Wednesday, November 19, 2008




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

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


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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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


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


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

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

The way to test any system is to stress it.

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

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

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

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

Humboldt State Women's Tournament 0
Referee 0

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


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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

Seconds: Nevada 19 – FOG 26 Referee: Bruce Anderson


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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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


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

This can be downloaded from our website:

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

18474 Deertrack Place
Salinas, CA 93908

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

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

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


For the Senate
Pelicus Scriptoris

Wednesday, November 12, 2008




Play it in the spring, play it in the fall, the All Blues win! They defeated the Minnesota Valkyries 40 – 5 last Friday and then had a relatively close game (for them) in the final on Sunday:
ALL BLUES 25 – New York 17

Congratulations to Coach Alex Williams who took the reins from Kathy Flores and returned a team with many new players to the winners’ circle.


We listed four Clowns who have become referees. It gets worse.

James Hinkin not only played for the Clowns, he captained them on tour, but it gets worse.

Eugene Baker not only played for the Clowns, he played his first game of rugby ever for the Clowns!

Someday, there might be enough Clowns refereeing that they won’t all fit into a Volkswagen.


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

UC Davis – Humboldt State CANCELED


SIERRA COLLEGE 40 – Nevada B/C 5 Referee: Pete Smith
It was a very spirited affair with both teams playing fast and loose. UNR had difficulty tackling some of the better Sierra players and that kept them under pressure for most of the first half.

Six minutes before the break, UNR were pressuring the try line- I spotted a Sierra player land a short right hand, so I identified/announced the yellow card infraction and played advantage for 2-3 phases until UNR were able to dot down for a try. As I awarded the try, a UNR player had taken offence to something different Sierra player had done and was getting his money’s worth for his soon-to-be announced red card.

Sierra went to the break with a 15-5 advantage. With UNR down a player for 46 minutes, it became a fairly one way affair. Sierra scored 25 unanswered in the second half to bring the final to 40-5. Look for good things from Sierra College this year. Sacramento has the best High School league in the country and consequently the best base of players to draw from. I noted a few players wearing their local HS rugby shorts and that is never a bad thing.

SF Senors 3 tries – VANCOUVER ROWING CLUB 10 tries Referee: Rob Hendrickson
Braving the SF Triathlon traffic jam on TI, SFGG Old Boys renewed an old tradition and hosted their apparently longtime "brother" club Vancouver Rowing Club Old Boys to a spirited match on Saturday afternoon before the rains hit.

SFGG Old Boys fell a little short on the recruiting side, and so had to borrow a few players from Vancouver's traveling squad. We started off with two 20 minute halves, but everyone was enjoying it so much, and after much negotiation regarding whether to play on or head in for a beer, we added a third 10 minute half. The Vancouver squad had the benefit of having played together before, and their timing allowed them to score 3, 4 and 3 tries respectively in each period, while SFGG managed to score 0, 2, and 1 tries. Everyone then retired to the clubhouse for a beer- what a luxury.

Fog round robin
Report by Jim Crenshaw

The SF Fog tournament was held Saturday along with the Treasure Island triathlon. Luckily, I found a place to park only a couple of blocks from the pitch and only had to brave crossing the bike route once.

Three teams played the first three matches and then a combined San Diego Armada/ LA Rebellion side played the Fog A side in the final match.

SF FOG 29 – LA Rebellion 3 Referee: Jim Crenshaw
I ref'ed the first match between the SF Fog and the LA Rebellion. The Fog proved to much for the Rebellion in the first half scoring 3 tries before the Rebellion kicked a penalty goal. The Fog finished the scoring in the half with a converted try to make the score 24 - 3 at half.

The second half was an almost even-up affair, with the Fog scoring an unconverted try early in the half and the Rebellion's improving defense holding on the rest of the match.

Thanks to Preston Gordon and Eric Rausher for refereeing the other 3 matches, with Preston doing the second and fourth matches and Eric refereeing the third. We also had the privilege of watching Joe Androvich ref the noon match between the SF Fog women against the Sacramento Amazons.

FOG A 17 – San Diego Armada 0 Referee: Preston Gordon
Fog were clearly the better side technically, but it was still a good, fair contest.

