Friday, March 30, 2012




Make plans now to attend our society’s banquet in honor of two exchange referees from the East Midlands, Max Barnard and Richard Parrish. This will be held at the Up and Under Pub in Richmond, Calif, at 6:30 PM on Saturday, March 31. (It is the same place as two years ago.)

If you plan on attending, RSVP to Bjorn Stumer. Get a room nearby and make a night of it!


We’ve heard from maybe ten people whether they can ref over the course of April.

The number of games dwindles – but we don’t have enough to assign even the slowest weekend.

The only travel games are on April 14:
Chico – two games plus a girls’ U19 tournament
One game in Reno

Let us know if you can ref on these dates, or AR for one of the playoff events:

Friday, April 6 Need ARs for playoffs at Stanford
April 7 Refs and ARs

April 14 Refs and ARs

Friday, April 20 Need ARs for playoffs at Stanford
April 21 Refs and ARs

April 28-29 Need ARs for Competitive Region and USA playoffs


Some Pelicans will be flying south for springtime competition in NACRA test matches.

John Coppinger and Matt Eason each have two appointments as Judicial Officers, John in St. Vincent and the Grenadines and in the Bahamas (that's only two places) and Matt in Barbados and either Mexico, Jamaica, or the Cayman Islands.

Paul Bretz will referee the Caymans hosting Mexico, while Aruna Ranaweera will handle Bahamas - Bermuda.

Congratulations to these accomplished rugby folk.

Tom Zanarini responds to your requests:

I've had a lot of requests for extra kit, especially shorts and socks. At the time of the original order, we ordered only enough to cover those referees who were assigned 5 matches in 2011, plus a few extras. So, of course we're all out. I'm placing an order for extra shorts and socks. I'll have the prices when the order is complete, but they should be around $30 for shorts, $10 for socks. After this season I'll have another jersey order for those who qualify, plus some extras for sale. We took a vote at the last AGM for a new jersey color, and green won the vote. These jerseys should be available for the 2012 AGM meeting (another incentive to attend the AGM!).

The kit that we have is currently available at the SFGG clubhouse for purchase. The clubhouse is open Mon-Fri. 9-5. Betsy Ayala is the office coordinator for the club and is in every day. I set this up as an experiment to have all the kit at a central location, since most referees seem to pass through Treasure Island during the season. I'm still evaluating the convenience. There are a lot of older jerseys available at a discount, mostly the larger sizes.

We have a contract with Canterbury North America for exclusive kit and equipment deals. I've heard some interest in kit bags and such. We can get polos, workout tops and shorts, track suits... pretty much anything. Let me know if you’re interested and I'll put together an order with prices.


Hail, Pelicus! is late this week because we took a half-day Tuesday and all of Wednesday to join our East Midlands visitors in climbing to the top of Yosemite Falls in the rain and snow.

Now we don’t even have time to write about it. But then again – you shouldn’t have missed it! Everyone was invited…


BARBARIANS over Sacramento Capitals by forfeit

San Mateo 21 – EPA BULLDOGS 23 Referee: Craig Smith
AR: John Coppinger
This game was played in the rain on a turf field which helped the footing but not the handling. The first half was littered with handling errors and while some advantage was managed, there were still a lot of scrums. The halftime score was 10-7 to EPA. The first half had been fairly uneventful. The second half was a little different. Two players threw punches at each other after one tripped the other. They both went to the bin. 2 minutes later an EPA prop foot tripped the SM scrum half. He went to the bin. 6 minutes after getting back from the sin-bin, the SM player who's thrown the punch earlier, went off his feet at a tackle, from the wrong side and threw his shoulder into the tackled player. Second yellow = red. EPA held on for the 2 point win. Both sides have some really strong players and it seems discipline will often be a factor in their results. EPA had better control of their players and therefore controlled the tempo of the game and the scoreboard. Thank you to John Coppinger for running the line in the rain and helping me keep a lid on the game.

Seconds: SAN MATEO 17 – EPA Bulldogs 12 Referee: John Coppinger
The first side was a tense match in which EPA barely survived. After the two teams shared a post-match prayer, the B side ensued and the vibe was that of a school yard match with much laughing and joking between the two sides and wide open play. Lots of fun. Vuka Tau still has the best restart kick in Northern California.

SACRAMENTO LIONS 58 – EPA Razorbacks 5 Referee: Chris Tucker
AR: Scott Wood
Scott refereed the second sides first, EPA coming away victors. The scoreboard definition of victory, however, did not take into account the fact that 10 of the starting 15 on the A side had to play 80 minutes of rugby before they got to kick off their actual game. And that pretty much did for them -- Lions can field two full sides, and were always likely to win the second one.

As it was, two quick tries to the hosts started the game off, before the game settled down into an entertaining, but scoreless 30 minutes, with both sides having plenty of go-forward. The wheels came off EPA when they lost their fullback for 10 minutes for a dangerous tackle after 35 minutes, the Lions scoring twice before the break. The second half was mostly a rout, but the visitors did get one consolation try towards the end as the Lions took the foot off the gas.

Thanks to Scott for being the eyes in the back of my head.

Seconds: Sacramento Lions 10 – EPA RAZORBACKS 41 Referee: Scott Wood
Location: Robla Community Park
"You never get anything right", complained the teacher. "What kind of job do you think you'll get when you leave school?"

"Well, I want to be a weatherman."

According to the weather a-hole, er, "forecaster" there was to be 100 percent chance of precipitation from noon to 4 pm. Last I checked, 100% meant it was a sure thing. A certainty. Maybe the AMS works on a different scale...

Not much to say about a match where one team has enough numbers for nearly two full sides and its opponent has enough to start 15 with a few reserves. The Lions' B-side was outgunned in talent but made up for it with tenacious tackles. While the outcome was not in doubt (EPA led at halftime 17-5), the Lions played with heart and conviction. One player stood out in particular. Joe Carlson, formerly with (Del Campo) Cougar Rugby, was a fiend. I believe Joe was personally responsible for stripping the ball at least ten times from players at least twice his size. (Joe is perhaps 5'7, 160 lbs)

Alumni Game: O CLUB 13 – SF/Golden Gate 1 Referee: Bruce Carter
The score is the number of tries, the ‘alumni’ not kicking goals.

It was raining, and it was cold. I did two early games over on the Job Corps pitch and then made a knight’s-move to the GAA pitch without a chance to defrost. Although doing the other games meant I couldn’t get there until about twenty minutes before kickoff, I appeared to be the first one on the scene.

I made a vow not to play old boys and not to ref old boys way back when. Now that I’m almost twice as old as when I made that vow, at least half of it appears to have been forgotten.

God save me from forgetting the other half. I could not begin to compete with Kevin Barth and some of these fellows. But I can run along yelling Ruck and Roll away and whistling for trys, happy as a duck in ducks’ weather.

OLYMPIC CLUB 34 – SF/Golden Gate 19 Referee: Max Barnard (East Mids)
ARs: Rich Anderson, Bruce Carter
Our visitor did a fine job with this match and has been rewarded with an appointment to the Top of the Table this coming Saturday.

Seconds: OLYMPIC CLUB – SF/Golden Gate Referee: Rich Anderson
No report received, but the OC swept the trio of games on this day.

SANTA ROSA 53 – Marin 0 Referee: Jordan Bruno
Evaluator: Dixon Smith

Seconds: SANTA ROSA 15 – Marin 0 Referee: Cary Bertolone
At For Pete's Sake in Santa Rosa
Marin did not want to play a second game due to injuries and numbers, but Rosa pushed them in to at least a 20 minute second game. Santa Rosa gave Marin about 5 or 6 players and out on the soaking wet, rainy pitch we went. The game was played in good spirits and we actually went thirty minutes with the score ending three tries to none. Four games, in the rain, and the For Pete's Sake field looked as good as new at the end of the day. Great real grass field!!

DIABLO GAELS 41 – BA Baracus 17 Referee: Aruna Ranaweera
The rain wasn't so bad at Morton Field on Mare Island, Vallejo. In the first half, Baracus played intelligent, opportunistic rugby and secured a 0-17 lead. Diablo didn't understand the difference between tackle and ruck so were generally ineffective at the breakdown. In the second half, Diablo decided to keep the ball tight with their forwards, using powerful mauls and pick-and-drives to suck in the fringe defenders and establish space for their backs who also kicked into open space when needed. 41 unanswered points later, Diablo had won the match, 6 tries to 3, in a tale of two halves.

Seconds: Diablo Gaels 22 – BARACUS 29 Referee: Scott Griffin
Watched the first side game upon arrival. A light rain fell most of the day. Aruna agreed to watch a portion of my game.

Both Baracus and the Gaels were eager and respectful competitors. Received some feedback from Aruna at the half. Baracus prevailed 29-22. The field held up well despite the rain. After match festivities in Benicia enjoyed by all.

SOUTH VALLEY 47 – Berkeley 32 Referee: James Hinkin
With South Valley unable to secure their regular field in Morgan Hill, an arrangement was made with the San Jose Seahawks to use their field and an 11:00 kickoff. A bit of luck for me as I live about 3 miles away from Yerba Buena High School.

After a VERY windy night the clouds were threatening but the rain held off throughout the match. This was perfect rugby weather for everyone except Bruce Ricard, who was scheduled to manage the Seahawk v Vacaville match later in the day. The game started and it took about 5 minutes and a number of penalties for both sides to realize that I was serious about applying the laws of rugby. Once that point was made the game flowed in stops and starts with sloppy handling ending any promising developments. South Valley was able to get on the board first with a well-deserved try and, in spite of a penalty kick reply from Berkeley, started to dominate the proceedings. Two more tries saw SV go into the break with a comfortable lead.

For the second week in a row I had a game where the losing team at the half received a dose of magic words and came out for the second period looking like a brand new team. Once the second half started it was Berkeley making the decisive runs and supporting in numbers while SV was the team missing tackles and looking disorganized. Two quick tries and then a third while playing a man down would have completed the comeback if it hadn't been for the reason they were a man down. A rather clumsy and obvious late charge on the kicker of a ball grubbed in behind the defense 10 meters out led to a penalty try and the required yellow card. As it stood, however, they were within striking distance and could sense a victory. South Valley at this point started playing rugby again and scored a try of their own, almost immediately replied to by Berkeley with one of their own. This game looked to be a referee's dream - a barn burner with a "last team in possession will score" vibe to determine the winner. And since the penalty kick and conversion ratios were a bit off, there was almost no chance of a tie. Unfortunately South Valley wasn't on board with the script and actually extended their lead with a try in the left corner with a minute left. They then took the resulting kickoff back to where it came from to end the game with another try and make the score a bit more lop-sided than the actual match.

Seconds: South Valley – Berkeley Referee: Liz Palmer
No report received. Not sure if this one was played.

FRESNO over Chico by forfeit

SEAHAWKS 41 – Vacaville 10 Referee: Bruce Ricard
Finally my first real rugby game in the US : it was raining and cold !

Didn't rain in the first half, San Jose was better. They scored 4 tries to 0. The rain started with the second half, and Vacaville managed to do a good second half, scoring 2 tries. But San Jose was still better, scoring 3 tries in this half.

