Wednesday, December 15, 2010




Phil Akroyd has been promoted to the Pacific Coast’s Territorial Panel.

Rich Boyer has been promoted to L2.

Stephanie Bruce, Bruce Ricard and Jen Tetler have been promoted to L3.

Congratulations to these referees on receipt of their early Christmas presents.


IF YOU WANT TO REFEREE, reply with your availability.

‘Travel’ means more than 90 miles or so each way. Be aware that this only works if everyone is willing to travel at least 2 or 3 times per season: we have a lot of ‘outlying’ teams.

If there is a particular weekend you’d like to plan a trip to Humboldt, Mendocino, Shasta, Reno, Fresno or the Central Coast of Arroyo Grande/Paso Robles, we can plan that right now for any time between now and the end of March. There are some definite romantic weekends at a B&B or hiking/skiing trips that could be arranged. Let’s parley.
Please cut, fill in the blanks, and return to sender:

Jan 8
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Old-Boys Warm-Up:
SOBS 40 – NOBS 15 Referee: Chris Tucker
Helping from the sidelines: Mark Godfrey, Hannah Wilkening
Helping from in between the sidelines: Eason, Wilkening Sr., Boyer Sr., everyone else

Old boys rugger on a wet and slippery pitch in Sacramento was always going to be entertaining. Having had my wisdom teeth out on Wednesday it hurt to blow the whistle, so management and a blind eye was the name of the game. It worked out quite nicely as we went: make sure the ball comes out, that everyone is safe and that the offside line is at least approximately observed. Minor knock-ons? Nah. Hands in? If it helps recycle, sure. Played evenly, nobody seemed to mind.

Sac was a little light on numbers, so they recruited a couple of youth players to help out. After they scored two tries, they were banned from scoring again. Two scrums were awarded for flagrant breach of said law. The next time one got in he deliberately knocked it on -- good awareness.

One note is a little bit of rugby karma. There were only two dangerous tackles, both by the same chap. I had a stern word after the first shoulder charge. 30 seconds later he does it again -- advantage allowed a try to score, and when I looked up to kick the guy out, he was walking off the field with a dislocated shoulder. I told him it was dangerous.

All smiles at the end, and then onto the main tourney...

Present: Don Pattalock, Cary Bertolone, George O'Neil, Phil Akroyd, Rich Boyer; also seen ARing: Chris Tucker, Joe Androvich

Scores from the round-robin:
SAC CAPS 19 – O Club 7 Ref: Pattalock
SF/GOLDEN GATE 31 – Chico 0 Ref: Bertolone
DIABLO GAELS 17 – O Club 7 Ref: O’Neil
DIABLO GAELS 24 – Sac 0 Ref: Akroyd

SFGG 22 – Diablo Gaels 19 Ref: Pattalock
Note: referee definitely outside the 22 when awarding one try...
O CLUB 7 – Chico 5 Ref: Akroyd

Report by Rich Boyer:
What a great day for rugby! Despite no sun the day was relatively warm.

Because of the rain the pitches, however, turned to pea soup later in the day with nary a green blade of grass to be found. Nonetheless, it was a great turnout by the teams and supporters.

SAC CAPS 12 – Chico Mighty Oaks 5 Referee: Rich Boyer
This was a very spirited game with a number of new players representing Sacramento. Good rucking and some good back interchange play, although the pitch conditions prevented it from becoming a true running match. Sac Mens’ scrumhalf/flyhalf connection worked well. Chico’s flyhalf and the big inside center and big 8 dominated play for Chico.

This was a great match in that on the close calls made by this referee against Chico, whenever a Chico player would protest, the captain and 8 man would inform the protesting player that indeed the proper call had been made. It’s nice to have player validation :o)

Credit Sac’s fullback for a nice line break, against the grain, in for the winning try.

DIABLO GAELS 5 – Sac Caps 0 Ref: Boyer
Sac again played a number of new players, some who are literally in their first season of rugby. The pitch really bogged down the play, so Diablo turned towards rolling mauls, which resulted in the only score when the Kiwi openside mauled in from 10 meters. Diablo impressed, with two standout locks, a hard charging prop, and a good back line led by their flyhalf. Sacramento played stout defense and had some good back play, but could not get past the Diablo defense.

