Wednesday, April 24, 2013




The re-scheduled April meeting of the NCRRS will be tonight at the clubhouse of SFGG on the southeast corner of Treasure Island, from 7 until 9 PM.

Food will be provided beginning at 6. Allow for traffic and if you arrive early, chow down and talk refereeing.


You can still get in a run the next three weekends, easy. Let Pete Smith know. And then of course sevens tournaments will start piling up beginning in June.


Sierra Foothills – SFGG Ref: Phil Akroyd

Cal – Navy Ref: Aruna Ranaweera. This will be at 2 PM.

St. Mary’s – Colorado Ref: TBA.
Needs ARs and 4.

Based on past years, there will probably be at least a dozen playoff games over the long weekend (Thursday-Sunday). Contact the HS assignor for your area if you can help out.

At Stanford. Four games each day. Need ARs and 4s.

Sacramento Lions – OMBAC Ref: Pete Smith
Need ARs and a 4.


At Sheeran Field at SFGG. Four games each day. Need ARs and 4s.
At Cherry Island in Sacramento. Eight pitches going all day for two days. Need 35-40 refs.


SFGG – OPSB Ref: Aruna Ranaweera. Need ARs and 4s.


SFGG – Tonga Referee TBA. We may need to assign ARs – not sure yet whether USA will do this.


Olympic Club 7 – OPSB 74 Referee: Paul Bretz
ARs: Eric Rauscher, Preston Gordon

Olympic Club seconds 24 – SANTA ROSA 32 Referee: Preston Gordon
ARs: Mike King, Eric Rauscher
TI Gaelic fields
In this, my first match after 8 weeks out due to a leg injury, Santa Rosa ran out to a 15-5 lead at halftime with 2 tries (13' and 26'), 1 conversion, and 1 penalty goal (35') vs. Olympic Club's 1 unconverted try (18'). The first half was a little choppy with only a few big breaks and nothing too fancy in terms of ball movement. In the 39th minute I had to put the O Club's fullback in the bin for deliberately obstructing an opponent chasing down a kick, but other than that the game was very fairly contested.

Santa Rosa were looking like they would pull into a much bigger lead after scoring the first 2 tries in the second half (58' and 61'), but O Club answered well and scored 3 more of their own (66' and 76', and an intercept try to end the game at 82'). Santa Rosa added another one too (72'), making the second half an even contest with 3 tries apiece, and leaving the result at 32-24 to the visitors. Thanks to Mike King and Eric Rauscher for their great work on the touchline.

OLYMPIC CLUB OLD BOYS 36 - Silverhawks 7 Referee: Bruce Bernstein
Very dominant match by O Club which could have handled many non-old boys teams.

Silvers were slowed by their age including stalwarts AJ & Fred Forrester breaking records somewhere.

Great post- match festivities with the old boys beer tent next to the try zone.

SFGG 67 – Sac Lions 12 Referee: Tevis Vandergriff (South)
ARs: Pete Smith, Mark Godfrey
Videographer: Bruce Carter

EPA Razorbacks 3 – EPA BULLDOGS 15 Referee: Neil MacDonald
AR: Stephen Valerio
An EPA derby in glorious sunshine on Saturday evening; the last match of the regular season for both teams. I am grateful to the fans' parking habits for Stephen being available to AR, having been unable to make his escape as planned. In a first half of kinetic and skillful rugby both sides came close to tries, but the difference between the teams at the break was a successful penalty kick by the Razorbacks. In the second half, the Bulldogs scored three unanswered tries, the second of which was champagne rugby. Winning a lineout in their own half, the Bulldogs kicked a huge punt downfield, and the flying chaser leapt in the air to volley the ball ahead as defenders closed from both sides, then gathered his kick ahead to score under the watchful eye of my AR. Thanks to both teams for an exciting end-to-end game, and to Stephen for giving me the rare luxury of an AR.

Seconds: EPA RAZORBACKS 33 – EPA Bulldogs 28 Referee: Stephen Valerio
AR: Neil MacDonald
With 2 local sides you would think getting to the match early wouldn't be a problem.

In any case, after a 15 minute delay we kicked-off in warm conditions. There was a decent breeze going across the pitch, but it didn't seem to help as things bogged down during parts of the match.

The Razorbacks came out firing on all cylinders and took a 14-0 lead early. The Bulldogs seemed to finally shake off the effects of the long drive (?) and pushed down to the Razorbacks 5-meter line. It was then an intense period not for the faint of heart as the Bulldogs kept picking and going but the Razorbacks held them out for several phases before finally the Bulldogs punched it in. Suddenly the Bulldogs were on the attack and ended pulling ahead 21-14. Then the heat kicked in and the set pieces got sloppy for the last 10 of the half.

After the break the Razorbacks tied it up and the match see-sawed back and forth before the Bulldogs pulled ahead with a converted try. In keeping with the 'never say die' attitude of the match the Razorbacks converted their fourth try and with 2 1/2 minutes left centered another try to pull into the lead. I am guessing the kicker thought they were trailing and rushed the kick, leaving the Bulldogs 2+ minutes to even the score with the win still for the taking.

It may have been the cooling temperature or the end of the game push, but the last couple of minutes featured breakaways for both sides, but in every case the defense made the tackle and was eventually able to force the turnover. Both sides ran back and forth between the 22's until a Bulldog tried a kick from at hand at mid-field that sailed into touch. An underwhelming way to end a great, intense match.

Thanks to Neil MacDonald who AR'd and caught a knock that I missed when I got caught out of position. I would have awarded a try when there wasn't one. An extra set of eyes is always welcome.

D3 semis:
SIERRA FOOTHILLS 32 – Vallejo 17 Referee: Rich Anderson
Sierra versus Vallejo featured a tightly contested match in this D-3 semi-final.

A single play in the Second half probably decided the outcome. At the 60 minute mark, Vallejo scored their second try of the half to tie the match, and look like they had the match momentum.

Sierra kicks the re-start deep. Vallejo bobbles the kick. Sierra picks up the bobble and scores the go-ahead try. The tie, the momentum and eventually the match was lost in this 15 second sequence.

