Wednesday, February 24, 2010

OUR NEW RUGBY FRIENDS

HAIL, PELICUS!

BANQUET FOR EAST MIDS MARCH 20

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

Pelicans planning to attend should RSVP to Bjorn Stumer ASAP: bstumer@comcast.net

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

SPOT ANYONE YOU KNOW?

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

http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=K3j9taoTd0E&feature=email

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

AVAILABILITY FOR MARCH

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

Travel? Yes/No
March 13
March 20
March 27

THE HEART OF THE MATTER

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

Final Score: EPA 14 - Reno 10

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

SFGG SL – Sacramento Capitals CANCELED

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

Stanislaus – Chico Referee: Jim Crenshaw
No report received.

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

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

Thanks to all involved for a good day of rugby.

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

Sac State 17 – CHICO STATE 19 Referee: Tom Zanarini

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=bs6VMcD3N8A&feature=related

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

HIGH SCHOOL

Thursday

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

Friday

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

Saturday

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

BELLARMINE 63 – Berkeley 0 Referee: Chris Fisher

THIS WEEK’S PHOTO

No photo. Deal with it.

HAIL, PELICUS!

For the Senate
Pelicus Scriptoris

Friday, February 19, 2010

BETTER LATE THAN SOCCER

HAIL, PELICUS!

AVAILABILITY FOR MARCH

Please respond with your availability to referee and travel:

Travel? Yes/No
March 13
March 20
March 27

PENINSULA/SOUTH BAY HIGH SCHOOL REFEREEING

Sandy Robertson occasionally receives inquiries from HS (under 19) coaches on the Peninsula who are looking for a referee for an upcoming match. If you, on occasion, might be interested in doing one of these matches, send Sandy an email and he will alert you of teams looking for referees: sandrob@stanford.edu

NORCAL GIRLS HIGH SCHOOL REFEREEING:
U19 Girls friendly Referees needed
By Rod Chance rodc@comcast.net:

I’m putting together a list of U19 Girls friendly Referees. If you are interested in helping and want to be on the list, please send back the following contact information.

Name:
Home phone:
Work phone:
Cell:
E-mail(s):
Home location (town):
Best way to contact:
Are you or have you been a member of the NCRFU Referee Society: Yes/No.
If so, what is your current Grade?

Current Teams & Home Field Location
Alameda RFC - East Bay Area
Amazons - Sacramento
Berkeley - Treasure Island
Bishop O'Dowd HS - Oakland
Davis Lady Devils - Davis
Elsie Allan - Santa Rosa
Humboldt - Fortuna
Mother Lode - East Sacramento

Karen Chance
NorCal Girls U-19 Coordinator
916-792-6644

NOTE TO SEVENS FANS

With the excitement of the long weekend in Vegas and then with the crush of an unusually-busy work week, we haven’t written any value-added editorial material for this week’s edition of HP. Barely have time to write this…

GOOD GAME IN VEGAS

University of Utah 22 – UNIVERSITY OF VICTORIA 38 Referee: Chris Tucker
A swift red card made this a worthwhile competition, as a 15-man Utah team was able to keep up with the more skilled U Vic team who came down for some sunshine, some 7s, oh and a little rugger too. It was my second red card of the day, having already flagged one in the earlier game. Both were for dropping an opponent on his head. One day soon players will get the message that this is not OK. To their credit, both opponents apologised to their victims...

This evened up the scrum, in which U Vic had been crushing Utah in the early going. Now there was even ball on both sides, but the Canadian backs were clearly superior. Utah kept it close; within 4 with 10 minutes to go, but a couple of late tries sealed it. A last gasp Utah attempt to score from a 5m penalty failed when the kicker sliced his tap and the entire front row overran the ball. The slightest touch from a defender made the obstruction material, and that was that. Then the party started with 7s all weekend....

Wednesday, February 10
CALIFORNIA 39 – Cal Maritime Academy 3 Referee: Rich Anderson
ARs: John Coppinger, Rob Hendrickson

Nothing better mid-week than being assigned a match. It makes the work week fly by. Better yet, the match was at Cal and I was being assisted by two friends, John Coppinger and Rob Hendrickson.

Cal Started a Frosh/Soph squad that kept the attack on for 80 minutes. Maritime matched Cal's aggression early in the match, but got worn down later, allowing the Bears to put the match away in the Second half.

Thursday, Feb. 11
Seconds: CALIFORNIA women 25 – Stanford 12 Referee: Bruce Bernstein
Gilman artificial turf field
Close at half only 15-12, Berkeley women pulled ahead led by their center who crashed over & by many Stanford defenders for multiple tries.

Saturday

Chico State 18 – UC DAVIS 26 Referee: Jim Crenshaw
Saturday morning, I fired up the old jalopy and cruised out the backroads from Woodland to Chico. This is the shortest route and is like an old friend as I started making this trip on Saturday afternoons during the summer when I was 19, but that's another story.

It brings back fond memories of what used to be along the route, what has survived the 40 plus years since and what's missing. The rice fields past Robbins are still there, but are no longer dry this time of year. Now they are full of water, so that the stubble that used to be burned every fall will now rot in the water in time for the spring plowing and planting. Colusa bypass had water in it from bank to bank thanks to the recent rains and a few ducks, geese and swans were still in attendance.

The soon-to-bloom peach, plum and walnut orchards along the George Washington Blvd. shortcut are all still there, although some are second generation, but after one makes the turn on Highway 20 to Yuba City, the new malls, big box stores and housing look plastic and out of place to me. Each generation gets its own point of reference and I miss the orchards, lack of traffic and traffic lights. Maybe we really do need another new Starbucks, Wal-Mart and Home Depot...

Chico State was hosting UC Davis and it promised to be a well contested match. Davis won the toss and elected to kick-off. Chico was very aggressive in the first half and at times pushed the envelope just a little too much resulting in a couple of not-releasing penalties and 2 Davis penalty kicks in the first 20 minutes of the match. The Chico pressure took its toll as a Davis player was caught all alone resulting in a Davis failure to release penalty in front of the posts.

Chico converted the penalty and a few minutes later scored an unconverted try to take the lead 8 to 6. Davis kicked another penalty kick, but Chico returned the favor at the end of the half the lead 11 to 9 at halftime.

Chico started the second half like the first, very aggressively, pressuring Davis for the first 10 minutes or so, but another failure to release, the resulting yellow card and the penalty kick by Davis slowed them down a bit.

With the score now 12 to 11, a little too much pent-up frustration and a punch in a ruck from a Chico prop with the resulting yellow gave Davis the opening that they needed with a converted try being the result a few minutes later.

Chico was back to full strength, but Davis now had the lead 19 to 11 and, more importantly, had gained the momentum. Davis scored another converted try late in the half to put the game away.

Chico didn't give up and scored the final converted try of the match with no time remaining to make the final score Davis 26 Chico 18.

Seconds: Chico State 21 – UC Davis 21 Referee: Cary Bertolone
After T.J. for Crenshaw and the first game, we had a spirited game with Chico State taking a 21-0 lead by half and Davis coming back to tie the game 21-21 by the end. Both teams had so many numbers, we played an additional 40 minutes for a third side game and Davis won 12-5.

Stanford 15 – Sac State 15 Referee: Roberto Santiago
AR: Rod Chance
Evaluator: Dixon Smith
Since Dixon was kind enough to come out and watch me I'll let him take the floor to start.

"This Men’s Collegiate Division 1 match was played on the Stanford practice football field as the rugby field was closed for rehabilitation. The field of play was 70m by 100m with 10m in-goals. The goal posts were on the dead-ball line. The turf was in very good condition, dry and firm. It was sunny, 65 F, with no wind, There were about 150 spectators. Roberto was assisted by AR Rod Chance and Stanford player as TJ.

“The two teams were evenly matched in skill and desire, but Sac State had a dominant scrum. At no time was one team more than five points ahead of their opponent. Stanford started strong and kept procession in Sac State territory for most of the first 20 minutes. Stanford scored first, an unconverted try at 22 minutes. Then the visitors took control and scored two tries to take a 10 to 5 half time lead."

Thanks Dixon. I'll add that the Sac State place kicker, who was a dead eye during warm ups, missed one of his conversion kicks from just about directly dead center.

The second half was more of the same. Both teams had decent attacking phases but found scores hard to come by. Stanford scored first to tie the game at 53:00. Sac State got back on top at 69:00. Lo, the sac State kicker missed another conversion from just about directly in front of the posts. This would prove important later.

Over the next ten minutes both teams got happy with kicking for territory with play continuing back and forth up and down the field. Sac State controlled the game for eight of those ten minutes. In the last two minutes of the game Stanford put Sac State under heavy pressure. The visitors seemed resolute and only had to play defense for thirty more seconds without any mental errors. This would prove important right away. With under a minute to play Stanford had possession at a ruck. It looked for all the world like Sac State was set up to turn the Cardinal back. But as the home halfback dug the ball out one of the Sac State flankers dove off his feet through the ruck and slapped scrummy's wrists. It was at the ensuing penalty that Sac decided not to defend. The Stanford 9 took the quick tap and ran it in for a score in the corner. The Stanford kicker was unable to make a very difficult conversion from just off the touch line and both teams avoided a loss.

Many thanks to both teams, both coaches, my traveling AR Rod Chance and a big thanks to Dixon for coming out and meeting with me after the game.

Seconds: Stanford – Sac State CANCELED

San Jose State 10 – NEVADA 22 Referee: Rich Anderson
What this match lacked in technique, it more than made up with attitude. Both squads continued the attack throughout the match, sometimes positively, sometimes forcing penalties. At the end of the day, Nevada-Reno's play was more sound.

