BIG WEEKEND ON THE FARM
Got Friday? Let Friday be a Rugby Day, at the Steuber Family Rugby Stadium.
Three NorCal teams will be playing national semi-finals: the California men, and the women of Stanford and UC Santa Cruz.
See you there?
Tell you what - we also need someone who can pick up a vagabond referee at SFO, Friday morning at 7:45, and get him to the referee meeting in Palo Alto by nine. Tim Luscombe would then owe you. Let us know.
SEVENS SEASON SHAPING UP
Which means you should be, too:
May 8: Wine Country Classic at For Pete’s Sake field
May 15: Stanford Collegiate Sevens Tournament
June 26: Palo Alto Summer Sevens
July 10: Palo Alto
July 24: Palo Alto
Please let us know if you can referee on May 8 (there are at least five fifteens games, besides the sevens tournament)
GOLDEN GATE TOURNAMENT CANCELED (MAY 15-16)
There is hope of having it during the pre-season, in the autumn.
NCRFU D3 CHAMPIONSHIP GAME
MARIN R.E.D.S. 30 – Berkeley 17 Referee: Scott Wood
TJs: Gordon Fallone (Marin); Justin Ryan / Tony Stewart (Berkeley)
Venue: MLK Park, Marin
After an exciting Division 3 season, Marin (9-2) hosted Berkeley (9-2) for the #2 PCRFU spot. Both teams will be moving up to the second division next year.
We arrived to find both teams warming up on their respective sidelines. An investigation of the pitch conditions found a wetlands mitigation project in the middle and a thistle abatement program marginally under control throughout the grounds. In what is becoming a welcome process, the teams had filled out match cards at the ready.
Marin capitalized off an early penalty to open the scoring. However, Berkeley was undeterred and answered with a penalty goal of their own. Marin maneuvered through the visitor's backline to score a converted try. Possession switched back and forth with each team gaining points off penalty goals (it may sound like a lot of penalties but I think the total was around 20--not bad for D3) before Marin scored an unconverted try to close the half with a 24-9 lead.
Berkeley opened the second half on fire. Their energy kept Marin on the back foot until capitalizing off a penalty goal. The teams swapped possession numerous times before Berkeley's #19, fresh off the bench, dashed up the sideline untouched to score a try in the corner to reduce Marin's lead to seven.
Marin ratcheted up their attack but Berkeley was not without answer. Two silly penalties by Berkeley gave Marin a 13 point edge as the half wound down.
The referee was not gaff-free. With less than a minute remaining, Berkeley went on attack. They put together multiple rucks to within a couple meters of the goal line. Finally, as they punched through Marin's defense the referee ran around the contact point to view the grounding. The pitch slants at an odd angle so it looked like the grounding was beyond the corner flag. With no line in sight of the casually observing referee, he signaled TRY...then saw the white line. Even though the game was at full time, the referee awarded a scrum to Berkeley (in an attempt of fairness).
Marin stole the ball against the head and cleared the ball downfield. Berkeley managed to attack to within 22 meters of the goal when they lost the ball. Game over. Marin takes the match 30-17.
Quotes of the match:
Ref: "Kick or choose a side."
Captain A: "We'll take a side."
Ref: "Okay, which side?"
Captain A (pointing): "That one."
Captain B: "We'll receive the ball."
Ref: "Um, you kick off, they chose a side."
Captain B: "Why?"
Ref: "Because they won the toss and chose a side, you kick off." (Law 6.A.3)
Captain B: "Do we have to kick?"
Ref: "No, but if you don't it will be a free kick to the other team
for delay of game." (Law 10.2.b)
One team is penalized for obstruction:
Teammate: "Sir, it was accidental."
Ref: "Perhaps, but it is still a penalty." (Law 10.1.c)
Teammate: "Sir! It's a short arm penalty."
Teammate: "It's a free kick because it was accidental."
Ref (after erroneously awarding a try): "S***!"
Marin advances to the USA Rugby national D3 championships May 22-23.
