Tuesday, March 25, 2008




It gives us great pleasure to announce two more promotions for deserving Pelicans: Anna McMahan and Tom Zanarini have earned the grade of C2.


NorCal will be hosting Pacific Coast playoffs on Friday/Saturday April 4/5.

Women’s college D1 playoffs will be at Stanford, with four games each day. The teams will be Stanford, BYU, UC Davis, Nevada, Chico State, Oregon State, California and the University of Oregon.

Men’s college D1 playoffs will be at either Davis or Moraga, depending on who wins this Thursday’s St. Mary’s – UC Davis match. There will be two games each day.

PLEASE let us know if you can run touch.

We definitely won’t have enough on Saturday, because we have so many games of our own to cover. But if you can only run touch for FRIDAY, that’s fine too: let us know.



The NCRRS will be offering the IRB Touch Judging Courses this Sunday, March 30.

The course will begin at 11 AM and should be done by 5 PM. It will be held at the SF/GG clubhouse on Treasure Island.

Bruce Carter and Mike Malone will be the instructors. Please contact Mike Malone if you are interested in attending:


This course is necessary for club members who wish to run touch for their own teams and also be empowered to flag and report foul play. It is also a requirement for referees who wish to be promoted to C1 (or above), and it would be an excellent refresher for those who wish to work the many upcoming playoffs that NorCal will be hosting.



CALIFORNIA 4 – St. Cuthbert’s (Durham Univ.) 33 Referee: John Pohlman

Touch Judges: Eric Rauscher, Mike King

Wow what a game!

Mike, Eric and I walked down to the teams’ training area around 3:20 for the boot check. Both teams were warming up. Cal was asked to play their reserve side. The Cal reserves still are big and athletic.

St. Cuthbert's (SC) looked a bit smaller than the Cal team. SC is the fourth team at their University. Their captain, Anthony, explained the first three sides played for and in the University division. They were the first college team.

Witter Field is a great place referee. National Anthem for both countries, fans and great pitch.

Well SC started fast. Winger Holbrook from SC scored his first of four tries eleven minutes in. This try was a bit controversial. SC kicked over the Cal defense and #11 took off. No one knew what pace he had, yet. As he was about to overtake the defender and gather the ball, the Cal defender slowed down and stepped into his path. SC #11 kept his running line and the Cal defender went down. Holbrook picked up the ball side stepped a defender and scored. I guess I never started refereeing to make friends. And it didn't seem I was making many at Cal.

SC fullback Ward scored next followed by Holbrook's second at 14 minutes.

Score SC 21 Cal 0.

Cal's size and power started taking control, led by flankers Law and Klaas. Cal scored three tries in twelve minutes. The first by Klass and the third by Law at 32 minutes. Cal finished the first half with a penalty and another try to lead at halftime Cal 29-SC 21. CS made three consecutive tackles in goal holding the ball up with about five minutes to go in the first half.

Mike, Eric and I discussed strategy at half time. Cal needed and wanted to keep the ball in the bigger stronger forwards. SC wanted to kick for field position and spin the ball to speedster Holbrook. We wondered how long SC could keep up the outstanding tackling against the physical Cal side.

SC poached a ball off the kickoff and spun wide to Holbrook for a 60 plus meter dash. Cal 29 SC 28.

Cal started keeping the ball tight and SC kept up their tackling. Cal's Captain #9 Mase picked up a rucked ball on the two meter line and snaked in for a try at 15 minutes. Cal scored their final try of the day two minutes later. Cal 42 SC 28 with 23 minutes to play.

Cal's coaching, discipline and game pattern looked to be too much for the English. Cal made a couple of substitutions. One was a prop who in his first scrum engaged early and got the first scrum penalty of the game. The reason I bring this up is the next scrum his mark left the field injured and we had to play unopposed scrums the rest of the game. This really depowered the Cal team. Holbrook got free again at 25 minutes for his fourth try of the day. Cal 42 SC 33.

SC kept tackling and put pressure on Cal. Most of the last ten minutes Cal was defending. To Cal's credit they rose to the competition and made their tackles to finish off the win.

At 40 minutes I looked at my watch. Thought ‘would anyone care if I played another 10 minutes or so’. Probably, thus the whistle for the end of the game.

Final Cal 42 SC 33.

St. Cuthbert's is a team coached by players. They have no non-player coaches. The students set up the trip and seemed to be supervising themselves.

Cal Maritime – USF Rescheduled for March 27


Petaluma Leghorns 6 – STANISLAUS HARLOTS 38 Referee: Mike Gadoua

[Editor’s Note: We received a call from the home team at 10:15 AM Saturday morning saying that while the opposition knew this game had been rescheduled, no-one bothered to tell the referee society.

[Both of the folks who were called were preparing to referee 11 AM games of their own. So we named a few refs who lived in Sonoma-Marin and suggested he practice his sweet-talk.

[As you can see, Mike Gadoua rose to the occasion.]

The Leghorns were able to scrape 15 players prior to kickoff, and drawing first blood with a penalty kick it appeared that the hosting side would put on a Game, but the Harlots simply wanted the ball more and were willing to pick it up when it was available.

Under grand weather, Petaluma’s only points were in the first half (6-12) and it appeared that a fight was under way. However, the fighting in the second half was mostly extra-curricular and the captains were advised to counsel their respective teams into focusing on Rugby.

The Harlot backs proved just too overpowering pretty much dominated play in the second half. Their pack even demonstrated a few good rolling mauls that proved difficult for the Leghorns to stop.

After it was over, the players made up, and retired to the pub.

Chico State 20 – SAC STATE 29 Referee: Tom Zanarini

Referee Coach: David Williamson

A beautiful day in Chico, about as warm as I've experienced in California so far (a nice break from all the shaded redwoods of Mill Valley, life is so tough here).

Arrived at the pitch plenty early enough to watch Dave Williamson ref the CSU U-19's v. Live Oak HS. My hat's of to Dave who reffed the first game then stayed on his feet to evaluate the A & B side referees. Many thanks.

CSU v. SSU was a great match, the first half score being 13-12 in favor of Chico. It seemed they ran out of gas in the 2nd, and Sac had some wheels in the backs to dot down a few breakaway tries. Great game to officiate and spectate.

Good luck to Chico St. in the playoffs.

Seconds: Chico State 0 – SAC STATE 33 Referee: Jim Read

Touch Judge: Tom Zanarini
Referee Coach: David Williamson

The rather warm game following the 1st side showcased hard running and good buildups from both sides. Good tackling and reasonably efficient ball recycling made for good open play. In the first half, the two teams were pretty evenly matched. With ten to go in the second half though, after repeated infringements, the Wildcats found themselves a man down. Following the yellow card, the Chico defense began to make small mistakes which the Hornets capitalized on.

Nevada 12 – STANFORD 46 Referee: John Pohlman

Touch Judge: JC Van Staden

University of Nevada Reno hosted Stanford in the last D-1 league game of the year. Stanford is in the playoffs and UNR is playing for pride.

I flew into Reno Saturday morning and was picked up at the airport by UNR coach Pat Swift. A beautiful day for rugby. UNR plays on an artificial turf field marked for soccer.

The game was fast with pretty good defense. Both teams seemed to be settling in for a close competitive game. The first score came 18 minutes in by UNR captain and #10 Chad Guireri.

Stanford started taking control of the game half way through the first half. They seemed to have all the ball and kept pressure on the UNR side.

Stanford scored two tries in the next ten minutes. The first by winger #11 Jon Hofius. Hofius scored two more in the game and knocked one on in the try zone. Half time score Stanford 12 UNR 5.

Stanford totally dominated the second half. They had 70 plus ball possession and scored 34 points.

We had a minor dust up seven minutes in. JC explained the third man in from Reno and fourth in from Stanford should be excused for ten minutes. Thanks JC.

By the way players, referees may allow two players to push and shove a bit, but we have no tolerance for the third and forth into a situation.

With fifteen minutes left. UNR #15 was sent off for repeat infringements. Otherwise this was a fairly clean game.

One of the UNR players returned me to the airport after I ran touch for the first half of JC's game.

Seconds: Nevada 10 – Stanford 10 Referee: JC Van Staden

The game started out good, with both teams doing constructive rucks and mauls, and swinging it wide. Unfortunately because of spring break, unfit players were taking the field and we ended up in 2 red cards for punching and head-butting, and the game got called 15 min into the second half, with the score level at 10 all.

HUMBOLDT STATE 18 – Santa Rosa 3 JC Referee: Scott Wood

TJs: Team supplied
First half spectator of note: Mike King
Location: Humboldt State, Arcata
Weather: Comfortably warm

This is the third iteration of the Culley Shield of which the Lumberjacks have won on the previous two occasions. This year, SRJC was in second place with eyes on the playoffs while injury-plagued HSU was missing the playoffs for the first time in many years. The teams were a bit slow to realize they were not going to be allowed to infringe at breakdowns. SRJC scored a penalty goal early and contested tenaciously. Unfortunately, 99% of their patterns off rucks involved running to the weak side. Predictable patterns notwithstanding, the visitors were able to come within scoring distance on numerous occasions but lost the ball to knock ons and tackle/ruck penalties. HSU countered with speed in the backs and driving runs by the forwards to take the half time lead 8-3.

The second half was much the same with infringements lessening (some). Nonetheless, HSU scored a penalty goal then lost a man to the sin bin for a dangerous tackle. SRJC was able to mount pressure on the hosts but still were unable to cross the goal line. Humboldt scored a short-handed try and conversion to extend its marginal lead to 18-3. SRJC continued to attack--even down a man to the bin--with predictable running lines infused with excellent passing in contact.

Thanks to both teams for a well-contested match.

San Jose State 10 – DIABLO GAELS U23, 107 Referee: Anna McMahan

Referee Coach: Dixon Smith

Despite weather forecasts for overcast skies in San Jose, SJSU hosted the match with beautiful sunny skies and a well-lined pitch. I wasn't sure what to expect from the match since I had not seen either team before, and watching the pre-game warmups did not clarify my expectations any. Diablo's warm up seemed extremely casual, while SJSU was more focused but struggled to have 15 before the kick-off.

Once the game started, it was quickly clear which team would dominate. Diablo scored within two minutes, and never looked back. They racked up 10 tries in the first half from 5 different players, and converted 4 tries. SJSU played with persistence, but had a difficult time containing the hard running Diablo players, who offloaded extremely well in the tackle. SJSU slotted one penalty goal for their only points in the half.

The second half was rather more of the same, with the Diablo line up changing throughout (non-league match = open subs). They again scored within the first two minutes, and managed nine tries from five different players in the second half. They only converted two of the tries, for a full time score of 107. SJSU persisted in their play, and were rewarded with their only try of the match, scored on a break by their outside center and then converted. Tempers stayed surprisingly even during such a one-sided 80 minutes, with only one altercation of note. Kudos to Jad and Ben, SJSU and Diablo captains respectively, for communicating with me and their teammates effectively.

Thank you to Dixon Smith for coming to watch my game and for the coaching - as tired as my feet were after the game I was happy to talk through your valuable feedback. Thanks also to Bruce for coming by and providing helpful pointers and radios.

HUMBOLDT 59 – Mendocino 5 Referee: Mike King

Location: Samoa
Preamble by Scott Wood:

This match kicked off late as the college and men's clubs share goal posts, albeit in different locations. It's cooler on the peninsula but that did not thwart a relatively good-size crowd of 30+ spectators from the previous two games to attend. I'll let Mike describe the game but wish to thank the spectators for providing refreshments and Old Growth for the post-match feed at the newly remodeled Humboldt Brews.

Report by Mike King:

On a glorious day at Manila Community Park, the home town side welcomed the visitors with a deluge of tries, not the more customary rain. Mendocino started short-sided and by agreement, recruited a player from Humboldt. It was not enough to diminish the attack of the hosts, who amassed most of their tries on brilliant runs from their centers, sometimes finishing off team movements and sometimes solo efforts. The kicking game was also generally quite good with 7 for 9 converted goals. Mendo capitalized on a driving series of rucks and a banging last move to come up with 5 points near the end of the match. Despite having no subs, they acquitted themselves well by playing hard through the entire match.