Final score : SJ Seahawks 41 - Vacaville 10

Seconds : 40 and 30 minutes halves. SJ wanted to play a full second half, but Vacaville's B-side team had a lot of players from the A team who were tired, so we agreed on a 30 minutes second half. Scrum had to go uncontested in this game, due to two Vacaville front row player injured, including one who twisted this lower back in a collapsed scrum, but who managed to leave the pitch walking on his own. He should be fine.
Final score : SJ2 31 - Vacaville2 14

COLUSA 50 – Shasta 7 Referee: JC van Staden
Left Lodi with the sun just starting to shine through the clouds... Just to find Colusa under water... Still, that did not bother the crowed, which pushed a good 150+

Colusa didn’t wait, and from the first ruck made it clear that they have only one thing in mind (drinking out the keg as winners today), and that was to get points, and a lot of them...Forwards were working hard in rucks, and big tackles gave Colusa most of the ball possession.

Shasta however, could never get into rhythm, and despite some good line-out jumping, could not hold on to any balls. Colusa's centers were cracking up the midfield all afternoon long, which lead to 8 tries vs 1.

Both teams showed great spirit, on and off the field. Thanks for feeding the ref!

SIERRA FOOTHILLS 117 – Siskiyou 0 Referee: Lee Salgado
ARs: Jim Crenshaw and a young lad from Sierra Foothills I believe (thank you!)

I must say, for how lopsided the score was, there were no flair-ups, very few harsh words between teammates and nothing from the side lines. It was a good day for rugby and it made the experience very positive. Jim Crenshaw was also nice enough to come out run touch and give me a very constructive and informative ad hoc assessment. Thank you Jim. Yes this game was a track meet but both teams have good set pieces and good kickers. Sierra Foothills had a crafty 8 man and an experienced backline that utilized space and weaknesses on the fringes easily.

REDWOOD EMPIRE 40 – Mendocino 0 Referee: Rob Hendrickson
The light drizzle on Saturday did not deter either team’s fans from coming out to support their team, and had little impact on For Pete’s Sake Field or either team’s play, with Redwood Empire scoring 3 tries in each half to prevail over Mendocino in a game which was much closer than the score would suggest. The first quarter provided many challenges in the forms of failures to wrap, high tackles, etc, but the teams settled down by the second quarter, and the second half was much more controlled. Mendocino’s edge came in the form of its ability to capitalize on breaks. Good sportsmanship generally prevailed, and the game was a pleasure to ref.

Humboldt 6 – RENO 15 Referee: Sean Peters
What a beautiful day in Humboldt, it turned out to be perfect rugby weather. First half both teams came out hard ,Humboldt with their home crowd behind them. Came out and scored off a penalty kick right outside the 22 meter line to make it 3-0 . It didn't stop Reno's big forward pack from marching down the field, and finding their way to a penalty kick, which brought the score to at 3-3 tie going into half.

Second half was the same, lots of loose play and great break away from both teams but no support. Each team did not want to back down. Then Reno # 8 and Big Flanker #7 started making big tackles and runs, followed by big runs from Reno's #12 running hard through the Humboldt's defensive line and finding the try line. Reno's forward pack dominated the scrum and also around the ruck. Although the score doesn't show it but there was a knock on and a try that was held up by the Humboldt defense.

SF FOG 24 – Aptos 6 Referee: Rich Boyer
The Fog hosted Aptos on a rainy day. The pitch was in fairly good shape despite the deluge. Handling was a bit sloppy and the ball rarely reached the wing. Halftime score was 10-6 Fog.

Fog began asserting their dominance in the second half: quicker to breakdowns and some nice back plays to free up their center. Fog #8 was prominent at the breakdown while #12 ran strongly. #10 managed the backs well. He kicked four penalties. Aptos #7 played well with a number of strong runs, but the Fog defense organized too quickly and did not give Aptos any opportunities to score tries.

SAMOA UNITED CHIEFS 51 – Vallejo 20 Referee: Preston Gordon
Burton HS, San Francisco, 1230
The weather hadn't cleared by Saturday morning, but it also wasn't pouring. I was hopeful that the turf field would help with ball handling, and though we did have a fair amount of scrums, pretty much all of these guys are good rugby players so the rain didn't kill the game. Vallejo has a lot of new faces, many of whom are football players (you can tell by the boots and the way they run sideways with the ball). All were enthusiastic, in fact, both sides were. The ref was warmly welcomed and several people seemed happy to see me.

The first half was controlled almost completely by Samoa United. They opened scoring 2 minutes in with a penalty kick, followed by a converted try 15 minutes later. Vallejo responded with a penalty of their own at 22' (10-3). The rest of the half was one-way traffic, with more tries for the home team at 26, 28, 35 (+2), and 40 minutes. The rugby was hard-hitting and despite the 32-3 lopsided score, nobody gave up. I figured that might be the end of the contest, but knew better than to write anyone off so soon.

Vallejo must have had a good half-time talk because they came out blazing, turned over a scrum at midfield, and scored their first try within a minute. 32-8 was looking reasonable for a comeback. Although there was no scoring for the following 20 minutes, everyone on the field was having a great time - I heard laughing in the scrums, players congratulating their opponents on good tackles, good-natured joking, and so on. It was just good, hard, rugby, played in good spirits, in defiance of the continuous rain. The (metaphorical) atmosphere reminded me of a big family reunion, myself included, as I recognized and exchanged brief greetings with several people on the sidelines from the Samoa Flag Day tourney at this venue last August, including the Reverend who gave a memorable benediction that day.

Anyway, Samoa United got the next score with a 60th minute try, followed by Vallejo at 70', Samoa United (+2) at 76', and the last score of the match by Vallejo (+2) at 81'. Second half: 19-17 to Samoa United, and a very even contest that wasn't majorly marred by the 67th minute yellow card to one the home side's replacement for a careless tackle. Final result: 51-20... for 71 points in the rain!

Seconds: SAMOA UNITED 17 – Vallejo 5 Ref: Gordon
Before the A game started, nobody was sure if there would be a B. After 80 minutes of fun, nobody was ready to stop. The players were a bit apprehensive about whether or not I would stick around, but I was more than happy to honor the way these guys all played. After all, it wasn't hailing, was it? We agreed on 20 minutes more, with many of the same faces. At the end of that it was 12-5, and they still wanted to keep going. Of course I'll keep reffing! We played another 18 or so before things started to get a little sloppy, and by mutual consent, we all trooped off the pitch. I was invited to the post-match function several times, but unfortunately I had to pass due to other commitments (next time!). As soon as I stopped running, I started to get cold, but I jumped right in the car with most of my wet clothes on and headed home. A hot shower and a liberal amount of Yucatán habanero sauce on the pollo asado burrito fixed the chills pretty quickly.

I've had a few good matches in bad weather, but what a great day of rugby this one was. Let's do it again sometime.

STANISLAUS 64 – Paso Robles 8 Referee: Giles Wilson
Leaving the Bay Area with a towel and plastic bag for wet cloths, expecting a wet game it was very pleasant to get to Modesto and great sunshine.

Stanislaus have a nice field in Turlock, well-marked and ready to go. Paso Robles arrived en mass in their mini bus - what a great idea, everyone there together and all the things one needs on board for long rugby trips.

This was Paso's only win last year, so Stanislaus had a point to prove, along with a playoff place to secure. Paso are a little light on players this year, needing to borrow player to complete the side, a Stanislaus rookie (1st game) went over willingly and played well.

Overall Stanislaus had experience and both a game plan and also a kicking game; they were able to drive tight and maintain possession almost at will while kicking well for territory to maintain pressure. Once in good attacking positions they use good angles and complete overlaps well to take chances.

Paso never gave up, tackling willingly and on the few occasions they had possession, they have a couple of players who are hard to tackle and make ground. Final score of 64 - 8 was harsh on Paso who made Stanislaus work for everything.

JV: SANTA ROSA 33 – Christian Brothers 10 Referee: Eric Rauscher
Game was played out at St Mary’s on a fairly tight pitch for the amount of rain we have been having. Only had a couple of drops during the game.

Both teams displayed good skills and sportsmanship. Santa Rosa seemed to have the edge when it came to swinging the ball out wide.

Varsity: Santa Rosa varsity – Christian Brothers Referee: Richard Parrish (East Mids)

ST. MARY’S 37 – Central Washington 0 Referee: Phil Akroyd
ARs: Richard Parrish, Eric Rauscher
#4: Ron DeCausemaker
P.R: Mike Malone
A devastating SMC scrum set the platform for the Gaels to run riot in one of the most comprehensive team performances I've seen for a long time. One highlight was the SMC prop corner-flagging and making a try-saving tackle on one of the fastest college 7s players out there (winger, Tim Stanfill). The rain poured for the second half restricting what could have been a much bigger point tally.

St. Mary's thirds 16 – SONOMA STATE 24 Referee: Chris Labozzetta
Foul weather couldn't stop what turned out to be a very hard fought game by both sides, in their season finale. Sonoma St scored a very nice rolling maul try to secure the win, late in the second half.

Women’s Round-robin hosted by Fog women

SF FOG 15 – Dartmouth 7 Referee: Bruce Carter
EPA RAZORBACKS 32 – Fog B 0 Ref: Carter
ALL BLUES 27 – East Palo Alto 5 Referee: Bruce Bernstein
DARTMOUTH COLLEGE 19 – East Palo Alto 5 Ref: Bernstein
(Stephanie Bruce also refereed two or three games.)

Maritime Academy – All Blues Referee: Jeff Richmond
No report received.

SF BATS over Humboldt State Referee: Lois Bukowski
Ref arrived looking like a rookie with only one gold jersey in her bag...if I wore it, I might get passed the ball. So, I got to keep my "warmup" jacket on instead. Let’s just say it was not waterproof.

This final regular season match between two top ranked teams in their division started off intense and flowing despite the steady downpour at Negoesco Field in SF.

A lot of back and forth, good handling and bone-crunching tackles in the first half. The Bats went in first with 15 mins gone after a nice series of loose phase play. That team sure knows how to ruck!

They were rewarded once more with only 2 mins left after multi-phase ball and a standoff by the Humboldt defense. But, the aware flanker picked up and dove over the line. Conversion good and we ended the half 12-0.

Humboldt State came out with intensity and had some really nice long runs, followed by good rucking and repeated phases. They snuck in the corner (for a try I wish I had a replay) on, but saw the ball touch down and mounted the comeback.

My scoresheet was very wet by now and my pen had stopped working (I know, another rookie move not having a pencil in my pocket.) It was probably about 10 mins into the half.

The Bats stole momentum back with a few nice runs and a threatening attack in the corner. Their #9 dashed over the line, hit the Humboldt player like a ton of bricks and touched down with a yell. I have written about this scrumhalf before (she should be an Eagle someday soon). That was the decider, no more points would be scored and we spent the next 20 minutes between scrums. I yellowed the Humboldt team for a series of repeat offsides (they were just a tad too aggressive with 1/2 meter in front of the last foot too many times.) Unpopular as it was, it wasn't much of an impact on the game.

Great match. Humboldt onto the playoffs because The Bats as a combined USF/SF State team are ineligible. Hopefully they can field enough for single teams next year and hit the playoffs themselves.

Seahawks women – Amazons
No report received.


ST. MARY’S THIRDS 31 – Willamette 17 Referee: Jen Tetler
What was supposed to be a gross and rainy day turned fantastically sunny, and it was made even better by the fact that these teams were playing on the brand new Cal Maritime turf pitch, complete with permanent rugby lines and a digital scoreboard. Willamette was visiting from Oregon and starting their San Francisco tour here. Willamette was ready to go and pumped up while St. Mary's arrived a bit late after having played Saturday...a fact that showed up when Willamette scored the first try after about 10 minutes. But St. Mary's started to wake up a bit after that and responded with 2 fairly quick tries of their own. I don't know if it was that new turf, but there were two very lucky kicks that bounced right into the hands of the St. Mary's kicker running on and resulted in a try. Score at half was 19-12.

