Thursday, January 29, 2009




The Promotion Committee of the NCRRS is happy to announce that the flock has a trio of newly-minted C3 referees: Rich Boyer, Craig Lusiani and Scott McConnell.

Congratulations, gentlemen. Onward and upward!


That’s the situation at present for February 21. We need more refs!

If you have not sent in your February availability, please do so – that’s half a dozen of our members. If you previously indicated that you could not run on the 21st, please have another look at the calendar.


Sent in by Phil Akroyd:

Rugby team loses record scoreline

Midlands club Alcester thought they had earned a place in rugby union's record books when they recorded a 194-3 win over Coventry Saracens last weekend. But the scoreline - a record winning margin for an English league game - has been wiped from the records after a ruling from local officials. Coventry Saracens were handicapped by having only eight players, and formed scrums with just three men. However, rules insist scrums have a minimum of five players per side.

Despite the 191-point margin of victory, Alcester would have had some way to go to beat the world record for a game of union. This stands at 350-0 and came in 1984 when tries were worth only four points rather than five, with French club Lavardac beating their third division opponents Vergt 350-0 with 66 tries. To be fair to Vergt, the match was actually a very Gallic form of protest with the players making no effort to defend in order to register their unhappiness at the suspension of several players. The result of the Midlands Six West (SE) match will still stand with Alcester keeping the two league points following the ruling by the Midlands League Organising Committee (MLOC).

"We have to say well done to Coventry Saracens for turning up and giving it a go," said MLOC chairman Paul Kaminski. "Had they put five players into the scrums instead of three they would have satisfied the laws of the game.

"But they require a minimum of five forwards in scrums at all times and so we have decided to declare the score null and void and award the two points to Alcester.

"We believe this is the fairest solution for all clubs in this league."

MARITIME ACADEMY 38 – Sierra College 19 Referee: Rich Boyer
Referee Coach: David Williamson


Sacramento Lions 7 – OLYMPIC CLUB 20 Referee: Paul Bretz
Assistant Referee: Chris Tucker
Sac Lions hosted O club on a rain-drenched pitch. Chris Tucker provided excellent support as the assistant referee. Despite the field conditions the game was played in good spirits and all seemed to have a good time. O club came out of the gates on fire and scored 3 tries in the first half. Sac's only score came from a counter attack that resulted from a poorly completed clearing kick that left one defender trying to tackle 6 Sac Lions. At half time the score was 17-7. Only one additional penalty kick occurred in the second half as both teams struggled to maintain possession in the wet conditions. O Club's strong set piece resulted in 4 tight-heads and at least half a dozen stolen balls at the line-out.

Seconds: Sacramento Lions – Olympic Club
We’re not sure if this was played.

Hayward 7 – SAN MATEO 11 Referee: Tony Redmond
Arrangements for this game didn't start well because I turned up at the wrong high school in Hayward. A couple of phone calls sorted out that problem and I eventually arrived at the right place about 30 minutes before the scheduled 1PM start. Mark this confusion down to a newcomer still finding his way around the rugby locations in the Bay Area.

Things didn't go any better after reaching the right location. A high school game was being played on a muddy pitch that was bereft of line markings. After that game finished, an examination of the pitch revealed that it could not host any serious level of rugby with the markings that it had - plus there were no flags and the crowd was firmly camped on the touch line. Negotiations then ensued to get the pitch remarked, to find flags, and to put ropes up as per regulations. Vivienne from the rugby union did a great job to work with the Hayward club to doing the right thing but all came to a grinding halt when the fact emerged that the permit for the ground specifically excluded any game played when conditions were wet and muddy, which they absolutely were.

Further negotiations brought us to the point where the game was moved to a nearby football pitch. This had no markings, flags, etc. but it did have the benefit of stands and fences. The Hayward club begin to mark out the ground to a point where we had basic markings (dead ball, goal, 22, half) but little else. No flags were to be found and the football posts were pressed into service. All in all, not a great way to host a game between two division 1 clubs and certainly well outside the boundaries of the arrangements envisaged by regulations.

In any case, we eventually kicked off at 2:05PM and San Mateo quickly took advantage of some basic errors by Hayward to first kick a penalty and then score an unconverted try from a 5m line-out. Play was very typical of an early season game with much honest endeavor coming to grief in a succession of knock-ons and forward passes. Hayward eventually got into the game by scoring a converted try early in the second half and San Mateo responded with another penalty to close out the scoring and leave the final result at 7-11. The pace slowed in the last 20 minutes as players tired and substitutes came on.

Seconds: HAYWARD 5 – San Mateo 0 Referee: Mike King
This match was a very abbreviated due to a late start for the 1st side contest and the need to free the pitch for another match. The intensity level was incredibly high and the play incredibly spirited. Well played!

Baracus 0 – EAST PALO ALTO 51 Referee: Chris Labozzetta
As the score indicates, EPA flat out crushed Baracus on this opening weekend for both sides. EPA played a very disciplined and aggressive game, which was very impressive to witness, especially this early in the season. Baracus simply was outmatched on the day. The defining moment was with 2 minutes to go in the first half, Baracus had an offensive scrum on EPA’s 30 meter line. EPA smashed the scrum, won the ball, and ran virtually untouched 70 meters for a try to end the half. I would have to think EPA are going to be very tough to beat in Div 2 this year.

Seconds: Baracus 0 – EPA 36 Ref: Labozzetta
Pretty much a carbon copy of the first game, at a slightly slower pace.

FRESNO 91 – Arroyo Grande 0 Referee: Phil Ulibarri
Fresno scored 15 unanswered tries with eight conversions in a convincing demonstration before about 100 home-town fans. Final 91 – 0.

Seconds: FRESNO 26 – Arroyo Grande 0 Ref: Ulibarri
Arroyo Grande reluctantly/gallantly agreed to an abbreviated second 20-minute refrain with uncontested scrums which ended 26 – nil.
Thanks to Isaac and Bo my touch judges on the day.

Seahawks 19 – SANTA ROSA 26 Referee: Aruna Ranaweera
Assistant Referees: Rich Anderson, Mike King
Referee Coach: David Williamson
Location: Sunset HS, Hayward

I was originally scheduled to referee the 2nd XV match between Hayward and San Mateo, but due to some somewhat comical problems finding a marked and available field in Hayward, the 2nd XV match was originally called off. Rich Anderson was scheduled to referee the San Jose vs Santa Rosa match (which itself had been hastily re-scheduled due to field unavailability), but he graciously invited me to referee his match. The Hayward 2nd XV match ended up being played at the last minute for 20 minutes (refereed by Mike King), which meant that the San Jose vs Santa Rosa match had to wait until 4:15 pm to kickoff. Since evening visibility was sure to be an issue, the captains agreed before the match to play at least one half and whatever else was possible, at which point the final score would be accepted as an official league result. After the uncertainty of finding a field to play on, players and officials were glad to get going under cold, dark, damp conditions. I, for one, was excited to have a full crew of NCRRS support: Rich Anderson and Mike King running touch, David Williamson in the stands (with audio), and Tony Redmond (who refereed the Hayward vs San Mateo 1st XV match) as an observer.

The match ended up being quite entertaining and well-matched: the contest for possession was fierce and both teams looked to spin the ball wide where they often found swarming support. San Jose scored first to lead 0-7, but Santa Rosa scored two tries to lead 12-7 at half. San Jose showed superior physicality in the forwards, but Santa Rosa looked more potent in the backs. With darkness looming, San Jose scored twice and seemed to have the match in the bag at 12-19, but they attempted an adventurous skip pass that was intercepted and resulted in a Santa Rosa try which tied the match 19-19 at the 58th minute. I informed the players that I would play 2 more minutes, after which Santa Rosa proceeded to score one last try that sealed the match, 26-19, 4 tries to 3. It was a shame to play only 60 minutes of rugby, but I had to end the match due to poor light. The return match will be good!

Much thanks to Rich and Mike for their help as assistant referees, David for his coaching, and Tony for his advice.

Seconds: Seahawks – Santa Rosa Referee: NOT PLAYED

DIABLO GAELS 34 – SF/Golden Gate 15 Referee: Joe Leisek
Diablo Valley College, Pleasant Hill

The season-opener for both clubs, and a very spirited, competitive match. The first 15 minutes seemed to be all SFGG, as they seemed much better organized and far better disciplined. In fact, at that point I was convinced it was going to be a long afternoon for the Gaels. But the hosts soon started to play with a much better focus and resolve; they concentrated better and I could feel the momentum shift. Although the visitors scored first, the Gaels rebounded with several tries in the first half, including a beauty from a lineout and some efficient passing that sent their outside center scampering about 45 meters for a try. SFGG mounted a comeback in the second half, but the Gaels pulled away for the win. Both teams featured several young players in their starting XVs (the average age of the entire Diablo club roster is 24). Good to speak with coaches Harry Batten and Mike Caravelli after the match. (It was my third Batten-related assignment of the young season, having twice refereed his son Kyle with St. Mary's College.) A quality rugby day in a great setting, with a precisely-lined field and fine hospitality.

Seconds: Diablo Gaels 24 – SFGG 34 Referee: Dave Heath
Referee Coach: Joe Leisek
This was a good competitive game. In the first half SFGG had the lion's share of possession and territory, but still turned around 17-10 down thanks to two opportunistic tries by the Diablo right and left wings and a well worked goal to two unconverted tries.

Diablo scored another good goal early in the second half to stretch their lead, but then it became a battle for them as SFGG reasserted their possession game and started to pull the game back. Strong forward drives, good off-loading in the tackle and some good vision to put players into space saw SFGG score four unanswered tries (two converted) to finish 34-24 ahead.

Thoroughly enjoyed this game, and all credit to both sets of players for their commitment and skill. Thanks also to Joe for staying on after his game to provide some feedback.

Mission – Humboldt RAIN OUT

Vacaville 21 – BERKELEY 27 Referee: Sam Reagle
I brought HiTops in case the rain earlier this week turned this game into a mudfest, but such was not the case. The pitch was damp, but in good shape with the weather behaving wonderfully with cloudy skies and no rain all day.

