Wednesday, February 04, 2009



SFGG SL 30 – San Mateo 12 Referee: Paul Bretz

OLYMPIC CLUB 41 – Sacramento Capitals 3 Referee: Scott Wood
Assistant Referee: Chris Tucker, TJ: Dougie (Olympic Club)
Evaluator: David Williamson
Location: Gilman Field, Berkeley

Olympic Club hosted the Sacramento Capitals on a sunny, mid-60 degree day in Berkeley. OC dominated the scoreboard and the run of play on the fast, full-sized, artificial turf field. Sacramento played hard but couldn't match OC's speed in the back line.

The match featured a significant amount of open play, with frequent opportunities for the teams to exploit advantages. OC won nearly all of its lineouts, plus two of Sac's. Likewise, OC won most of its scrums, and two of Sac's.

OC opened the scoring with a penalty goal at 5 minutes, a converted try on a penalty advantage at 10 minutes, and a converted try from a 5-meter scrum at 15 minutes. Sacramento scored a penalty goal at 17 minutes. OC closed the first half scoring with an unconverted try at 32 minutes, for a 22-3 lead. The second half scoring was all OC: a converted try at 50 minutes, an unconverted try at 54 minutes, and a converted try at 79 minutes.

The match was played in good spirits despite a number of foul play penalties in the second half.

Note to referees and teams playing at Gilman Field, the goal line is painted blue and located a meter behind a very bold white soccer goal line.

If questions arose regarding the NCRFU Match Protocols, somebody used a copy as a flag on a corner post.

Thanks to Dave Williamson for taking time to assess my refereeing and to Chris Tucker for his assistance.

OLYMPIC CLUB B More – Sacramento Capitals B Less
First Half Referee: Scott Wood
Second Half Referee: Steve Seifert (Sacramento Capitals)
Second Half Official Timekeeper: Chris Tucker

Sacramento kicked off and my right calf went "bing" followed shortly by my left calf going "bong". Keeping my pace in second gear, I maintained fair proximity to play and was near tries (yes, well inside the 22). At halftime, I took Steve Seifert up on his offer and he took up the whistle. Capitals offered a fair defense in the first half but started to miss tackles in the second. At least both second sides were able to get in a match.

RENO 30 – Hayward 15 Referee: Aruna Ranaweera
Assistant Referees: Bruce Anderson, Russ Wilkening

As I drove into Reno through snow-capped, mountainous forests, I anticipated chilly temperatures, but was pleasantly surprised by an unseasonably warm and sunny 60F day at Mira Loma Park. A large crowd was on-hand to watch the mostly Polynesian encounter between perennial contenders Hayward and the upstarts from Reno. Forwards from both teams bulldozed into their opponents with gusto, but Reno seemed more organized in the backs, running onto the ball with pace and width. Reno scored first to lead 7-0 before Hayward edged ahead 7-8, but Reno scored again to lead 12-8 at half. The match opened up nicely in the second half as backs on both teams showed their attacking flair, but it was the home team that showed more finish, leading 25-8, which included an exhilarating try that had at least 10 phases of quickly recycled ball. Hayward struck back through their tight forwards to pull within 25-15, but Reno iced the match with another quick strike through their backs out wide. Reno won 4 tries to 2, but missed opportunities to score even more (through their talented backs). Both teams should be commended for their sense of fair play: this was a fun match to referee. Much thanks to the assistant referees for their excellent help and also thanks to the home team for hosting a nice after-match reception in downtown Reno.

Seconds: RENO 41 – Hayward 24 Referee: Bruce Anderson
After watching the 1st side game, which was a very physical game, I expected nothing different in the 2nd team. The game reduced to 25 minutes each way as a number of 1st side players played again and the after party seemed more appealing. 1st half was an evenly contested game with Hayward leading 19 - 17. With Hayward running out of gas and offering much assistance to the referee, they lost the plot and Reno ran away with it in the end to end the game 41 - 24 winners. 7 tries to the Reno Zephyrs and 4 to Hayward.

I would just like to commend Aruna Ranaweera on his performance of the 1st side game. I ran touch for him and it was a pleasure to watch him control that game with confidence, allowing advantage and for taking control at the right times. He allowed rugby to win the day. He constantly communicated with his touch judges to show the players they were being watched from all sides. Watching him ref took me back to my rugby days in South Africa where good referees were not noticed on the field. A job well done and I look forward to running touch for him again, ANYTIME!

