LAST SOCIETY MEETING OF THE SEASON APRIL 8
We'll be meeting at the Golden Gate clubhouse tonight from 7 until 9 this evening. Don't miss the entertaining and informative program which will include Tony Redmond's valedictory address.
PACIFIC COAST, WOMEN’S COLLEGE, D1 and D2, at Stanford:
SACRAMENTO STATE 15 – Utah 10
Referee: Joe Leisek
UC Santa Cruz 12 – WASHINGTON STATE 37 Referee: John Pohlman
Assistant Referees: Roberto Santiago, Stuart Willis
This past Friday and Saturday Stanford hosted the first round of Pacific Coast Woman's Championship.
My first game was at 4:00 PM and saw Washington State WS playing UC Santa Cruz. WS had been winning their matches by some big point spreads. UCSC has made the final four the last two years winning the D-2 championship two years ago.
WS was led by twins. These two played flyhalf and inside center and totally dominated the game.
WS was strong in the forwards winning most ball in set pieces, tackling hard and controlling the breakdown. The twins scored 5 of the WS 7 trys. Both were capable of fending off tackles, hitting gaps and finishing trys.
UCSC gave a hard fight but the twins simply had too much clean ball. Final Washington State 37 UC Santa Cruz 12.
STANFORD 33 – Brigham Young Univ. 12
Referee: Jim Crenshaw
California 7 – CHICO STATE 27
Referee: Scott Wood
Assistant Referees: Roberto Santiago, Stuart Willis (Virginia)
UC SANTA CRUZ 28– Utah 10
Referee: John Pohlman
Assistant Referees: Eric Rauscher and Roberto Santiago
The Division 2 Woman's consolation was played on a absolutely beautiful day at Stanford. Kick-off was 2:00PM. Both sides were trickling in when I arrived at 1:00 PM.
Having a couple hours free in the morning allowed me to show Virginia President and exchange referee Stuart "Boomer" Willis around the bay area. Of course Treasure Island and GG's field's were our first stop. The Gallic football fields toward the job corps field are now open and a lacrosse tournament looked to be taking place.
Boomer was quite impressed with TI and looking forward to his game, Baracus versus Fresno, slated at 2:00 PM at the Polo Fields.
OK back to rugby. Utah looked a little thin in the numbers when I did my pre-game chat. Due to the gorgeous weather many of the players were warming up wearing running bras. This exposed numerous belly button rings. I asked my assistant referees Eric Rauscher and Roberto Santiago if they would explain the no jewelry policy of the IRB. It is truly wonderful to have all the benefits of AR's.
UCSC started fast. This game was played in a wide open style. Since both teams were knocked out of future competition, let's play was the mantra. UCSC #14 scored eight minutes in. UCSC was too physical for the Utes. Around 30 minutes into the first half the second Utah player went off with an injury and no more reserves. Utah played well with only 14, but the Slugs scored another try before half time. Both scores were converted.
Most of the first half was played in the Utah 22. Good defense kept the game close.
Half time score UCSC 14 Utah 0.
Utah came out inspired and scored a try 2 minutes in. This seemed to wake the Slugs up. The best try UCSC scored all tournament followed: A perfectly timed crash ball was received and scored by UC's #13.
UCSC scored another try 7 minutes later to put the game away. Utah never gave up and scored a final try right before the end of the game. Final UCSC 28 Utah 10
Sacramento State 5 – WASHINGTON STATE 24
Referee: Joe Leisek
California 7 – BYU 17
Referee: Scott Wood
ARs: Roberto Santiago, Eric Rauscher
STANFORD 52 – Chico State 5
Referee: Jim Crenshaw/Joe Leisek
Assistant Referees: Mike King, Eric Rauscher, Roberto Santiago, Sandy Robertson
PACIFIC COAST, MEN’S COLLEGE, D1: at St. Mary’s:
Noon: ST. MARY’S 50 – U. of Washington 3
Referee: Pete Smith
Assistant Referees: Bryant Byrnes, Chris Tucker
2PM: UC DAVIS 50 – Chico State 15
Referee: Tony Maphosa (PNW)
Assistant Referees: Bryant Byrnes, Chris Tucker
CHICO STATE 66 – U. of Washington 13
Referee: Tony Maphosa
Referee Coach: David Williamson
ST. MARY’S 30 – UC Davis 25 (Overtime: 25-25 after 80)
Referee: Bruce Carter
Assistant Referees: John Coppinger, Chris Tucker
This was the 1,693rd game that I have refereed and yes, I have a list (includes Sevens). These games date back to my first time, the women’s final at a tournament in Charleston, South Carolina, in April, 1978.