SF/GOLDEN GATE 48 – St. Cuthbert’s (Durham Univ.) 10 Referee: Tony Redmond

A social game of rugby (uncontested scrums) played between a mixture of players from SFGG (including some of their RSL team) against a physically inferior English team who were tired after their game against Cal two days previously resulted in an emphatic home team win. SFGG’s physical advantage was about 30 pounds per player and this factor, combined with their extra experience, was more than enough to overcome the English visitors.


PELICANS – Loggers Referee: Pete Smith

It seemed like all the refs that are striving to make the National Panel had a coach/mentor they could turn to for advice/motivation. I am well beyond needing one so having one at this point is critical. I had talked to Bruce Carter about my situation and he suggested Tony Redmond. I can’t tell you how grateful I am he did; he is just what I need. Someone who will be brutally honest with me and tell me what I need to do/how much work I have to put in to get to the next level, the level I have been striving for since day one.

Tony showed up at my game with enough time to offer up his son as a TJ, who did a fine job. Eric Rauscher was there as well, who learned rule one in TJing-wait for the ball to land before raising your flag as the wind or spin may bring it back into play. Before the game, the Pelicans started with their version of the Haka, which struck fear into the hearts of the Logger women-LOL! Despite the light-hearted opening for the Pelicans, they started out the gate like a house on fire. It took a few minutes for the Logger women to collect themselves, but once they did-it was game on! It was a hard fought contest with a few individual breakdowns and some hard earned luck that paced the mighty Pelicans to a 27-7 halftime lead.

Tony met with me at halftime and told me exactly what I needed to hear-the TRUTH! He ripped me for being effectively lazy. Despite the fact I had the game well in hand, I looked slow and apathetic around the field. My work rate and attention to detail were shocking-the honest truth. I had far too many penalties and despite the pace of the game, I looked out of shape and slow, again the truth. Most of my penalties were either a result of my lack of presence at the tackle or were not material. I needed to work harder, ref every game to the best of my abilities and give 110% for 80 minutes. Likewise, my attention to detail wasn’t there-‘holding backs when the lineout maul had moved inside 5 meters’, etc...He was beyond not impressed, he was disappointed. Again the truth-period!-Exactly what I need.

The second half was much like the first with the Pelicans dominating all phases of play. Tina Nesberg came on in the second half and showed glimpses of her world class talent after her knee surgery (and she makes a mean rice crispy treat). She scored a try picking up off the back and did a swerve move that left the defender standing clueless. As of 22 minutes into the second half I had 3 penalties. I was putting in the work and making the game better for the players-ISN”T THAT WHAT WE ARE SUPPOSED TO DO?! My presence at the tackle seemed to prevent players from taking chances that I wouldn’t see something. The game really opened up and it was the guy on the sideline that made it happen. The Pelicans won- the score ultimately not critical as these players are showcasing their skill to the National Team coaches for selection to the next level.

I learned a lesson that I had been taught in the past, when you walk onto the field, the players not only deserve, but demand the best game you can referee. They work far too hard during the week and there is more at stake than you realize to try and just go through the motions. I am both embarrassed and inspired, I know I have the talent, but need to put that talent on display each and every time I step on the field AND I need to work hard to not only look fitter and faster, but BE fitter and faster. I owe it to myself, but more importantly, I owe it to the players. There is no substitute for hard work, sprints and just plain sweat.


LAMORINDA HS 42– Piedmont HS 15 Referee: Aruna Ranaweera

Touch Judge: Rob Hendrickson.
Referee Coach and Videographer: Dave Williamson

Evening kickoff on the artifical turf at Miramonte HS in Orinda. Piedmont played well to tie 10-10 at the half, and stayed within 17-15 early in the second half. After that, Lamorinda's centers found gaping holes in the Piedmont defense to score 5 unanswered ties. Lamorinda won going away, 8 tries to 2. Much thanks to Rob Hendrickson as TJ and Dave Williamson as ref coach.

SILICON VALLEY 33 – South Bay Exiles 31 Referee: Bruce Carter

Friday night my wife and I were guests of Pete and Leah Smith at the Sharks-Ducks game. The Sharks scored after only 40 seconds but needed a double-power-play goal to win it 2-1.

My wife commented how much she, knowing little about hockey, enjoyed the game. Which led us to a discussion about the joys of close contests, the ebb and flow, the narrative feel of an interestingly-plotted competition.

Saturday morning I was to experience this anew from the referee’s cockpit.

Silicon Valley hosted the South Bay Exiles at Cupertino Middle School in Sunnyvale. It was good to see old friends coaching both teams: Norm Boccone and Tom Martinez with the hosts and Roland Maitland with the visitors.

It didn’t start out so promising; the first fifteen minutes consisted mostly of penalties and scrums. The players seemed to be in doubt about what they could do on the ground and as to the general location of the offside lines.

So I employed my Acme THUNDERER: Take Heed of Undeniable Noise: Doubt and Errant Repetition Emphatically Removed.

As a result, SV converted a penalty while the Exiles narrowly missed one.

Next ensued fifty-five minutes of quality rugby: enterprising, skilled stuff.

In what remained of the first half, SV scored and converted a try while the Exiles did the same twice, 10-14 to the visitors at the break. I commented to my touch judge what a good game this was, and it hadn’t even started yet!

Silicon Valley scored their tries with a combination of powerful running and offloading in the forwards and a backs corps that could quickly move the ball from touchline to touchline. The Exiles tended to have more of a big-play offense, particularly the #8 who simply picked up two balls and ran forty or more meters to score each time.

Silicon Valley scored first to go up 15-14. Exiles answered with a converted try, 15-21.

Then SV was awarded a penalty within range for their captain, Paul Martinez. As the sideline staff called for a shot at goal, some of the Exiles relaxed and moved into ‘kick at goal’ defensive positioning and posture.

That’s when Martinez quick-tapped and fired the ball way out on the right wing where their #11 made three tacklers miss and scored a fine try. 20-21 and another razor-thin margin.

SV took the lead when their #10 dropped a goal, 23-21.

With about fifteen minutes left, the Exile #8 made the second of his solo efforts, picking up from a scrum far out on the left and scoring in the right corner, 23-26.

With ten minutes left, the Exiles did a kick-and-chase. The SV #12 fielded the ball but was isolated. Three Exiles converged and grappled for the ball with him. When #12’s knee touched the ground I called out, “RELEASE, RED.”

As much as it pains me to say so in a public forum, this would have been a good time not to listen to the referee. His mates were only arriving. When Red let go of the ball the Black player who was on the ‘wrong’ side of Red, still on his feet and with his hands already on the ball, did a quick about-face and ran ten meters to score.

Now it was 23-31. Unfortunately, this centered conversion was missed.

SV needed to score twice. Their #11 got his second tally, again running through a crowd, to bring it to 28-31. Exciting stuff and less than a minute to play!

The Exiles kicked off, won the ball, and worked it downfield. We ended up in touch with just enough time to restart, SV throw-in. I informed the players that the next dead ball would end the match.

SV won the throw and worked through several phases, up to the Exile ten-meter line. The ball was dropped and an Exile picked it up. As the defense swarmed he responded to cries of, “Get it out, get it out!” by throwing the ball into touch.

Well, now: that’s not a dead ball. That’s a penalty.

SV conferred over this: forty meters out, fifteen meters in from the left touch. Kickable to tie the match?

The decision was to trust the right winger again. After all, he had the two tries already. Martinez tapped, the ball skipped to the right, the winger made three more people miss but others were ready for him. Tackle. Layback. Ship it left.

Martinez got the ball again in mid-field and took a notion – what better way to celebrate his recent acceptance to UCLA than by scoring a match-winning try? – but met resolute defenders just short of the line. The ball wasn’t so much passed as it dribbled out to the left where the Silicon Valley hooker collected it, stretched out at body’s length and into legend, recording a famous victory.

TRI-VALLEY 28 – Lamorinda JV 19 Referee: John Coppinger

At Livermore, a solid team effort and a commitment to win the ruck ball saw Tri-Valley overcome three long try scoring runs by Lamo's wing Chase Herring. It was tied 14-all at the half.

PENINSULA GREEN 36 – College Park 15 Referee: Chris Fisher
Seconds: Pen Green 0 – College Park 0 Ref: Fisher

Humboldt girls HS 0 – DAVIS 17 Referee: Scott Wood

TJs: Team supplied

A cold morning on a dew-soaked field at Fortuna High School. The marine layer had yet to burn off as we kicked off at 9 a.m. Davis arrived with 15 players while Fortuna was on hand with several more. Both teams have some very good skills that they use to their advantage when they do not bunch up around the contact point. Fortuna's tackling featured superb double-teaming--one tackler for the torso and the other for the legs. Unfortunately, this can create an overlap and a savvy ballcarrier can easily off load the ball for further advancement. Davis went into half time leading 12-0.

The second half had both teams playing with more discipline.

Davis lost a player to injury to a possible dislocated shoulder while putting on a bone-crushing tackle to her opponent. Side note: ALL TEAMS SHOULD HAVE TRAINED MEDICAL STAFF PRESENT!!! Relying upon a spectator who coincidentally is a veterinarian (no offense, F.M.) is not the best solution. This applies to all levels of play.

Shortly after the injury, Davis lost another player, this time to the sin bin for dangerous tackling. Regardless the overlap, Davis was able to score an additional try. Fortuna was never out of this game. Kudos to both teams, coaches, and supporters for another enjoyable match.


March 15

HAYWARD 46 – Diablo Gaels 17 Referee: Tony Kennedy

This visiting referee was delivered to the field and, there, learnt it was to be played on an artificial surface. Even at his age, some things are new. The soccer players left the field, the rugby players took it over but the game waited for the arrival of the posts. They did so on the back of a pick-up in the form of 6" plastic plumbing, looking as tired as the referee after a week of wining, dining and mountain climbing. The game began.

The hosts were large Polynesians, a 300 lbs apiece front row, and the quick boys out in the backs. Little English was spoken but they all knew the game well. The visitors were a mix that included a stray English prop. The hosts racked up the scores steadily through the first half but were given nothing by the visitors who tackled anything that moved and were unlucky not to have scored by half-time. The second half had the hosts fade as they gave a game to their substitutes and managed only a penalty. The visitors, however, came alive, scoring three tries, one the best of the match. The referee enjoyed the backchat between the hosts and the visitors' Polynesians who ran at each other, flat out, and tackled like trains.

This referee judges his game on the reaction of the players at no-side. He wasn't let down. Both sides knew they'd been in a real match. The handshakes went on for some time. Even the coaches were happy. The highlight was the visitors' coach, Harry, a big, been there, done that, South African. He offered his hand and, admitting the words were sticking in his throat, thanked the English referee for a very good game. In truth, with all the players looking to play in the spirit they did, all the referee had to do was keep them within the laws and hang on as they ran around the park.

If this is Californian rugby, give me more.


Taking a Break
Chris Tucker, Tony Kennedy and Andy Canning take five alongside the base of Upper Yosemite Falls, a sliver of rainbow promising clear skies above.


For the Senate
Pelicus Scriptoris

Tuesday, March 18, 2008




One of our newest members, and one who passed the Level One referee course only last week, Chris Labozzetta has been promoted to C3.


BA Baracus 3 – SACRAMENTO CAPITALS 33 Referee: Andy Canning

My final game of the tour was upon me, Polo field No 4 at Golden Gate Park was going to be the last time I refereed a 15 a side game. I had thought long and hard about the decision prior to the tour and felt that any location in Nor Cal was likely to be a special place to hang up the boots.

As I sat there before the game I thought back to some of the venues I had refereed at over the years, Twickenham was a high but there were also trips to Redruth in Cornwall, Vale of Lune (Up t'north) as well as those more local trips in and around the Midlands. I reminded my self that refereeing had given me a great deal of fun and although at the very top it can be a little dog eat dog at times I think I can say I have enjoyed it 95% of the time and of course I have met and become friends with people all over the world as a direct result of my spot. Three trips to the US and numerous small trips with Murray Felstead et al have provided me with some treasured memories.

So to the games! BA Baracus were always a little underpowered during the match Sacramento Capitals were a little stronger and more efficient. SC scrummage was particularly strong and as a result BA were more often than not getting poor ball from the resets and they never really coped with that disadvantage.

