Tuesday, February 26, 2008




Chris Tucker and Dan Wilson have earned promotion to C2 and been recognized as such by the Promotions Committee of the NCRRS, and now by everyone in Pelicanland!

Congratulations, Chris and Dan.


We urgently need a volunteer to host Eastern Penn referee Dave McHugh who arrives this Friday.

Dave flies into SFO Friday evening. His game is Sac Lions hosting San Mateo and Pete Smith can transport him there. Then he flies home on Sunday.


No, not the delightful B-52’s song of 1989, this one’s plural: teams that owe in arrears for NCRRS services.

We have some crunch weekends coming up, with more severe referee shortages than normal. March 8 we have thirty games for twenty-two refs, not counting dozens of high school games that will occur.




SF Fog Men
Sacramento Amazons
Sacramento Lions
San Jose State
Santa Rosa JC


About the season starts to wind down for most of the rugby players in Northern California, it is only beginning for a number of others.

The end of March marks the end of competition for most clubs, but SF/GG’s super league team is about to begin in earnest, and those teams destined for post-season play may have three months yet to go.

But the NCRRS also has a number of Pelicans who will be spreading their wings beginning in mid-March.

Among our referees, Paul Bretz, Pete Smith and Aruna Ranaweera have received super league appointments.

Matt Eason and Bruce Carter will be running touch for SL games and USA Rugby playoffs as part of the new national panel of touch judges.

And all five of NorCal’s Pacific Coast evaluators have also received national appointments: Dixon Smith, Bryan Porter, Mike Malone, David Williamson and Matt Eason.

If you have found the season not as long as you would like, the way to extend it is to excel at refereeing, running touch or evaluating.


At 6 PM the Diablo Gaels will be hosting Haggis in the first game of the Pacific Coast D1, which involves five NorCal teams and Park City/Haggis, from Utah. This will be in Danville.

Paul Bretz will be refereeing. Let him know if you would like to run touch. It’s the perfect opportunity to help out after your own game.

There’s no rain in the forecast between now and then, so come on out and join the crowd for some great rugby!


Start spreading the word, especially to the high school teams that need a certified ref:

The NCRRS will offer the IRB Level One Referee Course on Sunday, March 9, on Treasure Island.

The course will not be offered again locally until the autumn. Please make every effort to attend if you need to course to referee competitive games or you’d like to take it to be able to help your club, college or high school when the refs are short.

The cost is $35. If you have refereed or do referee five games by appointment, the NCRRS will pay for the course or reimburse you, respectively. Plan on an eight-hour day learning the basics that you need to embark on a fulfilling and satisfying career helping to facilitate the best rugby in the USA.

If you are interested we need to know this week in order to obtain the course materials. Please contact:

Bruce Carter


We have eight intrepid hikers signed up so far, including our two guests. The Society is paying for rooms at the Yosemite Lodge, so take off March 12th, and the 11th too if you like!

A centerpiece of the East Mids exchange has become the winter hike in Yosemite. In 2004 we enjoyed glorious sunshine and shirt-sleeve weather, but in 2006 it was strictly snow-plow conditions.

If you can only spare one day during the week, work on the Tuesday and drive up afterwards (doable from the Bay Area, Sacramento, or points between).

Please let us know if you would like to join the crew. We need to reserve the rooms.

This hike will be one of the highlights of your refereeing career!



CALIFORNIA 35 – Univ. of British Columbia 17 Referee: Tony Redmond

Thank you very much for the opportunity to referee the University of California Berkeley vs. University of British Columbia game yesterday. I’m not sure how much more comment I would add to the match report published on http://calbears.cstv.com/sports/m-rugby/recaps/022008aaa.html except to say that I thought that the pace and physicality of the game was comparable to an U21 international.

Pete Smith took us to “Henry’s” which turned out to be under renovation so we didn’t meet the coaches there. Instead, we were directed to the Golden Bear Lair on campus where we had a drink and then left.


SFGG SL 44 – Sacramento Lions 0 Referee: Pete Smith

Diablo Gaels 0 – OLYMPIC CLUB 78 Referee: Andrew McMaster (Ontario)
Evaluator: Dixon Smith

This Saturday evening game was played at Mustang Soccer Complex in Danville. The disciplined O-Club, with superior size and speed, converted seven tries in the first half in a driving rain. The rain let up in the second half, and the O-Club was held to five more tries.

Seconds: Diablo Gaels 7 – OLYMPIC CLUB 31 Referee: David Pope

It was cold, wet, windy and late. This game had a 7:45pm kick-off in windy rainy conditions on the all-weather surface in Danville. Both captains agreed on 30-minute halves. The older and more experienced O Club side dominated the first half, going with the wind, but only managed to score 10 points. The very young but game Gaels side played some tenacious defense and had a couple breakout runs to keep things close.

Starting the second half with the wind at their backs, the Gaels thought they had a good chance, and they scored first in the second half. They scored a converted try to bring the score to 10 - 7. Unfortunately for the Gaels, the wind just about stopped at this point, and O Club started playing to their pattern, and this was as close as the score got. O Club scored three more well-worked converted tries to finish the game up 31-7.

Hayward 7 – SAN MATEO 14 Referee: Paul Bretz
Touch Judges: John Pohlman, Andrew McMaster (Ontario)

Seconds: HAYWARD 24 – San Mateo 5 Referee: Bruce Carter
This was one of the few times your writer can think of when he was less than enthusiastic seeing players get ready to play a second game.

It was a long day, which began with a crisis of referee availability mandating more than a dozen calls and e-mails just when I should have been on the road. One immediate result was that I re-re-assigned myself to the Fog-Mission at 1 PM on Treasure Island. This game was bitterly cold, especially in the first half, and left me soaking wet and shivering.

The SFGG clubhouse provided this carpet-bagger a chance to warm up and put on a complete change of dry clothes. Then it was off to Hayward to see Paul Bretz do one of the classic fixtures of NorCal rugby, Hayward-San Mateo, an exciting game that was tied at 7-7 until fairly late.

The original plan was that I video his match and provide some coaching advice ahead of the national season soon to begin. As I arrived well into the first half and it was freezing rain, those plans were shelved in favor of an informal look.

By game’s end it was nearly dark, as well and freezing and raining to boot. The large crowd that had braved the elements quickly dispersed, the ponchos and umbrellas clearing to reveal – the Hayward second side ‘warming’ up.

I went back to the vehicle, donned my cold and wet clothes and proceeded directly to the pitch for a quick toss and whistle, my own warm-up consisting of the game I’d done four hours earlier.

I noticed that even the refereeing crew from the previous match had left no trace but frozen exhalations still hanging in the air.

Big hits were the order of the day, energy readily being converted from kinetic to thermal thereby. Some of the ball-carriers seemed to run into stout opponents for no other apparent reason. The referee considered doing it himself.

But guess what: rugby players are not softball players, or soccer players, or anything else. The game’s the thing. And play they did.

Hayward has a few fellows looking to break into the first side. In particular, the captain and the #8 were very difficult to stop, the latter scoring two emphatic tries.

It was memory-check day for the ref. Extracting pen and paper from pocket, manipulating same and returning them to source proved insurmountable hurdles. Four tries, two converted to one unconverted.

There were no reds or yellows to write down, but there were lots of rosy cheeks and blue noses to be counted among the smiling faces at the end, rugby über alles.

Arroyo Grande 3 – SEAHAWKS 31 Referee: Dan Wilson
Leaving the central valley to make the beautiful drive to the central coast, I had hours of nothing but green hills and Highway Patrol vehicles to see. Leaving HWY 101 in Arroyo Grande and heading east towards the farm, doubts started to rise whether I passed the location or not because I kept driving, and driving and driving. Alas, I was there. On a pitch at the far end of the main field, a High School game just kicked off as I arrived. It is always good to see the game being expanded to the younger crowd. The weather was dry, with rain the forecast, and the field looked in pristine condition, but the wind was always around the corner. AG’s pitch has to be the most beautiful pitch in this referee’s opinion. The other nice aspect to see was that both teams actually were there in full at noon. Remarkable for DII teams it seems these days.

AG received the initial kickoff and the intensity of the game was instantaneous. Both teams hit hard on the offensive and defensive side of the ball. Mainly, each spent the first half mainly doing forward moves with a few back line moves mixed into the game. Each team had their opportunities close to the try lines but both failed to cross that line. With the wind as powerful as it was, only a few shots were taken at goal, with AG making the lone connection. Each team also had a player spend a little time in the bin for nonsense, but overall, it was a closely played half. It was a great half of rugby especially since Arroyo Grande had a few young players with little experience on the pitch. Halftime score: AG 3 – SJ 0

The second half was a completely different game. The intensity of the first half carried over to the first five minutes of the second half, but San Jose came out with a wide open game plan. AG went down to 14 men for the remainder of the game when their captain and scrum half received his second yellow for the game. Fitness and intensity seemed to heavily favor San Jose with holes opening up and tackles being missed by the backs of Arroyo Grande. San Jose started to pin point their kicking, taking advantage of inexperience on AG’s wings as well as SJ’s speed. Try after try rolled in for San Jose with a few conversions along the way. Final score: AG 3 – SJ 31

Seconds: Arroyo Grande – SEAHAWKS 20 Referee: James Hinkin
Touch Judge: Dan Wilson
While the rain stayed away until after the match down in Arroyo Grande the wind was omnipresent. Heavy gusting throughout the day definitely affected the A side match and it was a factor in the B side match that followed. Arroyo Grande called on Cal Poly’s 3rd team to play their B side match and these youngsters put up an admirable fight. They are young, fit and fast with a great future ahead of them but, as we all know, old age and treachery will beat youth and enthusiasm every time. Also encouraging to the referee were the great cheers from the sidelines for every penalty called and whistle blown. These cheers got louder and louder as the match progressed showing great enthusiasm for my calls. And many thanks to Dan Wilson for running touch after his A side match.

The game started with AG (Cal Poly) on the attack. A series of pick and goes were well executed and AG was always moving forward until they crossed the line and had no further need as the #8 was able to twist and spin through a couple of defenders and fall across to score. The AG captain was also the kicker and he elected to drop kick all his conversion attempts – whether that was by preference of from a lack of a tee I don’t know. Needless to say he missed the conversion from out wide. San Jose was never able to get a coherent attack going as all promising moves seemed to die from mishandling. The defense held firm against the devastating pick and go tactic and the game started settling down into a chippy affair. San Jose was able to get a try in about midway through the half but had little chance converting into the wind. With 5 minutes left in the first half AG was able to break though again as missed tackles set up rucks beyond the gain line and the quick pick and go moved the ball forward and a driving maul was formed. San Jose desperately tried to hold the ball up as the line approached but the AG forwards were able to drive across the line and ground the ball for a try. Drop kick conversion was missed and we stood at 10-5 at the half.

The second half had the wind in favor of San Jose and they used it to their advantage. Kicking in to the opponents end and then keeping the ball in tight allowed the larger Seahawk pack to assert itself and they were rewarded with a try. This conversion missed (well, they all were missed, so just let it be read that there were no more conversions) so the game was knotted up at 10. AG made few forays into San Jose territory finding it difficult to play into the wind. Eventually a kick that didn’t find touch did find the Seahawks winger and his counterattack sprung the rest of the back line and the ‘Hawks finally took a lead at 15-10. The lead was extended near the end of the match as the backs were once again able to counter a kick and score a try. Both sides were tiring and the tempers started wearing thin but time had run out so the match ended at 20-10.

SF/Golden Gate 5 – SACRAMENTO CAPITALS 24 Referee: Scott Wood
Location: Job Corps Field, Treasure Island
Weather: COLD (50F and falling), RAIN (horizontal), WIND (10 mph gusts of 17 mph)

After several emails going back and forth, it was confirmed to me that the kick off would be at 3 p.m. Looking at the schedule, I noted that the Fog wanted to play the Marauders (a non-CIPP'd, non-NCRFU club) at the same time on the same pitch. More emails.

I drove down through a light drizzle but looking toward Mt. Tam (shrouded in clouds) and the South Bay (wall of sleet gray) I noted that the kick off and tempest would converge at the same place.

Arriving at the pitch, I found Sacramento warming up and the coaches wondering about the field availability. SFGG showed up around 2:45 and asked me what they can do about the SF Fog/Marauders match (currently underway). I said they should contact SF Parks and Rec to enforce their permit. At 3 p.m., Sacramento asked me what the provisions were regarding time limits before a forfeit is called. This led to a series of phone calls to various NCRFU officials. Under normal conditions, this would be an issue; with wind chill around 40F this becomes an entirely different matter. It should be the responsibility of the home team to ensure field availability well in advance of the kick off. Fortunately, a Parks and Rec representative arrived and sorted things out and we kicked off ten minutes late.

Core body temperature never advanced. Penguins were hibernating. Nobody from the Midwest was to be found. It was that cold. Within ten minutes, my torso and arms were numb and I could barely grip my pencil to write scores.

The cold conditions led to a primarily forwards-dominated, freeze-the-wings game of pick-and-drives. Unfortunately this led at times to knock ons, holding-on penalties and offside infringements.

Sacramento scored four penalty goals to SFGG's unconverted try to enter the half 12-5. The visitors lost their starting loosehead prop to a compound broken finger (allegedly he tried to "fix" it on the pitch). Thankfully the teams did not opt for the maximum ten minute halftime.

