Wednesday, March 27, 2013




Don’t let Easter weekend fool you, when we only have four or five games (there’s one in Humboldt that isn’t on the website yet).

We could use another fourth official for the Cal - Utah game this Saturday at 1 PM.

April 6 and April 13 we have dozens of games. The men’s clubs are still playing, along with the top colleges, and there are playoffs in the other divisions.


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

Let Pete know that you can ref:


We have two incoming referees from the Vancouver Island society here for the weekend of April 11 to 14.

If you’ve been on exchange, you know how important it is that we provide a good experience for our guests.

If you haven’t been on exchange, hosting is the way to move to the top of the list.

Let Bjorn know if you can help:


Seconds: EPA RAZORBACKS 39 – Barbarians 15 Referee: John Pohlman

East Palo Alto hosted the Bay Barbarians in East Palo Alto at McNair field (formerly Niners academy). I arrived a few minutes after 10:00 a.m. for an 11:00 a.m. kick-off.

This being an early B side game things were a bit disorganized but we managed a kick-off about 10 minutes late.

It was a very tight hard hitting game early on. I gave an early shoulder charge yellow card to the Barbo's #4.

EPA got on the board with a try at 28 minutes. EPA 5 Barbos 0 A very competitive game.

At 30 minutes another Barbarian led with a shoulder leading to a yellow card. This was followed by another dangerous tackle committed by the Barbarians two minutes later. Into the bin you go.

With two men down the Barbos gave up two trys right before half time.

The second half EPA scored 4 more try s to the Barbarians scoring three. No more cards.

I was talking with the players from the Barbarians who said many of the players were from Cabot College football team. They apologized because in football shoulder charges are legal. Hopefully they will stay with rugby long enough to learn the laws. Many were very athletic.

After my game I was getting ready to AR for James first side game. I noticed how many people had arrived. Both sides stands were filled, as well as, the many people on the side line. There were a few food tents and first aid station.

A really fun and festive Polynesian atmosphere.

Final EPA 39 Barbarians 15

After James’ game came the game of the day. EPA under 19 versus Oakland Warthogs under 19.

EPA RAZORBACKS 43 – Bay Barbarians 3 Referee: James Hinkin
ARs: John Pohlman, Bruce Bernstein

Spring rugby in California… is there anything better? Occasionally you hear some blowhard from the east coast who says we should all play a fall league so the seasons line up but why would we ever do that? Give up rugby on a spring day in the 70s with no clouds and a light, refreshing breeze? Don’t be silly.

As I arrived the John Pohlman was ably handling the opening match so I approached the teams and sorted out the paperwork and all was set to kick off until a Barbarians player walked on the field with tights. It is nearing the end of the season and yet the memo still hasn’t gone out to many players and teams: unless you are female, you can’t wear tights. Once that was sorted we were underway. EPA looked strong from the start but a series of penalties kept the game from flowing. Barbos got on the board with a penalty while EPA pounded in a try. Unfortunately for the Bay Barbarians that was all they could muster on the day. Some strong running led to opportunities and a missed penalty but that was all. EPA were able to convert their opponent’s ill discipline into points with strong, opportunistic rugby. Half time score was 24 – 3.

The second half was more of the first with the exception that frustration was starting to show. A couple of flash points were calmed down as the Razorbacks ran in 3 more tries with no response from the visitors. EPA looked stronger and more organized throughout the match while the Barbarians have some good rugby players but lack cohesion. Many thanks go to John Pohlman and Bruce Bernstein for ARing. It is a rare luxury.

High School:
EPA RAZORBACKS 24 – Oakland Warthogs 17 Referee: Bruce Bernstein

This was a hella match. No score until almost the end of the first half when each team traded tries. Warthog winger mistakenly put ball down outside try zone twice within minutes.

Then 2nd half just as intense with EPA slimly leading 19-17 before EPA grabbed a quick penalty for a try with 2 minutes to go.

EPA dedicated the match to Oakland's players no longer with us by each wearing wrist tape on both wrists with their #'s written. Oakland played inspired as if they had 17 players.


Seattle OPSB 27, SAN FRANCISCO GOLDEN GATE 36, Referee: Aruna Ranaweera
Assistant Referees: Jen Tetler, Craig Parish (PNW)

1:30pm kickoff at Magnuson Park in Seattle featured the 2012 Rugby Super League (RSL) runner-up hosting the 2011 RSL champion. This match doubled as a NorCal D1 fixture and an Elite Cup match. (The Elite Cup takes the place of the disbanded RSL and features two divisions of four teams each.) SFGG conceded many penalties in the 1st half but were efficient-enough on offense to take a 17-10 lead into half. The visitors established a rhythm in the 2nd half to secure a 36-15 lead before OPSB fought back to score 2 late tries. Both teams were physical in contact and very fast out wide. In the end, SFGG's offensive talent enabled them to overcome their indiscipline by 6 tries to 4. Thanks to Jen for help with key calls near the corner flags.

Olympic Club 25 – SACRAMENTO LIONS 30 Referee: George O'Neil
ARs: Ray Schwartz, Mark Godfrey

Seconds: OLYMPIC CLUB 19 – Sac Lions 10 Referee: Ray Schwartz
AR: Mark Godfrey

Good quality B Side action, two full sides keen to play, the match shortened though by a neck injury to the O Club scrummie, we hear he's well and should recover fully. Curtain raiser to an awesome A Side match reffed by George O'Neil on a special day.

SACRAMENTO CAPITALS 65 – Chico 12 Referee: Phil Akroyd
(No B-Side game played due to lack of interest/bodies)

Beautiful weather for rugby but the recent rain had not done anything to soften the rock-hard Danny Nunn field.

Chico had five players an hour before kick-off, while Sacramento were running full team drills. The Chicoans (is that what the plural is?) managed to get a full team plus one sub for kick-off time, so the alarm bells were ringing already. Both teams have had, let's say, less than successful seasons so far and Sac picked up their first league win in style. They looked far better than their record suggests and played some lovely free playing rugby. Their best player by far was the number seven, Bula, who provided and excellent link between forwards and backs and got the ball moving forward quickly.

The run was pleasurable enough and both squads played with the full knowledge that the game was irrelevant, other than the fun of it, so we had plenty of fun and the players picked up a little law knowledge along the way. Chico's coach made a humorous point in the second half, clearly letting me know that he was bringing in his sub for the day. There was a running bet between me and the Sacramento kicker, a player asking me if I had the ability to yellow card the breeze and the Village People with a keg at the side of the field. Good quality local rugby.

We played a full eighty minutes, then it was off to Hoppy Brewing for some happy hour beer and appetizers on the terrace, with the whole family. This was my seven week old's second pitch side experience but my parents also made the outing too, during their visit to the Golden State.

Fresno 23 – BARACUS 31 Referee: Neal MacDonald

Fresno hosted Baracus on their new field at Todd Beamer Park on a sunny afternoon. I had my first trip over Pacheco Pass on the way - no idea how I've lived here as long as I have and never been over that road. Baracus scored two converted tries early, before Fresno kicked a penalty for an offside infringement on seventeen minutes. From an attacking lineout, Baracus ran a set move and their winger came in off the narrow side on a switch to score. Their full back made his third successful conversion to take the scoreline to 21-3 with almost twenty minutes left until half time. Fresno took full advantage of that time, scoring from a scrum 5m from the Baracus line, and kicking another penalty to make it 13-21 at half time, and everything very much to play for.

After the break, Fresno continued where they left off, scoring early in the second half to cut Baracus' lead to three points. With twelve minutes left, Fresno scored another try, and went into the lead for the first time in the match, by two points. With minutes left in the match, Baracus kicked a penalty to get their noses in front by one. Pressing their attack inside the Baracus 22, Fresno knocked on, and with advantage being played, Baracus got the ball out to the wing and away up the field for the final try of the game with time expired to secure the win.

Seconds: FRESNO 50 – Baracus 0 Referee: Jeff Jury

Marin – SANTA ROSA Referee: John Coppinger

We are having the upstairs painted and my kit bag and score card are under plastic in one of the rooms upstairs. Rosa won big, but Marin scored a try late. I am guessing 90-5 Rosa.

Seconds: Marin – Santa Rosa Referee: Rich Anderson
No report received.

Berkeley 8 – DIABLO GAELS 71 Referee: Stephen Valerio

The match started off well with 3 back and forth scores in the first 10 minutes with Berkeley leading 8-7. After that it was pretty much just 'forth' for Diablo the rest of the way.

Seconds: Berkeley – Diablo Gaels Referee: Rob Hendrickson

The second sides from Berkeley and the Gaels squeezed in a shortened game (20 minutes 1st half and 15 minutes 2nd half) between their first side match and the Marin vs Santa Rosa game at Morton field on a beautiful Saturday afternoon. The contest was a little scrappy, but generally clean, although scrums seemed to be a problem with the ball repeatedly coming out the tunnel. A great social in the form of BBQ chicken, a keg of beer and plenty of good cheer followed.

State of Jefferson – Mendocino Referee: David Trujillo (PNW)
ARs: Kevin Parks, Kevin Brown (both PNW)
No report received.

STANISLAUS 60 – Vallejo 14 Referee: Bryant Byrnes

This was D3 in Turlock, but good D3. The match was close at half, with Vallejo in front only by 3; 17-14. But after banging it out pack to pack mano-a-mano to only slight advantage, Vallejo in the second half quickly got the ball out to its greyhound back line. To great effect.

My thanks and compliments to the teams, the captains, and the presidents Ben and Paul for a good game with few management problems.

Reno Zephyrs 31– SIERRA FOOTHILLS 32 Referee: Jim Crenshaw

I drove up to Reno Saturday to ref the Reno Sierra Foothills match. Both teams are good D-3 teams with Sierra not having lost a match since last season.

Sierra scored first and had a 12 - 0 lead about half way through when Reno got going by scoring three tries to take a 19 - 12 lead at halftime on some great runs by their scrum-half and stand-off.

The Sierra pack was dominant, but the Reno backs were, for the most part, quicker and faster than the Sierra backs.

In the second half, Sierra built up a 32 to 19 lead but let Reno get within 1 point with less than a minute to go. Reno had the momentum, but a forward got isolated and was penalized for not releasing allowing a penalty kick to touch to end the match.

SFGG 71 – Morgan Hill 8 Referee: Chris Davis (Virginia)
Referee Coach: Mike King
AR: Eric Rauscher

NSCRO California Cup at Maritime Academy
Saturday – Semifinals

OCCIDENTAL COLLEGE over Puget South Referee: Pete Smith
ARs: Scott Wood, Dave Newport

They had a score board and I just keep checking to see if it was correct. It was like 36-22…maybe 43 -28…plenty of points. Only 4 penalties in the first half and about 6 in the second half. Two teams that listened and just wanted to play rugby…one of my favorite games of the year so far. Well coached teams that played the game the right way.

CAL MARITIME ACADEMY 51 – Pepperdine 6 Referee: Tom Zanarini

ARs: Scott Wood, Dave Newport

CMA owned this contest. Pepperdine couldn't penetrate the CMA defense, and when the Keelhaulers got the ball, they attacked.


Consolation Match

UNIV. OF PUGET SOUND over Pepperdine by forfeit Referee: Tom Zanarini

Pepperdine was peppered with injuries after their loss on Saturday, forcing a forfeit. UPS loaned Pepperdine some players, so we still had a rugby match. And a pretty good one, at that. Pepperdine was probably sorry they had to forfeit, since the 'score' was 41 - 27 in their favor.


