Wednesday, April 27, 2011




Stephanie Bruce has earned promotion to L2 on the basis on a fine showing in a D3 semifinal at the end of her first season with the whistle.

Long may she run!


We normally get HP type-set and ready to run on Tuesday night-Wednesday morning.

However, this morning found the editorial staff atop Yosemite Falls, a brisk hike after a pre-dawn start finding knee deep snow, fresh air, and solitude broken only by squirrels. It's the antidote to civilization.

Now, where were we?


From Quartermaster Tom Zanarini:
“At this point I only have 21 responses for free kit. If you are doing a Hail, Pelicus! this week please include another blast for kit sizes. Give a May 1 deadline, hopefully that will light a fire to get responses in. Tell them it’s a $170 value.”

Who’s gonna pass up free Pelican swag?

Send your shorts and jersey sizes to:


Girls High School
April 30, NCYRA semi-finals, in Morgan Hill:
(The final will be Sunday morning at ten.)

Boys Single-School
April 30, NCYRA final in Morgan Hill:

Boys U-19
April 29, NCYRA semi-finals in Morgan Hill:
(The final will be Saturday at 1 PM.)

Women D2 College
SANTA CLARA lost in the round of sixteen April 16

Men D2 College
April 30-May 1, Final four, in Pittsburgh, PA:
SIERRA COLLEGE will play U. of Wisconsin, Whitewater

Women D1 College
April 29-May 1, Round of sixteen:
STANFORD will play Dartmouth in Buffalo, NY
UC DAVIS will play Virginia in Bowling Green, OH

Men D1 College
April 30-May 1, Round of sixteen, at UC Santa Barbara:
STANFORD will play Northern Colorado

College Premier Division
May 7, Quarter-finals:
CALIFORNIA will host Life College
ST. MARY’S will travel to Arkansas State

Men D3 Club
May 7-8, Pacific Coast Championships in Tucson:
SOUTH VALLEY plays Budd Bay and REDWOOD plays the Magpies

Both the USA Rugby and PCRFU websites don’t show the layout of the playoffs. Last year three Pacific Coast teams advanced to the nationals, but only won one first-round game and one loser game among them. It may be only two this year.

Men D2 Club
May 7-8, Pacific Coast Championships at Sheeran Field:
FRESNO, SANTA ROSA and SFGG COLTS will compete for three spots in the USA playoffs from among eight teams.

Men D1 Club
April 30, Pacific Coast playoff game, in Reno:
EAST PALO ALTO BULLDOGS will host Northside Tigers of Salt Lake City

May 7, Competitive Region One USA playoffs:
OLYMPIC CLUB will host the SoCal #4 finisher
The SACRAMENTO LIONS and the winner of the game in Reno will travel to SoCal.

Rugby Super League
May 14, Semi-final:
SF/GOLDEN GATE will host Old Puget Sound Beach


Saturday MAY 7:
Could use a few more refs; we need ARs, fifteens and Sevens refs.

Saturday MAY 14:
Three-way friendly in Redding. Get a jump on the summer fun!

Please let us know if you can help out. We’re still short.


The flock is greatly diminished this weekend, by the absence of those with territorial and national appointments:

Phil Akroyd: St. Mary’s - UCLA
Joe Androvich: College men D1 playoffs in Santa Barbara
Paul Bretz: Army hosting Navy
Jim Crenshaw: EPA Bulldogs – Northside Tigers (Salt Lake City)
Matt Eason: Coaching Tim Luscombe at Air Force Academy
George O’Neil: Claremont – Cal Poly
Don Pattalock: College men D1 playoffs in Santa Barbara
Aruna Ranaweera: SFGG – Dallas super league
Pete Smith: Glendale – Denver Barbarians SL
Kat Todd-Schwartz: Evaluating Aruna’s game
Chris Tucker: Central Washington – San Diego State

This list needs to be a lot longer. Make it your goal to join our elite!


D3 championship:
SOUTH VALLEY 56 – Redwood Empire 10 Referee: Aruna Ranaweera
ARs: John Coppinger, Tony Levitan
65F and partly sunny at the Morgan Hill Sports Complex with about 150 spectators on one sideline. The first half was a stop-and-start affair with neither team establishing structure and demonstrating a lack of discipline indicative of teams unaccustomed to being in the playoffs. South Valley was slightly more organized and lead 24-10 at the half. Under the watchful eyes of the AR's and thanks to effective intervention by the captains, both teams settled down in the second half and played more attractive rugby with better continuity and flow. With quicker ball movement, however, South Valley rattled off 32 unanswered points as Redwood was unable to keep pace. In the end, South Valley dominated, 9 tries to 1. Much thanks to John and Tony for their help as AR's, which was invaluable for this type of match.

Boys’ High School NCYRA Quarterfinals:

SAN MATEO over Cougar Rugby Club Referee: Preston Gordon

HAYWARD 48 – Dixon 46 Referee Eric Rauscher
What a game! As you can tell by the score, trys came in abundance. The size of the Hayward players was uniformly about 20/30 lbs more than the Dixon team. Hayward played a lot of pick and go and delivering the ball out for crashing runs by their backs. Dixon took what was on offer in the first half by way of penalty kicks and a penalty try (not back ten within 5m of goal). The score at the end of the first half had Hayward up by 27/13.

Dixon made adjustments for the second half and decided to get the ball out wide as quick and as often as possible. One memorable play by them was a quick throw in about 10 m from their own goal which was quickly distributed across field to one of their speedsters and 90 m later scored a try. They also had a little chip kick off of a ruck that was picked up and run in for a try. Dixon piled on 33 points in the second half but with Hayward putting up another 21 they were not able to pull ahead.

I had an instance of great sportsmanship on the Hayward side. The Dixon #3 barreled towards the goal line with a Hayward player in tow and reached out to dot the ball down right on the line. It hit the ground and bounced forward and there was general consensus among the players of both teams that it was a knock-on.

Hayward #13 came up to me and agreed that it was indeed a good try. It is exciting to see a player respect the play of his opposition.

This was the type of game that I wished both teams could have won. They were both winners in my eyes although only one gets to advance.

[Editor’s Note: This last clause of an otherwise-excellent report is not true. Due to the vagaries of having NorCal playoffs that lead into two separate USA competitions, U19 and single-school, both teams now advance to semi-finals that will be played this Friday afternoon, April 29, at the Morgan Hill Athletic Complex.]

JESUIT 42 – Peninsula Green 5 Referee: Phil Akroyd

Monday, April 25:
Marin Highlanders 9 – GOLDEN GATE 14 Referee: John Coppinger
SF/GG U19 met Marin U19 on the turf at Drake High in San Anselmo in a playoff match. It was one of the better games I have been privileged to referee this year as both teams came out attacking with ball in hand and playing intense in-your-face defense. In the first half, both teams concentrated their attack in the forwards and Marin was able to convert three penalty goal attempts into points to take a 9-0 lead at half. Tempers flared in the second half and a yellow card to Marin gave SF/GG some room and SF/GG began to take the ball wide stretching the Marin defense. SF/GG scored a converted try while up a man and added a second converted try to stake 14-9 lead. SF/GG then withstood an urgent and sustained Marin attack to hold on to win 14-9. It was a great game played by some great, well coached kids in front of big crowd.

BA BARACUS 39 - Chico 31 Referee: Bruce Ricard
(This was a rain make-up fixture. Glad to see teams playing after the ‘season’ is ‘over’.)

Seconds: BA Baracus 19 – 19 Chico Referee: Bruce Bernstein
Another great second team, second division last match of their season two weeks in a row!

Tried my hardest not to have this happen by awarding Baracus a penalty from about 20 out with about 5 minutes left & they opted to not kick (nor score) & then Chico missed an even easier penalty kick from the same distance with about 2 minutes left.

And a Baracus wing tip toed down the sideline & almost scored form about 70 meters out with no time left, but I would have felt guilty if I didn't call him for barely touching the touch line around the fifty; resulting in a TIE.

Thanks for Dave Williamson watching me & giving me some positive feedback & some things to add to my repertoire.

DANVILLE 34 – Pleasanton 27 Referee: Bryant Byrnes
One of the great things we refs perhaps see better than anyone is how much high school teams improve over the season and how good they are at the end. This ''friendly'' for neighborhood bragging rights was a case in point. It has been a long season for both; Danville is pretty new and Pleasanton moved up to the tougher gold division this year. And yet they played their hearts out -with consummate skill.

Danville scores right out of the gate, within a minute, and leads 17 10 at half. It stays close. With about 7 minutes left Pleasanton get a nifty try the hard way and it is a two-point game. Danville returns the favor and is up by seven. The game ends with Pleasanton driving about 15 meters from paydirt, but dinged for a not-releasing penalty. Great game!


Jackie Finck’s biology career has her in the northern reaches of Southern California for an extended period, and she’s seconded herself to their society:

Men's Div II Finals
B-Side Kern County 22 – NC GURKHAS 52
Referee: Jackie Finck
Location: Standford Field, Bakersfield, CA

After AR'ing for the A-side match, I ref'd the B-side match; a 10's game with 20-minute halves. Most of the guys in the B-side match played in the A-side match, which meant they were pretty tired for the second game. Although both teams capitalized on creating space for scoring, it was the stamina of NC Gurkhas which outlasted and out-fatigued Kern County.


Thursday April 21
BISHOP O'DOWD 36 – Northwestern Huskies (Ontario) 24 Referee Eric Rauscher
AR: Bryant Byrnes
What a great game. Bishop O'Dowd is at the end of their season and at the top of their form. The Huskies are just now coming out of the snow, but play some very good rugby. Scoring see-sawed back and forth five times in the first half with BOD up by 17/10.

The second half was almost the same, but with BOD being able to put on an extra try in both halves, they won the game. Both teams played in the spirit of the game with not a hint of discord.

After the game there was a wonderful BBQ and presentation of awards (Jerseys and tee shirts). Yours truly is now the proud owner of a Bishop O'Dowd rugby tee shirt.