The second half had similar attacking design as Sacramento dominated possession with slow forward advances. With 24 minutes remaining, the visitors scored a converted try to bring the lead to 17-5. Five minutes later they scored again to stretch their lead 24-5. At the 78th minute, SFGG decided to bring on three substitutes. This resulted in a slow exchange of jerseys leading both teams to complain about the delay. Did I mention how cold it was?

Thankfully, the clock ran out two minutes later and everyone bolted for cars to drive to the clubhouse. We arrived to discover the limits of the hot water heater were pushed beyond the pale. Some commented that even the cool shower was warmer than the rain.

After a warm hamburger and talking with the players, I made the drive to the Tiki Lounge for a great salmon taco dinner at the House of Todd-Schwartz who were hosting Pat Wickman from RRSNY. The extended Crenshaw clan and Jen and Matt Eason also joined for great conversation and TIVO'd rugby. Jim and I made plans to travel Sunday morning to Reno for the re-re-make-up match between St. Mary's and Nevada. Much to our relieved chagrin, we found out that the game was postponed (again).

Seconds: SFGG – Sacramento FROZEN OUT

SANTA ROSA 19 – Fresno 5 Referee: Don Pattalock
Touch Judge: Doc Tomasin
For Pete’s Sake Field, Santa Rosa

With rain that steadily increased throughout the match, both teams struggled to find the handle on a brand-new (well inflated) ball. Fresno dominated the set pieces while Rosa had the advantage in the centers. Both team played hard, smart rugby, but it was Rosa’s first center that broke a couple tackles and sealed the match. Both teams played disciplined rugby and produced a match that was fun to referee.

Seconds: Santa Rosa – Fresno Referee: John Tomasin

East Palo Alto 12 – BA BARACUS 15 Referee: Joe Androvich

EPA came out strong despite the muddy/sandy field slowing their attack. Baracus showed no letdown and exploded in the second half with dominating forward attack off the rucks. A 100-meter intercept try put Baracus on the board, and smashmouth fringe attack allowed Baracus to tie the game at 12 with 5 minutes to play. The game was decided on a 40 meter penalty conversion in injury time to give Baracus the come-from-behind win.

Seconds: East Palo Alto – BA Baracus
No report received. It may not have been played.

Mendocino 6 – RENO 48 Referee: Jim Crenshaw

Left the house around 9 under threatening skies to be greeted with sprinkles in Esparto, light rain in Rumsey and a downpour at Clear Lake. It was still raining pretty hard when I arrived at the pitch in Redwood Valley, but by game time the rain had miraculously stopped. We had light sprinkles off and on during the match, but it didn't seem to affect anyone. Reno led 26 to 3 at halftime. By the end of the match it was raining again and Reno won 48 to 6. Everyone retired to 'The PUB' in Ukiah for food, refreshments and to watch the video of the match. I had to leave before the end of the video, but I was pretty sure the outcome wouldn't change.:-)

I was told, that at a previous match, the referee wouldn't let them play the video while he was there. Some referee out there must have a pretty thin skin or maybe it was something else?? ;-( I don't know. They said they couldn't remember his name?!?)

[Editor’s Note: This was Mendo’s first home game of the season, so inquiring minds cannot easily determine who this might have been!]

Shasta 6 – VACAVILLE 38 Referee: John Coppinger

(I am pretty sure that this is the score; however, my score card dissolved.)

Vacaville had trouble finding the pitch and started w/ 12 players 15 minutes late. 5 minutes into the match, the balance of the Vacaville traveling squad arrived and went directly from the parking lot into the match.

A steady rain fell the entire match and there were plenty of dropped balls. Despite the rain and standing water on the pitch, the footing remained firm and Vacaville's back line sliced through the Shasta defenders numerous times for well supported tries.

Chico 12 – HUMBOLDT 15 Referee: Chris Tucker

Another distinctly Welsh day greeted rugby at Chico's home field, but undeterred, both teams set to work with a vengeance.

Humboldt had the best of the early exchanges, and after 14 minutes opened the score with a try. The rest of the half involved much slipping and sliding by all concerned, with wise heads putting pressure on both defences with long boots down field.

With 38 minutes gone, Humboldt set up a ruck about 15m out from the Chico line, the ball went to the fly half and, wait, what?? The ball buzzed passed my ear and I turned in amazement to chase after the drop goal attempt, which sneaked inside the right upright. Apparently this happens so rarely that there is no space on the NCRFU match report card! 8-0 to Humboldt at the half.

In the second half, Chico began to find their stride, and the backs pounded the gain line hard, setting up a maul with what seemed like most of the team in it, and drove it close enough for the #10 to dive over for a score (converted). Humboldt answered minutes later with a kick and chase which the #10 touched down for a score (no conversion), but Chico brought it within 3 with another score after 25 minutes (unconverted).

As time wound down, Chico won a penalty just to the left of the posts, and the captain opted for points, giving the ref time to consider the cost of buying beer for the March meeting. The kicker sliced it, and despite continuing pressure, Chico could not put the ball over, and Humboldt came away the victors.

The real ruggers could be found in The End Zone after the match with mud still all over their faces. Others went home to shower first. I imagine that they were penalised for such poor form as the evening wore on.....

Fog 5 – MISSION 52 Referee: Bruce Carter

Mission seems to have weathered the defection of a corps of their players to East Palo Alto, now that the latter have moved up to the second division. Some new Fijian faces fill out the ranks of familiar Missionaries from years past and complement their passing game nicely.

The Fog had a very good first half, with a post-and-pick game that challenges defenses to commit repeatedly. A nice slice move by Dave Santos, darting inside his flyhalf from the weak wing, led him forty meters untouched for the Fog’s only score. Another try was denied via held-up in-goal, and it was 5-14 at the half.

The first half featured bitterly cold wind and rain from clouds heavy with intent. However, it warmed up to merely friggin’ cold for the second half and the rain held off until Scott Wood arrived (see SFGG-Sac Caps report above).

Mission got the passing game going after the break and that was that.

Stanislaus 17 – BERKELEY 25 Referee: Bryant Byrnes

A dank winter's day in Turlock had Berkeley up 9 to 5 at half. A much better, productive and quieter second half was marred by red cards and late game hockey-like flailing. I know it is a pipe dream, but certified TJs-even one- would substantially enhance D3 games.

Seconds: Stanislaus 3 – BERKELEY 10 Ref: Byrnes

An abbreviated seconds match was also played, with Berkeley prevailing 10 to 3.

Petaluma 0 – APTOS 12 Referee: David Heath

Often fractious and niggly, when both sides put their minds to it they played some decent rugby. Clear scoring chances were few during the whole game, with a lot of (poor) kicking for position.

Aptos did score a well constructed try in the last few minutes of the first half when their scrum-half broke on the blind side and put their right wing over in the corner.

The second half remained scoreless but with plenty of endeavour until 2 minutes before full-time when some tired tacklers allowed Aptos to break through from the 22 to score under the posts with an easy conversion to follow.

UNIVERSITY OF CALIFORNIA 37– University of Utah 3 Referee: Aruna Ranaweera

Touch Judges: Eric Rauscher, Tom Wright
Referee Coach and Videographer: Dave Williamson

The forecasted torrential downpour lasted only a few minutes, so despite overcast skies and occasional drizzle, playing conditions at Witter Field were not bad. Cal rested many of their starters and was captained by their fly-half.

After a physical stalemate of 10 minutes to start the match, the home team camped inside the Utah 22, but were often thwarted by a determined, swarming Utah defense. Even then, Cal lead 20-0 at half-time.

Both teams were efficient at lineouts and rucks, but scrums were often unstable. Sustained rolling mauls were common throughout the match with both teams showing excellent technique on offense. Cal preferred to keep possession with the forwards, picking and driving efficiently with numbers in support. Handling errors by both teams prevented additional scoring opportunities, but this was not surprising considering the aggressiveness of contact and wet field conditions.

In the end, Cal scored 4 tries, all through their forwards, and their captain made all seven of his attempts at goal. Both Utah and Cal should be commended for exemplary behavior on the field despite a very physical rugby match. Also, much thanks to both TJ's and Dave Williamson for their assistance.

Seconds: CALIFORNIA 24 – Utah 0 Referee: Chris Labozzetta

Stanford 19 – UC DAVIS 33 Referee: Tony Redmond

An early kick off to miss a predicted storm saw parity in the first half (12-14 at the break) before the visiting UC Davis side ran in three quick converted tries in the first 15 minutes of the second half to take absolute control of the game. Stanford came back with a converted try towards the end of the game, which UC Davis were never in real danger of losing.

Seconds: Stanford – UC Davis CANCELED

ST. MARY’S 69 – Nevada 5 Referee: Greg Gilliam (RRS New York)

Touch Judges: Rich Anderson, Russ Wilkening
Assessor: Bryan Porter
St. Mary’s College, Pat Vincent Rugby Field, Feb. 23, 2008; KO: 1pm

The pitch was lined perfectly and was in excellent condition. Temperature at kick-off was probably in the low 60’s and overcast. While dry at kick-off, the weather prognosticators and the darkening skies indicated rain and wind was on the way and neither disappointed. The temperature, aided by the wind and rain, plummeted to the low 50s but it appeared that only the conversion kicks and the spectators were affected.

First half:
Both sides appeared intent on playing their style of play from the beginning with St. Mary’s attacking wide and Nevada running a controlled, possession game. Both teams displayed equal amounts of vigor and heart while the hosts had an apparent advantage in experience and fitness. This advantage revealed itself at the end of the half as St. Mary’s ran in three tries in rapid succession utilizing great ball movement. This effort saw them go into half-time with a commanding 33-0 lead. The only blemish for the hosts was a bit of retaliatory action (always seen by the referee) which was rewarded with a yellow-card.

Second half:
While the first half saw definite styles of play and methods of attack, the second-half saw opportunities exploited from open play. As the wind increased and conditions deteriorated, ball movement became less desirable and field position became the priority. Again, the superior skills of the Gaels allowed them to off-load in the tackle, keep their momentum on the attack, and touch down in goal six times. Nevada had every opportunity to lie down as the deficit soared on the score board, but they stubbornly chose to keep fighting (sometimes literally). Their rugby efforts where rewarded with a late try by their “really novice” forwards.

Despite the lopsided score, the match was well-played by both teams and the visiting referee was grateful to have played a small role in it. Of special note was the excellent touch-judging provided by Rich Anderson and Russ Wilkening, two members of the NCRRS.

Final Score: St. Mary’s 69, Nevada 5.

Seconds: ST. MARY’S 59 – Nevada 5 Referee: Bruce Bernstein

Somehow the rain spared us & the match was played with 30 minutes halves due to weather. St. Mary's backs were faster & more elusive, especially their flyhalf.

Sac State 22 – CHICO STATE 30 Referee: Pat Wickman (New York)

Evaluator: Matt Eason

Following the kick-off, Sacramento State quickly drove Chico State back to their goal line and repeatedly threatened to put the first points up on the board. Keeping the ball in tight turned out to be a bad idea, and Chico was able to get quick ball and scored a unconverted try (5-0). Less than two minutes later Sac State responded and tied the score with their own unconverted try. The game was quiet for the next 20 minutes until Chico put another try on the board (10-5). Following a deep kick-off from Sac State, Chico's catcher, made a quick chip kick that deflected off a Sac hand and was caught and ran down the field for their second try is as so many minutes. Sac countered with their own try, taking us to the half with the visitors only up 5 points (15-10).

The second half opened with pure physicality as both teams tried to assert their dominance and knock the other out of the game. Sac struck first and tied the game nine minutes into the half (15-15). With a tie game and just over a quarter of the match left, it was a fight to see who could hold on longest and break through first. In this match, Sac blinked first and finally using their back, Chico was able to score three unanswered tries to take a 30-15 lead. Sac never gave up and in the last minutes of play scored one last try and for the first time on the day for either team, made the conversion. Final Score: (30-22).

Sunday was another brilliant overcast day, perfect for two things: rugby and Oscar! First up was the Lamorinda Youth Rugby Jamboree being played on the Cougar Turf Field. It was a great chance to see the talent that NorCal is developing, and gave me the opportunity to run around with the future of our sport.

However, somethings never change. After a fun match between the older boys (green vs. Red/Black), for our second game on the day we had black and red hoops vs. black and red hoops (with white trim). Ah, the challenges. Curiously, when I found the players not responding to me calling out their numbers on the back of their jerseys, one of the coaches remarked that they have different numbers each week!

A special thanks to all the parents and coaches that I met on the day, and for some well deserved hot dogs afterwards.

go pelicans!

Seconds: Sac State 17 – CHICO STATE 28 Referee: Sandy Robertson

Touch Judges: Pat Wickman (Met NY), Ray Schwartz
Referee Coach: Kat Todd-Schwartz

Chico's 2nd side came out on top in a spirited, back and forth contest. For the first 20 minutes or so the 2 sides battled without a score. At that point a Sac State player was sent to the bin for fighting and Chico took advantage, converting 2 tries. In the 2nd half Sac State put 2 tries on the board. Chico again converted 2 tries, at least one of which happened with Sac State again playing short, because of repeated infringements. With 9 minutes left Chico, too, went the "yellow for repeats" route and Sac State quickly brought the game to 28 -17. Sac State continued to threaten until one of their players had the misfortune to come out of a ruck and made an unsuspecting teammate the meat portion of a Sac-Chico state sandwich. Chico controlled possession for most of the final minutes and came away with the win.

