Wednesday, February 29, 2012




Anthony Nguyen has been promoted to L3. Congratulations to our youngest Pelican!


We still need another dozen or so refs for each of the following Saturdays?

Available? Able to travel?
March 17
March 24
March 31

By James Hinkin

[Editor’s Note: Mr. Hinkin has set the hosting bar pretty high for others to try to clear.]

Bay Barbarians 10 – SAN MATEO 35 Referee: Matt Robinette (Virginia)
AR: James Hinkin
Evaluator: Dixon Smith
Weather conditions were perfect for a day of rugby. After a delay in the start, the rugby was fast paced and well played. San Mateo came out of the gates early and maintained possession and territory for a substantial piece of the first quarter. Bay Barbarians were able to utilize the bend but don’t break defense for a while before San Mateo was able to break their defenses and score their first try of the match. San Mateo had the organization on the field, the talented, athletic players, and the plan to break the game wide open and they did by scoring two more converted tries to take the first period 21-0. The Barbos were still confident in their ability and were not discouraged heading to the sideline to speak with their coaching staff.

The second half saw the Barbos come out of the gates on fire, not ready to concede this match to the visitors. Two tries were the result of huge team efforts that brought the score line closer and the confidence level up for the Barbos. San Mateo, however, withstood the charge and were able to get back to their plan and structure. Great ball movements and effort were the storyline on the day as San Mateo were able to score two more converted tries. The Barbarians worked hard throughout the match and nearly scored on the final play of the contest.

San Mateo’s structure and game plan won the day over an athletic Barbarian side.

Final – Bay Barbarians 10 vs. San Mateo 35
Half – Bay Barbarians 0 vs. San Mateo 21

Seconds: Bay Barbarians 5 – SAN MATEO 34 Referee: James Hinkin
A picture perfect day was the result of the false spring here in Northern California as the Bay Barbarians hosted San Mateo at Woodside High School. With a 10:00 start scheduled I brought visiting referee Matt Robinette promptly at 9:00... and waited. With Barbos players still strolling at 9:45 it was obvious that a 10:00 start was not going to happen. At about 10:05 a deadline was put down (we start in 15 minutes - be ready) and the A side game kicked off. See report by Matt Robinette for details.

After the A side match finished I spoke with the 2 coaches who agreed to 30 min halves. With most of the Barbos team doing double duty and about half (?) of San Mateo as well the quality of rugby was close to the A side match. The game was tight in the first half with the only scores being a penalty and unconverted try from San Mateo. Many dropped passes killed several promising runs and ill discipline around the tackle doomed the rest.

The second half saw San Mateo pull away as their depth proved to be overpowering. What was a tight game opened up as the Barbos looked more and more tired. San Mateo ran in 4 tries (3 converted) to just a solitary reply from the game Barbo side. As the game wore on and the Barbos wore out more "lazy" penalties started occurring until I had to give team captain/coach/organizer and former teammate Saimoni Naivalu a 10 minute break for team infringements. As there was only 5 minutes left the Barbos finished down a man and San Mateo capitalized with their final try of the day, duly converted.

Both sides showed excellent sportsmanship and the game - like the A side - was a hard hitting, clean, enjoyable affair.

Final Note: Trying to think of a memorable activity for Matthew we headed up to the city via Oakland and the Bay Bridge, stopping at Treasure Island for some panoramic views of the city, the bay and the bridges - and SF didn't disappoint. After an Italian dinner in North Beach (or course) we went to go see Beach Blanket Babylon. As we were being seated near the back of our section we asked our hostess if there were any seats closer in... and she promptly reseated us in the front row (and was tipped handsomely for it). Sitting behind us was a happy, campy ("Ooo I want those shoes") gay couple who added just the right "only in San Francisco" touch to the evening.


Sacramento Capitals 15 – EPA BULLDOGS 65 Referee: Dan Wilson
Referee Coach: Jim Crenshaw

Sacramento Capitals 2 – EPA Bulldogs 2

EPA Razorbacks – OLYMPIC CLUB by forfeit Would-be Referee: Aruna Ranaweera
After watching the first quarter of the England v Wales 6N match on BBC America, I drove to Menlo Park for the 10am kickoff of the NorCal D1 league season. On arrival at the field, Olympic had their squads assembled and ready, but only 3 EPA players were present and the field had not been set-up. By kickoff, EPA had about 7 players and said their full team should arrive by 11:30am due to a miscommunication within their club. Olympic accepted the forfeit and decided against playing an unofficial scrimmage at 11:30am since their 1st XV had prior commitments at that time. I called the 2nd XV referee Bruce Ricard and informed him that his match would also not be played.

Seconds: SFGG 45 – Sacramento Lions 5 Referee: Evan Schlinkert
Referee Coach: Coppinger

SF/Golden Gate 10 – SACRAMENTO LIONS 28 Referee: Paul Bretz

DIABLO GAELS 55 – Berkeley 12 Referee: George O'Neil

Seconds: DIABLO GAELS 47 – Berkeley 34 Referee: Mike King
Nice day, nice pitch at Mare Island, 2 spirited sides: great mixture for a bang-up rugby contest. And a contest it was. Berkeley broke out to an early lead and seemed poised to put up a lot of points on a somewhat flat Gaels 2d side. About 20 minutes in, Diablo scored its first of 3 tries in the half and the battle was on. Strong running, good passing overall, some nicely placed kicks by both sides, and good tacking, led to a half that was knotted up at 19 apiece. The second stanza started out with more of the same, with both sides playing fairly even. There seemed to be a lull in Berkeley’s ability to cover the Gaels backline in numbers off the loose, and the home side moved to a comfortable lead. The lead was increased by accuracy in conversions on all attempts. Berkeley was not about to give up, scoring right at the end of full time. Final Diablo Gaels 47 Berkeley 34.

SANTA ROSA 39 – Vacaville 3 Referee: Rich Anderson
A close match for the first 30 minutes between two well coached teams quickly turned Santa Rosa's way in the second half. Their stronger pack and superior numbers wore down the Vacaville side and allowed Santa Rosa to maintain possession for the majority of the second half.

Seconds: SANTA ROSA 57 – Vacaville 12 Referee: Sean Peters

South Valley – Chico RESCHEDULED

SEAHAWKS 17 – Fresno 14 Referee: Jordan Bruno
Referee Coach: Bryant Byrnes
Both teams came to the match needing a win. Fresno had just moved from D1 to D2 and were undefeated on the season. They needed to continue to win in order to make the playoffs and overcome a 12 point sanction placed on their team by moving down a division despite making the Final Four last year. San Jose entered the match with a shaky start and needed a win to remain hopeful for a playoff berth. San Jose posted the first points in a match that remained close. Both teams tackled well, contested at the breakdowns, and spun it out well to the backline. With 20 minutes left in the match and Fresno down by 3, the tempo of the game increased as both sides were easily capable of pulling away with a win. The captains of both sides became more vocal, letting me know that player management would be paramount as the minutes ticked off the clock. With two minutes left, Fresno's maul was collapsed by San Jose's scrumhalf. Advantage was given but not gained. As time ran out, Fresno's flyhalf lined up for a penalty kick to tie the match from just beyond 30 meters. As he approached the ball, a distracting whistle sounded from the distance and he missed the kick. As I approached the sideline to determine if the whistle should be attributed to player misconduct or the soccer game next door, it became apparent that a certified AR would have been useful. The soccer referees on the adjacent pitch were the cause of the sound and the game ended--albeit on a sour note for the visiting Fresno squad.

Seconds: Seahawks 22 - FRESNO 27 Referee: Bryant Byrnes
Clear and warm in San Jose. Sometimes men's D2 second games are dreadful-9 aside, 15 minute halves. Not this one; it was contested, competent stuff.

The first part was all Fresno, 22-3. Deft passing, hard running. The Hawks, unimpressed, hung in there and outscored the gents in red 19-5. A closely run thing.

But at the end Fresno went from aplomb to fishwifery. It became a natter fest until this writer, now grown grey in his service to the game, put a sock in it. Gents, play rugby - please. We can talk over post-match beer.

Marin – Baracus Referee: Preston Gordon

Seconds: Marin – Baracus

SHASTA 41 – Humboldt 20 Referee: Eric Rauscher
AR: Michael McCarty
As I left Berkeley for my drive to Redding, I realized I had not prepared correctly. I had borrowed my wife's car (better gas mileage) and left my stack of CDs at home. I had to play radio roulette on the drive. Once I got there, I was pleasantly surprised to find that the field at the high school was a full-sized, correctly lined and flagged grass field rather than an astro-turf football field. It was a perfect warm sun, cool breeze kind of rugby day. Shasta was there warming up early. Humboldt slowly drifted in and finally had 15 players, so with a quick boot check and front row talk, the coin-toss was only about 15 min late.

Shasta ruled the first half 27 / 5. Having reffed a game with Humboldt last year in a similar situation, I thought to myself, Humboldt will start playing in the second half. Sure enough, Shasta scored first at 2 min, but then Humboldt scored 15 pts in 15 min. They were not able to overcome the commanding lead of Shasta however. The game was a very friendly affair with friendly bantering between sides at scrums. Both teams were able to get the ball quickly across field and showed good skills and tactics. Shasta seemed to have the upper hand at rucks and were able to get the ball out with good support. I would have liked to stay around for the social afterwards and shared in the camaraderie, but I had to jump in the car and get right back home.

Luckily I discovered a two volume set of Judy Collins to listen to on the way home as the sun set over the valley.

MENDOCINO 68 – Siskiyou 0 Referee: Cary Bertlolone
Beautiful, sunny day, although with a considerable wind. Kickoff at 1:30, both teams with about 22 suited players. Siskiyou is in their first year, so they have a lot of inexperienced players. Mendocino was kind enough to help Siskiyou with their bindings in the scrum as they had props with no experience. Hats off to Mendo for their good sports! They did enjoy a day of scoring tries, 12 of them. To Siskiyou's credit, they kept on playing to the end and never hung their heads. Mendocino had a considerable crowd and the crowd was roaring throughout the game. After the game, Mendo sang a song to the crowd; it was great for all involved!!

RENO 19 – Colusa 17 Referee: Bruce Anderson
Started on a very windy day in Reno with the Zephyrs deciding to play with the wind at their backs, the lead changed several times with the score at half time Reno Zephyrs 5 - Colusa 10.

Zephyrs started strong in the second half scoring 2 unanswered tries to take the lead to 19 -10. One minute before final whistle Colusa scored and converted taking it to 19-17. Colusa nearly scored a dramatic try in the dying seconds only to have the ball turned over and kicked out. Final Score Reno Zephyrs 19 - Colusa 17. Had the game gone on for another 5 minutes, Stan the man, Zephyrs # 2, would have had a heart attack.

Bruce, I thought we were short of refs but we had 31 refs on this field and about 20 more on the side line. :-)

SIERRA FOOTHILLS 41 – Redwood Empire Sharks 10 Referee: Ray Schwartz
Mary Azevedo Park, Rocklin

From an early morning JV High School match in Dixon, I rolled up the I-80 to 65 North to exit and find a very nice full-sized pitch. It was a windy location, but the grass was soft and spongy, so much so that I enjoyed the pleasure of busting out the fully studded boots for the trot. A rarity in a winter of drought.

Both teams featured old friends and familiar faces, but also plenty of rookies or at least first year players. Redwood's captain Sione was a nice fellow, soft spoken, and a smart and hard New Zealander once the match got underway. But it was Sierra's captain Mike Dopson, an "crafty" old #10, and multi-capped Clown rugger, who would make the difference on the day.

An early penalty to Sierra as Sione failed to release as he completed his poach (both teams commented that no ref has been calling the tackler assist, it was as if it was news to them!), and Sierra's #15 Doug Mooneyham slotted a big PK to open the scoring.

This was a clean, hard, and what looked to be a truly fun game. Sierra pulled out to 17-0 at the half. But Redwood threatened many times and finally scored a sweet try through their little firecracker of a scrumhalf.

The third half was what I was after, as I spend enough time coaching and reffing U19 rugby! So we retired to Downtown Roseville and a sweet little pub called the Boxing Donkey.... right near the train station. Finally sunny and warm as I was about to enter the pub and up walks my old teammate from UC Davis 28 years before, Arona Palamo. Arona's been busy flying to Mexico every week conducting plant genetic research. He offered that it was good to see some of the old guard out reffing.

