Tuesday, March 09, 2010




We were simply too busy the week after the IRB Sevens to write about it.

Two vignettes from Vegas deserve the light of day:

Your author sports his latest USA kit, inexplicably received in the mail even though he last accepted a national refereeing appointment in June of 2001 (San Mateo’s D1 championship!).

A fellow approaches, indicates the jersey and with an English accent asks: “Where can I buy one of those?”

Both principals are wearing hats, one is wearing shades, and both are perhaps a little addled by the late hour.

“I don’t think they’re for sale. These are for the national refs.”

Eyeing my budding one-pack he obviously feels equally qualified to wear same. But he decides to try a trump, searching to play the mutual-acquaintance card in time-honored rugby fashion:

“Do you know Bruce Carter?”

This fellow was Ian Punter, a friend of Ian Baggott who is in turn a great friend of our society in the East Midlands. My interrogator had given me a ride to referee the Bletchley RFC four years ago (they won).


Sunday morning, USA versus Guyana. The peripatetic group of fans of which I was a part (different perspective for every game) thought to watch one from the front row.

USA is having their way. Guyana finally gets a try, out wide, and the conversion is to be taken from about ten meters in front of us, just the other side of the wall and touchline.

“Miss it!” a neighbor yells as the kicker addresses the ball.

Breaking concentration he turns to say, “This is for you, Sunshine.”

Drops it, bisects the posts, cheers arise, and going off for the restart he turns to blow kisses our way.


We will be meeting from 7 to 9 PM at the Golden Gate clubhouse on Treasure Island. Food will be on-hand for early arrivals beginning at 6. Topics include: Communication, Offside/Onside and Law 14, Ball on the Ground.

Our guests from the East Midlands will be brought directly from SFO and should join us about halfway through.


Please respond with your availability for the Saturdays in April.

The only competitions still in-season will be men’s club D1 and D2 and high schools, but there will also be playoffs and other assorted alumni games, friendlies, touring sides, etc. But not nearly so much travel with D3 and colleges being done (no Humboldt or Shasta).

April 3
April 10
April 17
April 24


Join us at the Up & Under Pub in Point Richmond a week from Saturday to honor our East Midlands exchange and entertain the latest representatives thereof.

Let Bjorn Stumer know of your plans: bstumer@comcast.net

Rooms are available at the Hotel Mac, just a short walk from the restaurant, for those who wish to plan ahead in this fashion.


Wednesday, March 10: Arrive SFO; proceed to SFGG Clubhouse, home with billets Merrill and Rauscher

Thursday: Wine country tour, possibly San Francisco tour as well, Gordon, Bernstein, others?

Friday: At leisure. Evening: Del Stevens: Jessie Williams Cup match in Santa Rosa
George Shield: anyone have a Friday game for him?

Saturday, March 13: Transported by Rauscher and Hinkin for games in Sacramento:
Del: Sac State – St. Mary’s
George: Sac Lions hosting Reno
Keith McLean: watching Hinkin on the Sac – Reno seconds
Taken to Reno from their games by Pattalock/Ulibarri

Sunday-Tuesday: In Reno. Vegas rules apply.

Wednesday: Rendezvous with Bernstein in Sacramento at Tower Café, 10 AM, for transport to Yosemite. Dinner and overnight at the Yosemite Lodge

Thursday: Dawn at the trailhead for an assault on either Yosemite Falls or Nevada Falls, snowpack the determining factor. Return to Bay Area for hosting by Williamson, Rauscher and Zanarini

Friday: Del and George will referee the Pacific Coast women’s college playoffs at Treasure Island during the day. Youth games in the evening if they wish

Saturday, March 20: Del: Seconds: Cal – St. Mary’s
George: East Palo Alto – San Mateo
Keith: watching Crenshaw on Cal – St. Mary’s firsts
Banquet in Point Richmond

Sunday: Del refereeing Lamo – San Diego U19, George may ref as well. Afternoon at leisure

Monday, March 22: Depart SFO

If you’d like to hop on or help out at any point, contact the billets/hosts or just show up at the event.


Thursday, March 4:
Nevada 7 – SIERRA JC 29 Referee: Don Pattalock


GAA Pitch:
JV: Golden Gate – Marin Lions Referee: Greg Lundell
No report received.

