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.
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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