Into the pub and around the back, I found a private room with both teams arriving, then further back a neat little spot lined with big, comfy leather couches and coffee tables. It was good to chillax and sip a dark ale amongst the rugby crowd. It had hardly been a year earlier that Sierra's Dave Faingold talked about starting a new DIII team in South Placer County. Dave and the boys had cause to rejoice.

STANISLAUS 14 – Aptos 0 Referee: Scott Wood
TJs: Paul Colyer (Stanislaus), Jeff _____ (Aptos)
It was a very windy day. How windy you ask? Aptos kicked off the second half. The ball traveled in the air the requisite ten meters then sailed backwards an equal distance (on a different vector for you pedantic physicists). The referee yelled "play on" prior to Aptos catching and running with the ball.

Aptos attacked well throughout the match. They had a stronger forward pack than the hosts but were unable to effectively contain the backs. The score was tied at halftime.

In other news, I found this recap of the State of Jefferson / Reno Zephyrs match quite entertaining:

SAMOA UNITED 56 – Sacramento Blackhawks 18 Referee: Giles Wilson
Two of the newer teams in the area faced off at Burton HS in San Francisco - beautiful day with great views out over the bay. A slightly delayed start due to a tire issue on the way down from Sacramento.

The Chiefs have a couple of players who have been with other NCRFU clubs (as do Blackhawks) but both also feature a number of new faces, several who are new to rugby - all good signs.

This game started fast but the Chiefs overall experience, size and aggression at the point of contact, combined with an early injury to the Blackhawks captain gave this the potential for a blowout. Dogged defense by Blackhawks and unnecessary first half yellow cards meant that the half time score was only 27 - 0. Chiefs had put 3 in the sin bin while Blackhawks had one - spread over the course of the half meant that Blackhawks had a one man advantage for 20+ minutes and 8 minutes (spanning half time) were played 14 aside.

In the second half all of the discipline issues had been resolved, but the pace and experience of Chiefs still had them 5 tries to 3 ahead for the half.

After a short break, both teams had a number of players who had not played in the game, many of whom for Blackhawks were complete rookies. Both sides fielded full sides with about 8 - 10 new faces, which bodes well for both sides as they look to move up through the divisions.

SF FOG 42 – Paso Robles 19 Referee: Bruce Bernstein
Match was tight & could have gone either way until about the 60 minute when the Fog took advantage of all 7 subs; while Paso only had 2 who were also needed. Every match I’ve had so far this year has followed a similar pattern--the team with more subs has won--all home teams also have won.

Score was 15-12 at half & 20-19 midway into the 2nd half. Fog dominated all set pieces winning both teams lineouts & many of Paso's scrumdowns. Paso's 8 man had a nice try on a pick-up; & their flyhalf repeatedly broke the gainline on many swerving runs; while the Fog's 7 tries were more a team effort, scored by different players.

Fog seconds 5 – VALLEJO 48 Referee: Liz Palmer
1st Half
Fog won the coin toss and chose to kickoff. Vallejo had more size, speed, and their cohesiveness was quite evident in their style of play, but their very sloppy rucks earned the fog multiple penalties. However, their strong experience and high intensity kept the Fog from being able to gain much in ground. Penalties kept Vallejo from scoring too much in the first half as the majority were from diving over and hands in the rucks. The score at half was 17-0 Vallejo.

2nd Half
Fog received their only kickoff on the unsuspecting side of the pitch before Vallejo stormed in. Vallejo came in hard and strong, and better rucking produced more continuity. Fog was able to retain possession even through multiple phases, but were not able to break through Vallejo defense. Vallejo had multiple breakthroughs and scored 5 tries in the 2nd half. More tries would have been likely had there not been so many knock ons. 48-5 final score.

SF Fog women 10 – EPA Razorbacks 10 Referee: Sandy Robertson
In a friendly at Treasure Island courtesy won out, the sides scored 2 tries each, and plenty of rookies got a run.

ST. MARY’S thirds 52 – U. of the Pacific 17 Referee: Tim Lew
On a great day on the East Bay, SMC & UOP squared off for a friendly game to tune up their skills for the regular season. SMC had better athletes and strong rugby players for a 3rd side game. UOP had a few select players that lead their team and made some good plays. Both teams ran the ball often without too much kicking attack. SMC had some infringements in the ruck and high tackles, but they dominated most aspects of the game. UOP had a few good hard runs leading to some breakaway trys.

CHICO STATE 43 – Santa Clara 42 Referee: Chris Tucker
Santa Clara kicked off into the stiff breeze at Chico State's home field, and were promptly shelled with 4 tries in 20 minutes. They looked awful -- couldn't tackle, couldn't run. They gradually woke up, scoring a try at the end of the half after the Chico #10 had kicked the ball away to delay a quick tap (and found himself sitting on the sideline for 10 mins as penance). The second half didn't start much better for them, as they gave up another try after 3 minutes, and another after 15, for 36-7. Then something clicked. They moved forward with purpose. They broke tackles. They found space on the wing. They scored, again and again. 5 tries in 20 minutes, including one great moment when the #4 crashed through then tried to centre the score, only to drop the ball, "BACKWARDS! PLAY ON!", everyone stood looking at it, #4 dives back on it, Try. The only break Chico State got was a careless ball off a lineout. The tail gunner waited for the SCUTS tap back to the receiver, then charged the 9-10 gap. He tipped the ball up, gathered and ran the length of the field to score. This, it turned out, made all the difference. In spite of a perfect kicking performance, 6 tries is still only worth 42 points, not quite enough to take it from the home side. That said, no cheers went up at the final whistle. Seemed nobody knew who won. Well, except me and the crestfallen visiting captain. Note to home side: you have a scoreboard. You might want to use it!

Seconds: CHICO STATE 43 – Scuts 19 Ref: Tucker
The Chico second side did their best to top their senior brethren, scoring the same and giving up fewer points. Of note was one try when at a defending ruck inside their own 5, the Chico scrum half passed back to his stand-off, only to find a prop's face in the way. Again, much staring at the ball on the ground in-goal, followed by a SCUTS try as an alert player dived on it.

NEVADA 49 – San Jose State 24 Referee: Don Pattalock

UC SANTA CRUZ 31 - Maritime Academy 10 Referee: Pete Smith
It was an amazing day in Santa Cruz with visibility to the Monterey Peninsula. The field was perfect, teams ready to go.

The UCSC men were noticeably smaller across the board against the Maritime Academy. They played an expansive and well-drilled game with a ton of heart and managed three tries to one in the first half to make it 17-5 at the break. More of the same in the second half produced an almost identical result with the Slugs scoring two converted tries (the second came at full time) in the second half to one unconverted by the Keelhaulers. Final score 31-10. UCSC have Sierra coming up on the schedule, their similar scores against common opponents make that a very intriguing game.

Santa Rosa JC 8 – SIERRA COLLEGE 14 Referee: Tom Zanarini
Very fun and fast match. Teams were well matched and very competitive.

Seconds: Santa Rosa 5 – Sierra College 5 Ref: Zanarini
Sierra was leading until time ran out. However, instead of kicking the ball to touch they put it back in play. At the next ruck Sierra infringed and Rosa sent it wide eventually dotting down for 5. Contrary to my heeding, the kicker did not take his time and missed right. As I was meeting Preston Gordon for a few pints at Mill Valley Beerworks to deliver his kit, he was the lucky recipient of a few microbrews.

FRESNO STATE 37 – Humboldt State 19 Referee: Jeff Jury

Seconds: Fresno State – Humboldt State Referee: Barry Foley

Sonoma State 17 – SF STATE 39 Referee: John Pohlman
One of the pleasures of refereeing rugby in Northern California is going to new places. This Saturday took me to Sonoma State University in Rohnert Park. This is a beautiful campus situated toward the top of Sonoma Valley.

Pat Maldonado, who played for Jesuit and Santa Rosa JC, seems to be the man in charge of this Sonoma State’s first-year program.

I arrived to campus at 11:30 AM, both teams were in early phases of a warm up. I was expecting a good game due to both teams being undefeated in Division III men's college.

Sonoma State is new, young and being coached by a couple of Bay Area ex-high school players, Pat from Jesuit and Captain Jack McNamara from the SFGG high school programs. Great to see the leadership these young men offer to Sonoma State.

On to the game.

What a beautiful day for rugby. The field was smallish, only 60 yards wide. They have plenty of room but the soccer team was sharing a part of the field. Due to little watering, the good grass was on dirt as hard a concrete. I think just about everyone had bloody knees by the end of the game.

Sonoma State came to play. They tackled everything in the first half. Took advantage of SFS turnovers to score three trys. All the Sonoma trys were off of turnover ball and scored by some athletic and opportunistic backs. #10 Tommy Porter, #11 Vince Solini and #12 Foster Fretland scored.

San Francisco State on the other hand, totally dominated scrums and ball possession. But were caught making that 50-50 pass.

Half time score Sonoma State 17 San Francisco State 5

At half time I had a couple of fans congratulate me on the flow and control of the game. Hey thanks.

I really felt if SFS starts taking care of the ball and continues the scrum domination they could come back.

I guess SFS Coach Dean White saw the same game I did, because SFS came out in the second half with a different game plan. SFS dominated the scrums to the point Sonoma was picking up penalties for collapsing.

Sonoma could not maintain the tackle rate from the first half. Injuries started causing key SSU players to leave.

SFS scored trys at 3, 15 , 18, 31 and 40 minutes. This led to a final score of SFS 39 Sonoma 17.

SFS looks strong. They are well-coached and have very good size. If Dean gets them to have some patience with the ball they can wear some teams down.

Good luck to both teams.

Stanford women seconds 5 – MOTLEY 64 Referee Bob Polito
It was something like 64 to 5 with the Stanford twos losing to a side of alums and assorted club side players.

STANFORD women 72 – UC Davis 5 Referee: Bruce Carter
ARs: Donal Walsh, Bob Polito
The Stanford women seem to have found their playoff gears: all forward speeds and no reverse.

In each half they scored two tries in the first five minutes, setting a pace for the Parents’ Day crowd.

Stanford 22 – SAC STATE 23 Referee: Craig Smith
ARs: Tony Levitan, Sandy Robertson
Videographer: Bruce Carter
This was a very close game which was really won on the strength of the Sac State scrum. Sac State had two tight heads which led to tries. Stanford led at the break and then fell 8 points behind in the 2nd half. With only a few minutes to go Stanford scored a converted try but Sac State managed to grind out the win.

I had some great assistants in Tony Levitan and Sandy Robertson. Bruce was a star in administering a beep test for me in the morning and then recording my game.

Seconds: STANFORD 39 – Sac State 29 Referee: Brad Richey

CALIFORNIA women 34 – Chico State 10 Referee: Lois Bukowski
Beautiful Alumni Day rugby at Witter. The field is still turf due to the Memorial Stadium retrofit and upgrade.

Cal came out with a vengeance and scored 6 mins in off a lineout, spinning to the wing. 12 mins later the produced nice ball again off the lineout and loose forward, #6 touched down for the blue and gold.

The game was marred by multiple ball-killing infractions; offside, in from the side and diving. Cal had a series of repeat infringements and #6 got caught one too many times offside. Bin at the 17 min mark. They managed a shorthanded score, though.

Chico is tenacious. They are in a rebuilding year, but always tough. TheY did not let up and were rewarded with a try by their flyhalf dotting down with 5 mins left in the half. Cal would not be deterred, they answered with 2 minutes left.

Second half got progressively sloppier and even with more preventative talk the penalties abounded. Cal was too much for the Chico State women, they have some great athletes, #1: was the kicker and converted a few beauts from nasty angles. Their #10 is sweet to watch. She's tall, athletic and has an awesome first step. Cal added two tries in the second half and Chico managed 1 to wrap up the scoring. Not before another yellow for #8 stamping. This was a frustration penalty.

All in all, a decent fun, some good rugby and fun had by all.

Seconds: California women – Chico State CANCELED

NEVADA women over Santa Clara by forfeit

UC SANTA CRUZ women 36 - Sacramento State 15 Referee: Pete Smith
UCSC women played a very cohesive game and offset their size deficit with good support and off-loading in the tackle. They staked themselves to a 12-5 halftime lead. They opened it up a little bit more in the second half to score four more tries while giving up two to seal a 36-15 victory against Sac St.

