on an eight-hour day learning the basics that you need to embark on a fulfilling and satisfying career helping to facilitate the best rugby in the USA.

If you are interested we need to know this week in order to obtain the course materials. Please contact:

Bruce Carter


We have eight intrepid hikers signed up so far, including our two guests. The Society is paying for rooms at the Yosemite Lodge, so take off March 12th, and the 11th too if you like!

A centerpiece of the East Mids exchange has become the winter hike in Yosemite. In 2004 we enjoyed glorious sunshine and shirt-sleeve weather, but in 2006 it was strictly snow-plow conditions.

If you can only spare one day during the week, work on the Tuesday and drive up afterwards (doable from the Bay Area, Sacramento, or points between).

Please let us know if you would like to join the crew. We need to reserve the rooms.

This hike will be one of the highlights of your refereeing career!



CALIFORNIA 35 – Univ. of British Columbia 17 Referee: Tony Redmond

Thank you very much for the opportunity to referee the University of California Berkeley vs. University of British Columbia game yesterday. I’m not sure how much more comment I would add to the match report published on http://calbears.cstv.com/sports/m-rugby/recaps/022008aaa.html except to say that I thought that the pace and physicality of the game was comparable to an U21 international.

Pete Smith took us to “Henry’s” which turned out to be under renovation so we didn’t meet the coaches there. Instead, we were directed to the Golden Bear Lair on campus where we had a drink and then left.


SFGG SL 44 – Sacramento Lions 0 Referee: Pete Smith

Diablo Gaels 0 – OLYMPIC CLUB 78 Referee: Andrew McMaster (Ontario)
Evaluator: Dixon Smith

This Saturday evening game was played at Mustang Soccer Complex in Danville. The disciplined O-Club, with superior size and speed, converted seven tries in the first half in a driving rain. The rain let up in the second half, and the O-Club was held to five more tries.

Seconds: Diablo Gaels 7 – OLYMPIC CLUB 31 Referee: David Pope

It was cold, wet, windy and late. This game had a 7:45pm kick-off in windy rainy conditions on the all-weather surface in Danville. Both captains agreed on 30-minute halves. The older and more experienced O Club side dominated the first half, going with the wind, but only managed to score 10 points. The very young but game Gaels side played some tenacious defense and had a couple breakout runs to keep things close.

Starting the second half with the wind at their backs, the Gaels thought they had a good chance, and they scored first in the second half. They scored a converted try to bring the score to 10 - 7. Unfortunately for the Gaels, the wind just about stopped at this point, and O Club started playing to their pattern, and this was as close as the score got. O Club scored three more well-worked converted tries to finish the game up 31-7.

Hayward 7 – SAN MATEO 14 Referee: Paul Bretz
Touch Judges: John Pohlman, Andrew McMaster (Ontario)

Seconds: HAYWARD 24 – San Mateo 5 Referee: Bruce Carter
This was one of the few times your writer can think of when he was less than enthusiastic seeing players get ready to play a second game.

It was a long day, which began with a crisis of referee availability mandating more than a dozen calls and e-mails just when I should have been on the road. One immediate result was that I re-re-assigned myself to the Fog-Mission at 1 PM on Treasure Island. This game was bitterly cold, especially in the first half, and left me soaking wet and shivering.

The SFGG clubhouse provided this carpet-bagger a chance to warm up and put on a complete change of dry clothes. Then it was off to Hayward to see Paul Bretz do one of the classic fixtures of NorCal rugby, Hayward-San Mateo, an exciting game that was tied at 7-7 until fairly late.

The original plan was that I video his match and provide some coaching advice ahead of the national season soon to begin. As I arrived well into the first half and it was freezing rain, those plans were shelved in favor of an informal look.

By game’s end it was nearly dark, as well and freezing and raining to boot. The large crowd that had braved the elements quickly dispersed, the ponchos and umbrellas clearing to reveal – the Hayward second side ‘warming’ up.

I went back to the vehicle, donned my cold and wet clothes and proceeded directly to the pitch for a quick toss and whistle, my own warm-up consisting of the game I’d done four hours earlier.

I noticed that even the refereeing crew from the previous match had left no trace but frozen exhalations still hanging in the air.

Big hits were the order of the day, energy readily being converted from kinetic to thermal thereby. Some of the ball-carriers seemed to run into stout opponents for no other apparent reason. The referee considered doing it himself.

But guess what: rugby players are not softball players, or soccer players, or anything else. The game’s the thing. And play they did.

Hayward has a few fellows looking to break into the first side. In particular, the captain and the #8 were very difficult to stop, the latter scoring two emphatic tries.

