Friday, March 30, 2012




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!


We’ve heard from maybe ten people whether they can ref over the course of April.

The number of games dwindles – but we don’t have enough to assign even the slowest weekend.

The only travel games are on April 14:
Chico – two games plus a girls’ U19 tournament
One game in Reno

Let us know if you can ref on these dates, or AR for one of the playoff events:

Friday, April 6 Need ARs for playoffs at Stanford
April 7 Refs and ARs

April 14 Refs and ARs

Friday, April 20 Need ARs for playoffs at Stanford
April 21 Refs and ARs

April 28-29 Need ARs for Competitive Region and USA playoffs


Some Pelicans will be flying south for springtime competition in NACRA test matches.

John Coppinger and Matt Eason each have two appointments as Judicial Officers, John in St. Vincent and the Grenadines and in the Bahamas (that's only two places) and Matt in Barbados and either Mexico, Jamaica, or the Cayman Islands.

Paul Bretz will referee the Caymans hosting Mexico, while Aruna Ranaweera will handle Bahamas - Bermuda.

Congratulations to these accomplished rugby folk.

Tom Zanarini responds to your requests:

I've had a lot of requests for extra kit, especially shorts and socks. At the time of the original order, we ordered only enough to cover those referees who were assigned 5 matches in 2011, plus a few extras. So, of course we're all out. I'm placing an order for extra shorts and socks. I'll have the prices when the order is complete, but they should be around $30 for shorts, $10 for socks. After this season I'll have another jersey order for those who qualify, plus some extras for sale. We took a vote at the last AGM for a new jersey color, and green won the vote. These jerseys should be available for the 2012 AGM meeting (another incentive to attend the AGM!).

The kit that we have is currently available at the SFGG clubhouse for purchase. The clubhouse is open Mon-Fri. 9-5. Betsy Ayala is the office coordinator for the club and is in every day. I set this up as an experiment to have all the kit at a central location, since most referees seem to pass through Treasure Island during the season. I'm still evaluating the convenience. There are a lot of older jerseys available at a discount, mostly the larger sizes.

We have a contract with Canterbury North America for exclusive kit and equipment deals. I've heard some interest in kit bags and such. We can get polos, workout tops and shorts, track suits... pretty much anything. Let me know if you’re interested and I'll put together an order with prices.


Hail, Pelicus! is late this week because we took a half-day Tuesday and all of Wednesday to join our East Midlands visitors in climbing to the top of Yosemite Falls in the rain and snow.

Now we don’t even have time to write about it. But then again – you shouldn’t have missed it! Everyone was invited…


BARBARIANS over Sacramento Capitals by forfeit

San Mateo 21 – EPA BULLDOGS 23 Referee: Craig Smith
AR: John Coppinger
This game was played in the rain on a turf field which helped the footing but not the handling. The first half was littered with handling errors and while some advantage was managed, there were still a lot of scrums. The halftime score was 10-7 to EPA. The first half had been fairly uneventful. The second half was a little different. Two players threw punches at each other after one tripped the other. They both went to the bin. 2 minutes later an EPA prop foot tripped the SM scrum half. He went to the bin. 6 minutes after getting back from the sin-bin, the SM player who's thrown the punch earlier, went off his feet at a tackle, from the wrong side and threw his shoulder into the tackled player. Second yellow = red. EPA held on for the 2 point win. Both sides have some really strong players and it seems discipline will often be a factor in their results. EPA had better control of their players and therefore controlled the tempo of the game and the scoreboard. Thank you to John Coppinger for running the line in the rain and helping me keep a lid on the game.

Seconds: SAN MATEO 17 – EPA Bulldogs 12 Referee: John Coppinger
The first side was a tense match in which EPA barely survived. After the two teams shared a post-match prayer, the B side ensued and the vibe was that of a school yard match with much laughing and joking between the two sides and wide open play. Lots of fun. Vuka Tau still has the best restart kick in Northern California.

SACRAMENTO LIONS 58 – EPA Razorbacks 5 Referee: Chris Tucker
AR: Scott Wood
Scott refereed the second sides first, EPA coming away victors. The scoreboard definition of victory, however, did not take into account the fact that 10 of the starting 15 on the A side had to play 80 minutes of rugby before they got to kick off their actual game. And that pretty much did for them -- Lions can field two full sides, and were always likely to win the second one.