San Jose State seconds 12 – SEAHAWKS OLDE BOYS (and others) 25 Ref: Anderson

SANTA ROSA JC 52 – San Francisco State 0 Referee: Joe Leisek
For Pete's Sake Field, Santa Rosa
Touch Judges: Dominic Patrick, SRJC; Jack Turner, SF State
With a deep roster featuring players with years of local high school rugby experience, Santa Rosa Junior College played with speed, strength, and confidence. The hosts scored four tries in each half, spinning the ball wide and maintaining possession well at the breakdown. SF State is enthusiastic and learning, and never gave up throughout the match. All credit to them. The SRJC backline is particularly strong this year, with flyhalf Pita Meanata directing switches and skipping players with long passes out wide. The centers are also playing well, with Austin Mount making a strong impression. In the forwards, No. 8 Bryce Paulson is a player to watch. Fun match to referee, always a pleasure to be at For Pete's Sake.

Thanks to Dom and Jack for their help throughout the match. Both were a pleasure to work with.

Sac State women 0 – STANFORD 56 Referee: Joe Androvich
Bright sunny morning. Field in excellent condition even with the recent storms. Stanford looked strong and dominated the scoreboard. Sac State has the fundamentals of a good team, but just needs more experience in division 1. Otherwise great match.

Sunday

U. of San Francisco 3 – NEVADA 48 Referee: Preston Gordon
University of San Francisco 3-48 University of Nevada, Reno
Sunday, February 14th, 1300

When I first saw this assignment, it was listed as USF Women - Reno. A couple of days beforehand that was straightened out, and with Saturday's high school game, I had a pretty solid weekend of rugby. The rain held off, so the city allowed the game to proceed on the Polo Fields. However, they didn't unlock the gates until well past 1300, so some obstacle negotiation was required by everyone.

I was also surprised to find out that this was a league match - good thing I had a couple of extra copies of the match card in my bag. We got the formalities out of the way and kicked off on time.

USF was enthusiastic, and held their own in the scrums, but UNR was definitely the stronger team. Even though the Nevada guys had played San Jose State the day before (with the occasional black eye to show for it), they were faster, read the game better, and had the edge at the breakdowns. Their backline did an especially good job controlling the game and making territorial gains with ball in hand.

At halftime the score was 3-26 in favor of the visitors, who notched 4 tries and 3 conversions. It was a warm day, and even though the pitch was small (90m x 60m), we were all getting a lot of work done. Neither side backed down from the physical confrontation; there were 2 blood subs and a couple of moments where it appeared that the packs were about to exchange pleasantries after a reset scrum, but luckily they realized that might have been a bad idea with the ref watching from close by. (A general note to the backs: do not run towards one of these situations. It can only end badly, either by sanctions for being the third man in, or - probably worse - getting to grips with a forward.)

UNR kept up the pressure in the second half with 4 more tries and 1 conversion, helped by a late yellow card to one of the Dons for killing a quick-tap penalty from within 10 meters. Upon reflection, that decision may have been a bit harsh given the scoreline at that point and the 2 offenders being rookies, but then again this was a league game.

Thanks to the Nevada coach and the injured USF player for handling the touchline, and to the city's parks & rec staff for opening the gates - the obstacles would definitely have been harder to negotiate after that match.

USF women – Humboldt State CANCELED

HIGH SCHOOL

Friday

Rio Linda 7 – DIXON 50 Referee: Scott Wood
TJs: John (Rio Linda), Chris (Dixon)
Location: Rio Linda High School Football Stadium

Rio Linda hosted Dixon in a lighted stadium complete with an artificial turf lined primarily for football but also with (dark) soccer markings. I heart "new generation" turf fields. My knees are happy after the match and, if little bits of rubber stay out of my shoes, so are my feet. After serving as a buffet for mosquitoes, we got underway. Dixon capitalized off overlaps and switches to score five tries in the first half. Rio Linda fought hard but lack cohesiveness. Kudos to their captain/hooker, Johnny, for trying his best to get his team setup and into the action. A penalty by Dixon led to Rio Linda's lone try in the second period. While frustration was evident on the host's faces, they never lost discipline and battled for the entire 70 minutes.

VACAVILLE 21 – Christian Brothers 20 Referee: Jim Crenshaw
It was a very exciting match as both teams are well coached and played very well.

It was a back and forth match with CB scoring an unconverted try first followed by a converted try by Vacaville. CB answered late in the half to retake the lead with an unconverted try, making the halftime score CB 10 Vacaville 7. Vacaville started the scoring in the second half with a converted try about mid-way through the half to regain the lead 14 to 10. CB returned the favor a few minutes later to make it 15 to 14.

With about 10 minutes left Vacaville score another converted try to lead once again 21 to 15. CB scored the final try with no time left, but missed the conversion to give Vacaville a 21 to 20 win.

Saturday

Elsie Allen 0 – JESUIT 43 Referee: Scott Wood
TJs: Dan (Elsie Allen), Pat (Jesuit)
Another day, another newgen turf field. Oh, happy me! The downside being a pig/sheep farm adjacent to the pitch from which wafted the aroma of agriculture ("where the hell are we?" Pookie asked as we neared the pitch). A relatively small host team versus built-for-speed visitors were the ingredients for this match. Jesuit was slow to get going and Elsie Allen was able to keep the score to 14-0 by halftime. Well, I say "slow" but it felt like I covered more distance in the first half of this match than in the entire full time of many matches. Upon hearing five minutes were left, one player commented, "In the first half?!?" The second half opened up for Jesuit as they found their stride on the outside running lines. By full time, both teams were gassed (well, certainly I was) as they met midfield to honor their respective best forward and back. Elsie Allen awarded the coveted "Matt Eshoo Cup" to Jesuit, promising to try their best to collect it at next year's test.

Side note and other tidbits: Apologies to leaving Bjorn before the end of his match. Pookie was unable to further continue loading her (our) lungs with the aforementioned aroma and we had a Gooch dinner to attend. The following day, I took my lovely wife on a tour. We visited the Charles M. Schultz Museum (aka "Snoopy Museum), attempted to enter Muir Woods (epic fail), had a wonderful lunch at Piazza D'Angelo in Mill Valley, walked halfway across the Golden Gate Bridge (time limited the full span), meandered through the Marin Headlands, and returned home exhausted and exhilarated.

JV: Elsie Allen 5 – JESUIT 65 Referee: Bjorn Stumer
The score pretty much says it all. The Jesuit kids were just too big, fast, and well-drilled for Elsie Allen who however, to their credit, never stopped fighting. The condition of the pitch, enthusiasm of the young players, and sportsmanship of the coaches were all just super.

Sierra Foothills 0 – JESUIT 56 Referee: Phil Akroyd
This was the first Sac Valley league game of the season and Jesuit came out looking sharp. They had the game wrapped up with 28 minutes played with their fourth try. They led by 24 to 0 and didn’t look like conceding a try.

At half-time, the Marauders were up by 34 unanswered points and they brought in their B side for the second half. This was a closer contest and the Golden Eagles only let in two tries.

JV: Bellarmine Prep School 10 – DE LA SALLE 46 Referee: Stephen Moore
A scrappy game all up with lots of discipline issues from players and side line supervisors. An inexperienced Bellarmine side versus a physically stronger De la Salle side. De la Salle discipline improved in the second half helping them move from a 5 point margin at half time (score 15-10) to add five more tries against a frustrated and depleted Bellarmine. One yellow card was given to a Bellarmine player in the first half for repeated break down infringements. In the second half a yellow card was given to a De La Salle player for same. Surprisingly the same yellow carded Bellarmine player repeated same in the second. A red card was given to him.

MONTGOMERY 14 – Santa Rosa/Cardinal Newman 7 Referee: Cary Bertolone
On Friday evening at Montgomery High School in Santa Rosa, we had two games between Santa Rosa/Cardinal Newman vs Montgomery. It was lightly raining, under lights with a new artificial turf surface. Lots of fun, Montgomery won the first game 14-7 and Rosa won the second game 31-5. Montgomery has some big forwards.

JV: Montgomery 5 – SANTA ROSA/CARDINAL NEWMAN 31 Ref: Bertolone

MARIN HIGHLANDERS 31 – Christian Brothers 15 Referee: Preston Gordon
This was a high school pre-season matchup that was well contested at Redwood HS in Larkspur. The score was 16-5 at the half, and was a pretty accurate representation of where the two teams stand. Although the number of tries was equal (3 each), the difference was in the goal kicking. Marin's goal kicker hit 4 penalty kicks from healthy distances, and contributed 16 of his team's points (he was the one taking the conversions too, if I recall correctly, and hit 2/3).

Of note: one of the coaches had a question before the game about U19 law variations concerning the maul. This was a surprise to me (there aren't any), and after we talked about it for a bit he told me that something was decided at the Kick-Off Tournament about mauls only being allowed to move for a meter and a half in high school rugby. I had never heard of such a thing, so I went by the book, but if such a decision was taken it would be good to spread the word.

SFGG Frosh/Soph 47 – Diablo Frosh/Soph 27 Referee: Bruce Bernstein
At Treasure Island
SFGG went up 47-0 at half & held on as Diablo similarly controlled the second half scoring 27 unanswered points with some of their explosive backs.

PLEASANTON 38 – Live Oak 22 Referee: Chris Fisher

DE LA SALLE 40 – Bellamine 22 Ref: Fisher

SILICON VALLEY 30 – Oakland Warthogs 5 Referee: Bryant Byrnes
A pretty rugby day on the Fog's TI pitch with well-coached, disciplined players. SV is the real deal- a big and fairly mobile pack, an excellent backline with a savvy standoff and speedster wing. It led 20-0 at half.

A good day for SV. But in spite of the score, this was a great day for the Warthogs-for it was the club's first official match. Initially tentative, one could see them figure it out as the game progressed; crisper hard tackles, running straight, good rucking-and their first try! Congratulations to everyone.

