Wednesday, April 22, 2009




The Reno tournament has expanded to two days and moved to May! It will be played May 9-10.

If you’d like to get in some post-season rugby, let us know. We’re negotiating the hotel rooms at the moment.


RENO 21 – Park City/Haggis 17 Referee: Joe Leisek
Assistant Referees: Phil Ulibarri Touch Judge: Adam Mick
Mira Loma Park, Reno

A beautiful, warm spring day in Reno, with a good crowd on hand to watch a match that would help determine Pacific Coast seedings in the national men's D1 Round of 32. The hosts finished second in NorCal in their inaugural season in D1 and feature forward strength and blazing speed in the three-quarters, while Park City, led by fullback Jason Pye, seems to always be in the playoff hunt. The match started out with Park City on attack, pushing into Reno's half and spending a fair bit of time near the 22-meter line. Both teams exchanged deep kicks and did their best to create opportunities. But it was Reno, featuring the speed of fullback Chase McQuillen, that scored first. Park City answered with a penalty kick. But the hosts kept up the pressure and scored two more tries (including another by McQuillen) the half while keeping the visitors from scoring. In the second half, Reno settled in and played defense. They also received two yellow cards for repeated infringements by the team. Park City scored two tries while Reno played short-handed, the second right at full-time. This was an intense game played at pace in the backline, with tactical kicking used by both sides. Reno had the better of the forward battle, which was intense as well. Big thanks to Phil and Adam for their assistance. And it was good to see and talk with fellow Pelicans Bruce Anderson and Russ Wilkening after the match.

Played in Utah:
PROVO 47 – Sacramento Capitals 27

Salt Lake City 31 – SACRAMENTO LIONS 40

These three winners, along with Olympic Club, move on to the USA round of 32 beginning May 2. O Club and Provo play at home, while Reno and the Lions travel to SoCal.


National Single-School Track: NorCal Final:

Friday , 4:30PM
JESUIT – Christian Brothers Referee: Jim Crenshaw
Assistant Referee: Phil Akroyd
Not sure of the score, but we have been told that Jesuit won.

National U19 Track: NorCal Quarter-finals:

East Palo Alto 26 – HAYWARD 31 Referee: Rich Anderson

SFGG 38 – Islanders 29 Referee: Chris Labozzetta
Overall a well-played match. SFGG stormed ahead early, but the Islanders kept grinding and worked their way back to make the match competitive. However SFGG had a bit more polish on the day and pulled off the victorY. Very fun game to be a part of.

LAMORINDA 37 – Rio Linda 0 Referee: Tony Redmond
The high school playoff game between Lamorinda and Rio Linda was played on St. Mary's pitch on a very hot afternoon, which may have contributed to a certain amount of fatigue that led to a high number of handling errors during the game. Lamorinda started at a fast tempo and scored a try after 21 seconds. Three other tries came along during the first half, one of which was converted, as Rio Linda struggled to make headway against a Lamorinda side that was faster and more competitive at the breakdown and more organized at the line-out, where they forced several turnovers. Rio Linda's best player was their scrum half and captain, but his focus on the game suffered - possibly through frustration with his team - and he received a formal warning (and was penalized twice) early in the second half for dissent. Some players just can't get it into their head that a referee hardly ever reverses a decision (and that only after an intervention from an assistant referee) and that a captain's role is not a license for whining.

Their captain's woes seemed to afflict Rio Linda as two players were subsequently yellow carded, one for not using their arms in a dangerous diving tackle (this followed a warning after two previous non-tackles), the other for a late charge on an opponent following a kick, so Rio Linda had to play from the 10th to the 23rd minute of the second half down one or two players. This wasn't a recipe for success for a team that started the half 22-0 down and they proceeded to concede three further tries to make the final score 37-0. On the upside, Rio Linda did finish the game on the Lamorinda line but they could never quite make it through to score a consolidation try.

