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