Wednesday, May 09, 2012




The California high school championships will be played at Jesuit HS in Sacramento on Saturday, May 19. There will be four games.

If you can help out, please respond to David Williamson:

There will also be a round-robin tournament hosted by the Fog that could use three refs, from 11 to 4. We’re guessing this one will be a lot of fun, so let us know if you’d like to run.


There will be a lot of good rugby in Pelicanland this weekend.

Girls and women’s college national championships at Stanford. Four games Friday and Sunday, twelve games on Sunday.

Stanford and the Sacramento Amazons will be playing down on the farm.

St. Mary’s hosting Arkansas State in a college premier semi-final. Arkansas State is the team that eliminated St. Mary’s each of the last two years, but both of those were on the road.

Several high-school all-star games in Sacramento. Let Chris Tucker know if you can help:

Also, the Fog will be hosting San Jose State on Treasure Island.

Meanwhile, in Chula Vista, East Palo Alto Bulldogs, Santa Rosa and Stanislaus will be playing in the sweet-sixteen level of competition in their respective divisions.

Good luck to all of our NorCal teams!


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.

Mark your calendar and invite your date so we can celebrate our addition to rugby together.


(This was a rain makeup game.)
EPA RAZORBACKS 52 – Bay Barbarians 10 Referee: Bruce Ricard
Only one barbarian player was at the location when I arrived 1h before kickoff. After 20 more minutes, only a handful of barbarians were on the pitch, so we started to play touch with the razorbacks. At kickoff time, only 7 Barbarians were present. At 2:30 they had 12 players, and both teams agreed to play 10's.

Barbarians scored a try just after the razorbacks kicked off. But the reds woke up at this moment, and they scored 5 tries during the first quarter (we agreed to play 4 20-minute quarters). They also scored 5 tries during the 2nd quarter, and the Barbarians also scored one try. After those two quarters, the barbarians didn't want to play anymore, so we ended the game there.

Thanks to Mike Malone for driving from that far to watch the game, and sorry that a real game didn't happen...

By Jordan Bruno:

All Saint's Tournament, St. Cloud, Minnesota 4.28-4.29

Over the weekend, teams and referees from around the Midwest converged on St. Cloud University’s pitch in Minnesota for two days of great rugby. Men’s clubs, Division 1 college sides, and high school teams all played twenty minute halves in well-contested, smash-mouth rugby. When the forwards did relinquish offensive control to the backs, it was usually for a crash inside by the centers. This was typical for the Midwest style of play.

The first day of competition I refereed University of Minnesota vs. North Dakota State in a tied match with minutes to go until the final whistle. The NDSU Bisons infringed at a ruck inside their own 22 as Minnesota advanced downfield. Instead of going for points, the perennial tournament champions asked for a scrum down, and as time expired had their forwards rumble over the goal line for an exciting win. Minnesota went on to play St. Cloud University in the final and again won with seconds to spare.

The Saturday night referee banquet was held at McCann’s Restaurant with great burgers and locally brewed ales. Not much sleep on the weekend, but plenty of rugby was a welcome substitute. Thanks to Tammy Cowan and Eric Anderson of the Minnesota Rugby Referee Society for a great exchange and well-orchestrated tournament.

Report by Bruce Bernstein:

I did the Catalina Old Boys Rugby Tournament this past weekend & had a great time on the island all 3 days I was there, getting put up by the tourney at a nice cottage, reffed 3 very good matches (Ancient Aztecs v. North County, San Diego; Huntington Beach Unicorns v. Pasadena; & Aztecs again v. the Older Gaels--2 of these resulted in ties & the 3rd could have easily been tied--which is supposed to be the result of all matches anyway); an "after" party at the Sand Trap & in between saw parts of the Film Fest & a downhill skateboard Championship featuring the top boarders in the world.

The tournament program featured an image of Joe Hendrix who ran the tourney for every year until he unfortunately passed away last year. It is now run by his twin bro' Tom.


4-6 May Chris Tucker
Friday night we kicked off the NCYRA playoffs with the single school Varsity and JV semis.

JESUIT 48 – Bishop O’Dowd 22 Referee: Chris Tucker
Jesuit came away comfortable victors, but not before BOD pushed them hard. However their lack of ball security did for them, as they turned it over repeatedly in good attacking positions. Both teams played good, fundamentally sound rugby, and it was a pleasure to officiate.

I then ARed for Chris Gleiter as he did Jesuit beating CB comfortably in the JV semis.

Saturday we had around 40 games, very few of which I got to see as I was busy being the HMFRIC -- assigning refs, then reassigning as either refs had to do other things, or teams decided they would or would not play certain games. I think we came away with everyone aside from poor James Hinkin getting a good shake. James turned up early for the games, then had his first game cancelled from underneath him. His second was not until 4, so he spent a somewhat frustrating day. I hope the JV final made up for the wait!

JV: DIXON 31 – Christian Brothers 12
The 3rd place game in the single school JV bracket. Both teams seemed tired, and there wasn't a huge amount of life to the game. However a number of tackles were dangerous, resulting in 2 yellows each, for silly, careless play. A fifth yellow for a high tackle led to a penalty try to Dixon and I called the match early to keep it safe.

