Friday, February 22, 2013




Our society meeting will be this coming Wednesday, February 27, at the usual time and place: 7 – 9 PM at the SFGG clubhouse at the southeast corner of Treasure Island.


We’ve been asked to help compile a national database of referees. If you are a referee, please reply with the following information:

Email address
# of games referred in 2012

Which of the following courses have you had?
Level One – fifteens
Level Two –fifteens
Level Three
Level One – 7s
Level Two – 7s
Coaching Match Officials One
Coaching Match Officials Two
Evaluator One

Thank you.


Pete’s trying to assign March, and only a dozen or so Pelicans have let him know whether they are available.

Plan ahead! Let Pete know which weekends you are ready to run. The season is solid right up through April 20, and then we have various playoff events.

Volunteer now:


Matt Eason will be offering the IRB course in Sacramento over two evenings, Tuesday and Thursday, February 26 and 28, 2013, from 6:00 until approximately 9:30 each evening.

Attendance at both sessions will be mandatory for completion of the course.

The location of the course will be:
Kennedy High School
6715 Gloria Drive
Sacramento, CA 95831

Class size is limited to 20, the cost is $50.00 if pre-registered with USA Rugby.

Matt Eason:

By Donagh O’Mahoney

Friday, February 15, 7 PM:
MARITIME ACADEMY 29 – Sonoma State 19 Referee: Donagh O'Mahoney
Pleasure to Ref a game on the pitch at Maritime. The weather conditions were again perfect for rugby with no wind and cool enough.

Both teams were very evenly matched which was played out in the stats for the match. 26 Penalties (14 against Sonoma, 12 against Maritime), 103 Rucks and 45 set pieces evenly split between both teams. (Stats courtesy of Match DVD and Maritime Coach Steve Hiatt, just in case you think that I had time to capture all of this information)

The story of this game was between 30 to 40 mins of the first half where Maritime were stronger and Sonoma began to get tired. Maritime ran in 3 tries for 19 points in the space of 10 mins.

Sonoma opened the scoring after 3 mins with a well worked try and duly converted, Maritime tied the game after 17 mins and then hit their purple patch just before half time.

The second half saw Sonoma score 2 tries with no reply from Maritime but they had done enough in the first half.

Saturday, Feb. 16, 1 PM:
CHICO STATE 73 – Nevada 0 Ref: O'Mahoney
All one way traffic here with Chico state scoring 11 tries to no reply.

Seconds: CHICO STATE 50 – Nevada 33 Ref: O’Mahoney
More of a contest with Chico ending up with the spoils.

All in all, a full week of rugby.
3 Games refereed at the weekend, 1 High School midweek
400 miles covered, 204 points scored with 29 tries
Sore muscles and tied body, but enjoyable.


Fri, Feb. 15
Seconds: Maritime Academy 10 – SONOMA STATE 34 Referee: Scott Griffin
I particularly enjoyed the match on Friday night 2/15 between Sonoma State and Cal Maritime Seconds. Game was played on new, synthetic field, a surface in which this referee is completely unfamiliar. The field doesn’t have the “crown” effect of most grass fields, but enjoyable to run on, and no potholes. Nice!

Sat, Feb 16
Olympic Club 13 – SFGG 58 Referee: Aruna Ranaweera
Assistant Referees: John Coppinger, Dave Pescetti
SFGG lead 27-10 at the half and pulled away to win by 10 tries to 1. Overall play was fast and physical, but also sloppy and undisciplined. Forwards were well-matched, but the SFGG backs' ability to counter-attack from anywhere was the difference. Thanks to John and Dave for their help as AR's.

Seconds: OLYMPIC CLUB 45 – SF/Golden Gate 27 Coppinger
SF/GG scored quickly to take a fast 7-0 lead, but then the tide turned and O Club started controlling play and went on to a 45-27 win in a pretty competitive game. The players were great -- cooperative, and in good spirits. It was markedly different from the A side match.

Sac Lions OPSB Rescheduled

Barbarians 16 – EPA BULLDOGS 47 Referee: Pete Smith
On a beautiful day in the Bay Area at a field in Hayward used primarily by gophers, these two met for a very hard-hitting spirited affair. The Bulldogs jumped out to a quick 12-0 lead with two tries in the first 5 minutes. The game settled down some, but the Bulldogs added a penalty kick and a converted try to stretch the lead to 22-0. The Barbarians finally broke through with a converted try of their own and tacked on a penalty kick to make it 22-10. The Bulldogs added another try just before halftime to make it 27-10 at the break. The Barbarians tacked on two quick penalty kicks to bring the score to 27-16, but that was a close as it got. The Bulldogs did the rest of the scoring from there to make the final score 47-16. I will say the last 10-15minutes were probably the best of the day. The ball was being flung around with reckless abandon and the players were flying around showing their raw and natural talent…the crowd loved it as did the ref…really fun to be part of.

The Bulldogs immediately starting talking about next week’s game against in-town rivals the EPA Razorbacks. That game should be something special and I would anticipate a very large and vocal crowd. I assure you it is a game that every player on both teams has circled on their calendar. Good luck to both teams …and the ref!

Seconds: Barbarians 20 – EPA BULLDOGS 54 Referee: Bruce Ricard
We played two halves of 30 minutes, between the Barbarians and the Razordogs. Half of the Bulldogs team was filled with Razorbacks players who had a BYE week.

The away team dominated the first half, scoring six tries against one, leading 5 - 34 at the break. The second half was much more balanced, both teams scored three tries. The Bulldog fly half also scored an interesting penalty kick from the halfway and 5m lines, with a drop kick. Half a second of preparation, a big leg and precision are all you need.
Final score: 20 - 54

BERKELEY 77 – Sac Caps 22 Referee: Jordan Bruno
Berkeley showed speed off of the ball and took advantage of overlaps in the backline to run up the score on their opponents. Sacramento's strong forward pack played well in the scrum and had powerful runners off of the ruck. Berkeley's fitness and speed allowed them to secure a win.

Seconds: Berkeley 0 – SACRAMENTO CAPITALS 24 Ref: Bruno
Sacramento showed up for their B side match. Berkeley did not have the numbers or experience to have a competitive side play the next match. The Capitals played well and secured a solid win.

Marin 0 – FRESNO 48 Referee: Bruce Bernstein
Marin hung with Fresno for the 1st 20 minutes of the 1st half; 10 minutes of the 2nd & 2 hours of the 3rd.

It was only 17-0 at half & Marin missed a penalty kick & a few other scoring chances; & redeemed themselves at the Flatirion (classic old Victorian sports bar) with great spread for the rugby party which took over 2 pretty big rooms.

Seconds: Marin 0 – FRESNO 12 Ref: Bernstein

Seahawks 21 – SANTA ROSA 55 Referee: James Hinkin
AR: Ray Schwartz
With San Jose going back to their former home at Watson Park, I had an assignment 11 blocks from my house. What could make that better? The social was 4 blocks from my house… sometimes everything just goes your way. The day started out as a perfect California winter day: sunny and temps in the mid 60s. Both teams were geared up and warming up an hour before with selected individuals eager to show me their binders full of relevant details. Yes, Saturday’s a rugby day.

With such perfect conditions the game had to start fast and it did. Santa Rosa scored in the first minute with their first possession to take a 5-0 lead. Immediately following the restart San Jose capitalized on a dropped ball and the ageless survivor Orlando Federico Lopez toed ahead the loose ball and outran the cover to score. The try was converted for a short lived (and never seen again) San Jose lead. Santa Rosa’s next possession resulted in another try for a 12-7 lead after 5 minutes and I started mentally preparing my lawsuit against the NCRRS for attempted murder when the game started to slow down.
Not much, however, as Santa Rosa continued to dominate the first half as San Jose’s backs didn’t seem to be able to tackle and their forwards got pushed off the ball. Rosa took advantage of this situation to attack with precision and ferocity. The half ended with a score of 40-7 to Santa Rosa.

The second half was a completely different affair as Santa Rosa seemed to take their foot off the pedal and San Jose started playing some rugby. Whatever was said in the Seahawk’s halftime huddle was effective as the game became a back and forth affair with both sides looking to attack from anywhere. Rosa got a couple of tries in early – almost against the run of play – but San Jose stiffened to claw back 2 more converted tries. Rosa got the last laugh with a try at full time to end a thoroughly entertaining match. Many thanks to Ray Schwartz for ARing before his match.

