Wednesday, March 23, 2011




Want to be a part of tomorrow’s rugby today?

Fifty teams will compete for U8, U10 and U12 titles on Treasure Island on Sunday, March 27. Referees would be greatly appreciated.

The games are short, the players are keen, the future is bright. Bring your shades.

Let us know if you would like more details.


Would you like to be the fourth official or scoreboard operator for Saturday’s super league battle of the unbeatens between SFGG and the Utah Warriors? It means free admission to what should be a great matchup at Sheeran Field.

We also have the battle at the top of the table in D1 going on when East Palo Alto Bulldogs host the Olympic Club. There are two games scheduled; it would be nice to have another Assistant Referee if you can run but cannot ref for whatever reason.


BARBARIANS 5 – Olympic Club 38 Referee: Pete Smith

Seconds: Barbarians – Olympic Club NOT PLAYED

EPA Razorbacks 21 - SAN MATEO 32 Referee: John Coppinger
AR: Ed Mortlock
Evaluator: David Williamson
On the artificial turf at Cubberley Community Center (which could only be reached by wading across the flooded clay track), San Mateo ran off 32-21 winners.

Rain, rain, more rain, and lots of handling errors, but a clean match played in good spirits with both teams playing a wide open attacking style of rugby.

Cubberley brought back lots of memories because it was Mission's home pitch for many years. Tom Mell had his compound fracture of his leg there (which I think was my last game for Mission and Bruce Carter was the first responder in that match) and I ruptured my biceps tendon on the Cubberley pitch trying to arm-tackle a Gaels prop the year before Mell broke his leg. Olympic Club played Bay Barbos right after EPA/SM and Brian McClenahan played for O Club. Brian doesn't admit this readily, but he played for Mission at Cubberley for two years before he went off to fame and glory at Cal. A couple of other former Mission players were also around.

My thanks to Ed Mortlock for running AR and Dave Williamson for his feedback.

Seconds: EPA Razorbacks – San Mateo NOT PLAYED

SAC LIONS 13 – EPA Bulldogs 10 Referee: JC Van Staden
AR: Blake Crawley

Seconds: Sac Lions – EPA Bulldogs NOT PLAYED

ALL BLUES 12 – Amazons 10 Referee: Stephanie Bruce
Assessor: Bryan Porter

Diablo Gaels 10 – FRESNO 20 Referee: Olivia Nigh (Eastern Penn)
AR: John Pohlman
Evaluator: Dixon Smith
Mare Island, Vallejo, CA
It was about 45 and rainy. Light sprinkle to start the match, but it increased to a nice chilling rain by the second half. A few games had already been played on the field in the morning, so grassy spots were few and far between. We often chose between one muddy sport and another muddy spot for the mark on scrums. John Pohlman was an AR and coach while Dixon Smith had me on the mic. The other sideline was covered by a Diablo TJ.

The match started with an unconverted try by Diablo up the gut at minute 7, and was quickly returned with a try from Fresno at minute 11. Diablo promptly answered with another unconverted try at minute 20. Fresno slotted in a PK at goal around minute 30 and added another try at the 40th minute. Half had the scoreboard at 20 Fresno to 10 Diablo. We did have a knock-on at the dive for the try in goal by Diablo in the second half. The field deterioration, muddy ball and solid tackling kept us out of the in goal for the second half. Final score: Fresno 20 – Diablo 10.

Play was generally characterized as good solid rugby. We had excellent ball handling and relatively few scrums to start the game. I can honestly say that I would not pick one stand out player from either team as both sides played as teams. Excellent support at the tackle to create solid rucks. Both teams did successfully counter-ruck for the ball. Proper defensive alignment limited break-aways. Most field movement was achieved from turnover in the open field and multiple phase offense as opposed to clever set piece plays. Scrum count escalated into the second half, but we only had two resets in the entire game – and neither was from the field conditions which is a testament to the even competition of the scrums of each squad. Only a steal or two in the line outs during the match by the defense, but again, the teams retained their own ball. Fresno had a nice line-out maul that allowed them to put Diablo on the back foot close in. Back lines unfortunately were not tested with the conditions but for their kicking game and back 3 response. It was a thoroughly enjoyable game despite the weather given the competition between the teams and the character of the players on the field.