My thanks to Bryant Byrnes for doing double duty as both AR and a little bit of coaching.

O'Dowd Girls 17 – Northwestern Huskies Girls 17

This was the front end of a double header. I am delighted to see high school girls touring with the boys.
[Editor’s note: Probably not as delighted as some of the boys!]

It was all Lady Dragons the first half and mostly Canada the second. At midpoint, the Dragons substituted in much of their bench and the Canadian lassies got their passing in sync.

Following the boys' match, the O'Dowd hosts put on a splendid feed-with speechifying and gifts. Our Canadian guests clearly felt the tour was off to a great start.

John Coppinger:
Saturday night, Piedmont hosted sides from Stratford, Ontario.

I ran the Stratford Girls/PITS Girls tilt with the help of Rich Anderson and a Piedmont senior. The Canadian side was more athletic and seasoned, and better organized and looked to attack from anywhere on the pitch. The match, played in a steady rain and in very good spirits, resulted in a 33-0 win for the visitors.

Rich Anderson handled the boys' match, with Matt Heafey and me as the ARs. It was a very physical game generally played in tight quarters and PITS battled to a 10-0 win.

Everyone seemed to have a great time, particularly the Canadian side, almost all of whom changed into shorts post-match, despite the rain and the chill. Better than snow, eh.

ELSIE ALLEN 34 – Stratford, Ontario, Canada 24 Referee: Mike King
The visitors having enjoyed time earlier in the trip with Bishop O’Dowd and Piedmont, were happy to wind up their tour in Santa Rosa, hosted by the Lobos. The match was hotly contested right out the gate, with battle lines drawn at each ruck and set piece. Stratford had a size advantage, but the Lobos gave no quarter. Both sides tried to pick and jam around the loose play, to no avail. The defense proved worthy to the task. Elsie Allen then began to mix hard straight running to set up the second phase of spinning to the backs wide. Coupled with the excellent passing and some fine open field running, they were able to open up at 24-5 lead, only to see a converted try scored off their miscues just before half to make it 24-12. It seemed again that the Lobos had the stronger attack in the second half. They proved their own worst enemies at times, stopping some fine multi-phase rugby with miscues or penalties. The lead was stretched to 34-17, but it seemed at times that it would be more. The match finished on a penalty try for repeated penalties near the try line that thwarted Stafford from converting. While aggressive rugby may have led to few points for the visitors, it certainly led to more points for the hosts.

Saturday, April 16:
Seconds: Fresno 12 – SFGG COLTS 49 Referee: Bill Long
ARs: Ben Bravo, Bruce Carter
Well, both teams seemed energized to play a full forty twice, as it was the last game of the regular season, and I was expecting a good match. I was disappointed. With Bruce Carter and his Grandson Ben running touch the game was well covered and I received some great pointers during and after the game thanks to Bruce and his headsets. Fresno scored first 3 minutes into the game and GG answered 4 minutes later and from then on out it was GG with 8 more tries and Fresno could only answer one. 32 GG 5 Fresno at the half. 49 GG 12 Fresno at the end. 20 minutes short due to some extracurricular activity that took place in the middle of the 2nd half.


For the Senate
Pelicus Scriptoris

Wednesday, April 20, 2011




Tony Levitan has earned promotion to L2. Congratulations are in order!

The Referee Development Committee is aware that there were significantly fewer promotions among the flock this year than in most.

We do not feel this is due to a lack of accomplishment and progression on the part of our referees, but rather a relative lack of evaluators and other report-writers, without which these promotions do not happen. They are the coin of the realm.

You can help: become a referee coach and/or an evaluator. Let us know of your interest.

No matter how good a referee is, without formal recognition and recording of his worth he cannot advance.

The more qualified and dedicated referee assessors we have, the farther our members can go in their careers.

You do not have to stop refereeing in order to give back in this manner. Please consider it.


Saturday MAY 7:
We still need another six to eight referees for this weekend.

CR 1 match needing ARs
CDP quarter-final needing ARs
ARs for the Pacific Coast D2 playoffs at Sheeran Field, Saturday and Sunday
Sevens tournament in Santa Rosa
Girls’ HS playoff
Friendly club matches

Friday-Saturday MAY 13-14:
College finals at Stanford, men and women, D1 and D2
Need ARs and fourth officials for Friday and Saturday
Super-league semi-final needing ARs
Club friendly games

Please let us know if you can help out. We’re still short.


SANTA ROSA JC 70 – Sonoma State University 0 Referee: Cary Bertolone
A newly formed team, Sonoma State had new rugby shirts passed out before this inaugural meeting between schools that are only 10 minutes apart. They also had nice, new team jerseys, a couple of coaches with great attitudes and a lot of bodies. Some of their players were experienced, and some were new to the game. If the coaches stick with it, this team will be good.

Unfortunately for them, SRJC is a really good team. I modified are scrums to "contested in the engagement and hook, but no pushing more than 6 inches". I made it up, so Sonoma State could practice the engagement, but not get pushed off the ball every time. SRJC was only up 21-0 at the half, so Sonoma State was playing pretty good rugby, rucking for the ball for second and third phase offense. Two of the best players on the field (SRJC #8 Bryce Paulson and a lock for Sonoma State) had to leave, early in the game, from split foreheads from a nasty collision.

In the second half, SRJC started hitting on all cylinders and ran away with it, but Sonoma State had great attitudes and it was a fun late afternoon game at For Pete's Sake field in Santa Rosa.

AT STANFORD PC Playoffs College Women D1

UC Davis 22 – BYU 45 Referee: Pete Smith
ARs: John Pohlman, Eric Rauscher
#4: Ellen Owens

STANFORD 38 – Chico State 5 Referee: Preston Gordon
ARs: Stephanie Bruce, John Pohlman
#4: Ellen Owens

Third-place: UC DAVIS 22 – Chico State 20 Referee: Pete Smith
ARs: Sandy Robertson, Mike King
#4 Ellen Owens

Championship: Stanford 7 – BYU 24 Referee: Preston Gordon
ARs: Sandy Robertson, Mike King
#4: Ellen Owens

Stanford and UC Davis both advance, along with BYU of course, to the USA round of sixteen playoffs back East at the end of the month.

In the USA D2 Women’s College playoffs, Santa Clara lost to Shippensburg 38-17 in the round of sixteen.

#4 Sierra defeated Cal State Long Beach 44-13, and then defeated Pepperdine 32-17 to advance to the nationals at the end of month.

#6 Cal Maritime escaped a determined #4 St. Louis University team 31-10 but then lost to a dominant Wisconsin-Whitewater 19-36.


Well, there’s one rain-out game that will be played April 23, but the playoff participants have been determined: Fresno, Santa Rosa and SFGG Colts will advance to the PC playoffs at Sheeran Field May 7-8.

Vacaville 8 – DIABLO GAELS 34 Referee: Sean Peters
AR: Ray Schwartz
"Saturday is a rugby day!" A perfect day in Vacaville, they hosted the Diablo Gaels. I arrived early and got to watch both teams arrive, Diablo Gaels walked in all together which you really don't see anymore (great organization). After talking to both sides’ captains, the game was on. Right off Vacaville started fast, and were attacking going forward down the field and ending up with 3 points. The Gaels also marched down the field and ended up with a penalty kick in front of the try line 3-3. This looked like this was going to be a tight game.

Then the Gaels big forward pack started to control the scrums by pushing the smaller Vacaville pack. Which opened a lot of room for the Gaels to move the ball around and put up a couple more trys before half 24-3.

In the second half Diablo seemed to win most of the rucks, by either attacking or defending. They also were still winning the scrums, but was caught with a overload and Vacaville made them pay for it with try. But wait, it wasn't over. The Gaels came back and scored 2 more trys to put the game away. FINAL 34 -8 Diablo Gaels

Seconds: Vacaville – Diablo Gaels Referee: Ray Schwartz
No report received.

SANTA ROSA 83 – Chico 33 Referee: Cary Bertolone
Santa Rosa scored the first two tries (in the first 8 minutes) and I thought it was going to be a one sided affair. Chico changed my mind when they retaliated for long tries that made it a seesaw scoring affair with Chico on top 26-24 at the half.

Santa Rosa stopped knocking it on in the second half, and remembered how to tackle, scoring a try about every 4-5 minutes, nine of them in the second half alone, for a convincing final score of 83-33.

Seconds: SANTA ROSA 19 – Chico 3 Referee: Bjorn Stumer
As Chico traveled short, most of the A side players soldiered on for an additional 40 minutes under a hot sun at the For Pete Sake field in Santa Rosa. The hosts however had a full side determined to play in what was their last match of the season. Regardless of circumstances, Chico gave Santa Rosa a good game and fought valiantly throughout. Final score: Santa Rosa B 19 (5), Chico B 3 (0) obtained through a drop kick towards the end. This was a good, clean match that could have well ended quite differently had Chico traveled with a few more folks. Good fun!

Fresno 28 – SFGG COLTS 50 Referee: Bruce Carter
ARs: Bill Long, Ben Bravo
It was predicted to be eighty degrees in Fresno on Saturday. During the match it was very hot; then the clouds came in, it cooled off, and by the time it was nice out after the seconds’ match, it had dropped to 82.

From the Pelican Nest, Fresno’s pitch is only thirty miles farther than Golden Gate’s. At six bucks to cross the Bay Bridge and only five to park at the Fresno Regional Sports Complex, my AR and I saved a dollar.

The drive over the Pacheco Pass is spectacular this time of year. It is, of course, springtime on both sides of the coastal ranges but temperature differences start to tell around this time of the year as you crest the hill and view the Central Valley. Time to pull over, put the top down, and invite the world in.

The reservoir is full up, as my mother would have said, the waters licking the roadside as you curve around the rim.

Clouds try to hide from the wind, darting here and there, adding a checkerboard of shadows atop that of the crops and orchards.

And on trips to Fresno there’s always one thing to look forward to: Valley Pistachio just off Highway 99 at Avenue 20. It’s the Baskin-Robbins of nuts, with samples of all varieties, as well as the other bounty of the most productive agricultural region in the world. There’s a winery attached if you have company along, or are stopping on the way home.