As it was, two quick tries to the hosts started the game off, before the game settled down into an entertaining, but scoreless 30 minutes, with both sides having plenty of go-forward. The wheels came off EPA when they lost their fullback for 10 minutes for a dangerous tackle after 35 minutes, the Lions scoring twice before the break. The second half was mostly a rout, but the visitors did get one consolation try towards the end as the Lions took the foot off the gas.

Thanks to Scott for being the eyes in the back of my head.

Seconds: Sacramento Lions 10 – EPA RAZORBACKS 41 Referee: Scott Wood
Location: Robla Community Park
"You never get anything right", complained the teacher. "What kind of job do you think you'll get when you leave school?"

"Well, I want to be a weatherman."

According to the weather a-hole, er, "forecaster" there was to be 100 percent chance of precipitation from noon to 4 pm. Last I checked, 100% meant it was a sure thing. A certainty. Maybe the AMS works on a different scale...

Not much to say about a match where one team has enough numbers for nearly two full sides and its opponent has enough to start 15 with a few reserves. The Lions' B-side was outgunned in talent but made up for it with tenacious tackles. While the outcome was not in doubt (EPA led at halftime 17-5), the Lions played with heart and conviction. One player stood out in particular. Joe Carlson, formerly with (Del Campo) Cougar Rugby, was a fiend. I believe Joe was personally responsible for stripping the ball at least ten times from players at least twice his size. (Joe is perhaps 5'7, 160 lbs)

Alumni Game: O CLUB 13 – SF/Golden Gate 1 Referee: Bruce Carter
The score is the number of tries, the ‘alumni’ not kicking goals.

It was raining, and it was cold. I did two early games over on the Job Corps pitch and then made a knight’s-move to the GAA pitch without a chance to defrost. Although doing the other games meant I couldn’t get there until about twenty minutes before kickoff, I appeared to be the first one on the scene.

I made a vow not to play old boys and not to ref old boys way back when. Now that I’m almost twice as old as when I made that vow, at least half of it appears to have been forgotten.

God save me from forgetting the other half. I could not begin to compete with Kevin Barth and some of these fellows. But I can run along yelling Ruck and Roll away and whistling for trys, happy as a duck in ducks’ weather.

OLYMPIC CLUB 34 – SF/Golden Gate 19 Referee: Max Barnard (East Mids)
ARs: Rich Anderson, Bruce Carter
Our visitor did a fine job with this match and has been rewarded with an appointment to the Top of the Table this coming Saturday.

Seconds: OLYMPIC CLUB – SF/Golden Gate Referee: Rich Anderson
No report received, but the OC swept the trio of games on this day.

SANTA ROSA 53 – Marin 0 Referee: Jordan Bruno
Evaluator: Dixon Smith

Seconds: SANTA ROSA 15 – Marin 0 Referee: Cary Bertolone
At For Pete's Sake in Santa Rosa
Marin did not want to play a second game due to injuries and numbers, but Rosa pushed them in to at least a 20 minute second game. Santa Rosa gave Marin about 5 or 6 players and out on the soaking wet, rainy pitch we went. The game was played in good spirits and we actually went thirty minutes with the score ending three tries to none. Four games, in the rain, and the For Pete's Sake field looked as good as new at the end of the day. Great real grass field!!

DIABLO GAELS 41 – BA Baracus 17 Referee: Aruna Ranaweera
The rain wasn't so bad at Morton Field on Mare Island, Vallejo. In the first half, Baracus played intelligent, opportunistic rugby and secured a 0-17 lead. Diablo didn't understand the difference between tackle and ruck so were generally ineffective at the breakdown. In the second half, Diablo decided to keep the ball tight with their forwards, using powerful mauls and pick-and-drives to suck in the fringe defenders and establish space for their backs who also kicked into open space when needed. 41 unanswered points later, Diablo had won the match, 6 tries to 3, in a tale of two halves.

Seconds: Diablo Gaels 22 – BARACUS 29 Referee: Scott Griffin
Watched the first side game upon arrival. A light rain fell most of the day. Aruna agreed to watch a portion of my game.

Both Baracus and the Gaels were eager and respectful competitors. Received some feedback from Aruna at the half. Baracus prevailed 29-22. The field held up well despite the rain. After match festivities in Benicia enjoyed by all.