Seconds: Diablo Gaels - FRESNO Referee: John Pohlman
The seconds’ game was tens with 15-20 min halves. Fresno won on the last play. Cold, wet and muddy field. Everyone cheered at the final whistle.

BA Baracus – Chico Rescheduled to April 23

SANTA ROSA 20 – SFGG Colts 7 Referee: Anna McMahan (New England)
ARs: Bruce Carter, Ben Bravo
Referee Coach: Bryant Byrnes
In a brief return to Pelicanland I reffed a cold and rainy top-of-the-table clash as a warm up for my CPD game next week. While I was delighted to get to see rugby friends I hadn't seen in a long time, I was a bit disappointed in the weather. As someone traveling from Boston to NorCal during March, I was clearly hoping for a reprieve from cold, wet New England. Alas, it wasn't to be so.

Santa Rosa hosted SFGG Colts at For Pete's Sake Field on Saturday, and it was a wonder to behold teams playing on grass and not turf. Both teams were ready to play from the start, and it was clear that there was a lot of feeling in this match. I would love to have had the opportunity to ref these two teams in clear weather, because I think the rugby would have been great. As it was we had a lot of scrums, and the ball was kept pretty close in. The backs saw occasional opportunities with the ball, but most of the running came from 2nd and 3rd phase play.

My score card was soup by the end of the 80 minutes, plus my fingers were too numb to write anything down. Santa Rosa started the scoring with a converted try, followed in due time by a penalty. SFGG pulled within 3 when they scored their own converted try, but SR finished out the half by scoring their second converted try. Halftime score 17 - 7. The second half was more of a maintenance affair, with neither team getting the upper hand. Cold hands and tired bodies led to lots of knock-ons and missed passes. The only second half score was a penalty kick by SR for a full time score of 20 - 7.

Both teams played positive rugby in spite of the conditions, and it was a delight to ref this game. Thank you to Joe and Elvis for captaining their sides well. Thank you to Bruce and Ben for the ride from my hotel and for braving the weather to run as AR's - it's great to have help from the sidelines. And thank you to Bryant for withstanding the weather and for the very helpful halftime and post-game comments. All of those things help make me a better ref.

Seconds: Santa Rosa 12 – SFGG COLTS 15 Referee: Bruce Carter
AR: Anna McMahan
For Pete’s Sake was developed and dedicated for days like this, days when otherwise ruggers might be moping around the house, on the inside looking out.

Owned and operated by rugby folk in the memory of Pete Eiermann, whose motto might be ‘the game’s the thing’, the pitch hosted three matches in the midst of several days of torrential downpours.

Most of Pelicanland’s winter storms (including those that arrive after the equinox) blow in off the Gulf of Alaska. That’s cold water dousing the hopes of soccer and baseball players but merely wetting the appetites of ruggers.

My hands where white like alabaster before halftime of the first-side match. I could grip my touch flag but there was no way I’d be able to manipulate a pen or even put my hand into my pocket, so had my circulation deserted my extremities for more vital climes. I was happy to see that there was a scoreboard, ably operated, and I wouldn’t need to tally the scoring.

Both teams ‘warmed up’ and were eager to get going.

I have red-green color blindness. With bold colors and bright lighting, I can distinguish most shades, but with forest green, a muted red, no direct sun and a thick applique of mud, forget it. So I refereed with my signals: “You – roll away,” (touching player on ground).

When we can’t see the numbers we often referee the faces – usually, I quickly learn who’s playing what position so that I can address them by number without having to see the numerals. But on this day – the faces were often obscured.

When do you have frequent water breaks on a bitterly cold day? When the water is being used to irrigate mud-filled eye sockets.

This was a lot of fun! Rugby: the antidote to modern life.

Marin 3 – SEAHAWKS 21 Referee: Rich Anderson
Mud and maul were the words heard most often last Saturday as Marin hosted the Seahawks.