San Diego Armada 0 – LA REBELLION 64 Referee: Eric Rauscher
I had to work Sat morning, so I wasn't able to arrive at the SF Fog games at Treasure Island until after noon. I figured I could at least run touch for a couple of games. I show up and Jim Crenshaw says "Do you want to do my game, it's next?" I think about it for about 30 seconds and say "Well OK." (This gave Jim time for feedback for Joe Androvich's game.) Anyway the weather was cool and overcast with a bit of mist. Perfect for keeping cool.

Halfs were 20 min, but full 15 a side teams. The San Diego side had a fair number of rookies and had no way of dealing with the LA backs which were quick and co-coordinated. The game reminded me of the voting phrase, score early and score often. So for the short time I was there I had a good time. The teams all seemed to enjoy the day.

Later three Fog players did a zulu, I gather because they had scored their first tries in the last game of the day.

FOG 22 – San Diego Armada/Los Angeles Rebellion Combined XV 3
Referee: Preston Gordon
Again, the Fog were better technically. This game was a lot closer than the scoreline would indicate however - perhaps because of the uncontested scrums (the SoCal side didn't have 2 uninjured props). Overall an enjoyable time was had by all. The rain held off and the pitch was in good shape, which was surprising considering how torn up it was the preceding week.

Noon: Fog women – Sacramento Amazons Referee: Joe Androvich
No report received.

Stanford hosts four different teams

Stanford men B 0 – SAN JOSE STATE 58 Referee: Sandy Robertson
Compared to recent seasons San Jose State has more players, better athletes, and a bigger brain trust. The result--coherent play and a solid thrashing of an inexperienced Stanford side. San Jose attacked through middle and out wide on its way to scoring 10 tries. Stanford never gave up on defense and mounted some good attacks but was not able to put points on the board.

STANFORD men 63 – UC Santa Cruz 0 Referee: Joe Leisek
Touch Judges: Sandy Robertson, Vala Dormani (Stanford player)
Steuber Rugby Stadium, Stanford University

A cool, overcast day at Stanford's wonderful facility, and a chance to visit and work with fellow Pelicans John Pohlman and Sandy Robertson.

Stanford was clearly in command of this match from the opening whistle, with their speedy, athletic backline spinning the ball wide and working plays in the midfield. Of course, this is much easier to do when your forwards are winning the set pieces and recycling ball quickly. The early stages of the match featured a brace of Stanford tries, two of which were scored from Santa Cruz mistakes, and one on a tremendous runback from a kickoff. But for a time, the two sides played evenly as the Santa Cruz defense played tough. Eventually, though, the hosts wore them down and was able to score several tries. Standing out in my view, among many talented Stanford players, were flanker D. Iberra, center Steve Brown, and flyhalf and Captain John Clark. Iberra was voracious and quick off the side of the scrum and relentless in his pursuit of loose ball, Brown was a monster in the middle, and Clark directed everything well and communicated very well with the referee. Though outclassed, Santa Cruz never gave in and featured many talented players of their own, including captain and scrumhalf Matthew Cadelago, who played the same position for the Marin Highlanders high school team (and was also captain).

I hereby nominate Sandy Robertson for Blower of the Day, as he refereed the early match between the Stanford men's second XV and San Jose State, ran touch for the men's first XV, then refereed the fourth and final match of the day between the Stanford women's seconds and Santa Clara.

STANFORD women 126 – St. Mary's 0 Referee: John Pohlman
Assistant Referee: Joe Leisek
Stanford hosted four games this past Saturday.

The day started with Sandy Robertson calling the San Jose State men versus Stanford 2nd, then continued with Joe Leisek running the Stanford men's 1st against the UC Santa Cruz.

My game was Stanford women 1st squaring off with St. Mary's. Then Sandy stepped up to do the last game of Stanford woman 2nd taking on Santa Clara University.

Thanks to Joe for running touch and Sandy for doing his second game, third since he ran touch for Joe.

Well, the Stanford women have started the pursuit of another D1 championship. They have graduated some very good players and major leaders. But Stanford has reloaded and look a bit stronger in the forwards.

Stanford won the coin toss and elected an end.

Stanford's ex-wing turned #7 caught the kickoff, fended off a tackle, stepped another tackle and scored from 60 meters. She was my player of the game. Worked hard around the field. Had the power to break tackle and the pace to finish scores. I know she scored at least three trys.