San Mateo BYE

Semi-finals, to be played Wednesday, April 22:
SFGG – Lamorinda Referee: Chris Tucker
ARs: Preston Gordon, George O’Neil

San Mateo – Hayward Referee: Pete Smith
ARs: John Pohlman, James Hinkin

Final, to be played Saturday, April 25, at San Jose State at 2:30 PM:
Wednesday winners Referee: George O’Neil

In Vallejo at Mush Morton Field

Vallejo has a very nice facility for rugby games and playoffs, on a field that formerly was home to a Rose Bowl winning team: the Marine Detachment from Mare Island appeared in the Rose Bowl twice (yes, THAT Rose Bowl, the one in Pasadena on New Year’s Day) winning it once.

John Kelly is the club administrator. He and the team are doing a fine job, bringing up the standard of D3 rugby.

There are grandstands, plenty of parking, a press box that videographers appreciate, large Canary palms providing shade to windward and a ship’s mast that serves as a support for Old Glory.

We look forward to future playoff events at Morton Field.

CHICO 26 – Vallejo 25 Referee: Tom Zanarini
Assistant Referees: Preston Gordon, Chris Tucker

MISSION 80 – Vacaville 14 Referee: Chris Tucker
ARs Tom Zanarini, Preston Gordon -- thanks chaps!
The second D3 playoff match of the day didn't live up to the nail-biting finish that the first match had produced. Mission's back line made excellent use of the hard work their forwards were putting in, to run in 12 tries on the day. Their comprehensive victory was somewhat marred by an ugly trip by their winger after Vacaville had made an excellent break down the right wing which was certain to score. Penalty try was duly given and the culprit lucky to get just 10 minutes. His captain was smart enough to sit him down to make sure he was available the next day. A trick he then repeated for himself while driving forward in a maul, ball in left hand, right hand punching away. Grade A for multitasking, F for referee location awareness.

In spite of this, Vacaville played with a genial air, and managed another try when a wing forward got low enough to burrow under the defenders and touch down at my feet. It's good to be back in the middle :-)

NorCal D3 final
MISSION 33 – Chico 21 Referee: Preston Gordon
Assistant Referees: Tom Zanarini, Chris Tucker
Videographer: Bruce Carter

At Witter Rugby Field

LSU 47 – Utah 5 Referee: Nick Ricono
Assistant Referees: Davey Ardrey, Bruce Carter

Bowling Green 12 – SAN DIEGO STATE 55 Referee: Pete Smith
Assistant Referees: Aruna Ranaweera, Chris Tucker

Fourth Officials: Mike King, Mike Gadoua

Air Force 10 – CAL POLY SLO 61 Referee: Davey Ardrey
Assistant Referees: Bruce Carter, Jim Crenshaw

CALIFORNIA 67 – Minnesota 0 Referee: Nick Ricono
Assistant Referees: Rich Anderson, Eric Rauscher

Bowling Green 17 – UTAH 29 Referee: Pete Smith
Assistant Referees: Rich Anderson, Eric Rauscher

SAN DIEGO STATE 44 – Louisiana State Univ. 30 Referee: Aruna Ranaweera
Assistant Referees: Bruce Carter, Jim Crenshaw

Fourth Officials: Mike King, Rob Hendrickson, Ray Schwartz, Ron DeCausemaker

AIR FORCE 29 – Minnesota 12 Referee: Aruna Ranaweera
Assistant Referees: Nick Ricono, Rich Anderson

CALIFORNIA 76 – Cal Poly SLO 10 Referee: Davey Ardrey
Assistant Referees: Pete Smith, Jim Crenshaw

Fourth Officials: Mike King, Eric Rauscher

In Atlanta:
St. Mary’s season ended with a victory over Tennessee, 20-15.

Unfortunately, the only way your post-season can end with a victory in April is in a consolation game: the Gaels had lost to Army the day before.

The men’s D1 final four at Stanford will feature Cal – Army and BYU – San Diego State.


Round of sixteen:
STANFORD 79 – Univ. of California, Los Angeles 10
STANFORD 29 – Army 15

CHICO STATE 17 – New Mexico 15
NAVY 32 – Chico State 12

The women’s D1 semi-finals at Stanford will be Stanford – Brown and Navy – Penn State.


