Friday, April 27, 2012




We are very pleased to announce the promotions of George O’Neil to the T Panel, Jordan Bruno to L1, and Lee Salgado to L2. Congratulations for well-earned advancement to these Pelicans!


There appear to be a dozen or more high school playoffs floating around in the ether for this weekend.

If we asked for referees, we’ll do what we can – but then we’ll need some refs.

Let us know if you’d be able to cover one of these possible games.


The Pelican Refs 2012 awards banquet will be held on Saturday, June 30th. This is also the first weekend of the Palo Alto Summer Sevens.

The location is pending, but mark your calendars now and set that Saturday aside for team-building, camaraderie and memory-making.


May 4-5-6: the Northern California Invitational Tournament, for high school boys’ and girls’ teams, in Sacramento.

There will be four full playoff games on Friday afternoon between 3 and 6. Let us know if you can help out.

The tournament will be held on eight pitches, so a large flock of Pelicans will be needed. Games will be played from 9 – 7 on Saturday and from 9 – 3 on Sunday.

Hotel rooms will be provided if we know you are coming from afar.

Please reply with your availability for this weekend event.


Stanford advances to the final four, to be played on their home pitch May 11-12, by defeating Cal 41-22 in the national quarter-final on Sunday.

Santa Rosa advances to the USA men’s D2 club playoffs with victories over ORSU and Snake River last weekend.

Stanislaus advanced to the D3 playoffs at the same event.


SACRAMENTO LIONS 50 – Sacramento Capitals 30 Referee: Scott Wood
AR: Peter Andrew
On the hottest day of the season (for me), the teams put together the highest cumulative score I've refereed this year. Both teams played very well. The competition was high as is to be expected for a local derby.

HT: Lions lead 33-10

Capitals took advantage of some rare shade at the half to discuss strategy. The Lions apparently rested on their laurels as the Capitals exploited the defense several times before the hosts regrouped.

All in all, an exciting and fun game to referee.

EPA Razorbacks – Barbarians POSTPONED to April 28

OLYMPIC CLUB 41 – San Mateo 0 Referee: Tom Zanarini
ARs: Mike King, Bruce Carter
Evaluator: Mike Malone

Seconds: OLYMPIC CLUB 106 – San Mateo 7 Referee: Darren Folau

Silver playoff game:
SFGG 40 – South Valley 20 Referee: Bruce Carter

SF/Golden Gate 19 – EPA BULLDOGS 32 Referee: Jordan Bruno
ARs: Tony Levitan, Eric Rauscher
Great weather accompanied a great day of rugby Saturday on Treasure Island. SFGG would be playing for a berth in the playoffs, while the Bulldogs had already secured the first seed going into the match. SFGG played well, evidenced by their disciplined play and low penalty count. The Bulldogs’s scrumhalf was carded early for a high tackle on SFGG’s winger. Continued penalties kept SFGG in the game well into the second half when three repeated infringements at the ruck by the Bulldog’s defense led to a SFGG penalty try. Golden Gate was knocking at the door in the last minutes of the match following a Bulldog penalty for leaving feet at the ruck inside the SFGG 22. With little time left, the Bulldogs poached the ball, passed it wide, and ran back a try in the corner. The conversion was slotted from the sideline, ending the chance of an SFGG upset. Many thanks to Tony Levitan and Eric Rauscher for AR duties. And for all the Pelicans at the clubhouse following the match—Bruce, Mike, Tom, Tony, and Eric—I owe you a pint.

[Editor's Note: Why the pint? you ask. Well, Bryant Byrnes refereed a tie on the Fog pitch and thus had to buy the first round.

[As those were being drained, Mike Malone affirmed that Jordan had earned promotion the previous week. Attention to orders was called and a field promotion awarded. Thus: Jordan owed the next round.

[But Jordan hadn't enough cash and the ATM in the corner was kaput. Just as well - everyone needed to drive home - and a pint in the future is definitely worth more than a pint in the past.]

Seconds: SF/Golden Gate 36 – EPA BULLDOGS 37 Referee: Tony Levitan
AR: Eric Rauscher, Jordan Bruno (1st half)

D3 Bowl Final:
COLUSA 33 – Sacramento Blackhawks 19 Referee: James Hinkin

Fog White Devils 39 – Fog Black Mambas 39 Referee: Bryant Byrnes
After SJSU canceled for a second time, the Fog figured that the final match of the season on their home TI pitch would be intramural 10s. (While they seemed to have enough for 15s, they wanted to keep things moving with lots of substitutes.)

And back and forth it went all day. Black up initially, but then behind. With no time left, Black scores and ties the game-thus costing me about $30 at the SFGG bar when word got out to the other refs.

UC Davis 13 – ST. MARY’S 52 Referee: Craig Smith
ARs: Chris Tucker, Bruce Ricard
Evaluator: Kat Todd-Schwartz

Seconds: UC Davis – St. Mary's Referee: Chris Tucker
No report received.

Women's Grizzly Scrimmages Referee: Lois Bukowski
No report received.


AIR FORCE 68 – Arizona State 10 Referee: Phil Akroyd
ARs: Brian Zapp & Derek Summers
A beautiful day at Infinity Park for the early kick-off of the day. The game was pretty much one way traffic throughout but it still kept me busy. Even though they were winning comfortably for most of the game, Air Force insisted on displaying a lack of discipline in relation to law 10.4 (e), as well as being very sore winners. Two of USAR's finest officials were on the sideline (with radios) as my extra two-pairs of eyes.

When the game was out of the way we retired to the Try Club to take in Glendale v Highlanders and enjoy the banter with the locals. Time for a bite to eat and a couple of Harps before returning to the airport for the late flight home. A great day out.


Wednesday, April 18
JESUIT 57 – Fairfield Prep (CT) 21 Referee: Phil Akroyd
AR: Rich Boyer
The visitors managed to make this a competitive game for the majority of the first half, but their missed tackles, inferior tackle clear-out and static back play finally exposed them. Jesuit put the hammer down in the second half but they still appear to lack a pack leader, capable of instilling some discipline in the Marauder forwards.

High School Payoffs

April 21st, 2012 For Pete's Sake, Santa Rosa
SANTA ROSA 39 – Peninsula Green 7 Referee: Cary Bertolone
Kick off at 12:00 and it was over 80 degrees already; 87 degrees by the end of the game, and it was obvious that Peninsula Green was not used to the heat nor did they have as many subs as Rosa.

The game started out with a lot of penalties, especially on Peninsula Green for coming in from the side and high tackles. Rosa scored two tries close to the ten minute mark. Peninsula Green got a great converted try with their numbers 6, 7 and 4 working together with some power running to make it 12-7. Three minutes later, Rosa got an easy one when during their lineout, their 8 man grabbed the throw and ran right through green for a try to take away their momentum, making it 17-7 at the half.

I thought it was anyone's game as Green was making less mistakes than the earlier part of the game. The second half started out even, but Rosa made a long run and try and that made it 24-7. Shortly after, green's captain did ten minutes on the sidelines for a kicking offense and between the heat no one was used to, the dismal score and the playing down a man, Rosa began to take advantage. They used their speed to score two more tries and another easy lineout try to win going away, 39-7. Rosa has a phenomenal player in the back line that was Sonoma County's overall MVP in football (scoring 6 touchdowns in one game). He was a rookie in rugby at the beginning of the year, but has learned to also be a great rugger now, too. He sees the field and creates offense all game long. Wow!!!

Varsity Silver:
SFGG 40 - South Valley 20 Referee: Bruce Carter
High school playoffs seem to be underway - I offered to do a game, and then the opponent and the venue and the date almost changed at the last minute. Which is typical for this time of the year.

We ended up on Ray Sheeran Field at 11 AM on a beautiful day, sailboats blowing around the bay like hot dog wrappers at Candlestick Park.

This was a Boys Varsity Silver matchup between SFGG and South Valley. I used to do a lot of HS games, but my work schedule has picked up considerably since the market tanked and my 'retirement' vanished, so I'd only done two high school matches thus far this year and one of them was… South Valley hosting SFGG. So, a rematch. South Valley won the first time.

South Valley scored first and last but SFGG had their backs working like a drill team, interpassing, weaving, working their magic down the pitch.

We did have an appeal for 'held up' when a defender got his hand underneath the ball. Time for a little exposition.

Dirty little referee secret for our non-referee readers: you have to get more than a hand under it to hold it up, unless you have that hand in a fist or the hand is off the ground. The ball only has to be grounded and the grass is part of the ground - try it yourself: put the back of your hand on the ground and place a rugby ball on the palm. Push down on the ball. The ball will be grounded.

It was fun to do a well-played, fast game in front of an appreciative crowd. It's a shame when the season is over.

SILICON VALLEY 49 - Alameda 12 Referee: John Pohlman
TJs: Assistant Coaches from either team
I got a call from Silicon Valley coach Norm Boccone Tuesday asking if I was available to referee a wild card game between his team and Alameda on Saturday in Mt. View.

Winner keeps playing loser done. Sure but better check with our assignment guru. No worries from the Pelican Guru.

So Saturday I got to see some talented high school rugby players go full tilt from the middle.

I arrived at Whisman Sports Center in Mt. View, about fifteen minutes after leaving home, at 10:00 AM for an 11:00AM kick-off. Most of both teams players were already booted and warming up.

SV won the toss and elected to kick the ball. Their defense was outstanding the whole game, so I guess they wanted to start on defense from the get go.

Alameda scored first and converted the kick to go up 7-0. Silicon Valley scored the next two trys at 7 and 12 minutes. Three try s in the opening 15 minutes, the players were up for an open, flowing game.

At 17 minutes Silicon Valley was yellow carded for repeat offenses within their 22 meters. I had warned them 5 minutes earlier about penalties in the red zone.

Alameda scored another try five minutes into the sin bin.

Once SV was back at full strength they scored two more try s at 28 minutes and 30 plus. We were playing 30 minute halves in case of a tie, there would have time for overtime. At 29:30 Alameda had a scrum put in and lost the ball. SV scored and took the momentum from there.

Half time score SV 22 Alameda 12.

The second half saw SV's bigger players breaking tackles and rambling for 50 meter tries. SV scored 5 unanswered tries in the second half. These were wear-down trys. The smaller Alameda players could only bring down the bigger SV players for so long, #12 for Alameda being the exception. His tackling was outstanding.