SOUTH VALLEY 47 – Berkeley 32 Referee: James Hinkin
With South Valley unable to secure their regular field in Morgan Hill, an arrangement was made with the San Jose Seahawks to use their field and an 11:00 kickoff. A bit of luck for me as I live about 3 miles away from Yerba Buena High School.

After a VERY windy night the clouds were threatening but the rain held off throughout the match. This was perfect rugby weather for everyone except Bruce Ricard, who was scheduled to manage the Seahawk v Vacaville match later in the day. The game started and it took about 5 minutes and a number of penalties for both sides to realize that I was serious about applying the laws of rugby. Once that point was made the game flowed in stops and starts with sloppy handling ending any promising developments. South Valley was able to get on the board first with a well-deserved try and, in spite of a penalty kick reply from Berkeley, started to dominate the proceedings. Two more tries saw SV go into the break with a comfortable lead.

For the second week in a row I had a game where the losing team at the half received a dose of magic words and came out for the second period looking like a brand new team. Once the second half started it was Berkeley making the decisive runs and supporting in numbers while SV was the team missing tackles and looking disorganized. Two quick tries and then a third while playing a man down would have completed the comeback if it hadn't been for the reason they were a man down. A rather clumsy and obvious late charge on the kicker of a ball grubbed in behind the defense 10 meters out led to a penalty try and the required yellow card. As it stood, however, they were within striking distance and could sense a victory. South Valley at this point started playing rugby again and scored a try of their own, almost immediately replied to by Berkeley with one of their own. This game looked to be a referee's dream - a barn burner with a "last team in possession will score" vibe to determine the winner. And since the penalty kick and conversion ratios were a bit off, there was almost no chance of a tie. Unfortunately South Valley wasn't on board with the script and actually extended their lead with a try in the left corner with a minute left. They then took the resulting kickoff back to where it came from to end the game with another try and make the score a bit more lop-sided than the actual match.

Seconds: South Valley – Berkeley Referee: Liz Palmer
No report received. Not sure if this one was played.

FRESNO over Chico by forfeit

SEAHAWKS 41 – Vacaville 10 Referee: Bruce Ricard
Finally my first real rugby game in the US : it was raining and cold !

Didn't rain in the first half, San Jose was better. They scored 4 tries to 0. The rain started with the second half, and Vacaville managed to do a good second half, scoring 2 tries. But San Jose was still better, scoring 3 tries in this half.

Final score : SJ Seahawks 41 - Vacaville 10

Seconds : 40 and 30 minutes halves. SJ wanted to play a full second half, but Vacaville's B-side team had a lot of players from the A team who were tired, so we agreed on a 30 minutes second half. Scrum had to go uncontested in this game, due to two Vacaville front row player injured, including one who twisted this lower back in a collapsed scrum, but who managed to leave the pitch walking on his own. He should be fine.
Final score : SJ2 31 - Vacaville2 14

COLUSA 50 – Shasta 7 Referee: JC van Staden
Left Lodi with the sun just starting to shine through the clouds... Just to find Colusa under water... Still, that did not bother the crowed, which pushed a good 150+

Colusa didn’t wait, and from the first ruck made it clear that they have only one thing in mind (drinking out the keg as winners today), and that was to get points, and a lot of them...Forwards were working hard in rucks, and big tackles gave Colusa most of the ball possession.

Shasta however, could never get into rhythm, and despite some good line-out jumping, could not hold on to any balls. Colusa's centers were cracking up the midfield all afternoon long, which lead to 8 tries vs 1.

Both teams showed great spirit, on and off the field. Thanks for feeding the ref!

SIERRA FOOTHILLS 117 – Siskiyou 0 Referee: Lee Salgado
ARs: Jim Crenshaw and a young lad from Sierra Foothills I believe (thank you!)

I must say, for how lopsided the score was, there were no flair-ups, very few harsh words between teammates and nothing from the side lines. It was a good day for rugby and it made the experience very positive. Jim Crenshaw was also nice enough to come out run touch and give me a very constructive and informative ad hoc assessment. Thank you Jim. Yes this game was a track meet but both teams have good set pieces and good kickers. Sierra Foothills had a crafty 8 man and an experienced backline that utilized space and weaknesses on the fringes easily.