PACIFIC COAST D2 playoffs will be this weekend in Boise, Idaho. The referee pool includes Jim Crenshaw, Joe Leisek and Phil Akroyd.
Fresno vs. Valley
Red Mountain vs. Snake River
Tempe vs. Santa Rosa
SFGG vs. Pacific Rovers
THE PACIFIC COAST D1 playoffs will be played on May 1. Winners of these four games will advance to play the top four teams from SoCal on May 8.
Olympic Club – BYE
Sacramento Lions – North Side Tigers
Provo Steelers – Bay Barbarians in Provo, Utah
Salt Lake City Spartans – East Palo Alto in Salt Lake City
Well, this first one isn’t a playoff game but with the victory SFGG secured first place in the western conference with one game left in the season.
That means they will host a quarter-final match at the Golden Gate tournament on May 15.
SF/Golden Gate SL 62 – OPSB 33 Referee: Paul Bretz
ARs: Aruna Ranaweera, LuAnn Campbell
Evaluator: Mark Koiwai
OPSB took a 13-nothing lead, which felt like an earthquake to the growing crowd that Rocca Field has been attracting this season. But the world was set right by halftime, when the home XV had a one-point lead, and then the second half featured three of Mile Pulu’s four trys.
O Club completed a perfect record, no losses or ties in the season. East Palo Alto only lost to them in the last two minutes the first time they met, and this was little different:
OLYMPIC CLUB 18 – East Palo Alto 13 Referee: Chris Tucker
AR: Bruce Bernstein
Evaluator: David Williamson
A great day for rugby at the GAA fields: sun and a light breeze. Both teams were clearly up for it, with a hard fought first half. O Club were their own worst enemy at times, with some wayward kicking and a repeatedly crooked scrum feed. A pity, since their scrum was clearly stronger, so why not put it in straight? You'll win anyway. But I digress: O Club opened up the scoring with a penalty, but that was all they could muster in the first as EPA put the pressure on, scoring once (should have been twice, but for a last-pass knock-on). Half time score, 3-5.
Second half was no less well matched. EPA scored on a long break to make it 10-3, before O Club evened it up after camping out on the goal line for a while (try converted). A perfectly-taken drop goal by EPA and a replying penalty kept it even until the last 10 minutes, when the home side crashed over for what looked like the winning score. As time was expiring, however, the scrum half fed his 2nd row directly on a 5m scrum, and EPA came out running. 90 metres later, the fullback finally stopped the attack, the ball was turned over and the game was done. Highly enjoyable game of rugby :)
Seconds: OLYMPIC CLUB 7 tries– East Palo Alto 2 tries Referee: Bruce Bernstein
Match was played as 10's with much running & sprinting. O Club forwards were better around the field playing a 7's game. EPA held tough & getting their scores came late in the match.
Was lucky enough to AR Chris Tucker do the first side's & it was a great game to be part of & Chris did a hell of a job keeping up with the breakdowns & tries & getting all the calls I saw right.
SAN MATEO by forfeit over Reno
SACRAMENTO CAPITALS 28 – Barbarians 26 Referee: Mike Laporte (Alberta)
Capitals scored on a penalty goal at the end of the game. I awarded a penalty to Capitals to have a second attempt due to hearing Barbarians making noise while the kicker was kicking at goal. Both teams played hard and eventually, less talking on the field and from the sidelines.
I had fun and had my hands full with game management tasks with these two teams. Barbarians’ captain (2) reported to me he was not happy with my calls. I listened to him and joined the teams for social following the match.
Thanks again for the opportunity.
Division Two Season Finishes:
The order of finish and the three teams that will play in Boise was Fresno, SFGG and Santa Rosa.