SFGG COLTS B 29 – Stanford Business School 14 Referee: Bruce Carter
This was a well-contested match. The Stanford biz school doesn’t appear in these pages very often, but it is evident that they stay match-fit and in-synch somehow.

We did allow in-and-out subs to accommodate thin reserves’ benches on both sides, so the action continued right up to the last whistle.

Señors – OC Alumni Referee: Greg Lundell
No report received.

Rocca Field:
Golden Gate frosh – Marin Highlanders

Silver Division: GOLDEN GATE 38 – Oakland Warthogs 5 Referee: Preston Gordon

Varsity: GOLDEN GATE 39 – Marin Lions 17 Referee: Preston Gordon

SFGG COLTS 31 – O Club seconds 0 Referee: Bruce Carter
Gate seems to have some depth given this result by their second side.

As a matter of fact, you’ll notice there were eight games played with an SFGG side participating.

Looks like the powder-keg of USA Rugby will be lit when a critical mass of teams acquire proper facilities.

SFGG 31 – Olympic Club 29 Referee: Joe Androvich
ARs: Preston Gordon, George O’Neil

East Palo Alto 21 – SACRAMENTO LIONS 73 Referee: James Hinkin
Evaluator: Mike Malone
Due to scheduling conflicts EPA was scrambling for a field until Friday afternoon. Come Saturday morning, the referee was scrambling to find the field. After spending an interminable amount of time frantically zigzagging around the wrong side of Hwy 101, I received a call from EPA ("where are you?") and got the correct directions and we only started an hour late.

With both teams ready to go I quickly got ready and we kicked off on a perfect rugby day. The hits were hard and fast and the rugby was fun and exciting on a small pitch. After exchanging early penalties EPA broke through with a try (unconverted) only for Sac Lions to respond with 2 converted tries and go into the break with a 20-11 lead.

The second half was a different story as EPA seemed to run out of gas. An early drop goal from EPA was quickly countered with a brace of tries (both converted). This fast moving half then saw Sac Lions steal an EPA lineout, but the EPA hooker reacted first to the loose ball and gather it up head down the line, passing inside to another forward to score against the run of play. This was the last score for EPA, however as Sac Lions adopted the 1995 All Blacks strategy ("Rugby is a team game, so all of you make sure you pass the ball to Jonah") and started feeding their very quick wing who seemed to score every time he touched the ball. The #14 dotted down 4 times for the Lions and they won going away.

This was a great game to be a part of as both sides played fast, attacking rugby in great spirits. The captains were helpful and both sides respected each other and the game. It was a pleasure to ref.

SACRAMENTO CAPITALS 62 – San Mateo 12 Referee: Don Pattalock

Seconds: Partial score: Sac Capitals 24 – San Mateo 19 Referee Craig Lusiani
Referee Coach: Kat Todd-Schwartz
[Not sure what’ll be decided here. The Capitals ceasing playing with sixteen minutes left in the second half, walking away from the match.]

BARBARIANS 29 – Reno 13 Referee: Joe Leisek
Assessor: Bryan Porter

Arroyo Grande 3 – DIABLO GAELS 29 Referee: Scott Wood
TJs: John Compaglia (Diablo), Arroyo Grande
We arrived at the Don and Oliver Talley Memorial Fields to witness youth rugby in progress. This is my first trip to the southern extreme of the NCRFU and it was well worth it. Two fields were lined for rugby with one dedicated to youth games and the adjacent kept in relatively great condition for the men's match. The fields apparently drain well as they were mostly firm with just a few moist areas. The skies were threatening but the forecast was marginally in our favor...How do you know a meteorologist is lying? His mouth is open. I told one player that it would begin to rain at 1 p.m. and finish at 2:30 p.m. Arroyo Grande was present with enough players to fill the match card whereas the Gaels traveled with 18.

We kicked off at 1 p.m. as a slight sprinkle began to fall. Both teams competed well at the breakdown and rucks. Perhaps too well as there were several initial penalties in the tackle/ruck area. Diablo's forwards scored several tries before Arroyo Grande put points on the board with a penalty goal. This is not to say Diablo scored easily.
While the hosts had their work cut out for them they defended very well preventing the visitors any opportunity in the backs.

A clerical error on the referee's part (no line to delineate halves) made the halftime score unknown (maybe 19-3?). Cold hands and rain also were to blame.

