Wednesday, February 24, 2010




Mark your calendars now for dinner with you and a date to celebrate the visit of our friends from the East Midlands: Saturday, March 20th, 6:30 PM at the Up & Under Pub in Point Richmond:

Pelicans planning to attend should RSVP to Bjorn Stumer ASAP:

There’s plenty of free parking available directly across the street.


Mike Gadoua clues us in to a link promoting our Game:

2:19 is the offspring of a Pelican and 2:20 you’ll know for sure.


Haven’t heard from about half of the flock. No need to respond twice for those compliers among you.

Travel? Yes/No
March 13
March 20
March 27


OLYMPIC CLUB 29 – San Mateo 14 Referee: Preston Gordon
AR/TJ: Bryant Byrnes/Mike Strain
Evaluator: Kat Todd-Schwartz
Treasure Island GAA complex, 1300

Both teams were at the field milling around when I got there at 1145. I had a look at the pitch and was happy to see that it was in the same condition as it was for the women's 15's club championships back in November - the only difference was that this time it wasn't pouring rain and freezing cold. We did have a fairly strong steady wind blowing across the pitch from west to east, but this didn't trouble anyone except the kickers.

The match started off at a pretty rapid clip, and very soon O Club had an attacking scrum on San Mateo's goal line. This was the first scrum of the game, but unfortunately for them they were a little too eager and got free-kicked for barging. However, it wasn't long until they put enough dynamic open play together to score their first try. They went on to get 2 more, but the aforementioned wind was giving their kicker a really hard time and he missed all 3 conversions. San Mateo also got one try in the first half after one of their players broke a tackle, which they were able to convert, and we went for a quick rest at halftime (15-7 to O Club). The first half seemed to go by very quickly; the first time I looked at my watch 20 minutes had already gone by!

The first 30 minutes of the second half was probably the best part of the game. San Mateo came out with a much sharper focus, and shortly scored another well-earned try. This one was also converted, and at 15-14, everyone knew what was coming next: wide open rugby played at full pace. It was anyone's game at that point, and the spectators (lots of 'em by now) weren't let down. There were numerous turnovers at the breakdowns, much helped by the players listening well and rolling away from the tackles. We also saw a lot of good rucking and mauling, and repeated quick movement of the ball from one side of the pitch to the other. A couple of penalty shots went begging - again, it looked like the wind was a factor, but O Club got another try, which they converted (22-14).

Unfortunately we had to go to uncontested scrums at about the 60' mark after O Club's replacement hooker was injured and had to leave the game. This was not to their advantage, since their scrum was the stronger one, but we got on with it. 4 minutes later, O Club's #7 was pinged for playing the ball at a ruck while being off his feet, 5m from their own goal line. San Mateo was keen to take a quick tap, but someone still on the ground was holding on to the quick-tapper's foot. That someone turned out to be the O Club #7, whose next destination was the sideline for a ten minute rest.

San Mateo came close to getting another try, but ultimately fell short. The Olympic Club got and converted one more, leaving the score where it ended at 29-14. The last ~10 minutes were fairly sloppy on both sides, as the players tired and started dropping balls. I was told later that although O Club had a couple of their internationals playing, they had a bunch of guys injured too.

It's worth repeating that this field (and the one right across the street) is excellent: flat, 100 x 70 meters, 10 meter in-goal areas, and fully lined for rugby and nothing else. It was ideally suited to both sides' style of play. Helped by that, this was a great game to referee, and my second first division men's club match in the USA was no disappointment.

Many thanks to Bryant Byrnes and Mike Strain for their able help on the touchline, and to Kat for her feedback after the game.

Seconds: Olympic Club 20 – SAN MATEO 26 Referee: Bryant Byrnes
AR: Preston Gordon
This was played on TI on a cold February day-on a regulation field I did not even know existed. How many pitches on TI-four, five? It has become the ground zero of Bay Area rugby; the new Polo Fields.

Seconds matches, even in D1, are often not much. In antediluvian times, D1 clubs would have up to six sides. Although there are more players now, there are also many more clubs- with the result of smaller rosters of even the big boys and usually a drop off after the first fifteen.

But this was the exception- a hard, fast, skilled men's game. The first half was all the Warriors-12 to 3-and the prospect of a lopsided final score. But the O Club kept their heads up and an infusion of first team guys in the second half made it a closely run thing-including a nifty kick and chase final try. Kudos to both clubs (no cards) and thanks to Preston, who was a great AR.