Let’s see 20 try's. 78 points in the first half. They changed the game plan in the second half to try and run inside more. This slowed down the scoring.

Stanford moved the speedster wing to fullback. Added another speedster wing. Had a rookie kicker, inside center, who made her first nine conversions and scored a couple of trys. Stanford looks to finally have a good forward pack led by captain and #8 Victoria. The front row looks bigger and more physical than in the past. Their #14 looks like a hurdler, close to six foot tall. Scored three trys in the game. The first she looked like she did not understand how to ground the ball. The second she scored well. The Third she actually looked hungry for the end zone. Good progress in one game.

All in all, Stanford is fast. Miss a tackle early and an average play turns into an easy try with loads and loads of speed.

Stanford women B 0 – SANTA CLARA 17 Referee: Sandy Robertson
Santa Clara kicked off and within the first minute gained possession in the Stanford half and began to patiently attack up the gut. Two plus minutes and 10+ phases later Stanford was penalized 5-10 meters from its try line. A tapped penalty, a couple more phases and Santa Clara had a well deserved try. Santa Clara continued to maintain possession, attacking close to rucks/mauls/tackles, with occasional forays wide. Stanford defended aggressively and created opportunities that, with a bit more game experience, will generate tries.

Fresno Tournament CANCELED

UC DAVIS B 46 – U. of San Francisco 17 Referee: Bryant Byrnes
A pre-season and good-natured friendly. Davis had about 30 players and USF, with some guest players from SF State, was about 19, 20.

The Dons (or Hilltoppers or whatever they may be these days) played opportunistic ball against the typically disciplined Aggies and the score was 12-19 for Davis at half. However, as is life rugby is a numbers game. With the resumption of play, with fresh legs Davis put the pedal down.

My compliments to both sides. For an early match, there was splendid adherence to the off sides line and very nice back play.

FADED ROSES 37 – Bald Eagles 24 Referee: Ray Schwartz
For Pete's Sake Field
Enjoying a touch of Indian summer in Sacramento late last week, I dusted off the trusty, shaft-driven motorbike and dreamt of a sunny ride through wine country early Saturday. I woke up, however, to overcast, finally spying the sun for a split second around Vacaville, and then more clouds and overcast the rest of the way. 99 miles from home, I rolled up to a lush green pitch in the southeast corner of Northwest Community Park, dismounting next to a smiling Pat Culley. Always good to chat with Patrick. We had last seen each other in Aspen.

I felt it was ambitious of the Bald Eagles to play 6 days after their previous match, and with some of their stalwarts (Comstock) unavailable (the Seniors were playing at TI). But after some tribulation, Ian Birchall assured me they'd scrape the numbers together.

The Faded Roses had numbers, but also looked a bit young, not so faded. It turns out a handful of Steam Donkeys joined their forces, somehow the result of UC Davis not playing Humboldt State (due to wet, closed fields), and so some HSU players were filling in with Humboldt in the second match, where the Steam Donkeys had first expected to play....

It was nice catching up with a number of old and young friends. Afa Wongking lamented not being in Salt Lake City, where his nephew Thretton Palamo would be playing against the NZ Heartland, but he would play well in the minutes ahead. Suddenly, just before kick off, Beau McSwain appeared kitted up for the Baldies, and so we commenced.

I know this was an old boys game, but it seemed to be played well by both sides. A close contest finally opened up with two tries from the Fadeds. It tightened up again until the Fadeds scored once more at the end of the first 20. Just as the home team threatened to run away with the game, the Baldies quickly scored two tries of their own early in the next period, and with a successful conversion were now just drop goal away from tying the game up. Tory Golino and Orlando Lopez were looking pretty quick for old boys. Even Rich Golino was mixing it up, handling the ball well.

But then the Fadeds broke it open again, and back and forth the scoring went. In the end, the scored tallied about 37-24 after 60 minutes, with the Faded Roses always in the lead. Considering the Bald Eagles had only a few subs, and faced a number of younger players, I was impressed with their efforts. Sam Davis then readied the main attraction's opponents as retired to the beer and bbq area, where I was reminded why I'll always jump at the opportunity to ref at For Pete's Sake.