With 25 minutes remaining in the match a really cold cell blew in and the skies opened up. Fortunately, the cold went away (or I got really numb) but the rain did not.

As the players tired the repeated infringements became cynical. Yes, I could have probably pulled out the cards earlier but I think that would not have helped matters. Nonetheless, with six minutes remaining, Diablo lost a player to repeated infringements. Two minutes later he was joined by a teammate. Unfortunately, Arroyo Grande was unable to capitalize on the two-man power play mostly as a result of selfishness and poor ball handling.

Diablo got possession off a knock-on but the ensuing tackle/ruck was immediately unplayable. No bodies standing gave the referee an unimpeded view of an Arroyo Grande player "rubbing" his knee on a defender's side. One card (yellow) later, the referee turned to the Diablo kicker and instructed him to finish the game. The ball was kicked to touch and the final whistle was sounded.

And the rain stopped. As the kids today say, "Really?!?" Of course that did not last but it was noted by the same player I spoke with prior to the match.

With no second match played, we retired to the deck of the Branch Street Deli (the field-side tri tip feed was called on account of rain). The beer tasted great but after a fine conversation with John Compaglia (thanks for the attempted rescue, Harry), we had to depart for our own tri tip family feed.

The next day we went to a baptism, post-baptism party (with a 10-piece mariachi band and more tri tip) and then headed home. Another weekend filled with friends, family and, to be redundant, rugby.

Vacaville 5 – FRESNO 43 Referee: Rich Anderson
An early Vacaville try did little to slow down a Fresno squad that had superior size and numbers. Fresno continual crashed their backs and forwards into the Vacaville back line, little by little wearing them out and creating holes. Those holes added up to 7 tries and a convincing win. Much thanks to the Vacaville side for hosting the rare after match get-together.

SEAHAWKS 34 – Stanislaus 22 Referee: Bryant Byrnes
Good quality D2 stuff in south San Jose. There is always discussion on the dichotomy of D2/D3. With all respect to D3, this is a game with more pace, more heft.

The Seahawks played with disciple and using their fit, crashing forwards effectively had a comfortable 20-10 lead at half. (High/no wrap tackles were an issue, resulting in two yellows. A conundrum because everyone should be clear on the law.) But the surprising Harlots scored and converted at the very start of the second period, and suddenly it was a 3 point game. ''Surprising'' because this is a team just elevated to D2 and traveling with 16 players. The Hawks did not really seal the win until 10 minutes left.

A nice drink up-thanks, Seahawks. And for the history buffs/ Stegner fans among us, the field is 6 miles from the New Almaden Quicksilver Mines Park.

Seconds: Seahawks 14 – STANISLAUS 15 Ref: Byrnes
Twenty minute halves. About a minute more and the Hawks would probably have bonked the Harlots.

SANTA ROSA 49 – Chico 0 Referee: Stephen Moore
Referee Coach: Joel R. Rubin
Extract from Joel Rubin’s report: Another lovely day at the For Pete’s Sake Pitch; The field was damp and the prior match made it a bit choppy. However, both teams were there to play rugby and that they did. The score does not reflect that all aspects of the match were well contested and, as Stephen noted, this was one of the “cleanest” games he had refereed or that I had watched in quite awhile. Very simply Santa Rosa had some very fast players who maximized opportunities and did better at the rucks. Chico had too many mishandled passes, which killed most of their attacks, and they missed a few too many first tackles.

Seconds: SANTA ROSA 42 – Chico 29 Referee: Tyler Ahlborn
In the Santa Rosa v. Chico B side game, there was no referee provided....so there would normally be no score reported.

Tyler Ahlborn did the match (and actually did a pretty good job). Final Score Santa Rosa 42, Chico 29. Rosa jumped out to a 32-5 halftime lead then Chico playing hard scored the final four tries.

BA BARACUS 55 – Vallejo 5 Referee: Bruce Bernstein
Due to the week's rain field was moved from GG Pk to Vallejo's home pitch Morton Field on Mare Island. Real nice with the best island clubhouse other than TI; plus great weather & hospitality.

Vallejo only had about 18 players with many novices. Baracus played more cohesive as a team especially their flankers, 8, 9 & 10, breaking the game line on most possessions; and had two very early scores, which set the tone for the first half.

Vallejo hung in for a relatively evenly played 2nd half--matching Baracus 3 tries. (It was 36-5 in Baracus' favor at 1/2.)