EAST PALO ALTO 14 – Reno 10 Referee: James Hinkin
AR: Pete Smith, Sandy Robertson
Evaluator: Dixon Smith
Perfect weather - mid 60s and overcast - held sway in Palo Alto as Reno made the drive southwest for this match. With Pete Smith doing the EPA/Berkeley DIII match beforehand and Sandy Robertson scheduled for the B side game I had two referees gracious enough to volunteer as ARs - many thanks. The game started at a frenetic pace but neither side could get the ball across the line. I was despairing of a 0-0 half time score when Reno finally put some points on the board as EPA left the short side of a ruck unguarded. The alert Reno forward picked the ball up and sprinted along the touchline to dot down in the corner. After conferring with Sandy Robertson ("I'm happy with the grounding, did he go into touch at all?") the try was awarded and the captain Chase McQuillen converted the difficult kick. Half time score 7-0.

The second half saw Reno's lack of depth take its toll. Travelling with less than the full 23 allowed injuries to tell. They began to crop up in this hard hitting match and replacements were hard to find. EPA began dominating in the forwards at scrum time and put Reno on the back foot. A well worked try ensued followed by a charged down kick that resulted in another try (both converted) and EPA was in front. Reno was only able to pull back a penalty in this time and we went into the last 10 minutes 14-10. Frustration started to show on the Reno side as the same movement saw two Reno players sin binned for foul play forcing them to finish the match with 13. Surprisingly this seemed to galvanize the Reno side and they spent the last 7 minutes on the attack. With a penalty at full time taken quickly by Eagle Nelo Lui Reno was looking to win it in the end, but he was felled by a professional foul before he could get going and the match ended 14 on 13. The resulting penalty was tapped and several phases later the move ended with a knock on to finish an exciting match.

Final Score: EPA 14 - Reno 10

Seconds: East Palo Alto – Reno Referee: Sandy Robertson
No report received.

SFGG SL – Sacramento Capitals CANCELED

Barbarians 14 – SAC LIONS 18 Referee: George O'Neil
TJs: Isaac Caselis, Mose Timoteo
Videographer: Bruce Carter

Seconds: BARBARIANS 64 – Sac Lions 10 Referee: Bruce Carter
AR: George O’Neil
Guest Captain 41-year-old Isaac Caselis led the Sac Lions to defeat in a spirited (as in players laughing when their opponents made good plays) second-side match.

FRESNO 12 – Diablo Gaels 8 Referee: Phil Akroyd
Play was unexpansive and rarely got past the 10s, other than in set piece moves. It was scoreless at half-time and that flattered both teams. Just before the break, Diablo went down to 14 after a late tackle on a Fresno back. Minutes after the player returned from the bin in the second-half (and our chat about responsibilities), he performed a carbon copy late tackle on the fly-half. 2 Yellows = Red and the visitors played the remaining 30 minutes with 14 men, but effectively played a total of 40 minutes with fourteen, including the first yellow.

The personnel change seemed to re-focus Diablo and they built on an earlier penalty kick with a break away try, taking an eight point lead. Fresno came back and scored two tries after spending most of the second half deep in opposition territory and having two or three forays held up in goal.

With seconds left, Diablo were pressing deep into the Fresno side of the field. Quick ball down the backs produced a very promising move, only for the final, looping pass to the winger being about two yards forward. My forward pass signal brought on the wholly expected abuse from the Diablo sideline and the final whistle meant an amplification in its volume – why expect anything different when it had continued all afternoon?

Seconds: Fresno – Diablo Gaels Ref: Akroyd
Did the whingeing continue? Not sure – no report received.

Arroyo Grande 21 – SANTA ROSA 87 Referee: Bruce Bernstein
Paul Phillips (SoCal)--AR, tour guide & best host this side of the Atlantic (we should steal this guy or at least stay at his compound more)

Beautiful rugby field donated by Tally Winery (which I hit after the match) in a little valley in Arroyo Grande--Field of Dreams (or Heaven). Santa Rosa seemed to break the game line every time they touched the ball & either scored or came close. However my man of the match went to AG's center Jude Deras, who had 2 incredible runs for tries of over 40 yards breaking multiple tackles along the way.

