Wednesday, March 18, 2009




The Promotion Committee is happy to recognize Ryan Luis' progress with a promotion to C2.


This Sunday, March 22, SF/Golden Gate will be hosting Belmont Shore in the Super League at 2 PM.

This could be a good excuse to get a lot of Pelicans together. Matter of fact, there’s no reason we shouldn’t provide fourth and fifth officials. The referee will be Chris Draper. Assistant Referees are Bruce Carter and Chris Tucker.

Let us know if you might want to help out. Or – you’d rather sit and watch a great match on a spring day and help support top-flight rugby in the Bay Area!


The 2009 Rugby Season that is. The annual end-of-the-season banquet of the Northern California Rugby Referee Society will be held on SATURDAY, JUNE 13, at Scott’s seafood in Walnut Creek. Drinks at six and dinner at seven.

The Society will pay for the dinners of our members. Guests will be fifty dollars. Drinks are on your own. It will be well worth it: Scott’s is known for excellent comestibles and potables, having ably hosted us a number of times over the years. Pelicans everywhere agree: their seafood is to dive for.

This is an occasion to dress up, bask in camaraderie, share the good times and scoff at the bad. Our annual and much-coveted awards will be presented, and a Special Commemoration will be made that you will not want to have missed.

If you are going to be able to attend, RSVP to Bjorn Stumer with name and number of guests.

See you there?


This is pretty cool, one of the latest initiatives from the national office:

Listen to the promo. Sign up. Tell any kids you know who are interested in our game. Spread the fever!


CALIFORNIA 71 – Sacramento State 10 Referee: Joe Androvich

Chico State – Univ. of Southern Oregon Referee: Jim Crenshaw
No report received.

Nevada 17 – ST. MARY’S 50 Referee: George O'Neil

Seconds: Nevada – St. Mary's Referee: Russ Wilkening
No report received.

STANFORD 17 – Sac State 10 Referee: Dave Pope
Stanford hosted Sac. State Friday night under lights. The cooling air made for a wet playing surface leading to slippery footing and ball. At times both players and referee had trouble staying upright. There were also a lot of dropped balls.

Both teams started very hard, and the game was played at a fast pace. Twenty minutes in we had a lot of hard breathing players, but no score. Stanford had the better opportunities, but could not convert line breaks into points. Several times Stanford was guilty of not supporting after a line break leading to holding on penalties against Stanford instead of tries in their favor. In the second twenty minutes Stanford turned pressure into points scoring an unconverted try to lead 5 - 0 at the half.

The first 25 minutes of the second half were dominated by Stanford. Even though Stanford's athletic but inexperienced team was giving up too many penalties, they managed to build their lead up to 17 - 0 scoring two more tries, one converted one not. Down 17 points with about 15 minutes to go, Sac State's offense finally woke up. What they really discovered was that Stanford was vulnerable to a kicking game. Poorly defended kicks enabled Sac State to gain huge chunks of yardage while maintaining possession.

Sac State managed to score two tries in the next 10 minutes, the second scored by the winger directly from a cross-kick. This set up a feverish last five minutes with Sac State camped on the Stanford goal line. With about 30 seconds to go, Sac State was trying to pound it into goal from about a yard out when the ball was dropped forward. It seemed all Stanford had to do was win the scrum and kick it out. Sac State had other ideas and took the scrum against the head. They attacked the line for a bunch of phases with Stanford absorbing all the pressure. It seemed Sac State had to score, when once again it was dropped forward in contact. Game over.

Senors - BALD EAGLES Referee: Giles Wilson
Well, the referee that an Old Boys game deserved and the game that this referee deserved; a nice balance.

A reasonably well played game, fitting the Old Boys spirit with everyone having fun. The Seniors only had three true backs but 2 have been Eagles which more than made up for quantity despite a willing Bald eagles backline who were beaten early for several scores – the first half read 7 scores to 1 for the Seniors.