SAN FRANCISCO GOLDEN GATE COLTS 92 – Vallejo 7 Referee: Aruna Ranaweera
Assistant Referee: LuAnn Campbell (SCRRS)
Since my RSL match in Chicago got postponed, I was thrilled to referee in the bay area, something I hadn't done since February. After some delays, including hasty arrangements to obtain CIPP information from Vallejo, the match kicked off at noon under beautiful sunny conditions at Treasure Island. Both teams showed good sportsmanship and effort, but SFGG's dominance was clear as they played 15-man sevens to rack up 11 tries to lead 71-0 after 40 minutes. To avoid delaying the 1:30pm HS playoff match, both sides agreed to play an abbreviated second half. Vallejo scored a converted try, but SFGG replied with 3 more tries to win 92-7 after just 55 minutes of playing time, a total of 14 tries to 1.
Much thanks to LuAnn Campbell for her help as Assistant Referee. (She was in town as AR for the SFGG RSL match.)
DIABLO GAELS 41 – Vacaville 28 Referee: Charl Erasmus (Gloucestershire, RFU)
BA Baracus 19 – FRESNO 20 Referee: Roberto Santiago
This one was every bit as close as the score indicates. Play and possession careened back and forth in a flurry of recycled ball, powerful runs, and more ball kicked directly out than I’ve seen so far this year. This game was a good test of several of the “who brought the ball where and then who did what with it and where do we go next” laws. Baracus scored first on a penalty kick, then again with a converted try to take a 10-0 lead. Fresno answered back to tie the score with a penalty kick for 3 followed by a smash and dash run by their outside center. The teams traded penalty kicks for a half time score of 13-13.
Second verse was same as the first in terms of the style of play. Baracus regained the lead with a penalty conversion eight minutes in to the second half but Fresno answered with a converted try just two minutes later. Three minutes after Fresno’s try the home side hit another penalty conversion to pull just one point behind. And that’s where it stayed for the last twenty-seven minutes. Baracus had a shot to take the lead again when a punch resulted in a yellow card to Fresno with about three minutes left but the 40+ meter kick was just a bit short.
Thanks to both sides for a fun match.
Seconds: BARACUS 17 – Fresno 5 Ref: Santiago, segue to the Unknown Blower
This was the first half score. I was happy to run the B side after the teams played such a well mannered A side. Sadly I had to leave early to attend to duties at home. Overall this one was played in good spirits with plenty of interesting commentary from the front rows.
At one point a Fresno player dislocated his knee and indicated he needed help. My idea, that he needed help to the sideline was proven wrong when he instructed his teammate to “pull my leg.” I know what a finger pull gets you and I was afraid of what might come from a leg pull. After having his leg pulled as if he were a stubborn lawn mower the injured man hopped up ad called for a sub. The sub was for the player behind him in the lineout who was tired. Mr. Kneecap stayed in and continued his role as in the lineout. Fun stuff.
The teams played on as I packed up to head home. Thanks again to both sides.
Seahawks 26 – SANTA ROSA 45 Referee: James Hinkin
With their regular field unavailable San Jose hosted Santa Rose down at the Morgan Hill Soccer Complex. A small, but well maintained pitch with trees and fences along one sideline and one try zone and acres of space along the opposite sides. Naturally, of course, that meant that all scoring was done at the tree end and all the kicks went over the fence and into the trees causing numerous delays to get a ball onto the field. At times there were upwards of three balls being retrieved as a fourth was in play. Santa Rosa, playing with the wind, started on fire and kept San Jose under pressure the entirety of the first half. An early penalty followed by a converted try gave the visitors a 10-0 cushion when some ill discipline sent San Jose's most potent back to the sin bin to think about the error of his ways. Santa Rose exploited the advantage and kept the pressure on even when San Jose was back at full strength to run in 6 tries in the half - all converted - and go to the break up 45-0.
The second half was dominated by San Jose as they finally decided to tackle with conviction and run with support. With support runners following up the line breaks the Seahawks were able to start mounting a comeback with a quick 3 try burst at the start of the half. Santa Rosa then stabled the ship and were countering effectively and the game became balanced at that point with Santa Rosa missing some scoring chances with poor handling while San Jose was able to get one more try in. It was too little too late for the Seahawks as Santa Rosa hung on for a convincing 45-26 win.
