Wednesday, November 16, 2011




First time we’ve said this in a while: there are fifty games on the schedule for this early pre-season weekend and EVERY ONE OF THEM HAS AN ASSIGNED REFEREE.

I love you guys.

*** We do still need a ref for Monday evening, November 28, 7 PM in Vallejo. ***


The 24 teams that will compete for the first-ever USA Rugby collegiate sevens title have been announced – including the top four from the California Sevens.

One-sixth of all the competitors were at the St. Mary’s tournament at the end of October!


The All Blues have won an even dozen Division One championships since 1994. Now they can add a Premier League trophy to their collection.

In the title match last weekend in Virginia Beach, they beat the Twin Cities Amazons 17 – 8 in a close, physical contest determined by two tries off turnovers.

The All Blues advanced to this game on the strength of their 17 – 7 victory over the San Diego Surfers in the semis.

The Sacramento Amazons finished third in D2 on their first trip to nationals. They came from behind to defeat Portland 26 – 15 and then lost to eventual-champions Raleigh by one point after having been down by twenty in the semi-final

In the third-place game they defeated Albuquerque’s Atomic Sisters 29 – 7.

Congratulations to these teams and thanks to the rugby community of Northern California for giving us so many good sides to referee.


At the NCRRS AGM November 5, the incumbent board of directors were each re-elected to a further two-year term.

Meet the new board, same as the old board: Bruce Carter, Preston Gordon, Pete Smith, Scott Wood, and Tom Zanarini.


ST. MARY’S – Maritime Academy Referee: George O’Neil
No report received.

Frosh/Soph: ST. MARY’S 52 – Maritime 5 Referee: Bryant Byrnes
This was the middle game of three matches in Moraga. (St Mary's has four sides; oh my word.) This was the first match for the majority of players on the pitch. It was privilege to have been assigned the match.

And it was not only real rugby, but remarkably well paced and played. After a bit of work on binding, we went to contested scrums and they stayed up. While Maritime was outgunned, they stoutly contested the whole match. Kudos to both teams and their coaches.

ST. MARY’S BLUE – Red scrimmage Referee: Arturo Morales (Boston)
A cloudy, chilly morning turned into a wonderful sunny afternoon in the mid-fifties. SMC had their pre-season Red/Blue game after only a few days of practice and very little, if any, live scrimmaging. The two sides were mixed between first XV and second XV players, but Blue got an early advantage and cruised to a 56 to 5 win.

Overall the players had great intensity and good instincts. The scrums where typical of early season scrums, though they improved slightly through the game. That being said, if there's a place for the team work on as a whole, it is the scrums, especially the front rows as they were more unstable than they should be.

As it often happens in rugby, the score is not indicative of the competitiveness of the match and both sides played their hearts out for most of the game, although Blue did score 35 points in the last 30 minutes of the 90 minute, 3-period match. This was enabled in part by the stronger Blue side, but Red started taking more changes late in the game that resulted in turnovers and subsequent scores.

The teams adapted well to pre-emptive talk and kept it clean. This was a fun game to watch and a pleasure to referee.

Report by Tom Zanarini:

Shasta hosted the Andrew Mittry Memorial Rugby Tournament this past weekend with a full roster of teams: Chico State, Chico Oaks, Jefferson State Elite, Shasta, Sacramento St. A&B, UC Davis, Santa Rosa JC, Highwaymen Touring Side, Western Oregon U., Oregon Institute of Technology, HULKS (formerly Humboldt St.). (Allegedly some shenanigans happened on campus and Humboldt St. is on probation, or kicked off. I didn't get details. Not good for the integrity of rugby and growing the game, hopefully whatever tomfoolery happened didn't tarnish Nor Cal rugby's reputation.) Referees on hand included JC Van Staden, Mike King, Jim Crenshaw, Sean Peters, Kevin Brown from Oregon and Tom Zanarini.

Most of us got 4 matches, shortened to 20 minute halves, which according to my Garmin meant 7.5 miles of running. The weather was perfect for a long day outside. Preseason tournaments are a great opportunity to work out the kinks, both for referees and players! This tournament is just a grouping of matches with no elimination or championship trophy.

All the teams played with sportsmanship first and foremost and let the rugby do the talking. The Highwaymen added a little extra flair, dressing up as farm animals. This made for interesting player ID during penalty calls: 'Skunk, hands in!' and 'Turkey, roll away!'

Sunday I was able to check out the area's main attractions in the Sundial Bridge and Shasta Dam.

Report by Preston Gordon

SJSU 34 – UC Santa Cruz 7 Ref: Gordon
AR: Bruce Ricard

FRESNO STATE 42 – UC Santa Cruz 5 Ref: Ricard
AR: Gordon, Chris Labozzetta

SJSU B 33 – UC Santa Cruz B 10 Ref: Labozzetta
AR: Gordon

SJSU Mixed 22 – San Jose Seahawks 10 Ref: Labozzetta
AR: Gordon

San Jose State 21 – FSU 22 Ref: Gordon

I think that covers everything, but Labo/Bruce, please jump in if I missed anything. All of these games were 25m halves except the SJSU-Seahawks one, which was 20m halves. They only had one game going at a time.

I also have 3 yellow cards to report for the day, which I will submit today or tomorrow. I'm transiting through Heathrow at the moment so it's taking me longer to get this info together than usual. The good news is I'll get to ref in the East Mids on Saturday!

Report by Bruce Carter

The vast expanse of the newest-generation artificial turf field at Santa Clara University hosted a small Sevens tournament on November 12.

A neat innovation: instead of ground-up automobile tires, the ‘soil’ is minced cocoanut shells. They look more like dirt, but one suspects that they will be considerably cooler to play on in direct sun in the summertime.

Cal brought two mix-and match sides to play against the hosts and a combined UC Santa Cruz/San Jose State squad.

The sun broke out in spurts but clouds won the argument in the end.

Cal White 17 – Santa Clara 17 Referee: Jordan Bruno
CAL BLUE 31 – San Cruz 5 Referee: Bruce Carter
CAL BLUE 29 – Santa Clara 0 Referee: Pete Smith
CAL WHITE 22 – San Cruz 5 Ref: Bruno
SANTA CLARA 25 – San Cruz 0 Ref: Carter
CAL BLUE 35 – Cal White 5 Ref: Smith
CAL BLUE 45 – San Cruz 0 Ref: Bruno
SANTA CLARA 24 – Cal White 0 Ref: Carter
CAL BLUE 26 – Santa Clara 5 Ref: Smith

Pelican Coin
Here are the obverse and reverse of the latest thing you can’t live without: Pelican Flippers.

Five bucks from Scott Wood. Get ‘em, keep ‘em, give ‘em away.


For the Senate
Pelicus Scriptoris