REDWOOD EMPIRE 40 – Mendocino 0 Referee: Rob Hendrickson
The light drizzle on Saturday did not deter either team’s fans from coming out to support their team, and had little impact on For Pete’s Sake Field or either team’s play, with Redwood Empire scoring 3 tries in each half to prevail over Mendocino in a game which was much closer than the score would suggest. The first quarter provided many challenges in the forms of failures to wrap, high tackles, etc, but the teams settled down by the second quarter, and the second half was much more controlled. Mendocino’s edge came in the form of its ability to capitalize on breaks. Good sportsmanship generally prevailed, and the game was a pleasure to ref.

Humboldt 6 – RENO 15 Referee: Sean Peters
What a beautiful day in Humboldt, it turned out to be perfect rugby weather. First half both teams came out hard ,Humboldt with their home crowd behind them. Came out and scored off a penalty kick right outside the 22 meter line to make it 3-0 . It didn't stop Reno's big forward pack from marching down the field, and finding their way to a penalty kick, which brought the score to at 3-3 tie going into half.

Second half was the same, lots of loose play and great break away from both teams but no support. Each team did not want to back down. Then Reno # 8 and Big Flanker #7 started making big tackles and runs, followed by big runs from Reno's #12 running hard through the Humboldt's defensive line and finding the try line. Reno's forward pack dominated the scrum and also around the ruck. Although the score doesn't show it but there was a knock on and a try that was held up by the Humboldt defense.

SF FOG 24 – Aptos 6 Referee: Rich Boyer
The Fog hosted Aptos on a rainy day. The pitch was in fairly good shape despite the deluge. Handling was a bit sloppy and the ball rarely reached the wing. Halftime score was 10-6 Fog.

Fog began asserting their dominance in the second half: quicker to breakdowns and some nice back plays to free up their center. Fog #8 was prominent at the breakdown while #12 ran strongly. #10 managed the backs well. He kicked four penalties. Aptos #7 played well with a number of strong runs, but the Fog defense organized too quickly and did not give Aptos any opportunities to score tries.

SAMOA UNITED CHIEFS 51 – Vallejo 20 Referee: Preston Gordon
Burton HS, San Francisco, 1230
The weather hadn't cleared by Saturday morning, but it also wasn't pouring. I was hopeful that the turf field would help with ball handling, and though we did have a fair amount of scrums, pretty much all of these guys are good rugby players so the rain didn't kill the game. Vallejo has a lot of new faces, many of whom are football players (you can tell by the boots and the way they run sideways with the ball). All were enthusiastic, in fact, both sides were. The ref was warmly welcomed and several people seemed happy to see me.

The first half was controlled almost completely by Samoa United. They opened scoring 2 minutes in with a penalty kick, followed by a converted try 15 minutes later. Vallejo responded with a penalty of their own at 22' (10-3). The rest of the half was one-way traffic, with more tries for the home team at 26, 28, 35 (+2), and 40 minutes. The rugby was hard-hitting and despite the 32-3 lopsided score, nobody gave up. I figured that might be the end of the contest, but knew better than to write anyone off so soon.

Vallejo must have had a good half-time talk because they came out blazing, turned over a scrum at midfield, and scored their first try within a minute. 32-8 was looking reasonable for a comeback. Although there was no scoring for the following 20 minutes, everyone on the field was having a great time - I heard laughing in the scrums, players congratulating their opponents on good tackles, good-natured joking, and so on. It was just good, hard, rugby, played in good spirits, in defiance of the continuous rain. The (metaphorical) atmosphere reminded me of a big family reunion, myself included, as I recognized and exchanged brief greetings with several people on the sidelines from the Samoa Flag Day tourney at this venue last August, including the Reverend who gave a memorable benediction that day.

Anyway, Samoa United got the next score with a 60th minute try, followed by Vallejo at 70', Samoa United (+2) at 76', and the last score of the match by Vallejo (+2) at 81'. Second half: 19-17 to Samoa United, and a very even contest that wasn't majorly marred by the 67th minute yellow card to one the home side's replacement for a careless tackle. Final result: 51-20... for 71 points in the rain!

