Wednesday, February 25, 2009




Hard work leads talent to recognition. The Promotion Committee of the Referee Development Committee is very happy to acknowledge the progress made by an octet of Pelicans:

Promoted to C3: Nate Housman, Danny Kaufman, Ryan Luis, Greg Lundell

Promoted to C2: Phil Akroyd, Chris Labozzetta, George O’Neil, Roberto Santiago

Promoted to C1: James Hinkin

The Committee is always looking for more work of this nature. Take us up on it!


We are always looking for an excuse to feast as a flock in March.

On March 21 we’ll have exchange referees in town from Alberta and from Eastern Pennsylvania. Please respond if you would be available to meet for dinner after the day’s run.

The Society will of course pay for our guests; the rest of us will be on our own. We would like to propose the Dead Fish in Crockett for the festivities.


Monday, February 16:
Nevada women 5 – STANFORD 52 Referee: Sam Reagle
When I heard that this game had been rescheduled from Saturday afternoon to Monday afternoon (Presidents Day) because of weather over the Sierras, I wondered if 2 days was going to make much of a difference. Monday morning, the weather channel said there were clear skies in Reno with possible afternoon snow flurries so I headed out into a light rain on my side of the mountains. It took me an hour and 45 minutes door to pitch to get to Reno and a little over twice that to get home. Having lived in Denver for 20 years, they rarely got it right, but apparently it's different here.

The first half was played under clear skies. The Cardinal announced their presence with authority, dominating most rucks and controlling most scrums by driving the Wolfpack off the ball even when they appeared to be in control. It seemed like Reno was on the defensive all half and did very well to only yield 4 tries. Halftime score: 26-0.

Right about halftime, the temperature dropped and soon afterward it started snowing. The weather changed, but the gamed remained the same. For a short while, Reno's try about 8 minutes into the half looked like the beginning of a comeback, but Stanford shook it off and went back to work scoring another 26 points this half. This was a good clean game with good attitudes by both clubs. There were very few penalties and no kicks at goal attempted.

NOTE: Ono Nseyo (#21) scored a hat trick for the Cardinal. More impressive is that she was one of the touch judges for the entire first half.

Friday , February 20:
CHICO STATE women 15 – Brigham Young Univ. 12 Referee: Jim Crenshaw
Chico St Women played BYU Friday afternoon in Chico.

It was a hard fought match, with both teams failing to capitalize on some opportunities.
Chico led 3 to nil at halftime.

The second half was back and forth with BYU scoring a converted try, followed by an unconverted try by Chico to regain the lead. Chico then added to their lead with a converted try well into the match. BYU scored an unconverted try at fulltime to end the match.

Saturday, February 21:
OLYMPIC CLUB 24 – Hayward 17 Referee: Pete Smith

Seconds: Olympic Club 14 – HAYWARD 17 Referee: James Hinkin
Evaluator: Kat Todd-Schwartz

SAN MATEO 20 – Sac Lions 10 Referee: Scott Wood
ARs: Joe Leisek, Dave Pope
Evaluator: Dixon Smith
Fiancé braving the cold: Danielle Vervais
Estimated attendance: 50 (my vision may have doubled when I took a look)

Location: College of San Mateo
Weather: Barometer and temperature dropping, threat of rain

Originally, the match was to be played at Fiesta Meadows Park with a foul weather backup field at San Mateo High School. Unfortunately both were closed Friday afternoon so the hosts had to scramble for a alternative to the backup. If you get an opportunity to referee at CSM (College of San Mateo), grab it. There are some great vistas and the all-weather pitch is knee-friendly. Just watch out for the rail that runs along the side of the track and blends into the surface.

Unfortunately there is not a net to stop balls from going over the side and down the hill. Additionally, the posts were not installed. However, both teams entered the match at 1-2 in the standings and need bonus points more than points scored so elected to play on. Rugby wins!

The teams played with positive attitudes and were highly competitive. Unfortunately the scrum count was astronomical but I take solace in the fact that penalties were very low. One player went to the sin bin for a dangerous tackle.