Sierra added 10 more points to finish the score at 32-17. Sometimes the little things are the most important.

Seconds: SIERRA FOOTHILLS 73 – SF Fog 29 Referee: Matt Hetterman
Easy going friendly, played 4x20 min quarters. Lots of old rugby heads
on Sierra, lots of rookies on the Fog.

Colusa 20 – SFGG 39 Referee: Kevin Donnelly
A very competitive match between two eager teams, both of whom came off big wins the week before.

Colusa hosted SFGG on a perfect sunny day with excellent field conditions and a very supportive home crowd. The game took 10 - 15 minutes to settle down as each team tried to figure out how to play multiple phase ball.

During this period the penalty count was high for infractions at the breakdown by both teams and players were vocal in their opinions. Revisiting the pregame instructions, I worked with the captains to get the game flowing. (This is also one of those situations where ARs would be so tremendously helpful in managing a fast antagonistic game). The game settled down, cleaned-up, and the tries came.

With a late yellow card caution to SFGG, they were up by 5 at the half (20-15).

The second half was just as fast and competitive but a key injury or two to Colusa, and a couple of excellent break-away tries by SFGG pushed the game out of reach of the Colusa side that never gave up. The final score was 39-20.

Credit to both teams for settling down into an excellent, competitive game.

SAN JOSE SEAHAWKS 56 – Sacramento Capitals 19 Referee: James Hinkin

“Spring is here, spring is here! Life is skittles and life is beer! I think the loveliest time of the year is the spring. I do, don’t you?”
-Tom Lehrer

It is hard to argue with the sentiment above when you are confronted with a spring rugby day like last Saturday. Everybody seemed to want to get into the act as dogs and kids in equal measure were running up and down the sidelines all day. Ladies were in their warm spring dresses and Tory Golino led the male shirtless contingent on his final competitive rugby match. Tory and I have over 20 years of rugby history – he has fed me more passes for tries than any other single player I have played with – and refereeing his final game was a nice coincidence set up by the rugby gods.

The early play was a bit sloppy but San Jose dominated play from the outset. The knock ons eventually dried up a little but San Jose was able to break the Sacramento line often enough to put 4 tries on the board. Their goal kicking is still a work in progress, though, and only one was converted. In fact, only one was even close, as evidenced by the comment “nice grubber” from the sideline after one failed attempt. Sacramento was not without fight, however, and created some chances of their own but never found that final pass to convert pressure into points. Not, that is, until a penalty in Seahawk territory was quickly taken and San Jose was caught watching as the Sacramento flanker dotted down. Sac’s kicker had no problems converting the points and we ended the half 22-7 in favor of the home side.

Keeping in line with our spring theme the second half was delayed by a swarm of amorous bees… or rather, one amorous queen and several drones looking for some actions accompanied by a hive’s worth of workers. I was counting players and getting ready to blow the start of the half when the Sacramento sideline ran on to the field en masse. Soon after the Seahawks scattered as the bee swarm moved across the field looking for some prime insect real estate. Or maybe they were streaking? Not the first time that has happened at a rugby match and they definitely had no clothes on. In any case, the bees soon moved on and order was restored and the half started. Sacramento seemed to have taken the halftime speech of their coaching staff to heart as they started the half much better than the first and put a couple of tries on the board. Unfortunately, while their offense was much improved their defense was still suspect and San Jose kept putting in tries of their own. Sacramento only travelled with 21 players and as the half wore on the depth of the Seahawk squad began to tell. Tired legs were no match for fresh legs as the half wound its way to a finale. San Jose ran around the outside and through the middle and Sacramento tackled well but gaps appeared as the phases wore on. The final action saw the Seahawks score under the posts with Tory Golino set up to claim the final points of his career. Knowing that he had never been carded as a player I pulled out my book and told him I thought his moustache was offensive. (note: it was. There was a country theme going on and some things just shouldn’t be) He declined to comment and resisted all my other baiting so I had no opportunity to send him off with a sending off. The rugby gods giveth and the rugby gods taketh away.

Final Score: San Jose Seahawks 56 – Sacramento Capitals 19

Seconds: SAN JOSE SEAHAWKS 31 – Sacramento Capitals 12 Ref: Hinkin
With Sacramento travelling light the captains agreed to 10s. Having played in the Cobra 10’s in Kuala Lumpur in 2004 I used what I considered the “official 10s variations”: restarts and goal kicks as in 7s; scrums are either 3 or 5 man decided by the team with the put. Lots of fun commenced as each team was trying to decide if they should play to a 15s patters or a 7s pattern. I had to reset one (5 man) scrum after a Sac player in the lock position thought he was an 8 man and picked the ball up from the back. I explained that he actually was a 2nd row player and, much like the hooker in 7s, can’t act as an 8 man. The fresh legs of the Seahawks won the first half 24 -0 but the more experienced heads of Sac won the second half 12 – 7. A good run all around and the end of a great rugby day.

Chico Youth Rugby Foundation - tournament hosts
Chico, CA
Referees: Tom Zanarini, Jim Crenshaw, Cary Bertolone, Mitch Jagoe, Beau Bergstrom, Alex Triantayfyllou

More of a celebration of rugby than a competitive tournament. The morning matches were 15's with some boys exhibition matches. The girls tournament was for a trophy, which Danville Girls won decidedly. In between the rugby the tournament organizers held a raffle for a road bicycle and had a knock-out rock/paper/scissors game where the loser of a game becomes the winners fan. As you accumulate wins, you get more fans until only two players are left, each with half of the total participants. Yeah, mayhem. The winner got a t-shirt.

The afternoon was all-girls 7's. This was more to get the girls field time with 7's. The day was getting hot, windy and dusty. Most teams were pretty spent by this time, but still looking to have a good time and gain some experience with 7's.

Special thanks to Ashley Bocast who organized the tournament with the Chico Oaks Youth Rugby Foundation. I especially appreciated the three 12 packs of Sierra Nevada as payment. Another thanks to the local Chico rugby coaches Mitch, Beau and Alex who were very enthusiastic to referee. Jim and Cary both put in a full day and I managed 3 matches.