Seconds: SAMOA UNITED 17 – Vallejo 5 Ref: Gordon
Before the A game started, nobody was sure if there would be a B. After 80 minutes of fun, nobody was ready to stop. The players were a bit apprehensive about whether or not I would stick around, but I was more than happy to honor the way these guys all played. After all, it wasn't hailing, was it? We agreed on 20 minutes more, with many of the same faces. At the end of that it was 12-5, and they still wanted to keep going. Of course I'll keep reffing! We played another 18 or so before things started to get a little sloppy, and by mutual consent, we all trooped off the pitch. I was invited to the post-match function several times, but unfortunately I had to pass due to other commitments (next time!). As soon as I stopped running, I started to get cold, but I jumped right in the car with most of my wet clothes on and headed home. A hot shower and a liberal amount of Yucatán habanero sauce on the pollo asado burrito fixed the chills pretty quickly.

I've had a few good matches in bad weather, but what a great day of rugby this one was. Let's do it again sometime.

STANISLAUS 64 – Paso Robles 8 Referee: Giles Wilson
Leaving the Bay Area with a towel and plastic bag for wet cloths, expecting a wet game it was very pleasant to get to Modesto and great sunshine.

Stanislaus have a nice field in Turlock, well-marked and ready to go. Paso Robles arrived en mass in their mini bus - what a great idea, everyone there together and all the things one needs on board for long rugby trips.

This was Paso's only win last year, so Stanislaus had a point to prove, along with a playoff place to secure. Paso are a little light on players this year, needing to borrow player to complete the side, a Stanislaus rookie (1st game) went over willingly and played well.

Overall Stanislaus had experience and both a game plan and also a kicking game; they were able to drive tight and maintain possession almost at will while kicking well for territory to maintain pressure. Once in good attacking positions they use good angles and complete overlaps well to take chances.

Paso never gave up, tackling willingly and on the few occasions they had possession, they have a couple of players who are hard to tackle and make ground. Final score of 64 - 8 was harsh on Paso who made Stanislaus work for everything.

JV: SANTA ROSA 33 – Christian Brothers 10 Referee: Eric Rauscher
Game was played out at St Mary’s on a fairly tight pitch for the amount of rain we have been having. Only had a couple of drops during the game.

Both teams displayed good skills and sportsmanship. Santa Rosa seemed to have the edge when it came to swinging the ball out wide.

Varsity: Santa Rosa varsity – Christian Brothers Referee: Richard Parrish (East Mids)

ST. MARY’S 37 – Central Washington 0 Referee: Phil Akroyd
ARs: Richard Parrish, Eric Rauscher
#4: Ron DeCausemaker
P.R: Mike Malone
A devastating SMC scrum set the platform for the Gaels to run riot in one of the most comprehensive team performances I've seen for a long time. One highlight was the SMC prop corner-flagging and making a try-saving tackle on one of the fastest college 7s players out there (winger, Tim Stanfill). The rain poured for the second half restricting what could have been a much bigger point tally.

St. Mary's thirds 16 – SONOMA STATE 24 Referee: Chris Labozzetta
Foul weather couldn't stop what turned out to be a very hard fought game by both sides, in their season finale. Sonoma St scored a very nice rolling maul try to secure the win, late in the second half.

Women’s Round-robin hosted by Fog women

SF FOG 15 – Dartmouth 7 Referee: Bruce Carter
EPA RAZORBACKS 32 – Fog B 0 Ref: Carter
ALL BLUES 27 – East Palo Alto 5 Referee: Bruce Bernstein
DARTMOUTH COLLEGE 19 – East Palo Alto 5 Ref: Bernstein
(Stephanie Bruce also refereed two or three games.)

Maritime Academy – All Blues Referee: Jeff Richmond
No report received.

SF BATS over Humboldt State Referee: Lois Bukowski
Ref arrived looking like a rookie with only one gold jersey in her bag...if I wore it, I might get passed the ball. So, I got to keep my "warmup" jacket on instead. Let’s just say it was not waterproof.

This final regular season match between two top ranked teams in their division started off intense and flowing despite the steady downpour at Negoesco Field in SF.

A lot of back and forth, good handling and bone-crunching tackles in the first half. The Bats went in first with 15 mins gone after a nice series of loose phase play. That team sure knows how to ruck!

They were rewarded once more with only 2 mins left after multi-phase ball and a standoff by the Humboldt defense. But, the aware flanker picked up and dove over the line. Conversion good and we ended the half 12-0.

Humboldt State came out with intensity and had some really nice long runs, followed by good rucking and repeated phases. They snuck in the corner (for a try I wish I had a replay) on, but saw the ball touch down and mounted the comeback.