Berkeley struck early with an unconverted try just 3 minutes into the game and another unconverted try midway thru the first half. Both teams did a good job of poaching the ball at tackles where the support was late in arriving. The first half was very fluid, but turnovers and knock-ons killed many attacks. Vacaville scored a converted try 35 minutes in for a halftime score of 10-7.

Like the first half, Berkeley controlled the early goings of the second half with unconverted tries at the 7 and 23 minute marks and a converted try at the 30 minute mark to go up 27-7. Berkeley was controlling the scrums and appeared to be cruising even before too many Not-Releasing penalties on Vacaville sent a man to the bin for the duration. However, the game got interesting when the remaining 14 Vacaville players scored their second converted try with a couple of minutes remaining to draw within 6 of winning this game. It was not to be, but they did get a bonus point.

Interesting side-bar: One of the early Berkeley conversions looked to be good, but was called wide by their touch judge. I chose not to overrule since it was THEIR touch judge. It seemed insignificant at the time, but in the end, affected the bonus point.

Seconds: VACAVILLE 17 – Berkeley 12 Ref: Reagle
Good clean game of mostly the A-side players playing again with a handful of newbies.

The Good Heffer hosted the party. Nice place, stop in if you are in Vacaville.

FOG 27 – Stanislaus 5 Referee: Roberto Santiago
Referee Coach: Dixon Smith
Overcast, chilly, and perfect for rugby as the rain held off on Treasure Island on Saturday. Both teams came out playing well defensively but Fog made it 5-0 with a nifty chip kick from the 12 to the 14 at the 9:47 mark. Fog scored again in the first half for a 10-0 lead. After the Fog converted a penalty Stanislaus closed the gap with try at 49:50 to make it 13-5. After that it was all SF as the home side tacked on two more converted tries, including one while a man down for a dangerous tackle, for a 27-5 final. The difference in the game once again was cohesion in the back line as the Fog's line seemed just a little more in sync taking advantage of a fine short kicking game to make ground and put a couple over the line.

CHICO 129 – Mendocino 0 Referee: Phil Akroyd
Location: Chico Middle School
Weather: Cool, cloudy and breezy (perfect!)
The outcome of this game was on the cards for many days leading up to the match. The Mendocino coach (Liam) informed me that the team was undergoing a rebuilding phase; they had lost their training facilities and several players. They would also be traveling to Chico short. Chico, on the other hand, had been having a strong pre-season and has a large squad, with big, talented and experienced players.

The first try was scored by Chico after 24 seconds. That was the pattern of the game for the remaining 79 minutes and 36 seconds.

It was 64 – 0 at half time and the only disruption to the try-fest was a gaping head wound to the Mendocino right winger with 30 minutes to go as a result of a freak tackle accident. The game finished with ten tries in the first half, eleven in the second, a total of 7 penalties awarded in the game, one free-kick and two teams of players who assured me that they all enjoyed the game and got something out of it.


VALLEJO 40 – Shasta 8 Referee: Ray Schwartz
Referee Coach: Mike Malone
Qualified Touch Judge: Vaea Anitoni
After driving to Shasta the weekend before and yet having no game, both Shasta and I hoped for a full 80-minutes in Vallejo. Before this match, the Highlanders collectively commented on how they had never seen 10 rugby players drive so far and yet not bother to at least scrimmage, as Aptos had the week before. Hard to say, but the 25 Highlanders ready to play last week at home had now dwindled to 17 in Vallejo. I'm sure if they had played a decent match the week before, their numbers would have been higher...

Vallejo has numbers. And a field! In a stadium, with lights, and flagpole, rest rooms, man, this is legit! John Kelly never played rugby, but founded the team last year, and is blessed to have coaches Ben Whisky and Vaea Anitoni to work together on helping to change hearts and minds among the troubled youth of Vallejo. A great group with a great spirit. They lacked some discipline, some skill and some fitness...however, some of their players are fit and skillful. It made for a compelling match.

Mike Malone got me mic'ed up, and the game would be broadcast on local cable and the internet, with my voice over! Mike reported afterwards I had done a very good job of communicating, and during at least one long stretch, I did a lot of heavy breathing too!

Shasta came out blazing and scored the first points through a penalty. Vallejo would be persistently infringing at the tackle/ruck, just a fraction below earning a yellow card for repeat team infringements on the day. They collectively seemed to commit every penalty at least twice! I talked them out of what I could, and let advantage go as much as possible.

Vallejo roared back with a converted try. Play moved fast from try line to try line, but with no score. My left hamstring clamped up about 30 minutes in, ouch! Shasta missed two more attempts at goal before finally scoring an unconverted try, and take an 8-7 lead into halftime.

Shasta remained game, but the story of the second half was Vallejo raising theirs. There were some nice combinations between their centers and fullback leading to long runs. Their scrums, though a man short, dominated. Ben was really concerned about making certain to pick up the bonus point, and sure enough his 55-year old self scored the third of 6 tries in the half! The game ended with a charged down kick (in general play) caroming off the face of a Vallejo player, ricocheting forward to a teammate, who danced in for the score.

I appreciate Mike Malone's feedback and enthusiasm after the match. Even though I project confidence, in truth I am a steaming mass of so many of us. Mike pointed out my strengths, confirmed I had more than I thought (!), and provided good direction toward how I might best improve my ref skills.

Had a great chat with John Kelly afterwards, as I helped him take down his Stars and Stripes. Vallejo will host the NCRFU DIII championship at their home pitch, a facility/location filled with great potential, and yet surrounded by a largely abandoned former naval base. The aftermatch function was at John's facility nearby, over the bridge in town, kind of a halfway house/youth center. The food was great, the spirits infectious! Great to be a part of NorCal rugby, and witness it growing in positive directions!

CALIFORNIA 109 – Nevada 3 Referee: James Hinkin
Assistant Referees: Eric Rauscher, Richard McGrath (Sydney)
Assessor: Bryan Porter
Coaching and Advice: Pete Smith

While the clouds were threatening the weather held off in Berkeley for the Cal v Nevada match. This was my first visit to Witter Rugby Field as an official (I have been there as a player and a fan) and the level of professionalism was apparent throughout the day. After the teams and the referees were introduced we paused for the national anthem and the game was started. Nevada started strong with some early pressure but Cal held firm and relieved it. A penalty to Cal at midfield led to a quick tap and recycling and Cal was across for a try within 5 minutes. Nevada kept the pressure on after the restart and were rewarded with a couple of scrums near the Cal line and eventually managed a drop goal. After that it was all Cal. Nevada tackled hard but couldn't get ahold of the ball and were eventually worn down as the tries came more frequently as time went on. Cal produced a workmanlike and disciplined performance with flashes of brilliance. Half time score: 46-3. Final score: 109-3.

Seconds: CALIFORNIA 125 – Nevada 0 Referee: Smith, Pete
Cal’s B side were never tested, but did have to play all 80 minutes as the UNR team were determined to finish the match regardless of the results. Considering several players, including most of the front row, had to play again in the B side match, everyone was impressed if not a little surprised that a full 80 minutes were completed. With the tally already over the century mark and about 15 minutes left to play, UNR were offered some relief, they responded “What, they don’t want to play a full game?”- I responded, “No, I am sure they are okay for all 80”- “Good, so are we!”. My hat’s off the UNR for playing the game properly. Oh, I only had 5 penalties in this one, two against Cal.

Daniel Barrett, formerly of SFGG U19 and USA U19, was his usual standout self scoring almost at will with at least 5 tries, maybe more I lost track. Having refereed Todd Clever at roughly the same stage in his career, with a few years left in high school, Daniel is the first player to remind me of Todd. If he gets serious and as fit as he needs to be to play at the highest levels, no doubt the sky is the limit for him. It is tough to push yourself when the game comes so easily at this level, but hopefully as he climbs the ladder of success, he will see the amount of work and dedication it will take to maximize his potential.

UC Davis 14 – CHICO STATE 27 Referee: Joe Androvich

Seconds: UC Davis 31 – CHICO STATE 33 Referee: Scott McConnell
The rain stayed away therefore the track was decent for some running rugby, Chico bolted out of the gate and ran in 4 converted tries to UC Davis 10 points coming by way of 1 converted try and a penalty kick. Davis got a good second wind after the half and ran in 3 unanswered converted tries to just take the lead. Chico realizing this went into top gear and ran in a try to take the lead back with only five minutes left. They held onto the ball and ran out time to win 33-31.

SACRAMENTO STATE 32 – Stanford 24 Referee: Jim Crenshaw
Assistant Referees: Matt Eason, Craig Lusiani/Sean Lyons
Thanks to Matt Eason and Craig Lusiani/Sean Lyons for running touch and Kat Todd for her input. We had a hotly contested match Saturday, with Sac State starting off fast with 2 unconverted trys in the first 20 minutes to take a 10 - 0 lead, only to have Stanford storm back with 2 trys and one conversion to make it 12 - 10 at halftime.

Sac State regained the lead with a penalty kick. Stanford scored a converted try to go up 19 - 13 at about the 20 minute mark, but Sac State scored a converted try to regain a one point advantage. With about 8 minutes remaining Sac State scored a try in the corner. The kick was short so Sac State increased their margin to 6. With only a couple of minutes left, Stanford scored under the posts to shrink Sac State’s lead to 1. The Stanford conversion was partially blocked, and couldn't quite get over the crossbar. Play resumed, but the momentum had shifted, with Sac State scoring a converted try with no time left. Great match!!
Final score Sac State 32 Stanford 24

Seconds: SAC STATE 32 – Stanford 10 Referee: Craig Lusiani
Referee Coach: Kat Todd-Schwartz
Threatening skies but no rain. Wind was a factor.

The match had good flow but, despite tenacity shown by Stanford's pack, the Hornet forwards controlled much of the set play as a result of the size advantage they enjoyed. Sac St. also had speed advantage in their back line which was telling in the final score with two long breaks for tries in the second half.