In the Men’s bracket, Cal Maritime lost to Georgetown in the quarters, missing a trip to Stanford for the semis. Cal Maritime had a very good season, entering the playoffs ranked #1 nationally.

Humboldt State lost in the opening round.


Frosh/soph: SFGG – De La Salle Referee: Ed Barfels
Assistant Referee: John Pohlman

Old Boys: Señors 22 – SILVERHAWKS 41 Referee: John Pohlman
Saturday saw a full day of rugby on Treasure Island. I started by running AR for Ed Barfels in a freshman/sophomore game between De La Salle and Golden Gate. Both teams had at least thirty players to run in and out of the game. Looks good for their futures.

The Señors were hosting the Silverhawks. The Silver had traveled with close to thirty players. The Señors had around 18 at kickoff.

This game had very few players over 40. Except for Freddy, Jimmy and the ageless Mike Comstock. The seniors featured some ex-national players. The big difference in this game was the Silvers depth. They just ran more than the Señors.

The Silvers scored three trys in the first half to two for the Señors. The second half the Silvers scored four more to the Seniors 2.

All in all, a very competitive high level game for over 35.

Final Silverhawks 41 Señors 24

Next I watched David Pelton referee the GG - Diablo match to see who goes to Tempe this weekend.

Next up Chris Labozzetta did a scrimmage for the GG junior varsity teams. They had a scheduled match the other team never showed.

Then Paul Bretz did what many thought was the featured match of the day, GG's Super league team verses San Monica's Super League game.

Chris was up for his high school playoff game between GG and the Sacramento Amazons.

Wow a long day in the sun. Tomorrow Pacific Coast playoffs at Cal. Must be April in the Bay.

D2: SF/Golden Gate 15 – DIABLO GAELS 32 Referee: David Pelton (PNRRS)
In typical Pelican fashion, a travelling referee was taken care of; in this case I was provided with a match (SFGG v Diablo Gaels) and transportation (courtesy of Chris Labozzetta picking me up and John Pohlman bringing me back) when I was coming in to run touch for a RSL match.

This was my first time to experience the SFGG clubhouse’s referee facilities. Not only was it nice to have a place to change, but the jerseys and memorabilia up in the room also added to the feeling of being someplace unique (although someone may want to talk to them about an outlet for us computer geeks ). The enjoyment continued as I stepped out to bright sunshine and a full size, flat, well marked pitch (the Puget Sound will get to experience one of those starting this week when our own pitch opens up -

We started out strong with both sides running from everywhere and we continued at that pace throughout the match with only a small spell of slow rugby. The Gael’s scrumhalf Kunz started the scoring 6 minutes in when he nailed a penalty from about 10 meters out. Some teammates wanted to go for the try, but Kunz was adamant that SFGG was a worthy opponent and the Gaels needed the win.

The way things went the rest of the first half, his teammates didn’t need to worry. Loose Head prop Papalii found himself on the wing and he bulled his way over after a multi-phase passage of play. The Gael’s outside center, Pahulu, was able to take advantage of a SFGG knock and played through to score at the 23 minute mark, with the second missed conversion it was 13 – 0 Gaels.

With 10 minutes left in the half SFGG tried to clear, but the kick went awry and the Tighthead prop (Muomua) scooped up the last pass and cross the try line. Kunz’s conversion was good and it was 20 – 0. Just three minutes later the centers showed the props wouldn’t be the only pair that could score, when inside center McKenzie intercepted a pass at the 7 and waltzed in. Kunz’s conversion took us to a score that would last until half – 27 – 0.

The Gaels came out flat in the second half, but SFGG couldn’t complete breaks they made. It looked like the Gaels might eventually run away with the match when the blind side flanker took the last pass of a weak side scrum movement and scored. At 32 – 0 things were looking bleak for the home team.