BA Baracus 19 – SFGG 24 Referee: Joe Leisek
Polo Fields, Golden Gate Park
This was a tight, physical game that was close throughout. These two teams were at each other for 80 minutes, running it close to the forwards, spinning it out wide, and really competing with each other. SFGG seemed to prefer a more open style of play, while the hosts Baracus were more content to kick for territory in many cases. This was a game with lots of pace and physicality. In the second half, SFGG brought in a new outside center who really energized the team's attack and proved to be a real threat out in the three-quarters. He not only scored a try, he also spread the defensive patterns out wider than they were in the first half. This left some of the midfield exposed, and SFGG worked that space to good effect. And after a first half where the two teams were evenly matched, in the second half SFGG proved a little stronger with the ball and on defense.

Seconds: SFGG 26 – Baracus 0 First Half Referee: Joe Leisek
Due to a family commitment, I refereed the first 40 minutes of the B-side match, with Pelican and Baracus prop Chris Labozzetta taking the whistle for the second half. The first half was a speedy, fun game to referee as the players showed a real commitment to playing the game and distributing the ball. SFGG was too strong for the hosts, but it was a half the players seemed to enjoy. I know I did.

Stanislaus – Chico Referee: Jim Crenshaw
No report received.

Vallejo 0 – VACAVILLE 75 Referee: John Coppinger
Vallejo has a wonderful, full-sized pitch on Mare Island, good and commendable leadership in Ben Whisky and John Kelly, and equally commendable discipline on the pitch, but the 2010 version of Vallejo RFC is lacking pace and youth. Per club management, losing young players to the street-life and its consequences are problems in Vallejo, which, as a community, has never really fully enjoyed the good economic times enjoyed by the rest of the Bay Area and which is currently suffering more than most.

Vacaville, also plagued by economic conditions, played 13 men (and actually 12 men for 10 minutes after a sin bin in the second half) against Vallejo and ran in a score sheet of tries to win going away after taking a 29-0 lead at 40 minutes.

Thanks to all involved for a good day of rugby.

East Palo Alto U23, 10 – BERKELEY 22 Referee: Pete Smith
EPA U23 (plus some really old ex-Mission Guys)
Okay, so now the EPA guys had to be getting tired of me by now with 3 of their games in less than 24 hours. The game kicked off at the new synthetic turf field at Cubberley at 1:30 to fit in between soccer games. I expected EPA to come out like a house on fire, but it was Berkeley that had the fire and the ball and the territory and the goal kicker. Berkeley went up 3-0, then took an intercepted pass 95 meters for a converted try, then hit another penalty kick. EPA managed a try only to see Berkeley hit another kick to take a 16-5 halftime lead. More of the same in the second half as Berkeley dominated possession, position and pressured EPA into mistakes/penalties and then made them pay with kicks. Their kicker added two more penalty kicks that could have been 3 or 4 and they were pressuring the line for long periods only to come away with the 3 pointer or 3 point attempt. EPA scored a second try and despite out scoring Berkeley two tries to one, the left boot of the Berkeley kicker and EPA’s lack of discipline were the undoing of the Razorbacks. I was told this was a clash between the two top teams in the division, so I think this leaves Berkeley with a clear view from the top.

HUMBOLDT 32 – Diablo U23, 0 Referee: Rod Chance
AR: Mark Godfrey
Thanks to Mark Godfrey for running touch. Humboldt was a little to big and physical for the U23 men from Diablo. Clearly, Diablo is well coached and heading in a positive direction. For this game the always jubilant Humboldt rumbled, jumbled and stumbled in the correct direction leaving the Diablo boys little opportunity to score.

MARIN 75 – Shasta 12 Referee: Mike Gadoua
On a muddy slow pitch – but no rain – Shasta trekked down into Marin.

Shasta appears to be a raw team but is otherwise very well-coached and they do have a couple of experienced players. The majority are rookies.

The basic fundamentals of Rugby need to be addressed during their training. Mentally, they are fit, enjoy the game, and they didn’t give up. They managed to keep the pressure on and slowed Marin down.

In the second half, Shasta scored their only two tries while Marin scored only half the number of tries than they did in the first half.

On the other hand, Marin is probably fielding the best set of backs since their days as the Marin Lions – dynamic, fast, and aware of The Game. Mental errors by some of their forwards caused them to give up two tries. The game ended 75 to 12.

Fog 22 – APTOS 24 Referee: Rich Anderson
In this sloppy, but evenly matched game, the difference came down to kicking at a windy Treasure Island.

The Fog took an early lead but failed on a couple of conversions due to a cross wind and some rough angles. Aptos came back in the later part of the second half to score a late try to bring them within one point.