FROM ED TOOD

Good thing this doesn’t happen every day:

http://news.bbc.co.uk/2/hi/asia-pacific/8520027.stm

HEAVEN GAINS A WINGER
Report by Robbie Bellue:

It is with great sadness to announce that Slug Rugby has lost one of their own. On the evening of February 6, Ben Quaye was in an accident in Santa Cruz and died. Ben exemplified everything that is good in this world and will be missed. On and off the pitch he gave 100% in an effort to make himself and those around him better. Ben was 21 years old and is from Pasadena, Ca. The day he passed, Ben had an epic game and scored a try against Humboldt....his mom had comfort in that. As for the Slugs, we are committed to his legacy....on and off the pitch.

NEWSPAPER JUNKIE? WANDERLUST? HOMESICK?

Just put your mouse on a city anywhere in the world and the newspaper headlines pop up.

Double click and the page gets larger....you can read the entire paper on some if you click on the right place. You can spend forever here.

http://www.newseum.org/todaysfrontpages/flash/

THIS WEEK’S PHOTO
Welcome to Sevens
Pelicus Septenae welcomes you to Sam Boyd Stadium.

HAIL, PELICUS!

For the Senate
Pelicus Scriptoris

Thursday, February 11, 2010

YOUTHQUAKE

HAIL, PELICUS!

YOUTHQUAKE

When did ‘youth rugby’ refer to the high school game? Two years ago?

No more. So sudden are the changes it feels like a wormhole opened and deposited a Youth Rugby Quadrant into Northern California. So sudden, at least, to those of us who have not been doing the work for the past five years...

NorCal high school freshmen teams will consist largely of veteran players in a few years if what happens on Sunday mornings at pitches around Pelicanland is any indication, and college coaches will be working with players who’ve been living on the oval planet half their lives soon thereafter.

Faithful readers will have noted the elevation of Ben Bravo through the touch judge ranks over the past five months, doing the Stanford-UC Davis men’s firsts this past Saturday. Sunday he graduated to try-scoring winger for the Santa Clara Youth U12 team, tallying two and being robbed of a third only by an errant whistle.

But the real story: little kids are playing rugby in great numbers and you need to see it to revel in it.

Host Lamorinda put three U12 teams onto the sub-divided Pat Vincent Memorial pitch simultaneously Sunday morning to play Santa Clara, Marin and Danville. I’m told that the visiting teams could all field multiple sides were they playing at home, and in fact their kids were playing intra-squad games among the non-travelers.

When we arrived, the U10s were playing in equal numbers.

Want to see large groups of people fall in love with our game? Want to help them?

We encourage our readers to contact their nearest youth rugby organization and show up to help out. ‘Real’ referees are appreciated but be sure to bring your coaching hat and your least keen eye for minor infractions.

You’ll get that good feeling that arises from a lot of appreciate pats on the back, a hot dog and a bottle of Gatorade.

‘LAST CALL’ FOR ROOMS IN YOSEMITE

We have in hand an offer for discounted rooms in Yosemite for while our English visitors will be here. This is the evening of March 17, a Wednesday. The reservations need to be made a month in advance.

So far we have Eric Rauscher and Bruce Carter to accompany the five tourists.

If you would like to join us and have the society pay for your accommodation, please let us know within the next week. Rooms will still be available but you may need to pay the premium for later reservations.

GAMES PLAYED AND NOT PLAYED

Note to those who didn't send in match reports: We need to know if the match was not played (otherwise the teams get billed for a referee) and we need to know the score if it was. Thanks.

SFGG – East Palo Alto CANCELED

Sac Lions 10 – OLYMPIC CLUB 27 Referee: John Coppinger
ARs: Eugene Baker, Rich Boyer
In-Goal Judges: Rod Chance, Mark Godfrey
Evaluator: Kat Todd-Schwartz
O Club's pack dominated possession in the set pieces, particularly in scrums where Eagles Kort Shubert and Lou Stanfill were able to consistently pick up the ball and make steady gains into the Sac Lion defense, and cruised toward towards a muddy win on the sloppy, greasy surface of Luther Burbank High's football field in Sacramento last Saturday. The halftime score was 19-5.

Sac Lions tried to play an expansive game, but the effort was blunted by the narrow dimensions of the Luther Burbank football field, the muddy conditions made worse by the McCaltchey/Del Campo U 19 match that immediately preceded the Lions/O Club tilt, and the O Club defense.

I was ably assisted by ARs Gene Baker and Rich Boyer and in-goal judges Rod Chance and Mark Godfrey (hence the reference to the French manner of doing things). My thanks to Kat Todd-Schwartz for the assessment and Jim Crenshaw for the coaching. Also in attendance were Pelicans Joe Androvich, Tony Latu, and Ray Schwartz.

Seconds: Sac Lions – Olympic Club Referee: Jim Crenshaw
No report received.

Reno – Sac Capitals Referee: Chris Tucker
No report received.

Seconds: Reno – Sac Capitals Referee: Craig Lusiani
No report received.

BARBARIANS 43 – San Mateo 19 Referee: Paul Bretz
ARs: Hennie Strydom, Austin Pedersen
Thanks to Hennie Strydom and Austin Pedersen for running touch. Austin is one of 14 players that the Pleasanton Cavaliers High School Club put through the referee certification course as part of an initiative the East Bay high school league has implemented to get high school students refereeing. I asked Dixon Smith to help Austin run the side lines and both did a fine job. Austin was in the right position at the right time and even confirmed that a try was scored in the corner of goal. Unfortunately Hennie was not so fortunate as he did not heed my words to stay further away from play and ended up getting hurt when a player took his legs out from underneath him. We hope the knee injury is just a strain. I'm pleased to say that another of my High school players refereed his first U14 match between Diablo and Danville.

The Bay Area Barbarians put San Mateo to the sword as they defeated San Mateo 43-19 at Pepsi field in Hayward. The Barbarians had an impressive scrum and good ball retention. The seconds also defeated San Mateo, this score a bit closer, 24-22.

Seconds: BARBARIANS 24 – San Mateo 22 Ref: Bretz
Referee Coach: Dixon Smith

DIABLO GAELS 64 – Seahawks 17 Referee: Aruna Ranaweera
Assessor: Bryan Porter
There was an ominous, cloudy drizzle during warmups, but the sun came out by kickoff at Diablo Valley JC's football stadium. The artificial turf was fast and even, but the football markings on the artificial turf were rather disorienting. Diablo established their dominance from the start and didn't look back. With a steady scrum and structured back-line moves, Diablo found gaps in the porous Seahawk defense and sprinted to a 38-5 half-time lead. The Seahawks made some breaks, but lacked consistent support and cohesion. Diablo's back-row pounced an every opportunity for turnover and were powerful with ball in hand. In the end, Diablo sauntered to a comfortable win, 10 tries to 3.

Much thanks to Bryan Porter for providing constructive feedback despite lack of audio. Even though Bryan has retired from the National scene, it's good to see him still at work in NorCal.

SeƱors – Faded Roses Referee: Rob Hendrickson
No report received.

SFGG Colts 13 – Santa Rosa 6 Referee: Scott Wood

Seconds: SFGG COLTS 51 – Santa Rosa 17 Referee: Cary Bertolone
Treasure Island, we kicked off at 1:30 and it was a tale of two halves. Santa Rosa and Golden Gate played fairly evenly in the first half with both teams scoring from the backs. Golden Gates' pack was much superior in the scrums, but Santa Rosa was relentless in the rucks and scored a second try to take a 12-5 halftime lead. In the second half, Golden Gate and several subs of superior abilities and scored 17 points in the first 10 minutes. Some of the back moves looked of "super league" quality and a few the forwards looked pretty good too. Hard fought throughout, the final score was 51-17 in favor of Golden Gate. Jokes were made that I had reffed my first super league half. Scott Wood was there to give me some good feedback.

BA BARACUS 57 – Arroyo Grande 0 Referee: Bruce Bernstein
Match played on an artificial turf field at Franklin Square Park (as a back-up field for GG Park) between Portrero Hill & the Mission under clearing skies. Baracus played very well led by their #8 Kevin McCaffrey who was a force in the line outs & gained most of his yards on kick-off returns. For some reason AG kept kicking off (which they did a number of times) right to him.

AG gets a lot of credit for showing up with only 16 players, ending up with only 14 for about a half & having a few of their guys not only play hurt; but went on to win the 2nd side match (reffed by Chris Labozzetta, who claims he'll be back reffing after this last hurray) & came in a close 2nd in the boat race at the party at a great Irish bar in the Lower Haight; & having to drive from AG to SF for the 2nd Saturday in a row.

Vacaville 7 – CHICO 24 Referee: Bjorn Stumer
Although heavily overcast, the weather cooperated and left all involved somewhat dry at the surprisingly good and well marked Jepson Middle School pitch in Vacaville. The match was a good natured efficient affair between two determined sides but Vacaville, although gracious hosts, really did not have the guns to respond to a determined Chico side which travelled with more than 30 players and spectators in tow. The first half had Chico written all over it, and only the stern determination of a spirited Vacaville team kept the score within reason. Three tries, two of which converted, saw the guests up by 19 points at the end of the first half.

Vacaville came back from the break determined to fight. They tackled hard and defended even harder. Chico showed some frustration at the pace of things and got at the receiving end of numerous penalties. Vacaville scored at the very end, but it was too little, too late, as Chico itself added five points to its tally. A great match enjoyed by all, and so great was the fun had that 20 more minutes of tens were played right after the final whistle. Overall a great day of Rugby!!