But this game – this one makes it into the thinnest sliver of a percentage that can be sliced off the top of the memory tree.
When I resigned from the national panel almost eight years ago in June 2001, I thought the best games were behind me. But old ruggers try never to get completely out of shape despite the ravages of free radicals and regular laps around the solar track; and so it was that an appointment arrived from the Pacific Coast RRS to boil my whistle and polish my boots.
Making the NorCal appointments myself, I was surprised to realize I hadn’t refereed a single D1 first side this season in club or college. My usual priority is to watch another ref, so I generally cover a B side. What a season debut!
St. Mary’s-UC Davis has become the traditional season closer for one of them – this is the third year in a row that they’ve met in the PCRFU playoffs to see who will stay and who will go, and it’s always close.
I was at the game two months ago where the Gaels won 78-3. Davis said they were carrying a lot of injuries at the time and were better than that, a supposition we can now consider proven QED.
Where do the fans come from? A few minutes before kickoff I was admiring the blossoms on the trees and the birdsong, easily carrying over the breeze, as there weren’t many people around to disrupt it. A few minutes after kickoff and I found myself having to take four separate breaths to generate sufficient decibels to make my scrum cadence audible to players three feet in front of me.
Let me say right off the bat – good Assistant Referees are the way to go. And EarTec Radios are the best way to go with them. These are the Holy Grail of referee radios:
You want the 24G-4/Cyber kit. When you’ve got perceptive and hard-working guys like Tucker and Coppinger on the line and their voices in your ear, it’s like having hammerhead shark eyes. You can talk to each other simultaneously, like real conversation, and the ref is hands-free.
The game! What a game! St. Mary’s has become accustomed to scoring fifty on a bad day. Their backs merge and diverge and someone unexpectedly has the ball beyond the gainline. But not today: rarely did they manage to generate a one-on-one even after breaking the line. Davis seemed to be playing defense in pods.
(In this season of NCAA basketball playoffs such swarming reminds me of Jerry Tarkanian’s ‘Amoeba’ defense at UNLV and Fresno State years ago.)
Here’s the statistic that reveals the effectiveness of Davis’ open-field defense: of the four St. Mary’s tries, two were scored from 5-meter scrums and two from asymptotic ruck series. No collars-up backs showing their heels.
At one of the five-meter pushovers the peanut gallery beyond the dead-ball line called out, “Use it or lose it!” I thought, “At a ruck? Have I missed a Law every time I’ve read the book these three decades?”
Lots of sons in this game. Of course, they were all someone’s sons, but I knew at least half a dozen proud papas at the pitch, old mates none of whom I wanted to disappoint. And how does a ref not disappoint? By doing the best he can – which I almost achieved.
St. Mary’s established an eight-point lead on an epic pushover try by #8 Brandon Vedder late in the second half. The pressure was consistent and gradual; I found myself thinking about when my dry cleaning could be picked up. But this may have had an almost-unfortunate result: St. Mary’s may have felt that eight points put them clear.
When they were awarded a kickable penalty minutes later, with the sideline shouting “Points!”, it was a tap and go that didn’t go. Three points were sacrificed to over-confidence.
Davis came back to score a nice try off advantage in the centers. Three-point game. However, the chip-shot conversion bounced off the upright!
Minutes later, as my watch was going beep…beep…beep, a St. Mary’s player held on in the tackle.
We were on the ten-meter line, dead center. Slight gusts of variable wind. While the kicker set up, I took the time to recount to the Gael’s captain which three of his players had held on in the tackle over the course of the eighty minutes and at what points on the pitch. Because they were so spread out over time and space, no card, just a warning.
Referencing the universal penalty for tie games that all referees incur, John Coppinger radioed, “Are you nervous?” But my thoughts were of the last time I kicked a key goal at the end of a match, back in the Pleistocene Era.
Blow this whistle, exalt the arm. Overtime: the only thing better than playoff rugby is more playoff rugby.
Two minutes into extra time, St. Mary’s’ Vedder scored again off another glacial attack, this one at about a three-rucks-per-meter pace. I took a few moments to reset the alternate time zone on my watch from London to Hawaii. Then it was time to award the try.
For the remainder of extra time Davis attacked. They had some good ball and some numbers situations, but either the bounce of the ball or the hustle of the Gaels denied them pay dirt.