San Jose State – Santa Clara RAINED OUT

UC Santa Cruz 14 – SANTA ROSA JC 27 Referee: Rob Hendrickson
Assistant Referee: Brian Schnack

The Slugs' pitch was in great shape, and we had only a slight drizzle in the second half of this fast and intense game. Santa Rosa scored 3 first half tries and managed to hold off several UC Santa Cruz possessions which ended in knock-ons in the 5 meter area before Santa Cruz finally punched one in. The second half saw a penalty try awarded against Santa Rosa for impeding Santa Cruz's #10 from downing his well placed kick for a try, followed by two late break away tries by Santa Rosa to put the game away. Notwithstanding the hard fought nature of the game, good sportsmanship prevailed by both teams which made my job much easier and more fun). What a great outing.

Humboldt St – Diablo U23 CANCELED

USF – SFSU Referee:

UC DAVIS women 27 – Nevada 5 Referee: Jackie Finck
Russell Field
TJ: Donald Walsh

Driving down the hill to the valley that morning, I passed through snow and rain to get to Davis. It looked to be a dreary, overcast day. But as soon as I passed through Sacramento and into Davis, the clouds had cleared, the sun was shining, the pitch was soft, the air was crisp; ingredients for a fantastic rugby recipe.

Both teams had spirited energy, but Reno compromised discipline at the offside lines -entering the gate from the side, loitering along rucks- which caused a few pricey penalties. It wasn't until the second half when Reno began to heed my voice to prevent material offences, in which case they scored a try. Both captains demonstrated excellent team management on the field. Continuity at the rucks and mauls for both teams seems to be a slow down; I got mixed management reviews from both coaches. A big thanks to the BMOC -Donald Walsh- for helping me out as an official TJ.

STANFORD women 126 – Humboldt State 0 Referee: George O’Neil
Video Coach: Bruce Carter
From #1 to #15, the Stanford players run upfield, always with support. Tackle though HSU would, there was always someone there to take an offload until one of the burners could show her heels.

Seconds: STANFORD 51 – California 12 Referee: Bruce Carter
Cal had a lot of brand-new players.

Something occurred to me during this match, that players new to rugby from other sports, or new to team sports altogether, are not used to match officials addressing them by number during play. A lot of blank looks led me to this conclusion.

Perhaps a word to those of you coaching new ruggers: let them know that the Pelicanrefs will speak to them, by number, while the ball is in play, to help them stay on the bright side of the Law.

The other conclusion arising from this match is that Stanford’s selectors will have some decisions to make as the season rolls on – these women are good!

UC SANTA CRUZ women 26 – Chico State 5 Referee: Schnack
UCSC Women beat Chico State Women at UCSC, 26-5, on Saturday January 24th.

This was a fun match backed by seasonably appropriate cold with light rain, a few whistles, four first-half Slug tries, a few close (but not close enough) deep excursions by Chico, and finally an excellent second-half five-phase (with advantage) try by Chico.

Great follow-up and support, along with tenacious running gave the Slugs a 26-0 lead at half. Chico's game was sidetracked with infringements at the tackle and rucks, not to mention committing too many folks (intentionally or not) into the rucks.

The second half was a cleaner version of the first, with both sides taking to each other. Chico put together some good possessions, and got some reward that Saturday with a fun five+ phase combo of runtackleruckruntackleruckadvantagespinoutruntacklepoppasstackleruckrun...etc. Experiencing a series like that makes me happy to be breathing.

A quick 2nd sides match followed (thanks to both Santa Rose JC and UCSC Mens for giving them twenty). The Slugs won this, for what it's worth, unofficially 7-0 (score torn off for a grocery list now long gone, so I don't have the final).

Fun day, welcome rain, more welcome rugby for folks. Here's to more of it.


SFGG 63 – Sierra 0 Referee: Preston Gordon
Referee Coach: Bryant Byrnes
This was the last match of the day (of five), and while it was fast, it was over by about 15 minutes into the game. At the half the score stood at 29-0 in favor of the home side. SFGG had many more bodies available for substitutions, and was better in the loose. Kudos to both sides for the fair contest in every aspect.

Afterwards, Bryant Byrnes and I discussed the match over beer and sausages, courtesy of SFGG. The bonus of the day goes to the weather - the pitch was a bit wet (which caused a bunch of knock-ons) but the rain held off!

SFGG frosh/soph 69 – Golden Valley frosh/soph 0 Referee: Eric Rauscher
Three 20 min periods. Coaches on the field, me coaching too. Excited kids playing for their first time. SFGG dominated, but all had a good time. SFGG's #15 (Tommy Giles sp?) was terrific in his role of kicking conversions.

LIVE OAK 7 tries – Tri-Valley & Valley Christian combined 0 Referee: Bruce Bernstein
Seconds, ten-a-side: Live Oak 0 – TRI-VALLEY 8 tries Ref: Bernstein

Seconds: SFGG 17 – Marin High 8 Referee: Bryant Byrnes
This was a late replacement match for a rained out game; many thanks to Bjorn for assigning it.

A gray and damp day on TI. Evenly matched, the teams played with spirit and skill-it was only decided in the last 10 minutes. My compliments to the players, the coaches, and SFGG for its hospitality and warm clubhouse.

PITTS 36 – Montgomery 5 Referee: Cary Bertolone
Reffed a practice game between the two high school squads on a soft "For Pete's Sake" rugby pitch in Santa Rosa. Pitt dominated play, especially in the first half when they had their varsity team in. Strong forward play with good inside back play had Montgomery on their heels most of the day, but Montgomery never gave up and had some strong forward play of their own along side a very good flyhalf. It was 24-0 at the half, but ended up 36-5 as the second half became much more even. Lots of fun!!!

MOTHER LODE – Santa Rosa Referee: John Tomasin
The second game was reffed by Dr. John Tomasin and it was between Santa Rosa High School Rugby Club and the Mother Lode H.S. team from Sac. It kicked off at 1:00 and was dominated by Mother Lode as Santa Rosa is in a rebuilding year, having lost 15 Seniors to graduation and a couple others to Scholarship requirements (no rugby because of College). They played valiantly and Doc kept the game in complete control and all had a good time. I don't know the score, but it was a big win for the Mother Lode and a great day for high school rugby.


Chris Clever, who learned his rugby in the NCRFU, launching a career that has taken him to Blackheath, Olympic Club and now OMBAC, checks in with his latest labor of love:

“I wanted to tell you about and send a link your way of a little endeavor that a few rugby friends and myself have embarked upon. We have launched a website that incorporates International and Domestic rugby news and an online social network that brings together rugby players, teams and fans through set groups and blogs. We also have great photo uploading capabilities.

“Please take a look, navigate around and build a profile, start a group. Go nuts! Don't forget to spread the word to anyone that may be interested.”

Baja Boys and Gulls
Preston Gordon forwards this shot that his brother took in Baja California Sur.


For the Senate
Pelicus Scriptoris

Wednesday, January 21, 2009




Please let us know which of the Saturdays in February you can referee, and whether you can do a road trip:

Y/N If Yes, Travel? Y/N
Feb 7
Feb 14
Feb 21
Feb 28


USRFF to Honor Doc Hudson and Pat Vincent at Annual Dinner

The U.S. Rugby Foundation will be honoring two of the early contributors to rugby in the United States, Miles "Doc" Hudson and Pat Vincent, at its Annual Dinner on Saturday, February 14, 2009 at the Hotel Solamar in downtown San Diego.

Doc Hudson took over the reigns of the rugby program at the University of California at Berkeley in 1938. He remained at the helm of that prestigious program for the next 37 years compiling an impressive win/loss record of 339-84-23. Several of his Cal teams were considered by many to be some of the best that Cal ever fielded, including those in the 1950s that played the likes of the New Zealand All Blacks, Australian Wallabies and a combined Oxford-Cambridge side.

Pat Vincent was the captain of the New Zealand All Blacks in 1956. He coached the Saint Mary's rugby teams from 1968 until his unfortunate passing in 1983. The foundation that Pat set during his time in charge is credited for the successes that Saint Mary's has enjoyed since then.

"The Rugby Foundation looks forward to honoring these two gentlemen who put so much of themselves into seeing that rugby took hold in the U.S.," said USRFF Chairman, Bob Watkins. "It's important that true rugby men like Doc and Pat are recognized for their efforts. It should be a wonderful evening and I hope that we see many of those players that were influenced by Doc and Pat."

In 2007, the USRFF honored Dennis Storer, the first ever U.S. Eagles coach while last year, Keith Seaber, a long serving USA Rugby administrator, was honored.

In addition, USA 7s coach, Al Caravelli, will take a few moments out of his busy weekend to stop by and provide his insight of Day One of the USA 7s.

If you would like to take part in the USRFF's Annual Dinner, tickets are still available. Tickets are $125. A cash bar will be open from 7:30-8:00 pm with dinner starting at 8:00 pm.

Reserve your spot at the USRFF Annual Dinner:
Click here


Thursday, January 15
UC Davis 13 – BYU 60 Referee: John Pohlman
Assistant Referees: Phil Akroyd, Ray Schwartz
Referee Coach: Jim Crenshaw
Assistant Referee Coach: Chris Tucker

When I travel around the US referring and talking with other referees from around the country, most referees are pretty jealous that I get to referee in Northern California. The Pelicans run one of the best crews in the country and have some great contests each week. That may be the reason some unions believe we are a bit elitist.

Well when I looked are my January 2009 schedule, all I can say is "show me another Union where a C-1 referee can call the top three Division 1 Rugby teams in the county".

Last Saturday Cal, Thursday BYU and January 31 St. Mary's. All I can say is "Sweet".

This Thursday #12 UC Davis hosted #3 BYU. The game started at 6:00pm with temperatures in the 60's at a well-marked and well-lit Hutchinson Field.

When I arrived around 5:00 both teams were warming up.

I was expecting a strong game from both teams. Davis coming off a 54 to 7 win over Chico. This was BYU's first game of the year.

Well, the speed of the game caught me by surprise. I think it surprised Davis throughout the game. The BYU forwards looked to have at least a ten pound weight advantage per player. Unfortunately for Davis, BYU also seemed to have a step or two in speed.