In the second half, play began to tell on the Senors (or the Bald Eagles had paced themselves better) and this half went 4 scores to 3 for the Bald Eagles.

Overall 10 scores to 5 for the Senors in what was an enjoyable run out on a Saturday preceding the RSL game.

SF/Golden Gate 33 – BARACUS 36 Referee: Helmer (Minnesota)
Videographer: Bruce Carter
Referee Mentor: Kat Todd-Schwartz
Baracus started out with a quick lead by cherry-picking a pass and running 70 meter for the first try of the game. Halftime score was 19 to 7 to Baracus. However, to start the 2nd half, SFGG came out strong by scoring three, well controlled trys in the first 15 mins of the half. The score was 28-19, SFGG. The next 15 mins was played between the 22s, until Baracus was able to add a try with about 10 mins left. Baracus was then within 2 points to SFGG. SFGG answered right back by scoring a try on a turnover from the restart, leaving the score at 33-26. With about 4 mins left in regulation, Baracus put together a drive to tie the game at 33-33. On the restart, Baracus maintained control from the kick and made their way down into SFGG 5 meter line for a penalty kick and the go ahead win 36-33.

Seconds: SFGG 28 – Baracus 5 Referee: Nate Housman
Referee Coach: Kat Todd-Schwartz

Super League: SFGG 45 – Denver 10 Referee: Davey Ardrey
Assistant Referees: Bruce Carter, Helmer
Evaluator: Dixon Smith

San Mateo 15 – OLYMPIC CLUB 35 Referee: Magnus Oosthuizen (Texas)
Evaluator: Mike Malone

Seconds: San Mateo 10 – OLYMPIC CLUB 12 Referee: Ryan Luis

Hayward 34 – Sac Capitals 34 Referee: Aruna Ranaweera
I could not get any response about the match from the home team, but fortunately, the visiting team from Sacramento had kickoff time and field directions on their website. Both teams were ready to kickoff at noon at Hayward's artificial turf, but the goal-posts arrived late, so the match started at 12:30pm under overcast conditions.

What ensued was a back-and-forth, evenly matched contest. Sacramento was more organized and disciplined, especially in the set-pieces, but Hayward was more powerful and athletic with ball in hand. The visiting team was more fit. In the first half, the two teams played a cat-and-mouse game where if one scored, the other would answer. Hayward led 17-12 at half, but only after bundling a Sacramento player into the corner-flag at the stroke of half-time.

In the second half, Hayward struggled to stay on-side during quick-taps by Sacramento, which earned the home team two yellow cards. The Sacramento Capitals capitalized (no pun intended) on their advantage to score three tries to storm ahead 29-17 with 15 minutes to play. Encouraged by the vocal home-town supporters on the sideline, Hayward suddenly found their attacking flair to score three tries of their own to re-take the lead 34-29 with 3 minutes left in the match. Possession changed several times in the final minutes. With Sacramento attacking and recycling inside Hayward territory, time expired, but the match was extended by three penalties by Hayward, which enabled Sacramento to score out wide in the 83rd minute to tie the match 34-34. The difficult conversion missed, which was appropriate considering that neither team deserved to lose. Each team scored 2 goals and 4 tries.

Seconds: HAYWARD 38 – Sac Capitals 7 Referee: Chris Labozzetta

RENO 20 – Sac Lions 17 Referee: Joe Androvich

Seconds: Reno 12 – Sac Lions 12 Referee: Phil Ulibarri
A mix of first and second side players from both squads rallied to fill the roster for the second game of the day. Both Lions and Zephyrs were clearly mentally and physically exhausted from the hard-fought first match, but Reno had enough to put up twelve points in the first stanza. Sac Lions matched that point total and responded with two tries and a conversion of their own in part two. Final score Sac Lions B 12, Reno Zephyrs B 12.

Diablo Gaels 10 – EAST PALO ALTO 35 Referee: Phil Akroyd
Evaluator: David Williamson
Gaels 1T, 1Conv, 1PK
The game was played at the Diablo Valley College, on the new turf Football field which was surprisingly easy to get accustomed to, as the Gaels did a great job of marking out the pitch with flags and yellow tape.