EAST PALO ALTO 29 – Fresno 14 Referee: Preston Gordon
Evaluator: Mike Malone
This was a very good and pretty fast game. There were several knock-ons and other technical errors over these 80 minutes, but for the most part, it was good counter-attacking, hard hitting, and very fairly contested rugby. Everybody seemed to enjoy the match - I certainly did. The weather was great, and the pitch had a bit more grass on it than I remember last spring. Beware the sprinkler holes though!

We got going right at 1300, and throughout the first half each side attempted to put their stamp on the game. The lead changed a couple of times, and we ended up at 12-14 to the visitors at the break. With a brace of tries to each side, EPA's missed conversion was the only difference.

In the second half EPA was able to apply a lot more pressure in the scrums, stealing a couple of feeds against the head while disrupting much of Fresno's ball. EPA seemed to get stronger as they finished the match, whereas their opponents seemed to fade a bit - the second half scoreline would appear to support this: EPA got 3 tries, converting one, against nothing for Fresno.

Thanks to both sides for maintaining discipline and also for using their ears during the match! Everybody understood very quickly that "ruck" meant no hands on the ball, and as a result, the tempo of the game was kept pretty high.

Seconds: EAST PALO ALTO 22 – Fresno 0 Referee: Preston Gordon

Arroyo Grande 3 – BARACUS 19 Referee: Andy Doukas
Always confirm your referee and check the web-site for scheduling changes would be the lesson here. A no-show by the assigned referee left a humble, not so practiced substitute working hard to officiate a Rugby match the best he can. I hope the positives outweighed the missed calls for an enjoyable day of competitive rugby.

The game started out on a competitive note with both sides working through several phases of play. Arroyo Grande picked up 3 with a nice 30 meter kick from a penalty. Baracus moved on to dominance in their forwards and set play. They scored two converted trys in the first half and 1 more in the second. It was good to see new young players from both teams with great attitudes and aggressive play.

Many thanks to the captains Rishi (Baracus), Ryan (AG) and the players from both sides for their respect to the position of referee even though at times might not have been warranted.

Seconds: ARROYO GRANDE 22 – Baracus 20 Ref: Doukas
Baracus came with some depth and 2nd side players eager to get a match in. Arroyo Grande had to muster up and play with many of the same players from the 1st game. It was a good spirited match and showed the friendly relationship between these two clubs. Baracus’ forwards set an initial dominance and the trys came fast. There was some good spin moves by a Baracus back and they put up 4 unconverted trys for the day. Arroyo Grande kept fighting and even increased their level of play as the game progressed. Another nice penalty kick by AG, but this time 40 meters by the same 1st side kicker. AG put up 3 trys, 2 converted and gives a lesson on how important conversions are. Even though fatigued and a bit beat up from the first match, I enjoyed refereeing players that have love of game and sport!

SFGG 5 – SEAHAWKS 41 Referee: Pete Smith

Seconds: SFGG 53 – Seahawks 5 Ref: Smith

Santa Rosa 26 – DIABLO GAELS 31 Referee: Tom Zanarini
Evaluator: Dixon Smith

Seconds: Santa Rosa 10 – DIABLO GAELS 19 Referee: Craig Lusiani
A game of two halves.

The first half had Santa Rosa maintaining an excellent effort against a larger pack, capturing ball and spitting it out with good backline play and ball movement resulting in two tries (unconverted).

First-half score: Rosa10 - Gaels 0.

In the second half, the Gaels brought in a couple of substitutes which increased their size and weight in badge in the pack. The result was immediate and convincing with the Gaels capturing ball from set pieces with and against their head. Sometimes driving a much smaller, but valiant, Santa Rosa pack backward as creating problems for the Rosa backline.

With ball, the Gaels were able to provide their very speedy wings with clean access and long runs resulting in three tries, to convert it.

Stanislaus 19 – MISSION 28 Referee: James Hinkin
With the rain staying away what felt like an early spring day rather than a midwinter day saw me heading out to Turlock for the Mission v Harlots match. Both teams were there and warming up when I arrived at 12:20 due to a poor detouring decision that cost me a half hour. I handed out the match card and changed into my gear, checked boots and had a talk and the game was ready to get underway... except I had forgotten to hand out touch judge flags. Oh well.