11:30AM: Sac Caps Academy – SFGG Academy
Not sure what happened with this one…


Fresno Over-30 – FRESNO UNDER-30 Referee: Dan Wilson
Yes, the unders won by 2 tries. They started strong with a quick try, but the overs got back into the game by playing the team game.

Maritime Academy 5 – ALUMNI 32 Referee: John Coppinger
It was a sunny winter day until a thick fog moved across the pitch just after kickoff; however, the pitch was a muddy bog from the rain earlier in the week.

Alumni were competent and experienced across the side and were paced by strong players at 8 and 13 which allowed them to handle a fitter, but inexperienced, student side.

Paso Robles – ARROYO GRANDE Referee: Mike King
On a bright, sunny afternoon, first year club Paso Robles dedicated its home pitch with its inaugural match against nearby Arroyo Grande.

The visitors may very well be a force to be reckoned with in league play. They already looked sharp and fit, taking early advantage of the new kids on the block. While the entire side played with intensity and skill, in particular, #7 was a presence on offense and defense in the middle, and #10 provided pace in the backs so that they could overlap their counterparts.

Paso Robles has some experienced players, but mainly is comprised of novices to this game. Their early inability to cover the field, led to an onslaught of tries by Arroyo Grande. Progress was made though, and better defense on the perimeter began to materialize. The enthusiasm of Paso Robles did not wane, as they clawed back to score 2 times themselves. Good athleticism was showed by both sides. All who played seemed to enjoy the run to get a taste of what is ahead. The event was followed by a BBQ at field side, so everyone also got the spirit of the post-game celebration.

SANTA ROSA 61 – Vacaville 22 Referee: Tony Levitan
Referee Coach: Dixon Smith
65 and sunny at the full-size-for-rugby, For Pete's Sake pitch in Santa Rosa, the game produced 15 tries on a track that was a bit soggy from the previous night's rain ... We can only imagine what might have happened on a fast track ... And this with the ref coming off a calf injury and looking forward to a plodding forward-oriented match :-).

The opening match for both sides saw loads of running rugby from both teams, with Santa Rosa managing their ball a bit more protectively and productively than Vacaville. Set pieces were minimal, fairly contested and successful for whichever team was putting or throwing in. The players adapted well, mostly, to the new laws, and were intent on playing clean, fast-paced rugby.

For Santa Rosa, their left wing (#11) and mildly-mouthy lock (#5) each scored a hat-trick of tries, while Vacaville's seriously speedy right wing (#19 in this match) yielded a pair of tries -- including one off an Advantage call (which secretly delighted the ref) -- from a host of long, creative runs. For some reason, neither team's try scorers felt compelled to position the ball more favorably for their kickers, so we only saw 4 conversions all day (3 for Santa Rosa).

Dixon was enormously helpful to the ref on a number of points, providing feedback both at halftime and post-game. This returning referee would like to officially pronounce referee coaches a wonderful gift to the NorCal rugby community in general, and his game specifically. And he's not sure why he's writing in the 3rd person...

[Editor’s Note: This editor’s third person understands.]

Santa Rosa 2 – Mendocino Referee: Sean Peters
No report received

Round-robin: Berkeley, Monterey Bay, Haas Biz School
Report by Bryant Byrnes:
Berkeley RC hosted Monterey and Cal's Hass School of Business to a round robin at its home field. Eric Rauscher and I were the blooded Society refs with new Society members Patrick Loo and Jeffrey Ferguson giving it a go. As things sorted themselves out the eight games became five, all spirited, all fun. It was also an excellent opportunity for new players to get a real game in.

The teams very quickly became motleys and so everyone won some and lost some.

Quote from an unnamed ref in response to some post-game squawking about something or another: "Listen, I didn't give you a quarter of the [expletive] penalties I could have". Truth is an absolute defense.

Quote from a flanker with a French accent on getting a penalty for offside at a scrum, having twice unbound and advancing before the ball was out: "But it was not material!" Twice? Overruled.