Seconds: Seahawks 22 – SANTA ROSA 48 Referee: Ray Schwartz
Similar score and results on the B Side match...

To clarify James' report on the A game, the former Watson Bowl, is now Watson Park, a very different, much improved facility, and Jack's Bar, just a few blocks away, good fun! But it was all of two hours away for me! It is that hard to find two full sides ready to fight it out! To further clarify James' report, that was former Eagle-pool flanker Brad Hughes running touch in the 2nd half, giving me a break. Brad is a former Kansas City Blue (played briefly for the BATS in 1993), and recently has relocated to Campbell.

Rosa came out with both guns blaring, and the Seahawks had no answer. I ended the 1st half at 34-0 after 34 minutes. The Seahawks regrouped, and came out tougher, but Rosa also cleared the bench (had nearly three sides), and San Jose took the 2nd half. I did get 74 minutes out of them, and so felt pretty good about myself there. Big thanks to Pete Smith who let this weary traveler crash in the guest house...

DIABLO GAELS– Vacaville 17 Referee: Stephen Valerio
A tight match that was closer than the final score line appeared. The first half was a back and forth affair with the sides alternating tries, with 3 scores each. The difference at the half was conversions with Diablo leading 19-17. Diablo got an early try in the second half and the 2 sides locked down their defense for most of the half. A late converted try gave Diablo the comfortable margin at the end.

Seconds: Diablo 5 - VACAVILLE15 Ref: Valerio
A mirror image of the first game, just with less scoring. The half-time score was 5-5 with Vacaville scoring an early second half try and then a final one at the closing whistle.

Humboldt 7 – COLUSA 43 Referee: Sean Peters

REDWOOD 48 – Shasta 10 Referee: Cary Bertolone
Santa Rosa at For Pete's Sake
The game started out very even as Shasta scored two tries towards the end of the half to bring the score 12-10 at the half. However, the second half belonged to Redwood and the score was indicative of the domination by Redwood in the second half with the final score of 48-10.

Blackhawks – Reno Referee: Jim Crenshaw
No report received.

Stanislaus 7 – SIERRA 48 Referee: JC Van Staden

Fog 29 – VALLEJO 62 Referee: Giles Wilson
SF Fog hosted Vallejo for a friendly at Treasure Island - Vallejo are a "classic" D3 club, no practices and just show up on Saturdays for a run out with a group of guys who (mostly) have plenty of rugby experience for fun. SF Fog are organized and have many members but their B side players often don't get a run. This game suited everyone, Vallejo got a run and Fog played their A side for a half and then gave their B side guys a run.

In the first half organization and enough rugby experience won out over size and SF Fog finished the half with three tries (17) to a single try (5) for Vallejo. Good rugby in different ways from both sides, big hits and hard runs from Vallejo contrasted with good running lines and organized defense from Fog.

In the second period SF Fog introduced their B side players who had significantly less experience and size than the A side players and more significantly the Vallejo players. Vallejo were able to run at will and brush aside the much smaller defenders for 8 tries (57) to 2 tries (12).

Overall Vallejo 62 SF Fog 29, a full game between the A sides would be very interesting.

South Valley 36 – SFGG 52 Referee: Bruce Carter
When I saw that South Valley was going to be playing at a winery in Gilroy, I was thinking more along the lines of the one right by 101 that features garlic wine. But that one is not the Kirigin Winery.

Kirigin Winery's home page invites you to stop by on a summer's weekend to catch a cricket match. And sure enough, as you finish your drive through lovely rolling hills and pull into the parking lot, you see TWO well-groomed grass cricket ovals, the pitches in the center being artificial to lend a predictable bounce (ah - but the bowler can still spin the thing...).

And off beyond these, the lovely Pinot Noir Field, a rugby paddock with vines surrounding it on two sides.

Pelicanland has been having perfect weather. Cherry trees are in various stages of blossoming, and none have shed their pink petal carpets yet. The California lilacs offer a pleasant blue to set off the pinks, you’ll find butter-yellow daffodils if you look, and if you are a hiker or mountain-biker you will be aware that poison oak is also at its most lustrous and menacing green right about now.

Given this weather, there were lots of spectators alongside, plenty of dogs on leash, and a crew was setting up a cooking station for the pitch-side post-game picnic. This turned out to feature fried tacos with all the fixings, cooked to order. D3 rugby has come a long way!

SFGG seemed to have to come a long way as well, or perhaps it was the atypical noon kickoff, but they needed that last-minute car to pull up to have a full side.

South Valley started strong and surprised their guests with four first-half tries. They had some backs I remember refereeing from their Live Oak HS days who surprised Gate by slicing and dicing, while Gate was unable to get their own machine out of low gear. It was 29-17 at the half to the home XV, with Gate's #12 doing most of the damage throughout the match.

Halftime found both teams' leaders encouraging their lads: once more unto the breach and those a-bed in England, etc; and I was certain we'd have a good second half. SFGG hadn't lost a game yet and didn't seem keen to start today.

South Valley scored first, a forward try this time after lots of phases and several minutes knocking on the door. It was converted for 36-17, but alas they were not to score again.

Golden Gate started turning the corners and getting the bounce when they couldn't find the corner and chipped ahead. From there it was five converted tries on the trot.


Golden Gate's kicker, #12, perfect in the second half, and his holder are both Irish. They chatted as they got ready for conversions. On one that was centered, they were only about ten meters out.

One of the South Valley men, playing dumb, said, "You have funny accents. Where are you from? Missouri?"

The kicker said, "We're Amish."

There was the usual amount of belly-aching and such for a D3 game, which means quite a bit. I don't hear most of this stuff - or at least it doesn't register - but one comment bears repeating:

Knock-on. Whistle. Kevin Sullivan clenches fists, pounds his thighs and screams, "SIR! THAT WAS ONLY MARGINALLY FORWARD!"

At least two people were laughing, me and him.

I love this game.

CALIFORNIA 28 – U. of British Columbia 18 Referee: Phil Akroyd
A/Rs: Rob Hendrickson, Tom Wright
#4: Ron DeCausemaker
Coach: Dave Williamson
Cal conceded many early penalties, with several of them at the scrum based on a reluctance to bind. UBC had the majority of the possession and position in the first half, but could not turn it into points.

The home team scored a try and followed with a penalty goal and a drop goal to lead 13-0 at half. There was a sense that Cal may push on in the second half (and they did), but the visitors, while continuing to concede points, continued to play hard throughout the game.

Cal pulled out to a comfortable 28-3 lead, but UBC pressed the line throughput the final quarter, making the respectable scoreline of 28-18.

California seconds – Santa Rosa JC Referee: Helmer

Sac State 0 – ST. MARY’S 83 Referee: George O'Neil

Seconds: Sac State – ST. MARY’S Referee: Anthony Nguyen
It was quite a warmer day than usual and was quite noticeable late into the first half. St. Mary's flawlessly moved the ball across the field and powered over Sac State's valiant defenses. The First half ended with St. Mary's leading substantially. The game progressed similarly in the second half, with St. Mary's putting points on the board at every drive. It seemed that St Mary's would completely shutout the Sac State offensive, until a breakthrough hole in the defense led to a victorious try by Sac State. St. Mary's fought back and retained more points on the board, but Sac State yet again made a devastating run that resulted in another successful try. Overall, St. Mary's overpowered the Sac State offensive, but Sac State fought valiantly throughout the whole match, resulting in successful points on the board and good spirits to leave the field with.

FRESNO STATE 43 – SF State 32 Referee: Jeff Jury

UC SANTA CRUZ 47 – Sierra College 42 Referee: Matt Hetterman
Best match for me in NorCal so far - I felt that I refereed well, great game, incredible pitch location on a beautiful day.