Aptos 14 – EPA U23, 19 Referee: Sam Davis
When I arrived I was told that Aptos had forfeited so that they could have unlimited subs. So it became a friendly.

If Aptos would have played their first side the whole game they would have won the game. Both teams had new players so we had a number of first! First yellow card for repeated Infringements, First Try, First (shoot the boot) First time scrumming, first penalty for chatting back to the ref etc..... All in all it was a fun game both sides had a good time

MARIN REDS 89 – Diablo U23, 0 Referee: Rob Hendrickson
Referee Coach: David Williamson
Marin hosted the Diablo U23 team to a 4:00 late start at Marin’s home pitch to accommodate earlier schedule conflicts. Notwithstanding the considerable crown to the pitch, and while there was no standing water, the rains earlier in the week left plenty of soft areas which proved to be a challenge for the players (and ref), and particularly for many of the scrums. Marin’s forwards included 3 very strong ball carriers, and their backs put on quite a display of passing the ball out wide which simply overwhelmed the much younger Diablo team’s ability to cover them.

REDWOOD 72 – Humboldt 5 Referee: George O’Neil

Mendocino 0 – BERKELEY 49 Referee: Mike King
It was an extremely pleasant day in Ukiah on a well laid out pitch, with the visitors in full complement while some of their hosts arrived after setting up for the social. It was all cylinders shortly after kickoff, with the locals content most often through the forwards, and their opposition trying to spring their fleet wingers. After testing the Mendo defensive line for awhile, Berkeley’s backs were able to burst through for 2 tries that tested #10 James Grant's foot a bit. He was up to the task and converted both. He went on to have a perfect day, converting every try scored, including one of his own. Shortly before half, Mendo was pounding near the Berkeley try line, but was short on several occasions. Half was 0-28.

Things settled a bit in the second half and the contest for the ball leveled out. Mendocino again came close to the goal, but ended up without a try. It certainly was not for want of effort and both sides played with intensity for full time.

SAN BRUNO SAINTS 47 – Shasta 17 Referee: Cary Bertolone
Aragon High School in San Mateo
Beautiful, sunny day, rubber turf field and a view of town, what a contrast from last night’s frigid mud rugby. I told Shasta, before the match, that they were a thick headed bunch, to drive 4 hours to get pounded by a bunch of huge Tongans! A great game by both sides, the big boys of San Bruno took control with a 26-3 halftime lead, although it could have been more if they would have played penalty-free. In the second half, Shasta scored 2 converted tries and almost had a couple more. One was an unlikely-looking up and under that the wing caught, by out-jumping two larger players, for the score. I was pleased with the San Bruno Saints (I'd previously awarded 5 yellows and one red in one of their games) as they received no yellows or reds and made the game fun (if you weren't a 150 lb back from the other side). Shasta was lead by 2 able bodied props, a huge lock, two 17 year olds and a scrappy bunch of tough guys!! Lots of fun, and I was kidding as I think all of the 150 lb backs from Shasta had fun too!

Chico State 17 – ST. MARY’S 47 Referee: Chris Tucker
A sunny day up in Chico for the first of back-to-back games for the Wildcats: St. Mary's on Saturday and Stanford on Sunday. As a result Chico held out a whole raft of regular A-siders, which led to a somewhat crooked scoreline. Nonetheless, the home side played strong, keeping a clean sheet for the first 20 minutes, once preventing a grounding in goal that led to an amusing 5m scrum.

St. Mary's scrum was clearly in the ascendant, so they went for the pushover. They got the shove on, and drove inexorably forward. The Chico scrumhalf, however, had read the lawbook, unlike the St. Mary's #8. When the ball touched the goal line, the alert #9 dotted it down for a 22. Suspect the 8-man won't forget to pick it up again...

But after 20 minutes, the first of 9 tries was scored, and the floodgates opened. Those with a more mathematical bent will notice that 47 minus 9 times 5 is 2. Yes, the kickers (they tried more than one) combined for one goal out of nine. The last one only made it because it was directly under the posts...

Seconds: Chico State – St. Mary's Referee: Dan Lacko
No report received.

