Thursday, July 21, 2011




Lots of busy weekends coming up! We could use fifteen or so July 30-31 (in Reno, Corte Madera, San Francisco) and thirty or more August 5-6-7. Note the fifteens being played on Friday, August 5.

Let us know your pleasure. IF YOU ARE A NEW REF – this is the time to get going!

Saturday, July 30:
Marin Highlanders HS Sevens in Corte Madera

Sunday, July 31:
Treasure Island Touch Tournament at Sheeran Field

Friday-Saturday, August 5-6:
Bloomfield Cup, men’s and women’s fifteens played in the South Bay

Saturday-Sunday, August 6-7:
USA Rugby Club Sevens Championships at Sheeran Field, men and women
Need 16-20 Assistant Referees


Four Japanese, two referees, a manager and a SO, will be spending the first week of August in San Francisco prior to the big Sevens weekend on Treasure Island.

They will be staying in the financial district of San Francisco. If you’d like to squire them around, show them your favorite vista or take them to your favorite restaurant, we are sure that would be much appreciated.

If you have depended on the hospitality of strangers on exchange before, you’ll know what a wonderful part of our game it is. And if not – then you have a chance to pay it forward.

Let us know if you can help, Wednesday, Thursday or Friday, August 3-4-5.


When James Hinkin sent my phone a video of the final score in San Diego on Saturday, July 9, and I realized that the All-Americans had beaten the New Zealand Universities team so soundly, I immediately took Wednesday afternoon to be able to drive down to Santa Barbara for Paul Bretz’ second match in the series. Pete Smith was to be one of the ARs and they obviously needed a fourth official! It’s not often that we beat a team wearing silver ferns.

It was a perfect day for the drive: California clear once I got away from the Monterey Bay, a straight shot down 101 from Salinas to Goleta, about 225 rugby miles for the expense ledger.

The Pelicanmobile has died an ignominious death. Although running without hiccoughs, cancers were growing. My mechanic (and after what I’ve paid him over the years, I think I can claim ownership) said it had a transmission ground down almost to sand, a stuck intake valve on the turbo, and brakes pads whose continuing functioning could not be explained on the basis of their appearance.

The butcher’s bill was going to be 15-20K. This was a car with 160,000 miles. I found a sucker – I mean a restorer – who took it off my hands, full discloser included, for five hundred bucks. I told him that because the tank was full, he was getting better than a ten percent discount.

So I inherited my wife’s small, black SUV, as generic a vehicle as might be found on the highways. It does have two advantages: I don’t need a bike rack as there’s room inside, and it has satellite radio.

Two hundred and twenty-five miles is not enough to find all the stations you like, much less listen to them.

At any rate, I arrived at Harder Stadium at the same time as Tim Day, the second AR, as both teams sauntered up.

I renewed my acquaintance with Peter Tiberio, the try-scoring fiend from U of A, whom I met on the Grizzlies sevens tour to Fiji in January. Peter was to score the decider that evening on a signature intercept.

Pete and Paul arrived, preparations were completed, and they kicked off with maybe fifty people watching who weren’t either directly involved in the game or with the women’s Nations Cup also being played on campus.

It was a good game, a defensive battle, and the All-Americans pulled it out in the second half, winning the series. It was well worth watching to see how far our domestic game has come since I’ve been chasing the oval ball. College players who look like athletes! They used to look like pre-weight-room-day frat boys.

We all hoped for a bigger crowd at Stanford for the third game.


Festivities began at 10 AM with graduation ceremonies for the Elite Rugby Camp that had been taking place under the guidance of Matt Sherman, with help from Chris Clever, Matt Hawkins, Stanford Dallen and other stalwarts of the college and Sevens games.

This was followed by scrimmages involving the boys, who came from as far away as Sweden and Hong Kong.

ELITE GAME: GREY 44 – White 29 Referee: Bruce Carter
ARs: Ben Bravo, Matt Eason
This was better than the average high school game and with a bigger crowd. Had I known the quarters would be interspersed with a separate game for the younger campers (in which young Bravo played), I would have laid on a second referee.

Talk about tired! These kids have been drilling all week and were ready to run.

Nice to see Matt Eason’s son JR well-grown-up.

Then it was time to partake of the Land Park contingent’s picnic in the grove for the main event.

All Americans 20 – NEW ZEALAND UNIVERSITIES 23 Referee: Joe Androvich
ARs: Pete Smith, Tom Zanarini
Fourth Official: Preston Gordon
Scoreboard: Bjorn Stumer
The stands were full and the fence at the north end of the pitch was elbow-to-elbow. In that, it was a proud day for NorCal rugby.