Seconds: UCSC 15 – Sierra College 10 Referee: Larry Freitas
The seconds match, which initially was supposed to go 80 minutes, only went for a half, as Sierra decided their players, along with leftovers from UCSC, had had enough of a run. It was 72F and another spectacular day in which you could see the sailboats out on the Monterey Bay below, a view one never gets tired of seeing (I wonder if there's going to be snow on the Santa Cruz Mountain ridges in the background next week!). Spirited match, with the Slugs outscoring their opponents by one un-converted try. Sierra's second side had some players who hadn't much experience, and the same with UCSC. I did some "coaching" in trying to get players to stay on their feet and keep the ball moving. This was my first game as a referee since March of 2010. I had fun, and if I can remain healthy, I'm doing more games!

UOP 17 – Humboldt State 17 Referee: Scott Wood
Pacific Tigers 17 (3T 1C)
Humboldt St Lumberjacks 17 (3T 1C)
Humboldt capitalized off Pacific's mistakes including a pass intercepted inside the 22 that turned into a try. They led 17-0 before Pacific was able to get on the board. Not wanting to be shown up, the Tigers intercepted a pass inside the 22 and ran all the way to center their second try between the posts. The conversion missed...Continuing their attack, Pacific put the Lumberjacks under pressure from a 5-meter attacking scrum. The scrum collapsed (for the second time) as the ball simultaneously emerged from the side. Pacific's scrumhalf quickly scooped up the ball and dotted it down for the host's third try.

With less than three minutes remaining and the Lumberjacks on attack, a Pacific player decided to forego good sportsmanship (intent was not weighed) to have a penalty awarded to the visitors on the right 22m x 15m. Humboldt wisely opted for a penalty goal attempt. The kicker asked for the score. "Tied at 17", I replied. "Oh, no pressure here," he stated. It's tough being your worst critic. And prophetic. The ball sailed left of the posts and was collected by Pacific who attempted to run out the ball. The pass inside was either off mark or mishandled. Regardless, Pacific kicked it to touch before Humboldt could collect it.

As a demonstration of how evenly matched the teams were, both halves started with the kick offs going directly to touch.

STANFORD women 77 – Oregon State 14 Referee: John Pohlman
My assignment this week took me to the Stanford, for a full day of rugby. In the Bay Area we are spoiled with great venues and rugby tradition. Stanford is another of those both from a traditional point and a great venue.

I needed to arrive early to be micro-phoned up so that the announcer could share my refereeing pearls with the crowd. Not a weekend refereeing experience shared by many throughout the U.S.

Stanford woman's Division 1 side was hosting the Oregon State Division 1 women in a conference game, with a noon kick-off. I dropped off my kit in the referee's locker room and proceed to warm-up and chat with the players.

Ten minutes later, my pre-game out of the way. I had plenty of time to warm up, enjoy the crowd and discuss comments with the announcer, Bill Cosden.

Stanford was just much better on the day. The forwards were bigger, dominating scrums. The back row were all over the field. The backs were both fast and consistently attacking. The leadership by Captain #13 Jamie Lawrence and my player of the game #8 Ally Gleason were outstanding.

Oregon State I had referred in sevens this past fall. They were the cream of the 7's tournament led by #9 Hannah Lockwood. But in 15's they were outmatched.

Stanford scored 5 trys in the first half led by #12 Michelle Teo's two trys. The second half had Stanford scoring 8 more trys. Jamie and Ally got two each. With about 20 minutes left Stanford emptied their bench of 8 subs. This evened out scrums and led to a more competitive game.

Good to see Stanford's pack leading the way.

CALIFORNIA women 38 – U of Oregon 14 Referee: Preston Gordon

Stanford 20 – CAL POLY 53 Referee: Brian Zapp

Seconds: Stanford – Cal Poly Referee: Clock

Humboldt St women 15 – SF BATS 23 Referee: Sean Peters

Fresno State women 12 – UC SANTA CRUZ 43 Referee: Jeff Jury

UNR women 30 – Sac St 12 Referee: Lee Bryant

Sun, Feb 17

STANFORD women 45 – U of Oregon 34 Referee: Pete Smith
Stanford rolled out their A side to start the match against a depleted Oregon team that left 8 starters at home. Stanford has several All-American candidates again this year with Alley their #8 and kicker really standing out in the scoring column, but supported by at least 9 other potential All-American candidates. This is the youngest and most athletic Stanford team I can remember. They have the talent and athleticism to win it all, but most of these players are new to rugby with just a handful of players with more than a year or two of experience. It will come down to coaching and leadership if Stanford is to regain the title this year.

Stanford dominated the first half of this game and played almost entirely in the Oregon end of the field. The halftime score was 38-3. They added another quick try to open the second half and then Stanford starting making massive substitutions; perhaps the biggest was taking out their captain and team leader Jamie. Oregon dominated the rest of the game scoring 31 unanswered points to make the score a lot closer than it could have been. It is hard not to respect the effort put forth by Oregon, down by 42 points, they never quit, they never gave up and they played to the final whistle. The 8 freshmen that started in place of those left at home will likely never forget that comeback and it will be something they can build on for the future.

CALIFORNIA women 43 – Oregon St. 12 Referee: Bruce Ricard
Both teams had some experienced players, and some rookies. Thus, a lot of dropped balls. The teams were very disciplined, except for those two times where a penalty kick was called, and the opposing team players would just stand there and tackle the quick tap player after two meters. Cal dominated the game by scoring 7 tries against 2 for Oregon State.

Seconds: California – OREGON STATE Ref: Ricard
We played twelves rugby, for two halves of fifteen minutes. Almost only rookies in this game: the ball probably spent more time on the ground than held. The referee tried not to see all the knock-ons, and to let the players have some game time.

Oregon won by 3 tries to 1.

U. of San Francisco 5 – ST. MARY’S thirds 53 Referee: Preston Gordon


Varsity: DE LA SALLE 31 – Bishop O'Dowd 14 Referee: Edward Barfels
It was a cool clear morning & great for youth rugby. The varsity played first. DLS scored twice in the first 20 minutes to take a 12 point lead. BOD was close to scoring at the end of the first half. In the 34th minute, DLS committed two penalties in the red zone and the half could not end on a defensive penalty. On the last penalty, BOD was close to scoring when the DLS wing intercepted a pass and sprinted the length of the field for a score. Score at half DLS 19, BOD 0.

The second half saw BOD come back and score twice for 14 points. The momentum seemed to shifting to BOD. However, the DLS forwards took over the game and scored twice for a final score of DLS 31 : BOD 14.

Frosh/Soph: De La Salle 0 – BOD 40 Ref: Barfels

Oakland Warthogs 14 – PENINSULA GREEN 30 Referee: Preston Gordon
Merritt College, Oakland, 1100
There's obviously been some work done at this facility since I was last up there for a rugby game ~12 years ago when I was playing for Olympic Club. It's no longer a sloped mud pit, but now a really nice, flat, full-size grass pitch with proper markings, goal posts, sideline ropes, etc. There were plenty of folks on hand for this game, including a camera crew for the Way of the Warthogs film:

We got started on time, with plenty of scrums to follow knock-ons where advantage wasn't possible. Both sides seemed very keen to play but perhaps a little over-exuberant. Once they settled down, Peninsula Green opened scoring with a penalty goal at 18', followed by another one at 29'. 2 tries for them followed, at 33' and 35', with the last one converted to leave it at 18-0 to the visitors at the half.

In the second half Oakland used their size advantage to counterattack well, scoring converted tries at 7' and 26'. PG also scored 2 further tries at 5' and 15', but could only convert 1. That was a fair reflection of that half, where Oakland played a lot better than they did in the first half. Other than the one yellow card to each side for dangerous tackling in the second half, it was a great 35 minutes of rugby. I understand that this was their first game, so both teams should do well this season.

PITS 65 – Danville 5 Ref: Gordon
St. Mary's College, 1430
After a quick snack in Lafayette, I headed to SMC for my second game of the day. It's a treat to do 2 games on rugby-only pitches around here, and this game didn't lack for ball movement either. Danville's fullback (I believe, though there were definitely some numbers we don't usually see on a rugby field being worn) scored the first try in the right corner, just 6 minutes into the game.

A lot of back-and-forth followed with relatively few mistakes. Eventually PITS replied with a converted try at 21'. Things were looking good for a close match, even after PITS scored 2 more unconverted tries at 29' and 35' - 17-5 didn't seem to be an unsurmountable lead.