Good luck in the next round.

Final Silicon Valley 49 Alameda 12

Bellarmine Vs Fairfield Prep (Connecticut) Referee: Bruce Ricard
The Bellarmine kids are amazing; they should receive a fair play award or something. They were respecting their opponents, and decisions of the referee, as I have rarely seen. The other team was also pretty good. Maybe it's actually because they were all 18...

The game seemed pretty balanced, both teams were playing good rugby, but Fairfield made a few defensive mistakes, and almost every time Bellarmine was scoring on those occasions. Bellarmine won this game with about 10 tries to 1.

SAN MATEO 34 – Elsie Allen 25 Referee: John Coppinger
Elsie Allen took on San Mateo Monday night at Burlingame High School.

Elsie Allen surprised the bigger and faster San Mateo Warriors with aggressive counter-rucking, smart (for the most part) kicking, and daring defense, which led to two first-half intercept tries and a 19-17 lead at the break.

San Mateo's power and pace made the difference in the second half, especially when Elsie Allen kicks began to find speedy and powerful San Mateo backs as San Mateo scored three second-half tries to Elsie Allen's one.


Brian Zapp and Phil Akroyd give two thumbs up to Infinity Park rugby. Photo by Gilligan.


For the Senate
Pelicus Scriptoris

Friday, April 20, 2012




Not this weekend, and not the next...but the one after, the first weekend in May.

May 4-5-6: the Northern California Invitational Tournament, for high school boys’ and girls’ teams, in Sacramento.

There will be four full playoff games on Friday afternoon between 3 and 6. Let us know if you can help out.

The tournament will be held on eight pitches, so a large flock of Pelicans will be needed. Games will be played from 9 – 7 on Saturday and from 9 – 3 on Sunday.

Please reply with your availability for this weekend event.


Two semi-finals and no final. Winners advance to Portland for the last-ever Pacific Coast playoffs. These would be Stanislaus and the Bay Area Chiefs.

Shasta 5 – STANISLAUS 13 Referee: Scott Wood
TJs: Dan Batdorf (Shasta), Paul Colyer (Modesto)
Location: Foothill High School, Palo Cedro, CA
Winner goes to Portland. Loser stays home and preps for next year.

A wet but relatively firm pitch. Not bad considering the rain that dropped in the Redding area over the previous week.

Modesto scored early as Laufilitonga Mahafutau aka Tonga powered through several defenders. Shasta countered with a try by Kyle Barthel who scored more on grass than soil but grass is ground so the try stands. Modesto scored a second try with Alex Mason stretching out to ground the ball with a defender tugging at his shirt in vain. All in the first twenty minutes.

Nick French wanted me to say something cool about him: Nick is a cool guy who, in addition to being a force to reckon, graciously accepted his penalty. Also, his wife takes great action photos.

Both teams were equal in the forward packs. Modesto was more adept in the backs and was able to maintain possession whereas Shasta was unable to string passes together. No more scoring occurred until Modesto's captain, Peter Martin, slotted a penalty goal with five minutes remaining in the match. Modesto could have scored at least one more try but the ball carrier mistook the five-meter line for the goal line.

Kudos to both teams for a well-contested match.

BAY AREA CHIEFS 23 – Reno 17 Referee: Dan Wilson
Evaluator: David Williamson
The D3 match of Bay Area Chiefs v Reno started off before the match with a very civil discussion regarding CIPP eligible players. Reno rightfully pointed out the rules and those on the Chiefs CIPP roster that were not registered prior to the cutoff date, and the BA Chiefs, after some questions, agreed to sit those players. Thankfully, it went well and the game was not going to be played with any protests. Played on a high school artificial turf in South San Francisco under beautiful skies, the game was plagued by ball handling error after ball handling error which could not be attributed to weather. The home team scored a penalty kick at the 4 minute mark and Reno countered with a penalty kick of their own at the 15 minute mark. At the 35 minute mark, Reno scored an unconverted try giving them the lead once again. The Chiefs lost their captain to a sin bin for a dangerous tackle with just under two minutes to play leaving them with a man down. The emotions on both sides were high throughout the first half but neither team went past the verbal disputes that come up during a playoff game. Halftime Score: BA Chiefs 8 – Reno 3

The second half had better ball movement by both sides with bouts of counter kicking. At least both teams started to move the ball more efficiently. The Chiefs scored an unconverted penalty try at the 55th minute due to Reno continually being not last foot inside the five-meter line on penalties. Reno countered again with a converted try at the 62nd minute. Not rolling away and last feet raised its ugly head again as the teams moved into the fourth quarter. The Chiefs were able to score another penalty kick and a converted try before Reno really started to put on the pressure. People from both teams spent time in the bin due to not last foot including a resulting penalty try for Reno at the 75th minute. The Chiefs were able to make a few line breaks and put the game out of reach in the 78th minute with a converted try. Reno was able to get the ball back in the final minutes but ball handling errors resulted in a scrum, which the Chiefs eventually kicked out of bounds. Final Score: BA Chiefs 23 – Reno 17.


Sierra Foothill forfeit to BLACKHAWKS

SF Fog 12 – COLUSA 29 Referee: Bruce Ricard
Both teams were very disappointed to have been disqualified by politics. Colusa only had 16 players at the pitch at kickoff time, 2 players arrived a bit later.

Beautiful day of rugby. The rain this week made the field soft, perfect to play rugby.

Colusa started very strong with a try at the first minute. The game was quite fair with not a lot of infringements. Two older players from FOG were strongly admonished once for foul play, and didn't do anything wrong anymore. Colusa scored two more tries during the half, and FOG one. 17 - 7 at the break.

Pretty much the same good game in the second half, Colusa scored 2 tries and Fog one.

[Editor’s Note: the cryptic reference to politics will have tingled the antennae of certain among our readership.

[The two top finishers in D3 advance to the last-ever Pacific Coast playoffs, which will be held in Portland April 21-22. The NorCal playoffs were to include quarterfinals on April 14, with teams 1-4 in the North and South portions of the division qualifying, and then semifinals for those games’ winners on April 21, to determine who goes to Portland… to play on the 21st.

[Someone realized that this wouldn’t work about two weeks ago. So there was an emergency schedule published with quarterfinals April 14 and semifinals April 15, with teams having to host on one-day notice and others having to travel as far as Redding, Reno or Stanislaus on that same one-day notice.

[This schedule died about the time it saw the light of day. The alternative was to forego the quarterfinals entirely and to have the first- and second-place teams cross brackets and play for an all-expenses due trip to Portland.

[Which left the third- and fourth-place teams to play for the Bowl. This is the ‘politics’ which left the Fog and Colusa out of the running: incompatible schedules in place for months with no-one noticing. ]

Pacific Coast playoffs this weekend, in Portland:

Men’s Club D2:
Seahawks-Snake River
Santa Rosa-ORSU in Portland

Men’s Club D3:
Bay Area Chiefs-Budd Bay


“The semifinals and finals of this weekend's National Small College Rugby Organization's division 3 championship will be broadcast on a tape delay basis. The competitors are Franciscan University (Steubenville, OH) vs. Salve Regina University (Newport, RI) and the University of North Florida (Jacksonville, FL) vs. Cal Maritime (Vallejo, CA).

“Cal Maritime upended Nebraska's Wayne State 29-12 this weekend to claim the final spot.”

The semi-finals are April 28 at Infinity Park in Glendale, Colo. They will be shown on Fox Soccer Plus. Read all about it:


Sacramento Capitals 17 –OLYMPIC CLUB 102 Referee: Phil Akroyd
AR: Ron DeCausemaker
A total of 119 points but not my game high (that was set in January of 2009 - Chico 129 to nothing over Mendocino), but I did get a possible record low on penalties. There were four in the first half, five in the second so obviously my management techniques are not effective.

Barbarians 19 – SFGG 43 Referee: Darren Folau
Report by AR Sandy Robertson
A close match for 50 minutes--7-7 at the break, matching tries early in the 2nd half SFGG began to maintain possession, move the ball wide, and score over the last 30 minutes. The Barbarians spent 20 of the last 30 minutes a man short, a result of bookings for 2 dangerous tackles and SFGG made them pay, in a wide-open, running match that was, other than the 2 cited tackles, played in good spirits, perhaps aided by visiting referee Darren Folau's calm refereeing and New Zealand accent

Seconds: Barbarians – SFGG Referee: Sandy Robertson
Ten of the Barbarians stayed on the field for 40 minutes of 10 a sides against SFGG's second side.

SAN MATEO 20 – Sacramento Lions 17 Referee: Preston Gordon
AR: Cary Bertolone
San Mateo HS, 1230
San Mateo kicked 2 penalty goals at 8' and 11' (running time), helped by a 45th-second yellow card to the Lions captain for a dangerous tackle that left us waiting 8 minutes for the medical professionals before continuing. The Lions replied at 20' with an unconverted try, then San Mateo got 2 more converted tries at 42' and 47' to lead 20-5 at halftime.

Sacramento Lions came out a little more fired up in the second half, and worked the ball around their backline well to get a winger into the corner. Just before he put the ball down for the try he was dangerously tackled by a San Mateo back, so the conversion was made easier for them by the penalty try, and the yellow card that followed couldn't have hurt their efforts either. Both sides were playing ferociously but fairly, the two earlier yellow cards apparently working.

San Mateo was ultimately able to hold out for the win, although they did allow one more converted try at 61' to make it 20-17 with about a quarter of the game left. Good defense and some nice counterattacking play off turnovers held sway for the rest of the game. The Lions had a couple of chances to tie the game with penalties near the posts but went for the try each time. With about 3 minutes remaining in the game, Sacramento's #22, who had been yapping at me from the moment he came onto the field ~10 minutes earlier, earned himself a yellow card for backchat and made his team's task that much harder. They kept up the pressure, spent but ultimately San Mateo recovered the ball and kicked it out as time expired.

I only ran 3.26 miles based on my GPS track, but I also noticed that we (I, but the idea is to be near the action, right?) spent most of the second half near the San Mateo goal line. That they were able to defend without conceding many more penalties or cards reflects well on their discipline. Things could well have been different. Also, many thanks to Cary for being a second pair of eyes on the touchline, in the right places at the right times.