Arroyo Grande 19 – CHICO 37 Referee: Paul Phillips (SoCal)
It was a good first half, 15 - 14 Chico, but then Chico ran away with it in the second half for a final score of 37-19.
Señors 20 – BALD EAGLES 25 Referee: Bjorn Stumer
This was a brief two 15-mins halves affair designed to give the old boys a run, and to catch up on the multi-match schedule at the busy Rocca Field in Treasure Island. The old boys did not seem to mind the short match, also in light of the fact that the day had grown quite warm, the pitch was hard, and the shortages of players -12 per side, created a lot of space for those having speed left. For an old boys match there was a lot of speed and determination on display and, as no kicks were allowed, fluid champagne Rugby was on tap for all involved.
The Bald Eagles, a perennial presence in the regional veterans’ action, seemed to be the better side, but the Señors were soon at their heels and a total of five tries were scored in the first half. More try scoring accentuated the second half, with the Señors continuously nipping at the Bald Eagles' heels. A thrilling finale was missed as, on the very last play of the match, a Señors' back ran the distance of the pitch attempting a try in the corner; this would have tied the match. However, a last-meter tackle caused the Señors player to knock in-goal. Final whistle followed and your referee did not have to buy beer due to a tied score. Great fun for all. It was good to see so many familiar faces, and to see that old boys Rugby is alive and well.
Silverhawks – Nevada Old Boys
No report received. Not sure who reffed.
UOP – Sierra College seconds
No referee to assign.
Aptos – Somebody
No referee to assign.
Women’s Territorial All-Stars
PC GRIZZLIES – Mid-Atlantic RFU Referee: Bob Sproull (New England)
We received a partial score: Grizzlies up 47 to nothing at the half.
Single-school HS semi-finals:
BELLARMINE – Dixon Referee: Pete Smith
JESUIT over De La Salle by forfeit
Bellarmine will play Jesuit next week for the single-school championship.
De La Salle – Diablo Referee: Charl Erasmus (Gloucestershire, RFU)
No report received.
NorCal HS U19 play-in games:
Cougar – HAYWARD Referee: Rich Anderson
GOLDEN GATE – Christian Brothers Referee: John Coppinger
NorCal HS U19 quarter-finals:
Lamorinda – East Palo Alto
Peninsula Green – Hayward
Marin Highlanders – SFGG
Vacaville – Santa Rosa
JESUIT 57 – St. Mary's 15 Referee: Tom Zanarini
My first trip to Jesuit turned out to be a great experience. Both teams were warming up upon my arrival. Jesuit has numbers on top of numbers and St. Mary's high school produced 14 + 1 Jesuit scrumhalf. St. Mary's is a new team and is under the expert coaching of our own JC Van Staden.
Jesuit started strong, scoring 3 tries relatively quickly. St. Mary's gathered their bearings shortly after and really brought their play up in the second half. The attacking for both teams was fast and the sportsmanship was grand. St. Mary's is a team to watch in the very near future.
I could have 25 bad matches in a row, but when I remember days like these it would keep me coming out.
Golden Gate frosh/soph 58 – Berkeley JV 0 Referee: Bryant Byrnes
The curtain raiser on TI, after which the writer got in his car and drove to San Jose for the high school invitational tourney.
The Rhinos under the cheerful tutelage of Dave Williamson are a club on the upswing; 40 kids at practice! In the 90s there would be 6. But SFGG is a club at full flood. The comment of the SFGG coach after the game told the tale succinctly- "You know, these kids have been together for 5 years."
PACIFIC COAST HIGH SCHOOL INVITATIONAL
At San Jose State
This tournament, in its sixth year, was played in gorgeous weather on three pitches immediately adjacent to Spartan Stadium, two of them the grass practice facilities for the football team.
