Wednesday, March 21, 2012




If you find out that your game is going to be rained out, please let us know. We have games without assigned refs that will be occurring elsewhere. Don’t just throw in the towel – take it with you to another game.


Cal Maritime will be hosting a playoff game for the National Small College Rugby Organization. This stage will be for the California Cup as they play Cal Lutheran for the opportunity to continue towards a national championship. This will be Sunday at 1 PM in Vallejo.

Dan Wilson will referee. Jen Tetler will be one AR – will you be the other?


Make plans now to attend our society’s banquet in honor of two exchange referees from the East Midlands, Max Barnard and Richard Parrish. This will be held at the Up and Under Pub in Richmond, Calif, at 6:30 PM on Saturday, March 31. (It is the same place as two years ago.)

If you plan on attending, RSVP to Bjorn Stumer. Get a room nearby and make a night of it!


Paso Robles 21 – SACRAMENTO BLACKHAWKS 28 Referee: Bruce Carter
I didn’t get to referee at Paso in their first season, so I determined to do so in their second. My wife and I took Friday off and made reservations at the Madonna Inn in SLO, where we stayed on our first weekend-date nearly 32 years ago.

We stayed in a ‘rock room’, basically a well-appointed cave, with a shower that’s a waterfall. The ceiling of the bathroom also turned out to be a waterfall as the mostly-subterranean architecture and finishing proved inadequate to the absolute deluge that hit Saturday morning, when we were awakened by what sounded like someone spraying the parking lot with a fire hose.

Paso Robles has an all-weather pitch. Unfortunately, the single road that leads to it flooded and could not be forded. The first flurry of messages was about canceling the game. Maybe it wasn’t rugby season after all.

Luckily, the visitors had already departed Sacramento for the five-hour drive, so alternate arrangements necessitated some invention. They’d get back to me, but didn’t look good.

So my wife and I drove into downtown SLO looking for breakfast.

The first couple of places we saw looked awfully crowded. Mobs of people, spilling out into the streets. It’s not even nine AM. I guess Cal Poly really is a party school?

Then we saw green hats and whatnot. Green plus drunks – oh, St. Patrick’s Day. I’m sure he’s pleased at the way he’s remembered. Back to the hotel for a quieter digestive experience.

Updates on the rugby scene. Practice pitch: not available. Arroyo Grande’s pitch: not available. Sherwood Park, where no-one had ever once considered playing a rugby game? Available.

Now it was rugby season once again!

This pitch took me back to my Georgia rugby days, back when a Georgian was president. I paced this pitch at 45 meters wide. Might have been a little less, given that some of the pacing was up and down over moguls, swales and divots and through pools of standing water. (My high school game on Wednesday had an 80-meter width.) My warm-up consisted of helping to collect trash. But it was safe and we played rugby on it.

The Blackhawk’s Ben Parker said on arrival that they’d driven through all four seasons. Certainly, hailstones had been bouncing off cars while I’d been on the road, and when old Sol did sneak a peek there was that springtime phenomenon of summer in the sun, winter in the shade. I remembered the two seasons I’d experienced: rugby season and not.

The narrow pitch made for a lot of rucks, and the squeegee conditions led to a lot of slow ball. That left plenty of time for me to referee, to address individuals, and to manage in advance. There were a lot of new players on both teams, so I appreciated those opportunities.

Good game. The survival-gear clad spectators were treated to a very close match, 14-all at the half. Of note: all seven trys were converted despite high gusts and drafts.

It was tied with a few minutes left. Paso Robles had a chance to win when their scrumhalf toed a loose ball into his opponents’ in-goal. He and the Blackhawks’ center both went after that ball with intensity and abandon. Their collision resulted in no grounding, the ball squirting over the dead-ball line, and two injured ruggers, both of whom had to leave the game as a result. Drop-out. It was that competitive!

And so it came down to the final whistle – or non-whistle.

Less than a minute left. Penalty kick to the visitors, too far for points. They kicked to the corner kit-bag (no flags to be found) and had a five-meter lineout. But lineouts hadn’t been secure in the bluster and the slop – so they threw a dart to the first man. Right to him – to the side of him opposite his opponents. Paso elected a scrum. Scrum awarded and signaled.

Watch starts beeping. Ref announces last play. (This is exciting enough that I’ve just changed voice and tenses both!)

What a scrum to take against the head! Three ruck/pileups later, the Blackhawks extracted the ball from beneath the bodies and crashed over to the left against right-shifting defenders.

Kick made, game over, corned beef sandwiches and Guinness under cover by the parking lot.

I went to the car to get my hands warm enough so that I could manipulate a pen to add up the score and to thank my wife for not leaving me for warmer climes.