My scoresheet was very wet by now and my pen had stopped working (I know, another rookie move not having a pencil in my pocket.) It was probably about 10 mins into the half.

The Bats stole momentum back with a few nice runs and a threatening attack in the corner. Their #9 dashed over the line, hit the Humboldt player like a ton of bricks and touched down with a yell. I have written about this scrumhalf before (she should be an Eagle someday soon). That was the decider, no more points would be scored and we spent the next 20 minutes between scrums. I yellowed the Humboldt team for a series of repeat offsides (they were just a tad too aggressive with 1/2 meter in front of the last foot too many times.) Unpopular as it was, it wasn't much of an impact on the game.

Great match. Humboldt onto the playoffs because The Bats as a combined USF/SF State team are ineligible. Hopefully they can field enough for single teams next year and hit the playoffs themselves.

Seahawks women – Amazons
No report received.


ST. MARY’S THIRDS 31 – Willamette 17 Referee: Jen Tetler
What was supposed to be a gross and rainy day turned fantastically sunny, and it was made even better by the fact that these teams were playing on the brand new Cal Maritime turf pitch, complete with permanent rugby lines and a digital scoreboard. Willamette was visiting from Oregon and starting their San Francisco tour here. Willamette was ready to go and pumped up while St. Mary's arrived a bit late after having played Saturday...a fact that showed up when Willamette scored the first try after about 10 minutes. But St. Mary's started to wake up a bit after that and responded with 2 fairly quick tries of their own. I don't know if it was that new turf, but there were two very lucky kicks that bounced right into the hands of the St. Mary's kicker running on and resulted in a try. Score at half was 19-12.

St. Mary's continued to dominate the scoreboard, but Willamette made them fight hard for it with some good defensive stands combined with a couple of unlucky drops. St. Mary's scored two more times in the second half, but Willamette got one last score in before the game ended. Great day for a friendly tour match followed by the National Small College Rugby California play-off between Cal Maritime and Cal Lutheran.

NSCRO playoff game
MARITIME ACADEMY 23 – Cal Lutheran 7 Referee: Dan Wilson
ARs: Jen Tetler, Anthony Nguyen
Driving up from the Central Valley to Vallejo, the forecasters kept calling for heavy winds and downpours. Aside from the occasional sprinkles, the drive went quickly and without delay. Having never been on the CMA campus before, the directions seemed as if I was following a scavenger hunt: Hwy 99N, Hwy 120W, Hwy 205W, Hwy 580W, Hwy 680N, Hwy 780, finally to 80S. As I pulled onto campus, I drove up the hill and out of the wilderness a beautiful, shiny pitch appeared on my right. Thankfully, Google Maps know what they are doing and I arrived on time. Amazingly, the sun was shining with partially clouded skies and little wind. It was a beautiful rugby day.

The inaugural match on the pitch was taking place, St Mary’s C v Willamette University. It looked like a hard fought match but St. Mary’ was handling the pressure Willamette presented with nice counters to keep their score rolling. As that match was starting to end, Cal Maritime and Cal Lutheran started to prepare. With no practice pitches to use, both teams had to wait until the first game was officially over before they could start their running. After the agreed upon 45-minute warm up period, an opening ceremony was performed some words from the Cal Maritime AD and the playing of the National Anthem. With my AR’s, Jen Tetler and Anthony Nguyen, as well as our fourth official, Steve Wren, it was kickoff time.

The Inaugural California Cup, the NSCRO regional playoff leading to the Sweet 16, was between the NorCal champion, Cal Maritime Academy, versus undefeated SoCal champion, Cal Lutheran. The first quarter of the match was very even, and after CMA missed a penalty kick, CLU got on the board first with a converted try in the 15th minute. Five minutes later, CMA was able to hit their penalty kick, cutting the score to 7-3. Both teams were doing a nice job of first running off of the ruck with their forwards and then spinning to their backs. The sides were well matched and both teams had nice form tackles and nice individual plays. Most of the game was spent between the 22-meter lines with both teams threatening on occasion with no avail. Halftime score: CMA 3 – CLU 7.