I do have one regret, a less than elegant finish to this match. I devote multiple hours a week to putting Hail, Pelicus! together primarily to project the game we love through referees’ eyes. But it’s not all bright primary colors. Darkness creeps in around the corners sometimes.
“Last play!” We were near touch, near midfield. Davis had a scrum. They were down by five. They won the hook and the ball. The halfback was instantly pressured and when he was tackled, released the ball to a St. Mary’s player who picked it up and booted it into the record books.
All I could hear was the combined screaming of hundreds of fans. Something said, probably the Davis bench but maybe my ref instinct, “That Red halfback may have been offside.”
I sought the advice of my assistant referee and asked him the wrong question. Not to get into the exact details here – that is for a referee talk – I didn’t practice positive communication. He answered my question correctly according to how it was phrased and I mistook his answer to mean that no, Red did not deserve to be penalized; they deserved to be awarded a penalty.
Why award the winning team a penalty when the game is over? So I blew full time and saw my AR’s face fall, now realizing Davis should have had one more crack to score a try and tie or win the game.
That’s my confession. Davis partisans may say I’m not the first to admit I was wrong – they knew it already.
But let me say to them: you have the best college rugby team in the USA whose season is over. Four of five teams will get crushed at the USA playoffs in two weeks, any of whom you could have spanked. I wish you could be there to do so.
And St. Mary’s certainly had the best warmup imaginable for the pressures of the nationals.
NORCAL, MEN’S CLUB D3, QUARTERFINALS:
The four winners advanced and will next play in Vallejo, with semi-finals on April 18 and the final on April 19.
Semis will be Chico – Vallejo, Tom Zanarini, and Mission – Vacaville, Chris Tucker. Preston Gordon will blow the final.
CHICO 38 – Marin 17
Referee: George O’Neil
MISSION 62 – Aptos 15
Referee: John Coppinger
In a MD3 playoff match, Mission ran by Aptos 62-15 showing power and pace that Aptos couldn't, with one exception, match.
The exception was Zeke Saunders, an U-19 player, headed to Oregon State on a football ride in the Fall, who scored two tries to give Aptos a 10-zip lead before at least two of the Mission starters were out of the parking lot. Zeke added a third try in the second half.
Nonetheless, despite Zeke and the hard work of his team mates, the 15-man rugby of Mission proved irresistible and Mission ran away w/ the match easily.
Dan Smith (one of my former Mission team mates from the early 80's and father of Pelican Pete Smith) was on hand to watch his younger son, Eric, play for Aptos.
Humboldt 0 – VALLEJO 23
Referee: Phil Akroyd
See report below.
Berkeley 10 – VACAVILLE 47
Referee: Preston Gordon
Venue: Job Corps field, Treasure Island
I was expecting a pretty close contest in this first round playoff match, based on each team's results during the season and their standings. I had had Berkeley before, but not Vacaville, so on Saturday morning I read through all the old match reports I could find on both teams to get the low-down. These two teams met previously this season, with Berkeley winning 27-21 in Vacaville in January.
The weather was great, and the pitch (which is one of the weirdest I've ever seen, in that it can change states drastically from one week to the next) was very hard, with lots of dirt blowing around whenever a ruck, maul, or set piece formed. We started right at 1300, and in the 2nd minute Vacaville scored their first try. Berkeley answered with one of their own at 9'. Vacaville added 2 more tries at 12' and 23', one of which was a result of opportunistic play by their flanker after the ball popped out the back of a Berkeley scrum on their own line. Berkeley added a penalty goal right at the end of the first half, and since all the tries were converted, we went into the break with Vacaville up at 21-10.
I was expecting an even closer contest in the second half, given how evenly matched up these two teams were so far, but Vacaville put that assumption, and probably the game, to bed by running the kickoff back for a try, and then doing the same thing on the ensuing restart kick. The second of those was the only unconverted try in the game.
Now at 33-10, Berkeley put together about 20 minutes of really good rugby, but couldn't quite finish their moves. There were 2 full-field breaks that resulted in knock-ons within a few meters of the goal line - one to each side, if I remember correctly. (An aside to the spectators who howled at either of them: I'm pretty sure I had a better view than you did, especially since I was standing there when they happened in front of me and you were on the side of the pitch.)
Vacaville's defense held their line, and their 6th try at 60' locked up the game at 40-10. This was when a bit of silliness crept in, and 2 Vacaville players and 1 Berkeley player earned 10-minute rests for their parts in 2 separate unnecessary incidents. Vacaville added another try at 74' to run out winners at 47-10.