Good luck to both sides in the playoff hunt!

Seconds: San Mateo 19 – SACRAMENTO LIONS 49 Referee: Cary Bertolone
Beautiful, sunny day on the artificial turf field in San Mateo; it actually felt a bit on the warm side (especially compared to the last several weeks). The younger San Mateo side was a bit overmatched by the older, larger Lion's second side, who toyed with San Mateo, playing at times like seven a sides. Lions scored 4 tries to 1 in the first half and scored 5 more in the second half while San Mateo had a slight rally by scoring 2 late ones for the final 49-19 score. A lot of laughing and good spirits by both sides!!

EPA BULLDOGS 60 – EPA Razorbacks 33 Referee: John Coppinger
AR: Pete Smith
Evaluator: Mike Youdin
It was a real track meet on the turf field at El Camino fields in Palo Alto with both teams looking to run. Although the score does not indicate it, Bulldogs won handily as Razorbacks scored all of their points in the last 20 minutes.

Chico State women – UC Davis
Seconds: Chico State – UC Davis
No reports received.

Chico 7 – SANTA ROSA 89 Referee: Rich Boyer
ARs: Giles Wilson, Jack Petty
I was provided the opportunity to referee the D2 Chico men v. Santa Rosa men match in between reffing the Chico women’s tourney. The pitch was absolutely horrible and it is a wonder nobody broke an ankle, much less even twisted one.

With ARs Giles Wilson and the estimable Jack Petty (10 year old certified AR) on the sidelines the game began. Chico have always been physical and they did not disappoint. Nonetheless Rosa were up for the challenge, and then some.

Rosa was up 12-0 with 16 minutes gone (and all of a handful of scrums and four penalties), but then the floodgates opened. They put on a display for the ages. Great forward and back play, super communication, and the ball did the work. Rosa 8 and 4 were noticeable in their open field running and catching the ball at pace while the backline was quick and accurate with passes. Rosa were up 47-0 at half.

Chico did not back down, and never gave up. But Rosa’s quick pace and various set piece plays, as well as second and third phase attacks, had Chico befuddled. Rosa scored try after try (with everyone getting in on the action), but Chico continued to play hard, and in good spirits. The big Chico flanker scored their only try after a series of good phases and ball swung wide.

Chico 12 exhibited great running skills and superb tackling, and Chico 6 did well at the breakdowns. Rosa 9 distributed quickly, and well, and scored a brace of tries.

Final score: 89-7.

Seconds: Chico 0 – SANTA ROSA 74 Referee: Mike King
Rosa kept rolling from its firsts right into the second side match, displaying the same strong running attack with excellent support. They were aided by the fact they were all fresh while many of Chico’s side was doubling up from the 1st game. The constant Rosa attack led to long running and passing movement s that accounted for 5 tries in the first half (3 converted) and 7 tries in the second half (4 converted). Chico gamely struck back at times, but just could not get across the try line. Best of all, the uneven playing surface did not lead to any major injuries.

Vacaville 5 –DIABLO GAELS 27 Referee: Rich Anderson

South Valley forfeit to FRESNO

BERKELEY 14 – Marin Reds 5 Referee: Jordan Bruno
Evaluator: Mike Malone
Sunny skies and a moderate temperature following a week of lightning and rain was a pleasant surprise. The vantage atop Witter Field in Piedmont was great, with landscape views of the San Francisco Bay and Oakland. A well contested match at half ended with Berkeley converting two tries and securing a much needed win. A few yellow cards were awarded for dangerous play throughout the match, but a warning halfway into the first half for repeated ruck infringements allowed for presentation of cleaner ball and a faster paced match. A great job by both sides, and especially Berkeley for dominating field possession during the second half which led to the win. Thanks to Bryant Byrnes and Mike Malone for their input during and following the match.

Seconds: Berkeley 17 – MARIN 22 Referee: Bryant Byrnes
Following a boffo first sides match on Piedmont High's narrow field, Marin took the (abbreviated) second match. Good clean and fun match, without complications or tears.

BERKELEY OLD BOYS 17 – Berkeley RFC 0 Ref: Byrnes
Another rump match, with the old so and sos showing the kids how it is done. A longer match would have some of these senior fellas into the ER, but hell, they won.

B.A. Baracus 18 – SAN JOSE SEAHAWKS 47 Referee: Tony Levitan
Evaluator: Dixon Smith
TJs: Rich from San Jose and Ben from Baracus
Who'd have thought that a Saturday preceded by so much crappy weather (my son's Thursday evening lacrosse game lasted only 1 minute 30 seconds due to lightning) would yield such a fine day for rugby. The Baracus pitch was surprisingly firm while simultaneously offering a different type of treacherousness given the colony of gophers who obviously reside underground the pockmarked natural grass layout. Where's Carl Spackler * when you need really need him?

The teams were both well organized and ready to go well before the 1pm kickoff. Baracus made the ill-fated choice to take the wind in the opening half, only to have to play into a more intense, persistent San Francisco afternoon breeze in the second half. The first half was tightly contested. The Seahawks surprised their hosts with a quick converted try barely 2-1/2 minutes in to jump out to a 7-0 lead. Baracus answered 24 minutes later off a strike taken against the head by their captain/hooker and well driven by their loose forwards to tie at 7. The first of two penalties put Baracus briefly in the lead before San Jose touched down for a converted try off a nifty four-man lineout play from near the Baracus 22 meter line. Another San Jose penalty deep in their own end set up Baracus' 2nd penalty kick, and the home side ended the half down 13-14.

Whatever the Seahawks coach said to his squad at halftime ought to have been captured for distribution on YouTube and use by every coach looking to right his squad. The Seahawks totally dominated the second half with five additional tries, four of which were converted by their strong-legged outside center. They scored in tight with multiple phase drives by their forwards, with well-synced backline handling, and off stout defense as well. While playing downwind aided their cause, they really just played quality, sound fundamental rugby. Baracus enjoyed a late try off some very impressive "we may be getting our butts beat on the scoreboard but we still have strong will" effort. Final tally, 47 - 18. The total nine tries made for an enjoyable day of rugby for all.

My appreciation to each side's TJ and especially to Dixon for his sage post-match counsel.

*Caddyshack reference for those of you under 35 or otherwise culturally impaired.

Seconds: Baracus – Seahawks

St. Mary's thirds 25 – SF STATE 27 Referee: Chris Labozzetta
Great game, equal number of tries by both teams, but was won on conversions.

CSUMB 53 – U. of San Francisco 0 Referee: Francois Nel
ARs: Bruce Carter, Ben Bravo

CSUMB seconds 28 – Monterey Bay/Aptos 19 Referee: Bruce Carter
AR: Ben Bravo
It is always a pleasure to see the progress that teams make in the course of a season. This is especially true when the players have little or no previous rugby under their belts, such as youth and high school teams, but also occurs to a greater or lesser degree with any team.

I've seen the Otters of Monterey Bay, who play ten miles from my house, three times this season and noted this trajectory.

Francois Nel refereed the first game so that he could play for his club side in the second one. I brought along my #1 AR, Ben Bravo, to help out on the line.

The home team was up two tries to nil at halftime in the first match, but then it rained trys afterwards; they could do no wrong.

However, my game pitted them against a men's club, although the Otters were supplemented by a coach and an old boy or two.

I think Aptos was surprised to be beaten. I know I was surprised to referee it.

It’s a sentimental journey for me: from the pitch you can see what used to be Silas B. Hays Army Community Hospital, where I worked for ten years. There I polished my craft and taught it to a half-generation of residents, including one Tom Coburn. It was a privilege to wear the green and serve our soldiers.

And now it’s a privilege to referee the best rugby union in the United States.

SACRAMENTO AMAZONS 58 – SF Fog 12 Referee: Lois Bukowski
12-0 at the half for the bruisers of Sacto, Fog threatened early 2nd half and tied it up but then it was multiple runaway trains for Sacto and they just kept on scoring.

Nevada women – scrimmage Referee: Russ Wilkening
Mine was only a scrimmage for the UNR women. Some Alumnae filled in to make it a contest.
Each scrum dropped the flankers as we didn't have 30 players. There were no posts and about 6 tries per side. It was well and evenly contested.

ST. MARY’S 20 – California 18 Referee: George O'Neil
ARs: Phil Akroyd, Pete Smith
4/5/6: Rob Hendrickson, Ron DeCausemaker, Bruce Carter
Evaluator: Mike Youdin

Report by Bruce Carter:
We’re guessing you’ve read about this one. Even arriving ninety minutes before kickoff didn’t mean you could park nearby. Find a spot, that’s what the gate guard said.

I found a spot at the center of the pitch on the south side. Being in charge of the technical zone has its benefits, and I sat alongside Bryan Porter who has seen many big games on the St. Mary’s pitch.

This one ranks up there.

Just an insight into the referee mindset for those non-referees among our readership. When an upset occurs in rugby every referee who hears of its first thought is: who refereed?

Let’s rack the memory: I recall Cal losing only four competitive games to US college opposition in the past twenty years. Stanford in 1996. Air Force in 2003. BYU in 2009. And now this one. Those refs would be Don Reordan, Mark Wheeler, Davey Ardrey and George O’Neil.

It was a wonderful game of rugger, a beautiful day, an appreciative crowd, and athletes who rose to the occasion to perform their best. The plot thickened, the pace quickened.

Fellow graybeards pitchside recalled that over the decades, there have been key fixtures that attracted the attention of the NorCal rugby community as a whole. Everyone has tales from the polo field in Golden Gate Park, from Pebble Beach, and other storied pitches. This game seems to have caught the attention of whole community, especially when it is played on a Sunday.

And it has repaid that attention well.

Seconds: St. Mary's 5 – CALIFORNIA 57 Referee: Phil Akroyd
ARs: Rob Hendrickson, Pete Smith
After running a track meet on Saturday and running on the A side game at St Mary's, combined with a two week injury lay-off, I was not at my sharpest. A dodgy knee and slight fatigue meant that I wasn't hitting each tackle as sharply as I could have. But we survived and Cal got payback from the A side game. Good to get a run on a great pitch with capable players and a couple hundred spectators for a B side game was refreshing.


Lee Salgado in Victoria:
Good rugby in Canada, eh?

