Wednesday, January 13, 2010




Drop everything – get over to Treasure Island for 6 PM food and conversation, 7 – 9 PM NCRRS monthly meeting. Advantage, Line-Out and Scrum will be the topics.


Please format your response as follows (cut and paste as needed). We need travel refs to the destinations listed below, sometimes two or three in the same city the same weekend.

Have a look. If you’d like to plan a weekend around one of these destinations for a particular weekend, let us know.

Available? Able to travel?

Feb. 6 ____ ____
Feb. 13 ____ ____
Feb. 20 ____ ____
Feb. 27 ____ ____
Mar. 6 ____ ____

Away games on tap:

February 6: Reno, Humboldt, Redding
Feb. 13: Two games in Chico, everything else Sac/Bay Area
Feb. 20: Fresno, Arroyo Grande, Humboldt, Reno
Feb. 27: Redding, Fresno, Humboldt, Reno
March 6: Fresno, Humboldt, Arroyo Grande, Mendocino


Friday Evening:
7 PM STANFORD women 100 – Santa Clara 5 Referee: Stephen Moore
Videographer: Bruce Carter
The score defines the vast difference in strengths. Stanford a stronger side in many aspects, tackling, breakdown and backline running. Santa Clara were competitive in scrums but poor in defense against the impressive ball handling skills of the Stanford backs. Lots of breakdown penalties in the first half, far fewer in second. Surprisingly no lineouts in first half, only two in second. Stanford scored 16 tries and 10 conversions, Santa Clara one try (reminds me of Japan v All Blacks in the RWC once). The final minute looked promising for SC with a long run down the sideline only to be held up meters from the goal line, unfortunately game over with a handling error. Despite the score the game was a lot of fun.


Reno 17 – BARBARIANS 29 Referee: Don Pattalock
AR's: W. O'Hara, Rich Boyer (R. Wilkening @40)
Reno appeared to be shaking off the rust from the couple months of snow that has been on the ground. Reno had the better pressure and possession but were denied several times right on the Barbarians line.

The Barbarians host many familiar faces and were dangerous on counter-attacks scoring 2 trys against the run of play. This was a hard-hitting opener with some strong rugby on display.

The final warning on high tackles was issued at 12 minutes resulting in Reno playing 20 minutes of the first half down a player. Despite being a man down, Reno closed out the first half ahead 12-10. Reno backed themselves with 3 quick penalty taps right infront of the Barbarians poles rather than taking the points. Both teams should have a strong season.

Seconds: Reno 7 – BARBARIANS 17 Referee: Rich Boyer
The majority from each team played in a physical A game, so halves were shortened. Both teams played with spirit. The game was played cleanly, without incident. Several instances of good sportsmanship were noted. The game was physical, and Bay Barbarians prevailed 17-7.

Sac Lions 24 – East Palo Alto 24 Referee: Jim Crenshaw
AR: Mark Godfrey, Rod Chance
Referee Coach: Kat Todd-Schwartz

No seconds match was played.

SAN MATEO 39 – Sac Capitals 0 Referee: Pete Smith

Seconds: San Mateo 7 – SACRAMENTO CAPITALS 25 Referee: Bjorn Stumer
Although Sacramento did not quite have a full "B" side and most of the players just finished playing the earlier "A" side match, they took to the field with vim and vigor and and easily dispatched a determined San Mateo. The sky had been gray and the weather cold all day, but just as the match started a glorious sun broke through regaling all with a gentle warmth at the soft under foot Martin Luther King pitch in San Mateo.

After the initial whistle, both sides came out fast firing on all pistons. This lasted the duration of a clean and competent match between two capable sides. The first half saw an unconverted try and a penalty for Sacramento, and no score on the board for San Mateo. San Mateo continued its attacks in the second half and scored a converted try. This however was not enough, as Sacramento, apparently immune from fatigue, stepped it up a notch and put in an additional three tries, one which was converted.

Overall a nice, clean, and fun match full of hard tackling and effective mauling. Competent and disciplined players that came to do serious work, coupled with a gracious crowd attending made this a good day for all involved.

Diablo Gaels 5 – OLYMPIC CLUB 41 Referee: Chris Tucker

SEAHAWKS 47 – Santa Clara University 5 Referee: James Hinkin
AR: Hennie Strydom
On a cool, crisp day in January the San Jose Seahawks met Santa Clara University in a preseason clash between two clubs with close ties, Santa Clara having several former Seahawks on their coaching staff.

