Tuesday, December 16, 2008




Winter arrived in Pelicanland ahead of its calendared date. The solstice won't be until 4 this Sunday morning, but folks hereabouts were digging for scarfs and gloves this morning.

A winter system brought the snow level down to 1500 feet Tuesday morning. Almost anyone in Northern California can see hills or mountains with that requisite height from their neighborhood.

It certainly makes the season shine, dusting off the year for a bright finish!


The NCRFU 2009 season begins in earnest on January 10, with play in all divisions underway by the end of the month.

We would like to make assignments for January over Christmas week, when work sometimes slows down...

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

We are loath to belabor the obvious, but if you wish to referee you need to announce your availability. We never assume anyone is available. LACK OF A RESPONSE GUARANTEES THAT YOU WILL NOT HAVE ANY ASSIGNMENTS. This includes regulars and stalwarts as much as freshly-minted blowers.


Maritime Academy – Alumni Referee: George O'Neil
Referee Coach: Bryant Byrnes
No report received.

SHASTA 61 – SF Fog 17 Referee: Phil Akroyd
The conditions were perfect for rugby – clear skies, dry pitch and the forecast rains had not yet crossed the coastal mountains. After the three hour drive from Sacramento to Redding I was ready for a run and we got started on time at 1pm. Shasta looked well drilled and well turned out while the Fog were showing up in ones and twos and carrying out their warm-ups with several players short. That really set the tone for the rest of the game. Shasta played downhill in the first half and got on the score board with a penalty kick in front of the posts from 25 yards out after the Fog hooker used hands in the ruck.

The Fog could not match Shasta in any part of the game and resorted to spoiling tactics. Shasta took advantage of the many penalties and realized that the Fog didn’t have any significant defense and took the game to the visitors. The home team scored four tries in the first half to the Fog’s two that came from identical set piece scrums after basic mistakes from Shasta, deep in their own half. Shasta led 23-12 at half time.

Shasta made their size and weight advantage pay in the second half as the Fog lost several players to injury, compounding their frustration and leading to a yellow card to their #2 for persistent offside. The game continued to be scrappy but Shasta also continued to score tries on breakaways and capitalizing on Fog mistakes. The home team ran in another six tries in the second half with no response from the Fog.

FRESNO 48 – Diablo Gaels 21 Referee: Bruce Carter, Roberto Santiago
Touch Judges: Jeff Jury, Doug Harris

The Diablo Gaels are going to be playing in D2 this year, so this was their welcome to the competition. Both teams conveyed that several of their ‘regular’ players had sent regrets for the day.

Fresno kicked off. Two rucks later, the Gaels kicked ahead to chase and got their first introduction to Fresno’s very useful set of backs, who ran it in for a try.

After the conversion, the Gaels kicked off. Fresno spun it wide, inter-passed while tip-toeing down the touchline, then centered it for a second try in the first four minutes.

And so the first half went – Fresno’s very handy backs facing some apparent defensive disorganization. They have a new player named Jordan who, being underage shot a boot of milk for his two first-half tries.

Under the direction and encouragement of scrumhalf and Captain John Kunz the Gaels came back three converted tries in the second half.

The referee had to be replaced during the second half as a result of a couple of broken ribs from a mountain biking accident the previous Wednesday. Even the most incidental physical contact with players took his mind completely off the game.

Thanks to former Pelican Jeff Jury for running touch, and to Angus, back for Christmas from his teaching position in Bristol, for handling the other side.

Seconds: Fresno – Diablo Gaels Referee: Roberto Santiago
No report received.

SFGG GREEN 53 – SFGG White 38 Referee: James Hinkin
An intrasquad game of 11s played in good spirit. The game was tight until Green pulled away in the last few minutes with a couple of converted tries.

VALLEJO 26 – Harlots 0 Referee: Joe Androvich

Sacramento Amazons 10 – DAVIS DOUBLE DECKERS 32 Referee: Scott Wood
Touch Judges: Fesi Green, Adrian Pitts
Spectator-At-Large: Tony Latu
Location: Burbank High School
Weather: Cold and not getting warmer but staying dry for the moment

Never underestimate the power of out-of-season play. MBH and I made the short trip north to Sacramento, picking up coffee on the way to fend off the elements. Amazons were already warming up as we arrived. Davis came in groups--not surprising as it consists of players from Davis, Chico, Reno, Arcata and possibly other parts unknown. Both teams started slow, feeling each other out with Davis trying a variety of attacks and Amazons countering with its own front and back line plays. Not much pattern developed for the first twenty minutes. Davis' #17 bounced off Amazons in valiant, albeit feeble, efforts to attempt standup tackles. A card may have been warranted had it not been so sad to see such an effort go unrewarded. Both teams scored two tries to complete the half with Davis eking out ahead 12-10. Time for the tale of two halves: Davis drank the Kool Aid and got its act together for the second half. Their continuity improved and overlaps were exploited. Amazons were tackling well but did not seem to find much in the way of open play maneuvers. With a couple minutes remaining in the match, Davis was awarded a penalty 25 meters out. A huddle between Mary "Wilko" Triantafyllou and Lisa "Cheeks" Butts led me to suspect something afoot. Lisa took the tap and passed to Mary. Now, normally I would have followed the ball but this time held back with the suspicion that a drop goal attempt was at hand. Sure enough, Mary took the pass, lined up the posts, and converted a textbook drop goal to put the Davis up 32-10. While this was not a remarkable game-winning attempt, it was brilliant to see teammates figure out an alternate way to use the ball.

East Palo Alto – Sacramento Lions Referee: Pete Smith
No report received.


"Tonight's Society meeting was one of the best, if not the best"
- Dixon Smith

Thirty-six attended the first monthly society meeting of the 2009 season as we discussed the tackle.

We doubt if there are better-attended referee meetings anywhere in the USA. Our confidence is also high that these are probably the best around, with informative and engaging programs designed by David Williamson and delivered by accomplished referees and speakers.

Don’t send your regrets – make plans now to attend. It’s always the second Wednesday at the Golden Gate clubhouse from seven till nine: January 14, February 11, March 11, and April 8.


The Bay Area Youth Rugby Football Club is seeking players for their youth Rugby program.
Ages range from 5-14 for the youth league.
Sunday afternoons
12:30-2:30 pm
San Jose High Academy
San Jose, Ca
Jan 4th-Mar29th 2009

Coach Brian McDonald
(408) 833-5930

Coach Pat Guire
(408) 821-7284


Fresno Crew
Doug Harris, Roberto Santiago and Jeff Jury after-match on a cold and windy day in the Central Valley.


For the Senate
Pelicus Scriptoris