However both sides tried to play open and expansive rugby, the tackle area went well and the ball was recycled well throughout the game by both sides. The wind played a significant feature in the game and BA played against it in the first half and consequently spent most of it in their own half. Half time was 0-19.

The second half was tighter until the last 10 mins with BA holding out SC with the help of some determined tackling and a strong wind which allowed them to kick ball away. Substitutions, as is often the case, changed the dynamics of the game and in the last 10 minutes fresh legs allowed SC to break through twice and seal off the win. (3 - 33)

Perhaps a sign from above that my decision to hang up the boots was the right one came when about 4 minutes from the end of the second half my right Hamstring went bang. There was no way I could even contemplate hobbling along for the last few minutes so both Captains agreed to end it there and then.

After the first team game I waited while David watched a new referee from Nor Cal on the second team game. I'm not normally drawn to comment on other referees but this one was Welsh and as Wales had just won the Grand Slam was full of it. I suppose he's allowed his moment of glory!! But to kick a man when he can’t even hobble I thought was particularly British of him!! Bravo!

Post match we changed at the Golden Gate clubhouse and moved on to the final dinner. A very pleasant evening saying thank you to your society for its hospitality and friendship. I am determined that even if I am not refereeing that this exchange will continue and I look forward to host some of you in the fall.

Finally on behalf of Tony and I can I give formal thanks to all those we have interacted with during our trip. It really has been fantastic fun and I leave refereeing safe in the knowledge that at least within Nor Cal our chosen activity is safe.


We’ve only got ten or so games per week to assign, not including the high school playoffs which will start mid-month, and there are a lot of playoff games that will need touch judges.

Because there are so few games, consider this your last call for availability. Let me know whether you can work each Saturday and whether you’d like to run touch for playoff games. We have NorCal, Pacific Coast, Competitive Region and USA playoffs which will need TJs.


The NCRRS will be offering the IRB Touch Judging Courses, levels 1 – 4, on Sunday, March 30.

The course will begin at 11 AM and should be done by 5 PM. It will be held at the SF/GG clubhouse on Treasure Island.

Bruce Carter and Mike Malone will be the instructors. Please contact Mike Malone if you are interested in attending:


This course is necessary for club members who wish to run touch for their own teams and also be empowered to flag and report foul play. It is also a requirement for referees who wish to be promoted to C1 (or above), and it would be an excellent refresher for those who wish to work the many upcoming playoffs that NorCal will be hosting.


Tuesday, March 11:

ST. MARY’S 42 – Texas A&M 24 Referee: Pete Smith

Seconds: ST. MARY’S 38 – Texas A&M 35 Referee: Bryant Byrnes

A Tuesday afternoon barnburner in Moraga. The Aggies came to play and the Gaels obliged them.

The Texas fellas scored first, but it was Gaels 21 -15 at half. The Texas fellas also scored last at full time but came up short having missed all of their conversion kicks. Oddly, their kicker used his shoe as a tee for several kicks. Are shoes as kicking tees approved by the Union? Probably not. Where is Dave Williamson when you need him?

Thanks to Pete Smith for TJing and coaching.


STANFORD development 40 – Santa Clara seconds 29 Referee: Sandy Robertson

The young'uns from 2 programs that stress attacking rugby got together for a match that included at least 11 tries, scored from all over the pitch. Santa Clara got its first try about 5 minutes in. Stanford responded with 3 converted tries before Santa Clara responded with an additional 17 points to finish out the half. Stanford pulled away a bit in the 2nd stanza, but Santa Clara continued to attack and Stanford couldn't breathe easy until the final whistle sounded.

Cal Maritime 29 – DIABLO GAELS U23, 37 Referee: Andy Canning

Touch Judges: Tony Kennedy and David Williamson

It was just like being back in good old England...50 degrees and a nip in the wind. This floodlit game turned out to be a great game. Pregame was interesting as the two sides displayed completely different attitudes to warming up, Cal Maritime were almost military whilst Diablo reminded me on my old English club, just having a bit of a jog whilst having a good chat. But at kickoff it was clear that both sides were up for the game.

Cal Maritime dominated the first half, kicking with the wind they managed to pin back Diablo almost wholly into their own half. Diablo never gave up and when the opportunity arose took full advantage. Both sets of players responded well to the team of three, listening and reacting to the calls which created space for the players to move the ball around.

One of Diablo's star players unfortunately came off injured just before half time, he had been playing what could be called a multiple role in that he was an open side flanker who went into tight head prop at offensive scrums and then threw the ball in at the lineout!!. Half time was 21-07.

The second half kicked off with a bang as Diablo scored twice quickly but missed the conversions pulling it back to 21 - 17. For the rest of the match both sets of players played their hearts out, full on tackling and some high quality recycling of the ball. Sadly the Diablo no 9 lost his head and was eventually red carded for unsportsmanlike conduct but it didn't seem to faze his team mates who just kept on going.

With two minutes remaining it was 29 - 29, I was suddenly concerned I might have to buy drinks and I knew there were at least four referees present! But with only about a minute left Diablo converted a penalty to take the lead and then from the restart managed to break through and score a final decisive try.

Post match we had to turn down Pizza as we had a date at the Dead Fish. Two highlights for me from the visit to the Dead Fish, firstly my Prime Rib was fantastic (You just can’t get that in the UK) and secondly we realized we were in the presence of greatness when an old lady game up and asked if Tony was Tommy Lee Jones!!! I don't know what she'd been drinking but it was obviously powerful stuff.


Super League:
SF/Golden Gate 17 – OMBAC 18 Referee: Chris Draper

Touch Judges: Bruce Carter, Sandy Robertson
Assessor: Dixon Smith

Former Golden Gate player Jason Raven scored in the last minute to steal a victory from the home team, who had opened each half with a well-worked forwards try in the corner.

ALL BLUES 43 – Oregon Rugby Sports Union 24 Referee: Bruce Carter

The All Blues have a lot of new faces on the field, with many of the familiar faces on the sidelines these days due to career progression or injuries.

This youth corps ran up a 34 – 7 lead at the half, seeming to dominate every aspect of play.

ORSU’s forwards resumed play after the break with a new commitment to attack that resulted in the first 17 points scored being theirs. The All Blues regrouped after this uncharacteristic barrage of points against to score the final try of the match.

Rocca Field was in great shape and we appreciated the holdover audience who stayed to brave the cold wind.

Sacramento Lions 25 – OLYMPIC CLUB 66 Referee: John Pohlman

Evaluator: Kat Todd-Schwartz
Touch Judges Chris Tucker & Olympic Club player-referee

Sacramento Lions hosted Olympic Club in a Division 1 contest at Danny Nunn Park in Sacramento.

It was a beautiful day for rugby. The field reminded me of the ones I grew up playing on back in Illinois. OK but not up to our lush Northern California standards.

We kicked off at exactly 1:00 O'clock. Sacramento started fast. The lions experienced scrum half Neumi Nadruku picked up, dummied and outpaced OC for the first try at 5 minutes. Sac's captain #13 Dennis Schaaf then broke two tackles and sprinted in five minutes later.

OC realized they needed to get the ball, keep it and score. OC scored two tries in the next ten minutes. The second a beautiful movement with multiple phases and the ball handled by at least six different players. Dotted down by #12 A. Meyer.

Wow 16 minutes in four tries.

OC's fitness, organization and defense was just too much for the athletic Lions.

We did not seem to have any rucks or mauls in the first half. Mostly OC would work the ball down the field with multiple phases and passes. Then either finishing in the end zone or losing the ball in a thundering Sac tackle. Where the lions would run into, threw and around the OC defenders. Again either to score or turn the ball over by outrunning their support.

What a fun half to referee. Five penalties. Nine tries. Loads of great passes and hard tackles. No management concerns.

Half time score Sac 15 OC 40

The second half felt different.

Not sure if it was the substitutions, general fatigue by the players or a lapse by the referee. The penalty count went up. The scores went down.

OC looked good. They stayed with their pattern. Their fitness is good. And they were rewarded with four tries in the second half.

Sac. played hard the whole game. They scored two more tries in the second half. But lost two players to the Super League. Lost a few more to injuries. And had some come out late and thus not in game shape.

Final Olympic Club 66 Sacramento 25

I want to thank my two outstanding touch judges. Chris Tucker a Pelican Referee. And a player from OC who has refereed in Australia. Please consider joining the referee society. Both helped me more than they may have realized.

I also want to thank Kat Todd-Schwartz for some great feedback. Kat was evaluating me for the game. She gave me a couple of management tools after the game. These tips could have helped the second half match up to the pace and style of the first half. Maybe next week...

Seconds: Sacramento Lions 10 – OLYMPIC CLUB 43 Referee: Chris Tucker

Touch Judge: Eugene Baker

I ran touch for the first match at the Danny Nunn Dustbowl and was amused by the striking similarity to the NBA allstar game -- plenty of good rugby going forwards, and no more than a couple of lazy tackles in defence. Beaucoup points resulted, and it was a lot of fun.

The seconds match took place after an intervening JV game, watched over by newly-qualified Eugene Baker, who kindly ran touch for me in my game.

The game itself was played in good spirit by both sides; Olympic Club had the much more organised team, and ran in 4 tries before the Lions were properly warmed up. Once they were, however, the home crowd had something to cheer for when several phases of possession were put together by the Lions for a good try towards the end of the half. One more to the reds made it 33-5 at the half.

30 seconds into the second half and a high tackle by a Lions player saw a sinbin; the carded player was a sub brought on at halftime. The smile on his face after helping up his opposite number suggested that this wasn't a man who fancied playing a full half of rugby. Happy to oblige. 2 more tries to OC vs. 1 to the Lions brought the contest to an end, and I jumped on my bike to ride 7 miles into a headwind to get home.

HAYWARD 46 – Diablo Gaels 17 Referee: Tony Kennedy (Cambridgeshire)

No reds; no yellows. Really good game. Behaviour excellent.

Seconds: HAYWARD 27 – Diablo Gaels 14 Referee: Sam Davis

SAN MATEO 31 – Haggis 17 Referee: Pete Smith

Touch Judge: Eric Rauscher
Evaluator: Mike Malone

San Mateo played on the synthetic football field at San Mateo HS. Fortunately they used the yellow soccer lines, not the football lines. Unfortunately, they set the 22M line at the 20 yard line not the 25 and the field is a little short. Aside from that, I couldn’t ask for more as it was a great day for rugby. The HS team had just finished a scrimmage, so they added to the crowd. Both teams played a wide-open, hard-hitting style that paced the hosts to a 14-0 halftime lead.

Haggis came right back in the second half with an early try 14-7, then another unconverted to make it 14-12 and the game began to tighten up. San Mateo pushed and shoved their way to a very hard fought, crash, crash, crash try, followed by a penalty kick 24-12. With two Haggis players in the bin and one San Mateo player in the bin, the winger for San Mateo on a 75 meter, short side dash just flat outran everyone. They rounded out the scoring with a great extra time try by Haggis- Final score 31-17.

Fresno 12 – SEAHAWKS 52 Referee: Jim Crenshaw

Seconds: Fresno 0 – SEAHAWKS 31 Referee: James Hinkin

With Fresno missing much of their team due to a tour and San Jose not traveling as strong as it has recently the B side match featured many familiar faces from the previous game. San Jose started the game brightly and looked to be stronger from the off. The game was kept closer than the play indicated mostly through the efforts of the Fresno scrumhalf who was playing his second game but was a disruptive force all over the pitch. San Jose was able to put 2 tries (1 converted) on the board in the first half with no reply from Fresno.

The second half saw the fatigue factor play a part as Fresno started getting more and more tired. The fresh San Jose legs were able to find more gaps as time when on with several length of the pitch tries scored. Near the end of the match a more surprising try was scored as Fresno defended their line at a ruck 3 meters out. All of the Fresno defenders moved away to guard the fringes leaving nobody in front of the ruck. The surprised San Jose prop Eric “Dr. Scrum Jr” Buchanan picked the ball up and rumbled untouched into the try zone. Final score: San Jose 31, Fresno 0.

SANTA ROSA over Arroyo Grande by forfeit

SF/Golden Gate 15 – EAST PALO ALTO 55 Referee: Sandy Robertson

In the end the Razorbacks mixture of youth and experience was too much for SFGG. After a competitive 1st half the score was 22-15. In the 2nd period the Razorbacks turned up the pressure, scoring an additional 5 tries.