Thanks to Berkeley for the hospitality at the end of the match, and the compliments, and also to both sides for playing an almost perfectly clean game. There are some pictures here (courtesy Berkeley RFC):
PACIFIC COAST, MEN’S CLUB, D2:
We believe that the top three finishers are East Palo Alto, Fresno and Diablo Gaels. The top three advance to the Pacific Coast playoffs in Tempe the weekend of April 25-26.
HS PLAYOFF MATCH, Skyhawk Conference
SAN MATEO 83 – College Park 5 Referee: Bruce Bernstein
Played at San Mateo HS artificial turf field. Halftime score 45-5.
San Mateo was very strong in the backs & College Park helped by not finding touch & losing a lot of their scrums & line outs. In particular San Mateo's #12 center sliced through & down the sideline to either score or set up a number of scores & their hooker & line out jumper stole a lot of College Park's balls. San Mateo could have played better if they didn't make a few unnecessary penalties. If they do that in the next round of playoffs they will be tough to beat.
PACIFIC COAST, MEN’S COLLEGE, D2:
Congratulations to the California Maritime Academy Keelhaulers who won the Pacific Coast championship in Bellingham, Wash, this past weekend.
NORCAL, GIRLS’ HIGH SCHOOL, at Burbank HS:
Report by Eugene Baker:
Except for an Alameda girl whisked away by ambulance (nasty concussion) - It was a GREAT day of rugby, sportsmanship, and barbecue!
The Amazons won their first match 42-0, and the championship match 31-0. They will be the top seed at the PCRFU finals in Redding (winners go to nationals in Pittsburgh, PA)
The runners-up, Mother Lode, also advance, but will be a lower seed.
PHIL AKROYD’S BIG WEEKEND
Granite Bay 34 – 39 CHRISTIAN BROTHERS (F/S)
Although I was informed that this was a Varsity game, it appeared to be more like a Fresh/Soph game, with a few Varsity players here and there.
The game was played in Granite Bay, on a field which is slightly on the small side, hence a total of 12 tries scored. The quality of tackling did not help either.
Having said that, this was a highly entertaining game that GB was leading at half-time by 29-13. Most people in attendance thought it was game over at half-time, including the CB coach. However, CB exploited the Granite Bay tiredness and their poor discipline, in relation to giving away penalties in their own 22m.
GB only managed to add one unconverted try in the second half, while CB scored four. With less than a minute on the clock, and after just scoring a try, CB were still down by two. GB knocked on the restart in their own half, setting up a scrum with only a few seconds left. They executed a perfect set-piece move and the backs scored in the corner with my watch chiming for the end of the game. They even knocked over the conversion.
A great way to start my long-weekend of rugby!
Sierra Foothills 10 – 36 ISLANDERS
The first half was tight, but some great rugby was played. Sierra Foothills played like a seasoned team – making smart choices – while Islanders were keen to spin the ball out as quickly as possible and thrive on broken play.
The SF try was an absolute gem. Quick tapped-down ball from a line out on the opposition 22. The fly-half stabbed a grubber through the Islander blitz defense which bounced up perfectly for the on-rushing outside center who dodged past the full-back to score under the posts.
In the second half, SF came out like a completely different team. A number of players, new to rugby, came on the field for the Golden Eagles who just didn’t know the laws. While I asked their captain to deal with the repeated infringements, he could not teach them the game in 35 minutes. Hence the penalties and yellow card that made the rest of the afternoon easy for the Islanders. Five second-half tries flattered the Islanders in what was a very close game in the first 35 minutes.
High School: Humboldt 5 – WINDSOR 34
[Long report redacted. The concern was in the final paragraph: a player who had just received a red card for his second yellow in the match pushed the referee with both hands. The proper folks have been apprised.
[Note to sports fans out there: assaulting an amateur sports official is a felony in California, as it is in most States.]
Humboldt 0 –VALLEJO 23
This D3 playoff game was set up perfectly. Vallejo had traveled with approximately 26 players and Humboldt were determined to defend their home turf. While both teams utilized deep reserves of energy due to the physical battle that took place, the game never really blossomed into the potential feast of rugby. As the Humboldt scrum half said, the ball just didn’t fall their way. While I’m sure he meant this figuratively, it was also true in a literal sense. Humboldt were suffering from a severe case of the dropseys all afternoon, leading to scrum after scrum after scrum.
Vallejo looked the sharper, more dangerous team throughout and they pressed the goal line early. When a Humboldt prop had his hands on the ball at the bottom of a ruck in front of the post, the option of a shot at goal was not a difficult one. Vallejo went three up.