I could tell it was going to be a rugby packed exchange as I was whisked from the airport directly to the pitch. Turns out it was a perfect week and weekend for an exchange as they were very short on referees. When I arrived on Thursday I refereed two high school boys’ games and ARed two others. There was a big high school 15's tournament going all which boasted a few international teams as well. Good rugby and eager minds. Afterwards my host, David Valentine, brought me to a very nice dinner at the Lt. Governors house to honor his old regiment. There was great food, kilts and bagpipes to welcome me to Canada and gave me a chance to really enjoy the heritage of the town (and yes I actually wore a dress). Friday was a Full day of rugby. In the morning it was back to the high school tournament, then from noon to about 7 pm I was at the local university for a high school 7's tournament which determined the qualifier for the next level of competition. It was such good rugby! Especially for high school! I forgot how fast teenagers were! I also got to meet some of the younger referees, one of which played for Canada on the U-19 squad. Considering Victoria is on the coast, I really lucked out on weather; it was sunny a beautiful for most of the trip. It really was beautiful from the coast line with the mountains of Washington in the background...but I digress. Saturday I was lucky enough to get a women's primer game (the first of my career!). It was between the Valox women and the local university team. I also found out during this game that I was the only female referee around so it was nice to pitch in with the ladies. My host took me out to the local watering hole that night and I got to meet more member of the referee society. We bonded on beer and musical bingo and I found them to be absolutely wonderful people. Sunday was supposed to be a light day tag teaming a fun old boys game, but the universe had other plans. As I had mentioned before they were short-handed that weekend and I ended up refereeing a D3 playoff game with the local old boys. As with most old boys games there was some whining and shenanigans, but all in all it was a great game. I guess they didn't hate me too much after the game as I was requested to be in the boat race post-game. I was also lucky enough to be assessed and watched every day I was in Victoria. The local assessor Keith Morrison was kind enough to come out and watch me; always very positive and very helpful.

It was a great trip with good people and lots of rugby, which is exactly what I need. It was also nice to do both 15's and 7's. The Victoria referees spoke highly of their exchanges with the Pelicans so I just wanted to thank everyone who hosted them before me as you laid the foundation for my amazing trip.

Eric Rauscher in Tucson:
TEMPE 24 – El Paso 19 Referee: Eric Rauscher
ARs: Jesse Gage, Rob Speers
#4: Tony Nichols
So I was going to visit my daughter in Tucson (she is doing a post-doc at University of Arizona) and Bruce gave me the contact person for games in this area, Sam Merrill (no relation to Frank). The Thursday before my trip I get an email from Sam saying that the ref that was going to do the playoff game at 1pm had bailed out so I was assigned to the game. Not a bad assignment for just being in the area. The game was at Estevan Park in Tucson. The field is full-sized and correctly lined and posted and is only used for rugby in the area. It had rained the night before and had let up by the time of the game, so the pitch was moist but firm. The sky had patchy clouds with windy conditions, i.e. almost perfect conditions for rugby.

Both teams were on the pitch and ready to go by the 1pm start time. Tempe jumped out to a lead with a penalty kick 2 min into the game, followed by a converted try by El Paso at 7min. At that point I was pretty sure that this was going to be a good game. At about this point in the game I heard a comment come in from the El Paso side saying that Tempe were already tiring. I did not see that but perhaps they were just thinking ahead (or hopefully). Play went on with a non-converted try by Tempe at 16 min, then another penalty kick at 28 with El Paso ending the period with a converted try at 32 min. Half time score 13/14

After a quick talk with my ARs and a little bit of Gatorade, I noticed that both teams were on the field and ready to go after only 4/5 min.

The second half saw Tempe pretty much dominating the scrums and putting up eleven more points (two PK and an unconverted try).

El Paso never gave up and battled their way to finish off the game in the last seconds of the game with well-orchestrated play by their forwards for a final try.

Tempe seemed to me to have the edge when it came to skilled play, but El Paso defiantly had the edge when it came to fitness and physicality.

All in all it was a well-played game by two good teams with one winning

My thanks go out to Sam Merrill for assigning me the game, my two ARs that helped me out with crucial calls during the game and my #4 who saved me from having to keep track of all that sub stuff.

Tom Zanarini in Portland:
Pacific Coast D2 men's 'play-in' match
ORSU 43 – Haggis 10 Referee: Tom Zanarini
Assistant Referees: DJ Heffernan, Mary Castle
Location: 'The Farm' Portland, OR

An early flight to Portland got me out of bed at 4:40am on Saturday to catch my 7:00am flight. Once at the terminal I learned my flight was delayed until 8:30am. The pilots needed their required rest after continuous delays and were legally forbidden from departing the gate until that time. At least that was the excuse. So, my early morning tour of Portland was canceled. I arrived at 10:20 and was met at the terminal by Mary, one of my AR's for the day. We drove into town to collect DJ, our other AR and head straight to 'The Farm.' This is not an ironic name, like at Stanford. The field, owned by ORSU, is on the inner edge of the development boundary surrounding Portland. Built onto the side of a hill and right next to the interstate. Hey, they own it, so no complaining here. The teams were contesting the last slot for the D2 Pac Coast playoffs, so I was prepared for a good fight. Happily, both teams were on 'playoff' behavior, avoiding any back talk or questioning of calls. Haggis was equally matched to ORSU, but let a lot of loose ball get into ORSU's hands. The two Haggis tries were from steady ruck platforms at in-goal, a strategy they probably should have used throughout the match, given their sizable pack. Also, lots of blood subs in this match, I believe 4 total. One ORSU player will definitely require staples in the head. One penalty try was awarded to ORSU for the Haggis #12 tripping an ORSU player just at the in-goal while chasing the ball. Didn't we just cover that Wednesday at our meeting? No questions here. 10 minutes in the bin. Congratulations to ORSU for continuing their season. I believe they play Santa Rosa next week. They will have their hands full with the Nor Cal #1 seed, that's for sure.

After the match Mary had a golf date with her husband so I was left in good care with DJ and his partner Monica. They treated me to a juicy burger and 2 local IPA's (3 drinks, total. The 2nd IPA was exceptionally delicious) at a corner Saloon. Forgive me for forgetting the name, but it might actually be the Corner Saloon. Time allowed for one more beer on DJ's front porch to soak in the sun and some great rugby conversation. To the airport and home by 10:30pm. Many thanks to Mary and DJ for their AR skills and generous hosting. Great way to spend a Saturday.


SANTA ROSA 24 – Elsie Allen 5 Referee: Cary Bertolone
At Cardinal Newman High School in Santa Rosa, it was cold and windy following several down pours in the late afternoon. Annual Jessie Williams Bowl in tribute to a fallen soldier in Iraq in 2007 (who was an Elsie Allen rugby alumnus). 7:00 PM kickoff with a sizeable audience, Elsie immediately went on the attack with aggressive play and scored a try in the corner at the nine minute mark. Their intensity continued, but Rosa started to amp up and they made a break by their outside center and scored a long one to tie it at 17 minutes. Another try gave Rosa the halftime lead 10-5. Rosa started taking over the game in the second half and despite fierce Elsie defense that lead to three "held up" almost tries, Rosa punched in two second half converted tries and won the game convincingly, 24-5.

JV: Rosa 5 – Elsie Allen 10 Referee: Chris Curtis
The younger kids had a free for all, competitive game that looked fun for all as muddy rugby was the name of the game. Great effort by a lot of younger up and coming rugby players. Finished at 9:50PM.

JV: ELSIE ALLEN 41 – Fairfield Prep 19 Referee: Mike King
A near perfect day for rugby at For Pete’s Sake field, as Elsie Allen played their less experienced, more youthful side against the visitors from Connecticut. This time, the pendulum swung clearly in the favor of the hosts after being bested convincingly in the 1st side match. The Lobos seemed to dominate the entire first half, only conceding one try on a penalty that was spun wide for an overlap. The beginning of the 2d stanza seemed more of the same, but some strong running, particularly by Fairfield’s #14, and a nifty pop kick by its #15, led to 2 trys. Fairfield seemed on its way back into the match, only to allow long attacks by the Lobos, to re-establish the margin. Both programs have a lot to look forward to as these players mature and gain experience.

MARIN HIGHLANDER 33 – Bishop O'Dowd 0 Referee: John Coppinger
O'Dowd had their chances, but the support play was lacking and Marin dominated the set piece.

Girls U19 tourney in Chico
Referees: Giles Wilson, Rich Boyer, John Villanueva, Mike King, Anthony Nguyen, Mark Godfrey, JC van Staden
No reports received.


For the Senate
Pelicus Scriptoris

Wednesday, April 11, 2012




Our last meeting for the 2012 season will be tonight, April 11, from 7 to 9 at the SFGG clubhouse.

Plan to arrive early – at or after 6 – for dinner and rugby conversation. That way, if traffic intervenes, you still won’t be late and you’ll still get to eat.

From Tom Zanarini:

The 2012 jerseys are ordered, emerald green with navy shoulder panels w/ sky piping, navy collar & gold CCC logo. Same jersey design as the current generation.

If you refereed 5 assigned matches through the NCRRS, then you qualify for a jersey, gratis. Shorts and socks are also ordered and will be for sale separately when they arrive.

Some have requested the Canterbury shorts in black and white. Are any other referees interested in getting the shorts (with pockets) in these colors? A minimum of 20 shorts per color are required to place an order.

Please let me know at


The first-ever NCYRA U14 championship tournament will be held in Dixon on Sunday, April 15.

Please let David Williamson know if you would be able to help out with refereeing:

From Max Barnard:

Just to say a huge, huge thank you for the exchange. Got home safe and my sunburn has just about disappeared.

Really enjoyed my stay, Eric (Rauscher) and Rich (Boyer) were excellent hosts and it was lovely to meet the families – honestly both Richard (Parrish) and I were blown away with the hospitality and the amount of effort made for us. I can’t think of a single person I met associated with the society who I wouldn’t happily go for a beer with. Yosemite was a real highlight, it’s a beautiful spot in an amazing State and I feel very privileged to have seen it.

On a rugby side, thanks for the games. The standard was great, I’d put them at Level 5 so a really good challenge for me and I really enjoyed it. The Islander game in particular gave me a challenge I’ve never had before and I think I managed ok. Would you like me to put together some reports for the games? I know it’s a bit late but I’ve still got my notes somewhere.

