Thursday, February 04, 2010




Kirk Khasigian earned promotion to L3 at the Kick-Off Tournament this past weekend.

Congratulations to Kirk, who intends to concentrate his efforts in the Sacramento Valley high school conference.


Who plans to go to Yosemite with our East Mids visitors?

You’ll need to be available March 17 and 18, a Wednesday and Thursday. We’ll need folks to drive our guests up from the Bay Area on Wednesday for dinner and overnight at the Yosemite Lodge.

If you’re not up to a strenuous – er, I mean exhilarating – hike in the snow you can wander around the valley floor until we return.

We’ve got a very good deal on room reservations but need to know how many to plan for.

This has been a highlight of past trips for our guests and ourselves alike.


The Pelican Flock navigated our busiest weekend of the year successfully, our ranks bolstered by sixteen honorary Pelicans who flew in to join us.

There were 97 (ninety-seven) teams at the 26th Annual Kick-Off Tournament as well as the usual three-dozen club and college matches. Not only did all of these games have assigned refs, the majority had assistant referees as well.

The youngest was a referee on debut, Liam Bretz, age 11. The oldest would be angry with us should we say.

We’re exaggerating neither about the 97 teams nor about the sixteen visitors and exchangees, and we’d like to thank them all:

Robert Bergwitz

Eastern Rockies:
Gilligan (Dan Hattrup)
Brian Zapp

Erie Society:
Pete Barry

Calgary, Alberta:
Colin Stroeder
Andrew Cleghorn

Edmonton, Alberta:
Kristi Mooreman
Mike Laporte

Vancouver Island, BC:
Kai Taylor

Pacific Northwest:
Shane Kennedy
Kevin Gaw

Met NY:
Jack Rosenhammer
Pat Wickman
Greg Gilliam

Sean O’Connell

North Carolina:
Ken Muir


UC DAVIS 34 – Sac State 5 Referee: Phil Akroyd
ARs: Jim Crenshaw, Scott Wood
Evaluator: David Williamson
A pretty entertaining game for the first sixty minutes, then the conditions and the fact that UCD had the game wrapped up, made the last 20 minutes a surplus to requirements.

As I blew my whistle to start the game, the heavens opened. However, the fake turf field meant that a pretty good game was played, with few handling errors. Once I got the Sac backs onside at ruck, UCD let their all around advantage show on the score board.

The Aggies were up 5 – 12 at half and stretched their lead immediately after the restart with a PK after the Sac blindside picked up at the foot of a ruck and ran straight into his own forward, while the defender was trying to make a tackle. 5-15.

UCD played smart, calculated rugby, gave few penalties away and always went forward when in possession. Their defense was solid, with a huge hit on the Sac State center with only a couple of minutes left. Sac State held in there for the rest of the game but were always struggling to break through.

Just as the rain started at the beginning of the game, it stopped ten minutes after full-time.

Thanks to Jim Crenshaw and Scott Wood for keeping me honest from the sidelines via the new Motorola 2-way radios. A good investment to keep on top of the stuff that you can’t see. Also to Dave Williamson for the education at Hoppy Brewing afterwards.

Seconds: UC Davis – Sac State Referee: Colin Stroeder

Greg Gilliam was on exchange from New York this past weekend:

Below are the match reports for my matches this weekend. Both of them were great matches and it was a pleasure to be part of them.

A special nod has to go to my host for the weekend, and AR extraordinaire, Rich Anderson. Besides chauffeuring me throughout the Bay area, Rich offered invaluable assistance as an assistant referee in both matches. His hospitality, and that of his family, is a credit to our sport and the NCRFU Referee Society. I was truly fortunate to have such a host.

I would be remiss if I also did not thank Mike King who came out to Elsie Allen on a rainy Friday night to help AR. His valuable assistance was greatly appreciated.

Thank you very much for allowing me to visit your neck of the woods and the opportunity to be a small part of such a great rugby community that is the NCRFU. I really enjoyed my time while I was there and I hope to be back some day.

Kind regards,
Greg Gilliam

Varsity: Elsie Allen 0 – GOLDEN GATE 28 Referee: Gilliam
ARs: Rich Anderson, Mike King
Date: January 29, 2010
KO: 6:30pm

A chill air and intermittent rain greeted these sides and their visiting referee from the RRSNY for an evening of U-19 rugby in Santa Rosa, CA. The pitch was properly marked and well-prepared.