Seconds: SFGG 12 – East Palo Alto 7 Referee: Rob Hendrickson

The B sides of SF GG and East Palo Alto clashed in the 1 hour interval between the A sides and the SF GG/OMBAC super league game at TI on Saturday afternoon under cloudy skies. Both sides were able to move the ball but had problems crossing the goal line and touching the ball down. The score was tied at the half, with action in the second half slowing down.

Seconds: BA Baracus 12 – SACRAMENTO CAPITALS 55 Referee: Dave Heath

Evaluator: David Williamson

This game was definitely a game of two halves. BA Baracus, playing in the first half with the wind behind them turned around with a 12-10 lead. However, in the second half Sacramento really turned pressure into points with 7 unanswered tries, 5 of them converted in sometimes unusual style by their tight-head.

Kudos to Dave Williams for leaning into the gale to give much appreciated feedback on my performance.

Mendocino 22 – VALLEJO 52 Referee: Cary Bertolone

Two 1st year clubs squared off on a beautiful Mendo day (w/ snow on mtns) and battle they did. Vallejo scored first and Mendo followed w/ a kick to make it 5-3. Vallejo had some great backline running and muscled their way to a 26-8 halftime score. The larger, stronger Vallejo team started the second half winning most of the ball and doing most of the scoring, but Mendo regained their intensity and scored the last two tries (mostly with their forwards) for a final score of 52-22, Vallejo. Both teams played hard, enthusiastic rugby; there were a lot of guys limping (from both teams) at game's end. Both teams should be proud. Afterward, Mendo put on a great party for all-there was food, beer, men of the match, inspiring speeches and rugby songs to boot! Great guys on both teams!!! Cheers!

VACAVILLE 29 – Chico 20 Referee: John Coppinger

A very competitive and compelling match of two well-coached and fit teams on a beautiful late winter afternoon in Vacaville. Unfortunately, the match was played on a football field surround by a track. If the pitch had been regulation, each side might have put up 50 points, though not by reason of poor defense. Vacaville has pace and the ability to put the ball through the tightest of spaces, while Chico has power and pace. Chico scored late to cut the Vacaville lead to 4, but Vacaville scored soon after to put the match away.

Two well captained clubs as well; it was a pleasure.

Shasta 15 – Humboldt 15 Referee: Bryant Byrnes

A pretty spring day in Redding, lessened a bit by medieval rugby. Some good hardnosed play, but most of us could have lived without the several gratuitous away-from-the-ball fights and big baby whining.

Humboldt lead at half 10-0, but Shasta made some strategic substitutions at half that let them come back hard and pull up even.

STANISLAUS 22 – Aptos 5 Referee: Scott Wood

Touch Judges: Supplied by Harlots
Pitch: Christofferson Park and Drainage Basin, Turlock

I arrived at Turlock High School to find the Harlots sorting out where to play the match. A baseball game was on adjacent to their usual pitch location and kicks could interfere with the hardball game. Seeing as provoking people armed with aluminum bats is not a prudent idea, it was decided to relocate to another part of town. Christofferson Park serves a dual role as a park and a storm basin. I will say this field is without a doubt the best Division 3 field I have ever seen. With a nice, unobtrusive crown down the middle, the Harlots measured out a 100-meter by 65-meter (they would have gone 70 but were pressed for time) pitch. The grass provided for firm footing and a decent cushion.

Aptos was only able to travel with 15 players while Harlots had a full roster and then some. The match primarily consisted of east-west movement interrupted by uncountable knockons. Both teams mauled very well including one Harlots maul where an Aptos player legally entered the piece, swam through the pack, and emerged on the other side with ball in hand. While there was not much of the anticipated D3 chirping, a couple bouts of poor discipline and hotheadedness did manage to appear. Harlots scored two unconverted tries, the second of which was as my watch sounded off, to enter the half leading 10-0. The second half was similar to the first except Harlots managed to convert one of its two tries and Aptos scored an unconverted try.

BERKELEY 85 – Petaluma 0 Referee: Anna McMahan

It was an early day for rugby, as I arrived at the Treasure Island pitch for a 9:00am game to find a HS boys match in full swing already. Berkeley was setting up restraining ropes and proper flags around the HS spectators, and fortunately for the set up crew the field markings from last week were still visible. Petaluma came one player short, but borrowed a willing prop to round out their 15. The match kicked off a few minutes late, as the HS boys teams tried to squeeze in as much rugby as possible before leaving the pitch.

Both teams showed up to play, though Berkeley's discipline and fitness made them a tough team to match. They led off scoring just 3 minutes into the match when a flanker scored through open play. Berkeley scored 4 more times in the next 25 minutes, all through breaks in the Petaluma back line. Berkeley finished out the half with another loose forward try, and their fullback converted all but 2 tries in the half. Petaluma played good close-in defense and contested at the breakdown, but Berkeley was able to make breaks through the backs or on the outside, and in multiphase play.

The second half saw much more of the same, with 5 of Berkeley's 7 tries coming from their backs on breaks in the Petaluma defense. The other two tries were scored by tight five forwards after sustained pressure at Petaluma's line. Berkeley's fullback brought his conversion percentage up to 77%, as he converted all but 1 of the second half tries. Petaluma had more possession in the second half, and came close to scoring several times after attacking runs by individuals, but ultimately could not breach the Berkeley defense. Both teams should be commended for excellent discipline and responsiveness to the ref. Foul play was minimal and the on-field chatter was generally good natured, which made for a good game of rugby.

BERKELEY seconds 40 – McGeorge 13 Referee: Chris Labozzetta

Fog 17 – MARIN 22 Referee: Bjorn Stumer

A spirited match between two rivals who seemed to really desire the win. Marin appeared to have the initial upper hand, but the FOG begged to differ and clawed back to a five-point difference by the end of the match. On the last play a FOG attacker right in front of the posts, and with numerous FOG players at his side, decided to hold on to the ball and meet the sole Marin defender. He was tackled, a ruck ensued and Marin hands caused a penalty for the FOG. Quick tap to the side, a knock on, and the final whistle. The FOG spoiled a certain victory, but can remain proud of a good performance.

Both teams gave and took in equal amounts with a degree of animosity which petered out on the second half, after Marin was given a yellow card for a dangerous tackle. Quite a few good runs, aggressive tackling, and good mauling by both teams. A fun day for all at the uneven Job Corps field at Treasure Island.

Fog seconds – San Francisco State
Not sure whether this one happened.

California women 5 – CHICO STATE 57 Referee: Tom Zanarini

Seconds: California – Chico State
Not sure whether this one happened, either.

UC Davis women 22 – ST. MARY’S 40 Referee Rod Chance

The Ladies from Saint Mary’s came out strong controlling the first half with 3 tries.

Davis scored 2 quick tries after the half and was back in the game. Davis was again inside the 22 when an intercepted pass was run back for a try. There was another break-away try by Saint Mary's broke the back of the Davis women

Sacramento State 19 – STANFORD 31 Referee: JC Van Staden

Touch Judges: Ray Schwartz, Jim Read

It was a nice and sunny day in Sacramento, with some clouds and a little wind picking up to the end of the second half.

Stanford arrived bright and early, as expected from such a conditioned club, but was not prepared for what was to come...

Sac decided to stand firm, and came with boots and all into the University clash. After only a few minutes on the field, Sac opened the score board with a try, after a lot of driving and pealing of the edges by the front 8. Stanford quickly realize what was going on and after a penalty kick, they started to spread the ball wide, and score 3 brilliant, but, opportunistic tries, to open the gap to 24 against 7. Regardless Sac State's domination in most of the aspects of the game, they trailed by 16 points.

The second half Sac got the good word from their coaches, and came back with a quick converted try. Also their defense were making 1st time tackles, and restricted Stanford to only 1 converting try. Stanford on the other hand, due to frustration for not having the ball, lost their composure and ended up with 2 yellow cards for repeated infringements. Sac State could not manage to take full advantage of that, and were able to score only 1 try during the power play. Stanford, with only 14 players in the last 20 min of the game, regrouped and shut them down to win the game 31 to 19.

Seconds: SAC STATE 55 – Stanford 10 Referee: James Read

The score doesn't reflect the work put in by Stanford. The first quarter of the game was scoreless until the Sac state finally scored at 20 minutes. Stanford would assert pressure only to lose the ball by handling errors and unfortunate bounces of the ball. The Hornets came together in the second half but came very close to playing a man down thanks to some questionable timing on the part of their hooker. Both teams played phased rugby and retained the ball to good effect.

UC Davis 10 – CALIFORNIA 38 Referee: Dave Pope

At Davis, UC Berkeley beat UC Davis 38 to 10. The weather was very cooperative for this clash of two of the top collegiate teams in Northern California. This game was played at a very high rate of speed and high skill level. Both teams came to play, with slightly different game plans.

Davis tackled very aggressively, but spread out defensively after the tackle rather than seriously contesting the breakdown. This meant that they hardly ever claimed turnover ball over after the tackle, but also that they did not give up many line breaks or much around the fringes. Berkeley somewhat played into Davis' hands by dropping what I assume was an uncharacteristic number of passes. Many times Cal would methodically move the ball a long way up the field only to knock the ball on with a dropped pass. Davis helped many of these drops by hitting very hard and very quickly.

Cal chose to contest defensive rucks and scrums. This lead to more turnovers, but also lead to penalties against them and to the occasional line break by the Davis backs. The Cal cover defense was up to the task all but one time, as Davis managed one long try against the Cal defense.

Cal was the stronger team on the day, and controlled much of the game, but Davis was always a threat. Standouts for Cal were the captain and #7 who led from the front all day, and the Cal kicker who converted 4 of 5 kicks, few of which were easy. The one miss was on target but died in the strong wind.

Seconds: UC Davis 0 – CALIFORNIA 103 Referee: Phil Ulibarri

Touch Judges: Josh Warburg, Andrew Messon, and Nick Yancy

The pitch was trim, fast and well prepared for the Bear-Aggie clash with the Cal 2nds ready to show they are the second-best collegiate side in the country. Cal demonstrated excellent skills in every facet of the game, easily able to move the ball at will from any kick, tackle and break down situation. Even though Davis understood several of the Cal signals they were defenseless to stop the tight pack play and the quick, precision backline passing. The first half ended 62 - nil. Not much changed in the second half for either club. With a few substitutions on for both sides the pace of the match stayed very fast. Final score Cal 103- Davis 0.

U. of San Francisco 15 – UC SANTA CRUZ 17 Referee: Preston Gordon

USF 15-17 UCSC

The rain threatened but never came to USF's artificial turf soccer field, which is more than a little smaller than 100x70m.

USF didn't have a full side, and only had one hooker, but UCSC was kind enough to loan their opponents enough players to make up the difference, although uncontested scrums had to be ordered at halftime due to a lack of suitably-trained replacements.

Overall, this was a very choppy game, with a lot of kicking, stoppages for knock-ons, accidental offside, and other such things. The halftime score was 3-0 in favor of UCSC, but the second half was a lot more interesting even though USF played with only 14 men. A series of back-and-forth tries (the first scored by the UCSC fullback within a minute of his return from the sin bin) led to a nail-biting finish whereby the USF fly-half had the opportunity to draw the match by converting a try scored right at the death. He couldn't quite make the attempt from a meter inside the touchline, however - and this reporter blew up for full-time secretly quite relieved that he missed. After all, turning up to the referees' banquet later that night with a draw to report could have been hazardous to the wallet!

Stanford Grad – Haas Business School – MARAUDERS Referee: Bruce Bernstein

Stanford Graduate Students hosted Cal's Haas Business School & the San Jose Marauders, with each team playing 40 minute-matches against the other 2 teams (or round-robin).

Marauders were 2-0; Stanford Grads went 1-1; and Haas was 0-2. Every match was close with each winner only winning by one try or 5 points.

The biz school from Cal redeemed themselves by winning the party. Although Stanford BBQd dogs & burgers (not to mention supplied the beautiful rugby field), Haas drove a trailer from Berkeley which was transformed into an instant party-mobile with kegs, a stereo, TV & blender. They are sponsored by both Pyramid Ale & Kezar Pub & proved it.


