Wednesday, December 10, 2008




George O’Neil is one of our newest members.

George is a 2007 graduate of St. Mary’s. He has now refereed in front of two of our referee coaches and will be seen by a third this weekend, three evals in his first three matches.

Congratulations, and all the best for your whistling future!


The first monthly NCRRS meeting of the 2009 season will be this evening at the Golden Gate clubhouse on Treasure Island.

The Referee Development Committee will meet from 6 – 7, with the Society meeting being 7 – 9. Food will be available for early arrivals.


The 2009 league season for men’s D1 colleges began last weekend. Six of the seven teams had their first ‘real’ match.


Nevada 0 – UC DAVIS 43 Referee: Don Pattalock
Assistant Referees: L. Salgado, A. Mick
The result of this match was never in question as Davis worked the ball extremely well in the first half, scoring 2 tries out wide and then 2 tries in close. Nevada was content to kick away possession all game and Davis was equally happy to counter and maintain possession. The second half was an uglier affair; Davis, with a 26 point lead at half, seemed to believe that Nevada should just roll over and let them have their way; unfortunately, Nevada decided to make persistent pests of themselves and take a pound of flesh every tackle. Both teams decided that rugby should take a back seat as the chest thumping became the game plan.

Seconds: Nevada 19 – UC DAVIS 58 Referee: Phil Ulibarri
A brisk Reno evening greeted the Aggies at 6 p.m. at the University of Nevada and they wasted no time warming up by lighting up the scoreboard within the first five minutes of the match. Clean rucks and quick passing put the backs in the gaps leading to several first-half scores as the runners sliced through the Nevada defense. Half time saw the Davis seconds ahead with a substantial lead. Credit goes to the Nevada B-Side for not giving up. There was even a glimmer of hope after the Nevada 15 scored twice through some tough pack play following minor infractions by Davis near their try line. A third Wolfpack try resultant from an outstanding dash and swerve down the touchline by the Nevada 3rd 5/8 brought them within 12 points of Davis near the beginning of the last quarter, but once the Aggies caught their second wind they quickly squashed the Nevada comeback with two closing tries of their own. Although the University of Nevada-Reno B Side played well in the second stanza the University of California at Davis B’s took honors on the evening 58-19.

MARITIME ACADEMY 67 – Santa Rosa JC 0 Referee: Preston Gordon
Referee Coach: David Williamson
This was a college D2 pre-season game.

This report pretty much sums it up:

All I would add is that the match was actually quite a good contest, especially at the breakdown. SRJC was clearly outclassed out wide, but this was actually a very good game. It was fairly cold up in Vallejo, but the pace of the match kept everyone warm. There were 2 late yellow cards, but other than that it was a clean match.

The cold seemed to get more effective during the second match, which I TJ'd for Dave Williamson. Afterwards we adjourned to the Dead Fish across the bridge for some seafood - that place is highly recommended.

Maritime Academy seconds 19 – ST. MARY’S thirds 34 Referee: Williamson
Cal Maritime hosted St. Mary's reserves on a cool Friday evening. Both teams showed lots of youthful exuberance and skillful play early in the match, but were unable to score. St. Mary's had a little more success spinning the ball wide, scoring tries at 12 and 21 minutes, and a converted try at 30 minutes. Cal Maritime kept up the pressure, though, and scored a converted try at 33 minutes. St. Mary's closed the half with another try for a 22-7 margin. The scoreline was even in the second half, with the teams first trading tries, then converted tries. A great display of good sportsmanship by speedy, young players.


Chico State 26 – STANFORD 29 Referee: Paul Bretz
I had the pleasure to drive up to Chico this weekend to referee the Stanford-Chico match. Stanford won the mach 29-26. Chico maintained the majority of possession but made too many mistakes, knock-ons, forward passes, lack off support at break-downs, which took the pressure off. Stanford was better prepared to capitalize on the mistakes. Stanford has a loose forward who is very good at poaching ball at the breakdown and has a great work rate. He was able to start several of the attacking opportunities off of the Chico mistakes. Stanford scored two tries off of poached ball and two others off of first phase ball, lineout and scrum.