UC DAVIS 38 – Sac State 12 Referee: Phil Akroyd
UCD – 5T, 5C, 1 PK
CSU-S – 2T, 1C
Russell Field was in surprisingly fine shape, given the recent rainfall. The weather was great and both teams put on a fine display of rugby. Both teams got into the habit of giving away silly penalties in the first half, but a yellow card to each team for persistent infringement seemed to change their attitudes.

The game was played throughout at “simmering” level, without any violent play surfacing – credit to both teams and captains for behaving in a way that represents the sport and programs very well.

Davis were very strong throughout and executed efficiently. It was 10 – 0 to the Aggies at half. Sac State were spirited but small things like knock-ons and accidental offsides prevented them from getting into a rhythm.

Seconds: UC Davis 14 – SAC STATE 17 Referee: Scott Griffin
Referee Coach: Ray Schwartz
The Aggies' strong pack could not overcome Sac State's ability to counter attack. Played in perfect conditions save for a slightly soggy pitch; the visitors prevailed, 17-14.

SIERRA JC 97 – U. of San Francisco 3 Referee: Russ Wilkening
Sierra had way more firepower at every position. USF drove up with a pretty young and inexperience side and it showed in their play. They never showed any quit, though, and despite having only a minute left and wanting to avoid having 100 hung on them kicked off to Sierra, then won posession back and ran through at least eight phases trying to score instead of kicking to touch to end it. Sierra eventually forced another turnover at a breakdown and they quickly found touch.

SIERRA A/B 24 – SF State Gators 12 Ref: Wilkening
This was a more competitive game. Sierra should have scored a couple more tries but their hands, and tendency to throw passes that were just slightly forward, let them down. SF State was down by just five with minutes to spare and legitimately had hope of winning, but gave up a hard earned try late to see Sierra win it 24-12. Both teams were solid on both attack and defense with tightly contested breakdowns. Sierra played a more controlled game and retained ball well. SFS was a touch more opportunistic at the breakdowns but lacked the horses to finish off some promising breaks.

I had been sick all week and couldn't get out of bed on Thursday night to run touch for Don Pattalock at UNR when Sierra played the Wolf Pack. Running two 80 minute matches on Saturday was more than I should have signed up for! I had a fairly solid match in the league match, but was worn out before the second match even kicked off. Kudos to each side for cutting this old prop ref some slack...I needed it! It was a good thing the SFS flank and captain, Joshua (I think?), was there. Besides being the best player on the pitch for the match he is also an EMT. It should be mentioned that he's incredibly fit, as evidenced by his running commentary throughout the match while being first to most breakdowns! I have asthma and it was making itself felt the second half and really hit me with a minute left in the match. After a pretty feeble final whistle I was on the ground seeing stars. Joshua's assistance was greatly appreciated, if not needed. My daughter Hannah volunteered to be a touch judge for each match and performed her duties well.

FRESNO STATE 27 – Nevada 12 Referee: Sandy Robertson
Reno brought mostly 2nd side players to take on a young Fresno State squad and early on dominated play, scoring a converted try in the first 15 minutes. Soon after Fresno State got the ball out to the wing who took it 70 meters to score under the posts.

Momentum began to swing and Fresno State led 12 to 7 at the half. Fresno State got another try early in the second half and Reno got a 2nd try shortly thereafter, but Fresno's greater team speed was too much for the Reno side and Fresno added a penalty and a fourth try to finish the scoring.

HUMBOLDT STATE 13 – Santa Rosa JC 12 Referee: Bjorn Stumer
This was a very intense match between two fit and fast teams, determined to take home the shield awarded in honor of a former player severely injured, and now the prized possession of the winners of the exchange between the two teams. These were two very well matched sides, as shown by the very close score which, at the end of the first half, saw only 8 points scored - a penalty for Humboldt and an unconverted try for the Santa Rosa J.C.

As though the first half lacked in intensity, which by all means it did not, the second half proved truly explosive as the two powerful teams fought hard until the very end. Ultimately Humboldt put in an additional 10 points for a total of 13, while Santa Rosa could only score 7 more, bringing their total to 12. This was definitely a nail biter much enjoyed by the crowd and players alike. The event was only marred by the fact that the Humboldt's captain dislocated a knee in the very last couple of minutes of the match. The match probably would have benefited from a fresher referee (this was my second match in a row), as such talent truly deserves the very best in officiating.

San Jose State 15 – CAL MARITIME 50 Referee: Pete Smith
It was a pretty comprehensive victory for the Keelhaulers; they scored 8 tries and converted 5 for 50 points. The SJSU Spartans managed two tries, a conversion and a penalty kick for 15 points.