Golden Gate’s team bus arrived at the pitch just as we did, with more than an hour to spare and pitch preparations nearly finished by the home fifteen.

The game was going to be big. Unofficial standings compiled by the Fact-Checker (uh-oh) suggested that Fresno had no losses, having defeated the other previously-unbeaten team the weekend before in Santa Rosa. And Santa Rosa had given Golden Gate its only loss in a freezing downpour only four weeks before this day’s scorcher.

So: Fresno in first at 8 – 0, then Rosa with a record of 7 – 1 and Gate at 6 – 1, their rain-out game with Marin not having been played or rescheduled. Even though these top three move on to the Pacific Coast playoffs, jockeying for playoff position is an exciting sport to referee.

And how!

Walking the pitch with young Bravo pre-match, I noted the thick and heavy dotted five-meter line, explaining to my apprentice that ‘someone will think they’ve scored a try on this line today’.

This was one of those late-season games that begin in the middle: teams have their warmups perfected, they have their patterns, they’ve had enough of referees suggesting to them how to play by blowing early penalties and they’ve learned that the best way to win is not to feel your opponent out but to attack. Off we go.

The first half was very even. Fresno scored after ten minutes, Gate after twenty. In an omen for the future, Gate then scored again a minute later. But then they traded tries and Fresno scored at the end of the first half, 3 – 3 tries with Fresno having made all of their kicks for a 21 – 19 lead.

Exciting stuff. Five minutes to wash the running sun-block from my eyes, review the course of play with my ARs, and suck down all the warm Gatorade I could find.

But the second half was a different breed of cat than the first: Gate won five trys to one.

However, we did get our try ‘scored’ at the five-meter line. The Gate left wing broke, juked, and saw the line. The referee saw the line and realized it was the wrong one.

The player belly-flopped with the ball underneath. The referee announced very loudly into his ear: RELEASE AND ROLL AWAY.

The player rolled over and away, from the look on his face as much to argue as anything else. But as he did so his captain and scrumhalf, Westy, picked up the ball and went the further five to score.

All in all, a good day of rugby with plenty of pistachios for munching on the way home.

Seconds: Fresno – SFGG COLTS Referee: Bill Long
ARs: Bruce Carter, Ben Bravo
No report received.

MARIN REDS 37 – Berkeley 31 Referee: Eric Rauscher
Evaluator: Dixon Smith
This was a game between teams at the bottom of the stack, but both teams played as if it had playoff potential. The play was of a high quality with both teams scoring on a regular basis. Berkeley pretty much dominated the first half, outscoring Marin 24 to 10. Marin reversed the trend in the second half with a total of 27 to Berkeley's 7. Berkeley scored a converted try at full time to make the final total to just a six point difference.

The social after wards at the Flatiron in San Rafael was a wonderful way to finish the last game of the season.

Looking forward to seeing both teams next year move up the rankings.

Seconds: Marin 12 – BERKELEY 17 Referee: Bruce Bernstein
Had a real good time watching two close matches with each team taking turns scoring & singing at the party highlighted by 2 Marin players as old as me shooting the boot correctly as opposed to Berkeley's less experienced drinkers/spillers.

Seahawks 13 – BA BARACUS 41 Referee: Rich Anderson

Seconds: SEAHAWKS 31 – BA Baracus 27 Referee: Tony Levitan
A great run in an ultra-competitive second side match, played with full 40-minute halves at the behest of both clubs, eager as they were to give their boys an earnest rugby outing... which frankly speaking, was a wonderful change from a rag-tag, half-hearted first division B-side match I reffed earlier in the season. At 5 tries each, 2 additional conversions by San Jose made the difference in the final tally.

The first half was a back-and-forth affair with the Seahawks drawing first and second blood, the latter try converted. After trading scores, Baracus' try with 8 minutes remaining in the half was a work of art, running through at least 10 phases of recycled ball before being dotted down. A third Baracus score at the halftime whistle brought us to 19-15, San Jose.

Baracus jumped out quickly in the second half, scoring with less than 2 minutes gone. The Seahawks regained the lead 7 minutes later, only to give it up again just less than halfway through the half with what would prove to be the final Baracus points of the day. San Jose scored the match's 10th try while playing a man up. Once back at full strength, Baracus made a furious effort only to be met by staunch Seahawks resistance, both sides running up and down the firm pitch in juking bursts with quality support. Stout defense and intense pressure by both sides generated somewhat ragged, less fluid play at the close. After four lead changes over the course of the 80 minutes, San Jose held on to win 31 (5 tries, 3 conversions) to 27 (5 tries, 1 conversion).


Colusa 20 – REDWOOD 24 Referee: Tom Zanarini
This came down to conversion points. Redwood made 2 of 4, Colusa made 0 of 4. Great match to referee. Congratulations to Redwood for making the final and to Colusa for a massive first season. Once again, they had around 250 fans in support.

SOUTH VALLEY 42 – Vallejo 3 Referee: Stephanie Bruce
Evaluator: David Williamson
No report received.

South Valley will host Redwood this coming Saturday for the league championship.

Fog women TENS round robin
Referee: Ed Mortlock
FOG 55 – Shehawks 5
Fog 12 – AMAZONS 17
Shehawks 12 – AMAZONS 24

UC Davis 12 – CAL POLY 48 Referee: Aruna Ranaweera
ARs: John Pohlman, Jordan Bruno
Week 7 of the College Premier Division (CPD) included Picnic Day at UC Davis: sunny 80F with lots of onlookers in the bleachers and all around the field. 30 minutes into the game, the score was deadlocked 5-5 before Cal Poly edged ahead 17-5 at half. In the second half, Cal Poly used their size advantage to control the forward encounters, which opened up lots of space for their backs. In the final count, Cal Poly won comfortably, 8 tries to 2. Much thanks to John and Jordan for doing a nice job as AR's.

UC Santa Cruz 24 – CALIFORNIA frosh/soph 87 Referee: James Hinkin
A picture-postcard day in Santa Cruz saw the Young Bears overpower UCSC. The Slugs competed gamely and scored some opportunistic tries off of Cal mistakes (namely, interceptions) but could not stop the Cal Machine when it got moving. The score was lopsided but the game was played in good spirit aside from one unsavory incident. The offender was duly punished and play moved on. Rugby was accomplished at every level and I got my first Official Sunburn of the dry season. Pity it is raining as I type this.

Report from McGeorge Alumni match
Danny Nunn Park, Sacramento, Field #2
Ref: Ray Schwartz

I handled a decent McGeorge side at Baracus 10s back in October, but otherwise had not seen or heard much from them in years, and so did not know what to expect. Frankly, I wondered if the game would even get played, but took the local assignment and gave it my best shot.

With a noon kickoff, I was dismayed to find no field markings or goalposts on a hard and rutty pitch. But McGeorge was there (their coach Darren is a good guy), and the alumni was slowly starting to roll in as well. A former co-worker of Kat's greeted me on the sidelines, "Mr. Kat Todd!" Matt Eason rolled up with my two ARs in tow. Mike Chaput and several other old boys had been my former teammate or rival and we had fun saying hi. Eventually the game started a bit late, with cones located at key points (still no flags or paint) but we had 30 eager players, a thriving crowd, and plenty of subs still arriving.

Seems the alumni all flew in the day before and dedicated a new rugby room on campus (upstairs in the library!?). Many had been out until the wee hours. And some played like it, but some hard-hitting, spirited play ensued. Jeff Lusich showed w/ his young son Chris, who booted up to inject some youth into the old boys. He would score twice to help keep the game close.

By the 3rd 20-minute period the alumni were withering, but peaked out at 18 on the pitch to help slow the young boys attack. The McGeorge Captain, Garrett, had a convincing breakaway run up the middle which immediately got blown, "You're too young and too strong to not pass!" No one argued with my call. Otherwise the game was pretty close. A total of 70 minutes were played, w// Jeff Lusich handling the last ten. But this is where the story really starts.

I made my way over to watch Don Pattalock finish up the Sac Lions win over the Capitals (on the adjacent field). Saw and said hi to Tony Latu, Rich Anderson and many others, then off to the swimming pool at McGeorge. Nice crowd, nice BBQ and keg, and over $4,000 was raised for the club from a simple pass of the hat. Suddenly Matt Eason was the ringleader getting many to "shoot the boot," starting w/ Lusich and I for letting the young boys win. Good rugby songs and camaraderie ensued.

Home for a quick change, and then back out to meet the alumni at the free cocktail hour at the Embassy Suites Old Town. From there we headed for a stroll and ended up w/ a fabulous dinner in a private dining room at Rio City Cafe. With Kat out of town in a blizzard in Salt Lake City, I was free to relax and enjoy a great day with some top company. Well done McGeorge! And what a beautiful day!


Tuesday, April 12
Berkeley Rhinos 0 – LAMORINDA 48 Referee: Eric Rauscher
This was truly a game of two halves. In the first half, Lamorinda only scored one converted try. The play was pretty even and it looked to be a very close game. I am not sure what happened at the half time break, but Lamorinda came out like a team on fire and scored about every time they got the ball.

I called the game early due to Berkeley being down two men (Yellow cards for late tackles) and there really being no point to drag it out. If only the second half had been like the first.

Friday, April 15
Jesse Williams Cup at Elsie Allen
Elsie Allen 12 – SANTA ROSA/NEWMAN 20 Referee: Sean Peters
Friday night under the lights at Else Allen High School. The Lobos vs the Santa Rosa / Newman, for the Jesse William cup.

Jesse William was a Santa Rosa rugby player who was killed in the line of duty in the war in Iraq. Jesse William's father came out and spoke on behalf of his son, that was followed by the EAHS choir signing the Star-Spangled Banner and the presence of our U.S Army was a spectacular event to unfold.

The Lobos came out hard and fast, but Santa Rosa had the same plan scoring the first try of the game 7-0. Then Lobos answered with a try of their own Both teams were hard hitting and not backing down from one another. 12 - 10 at the half.