A penalty with time running out at the 35m allowed Aptos to kick the winning points.

Special thanks to the Fog for following the Safety Match Protocol to the letter.

REDWOOD 10 – Saints 5 Referee: Mike King
Referee Coach: Jake Rubin
The Saints arrived at For Pete’s Sake shortly before the scheduled kickoff time of 11:00 a.m. The JC had its matches to follow, which accounted for the early start. Redwood was raring to go and put pressure on at the outset. After a missed opportunity, Redwood posted a penalty goal and seemed to have control of position much of the first half. The hosts were able to dot down a try and convert it before half, and looked firmly in charge. During the second stanza, and with some fresh legs from reserves, the Saints battled back and made it a hard hitting, hard rucking affair. They were able to sneak a try in the corner after several challenges at the try line were beaten back. The tide then seemed to turn again, and Redwood seemed to control position for the remainder of the match. Only a few miscues stopped them from adding to the lead. Thoroughly enjoyable start to the day.

ST. MARY’S 45 – Stanford 0 Referee: John Pohlman
Assistant Referee Eric Rauscher and Tony Samaniego
Assessor: Bryan Porter
St. Mary's hosted Stanford in what looked to be a very competitive game. The conditions were just about perfect for rugby. No rain but a soft field with good footing and temperatures in the mid 60's. St. Mary's field is always well marked with proper pads and fencing.

St. Mary's has a few players returning from injuries and this resulted in them pretty much clicking on all cylinders. Stanford's scrums were always a challenge. This meant when they did win their ball is was sloppy and usually going backward.

Stanford had the first opportunity to score with a penalty 3 minutes in, but pulled the kick.

St. Mary's forwards, led by captain Andrew Cook, controlled scrums and most breakdowns. This was Cook's first game back from a leg injury. St. Mary's prop Joe Brophy scored the first try of the game six minutes in. Fullback Matt Hensley scored five of his 15 points with the second try of the game. Winger Blake McGahan scored the first of his two tries at the 35 minute mark. First half score St. Mary's 19 Stanford 0.

Stanford competed and tackled well throughout the game. A late prop substitution stabilized the Stanford scrum. This created some of Stanford best scoring opportunities. The Gaels scored four more tries in the second half to finish with 45 points.

Thanks to Eric and Tony for their help, and to Bryan for his feedback.

Seconds: ST. MARY’S 48 – Stanford 14 Referee: Eric Rauscher
Before the game started, the Stanford captain (Ben) asked me if the game could be played with non-contested scrums due to lack of front row players. The St Mary’s captain (Colby) agreed but both sides wanted to be able to run replacements in so with that worked out, game on.

It was a game of a number of rookies on Stanford's part with a more seasoned St Mary’s side. I did however see flashes of brilliant play on Stanford's part. The play of the game did have to be one put together by St Mary's. I had awarded them a penalty advantage within the Stanford 22 and allowed play to continue across the field with St Mary's gaining no ground but moving the ball well. I was just about to blow my whistle because they were running out of real estate when they launched the ball back to their #10(?) who popped a beautiful kick all the way back across field to three waiting players who caught the ball and ran it in uncontested. It was something I only expect to see at higher levels. Both sides seemed to enjoy the game just as I did.

UC Davis 6 – CALIFORNIA 78 Referee: Paul Bretz
Too big, too fast, too much for Davis... In a much-anticipated match between unbeaten teams, Cal defeated Davis 78 to 6. Thanks to touch judges coaches Scott Wood and Ron DeCausemaker for coaching two of the Pleasanton Cavaliers seniors who took the referee certification course and were working the sidelines of the Cal/Davis game. These two also refereed at Land Park in the morning and played in the evening as Pleasanton defeated Diablo.

Seconds: UC Davis 3 – CALIFORNIA 109 Referee: Scott Wood
TJs: David (UCD), Andrew (Cal)
Davis was able to gain possession of the ball at several rucks and tackles but could not muster enough to contain a dominant Cal side. 17 tries (8 in first half, 9 in second half). The second half went to uncontested scrums as Davis did not have enough suitable players for the front row.

Sac State 17 – CHICO STATE 19 Referee: Tom Zanarini

Seconds: SAC STATE 27 – Chico State 12 Referee: Sam Davis
Editor’s Note: We begin in medias res as Sam has already done two games, recounted below:

I jumped into the hybrid escape and headed up to Sac State for the last game. I caught the 2nd half of the first game which looked very spirited.