Five minutes in Davis fullback Harrison slotted a penalty. The penalty was for BYU losing their feet at the tackle/ ruck. I gave two yellow cards for repeating this offence.

BYU got their first try when #13 Lasik scored. Three minutes later BYU score another. Harrison slotted another penalty 15 minutes in. BYU scored three more trys in the first half. Davis answered with an intercept try of their own.

First half score BYU 31 Davis 13.

The second half started with BYU's captain #8 St. Pierre scoring. At 14 minutes St. Pierre was binned for repeat infringements. He 'thanked' me later; it was his first time in the bin. It did not slow down BYU. They scored three more tries while he was in the bin. BYU made some substitutions and finished the scoring with one more try.

For a final score of BYU 60 Davis 13.

BYU is very talented. Very fast. They started seven foreign born players ranging from South Africa, New Zealand, Tonga and Fiji. BYU's stand out players included captain St. Pierre, USA. Hooker and Kiwi Lawrence. Lawrence totally controlled the scrums. He could drop, pop and drive. All legal to control the scrums. Thanks for your continued safety. #9 Davies, South Africa also stood out.

Davis lost most lineouts and had very few unpressured possessions.

Like I said super fast game. Loads of special scores. Good discipline from both sides. Thanks for my assistant referees and great coaching.

Elsie Allen 10-a-side 10
Referees: Tom Zanarini, Mike King, Chris Labozzetta
Report by Tom Zanarini:

5 teams competed in the pre-season Elsie Allen 10's tournament to gear up for the season: Lobos (2 teams), Montgomery, Santa Rosa and Windsor. The new field at Elsie Allen has been mentioned before and it is very nice. The field turf is great to run on and the extra rugby markings are a nice touch. Regulation goal posts are placed on the in-goal line as well. Thanks to Alan Petty for hosting and thanks to all the coaches who participated in the event.

The format was 15 minute matches with no halftime, uncontested scrums and lineouts and no scores were recorded. 3 referees rotated 2-on, 4-off. Lots of rugby rookies took part in the competition and the teams played with great enthusiasm. It seems most Pelicans don't get to run around much with the U-19's but after this weekend I would highly recommend it. They were a great bunch of kids and I'll be happy to referee a regular season match. I don't want to get all Whitney Houston, but the more support we give our time and support to the younger rugby players, the better the rugby will get in college and club levels.

Stanford 7 – BYU 64 Referee: Paul Bretz
Assistant Referees: Eric Rauscher, James Hinkin
Videographer: Bruce Carter


Referees: Paul Bretz, Bruce Carter, Preston Gordon, Scott Griffin, Rob Hendrickson, James Hinkin, Mike King, Joe Leisek, Richard McGrath (visiting from Sydney), Dave Pope, Eric Rauscher, Sandy Robertson, Robertson Santiago

There was frost on the ground each morning after your writer arrived from his 85-mile drive, and mid-to-upper seventies by the afternoons. It was two Rugby Days.

The Stanford Invitational features women’s D1 college teams from all across the West and California playing on three pitches over three days. New Mexico, Colorado, Wyoming, Oregon and Oregon State joined eight teams from the Golden State to play 39 games.

A brand-new referee got his first two runs, Scott Griffin who used to play for the Olympic Club. Scott said he ran into Ray Schwartz somewhere and mentioned the word ‘referee’, hence his arrival. Thanks, Ray!

Richard McGrath, visiting San Francisco on business, also capable handled a couple of matches. Richard will be running touch for the Cal – Nevada game this weekend, and will go home assuming that that Steuber Rugby Stadium and Witter Field are typical of US rugby facilities.

Stanford won the tournament but not without setbacks. They lost their first game to Oregon, 5 – 10, but won out from there.

New Mexico arrived on the heels of a dominant autumn season in the west and won every game by large margins until the semi-final:

Semi-final: STANFORD 21 – U. New Mexico 15 Referee: Bruce Carter
Assistant Referee: Preston Gordon

Coach Shannon Robinson has his Lobos playing with precision. They played Jonathan Griffin’s defending national champions to within four minutes of the third-place game.

Both teams had strong running games and knew how to counter-ruck. Equally strong: they scored three trys each, New Mexico’s coming on an intercept by their #12 to put the visitors ahead 15-14 with four minutes remaining.

Stanford however scored again with #11 eleven notching her second try, one down each touchline. The difference was Stanford’s kicking, #10 not missing a one.

Stanford went on to defeat Chico State in the final.

Eric Rauscher’s games:
I ended up reffing three games over the weekend.

UC SANTA BARBARA 31 – Humboldt 5
The first half of this game was quite enjoyable. The tackles were clean and the rucks were short and penalty-free making for a flowing game. Humboldt only had two subs to put in while USCB had thirty new legs due to unlimited subs and a large team pool. This shows in the score, but Humboldt played all the way through and scored their try in the 36th minute.

STANFORD 14 – UC Los Angeles 0
I was honored to ref this game. Unlike the first game, UCLA put in 15 subs, but the Stanford side was just too strong and talented. UCLA did hold them to just two converted tries so that was quite respectable.

CALIFORNIA 7 – Colorado 0
This was the game between the teams with the least number of wins. [Editor’s Note: Nay. This was the seventh-place game, in a tournament with thirteen entrants. Could have just as easily been called the Bowl Final.]

I must say that it was admirable that both teams stayed to play this game when they just as easily folded tent and gone home. The teams were evenly matched and played up and down and back and forth across the pitch, but the total points scored was only 7. Once again, I thought it a good game bravely played by both sides.

Roberto Santiago’s games:
Sun. 1/18 Stanford Invitational Day 2

OREGON 10 – Oregon State 5
Another great weather day down a Stanford's rugby fields. Oregon played Oregon State in one of the early games. It was a fairly pedestrian match with both sides using solid technique to compensate for a lack of speed and power. Oregon Seemed to have slightly better athletes and slightly more cohesion than their rivals from Corvallis. In the end Oregon was able to make one more break. It's a nice contrast reffing two well coached disciplined sides after the chattiness of the clubs I've had the past two weeks.

STANFORD 40 – UC Santa Barbara 0
Wow. So I guess Stanford's pretty good. They certainly had more speed than any of the other clubs I saw that day. Stanford also has better on-field chemistry than any team I've reffed in a good long time. UCSB had some athletes, but you could tell that they hadn't been playing together for too long. At times Stanford made this one look like a Globetrotters game. For their part UCSB never hung their heads and never showed any less fire from the first horn to the last. Both teams had the lowest most technically efficient scrums I've can remember seeing as a ref.

Thanks to all involved in the tournament for a fine morning of rugby. It was just the way to work out the soreness from a previous day of Rugby. I don't what I'm supposed to do Monday though.

Rob Hendrickson’s games:

UCLA 20 – Humboldt 0
UCLA kept the pressure on Humboldt for most of the game, although possession and territory were pretty evenly divided. The ref should have awarded Humboldt a penalty try late in the game when the ball was kicked forward by Humboldt and into UCLA's in-goal and the UCLA center instinctively played the Humboldt player instead of diving to ground the ball for a 22 meter drop out.

UCLA 26 – UC Davis 0
UCLA managed to hold enough back in reserve from its earlier game to outplay UC Davis and go on to score 4 tries. Davis has some real talent but may be in the the process of rebuilding in this early season play.

SFGG SL 60 – Sacramento Lions 20 Referee: Joe Androvich

RENO 43 – Olympic Club 37 Referee: Don Pattalock
AR's: Phil Ulibarri, Adam Mick
Fortunate Fan: Sam Reagle

Reno's first match in D1 following a 2 division promotion was an all out exciting match against the Olympic Club in Reno on a gorgeous day. A total of 11 tries were scored in the match.

Not sure if OC took the debutants lightly, but the first 20 minutes it was all Reno. 2 of Reno's trys came off of a charge down and a miscue between OC #8 and 9. OC then decided to play some rugby and countered with a try of their own and 3 penalties. Half time score: Reno 22 OC 16.

The second half started off in the same fashion that the first half ended; physical rugby. Reno's captain was binned for a dangerous tackle and OC quickly took charge and scored 2 trys in the right hand corner. When it looked like Reno was out of gas, they found some life and scored from a forward dominated drive up the touch line. Then, with the score 29-30 in OC's favor, Reno's 12 sidestepped a tackle and scored.

The back-breaker for the OC came with 4 minutes to play and a kick by Reno turned around the OC wing and bounced within inches of the touch line; with 2 Reno defenders bearing down and the 14 other OC players shouting "man on" the OC wing somehow failed to tap the ball into touch, a Reno defender toed the ball ahead, gathered and scored under the posts. With 1 minute left, OC mounted a steady attack and scored a consolation try at full time. OC dominated the set pieces, but Reno's size superiority dominated the contact. Reno at full steam with ball in hand will be a scary proposition for everyone.

Seconds: Reno 5 – OLYMPIC CLUB 54 Referee: Sam Reagle
TJs: Russ Wilkening, Linda Manning

On yet another beautiful day in Reno, a hundred or so spectators and I had pitch-side seats for an absolutely phenomenal A-side game refereed by The Donny where the outcome was in doubt right up to the final whistle.

The second-side game was well-played also, but not so dramatic. The first 20 minutes were pretty even, but after that, OC took over the game with 4 converted first half tries and 3 long-range penalty kicks to go into the half up 37-0. In the second half, when OC scored their second try to go up 49-0 with about 15 minutes to go, the score was no longer most important. It was apparent to this observer that OC wanted a shutout and Reno didn't want to be shut out. Starting in their own end with about 7 minutes to go, Reno moved the ball first to the right, then back inside where a missed tackle sent a forward storming up the left side with several OC players in pursuit. They caught him about 5 meters out but were unable to keep him from reaching over the goal line to ground the ball. OC scored at full time to end the game.

Side Note: Brad Bachelder, the young B-side scrumhalf for OC scored a hat-trick. On his first try off a scrum in his half, #8 picked up, passed to Brad who outran the Reno defenders to score between the posts. On another, the ball laid in-goal and he was first to it. Well done!

