MARCH 15 SOCIETY DINNER: RSVP REQUESTED
Our Society dinner on March 15th will be held at the historic Old Ship Saloon in San Francisco. (The Pyramid Alehouse, previously announced, was booked.) Drinks at 6:30, dinner at 7:00 PM.
The Society will contribute $40 a person, which should completely cover the meal. We depend on our members to ensure that our exchange visitors are not able to pay for any drinks.
Bjorn Stumer has made these arrangements and needs to know how many to expect. Please respond to him if you will be attending and with how many guests:
SOCIETY MEETING TONIGHT
The monthly meeting of the NCRRS will be tonight, March 4, from 7 to 9 at the Golden Gate clubhouse on Treasure Island. Food available for early arrivals beginning at 6.
We'll have a guest from Scotland, Malcolm Currie, who is visiting his girlfriend Isabelle in Santa Rosa. They will be on their way to Yosemite after the meeting. Malcolm will be refereeing a game for us this weekend in Santa Rosa.
EAST MIDS VISIT BEGINS
Andy Canning and Tony Kennedy will arrive on Friday. You might catch up with them at any or all of these events:
Saturday, March 8: post-match barbecue at the Merrills. Contact Frank Merrill.
Sunday, March 9: Tony will be refereeing Cal - Texas A&M. We suspect a number of Pelicans will be present, with post-match conviviality at the home of David Williamson and Helen Marcus nearby.
Tuesday/Wednesday, March 11/12: Yosemite hike. Seats open. We have an even dozen so far with no limit at this table. Contact Bruce Carter.
Thursday, March 13: Wine country tour. Contact Dixon Smith.
Saturday, March 15: Society banquet. Contact Bjorn Stumer.
The Lone Pelican expired with the advent of his joyous re-marriage to Penelope Pelicus. But the wind bears yet the siren song of the open road, especially when rugby balls are in the air. Thus is Pelicus Peregrinatus born and then borne afar.
The occasion of my annual visit to Arroyo Grande is always an inspiring one.
I fondly recall long drives to satisfy my rugby jones from the dark ages of seventies rugger in the Southeast. Were there short drives to away games? Not in that universe.
The overall scenario is the same: awaken hours before the alarm, sleep so treasured the five days previously now an impediment to preparation; don clothes laid out the night before; read the morning paper, a necessary part of existence since learning to read; time the morning meal, caffeine and subsequent fluid intake for maximum performance; load the vehicle and double-check yet again so that my recurrent nightmare of the game starting while an indispensable item is missing never comes true.
Some changes have occurred to the basic rote over these last thirty years and like new variations on Bach they improve the sublime: check the destination weather on the Internet; bring a cell phone for post-match note comparing with referees around Pelicanland; power up the navigation unit so as never to miss a turn; bring updated iPod so that whichever of the fifteen thousand songs on the soundtrack of my life spring to mind also springs to ear.
The calendar turned while I was sleeping. It’s March. In California March comes in like a lamb and goes out like a lamb. We like our lamb out here.
Let’s review the bidding. Last Saturday rugby was a game for fanatics, the fearless and the mad. It was bitterly cold, a statement of intent merely to leave the house. Sideline wear for those afflicted with a sufficient degree of fanship included Gortex, anoraks and umbrellas held at satellite-dishes-in-Alaska angles.
Today: sixty degrees at dawn. The few clouds so light that photons gave them impetus, fleeing the rising sun. It was seventy-four at game time. Sideline apparel often did not include shoes, but did include bare shoulders and even one parasol.
The Salinas River was still running high after a fecund rainy cycle. The results of its bounty were visible to me on my drive and will be to you on your plate over the next few months.
Strawberries have been picked, are being picked, and are being planted. Lettuce is sprouting. Broccoli shows some leaves. Brussels sprouts are fully mature. The citrus awaits only the picker.
Several things have changed over the course of the years on the drive from Salinas to SLO.
Veteran travelers to the Santa Barbara tournament will recall long lines of eucalyptus windbreaks alongside the freeway, especially between Greenfield and King City. Most of these grew old together and went the way of all flesh, their stumps still straining in vain to turn back the atmospheric tide.
The density of human habitation between Camp Roberts and the Cuesta Grade has increased noticeably, and why not: this is a lovely area to live, wanting only a few rugby teams to be paradise.
But what impresses the episodic voyager most is the multiplication of Dionysius’ acolytes, arrayed in rank in file like Hoplites, staking out increasing acreage with each passing year in order to satisfy the burgeoning legions of celebrants of the rites of their liege.
The miles pass like sweet conversation with old friends.
ARROYO GRANDE 44 – SF/Golden Gate 31 Referee: Bruce Carter
Golden Gate is playing in the second division for the first time in a few years. This was their first trip to the Talley Farms pitch, now in its second year of use.
It’s worth the drive, even from the Bay Area: past the citrus orchards bedecked like Christmas trees with fruit, down a little dirt road, across a bridge, reassured only by the signs that say RUGBY that you aren’t lost, and then you see two gorgeous pitches.