HUMBOLDT STATE 100 – San Jose State 3 Referee: Cary Bertolone

The kick-off was at exactly 1:00 PM with light rains and wind and Humboldt State scored their first try at the one minute mark, with several others following shortly thereafter. I caught up on my sprint work with my second consecutive 100 plus point game. It was 52-0 at the half and 100-3 by the final whistle. Humboldt has strong runners (both in the forwards and in the backs) and SJSU have a few rookies trying to tackle up high, which really wasn't working for them. They never stopped trying and actually scored the last three points. I was impressed.

SANTA CLARA 62 – U. of San Francisco 0 Referee: Rob Hendrickson

Santa Clara continued their undefeated season with a convincing win against USF in a game which was luckily scheduled in the morning and before the torrential rains that hit the south bay later in the day. Although Santa Clara scored it first try in the opening minutes, USF defended well for the next quarter or so, and Santa Clara led by only 4 tries at the half. Santa Clara's backs picked it up a notch in the second half with several impressive breakaways.

Santa Rosa JC 0 – CAL MARITIME 22 Referee: Alberto Santiago

Referee Coach: Jake Rubin

The first half was well played with both teams moving the ball offensively and playing good spread defense. The half time score saw Cal Maritime up 12-0 based on better tackling and a couple of scoring opportunities that were knocked on by SRJC. Cal Maritime scored an exciting try at the 34 minute mark on a jitterbug run up the right side which, aided by nice moves, missed tackles and a spectacular dive, went for about 40 meters.

The second half was a sadly different affair. Cal Maritime's defense continued to frustrate SRJC's offense who had a hard time taking advantage of overlaps on the outside. This frustration seemed to lead a few SRJC players over the line from contact sport to blood sport. One SRJC player was given a yellow card for a punch at about 78 minutes. On the ensuing line out another SRJC player making no attempt to contest for the ball reached across and grabbed the Cal Maritime jumper by the shoulders of his jersey and threw him to the ground. With the game devolving into thuggery and Cal Maritime up 22-0 the match was called at 70 minutes. A disappointing end to what started out as a fine match.

STANFORD women 19 – California 10 Referee: Sam Davis

The threat of wet weather kept the Rugby Hog in the garage as I headed to the Farm to ref Stanford vs. Cal Women. Great weather for ducks and Pelicans as Cal kicked off cold with a few raindrops every now and again. Cal played in their half of the field for the first 30 min at the 27 min mark Stanford broke a long run from inside Cal 22 and ran all the way down the field to score close to the post. Cal fought back and with 13 min left in the half on am multiphase play scored in the corner. With 35 seconds left off of a scrum Stanford rumbled to put 5 more on the board before the half ended. Stanford 12- Cal 5 the second half started just like the first both teams moving the ball between the 22’s with 22 min left in the half Stanford broke thru the Cal back line to score under the post. The lady bears continued to keep the pressure on and with 5 min left in the half put another one down in the corner. Final Score Stanford 19, Cal 10 There was a post-match get-together sandwiches and chips that the ladies for Stanford hosted T-shirts were give to each woman of the match.

I watched most of Stanford vs. Davis (men), arriving back at my truck to see that I was needed at another game. Off to Hayward.

Seconds: Stanford – California CANCELED

CHICO STATE women 25 – Humboldt State 5 Referee: Steve Gray

Sac State women – UC Santa Cruz CANCELED


Stanford Grad – Haas Biz
Not sure whether this was played or who might have refereed it…

Nevada – St. Mary's CANCELED
Seconds: Nevada – St. Mary's 2 CANCELED



VALLEY CHRISTIAN EXILES 22 – College Park 5 Referee: Pete Smith

Valley Christian hosted this battle of the local private schools at their synthetic turf field Friday night at 6PM. Why more teams don’t play their games on Friday nights if possible is a mystery to me because they always get a bigger crowd on a Friday night game than any time on Saturday. To which I will say there was a large crowd in the hundreds of spectators, Chris Fischer was on the PA system announcing the game and educating the fans on the laws. Both teams were properly kitted-no basketball shorts or mismatched socks. The teams looked properly and played that way as well. I was very adamant with the player before, during and after the game that they were given an opportunity to advance their sport with a good display of proper rugby or that they could wipe out years of hard work with dangerous tackles, taunting, profanity, etc…and have the athletic director of the school, who was on hand to watch the game (any other single school HS programs ever invite the AD out to the game?)

The player took what I said to heart and by all accounts played a proper game of rugby. The crowd was definitely into the game and not just big tackles. College Park played very well and had their opportunities to take control of the game, but the back three for the Exiles were just too dangerous in the open field and they returned every kick with interest. The game was close throughout with the Exiles scoring twice in the final minutes to seal the victory, but College Park had the game close enough for the first 68 minutes to have possible taken the game. Hopefully I will get the chance to ref another ‘Friday Night Lights’ game this season as they are exciting.

ISLANDERS 15 -- Lancers 7

As I pulled into the parking lot at Burbank high school, the lightning started, and was followed by a hailstorm. An ominous portent? Only as far as the kickoff was concerned, which became 5 o'clock after weather, traffic and a mix-up on scheduling. Still, with both teams here, and with a double rainbow to boot, and the first half finally got underway. Islanders had the best of the possession, pressing hard against a determined Lancer defence. The goal-line stand was broken by an Islander hand in the ruck, and the Lancers began to march down the field with a couple of penalties, and finally a free tap for numbers in the ensuing lineout saw the big #8 crash over for the opening score. The winger, having missed every one of his warm-up kicks in pre-game, coolly slotted the conversion. The rest of the half ended without score.

The second half started much as the first had ended, played between the 22s. But as the sun went down the Islanders began to find the gainline, and some powerful running by the fly half and first centre set up 3 tries in 10 minutes. Finally, the stars began to appear, and gloom of night forced the game to be called 5 minutes early, as red and black all looked the same to me. But with Islanders 2 scores up and pressing forward, the game ended as it probably would have, had we been able to start on time.

Good game all round.

Rio Americano 10 – CHRISTIAN BROTHERS 42 Referee: Joe Leisek

A game featuring driving rain in the first half and a bright late-afternoon sun in the second. Despite the sloppy conditions, Christian Brothers showed why they are the early-season Sac Valley Conference leaders, through a very tough defense and some serious backline speed. The visitors struck first early in the first half and proved very adept at creating opportunities out of their opponent's mistakes. Rio missed several tackles throughout the game, which allowed Christian Brothers to make several deep territorial gains and split the defense along the way. The visitors scored their try at the end of the match. Several players stood out, including the Rio #8 (this young man has a serious boot) and the entire Christian Brothers' backline (especially the wings and fullback).

Special recognition to Ray Thompson for the assignment. I was in the Sacramento area for the week and was given the game due to a scheduling conflict for the originally-scheduled referee, JC Van Staden. Thanks to you both.

PITS frosh/soph 24 – LAMO f/s 31 Referee: Rob Hendrickson

PITS' and Lamo's frosh/soph teams sparred off against each other on Campolinda's all-weather field after PITS' natural grass home field (Mills College) got rained out. The game was close throughout, with the lead changing several times, and both teams showed a lot of young talent which reflects a raising of the playing level in the Bay Conference.

Montgomery 14 – ELSIE ALLEN 17 Referee: Andrew MacMaster (Ontario)

Observer: Dixon Smith
This Friday evening game was played at Montgomery High School in Santa Rosa. The bigger host side held a 14 to 5 half time lead, but the Lobos with good ball carrier support scored two more tires in the second half to win 17 to 14.


Treasure Island SFGG field. Cold and blowing, threat of rain. I arrive early and observe SFGG's frosh/soph team who were scheduled to play another team which turned out be a no-show. They have such depth in players that they were able to field two complete teams and played each other.

SF/GOLDEN GATE JV 65 – Berkeley Rhinos 5 Referee: Eric Rauscher

After a while the Berkeley Rhinos arrived and after the usual book-keeping, game on. SFGG JV jumped out to a lead about one minute into the game and scored about every 5 minutes until the half (34/0). The second half was a repeat of the first but the Rhinos were able to score a well deserved try (65/5). Although the Rhinos showed great potential, they weren't able to handle SFGG's size and depth of team. I was quite impressed with the Rhino's scrumhalf/captain who seemed to be everywhere on the field constantly directing his players and encouraging them on.

Hayward 7 – SF/GOLDEN GATE 26 Referee: Sam Davis

Big physical game with a lot of individual efforts on Hayward side; once they start playing together as a team they will be a team to be reckoned with. GG worked well together their #8 should be recruited to some College team when he graduates this year. Fun game, not too much rain final score GG 26 Hayward 7

High School Girls Rugby Round-Robin Tournament

Referee: Donnell Walsh, Dave Miller, Matt Easton Paul Berman, Rod Chance
Touch Judge: Jordan Gaddis, Max Chance

Fears of bad weather and lack of referees support threatened all optimism. Fortunately, the hundred plus girls from Alameda, Humboldt, Santa Rosa, Amazons, Davis and Mother Lode's prayers were answered. At 9 a.m. these skies parted and for a few moments the sun shined on the rugby pitch with Matt Easton in the center, bracketed by two spirited teams ready to go. The day was grey but there was no real rain until the last game.

A special THANK YOU to Donnell Walsh, Dave Miller and Matt Easton who managed to find their boots, whistles and the time to referee a few games. Their brilliance at player and game management outweighed any concerns about being slow-of-foot. Because of these few good men, players and spectators enjoyed a great day of rugby.


February 16:

Humboldt State 17 – SANTA CLARA 25 Referee: Sam Davis
It was an early wakeup call at 4:45 the sky was clear and a bit cold as the RugbyHog and I headed north. Did I say Cold!!!! Arrived at the field with a few min to spare both teams were ready to go. Santa Clara won the toss elected to kick and the let the game begin. For the first 18 min Santa Clara played in their own half with Humboldt with 6 rookie starters, this being two of theirs first games. An off side call gave SC the first scoring opportunity at the 22 min mark to put 3 on the board. Five min later on a multi-phase play Humboldt put one down in the corner. SC did not take that and at the 10 min mark put there own in the corner and converted. Humboldt came back with 5 min left in the half to score again the half ended 10 vs.10 Second half was very similar not a lot of scoring in the first 20 min Humboldt’s composure started to break down an off side call coupled with yelling at the ref gave SC another penalty kick at the 17 min mark Humboldt had a nice breakaway run touched down in the middle and converted. SC deep in their in-goal got around the corner and went the 100 meters to score in the corner. Humboldt’s rookie tackled SC kick off receiver in the air for a penalty which gave SC the ball back a kick to touch and they were back inside Humboldt’s 22 Humboldt stood firm got the ball back to midfield. SC on quick pass to the backs got it to the wing who cut back and touched half way to the post the kicker converted with 4 min left in the game. Humboldt came back and with no time left on the clock had the ball going to the wing with a clear field took the pass and knocked it on ending the game Humboldt 17 Santa Clara 25 it was a great game to referee both teams have a bright future.

SF/GOLDEN GATE 33 – Santa Rosa 7 Referee: Steve Coakley


Saturday’s San Francisco Chronicle had a delightful vignette about a pelican that wouldn’t yield the trail to a hiker, complete with a photo of the peregrinating Pelecanus:


By the way, it’s not too late to sign up for the March 11/12 Yosemite hike. We have eight intrepid Pelicans of our own so far, and can always reserve another room at the Yosemite Lodge for your and yours.

The University of British Columbia restarts under the watchful eye of referee Tony Redmond last Wednesday.


For the Senate
Pelicus Scriptoris

Tuesday, February 19, 2008




Start spreading the word, especially to the high school teams that need a certified ref:

The NCRRS will offer the IRB Level One Referee Course on Sunday, March 9, on Treasure Island.

The course will not be offered again locally until the autumn. Please make every effort to attend if you need to course to referee competitive games or you’d like to take it to be able to help your club, college or high school when the refs are short.

The cost is $35. If you have refereed or do referee five games by appointment, the NCRRS will pay for the course or reimburse you, respectively. Plan on an eight-hour day learning the basics that you need to embark on a fulfilling and satisfying career helping to facilitate the best rugby in the USA.

If you are interested we need to know this week in order to obtain the course materials. Please contact:

Bruce Carter


Remind yourself of the Society dinner to be held at the Pyramid Brewing Company in Berkeley on Saturday evening, March 15.

A centerpiece of the East Mids exchange has become the winter hike in Yosemite. In 2004 we enjoyed glorious sunshine and shirt-sleeve weather, but in 2006 it was strictly snow-plow conditions.

Whatever nature throws at us, the most beautiful setting on Earth is a magnificent place to encounter it.

So here’s the plan: we’ll take our visitors to Yosemite on Tuesday, March 11 and spend the night at the Yosemite Lodge at the Society’s expense. The route of Wednesday’s hike will be determined by the conditions but it will be spectacular and memorable.

We’ll return to regular life later that day.

If you can only spare one day during the week, work on the Tuesday and drive up afterwards (doable from the Bay Area, Sacramento, or points between).

Please let us know if you would like to join the crew. We need to reserve the rooms.

This hike will be one of the highlights of your refereeing career!



March is proving to be the heart of our incoming exchange program this season. In particular, the next four weekends we have two-four visitors per weekend.