The short-handed Pelicanrefs (note two games listed above which could not be assigned referees) were bailed out by Chris Gleiter, Andrew Lin and Dave Thomas of the SoCal society who attended at their own expense, thus allowing us to cover what games we did.
This event is popular among teams that have not qualified for the playoffs and the lower-grade sides of those that did.
They competed in four brackets: Gold, Bronze, Frosh/Soph and Girls.
Gold: PLEASANTON over Islanders
Bronze: LIVE OAK over Kennedy
Frosh/Soph: LAMORINDA over Golden Gate
Girls: BUDD BAY (Olympic, Wash.) over Bishop O’Dowd
USA College playoffs in Florida, April 17-18:
MIAMI (OH) 27 – Middlebury College 23 Referee: Chris Tucker
ARs: Gerty + Gary (locals from Florida)
Orlando, FL is similar in many ways to Sacramento. It's warm, it's flat and they play good rugby there. It's also humid, but that's another story. I was assigned a D2 men's game in the round of 16, so the nerves were jangling a little, but 2 solid ARs and a friendly face in Donny P go a long way to keeping the lid on it. Routine done with, whistle and sprint to the first breakdown. Middlebury straight off feet, whistle, my stall was set out and we were off and running. Miami was the more organised and energetic in the first half, building up a lead of 24 to 10. The tries were all but one scored in the corners, and this is where the ARs earned their keep -- 3 times they called the grounding when the teams punched it in down the blindside. Both sides lost a player to the bin for a trip on their opponents, but generally the game was played with a simmering tension that never really bubbled over, aside from a quick scuffle that was resolved with a handshake and a grin.
Now the second half was a different story. Miami went to sleep, scoring only a penalty as Middlebury fought back with 13 points to try to defend their D2 crown. But time ran out as they knocked on just before time. The final scrum should have put the game out of reach, but astonishingly, Middlebury took one against the head and peeled off down the blindside, charging into opponents territory before finally the Miami wing put in a desperation tackle and took the attacker out, ending a highly entertaining contest.
REFEREEING IN VICTORIA, BC
By Eric Rauscher
Exchange to Victoria, Canada
My plane leaves SFO at 11:35 am Thursday morning. I arrive at Victoria at 2:14 pm. I am met in the terminal by Keith Morrison and we walk out to his car which is parked at the curb. In passenger loading/unloading area. Quite a bit different from the U.S. We drive to my first game which is a high school game at 3:45 pm. Stellys 5/Esquimalt 55. It's sunny, with a chill wind. The pitch is wonderful turf, but hardly visible lines. The flags are only at goals. But, do the game anyway. It was good-spirited play by Stellys, but this game was a demonstration that size and skill do make a difference. Keith then drives me to the James Bay Inn (downtown Victoria) where I will be staying. A quick shower and a pint, and salmon dinner downstairs, then off to the James Bay Athletic Association, which is established in 1886. There I am bought a pint and I meet several people and tour the facilities, which are very interesting. John De Goede gives me the tour and tells me a little bit of the history of the club, which was originally a rowing club, but now has multiple rugby teams, one in the premier division. Keith drives me back to the Inn by about 9 pm, and into bed.
Friday I sleep in until 7 am, with coffee and breakfast downstairs. I take a stroll downtown and tour the government houses and the Royal British Columbia Museum. Back by noon to meet Jim Crenshaw at the hotel. Then off for a fish and chips lunch down at the wharf. Jim lures me into an ice cream parlor for homemade ice cream. We then spent one and a half hours at the Maritime museum. When we came out, we had to walk through the rain back to the hotel. That evening Keith picks us up and we go to John De Goede's house for dinner. There were about ten people there, including another referee named Bruce Kuklinsky (I can't remember all who were there).