Yes, the second pitch now has posts and markings. It lies at hockey-stick-blade angle to the first, with room enough for a planned clubhouse at the elbow.
Your writer is also your editor. One sentence crosses my screen often enough to have earned cliché status, “This game was closer than the score indicates.”
Yet fifteen minutes into this one that’s exactly what I was thinking. Arroyo Grande was working some very challenging phases, their big pack inching up the pitch with a well-controlled ball, only occasionally ceding possession – which the fleet feet of Golden Gate’s outside backs would transmute into points.
The home team had had the run of play and were down twenty-one nil.
That’s when Arroyo Grande started crashing two points of either bow rather than dead-ahead. This made all the difference: several of the Mountain Lions could slip tackles that they couldn’t run through, and their backs proved too valuable to have been ignored as they were the first part of the game.
The rest of the first half was more even. AG scored on their own restart after Gate’s third try. The combatants gave and took evenly for a while before AG scored again, immediately answered on their restart by SF/GG. By halftime it was 26-19 to the visitors.
Led from the front by two rampagers, #3 George Manos and #8 Tom Fleming, AG scored four more tries in the second half, as well converting a penalty goal when they were still behind and needed the points.
The tow-behind grill had been groaning with hunks of tri-tip at least since I arrived ninety minutes before kickoff. Luckily the breeze had borne the aroma away from the pitch, else eighty minutes might have seemed too long. Now it was time to be served the Central Coast’s gift to the world, a tri-tip barbecue.
This particular portion of meat was developed and appreciated first in Santa Maria, which is just down the road. Butchering a cow in the normal way doesn’t yield this cut. But it was left to the Arroyo Grande grill demons to make the tri-tip sit up and beg.
A pitch-side barbecue, barefoot in the grass, surrounded by kindred spirits, chewing the fat with one of the accomplished true gentlemen of our game, Bo Kelly; what a nice place to end my report and to hope that your relationship with rugby is as positive and life-enhancing as mine.
A MOMENT OF SHAME
Diablo Gaels U23 – Haggis seconds
This can’t be right – there were a number of refs present for the game before this one but just because none of them had been assigned to this match they all left, even though two teams were clearly warming up to play.
This is a dark mark on the NCRRS.
We simply do not have the numbers to cover anywhere near all of the games in NorCal. We do not expect everyone who referees a first side match to do the second side match – people get tired or injured, previous commitments have been made, the baby sitter has a time limit.
But when there are a number of refs on hand, to think that they would each turn their back on thirty players eager for their week’s fulfillment, that’s not the Pelican Society that your writer joined.
We apologize for listing the name of one of our referees wrongly last week.
It is Roberto Santiago, not Alberto.
RENO REFEREEING MARCH 22?
Stanford will be playing at the University of Nevada, Reno, two games on Saturday, March 22. We also need someone to go to Humboldt that day.
We’re asking for volunteers for these games, but it’s not the usual choice of distant game/local game. On this day, it’s distant game/no game.
There are three games in Humboldt, two games in Chico, two in Reno and a grand total of one in the Bay Area – already assigned, thank you very much.
From American Rugby News:
“In other Super League preseason action, OMBAC edged San Francisco Golden Gate 36-34 in another close one in the Bay Area of northern California.”
So our worthless scum of a fact-checker just had a peek at Golden Gate’s website and we can confirm with our own eyes that it says they were going to be playing OMBAC in a pre-season game at home.
But we didn’t assign a ref and nobody has sent in a report...
Hayward 19 – OLYMPIC CLUB 27 Referee: Mark Nelson (Eastern Rockies)
Touch Judge: Eric Rauscher
Evaluator: Dixon Smith
After being delayed and an hour while Hayward sorted the filed permit, we kicked off at 2 pm. I was excited to referee the defending D1 champs vs. last years 3rd ranked D1 team. I expected a fast paced game worked hard to get quick ball for the teams.
O club started the half with 2 quick tries and it looked like this was going to be a one sided match. Towards the end of the first half, play seemed to go back and forth with Hayward knocking on the door after two penalties in the 22 of O club. Hayward, wanting to go quick and not try for goals because of the wind, eventually turned the ball over and then O club scored their third try to go up 20-0 at half time.
At the start of the 2nd half I knew the temper of the game would rise and I was right. 10 minutes in #6 from Hayward shoulder-charged an O club center and for that he was sent to the sin bin. O club put another try on and then Hayward got on the board for a try with conversion. After the kick off Hayward #20 never attempted to get onside at the ensuing ruck, this being Hayward’s 3rd penalty for offside he was rewarded with a 10-minute rest. After that discipline from both teams broke down and Hayward #9 decided that he was done playing rugby for the day and wanted to practice his boxing skills. At the next stoppage I had a quiet word with #9 tried to calm him down and said let’s walk off the pitch at the end of the match together. Well the next ruck my chat didn’t sink in, and he was sent off for punching. Hayward then mounted a come back but it was two little two late. It was disappointing that communications and discipline broke and fast rugby was not on for the day. It sure was a learning experience for this referee and hopefully the clubs will learn from this as well. O club 27 Hayward 19.