After kick-off, both sides wasted no time in demonstrating that they were well coached. While Elsie Allen lacked the size of Golden Gate, they certainly matched them in tenacity. Overall, the level of play was refreshing given the youth of both squads. The rain contributed to some handling errors, but the tactical patience displayed by both teams resulted in a good contest. Golden Gate's ability to capitalize on mistakes made the difference in both halves of the match. The visitors managed to touch down twice (both converted) in the first half, while the hosts could not seem to punch through despite several golden opportunities. Halftime: GG 14 – EA 0.

The second half was similar to the first. Good form from both teams, but Golden Gate exploited their obvious advantage in size and speed to register two more (converted) tries. Full-time: GG 28 – EA 0.

JV: Elsie Allen 5 – GOLDEN GATE 22 Referee: Rich Anderson
ARs: Gilliam (RRSNY)/King

San Mateo 12 – SACRAMENTO LIONS 15 Ref: Gilliam
AR: Anderson
Date: January 30, 2010
KO: 2:30pm
Beautiful weather and a properly lined, prepared pitch (albeit with a "leaning" post) gave a good indication of the quality of rugby to come. Play was as expected: fast and hard-hitting. While San Mateo appeared to display an overall advantage in athleticism, Sacramento's defense seemed up to the challenge.

On several occasions, San Mateo methodically drove deep into their opponent's territory, and their good discipline was rewarded with points from three Sacramento penalties. A fortuitous bounce from a line-out just inside San Mateo's 22, however, allowed the visitors to register a try (converted) for their only score of the half.
Half-time: San Mateo 9 – Sacramento 7.

As the second half continued, the tension became increasingly palpable and the hits became increasingly fierce - but legal. Sacramento's confidence unsurprisingly grew stronger as each minute ticked by and San Mateo left opportunity after opportunity slip away without scoring any points. The final ten minutes saw each side try to gain a territorial advantage with a good display of tactical kicking. Eventually, however, it was Sacramento who managed to break the San Mateo defense and score their second try (unconverted). The hosts fought back furiously and managed to maintain good pressure on the Sacramento defense, but they could not find a way to break through as one successful penalty kick was all they could muster.

Full-time: San Mateo 12 – Sacramento 15.

Seconds: SAN MATEO 17 – Sac Lions 5 Ref: Anderson



SFGG 69 – Arroyo Grande 12 Referee: Bruce Carter
TJ: Ben Bravo, A N Other
Golden Gate pretty much had their way with an AG side featuring a lot of newer players, especially up front where it counts.


Sac Capitals 19 – EAST PALO ALTO 32 Referee: Brian Zapp ERRRS

Seconds: Sac Capitals 17 – EAST PALO ALTO 26 Referee: Phil Akroyd
Seventeen hours after finishing my last game, I had another toughie at 28th & C Street in downtown Sac.

The sun was out, the good sized field in pretty good condition, give the last minute venue change and my boots still damp from Friday night.

All things in my head were telling me that this could be a fiery one. The last time I reffed this fixture, it was my third ever game assignment, twenty-one months ago. I probably wasn’t up to it and I abandoned the game in the second half after 3 yellow cards and a bench-clearing brawl. The A game was right on boiling point too, so I thought that tired bodies may result in slugging rather than running.

There were certainly a lot of challenges and most of it preventative – keeping people on feet at rucks, watching off the ball stuff and keeping the scrums fair but competitive. Of course, the first and last round of stupidity came at a maul, seven minutes in. Opposing lock and blindside flanker were both upright, got into a verbal disagreement (while involved in a moving maul), one threw an elbow, other retaliated with a punch and they both spent 10 off the field.

Sac charged into the lead and were up by 17 to 7 at half, then the sheer weight and speed of EPA ground them down. The Razorbacks got into their stride, pulled together and kept Sac out for the rest of the game.

Both teams were clearly getting tired but the game was too close to call early. EPA got the go-ahead try with twenty minutes left and took that 2 point lead to the final score of 17-26 with ten to go.

Once the silliness got out of the way in the first half, the second half was great fun. Both teams enjoyed it and the BBQ feed at the end topped off a great afternoon of Div 1 rugby. A good example to show exchange ref Brain Zapp (ERRRS) what Norcal rugby can be like.