They scored their first try with half of the first-half gone and the 40 minutes came to a close with the game still up for grabs – Humboldt 0 – 10 Vallejo.
The visitors put in a near fatal blow with two minutes of the second half gone by scoring their second try but not converting. By this time, fatigue was setting in to Humboldt and the heat of the day appeared to be affecting their forwards. Vallejo had Humboldt pressed down in their own half for the remainder of the game. Vallejo attacked the line for two or three phases and whipped the ball out. A retreating defender intercepted the ball-from an offside position and was given ten in the bin. Vallejo kicked the penalty goal then added one more try in the last minute.
Well done to both teams for playing this game in great spirit and an ambition to play rugby. I hope the players enjoyed it as much as I did.
REGULAR SEASON RUGBY
HAYWARD 33 – Olympic Club 25 Referee: Paul Bretz
Assistant Referee: Tom Zanarini
Hayward finished their season on an upbeat note defeating 1st place club Olympic club 33-25. Tom Z. provided excellent support as the AR although the Touch judge on the opposite side had all of the difficult calls to make, several of them against his own club.
He even called a try back because the ball carrier had stepped on the line as he was grounding the ball.
Seconds: Hayward 10 – OLYMPIC CLUB 31 Referee: Tom Zanarini
SAC LIONS over San Mateo by forfeit.
Reno 12 – SAC CAPITALS 24 Referee: James Hinkin
Seconds: RENO 61 – Sac Capitals 27 Referee: Sam Reagle
On days like this, the 100 mile drive over the Sierra Nevadas is to be envied. The sun is warm, the roads are clear and the peaks are still covered in snow.
I arrived in time to run touch for James who returned the favor for my game. As I looked around before the start of the B side game, it was pretty obvious that there were more players on each team from the first game than there were second side players. This probably explains why both captains asked to play 20 minute halves. On another day, I probably would have blessed this request, but I had multiple reasons why I wanted/needed a good run.
Reno started strong scoring a converted try off the opening kickoff and an unconverted try about 8 minutes later. Sacramento got on the board with an unconverted try 17 minutes in only to give up 3 more tries to end the half down 27-5.
The second half was much more competitive. Both teams settled in and played good clean rugby. There was plenty of recycled ball and some amazing passing. All in all, 10 tries in the second half that was so enjoyable that it seemed like it was only 30 minutes long.
East Palo Alto – Arroyo Grande Rescheduled to April 18
Baracus 5 – FRESNO 79 Referee: Stuart Wills (Virginia)
Evaluator: Mike Malone
Fresno scored in the first 8 minutes and then it was on. Half time was 41-0. The lone try for Baracus was from their 8 man who picked up from a ruck and continued forward. It was a nice 35 meter break.
The weather was outstanding.
John Pohlman was a awesome host. Arriving at 11:00 PM on Thursday, he picked me up and had food ready to eat. The next day we made our way up the scenic highway on the outside of the bay going by Stanford and through East Palo Alto. I had a chance to AR some of the women’s matches at Stanford on Friday before my match on Saturday. I truly valued my time being able to see the quality of the D-1 women in Nor Cal. And for all who knew of Q-Tip, that is the stuffed dog my daughter gave me before I left to keep me company. She was very pleased for all of the pictures I took with him. I am up for the Dad of the Year Award!!!
Many thanks to:
Fresno and Baracus for the way they played the game, like gentlemen.
Seconds: Baracus 15 – FRESNO 35 Referee: Greg Lundell
At the end of the first half it looked like the visiting Fresno team was heading for a shut out, but Baracus’ second side put together some amazing handling through the back line to get on the board in a respectable way in the second half.
DIABLO U23 by forfeit over San Jose State Referee: Bruce Carter
The 300 Spartans at Thermopylae had nothing on the eight post-spring break Spartans who nonetheless defeated the Gaels squad.
Of course, they were loaned a few players who were on hand to play later in the day against the Seahawks and, in time-honored rugby fashion, the loaners beat the their own team.
The final score was 24-17 to the, let’s call them, Diablo Spartans. While the SJS regulars did a lot of the gaining of ground, I believe all of the points save one 5-pointer were scored by Gaels.
Of note was the final conversion at no-side. One DG Spartan teed the ball up, stepped back, and addressed it. While he went through his imaging or visualization or whatever term is au courant, a teammate ran up and booted the points through.
Having finished my own game shortly after noon, I got directly into my pre-match for video coaching (as detailed by our Canadian visitor below).