Saturday morning, Keith picks us up at 9:30 am and off to games! He and Jim go one way, and I am transferred to Ashley Anderson. We head out into the country for me to do a woman's club game. Cowichan 0/ Velox 33. Nice pitch, with a couple mud patches, but this one has flags and lines. There were a couple of sprinkles during the game, but it wasn't bad. I learned that Velox had 2-3 Canadian internationals on their team, and they won pretty handily. We drive back to Velox in time to see Jim finishing up his game, and then Jim and I run touch for John in a close game. Velox 45/Vancouver Rowing RFC 47. Home for a shower, and then out for dinner at an Irish pub with 8 in attendance. After dinner, we made a fruitless attempt for more ice cream as they were closed. We were back at the hotel by 10 pm.
Sunday morning, Jim and I walked downtown to find ourselves trapped in a 10k race tour by barriers. We were forced to cross the finish line in a backwards direction. Luckily, the race hadn't started yet and we weren't mobbed by the thirteen thousand people running it. We found a Starbucks and had coffee, and then went back to the hotel. Keith shows up at 10:30 and gives us a ride to the airport. We bid a fond farewell to Canada. Keith Morrison was a true gift to Jim and me.
REFEREEING IN SWITZERLAND
By Preston Gordon
Saturday, April 24th
RC Genève 26-6 RC Nyon
1400, Stade Cherpines, Plan-Les-Ouates
Referee Coach: Rachel Boyland (née Allen)
I thought I'd get some rugby in while on vacation here in Switzerland. First up was this men's NLA (first division) match in the far southwest corner of the country, between Geneva and France. I arrived in Zürich Friday morning, walked off the stiffness from 6000+ miles of flying, drank several liters of water, had a short nap, and hit my favorite Italian joint for some fuel (penne alla casa with chicken) at dinner. My clubmates weren't playing until Sunday, so they attempted to drag me out on the traditional Friday evening pub crawl, but they didn't get too far with that - I took a fairly early taxi home and called it a night.
Saturday morning started with a stop at the grocery store for some breakfast stuff and game supplies. I caught the train into Zürich around 0845, and then the next one to Geneva. I put away another couple of liters of water during the 3.5 hour trip. Once I got there, I found that some things had changed since I was last in town: lots of construction meant that one of the tram stops had moved, and I found myself marooned at a soccer stadium in the wrong town with only 75 minutes until kickoff. Luckily I was able to look up the number for the taxi service on my phone, and even more luckily, I was able to order a taxi in French. I ended up getting to the pitch with an hour to spare, leaving plenty of time to warm up and do the pre-game stuff.
Before the game started we all observed a minute of silence for the Hermance player who lost his life in a recent motorcycle accident.
On to the game... Geneva was 2nd in the standings while Nyon was 7th (out of 8). The game was a fair reflection of that. Geneva opened the scoring in the 3rd minute with a converted try, after Nyon let one of their backs run through most of the defense untouched. The rest of the half was a tussle for possession, but Geneva played the territory better and added 2 more converted tries. Nyon answered with a penalty goal, leaving the halftime score at 21-3.
In the second half the 70-degree heat and humidity seemed to get to the players. It seemed like there was a dropped ball every couple of minutes, and unfortunately there was no opportunity to play advantage most of the time. The repeated scrums soon wore out the forwards, and I really had to loosen the standards in an attempt to let some rugby happen. The players seemed to react positively to that management approach instead of letting things get ugly, and there was a good bit of ball movement in the backlines, but after every 3rd or 4th pass there would be another knock-on. As it turned out, Geneva only added one more unconverted try in the second half while Nyon kicked another penalty goal, leaving the final result at 26-6. The crowd of a hundred or so seemed entertained, even though the rugby on display was not the best.
One thing I found funny was that more than half of these players were expats who didn't speak a word of French. This is a change from a few years ago, where you'd have to find the one guy who spoke English in order to communicate with the teams. I had been watching a lot of Top 14 (the French premiership) rugby lately in order to learn the right words to manage players and describe penalties, but when I found myself shouting "cinc bleu, stop, vous etes hors-jeu" at one of the Genevois, with no effect, I realized it would be a better idea to use both languages. It's an interesting challenge and adds a whole new layer of complexity to the game.