This includes March 6-16, when we will be hosting Andy Canning and Tony Kennedy from the East Mids.

If you would be able to host, please let Bjorn Stumer know:



Some people see a lot of new and unfamiliar names on the assignments roster and know just how lucky we are to have folks joining the ranks of the NCRRS. New Pelicans are always welcomed!

But what you don’t see is the list of those who are no longer doing games. Some will be back, but most will not.

Here are some people who did at least a game or two last year and, for whatever reason, have not refereed this season. We apologize if you have worked a high school game or some other fixture of which we are not aware:

Paul Berman
David Buckley
Chris Busch
Lois Bukowski
Rod Chance
Matt Eason
Michael Gadoua
Dylan Gill
Debra Hart
Geordie Hawkins
Mike King
Tony Latu
Rachel Lawton
David Miller
Chris Parkhouse
Sam Reagle
Joe Saccomanno
Ray Schwartz
Dixon Smith
Paul Smith
Kat Todd-Schwartz
Mike Villierme

Most referee societies do not have twenty-two members. We have had to replace that number in mid-stride.


It was Founders’ Day weekend at the SF/Golden Gate clubhouse on Treasure Island. The epicenter of NorCal rugby quaked with seven games.

There were also several matches on the nearby Job Corps pitch, with participants and officials dropping by the clubhouse to watch the rugby on the pitch or on Setanta, have a burger and a beverage, or just enjoy the warm sunny day and the camaraderie.

SF/Golden Gate freshmen 5 – PIEDMONT frosh/soph 32 Referee: Rob Hendrickson

In the 8:00 AM opening game of a long day at TI, PITS frosh/soph had a strong showing against SFGG on their home field, racking up 4 first half tries to SFGG's one. SFGG had quite a few new faces, as it had to play following JV and varsity games as well.

Varsity: SF/GOLDEN GATE 65 – Piedmont 0 Referee: Bruce Carter

Golden Gate has a wealth of very good players, more than this referee has seen on one high school team. I don’t want to slight anyone not named, but #7, #8, #12, #15, #22 and a very nifty scrumhalf look like all-stars to this observer.

The Captain and #8, Danny, had an NBA-quality play wherein he leapt to catch the bounce of his own pop kick near the goal line – but it bounced away from him. No problem: he reached back like Dr. J and one-handed it at arm’s length, alit and scored the try.

And the scrumhalf closed out the scoring and the match by wrestling the ball from the grasp of a player twice his size and scampering thirty meters untouched to pay dirt.

SF/GOLDEN GATE JV 34 – TriValley Varsity 17 Referee: Giles Wilson

TriValley HS played a good first half against the SFGG JV turning around ahead 17 – 12. SFGG introduced a couple of very large players and TriValley didn’t manage them very well defensively in the second half leaking 22 points for a final score of SFGG 34 – TriValley 17.

SFGG – Santa Rosa Referee: Steve Coakley

Touch Judges: John Tomasin, Mose Timoteo
Videographer: Bruce Carter
No report received.

Seconds: SF/Golden Gate 10 – SANTA ROSA 17 Referee: Giles Wilson
Touch Judge: Jackie Finck

A game that featured a number of young SFGG players who have come through the HS team playing against an older more experienced Santa Rosa side who had a noticeable Fijian contingent. Quite a decent game in spells, some back and forth play mixed with some big hits. At half time Santa Rosa led by 12 – 10 and stretched this to 17 – 10 for the final.

SFGG SL 22 – Olympic Club 16 Referee: Phil Griffiths (Northeast)

Touch Judges: Jackie Finck, Bruce Carter
Assessor: Dixon Smith

Vacaville – Olympic Club seconds Referee: Joe Androvich
No report received.


Sacramento Lions 14 – HAYWARD 24 Referee: Joe Leisek

Seconds: Sacramento Lions – Hayward
Not played.

SAN MATEO 41– Diablo Gaels 27 Referee: Mitch Damm (Texas, West)

Touch Judge and Reporter: JC Van Staden
Assessor: Bryan Porter

With the sun warming up all the winter bodies, the plate was set for some great rugby. With San Mateo making there their presence felt with some hard hitting right from the start, but it was Diablo that impressed on the scoreboard. At half SM had to score 2 times too keep up with a young, but impressive DG. Needless to say SM half time pep talk paid off, by doing just that. Leveling the score with another 28 min to go.

The inexperienced of the young DG team showed in the second half, by getting 2 penalties reversed against them, after trying to coach the ref, after receiving the penalties. SM on the other hand, still applying a lot of pressure and playing the offside line so tight, that they ended up with 2 yellow cards. Diablo seemed to lose their wheels a little and could not take advantage on the 15 against 13 players, in fact they conceded a try while 2 men up. With a game that could swing any way, San Mateo walked away as winners, with 41-29.

Seconds: San Mateo – Diablo Gaels
Not played.

SEAHAWKS 31 – BA Baracus 10 Referee: Tony Redmond

A reasonable game with lots of physical contents marked by a couple of interesting refereeing points and lots of mishandling and turnovers. Seahawks are a stronger team with more penetration in the backs and the back row, which eventually took its toll on Baracus as the match unfolded. Forward passes and dropped passes meant that Seahawks didn’t score a try until late in the first half but they subsequently scored three more in the second.

The first interesting issue were touch judges that awarded two penalties (one at either end) in the first half that obviously were not successful. In both cases, the touch judges failed to stay on their posts and didn’t notice that the kicks curved outside late. A quick chat at half-time on the basics of touch judging cured the problem. The second issue came about when Baracus were under pressure from a 5-metre scrum. A hurried pass from the scrum-half led to an equally hurried attempt to clear from the out-half, resulting in a scuffed kick that went up in the air like a sick duck, barely making 10 feet in altitude and going forward the same amount to the Baracus left-wing, who was ahead of the kicker in goal. He jumped into the air to take the ball but made a complete hash of his attempt to catch it and only succeeded in knocking it backwards towards the dead-ball line for Seahawks to gratefully accept the chance to score. The question is – what decision would it have been had Seahawks not cleared? Penalty (where), penalty try, or other decision?

[Editor’s Note: Sounds like the only thing this ‘clearing kick’ cleared was the ground, and only just!]

Seconds: SEAHAWKS 38 – BA Baracus 7 Referee: Rob Hendrickson

With some help from the Seahawks, Baracus put up a respectable B side, although the Seahawks proved too much for them. The first half saw both sides drive to close to the try line on several occasions, only to turn the ball over within 5 meter line. The Seahawks led 14 - 0 at the half. Baracus fans were finally given something to cheer about late in the second half with some great open field running on a breakaway which resulted in their only try.

SACRAMENTO 30 – Fresno 7 Referee: Scott Wood

TJs: Phil Ulibarri/Steve Seifert
Location: Danny Nunn Park, Sacramento
Weather: Perfect for a sunny rugby match
Field conditions: Cheese grating clay with bits of sod. Chalk was used to mark the field lines (this comes to play later)

[Editor’s Note: Wasn’t it Chekhov who said you don’t hang a sword on the wall in the first act unless you are going to use it in the fifth?]

Both teams spent the first ten minutes testing each other out. Then Sacramento found its stride and was able to piece a number of phases together culminating in a rumbling try by their loosehead prop. Eight minutes later he was back again to score a try as bodies bounced off him. Fresno was penalized several times for a lack of understanding the Laws of the Game (really just one player who was a bit confused in this regard). With 13 minutes remaining in the half, Sacramento slotted a penalty goal from midway on the 22. Sacramento crossed the try line one more time to close the half 20-0.

Fresno opened the second half with improved cohesion and communication scoring with relative ease at the 47th minute (20-7). The hosts were undeterred and answered back ten minutes later as they threaded past missed tackles to bring the score to 25-7. From that point, open play settled down to more rucking with the occasional scrum. Sacramento had one scoring attempt go to touch with a scant meter to run as the ball carrier stepped into touch. Well, step into touch is not the best description. His cleat scrapped enough line chalk to create a small cloud which provided a perfect indication that, much to his chagrin, the ball carrier had stepped into touch. With four minute to go, Sacramento's loosehead achieved a hat trick as he again barreled across the try line. The conversion put Sacramento's lead up 30-7. Fresno again turned up the heat and attacked Sacramento's sideline. Settling into pick-and-go movements, Fresno worked its way to within ten meters of the try line prior to Sacramento being penalized for offside. The tap-and-go from five meters out led to a try-line stand. The ball was visible but Sacramento bodies were impeding access. Not wanting to blow up for a scrum as the match was at full time, the referee got the body parts to move allowing Fresno access to the ball. Unfortunately, Sacramento's scrum half decided to grab onto the ball (still in the ruck) earning him a trip to the bin for a professional foul. Harsh? Perhaps. Warranted? Yes. Fresno again attacked off the penalty kick but Sacramento was wily enough to get hands on the ball that the ball carrier did not want to release. Sacramento was awarded the penalty and kicked to touch to finish the match.

Seconds: SACRAMENTO 28 – Fresno 5 Referee: Phil Ulibarri

Touch Judge: Scott Wood
Referee Coach: Kat Todd-Schwartz
Clouds of dust. Dehydration. Knock ons. Forward passing. Sprints along the outside. Not pretty but definitely enjoyable.

Arroyo Grande 6 – EAST PALO ALTO 50 Referee: Sandy Robertson

The Razorbacks had too much speed and youth for Arroyo Grande, running away with the game in the second half when they scored 31 unanswered points. Arroyo Grande spent most of the last 5 minutes of the match within 10 meters of the EPA try line, came within inches of touching the ball down, but in the end were denied.

Seconds: ARROYO GRANDE 33 – EPA Razorback 29 Ref: Robertson

Unable to field a full 15 the AG 2nds pulled out a wide open, 10 try, 10-a-side victory by converting 4 of 5 tries.

Vallejo 13 – RENO 34 Referee: Chris Tucker

Evaluator: David Williamson

Thanks to referee coach Dave Williamson for the many pointers that came my way before, during and after the game.

A glorious sunny day greeted the assembled players, refs, family and friends who gathered to play the inaugural competitive match at Vallejo's new pitch on Mare Island in the old naval base. The pitch is fast and flat, if perhaps a little longer than regulation -- it used to be a gridiron field, and the posts are concreted into the ground 120 yards apart (8 metres longer than the 100m standard). This was made a little more interesting by having the 22s painted only about 15m from the goal line, which the Reno fullback found to his cost when he called for the mark early on in the game.

Spirits were high, the pig was roasting away, the USA flag was raised from the mast just before kickoff, and then the game got underway at a later-than-usual 1.30pm, with the Reno team champing at the bit to get started. They drew first blood, as a Vallejo infringement in front of the posts led to an easy 3 points after 14 minutes. The Vallejo team quickly shot back with some hard-charging centre running leading to a try (unconverted) shortly after. Another penalty to Reno and a responding try to Vallejo led to a score of 10-6 to the hosts at the half. It would have been 12-6 had the kicker asked before approaching to adjust the ball on the tee -- the Reno fullback charged, stole the ball and that was that.

10 minutes into the second half, Vallejo stretched it to 13-6 with another penalty, but soon they were down to 14 after an ill-advised punch right in front of the ref. At that point, Reno took over, spreading the ball wide past a tiring back line, and running in 2 tries with their man advantage. A third try was nearly scored when the winger stepped out just before going over, but it just delayed the score as Reno snaffled the ball at the lineout to score. The winger then got his revenge and put one over in the corner just before time, and the fullback earned 5 bucks off his #6 by betting on the kick that he proceeded to slot down the middle of the uprights to cap a 6/7 performance with the boot.

34-13 the final, but credit to a much-improved Vallejo team who had the upper hand for the first 60 minutes, and who provided one heck of a spread in the clubhouse afterwards.

MARIN 50 – U. of San Francisco 14 Referee: Chris Labozzetta

CALIFORNIA 78 – St. Mary's 22 Referee: Pete Smith

Seconds: CALIFORNIA 98 – St. Mary's 3 Referee: Preston Gordon

Evaluator: Mike Malone

CHICO STATE 17 – Stanford 10 Referee: Jim Crenshaw

Saturday I left for Chico around 10 under perfectly blue skies and great rugby weather.

I arrived at the pitch to find Chico in force and Stanford MIA. Seems the Stanford bus neglected to stop at the truck scales in Cordelia, got pulled over by the CHP and had to turn around, go back through the scales and then submit to a rigorous safety inspection, ouch!! I, like the Stanford bus driver, thought it was a TRUCK scale, but oh contraire, not so!! They finally showed up a little after 1, more like 1:20.

We kicked off at 2. The game was an evenly matched affair with Chico scoring a converted try and Stanford scoring a penalty kick in the first half.

The second half was more of the same back and forth with Chico scoring an unconverted try and a penalty kick and Stanford scoring a converted try.

Seconds: CHICO STATE 43 – Stanford 7 Referee: Dan Wilson

Mentor watching: Jim Crenshaw

What a beautiful day it was driving up from Sacramento. Coming from Fresno, it’s easy to forget how clear the air can seem in the north end of the valley. Being that it was my first time on Chico State’s pitch, I was impressed with the regulation size as well as the prime location. It was hard to believe that the game against Cal a few weeks ago was played on a “torn up field” on the same pitch. After the fervent pitch finish of the ‘A’ game with CSU winning, their B side picked up the pace scoring quickly with a converted try within 6 minutes. CSU controlled tight ball well, with some great hitting going on by the forwards by both teams. Chico seemed to have more talent due to experience which they capitalized on several times. Half-time score: CSU B 19 - Stanford B 7.