So when everything was finally in place we started the match. The Harlots provided early pressure and Mission was unable to effectively clear their line and Stanislaus was rewarded with a try after 10 minutes. After the restart, Mission regrouped and started showing signs of dominance as the first period matured. After steady pressure a well spotted overlap saw their speedy winger outrun everyone to score under the posts. A successful conversion gave Mission a lead they would never relinquish. A second converted try before half time saw the scoreline at 14-5 at the break.

The second half was much of the same for Mission as they continued winning the territory battle. A converted third try after 50 minutes came from a severe defensive lapse as the Harlots completely ignored the weak side of a scrum. Mission were unstoppable as they ran back the restart kick and seemed to be ready to run away with the match, but the Harlots started their comeback. The game was getting more and more chippy and when the Mission #8 was binned the Harlots took advantage and scored two converted tries. With the sides restored to 15 men each it was a tense 5 minutes to finish the game out, but Mission were able to keep the Harlots at bay and prevail. Final Score Mission 28 - Harlots 19

HUMBOLDT 43 – Vacaville 13 Referee: Jim Crenshaw
I drove up to Humboldt Friday evening, stopped in Garberville and spent the night with some old friends. We drove up the Arcata the next morning just in time to watch UC Santa Cruz defeat Humboldt State.

Vacaville showed up with 13 players, so we played 13 on 15 for about 2 thirds of the match. Humboldt Old Growth were content to keep it in tight for the first 10 minutes of the match and not exploit the shortage of Vacaville defenders. When Humboldt did spin it out, it resulted in a long try scored between the posts. The rest of the half was pretty much the same, with Vacaville kicking a penalty goal and then Humboldt getting it out and scoring a couple of converted trys. The teams traded penalty kicks, but Humboldt finished the scoring with a try in the corner.
Halftime score Humboldt 29 Vacaville 6

The second half pace slowed down a bit, as Humboldt replaced some of their starters and repeated infringement yellow cards helped keep it closer. Humboldt scored 2 converted trys, but Vacaville managed one of their own, while playing 13 against 13.
Final score Humboldt 43 Vacaville 13.

Mendocino 0 – APTOS 68 Referee: Rich Anderson
Aptos, which had problems fielding a full side before this past weekend, traveled to Ukiah with a full side and subs to boot.

Mendocino was saved from starting the match with 14 players with the arrival of their hooker minutes before kickoff.

Mendocino's offence was simple: Run powerfully at the defense and hope to break through. Unfortunately for Mendocino, Aptos was organized and committed in defense and able to attack using many options that Mendocino could not contain. As the result, the Beach Dogs from Aptos shut out the Mendocino Steam Donkeys 68-0. At the half, the score was 22-0. Aptos made a number of subs at half time, including a big fast winger rumored to have last played at Oregon State who scored 3 quick tries. Mendocino lost their scrum half and captain to a rib injury early in the second half and were reduced to 14 players, which contributed to the 46 points they gave up during the second period.

A beautiful day in the Ukiah Valley.

Petaluma 7 – VALLEJO 52 Referee: Bjorn Stumer
Touch Judges: Marc Mahoney and Vaea Anitoni
A fairly one-sided match, as Vallejo had most of the youth and speed. Petaluma was able to contain the Barbarians with vigorous forward play on the first half, but were not able to keep up pace in the second. There is much promise in the mainly islanders and youthful Vallejo side, which was able to fill all of their subs while Petaluma, with few reserves and one injury, saw its number depleted even further when their No. 7 was red-carded for berating the referee. While the first half seemed a contest, 7 to 21, the second half belonged to Vallejo's young and fast runners. To their credit, Petaluma never quit the battle, quite the feat for a side sporting players that have graced our local pitches for almost 20 years. Final score Petaluma 7 (7) - Vallejo 52 (21).

Shasta 13 – MARIN 29 Referee: Bryant Byrnes
The Apocalypse is upon us-in dead winter it was blue skies and high 70s in Redding.
[Editor’s Note: Tell our friends in England about it, where they had a FOOT of snow in usually-temperate London.]
Both sides had good numbers (kudos to Marin for travelling well) and were ready to play.

Shasta had a taste better pack and spent much of the first half about 10 meters out from Marin's goal line, but simply could not close the deal. And its kicker had a bad day. But Marin's peppy fast backline had a good day; it was 19-8 at half.

Some D3 chippiness in the second half, fixed by several cards. All enjoyed the post game function.