SACRAMENTO CAPITALS 22 – Hayward 20 Referee: Jim Crenshaw
Assistant Referee: Chris Tucker

Seconds: Sacramento Capitals – Hayward
Not played?

SEAHAWKS 44 – SF Golden Gate D2, 28 Referee: Preston Gordon

Seconds: Seahawks 15 – SFGG D2, 17 Ref: Gordon

Berkeley 18 – MISSION 50 Referee: Brian Schnack
Referee Coach: David Williamson

For Berkeley, this game started last year after what they felt was a game lost by some bad calls toward the end. 10 months later, in 2009, I pulled up to the pitch at 1130 to see Berkeley hitting the sled and running back-line drills. They were up for this. Mission showed up at a steady drip thereafter, and was ready for 1 pm kickoff.

Berkeley applied pressure early and took advantage of Mission playing the ball off their feet and not through their hands. After an early Berkeley penalty conversion followed by a Mission try, Berkeley parried with a solid long kick to space which took a good hop, into Berkeley hands for a last sprint and a try. 10-5, Berkeley.

The rest of the game rolled to Mission, with the latest round of big, fast youth keeping the ball in their hands, pounding and passing for scores. Berkeley kept fighting, but couldn't get consistent, sustained phases.

Berkeley got in another good try, and was putting in some good hits, but Mission won a fast, physical game.

HUMBOLDT 12 – Fog 7 Referee: Bjorn Stumer
With the most beautiful day I ever seen up North, a good natured crowd on the sidelines, and a Manila Park pitch in Arcata for once free of mud, a good day of Rugby was guaranteed. Following the cancellation of their match the previous week, this was the first match of the season for the Humboldt Old Growth (Hogs) and a bit of rust appeared here and there against an ever improving San Francisco FOG side. The first half was a very even affair with a numbers of penalties given for various infractions. The only difference being that Humboldt put six points on the board, while the FOG missed the posts. At the whistle the score was HOG 6 - FOG 0.

The FOG came back fighting in the second half scoring a fine converted runaway try from a set piece. However Humboldt would not be denied on the day and scored a converted try of their own. The match was often fought within the 22 of each side, a testimony to the close nature of this match, the determination of the players, and the strength of both defenses. A great match played within the spirit of the game followed by the legendary Humboldt hospitality. Final score Humboldt 12 (6) - FOG 7 (0).

STANISLAUS 26 – Mendocino 0 Referee: Scott Wood
Mendo thought they would travel down with 13 to play on Saturday. Unfortunately they only showed up with ten players. The Steam Donkeys proposed playing short until the Harlots scored four tries (apparently to fulfill an additional bonus point) then borrow players to put the teams at even strength. Stanislaus did not have a problem with that so why should I. It took the hosts 20 minutes to score four tries. Short-handed they may be, but Mendocino defended well while the Harlots' backline had problems passing or holding on to the ball.

Official Score: 26-0

Scorecard reset as Stanislaus loaned players to Mendocino so both teams were playing 14 on 14. Lots of fun and frivolity. No hard feelings. No bitter resentment. Just Rugby. Halftime score: Stanislaus 39 Mendocino 0

The second half featured more scoring by Stanislaus but Mendocino never gave up. They defended as well as could be expected. Final score: 82-0.

Play of the game: Normally I do not mention conversion attempts but one particular attempt merited such. The kicking duties rotated among several players throughout the match. Harlots scored a try in the corner and Nick French elected to attempt the conversion. Taking the ball back to the 22, he sized up the distance and angle and proceeded to nail a beautiful kick inside the upright. Of memorable note is not only that Nick is a prop's prop, his conversion was made off a drop kick. Well done!

Petaluma 17 – CHICO 47 Referee: Bryant Byrnes
Yet another lovely Saturday in Sonoma. Sixteen Leghorns showed up to mix it up with considerably more of the visiting Chico men.

It had the makings of a 80 -0 rout. Chico scored within the first two minutes, twice more shortly thereafter, and knocked one on in goal. But the locals get a converted try and a penalty and buck up a bit.

At half it is 26-10. Petaluma comes out and gets seven-and now it’s a nine point game. It stays close for 20 minutes-and then the deluge. Good spirit and a fun game.

SHASTA by forfeit over Aptos Referee: Ray Schwartz
This is a crying shame – the ref drove up on assurances the road team would make the trip and the home team geared up and prepped the pitch.

We don’t want to paint with too broad a brush: we are told that ten Aptos folks made the trek. But no game eventuated and a ref was wasted who could have been gainfully employed elsewhere.

Marin 17 – VALLEJO 27 Referee: Roberto Santiago
Referee Coach: Mike Malone
The weather shone beautiful and bright over the Marin City recreational pasture on Saturday as Marin hosted Vallejo in DIII action. Vallejo took control early on with a try off a Marin miscue. Vallejo added a converted try a few minutes later for a 12-0 lead. Marin came back to cut the deficit with two penalty kicks. Vallejo came back with another try at the end of the half which saw the score at Marin 6-Vallejo 17.

Marin hit two more penalties in the second half and looked like they might be on their way to a win. One minute and thirty seconds after Marin cut the lead to 12-17 Vallejo stormed back with a converted try to give themselves 12-24 advantage. Both teams began subbing players in the second half and it showed in the play.

Vallejo's subs seemed nearly as inclined towards punching and shoulder barging ball carriers as they were towards tackling. The result was one yellow card though upon reflection and discussion with other refs there should have been more cards given.

Vallejo tacked on some insurance when after their first penalty for foul play, while a minute was being given for a Marin player who'd had his wind knocked out, the Marin side couldn't find a way to stop riding the ref. Despite his best attempts to warn them, though he appealed to the captain (who did his best), the ref was left with no choice but to turn the penalty around. Vallejo converted the penalty for a 12-27 lead. Marin scored a try late in a goal line sequence.

UC DAVIS 48 – Nevada-Reno 7 Referee: Aruna Ranaweera
Under sunny skies, UC Davis was the more disciplined and cohesive team. Davis also dominated the scrums and skillfully off-loaded the ball in contact to lead 24-0 at half. Both teams struggled with handling errors, but Davis maintained decent structure. Against the run of play, UNR intercepted to score a consolation try at full-time. Davis won easily, 7 tries to 1, but they seemed disappointed with their performance.

Seconds: UC Davis – Nevada NOT PLAYED

Chico State 17 – ST. MARY’S 84 Referee: Rich Anderson
St. Mary's attacked hard and early, scoring several long tries in the first half, finally running up the halftime score to 63-0. The combination of Chico's continued hard play, and some St. Mary's second half substitutions, produced a more equal second half. Thanks for Rod Chance for putting down his camera and George O'Neil for TJing on a beautiful afternoon.

Seconds: Chico State 12 – ST. MARY’S 73 Referee: George O’Neil
The day was set for a mid-winter match in Chico with the temperature in the high 60's. The Gaels of St Mary's came out with a fast and skilled attack leading to six first half tries. Chico State was well spirited but could not keep up with the all around speed of the St. Mary's team, leading to a half time score of 40 to 0. In the second half Chico scored two tries put together from cohesive multiple phase play. The Gaels added five more tires with a final score of 73-12.

MARITIME ACADEMY 70 – UC Santa Cruz 5 Referee: Rob Hendrickson
The Keelhaulers hosted the Slugs to a spirited match under clear skies and on a firm pitch. The score was 29 - 0 at halftime, although the play for the most part was much closer than the score would indicate. While the Slugs pressed the Keelhaulers several times deep in their own territory, the Keelhaulers definitely dominated in all phases of play, including in particular their support even on breakaways. Their kick and chase had the Slugs on their heels for a good portion of the play, and they were constantly alert for turnover ball opportunities. The Keelhaulers will be a team to watch this year.

Seconds: MARITIME ACADEMY 44 – UC Santa Cruz 0 Ref: Hendrickson
Following the A side, the B sides played 30 minute halves, with a very close first half (Cal Maritime 5, UCSC 0), followed by a defense that simply got too winded in the second half, leading to a 44 - 0 final.

SANTA CLARA 44 – Diablo Gaels U23, 32 Referee: John Coppinger
Diablo Gaels U23 were dangerous when they spread the ball wide and had their big backs attack the smaller SCU back-line; however, Santa Clara dominated set play and rucks to provide good attacking platforms for the forwards and backs alike. The Santa Clara backs, while smaller than the DG backs, were just as fast as their opponents and were able to exploit overlaps to account for a number of scores.

At the half, the score was 31-19 in favor of Santa Clara. Although each side scored 13 points in the second period, the second-half score line flatters Diablo Gaels as Santa Clara missed a number of penalty kicks in the second half. The penalty count was very much in favor of SCU as DG struggled with staying on-sides and discipline.

After the match, the Santa Clara B met College Park in a scrimmage. Chris Kron refereed the match.

SIERRA JC 79 – U of Pacific 0 Referee: Scott McConnell
Referee Coach: Kat Todd-Schwartz
Sierra were well prepared and had good numbers, UOP showed with only 8 players so Sierra loaned them all there subs which allowed both teams the full compliment. Both teams were well spirited and wanted to play good clean rugby. Sierra obviously had a better grasp of the game and quickly started running in points, where UOP struggled to hold possession and turned the ball over at the break down often. Sierra took advantage of UOP’s lack of fitness and posted 36 unanswered points in the first half and 43 in the second 40 making it a 79-0 game. On two occasions near the end of the game UOP came close but knocked on close to the line. Sierra's kicker put over 7 from 12 conversions. Overall a great day and as always rugby was the winner on the day.

St. Mary's women – SF FOG Referee: Mike Gadoua
The Fog won handily but we do not have the exact score.