Cal Maritime 10 – OCCIDENTAL COLLEGE 25 Referee: Pete Smith
AR: Eric Rauscher, Chris Davis (Virginia)

Both teams advance in NSCRO. The game was for seeding.

SANTA ROSA JC 41 – Willamette University 12 Referee: Cary Bertolone

At For Pete's Sake in Santa Rosa, on a Sunday afternoon, Santa Rosa JC had a friendly scheduled with Willamette University from Salem, Oregon. The Oregon boys drove all the way down for a Saturday tour of San Fran and just this one game, before heading on the long ride home.

They had 25 players and both teams had open substitution. The pace was fast. SRJC opened the game with some nifty back moves and that produced a couple of nice trys. About twenty minutes in to the match, w/ Santa Rosa up 19-0, we had a little discussion with the captains about offsides by both teams as I explained a "no tolerance" policy from that moment on and the game settled down. It was 24-0 at the half. Fifteen minutes into the second half, Willamette scored a well earned try by their forwards to close the gap, but Santa Rosa scored three more trys to put the game away. Santa Rosa did the guests a bit of a favor by liberally substituting in some rookies and Willamette took advantage by scoring a late try to finish the scoring 41-12.

At 73 degrees with a slight breeze, it was a beautiful day of rugby, no one got hurt and a good time was had by all.


BELLARMINE 49 – Berkeley Rhinos 22 Referee: Bruce Carter

I needed an early, nearby game, with social plans for the early evening in the works back home. This 10 AM kickoff on Bellarmine’s campus was perfect, only 75 miles from home.

Looking at the teams’ records coming in, you would not have predicted the outcome. This time of year, of course, you can have one school on spring break and the other not, given that the spring break ‘season’ runs about six weeks most years.

Old teammates and playing opponents of mine coach both teams, so it took a few minutes longer to conduct my pre-match as it included catching up.

The teams seemed to be pretty evenly matched, with each scrum taking at least one against the head and both capable of exploiting the full one-and-a-half-meter push that they are allowed.

Both teams had a number of fast runners. The difference was in the Bells breaking the primary line of defense more often and then exploiting the resultant overlaps.

The spirit of rugby walked the pitch: there was no aggro. I overheard one player, shaking his opponent’s hand afterwards, saying, “Man, you really trucked me.”

Great stuff, guys. But I have to say, it’s an odd thing for me on a Saturday to be driving home before noon.

Silicon Valley 26 – SFGG 31 Referee: Tony Levitan

In a hard-fought Varsity Silver match, SFGG prevailed on a try with no time left on the clock. The distinct slope on the pitch made for a dominating first half by SV, running up 23 points on the strength of 2 converted tries and 3 penalty kicks to SFGG's 12 points (2 tries, 1 conversion). With the field slope in their favor -- and SV playing down a man after a yellow card for cynical play -- SFGG began running more aggressively, dotting down a converted try in the 21st minute of the second half, (23-19, SV). SV expanded their margin with a well-slotted penalty with 9:30 minutes remaining, 26-19. A yellow for dangerous tackle in the backline took SV back down to 14 players after only a few minutes back at full strength. SFGG tied the match with just over 3 minutes remaining after a converted try, 26-26. The teams traded penetrating movements, each threatening before our final scrummage with 30 seconds remaining. In the harried play that followed, SV infringed at a breakdown and SFGG took advantage of their man-up advantage in the backline to put over the winning try. Final score, 31-26, SFGG.


Bishop O’Dowd 7 – BELLARMINE 14 Referee: Rob Hendrickson

O’Dowd hosted Bellarmine to a spirited Monday night game at the Dragon’s home pitch. Given the pitch’s location and proximity to a main arterial alongside and below the pitch, they have a rather unique home field rule which provides that penalty kicks from that half of the field are automatically awarded a lineout 20 meters down the field to avoid losing errant licks over the fence. Even with that rule, we still lost a ball.

The teams were well matched in terms of both skill and intensity, and the game provided a show case for when and how to counter ruck. Bellarmine scored a converted try in each half, with O’Dowd coming back and scoring its converted try as the final whistle blew. Both these programs have developed skilled and disciplined rugby players and programs which can’t help but advance the level of the game generally.

JV: BISHOP O’DOWD 26 – Bellarmine Prep 21 Referee: Bryant Byrnes

The fecklessness and cluelessness of the new player trumped by a great amount of young rugby talent. Good teams, well coached.


For the Senate
Pelicus Scriptoris

Thursday, March 21, 2013




Our next society meeting will be this evening, Wednesday, March 20, at the usual time and place: Golden Gate clubhouse, southeast corner of Treasure Island, from 7 until 9 PM.


Humboldt State 0 – MARITIME ACADEMY 50 Referee: Pete Smith

Report from CMA website:
The Cal Maritime Rugby team, knowing it needed a win to claim the NCCRC league title, scored 50 points on Humboldt State to win its first NorCal CRC league title decisively. Fresh off a frustrating tie which dropped CMA into second place, the Keelhaulers came out focused and ready for the traditionally tough trip up to Eureka. Senior wing Zach Patterson scored the first of CMA's 8 tries. Additional tries were scored by freshman Chad Mensinger, senior Brandon Teepen, senior Lonnie Shankling (2), junior Wyatt Matthews (2), and freshman Evan Chambers. Senior Will Fitzpatrick was successful on 5 of his 8 conversion attempts. The win brought CMA's league record to 5-0-1 and ahead of Sonoma State in league standings (Sonoma's only loss was to CMA). The Keelhauler's overall record is 11 wins against 1 loss and 1 tie.

The victory against the traditionally tough Humboldt State team on the road in CMA's final league match earned CMA the league title as well as the right to represent Northern California in the Small College's National Championship competition. The first leg of the playoff competition is the Pacific Coast Cup on March 23-24. The PC Cup will include Northern California's champion (the CMA Keelhaulers), the Pacific Northwest champion (two-time champion University of Puget Sound), and Southern California's champion (perennially champion Occidental College) and runner-up (frequent playoff contender Pepperdine University) and will be held at Bodnar Field on Cal Maritime's campus in Vallejo, CA. CMA plays Pepperdine at 11am Saturday with the second game, featuring UPS against Occidental, kicking off at 1:30. Saturday's winners both will qualify for the Small College's Pacific-West Regional Championship to be held 2 weeks later in Glendale (Denver), Colorado, and will play Sunday, March 24, to determine the Pacific Coast Cup champion as well as seeding for the PacWest Regional. Kick-off for Sunday's PC Cup championship game will be at 1:30. A consolation game between Saturday's losing teams will kick-off at 11:00am.

All rugby fans are invited to come out and watch the exciting playoff rugby that will be on display during the Pacific Coast Cup held at the Cal Maritime Academy Saturday and Sunday, March 23-24. Kick-offs are scheduled for 11am and 1:30pm on both days. The gate opens 1 hour before the first game each day.


OLYMPIC CLUB 61 – Bay Barbarians 7 Referee: Aruna Ranaweera
Assistant Referee: Nome Tiatia
At the Gaelic AA Field B at Treasure Island, both teams were undisciplined in the first half, but the captains took control at half-time so the 2nd half was more positive. OC led 32-0 at half and won convincingly, 9 tries to 1.

Seconds: Olympic Club – Barbarians Referee: Nome Tiatia
No report received.

EPA Bulldogs 24 – SACRAMENTO LIONS 41 Referee: Tony Maphosa (PNW)
AR: James Hinkin
Evaluator: Mike Malone
My trip to Northern California proved to be one of the best in recent memory. Sac Lions vs EPA Bulldogs was the game: Very competitive game (final score doesn't reflect the game itself). SL more efficient at winning the set piece battle which was ultimately the difference in the game. Final score SL prevails 41-24.

Many thanks to James Hinkin (and Emily) for putting me up on Friday and Saturday, Mike Malone for taking time out to watch the match and provide feedback, Pete Smith for Saturday's lively entertainment, Preston Gordon for showing me the sights and sounds on Sunday. Hopefully we in Northwest can return the favor soon. Well done Pelicans. You indeed are some fine birds.

Tony Maphosa

Seconds: EPA Bulldogs 7 – SAC LIONS 15 Referee: James Hinkin
The B side match for this fixture kicked off 10 minutes late, but that’s all right because we only played 30 minute halves. Both sides have old heads and young bucks and mostly were out having good fun running around. A yellow to each team for repeated offenses calmed the penalty count slightly but neither team really took advantage of the extra man. Sac Lions ran in 2 tries (unconverted) to a single converted try to the hosts in the first half. The second half saw only one score: an unconverted (again) try from Sacramento.

SFGG 76 – EPA Razorbacks 5 Referee: Matt Hetterman
Video Coach: Bruce Carter
I arrived at Treasure Island on a beautiful Saturday afternoon, just after Bruce Carter blew the whistle for kick-off of the b-side match. I watched a bit of that from the press-box, and then sorted out the captain's talk just before half-time.

Bruce had offered to video tape and mic me, which was great - I had heard from several other refs, both NCRRS and SCRRS-based, how useful that had been for them. We setup quickly in the interim between matches.

The first 20-minutes was pretty tightly contested, but then execution and fitness enabled SFGG to pull away quickly. Tempers became heated just before half-time - I issued a yellow to a Razorback player for a high tackle (after repeated team infringements) with 3 minutes left, and then a stern warning at the half-time whistle to their captain for two tardy tackles in the last 30 seconds.

Scoring slowed a bit in the beginning of the second half, but thankfully tempers had settled down as well. Last 20 minutes saw SFGG put their foot on the gas.

Bruce and I grabbed a couple beers afterward before heading home – had to take my wife to dinner as she let me ref on her birthday!

Seconds: SFGG 65 – EPA Razorbacks 3 Referee: Bruce Carter
Got to the clubhouse early enough to see Wales put the wood to England, spanking them like public schoolboys asking for another. *(See below)

What a difficult-to-predict tournament is the Six Nations! Because they only play each other once a year, passion often seems to play a larger part in the teams’ performances than in the Tri-Nations (now four), where multiple games means things usually run to form.

It was a beautiful rugby day on the Bay, windless sun, but much of the usual Sheeran Field crowd must have been at the St. Paddy’s Day parade in SF.

Golden Gate has several players pushing for slots in the first XV, with the Elite Cup around the corner, and they made their case against the game Razorback seconds.

MARIN REDS 43 – Sacramento Capitals 20 Referee: Rich Anderson
In a match that was more competitive than the teams' record would suggest, Marin overcame a 14-15 half-time deficit, scoring 5 second half tries, and defeating the Sacramento Caps 43-20.

FRESNO 36 – Berkeley 20 Referee: Giles Wilson
Fresno hosted Berkeley on a sunny (80 degree) day on a hard but grassed field. When I arrived there were still 3 or 4 lawnmowers working over the longer sections, ensuring even coverage.

Both sides had good numbers and were warming up - old faces coaching and on the sidelines (some playing) along with many new faces on the field.

In the first game both sides came out hard with big strike runners, Fresno especially got big guys running in the midfield. Both sides worked two first half tries but only one conversion between them meant Fresno turned around with a narrow 12 - 10 lead.

In the second half Berkeley were able to build a couple of periods of pressure and generated two more tries, but overall were fading somewhat in the warm weather while Fresno were getting stronger. The second half saw one Berkeley tries (converted) plus a penalty overwhelmed by four Fresno tries (two converted).

Seconds: FRESNO 19 - Berkeley 12 Ref: Wilson
Both sides had some young guys who wanted a run and managed to persuade some of the very old guys to complete the numbers for a short run out - the referee was wilting pretty fast in the sun as well.