Many thanks to my Assistant Referees, Joe Leisek and Dave Pope. Their input and assistance was very helpful. Further kudos to Dixon Smith for sitting in cooling temperatures. His feedback is greatly appreciated.

Seconds: SAN MATEO 25 – Sac Lions 0 Referee: Dave Pope
In a very abbreviated second side match that saw plenty of tired players from the first side match, the Sacramento Lions had more energy than San Mateo and won easily 25 - 0. I think this game, even with the minimal minutes played, will set the year's record for the amount of laughter during a game. I believe everyone had a fun time.

Sac Capitals 8 – RENO 33 Referee: Don Pattalock
Assistant Referees: Ray Schwartz, Mark Godfrey
Florin Reservoir was soft under foot but not nearly as bad as it usually is this time of year. Sacramento chose to play 10-man rugby and play directly into the teeth of the Reno pack. Although Sacramento controlled a majority of possession, Reno absorbed most all of the pressure and managed to counter-attack off turnover ball. When Reno did move the ball wide, the class of their backs resulted in trys. Physical match, played in tight with 30+ scrums.

Seconds: Sac Capitals – Reno Referee: Unknown

EAST PALO ALTO 12 – Santa Rosa 10 Referee: Tony Redmond
A tough encounter where the back skills of EPA eventually broke down the well-organized Santa Rosa team.

SR opened up with an early penalty but couldn't exploit the advantage that they gained when EPA #8 was sin-binned in the 22nd minute for a dangerous tackle. EPA nearly had another player in the bin soon afterwards for a tackle that was only slightly better but things soon settled down into a controlled and competitive game.

EPA's back line conjured two tries in quick succession, one of which was converted, to lead 12-3 at the break.

The second half was dominated by SR in terms of possession but their pick and drive play seldom generated ball of sufficient quality or speed to open up the EPA defense. Several times during the half SR recycled possession ten or more times but never gained much ground for so much physical effort.

The SR team gained their reward when they forced over a try from a series of rucks close to the line. The try was converted to bring the score to 12-10 with 5 minutes to play.

Despite putting the kick-off direct into touch, EPA managed to play out the last few minutes comfortably and ended up as close winners.

The coaches of both teams raised interesting points after the game. The EPA coach felt that the opposition were coaxing EPA into making dangerous tackles by "jumping" into tackle situations. In other words, players raised their feet off the ground as they went into the tackle to cause the tackler to automatically raise the tackled player up in the air before depositing them onto the ground (not always gently). Maybe it was me, but I didn't observe players behaving like athletic wildebeest and thought that the EPA tackles were simply careless rather than malicious. We agreed that the yellow card was well justified. The SR coach queried the decision not to award a penalty attempt in the first half (a critical decision as it turned out, given the tightness of the final score). The kick went wide to the right but was close enough for many players to believe that the attempt was good. Both assistant referees and myself deemed the kick wide. However, after the match, the SR coach talked to one of the assistant referees who said that the kick failed because the posts weren't big enough! The lesson here is that if a kick is deemed wide, it stays wide after the game too and nothing good comes from introducing complications such as musing that things might have been different if the posts were bigger/wider/in a different place/painted a different color or so on.

All in all, an enjoyable and competitive game

Seconds: EAST PALO ALTO 39 – Santa Rosa 5 Referee: Rich Anderson

Baracus 14 – SEAHAWKS 27 Referee: John Pohlman
It has been years since I have been to the Polo Fields for a game. So when I got the call Friday night letting me know the game had been moved from a 3:00PM start at the Treasure Island Job Corps Field to a 1:00 start at the Polo Fields, I was pretty excited. Then I realized I had a game in San Mateo at 11:00 another in San Francisco at 1:00. Fortunately both teams were willing to work with me. San Mateo started fifteen minutes early and Baracus started 15 minutes late.

I arrived at 12:45. Both teams were in the middle of their pregame warm-ups. A quick filling out of game rosters and pregame chat gave me a few minutes to organize TJ's.

I quickly inspected the field which was well marked. The Polo Fields do not seem to have the ground keeping crew of years past. Although still a great place for rugby the field was uneven with spotty turf.