Barbarians 7 – OLYMPIC CLUB 51 Referee: James Hinkin
AR: Michael King
A perfect winter day (temp around 60, sunny blue skies) was the setting for Bay Barbarians v Olympic Club, the two remaining undefeated teams in D1. The game started with a fast pace that kept both sides running from but the first breakthrough didn't occur until the 20th minute when Olympic club was able to capitalize on a series of penalties to push over a try. At that time O Club was starting to enforce their will and dominated territory with only the occasional break out to relieve it. A penalty kick soon followed and then a second try while the Barbos were a man down due to repeated infringement. The half ended 17-0.

The second half was more of the same as the Olympians slowly wore down the opposition. The Barbos got a breath of life when O Club stole a lineout then miscommunication on the tap down saw the ball land in the welcoming arms of the Barbos #7 who sprinted 30 yards to the try line. That was it for them, however, as fitness finally deserted the home side and O Club piled on the tries. Final Score: Olympic Club 51 - Bay Barbarians 7

Many thanks for Michael King for his assistance - a qualified AR is a luxury in a fast match like this.

Seconds: Barbarians – Olympic Club Referee: Mike King
This match had to be abandoned in lieu of having a general melee. Numerous yellow cards were issued to the Barbarians prior to the abandonment.

Seahawks 21 – FRESNO 28 Referee: Pete Smith
On a bright, sun drenched day in San Jose the rivalry between San Jose and Fresno played out it next chapter. I had forgotten how intense these games had become and this game was no different. Fresno was bolstered by the arrival of a few New Zealanders, including the captain of the New Zealand Universities U21’s that I had refereed on New Years Day. Both teams were quite content to play wide open rugby like two heavy weights throwing haymakers. There were several phases of non-stop action, whistle free for 5-7 minutes at a stretch. Fresno dominated the opening quarter scoring two converted tries and looking like they were going to run away with the game. San Jose woke up and answered back in the second quarter with a converted try of their own to put the halftime score at 14-7. Again, Fresno started out hot in the second half with a try in the first minutes and another shortly thereafter to take what seemed to be a commanding 28-7 lead. San Jose again fought back with two hard earned tries through the forwards to bring the score to 28-21 with about 10 minutes remaining. Rather than hold on for the victory, Fresno turned up the heat and pressured San Jose line for the remainder of the game and seal the win at 28-21.

SANTA ROSA 30 – BA Baracus 28 Referee: Cary Bertolone
Referee Coach: Ken Muir (Southeast)
Kick off at 1:00 at For Pete's Sake in Santa Rosa on a beautiful rugby day. I had the privilege of having Ken "Doc" Muir, of North Carolina as an evaluator. Santa Rosa scored twice for a 8-0 lead. Baracus came right back with some blazing back plays of their own to make it 8-7. In an evenly matched game, Santa Rosa carried a 20-14 halftime lead. The Baracus forwards were lead by 8-man Kevin McCaffrey and produced good ball to the backs and the score was tight throughout with a final score of Santa Rosa 30-Baracus 28, although the last minute Baracus score and conversion made the score seem even closer than it was. No yellow or red cards as the players

Ken "Doc" Muir of North Carolina reffed the second game won by Santa Rosa, also very closely contested, Santa Rosa 12-Baracus 5. Doc was nice enough to spend an hour with me after the game with some helpful pointers. Watching him ref made me want to get better so I could look as fluid.

Seconds: SANTA ROSA 12– BA Baracus 5 Referee: Ken Muir

Vallejo 0 – CHICO 61 Referee: Joe Leisek
Morton Field, Mare Island, Vallejo

The Vallejo Barbarians, after a successful season in Division Three, have now moved up to Division Two. They train and play in one of the top club facilities in the Pacific Coast territory. They have a beautifully-marked pitch, a building adjacent to the field that functions as a clubhouse and changing room, plenty of parking, and a spacious, comfortable grandstand on the field's east side. The club's administrative support system is efficient and helpful. They have everything a club could want, except one thing: players. The team lost several players in the off-season due to players moving to another club and others dropping off. So it's back to square one for John Kelly and Ben Whisky, whose club roster is short on numbers and experience. If anyone wants to play in Vallejo, give these guys a call.

Chico, on the other hand, looks sharp and strong. The Mighty Oaks have also moved up to Division Two, and they look to be as competitive there as they were every year in Division Three. Coach Buck Ernest has built a very good program, and the roster has depth - they brought two full teams - and a good blend of youth and experience. They were efficient and composed on the field, and very organized on the sidelines.