It was memory-check day for the ref. Extracting pen and paper from pocket, manipulating same and returning them to source proved insurmountable hurdles. Four tries, two converted to one unconverted.

There were no reds or yellows to write down, but there were lots of rosy cheeks and blue noses to be counted among the smiling faces at the end, rugby ├╝ber alles.

Arroyo Grande 3 – SEAHAWKS 31 Referee: Dan Wilson
Leaving the central valley to make the beautiful drive to the central coast, I had hours of nothing but green hills and Highway Patrol vehicles to see. Leaving HWY 101 in Arroyo Grande and heading east towards the farm, doubts started to rise whether I passed the location or not because I kept driving, and driving and driving. Alas, I was there. On a pitch at the far end of the main field, a High School game just kicked off as I arrived. It is always good to see the game being expanded to the younger crowd. The weather was dry, with rain the forecast, and the field looked in pristine condition, but the wind was always around the corner. AG’s pitch has to be the most beautiful pitch in this referee’s opinion. The other nice aspect to see was that both teams actually were there in full at noon. Remarkable for DII teams it seems these days.

AG received the initial kickoff and the intensity of the game was instantaneous. Both teams hit hard on the offensive and defensive side of the ball. Mainly, each spent the first half mainly doing forward moves with a few back line moves mixed into the game. Each team had their opportunities close to the try lines but both failed to cross that line. With the wind as powerful as it was, only a few shots were taken at goal, with AG making the lone connection. Each team also had a player spend a little time in the bin for nonsense, but overall, it was a closely played half. It was a great half of rugby especially since Arroyo Grande had a few young players with little experience on the pitch. Halftime score: AG 3 – SJ 0

The second half was a completely different game. The intensity of the first half carried over to the first five minutes of the second half, but San Jose came out with a wide open game plan. AG went down to 14 men for the remainder of the game when their captain and scrum half received his second yellow for the game. Fitness and intensity seemed to heavily favor San Jose with holes opening up and tackles being missed by the backs of Arroyo Grande. San Jose started to pin point their kicking, taking advantage of inexperience on AG’s wings as well as SJ’s speed. Try after try rolled in for San Jose with a few conversions along the way. Final score: AG 3 – SJ 31

Seconds: Arroyo Grande – SEAHAWKS 20 Referee: James Hinkin
Touch Judge: Dan Wilson
While the rain stayed away until after the match down in Arroyo Grande the wind was omnipresent. Heavy gusting throughout the day definitely affected the A side match and it was a factor in the B side match that followed. Arroyo Grande called on Cal Poly’s 3rd team to play their B side match and these youngsters put up an admirable fight. They are young, fit and fast with a great future ahead of them but, as we all know, old age and treachery will beat youth and enthusiasm every time. Also encouraging to the referee were the great cheers from the sidelines for every penalty called and whistle blown. These cheers got louder and louder as the match progressed showing great enthusiasm for my calls. And many thanks to Dan Wilson for running touch after his A side match.

The game started with AG (Cal Poly) on the attack. A series of pick and goes were well executed and AG was always moving forward until they crossed the line and had no further need as the #8 was able to twist and spin through a couple of defenders and fall across to score. The AG captain was also the kicker and he elected to drop kick all his conversion attempts – whether that was by preference of from a lack of a tee I don’t know. Needless to say he missed the conversion from out wide. San Jose was never able to get a coherent attack going as all promising moves seemed to die from mishandling. The defense held firm against the devastating pick and go tactic and the game started settling down into a chippy affair. San Jose was able to get a try in about midway through the half but had little chance converting into the wind. With 5 minutes left in the first half AG was able to break though again as missed tackles set up rucks beyond the gain line and the quick pick and go moved the ball forward and a driving maul was formed. San Jose desperately tried to hold the ball up as the line approached but the AG forwards were able to drive across the line and ground the ball for a try. Drop kick conversion was missed and we stood at 10-5 at the half.

The second half had the wind in favor of San Jose and they used it to their advantage. Kicking in to the opponents end and then keeping the ball in tight allowed the larger Seahawk pack to assert itself and they were rewarded with a try. This conversion missed (well, they all were missed, so just let it be read that there were no more conversions) so the game was knotted up at 10. AG made few forays into San Jose territory finding it difficult to play into the wind. Eventually a kick that didn’t find touch did find the Seahawks winger and his counterattack sprung the rest of the back line and the ‘Hawks finally took a lead at 15-10. The lead was extended near the end of the match as the backs were once again able to counter a kick and score a try. Both sides were tiring and the tempers started wearing thin but time had run out so the match ended at 20-10.