Vallejo 5 – STANISLAUS 83 Referee: John Pohlman

Humboldt 24 – EPA U23, 29 Referee: Mike King
The weather gods were a bit kinder to these participants, with only an occasional drizzle during the actual match. The Manila pitch however, had its spots where footing was tenuous for set pieces. The squads were ready to go at the appointed 2 pm kickoff, and jousted initially for possession and position. Humboldt was not of a mind to give any quarter to the impressive drives of the visitors, and carried the attack straight at EPA. Both sides seemed more content keeping the ball in tight, although Humboldt did launch several attacks wide to gain ground. Ultimately, the tactics of the hosts paid off with 2 tries and a conversion before half. Perhaps the adversity was what EPA needed to warm up the passing attack it unleashed. The visitors put in their first score, but Humboldt came back still firing on all cylinders and put in another converted try off a penalty tap. They were to score again in the middle of the onslaught that was to follow. EPA used strategic kicking mixed with pounding runs and pretty passing to score 3 more tries, converting 2 – leaving the match knotted 24-24 as the clock was winding down. A final kick and chase by EPA ended in the final try in the corner with only a few minutes remaining. Humboldt came back and moved into striking position, with only final phase leading to lost possession and the end of an exciting, intense encounter.

Diablo U23, 10 – BERKELEY 40 Referee: James Hinkin

MARIN REDS 20 – San Francisco Fog 5 Referee: Joe Leisek
Marin City Field, Marin City
Assistant Referee: Carl Fortney (Fog) Touch Judge: Paddy Davin (Marin)

In spite of recent heavy rains, the field was deemed playable under the IRB's revised Calistoga Guidelines. Have mud, will play rugby!

Both teams slogged through the muddy patches and ran as much as they could, with the two sides retaining the ball through multiple phases of play. Very impressive, considering the conditions. Credit to the coaching and commitment level of both teams. Marin proved superior on the day, with a converted try and penalty goal in each half, to the Fog's lone try. The home team had the size, strength, and organization to stay in command throughout most of the game. A competitive match, though, as these teams have built a rivalry over the last few years. Marin coach Jed Elley has his charges sticking to a game plan and is a steady, strategic influence at flyhalf.

Special thanks to Carl and Paddy for their excellent help. Both worked the entire game. As many of us referees know, Carl is always a great help and a knowledgeable AR.

Fog B 10 – SFSU 88 Referee: Matt Heafey
Treasure Island - Under a 'threatening sky'

This match reminded me of a young puppy retrieving a ball over and over and over. SFSU is trying to get back to division rugby after a multi year hiatus, and I would say that they are definitely ready. Young, eager and most of all worthy. SFSU kicked off and immediately scored after stripping the ball and a couple quick passes and a broken tackle into the end zone 7-0. The theme continued as they were very eager and ambitious on the pitch. Fog broke the bagel right before half on a great break away and score by their backs. The score basically tells the story about how the rest of the game went.

But here is the great rugby story:
The Warthogs a 2 year old team from Oakland wanted some opposition to do rucks and lineouts since they had not gone contested this year. SFSU quickly jumped at the opportunity and were fabulous in helping and instruction with the newer team. I tip my hat to SFSU for taking the time to help the Warthogs. This is truly what rugby is all about!

Shasta – Aptos CANCELED

SAINTS 78 – Mendocino 5 Referee: Preston Gordon
This game was moved twice in location and once on the clock in the preceding couple of days due to field availability issues. We ended up on the turf at Woodside HS at 1400. However, we didn't start the game until about 20 minutes past 2 - apparently not all of Mendocino's players had received word of the late changes, and the home side was gracious enough to give the visitors some time to get themselves ready to play.

The Saints established firm control of this match within about 10 minutes of kickoff. They were bigger, faster, able to attack from deep, offload in the tackle, rapidly shift the ball wide, shut down most of Mendocino's attacking play, and do all of that while spending most of the game in the opponent's half.

At halftime it was 37-0 in favor of the home side, with only one of their 7 tries converted. The second half was more of the same, with 7 more Saints tries (3 converted) to Mendocino's single unconverted try. That one was scored against the run of play, as the ball popped out of a tackle to the Mendocino winger, who scooped it up and went the ~30 yards untouched for the score. To top it off, I was told later that he was a true rookie - this was his first game of rugby. Congratulations!

The Saints had a lot of men dressed to play and made very liberal use of their subs. Mendocino only brought 16 men, having been affected by injuries, and didn't have that advantage. While one-sided, this was a pretty good exhibition of rugby. After the match I joined the teams at Famous Johnny's in San Bruno for a couple of slices of pizza and a pint before heading home. The hospitality was excellent, and I wish both of these teams the best of luck for the rest of the season.

ST. MARY’S 37 – Sacramento State 15 Referee: Derek Bellin (NE)
ARs: Ron DeCausemaker
Evaluator: David Williamson

Seconds: St. Mary's 7 – SACRAMENTO STATE 10 Referee: Eric Rauscher
After Derrick did the first side I had the seconds. I also had the rain clear up so the match was fairly dry, but still with wet boots and a slippery ball. The sides were evenly matched and played a game up and down the field. Play was a little messy at the rucks, but time will clean up play for both sides. I also had new players in the scrums, so they were a bit tedious. But that being said, I really enjoyed the game. It was played with intensity and with a good sense of both teams enjoying the game and a close score to boot.

Chico State – California CANCELED

Seconds: Chico State – California CANCELED

Stanford 10 – UC DAVIS 22 Referee: Sandy Robertson/Mike Gadoua
ARs: Bruce Carter, Ben Bravo

Seconds: Stanford – UC Davis CANCELED

U. of San Francisco 15 – SAN JOSE STATE 49 Referee: Sam Davis
It was a hard fought game the Spartans were more experienced with better fitness but USF never gave up. Spartans drew first blood at the 33 min mark with a great try in the corner that was not converted. At the 25 min mark they put up 3 points due to off sides. They scored two quick ones at 14, and 13 min marks converting one. USF came charging back the full length of the field to put 7 on the board at the 9 min mark. SJS added 7 more at the 4 min mark which was the last score of the half. No score the second half until the 27 min mark SJS put 5 more points on the board. USF on their 5 meter line trying to punch it in the lost the ball SJS went the full length of the field and placed between the post. USF capitalized on SJS mistake and put 3 points up at the 13 min mark. USF had SJS defending their goal line with a 5 meter line out USF pass went all the way to the wing and put it down in the corner 5 points at the 9 min mark. SJS came back 2min later and put one down in the other corner. The game ended with the last try close to the middle but SJS missed the conversion USF has some raw talent. SJS will be a team to watch this year.

SJS wanted to have some of the guys that did not get to play do an intra-squad run we did a 20 min half and called it a day. The rain stopped just before the game started and stayed clear and muddy ;-)

SIERRA JC 45 – Fresno State 7 Referee: Chris Tucker
An overpowering performance by a well organised SJC side. 20 minutes into the game they were 2 tries up, when their openside decided he didn't want to play any more. He lifted, twisted and speared his opponent, an evident red from any angle. This did not appear to slow down the attack, however, and 3 more were added before the break. Fresno overcame their poor start to ground a try midway through the second half, after a series of defensive penalties allowed them to march down the field under the advantage banner. But this did not deflect from the overall picture of the continuing successful development of the Wolverine side.

Santa Clara 9 – SANTA ROSA JC 10 Referee: Rich Anderson
After moving the match twice because of the weather, Santa Clara was able to secure a Turf field in Saratoga for a 3:30 kick off.

The match was tightly contested on both sides throughout. A 10-9 SRJC lead held up late in the match as Santa Rosa lost their captain to a late yellow card and the SCUTS had a few changes to go ahead on penalty kicks. They were unable to convert on those opportunities and SRJC left for their trip north with the 10-9 win.

CAL MARITIME 26 – Nevada 3 Referee: Phil Akroyd
If there was a pitch in a poorer condition in NorCal this weekend, I’d be massively surprised. The pitch was covered in water and soon cut up into a mud bath after five minutes.

UNR made the five hour journey across the state, which has to be admired. Unfortunately for them, they never really looked like getting Maritime on the back foot. The home side scored four unanswered tries in total, with UNR scoring the last points of the game with a PK to avoid being nilled.

One of those games where you are glad to get to the final whistle, but you still have half an hour before you can drive home, as you have to completely strip down out of your mud suit and stick it in a plastic bag in the back of the car.

Thanks to Bryant Byrnes for moving his schedule around to come and watch, although he had to take in fifteen on fifteen mud wrestling.

UC SANTA CRUZ 29 – Humboldt State 12 Referee: Greg Lundell
UCSC and HSU resuscitated their Saturday match with a last minute venue switch to the Job Corps field on Treasure Island after losing the field at UCSC to rain. The teams played a great game through alternating showers and sunshine. Santa Cruz came out strong and shut out HSU in the first half. HSU scored early in the second half and didn’t let up the pressure on Santa Cruz until the final whistle.

STANFORD women 74 – Nevada 0 Referee: Tom Zanarini
AR: Mike Gadoua, Ben Bravo
Videographer: Bruce Carter
A bit of an early morning SNAFU lead to my scheduled Stanford v UC Davis 1pm match suddenly rescheduled for an 11am kickoff much to the surprise of all referees involved. Luckily Sandy Robertson happened by and Mike Gadoua, whose B side match had been canceled, arrived to spell Sandy. So, I was given the 3pm game and Bruce Carter handled the women's B-side match. Made for a long day but luckily all matches were covered. Good game to referee, the skills of Stanford and quickness of their backline won the day. UNR had some great opportunities but could not find the white line. Thanks to Mike Gadoua and Ben Bravo for their assistant referee service and to Bruce for the video. Between Ben and Liam Bretz (10 and 11 years old), I'd say the future of the pelican flock is looking outstanding! Makes me think of the saying, "If I knew then what I know now..." Well, these two know!!

And a big congratulations to Mike who handled a fast paced Div 1 men’s match one year after a heart attack!!

Seconds: STANFORD women 33 – Nevada 12 Referee: Bruce Carter
Intrepid Nevada recycled most of their first side while Stanford needed only a couple of their starters, who ran in the tries.

UC Davis women – Sacramento State Referee: Jim Crenshaw
No report received.

Seconds: UC Davis women – Sacramento State Ref: ?
No report received.