Vacaville 10 – SANTA ROSA 59 Referee: Jen Tetler
Hot and sunny day out in Vacaville. The game opened up with a Vacaville try in the first two minutes off of a beautiful up and under caught by the kicker (not sure where the fullback was). Unfortunately, that was the last try that Vacaville would get for the day. Santa Rosa came back a few minutes later with a penalty kick to show that they wanted the game too. There was some pretty great back and forth in the first half with the score tied at 10-10 with about 10 minutes left in the half. But Santa Rosa pulled ahead with two quick tries at the end to put them up 24-10. Vacaville held their own for the first 15 of the second half, but Santa Rosa just had more support further outside and some really good offloads. They ended up scoring a few more unanswered times in the second half. All in all, hard-fought with play that is not accurately reflected in the score.

DIABLO GAELS 40 – Seahawks 28 Referee: Paul Bretz
Good match by both sides. Gaels got out early in the first half and never relinquished the lead. At one point in the second half the Hawks closed the gap to 4 points but every time they started to get momentum the Gaels would create an opportunity to take it back.

Seconds: Diablo Gaels – Seahawks Referee: Dave Pescetti
Referee coach: Paul Bretz
No report received.

Shasta 15 – COLUSA 45 Referee: Eric Rauscher
OK, a trip to Redding. Directions, check; kit bag, check; stack of cds. check.

This was your " the game was closer than the score". Shasta was within 5 meters of scoring twice in the first half and just didn't get it in. Colusa played better than Shasta, the score would indicate that. But it seems that Shasta just did not play up to their potential. Not to take anything away from Colusa's performance. Colusa did get a yellow card in the second half for foul play, but after it was handed out, any of the antagonistic play seemed to disappear.

Funny how cards seem to clean up a game.

REDWOOD EMPIRE 84 – State of Jefferson 0 Referee: Tony Levitan
A magnificent, if a wee bit warm, afternoon at For Pete's Sake in Santa Rosa was the fine setting for a track meet nee rugby match between Redwood Empire and State of Jefferson. Gotta hand it to the SoJ squad as they never quit, even refusing to shorten the second half so their players could "gain more match experience." To have played as hard as they did after a 55-0 first half, well, it was just nice to see them honoring the spirit of the sport!
Redwood Empire: 14 tries, 7 conversions
State of Jefferson: 0 tries, 0 conversions

MENDOCINO 31 – Humboldt 15 Referee: Pete Smith
19-8 Mendo at halftime with the wind, sun and down slope. I figure it would be about a 10 point advantage. So the 11 point spread looked like it would be a close game, but Mendo kept it going with 2 more tries in the second half to one converted by Humboldt. These guys aren’t used to someone using their voice and not their whistle…long stretches of rugby followed by moments to catch their breath. Great bunch of ruggers…what I remembered as a kid growing up. Nice to go back to your roots and remember why you fell in love with something.

RENO ZEPHYRS 42 – Blackhawks 17 Referee: Bruce Ricard
I arrived in Reno, for the first time, at the end of the afternoon on Friday, and was welcomed by Bruce Anderson, with whom we went to have a couple beers, while watching some rugby in an Irish pub. The next morning, Bruce drove us back to the pub, to watch this fantastic Wales - England game (without the beers this time), and finally to my first game of the day, at the Reno Zephyrs' pitch. Thanks a lot Bruce, I had a great time!

Very windy day in Reno. The wind was perfectly aligned with the pitch, so that you would get either a full wind for, or against. Reno had a very good start, scoring three tries in the first 20 minutes, but the Blackhawks came back in the second part of the first half, by scoring two tries. Score at the break: 15 - 12. The Blackhawks took the lead at the 8th minute of the second half, with another try (15 - 17). After that, Reno received two yellow cards in two minutes, and that seemed to wake them up. They scored five more tries, without letting the Blackhawks getting any more points. Final score: 42 - 17

After the game, the Zephyrs' coach KC, who is also one of the coaches of University of Nevada, drove me to the University for the second game.

NEVADA 63 – SF State 17 Referee: Bruce Ricard
Same windy day, but here the pitch wasn't aligned with the wind, which makes it even more annoying for the players. At the fifth minute of the game, UNR scored a first try. After getting the ball back on their 22 at the restart kick, the 9 passes to the 10, who passes to his 12, but the floating pass is intercepted by the USF center who has no trouble scoring between the posts, and USF takes the lead 5 - 7 after the conversion. Two minutes later, Reno scores another try, and once again after a few rucks following the restart kick, USF intercepts a pass and goes for a try (12 - 12). Reno scored two more tries in the half, to go to the break with a 12-point lead: 24 - 12. The second half was pretty much one-sided. UNR scored seven tries, USF scored only one try at the 22nd minute, thanks to their forwards. Final score: 63 - 17.

Thanks again to Bruce Anderson for having hosted me.

SIERRA FOOTHILLS 53 – Stanislaus 0 Referee: Bryant Byrnes
Our climate change winter continues-clear and 70 degrees at kick off in the the heartland of Rocklin. Sierra is the best team no one has heard of yet. A second year D3 club, it is assuredly playoff bound. Their men of the match were their stout scrum half and a quick crashing outsider center.

And the Stanislaus team? I always love to see these guys. While not likely to be in the play offs this year, year in and year out they show up at the various far flung venues, play hard, complain little, and cheerfully attend the social.

SOUTH VALLEY 29 – Monterey Bay 14 Referee: Stephen Valerio
A great day for rugby, once we could get to the pitch. I pulled up a little before an hour before kick-off to find some ruggers hanging in the parking lot. The pitch was locked up so people just hung out until someone came with the key. Kickoff was only 15 minutes late, so all in all, not bad.

The match brought back memories of my playing days with lots of pick-and-go action from both sides. South Valley seemed strong overall and broke out to a 17-0 lead off of 3 tries spread out in the first half. They lost momentum on a yellow card with about 5 minutes left to play in the half when Aptos was awarded a penalty and a lazy runner cynically killed the pass off of the tap. The player eventually returned and South Valley collected two more tries and a 29-0 lead. Both sides seemed fatigued and the scoring slowed for much of the 2nd half before an intercept just outside of Aptos's 22 let them get their first points of the day. Then late in the match Aptos was awarded another penalty and kicked for touch deep into South Valley territory. A few players asked for the time and I told them this would be the last play. All that happened was Aptos won the lineout, ran a couple of phases before another South Valley penalty, this one 5 meters out for not retiring behind the back foot. Then a high tackle stopped the next Aptos ball carrier resulting in a penalty try. I need to get a better response to those late in match time questions.

One point of laws debate came up. A free kick was awarded to South Valley in the first half, just on their side of mid-field. The kicker then went and kicked directly into touch, so I awarded a lineout to Aptos from the point of the kick. Several South Valley players/coaches/supporters thought the throw-in should have been Aptos' (all asked politely lest you think it was one of those screaming situations), but where the ball landed. I was able to show one or 2 of their members at the post-match gathering Law 19.1 (j) (you have to love the IRB Laws App) that when a free kick is awarded outside of the team's 22, the lineout is where it was kicked, or where it went into touch, whichever is nearer the kicker's goal line. However, I am sure I missed a few, so here is the promised clarification.

ST. MARY’S 48 – San Diego State 24 Referee: Phil Akroyd
A/Rs: Tom Zanarini, Mary Castle (PNW)
Coach: Dave Williamson
There was about ten minutes of competitive rugby in the first half and significantly more in the second. The game continued at a very fast pace throughout, even though the weather was hot and sunny. The conditioning of both teams was apparent as they played hard throughout and pushed me to the final whistle. Overall, an enjoyable experience.

Seconds: ST. MARY’S 91 – San Diego State 7 Referee: Mary Castle (PNW)
Coach: David Williamson
I want to say that Bjorn Stumer and Tom Zanarini were awesome hosts and I had a great experience working with Tom, Bryan Porter, and Dave before, during, and after the game. It was great to get feedback and also have the opportunity to work on it at the same time. It was a clean, fast game, and the 91-7 win by St. Mary’s really tested my fitness. I got great video from Tim O’Brien too! Hopefully I will be able to return the favor to a NorCal ref on exchange up here.

Stanford 10 – SACRAMENTO STATE 57 Referee: Derek Summers (USA Rugby, West)
Evaluator: Kat Todd
Stanford men's division 1 side finished their season with two losses to Sacramento State. The first game was refereed by Derek Summers. The final score 57- 10.

Seconds: Stanford 19 – SAC STATE 63 Referee: John Pohlman
The scores speak for themselves. Sac State was more psychical and just kept the pressure on the rebuilding Stanford Men's side.

Derek Summers is a 25 year old referee from Denver. He moved from Oklahoma to enhance his referee potential. He is currently in the National referee panel. Seeing young committed people striving to reach the top of the referee panel is both inspiring and exciting for the future of rugby in the U.S.

Santa Clara 7 – CAL POLY 45 Referee: George O'Neil

Seconds: Santa Clara – Cal Poly Referee: Bob Polito
No report received.

SANTA ROSA JC 53 – Fresno State 20 Referee: John Coppinger
On Saturday at the For Pete's Sake pitch, SRJC ran out to a 36-5 lead on a warm--almost 80 degree--day. Fresno came back to win the second half, but by then SRJC had let up a bit. The tale of the match was SRJC being able to recycle the ball after contact while Fresno State often turned the ball over in contact. Good match played in good spirits.

UCSC 41 – San Jose State 26 Referee: Neil MacDonald
After UCSC were led onto the field by a bagpiper, we got underway in this match for the MacBeth-Porter Cup. This was the last regular season game for both teams in the Pacific Western Conference in D1-AA, with UCSC lying second and SJSU third, and home field advantage for playoffs still to be determined. The glorious sunshine was perfect rugby weather, and the game got off to a fast start. SJSU were unable to capitalize on early pressure deep in UCSC's 22, with scoring chances there for the taking. UCSC opened the scoring from a penalty, and extended their lead to 10-0 on 17 minutes, putting SJSU's defensive scrum deep in their 22 under pressure, and profiting when San Jose's back row move went awry and spilled the ball. SJSU marched UCSC deep into their own 22, before the defenders spun the ball wide to the left wing and went all the way down the field for the score. 15-0 after 24 minutes. Three minutes later, another searing counter-attack up the left from UCSC took the score to 20-0, with SJSU still without reward for their committed play. UCSC scored two more converted tries, and SJSU found themselves facing a 34-0 deficit, in a scoreline which belied the intensity of play. Keeping their chins up, SJSU rallied and scored just before half time from a flowing back move. 34-7 at the half.

San Jose State began the second half with more physicality and intensity than they had at the end of the first, dominating play, scoring a converted try in the first few minutes, and adding another - both converted by the excellent boot of their hooker, and bringing the score to 34-21 with more than twenty minutes left to play. UCSC regathered themselves to stop the juggernaut, and claimed another converted try to extend their lead. SJSU scored again, gaining a bonus point for their fourth try and pegging the score back to 41-26 with ten minutes of play remaining. UCSC secured home field advantage for their April 6th quarter final match against Fresno State, while SJSU will travel to Reno to face UNR.

CHICO STATE 40 – Sierra College 17 Referee: Ray Schwartz
Two good DII College sides getting ready for the playoffs. Chico senior #8 (from SFGG) was pretty dominant, scoring three tries, otherwise these sides were even. Sierra played with nearly 30 players, mixing A and B sides both halves, otherwise this was toss-up. If they had stacked the first half with their best it would have been closer, but squad development heading into the playoffs was the plan, as per coach Jim Goddard. Well played, nice crowd too.