SF/Golden Gate 5 – SACRAMENTO CAPITALS 24 Referee: Scott Wood
Location: Job Corps Field, Treasure Island
Weather: COLD (50F and falling), RAIN (horizontal), WIND (10 mph gusts of 17 mph)

After several emails going back and forth, it was confirmed to me that the kick off would be at 3 p.m. Looking at the schedule, I noted that the Fog wanted to play the Marauders (a non-CIPP'd, non-NCRFU club) at the same time on the same pitch. More emails.

I drove down through a light drizzle but looking toward Mt. Tam (shrouded in clouds) and the South Bay (wall of sleet gray) I noted that the kick off and tempest would converge at the same place.

Arriving at the pitch, I found Sacramento warming up and the coaches wondering about the field availability. SFGG showed up around 2:45 and asked me what they can do about the SF Fog/Marauders match (currently underway). I said they should contact SF Parks and Rec to enforce their permit. At 3 p.m., Sacramento asked me what the provisions were regarding time limits before a forfeit is called. This led to a series of phone calls to various NCRFU officials. Under normal conditions, this would be an issue; with wind chill around 40F this becomes an entirely different matter. It should be the responsibility of the home team to ensure field availability well in advance of the kick off. Fortunately, a Parks and Rec representative arrived and sorted things out and we kicked off ten minutes late.

Core body temperature never advanced. Penguins were hibernating. Nobody from the Midwest was to be found. It was that cold. Within ten minutes, my torso and arms were numb and I could barely grip my pencil to write scores.

The cold conditions led to a primarily forwards-dominated, freeze-the-wings game of pick-and-drives. Unfortunately this led at times to knock ons, holding-on penalties and offside infringements.

Sacramento scored four penalty goals to SFGG's unconverted try to enter the half 12-5. The visitors lost their starting loosehead prop to a compound broken finger (allegedly he tried to "fix" it on the pitch). Thankfully the teams did not opt for the maximum ten minute halftime.

The second half had similar attacking design as Sacramento dominated possession with slow forward advances. With 24 minutes remaining, the visitors scored a converted try to bring the lead to 17-5. Five minutes later they scored again to stretch their lead 24-5. At the 78th minute, SFGG decided to bring on three substitutes. This resulted in a slow exchange of jerseys leading both teams to complain about the delay. Did I mention how cold it was?

Thankfully, the clock ran out two minutes later and everyone bolted for cars to drive to the clubhouse. We arrived to discover the limits of the hot water heater were pushed beyond the pale. Some commented that even the cool shower was warmer than the rain.

After a warm hamburger and talking with the players, I made the drive to the Tiki Lounge for a great salmon taco dinner at the House of Todd-Schwartz who were hosting Pat Wickman from RRSNY. The extended Crenshaw clan and Jen and Matt Eason also joined for great conversation and TIVO'd rugby. Jim and I made plans to travel Sunday morning to Reno for the re-re-make-up match between St. Mary's and Nevada. Much to our relieved chagrin, we found out that the game was postponed (again).

Seconds: SFGG – Sacramento FROZEN OUT

SANTA ROSA 19 – Fresno 5 Referee: Don Pattalock
Touch Judge: Doc Tomasin
For Pete’s Sake Field, Santa Rosa

With rain that steadily increased throughout the match, both teams struggled to find the handle on a brand-new (well inflated) ball. Fresno dominated the set pieces while Rosa had the advantage in the centers. Both team played hard, smart rugby, but it was Rosa’s first center that broke a couple tackles and sealed the match. Both teams played disciplined rugby and produced a match that was fun to referee.

Seconds: Santa Rosa – Fresno Referee: John Tomasin

East Palo Alto 12 – BA BARACUS 15 Referee: Joe Androvich

EPA came out strong despite the muddy/sandy field slowing their attack. Baracus showed no letdown and exploded in the second half with dominating forward attack off the rucks. A 100-meter intercept try put Baracus on the board, and smashmouth fringe attack allowed Baracus to tie the game at 12 with 5 minutes to play. The game was decided on a 40 meter penalty conversion in injury time to give Baracus the come-from-behind win.

Seconds: East Palo Alto – BA Baracus
No report received. It may not have been played.

