Wednesday, December 24, 2008



Here’s hoping you have a few days off that you don’t normally have, what with Christmas and New Year’s giving ‘holiday’ quite a one-two punch.

Do what we do here at the HP newsrooms: read the Laws, watch a good game, and pay attention to what the ref says.

Make sure you spend time with your loved ones and that they are aware of your reasoning.

It's also nice to have a favorite Christmas movie for annual family viewing. Penelope Pelicus chooses White Christmas, while Scriptoris goes for The Adventure of the Blue Carbuncle, a Sherlock Holmes story set at Yuletide, in the Granada Television/ Jeremy Brett version - which we've now watched for 25 years!

Also, we always pray for peace on Earth, and then give thanks for those who are willing to fight for it.

And don't forget to put your rugby resolutions at the top of the list!


BERKELEY 31 – Marin 5 Referee: Phil Akroyd
Assistant Referees: Eric Rauscher, Roberto Santiago
Assessor: Dixon Smith
Location: New Berkeley third-generation turf pitch
Conditions: Sunny, dry, cool breeze.

I had the pleasure of a full crew for this pre-season friendly with Eric Rauscher and Roberto Santiago coming out to run touch, as well as Dixon Smith coaching.

As this was a pre-season game, the format was four quarters, to allow subs and coaching. Berkeley looked as though they would run away with the game after scoring with two minutes on the clock, but only three tries were scored in the first half in total – two converted tries to Berkeley and one unconverted to Marin.

Half-time: Berkeley 14 – 5 Marin

Both teams continued to play good rugby to the end of the game, although Berkeley’s superior squad size appeared to help them stay out front and they scored a further three tries in the second half.

SFGG D2 27 – RENO 45 Referee: Paul Bretz
Reno defeated SFGG 45-27. Reno scored 5 trys in the first half. In the second half SFGG replaced several of their younger, less experienced players with superleague players. In the second half SFGG scored 5 trys to Reno's 3. The match was well played and players were in good spirits. Reno has an impressive squad. Good luck to them in the upcoming season.

Seconds: SF/Golden Gate D2, 18 – RENO 31 Referee: John Pohlman
GG hosted D-3 winner Reno this past Saturday. Reno is stepping up to second division this year. Paul Bretz did the first side game.

I got the 'seconds'. The Reno side had about ten players with San Mateo socks. GG had 7 or 8 players competing for the super league team.

This was a super fast and hard hitting game for D-2 seconds.

GG got on the board first with a fine drop goal. Reno scored next with a converted try. Reno's backs broke through for another converted try five minutes later. GG's Super league hooker scored a hard fought try at half.

At half time I got a couple of tips from Paul and asked a clarification question. GG's super league scrum half, Temo, made a sweet switch right in front of a standing Reno second row. Unfortunately a GG second row blocked any attempt to tackle. I called obstruction. I asked Paul if I should have made the call or let it go because the standing player would not have been able to make the tackle on the hard charging hooker. Paul said it was probably not material and I stopped a very good offense opportunity. O.K. sorry guys.

Half time score Reno 14- GG 8.

The second half had lots of great scoring. Five more trys in all. Mostly from turnover ball followed by some nice open field back work. GG's last try was one I had not seen. Reno kicked straight into the GG backline. GG pushed down to the around seven meters out where a Reno player attempted to kick the ball out of the end zone, only to have the ball hit the pads on the posts and the GG #8, another Super League player, score the try.
Final Reno 31 GG 18.

Diablo Gaels 10 – SACRAMENTO CAPITALS 14 Referee: Scott Wood
Asst. Refs: Rich Anderson, John Coppinger

Location: Viking Field, Diablo Valley College, Pleasant Hill

After blazing a trail across the Delta and fighting with the hordes of Sun Valley Mall-bound shoppers, we arrived at DVC to find the teams warming up. Fortunately, both teams had agreed to starting 15 minutes later as the ARs called to say they were stuck in traffic.

The first half featured a lot of possession changes due to knockons and penalties. Sacramento missed two penalty goal attempts and we entered the half with the score tied 0-0.