California women 19 – TRIPLE THREAT 68 Referee: Roberto Santiago
I'd already been at Tom Bates Regional Sports Complex in Berkeley for five hours when the teams started warming up. About a half hour before kickoff we experienced the coldest wettest part of the whole day. Cal showed up in force at around 12:00pm while the visitors trickled in. Some of the Triple Threat players warmed up by helping to film a music video for local rapper Big Rich. The player took the roles of football players with one donning a striped jersey and giving rugby signals during the scripted portions of the "game."

Once these shenanigans were done there was rugby to be played. Since this was a friendly match both sides agreed to a liberal substitution policy. The visitors opened the scoring at 4:58 when the Red #10 got clean ball of the scrum, weaved her way towards the goal line and off loaded nicely to the hooker running in support. It was the first glimpse of the Triple Threat fly half's player of the game type day. All day she showed herself a master of every offensive nuance with strong running, accurate passing, a knack for finding space with the kick, and to top it off she made 9/10 conversions. Triple Threat scored three more tries over the next fifteen minutes converting all of them. Cal came back with a nice ruck-maul-spin that found the right wing all alone for a try just before the half.

Triple Threat opened the second half with grace and power getting the ball through several hands and then bulling into the try zone to score at the 41:27 mark. Using their advantage in the scrum and in the back line the visitors scored another four tries over the next twenty-six minutes converting all but one of them. Cal's scrum did muster one notable and mighty push taking a five meter scrum and pushing the ball within a meter of the line. When it was clear they'd gone as far as they could the ball got out to the right wing for another try. In the final analysis Cal's issue was an inability to deal with the strong runners in red. Cal was constantly forced to commit two or three defenders to the tackle which allowed overlaps that the precision passing of the Triple Threat ate right up. By contrast Cal's backs were a bit tentative with their own passing floating balls that put their runners in less than ideal positions. Triple Threat scored once more on a rumble by one of their props. Cal's captain finished the day by taking a penalty kick right up the gut for a confidence boosting try right at the 80:00th minute.

Thanks to both sides for clean, fun, fast game.

Humboldt St. women 0 – UC SANTA CRUZ 20 Referee: Mike King
Both sides were ready to roll for an early kickoff at Manila Field. The initial phases seemed to be played primarily in the Santa Cruz defensive end, although neither side made much headway. The wet weather certainly affected handling, and limited the attacks. A penalty midway into the half and an unconverted try shortly before halftime accounted for the scoring for Santa Cruz, with HSU unable to find its way to the try line. On a tap play soon after the half, a substitute for Santa Cruz, #20 Elizabeth Pesaleli, showed why she will be a dangerous weapon for the Slugs in the future. She dragged several Humboldt women with her into the try zone. Shortly afterwards, a long break by #15 Jen Neeley notched another try which Kari Lentz neatly converted. HSU came roaring back and used multiple phase control to move near the goal of Santa Cruz. Despite several strong moves, the Humboldt women were just not able to muscle past the stout defense to score before full time.

Seconds: HUMBOLDT STATE women 14 – UC SANTA CRUZ 0 Ref: King
The hosts then had their day in an abbreviated half for many new players for the sides. Two converted tries made the 2ds game a relative romp for Humboldt, 14-0.

USF women – Santa Clara CANCELED

HIGH SCHOOL RUGBY GAMES

Friday
Elsie Allen 8 – DE LA SALLE 20 Referee: Derek Bellin (Northeast)
Perhaps the most interesting thing about this game was the successful drop-kick made by Elsie Allen in the first half, in fact the very first score of the game.

JV: Elsie Allen 0 – DE LA SALLE 39 Referee: Eric Rauscher
De La Salle has depth in roster which was displayed in this game. Even when Elsie Allen put some first 15 players into the game it was a pretty one sided affair. That is not to say that Elsie Allen doesn't have the talent, they surely do, but experience counts for a lot.

NORCAL U19 LADIES ROUND ROBIN
Sunday, February 7
Report by Rod Chance

Players:
Alameda RFC - Coach, Stephanie Roth
Amazons - Coaches, Sefesi Green & Leka Green
Berkeley - Coach Ashley English
Davis Lady Devils - Coach Meghan Culp
Elsie Allan - Coach Andy Davis
Humboldt - Coach Adriana
Mother Lode - Coaches, Rod Chance & Ben de Bruyn

Blowers:
Donal Walsh
Joe Androvich
Jordon Bruno
Mark Godfrey
Tyler Harrison

Talent Scout:
Josh Fitzgerald, SBO All-Star/High Performances Committee

Bright and early Super Bowl Sunday morning Seven U19 ladies teams from across Northern California converged on Sacramento for a day full of Rugby. This is the start of the rugby season for the ladies and all were excited with anticipation for the games to begin. The first game set a high standard between the Amazons (3rd Place finisher at the national tournament last year) and Alameda. The Amazons are once again are very tough. Alameda battled, never giving up and proving they are going to be a strong team. Special thanks to Joe Androvich for refereeing the match. Joe is coming back from knee surgery and is in good form.

Josh Fitzgerald was feverishly taking down names and licking his chops at the talent available for his U19 and U17 Ladies All-Star teams

A special thanks to Donal Walsh, who brought out two young men from the UC Davis team to referee a match. Jordon Bruno and Tyler Harrison were very impressive considering they had never refereed a game before. Both gentlemen took the field with confidence and poise I would expect from a more experienced referee. One match turned into 2 ½ and with the tutelage from Donal Walsh it was obvious these men have potential to quickly become some outstanding young referees.

To maximize playing time conversion kicks were eliminated and replaced with a kicking contest. Place kicks ended in a tie, so drop kicks were required to crown our Kicking Champion, Elizabeth “Nina” Green from the Amazons.

Some teams fared better than others. Some were short numbers. Many were first-time players but all left pumped up and excited about the upcoming season. It was a near flawless day of rugby that we all can take pride in. Good job NorCal U19 Ladies.

For more information, see the website NorCal-Rugby.com

Karen Chance, NorCal Girls U-19 Coordinator

Frosh/Soph: GOLDEN GATE 36 – Diablo 5 Referee: Cary Bertolone
At 9:30 am at Treasure Island, Golden Gate Frosh Sophs hosted a youth team from Diablo and we played in the rain. The Golden Gate team was more experienced and won 36-5.

Bellarmine Prep Boys Varsity 24 – SANTA CLARA University B 50
Referee: Stephen Moore

BELLARMINE Prep Boys Juniors 25 – Marin 12 Referee: Stephen Moore

PIEDMONT 37 – Berkeley Rhinos 0 Referee: Bryant Byrnes
ARs: Roberto Santiago, Rob Hendrickson
A much improved Berkeley side met a very good Piedmont side. (Writer's disclosure-my son played with both teams back in the day. He went to London with the PITS and also later captained the Rhinos.)

Last year this would have been 75-0. Berkeley plays with much more skill-it needs a bit more pace. Piedmont's backline-especially its centers- was excellent and scored most of the tries on long runs. Thanks to my ARs Roberto and Rob.

FRONT ROW NUMBERS GAMES

Here’s the import of the changes since last season regarding the number of replacements and the number of front-row-eligible players. (Law 3 was changed to allow national unions to adopt what follows, and USA Rugby adopted it.)

Number of players Number of suitably trained
and experienced front-row players

15 or less (sic) 3
16, 17 or 18 4
19, 20, 21 or 22 5
22 or 23 6

The table should be read ‘backwards’:

If a team has six front-row-qualified players designated on the match card prior to the start of the game, they can have up to 23 players listed, all of whom may appear in the match. All six may be starters and all eight subs may be players who are not front-row-qualified; the ‘extra’ front row players may run-on as centers or locks, for example.

If a team says, “We only have three front-row-eligible players,” they do not get to have any replacements at all, for any position.

Note: a team needs to have at least five to start a first-side league match.

If a game has to go to non-contested scrums due to the departure of a player, that player may not be replaced and the team will continue to play short a player. (The point of this rule is to prevent a weak scrummaging team from gaming the Laws.)

LAST WEEK’S PHOTO

We neglected to credit and thank David Barpal for the photograph of Liam Bretz refereeing, and we apologize.

THIS WEEK’S PHOTO
Conjoined Pelicans
Ed Todd’s been trolling the web. He sends along this intriguing view of a brace of pelicans and writes:

"I only take credit for finding them – there’s more.

"M. Ward is a country/indie musician and I found the link on his page to photos by Mike Watt: http://www.maximumwattage.com/phpbb2/viewforum.php?f=10

HAIL, PELICUS!

For the Senate
Pelicus Scriptoris

Thursday, February 04, 2010

BIG WEEKEND AND MORE TO COME

HAIL, PELICUS!

PROMOTION

Kirk Khasigian earned promotion to L3 at the Kick-Off Tournament this past weekend.

Congratulations to Kirk, who intends to concentrate his efforts in the Sacramento Valley high school conference.

NEED TO KNOW

Who plans to go to Yosemite with our East Mids visitors?

You’ll need to be available March 17 and 18, a Wednesday and Thursday. We’ll need folks to drive our guests up from the Bay Area on Wednesday for dinner and overnight at the Yosemite Lodge.

If you’re not up to a strenuous – er, I mean exhilarating – hike in the snow you can wander around the valley floor until we return.

We’ve got a very good deal on room reservations but need to know how many to plan for.

This has been a highlight of past trips for our guests and ourselves alike.

BIG WEEKEND

The Pelican Flock navigated our busiest weekend of the year successfully, our ranks bolstered by sixteen honorary Pelicans who flew in to join us.

There were 97 (ninety-seven) teams at the 26th Annual Kick-Off Tournament as well as the usual three-dozen club and college matches. Not only did all of these games have assigned refs, the majority had assistant referees as well.

The youngest was a referee on debut, Liam Bretz, age 11. The oldest would be angry with us should we say.