CALIFORNIA 105 – Chico State 3 Referee: Joe Leisek
Assistant Referee: Roberto Santiago Touch Judge: Derek Sagehorn
Witter Rugby Field, University of California

A beautiful afternoon at Witter Field. A large crowd was on hand, with the home fans joined by plenty of Chico State supporters. Former Cal standout Mike McDonald was in attendance, as was a relative of the Witter family. As many other referees have noted, there is something very special about the history and culture of our sport in this setting. (If your adrenalin isn't already coursing during the national anthem, you probably don't have any.)

Cal put on a display of clinical precision from the opening whistle. Winning phase after phase in rapid succession, moving the ball into the midfield and crashing, winning more phases, spinning it wide, all at pace; it was breathtaking stuff. And the Cal players communicated with each other very effectively throughout the match. Chico played tough but could not begin to contain the Cal attack. The visitors did have one short period of play near Cal's goal but could not punch through the Bears' defense. Lots to admire about Chico, including their decisions to run the ball whenever possible, even deep in their own half. Cal is working the flat pass with precision and recycling the ball with speed. They also dominated in the scrums, especially in the second half. The hosts scored 17 tries; nine in the first half and eight in the second.

A few observations: Cal winger Ryan Taylor isn't the biggest player on the field, but he runs like a cannonball into contact and usually requires the efforts of three or four defenders to bring him down. Flyhalf Keegan Engelbrecht directs the offense with confidence and precision, runs well with ball in hand, offloads efficiently, and is a very good tackler. Locks Paul Jesseman and Eric Fry are powerful in the scrums and demons around the field. Chico lock Ted Watje leads by example through his excellent work rate.

Both captains worked really well with their teams and with me. The discipline and composure on the field from both teams was outstanding. Thanks to Roberto for his excellent work as assistant referee and to Derek for his help as well. And as always, Cal's Jerry Figone took very good care of the referees.

Seconds: CALIFORNIA 88 – Chico State 0 Referee: Roberto Santiago
Referee Coach: Joe Leisek
What a beautiful day for my first time on the pitch at Witter Rugby Field. The game was played well and disciplined aside from a couple rookie infringements by players new to the game. Cal dominated form start to finish in the scrums and on the scoreboard but Chico was strong in the rucks. Chico also had the most exciting single play of the game when one of the centers chipped over the Cal back line and the Chico winger caught the ball on the full and ran about 80 meters leaving spinning Cal defenders in his wake. The play did not end in a score but was a crowd pleaser none the less.

Cheers to Cal for their hospitality. Jeers to Chico's supporters (quite possibly including some members of their A-Side) during the second side match for constantly berating Cal's kicker during his conversion attempts. That's not in the spirit of the game folks. You should expect better of yourselves.

Thanks to Joe Leisek for staying and coaching me up after his match.

SACRAMENTO STATE 31 – UC Davis 22 Referee: Phil Akroyd
Referee Coach: Matt Eason
Weather: Sunny, very warm.

It was great to see both teams present, ready and on the field 50 minutes before kick-off. The weather was great, if not a little too warm and both teams attracted substantial crowds.

It appeared that Sac State would dominate with a simple strategy of pounding the ball down the field with the forwards and then shipping it out to the backs in the final few meters, to get the tries. Sac outscored Davis by 4 tries to 1 in the first half, but the real story of the game was the competition on the floor. Sac State persisted in the pick-and-drive game around the rucks, almost frustratingly so as they have very fast backs who were clearly bigger than Davis. With so many tackles, there was a lot of competition on the floor, which led to a lot of penalties resulting from not releasing the tackler, not releasing the ball, not rolling away and off-feet, etc. Although I knew both teams were aware of what I wanted – fast ball – they seemed incapable of delivering it, resulting in 3 yellow cards for persistent team offences.

The second half saw Davis fight back as Sac gave away too many penalties, but in the final quarter, Sac took hold of the game and made sure of their win, which they clearly deserved.

Seconds: SACRAMENTO STATE 56 – UC Davis 0 Referee: Scott McConnell

ST. MARY’S 66 – Stanford 20 Referee: John Pohlman
Assistant Referees: Bruce Bernstein, Ron DeCausemaker
Assessor: Bryan Porter
The rugby month of January came to a close for me at St. Mary's. It was a beautiful day. Temperature in the high 60's. I arrived around 11:45 to see Paul Bretz refereeing De La Salle versus Christian Brothers high school game.

My game was due to start at 1:00PM. #3 St. Mary's, 8-0-1, was hosting #24 Stanford, 6-2.