Danville continued to threaten, but ultimately PITS came out well on top after scoring 8 additional tries in the second half (converting 4 of them). As before, this was apparently the first game of the season. Things are looking good for high school rugby this year and I'd encourage those of us who usually do senior matches to pick up a game when possible - it helps the teams by exposing them to a different refereeing style (the style they may see in the playoffs, for example) and it's a great opportunity to focus on anything that might need improving as a ref.

Friday evening, U19 touring side match
SFGG 26 – Rockridge HS 26 (from the Vancouver area) Referee: Preston Gordon
ARs: Jen Tetler, Dave Newport

Islanders 17 - 48 GRANITE BAY Referee: Phil Akroyd
While there were some excellent displays of rugby, highlighting the good of local U19 rugby, we also got the negative. One sideline, with large numbers of players and support, roaming the touch and feeding unnecessary negative energy into the players on the field. Inevitably, the players lost focus on the positive rugby and instead concentrated on settling non-existent scores with opposition players.

Youth rugby has to figure out a way to deal with these sideline issues if we want to recruit refs, create a positive environment and show what rugby really is. Not a football/soccer hooligan approach.

Tuesday night February 19th, 2013 @ Cardinal Newman in Santa Rosa

Varsity: Rosa 17 – GOLDEN GATE 22 Referee: Cary Bertolone
We kicked off at 7:00 PM on a cold evening and the Rosa High School team scored first, eight minutes in to make it 7-0. Golden Gate had a larger pack and they began to dominate forward play as they scored three unconverted tries, making it 15-7 at the half. Santa Rosa had some fast backs and they scored two tries in the second half, but it wasn't enough as Golden Gate won 22-17. Pretty evenly matched teams!! Good game with a lot of good runs and hard tackling.

JV: Rosa 12 – GOLDEN GATE 14 Referee: Chris Curtis
Chris Curtis reffed the second side game and everyone got a good run. A lot of fast players on the field. JV rugby never looked so good!!

SIERRA FOOTHILLS 50 – Mother Lode 14, Varsity Gold action, Friday night in Rocklin
Ref: Ray Schwartz
ARs: Mark & Marshall Godfrey
Sierra Foothills is reaping the benefits of some 5 years of continuous youth and middle school programs. The kids are coming through and club is deep. Mother Lode won NorCal High School championships a few years ago, but only recently has started their middle school and lower program. They have some catching up to do. Great coaches on both sides, great crowd, good scene overall, but to paraphrase from James Hinkin's match report, Sierra would, "dominate the first half as the Mother Lode’s backs didn’t seem able to tackle and their forwards got pushed off the ball. Sierra took advantage of this situation to attack with precision and ferocity." Mother Lode had a few moments, and overall this was fun stuff.

The real story was the B Side match (Junior Varsity) reffed by Marshall Godfrey (similar score and result). Marshall will take his Level 1 class this week from Matt Eason (!), is hoping to make the USA U-20 National side that travels to France in June, was the Mother Lode RFC's middle school program when he started on the Varsity as a 7th grader... now a first year college student, and just 19 years of age. Marshall did marvelously well for reffing only his 2nd match. He'll learn to blast his whistle (rather than blow into it) and will pick up the nuances of signals and positioning, but in many ways he is already reffing at a high level. His dad Mark couldn't have been prouder!


Who remembers boiled hot dogs and cold spaghetti at rugby parties? How about sliced boiled hot dogs with ketchup for sauce over the cold spaghetti?

Those who play against South Valley at Kirigin Winery will remember tacos sizzling amidst the vines.


For the Senate
Pelicus Scriptoris

Friday, February 15, 2013




Bruce Ricard has been promoted to L1 on the basis of his recent reports. Congratulations to Bruce, and our apologies for misspelling his new bride Karla’s name.

Dave Pescetti has been promoted to L3. Dave is a graduate student at Cal Poly who is from the Bay Area and spends enough time here to have begun his refereeing career on the right foot.


Send Pete Smith your availability to referee for the upcoming weekends.

Also, remember to check for assignments at They are on the home page.

By Bjorn Stumer, NCRRS Exchange Officer:

As part of our development program, our Society has an active exchange program with other Societies throughout the US, in Canada, and the UK. We send our folks out and we receive incoming referees, all in the name of development and the spirit of our sport. We need hosts for the following incoming referees, so please let me know if you can provide billet, transport, and/or hospitality. If you cannot billet, you can still take the refs out for a good time, or help with their transportation.

1. A yet to be named referee from Victoria, BC/Canada: either the 9th or 16th of March (still to be determined).

2. Virginia referee Chris Davis: March 23d - Match at Treasure Island.

3. Northwest referees Tony Maphosa & Mary Castle: March 1; and Chad Douglas April 6.

Personally I am hosting Alberta referee Andrew Petti on March 9th

Hosting can be a way to repay the Society for that exchange you went on, or will get you kudo points for upcoming exchanges.


It’s one of Murphy’s laws: people inform us of their desire to take a level one referee course a week or two after several courses are held.

To help meet this need, Matt Eason will be offering the IRB course in Sacramento over two evenings, Tuesday and Thursday, February 26 and 28, 2013, from 6:00 until approximately 9:30 each evening.

Attendance at both sessions will be mandatory for completion of the course.

The location of the course will be:
Kennedy High School
6715 Gloria Drive
Sacramento, CA 95831

Class size is limited to 20, the cost is $50.00 if pre-registered with USA Rugby.

Matt Eason:


Don’t forget our monthly meeting at the Golden Gate clubhouse on Treasure Island next Wednesday, from 7 until 9. We start on time and finish on time, but if you’d like to arrive any time after 6 food will be available.


Wednesday, February 6C
CALIFORNIA 62 – Cal Maritime 6 Referee: Preston Gordon
ARs: Rob Hendrickson, Rich Anderson
Witter Field
By the 7pm kickoff time it was crisp and clear but not windy. Cal, playing their frosh/soph side with the odd upperclassman or two, kicked off to the west and immediately put the Keelhaulers under pressure to the point where, maybe 20 seconds later, they had earned themselves a 5-meter scrum after the ball was carried back into in-goal and grounded by the visitors.

Cal enjoyed the first couple of minutes of possession before one of their players was caught in a high tackle by Maritime's #8 in the 3rd minute (Nota bene: foul play is foul play, whether in the 3rd second, 3rd minute, 30th minute, etc. No leniency is warranted just because it happened early in the game). He took a 10-minute break, and it took Cal about 5 minutes more to score their first try. From that point on it was mostly one-way traffic, with Cal scoring 6 tries before halftime and converting 4, for 38-0 on the board at the break.

In the second half play was much the same. Cal did a good job countering Maritime's deep kicks but were also playing in a more disjointed manner than usual, so Maritime had several opportunities to attack. Their efforts were rewarded with 3 shots at goal due to Cal offenses at the tackle and they kicked 2 of those penalty goals. Cal added 4 more tries and 2 conversions to finish things at 62-6. More details here:

A couple of other notes: thanks to Rob and Rich, and to the coaches of both sides for the feedback. Thanks also to whoever it was that was cheering for the ref from the stands - it's hard to see up there at night when the lights are on. Next, I was pretty impressed by the new high-performance athletic facility that Cal's rugby team is using. That can only be good news for American rugby. Lastly, this game makes it 299-16 to the victors in the 4.375 games I've reffed in 2013, so I can't be far behind James Hinkin on this year's hit list.

Stanford 0 – ST. MARY’S 57 Referee: Donagh O’Mahoney
Quick summary, don't have my score sheet handy but from memory.

Very good conditions. Dry with very little wind and pitch in very good condition.

St Mary's were the stronger team and scored the majority of tries in the first half to lead 40-0 at half time. Stanford were more competitive in the second half and came close to scoring but errors and good defense prevented them from scoring. Very high penalty count against St Mary's in the first half at the breakdown but second half saw a vast improvement in the penalty count.

Seconds: Stanford – St. Mary's
No report received.

CALIFORNIA 112 – Cal Poly 7 Referee: Pete Smith
AR: Rob Hendrickson
Referee Evaluator: Mike Malone
My score was 112-7. Not much to write about. Very clean game with just a few penalties and pretty much one way traffic.