Seconds: CHICO STATE 50 – Stanford 0 Ref: Bretz
Stanford had a difficult time with Chico. At one point Chico successfully maintained possession for 10+ phases as they used their forwards to pound up the ball.

Sacramento State 14 – ST. MARY’S 36 Referee: Joe Leisek
Assistant Referees: Scott Wood, Tom Zanarini
Sacramento State University, Sacramento

A classic early-December day in the Sacramento Valley, which means it was chilly and foggy. As Tom and I arrived, the first thing we noticed was the number of St. Mary's alumni and supporters who had made the trip. This was an indication that the day's games would feature a good crowd on both sides of the pitch. Great to see Chris Miller, coach of the host Hornets, and St. Mary's coaches Tim O'Brien and Johnny Everett. Also spotted: Britt and Toni Hensley and Harry Batten, whose sons play for the Gaels.

Much of the match was played in the trenches--close to the ground and near to the rucks and scrums. The hosts played a lot of pick-and-drive, which meant that they were able to break the gain line slightly in most phases, but that significant chunks of territory took a long time to gain. However, the Hornets proved adept at this vertical style, and in fact held possession for long stretches of time. And the Gaels imitated this style for a time, so we had some extended periods of well-timed, disciplined forward drives.

While the Hornets stuck to the power game, St. Mary's made the most of their opportunities, as they scored three of their six tries off mistakes by their opponents. They used the ball more often in the backline, and gradually wore the hosts down. The Gaels were hampered by their own mistakes, however, with a sizable number of knock-ons resulting in a large number of Sac State scrums. However, the hosts had their own turnover issues as well. In fact, at least two first-half tries went begging for the Hornets, through losing the ball near the goal line.

The visitors scored three tries in each half; two of which were converted in the first half and one in the second. Sac State scored one converted try in each half. It was a tough, physical contest between two teams that had obviously worked hard in the pre-season.

Special thanks to Scott and Tom for their expert assistance, and also for the sage halftime advice from referee-spectators Jim Crenshaw and Tony Latu.

Seconds: Sacramento State 17 – ST. MARY’S 22 Referee: Tom Zanarini
On a cool and foggy morning, Joe Leisek and I set out from Sono/Marin to travel to Sacramento. Now, this fog thing is getting outta hand. I thought it was restricted to staying in the bay area but no. Turns out all of Northern California is a fog bomb. Since back home the playoffs were held in 6 inches of snow, I'll stop my complaining and start thinking about the superb rugby.

Prior to my B-side match I ran touch for Joe along with our special guest Scott Wood. Joe's game was well contested, except Sac. St. had one game plan (bang out of rucks). When this didn't work or result in points, and their backs were standing around like 8 year old outfielders in T-ball, no changes were made. I suggest 3-D glasses to expand their game plan in the future. They were fit and played hard otherwise.

B-side was more evenly contested. Backs AND forwards got to handle the ball. Not too much niggly stuff for a college B-side. The players were fit and seemed to have fun. The referee sure did.

After the match we three along with Scott's new better half and Jim Crenshaw adjourned to a local brew pub for a beer and food that we shouldn't have eaten. Thanks go to Joe for the climate saving carpool, Thanks Joe!


St. Mary's women 12 – SAC AMAZONS 64 Referee: Pete Smith
The game started with poor visibility due to the fog. You couldn’t see one goal post from the other and it was cold, very cold. Despite all that the players stared out with a bang and a try for Sac in the opening minutes, followed by several more. The Sac players were bigger across the board with more experience and athleticism. The scrum half, fly-half, outside center and full back and had big days with several line breaks and tries. The SMC team was lead by their fullback/goal kicker/tackler extraordinaire that played at a rep side level throughout the game. Likewise, SMC had a very formidable second row that scored one try from a lineout and knocked on another while attempting to score. Both are players to watch for in the future. All of the players played very hard and endured their share of bumps and bruises, but in the end all had a great day of rugby.