The Traveling Referees
By Chris Brown
DIABLO GAELS 26 – Seahawks 25 Referee: Chris Brown (Vancouver Island)
Video Coach: Bruce Carter
It was only 3 weeks ago that I was walking out of the local shopping mart in Victoria BC when my cell phone rang with our society president on the other line saying: "Chris, pack your bags, you're going to San Francisco." - Much better news than the usual which would be "Chris, you're yellow card report is late. You're reffing div 3 Sunday at 11 am."
Nearly all the credit for organizing this exchange goes to my gracious and hospitable host Bjorn Stumer, who initially reminded me of a young Al Pacino in "A Scent of a Woman", with his nice sports car, ray ban sunglasses, and silk handkerchief. I quickly learned that Bjorn was a cultured man indeed. Driving around town listening to foreign music and snapping pictures of fancy houses was certainly a highlight and memory I will not soon forget. Fortunately Bjorn isn't quite as blind as Al Pacino was in Scent of a Woman (although the Diablo 2nds may have thought so yesterday) - Just kidding Bjorn. All and all my time here has been top notch thanks to Bjorn's hard work. I think we must have seen it all; San Francisco, Sonoma, San Jose, Stanford, San Rosa, Berkley, Golden Gate, and all the other sites in the city. My highlight here was having an Irish coffee downtown in the first ever bar that served Irish Coffee - A little pride for the liberal state of San Francisco, I'm sure the Irish would agree ;)
Reffing down here was sort of like being part of a super hero duo. Each day Bjorn and I woke up we ate a solid breakfast and threw our tracksuits on, packed our kit bag and headed out. Cruising down the highway for a decent hour drive was like Batman and Robin riding the Batmobile after seeing the Bat Signal in the sky. Of course our callout was through email, but you can't discredit our preparation and tenacity. By the end of the day both of us felt we had done a service to the game of Rugby. And on top of that, the streets were safe too.
My first game was Montgomery vs. Santa Rosa high school had Santa Rosa coming out on top. These two teams played decent rugby and it was exciting to see the sport develop at that age down here. The next day I reffed St. Diablo vs. San Jose Seahawks 1st. This game was well fought on both sides and after a goal line stand at the end Diablo won by 1 point, 26 -25. I also met Bruce during this match as he was videotaping and ref-coaching me. He had a Cuban cigar and a Pacifico when I showed up - my kind of guy I told him.
Special thanks to the Northern California Referee Society for hosting an awesome tour and exchange. I hope I will get to return soon to referee again down here.
Yours in Rugby (Reffing);
Seconds: Diablo Gaels 12 – SEAHAWKS 20 Referee: Bjorn Stumer
Friday is a rugby day, or evening: After a day of sightseeing in San Francisco and Marin, I took visiting Vancouver Island referee Chris Brown to Santa Rosa for some high school action. Under the light at Cardinal Newman High School, we both had a match with his starting at 7pm, and mine to follow. I officiated the B-sides of Cardinal Newman vs. Rancho, a very one sided affair which saw Rancho put in 52 unanswered points against Cardinal Newman. The score poorly reflects the action which was quite spirited.
Diablo Gaels B 12 (5) vs. San Jose Seahawks B 20 (10): On Saturday Chris Brown and I drove to Diablo Valley College where Diablo Gaels and the San Jose Seahawks held two matches. Chris did the A side (Bruce Carter at the camera perched atop a pickup truck), and I did the B side. My match was great fun, between two equally capable and fast teams. The Seahawks were just a bit too much on the day though, and put in two unconverted tries in the first half, answered by a sole unconverted one. The players settled in the second half, became less chatty and fought quite hard for a result that could have gone either way. The Gaels put in a converted try, but San Jose scored two more, both unconverted for a final score of 20-12. Fun match, great facilities, a goodish crowd and fun for all.
After the match Chris and I repaired at the local watering hole where we were treated to food, Guinness, and frolic. Chris officiated the boat race, handsomely won by the hosts. A big thank to them for their great hospitality and sportsmanship. Chris and I then drove to Stanford to meet up with fellow refs and watch a bit of the women's championship action. A few brews and pizza afterwards, and in bed by midnight. A great week end.
SANTA ROSA 39 – SF/Golden Gate 12 Referee: Ray Schwartz
For Pete's Sake Field
On a brilliant, sunny day, Santa Rosa moved their A Side match vs. SFGG up to Noon, to make room for a For Pete's Sake fundraiser, the world-famous luau at Suki's ranch. SFGG brought only one side, however, and told only the referee society.
