Thursday, March 17, 2011




Cary Bertolone has earned promotion to L2. Congratulations are in order.

Cary has been one of our road warriors, and we are grateful to have him.


Yellow cards for repeat infringements and technical infringements such as not-back-ten do not need to be reported (unless of course the repeat infringement is, say, dangerous tackling).

These are the cards that you should report to

All red cards
Yellow cards for Law 10.4 violations (punching, kicking, dangerous tackling, etc.)


Raise your hand if you’d like to avail your whistle of one of these opportunities:

Sunday, March 20: Nevada hosting San Jose State

Friday, March 25: one afternoon game in Berkeley, evening games at the California Maritime Academy in Vallejo and at Stanford.


EPA BULLDOGS 20 – Sac Capitals 15 Referee: JC Gilbert (Ontario)
AR: Tony Levitan
Evaluator: David Williamson
This top-of-the-table clash between two undefeated teams was refereed by an exchange referee from the Ontario society. We understand his hosts found the time to take him around the Napa Valley, to find the Up and Under Pub in Richmond, and to visit the City by the Bay at least twice.

Seconds: SAC CAPITALS 33 - EPA Bulldogs 17 Referee: Tony Levitan
After a spirited A-side match, both clubs brought a bit of a "let's get it over with" approach to the B-side match, shortening the halves to 30 minutes. A seemingly collective effort on the Bulldogs' part to see what they could get away with was interrupted on multiple occasions by swift ball movement, quality set piece play, and hard running from both sides. The Capitals earned a 19-0 halftime lead on the strength of 3 tries, 2 of which were converted. The second half was more evenly played with 5 more tries hitting the scoreboard, 3 for EPA and another 2 for Sacramento. Final tally: 33-17 in favor of Sacramento.

SAN MATEO 53 –Barbarians 24 Referee: Jim Crenshaw
San Mateo hosted the Bay Barbarians in San Mateo last Saturday with bright sunshine and mid 60's at kickoff - a perfect rugby day in Northern California.

San Mateo was better this day, leading 26 to 14 at the half and winning the match, final score 53 to 24.

It was a wide open style by both teams with at least one try by the Barbarians starting 6 or 7 meters inside their own goal. No kicking involved with this try, just a lot of slick passing and support.

It's really a treat to referee these matches!!

Seconds: San Mateo –Barbarians

OLYMPIC CLUB 82 – EPA Razorbacks 5 Referee: Tom Zanarini
Evaluator: Mike Malone

Seconds: OLYMPIC CLUB 54 - EPA Razorbacks 0 Referee: Rob Hendrickson
The Olympic Club’s B side hosted a young EPA Razorbacks B side on the Gaelic Field as an opener to the A side game. EPA conceded several early penalties for over enthusiastic play at the breakdowns, until finally settling down and playing good rugby. EPA’s hard tackling made the O Club forwards work to cross the gain line, but once they find a break in the line, the O Club’s backs exploited it, resulting in 5 tries in each half. With the exception of one brief flare up mid-way into the second half, it was a well-played game.

Berkeley 0 – DIABLO GAELS 52 Referee: Lois Bukowski

Chico 15 – SFGG COLTS 50 Referee: Preston Gordon

Seconds: Chico 0 – SFGG COLTS 34 Ref: Gordon

San Jose Seahawks 10 – FRESNO 54 Referee: Paul Bretz
Fresno scored first, more frequently, and last.

Marin 13 – BA BARACUS 22 Referee: Bjorn Stumer
Referee Coach: Bryant Byrnes
This was a pretty even match between the Marin Reds and Baracus, played in the uneven and unevenly lined pitch at MLK Park in Marin City. Both teams were equally fit & fast, and in chatty form. A bit of effort was required to keep the balls straight at the put in in the scrums and also at lineouts, something made harder by a stiff wind. A good and even contest ensued in the first half, only marred by a yellow card, late in the half, given for repeated back chat by Baracus. Two penalties each saw the half close at 3-3. Baracus found its form in the second half, with successful spinning of the ball wide. Marin could not gather composure, and gave the match away through indiscipline. Final score: Marin 13 (3) - Baracus 22 (3).

A big thanks to the effective touch judges provided by each team, and for Bryant Byrnes who provided support and effective referee coaching. Overall a pretty good match between two good teams.