Mendocino 6 – RENO 48 Referee: Jim Crenshaw

Left the house around 9 under threatening skies to be greeted with sprinkles in Esparto, light rain in Rumsey and a downpour at Clear Lake. It was still raining pretty hard when I arrived at the pitch in Redwood Valley, but by game time the rain had miraculously stopped. We had light sprinkles off and on during the match, but it didn't seem to affect anyone. Reno led 26 to 3 at halftime. By the end of the match it was raining again and Reno won 48 to 6. Everyone retired to 'The PUB' in Ukiah for food, refreshments and to watch the video of the match. I had to leave before the end of the video, but I was pretty sure the outcome wouldn't change.:-)

I was told, that at a previous match, the referee wouldn't let them play the video while he was there. Some referee out there must have a pretty thin skin or maybe it was something else?? ;-( I don't know. They said they couldn't remember his name?!?)

[Editor’s Note: This was Mendo’s first home game of the season, so inquiring minds cannot easily determine who this might have been!]

Shasta 6 – VACAVILLE 38 Referee: John Coppinger

(I am pretty sure that this is the score; however, my score card dissolved.)

Vacaville had trouble finding the pitch and started w/ 12 players 15 minutes late. 5 minutes into the match, the balance of the Vacaville traveling squad arrived and went directly from the parking lot into the match.

A steady rain fell the entire match and there were plenty of dropped balls. Despite the rain and standing water on the pitch, the footing remained firm and Vacaville's back line sliced through the Shasta defenders numerous times for well supported tries.

Chico 12 – HUMBOLDT 15 Referee: Chris Tucker

Another distinctly Welsh day greeted rugby at Chico's home field, but undeterred, both teams set to work with a vengeance.

Humboldt had the best of the early exchanges, and after 14 minutes opened the score with a try. The rest of the half involved much slipping and sliding by all concerned, with wise heads putting pressure on both defences with long boots down field.

With 38 minutes gone, Humboldt set up a ruck about 15m out from the Chico line, the ball went to the fly half and, wait, what?? The ball buzzed passed my ear and I turned in amazement to chase after the drop goal attempt, which sneaked inside the right upright. Apparently this happens so rarely that there is no space on the NCRFU match report card! 8-0 to Humboldt at the half.

In the second half, Chico began to find their stride, and the backs pounded the gain line hard, setting up a maul with what seemed like most of the team in it, and drove it close enough for the #10 to dive over for a score (converted). Humboldt answered minutes later with a kick and chase which the #10 touched down for a score (no conversion), but Chico brought it within 3 with another score after 25 minutes (unconverted).

As time wound down, Chico won a penalty just to the left of the posts, and the captain opted for points, giving the ref time to consider the cost of buying beer for the March meeting. The kicker sliced it, and despite continuing pressure, Chico could not put the ball over, and Humboldt came away the victors.

The real ruggers could be found in The End Zone after the match with mud still all over their faces. Others went home to shower first. I imagine that they were penalised for such poor form as the evening wore on.....

Fog 5 – MISSION 52 Referee: Bruce Carter

Mission seems to have weathered the defection of a corps of their players to East Palo Alto, now that the latter have moved up to the second division. Some new Fijian faces fill out the ranks of familiar Missionaries from years past and complement their passing game nicely.

The Fog had a very good first half, with a post-and-pick game that challenges defenses to commit repeatedly. A nice slice move by Dave Santos, darting inside his flyhalf from the weak wing, led him forty meters untouched for the Fog’s only score. Another try was denied via held-up in-goal, and it was 5-14 at the half.

The first half featured bitterly cold wind and rain from clouds heavy with intent. However, it warmed up to merely friggin’ cold for the second half and the rain held off until Scott Wood arrived (see SFGG-Sac Caps report above).

Mission got the passing game going after the break and that was that.

Stanislaus 17 – BERKELEY 25 Referee: Bryant Byrnes

A dank winter's day in Turlock had Berkeley up 9 to 5 at half. A much better, productive and quieter second half was marred by red cards and late game hockey-like flailing. I know it is a pipe dream, but certified TJs-even one- would substantially enhance D3 games.

Seconds: Stanislaus 3 – BERKELEY 10 Ref: Byrnes

An abbreviated seconds match was also played, with Berkeley prevailing 10 to 3.

Petaluma 0 – APTOS 12 Referee: David Heath

Often fractious and niggly, when both sides put their minds to it they played some decent rugby. Clear scoring chances were few during the whole game, with a lot of (poor) kicking for position.

Aptos did score a well constructed try in the last few minutes of the first half when their scrum-half broke on the blind side and put their right wing over in the corner.

The second half remained scoreless but with plenty of endeavour until 2 minutes before full-time when some tired tacklers allowed Aptos to break through from the 22 to score under the posts with an easy conversion to follow.

