Tuesday, October 14, 2008




Some folks have been lamenting the lack of ‘big’ rugby tournaments on the West Coast since the days of OMBAC, Santa Barbara, Golden Gate and Pebble Beach.

For those of our readers too young in referee years to know of what we speak, now is your chance to find out what refereeing a top-flight fifteens tournament is like.

The Wild West Rugby Fest had a heyday twenty years ago, and now it is growing back into a serious, competitive event. Twenty teams are confirmed for this Saturday. Have a look at the line-up in the top bracket:

Pool A
Santa Rosa
Sacramento Lions

Pool B
San Mateo
Sacramento Rebels
Reno Zephyrs

Games will be played on two fields from 9:30 until evening. WE NEED A MINIMUM OF SIX REFEREES FOR THIS EVENT – NINE WOULD BE BETTER.

If you’ve ever longed for the days of high-flight tournament rugby, now is the time: let us know of your availability, whether you need a hotel room Friday and/or Saturday, and plan a trip to the Biggest Little City in the World.

This Saturday we also need some refs for the Slugfest on the lovely pitches at UC Santa Cruz and for a game in Davis. Please put up your hand!

November 1:

We will need all hands on deck, at least twenty referees this weekend.

There are games Friday night, half a dozen games and three tournaments on Saturday, and on Sunday, NorCal games as well as the Pacific Coast Grizzlies against the New Zealand Heartland XV.

Andrew Mittrey Memorial in Redding
Baracus Tens on Treasure Island
Slugfest (women) at UC Santa Cruz

We especially need a few folks willing to make the drive up to lovely far northern California to take in the fall colors of the Mt. Shasta area.

November 15:

Women’s tournament in Humboldt
Plan now for a weekend away and take a date!
Plus nine other games registered so far.


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

This can be downloaded from our website:


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


18474 Deertrack Place
Salinas, CA 93908


The Harlotfest is now the Harlotgame.

This one-of-a-kind event bucked the trends, beginning in the early nineties and becoming wildly successful at the same time that other tournaments were going away. At its peak, a raucous Friday night Equalizer party was followed by more than a dozen teams-for-a-day taking the four pitches the next morning.

The spirit lives on. On this occasion, players assembled and by some process agglutinated into two teams. Most of one team wore gray shirts and most of the other team didn’t wear gray shirts. There were approximately thirty players most of the time.

Bjorn Stumer won the coin toss and elected to referee the first twenty-minute interval.

One team was better than the other team, scoring all the tries.

Bruce Carter took over for the second stanza. The same team continued to score all the tries.

After forty minutes, by mutual consent of the players they all repaired to the barbecue and the warm keg beer. The two referees, both of whom had planned to make a day of it, looked at each other in alarm. But they were assured that the rugby would resume immediately after lunch.

Which it did, two more twenty-minute periods and then the 17th (?) annual Harlotfest was history.

It should be noted that the team which could not score any tries did manage to get three in the last period, thereby winning the fourth quarter.

One player new to the game was from Patterson, Calif. Asked what he thought about rugby, he said he didn’t like having to come to the big city (Modesto) to play it!


Report by Scott Wood:

Sacramento State Hornets 10 – SACRAMENTO AMAZONS 15 Referee: Scott Wood
Both teams were reportedly inexperienced in the front row so the game started with uncontested scrums. Amazons started strong with two quick tries. Sac State started to find its form and put together a great series of phases down the field to finish with a classic two-on-one overload to score. Amazons almost scored a third try but Sac's #13 (Lisa?) managed to worm her way under the ballcarrier to hold up the attempted touchdown. Halftime score: Amazons leading 10-5.

We switched sides and the match stayed primarily between the 22s. Sacramento threw together a great run to even the score 10-10. Amazons were well disciplined at the breakdown and exploited defensive weaknesses but were held scoreless until the final minute when they scored a go-ahead try.