Seconds: Hayward 10 – OLYMPIC CLUB 36 Referee: Sam Davis
After doing two high school games in the morning, I pointed the Rugby Hog to Hayward for the Hayward vs. O Club seconds. This being the 2nd time I had the opportunity to referee this competition. The last time was in SF and Hayward had most of their first team play two games. Today was different. A lot of young faces and a couple of old ones were on the field. This was a hard-hitting match with both sides playing a physical game the wind was a major factor at kicks and lineouts. O Club were more fit and there at the breakdowns. They scored first at the 35 min mark scoring three more try’s at 21, 17 and 10 min mark those 3 trys were in the corner with the high wind kicks at goal were near impossible. Hayward scored one try at the 19 min mark. The second half started with Hayward having the wind at their backs and one of the players continued harassment of the referee which earned him a yellow card and the opportunity to sit down for 10 min. Hayward rose to the occasion and did not let O club score while they were a man down. O Club’s first score was due to both of their props: one scooped up the ball off of a tackle, drove 10 meters and passed to his other prop who rumbled across the goal line and slid in to score and came up with a nice set of raspberries. Hayward came back and scored a nice try in the corner at the 16 min mark. The teams went back and forth until O Club put the final score up with less than 2 min to play. Final score O Club 36 Hayward 10
Sacramento Lions 15 – SAN MATEO 22 Referee: David McHugh (Eastern Penn)
Evaluator: Kat Todd-Schwartz
The match was played up very sunny skies on a rather peculiarly lined field as noted by myself and my evaluator Kat Todd-Schwartz. As this was my first introduction to Islander rugby I was also advised that the 1 pm kick off was far from written in stone. I blew the whistle at a few minutes past 1:30 to begin what was to be a very high spirited match well played by both sides. The sides employed used different attacking philosophies for the most part. Sacramento chose to keep the ball within their forwards and from time to time kicked over the top if they thought San Mateo had crept up to the line of touch on defense. San Mateo continually tried to make use of the speed they had outside with quick dummies and switches amongst the backs. Two first half tries by San Mateo went unconverted. This allowed Sacramento (one conversion) allowed for San Mateo to pull away for the victory.
The final scoreline, Sacramento 15 San Mateo 22, reflects the hard-fought nature of the match. This referee took it as a badge of merit that both sidelines were certain I was pulling for the other team. A great afternoon of rugby, and a great introduction to the NCRFU society. A special tip of the hat must go to Jim Crenshaw who hosted and chauffeured my bones back and forth from San Francisco.
Seconds: Sacramento Lions – San Mateo
No referee assigned.
Diablo Gaels 17 – HAGGIS 44 Referee: Paul Bretz
Touch Judge: John Coppinger
Haggis visited the Gaels and went back to Utah with a 44-17 victory. However at the half time break the crowd believed the Gaels were the stronger team as they appeared to be more fit. The difference at half was only 2 points (12-10). The score remained so until the 50th minute when Haggis quickly scored 4 trys. The Gaels ended the game on a high note with a try with no time left.
SACRAMENTO 9 – Seahawks 8 Referee: Scott Wood
Touch Judges: Ray Schwartz-Todd, Phil Ulibarri
Pitch: Danny Nunn Park, Sacramento
A brief sprinkling of rain softened up a normally hard pitch. A fortnight ago, this pitch was more cheese grater than sod.
I arrived to find McGeorge hosting Petaluma in a 10-aside match with the "referee" calling "whistle" in the absence of any such device. While Petaluma had more continuity, McGeorge was able to score one try that I saw. It's good to see McGeorge playing Rugby again.
San Jose arrived by bus (after a turnabout tour of South Sacramento) ready to play. Both teams were on top of the standings with Sacramento a mere two points ahead of the visitors.
Both teams played relatively well with hotly contested breakdowns. Sacramento was able to utilize space and get the ball out wide only to lose it to knock ons. San Jose battled well at the breakdown but in trying to get the ball out too fast would lose it to a knock on.
The sole try of the match came from a disjointed maneuver as the Seahawks ran left off a ruck, found a wall of defenders, then sprinted right to exploit the smallest of gaps. Sacramento answered shortly thereafter with a penalty goal and then the gaps disappeared. Players continued to battle for possession as the half wound down with the Seahawks leading 5-3.
The second half opened up with more passing and running about. Sacramento scored a penalty goal to take the lead 6-5. As the match progressed, players started to get a bit antsy about the score differential. A Sacramento penalty gave James Hinkin another opportunity for points. With a long-range boot, he slotted the penalty goal switching the lead to San Jose's favor 8-6.
While both teams maintained positive temperament throughout the match, discipline at the tackles and rucks was something to be desired. With under ten minutes to go, San Jose committed a penalty at the breakdown. Unfortunately for them, Sacramento's kicker was also in good form and slotted a penalty goal to return the lead to the host's favor 9-8. Shortly thereafter, the time ran out for San Jose and the hosts enjoyed a mute celebration of victory.