Again, very few tackles were contested. I had reported my SRJC v UNR match had maybe 5 rucks, this had closer to 30, still, not the rugby I am used to. I asked the Chico openside after the game about it, he mentioned that so many refs this season have penalized for hands in and gate entry that they just stopped trying, but I reminded him that the openside's job is to probe... find out what the ref will and will not allow. Be like Richie McCaw!

After the match, while speaking w/ Sierra Coach Jim Goddard (an old time Pelican Ref), I met the Sierra College Athletic Director, "Peggy," who truly helped save the program after having to ask the former coach to step down. She talked about how impressed she was with all the young men, and clearly she's delighted to see how Mr. Goddard is carrying on.

Then a nice older gent came up to say hi and just ask about the local rugby scene. Seems "Cliff" is a retired mathematics professor who donates yearly to Sierra College's athletics, and now will be certain to earmark his donation for the rugby team. Cliff was visiting campus to watch his grandson play baseball, but clearly the rugby was more compelling. He talked about how he'd spent time in Australia and New Zealand and loves the game. As we chatted more we learned we were both Rutgers graduates, and that my company had built his swimming pool some 26 years ago... and that now it’s time to have me out and remodel his pool! Always a plus to mix refereeing with business!

St. Mary's thirds 36 – UOP 38 Referee: Tom Zanarini
I had the pleasure of hosting Mary Castle, a Pacific NW referee. Bjorn picked her up Friday night from SFO where I then met them for a pint and a pork belly at Mill Valley Beerworks. It was a quick pint as we had an early and long day scheduled. I had to get Colleen to a work seminar near SFO Saturday morning at 8:30am. Mary and I made a quick stop at SFGG to check out the facilities and catch some 6 Nations on the TV. Unfortunately it was England v France (a replay), but what the heck. SFGG JV were playing the Berkeley Rhinos on the pitch. A quick peek at that match, then we were out of the fog and onto sunny Moraga. St. Mary's had 3 matches on schedule for the day, the 3rd side playing first. Actually, De La Salle were playing Dixon as we arrived and looked to be an excellent match. I'm not sure who had the whistle, but he looked the part and had control.

I've never reffed Pacific before so was excited to check them off my list. The match was well contested as the score shows. In fact, too well as I did muff the score sheet at some point and definitely late in the match. St. Mary's will review the video, but my estimation is that Pacific won by 2 or 4. I blame it on a multitude of factors including just getting over a head cold and, well, probably just not paying close enough attention. The scoring was pretty much in sync, so I think I awarded points to the opposite team somewhere around the 24th point. That's at least when I recognized my score sheet didn't equal the scoreboard. At any rate, enough about my mistakes. The match ended with a stunning display of St. Mary's attacking during full time, trying to keep the ball alive for a last effort try. Pacific was eager to help. On a counter ruck inside the 22, the 8-man picked the ball and heaved it directly into touch. Great long pass, but forward and, oops, DIRECTLY INTO TOUCH. Penalty awarded to St. Mary's who then made short work of scoring a try. My extra time meant no time between matches. I went straight from refereeing to AR duties, with the National Anthem and the D1-A contest between St. Mary's and San Diego St.

Sac State women – Fresno State
Not sure whether this happened or who might have reffed it.

Fog women 24 – EPA LADY RAZORBACKS 46 Referee: Bruce Bernstein
EPA's backs had some nice long runs to get ahead 29-5 at the half; but the Fog came back to outscore them in the 2nd 19-17.

BERKELEY ALL BLUES 49 – Seahawks 4 Referee: Bruce Bernstein
Four 20-minute periods San Jose was ahead after the first two periods 14-10 with the help of a better kicker & reinforcements from EPA & Berkeley; but could not hold off the All Blues whose numbers, fitness & coaching shut them out for the 2nd two 39-0.


Cal went into this event as the fourth seed and came out with first prize: a spot in the sweet sixteen next month.

UC Davis 14 – CALIFORNIA 22 Referee: Scott Wood
ARs: Chris Tucker, JC van Staden
A great match! Unfortunately, there was only one on the day as the fourth team for the play-ins (Air Force) apparently couldn't find a flight and forfeited their match against Chico State.

Cal scored two tries early in the first half before UC Davis was able to put together an effective attack. Both teams had problems keeping their feet at the tackles resulting in (too many) penalties. Davis capitalized off one such transgression scoring a try around 30 minutes into the match. Cal lost a player to the bin for repeated infringements and played short through the half.

HT: UC Davis 7 - Cal 12

Players were doing a better job at keeping their feet (or at least not in a negative manner) in the second half. Unfortunately, Cal returned to full strength only to lose another player to the bin five minutes later for a dangerous tackle. Davis was able to capitalize off the overload and scored a relatively easy try (UCD 14 - Cal 12). Cal was undeterred and followed up with a try of their own around the 60th minute (UCD 14 - Cal 17). With their scrum dominance and back to full strength, Cal was able to work in a try to finish off the match (UCD 14 - Cal 17).

Kudos to both teams for showing great spirit, enthusiasm, and passion for the sport.

CALIFORNIA 27 – Chico State 17 Referee: Matt Hetterman
After the pace of my match on Sat @ SFGG, I had to switch gears to a women's collegiate playoff match. Positioning was initially a challenge, as many runners failed to make the gain line, so I found myself backpedaling frequently - had to change my breakdown positioning to account for that.

Chico St had the advantage at the breakdowns and in forward open play, but had a hard time with set pieces and line breaks in the backs.

Cal took the day (their second upset of the weekend, as they entered with the #4 seed), and progresses to the Sweet 16 in about a month.


Stanford 29 – ALL BLUES 37 Referee: Pete Smith
This was the familiar game of two drastically different halves. The All Blues jumped out to a 27-0 halftime lead by out-working the Stanford side for the first 20 minutes and counter-rucking almost all of Stanford’s ball in the next 20. Stanford barely got out of their own end and was never a threat to score in the first half.

The second half was a completely different story with the Stanford women turning the tables on the All Blues. They out hustled, out worked and counter-rucked like mad scoring 29 points on five tries and two conversions. Stanford never led as the All Blues put over a try of their own to break up the scoring spree by Stanford, but with 8 minutes left it was 29-32…anyone’s game. Stanford desperately tried to score the go-ahead try, but the All Blue defense wouldn’t break. The All Blues put over a final try on #8 Seaver’s hat trick try at full time to make the score line a little more flattering than the nail bitter it had become. With the Stanford men playing Davis afterward, many of the men watched some of this game and most commented to me afterward how impressed they were with the pace and physicality of this match. It was the defending national WPL champions playing against the collegiate runners up…probably the best women’s game played in the US so far this year!


LAMORINDA GOLD 33 – Santa Rosa Gold 12 Referee: John Coppinger
This match played at Sunday at Piedmont High School on turf was fast and furious with lots of running and good rugby. Santa Rosa was missing more than a few starters and had trouble building continuity and was kept under a good deal of pressure by an organized Lamo squad. Halftime score as 25-5 in favor of Lamo.

SOUTH VALLEY 31 – Bellarmine 24 Referee: Tony Levitan
On a breezy, perfect-temperature-for-rugby evening under the lights in Morgan Hill, South Valley hung on to defeat Bellarmine. Loads of commitment to running rugby suffered only from a rash of knock-ons as play from both sides was spirited and positive. After building a 19-10 halftime lead, South Valley extended matters with another early second half try before the teams traded 3 more converted tries, the last one coming on the final play.

The match obviously seemed close to the players too as one South Valley player asked me after signaling Bellarmine's final try, "Hey ref, we still won right?"
South Valley: 5 tries, 3 conversions
Bellarmine: 4 tries, 2 conversions

Thanks to Peter Hansford for alerting us to this APB.

South Wales Police have asked for witness’s to come forward regarding a brutal crime against 15 English men on a recent visit to Cardiff who were robbed of a Grand Slam they had come to collect and also had their chariot badly vandalised during the visit to the Welsh capital?

Apparently this heinous crime was carried out by a gang of 15 Welsh guys dressed in bright red shirts in broad daylight in front of 75,439 people who gathered around the gang attack and just stood there cheering, clapping and singing hymns and arias as if they were encouraging the gang.

A police spokesmen for the South Wales force said this “This sort of attack is just sickening……..One of the victims was a young lad called Owen Farrell who was on his first trip to Wales and has been traumatised by the whole shocking experience and to make matters even worse his father was forced to watch the entire crime from start to finish and could not lift a finger to protect his son from the sickening and relentless battering meted out by the conspicuously dressed red shirted gang”.

The police spokesman continued, “We are following a number of leads and believe this crimson shirted gang may be linked to a similar attack in Twickenham a year ago”.


For the Senate
Pelicus Scriptoris

Wednesday, March 13, 2013




Our next society meeting will be Wednesday, March 20, at the usual time and place: Golden Gate clubhouse, southeast corner of Treasure Island, from 7 until 9 PM.


CALIFORNIA 77 – James Madison 0 Referee: Bruce Ricard
ARs: Rob Hendrickson, Tom Wright
With an estimated possession of 20 to 25%, James Madison spent the whole game defending, which they did pretty well in the first half. In the second half, probably tired of never having the ball, their defense was not as good. Cal scored 13 tries.

California Maritime Academy 0 – PENN STATE 89 Referee: Tom Zanarini
CMA, Vallejo, CA
AR: Eric Rauscher
Mid-week rugby is a nice treat. It helps break up the week, work on some referee skills, get some good speed work in and just enjoy a bonus day of rugby. Being a native Pennsylvanian, I was keen to referee one of Penn State's matches on their spring break tour. Back in my college days, Penn State was our (Slippery Rock University's) big rival, when PSU played in the Allegheny Rugby Union. My freshman year we fought Penn St. to a 16-6 loss in the ARU tournament final, earning a second seed birth to the Midwest Championships. Another fond memory was the 1995 league match where The Rock fought Penn St. to a seven point loss. Penn St. went on to the final four that year. Later while living in Austin, TX I ran into an Austin Black (I was a Hun, surprising that we even spoke) who played on that Penn St. team. He stated we were the toughest team they played until the semi-final. The Rock being what it was, that was our best game of the year, no coach, barely any funding and a third place finish in ARU (IUP finished second, bastards) meant no post season for us.

What was I saying? Oh, yeah, so I really wanted to ref Penn St. When I saw they were coming to Cal, I was just going to go to the game and enjoy a match from the sideline for once. Later in the season Pete assigned me to the Cal v Penn St. match. Cool! I'd love to. Then one of my development applications was appealed to the City Council and assigned to the March 4 agenda. Thanks Mr. _______. You are a true jag-off. Luckily Penn St. wrapped up their tour at Cal Maritime, so got my wish.

I suppose my intro is so long because the score, being what it was, doesn't leave much to the imagination. CMA played hard, but not to Penn State's level. I'd blame the size of CMA's student body being about the size of some of Penn State's Biology 101 classes, but the St. Mary's match renders that argument void. Main points: CMA played TO the rucks, PSU played THROUGH the rucks. CMA threatened a couple of times, even having a maul held up in goal. All in all a fun match on CMA awesome new field.
Since I did ref at Cal on Saturday I feel I can comment that Maritime's field turf is better in that the the 'grass' is longer with a bit more of the rubber (cancerous? We'll all find out later) pellets. It is dually lined with soccer stripes, the only fault I can find.

