Wednesday, February 08, 2012




Your editorial staff is departing for Las Vegas at 4 AM Wednesday so this edition will have to be born prematurely, before a lot of match reports are in.


One of the highlights of our biennial calendar is approaching: the incoming exchange of the East Midlands Society from the RFU.

Richard Parrish and Max Barnard will be joining us next month, arriving either March 21 or 22 and departing April 1 or 2.

Their tour will include games on both of the weekends that they are here, of course, a banquet at Richmond’s Up and Under on March 31, and the traditional Yosemite snow hike on Wednesday, March 28.

Here’s what you need to do:

One: Let Bjorn Stumer know if you can host. You can host half the time – they will change hosts after the Yosemite trip. So if you can take some time and entertain for five or six days, you’ll earn valuable Exchange Points – remember, we’ll be sending referees over there in September.

Two: Set aside the evening of Saturday, March 31, for a banquet in Richmond. Rooms are inexpensive – make reservations now and you won’t have to drive home.

Three: Let Bruce Carter know if you’d like to attend the Yosemite hike. You’ll need to drive to the park on Tuesday, March 27 (after work is possible) and you’ll need to take the day off for that Wednesday. You’ll be back home for dinner.

If you haven’t done this before, it really is one of the highlights of the ‘rugby’ calendar. We meet at the Yosemite Lodge and have a wonderful dinner. An ‘early’ night leads to an early start on the trail – which trail depends on the conditions. We’ve made it to the top of Yosemite Falls and Nevada Falls, even through deep snow.


February 18: 33 refs 46 games
Feb. 25: 36 refs 45 games

If you can help out, please let us know. It’s not too early to send in March availability, by the way.

Thursday, 6PM
Stanford 0 – ST. MARY’S 87 Referee: Pete Smith
SMC were dominant throughout the match attacking from anywhere on the field. Ball in hand and running lines were precise and relentless. Defensively, they swarmed and counter-rucked well. This is a top four team in the US –period.

Seconds: Stanford 0 – ST. MARY’S 126 Referee: Bruce Ricard
God it's cold in Stanford by 9pm in January. Two halves of 40 minutes plus a 15-minute period for the new players were played. Nothing really to report, the score speaks by itself.

SFGG D1 seconds – SF Fog Referee: George O'Neil
No report received.

SFGG D1 – Olympic Club seconds Ref: O'Neil
No report received.

SFGG 31 - Olympic Club 8 Referee: JC van Staden
AR: Dave Newport
Evaluator: Dixon Smith
The match ended with 15min to go because of the lack of light :( OC started to pick up the pace at the end...

I could not have asked for a nicer game to get assessed on. Funny, they have tested me everywhere... From the coin-toss, to boot inspection, taken back into the 22, "NBA safe" on the side line, rucks, yellow cards, obstructions by scrum-halfs, 1 early push, you name it...

Joke for the day....
Boot inspection: Ref - #4 Red, may I see your stud's again? (hybrid between a "blade" and a regular stud)
#4 - nothing wrong with them sir, I used them in the World Cup (just letting me know who he is)
Ref - I believe you, but they get it wrong some times, too, and my job today is to make sure....

2nd half, penalty: Ref - Red #3 not rolling away,
#4 - they were coming in from the side, blah, blah, blah......
Ref - chirping, 10 more meters....

While running to the line out.... Ref, right next to #4.... you would have think, if you played in the World Cup you should know by know who the ref is....both packs laughing, #4, speechless.... :)

After the game, one of his team mates bought me a beer, for bringing it up like that.... SO, yes I had fun!

San Mateo, EPA Razorbacks, Bay Barbarians and Sacramento Lions

Report by Jordan Bruno:
The skies parted for a clear day of rugby in Menlo Park where the Barbarians, Razorbacks, Lions, and Warriors squared off in a round robin. With a planned 8:30am kickoff, Bruce, Aruna, and I arrived early, only to realize that we wouldn't start for another hour and a half--we were clearly operating on island time. There were four matches on the day--I had the third and the second half of the fourth.

SAN MATEO 33 – Bay Barbarians 3 Referee: Bruce Carter
Prior to this first match, Jordan and I had a conversation about the ‘non-ruck’ at tackle: Blue tackles Red. Both go to ground. Several Red players arrive and take up a position over the ball, bound together, ‘rucking’. No Blue players join, and the guy on the ground either stays there or gets up and leaves.