Vacaville 17 – SANTA ROSA 51 Referee: Ray Schwartz
TJs: Gary Gordon & Marcus Williamson
Willis Jepson Middle School, Vacaville
A spectacular day, brilliant sunshine, light breeze, sitting in a valley framed w/ the emerald covered Vaca Mountains, we came together on what was one of the finest grass fields I've ever had the pleasure of trotting upon. Lush grass, not a weed or a gopher, firm under foot, never slipping or greasy, but soft. Better than the best field turf for sure. A full sized pitch, well lined but for the fact that we were also in the outfield of an adjacent baseball diamond, and so the right and left field lines jutted out into the field of play, somewhat confusing, but play on!

Santa Rosa had two full sides, but Vacaville, at home, had just enough and a few more. The game was played in a fine spirit and at a high pace, but a lack of skill at key positions exposed Vacaville. Santa Rosa made mostly crisp passes and took the ball well at pace, while Vacaville knocked on more than a few times. Rosa commitment and skill at the tackle/ruck assured their backs would see lots of quality ball. Vacaville would battle brilliantly, but come up short all too often. Rosa was up 27-0 before Vacaville punched one in just before haltime.

The 2nd half started out pretty even, with everyone contributing the contest. Rosa eventually scored first but Vacaville quickly answered back, and on the ensuing kick off, Rosa uncharacteristically sent the ball directly into touch. From scrum center, Vacaville #9 Matt Hefner fed, and wrapped around to take the ball into space and scamper up the 'blindside' untouched to score under the post. I felt for a moment we had a game on our hands, but Rosa stiffened and cranked it up a notch as Vacaville wilted. I wondered if we should call the game early, but Rosa wanted to keep scoring points, and w/ Vacaville threatening at fulltime, a poorly managed ruck turned into a length of the field game ender for Rosa.

Hefner then reffed the B game as I got to unwind on the sidelines and enjoy some fine company, including Helen Marcus. We adjourned to the Good Heifer, a friendly enough spot, my faith in club rugby fully restored, except for the complete lack of song! This was my first rugby party in a couple years, as I've been kinda busy coaching my high school lads.

On the way back into Sacramento, Kat called to say we were meeting Aruna and Paul Rosenzweig (his evaluator) in Old Sac, and the party continued to roll.

COLUSA 35 – Humboldt 7 Referee: Eric Rauscher
John Diest Field cool, breezy, had to jump fence to get to very nice pitch. (There is a gate 50 feet away)
12:40, only two Humboldt players. 1:09, four Humboldt players. Finally started the game at 1:45 after doing a quick boot check and front row talk.

This game was a good example of why teams need to show up and warm up. Colusa scored four converted tries in the first half to Humboldt’s 0.

The second half had a converted try each.

I must say that there was a sizable crowd (200-300) there. Colusa is a small town in the valley, and the team gets pretty good coverage and support by the community at large. There were old boys, spouses and kids and I assume a couple of people that just turned up to watch the match.

SHASTA 21 – Mendocino 7 Referee: Phil Akroyd
A lot of mistakes and not much flowing rugby due to errors, but we got down to one score to tie it with two minutes to go. Shasta always looked like they had the more dangerous back line, but Mendocino are much improved on previous seasons with a solid pack and their best player at #10.

Shasta scored tries through their number 6, 11 and captain, number 8, while Mendo crossed the line late in the game through winger Page.

Mendo look like they can still improve in decision making. One of the weirdest tries I have seen for a while happened when Mendo were defending a lineout on their own five, which they won. One of the half backs was surprised that he had the ball in his hands in his own in-goal, at which point the attacking scrum-half simply took the ball from his hands and fell to the ground to score.

Reno Academy – Vallejo CANCELED

REDWOOD 71 – Reno Zephyrs 17 Referee: Mike King
Reno rolled in shortly before kickoff with the requisite 15 players and got suited up promptly. They played gamely in face of the superior numbers of the better rested home side. A few early tries on great ball movement by Redwood, did lead to stiffening of defense by the Zephyrs. They went on the attack, leading to a penalty try awarded for an infraction only a meter from the try line. The half ended 27-7.

Redwood again opened up the second half by marching down for several scores, before Reno returned the favor. Reno was able to score 2 tries in the second frame, but the long journey had its telling effect on the visitors. Redwood finished with a flurry of tries with strong running and sharp handling. #10 had an excellent and near perfect day, with 9 of 10 conversions and a penalty kick.

The host side showed the true nature of the game with an excellent post match feast.