Santa Clara tried to use their speed and fitness to offset the Seahawks' distinct size and experience advantage and that led to a contrasting style for the sides. The first half saw several excellent scoring chances for Santa Clara go begging as the final pass was not made or the shot at goal was missed. San Jose, however, were much more clinical in their finishing as they were able to run 3 tries in for a halftime scoreline that flattered to deceive. Halftime score: San Jose 17 - Santa Clara 0.

The second half saw the size advantage tell as the young collegians were worn down by constantly tackling their larger opponents. San Jose was able to exploit the inevitable space created as more and more Santa Clara tacklers were committed to stopping the ball carrier and they ran in 6 more tries - mostly off of long breaks after the defense had been fully committed. Santa Clara was able to dot down a well deserved consolation try after turnover ball saw the Seahawks get lazy in their reorganization and the Santa Clara center was able to shoot straight up the middle for an untouched 40 meter scoring run. Final score: San Jose Seahawks 47 - Santa Clara University 5.

Seconds: SEAHAWKS 35 – Santa Clara 0
Referee: Hennie Strydom

SF/Golden Gate 19 – NEW ZEALAND UNIVERSITIES 39 Referee: Paul Bretz
ARs: Preston Gordon, Eugene Baker

EPA U23, 20 – Redwood 14 Referee: John Coppinger
ARs: Frank Merrill, Sean Peters
After some prompting, both home side EPA and visiting Redwood Empire managed to get square with CIPP registration allowing this match to proceed.

EPA had regulation filed ropes and a field monitor, complete with fluorescent vest. Unfortunately, these safety measures were needed.

Redwood Empire came out strong and took a 14-3 lead at the break as EPA struggled to provide support to EPA ball carriers breaking the gainline. Both teams were given yellow cards in the first half for persistently failing to retreat 10 meters after a penalty.

In the second half EPA was able to bring players into support of runners breaking the gainline and kept the pressure on Redwood Empire, who conceded two tries, one converted, resulting in a 15-14 EPA lead late in the game. On its second try, EPA was a man up because Redwood Empire was playing a man down because of a red card given for a kick to the head of an EPA U23 ball carrier.

With about three minutes remaining in the match, EPA was desperately defending its goal line from heavy Redwood Empire pressure when the visitors were awarded a penalty 12 meters from the EPA goal line. Ignoring his captain, one of the Redwood Empire flankers grabbed the ball, tapped through, and charged the EPA goal line unsupported smack into four or five EPA defenders. The call carrier was taken to the deck and failed to release the ball to defenders on their feet resulting into a penalty, which allowed EPA to clear the ball to touch at midfield. EPA controlled the lineout and scored an unconverted try with no time left to round out the scoring.

EPA should be congratulated for their discipline and restraint following the kicking incident. The team kept their composure and none of the large crowd entered the field or even made a move towards the pitch. I must note that Redwood Empire quickly hustled the transgressor off the pitch.

My thanks to Frank Merrill and Sean Peters for running touch.

Mendocino – Diablo U23 Referee: Cary Bertolone

HUMBOLDT 27 – Shasta 12 Referee: Mike King
Rumble on the North Coast
Only hours before Eureka was hit by the rolls of the quake off the coast, these 2 stalwart sides started the new campaign on a good note. Humboldt’s troops at first seemed like they were coming out of winter’s hibernation as they were arriving shortly before kick-off time and needed to finish erecting the second set of goal posts after 1:00 p.m. Shasta on the other hand was ready and chomping to play on time, but assented to the brief delay to finish the preparation on Manila field. Shasta gamely started the match with 14 and played the entire first half even. The styles were somewhat contrasting, with Humboldt launching running attacks, while Shasta kept it tight with some nifty mauls from lineouts. Half-time was knotted 12- 12. Only the lack of fresh legs and the untimely loss of captain and stalwart lock, Jeremiah Batdorf, led to Shasta’s inability to cover the entire field and stop breaks through the line that ended the scoring in Humboldt’s favor. To their credit the Shasta players kept in the match the entire time although playing with only 13, by grit and good conditioning. Great match and fun rugby. The ref then split the scene only to learn the next day that the fun had only begun. A 6.5 quake hit the North Coast soon after the match ended.


This is what happens when the ref has to leave for a long drive home and misses the festivities. Scott Wood explains:
“Camera begins to shake at 0:56. People across the plaza react at 1:04. Shasta Highlanders and Humboldt RFC stroll out starting at 1:17. Note the half-pitcher saved by a Shasta player at 1:38.”