With the pitch resembling something out of the Bayou, the Seahawks used the tactic of keeping the ball tight with the forwards, recycling the ball quickly for short gains. This tactic produced two forward tries in the first half. The second half saw the field (and the referee) become slower and wetter. Second half penalty kicks rounded out the scoring.

Seconds: Marin – Seahawks NOT PLAYED

VACAVILLE 24 – Berkeley 0 Referee: Ray Schwartz
TJs: Bill Long & chilly Berkeley-ite
Willis Jepson Middle School, Vacaville

In stark contrast to my day in Vacaville the previous weekend, different field at the same school, different scrumhalf for local Black Dogs, different outcome as well...but more than any of sunshine, not even the threat of sun. And field was wet and sloppy...getting muddier by the minute.

Playing inside the track, w/ touch altogether too close to the concrete curb edging, and lines barely visible, we pressed on. The captains, Will and Gill, were keen to get started. I was thankful to have brought the long studs along, as they kicked off right at 1pm.

I knew the Black Dogs were missing their #9 the week before, but hadn’t realized he was also their captain. Back from his weekend commitment to the Marine Corps Reserve, Gill had a huge impact in this game, allowing his 10 and 12 (Matt and Curtis) to play in their preferred positions. He also strongly outplayed his opposite number.

So though it seemed the Berkeley side was more ferocious and committed at the tackle/ruck, Vacaville was better at getting clean ball out into space, and from there, Matt Hefner was able to distribute, and Curtis Clark was his favorite runner.

When Vacaville scored first, even then it seemed an anomaly. Berkeley would surely respond. Then as Vacaville went up 12-0, I still felt Berkeley was very much in the game. But they would finally wilt as all the pressure was coming from the home team. In fact, Berkeley rarely enjoyed attacking ball all day. Their one venture inside the attacking 22 quickly turned into a dropout for V-ville.

The game was extraordinarily well played considering the slop and slick conditions. I was amazed to realize in the end not a single scrum had collapsed, yet all were contested well.

I felt terrible, first as I realized the field was deteriorating and so might the home team’s good relations with the school, but that also meant there would be no chance at all of a B Game being played. And Bill Long, a new ref to rugby, had made his way up from Fresno for the chance the run.

Bill was such a good sport about it, and it was pleasure to have him. I had worked with him at the KOT, and he reminded me that it always seems to be raining when we connect at the pitch. We had a great chat at The Good Heifer. He reports high school rugby is just exploding now around Fresno. Before he took off to visit his aunt in Napa, Bill promised to come ref at the PCIT in Morgan Hill April 30/May 1.

One old friend stepped forward from Berkeley at the party, or should I say two...?! When at the USA 7s two years ago in San Diego I had sat down and shared a few pints with Lamorinda parents Jon and Mel Wall. As Melody came forward to give me a hug, I had not yet made the connection. I had no idea Jon had started playing. They were in support their young son Dillon, then a 9-year old scrumhalf for Lamo, when we first met.

Jon played very well on the day for Berkeley. I remember being sad when he subbed out midway into the 2nd half. He had insanely kind things to say about my reffing, which I felt was cool considering his team had been so soundly beat. Somehow I had kept the spirit of the game up high and the players engaged right to the end. Heck, it was a struggle just to stay warm and concentrate until the 80th minute!

Seconds: Vacaville – Berkeley NOT PLAYED

COLUSA 36 – Reno Zephyrs 12 Referee: Mike King
I had the privilege of officiating the valiant Zephyrs who traveled through snow and adverse road conditions to honor their commitment to Colusa County and this great game that we love. While the players are a mix of young and old, they all have “true grit”.

The match was hotly contested in the rucks and open field, through much of the first half. Colusa opened the scoring with a line break after a long series of crashes around the fringe of the rucks. A later try was scored by the wing tight-roping down the touch line. Reno answered with a nifty stolen pass by its #12 and follow by his mates. 12-7 at half.