Quote of the match:
--After a Sacramento player was awarded a "mark", he turned to me and asked, "Now what?" I suggested he ask his teammates.
We retired to the Limelight for the after-match function. Good beer and food accompanied with the opportunity to win/lose money at the associated card room.
This was an exciting match between two well-matched sides. Thanks to my referee touch judges for providing impartial flavor to the contest.
Seconds: Sacramento 20 – SEAHAWKS 23 Referee: Phil Ulibarri
BA BARACUS 22 – Fresno 21 Referee: Tony Redmond
After eventually finding my way to the Polo Grounds, we got the game under way on time on a pitch that was pockmarked and bare in places, which didn’t help the bounce of the ball. Baracus scored first but then succumbed to a comedy of errors to basically gift three converted scores to Fresno. I must have a jinx on the Baracus out-half, who followed up his in-goal kick that led to a try for San Jose a couple of weeks ago with a similar effort today, this time gratefully received by the Fresco scrum-half, who was the pick of his team. At 5-21 down at half time, it didn’t look good for Baracus.
The second half was all about errors and while Baracus contributed their own fair share of knock-ons and forward passes, their extra fitness told in the end as they managed to score three tries and convert one (their last in the 78th minute) to barely squeak home by a single point.
Seconds: BA Baracus – Fresno
No referee assigned.
Santa Rosa 3 – EAST PALO ALTO 34 Referee: Tom Zanarini
Referee Coach: Jake Rubin
What could have happened: Two well conditioned, intense, attacking teams playing a fantastic match in front of 60+ fans on a beautiful day.
What did happen: Two well conditioned, intense teams not playing the whistle and giving constant remarks to the referee. The match was stopped 3 times to discuss with the captains the need to play the whistle and not add commentary during play. One yellow card was given, multiple penalties for dissent. The first half had all the scoring and only about 8 penalties. The second half had over 15 penalties given to the team leading in points. 30 minutes into the 2nd half, after just stopping play to once again talk to the captains about controlling their players, a penalty was given, 30 opinions were opined and the match was duly ended.
So it goes.
Seconds: Santa Rosa – East Palo Alto
No referee assigned.
Mendocino 5 – SHASTA 15 Referee: Joe Leisek
Eagle Peak Middle School, Redwood Valley
A real pleasure to referee. These are two teams that know each other well and feel a real bond. And speaking of bonds, the eight gentlemen in the Mendocino forward pack formed a very strong bond at each scrummage--enough to push their opponents back throughout the match and force several turnovers through wheeling. Despite this forward dominance, the hosts could not use the ball quickly or efficiently enough to create opportunities. Shasta's backline was too experienced and quick to allow much gain at all. The visitors moved the ball through their backline with much greater effect, and for much greater gain. A good contest, however, with some big hits and several multi-phase periods of play. Well done by both sides.
RENO 31 – Vacaville 10 Referee: Chris Tucker
45 degrees, sunshine and a strong westerly wind greeted the two teams assembled under the snow-capped mountains surrounding Reno. Beautiful venue, and a fast pitch marred only by a slightly trapezoidal shape, and the goalposts being a foot or so wider than they should have been. Not to worry, we've all seen much worse, and this was going to provide good footing for some strong backline play on both sides.
Reno had the early going, scoring two early tries before Vacaville found their stride. A penalty to Vacaville on the Reno 10m quickly became a penalty 10m closer to the goal as a forward voiced his disagreement with the sole judge of law and fact. This was kickable, and the Vacaville stand-off duly slotted the kick. Vacaville continued to press, but couldn't quite put the ball over the line, and lost possession twice inside the 5m line which were swiftly cleared by the Reno backs. Reno scored once more before the half, for 17-3.
The game was cruising along with Reno scoring another 2 tries in the second half, with Vacaville answering with one of their own after 68 minutes, when I had cause to tell referee-scrumhalf Jim Read that tackles really need to take place below the ear-line of his opposite number. I'm sure he will re-read Law 10 before his next match.
Alas, an off-the-ball incident marred play just before time. Several players (sadly behind the referee who was following those who were playing on) decided that fisticuffs were preferable to the fine running rugby that both teams had exhibited to date. Although all was over by the time I realised what was happening, the tenor of the game had changed, and both teams lost their appetite for playing the ball. The final whistle couldn't come soon enough.
A shame, since both teams had played hard and up to 75 minutes everyone was having a good time. Such is life. Next time gentlemen, just play rugby.
HUMBOLDT 31 – Vallejo 12 Referee: JC Van Staden
Spending a 6 hour drive with wife and kid, cruising though rain, wind and snow was amazing...Surprising to find that the rain cleared up, clouds disappeared, and a perfect day for rugby was about to kick off.
Despite an hour delay, the game started in very good spirit. Humboldt failed to break through the defense of Vallejo, but decided to put some points on the board with a 33m penalty kick. Vallejo failed to keep their composure and inexperienced players cost them another 3 points, followed by a try underneath the uprights.