Lagunitas kegs, homemade cornbread and chili, homemade sausages, and lots of happy people enjoying the good life! Shelter under several tents came in handy as a light rain rolled through. This only brought the small crowd together tighter as smiles were shared by all. I waited for the storm to blow through, and then was back on the bike, enjoying some sparkling sunshine, finally, on the ride home.

Santa Rosa 10 – HUMBOLDT 15 Referee: Sam Davis
It was a nice day to have a rugby adventure. Rain was in the forecast the Rugby Hog stayed in the garage. I have the new (Heart)2bfun Hybrid Escape 31.5 MPG as my other adventure vehicle. The game was slated for a 1:00 PM kick off I arrived early to see the old boys' game, which was running late or on Rugby time.

Both Santa Rosa and Humboldt came to play! Humboldt elected to kick a lot of back and forth for the first 12 min. Santa Rosa drew a penalty for diving over the ball. Humboldt made the kick and they pulled ahead. Humboldt on a roll 4 min later on a multi phase play touched it down between the posts and converted the kick. Santa Rosa moved the ball around for some time what started as a rolling mall ending up going to the wing and touched it in the corner. The half ended 10 -5 Humboldt ahead.

Humboldt scored again on a nice run and it looked like they would control the game. With 5 min left in the game Humboldt on the attack and inside the 15 meter line Santa Rosa picked off the pass to the winger and went 75 meters to the corner. The kick lacked the distance 15-10 Humboldt with Rosa momentum.

Rosa had a few mistakes but played in the Humboldt side for most of the time remaining. The game ended on a drive that started out as a line out. The ball went to the wing then back inside crossing the 22 down to the 10 meter where the maul stalled and collapsed with no time left on the clock. I did not have the opportunity to have a beer with the boys because of dinner plans with Murray and Sue our Favorite POMs. I look forward to next opportunity to ref these two teams, I had a lot of fun.


Redding Report (Better late than never?)
CHICO 38 – Shasta 10 Referee: Roberto Santiago
The day started with rain which became a heavy rain, which eventually transitioned into being a downpour before stopping just before the social. Despite the soggy conditions both teams handled the ball well with no more handling errors than one might see on a typical day. Both teams showed considerable skill with the main difference being the strong runnning of Chico's loose forwards and centers. It was fun to see guys with that size and speed also have the balance to make cuts in the mud and leave potential tacklers grabbing air. The other aspect of the match that stood out was the scarcity of fouls for things refs usually hate. That is, the players kept their hands out of the rucks, stayed on side for all but a few break downs, and did not get involved in any extraciricular silliness. They also listened well. All this is a testament to both the players and the coaches who should know that they are a joy to ref.


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

Level Two Course
The IRB Level Two Referee Course was taught at St. Mary’s this past weekend, and a Guest Educator from the RFU dropped in.

Left to Right: Chris Tucker, Dixon Smith, Bruce Carter, Chris Labozzetta, Edward Barfels, Mike King, Phil Akroyd, Murray Felstead, Bruce Anderson


For the Senate
Pelicus Scriptoris

Wednesday, November 05, 2008




Brian Schnack has advanced to C3. Congratulations!

We hope nobody notices that there are four Clowns refereeing in our society now: Messers Bernstein, Schwartz, Labozzetta and Schnack.


Looks like we need an additional ref for this weekend. We have a visiting referee coach to watch you and a game that would be ideal for a new or newer ref in the Bay Area.


The days of sandlot rugby in the NCRFU are over.

Every player in every match played in Northern California and refereed by a member of the NCRRS needs to have CIPP registration. This applies to friendlies, second-side matches, old boys and youth matches, tournaments and alumni games. (It does not apply to touring sides, but they need to show proof of being in good standing before they are allowed to tour.)

It also applies to ‘occasional’ teams: the Marauders, the business school teams, and alumni matches. Everyone needs to have CIPP – even to play once a year.

Now – let’s say two such teams want to play each other, or somebody wants to play ‘rugby’ at a picnic. That’s fine. But we don’t want our NCRRS members refereeing such contests. Your liability coverage won’t apply if you do.

As a referee, you need to obtain a filled out match card for each team before a match. At tournaments, one card for the team, containing everyone who might play, will suffice for the event. DO NOT START THE MATCH WITHOUT THE MATCH CARDS.