We’re exaggerating neither about the 97 teams nor about the sixteen visitors and exchangees, and we’d like to thank them all:

Germany:
Robert Bergwitz

Eastern Rockies:
Gilligan (Dan Hattrup)
Brian Zapp

Erie Society:
Pete Barry

Calgary, Alberta:
Colin Stroeder
Andrew Cleghorn

Edmonton, Alberta:
Kristi Mooreman
Mike Laporte

Vancouver Island, BC:
Kai Taylor

Pacific Northwest:
Shane Kennedy
Kevin Gaw

Met NY:
Jack Rosenhammer
Pat Wickman
Greg Gilliam

SoCal:
Sean O’Connell

North Carolina:
Ken Muir

FRIDAY NIGHT LIGHTS

UC DAVIS 34 – Sac State 5 Referee: Phil Akroyd
ARs: Jim Crenshaw, Scott Wood
Evaluator: David Williamson
A pretty entertaining game for the first sixty minutes, then the conditions and the fact that UCD had the game wrapped up, made the last 20 minutes a surplus to requirements.

As I blew my whistle to start the game, the heavens opened. However, the fake turf field meant that a pretty good game was played, with few handling errors. Once I got the Sac backs onside at ruck, UCD let their all around advantage show on the score board.

The Aggies were up 5 – 12 at half and stretched their lead immediately after the restart with a PK after the Sac blindside picked up at the foot of a ruck and ran straight into his own forward, while the defender was trying to make a tackle. 5-15.

UCD played smart, calculated rugby, gave few penalties away and always went forward when in possession. Their defense was solid, with a huge hit on the Sac State center with only a couple of minutes left. Sac State held in there for the rest of the game but were always struggling to break through.

Just as the rain started at the beginning of the game, it stopped ten minutes after full-time.

Thanks to Jim Crenshaw and Scott Wood for keeping me honest from the sidelines via the new Motorola 2-way radios. A good investment to keep on top of the stuff that you can’t see. Also to Dave Williamson for the education at Hoppy Brewing afterwards.

Seconds: UC Davis – Sac State Referee: Colin Stroeder

VISITOR FROM NEW YORK
Greg Gilliam was on exchange from New York this past weekend:

Below are the match reports for my matches this weekend. Both of them were great matches and it was a pleasure to be part of them.

A special nod has to go to my host for the weekend, and AR extraordinaire, Rich Anderson. Besides chauffeuring me throughout the Bay area, Rich offered invaluable assistance as an assistant referee in both matches. His hospitality, and that of his family, is a credit to our sport and the NCRFU Referee Society. I was truly fortunate to have such a host.

I would be remiss if I also did not thank Mike King who came out to Elsie Allen on a rainy Friday night to help AR. His valuable assistance was greatly appreciated.

Thank you very much for allowing me to visit your neck of the woods and the opportunity to be a small part of such a great rugby community that is the NCRFU. I really enjoyed my time while I was there and I hope to be back some day.

Kind regards,
Greg Gilliam
RRSNY

Varsity: Elsie Allen 0 – GOLDEN GATE 28 Referee: Gilliam
ARs: Rich Anderson, Mike King
Date: January 29, 2010
KO: 6:30pm

A chill air and intermittent rain greeted these sides and their visiting referee from the RRSNY for an evening of U-19 rugby in Santa Rosa, CA. The pitch was properly marked and well-prepared.

After kick-off, both sides wasted no time in demonstrating that they were well coached. While Elsie Allen lacked the size of Golden Gate, they certainly matched them in tenacity. Overall, the level of play was refreshing given the youth of both squads. The rain contributed to some handling errors, but the tactical patience displayed by both teams resulted in a good contest. Golden Gate's ability to capitalize on mistakes made the difference in both halves of the match. The visitors managed to touch down twice (both converted) in the first half, while the hosts could not seem to punch through despite several golden opportunities. Halftime: GG 14 – EA 0.

The second half was similar to the first. Good form from both teams, but Golden Gate exploited their obvious advantage in size and speed to register two more (converted) tries. Full-time: GG 28 – EA 0.

JV: Elsie Allen 5 – GOLDEN GATE 22 Referee: Rich Anderson
ARs: Gilliam (RRSNY)/King

San Mateo 12 – SACRAMENTO LIONS 15 Ref: Gilliam
AR: Anderson
Date: January 30, 2010
KO: 2:30pm
Beautiful weather and a properly lined, prepared pitch (albeit with a "leaning" post) gave a good indication of the quality of rugby to come. Play was as expected: fast and hard-hitting. While San Mateo appeared to display an overall advantage in athleticism, Sacramento's defense seemed up to the challenge.

On several occasions, San Mateo methodically drove deep into their opponent's territory, and their good discipline was rewarded with points from three Sacramento penalties. A fortuitous bounce from a line-out just inside San Mateo's 22, however, allowed the visitors to register a try (converted) for their only score of the half.
Half-time: San Mateo 9 – Sacramento 7.

As the second half continued, the tension became increasingly palpable and the hits became increasingly fierce - but legal. Sacramento's confidence unsurprisingly grew stronger as each minute ticked by and San Mateo left opportunity after opportunity slip away without scoring any points. The final ten minutes saw each side try to gain a territorial advantage with a good display of tactical kicking. Eventually, however, it was Sacramento who managed to break the San Mateo defense and score their second try (unconverted). The hosts fought back furiously and managed to maintain good pressure on the Sacramento defense, but they could not find a way to break through as one successful penalty kick was all they could muster.

Full-time: San Mateo 12 – Sacramento 15.

Seconds: SAN MATEO 17 – Sac Lions 5 Ref: Anderson

OTHER GAMES

THREE AT ROCCA FIELD

SFGG 69 – Arroyo Grande 12 Referee: Bruce Carter
TJ: Ben Bravo, A N Other
Golden Gate pretty much had their way with an AG side featuring a lot of newer players, especially up front where it counts.

SFGG SL – Reno DONNER PASS SNOWED OUT

Sac Capitals 19 – EAST PALO ALTO 32 Referee: Brian Zapp ERRRS

Seconds: Sac Capitals 17 – EAST PALO ALTO 26 Referee: Phil Akroyd
Seventeen hours after finishing my last game, I had another toughie at 28th & C Street in downtown Sac.

The sun was out, the good sized field in pretty good condition, give the last minute venue change and my boots still damp from Friday night.

All things in my head were telling me that this could be a fiery one. The last time I reffed this fixture, it was my third ever game assignment, twenty-one months ago. I probably wasn’t up to it and I abandoned the game in the second half after 3 yellow cards and a bench-clearing brawl. The A game was right on boiling point too, so I thought that tired bodies may result in slugging rather than running.

There were certainly a lot of challenges and most of it preventative – keeping people on feet at rucks, watching off the ball stuff and keeping the scrums fair but competitive. Of course, the first and last round of stupidity came at a maul, seven minutes in. Opposing lock and blindside flanker were both upright, got into a verbal disagreement (while involved in a moving maul), one threw an elbow, other retaliated with a punch and they both spent 10 off the field.

Sac charged into the lead and were up by 17 to 7 at half, then the sheer weight and speed of EPA ground them down. The Razorbacks got into their stride, pulled together and kept Sac out for the rest of the game.

Both teams were clearly getting tired but the game was too close to call early. EPA got the go-ahead try with twenty minutes left and took that 2 point lead to the final score of 17-26 with ten to go.

Once the silliness got out of the way in the first half, the second half was great fun. Both teams enjoyed it and the BBQ feed at the end topped off a great afternoon of Div 1 rugby. A good example to show exchange ref Brain Zapp (ERRRS) what Norcal rugby can be like.

Barbarians 7 – OLYMPIC CLUB 51 Referee: James Hinkin
AR: Michael King
A perfect winter day (temp around 60, sunny blue skies) was the setting for Bay Barbarians v Olympic Club, the two remaining undefeated teams in D1. The game started with a fast pace that kept both sides running from but the first breakthrough didn't occur until the 20th minute when Olympic club was able to capitalize on a series of penalties to push over a try. At that time O Club was starting to enforce their will and dominated territory with only the occasional break out to relieve it. A penalty kick soon followed and then a second try while the Barbos were a man down due to repeated infringement. The half ended 17-0.

The second half was more of the same as the Olympians slowly wore down the opposition. The Barbos got a breath of life when O Club stole a lineout then miscommunication on the tap down saw the ball land in the welcoming arms of the Barbos #7 who sprinted 30 yards to the try line. That was it for them, however, as fitness finally deserted the home side and O Club piled on the tries. Final Score: Olympic Club 51 - Bay Barbarians 7

Many thanks for Michael King for his assistance - a qualified AR is a luxury in a fast match like this.

Seconds: Barbarians – Olympic Club Referee: Mike King
This match had to be abandoned in lieu of having a general melee. Numerous yellow cards were issued to the Barbarians prior to the abandonment.

Seahawks 21 – FRESNO 28 Referee: Pete Smith
On a bright, sun drenched day in San Jose the rivalry between San Jose and Fresno played out it next chapter. I had forgotten how intense these games had become and this game was no different. Fresno was bolstered by the arrival of a few New Zealanders, including the captain of the New Zealand Universities U21’s that I had refereed on New Years Day. Both teams were quite content to play wide open rugby like two heavy weights throwing haymakers. There were several phases of non-stop action, whistle free for 5-7 minutes at a stretch. Fresno dominated the opening quarter scoring two converted tries and looking like they were going to run away with the game. San Jose woke up and answered back in the second quarter with a converted try of their own to put the halftime score at 14-7. Again, Fresno started out hot in the second half with a try in the first minutes and another shortly thereafter to take what seemed to be a commanding 28-7 lead. San Jose again fought back with two hard earned tries through the forwards to bring the score to 28-21 with about 10 minutes remaining. Rather than hold on for the victory, Fresno turned up the heat and pressured San Jose line for the remainder of the game and seal the win at 28-21.