Monterey Bay 28 - SF FOG 30 Referee: Sandy Robertson
In a spirited match where the lead and momentum changed several times the Fog scored two converted tries and a penalty in the last 15 minutes to provide a buffer sufficient to withstand a last second converted try by Monterey

STANISLAUS 47 - Arroyo Grande 22 Referee: Scott Wood
TJs: Jim Mason and another Stanislaus player
Location: Christoffersen Basin, Turlock
When we arrived at the pitch, we found youth rugby in full swing. Dixon RFC and Arroyo Grande's burgeoning youth program arranged to play middle school, varsity silver and U12 matches prior to the men’s club match. While Stanislaus does not have a youth program, several club members stated they are looking to form such in the near future.

Stanislaus had a full roster whereas AG was able to cobble together only 16 players. The visitors scored quickly only to be answered by a Stanislaus try shortly thereafter. Two more converted tries by Stanislaus and a penalty goal and converted try by AG left us with a close game at halftime: 19-17 Stanislaus.

The players got the halftime message to remain on their feet or quickly get out of the way. The penalty count dropped and the teams played multi-phase ball. Missed opportunities and turnovers left AG on its heels as Stanislaus opened up the game. At one point, the home team stitched together several phases of switches and misdirection to open gaps in AG's defenses. A fine afternoon to spend running around a relatively comfortable pitch.

SAN BRUNO SAINTS by forfeit over Paso Robles

SOUTH VALLEY 27 – San Bruno Saints 10 Referee: Sam Davis
Both teams came to play at this 6:30 PM under-the-lights game. I have had the opportunity to see both teams a number of times this year. They are familiar with my game and have improved steadily this year. This, my third, was the best game of the day. South Valley scored first with a multi-phase movement that ended putting it down in the corner. They capitalized on a penalty and added 3 more points. The first half ended with South Valley 8 Saints 0. From the second half kickoff the Saint’s #9 slipped by a few tackles and ran 85 meters to score in the corner. South Valley came back and put 14 points on the board before the Saints added another 3 from penalty. South Valley put the last score on the board final score SV27 SB 10. All in all a great day of rugby

CALIFORNIA 106 – UC Davis 0 Referee: Aruna Ranaweera
ARs: Riches Anderson and Boyer
#4: Donal Walsh
Evaluator: Paul Rosenzweig

Week 2 of the College Premier Division (CPD) featured NorCal rivals. After watching the first half of the Wales v Ireland 6N match at Chieftain’s Irish Pub in SF, National Performance Reviewer Paul Rosenzweig (from Chicago) and I drove to Jesuit HS in Carmichael on a sunny 65F day featuring many high school supporters. Cal scored 10 tries in the first half to lead 66-0 and 6 more in the second half for a total of 16 tries. As the score indicates, Cal was dominant in every facet, but UC Davis' captain (fullback) provided some valiant resistance including a near drop-goal. Much thanks to Rich, Rich, and Donal for their help and Paul for his feedback. It was also fun meeting up with Rich Anderson, Kat-Todd Schwartz, and Ray Schwartz at a dive bar in old town Sacramento on the way back.

Seconds: CALIFORNIA 74 - UC Davis 0 Referee: Rich Anderson
ARs: Boyers Rich and Tristan
Evaluator: Kat Todd-Schwartz

St. Mary's – San Jose State CANCELED

STANFORD 34 – Chico State 15 Referee: Lee Johnson (RFU –North Midlands)
Lee Johnson’s wife is from Pleasanton and they visit here about once a year. This was Lee’s first trip where he coordinated some games while on vacation; he’ll be working at St. Mary’s next Saturday.

We should keep our fingers crossed: he’s awaiting a green card and would like to join us in Pelicanland permanently.

Seconds: Stanford 22 – CHICO STATE 36 Referee: Bruce Carter
This was my second game of the day, as I had done a game involving the CSU women’s team in Santa Cruz in the morning.

Until Chico State scored the final two times in the match, the game had always been within one score of a lead change. The points ratcheted up as the teams traded trys.

It was a lot of fun. Both teams had some fast guys who need only master some more of the finer points to play in the first fifteen.

Santa Clara 19 – SACRAMENTO STATE 61 Referee: Bruce Ricard
The game started between two teams of comparable level. Santa Clara was dominating the first 15 minutes by keeping the ball while camping in Sacramento's half. But after a long moment in their 22's, including a missed penalty kick, a Sacramento's 3/4 intercepted the ball, and ran to score the first try of the game on a counter attack. Everything was going smoothly, but both forwards and backs of both team were often off-side at rucks, so at the 20th minute, I called both captains and asked them to manage that. Sacramento completely stopped being off-side at rucks, but Santa-Clara still a little. At the 40th minute, 5m from Santa Clara's goal line, their number 13 was caught off-side at ruck. After a try was scored by Sacramento under the advantage, I temporarily excluded the center, watched the conversion kick, and ended the first half on a score of 0 to 38.