Match cards are available here in two formats:

It’s not a bad idea to print out a stack and put them in your kit bag – right now. And if you are a team representative reading this, do the same: print them out and bring them to every game. Fill them out ahead of time – or just print out the CIPP list for your team from the USA Rugby website and then check off the players who are there on a particular day.

Referees: you are not responsible for whether the information is accurate. But if the card is blank, or there are only fourteen names for a fifteens match, or everyone has the same CIPP number, then it is patently false and should not be accepted. What you are responsible for is:

--Obtaining the cards (or the printed rosters with names checked off)
--Seeing that a team representative has signed each one
--Making them available for opponents to inspect
--Verifying the information for any player who receives a yellow card for foul play or a red card

If the information given turns out to be false, the team and the representative who signed the card are subject to disciplinary action.


Are you interested?

The strength of any referee society is the accomplishments of its referees. Those accomplishments are constructed on a foundation of motivation, preparation, a succession of challenging matches and performance-enhancing feedback.

We trust it has escaped no-one’s notice that the current bumper crop of capable Pelicans has flown in on the heels of a half-generation of dedicated evaluators and referee coaches.

The slogan of the NCRRS as expressed on our banner at Rocca Field is, “Keep the Game Going.” If you’ve learned a lot about refereeing rugby matches over the years and would enjoy the pleasures of seeing your students surpass you, devote yourself more to coaching other refs.

It is entirely possible to continue refereeing regularly while being assigned to work alongside folks you can provide with beneficial advice. Several of our referees are doing this on an informal basis even now.

The IRB offers a course in Coaching of Match Officials. This is the old ‘evaluator’s course.’ The NCRRS will offer this course on Sunday, December 7, in the Bay Area.

Please reply to Mike Malone if you are interested, including if you would like to take the course but are not available that day. We are nothing if not flexible – except when it comes to safety issues on the pitch!


Phil Akroyd will be traveling to picturesque Victoria, on Vancouver Island in British Columbia, November 19-23.

There is a seat open for another exchangee – this is a Wednesday to a Sunday and it does not fall on Thanksgiving this year, as it usually does.

Consult your calendar and your rugby Muse, then let us know if you’d be able to take advantage of this development opportunity. Even if you’ve already been!


Santa Clara 0 – UNIV. OF ARIZONA 59 Referee: Pete Smith
It was 59-0 with the halftime score at 45-0. The wind was very strong from end to end and I would assert that SCU lost the game at the coin toss by electing the kick rather than play with the wind at their back in the first half. The entire first half was played with SCU on the defensive because U of A would just kick the ball deep into SCU territory and pressure the Broncos until they gave up a try. In the second half, the wind died way down and the game was far more competitive with the Wildcats scoring only twice more and SCU just held out the try zone on several occasions.


It’s the luck of the draw. Many of us had our rugby rained out entirely for the weekend. John got games in on all three days.

Your writer is jealous. In Monterey it didn’t rain a drop, so I spent a rugby-less Saturday on the road bicycle under 74 degrees and sun, and resented every minute of it.

John’s report:

This was a full swing weekend of rugby for me. I did a Friday night game in Santa Clara, a Saturday morning game at St. Mary's and an Old Boy game on Sunday afternoon at Treasure Island. Three things were consistent. Rain, Blow-outs, winning teams combined score 141-17 and Me.

One of the unique aspects of referring rugby is that one week you may do a high school game and the next college woman and the next week Division 1 men.

This past weekend I started with the Santa Clara University men's game. This was their first game of the year and my first opportunity to see them. I had the privilege of doing their last winning game of the 2008 season in the semifinal at Orem Utah.

This game saw the Broncos hosting University of Arizona. U of A is the university that SCU coach Chris Kron graduated. Chris, as do many ex-players from U of A, keeps in contact with legendary coach Dave Sitton. Dave has been at U of A for well over 25 years. Some may have heard him as an announcer for rugby on TV over the years.

The U of A side fields four teams, 90 plus players and at least 8 coaches. Dave brought 40 players, his first two sides to Santa Clara. Chris had around 35 players out for the game. Part of this year’s SCU senior players are studying abroad this semester. So U of A brought less than half their players and still had more manpower than SCU.

Pete Smith was doing the first side game scheduled to start at 7:00PM.