Playing a much less experienced opponent, Chico scored 61 points in the first half, using a strong backline and good forward pack in what amounted to a pre-season scrimmage for them. At the end of the half, Vallejo asked to forfeit the game and play two 20-minute periods so Chico could play everyone who traveled. Here's hoping Vallejo can rebuild and compete, and all the best to Chico this season.

STANISLAUS 19 – Vacaville 12 Referee: Roberto Santiago
This one went back and forth without much scoring for most of the game. Both teams squandered promising possessions with slight knock-ons and forward passes.

Stanislaus opened the scoring thirteen minutes in with a converted try. Vacaville moved the ball well in the back line but couldn't quite get the ball all the way in to score until after a Stanislaus player who didn't quite understand what is and is not onside in a maul and decided to throw a couple elbows at guys he thought were infringing. The Vacaville player was reasonably shocked and upset about being Jimmy Snuka-ed while bound on to the maul. Vacaville parlayed the man advantage into an unconverted try at 21:04. Soon after Stanislaus went back to full strength Vacaville found themselves down a man due to a dangerous tackle. Stanislaus was unable to capitalize on the power play and the half ended with the home team up 7-5.

The second half opened with Stanislaus scoring another converted try just two minutes and thirty-three seconds in. The home side found themselves celebrating again exactly six minutes later. Even with the score standing at 19-5 you never got the sense that Vacaville was out of it. Indeed the visitors continued to play hard and show flashes of brilliance in the open field and at the breakdowns. Vacaville employed a quick two and three man ruck and spin strategy that kept the ball moving. Five minutes after Stanislaus scored their last points Vacaville answered with a converted try to draw within seven.

But that's where the scoring ended. Due to muddy conditions and some inexperience the scrums were a bit dicey all day. Though finding dryer patches helped sort out most of the problems at one point players decided a collapsing scrum was a good time and place for a fight. With that a Stanislaus player found himself sitting out the last twenty-two minutes of the match after doing an Incredible Hulk impression. The sight of red seemed to calm things down and the rest of the match was played without incident. Vacaville nearly tied it in the final minutes but for a forward pass that was emblematic of their near misses all day. The resulting scrum was wheeled and Vacaville found themselves with a scrum inside the Stanislaus 22 with time running out. Stanislaus was able to regain possession but the clearing kick didn't find touch leading to one final desperate run for the visiting side. Just as they moved the ball towards the 22 the ball carrier tried to chip ahead to the wing but he was in the grasp of a defender and the ball went out of bounds.

In the end both teams put forward a tremendous effort. Stanislaus looked good in their first regular season DII match after moving up from DIII this year. As the season progresses Vacaville's back line will be a force. Thanks to both teams for an exciting match.

DIABLO U23, 17 – EPA U23, 12 Referee: Jim Crenshaw
Diablo U-23 hosted EPA U-23 on Saturday. They were playing on the artificial field at Diablo Valley College. It has football lines, soccer lines, lacrosse lines and we were using some of all of them for the match. Early in the match, EPA's forwards were driving towards the goal line when one of them broke a tackle and dove in just over the line. I was standing about a yard away as everyone on both teams stopped and looked up at me. I calmly pointed to the goal line and said it's about 5 yards that way. Of course, a mad scramble ensued and about 30 seconds later EPA did score, but I got a good chuckle out of it!! The score at half was DG 10 EPA 12.

DG scored the only try in the second half and held on to win 17 to 12.

Humboldt Old Growth 6 – BERKELEY 21 Referee: Dave Ellis
After experiencing little but wet weather on the beautiful drive from Shasta to Humboldt County, imagine my surprise when I arrived in Manila an hour before game time only to find blue skies and abundant sunshine! Visitors Berkeley were already on the field warming up in full gear, far out-numbering (until just before kick off time) the handful of Old Growth players who were erecting the most impressive set of portable goalposts that I have ever seen.