Nevada 5 – CALIFORNIA 45 Referee: Chris Tucker

Touch Judge: Don Pattalock
Assessor: Scott Wood

The snow melted in the morning sun on the artificial pitch up at UNR, which meant rugby was definitely on for the day. Scott Wood and I drove up in the morning arriving at the pitch around noon. Temperature of 38 degrees according to the car thermometer. Windy but no precipitation, hence hypothermia avoided, except by Woody on the sidelines.

Don Pattalock took the Queen's shilling and ran touch, with a Cal player on the other line to make up the trio. He did a good job, even getting praise from Don after the match.

Both teams came out to play, but an early defensive error gave Cal a quick score after 3 minutes (converted). Undaunted, the UNR team came back out and took the game to their opposition and made some good moves, passing the ball well. Unfortunately they weren't kicking the ball well at all, and some aimless bootwork led to two runs by the Cal backs touched down for scores. An elbow and a spear tackle also began to raise the temperature of a match that had already been marred by plenty of little niggly stuff from both sides. One more Cal try (converted) before the half made it 26-0 to the visitors.

In the second half, UNR began to find their feet, and some good running and quick recycle work saw a try scored after 8 minutes. They should have had another later in the half when a favourable bounce of the ball came down into the grateful hands of a UNR player in goal, only for the sense of occasion to get the better of him: he knocked on, and too bad because the kick was one of the few good UNR ones all day.

Cal added 2 more tries before my previous yellow card (elbow) decided enough was enough, and that a head-butt was the best way to end his season. He was all of 5'6", and chose a lock as his target. The difference was made up by some good vertical elevation, his jump getting him to the nose of his victim. He was duly dispatched to the sideline. His mother asked me after if I might change my mind, "I could, but I'm not going to." One more try for Cal saw the end of it, 45-5.

Post-match, Russ Wilkening and would-be rugger daughter Hannah came along to eat, drink and watch England stuff the Irish. Good times.

Seconds: Nevada – California CANCELED

ORSU women 12 – Belmont Shore 7 Referee: Phil Ulibarri

Touch Judges: Frank Merrill and Tony Kennedy (Cambridge, England)
Referee Coach: David Williamson

A crystal-clear but windy day on Treasure Island greeted the two traveling teams as the ORSU and Belmont Shore Women took to the back-up pitch for four twenty-minute periods of friendly rugby. With nothing really at stake the two sides played hard defensive rugby. Three outstanding backline movements (two-ORSU and one-Belmont Shore) resulting in tries demonstrated the teams' abilities with ball-in-hand once clean possession was realized. Final score ORSU 12-Belmont Shore 7.

UC Santa Cruz 0 – SANTA CLARA 51 Referee: Bruce Carter

The first recorded philosophical (as distinct from religious) utterance in history is Heraclitus’: ‘You cannot step into the same river twice’. Change is the only thing we can count on.

Yet we were very pleasantly surprised to hear the Banana Slugs’ new pre-game rally song, as clean as a freshly-boiled whistle! Perhaps they worked it up in preparation for their coming Australian tour.

But Santa Clara...these guys are certainly ready for the playoffs, closing out an undefeated season with an emphatic victory.

Seconds: UC Santa Cruz 0 – SANTA CLARA 22 - Referee: Larry Freitas

In a second side match between Santa Clara and UC Santa Cruz, the visitors from the Mission Campus won by scoring all 22 of their points in the first half of a fifty minute game. A few players from each side had played in the first side match also won by Santa Clara, who are now NorCal champs in the second division. Finals are on tap this week at both schools, but getting a game in for these second side players took priority for the time being.

UCSC had a game the day before away against USF in which many second side players participated; Santa Clara's B side played against Stanford's B side Friday. By the way, with that stiff wind blowing, the view of Monterey Bay was spectacular, and that's something I will never tire of from the UC Santa Cruz pitch.

Santa Clara is headed for the playoffs in Utah in a few weeks, and getting some playing time for these players was important. UCSC is heading to Australia on a tour after finals. Good luck to both teams!


Friday 14th

ELSIE ALLEN 27 – Windsor 12 Referee: Sean Peters

First half both teams played hard, Elsie’s rucking was awesome they really know how to clean a ruck, second half was the same hard hitting, rucking game, Elsie’s backs were fearless and set the pace, Windsor’s forwards were playing hard down to last minute.

COUGAR RUGBY CLUB 55 – Rio Rugby 14 Referee: Scott Wood

Location: Will Rogers Middle School, Carmichael
Two words: Excellent posts.

Cougar and Rio swapped tries to begin the match but the hosts opened up the game to lead at halftime 31-14. Second half was mostly Cougar although Rio maintained a strong defense. Relatively positive play was tarnished by five yellow cards (two spear tackles, two late tackles, and one swift kick in the rear).

SACRAMENTO AMAZONS 93 – Alameda 0 Referee: James Read

A noticeably larger and more aggressive Amazons side made short work of a smaller but equally enthusiastic Alameda side. Alameda would make good progress but too many turnovers and a smaller scrum made the away side hurt for possession. The Amazons were good with ball in hand making big runs then offloading into space.

LIVE OAK 18 – Silicon Valley 14 Referee: Chris Fisher

Silicon Valley can blame their lack of composure for losing. If they had kept to playing rugby rather then playing the opposition off the ball they would have won.

TRI-VALLEY 69 – Berkeley Rhinos 5 Referee: David Heath

Tri-Valley had total control of this game, with some all action performances from their pack, especially their No 7. In the backline the Tri-Valley No 10 gave a polished performance with a lovely mix of running, kicking and astute distribution. Berkeley tried to keep things tight and relied heavily on forward drives around the fringes, which looked impressive but never gained them much ground against the powerful Tri-Valley defence, except for the one occasion when a barn-storming run from their no 8 gave them cause for some ecstatic celebration.

Lamorinda 0 – SHAWNIGAN LAKE (Vancouver Island) 105 Referee: Paul Bretz


Seconds: Lamorinda – Shawnigan Referee: Tom Zanarini
No report received.

CHRISTIAN BROS 19 -- 14 Burbank Islanders Referee: Chris Tucker

Touch Judges: JC Van Staden, Ray Schwartz

A Saturday morning fixture saw two good sides square off on the Astroturf at Granite Park. Both teams were up for it, and some good attacking play was matched by strong defence on both sides. First to breach the line after 18 minutes was CB, touching down out wide after quick hands to the wing. The conversion missed, and it was 5-0. On the restart, an Islander flanker showed his talent for not learning (nor listening) and took the catcher in the air with no wrap. 10 minutes for you, squire. Undaunted, the Islanders came out fighting (not literally), and scored with a man down (converted). The half ended without further incident, 5-7.

CB came out strong in the second, and a nicely worked move resulted in their second try after 5 minutes (converted). At that point, however, their grasp of the plot began to waiver, as two high tackles in quick succession saw them down to 13 men. The Islanders were on the front foot, although they waited until both players were back on before scoring their try, converting it to take a 14-12 lead.

And this is where it gets interesting. A CB move near the end was foiled by a knock near the goal line, and the Islanders got the scrum just before time. They won the tap, and got the ball at the base of the scrum. However, instead of booting the ball across the nearest line (in this case the dead ball line) they chose to run it. And lost it. 2 penalties later, and with the Islander defence drawn in, the right wing touched down for the winning try.

Hayward 6 – Piedmont 6 Referee: Sam Davis

De La Salle 14 – LAMORINDA 39 Referee: Sam Davis

Frosh/Soph: DE LA SALLE 24 – Lamorinda 7 Referee: Edward Barfels

DLS scored 17 points in the first half to LAMO's 0. DLS's scrums and line-outs were better organized. Loose play by both sides was above average. Both sides scored a try in the second half for a final score of 24 to 7. It was a well played game.

Match Report: Sun., 16 Mar 2008

California Tour High/Secondary School Boys JV Game:

Silicon Valley Durabos 15 – ARGYLE ACADEMY Pipers, BC, Canada 17 Referee: Paul Z. Berman

Venue: Palo Alto HS, Palo Alto, Kick-off 1544; field firm under foot, American football goal posts
Weather: Beautiful

Comments: A fine game of running rugby often achieving 4th phase ball. 3 twenty minute periods played. 6 well manufactured tries apiece. The tourists were quicker off the mark crossing the goal line twice in the 1st period. Silicon Valley roared back with 2 well manufactured tries of their own down the left wing in the 2nd period, wining the 3rd by a try. Brave defensive (low tackling) work by the physically smaller Canadians under intense pressure saw them pip their hosts at the post. Argyle were ably led by their captain at No. 8, who was all over the paddock ball in hand.

Silicon Valley put on a wonderful Haka for their visitors after the match. I overheard several Canadians saying they were thankful this display didn't precede the game.

Point spread: Silicon Valley - 3 tries Argyle - 3 tries, 1 conversion goal

Youth Rugby Camp
Report by Bjorn Stumer

a) East Palo Alto - San Francisco Golden Gate: The first of numerous 15 minute matches saw a fit and fast EPA run against a mixed San Francisco side. A fast, skilled match by two capable sides. Final score 7 all.

b) EPA - Elsie Allen: EPA was just too strong and big for Elsie Allen. Final score: EPA 14 - Elsie Allen 0.

c) Elsie Allen - SFGG: An obviously developing Elsie Allen side was no match for San Francisco. Final score Elsie Allen 7 - SFGG 17.


From Tony Redmond:

"I provided my home association with some text about the Cal v UBC game... see http://www.arlb.net/tony.html"

Pelican Check
It’s a pelican-check at the top of Yosemite Falls on the one piece of granite not covered by three feet of snow.

Left to Right: Eric Rauscher, Bruce Carter, Scott Wood, Andy Canning, Ray Schwartz, Jackie Finck, Tony Kennedy, Chris Fisher, David Williamson, Kat Todd-Schwartz.

Charlie Finck made the climb and took the photo, for a total of eleven intrepid snow hikers.


For the Senate
Pelicus Scriptoris

Tuesday, March 11, 2008




The NCRRS will be offering the IRB Touch Judging Courses, levels 1 – 4, on Sunday, March 30.

The course will begin at 11 AM and should be done by 5 PM. It will be held at the SF/GG clubhouse on Treasure Island.

Bruce Carter and Mike Malone will be the instructors. Please contact Mike Malone if you are interested in attending:


This course is necessary for club members who wish to run touch for their own teams and also be empowered to flag and report foul play. It is also a requirement for referees who wish to be promoted to C1 (or above), and it would be an excellent refresher for those who wish to work the many upcoming playoffs that NorCal will be hosting.


This Saturday, a Society dinner will be held at the historic Old Ship Saloon in San Francisco. Drinks at 6:30, dinner at 7:00 PM.


The Society will contribute $40 a person, which should completely cover the meal. We depend on our members to ensure that our exchange visitors are not able to pay for any drinks.

Bjorn Stumer has made these arrangements and needs to know how many to expect. Please respond to him if you will be attending and with how many guests:



CALIFORNIA 55 – Santa Clara 0 Referee: Preston Gordon
Touch Judge: Eric Rauscher

CAL MARITIME 63 – San Jose State 0 Referee: Dave Heath

Cal Maritime were too strong in all departments for San Jose State. The Maritime pack was dominant in the tight and they had a dynamic back row that cleaned up loose ball and made good ground with some strong running. To their credit, SJS never threw in the towel and kept their discipline through-out. In the second half SJS put on their gifted winger who went on some scintillating runs, although the Keelhaulers were always able to get numbers back to snuff out the threat.

A lovely pitch, great conditions and a good game - more please!

OLYMPIC CLUB 28 – San Mateo 5 Referee: Andy Canning (East Mids)

Touch Judges: Sandy Robertson, Frank Merrill

My first run out of the tour and once again the Pelicans have done me proud!

Stanford’s facilities are fantastic, a number of Pelicans had turned out to welcome me and even the Softball referees sharing the changing room took me to their hearts and entertained me whilst changing...they reveled in the fact that I had flown so far to do a game I wasn’t being paid for!! “That’s rugby” I said.

The game went off at a fair pace with both sides clearly up for the challenge, I had forgotten how committed some of the Islanders could be and fairly early on had to have a few words regarding the height of a tackle or two.

Towards the end of the first quarter I had had a few issues at the tackle so threw in a yellow which cleaned it up for a while. OC were clearly the better side overall and were beginning to stretch away but Sam Mateo never gave up.