Seconds: Santa Clara University 5 – UNIV. OF ARIZONA 59 Referee: John Pohlman
Every player was on the field. I set my watch, started to blow the whistle and the goal post blew over. Oh I kind of forgot about the wind and rain. Yeah it was really windy. The major rain didn't start until the second half of Pete's game. The field was in good shape.

U of A was led by a strong running inside center. He scored at least three tries and played some in the first side match. Although this was U of A's first game of the season, they did not look like it. They scored four tries in the first half and five in the second. The primary reason for the blowout was poor tackling by SCU. U of A was the clearly superior side but not by eight tries. I know the SCU tackling will improve because that was one of their strengths last year.

To SCU credit they kept playing and scored the last try of the game.

Saturday, I arrived at St. Mary's around 10:00AM for the 11:00AM kickoff between the women of St. Mary's versus University of California.

Coach Tim O'Brien was running the men's team through a workout while I warmed up. I ran a brief part of their scrimmage for part of my warm up. They look good.

St. Mary's 12 – CALIFORNIA 32 Referee: John Pohlman
The skies looked a bit nasty but the rain was holding off. Had a good warm with the men's side and things looked promising. This was the first game for St. Mary women's team.

Everyone was ready for the 11:00AM kickoff. Looked at my watch and felt my first rain drop of the day. It started raining and never stopped until the game was over.

St. Mary's flanker scored first ten minutes in. My player of the game for St. Mary's Jessica #12 captain and kicker converted the score. Cal scored four minutes later. That was the last time my score card was dry enough to record anything. I am pretty sure the final was six tries and one conversion for Cal to two tries and one conversion for St. Mary's. Cal had good numbers and some great athletes. No one complained or wanted to cut the game short, except maybe the ref. St. Mary's had a lot of bright spots. The one that stood out to me was inside center and kicker Jessica. She made hard tackles scored the last try for St. Mary's and helped keep St. Mary's organized.

Ellen the coach for Cal had a lot of leadership on the field and they look to compete. Overall lots of handling errors due to the rain. If Cal stays healthy they could make the playoffs.

SILVERHAWKS 50 – Bald Eagles 0 Referee: John Pohlman
This game was supposed to be the curtain raiser for the game of the weekend New Zealand Heartland versus Pacific Coast Grizzlies. But due to rain we needed to move to the Job Corps field.

It was decided to play 3 twenty-minute periods.

San Jose was missing a bunch of their young guys from last week. But they got a bunch more young guys for this week. This game was probably an over 35 team for San Jose versus an over 45-50 team for the Eagles. The Eagles mostly never complained and played hard. But the Silvers had five or six game-breakers in the 35-40 year old range. These five or six could probably compete on any of the D2 team’s first side. So it was ten tries to Silvers, zero to Eagles.

It is always a pleasure to referee a game captained by Mike Comstock. Mike is positive, plays hard and expects that of his players. Good on ya Mike.

And then to watch Pete Smith referee his highest level game and make it look moderately easy.

One side note for all you rugby spouses. You would think doing three game over the weekend would get me into honey-do hell. But Eileen went back to Eastern Illinois for a reunion with all her Alpha Omega something's. She felt a bit guilty about leaving me alone so I actually got a few husband points going into the season. Got to love when that happens.


Pacific Coast Grizzlies 12 – NZ HEARTLAND 35 Referee: Pete Smith
Assistant Referees: Jim Crenshaw, Bruce Carter
Reserve Assistant Referee: Sam Reagle
Fourth Officials: Mike King, Eric Rauscher, Scott Wood
Citing Officer and Judicial Officer: Matt Eason, John Coppinger

The New Zealand Heartland team let it be known that they wanted full IRB protocols applied to all of their matches on tour. As fate would have it, they were playing this one in the only local referee society that has both, an IRB-trained Citing Officer and Judicial Officer.

Not to mention folks with a wealth of experience running touch for Test matches and national finals, as well as 4/5/6 officials who have worked the Churchill Cup and the NA 4 series.

But the ref – the ref was doing his highest-level appointment thus far. New to the national panel, Pete received these accolades from eRugbyNews:

“And in some sense one of the stars was referee Pete Smith, who kept a very physical game flowing without any rancor, yellow cards or even very many penalties.”

Afterwards, the visitors were treated to a sit-down dinner with linen and china in the SFGG clubhouse.