A scrappy first half ensued, and both teams struggled to establish much continuity until late in the half. Berkeley took the early lead with a 4th minute penalty kick before Humboldt pulled level midway through the half. Berkeley then began to take control of the game with their more disciplined approach and set-piece superiority, and were able to regain the lead after some nifty ball handling, aggressive running and great support resulted in a quality try for the visitors. With another penalty kick 5 minutes before the half time whistle, Berkeley took an 8 point lead into the half. The second half saw much of the same, with Berkeley’s organization and discipline proving too much, for the most part, for Humboldt to break through. Not helping the Humboldt cause was their having to play most of the second half with 14 players as a result of yellow cards given as a result of undisciplined play. In the end, an enjoyable game, a well deserved Berkeley victory on the day and another superior Humboldt Old Growth post-game party.

Aptos 5 – MARIN 55 Referee: Sandy Robertson
It was a beautiful day in Salinas with Marin having too much experience and skill for an Aptos side with a number of recent converts to the game. They controlled the ball and moved it quickly wide scoring 8 tries.

Shasta 7 – FOG 12 Referee: Bryant Byrnes
D3 in the heartland; a clear winter's day, an Ansel Adams' dramatic black and white photograph. But a wet and slippery field, precluding any fancy footwork in the backfield, and a greasy ball.

This was a serious and well played match-medium penalties, little chatter, no cards. I complement both teams. Redding is revitalized. It is very fit and successfully recruited-including two Kiwis, an Aussie, a South African, and a Scotsman (try sorting those accents out.) Fog travels well as usual, and has a killer inside center, Mike Epps.

At half, it was Fog up 7-0. It went up 12-0 with three minutes left. Then Redding's reconfigured backs finally clicked and scored immediately. The last two minutes were furious; the Highlanders had possession and momentum but simply ran out of time. The party was-as always-great fun.

Mendocino 7 – REDWOOD 38 Referee: Bruce Bernstein
Match was moved twice & played at a newly mowed "field" which was very scenic in a valley overlooking a mountain & vineyard-type scenery with some occasional water hazards. Match was pretty physical with both teams taking it up the gut & hardly any break-aways or long runs. Redwood scored about 3 1/2 minutes in & was up 26-7 at half; with Mendocino scoring a well-deserved push over try to end the first half.

Took off Friday night to head up due to the weather & so I could jam back & catch the memorial for a fallen rugger Glen Mills who played for the PAXOs hosted by SFGG at their TI clubhouse with a Hangi (underground pig & other stuff cooked). Speaking of food, I'd also recommend the World Famous Hamburger Shack in Cloverdale for the best BBQ I ever tasted & the Bluebird in Ukiah (& Hopland) for breakfast--both the highlights of my weekend.

ST. MARY’S 32 – Chico State 20 Referee: John Coppinger
Under brilliant sunshine on the St. Mary's campus and on a reasonably firm Pat Vincent Field, St. Mary's returned to the win column 32--20. At the half, it was SMC 18, CSU 7.

In the second half Chico score two tries and kicked a penalty to put the Gaels under pressure, but SMC scored two converted tries to win going away. Chico was game and aggressive and looked to attack at all times, but SMC played a better pattern of rugby and provided more support than Chico. Chico also allowed themselves to lose focus at times.

A good day of college rugby.

Seconds: ST. MARY’S 41 – Chico State 22 Referee: Preston Gordon
2/3rds of an AR: John Coppinger
This game was played as a set of 3 40-minute periods with open subs. Both sides looked pretty good and everyone was able to enjoy the rugby after a couple of early yellows for punching settled things down.

After the first 40, the score was 12-12. After the second, it was 34-12; the third, 41-22. St. Mary's scored 7 tries to Chico State's 4, with the rest of the points coming from conversions.

The pitch was pretty wet but held up just fine. Thanks to John Coppinger for sticking around to AR for the first 80 minutes of my game.

CALIFORNIA 99 – Stanford 0 Referee: Kai Taylor (Victoria, BC)
ARs: Ron DeCausemaker, Tom Wright
Evaluator: Dixon Smith
Stanford @ Cal ‘Ref’lections:

Before arriving at the pitch I had heard from a number of sources that this was as close to a rugby ‘field of dreams,’ as one would find in the US.

We arrived at the field over 90 minutes before kick off. This allowed time for wandering around and getting a chance to really get a feel for the place, and its history.

Come game time the atmosphere was perfect. The sun was cooperating and there was a very enthusiastic crowd. Stanford came to play and put in a huge effort. Cal’s back line, however, was the dominating force in the game. Again and again they found gaps and gave great support to the ball carrier, seeming to score at will.