In my last encounter with EPA, the game featured some dangerous tackling and rugby played in questionable spirit, so to say that I was apprehensive about this game would be an understatement! I had a chat with both teams before the game to let them know that I expected a good, clean, open game of rugby and they assured me that I would get one. I’m glad to say that they delivered!

EPA seemed only concerned with scoring tries and letting their fair tackles do their talking. They had four tries in the first half, of which none were converted. The Gaels seemed like a punch-drunk boxer on the ropes – surprised at the tough but fair rugby that EPA were bringing.

In the second half, the Razorbacks appeared to lose their focus on rugby and attempted to slow down the Gaels whenever the home team had the ball. For this behavior, their prop spent ten minutes in the bin for persistent team offences at the tackle/ruck, in which time; the Gaels pulled back a try to add to their earlier successful Penalty kick at goal. However, EPA seemed happy with their lead and scored a couple of break-away tries to consolidate the margin of victory.

Seconds: Diablo Gaels 12 – EAST PALO ALTO 15 Referee: Roberto Santiago
The atmosphere was great on alumni day at DVC Stadium. There were a good number of supporters for both sides along with a stadium announcer which added to the energy. The game was played with a lot of intensity from both sides as well as both sidelines. One has to wonder if a ref has ever reversed a call based on protestations from beyond the field of play. The first half saw each side score an unconverted try as well as two yellow cards against the visiting squad, one for repeated infringements and one for foul play.

The Gaels scored a converted try early in the second half and held the lead for the next 16 minutes. EPA regained the lead with two tries in a four minute span.

Thanks to the Gales for their hospitality. Thanks to David Williamson for staying and giving me a coaching during the second half. Thanks to the EPA coaches and to both touch judges who did a great job.

Santa Rosa 0 – FRESNO 41 Referee: John Coppinger
On Santa Rosa's treasure of a pitch, For Pete's Sake, a faster, fitter, and better organized Fresno side ran by a game Santa Rosa selection. Santa Rosa threatened to score any number of times but were denied by Fresno defense and turnovers. This match was a pleasure to referee with both sides accepting direction from the referee and the match is remarkable because there was not a single penalty awarded for foul play.

Pelican Mike King was on hand to cheer on his son Pat King, the Santa Rosa captain.

Seconds: Santa Rosa – Fresno
Not sure if this one was played.

SEAHAWKS 38 – Arroyo Grande 14 Referee: Scott Wood
AR: Bruce Bernstein
TJs: Mike Brado, Jason Danna (2d half)
Location: Leland HS, San Jose

San Jose had this game in the bag from the onset but Arroyo Grande never relented. Hard crashing drives and backline plays split the defense. AG scored a converted try in each half but San Jose's Pulu Saulala hat trick kept the visitors out of reach.

Seconds: SEAHAWKS 27 – “Arroyo Grande” 19 Referee: Bruce Bernstein
San Jose Seahawks 2nds (& a few Silverhawks) 27 (5) defeated Mostly Marauders (with a few Arroyo Grande 1sts) 19 (3).

Arroyo Grande only had 15 players and one team, but had a few of the younger ones play with the San Jose Marauders who luckily showed up to play an exciting game on an artificial turf field at Leland HS in south San Jose near Almaden with spectacular mountain views.

The Marauders started strong going up 12-0 at half, but a few of the Seahawk 1st team backs had some long runs in the centers for 5 consecutive tries (I didn't get see their license plates, but they looked Polynesian) before Marauders scored to end the match & lead the festivities to the new Seahawk bar, Ye Old Royal Oak, a few freeways away by the San Jose Airport.

MISSION by forfeit over Shasta

VACAVILE 31 – Marin 10 Referee: Sam Reagle
It took an extra half hour to get to Vacaville due to rebar in the road backing up traffic on I-80 for about 7 miles so I only had 30 minutes until kickoff when I arrived. I found both teams warming up so I did the same, did my thing and we kicked off on time.