De La Salle 19 – JESUIT 39 Referee: John Coppinger
On Saturday, 4/20/13, Jesuit defeated De La Salle 39-19 is an entertaining match played in front of a good-size crowd on the narrow confines of the DLS football field. Jesuit took a 21-7 break at the 35 minute mark by finding space out wide despite the narrow field. DLS's defense tightened in the second and it was a very competitive match played by two very well-coached clubs. Kudos to the players, especially since it was so warm on the turf field.


Final Score: Univ. California at Los Angeles 8 – BYU 69 Referee: Phil Akroyd
A/Rs: Bill Caulfield, Sean O'Connell
P/R: Kat Todd-Schwartz

Kick-off at 4pm on Storer Field, after the Central Washington V Air Force game that A.F. neglected to show up for (see George O'Neil's' report for final score). The temperature was well into the low 80s by this point, which was significant for the BYU team, as they had been in the snow 24 hours prior.

UCLA took their home town advantage and gave the National Champs a game for the first hour. After that, the tackles slipped, the rucks were less competitive and the scrums went backwards.

Final score was a lot to not much, and both teams, plus the ref were not displeased when the 80 minutes was up, based purely on the distances run, the rock hard field and the typical SoCal weather.

As always, SoCal refs treat their neighbors to the North like family. Thanks to Caulfield, O'Connell, Knowling and Thomas for the assistance and hospitality, Dave "Mike" Metcalf for the ride and LAPD for letting us go home.


The NCYRA middle school tournament was held in Dixon on Sunday, with 24 teams in three divisions participating: essentially, gold, silver and under-130 lbs.

One thing many of us who have been around rugby for a long time particularly appreciate is that youth tournaments start on time and stay on time. A simple thing, seemingly so hard to achieve, that shows respect for people’s time, trouble and planning.

Many of us graybeards had our first rugby tournament experience well into adulthood, thought we’d reached nirvana, and knew we’d found our sport. Imagine that this had happened to you when you were thirteen.

Lots of ruggers don’t have to imagine.

It was about ninety degrees after the wind died down, but there was shade enough for the spectators and the players didn’t seem to mind.

Just a year or two ago, your writer refereed middle school games ‘differently’, applying a looser standard for things such as gate entry and rolling away, more-or-less out of the necessity to keep a game moving and letting the players play (rather than scrumming and taking penalties). It occurred to me that this isn’t necessary any more at this level.

The way rugby is progressing under the leadership of the NCYRA, perhaps we’ll be holding the Under-Eights to adult standards in a few years’ time.

And now, just when I’m getting ready to sing the third verse of praises for the NCYRA, I can’t find the tournament results on their website.

The winners, I believe, were:

Lightweights: LOS GATOS – Raptors Referee: Bart Nielsen

Silver: LAMORINDA – (Opponent) Referee: Neil MacDonald

Gold: EAST PALO ALTO 31 – Mother Lode 21 Referee: Bruce Carter
ARs: Anthony Nguyen, Travis (from Sac State)

Congratulations to these young players and all the best for your future careers.

One more comment on the youth season. My grandson’s team played its first game on January 5. They finished April 21. They played nineteen games.

This greatly exceeds what many adult clubs do in the course of a season. It’s more than double what men’s D3 played (eight games). I should hope adult rugby would follow the example of the youth (and the rest of the ruggerverse), and strive to create more meaningful seasons that better prepare players to take on the world.

Not to mention: it’s more fun to play rugby with your teammates on more weekends.


The IRB Refereeing Sevens course will be taught at SFGG on Saturday, June 8.

Bruce Carter and David Pelton are the instructors.

Sign up now on the USA Rugby website:


Direr things have happened at rugby tournaments, but we can’t think of any at the moment...Jim Crenshaw attends to some apparently urgent business at the tournament in Chico.


For the Senate
Pelicus Scriptoris

Wednesday, April 17, 2013




Unfortunately, we have not been able to line up enough speakers to make an evening meeting worthwhile.

We will shoot for next Wednesday, April 24, and we hope this does not inconvenience anyone.


The IRB Refereeing Sevens course will be taught at SFGG on Saturday, June 8.

Bruce Carter and David Pelton will conduct the day.


The regular season ends this weekend. Playoffs continue potentially through the end of May, so let Pete Smith know of weekends when you would be able to help.


May 3-4: Women’s USA College Championships at Stanford, division one and two. We’ll need ARs and #4s for both Friday and Saturday.

May 4-5, we will have:
NCIT at Cherry Island in Sacramento (same as last year). This is the huge high school tournament that is played on eight pitches, and needs a ton of refs.

Also, at SFGG, will be the Pacific Coast playoffs for both men’s club division two and division three. Eight games needing ARs and fours.

Plus a CR1 men’s D1 playoff game that will need ARs as well on the Saturday.


SF/Golden Gate will host the Tongan national team on June 1st at Sheeran Field. They will have hosted an Elite Cup semifinal on May 11, and potentially the final on May 25.


Elite Cup:
SFGG 43 – Glendale 10 Referee: Brian Zapp
ARs: Donagh O'Mahoney, Jordan Bruno
Fourth Officials: Dave Newport, Clifton Ramsdell
Evaluator: Peter Simpson
By winning this game, SFGG finishes first in the western bracket and so will host a home semi-final, against OPSB, on May 11.

Men’s Division 1:
EPA RAZORBACKS 19 – Olympic Club 18 Referee: Kevin Smith (Victoria)
Referee Coach: Mike Malone
AR: James Hinkin
It was a sunny day of rugby compared to the weather this time of year in home country Canada. I was looking forward to a hard game of rugby. I wasn’t sure what to expect, as Olympic Club looked well drilled and organized, where as EPA were struggling to find jerseys and cones to mark the field. However, once the game started EPA were keen and eager runners with the ball in hand. Even after being down to 13 players due to yellow cards for repeated off-sides, EPA was able to score the opening try. Olympic Club had great defense, but their offence was stalled by repeated knock-ons and handling mistakes. In the end, it was a close game and I was not disappointed.