It’s hard to say thank you enough because everyone was so great – amazing to see rugby developing like it is. Rich really impressed me with the club he’s creating in Sacramento, grass roots is the future.

Look forward to seeing who you guys send over (in September) – I’ve got the time booked off!


If you’d like to take advantage of the hospitality due our referees in September – and the fact that the NCRRS will be paying for flights – let us know if you’d like to be considered for the exchange.


U8 final: weather abandon

U10 Light:
Lamorinda (1st)
Carmichael (2nd)

U10 Open:
Lamorinda (1st)
Los Gatos (2nd)

U12 Light:
Lamorinda (1st)
Seahawks (2nd)

U12 Open:
Martinez (1st)
Land Park (2nd)


SFGG OLD BOYS 51 – Faded Roses 36 Referee: Bruce Bernstein
Three 20-minute periods featured 16 tries making for an exciting fast paced zero cheap/dirty play or players.

Rosa held up matching tries until midway into the 2nd period when Gate's endurance kicked in. It also helped that their scrumhalf was about half the age of the Rosa players & he & their flyhalf, Tim Dibble had a field day; offsetting the top 7's player in history visiting with Rosa from Fiji via Seattle & his 6-3 260 lbs.outside center he set up for their first try & numerous other bursts, since he was as fast as he was big.

MVPs for both teams were their casting dept.; & Fred Forrester for helping me keep track of the score as he played wherever he wanted.

[Editor’s Note: Cary Bertolone played in and enjoyed the game, saying especially that scrumhalf he loaned his headgear to was really good, scoring a try after doing a cartwheel with one hand into the in-goal.

[Incredulous observers had to tell him the name of the scrumhalf, who has two World Cup Sevens titles to his credit.]

SF/Golden Gate 36 – OPSB 60 Referee: Nick Ricono
ARs: John Pohlman, Bruce Carter
Evaluator: Kat Todd-Schwartz
The difference here was in sheer pace. OPSB first emerged onto the national stage by winning four national Sevens titles in the late eighties-early nineties. Looks like this team could send their backs, along with their #6, and win another.

They had a 12-minute purple patch between minutes eight and twenty of the second half, running in four tries to account for the difference in the scoring.

East Palo Alto Razorbacks 21 – PROVO STEELERS 28 Referee: Preston Gordon
Evaluator: Mike Malone

SANTA CLARA 23 – Sacramento State 20 Referee: James Hinkin
ARs: Bryant Byrnes, John Pohlman
Wow. 2 teams sitting with identical records at the top of the table. Winner takes all for a shot at the national playoffs. An electric atmosphere and a crowd that knew it was all or nothing and the game did not disappoint – it came down to the last play... 3 times.

The stage was set as I drove up I could hear the roar of the crowd. Just over 10,000 voices raised up to cheer on the local heroes... too bad that was for the Earthquakes soccer match over at Buck Shaw. At Bellomy Field there was a good crowd on the sidelines who were there to show their support for the Game That Is Played In Heaven.

Both teams ready to go early and with ARs miked up there was a playoff feel to the match. With the opening kick the players responded to that feeling and never let up for the entire 80 minutes. Santa Clara opened the scoring with an unconverted try and Sac St was able to answer with their own. The teams traded tries again for a 10-10 halftime score but that wasn’t the story of the game.

2 factors determined the outcome: injuries and kicking. Neither side could steer the oval ball through the uprights in the first half. Particularly damaging, in light of the final score, was a penalty kick taken by Sac St from 25 meters directly in front that struck the left upright and rebounded out about 10 meters. Unfortunately for the visitors, nobody was chasing the kick so Santa Clara had an easy time of fielding the rebound and clearing their line. Injuries were mounting up as well as Santa Clara lost both their starting centers and Sac St lost their influential captain and scrumhalf all in the opening 20 minutes.

The second half started with the same intensity as the first as a sense of urgency crept in to the player’s heads. Santa Clara was able to get their kicking sorted out and kicked a pair of penalties to give themselves a 6 point cushion. Sacramento’s #5 started slicing through the Santa Clara line at will and ripped off a couple of long breaks only to be stopped by fine tackles from the SC fullback. Sac St was able to get a try from these line breaks but still couldn’t get their kicking sorted out so Santa Clara maintained a 1 point lead. Then Sacramento’s second devastating injury occurred and their #5 went down to an ankle injury and had to leave the game. Sacramento had now lost their two best players on the day and were looking to recover from this loss. Sensing blood Santa Clara was able to put a converted try on the board to extend the lead to 8 points leaving Sac St needing 2 scores to win. In true playoff fashion they regrouped and put enormous pressure on the Santa Clara line, finally breaking through after a series of pick-and-go moves by the forwards resulted in the inevitable try. The rather simple conversion was missed yet again and so there remained a 3 point deficit.

3 minutes to go. 3 points separating. To quote a certain Scottish football manager, it was squeaky bum time.

Sacramento gained possession from the restart and started moving closer and closer to their goal, They worked the ball into the attacking 22 and were sensing points, but unfortunately a knock on ended the series. I looked at my watch and saw :30 remaining so I announced “final play”. Santa Clara with the put in and all they need is to win their scrum and kick the ball out. The scrum engages and Sac St puts a season’s worth of pressure on it. The scrum turns. It turns some more. It turns beyond the perpendicular and I whistle a turnover – Sac St put in. The Hornets get ready to engage while Santa Clara prepares their defense. The engage is called and the ball goes in. The Sac St tighthead, apparently trying to ensure possession, drops his bind again (he was warned about this earlier in the match) and then drives in and up on the Santa Clara loosehead. Whistle. Penalty kick to Santa Clara for violation of Law 20.9.i and 20.3.d. Santa Clara kicks the ball into touch and the game is over.

Final Score: Santa Clara 23 – Sacramento St 20

Seconds: Santa Clara 28 –SAC STATE 31 Referee: Bryant Byrnes
I have had some close games this season, but this was the closest and the best. Following the also close first side match (which decided the D1 championship), these young men came to play.

Slow starting- 10 -7 at half- the teams sorted it out and for the final 40 came at each other with knives. Different rugby cultures, different styles of play. Clara mostly kept it in pack, and the Hornets decided to swing it wide. And letting the fancy boys in the backline worked for Sac.

They scored the last two tries- including the winning try at full time.

Stanford women seconds 19 – AMAZON U19, 34 Referee: Bruce Carter
AR: Ron DeCausemaker
After a one-month winter in March, April 7 might as well have been summer: low scudding clouds, incisive sunshine etching shadows across the landscape, breezes that inspired shedding rather than adding layers.

Lots of Stanford teams appeared to be playing at home. Unless you had parking karma, or a secret spot tucked away under the trees somewhere, you had a moderate hike to the pitch.

The Amazons controlled most of the possession and Stanford usually required several tacklers per player to stop their forays. This math doesn’t work after several phases, and so our try count was six to three, despite Stanford having some good runners themselves.

I had to high-tail it to Treasure Island to AR for a game beginning ninety minutes later and didn’t get to shake the captains’ hands. This is to let them know that I enjoyed the game and working with their players, and wish them luck while looking forward to seeing them on a pitch again down the road.

STANFORD 33 – Chico State 15 Referee: Dan Wilson
AR: Ron DeCausemaker, Sandy Robertson
Evaluator: Dixon Smith

The drive up from the Valley to the peninsula was beautiful on Saturday with the hills green and the roads empty. Everyone must have either been home or already at their Easter destination since I had smooth sailing from Fresno to Palo Alto. I was scheduled to referee the Stanford Men’s A v Chico St Men’s A, but when I stopped in Gilroy, I happened to check my emails and one from Stanford asking for coverage of the B side match was in my inbox. I stated that it would get covered which pretty much volunteered me to do two full games. Thankfully, the A sided match was first and it was during that game I was to be evaluated.

With perfect rugby weather on a perfect rugby pitch, the A side game kicked off on time. Both teams were feeling out the other, but Stanford was able to make more of Chico States mistakes by countering with either long runs or multi-phased pieces. It was not until the 20th minute that Stanford was able to touch down in the try zone with a converted try, but they had pressed several times previously in the quarter. They continued to keep the gas throttle on full with two more converted tries (22nd and 25th minutes) as well as an unconverted try in the 36th minute. All through the first half, Chico State would do some nice ball movement but a handling error or an errant pass would result in a score or a scramble tackle inside Chico’s 22-meter line. By halftime, it looked as if it would continue to be a long day for Chico by everything going right for Stanford. Halftime Score: Stanford A 26 – Chico State A 0

The halftime “motivational” speech by the Chico State coaches obviously helped because they immediately cut out most of the errant passing and simple mistakes which resulted in unconverted tries in the 44th , 54th and 58th minutes. Chico St was putting nice phases together as they had in the first half, but finally they were able to finish. With the final quarter to come, Chico State had put themselves back into the game and seemed to have momentum and confidence. During the final quarter, the match continued to be played at a high level marred by some frustration. Stanford was at one point down to 13 men with two men in the sin bin for striking the body and dangerous tackle, but they stepped up and while not scoring being down the players, they were the more dangerous of the two teams. With just under ten minutes left, Chico State had their captain sent off for the same striking bin that Stanford had previously, which left them to finish the game with only 14 men. Stanford was able to capitalize and put the icing on the game with a converted try at the 75th minute. Final Score: Stanford Men’s A 33 – Chico State Men’s A 15.

Thank you to Sandy Robertson and Ron DeCausemaker for being my ARs, and to Dixon Smith for evaluating me and passing along a few ways to tweak my game.

Seconds: Stanford 17 – CHICO STATE 59 Ref: Wilson
After just stepping off the pitch from the fast paced, competitive A side match, I had just finished talking to Dixon when I looked back onto the pitch and both teams were ready to go. After talking to the captains while chugging down some water, we were ready to play. The B-side game was not a lot like the A-side in the manner of being dominated by Chico State from the kick off. Chico State spun the ball well with good support resulting in their three converted tries in the first half to Stanford’s one unconverted tries. Halftime Score: Stanford Men’s B 5 – Chico State Men’s B 21

The second half was more of the same with Chico State scoring six tried, four of which were converted. Stanford was able to put together some nice plays resulting in two tries, once converted, but overall, the score showed the domination demonstrated on the pitch. I would like to commend the players on both teams and the coaching staff for showing great rugby spirit and etiquette even though the game was lopsided. Final Score: Stanford Men’s B 17 – Chico State Men’s B 59.