UC Santa Cruz 29 – Santa Clara 29 Referee: John Pohlman
[Editor’s Note: *** COMMON SCORE ALERT *** ]
Wow what a wild game. UC Santa Cruz hosted Santa Clara in a game with playoff implications. UCSC needed a win to have any hopes of making the playoffs. Santa Clara is fighting for one of the top two spots. Making the playoffs is especially important since Santa Clara will be hosting one of the rounds at Buck Shaw Stadium.

Readers are familiar with the phrase this was a game of two halves. But have you heard the phrase this was a game of the first ten minutes and the last ten minutes.

UCSC dominated the first ten minutes. Coming out with a passion and being rewarded with two tries in the first ten minutes. UC scrumhalf Dan O'Leary scored both of the tries. The first on a kick he charged down and regathered five minutes in. The second on a darting move off a scrum.

Nine minutes in and UC 14 SC 0.

UCSC continued to dominate physically throughout the first half. #10 Captain Tyler Prothard kept the Slugs moving forward.

Santa Clara Second Row Max Oston slotted a penalty around the twenty minute mark.

Santa Clara #8 Andes Love-Hoh scored a controversial try at half time. He was tackled short of the try line and with one movement reached over for the score.

Half time score UCSC 14 Santa Clara 10

The second half was hotly contested at all phases. Both teams were well-matched and both truly believed they were the better team. Santa Clara looked dangerous when they spun the ball out.

SC Winger Nick Johnson was set up by outside center Alan Lee at forty-nine minutes. UCSC Captain Tyler kicked a penalty 1 minute later.

UCSC looked like they were going to run away with the game when a winger replacement scored another contested try in the corner.

Hard charging UC center John Driver broke through the Santa Clara line for a try at sixty minutes.

Score with ten minutes left was UCSC 29, Santa Clara 15.

SC's Center Lee put his other winger Mike Cassolato away at 31 minutes, UC 29 SC 22.

UCSC had a shot at a penalty which would have iced the game a couple of minutes later, but missed.

Santa Clara seemed to take the missed kick as a momentum changer. SC Center Lee put another back away for a potential try only to see it held up in goal.

Where is that TMO? How about assistant referees?

Oh well, looked at my watch, 40 minutes played, but two minutes of injury time still left to play. Game on.

Santa Clara scrum five meters out. SC # 8 Anders, and my man of the match, picked up but was tackled short of the goal line. The ball was quickly recycled and a SC forward wormed over for the try. Again contested but good in my eyes. Oston converted the try.

I added my score card and sure enough 29-29.

Well I guess in the end, no one deserved to lose that game.

There were eight tries scored in the game. Five were contested and three more got to the try zone and not grounded. All would have gone to a TMO if available. That is 8 controversial attempts in one game. Like I said wow what a wild game!

California women 17 – UC DAVIS 27 Referee: Eric Rauscher
Witter Field, Berkeley slightly overcast, cool but warming, i.e., perfect. Pitch in excellent shape.

The first ten minutes of the game saw many knock-ons by both sides, probably a case of nerves. Both teams then settled down and began to play some excellent rugby. Cal scored first at 11 min in, unconverted. The crowd went wild. (I should say it was Homecoming for Cal. There were many supporters for both teams that were very vocal in a pleasant way throughout the match. They even went silent for kicks at goal.) 5 min later Davis scored a converted try to pull into the lead. At about this time I was saying to myself wow, this is going to be some match. I was not disappointed. For the rest of the game Davis would score and pull into the lead, only to have Cal close the gap. The score line was never more than 10 pts apart, usually within a converted try. The first half score was 12/15. The second half was pretty much a replay of the first with the score at 17/ 20 at 28 min in. The crowd was going nuts. At 35 min, Davis scored a converted try to bring the score to 17/27. Cal fought back as hard as they could, but were never able to pull ahead. The game went about 4/5 min after full time until a knock-on produced the final whistle. What a game. My congratulations to both teams for a game well played with great spirit.

Seconds: California 5 – UC Davis 15 Ref Rauscher
After the "A" side match we moved down to an artificial turf field above a parking lot called Underhill Field. Not really lined correctly, no flags, no posts, but a group of ladies on both sides looking forward to another game. This one was not played at the same skill level with many resets of various kinds.