A big thank you to James Hinkin and his girlfriend Emily who hosted me for the weekend, and showed amazing American hospitality. Also thanks to Pete Smith for allocating me a great game, and for taking us out for some nights on the town.

Seconds: EPA Razorbacks – Olympic Club NOT PLAYED

SAC LIONS 12 – Barbarians 0 Referee: Phil Akroyd
Apparently the score stands – this was the score when the match was abandoned due to fighting, only a few minutes in.

Seconds: SACRAMENTO LIONS 41 – Barbarians 19 Referee: Ray Schwartz
This game happened first and was not marred by violence.

Sac Caps – Baracus Referee: Favor Taueva
No report received.

Chico 34 – FRESNO 36 Referee: John Coppinger
Saturday, 4/15/13, in Chico on the Chico High School fields, Fresno hung on to defeat a surprising Chico side 36-34. Fresno led 24-19 at half. Fresno looked to be the dominant side, but Fresno handling errors and the ability of Chico to find small gaps kept the match close. Good match, played in good spirits.

SANTA ROSA 63 – Berkeley 10 Referee: Cary Bertolone
In Santa Rosa, in the sun with a pretty good 15 mile an hour wind, Santa Rosa was relentless and scored 4 unconverted tries plus a penalty kick before Berkeley got on the board with a hard earned try of their own. It was 35-5 at the half. It took 15 minutes of hard rugby before Santa Rosa scored in the second half. It was 56-5 when Berkeley worked their way down the field and their forwards pushed in for another try on the 35th minute, showing they never gave up and played hard all the way. They almost scored a third time, but Santa Rosa had too much speed and won running away with it 63-10. Good clean rugby, a pleasure to ref!!

Seconds: SANTA ROSA 67 – Berkeley 0 Referee: John Tomasin
Having been sick all week, I recruited the services of Doctor John to back me up for the second side. I could have done it, but it was 79 degrees and I was happy John wanted the game. He, as always, did a great job and I learned a few things watching him; he's always so calm!!! It was a track meet, but Berkeley impressed once again by keeping their chins up and playing through the onslaught of tries against them. Good rugby, even though the scores were one sided. Santa Rosa can pass and I saw some unbelievable passes all day long as well as a beautiful up and under by Rob Meesen, Rosa's lock/eight man that went for 50 meters.

DIABLO GAELS 62 – Marin 20 Referee: Bryant Byrnes, Chris Labozzetta
The assigned first-side referee did not show up, which was ok until a Gaels lock tripped over his own feet and landed on my knee at 32 minutes into the first half. (Exactly the kind of thing I was trying to avoid with my upcoming trip to DC.)

Because of the injury Chris Labozzetta -who was a reserve for Marin-was nice enough to volunteer to take over.

This was the last game of Mike Comstock-or so he announced. Mike has been a stalwart fixture of the game, sui generis, at prop for at least 45 years, the majority of them at D1 level. And he is and always has been a gentleman. While I certainly penalized him over scores of games, it was never for foul or unsportsmanlike play, and never a card.

Editor’s Note: I have had a very long refereeing career, going on thirty years. And the first tournament I did, the first game at that tournament, I refereed Mike Comstock. And it was Old Boys. He qualified even then.

I learned a valuable lesson: being a new ref, I got between two players who were squaring up to fight. Mike was one of them.

After the game, he said to me, “I know you’re new. Don’t ever get between fighting players. I almost hit you, and I like you. “

I can enthusiastically second Bryant’s opinion of this fine man.


SIERRA FOOTHILL 59 – Redwood Empire 17 Referee: JC van Staden
Redwood to kick off, and the very next whistle after about 2 min of continuous playing was a try for Sierra... no whistle in between. Followed by a conversion, and then the next whistle try again... getting the drift?

Well, that was the start, and for the next 40 min, there was only 1 team on the field, playing a game plan, structured and decisive... First half 40-0 to Sierra...

Second half, Redwood played down-hill, with the wind at their backs, and "bad apples" replaced. Despite Sierra's good form, Redwood played a good half, scored 3 times, vs Sierra's 3 times, with a score of 17 vs 19. Good comeback, Redwood, and great composure Sierra.

South Valley 19 – VALLEJO 21 Referee: Neil MacDonald

COLUSA 64 – Reno 14 Referee: Scott Wood
Reno started with 11 players, had 12 by the 30th minute. Colusa didn't score for the first nine minutes then discovered how to capitalize on overlaps and gaps. We played 55 minutes until the towel was thrown. Colusa loaned Reno some players and then we played a 20-minute chukker.

SFGG 135 – Shasta 0 Referee: Stephen Valerio
The weather was beautiful on Treasure Island, perfect for a full day of rugby. The Division 3 playoff was the curtain raiser for the Elite Cup match between San Francisco Golden Gate versus Glendale. Unfortunately Shasta had to make the 3 hour drive missing many of their players who were on Mission. The timing couldn't have been worse as they ran into a very strong SFGG side. Shasta stayed positive throughout and both sides managed the game well, with some clearly inexperienced players for Shasta. However, the match was never in doubt. SFGG rapidly recycled the ball and had an impressive number of flat passes which let the receiver take the ball at speed. They were metronomic in their execution and should pose a stiff challenge in their next match.

The semifinals this Saturday will be:

Sierra Foothills hosting Vallejo, referee Rich Anderson
Colusa hosting SFGG, referee Kevin Donnelly

CALIFORNIA 42 – St. Mary's 31 Referee: Pete Smith
ARs: Bruce Carter, John Pohlman
Fourth Officials: Ron DeCausemaker, Rob Hendrickson
St. Mary’s had a 15-point lead at halftime. This was a very good game, which you can read about on-line, one of the jewels in the crown of NorCal rugby.

Seconds: CALIFORNIA – St. Mary's Referee: Mike Moss (Victoria)
ARs: John Pohlman, Rob Hendrickson
Videographer: Bruce Carter
Our visitor was quite impressed by the atmosphere in Strawberry Canyon, twenty-meter goal posts and championship banners flying. We even took him on a tour of the fieldhouse to see the memorabilia.