BERKELEY A 19 – Monterey Bay 7 Referee: Eric Rauscher
TJs: Supplied by team
Tom Bates field, Berkeley
Overcast, a bit chill. A round-robin of three teams ( the other being Haas Business )

This game was closer than the score. Both teams played well for a pre-season game. The game was 40 min played straight through.

There was an injury about 15 min in. Both teams stopped playing without a whistle. It turned out to be a broken or badly sprained ankle.

We restarted play to the attacking team with a scrum where play stopped. There was also an instance of a Monterey Bay player making a valiant effort close to goal, forcing his way through defenders to dot the ball down about six inches over the white line. I awarded the try. Unfortunately the goal line is the blue one, about six inches further. The Berkeley players groused a bit, but accepted the call in a sportsman-like fashion. It is a common mistake on fields marked for more than one type of game.

Berkeley B 7 – MONTEREY BAY 21
It should be noted that the A and B is not a tier, just two different teams. Once again 40 min played straight through. .For the Monterey team this was like the second half, so the combined score would be Berkeley 26/ Monterey Bay 28, a score that indicates the closeness of the play. Once again we had strings of multiple phases with play all over the field.

All in all it was a very enjoyable day of refereeing two teams that played well.

Colusa – Reno Academy CANCELED Referee: Jackie Finck
Reno canceled, so Colusa scrimmaged themselves.

I've never been to a rugby game where the entire pitch is surrounded by muddy pickup trucks, most of them with ATVs in the back! This was my first sign I was in for a good day.

It turned out to be a bittersweet day for the Colusa Men's Rugby team; first home game of the season after a long absence (years) in the town, first/second match ever for most of the team, roughly half the town shows up on the sidelines, but where's the visiting team? Someone checked their overdue voicemail message and it was Reno saying they would be unable to attend Saturday's match.

Nonetheless, Colusa had enough guys to field two sides, so I offered to ref a scrimmage. We played 20-minute halves. Although most of these guys were brand new, I was REALLY impressed with how well they played. The veterans were evenly spread out, constantly communicating with the entire team. And although their scrums were stable and safe, they didn't have the stamina or impact power an experienced team would have. Only a matter of time before the scrum gets "rugbyfied"...this team is made of some big farm boys with All-American football players. Due to the football factor, their backline plays were fast, and the most illusive I have seen this season...they just have to practice keeping hold of that ball.

After the match, I was eager to listen to the interesting history to this rugby team; originally started in 1972. The guys were very hospitable, and we shared laughs at the moment when one of the players pushed me out of the way during the match, which knocked me to the ground (I got in the way of play), and I dove across mud, getting my entire front muddy...and not just mud, but it was farm mud, the kind that smells of farm. Whomever ref's these guys will enjoy their time in Colusa.


Tom Zanarini sent this along last week:

“Thought you might like to see this... Note the TMO.

“12 February 2011
England vs Italy at Twickenham, London
Referee: Craig Joubert (South Africa)
Assistant referees: Peter Fitzgibbon (Ireland), Peter Allan (Scotland)
Television match official: Tony Redmond (Ireland)

“13 March 2011
England vs Scotland at Twickenham, London
Referee: Romain Poite (France)
Assistant referees: Jérôme Garces (France), Carlo Damasco (Italy)
Television match official: Tony Redmond (Ireland)”

But speak of the Devil and he appears: Tony then checked in with a link to his blog about how the duties of the TMO expand when the weather worsens:


The basic rugby referee course will be offered in Sacramento on Sunday, January 9.

Any coach of a college team who attends with one or two players from that team will have their course fees reimbursed at the meeting, courtesy of a friendly donor.

The lead instructor will be Matt Eason: Let him know if you plan to attend. On-line registration is not yet available (as of December 8).

Lois Bukowski, Eugene Baker and Dave Newport in front of the new bar in the SF/Golden Gate clubhouse at the recent NCRRS meeting.


For the Senate
Pelicus Scriptoris

Thursday, December 09, 2010




The Pelican Refs will be meeting in the Golden Gate clubhouse from 7 to 9 PM. Food will be available starting at 6, so plan to arrive early. You can eat and talk rugby if traffic is light, and you won’t be late if it’s not.