At the 10th minute of the second period, as I was almost asking the sin bin to come back, I had to exclude another player from the same team again for off-side at ruck, and told the captain that I would have to change the color if this infringement continued to happen. But 7 minutes later, the whole defense was off-side at ruck, and I had to send off the captain, who was the most off-side. I told the new captain that it would be red for each new infringement of this kind, and I didn't get any "obvious" off-side from this team.

Even if they played the whole second half with 14 (or 13) players, Santa Clara did a good job, scoring tries 3 times, but defending was too hard with one player less, Sacramento scored 4 times.

Final score: Santa Clara University 19 - 61 Sacramento State

Seconds: SANTA CLARA – Sacramento State Referee: Ed Mortlock

MARITIME ACADEMY 52 – Nevada 11 Referee: Cary Bertolone

A really nice, sunny day and Nevada kicked off at 1:00 PM. Cal-Maritime built a platform and mauled their way up field for over 40 meters and eventually led to a penalty kick for a 3-0 lead. Nevada came back and tied it, but it started going pretty much Cal-Maritime's way after that. They scored three tries, missing all of the conversions, but having an 18-3 lead at the half. Nevada had some long runs from their speedy centers, but didn't have the support to put it in at the end.

In the second half, Cal-Maritime's forwards became dominant and they started scoring tries, one after another. Nevada had a try and two more "almost tries", but knock-ons on the 2 meter line stopped them. One funny play was upon a penalty against Cal-Maritime, Nevada's captain, #6 Eric, took a quick tap and ran up the back of a retiring player, pushing him all the way through Cal-Maritime's line of defense, allowing him to run a good 40 meters more, setting up their only try. Clean game with no punches or high tackles; a class act from both sides.

FRESNO STATE 70 - U. of the Pacific 5 Referee: Jeff Jury

SIERRA JC 90 - Francisco State 0 Referee: Don Pattalock
Sierra is a complete team. I did my wind sprints for the month.

SIERRA JC 2nds over Sierra Foothills Ref: Pattalock
Enjoyable cross town matchup.

Santa Rosa JC over USF via forfeit

SANTA CLARA women 15 – Humboldt State 13 Referee: Chris Fisher

UC Santa Cruz women 5 – CHICO STATE 51 Referee: Bruce Carter
Although the Santa Cruz harbor below sustained $17 million in damages the day before from the tsunami, the East Remote pitch perched atop a perfect spring day. This probably only heightened the heartbreak of those boat-owners who would certainly have otherwise been asea this fine day.

This repeatedly-rain-delayed match kicked off and the home Slugs delighted the crowd with a well-worked try on the left wing to take the early lead.

The fine weather provided most of the rest of any delights the fans might have had as Chico State pretty much had their way from that point on.

San Jose Seahawks – All Blues Referee: Norm Boccone
Not sure what happened here. Norm jumped in after the game was only noticed to the NCRRS the day before the match.

STANFORD BUSINESS SCHOOL 55 – McGeorge 17 Referee: Bruce Ricard


ELSIE ALLEN 59 – Montgomery 10 Referee: Sean Peters

JV: ELSIE ALLEN 24 – Montgomery/Santa Rosa 17 Referee: Mike King
A thoroughly enjoyable contest between 2 sides filled with enthusiastic newer players to the game. Elsie’s side was more organized due in part to the combination of players from the other two programs. They moved to an early 10-0 lead to be pared by a late converted try by Montgomery/Rosa before half. Elsie again stretched its margin, only to see the visitors come back with some late scoring.


JESUIT 67 – Christian Brothers 7 Referee: Scott Wood

Location: Jesuit High School, Carmichael
Jesuit scored seemingly at will. They exploited CB's backline by moving the ball quickly to the outside. Halftime score: 45-0.

The second half featured much of the same. CB's defenses at the breakdown were thwarted by tackle (entry) and ruck (offside/side entry) offenses. The visitors never gave up and earned a converted try at full time.


JV: LAMORINDA 39 - Piedmont 22 Referee: Sam Davis
Sat was a rugby day I started out at Mills College with the Lamo vs Pits JV match very good rugby for this level of play PITS agreed to match Lamo in field strength since they did not have 15 players turn up. It was a high scoring game with both teams having a wide variety of skill level on the field at any one time. Lamo’s captain #10 wanted to play two positions Standoff and Referee but finely settled for standoff. The end of the first half it was Lamo 22, Pits 17. The second half lady luck and skill Lamo extended their lead two more trys than Pit was able to put on the board. With the final score 39-22 great game on the field Lamo JV was disappointing off the field as their sportsmanship needs to improve.