The second half speech by Vallejo’s coach was taken to heart, and right from the kick-off they ran in their 1st try. Humboldt realized that it would not be a walk over, so they stepped up the pace and slowly pulled away with a penalty and a unconverted try. About 15 min to the end of the game, the 8th man pulled of a brilliant dropped goal during advantage for a high tackle in the 22 of Vallejo. But the spirit of the young Vallejo team never went down, and they scored a converted try just to watch another rammed in by Humboldt.
STANISLAUS 48 – Fog 20 Referee: John Coppinger
At Turlock HS on a beautiful, but windy, winter day, Harlots started strong and dominated w/ forward play to take an early lead only to have SF Fog respond late in the first half out moving the ball wide to cut the Harlot lead to 7 at the half.
In the second half, Fog seemed to lose the plot trying to match forward play w/ the bigger and more aggressive Harlot pack w/ Harlots thundering over 5 tries to the Fog's two.
A good spirited B side match was played (however, the referee lost his pencil and has no clue as to the score).
MISSION 17 –Berkeley 15 Referee: David Pope
On a beautiful day in Palo Alto, the home team had just enough to hold off Berkeley 17 to 15. The biggest difference in this game was probably the strength of the Mission scrum. Berkeley was under immense pressure at every scrum engagement. They had difficulty winning their own ball, and when they did it wasn't pretty. Often due to the difficulty in clearing the scrum the Mission backs were up in the Berkeley backline as the ball got to the fly-half. The rest of the game was pretty even. The difference turned out to be a 75m intercept try near the beginning of the second half. Berkeley had been advancing with pounding runs from the forwards and good ball control. It all went wrong with one poor pass and a good defensive read by a Mission back. The game ended with Berkeley kicking a conversion to cut the lead to 2.
MARAUDERS 19 – Berkeley B 6 Referee: Bruce Bernstein
San Jose Marauders 19 (3) beat Berkeley B side 6; played as a prelude to the Missions & Berkeley's A side at El Camino Park across from the Stanford Shopping Center.
Berkeley led 6-0 at half with 2 penalty kicks, but the Marauders came on strong in the second half scoring 3 tries; including one caused by a penalty at the 5 meter line by Berkeley's fullback throwing the ball to touch while in the try zone.
APTOS 45 – Marin 18 Referee: Bryant Byrnes
On a pretty Santa Cruz day a D3 delight was played. Sometimes disparaged as industrial grade rugby, Division 3 can indeed live down to its reputation.
Not on this Saturday. No punch ups, little chatter, and a low penalty count (especially off side). The Object of the Game-fair play, sporting spirit and many points-was well met. Kudos to the teams, the captains and the coaches.
At half, the home side was up 21 to 8. While the winning margin was big, Marin contested with vigor for 80 minutes. But Aptos consistently swung the ball wide and took advantage of overlaps.
ALL BLUES – SF Fog Referee: Dave Heath
Result: Berkeley All Blues - quite a lot; SF Fog Women 0
No contest as far as the score was concerned, with Berkeley scoring with almost metronomic regularity. This was a warm up game for both teams, played in three 30 minutes 'halves'. Berkeley had a complete game, with strong running forwards, speedy fliers and some lovely moves, both set plays and impromptu sleight of hand that had this observer gasping with admiration at times. But SF Fog never gave up, and in the '3rd' half probably had parity as far as possession and territory were concerned, but just lacked that cutting edge that Berkeley had in abundance.
ST. MARY’S 89 – Stanford 19 Referee: Pat Burns (Minnesota)
Assessor: Bryan Porter
It was a beautiful day for rugby at SMC. Slight breeze out of the west and sunny. A barely thawed visitor from Minnesota partook in a track meet that seemed to be a closer matchup than the final score indicated - particularly in the forwards. SMC got on the boards early with a penalty kick. Stanford was in SMC's half much of the first half and frequently had SMC on their heels, eventually responding with a penalty try at 28 minutes when SMC was repeatedly offside and not back 10 on those penalties at their 5m. This scenario was repeated in the second half giving Stanford their third and final try on the day. Some beautifully executed back line moves, support and ball control by SMC made the difference on the day. One 1st half try in particular saw SMC win ball off LO inside their 22m and go the length of the field for a try in the opposite corner.
Score at half was 27-7 and final was 89-19.
Visiting ref had a great time on "spring break" and was graciously hosted by John and Eileen Pohlman. Watching Paul Bretz’ match and scenic drives were some highlights, along with the site of green grass, rolling hills and flowering trees.
Seconds: ST. MARY’S 50 – Stanford 17 Referee: John Pohlman
Both teams fielded full second side teams. St. Mary's looked to have twenty-plus in their seconds. Stanford has had some injuries and were forced to play some players out of position.
It's such a treat to referee a second-side game with such well-coached teams. Both teams committed few penalties and played with positive spirit.
St. Mary's started fast, controlling possession, leading to four first-half scores. Stanford was able to score a late first half try.