The match was an exciting affair, 14-12 to home team at the half. Both sides were feeling each other out, as well as the ref. The SFGG captain, Westie, clearly frustrated, aproached me at the half to ask how the game I was calling could be so one sided. I reminded him of the scoreline, and offered that, "I only call what I see." Unfortunately for him, I saw Rosa score again and again in the second half, though Rosa #8, Chris Reynolds, was somewhat embarrassingly held up in goal.
Rosa lock Tyler Alborn then borrowed my watch and whistle to ref a friendly between the Rosa B's and the Faded Roses, in a match featuring one spirited SFGG straggler.
Seconds: Santa Rosa – SF/Golden Gate NOT PLAYED
San Francisco State 60 – U. of Pacific 5 Referee: Nate Housman
STANFORD BUSINESS SCHOOL 33 – O Club seconds 32 Referee: Bryant Byrnes
A beautiful Sunday match at Stanford and its perfect pitch. The O Club had played the day before and Stanford had not played for a bit-but no excuses were muttered and this was a firecracker of a game.
The O Club had a much larger pack (and more subs), but it was the hard running and excellent tackling by Stanford's backline that won the match. Even then, it was a closely run thing-the Os scored the last two tries but only converted one. Thanks to my Williams College TJs.
HIGH SCHOOL GAMES
Tuesday, March 31
ELSIE ALLEN 51 – Montgomery 5 Referee: Mike King
Under the lights at the Fabulous Lobodome, this cross-town rivalry pitted the top local program against the improving rivals. The Vikings initially showed they were up to the task. The relentless pressure of the home team resulted in the Lobos increasing a narrow margin to 22 to 5 by half-time. The second stanza saw more of the same. Elsie Allen scored often with passing to the fleet exterior backs, but only after constructing overlaps by domination in the rucks. For much of the contest it also controlled the lineout. Montgomery seemed to tire, but they still were game near the end of the match. The Vikings show promise for the future as they continue to compete and differentiate between this brand of football and the more uniquely American one.
JV: Elsie Allen 17 – Montgomery 0 Ref: King
With few reserves, many of the Montgomery first side suited up again and gave it a go. Once again, the continual pressure and phase rugby of the Lobos, led to the scoring in this single stanza. The Vikings had some spectacular individual efforts, but just need to support a bit more to finish the threat. Good effort by all!
Friday, April 4
COUGARS 57 – Davis 10 Referee: Ray Schwartz
Davis scored early on a long break down the Cougars sideline to put their coaches and fans on edge. Cougars then notched one of their own, a well worked team effort, before Davis scored on a 90+ meter break. Little opportunity would come Davis' way from then on. Cougars took a 19-10 lead into the half, but the tide was turning, as Cougars kept up relentless pressure at the tackle area, creating turnovers, and displayed good skills with ball in hand.
MARIN LIONS 41 – Berkeley Rhinos 10 Referee: Bryant Byrnes
Breezy afternoon game at Berkeley's spiffy new Gilman Fields. It was a veteran and larger side versus the younger Rhinos-and the score reflected this. But good spirited and good fun.
PITS 17 – Hayward 39 Referee: Nate Housman
Marin Highlanders 17 – ELSIE ALLEN 21 Referee: Roberto Santiago
It was another beautiful day in the North Bay as the Marin Highlanders hosted the Elsie Allen Lobos. This match featured two of the better if not two of the best U19 teams in the Bay Area and lived up to its billing. The Highlanders always set up a great atmosphere starting with the five foot tall sideline barrier and ending with the grill and souvenir tent on the hill overlooking the pitch.
The game was a bit of a contrast in styles with Marin relying on their strong quick backline and Elsie Allen preferring to crash close to the breakdowns with their forwards. Even while playing to their strengths both sides were strong in the rucks and produced fluid backline play. Though both teams were able to move the ball between the 22s the defenses tightened up and didn't break. Play went back and forth until the Lobo's number 3 put one over redeeming an earlier knock on in goal at 27:00. With the conversion Elsie Allen led 0-7. Marin came back quickly with an unconverted try at 31:30 to close the gap to 7-5.
The second half featured the same hard play as the first. Marin scored another try at 38:00 and hit the extras for a 12-7 lead. After another round of hard runs and fantastic defense Elsie Allen re-took the lead 12-14 with a converted try at 51:00. It was short lived. Marin stormed back with an unconverted try just three minutes later for a 17-14 advantage. It looked for all the world like that score would hold up, even after an unsuccessful penalty kick at goal Marin had the lead and the ball with a little more than a minute to play. Marin had the throw in at a line out just outside of their own five meter line. Elsie Allen stole the line out and set out for one last desperate series. With time running out one of the Lobo backs broke the Marin line from about three meters out. At the goal line stood no less than three memebers of Marin's pack. This kid form Elsie Allen, and I say this with respect and admiration, had to be 5'6" and about 110 pounds but he found a pocket in the Marin defense right at the line and dove over for the winning score. Converting the extras provided the final margin and ran out the clock on a phenomenal game.