The second half was disturbed a little by the almost constant cycle of replacements but the standard across the game remained quite high. An early yellow for a slap at a charge down saw SM reduced to 14 and then it was just a case of keeping it safe and enjoying the banter until the end.

My memories will be the awful feeling when about 15 minutes into the first half the jet lag and the Jamison’s kicked in, the look of intrigue on Frank’s face when he was watching those extreme Frisbee guys chanting and hopping up and down.

Quote of the game was from the OC sideline, following a messed up lineout call... "NO more Improvisation, stick to your drills!!"

A great game to start with...on with the tour!!

Seconds: OLYMPIC CLUB 24 – San Mateo 0 Referee: Sandy Robertson

The O Club loaned several players to San Mateo and then went and outscored the mongrel side 4 tries to none in an abbreviated match with uncontested scrums. The O Club was able to maintain possession for substantial periods, patiently waiting for advantages that led to breaks and scores.

Diablo Gaels 14 – SACRAMENTO LIONS 24 Referee: Scott Wood

Touch Judges: Tammy Cowan (MNRRS) and Gaels supporter
Evaluator: Dixon Smith
Location: Mustang Soccer Complex, Danville, CA
Weather: Cooling and dark supplanted by light standards

As my match was not until at least 7 p.m., S.O.--having arrived Friday evening--and I drove to Stanford to watch the venerable Andy Canning referee the Olympic Club/San Mateo match. Good thing we did as they were in need of a couple match cards. It was a good match to watch but I'll leave the report to someone else. We took our time driving through the south bay and eastern hills to Danville.

Mustang Soccer Club has built a very nice two-tiered complex with synthetic fields and a two-story clubhouse (still under construction). The owners are still apprehensive to the application of non-soccer markings on their pitch but hopefully the will come around. We arrived to find several girls' soccer matches underway. One parent was overheard asking a linesman about an awarded goal, "Was that good?" He replied, "Yes." She countered, "No, it wasn't." Some things don't change, regardless the sport...

We got off to a late start as we had to wait for the soccer match to finish. Both teams contested for the ball well but play generally stayed between the ten meter lines for what seemed to be a long period. Repeated infringements started to occur for both teams. Lions contested hard and low at the tackles and rucks but neither team wanted to release the ball or heed the offside line at rucks. Lions lost a man to the bin near halftime and just before the whistle had a Gaels player join him.

In the second half, the Lions increased the pressure and attacked hard scoring three tries, two converted, to increase the lead 24-0. During that same period, the visitors lost two more players to the sin bin for dangerous tackling (repeated offences).

With ten minutes remaining, the Gaels found its sweet spot and put together an impressive effort scoring two converted tries before the final whistle.

Kudos to both teams for playing a well-contested match. Thanks to Dixon Smith for taking the time to evaluate the match.

Seconds: Diablo Gaels 14 – SACRAMENTO LIONS 17 Ref: Wood

Touch Judges: Tammy Cowan (MNRRS) and John Compaglia

This session featured the Lions A-side with a handful of fresh legs and a Gaels' developmental side. Youth was the name of the game. Fast and fun. Both teams played on an even keel with the Gaels going into the half leading 7-0. The second half found the Lions on attack moving the ball through all 15 players scoring three tries. The first kicker missed and was replaced by the Lions' "small" prop who missed his first attempt (barely) but slotted a beautiful conversion on his third attempt. It is not often you get to see an interesting variation of Johnny Wilkinson. Go ugly early and often. The Gaels turned up and held onto the ball to score a break away try at full time.

SF/Golden Gate 19 – BA BARACUS 35 Referee: Chris Tucker

Assessor: Bryan Porter
A beautiful day down on Treasure Island for rugby, and I arrived early to find the Under 15 match under way. They seemed like they were having fun...I wandered inside to the clubhouse, got miked up so Bryan could listen to me, which he proceeded to do from a rickety scaffold on the halfway line on the East side of the pitch. Luckily it wasn't too windy, as the thing wasn't anchored to the ground.

BA started smartly, and some hard running and continual quick ball at the breakdown paid dividends with two early tries in the first 15 minutes. Both converted from difficult angles by the Baracus captain. A further penalty was slotted after SFGG were caught in front of the back foot for the third time. The offender had been in the game all of 2 minutes, coming on as a replacement, before sitting for 10. Such is life. SFGG answered with a try before the half (converted) and they went in with BA up by 17-7.

The second half started with a bang as BA stormed over for a try only 2 minutes in (converted again). Then the teams settled in to play longball with the boot, both teams showing strong counter-attack play by the back three. Around the 20 minute mark, SFGG were penalised for not releasing when tackled, and their touch judge just lost the plot. Exploding into a tirade of invective untainted by any resemblance to the Laws of the game, he informed me that I was somewhat lacking in mental faculty (amongst other more unprintable comment). In the words of Mr. Trump, "You're fired," and he was duly removed from the enclosure. Even the SFGG sideline didn't seem too upset.

A couple more penalties were chalked up by BA, before SFGG finally found their attacking stride out wide. Once denied by a forward pass, they bounced back with 2 tries (unconverted) to add some respectability to the score. However, the Baracus men had the final word, putting a try over from a scrum against the head as time expired. Sadly for the Baracus Boot, he missed the straightforward conversion, only slightly marring a fine 6/7 performance. Not often you have a better day than Wilko. Cipriani will get his break soon. But I digress. Fine game.

Shout out to the Baracus lock (nameless, my apologies) who picked up the whistle for the 2nds match which was unassigned. He did a creditable job.

Seconds: SFGG – BA Baracus Referee: Nameless Baracus Lock

Thank you to the fill-in referee for helping out. We hope you and the players enjoyed the run!

SEAHAWKS 47 – Santa Rosa 15 Referee: John Pohlman

San Jose hosted Santa Rosa at Cupertino High School this past weekend. Silicon Valley high school was playing San Mateo high School when I arrived.

Upon approaching the Santa Rosa coach I was informed that last week’s game had been called early due to Santa Rosa chatter. The coach, captain and pretty much everyone associated with Santa Rosa seemed to want to stop last week’s action from becoming a reputation.

Both teams seemed to have come to play rugby.

Santa Rosa got on the board first with a penalty kick. The rest of the first half was a hard and competitive rugby game. Both teams attacking with their forwards.

San Jose was rewarded with two tries. The first by my player of the game #8 Lucky.

First half score San Jose 14 Santa Rosa 3.

The first half was well tempered. With two fairly matched teams playing some pretty basic rugby. Neither team was trying to make plays they were not capable of finishing.

Good hard rugby. And very little chatter.

The second half started fast with tries by San Jose's #6 and #12 at five and eight minutes. Looked like San Jose was taking charge. Then in the blink of the eye Santa Rosa stormed back for two tries of their own at 13 and 17 minutes.

Santa Rosa's hard charging center scored the first. I remember refereeing him in his first season with Santa Rosa, this was four years ago and he was 18, thinking if he could stay healthy he would be a hand full. He has.

With 16 minutes left in the game the score was San Jose 18 Santa Rosa 15. James Hinkin’s foot was on today making all of his first four conversion attempts.

San Jose's prop took offense to Santa Rosa's flanker and a couple of fists few. Both were sent off at the 25 minute mark to cool down.

San Jose looked to have 40 players out. Santa Rosa had around 18-20.

San Jose started putting in some fresh legs and scored three more tries in the last fifteen minutes.

This was a fun competitive match to referee. I felt both teams focused on their opponent and not the referee.

Final San Jose 47 Santa Rosa 15.

Special thanks to the captains Dave from Santa Rosa and Jacko from San Jose.

Hinkin did miss one conversion to go six out of seven.

James Hinkin also volunteered to referee the second game. Santa Rosa was not quite as well disciplined in the second game.

I heard a comment about a first side opponent refereeing the game.

Easy solution. There is a referee clinic in San Francisco coming up. Every team should be sending someone.

Seconds: SEAHAWKS 29 – Santa Rosa 12 Referee: James Hinkin

Touch Judge: John Pohlman

With Santa Rosa only traveling with one side the A side gamely got ready for a second match against San Jose who had a full, fresh side ready. 20 minute halves were agreed upon and the game was on. Santa Rosa was fully warmed up after the first match and was more cohesive with their play and was able to get on the board first with a converted try. San Jose soon replied, however, with a try of their own but left the conversion wide to leave the score at 7-5. The middle period of the half was dominated by wasted possession and handling errors as the youth or San Jose and the fatigue of Santa Rosa started to show. The half ended with a flourish as the two sides exchanged tries with the opposite conversion results to go into the break tied at 12 apiece.

The second half was dominated by San Jose as the strain of playing a second game started to tell on the Santa Rosa men. The tackling started to go, the defensive coverage was not as quick and the handling errors increased. The youthful, rested Seahawk team took full advantage of this and started running rampant. Santa Rosa was able to string the occasional phases together but couldn’t sustain it and the move would be killed by a knock on or a turnover. The Seahawks were able to run in three more tries – converting one – to put the final score at 29-12 in favor of San Jose

FRESNO 40 – Arroyo Grande 17 Referee: Bjorn Stumer

A beautiful day full of sunshine at the wonderful Fresno Regional Sports Park, soon to host the PCRFU Division 2 & 3 championships. Both Fresno and Arroyo Grande fielded sides full of quality, fit players who gave the numerous spectators a wonderful afternoon of sport. The first half had Fresno written all over it. Full of running they scored 3 converted tries to Arroyo's sole penalty kick. The Arroyo lads bucked up on the second half scoring two converted tries. It was not enough though, as Fresno put in an additional 19 points. Lots of effective mauling, wonderful runs by both sides, and ferocious tackling throughout. A wonderful match. Fresno proved to be a wonderful host and I am sure that they will be just as hospitable at championship time.

Seconds: FRESNO 26 – Arroyo Grande 12 Ref: Stumer

Two twenty minutes halves for two sides which included many players who just concluded the A side match. Good run by both sides, lots of fun. Fresno walked away with this one as well. Some old faces in the teams, and a wonderful occasion for all involved be in touch with the sport.

Sacramento 17 – EAST PALO ALTO 27 Referee: Tony Kennedy (Cambridgeshire)

I've got this cracking idea. What you do is invite an English referee some 7,000 miles for a week's rugby and then give him a game within 24 hours of his jet lagged and travel ragged landing. Collected by your own Joe L, he was driven, a coffee stop aside, to a dust bowl of a public park and introduced to the teams. The common language barriers overcome, he started the game. It was then the culture shock kicked in, not for the referee but for the players. They'd never been spoken to like that, poor souls. However, after a while they bought into it and began to really play. The hosts were somewhat conservative while the visitors played the rugby you'd pay money to see, albeit not always with the success they may have hoped. A one try apiece half time score of 3-10 didn't reflect their efforts. The hosts battered the ball upfield in three-yard shunts until running out of numbers and losing possession only for the visitors to run it all the way back in seconds. The hosts were worth their second try but the visitors managed three, two of which were worth the ticket money alone except there was none. No-side had the players go to each other in the traditional, though this time well meant, handshake and the day was done. The players' behavior throughout had been exemplary. Coarse rugby it may have been but the spirit of this bizarre game limped on. Pity the hosts: they meet the same referee next Saturday.

Seconds: Sacramento 0 – EAST PALO ALTO 67 Referee: Joe Leisek

Touch Judges: Tony Kennedy, Ray Schwartz

A game notable for the pleasure with which the Razorbacks ran into contact and often over and through contact. There were all kinds of tries; a few that were solo efforts of 90 or more meters. The home side were keen to play and never gave up.

I took a spectacular fall in the first half, tripped from behind while chasing one of the breakaway movements. I fell forward, arms outstretched, and came in for a low landing on the hard tack surface. I got up quickly and chased, then attempted to award the try...only to find my whistle completely plugged. Knees bloodied, I blew hard into the opening atop the pea, then successfully--and loudly--awarded the try.

Thanks to Tony and Ray for running touch. I thoroughly enjoyed my day with Tony Kennedy. On the drive from Berkeley we talked about many things rugby and non-rugby related, and arrived early in Sacramento. With a little time to spare, I parked on the street next to the Capitol Building and we took a stroll around the grounds, then found a local cafe for a pre-match cup of coffee. His game was a pleasure to watch and he made many friends during and after the match. Tony is a guy who loves what he does.