I then ARed the single-school Varsity final for Scott Wood. This was a fantastic game of rugby, and an excellent advert for the game. With 2 minutes to go, Dixon pulled within 1 point of Jesuit, and I ran back to my sideline. A spectator pointed out my ear-to-ear grin, and I said 'it doesn't get better than this.' Dixon were unable to get the ball back, and the game finished as close as it could be, leaving the victors the spoils and the vanquished to regret their lack of accuracy (1 of 4 conversions were scored.) Nice job by Scott.

Sunday and the money rounds came about. Again, many refs working tirelessly for the best games possible.

JV: SIERRA FOOTHILLS 59 – Lamorinda 27
Lamo had representatives in both the JV and Varsity finals, but the double-attempt was not to be. Sierra were fast and effective the entire game, although I did have cause for a yellow for continued failure to either understand or obey the offside law. They overcame their opponents, running away with it in final quarter. The scoreline is more indicative of Lamo's tiring towards the end of 2 hard days' play, than a 2-1 gulf in quality between the teams. Another joy to ref.

I then dashed over to AR for visitor Andrew Lin on the Varsity Final. He worked hard for his money, continually pushing the Islanders to the back foot and Lamorinda to keep their feet. And it was worth the effort, with a fantastic game ensuing. Islanders went up 2 tries early, but I was struck by the calm response by Lamo, who weren't rattled, stuck to their plan, and executed, coming up victors by 3 points.

As we chatted under the ref tent, I had a highly entertaining conversation with the Lamorinda head coach. I was explaining how a tackle can occur without a tackler, but that regardless of tackler or tackle assist, both must release the tackled player. I went on with the interesting variant I had with my game where a player had voluntarily gone to ground meaning the defender did not have to release. His response to all this? "No wonder I yell at you guys all the time." Cheers coach.

Thanks to all 20+ refs who turned out, did assignments without question, and made the tournament go with a bang. You made my life a lot easier, and I have had nothing but plaudits from several folk who took the time to say thank you to me (and by proxy to you.)

Christian Bros 24 – SIERRA 34
Marin 19 – BUCHANAN 26
Both of these games were very enjoyable to do. It is great at the end of the season to see skilled players playing the game well. I expected a higher level of play out of them which meant penalties in the first half and more open and faster play in the second.

JV: LAMORINDA 31 – Granite Bay 22
In this case the level of play had increased to a fairly competent level. The problem you get by the end of the year for JV teams is that they are willing to help you make calls because now they know how to play the game. This is not a problem I run into at Varsity levels. It is however fun to see the improvement.

Overall I must say that the Cherry Island Complex was a very well laid out and nicely landscaped venue, (many trees and shade, bathrooms), on which soccer players have enjoyed over the years and perhaps we can look forward to enjoying again in the future.

JV Semi-Final
McCLATCHY 24 – Dixon 17
McClatchy led at the half 17-7. Dixon discovered a change of pace and went on the attack in the second half. Fifteen minutes into the second half, McClatchy helped its opponent's cause by donating a player to the sin bin (10.4f). Dixon thanked McClatchy by scoring two tries to tie the match at 17-17. With just over five minutes remaining, another McClatchy took a trip to the bin via 10.4e. Dixon tried to use the one-player advantage but was unsuccessful and eventually turned the ball over. McClatchy turned on the attack and, despite Dixon's valiant defense, scored a try to the right of the posts. I looked at my watch and saw a mere ten seconds remaining in regulation.

Garmin results: 2.79 miles, 817 calories, Avg HR 155 (Max 177)

South Valley 15 – CHRISTIAN BROTHERS 44
I was assigned this 45-minute match as a warm-up. South Valley fared well in the first half trailing by a try 10-17. Christian Brothers decided to put the afterburners on scoring five tries to one.

Garmin results: 1.9 miles, 489 calories, Avg HR 147 (Max 169)

Single School Varsity Final
Dixon 24 – JESUIT 25
ARs: Chris Tucker, James Hinkin (2nd half: Eric "Missed Assignment" Rauscher)
The teams came out strong and fast. An early spate of scrums slowed things down for the backs but the forwards were up to the task. Jesuit took an early lead with a try and a penalty before Dixon put points on the board. Jesuit led at halftime: 15-7.

Dixon turned on the heat in the second half outscoring Jesuit 17-10. With just under six minutes remaining, Dixon was on another attack, maybe fifteen meters from Jesuit's goal line. Unfortunately, their scrumhalf decided to 10.4(b) on/near a Jesuit player (who was about to be penalized for not keeping his feet at a ruck). Dixon loses a player for the remainder of the match. Jesuit kicks the penalty to touch, wins the lineout, loses possession. Dixon capitalizes by scoring a try. Conversion made. Jesuit sends the restart kick deep to Dixon. The ballcarrier runs left behind two teammates too close for comfort placing them in a position to be penalized for obstruction. Jesuit was awarded a penalty 30 meters from Dixon's posts. The kick missed wide left and full time was sounded (I didn't want this match to end and secretly wondered what Dixon could have done if the ball had ricocheted off the upright).