CHICO STATE women 57 – Oregon State 21 Referee: JC van Staden


CAL POLY seconds 53 – Cal State Monterey Bay 15 Referee – Andy Doukas
A game of two halves; the 1st half dominated by Cal Poly scoring 43 points to Monterey’s 5. Poly committed defenders and then quickly moved the ball to the winger, Nate Nunno, side stepping & straight arming for at least three scores. A single try late in the half came from a great run by Chad, Monterey’s captain, weaving through many defenders for a 20 meter score.

A physical second half by Monterey with big tackles and rucks kept this even with 10 points to each side. Another great run by Monterey’s big man #25, who started out at #8 and moved to the centers; Great pace and side stepping 40 meters, caught just before the try line, support players finishing the job. I truly enjoyed the enthusiasm and positive attitudes towards the game.


Seconds: OAKLAND WARTHOGS 32 – South Valley 7 Referee: Tim Lew
Brisk night in Oakland. Both 2nds teams were ready to show the coaches what they had. The game was clean and quick. South Valley had a few good players, but they were unable to control the overall athleticism of the Oakland Warthogs.

OAKLAND WARTHOGS 60 – South Valley 5 Ref: Lew
Following the 2nds, the 1st side played. Both teams ran VERY hard and the game's pace was a step up above the 2nds. Both teams were much quicker, harder and faster. The OW forward pack were hard straight downhill runners with the 1st five/ captain slicing up the defense on the fringes. SV couldn't make their first-up tackles and the OW made them pay throughout the game. Starting the 2nd half, the game was stopped 5+ times in the first 10 mins for injuries. Both teams played hard but the OW had too much for the SV defense.

Friday night
Elsie Allen 11 – SANTA ROSA 48 Referee: Sean Peters

SAT morning
Elsie Allen Girls 20 – RIO LINDA 43 Ref: Peters

Varsity Silver: WOLFPACK 45 – Lancers 0 Referee: Anthony Nguyen
We started a bit late because of an earlier match I had but we still managed to get the game started. Overall, this was a great game. Jim Crenshaw was able to watch me and give helpful pointers and JC van Staden was there in support of confidence. I was a bit over-head during the first half as I was trying to adjust to the game but did so later. Wolfpack scored time and time again with finding holes and strategic passing. It did help several times when Wolfpack would call a play familiar to me, such as "two-three switch" which would allow me to get in the right position. Jim gave me very helpful pointers at half. Everything was cleaned up afterwards and the match seemed like a real traditional rugby match. Moreover, the players were laughing and joking whilst playing the game. A great fun match indeed. Lancers could not score and Wolfpack ended with a 45 to 0 victory. I did notice during the last few minutes Lancers were enjoying themselves and accepting their loss as an opportunity to just have some fun with the game.

DE LA SALLE 33 – Maclachey 19 Referee: George O’Neil

Stockton 10 – SAC EAGLES 34 Referee: Chris Tucker
A fun runaround at Stockton's home field just off I-5. Good play from both sides, marred only by Stockton's tendency to huddle under the posts after conceding and not coming out promptly. Normally I wouldn't mind, but I was getting eaten alive by the mozzies that lived at the centre spot. In the end, the visitors' ability to create -- and importantly, find -- the overload was the difference, with the backs scoring most of their tries. But good to see two of our newer sides come out and play the game the way it is meant to be played -- run hard, tackle low, grin and shake hands at the end.

Friday, 2/24
Varsity Silver
KENNEDY 26 – Nevada 24 Referee: Jeff Richmond
This was a pretty intense match. Nevada traveled with only 14 and some of those were true JV players. Nevada played very physical and were able to challenge Kennedy despite the difference in numbers. Kennedy took a first half lead 12-5 though Nevada had come up short on a few chances to score. In the second half, Nevada's backline caught fire and set up two tries, one off an advantage on dangerous play. Kennedy collected themselves and the lead changed hands in their favor. Nevada killed some opportunities for themselves in the closing minutes by not retreating following open field kicks by their backs.

For any referee at Kennedy High School, beware the gopher holes surrounding the field. I dropped into one during my pre-match warmup and nursed an ankle sprain through the match.

Saturday, 2/25
Varsity Gold
DIXON 64 – Bishop O'Dowd 14 Ref: Richmond
Dixon had command of the match throughout; BOD was scoreless until into the second half. Both teams were well-coached, play was very clean and orderly. BOD kept their heads despite the mismatch and engineered a couple of tries with good forward play.

Saturday, 2/25
Girl's Varsity Silver
DIXON 22 – Lancers 5 Ref: Richmond
The teams were more evenly matched than the score indicates. I believe both are new clubs this year. At times, play was a bit chaotic - ball carriers going down without a tackle to speak of then throwing the ball backwards to no one, without a ruck being formed. You get the picture. Lancers played a little more off their forwards, taking advantage of some size difference. Dixon found overlaps in the wings and that made all the difference.

Varsity Gold: East Palo Alto lost by forfeit SAN MATEO Referee: Tony Levitan
EPA showed up with only 10 or so players so they forfeited their league match. SM loaned EPA a handful of players so we could play a scrimmage/game.

Stanford 2-25-12
Sandy Robertson, Bob Polito, Craig Smith and Tony Levitan for a full day of rugby.


For the Senate
Pelicus Scriptoris

Wednesday, February 22, 2012




JC van Staden is the newest L1 referee in Pelicanland. Congratulations!


We need a referee for the Chico State women hosting Oregon State this coming Sunday, Feb. 26. Please let us know if you’d like to cover this match.


At the moment we have 41 games on March 3 and only 14 refs. The good news is that many of you have not informed us of your availability for the coming month.

Please do so now:

Date Available? Able to travel?
March 3
March 10
March 17
March 24
March 31


We’ve reserved rooms for ten at the Yosemite Lodge for Tuesday night, March 27. At the moment, we have seven hikers. If you’d like to come along, it is guaranteed to be a memorable day.

By Bruce Carter

"The medial compartment of the thigh is frequently called the adductor compartment because the major action of this group of muscles is adduction.

"The adductor muscles include the adductors brevis, longus and magnus, and the gracilis.”

No matter how much you walk, run in a straight line, or ride your bicycle, these muscles don't get much use. But chasing two rugby balls and sixty players all over several acres in a four-hour period will tax them severely, because of the changes in direction required even by the most exemplary ball-line running.

The schedule this past weekend, dire as ever with respect to the number of available referees vis-a-vis the fixtures slated, called for doubling up blowers when possible (see also Ray Schwartz). I noticed that both the Otters of Cal State-Monterey Bay and the Monterey Bay/Aptos men had home games scheduled for my old duty post, Fort Ord. The men were kind enough to hold their game at 3 PM so that I could referee at both sites, about three miles apart.

It is very unusual for me to drive less than 150 miles for a game. It is 234 miles for me to attend our meetings on Treasure Island. On this red-letter day, I was able to referee two matches on different pitches in a mere 32 miles.

With the driving time thus saved, I was able to read my autographed copy of Team 7-Eleven: How an Unsung Band of American Cyclists Took on the World - and Won. The author, Geoff Drake, lives in Aptos and I heard him speak a few weeks back. Ref some rugger, read an entire book: better than a day at the office, even when you love your vocation.

CSU Monterey Bay 14 - SONOMA STATE 24 Referee: Bruce Carter
It was homecoming for CSUMB. The team is building credibility with the university and wanted to put its best foot forward for this match with Sonoma State. The pitch near the old post's main gate, built by the 49ers as a practice facility, was perfectly lined and prepared for the match, flags and ropes in place, and about 300 spectators were on hand including my wife and three old Monterey teammates from thirty years past.

Also in attendance were the cheerleading squad of the college. This took me back to the last time I was at a rugby game with cheerleaders (not counting the 'dancers' at the IRB Sevens), which was in Israel in 1983. Rugby memories have a way of folding in on themselves, wormholes of the mind.

Ryan Scott is doing a fine job organizing and running the team. He showed me his emergency action plan and medical summaries of the players. This came in handy when one fellow was concussed and seemed to want to continue playing shortstop.

Administrators from the school were on hand to see whether this rugby team is something they can support. The verdict, I trust, was affirmative.

Neither of these teams appears to have a coach. Both have a number of accomplished players and play the modern game well. It would seem to be worth someone's while to volunteer to help guide and shape their play.

For example: the penalty count was low except for three not-back-tens and a yellow card for third-man-in. Accountability to a coach can remove these sorts of errors.

A gray, windy overcast gave way to blue skies just at kickoff, the wind continuing to sluice in off the Monterey Bay. The footing was perfect, the grass ideal.

Both teams played multi-phase ruck-and-pod rugby, allowing me to hang around policing the tackle and the offside lines until some dunderhead shipped it wide. This is where problems occurred, a lack of depth in support and a dearth of creativity in running lines leading to another series of ruck-and-pod.

The Otter's captain and #10, Chad Patterson was the most incisive runner on the pitch, scoring a solo try up the gut while the visitors had a man in the bin. At the half it was 14-12 to the home XV and the crowd was noisy enough to require me to call the scrum cadence as loudly as I possibly could. That's a good problem to have to deal with.

Sonoma's defense improved in the second half and the Otters didn't threaten much thereafter. Sonoma tallied two more tries, with the one that ruined homecoming once and for all on a determined run by Tighthead Prop Robert Lynam.

I would have liked to have stayed to chew the fat with these squads and some of the spectators, but I was on my way to the Pelicanmobile even as the cheers for the opponents and the ref were blowing downwind.

Aptos/Monterey Bay 0 – SAMOA UNITED 52 Ref: Carter
The weather was the same five minutes away. But the Preston Park pitch is, by contrast, not the same. Let's just say it's smaller and leave it at that.

Smaller pitch, larger players: less running? Guess again. The Chiefs scored a try by spinning the ball wide and cruising down the sideline on their first possession.

To Aptos' credit, tries became less frequent as the match wore on, players committing themselves to the tackle. Samoa United was very good at off-loading in contact and from the ground, often almost-vertical floater passes to support that was not yet on-scene but arrived before the ball alit.

For a hard-hitting match on a small field, it was played in good spirits and tempers were kept to a minimum by everyone's love of playing rugby. No cards were dealt.

The teams lined up to play second-sides, a rare treat for D3, but I could only spectate as Aptos Captain Francois Nel took the whistle.

Running two full first-side matches in 3 1/2 hours left my calves twitching. Decades ago, I used to enjoy that feeling after running for an hour or two, but now I know what it portends for my aging self. Back then it meant I’d broken my muscles down and they’d rebuild the stronger. Now it means they are injured and will have their retribution.

The Samoa United players plied me with Gatorade, which I thought might help. But then, as often happens after a session of summer Sevens, I awoke in the middle of the night with both thighs intensely cramped along the insides.

My patients who are even older than me sometimes say, "My nighttime cramps are so bad that I cry." I tell them that I understand and I know.

If you've had this condition you realize: contorting yourself to alleviate cramps in one thigh is usually possible. But when they both go off at once, any movement that helps the one exacerbates the other. All you can do is suffer until it subsides and then reassure your angelic, concerned and long-suffering wife as you gingerly position your legs to try to get back to sleep, "It’s still worth it."


Friday Night Lights:
Seconds: SANTA CLARA 32 – Stanford 0 Referee: James Hinkin

SANTA CLARA 38 – Stanford 12 Referee: JC van Staden
Evaluator: David Williamson
Santa Clara was a little bummed out by having to play on the turf field, as the game had been scheduled for Buck Shaw Stadium. But with good weather, and a lot of spectators, (even 2 streakers) we were off at a little past 8pm.

Stanford made their intentions clear from the start, and worked a well-deserved try in just a few minutes into the game. Some discipline problems cost both teams a yellow for dangerous tackles, at about the same time in the match.

Despite the half time score of 5-17, Stanford kept their heads high, and even scored after being one man down, to close the gap to 12-17. Santa Clara's home-field advantage, cause for a bit more urgency from their side, and their coaching seemed to pay off. Short hand-offs pulled the defense in, and most off their tries ended up being back line tries, making use of the over laps.

Good-luck to both teams for the rest of the season.

Sacramento Lions – SFGG CANCELED

Round-robin in Menlo Park - D1
Referees: James Hinkin, Preston Gordon
SAN MATEO 24 – East Palo Alto Razorbacks 7 Referee: James Hinkin
The first two periods of Saturday’s round robin preseason matches kicked off at 10:40 with San Mateo and EPA taking each other on. A gorgeous day an on turf field meant fast rugby and the teams didn’t disappoint. Ferocious tackling led to several turnovers and both teams ran without fear looking for someone to smash. After exchanging tries early on the game settled into a pattern – both teams attacking from anywhere and not relenting until there was a knock on or penalty – kicking really wasn’t an option but more than a few times. Fun, exciting stuff, with the difference being that San Mateo reacted quicker to penalty situations to punch in a couple of quick tap tries and EPA not being able to finish off their moves.