Then kick off.

San Jose scored first with a penalty kick by Greg Mihrman. These teams were very well matched. Strong defense and hotly contested tackles kept me moving. San Jose has a former Tongan national player, Soni Poni, playing outside center. Soni scored the first try of the game at 18 minutes. He was able to side through tackles feeding winger Andy Trapani for a try at 37 minutes. Baracus lost a bit of focus at the end of the first half allowing the Trapani score and another one minute later. This one an intercept try by #13 Poni. These two trys were the only ones not fully earned and proved to be the difference in the game.

Half Time score San Jose 22 Baracus 7.
San Jose's #14 Trapani scored his second of the day set up by Poni 9 minutes in. The rest of the game Baracus controlled most of the possession. Two strong goal line stands kept Baracus out of the try zone.

At 35 minutes Baracus scored the final try of the day.

Seconds: Baracus 12 – SEAHAWKS 41 Referee: Cary Bertolone
On Saturday, I worked the San Jose Seahawks 2nds vs. Baracus 2nds at the Polo Fields. A hard hitting match with quite a bit of good humor in between scrums and the Seahawks superior pack won out with a half time score of 19-0 and a final score of 41-12. Not even one yellow or red card was needed as everyone played rugby as they should!

DIABLO GAELS 14 – Fresno 13 Referee: Paul Bretz

Seconds: DIABLO GAELS 64 – Fresno 7 Referee: Jackie Finck
Referee Coach: Paul Bretz
Great team management was displayed by both teams. After the first half, the point spread between the two teams was small enough to be anyone's game, and Fresno held that enthusiastic spirit after they scored their first try in the second half. However, the Gaels forwards rucked strong and with an elusive scrum half, the Gaels pulled ahead to secure a lead. The overcast weather held dry for the game, no serious injuries occurred, and each player was still smiling at the end of the game, so it turned out to be a great day for rugby.

SFGG 38 – Arroyo Grande 7 Referee: Rob Speers (Arizona)
Evaluator: Mike Malone

Seconds: SFGG 38 – Arroyo Grande 0 Referee: Chris Labozzetta

MISSION 64 – Aptos 15 Referee: Preston Gordon
We got underway a few minutes late at the Palo Alto sports complex. It didn't take long for Mission to get on the board, and by halftime they were up 36-3. In the middle of the second half Aptos put together a solid 15 minutes of rugby and scored a try, and added another in the last minute, but this game was pretty much all Mission.

It did take a few minutes for the players (from both sides) to figure out that the game would flow more smoothly if they concentrated on their game and not on talking. Once we got to that point, however, the game was fast, open, and a lot of fun.

CHICO 43 – Vacaville 36 Referee: Jim Crenshaw
Saturday I drove back to Chico to do the Chico - Vacaville match. Chico stared off the scoring with a converted try in the first minute of the match and it looked like it might be a long day for Vacaville. After the kick off, Vacaville started to get going. Vacaville kicked a penalty goal and scored a converted try to take the lead. Chico figured out that Vacaville wasn't going to roll over and scored an unconverted try and them a converted try. Vacaville answered with a converted try to get within 2, but Chico answered right back with a converted try to extend their lead back to 9. Vacaville intercepted a Chico pass and scored a converted try between the posts to again get within 2, but Chico scored at the end of the half to lead 31 to 24.

The second half settled down a bit, but about half through Chico scored an unconverted try and then a converted try to go up 43 to 24. Chico seemed to think they could coast on home for the win, but Vacaville had other ideas and scored a converted try and then, with a couple of minutes to go an unconverted try to get within 7. Chico held on for the win in the last couple of minutes, but Vacaville never gave up. Great match Final score Chico 43 Vacaville 36.

Stanislaus 0 – BERKELEY 26 Referee: Roberto Santiago
The weather was cool, the grass was green, and the pitch was full size. The rugby was competitive and talkative. Over the course of the day Berkeley had better athletes in the forwards which opened things up and made the difference in the game. Stanislaus did have some good play from their back line but in the end could not finish the opportunities they had. Thanks to Stanislaus for their hospitality.