Seconds: CALIFORNIA 133 – Cal Poly 0 Referee: Paul Bretz

SF State – San Jose State Referee: Jen Tetler
No report received.

CHICO STATE 46 – Santa Rosa JC 10 Referee: Stephen Valerio
The last time I found myself heading up I-5, I had the benefit of Giles and Bruce's company. At lot less conversation this time.

The teams were ready, the pitch was soft, though a couple of lines were missing and some were thin (which caused the occasional difficulty), but it was clear, crisp day and we kicked-off on-time. Chico St's loose forwards were very strong and provided the basis for their attack throughout the match. With the bonus that their outside center was a very strong runner, and Santa Rosa had their hands full. The game remain contested throughout, but the final score line of 46-10 didn't do justice to the strong Santa Rosa's effort. Both sides played hard but were friendly throughout and displayed great sportsmanship. It was definitely worth the trip.

Seconds: CHICO STATE 55 – Santa Rosa JC 5 Ref: Valerio
With Santa Rosa having only half a B-side, Chico St provided the remainder. Unfortunately when one side is still introducing themselves and the other is a cohesive group, readily able to string several phases together, it makes for a one-way match. That being said, the match was notable for several reasons:

Chico St's Flyhalf slotted a drop goal, his first successful one in match after 6 unsuccessful attempts.

I had a Santa Rosa kick drill me from behind. I will put that to the fact that a forward was kicking rather than to my positioning.

In one sequence I called 3 successive penalties against a Chico St player. Clearly a rookie still finding his way around the pitch, he failed to bind correctly at a scrum, played a ball from the ground and came in from the side. He then collected a pass off of a breakdown and dotted down for a try. When I blew the whistle to award the try, he went to his teammate "What did I do wrong?"

Finally, Santa Rosa's one score took me by surprise. After poaching a ball, they got an all too rare chance to run a couple of phases. Inside Chico St's 22, the flyhalf then kicked the ball. I figured the ball would go dead but the kick was perfectly weighted and Santa Rosa touched it down for the 5.

NEVADA 44 – Sierra College 34 Referee: Cary Bertolone
A beautiful, sunny day in Reno (although it never got over 36 degrees) saw us kick off at 1:00 PM. Reno took one minute to find the try zone. Two minutes later, Reno's speedy backline dotted another one down and before you knew it, Reno was up 17-0. Sierra steadied up and scored 7 at the 24 minute mark. The score was 22-12 at the half.

Reno started out the second half with a quick try. At the 17 minute mark of the second half, Reno took a quick tap after a penalty for Sierra not coming through the gate and I figured that about settled the game with a lead of 32-12 and later 39-19, but Sierra came on strong in the end with three late tries to close the gap to a final score of 44-34. Great game with good players and good coaches!! Fun to ref!!!!

Seconds: Nevada 0 – SIERRA COLLEGE 15 Ref: Bertolone
We had a short seconds game with Reno loaning Sierra a few players. In fact, Reno's scrumhalf scored the last try for Sierra, giving everyone a good laugh. Good spirits and rugby vibes all day long!


Lamorinda 12 – DANVILLE 60 Referee: Tom Zanarini
Not all rugby ceases during the Vegas Sevens. Beautiful sunny day on St. Mary's campus. The field was a little worse for wear. Better than most, but pretty torn up for SMC's usual standard. Both teams came out swinging but the bigger, older Danville team won the day.


Barbarians 15 – SAC LIONS 36 Referee: Jordan Bruno

Seconds: Barbarians 5 – LIONS 31 Ref: Bruno
For both matches, the speed and discipline of the Lions side proved too much for the Barbarians to handle. Lions dominated the scrums and set pieces and showed great agility in their backline to move ball in hand and outscore their opponents.

COLUSA 31 – Shasta 13 Referee: Anthony Nguyen
The weather was great as the two teams took the field for kick-off. Both teams started off strong with possession changing rapidly between teams. Several close penalties towards Colusa's own try zone allowed Shasta to take multiple penalty goal attempts, two of which they made. Colusa hammered back with quick and fast maneuvers that resulted in two spectacular tries in the first half. Half-time was rapidly approaching, and both teams fought fervently for points before the end of the half, but to no avail. So far, Colusa was leading at 14, Shasta 13.

The second half started off with a bang with Colusa immediately scoring another try. Shasta fought back harder with strategic runs and excellent gameplay, which earned them a well-deserved try. Much of the same intensity found in the first half also lingered into the second half. Colusa was able to close the match with one more successful try. Final Score: Colusa 31, Shasta 13.

SJSU 52 – Fresno State 22 Referee: Tony Levitan

San Francisco State 10 – SIERRA COLLEGE 39 Referee: Paolo Diaz
Reffed SFSU vs. Sierra at Treasure Island.

Beautiful day for Rugby at Treasure Island. Cool, no wind. 2 PM start so the sun was a little low in the sky.

Game started out with a lot of intensity. Good hard, rucking and counter rucking by both sides. SFSU scored first and then was matched by Sierra. Went back and forth through the half. Halftime score was 12-10 for Sierra.

Second half was a different story - Sierra's superior fitness and athleticism overwhelmed SFSU's heart. SFSU threatened to score several times but Sierra's defense was just as committed as their offense. 27 unanswered points by Sierra for a final score of 39-10.


Reffing in and around California
Report from Wesley “wezflash” van der Linde, Natal Sharks Academy

I’ve been back home in Durban a week now and still can’t believe that my time in California is now over. I will never forget the friends made and places visited. I’m in awe of how blessed I am to have been afforded the privilege of visiting such a vibrant rugby community in California. My time in Sacramento was indeed extra special. I got to stay with such wonderful people, namely Rich and Nola Boyer and Ray and Kat Todd-Schwartz. They treated me like their own son and I cannot begin to thank them for all the hard work they put in to making me feel at home.

Refereeing in California was quite an unforgettable experience. All in all I refereed close to 15 matches across all age groups. I got a good idea of the quality of rugby in California and it definitely surpassed my expectations. I’ve already shared on my experience refereeing St Mary’s and SFGG, and how I felt the rugby very fast paced and of good quality for a pre-season fixture.

I was well impressed with Motley Land Park Rugby Club, and believe the work being done there by Richard Boyer, Matt Eason, and the coaching team is going to impact on the National team in the near future (editor’s note: it already has!). Their ball skills and free flowing rugby is something to behold, and I am really happy to have had the opportunity to referee one of their Sunday matches.

I got to referee a midweek high school fixture between Davis and Kennedy High. It was the first time I had ever refereed on a (gridiron) Football turf and that I will definitely never forget and certainly brag about among my peers. My refereeing experience in LA was also unforgettable. UCLA is stunning. Being able to referee there was quite magnificent. The field was gorgeously green, and the weather was a lot more of what I am used to back home. UCLA’s Dennis Storer Classic was the name of the event. I had the privilege of refereeing Cal twice, once on Saturday and again in the final match of the tournament.

The next big event I was fortunate to be a part of was the Kick Off Tournament. The 2013 version was the 29th Annual in Sacramento. With 130+ sides from all around this was definitely the biggest tournament I have ever been involved in. The weekend started off on Friday with a referee’s development course wonderfully run by David Williamson (Berkeley) and Paul Cassidy (Alberta), and a referee coach’s course, both of which went very well. That evening we enjoyed an informal dinner and drinks social at Streets of London Pub. The food was great, meeting and chatting with all the refs and those involved in the KOT was absolutely fantastic.

That next morning we were in full swing! All the refs were there and ready to tackle the day’s rugby matches, which spanned across 9 levels of competition and 7 whole rugby fields! I was amazed at how enthusiastic everybody was and how passionate the rugby players were. Who would have guessed that one would find such joy for the game of rugby in the USA, but here it was, a wonderful rugby spectacle. There was a good crowd in to watch the rugby and they were not to be disappointed. I enjoyed all the support from my fellow referees and we all had such a great time doing what we all love.

I was given the privilege of refereeing the final match of the day, the Varsity Gold final. This match included a color guard presentation from the California National Guard, and a beautiful rendition of the national anthem. It was all quite overwhelming but I just took in the moment. The match was a great way to end the day’s action, well contested and played in good spirit, with Jesuit triumphing over Lamorinda (last year’s NorCal champs).