Too many refs play this as a ruck – it’s not. It’s a tackle. Blue cannot be offside. Blue can infiltrate the Red backline, surround the tackle, whatever. The only thing they have to worry about is tackle zone entry, and if they’re not entering that point is moot.

Well, this happened in this game. The Barbarians declined to engage in rucks a time or two, and so I stayed in my tackle position, didn’t scan (why bother?) and awaited developments.

One on occasion, however, not only did the Barbarians not join the ‘ruck’, they didn’t defend it either, spreading out across the pitch. At which point an alert San Mateo player in the non-ruck simply picked up the ball and took off running to score a try.

We had traditional rucks from that point forward.

RAZORBACKS 24 – Barbarians 12 Referee: Jordan Bruno
The razorbacks were the more fit and skilled team. The preseason lull had taken its course with the majority of the Barbarian players, who committed careless penalties at the ruck and missed simple open field tackles. Knock-ons and penalties kept the clearly superior Razorbacks squad from running up the score.

Warriors 38 v Lions 26
The Lions started the second half ahead by 6. The match was close and fast paced. Early penalties for ruck infringements allowed for a faster pace and more room for the backlines late in the game, allowing for several lead changes. A double clutch and errant pass by the Barbarian scrumhalf with 10 minutes to go in the match saw the lions capitalize with a try while defending their own goal line and lead by two tries. The Barbarians struck back quickly with a few breaks--one at the ruck and another on the sideline. The Lions countered with a goal line scoring opportunity, thwarted by a stout defense and an intercepted backline pass for a late Barbarian try to seal their win.

East Palo Alto Razorbacks 7, SACRAMENTO LIONS 17, Referee: Aruna Ranaweera

This was the 2nd of four 40-minute matches at the Menlo Park Round-Robin played under warm, sunny skies on artificial turf. Bruce Carter refereed the first match, Jordan Bruno refereed the third match, and Jordan and I split the 4th match. What started as pickup rugby increased in intensity and quality as the day progressed. Much thanks to Simon of the Bay Barbarians for organizing water and pizza lunch for the referees.

Sacramento Capitals – Sacramento State NO REFEREE PROVIDED
This makes it an especial shame that Humboldt did not travel (see below). We had a ref without a game and this game without a ref.

South Valley 10 – DIABLO GAELS 27 Referee: Tony Levitan
In a hard-fought match with its fair share of back-and-forth play, Diablo prevailed over their hosts from South Valley. Key in the outcome was Diablo's superior set piece play, active coverage across the pitch by their backrow, and creative play in the backline. The teams waged a territorial battle for 17 minutes before Diablo dotted down for an opening converted try. A drop goal (first of the young season for this ref) and an unconverted try left the half-time score at 15-0 for the visitors.

South Valley climbed back into the match off a quick penalty tap near the Diablo line before the Gaels generally stronger side began to wear down SV. With the outcome sealed, play got a bit choppy. On the day, South Valley put over 2 unconverted tries, while Diablo had 4 tries, 3 conversions and the aforementioned drop goal from about 20 meters out.

Seconds: - SOUTH VALLEY 36- -Diablo Gaels 7 Ref: Levitan
The tables turned in the B-side match (one 40-minute half) with South Valley's athletes running in a number of long tries against Diablo, putting over 6 tries, 3 of which were converted. SV clearly benefited from having some A-side players on the pitch, their talent overcoming an weariness from the prior match. Save the long runs, the trend of play was pretty even and the match served to give game time to a number of new converts to the sport.

CHICO 36 – Berkeley 20 Referee: John Pohlman
TJ Silas and James
This past Saturday had me on my second road trip to Chico. Three weeks ago Jordan Bruno joined me for the three hour ride. This time I had to rely on the beautiful scenery, a delightful day, and some great music. I think I enjoyed Jordan's company a bit better.

I arrived around 11:45 and Berkeley had 30 plus players in various degrees of warm up. Chico looked like they had a number of players back from injury.

This game was played at the high school field which is a regulation rugby pitch, smooth and nice grass.

The pitch was well marked and a very nice field, especially compared to the jr. high field, yeah.