SAN BRUNO SAINTS 17 – Aptos 6 Referee: Bryant Byrnes
This was a Men's Club Division 3 match between San Bruno and Aptos. The host team, the San Bruno Saints, is new this year and looks to be a worthy new side. To its credit, it had properly lined the field and the safety barriers were in place.

At the end of the first half the score was 17 for the Saints (3 tries and 1 conversion) to 6-two penalty kicks for the Aptos side.

Although no points were scored in the second half, it was much faster paced with nice multiple phase open play and tenacious defense. There was one five minute period at about the 20th minute of absolutely furiously paced good rugby stuff. It probably took more than a minute for the forwards to rendezvous for a scrum re-start; they were scattered all over the field, hands on knees and with tongues handing out.

Berkeley 21 – FOG 23 Referee: Eric Rauscher
AR: Roberto Santiago, TJ: Carl Fortney
Referee Coach: Joel Rubin

Job Corps Field, Treasure Island. Pitch moist with a layer of goose down. High clouds with a mild breeze.

It's like the A's and the Giants, the Raiders and the Niners, a fine cross-bay rivalry. I was quite impressed with the physical conditioning and the skill level displayed by both teams. The first half was a very good half. Berkeley capitalized in the first six minutes with two penalty kicks off of breakdown infractions by Fog. Fog fought back to score two tries at 17 and 25 minutes. Berkeley had the last score, a try at 34 minutes for a halftime score of 11-10. The second half got a bit testy, with tempers flaring here and there. Play continued at a fierce pace, with Fog scoring a converted try at 3 minutes. They scored penalty kicks at 20 and 34 minutes, interrupted with two tries unconverted by Berkeley at 14 and 29 minutes. I had Jake there as a coach, and over an early dinner and a couple of pints, he gave me plenty of good advice as for how to handle challenging games in the future. All in all, it was hard fought (a little too hard), and close match between two evenly matched teams that know each other well. Thanks to Carl and Roberto for being support on the sides and to Jake for guidance.

Seconds: BERKLEY (wm note: sic) 69 – Fog 0 Referee: Roberto Santiago
While the A side game was closely contested the B side match was not as close. The Fog Bs gave every bit as much effort as their A side counterparts their efforts were not as richly rewarded. The Berkeley B side played with more cohesion and pace than the Fog seconds could muster. Berkeley’s left wing dominated the first 25 minutes of the first half breaking off several long runs, including two tries, leaving would be tacklers in his wake and showing great speed for a man built like a second row. The large #11 would have had a hat trick early on but on his final run he pulled up with a lame hamstring about 10 meters out. Though he was able to hop/skip into the try zone upon arriving he spiked the ball in either pain or frustration resulting in a knock on. The rest of the match was a blur of Berkeley overloads in the back line and devastating crashes up the middle resulting in try after try. Despite the lopsided score the entire match was played in good spirits which reflected well on both sides and both captains.

CALIFORNIA 154 – Humboldt State 0 Referee: Tom Zanarini
Referee Coach: David Williamson
Driving through Larkspur on my way to Strawberry Canyon I saw a lone pelican on a dock. Must be a good omen. Perfect conditions for rugby; overcast and 50's with a freshly watered field.

Humboldt St. were down in the stadium warming up early. They are still on winter break and have gathered for a few sessions during this time. They came ready to play and take on their biggest challenge of the season. Cal came prepared and gave no quarter to the Lumberjacks. After the opening pageantry, Cal scored off their own kickoff in about 9 seconds. That would be their last chance to practice a kickoff. Humboldt fought gallantly and held their heads high. They had a number of very crunching tackles, stole a few off the head in scrums and lineouts. Cal was tactical and methodical. You could tell where they were going but it mattered not. They went where they pleased.

Humboldt did win the bloody nose contest: Cal had 3 Humboldt had none!

Thanks to Rob Hendrickson for his AR assistance and Dave Williamson for the coaching session.

UC DAVIS 30 – Chico State 0 Referee: Scott Wood
ARs: Jim Roberts, Donal Walsh
The game did not flow well in the first half. Ball handling errors led to scrums. Scrums had some initial problems with early engagements, early drives, and ball feeding. Each were sorted out and eventually scrums became well-contested platforms. The teams challenged each other physically and with creative drives. Chico had the first scoring opportunity with an attempted penalty goal that curved just too much. Davis opened the scoring with a converted try and followed it up with a penalty goal. Halftime: 10-0.