Report by Tony Redmond:
Thanks for the chance to go to SLO. The weather was wonderful over the weekend and we enjoyed ourselves in Morro Bay. In any case, here's how the matches went:

Friday night:
CAL POLY 35 – UC Santa Barbara 5
The game was a Friday nighttime fixture played on a pitch at Cal Poly's campus in San Luis Obispo that was not good underfoot in parts. Like most college games, both teams gave their all and the first 10-15 minutes were played at high pace. The tempo settled down after that and Cal Poly steadily took control based on a very solid platform established by their pack. Their front five were extremely solid and dominated scrummages and their back row were active and very quick around the field. The score was 21-0 at half time as Cal Poly scored three good tries, all of which were converted by their full-back, who bisected the posts each time despite kicking off the ground without a tee (in the old fashioned way). Cal Poly scored another two goals in the second half separated by a consolidation try for UCSB. This try was scored close to the posts but we experienced the unusual sight of the attempted conversion being charged down fairly by two Cal Poly players, much to the chagrin of the kicker.

San Luis Obispo RFC 5 – PASADENA 30
Action moved on Saturday to the Damon Garcia Sports Ground in San Luis Obispo for the first league match of the season between the local club and Pasadena. The weather was beautiful (over 80 degrees) and the ground was very good underfoot. However, the groundsman had clearly gotten some wires crossed when they had put the posts in the ground as they were placed in the dead ball line! Both teams agreed that we could go ahead with traffic markers placed in the appropriate positions in the goal line and the proviso that kicks would be advanced 5m to allow for the extra distance to the posts. The first half was pretty typical of an opening fixture with many knock-ons. Pasadena was the more organized team and led by 0-16 at the break (2 tries, 2 PG). The second half was much the same standard and although SLO scored, their opponents crossed twice for converted tries. Two yellow cards were given in the second half: the first in the 52nd minute to SLO #8 for persistent infringements on the deck (both teams conceded many penalties for failing to stay on their feet with SLO #8 being a major offender). The second yellow card was for dissent in the 77th minute when SLO #22 just would not keep his opinions to himself. It's unusual to have to resort to dealing with dissent so strongly, but when players don't respond to first a penalty for a comment and then keep on talking after the original penalty is moved 10m, there is really little more that you can do but to put the player in the bin to reflect on life, love, the universe, and the sins of rugby referees.

Paul Phillips did a very nice job of looking after me as a representative of the Southern California Referees.

Thanks all for the experience to add to my rugby memories.


Cougars Jamboree Saturday 17th January

Perfect day, high 60’s with a field packed with players and spectators, and of course 3 NEW refs, and 2 semi new.

With coaches like Joe Cavallaro and Terry Gascoigne next to the field, made it no walk in the park for first time refs, but they triumphed. With Phil Akroyd kicking the day off with back to back games, Danny Kaufmann took over and after a shaky start, he reacted very well to some bleacher advice and stepped up a level to an almost perfect start. Even Mr. Cavallaro thought it was “pretty decent”.

Mark Godfrey, “the old man” took over, and despite a few “speed” limitations, and freshmen players, handled himself respectfully in his first ever game as ref. Then the youngster Bally Gutierrez opened himself up for some good old fashioned commentary from the side line, but nothing he could not handle. Rich Boyer finished up the day that looked like a pretty good success, both scrimmage and referee initiation.

Thanks to both coaches and players that helped us build our pelican flock.

Commentating out of the bleachers – JC Van Staden


Sam Reagle shocks us all with this admission of gross incompetence:

“I forgot to mention this to you at the society meeting last week. On the 10th, I watched John Fox anchored the Chico BoatRace team and win by 3, yet wrote it wrong in Hail Pelicus. Shasta was game, but grossly outdrunk. How do I right this wrong?”

Sam is hereby required to re-certify at the next Level One BoatRace Officiating Course.


If you click on the ball it will change color. Nothing to it:

Dave Pope controls the Chico State – UCSB game at the Stanford Invitational.

Photo is courtesy of David Barpal. Have a look at his website: one of your recent games might be there!


For the Senate
Pelicus Scriptoris

Thursday, January 15, 2009




‘Tis the time of year when you need to know how to get in touch with rugby teams and they with you. But if your contact information is outdated on our website, this ain’t happening.

Have a look:

If your information is not current, let Scott Wood know of any corrections soonest:


Be aware that when you enter the name of a team or individual in the Membership search function on the USA Rugby website, it defaults to 2010. We believe that this has accounted for a lot of heartache and possibly even some missed rugby.

Select 2009 from the drop-down menu and you’ll be up-to-date.


Our monthly NCRRS meeting will be on Wednesday, January 14, from 7 to 9 PM at the Golden Gate clubhouse on Treasure Island. The Referee Development Committee will meet from 6 until 7.

There will be food available at no charge beginning at six. Plan to arrive early – if you get there early you can eat and visit with other early arrivals, while if traffic is bad you won’t be late.


Please let us know which of the Saturdays in February you can referee, and whether you can do a road trip:

Y/N If Yes, Travel? Y/N
Feb 7
Feb 14
Feb 21
Feb 28


OLYMPIC CLUB 35 – San Mateo 10 Referee: Joe Androvich
Olympic Club and San Mateo faced off in late Saturday afternoon at Crocker-Amazon Park. The weather was ideal: sunny, warm, with a slight wind. The field turf was well maintained and could handle all types of shoes, cleats. Rich Anderson and John Coppinger arrived unannounced, 5 minutes before kickoff, and relieved my worries of not having touch judges. They did a fine job.

San Mateo came out fast, fit, and physical. They scored the match's first try, taking a 5-3 lead. After OC converted two penalties, the score at the half was 6-5. The second half was a different story. OC went on the offensive, despite San Mateo's continued physicality. Multiple penalties near the goal line caused a penalty try and subsequent yellow card to the San Mateo #9. Playing 15 on 14, OC scored consecutive tries. Both sides showed flashes of brilliance, but OC ultimately topped San Mateo on the scoreboard. Final score: 35-10

Seconds: OLYMPIC CLUB 10 – San Mateo 7 Referee: Rich Anderson

HAYWARD 17 – Sacramento Lions 12 Referee: Jim Crenshaw
Assistant Referee: Chris Tucker
It was all Hayward in the first half, as they were able to keep control of the pace and the ball. Both teams were a little short of players, but Sac was missing more than Hayward having only about 20 CIPP'd players making the trip. It also seemed that Hayward had been having practices and were much more organized, especially in the first half.
Score at halftime 17 to 0.

The second half, the Lions seemed to regroup and Hayward seem content to sit on their lead. Sac scored an unconverted try about half way through the half and then a converted try about 10 minutes later to get within 5, but Hayward took control after that to finish it.

Seconds: HAYWARD 58 – Sacramento Lions 10 Referee: Phil Akroyd
This game followed the A team game at Sunset School in Hayward, however Sac Lions had only traveled with 17 players in total. This resulted in their ‘A’ team (minus several injured players) playing the ‘B’ team game against a fully fresh set of legs from Hayward. Needless to say the game descended into a farce at an early stage as Sac did not want to play, nor showed any real commitment – ducking out of tackles, etc. Hayward scored early and often and the game finished at 58 – 10 after a total of 55 minutes of play.

SAN FRANCISCO GOLDEN GATE 52 – Sacramento Capitals 15 Referee: Scott Wood
TJs: Club supplied--several visiting and domestic referees volunteered their services but permission was denied at the highest levels...

Fast paced game. SFGG's first try was quickly answered in kind by Sacramento. Both teams seemed a little off their stride but willing to play rugby. Sacramento defended well and stripped the ball twice as the hosts attacked from five meters out. Halftime: 19-5. The second half had a more opportunistic SFGG trying various attacking strategies. Capitals again defended well and were able to exploit some hole in SFGG's defense but it was for naught. While the visitors managed two tries in the second half, SFGG opened up the scoring dotting down three tries in the waning minutes of the match.

Fortunately, it was a brilliant day of sunshine so we retired to the patio area for food, beverage and conversation. The clubhouse was hijacked by poobahs, alakazoos, muckety-mucks and other nefarious ilk of the Super League Referee Society. On the other hand, they were not released to turn the match into a fish bowl (although some managed to catch a couple minutes of the first half). Nonetheless, it was a pleasure to see those friendly faces.

Seconds: SFGG – Sacramento Capitals CANCELED

DIABLO GAELS 26 – Baracus 10 Referee: Preston Gordon
Referee Coach: Bryant Byrnes
There was a little pre-season rust all around, but nonetheless this game had some good action. Diablo got out to a 19-5 lead at halftime. The second half was a much closer affair, with a good amount of multi-phase play. Each side scored an additional try, with the final result standing at 26-10 in the home team's favor.

The weather was a pleasant surprise, which perhaps shouldn't have been a surprise considering the match was played in Pleasant Hill. The pitch is slightly undersized but well marked. Also, thanks to Bryant Byrnes for the coaching feedback.

Seconds: DIABLO GAELS 27 – Baracus 24 Referee: Bryant Byrnes
A pretty day in Contra Costa and lots of scoring in a close match. Six unconverted tries (out of nine)-a good kicker would still be caging free drinks.

A shifty and grizzled Baracus was up 14 -5 first half, but the Gaels then put in just enough rested ringers to pull it out. The game ends with a desperate Baracus charge on the Gaels-thwarted by a forward pass. Props to both teams for a fun game.

MISSION 45 – Vacaville 5 Referee: James Hinkin
Starting the season off with style at the site of the Palo Alto 7s I had the Mission/Vacaville clash. Vacaville looks to be short of numbers this year but coach Chris Motes had a full 15 plus subs warming up a half hour before the game. Unfortunately Mission was missing a large contingent who were “all in one car and on their way”. This mystery car showed up with 10 minutes to spare and both sides were able to field a full team to kick off the season. Mission had a size advantage from (nearly) 1 through 15 and it showed in the game play. Vacaville tackled hard and with passion but could not counter the lbs that Mission was putting into the contact. Mission finally broke through with a try at the 7 minute mark and never looked back. They were running with power and pace in the forwards and the backs and were not to be denied. Four tries (two converted) unanswered in the first half left the score at 24-0 at the break.

The second half was more of the same as Vacaville struggled to get out of their half. They had some good phases and some line breaks but could not find the try line. Their most dangerous moment was when their fly-half kicked excellently over the top and put the ageless Mission fullback Tom Mell under pressure and gained a penalty 5 meters out when he threw the ball into touch while being tackled. But the ensuing tap-and-go resulted in a maul that Mission turned over and kicked to safety to relieve the pressure. Vacaville got a deserved consolation try at full time when their quick and elusive #13 scooped up at loose knock on at his own 22 and outpaced everybody to score under the posts. As a summary of how the game had gone, the conversion hit the post and bounced out.