The second half seemed to find Chico in rhythm. They dominated in both the forwards and the backs with the quick transition from Stanford mistakes resulting in scores-a-plenty. Even with the game decided early, Stanford still worked on its fundamentals. It was evident that experience was the major difference in the game, but the talent pool for both sides is exciting to see. Final score: CSU B 43 - Stanford B 7.

Nevada 15 – SACRAMENTO STATE 20 Referee: Don Pattalock

Seconds: Nevada – Sac State

Humboldt State – Santa Clara Referee: Sam Davis
No report received.

SANTA ROSA JC 100 – San Jose State 0 Referee: Cary Bertolone

Referee Coach: Jake Rubin

I handled the match between San Jose State Univ vs Santa Rosa J.C. held at For Pete's Sake on 2/16/08. The kick-off at 1:15 (some of visiting team arrived late) was followed by a fast paced game with a lot of break-aways, kicking and inevitably, a lot of tries by Santa Rosa. The score was 48-0 at the half and an even 100-0 by the final whistle. Despite the score, SJSU never gave up and kept a good attitude and SRJC also acted like gentlemen as good winners should! Jake Rubin was my evaluator and gave me some good half-time and post game advice and I appreciated it.

UC Santa Cruz 10 – CAL MARITIME 59 Referee: Aruna Ranaweera

Field conditions at UCSC were close to perfect on a sunny day overlooking the scenic Monterey Bay. What a location!

Cal Maritime established forward dominance right from the start and went into half-time leading 24-10. UCSC scored two opportunistic tries through their backs, but as the game wore on, the home team could not keep up with the visitors who controlled both possession and tempo. Cal Maritime conducted a clinic in rolling mauls with efficient ball retention and disciplined set-pieces.

Seconds; UC Santa Cruz 0 – CAL MARITIME 42 Ref: Ranaweera

In the 2nd XV match with 30-min halves, Cal Maritime won 42-0.

STANFORD Women 43 – Chico State Women 19 Referee: John Coppinger

(Stanford 36, Chico 7 at the half)

Two teams fairly matched went at it hard on a beautiful afternoon on the Stanford campus.

The first half score line flatters Stanford a bit. The teams were fairly matched in the pack and both threatened to score from inside the defenders' 22 a number of times. The difference was in the back-line where Stanford showed power and pace and turned Chico turnovers into long scores a number of times. (Stanford #15 Jessica Watkins can flat out fly.)

Chico battled hard until the end.

Stanford: 7 tries, 4 conversions.
Chico State: 2 tries, 2 conversions.

Seconds: Stanford 44 – CHICO STATE 53 Referee: Tom Zanarini

Thank God I've been doing my sprint drills. Lots of 40m + breaks for tries.

California women 5 – UC DAVIS 20 Referee: Bjorn Stumer

A great game played by two well drilled and competitive sides in front of a goodish crowd assembled at the hastily readied Job Corps field at Treasure Island. The Davis ladies came out firing on all cylinders putting 10 points on the board on the first half. Although Berkeley had the tendency to slow the ball down, Davis kept the pressure on at the second half scoring two more unconverted tries. Berkeley refused to give up though and made a number of good breaks on top of their fierce defense. Their last break resulted in a try on the very last play of the day. A fantastic match enjoyed by all involved, yours truly, and the vocal crowd.

St. Mary's women 17 – SACRAMENTO STATE 19 Referee: Bryant Byrnes

A pleasant day in Moraga and a close match won by the visitors (Lady Hornets?) on the last play.

A slow first half; St Mary's 5-0. But with tacklers finally rolling away and scrum halfs aggressively extracting ruck ball, the second 40 minutes saw five tries. On the last play in injury time, St Mary's won the scrum but turned it over. From about midfield Sac State spun the ball wide, broke the back line and touched it down between the posts. The conversation kick gave them the match.


SOUTH BAY EXILES 17 – Humboldt 0 Referee: Chris Fisher

Biggest winner was Tina Watts who has started up the first girls and boys high school rugby teams in Humboldt this year.

MONTGOMERY – Windsor Referee: Sean Peters

Checked in with both coaches at the beginning, to see if everybody was CIPP, Montgomery was up to date, but Windsor was not no CIPP no pics. I asked if any were he said some I asked him if he any illegal players and he said yes, the team was full of un legal players, both coaches agreed to have Windsor to a forfeit.

Montgomery looked strong on the first half leading 10-5, second half the Windsor boys, spun it wide and scored 2 unanswered trys, 10-15 Windsor, Montgomery played hard and had 2 knock-ons in the 2 and 3 meter mark .....

Second game (25)min game, 10-5 Windsor note; this is high school rugby and Windsor had a lot of out-of-school players, I know they want to be able to play, but there is a men’s club and we’re dying for players, I think by their next game they should have to have paper-work ready. Thanks for the game!

Oakland Military Institute 0 – BERKELEY RHINOS 15 Referee: Bjorn Stumer

A tale of experience vs. inexperience as the Berkeley Rhinos easily dispatched the Oakland Military Institute 15-0. The Oakland side, augmented by a few players from another school and late for kick off, had the clear disadvantage from the get go, but this did not keep them from playing with spirit and dedication.

The Rhinos benefited from more cohesion and an apparent longer time with each other, but were made to work hard for their victory. The hits came hard and fast, but as Berkeley kept their composure the match stayed clean, safe, fun and for them victorious.

LANCERS 26 - Cougars 5 Referee: Chris Tucker

A well-organised Lancer unit dealt comfortably with a Cougar team that played hard but made too many mistakes to put together consistent phases. Apart from a couple of dubious incidents which left the young bloods involved in the bin, the match was played hard and in good spirit by both teams, and the home team came out victors by 4 tries to 1.

Seconds: Lancers 0 - COUGAR 10 Ref: Tucker

SAN MATEO 17 – Live Oak 14 Referee: Bruce Bernstein

Both teams played a very competitive match. Live Oak ahead at the half 7-5 & 14-5 in the second. San Mateo came back & was driving at the try line again as time expired. Beautiful pitch in Morgan Hill overlooking hills & across from an old winery, Guglielmo (est. 1925), which I recommend--probably the best winery across the street from a high school that I've ever been to.

Peninsula Green 13 – EAST PALO ALTO 50 Referee: JC Van Staden

With a great pitch and about 74ºF, Peninsula won the toss, and decided to kick. Right from the start both teams made their presence felt with some monster tackles. But it was East Palo Alto that opened the score bored with some aggressive running by the 8th man right through the middle of the field.

PG had no answers for this strong running, and conceded another converted try before answering back with a penalty kick and an 80 yard turnover play, that ended up in a try in the right corner by PG. EPA just took that as a little rest, and hit back with another 2 tries before the half.

With the score 22 to 8, EPA turned on the pace again, with the captain running holes through the middle with excellent support on his outsides. By adding 4 converting tries in the second half, and PG only able to answer back once, the end score was 50 – 13.

CHRISTIAN BROTHERS 29 – Vacaville 12 Referee: Jim Crenshaw

Friday afternoon I took off work a little early to ref the Christian Brothers vs Vacaville high school match. It was another match of contrasting halves. CB scored early and often in the first half, with no answers from Vacaville. CB tallied 4 tries in the first half and led 22 to 0 at half. The second half was a different match with Vacaville scoring 2 tries to one for CB.

Davis Rugby Club 7 – JESUIT MARAUDERS 36 Referee: Scott Wood

Location: Pioneer Park, Davis
Weather: Sunny (directly in my eyes) open skies

I arrived around 3 pm to find Mike Purcell and John Shorey, Davis and Jesuit coaches respectively, installing flag posts and solving the world's problems. We discussed the upcoming match prior to inspecting boots and giving front row instruction. Both teams feature big boys on the brink of manhood. Jesuit kicked off the match and Davis quickly drove up the field. The home side attacked and defended extremely well keeping Jesuit under constant pressure. Ten minutes into the half, Jesuit recovered a knock on, passed the ball around and sprinted down the pitch to score an unconverted try. Davis knuckled down and continued its attack and defense. Just prior to halftime, Jesuit scored a penalty goal to bring its lead to a tenuous 8-0.

Davis kicked off the second half with its continued attack on Jesuit. Seven minutes in the home side was able to break the defense and scored a try. The conversion was successful bringing Davis to within one point of Jesuit. For 16 minutes the two teams settled down around mid field passing the ball left and right, exploring potential holes only to become flesh magnets. With 12 minutes remaining, Jesuit's loosehead prop scored off a barreling rumble over the try line. Davis continued with the its attack and defense holding to Jesuit's similar moves. An intercepted pass by Jesuit provided the opportunity for an agile wing to score with five minutes remaining to increase Jesuit's lead to 22 points. With full-time at hand, Jesuit attacked up the middle, passed wide and, despite a dangerous tackle, scored in the corner. The kicker slotted a difficult kick to close the match with Jesuit winning 36-7.

Unfortunately, I was unable to provide referee coaching for Mike Purcell as Jesuit did not have the numbers for a B-side match.

DIABLO Frosh/Soph 29 – DLS Frosh/Soph 5 Referee: Edward Barfels

The first half was close with Diablo leading 12 to 5. The second half, Diablo's defense stiffened and their offense played good second & third phase play. Diablo scored three times in the second half to close out the game with a 29 to 5 score.

Visitors and Hosts
Mitch Damm from Texas, Bjorn Stumer, Jackie Finck and Phil Griffiths from New England enliven the Golden Gate clubhouse on Saturday.


For the Senate
Pelicus Scriptoris

Tuesday, February 12, 2008




Phil Ulibarri has been promoted to C3. Congratulations to Phil, the latest in our line of Reno whistlers.


We need a volunteer to pick up an exchange referee at SFO Saturday morning and take him to San Mateo High School.

If your game schedule would allow, Mitch Damm from Texas will arrive about 11:30 AM. The pitch isn’t far. He’ll have a ride afterwards.

Let us know and we can send you the details.


Please let us know which weekends you can referee in March and whether you are willing to travel to a game:

March 1 Travel: Yes/No
March 8 Travel: Yes/No
March 15 Travel: Yes/No
March 22 Travel: Yes/No
March 29 Travel: Yes/No


Old friend and repeat visitor Andy Canning will be joining us, along with Tony Kennedy, from March 6th to the 16th.

We will have a society dinner on Saturday, March 15, to entertain and honor our guests. Mark your calendar, find your pelican mascots, and get your numbers ones to the dry cleaner.

If you missed it, you can see the highlight of the weekend right here:



Wednesday, February 6

STANFORD 43 – Sacramento State 17 Referee: Pete Smith

Maritime Academy 0 – CALIFORNIA 55 Referee: Jim Crenshaw
I arrived at the Cal Maritime pitch about 6 for a 7 pm kickoff between the Cal Maritime Keelhaulers and the Cal Bears.

The pitch is one the nicest in Northern California and the weather was perfect for rugby. The Bears controlled the match scoring 4 tries in the first half and 4 tries and a penalty goal in the second to win 55 to 0.

Thursday, Feb. 7

San Jose State 0 – UC SANTA CRUZ 19 Referee: Joe Androvich
There's a first time for everything, even getting hit in the face with a kicked ball, which unfortunately happened to me in the 70th minute.

Friday, Feb. 8

OMBAC 15 - CALIFORNIA 37 Referee: Paul Bretz
Cal defeated OMBAC in a match played at the San Diego Invitational, which was held Thursday and Friday.

In the other college-super league matchup, Santa Monica narrowly got by BYU.

There were rugby games on eight pitches for two full days, as the organizers of the Sevens have finally figured out how to draw in rugby folk for a weekend.



Jesuit 29 - CHRISTIAN BROTHERS 32 Referee: Chris Tucker

Something was afoot when, after winning the first breakdown, the Jesuit back line span it out wide, only for the pass to go behind the receiver. This happened all too often; when ball went to hand, they gained ground well, but when the mistakes frequently occurred they went backwards 20 metres. Without 2 of their starting lineup, they were definitely not firing on all 8 cylinders. Nonetheless, Jesuit made good early running, and came close to a try, only to knock on before it could be touched down. CB responded well, slotting a penalty and 2 tries (one converted) in the first half to Jesuit's unconverted try to make the score 15-5 at the half.

Sadly the second half was mostly played with fewer players than the first, as Jesuit had 2 yellows for repeated infringement, and CB lost their fiery 8-man for a calming 10 minutes after 2 dubious tackles in a row and another player at the death for repeatedly killing the ball as they scrambled to keep their lead. The game was played with passion bordering on the unsportsmanlike by both teams. But enough cool heads were present to quiet the more excitable elements and to point out the potential hazards of celebrating a try in your opponents' faces...

The game was ultimately put away by a couple of smartly taken interceptions by the CB Outside Centre that he ran in unopposed. A spirited Jesuit comeback in the final quarter fell just short as time expired, with their last 2 tries falling unconverted. All round a great game to open the season, and credit to both sides for a hard fought game.

It was summed up nicely by the Jesuit captain who admitted in the post-game huddle "We underestimated you."