The second half started with St. Mary's scoring tries at the 2, 6 and 9 minute mark. Stanford scored two tries within 3 minutes to give them some hope.
Sac State 19 – UC DAVIS 45 Referee: Joe Androvich
Seconds: SAC STATE 33 – UC Davis 14 Ref: Androvich
CHICO STATE 43 – Nevada 12 Referee: Jim Crenshaw
Seconds: Chico State – Nevada Referee: Tony Latu
No report received.
CALIFORNIA 72 – New Mexico 0 Referee: Magnus Oosthuizen (Texas)
Evaluator: David Williamson
CAL MARITIME 51 – Humboldt State 17 Referee: Cary Bertolone
It was a beautiful, sunny 62 degree day (w/ 20 mile an hr winds). Kickoff at 1:00 and Cal Maritime scored a try against Humboldt St by the 5 minute mark by great ball retention by the forwards and some hard forward running. More of the same followed. After a yellow for no wrap, body slam by Humboldt and playing a man down for ten minutes, Humboldt actually scored three points and held Maritime scoreless until everyone was again at full strength. Then, Maritime scored two more tries for the halftime score of 22-3. The second half was a little more even, but Maritime controlled most of the game and won 51-17.
A seven-a-side was played as a second game. Humboldt St took a 12-0 half time lead, but Maritime scored 4 tries in the second half for a 24-12 win.
U. San Francisco 14 – DIABLO GAELS U23, 36 Referee: Sandy Robertson
The Gaels dominated the first half running out to a 21-0 lead. The 2nd half was a different story as USF rebounded with 2 converted tries, essentially matching the Gaels's 15 points.
SANTA ROSA JC 21 – UC Santa Cruz 10 Referee: Preston Gordon
This was a choppy game with quite a bit of kicking for position and more than the usual number of scrums, but no lack of enthusiasm. There was a steady wind blowing across the pitch, but other than that it was a great day for rugby in Santa Rosa.
The first try wasn't scored until the 28th minute, after UCSC failed to secure possession at a post-lineout breakdown on their goal line. SRJC drove into the ensuing ruck and one of their players got his hand onto the ball first while it was sitting in the in-goal. The try duly was converted, but that was the end of the scoring for the first half.
In the second half 4 tries were scored (2 to SRJC at 44' and 63'; 2 to UCSC at 56' and 70'). One in particular was well executed - after the UCSC fly-half put an up-and-under into the SRJC 22, the waiting fullback let the ball bounce instead of playing it. UCSC was on the scene to collect the ball and dive over just ahead of a covering tackle. That fired them up, and if rugby was a 100-minute game, they probably would have ended up winning this one. As it turned out, SRJC did just enough work to win 3 tries to 2 (UCSC had one conversion blown just wide by the wind and the other bounce off the outside of the post).
SANTA CLARA 49 – San Jose State 3 Referee: Larry Freitas
Played at Santa Clara University's Bellomy Field, the Broncos defeated the Spartans by a score of 49-3. Santa Clara has a mobile pack and excellent ball-handling backline. A try in the first half resulted from a backline move to the left hand corner of the pitch, where several behind-the-back and blind passes led to Mike Dessel touching down, similar to the Campese to Horan try by Australia vs. New Zealand in 1991. Santa Clara had a 27-0 halftime lead, and evenly split their try scoring with four in each half. San Jose scored from a penalty goal early in the second half. Greg Ginotti, Scott Peterson, Mitch Ryan and Matthew Saldivar were other try scorers for the SCUTS. They are 6-0 and on the way to the Division 2 Playoffs.
UC DAVIS Women 10 – Stanford Women 0 Referee: Pete Smith
UC Davis women hosted National Runners-Up Stanford in a very hard fought match. The score was 3-0 at halftime and the final was 10-0 with UC Davis coming out on top. Either team could have won on the day; it came down to Davis playing more cohesively and with more heart and determination. The score does not reflect the style or level of play as both teams went end to end-Davis off loading in the tackle and Stanford throwing the ball around, but despite the offense-the defense would bend, but not break.
Seconds: UC Davis 0 – STANFORD 67 Ref: Smith
Stanford dominated this game from start to finish and cruised to a 67-0 victory. One of Stanford’s standout A side players missed the team bus and was late to warm ups. Consequently and rightfully so, she was benched for the A side match. Needless to say she was head and shoulders above all others on the field-she really stood out to the point where the Davis players were saying that they were getting ‘beat by one player’. She was directly responsible for likely 75% of Stanford’s points. It is a shame that these things happen, but Stanford’s coach did the right thing by sitting her even if hurt the team. I do not say this to take anything away from UCD and their HUGE win over Stanford. They played and deservedly won the match. Likewise, the style of play they incorporated would have been effective against anyone or any team. The Davis team played with huge hearts and won a great game-period!
CALIFORNIA women 10 – Humboldt State 0 Referee: Chris Labozzetta
Chico State women – UNR Referee: Russ Wilkening
No report received.
St. Mary's women – Santa Clara Referee: refereed by a coach
Results not known.