The USA High School All Americans will be playing Canada U-17 two games in Santa Barbara, on Wednesday, December 29 at 3 PM and Friday, December 31, at 9 AM.

SoCal is putting out a call for ARs but so are we, in case they don’t get volunteers to cover these work-day games.

Your scribe will be one of the ARs for the Wednesday game. Don Pattalock and Joe Androvich have been appointed to ref the two games.


NorCal rugby is growing. There are going to be 25 youth clubs in the Bay Area alone (this number doesn’t include the Sac Valley, which has been the pioneer here). Each of these will have multiple sides beginning as young as Under-6 up to U-14.

At the opposite end, club and college rugby features a number of new teams as well.

Men’s club:
SL: One. SFGG played in the league final each of the last two years.
D1: Seven teams, Reno Zephyrs having dropped down and East Palo Alto Bulldogs as a new entrant. Five of these teams have scheduled matches with SF/Golden Gate prior to the start of the SL season.
D2: Ten teams, playing a round-robin. Same teams as last year less Vallejo and Arroyo Grande.
D3: Sixteen teams, divided into North and South conferences of eight teams each.
There would be seventeen except that Monterey organized too late to be put into the schedule. They will be combining with Aptos as Monterey Bay for the season.

New teams include: South Valley (Morgan Hill), Paso Robles, Colusa, Reno Academy, and Samoa United. The Reno Zephyrs, Vallejo and AG have dropped down to D3.

Men’s college:
CPL: Three. California, St. Mary’s and UC Davis will compete in the inaugural season of the new premier division.
D1: Four. Santa Clara will move up from D2 to compete with Chico State, Sac State and Stanford.
D2: Eleven teams divided into two conferences.

Women’s College:
D1: Six teams, with UC Santa Cruz having moved up from D2. Chico State is new. Nevada has dropped down.
D2: Four. St. Mary’s and USF have vanished. The SF Bats are new. Perhaps they represent SF State?


Tuesday, November 30
STANFORD women 60 – California 0 Referee: Pete Smith
This game was a bit one sided on the scoreboard at 60-0. However, if you were watching the game on TV and were just glancing at the set from time to time and didn’t see the score, you would think that the team with 0 was winning. They dominated possession and position, but time and time again, Stanford would get the turnover they needed and would run back, typically all the way, for a try. The majority of Stanford’s tries were scored from over halfway. Cal would have long periods of sustained pressure only to have Stanford counter punch with a length-of-the-field haymaker. Stanford ran one out from 15M deep in their own try zone, made it to the 22, won the ruck, took off again, next tackle at the Cal 10M line and then in for the try from there. Emilia from Stanford had the play of the game as she took off from the shadow of her own goalpost, chipped the ball over the defense, grubbed the bounce past the full back, picked the ball up about their own 10M line, passed it out to the wing who was caught from behind, but Emilia was in support to catch the return pass and as she was being tackled off loaded to the try scorer-WOW!!!! Note that Cal was there the length of the field to make tackles; Stanford was just too good in support and keeping the ball alive. Stanford has some good forwards (particularly the loose forwards) and they are still learning to work together as a unit up front, but as usual the strength of Stanford is their backs. They BELIEVE that they can score from anywhere on the field. Cal needs to learn how to finish and they will be a strong team this year.


MARITIME ACADEMY 25 – UC Davis 20 Referee: Paul Bretz
AR: Bruce Bernstein

Seconds: Maritime Academy 12 – UC DAVIS 20 Referee: Bruce Bernstein
Saw two very competitive well coached matches Friday night at CMA in Vallejo. Was slightly less cold & windy & muddy reffing the seconds after ARing the firsts. Both games could have went easily went either way & the highlights in my match were: CMA's flyhalf caught & distributed some great ball that was all over & he never knocked on; CMA's 2nd row & lankiest player on the pitch scored 2 really nice tries by extending his long arms juts across the try line; UC Davis flyhalf had a slithering run for a great try; & after the match heard a comment form one of the losers: “That was an entertaining game.”