In the second half, CMA seemed to literally wake up. From the opening kickoff of the second half, which was knocked on by CLU inside the 22-meter line, CMA had their foot on the pressure pedal. They scored a converted try in the 44th minute and then another unconverted try in the 52nd minute. Cal Maritime was helped by the #7 of Cal Lutheran attacking the CMA scrumhalf early at rucks. After having a discussion about a potential sin-bin, he was substituted. His intensity was great, just his timing was early.

As we moved toward the end of the third quarter, the intensity and passion by both teams stepped up a notch resulting, unfortunately, with a lot of dumb, off the ball stuff occurring. After having a conversation with both captains, the teams were able to refocus on rugby, thankfully. With another unconverted try at the 61st minute, Cal Maritime was really starting to enjoy the game that they were playing. Most of the second half seemed to be played in the Cal Lutheran half and a lot inside their 22. After a series of off-sides, not last foot and not rolling away advantages were played, I had to have a chat with the CLU captain about the results if they continued. Unfortunately, Cal Lutheran’s captain decided to not roll away just a few minutes after our chat which resulted in him leaving the game at the 70th minute for a sin-bin. The sin-bin penalty was immediately converted into 3 points by CMA, resulting in their final points of the match. Full time: Cal Maritime 23 – Cal Lutheran 7.

I want to ensure to say “Thank You” to Jen, Anthony and Steve for helping the match run smoothly, as well as to the administration at Cal Maritime for a professional, well run event. Good Luck CMA at the Sweet 16.


ISLANDERS 22 - Motherlode 19 Referee: Phil Akroyd
ARs: Mark Godfrey, Eugene Baker
Islanders got a real scare here and spent most of the second half behind, but going ahead with seven minutes to go and one man in the sin-bin. Sloppy overall, but the crowds said they enjoyed it.

Girls: BERKELEY 45 – Dartford 25 Referee: Max Barnard
ARs: Richard Parrish, Eric Rauscher
1.30am UK time and with clam chowder still lying heavy on my stomach, Berkeley kicked off against Dartford at Underhill in Berkeley. This was my first experience of US rugby and the girls looked geared up to play a hard and fast game. Fortunately, I was backed by Messers Parrish (East Mids) and Rauscher (California) who provided technical advice, emotional support and a lack of symapthy for my indigestion problem.

The game was very open, both sets of players looking to get quick ball to the backs and utilise their ball carriers. There were some big hits and the girls played hard and clean. Berkeley opened up a ten point lead through powerful back play and were deservedly on top at the half. Dartford rallied though and pushed to get the ball wide. Their #12 scored four times and exploited the tiring Berkeley defence, she was the MVP by a distance. The game broke up towards the end and came to a close at 25-45. I was very impressed with the standard of the game, the skill level and pace. A genuine pleasure to referee and a big thank you to all involved.

OAKLAND WARTHOGS 65 – Alameda 0 Referee: John Coppinger
Home side Warthogs were bigger and faster. However, Alameda battled until the end.

MOTHERLODE 26 – Cordova Lancers 14 Referee: Phil Akroyd
ARs: Mark Godfrey, Jerry Ahlin
Very slow game in good conditions on a fast field. This one was tainted a little by the behavior of some younger members of the coaching staff on the sideline, from what is usually such an excellent organization.

Stockton Saints 7 – ELK GROVE 32 Referee: Scott Wood
Location: Michael Faklis Park, Stockton
Impressive. The pitch is very well painted, ropes in place along the sidelines, posts upright and solid, and the high voltage wires at least 35 feet away. A firm, green pitch under sunny skies. The coaches and I discussed the power lines and what options were available should the ball come into contact with them. The wires, not the coaches. We agreed to play on as if contact were not made (i.e., if Uri Geller wants to move the ball then so be it). Of course, as is with most rare situations, those that are spoken of prior to a match happen. Twice.

Elk Grove is larger than the Saints but both teams do not lack in burgeoning talent. The Saints comprise of mostly soccer players from several schools whereas Elk Grove feeds off of nine schools and collects a variety of talent. Other than the ball hitting the wires (did I mention twice?), I got to see an interesting variation on a theme.

The Saints kicker asked at one restart if he had to bounce the ball on its point. I replied that he had to drop kick it and it didn't matter to me how it hit the ground so long as he kicks it on the rebound. I've now witnessed another method: Drop the ball as if you are a scrum half putting the ball into a scrum. With some back spin the ball comes back toward you. Kick it as it rises up. Unconventional but it worked much better than his previous attempt at a traditional drop kick.