At the kick off Sac State 2 wanting to keep their wining streak going and Chico wanted a repeat of the first game. I had to switch gears from the two women’s game since both of these teams were big and fast. I spent the first 4 min of the game reminding them what I expected. Sac State took advantage of a penalty with a quick tap out to the wing and scored at the 36 min mark in the corner. It took another 5 minutes and a chat with the captains before the lads settled down to play. Chico came back with a multi- phase play that evened the score at the 31 min mark. At the 26 min mark Sac took the lead with another driving play. The teams went back and forth for the rest of the half. Sac scored at the 35 min mark which started at their 10 meter line. At the 27 min mark Chico driving to score inches away Sac State off sides penalty try awarded which they converted the score was now Sac 15 Chico 12. Sac pulled ahead at the 19 min mark with another multi-phase try and converted Chico rallied but could not cross the try line. Sac put it away at the 3 min mark final score Sac 27- Chico 12. It was a great game either team could have won a lot of fun to referee. I had a beer with the teams after the game best way to end a day.

CAL MARITIME 60 – U. of San Francisco 0 Referee: Bjorn Stumer
A generous, albeit chatty, USF side was just no match for a well drilled and disciplined Cal Maritime team. Despite the ongoing efforts of USF, Cal Maritime kept on coming, scoring 5 tries in the first half. The second half was a repeat of the first: Cal Maritime added another 5 tries which, with the 5 total conversions, brought the final score to 60-0. To their credit, the USF lads kept on fighting, thus providing the goodish crowd in attendance with good sport. Although the pitch was soft underneath, the facilities are impressive indeed, and what a luxury to have a real bathroom available! A good day of Rugby!

SANTA CLARA 46 – Fresno State 10 Referee: Stephen Moore
A competitive game in spirit despite the score line. An experienced SC team up against a inexperienced Fresno State side but replete with athletic types it seemed. SC scored 5 tries in first half Fresno no points, the second saw two tries each. A large crowd (several hundred) arrived after the game started to cheer SC. I gulped thinking I can’t believe I am managing this being so new to this business. Thankfully everything turned out well with both coaches and teams happy. Some minor crowd control was needed at one point...a couple of half naked banana-wearing SC folks running around and someone else hurling insults with a megaphone directed at Fresno. Many thanks to whoever taught me to speak to the Captain to speak to the coach to control a crowd. It works!

SANTA ROSA JC 52 – San Jose State 5 Referee: Cary Bertolone
On 2/20/10, at For Pete's Sake in Santa Rosa, we had a hard fought rugby match with some great back play by both teams that ended up with a one sided score. It was surprising because both teams had some runs and one their rucks in the initial 8 minutes, seeming evenly matched. Then SRJC slipped a try in for 7-0 lead. Again, they played evenly and on the 26th minute, the J.C. slipped another one in. And then another and another. 24-0 at half, the J.C. continued to make great passes and both the forwards and the backs were running with a final score of SRJC 52 -- San Jose State 5.

Seconds: SANTA ROSA JC 20 – San Jose State 12 Referee; John Tomasin
In the second game, as both teams had plenty of numbers, John "Doc" Tomasin reffed the 80 minute game and everyone had fun, even Tomasin. San Jose State had props and locks on both teams, so the outcome wasn't too important. I think SRJC won 20-12, because San Jose State's lock scored an awesome try and made some try saving tackles.

SIERRA JC 41 – UC Santa Cruz 10 Referee: Craig Lusiani

Seconds: SIERRA JC 17 – UC Santa Cruz 5 Ref: Lusiani

NEVADA 27 – Humboldt 26 State Referee: Don Pattalock
AR's: L. Salgado/ W. O'Hare
In a tale of two halves, Nevada dominated the first 40 minutes with a clinical display of rugby for which HSU had no answers. 22 unanswered points for Nevada. Then came halftime.

The second 40 minutes saw HSU pressure the Nevada scrums, lineouts and counter ruck with power. The pressure forced Nevada into a hurried kicking game, poor defensive running lines and mistakes at the base of the scrum. Humboldt controlled the half by a score of 26-5. Nevada comes away feeling a little lucky with a 27-26 win.