This was a very competitive game between two teams with a lot of talented players.

Chico's #10 Jason Maxwell scored two minutes in on a Berkeley turnover.

Berkeley controlled most of the ball for the rest of the first half and looked to be the superior team. At 18 minutes Berkeley slotted a penalty kick. Followed by trys at 22 and 28 minutes.
Right before half time Berkeley had another lapse that Chico turned into a try.

Half time score Berkeley 17 Chico 12.

The game had been a joy to referee with little backchat and even less foolishness.
I believe the captains #10 Casey Helmeick from Chico and Berkeley's #7 Will McCormick are due most of the credit.

Berkeley had controlled most of the first half and except for two lapses in defense should have had a commanding lead.

Berkeley upped their lead with another penalty kick to make it 20 -12 in their favor at the ten minute mark of the second period.

Chico had a dangerous back line. When they got the ball they consistently broke the gain line. And on turnover ball they attacked and finished.

Chico scored at 21 minutes to make the score 17-20 Berkeley's favor.

I looked at my watch and put a big smile on my face. 17-20 with less than 20 minutes to play, oh boy, game on.

Chico's backs scored two more try s on turnover ball at 25 and 30 minutes. Berkeley seemed challenged but determined to get back in the game. Berkeley pushed and unfortunately Chico's backs poached again and scored the final try at 40 minutes.

Final Chico 36 Berkeley 20

This was a fun, highly competitive game. Chico has progressed dramatically in three weeks, and if Berkeley makes a couple of adjustments they could both be playoff teams.

I then ran the first 25 minutes of the second side game, but my hamstring started to tighten up.
Fortunately, Bo McSwain was kitted up and asked if I needed help. Thanks Bo for finishing the game.=

SANTA ROSA 23 – Seahawks 17 Referee: Bruce Ricard
Evaluator: Mike Malone

Seconds: SANTA ROSA 37 – Seahawks 0 Ref: Ricard

FRESNO 65 – Marin 0 Referee: Scott Wood
Location: Fresno Regional Sports Complex
After my Friday evening sprint fest, I was hoping this Clash of the Comstocks would be more of a forward-dominated game. A leisurely 2.5 hour drive down Hwy 99 gave me a chance to catch up on several Freakonomics podcasts. Nothing beats several hours of discussions of opportunity costs to settle your mind.

I arrived to find Sandy Robertson refereeing the first half of the Fresno St v Santa Rosa JC match. Well played by the college lads as Sandy had fine command and control of the breakdowns and lineouts.

So, Marin elects to kick. They kick but not the required 10 meters. Fresno elects for a scrum. "Crouch-touch-pause...." and both front rows early engage (who didn't see that coming?). Chris Comstock: "He barged early." Of course Chris was referring to his dad, Mike Comstock, who just shrugged. Well, now that we got that out of our system...

Fresno opened up the scoring with a fairly easy try in the left corner. Marin got caught up not covering the space and the ball carrier scampered in.

The match was marred at the ten minute mark by a Marin player punching a Fresno player. Frustrated, the Fresno player decided to swing his leg in an attempt to kick the Marin player. The Marin player opted to punch again. All in front of the referee...Red card for Fresno, yellow for Marin.

I had the opportunity earlier in the week to watch the video from last weekend's Marin-Vacaville match. This led me to think Marin would be able to do some damage to Fresno's player deficit. However, as you can tell from the final score, Fresno adapted well. Halftime score: Fresno ahead 22-0.

Marin was able to hold off Fresno for the first 10 to 15 minutes of the second half; however, Fresno seemed to get faster as the game wore on.

Kudos to both sides for a well-played game. Unfortunately, I had to leave early but Fresno's Scott Davidson took up the whistle for the B-Side match. Now here's a guy who has potential to make the National Panel.

For future trips to Fresno, I'm taking Amtrak. It's relatively close to the pitch, the team is willing to provide transportation, and it is much easier to stretch out cramps on a train than in a car.

Vacaville – Baracus Referee: Jim Crenshaw
No report received.

Sierra Foothills 29 – SHASTA 45 Referee: Phil Akroyd
This was not your average D3 slugfest and could well have been the pick of the D3 games in NorCal. These two teams came to play and play hard. In fact, one player from each team had a full on shoulder dislocation, popped it back in and carried on playing.