Colusa started the second half with a banging movement leading to a score near the corner by #3. Reno countered and took the game back to the other end, knocking on the door for several minutes. After being denied, the Zephyrs finally seemed to feel the effects of the long trip. The home side was able to deftly run and pass its way to several more scores and its final margin of victory. Colusa looks like a real contender for a playoff spot. Despite the wet pitch and wetter weather, it was real pleasure to ref this match between these two fine sides.

Reno Academy – Shasta CANCELED

Mendocino 5 – VALLEJO 28 Referee: Cary Bertolone
Raining heavily on a soft field, with snow in sight on the surrounding mountains, this was mud rugby at its finest. Five minutes into the match, a Mendo prop gave me a bear hug before a scrum down to make sure I wasn't the only clean guy on the field. Although Vallejo wore red and Mendo had blue, they were all brown within minutes, small eyeholes peeking through the mud to see where the next scrum was (had just a "few" knock-ons). Vallejo scored with up field running on the 4th and 16th minute of the game. Things got a little testy, but a yellow card later, things settled down and Vallejo scored another try while playing short, for a 21-0 halftime lead. The second half started out in similar fashion with Vallejo the bigger, stronger team, but Mendo not giving in and playing hard. Vallejo scored again, but then started making stupid penalties. Mendo came back to score a try and spent much of the last 25 minutes pounding at the try zone, close to scoring a few other times. A lot of laughing and mud slinging as most everyone had a great time. Pictures were taken by both teams together, after the match, as we were sooo muddy.

Monterey 0 – SOUTH VALLEY 27 Referee: James Hinkin
or possibly Aptos 0 - Morgan Hill 27
This referee is starting to wonder how Monterey ever got a reputation as a beachside resort town. A few weeks ago I had to drive through the Great Blizzard of 2011 to get to a match held in wet conditions and temps in the 40s. Saturday I had to drive through a rainstorm to get to a match held in wet conditions and temps in the 40s. Miserable place...

In any case I arrived to see both teams dressed and warming up for a 12:30 kickoff. The field was being used for little league team photos when I got there (not sure why they weren't used the baseball field in the sports complex...) but the Monterey admins got it sorted out and off the field with 5 minutes to spare before the first whistle.

There was a significant wind and Morgan Hill won the toss and elected to save the wind for the second half. This proved to be a good decision because while Monterey was able to spend most of the half in the Morgan Hill half they were unable to break the defensive line. Morgan Hill defended for long stretches until eventually a breakaway would get them all the way down the field. Three tries were scored in this manner with some excellent speed shown by the Morgan Hill #4 as he raced 70 yards to score. With the wind conversions were not a serious proposition so the score stood at 15-0 at the break.

The second half saw Morgan Hill use the wind to keep the ball in the Monterey half but Monterey's defense was improving. They held the visitors out of the try zone for the most part but were finally breached for a pair of tries late in the half. With one of them centered the Morgan Hill flyhalf was finally able to convert so the final score stood at 27-0 to the visitors.

ARROYO GRANDE 17 – Paso Robles 13 Referee: Jim Crenshaw
I enjoyed the Arroyo Grande - Paso Robles match.

Intermittent showers were the fare in Arroyo Grande Saturday as AG defeated Paso Robles 17 to 13 in a hard fought match.

Stanislaus 5 – SAMOA UNITED 38 Referee: Jeff Jury
Beautiful area in Turlock for a pitch.

Fog women – West Bay Angels Referee: Bruce Bernstein
No report received.

SAN FRANCISCO FOG 37 - Saints 17 Referee: Sam Davis
Cold, Raining and muddy on Treasure Island Job Corps field home of the Fog. At kick off time the Saints were missing a few of their teammates due to injury and family commitments. They agreed to continue to play in this league match with only 11 players. Fog was in full strength. The Saints scored twice in the first 15 mins and it looked like the Fog was still going to have its hands full. At the end of the first half it was Fog 12 Saints 10. Once they switched sides and the Fog had the wind at their backs the Fog started an effective attack that added 5 trys to the score board. The Saints were down to 10 players at the beginning of the 2nd half but still came back and scored one more try at the 26 min mark. It was a good game and fun to participate in.