Stanford thirds 12 – SAN JOSE STATE 72 Referee: Sandy Robertson
In an end of season friendly a mix of Stanford III's and the grad student side was no match for a young San Jose State side whose rugby skills are beginning to match their athleticism. San Jose broke Stanford's line often on the way to scoring 12 tries. Stanford kept plugging away and got 2 in the 2nd half.

SF STATE 43 – Sacramento College 5 Referee: Chris Labozzetta
Referee Coach: David Williamson
No report received. (Score from the coaching report.)

SF Fog women 10 – California 10 Referee: Bruce Ricard
Summer day on Treasure Island. Very nice game of rugby, few infringements, motivated players. Fog scored a try after 12 minutes, and Cal scored theirs at the 31st. Nothing else but a missed penalty kick in the first half (5 - 5). In the second half both teams scored a try at the 30th and 34th minutes, both scored by their fastest players, who are really fast!

At Chico State, Friday and Saturday
Women's D1 college Playoffs

Chico State advances to the round of sixteen USA Rugby playoffs, which will be held at Stanford on April 21-22. Stanford and Cal will both be in the same pool of four, with UCLA.

CHICO STATE 36 – UC Santa Barbara 19 Referee: Preston Gordon
AR: Dave Ellis

UC Davis 12 – COLORADO STATE 27 Referee: JC van Staden
AR: Dave Ellis

Consolation: UC Santa Barbara – UC Davis Bruno
No report received.

Championship: CHICO STATE 14 – Colorado State 9 Referee: Chris Tucker
ARs: Mark Godfrey, John Villanueva
4th: Jordan Bruno

Entertaining game between 2 sides trying to earn their seat in the sweet 16s at Stanford. Chico State made the best of their chances, with one gimme when the centre was tackled, released, stood up, regathered and ran forward in one slick motion, only for the Colorado State defenders to stand watching as she sprinted for the goal line. I called to play on, but the delay was enough to get her over the line.

The visitors were down by 1 after 2 penalties in response, and worked their way down to the 5m. There then ensued a to-the-letter cavalry charge. I've never liked the definition, which is more of an example than a definition "it usually happens near the goal line", and attacking players are "usually a meter or two apart". A simple definition that says 'players must not charge before the ball is tapped' would be easier to understand. As it was, they could have read the law book and decided to do exactly as described. Turnover penalty, Chico clears.

Chico State did their best to keep it level, with three players seeing yellow for high tackles, and this after a first one that was marginal that I did not card for. The last one was perhaps not worthy of a yellow on its own, but after two others had already walked, the third was bound to follow. But they did just enough to keep in front until the end.

Thanks to my assistants and Jordan who stuck around after his game to keep tabs on the subs and bins for me.

At Humboldt State, Saturday and Sunday
Women’s D2 college playoffs
(No reports received. Scores from

HUMBOLDT STATE 50 – Western Washington 12

Consolation: UC Santa Cruz – Western Washington

Championship: WASHINGTON STATE 26 – Humboldt State 0

At For Pete's Sake, Saturday and Sunday
Pacific Coast men’s D2 college playoffs

SIERRA COLLEGE 33 – Idaho State 7 Referee: Eric Norgate (Utah)
ARs: Tom Zanarini, Mike King

SANTA ROSA JC 22 – Utah Valley State 17 (Overtime) Referee: Pete Smith
ARs: King, Zanarini

Consolation: UTAH VALLEY STATE 57 – Idaho State 18 Referee: Eric Norgate
Mike ARs: Mike King, Cary Bertolone

Championship: SIERRA COLLEGE 29 – Santa Rosa JC 7 Referee: Pete Smith
Mike ARs: King, Bertolone


No high school reports received this past week.


For the Senate
Pelicus Scriptoris

Wednesday, April 04, 2012




Our last meeting for the 2012 season will be next Wednesday, April 11, from 7 to 9 at the SFGG clubhouse.

Plan to arrive early – at or after 6 – for dinner and rugby conversation. That way, if traffic intervenes, you still won’t be late and you’ll still get to eat.


We have 22 refs available for 22 games on April 14. That won’t work – things always happen, games appear, refs disappear. Plus, there’s a tournament that day that the 22-game total does not include.

We could use at least another six refs. Let us know if you can help.


The first-ever NCYRA U14 championship tournament will be held in Dixon on Sunday, April 15.

Please let David Williamson know if you would be able to help out with refereeing:


Pelicans will be refereeing three of the four top college division quarter-finals on May 5, each hosted by the team that wins the conference listed:

Davey Ardrey - East
Aruna Ranaweera - West
Craig Smith - Pacific
Paul Bretz – Mid-South

Congratulations are in order.


Thursday, March 29
SF/Golden Gate 5 – CUBA 104 Referee: Jordan Bruno
ARs: Preston Gordon, Bruce Bernstein
Videographer: David Williamson
A blitz from the start as the Argentinians came as part of the US tour to challenge SFGG's DI side. SFGG had players arriving late, as the game was played on a Thursday after work, while the Argentinians had been gearing up all week for the match--it certainly showed. CUBA scored early and often, rarely being held behind the gain line when attacking. They played scrappy but fast, running at pace and with support. Early scrums were contested well but with banter from props for binding and boring--it was something that needed monitoring throughout and led to a few penalties. A great game to be a part and thanks to David Williamson, Gordon Preston, and Bruce Bernstein for helping out.

ALL BLUES some – California 5 Referee: Bryant Byrnes
Under the lights at Witter's Field on Thursday night, the youngsters played the oldsters in a scrimmage with two 25-minute halves. The All Blues (who for some reason were the Skittles for this event) generally kept the ball in with the pack, which made for bruising, multi-phase play-and points.

To their credit, the Bears tackled the bigger Skittles, and tackled, and tackled. It was a good tune-up for post season play.

SF/GOLDEN GATE 40 – Denver Barbarians 24 Referee: Aruna Ranaweera
Assistant Referees: Phil Akroyd, Eric Rauscher
Performance Reviewer: Kat Todd-Schwartz
The sun came out just in time for SFGG's super league home opener which was also played for the inaugural Papa Naqica Cup. SFGG led 19-12 at half with Denver staying close thanks to some opportunistic breaks. In the second half, both teams moved the ball all over the field, but they also squandered scoring opportunities. In the end, SFGG won by 6 tries to 4. Much thanks to Phil and Eric for their assistance during the game and Kat for her feedback after the game.

Sacramento Capitals 22 – SFGG 29 Referee: Chris Tucker
Wet, breezy, muddy. Fill in the rest. Kick, chase, knock-on, scrum, pileup.

A couple of points of note. The first was the yellow card I gave the Caps' #6. After pinging him three times (twice called, once immaterial) for playing on the ground I called him and captain over and had a quick word to the effect that he shouldn't appear on my radar again. Not 30 seconds later, there he was. Captain (and sometime referee) Tyler Harrison was not kind in his assessment of the flanker's thought process on this one, and off he went. He was matched later by Gate's inside centre, who chose to lie on top of the ball at 1m from his own goal line. Another easy decision for 10.

The best try of the day was scored by the visitors, who in the second half set up a wonderful driving maul that went from halfway to inside the 22, and with the defence sucked in, the backs had only not to knock-on as they spun it out to the wing. Their nerve held.

All credit to the Caps who are having a tough season, it was still tied up after 75 minutes, and the thoughts of the banquet with a tied game were getting stronger. But Gate kicked deep over the covering winger's head, chased hard, collected and beat some desperate defence to score and relieve my credit limit.

OLYMPIC CLUB 63 – Barbarians 5 Referee: Craig Smith
AR: Tom Zanarini

Seconds: OLYMPIC CLUB 47 – Barbarians 15 Referee: Tom Zanarini
(Scores may be approximate.)

EPA Razorbacks 17 – SAN MATEO 25 Referee: George O'Neil
AR: Tim Lew
Showers on and off prevented a free flowing game but some great passages of play did emerge. EPA was young but not afraid of the contact. San Mateo a bit older and bigger won the game with experience and good leadership. It was a fun day, thank you to both teams.

Seconds: EPA Razorbacks 30 – SAN MATEO 51 Referee: Tim Lew
In East Palo Alto, San Mateo vs EPA was a loose but hard-fought game. San Mateo played fast and quick but EPA scored some breakaway tries. Late in the second half, SM brought on some more experienced players and ran away with in the end.

EPA BULLDOGS 23 – Sacramento Lions 6 Referee: Max Barnard
AR: Pete Smith, Bruce Ricard

Seconds: EPA Bulldogs 22 –SACRAMENTO LIONS 24 Referee: Pete Smith
My game was 24-22 in favor of Sac Lions.

It was a 30 minute first half and a 20 minute second half. It has been a long time since I have heard so much laughter during a game. Played in good spirits, with very few players actually trying…should have just had a game of touch.

Last week cancelled, this week 50 least this weekend looks good!

Marin 0 – DIABLO 25 Referee: Stephanie Bruce
AR: Sean Peters
Evaluator: Dixon Smith

Seconds: Marin – Diablo Gaels CANCELED

Fresno 21 – SANTA ROSA 24 Referee: Dan Wilson
Fresno 21 – Santa Rosa 24
The season for DII is drawing closer to the end and I had been fortunate enough to draw the heavy weight match of the weekend, Fresno hosting Santa Rosa. These teams met twice last season, once in the regular season and once in the Elite 8. Both of those times it was a slug fest and a close outcome. The teams may have a few different people in different positions, but it was still Fresno v Santa Rosa.

The weather man said the rain and heavy winds would hold off until approximately 2 PM, but who trusts those guys anyway. The pitch that Fresno chose to play the match on was the local park on which the U-19 teams play due to their normal pitch being booked months in advance for a soccer tournament. Aside from burned lines that were for a smaller field and a large cement footing for a field light being 2 meters from one of the sides, the field was perfect…keeping in mind the large, hard dirt patches throughout the pitch. Hey, we’ve all played on worse. Thankfully, the ice cold rain didn’t start until just prior to the B side match.