FOG 23 – Vallejo 5 Referee: Bjorn Stumer
A surprisingly determined FOG side used forward play and the muddy pitch to keep a fit and fast Vallejo Barbarians side at bay. The FOG got on the scoreboard early with a penalty and never looked back. Frustration and indiscipline proved costly to the Barbarians, to include a yellow card for foul play. At the close of the first half the FOG was 16 unanswered points ahead, a fact not lost on Vallejo which came back hard and fast in the second. The day however had FOG written all over it and, although the Barbarians scored a fine try, the FOG kept composure and put in another converted try with minutes to go. A bit scrappy here and there due to the soft pitch underneath and the occasional flaring of tempers. Overall however a fine day and a well deserved victory for the FOG.

Mendocino 12 – MARIN 81 Referee: Sandy Robertson
An experienced Marin side gave a young Mendocino team an excellent view of running rugby. Marin ran straight and hard, passes were well timed to players running excellent lines in support. Mendocino's success came when they were able to put some pressure on Marin and capitalize on the disruption.

SHASTA over Petaluma by forfeit.

CALIFORNIA 31 – U. British Columbia 15 Referee: Aruna Ranaweera
Assistant Referees: Bruce Carter, Preston Gordon
Referee Coach: David Williamson
I enjoy refereeing at Witter Rugby Field: field conditions are impeccable and the level of professionalism at Cal is first-class. For the first leg of this year's (Vancouver) World Cup match, the stakes were raised to another level: USA Rugby and ESPN were on-hand to tape the inaugural National Guard Game of the Week. My pre-match preparation was no different than usual, but during warm-ups, I could not help but notice the feat of mechanical engineering that had a TV crew hoisted high in the sky to capture the event: best seat in the house, without doubt! The bay area's recently fickle weather was also cooperative with perfect conditions for fast rugby.

And fast it was! Both teams had speed to burn in the backs, but they also kicked a lot up-field from within their 22 (possibly due to the ELV's), which meant the ball frequently changed direction. Both fly-halves used the big stage to marshal their teams with chess-like tactical skill. Forward play was intense but even: lineouts were fiercely contested and scrums were locked tight for the most part. UBC seemed more efficient in the rucks, while Cal was overpowering in the mauls. Cal took a narrow 11-8 lead into half-time: 1 try, 1 penalty and 1 nifty drop goal against 1 penalty and 1 opportunistic try by UBC. Cal also spilled a certain scoring opportunity (knock-on in goal after a 50m break with support), whereas UBC missed a kickable penalty. Both teams, especially the forwards, appeared to be physically stretched by the intensity and stamina shown by their opponents.

In the second half, the intensity and pace picked up as both teams threw the kitchen sink at their opponents. UBC came out the gates aggressively, running straight at Cal from within their 22 like there was no tomorrow. Cal defended bravely and earned another penalty to edge ahead 14-8. Soon after, UBC's backs kicked their game into an even higher gear and twice narrowly missed scoring due to desperate cover tackles by Cal. Off an ensuing phase, UBC's fly-half sauntered untouched to score under the posts to the joy of the extremely vocal UBC supporters. 50 minutes into the match, UBC lead 14-15 and seemed to have established control of the match flow, but their fly-half missed another kickable penalty. UBC kept attacking vertically using mid-field pick and drives, but Cal was disciplined under pressure and managed to earn scraps of possession, which they used to gain territory. Midway through the second half, Cal's right wing changed the match dynamics by scoring a spectacular individual try out of almost nothing. Taking a regulation pass from his center, the wing appeared to be trapped near mid-field before he shrugged off and side-stepped at least 4 defenders to jubilantly score near the posts. Leading 21-15 and with the home crowd back from the dead, Cal seemed energized and scored several minutes later through their left wing. Cal's fly-half also narrowly missed another drop-goal. Despite controlling most of the match, UBC suddenly found itself down 28-15 and Cal showed that they had wrested the momentum by attacking with more flair in the dying minutes. Cal earned one last penalty with no time left in the match and their fly-half almost kicked it out before his teammates frantically reminded him to kick for points since there was a second leg to be played in Vancouver. [Editor’s Note: The World Cup is decided on aggregate points of the two matches.] The kick was good, which gave Cal a hard-earned 31-15 victory, 3 tries to 2. UBC looked to be in control after 60 minutes before Cal found their edge in the final quarter. What a match!