St. Mary's continued to dominate the scoreboard, but Willamette made them fight hard for it with some good defensive stands combined with a couple of unlucky drops. St. Mary's scored two more times in the second half, but Willamette got one last score in before the game ended. Great day for a friendly tour match followed by the National Small College Rugby California play-off between Cal Maritime and Cal Lutheran.

NSCRO playoff game
MARITIME ACADEMY 23 – Cal Lutheran 7 Referee: Dan Wilson
ARs: Jen Tetler, Anthony Nguyen
Driving up from the Central Valley to Vallejo, the forecasters kept calling for heavy winds and downpours. Aside from the occasional sprinkles, the drive went quickly and without delay. Having never been on the CMA campus before, the directions seemed as if I was following a scavenger hunt: Hwy 99N, Hwy 120W, Hwy 205W, Hwy 580W, Hwy 680N, Hwy 780, finally to 80S. As I pulled onto campus, I drove up the hill and out of the wilderness a beautiful, shiny pitch appeared on my right. Thankfully, Google Maps know what they are doing and I arrived on time. Amazingly, the sun was shining with partially clouded skies and little wind. It was a beautiful rugby day.

The inaugural match on the pitch was taking place, St Mary’s C v Willamette University. It looked like a hard fought match but St. Mary’ was handling the pressure Willamette presented with nice counters to keep their score rolling. As that match was starting to end, Cal Maritime and Cal Lutheran started to prepare. With no practice pitches to use, both teams had to wait until the first game was officially over before they could start their running. After the agreed upon 45-minute warm up period, an opening ceremony was performed some words from the Cal Maritime AD and the playing of the National Anthem. With my AR’s, Jen Tetler and Anthony Nguyen, as well as our fourth official, Steve Wren, it was kickoff time.

The Inaugural California Cup, the NSCRO regional playoff leading to the Sweet 16, was between the NorCal champion, Cal Maritime Academy, versus undefeated SoCal champion, Cal Lutheran. The first quarter of the match was very even, and after CMA missed a penalty kick, CLU got on the board first with a converted try in the 15th minute. Five minutes later, CMA was able to hit their penalty kick, cutting the score to 7-3. Both teams were doing a nice job of first running off of the ruck with their forwards and then spinning to their backs. The sides were well matched and both teams had nice form tackles and nice individual plays. Most of the game was spent between the 22-meter lines with both teams threatening on occasion with no avail. Halftime score: CMA 3 – CLU 7.

In the second half, CMA seemed to literally wake up. From the opening kickoff of the second half, which was knocked on by CLU inside the 22-meter line, CMA had their foot on the pressure pedal. They scored a converted try in the 44th minute and then another unconverted try in the 52nd minute. Cal Maritime was helped by the #7 of Cal Lutheran attacking the CMA scrumhalf early at rucks. After having a discussion about a potential sin-bin, he was substituted. His intensity was great, just his timing was early.

As we moved toward the end of the third quarter, the intensity and passion by both teams stepped up a notch resulting, unfortunately, with a lot of dumb, off the ball stuff occurring. After having a conversation with both captains, the teams were able to refocus on rugby, thankfully. With another unconverted try at the 61st minute, Cal Maritime was really starting to enjoy the game that they were playing. Most of the second half seemed to be played in the Cal Lutheran half and a lot inside their 22. After a series of off-sides, not last foot and not rolling away advantages were played, I had to have a chat with the CLU captain about the results if they continued. Unfortunately, Cal Lutheran’s captain decided to not roll away just a few minutes after our chat which resulted in him leaving the game at the 70th minute for a sin-bin. The sin-bin penalty was immediately converted into 3 points by CMA, resulting in their final points of the match. Full time: Cal Maritime 23 – Cal Lutheran 7.

I want to ensure to say “Thank You” to Jen, Anthony and Steve for helping the match run smoothly, as well as to the administration at Cal Maritime for a professional, well run event. Good Luck CMA at the Sweet 16.


ISLANDERS 22 - Motherlode 19 Referee: Phil Akroyd
ARs: Mark Godfrey, Eugene Baker
Islanders got a real scare here and spent most of the second half behind, but going ahead with seven minutes to go and one man in the sin-bin. Sloppy overall, but the crowds said they enjoyed it.

Girls: BERKELEY 45 – Dartford 25 Referee: Max Barnard
ARs: Richard Parrish, Eric Rauscher
1.30am UK time and with clam chowder still lying heavy on my stomach, Berkeley kicked off against Dartford at Underhill in Berkeley. This was my first experience of US rugby and the girls looked geared up to play a hard and fast game. Fortunately, I was backed by Messers Parrish (East Mids) and Rauscher (California) who provided technical advice, emotional support and a lack of symapthy for my indigestion problem.

The game was very open, both sets of players looking to get quick ball to the backs and utilise their ball carriers. There were some big hits and the girls played hard and clean. Berkeley opened up a ten point lead through powerful back play and were deservedly on top at the half. Dartford rallied though and pushed to get the ball wide. Their #12 scored four times and exploited the tiring Berkeley defence, she was the MVP by a distance. The game broke up towards the end and came to a close at 25-45. I was very impressed with the standard of the game, the skill level and pace. A genuine pleasure to referee and a big thank you to all involved.

OAKLAND WARTHOGS 65 – Alameda 0 Referee: John Coppinger
Home side Warthogs were bigger and faster. However, Alameda battled until the end.

MOTHERLODE 26 – Cordova Lancers 14 Referee: Phil Akroyd
ARs: Mark Godfrey, Jerry Ahlin
Very slow game in good conditions on a fast field. This one was tainted a little by the behavior of some younger members of the coaching staff on the sideline, from what is usually such an excellent organization.

Stockton Saints 7 – ELK GROVE 32 Referee: Scott Wood
Location: Michael Faklis Park, Stockton
Impressive. The pitch is very well painted, ropes in place along the sidelines, posts upright and solid, and the high voltage wires at least 35 feet away. A firm, green pitch under sunny skies. The coaches and I discussed the power lines and what options were available should the ball come into contact with them. The wires, not the coaches. We agreed to play on as if contact were not made (i.e., if Uri Geller wants to move the ball then so be it). Of course, as is with most rare situations, those that are spoken of prior to a match happen. Twice.

Elk Grove is larger than the Saints but both teams do not lack in burgeoning talent. The Saints comprise of mostly soccer players from several schools whereas Elk Grove feeds off of nine schools and collects a variety of talent. Other than the ball hitting the wires (did I mention twice?), I got to see an interesting variation on a theme.

The Saints kicker asked at one restart if he had to bounce the ball on its point. I replied that he had to drop kick it and it didn't matter to me how it hit the ground so long as he kicks it on the rebound. I've now witnessed another method: Drop the ball as if you are a scrum half putting the ball into a scrum. With some back spin the ball comes back toward you. Kick it as it rises up. Unconventional but it worked much better than his previous attempt at a traditional drop kick.

Both teams were a joy to referee. They were relatively responsive and the coaches were extremely positive, providing excellent feedback and advice to their players.


PITS 20 – De La Salle 27 Referee: Rob Hendrickson
PITS hosted De La Salle to a see-saw game Friday evening at Merritt College on what might have been the nicest pitch I have been on in years. It was a full 70 meters wide and overlooking the poorly marked in goal area, the grass was nearly perfect, looking like it had been recently mowed but not been played on for several months. The De La Salle team was more disciplined at the breakdowns, and seemed able to move the ball in the mid field area, but had problems advancing the ball inside the 22 against a determined PITS defense. PITS moved the ball well, especially kicking ahead, and scored on several break away runs which kept the score close.

BELLARMINE 30 – Peninsula Green 14 Referee: Tony Levitan
With the threat of rain hanging in the heavy grey skies, Peninsula Green traveled south to the artificial turf soccer pitch at Bellarmine for a late-morning run in a friendly. Coming off a couple weeks of strong showings (including one reffed by yours truly), the Pen Green group was eager for a run against their well-tuned non-conference opponents. Unfortunately, a first half defined by a lack of composure and uncharacteristically sloppy play marked the outing for Pen Green as an uphill slog. Bellarmine was disciplined and free-flowing from the opening whistle, benefiting from a couple penalties deep inside Pen Green's half for a 6-0 lead. Pen Green showed its talent and skill by answering for its only lead of the match with a converted try at the 10 minute mark, 7-6. Undaunted and aided by more whistle-inducing play, the Bells ran in two more tries, one converted for an 18-7 half time lead.

Pen Green opened the second half with renewed purpose and tighter cohesion under the leadership of #8 John Warnock, and tightened matters to 18-14. The teams demonstrated a mostly solid second half back-and-forth, up-and-down-the-pitch rugby that was at times dynamic and inspiring. While subbing a range of players into the game to spread playing time around more broadly, Bellarmine put the match away with two final tries (one converted).

Al Arqam 31 -- SAC EAGLES 38 Referee: Chris Tucker
My first game for Al Arqam, to which I arrived late, but we still managed to kickoff on time. Al Arqam is a first-year rugby program from an Islamic school in South Sacramento, and when I locked my bike to the fence upon arrival they were busy with pre-match prayer. Resisting my insensitive side's urge to do boot check while the team were in sujud, I met with the team when they had finished. Pre-match preliminaries done, and a team cry of 'Allah akbar', we kicked off.

Roy Brewer has a well-drilled Eagles team who clearly enjoy the game, and quickly went ahead. Their dominance continued throughout most of the half, with only a lapse in concentration at a penalty costing them any points -- the Al Arqam number 10 executing a quick tap from 15m out with nobody home in defence. The second half was a little different, as the Eagles began to cycle through their bench, and Al Arqam's 8-9-10 combination started to do some damage. But this simply made it closer than it would have been, the Eagles victory wasn't in doubt.

One ugly incident marred the second half, as an Al Arqam player tripped the Eagles ball carrier, earning him a yellow. This would have been it had the Eagles blindside not retaliated with a shoulder setting off a minor scuffle. This is the point at which the players need to sort it out themselves, but on to the field charges the Al Arqam coach, face full of anger and dives into the middle of it to separate everyone. We had a chat after the match that this kind of thing a) isn't particularly helpful in calming the situation b) is quite dangerous and c) can encourage an air that anybody is entitled to enter the field of play. I ordered him back to the sidelines, then dealt with the offenders. The game continued quite happily with only 14 aside for a while, and no bad blood evident between the two sides.

All in all a good evening of rugby, hopefully our newest team can build on a strong start to become solid competitors next year.

Girls: BISHOP O’DOWD HS 61 – Alameda islanders 0 Referee: Tim Lew
On a calm night for rugby, the BOD women played a great technical game of rugby. Both teams came out very hard but within the first 20 mins, BOD had already scored 27 pts. BOD have some great players- #s 1, 7, 9, 13, & 15 all have great rugby skills. On the other side, Alameda had some very tough girls who made some massive hits!

Worse for Wear
Chris Tucker, Max Barnard and Ray Schwartz react differently to the challenges of climbing more than 3000 feet in cold, fog and snow.


For the Senate
Pelicus Scriptoris

Wednesday, March 21, 2012




If you find out that your game is going to be rained out, please let us know. We have games without assigned refs that will be occurring elsewhere. Don’t just throw in the towel – take it with you to another game.


Cal Maritime will be hosting a playoff game for the National Small College Rugby Organization. This stage will be for the California Cup as they play Cal Lutheran for the opportunity to continue towards a national championship. This will be Sunday at 1 PM in Vallejo.