Second half was just like the first half both teams determined to out ruck the other. Santa Rosa had some great runs from their big forward pack, which lead up to 2 more trys. When all said and done, both teams are ready for their play-offs. FINAL 12 - 20 Santa Rosa / Newman.

SAN MATEO 27 – Peninsula Green 7 Referee: James Hinkin
A close game at the half with a score of 10-7 San Mateo opened it up in the second half. Pen Green had no answer to the pace and skill of the San Mateo backs who took over for the final period. Pen Green battled hard and had several breaks but could not convert as scramble defense caught up to them.

Colusa Referee Support Team
John Pohlman enjoys the attentions of Colusa’s Referee Support Team


For the Senate
Pelicus Scriptoris

Thursday, April 14, 2011




The final NCRRS meeting of the 2011 rugby season will be tonight from 7-9 at the Golden Gate clubhouse on Treasure Island.

Please join us! Food will be laid on from 6 PM.


If you are an NCRRS member who has refereed at least 5 matches by appointment (club and college matches – we don’t appoint high schools and youth), you’ll be getting some new kit.

Send your shirt and short sizes for the new kit to Tom Zanarini:

Jerseys are traditional cut and shorts are sized by the waist in inches.


As the busy season will be over come May, your assignor has crystalized some thoughts about the assignments process:

The number of referees available is always 10-20% less than the number of games that need referees.

When referees become unavailable after the schedule is made, one of them will always be the referee with the most remote game.

The corollary NEVER fails.


Everyone who said they were available this Saturday, April 16, got a game or an AR assignment.

But of course, we are short. We have one fellow doing three games, but they are short tournament games.

More than that, we need ARs for the Pacific Coast women's college D1 playoffs at Stanford:

5:30 PM UC Davis – BYU Referee: Pete Smith
7:00 PM Stanford – Chico State Referee: Preston Gordon

5 PM Third place: winner goes to the USA round of sixteen, loser goes home
7 PM Championships: both teams advance to the nationals

Please let us know if you can stop by Stanford on Friday or Saturday evening and help out.


Friday, April 29: NorCal high school playoff games in Morgan Hill in the afternoon
(We’ve had a good response for the tournament on April 30-May 1. Thank you.)

Saturday May 7:
Lots of referees needed:
Sevens tournament in Santa Rosa
Girls’ HS playoff
CR 1 match needing ARs
Friendly club matches
ARs for the Pacific Coast D2 playoffs at Sheeran Field, Saturday and Sunday

Friday-Saturday May 13-14:
College finals at Stanford, men and women, D1 and D2
Need ARs and fourth officials for Friday and Saturday

Please let us know if you can help out. We can’t do this without you.


From Matt Trenary, with USA Rugby:
Love reading your blog, Bruce. Figured you and the rest of the NorCal refs would enjoy seeing the Cal/SMC highlights:

Matt Trenary
College Rugby Films


Santa Rosa JC 21 – CALIFORNIA frosh/soph 31 Referee: Tom Zanarini
(halftime tied at 14)
ARs: Rob Hendrickson, Mike King
For Pete's Sake Field was reborn in very good condition after the mudbath/rugby match from two weeks ago. The grass was long and the field was as flat and firm as could be expected. My compliments to the groundskeepers.

A Thursday night match is a welcome invitation to take a half day off work, and this match did not disappoint. No team dominated possession, most tries were breakaway affairs. Hard rucking and a lot of mauling all match long.

Thanks to Rob and Mike for minding the lines and providing great support.


The quarter-finals were played last Saturday.

Colusa County – Redwood Empire Referee: Tom Zanarini
South Valley – Vallejo Referee: Stephanie Bruce

COLUSA 25 – Monterey 20 Referee: John Pohlman
TJ's from the teams
Colusa hosted Monterey in the first round of the Third Division playoffs this past Saturday in Colusa. Game time was scheduled for 1:30PM to make sure the Monterey team had time to make the drive.

I arrived around 11:30 and took a drive around Colusa. My first time in Colusa a pretty, farming community of 5,000 on the Sacramento river. Lots of old Victorians and loads of trucks.

Both teams arrived before noon and so a 1:00 kick-off was agreed upon. Monterey looked to have more than 20 players and Colusa looked to be able to almost field two sides.

Colusa had outstanding fan support. 200 plus fans had gathered, most with Colusa tee-shirts. Colusa won the toss and decided to choose ends.

Early on I realized this was going to be a competitive match. Monterey having a stud Samoan center with Australian and English second rows. Monterey captain Alex Doseff was my man of the match scoring two tries and strategically leading his team.

Colusa on the other hand had passion, commitment and a desire to play a very physical game. Most of their players had not played rugby prior to this season.

The passion showed through by the 6 or so Mohawk haircuts. A few had colored their Mohawks green, Colusa and Monterey colors. And winger Chad Bunner had the hat trick with a green Mohawk and face painted.

Monterey captain Alex started the scoring with a penalty 6 minutes in. Colusa's aggression made the tackle a challenge. Through the gates, on your feet and no shoulder charges when cleaning out were my first priority. The good news was that the players were quick to learn and the penalty count was pretty low for a third division game.

Monterey #6 Chris Leon scored at 22 minutes for an 8-0 Monterey lead.

Colusa was starting to question themselves, having a 7-0 record, playing at home
and all.

The Colusa aggression paid off when hard charging prop Shane Cabrel took a penalty from 15 meters out and broke a few tackles for Colusa's first try. Cabrel ran hard all day. If possible he could make a great inside center.

At 31 minutes one of the more experienced players #8 Cody Beckley who played for the Sacramento Capitals for a few years scored a converted try for Colusa's first lead of the day.

Five minutes later #9 Alex Doseff got his first try of the day weaving through traffic and out pacing the defense to put Monterey back on top at half time.

Monterey 15 Colusa 12.

Eight minutes in Colusa finally spun the ball wide to winger Lukas Polit, the fastest player on the field who turned a quick corner for a try and another Colusa lead.

Colusa 17 Monterey 15.

Monterey had a few scoring opportunities in the next 20 minutes but great tackling
And cover defense stopped any scores.

Monterey #12 Lui Maaola made a number of great runs only to be finally brought down. Monterey scored their final try of the day at 27 minutes.

Monterey 20- Colusa 17.

Colusa turned frantic wanting the win. The fans were cheering with all their lungs. #10 Morgan Marengo, another experienced Colusa player tied the score with a penalty at 30 minutes.

Monterey continued to control possession and were knocking at the try line for the next five minutes. Unfortunately Monterey #10 Huston Hedinger got into a pushy-pushy confrontation with his opposite.

Huston tried to rip his arm free then threw a light punch to the arm. All of this, I could live with except for the following two punches, still to the arm, but a yellow was necessary.

Colusa kicked downfield and applied pressure to Monterey. A couple of minutes of this pressure led to an ill-advised kick which was caught by Colusa's faster player winger Polit who again put on the gas and scored the final try as time ran out.

Wow, what an exciting end!

Thanks for a fun game and after party. The Colusa fans really stood out.

SOUTH VALLEY 121 – Reno 0 Referee: Pete Smith
Reno did not bring a full complement of player, just as South Valley is hitting their stride.

SF Fog 12 – REDWOOD 50 Referee: Cary Bertolone
On a clear, but windy day at Treasure Island, Redwood wasted little time, scoring their first try at 1:01 PM by an upfield move by their flyhalf that reeled in 50 meters and 5 points. Two more trys by unimpeded runners had the score 19-0 after 7 minutes. It was 38-0 at the half. In the second half, the Fog started to tackle the Redwood runners, which slowed the scoring down. Redwood and the Fog each scored two tries for a much closer second half and a 50-12 final score. No red cards, no yellow cards, no dangerous play; good sportsmanship from both clubs!! The game finished just in time for some of us to see the super league game between Golden Gate and Denver.

VALLEJO 33 – Stanislaus 20 Referee: Bruce Carter
AR: Jim Crenshaw
Morton Field is another pearl on the string of fine Northern California rugby facilities. Vallejo and the Diablo Gaels use it as a home pitch; their industry and loving care are evident.

Big, flat and green – what else do we need? How about: grandstands, a press box, scoreboard and clock, changing shed, concessions including bake sale, raffle, bone marrow donation volunteer tent and plenty of fans?

Oh – and a flagpole rescued from the deck of a Navy ship proudly perched on the northwest corner of the property!

We took the field after Donal Walsh refereed the Berkeley girls’ game with Dixon, the first of four games on the day.

Both teams were keen to win, warming up early and ready to roll almost before the referee, who had to borrow shorts and a whistle from his AR (insert two separate long stories).

Matter of fact, one player carped a bit more than the referee is used to. When challenged he said, “We just don’t like losing,” a sentiment anyone who ever played the game will understand and probably the best answer in the circumstances.

The home crowd was treated to a victory which had to be preserved without the services of Vallejo’s quite capable fullback, who was issued a red card at the end of the first half. Stanislaus converted a penalty kick on this occasion from near touch, forty meters out, to trail 23-6 at the half.

Stanislaus had the better of the second half on the strength of their kicker, converting both of their tries to Vallejo’s two unconverted.

Penelope Pelicus accompanied the referee, joined by an old Army buddy who is a nurse in Fairfield. The two women took the Bryant Byrnes-recommended tour of Mare Island while the rugby proceeded, and then an impromptu date was arranged as Jim Crenshaw joined in, four for a lovely late lunch across the Carquinez Strait at the Dead Fish.

Sorry, Bryant. All that scene-setting and he didn’t get any ARs…

SFGG SL 50 – Denver Barbarians 24 Referee: Joe Androvich
ARs: Tom Zanarini, Scott Wood

Sac Capitals 26 – SAC LIONS 31 Referee: Don Pattalock
AR: Rich Anderson, Tony Latu
Report by #4, Chris Tucker
4th official for the first time in earnest this season thanks to irritating injuries on both legs -- couldn't even limp around the pitch. Still, time to brush up on law 3, and good job I did. Not one, but two out-of-the-ordinary situations came up. First Lions sin-bin was a prop, on as a replacement for a flanker in the blood bin. Second, 2 minutes later, was another prop. Not only can the blood-bin not come back on, but we have uncontested scrums (Lions declared only 22 on their roster.)