The game wasn’t as close as we would like for an exchange ref, but he thoroughly enjoyed it and got to see his AR’s son, Carl Hendrickson, score five trys.

UC DAVIS 20 – Sac State 5 Referee: Tom Zanarini
Very warm day in Davis with some hot rugby on the pitch. A big rivalry with two evenly matched schools competing for bragging rights. Davis scored a penalty kick early in the match, then the rest of the first half was intense, back and forth, and scoreless. Davis ended up finding in-goal a few times to pull away. Sac St. had a great 70+ meter breakaway try as time expired.

Seconds: UC Davis 14 – SAC STATE 19 Referee: Bruce Ricard
Very nice and balanced game. It's good to see that teams learn at least a little bit from their games. Last week Davis got penalized a lot for not staying on their feet, and they apparently worked on that during the week, because I don't recall penalizing them a single time for that during this game. Sac State scored two converted tries during the second part of the first half, which ended on a 0 - 14 score. They scored another try at the 59th minute, to take a 19-point lead. After that Davis started to play better, and scored two converted tries. They were playing better at the end of the game, but it was too late, and Sacramento won by 5.

Even substitutions didn't slow the flow with 11 first half tries and 10 in the second half for SFGG.


CHICO STATE 31 – Sierra College 12 Referee: Kevin Donnelly
UCSC 22 – Nevada 19 Referee: Jim Crenshaw

Consolation: SIERRA COLLEGE 45 – Nevada 41 Ref: Crenshaw
Final: CHICO STATE 60 – UC Santa Cruz 7 Ref: Donnelly

Chico State advances to the round of sixteen. This is scheduled to be in Texas, but the three teams that have qualified are all from the west coast. It could be moved to Chico, in which case we’ll need ARs in Chico April 27-28.


STANFORD 48 – New Mexico 10
California 37 – TEXAS A&M 39

STANFORD 67 – Texas A&M 22

Stanford advances to play at home against Norwich on Friday, May 3. Norwich have won three USA national championships in the past eighteen months.

April 6:
Seconds: SEAHAWKS 38 – Berkeley 12 Referee: James Hinkin
On a sunny but windy afternoon in San Jose the Seahawks B side looked to avenge the narrow loss of the A side and Berkeley looked for the day’s sweep. It was a festive atmosphere as the Seahawk women had played earlier and the Seahawks had declared the day Alumni Day so many old ‘Hawks were in attendance lying about how good they were to the young ladies making up the current women’s side. The first half started out rather even as each side traded tries. The kicking that eluded the A side showed up in the B match as San Jose converted both of theirs while Berkeley only converted one for a 14-12 halftime score.

The second half saw the Seahawks in the ascendency as Berkeley seemed to tire out. Some injury-forced substitution didn’t help and Berkeley gave up 4 tries with no response… sort of. The game ended with Berkeley on the attack just meters short of the line. A final surge pushed a pile over the line and to the ground, but away from my position. By the time I got to a position to see the ball it was held up so that is what I called. The TMO was absolutely no use to me – I’m not even sure why I paid him. After the game both sides agreed a try should have been awarded. Stupid TMO.


Dixon 24 – EPPING (Australia) 29 Referee: Bruce Ricard
It's nice to see a foreign high school team flying all the way across the Pacific to come play in California. It proves that rugby is becoming more and more popular in the US.
Epping really dominated the first half. Very good technique, incredible understanding of the rules and the game. They scored a penalty kick at the 7th minute, by their fly half who seems to work a lot on that, because his kicks were as good as it gets for an 18 year old. They scored 2 tries during this half, again beautifully converted by their kicker. The second half started very quickly with another try from the Australian team at the 4th minute. After that, they got pretty tired, and the strength and fitness of the Dixon players made a big difference. They scored 4 tries (2 converted) in 15 minutes. Epping also scored a last try towards the end of the game, with a conversion just next to the touch line, and the kicker missed his first and last kick of the day by only a few degrees.

Wednesday, April 10:
Lamorinda 34 – OAKLAND WARTHOGS 35 Referee: John Coppinger
Wednesday at Merritt College in Oakland, visitors Oakland Warthogs stormed back to nip the home side Lamorinda 35-34. (I am not sure how Lamo came to be the home side in a match played on this side of the tunnel, but Merritt College is a great venue with ample room for a full sized rugby pitch).

The crucial point in the match, although it would not be known until the end of the match, came after a Lamo score near the touch line that put Lamo comfortably ahead. Although both touch judges raised their flags, the conversion was 2 meters wide right and the conversion was not awarded. Apparently the Lamo staff failed to notice that the conversion was not awarded, relying instead on the flags of the TJs.

After that Lamo score, Warthogs stormed back with very physical play and storming runs to take a one point lead with little time left in the match. At almost full time, Warthogs were attacking 20 meters from the Lamo goal line when Warthogs infringed and a penalty was awarded to Lamo. I told the Lamo captain (a very good player) that time had expired and that there was no time for a lineout following a penalty kick to touch. His response was puzzling as in "Can't I just kick out and end the game?" My response was, "Yes, but you will lose the game." The captain insisted that Lamo was ahead by a point and I responded that they weren't; the captain checked with his sideline and was instructed to end the match, which he did. Post-match, it was confirmed that Lamo had counted the missed conversion when they should not have counted it.

Good match; a little testy with two yellow cards to Warthogs for foul play.

Friday, April 12:
South Valley 7 – DANVILLE 62 Referee: Bruce Carter
I was able to get away from the clinic spot-on at ‘closing’ time of 5:30 on Friday, not always a likely prospect. The clinic being in King City, that was important because I was shooting for a 7 PM kickoff in Morgan Hill, ninety miles north.

It was smooth cruising on 101 all the way, listening to a performance of Measure for Measure on CD. Among other things, the Bard addresses how we behave when we think no-one is watching. Angelo says, “Condemn the fault and not the actor of it?” Exactly! Words for a referee to live by.

Not that these two teams needed condemning – the play was the thing, and entirely in the spirit of the game.