Dan Wilson will referee. Jen Tetler will be one AR – will you be the other?


Make plans now to attend our society’s banquet in honor of two exchange referees from the East Midlands, Max Barnard and Richard Parrish. This will be held at the Up and Under Pub in Richmond, Calif, at 6:30 PM on Saturday, March 31. (It is the same place as two years ago.)

If you plan on attending, RSVP to Bjorn Stumer. Get a room nearby and make a night of it!


Paso Robles 21 – SACRAMENTO BLACKHAWKS 28 Referee: Bruce Carter
I didn’t get to referee at Paso in their first season, so I determined to do so in their second. My wife and I took Friday off and made reservations at the Madonna Inn in SLO, where we stayed on our first weekend-date nearly 32 years ago.

We stayed in a ‘rock room’, basically a well-appointed cave, with a shower that’s a waterfall. The ceiling of the bathroom also turned out to be a waterfall as the mostly-subterranean architecture and finishing proved inadequate to the absolute deluge that hit Saturday morning, when we were awakened by what sounded like someone spraying the parking lot with a fire hose.

Paso Robles has an all-weather pitch. Unfortunately, the single road that leads to it flooded and could not be forded. The first flurry of messages was about canceling the game. Maybe it wasn’t rugby season after all.

Luckily, the visitors had already departed Sacramento for the five-hour drive, so alternate arrangements necessitated some invention. They’d get back to me, but didn’t look good.

So my wife and I drove into downtown SLO looking for breakfast.

The first couple of places we saw looked awfully crowded. Mobs of people, spilling out into the streets. It’s not even nine AM. I guess Cal Poly really is a party school?

Then we saw green hats and whatnot. Green plus drunks – oh, St. Patrick’s Day. I’m sure he’s pleased at the way he’s remembered. Back to the hotel for a quieter digestive experience.

Updates on the rugby scene. Practice pitch: not available. Arroyo Grande’s pitch: not available. Sherwood Park, where no-one had ever once considered playing a rugby game? Available.

Now it was rugby season once again!

This pitch took me back to my Georgia rugby days, back when a Georgian was president. I paced this pitch at 45 meters wide. Might have been a little less, given that some of the pacing was up and down over moguls, swales and divots and through pools of standing water. (My high school game on Wednesday had an 80-meter width.) My warm-up consisted of helping to collect trash. But it was safe and we played rugby on it.

The Blackhawk’s Ben Parker said on arrival that they’d driven through all four seasons. Certainly, hailstones had been bouncing off cars while I’d been on the road, and when old Sol did sneak a peek there was that springtime phenomenon of summer in the sun, winter in the shade. I remembered the two seasons I’d experienced: rugby season and not.

The narrow pitch made for a lot of rucks, and the squeegee conditions led to a lot of slow ball. That left plenty of time for me to referee, to address individuals, and to manage in advance. There were a lot of new players on both teams, so I appreciated those opportunities.

Good game. The survival-gear clad spectators were treated to a very close match, 14-all at the half. Of note: all seven trys were converted despite high gusts and drafts.

It was tied with a few minutes left. Paso Robles had a chance to win when their scrumhalf toed a loose ball into his opponents’ in-goal. He and the Blackhawks’ center both went after that ball with intensity and abandon. Their collision resulted in no grounding, the ball squirting over the dead-ball line, and two injured ruggers, both of whom had to leave the game as a result. Drop-out. It was that competitive!

And so it came down to the final whistle – or non-whistle.

Less than a minute left. Penalty kick to the visitors, too far for points. They kicked to the corner kit-bag (no flags to be found) and had a five-meter lineout. But lineouts hadn’t been secure in the bluster and the slop – so they threw a dart to the first man. Right to him – to the side of him opposite his opponents. Paso elected a scrum. Scrum awarded and signaled.

Watch starts beeping. Ref announces last play. (This is exciting enough that I’ve just changed voice and tenses both!)

What a scrum to take against the head! Three ruck/pileups later, the Blackhawks extracted the ball from beneath the bodies and crashed over to the left against right-shifting defenders.

Kick made, game over, corned beef sandwiches and Guinness under cover by the parking lot.

I went to the car to get my hands warm enough so that I could manipulate a pen to add up the score and to thank my wife for not leaving me for warmer climes.

Then I, too, toasted the memory of that saint who converted a nation and made it safe for the oval ball.


Friday, 6PM
STANFORD women 24 – Dartmouth 21 Referee: Sandy Robertson
Stanford dominated much of the first half, ending up 19-7 at the interval. Dartmouth fought back and a converted try at 80 minutes brought the final score to 24-21.

SF/Golden Gate – Utah Warriors CANCELED
The Warriors had one player with CIPP two days before the opening game of the season was scheduled. Now the team is no longer listed with USA Rugby at all.

Sacramento Capitals 19 – SAN MATEO 44 Referee: Jordan Bruno
San Mateo and the Capitals collided in rainy conditions for a hard fought, well contested match. The game was physical from the start. Contested breakdowns, solid hits, and rolling mauls were performed well on both sides. The Capitals had moments of brilliance, allowing them to stay within range of San Mateo at the end of the half. San Mateo continued to move the ball well in the second half, despite an early Capitals try, and quickly ran away with the victory. A card came out in the second half for a retaliatory punch in the ruck. Continued flareups followed. As the game ended and both teams contemplated a B side match, I realized either team would have to field half the A side players for another half of play. My recommendation was to end play, avoid a flash point for violence, and enjoy St. Patrick's Day.

EPA BULLDOGS 50 – Barbarians 0 Referee: Rich Anderson
Evaluator: David Williamson

SACRAMENTO LIONS 10 – Olympic Club 9 Referee: Phil Akroyd
ARs: John Villanueva, Pete Andrew
After literally having nightmares about the condition of the pitch in Sacramento, it turned out that it was OK. Some standing water in a couple of very localized areas and clearly soggy conditions overall, but the playing surface held up very well. The rain held off for most of the day too, so we had pretty decent conditions in which to play what could have been a classic… A classic it was not, but tense and dramatic it was, although neither team ever took hold of the game.

OC came out with intentions to play hard and the Lions were intent on doing whatever they needed to stop them, which is why they were on an early warning regarding cynical play and an inevitable yellow card. The visitors pushed out to a 3 - 9 lead by half but seemed to lose confidence as every minute passed by.

Neither team were on the top of their game but OC seemed most flustered. They had a full house of random minor and major infractions, including scrum foot-up, kick not-ten at the restart, 75% of their lineouts were not straight, offside from a knock-on, an actual dummy pass from the base of a ruck from the half-back, lineout numbers ("Sir, he was out of the line", yes but not more than 2 meters out) and the loose head prop not binding at all. The starting loose head looked way out of his depth until half-time when he was subbed out, which gave OC absolutely no set piece platform. Captain Pretorius was trying anything to get out of scrummaging but the lineouts were equally as dysfunctional.

The Lions were living off the scraps (and there were lots of scraps) and had a sustained period of pressure throughout the middle section of the second half, which produced a very forwards’ try from numerous phases of pick and drive from five or ten meters out.

Olympic started to play when they were 10-9 down with twenty minutes to play but the final and largest error was left until the last couple of minutes. Lions' ten was offside at a ruck on his own 22, dead center of the field. OC had the chance to take the lead and see out the remaining seconds but the kicker pulled it way left and Lions took the victory. It could be said that the absence of Engelbrecht hurt them, but the talent they did have on the field got little service and appeared to waste what they had.

Seconds: Sacramento Lions 5 – OLYMPIC CLUB 53 Referee: John Villanueva
After helping as AR for an exciting and close A-side match I was looking forward to an equally competitive B side. Prior to the match starting the coaches on both sides agreed to a shortened match with 25 minute halves. From the start Olympic Club took control with solid passing and hard running. By the second half the O Clubs fitness was the largest factor as they ran away from the Lions, scoring at will.

SF/GOLDEN GATE 68 – EPA Razorbacks 0 Referee: Aruna Ranaweera
Assistant Referee: Sandy Robertson
Since the Utah Warriors were recently booted from the RSL, instead of refereeing SFGG's Super League team against Utah, I refereed their D1 team against EPA. Heavy rain earlier in the week moved the game to Job Corps Field on TI, but the overcast skies held dry for the entire match in front of about 100 spectators. EPA could not field two teams, so the majority of their 1st XV played the 2nd XV match at 1pm and then changed jerseys for the 1st XV match at 3pm. SFGG was the more structured team and helped themselves to a 20-0 lead at the break. In the 2nd half, EPA's fatigue showed as SFGG camped in their opponent's half and tallied 48 more points for a total of 11 tries for the match. Thanks to Sandy for his help as AR.

Seconds: SFGG 46 – EPA Razorbacks 44 Referee: Sandy Robertson
With a final try at 80 minutes SFGG got the win in a back and forth game where each side scored 8 tries. The Razorbacks had the best of the early going, and were up 34-26 at the interval, but SFGG's 4 2nd half tries were just enough to get the win.

All Blues – California RAINED OUT

Diablo Gaels 17 – SANTA ROSA 27 Referee: George O'Neil

Seconds: Diablo Gaels 10 – SANTA ROSA 45 Ref: O'Neil

MARIN 20 – South Valley 12 Referee: Stephanie Bruce
Evaluator: Mike Malone
Great game, South Valley came with 17 players but were within striking distance up until about 10 minutes left when Marin slotted a penalty to put the game out of reach.

Berkeley 0 – SEAHAWKS 73 Referee: Chris Labozzetta
Never Close. Berkeley were completely over matched, but played with heart throughout the game.

Baracus 0 – FRESNO 35 Referee: Chris Labozzetta
The first half was close, but Fresno opened it up in the second half and Baracus never got their offense on track.

VACAVILLE 29 – Chico 7 Referee: Preston Gordon
Decent game, and fairly well matched, but Vacaville's 23-man roster (vs 16 for Chico) helped them get out front 22-7 at halftime, and maintain that lead in the second period.

SHASTA HIGHLANDERS 15 – Reno Zephyrs 10 Referee: Scott Wood
TJs: Shasta provided (Dan Batdorf & another--apologies for forgetting his name)
Location: Foothill HS, Palo Cedro

A cool, sunny day. Apparently somebody has an in with Mother Nature...

Both teams entered the match undefeated (4-0) with Shasta atop the standings by a mere one point. Shasta reportedly had only thirteen players just prior to the beginning of the season but that issue appears to be resolved. Shasta nearly scored a try in the opening minutes but the referee was temporarily unsighted to the ball and by the time he came around the pile of bodies, Shasta had pulled the ball back into the field of play. Reno stole the ball at the ensuing scrum and cleared it out of the 22.

Much of the match was played in Reno's portion of the field. Shasta scored two tries in the first half before Reno intercepted a pass and ran 80 meters for a try.

Halftime score: Shasta 12 - Reno 7

The teams either watched or somehow channeled via the England-Ireland match as we had scrum after scrum after scrum. And then scrummed some more. This was more a result of running before catching than it was due to a wet ball. A number of scrums were taken against the head by both teams.

Shasta was very good at self-regulating its players at the breakdown, committing only those players necessary to disrupt possession. Reno, unfortunately, was heavily penalized for numerous infractions; not enough to warrant a card at this level but enough for them to become frustrated. Nonetheless, this match was played with good tempers and relatively positive demeanor.

The after-party was hosted at the Bat Cave featuring a tasty corned beef stew.

Not a bad day considering the seven hours of travel.