Fog 10 – BERKELEY 32 Referee: Mike Gadoua
The Fog lost to Berkeley 32 to 10. Messy play and poor execution caused the lopsided first half. However, had the third half occurred on the pitch, the winning checkpoint may have been given to the Hosts. As the game progressed, the Fog improved. The Fogs defense got tighter and the offense moved the ball forward. Berkeley’s Rugby was consistently good throughout the match.

Mendocino apparent forfeit to HUMBOLDT Referee: Tom Zanarini
Tom reports that Mendocino had only seven registered players as of Friday morning, without the prospect of a sufficient number by kick-off. Not wanting to drive to Ukiah only to have to turn around and come home, he found something else to do: training for an in-season half-marathon.

Petaluma 12 – STANISLAUS 34 Referee: Roberto Santiago
As the players said a few times during the match this was Div III rugby at its Div-Three-est. Though neither side was proficient at the detailed technical aspects of the game (being able to successfully tap the ball on a penalty, having the ball touch the ground on a drop kick etc) they were very good at vocally pointing out the opposing team's faults. Each side became more adamant and strident inverse to their knowledge of the laws. "SIR SIR THEY DID MATCH IN THE LINE OUT!!!! SIR! THREE PHASES AGO, THEY DID NOT MATCH IN THE LINE OUT AND YOU DIDN'T CALL IT!! SIR!!!"

That said the captains did their best to control their teams despite everyone having had a full pot of Constant Comment prior to the match. Rugbywise there were positives during match. The teams were rarely offside or infringing at the breakdowns. The one law needing the most reinforcement on the day was the requirement to wrap or bind during various types of contact resulting in a yellow card.

In the end Stanislaus was a little more organized for this first tilt of the season and it showed in the result. Thanks to both teams and all the coaches who were, in the great rugby tradition, upstanding gentlemen as soon as the final whistle sounded. "Sorry for all the chatter sir." was heard more than a few times. Another thank you to my touch judges, I'm sorry the names have slipped me but they were an asset. And so another happy Saturday is in the books.

CHICO 50 – Shasta 8 Referee: Sam Reagle
Weather: Perfect

My heart goes out to those around the country who are suffering thru bad weather this weekend. I left Roseville Saturday morning under clear skies for my 75 mile drive up the NorCal countryside to Chico. When I arrived just before noon, both teams were at full strength and already warming up for the 1pm kickoff. I don't think it was 70 degrees yet, but it was a beautiful day, indeed.

The Highlanders kicked-off and pinned Chico deep in their territory until a not-releasing penalty kick provided the first points of the game. With Shasta ahead 3-0 and driving again, Chico's defense was giving ground until about 5 meters out when another not-releasing penalty kick pushed the ball out to midfield. Chico scored their first try on this possession about 7 minutes into the game. Chico would score 4 more tries before the half ended. Halftime score: 29-3.

The second half was more of the same, Shasta playing and tackling very well for a couple of phases and then Chico breaks thru for a score. Shasta has some new recruits who can play. Both teams came to play as the last try of the game was scored by Shasta with less than 2 minutes to go. This was a gem to referee. At the Oasis afterwards, rugby songs filled the air. The Highlanders won the Boatrace.

APTOS 8 – Marin 5 Referee: Chris Labozzetta
Typical first game of the year spectacle. Hard, passionate play from both sides, but unfortunately very sloppy play as well.

Both teams scored unconverted tries, with Aptos pulling ahead around the 65th min with a penalty kick from the 27 meter mark. Marin had a very strong opportunity with only a few minutes to go, as they came up a foot short at the tryline. They were awarded the ensuing scrum, lost it, but had a great opportunity as Aptos’ kick went out at the 5 meter line. Unfortunately, Marin lost the line out, and Aptos kicked the ball down field. The Marin back, who must have been new to the game, fielded the kick on Aptos’ 25 meter line, only to kick it himself through the end goal line, where the game ended.

Overall a fun match to ref.

CALIFORNIA 99 – Humboldt State 0 Referee: John Pohlman
Touch Judges: Eric Rauscher and Tom Wright

UC Berkeley started their 2009 season by hosting Humboldt State this past Saturday. And what a day, temperatures in the high 60’s, blue skies and the famed Witter Rugby Field home the defending Collegiate Rugby’s Division 1 Champion.

The Witter experience never gets old. Reserved parking, national anthem and the last thing you hear prior to your opening whistle is your name being announced as referee for the day.

Cal is celebrating their 127th year of rugby. Coach Jack Clark is honored as 2008 Coach of the year by American Rugby News. The Bears went 24-1 last year. In Clark’s reign the Bears are 440-66-5 for a .861 winning percentage. Coach Clark is only the 6th coach in Cal’s 127 years.

This year’s Cal roster features 66 players: 54 from NorCal High School rugby programs, two from SoCal and two are foreign born.

The scoreboard at the end of the game had Cal with 103 and Humboldt with 0.
My official score card had Cal at 99 and Humboldt at 0.

This was the first game many had played since May. And the boys were excited to get back on the field. The Cal First side scored five trys in the opening 22 minutes. Coaches Clark and Billups made a fifteen-man substitution putting in the reserve grade. All in all, 9 trys in the first half, 8 trys in the second half.

The Cal Forwards would drive, ruck, recycle until the pressure broke the Humboldt defense.

Humboldt to their pride made tackle after tackle. Humboldt has some very good talent. But they had only 6 or so possessions all game.

I think my penalty count was 8 in total. Two against Cal.

Humboldt’s captain and #10 Brendan Leigh commented on only four unpressured opportunities.

Humboldt’s #13 Traban Pleasant looks to be a strike player.

Special thanks to Eric and Tom for running touch.

Chico State 7 – UC DAVIS 54 Referee: Don Pattalock
Chico made Davis work for every point.

Seconds: CHICO STATE 19 – UC Davis 7 Referee: Craig Lusiani

STANFORD 64 – Nevada 12 Referee: John Coppinger
Touch Judges: Rich Anderson, Frank Merrill
At the half, it was Stanford 19, UNR 12, which makes it seem closer than the match actually was at that point. UNR's captain Chad Gielow (#10) scored a 90 meter try from a Stanford turn over and scored the second UNR try grounding a charge down of a Stanford attempt at a clearing kick. Mr. Gielow accounted for all of the UNR scoring by converting his second try.

Stanford played adventurous rugby attacking at all times from everywhere on the pitch showing a lot of movement of the ball and flat, accurate passing. UNR didn't give up, but couldn't match Stanford's pace and ball movement as Stanford ran in a number of easy tries in the latter stages.

My thanks to Rich Anderson and Frank Merrill, who acted as TJs/ARs on a beautiful and unseasonably warm winter day down on the Stanford farm.

Rich and I left Bruce Anderson getting ready to control the Stanford/UNR reserve grade match to hustle up to Crocker Amazon in order to help Joe Androvich with OC/San Mateo tilt and where Rich had the second side OC/SM match.

In the first side match, San Mateo had the best of it early, but OC won going away 35-10. San Mateo hit hard and looked to run at every opportunity, but fitness and focus seemed to be problems, although San Mateo's game had more shape once Coach Vuka Tau came into play scrum half at the start of the second half.

(The City redid Crocker Amazon w/ Field turf pitches--5 or 6 pitches.)

Seconds: Stanford 27 – NEVADA 35 Referee: Bruce Anderson
The majority of Reno's A side had to play in a second game and appeared very tired, however, in the true spirit of rugby the teams played open rugby with many plays going from 22m to the other 22m, the first stoppage coming 9 minutes after the kick off. Both side took advantage of advantage play and scored tries. The sides were disciplined and played structured rugby. Only one of the 12 tries was converted.

ST. MARY’S 56 – Sacramento State 19 Referee: Joe Leisek
Pat Vincent Field, St. Mary’s College
Assistant Referees: David Heath, Matt Heafey

A brilliantly sunny day at one of Northern California’s best rugby pitches. Having refereed the same two teams in a physical, competitive contest at Sac State in December, I knew I would have a lot to look forward to this time. From the kickoff, Sac State seemed to want to make a statement by going fast and hard into tackles, playing a phase or two of pick-and-drive, then moving the ball out into the midfield, then repeating the pattern. They retained possession very well in the early going and played much of the first 10 or so minutes in the home side’s half. Sac State also drew first blood, scoring a try close to the 10-minute mark after a prolonged, multi-phase attack. St. Mary’s struck back soon thereafter. For the first 30 minutes, the two teams played a very competitive game. But St. Mary’s started to wear the visitors down, taking a three-tries-to-two lead at the half. The second half was all St. Mary’s, as they scored seven tries to Sac State’s one. The hosts scored from set play and from broken play opportunities; they kept the ball moving and confused the defense by switching the backline and running in different patterns, all at speed. A dominating second half, but a very good showing by Sac State. This game felt very fast-paced, as evidenced by the fact that no penalty goals were attempted by either side. Thanks to David and Matt for their help.

Seconds: St. Mary's – Sacramento State Referee: George O'Neil
No report received.

ST. MARY’S thirds 26 – Santa Rosa JC 12 Referee: Dave Heath
Assistant Referees: George O'Neil and Matt Heafy
Santa Rosa set the early pace with some strong forward play and deservedly took the lead after 9 minutes with a well worked try. St Mary's gradually worked some field positions and took the lead with a converted try mid-way through the first half. The game then took another twist when the St Mary's fly-half, who up until that point had been controlling the game with good decision making and kicking, was yellow carded for foul play. Santa Rosa duly took advantage of the extra man and scored a goal just before half-time to turn around 7-12 up.

St Mary's regained the lead early in the second half with a well worked goal, but the game was finely balanced, with the Santa Rosa backs always looking a threat with some strong running and St Mary's edging the forward exchanges. The game was decided when the Santa Rosa flanker was sent off for foul play 15 minutes from the end. St Mary's scored a try and a goal to wrap up the game.