Round robin in Berkeley:

Berkeley RFC hosted USF and Sierra College in a three-way competition of 40 minute matches on the new City of Berkeley Field Turf pitches at the foot of Gillman next to SF Bay on Saturday.

Pelicans Sam Davis, Chris Labozzetta, John Coppinger, and rookie George O'Neil (St. Mary's 2007) were on hand to officiate, while Dixon Smith has on hand to evaluate, coach, mentor, and keep good order. Also seen on the day were Pelicans Dave Williamson (coaching the Berkeley U-19 side before the matches began), Eric Rauscher, and Rich Anderson.

SIERRA A 24 – U. of San Francisco 7 Referee: Sam Davis
TJs: George O'Neil and John Coppinger

SIERRA B 17 – Berkeley RFC B 0 Referee: Chris Labozzetta
TJs: John Coppinger and Sam Davis

BERKELEY A 17 – USF 0 Referee: George O'Neil
TJs: Sam Davis and Chris Labozzetta

SIERRA A 14 – Berkeley A 7 Referee: John Coppinger
TJs: Chris Labozzetta and George O'Neil

BERKELEY B 13 – USF 0 Referee: Sam Davis
TJs: John Coppinger and George O'Neil

BERKELEY A/B 15 – Sierra A/B 5 Referee: Chris Labozzetta
TJs: John Coppinger and Sam Davis

USF – Sierra A/B--Not played.

Sierra College is young, fit, and organized. BFRC has a lot of new faces and didn't seem to play up to its potential. USF struggled with numbers and had to play with uncontested scrums after some key injuries.

Thanks to Bruce Carter who stopped by to inspect the new venue and drop off the RRS radios allowing the teams of 3 radio communication.

The Gillman fields are a great addition to NCRFU venues. The fields are lined for soccer, lacrosse, and rugby and the city provided portable goal posts (complete w/ pads). Common lines are white, distinctive lacrosse and rugby lines are orange and blue, respectively.

I see only 2 problems: On the I-80 side, balls kicked to touch often clear the fence landing on the frontage road and there is no gate on that side as there is on the Bay side, which means a lot of time is spent pleading with passing bicyclists to stop, collect the ball, and then return the ball over the fence. (Actually watching some of the bikers try to kick the ball over the fence was quite amusing, but since they were doing us a big favor, I should not make fun of them.) Secondly, during this part of the year, the late afternoon sun is just above the Bay side of the pitch, which makes it impossible to follow the match from the east side. I ran touch for Labo's last match and unless the play was right in front of me, I had little clue what was going on the pitch. (Ray and Rich--this is your cue.) All in all, a good rugby day.

Editor’s Note: baseball caps have been very, very good to me, John.

Sacramento Capitals – Santa Rosa CANCELED

SFGG COLTS 67 – Chico 32 Referee: Bruce Carter
Red-green color blindness must have played a part in this one, as a number of passes went to the other team. Two of these were returned for tries.

This game was a pleasure to referee – 99 points and only six penalties. The players were responsive to preventive commands and enterprising with advantage opportunities.

SFGG COLTS 2, 91 – Marin 0 Referee: Giles Wilson
Marin stayed at their task but were well outclassed.

SF Fog – Marauders CANCELED

FOG 53 – San Francisco State 5 Gators Referee: Bjorn Stumer
A great day of Rugby at Treasure Island's Job Corps pitch with a match on tap between a robust Fog side and a youthful San Francisco State team. The Fog "A" was to have played the Marauders, but a cancellation saw them field an A & B combined to face an obviously inexperienced SF State team.

The Fog was just too much for the State lads, and it just rolled over them with a multitude of tries. The score poorly reflects on the fitness and commitment of S.F. State which tackled hard, and gave their all. Alas their inexperience and youthful exuberance was capitalized by the FOG which ran 29 unanswered points in the first half.

The second half began with a fine try by State which seemed to take the game to hand. This due to some complacency in the Fog ranks, and due to a number of inexperienced player which came in as subs. However, the Fog soon regained its composure and ran in 4 more tries. Final score: Fog 53 (29) - SF State 5 (0). A good crowd was in attendance, and both teams showed sportsmanship and zest. The Fog got a good win, but the State players gave them a good run and, going by their post match behavior, had a pretty good time.