As it was, Donny got the scrums right, the blood bin stayed off anyway, so the knowledge was only useful to know we were doing it right. And I got to watch a thoroughly entertaining game from a great vantage point. Lions pulled it out in the end as the Caps made key errors as time wound down. The final straw being late in the game, on top of the Lions goal line, with penalty advantage on, the Caps scrum half decided to stamp on the offending player, thereby reversing the penalty, ending his afternoon and the last attacking opportunity for his team. Reminds me of a great expression I saw used by the ref in the LV Cup: 'I'll move him, you be careful where you put your feet.' Wise words.

Seconds: SACRAMENTO CAPITALS 24 - Sacramento Lions 12 Referee: Rich Anderson

BARBARIANS 29 – EPA Razorbacks 26 Referee: James Hinkin
First Half ARs: Preston Gordon, Bruce Ricard
Scheduling conflicts meant that this match was to be played at San Mateo HS after the conclusion of the San Mateo – Olympic Club match so a late kickoff was on the offering. Many thanks go out to Preston and Bruce for performing as ARs in the first half until other engagements took them away. This was a fast, exciting match that saw the first half dominated by breakaway tries. EPA scored first to start the scoring and the Barbarians responded with a try out wide to bring the score to 7-5. This set up the pattern for the day as each side started politely taking turns scoring tries. EPA ended that half up 21-12 as they were able to start and finish the scoring.

Showing good sportsmanship both teams continued to take turns scoring with the Barbarians taking the first turn this time. EPA’s lone try came after a dancing run from their flyhalf but was not centered so the conversion was wide which meant that the match went into the final 5 minutes tied 26-26. A penalty against EPA at the 10 meter line for not rolling away was taken quickly and the ensuing not back 10 penalty moved the spot to a kickable range for the only penalty goal of the match and set up a rousing finish. With seconds remaining the Barbarians had another penalty kick missed that set up a final play starting with a 22 dropout. EPA recovered the kick and started setting up the phases until a knock on put the ball in the Barbarian’s hands and they promptly kicked the ball out to end the game.

Seconds: BAY BARBARIANS 28 - EPA Razorback 24 Ref: Hinkin
With the field permit technically expired the captains agreed to a B side match of 7s. This was played in a great spirit with both sides laughing their way through and some nifty sidestepping. Both teams scored 4 tries – the Barbarians centered theirs for the win. After the match it was generally agreed that summer has officially started and that nobody was in shape to play 7s yet.

(SPEAKING OF WHICH: Mark your calendars for the Palo Alto Summer Sevens on June 25, July 9 and July 23.)

San Mateo 7 – OLYMPIC CLUB 36 Referee: Preston Gordon
ARs: Bruce Ricard, Jordan Bruno
I managed to get in another half as an AR (with Bruce Ricard) for James Hinkin's Barbarians-EPA game, too.

Seconds: San Mateo 0 – OLYMIC CLUB 69 Referee: Jordan Bruno

DIABLO GAELS over Marin Referee: Jim Crenshaw
ARs: Bryant Byrnes, Bruce Carter

Seconds: DIABLO GAELS 31 - Marin Reds 12 Referee: Bryant Byrnes
Morton Field, Mare Island. This was the last match in a trifecta of games at the old Naval Shipyard. I must take my hat off to these fellas. Most of them had just completed a full match, and while the bureaucrats and camp followers were eating the food and drinking the beer on the side lines, they are still out on the field running into each other with unflagging enthusiasm. Thank god for short halves or it would have been 60 to 30.

By the way, Mare Island is a hidden gem and a treat to explore. It is large, rambling, and fascinating, Founded in the 1850s, during WW2 it employed 40,000 workers! It is now a place that time has forgotten. It has a museum, tours, protected Bay estuary. A treat.

Chico 21 – SEAHAWKS 35 Referee: Eric Rauscher
Pleasant Valley High School, Chico full sized field, correctly flagged and lined, firm but dry, cool and sunny.

This truly was a game closer than the score indicates. San Jose came out strong and scored four converted tries in the first 25 minutes. Chico then came back to score two converted in the last minutes of the first half. Chico scored first in the second half and looked to tie it up but San Jose held on and scored once again to put it out of reach. Both teams played very well and moved the ball back and forth across the field and up and down enough to put up respectable numbers.

Santa Rosa 8 – FRESNO 24 Referee: Rob Seiler (Virginia)
ARs: Phil Akroyd, Bjorn Stumer
Evaluator: David Williamson
Report by Phil Akroyd:
Not sure if Rob sent in a report, but there was no let-off in intensity for the entire eighty-minutes. Both teams were incredibly evenly matched: Rosa couldn't win a lineout, Fresno couldn't win a scrum. The difference was the Rosa ball control, or lack of it. They had two first half knock-ons, while un-impeded over the try line, in the first half, in addition to multiple open field knock-ons. They gave away an interception try in the last few minutes to seal it, but credit to Fresno who ramped up the effort level and execution in the second half.

Seconds: SANTA ROSA 76– Fresno 7 Referee: Phil Akroyd
Thirty-five points after twenty minutes. Eighty-three points in sixty total minutes. Young kids versus old guys, and the young kids won. 'Nuff said.

Berkeley 21 – BA BARACUS 66 Referee: Stephanie Bruce
Baracus was too strong for the home team and ran away with it. Berkeley started to put some plays together but was unable to get that bonus point as time expired.

Seconds: Berkeley – BA Baracus
Not sure if this one was played.

SFGG Colts 55 – Vacaville 21 Referee: Tom Zanarini
Part two of my weekend rugby tour was a fast paced match on the now firm Sheeran Field. SFGG ran away with this one, putting in 6 tries in the first half and 5 in the second. Vacaville fought back hard dotting down twice in the second. All told this referee ran 12 miles of rugby this weekend. Time well spent.

Seconds: SFGG – Vacaville CANCELED

McGeorge – Alumni Referee: Ray Schwartz
No report received.

Humboldt State – San Francisco State NOT PLAYED


St. Mary's 34 – CALIFORNIA 60 Referee: Paul Bretz
ARs: Pete Smith, Bruce Carter
#4s: John Coppinger, Tom Zanarini

Seconds: St. Mary's 12 – CALIFORNIA 46 Referee: John Coppinger

NEVADA 63 – Fresno State 38 Referee: Lee Salgado
Sunday is a rugby day? The sun was out and it was perfect temperature for a game. This was very clean and fast-paced match. Both teams had their share of speedsters in the back line which made for outstanding breakaways. UNR's ability to maintain possession of the ball with consistent support in the rucks and crisp passes to support was the difference in the match. Fresno fought back in the second half with two beautiful 80 meter runs, one of which was from a kickoff return. However, it was not enough to overcome the point difference. All in all, it was a great game to officiate.


JESUIT RED 23 - McClatchy 20 Referee: Phil Akroyd
A close game that went down to the wire. McClatchy outscored the home team by 4 tries to three, but Jesuit took the pragmatic option of kicking easy PKs. The game was tied in the last minute when Jesuit were attacking the away side line. An over eager McClatchy player tackled way too high and Jesuit took the goal opportunity.

That was not the way the game deserved to end, but it was the call that had to be made.

Varsity: VACAVILLE 43 – Christian Brothers 27 Referee: Rob Seiler (Virginia)

JV: VACAVILLE 24 - Christian Bothers 19 Referee: Phil Akroyd
CB went out strong in the first half but struggled to hold back a resurgent Vacaville in the second half. Vacaville had a one-try lead going into the last seven minutes, and CB had several close attacking opportunities in the final minutes, but could not make it through.

PITS 17 - De La Salle 6 Referee: Rob Hendrickson
PITS hosted De La Salle at Mills College's grass field for a Friday evening game. PITS played one of its more inspired games, scoring 3 tries, and getting the ball out wide to its wing for big gains. Both teams' defenses mounted spirited goal line stands, with the scoring difference being PITS' ability to get the ball out wide. Good HS rugby.

ELSIE ALLEN 20 – Sonoma State 10 Referee: Sean Peters
Friday afternoon game at Elsie Allen High School, where the Lobos hosted the first Sonoma State Rugby Club side of the year.

Sonoma looked great in numbers, because they had a bunch of players from the local high schools and local areas. It was great to see some new faces to the sport. Both sides elected to play 4 / 15 min half's. First half started with a no contest scrum since Sonoma hasn't had much time at the scrum. After that I felt like they were ready, and the following rest of the game the scrums were contested. The Lobos came out quick in the first half attacking right at the bigger Sonoma State side. With their fast rucking and attacking wide, caught Sonoma off sides and made them pay with a try between their centers 7-0. Second half was more the same. Sonoma's big forwards were starting to warm up and make big runs down field, to set up a try from there back-line 7-5. Right before half Lobos again found the try line making it 12-5 at the half. Starting the 3rd half both side lines had their talks from their coaches now they seemed to be more focused. Sonoma State was very aggressive around the rucks, and found some daylight with a big run from their scrum half. Setting up another try from there back-line 12-10. Last half the Lobos went back to work again hitting the rucks with numbers and attacking wide to put up another try for the Lobos. Towards the ending of the game a high tackle penalty awarded, Lobos decided to kick for try and made it. Final 20 -10 EAHS

SANTA ROSA 60 - Montgomery Vikings 0 Referee: Cary Bertolone
A Friday night game under the lights at Cardinal Newman, Rosa High rugby club dominated. Apparently, Montgomery coaches sent a few seniors packing for having bad attitudes and their remaining players only had two seniors left. At one point, when Montgomery's players were getting frazzled and down about 33-0, I brought them in and told them sometimes rugby is not about who wins, but it is about making some tackles, making some runs, supporting your teammates and having some fun. That inspired them and they seemed to enjoy the rest of the game without getting down on themselves. Rosa won the first game 60-0

In the second game, it was much closer and everyone had a good run. Lots of young players!!!