For the second half, Davis kicked off and quickly found itself with a player in the sin bin due to a dangerous tackle. Chico attacked well but was not able to capitalize on the power play. The game opened up more than in the first half as both teams moved the ball well. To Chico's detriment, Davis was able to maintain better possession and continuity scoring two converted tries and two penalty goals to close out the match 30-0. While Davis shut out Chico, they had to fight for each point.

Thanks to Jim Roberts and Donal Walsh for braving the cool temperatures and running touch. Their input and assistance was valuable.

Seconds: UC DAVIS 38 – Chico State 24 Referee: Jim Roberts

St Mary’s Round Robin Referee: Phil Akroyd
Throughout the three mini-games, the standard of rugby was very high and the level of commitment is to be commended. The pitch was in fine condition and the sun even broke through a little. This was an enjoyable way to begin my 2010 whistle-blowing and the games played out as follows:

St Mary’s ‘B’ 0 – 40 Sierra JC ‘A’
This was the first of the three, forty-minute games played at St. Mary’s before the main event of Cal Poly ‘A’ V St Mary’s ‘A’.

Sierra played in exactly the same style as the last time I saw them. That was hard power-play in the tight five, repeatedly hitting rucks hard and in numbers and then taking advantage of a disorganized defense. Sierra pretty much dominated all phases of play and posted a point per minute.

St. Mary’s showed a lot of style and ambition, but they seemed less committed at the tackle and most significantly, missed many tackles in open play. Sierra scored six tries and converted five, as many were dotted down under the posts.

St Mary’s ‘B’ 19 – 12 Cal Poly SLO ‘B’
This was a very evenly matched game with some good play. The Gaels moved some players around and seemed to make better attacking decisions, although the delivery in the half-backs could have been quicker. The delay at the back of the rucks actually drew Cal Poly offside a few times, earning critical penalties around the field. Cal Poly had the benefit of some rapid counter-attack and like Sierra in the previous game, took advantage of some weak tackles.

The home team pulled off the win by scoring a try with 13 minutes to go and holding on for the remainder of the game.

Cal Poly SLO ‘B’ 0 – 19 Sierra JC ‘A’
Although the score was not overwhelming in favor of the Sacramentans, they never really looked like losing this game. Tiredness seemed to be affecting both teams, and the flow was restricted by a large number of scrums, resulting from sloppy play and the ball becoming held up in rucks and mauls.

As in their first game, Cal Poly gave away several penalties, although in this game, they were related to poor discipline (trying to get away with cheap shots in rucks).

ST. MARY’S 39 – Cal Poly 17 Referee: Joe Leisek
ARs: Matt Heafey, Ron DeCausemaker
Pat Vincent Memorial Field, St. Mary's College, Moraga

Spectators lined all four sides of Pat Vincent Field on a cold afternoon to watch a highly anticipated match between two of the nation's leading college rugby programs. Lots of action, especially in the first half. After the hosts kicked off, Cal Poly ran down the field in multiple phases, with speed and physicality, hanging on to the ball for a full two minutes, with the St. Mary's defense making nearly two dozen tackles. Cal Poly did not score, but impressed everyone: players, coaches, fans, and the referee. The visitors looked to have the edge in the early going, and in fact scored first. But the host Gaels combined better defense with an expansive style of play to score three tries and take a 17-5 halftime lead. In the second half, the hosts scored an early try but soon felt themselves on the back foot, as Cal Poly scored twice to pull within 22-17. The Gaels managed to pull away with three more tries to seal the victory. A pleasure to referee. Gaels captain and scrumhalf Chad Clark excelled, as did Cal Poly captain and flanker Richard Herbert. Both teams are well-coached and very skilled. Thanks to Matt and Ron for their help.

Seconds: St. Mary’s 5 – CAL POLY 61 Referee: A Player to be Named Later

Cal women 7 – UCSC 29 Referee: Chris Labozzetta

Stanford – Stanford Grad CANCELED


Former Pelican, Grizzly and Eagle Captain Brian Vizard asks that we pass this on:

The United States Rugby Football Foundation relies on the support of the rugby community to help fund our various youth and high school programs. We have two fundraising events planned around the USA 7s Tournament in Las Vegas.

Information about the USRFF’s 3rd Annual Scrumble Golf Tournament is located at:

Information about the 1st ever I’Maul In No Limit Texas Hold ‘em Poker Tournament is located at:

Along with registration details, the information also contains sponsorship opportunities.

Please feel free to contact me should you have any questions.

Any help in spreading the word about these events would be appreciated.


This is the southernmost ‘island’ – Antarctica. Thanks for Joe Zevin for this window on another part of the rugby world:


For the Senate
Pelicus Scriptoris