Thanks to Eric Rauscher, who is always willing to fly the AR flag. Best wishes to Preston who was the other assigned AR, but the softball welt on his leg received while refereeing is still in swelling mode.


Maritime Academy 17 – St. Mary's (thirds?) 17 Referee: Petti (Calgary)


EPA BULLDOGS 53 – Olympic Club 22 Referee: Paul Bretz

Sac Lions 0 – OPSB 61 Referee: Petti (Calgary)

Barbarians 5 – SFGG 88 Referee: Rich Anderson

Seconds: Barbarians 0 – SFGG 51 Ref: Anderson

Santa Rosa – Sac Caps Referee: Nome Tiatia
Referee Coach: Mike Malone
No report received.

DIABLO GAELS 50 – Fresno 27 Referee: John Coppinger
This match was played on the new turf fields in the Wilder Ranch development in Orinda above Highway 24 just east of the Caldecott Tunnel. Field 2 is lined for rugby!

Gaels stormed out to a big lead 30-0 lead at half only to lose their shape and discipline (resulting in two yellow cards) in the second half allowing Fresno to make a match out of it.

Seconds: Gaels – Fresno Referee: Dave Pescetti
Referee Coach: John Coppinger
No report received.

CHICO MIGHTY OAKS 31 – Vacaville 26 Referee: Cary Bertolone
At Bidwell Jr High in Chico
I arrived at the field to see a game in progress with large crowds, tents, rugby gear for sale, etc. Chico had the 10-12 year olds playing, and then the 13-14 year olds. I hear they have a team for under 10's, also. Impressive to watch. As I was warming up, I heard and saw one 10 year old tell his parents he preferred to wear his rugby jersey to lunch, rather than changing.

I expected a close game for the Chico vs Vacaville match and that is certainly what I got. Chico started out with a converted try. Vacaville then took control with their long 50-60 meter kicks and scored three trys to take a 19-7 lead. In the last five minutes of the half, Chico's backs exploded for two long tries and the score at the half was 19-19. In the second half, each side scored a converted try and played stout defense, so it was 26-26 with 5 minutes to go when Chico's outside center broke for a 70 meter run. He was tackled into the try zone and I was about 20 meters behind, but I saw the ball take a high bounce after they hit the ground, looking like he might have dropped the ball before he was able to touch it down. It was a hard decision and anti crowd pleasing, but I called a knock on as I did not see it get touched down and that big bounce looked suspicious.

The next five minutes were played at a furious pace. With one minute to go, Vacaville had a touch back and took the 22 meter drop kick with their players offside. I called last play with 15 seconds to go. Both teams retained possession with multiple phases during the next two minutes. I thought Vacaville had better continuity and if they didn't knock it on, might be hard to stop. Then, the ball squirted out of a ruck, Chico picked it up, made three sweet passes and their same outside center that almost scored before, fought his way in for the winning try at about the 42 minute mark What a game!

After the match, curious about the almost try I called a knock from 20 meters behind, I got the expected " it bounced so high cause I slammed it down" and when I said "bullshit, I know you didn't get a chance to slam it down", he smiled and said I might have made the right call. I got a little lucky with that one. I should not have been 20 meters behind, but hey, they were pretty fast.

SEAHAWKS 36 – Baracus 23 Referee: Jordan Bruno
Referee Coach: Mike King
The Seahawks and Baracus squared off for an intense match with playoff implications. Due to rain earlier in the week, the field was wet and the turf loose. From the start, ball security and passing would be the determining factors in declaring a victor. Baracus started off well, scoring a couple of early tries off of Seahawks penalties committed near the ruck. The Seahawks recovered before half, using forwards to pull in the defensive line and using the quickness of their wing and fullback to run in four tries before the half. The second half was much slower than the start, as both teams knocked on and used the boot to play for field possession. Many thanks to Mike King for providing insightful and wise comments following the match.

Seconds: SEAHAWKS – Baracus Referee: Mike King
The trip to the South Bay boded well as the sun shone down following a few days of rain and showers. The pitch was well marked and nice size, with short grass. It looked in perfect shape until you started to walk on it. The drainage seemed to be non-existent as leftover water from rain or sprinklers marred the otherwise near-perfect conditions.

Handling suffered due to the wet and muddy ball, and scrums became the norm. One player inquired if they had reached a record for scrums. I replied not quite, and I had worse, but only when it was actually pouring and the mud came up to the players’ knees. Nonetheless, we moved scrums several meters over at times to try to find less slippery ground. Both sides played hard all the way through the match which was somewhat a see-saw affair. Seahawks burst out to a 22-5 half-time lead, to see that shrink to only 4 point lead in the second half; the Hawks pulling away again, but Baracus pushing forward to force a score near the end due to repeated offside by the Seahawks.

During the match, I twice had to ask the rhetorical question to the Hawks captain when his side scored a try, as I was being reminded by his teammates that there was a penalty 25 meters back - “Would you like the try, or should we take the ball back to the spot of the penalty?”

Good work by both sides.

Colusa – Redwood Referee: Favor Taueva
No report received.

HUMBOLDT OLD GROWTH 81 – State of Jefferson 5 Referee: Eric Rauscher
This was the strangest game I have done yet up in Humboldt. It was sunny and warm enough for me to work up a good sweat by halftime.

The score pretty much summed up the game. State of Jefferson is a second year club with no coach and only two players that have ever played rugby before. Humboldt was able to establish multi-phase play, while SOJ was pretty much a crash off of each ruck.

This was the third week in a row that I got to observe part of what makes this game so attractive to me. SOJ only showed up with 17 players.

I checked with the captain of Humboldt at half time to see if they would be willing to lend players to SOJ, who had already used both of their subs.

He said yes of course. Four min into the second half, one of the players that came in as a sub for SOJ was injured (I suspect with broken ribs, he was taken to the hospital). The SOJ captain asked if the person he had subbed could come back in again. I asked if he was front row, he said no, so I said no. I then brought up the possibility of Humboldt "lending" them a player. The response was no, we will just play a man down. The Humboldt captain then on his own decided to drop off one of their players so as not to put SOJ at a further disadvantage, I shook his hand, That is the spirit of the game.

At the social afterwards, the player who scored the try for SOJ was introduced to the ritual of the boot. I also asked several of his team-mates if they had enjoyed the game even though they got pounded. They said yes

SHASTA 58 – Mendocino 0 Referee: Matt Hetterman
Beautiful day to play rugby - bright blue sky, perfect temperature. Unfortunately, only 8 guys from Mendocino showed up to play. Shasta gave them all six of their subs, and we played 80 minutes of rugby. Close to halftime, Shasta lost their super-speedy outside center, which brought us back to 14-on-14.

Warm welcome by all to me, and I look forward to making it back up for the annual XV's tournament in the fall.

Vallejo 17 – SIERRA FOOTHILLS 38 Referee: Bruce Ricard
The first half was pretty much one sided: Vallejo was too undisciplined and was thus giving a lot of balls back to Sierra Foothills who was attacking the whole half. They tried to kick a couple penalties, but their kicker wasn't lucky, so they decided not to kick anymore, and go for tries. They scored 3 of them in the first half, leading 17 to nothing at half time. At the 3rd minute of the second half, Sierra is once again attacking in Vallejo's half, but Vallejo gets the ball and starts counter attacking towards the try line. After a few passes, the ball carrier is tackled 2m from the try line, and a ruck forms. A Sierra Foothill player falls in the ruck, and grabs the ball, which becomes unplayable. The player is temporarily suspended, and play restarts with a penalty 5m from the line. On the next play, Vallejo scored their first try. The second half was very balanced, both teams scored three tries. Both teams were pretty disciplined in the second half, except for a Vallejo player who thought it was smart to threaten the referee, and was sent off.
Final score: Vallejo 17 - Sierra Foothills 38.

Stanislaus 24 – BLACKHAWKS 57 Referee: Giles Wilson
Stanislaus Harlots hosted Sacramento Blackhawks in Turlock, many new or young players were in evidence on both sides which is very encouraging.

Stanislaus are rebuilding and introducing new players this year which is hard, Blackhawks were a new team last year and seem to be drawing a number of young players. Stanislaus were able to "produce" in patches both offensively and defensively but struggles to maintain a standard - as they are rebuilding the balance between experienced players who know where gaps are (but can't get to them) and new, young players who could get there but don't yet see the spaces can cause frustration. The good patches saw good defense and the ability to score four decent tries (two converted) split evenly between each half.

Blackhawks are drawing from both brand new players but also from those with HS experience, which means that they can use their experienced players judiciously (and they can expend energy similarly). Blackhawks scored nine tries with six converted (should have been ten but a new whippet of a winger ran himself past the dead ball line trying to center, while being pursued - lesson learnt).

Monterey Bay 5 – SFGG 29 Referee: Tom Zanarini
Great rugby day near the coast. SFGG was so excited to get to the match that they forgot their jerseys. Luckily they all had team tech shirts but lacked numbers on the back. Match was competitive with Golden Gate staying on the gas the whole match. Spirited rugby played by gentleman.

SOUTH VALLEY 53 – San Francisco Fog 12 Referee: James Hinkin
After reading Dr. Carter’s account of the South Valley home field I was looking forward to this fixture – more accurately to the post-match social. A rugby field nestled in a California vineyard hosting a tightly contested match followed by tacos made to order and beer for the taking. I could already hear the sizzle of taco fillings on the grill as players tried to explain in great detail how they could never have been off side, being the righteous paragons that they are, and how I must have been mistaken *chomp* *chomp* *slurp* and that they didn’t really hold it against me as I was only a referee *slurp* *chomp* and I couldn’t really understand what it was like to be a player being only a D3 ref *slurp* *slurp* *chomp* *burp* ‘scuse me.

Then I got an email telling me the field was unavailable and the game was moved to Treasure Island. Sigh…

Now don’t get me wrong – this wasn’t a complete tragedy. San Francisco was at her gaudy best under a cloudless spring (ok, technically winter) sky with temps in the high 60s. Sailboats dotted the bay and rugby was in the air. I arrived an hour before kickoff to see 2 teams hard at work. Kathy Flores had her Foggy boys energetically warming up so I wandered over to the other team hitting tackling bags with gusto… only to find out that it was Berkeley having a bye week training session. South Valley did show up in plenty of time, however, and we kicked off precisely at 1:00 and I awarded a penalty try at 1:03. This one was straight out of the law book as South Valley was on the attack immediately and worked their way into the 22. A few more phases got them closer to the goal line when the ball was spun wide to the SV wing with only his opposite to beat. The defender met the ball carrier about 2 meters short of the goal line with a tackle around the neck and resulted in the penalty try. No particular malice, just inexperience, but not much choice there. The game continued with South Valley dominating proceedings scoring 5 tries (3 converted) to the Fog’s 1. Halftime score: South Valley 31 - SF Fog 5.

The second half was much more balanced with the Fog sorting out some scrum issues and moving some players around but they couldn’t stop South Valley consistently. SV ran in 4 more tries (1 converted) to the Fog’s lone response to put the game safely away. Both sides played with heart and good spirit but the southern lads had an advantage in size, speed and rugby nous. The Fog seemed to have a young team so I expect this to change in the future.

Cal Poly SLO 31 – ST. MARY'S COLLEGE 41 Referee: Aruna Ranaweera
Assistant Referees: Andy Doukas, Paul Phillips (SoCal)
On my drive to San Luis Obispo, the Britannia Arms in Cupertino turned out to be a good place to watch the 2nd half of the Ireland v France 6N match. In SLO, the two remaining unbeaten teams in the California D1A league met to decide first place. Both teams played committed, enterprising rugby, but also made mistakes at inopportune times. Cal Poly took a 24-19 lead into half-time thanks to sloppy tackling by SMC. With the wind at their back in the 2nd half, SMC broke ahead 41-24 and held off the home team's late match rally to earn a hard-fought victory by 7 tries to 5.