St. Mary’s hosted four matches with their large squad of players. The Gaels’ packs were stronger than their opponents’ in all four matches, a remarkable depth of front-row not normally seen at any level.

ST. MARY’S 4, 37 – San Francisco State 5 Referee: John Pohlman
This Saturday took me to the St. Mary's rugby experience. I call the day this in tribute to the rugby program they have built.

I arrived around 9:00am for a 10:00AM kickoff. I was scheduled to do St. Mary's fourth side against SFSU. That is correct St. Mary's is fielding four sides.

The weather was low 50's a couple of sprinkles throughout the game. But all and all very good rugby conditions.

St. Mary's had good size and some faces I recognized from high school programs. They obviously had plenty of players.

Coach Dean has SFSU on the upswing. They had some injuries to their back-line. The captain and #10 was out. This hurt their organization and go forward. Eventually St. Mary's needed to give a player to SFSU.

The game was pretty one-sided. The St. Mary's players seemed to have run the entire Thanksgiving break. Fitness was the primary difference.

St. Mary's scored five first half trys. They added one more in the second half.

To SFSU’s credit they scored the final try and I blew my whistle to end the game.

I stayed around the whole day. Watching the other St. Mary's sides play two GG teams and finish the day with another one-sided game against Humboldt State.

After I had a chat with head coach Tim O'Brien whole said they have 63 very committed players. If their fitness is testimony to their commitment, look out.

I also noticed an physical edge to the players throughout the four sides. No backing down.

If you get a chance catch the Gaels.

St. Mary's 3, 14 – SF/GOLDEN GATE seconds 75 Referee: Bruce Carter
ARs: Eric Rauscher, Anthony Yeo
This team was largely SFGG’s D2 squad with some real youngsters and a few transfers from around the Bay. A lot of tries were scored from long range, giving the ref the kind of workout referees hope for in the pre-season.

St. MARY’S 30 – SF/Golden Gate 15 Referee: George O'Neil
ARs: Eric Rauscher, John Pohlman
Video-coach: Bruce Carter

St. MARY’S seconds 78 – Humboldt State 7 Referee: Anthony Yeo (SoCal)
ARs: Eric Rauscher, John Coppinger
Evaluator: Dixon Smith
Video-coach: Bruce Carter

U. of the Pacific 17 – U. OF SAN FRANCISCO 39 Referee: Rich Boyer
AR: Ron Decausemaker
Referee Coach: Scott Wood

I was fortunate enough to referee on the finest pitch in Northern California (in my opinion), bar none. UOP’s pitch is fantastic!

UOP is a young team, but they came out swinging and played to a 12-12 tie at halftime. USF had fewer numbers, but their experience showed in the second half as they won a game closer than the final score indicates. UOP had the stronger pack (even taking a penalty scrum from five meters out in for a try), but USF had the more experienced backs, which was the difference for the day.

USF captain Paddy, from Worcester, England, played flyhalf and was easily man of the match. Great ball handling skills, an eye for the quick tap penalty, and a good burst through the gap separated him from all others. Although only 22, he played professionally for Worcester, then coached in Brisbane, having the opportunity to coach Wallaby sensation James O'Connor.

UOP has improved tremendously since I last reffed them in October, with numbers 6 and 8 very hard men indeed. Solid runners and willing, strong tacklers.

Good sportsmanship, and a good game!

Special thanks to Ron DeCausemaker for offering to run touch, and to Scott Wood for his insight into the game.

Fresno State 19 – FRESNO 33 Referee: Phil Akroyd
AR: Dan Wilson
Both teams made hard work of this. Game was pretty even until half. The men dominated the ruck but didn't use the ball too effectively while State thrived in broken play. Not a bad game for pre season but not the best either.