Tiberio scored another delightful solo effort to give the home boys a lead in the second half, but they couldn’t keep it due to repeated penalties, and penalty kicks, for destructive work at the breakdown.

There was nearly a miracle finish, as the AAs took the ball down the pitch, side to side, through well over a dozen phases only to be pushed into touch a meter or two short.

Great stuff!

Location: Dunsmuir City Park, Dunsmuir, CA
Referees: Scott Wood, Lee Salgado, Sean Peters
Report by Scott Wood

Teams: Shasta Highlanders, Chico Mighty Oaks, Highwaymen, Mendocino Steamdonkeys, State of Jefferson Elite Rugby Club, Oregon Institute of Technology

I woke early Saturday morning, packed my kit, tent and cooler into the trunk, kissed wife and daughter and took off down the road. Due to the wet winter, spring and part of summer, the tomato harvest has been pushed back. While this may be a bane to those who gain livelihood from the product, it's a blessing in that the juice-spilling tractor trailers are not trawling the interstate.

With some practice, Nirvana is reached thanks to mind-numbing miles staring through the windshield. It is after that point that one can contemplate the co-existence of pavement and rice fields. Given the time needed to travel from Stockton to Dunsmuir, if you put you mind to it you may be able to calculate pi out 15 or 20 decimal places. Or consider the significance of the square root of 2 (it is equal to the length of the hypotenuse of a right triangle with legs of length 1) and how long it took someone to figure out its "quick" approximation 99/70.

But I digress...

Unfortunately the better part of the drive is also the shortest. I arrived in Dunsmuir to find the teams ready for action. Lee Salgado and Sean Peters readying for action. Lee got the first match, I took the second and Sean (chicken hat firmly ensconced) finished out the rotation.

This was a 15s-styled 7s tournament. The teams rarely play 7s but had some athletes (and youth) willing to pour on the speed when necessary. I refereed four matches featuring five of the six teams. State of Jefferson is a newly-formed NCRFU club with a handful of experience and a fountain of heart, passion and willingness to learn.

Shasta 7 Highwaymen 40 NB: A Highwaymen player killed the ball but I didn't penalize him because it was literally dead. He stepped on it while trying to clear a ruck and it exploded. Fortunately, Joe Leisek was not present for he would have an idea of what to do with the deceased ball...
Highwaymen 17 Chico 24
Highwaymen 27 Jefferson 0
Ukiah 24 Jefferson 12

There were 11 or 12 matches then we got ready for some OB 15s. This was originally slated to be Shasta/Chico Old Boys versus Reno Old Boys; however, the only ROB to appear was Maka Pateta. So Shasta/Chico, oldest player = 52ish, decided to take on State of Jefferson Elite Rugby Club, oldest player was almost 34 (although one prop looked like a close relative of Mike Comstock). This was a fun match with experience being used in moderation. Jefferson scored first and Shasta tied it up near the end of the half. Two more tries by Shasta in the second period sealed the deal.

Many of us who stayed Saturday night did so at the Lake Siskiyou Camp-Resort. A nice place. They have a little restaurant/bar where I sampled Weed Ales "Jalapeno Weed". I love heat but not in my beer, although I would consider using it as a marinade. I'd write more about the evening but you had to be there.


The final weekend (of three) of the NCRYA Summer Sevens took place in Dixon.

Nine referees made light work, four games each: Eugene Baker, Rich Boyer, Bruce Carter, Rod Chance, Mark Godfrey, Stephen Moore, Anthony Nguyen, Lee Salgado and JC Van Staden.

Anthony is a middle-schooler from Sacramento who is very keen. You might have seen him running the line at the PCIT or the Palo Alto Sevens. Now some of us have seen him refereeing and can safely say that he’s on his way.

The tournament is run hooter-style, which keeps the trains on time. We heartily support such endeavors.

If you have a 1:20 game, you can wander off, take a nap, go to the store, and know that the appointed time will be kept – as long as the refs hold up their end of the deal.

Too many times the hooter sounded – and then the captains came together for the coin toss. No matter whether it has started or not, that game is going to end sixteen minutes later and the lost playing time – that’s going to be on the ref.

We have often wondered two things: why no summer sevens in Sacramento, where there are a ton of players, and why no high school sevens, the kids having no reason not to be playing? Thank you to Rob Salaber for filling this need with this fine young tournament.

Saturday, August 20:
Sacramento Lions Sevens – two pitches, all day

Saturday, August 27:
Peroni Tens at Danny Nunn Park in Sacramento

Saturday, September 11:
Tri-Tip Sevens in San Luis Obispo

Three Refs
At the NCRYA Sevens in Dixon, Eugene Baker, Anthony Nguyen and Mark Godfrey enjoy Sevens in the sunshine.


For the Senate
Pelicus Scriptoris