SF Fog seconds 10 - ST. MARY'S thirds: Sixty-something Referee: Preston Gordon

ST. MARY’S 46 – San Diego State 5 Referee: Chris Tucker
ARs: Lee Johnson (North Mids RFU), Preston Gordon
#4: Ron Decausemaker
Evaluator: Mike Malone
Location: Moraga slip 'n' slide.
Weather: Welsh.

My pre-game prediction was: Kick, knock-on, scrum, repeat. Pretty much the story of the match, the key missing point being the utter dominance of the St. Mary's scrum. The only ones they lost were on their own not-straight put-in, and they took a few against the head too. With such an attacking platform, they were going to have a good day in conditions like these. The Aztec backline didn't help their cause by playing a little too flat for their own good (and mine, took me too long to adapt and get out of the way) and continually overrunning the ball carrier, giving too many attacking scrums to St. Mary's.

The first try came after 15 minutes, with the Gaels forwards sucking in defenders and then the backs finishing it off nicely out wide. The second followed not long after, with a missed tackle assignment in the backs giving the St. Mary's inside centre a glorious 10m long slide along the water through the goalposts. The third and final of the half was the best by far, with the forwards driving again and again, and the final pick and drive touched down out wide for 19-0 at the half.

The second half was more of the same, the pack setting the tone and in one case just wiping out the defending scrum. As it collapsed the 8 man picked, drove and scored at the feet of the unbound flanker. Just as well, really.

The visitors got their moment of redemption late in the 2nd half, when they ran wide, the winger tackled 5m short. Lee raised his flag, but I called to play on as the ball was on the deck before the player went into touch. The defending players stood around pointing out the touch flag, and the Aztecs scored. A lesson we all learn -- play to the whistle. At that point I should have consulted with Lee, who had done a solid job helping me out, but I gave the try and rather hung him out to dry. I apologised later in the Round Up.

Thanks to Lee, Preston and Ron for their help, and for Mike for saying nice things about me after while helping me see a few things clearer with hindsight.

Seconds: ST. MARY’S 33 – San Diego State 5 Referee: Lee Johnson (North Mids)
The game was reduced to 40 minutes due to the pitch being waterlogged and barely playable.

I would like to thank you for letting me referee whilst I was here and particularly the Stanford v Chico State game as that was the first game I've really enjoyed for some time.

Sierra JC 7 – CALIFORNIA frosh/soph 35 Referee: Phil Akroyd
ARs: Brad Scott & Rob Hendrickson
Referee Coach: Matt Eason

The conditions were almost a copy of those from the previous night: a turf field, a howling southerly wind, consistently at about 30 mph, freezing cold but this time with buckets and buckets of rain.

I'd been looking forward to this one for a couple of weeks. Two, very well-coached teams, obviously on different locations of the rugby map, but Sierra play well above their weight. Sierra are very well-drilled in the forwards and play with 100% commitment all of the time. As Don said last week, they are a complete team and coming off of a 90-0 win last week, their confidence was high.

That seemed to be shattered in the first minute when Cal scored from their first phase play and converted the try. They battered their way in for a second ten minutes later and nine minutes again after that, then again eleven later. 28-0 at half-time suggests that it was pretty easy going, but the majority of the game was fought in the middle half of the pitch. Sierra defenders smacked down runners, even with a weight disadvantage. Cal wanted to play a wide game, but struggled with the slightly narrower football field. The fly-half drifted with ball in hand, giving his wingers absolutely no room on the touch lines. When they brought the game back to a bump and run game up the middle of the field, Sierra dealt with the predictable play very well. The Cal scrum-half delivered slow ball, allowing SJC to counter ruck and spoil even more. He also seemed to have a problem with feeding the ball straight at the scrum.

Sierra scored pretty quickly after the break, giving the home supporters something to cheer about in the worsening conditions. As the subs came and went and the ball became more difficult to handle, the game moved forward, still at pace but with plenty of errors and no real direction.