I had the opportunity to do 5 top 25 teams in D-1 Collegiate rugby in the last four weeks. I never had to drive more than an hour from my house. If you want to get close to great rugby join the Pelicans.

Stanford maintained early possession and were rewarded with a penalty kick 3:00 minutes into the first half. St. Mary's winger Matt Hensley scored the first of three backs scores at 7 minutes. Followed by trys by centers O'Meara and Morton's. Stanford scored trys at 19 minutes and 21 by flanker Hall and winger Luscombe. Luscombe's try was off a quick tap penalty for feeding the scrum.

The scrummages proved to by one of Stanford's weakness throughout the day. The St. Mary's front row dominated the engagement which led to some fairly unstable scrums. When Stanford captain and #10 John Clark had steady quick ball the Stanford backs looked promising.

But this was a day of St. Mary's gaining most the possession and finishing tries with sharp change of pace and direction by their super quick backline.

Second half score St. Mary's 28 Stanford 15.

The second half was all St. Mary's. The Gaels scored six try's to one by Stanford.

Well after seeing 37 trys by the winning teams in January and what will probably be the #1, 2 and 3 teams in division 1 collegiate rugby, I would have to give Cal the edge. Cal's depth and conditioning separate from a very fast BYU and St. Mary's teams. Should make for some exciting rugby.

Special thanks to Bruce and Ron who helped me numerous times. Ron calling a knock forward to negate a St. Mary's try. Also Bryan Porter for his great feedback after the game.

Seconds: ST. MARY’S 68 – Stanford 17 Referee: Bruce Bernstein
Assistant Referee: John Pohlman
This started out as a competitive match until Stanford's flanker/captain scored & came out of game in middle of first half. Rest of match dominated by St. Mary's scrum controlling set pieces & punctuated by St. Mary's winger's 100 meter try down their sideline in the midst of the track meet.

MARITIME ACADEMY 78 – San Jose State 5 Referee: Eric Rauscher
It was my first time up to Cal Maritimes' field. Both in-goals are oddly shaped due to trees on the west side and a hill on the east side. But the field does have a real electronic scoreboard! The skies were blue, the field was firm and the play was fast. Cal Maritime dominated the scrums throughout the game. I gather that SJSU was hurting for front-row players and it showed. SJSU got very little ball, but played with good spirits all the way through to score a try in the closing minuet of the game. I was very impressed with Cal Maritimes' #11, Kirk Muellar, who was not only fast, but has that way of avoiding tackles that seems un-earthly.

Seconds: MARITIME ACADEMY 34 – San Jose State 7 Ref: Rauscher
The second game was played by fresh legs on Cal Maritime’s side, but most of SJSU's players went a second round. It was only two 30 min periods, and SJSU did much better. The scrums were more even and they gave it their all, but couldn't match Cal Maritime.

I must say that if I were to choose man of the Match(s) it would be SJSU #4 in the first game and #8 in the second, Nolau Verga. This is his first year playing. I think he will become a major player. He always seemed to be at the breakdowns, ran strong, and scored the try for SJSU in the second game. Keep an eye out for him.

Thanks to Kat for the coaching!

Humboldt State 14 – UC SANTA CRUZ 18 Referee: Sam Davis

SANTA ROSA JC 39 – U. of San Francisco 17 Referee: Mike King
The match started on time on a bright, sunny day at For Pete’s Sake Field in Santa Rosa. The hosts opened the scoring with a drive and break by #4, after controlling territory for most of the first 10-15 minutes. They followed with another try on a long run by the flyhalf, before USF came storming back to score. SRJC closed out the first stanza with another try. First half 17-5.

USF struck first in the second half with continued strong running by its backs. Both sides held their own in the scrum, but SRJC took control of the USF lineout at times. Tackling was crisp and possession see-sawed for awhile. There were new players on both sides who had worked hard with their coaches to master to basics of the game. The match was fairly even in the second stanza with the teams trading tries again, until SRJC closed out with 2 tries near the end of the contest.

Santa Clara seconds 19 – SIERRA JC 54 Referee: Sam Reagle
Weather: Perfect

I got a call Friday afternoon saying that the game had been moved from Loomis to Santa Clara. That meant my commute changed from 5 miles to 145 miles. My car needed gas, but the Goldwing had a full tank. With the temperature expected to be in the 60's, I put on a warmup suit and headed for Silicon Valley. Time flies on the bike and I arrived in time to watch most of Dave Pope's game.