Andy Doukas’ report:
I hope all is well! A lot of great rugby this past weekend.

There was a successful referees clinic held in Santa Barbara; I think 9 from the Central Coast attended the level 1 certification.

Is it ok for some to affiliate with the Pelicans due to their region they participate in?

I refereed two matches and AR'd the title match Saturday.

Cal Poly Alumni – Cal Poly 4th Side Referee: Andy Doukas
Score: A lot of trys to a lot of trys
A crowd pleasing game before the big conference title match between Cal Poly and Saint Mary's. A strong wind gave the advantage to the Cal Poly Alumni, they came out scoring many and quickly. The 2nd half was a closer contest as the older fellahs faded and the young lads kicked for field position. An open and very spirited game!

Thirds: Cal Poly 7 – SAINT MARY’S 42 Ref: Doukas
A close contest for the 1st half, Poly 7 and St. Mary's 5. The 2nd half was all St. Mary's with some good kicks and ball movement.

SAN DIEGO STATE 40 – 14 Sac State Referee: Phil Akroyd
A/Rs: Adam Haley, Val Griffeth
Performance Reviewer: Jay Trello
Due to the inclement San Diego "weather", the game was moved from a 1pm kick-off on the grass fields, to a 5pm kick-off on the turf fields. As a result, I spent the majority of the day nursing my head cold at the residence of Jay and Marty. It worked out very well - watched the Ireland V France game, then a little spot of lunch. If you ever get to be hosted by Jay, be warned that he is an excellent cook and the chicken tortilla soup went down very well.

After the ensuing naps, it was time to head out to the field. The weather was shaping up pretty well and the cloud had cleared, leaving a sunny yet cool evening for college rugby. The turf field was fast and close to full size, but looked like an explosion in a Valspar [paint] factory, with red, yellow, white and black painted lines for football, soccer, lacrosse and rugby, in addition to the 10'x10' Aztecs logo.

Sac State played better than their 0-3 record suggested, but SDSU scored at 8', 23', 29' and just before the break, leaving it 26-0 at half. I suspected that the Aztecs would seal the deal early in the second half but the Hornets played in the second half like they should have in the whole game (the second half total was actually tied at 14-14). They grabbed the first two tries of the half, bringing it back to 26-14 after an interception try, however SDSU rolled in the subs and scored a couple more tries to put it out of contention.

Given the changed kick-off time there was a quick costume change pitch side, then off to the airport and with sweat still in my hair, time for a Stone IPA at the gate before heading back north.

Santa Clara 17 – UC SANTA BARBARA 33 Referee: Terry Helmer

Seconds: Santa Clara 26 – UCSB 52 Ref: Helmer

SAN JOSE STATE 50– Nevada 22 Referee: Tony Levitan

Fresno State 14 – UCSC 26 Referee: Jeff Jury

CHICO STATE 98 – SF State 10 Referee: Jim Crenshaw
Nice day, great drive with all of the fruit trees in bloom on the way, but the match was a blow out.

SIERRA COLLEGE 15 – Santa Rosa JC 14 Referee: Rich Boyer

SONOMA STATE 98 – CSU Monterey Bay 19 Referee: Bruce Bernstein
Beautiful campus with rugby pitch in the middle of it. Great crowd & Sonoma State started just as impressively scoring 3 tries within the first 6 minutes & not letting up from there.

They had players at each position helping; good props, great hooker, 2nd rows, a flanker who scored 4 tries; inside center ran wild breaking the gain line each time he got the ball & a real fast but raw winger.

They scored more points than I ever reffed; but CSUMB came up with 3 nice tries of its own with the help of their elusive outside center (for 2) & tough scrumhalf for the other one.

Also a beautiful drive for anyone with as much time as I had to take Old Redwood Hwy both directions through Cotati & Petaluma for some BBQ oysters & tri tip.

Stanford women – ALL BLUES Referee: Pete Smith

Stanford 26 – UC DAVIS 45 Referee: George O'Neil
ARs: Pete Smith, Bruce Carter

Stanford seconds 19 – JAMES MADISON 101 Referee: Bruce Carter
Going over to introduce myself to the visiting team’s coach, I was surprised to find that I didn’t need to and suddenly the whole idea of JMU’s tour made sense: it was Mark Lambourne, who used to play for the O Club and captained Cal in the mid-eighties.

He was better known as ‘Beej’, a feisty hooker. Refs will remember.

His guys had played on Monday and Wednesday, and had a long training session at Cal on Thursday. Coming out of the snow of Harrisburg, Virginia, they hit their stride in their third game against Stanford’s seconds.

We’re fortunate out here in the Golden State: the playoffs come at the end of the season. These guys played in the autumn, qualified for playoffs in October/November, and then have to participate in those playoffs from a cold start (unless they go on tour!).

I think they’ll have some momentum to carry over from this victory.

NEVADA women over SF BATS by forfeit Referee: Russ Wilkening
The BATS women didn't have enough healthy players to travel, so the game didn't happen. I did receive a couple days notice, though.

UCSC women 7 – Humboldt State 5 Referee: Neil MacDonald
With both teams undefeated in conference play, having accumulated lots of tries, this last match of the regular season was set to be the decider. We took the beautifully prepared field at UCSC under glorious sunshine. Both teams got off to a tight start, with open play interrupted by knock-ons and turnovers frequently. It took 22 minutes for the first score, with UCSC's scrum half crossing under the posts. HSU replied with a try from sustained pressure on 38 minutes, despite the best efforts of UCSC defenders to get hands under the ball. Missed conversion, so 7-5 UCSC at half time.

In the second half, neither team's wings could find their way round the outside, and the line breaks were hauled down without getting clear. UCSC came close to extending their lead twice, held up over the line both times, before HSU turned them over on 5m scrum and relieved the pressure. As the game went on, both teams struggled to stay onside at rucks, and earned warnings. Deep in the UCSC 22 and late in the game, UCSC's flanker went to the bin to reflect on what "back foot" means. With only 2 points in it, HSU pushed hard but lost the ball, before infringing again themselves and getting their own card. With both sides contesting fiercely for the ball, time ran out for HSU to get the score they needed, and an eventful but scoreless second half came to an end.


ROSA 23 – Marin 19 Referee: Cary Bertolone
Friday night at Cardinal Newman in Santa Rosa
A barn burner on Friday night, under the lights.

This game started out with Santa Rosa backs running fast and long and Marin missing tackles as the kids from Rosa scored three first half tries for a 17-7 half time lead. In the second half, Marin scored 2 tries and Rosa nailed two penalty conversions and the score was 23-19. With minutes to go, Rosa passed up an easy penalty attempt that would have given them a nice lead. Marin held them up in the try zone and then, with a kick, a chase, a few nice passes, took the ball to their side of the field. A penalty on Rosa and Marin had their chances, but couldn't score and Rosa won this very close game 23-19. I think out of 5 previous matches between these programs, that I have reffed, that was the first time I've seen Rosa beat Marin (I could be wrong about that).

BERKELEY girls 58 – Chico 5 Referee: Bruce Ricard
The girls didn’t seem to have a lot of experience and there were 4 knock-ons per minute: if I wasn't told this was a game of rugby, I might have had a hard time figuring it out.

But the players were very focused and motivated though, and seemed very happy to play this game, which I believe is the point of any sport, so it was a good experience.

Still, a lot of work to do for both teams.

Granite Bay Varsity Silver 22 – Lancers 14 (Half time 12-7): Referee: Neil MacDonald
Relocated to Rancho Cordova due to field issues in Granite Bay, we kicked off on an overcast but dry evening, and succeeded in getting the match in before either darkness or rain fell. Granite Bay has a great pick and drive game, and opened the scoring on 3 minutes. Lancers, a younger team with a lot of potential and spirit, tied it up at 7-7 before Granite Bay got their noses in front 12-7, and hung on to that lead until half time. Granite Bay extended their lead to ten points, before one of their number earned a red card for a tip tackle. Granite Bay scored while a man down taking it to 22-7. Lancers kept their heads up and played committed rugby throughout. Ten minutes from time, Lancers spun the ball wide after several phases, and with a try beckoning their winger was felled just short of the line by a high tackle by the last covering defender. Penalty try, successfully converted, and yellow card. Granite Bay, now at 13 players, absorbed Lancer's pressure, and defended the win. Classy player of the match ceremony after the match.

Dixon Varsity Gold 33 – Bishop O'Dowd 5 (Half time 12-0): Referee: Neil MacDonald
AR: Anthony Nguyen
Referee Coach: Jim Crenshaw
On a bitterly cold evening, Dixon hosted Bishop O'Dowd under the lights. Anthony Nguyen, graciously agreed to bundle up in his cold weather gear and stay to AR after his match, Given the temperature, the ref was thankful to both teams that this was a fast game, and grateful for all the running. Dixon - looking a very complete team - opened the scoring in 5 minutes, and added a converted try from a scrum in the Bishop O'Dowd 22 on 18 minutes. 12-0 at half time. Bishop O'Dowd played hard, but conceded three converted tries before finally being rewarded for their commitment and their persistence with the last try of the game. Cracking game of rugby. It was great to see the respect between the players in the player of the game conversation after the match. Jim Crenshaw went well beyond the call in staying to coach on such a cold night and providing helpful, specific and practical feedback to the shivering ref after the match. Many thanks to Anthony and to Jim.


For the Senate
Pelicus Scriptoris

Wednesday, March 06, 2013




Penn State and James Madison are both in Pelicanland for some spring break rugby, and will be playing this evening.

Want to AR or be a fourth official? Contact the ref.

6 PM: California hosting James Madison. Bruce Ricard.
7 PM: Maritime Academy hosting Penn State. Tom Zanarini.

James Madison will have one more game, against Stanford at 4 PM Saturday.


Friday, March 1
Cardinal Newman High School, Santa Rosa
Referee: Joe Leisek
SANTA ROSA 22 – Oakland Warthogs 7
The first game for the visitors since the tragic auto accident that claimed the lives of David Moa, Soasi Moa, Malia Moa and Rachel Fisi'iahi, and injured Hunter Halatoa. A pre-game meeting between the teams and coaches featured a prayer written by the hosts and read by one of their players, and a new haka performed by the visitors in honor of their late teammates and friends. A very touching moment and a privilege to have been present. This really is the game they play in heaven.

The game itself was emotional but the players were very controlled. Lots of passing and running straight into contact, wide open play and excellent defense. A fun game to watch up close. Ultimately, Santa Rosa made the most of their opportunities and took advantage of a couple of momentary defensive lapses to score three tries. The Warthogs scored a try in the second half after multiple rucks and mauls, a grinding out of yards until finally one of the forwards touched down in goal. A very competitive match and a pleasure to referee.

Saturday, March 2
Russell Fields, Davis
STANFORD Women 45 – UC Davis Women 3 Referee: Joe Leisek
Assistant Referee: Don Walsh
Referee Coach: Scott Wood
An injury to assigned referee Scott Wood yielded my first NCRFU match in three years. That feeling of being in the middle of intense competition was back, as these two teams went at each other from the start. Stanford has size and speed and strength, and they build some serious structure into multiple phases of play. Stanford ball carriers will stop short their running lines in search of contact and a good spot to present clean ball. Arriving players have the drive and size to keep opponents at bay. Still, the home side counter-rucked effectively (as did Stanford). The first half featured two converted Stanford tries to a Davis penalty kick. The second half was all Stanford, as they ran in five tries while keeping the hosts scoreless. Overall, the Stanford game was balanced and relentless, with tries scored by powerful forwards and speedy backs. Thanks to Don Walsh for his assistance and to Scott for his helpful coaching tips.