If I were a Sierra fan, I'd be pretty happy that my team gave the visitors a difficult afternoon and if I were a Cal fan, I'd be a little disappointed that my team did not score more and execute well enough in all areas of the game. If these two programs were to meet again on a sunny spring day on a full sized pitch, I think that Cal could score considerably more points but credit to Sierra for giving them a tough game.

UC Santa Cruz – Fresno State TO BE PLAYED APRIL 2

San Francisco State 0 – SANTA ROSA JC 15 Referee: Tony Levitan
Thanks to the hyper-vigilant weather prognosticators who manage to City of San Francisco fields, SFSU hosted this fixture at For Pete's Sake in Santa Rosa on a cold, slightly blustery and rainy day. But, at least we were first game off of three so the pitch was in reasonable shape and players remained distinguishable by jersey color.

Other than being marked by a bevy of knock-ons numbering just south of infinity, the match was fairly contested and close till the end.

Halftime shivering commenced with Santa Rosa JC leading 5-0 after a late unconverted try. SRJC put across a try early in second half and then another in the waning moments, stringing together a collection of impressive backline movements thanks to strong, creative running from their center/captain.

SFSU threatened a few times behind the nifty kicking of their flyhalf, but Santa Rosa's defense remained stout. The elements helped as well as numerous probes from both teams fell prey to a slippery ball.


HUMBOLDT OLD GROWTH 16 - Redwood Empire 10 Referee: Tom Zanarini
Colleen and I drove up to Eureka Friday night to enjoy a weekend on the Lost Coast. Weather wasn't horrible; we passed through intermittent rain showers and one rock slide on the way up. We checked into the Best Western on 5th Ave. Very nice spot with a hot(ish) breakfast, heated pool and Jacuzzi. Dinner both nights was at the Eureka Sea Grill on E Street. Both nights were fantastic. Sturgeon Friday night and Long Island Duck Saturday. Colleen had wild salmon Friday and halibut Saturday. Great beers on draught, highly recommended.

So, then Saturday was a rugby day! The rain came and went periodically with a nice downpour at the whistle. Sloppy field and wet ball created a lot of scrums. Mostly played up the middle. Fun match to referee.

HUMBOLDT STATE 82 - U. of San Francisco 5 Ref: Zanarini
Right after the men's club match, the colleges were ready to go. I'd like to thank both teams for rescheduling the match to 3pm to help spread our referees throughout Pelicanland. Mike King was originally scheduled to ref the men's match, but then Colusa would not have a ref for their match. No use sending two men to do what one can. USF traveled light, but thankfully made the trip. Lack of numbers and practice time showed as they had little game plan or coordination. HSU ran at will.

Sunday we awoke again to light rains so I found the energy for a 10k run around Eureka before our 5 hour drive home. A lunch stop at the Waterwheel Restaurant in Garberville served up some great omelets and coffee. I also scored a wood-carved pelican in their shop, which is the home of the Southern Humboldt Arts Association.

I did not referee the girls U-19 match because I did not make contact with anyone involved with the team. Both team contacts on our list were outdated, which I have since fixed and Scott has already changed on our website. A rep for the men's club said the U-19 had a referee on the team. That referee was actually a Level 1 certified player with HSU women who was in a playoff match. So Christina Alatorre took the whistle, she's the new contact listed. She reported that Humboldt lost big.

PCRFU Women’s D2 College Play-in game in Redding:
Humboldt State 5 – WASHINGTON STATE 31 Referee: Joe Androvich


Friday 3:30 PM
JV: Bishop O'Dowd - SAN DIEGO MUSTANGS Referee: Sam Davis
It was cold and raining and everyone was ready to play. The Mustangs players were a bigger and more experienced team than BOD and it showed up on the field. My score card was so wet that I could not write the score down. Final score Mustangs a lot BOD a little.