I had the opportunity to watch the Berkeley HS girls vs Pits girls game. We had a new referee a great lady named “Raney” she did a great job and I hope we will see more of her on the field in the future.

Varsity: LAMORINDA 43 - PITS 22 Referee: Sam Davis
A very fun game to referee. My man of the match was Lamo’s captain! He converted 5 of the 6 conversion kicks and a penalty kick along leading his team to a great on and off field victory. PITS in a rebuilding year there is some good talent that need a few more games under their belt and they should pull it together.

It was off to Morgan Hill to referee my third game, the South Valley vs San Bruno Saints.

ELSIE ALLEN GIRLS 12 – Davis 10 Referee: Sean Peters

LIVE OAK 15 – Silicon Valley 12 Referee: Chris Fisher

SAN MATEO 36 – Bellarmine 6 Ref: Fisher

Frosh-Soph: DE LA SALLE 27 – Berkeley RFC 17 Referee: John Fouts
Played under the lights at De La Salle, The Spartans rucked hard and ran harder to a 22-5 half time lead. Berkeley took it up a notch in the second half and really owned the rucks for the rest of the game outscoring DLS 12-5. Great young men, wonderful rugby and a final score of DLS 27 - Berkeley 17.


MOTHER LODE Girls 22 - Shawnigan Lake 19 Ref: Ray Schwartz
Sunday afternoon, Crista McAuliffe Park, Cameron Park
TJs: Mark Godfrey & black-eyed Mother Lode halfback

In stark contrast to my Saturday, Sunday was dark and chilly, and the field was more like a bog, tucked up against the freeway, but two spirited sides had gathered, so play on! In my pregame chat with the Shawnigan forwards (all cute young Canadian ladies), the funniest little thing happened.

The fiesty little #2 asked question after question. I turned to her teammates more than once and asked, "Does she always do this?" and got the positive nod from them all. This little sprite seemed to speak for them all, and wanted to drain my brain. One thing was particularly of interest, she asked about "anchoring." Once she explained to me what on earth she was talking about, latching on the tackled teammate on the deck (rather than rucking), I explained to her that any and all form of bridging, diving, sealing off, and anchoring is not on… that the game will be played by players on their feet, driving through the ruck.

She insisted it was legal in Canada, but I assured her otherwise. When your team advances to the provincial playoffs you'll eventually run into a ref sophisticated enough to call you on it. Drive, don't dive, and don't be supported in anyway by those on the deck... I left it at that and turned to a far briefer pre-game chat with Mother Lode.

But was soon interrupted by Mark Hall, the Shawnigan coach who had just marched the length of the pitch to share that he was certain I had it wrong, offering that anchoring is standard practice across British Columbia, and so I should permit it. I assured him, we all play under the same IRB Laws, and kindly sent him on his way.

Great game, lots of fun, highly competitive, and no anchoring. Turns out this #2 and her captain, #7, both diminutive and fearless, were two of the most technically proficient ruckers I'd ever seen. But they couldn't weather the team effort Mother Lode threw at them. Though Shawnigan was up 12-10 at the half, and Mother Lode was playing everyone off their bench, ML pulled away to win a close one. Shawnigan would move on to Davis, then Alameda, before heading south to the Happiest Place on Earth, the Fullerton International Youth Tournament!

I was very impressed with the potential. I suspect several ladies on both sides will enjoy long rugby careers, and hopefully at the all-star level.

On the phone the next day with Rugby Alberta's own Don Whidden, Don confirmed he knew Mark Hall (a very good egg), but admitted that Canadians are prone to making stuff up! In Alberta "anchoring" is called "latching" and yes, though coaches coach it, refs certainly should penalize it. Don assured me we do indeed all play under the exact same Laws. I got to move to the head of the class! He, in turn, will do his best to send a handful of refs down to Morgan Hill for the PCIT April 29-May 1st.


Varsity: BISHOP O'DOWD 43 - Alameda 0 Referee Eric Rauscher
Under the lights, decent crowd, available at the Bishop O'Dowd website. (they are starting to tape all of their games and make them available).

Alameda played with spirit and speed, but just could not match BOD's skill as a team. Not a lot of penalties, some decent rugby to boot.

Always a joy to do a game at BOD.

This fantastic image is courtesy of David Barpal of David Barpal Photography:

The Most Irish Referee in the World is Larry Ramey of the Eastern Rockies Society, working at the Kick-Off Tournament in January.


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