SFGG is having a golf outing/fund raiser in Pacifica on April 19 (a Friday). Any referees wanting to enter a foursome, give Tom Zanarini an email at:


Friday, March 1
ST. MARY’S 59 – Penn State 10 Referee: Pete Smith
ARs: Mike King, Tom Wright

Seconds: ST. MARY’S 49 – Penn St 10 Referee: Matt Hetterman
ARs: Mike King, Tom Wright
I had the luxury of real AR's, and a bit of referee coaching. Cut out of work early, made it in time to see the second half of the first side match (a real drubbing, I hear the first half was closer).

Second side was more of the same - some semblance of parity in the forwards, but line break after line break in the backs.

Game called about 10 minutes early due to darkness. Thanks to the AR's for sticking around after running for Pete in the first side, and for Pete watching me and giving me some pointers.

Saturday, March 2
Barbarians 10 – OLYMPIC CLUB 36 Referee: John Coppinger
Seconds: Barbarians – Olympic Club Referee

EPA Razorbacks 20 – SAC LIONS 27 Referee: Bruce Ricard

SFGG 84 – East Palo Alto Bulldogs 7 Referee: Phil Akroyd
ARs: Jen Tetler, Dave Newport

Seconds: SFGG 34 – EPA BULLDOGS 41 Referee: Bruce Bernstein
This one was knotted almost the whole match; 17-17 half; then SFGG would pull ahead a few times, 24-17, tied, 29-24, tied again, 34-29; and the Bulldogs pulled ahead at the end with two tries by long solo runs. SFGG had some great play by both their #8 who seemed to win every scrum down somehow & take it up; and hooker who not only stole almost every hook, caught every almost everyone of his team's kickoffs.

SFGG had about 2 minutes to make a comeback to score & potentially tie it again, which they almost did except their real fast winger knocked the ball on while attempting to dive in from about 3 meters out--match over!

Sac Caps 24 – DIABLO GAELS 78 Referee: Neil MacDonald
The Capitals hosted the Olde Gaels on a muggy, overcast afternoon at Power Inn Rd. On the foundation of their solid pack, Sacramento scored first, and added a second to go 12-0 up after nine minutes. Then Diablo, spinning the ball wide, turned the screw with hard running back play, scoring six tries before half time, and taking a 12-36 lead into the break. Diablo scored again early in second half, extending their lead, before one of their number earned ten minutes of reflection for flagrantly preventing Sacramento taking a quick tap penalty 5m from Diablo's goal line, right in front of the referee. The Capitals profited from his absence to score two tries, narrowing the score to 22-36 with fifteen minutes remaining. In the final phase of the game, as Sacramento pressed to close the gap, Diablo cut loose and stretched clear with another five tries to put the match away. Thanks to Sacramento for excellent post-match hospitality.

Fresno 10 – SANTA ROSA 50 Referee: Pete Smith

SEAHAWKS 79 – Chico 10 Referee: Bruce Carter
This game was a lot of fun, for two reasons: I had thought I was going to be out of refereeing for a while, and it was like old times.

Two weeks ago I didn’t follow the first rule of mountain biking: stay on the bike. I’ve got three adjacent ribs which are cracked on my right side where the Earth didn’t yield as I flopped onto it after a nice downhill launch, very unceremoniously, and to the consternation of some other rider witnesses. You know those injuries where you can run but you can’t walk? I can ref but it still hurts to lie down or to sit (as in driving).

Knowing of the rash of injuries decimating our Pelican ranks, I thought the worst thing that can happen is I have to walk around. We’ve all had that ref, and he’s better than nothing.

The old times part – I hadn’t refereed the Seahawks in quite a while. Over the years, I’ve probably refereed them as much as any team. They are a club in the old sense, guys who hang around together and know each other’s families even outside rugby. And consequently I know a lot of them. They also have good attendance, including 80-year-old Larry with his drum and a woman whose name I should know pouring Dark ‘N Stormys.

This is not the Chico team I remember, when they were our bitter rival (usually a fight) at Monterey. But that was before most of today’s players were born.

Chico scored first, after controlling the ball for two and a half minutes, but then managed only one more try, that one in the second half.

The Seahawks’ flankers both penetrated the defense repeatedly while the backs went over (with kicks) and around to great effect.

SEAHAWKS seconds 29 – South Valley 12 Referee: Bob Polito

BA BARACUS 30 – Vacaville 21 Referee: Kevin Donnelly
Location - M.L. Ward Rec Center Field
Despite the rough surface of the field, the game was played fast and open but with a mix of periods of close forward play. Back and forth in the first half, both teams scored two alternating tries each with conversions by Vacaville giving them a 14 - 10 lead at half. The first 15 minutes of the second half were scrappy and irregular as the game lost its cohesion. But following a try each, the game was still close enough to be fully competitive as both teams settled into aggressive offense patterns as they went for the upper hand. Baracus pulled ahead with a late try and then sealed the victory with a penalty kick at the final whistle. A good game with well worked tries, average penalty count and no cards.

Seconds: Baracus 10 – VACAVILLE 22 Ref: Donnelly
The B side game was similarly competitive but with some rookie mistakes. Vacaville B were convincing winners 22 -10.

Mendocino 5 – COLUSA 70 Referee: Giles Wilson
Mendocino hosted Colusa County in Ukiah. Mendo had a limited number of players while Colusa had players and supporters to spare - nice to have traveling support.

A three week gap between games had played havoc with Mendo's players and they started with 14 before a rookie made them up to 15. They were no match for an organized and hard running Colusa who punched in 6 first half tries with 3 converted.

The second half saw Mendo down to 14 players before an injury took them down to 13 (one of the Colusa reserves filled this gap to bring Mendo back to 14). Another 6 tries from Colusa, 2 converted, to a single consolation try made up a final scoreline of 70 - 5.

State of Jefferson Elite 0 – SHASTA 78 Referee: Kevin Parks
The Shasta boys should be commended for their help in educating a SOJ prop who was playing his first game. We ran a few uncontested scrums until he was trained up. This is the type of play that elevates our game for everyone.

One yellow card to SOJ for not wrapping. The player apologized to me about 17 times. SOJ are improving.

REDWOOD EMPIRE 71 – Humboldt Old Growth 0 Referee: Stephen Valerio
Sometimes the score just reflects the game. One side dominated the set-pieces, with a heavy penalty count favoring them. But when the other side’s backs can run rampant through your backline, it can lead to a long afternoon.

The weather was a little overcast at Pete's Sake Field, but it was comfortable. My day lready to go. However, it was for girl's match that was kicking off late. This pushed back our kick-off 30 minutes, but everyone dealt with it in good spirits. Humboldt traveled down with 15, with a late player showing up in the second half (which means he probably would have missed all the proceedings if we kicked off on time. I don't know if he was relieved or surprised to play). Redwood's backs cut-up the Humboldt backs all day. However, the score line would have been even more lopsided if Redwood didn't have so much trouble at the set pieces, with plenty of free kicks mixed in with a penalty count that heavily favored the visitors. Humboldt eschewed some early chances for points to either go to touch or quick tap. Unfortunately, they couldn't consistently get numbers which meant Redwood could poach the ball or exploit the advantage from knock-ons to counter. By the half Redwood had put down 6 tries and then 7 more in the second half. The only relief for Humboldt came from many misfires on the conversions, with only 3 first half tries being converted. To their credit, Humboldt played enterprising to the end, getting to within the Redwood 22 in the waning minutes, but an isolated ball carrier led to a turnover, and appropriately, a Redwood counter from deep in their end to score a final try.

With matches like this, they can get out of hand with player frustration, but excluding an early high tackle with a couple of late players joining in for some shoving and the ensuing roundtable on the Peloponnesian War, both clubs played the match in good spirits. Redwood hospitality allowed me to try the spam and rice evidently popular with the Islanders. Another new rugby experience to end the day.

Blackhawks – Vallejo
Apparently this was played as a friendly, the assigned referee not showing up.

Please check Pelicanrefs to get your assignments. There are scores of games, and as many changes, and it’s not possible to hold so many hands at the same time.

Reno – Stanislaus Referee: Jim Crenshaw
No report received.

Sierra seconds – McGeorge
Don’t know if this one happened.

Fog 11 – MONTEREY BAY 14 Referee: Jen Tetler
Evaluator: Mike Malone
This game started out pretty fast and competitive with both teams going back and forth on the pitch. There were lots of penalties (which I probably should have started carding for earlier in the game) and the Fog took advantage of two of them to score some points in the first half as well as an unconverted try. There was one Aptos breakaway in the first half for a try and conversion.

The second half started getting ugly with some testosterone getting in the way of actual rugby playing. Some scuffles and punches thrown warranted some yellow cards. Again, not quite enough to bring down the anger. Somewhere midway in the second half, Aptos got a second try and conversion. Though the Fog tried valiantly to get the ball and get it going forward for a try, even with the help of some penalties from Aptos, they were unsuccessful. The final score was Fog 11 and Aptos 14.

CALIFORNIA 80 – U. of Arizona 14 Referee: Tom Zanarini
Assistant Referees: Rob Hendrickson, Tom Wright
Witter Rugby Field, U. California, Berkeley
As you've surely already heard, Witter Field is up and running. The turf is a bit shorter than the stadium field turf, but very suitable for rugby. Arizona flew in Friday night, so were well rested for the match. The day started at the usual level of excellence when visiting Berkeley. The referee liaison, Ross, met me before I got out of my car. He shadowed me and was of great assistance throughout the day's events. I asked for electrical tape and had it in hand in less than 5 seconds. Good man! He's a former player and volunteer, giving back to the team that obviously gave him much pride. Little things like this help make Cal Rugby the big thing that it is. On to the match!

Most match reports with scores like this start out with, "the team played better than the score dictates," and such. Well, Arizona put up a fight. They took quick taps, including one from a kickoff after a Cal score, which dang near scored a try. The last series of the day was Arizona winning a ruck, charging 20 meters, winning a penalty, quick tap, charge down field, ruck, ruck, try! Cal played excellent rugby and deserved every point they got. Arizona did stop a couple tries, being held up and such. Cal had a few uncommon penalties, double movement, verbal dissent (!) and such. Still, they played at the level and on the edge, just were we want them. An excellent day of rugby that registered 4 miles on my Garmin. Thanks to Rich Boyer and gang for the after match refreshments and to Rob, Tom and B side referee Matt for a quick pint in Oakland before heading home.

Seconds: CALIFORNIA 114 – U. of Arizona 0 Referee: Matt Hetterman
ARs: Rob Hendrickson, Tom Wright
Second time in 2 days - luxury of AR's! Match felt closer than the scoreline showed, but not by much. I got lots of practice saying "advantage over" as Cal broke the gainline over and over. I'm tired just thinking about this match.

Only 60 minutes of play, as Arizona had a flight to catch. Upon reflection, this does not count as the highest rate of scoring match in my refereeing career - that dubious distinction belongs to a 2011 SCRFU U19 girls playoff match that ended 147-0 on 70 minutes!

My first trip to Strawberry Canyon - great rugby setup (not that I expected anything less.)