REDWOOD 92 – Siskiyou 5 Referee: Sean Peters
Redwood Empire came out fast and hard, their big 8 man and fly-half who had some great runs. That resulted in quick trys for the first half. Siskiyou though did not back down. With much determination, they played their hearts out and stuck it out. Which ended up with a try, at the last couple of minutes from Siskiyou’s 8 man/captain.

SIERRA FOOTHILLS 77 - Mendocino 5 Referee: Liz Palmer
Mendocino started the match with 0 subs and the Sierra sidelines were anything but empty. Sierra got their first try 4 minutes after the kickoff. Mendocino quickly responded with their own try in the middle of the pitch. A potential easy conversion was lost as nobody stayed back to kick. This was realized at 45 seconds when the captain ran down for a last second drop kick--but too wide. Throughout the 1st half Mendocino and Sierra were equally strong and capable in fighting for possession and gain-in-ground; quite intense and exciting! At 26' on Mendocino's 25 in the middle of the field, the Sierra captain opted for an easy penalty kick making the score 8-5. At 29' Sierra scored their 2nd try with a completed conversion. At this point the match was paused because of an injury. A Mendocino player separated his shoulder, asked his teammate to yank it back in place (which he tried to do), but still could not play. This shorted the Mendocino squad to 14, and they played the rest of the match down. Halftime score was 29-5. I spoke to the injured player as he left for the hospital; it wasn't his first time dealing with his shoulder.

In the 2nd half Sierra dominated the scrums, and both teams managed consistent possession at cleaner breakdowns. Playing with fresh legs and 15 vs 14, Sierra was able to move the ball to the overload for successful breakthroughs. Successfully moving the ball around the field, getting it to the fast players, and being supportive on the breakdowns was how Sierra was able to retain steady possession. Mendocino's strength was in their forward defense, but a dangerous tackle after a Sierra try earned a Mendocino player a yellow card at 72', so the remainder was played 15 vs 13. Sierra ended up with 8 tries in the 2nd half; final score 77-5.

Humboldt 0 – COLUSA 21 Referee: Chris Tucker
Caroline and I had taken the previous two days to drive up via Redding, see some old friends on Thursday, then while she worked at her regional office on Friday I headed up to Mt. Shasta to try out some AT bindings on my skis. These allow you to climb up as well as ski down, and were a lot of fun, even the bit where I climbed up 1000 feet so I could ski down. Too soon it was time to drive again, but we headed up and over the hill in torrential rain, arriving safely before dark in Eureka.

Match day aka St Patrick's Day aka England v Ireland day dawned. Try as I might I could not find a bar showing the game. The local Irish pub looked baffled, which shows the quality of said establishment. You don't have to show it, but you'd better know it's happening! So I went to the pitch early instead.

And a beautiful day it was at Manila Park as we hit the sunny window in a week of solid rain. Pitch was still in very good shape, so a good day of rugby followed. The visitors were a little more organized, but the game was remarkably level. Two tries in the first half came from shoddy handling by Humboldt, with long breakaway scores. The second half formed a similar pattern, with both teams competitive, but Colusa able to finish one of their chances. As time wound down, Colusa tried my patience once too often (i.e. twice) with a 'not one' at a quick tap penalty, and quickly went a man down. At the next penalty we rucked and the visitors infringed offside. Quick tap, not one. Now the law book (10.3 b) reckons this is a red card, something I've always thought a little harsh. But there were less than 10 minutes left, so a sin bin had the same effect without the paperwork. Even with a 2 man advantage on the 5m, the home side couldn't finish, and we wound up 21-0 to the visitors.

A swift U19 game later and I joined the hosts in town for a little sing-song and a beer.

And Caroline enjoyed the trip too, so I might get to go again :)

Samoa United 12 – Fog 12 Referee: Bruce Ricard
The clouds seemed to be very sad, but they didn't cry last Saturday, which allowed an easier rugby game.

Very close game. The only points scored in the first half were from a penalty kick from FOG at the 22nd minute. 3 - 0 at the break.

The second half started with 3 more points scored by FOG, and a converted try at the 13th by Samoa United. Samoa United seem to be stronger than FOG, but they lack of discipline, and their many infringements prevent them from killing the score. At the 27th, on a new infringement from SU, FOG score a new penalty kick to take the lead (9 -7). At the 31st, Samoa United winger scored another try very close to the touch line, which is not converted. 2 minutes later, FOG scored another penalty kick. Final score: 12 - 12.

Vallejo 22 – APTOS 26 Referee: John Pohlman
I arrived at Mare Island about 3:00pm for a 4:00PM kickoff. The Cal. Maritime Academy was hosting Univ. of Reno. George O'Neil was leaving after refereeing two Diablo Gales games. The Vallejo and Aptos teams were warming up for their game, which should have been at about half time. The coaches quickly approached me and said the assigned referee had car trouble and would I be able to do the game. One of the Diablo players started the game as referee and was doing a very good job until about ten minutes in when late contact led to some pushing. I then entered what turned out to be a very competitive game.

By the way the stand-in referee has some serious potential. Please consider allowing us to coach and evaluate you. In a couple of years you could be involved with games at a high level.

This was a scrappy, very competitive game which was pretty enjoyable to referee. Aptos scored first and had a bit more possession and were the better team. But Vallejo had a couple of hard running backs which broke down the Aptos defense.

Half Time score Aptos 7 Vallejo 5

The second half saw a couple of lead changes and never a time where one team was more than a try ahead. These games are referee dreams. Standing at middle field knowing the next ten minutes would decide the game, nothing more exciting than managing those testosterone, adrenaline peaking minutes.

Final score Aptos 26 Vallejo 22

After the game John the Vallejo manager gave me 100 dollars for going out of my way to referee their game. I thanked him and donated the hundred back to Vallejo from the referee society. It's great to feel appreciated.

OK now on to my assigned game.

California Maritime Academy 17 – UNIVERSITY OF NEVADA, RENO 19 Ref: Pohlman
I often go an entire season without doing a game which is so competitive and well balanced. To do two such games back to back really exciting.

Maritime controlled most of the game and possession. But Reno's #10 Ryan Shermerhorn was man of the match. Ryan scored two of their trys by simply weaving his way through numerous tackles. Maritime's backs scored two first half trys to lead 12 to Reno 5 at half time.

The second half saw Reno tie up the score early when scrumhalf and captain Aaron Joc Jolcover scored on a quick tap penalty. In the 27 minute Maritime's #14 Travis Quesenberry was put away for a try in the corner. Maritime 17 Reno 12.

#10 Ryan slid through a couple of tackles to score under the posts at 35 minutes. Score Reno 19 Maritime 12.

Maritime spent the next five minutes in the Reno 22. Lots of pressure until Reno was able to clear the ball for the victory.

Wow two really competitive games. Oh, and we only got hailed on for a few minutes.

UC Davis 7 – CALIFORNIA 86 Referee: Pete Smith
ARs: Ron DeCausemaker, Rob Hendrickson
Cal ventured up to UC Davis for officially a friendly. Despite the recent rains, the field was in great shape. Apparently the guy in charge of fields is from Berkeley and a friend of rugby, so he made sure the grass was mowed and in generally good condition. Cal started out like the juggernaut they are and jumped out to a 40-0 lead playing an expansive game. Davis fought back and earned a penalty try just before the break to make it 40-7 at the intermission. More of the same in the second half as Cal is just too deep and talented for most college teams to handle. Final score 86-7.

SANTA CLARA UNIVERSITY 44 – Chico State 20 Referee: Craig Smith
Santa Clara controlled this match (on their home turf field) from start to finish. Chico State's tackling let them down throughout and some long range tries were scored. It was one of those days where almost every try scorer seemed to score by making it as difficult as possible for me to see the grounding. As well as this, I had a couple of average calls and the Chico State coach was good enough to control himself and speak with me very calmly after the game where I admitted to my mistakes. He admitted that his team was never going to win the game playing the way they did and that I had not affected the result but it is food for thought for me going into my next game.

SACRAMENTO STATE 36 – Stanford 19 Referee: JC van Staden
AR: Ray Schwartz, Mark Gottfried
Finally getting some rain in California, but Saturday is a RUGBY day, and I'm pretty sure there were a few guys up there that voted a break in the rain so they can watch some good rugby :)

With St Patrick in the air, Sac got led on the field by a cpl of bagpipes, and some girlfriends. Having a couple of qualified AR's, was not the norm for me, but sure something I can get used too ;)

Stanford did not waste any time, and with only a few minutes gone opened the score board with a unconverted try. Sac however had a different idea, on how this day gonna end, and despite being caught off guard, quickly came back with some great running through the midfield, good ball retention in the forwards, with some handy off loads, and game changing line-out turn-overs.

Second half was a different story. Stanford is a young team, and it took them a while to get some rhythm going, however, they came back strong, and worked in 2 converted tries, outscoring Sac with 2 points on the half. Look for this team in the future, they pretty fast learners.

Sac, good luck for the rest of the season, keep up the hard work!

Seconds: Sacramento State 27 – Stanford 27 Referee: Ray Schwartz
Not very satisfying for anyone involved.... match experience for the players...

In the end Stanford came back, tied the score and as their new kicker teed up to take a shot at the win, the ball fell off his tee, he failed to properly ask to approach, and the Sac St captain charged to block the attempt. Game over.

St. Mary's 3 – San Francisco State RAINED OUT

FRESNO STATE women 63 – Maritime Academy 0 Referee: Bill Long
It was a blustery day with wind and rain the Fresno ladies just ran and ran and ran. Some great tackles and just one incident for a card at the end, playing a player without the ball. A rather vicious shove by a Fresno player I found impolite and bin-worthy.

FRESNO STATE 26 – Sierra College 25 Referee: Jeff Jury
The sky opened up after a hardy rain for the women's game played before the men's collegian match between Fresno State University and nationally ranked Sierra College. The wind was gusty and strong from the southeast. Sierra kicked off into the wind, then quickly acquired possession and with tight power movements, scored an unconverted try in the first 5 minutes. Fresno restarted with the wind. Play was maintained primarily between the 22's until Fresno broke from the south and scored a converted try 7 minutes later. This pretty much set the tone. Both teams trading scores, #4 Sierra's slicing center action with pack in tow and Fresno countering with speed. Half time found the game score Sierra College 10- Fresno State 12.
The wind did not die down for the change of ends. Sierra now had the wind. Sierra dominated possession and territory in the second half. Sierra scored after the first six minutes as they had before with power running. But, once again, did not convert the try. After the restart, play found it's way again near the Fresno 22 meter. A miscue and Fresno speed found the Bulldogs scoring under the posts for another converted try four minutes later. The battle ensued at the restart with Sierra moving into Fresno territory and basically controlling play as Fresno played defense. The wind did not make handling easy. Sierra eventually dotted with 15 minutes to go, for again, an unconverted try. Play resumed with the Fresno restart and again Sierra drove into Fresno territory. The next ten minutes were desperate to be sure. Hits were hard and play was gritty. The ball found touch to the west side in Sierra's favor closer to Fresno's 22m than the 10 meter. A good take but an errant long skip between the centers made possible, an intercept by Fresno for a clean get-a-way. The score was under the post and the kick was good with four minutes to go. The score now was Sierra 20- Fresno 26. A Sierra restart kept the ball inside Fresno's 22m where the relentless pounding gave way for a Sierra try to the west side about the middle between post and touch. The driving kick was hard but not slotted. The game ended with the score Sierra 25- Fresno 26.