The competition had all of the previous match’s drive, though. Both sides wanted the full 80 min. I saw many talented players on both sides that with a bit of seasoning will be great players. I am looking forward to seeing these teams in the future.

Humboldt St. women 10 – SANTA CLARA 12 Referee: Bjorn Stumer

UC SANTA CRUZ women 53 – USF 0 Referee: Larry Freitas
UCSC Women took on a less experienced USF side, winning 53-0 in a game before the Santa Clara v UCSC men's match. The Slug Women were up by 17 to nil at half time, resting five starters for the upcoming playoffs. USF had a few breaks but seemed one pass short of finding an unmarked player to score. UCSC controlled the ball most of the game, and had plenty of opportunities to score from set play and turnovers of USF ball. I pulled a calf muscle two minutes into the second half, and Chris Kron and another coach from Santa Clara filled in for me.

CHICO STATE 24 – Stanford 21 Referee: Jim Crenshaw

Seconds: Chico State – Stanford Referee: Dan Lacko
No report received.

De La Salle 29 – HAYWARD 34 Referee: John Coppinger
Hayward won 34-29 in a track meet.

Lancers 0 – 69 CHRISTIAN BROTHERS Referee: Phil Akroyd
Not much to say as the score says it all. Lancers were better on offense than they were two weeks ago against Vacaville, but making tackles was a huge problem.

MARIN HIGHLANDERS 24 – Newman/Rosa High School 19 Referee: Cary Bertolone
Cardinal Newman in Santa Rosa
Under the lights, on a very cold night, in the mud, Marin showed up in a bus with their game faces on and ground out a fairly convincing win, that was not quite as close as the score would indicate. Only 10-5 at the half, Redwood came out strong in the second half and took a 24-5 lead, but Newman Rosa would not give up and came back two converted tries of their own to make the last 5 minutes quite interesting, but Redwood held them off.

JV: Newman/Rosa 10 – Redwood 5 Referee: John Tomasin
Mud prevailed in a hard fought JV game that did not end until 9:30 with very frigid conditions. Newman had so many players that, at one point, they changed out 10 players at once, for the second side!!

BELLARMINE 51 – Salinas 0 Referee: Chris Fisher
U14: Rancho Cordova PAL 20 – 37 MOTHERLODE
Due to a last minute change in refs, I had to step in and ref my U14 team at home against local rivals, Motherlode. The pitch was in good condition at Cordova High and even though we had a 10am kick off, the temperature was rising.

Rancho PAL have been together as a team since the third week of February and this was their third game. The improvement in speed, skill and execution was massive over their seven week existence and the boys went crazy when speedy fly-half Jose Rivera scored the first try of the game. Motherlode answered back shortly afterwards with strong running from the back-row and then pushed the lead to three tries to one. With time about to be up in the first half, PAL got a penalty deep into opposition territory and ran it. Motherlode turned it over but in the desperation of being on their own line, let the ball loose and eight-man Journay Fatu pounced to drop over the line for a try. 10-15 at half – game on.

Motherlode pushed on in the second half – their experience and strong running were too much for the rookies. However, the PAL backs were not done and their second-half fitness showed with breakaway tries from Erick Jarquin and George Espinosa.

A great morning for the development of youth rugby and both sets of coaches were extremely happy with their team’s performance, the attitude that the players showed and the high-quality of fast, running rugby.

COUGAR 35 – Granite Bay 5 Referee: Chris Tucker
A try after 30 seconds set the stage for a mashing by a bigger, more experienced Cougar outfit. Credit to the Granite Bay fullback, without whom the score would have been much greater.

Later that evening...
Kennedy 0 – STOCKTON 36 Ref: Tucker
I had originally planned to watch Brad Scott ref the Schwartz v. van Staden grudge match, but he decided he didn't like what I said at half time, and limped off after only 3 minutes of the 2nd half. Happily I'd brought my boots from the previous game, and jumped on in. JC's boys might be inexperienced, but they are big, fast and compete hard at the breakdown. 3 tries in each half for a deserved victory.

Girls: Bishop O'Dowd 12 – DAVIS 15 Referee: Bryant Byrnes
Rugby on Monday night? What a great idea! A brand new program (this is their second game), O'Dowd showed skill and grit against a talented Davis team. The Lady Dragons scored first, only to get bonked on a last play try in injury time. Congratulations to both teams, coaches, and fans for an exciting game.