Kudos to both teams for a well-contested match.

Garmin results: 2.87 miles, 784 calories, Avg HR 151 (Max 170)

Poor planning. I had to work and didn’t get to Sac until well after ten PM. Got a clean, comfortable room, they left the light on for me and my wife, and we didn’t have to stay at a Motel 6.

SILICON VALLEY 29 – Danville 14
ARs: Eric Rauscher, Giles Wilson
Great game to start the day off! These teams had one loss between them so far this year, with SV having lost to Danville during the season. Now, they’re even.

I must say: calling U19 scrum law at the end of the season with accomplished teams is hard to do. The scrums sure look safe when they start driving, but I still insist that they stop short of pushing a try over.

They sure run into contact like men, and respond to the referee like gentlemen.

Then I got on my horse to drive to Moraga as I didn’t want to miss the St. Mary’s – Utah game. That game didn’t disappoint either, Craig Smith doing a fine job assisted by John Coppinger and Jordan Bruno, with Brad Richey and Ron DeCausemaker as fourth officials.

Then back to Sacramento for
SANTA ROSA 38 – East Palo Alto 26
A player offered me five bucks to ‘keep it fair’. I laughed and said I didn’t know which he’d insulted more, my integrity or my earning capacity! In any event, Caddyshack references are always appreciated.

EPA were troupers – having missed their first scheduled match, they played the two games back-to-back. Thanks for the effort, guys.

It was a very close game: EPA squandered two certain tries, one in each half, with a two-inch knock-on while putting the ball down and by putting it down six inches short on the confusingly-lined pitch.

We had a nice dinner at the Booting Irishman or some such. They did have the traditional Cinco de Mayo corned-beef tacos.

WOLFPACK 38 – Silicon Valley 21
AR: JC van Staden
Wolfpack, from Reno, is a new team to me. They play a nice game, hard-hitting with excellent off-loads.

Girls Final: MOTHER LODE 17 – Bishop O’Dowd 14
ARs: Giles Wilson, Anthony Nguyen
This was a wonderful birthday present for me. Fifty-eight years old and still doing tournament finals! I played in my first tournament final in 1977 at Hilton Head, South Carolina (we won).

I feel like I won this one as well – at least, I can’t imagine feeling any better after a match.

Both teams play well, and hard, and fast, and crisp rugby. BOD scored first, got behind, then came to within three with 25 minutes left, which made for a very dramatic final stanza.

A problem refs love to have: the players can barely hear because of the crowd noise. Big breaths, loud cadences, sharp whistles and big signals were the order of the day.

A mark of the players’ determination and commitment were the five held-up-in-goal calls, one of which ended the match. (It was not as dramatic as it might have been – Mother Lode was held up.)

From Rod Salaber
It was a spectacular end to a great rugby season. More than 50 high school teams participated in the 8thAnnual NCIT and NCYRA Playoffs and Championships, with seven (7) High School Champions crowned, and three (3) Open Division Champions. Please find the attached result of the tournament.

Congratulations to the following Teams for reaching the finals, playing some fantastic rugby, and taking home the hardware. Also, take a look at the results of all of the NCYRA Varsity Finals. The largest margin of victory was three (3) points. Now that is the way Championship Finals are supposed to be!

NCYRA Championship Results:
· Boys Varsity Gold: Lamorinda – 29, Islanders – 26 (Andrew Lin)
· Boys Varsity Single School: Jesuit – 25, Dixon – 24 (Scott Wood)
· Girls Varsity Gold: Mother Lode – 17, BOD – 14 (Bruce Carter)
· Boys Varsity Silver: Diablo – 33, Elk Grove – 31 (JC Van Staden)
· Girls Varsity Silver: Pleasanton – 14, Dixon – 14 (Pleasanton won on drop goals)
· Boys Junior Varsity Gold: Sierra – 59, Lamorinda – 27
· Boys Junior Varsity Single School: Jesuit – 56, McClatchy – 28
· Boys Junior Varsity Silver: Sac Eagles – 37, BOD – 27

NCIT Open Division Results:
· Boys Varsity Gold: Rosa (winners in pool play), Lancers
· Boys Varsity Silver: Sierra – 34, Christian Brothers – 24
· Boys Junior Varsity Gold: Marin (winners in pool play), Danville

Thanks to the NCIT Tournament Directors, Karen Chance and John Riddering, and the many volunteers that helped make this tournament the most successful one yet. Yes, we still had some hiccups, but all-in-all, the tournament was a great tribute to the progress the NCYRA has made in just two years of existence.


Some of the refs are ready for action Sunday morning at the NCIT:
Standing, L to R: David Williamson, Ray Schwartz, Mark Godfrey, Anthony Nguyen, Giles Wilson, JC van Staden, Chris Tucker, Andrew Lin (SoCal)
Kneeling, L to R: Eric Rauscher, Rod Chance, Bruce Carter


For the Senate
Pelicus Scriptoris