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