LAMORINDA 50 – De La Salle 5 Referee: Preston Gordon
It was a beautiful day in the east bay last Saturday, and we kicked off on time on the Moraga high school's fake-grass field. It's quite an interesting surface, and works just fine with short-stud boots.

Lamorinda was more experienced and had played together longer, and this showed in the result. Several times players took actions indicating an unfamiliarity with the laws - coming in from the side at breakdowns, for example - but overall it was a good match.

There were another couple of games afterwards, and I stuck around and did the first half of the Lamorinda-Dixon HS game. There was more inexperience than the first game here, but again all was well. When I left at halftime, the score was 24-5 to Lamorinda. I believe they went on to win.

With all the kids that showed up, there could have been 2-3 more games. Unfortunately, the 90 rugby players (and their supporters, mostly parents) were kicked off the field so that all 10 members of the girls' Lacrosse team could have a practice session.

JV: SAN FRANCISCO GOLDEN GATE 15 – Jesuit 10 Referee: Bjorn Stumer
A good fast match played with skills and sportsmanship by two even and committed sides. It could have gone either way, but SFGG put in more tries. Final score SFGG B 15 - Jesuit 10.

Varsity: SF/Golden Gate 12 – JESUIT 20 Ref: Stumer
This was the stunner of the day, as I was amazed by the speed, size, skills, and tenacity of these two sides. The level and intensity of this match surprised and some of the breaks left me gasping for breath (too bad this was my second match). Every tackle involved at least two tacklers, every loose ball was pounced on, and every involvement between opposing players happened at speed and with ferocious intensity.

Tempers were near the boiling point, but two yellow cards issued at the first half - one for kicking, and the other for a pile-driving tackle - put a little more calm on the proceedings. A fairly close match between two experienced sides of surprising talent for their youth. Ultimately Jesuit walked away with it. Final score: SFGG Varsity 12 - Jesuit Varsity 20. A large crowd in attendance, big coaching staffs for both sides, the professional background of Rocca Field all spoke volumes about the quality of these two high school programs. With action like this at hand, the future of US Rugby looks bright.

SAN MATEO 17 – South Bay Exiles 10 Referee: Dave Heath
San Mateo are the new kids on the block and this was their first 'full' game after their very creditable performance in the Sacramento KOT. The game was played at a fast pace with a lot of commitment from both sides. Exiles had the better of the opening exchanges with San Mateo being a little bit too eager and conceding a number of penalties for off-side. As the game settled down San Mateo started to put a few passes together and were rewarded with the opening try after with a sweeping move up their right. Exiles came back strongly and after having one surge over the line held up, they took the lead with a smartly taken quick penalty by their No 10, who strolled over untouched as the Mateo players were retiring with their backs to the ball. 7-5 at half-time.

The second half saw Exiles extend their lead with a well struck penalty but they then conceded momentum, especially by losing a lot of line out ball to 'not straight' throws. The San Mateo forwards began to exert more pressure and scored two more well-worked tries, one converted. In the last 10 minutes the Exiles were on the back foot as San Mateo began to enjoy themselves and run from deep positions. They were twice held up over the line and the game finished 17-10 to San Mateo.

Live Oak 5 – SANTA ROSA 27 Referee: Chris Fisher


RENO 41 – Chico 34 Referee: Jim Crenshaw
I drove up to Reno Saturday and was surprised at the amount of snow on the ground on the way up. The snow plows had been working the weekend before and had the snow piled high on the sides on the road. When I got to Reno, all of the hills and mountains around Reno were covered in snow right down to city level. The pitch was clear, the sun was out and all of the locals remarked at this being the first nice Saturday of the winter.

Most of the Chico Mighty Oaks were there at noon when I arrived as were a smattering of Reno Zephyrs.

We kicked off at 1, with Reno controlling the pace. Reno scored a couple of tries to take a 12 - 0 lead. Chico got on the board with a penalty kick, but Reno answered with another converted try. Chico kicked another penalty goal and Reno scored an unconverted try. Chico rallied just before halftime with a converted try to make it 24 - 13 at intermission.

The second half was a much more even affair. Reno scored a converted try and then Chico scored a converted try. Reno scored another converted try and then a penalty goal. Chico picked up the pace and scored 2 converted tries to pull within 7. Chico was pressuring late in the game when they kicked a deep kick into goal. The foot race was on, but the ball just dribbled over the deadball line as an arriving Chico player tried in vain to touch it down.

UC DAVIS 26 – St. Mary's 19 Referee: Joe Androvich
Assessor: Bryan Porter

Seconds: UC Davis 7 – ST. MARY’S 38 Referee: Chris Tucker
St Mary's exacted a measure of revenge for their A-side disappointment by running in 6 tries against UC Davis' reserves. Continual aggression at the breakdown resulted in frequent turnover ball which the backs frequently made good use of out wide. An impressive boot slotted 4/6 conversions to make the score 38-0. At the death some spirited Davis play resulted in a deserved consolation try, but the result was never in doubt.

Humboldt State women 6 – UC DAVIS 7 Referee: JC Van Staden
A perfect day for rugby, with temperatures in the 70’s, with a lot of sunshine, and barely any wind. Despite the 7hr drive and 1 speeding ticket, the game kicked off at 12h05, with both teams ready as could be, running drills since 11 am….

Humboldt surprisingly choose to receive after winning the toss. The game was in full swing, after Davis start opening up the field and throwing the ball wide. Just a few minutes into the 1st half, they scored after playing good advantage after repeated offside from Humboldt players. The kick was good, and Davis was setting the pace. The sea air on the other end was counting in the home teams advantage, so did all the home spectators. Humboldt spend a concessive 15 min in Davis 22, and the pressure start to show, as both the fly half and scrum half of Davis ended up in the bin for repeated infringement, trying to win the ball back for Davis. Humboldt fail to score though, and the half time score was 7 to 0 in the visitors favor.

Second half was all over the place, with Humboldt showing a lot more direction and composure which gave them 2 successful attempts at goal to make the score 6-7. Humboldt through everything at it, but Davis pulled it together and defend their 1 point lead successfully.

Seconds: HUMBOLDT STATE 38 – UC Davis 5 Ref: Van Staden
With both teams suffering of some injuries, nothing stopped them to field 12 women a side teams.

Both teams play there hart out from the kick off, but all honors went to Humboldt. The spectators kept on growing, and so did their confidence. Running in 3 converted tries the 1st half, Humboldt show great strength crushing through the middle field. With a lot of talent sitting on the side line the 1st game, Humboldt send a fearless second squad on the field. Davis managed 1 consolation try, which got over-shadowed by another 3 tries by Humboldt.

Stanford Development 27 – PENINSULA GREEN 41 Referee: Sandy Robertson
The two sides played running rugby. Peninsula Green was able to break through Stanford's defense more often than Stanford was able to return the favor. Midway through the second half Peninsula Green was up by ~25 points. Stanford never quit and two tries late in the game brought them back into it, but they were unable to conjure up the final 14 points.

STANFORD women 67 – Nevada 0 Referee: Tony Redmond
A better drilled and more skilful Stanford women’s team scored 11 tries against a brave but uncompetitive Nevada side. Key players on the Stanford team included 8, 10, and 12. Ten orchestrated matters behind the scrum and 12 scored a wonderful try between the posts midway through the second half when a tiring defence was opened up by two sidesteps and sheer pace. Nevada’s 8 was the pick of their team as she remained physically competitive at the breakdown throughout the game and forced several turnovers. Alas, her team could not function at the same level.

Seconds: STANFORD women 24 – California 15 Referee: Anna McMahan
After the torrential downpours of last weekend, it was so nice to have a perfect day for rugby at Stanford's pitch. Stanford's second side took the field using some of the inertia from their first side's match, and opened scoring with an unconverted try 10 minutes in by their fullback. Cal answered with their own unconverted try 4 minutes later. Stanford's backline ran angled and looping attacks, and ultimately put up two more tries, both converted. The second half started with some of Stanford's more seasoned players off the field, and Cal took advantage to open the scoring less than 10 minutes in when their flanker dove on a mishandled ball in Stanford's try zone.

Stanford put up another try through their backs just a few minutes later, and the next 20 minutes was full of back and forth play by both teams. Cal scored again with less than 10 minutes left in the game, and threatened Stanford's line for the last minute of the game, but was unsuccessful in the end. No second half tries were converted.

SACRAMENTO STATE women 46 – Santa Clara 10 Referee: Rob Hendrickson
Referee Coach: Sam Reagle

Saturday morning at Sac State was a great venue and time for the spirited game between Sac State women and Santa Clara, who unlike the referee, drove up the night before. Sac State scored first and in the first minute, followed with dominating possession and break-aways for the rest of the half. Santa Clara found itself needing to commit too many players to the tackle in the first half, and Sac State led by 27 - 0 at the end of the first half. Santa Clara came back to play to a much closer 19 - 10 second half.

Tuesday, 4:00 PM

CALIFORNIA 50 – Sacramento State 3 Referee: Joe Leisek
Touch Judges: Eric Rauscher, Bryant Byrnes/John Coppinger
Pelican without Portfolio: Mike King
(Score estimated from memory by the referee while he was driving home from the game.)

Nesberg, Pelicus, Finck
Pelicus the Centurion enjoyed the weekend in San Diego at the iRB Sevens and found some kindred spirits who also know how to dress for international sevens tournaments: Tina Nesberg and Jackie Finck.


For the Senate
Pelicus Scriptoris

Thursday, February 07, 2008




Jim Read is one of our newest members, having taken the level one course late last year. Jim lives in Reno.

Based on his refereeing at the high school tournament in Sacramento last month, Jim has been recognized as a C3 by the NCRRS.


Tonight (February 5) is the monthly meeting of the NCRRS.

We’ll be meeting from 7 to 9 PM at the Golden Gate clubhouse on Treasure Island to learn more about refereeing the ruck and maul. Dinner will be provided for early arrivals beginning at six.

The Referee Development Committee will meet at six.

The hard workers of SF/GG have expanded their clubhouse, essentially doubling its size. They continue to improve their physical plant and we are fortunate to have a proper rugby facility in which to meet.


Please go to the Society Contacts page on the NCRRS website and make certain that your contact information is up to date:


If you are not there, or your information is not accurate, both the referee society and the various teams will not be able to reach you.

Thank you for taking a moment to check this. If something needs changed, let Scott Wood know:



We would like to take this opportunity inform our membership and our readership how high school games find referees.

The first thing to note is that the NCRRS does not assign referees to high school matches until the playoffs. There are several reasons for this, not the least of which is that high school teams are not members of the NCRFU and do not pay referee fees.

But also, the games are so many and so changeable that it would an impossible task to undertake.

There are four high school conferences. Each has a referee coordinator who works with the teams in arranging for match officials.

Their jobs are made all the easier if the teams do not insist on playing Saturdays at 1 PM. Club and college matches get first call on Society members.

Sacramento Valley: Ray Thompson
Redwood Empire: Joe Leisek
Skyhawk: Pete Smith
Bay Conference: Bjorn Stumer

If you would like to referee high school games, notify the coordinator for your area of your desire. We encourage the teams to schedule their matches so that they do not conflict with club and college matches.

When the playoffs arrive, the first criterion for assignments is: who has been refereeing high school games right through the season?


OLYMPIC CLUB 25– Sacramento 5 Lions Referee: John Coppinger

Often criticized (and generally rightly so), SF Park & Rec probably made the right call on Friday to close the Polo Fields on Saturday forcing this match to be rescheduled for 5 p.m. Saturday evening on the Field Turf on Hayward's Pepsi Field.

At 5 p.m., the kick-off took place under ominous skies, but only with a light rain falling and a good breeze blowing. Unfortunately, the 5 p.m. kick-off involved the Hayward U-19 kicking off to the Alameda U-19 for an hour's scrimmage. (Blaine Warhurst arranges for the field, works w/ the City to make sure it's available for rugby [including getting it lined for rugby], and probably pays for the field, and damn it, his kids were going to play their game and the rest of us could just wait. It’s hard to argue with Blaine and so we waited while the weather grew fiercer.)

O Club came out attacking with Sac Lions defending aggressively, a little too aggressively as O Club hit a penalty goal at 3:30 starting the scoring.

As the first half continued, the wind and the rain picked up the pace and soon the rain was moving horizontally. Kicks into the wind struggled to make any headway, while kicks with the wind resulted in scrums back at the place of the kick after the ball crossed the end-line. Both teams quickly decided that ball in-hand was the preferred option. Both teams did reasonably well with ball in-hand, but there were a lot of scrums for knock-ons.

O Club had more form to their attack and scored three tries (one converted) to take a 20-0 lead at the break.

Conditions did not improve in the second half, during which the teams played to a 5-5 draw with O Club running out the full compliment of replacements.

Seconds: Olympic Club – Sacramento Lions CANCELED

Diablo Gaels 10 – HAYWARD 24 Referee: Jim Crenshaw

Saturday's a rugby deluge.

I cruised by UC Davis on my way to Danville Saturday to watch UCD take on Sac State. It was raining off and on, but at game time it was a little more off than on. It was windy and a little bit nippy. Matt Eason was there to watch JC Van Staden, Kat Todd-Schwartz was there to watch Bruce Bernstein and Don Walsh and I were there to watch.

UCD pulled out the win in the first match, and Don and I left a little before halftime of the second match.