Santa Rosa kicked the ball off and due to a mistake by Fresno handling the ball and some great overload passing, Santa Rose scored an unconverted try at the first minute. Kicking off again to Fresno, it looked like it was going be a long day for Fresno boys. In minute eight, Santa Rosa scored a converted try. Then, in the seventeenth minute, they scored another converted try. Yep, with not even 20 minutes having passed in the game, Santa Rosa was up 19-0. Everything Santa Rose seemed to do worked and even if Fresno could kick the ball to relieve pressure, the boys from the north just put more pressure back. It wasn’t until the second quarter that Fresno started to rally by keeping control of the ball and playing stout defense. Just before halftime, in the 36th minute, Fresno scored its first converted try. Halftime score: Fresno 7 – Santa Rosa 19.

The second half seemed to be an absolutely different game. Fresno scored converted tries in both the 45th and 55th minute, actually taking the lead for about ten minutes. As the reputation proceeded itself, the slugfest showed up. The final three quarters of this game had some fantastic hits, great runs and seemed as if two bears were fighting for territory. Wait, that’s what it was, actually. Santa Rose finally got back into the try zone in the in the 65th minute, taking the lead back again by three points. Fresno had a penalty at the final minute just inside Santa Rosa’s ten-meter line and there was a quick debate of either kicking a penalty kick and tying the game or going for the win. A tap was chosen and the attempt to win was taken. Unfortunately, the movement did not lead to the try zone and Santa Rosa ended on top. Final Score: Fresno 21 – Santa Rose 24.

Seconds: Fresno 0 – SANTA ROSA 65 Referee: Bill Long
So 2 weeks ago I did a match before the A sides, rain. Ran touch for the A sides, dry. This week ran touch for the the A sides, dry. Refereed the B sides, rain. Is this how you break new guys in?

Santa Rosa had plenty of fit players and Fresno did not. With the loss of a prop to end the first half and sloppy conditions it looked like Fresno was doomed, and they were. They came out to start the second half with all cylinders firing and then proceed to run out of gas. 4 unconverted tries and 2 converted for 34 to 0 at half. 5 more tries with 3 conversions for the finish. 1 yellow card for #0 Santa Rosa for a dangerous tackle and at that point the field was fast earning lake status, the fans were wet and cold, and the players wanted some beers. Called it a day.

Chico 19 – SEAHAWKS 57 Referee: Preston Gordon
The driving rain and howling wind on the way out of the city gave way to overcast skies once I hit I-505, and the drizzle stopped right before kickoff. The only effect of the weather was on the pitch, which was very soft underfoot. Chico and San Jose traded 2 tries each in the first ~10 minutes of the game, then San Jose ran away with it, scoring 3 more in the first half and 4 more in the second, while Chico only managed one more in the second half. Despite the lopsided scoreline it was a fun game to referee and everyone was pretty happy afterwards. Thanks to the two guys on the touchlines, who did a great job.

I got out of town in the middle of a hail storm, and was only an hour late to the banquet. Those of you who left early, or who couldn't come, missed the karaoke fun!

B.A. BARACUS 51 – Berkeley 5 Referee: Chris Labozzetta
It was a very cold, windy, rainy Saturday with at 9:30am start. Despite a frozen ref, and bad conditions, the game was actually pretty well played from the standpoint that there was good ball movement and not a lot of drops.

In the end, Baracus was the stronger team, but both teams performed well under adverse conditions.

Seconds: BARACUS 12 – Berkeley 5 Referee: Cary Bertolone
It was raining pretty hard and the wind was 20 miles an hour off the bay at the Berkeley all turf fields off of Hwy 80. Miserable if you were standing around.

Great 2nd side game; everyone was in good humor and the players were having fun. Baracus scored first for a 7-0 lead, Berkeley had a 50 meter center try, but missed the conversion. Minutes later, Baracus made the missed conversion meaningless as they scored another try to win the game 12-5.

VACAVILLE 28 – South Valley 14 Referee: Jordan Bruno
Wet conditions on the day led to many scrums and a limited number of breaks in the backline for each side. Both teams played well on defense and in support. A high tackle at the end of the first half led to a yellow for the inside center of south valley. Vacaville came back with two more tries in the second half as South Valley lacked the fitness to keep up.

Seconds: Vacaville – South Valley Ref: Bruno
The second sides from each team played tens for fun and had a good run.

Siskiyou 0 – SHASTA 71 Referee: Kevin Parks (PNRRS)

Mendocino Steam Donkeys 17 – HUMBOLDT OLD GROWTH 18 Referee: Tony Levitan
Back story: I find out a couple months ago that my Mom is planning to come out for a visit so I emailed Bruce and said, "Glad to do a long trip on March 31 so I can enjoy some car time alone with my Mom." Little did I know that the drive would be to and from Ukiah in torrential rains, with limited visibility and on hydroplane-inducing roads. Good times for all! Truth be told, while the aforementioned conditions prevailed predominantly during the 6 hours of driving, there were plenty of moments of brilliant skies, breath-taking vistas, and family connection. Thanks, Bruce. Glad to take on Ukiah again next season!

The amazing part of the day is that after a steady stretch of days of rain -- including so much precipitation that the City of Ukiah was unable to mow the lengthy grass on this wet, natural grass pitch -- we kicked-off under sunny skies, and, save a tsunami-like downpour for 15 minutes straddling halftime, had mostly clear skies. The Mendo pitch was wet and heavy but that didn't stop us from having a barn-burner of a match. Fairly matched, these long-time rivals/pseudo-neighbors enjoy deep shared roots as players move around, joining whichever club is closer to wherever they happen to live at the time. The opening half was as close as their ties, with Humboldt opening the scoring 12 minutes in off an advantage gained from a Mendo knock-on. Eight minutes later, playing from the base of their stronger scrum, Mendo tied and then, with the conversion, pulled ahead, 7-5.

The aforementioned downpour made the handling the remainder of the first half challenging, to say the least. Humboldt pulled ahead with a penalty 5 minutes into the second half, and topped that with a strong backline unconverted try a couple minutes later (13-7 Humboldt). Mendo scored on a movement that went numerous phases and through plenty of pair of hands to pull to within 3 before Humboldt dotted down what was to be their final try, this one off a quick penalty tap with 18 minutes remaining. Then, things got really interesting :-). Mendo attacked and attacked, Humboldt played a bit defensively, and the home team inched closer to their Humboldt line with each counter thrust. Down to the final minute, after Humboldt was caught offside at a ruck near their line, Mendo tapped, mauled, rucked and rolled, finally scoring as time expired. While the Mendo try scorer scooted through in-goal toward the posts, Humboldt forced the touch down midway between the left post and touch line. Mendo could have used another foot or two as the kick sailed just barely wide left and Humboldt's victory was sealed, 18-17.

Fun match, great contest, and happy Mom. What else could a guy ask for ...

RENO 27 – Redwood Empire 17 Referee: John Villanueva
The match was moved from Reno to the Rodeo grounds at Fernley NV due to an approaching storm. The pitch was mostly dirt and weeds which did not take the marking paint well so lines were difficult to see. At match time there were winds of 50 MPH making it difficult to see at times as the dirt was being blown into my eyes.

Redwood Empire scored first by charging down a Reno kick, then Reno answered with a break-away. The first half was a little sloppy but a close contest. The second half tempers started to flare on both sides and I was forced to warn both captains about their teams conduct. The match continued back and forth with both teams scoring, when with 12 minutes left Reno took the ball on a break away from their own 22 for the deciding score.

Colusa 14 – SIERRA FOOTHILLS 37 Referee: Lee Salgado
The rain was nice enough to cease for much of the game and the field was in good shape despite the rain in the last 48 hours. I was looking forward to this game since I know it was going to be a hard hitting game of rugby, a fantastic D3 duel for play-off position. Both teams had strong packs but Sierra Foothill backs were the difference in the game. Tempers flared in the second half, but both teams composed themselves and finished strong. Colusa’s 9 and 10 kept the Sierra Foothill backs on their toes and Sierra Foothill 8 was crafty and utilized the fringes well. The play of the game was the beautiful drop goal by Sierra Foothills with very little time in second half; right through the middle of the uprights off a scrum in the middle of the field.

Paso Robles 17 – BAY AREA CHIEFS (SAMOA UNITED) 48 Referee: Bruce Bernstein
After taking shelter in my car pulling the wet, cold clothes off me after the match I was thinking; "They don't pay me enough for this."

Then I showed up in for the party in downtown Paso Robles at an Irish pub on the square and got "paid back" in all kinds of shots, shouts, plus a comp'd meal for me & Tina at a 4 star gourmet restaurant (which Paso has no shortage of these days).

And, the game featured a field of dreams set up in a farm field off the beaten path which ended up being interesting to try to drive out in the mud.

The field for some reason was unaffected by the torrential downpour which only happened while we played; leading to a few knock ons/scrum downs with very few penalties & zero cheap/dirty play by both teams. The match featured a great try off a maul by Paso to close out the first half; a penalty try awarded to Paso in the 2nd (which only lost that half 12-7); & some good team play by the Chiefs forwards lead by their #6 flanker who drove past the game line whenever he touched the ball.

Sacramento Blackhawks 22 – SF FOG 28 Referee: Josh Fitzgerald
(No report received. Result from the Fog website.)

ALL BLUES 26 – Sacramento Amazons 15 Referee: Richard Parrish (East Mids)

Vallejo 14 – STANISLAUS 28 Referee: Rich Boyer
Upon departing Sacramento with English Midlands ref Richard Parrish we felt Saturday would be a dry day. More wrong we could not have been. Wipers were travelling as fast as possible by the time we hit Davis.

The monsoon continued intermittently during the game, which was marked by mistakes arising from the conditions and some hard running. Stanislaus exhibited some enterprising back play and scored first on an intercept try. Vallejo tried huge skip passes numerous times, successful really only once as the winger skipped in for a try. The score was 21-7 at half. Vallejo struggled mightily and put together some good forward play, scoring under the posts to come within 7. But it was not to be as Alex, Stanislaus' fullback, put the game away.