As he might say himself: "It was a cracking good day."

VACAVILLE 104 – Mendocino 3 Referee: Chris Labozzetta

Evaluator: Mike Malone

Vallejo 7 – CHICO 20 Referee: Sam Davis

Saddle up the Rugby HOG and it was off to Vallejo I had to check schedule when I received this game. “When did Vallejo get a team?” I arrived on Mare Island to large football field in pretty good shape. Chico was there in Red jerseys with black stripes and Vallejo was in Red jerseys with white collars. I looked in my bag and pulled out the Red shirt and decided against doing that. ;-) Vallejo being a new club their youngest player was about 15 and their oldest player was about 60. The team has a lot of heart and played with hard hitting tackles. Chico kicked off the first 8 min was back and forth between the 20’s Vallejo passed the ball to the wing who made it to their 20 meter line and was tackled the ball spun loose one of the Chico defenders kicked the ball to go out of bounds instead it hit a player and bounced to middle of the field. The Vallejo wing scooped it up and touched it down between the posts. Chico came back at the 25 min mark with a rolling maul touching it down for the score. The half ended tied 7-7

The 2nd half was back and forth Vallejo being on the defense most of the time with short spurts of offence. Fitness came into play with 22 min left in the game Vallejo at their own 22 would not release (the players 3 game) Chico kicked for points. With 10 minutes left another penalty kick for Chico. With 3 min left in the game Chico had their final score under the post. Vallejo put on a great post game feed and party. It is good to have another rugby team to help the young kids find a place to play a great sport and learn that you can play a ruffians’ game and be a gentleman.

RENO ZEPHYRS 65 – Shasta 10 Referee: Jim Crenshaw

Reno Zephyrs have a well-balanced and very strong team this year and it showed Saturday. It was 32 to 10 at half and 65 10 at the end. Reno was scoring at will in the second half and Shasta was regrouping for the post game festivities.

Berkeley – Fog Referee: Joe Androvich
No report received.

MARIN 27 – Petaluma 10 Referee: Mike Gadoua

Both teams came out to play that ye old sport in memory of W.W. Ellis and the game was actually closer than the score shows. Petaluma never gave up the fight and put up a good showing despite a number of rookie players making the mistakes that all rookies do. However, the Leghorns kept up a strong defense even when it seemed to bend just a little too much. The Reds simply overpowered their guests and managed to cross the try line a little more often. Marin managed to pull the win out of a good scrappy game.

MISSION 42 – Stanislaus 12 Referee: Bruce Carter

The Harlots were present with enough guys to play two sides about an hour before kickoff. Mission was represented by Fabio, diligently lining the pitch and doing a fine job.

I was able to inspect the Harlots' boots and talk with their front rows about 45 minutes prior to kickoff, and ask them to fill out the match card.

The Mission however, is a different set of equations. They don't have a coach. They don't practice. Some of the guys, stretching and warming up, were scolded by one of the team movers/shakers because they might, "peak and tire out", and not in jest.

They have difficulty filling in the match card because until the ball is actually kicked off they are not sure who's going to be on the pitch when it comes down.

And still they play some flowing and creative rugby.

Stanislaus opened strongly. A series of power mauls led directly up the center of the pitch to a try by #6, Brandon Yost. Things were looking good. I said to the captain, "Good start." What he said puzzled me at the time but proved prescient: "We'll need it."

Yost closed the first half with another try, but in between Mission scored two tries and a lovely Joe Domine drop-goal to lead 17-12.

The second half was all Mission.

Thanks, guys, for the reminder of what our newer referees face in dealing with some D3 and other lower division games: constant criticism.

Make a call, a chorus of discontent issues forth from fifteen guys who never seem to be out of breath from playing; don't make a call, a descant arrives from the other-color-clad lot.

Guess it helps to be as deaf as they think we are blind.

UC Davis 19 – Stanford 19 Referee: Don Barber (Vancouver Island)

Evaluator: David Williamson
Weather and field conditions:

Field was dry and in excellent shape. The weather was clear and sunny and the winds were light to variable and seem to be changing direction throughout the match. Wind was not a tactical advantage.

Touch judges were volunteers, one from each side.

The game started with Davis setting the pace of the game and scoring the first try of the day, followed by a difficult but successful conversion. Play continued back and forth until Stanford took the ball from their lineout and mauled their way down the pitch to score a try. They too, managed a challenging kick and were successful with their conversion to tie the game. Davis replied shortly there after quite near the half and led by 5 points but failed to make their 2 point conversion.

The second half started off with back and forth action with deep kicks by both sides to gain territorial advantage. On one such catch the Stanford fullback charged up the field fending off a couple of tackles and tried to link up with his supporting backs. Unfortunately his floating pass was snagged by an anticipating back who picked it off and ran with out difficulty to place the ball behind the posts for an easy conversion.

Within about 2 minutes of this steal, Stanford themselves were able to charge up the sideline and successfully score a try. Stanford failed to make the difficult conversion. Action continued back and forth until Stanford was able to control the rucks and mauls and were perched on the Davis 5m line. First noble attempt was spoiled by the good defense of Davis and the maul was held up in goal. The ensuing scrum again found good ball for the Stanford side and the snuck one in and down of the blind side. Their kick was unsuccessful and the score at this time was tied at 19 - 19.

The game became "very" spirited in the last 10 minutes of play both teams eagerly seeking the game winning points. Davis on two occasions kicked deep towards the end zone from about the Stanford 40m line and in both cases a competitive foot race resulted. On both of these occasions the ball overshot its mark and despite Davis efforts to ground the ball prior, the ball went through the dead ball zone. On both situations, Stanford took the "scrum up" gaining good field advantage but they too failed to further capitalize.

Both teams played a physical game with only one flare up behind the play. As well as one skirmish on the sideline for which both players involved were reprimanded. It was truly and excellent match with the final outcome always in question. Perhaps the final score, a tie or draw was the most deserved for both sides.

Yours in Rugby
Don Barber (Referee, British Columbia)

Seconds: UC Davis – Stanford Referee: Jackie Finck
No report received.

Chico State 7 – ST. MARY’S 62 Referee: Aruna Ranaweera

On a sunny 70F day in Chico, St. Mary's and Chico State battled for position in the NorCal league. St. Mary's took no time to score two tries, but Chico's backs answered soon after to close within 12-7. St. Mary's then put on a clinic on open field rugby, running at will against the home team who could not keep up on defense. St. Mary's appeared to be playing sevens, not bothering to ruck and instead pop-passing beautifully to swarming support players. Their centers were particularly elusive. After leading 43-7 at half, St. Mary's scored a few more tries before clearing their bench midway through the second half. St. Mary's won this match 9 tries to 1, and made it look easy.

Seconds: Chico State 31 – ST. MARY’S 40 Ref: Ranaweera

Both teams had enough players for a full-length 2nd XV match, which was both competitive and entertaining. Chico stormed to a 0-10 half-time lead before the second half roller-coaster started: SMC scored twice to lead 14-10 before Chico score twice to wrest back the lead 14-24. A score for each team and Chico still lead 21-31, but in the last 10 minutes of play SMC rallied for three more tries to steal the victory. In the end, St. Mary's 2nd XV scored 6 tries to 5 by the home team.

Sac State 10 – NEVADA 12 Referee: Tony Latu

Nevada at Sac State, Great to be back on the pitch, unfortunately the season is winding down but other duties are catching up. Well, there is a next year, a next season.

These two teams have many similarities and differences. And one of them is; Sac State has 20 plus freshman and sophomore players. But that’s in the future.

Nevada owns the present as they did showed on Saturday by edging Sac State 12-10. Conversion is very important; just ask Johnny and the Britt’s.

Seconds: SAC STATE 50ish – Nevada 7 Ref: Latu

I did the first half of the B side game and Sac State was up 33-0 at the half. Bruce Anderson, a former South African referee and now coaching Nevada took over the second half. Sac State ran in 5 more tries.

UC SANTA CRUZ 19 – Humboldt State 17 Referee: Tony Redmond

A game of tremendous effort if not always marked by the same degree of skill started with a Humboldt try after 7 minutes that was responded by with a UCSC try from a blocked clearance. The two teams each scored another converted try before half time to make it 12-12 at the break. Not much happened until 31 minutes through the second half when a quick tapped penalty saw UCSC score under the posts against a defence that was slow to respond. The try was converted to leave the remaining 9 minutes tense as the visitors attempt to score to draw level. The score eventually came, but only in the third minute of added time and wide out on the left after sustained pressure by Humboldt. The conversion missed, the home team rejoiced in a narrow win, and both teams luxuriated in the knowledge that they had given all to the cause.

USF 46 – San Jose State 23 Referee: Bruce Bernstein

USF hosted SJ Sate at its beautiful artificial turf pitch. They also provided pre-game entertainment with a bagpiper, who also led their team out onto the pitch. The added motivation worked, since they jumped on San Jose State for a 31-8 halftime lead, accentuated by their #10 throwing a quick line out to himself & running 40 yards untouched to score.

The second half was a draw (15-15); with San Jose redeeming itself.

Santa Rosa JC 5 – CAL Frosh/Soph 40 Referee: Malcolm Currie (Scotland)

NEVADA women 24 – Humboldt State 22 Referee: Jim Crenshaw

It was a nice day in Reno Saturday, as I drove up past the ski areas and a still significant amount of snow.

I arrived at the UNR pitch at 10 for the 11 AM scheduled kick off. Both teams were already warming up and it was a little brisk as a slight north wind was blowing.

UNR scored first with Humboldt answering. UNR scored again and Humboldt kicked a penalty goal near the end of the half to make it 14 – 10.

The second half went back and forth for the first 20 minutes or so, with UNR scoring 2 unconverted trys, to go up 24 to 10.

Humboldt picked up the pace and UNR tried to hold on for the last 10 minutes. With 5 minutes remaining Humboldt score a try to get within 7 and then scored a final try with no time remaining. The conversion was a yard or so wide, with UNR hanging on for the win.

St. Mary's women 13 – UC SANTA CRUZ 32 Referee: Rob Hendrickson

St Mary's women hosted UC Santa Cruz to a great day for rugby at SMC's home field under clear skies and on a firm pitch. Santa Cruz dominated possession and position in the first half and were ahead 17 - 3 at the half. SMC came back in the second half to score 2 tries and made it a much closer contest. Santa Cruz appears to have its sights set on post season play. Unfortunately St Mary's had several injuries, two of which required trips to the hospital and a break in the game for the ambulance to cross the field.

CALIFORNIA 76 – Texas A & M 0 Referee: Tony Kennedy (Cambridgeshire)

Touch Judges: Mike King, Bruce Carter

Still jet lagged and travel ragged, more so by a cunningly dated clock change, the referee arrived at the Cal ground. He was already warmed up, his host, Dave Williamson, had considered his post-travel condition and walked him uphill to the ground. Rarely thrown, he was taken to the all-too-immaculate ground. His minimal pre-match went unremarked upon by both sides, one intent on victory, the other on survival. The speaker introduced the visitors as they ran out on to a warm round of applause. He introduced the hosts as they ran out to a rather loud 'Ride of the Valkyries'. A minute's silence for the recent passing of the field's benefactor was followed by the national anthem. That was the referee's 'pinch me' moment. The hosts went on to play a game the visitors were not familiar with. More of pace and speed of thought than power, it was regularly impressive and sometimes slightly scary. The referee knew the host's kicker quite well by no-side having stood next to him for twelve 'Go Bears' trumpetings and some ten per cent of the game. Again, no-side had the players do all that went with the game.

As for the referee, he slipped away from both games understated and quietly, happy to have played his part. No? All right, you've seen through him. He'd enjoyed both games and milked the players' reaction. But, then, he's like that.

Seconds: CALIFORNIA 96 – Texas A & M 0 Referee: Andy Canning (East Mids)

Touch Judges: Roberto Santiago, Chris Tucker

A short notice appointment! Hi Andy did you bring your kit? Oh never mind we can get something together for you.