Diablo scored a penalty goal early in the second half but lost a player to the sin bin due to repeated team infringements. Sacramento capitalized (no pun intended) on the one-man advantage to score a converted try taking the lead to 7-3. The Capitals were gaining momentum when the numbers evened out but mobilized against a determined Diablo defense to run a dummy loop for a try under the posts. The Gaels answered with a try of their own to narrow the margin to four points. With less than one minute remaining and down 10-14, Diablo mounted an attack from their 22. Several Sacramento penalties and Diablo quick taps took the Gaels to the Capitals' 10-meter line when an attacking player dove on a tackle-ruck thing sealing the ball off from the defenders. Sacramento wisely kicked to touch to end the match.

Both teams were rusty in the first half but found their form in the second period. Sacramento had more veteran players but took a while to produce clean ball to its backs. Diablo has some hard-hitting young players who are determined but need to focus on back-foot discipline. I look forward to seeing both teams in the upcoming season.

Seconds: Diablo Gaels 7 – SAC CAPS 12 Referee: Rich Anderson
Match was only 15 minute halves per agreement with the squads.


Maritime 28 – Alumni 15 Referee: George O’Neil
It was a great event and a great turn out for the Alumni. The game had pace from the start with the current Maritime Academy coming out strong and scoring three converted tries in the first half. The second half the Alumni had a bit more spring in their step and came out and score two quick tires making it 21-15 at one point. Then a late converted try by Maritime secured the win. It was a great game, a great turn out.


With support from USA Rugby and the Northern California Rugby Referee Society, the 25th Annual Kick Off Tournament (KOT) will be running a "Kick Off Referee Development Program," to be informally called the Kick Off RDP.

The Kick Off RDP will be launched in Sacramento on the weekend of the KOT, Feb 6/7/8, and will continue to run throughout this Spring.

The objective is to introduce young (under 30 years of age, preferably under 25), experienced rugby players to rugby refereeing. Benefits to the participants are as follows:

• full training (Level 1 Certification prior to, plus class and fieldwork at the KOT; referee shadowing; coaching; ongoing mentoring)
• match fees ($25 per match after the KOT for both young referees, up to 10 matches, and for ref coaches for up to 4 matches per ref)(The SVHSRC will match funds for all High School and Junior High School games reffed throughout the Sacramento Valley)
• all expenses covered (food, hotel, coaching) while at the KOT.
• free kit (donors are still being sought as of this writing)
• potential to pursue an athletic endeavor to the highest level
• understand the game better
• all-expense paid travel within and outside US to referee games in England, Canada, Southern California, New York, North Carolina, etc. as early as late this Spring
• people management aspect of rugby refereeing looks great on the college/job resume...

This is a great opportunity for anyone in rugby who has run into injury issues, or who can no longer maintain the commitment to play, but truly wants to stay involved with the game they love. The next Level 1 course will be offered this January, if we can sign up two more candidates...

16 slots are available for the Kick Off RDP for 2009. Only 8 candidates have been identified to date, 6 in Sacramento. An opportunity to develop young referees throughout the Bay Area this Spring could go unrealized if action is not taken.

Coach/Mentors are being sought.


We’ve heard from about half our members. If you want to ref, now’s your chance to let that be known. Our mind-reading radar is busted.

Please respond with your availability to referee for the Saturdays, Jan. 10 – 31. For assignments purposes, we also need to know whether you can travel.

For the uninitiated: we have several distant games each Saturday between Humboldt, Redding, Ukiah, Chico, Reno, Fresno and Arroyo Grande. As a matter of fact, there are nine such games on January 31 – ten if we count Stanislaus.

For assignments purposes, driving between the Bay Area and Sacramento is NOT considered traveling. Two hours or so from your home or more (each way) is traveling.

We expect everyone to make a traveling game every month or so. Otherwise it’s unfair to those who will go farther frequently out of a sense of obligation that some don’t share.

Here’s the format that makes the assignments job easiest (cut and paste):

Travel Y/N
Jan 10
Jan 17
Jan 24
Jan 31

2009 Begins
Sac State hosted St. Mary’s as the NCRFU 2009 collegiate rugby season got underway earlier this month.

Jim Crenshaw, Scott Wood (who is hatching a special secret, hence the smile), Tom Zanarini and Joe Leisek


For the Senate
Pelicus Scriptoris