DAVIS DOUBLE DECKERS 31 – Chico State Wildcats 0 Referee: John Pohlman

DAVIS DOUBLE DECKERS 36 – Sacramento Amazons 0 Referee: Sam Reagle

Chico State Wildcats 5 – Sacramento State Hornets 5 Referee: Pohlman

SACRAMENTO AMAZONS 19 – Chico State Wildcats 7 Referee: Reagle

DAVIS DOUBLE DECKERS 27 – Sacramento State Hornets 0 Referee: Wood
Davis carried, passed and kicked the ball around the pitch, stole ball at lineouts and scrums, and ran rampant over the defense (and occasionally the ref) to lead at halftime 22-0. Sacramento was able to bolster its defense in the second half allowing only one unconverted try. Sacramento started the day with a number of rookies running disjointed plays and finished with concerted defenses and increased continuity.

Report by John Pohlman:
Saturday saw the new Davis Double Decker woman's team hosting a round robin tournament.

The Sacramento Amazons, Sacramento State and Chico State woman's teams were invited. Scoot Wood, Sam "Brick" Reagle, and I were the referees for the day.

The Davis team was the clear winner and best team on the day.

In my first match Davis beat Chico 31 to 0. Davis's #8 [editor's note: Lisa Cheeks Butts], who also played centers was the clear player of the game. She is also the starting hooker for the USA. She would power step, shift the ball and stiff arm. Always keeping tacklers off balance and controlling the tackle. She would make a good video on how to run with ball in hand. There were no rosters so I did not get names, except for captains.

In my second game Chico tied Sacramento State, 5-5.
This game had almost all newer players.

All four sides looked to have decent numbers. Chico looked to have two full sides.

Brick made his refereeing comeback from major knee surgery. In his first game he stepped in a hole and twisted his ankle. I bring this up because it shows Brick's dedication and spirit.

Scott looked at me and said I should go on to relieve Brick, who was laying on the ground whistle in mouth still trying to referee the game. I ran on as play continued, I think Brick blew his whistle due to a knock-on. I asked about his knee, but he said it was the ankle and he would try and go on. He finished that game and did the next.

I know Scott and I will never forget the sight of Brick laying flat on his stomach, whistle in mouth still in control of the game. That's rugby spirit.


Stanford Grad School – Grad School Alumni Referee: Labozzetta
No report received.

PCRFU U19 Lady Grizzly (NCRFU Trialists): Aspiring NCRFU U19 Lady Grizzlies 62 vs. San Francisco State University RFC 0 (H-T 24 -0)
Referee: Paul Berman
Referee Coach/Observer: David Williamson

Venue: Rocca Field, Treasure Island, San Francisco, Kick-off 1420; field firm under foot.

Weather: Warm & sunny

Comments: Two 20 minute halves of open running rugby! Two squads of approximately equal number 13 -14 players played an exciting attacking no holds barred game with surprisingly few ball-handling errors particularly from a scratch all-star team.

The hopeful/potential NorCal Grizzlies (2 present & 4 veteran Alameda Riptide HSG RFC, 4 Chico State University & 3 El Dorado Hills Mother Lode HSG RFC lassies) were put through their paces by the very able Tasha Bishop (previously Assistant U20 Lady Eagles Coach & Principal U19 Lady Grizzly Coach) & her able assistants Ellen Owens (Head Coach UC Berkeley Women) & Tina Watts (Principal Coach Fortuna Husky HS Girls RFC Humboldt County & Secretary U19 Lady Grizzly & NCRFU HS Girls League).

A hard fun time was had by all!

Fleet Week saw the famous Blue Angels doing what they do best, flying low in tight formation just above our heads at a rip roaring pace. Fun but deafening!

Point spread: Grizzlies - 10 tries, 6 conversion goals

Bernstein, Harris, Gordon
Three likely lads share pints at the Worcester Warriors rugby clubhouse.
Left to right: Bruce ‘Dude’ Bernstein, Doug ‘Angus’ Harris, Preston ‘Triple Threat’ Gordon


For the Senate
Pelicus Scriptoris