Wednesday, December 07, 2011




We could use one referee in Fresno this Saturday, December 10, and two refs there on December 17.


The first monthly meeting of the 2012 season for the NCRRS will be held at the Golden Gate clubhouse on Wednesday, December 14, from 7 until 9.

Food will be available (gratis) beginning at 6. Leave early – if you get there early you can eat and talk rugby. If you get stuck in traffic, you still won’t be late.

New referees are especially encouraged to attend. Our meetings are well worth your time.


Saturday, November 26:
SFGG: GREEN 70+ – White 40+ Referee: John Coppinger
SFGG's alumni game was scheduled for the Saturday after Thanksgiving at 3. By 3:30, enough players had shown up to play 12 on 12. Players split into White and Green teams and we set out to play two 30-minute periods. Play was wide open with uncontested scrums and there was lots of scoring of long range tries and gasping for breath. By agreement of the sides, the first period ended after 25 minutes of play. In the second period, players drifted in and out for various reasons and occasionally it was 12 on 9 in favor of one side or the other and the players pressed on for 20 minutes. The final was Green 70+, White 40+. Good fun for a good cause as the match was a fund raiser for a San Francisco based suicide prevention organization.

Monday, Nov. 28:
MARITIME ACADEMY 45 - Sacramento City College 0 Referee: Rob Hendrickson
Cal Maritime hosted the newly formed Sacramento City College rugby club in the NorCal championship game of the fledgling California arm of NSCRO (National Small College Rugby Organization) under the lights at Morton Field in Vallejo. The Keelhaulers have dropped down to DIII because their training cruise departs at the end of April, which is before the DII playoffs begin, so rather than qualify for the playoffs and then have to forfeit all their games due to the playoffs getting pushed back in the schedule so their players are no longer available, they decided to self-relegate and join the traditionally east coast-based DIII NSCRO. The game was at Morton Field because their turf replacement project on campus is not scheduled to be completed until mid-January. Morton Field was in relatively good shape, although several of the light stands were dark, which led to less than ideal but still adequate lighting. The Sac City team has talent, but was so new that they couldn’t field 3 suitably trained front rowers, so we had to go with uncontested scrums.

Friday, December 2:
4:30PM: Stanford men Cardinal/White game Referee: Tony Levitan
No report received.

5:30PM: Stanford women Cardinal/White game Referee: Stephen Moore
No report received.

Saturday, Dec. 3:
An unusual California combination: a relentless, bitterly-cold wind from the east tore down the pitch, blowing what would have been 70-degree sunshine far out to sea.

But wind can’t blow away rugby.

St. Mary’s ran out four sides and even provided a player for the Spartan seconds. They way they ran about, one might have thought they were warming up for the inaugural USA Rugby college Sevens championships that are coming up December 16-17.

ST. MARY’S 85 – Diablo Gaels 5 Referee: George O'Neil
ARs: Mike Gadoua, Dave Newport
Videographer: Bruce Carter

ST. MARY’S thirds 69 – Diablo Gaels seconds 0 Referee: Evan Schlinkert
ARs: John Coppinger, Dave Newport
Referee Coach: David Williamson

ST. MARY’S seconds 42 – San Jose State 6 Referee: Bruce Carter
AR: Mike Gadoua, John Coppinger
The wind let up a little and San Jose State were able to convert two early penalty kicks for a 6-5 lead. The Gaels weren’t dependent on the gale, scoring nine more trys the rest of the way.

The ref has been on a strict diet and workout schedule, getting ready to do a Sevens tournament in Hawaii next week, but couldn’t begin to keep up when one play went coast-to-coast twice in about forty seconds, a length-of-the-pitch almost-try for the Spartans leading to a Gaels’ try in the opposite corner.

After the game, the ref was introduced to the Bench of Truth, where superannuated ruggers relive the days of their wastrel youths.

I’m a guy who’s left his regrets behind but my focus is on the present and the future, which is so bright I’m still wearing shades.

ST. MARY’S fourths 40 – San Jose State seconds 10 Referee: Giles Wilson
First off, kudos to St Marys for genuinely fielding 4 sides, with few people doubling up.

This was the closest game of the day with the 1st half ending 19 - 5 but a few minutes earlier it would have been 12 - 5. SJS had to borrow a couple of props but other than that the numbers worked out.

Scoring was balanced with SJS scoring a try in each half and SMC scoring 3 in each half - 5 conversions increased the score differential.

Plenty of players with limited experience getting to know the game; it is good to see some faces from youth ranks combining with new faces to create depth in the college game.

It was nice to get the cobwebs out of the whistle in a game that ended 40 - 10.

SACRAMENTO STATE 86 - Nevada 10 Referee: JC Van Staden
Arriving at the pitch, I requested from the players to clean the leaves on the pitch before we can get going. The looks on their faces were priceless....

The score might not have reflected the game, but there was a lot of running. With about 3 tries "held-up" in-goal, and most tries scored on "advantage conversions" I could not have ask for a better afternoon of running-rugby.