Knowing that Marin had a big win against Mission last week, I can only guess that they didn't play up to their potential today. They didn't play badly, just not cohesively. Vacaville, on the other hand, supported well at the breakdowns and went into tackles stronger, methodically moving downfield or chipping over and chasing the loose ball more aggressively. There were a lot of scrums for both sides due to dozens of dropped passes and knock-ons. Hopefully, this was an anomaly.

Afterwards, Vacaville hosted dinner at the Good Heifer. It was a Rugby day.

BERKELEY 22 – Vallejo 11 Referee: Ray Schwartz

HUMBOLDT 28 – Aptos 13 Referee: Tom Zanarini

Stanislaus 19 – CHICO 42 Referee: Scott McConnell

Petaluma loses to FOG by forfeit.

CALIFORNIA 76 – UC Davis 0 Referee: Tony Redmond
Assistant Referee: Chris Tucker
UC Davis were delayed en route to Witter Rugby Field on Saturday and probably wished that they hadn't made the game after they conceded 12 tries to a Cal second-string side. Things didn't start well and Cal were over the UC Davis line within 70 seconds only to be held up. They were also denied a try for a double movement but Cal's pace, speed, and physical presence at the breakdown resulted in four tries by half-time, only two of which were converted in a blustery wind. UC Davis struggled in the scrum but the biggest problems were at line out as seven were lost in the first half alone.

UC Davis made a number of changes at half time but these seemed to weaken their team's ability to deal with Cal's expansive game. A further eight tries resulted. The only touch of humor was when Cal's left winger appealed for a "penalty in 10" after he took a short throw-in that hit against an opponent. Apart from the fact that his opponent didn't know too much about the throw-in, the plaintive appeal caused great amusement to the Cal bleachers both for the eagerness of the play and the total lack of knowledge of the law.

Seconds: California – UC Davis CANCELED

St. Mary's thirds 15 – SIERRA JC 24 Referee: Rich Anderson

MARITIME ACADEMY 45 – Santa Rosa JC 5 Referee: Joe Leisek
Bodner Field, California Maritime Academy, Vallejo
The Keelhaulers were poised to win their first league title in undefeated fashion, with an injury-depleted Santa Rosa JC team standing in their way. The hosts scored early and often in the first half, jumping out to a 36-0 lead after the first 40 minutes. Their forwards are big, strong, and fast, which allows them to recycle lots of ball before spinning it out wide. The visitors could not match up in the forward pack, but did not give in for a moment. Cal Maritime has a nice balanced attack and should do well in the playoffs if they stay healthy. Congratulations to the Keelhaulers and coach Edward Roberts on a great season.

U. of San Francisco 3 – HUMBOLDT STATE 62 Referee: Eric Rauscher
Negoesco field USF, overcast and blowing.

I had expected rain, so the windy conditions were ok and the field is synthetic so the rain would have just made us wet.

USF put up a good game, but Humboldt had the experience and backline skills that were able to score off of line breaks.

USF had their only score in the second half off of an infringement within the 22 which set up a difficult (with the wind) kick at goal.

In honor of ST Paddy’s day both teams wore green as did a goodly group of spectators that showed up to watch.

SAN JOSE STATE 20 – Santa Clara 17 Referee: Sandy Robertson
Early on neither side put much together, but both sides picked up the pace and at half time it was 10 all. Early in the 2nd half San Jose slotted a penalty and with around 10 minutes left Santa Clara responded with a converted try. For the next 5 minutes the 2 sides played at a furious pace with a San Jose player making the long stretch to touch down as he was being tackled. Santa Clara came back on the attack and worked their way well inside the San Jose 22 before a knock on ended the match.

Chico State women 15 – STANFORD 22 Referee: Jim Crenshaw
I did both matches at Chico Saturday.