So here I am stiff from OC’s on Saturday and relaxed ready to abuse my dear friend Tony all afternoon when suddenly I am thrust into action. Who would refuse the opportunity to referee at such a venue (and for me for a second time). Having stolen kit from Tony I was really looking quite smart until Texas turned onto the field with a white shirt that cashed directly with mine...a quick shirt change turned me from smart to clown with a shirt that not only clashed with every other colour I had but changed direction several seconds after the wearer did.

The game was a little one sided and soon turned into a drill practice for Cal, but credit to the visitors they never gave up and were committed to the end. Both teams seemed happy at no-side and I was to use an old English phrase “Knackered”.

Post match at the Williamson’s was greatly appreciated and a beautiful nighttime drive across the Bay Bridge back to the Merrill’s finished off another enjoyable day.

Meeting up with Roberto Santiago again having only just met in DC last spring reminds me what a small world we now live in


JV: ELSIE ALLEN 30 – Marin 5 Referee: Mike King

A hard-fought contest under the lights in Santa Rosa. The Lobos were able to take advantage of several miscues and run 5 unconverted tries in before half-time. The 2nd stanza saw a more even contest with each side dotting down one try. Both groups of young men were well coached, and played with the drive and determination representative of their respective programs.

VACAVILLE BLACK DOGS 18 – Cougar Rugby Club 14 Referee: Scott Wood

TJs: Team supplied
Videographer and all-around nice guy: Jim Crenshaw
Location: Willis Jepson Middle School
Weather: Brilliant

Another weekend brings more travel to enjoy the world's greatest sport. Cougar RC scored an early penalty goal and was able to move the ball in and around contact. Unfortunately, most movement was east-west. Vacaville's penalties in the first half provided Cougar the opportunity to move down the field scoring an unconverted try bringing their lead to 8-0. Continued penalties put Vacaville on report that they were in serious danger of having players in the sin bin. Cougar scored another penalty goal to enter into halftime leading 11-0.

Tale of Two Halves Redux

Vacaville must have some mind-controlling device because the second half had about the same number of penalties only they were in the host's favor. Additionally, mass consumption of Focusyn brought the Vacaville game plan together as they were able to put more phases together scoring quickly to bring the lead to within four points. Cougar collected themselves and took the attack downfield to score another penalty goal increasing their lead to 14-7. Player discipline began to wane. A Cougar player took umbrage to his leg being held onto by a Vacaville player and stomped at the Vacaville player's head. No need for cautioning, this was an automatic cause for a send off. Vacaville elected to tap-and-go running to the left side of the field. A Cougar dangerous tackle around the head resulted in a sin binning and put the visiting team down two players. Vacaville converted the penalty goal to again narrow the gap to four points. A two-man overlap is hard to compensate for and Vacaville was able to exploit the resulting gaps in defense scoring an unconverted try to take the lead 15-14. A final penalty goal by the home side at full time brought the game to a close finish 18-14.

My thanks to Jim Crenshaw for taking time to video the match and provide feedback.

JV: Vacaville Black Dogs 0 – COUGAR RUGBY CLUB 15 Ref: Wood
TJs: Team supplied

At the behest of Cougar's B-side coach, I agreed to referee a 25-minute period so the seconds could get a run. Cougar has some well disciplined and tactically proficient players in its ranks.

Christian Brothers 0 – RIO RUGBY 34 (Referee’s name lost in the editing process)

On the day Rio Rugby proved to be too much for Christian Brothers. Both frosh sides played with gusto but, after a scary incident 5 minutes after kick off when a tackled Rio player went into a seizure, Rio cranked it up and never gave up. They put in 5 tries, three of them converted, and a penalty which Christian Brothers could not answer. To their credit the CB kids never gave up and played hard. Two good natured teams, appreciative hosts, and a goodish crowd. A good afternoon of youth rugby in Sacramento.

SANTA ROSA 55 – Windsor 19 Referee: Cary Bertolone

On 3/7/08, I reffed Santa Rosa High School vs Windsor High School at night, under the lights at Cardinal Newman H.S. in Santa Rosa. Santa Rosa prevailed with a 55-19 score and at least 200 students watching. Should be a good match next Friday between Marin and Santa Rosa – Joe Leisek is going to ref and both teams have been winning their games rather handily!

DE LA SALLE 12 – Piedmont 8 Referee: Sam Davis

It was a beautiful Rugby day, short Rugby HOG ride to the pitch at De La Salle vs. Piedmont 9:00 am kick off for the Varsity. De LaSalle kicked off, both teams were up to win the first half was plagued with off side at all the breakdowns. Which gave Pitt its first scoring opportunity with 17 min left in the first half from about 30 meters out and to the side their kicker put one thru the uprights De LaSalle came back with 4 min left in the half with a fine multiphase play that the wing broke free and scored the kick was good. Second half was played between the both 20 meters most of the game at the 20 min mark De LaSalle gets one in the corner score now 12-3 Pitt comes back with 2 min left and score one of their own in the corner making it 12-8 Pitt tried to get within scoring distance but the time ran out De LaSalle 12 Piedmont 8

JV: DE LA SALLE 17 – Piedmont 7 Ref: Davis

The JV was warming up De LaSalle kicked off it was a better game to watch the players stayed on side at the breakdowns which allowed play to be more wide open. De LaSalle scored first at the 18 min mark which was the only score in the first half. 8 minutes into the 2nd half De La Salle kicked deep into Pitt’s territory it bounced in goal confusion among the young Pitt players and lucky De La Salle player touched it down for the score. Pitt came back and scored one of their own under the post. With 12 min left in the game De La Salle scored one more time in the corner to make the final score De La Salle 17 Piedmont 7.

Islanders 13 – MOTHER LODE 15 Referee: Chris Tucker

The players eventually gathered at Garcia Bend park (apparently 'Turn Right' doesn't mean much to the Mother Lode front row, who turned left and delayed the game 20 minutes) for a showdown of the 2nd and 4th-ranked teams in the conference. Mother Lode scored easily (converted) after only 7 minutes, surprising given the Islanders' strong defence. Sadly, the first yellow card appeared on the restart for tackling the player early and with no wrap. Mother Lode drove down to the 22 shortly thereafter to slot another penalty. The message of the first card hadn't sunk in, and another dangerous tackle, this time by the #8, the Islanders were down to 13. Both teams had their chances for the rest of the half, noticeably the Islanders wing just denied by the corner flag. A penalty by the Islanders #10 brought the half to a close, 10-3 to the visitors.

At the half I thought we had discipline back under control, but boy was that wrong. A mere 2 minutes in saw the 3rd yellow for a high tackle, and then the bell tolled. 4 minutes in and our old friend the #8 just about took the head off the runner with a wild swinging arm. By this time he'd have seen red anyway with or without his prior misdemeanour, and fortunately that was the last entry into the book until injury time. Less content was this ref, who was previously happy to go through life without being forced to go to the other side of the wallet. But needs must, and my red card cherry was duly popped.

But credit to the Islanders, with 2 men down they came close to a try after 13 minutes, the hooker knocking on in the tackle on the goal line. The Mother Lode scrum half then showed lamentably poor hearing when 'keep it straight this time' was digested as 'keep it straight to the second row this time'. The free kick was tapped quickly and the try was scored (unconverted). Another try (again unconverted) after 22 minutes gave the Islanders an unlikely lead, but poor ball discipline cost them soon after, with Mother Lode touching down for the decisive try (unconverted). Strong pressure on the Mother Lode goal line resulted in a penalty that should maybe have been used to kick at goal, but the tap was taken and the Mother Lode wing put in a fine game-saving tackle to force the carrier into touch a metre short of the line. Game time over, Beer time up...

All in all an exciting game played hard by both sides. Had the Islanders played with more than their average 14.06 players they might well have carried the day. An easy thing to work on in practice next week.

College Park 17 – LIVE OAK 19 Referee: Giles Wilson

Nice day, nice field at Willow Glen and kids learning to play rugby; not a bad start to the day. Live Oak didn’t seem to play to their capabilities while College Park played above what they might have expected. Live Oak led at the end of by 14 – 7 but then College Park came back with two to one second half try count leaving the game at 19 – 17 in Live Oak’s favour.

JVs: COLLEGE PARK 31 – Live Oak 5 Ref: Wilson

RIO RUGBY 17 – Golden Eagles 7 Referee: Mike Villierme

Rio rugby out scored Golden Eagles by a count of 17 to 7 in a brawl abbreviated match played at Del Oro High school Friday night.


SAN MATEO WARRIORS 22 – Silicon Valley 13 Referee: Chris Fisher

B Side: WARRIORS 5 – Silicon Valley 0 Ref: Fisher

Good natured games played in a good spirit.


March 7-8, 2008
Woodlands 16 – DALLAS HARLEQUINS 22 Referee tourist: Don Pattalock

Texas Division I
Assessor: Jeremy Turner

I arrived in Houston on Friday night, made my way to the Double Tree Hotel, had a bite to eat then settled in for a good night sleep. I was picked up Saturday at noon by Woodlands Director of Rugby, and Texas RU Chairman Dave Jenkins and his wife Pam. We had a nice chat on the way over to the pitch. Upon arrival at the pitch, Dave introduced me to Jeremy Turner who would be my assessor for the match. The pitch was located on the campus of Lone Star State, was well grassed, full-sized with perfect poles. Both clubs had 2+ sides and were anxious for the match. I had had conversations with several Texas referees and coaches who all indicated that this would be a one-sided match with the Quins doing all the damage. However, Woodlands played tremendous on defense and made great use of scrappy ball. The better team won in the end, but not before being significantly frustrated by the aging and cagy Woodlands team.

Following the match, Jeremy Turner and I headed to the airport in his Austin-Martin for the de-brief and post game chat. A quick bite at the airport and I was airborne again to return home. All in all, a great exchange with a quality rugby match and good coaching/assessing


I had the pleasure of attending the first annual Oahu U19 Tournament, on March 7 and March 8, having been asked by Kevin Perry, the President of Hawaii (who I met at December's Youth Conference On The Game) to "watch" some of the local referees. I was met my first day here by David "Ma'afu" Wendt, who had been around this game as long as most of us. He took me to "Ono Hawaiian", a truly local place and by the time I was done eating, movement was a difficult concept.

There were six teams, four from Oahu (Honolulu Barbarians, Kahuku, Waipahu and Kahala/Radford), a "select" side from the Big Island and St. Mary's from Ontario, Canada. The Tournament started with four matches on Friday afternoon and the finished with the rest of the matches on Saturday. The first match pitted Big Island against St. Mary's. The lads from Ontario were noble, but having arrived the day before, not seen grass for four months and having no real concept of sun, heat and humidity, they were overwhelmed by everything, including the Big Islanders.

Saturday was very interesting, starting at about 10:30 a.m. and ending at about 5:30 p.m. These kids are big, fast and hit real hard. Good hard running, clean play (mostly, as the referees had a "no tolerance" policy and used yellow cards and an occasional red card for any foul play they saw. A number of college coaches should come to these tournaments to find some real prospects as it is doubtful that a functional college division will happen here for a long time to come. I will not go into each match. However, the Tournament was won by the Honolulu Barbarians over Kahuku by a 12-7 score and the match was in doubt until the final whistle, although the Barbarians had a 12-0 lead at the half. The Canadians did get a try in their last game and can hold their heads high. This was a real pleasure.

I did four coaching reports. Three of the refs agreed to be "wired up", something that has not happened here before. Many of the referees are also coaches and were doing double duty at the Tournament. They all ran good, safe rugby matches. They talked well to the players, using the phraseology that we use. Some of the more recent theories about positioning have not taken hold yet and there were discussions with each of them about these concepts. These are wonderful, hardworking guys who are very dedicated to the sport. Great people to hang with. I hope I gave them some information they could use.

On a personal note, my son, Stefan, was at the pitch all of Saturday and ran a bit of touch. It was wonderful to watch him being recruited by both the representatives of the Hawaii Harlequins and the University of Hawaii Men's Team. Sounds like he will be putting his boots back on, if he can find them.

Dinner at Frank's
At Frank and Clarice Merrill’s home Saturday night, left to right:

Standing: Bjorn Stumer, Tom Martinez, David Williamson, Bruce Carter and his grandson Benjamin Bravo.

Sitting: John Tyler, Don Barber (Nanaimo, Vancouver Island), Tony Kennedy (Cambridge, England) and Andy Canning (Northampton), Frank Merrill.


For the Senate
Pelicus Scriptoris