Much thanks to assistant referees Bruce Carter and Preston Gordon for their excellent support: it is always reassuring to have calm, professional feedback from the sideline. Also, much thanks to Dave Williamson for his coaching advice and constructive comments. I understand this match will be shown on ESPNU in April, which is great news for rugby fans around the country, especially some of my friends who were at the match but missed the key tries because they were having too much fun in the beer garden! (Some things never change.)

UC DAVIS 31 – Stanford 5 Referee: Sam Reagle
Assistant Referees: Tom Zanarini, Phil Ulibarri
Referee Coach: Matt Eason
Note: If you have the luxury of owning more than one pair of "shoes" that you wear when you referee, either always carry them all with you or be sure you know which ones are in your bag. As I was in Reno last Monday for their game against Stanford, I wore nubbies because of their artificial turf. Those same shoes in the mud at Davis do not provide the same level of traction.

The game started off well enough with the Cardinal scoring just 2 minutes into the game even though they kicked off. But after that, it became penalty after penalty despite my best attempts to manage the issues. At the 22 minute mark, I binned the first Cardinal player 5 meters from goal, but did not feel a penalty try was warranted. The game really improved (penalty-wise) after that with UCD scoring one converted try during his absence and one just after his return before the penalties resumed again closing out the first half. Halftime score: 14-5.

Feeling frustrated that both teams weren't getting the message, I called the captains over at the end of halftime and told them how unacceptable the penalty count was and that I would be quick to yellow-card "stupid" penalties. That worked for about 12 minutes until Stanford started fringing again so off went another Stanford player to the bin. 4 minutes later and right in front of me, a new Cardinal sub (he was still clean) dives under a ruck and bats the ball. I didn't really want to bin him with another player still off, but it met the criteria so off he went. This half, the Aggies scored a try with one in the bin, a try with 2 in the bin and a try with none in the bin. Somewhat interesting is that there were no penalty kicks attempted. There was also no foul-play whatsoever.

I haven't had a game like this in years. The players ignored me and the assistant referees. On several occasions, I could hear Phil telling players to get back, yet they stayed put. I may try spending more time on the defensive off-side line if I see this happen again.

Thanks to Matt for offering your time on my behalf. Your commentary was insightful.

Seconds: UC DAVIS 43 – Stanford 10 Referee: Phil Ulibarri
Stanford B played tough and came out early in both halves with quick scores; however, Davis B was better disciplined and more consistent on the day outscoring the Stanford side 7 trys to 2.

St. Mary's thirds 33 – Sierra JC 41 Referee: Mike King
In a spirited contest, the home side was more organized in the first half, creating numerous scoring opportunities through strong attacking by excellent passing and running. Only sure tackling and some creative counterattacks kept the score relatively close at half. 19-12 for St. Mary’s. The Gaels opened the 2d half in similar fashion and seemed to be in control of the outcome. Instead, some punishing running from the Wolverines, particularly from #12 and #8, reversed the course of the match. The visitors came roaring back and scored with abandon to sweep into the lead. Final count in this exciting contest was 33-41 marked by improved play around the rucks from both sides in the second half.

ST. MARY’S 104 – Nevada 5 Referee: George O'Neil

Seconds: ST. MARY’S 44 – Nevada 32 Referee: Bruce Anderson
Game was played in good spirit with play going from one side of the field to the other. St Mary's powered Reno back in the scrums while both teams had good line out ball. Open play was great and both teams wanted to play open running rugby. St Mary's scored most of their tries through running the ball wide and Reno was effective in the close encounters. Reno could be a much better side if they just came to practice.

Cheers to Rugby....what a great game.