Later that evening all were treated to a ‘fabulous’ referee banquet at the Courtyard Marriot Grand Ballroom (Number 1s required!). We all had a great evening chatting, eating, drinking, and listening to a couple of speeches. Fortunately Ray Schwartz gave me a Pelican mascot, but it didn’t stop there as I found myself with a rather large collection of referee pins, kindly handed over from various people.

The next morning it was back to business. It is important to note here that we were very well catered for under the (20 x 40’) referees’ tent. Thanks to our “referee mom,” Thais Armenta, we had everything we needed and more. Good food, healthy fruit and plenty of liquid! We couldn’t have refereed as well without it all. Sunday was just as busy as Saturday and we were all once again immersed in the wonderful game of rugby. The weather was once again good and it stayed that way throughout the day.

We had a few new referees on Sunday, but they all just slotted in and everything ran smoothly. I had a good opportunity to just take in the atmosphere and I realized that what was happening all around me was absolutely phenomenal. I am blown away by the quality of rugby and the commitment of those involved in their local schools and clubs. The commitment that drives the KOT organizers is clearly a reflection of this widespread passion. I don’t know why anyone would not want to be involved in such a wonderful event.

As the day drew to a close I had to say goodbye to a number of referees who had to catch a plane (or drive) home. It wasn’t easy to do this because of the bonds we had formed. This is what rugby does, it brings us together, and it makes the world a lot smaller. It’s a wonderful thing.

I would like to thank all those who made this KOT 2013 tournament such a success. I especially would like to thank Ray Schwartz for all his hard work in organizing the referee side of things at the KOT. It was such a blessing getting to know Ray and I’m looking forward to coming back some time soon in the near future. My refereeing season is about to start back home and I believe that the refereeing in California has prepared me very well for the coming months. I’ve grown as a person and referee and this is all thanks to what is going on in California with regards to rugby development. Keep up all the hard work! Keep celebrating and growing this wonderful, heavenly game!

"Refereeing is not a popularity contest; it is a test of integrity, honesty, and having the guts to make the right decision at the right time, regardless."
- Mark Lawrence

Regards/Beste Groete

Wesley van der Linde


Something was going on in the concourse at the IRB Sevens in Las Vegas. Let us know what you think it was…


For the Senate
Pelicus Scriptoris

Wednesday, February 06, 2013




The Senate is packing up and relocating to Southern Nevada for the next week. Penelope and I will be in the Pelicanmobile, planning to cross a line of departure at or before 0600 hours Wednesday, 6 February 2013. You’ll find us at the IRB Sevens, and your intrepid reporter will be attending the continuing medical education conference on concussion in rugby held at Planet Hollywood.

Which means that this edition of HP is missing a number of match reports, the ones that haven’t come in yet.

Please send in the scores of the games you reffed, even though it’s too late for the reports. Referee reports form the basis for our billing of teams and they support the audit process when teams claim certain games weren’t played or no ref showed up.


Send Pete Smith your availability to referee for the upcoming weekends. Once he has enough names he can make the assignments. It’s difficult even to assign one week in advance when only a handful of referees have announced their availability.


Seconds: Santa Clara – Stanford Referee: Pete Smith
No report received.
SANTA CLARA – Stanford Referee: Tim Luscombe
We heard that they had a good crowd and that the home team won.

OLYMPIC CLUB 39 – EPA Razorbacks 29 Referee: Tim Day (SoCal)
Evaluator: Mike Malone
AR: Dave Newport, Preston Gordon

Seconds: Olympic Club 7 – EPA RAZORBACKS 25 Ref: Day/Gordon
GAA fields
It was 7-5 to the home side when I took over from Tim Day at halftime. I had a quick word with the captains to let them know that the ref had had a body transplant, and to ask them to go easy on me since I had just finished an 80-0 game 15 minutes earlier. This game was pretty fast too, and O Club played well, but the EPA backs were good enough to get around them and score 3 or 4 tries. I don’t have my scorecard with me at the moment but 25-7 is reasonably accurate.

After that 30 minutes of running, I was ready for a break (again) but duty calls and I stuck it out to AR for Tim in O Club’s 39-29 victory over East Palo Alto. It was quite the day of rugby but I’ve recovered well and will be back at it again on Wednesday evening when Cal takes on Cal Maritime.

Barbarians 15 – SAC LIONS 36 Referee: Bruno? [Not sure who reffed this.]
Seconds: Barbarians – Sac Lions Referee: Nome Tiatia
No reports received.

EPA Bulldogs 5 – OPSB 42 Referee: Pete Smith
The difference between the international level players and D1 players is very noticeable and Mike Palefau and Miles Craigwell ran wild. EPA Bulldogs had their chances, but couldn’t quite breech OPSB’s line. It was 20-0 at one point and it could have easily been 20-14. Both teams showed up to play rugby and it must have been a great game to watch as it was played pretty wide open.

SFGG 80 – Santa Rosa 0 Referee: Preston Gordon
Sheeran Field, 1200
Both teams had what looked like their best sides out to play this bye-week game. It may not have counted for the league standings, but one wouldn’t know that from watching the game. Golden Gate kicked off to the south, and Santa Rosa moved the ball up the field and immediately set up camp inside their opponent’s 22m area. They spent most of the first 15 minutes attacking the try line, coming very close on a couple of occasions, but ultimately were unable to score. SFGG broke out on a nice run from deep, with their fullback scoring in the corner, and spent most of the rest of the game on attack, notching 14 tries (5 converted) before it was over. Interplay was good on both sides with lots of great passing and offloading, and the defense was strong. Once again, the score was one-sided, and once again, that didn’t really do justice to the losing team’s efforts. I think this game will help both teams as the season progresses.

Tim Day, up from Southern California, was nice enough to give me some feedback at halftime. He also asked if I could AR for his game later in the afternoon, where he was being assessed, and of course I said yes.

However... as Dave Newport and I arrived at the GAA fields, we found Tim already reffing Olympic Club and EPA Razorbacks. I figured that someone must have gotten the kickoff time wrong, but then realized that he was just finishing the first half of the B-side matchup. Apparently someone called him to tell him that he had to do the B-side game too! (Note: this is not the case.) Knowing that this would not be a good way to get ready to ref a D1 match while being watched, I offered to ref the second half so Tim would be in tip-top form.

Sac Caps 28 – VACAVILLE 41 Referee: Taueva Favor
Sacramento Capital didn't bring their best game during the very first 15minutes of the first half. Vacaville was ready to play and did really well with the first 30minutes of the first half. Both team needs to work with the keeping the hands off the rock and staying onside. Too many referee-players on the Vacaville team. Second half was Sac Capitals coming back but it was too late. Hope both teams have the best season.

Fresno 15 – SEAHAWKS 18 Referee: John Pohlman
Wow what a game. Occasionally as a referee you get one of those highly competitive games where all you hope for is not to get in the way. This past Saturday was one of those games.

I had been traveling for the last 10 days or so. So when I was asked to drive to Fresno upon my return, I hesitated. But in Fresno and San Jose, two of the Division 2 powers, I thought the game might be worth the drive. I was not let down.

I talked Eileen into driving with me. And we arrived around 11:30 AM. By three minutes after 12:00 I had talked to both teams and done the coin toss.

On to the game.

Fresno scored first on a penalty six minutes in. The only challenge I had throughout the game was players losing their feet at tackles, whether it was Fresno counter rucking (which they dominated) and losing their feet as they tried to clear the tackle., or San Jose tacklers falling on the Fresno side slowing ball.


San Jose tied up the score at fifteen minutes. Finally, San Jose scored the first try by their man of the match #7 Peter Kobliska.

Then Fresno tied the score with a try of their own at 35 minutes, and then converted the try for a half time lead of 10-8.

At half time I like to refuel and possibly talk to captains about potential law challenges. But this was a very clean game. I never gave a penalty for a dangerous tackle or high tackle.

Fifteen minutes into the second half San Jose's hard working prop, #3 Gabe Escalera, finished a drive where both backs and forwards combined to finally break the tough Fresno defense.

