Wednesday, January 12, 2011




We will meet from 7-9 at the Golden Gate clubhouse on Treasure Island on Wednesday, January 12. Food will be available beginning at six. Plan to arrive early, eat, and talk rugby. If traffic intervenes, you won’t be late.

Need to know, could you ref:
Friday, January 21 there will be two evening games at the Maritime Academy
Friday, January 28 there will be two evening games in Sacramento

Please also send in your availability for February as well.


Referees must report any red cards that they give, as well as yellow cards given for foul play violations of Law 10.4 (kicking, punching, tripping, etc). These should be reported as soon as you are able, and certainly prior to Monday morning for a Saturday game.

Report by e-mail to Art Potter:
IMPORTANT: The format for the report is as follows:

Jan. 32, 2011. Old Haberdashers v. Wankers
Red card to Wankers #7 ¾, Rash D. Cision, CIPP 000000, for violating Law 10.4 (a), punching.


If it was a reflex punch and you think all the miscreant deserves is the standard two-week ban, that’s all you say.

If it was raining blows upon a defenseless opponent repeatedly in the face, THAT STILL IS ALL YOU SAY. A red card for punching is a red card for punching. No what led to what, no detailed sequence of antecedents and counter-reactions that will only serve to call the fidelity of your memory into question should this incident find itself the subject of litigation a year or two later.

But ah – the magic words: you add, “Please call me if you need any further information.”

The magic words mean CALL ME. They mean there is additional information that will better serve its purpose if it’s not preserved in cyberspace for discovery at some future date and time.


The NCRRS, on behalf of its members, has taken advantage of the accident insurance policy offered through USA Rugby.

This will cover members of the Society (CIPP, dues paid, liability waiver on file) for accidents and injuries they sustain during games or traveling for games.

More information about this policy is available at Click on the Zurich logo. Here’s to no claims!


STANFORD Women 79 – UC Santa Cruz Women 0 Referee: Preston Gordon
Steuber Field, 1800
Why is it that whenever I try to schedule an early departure from work they come up with so many quasi-important things for me to do that afternoon? I still haven't figured that one out, but that's why I got to Stanford at 1740. Luckily these two teams were warmed up and ready to play, so the pregame stuff didn't take too long.

While both sides had a number of new players, Stanford was better at exploiting opportunities and playing together. The cold and damp weather had somewhat of an effect on the game, but by playing longer-than-usual advantages and not seeing some marginally mishandled balls, we were able to stay warm and enjoy some good continuity and a fair contest.

Stanford scored 7 tries in the first half (at 5, 12, 19, 23, 27, 37, and 40 minutes), converting five of them, for a halftime score of 45-0. They scored 6 more tries in the second half (at 4, 10, 12, 18, 26, and 38 minutes), converting two of them, to finish the match at 79-0. The scoreline was only marred by a 71st minute yellow card to a Stanford player for a high tackle.

The temperature dropped as the match went on, and at one point the referee was seen warming his hands over the barbecue while waiting for the arrival of the kicking tee for one of the second-half conversions. It wasn't too cold to stick around to AR for the seconds’ game, however.

Stanford seconds 0 – SEAHAWKS 30 Referee: Stephen Moore
AR: Preston Gordon

SACRAMENTO CAPITALS 34 – Sacramento State 5 Referee: Scott Wood
Referee Coach: Kat Todd-Schwartz
ARs: Chris Tucker, Donal Walsh
TJ: Steve Seifert
Referee Coach: Kat Todd-Schwartz
Location: Sacramento Mud Bowl aka Florin Reservoir Park West

First off, it was cold. Not the enjoyable "let's go skiing" cold but rather the mind-numbing "what were we thinking" cold. Second, since the normal Danny Nunn pitch was flooded, we had to play on the "higher elevation" pitch adjacent to the west. If you haven't had the experience, pray you never get it. If you've been there, you know what I'm talking about. (Side note: The first rugby match I ever played was in this swamp. It was also the first (and only) concussion I've received.)

Sacramento State has a good number of players ready for action. Sacramento Capitals have been assisting with coaching the collegians but apparently didn't teach them all the tricks. We started off with a reasonably-sized crowd (est. 40 spectators) considering the conditions.