SFGG felt like they had plenty of time with less than 30 minutes left and were not about to just roll over on the Gaels. It started with a long kick by SFGG and the lock Sean McLoughlin touched down at the 63rd minute. Then Outside center Andrea Bola Asuega capped off some nice moves he had been having all day with his own try to cut the lead to 22 points.

SFGG added another when a nice pop kick by their Asuega went in-goal where the scramble for the ball and a good bounce saw SFGG touch down. No conversion, but the lead was down to 15 points.

Unfortunately, that was as close as they could get, and we ended 32 – 15 Gaels.

Oh yeah, I ran as the Assistant Referee for some guy named Bretz and we managed to get 16 tries in the 80 minutes of his match. Not a bad day, 24 tries in two matches in the sun – thanks Pelicans.

HS Playoff: SFGG over Islanders Referee: Chris Labozzetta

Super League: SFGG 79 – Santa Monica 12 Referee: Paul Bretz
Assistant Referees: Dave Pelton, John Pohlman
Golden Gate clinched a playoff spot and possibly a home game in the first round. There are two games remaining in the regular season.


D2 make-up game: EAST PALO ALTO by forfeit over Arroyo Grande

College D2 friendly: SIERRA COLLEGE 64 – U. of San Francisco 8 Referee: Sam Reagle
Weather: Hot (high 80's)
I arrived at the pitch a little before noon for the 1pm scheduled start as it is only a few miles from my house. I hoped to kick off asap as it was getting hotter by the minute, but since USF hadn't arrived yet, I was not optimistic. We all sat in the little shade available and waited for USF.

Not only didn't we kick off early, but USF didn't even arrive until 1:30 so we adapted, finally kicking off at 1:50pm.

As I said the last time I saw SC play, they play a solid game of rugby with a good combination of size and speed. After about 8-9 minutes of jockeying for position, SC started scoring systematically about every 3-4 minutes against a game, but out-matched USF team where the forwards and the backs were roughly the same size. As seems fairly common in D2, there was a lot of scrumming and this also played into SC's size advantage. Half-time score 38-3.

It's hard to tell if USF stepped it up a level or if the heat began to take a toll on SC in the second half, but USF had some good attacks that lasted for many phases inside the SC 22. Unfortunately for USF, SC held strong and only allowed 1 unconverted try while scoring 4 more of their own. This was a game clearly played in great spirit. Everyone enjoyed the day and the pizza and the only complaining was about the heat.

Berkeley Rhinos 0 – DIABLO 60 Referee: Phil Akroyd
On Friday afternoon, I A/Red at the Jesuit V C.B playoff game at Jesuit. This promised to be a good game with two of the best high school teams in the area, going at it in what one Pelican coined “The Holy Bowl”. Frankly it was a bit of a letdown, as the close competition never materialized. Jesuit blew C.B away.

Oh well, I thought, at least I get to be in the middle for a Bay Area high school playoff game on Saturday morning. It was an early kick-off – 10am at the new turf fields at the Gilman St. exit in Berkeley. Does it get any better than this? A beautiful early morning drive down from Sac, the sun was shining over the bay, with light winds taking the edge off the above average temperatures and a perfect pitch.

At kick-off, while scanning the field, there appeared to be a bit of a size difference between the two teams. The travelling Diablo boys looked to have about a year in age and twenty pounds on each Rhino. Unfortunately for the home team, this was their Achilles heel as the Diablo boys played simple, hard rugby, making it very difficult to tackle the strong running backs. Again, it looked as though the promise of a close and competitive game was gone.

Diablo scored five tries in each half. While lining up for conversions, the Diablo kicker and captain let me know that they are made up of a number of football players. They showed all the running moves of running backs, half backs, tight ends and wide receivers, while also having fantastic rugby knowledge. This was very impressive stuff. I was also informed by their captain that two of their best players were unavailable for the game as they were away on USA age-group rugby duty.

While the visitors were very impressive, the best set move of the game came from the Rhinos. A tapped down lineout gave fast ball to the Berkeley backs who passed it out to the inside center. Just when it looked like a straight forward attack was going to emerge, a looping Berkeley back came from nowhere and completely changed the angle of attack back toward the lineout. He was released down the field like a shot and was just about brought down by one of the remaining defenders.