Berkeley 12 – SANTA ROSA 76 Referee: Jordan Bruno
Evaluator: David Williamson
The weather cleared for a fast paced afternoon match with a calm breeze off of the Pacific making for great rugby conditions. Berkeley stunned Santa Rosa with a quick two tries in their first few phases of play. Berkeley backs moved the ball easily given space and offloaded well in the tackle. Santa Rosa awoke and bounced back after being down 12 nil on the board, playing a hard 70 minutes from then on. Their backs moved the ball easily and their forwards secured and poached well at the breakdowns. A hard hitting, physical, and well disciplined side. Berkeley, obviously overmatched in size and speed, saw their chances of winning dwindle with the start of the second half. With twenty minutes left in the match, it became more challenging to manage the Berkeley players, obviously frustrated, than it was to keep up with the pace of the game. A very good game on both sides, but with more depth and size with Santa Rosa, an easy win for them. Thanks to David Williamson for providing sound advice in the post-match debriefing.

Seconds: Berkeley – Santa Rosa Referee: Lois Bukowski
No report received.

Seahawks – Diablo Gaels Referee: Craig Smith
No report received.

Seconds: Seahawks 12 – DIABLO GAELS 17 Referee: Sam Davis
Great game both sides played solid rugby, Gaels took the lead in the first half with two trys and one conversion, Seahawks had 1 try first half and tied it up the second half with 18 min left in the game. The last 15 mins a lot of ball movement on both sides, Gaels got it out to their wing who turned the corner and scored with no time left on the clock the kick was missed and final whistle was blown.

MARIN REDS 53 – Chico 21 Referee: Mike Gadoua
Perfect weather on a good pitch with two teams that came out to play. The REDS forwards seem to have dominated the scrum and were definitely more assertive. However, the REDs backs also proved to be aggressive on the attack as well. Chico’s moments of brilliance were no match for the continuous pressure by the REDs.

Seconds: Marin 5 – CHICO 7 Referee: Ian Johnston
Unfortunately, Chico only had 4 extra players for a 2nd team game. Marin lent them some additional players and we only played a 20 minute 'half" to give the guys a run-out.

BARACUS 45 – South Valley 10 Referee: Bruce Ricard
Very windy day in San Francisco. Baracus started very well with 2 tries at the 1st and 3rd minutes, helped by many infringements at rucks by South Valley. At the 8th minute, their scrum half receives a yellow card for coming from the side at a tackle for the second time, the team is infringing way too much. At the 29th minute, another player is temporarily excluded for not rolling away at a tackle, and at the 35th yet another one for being offside at a ruck. At the 39th minutes, South Valley's fly half is temporarily excluded for repeated talking and whining and contesting the decisions (a penalty was turned a few minutes earlier because of him talking). Baracus scored 2 more tries at the end of the 1st half (37th and 39th minutes). Score at the break 26 - 0.

In the second half, South Valley infringed way less than in the first one, which created a much more balanced game. Baracus scored two tries at the 22nd and 28th minutes. At the 30th minute, South Valley scored their first points with a nice try, to which Baracus reply by an other try on the restart kick action. After that, South Valley plays and reaches Baracus 5m line, and plays a lot with the forwards. Repeated infringements from Baracus at the rucks this close to their line led to 2 yellow cards for not rolling away, and to South Valley's 2nd try at the 37th minute.

In the second half, South Valley received a penalty kick very close to the central point, they decide to try to find the touch. The kicker probably get disturbed by the wind, and he probably tried to kick so hard, that he missed his kick, and the ball went straight toward the touch line following the 50m line. But the wind was so strong, it pushed the ball backwards, both teams were running behind it to catch it, but the ball (or the wind), was too fast, and finished its run behind the dead ball line. 60m backwards penalty kick, was pretty funny.

Seconds: BARACUS 33 – South Valley 7 Referee: Bruce Bernstein
No report received.

Vacaville 22 – FRESNO 25 Referee: Cary Bertolone
TJs: Chris Comstock + Marcus Williams (Good Norcal rugby names)
A beautiful rugby day in Vacaville, clear with a 10 mile an hour wind, we had a barnburner and it's a shame someone had to lose.

Vacaville scored the first try only 5 minutes in, when their center cut back against the grain from 22 meters out, used me as a barrier and ran one in for a center try and a 7-0 lead. Fresno took it right back at them and scored a try to close the gap. The teams were pretty even, but Fresno scored a converted try as well as a penalty kick to take a 15-7 halftime lead.

With the wind, and just two minutes into the second half, Vacaville's scrumhalf booted a super high up and under to their wing for a gorgeous center try. Even Fresno appeared to be impressed. Vacaville continued to dominate with the wind and ran in another beauty of a try with another cutback from the backline at 13 minutes to take the lead. Fresno scored a try and Vacaville kicked a penalty kick and they were winning 22-20 with two minutes to go. They tried to score, but were held up in the try zone. Vacaville had their 5 meter scrum, won it, but lost a ruck at the three meter line, Fresno picks up the ball and proceeds to run it, with a few passes and a ruck or two, 97 meters for a try at the 79 minute mark and the final 25-22 score; unbelievable as I thought Vacaville had the game. Great game by both clubs!

Seconds: VACAVILLE 17 - Fresno 5 Referee: Cary Bertolone
Thirty minute halves were in order for the second game and Vacaville took a 5-0 halftime lead. Pretty even game with lots of energy from the fresh second side members, both teams scored in the second half and Vacaville came out on top, 17-5. Marcus Williams, Dave William's son, has a boot and played well! Ran into Dixon and Christine Smith at the overview near Vallejo on the way home! I thought he was evaluating my post-match bathroom stop! I know I did great (at the bathroom stop).

SHASTA 45 – Redwood 7 Referee: Lee Salgado
Driving north for a game was a nice change of pace, especially since it was only a 3.5 hour drive and not a 4+ hr drive. It was great weather for rugby with a nice warm sun on a soft pitch which will for sure make Sunday less painful. The game started off close with both teams scoring between the 23rd and 25th minute. Both teams had a great boot for touch and conversions; scrums were also solid. However, Redwood had a few more new players and Shasta seemed fitter. Shasta was very good at getting the ball wide and sporting each other. Redwood had strong runners, especially the 8 man who was good at penetrating the fringes. Knock-ons and lack of support wide was the bane of the Redwood backs unfortunately which resulted in a few turnovers. There was at least one flare-up in the field but both teams settled and continued play. Shasta's fitness was apparent in the second half and after the 50th minute kept going and never looked back.

Siskiyou 5 – RENO 43 Referee: Kevin Brown

COLUSA 69 – Mendocino 0 Referee: Mike King
It was a pleasant day on a nice, dry pitch in Colusa, with a fairly large turnout of spectators for the hosts. There is a certain camaraderie between these 2 sides, but that was definitely put aside when the battle began. Initially, the visitors were equal to the onslaught of Colusa, but seemed to be unable to tackle the hard running Colusa backs after awhile. Halftime score reflected the stronger running of the hosts: 26-0. The situation did not improve for Mendocino. To their credit, the Steam Donkeys played hard to the end. They were able to get some brand new players some time due to a few injuries. They came close to scoring on several occasions only to meet strong resistance from the hosts. Final Colusa 69 Mendocino 0.

Humboldt 20 – SIERRA FOOTHILLS 31 Referee: Tom Zanarini

Aptos 0 – SAMOA UNITED 52 Referee: Bruce Carter
See report above.

Seconds: Aptos 0 – SAMOA UNITED 31 Referee: Francois Nel
Played two 15-min halves, Chiefs ran in 5 tries to nothing.

STANISLAUS 45 – Sac. Blackhawks 19 Referee: Dan Wilson
From the start of the match, Sacramento showed flashes of great rugby followed by a mistake from which Stanislaus was able to take advantage. After kicking the ball off, Sacramento put Stanislaus under pressure only to see a line break resulting a chase down inside the 22-meter line. The defense could not align itself quickly enough resulting in Stanislaus touching down in the third minute of the game. This was followed by two other converted tries in the first quarter of the game. Stanislaus was spinning ball while Sacramento was starting to get a little frazzled.

At the start of the second 20-minute period, Sacramento started to put some nice rugby together, pushing inside the 22-meter line. With a quick succession of penalties against the defense and then not retreating, Sacramento had a penalty on the 5-meter line. Unfortunately for Stanislaus, players still decided not to retreat even though they were given ample warning. Result: penalty try, and Sacramento was on the board.

The penalty try seemed to give new life to Sacramento but fundamental rugby from both sides, especially in the tackles and subsequent rucks, plagued both teams. Sacramento went had to play a man down when the inside center, Dre Hoofkin, would not tackle safely. Halftime score: Stanislaus 21 – Sacramento 7

The second half started similarly to the first with Stanislaus scoring three tries before Sacramento woke up to fight back. Overall, the second half was much better rugby from both teams, but Stanislaus proved too much on this day.

SF Fog women – Maritime Academy Referee; Sean Peters
Referee Coach: John Coppinger
No report received.

SF FOG 24 – Vallejo 15 Referee: Chris Tucker

CALIFORNIA 13 – U of British Columbia 12 Referee: George O'Neil
ARs: Chris Tucker, Dave Newport
#4: Ron DeCausemaker
Evaluator: Mike Malone
This was a great game played by two of North America’s top sides. Cal won the game with an amazing counter attack and try in the 74th min by number 8 Danny Barrett. I would like to thank everyone that made the day possible.

ST. MARY’S 53 – Olympic Club 10 Referee: Pete Smith

Seconds: ST. MARY’S 45 – Olympic Club 0 Referee: Evan Schlinkert
Assessor: Bryan Porter
We had a great sunny Saturday afternoon with the second Side from Saint Mary's taking on the second side of the Olympic Club. The Olympic Club was down several front rowers so we went uncontested scrums and only played 2, 20min halves.

Saint Mary's moved the ball quite well utilizing quick hands and dummy runners finding gaps in the Olympic Club’s defense and space out wide. In the first half the Gaels had four tries and converted two of them and the Olympic Club had nothing. There was strong play on both sides of the ball at the breakdown but lack of discipline by the Olympic Club caused many penalties for both not releasing and entering the ruck from the side.

With the halftime score 24 to 0 both sides decided to put several replacements onto the field. With fresh legs on the pitch the Gaels were off and running in the second half. Utilizing deep penetrating kicks the Gaels dominated territory in this match and proceeded to score three more tries and convert on all of them. With seven minutes to go in the match tensions were high and a scuffle broke out on the Olympic Club’s sideline. No cards were given but both captains were warned and sent to speak to their respective squads. Saint Mary's seconds racked up 45 points in 40 min, and the Olympic club had 0.

SACRAMENTO STATE 32 – Chico State 27 Referee: Don Pattalock
AR: M. Franzoia, coach Favor
Opinionated spectator: Jim "yellow card" Crenshaw
Both teams enjoyed quick ball in the loose play but suffered from a lack of experience with what to do with it. The game was wide open and tied at 27 with 5 to play. Sac State scores the tiebreaker in broken play with 4 to go. Chico State applies pressure the remainder of the match but failed to cross the line.

Seconds: Sacramento State – Chico State Referee: Tom Franzoia
No report received.

MARITIME ACADEMY 36 – Fresno State 32 Referee: Bryant Byrnes
Bang! Wham! Played at Mare Island's Morton Field, this was a clash of styles. Mainstay Maritime is a bit like St Mary's-not the biggest pool to draw from but good tradition, dedicated players and coaches. They play with discipline.

Fresno State is a new club (second year) but came to play. The pack likes to bang. Their big fast centers just want the ball, a bit of space, and will race you to the goal.

Maritime scores first at four minutes, and at half seems to be in control-24-15. But miss a tackle on Fresno's centers and they are gone. Scoring last, they simply run out of clock.

Many thanks to Tim Lin for ARing and constructive observations.

Seconds: Maritime Academy – Fresno State Referee: Tim Lew
Referee Coach: Bryant Byrnes
No report received.