I had the pleasure of coaching Alex this past summer for our U-19 7s team which played in Palo Alto and in Dixon tournaments. He showed good pace and tremendous determination this game. Stanislaus captain and flyhalf Peter, (an Irishmen wearing Aussie Rugby League clothes), had a very accurate foot for finding touch and for points, missing neither and routinely kicking lovely torpedo kicks 50-60 yards for touch. Stanislaus halfback played well defensively and the hooker ran hard, while Sanchez, number 5, was prominent in the rucks and forward running for Vallejo.

SF STATE 39 – CSU-Monterey Bay Referee: Jen Tetler
I hoped I wasn't going to have to run around in a torrential downpour, that it would ease up a bit...and it did! The sun ended up shining on Treasure Island as SF State and CSU Monterey Bay kicked off. SF State came out strong and scored in the first few minutes off of an offside advantage. They kept up the aggression throughout the first half, holding Monterey with no score, but not quite making the conversions on their 4 tries. First half score, 20-0 SF State. Monterey came out with a vengeance in the second half, looking almost like a whole new team. They were fast and got the ball out wide and quickly converted their energy into a try. This, however, made SF State wake back up. Both teams were extraordinarily professional, polite, and concerned for safety - a fantastic thing to see in rugby. Final score SF State 39 – CSUMB 5.

SAC CITY COLLEGE 19 – Univ. of San Francisco 5 Referee: JC van Staden
BRUTAL, is an understatement... So, my guess is, the rain we have been waiting for the year, decided to come down at 1pm, and stopped at 3pm.... More than 1" of rain in just 1 hr, 45F with a 10mph wind, so 35F on the fingers....

With both sides only fielding 16 players for the day, it only took 5 min of good scrumming, before we had to go to uncontested scrums. Which probably was a good thing, cause 28 scrums later, we were done, in more ways than one.... Hard running, big hits, and a lot of guts, were the only thing that kept this game alive with about only 4 spectators, including the coaches.

Long story short, most teams would have called the game and gone home... Having 32 players playing rugby on a day like this, was so much worth the drive! Thanks to Ponderosa for supplying an all-weather field, and thanks to all the boys for showing up, and playing your hearts out.

UC Santa Cruz 0 – CAL FROSH/SOPH 128 Referee: Tom Zanarini


The fifth annual post-season youth tournament was held for U8, U10 and U12 teams in Danville, on Saturday, March 31.

As you’ve read above, we had rugby weather: kids splashing about with abandon, looks of sheer joy on their faces chasing the funny-bouncing ball, while the trashcan-liner industry saw an uptick in sales of their impromptu, field-expedient raincoats.

Soccer requires dedication of its players’ parents: ferrying the youngsters to and fro, buying the apparel, providing the snacks, watching paint dry… while Rugby requires them to wear Coast Guard-approved lifesaving gear and have hailstones bounce off their faces.

The game’s the thing: Old Sol was the only no-show. About a hundred games were played on the day.

Stephen Moore was heavily involved in the organization. Other Pelicans seen on pitches included Matt Eason, Chris Fisher, Mike King, Eric Rauscher, and Bruce Carter.

Your reporter does not know who won in each division, having to leave just after five PM in order to attend the society banquet in Richmond with a warm shower in between.


RENO 24 – Sacramento 20 Referee: Phil Ulibarri
This was a fine-spirited U19 match played on the world’s 10th-worst pitch (the other 9 being fields 1-9 at the Las Vegas 7s Tournament last February).

At issue: grass abatement, potholes, mosquito breeding pools, and so many white lines even Scarface would have been confused. Seems the Parks Department lined over a freshly marked rugby pitch with soccer stripes! Is there no justice!?

But regardless, the spirit of youth could not keep the players from having a good time. Another 5 or 10 minutes may have seen a different result as the Sacramento squad looked to be in better shape even at the 4000ft plus altitude.

Varsity: Oakland Warthogs 17 – DANVILLE OAKS 24 Referee: Tim Lew
In a very skilled and great game, DO barely held onto win in the last seconds of the game holding off a last stand by OW. Both sides battled with hard hits and GREAT stanzas of play. Going into half, DO had 12 & OW 10. While DO missed two easy tries in 2nd half (one out of the back tryzone & another grounded early), they held a thin lead to the end. Both teams looked very good.

JV: Oakland Warthogs 7 – DANVILLE OAKS 24 Ref: Lew
The seconds game was also very athletic. DO supported better in the loose and won virtual all the line outs and held possession through the halves. DO was well coached while OW had some great individual players who will be very good in the next few years.

Varsity Gold: Bellarmine 15 - JESUIT 33 Referee: James Hinkin
Two of the top high school programs in the country squared off on the Bellarmine football field last Saturday in a highly anticipated match. Noticing a trend – my game 2 weeks ago was moved to Yerba Buena High School (3.7 mi from my house) and this week’s game was at Bellarmine (2.19 mi from my house) - I am fully expecting to host a match in my front yard next week. Not sure who is going to play but the pitch will be a bit small.

With heavy rain forecast and, in fact, occurring, I prepared for the worst but the game was generally free of precipitation. So much so that I didn’t even realize there were sprinkles until after the match when I spoke with some attendees. Neither team seemed to care either way as they just wanted to play some rugby, so I obliged. With Bellarmine kicking off Jesuit was immediately on the attack and scored a well-earned try before Bellarmine was able to get into the game. The Bells woke up after that and started playing some quality rugby. Jesuit was up to the task with some quality of their own and were able to get another try on the board before Bellarmine was able to pull one back. The 12 – 7 score held until the waning moments of the half until the Jesuit 13, who was a dynamic force the entire half, beat a couple of players up the sideline until finally being caught by the last man. The sweet pop-pass to the hard working #14 following up on the play led to a try under the posts and a 19-7 lead at the half.

(Note: As a former wing it always annoyed me when the “thinkers” on the team – read tight 5 – would complain about all the soft tries the wings got. Yes there are inexperienced wings who just sit out wide waiting for the ball just as there are props who are useless in open play. There is a lot of support running without the ball and chasing of opportunities that a good wing does in order to be in position to get that “soft” try. This was not the only opportunity that this player was supporting but this one had the reward. Looking around after the pass I didn’t see anyone else chasing the play quite so hard. A well-deserved try that was and if the wing was jogging at the finish that was more to do with the hard work put in earlier than anything else.)

The second half was in many ways a mirror of the first with Bellarmine being very good, but Jesuit being just that much better. A try and a penalty to the Bells was countered by two tries from Jesuit.

Final Score: Bellarmine 15 - Jesuit 33

JV: Bellarmine 5 – JESUIT 65 Dave Richards
Saturday came and weather looked ominous. Drenching rain on the way to Bellarmine, had they not had the all-terrain field I would not even had called to see if the game was still on. Torrential downpour. I was slated to ref the JV side, and when I got there, and saw both teams warming up, it was difficult to believe these were High School JV sides. Both teams had numbers, and size, with Jesuit's traveling JV side close to 30 players, or so it seemed.

As it often happens, right before kickoff the clouds parted, and suddenly it was not so bad of a day...not much sun, but the wind died down a little and conditions were a little wet but very endurable. Jesuit came out of the gate and showed why they are one of the top programs in the country, getting on the scoreboard early, with multi-phase ball which got out into the backs on the 6th or 7th phase, after Bellarmine's defense had gotten stretched, and the overlaps started to show. To Bellarmine's credit, they tackled well, played great defense for the most part, but with a bigger, faster pack, and some pace in the backline, Jesuit was able to play 6, 7, 8, 9, phase ball consistently and eventually find a hole here and there. Both coaches had numbers, and wanted everyone to get a good run, so they decided on 3-thirty-minute periods, since Jesuit basically had two teams. At the end of the 1st period, Jesuit led 24-0, which was not entirely indicative of the game itself, since Bellarmine did spend quite some time in the red zone at the attacking end of the field, but could not seem to finish.

Second period was more of the same, with Jesuit racking up another 19 points, and holding Bellarmine scoreless. Again, Bellarmine played inspired defense, led by their loosehead prop and a strong number 8, along with several key players in the backline, but could not get the ball down in goal.

Third period, Bellarmine finally got on the board with an early try, but could not match Jesuit's 22 points, and in spite of the final score of 65-5 for a 90 minute effort, I do think Bellarmine showed themselves to be approaching the level of Jesuit. Both teams showed great sportsmanship, great discipline, and were obviously well-coached.

One of the players on Jesuit was Anthony Nguyen, who acted as touch judge/ AR on the first 2 periods, and offered up several tips to me, which I both accepted and employed. I think he has a great future as a referee, he certainly has an early start!

SILICON VALLEY 30 – Berkeley Rhinos 27 Referee: Bryant Byrnes
So wet that the match was moved to Mountain View, this was an enjoyable game to ref- tough, lots of points, and close. Both teams were under a bit of a handicap-Berkeley could only bring 17 and SV initially sat some of its starters for internal reasons.

Berkeley leads at half, 12-10, in large measure because of its fullback's strategic toe and nice running. But SV's big, fleet Islander loose forward guys simply wore the Rhinos down in the second half (and I think scored all of their tries).

Boys High School Jeff Richmond
CHRISTIAN BROTHERS 22 – PITS 19 Referee: Jeff Richmond
Referee Coach: Chris Tucker
Heavy rain in the morning relented for the afternoon and made for a nice, soft pitch that held up well through the action. PITS came out strong and grabbed an early lead from CB. PITS controlled the ball well in the wet conditions, running several phases of forward play before slinging it out to their backs. The PITS defense gave CB a number of opportunities with senseless offside at the ruck. CB woke up in the second half, scoring three tries including a poached pass out of the PITS backfield, taking it 50m for the score. PITS scored their final try in the last 3 minutes but were unable to gain back their momentum.

The match had an unusual amount of game ending injuries, attesting to the vigorous play. A CB player had his head split open at minute 65 and an ambulance was called. I appreciated the conduct of both sides through the match and Chris Tucker's input.

Falling Water
Actually, another of Last Week’s Photos: Chris Tucker, Richard Parrish, Ray Schwartz, Aruna Ranaweera, Bruce Carter and Eric Rauscher are halfway to the top of Yosemite Falls at this point on the trail.

Max Barnard took the picture and Ron DeCausemaker stayed below.


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Pelicus Scriptoris