Then I, too, toasted the memory of that saint who converted a nation and made it safe for the oval ball.


Friday, 6PM
STANFORD women 24 – Dartmouth 21 Referee: Sandy Robertson
Stanford dominated much of the first half, ending up 19-7 at the interval. Dartmouth fought back and a converted try at 80 minutes brought the final score to 24-21.

SF/Golden Gate – Utah Warriors CANCELED
The Warriors had one player with CIPP two days before the opening game of the season was scheduled. Now the team is no longer listed with USA Rugby at all.

Sacramento Capitals 19 – SAN MATEO 44 Referee: Jordan Bruno
San Mateo and the Capitals collided in rainy conditions for a hard fought, well contested match. The game was physical from the start. Contested breakdowns, solid hits, and rolling mauls were performed well on both sides. The Capitals had moments of brilliance, allowing them to stay within range of San Mateo at the end of the half. San Mateo continued to move the ball well in the second half, despite an early Capitals try, and quickly ran away with the victory. A card came out in the second half for a retaliatory punch in the ruck. Continued flareups followed. As the game ended and both teams contemplated a B side match, I realized either team would have to field half the A side players for another half of play. My recommendation was to end play, avoid a flash point for violence, and enjoy St. Patrick's Day.

EPA BULLDOGS 50 – Barbarians 0 Referee: Rich Anderson
Evaluator: David Williamson

SACRAMENTO LIONS 10 – Olympic Club 9 Referee: Phil Akroyd
ARs: John Villanueva, Pete Andrew
After literally having nightmares about the condition of the pitch in Sacramento, it turned out that it was OK. Some standing water in a couple of very localized areas and clearly soggy conditions overall, but the playing surface held up very well. The rain held off for most of the day too, so we had pretty decent conditions in which to play what could have been a classic… A classic it was not, but tense and dramatic it was, although neither team ever took hold of the game.

OC came out with intentions to play hard and the Lions were intent on doing whatever they needed to stop them, which is why they were on an early warning regarding cynical play and an inevitable yellow card. The visitors pushed out to a 3 - 9 lead by half but seemed to lose confidence as every minute passed by.

Neither team were on the top of their game but OC seemed most flustered. They had a full house of random minor and major infractions, including scrum foot-up, kick not-ten at the restart, 75% of their lineouts were not straight, offside from a knock-on, an actual dummy pass from the base of a ruck from the half-back, lineout numbers ("Sir, he was out of the line", yes but not more than 2 meters out) and the loose head prop not binding at all. The starting loose head looked way out of his depth until half-time when he was subbed out, which gave OC absolutely no set piece platform. Captain Pretorius was trying anything to get out of scrummaging but the lineouts were equally as dysfunctional.

The Lions were living off the scraps (and there were lots of scraps) and had a sustained period of pressure throughout the middle section of the second half, which produced a very forwards’ try from numerous phases of pick and drive from five or ten meters out.

Olympic started to play when they were 10-9 down with twenty minutes to play but the final and largest error was left until the last couple of minutes. Lions' ten was offside at a ruck on his own 22, dead center of the field. OC had the chance to take the lead and see out the remaining seconds but the kicker pulled it way left and Lions took the victory. It could be said that the absence of Engelbrecht hurt them, but the talent they did have on the field got little service and appeared to waste what they had.

Seconds: Sacramento Lions 5 – OLYMPIC CLUB 53 Referee: John Villanueva
After helping as AR for an exciting and close A-side match I was looking forward to an equally competitive B side. Prior to the match starting the coaches on both sides agreed to a shortened match with 25 minute halves. From the start Olympic Club took control with solid passing and hard running. By the second half the O Clubs fitness was the largest factor as they ran away from the Lions, scoring at will.

SF/GOLDEN GATE 68 – EPA Razorbacks 0 Referee: Aruna Ranaweera
Assistant Referee: Sandy Robertson
Since the Utah Warriors were recently booted from the RSL, instead of refereeing SFGG's Super League team against Utah, I refereed their D1 team against EPA. Heavy rain earlier in the week moved the game to Job Corps Field on TI, but the overcast skies held dry for the entire match in front of about 100 spectators. EPA could not field two teams, so the majority of their 1st XV played the 2nd XV match at 1pm and then changed jerseys for the 1st XV match at 3pm. SFGG was the more structured team and helped themselves to a 20-0 lead at the break. In the 2nd half, EPA's fatigue showed as SFGG camped in their opponent's half and tallied 48 more points for a total of 11 tries for the match. Thanks to Sandy for his help as AR.

Seconds: SFGG 46 – EPA Razorbacks 44 Referee: Sandy Robertson
With a final try at 80 minutes SFGG got the win in a back and forth game where each side scored 8 tries. The Razorbacks had the best of the early going, and were up 34-26 at the interval, but SFGG's 4 2nd half tries were just enough to get the win.