UC SANTA CRUZ 15 - Humboldt State 5 Referee: Arturo Morales (New England)
Game was fun and good. 15-5 to UCSC, exciting and a great start to my season. Awesome pitch!

SIERRA COLLEGE 56 – Nevada 0 Referee: Ray Schwartz
AR: Mark Godfrey
Nevada seemed like a talented team, but was beaten at most every position from the start and throughout. The speed, power and discipline of these players, on both sides, was impressive. Sierra started scoring 3 minutes in, and just keep putting pressure on, scoring at a metronomic rate, running a 56-0 tally in the end.

At a 5 meter lineout, I heard “Woodcock” from the Sierra forwards, and just like that they had reproduced the All Blacks try from the RWC Final. First time trying it in a game. The connection of captain/#8 Steve Brown, w/ #9 David Burnett and #10 Keenan Mayfield, is going to be hard to beat.

Mark and I then raced back to Sac St to watch the 2nd half of Favor Taueva’s match, but found Tom Franzoia at the whistle. Favor’s a new Pelican, but tweaked his hammie reffing two on Friday night.

San Jose State 0 – SANTA ROSA JC 47 Referee: John Pohlman
This was another of those "much closer than the score indicates," games.

After a fifteen minute drive, I arrived at noon for a one o'clock kickoff. San Jose State was hosting Santa Rosa JC for a Div. II College league game.

Both teams were warming up when I arrived. I saw current SJS coach, friend and ex-teammate Ken Bousfield chatting with his captain. A few SJS players had called in as no shows. Ken took over SJS team a few months ago. Ah, the trials of the new coach. Good luck, Ken.

Santa Rosa JC looked a bit more organized, led by coaches Steve Wren and Patrick Culley. Both teams looked to have close to thirty players.

JC was more organized, controlled possession and had three impact players which led to a dominating win.

#13 Captain Austin Welch was the clear man of the match. Austin scored two of JC's eight trys. And looked good enough and big enough to be Cal's or St. Mary's #13.

The other impact players were #10 Garrett Briggs and winger #14 Tavila Tuisaaura. Both Garrett and Tavila dotted down two scores each.

SJS has some size and athletics. They were up for the physical contest. They simply did not have the strike players nor the organization of the JC team. This was the second time I have seen the JC's play this season. They have improved and looked to be one of the top teams in DII.

Both programs look to have very positive future. Did I mention, it was a 15 minute drive?=

UOP 43 – Sacramento College 26 Referee: Jeff Jury

U. of San Francisco 0 – SF STATE 69 Referee: Sandy Robertson
A more experienced, deeper San Francisco State squad ran in 11 tries against their in town rivals University of San Francisco. SF State controlled possession and tackled players had plenty of support.

CSU-Monterey Bay 14 – SONOMA STATE 24 Referee: Bruce Carter
See report above.

STANFORD UNIVERSITY women 32 - University of California 10 Referee: Aruna Ranaweera
Sunny 65F at Steuber Field. Stanford was noticeably larger and more structured than their opponents and raced to a 20-0 half-time lead. The lead would have been much more had Stanford's outside backs not squandered so many scoring opportunities by ignoring their wide-open support. Soon after half-time, Cal scored two quick, opportunistic tries to edge within 20-10, but Stanford answered with two more tries to seal the game. The last quarter of the game became sloppy as neither team played with consistency. In the end, Stanford won comfortably, 6 tries to 2.

Seconds: Stanford women – California Referee: Tony Levitan
No report received.

UC DAVIS 19 women – Chico State 17 Referee: Rich Anderson

Seconds: UC Davis women – Chico State Referee: Anthony Nguyen
Referee Coach: Dixon Smith
No report received.

Sacramento State women 59 –HUMBOLDT STATE 25 Referee: Ray Schwartz
AR: John Villaneuva
Kickoff at 9:30 AM
What started as a nice little game of back and forth rugby, opened up as the ball found Humboldt’s #8 at pace. All American Aoibhea “Bean” Cline would score 4 tries, and make 4 of 6 conversions on the day. She would often seamlessly link up beautifully with her #10 Karmen Ravel who took the ball moving forward again and again. The rest of Humboldt was skillful as well, but well matched w/ Sac St, who took a bit of time to get rolling. 33-5 at the half.

The Hornet’s wing Joana Sousa scored 4 tries, all in the 2nd half, but Humboldt kept scoring as well. Final was 59-25, Bean was afraid she tore her knee up a bit, so not all was joy. Thank you to both opponents for agreeing to move their kick off time up to allow me to ref another game elsewhere.

Santa Clara women 10 – SF BATS 89 Referee: Giles Wilson
SCU's new artificial Bellomy field is marked for rugby and has full sized posts - a nice set up.

SCU were short of players and BATS had plenty, allowing a full game to be played. BATS are well coached, run good support lines and nice angles; SCU have two or three good athletes but show the limitations of being short handed.

BATS scored with regularity, 7 tries in the first half and 8 in the second (the scrum half is a real live wire, scoring 4 herself including a blindside break with no space). SCU kept working and managed two second half tries.

(The final score is a correction from my field count).

St. Mary's 14 – U of BRITISH COLUMBIA 30 Referee: Chris Tucker
ARs: Bruce Carter, Dave Newport
#4: Ron DeCausemaker


Friday, February 17:
JV: Dixon 26 – CHRISTIAN BROTHERS 29 Referee: Anthony Nguyen
This was an excellent game that was a privilege to referee. Dixon and Christian Brothers fought out a hard battle with close encounters and great game play.

First half, Dixon led the game with scoring multiple tries and conversion kicks to take on the CB team. CB regained its confidence by scoring two tries midway the first half. The phases mostly were well organised and clean, up until the end of the first half where play got sloppy and slow due to fatigue. Good news is that there were few penalties in the first half. Dixon had 26 points and CB had 12 at the end of the first half.

Second half was a completely different story. Both teams strived to gain the win at the ending of the second half, where there were five minutes left and the score being tied. The beginning was similar to the first half but with more errors, penalties, and free kicks (for balking at the line-out three times?). The end was intense and the situation was fragile. Dixon was awarded a penalty in which the penalty taker tapped the ball illegally. I explained to him to make sure it left his hands. He did it a second time incorrectly and I gave a scrum to the CB side, deep in the 22 side Dixon was defending. About four more phases occurred before a penalty was awarded against the Dixon team. The score being 26 to 26 and full time over, CB decided to take a penalty goal, about fifteen meters out dead center with the goal posts. As the final moments were occurring, I decided what type of whistle tone to use to either end the match or award the PG and watched the kicker prance up and kick the ball, almost hitting the left post. The goal was successful and CB was roaring over their win. A great physical game for sure. Final score Dixon 26, CB 29.
Dixon players thanked me for a job well done and I was glad that they were good sports for the game. Great game!

Girl's Varsity
Rio Linda 17 – BISHOP O’DOWD 43 Referee: Jeff Richmond
The match was played at Rio Linda High School in front of a spirited crowd. Both teams were well-disciplined in the rucks maintaining possession even after 5 or 6 phases. Tackles were also executed cleanly - these teams had been coached well. BOD had a very quick backline and burst through the Rio defense for a couple of quick scores. Rio stayed in the match with a more pick-and-go, keep-it-tight attack and was able to tie the match up 12-all at the half. Rio brought in some fresh backs for the second half that were put to the test. The BOD backs were able to find overlaps or a defense out of position and ran away with the match.

2/17/12 ELSIE ALLEN 31 – Montgomery 17 Referee: Mike King
A cool evening in the LoboDome as the Lobos greeted cross-town rivals, Montgomery, who came ready to play. Play started tentatively with handling errors and ruck violations throwing off the visitors' momentum. Strong running by Elsie’s forwards paced an attacking mentality that led to a 19-5 half-time lead. Not to be deterred, the Vikings struck back in the second half, with the sides trading scores.

Seconds: Elsie Allen 5 – MONTGOMERY 25 Ref: King
The two sides were made up of mostly inexperienced players, although Montgomery had a significant size advantage in both height and weight. They used it to steamroll the Lobos at times, but some gang tackling slowed the advance by some of the stronger runners. The defense did not hold enough to keep Montgomery from rolling up 5 unconverted trys.

2/20 HS –JV Bishop O’Dowd 10 – ELSIE ALLEN 12 Ref: King
A crisp holiday Monday evening and two incredibly well-coached squads of mainly inexperienced players, led to a magnificent contest. At first, O’Dowd seemed to be in control and able to move the ball at will on attack. The BOD #10 is an exciting runner, who scored the first try and seemed able to score more. Elsie’s defense stiffened a bit and the center or wing grabbed a fortuitous mishandle by O’Dowd’s backs, racing 60 meters to score in the corner. O’Dowd continued to pressure to lead 10-5 at half. The second half started the same, but soon thereafter, the tide seemed to change. Elsie kicked for position, then pounded the try line, but was unable to cross due to excellent defense. Finally, near the end of the match, the #8 picked up from a scrum and ran through some tackles to reach paydirt which was converted. Bishop O’Dowd went back on the offensive, but was unable to reach position to score. Final BOD JV 10- Elsie Allen JV 12.

Monday Feb 20 7:30 pm
BISHOP O’DOWD 31 – Santa Rosa 17 Referee: Eric Rauscher
I showed up early to watch Mike King handle the JV game. It was a good, close match and I was looking forward to a similar game for the Varsity.

Santa Rosa scored first in the seventh min with a converted try. BOD came back to do the same in the 15th. It looked to be a see-saw affair.

The rucks were a bit messy with both sides not being behind last feet or coming in from the side. After several penalties on both sides I called the captains over and had a little talk about cleaning it up. They both talked to their teams, and it was clean from then on. BOD scored once again at 24 min with the half standing at 14/7. The second half started with a Penalty kick converted by Santa Rose followed by three tries by BOD. Santa Rosa fought on and got the last score at 31 min. Both sides played very well displaying good ball skills and good open play sequences. A most enjoyable game.


Wednesday, February 15, 2012




Tim Lew has earned promotion to L3. You might know Tim as scrumhalf with the Olympic Club – now get to know him as a Pelican Ref!


The monthly meeting of the Pelican Society will be held at the SFGG clubhouse from 7 to 9 on Wednesday, Feb. 15. Food will be provided beginning at 6 PM, so leave early to allow for possible traffic.

Our special guests will be Murray Felstead and Nick Richards from the East Midlands, old and dear friends of our Society.


So far we have five to accompany the East Midlanders on the biennial Yosemite snow hike. That’s plenty to make the event a highlight of their trip, but there is room for others.

If you can get Wednesday, March 28 off work and can get to Yosemite on Tuesday (even after work), please plan to join us. We have participants from Sacramento, Marin and Monterey County, so we should be able to arrange rides.


Please make certain that the match cards you are using have John Compaglia’s address on them – not Giles Wilson’s. You can find them on or here:

And never forget to report red cards and yellow cards that you issue for foul play. (Not yellows for repeated infringements or wasting time.) The address is easy to remember: NCRFU Disciplinary Committee:

Reports should be terse:
“Red card to Bone Head of the Wankers RFC for violating Law 10.4(e), dangerous tackle.”

No narrative, please. None whatsoever. List the Law violated. If the circumstances call for a narrative, include the sentence: “Please call me at 867-5309 if you need further details.”

This means: CALL ME. THIS ONE WAS BAD. It also means we don’t want an electronic record of the proceedings to be established yet.


St. Mary’s will be hosting the University of British Columbia next Tuesday, Feb. 21, at 3 PM. Chris Tucker will referee.

UBC will have played Cal and will be completing their tour.

We could use an AR and some #4s. Please let us know.


Feb. 25: 36 refs, 45 games

Please let us know which weekends you can referee in March.


Arrived in Las Vegas on Wed afternoon, found out at the meeting at 9pm that I had no matches assigned to ref on Thursday.

Showed up at 7:30 am the next day at the ref tent and ran touch for 4 sevens games and the BYU - Penn St 15s game.

The next day I was assigned to the boys U19 elite 7s. Take out the word elite and put in FAST.

Three games as ref and six as AR

BRITISH COLUMBIA 17 – Rugby Ontario 10 These were two "All Star" teams from their respective areas. Ontario came out strong and scored two tries in the first half with BC reversing it in the second with two unconverted and one converted to win. A game of two halves.

ALL-AMERICAN seconds 22 – Rugby Ontario 17 Once again Ontario dominated the first half with one converted and two unconverted tries only to have the All American team come from behind in the second half with three unconverted and one converted try to win the game. Again a flip/flop game.