My pre-match was precisely four minutes: met one captain, did their boots, spoke to front rows and halfbacks; repeated for the other team; tossed the coin and met my TJs; put my Pelican coin back in my kit and blew for kickoff right on time.

Might have used a bit of a stretch and warm-up as Danville took off down the pitch and scored. A few minutes later South Valley did the same. Late-season high school rugby is a real treat to referee. I wish the season were longer so they’d play this way a larger percentage of the time, having worked the kinks out in January-February.

But Danville is a notch above most of the teams I’ve seen. They had three backs who burned people by sheer pace and their captain/halfback, Reese, has the skills to score himself or help his teammates score in a variety of ways.

South Valley draws a good crowd, and the pizza man showed up just after the final whistle. Not a bad end to the work week.

Saturday, April 13:
Berkeley JV 12 – BISHOP O’DOWD frosh/soph 43 Referee: Rob Hendrickson
Berkeley hosted O’Dowd to two games on a glorious Saturday morning on their Gilman Avenue home pitch, and I reffed the JV vs frosh/soph opener. Both teams were well coached and disciplined, and it was a fun game to ref, with virtually no back-chat. O’Dowd was able to spin the ball out wide earlier than Berkeley, and so was able to more effectively move the ball, scoring 3 tries in the first half while shutting Berkeley out. Berkeley made adjustments in the second half and came back to score two tries to O’Dowd’s 4 in the second half, for a final score of 43 – 12.


For the Senate
Pelicus Scriptoris

Wednesday, April 10, 2013




Pencil in a Sevens refereeing course for Saturday, June 8. We’ll try to confirm the date and then the location soon. Registration will not be open until we do.


Sonoma State will be hosting a Sevens tournament for college and high school teams on Saturday, April 20, beginning at 9 AM.

Last year we had about thirty sevens tournaments, and would anticipate more this year. It’s time to get going with Olympic Rugby!

Let Pete know if you’d like to ref a tournament that day.


The Eagle’s Plate win in Tokyo was not their best finish. Aruna Ranaweera reminds us:

FYI: USA's best sevens finish was reaching the Cup Final at the Adelaide sevens in March 2010. Lost to Samoa 38-10 to finish 2nd place.


April 20 is down to a dozen or so games, and then playoffs continue for a while.

Let Pete know that you can ref:

If you don't have a game, there is a lot going on this weekend for ARs/fourth officials and spectators including:

Women's college playoffs at Stanford Saturday and Sunday
Men's college playoffs at Chico State Saturday only
California hosting St. Mary's
SF/Golden Gate hosting Glendale in the Elite Cup decider for their conference


Seconds: SF/GOLDEN GATE 48 – Olympic Club 7 Referee: Jordan Bruno
A great match on both sides of the ball saw a well contested match as Olympic Club took on San Francisco golden gates B side. The first half was well contested with strong running on both sides of the ball. San Francisco Golden gate had a much faster and determined back line, allowing them to string together a series of offensive possessions in the first half to run the score up 19-0. The second half saw much of the same, with Olympic club scoring halfway through the second on a well-structured series of phases up the middle of the field. Golden Gate’s speed, agility, and endurance allowed them to continue scoring well into the second half, allowing then to eventually put together a series of additional attacks to boost their score up to a final tally of 48-7. A great match to watch and referee. Thanks to golden gate or hosting and for Bryant Byrnes and Dave Williamson for their post-match commentary.

EPA BULLDOGS 40 – Bay Barbarians 7 Referee: Tony Levitan
AR: Dick Crouch, Roger
As is typical of these teams, we had a spirited, hard-fought and physical match on a beautiful day in East Palo Alto. By having the captains address some early chippiness from both teams, we settled down into 76 remaining minutes of aggressive play. The Bulldogs dominated the opening 25 minutes gaining overlaps on the Barbarians on a number of long runs, scoring 5 tries, one converted to lead 22-0. The remaining half saw us mostly familiarizing ourselves with the pastures between the 22s as play ranged back and forth, with neither team able to touch down for an additional score.

Picking up where they started the match, the Bulldogs added three converted tries before the Barbarians scored their only try of the day, a penalty try awarded after persistent Barbarian knocking on the goal line and repeated offenses by the Bulldogs. The Bulldog captain obviously took my strident warning to heart as he was the one who offended, triggering the penalty try award, 33-7. Loose and often sloppy play dominated the remaining minutes, the Bulldogs running the final tally to 40-7.

Special shout out to Los Gatos youth coach, Dick Crouch for his help as an AR. Always glad to have an extra set of certified eyes monitoring the pitch for me.

Seconds: EPA BULLDOGS 22 – Bay Barbarians 17 Referee: Peter Sandhill

SANTA ROSA 82 – Chico 5 Referee: Rich Anderson
This was a match that displayed a contrast in ability but not attitude.

Rosa showed why they are the class of the NorCal D2 with an overwhelming Pack that did most of the damage throughout.

Chico showed that they could be out-scrummed and outplayed, but not lose their enthusiasm.

My player of the match was the Chico forward who continually attempted to chase down the try conversions, of which there were many.

When I asked the player if he was going to continue charging, he said, "That's how you play rugby, right?"

I agree.

Seconds: SANTA ROSA 33 – Redwood-Rosa Combined 29 Referee: Mike King
After Chico finished the first match, it was unable to field a second side. In preparation for the upcoming playoffs, Redwood Empire brought about 10 players who were ably assisted by extras from Santa Rosa who could not get their fill for the day. 65 minutes later (agreed due to numbers for Redwood), the match ended very near where it started. Definitely a game of 2 halves, with Rosa moving the ball very well in the first half, to put all its points on the board. 33-12 at half. After a see-saw first few minutes of the second half with several good attacks by each side, Redwood seemed to find the seams through which to run. It put 3 more tries and a kick on the board, before the whistle for the second half. Momentum was shifting back to Rosa, so who knows what the outcome might have been. Everyone had a good run.

Baracus 3 – DIABLO GAELS 48 Referee: Chad Douglas (PNW)
Evaluator: Mike Malone
Cloudy, cool day. Pitch was well marked but with patchy grass and sandy areas, footing in some areas was uneven.