Saturday is a Rugby Day. 8:00 AM boot check ;-)

Varsity: De La Salle 22 - San Diego Mustangs 12 Referee: Sam Davis
The Vallejo Field was wet and in good shape at the beginning of the game as it rained most of the game a lot more mud and loose balls. This was a great game to be a part of as both teams contested until the final whistle blew. De La Salle scored first but within a few mins San Diego tied it up on a multi-phase play that went out to the wing and cut back to score halfway between the post and the sidelines. The rest of the half both teams were back and forth in their opponents red zone. The half ended De La Salle 7 Mustangs 5. De La Salle’s backs started playing smart mud ball. They forced a knock on and grubber kicked it to the try line and scored. They missed the conversion. Mustangs came back and tied it up. The rain the mud and game went back and forth until another deep kick into the Mustang 22 knock on and grubber kick and De La Salle was up by 7. De La Salle had the pressure on when Mustangs’ #9 tripped the De La Salle #9 as he was going for the ball carrier. De La Salle added 3 more points. The Mustangs crossed into De La Salle’s 22 and were attacking. Mustangs knock on at the scrum down were able to clear the ball back deep into Mustang territory and the game finished up De La Salle 22, San Diego 12

Saturday afternoon: Fog – Saints, recounted above.

Varsity: BISHOP O'DOWD 40 - Berkeley 14 Referee: Sam Davis
Monday night game Berkeley had a few great players but BOD played like a team. High scoring game with both sides not giving up till the final whistle!

Nevada 0 –SAN JOSE STATE 71 Referee: Don Pattalock
AR: Phil Ulibarri; TJ: C. Lott
Nevada was cursed by spring break and an I80 closure. That fact aside, SJSU played a solid game of rugby.

[Editor’s Note: the home team was cursed because the freeway between them and the visiting team was closed due to a blizzard? This must be non-Euclidean geometry.]


Date: Thur., Mar 17, 2011
Game: U-19 Girls International Friendly
Result: Alameda Riptide RFC 0 – SHAWNIGAN LAKE SCHOOL IRON WOMEN RFC 10 Referee: Paul Berman

Venue: Will C. Wood Middle School, 420 Grand St., Alameda
Kick-Off: 16:50
Ground: Firm under foot, no goal posts, perimeter cinder athletic track
Weather: Sunny & bright
Comments: Shawnigan Lake School, Vancouver Island, British Columbia, Canada, swung through the Bay Area on their pre-season, winter 'rust removal' tour of "Pelican Land" (Northern California), having already played Motherlode (lost) & Davis (won).

This was a nail bitingly tough affair from the get-go, with both sides sizing up the other, no holds barred. Straight running & strong tackling saw Alameda pinned in their own territory for much of the first half. Shawnigan preferring to ruck, while Alameda preferred to maul, whenever practical. The ball was moved along both lines effectively & efficiently to the pleasure of both spectators & coaches.

The match remained extremely even during the second half with Alameda gaining steadily more confidence going forward. In the final quarter Shawnigan’s pack lifted their game & were able to cross the try line from close in. Their first, excellent score came through their No. 8 - Emily Alexander, after tremendous work by their forwards down the left hand edge of the pitch. Their second touch-down coming in similar fashion approximately 8 minutes later from even closer to Alameda's touch & try line by hooker - Jenna Hickman.
Point Spread: Shawnigan Lake - 2 tries

Date: Sat., Feb 26, 2011
Game: Northern California RFU, U-19 Girls Division
ALAMEDA RIPTIDE RFC 29 – Davis Lady Devils RFC 5 Referee: Paul Berman
Venue: Thompson Field, Alameda High School, Clement Ave & Walnut St, Alameda
Kick-Off: 16:07
Ground: Firm under foot with several soft patches; American Football posts
Weather: Sunny, bright, slight wind west to east
It was lovely to see the west stand so full of supporters & well-wishers for Riptide's 1st home game of the season. The Ladies didn't disappoint with an open running game. Both packs did an excellent job of staying on their feet at the scrum, without a single reset all game. Both sets of coaches should be delighted with the way their respective forwards broke the gain line. Alameda were able to release their back-line to greater effect scoring several tries close to the corners. No quarter was given in the tackle & it was nice to see plenty of low, productive tackling. Davis through a knock or two ran a little thin in numbers, borrowed a couple of quality home team players during the 2nd half, just as it should be in this wonderful sport. The '3rd half' feast was just fantastic, with the diversity of the bountiful cuisine reflective of the diversity within the 30 - 40 strong Alameda squad & community.