The second half domination continued. The only difference was the Cal forwards seemed to lose some discipline. A number of side entry and entering the tackle from the wrong direction penalties resulted. Eventually yellow cards were needed to insist on better discipline at the tackle and ruck. The backs continued their domination and proved once again that they will be one of the dominating forces of this rugby season.

As a Canadian referee to come to such a gem of a venue was a thrill. My thanks go out to all who offered rides and participated in the overwhelming American hospitality. My hope is that one day and in some way I can return the favor.

Kai Taylor


Fresno State 5 – HUMBOLDT STATE 19 Referee: Eric Rauscher
It's a 3 and one-half CD drive from Berkeley to Fresno down 99. (It occurred to me, do any other teams travel further to play each other?) I arrived to cool and clear weather with a bit of wind. The pitch was firm which was surprising considering all of the rain we have had lately. Fresno is a new team this year, but the talent I saw displayed by the players bodes well for their future. The first half was a series of rucks and scrums until the 38th minute when Fresno opened the scoring with an unconverted try. I was impressed with how clean the rucks were. Players were staying on their feet and onside with a little encouragement. At the half Fresno was ahead 5/0. Humboldt started playing better in the second half and put up three tries, two of which they converted. The last try was kind of a gimme: Fresno had a defending scrum on their own 5 meter line and passed the ball in-goal for a clearing kick. Unfortunately the pass became a knock-on which Humboldt jumped on for the try. Fresno has a hand full of very fast players, but the rookie quality of the team was displayed by no support for several 30/40 meter line breaks. Fresno will only get better with experience. It was Humboldt’s ability to play as a team which seemed to tip the balance in their favor.

Sierra JC 3 – SANTA CLARA 5 Referee: Don Pattalock
Despite the low score, this was a wide open match. SCU made several line breaks that were stopped by an outstanding display of open-field one-on-one tackling by SJC.

Seconds: SJC more, SCU less Ref: Pattalock
This match was played in the great spirit of rugby and was enjoyable to ref. With 6 minutes left, a dangerous pop kick chased by players from each team lead to a full speed collision. Reminder that even in the most light hearted of second-side games, this is a very physical sport we play, coach and referee. Good news, the young man is ok.

UC Santa Cruz Banana Slugs 8 – CAL MARITIME KEELHAULERS 48
Referee: John Pohlman
Touch judges: players from either side.
I looked forward to this game when I saw it on the schedule. The drive to Santa Cruz is usually less than an hour for me and very scenic. Plus how often do you get to referee two teams with nicknames ranked in the top twenty five in intercollegiate sports by ESPN?

I had seen UCSC earlier in the preseason. They had good numbers and looked competitive. Cal Maritime is always competitive.

Thus game on Banana Slugs verses Keelhaulers.

I arrived a little before noon. The field and weather were perfect for rugby. Well marked, fully regulation field, soft but with good footing.

This game was very competitive for the first 60 minutes. A couple of easier tries led to a UCSC defeat.

Cal's winger scored first on a well worked try through numerous players’ hands and a couple of broken tackles. Cal's #14 could have played second row with his size. (I forgot my roster and clipboard at the game so the only names I have are captains, sorry and if anyone has it please call me, 510-604-8184).
UCSC captain #10 Tyler got the Slugs on the board 13 minutes in with a penalty kick. Five minutes later Cal's captain #7 Rufus finished the first half scoring with a penalty kick. Rufus was my player of the game scoring one try, two penalties and five of seven conversions. But I would have picked him by his work rate alone.

The first half was anybody’s. Tenacious tackling and great poaching made for an exciting game for the hundred or so fans. I had a talk with both captains at half time. I felt the penalty count was a little high and wanted more rugby and less whistle in the second half. I'd like to say there were no penalties in the second half, but they were reduced, significantly.

UCSC #13 scored a beautiful try finishing a forty meter play with a 25 meter sprint to the try line. UCSC 8 Cal 15. Game on.

The next twenty minutes was back and forth.

Cal had a line out about 15 meters from the UCSC try line. Captain Rufus called for a long deep throw. His opposite number was caught off guard, Rufus caught a perfect throw and had only his opposing captain between him and the goal line. Well 6'2" 220 or so versus 5'10 180 or so with five meters to score. Valiant effort, but physics was not in UCSC's favor.

On the kickoff the ball only went about 6 meters but Cal's prop caught it and ran about forty meter offloading to his winger with a try one minute later. Cal's winger intercepted a UCSC pass for another try five minutes later.