Sacramento State Women 7 – UC SANTA CRUZ 12 Referee: Phil Ulibarri
UCSC women – San Jose State FORFEIT (the SJS team has not the numbers to compete and has thrown in the towel for this year)
Golden Eagles 17 – VACAVILLE 20 Referee: Scott Wood
Pitch: Del Oro HS, Loomis
Kickoff: 6:45 p.m. (after the B-side match)
I arrived just around sunset to find the B-side match underway and the pre-season feeding of mosquitoes in full stride. The B-side match was an interesting affair with some really good play and a tackling/ball-carrying beast playing for Vacaville with the eponymous title: Rhino.
The hosts kicked off the A-side match running uphill. A lot of passing about and too many knock ons led to an inordinate number of scummaging. The Golden Eagles were able to score an unconverted try while holding Vacaville scoreless. Halftime score: VV 0 GE 5
I'm not sure what was in the teams drank at halftime but the playing ability was markedly better as ball handling errors diminished and contact points were more positive. Golden Eagles' Sione Vaka managed to elude most of Vacaville's players to touchdown two tries while Vacaville spread its passing around to score three tries bringing the game really close: VV 15 GE 17.
A scrum was awarded to Vacaville on the Golden Eagles's 22 meter line. Mere seconds later my watch sounded off for full time. Vacaville won its put in and passed out to its flyhalf who was promptly wrapped up in a tackle. Vacaville spun the ball left and off to the races we went. 22 meters later the visitor touched the ball down on the goal line to score the go-ahead try.
RIO RUGBY 43 – Davis 17 Referee: Chris Tucker
Arriving at the pitch I was treated to a fine display by the freshman ladies soccer team who for some reason had first call on the pitch over the varsity ruggers. They played passably well, although I was unable to understand why they needed TWO refs (one in each half). They didn't seem to keep up well with the 14 year olds they were officiating, so maybe that was it. One of the Rio coaches suggested an alternative theory that it might be so they can see round the other side of the rucks when they occurred. I didn't see too many. They finished late, and we finally got underway with the main event at 16.50, just in time to squeeze in both halves before dark.
Rio wasted no time putting a try over in the corner after only 5 minutes. The TJ called it out, but it was clearly a try, and 5 points were given. The pattern of the game was set by the Rio backs, who span it out fast and wide, running tight angles to draw in the defenders, and then finding big holes past the centres. Before long they were 3 tries up, but a woeful clearance attempt by the Rio fullback on his goal line led to a partial charge down and an easy touchdown for the pursuing Davis players.
The second half continued in much the same vein, with another 4 tries by Rio, but as time went on, some strong running and much better support play led to 2 Davis tries (one converted from right on the touchline) to add some respectability to the score. Overall, a well and fairly fought match between the two sides.
Varsity: De La Salle 14 – SFGG 41 Referee: Pete Smith
I lucked into a great game, SFGG U19 at De La Salle. Two of the top HS programs in the area, both teams are well coached, disciplined and typically have good athletes. This year was no different. SFGG were just too good on the day with #’s 1, 2, 3, 4, 7, 8, 12 and 15 all having standout performances. SFGG cruised to a 41-14 win.
Frosh/Soph: DLS 10 - SFGG 10 Referee: Edward Barfels
Both teams scored a try (with out conversion) in each half. Both scrum-halves were very aggressive and they set the tone of the play. It was a well-played game.
SANTA ROSA 58 – Rancho Cotati 12 Referee: Cary Bertolone
I reffed Santa Rosa H.S. against Rancho Cotati H.S. at For Pete's Sake in S.R. The Santa Rosa H.S. team got the ball out to their backs repeatedly for a big half time lead and they won 58-12.
Alameda girls 5 – HUMBOLDT 37 Referee: Anna McMahan
Alameda HS girls hosted on a last minute pitch after losing their fields to vandalism earlier in the week. The field size and lack of goal posts were no deterrent to an enjoyable game of rugby.
Both teams showed up ready to play and have a good time, and it showed on the pitch through some hard hits, long runs, and good attitudes.
Humboldt opened the scoring after 15 minutes of back and forth rugby opened up and one of their locks successfully charged the line. A Humboldt loose forward scored again through open play, and they closed out the half with a third score by their scrumhalf. Alameda's defense made a good number of tackles, but Humboldt was able to offload to keep the ball alive. No first half tries were converted.
The second half started off with a bang as the Humboldt #8 supported on the outside and made a long run for a try only one minute in. The Humboldt back line proved to be a tough group for the Alameda defense to contain, and Humboldt made several breaks through their centers.
After another 10 minutes, Humboldt had touched down two more tries, one of them converted. Alameda had no intention of being shut out, and after a long bit of possession and support, scored with 12 minutes left through their #8.
Humboldt closed out the scoring with one more try just a few minutes before the game ended. Humboldt's back line really stood out, with good ball movement and pace throughout the game.
DIABLO 50 – Berkeley 0 Referee: Sam Davis
Saturday is a rugby day with a double header at DVC and one game in Hayward.
