They bestrode the rugby landscape as colossi. They intimidated, they dominated, they ate the opposition. They were the stuff of legend as much as of fact, and the facts were legendary. They were the Grizzlies, the finest select-sides in USA rugby history.
They monopolized Eagle selections at every level, men and women, girls and boys. They won the Grizzly’s share of inter-territorial events over the decades.
The species lives on but its members are aging and will not reproduce. It is time to celebrate and commemorate these high-achievers, to appreciate a chapter in American rugby history that is not to be repeated.
If you played for the Grizzlies, or refereed for the Pacific Coast as a Territorial referee, or just enjoyed the rugby that these teams played, plan to be at the San Francisco/Golden Gate clubhouse on Saturday evening, August 4.
If you will have been at Sheeran Field watching the men’s and women’s USA National Sevens Club Championships that day, all the better!
We can’t tell you how happy we are that Sevens has become the normal expression of rugby this time of year. Your writer played rugby for six years before he ever HEARD of sevens, and then fell in love with it at first exposure at the 1980 Palo Alto event.
For the next thirty years there were 4-6 tournaments per summer in Northern California. In 1999, I thought I’d set some sort of record, refereeing 14 tournaments in one year, most of them after flying off in all directions, and all of them at my own expense.
But now – we’ve had 4-5 tournaments on some weekends in here Pelicanland. And the college season hasn’t even started!
Born too soon – by about thirty years. I should have been my own son.
Friday, July 27, 6 PM, at Sheeran Field:
NCYRA High-school Pelicans – British Columbia U17 Referee: Jordan Bruno
This should be a barn-burner. It is a rubber match, of sorts.
The Pelicans lost to the Mainland BC team last month and then defeated the (Vancouver) Island team, both on the road. Now they host the combined forces of Canada’s strongest rugby province.
Jordan may need ARs. The game deserves fourth officials as well, should you have a Friday evening free.
Saturday, July 28:
Final iteration of the Palo Alto summer series, with women and high school tournaments beginning at 8:30, followed by men’s club and college teams playing in the afternoon. We need ten-twelve refs for this one.
If you’d like to work either AM or PM, let us know and we can accommodate you. However, be advised that we tend to get half a dozen refs who want to leave in the afternoon, leaving the stalwarts to do three games after three PM, that sort of thing. So, we could use refs who only want to work in the afternoon to balance things out.
Plus, that puts you in position for the picnic and adult beverages.
TIGHT-FIVE SEVENS AT SFGG
This is probably the brainchild of a tight-five player. A moment of silence for several such previous ideas…
Why not old boys sevens, out of season, at altitude?
Actually, this sounds like fun. With the shine that Rugby Sevens has attained since it was announced that the games of Mount Olympus would appropriately enough include the Game Played in Heaven, even the tight-five are envious of the fleet-footed lads who get to play all year round.
This looks to be a hoot. We’ve got one ref and could use one or two more – guessing here that high-end pace will only be needed to get to the front of the serving line afterwards.
Sunday, July 29:
NCYRA SUMMER FINALS
The NCYRA completes its summer series with a championship event in Dixon. This is well-organized and features many of the best young players in the USA – and Canada this time. The BC tourists from Friday’s feature match will be participating.
HIGH SCHOOL SEVENS IN CORTE MADERA
Report by Stephen Valerio:
Referees: Anthony Nguyen, Ray Schwartz, Stephen Valerio, Eric Rauscher, Matthew Le Merle, John Van Der Wahl, with Dave Williamson herding the cats.
For those of us who have been watching the High School 7’s this summer, the improvement in the skills has been appreciable. There was some good rugby on hand in Corte Madera where 11 sides descended and the shade tent was appreciated, along with the Highlander’s hospitality. There were 3 round-robin divisions played on 2 pitches. The Varsity Boys’ bracket was tightly contested with Bellarmine, Dixon and Marin all posting 3-1 records. Dixon took the championship (based on point differential) in the final match beating the previously undefeated Marin side 24-14. The matches were also notable for the mutual respect between the different teams, and the clubs should be proud of the way they conducted themselves.
Dixon’s success continued in the Junior Varsity bracket where they swept the pool. In the Varsity Girls’ Pool went to Danville which swept their 2 matches.
Bellarmine 31/Sierra Foothill 10
Marin 28/ Sierra Foothill 5
Marin 28/Danville 19
Bellarmine 14/Danville 7
Dixon 31/Sierra Foothill 7
Dixon 29/Danville 14
Marin 12/Bellarmine 5
Bellarmine 22/Dixon 21
Dixon 24/Marin 14
Danville ?/Sierra Foothill ?
Danville 17/Pleasanton 7
Dixon 17/Pleasanton 17
Danville 32/Dixon 7
Marin 28/Danville 12
Dixon 19/Danville 5
Dixon 32/Marin 5
LUAU SEVENS AT FOR PETE’S SAKE
Report by Cary Bertolone
Refs: Mike King, Sean Peters and Cary Bertolone
Approximately 30 rugby players converged at For Pete's Sake on Saturday. Despite the 96 degree weather, enough tents were erected to make the afternoon enjoyable.
Three games started the afternoon, with Rosa winning two and Redwood taking one game.
A game of Tens then took place and everyone got plenty of rugby.
The Luau was off the charts fabulous with Hawaiian dancers doing the entertaining for the last two hours. Food galore and a good time was had by all!!
FOG WOMEN’S SEVENS
Five teams participated in the second iteration of the Fog Sevens this summer, on a warm but windy day at the Job Corps pitch on Treasure Island.
The host Fog welcomed the Seahawks, the West Bay Angels, and two sides representing the All Blues, who had another side doing well in Glendale, Colo., at the same time.
Referees were Preston Gordon, Tony Levitan, Bruce Bernstein and Bruce Carter. A good time was had by all.
PACIFIC COAST QUALIFIER
Old Puget Sound Beach and the Olympic Club advanced to the nationals, which will be next weekend.
Golden Gate will host the finals, but lost to O Club in the semis to miss out on their own party. The third time was the charm for Matt Sherman’s team, who scored two tries pretty much off the bat and then that was that.
SFGG defeated the Sacramento Lions to claim third - but only SoCal has three seeds to the nationals this time around.
STILL TO COME: SIGN UP NOW
Saturday-Sunday, August 4-5:
USA Rugby club sevens championships (men and women) at SFGG
Saturday, August 18:
Saturday, August 25:
Fifteens tournament in Reno
THIS WEEK’S PHOTO
The picture is a little grainy, and not as clear as it might be, befitting something as rare as a photo purporting to show Nessie or Sasquatch or the Four Bruces.
For the Senate