Not sure what happened to UCSC. But they lost concentration for six minutes and gave up 17 points.

Cal scored two more tries to finish with 7 tries and a 48 to 8 win. On the way home I was one mile from the summit of Highway 17 when a crashed closed it for almost two hours. Oh well, a great day all in all.

Sac State women 12 – CALIFORNIA 34 Referee: Scott Wood

Seconds: SAC STATE women 26 – California 0 Referee: Rob Hendrickson
Sac State Women B side 26, Cal Women 0, referee Rob Hendrickson
It was a short drive from the KOT over to Sac State’s rugby pitch (which rumor has it will move slightly to the south and be improved next year) for the B side game following Scott Wood’s women’s A side game. The pitch was firm, the weather cool and cloudy, but not threatening, and the Cal women were out in force. The two sides were evenly matched, although a series of early first half scrum collapses led to uncontested scrums for the remainder of the game. Both sides moved the ball well in their own defensive half and the midfield, but had problems getting past the 22, except for Sac State’s winger, who managed to break free outside for her several long tries which Cal couldn’t match.

SANTA CLARA women 10 – Humboldt State 5 Referee: Matt Heafey
Gilman Field - Under a Sunny sky
This could have been the best match of the weekend exhibiting great rucks, malls, defensive stands and effort by both clubs. When you go to these games it isn't often that you see BOTH clubs leave everything on the field. I witnessed a truly great match.

First half both clubs fought for about 35 minutes holding each other out of the try zone and rucking and rolling the ball passing it out gracefully attacking and defending. First blood came with about 3 minutes left in the half on a penalty kick by Santa Clara 3-0. Second half was no different as both teams attacked and defended until Santa Clara finally broke free for a try and conversion 10-0. Humboldt kicked off and Santa Clara took the ball back to their side of the field Humboldt stole the ball and basically rucked and malled and passed 3/4 of the field for a try 10-5. Some great efforts by Humboldt to tie the game but final score stuck 10-5 Santa Clara.

USF women – UC Santa Cruz CANCELED


Santa Clara Youth U10, 25 – Peninsula Seahawks Youth U10, 30 Referee: Stephen Moore
A 10 player per side game, well fought by both teams for 40 minutes. As the opening game for their season, and with several kids who have never played before, surprisingly rugby is instinctive in many! There were few forward passes and few offsides as might be expected by kids with little background knowledge. A credit to their coaches no doubt. Lots of enthusiastic parents on the side line. Some great breakout tries at times. All and all a game played with plenty of enthusiasm.

Santa Clara Youth U12, 20 – Peninsula Seahawks Youth Rugby Club U12, 15
Ref: Moore
A 13 player per side game, played on a 3/4 size field for 40 minutes. The game opened with Peninsula scoring two tries in the first 10 minutes. Undeterred SC fought back to score a try and hold Peninsula from scoring further before half time. SC had arrived to the game with two U12 teams so their second team was substituted on for the second half. With SC untested and fresh to the game in the second half Peninsula took the opportunity early to score a try. But steam soon ran out a little for Peninsula. With tired Peninsula legs starting to kick in the fresh SC team took the lead and scored three tries.

It was great to see so many kids who knew how to play today. The kids knew their positions well, they avoided being offside, tackled well and respected breakdown rules. Great to see so many kids dressed in proper kit too. There was lots of positive enthusiastic side line support by parents. I estimate 300+ people attended the games today. Two U8, two U10 and two U12 games were played.

Roll-on youth Rugby. The future of our game!


This might be a good blurb for next week's news piece - I just heard about it.
BBC America is on Comcast in the bay area.


RBS Six Nations Championship, one of Europe's biggest annual sporting events, will broadcast live on BBC AMERICA starting Saturday, February 6. The cable channel will broadcast five live matches over the course of the legendary rugby tournament featuring England, Ireland, France, Scotland, Wales and Italy vying for the championship. Last year's winner, Ireland, clinched the championship after a thrilling victory that came down to a missed penalty by Wales, giving the Irish the 17-15 win. BBC AMERICA's first match will be from London, where England faces off against Wales, on Saturday, February 6, 12:00 p.m. ET / 9:00 a.m. PT.


Liam Bretz
Notice who’s wearing the whistle – Liam Bretz, age 11.


For the Senate
Pelicus Scriptoris