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