Point Spread: Alameda - 5 tries, 2 conversions; Davis - 1 try


Live Oak 0 – EAST PALO ALTO 22 Referee: Bruce Carter
I work in King City on Fridays, at Mee Memorial Hospital. It’s a lovely little town on a bend in the river halfway between Salinas and Paso Robles, where the northern half of the Salinas Valley’s salad crops give way to drier-acclimated vineyards, garlic and mustard growing.

We plead with high school teams not to play on Saturdays. When they accommodate us, we drive 90 miles straight from work without complaint, changing clothes in the car as necessary (while driving, you understand) to get there on time.

This was another of the infamous Northern California rain weekends. Living in a Mediterranean climate, we receive our annual precipitation in a few aliquots that traditionally arrive between the beginning of the rugby season and the end of it, usually focused around the Saturdays.

Leaving work and heading up 101, I thought: this is a heck of a long carwash, especially for free, sixty miles of a dirt-peeling pelting.

The Morgan Hill athletic facility is fantastic. The water park is highly recommended for summertime visits by our readers with children, grandchildren, godchildren or a desire for a second childhood.

There are more than a dozen soccer/rugby pitches, two with lights and grandstands. We hope that any number of Pelicans will familiarize themselves with them during the Pacific Coast Invitational High School Tournament April 29-May 1.

This was as good, fun match, clean as a newly-boiled whistle.

Thanks, guys!

Christian Brothers 26 - GRANITE BAY 27 Referee: Phil Akroyd
One of the few games to go ahead on Friday night in Sacramento due to the weather, this was played at Granite Parks' turf field, under the lights. The rain actually held off for the entirety of the match but there was a cold wind blowing throughout, making at least one pair of very cold hands.

Granite Bay went out hard, early in the game, dominating with what appeared to be a physically larger pack. They swung the ball around nicely and scored consistently through the first half, going ahead by twenty-two unanswered points, then CB rescued a try right before half time to bring it back to 7 - 22.

CB came out anew in the second half. Playing like a different team, with urgency and simply going forward. As Granite Bay had been in offence for the vast majority of the first half, they were unused to defending and had a real problem with moving away from the tackle. Repeated team offences saw two players go to the bin early in the second half. Christian Brothers took advantage and scored in the first period of a one man advantage, but then Granite Bay responded. It was 12-27 with twenty-two minutes to go.

The game was now getting very, very competitive. Seventeen and eighteen year olds were struggling to keep their emotions in check and one small push-and-shove incident between two forwards escalated, resulting in one of the pushers and shovers sitting out for ten minutes and one for the rest of the game, as he was one of the previous offenders for tackle/ruck infringements. Silly boys.

With extra space on the field, Christian Brothers found the gaps, scored and scored again and converted both tries. The watch had been beeping as the last try was under construction, leaving it too late for the Brothers to take the lead. A great way to start the weekend.


Frosh/soph: Berkeley 21 – LAMORINDA 31 Referee: Rob Hendrickson
Lamo f/s managed to hold off Berkeley's f/s on a wet and windy morning game at Berkeley's Gilman field. While both teams' defenses made most advances much past the gain line difficult, and Berkeley in particular capitalized on quite a few successful counter ruck turn overs, Lamo tended to dominate on offense, with Berkeley's tries coming on line breaks and speed. Well-played game which bodes well for both teams' upper teams next year.

PENINSULA GREEN 7 – Bellarmine 0 Referee: Chris Fisher

JC Gilbert
JC Gilbert, on exchange from the Ontario Society, enjoys Friday afternoon, March 11, with Bjorn Stumer and Eric Rauscher, partaking of Pelican hospitality at the Artesa Winery in Napa.


For the Senate
Pelicus Scriptoris