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