The match was sloppy. After all, how can you get clean ball when it's slathered with mud? Clearing kicks would stick in the ground. Feet slipped. Tackles missed. Players dove, didn't/couldn't roll. The first chucker just didn't seem to gain any continuity or flow. The hosts scored an early penalty goal followed by two tries to close the period 15-0.

After a brief discussion with Kat, we started the second period strong. The Capitals again poured on the power but the Hornets defended well. The hosts put in two more tries before Sacramento State found its footing. Using a rare spot of solid(ish) ground as a platform, they attacked the goal line. And attacked. And attacked. One unplayable resulted in an attacking 5-meter scrum. Again the Capitals defended well as I moved in and out and in and out of goal. Then, in what I can only describe as a brief bout of premonition, I saw the opening the visitors needed on the wing so I started to run out in anticipation of the pass. Unfortunately, the scrum half passed slower than I expected; however, I was able to stop on a dime (again, another first...) and the ball barely missed drilling me. I slogged (that's what sprinting should be called on this bit of ground) around to in-goal to have the try scored near(ish) to my feet. The second chucker closed with the Capitals holding a commanding 27-5 lead.

The third period featured three new props (two with bright, clean red jerseys) and a handful of new backs. While we agreed to 30-minute periods, the captains opined that a "fast" 30 would be nice. First scrum collapsed. Second held up. Capitals scored another try. The third scrum was in a mud pile. Fourth was "conveniently" located in a dry patch (sole judge of fact, law and location...). The fifth was in a bog. The sixth was immediately adjacent. The next knock-on resulted in the final whistle.

We adjourned to the Capitals' clubhouse. Yes, clubhouse. They purchased a house immediately adjacent to Florin Reservoir Park and have outlined some great plans for it. I look forward to future events at their facility.

Seconds: Sac Capitals – Sac State CANCELED

SFGG SL 44 – San Mateo 12 Referee: George O'Neil
Evaluator: David Williamson

SFGG Colts 0 – EPA BULLDOGS 24 Referee: Preston Gordon
Ray Sheeran Field, Treasure Island, 1300
ARs (variously): George O'Neil, Liz Palmer, Eric Rauscher, one unknown SFGG player, maybe someone else?

This game was a pre-season contest played in 4 20-minute periods. Both sides looked to be up for the game and didn't disappoint. We got started just after 1pm, and spent the first 20 minutes having multiple scrums as the rust wore off (0-0). The next 3 periods were a much better exhibition of rugby, with ferocious but fair tackling, with only one or two exceptions. The players were clearly looking for opportunities to keep the ball alive at the breakdowns and the interplay was good on both sides too.

EPA Bulldogs scored tries at 32, 61, 66, and 72 minutes, converting the last two. There were a couple of balls either held up or knocked on over the goal line as well, and SFGG came very close to scoring a few times - the result perhaps flatters EPA slightly.

There were 2 yellow cards in this game; one to a Bulldogs player for cynical play, and one to SFGG for a high tackle. Other than that it was a good, fast game with lots of ball movement. And thanks to the 4+ people who assisted me on the touchline.

SANTA ROSA 83 – Redwood/Vallejo mix 0 Referee: See below

I was scheduled to ref the Sac Capitals 2's vs Sac State 2's, but I was informed that the game was canceled for lack of numbers from Sac State. I turned around, headed home, and touched judged for Tom Zanarini, instead!

By the 1pm kickoff time at For Pete's Sake Field in Santa Rosa, D2 Santa Rosa was warmed up and ready to play, Mike King (volunteer) was mic'd up and ready to AR, and an eager 9-year-old TJ was ready to officiate, but there was one problem: none of the D3 Redwood Empire players were at the field. 30 minutes later, some of them had trickled in as the Redwood coach desperately tried to cobble together a team of random walk-ons, but it became clear that their CIPP status was dubious at best. I regretfully informed the teams that I could not referee unless all players are CIPP'd, which they understood. All was not lost though: I was able to complete a solid workout at the nearby Santa Rosa JC stadium, a nice facility.