It was then that I learned Santa Clara was resting their entire A-side for their game against Cal on Sunday. My expectations dropped a little, but this was probably a better game to referee than the track meet I predicted. Sierra scored 7 tries on the day, 3 in the first half and 4 in the second. They also made all but one conversion. Santa Clara had one unconverted try in the first half and 2 converted tries in the second. There were no penalty kicks at goal attempted.

Although there were several knock-ons and a few errant passes, there were very few penalties. Sierra has a good nucleus of players who recycled the ball well and a couple of backs who won the day against the Broncos. The B's were well organized, but missed tackles allowed Sierra to create overlaps.

UC Davis women 0 – CHICO STATE 24 Referee: Rob Hendrickson
Touch Judge: Donal Walsh
Chico women continued their crazy travel schedule traveling down to Davis for an 11:00 start under clear skies, on a firm pitch and with 75 degree temperatures. Both sides seem to be in a rebuilding mode, fielding a fair number of relatively young players at a number of key positions. Chico scored 3 tries in the first half by swinging the ball out wide to push down the field, and then pick and go to punch it in. The second half had cleaner and quicker ball at the breakdown, but Chico was the only one to be able to capitalize on it for a try.

Seconds: UC Davis women 10 – CHICO STATE 12 Referee: Donal Walsh

Humboldt State women 6 – CALIFORNIA 39 Referee: Sam Davis

Seconds: HUMBOLDT STATE 12 – Cal 0 Ref: Davis

Santa Clara women 0 – UC SANTA CRUZ 55 Referee: Dave Pope
UC Santa Cruz had too much speed in the backs for the Santa Clara Women, and were a bit better recycling the ball. Santa Cruz scored consistently throughout the game. Santa Clara played hard all game and managed to get the ball over the line in a maul, but dropped the ball less than 6 inches from the ground. Santa Cruz won the scrum and cleared their line.

Nevada women – St. Mary's CANCELED

STANFORD women 50 – Texas A&M 0 Referee: Tony Redmond
A lovely day for rugby on Stanford's good pitch laid the foundations for an open and interesting game. I've refereed Stanford women a number of times and they have always proven to be a well-drilled team who perform the basics well (a tribute to their coaching staff) and have a set of players who get the ball wide to some speedsters in their back three. This game was different because I saw counter-rucking for the first time in a women's game in the US! Texas were a more limited team than Stanford both in the number of players available and skills but that didn't stop them imposing a physical presence at rucks and mauls that forced Stanford into penalties, converted several turn-overs, and provided the Stanford scrum-half with a quality of ball that she really wished she hadn't got to deal with. Sure, Stanford scored two goals in the first half, but it took them 20 minutes to break down the A&M resistance and the second goal came much later in the half. Texas A&M kept working hard in the second half but the sheer physical effort couldn't be maintained and waned as the half progressed. Stanford took advantage to win better ball and create a platform to move the ball wide to create opportunities across the back-line where a hat-trick of tries was notched up by Stanford #11. Further evidence of the ebbing physical challenge came when Stanford #1 broke through and experienced a dream situation for a prop - open field with 20m to the goal line and just a few tired backs ahead. She scored! The final tally of 50-0 (the scoreboard was wrong at 52-0) was probably hard on the Texans but there's no doubt that the better team won through skill, experience, and persistence in the face of physical competition.


Elsie Allen 12 – SF/GOLDEN GATE 15 Referee: Mike King
This pre-season match pitted 2 of the top high school programs in the Bay Area, who both have good organization, excellent coaching and dedicated athletes. Not surprisingly, it was a Battle Royale at the LoboDome following a brief opening presentation celebrating the benefits the Rugby program has brought to the Southwest Santa Rosa community.

The visitors had a well-schooled and large pack with versatile and talented backs. They did not seem to fully anticipate the ferocity that the smaller Lobos displayed at the tackle or in the loose. Elsie Allen seemed to control territory for much of the first half, with its continued pressure in the second and third phase. The Lobos scored a try in the corner on a nice run and pass sequence in the corner. Only stout defense by the Golden Gate lads, kept the home team out a few more times in the half. Not to be outdone, however, on one of its sorties into the home end, SFGG broke through the line to dot down to even it up at half. 5-5.