U. of the Pacific 10 – SAN FRANCISCO STATE 27 Referee: Roberto Santiago
Raw. "Raw" is the best word to describe these teams. Both sides played with intensity and earnest, eager, aggressive mistakes. With both teams heavy on rookies and near rookies the game featured many of the mistakes that Americans make when first playing this great game. For one in most major American sports the refs don't try to talk you out of getting penalized. Because of this many players aren't used to keeping an ear out for helpful advice from the guy with the whistle. Comments like, "Black 7, last foot." and "Gold 3, don't touch it." fell on unattuned ears. There were also several high tackles and other contact infringements. It is a testament to the coaching and to the players that they never let anything turn into a flash point. There wasn't a single time it seemed tempers might be an issue. It was as though both teams knew their own weak points and forgave their opponents for having similar flaws.

As for positive play, there was also quite a bit of that. Both back lines showed a good amount of skill. Neither team was very big so even the packs were able to play a bit wide open. The SFSU backs did a great job of making the extra pass when it was there and going strong into the defender when it wasn't. State's primary advantage came from a relentless push based on the ability to see what was and was not available. State rarely made a mental error when it came time to decide when to crash and when to pass. SFSU took an early lead taking one in with a nice series of ruck and crash ruck spin all while holding an advantage for a high tackle about 15 meters out.

Twelve minutes later the Sf State #5 Nick Potrykus lived up to the middle syllable of his last name taking the crash ball off a penalty and barreling in to give the visitors a 0-12 lead. After Pacific lost a player to a yellow card for a third team high tackle they found themselves on the defensive end of a 5 meter scrum. State's pack pushed the whole kit n' kaboodle over the line for a group effort try two minutes before the half.

The second half opened with Charles Wright, the State #12, taking a penalty five meter penalty through a couple would be tacklers for a try. The UoP yellow card came back on only to see another player leave for ten minutes on the very next phase of play for the same offense (high tackle). Pacific stepped up from that point on not allowing another score while short handed. State did score once more off a Pacific line out inside the UoP 22. The ball was stolen by State's first jumper and caromed nicely to their hooker Patrick Lewis who ran it in for the score. UoP ended the day on a positive note scoring at 69:40 and 77:50. The first try was all heart from the UoP captain Kyle Young who was nursing an injury but didn't play like it. The #12 took a tap penalty ten meters out, then bobbed and weaved his way through the State defense before diving the last meter for the score. The second try was thing beauty. After a nice attacking phase UoP took the ball in to a maul that ended up reminding me a lot of this commercial:

It started out about seven yards out and as it moved towards the try line it kept picking up speed and players. The men in black could taste another score and, while SF State played it traditionally adding forwards every few seconds, the entire UoP squad rushed to join in. In the end thirteen Pacific players pushed over the the line with the last two staying out only at the urgent pleading of their coach. Once over the line the whole thing collapsed in a bit of a heap with two UoP players grounding the ball together.

Another big thanks to both sides for being such great sports. This game was a joy to referee.

Seconds: University of the Pacific 10 - SF STATE 24 Ref: Santiago
The sides asked for an abbreviated B side match and I was happy to oblige. The game was played ten a side with 15 minute halves. SFSU scored first. UoP then answered and stood tied 5-5 at the half. UoP took their first lead of the day at the start of the second half and looked like they may hold on. But State came back with three more tries to close out the win. The second was notable in that it came on a nice grubber that split the two outside defenders at the 50. The chase then saw the grubbing player chip it ahead a couple more times while running shoulder to shoulder with another defender before scooping it up and scoring. Fun stuff.

Stanford GSB 0 – McGEORGE 31 Referee: Sandy Robertson
McGeorge was able to keep possession for long periods and dominated the scrums, particularly in the 2nd half, on the way to scoring 5 tries.

UC DAVIS women 32 – Sacramento State 0 Referee: Sam Davis
Great Rugby weekend I was slated to do one game on Saturday and ended up doing 3 games on Saturday.

It started at Davis at 10:00 am with Davis vs. Sac State women (Davis 32- Sac State 0)
Both teams came to play from the kick off. It took Davis the first 17 mins to find a whole in Sac States defense they kept driving and dished it out to a wing that scored in the corner; 6 min later they did it again. And at the 9 min mark they score the final try of the half. Sac State kept pressure but could not cross their try line. 2nd half Davis scored at the 37, 33, & 21 mark converting only one of their kicks. Sac State held Davis up in goal twice to deny the Aggies additional points. It was a fun game Sac State has a bright future with this squad of ladies. Davis looks very strong a force to be reckoned with

UC DAVIS seconds 10 – Univ. of San Francisco 0 Ref: Davis
We had to make this a 60 min game due to field availability. Both teams had numerous new players. It was a fast pace game with a lot of speed and less control due to lack of knowledge of the game. Everyone had fun there was no score in the first half Davis scored in the second half at the 24 & 17 minute mark. This is the second time I refereed USF and they are improving a great deal give them more time and they will be a contender. Davis has great depth which I sure will help them as the move forward this year.