Fresno continued to control ball and when Coach Dan Wilson came in his leadership gave them some real go forward.

Fresno won a counter ruck on their 22 and proceeded to drive the ball to the San Jose goal line. Rebuffed on their first two attempts Fresno scored the tying try at 40 minutes. Fortunately for me, as referees we hate ties probably more than players, I had 3 minutes of injury time which I announced to the players and by this time, rabid fans.

San Jose controlled the ball worked their way down field, but crossing the Fresno try line was not going to happen. San Jose's #10 sensed this and attempted a drop kick which hit the crossbar and bounced over.

Wow I looked at my watch and about a minute remained in injury time. Fresno gained position on a San Jose kick for touch. As Fresno did all game long, they fought back. One of Fresno's backs broke through and fed another Fresno runner who broke a tackle and seemed able to score a try.

The Fresno runner felt pressure and heard support, so he made a pass which feel short. The San Jose's hard working # 3 Gabe chasing down field had the ball drop at his feet. With every San Jose player and fan screaming kick it out...he did.

So for the last time...WOW what a game. Thanks for letting me be part of it.=

CHICO 75 – Marin 18 Referee: Cary Bertolone
The fog burned off and we had a nice, sunny day. Marin showed up with 14 ruggers and no coach. They had their binder properly filled out though and were ready to play, short. They told me they owed it to Chico to keep the game, even though they might likely lose the game playing short, with no subs. Admirable!!! Mike Comstock still playing, also admirable!!

Chico greeted me with a couple of 18 year old high school graduate products on their team, Mike Tomasin and Barry Bartlett. They and a few teammates attend nearby Butte College and have joined the "old guys" of Chico to form a nice mixture of ages for the home team. Besides the old guys and the young guys, Chico has some speed in the backline!!!

Chico blazed through, around and over Marin, scoring 39 halftime points. Marin never quit and scored a try and a penalty kick in each half. Chico was smart to never take the foot off the accelerator, because Marin, even one man down, is dangerous. They all played hard, laughed off the bad parts and had a good run.

Seconds: Chico 19 – MARIN 24 Ref: Bertolone
Just to get a run in for some that had not played, a sevens match was organized and Chico lent Marin a couple of players to make it work. Beau McSwain (Chico State Coach) was on hand to ref the seconds' game, but since it was a quickie, I just finished it off so he didn't have to put his gear on. Thanks Beau, for being there to back us up!! We played 7 minute halves and as I warned them, that was all they needed. A couple of Marin players scored tries, helping to make the drive worth it. Everybody had fun and then Chico hosted a nice after party with food and beer that completed the rugby weekend.

Berkeley 5 – BARACUS 48 Referee: Bryant Byrnes
ARs: Neil MacDonald, Jeff Ferguson
Another climate changed winter's day-clear, mild, dry-at Morton Field, Mare Island. Both teams came into this match with early season wins.

Both have reloaded since I last saw them.

Obviously, Baracus is further along in the process; certainly it had fewer really, really new guys. What those of us who have been around the game for any length of time tend to forget is how complicated our rugby is. It takes the novices a while to figure it out-and games like these.

Thanks to the Society's Jeff Ferguson and Neil for being my TJs. Two extra pair of hooded, narrowed eyes does wonderfully in keeping the lads somewhat honest. Sorry to say we lose Jeff at the end of the season to the East Coast.

Seconds: Berkeley 14 – BARACUS 41 Referee: Neil McDonald
Referee Coach: Bryant Byrnes
Following a morning of youth matches in Danville, Saturday lunchtime saw me headed north on 680 for my inaugural visit to Mare Island, arriving in time to AR for the first team match, with a certain TV theme tune blaring from the sideline and cigar smoke filling the air.

In the seconds game, a depleted Berkeley squad could not be persuaded to bite off more than 30 minute halves against the superior numbers of Baracus. I had to summon all of my patience to resist the temptation to begin the game with a penalty kick, after a well-meaning player - from a team who shall remain nameless - told me the result of my countrymen's match at Twickenham earlier in the day, and ruined my plans for evening viewing. Berkeley's hooker - who I learned is a man of the cloth - would no doubt have appreciated my magnanimity. When asked about the wisdom of a man of such propriety playing in the front row, he assured me that he saw it as a missionary endeavour. I fear he may have more than a life's work ahead of him.

After a brief respite for the Berkeley players recycled from the first team game, we got underway on a beautiful afternoon for rugby, as the smoke from the barbecue drifted across the field, and the sun sank lower in the sky. Baracus scored a brace in the first half, before Berkeley pulled them back with a converted score right on half time, cutting the deficit to 5 points. Baracus scored in the first minute of the second half. Berkeley replied minutes later, closing the gap to within a score once more. However, Baracus' numbers along with a couple of moments of Berkeley indiscipline took their toll in the latter part of the match as Baracus ran in four more tries for a final score of 14-41.

Thanks to Bryant for his coaching, and thanks to the teams for a fun game, and great hospitality.

Colusa – Shasta Referee: Anthony Nguyen
No report received.

State of Jefferson – Redwood Referee: Kevin Brown
No report received.

Eric Rauscher Road Trip:
So Bonnie and I actually look forward to the trip up to the Humboldt area. It is a beautiful drive and gives us time to listen to music.

We also discovered a great restaurant. I like to drive up on Friday, so Friday night after checking into the hotel, we went out to "Bless My Soul" cafe right there in Eureka. It is Creole food and very good. The owner of the place kind of wanders around from table to table making sure that all is ok, and just in general making you feel at home. I highly recommend it On to the reports.

HUMBOLDT OLD GROWTH 24 – Mendocino Steam Donkeys 5 Referee: Eric Rauscher
Bonnie and I actually saw a number of Steam Donkeys at Fort Humboldt, and I think Mendocino calls themselves Steam Donkeys. Anyway, the game was played at Manila Community Field which is about one foot above sea level. The last time I was here it was covered with water, but this time it was dry and covered with gopher mounds. The sky was overcast, but not raining. It turns out that those teams to the North play for the Emerald Cup. The cup is defended by the home team and only lost to a team that can beat them. It would be great to see other such mini-competitions in our area just to add a bit of flavor. The only other one of which I am aware is the Cal/UBC World Cup. Back to the game. Humboldt put up a couple of tries early on off of either a knock on or errant pass. They got another "gimmie" in the second. This was too much for Mendocino to overcome. The teams were fairly balanced, but these types of scores just come out of the blue. The first was a Humboldt knock on. I called advantage, Mendocino scoped out the ball and advanced past the gain line. About a millisecond after I called "advantage gained" the ball was lost forward into the arms of a Humboldt player who ran it in.

The Humboldt captain was being very judicious in approaching me and letting me know of subs coming in. Then late in the second half, the sidelines (those that hadn't played yet) decided it was time to do substitutions. The Captain became frazzled and I had to stop the game and make sure that they had it all worked out. After I explained the intricacies of the substitution law, and sorted things out we restarted play. The players that came in were of no help to the team. Scuffles broke out like chicken-pox and I had to have the captain call his team together and settle them down. Not really sure what it was all about, but it ended up with a yellow card against Humboldt at 34 min. After the game both sides seemed to put it behind them as the beer came out, but I was on to my next match.

HUMBOLDT STATE women 60 – Fresno State 15 Ref: Rauscher
The game was played on the synth turf field at Humboldt State with a crowd of about 100 cheering fans in attendance. Fresno came out strong and pretty much dominated the forwards play. Then at about 18 min into the match, Humboldt decided to shift gears and start employing their backs. The tries came like clock-work about every 4/5 min. The score at half was 41/0. Fresno never dropped their heads or gave up. They were able to get their hands back on the ball in the second half and once again displayed a very good pick and go type of offense. They were able to put up three tries in the second, matching Humboldt's three. Each time I approached the Fresno captain towards the end of the game asking her if she would like me to call it early, her response was no. Good on her. Fresno may not have come away with a win, but a winning never say die attitude.

As a sidelight, Humboldt's #10 Meredith Conrad-Forrest, really stood out. Her skills were great and a work rate that had her involved in seemingly every play. I asked about her after the game and her coach said that she was coming back after an injury last year, but had played for Davis girls for four years.
That was four years that have paid off.