UNIVERSITY OF CALIFORNIA 37– University of Utah 3 Referee: Aruna Ranaweera

Touch Judges: Eric Rauscher, Tom Wright
Referee Coach and Videographer: Dave Williamson

The forecasted torrential downpour lasted only a few minutes, so despite overcast skies and occasional drizzle, playing conditions at Witter Field were not bad. Cal rested many of their starters and was captained by their fly-half.

After a physical stalemate of 10 minutes to start the match, the home team camped inside the Utah 22, but were often thwarted by a determined, swarming Utah defense. Even then, Cal lead 20-0 at half-time.

Both teams were efficient at lineouts and rucks, but scrums were often unstable. Sustained rolling mauls were common throughout the match with both teams showing excellent technique on offense. Cal preferred to keep possession with the forwards, picking and driving efficiently with numbers in support. Handling errors by both teams prevented additional scoring opportunities, but this was not surprising considering the aggressiveness of contact and wet field conditions.

In the end, Cal scored 4 tries, all through their forwards, and their captain made all seven of his attempts at goal. Both Utah and Cal should be commended for exemplary behavior on the field despite a very physical rugby match. Also, much thanks to both TJ's and Dave Williamson for their assistance.

Seconds: CALIFORNIA 24 – Utah 0 Referee: Chris Labozzetta

Stanford 19 – UC DAVIS 33 Referee: Tony Redmond

An early kick off to miss a predicted storm saw parity in the first half (12-14 at the break) before the visiting UC Davis side ran in three quick converted tries in the first 15 minutes of the second half to take absolute control of the game. Stanford came back with a converted try towards the end of the game, which UC Davis were never in real danger of losing.

Seconds: Stanford – UC Davis CANCELED

ST. MARY’S 69 – Nevada 5 Referee: Greg Gilliam (RRS New York)

Touch Judges: Rich Anderson, Russ Wilkening
Assessor: Bryan Porter
St. Mary’s College, Pat Vincent Rugby Field, Feb. 23, 2008; KO: 1pm

The pitch was lined perfectly and was in excellent condition. Temperature at kick-off was probably in the low 60’s and overcast. While dry at kick-off, the weather prognosticators and the darkening skies indicated rain and wind was on the way and neither disappointed. The temperature, aided by the wind and rain, plummeted to the low 50s but it appeared that only the conversion kicks and the spectators were affected.

First half:
Both sides appeared intent on playing their style of play from the beginning with St. Mary’s attacking wide and Nevada running a controlled, possession game. Both teams displayed equal amounts of vigor and heart while the hosts had an apparent advantage in experience and fitness. This advantage revealed itself at the end of the half as St. Mary’s ran in three tries in rapid succession utilizing great ball movement. This effort saw them go into half-time with a commanding 33-0 lead. The only blemish for the hosts was a bit of retaliatory action (always seen by the referee) which was rewarded with a yellow-card.

Second half:
While the first half saw definite styles of play and methods of attack, the second-half saw opportunities exploited from open play. As the wind increased and conditions deteriorated, ball movement became less desirable and field position became the priority. Again, the superior skills of the Gaels allowed them to off-load in the tackle, keep their momentum on the attack, and touch down in goal six times. Nevada had every opportunity to lie down as the deficit soared on the score board, but they stubbornly chose to keep fighting (sometimes literally). Their rugby efforts where rewarded with a late try by their “really novice” forwards.

Despite the lopsided score, the match was well-played by both teams and the visiting referee was grateful to have played a small role in it. Of special note was the excellent touch-judging provided by Rich Anderson and Russ Wilkening, two members of the NCRRS.

Final Score: St. Mary’s 69, Nevada 5.

Seconds: ST. MARY’S 59 – Nevada 5 Referee: Bruce Bernstein

Somehow the rain spared us & the match was played with 30 minutes halves due to weather. St. Mary's backs were faster & more elusive, especially their flyhalf.

Sac State 22 – CHICO STATE 30 Referee: Pat Wickman (New York)

Evaluator: Matt Eason

Following the kick-off, Sacramento State quickly drove Chico State back to their goal line and repeatedly threatened to put the first points up on the board. Keeping the ball in tight turned out to be a bad idea, and Chico was able to get quick ball and scored a unconverted try (5-0). Less than two minutes later Sac State responded and tied the score with their own unconverted try. The game was quiet for the next 20 minutes until Chico put another try on the board (10-5). Following a deep kick-off from Sac State, Chico's catcher, made a quick chip kick that deflected off a Sac hand and was caught and ran down the field for their second try is as so many minutes. Sac countered with their own try, taking us to the half with the visitors only up 5 points (15-10).