SJSU 25 – Diablo U23, 20 Referee: John Pohlman
The San Jose State Spartans hosted the Diablo Gaels Under 23 team Saturday. It was almost a perfect day for rugby, except for 3 or 4 degrees too warm. As I warmed up sweat glistened off my forehead. Damn December rugby weather in northern California area.

I guess I should step back a day. Because today's rugby referee starts their pre game warm-up at the computer, checking to see if both clubs are CIPPed.

CIPP verified, game kit in the car, off for my 15-minute drive to Spartan Stadium.

The Spartans played this game across from the Stadium. The field was poorly marked with no goal posts and sparse grass. This is the tailgaters spot for football games.

If San Jose continues to play rugby games as exciting as this one, they should move into the Stadium.

I arrived at noon for a scheduled 1:00 o'clock kickoff. Both coaches said their teams were ready at 12:45 so let the game begin.

This was a very entertaining and competitive game. Both teams had young, quick learning players. I do not believe I penalized the same player for the same infraction throughout. Loads of hard hits. A try saving tackle from the weak side wing. There were nine tries scored. Never was one team ahead by more than one try. I looked at my watch after the last try and it said 80:54. Wow.

Dean White, the State coach, had over thirty players warming up at noon.
John Compaglia and Barry Welch had close to 25 for the Gaels.
Both teams were eager to go.

San Jose scored first seven minutes in. Followed five minutes later by the Gaels. This was how the game would play out. Possession, tackle, recycle, bad pass, turnover. Both teams were just too careless with those 50-50 passes. Fortunately there was some very exciting and polished finishes in this game. The try exchange ended with a tied half time score of 15-15.

The Gaels looked to be tiring, this was their first game of the season whereas the Spartans had played a few. Gaels #10 and captain Bennie had heart and scored the first try of the second half. As the subs came on play got a bit sloppy in the 50-50 passes, but not in tackling or intensity. San Jose fullback Butler scored at 21 minutes. Around thirty minutes one of the Gaels had a leg injury which I do not believe to be serious but took quite a few minutes to treat. I stopped my watch, usually in a preseason scrimmage I would let me watch run, but this game was too exciting to lose any playing time.

My two highlights were the try saving tackle by the Gaels all purpose back Tufoou with about five minutes left. He played every position in the back line including scrum half. He had these glittering blue 'rugby' boots. At the time I believe he was playing wing. He covered across from his weak side wing position, on a certain Spartan try, making the tackle and forcing a knock on six meters out. Good stuff blue shoes.

The other highlight was the score by inside center Marshal Brown as time expired. Marshall had a big day. I think this was his third try of the game. On this score he stiff armed one player and stepped another to dot it down. Marshall is a Mississippi State student on transfer and is moving back to Old Miss. The Spartans will miss him.

So there you have it. Highly entertaining game. Won by San Jose State on the last play of the day, as fifty plus fans stormed onto the field in celebration.

Thanks to both teams who have a great future this year. Your discipline was outstanding.

Event: Women's Round Robin
UC Davis, Sac State, Nevada
Location: Russell Field in Davis
Weather: mostly foggy, perfect running temperature

UC Davis 15 – SACRAMENTO STATE 27 Referee: Jackie Finck
Both teams played a spirited game of rugby throughout foggy field conditions. Sacramento's no 8, scrum half, flyhalf and inside center were an elusive, strong force which assisted the team to penetrate through UC Davis' backline and take victory.

University of Nevada 19 – UC DAVIS 24 Referee: Rob Hendrickson
I reffed the second of the three round robin games between UCD, UNR and Sac State women which Davis hosted on an overcast Saturday morning in Davis. Davis had "lost" the first game against Sac State, and so it played the fresh UNR team for two 30 minute halves, and it was two different games. UNR dominated in the first half, scoring 3 tries and keeping Davis pinned back in its half for most of the play. In the second half, UNR (and Davis) made numerous substitutions to give their new players their first taste of actual playing time, and Davis took advantage, scoring four unanswered tries, three from line breaks and strong running from their backs.