Both teams were a joy to referee. They were relatively responsive and the coaches were extremely positive, providing excellent feedback and advice to their players.


PITS 20 – De La Salle 27 Referee: Rob Hendrickson
PITS hosted De La Salle to a see-saw game Friday evening at Merritt College on what might have been the nicest pitch I have been on in years. It was a full 70 meters wide and overlooking the poorly marked in goal area, the grass was nearly perfect, looking like it had been recently mowed but not been played on for several months. The De La Salle team was more disciplined at the breakdowns, and seemed able to move the ball in the mid field area, but had problems advancing the ball inside the 22 against a determined PITS defense. PITS moved the ball well, especially kicking ahead, and scored on several break away runs which kept the score close.

BELLARMINE 30 – Peninsula Green 14 Referee: Tony Levitan
With the threat of rain hanging in the heavy grey skies, Peninsula Green traveled south to the artificial turf soccer pitch at Bellarmine for a late-morning run in a friendly. Coming off a couple weeks of strong showings (including one reffed by yours truly), the Pen Green group was eager for a run against their well-tuned non-conference opponents. Unfortunately, a first half defined by a lack of composure and uncharacteristically sloppy play marked the outing for Pen Green as an uphill slog. Bellarmine was disciplined and free-flowing from the opening whistle, benefiting from a couple penalties deep inside Pen Green's half for a 6-0 lead. Pen Green showed its talent and skill by answering for its only lead of the match with a converted try at the 10 minute mark, 7-6. Undaunted and aided by more whistle-inducing play, the Bells ran in two more tries, one converted for an 18-7 half time lead.

Pen Green opened the second half with renewed purpose and tighter cohesion under the leadership of #8 John Warnock, and tightened matters to 18-14. The teams demonstrated a mostly solid second half back-and-forth, up-and-down-the-pitch rugby that was at times dynamic and inspiring. While subbing a range of players into the game to spread playing time around more broadly, Bellarmine put the match away with two final tries (one converted).

Al Arqam 31 -- SAC EAGLES 38 Referee: Chris Tucker
My first game for Al Arqam, to which I arrived late, but we still managed to kickoff on time. Al Arqam is a first-year rugby program from an Islamic school in South Sacramento, and when I locked my bike to the fence upon arrival they were busy with pre-match prayer. Resisting my insensitive side's urge to do boot check while the team were in sujud, I met with the team when they had finished. Pre-match preliminaries done, and a team cry of 'Allah akbar', we kicked off.

Roy Brewer has a well-drilled Eagles team who clearly enjoy the game, and quickly went ahead. Their dominance continued throughout most of the half, with only a lapse in concentration at a penalty costing them any points -- the Al Arqam number 10 executing a quick tap from 15m out with nobody home in defence. The second half was a little different, as the Eagles began to cycle through their bench, and Al Arqam's 8-9-10 combination started to do some damage. But this simply made it closer than it would have been, the Eagles victory wasn't in doubt.

One ugly incident marred the second half, as an Al Arqam player tripped the Eagles ball carrier, earning him a yellow. This would have been it had the Eagles blindside not retaliated with a shoulder setting off a minor scuffle. This is the point at which the players need to sort it out themselves, but on to the field charges the Al Arqam coach, face full of anger and dives into the middle of it to separate everyone. We had a chat after the match that this kind of thing a) isn't particularly helpful in calming the situation b) is quite dangerous and c) can encourage an air that anybody is entitled to enter the field of play. I ordered him back to the sidelines, then dealt with the offenders. The game continued quite happily with only 14 aside for a while, and no bad blood evident between the two sides.

All in all a good evening of rugby, hopefully our newest team can build on a strong start to become solid competitors next year.

Girls: BISHOP O’DOWD HS 61 – Alameda islanders 0 Referee: Tim Lew
On a calm night for rugby, the BOD women played a great technical game of rugby. Both teams came out very hard but within the first 20 mins, BOD had already scored 27 pts. BOD have some great players- #s 1, 7, 9, 13, & 15 all have great rugby skills. On the other side, Alameda had some very tough girls who made some massive hits!

Worse for Wear
Chris Tucker, Max Barnard and Ray Schwartz react differently to the challenges of climbing more than 3000 feet in cold, fog and snow.


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