The second half opened with pure physicality as both teams tried to assert their dominance and knock the other out of the game. Sac struck first and tied the game nine minutes into the half (15-15). With a tie game and just over a quarter of the match left, it was a fight to see who could hold on longest and break through first. In this match, Sac blinked first and finally using their back, Chico was able to score three unanswered tries to take a 30-15 lead. Sac never gave up and in the last minutes of play scored one last try and for the first time on the day for either team, made the conversion. Final Score: (30-22).

Sunday was another brilliant overcast day, perfect for two things: rugby and Oscar! First up was the Lamorinda Youth Rugby Jamboree being played on the Cougar Turf Field. It was a great chance to see the talent that NorCal is developing, and gave me the opportunity to run around with the future of our sport.

However, somethings never change. After a fun match between the older boys (green vs. Red/Black), for our second game on the day we had black and red hoops vs. black and red hoops (with white trim). Ah, the challenges. Curiously, when I found the players not responding to me calling out their numbers on the back of their jerseys, one of the coaches remarked that they have different numbers each week!

A special thanks to all the parents and coaches that I met on the day, and for some well deserved hot dogs afterwards.

go pelicans!

Seconds: Sac State 17 – CHICO STATE 28 Referee: Sandy Robertson

Touch Judges: Pat Wickman (Met NY), Ray Schwartz
Referee Coach: Kat Todd-Schwartz

Chico's 2nd side came out on top in a spirited, back and forth contest. For the first 20 minutes or so the 2 sides battled without a score. At that point a Sac State player was sent to the bin for fighting and Chico took advantage, converting 2 tries. In the 2nd half Sac State put 2 tries on the board. Chico again converted 2 tries, at least one of which happened with Sac State again playing short, because of repeated infringements. With 9 minutes left Chico, too, went the "yellow for repeats" route and Sac State quickly brought the game to 28 -17. Sac State continued to threaten until one of their players had the misfortune to come out of a ruck and made an unsuspecting teammate the meat portion of a Sac-Chico state sandwich. Chico controlled possession for most of the final minutes and came away with the win.

HUMBOLDT STATE 100 – San Jose State 3 Referee: Cary Bertolone

The kick-off was at exactly 1:00 PM with light rains and wind and Humboldt State scored their first try at the one minute mark, with several others following shortly thereafter. I caught up on my sprint work with my second consecutive 100 plus point game. It was 52-0 at the half and 100-3 by the final whistle. Humboldt has strong runners (both in the forwards and in the backs) and SJSU have a few rookies trying to tackle up high, which really wasn't working for them. They never stopped trying and actually scored the last three points. I was impressed.

SANTA CLARA 62 – U. of San Francisco 0 Referee: Rob Hendrickson

Santa Clara continued their undefeated season with a convincing win against USF in a game which was luckily scheduled in the morning and before the torrential rains that hit the south bay later in the day. Although Santa Clara scored it first try in the opening minutes, USF defended well for the next quarter or so, and Santa Clara led by only 4 tries at the half. Santa Clara's backs picked it up a notch in the second half with several impressive breakaways.

Santa Rosa JC 0 – CAL MARITIME 22 Referee: Alberto Santiago

Referee Coach: Jake Rubin

The first half was well played with both teams moving the ball offensively and playing good spread defense. The half time score saw Cal Maritime up 12-0 based on better tackling and a couple of scoring opportunities that were knocked on by SRJC. Cal Maritime scored an exciting try at the 34 minute mark on a jitterbug run up the right side which, aided by nice moves, missed tackles and a spectacular dive, went for about 40 meters.

The second half was a sadly different affair. Cal Maritime's defense continued to frustrate SRJC's offense who had a hard time taking advantage of overlaps on the outside. This frustration seemed to lead a few SRJC players over the line from contact sport to blood sport. One SRJC player was given a yellow card for a punch at about 78 minutes. On the ensuing line out another SRJC player making no attempt to contest for the ball reached across and grabbed the Cal Maritime jumper by the shoulders of his jersey and threw him to the ground. With the game devolving into thuggery and Cal Maritime up 22-0 the match was called at 70 minutes. A disappointing end to what started out as a fine match.

STANFORD women 19 – California 10 Referee: Sam Davis

The threat of wet weather kept the Rugby Hog in the garage as I headed to the Farm to ref Stanford vs. Cal Women. Great weather for ducks and Pelicans as Cal kicked off cold with a few raindrops every now and again. Cal played in their half of the field for the first 30 min at the 27 min mark Stanford broke a long run from inside Cal 22 and ran all the way down the field to score close to the post. Cal fought back and with 13 min left in the half on am multiphase play scored in the corner. With 35 seconds left off of a scrum Stanford rumbled to put 5 more on the board before the half ended. Stanford 12- Cal 5 the second half started just like the first both teams moving the ball between the 22’s with 22 min left in the half Stanford broke thru the Cal back line to score under the post. The lady bears continued to keep the pressure on and with 5 min left in the half put another one down in the corner. Final Score Stanford 19, Cal 10 There was a post-match get-together sandwiches and chips that the ladies for Stanford hosted T-shirts were give to each woman of the match.