Seconds: Fresno State 22 – SIERRA COLLEGE 36 Referee: Barry Foley
The B-side game was a mix of A-side and B-side players for both teams. The rain had stopped but the wind was blowing a good 15-20 mph most of the match. The B-side was also a very evenly contested match with both teams trading scores in the first half. Fresno State was leading 22-12 at the half but Sierra College capitalized on missed tackles and good running to score 3 try's to 0 for FSU in the 2nd half and win the match 36-22.

San Jose State 24 – UC SANTA CRUZ 29 Referee: Tony Levitan
It was a crying shame that the persistent rain forced this fixture onto the artificial turf football field at Valley Christian as both teams came to play an entertaining, attacking brand of rugby that was stymied repeatedly by the confines of the narrow pitch. Nonetheless, the enterprising sides put up 8 tries between them in what turned out to be a tightly contested match. UCSC looked the more organized and cohesive side early on jumping out to a 12-0 lead before SJS got on the board with a converted try 26:30 minutes into the game to trail 7-12 at the half.

USCS's lead extended to 15-7 with an early second half penalty before SJS ripped off 12 unanswered points (2 tries, 1 converted), taking their first lead and revving up the stalwarts who came out to support the home team in disregard of the fairly raw afternoon. Undaunted, UCSC regained its composure, utilizing quick penalty taps to scamper in for one try and broach the goal line in advance of another. 29-19. SJS kept its work rate high, putting over a final try in the final minute for the final tally, yielding the cup over which the squads compete annually back to UCSC after a two year stay in San Jose.

Along with being a competitive match, the quality of play was solid between these well matched teams. Set play was well contested with a handful of strikes taken against the head, though UCSC did dominate the lineouts. There is something to be said for college programs like these where a number of players are still being introduced to the game, showing flashes of enthusiastic athleticism amidst the easily avoidable uh-ohs. Congrats to both sides on a fine outing.

SANTA ROSA JC 62 – Humboldt State 15 Referee: Brad Richey

SF Fog women 15 - EPA LADY RAZORBACKS 32 Referee: Lois Bukowski

Referee: Mike Gadoua
The well-fortified PAXO Olde Boys edged out a narrow victory over the motley Bald Eagles during a rain-drenched game for the 2012 Bay Area Senior Games Championship. Frank Merrill awarded Gold and Silver medals to each teams’ players, respectively.


Wednesday, March 14, 3 PM:
BELLARMINE 34 – St. Maximilian Kolbe (Ontario) 17 Referee: Bruce Carter
I received an e-mail about a mid-week, touring-side game that needed a ref.
It being the second Wednesday of the month, I’d taken the day off work so that I could attend our society meeting at 6 in San Francisco. Three o’clock at Watson Park seemed a perfect waypoint. So I accepted on behalf of myself.

Watson Park has replaced the old Watson Bowl, former home of Seahawk glory. There are now two full-sized pitches, one grass and one fake grass. Given the rain, we played on the latter.

The pitch is as wide as it was when Jovesa Naivalu used the extra-wide specifications to burn opponents and leave referees gasping. I paced it at 80 meters. Both teams seemed determined to use the full width on every possession. I may have run a greater distance east-west than I did north-south, given that there were nine trys but probably a hundred ‘possessions’.

The visitors, from near Toronto, cannot have played rugby outdoors since mid-autumn, would be my guess. But this was their third game on tour and they seemed to work together pretty well. But Bellarmine is having a very good season – I don’t believe they have lost a game.

Some diehard fans braved the rain and were rewarded with a consistent Bellarmine performance, three trys in each half and good scramble defense when needed.

The try of the game was a Gareth-Edwards job, for those of my generation: Bellarmine’s scrumhalf picked up the ball from a ruck against the right touchline about seventy meters out, dummied a pass and slipped between the ruck and the post defenders – not an easy thing to do in itself. From there he raced up the touchline without any immediate support, so unexpected was his break. He had to make defenders miss without benefit of any more dummies, but proved up to the task and capped off a nice match.

I had to leave immediately in order to get to Treasure Island in time, but found the time to express my gratitude to the players and coaches for such a fine match.

Else Allen 10 – BISHOP O’DOWD 46 [Referee’s name lost in editing]
It was a great day in Santa Rosa. The sun was shining bright at Pete's Sake Field. The pitch was draining perfect and the Else Allen Lobo's Girls Team was ready to take on the girls from Bishop O’Dowd H.S. Both teams came out hitting hard, neither team wanted to back down. Until O’Dowd's 8 man started to pick up and go from a scrum. Which set up a strong run from the forwards. Whom also had set up their back line to put pressure on the Lobo's. Although the Lobo's Girls didn't back down bringing forth their hard running 8 man and fly-half. They set up scores late in the second half. But at last, it wasn't enough. The O’Dowd girls were fit and their #6 had 4 trys followed by #15 with super kicking skills.

Cougars 5 – GRANITE BAY 91 Referee: John Villanueva
I arrived at the pitch/swimming pool at 3:45 to find to my surprise both teams with over 20 players ready to play and a full complement of fans, given the fact that it had been raining all day. The match started on time at 4:30 with Granite Bay kicking off, it did not take long to see that the wet conditions would play a role in the match as the Cougars Knocked the kick and Granite Bay was able to win the scrum and take it in for the first score. As the game progressed the rain started to come down harder and the teams seemed to be having more fun. Overall Granite Bay’s speed and disciplined attack was too much for the Cougars.

SOUTH VALLEY 30 – Los Gatos 7 Referee: John Pohlman
TJ's injured players from either team
Well, the wonderful weather reports from the Bay area stopped this Friday night. I left Fremont around 5 for a 7:00 p.m. kick off at the Morgan Hill all weather field. It was raining the entire way down.

Los Gatos is a first year team. They have had numerous injuries and a few players leave due to being over matched in some previous games. Thus only 12 players were available from Los Gatos. So we played tens.

South Valley had 25 players dressed and ready to go.

It rained the entire game. But the temperature was in the 50's and the all weather field drained well, so it was pretty comfortable for players and referee.

South Valley scored three trys in the first half and I think three more in the second half.(My score card was so wet by the end of the game I did not have any dry place to post scores). Los Gatos scored one try in the second half. Both teams have some very athletic and well skilled rugby players to build on.

I then got in my car and drove home through a torrential rain storm.
This made me realize how lucky we were to just have a steady rain rather than the buckets I drove home in.

BISHOP O’DOWD 35 – Christian Brothers 29 Referee: Jordan Bruno
A spirited, disciplined, and well-fought match between two well regarded high school rugby teams. The game was close at the half with a small edge to Christian Brothers at 14-12 due to a great effort in their forward pack and lackluster defense by BOD. BOD came back fighting in the second half, playing heads up rugby that saw a quick lineout intercept late in the game for a try to put them ahead. Christian Brothers' forwards continued to knock at the door until the final whistle with time expiring on a 5 meter scrum to CB on the BOD goal line. Great match by two teams that showed up to win.

Mon Mar 19th
Bishop O'Dowd JV 17 – CHRISTIAN BROTHERS 33 Referee: Eric Rauscher
This was a pretty close game in the first half and most of the second. Both teams were able to move the ball around the pitch efficiently and the penalty count was low for a jv game. The first half score was 5 /12. In the second half it seemed to me that the Christian Brothers team seemed to be able to play a more physical game. Whether this was due to a number of larger players or just conditioning I don't know. It was fun to see improvement of BODs' squad from the first of the season though. What used to be obvious rookie play is now coordinated play.

JV B-sides: JESUIT 34 – Earl Marriott Secondary (British Columbia) 0 Referee: Anthony Nguyen
I had the opportunity to referee a great touring side match between EMS rugby and Jesuit; a true clash that would display excellent rugby and well coached teams. Jesuit started the kick off. EMS kicked it into full gear, challenging Jesuit with close-encounter tries and goal line mayhem. Jesuit upped their game and went on to score five tries and two conversions, finding holes in the EMS defense. The second half was more intense, with EMS keeping Jesuit fatigued and calling for a well organized defense. Jesuit managed to score a last-end try. EMS during the final seconds was close to Jesuit's own in-goal area. With penalty after penalty occurring due to Jesuit's fatigue and worry, EMS had several close opportunities to score a try. Jesuit kept them back however and managed to end the game, 34 to 0. A truly great game was fought with no dispute, no bickering and no disciplinary problems. EMS also gave me a match jacket for having me referee this match. Afterwards, Kirk Khasigian, the former USA Eagle, refereed the A Side match, which will be reported below.

JV A-sides: JESUIT 23 – Earl Marriott 5 Referee: Kirk Khasigian
AR: Anthony Nguyen
For this one, I ran AR for the center referee. Kirk ran a great game as a referee. He was consistent, fair, and tough. The first half was rather slow, with both teams displaying fierce defenses, preventing holes from being formed and tries being scored. Jesuit and EMS both scored in the first half. However, Jesuit kept the pressure during second half and drove past the EMS defense and scored several tries. EMS played a hard fought game with great rugby and excellent tactics. The game ended with Jesuit going up on the top with 23 points and EMS leaving the field with 5 points. Overall, the EMs team was a great experience to referee. Great Canadian rugby!


James Hinkin ventured to SoCal and picked up a good match:

UC SANTA BARBARA 29 - University of San Diego 3
Referee: James Hinkin
ARs: Francis Mariner, Crystal Ho
With my contract currently placing me in Los Angeles I took the opportunity for a weekend in Santa Barbara with my lovely significant Emily. Since I was in the area I contacted the SCRRS and asked if there was a game available - and so I got to referee my alma mater for the first time. I met Emily at the Bob Hope Airport and drove up the 101 to beautiful Santa Barbara. Got into town about 7:00 and headed straight for the Beachside Café where I ran into GM and old rugby friend Peter Crick. Back in the day when I was at UCSB I, for a couple of years, ran the world famous Santa Barbara International Rugby Tournament. Peter was a local referee and he would take care of all referee details - assignments, lodging, etc. The planning sessions at the Beachside provided some of the best food of my college experience and I have never forgotten it.

I had received dire warnings of a massive storm front poised to sweep through the central coast so the initial 1:00 kickoff in Harder Stadium was scratched for a 7:30 kickoff on the Robb Gym turf fields under the lights. So with most of Saturday free we woke up at 9:30 to roll out of bed and amble about a block and a half up State Street to an English pub to watch England beat Ireland in one of the sloppiest international matches I have ever seen. I know it was wet in Dublin but shouldn't these guys be used to it?

After a sandwich at Sam's To Go in Isla Vista (Mehrdad says hi, Pete) we took a leisurely tour of the Santa Barbara mission. The afternoon was wearing on and no rain was evident - if we had played at the original time the game would have been over without so much as a drop landing - so I went back to the hotel to strap on the gear and saunter up the road to UCSB.
Of course, now it starts raining.

I refereed the UCSB v USD match and, once the game was over, quickly packed up and dashed back to the Beachside where Peter made sure the kitchen stayed open to accommodate us. We were eventually joined by the UCSB coaching staff and we shared some St Paddy's pints and stories of days gone by and days to come.

A perfect weekend on the central coast ended on Sunday with Emily and I working our way down the 101 and stopping at the occasional winery for some tasting. Life is rough indeed.

And on to the game. With a strong wind blowing during the coin flip I was surprised when USD won the toss and elected to kick. UCSB wisely decided to take the wind in the first half. My old Seahawk coach Kevin Meek would tell us always to take the wind when you could because you would never know if it might die down later. Turns out he was right on this occasion - by the time the second half started there was no wind to speak of.