Chico State 27 – SAC STATE 39 Referee: Joe Androvich

Seconds: Chico State – Sac State Ref: Androvich

DIABLO U23, 12 – Maritime Academy 8 Referee: Sam Davis

Santa Clara 24 – HUMBOLDT STATE 43 Referee: John Coppinger
Humboldt State ran by Santa Clara 43-24 on Santa Clara's Mission Campus on a gray day in font of large crowd of students (which has become the norm) and parents on Parent's Weekend. At the half, HSU lead 17-10.

HSU took an early lead scoring a pick-off try from deep in their own end as SCU threatened to score. This became the pattern as SCU controlled possession and the set piece, but was unable to prevent HSU from scoring from turn-over and loose ball.

Some-time Pelicans Larry Freitas and Chris Fisher were spotted in the crowd.

UC SANTA CRUZ 43 – San Jose State 24 Eric Rauscher
Overcast sky and cool temperature, but an amazing view of Monterey Bay and snow on the mountains above Monterey. Quite an amazing sight. It was quite an amazing game. Both teams played with a determination never to give up, and in a friendly manner with both sides enjoying the game. There were stretches of play at least 10 phases between stoppages. The Slugs advantage in this game seemed to be a better use of their backs. They were able to quickly move a ball away form a breakdown crossfield and either score a try or gain a lot of ground. The forward packs were pretty much evenly balanced. SJSU defiantly has the athleticism so with a little more experience they should be a very good team.

SF State – Sierra JC CANCELED

U. of the Pacific 7 – SANTA ROSA JC 118 Referee: Scott McConnell
A great facility at UOP, and the weather held up for the event thankfully. UOP only managed to rally together 8 live bodies, therefore Santa Rosa loaned them 2 of their 25-strong outfit to make a fast paced 10-a-side game. Santa Rosa bolted out the gate and scored within 30 seconds and looked very polished. Given the circumstances they were obviously trying some moves and working out some wrinkles while UOP were just trying to learn a few laws and compete any way possible. The first half came to a close with Santa Rosa running in 81 points but much to UOP's credit they did put up a solid effort for a few minutes and scored a nice try under the sticks.
The second half was much the same.

UC Davis women 10– CALIFORNIA 22 Referee: Tom Zanarini

Seconds: UC DAVIS 57 – California 0 Ref: Zanarini

Nevada women 5 – CHICO STATE 24 Referee: Craig Lusiani
The strength, persistence and commitment of the Chico State Women forwards, resulted in two tries from pounding at the Nevada try line, from close in and a 12 - Nil half time lead.

The Chico State ladies showed great skill and grit in their mauling and rucking which kept the Nevada Women pinned in their own half for much of the first 40 minutes of play.

Only the valiant defensive play of the Nevada Women kept the match close, with the Wolfpack Women repulsing wave after wave of the Chico State Women barrage.

The second half opened with a series of attacks by the Reno ladies, swinging the ball wide with precision pass after precision pass resulting in a score very early in the second half. The conversion was unsuccessful.

Score: Nevada Women 5 - Chico State Women 12

Despite several very good 3 and 4 phase movements by the Pack Ladies, utilizing their passing skills and speed, the size and experience of the Wildcat Women were able to turn the Wolfpack away from further scoring while tacking on two additional tries and one conversion in finishing off the scoring for the day.

Final score: Chico State Women 24 - Nevada Women 5

STANFORD women 17 – Brigham Young University 15 Referee: Joe Leisek
Steuber Rugby Stadium, Stanford University

This was easily the most intense match I have refereed in a while. From the kickoff, both teams signaled their intent to run the ball and keep it in play. And although they were playing the defending national collegiate champions in their home stadium, BYU showed no signs of being intimidated. In fact, they ran right at the Cardinal and made things very difficult for them at the breakdown. And BYU did one thing very, very well: they tackled. This was a battle, played at pace. Over the years, I've not seen Stanford challenged so strongly before the gainline. BYU scored first and in fact took an 8-7 lead into halftime. In the second half, the hosts scored two unconverted tries while the visitors scored a late try and mounted sustained pressure before full time. One player comment: Stanford captain Melissa Smit is such an impressive player, and her leadership qualities on the field are equally impressive. She balances a high work rate with a focused intensity and the presence of a coach. Congratulations to the BYU coaches and players for providing such a great display of rugby and for their conduct on the field. The same goes to the Stanford players and coaching staff of Jonathan Griffin, Heather Smith, and Tina Nesberg. A good crowd enjoyed a dramatic, entertaining game.