This started out as a very even contest, but with BA giving away numerous tackle/ruck penalties early, hence after a third tackle penalty in the first 10 minutes the captain was spoken to and subsequently in the 15th minute a player was yellow carded for repeated tackle infringements. Players from both teams engaged in early push and shoves and plenty of verbal interaction, a deliberate foot-trip off the ball in the 16th minute by a Diablo player saw him also receive a yellow card. After these early indiscretions, players settled down and there was no more deliberate or cynical foul play.

The Gaels scored 2 tries in the first half to lead 12-0, and managed to continue their fast pace game in the second half to run in 6 more tries. Final score: BA Baracus 3, Diablo Gaels 48

Eric; thanks again for putting me up for the night, might see you again down in 'sunny' CA!

Seconds: BARACUS 19 – Diablo Gaels 17 Referee: Eric Rauscher
After a lop-sided win by the Gaels in the first game, Baracus gained a little glory by squeaking out a win in the second side match.

The game was played in one 40 minute period followed by a 30. The game was littered with spirited yet scrappy play. After 3 not back 10s, the fourth was committed by a rookie, but the next two meant that the Gaels were playing down two men for a while. Even then they were able to score a try.

The line-outs seemed to be never straight and both teams seemed to have problems with arithmetic. I had problems with the scrums the whole game. Many of the errors were more representative of beginning of the season play rather than this point. Did I enjoy the game? Any rugby is better than no rugby.

VACAVILLE 50 – Marin 19 Referee: Bruce Bernstein
Left San Francisco and drove most of the way under cloudy drizzly skies, which cleared as soon as I came into the valley for Vacaville--perfect sunny, a little humid day.

Vacaville dominated from start to finish scoring 4 tries each half. Marin was able to score the few times they had their rare possessions in striking distance. They came on strong at the party being outnumbered but came with assorted bathrobes.

Seahawks 15 – BERKELEY 17 Referee: Pete Smith
San Jose Seahawks hosted Berkeley in a Division 2 battle between two similar teams. Berkeley scored two tries in the first half with the first one converted after and intercepted pass. Halftime score as 12-0. The Seahawks bounced back to make it 12-5, then another try by Berkeley pushed the lead back to 12 making the score 17-5. The Seahawks scored again with 15 minutes left to make 17-10 and yet again with 2 minutes left to make it 17-15 with the conversion to come and it was wide right…alas there were players standing behind the kicker from Berkeley as the AR pointed out, so the San Jose kicker got another shot to tie the score and again he pushed it wide. Final score 17-15 with the difference the first conversion of the day!

Seconds: Seahawks – Berkeley Referee: James Hinkin
No report received.

SEAHAWKS women over St. Mary's Referee: Matt Hetterman
Friendly fixture, St Mary's Women at Seahawks

Played 10s with 3-player (7s style) scrums, 20 min halves.

They asked me not to keep score - it was something like 6 tries to nil.

Stuck around and AR'd for Pete afterward.

UC DAVIS 43 – Santa Clara 17 Referee: Phil Akroyd
A/Rs: Bruce Ricard & Scott Wood
A 4pm kick off at Russell field after the Ultimate Frisbee tournament had relinquished control of the pitch.

It was a very pleasant affair - responsive teams and very well disciplined. I think there were only about 7 or 8 penalties in the first half and about half as many in the second. Another of those games where in the second half, the winning team were always going to win, but the defeated team made it interesting throughout. There seem to be a lot of games like that this season.

Seconds: UC DAVIS 62 – Santa Clara 31 Referee: Bruce Ricard

Sac State – UC Santa Barbara Referee: Joe Androvich
Seconds: Sac State – UC Santa Barbara Referee: Jim Crenshaw
No reports received on these two games.


UCSC 65 – Fresno State 24 Referee: Neil MacDonald
Videographer: Bruce Carter
Men's College D1-AA Quarter Final: UCSC 65 - Fresno State 24 (Half time 34-5):
The Slugs belied their name, receiving the kickoff and sending the ball wide to their live wire right winger for a score in the first minute. Fresno responded to close to 7-5, before UCSC cut loose, scoring four more, punctuated by a penalty goal after Fresno were pinged for side entry, to make it 34-5 at the half. UCSC's backs were finishing clinically, but Fresno's forwards were overpowering UCSC in the breakdown. Fresno scored in the early minutes of the first half, but Santa Cruz responded with two more, taking the match to 48-12, with almost half an hour remaining. Fresno scored next, with a well-worked quick tap after UCSC were penalized for diving over. UCSC scored, then Fresno's wing earned ten minutes in the bin for taking a player out in the air on the restart, and UCSC profited from their man advantage with two scores while he was gone, to take their total to 65. Fresno had the last word with a try on full time, following a series of penalties conceded by a tiring UCSC team, but UCSC ran out worthy winners 65-24, and earned a trip to Chico for next weekend's semis and finals of the Pacific Western Conference.

Thanks to Bruce Carter for sticking around to film my game, despite the lure of tri-trip on the barbecue back home in Salinas.

NEVADA 51 – San Jose State 22 (overtime) Referee: Kevin Donnelly
Good weather conditions on the artificial surface made for a fast game but the high cross wind caused some handling problems, forward passes, and problems with line out throws. There was quite a lot of scrumming.

Several lead changes, and a last minute come-back converted try by UNR tied the game at 22. In the overtime period UNR dominated and ran in an additional 29 unanswered points. The higher altitude and a couple of disciplined events (1 yellow and 1 red card) put SJSU at a disadvantage. Final score 51-22 but both teams and coaches satisfied with a very fair, enjoyable, and super-competitive match. UNR advances to finals next weekend in Chico.