VALLEJO 32 – Stanislaus 15 Referee: Bruce Bernstein
Tight first half match which continued for much of the 2nd.

Vallejo outscored Stanislaus in the 2nd who hung in & had a few good mauls & rucks to either score or back up Vallejo.

SIERRA FOOTHILLS 42 – Reno 17 Referee: Lee Bryant

Monterey Bay Beach Dogs 19 – SOUTH VALLEY 34 Referee: Bruce Carter
Monterey Bay is now playing their home games at St. Francis HS in Watsonville. It’s basically just over the Hecker Pass road from Gilroy and about nine miles as the pelican flies from South Valley’s home pitch.

In that way, it’s a bit like England: two small cities, each about 50,000 souls, separated by a scenic drive of but a few miles, each with a rugby team and a budding rivalry.

I had a lot of ‘support’ – lots of representatives of my generation were on hand, familiar names from Santa Cruz rugby lore: Vaughn Stumpf, Dan Smith, Larry Freitas, Larry ‘The Landlord’ Hebert, Charlie Ukestad, Tif Aiono, Stevie Ball (still playing!) and others...

The home team got out to a good start with two converted tries from lots of chaotic, pinball type rugby (imagine balls bouncing off bumpers, bells ringing, lights flashing). This pace couldn’t sustain long, and when the game settled South Valley had more overall success moving the ball leaving the game 14-12 at half.

South Valley then scored four second half trys, with Monterey Bay’s one being the final tally.

Carmona’s BBQ and deli just down the road had signs up welcoming both teams and a good spread, ending this day’s good edition of D3 rugby.

Paso Robles 0 – SFGG 112 Referee: James Hinkin
Help! The referee society is trying to kill me!

[Editor’s Note: that makes it 294-0 in James’ last two games.]

ST. MARY’S 81 – UC Davis 0 Referee: Aruna Ranaweera
In the opening match of the D1A season for both teams, SMC sprinted to a 41-0 half-time lead and finished with 13 tries.

Seconds: St. Mary's – UC Davis Referee: Pescetti
Referee Coach: John Coppinger
No report received.

CALIFORNIA 104 – Arizona State 0 Referee: Bruce Ricard
AR: Rob Hendrickson
Beautiful game of rugby. In the first half, Arizona State was infringing a little too much. Around the 25th minute, their tight head prop got a yellow card for repeated infringements. They had only three players able to play front row, so we had to play the 2 or 3 scrums that happened in the next 10 minutes uncontested.

After that, the game was very clean, only a few infringements, not many knock-ons. The contest was pretty fair, and the game pretty challenged, except that Cal was scoring on almost every possession, while ASU was unable to enter their opponent’s 22.

Sac St 0 – CENTRAL WASHINGTON 78 Referee: Derek Summers
AR and reporter: Ron DeCausemaker
It was a nice balmy day to play rugby, like most other venues this day. Had a slight delay to starting, since goal post pads were not in place, and flags needed to be positioned.

Briefly, CW won 78 – 0, scoring seven trys each half. One conversion in the first half, three in the second.

Most of CW's trys were from getting the ball out to the wings, and then a 30 meter sprint to the try line. Some of their field advantage came from long kicks down the field. Sac St. primarily relied on running up the middle, to little avail.

San Jose State – Fresno State Referee: Tony Levitan
No report received.

SANTA ROSA JC 19 – UC Santa Cruz 17 Referee: Matt Hetterman
Perfect rugby day in Santa Rosa - overcast, but not raining, pitch was
soft but not muddy.

Half-time: Santa Rosa JC 12 - UCSC 5. Full-time: Santa Rosa JC 19 - UCSC 17

SF State – Sierra College Referee: Paolo Diaz
No report received.

Maritime Academy – USF Referee: Paul Bretz
No report received.

CSU-Monterey Bay 21 – UOP 25 Referee: Giles Wilson
Saturday - what a rugby day! Started out with an early trip to the Brit in Cupertino for breakfast and to watch the Calcutta Cup (happily retained by England). After that game, on down to the old Ft Ord and CSUMB.

A very nice field, well marks and only a little let down by the goal posts - I am told that a rugby specific field is on the way, more good news for N Cal rugby.

This was a classic game of two halves. CSUMB had two ball-carrying, battering props who set the stage in the first half. They carried well, went forward and UOP were pinned back and under pressure. CSUMB also have some very good backs who work space well. This formula carried CSUMB to a 21 point lead from 3 goals which UOP countered with a late try, while CSUMB were down a player to a sin bin.

At half time one of the props was replaced (he came back when the other one was injured) and UOP put a vigorous 9 man game into over drive. Relentless picking and jamming by the whole pack and even some of the backs was rewarded with a series of tries. Occasional mistakes gave the CSUMB backs some scraps to feed off but as a team they couldn't summon the energy after being sapped by having to defend against the driving of UOP. UOP punched in 4 second half tries to no reply from UOP.

A very good game, both clubs deserve credit - it is great to see "small" colleges develop such good rugby.

Final CSUMB 21 (3 goals); UOP 25 (5 tries).

Sonoma State – St. Mary's thirds
No report received.

STANFORD women 37 – Santa Clara 24 Referee: Bob Polito
Good game, with SCU ahead at half 12-10, but ultimately losing 37-24.

UC DAVIS women 21 – California 10 Referee: Scott Wood

Seconds: UC Davis 5 – CALIFORNIA 31 Ref: Wood

Sac St Women – SF Bats Referee: Phil Akroyd?
No report received.


Saturday, January 26:
Seconds: UOP 10 – Sonoma 5 Referee: Rob Keene
After stepping off the field at Sonoma State Dan Hattrup called me out on me previous comment of wishing to ref my first game. Sonoma approached Pacific for a Bside match, and Dan knew just where to find a referee.

As the sun began to disappear behind the clouds a weary Pacific team strung together a side using some of Sonoma's players, while Sonoma produced a seemingly well rested group of players. However, it was clear they were smaller and inexperienced.

As the 20-min half began it was certainly clear that even after the 80 min Pacific’s experience would be a good match for the Sonoma Seconds. After a few early penalties Pacific was able to get Sonoma on their heels and push in a try. However, just like in the first game Sonoma was able to respond with one of their own. It would have been two, but the second row ran the ball over dead ball line before touching it down.

Pacific responded again after costly penalties by Sonoma and were again able to push in a try in the 17th minute. The match featured good back and forth play by the forwards, with both teams having ample attempts to make big plays, but not converting. Play continued past the final minute as Pacific refused to kill the ball, and played on attempting to score. To little avail they killed the ball after 23 minutes with a final score of 10 to 5 Pacific.


Friday February 1st, 2013 at Elsie Allen in Santa Rosa
ELSIE ALLEN 19 – Oakland Warthogs 7 Referee: Cary Bertolone
We kicked off at 7:00 PM under the lights at Elsie Allen's artificial turf rugby field. Oakland began to attack and beat on the smaller Elsie Allen players, but made quite a few mistakes, as they have some athletic but inexperienced players. After a penalty for diving over at the 40 meter line, Elsie's scrumhalf took a quick tap and ran right through most of the defenders for a try.

Another long try at the ten minute mark and Elsie Allen was up 14-0. The teams played evenly for a while and then Elsie broke through for a third try, leading 19-0. This led to Oakland kind of losing rugby perspective and one red card later, Oakland was playing down one for the rest of the game.

In the second half, a lot of the penalties that were occurring at the tackle and in the rucks (diving over, playing it on the ground, hands in, not coming through the gate) disappeared, finally, and the game was considerably improved. Oakland scored a converted try and kept Elsie from scoring, but tenacious tackling by Elsie kept Oakland from scoring more. At least two "almost tries" were thwarted by impressive defense. These teams will get better and be tough for other teams to handle.

Friday night - High School
HAYWARD 29 – Marin 12 Referee: Bruce Bernstein
Tied 12 each at half Hayward's scrum & specifically prop broke the game line continuously leading to scores off goal line scrum downs by their #8 & scrumhalf.

Marin had opportunities to kick for points but opted to go for tries unsuccessfully.

No photo. I’ve got some video from the Who playing Quadrophenia at the Oracle Arena last Friday night…


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