SFGG U19, 39 – St. Mary's C 19 Referee: Preston Gordon

Elsie Allen girls 5 – ALAMEDA 71 Referee: Sean Peters
A beautiful day out at Elsie Allen High School on the turf the Lobo Girls host the Alameda High School. Both teams looked like they were ready to do battle. Each team with a great amount of numbers. Lobos came out hard and fast but made a mistake and Alameda scored a try. After the kick off the Lobos found their way to the try line, 5 -7. Looked like the Lobos were in battle when Alameda's scrum half stated to pick the Lobos apart, with big runs and setting up their big forwards. Scoring a few more trys before half time 31-5. Second half was more like the first but Alameda's #1 and #10 had a show of their own, with some big runs and multiple trys. Final 71-5 Alameda

SAN MATEO HS 61 - East Palo Alto Razorbacks HS 17 Referee: Tony Levitan
On a glorious day for rugby, two of the Peninsula's top high school teams squared off in a key pre-playoffs match. Unfortunately for EPA, their numbers were light as we neared kickoff time. San Mateo was gracious enough to push kickoff a further 15 minutes but we still opened play with only 12 players wearing EPA's red and white unis. The numbers imbalance was addressed soon thereafter as more EPA players showed up and rushed onto the pitch, but by then the damage in organization and preparedness for the match was done.

San Mateo charged out to an insurmountable lead in the opening 10 minutes, running in three quick tries (two converted), all marked by a combination of hard running, superior handling and -- unfortunately for EPA -- overlap situations. Once both sides were at full numbers, play evened out a bit, with EPA showing their flair for running rugby as well. San Mateo's fourth try was a sight to behold, with the pill being handled by at least half their side. A try with six minutes left in the half got EPA on the board, and then one more from San Mateo brought the halftime score to 29-7.

The second half track meet saw an additional eight tries, albeit the bulk of them coming from San Mateo. In one try of note, Flyhalf and captain, Michael Latu, scored on a simultaneously graceful and physically brutal determined run through the EPA defense that would have made good YouTube fare had the video team been on hand. The connections among players on each side were apparent as the competitive nature of the match was sprinkled with moments of playfulness, joking, and some chippy back-and-forth, supporting a generally well-played 70 minutes of high school rugby. Final tally, 61-17 for San Mateo.

PENINSULA GREEN 22 – Bellarmine 18 Referee: Chris Fisher

The Skyhawk Conference championship game will be this Saturday at 11 AM, San Mateo hosting Peninsula Green.

Marin Highlanders 24 – Elsie Allen 24 Mike King
Better weather for a Sunday morning rugby match is hard to imagine. Both sides came ready to play, but there was a great deal more enthusiasm initially with the Lobos. The sides traded some hard hits and both were effective stopping the attacks off the rucks at first. Elsie Allen struck first with a penalty kick and added 2 converted tries before the half. The Highlanders seemed to recognize the opponent was serious. They woke up to finish off the first stanza with a converted try. 7-17.

Momentum then continued in Marin’s favor into the second half. Some very nifty passing and running put 3 tries on the board, but 2 were at difficult angles for the kicker. Only one converted. Just when it seemed they were on the road home with a loss, however, the Lobos roared back to score a converted try to knot things up. As the clock wound down to the final whistle, the participants knew that they had a real contest that day with no losers among the players, the coaches, or the fans.

BISHOP O'DOWD 42 – Danville Oaks 17 Referee: Aruna Ranaweera
Assistant Referees: Eric Rauscher, Rod Chance
BOD led 14-12 at half, but Danville took the lead 14-17 early in the second half. BOD edged ahead to 19-17 for most of the second half, but scored three tries at the end to win comfortably, 6 tries to 3.

Girls: O'Dowd 0 - MOTHER LODE 28 Referee: Bryant Byrnes
ARs: Aruna Ranaweera and Eric Rauscher
This late Monday night match, I was told, was a money game; the winner breaks a three way tie and takes the lead in the league. I am more familiar with O'Dowd's program and laud its growth and success in the last several years under Ray Lehner.

What I do know about the Mother Lode side is that they put on a bit of a clinic against good opposition. Their rucking was text book (including subtle sealing in the first half) and back play both of quality and relentless. Their number 6 flanker (Stacey?) was masterful.

Thanks to Eric and Aruna for being ARs-above and beyond the call of duty and a rare treat.

Mare Island Buds
Beautiful day, good friends and rugby at Morton Field:
Bryant Byrnes, Jim Crenshaw, Bruce Carter


For the Senate
Pelicus Scriptoris

Wednesday, April 06, 2011



In memory yet green, in joy still felt,
The scenes of life rise sharply into view.
We triumph; Life's disasters are undealt,
And while all else is old, the world is new.

Isaac Asimov


We don’t have a referee for Chico hosting the Seahawks at the moment, due to an injury. If you are willing to cover this game, we can pull a swap to cover whichever game you already have. (We have a couple of extra refs who can’t travel.)

This is a D2 league match. Please!


The season-ending tournament for NorCal’s U10 and U12 leagues will be held in Danville. This is the event that was rained out two weeks ago on Treasure Island.

The U10s will play from 9:30 until noon. Then the U12 event should last from noon until 4:30, at the Mustang Soccer Complex, 4680 Camino Tassajara, Danville, 94526.

We also need a blower for a Sunday game, April 10, University of Nevada men hosting Fresno State.

And – possibly also for a men’s lower-division round-robin on Treasure Island from 11 until 2.

Please let us know if you can help out.


The Pacific Coast High School Invitational Tournament will be held in Morgan Hill:

The event will include NorCal playoff games. There will be four full-length playoff games on Friday afternoon, April 29, from 3-6 PM that obviously need refs, and then EIGHT fields will be in use all day Saturday and Sunday, April 30 and May 1.

Rooms will be available at a very reasonable rate across the street from the sports complex. The referee society will spring for Saturday night’s dinner for referees.

Please check your calendar and clear it for that weekend – the only other rugby going on in Pelicanland will be a super league and a college premier game that need ARs.

Eric Rauscher is organizing the referees for the event. Let him know:


The last regular-season meeting of the NCRFU will take place on Wednesday, April 13, at the SF/Golden Gate clubhouse from 7 till 9, despite what the fact-checker reported last week. Lucky thirteen.

Please make every effort to attend. We will be discussing open play and restarts.

The playoff season approaches. We’ll need ARs for the next two months, as well as referees of course.


OLYMPIC CLUB 71 – Sac Capitals 24 Referee: Rich Anderson
ARs: Aruna Ranaweera, Cary Bertolone
Evaluator: Dixon Smith
It was a perfect day for Rugby as these two Division One squads met on Treasure Island.

Both teams put on some dazzling offensive moves, but the Olympic Club was able to play a little better defense to control the match.

Apologies to Bryan Porter and Dixon Smith, who watched the match without the presence of Suzie, and thanks to Cary Bertolone and Aruna Ranaweera, for running touch and keeping score.

Seconds: Olympic Club 21–SAC CAPITALS 23 Referee: Aruna Ranaweera
ARs: Anderson and Bertolone
Although exhausted from being up since 1am to watch the Cricket World Cup final, it was some consolation that at least four people (Bryan Porter, Dixon Smith, and both team coaches) offered sympathy at Sri Lanka's close loss to India. Under sunny skies on a well-marked Treasure Island Field B, OC lead 11-6 at half, but Sacramento made some impact substitutions in the second half to finish ahead 3 tries to 2. Thanks to Rich and Cary for their assistance.

Sac Lions 23 – SAN MATEO 24 Referee: Don Pattalock

Seconds: Sac Lions – San Mateo
No report received.

EPA Razorbacks 14 – EPA BULLDOGS 76 Referee: John Coppinger
AR: Bruce Carter

Seconds: EPA Razorbacks 5 – EPA BULLDOGS 12 Referee: Bruce Carter
After a serious and determined first-side match, the first-ever between two rivals for the affections of a small town, the seconds played more in joy than in anger.

I certainly enjoyed it.

Forming two D1 teams from a city of maybe 30,000, tops, has brought some of the old(er) and young(er) into the fold, especially in the seconds.

I renewed a number of acquaintances and we remembered when we were all right where we belonged, in the firsts.

BA BARACUS 25 – Diablo Gaels 22 Referee: Pete Smith
I was fortunate enough to ref this match up last year and it was an end to end wide open affair that ended in a tie despite having watch trouble that added 8 extra minutes. The players remembered last year’s game and this year’s game was almost a carbon copy.

The score was 8-7 in favor of Baracus at halftime. Baracus jumped on Diablo with two quick tries to open the second half and a 22-7 lead, just 5 minutes into the second half. Diablo struck next with a try to bring it to 22-12. Baracus answered back with a penalty kick to go up 25-12 with only about 10 minutes remaining. Diablo did not give up and managed another try to bring it 25-17. With the conversion about 10 meters left of center, but time running out, the kicker rushed the conversion knowing that was less than 5 minutes remaining and hocked it wide left. That kept the difference at 8 point and less than 5 to play. Diablo scored a well-earned, hard-fought try to bring the score to 22-25, but with time expired, the conversion was a mere formality instead of the difference between defeat and victory. That is how it ended, a 3 point game that could have/should have been a 1 point game with the conversion to decide victory and defeat. These teams now have identical 3-3 records!

Berkeley 26 – SFGG 66 Referee: Sean Peters
Referee Coach: David Williamson
It turned out to be a great day in Berkeley, where they hosted SFGG from right across the bay. The field was marked with red tape ,the try line was barely visible , but SFGG knew right where it was at the beginning of the game , with big runs from the #11 but Berkeley fought back and scored a try before half making it 28 -7.

Second half Berkeley stepped on the field and scored 2 trys right off the bat from mistakes from the Colts, but fell short ,due to the Colts’ forward pack dominating the smaller Berkeley forward pack, the Colts #6 and #7 making solid runs and tackles opening their back-line to make impressive break-away runs again with their #11 #15 and #9 , both teams were fun to ref.