BC 27 – All American seconds 0 This time it wasn't a tale of two halves. It was BC 1 dominating.

In all of these games I was impressed not only with the speed with which they were played, but the teams’ ability to make 20/30 meter passes across field. Very exciting games to do.

Running touch for the last game of the day, one of the organizers came out at half to tell us that they still had two 15s games to do. I agreed to do one with the other AR taking the other.

Bayside Sharks Vancouver 21 – Bellarmine 19 This was a game of mostly fresh/soph. We played two 30 min periods. The play was pretty good on both sides with the score changing back and forth. Vancouver scored the last try of the game and kicked the conversion with no time left on the clock to win.

By that point I had no voice left and my legs felt like rubber, but it was a great way to end the day.


The Las Vegas Invitational has become the biggest tournament in the United States. More than 200 teams participated on 24 pitches.

This could not happen without volunteer refs. Not just volunteering to referee, but also taking three days off work, paying for flights and hotel rooms, for the promise of refereeing. The explicit promise – not a maybe, but an all-comers promise to referee games.

This year they stiffed a significant number of the referees who made this commitment. Those in charge did not think having too many referees was a problem, and made no effort to give everyone games. “Oh, you can AR all you want.” Meanwhile, some referees had as many as ten games assigned.

I will put my own record of touch-judging and assistant-refereeing up against anyone’s, in terms of paying my own way, hanging on through multiple games, and passing up refereeing to help another ref on a key game. But bait-and-switch doesn’t satisfy under any circumstances.

I have been associated with rugby in this country for 35 years. I have never seen, heard of, or even dreamed of volunteers being treated like this. It was disgusting. Those responsible should be ashamed of themselves for treating others so shabbily, and should step down from future involvement.

This is not the way to grow rugby, nor is it the way to make anyone fall in love with anything.


SFGG D1 over Santa Clara Referee: Craig Smith
AR: Dave Newport
Evaluator: Dixon Smith
The SFGG 1s vs Santa Clara was well contested. While SFGG had the size, Santa Clara were full of running and kept the pressure on SFGG who were down by a few points at half time. The oranges and team talk at half time obviously helped SFGG as they scored within a minute of the second half starting. The SFGG outside centre was a beast and must have broken around 15 tackles on the day. SFGG were winners in the end by a try or two. I'm not sure of the final score but Dixon Smith may be able to help as he was my coach/assessor for the game.

Seconds: SFGG D1, 29 – Santa Clara 19 Referee: Tim Lew
Referee Coach: David Williamson
B game began scrappy but cleaned up quickly. SFGG took an early lead but SC scored some quick tries to keep the game close by halftime. After a few subs (SFGG players), the game evened up and SFGG held on for a win.

UC Santa Cruz 12 – ST. MARY’S thirds 19 Referee: George O'Neil
It was a very close and contested game with a lot of younger players.


GRANITE BAY 17 – Lancers 5 Referee: Scott Wood

Golden Gate Gold 24 – JESUIT 27 Referee: Tony Levitan
If there is a better match of high school rugby teams to be played in the US this season, I'd sure like to see it! On a magnificent day for rugby on Treasure Island, Jesuit and SFGG battled back and forth in a 70-minute tussle of strong wills, enviable talent and sheer determination. After mentioning to the teams during our pre-match chat that I was looking forward to an afternoon of enterprising, running rugby so I wouldn't have to head for a workout after the match, they indeed obliged me. In fact, one of the Jesuit forwards was cheeky enough to ask while his kicker was setting up to take a penalty, "Getting enough exercise, ref?"

The teams traded scores in the first half as both sides made quality use of both their set piece ball and multiple phases after. Once the early nerves went away, we saw strong tackling, physical rucking and some resolute counter-rucking. SFGG opened with an unconverted try, Jesuit countered with a converted try and a penalty until SFGG ran in two more first half tries -- the second a penalty try with 14 seconds in the half -- to end the opening stanza in the lead, 17-10.

Jesuit jumped right back in the match 5 minutes into the second half, capitalizing off a five-meter scrum earned after charging down an SFGG clearing kick in-goal, all tied at 17. SFGG answered with some powerful forward play, before Jesuit slotted a penalty with 19 minutes remaining, 24-20. The winning converted try by Jesuit (27-24) came amidst a level of rugby that rivaled technically the D2 match I reffed the week before. This was a match in which it truly was a shame that only one team walked off the pitch as victors.

Huge thanks to Bryant Byrnes for both his active support as AR -- and to Coach Steve of Jesuit who manned the other sideline -- and his coaching comments following the match. As a final observation, I must note how surprised I was to return to the pitch to catch some of the adult match that followed only to note the dearth of spectators in what had been packed bleachers for the high school match. Great to see the support for high school rugby at SFGG on Saturday. Now, if I could only get my kids to put down their lacrosse sticks ... :-)

Golden Gate varsity Silver 12 – DIABLO 38 Referee: Bryant Byrnes
This was the second of five games on TI at Gate's rugby factory on a balmy winter's day. All rugby all day and all quality.

Diablo scores twice converts once, but Gate by dint of hard work makes it 7-12 at half. The second half is much better stuff, but Diablo cracks it open with two late long solo tries, which were converted. Full time finds the scoring Diablo player and his Gate pursuer in goal, exhausted and supine-and the ref 10 meters away, hands on knees and thankful to the Lord for the horn.

My good game was followed by two great games. It was a shame to have to go home with a game left.

Bishop O’Dowd 15 – OAKLAND WARTHOGS 22 Referee: Jordan Bruno
Bishop O’Dowd squared off against the Warthogs in a city championship match Monday night that had all the makings of a great game. Both teams had size and agility in the forwards, speed in the backs, and experienced players who could have easily competed at the CPL second side. Bishop O’Dowd was the first team to run it between the posts for a score. A knock-on in goal minutes later by the BOD winger allowed the Warthogs to stay within striking distance. Penalties at the ruck and an undisciplined defensive line kept the Warthogs from seeing any development in phase play. However, a few incredibly powerful runs down the field (and missed BOD assignments) allowed the Warthogs to stay ahead 15-10 with two minutes to go. The BOD backs ran in back with under a minute, but missed a sure conversion to tie the match with seconds to go. BOD knocked the ball on in the ensuing kickoff. A few ground and pound phases by the Warthogs saw a try with no time left. An incredible match by two experienced and hard-working sides. Hats off to BOD head coach Ray Lehner for starting the inaugural tournament and developing some great players I am sure we will see playing in the CPL soon.


George O'Neil
BERKELEY 49 – Silicon Valley 32 high school
SFGG D1 seconds 54 – SF Fog 5
SFGG D – O Club seconds friendly. No score to report.

SF STATE 40 – U. of the Pacific 5 Referee: Jen Tetler
A beautiful Saturday on Treasure Island and both teams seemed excited to play. SF State won the toss and kicked off, but scored off of a turnover ball in the first 2 minutes of the game. UOP fought back valiantly and held them off for a while, but SF State scored again with 20 left in the half. A third try was converted, and a penalty kick was taken to make the score at the end of the first half 20-0.

UOP didn't give up in the second half, but they still got some possession stolen from them for two back to back tries by SF State, one a breakaway all the way across the field. UOP finally got the ball across the line after a nice breakaway followed by support up the side to put some points on the board. Before the half, however, SF State got two more, one a nice weak side play off of a 5 meter scrum. Unfortunately, the kicker for SF State was having a bad day and none of the 2nd half tries were converted.

Sacramento State women 5 – SF BATS 24 Referee: Pete Andrew


SONOMA STATE 65 - U. of San Francisco 5 Referee: Mike Gadoua
A typo - the "0" after the USF 5 is supposed to be end parens - ")"
(65 to 5)
The country boys just steamrolled around, over, and through the City dwellers.

Seven Sevens Fans
Seven Sevens fans are proud to be among more than thirty thousand like-minded followers of the bouncing ball in Las Vegas at the IRB Sevens.

Left to Right: Bruce Carter, Susan Gadoua, Murray Felstead, Linda Carter, Mike Gadoua, Sue Felstead, Nick Richards


For the Senate
Pelicus Scriptoris

Wednesday, February 08, 2012




Your editorial staff is departing for Las Vegas at 4 AM Wednesday so this edition will have to be born prematurely, before a lot of match reports are in.


One of the highlights of our biennial calendar is approaching: the incoming exchange of the East Midlands Society from the RFU.

Richard Parrish and Max Barnard will be joining us next month, arriving either March 21 or 22 and departing April 1 or 2.

Their tour will include games on both of the weekends that they are here, of course, a banquet at Richmond’s Up and Under on March 31, and the traditional Yosemite snow hike on Wednesday, March 28.

Here’s what you need to do:

One: Let Bjorn Stumer know if you can host. You can host half the time – they will change hosts after the Yosemite trip. So if you can take some time and entertain for five or six days, you’ll earn valuable Exchange Points – remember, we’ll be sending referees over there in September.

Two: Set aside the evening of Saturday, March 31, for a banquet in Richmond. Rooms are inexpensive – make reservations now and you won’t have to drive home.

Three: Let Bruce Carter know if you’d like to attend the Yosemite hike. You’ll need to drive to the park on Tuesday, March 27 (after work is possible) and you’ll need to take the day off for that Wednesday. You’ll be back home for dinner.

If you haven’t done this before, it really is one of the highlights of the ‘rugby’ calendar. We meet at the Yosemite Lodge and have a wonderful dinner. An ‘early’ night leads to an early start on the trail – which trail depends on the conditions. We’ve made it to the top of Yosemite Falls and Nevada Falls, even through deep snow.


February 18: 33 refs 46 games
Feb. 25: 36 refs 45 games

If you can help out, please let us know. It’s not too early to send in March availability, by the way.

Thursday, 6PM
Stanford 0 – ST. MARY’S 87 Referee: Pete Smith
SMC were dominant throughout the match attacking from anywhere on the field. Ball in hand and running lines were precise and relentless. Defensively, they swarmed and counter-rucked well. This is a top four team in the US –period.

Seconds: Stanford 0 – ST. MARY’S 126 Referee: Bruce Ricard
God it's cold in Stanford by 9pm in January. Two halves of 40 minutes plus a 15-minute period for the new players were played. Nothing really to report, the score speaks by itself.

SFGG D1 seconds – SF Fog Referee: George O'Neil
No report received.

SFGG D1 – Olympic Club seconds Ref: O'Neil
No report received.

SFGG 31 - Olympic Club 8 Referee: JC van Staden
AR: Dave Newport
Evaluator: Dixon Smith
The match ended with 15min to go because of the lack of light :( OC started to pick up the pace at the end...

I could not have asked for a nicer game to get assessed on. Funny, they have tested me everywhere... From the coin-toss, to boot inspection, taken back into the 22, "NBA safe" on the side line, rucks, yellow cards, obstructions by scrum-halfs, 1 early push, you name it...

Joke for the day....
Boot inspection: Ref - #4 Red, may I see your stud's again? (hybrid between a "blade" and a regular stud)
#4 - nothing wrong with them sir, I used them in the World Cup (just letting me know who he is)
Ref - I believe you, but they get it wrong some times, too, and my job today is to make sure....

2nd half, penalty: Ref - Red #3 not rolling away,
#4 - they were coming in from the side, blah, blah, blah......
Ref - chirping, 10 more meters....

While running to the line out.... Ref, right next to #4.... you would have think, if you played in the World Cup you should know by know who the ref is....both packs laughing, #4, speechless.... :)

After the game, one of his team mates bought me a beer, for bringing it up like that.... SO, yes I had fun!

San Mateo, EPA Razorbacks, Bay Barbarians and Sacramento Lions

Report by Jordan Bruno:
The skies parted for a clear day of rugby in Menlo Park where the Barbarians, Razorbacks, Lions, and Warriors squared off in a round robin. With a planned 8:30am kickoff, Bruce, Aruna, and I arrived early, only to realize that we wouldn't start for another hour and a half--we were clearly operating on island time. There were four matches on the day--I had the third and the second half of the fourth.

SAN MATEO 33 – Bay Barbarians 3 Referee: Bruce Carter
Prior to this first match, Jordan and I had a conversation about the ‘non-ruck’ at tackle: Blue tackles Red. Both go to ground. Several Red players arrive and take up a position over the ball, bound together, ‘rucking’. No Blue players join, and the guy on the ground either stays there or gets up and leaves.