I watched most of Stanford vs. Davis (men), arriving back at my truck to see that I was needed at another game. Off to Hayward.

Seconds: Stanford – California CANCELED

CHICO STATE women 25 – Humboldt State 5 Referee: Steve Gray

Sac State women – UC Santa Cruz CANCELED


Stanford Grad – Haas Biz
Not sure whether this was played or who might have refereed it…

Nevada – St. Mary's CANCELED
Seconds: Nevada – St. Mary's 2 CANCELED



VALLEY CHRISTIAN EXILES 22 – College Park 5 Referee: Pete Smith

Valley Christian hosted this battle of the local private schools at their synthetic turf field Friday night at 6PM. Why more teams don’t play their games on Friday nights if possible is a mystery to me because they always get a bigger crowd on a Friday night game than any time on Saturday. To which I will say there was a large crowd in the hundreds of spectators, Chris Fischer was on the PA system announcing the game and educating the fans on the laws. Both teams were properly kitted-no basketball shorts or mismatched socks. The teams looked properly and played that way as well. I was very adamant with the player before, during and after the game that they were given an opportunity to advance their sport with a good display of proper rugby or that they could wipe out years of hard work with dangerous tackles, taunting, profanity, etc…and have the athletic director of the school, who was on hand to watch the game (any other single school HS programs ever invite the AD out to the game?)

The player took what I said to heart and by all accounts played a proper game of rugby. The crowd was definitely into the game and not just big tackles. College Park played very well and had their opportunities to take control of the game, but the back three for the Exiles were just too dangerous in the open field and they returned every kick with interest. The game was close throughout with the Exiles scoring twice in the final minutes to seal the victory, but College Park had the game close enough for the first 68 minutes to have possible taken the game. Hopefully I will get the chance to ref another ‘Friday Night Lights’ game this season as they are exciting.

ISLANDERS 15 -- Lancers 7

As I pulled into the parking lot at Burbank high school, the lightning started, and was followed by a hailstorm. An ominous portent? Only as far as the kickoff was concerned, which became 5 o'clock after weather, traffic and a mix-up on scheduling. Still, with both teams here, and with a double rainbow to boot, and the first half finally got underway. Islanders had the best of the possession, pressing hard against a determined Lancer defence. The goal-line stand was broken by an Islander hand in the ruck, and the Lancers began to march down the field with a couple of penalties, and finally a free tap for numbers in the ensuing lineout saw the big #8 crash over for the opening score. The winger, having missed every one of his warm-up kicks in pre-game, coolly slotted the conversion. The rest of the half ended without score.

The second half started much as the first had ended, played between the 22s. But as the sun went down the Islanders began to find the gainline, and some powerful running by the fly half and first centre set up 3 tries in 10 minutes. Finally, the stars began to appear, and gloom of night forced the game to be called 5 minutes early, as red and black all looked the same to me. But with Islanders 2 scores up and pressing forward, the game ended as it probably would have, had we been able to start on time.

Good game all round.

Rio Americano 10 – CHRISTIAN BROTHERS 42 Referee: Joe Leisek

A game featuring driving rain in the first half and a bright late-afternoon sun in the second. Despite the sloppy conditions, Christian Brothers showed why they are the early-season Sac Valley Conference leaders, through a very tough defense and some serious backline speed. The visitors struck first early in the first half and proved very adept at creating opportunities out of their opponent's mistakes. Rio missed several tackles throughout the game, which allowed Christian Brothers to make several deep territorial gains and split the defense along the way. The visitors scored their try at the end of the match. Several players stood out, including the Rio #8 (this young man has a serious boot) and the entire Christian Brothers' backline (especially the wings and fullback).

Special recognition to Ray Thompson for the assignment. I was in the Sacramento area for the week and was given the game due to a scheduling conflict for the originally-scheduled referee, JC Van Staden. Thanks to you both.

PITS frosh/soph 24 – LAMO f/s 31 Referee: Rob Hendrickson

PITS' and Lamo's frosh/soph teams sparred off against each other on Campolinda's all-weather field after PITS' natural grass home field (Mills College) got rained out. The game was close throughout, with the lead changing several times, and both teams showed a lot of young talent which reflects a raising of the playing level in the Bay Conference.