Nevada women 19 – CALIFORNIA 26 Referee: Russ Wilkening
Snow came in overnight, but at 10am the sun was shining, the temperature was an almost balmy 45 and UNR was hosting the Cal ladies on the artificial surface in Reno. After only three minutes, Cal had its first try, the second came at 14 minutes and it looked like Cal would win fairly easily. I suspect they took their foot off the gas a bit, and UNR found their own accelerator.

Cal had been in control, enjoying most of the possession and territory. Then they started throwing the ball around a bit carelessly, passing forward (negating two, possibly three sure scoring chances over the ensuing 55 minutes) and not holding their defensive positions in their back three. UNR had an excellent tactical kicking plan and it worked well. Time and again UNR backs would kick ahead and scramble to the ball before the Cal player could turn and retrieve the ball. A nifty try was scored on a chip and chase, another off an intercepted flat pass in the Cal centers and at 30 minutes it was 14-12 and UNR was getting charged up. An unwise kick to the speedy Cal winger led to a quick 7 and continued pressure saw Cal surge back ahead 26-12 just before the half ended.

UNR scored again 8 minutes into the second half and got back to within a try at 26-19 and that was the final scoreline. Neither side found a way to score in the last 32 minutes, but not for a lack of effort. The fast pace of the game and the big hits put in by both sides were starting to add up. Fatigue was definitely showing on both sides in the last half hour and a steady flow of knock-ons, mostly by Cal, who continued to have most of the possession, led to plenty of scrum practice.

The match ended on a somewhat weird note. A scrum was ordered, at which time I advised both teams that time was about to run out. Cal took the scrum, passed it around a bit while the sidelines were screaming at their players to kick it out of bounds. One of the better Cal forwards on the day took the ball and threw it out of bounds 5 meters forward. Law 12.1 (e) was applied, although 10.2(c) came to mind as well. UNR took the penalty but turned it over quickly, the ball was then kicked into touch and Cal escaped with a victory.

Seconds: NEVADA 10 – California 0 Ref: Wilkening
UNR took the second match, 10-0, playing some of their alumnae against an overmatched Cal B side.

Santa Clara women 0 – UC SANTA CRUZ 41 Referee: Rob Hendrickson
Aided by a steady first half wind behind their backs, the Slugs scored 5 first half tries against a stubborn Bronco defense, with the game played for the most part between the 22’s. The Broncos enjoyed an advantage in the scrums and were strong at the rucks, but the Slug back line managed to swing the ball out wide effectively and made several breakaways from their own half of the field to score tries. A well played game by both sides which was more evenly matched than the score might otherwise indicate



Peninsula Green – LIBERTY (Washington State) Referee: James Hinkin
No report received, but we hear the tourists won.


Elsie Allen 20 – MONTGOMERY 23 Referee: Cary Bertolone
Night games are fun, especially with the crowds, the clock/scoreboard and the loudspeaker. Montgomery started out more aggressive and scored three first half trys. Elsie Allen scored their second try just before half to close the gap to 18-10. In the second half, it was apparent Elsie had regrouped and the tide turned. They scored 3 + 7 to take the lead. Montgomery regained the lead with minutes to go with a booming kick and a very fortunate bounce that their wing caught on the full for 5 points. The final minutes saw the teams struggling mightily on the goal line with Montgomery not letting Elsie score, preserving their first win, ever, against Elsie Allen.

JV: ELSIE ALLEN 15 – Montgomery 0 Ref: Bertolone
In the second side game, Elsie scored three tries to win 15-0. I had muscle cramps from drinking coffee all day and not taking in enough water. By the time I'm 100, I'm going to be really smart!!

EAST PALO ALTO HS 14 – Liberty RFC 12 Referee: Pete Smith
EPA HS was much larger than the team from Liberty and they used their size and power to run through Liberty in the opening half scoring two converted tries and would have had a 3rd centered try if the player had not scored beyond the dead ball line. It is EPA’s home field, so I didn’t have any sympathy for their player for not knowing where the dead ball line was.

