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.


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