SANTA ROSA 30 – BA Baracus 28 Referee: Cary Bertolone
Referee Coach: Ken Muir (Southeast)
Kick off at 1:00 at For Pete's Sake in Santa Rosa on a beautiful rugby day. I had the privilege of having Ken "Doc" Muir, of North Carolina as an evaluator. Santa Rosa scored twice for a 8-0 lead. Baracus came right back with some blazing back plays of their own to make it 8-7. In an evenly matched game, Santa Rosa carried a 20-14 halftime lead. The Baracus forwards were lead by 8-man Kevin McCaffrey and produced good ball to the backs and the score was tight throughout with a final score of Santa Rosa 30-Baracus 28, although the last minute Baracus score and conversion made the score seem even closer than it was. No yellow or red cards as the players

Ken "Doc" Muir of North Carolina reffed the second game won by Santa Rosa, also very closely contested, Santa Rosa 12-Baracus 5. Doc was nice enough to spend an hour with me after the game with some helpful pointers. Watching him ref made me want to get better so I could look as fluid.

Seconds: SANTA ROSA 12– BA Baracus 5 Referee: Ken Muir

Vallejo 0 – CHICO 61 Referee: Joe Leisek
Morton Field, Mare Island, Vallejo

The Vallejo Barbarians, after a successful season in Division Three, have now moved up to Division Two. They train and play in one of the top club facilities in the Pacific Coast territory. They have a beautifully-marked pitch, a building adjacent to the field that functions as a clubhouse and changing room, plenty of parking, and a spacious, comfortable grandstand on the field's east side. The club's administrative support system is efficient and helpful. They have everything a club could want, except one thing: players. The team lost several players in the off-season due to players moving to another club and others dropping off. So it's back to square one for John Kelly and Ben Whisky, whose club roster is short on numbers and experience. If anyone wants to play in Vallejo, give these guys a call.

Chico, on the other hand, looks sharp and strong. The Mighty Oaks have also moved up to Division Two, and they look to be as competitive there as they were every year in Division Three. Coach Buck Ernest has built a very good program, and the roster has depth - they brought two full teams - and a good blend of youth and experience. They were efficient and composed on the field, and very organized on the sidelines.

Playing a much less experienced opponent, Chico scored 61 points in the first half, using a strong backline and good forward pack in what amounted to a pre-season scrimmage for them. At the end of the half, Vallejo asked to forfeit the game and play two 20-minute periods so Chico could play everyone who traveled. Here's hoping Vallejo can rebuild and compete, and all the best to Chico this season.

STANISLAUS 19 – Vacaville 12 Referee: Roberto Santiago
This one went back and forth without much scoring for most of the game. Both teams squandered promising possessions with slight knock-ons and forward passes.

Stanislaus opened the scoring thirteen minutes in with a converted try. Vacaville moved the ball well in the back line but couldn't quite get the ball all the way in to score until after a Stanislaus player who didn't quite understand what is and is not onside in a maul and decided to throw a couple elbows at guys he thought were infringing. The Vacaville player was reasonably shocked and upset about being Jimmy Snuka-ed while bound on to the maul. Vacaville parlayed the man advantage into an unconverted try at 21:04. Soon after Stanislaus went back to full strength Vacaville found themselves down a man due to a dangerous tackle. Stanislaus was unable to capitalize on the power play and the half ended with the home team up 7-5.

The second half opened with Stanislaus scoring another converted try just two minutes and thirty-three seconds in. The home side found themselves celebrating again exactly six minutes later. Even with the score standing at 19-5 you never got the sense that Vacaville was out of it. Indeed the visitors continued to play hard and show flashes of brilliance in the open field and at the breakdowns. Vacaville employed a quick two and three man ruck and spin strategy that kept the ball moving. Five minutes after Stanislaus scored their last points Vacaville answered with a converted try to draw within seven.

But that's where the scoring ended. Due to muddy conditions and some inexperience the scrums were a bit dicey all day. Though finding dryer patches helped sort out most of the problems at one point players decided a collapsing scrum was a good time and place for a fight. With that a Stanislaus player found himself sitting out the last twenty-two minutes of the match after doing an Incredible Hulk impression. The sight of red seemed to calm things down and the rest of the match was played without incident. Vacaville nearly tied it in the final minutes but for a forward pass that was emblematic of their near misses all day. The resulting scrum was wheeled and Vacaville found themselves with a scrum inside the Stanislaus 22 with time running out. Stanislaus was able to regain possession but the clearing kick didn't find touch leading to one final desperate run for the visiting side. Just as they moved the ball towards the 22 the ball carrier tried to chip ahead to the wing but he was in the grasp of a defender and the ball went out of bounds.

In the end both teams put forward a tremendous effort. Stanislaus looked good in their first regular season DII match after moving up from DIII this year. As the season progresses Vacaville's back line will be a force. Thanks to both teams for an exciting match.

DIABLO U23, 17 – EPA U23, 12 Referee: Jim Crenshaw
Diablo U-23 hosted EPA U-23 on Saturday. They were playing on the artificial field at Diablo Valley College. It has football lines, soccer lines, lacrosse lines and we were using some of all of them for the match. Early in the match, EPA's forwards were driving towards the goal line when one of them broke a tackle and dove in just over the line. I was standing about a yard away as everyone on both teams stopped and looked up at me. I calmly pointed to the goal line and said it's about 5 yards that way. Of course, a mad scramble ensued and about 30 seconds later EPA did score, but I got a good chuckle out of it!! The score at half was DG 10 EPA 12.

DG scored the only try in the second half and held on to win 17 to 12.

Humboldt Old Growth 6 – BERKELEY 21 Referee: Dave Ellis
After experiencing little but wet weather on the beautiful drive from Shasta to Humboldt County, imagine my surprise when I arrived in Manila an hour before game time only to find blue skies and abundant sunshine! Visitors Berkeley were already on the field warming up in full gear, far out-numbering (until just before kick off time) the handful of Old Growth players who were erecting the most impressive set of portable goalposts that I have ever seen.

A scrappy first half ensued, and both teams struggled to establish much continuity until late in the half. Berkeley took the early lead with a 4th minute penalty kick before Humboldt pulled level midway through the half. Berkeley then began to take control of the game with their more disciplined approach and set-piece superiority, and were able to regain the lead after some nifty ball handling, aggressive running and great support resulted in a quality try for the visitors. With another penalty kick 5 minutes before the half time whistle, Berkeley took an 8 point lead into the half. The second half saw much of the same, with Berkeley’s organization and discipline proving too much, for the most part, for Humboldt to break through. Not helping the Humboldt cause was their having to play most of the second half with 14 players as a result of yellow cards given as a result of undisciplined play. In the end, an enjoyable game, a well deserved Berkeley victory on the day and another superior Humboldt Old Growth post-game party.

Aptos 5 – MARIN 55 Referee: Sandy Robertson
It was a beautiful day in Salinas with Marin having too much experience and skill for an Aptos side with a number of recent converts to the game. They controlled the ball and moved it quickly wide scoring 8 tries.

Shasta 7 – FOG 12 Referee: Bryant Byrnes
D3 in the heartland; a clear winter's day, an Ansel Adams' dramatic black and white photograph. But a wet and slippery field, precluding any fancy footwork in the backfield, and a greasy ball.

This was a serious and well played match-medium penalties, little chatter, no cards. I complement both teams. Redding is revitalized. It is very fit and successfully recruited-including two Kiwis, an Aussie, a South African, and a Scotsman (try sorting those accents out.) Fog travels well as usual, and has a killer inside center, Mike Epps.

At half, it was Fog up 7-0. It went up 12-0 with three minutes left. Then Redding's reconfigured backs finally clicked and scored immediately. The last two minutes were furious; the Highlanders had possession and momentum but simply ran out of time. The party was-as always-great fun.

Mendocino 7 – REDWOOD 38 Referee: Bruce Bernstein
Match was moved twice & played at a newly mowed "field" which was very scenic in a valley overlooking a mountain & vineyard-type scenery with some occasional water hazards. Match was pretty physical with both teams taking it up the gut & hardly any break-aways or long runs. Redwood scored about 3 1/2 minutes in & was up 26-7 at half; with Mendocino scoring a well-deserved push over try to end the first half.

Took off Friday night to head up due to the weather & so I could jam back & catch the memorial for a fallen rugger Glen Mills who played for the PAXOs hosted by SFGG at their TI clubhouse with a Hangi (underground pig & other stuff cooked). Speaking of food, I'd also recommend the World Famous Hamburger Shack in Cloverdale for the best BBQ I ever tasted & the Bluebird in Ukiah (& Hopland) for breakfast--both the highlights of my weekend.

ST. MARY’S 32 – Chico State 20 Referee: John Coppinger
Under brilliant sunshine on the St. Mary's campus and on a reasonably firm Pat Vincent Field, St. Mary's returned to the win column 32--20. At the half, it was SMC 18, CSU 7.

In the second half Chico score two tries and kicked a penalty to put the Gaels under pressure, but SMC scored two converted tries to win going away. Chico was game and aggressive and looked to attack at all times, but SMC played a better pattern of rugby and provided more support than Chico. Chico also allowed themselves to lose focus at times.

A good day of college rugby.

Seconds: ST. MARY’S 41 – Chico State 22 Referee: Preston Gordon
2/3rds of an AR: John Coppinger
This game was played as a set of 3 40-minute periods with open subs. Both sides looked pretty good and everyone was able to enjoy the rugby after a couple of early yellows for punching settled things down.

After the first 40, the score was 12-12. After the second, it was 34-12; the third, 41-22. St. Mary's scored 7 tries to Chico State's 4, with the rest of the points coming from conversions.

The pitch was pretty wet but held up just fine. Thanks to John Coppinger for sticking around to AR for the first 80 minutes of my game.