SACRAMENTO STATE 55 – Nevada 0 Ref: Finck
TJs: Hendrickson
Reno played back-to-back games; they had just finished up their game with UC Davis. I thought both teams played well, contrary to what the score reflects. Sacramento's 'pick n go's' after a player went to ground (no tackle) were impressive; pick n go's and open gaps left by Reno were tactics Sacramento capitalized on.

Fresno - Alumni SELF-REF
Not everyone had CIPP and not everyone was going to get CIPP – so no Society ref.

We trust they had fun and we hope no-one got hurt.


STANFORD GRAD SCHOOLS 29 – Cal grad 0 Referee: Preston Gordon

Stanford had close to 30 players available for this Sunday noon friendly on the peninsula. Cal, on the other hand, only had a couple of subs. One or perhaps both of the teams was without a full front row, so unfortunately we had to play the entire match with uncontested scrums. Before kickoff the captains agreed to play three 20-minute periods, with an optional 4th, and allow open substitutions.

Stanford's advantage in numbers allowed them to change most of their side after each period. They were also better in the tight phases of the game, and effectively got the ball out to their wings after a couple of pick-and-goes and/or forward crash plays. Cal also didn't tackle well.

Although Cal came close on a couple of occasions, Stanford was in control throughout and put all the points on the board. The score at the end of the 1st period was 24-0; 2nd period, 24-0; and 3rd period, 29-0.

Both teams were still keen to play, so we waited for about 10 minutes while Stanford gave Cal several players to make up the numbers. This was even more of a friendly contest, with Stanford again winning 12-0.


Wild West Rugby Fest
Scottsdale, Arizona
Referee: James Hinkin

I arrived at the Phoenix airport Friday evening to meet up with Phil Klevorick (from Las Vegas via Canada), Doc Richardson (from the 1920s Hatfield-McCoy feud) and Tony Maphosa (from Seattle) and after shaking hands and some small talk we headed off to grab our rental minivan and head to the hotel. After telling stories of the previous year’s miserable weather and confidently driving us to the wrong hotel Phil got his directions sorted out and we arrived to meet up with Sam Merrill, the ARU referee coordinator and Kevin McCaslin, who seemed to be in charge. After meeting with the other referees and getting our assignments we all turned in for the night.

Saturday dawned bright and sunny with no hint of the rain that marred the previous year’s Fest and we made our way to the fields. I was fortunate to get DII champs Red Mountain in my first game and the always challenging Provo Steelers in my second so I had to get my running boots ready. My final match on Saturday was a local women’s team the Lightning and the Slugs out of Utah. Match details below.

After the games were finished on Saturday the referees were whisked back to the hotel for a fantastic bar-be-que cooked by Sam Merrill. Hamburgers, sausages and chicken cooked to perfection with beer and sodas available to wash it all down. After a quick chat about the day’s events the Sunday assignments were handed out and I was fortunate again and was selected for the consolation final. After that a few of the stalwarts went off to the main party hosted by the WWRF. A classic rugby tournament part with several of the women’s and men’s teams dressed up in costume a la Maggotfest and plenty of good natured fun all around.

The ARU hosted extremely well and I highly recommend this tournament to any referee looking to travel. It was well run on quality pitches and the comfort of the referees was assured by all and sundry. Coaching was available for those who wanted it and it was a resource I was able to exploit to my heart’s content.

Game 1:
Red Mountain 78 – Rio Grande 12

Red Mountain looked to defend their DII title with the same elements that won it for them: pace and fitness. They proved this in the opening tilt of the day by running in 12 tries in a 40 minute game. Rio Grande was a combination of several New Mexico area teams and looked disorganized and disinclined to tackle.
Game 2: Provo Steelers 31 – Rio Grande 17

A much better effort from Rio Grande as the players had by this time introduced each other but the power of the Steelers proved too much. This was a much better game in terms of balance and flow. Rio Grande tackled with heart and attacked with vision. The Steelers ran with power and punished mistakes severely. It was a great match to be a part of.