The rugby hog had a short trip to DVC for the Diablo vs. Berkeley HS team game. We kicked off at 10:00 with both teams finding their pace. Diablo’s first score was at the 25 min mark 10 min into the game. Berkeley was doing a good job in the scrums. Diablo scored at the 16, 12, 2 and 0 min mark in the first half making it 29-0. Second half Diablo had two quick scores at 33, 31 min mark then Berkeley held them till the 4 min mark where Diablo scored their final try.
DIABLO 36 – Piedmont 14 Ref: Davis
A bottle of water, the PITS trainer working on my pulled hamstring, and ready for the next game, Diablo vs. Piedmont. Diablo shuffled their team around and kicked off to PITS, it was back and forth for the first 13 min until PITS were able to break thru the Diablo line and touch it down under the post. First blood had been drawn and Diablo came back 3 min later to score. PITS kicked off and Diablo took it straight down the field and scored again. Scoring slowed for while when PITS was offside close enough for Diablo to go for 3 a nice 35 meter kick. Diablo score once more with no time on the clock Half time score Diablo 22 – PITS 7. The 2nd half Diablo scored at the 31 and 21 min mark. PITS continued to play hard and they were rewarded at the 11 min mark with another try.
CHRISTIAN BROTHERS 72 – Elsie Allen 5 Referee: John Pohlman
Ah, to be a northern California referee. This weekend was my first game back after agitating an old rugby injury.
I had the opportunity to host Patrick "Paddy" Burns from the Minnesota Union.
Pat was scheduled to be evaluated at the St. Mary's Stanford first side game.
My game was Christian Brothers (CB) versus Elsie Allen (EA).
This looked like two of the stronger high school programs in Northern California.
CB I was told might be the best team in California. EA always seems to be strong and well-coached.
Paddy and I had a beautiful drive up to St. Mary's from Fremont. We arrived as the St. Mary's women were starting their match against Santa Clara.
Pat was impressed with the venue as well as the four games being hosted by St. Mary's...so was I.
EA graduated their entire team. EA coach Alan related he had lots of freshman and sophomores. CB looked like they were gearing up for the high school championships.
Elsie Allen fielded a good tackling, physical side. But they were no match for the organized Christian Brothers team.
CB won 72 to 5, scoring five tries in each half.
They had strong forward play and backs who could score from anywhere on the field.
The CB fullback scored at least two tries and could have scored 4 or 5.
CB looked impressive. EA played hard.
SF/GG JV 5 – Piedmont 5 Referee: Bjorn Stumer
A fun, well contested match between two capable sides of equal size and strength - as confirmed by the final score of 5-5. Both tries were scored in the first half, with the second being a slow, scoreless affair with the San Francisco lads attacking, and with Piedmont defending for all they were worth. This they achieved thus pulling a tied match regardless of the disparity in numbers and some minor injuries. Good fun for all involved.
TRI-VALLEY 55 – Alameda 5 Referee: Aruna Ranaweera
In my first visit to Livermore, the Tri-Valley Vikings defeated the Alameda Rugby Club by 9 tries to 1 after leading 24-0 at half. This match was followed by a 30-minute practice match between Tri-Valley and Indian Valley.
[Editor’s Note: How ya gonna keep ‘em down on the farm once they’ve seen Livermore?]
LAMORINDA 75 – Hayward 15 Referee: Paul Bretz
Hayward have a young squad and will be contenders next year. Lamorinda proved too organized as they cruised to a 75-15 win.
LIVE OAK 31 – South Bay Exiles 5 Chris Fisher
Exiles had to quickly change fields and move their game to Morgan Hill resulting in many of their players not turning up. Score was close in the first half but in the second half Live Oak had most of the possession and wore their rivals down.
PENINSULA GREEN 36 – Silicon Valley 14 Ref: Fisher Good spirited game which had an unusual twist 20 minutes into the second half. An American Football practice had finished on the corresponding field and about 100 plus people sat in the stands and started watching this game.
EAST PALO ALTO 59 - College Park 3 Referee: David Pope
East Palo Alto were just too big and strong for a game College Park side. College Park finished this game stronger than they started and learned a lot about themselves and rugby in the process. East Palo Alto was an impressive mix of SIZE, speed and skills.
JESUIT 35 – LA Cougars U19, 10 Referee: Aruna Ranaweera
Under sunny skies, last year's top U19 teams from NorCal and SoCal renewed their annual fixture at Stanford. The match was exciting throughout with committed rucking, fierce tackling, skillful passing, and elusive running by both teams. Jesuit started the match with more cohesion, leading 18-5 at half, but the Cougars did not back down, often making long, rumbling breaks to keep the NorCal team on its toes. The second half was extremely physical with both sides attacking and tackling like there's no tomorrow. In the end, Jesuit won comfortably, 6 tries to 2.
Stanford freshmen – LA Cougars Referee: Anna McMahan
No report received.
THIS WEEK’S PHOTO
No Pelicans, just happy ruggers post-match at the Talley Farms pitch in Arroyo Grande.
For the Senate