St. Mary's women 17 – SANTA CLARA 24 Referee: Rob Hendrickson
Because Saint Mary's men had a home game scheduled for Saturday at 1:00, the women's team had to travel down to Santa Clara for an 11:00 kickoff at Bellomy Field, which is usually well marked, but on this day included an odd extra solid line for the adjacent soccer field angling in from about 6 - 10 meters from the rugby pitch's touch line, which led to several mix-ups. The game was well played by both teams and a game of 2 halves, with Santa Clara scoring 3 first half tries (including 2 break-aways by their winger), and Saint Mary's getting the better of the second half scoring two tries. While both teams successfully moved the ball wide and aggressively contested for the ball at rucks and scrums, there were more pile-ups than there should have been, as neither team would consistently push the ball back or roll away, leading to an increase in the number of penalties as players got tired.

UC Santa Cruz women 5 – U. of San Francisco 5 Referee: Brian Schnack
Fun, energetic match as always with The Slugs, welcoming an injured and young USF squad. The game was played with mixed squads, with the Slugs giving USF several pack and backs. The first half had some good series full of hustle, and were it not for some ticky-tacky knock-on and fwd pass calls (thanks Scotty) USF would have scored earlier.

But USF put together a good long series at the end of the half, scoring a try at 41:30 to go up 5-0.

Then the second half went forward, with fun open play, great rucks and mauls, and few whistles (not by omission, mind you). After several deep but empty excursions inside USF's 20, the Slugs broke through with good back play and a try.

5-5. Several minutes later the game ended, with me evidently owing beer and running late for my kid's first tee ball game.


SAN MATEO 60 – Live Oak 5 Referee: John Pohlman
San Mateo High School hosted Live Oak at the College of San Mateo artificial turf football field. I arrived around 10:00 AM for a scheduled 11:00 AM start. Lots of activity at the field. Flag football practice, track and field practices along with rugby players warming up created a buzz. The College of San Mateo is off Highway 92 with some stunning views of the bay. Unfortunately the field was marked for football. Only one goal post was up. And luckily we only lost one ball due it being kicked over the fence and possibly ending up a couple of hundred feet below.

Both teams were ready and willing to kickoff a few minutes early to accommodate my second game scheduled to start at 1:00PM at the Polo fields.

San Mateo has size, speed and some great individual talent. They are led by captain and #8 Patrick Coto. Live Oak continues to play good rugby led by #8 and Captain Mason Lammon.

Due to only one goalpost it was decided to be a kick-free game. No penalty kicks or conversions. This led to a lot more playing time.

San Mateo started the scoring at 5 minutes. Captain Patrick scored one of his tries three minutes later. The Live Oak team is well coached and made loads a good tackles. But San Mateo's power and size simply proved too much for Live Oak. After the third try at 13 minutes the Live Oak #10 commented he just could not stop the San Mateo front row from 5 meters out. I agree. 170 pounds versus 270 pounds at a full run with five meters to go. The physics just don't work out.

First half score San Mateo 20 Live Oak 5.

Patrick scored the try of the game in the second half. Breaking two tackles and out sprinting three Live Oak backs for a 50 meter try. Patrick in the USA under 19 program. He looks to have a great future in rugby. Athletic, strong and fast with a rugby family backing him.

One area Live Oak won was counter rucking. They frustrated a few San Mateo possessions, stealing a few balls.

San Mateo scored 8 trys in the second half. Live Oak got a morale booster try with ten minutes left.

Final San Mateo 60 Live Oak 5, and off to the Polo Fields.