Also want to say Thank you to David Williamson for his time as Referee Coach

Seconds: Berkeley 7 – SFGG COLTS 32 Referee: Eric Rauscher
AR: Jeff Ferguson
Albany Middle School artificial turf field, but full size and lined correctly sunny and warm.

I mistakenly assumed that Berkeley would be playing out at TI, so I agreed to do a HS game before the Berkeley B side game. As Is usually the case, no match ever runs the amount of time it is supposed to and I discovered mid-week that Berkeley was going to be playing in Albany. No problem I thought, I can still make it. As I got off the bridge the traffic was backed up going north. Suffice it to say I was late and the match had already started. Berkeley's coach was out on the field with the whistle. At the next dead ball, I relieved him. This is Berkeley's first year up at Div 2, and it is a higher level of play than they are used to. SFGG won the game with ease, but Berkeley did manage to get a score, and played with gusto. There was a good sense of enjoyment in the game and a nice social after wards at one of the Berkeley player's home.

Chico – Fresno Referee: Jim Crenshaw
No report received.

Marin 7 – SANTA ROSA 63 Referee: Tom Zanarini
Marin scored in the first 30 seconds, then Rosa took over scoring 4 tries in the first half and 7 in the 2nd.

Seconds: Marin 5 – SANTA ROSA 50 Referee: Lois Bukowski
Add to the list of the dangers of refereeing: dog bites!

This uneven match produced some good running rugby by Rosa. A tired Marin team (most if not all who already played in the A side blowout) constantly slowed the ball down but were finally rewarded for their effort(?) with a try in the second half.

Rosa looks good! They have some fitness and athleticism and their depth will benefit them as they move into playoff time.

After the game, I walked back to my car and decided to briefly visit with a cute dog I saw roaming the sideline. I had to put my dear Jackson down in January (16 years old!) and so now I seek out the company of furry friends when I can. Unfortunately, the dog did not like my refereeing (even though she was a Rosa fan) and promptly attacked my inner thigh. Injury to the insults I already experienced. Kicked by a man (deep thigh contusion), taken down (tackled in the try zone), strained Achilles and then a dog bite (my first ever!) Yes, I am whining :)

VACAVILLE 17 – Seahawks 10 Referee: Scott Griffin
Referee Coach: Bryant Byrnes
The visiting Seahawks started out strong with two unconverted tries in the first 20 minutes, only to be shutout for the balance of the game by a sharper Vacaville team. Vacaville added 17 points of their own to earn the W.

VACAVILLE 28 – Seahawks 21 Ref: Griffin
Two 25 minute halves saw Vacaville keep its edge over the visitors with a 28-21 win.

No reds or yellows.

Reno Zephyrs 24 – Mendocino 0 Referee: James Hinkin

FOG women 26 – Oregon Rugby Sports Union 12 Referee: Cary Bertolone
At Treasure Island on a sunny Saturday morning, the Fog kicked off and a great game ensued. The Fog had a little more speed in the backline, but it was the persistence of the forwards at the ruck that helped them to a 14-0 halftime lead. They scored a third try at the one minute mark of the second half for a comfortable 19-0 lead, but the Oregon team, who also played well throughout the entire game, scored two tries to make it a little closer. Fog finished with another try for a 26-12 win. Great game!

UC Davis 25 – CENTRAL WASHINGTON 36 Tucker
ARs: John Pohlman, Ron Decausemaker
Assessor: Mike Malone

Davis played the full eighty mins and left it all on the field, but were beaten out by a highly organized and disciplined CWU squad.

It was still close in the 4th quarter when the visitors had their loose head sin binned for the third questionable tackle. Davis took quick advantage, driving down to the 5 where they won a scrum. I asked if CWU needed to sub on a prop, but they rearranged so their *inside centre* moved into the front row. And promptly destroyed the Davis scrum. Any thoughts that this was a fluke were dispelled 2 minutes later when the same thing happened on another attacking Davis scrum. Apparently he used to be the starting #1, but had greater value out wide. Impressive athlete.

Chico State 5 – SACRAMENTO STATE 31 Referee: Scott Wood
AR: Ray Schwartz
Location: CSU Chico
Temperature: At least 10 degrees cooler than Friday
Wind: 15 mph gusting to F1

Chico started with the wind to their backs. Unfortunately, kicks above 10 feet sailed over the dead ball line. Sacramento was strong in phase play and moved the ball well. Chico scored early in the left corner but Sacramento came back with two tries to have a 14-5 lead at half.

In the second half, Sacramento kicked only when going for touch at penalties. Whatever was in the water worked as Sacramento turned up the heat in the scrums blowing Chico backwards.

Sacramento needed a bonus point to keep in contention for first place. They got it at full time.

Seconds: Chico State 31 – SAC STATE 48 Referee: Ray Schwartz
Wow! Big fun in the B Side match. After helping AR for Scott Wood in the A Side, where Sac St shut out Chico, the scoring opened up. End to end fun.

I’ve only reffed a few league matches this season, but oddly the home and away for this very match are two of them. Sac St totally dominated the first, played at home, winning by more than 40. Oddly, same lame postmatch Little Caesar’s $5 pizzas too!

But this match saw a tie early on, and only 5 points separated the two, w/ 19-14 Sac St at the half. Captain Robert Kwoka scored twice from #8 for the Hornets.

One anomaly, w/ 7 minutes left in the first half, I noted a trend, having penalized the Chico #10 three times for similar offences, once was gate entry at the tackle, the other two were for creeping up the side of the ruck and poking at the opposing scrumhalf with his toe. I warned him and his captain to cut it out, that the 10 was leaving me no choice… On the ensuing play, hardly 20 secs in, he again enters the tackle from the side (right in front of me!), “tweet” and a yellow card. Rick Flynn’s kid, like father, like son! (I had seen Rick the week before in a muddy monsoon in Davis, but today was sunny, windy and the ground hard. Striking difference.)

Sac St. scored twice with Flynnie in the bin, but Chico St would come roaring back, twice more bringing the game within 5 points. Chico’s prop, Danial Pevear, a little fireplug, smaller but nearly as athletic as Eagle Chris “cookie monster” Biller, was playing his 2nd game ever, needed instruction in front row technique / safety from scrum #1, but got it squared away and would end up scoring 3 tries, in pants! Dork. #12, Kyle Tallet, a Senior who took up the game 3 years too late, was a dynamo; powerful and sure in contact, real impressive.

Some subs for Chico in the 2nd half were also impressive. SH - James McIntosh pressed the pace like a real scrummie, but might have only just tried playing there on the day. He had no idea what to do at the scrum put in, funny! He’s a good fit, and scored an opportunistic and powerful try. Fullback - Tori Pinelli, reminded me of Belmont Shore’s 7s and 15 winger, Tony Frantangelo; tall, lean, fearless and with great balance, drive and determination. The future seems bright, if Coach Mitch Jagoe and the Wildcats can recruit some talented beef for their A Side pack...

Another anomaly, though Chico St played clean, Sac St seemed more willing to wrench necks and fling players in shirt tackles. A yellow for repeat team infringement: Dangerous Tackles, w/ 8 minutes left in the 2nd half, sent a confused rookie (who had just subbed in) to sidelines.

But this day belonged to Sac St. Each time Chico State caught up, hard teamwork, and brilliant individual play, would keep the Hornets pulling away. #12 Dante Walters scored a brilliant try, showing great balance, power and skill, dancing up the sideline 25 meters to score a try Chico St. could not deny. And William Gillingham,a tall, scrum-helmeted, yellow-shoed, “Freak,” scored 4 times, each a go from 40 meters or so. He seemed to take off when given a wee gap, and no one would touch him, again and again and again... I couldn't even get over the 22 as he scored his last try!

A bit sad and confused that Josh Imong never played in the A or B game. I’d pay to see him play. He was ready to sub in, and’ll be running with the Philippine National team next week, or so he said.

Thanks for driving and fine company Scott!

Santa Clara 18 – STANFORD 39 Referee: Preston Gordon

Seconds: SANTA CLARA 19 – Stanford 17 Referee: Bruce Ricard
The only cloudy day in two weeks, this was the perfect weather we got to play this game.

The first half was very balanced, not a lot of infringements, not a lot of points, but a great battle. First seven points scored by Santa Clara at the 15th minute, followed by 5 points from Stanford at the 22nd. Finally Santa Clara add another try at the 31th minute, and the break is called on this 12 - 5 score.

At the 15th minute of the second half, 15m from their goal line, a Santa Clara forward is penalized for off-side at ruck. After the quick tap, and a pick and go, a ruck is formed 5m from the goal line, and the same forward is again caught off-side. He's temporarily excluded, and on the penalty kick that followed, after three phases played by the forwards, the ball is sent to the backs, who score a try between the posts. At the 25th minute, on a turnover, Santa Clara launches a terrific counter attack, and their full back runs alone to score a try. Two minutes later, Stanford scores a nice try on the 15m line, unconverted.

Unconverted unfortunately for them, because those were the lasts points scored in this game, and the game is ended on the score of: Santa Clara University 2 19 - 17 Stanford 2


Both Sierra College and the California Maritime Academy advanced to the USA Rugby playoffs round of sixteen.

Sierra defeated Utah Valley while CMA knocked off Idaho. Then they played each other to determine seeding at the nationals and for NorCal bragging rights, not having met during the regular season. Sierra won that one 20 – 3.

Humboldt State – San Francisco State RESCHEDULED

UC SANTA CRUZ 48 - Fresno State 5 Referee: Tony Levitan
Rugby weather doesn't get much better than that which greeted the newish Fresno State team when they journeyed to Santa Cruz to take on the Banana Slugs. A spirited effort from both A-sides generated lots of running rugby with a total of nine tries. Unfortunately for Fresno State, most of those were scored by UCSC, who at most times seemed a step faster, a wink more instinctual, and a player or two in excess at the breakdown or in open play.