Too many refs play this as a ruck – it’s not. It’s a tackle. Blue cannot be offside. Blue can infiltrate the Red backline, surround the tackle, whatever. The only thing they have to worry about is tackle zone entry, and if they’re not entering that point is moot.

Well, this happened in this game. The Barbarians declined to engage in rucks a time or two, and so I stayed in my tackle position, didn’t scan (why bother?) and awaited developments.

One on occasion, however, not only did the Barbarians not join the ‘ruck’, they didn’t defend it either, spreading out across the pitch. At which point an alert San Mateo player in the non-ruck simply picked up the ball and took off running to score a try.

We had traditional rucks from that point forward.

RAZORBACKS 24 – Barbarians 12 Referee: Jordan Bruno
The razorbacks were the more fit and skilled team. The preseason lull had taken its course with the majority of the Barbarian players, who committed careless penalties at the ruck and missed simple open field tackles. Knock-ons and penalties kept the clearly superior Razorbacks squad from running up the score.

Warriors 38 v Lions 26
The Lions started the second half ahead by 6. The match was close and fast paced. Early penalties for ruck infringements allowed for a faster pace and more room for the backlines late in the game, allowing for several lead changes. A double clutch and errant pass by the Barbarian scrumhalf with 10 minutes to go in the match saw the lions capitalize with a try while defending their own goal line and lead by two tries. The Barbarians struck back quickly with a few breaks--one at the ruck and another on the sideline. The Lions countered with a goal line scoring opportunity, thwarted by a stout defense and an intercepted backline pass for a late Barbarian try to seal their win.

East Palo Alto Razorbacks 7, SACRAMENTO LIONS 17, Referee: Aruna Ranaweera

This was the 2nd of four 40-minute matches at the Menlo Park Round-Robin played under warm, sunny skies on artificial turf. Bruce Carter refereed the first match, Jordan Bruno refereed the third match, and Jordan and I split the 4th match. What started as pickup rugby increased in intensity and quality as the day progressed. Much thanks to Simon of the Bay Barbarians for organizing water and pizza lunch for the referees.

Sacramento Capitals – Sacramento State NO REFEREE PROVIDED
This makes it an especial shame that Humboldt did not travel (see below). We had a ref without a game and this game without a ref.

South Valley 10 – DIABLO GAELS 27 Referee: Tony Levitan
In a hard-fought match with its fair share of back-and-forth play, Diablo prevailed over their hosts from South Valley. Key in the outcome was Diablo's superior set piece play, active coverage across the pitch by their backrow, and creative play in the backline. The teams waged a territorial battle for 17 minutes before Diablo dotted down for an opening converted try. A drop goal (first of the young season for this ref) and an unconverted try left the half-time score at 15-0 for the visitors.

South Valley climbed back into the match off a quick penalty tap near the Diablo line before the Gaels generally stronger side began to wear down SV. With the outcome sealed, play got a bit choppy. On the day, South Valley put over 2 unconverted tries, while Diablo had 4 tries, 3 conversions and the aforementioned drop goal from about 20 meters out.

Seconds: - SOUTH VALLEY 36- -Diablo Gaels 7 Ref: Levitan
The tables turned in the B-side match (one 40-minute half) with South Valley's athletes running in a number of long tries against Diablo, putting over 6 tries, 3 of which were converted. SV clearly benefited from having some A-side players on the pitch, their talent overcoming an weariness from the prior match. Save the long runs, the trend of play was pretty even and the match served to give game time to a number of new converts to the sport.

CHICO 36 – Berkeley 20 Referee: John Pohlman
TJ Silas and James
This past Saturday had me on my second road trip to Chico. Three weeks ago Jordan Bruno joined me for the three hour ride. This time I had to rely on the beautiful scenery, a delightful day, and some great music. I think I enjoyed Jordan's company a bit better.

I arrived around 11:45 and Berkeley had 30 plus players in various degrees of warm up. Chico looked like they had a number of players back from injury.

This game was played at the high school field which is a regulation rugby pitch, smooth and nice grass.

The pitch was well marked and a very nice field, especially compared to the jr. high field, yeah.

This was a very competitive game between two teams with a lot of talented players.

Chico's #10 Jason Maxwell scored two minutes in on a Berkeley turnover.

Berkeley controlled most of the ball for the rest of the first half and looked to be the superior team. At 18 minutes Berkeley slotted a penalty kick. Followed by trys at 22 and 28 minutes.
Right before half time Berkeley had another lapse that Chico turned into a try.

Half time score Berkeley 17 Chico 12.

The game had been a joy to referee with little backchat and even less foolishness.
I believe the captains #10 Casey Helmeick from Chico and Berkeley's #7 Will McCormick are due most of the credit.

Berkeley had controlled most of the first half and except for two lapses in defense should have had a commanding lead.

Berkeley upped their lead with another penalty kick to make it 20 -12 in their favor at the ten minute mark of the second period.

Chico had a dangerous back line. When they got the ball they consistently broke the gain line. And on turnover ball they attacked and finished.

Chico scored at 21 minutes to make the score 17-20 Berkeley's favor.

I looked at my watch and put a big smile on my face. 17-20 with less than 20 minutes to play, oh boy, game on.

Chico's backs scored two more try s on turnover ball at 25 and 30 minutes. Berkeley seemed challenged but determined to get back in the game. Berkeley pushed and unfortunately Chico's backs poached again and scored the final try at 40 minutes.

Final Chico 36 Berkeley 20

This was a fun, highly competitive game. Chico has progressed dramatically in three weeks, and if Berkeley makes a couple of adjustments they could both be playoff teams.

I then ran the first 25 minutes of the second side game, but my hamstring started to tighten up.
Fortunately, Bo McSwain was kitted up and asked if I needed help. Thanks Bo for finishing the game.=

SANTA ROSA 23 – Seahawks 17 Referee: Bruce Ricard
Evaluator: Mike Malone

Seconds: SANTA ROSA 37 – Seahawks 0 Ref: Ricard

FRESNO 65 – Marin 0 Referee: Scott Wood
Location: Fresno Regional Sports Complex
After my Friday evening sprint fest, I was hoping this Clash of the Comstocks would be more of a forward-dominated game. A leisurely 2.5 hour drive down Hwy 99 gave me a chance to catch up on several Freakonomics podcasts. Nothing beats several hours of discussions of opportunity costs to settle your mind.

I arrived to find Sandy Robertson refereeing the first half of the Fresno St v Santa Rosa JC match. Well played by the college lads as Sandy had fine command and control of the breakdowns and lineouts.

So, Marin elects to kick. They kick but not the required 10 meters. Fresno elects for a scrum. "Crouch-touch-pause...." and both front rows early engage (who didn't see that coming?). Chris Comstock: "He barged early." Of course Chris was referring to his dad, Mike Comstock, who just shrugged. Well, now that we got that out of our system...

Fresno opened up the scoring with a fairly easy try in the left corner. Marin got caught up not covering the space and the ball carrier scampered in.

The match was marred at the ten minute mark by a Marin player punching a Fresno player. Frustrated, the Fresno player decided to swing his leg in an attempt to kick the Marin player. The Marin player opted to punch again. All in front of the referee...Red card for Fresno, yellow for Marin.

I had the opportunity earlier in the week to watch the video from last weekend's Marin-Vacaville match. This led me to think Marin would be able to do some damage to Fresno's player deficit. However, as you can tell from the final score, Fresno adapted well. Halftime score: Fresno ahead 22-0.

Marin was able to hold off Fresno for the first 10 to 15 minutes of the second half; however, Fresno seemed to get faster as the game wore on.

Kudos to both sides for a well-played game. Unfortunately, I had to leave early but Fresno's Scott Davidson took up the whistle for the B-Side match. Now here's a guy who has potential to make the National Panel.

For future trips to Fresno, I'm taking Amtrak. It's relatively close to the pitch, the team is willing to provide transportation, and it is much easier to stretch out cramps on a train than in a car.

Vacaville – Baracus Referee: Jim Crenshaw
No report received.

Sierra Foothills 29 – SHASTA 45 Referee: Phil Akroyd
This was not your average D3 slugfest and could well have been the pick of the D3 games in NorCal. These two teams came to play and play hard. In fact, one player from each team had a full on shoulder dislocation, popped it back in and carried on playing.

Both teams were led admirably by knowledgeable and effective captains Mike Dopson and Jeremiah Batdorf, ensuring that we kept the game on the correct side of boiling point.

The lead switched hands six times throughout the game in addition to being tied twice and it was close at 22-21 Sierra at half. Shasta started to discover the wide open spaces of the new Sierra homefield in Rocklin (full size, good crown, huge floodlights, plenty of parking and most importantly, good bathrooms!) and pushed out with a few more tries to finish off the game. Maybe a case of a little extra fitness needed from the Golden Eagles, but I hope the team continues to grow as they have a lot of good stuff going on.

With four games completed in less than 24 hours, the natural distraction was to go home and watch the Scotland V England 6 Nations game.

Siskiyou 0 – COLUSA 72 Referee: Kevin Brown (PNRRS)
[Kevin is a professor at OIT in Klamath Falls and is being nice enough to help the Pelicans by covering some of Siskiyou’s home games. They are about ninety miles from his home, while our nearest referees live in Sacramento, more than 250 miles’ distance.]

Mendocino 10 – RENO 39 Referee: Tom Zanarini
Great day for rugby in Ukiah, CA. Sun shining and a nice pitch. Mendo had about 60 family and fans out for the day. Reno made the 5 1/2 hour trip with 16 ready to play. A good match, well contested. Mendo had a good amount of penalties, but Reno had two yellows to offset the count. Still, Reno had a nose for in goal. Raw talent and speed won the day.

REDWOOD over Humboldt by forfeit Would-be Referee: Cary Bertolone
Humboldt Rugby forfeited their game to Redwood RFC. They did not have enough players to travel.

SAC BLACKHAWKS 43 – Monterey Bay/Aptos 33 Referee: Bryant Byrnes
AR: Ray Schwartz
A warm and clear Valley day on a dusty pitch; in other words, our NorCal winter in 2012. These fellows certainly achieved the Object of the Game by scoring as many points as possible.

The first forty was all Blackhawks, with their young blur Rob Carrier scoring 4 long tries. Aptos scores on the last play-and at half lag 7-24. The second half Aptos sorted it out and attacked furiously, again scoring last at full time. Alas.

The Blackhawks are new to me, and it sounds like to our Union. Next to their marked and roped field (eh, Baracus?) is an actual clubhouse. As host, it well fed and well hydrated Aptos before loading them into their van with its designated driver.

Thanks to Ray for ARing.

SAMOA UNITED 60 – Stanislaus 17 Referee: Bruce Bernstein
Inaugural rugby match for Samoa United playing as a NorCal Division 3 side played at their Burton HS artificial turf field up on the hill off Hwy 101 by McLaren Park 9where they have held their Samoan Flag Day Tourney for the last 2 years). Another beautiful warm day with Samoa United with more players, experience, size & speed dominating. Their backs looked in mid-season form especially as time expired in the first half collecting a missed penalty kick by Stanislaus & motoring the distance of the field to put an exclamation on the first half going ahead 31-7. Stanislaus fullback made some very nice evasive runs to avoid tackles and bail his team out a number of times.

Arroyo Grande – Fog CANCELED
Vallejo – Paso Robles CANCELED
Not sure what’s going on here, but I’d hate to think that we’ve seen the end of our involvement on the Central Coast.

These two teams each played their schedules last season. However, last week they announced they’d have to combine for 2012 – and then it turned out that even between them they didn’t have enough CIPP players to field a side.

St. Mary's thirds – Sacramento College Referee: Rich Anderson
No report received.

HUMBOLDT STATE 36 – San Jose State 29 Referee: Mike King
Another day in Paradise on the North Coast. The absence of rain, a light breeze, and a bright sun, made it an enjoyable afternoon for rugby. The visitors came ready to run at the outset, but were steamrolled by the enthusiasm of their hosts. Play was fast and well-contested by both sides with generally good handling. A few miscues by San Jose and some untimely penalties, led to a half time lead of 17-5 in favor of the home side. The Spartans were not about to give up and came roaring out of the chute. The match began to see-saw back and forth, with first San Jose, then Humboldt mounting an attack that led to paydirt. What first seemed to be a cake-walk, became a nail-biter, coming down to a final series with San Jose knocking on to end the match near mid field. By that time, the gap had closed to a converted try. Final was 36-29 in favor of the hosts.