All Blues – California RAINED OUT

Diablo Gaels 17 – SANTA ROSA 27 Referee: George O'Neil

Seconds: Diablo Gaels 10 – SANTA ROSA 45 Ref: O'Neil

MARIN 20 – South Valley 12 Referee: Stephanie Bruce
Evaluator: Mike Malone
Great game, South Valley came with 17 players but were within striking distance up until about 10 minutes left when Marin slotted a penalty to put the game out of reach.

Berkeley 0 – SEAHAWKS 73 Referee: Chris Labozzetta
Never Close. Berkeley were completely over matched, but played with heart throughout the game.

Baracus 0 – FRESNO 35 Referee: Chris Labozzetta
The first half was close, but Fresno opened it up in the second half and Baracus never got their offense on track.

VACAVILLE 29 – Chico 7 Referee: Preston Gordon
Decent game, and fairly well matched, but Vacaville's 23-man roster (vs 16 for Chico) helped them get out front 22-7 at halftime, and maintain that lead in the second period.

SHASTA HIGHLANDERS 15 – Reno Zephyrs 10 Referee: Scott Wood
TJs: Shasta provided (Dan Batdorf & another--apologies for forgetting his name)
Location: Foothill HS, Palo Cedro

A cool, sunny day. Apparently somebody has an in with Mother Nature...

Both teams entered the match undefeated (4-0) with Shasta atop the standings by a mere one point. Shasta reportedly had only thirteen players just prior to the beginning of the season but that issue appears to be resolved. Shasta nearly scored a try in the opening minutes but the referee was temporarily unsighted to the ball and by the time he came around the pile of bodies, Shasta had pulled the ball back into the field of play. Reno stole the ball at the ensuing scrum and cleared it out of the 22.

Much of the match was played in Reno's portion of the field. Shasta scored two tries in the first half before Reno intercepted a pass and ran 80 meters for a try.

Halftime score: Shasta 12 - Reno 7

The teams either watched or somehow channeled via the England-Ireland match as we had scrum after scrum after scrum. And then scrummed some more. This was more a result of running before catching than it was due to a wet ball. A number of scrums were taken against the head by both teams.

Shasta was very good at self-regulating its players at the breakdown, committing only those players necessary to disrupt possession. Reno, unfortunately, was heavily penalized for numerous infractions; not enough to warrant a card at this level but enough for them to become frustrated. Nonetheless, this match was played with good tempers and relatively positive demeanor.

The after-party was hosted at the Bat Cave featuring a tasty corned beef stew.

Not a bad day considering the seven hours of travel.

REDWOOD 92 – Siskiyou 5 Referee: Sean Peters
Redwood Empire came out fast and hard, their big 8 man and fly-half who had some great runs. That resulted in quick trys for the first half. Siskiyou though did not back down. With much determination, they played their hearts out and stuck it out. Which ended up with a try, at the last couple of minutes from Siskiyou’s 8 man/captain.

SIERRA FOOTHILLS 77 - Mendocino 5 Referee: Liz Palmer
Mendocino started the match with 0 subs and the Sierra sidelines were anything but empty. Sierra got their first try 4 minutes after the kickoff. Mendocino quickly responded with their own try in the middle of the pitch. A potential easy conversion was lost as nobody stayed back to kick. This was realized at 45 seconds when the captain ran down for a last second drop kick--but too wide. Throughout the 1st half Mendocino and Sierra were equally strong and capable in fighting for possession and gain-in-ground; quite intense and exciting! At 26' on Mendocino's 25 in the middle of the field, the Sierra captain opted for an easy penalty kick making the score 8-5. At 29' Sierra scored their 2nd try with a completed conversion. At this point the match was paused because of an injury. A Mendocino player separated his shoulder, asked his teammate to yank it back in place (which he tried to do), but still could not play. This shorted the Mendocino squad to 14, and they played the rest of the match down. Halftime score was 29-5. I spoke to the injured player as he left for the hospital; it wasn't his first time dealing with his shoulder.

In the 2nd half Sierra dominated the scrums, and both teams managed consistent possession at cleaner breakdowns. Playing with fresh legs and 15 vs 14, Sierra was able to move the ball to the overload for successful breakthroughs. Successfully moving the ball around the field, getting it to the fast players, and being supportive on the breakdowns was how Sierra was able to retain steady possession. Mendocino's strength was in their forward defense, but a dangerous tackle after a Sierra try earned a Mendocino player a yellow card at 72', so the remainder was played 15 vs 13. Sierra ended up with 8 tries in the 2nd half; final score 77-5.