I arrived in Danville at the Gaels Mustang Soccer fields around 6:30 for the 7:30 match between the Diablo Gaels and the Hayward Griffins. The rain wasn't really coming down as it was coming in sideways. Kind of like a cow p!**ing on a flat rock.

It let up for about 10 minutes and then it really started to rain. It wasn't causing any problem for the all weather field, but some of the players looked like they might rather be somewhere else. Oh well, we're here, let's play.

It was a typical Gaels-Hayward game, with plenty of big hits and lots of wide open play. The conditions caused a fair number of knock-ons and errant passes, so it was a low scoring affair. 12 to 5 Hayward at half and 24 to 10 at the final whistle.

By the time I got home it had stopped raining. Ya gotta love it!!!

Seconds: Diablo Gaels – Hayward CANCELED

SF/GOLDEN GATE SL 50 – San Mateo 0 Referee: Tony Redmond
Touch Judge: Eric Rauscher

For the second week in a row, I had the opportunity to referee San Francisco Golden Gate against a local team. Last week they were beaten up front by a very physical Hayward team and ended up losing 31-14. That game was played at pace on an all-weather pitch and San Francisco were simply worn down by the Hayward forwards to turn a 14-14 half-time score into a loss by conceding two tries in the last quarter.

This week, playing on their own pitch on Treasure Island in weather resembling the best that Ireland or Wales can provide (driving cold rain on a greasy surface), San Francisco took early charge of the game but couldn’t turn dominance into scores until well into the first half. While they turned over 17-0 ahead, two incidents turned the match from a contest into a rout.

The first was the yellow-carding of San Mateo’s full back who retaliated with a punch (not a great punch, but certainly worth the card) after he was high-tackled after 38 minutes. The reduction in numbers didn’t seem to make a huge difference initially as the San Mateo team exerted all of the early pressure in the second half and came close to scoring. However, after five minutes solid pressure, a knock-on 15m from the San Francisco line was quickly hacked on and then picked up by a San Francisco center who ended up scoring between the posts.

Before San Mateo’s full back came back on San Francisco scored again and the game was dead at 29-0. San Mateo kept going gamely but the San Francisco team was faster around the pitch and more clinical in execution and they ran in more tries to get to the half century.

FRESNO 59 – SF/Golden Gate 5 Referee: Dave Pope

This game started very close, with SFGG controlling much of the early action. Many early missed tackles by Fresno had Fresno pinned deep, but the young SFGG team just could not capitalize. After 10 to 15 minutes Fresno started making its tackles, and the Fresno side was much better at forcing turnovers in the tackles. SFGG ballcarriers need to learn to make the ball available to their support. Fresno scored 3 tries in the first half, two converted.

In the second half, the Fresno forwards seemed to wear down the SFGG team, and this opened things up out wide as well. Fresno scored six tries in the second half, converting 5. SFGG continued to battle to the end, and were rewarded with a nice try near the finish.

East Palo Alto 8 – Seahawks 8 Referee: Pete Smith

It was a great game that lived up to its top of the table billing. The winners would be in the driver’s seat to control the division and ultimately would make a statement to the rest of the league. Unfortunately, neither team was able to finish the other off with missed opportunities by both teams to put the game away. It was 3-3 at halftime and 8-8 at full time. Looks like I’m buying beer on Tuesday assuming I can make it to the meeting.

Seconds: EAST PALO ALTO 15 – Seahawks 12 Referee: James Hinkin

East Palo Alto Razorbacks B 15 – San Jose Seahawks B 12
Referee: James Hinkin

Both EPA and San Jose had a full complement of players for a B side game which makes this referee optimistic about the future of both clubs – both old and new. The B sides for both had a wealth of inexperience that only time will ameliorate, but time is on their side as the youth of these teams was evident. Because of these young ruggers this referee had to deal with several situations that rarely if ever come up. Not just the usual football player not wrapping or not understanding of the offside line – which happened - but this one came out of the dusty cellar to rear its ancient head:

20.9 (h) Scrum Half: Dummying. A scrum half must not take any action to make the opponents think that the ball is out of the scrum while it is still in the scrum.

This had been illegal for 25 or so years but the San Jose scrumhalf threw a scrum dummy that any 80s scrumhalf would have been proud of.

On to the game. It was a tight affair as both sides would put pressure on the other and then let the other team off the hook with a misplayed ball. The field was sloppy after all the rain and the added pounding of the A side match but the scrums were fairly stable. In fact, the first points of the match came after 10 minutes from a scrum as EPA had a put in 10 meters from their line but were pressured by a solid Seahawk scrum. The pass to the fly half was low and he knocked it on while standing in his own try zone. The alert San Jose scrumhalf fell on the exposed ball for a try. The conversion was no good. EPA rallied soon after to create a try of their own as a turnover led to a few forward phases and then the ball was spun wide for the wing to stroll in. This conversion was also missed so the score was knotted at 5 at the half.

The second half saw more of the same and more of the strangeness. Early on the EPA wing picked up a loose pass and raced untouched into the try zone…where he went down on one knee spread his arms and tossed the ball aside basking in his glory. When I failed to blow the whistle and indicate a try the San Jose players realized that he had neglected to ground the ball, picked it up and ran upfield. On the other side San Jose were awarded a free kick near midfield and neglected to realize the difference between a free kick and a penalty. The fly half sent a booming kick downfield and directly into touch and watch it come all the way back to where he kicked it from for an EPA throw in. In between all of this some exciting and energetic rugby was played. EPA took the lead when San Jose was caught with their hands in a ruck and the ensuing penalty was slotted. This proved vital. EPA was then feeling their oats as they immediately rushed down the field after the restart and scored again – this time converted. San Jose regrouped and started pressuring the Razorback’s line and kept the pressure on and were finally rewarded with a converted try. Unfortunately it was in the 41st minute and the full time whistle blew. The EPA penalty kick was the difference in an exciting match.

BA BARACUS 48 – Arroyo Grande 17 Referee: Bryant Byrnes
Evaluator: Dixon Smith

A cold, grey Oakland afternoon on a dry and thus fast field. The AG contingent-16 players-rolled in noonish. Homeboys Baracus had plenty of bodies and were still miffed about the weekend previous.

It was all Baracus the first half; 22-0. Warmed by a cup of tea perhaps, AG made a go at it, scoring twice in the first 10 minutes of the second half. However, Baracus got its groove back and won 48-17.

Thanks to Dixon Smith for coaching and his comments.

Seconds: BA Baracus – Arroyo Grande CANCELED

SACRAMENTO 33 – Santa Rosa 12 Referee: Joe Leisek
Granite Bay Regional Park, Sacramento

Despite frigid, windy, wet conditions, this was a hotly contested game of fierce rivals. Sacramento proved more capable of retaining possession and displayed a keen ability to capitalize on the visitors' mistakes. The hosts' pick-and-drive style ate up lots of clock in the second half and kept the ball moving forward. Santa Rosa defended well and peeled off a few long runs, but could not penetrate Sacramento's hardy defense. The visitors did score two tries in the second half, compared to the hosts' one, but it wasn't enough to shift the momentum completely.

Seconds: SACRAMENTO 25 – Santa Rosa 5 Ref: Leisek

The Antarctic Rugby Union opened the Hypothermia Cup competition with this match played under the lights. Actually, this was a spirited game for the reserves, with several first side players participating as well (probably to stay warm). A Sacramento winger scored three of his side's tries. He is an excellent, dynamic runner and will be even better as he develops his knowledge of the game.

Humboldt – Mendocino Referee: Bjorn Stumer

Please find attached my match reports for this past Saturday: (The Humboldt Old Growth vs. Mendocino match was cancelled as Mendocino could not make it up due to snow road closures)

Humboldt High School Women 10 – Stanford U19, 10 Referee: Bjorn Stumer

Having a match scheduled in Humboldt County this past Saturday, late last week I was contacted by the coach of the Humboldt High School Women team who told me that her young ladies were excited by the fact that Stanford, who had two matches against Humboldt State, was also bringing their under 19 side to play them and would need a ref. - only proviso that the kick off time was 8:30 in the morning. Having reserved and paid for a hotel stay on Saturday night, and not being able to spend two nights away from home, even though the Humboldt coach generously offered hospitality at her house, I pondered on the offer a bit. However I could not deny the Humboldt ladies their (figurative) day in the sun, so promptly at 3am I set forth to the Redwood Empire. The whole drive up there I basked in the warmth of the good deed done, and forgot to notice the snow flurries, the warning signs, and gathering snow plows portending the beginning of a snow storm which ultimately caused the cancellation of my 2pm match.

I arrived at the beautiful, and surprisingly mud-free, Manila pitch just as the Stanford bus was pulling in. Encouraged by the fact that I had plenty time to prepare, I got out of the car and faced the morning. Very, very cold, and very, very wet nicely sums up the conditions at hand, but both sides were ready at 8:30am, with only the final lining of the pitch delaying the procedures. I was frankly surprised by the skills and determination of the hosts who gave Stanford a real run for their money. I also wondered what kind of match we might have had in dry weather as both teams liked to run the ball, maul for distance, and spin it wide. Tackling was impressive, as was the determination of Humboldt to show their mettle. As match time moved on, Stanford gained composure and their practiced drills started to bear fruits, but it was too late and the match was tied at 10 all (no conversions were attempted as the goals posts were in use at Humboldt State). It is to be noted that this score is from memory, as my match card was virtually disintegrated by the wet weather. A wonderful morning of Rugby which truly harked back to the original ethos of the sport. It was obvious that a number of the Humboldt players were sick, all present were close to hypothermia, but all gave all, and a good time was had by all.

Seconds: Humboldt State Women 0 – STANFORD 40 Refs: First half Dave Heath, second half Bjorn Stumer

Having what I thought a few hours to kill before my scheduled match, I made my way to Humboldt State's beautiful lower soccer field, to run touch for new Pelican Dave Heath. The rain kept on coming cold and hard, and Dave who did the A-Side, after hearing of the cancellation of my match, was so kind as to offer me the second half of his B-sides second match. With a good portion of the pitch resembling rice paddies, Humboldt held Stanford to 14-0 at the first half. The second half was a rout as, perhaps due to the weather or fatigue, Humboldt seemed to fold and the rest of the match had Stanford written all over it. Ably coached by our Society's friend Tina Nesberg, the visitors ran through all of their drills with skill, precision, and effect. Final score Stanford 40 (14) - Humboldt State 0. Considering the weather, a goodish number of spectators were in attendance. Who says that you cannot have outdoor fun on a rainy day!

Reno – Chico Referee: Scott Wood

Editor’s Note:
As usual, the referee had no trouble getting to the pitch but this basic feat of transportation eluded several of the rugby teams of the NCRFU.

This is pretty weak. I can see softball players being afraid to go out in the rain, but ruggers?

Shasta 10 – VALLEJO 17 Referee: Chris Tucker

The sign on I-5 read "Chains required 10 miles North of Redding". Thus was prefaced a match temperature of 35 degrees, driving rain and a vicious crosswind of 25mph. Ball handling was never going to be a strength in this match, and so convened a forwards-dominated match that the visiting Vallejo team won by merit of a stronger kicking game than their opposition. With the Shasta back 3 struggling to clear their lines, Vallejo's inexperienced but game lineup managed to put sufficient pressure on to score 3 tries and take home a hard-won victory.

For the ref, this marked a second consecutive weekend of feeling like he was back in the country of his birth, rather than in the nice, warm sunny weather that he'd grown used to. On sin-binning a repeat offender in the closing minutes, hands were too numb to find the yellow card. No wonder the knock-on count was sky high.

Finally, almost a year after taking up the whistle, your correspondent broke his duck, and got to award a mark. Wonders will never cease.

APTOS 15 – Fog 5 Referee: Preston Gordon

This game was just about the opposite from the U-19 match that finished 15 minutes beforehand. Most of the players on both teams were bad-tempered and did not play a lot of positive rugby. There were several scuffles and lots of dropped balls. The weather was even worse (continuous sideways rain and a lot of wind) than the previous match, and the field turned into a mud pit within the first 10 minutes - there was hardly any grass visible after the match.

Since the paper in my score book melted, I can't be sure that this was the score, but I think it's accurate. At the half it was 5-3 to the Fog, but Aptos scored 2 tries and a conversion in the second half, one coming off an advantage.

MISSION over Petaluma by forfeit

Referee: Sandy Robertson

While getting ready to leave the venue the referee and a Mission player went over the positives for the day.

1. Mission got a win
2. The referee made no errors with regards to law or judgment
3. Mission players made not a single attempt to educate the referee on the law's subtleties or assist him in its application

Petaluma's role in this was crucial--at the last minute they were unable to get a team to Palo Alto.

STANISLAUS 26 – Marin 5 Referee: Rob Hendrickson

Driving to Turlock for this game had the advantage of allowing me to ref the game in the mid 50's under overcast skies but no rain, which greeted me on the way back to the Bay Area.

The pitch was the Harlots' temporary rain day pitch at Turlock High which was lined in pink - the new white?

Both teams came ready to play, with the first half principally a defensive struggle until the Harlots managed to field a kick that had taken a peculiar bounce and ran it down the sideline for the only try of the first half.

Marin responded in the opening minute of the second half with a steal of a long pass out wide, and the teams then returned to their defensive battle. The Harlots managed to score 3 more tries mid to late in the second half to come away with the win.