Both teams were led admirably by knowledgeable and effective captains Mike Dopson and Jeremiah Batdorf, ensuring that we kept the game on the correct side of boiling point.

The lead switched hands six times throughout the game in addition to being tied twice and it was close at 22-21 Sierra at half. Shasta started to discover the wide open spaces of the new Sierra homefield in Rocklin (full size, good crown, huge floodlights, plenty of parking and most importantly, good bathrooms!) and pushed out with a few more tries to finish off the game. Maybe a case of a little extra fitness needed from the Golden Eagles, but I hope the team continues to grow as they have a lot of good stuff going on.

With four games completed in less than 24 hours, the natural distraction was to go home and watch the Scotland V England 6 Nations game.

Siskiyou 0 – COLUSA 72 Referee: Kevin Brown (PNRRS)
[Kevin is a professor at OIT in Klamath Falls and is being nice enough to help the Pelicans by covering some of Siskiyou’s home games. They are about ninety miles from his home, while our nearest referees live in Sacramento, more than 250 miles’ distance.]

Mendocino 10 – RENO 39 Referee: Tom Zanarini
Great day for rugby in Ukiah, CA. Sun shining and a nice pitch. Mendo had about 60 family and fans out for the day. Reno made the 5 1/2 hour trip with 16 ready to play. A good match, well contested. Mendo had a good amount of penalties, but Reno had two yellows to offset the count. Still, Reno had a nose for in goal. Raw talent and speed won the day.

REDWOOD over Humboldt by forfeit Would-be Referee: Cary Bertolone
Humboldt Rugby forfeited their game to Redwood RFC. They did not have enough players to travel.

SAC BLACKHAWKS 43 – Monterey Bay/Aptos 33 Referee: Bryant Byrnes
AR: Ray Schwartz
A warm and clear Valley day on a dusty pitch; in other words, our NorCal winter in 2012. These fellows certainly achieved the Object of the Game by scoring as many points as possible.

The first forty was all Blackhawks, with their young blur Rob Carrier scoring 4 long tries. Aptos scores on the last play-and at half lag 7-24. The second half Aptos sorted it out and attacked furiously, again scoring last at full time. Alas.

The Blackhawks are new to me, and it sounds like to our Union. Next to their marked and roped field (eh, Baracus?) is an actual clubhouse. As host, it well fed and well hydrated Aptos before loading them into their van with its designated driver.

Thanks to Ray for ARing.

SAMOA UNITED 60 – Stanislaus 17 Referee: Bruce Bernstein
Inaugural rugby match for Samoa United playing as a NorCal Division 3 side played at their Burton HS artificial turf field up on the hill off Hwy 101 by McLaren Park 9where they have held their Samoan Flag Day Tourney for the last 2 years). Another beautiful warm day with Samoa United with more players, experience, size & speed dominating. Their backs looked in mid-season form especially as time expired in the first half collecting a missed penalty kick by Stanislaus & motoring the distance of the field to put an exclamation on the first half going ahead 31-7. Stanislaus fullback made some very nice evasive runs to avoid tackles and bail his team out a number of times.

Arroyo Grande – Fog CANCELED
Vallejo – Paso Robles CANCELED
Not sure what’s going on here, but I’d hate to think that we’ve seen the end of our involvement on the Central Coast.

These two teams each played their schedules last season. However, last week they announced they’d have to combine for 2012 – and then it turned out that even between them they didn’t have enough CIPP players to field a side.

St. Mary's thirds – Sacramento College Referee: Rich Anderson
No report received.

HUMBOLDT STATE 36 – San Jose State 29 Referee: Mike King
Another day in Paradise on the North Coast. The absence of rain, a light breeze, and a bright sun, made it an enjoyable afternoon for rugby. The visitors came ready to run at the outset, but were steamrolled by the enthusiasm of their hosts. Play was fast and well-contested by both sides with generally good handling. A few miscues by San Jose and some untimely penalties, led to a half time lead of 17-5 in favor of the home side. The Spartans were not about to give up and came roaring out of the chute. The match began to see-saw back and forth, with first San Jose, then Humboldt mounting an attack that led to paydirt. What first seemed to be a cake-walk, became a nail-biter, coming down to a final series with San Jose knocking on to end the match near mid field. By that time, the gap had closed to a converted try. Final was 36-29 in favor of the hosts.