Humboldt 0 – COLUSA 21 Referee: Chris Tucker
Caroline and I had taken the previous two days to drive up via Redding, see some old friends on Thursday, then while she worked at her regional office on Friday I headed up to Mt. Shasta to try out some AT bindings on my skis. These allow you to climb up as well as ski down, and were a lot of fun, even the bit where I climbed up 1000 feet so I could ski down. Too soon it was time to drive again, but we headed up and over the hill in torrential rain, arriving safely before dark in Eureka.

Match day aka St Patrick's Day aka England v Ireland day dawned. Try as I might I could not find a bar showing the game. The local Irish pub looked baffled, which shows the quality of said establishment. You don't have to show it, but you'd better know it's happening! So I went to the pitch early instead.

And a beautiful day it was at Manila Park as we hit the sunny window in a week of solid rain. Pitch was still in very good shape, so a good day of rugby followed. The visitors were a little more organized, but the game was remarkably level. Two tries in the first half came from shoddy handling by Humboldt, with long breakaway scores. The second half formed a similar pattern, with both teams competitive, but Colusa able to finish one of their chances. As time wound down, Colusa tried my patience once too often (i.e. twice) with a 'not one' at a quick tap penalty, and quickly went a man down. At the next penalty we rucked and the visitors infringed offside. Quick tap, not one. Now the law book (10.3 b) reckons this is a red card, something I've always thought a little harsh. But there were less than 10 minutes left, so a sin bin had the same effect without the paperwork. Even with a 2 man advantage on the 5m, the home side couldn't finish, and we wound up 21-0 to the visitors.

A swift U19 game later and I joined the hosts in town for a little sing-song and a beer.

And Caroline enjoyed the trip too, so I might get to go again :)

Samoa United 12 – Fog 12 Referee: Bruce Ricard
The clouds seemed to be very sad, but they didn't cry last Saturday, which allowed an easier rugby game.

Very close game. The only points scored in the first half were from a penalty kick from FOG at the 22nd minute. 3 - 0 at the break.

The second half started with 3 more points scored by FOG, and a converted try at the 13th by Samoa United. Samoa United seem to be stronger than FOG, but they lack of discipline, and their many infringements prevent them from killing the score. At the 27th, on a new infringement from SU, FOG score a new penalty kick to take the lead (9 -7). At the 31st, Samoa United winger scored another try very close to the touch line, which is not converted. 2 minutes later, FOG scored another penalty kick. Final score: 12 - 12.

Vallejo 22 – APTOS 26 Referee: John Pohlman
I arrived at Mare Island about 3:00pm for a 4:00PM kickoff. The Cal. Maritime Academy was hosting Univ. of Reno. George O'Neil was leaving after refereeing two Diablo Gales games. The Vallejo and Aptos teams were warming up for their game, which should have been at about half time. The coaches quickly approached me and said the assigned referee had car trouble and would I be able to do the game. One of the Diablo players started the game as referee and was doing a very good job until about ten minutes in when late contact led to some pushing. I then entered what turned out to be a very competitive game.

By the way the stand-in referee has some serious potential. Please consider allowing us to coach and evaluate you. In a couple of years you could be involved with games at a high level.

This was a scrappy, very competitive game which was pretty enjoyable to referee. Aptos scored first and had a bit more possession and were the better team. But Vallejo had a couple of hard running backs which broke down the Aptos defense.

Half Time score Aptos 7 Vallejo 5

The second half saw a couple of lead changes and never a time where one team was more than a try ahead. These games are referee dreams. Standing at middle field knowing the next ten minutes would decide the game, nothing more exciting than managing those testosterone, adrenaline peaking minutes.

Final score Aptos 26 Vallejo 22

After the game John the Vallejo manager gave me 100 dollars for going out of my way to referee their game. I thanked him and donated the hundred back to Vallejo from the referee society. It's great to feel appreciated.

OK now on to my assigned game.

California Maritime Academy 17 – UNIVERSITY OF NEVADA, RENO 19 Ref: Pohlman
I often go an entire season without doing a game which is so competitive and well balanced. To do two such games back to back really exciting.

Maritime controlled most of the game and possession. But Reno's #10 Ryan Shermerhorn was man of the match. Ryan scored two of their trys by simply weaving his way through numerous tackles. Maritime's backs scored two first half trys to lead 12 to Reno 5 at half time.

The second half saw Reno tie up the score early when scrumhalf and captain Aaron Joc Jolcover scored on a quick tap penalty. In the 27 minute Maritime's #14 Travis Quesenberry was put away for a try in the corner. Maritime 17 Reno 12.

#10 Ryan slid through a couple of tackles to score under the posts at 35 minutes. Score Reno 19 Maritime 12.