Switching ends did not seem to have much effect on Elsie’s pressure until a break from a ruck by the Golden Gate # 8 covered most of the field. This score seemed to change the game’s dynamics some. SFGG continued its solid defense and counter-attacked effectively on Lobo kicks. Eventually, they dotted down again on a nice pass and run into the corner, again making it hard for their kicker to convert despite an excellent effort. After some delay due to the departure of an injured player, both sides picked up with the same intensity they had before. The match closed with a penalty try being awarded to Elsie Allen after repeated failure to retreat by the visitors following an offside call. It was correctly pointed out to the referee that he should have allowed more opportunity to defense to retreat after they were not back 10 on the initial penalty.

It was a pleasure to participate in this match involving talented players, giving no quarter and asking none, while at the same time playing within the basic structure of the Laws. These young men all have a promising future and acquitted themselves well.

CALIFORNIA 67 – Santa Clara 10 Referee: Rich Anderson
Assistant Referees: Rob Hendrickson, John Coppinger
As I was making the 15 minute drive from my house to Berkeley's Pitch last Sunday, I was counting my blessings. I was able to referee the top college program in the country on a beautiful pitch. The weather was in the 70's, drought be damned. And I had two friends (John Coppinger/Rob Hendrickson) volunteer to give up some of their pre-Super Bowl afternoon to run touch.

My final blessing was a surprisingly entertaining non-league match. Santa Clara was able to match Cal's intensity for much of the first half, score a few trys, and keep the half time score down to 22-10. Cal came out a bit more focused in the 2nd half, scored early, and never let up. A few late Cal trys tilted the score a bit, but overall, it was a well contested match.

A few cold drinks with my Assistant Referees on the patio of a local establishment completed the experience. It was a good day.

Chico State women 15 – TEXAS A&M 19 Referee: Bruce Carter

This was one of those one-way games you hear about. Although, it was not one-way in terms of team or color, but rather all of the points were scored going northwest, at the same end of the pitch.

The key statistic by which this game can be understood was the dew point.

Look at it this way: in 160 minutes of rugby on their NorCal tour, the Aggies scored three tries. These all came in the last eight of those minutes. The tour was like one of those long, run-on sentences that scholarly German lends itself to, where all the verbs pile up at the end.

We kicked off at 9 AM, 45 degrees under clear skies. Despite the high barometric pressure, clear skies allow the surface of the Earth to cool overnight by radiation. With the humidity up and the temperature down the grass was wet with condensation.

The first half was scrum practice; nobody could find the handle. Chico State did better in these conditions, relying more on a close-in game of pick and punch.

Chico State controlled possession and territory for those forty minutes. Although they scored two tries and one penalty goal, several other kickable penalties went for touch and did not lead to points.

Such was the slickness factor of the dew that at halftime the ref tried to pick up the ball to put it back at midfield and committed an unpressured knock-on.

The morning’s photon storm, however, soon had the grass warmer than the air above and then it was only a matter of minutes before all was dry. This occurred midway through the second half. And by then Chico State had pretty much emptied their bench, which meant in this non-league friendly that it was basically their second side.

A&M’s backs’ play suddenly made sense with the ball in hand. Their centers and fullback scored tries with 8, 6 and 3 minutes remaining, two conversions making the difference in the final scoreline.


Berkeley Rhinos 5 – ALAMEDA 12 Ref: Lost in Editing! [Sorry!]
Tom Bates Fields, Berkeley
Game was played on the all-weather turf at the brand-new fields at the base of Gilman St. in Berkeley (next to the race track). The weather was perfect and the birds on the wires were chirping up a storm. The pre-season game consisted of three 25 min periods with free subs at dead balls. Alameda had the smaller squad numbers-wise, but seemed to have an edge experience-wise. The first period was a 0/0 tie after 25 min of even play. The second half saw Berkeley send in a new group with less experience and the score and the end of the second was 5/12. One of the Alameda players made a beautiful interception and run in for a try towards the end of this period. The third period saw Berkeley and Alameda ending up scoreless again. It may have been Alameda tiring or Berkeley sending its more experienced players back in. Anyway, both teams got a good run and enjoyed a great morning of rugby.

BROTHERS 40 – De La Salle 5 Referee: Paul Bretz

Frosh/JV: BROTHERS 15 – De La Salle 0 Ref: Bretz

Tackle Position
Another photo courtesy of David Barpal.

Phil Akroyd shows how to referee the tackle in the Causeway Classic, the Sac State – UC Davis match. Notice that he’s closer to the action than the first supporting player: perfect.

But Phil: white socks?


For the Senate
Pelicus Scriptoris