SIERRA COLLEGE 39 - Cal Maritime Academy 5 Referee: Pete Smith
Sierra used its speed and the fast synthetic turf to its advantage over the larger, slower Keelhaulers for a three try to one advantage in the first half for a 17-5 lead. There was no scoring in the second half for the first 25 minutes as both teams played ferocious defense. With the Keelhaulers trailing, they needed to take some chances (combined with the Keelhaulers wearing down in the warmth of Sacramento sun on the turf field) and Sierra took full advantage scoring four more tries in the final 15 minutes to make the game look a little more lopsided that it seemed. Both of these teams are very well coached and have excellent athletes. I fully expect to see both go deep into the playoffs at the national level.

Fresno State 20 – SANTA ROSA JC 32 Referee: Sandy Robertson
In a spirited fast flowing match Santa Rosa dominated play somewhat in the first half, up 13 to 5 at intermission. In the 2nd half they controlled play and extended their lead to 32-10. Fresno State came to life in the last 10 minutes, scoring twice in the left corner.

Nevada – UCSC Referee: Phil Ulibarri
No report received.

San Francisco State – UOP Referee: Jen Tetler
No report received.

SONOMA STATE 65 – U of San Francisco 50 Referee: Mike Gadoua

Santa Clara 30 – CAL POLY 41 Referee: James Hinkin

CALIFORNIA women 31 – UC Davis 10 Referee: Bruce Carter
What a fantastic day! Last week I wrote about cherry trees already in bloom – now we’ve got daffodils popping in our front yard (normally blossoming in early March) and even agapanthus (normally late spring).

I left the house at 6:30 AM for an early game in Menlo Park, then toured the Bay wishing I still had the convertible Pelicanmobile, so nice was it.

Work proceeds on Cal’s Memorial Stadium and some of the temporary buildings that have hemmed Witter Field in are now gone. One addition is a new scoreboard at the west end.

The Cal women ran to a pattern pretty well, enough so that I wasn’t in the way as sometimes plagues me, having figured it out. They look to have a lot of promise.

Seconds: CALIFORNIA women 42 – UC Davis 0 Referee: Bob Polito
Referee Coach: David Williamson

Santa Clara women 0 – HUMBOLDT STATE 97 Referee: Rob Hendrickson
Santa Clara hosted Humboldt State women on their new artificial turf Bellamy Field. Due to prior injuries, Santa Clara was forced to start and play the entire game with only 13 players, which explains the lopsided scoring. Humboldt's #8, 9, and 10 teamed up for several breakaway tries which the Bronco's depleted back line just couldn't contain with arm tackles. The field is really nice, except the lines were painted in only one direction, so they looked fine when looking away from the sun, but were almost invisible when looking toward the sun.

UC SANTA CRUZ women 24 – Nevada 0 Referee: Eric Rauscher
For those of you that have never done a game at UCSC, let me tell you, it has one of the best views of all of the pitches in our territory.
A great view out over Monterey Bay was only amplified by the perfect weather and the close to perfect pitch. (A few gopher holes filled in with sand here and there.) Reno came down without a full team. Only 18 players showed up to face a larger group of UCSC ladies. The UCSC women also displayed more skills in their rugby playing ability. Their scrums were pretty dominant being able to turn or push back seemingly at will. That is not to say that Reno did not play well. They were knocking on the Slugs’ door several times during the game but were just not able to score. As the Reno coach said, "We just need that last 5-10%".

UCSC/NEVADA seconds 36 – Fresno State 22 Ref: Rauscher
Fresno has entered the fray this year with a new team. After the first game, those of the Slugs who did not get a run and those of the Wolfpack who wanted to run more teamed up to play Fresno in a friendly. Many rookie penalties around the tackle by the SlugPack were cleared up by the use of a yellow card in the second half. The game was hotly contested with the combo home squad coming out on top. Fresno had a very vigorous attempt near goal in the final minutes of the game which was resisted just as fiercely. It was an exciting way to end a very fine day on the bluff over the bay.