February 27
Diablo Gaels 10 – BA Baracus 10 Referee: Pete Smith
I reffed a very thrilling TIE! Diablo opened with a try less than 5 minutes in and Baracus answered back with a bad hop, not sure where the goal line is, Baracus guy got there first, try minutes later, to tie things up at 7. Diablo added a penalty kick on their next trip into Baracus territory and again Baracus answered back in the same fashion 10-10. The game was end to end and very hard hitting. It seemed like a knock on or the last pass, the last guy needed in support, the last you name it never materialized and neither team could score. Two dropped goal narrowly missed, at least four penalty kicks fell short or pushed wide. I did my best to make sure to play advantage for five extra minutes at the end of the game to see if the tie would break itself, but alas the second of the missed drop goals missed by six feet left and that was it, 10-10.

HS Varsity: BERKELEY RHINOS 46 – Alameda 0 Referee: John Coppinger
Berkeley had more experience and it showed across the board. My thanks to Roberto Santiago for acting as AR and Jerry for running touch.

Oakland Warthogs 7 – DIABLO 27 Referee: Matt Heafey
Raimondi Field - Under a threatening sky
Diablo's fitness and overall strength proved to be the difference in this match. Both teams played a hard fought game but conditioning really paid off as Diablo threatened time and time again. Watch the Warthogs they are a young program with some very enthusiastic coaches that are teaching these young men good fundamentals. Exciting to see new rugby programs popping up!

Women: University of Nevada 0 – UC DAVIS 54 Referee: Russ Wilkening
The UCD women defeated the UNR women by a score of 54-0. UCD's strong running and offloading at the tackle paid big dividends for them. UNR played poorly on the day, didn't stick to their gameplan and were much more subdued than they were the previous week against Berkeley.

Seconds: UNIV. OF NEVADA 8 – UC Davis 7 Referee: Lee Salgado
UNR did win the B side game 8-7. The deciding point came from a drop goal penalty kick. My high school freshman daughter, Hannah, played her first college rugby and did well, nearly scoring a try after a 28 meter scamper. She was steamrolled into touch just a foot short of the tryline by three UCD players. She's still upset that she didn't get through to score!

Lee Bryant-Salgado was the ref for the B game. I noticed she's not on the Society contact list, but believe she's still a certified ref and when asked to take the game was more than willing. She also reffed at the KOT.

Hannah is playing for a boys U15 and the UNR ladies B side now so I'm not available for away games unless it's an emergency. She wants me at her games, and I want to be there. I'll take any matches in Reno that need covering, however.

Hannah wants to take the next referee course offered! She's been running touch this spring (including at the KOT) and doing a good job of it. She's running will be my TJ at Sierra College vs USF this Saturday. It took 15 years for the rugby bug to really bite her hard, but when it did, it was a good ol' chomp!

ALAMO CITY 61 – Midland 7 Referee: Sam Reagle
Conditions: Dry & Overcast
For the second week in a row, I hook up with Alamo City. This time, they are the home team. Midland made the 325 mile journey with only 13 players so we discussed their options and they chose to play with 13 rather than forfeit and get players from Alamo City. I heard several versions of "It's better to lose at rugby than win at softball, soccer, etc". I salute them for playing valiantly despite being outgunned by numbers, not just the 2 men short, but the Alamo subs as well.

Playing 2 men down for all but 10 minutes of the first half (an AC player was binned for repeated diving over), the tenacious Midlanders managed to give up only 3 converted tries. Halftime score: 21-0.

However, around the 15 minute mark of the second half, things started falling apart for The 300, I mean Midland. The AC subs started scoring tries, lots of them. Nick Stephens, who came in at halftime notched his first hat trick as fresh legs ruled the last 25 minutes for AC. However, you would have thought Midland had just taken the lead when lumbering lock Ron Brem caught the ball in the lineout and ran 40 meters for a converted try between the posts. Final 61-7.

We pack up our toys and leave San Antonio in the morning planning to be in Las Cruces, NM by sunset. I had a great time in the Lone Star State and thank Wolfie once again for the games.

Proving that not all yellows are created equal:
Preston Gordon, Joe Androvich, George O’Neil


For the Senate
Pelicus Scriptoris