This was a good game, with both sides competitive at the breakdown, strong forward play and some good individual displays in the backs. St Mary's were stronger and fitter and were already beginning to shade the exchanges in the 2nd half before the dismissal, but their superior organisation and discipline gave them the edge.

My thanks to George O'Neil and Matt Heafy for running touch and assisting in keeping the game under control, and Joe Leisek for providing some impromptu coaching.

SANTA CLARA 36 – UC Santa Cruz 12 Referee: Sandy Robertson
Santa Clara controlled possession from the start, scoring two converted tries in the first 20 minutes. Santa Cruz fought back responding with two tries before the break. At the half it was 14 to 12 for Santa Clara.

Santa Clara again had the majority of possession in the 2nd half and scored 3 tries. Santa Cruz continued to compete and were pushing for a score when the game ended.

UC Santa Cruz women 24 – CALIFORNIA 34 Referee: Mike King
A brilliant day for a social match overlooking the Monterey Bay on the hill at UC Santa Cruz. The contest was preceded by an innovative skill session mentored by the combined coaching staffs. A mixture of experience and rookie enthusiasm took the pitch, with a battle between 2 balanced teams. The contest was not decided until 2 long tries by Cal near the end of regulation.

High School round-robin at Larkspur
Marin, Tri-Valley and Piedmont
Report by Eric Rauscher:

It was a high-school round-robin with Marin, Pits and Tri-Valley in attendance.

The three refs on hand were Eric Rauscher for the first game, Matt Heafey for the second and Rich Boyer for the third. Joe Leisek was on hand to run a little touch and do some good coaching. One of the highlights of the day for me was seeing a group of four pelicans flying over the field with four pelicans on the ground.

First game MARIN 28 – Pits 0 Referee: Eric Rauscher
Assistant Referees: Joe Leisek and Matt Heafey
The game was a friendly of two 20 min halfs with both sides still in development.
Marin had the luxury of more experienced players and just more players to choose from. Pits put up a good fight but wasn't able to score. Since it was a pre-season friendly it was a good chance for both teams to put into practice what they have been learning in practice. The second game was a shortened 20 min total of Marin vs a combined Pits/Tri-Valley side and the third was a frosh/soph game of the same combo. I leave the reports of those games to others.

BOOK REPORT by Eric Rauscher

This is not a game report, but a report on a book I just finished which may interest others in the society. The Title is "Playing the Enemy: Nelson Mandela and the Game That Made a Nation" by John Carlin, Penguin Press. It is a well-written book tracking the political career of Nelson Mandela and the role rugby played in bringing together a nation on the verge of civil war. I highly recommend it to those of you with time to read.


The day after Christmas your writer left the house at dawn in order to drive to work. Ice was on the ragtop.

Around the first corner there was an adult male pelican, standing serenely in the middle of the street, barely waddling to avoid the on-creeping car. He looked healthy – no obvious marks or injuries – but the Hail Pelicus editorial offices are about a dozen miles inland and the nearby Salinas River certainly supports no fish to tempt a piscatory waterfowl.

The bird had to have been ill. Penelope Pelicus called the SPCA who came and rescued him.

Over the next few weeks it has become clear that this might have been merely the index case in a deadly outbreak.

MONTEREY, Calif. -- A mysterious illness is continuing to kill brown pelicans along the Central Coast, but officials from WildRescue said Thursday they are compiling data about dead or sick pelicans found in other states.

A young pelican was found in the snow at an elevation of 7,200 feet in New Mexico on Dec. 14, which is something that has never been observed before, said Rebecca Dmytryk, of WildRescue.

To date, wildlife officials have received reports about 250 dead or dying pelicans from places such as New Mexico, Oregon and Baja California.

But most of the dead or sick pelicans, however, have been found along the coast of California. “After speaking with many colleagues, I can say that there is shared concern among wildlife rehabilitators that something odd is going on. This is not a typical die-off,” said Dmytryk, a 27-year veteran of WildlifeRescue.

The pelicans are being found in farm fields and wooded residential areas, roads and even highways.

“I can say without doubt, we have never seen this combination of things, ever,” Dmytryk said.

Another sick pelican found on a doorstep in Catalina Island on Thursday will be admitted to the International Bird Rescue Research Center. The center operates two aquatic bird hospitals in California and is taking in most of the ill birds found along the coast.

Officials believe there are more sick or dead pelicans that have yet to be found.


Your intrepid reporter spent last weekend in New Orleans for the Training Committee meeting of USA Rugby’s Referees and Laws committee.

This constituted the kind of tour, photos of which have to stay on tour. Plus, we forgot our camera.


For the Senate
Pelicus Scriptoris

Wednesday, January 07, 2009




Earlier this week, January 4 was national trivia day, and gives us a good chance to address a recurring point of uncertainty.

In team sports, in all the world around except for one country Home is listed first. This makes perfect sense. In fact, it'd be hard to think of a reason to list the visiting team first. Courtesy, perhaps?

But of course, the USA is the country that lists Visitors first. The reason is historical.

The first professional team sport played anywhere in the world was American baseball, within a few years after the Civil War. Matter of fact, it was the only professional team sport for many decades. In baseball the visiting team bats first, so they were always listed first in line scores, box scores, and final scores, as these were reported via telegraph and then in newspapers.

When Americans started playing other team sports, the usage was long established for listing the visiting team first even if the baseball reasoning did not apply to those sports.

But the rest of the world never had any reason not to list it logically, so they put the home team first. (In cricket, they flip a coin to see who bats first.)

In rugby here in the US we follow the rugby practice elsewhere, which is home team listed first.

We will spare you our ideas about why, in some places, game clocks count down to zero while in others they count up from zero.

And the Mother of All Sports Questions: why, in some sports, is the line out while in other sports, the line itself is in?


Referee assignments are beginning to appear on piecemeal. We’ve tried to post January 10 and 17, but a lot of fixtures for these dates have materialized since assignments were made. Always be attuned to the website and to your e-mail for any changes.

In particular, we need more refs on January 17 and 18: we’ve got a top-notch tournament to cover at Stanford. The Stanford Women’s Invitational will feature a dozen or more of the best teams from across the country. They’ll be playing all day, both days, on two or three pitches. HELP IS NEEDED.

Let us know if you can help out of Sunday, even if you have a game Saturday. And if all you can do is one game on Saturday, perhaps you can free up someone else to go to the tournament!


Our monthly NCRRS meeting will be on Wednesday, January 14, from 7 to 9 PM at the Golden Gate clubhouse on Treasure Island. The Referee Development Committee will meet from 6 until 7.

There will be food available at no charge beginning at six. Plan to arrive early – if you get there early you can eat and visit with other early arrivals, while if traffic is bad you won’t be late.


VALLEJO 47 – McGeorge 3 Referee: Phil Ulibarri
Assistant Referee: Bjorn Stumer
Referee Coach: Dixon Smith

Every day’s a rugby day but some rugby days are better than others especially if it means leaving sub-freezing climes for sunny California. So goodbye Reno. Hello Vallejo. The referee braved possible closure of Donner Summit and like any GOOD Nevada gambler was rewarded with a payout - good weather and good rugby made for a great Saturday.

A very well disciplined Vallejo team of nearly thirty players were eager to stretch their legs on the Mare Island pitch. McGeorge showed up short-handed and burrowed a half dozen or so players. Both sides were agreeable to four 20-minute quarters. Vallejo’s ref briefing took place in their small and cozy locker room – just off the pitch. The facility even has a referee’s dressing room and the field has full lighting for nighttime practice and fixtures. The pitch was roped, flagged and lined. The fields chairman had to be reminded of pads on the goal posts and the five-meter was just a tad off but as this was to be a friendly match, some slight adjustments were made and the game was played in the true spirit of ruby camaraderie.

Vallejo struck first and fast. Four tries and conversions in the first two quarters were answered by only one penalty kick by the future barristers. Halftime ended with Vallejo ahead 28-3. Second half brought the Vallejo 15 three tries and two conversions, all unanswered points with the game ending 47 – 3.

Excellent backline movements incorporating fast cuts back to the inside proved too much for McGeorge for the majority of the scoring. Vallejo does have some big strong youngsters in the pack who will be difficult for some other teams to handle as the season progresses.

Thanks to Vallejo for hosting an excellent venue, game and post–match meal. Thanks also to assistant referee Bjorn Stumer for making the trip and referee coach/evaluator Dixon Smith for help on the day.

Blessed Event in Eire
Reportage by Brian Gildea

“Hail Pelicus and Happy New Year!

“Propus Celtus and Propus Celtus Missus Corkus hereby request recognition for a new member of the flock: Stephen John Gildea joined 2008 with a few hours to spare, on 31 Dec at 11.11 am in Dublin. Mother and child had a bird's eye view of the new Lansdowne Road stadium from the hospital room.

“And, of course, the hospital is about 500 yards from IRB HQ. So, the rugby pedigree is being established from Day One.

“Weighing in at a svelte 8 lbs. 6 oz. and after kicking lumps out of his mother for nine months, the name of Propus Celtus Thumperus is requested of the Senate.

“Hail Pelicus and Best of Luck to everyone for a Happy and Healthy 2009 season!

“In other news, Bryan McShane and Ian Walker of Aspen and City (old San Francisco RFC) fame popped into Dublin's Fair City for the Ireland v. New Zealand match and helped the Diageo stock price by drinking a fair share of Guinness.


“Propus Celtus”

Propus Celtus Thumperus is hereby welcomed and acclaimed!

Next Generation
Mike Malone and Dixon Smith trained the next generation of referee coaches on Sunday, January 4, at the law offices of John Coppinger’s firm.

Clockwise from left foreground: Tom Martinez, Chris Nelson (SoCal), Trevor McGreal (SoCal), David Williamson, John Coppinger, Dixon Smith, Joe Leisek, Mike Malone, Jim Crenshaw

Left early: Tony Redmond
Behind the camera: Bruce Carter


For the Senate
Pelicus Scriptoris