SIERRA COLLEGE 39 - Cal Maritime Academy 5 Referee: Pete Smith
Sierra used its speed and the fast synthetic turf to its advantage over the larger, slower Keelhaulers for a three try to one advantage in the first half for a 17-5 lead. There was no scoring in the second half for the first 25 minutes as both teams played ferocious defense. With the Keelhaulers trailing, they needed to take some chances (combined with the Keelhaulers wearing down in the warmth of Sacramento sun on the turf field) and Sierra took full advantage scoring four more tries in the final 15 minutes to make the game look a little more lopsided that it seemed. Both of these teams are very well coached and have excellent athletes. I fully expect to see both go deep into the playoffs at the national level.

Fresno State 20 – SANTA ROSA JC 32 Referee: Sandy Robertson
In a spirited fast flowing match Santa Rosa dominated play somewhat in the first half, up 13 to 5 at intermission. In the 2nd half they controlled play and extended their lead to 32-10. Fresno State came to life in the last 10 minutes, scoring twice in the left corner.

Nevada – UCSC Referee: Phil Ulibarri
No report received.

San Francisco State – UOP Referee: Jen Tetler
No report received.

SONOMA STATE 65 – U of San Francisco 50 Referee: Mike Gadoua

Santa Clara 30 – CAL POLY 41 Referee: James Hinkin

CALIFORNIA women 31 – UC Davis 10 Referee: Bruce Carter
What a fantastic day! Last week I wrote about cherry trees already in bloom – now we’ve got daffodils popping in our front yard (normally blossoming in early March) and even agapanthus (normally late spring).

I left the house at 6:30 AM for an early game in Menlo Park, then toured the Bay wishing I still had the convertible Pelicanmobile, so nice was it.

Work proceeds on Cal’s Memorial Stadium and some of the temporary buildings that have hemmed Witter Field in are now gone. One addition is a new scoreboard at the west end.

The Cal women ran to a pattern pretty well, enough so that I wasn’t in the way as sometimes plagues me, having figured it out. They look to have a lot of promise.

Seconds: CALIFORNIA women 42 – UC Davis 0 Referee: Bob Polito
Referee Coach: David Williamson

Santa Clara women 0 – HUMBOLDT STATE 97 Referee: Rob Hendrickson
Santa Clara hosted Humboldt State women on their new artificial turf Bellamy Field. Due to prior injuries, Santa Clara was forced to start and play the entire game with only 13 players, which explains the lopsided scoring. Humboldt's #8, 9, and 10 teamed up for several breakaway tries which the Bronco's depleted back line just couldn't contain with arm tackles. The field is really nice, except the lines were painted in only one direction, so they looked fine when looking away from the sun, but were almost invisible when looking toward the sun.

UC SANTA CRUZ women 24 – Nevada 0 Referee: Eric Rauscher
For those of you that have never done a game at UCSC, let me tell you, it has one of the best views of all of the pitches in our territory.
A great view out over Monterey Bay was only amplified by the perfect weather and the close to perfect pitch. (A few gopher holes filled in with sand here and there.) Reno came down without a full team. Only 18 players showed up to face a larger group of UCSC ladies. The UCSC women also displayed more skills in their rugby playing ability. Their scrums were pretty dominant being able to turn or push back seemingly at will. That is not to say that Reno did not play well. They were knocking on the Slugs’ door several times during the game but were just not able to score. As the Reno coach said, "We just need that last 5-10%".

UCSC/NEVADA seconds 36 – Fresno State 22 Ref: Rauscher
Fresno has entered the fray this year with a new team. After the first game, those of the Slugs who did not get a run and those of the Wolfpack who wanted to run more teamed up to play Fresno in a friendly. Many rookie penalties around the tackle by the SlugPack were cleared up by the use of a yellow card in the second half. The game was hotly contested with the combo home squad coming out on top. Fresno had a very vigorous attempt near goal in the final minutes of the game which was resisted just as fiercely. It was an exciting way to end a very fine day on the bluff over the bay.

Sacramento State women – SF Bats Referee: Peter Andrew


Friday, 3 Feb 2012
SANTA ROSA 34 – Montgomery High 10 Ref: Cary Bertolone
It was cold at the 7:00 PM kickoff at Montgomery High, under the lights. Both teams had about 40 players; very encouraging to this old rugger. Rosa had more experienced players and a fast backline that enabled them to take a 27-5 halftime lead. The second half was very even with both sides scoring one try, making it a 34-10 final score.

Rosa High 2nds beat the Montgomery High 2nds with Chris Curtis as the ref. A lot of substitutions to get everyone some playing time!!

Lancers 6 - MOTHERLODE 12 Referee: Scott Wood
Location: Cordova High School
A great afternoon for rugby. Clear skies, tall posts, well-lined field, and two very evenly matched teams.

Both teams battled back and forth, getting a feel for their opposite numbers. Miscues and indecision prevented the teams from developing any consistency. A dangerous tackle put Motherlode down a player for the last six minutes of the half; however, they led at halftime 7-3.

Undeterred, the Lancers fielded the second half kickoff and marched down the field but were only able to capitalize with a penalty goal closing the score to 7-6. Just as Motherlode returned to full strength, Lancers went down one for a dangerous tackle. They held strong and prevented Motherlode from scoring a try. Back to full strength, possession flip-flopped numerous times for ten minutes before Motherlode lost another player to the sin bin and Lancers finding one of their own in the bin two minutes later (both dangerous tackles). Motherlode went on attack and had a breakaway ballcarrier tripped up on the Lancers' 22-meter line (yes, another yellow card). Motherlode opted to run a penalty play, passing the ball left and running down the sideline. Another dangerous tackle by Lancers (and another trip to the bin) provided the visitors with enough of a man advantage and momentum to score a second try. Final whistle blown: Motherlode wins a hard battle 12-6.

Do not think either team has dirty players. The cards were issued as a matter of fact. Intent is not something to be judged by the referee. Despite the penalties, both teams maintained a high level of personal discipline. Their rematch should be just as evenly contested.

(Varsity) Sierra Foothills 5 - GRANITE BAY 45 Referee: Phil Akroyd
Sierra had a number of starting backs missing and it showed. Granite Bay were better organized and executed moves easily with the ball out wide, while Captain and Number 8 John Kimble Jr did the hard work up front.

(JV) SIERRA FOOTHILLS 19 - Granite Bay 5 Ref: Akroyd
This was actually a more enjoyable game to ref than the Varsity game, as the teams were more evenly matched. It looks like these two teams have plenty of depth and players for the future.

(U14) RANCHO CORDOVA PAL 32 - Land Park Motley14 Ref: Akroyd
The first of two games of 20 minute halves. Motley were let down by a lack of tackles but in their defence, PAL had a couple of physically more developed players, notably Flanker Dalvin Milton who had four tries. PAL also stole a lot of ball in the tackles.

(B Sides) RANCHO CORDOVA PAL 29 - Land Park Motley 7 Ref: Akroyd
More of the same in the second game. These kids really didn't help me out by slowing down - quite the opposite.

MOTHERLODE Girls 24 – Amazons 7 Referee: Anthony Nguyen
I arrived at the pitch to find a game already in session with Donal Walsh refereeing the boys side of Motherlode and Dixon. Rod Chance was there to coach his team but also offer me pointers and some advice. I talked with the front rows and scrumhalf to explain my traditional pre-game guidelines. I talked to the captains and was able to get the game started on time. Amazons got to kick off and the game began.

First half was a total mind-blowing half to me. I worked to manage and referee the game with all aspects being thrown at me at each breakdown. A primary item I did not do was step away to broaden the view of my playing field. My advantage was a little too long and should have been called back in some cases. Offsides were occasional with some of them being caught by me. Other than that, the first half was successful in consistency. I was able to test my foul play guidelines when the Amazons attempted to high tackle players. I offered a formal warning to the players and shouted to keep it low if the tackles were starting to trickle upward. As a final message, I temporarily suspended a player for a high tackle, explaining that I have already warned the teams. Both were tied at the end of the first half.

Second half was a tremendous improvement from the first. I felt that I was seeing everything and refereeing at my highest. Thanks to the help of Donal and Rod giving me pointers, I refereed the second half in a positive way. I stepped back to see the broader range and I loosened my grip with the advantage. Motherlode pulled through and won the game 24 to 7.

Here is a report on the same game from the perspective of the coach of the winning team:

MOTHERLODE Girls 24 – Amazons 7 Referee: Anthony Nguyen
Rookie referee Anthony Nguyen found himself in the middle of an exhibition match with Nationals Championships invitations implications. The new Nationals Championships invitation policy made a match set-up as a “friendly” looked like a playoff game. Invitations scheduled to be sent out on February 15. This leaves the High School National Championships Selection Committee with limited information about the current teams’ potential. The Sacramento Amazons finished 2nd last year and has a roster full of returning players are once again favored to place high at nationals. Their cross-town rivals Mother Lode are also looking for the opportunity to compete in the National Championship.

Amazons showed they had not lost their form from last year. At the kickoff, they pushed Mother Lode back, forcing a five phase goal line defense. The first 20 min. set the tone with hard running and big hits. The Amazons drew first blood when, #15 Teleisia Tuifua took a kick midfield brilliantly running it back for a try. Mother Lode came back fighting with their own long run, tying the score at the half.

The 2nd half, Mother Lode’s mauling skills kept the game on the Amazons half where they were able to score 3 more tries.

Spectators were amazed to see this great battle end with both teams, together side-by-side bowing to the crowd. The respect and camaraderie these teams have for each other were clear at the after match festivities were all were bruised but smiling.

BELLARMINE/COLLEGE PARK 54 - McClatchy 7 Referee: Dave Richards
Gorgeous day, bright and sunny, on Bellarmine's outstanding football pitch. Fans cheering, plenty of water on the sidelines, all in all a well-organized affair.

McClatchy came down without several key players, which hurt them against a well-coached and fit BCP team. Terry Ryan and Matt Gallagher have a well-run program, and their team is well-prepared in the fundamentals. McClatchy came out running and looked to be a formidable opponent in the first 10 or 15 minutes, but Bellarmine slipped in 2 tries at the 10 minute mark, and never looked back. 4 tries in the first half, all converted, and a penalty goal, made the half score 31-0. McClatchy's #10 played a brilliant game, kicking powerfully and sniping the ball around the rucks for long punishing runs. Unfortunately he was often left with little support, and this cost them dearly. Bellarmine is very fit, and kept up a furious pace all the way to the end, scoring 4 more tries in the second half. BCP's kicker was 6 for 6 on conversions and 1 for 1 on penalties. McClatchy did not let up, and kept after them, scoring a late try to bring the final score to 54-7. Fast paced game in general, both teams had plenty of speed in the back lines and some horsepower up front.

Varsity Silver
Dixon 12 - NEVADA14 Referee: Jeff Richmond
Nevada (Reno) made the long trip to Dixon for a bittersweet win. The match was marred by an ugly injury, a broken leg, to the Nevada flyhalf (and coach’s son), at 28 minutes into the match.

Strong running by Nevada’s backline, well-supported by their loose forwards, put Nevada up 14-0 at halftime. Dixon was a much more disciplined team and was able to take advantage of Nevada mistakes. Several times Nevada’s forwards would crash into the ruck falling over the tackled player or fail to retreat at penalties. Following the injury, Nevada came off their game a bit and Dixon was able to draw close. Credit to Nevada for holding on in spite of the dispiriting injury.

BISHOP O’DOWD girls 79 – Davis 0 Referee: Eric Rauscher
Monday nights At BOD are rugby nights. I showed up at 5 to do the girls game at 6pm under the lights with hot dogs cooking and parents in the bleachers.

Davis (also known as the Blue Devils) arrived a little late, but we got things going pretty much on time. Davis also showed up with only 16 players.

Bishop O'Dowd are very well coached and very skilled at lending support at breakdowns and distributing the ball out quickly. The point total reflects this.

There were a couple of times it looked like Davis may have scored, but were never really able to put together enough phases to keep an attack going.

The BOD girls formed a tunnel of honor after the game and cheered Davis as they passed through, then on to the hot dogs and chips.

George O’Neil, JC van Staden and Dave Newport wince in the bright sunshine of the winter that never was at Sheeran Field on February 4.

(Refs Out and About SFGG-OC (no spaces))


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