Drove up to Chico through Yuba City on Saturday. The almonds were shedding their blossoms and the leaves were starting to fill in, giving them a motley look. The peaches, plums and apricots were almost in full bloom and were spectacular; spring is springing in the Sacramento valley.

The Stanford women were already there when I arrived at noon and the Chico State women were already warming up.

Chico kicked off into a brisk wind. The first half was a lot of probing and testing by both teams, with Stanford kicking up-and-unders and Chico slowly working it back past mid-field only to turn it over and repeat the whole thing again. Stanford and the wind proved too much for Chico in the first half, scoring 2 unconverted trys in the corner. Score at halftime: Stanford 10 Chico St 0.

In the second half the wind started to die down. Chico State scored first with an unconverted try in the corner. Stanford answered with an unconverted try 5 minutes later. Chico State came back with another unconverted try about half way through the half to get within 5, but with about 8 minutes left Stanford scored a converted try to go up be 12. Chico scored an unconverted try with a couple of minutes left, but Stanford held on fo the win as Chico never seriously threatened again.

Final score: Stanford 22 Chico State 15.

Seconds: CHICO STATE 38 – Stanford 14 Ref: Crenshaw
The second side match was dominated by Chico State.

All Blues – Fog Referee: Preston Gordon
No report received.

ALL BLUES 40 – Amazons 0 Referee: Bruce Carter
Touch Judges: Two gentlemen with handsome, shaved heads

The Amazons arrived about a dozen strong, but some of the Fog were still ready to roll. Soon XV were kitted up to face an All Blues redux side and we kicked off on time at 11 AM.

The Job Corps field on Treasure Island has incrementally gotten better over the years. The lightning strike which took out that old tree truly was a miracle, removing even the trunk and roots. This allowed the pitch to be made rectilinear to the surroundings, easing adjudication of such things as throws-forward.

These games started out remarkably: the Amazons had the ball for almost three minutes with nary a whistle to disturb their pattern. The phase-tracker in the bottom corner of my screen lost count. But then: a forward pass, a momentary advantage, an intercept by Berkeley's #12 who never looked back.

That was the pattern from then on.

Spirits were high, rugby won, and I got to work up a sweat before running touch for the super league match. Thanks!

USF women – St. Mary's Referee: Preston Gordon
No report received.

Stanford men 20 – CHICO STATE 22 Referee: Scott Wood
AR: Nate Housman
Both teams are vying for the fifth NCRFU seed. The match went back and forth with the teams testing each other at the breakdowns and in general play. Chico took the lead with a converted try at the 78th minute. Stanford responded with an attack down the field but turned the ball over to end the match. This weekend's match ups (Chico State at Sacramento and Stanford at Nevada) certainly have a lot riding on them. Good luck to all the teams. May they represent NCRFU well.

Seconds: STANFORD 31 – Chico State 20 Referee: Nate Housman

U. of San Francisco 12 – PRINCETON 28 Referee: Chris Labozzetta

UCSC – Princeton Referee: John Pohlman

St. Mary's – Princeton Referee: George O'Neil


Tuesday night:
JESUIT 61 – Motherlode 5 Referee: Sam Reagle

DIABLO 29 – De La Salle 7 Referee: Rob Hendrickson
Assistant Referee: Edward Barfels
Diablo's backline, including in particular its U-17 Eagle center, were just too much for De La Salle last Thursday night as they played under the lights at De La Salle following the f/s game (reffed by Ed). Diablo scored 3 first half tries (including 2 line breaks) and carried its 17 - 0 lead into the second half. De La Salle rallied to score a try late in the second half as momentum seemed to be changing, only to have Diablo steal an errant pass and score its last try to put the game out of reach. Diablo has put together quite a team this year.

RC Lancers: 15 – Woodcreek 15 Referee: Sam Reagle

Dixon 5 – COUGAR RUGBY 45 Referee: Phil Akroyd
The pitch and conditions were perfect for a great rugby match. The game was played under lights and the field was very dry and firm (turf shoes needed!) while the temperature was dropping as the sun was setting.