Some CIPP issues prior to the match required Vallejo to fill in for Redwood. Afa Wolfking, Redwood’s coach, refereed the first half and then I took over.

SANTA ROSA seconds 99 – Vallejo 5 Ref: Zanarini
Four 20-minute quarters played in pre-season fashion.

SOUTH VALLEY – Diablo Gaels Referee: Paul Bretz
8 trys to 5 for Gaels. FITNESS, FITNESS, FITNESS

UC Santa Cruz 24 – Aptos/Monterey 24 Referee: James Hinkin
On a cold but clear day in Santa Cruz the Aptos/Monterey side traveled the short distance north for a preseason clash with UCSC. Speaking with the travelers it looks like Aptos and Monterey will be one club this year. They are CIPP'd as Monterey, at least. Speaking with both captains 4 20-minute periods were decided upon. UCSC had the advantage of numbers, youth and the home pitch while A/M had the advantage of experience and size. The new, slower scrum cadence still seems to be causing issues with teams that want to engage immediately, but after a few false starts both teams settled down and the scrums did not collapse once. In fact, the only resets were for the ball not being hooked and turning 90 degrees. Looks like this new-fangled cadence is working.

UCSC got on the board first as A/M's tackling let them down. Several broken tackles led to a try dutifully centered under the posts. A/M was able to hit back with a converted try before the first break and at 20 min we had a 7-7 score. The second 20 minutes saw an even contest but the collegians were able to breach the A/M defense for a second try that remained unconverted. With time running out in the half A/M had a break down the left side with their prop standing on the wing. The overlap was worked to him and he put his head down to go for the line but was hit a meter short. Two tacklers and the tacklee went into the try zone and landed with the defenders under the ball. The A/M prop's momentum rolled him over where he grounded the ball and looked for a signal from me. Unfortunately he was lying with half his body in touch and yea, it was very close but I determined he was in touch before he grounded the ball. This was a decision for a TMO but I unaccountably had misplaced mine on the way to the pitch and didn't carry a spare. This will prove significant. We went into the break 12-7.

The second half saw subs from both sides and the inexperience showed - especially for the Slugs. They missed some key tackles and were getting pushed in the scrums and that put A/M on the front foot. They took advantage of it and were able to claw a try back. This was unconverted to tie the score at 12-12. The score remained knotted up at 12 when we stopped for the 20 minute break and I started to get nervous. Almost immediately the tie was broken by UCSC as they started to put more phases together and, combined with a series of silly penalties near the goal line, a try was scored. No conversion so the score moved to 19-12.

(Side note: This was a weird one. A/M had a couple of penalties in quick succession and were backed up against their try line. A flanker went offside again to grab the scrumhalf and I shouted "NO! GREEN 6 YOU'RE OFFSIDE!" He continued to tackle the scrumhalf who was trying to pass and the result was a weak dribbler, so I called "Advantage" and put an arm out. I never blew the whistle. Apparently both sides assumed I had called a penalty because A/M retreated to the goal line and UCSC picked the ball up, walked to where I was standing and placed it on the ground. Then the captain and #2 tapped the ball with his foot and ran it in for a try. I spent this whole period with my arm out waiting for someone to realize play was still going on. The way everyone went about things, though, resulted in no knock-ons or any other infraction so I just went with the flow and awarded the try.)

A/M then started to reassert themselves and pushed across for another try. With the conversion wide this seesaw battle was tied again and I got nervous again. With one minute left, however, I was given hope with a penalty about 25 meters out to A/M. Posts were indicated, the ball was carefully placed, the kick went up... and clanged off the upright. We had time for the resulting 22 meter drop and a few phases later a knock on ended the half. 19-19. A tie.

Yet again hope came to my rescue as both sides agreed to a 5th period to assure everyone got some playing time. We kicked off and battled anew. By this time A/M had a few UCSC players filling out their numbers and they continued their form from the end of the previous period. An unconverted try was soon in the books for a 24-19 lead. With time running out the Slugs surged forward and scored a well worked try to tie the game again. This try was right under the posts so a conversion was assured and a 2 point win was in the bag.