Game 3

Lightning 5 – Slugs 48

The Slugs moved with pace and power and had an Islander prop who could not be stopped, consistently dragging several tacklers with her on every run. The Lightning fought hard and earned a well deserved consolation try at the end of the match.

Game 1 Consolation Final
Rio Grande 38 – Austin Huns 0

The effects of the previous nights social was being felt on Sunday as these two teams were initially supposed to match up in the consolation semis but were the only two teams to show up so the both advanced to the final. With Rio Grande bringing 13 to the pitch (they struggled with numbers all weekend) and the Huns only having 10 (with several still drinking beer on the sideline) the captains decided on 10s played for 2 10 minute halved. It was a decidedly social match with the Hun captain asking me to penalize Rio Grande for excessive fitness. The final whistle was greeted with cheers and more beer.

Final results of a fun weekend: 229 points scored, 0 yellow cards, 0 red cards and 1 penalty try (my first – given for a high tackle by the last chasing defender 2 meters from the try line).

Victoria Exchange, BC, Canada
Referee: Phil Akroyd

11/19/08 – 11/23/08

Wednesday 19th
I flew from Sacramento to San Francisco early on Wednesday morning, in order to get the flight directly from San Francisco to Victoria. After an hour of delay due to fog, the plane took off and headed north, giving a great view of the snow capped mountains in Washington State and then into the airport in the community of Sydney-by-the-Sea - a few miles north of Greater Victoria. I was met at the airport by Mel Jones, who was to be my host for the visit (a fellow expat, but from Wales). On the way into town, Mel took me on a tour of the area, taking in Mount Doug, the University of Victoria campus and rugby fields and nearby beaches. The weather was more like I was used to back in England, with the temperature never really getting above 50F and threatening skies overhead with a chilly wind blowing off the straits to the south.

We reached Mel’s house in the lovely village of Oak Bay – just a few yards back from the Ocean. Mel introduced me to his wife Joan who set the precedent for the week by serving up a huge evening feast with wine and dessert. I took the advantage of an early night, as there was a lot of rugby to come.

Thursday 20th
I started the day by taking an early morning jog along the sea front to get the blood pumping and to work off the previous night’s calorie intake. Joan undid my good work with a full cooked breakfast, cereal, toast, fruit, coffee and juice, upon my return to the house.

Mel and I were joined by Keith Morrison for the journey up to Shawnigan Lake School for my first assignment. Both Keith and Mel are IRB ref coaches and have been for many years, and I was more than happy to have them watch and help me. On our way to the school, we stopped by a local attraction – a small river of Salmon breeding grounds. The fish would swim upstream in order to lay their eggs in the river bed, after which, they promptly expired on account of the exhaustion from swimming. The result was a scene of thousands of dead Salmon in the river and on the river beds, surrounded by live fish, still trying to make it upriver and hundreds of Seagulls feasting on the remains of fish. Hundreds of feet overhead were up to twenty circling Eagles, waiting for the seagulls to leave and clear up the rest of the fish.

With my head filled with images of blood, death and general carnage, I prepared for my first game under the watchful eyes of two of Canada Rugby’s finest ref coaches. The location was Shawnigan Lake School – a private school on the top of a hill, in the middle of nowhere, with one of the best rugby settings I’ve seen. There were three rugby pitches, as well as a multi-purpose soccer/hockey/lacrosse field and countless tennis courts in the grounds, with a newly completed changing facility, resembling a log cabin lodge. The event was a three day, end of season tournament for local high schools of U-17 player age, with games of two thirty minute halves.