The physicality and size of CRC remains one of their main offensive weapons. They make hard tackles, hit hard at every ruck and run at speed with ball in hand. They were simply too much of a physical force for the smaller and less powerful Dixon side. CRC scored four converted tries in the first half, coming from the hard work done by the forwards. The only blight on the CRC performance was the yellow card earned by their scrum-half for kicking, as I was unsighted at the opposite side of the ruck (thanks to Jim Crenshaw for calling it to my attention).

Dixon scored a consolation try but CRC went on to score a further three. Another impressive display from Cougar Rugby.

The fresh/soph teams played a development game before the Varsity game that was tied at 12-12 at the half. Cougar scored two second half-tries to win by 12-22. Excellent, close game.

The Lobodome, Elsie Allen High School, Santa Rosa
Elsie Allen Lobos 17 – MARIN HIGHLANDERS 29 Referee: Joe Leisek
Assistant Referee: Mike King
A night game on the wonderful new all-weather turf at Elsie Allen (with rugby lines and goalposts), and a contest that would break the Redwood Empire Conference first-place deadlock between the two teams. Would Elsie's relentless multi-phase game and tough defense match up with Marin's strong pack and backline speed? Marin put it all to rest within about eight minutes, reeling off three quick converted tries and putting the hosts in catch up mode for the rest of the game. The game was fast, and Elsie outscored their opponents for the last 62 minutes. Great commitment from the Lobos. The Highlanders under Coach David Cingolani and staff have a very good team this year. The players are experienced, athletic, and maintain excellent composure under pressure.

SFGG 28 - East Palo Alto 12 Referee: Bjorn Stumer
A generous East Palo Alto could not contain a fit and well-drilled San Francisco Golden Gate youth side. Lots of running and much tackling in front of a goodish crowd - a fun match.

SAN MATEO 62 – Silicon Valley 10 Referee: Chris Fisher
Good game played in good spirits.

DELTA 32 – Danville 7 Referee: Ryan Luis

Berkeley Rhinos 10 – ALAMEDA 15 Referee: Eric Rauscher
Tom Bates field, cool overcast
This was supposed to be Alameda's home game, but their field is under water right now, so Berkeley offered theirs. The play was good and skilled on both sides with great intensity but also a great sense of sportsmanship that made the game a delight. The scoring was low, but play was all over the field both side to side and up and down. Kudos to both teams for a game well played!

Frosh/Soph: SFGG 27 – Lamorinda 26 Referee: Mike King
This match was only decided by which side happened to be ahead when the whistle blew. An early lead was earned with good ball movement by Lamorinda. SFGG came back right near half. 7-14 favor of the visitors. The second half proved equally exciting, with the home side forging ahead, only to be challenged by a revitalized Lamorinda 15. Final of 27-26 was proof of the see-saw contest that came down to the wire.

Girls U-19:
Humboldt 0 – MOTHER LODE 20 Referee: Tom Zanarini

Girls High School Rugby; Sunday March 15
ALAMEDA RIPTIDES 32 – Berkeley Yellow Jackets 0 Referee: Edward Barfels
The Alameda ladies have lots of experience, but it was the Berkeley first game this year. Alameda got of to a quick start scoring on their first drive to take a 7-0 lead. Berkeley’s defense toughened up and they held the Riptide to just two more tries in the first half. Half time score 17-0.

At the beginning of the second half it looked like Berkeley might get its first try as they drove to within five meters of scoring. Unfortunately, a penalty allowed Alameda to relieve the pressure. From then on, Alameda did not allow Berkeley within the 22-meter zone. Alameda scored three times, without converting, to make the final score 32 to 0.

Gathering Spot
Referees visiting Pelicanland tend to end up at the Golden Gate clubhouse on Treasure Island one way or another.

Kat Todd-Schwartz and Ray Schwartz welcome and flank Terry Helmer from Minnesota, Magnus Oosthuizen from Texas, and Davey Ardrey from Missouri.


For the Senate
Pelicus Scriptoris