Maritime spent the next five minutes in the Reno 22. Lots of pressure until Reno was able to clear the ball for the victory.

Wow two really competitive games. Oh, and we only got hailed on for a few minutes.

UC Davis 7 – CALIFORNIA 86 Referee: Pete Smith
ARs: Ron DeCausemaker, Rob Hendrickson
Cal ventured up to UC Davis for officially a friendly. Despite the recent rains, the field was in great shape. Apparently the guy in charge of fields is from Berkeley and a friend of rugby, so he made sure the grass was mowed and in generally good condition. Cal started out like the juggernaut they are and jumped out to a 40-0 lead playing an expansive game. Davis fought back and earned a penalty try just before the break to make it 40-7 at the intermission. More of the same in the second half as Cal is just too deep and talented for most college teams to handle. Final score 86-7.

SANTA CLARA UNIVERSITY 44 – Chico State 20 Referee: Craig Smith
Santa Clara controlled this match (on their home turf field) from start to finish. Chico State's tackling let them down throughout and some long range tries were scored. It was one of those days where almost every try scorer seemed to score by making it as difficult as possible for me to see the grounding. As well as this, I had a couple of average calls and the Chico State coach was good enough to control himself and speak with me very calmly after the game where I admitted to my mistakes. He admitted that his team was never going to win the game playing the way they did and that I had not affected the result but it is food for thought for me going into my next game.

SACRAMENTO STATE 36 – Stanford 19 Referee: JC van Staden
AR: Ray Schwartz, Mark Gottfried
Finally getting some rain in California, but Saturday is a RUGBY day, and I'm pretty sure there were a few guys up there that voted a break in the rain so they can watch some good rugby :)

With St Patrick in the air, Sac got led on the field by a cpl of bagpipes, and some girlfriends. Having a couple of qualified AR's, was not the norm for me, but sure something I can get used too ;)

Stanford did not waste any time, and with only a few minutes gone opened the score board with a unconverted try. Sac however had a different idea, on how this day gonna end, and despite being caught off guard, quickly came back with some great running through the midfield, good ball retention in the forwards, with some handy off loads, and game changing line-out turn-overs.

Second half was a different story. Stanford is a young team, and it took them a while to get some rhythm going, however, they came back strong, and worked in 2 converted tries, outscoring Sac with 2 points on the half. Look for this team in the future, they pretty fast learners.

Sac, good luck for the rest of the season, keep up the hard work!

Seconds: Sacramento State 27 – Stanford 27 Referee: Ray Schwartz
Not very satisfying for anyone involved.... match experience for the players...

In the end Stanford came back, tied the score and as their new kicker teed up to take a shot at the win, the ball fell off his tee, he failed to properly ask to approach, and the Sac St captain charged to block the attempt. Game over.

St. Mary's 3 – San Francisco State RAINED OUT

FRESNO STATE women 63 – Maritime Academy 0 Referee: Bill Long
It was a blustery day with wind and rain the Fresno ladies just ran and ran and ran. Some great tackles and just one incident for a card at the end, playing a player without the ball. A rather vicious shove by a Fresno player I found impolite and bin-worthy.

FRESNO STATE 26 – Sierra College 25 Referee: Jeff Jury
The sky opened up after a hardy rain for the women's game played before the men's collegian match between Fresno State University and nationally ranked Sierra College. The wind was gusty and strong from the southeast. Sierra kicked off into the wind, then quickly acquired possession and with tight power movements, scored an unconverted try in the first 5 minutes. Fresno restarted with the wind. Play was maintained primarily between the 22's until Fresno broke from the south and scored a converted try 7 minutes later. This pretty much set the tone. Both teams trading scores, #4 Sierra's slicing center action with pack in tow and Fresno countering with speed. Half time found the game score Sierra College 10- Fresno State 12.
The wind did not die down for the change of ends. Sierra now had the wind. Sierra dominated possession and territory in the second half. Sierra scored after the first six minutes as they had before with power running. But, once again, did not convert the try. After the restart, play found it's way again near the Fresno 22 meter. A miscue and Fresno speed found the Bulldogs scoring under the posts for another converted try four minutes later. The battle ensued at the restart with Sierra moving into Fresno territory and basically controlling play as Fresno played defense. The wind did not make handling easy. Sierra eventually dotted with 15 minutes to go, for again, an unconverted try. Play resumed with the Fresno restart and again Sierra drove into Fresno territory. The next ten minutes were desperate to be sure. Hits were hard and play was gritty. The ball found touch to the west side in Sierra's favor closer to Fresno's 22m than the 10 meter. A good take but an errant long skip between the centers made possible, an intercept by Fresno for a clean get-a-way. The score was under the post and the kick was good with four minutes to go. The score now was Sierra 20- Fresno 26. A Sierra restart kept the ball inside Fresno's 22m where the relentless pounding gave way for a Sierra try to the west side about the middle between post and touch. The driving kick was hard but not slotted. The game ended with the score Sierra 25- Fresno 26.