Sacramento State women – SF Bats Referee: Peter Andrew


Friday, 3 Feb 2012
SANTA ROSA 34 – Montgomery High 10 Ref: Cary Bertolone
It was cold at the 7:00 PM kickoff at Montgomery High, under the lights. Both teams had about 40 players; very encouraging to this old rugger. Rosa had more experienced players and a fast backline that enabled them to take a 27-5 halftime lead. The second half was very even with both sides scoring one try, making it a 34-10 final score.

Rosa High 2nds beat the Montgomery High 2nds with Chris Curtis as the ref. A lot of substitutions to get everyone some playing time!!

Lancers 6 - MOTHERLODE 12 Referee: Scott Wood
Location: Cordova High School
A great afternoon for rugby. Clear skies, tall posts, well-lined field, and two very evenly matched teams.

Both teams battled back and forth, getting a feel for their opposite numbers. Miscues and indecision prevented the teams from developing any consistency. A dangerous tackle put Motherlode down a player for the last six minutes of the half; however, they led at halftime 7-3.

Undeterred, the Lancers fielded the second half kickoff and marched down the field but were only able to capitalize with a penalty goal closing the score to 7-6. Just as Motherlode returned to full strength, Lancers went down one for a dangerous tackle. They held strong and prevented Motherlode from scoring a try. Back to full strength, possession flip-flopped numerous times for ten minutes before Motherlode lost another player to the sin bin and Lancers finding one of their own in the bin two minutes later (both dangerous tackles). Motherlode went on attack and had a breakaway ballcarrier tripped up on the Lancers' 22-meter line (yes, another yellow card). Motherlode opted to run a penalty play, passing the ball left and running down the sideline. Another dangerous tackle by Lancers (and another trip to the bin) provided the visitors with enough of a man advantage and momentum to score a second try. Final whistle blown: Motherlode wins a hard battle 12-6.

Do not think either team has dirty players. The cards were issued as a matter of fact. Intent is not something to be judged by the referee. Despite the penalties, both teams maintained a high level of personal discipline. Their rematch should be just as evenly contested.

(Varsity) Sierra Foothills 5 - GRANITE BAY 45 Referee: Phil Akroyd
Sierra had a number of starting backs missing and it showed. Granite Bay were better organized and executed moves easily with the ball out wide, while Captain and Number 8 John Kimble Jr did the hard work up front.

(JV) SIERRA FOOTHILLS 19 - Granite Bay 5 Ref: Akroyd
This was actually a more enjoyable game to ref than the Varsity game, as the teams were more evenly matched. It looks like these two teams have plenty of depth and players for the future.

(U14) RANCHO CORDOVA PAL 32 - Land Park Motley14 Ref: Akroyd
The first of two games of 20 minute halves. Motley were let down by a lack of tackles but in their defence, PAL had a couple of physically more developed players, notably Flanker Dalvin Milton who had four tries. PAL also stole a lot of ball in the tackles.

(B Sides) RANCHO CORDOVA PAL 29 - Land Park Motley 7 Ref: Akroyd
More of the same in the second game. These kids really didn't help me out by slowing down - quite the opposite.

MOTHERLODE Girls 24 – Amazons 7 Referee: Anthony Nguyen
I arrived at the pitch to find a game already in session with Donal Walsh refereeing the boys side of Motherlode and Dixon. Rod Chance was there to coach his team but also offer me pointers and some advice. I talked with the front rows and scrumhalf to explain my traditional pre-game guidelines. I talked to the captains and was able to get the game started on time. Amazons got to kick off and the game began.

First half was a total mind-blowing half to me. I worked to manage and referee the game with all aspects being thrown at me at each breakdown. A primary item I did not do was step away to broaden the view of my playing field. My advantage was a little too long and should have been called back in some cases. Offsides were occasional with some of them being caught by me. Other than that, the first half was successful in consistency. I was able to test my foul play guidelines when the Amazons attempted to high tackle players. I offered a formal warning to the players and shouted to keep it low if the tackles were starting to trickle upward. As a final message, I temporarily suspended a player for a high tackle, explaining that I have already warned the teams. Both were tied at the end of the first half.

Second half was a tremendous improvement from the first. I felt that I was seeing everything and refereeing at my highest. Thanks to the help of Donal and Rod giving me pointers, I refereed the second half in a positive way. I stepped back to see the broader range and I loosened my grip with the advantage. Motherlode pulled through and won the game 24 to 7.