In a first for this referee, the respective captains both wore #2, and were assuredly the best player from each side with UCSC's Captain/hooker dotting down for the first try of the match just 3 minutes in. UCSC benefitted from very strong back row play as well, all day long, with a number of long, hard runs by their #7, most notably from restarts after tries. Santa Cruz tallied 6 tries during the first half, 4 of which their flyhalf converted. Fresno State, which suffered from a number of seriously untimely knock-ons, put their lone try across midway through the opening period for a 38-5 halftime score.

Juggling within each team's front row -- for blood or normal substitutions -- resulted in too-many 2nd -half scrum resets to make any of us happy. But everyone stayed safe and focused in the scrums and once re-settled, well-contested set pieces prevailed, launching creative play from each side in the 2nd half. Even down significantly, Fresno State played gallantly and did themselves proud by working hard till the closing whistle blast.

Stanford women 19 – GRIZZLIES MOTLEY 50 Referee: Stephanie Bruce
Scrimmage. 30 min halves with open substitutions. Stanford exploited the Grizzlies' lack of cohesion on defense, in the first half, but could not keep up with the depth in numbers as the coaches put in their more experienced players.

Claremont 7 - UC BERKELEY 62
ARs: Anthony Yeo, Tim Day (both SoCal)
Cal's 2nd string was too much for a game but limited Claremont outfit, who remain winless after 3 games. Their schedule gets easier from here on out after opening with CWU and St. Mary's.

Try as I might I couldn't get Cal to stay on their feet, earning a snide disapproval after from senor Clark. Reality was they didn't need to, they could win without sealing it off, but they kept going to ground, earning a card in the 2nd half, long after the score was beyond the home side.

Claremont used the man advantage to good effect, driving down to the goal line, spinning out to the backs where the fly half saw the over-eager rush defence, waited for it to go past, and tucked up through the hole to score.

The other 62 points were the result of 80 minutes of hard running, always hitting the gap at full speed and being always up in support.

Thanks to all concerned this weekend for helping me out, your assistance was invaluable.



Battle for first place in Sac Valley:
Cougar RFC 10 – JESUIT 35 Referee: Scott Wood
ARs: Chris Tucker, Jordan Bruno
Location: Will Rogers Middle School, Carmichael
Temperature: 80+
Humidity: Same as temperature (or so it seemed)

The score does not reflect how well Cougar played. They had three scoring opportunities missed by mere meters due to errant passes and knock ons. Halftime score: Jesuit 15-0

Thanks to Chris Tucker and Jordan Bruno for running the sidelines in this well-tempered, aggressive and fast match.

SAN MATEO 41 - Peninsula Green 22 Referee: Tony Levitan
While multiple accidents slowed the pace of travel up 101 to get to San Mateo High School, there was little bogging down of any sort once this fixture kicked off on an initially-balmy Friday evening.

Both sides played quality rugby over the course of the match albeit Peninsula Green took a bit longer to get rolling, battling their bigger, faster and more creative rivals to a 2nd-half tie. The final score line was not as close as San Mateo put over 5 tries (2 converted) during an active 1st half that was marked by long runs, quick recycling, and enviable handling by San Mateo players, regardless the number worn on their backs. Peninsula Green scored two tries (1 converted), used a few strong lineout possessions to launch their more productive play. 20-10, San Mateo at the half.

The 2nd half saw a protracted run of back-and-forth play between the 22s, with each side scoring an additional 2 tries (1 conversion) for the final 41-22 scoreline favoring San Mateo.


RAZORBACKS 97 – Silicon Valley 0 Referee: Bruce Carter
This was the triumph of sportsmanship over one-up-manship.

I arrived early at Terman Middle School, as is my wont, crossword puzzle in tow in case I was the only one around.

But nope, plenty of rugby people putting a pitch together – and plenty of midget league baseball people putting an overlapping diamond together.

Both groups of course were sure they had permits. In fact, both were as certain of having them as they were deficient in not having them along. What to do?

The touchline between the 22 and halfway ran parallel to the first-base line, just beyond the infield grass. So, if a six-year-old rightie could make good contact he’d hit it onto the pitch.

So we used the five-meter line as touch for that side, for all three of the Razorbacks’ games, and simply did not allow kicks to touch that might find their way onto the diamond. Ground rule #1: a player opting for touch from a penalty was given a favorable lie some distance up the way.

As astute readers will have inferred from the score, the Razorback high school team did not invoke this ground rule.

Varsity: SF/Golden Gate 17 - JESUIT 40 Referee: Paul Bretz

SFGG Silver 15 – ALAMEDA 21 Referee: Bruce Bernstein
Tale of 2 halves at TI. SFGG scored 5 minutes in & went ahead 15-0 at half; only to watch Alameda use what little ball it won by scoring 3 unanswered tries starting with the first also five minutes to start the 2nd half.

Alameda had some tough defense when SFGG backs had the ball & themselves had some long runners who ran around & through would-be tacklers.

Alameda also had a potential try taking away in the first half with the ball being held-up; & ended their scoring with no time left in regulation. However SFGG used the full 2 minutes tacked on as injury time by taking the kick-off down the field; getting a penalty for an Alameda tackler killing their ball; & down by 6 & needing a converted try they had one last gasp botched when their center bullied his way about 10 meters through tacklers & while putting the ball in end zone lost control as he attempted to touch down.

So great game & unfortunate for either team to lose such a close match.

BISHOP O'DOWD girls 52 – Davis 12 Referee: Eric Rauscher
Davis showed up with 15 players, and only injured player in reserve. They never gave up. In fact, my "Girl of the match" goes to the Davis #12, Rachael Reid, who played with fire in her eyes. She seemed to be in every tackle, at each breakdown, etc. Bishop O'Dowd is well on their way into the playoffs. What impressed me most about them was their support play. There always seemed to be a player right there either to set for the ruck or to just pick the ball and go. The continuity was a wonderful thing to behold.

Frosh/soph: SF/Golden Gate 19 – JESUIT 36 Referee: Eric Rauscher
Both teams had some very heads up players and displayed decision making skills on the field. The SFGG lineout seems a little confused at times, and they did not act fully as a team in a consistent manner. Jesuit was guilty of repeatedly not being back ten meters at penalties which at one point resulted in a yellow card and a penalty try.

Bravo to both teams for giving me a fast, open game with both sides scoring in both halves.

Date: Sat., Mar 26, 2011
Match: Northern California RFU, U-19 Girls League
BISHOP O'DOWD Lady Dragon 24 – Alameda Riptide 22 Referee: Paul Berman
Venue: Bishop O'Dowd School, Oakland
Enclosure: Spectator stand on the northern side/touch-line; high fence on the southern side; all weather turf field running east west; American football goal posts; rugby football flag poles except on goal/try & dead ball lines, each marked with low American football pylons, both sets in front of goal posts; field marked with heavy white American football grid iron lines; faint dark rugby football touch lines dotted with shallow pools of rain water.
Weather: Blustery, intermittently rainy with slight occasional wind from the west. Perfect rugby weather!

Comments: Originally billed as a home game for Alameda, due to the in-climate weather this meet was kindly hosted & transferred to the all-weather surface at O'Dowd. A seesaw battle of two determined & focused teams saw the lead change hands four times during the course of this evenly fought struggle till the final nail biting whistle. Eight tries in all, four tries a piece paid testament to excellent handling skills under adverse conditions. Rucks & line-outs were slightly tipped in favour of the home team Dragons, while strong scrummaging, tackling & piercing running were the hallmark of a balanced Riptide outfit. One marvelous conversion goal-kick from 10 meters in from the right hand touch-line in the dying moments of this monumental struggle was all that separated these sides.

High praise: Under significant peer pressure, the young Bishop O'Dowd lad who ran touch for me was astonishingly mature, professional & responsible well beyond his years.

On a gastronomic note: Alameda's parents delightfully catered this affair.
Sadly, unnecessary tension was created, fanned & inflamed by an extremely verbally abusive coach, who shocked all within ear shot. I was personally troubled by this experience & found his behaviour inexcusable deeply offensive.

Date: Sun., Apr 3, 2011
Match: Northern California RFU, U-19 Girls League
Result: Alameda Riptide 0 – MOTHER LODE 10 Referee: Paul Berman
Venue: Thompson Field, Alameda High School, Clement Ave., @ Walnut St., Alameda
Enclosure: Spectator stand on western side/touch-line; pitch running north south; tall fence along the eastern perimeter; ground hard under foot; American football posts; rugby football flag polls; grass even though patchy in several large areas, most lines clearly marked; field enclosed by cinder running track.
Weather: Sunny, bright, slight wind from the west
Comments: Mother Lode drove down on a glorious Sunday afternoon from El Dorado Hills in the Sierra foothills, 35 km north east of Sacramento, on a quest to continue their unbeaten 2011 NorCal League record. Alameda were looking to build on their previous day's strong win v Berkeley RFC.Mother Lode were well coached & drilled with a 'hurry-up' game plan of quick throw-ins, back line chip or punt & chase with the occasional cross field kick to their on rushing wings. These actions proved very effective in gaining territory. Initially, only through shear group will power, bravery, catching & tackling were Riptide able to stay with them. Though Alameda counter attacked through strong running from both their forwards & backs, Mother Lode's creative adventurism eventually paid off with two well taken tries, one each half, spear-headed by their confident & powerful straight running pack. By mid-second half Riptide had discovered how to neutralize their opponents quick throw-ins.

With many new players this season Alameda continue their upward trajectory & growth, while Mother Lode seem balanced confident & well coached. A clean, hard fought affair. Mother Lode recycled the ball well & played with class & elegance seldom seen at this level.

On a personal note: It was great catching up with my old pal & fellow Pelican ref Rod Chance, who graciously ran touch as my assistant referee.

Mauricio Sanmartin runs the website

It will come as no surprise to our readers that Scriptoris and Mauricio are friends of long standing.

Vacationing in Venezuela, Mauricio saw something that made him think of us – and now we think of him.

Although - somebody cannot count!


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