Once Liberty realized that there wasn’t a lot of polish to the EPA attack (it was the first game of the year for the Razorbacks) and that just committing to the tackle would likely stop EPA. They managed some offense of their own with a try coming late in the second half. Unfortunately it was the first conversion that missed, so there wasn’t the drama in the second one. Liberty’s comeback fell short, but I think it was an experience that can galvanize a team. They realized that size is relative to heart and you play to the final whistle. I expect to see that team surface when the playoffs come around.

CHRISTIAN BROTHERS 73 – Rio Linda 0 Referee: Scott Wood
Location: Granite Regional Park, Sacramento
Rio Linda is in a rebuilding phase. For the second consecutive week, I had the opportunity of refereeing this team with potential. Their drive and desire is in place but time will tell if they are able to piece it all together.

Attention U19 selectors: Check out Rio's scrumhalf, Johnny ________ (I don't have his last name). He is a great captain, with excellent knowledge of the game, and a tenacious scrumhalf.

[Editor’s Note: Inquiring as to this worthy’s name, we wrote to both of the points of contact that Rio Linda has listed on Pelicanrefs. Both returned as dead letters. A player’s recognition fades as basic admin goes begging.]

As to the game, CB scored five tries in the first half and eight in the second (four converted). Rio Linda worked well in the middle but CB's speed dominated the on the outside. Kudos for Rio Linda to keep their heads in the game.


San Mateo Warriors 17 – EPA RAZORBACKS 19 Referee: Pete Smith
Saturday morning, 10:30 AM at Hillsdale HS. It was the second time I have seen both teams and I think that helped with their confidence in me and subsequently both teams just played rugby-very good rugby! Both teams have some exceptional athletes are well coached, but a little continuity and ball handling were lacking so it was a bit of a scrum fest and some great individual efforts. EPA, despite playing their first game of the year just 14 hours before, scored first to go ahead 7-0, San Mateo replied with 17 unanswered points to take a 17-7 halftime lead. EPA managed another try to bring the score to 17-14 and the teams played evenly until about 3 minutes remained when the EPA center intercepted a pass and put EPA ahead 19-17. San Mateo played their hearts out for the final few minutes, but couldn’t muster a 3 pointer to pullout the victory.

U19 Girls: ELSIE ALLEN – Berkeley Referee: Mike King
After an opportunity to AR the Santa Rosa JC match, I headed over to handle this U-19 match. Berkeley was short a few players, so Elsie kindly provided a few subs. It also appeared that technical skill and knowledge of the game favored Elsie’s side. Shortly after the beginning of the match, the Lobos commenced to launch long runs either through or around the Berkeley defense. Several trys were scored, but usually in the corners, making the conversions very difficult. At half time, Berkeley seemed to organize a bit better. In the second half, they were better able to contain the strong running of the Elsie Allen horde. They had some nice bursts themselves, and passing improved greatly. The improvement in the effort and execution of the second half should indeed be gratifying for them. But the rest of the conference is on notice that the Lobo Ladies are a force to be reckoned with.

Salinas Mongols 0 – PENINSULA GREEN 46 Referee: Bruce Carter
TJ: Ben Bravo, John from Salinas
A home game again, and at 10 AM just to make it all the more enjoyable.

High school rugby in Salinas! Who’d’a thunk it?

Pen Green had more experience and dictated the run of play. Salinas enjoyed a lot of novice sideline support – “What’s that? Why are they doing that?” – in more than one language, plus a couple of Salinas’ finest in uniform to witness youth engaged in a constructive outlet for their aggression.

The post-game prayer said it all for me and my grandson: “Thank you for our new rugby friends.”

VACAVILLE 50 – Cordova Lancers 15 Referee: Phil Akroyd
There was definitely a size and experience miss-match between the two squads. Vacaville scored within the first two minutes and again four minutes later. They had the slick backs moves with power running but Lancers certainly punched above their weight in the forwards. They actually did a very good job of keeping the ball away from the home team by rucking and mauling, however when their progress stagnated, the Lancers got frustrated and kicked the ball and possession away from the scrum half position. From the following broken play, Vacaville often scored.

Lancers made life more difficult when a rookie back continued with no-wrap hits. After a warning he committed another and forced me to turn to the cards. They only conceded one try during this period.

The visitors deserved their second half tries and should count the game as valuable experience.

BELLARMINE 63 – Berkeley 0 Referee: Chris Fisher


No photo. Deal with it.


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