Here is a report on the same game from the perspective of the coach of the winning team:

MOTHERLODE Girls 24 – Amazons 7 Referee: Anthony Nguyen
Rookie referee Anthony Nguyen found himself in the middle of an exhibition match with Nationals Championships invitations implications. The new Nationals Championships invitation policy made a match set-up as a “friendly” looked like a playoff game. Invitations scheduled to be sent out on February 15. This leaves the High School National Championships Selection Committee with limited information about the current teams’ potential. The Sacramento Amazons finished 2nd last year and has a roster full of returning players are once again favored to place high at nationals. Their cross-town rivals Mother Lode are also looking for the opportunity to compete in the National Championship.

Amazons showed they had not lost their form from last year. At the kickoff, they pushed Mother Lode back, forcing a five phase goal line defense. The first 20 min. set the tone with hard running and big hits. The Amazons drew first blood when, #15 Teleisia Tuifua took a kick midfield brilliantly running it back for a try. Mother Lode came back fighting with their own long run, tying the score at the half.

The 2nd half, Mother Lode’s mauling skills kept the game on the Amazons half where they were able to score 3 more tries.

Spectators were amazed to see this great battle end with both teams, together side-by-side bowing to the crowd. The respect and camaraderie these teams have for each other were clear at the after match festivities were all were bruised but smiling.

BELLARMINE/COLLEGE PARK 54 - McClatchy 7 Referee: Dave Richards
Gorgeous day, bright and sunny, on Bellarmine's outstanding football pitch. Fans cheering, plenty of water on the sidelines, all in all a well-organized affair.

McClatchy came down without several key players, which hurt them against a well-coached and fit BCP team. Terry Ryan and Matt Gallagher have a well-run program, and their team is well-prepared in the fundamentals. McClatchy came out running and looked to be a formidable opponent in the first 10 or 15 minutes, but Bellarmine slipped in 2 tries at the 10 minute mark, and never looked back. 4 tries in the first half, all converted, and a penalty goal, made the half score 31-0. McClatchy's #10 played a brilliant game, kicking powerfully and sniping the ball around the rucks for long punishing runs. Unfortunately he was often left with little support, and this cost them dearly. Bellarmine is very fit, and kept up a furious pace all the way to the end, scoring 4 more tries in the second half. BCP's kicker was 6 for 6 on conversions and 1 for 1 on penalties. McClatchy did not let up, and kept after them, scoring a late try to bring the final score to 54-7. Fast paced game in general, both teams had plenty of speed in the back lines and some horsepower up front.

Varsity Silver
Dixon 12 - NEVADA14 Referee: Jeff Richmond
Nevada (Reno) made the long trip to Dixon for a bittersweet win. The match was marred by an ugly injury, a broken leg, to the Nevada flyhalf (and coach’s son), at 28 minutes into the match.

Strong running by Nevada’s backline, well-supported by their loose forwards, put Nevada up 14-0 at halftime. Dixon was a much more disciplined team and was able to take advantage of Nevada mistakes. Several times Nevada’s forwards would crash into the ruck falling over the tackled player or fail to retreat at penalties. Following the injury, Nevada came off their game a bit and Dixon was able to draw close. Credit to Nevada for holding on in spite of the dispiriting injury.

BISHOP O’DOWD girls 79 – Davis 0 Referee: Eric Rauscher
Monday nights At BOD are rugby nights. I showed up at 5 to do the girls game at 6pm under the lights with hot dogs cooking and parents in the bleachers.

Davis (also known as the Blue Devils) arrived a little late, but we got things going pretty much on time. Davis also showed up with only 16 players.

Bishop O'Dowd are very well coached and very skilled at lending support at breakdowns and distributing the ball out quickly. The point total reflects this.

There were a couple of times it looked like Davis may have scored, but were never really able to put together enough phases to keep an attack going.

The BOD girls formed a tunnel of honor after the game and cheered Davis as they passed through, then on to the hot dogs and chips.

George O’Neil, JC van Staden and Dave Newport wince in the bright sunshine of the winter that never was at Sheeran Field on February 4.

(Refs Out and About SFGG-OC (no spaces))


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