Special mention goes to the Diablo right wing who scored several tries and set up others. Also to the Diablo number eight, who was a football convert, playing in his first game and scored two tries before being yellow carded for an overzealous tackle. Although this was a slightly miss-matched game, the Rhinos did well and hopefully they can stick together to develop into the team that they show promise of being.

April 10 HS
Montgomery 14 – MARIN 44 Referee: Mike King
An improving Montgomery side was able to stop the initial attack by Marin, but ultimately the visitors dominated in the scrum and loose play enough to swing the ball wide for 4 first half tries. The second half looked like more of the same when Marin scored soon after the start of the stanza. Momentum shifted as the Montgomery defense stiffened and its #10 scored twice on nice individual effort. Seemingly awakened by the opposition scores, Marin completed the scoring with a penalty goal and another 2 tries.

Friday, April 17
ELSIE ALLEN 61 – Rohnert Park 10 Referee: Tom Zanarini

April 20 HS Frosh/Soph
Piedmont 26 – LAMORINDA 33 Referee: Mike King
Exciting see-saw contest in the heat of a hot day. Lamorinda had more numbers and were able to get everyone some experience. PITS gamely played with 15 and then dropped to 14 in the second half. Very nice play by all.


Dixon, Sunday, April 19
Ref reporting, Ray Schwartz
Ref coaches, Donal Walsh and JC Van Staden
Refs in the middle, Phil Akroyd (4), Craig Lusiani (3), 2 each for Rod Chance, Mark Godfrey, Nick and Tristan Boyer, one each for Scotty Griffin, Rich Boyer, and Jeff Richardson. (18) 30-minute matches were played. Most games went off with a team of three refs, as Robert Burgwitz ran touch a lot, along with many of those on the list above.

Nice day, a bit warm, great turnout, lots of youthful rugby. Rob Salaber, the Tourney Director reports the event, in its 3rd year, has grown a lot, nearly doubling in size each year. SFGG beat Land Park in the Green Division final, while Marin beat Granite Bay in the White.

Both sidelines for the Green Division Final were way too heated. Calm down people! Let the referees do their jobs, and let the kids have some fun.


Last week we had a report of this New York school’s victory over Jesuit. They made it a sweep of NorCal powerhouses:

Monday, April 11
Elsie Allen High School, Santa Rosa
Elsie Allen 12 – XAVIER (NY) 49 Referee: Joe Leisek
Assistant Referees: Mike King, Cary Bertolone
Two of the country's best-known high school programs produced a fast-paced, very physical game played on the host's new all-weather turf field. The tourists, who had defeated Jesuit in Sacramento on Saturday, were in command throughout. Elsie defended valiantly, but could not contain Xavier's attack and constant go-forward. The visitors were well-organized on offense and defense, and played at pace for 70 minutes. Xavier ball-carriers ran with great body positioning and in good lanes, and went into contact very well. They were adept at ball distribution and retention, and were committed at the breakdown. And it seemed as though every time Elsie took tactical kicks behind the Xavier backline, the ball landed in the hands of a Xavier player who immediately started a strong counter-attack. Elsie's best multi-phase action came in the forwards, with the pick-and-drive working in their favor at times (including both tries). Xavier scored four tries in the first half and five in the second. Elsie scored one in each half. Xavier is big, strong, fast, and extremely well-coached. A very impressive performance. Special thanks to Mike and Cary for their help. It was a pleasure to work with them.

Wednesday, April 15
SF/Golden Gate 10– XAVIER 55 Referee: Paul Bretz
Xavier 55 SFGG Gold 10. Xavier successfully completed their 3 game tour with a dominating performance. This trip should serve them well with the upcoming nationals. They play a very open, controlled match.

Changing Room
It was well into the nineties all around the Bay Area this past weekend.

Here are Chris Tucker, Preston Gordon and Tom Zanarini in the referee changing room for the D3 championships.


For the Senate
Pelicus Scriptoris