Knowing that this team will also be capably hosted by USA Rugby this coming weekend in Sandy, Utah, we are certain that they will go home with a very favorable opinion of the rugby support structure in the United States. And let us also hope they go home with a record of one win and one loss!

You can read about this game at American Rugby News or eRugby News. The visitors, at the end of their season, jumped to a 21-0 lead against the off-season Grizzlies, who then found their form. From there on it was 14-12 and crackerjack stuff all the way.

Pete had a tiger by the tail and never slipped his grip.



Report by Mike King:
Wet, wetter and wettest.

I assisted Roberto Santiago in the first match Redding vs. Chico Men's Club (victors). I then TJ for 1/2 of the Chico State vs. Mendocino/Humboldt.

I was completely waterlogged by the last match of the day, which was Chico State reserves against Redding. It was agreed to play in several periods, which I first thought was 2 periods with a break then reserves coming to Redding from the other field. I was wrong. The play resumed with a 3rd quarter that I ref'd before Roberto took over for the final quarter of play on the day. The game was spirited and played with high intensity, particularly near the goal. There were definitely sloppy stretches due to conditions, but I was pleasantly surprised with some of the passing that was accomplished. I am pretty sure that experience outplayed youth to a final of 22-19, but Roberto will have to confirm.

Field: Anderson Park
Weather: intermittent downpour, light wind
CHICO men 38 – Humboldt/Mendocino College 0 Referee: Jackie Finck
TJ: Bjorn Stumer and spectator
During first half, teams displayed magnificent last foot off-side lines and kept the ball under moderate control despite the heavy downpour. It was Chico men who pulled ahead due to better understanding of laws; fewer infringements, and a cohesive team: Humboldt/Mendocino joined teams due to poor player turnout.


Five referees and one dedicated referee coach turned out for a truncated and very wet Baracus 10s on the Job Corps pitches at TI Saturday. Referees on the day were newbie Eugene Baker, Preston Gordon, Eric Rauscher, Ray Schwartz, and John Coppinger. Dave Williamson provided coaching.

B/c of CIPP issues and the weather, a number of teams couldn't play/didn't show, w/ a result that each referee had 2 or 3 20 minute matches. Marin took the title. I had a list of the matches played, the scores, and the match referees, but it dissolved in the rain.

We also had to provide a referee for the Stanford Women/SF Fog Women match. Preston declined the offer of the game and so I took up the whistle, while Preston handled the final of the 10s.

FOG 26 – Stanford 5 Referee: John Coppinger
Eric ran touch for me (and kept score, which was a good thing since my scorecard dissolved in the rain in the first half). SF Fog provided a certified TJ and off we went to play 80 minutes in a driving rain.

Stanford looked dangerous, but the conditions thwarted their speed and quickness and the bigger Fog team was able to control the match. Lots of dropped balls and resulting scrums.

Did I mention that it rained? At half, I had to retrieve a dry whistle from my car. As I mentioned, Eric agreed to keep score. Even though Eric was wearing a rain slicker, Eric's scorecard dissolved and he resorted to keeping score on a discarded Styrofoam plate.

Report from Ray Schwartz

With rain predicted, I packed extra towels and a shower kit into my rig before Eugene Baker joined me for the commute down to Job Corps Field on TI for the Baracus Halloween 10s. I was sad to see no one wearing any Halloween get ups. Equally sad to see the FOG and San Mateo failed to turn up.

What was a bit tragic, however, was seeing the EPA Razorbacks turn up in numbers, expecting to field two sides, and yet were sent home as they were not current with their CIPP registration. Poor communication somewhere along the line apparently, as the tourney organizers actually checked all clubs who intended to enter, and got on the horn with those who needed to get their CIPP numbers up. But EPA somehow didn't take action, and then wasted the trip up the Peninsula to stand in the rain and watch.

So only 6 sides entered, as Barracus fielded two with thin numbers, plus Vallejo, Fresno, McGeorge and eventual champs Marin. Fewer games started late. Conditions were poor and soon to deteriorate. Many thanks for the efforts put out by Baracus, John Coppinger running the refs, and Dave Williamson out help to coach. We certainly present Dave a challenge with Eugene! Bruce Bernstein called around as he was driving in around 10AM to see if he was truly needed, we sent him off wine tasting instead.