Montgomery 14 – ELSIE ALLEN 17 Referee: Andrew MacMaster (Ontario)

Observer: Dixon Smith
This Friday evening game was played at Montgomery High School in Santa Rosa. The bigger host side held a 14 to 5 half time lead, but the Lobos with good ball carrier support scored two more tires in the second half to win 17 to 14.


Treasure Island SFGG field. Cold and blowing, threat of rain. I arrive early and observe SFGG's frosh/soph team who were scheduled to play another team which turned out be a no-show. They have such depth in players that they were able to field two complete teams and played each other.

SF/GOLDEN GATE JV 65 – Berkeley Rhinos 5 Referee: Eric Rauscher

After a while the Berkeley Rhinos arrived and after the usual book-keeping, game on. SFGG JV jumped out to a lead about one minute into the game and scored about every 5 minutes until the half (34/0). The second half was a repeat of the first but the Rhinos were able to score a well deserved try (65/5). Although the Rhinos showed great potential, they weren't able to handle SFGG's size and depth of team. I was quite impressed with the Rhino's scrumhalf/captain who seemed to be everywhere on the field constantly directing his players and encouraging them on.

Hayward 7 – SF/GOLDEN GATE 26 Referee: Sam Davis

Big physical game with a lot of individual efforts on Hayward side; once they start playing together as a team they will be a team to be reckoned with. GG worked well together their #8 should be recruited to some College team when he graduates this year. Fun game, not too much rain final score GG 26 Hayward 7

High School Girls Rugby Round-Robin Tournament

Referee: Donnell Walsh, Dave Miller, Matt Easton Paul Berman, Rod Chance
Touch Judge: Jordan Gaddis, Max Chance

Fears of bad weather and lack of referees support threatened all optimism. Fortunately, the hundred plus girls from Alameda, Humboldt, Santa Rosa, Amazons, Davis and Mother Lode's prayers were answered. At 9 a.m. these skies parted and for a few moments the sun shined on the rugby pitch with Matt Easton in the center, bracketed by two spirited teams ready to go. The day was grey but there was no real rain until the last game.

A special THANK YOU to Donnell Walsh, Dave Miller and Matt Easton who managed to find their boots, whistles and the time to referee a few games. Their brilliance at player and game management outweighed any concerns about being slow-of-foot. Because of these few good men, players and spectators enjoyed a great day of rugby.


February 16:

Humboldt State 17 – SANTA CLARA 25 Referee: Sam Davis
It was an early wakeup call at 4:45 the sky was clear and a bit cold as the RugbyHog and I headed north. Did I say Cold!!!! Arrived at the field with a few min to spare both teams were ready to go. Santa Clara won the toss elected to kick and the let the game begin. For the first 18 min Santa Clara played in their own half with Humboldt with 6 rookie starters, this being two of theirs first games. An off side call gave SC the first scoring opportunity at the 22 min mark to put 3 on the board. Five min later on a multi-phase play Humboldt put one down in the corner. SC did not take that and at the 10 min mark put there own in the corner and converted. Humboldt came back with 5 min left in the half to score again the half ended 10 vs.10 Second half was very similar not a lot of scoring in the first 20 min Humboldt’s composure started to break down an off side call coupled with yelling at the ref gave SC another penalty kick at the 17 min mark Humboldt had a nice breakaway run touched down in the middle and converted. SC deep in their in-goal got around the corner and went the 100 meters to score in the corner. Humboldt’s rookie tackled SC kick off receiver in the air for a penalty which gave SC the ball back a kick to touch and they were back inside Humboldt’s 22 Humboldt stood firm got the ball back to midfield. SC on quick pass to the backs got it to the wing who cut back and touched half way to the post the kicker converted with 4 min left in the game. Humboldt came back and with no time left on the clock had the ball going to the wing with a clear field took the pass and knocked it on ending the game Humboldt 17 Santa Clara 25 it was a great game to referee both teams have a bright future.

SF/GOLDEN GATE 33 – Santa Rosa 7 Referee: Steve Coakley


Saturday’s San Francisco Chronicle had a delightful vignette about a pelican that wouldn’t yield the trail to a hiker, complete with a photo of the peregrinating Pelecanus:


By the way, it’s not too late to sign up for the March 11/12 Yosemite hike. We have eight intrepid Pelicans of our own so far, and can always reserve another room at the Yosemite Lodge for your and yours.

The University of British Columbia restarts under the watchful eye of referee Tony Redmond last Wednesday.


For the Senate
Pelicus Scriptoris