Except the kick was mis-hit. The ball was hooked left. 24-24. Next stoppage ends the game. The ball gets kicked to touch.

Looks like the drinks are on me Wednesday.

RENO ACADEMY 67 – Colusa 15 Referee: Phil Akroyd
If a terrorist group wished to destroy one of the world’s most valuable commodities – Pelican Refs – then they could have done worse than pick Golden Eagle Park in the City of Sparks as their target, on Saturday afternoon. In attendance, in addition to myself, were Referees Salgado, Ulibarri (running the lines), Pattalock, Wilkening and Anderson. Not a bad turn out for one game in Reno.

The weather brought out the natives. The skies were clear and blue, and the air was cold but most importantly, the sun was shining. Perfect rugby weather. The playing surface was pretty good too. We played on one of the three new multi-purpose field turf pitches. Once we had removed a couple of patches of frozen snow, we got the game under way.

Reno played in the opposition half for most of the game. The first time they got across the try line, the winger ran over the dead-ball line, despite the Reno captain assuring me before the game that his players were familiar with the lines. They scored from the ensuing 22 drop out but didn’t convert. A few minutes later, the Reno full-back also ran the ball through the dead ball line, then they scored again and again and again.

One of the best first-half tries was a chip and chase form the half way line from the Reno fly-half. Colusa didn’t really compete in any area of the game. The scrums were under-powered, committed to rucks in ones and twos and had little to no possession to use in the backs. 38-0 at half-time.

Reno backed off a little in the second half and Colusa came back with three unconverted tries toward the end however, Reno scored five tries in the same half. Final score 67-15.

MARIN HIGHLANDERS 54 – Danville 0 Referee: John Coppinger
Marin were more organized, athletic, and adventurous on the day and ran away from Danville 54-0 on a cold, gray day on the turf at Redwood High in Corte Madera. There are a number of talented and committed rugby players on the Marin side.

JV: MARIN HIGHLANDERS 9 trys – Danville 0 Referee: Bruce Bernstein
Played a scrimmage of 3 periods with Marin dominating after a slow start in the first period.

Nice artificial grass field at Redwood HS in Larkspur with a chill/fog lingering.

Wednesday, December 29:
High School All-Americans – CANADA U17 Referee: Don Pattalock
ARs: Bruce Carter, Bill Caulfield (SoCal)
This was a mid-week scrimmage to help the coaching staffs decide on their top fifteens for the formal matchup two days later, with unlimited in-and-out substitutions.

The All-Americans had a lead early when a fellow in yellow shoes tip-toed down the touchline more than fifty meters despite three guys having a shot at him with no room to maneuver. This turns out to be Jesuit’s Matt Chipman, who scored four tries in the main match on New Year’s Eve.

December 31:
HIGH SCHOOL ALL-AMERICANS 44 – Canada U17, 29 Referee: Joe Androvich
On New Year’s Eve morning, Canada U17s played USA U17s in Santa Barbara, California. The weather was clear and cold. The match was scheduled for 9am, but Canada arrived to the pitch at 8:55am in warm ups and sneakers, thinking the match was to kick at 9:30. It took some diplomacy to get the coaches to agree on national anthems at 9:10am, kick off at 9:15am.

Nonetheless, the game kicked off at 9:15am. It was FAST and well played. Not long ago, it felt like USA HSAA teams were comprised of a bunch of really good football players playing rugby in the offseason. Now, it is clear that this team is full of really good rugby players playing rugby. Athleticism is off the charts.

The pattern they played was a testament to the coaching. They had line out plays, scrum calls and clear systems in defense and attack.

In the end, USA won 44-29, with a whole bunch of tries scored by a J High winger which I was happy to see.


Don Goard checks in a fascinating link to a phenomenon that might draw you to Yosemite on a rugby day off. The magic of frazil ice:

The Training Committee of the Referee and Laws committee met in San Antonio this past weekend. That’s tough duty.

Left to right (foreground only): Harry Laws (Indiana), Jen Gray and Ed Todd of USA Rugby, Peter Watson (New England) and Sam Reagle (now Texas).


For the Senate
Pelicus Scriptoris