I reffed a frisky Fresno side twice. Led by Coach Gregg Melton, they spanked Baracus in their first, but then lost to Vallejo in the knockout round. Some big hits where put in by Vallejo on attack and defense. It was good practice lifting the knees high, as I tried to negotiate my way around puddles and bodies.

The post-tourney function involved huddling under the one tent left standing during a white out, nibbling on BBQ and sucking down suds with the few remaining. Eugene and I then made it over to the SFGG Clubhouse, where Coppinger was meeting with Pete and Mike Smith at the Captain's Meeting, for the big match to be played Sunday. Gene and I enjoyed long, hot showers and few minutes of peace in the Referee's Room.

The white out then lasted all the way back home on the drive to Sacramento. Halfway home I brought Eugene into Cordelia's Thompson's Corner, a classic dive he had never before heard of. He returned the favor, revealing his sensitive side by playing the Pet Shop Boys' "It’s a Sin" on the jukebox!

Rained out.

UC Davis B – Sierra JC CANCELED
Can’t imagine why.

STANFORD 64 – Santa Clara 17 Referee: Sam Reagle
After 2 inches of rain fell in Sacramento over the last 36 hours, I wasn't sure what to expect when I drove the 100 miles down to Stanford Sunday morning, but I was pleasantly surprised. Steuber Field was damp, but beautifully green and fairly fast with the temperature around 70F.

The SCUTS took the early lead with strong running and sharp passes to score 2 tries in the first 12 minutes of the game. Stanford’s best attack during this time ended with a knock-on just inches from the try line. After conceding the second try, the Cardinal found their groove and began to run around and over their opponents, scoring 5 unanswered tries by halftime and 10 on the day. SC played fast and smart, but had no answer for the Cardinal center, Steven Brown who devastated the SC defense time and again. He's new this year, but I doubt that this is the last time we hear of him.

After the match, I drove up the coast to Treasure Island in time to watch the Grizzlies/NZ Heartland XV game. All in all, it was a great day.

SACRAMENTO STATE 22 – Univ. of Arizona 5 Referee: Joe Androvich
No report received.

Seconds: SAC STATE 45 – U. of A 10 Referee: Phil Akroyd
After a competitive A game between Arizona and Sac State, it looked like the B game would follow in a similar fashion. Sacramento scored after 10 minutes but could not convert and five minutes later, Arizona hit back with their own unconverted try. Sac pushed out ahead again with their second try, while Arizona duly replied, bringing the score to ten each.

As this was Sacramento's first game of the season, they obviously needed time to get into their groove and started to pull away in the second half of the first 40. Sac ran in two more tries in the first half and were 22-10 leaders at half-time.

In the second half, Arizona repeatedly kicked away possession which played straight into the hands of Sac States' two pacey wingers and elusive full-back and they continued to score from broken play through the second half. Arizona's misery was compounded late in the game when they lost a prop due to injury and a lock too (yellow card), after committing a high tackle on Sac's full-back. The game staggered to a close with thirteen men on the field for Arizona and uncontested scrums, as the Wildcats were out of trained front row players.

Final score: Sacramento State B 45 - 10 University of Arizona B

Maritime Academy Intra-squad game
Referee: Bryant Byrnes
Maritime Academy. Sunday; after a diluvial Saturday, a clear and pleasant fall day on a mucky field. Coach Edward Roberts has about 35 players this year, including a nifty standoff and a couple of stud flankers. This was an intra squad game played with skill, not the originally planned scrimmage-the boys were running and hitting hard. It was the culmination of a two day rugby camp.

The Stripes beat the Blue 26-14; they had a bit more speed and skill in the backline.

For new Society members (and old), sign up for those D2 men's university matches. Always good stuff, this season looks to be a vintage year.


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


When everybody has a camera on them, all kinds of stuff gets photographed:

James reads the world’s press and finds something about sports officials. Dig through the sarcasm and you’ll find some pearls about us.

Jason, Pete, Leah
We seem to have exhausted our library of pictures with Preston Gordon in them.

In that case, we’ve had to go to secondary files to find what we hope is an acceptable substitute.

Our old friend Jason Harper chose last weekend to ride his motorcycle up from Los Angeles, and heard there was a game at Rocca Field. So he stopped by and gave his best to Pete and Leah Smith.


For the Senate
Pelicus Scriptoris