SHASTA 17 – SF Fog 12 Referee: Mike King
Bingham Stein Game
The match commenced on schedule on a relatively dry surface and no rain. There were some patches of mud that played occasional havoc on footing. Play was a bit sloppy at first with dropped balls slowing several attacks down. Shasta struck first with its charging forwards attack, but its tactics changed after several substitutions in the backfield. The Highlanders became more effective in counterattack when the Fog would kick ahead. The Fog’s #10 was near perfect kicking for goal, slotting 2 first half penalty kicks and 2 in the second half. Unfortunately, the drives of the Fog near Shasta’s goal did not lead to paydirt. With the ref off his game a bit, there was some chippiness that settled down. Kudos for both sides, especially the Fog who traveled a long way to slide in the mud and for the post-game pint

SIERRA COLLEGE 59 – Nevada 14 Referee: Joe Androvich
To any referee who gets a SCJC assignment, be prepared for a fast run, especially if they are playing on the football team's field turf. These guys play a fast-paced game.

Seconds: SIERRA COLLEGE 44 – Nevada 10 Referee: Jackie von Finck
ARs: Rod Chance and Marc Godfrey
The weather behaved nicely that afternoon for a 3pm b-side match. Sierra College had a full fresh side for their B-game, whereas UNR needed roughly five A-side players to fill a B-side team.

Sierra College executed great communication with each other throughout the match; players knew who was at the off-side lines at rucks/mauls/tackles which were defensively stocked without gaps, and arriving players were vocal as to their support of their teammate being contested. It was during the second half UNR gave Sierra a good contest; UNR quickly swung the ball wide to the outer edge of the field to score both times. Nonetheless, Sierra College was more vocally and physically hungry for the ball.

Overall, both teams did an excellent job and I really enjoyed my time out there...running on turf made me feel faster! Looking back, both teams were low on penalties during their B-side match. That said, I did have the assistance of two good touch judges who kept a 'third eye' out for me.

MONTEREY BAY 17 – Marauders 6 Referee: Bryant Byrnes

The odd fellows that are referees; I drive 2 hours to do a match that is 10 minutes away from Bruce Carter’s house, and he drives 2 hours to do a match 10 minutes away from mine.

I liked Monterey Bay. It has the makings of an excellent D3 and with some seasoning a creditable D2.

In lovely Monterey; dry but atmospherically dramatic. Monterey has merged with Aptos, resulting in excellent numbers; it had 30 plus. The Marauders are an ''independent'', whatever that means. Some oldsters, but they certainly came to play.

These being early days and D3, it took a bit to get the tackles lower, off side lines established, and the sea lawyers under control (this last being a worthy subject in a Society meeting). But then a game broke out. First try by Monterey at 22 minutes, 12-3 to them at half. Then good multiphase stuff. With a minute left and on the attack, the Marauders had a chance- but the other fellows got the ball at a tackle and dotted it in the corner as the siren sounded.

SAN JOSE STATE 28 – Santa Rosa JC 15 Referee: Pete Smith
It was an odd game that felt more like a scrimmage than a preseason game between two of the best Div 2 teams around. SRJC was short on numbers, especially in the front row, and clearly wasn’t the team that I was expecting. The players had fun and got a good run in. All in all a good rugby day.

Seconds: San Jose State – Santa Rosa JC Referee: Rob Hendrickson
Santa Rosa JC had too many injuries to field a B side, so SJ put up forwards and we played a 20 minute half/game. Not worth reporting as a game.

UC SANTA CRUZ women over San Jose State Referee: Sandy Robertson
The two teams got together for a scrimmage--both teams showed great enthusiasm, energy, and gentleness towards the referee. They ran and tackled hard. UCSC's greater experience and time together proved to be the difference (San Jose State included both students and Seahawks women). After going down a couple of tries the SJS women put together a sustained march to put one down under the post.

MORGAN HILL 35 – Modesto 6 Referee: Chris Fisher


The basic rugby referee course will be offered in Sacramento on Sunday, January 9.

Any coach of a college team who attends with one or two players from that team will have their course fees reimbursed at the meeting, courtesy of a friendly donor.

The lead instructor will be Matt Eason: Let him know if you plan to attend. On-line registration still does not appear to be available as of December 8.


Ever fallen into a wormhole? Start with the slider all the way to the right and proceed down the scale for the full effect.


For the Senate
Pelicus Scriptoris