Seconds: Fresno State 22 – SIERRA COLLEGE 36 Referee: Barry Foley
The B-side game was a mix of A-side and B-side players for both teams. The rain had stopped but the wind was blowing a good 15-20 mph most of the match. The B-side was also a very evenly contested match with both teams trading scores in the first half. Fresno State was leading 22-12 at the half but Sierra College capitalized on missed tackles and good running to score 3 try's to 0 for FSU in the 2nd half and win the match 36-22.

San Jose State 24 – UC SANTA CRUZ 29 Referee: Tony Levitan
It was a crying shame that the persistent rain forced this fixture onto the artificial turf football field at Valley Christian as both teams came to play an entertaining, attacking brand of rugby that was stymied repeatedly by the confines of the narrow pitch. Nonetheless, the enterprising sides put up 8 tries between them in what turned out to be a tightly contested match. UCSC looked the more organized and cohesive side early on jumping out to a 12-0 lead before SJS got on the board with a converted try 26:30 minutes into the game to trail 7-12 at the half.

USCS's lead extended to 15-7 with an early second half penalty before SJS ripped off 12 unanswered points (2 tries, 1 converted), taking their first lead and revving up the stalwarts who came out to support the home team in disregard of the fairly raw afternoon. Undaunted, UCSC regained its composure, utilizing quick penalty taps to scamper in for one try and broach the goal line in advance of another. 29-19. SJS kept its work rate high, putting over a final try in the final minute for the final tally, yielding the cup over which the squads compete annually back to UCSC after a two year stay in San Jose.

Along with being a competitive match, the quality of play was solid between these well matched teams. Set play was well contested with a handful of strikes taken against the head, though UCSC did dominate the lineouts. There is something to be said for college programs like these where a number of players are still being introduced to the game, showing flashes of enthusiastic athleticism amidst the easily avoidable uh-ohs. Congrats to both sides on a fine outing.

SANTA ROSA JC 62 – Humboldt State 15 Referee: Brad Richey

SF Fog women 15 - EPA LADY RAZORBACKS 32 Referee: Lois Bukowski

Referee: Mike Gadoua
The well-fortified PAXO Olde Boys edged out a narrow victory over the motley Bald Eagles during a rain-drenched game for the 2012 Bay Area Senior Games Championship. Frank Merrill awarded Gold and Silver medals to each teams’ players, respectively.


Wednesday, March 14, 3 PM:
BELLARMINE 34 – St. Maximilian Kolbe (Ontario) 17 Referee: Bruce Carter
I received an e-mail about a mid-week, touring-side game that needed a ref.
It being the second Wednesday of the month, I’d taken the day off work so that I could attend our society meeting at 6 in San Francisco. Three o’clock at Watson Park seemed a perfect waypoint. So I accepted on behalf of myself.

Watson Park has replaced the old Watson Bowl, former home of Seahawk glory. There are now two full-sized pitches, one grass and one fake grass. Given the rain, we played on the latter.

The pitch is as wide as it was when Jovesa Naivalu used the extra-wide specifications to burn opponents and leave referees gasping. I paced it at 80 meters. Both teams seemed determined to use the full width on every possession. I may have run a greater distance east-west than I did north-south, given that there were nine trys but probably a hundred ‘possessions’.

The visitors, from near Toronto, cannot have played rugby outdoors since mid-autumn, would be my guess. But this was their third game on tour and they seemed to work together pretty well. But Bellarmine is having a very good season – I don’t believe they have lost a game.

Some diehard fans braved the rain and were rewarded with a consistent Bellarmine performance, three trys in each half and good scramble defense when needed.

The try of the game was a Gareth-Edwards job, for those of my generation: Bellarmine’s scrumhalf picked up the ball from a ruck against the right touchline about seventy meters out, dummied a pass and slipped between the ruck and the post defenders – not an easy thing to do in itself. From there he raced up the touchline without any immediate support, so unexpected was his break. He had to make defenders miss without benefit of any more dummies, but proved up to the task and capped off a nice match.

I had to leave immediately in order to get to Treasure Island in time, but found the time to express my gratitude to the players and coaches for such a fine match.