Reno worked hard for their 2 tries, but were no match for Sac's speed in the back-line, with great forward support all way around.

Good luck to both teams for the upcoming season and thanks for a clean game.

SF FOG 60 - Shasta 15 Referee: Boris Pluskowski
Referee Coach: Bryant Byrnes
The Bingham Stein Match between Fog Men A's and the Shasta Highlanders was a hard fought and aggressive campaign this year, played under near-perfect conditions on the Treasure Island pitch. Although Fog ended up running away the eventual winners, both teams played tough hard running rugby throughout and the scoreline could easily have been much much closer.

The first half was dominated by Fog's forwards who put up an impressive display (as well as 4 of the 5 tries scored by Fog in the first half) to win and present good ball from which to run. Fog's fly half added to the score with a try of his own, along with 3/5 conversions and a successful penalty kick. Shasta responded with a try from their standout player at full-back who threatened all game long.

A fracas just before the half ended with a yellow being issued to the Shasta scrum-half for a retaliatory attempt to knee his opponent in the head whilst on the floor for some unseen aggressive play. That put them down to 14 men for the beginning of the second half and Fog took advantage of the weakness. In contrast to the first half, the Fog backs made most of the scoring in the second half with one a piece from #18,#25 and 2 tries from #15 (3/4 converted). Shasta though came back with tries from #8 and #15 signaling a potential come-back.

The game eventually ended with Fog winning a convincing victory by 60-15.

Fog Seconds 0 – SIERRA FOOTHILLS 44 Referee: Bryant Byrnes
This was played as part of a doubleheader on the Fog's TI crazily marked field (rugby, soccer, horseshoes.) Clear and bright, a good day for rugby.

So exactly who is Sierra Foothill (home port aside of course?) A brand new D3 team in their first official season, nicely kitted and about 25 strong. And an interesting mix of grizzled oldsters with fast youngsters.

The Fog Seconds played with their usual élan; ''anyone, anywhere, anytime''.

My MVP-the player who after vehemently disputing my calls during the initial 15 minutes simply removed himself from the game and went home, never to be seen again. Talk about having the last word.

Seconds: Maritime Academy 5 – SANTA ROSA JC 54 Referee: John Pohlman
TJs: Kevin and Lorez from Maritime
Cal Maritime's field is having the finishing touches before it reopens. So their home games are being played at Mare Island. The venue is great but the field has gotten really hard. Reminds me of my playing days in Phoenix, where hitting the ground hurts worse than the tackle.

This was scheduled as a second side match. Santa Rosa JC, JC, had exactly 15 players, Cal Maritime, CM, had 30 plus. Although the JC said they had no first side players, Santa Rosa was far more experienced and learned early they had speed outside.

One of JC's rookies had a #8 on his jersey but played in the backs. He scored a couple of trys and has potential to certainly break into the first side. As did the #8 and captain Tyson.

CM was big and strong but many players were playing their first game. This led to big strong forwards passing to backs with no support. JC would quickly poach and go out wide.

Later in the season when coach Steve Hiatt has harnessed these big guys I am sure they will be dominating the tackle and wearing teams down.

Ten minutes in JC's biggest player went off with a leg injury. CM coach Hiatt gave a player to JC so they would not need to play a man short.

Really classy sportsmanship.

COLUSA 52 – Mendocino 5 Referee(s): Lee Salgado, Anthony Nguyen
Driving to the pitch my little Saturn was getting moved around on the road due to the wind, so I prepared myself for a game full of scrums or 22 drops depending on the orientation of the field. Originally a friendly round robin was planned but one of the teams failed to show, so they ended up playing 4 twenty minute halves to give the teams a chance to teach the newbies.

Anthony also expressed a desire to try out his whistle so we decided to split the match or give him one quarter depending how comfortable he felt.

The first quarter was full of chirping from both teams, but by the end the rucks were cleaner and the ball was faster. The game really started to get fun when two minutes left in the first quarter a forward fell out of a ruck and crashed into my knee straight on, the hobbling forced me to work on position instead of relying on speed. By the end of the half Colusa was dominating the field with quick finishers on the outside which continued for the remainder of the game. Anthony took the second half of the game and did very well. Many of the spectators kept asking me how old he was and commented on his great performance. It was almost a shut out until Mendocino’s scum half snuck through the fringes and got the ball out to support for a finish in the corner. The wind made extra points impossible with only one being converted all day. All in all, a good day to play rugby and teach it to the next generation.


The NCRRS and the NCYRA offered the Level One Officiating course in two locations this past Sunday. Eight folks attended in Santa Rosa and forty-four in Moraga.

That’s good stuff! Here’s hoping we get more referees and better-educated coaches and players as a result of the instructors’ donating a gorgeous Sunday to the cause: Bruce Carter, Mike King, Mike Malone, Aruna Ranaweera, David Williamson and Scott Wood.

Hawaii 7s Tour Logo
Carter, Crenshaw, Gadoua and Pattalock are preparing to fly to Honolulu to referee an international Sevens tournament the week before Christmas.

Here’s the tour logo.


For the Senate
Pelicus Scriptoris