The first half started with UCSB receiving the kick and immediately moving the ball up the field. USD only seemed to have occasional patches with the ball before a turnover would grant possession back to the Gauchos. UCSB however seemed more than willing to hand the ball back so we had a stalemate until a penalty at the 20 minute mark finally put UCSB on the board. By this time Santa Barbara's forwards were starting to throw their weight around and UCSB's backs were starting to put things together and USD didn't have an answer. 2 more tries before the half - including an impressive push over try from a scrum - saw the hosts go into the locker room (true) with a 15-0 lead.

The USD coaching staff said some magic words at half time so when the second half started USD started to dominate territory and possession. Mistakes at critical times killed any scoring opportunities as unforced errors ended promising runs. About 10 minutes in UCSB was forced to play a man down for the rest of the game for a dump tackle and USD smelled blood. They could not convert their pressure into points, however, as a superbly organized defense would not break. USD didn't have any ideas and continually crashed off the side of the breakdown - easily read by both the defense and the referee. Torero ball carriers often arrived to see 2 defenders and yours truly already waiting for him at the tackle. They eventually notched their first points of the match with a penalty kick and seemed to have some momentum when the kickoff failed to travel the required 10 but, even though they were a man down, the UCSB scrum remained dominant and pushed USD off the ball for a tighthead. The resulting attacks worked its way into the 22 until a gap opened up and the Gaucho #9 ran in untouched. The game now fell into a pattern as USD put constant pressure on the UCSB 22 but couldn't break the line. UCSB lost another player to a sin bin for repeated infringements so played the last 7 minutes 13 on 15 but still kept up an impressive defensive effort. With 2 minutes left the USD flyhalf tried to grub kick through the defense but it was well covered by Santa Barbara and they sent the ensuing 22 drop long where it evaded the USD fullback and fell nicely for the onrushing UCSB winger to cap off a 80 meter short-handed try. And yes, I was only about 10 meters away when he grounded it. *whew*
Final Score: UC Santa Barbara 29 - University of San Diego 3


For the Senate
Pelicus Scriptoris

Thursday, March 15, 2012



By JC van Staden

Rugby weekend.....So I'm sure that most referees had to go through weekends like this....You know, the ones where you wife wants to divorce you over rugby...

[Mrs. Webmaster says, "That's every weekend..."]

Friday Night
High Schools, 4:30 kick-off
No love lost, is probably the best way of describing this clash....The Lancers had a very well-coached team, and good all the way around talent, but the Islanders, were well up to the task, and after breaking through the middle field with some great stepping, stretched to a 14 point lead, which they manage to maintain to take the win on the Lancers’ home field.

6:30 conference call, disciplinary hearing, Highway 50

8:15 kick-off
MOTHER LODE 31 – Jesuit 28
I have seen my share of athletic facilities, but I have to admit, my mouth was drooling, walking on this track...I just wanted to take my place on the 200m mark, and sprint through one ass-kicking run...Then the reality kicked in, and I had to remind myself I'm not that stud I used to be...So I rubbed in the Icy Hot, took my whistle, and took the field...Luckily, both teams had a surprise for me...spectacular rugby!! Both teams came out firing at all cylinders, tries were raining in, alongside BIG tackles. Coaching of both teams was teddies, and both teams wanted it bad. Captains led by example, and not having to pull a card in a U/19 game, was priceless...

College, 1pm kick – off
SIERRA COLLEGE 48 - San Jose State University 14
Besides the wind that picked up a bit on Saturday, it was yet another cool day for rugby. Sierra had only one thing in mind, and that was to stay unbeaten in their division...Sometimes, that thought overpowered their minds, and they forgot they were 15 players on the field, but still they were too facile and fit for San Jose. Most of Sierra players I knew because of the high-school rugby, and all-star rugby they have played in the Sacramento Valley the last 5 years. Their knowledge of the game showed, but it was the hearts of San Jose that impressed more...Even after getting slammed around on the field, they showed their spirits, kept on putting points on the board until the last minute of the game.

U/12, 12:15 kick-off
GRANITE BAY 48 – Carmichael 17
I actually attended church in my rugby gear...which was a first for me, (normally being the only guy under 80 with a tie), and left Lodi during the last hymn, to make it back to Granite Bay, for a 12pm kick-off. The field was a bit smaller than normal, but perfect for U/12 rugby. Without being philosophical, there is just something about scoring under the sticks :)

This game however, was as structured as any B-side varsity game. The kids were coached well, and besides having a few BIG U/12 guys, my rugby theory about, size does not count, was proven once more. Granite Bay, was on average 20lb/player lighter, but they had heart, tackle good, and full of running. Having to use the "blue card" to keep the mouths under control, made me realize what tough jobs the parents have to raise this new generation of youngsters. I take my hat off to all parents.

With a total points being added of 238 in one weekend....Pretty nice rugby I would say, and having the best seat in the house watching these, priceless...


Olympic Club 29 – EPA BULLDOGS 58 Referee: Aruna Ranaweera
AR: John Coppinger
At the Gaelic Athletic Field on Treasure Island, EPA led 21-17 at the break and routinely found gaps in the Olympic backline in the second half. Both teams mauled very well but EPA was more elusive with ball in hand and enjoyed much better support out wide. In the end, EPA ran away with the contest, 9 tries to 5. Much thanks to John for his help as AR.

Seconds: Olympic Club 22 – EPA BULLDOGS 26 Referee: John Coppinger
On the GAA pitch at TI, EPA scored three second half tries to overcome a 12-7 deficit at the break. Good match, played in good spirits with zero foul play and few penalties.

Provo over Bay Barbarians (forfeit) Referee: James Hinkin
Provo drove 18 hours to make the game. I drove 45 minutes to make the game. Nobody from Bay Barbarians decided to drive at all to make the game.

San Mateo 12 - PROVO 25 Referee: Sandy Robertson
Provo completed its 2-game, one-day tour by beating San Mateo. They dominated early possession, putting up two tries before the midpoint of the first half. From that point on, it was an evenly contested, hard fought match.

ST. MARY’S 69 – Cal Poly 3 Referee: Terry Helmer
ARs: Stephanie Bruce, Evan Schlinkert
Evaluator: Mike Malone

Seconds: ST MARY’s 34 – Cal Poly 12 Referee: Stephanie Bruce
Assessor: Bryan Porter

Chico State 35 – SACRAMENTO STATE 41 Referee: Phil Akroyd
AR: Tom Franzoia
This game by the numbers: Sac State went into the game 2-1 (-5 points difference) in league play, Chico came in 1-2 (-12 points difference) with Sac defeating Chico by a few points when they last played a couple of weeks ago. During the game, Chico were ahead for 31 minutes, Sac for 42 and they were tied for the other 7 minutes. Chico held the lead twice, as did Sac State and Sac critically took it and held it with 3 minutes to go. Chico had 5 tries, 5 conversions, while Sac had 6 tries, 4 conversions and 1 penalty kick. Only a fool would say that this game was anything but close.

Seconds: Chico State – Sacramento State Referee: ???
No report received. No idea who reffed.

Stanford 22 – SANTA CLARA 31 Referee: Jordan Bruno

Seconds: Stanford 17 – SANTA CLARA 47 Referee: Rich Boyer
Stanford B side hosted Santa Clara B side at Steuber Stadium. Both teams are well coached and relied on pick and drive or forwards running of the ruck. Passages of play were very good. Santa Clara is coached by SFGG backs. As a result their back play was very crisp and efficient, leading to numerous overlaps and tries. Stanford fought to the very end. Players from both sides were polite and gracious. Santa Clara 47, Stanford 17.

STANFORD GSB 49 – McGeorge Law 12 Referee: Chris Labozzetta

MARITIME ACADEMY 45 – Humboldt State 10 Referee: Tom Zanarini
Vallejo being a nearly home match for me, I was able to get 9 holes in at the Mill Valley Municipal Golf Course. Afterwards I was hoping the rugby match would be better than my golf game. A short drive to Mare Island and the home of the Vallejo Barbarians...wha?? Cal Maritime's new pitch is nearly finished, but not finished enough. The Cal Maritime Women were playing Fresno St. as I arrived. A new team with some good athletes. They looked solid and ran in a few tries to boot.

Cal Maritime and Humboldt were pretty evenly contested, but CMA seemed to find the gaps that resulted in points. HSU's points were scored in the second half. They put up a fight the whole match.

NEVADA 27 – Santa Rosa JC 22 Referee: Chris Tucker
Santa Rosa needed a win to go through to the playoffs, but sabotaged their chances with 3 yellow cards at 31, 36 and 37 minutes. First and last for killing the ball on their goal line, the middle one for a dangerous tackle. UNR took full advantage, scoring 4 times before the visitors regained full strength. Sometimes it is better just to give up the try.

UCSC 33 – Fresno State 27 Referee: Brad Richey

UOP over USF by forfeit

Sacramento College 28 – SONOMA STATE 31 Referee: Scott Wood
Location: Cordova High School, Rancho Cordova
I arrived at the pitch to find a girls match in action with Cordova HS hosting the Amazons. The Lancers had their work cut out for them as the Amazons ran in try after try.

One of the worst ways to start a match is not having enough qualified front row players. Sonoma State was preparing for their match running pattern drills, etc while Sacramento City was wondering where its missing players were (other than somewhere on the light rail system). Of course the first resource everybody turns to is the referee who, in turn, defers back to them with the caveat that uncontested scrums are not the preferred way to play rugby. With less than five minutes until kickoff, the missing players arrived. Phew!

I believe both teams are in their inaugural season but they do not lack in experience. Seemingly, many teams take some time to sort themselves and their opponents out prior to scoring. This game was not to be as such. Sac City opened up with an early try which was answered shortly thereafter by Sonoma State. Then they settled down for some back and forth rugby. Sac City scored another try prior to the end of the half.

Halftime score: Sacramento City 14 - Sonoma St 7

Sonoma opened up the second half with two relatively quick tries to tie and then take the lead 21-14. After the restart, Sonoma regained possession and was shortly thereafter awarded a penalty. Sonoma elects to kick for points which resulted in extending their lead 24-14.

More back and forth rugby. Then, while on another attack near Sac's 22, the visitors floated a pass which was promptly picked off by Sac #21 and run back for a try. Sonoma leads 24-21.

Before restarting, Sonoma's fly half asks how much time is remaining. "Seven minutes," I replied. "Okay, let me know when it's seven minutes and we'll clear the ball." (no comment)

Sonoma again regains possession and is attacking near Sac's 22 when a pass from a tackle is made directly to Sac's retreating #15. "Tackle only!" I yelled as #15 reversed direction and scored a try. Sonoma accepted the explanation that offside lines do not exist at tackle situations. Kick converted and the lead changed hands to Sac's favor -- 28-24.

With less than two minutes until full time, Sonoma put the restart kick down the center of the pitch. At this point, Sac's tackle and ruck discipline imploded. Failure to release/roll away and hands in were the main issues. Less than 45 seconds to go, Sonoma elected to tap-and-go and go they did. Forward then spinning the ball left wide (watch sounding full time) and scoring the go-ahead try to win the match.

Both teams played very well. Sonoma was mostly on attack, conceding two tries due to floated passes. Sac City tackled hard, competed well and read the attack well. Not bad for an inaugural team to lose to the division's first place team by just a penalty goal.

Tackle of the century goes to Sacramento City's #22 (apologies for being really bad with names). Survival of the century goes to the Sonoma player tackled so hard I'm surprised a coroner was not required.