SANTA ROSA JC 22 – Sierra College 5 Referee: Tom Zanarini
The rains stopped just in time for a beautiful, warm and sunny rugby day at For Pete's Sake Field. The grass was long and firm, just waiting for a quality contest. The teams were evenly matched in size, pace and skill. The first half was a hard hitting and hard running. The score was 5-5 until SRJC ran a try in as the watch alarm sounded. So 10-5 to start the 2nd half. This ended up being where SRJC laid down the law with 12 unanswered points. Still, the contest was back and forth. SRJC just capitalized on some wide breaks and had maybe a bit more pace. One thing to note is the discipline was stellar on both sides. Much improved from a couple years ago. Cheers to the gentlemen on the sidelines who produce gentleman on the field.

Chico State BYE. The Wildcats finished first in the conference and will host the semi-finals this Saturday, which will be:

Chico State – Nevada Referee: Jim Crenshaw
UCSC – Santa Rosa Referee: Kevin Donnelly


UCSC WOMEN 20 – Univ. of Washington 15 Referee: Bruce Carter
It was a good day for the Slugs. This game preceded the men’s game, and the home teams came away unblemished.

End-of-season rugby is good to referee, and playoff rugby is even better. The players don’t just play better individually and as a team, they make the referee’s job easier by responding to the cues we give them to keep the penalty count down.

U Dub was worried about playing on ‘the hottest day of the year’, but the clouds lingered over the hillside pitch even while we could see sailboats racing in the sun on the bay below, and it was hot only by Seattle standards.

The visitors scored first, waking up the spectators of this morning match. With all of the conversions being missed (although the Slug kicker caromed a sideline effort off the crossbar), a tie score was always a possibility. But the Slugs’ defense came through with several sieges on their line withstood near the end.

ALL BLUES 51 – Sac Amazons 0 Referee: Bryant Byrnes
A Friday cancellation by a unnamed club with a clubhouse on TI resulted in a better Saturday match. The All Blues are the reigning Women's Premier League National Champions, and showed why-fitness, support, and good ball handling. Except for an early case of knock-onitis, they would have scored more. The Amazons cheerfully soldiered on, putting on a nice sustained attack in the second half.


BISHOP O’DOWD 19 – Oakland Warthogs 5 – Referee: John Coppinger
O'Dowd claimed bragging rights in Oakland by downing the Warthogs 31-10 at O'Dowd on Saturday. Warthogs came out hard and physically challenged the Dragons, but the Dragons withstood the challenge and won the match by making better decisions with ball in hand. The half time score was 12-5 in favor of O'Dowd and O'Dowd scored a converted try at full time to make the win seem easier than it was.


For the Senate
Pelicus Scriptoris

Thursday, April 04, 2013




Last summer we had about thirty sevens tournaments in NorCal, as many as four per Saturday. Certainly, interest has only grown in the interim.

If enough people are interested in taking the IRB Refereeing Sevens course, we can set one up for early June.

Please respond to Rob Hendrickson:


There are fewer games each weekend for the next three weeks, about twenty or so, but plenty of playoffs among these that could use Assistant Referees.

There are college playoffs games this weekend in Reno, Santa Rosa, and two in Santa Cruz. If you'd like to AR, contact the ref (listed on


The Eagles won the plate (5th place) in the Tokyo Sevens. They hadn't finished that high since 2001.

Not only that, but in the course of the weekend they defeated both Fiji and Wales, who had played for the Cup in Hong Kong the week before.

Parity approaching at long last?


SFGG 62 – Olympic Club 6 Referee: Pete Smith

Reno 10 – VALLEJO 28 Referee: JC van Staden
Good weather, 65F and overcast, could not ask for better a better rugby day. With a couple of red cards both teams had a shaky start, but manage to pull things together for a decent outcome.

CALIFORNIA 51 – Univ. of Utah 29 Referee: George O'Neil
ARs: Rob Hendrickson, Bruce Carter

Trying to ref one match when I was not assigned & ended up doing 3:

Thursday 5:30 PM
BELLARMINE PREP HS 33 – SF/Golden Gate 22

Saturday 11:30 AM
Humboldt HS Girls 22 – BERKELEY 28

1:45 PM
Humboldt Mens Club (HOGS) 38 – REDWOOD EMPIRE 48
Very competitive, spirited 3rd Division contest tied 19 at half; close the rest of the way until Redwood's flyhalf scored his 4th try--either team could have won at that point.
Redwood trying to peak for playoffs and HOGS looking to use as incentive for next season.

HAYWARD 29 – EPA 0 Referee: Bryant Byrnes
If Texans could see our version of Friday Night Lights, rugby would be the next big thing in the Lone Star State-especially this game. Two good teams of big boys going at it hammer and tong.

However, the night belonged to Hayward, who played an almost flawless first half and led at 35 minutes 24-0. They kept it pretty much in the pack and if EPA missed the first tackle-which it often did-huge territorial advantages were gained.


San Mateo 12 – SFGG 36 Referee: Tony Levitan
A fixture rescheduled to accommodate tight field scheduling at San Mateo High School, a beautiful Tuesday evening proved to be a quality setting for a hard-fought high school rugby match. The teams traded unconverted tries in the opening 10 minutes, each playing advantage to their full scoring advantage. Midway through the half, San Mateo grabbed its only lead of the evening with a converted try generated by strong, at times punishing, backline running, 12-5. After that score though, the remaining scoring was left to SFGG which added two converted tries before the half (19-12, SFGG) and then another 3 tries, one converted to push the final tally to 36-12, SFGG.

While the score may not show it, this observer wants to note how far he has seen San Mateo come since January's KOT when they didn't even know the offside laws in the backline. The match, as typical of these two teams, was marked with hard hitting, aggressive running, and creative open play.


DE LA SALLE 29 – Xavier 17 Referee: John Coppinger
At De La Salle on Tuesday night, De La Salle slipped by Xavier of New York 29-17. Xavier fielded a mix of first and second side players after beating Jesuit a day or two before.

Xavier came out strong to take a 17-15 lead at half, with the De La Salle's scores resulting from individual athleticism, rather than team rugby.

The score remained 17-15 late into the second half when some ball handling mistakes led to the winning De La Salle try on a play that resembled soccer more than rugby. De La Salle scored a late converted try that made the score flatter the home side in a match that was extremely competitive and in doubt until the very end.


For the Senate
Pelicus Scriptoris