Else Allen 10 – BISHOP O’DOWD 46 [Referee’s name lost in editing]
It was a great day in Santa Rosa. The sun was shining bright at Pete's Sake Field. The pitch was draining perfect and the Else Allen Lobo's Girls Team was ready to take on the girls from Bishop O’Dowd H.S. Both teams came out hitting hard, neither team wanted to back down. Until O’Dowd's 8 man started to pick up and go from a scrum. Which set up a strong run from the forwards. Whom also had set up their back line to put pressure on the Lobo's. Although the Lobo's Girls didn't back down bringing forth their hard running 8 man and fly-half. They set up scores late in the second half. But at last, it wasn't enough. The O’Dowd girls were fit and their #6 had 4 trys followed by #15 with super kicking skills.

Cougars 5 – GRANITE BAY 91 Referee: John Villanueva
I arrived at the pitch/swimming pool at 3:45 to find to my surprise both teams with over 20 players ready to play and a full complement of fans, given the fact that it had been raining all day. The match started on time at 4:30 with Granite Bay kicking off, it did not take long to see that the wet conditions would play a role in the match as the Cougars Knocked the kick and Granite Bay was able to win the scrum and take it in for the first score. As the game progressed the rain started to come down harder and the teams seemed to be having more fun. Overall Granite Bay’s speed and disciplined attack was too much for the Cougars.

SOUTH VALLEY 30 – Los Gatos 7 Referee: John Pohlman
TJ's injured players from either team
Well, the wonderful weather reports from the Bay area stopped this Friday night. I left Fremont around 5 for a 7:00 p.m. kick off at the Morgan Hill all weather field. It was raining the entire way down.

Los Gatos is a first year team. They have had numerous injuries and a few players leave due to being over matched in some previous games. Thus only 12 players were available from Los Gatos. So we played tens.

South Valley had 25 players dressed and ready to go.

It rained the entire game. But the temperature was in the 50's and the all weather field drained well, so it was pretty comfortable for players and referee.

South Valley scored three trys in the first half and I think three more in the second half.(My score card was so wet by the end of the game I did not have any dry place to post scores). Los Gatos scored one try in the second half. Both teams have some very athletic and well skilled rugby players to build on.

I then got in my car and drove home through a torrential rain storm.
This made me realize how lucky we were to just have a steady rain rather than the buckets I drove home in.

BISHOP O’DOWD 35 – Christian Brothers 29 Referee: Jordan Bruno
A spirited, disciplined, and well-fought match between two well regarded high school rugby teams. The game was close at the half with a small edge to Christian Brothers at 14-12 due to a great effort in their forward pack and lackluster defense by BOD. BOD came back fighting in the second half, playing heads up rugby that saw a quick lineout intercept late in the game for a try to put them ahead. Christian Brothers' forwards continued to knock at the door until the final whistle with time expiring on a 5 meter scrum to CB on the BOD goal line. Great match by two teams that showed up to win.

Mon Mar 19th
Bishop O'Dowd JV 17 – CHRISTIAN BROTHERS 33 Referee: Eric Rauscher
This was a pretty close game in the first half and most of the second. Both teams were able to move the ball around the pitch efficiently and the penalty count was low for a jv game. The first half score was 5 /12. In the second half it seemed to me that the Christian Brothers team seemed to be able to play a more physical game. Whether this was due to a number of larger players or just conditioning I don't know. It was fun to see improvement of BODs' squad from the first of the season though. What used to be obvious rookie play is now coordinated play.

JV B-sides: JESUIT 34 – Earl Marriott Secondary (British Columbia) 0 Referee: Anthony Nguyen
I had the opportunity to referee a great touring side match between EMS rugby and Jesuit; a true clash that would display excellent rugby and well coached teams. Jesuit started the kick off. EMS kicked it into full gear, challenging Jesuit with close-encounter tries and goal line mayhem. Jesuit upped their game and went on to score five tries and two conversions, finding holes in the EMS defense. The second half was more intense, with EMS keeping Jesuit fatigued and calling for a well organized defense. Jesuit managed to score a last-end try. EMS during the final seconds was close to Jesuit's own in-goal area. With penalty after penalty occurring due to Jesuit's fatigue and worry, EMS had several close opportunities to score a try. Jesuit kept them back however and managed to end the game, 34 to 0. A truly great game was fought with no dispute, no bickering and no disciplinary problems. EMS also gave me a match jacket for having me referee this match. Afterwards, Kirk Khasigian, the former USA Eagle, refereed the A Side match, which will be reported below.

JV A-sides: JESUIT 23 – Earl Marriott 5 Referee: Kirk Khasigian
AR: Anthony Nguyen
For this one, I ran AR for the center referee. Kirk ran a great game as a referee. He was consistent, fair, and tough. The first half was rather slow, with both teams displaying fierce defenses, preventing holes from being formed and tries being scored. Jesuit and EMS both scored in the first half. However, Jesuit kept the pressure during second half and drove past the EMS defense and scored several tries. EMS played a hard fought game with great rugby and excellent tactics. The game ended with Jesuit going up on the top with 23 points and EMS leaving the field with 5 points. Overall, the EMs team was a great experience to referee. Great Canadian rugby!


