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.


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