Another couple of liters of water were required after the match in order to fight off the airplane-induced dehydration. After that, I changed and talked over the match with Rachel while watching the first part of the second side game. Geneva's hospitality was quite good, and when the subject of the match fee came up (NLA matches pay the ref 70 francs, equivalent to 70 dollars these days), I told them that while I couldn't be paid to referee the game, I would be happy to take one of their club balls home with me. And so the deal was done, and I headed back to Zürich. The train connection on the way back was via the southern route, which runs along the north shore of the Lake of Geneva with the French and Swiss Alps as a backdrop. Once back in town, I met up for a couple of beers with two old workmates, but that ended pretty early as well since there was a game to do on Sunday.
One other thing: the Geneva guys asked me about coming to Northern California for a tour. I recommended that they aim for October/November as that would be a good time for pre-season games and a chance for some decent weather. The Swiss men's season is split in half, similar to the way the US east coast teams play, so they would be on their winter break then. We exchanged contact information and hopefully something will come of it.
Sunday, April 25th
GC Zürich 2nd XV 55-3 RC Solothurn
1230, Allmend Brunau, Zürich
One of the reasons I picked this time to come to Switzerland was the scheduling - GCZ plays home matches on Sundays, and this weekend and the following one have home games for both the 1sts and 2nds. These are good rugby occasions, with the BBQ going, kegs of beer, and lots of spectators. When I rolled up to the field, I was happily surprised to see about 60 kids playing. The club has had this "academy" for some time now, but it's grown substantially in the last couple of years and that bodes well for the future.
Once I had changed and said hello to everyone it was time to warm up. I found that my need for water wasn't so severe now that I had been on the ground for an extra 24 hours. The weather was pretty similar to the preceding day, about 70 degrees and some clouds. These two teams play in the NLC (third division), and Solothurn is a new entrant to the competition since I was here in 2006. GCZ had a full roster, while Solothurn had exactly 15 men. These two teams played each other in Solothurn the preceding week, where Zürich won 8-5 in a game that was described by several different people as terrible.
While doing the boot check I found one guy wearing American football cleats with toe studs. He was surprised that I asked him to remove them - apparently nobody had objected in the past 2 years. Some referee had apparently even said it didn't matter since the team played in the NLC... nonsense!
We kicked off on time, minus two toe studs. It wasn't long before the home team got their first try. Fitness was not a problem for either of these teams, and there was a lot of good ball movement by both sides. Zürich's execution was a bit better though, and they played the territorial game better. They were also able to win most of their breakdowns, and turn over a couple of Solothurn's. The GCZ fly-half was also hitting conversions from all over the place. At halftime the score was 38-0, from 5 converted tries and a penalty goal.
The second half wasn't quite the same blowout. GCZ took their foot off the gas a bit, and started committing silly penalties, but was able to add another 3 tries (1 of them converted). Solothurn got a consolation score just before the end of the game, putting a penalty goal over shortly after their drop goal attempt was charged down.
The only thing that marred the game were 2 yellow cards. The first one went to a Solothurn player in the 11th minute for a dangerous tackle. The second one went to Zürich in the 77th minute for a very unnecessary act of side entry, thus killing the ball at a ruck in the 22, after I had warned the skipper about the continuing misbehavior. Other than that, this was a great game, and everyone seemed to enjoy the occasion. The players all responded well to the positive management approach and aside from one occasion where I found myself in the way, I was happy with everything. The referee's match fee was redirected to the social fund.
The GCZ first team, which plays in the NLA, kicked off directly afterwards against CERN. I managed to avoid being collared to AR that one in favor of a shower and some food and beer, and enjoyed the sunshine with the rest of the ~200 supporters while watching CERN take a close one at 22-14.
THIS WEEK’S PHOTO
Dave Thomas, Chris Gleiter and Andrew Lin flew up from Southern California (Andrew actually flying the plane) to help keep the rugby running on time at the Pacific Coast High School Invitational Tournament.
For the Senate