James Hinkin ventured to SoCal and picked up a good match:

UC SANTA BARBARA 29 - University of San Diego 3
Referee: James Hinkin
ARs: Francis Mariner, Crystal Ho
With my contract currently placing me in Los Angeles I took the opportunity for a weekend in Santa Barbara with my lovely significant Emily. Since I was in the area I contacted the SCRRS and asked if there was a game available - and so I got to referee my alma mater for the first time. I met Emily at the Bob Hope Airport and drove up the 101 to beautiful Santa Barbara. Got into town about 7:00 and headed straight for the Beachside Café where I ran into GM and old rugby friend Peter Crick. Back in the day when I was at UCSB I, for a couple of years, ran the world famous Santa Barbara International Rugby Tournament. Peter was a local referee and he would take care of all referee details - assignments, lodging, etc. The planning sessions at the Beachside provided some of the best food of my college experience and I have never forgotten it.

I had received dire warnings of a massive storm front poised to sweep through the central coast so the initial 1:00 kickoff in Harder Stadium was scratched for a 7:30 kickoff on the Robb Gym turf fields under the lights. So with most of Saturday free we woke up at 9:30 to roll out of bed and amble about a block and a half up State Street to an English pub to watch England beat Ireland in one of the sloppiest international matches I have ever seen. I know it was wet in Dublin but shouldn't these guys be used to it?

After a sandwich at Sam's To Go in Isla Vista (Mehrdad says hi, Pete) we took a leisurely tour of the Santa Barbara mission. The afternoon was wearing on and no rain was evident - if we had played at the original time the game would have been over without so much as a drop landing - so I went back to the hotel to strap on the gear and saunter up the road to UCSB.
Of course, now it starts raining.

I refereed the UCSB v USD match and, once the game was over, quickly packed up and dashed back to the Beachside where Peter made sure the kitchen stayed open to accommodate us. We were eventually joined by the UCSB coaching staff and we shared some St Paddy's pints and stories of days gone by and days to come.

A perfect weekend on the central coast ended on Sunday with Emily and I working our way down the 101 and stopping at the occasional winery for some tasting. Life is rough indeed.

And on to the game. With a strong wind blowing during the coin flip I was surprised when USD won the toss and elected to kick. UCSB wisely decided to take the wind in the first half. My old Seahawk coach Kevin Meek would tell us always to take the wind when you could because you would never know if it might die down later. Turns out he was right on this occasion - by the time the second half started there was no wind to speak of.

The first half started with UCSB receiving the kick and immediately moving the ball up the field. USD only seemed to have occasional patches with the ball before a turnover would grant possession back to the Gauchos. UCSB however seemed more than willing to hand the ball back so we had a stalemate until a penalty at the 20 minute mark finally put UCSB on the board. By this time Santa Barbara's forwards were starting to throw their weight around and UCSB's backs were starting to put things together and USD didn't have an answer. 2 more tries before the half - including an impressive push over try from a scrum - saw the hosts go into the locker room (true) with a 15-0 lead.

The USD coaching staff said some magic words at half time so when the second half started USD started to dominate territory and possession. Mistakes at critical times killed any scoring opportunities as unforced errors ended promising runs. About 10 minutes in UCSB was forced to play a man down for the rest of the game for a dump tackle and USD smelled blood. They could not convert their pressure into points, however, as a superbly organized defense would not break. USD didn't have any ideas and continually crashed off the side of the breakdown - easily read by both the defense and the referee. Torero ball carriers often arrived to see 2 defenders and yours truly already waiting for him at the tackle. They eventually notched their first points of the match with a penalty kick and seemed to have some momentum when the kickoff failed to travel the required 10 but, even though they were a man down, the UCSB scrum remained dominant and pushed USD off the ball for a tighthead. The resulting attacks worked its way into the 22 until a gap opened up and the Gaucho #9 ran in untouched. The game now fell into a pattern as USD put constant pressure on the UCSB 22 but couldn't break the line. UCSB lost another player to a sin bin for repeated infringements so played the last 7 minutes 13 on 15 but still kept up an impressive defensive effort. With 2 minutes left the USD flyhalf tried to grub kick through the defense but it was well covered by Santa Barbara and they sent the ensuing 22 drop long where it evaded the USD fullback and fell nicely for the onrushing UCSB winger to cap off a 80 meter short-handed try. And yes, I was only about 10 meters away when he grounded it. *whew*
Final Score: UC Santa Barbara 29 - University of San Diego 3


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