ELSIE ALLEN 42 – Cardinal Newman 7 Referee: Cary Bertolone
On Friday afternoon, I had Cardinal Newman High School vs Elsie Allen H.S. Kick off at 4:00 PM. Both teams had a fast pace and twenty minutes into it, Elsie was only up 5-0, but their superior fitness prevailed and it was 20-0 at the half. Similar circumstance in the second half wherein Elsie Allen scored two times near the end of the match to make it 42-7. It was fairly evenly matched for much of the match, except for the breakdowns near the end of each half. I noticed that Elsie had most passes caught on the full sprint, showing the benefits of a lot of work from practice.

Frosh/Soph: LAMORINDA 19 – De La Salle 7 Referee: Bjorn Stumer
A fast fun match between two well drilled sides played at the superb sports center of Campolindo High School. The players proved surprisingly skilled for their age, and seemed evenly matched with the firs half closing with a converted try for each. Lamorinda however found another gear in the second half, scoring an additional two tries, one of which they converted. A good crowd in attendance, a cadre of coaches for both teams, and a great artificial pitch added to the pleasure of the day.

Varsity: LAMORINDA 61 – De La Salle 0 Referee: Bruce Carter
Assistant Referee: Edward Barfels
Lamo lost to Jesuit earlier in the year when they were feeling the effects of graduating most of last year’s backs. Those effects seem to have worn off.

A good crowd, already in place for the early frosh/soph match, grew for the second of three games at Campolindo’s football stadium.

What they saw was a scrummies-try from a maul about a minute in, and then nearly a point a minute overall. Lamo’s #8 and #12 scored two trys each, while De La Salle’s #10 looked to be their best, even with bad ball.

Great sportsmanship was the order of the day. These kinds of teams climb the learning curve quickly and I look forward to refereeing them again.

Lancers 3 – ISLANDERS 22 Referee: Phil Akroyd
It’s still early in the High School season and both teams showed it. There were plenty of basic mistakes, but Cordova Lancers never looked like troubling the Islanders’ try line. The South Sac boys did enough to win the game in the first half with three unconverted tries, while The Lancers could only manage a penalty kick in the last minute of the first half, made easier by Islanders not being back 10 at the first penalty.

The second half stagnated, but Islanders scored one more try, making it a victory by nineteen points. Both teams did a tremendous job of listening to safety instructions and putting my requests into action (staying on feet at rucks, scrum safety etc). I look forward to getting both these teams again at some point in the future.

EAST PALO ALTO 32 – College Park 14 Referee: Bruce Bernstein
What started out as a very close match with College park beating EPA at the half 7-5, turned into a one-sided affair mainly due to EPA's #8 who missed the first half. He was twice as big, fast & bad as anyone any other HS has – let alone College Park had.

Thanks for Rich Anderson's help with touch & not stealing my touch flag.

AMAZONS 71 – Mother Lode Rugby 0 Referee: Rod Chance
Touch Judges: Mark Godfrey and Leka Green
The score really does not do this game justice, because it does not explain the unparalleled good sportsmanship from both teams.

The Mother Lode girls were short some players, so the Amazons graciously lent some “A” squad players and we were off. Motherlode played with heart but the Amazon’s are once again in good form and have great talent in both the forwards and backs. They continually blasted through the Motherlode secondary with hard determined running requiring two or three tacklers to bring them down. The score would have been much higher if not some precision kicking by Mother Lode’s #10.

The girls played a physical game but at the end everyone was all smiles. The Amazons finished the day off in true Rugby style, hosting a buffet on the field. The Rugby Gods surely were looking down from the heavens with great joy for what they saw.


Thanks to Scott Wood for sending in this link.

Remembering how we fell in love with rugby:


Brian Zapp of the Eastern Rockies society served as an official at the recent IRB Sevens in San Diego. During play on the Saturday, he handed a subs form to the Welsh team whereupon he had written a more familiar homophone for the name of their nation.

All Hail Pelicus Orcus - The Erroneous Prince of Whales!

Preston Gordon, Aruna Ranaweera, Bruce Carter and David Williamson enjoyed the day at Witter Rugby Field with ESPNU in attendance.


For the Senate
Pelicus Scriptoris