This was one of the most exciting and fun matches I've had the pleasure of refereeing in a while.

CSUMB 20 – St. Mary’s thirds 14 Referee: Bruce Carter
This was a matchup of the first-place Gaels and the first-year, last-place Otters in college D3. The Otters had yet to win a game.

Full Disclosure: Cal State – Monterey Bay is located on the former Fort Ord Army base. I was stationed at Fort Ord for ten years and consider those the best years of my life – kids were little, career was burgeoning, didn’t have to imagine I was still young. Let’s call it one big soft spot in my heart. And I’m also probably the major financial contributor to the fledgling club, and have attended practice to help the players with the Laws.

So, not only were the Gaels playing against sixteen (kidding!), they had two home games against Cal Poly going on two hours away.

The difference was two penalty kicks which the Otters’ captain, Chad, converted in the first half when they had a brisk wind.

The Gaels excelled at a ball-control offense, keeping the ball for minutes at a time. This is a snap to referee: police the tackle, announce the ruck, square and scan, read the next phase and position accordingly to avoid the pod path, move a few meters upfield, repeat until a mistake occurs.

The problem with this is that is has to be played error-free and a rugby game is only eighty minutes long. The Otters scored two second-half trys on missed-tackle jailbreaks. So, one team scores in twenty seconds and the other takes much longer.


SF Fog women 5 – ALL BLUES 22 Referee: Liz Palmer
Referee Coach: John Coppinger
Fog hosted a last-minute scrimmage with the All Blues in which they provided extra players to the AB squad who didn't have enough.

UCSC women – Santa Clara Referee: Marquise Goodwin (SoCal)
No report received.
If you are ever visiting somewhere and the locals are nice enough to give you a game, please be sure to send a thank-you note and report, at the very least, the score.

Otherwise, that’ll be the last game you pick up in that part of the rugby nation.

Sacramento State women 10 – Nevada 10 Referee: Preston Gordon
AR: Lee Salgado. TJ: one of the Sac State ladies (thanks!)
Each side scored a try in each half in this ultimately evenly-matched contest. Sac State's forwards were better, but Nevada's backs were too. At halftime it was 5-5. Nevada had 3 minutes of a 15-on-14 advantage after a repeat infringement led to a 74' yellow card to one of Sac State's players, but were unable to capitalize before one of their players followed at 77' for deliberately killing the ball while off her feet.

To the players who asked about playing overtime, I wish I could have! Unfortunately I don't make those rules, and so I will be bringing some extra libation to this month's society meeting.

UC DAVIS women 55 – U of Oregon 12 Referee: Lois Bukowski

CHICO STATE women 60 – U of Oregon 12 Referee: James Hinkin
No, this wasn’t yet another perfect day for rugby in Northern California. Yes, the temps were in the low 60s, but there was a bit of a wind and it sprinkled for about 40 seconds in the second half.

I arrived in Chico a little stiff from the drive but that was soon taken care of as I hustled over to chat with both teams and do the pregame rituals. Oregon won the toss and elected to take the wind in the first half. This proved significant. Chico kicked off and was able to take advantage of Duck mistakes to score an early try, unconverted into the stiff breeze. Oregon shook the cobwebs off and started playing better but Chico St was able to pressure Oregon into more mistakes that led to another unconverted try. From this point on the half was played mostly in the Chico St end as the wind made it difficult to clear the ball, but the ladies from Chico St defended bravely. They finally broke and allowed a try that was converted to make the score 10-7. As the first half ended Chico St was again on the attack and were rewarded with a penalty on the 22m line about 20 meters from the center of the field. The Chico St kicker stepped up and walloped the ball as hard as she could and it went straight and true through the posts – difficult indeed with the wind pushing against it the whole time. First half score 13-7 Chico St.

For the second half Chico was able to use the wind to pin the Ducks in their own end and convert position into points. With Oregon playing 2 games in as many days the fatigue factor crept in and Chico started running in a steady stream of tries. The Chico kicker kept an impressive afternoon going only missing the final kick as the game ended as a contest. Oregon continued to battle and were rewarded with a sweetly taken intercept try that went 60 meters. The try scorer was barely able to get her breath to acknowledge the congratulations of her teammates but that was immaterial as time had run out.

Final Score: Chico St Women 60 – Oregon Women 12



Kennedy 27 – CORDOVA LANCERS 29 (Varsity Silver) Referee: Phil Akroyd
Started off slow, lethargic and stale and built throughout the game. Kennedy had a 27 - 10 lead at one point as well as three Lancers in the bin for dangerous tackles, so Kennedy prepared to think they had it in the bag. Lancers played better with two off the field and mounted a huge comeback. The visitors actually took the lead for the first time with seven minutes left in the game. From there we just had a long period of uninterrupted play, as well as additional time for late penalties. Kennedy couldn’t break through and at the final whistle only I appeared to know the score as neither team celebrated. Lancers finally asked who won so I told them that they did by 27-29.

SANTA ROSA 59 – Montgomery High 0 Referee: Cary Bertolone
At Cardinal Newman High School
A beautiful night, Rosa scored 27 points in the first half and blanked the visiting Montgomery boys, mostly with a great backline. They have improved a lot in the last few weeks.


Berkeley girls 0 – DIXON 29 Referee: Giles Wilson
I am very glad that I accepted the opportunity to referee this game. Two well coached teams who played hard, constructive rugby. Both were undefeated in the Girls Silver Division (it is fantastic to see the growth that now has multiple girls divisions).

Berkeley won a fair amount of turnover ball with their strength in the contact area while Dixon were better at completing chances and getting scores. Berkeley were direct but the closest they came was held up over the line, Dixon put runners into space with support - even then some crunching cover tackles were made by Berkeley.

Dixon scored 3 tries in the first half (1 con) and 2 in the second (1 con) to nil for Berkeley, final 29 - 0.

On a side note, Berkeley provided what was probably the best food I have ever had at a rugby game - kudos and thank you.

Jesuit 29 – SFGG Varsity Gold 42 Referee: Ray Schwartz
Jesuit High, Carmichael, CA
ARs: John Wallace & Anthony Nguyen
With fewer league matches played Saturday, and having gotten back into the groove of reffing over the last 6 weeks, I threw my hand up when told Jesuit would host SFGG in a rematch of their preseason match on T.I. (Jesuit won by a small margin). Mike King kindly awarded the assignment. Pete Andrew reffed the JV curtain raiser, Josh Fitzgerald reffed the B Side match to follow, with Jim Crenshaw watching each of these newer refs and coaching them along.

My match was slated for 1:30. The field was in brilliant shape, the weather perfect, sunny and just a bit warm. Great to see old BATS teammates Mark Vignoles (the silver capuchin!) and John Wallace out here in Sacramento. Lots of friends on the Jesuit side and in the crowd as well.

Boots, front rows and captains chats out of the way, we started play with a neat back and forth until SFGG broke through with constant pressure in the forwards, and was able to do so again a few minutes later, taking a surprising 14-0 lead. Very few penalties and scrums, especially in the first 20 minutes of what was shaping up to be a very clean and well-played game. The match settled into a nice battle as Jesuit finally pushed through with a try out wide, and did so again just before the half to close at 14-10.

The 2nd half proved to be a gem, with Jesuit scoring first to go up 17-14, SFGG replied and converted, 21-17, then Jesuit scored a try but missed the conversion and so we now had a 1 point game, Jesuit up 22-21. There would be three more lead changes, from three more converted tries, leaving SFGG up 35-29 and less than 1 minute play.

Jesuit controlled possession from the restart, but struggled to find a way through the SFGG defense. As they looked more and more desperate, their captain/flyhalf floated a high pass out wide. I remember thinking at that moment, "risky!"... SFGG's redheaded center, who had just scored the go ahead try, leapt up in the slot between centers and took the errant pass down, to scamper under the sticks and complete an amazing game.

Congrats to both teams!

Boys HS Varsity Silver

GRANITE BAY 68 – Vacaville 0 Referee: Jeff Richmond
Not much of a competition. Size and age won over exuberance. Credit to Vacaville for showing their character - the hits were as hard in the first minute as the last.

For Pete's Sake, Santa Rosa
ELSIE ALLEN 46 – Earl Marriot, Vancouver 0 Referee: Cary Bertolone
A very young high school team from Vancouver, mostly 15-16 years old, ran into Elsie Allen High and took one on the chin. They never gave up or complained about playing a larger team. They certainly know rugby, but they were outweighed and could not contain the faster, larger team.

Second side match reffed by Beau Bergstrom, one of our newest refs. Elsie Allen
won that game too. Beau did a great job!!

De La Salle 17 – BELLARMINE Prep 36 Referee: Mike King
On a cool, dry evening at De La Salle’s artificial turf field, this Nor Cal Single School contest started with a great deal of competition for the ball and good movement by each side. Bellarmine was able to get things started with a penalty kick, then followed with a try. De la Salle ran over an unconverted try, but was just not able to stop the continued attack of the visitors. DLS 5 - BP 24 at half. The second half saw a more concerted effort by the hosts, attacking by holding possession, while Bellarmine often kicked for position. Scoring was evenly matched at 12 each in the second half with strong effort by both sides until the final whistle.

Vacaville 7 – GRANITE BAY 56 Referee: Chris Tucker
A young Vacaville side took on a bigger, more seasoned opponent and got squashed. Of note, GB kicker made 8/8 conversions, not bad at all.

Thanks to Mr Crenshaw for the words of wisdom.

OAKLAND WARTHOGS 36 – Berkeley 7 Referee: Bruce Bernstein
(High school Silver division)
Warthogs are a very good high school team playing in the Silver Division, but could compete in Gold with 2 really good backs, a flyhalf & center, along with at least 13 other good players. Berkeley was out-manned with Oakland's superior speed, size & muscle.

The second half Berkeley had its winger outrun mostly subs for a nice try & Oakland knocked on in the try zone; giving Berkeley the only score in the 2nd half.

Hayward 17 – SAN MATEO 20 Referee: Eric Rauscher
The game was played at Alden Oliver field in Hayward. It is a full sized synth turf field. It was cool and overcast. On the way in there was a table set up fundraising for the Hayward scrumhalf (Junior Helu) who has been selected to play on the US U17 team. I am sure that if you have any spare change they would be glad of the donation. The game was a good, hard game of rugby. Play was balanced between effective use of the forwards with several rolling mauls, and quick ball out to the backs. San Mateo struck first with two unconverted tries at 7 and 11 min with Hayward putting up three tries towards the end of the half, one converted. In the second half San Mateo matched their first half with two more unconverted, but Hayward was not able to get a score. This was the sort of game I wished that both teams could have won.


RANCHO CORDOVA PAL 41 – Land Park Motley 10 Referee: Phil Akroyd
Two of the best U14 teams in NorCal squared off for the sixty-third time this season at Cordova High. Motley got off to the faster start and scored first, but that was the wake-up call required that pushed PAL out to 22-5 at half. It was a little closer in the second half but essentially more of the same. Motley worked hard for every yard and tested the PAL defense but the natural athleticism of the home team allowed them to make some great line breaks. Great stuff.

Land Park won the subsequent Silver game by 10-17.

BISHOP O’DOWD JV 45 – Bellarmine Prep JV 17 Referee: Mike King
It took a half for the visitors to decide how to stop the freight train attack of the hosts, in large part due to the running, passing, and kicking of O’Dowd’s #10. BOD 40 – BP 5 at half. When they decided that possession is often times the best defense against a dynamic offense, the flavor of the match adjusted to a more even contest.


For the Senate
Pelicus Scriptoris