CALIFORNIA 99 – Stanford 0 Referee: Kai Taylor (Victoria, BC)
ARs: Ron DeCausemaker, Tom Wright
Evaluator: Dixon Smith
Stanford @ Cal ‘Ref’lections:

Before arriving at the pitch I had heard from a number of sources that this was as close to a rugby ‘field of dreams,’ as one would find in the US.

We arrived at the field over 90 minutes before kick off. This allowed time for wandering around and getting a chance to really get a feel for the place, and its history.

Come game time the atmosphere was perfect. The sun was cooperating and there was a very enthusiastic crowd. Stanford came to play and put in a huge effort. Cal’s back line, however, was the dominating force in the game. Again and again they found gaps and gave great support to the ball carrier, seeming to score at will.

The second half domination continued. The only difference was the Cal forwards seemed to lose some discipline. A number of side entry and entering the tackle from the wrong direction penalties resulted. Eventually yellow cards were needed to insist on better discipline at the tackle and ruck. The backs continued their domination and proved once again that they will be one of the dominating forces of this rugby season.

As a Canadian referee to come to such a gem of a venue was a thrill. My thanks go out to all who offered rides and participated in the overwhelming American hospitality. My hope is that one day and in some way I can return the favor.

Regards
Kai Taylor

USF – Santa Rosa JC CANCELED – NO PITCH AVAILABLE

Fresno State 5 – HUMBOLDT STATE 19 Referee: Eric Rauscher
It's a 3 and one-half CD drive from Berkeley to Fresno down 99. (It occurred to me, do any other teams travel further to play each other?) I arrived to cool and clear weather with a bit of wind. The pitch was firm which was surprising considering all of the rain we have had lately. Fresno is a new team this year, but the talent I saw displayed by the players bodes well for their future. The first half was a series of rucks and scrums until the 38th minute when Fresno opened the scoring with an unconverted try. I was impressed with how clean the rucks were. Players were staying on their feet and onside with a little encouragement. At the half Fresno was ahead 5/0. Humboldt started playing better in the second half and put up three tries, two of which they converted. The last try was kind of a gimme: Fresno had a defending scrum on their own 5 meter line and passed the ball in-goal for a clearing kick. Unfortunately the pass became a knock-on which Humboldt jumped on for the try. Fresno has a hand full of very fast players, but the rookie quality of the team was displayed by no support for several 30/40 meter line breaks. Fresno will only get better with experience. It was Humboldt’s ability to play as a team which seemed to tip the balance in their favor.

Sierra JC 3 – SANTA CLARA 5 Referee: Don Pattalock
Despite the low score, this was a wide open match. SCU made several line breaks that were stopped by an outstanding display of open-field one-on-one tackling by SJC.

Seconds: SJC more, SCU less Ref: Pattalock
This match was played in the great spirit of rugby and was enjoyable to ref. With 6 minutes left, a dangerous pop kick chased by players from each team lead to a full speed collision. Reminder that even in the most light hearted of second-side games, this is a very physical sport we play, coach and referee. Good news, the young man is ok.

UC Santa Cruz Banana Slugs 8 – CAL MARITIME KEELHAULERS 48
Referee: John Pohlman
Touch judges: players from either side.
I looked forward to this game when I saw it on the schedule. The drive to Santa Cruz is usually less than an hour for me and very scenic. Plus how often do you get to referee two teams with nicknames ranked in the top twenty five in intercollegiate sports by ESPN?

I had seen UCSC earlier in the preseason. They had good numbers and looked competitive. Cal Maritime is always competitive.

Thus game on Banana Slugs verses Keelhaulers.

I arrived a little before noon. The field and weather were perfect for rugby. Well marked, fully regulation field, soft but with good footing.

This game was very competitive for the first 60 minutes. A couple of easier tries led to a UCSC defeat.

Cal's winger scored first on a well worked try through numerous players’ hands and a couple of broken tackles. Cal's #14 could have played second row with his size. (I forgot my roster and clipboard at the game so the only names I have are captains, sorry and if anyone has it please call me, 510-604-8184).
UCSC captain #10 Tyler got the Slugs on the board 13 minutes in with a penalty kick. Five minutes later Cal's captain #7 Rufus finished the first half scoring with a penalty kick. Rufus was my player of the game scoring one try, two penalties and five of seven conversions. But I would have picked him by his work rate alone.

The first half was anybody’s. Tenacious tackling and great poaching made for an exciting game for the hundred or so fans. I had a talk with both captains at half time. I felt the penalty count was a little high and wanted more rugby and less whistle in the second half. I'd like to say there were no penalties in the second half, but they were reduced, significantly.

UCSC #13 scored a beautiful try finishing a forty meter play with a 25 meter sprint to the try line. UCSC 8 Cal 15. Game on.

The next twenty minutes was back and forth.

Cal had a line out about 15 meters from the UCSC try line. Captain Rufus called for a long deep throw. His opposite number was caught off guard, Rufus caught a perfect throw and had only his opposing captain between him and the goal line. Well 6'2" 220 or so versus 5'10 180 or so with five meters to score. Valiant effort, but physics was not in UCSC's favor.

On the kickoff the ball only went about 6 meters but Cal's prop caught it and ran about forty meter offloading to his winger with a try one minute later. Cal's winger intercepted a UCSC pass for another try five minutes later.

Not sure what happened to UCSC. But they lost concentration for six minutes and gave up 17 points.

Cal scored two more tries to finish with 7 tries and a 48 to 8 win. On the way home I was one mile from the summit of Highway 17 when a crashed closed it for almost two hours. Oh well, a great day all in all.

Sac State women 12 – CALIFORNIA 34 Referee: Scott Wood

Seconds: SAC STATE women 26 – California 0 Referee: Rob Hendrickson
Sac State Women B side 26, Cal Women 0, referee Rob Hendrickson
It was a short drive from the KOT over to Sac State’s rugby pitch (which rumor has it will move slightly to the south and be improved next year) for the B side game following Scott Wood’s women’s A side game. The pitch was firm, the weather cool and cloudy, but not threatening, and the Cal women were out in force. The two sides were evenly matched, although a series of early first half scrum collapses led to uncontested scrums for the remainder of the game. Both sides moved the ball well in their own defensive half and the midfield, but had problems getting past the 22, except for Sac State’s winger, who managed to break free outside for her several long tries which Cal couldn’t match.

SANTA CLARA women 10 – Humboldt State 5 Referee: Matt Heafey
Gilman Field - Under a Sunny sky
This could have been the best match of the weekend exhibiting great rucks, malls, defensive stands and effort by both clubs. When you go to these games it isn't often that you see BOTH clubs leave everything on the field. I witnessed a truly great match.

First half both clubs fought for about 35 minutes holding each other out of the try zone and rucking and rolling the ball passing it out gracefully attacking and defending. First blood came with about 3 minutes left in the half on a penalty kick by Santa Clara 3-0. Second half was no different as both teams attacked and defended until Santa Clara finally broke free for a try and conversion 10-0. Humboldt kicked off and Santa Clara took the ball back to their side of the field Humboldt stole the ball and basically rucked and malled and passed 3/4 of the field for a try 10-5. Some great efforts by Humboldt to tie the game but final score stuck 10-5 Santa Clara.

USF women – UC Santa Cruz CANCELED

YOUTH RUGBY

Santa Clara Youth U10, 25 – Peninsula Seahawks Youth U10, 30 Referee: Stephen Moore
A 10 player per side game, well fought by both teams for 40 minutes. As the opening game for their season, and with several kids who have never played before, surprisingly rugby is instinctive in many! There were few forward passes and few offsides as might be expected by kids with little background knowledge. A credit to their coaches no doubt. Lots of enthusiastic parents on the side line. Some great breakout tries at times. All and all a game played with plenty of enthusiasm.

Santa Clara Youth U12, 20 – Peninsula Seahawks Youth Rugby Club U12, 15
Ref: Moore
A 13 player per side game, played on a 3/4 size field for 40 minutes. The game opened with Peninsula scoring two tries in the first 10 minutes. Undeterred SC fought back to score a try and hold Peninsula from scoring further before half time. SC had arrived to the game with two U12 teams so their second team was substituted on for the second half. With SC untested and fresh to the game in the second half Peninsula took the opportunity early to score a try. But steam soon ran out a little for Peninsula. With tired Peninsula legs starting to kick in the fresh SC team took the lead and scored three tries.

It was great to see so many kids who knew how to play today. The kids knew their positions well, they avoided being offside, tackled well and respected breakdown rules. Great to see so many kids dressed in proper kit too. There was lots of positive enthusiastic side line support by parents. I estimate 300+ people attended the games today. Two U8, two U10 and two U12 games were played.

Roll-on youth Rugby. The future of our game!

PRESTON GORDON REMINDS YOU TO TURN ON THE TV THIS SATURDAY

This might be a good blurb for next week's news piece - I just heard about it.
BBC America is on Comcast in the bay area.

BBC AMERICA TO BROADCAST LIVE SIX NATIONS RUGBY CHAMPIONSHIP

RBS Six Nations Championship, one of Europe's biggest annual sporting events, will broadcast live on BBC AMERICA starting Saturday, February 6. The cable channel will broadcast five live matches over the course of the legendary rugby tournament featuring England, Ireland, France, Scotland, Wales and Italy vying for the championship. Last year's winner, Ireland, clinched the championship after a thrilling victory that came down to a missed penalty by Wales, giving the Irish the 17-15 win. BBC AMERICA's first match will be from London, where England faces off against Wales, on Saturday, February 6, 12:00 p.m. ET / 9:00 a.m. PT.

More:
http://www.thefutoncritic.com/news.aspx?id=20100121bbca01

THIS WEEK’S PHOTO
Liam Bretz
Notice who’s wearing the whistle – Liam Bretz, age 11.

HAIL, PELICUS!

For the Senate
Pelicus Scriptoris