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