Both teams should be proud of their efforts. Even though Elsie Allen came in with a clear size disadvantage this was no David Vs Goliath story. From their opening win over Jesuit to their closing win over Marin the Lobos have shown that they belong among the U19 elite in northern California. The skill on display from both sides reflects great coaching and support from these programs. So much so that I may have to contemplate a move to the North Bay in about 13 years. I look forward to the future as I'm sure we'll be seeing many of these kids playing in high level college programs and possibly beyond.
YOUTH RUGBY EVENTS
California Junior Classic, Dixon, Sunday, April 19,
Contact: Rob Salaber: firstname.lastname@example.org
Referees lined up for 18 Junior High matches: Ray Schwartz, Craig Lusiani, Phil Akroyd, Nick & Tristan Boyer, Brian Schnack, Nate Housman, Mark Godfrey, and Scotty Griffin, w/ Matt Eason, JC Van Staden, Skip Neibauer and possibly Dave Williamson to ref coach.
The 5th Annual PCIT, April 25/26, at San Jose State
The Pacific Coast will provide some refs, 2 more are expected on exchange from SoCal, but we'll need at least a dozen local whistle blowers. At the present, Eric Rauscher, Brian Schnack, and Greg Lundell have chimed in, a good start. Please contact Ray Schwartz email@example.com to get on the list.
Over 40 sides are expected for this two-day event, in addition to the NCRFU Single and Multi-School HS Championship matches. Shade, a cooler of fruit and beverage, and a sweet jersey will be on offer for the lucky refs.
I am a Cal Poly rugby alumnus who, along with some fellow ruggers, has created a news and social networking website for the rugby community, http://www.rugbyunited.com/
We are five rugby players (a US Eagle, OMBAC's Captain, and three Cal Poly SLO alums) who share a similar pursuit of connecting the greater rugby community in order to grow the game and drive it to a higher level of play in the US.
rugbyUNITED is a user generated site and that gives a voice to every rugby enthusiast. So if you are a player, referee, coach, team, union or rugby supporter post your news, pics, videos, blogs, forums and events.
We at rugbyUNITED realize that the referees are the glue to the game and would like to invite you to be among the first to join the community. Please check out rugbyUNITED and pass the word on to any rugby clubs and supporters. Below are a few highlights of rugbyUNITED and how it can be used to benefit clubs, players, coaches, refs and supporters:
Refs: (Get your Ref on!)
- Blog about the game and give the much-needed refs’ point of view
- Report match reports
- Discuss all facets of the game on the forum
Clubs: (Get your Club's name out there!)
- Keep your alumni and fans up to date by posting match reports and blogs about your team
- Share pictures, video, and game schedules
- Recruit and grow your club by creating a team page
- Easily manage club events, games and car pools with the event system
- Get your alumni, fans and supporters involved by giving them a voice on the Forum and the team's home page
Players: (Get your name out there!)
- Create a player profile to highlight your rugby career or to get recruited by coaches (add game/season stats such as trys scored, balls poached, etc.)
- Connect with ruggers in your area, across the nation or on the other side of the globe
- Discuss upcoming matches and all other facets of the game on the Forum
Coaches: (Recruit and build your program!)
- Search for players to recruit
- Blog/discuss about coaching strategy, practice and games
- Easily communicate with your players and parents about practice, games, etc.
Parents/Fans: (Follow your team!)
- Create a profile highlighting your rugby background as a parent or fan
- Easily find your team's schedule and maps to games
- Add news about the team that you support
- Plan for pre and post match socials
- Add photos/videos
Please feel free to send us any suggestions, comments and feedback. We hope to grow the site in the image of our users and are interested in hearing how rugbyUNITED can be improved.
We hope that you will check out rugbyUNITED and join today. Enjoy and continue to grow the game!
Ryan Fry and the rugbyUNITED Team
THIS WEEK’S PHOTO
Friday afternoon at Stanford for the D2 playoffs found Eric Rauscher, Stuart Willis of Virginia, John Pohlman, Q-Tip, Joe Leisek, Roberto Santiago and Mike King on the pitch.
For the Senate