Stanford grad school – Berkeley B CANCELED

Stanford 15 – ST. MARY’S 22 Referee: Joe Zevin (Eastern Rockies, West)

St Mary's 22 (four tries, one conversion)
Stanford 15 (two tries, one conv one penalty)

John Pohlman and his wife Eileen were wonderful hosts. Exemplary.

Seconds: Stanford 5 – ST. MARY’S 29 Referee: Tom Zanarini

Evaluator: Mike Malone
Cool and wet conditions. Tough scrappy play by both teams, sloppy in the rucks.

UC DAVIS 27 – Sac State 7 Referee: JC Van Staden
Evaluator: Matt Eason

With some good old fashion California winter rain, the stage was set for some interesting rugby.

With Davis winning the toss and decided to defend, Sac State was left with the kick-off, with the wind at their backs. Davis quickly put up the pace for the 1st half by opening with a great try, just minutes into the game. There was no love lost between these two rival, as crunching tackles, hard rucks and a lot off flying bodies was at the order of the day, which ended up in Davis only yellow card of the game for repeatedly playing the man without the ball. Despite 1 man down, Davis constructed yet another converting try, which was followed by a unconverted try close to the end of the 1st half.

The second half was another story though. Sac got the pep talk from the side and showed a lot more composure and direction in where to go with the ball and what to do with it. Which resulted into a converted try to make the score 19-7. With the rain coming down regularly, players got tired, the field got soggy, and Sac ran out of steam. Davis stretched the lead with a 35 yard penalty and another unconverted try.

Seconds: UC Davis 5 – SAC STATE 31 Referee: Bruce Bernstein

Referee Coach: Kat Todd-Schwartz

What started out pretty high spirited & caliber match in the first half when all the scoring took place; turned into a knock-on fest in the second half. Thanks for Kat's advice after match & Ray's at halftime.

Chico State 3 – CALIFORNIA 52 Referee: Joe Androvich

Seconds: Chico State 0 – CALIFORNIA 72 Referee: Chris Labozzetta

Total domination. The weather was horrible. 42 degrees with horizontal rain and mud all day. I got sick afterwards, not too bad though.

I never really got a chance to evaluate individual players due to the conditions. It was freezing and as soon as the game was over I had to hop in my car and drive back to SF. I did have fun however, and would like to do it again.

[Editor’s Note: You never heard of Chris Labozzetta: he’s brand new. Chris asked if he could ref last week and drove to Chico from the Bay Area to do two games in the worst weather California gets to experience.

[Chris will be at the society meeting tonight (February 5) to meet you!]

DIABLO GAELS U23, 17 – Humboldt State 7 Referee: Dan Wilson

Assessor: Bryan Porter

On the cold, wet, wintry day, it was good to see at least the pitch at Diablo Valley College was well worn in and torn up by the rain and high school games which played earlier in the day. The game started off spiritedly, especially by Humboldt complaining regarding the physical nature of the Gaels. The Gaels scored early with an unconverted push over try in the fourth minute. Humboldt responded with their own converted try in the 13th minute. The game was both physical and vocal with big hits on both sides, but the spirit went a little too far by a replacement scrum for Diablo resulting in a yellow card in the 29th minute. The wet and muddy conditions made the game centered around the forwards or inside centers. Not a lot of balls went outside to the wings. Diablo responded in the 40th minute with another unconverted try. Halftime score: Diablo Gaels U23: 10 - Humboldt State: 7

The second half was much better rugby on both sides. Not only were the tempers settled down, but both teams started to focus on playing smart rugby. Scrums continuously had to be moved to get out of mud pits, and both teams came close to the try zone several times. Humboldt State missed two penalty kicks more due to the weather than the kicker. Aside from a second yellow given to Diablo, the second half was a lot of good rugby. Diablo scored a converted try in the 35th minute of the second half for the only score by either side. The most exciting play of the game was a charge down by Humboldt inside the 22 meter line with three minutes left in the game. The ball landed in the try zone behind the posts looking like a sure Humboldt try, but from nowhere, a Diablo back came flying in to touch it down just prior to a Humboldt player. Final Score: Diablo U23 17 - Humboldt State 7

Thanks to Bryan Porter for giving some food for thought regarding some technical aspects of the game.

SANTA CLARA 22 – Santa Rosa JC 12 Referee: Roberto Santiago

This was a hard-fought game that rode the edge of good sportsmanship. Both sides had a tendency to talk when they should play. This was exacerbated by the SCUTS fans who acted more like the Cameron Crazies than like rugby fans, constantly screaming insults at the visiting players until the SCUTS coaches moved the sidelines back an extra five meters. In the end SCUTS prevailed by keeping cooler heads and playing better technical rugby.


Humboldt State women 7 – STANFORD 21 Referee: Dave Heath

The game was played in difficult conditions - heavy rain making the ball difficult to handle. Nevertheless both teams tried to play running rugby and contributed to a good game. Stanford scored first through their strong running centre, but Humboldt stayed in the game with some good forward drives and determined running. They leveled the scores midway through the first half with a well-constructed try as their centre burst through from the 10 metre line. Poor discipline for repeated infringements then found Humboldt down to 14 players, and Stanford capitalised on that by scoring a second converted try just before half time.

In the second half Humboldt started strongly and dominated territory and possession for the first 15 minutes with-out adding to their score. Their ill-discipline then saw a Humboldt player sent off for dangerous play and Stanford raised the siege and sealed the game with another converted try. Humboldt continued to battle doggedly and prevented any other scores with some great last ditch tackling.

As a footnote, I traveled the equivalent of the breadth of the UK to referee this game - an indication of the unique challenges that face players (and refs!) in the region and in the country!


Report by Scott Wood:

Plans were made for me to referee two matches in Reno, one on Saturday and another on Sunday. After having secured a hotel room a week prior, I received an email on Thursday from Nevada's coach that St. Mary's would not be making the drive and the game on Sunday was canceled.

Under pleasant skies, I made the journey up the hill on Friday afternoon. After a quiet evening gallivanting about the casinos, I retired for the night. I awoke early Saturday morning and made way for a light breakfast (not an easy thing to find in the land of buffets). Around 9 a.m., Reno called me to say Chico was not going to make the drive for their match.

Not to be deterred, I drove to the UNR campus to see if the UNR/UCD women's match was still on. Sure enough, I arrived to find both teams getting ready for their match. Since I was shorted two games, I offered to run touch for Phil Ulibarri.

Reno Zephyrs arrived to set up the aluminum posts and the women's game was on.

Nevada women 0 – UC DAVIS 15 Referee: Phil Ulibarri

Touch Judges: Scott Wood, Russ Wilkening
Location: Sala IM Field, Reno, NV
Weather: SUNNY, slightly cool breeze (if you're from the North Pole)

The women Aggies braved Donner Pass and arrived at UNR during a lull in the most recent weather pattern. The sky was sunny, the field was clear and the Aggies took advantage of a less-than-focused Lady Pack. With several determined runners - in particular #1 Prop Jenny Chow - the Aggies displayed good ball handling skills and quality support. The Pack could not answer the Aggie's determination although the altitude seemed to be wearing on the blue and gold late in the second half.

Thanks to touch judges Scott Wood and Russ Wilkening for quality touch control.

Reno Zephyrs – Chico Mighty Oaks CANCELED
No happiness.

Nevada Wolf Pack – St. Mary's Gaels CANCELED
Continued unhappiness.

After the women's game, Reno played some touch rugby to stretch their legs and at least get in some outdoor running and passing practice. We retired to a local watering hole--Ceol's--to enjoy good brew and food. Kudos to Reno for ensuring I was looked after.

I slept in Sunday and, after some internal debate, drove down the hill with enough time to catch the Stupor Bowl. Easy drive.

UC SANTA CRUZ women 20– Santa Clara 0 Referee: Larry Freitas

UCSC women beat Santa Clara 20-0 at UCSC's upper field, a very slick pitch. It got muddier as the game wore on.

UCSC scored all their points in the first half, failing to convert any try, though one was right under the posts. Santa Clara was very scrappy, and they should win some games as the season wears on. Their tackling was just good enough to keep UCSC from scoring in the second half.

CHICO STATE women 29 – St. Mary’s 0 Referee: Chris Labozzetta

I did go to Chico and ref the games. The Chico ladies beat St Mary's 29-0 (My score sheet got soaked, so I may be off by a few points).


Elsie Allen 3 – DEL CAMPO 10 Referee: Bruce Carter
The Fabulous Lobodome hosted this annual pre-season matchup between two of NorCal’s more accomplished and storied sides.

The mud was deep and fecund, the clouds pregnant, and the spectators-in-the-rain expecting a keen matchup. The teams delivered a bravado effort in the frozen mire.

Both Alan Petty’s Lobos and Joe Cavallaro’s Cougars labored to play a Euclidean style: the shortest distant from the ball-carrier to the try zone is a straight line which intersects the goal line at a right angle.

It didn’t take very long for the numbers on the players’ jerseys to be obscured by grime. But the mud which caused the knock-ons could not obscure them, so scrum they did.

The referee enjoyed himself as in the days of his youth, when the playing fields of Georgia were never closed on account of precipitation. Scrum piggies in the mud!

Of course, this being the Lobodome, there were some piggies of the non-scrum variety just over the fence behind the grandstands, right at home in the conditions.

Elsie Allen converted a penalty goal in the first half and went into the last ten minutes of the game with a 3-0 lead. However, CRC’s up-the-gut style finally paid off when two tries in the left corner were set up by storming runs by their props and eight man.

At the post-match festivities Coach Petty announced that by this time next year EA should have an all-weather artificial turf pitch marked out for rugby.

The referee spent an hour warming up and then, when he got home, another hour prepping his muddy kit so that it could be washed.

JV: Elsie Allen – Del Campo Referee: Alan Petty

Live Oak 30 – EAST PALO ALTO 39 Referee: Chris Fisher

EPA played a hard but disorganized game. Many late hits, not wrapping in the tackles, very ill-disciplined. Live Oak initially stated off nervous but buckled down and led at half time.

Varsity: SF/GOLDEN GATE 72 – Silicon Valley 0 Referee: Preston Gordon

Most of this match was a track meet, which was surprising, considering the conditions (rainy and windy, with a fair amount of mud on the pitch). The SFGG backs were bigger and faster than their opponents, and ran the ball even from their own goal line. One kickoff was returned for a try, and several other full-field breaks happened too. The halftime score was 36-0.

It should be noted that both sides played a great game, especially given the conditions and the one-sided nature of the contest.

Frosh/Soph: SFGG 25 – De La Salle 17

Report by Touch Judge Edward Barfels

Close game. SFGG was in better shape and scored two tries in the last five minutes of the game to win.

SFGG Junior Varsity 12 – DE LA SALLE Varsity 32 Referee: Edward

DLS's starting side was clearly bigger, stronger and faster than SFGG JV team. DLS dominated the first half and lead 22 - 0. In the second half, DLS substituted more freely and was somewhat closer. The final score was 32 - 12.


Nevada – St. Mary's CANCELED

Seconds: Nevada – St. Mary's CANCELED


Match Report: SAT 26 Jan 2008, Kick-off 1420

2ndXV Game: Berkeley RFC 5 – APTOS BEACH DOGS 17 Referee: Paul Berman

Touch Judge: John Coppinger
Venue: Job Corp Field, Treasure Island, San Francisco
Weather: Bright, sunny.
Comments: The pitch was soft under foot & now runs north south (previously east west). Two 20 minute periods played. A game of two halves. Berkeley opened the scoring in the 18th minute holding the lead into the break. Aptos ran away with the second period 3 tries & 1 conversion goal to no reply.

John Coppinger was instrumental in identifying an Aptos knock-on just over Berkeley's try line. Who needs a video ref when you've got reliable qualified touch judges in the correct position? Thank you John!

Fittingly my 172nd & perhaps final game, just 14 days shy of 5 years. At times a wild ride, spanning 2 continents & 4 countries (USA, England, Mexico & Canada) & best of all making new friends!

Point spread: Berkeley - 1 try (18th minute) Aptos - 3 tries (27, 32 & 35 minute), 1 conversion goal



4 PM Stanford – Sacramento State Referee: YOUR NAME HERE?
7 PM Maritime Academy – California Referee: Jim Crenshaw


3:30 PM San Jose State – UC Santa Cruz Referee: YOUR NAME HERE?


The New England Journal of Medicine makes it official: watching soccer can be fatal.

And, most surprising of all, these poor spectators did not die of boredom even though they were watching the 2006 world cup:


Must have been the 0 – 0 ties, of which there were seven, that got ‘em. And two of these scoreless ‘thrillers’ were in the so-called ‘knock-out’ rounds.

Only thing they knocked-out were some cardiacs-in-waiting who must have led lives of such exceeding placidity, quietude and torpor that watching soccer proved lethal for them. Perhaps better autopsies would have revealed that they died of sleep apnea.

We are reminded of the tie-breaking rules which the author uses when he has administered tournaments. Most tries; most converted tries; fewest red cards; fewest yellow cards: if all of these are the same, the first team that scored wins.

What if nobody scored, if it was zero-zero? They both get ‘credited’ with a loss. If it’s a knock-out game, the next opponent gets a Bye. Two losers, just as they deserve.

And nobody dies.


This is the best one of these things you’ll ever see. This is what bored engineers do, rather than die watching soccer:



No photo this week, owing to technical difficulties and the press of time.


For the Senate
Pelicus Scriptoris