As was to be expected, the heavens opened just in time for kick-off, making the deluge conditions tricky to play in. Players from Saint Michaels University School (SMUS) and Cowichan handled the conditions well in this quarter-final game. The teams were pretty evenly matched but SMUS really took a grip of the game early on and never let go. They scored two unconverted tries in the first half while Cowichan managed to slot a penalty kick, resulting in a half time score of 10-3. After emerging from the cover of a gazebo, I headed back out into the sheets of rain that were drifting across the field and got the game back underway. Coaches and parents joked of sudden death in the second half, so that everyone could return indoors as soon as possible. Thankfully, we didn’t have to play extra time and SMUS held their lead throughout the game, although they did concede one try, giving a final score of SMUS 17 – Cowichan 10. I volunteered to TJ for local ref John De Goode in the following game, with the luxury of my wet weather gear which was getting tested to the limit. It was then back to the Jones house for match analysis, a beer and the biggest chicken curry you’ve ever seen.

Friday 21st
This was really a repeat of the previous day, but without the dead Salmon, Eagles and Bears. The weather was a little better, with precipitation downgraded to mild showers, although the chill remained. The game was a semi-final between Shawnigan (the host school) and Brentwood, who gave everything in the quarters in the previous day. The game was played on the “Canada” field – where the Canadians play their national games, when on the west coast. In the pre-match chat with school headmaster, we discovered that my high-school from England often toured to Shawnigan in the spring – small world.

Kick-off was just as school ended for the day so about 300 people came out to watch the game, complete with costumed dancers and the school band. These guys take their rugby seriously. This was the loudest game I have ever had and the wall of noise gave a real thrill as I blew the whistle to start the game. At one of the first tackle/rucks, the Shawnigan tight-head took exception to having his shirt held, so he hit his opponent square in the back. I immediately blew it up, brought the captain and the prop over, had a discussion and was assured it was down to the adrenaline, as less than a minute had gone by. Brentwood opted to run the penalty and the same prop showed up on the opposite side of the field to issue a very questionable tackle, just seconds after being told to control himself. He didn’t take part in the next 10 minutes of the game.

The match continued with no further foul play, just a one-sided game that was dominated by a faster, stronger, better coached team in the shape of Shawnigan. The final score was Shawnigan 30 – 0 Brentwood. Once again, it was back to town for a couple of pints in the Penny Farthing pub, fish and chips and bed.

Saturday 22nd
The best weather on the trip so far. My final game was played at MacDonald Park, close to downtown Victoria and just one block from the ocean in sunny and comparatively warm conditions. No gore-tex required. The teams were James Bay Athletic Association II and University of Victoria Jutes (UVIC’s thirds).

It became apparent that James Bay was by far the better team, with considerable weight advantage over the younger University team. James Bay produced excellent, clean ball and utilized their backs well. It was 27 – 10 at half-time to James Bay and one of the Justes tries was a Penalty Try after the winger was tripped while jogging in at the corner (yes, they missed the conversion in front of the posts). More of the same came in the second half with a final score of James Bay II 77 – 10 UVIC Jutes. It was then up to the University to watch the two first XVs go at it and then into the clubhouse to pick over the games over a pitcher of beer.

The evening was spent at John De Goodes house for a BC ref event – John’s legendary lasagna dinner and a selection of red wines from around the world. Notable attendees were Bruce Kuklinski, Ashley Anderson, Mel Jones, Keith Morrison, Sam Langridge, Josh Elsdon, and a selection of refs, each of which had seen action with the whistle that day.

Sunday was pretty much a travel day and true to form, as the rugby was done with, the sun was out and the temperature up.

Thanks to Bjorn for organizing things from our end, and to British Columbia Rugby Referee Society for looking after me during my visit.


SF/Golden Gate is having a crab feed this Saturday after their Green v. White match, which James Hinkin will referee. Looks like a satisfying menu: crab, pasta, salad, ice cream, with Guinness floats available as well.

After an afternoon of rugby, or shopping, or Christmas-tree chopping, you might want to drop by. $25 at 5 PM.

New Berkeley Pitch
There’s a new pitch in Berkeley, right next to Interstate 80 just south of the horse race track.

Dixon Smith and John Coppinger are there to help christen it. Note the blue lines for rugby!

Note also the weather: you’ve read this week about dense fog in the valleys and even in Moraga, just a few miles from here.


For the Senate
Pelicus Scriptoris