Thanks again to the AR's for sticking around after the first side, and then meeting for beers after fighting the Berkeley traffic!

ST. MARY’S 74 – Santa Clara 8 Referee: George O'Neil

Seconds: ST. MARY’S 113 – Santa Clara 5 Referee: Peter Sandhill

UC Davis 3 – SAN DIEGO STATE 25 Referee: Aruna Ranaweera
In D1A league play, SDSU and UCD displayed entertaining rugby with multiple, contested phases and plenty of ball movement. The Aztecs held the advantage in possession, territory, and tactics and were able to touch down 5 times.

Seconds: UC Davis 2 San Diego State 2

Sac St – Cal Poly Referee: Kurt Weaver
Seconds: Sac St 7 – CAL POLY 92 Referee: Tom Franzoia
The final score was Cal Poly 92 - CSUS 7, with a little bit of running. CSUS is young and brought several new players to the pitch, it became a little sloppy at the breakdown towards the end due to their inexperience. Play was fair and clean throughout the match with some ball mishandling and it was Cal Poly on the outside all day.

SF State 7 – UC SANTA CRUZ 38 Referee: Bryant Byrnes
A late Saturday match at the Fog's TI field. Both sides had good numbers, good manners (which count), and splendid enthusiasm.

The Slugs were clearly the more veteran side, but had a dreadful case of knock-on-itis the first half. And State did not concede a thing. It was UCSC up by 12-7 at half. However, the Slugs sorted it out and in the second half used quick and clean ball to the backs to good effect. As the State coach said, with a sigh, you can’t do much if you don't have the ball.

Sierra College – San Jose State Referee: Rich Anderson
No report received.

NEVADA 52 – Santa Rosa JC 33 Referee: Ray Schwartz
John Sala IM Fields, UNR
I reffed a neat little high school match early Friday afternoon (Rio Linda beat Al Arqam 26-12) in Sacramento, then rolled to West Roseville to watch young Jacob Lashmett handle Woodcreek v Elk Grove (one way traffic for Woodcreek) where I saw old friends Arona Palamo, Brad Chaboya, John Brennan and Ian Sherman. On to Reno... for a nice, relaxed drive up the hill, with the promise of a comfy bed at the end of the trail. Coming into the Biggest Little City, the full moon was stunning, half poking out of the clouds above.

Bruce Anderson, the former UNR coach, is now flying down to Palm Springs for work building a new Marriott Resort there. He was kind enough to offer shelter and some friendship. We got up in time Saturday to head down to Foley's and watch the Stormers v Sharks Super Rugby match w/ John Brill (no tries scored?!), and old stories flew round and round. Bruce insists... if any ref needed to stay overnight, please look him up!

So it was a relaxing morning, and off to UNR for the match, where two teams were gathered and readying for battle as I arrived 45 minutes prior to kick off. Got the match started on time, and brick by brick Reno built a lead in the first half, scoring the first two, and then the last two tries. I found the game frustrating to ref. I had never seen anything quite like this before.

I had seen Baracus unwilling to contest the tackle and set a ruck, choosing to play the game out wide. But here, both teams would not ruck, and the tackling wasn't very good either! Lots of arms but rarely a shoulder involved in a tackle. I penalized for exceedingly slow 'turtle ball' a couple times and so got the players to adjust that part of their game. But as no defender would come in, I was reluctant to penalize the attacking team for sealing off. Later that night, my 'ref coach' Kat laughed when I told of this plight, and suggested what might have been a decent corrective action. I might have blown up such a moment and called it unplayable. Not penalizing, but explaining what I was hoping to see at the tackle. I am not the coach, and can't get them to play if they don't want to, but it sure seemed like I needed to something to develop a better contest at the tackle. Anyone else with thoughts on this?

Anyway... I felt if the JC would just start rucking, the advantage of their physical size would have helped them change the game. But their forwards, their tall locks especially, where mostly invisible throughout the game. Two older, tougher but smaller forwards for the JC lead the way, but could not get the team to follow. Scoring was equal in the 2nd half. In the end, 160 tackles made, and perhaps only 5 rucks? Yet the players seemed to enjoy the contest. Go figure!

The 3rd half then rolled to the Pub n' Sub and a nice little rugby party ensued. Good company, some decent pizza, tasty songs... and eventually a delightful drive home to enjoy the sunset.

Fresno State 0 – CHICO STATE 81 Referee: James Hinkin
With Pete Smith refereeing Fresno men's club against Santa Rosa it made sense for us to carpool to the central valley. I am forever grateful that Pete is a talker because the scenery wasn't much to look at once you hit the valley - Hwy 1 to Monterey this isn't...

The teams were warming up and ready to go for an 11:00 kickoff and my day began with a crisp whistle. The teams were evenly matched at the beginning with Fresno putting in most of the defensive work as Chico recycled the ball effectively. This resulted in a couple of tries as Chico eventually worked their overloads on a tiring and increasingly disorganized defense. Fresno then started putting some pressure on Chico and retaining their own ball and put together a solid stretch of play and were pressuring the Chico line. A couple of penalties from Chico's desperate defense drew a warning when Chico went down a man to a tip tackle. Playing with 14 seemed to energize Chico and they forced a turnover, cleared their line and never looked back. Halftime score: Chico St 26 - Fresno St 0.

Not much to say about the second half except that Fresno St stopped playing team rugby and started playing individual rugby, much to the chagrin of the coaching staff. They have some good athletes and some periods of team cohesion but splinter into individual players too often. They have suffered the loss of some starters and the lack of cohesion with the replacements shows. Chico St was solid, running strong lines and defending well and took advantage of what was offered.

Final score: Fresno St 0 - Chico St 81
... and yes, this counts as one of the closer games I have reffed this year...

Fresno St B v Chico St B was refereed by the Fresno St coach who did a very nice job. Fresno St still lost, though, but I don't know the score.

CSU Monterey Bay 12 – MARITIME ACADEMY 66 Referee: Jeff Jury

USF – Sonoma State seconds Referee: Nome Tiatia
No report received.

HUMBOLDT STATE 26 – St. Mary's thirds 22 Referee: Cary Bertolone
St. Mary's kicked off at 2:00 PM at Humboldt State Univ. in front of a sizeable crowd considering the cloudy day. HSU quickly took control of the game and was up 12-0 with only 13 minutes gone. St. Mary’s warmed up and scored two tries, minutes apart, before halftime to make it a close game again. Their wing scored both, the second one was about 70 meters out.

HSU quickly scored a converted try in the second half. St. Mary's players were talking a lot and I think it resulted in tension which resulted in a couple of cards and a meeting between both captains AND both coaches. Between the five of us, we determined which players were responsible for which actions. St Mary's got a yellow for a no wrap slam and HSU ended up with a red for a retaliatory tackle while play was stopped. The main reason for bringing the coaches into the meeting was I wanted both teams to know that while we had nearly 30 minutes left on my watch, the game was going to end immediately with any more "non rugby" activity. They talked to their teams and rugby went on. The same St. Mary's wing scored his third try, but he jumped up "talking" to the other team (like he was playing American football or something). I told his captain Colby to calm him down.

Both teams scored one more try each in a heated last 20 minutes with HSU playing one man down. I had St. Mary's fullback giving me a bad time and their flyhalf helping him out. I should have carded them both, but with such a close game, I grew thick skin and let it play out. After the final whistle, I had a HSU player a little out of control, having to be held back by his own players. Can you card a player "after" the game? I was thinking about it. Anyway, the HSU coaches, Mark and Greg, were great, and St. Mary's coach, Joe, kept his cool too. Most of the players were great also, but it only takes a few to leave you with a bad taste. Next time, I'll use more cards!! HSU 26 St Mary's 22.

CHICO STATE women 55 – California 27 Referee: Sean Peters
Seconds: CHICO STATE 38 – California 7 Ref: Peters

Seconds: UC Davis women 0 – STANFORD 83 Referee: Anthony Nguyen
This was an exhilarating match between two clean and competitive teams. Stanford powered over the Davis frontline and ran score after score, resulting in an 83 point shutout. UC Davis fought bravely and had multiple strategic plays that almost gave them points on the board but to no avail. UC Davis did not give up at all throughout the match and played to their fullest potential for the full 80 minutes.

HUMBOLDT STATE women 41 – Sacramento St 14 Referee: Cary Bertolone
We kicked off at 4:00PM. It was still cloudy, but it never did rain and was great weather for playing rugby. HSU scored in the first minute of play and completely dominated the first half, taking a lead of 24-0 at the half. With the score 31-0, Sac State played a 10 phase rugby offense that resulted in a well earned try and that invigorated them. The last 25 minutes were played pretty even and Sac should be proud of their second half, even though they lost 41-14. Great game for both teams and all of the fans. It was fun!!!

Fresno St women 15 – NEVADA 27 Referee: James Hinkin
The women from Fresno were eager to avenge the earlier losses of the men's team but UNR were not in a mood to oblige. The game was a shambles of knock-ons and missed passes at the beginning until both teams managed to settle down. Reno got on the board first with a converted try but Fresno was not impressed and came back with one of their own, although the conversion was missed. This looked to be significant as the game balanced on a knife edge as each team managed another unconverted try before the half and neither seemed to be able to impose their will for very long. Half time score: Fresno St Women 10 - UNR Women 12.

The second half started in much the same vein as the first with the teams trading periods of territorial and possession dominance. A try apiece had the match at 15-17 when Fresno St were warned for too many penalties at the tackle (not rolling away) and then lost their scrum half for 10 minutes as the warning went unheeded. UNR capitalized with a try to extend their lead to 10 and Fresno St never recovered. UNR was able to put another try over near the end of the match to put a very entertaining game away. Final score: Fresno St Women 15 - UNR Women 27

UC Santa Cruz women 43 – SF Bats 43 Referee: Tom Clock (SoCal)
Match ended in a draw. Coaches agreed on 10 minutes of extra time - with less than 90 seconds to go, UCSC had an opportunity to try a penalty kick from about 10 meters out, instead they opted to tap-n-go, the ball was ultimately made dead in-goal by SF. They match played on to its final outcome of draw. UCSC was dominant in the first half, and their defense held SF to a single try. In the second half, SF came back with 6 tries, several flat out breakaways.

Santa Cruz was a great venue to referee at, and the host team was gracious and accommodating. Very easy S'West flight into SJC - I'd do it again in a second. Thank you NCRRS for the opportunity. Cheers, //Tom

Monday, March 4
ST. MARY’S 41 – James Madison Univ. 15 Referee: James Hinkin
AR: Pete Smith
Assessor: Mike Malone
St. Mary's hosted James Madison University from Virginia on Monday in the first game of a 3 match tour that see the Virginians take on Cal and Stanford as well. The teams were ready to go as the referee showed up with minutes to spare (I love midweek games and dealing with work and traffic, don’t you?) so I got miked up for Mike, talked to the teams and was ready to go.

James Madison came out of the gate strong and fast, surprising a St Mary's team that had rested many regular starters. St Mary's tried to counter the visitor's aggression by slowing the ball down illegally and were duly punished and James Madison responded with a well worked try. Another penalty taken quickly saw the big, influential prop for James Madison burst through a couple of arm tackles then offload for an easy try under the posts to put the Gaels in an uncomfortable position that they aren't used to: behind 12-0 early. St Mary's tried countering with speed and width but too many passes failed to reach their intended target and strong tackling from James Madison led to turnover ball and killed the home side's momentum.

The #13 for James Madison was especially lethal as he read the passes to the backline superbly all day and would cut his target in half just as they received the pass with perfect form tackles. St Mary's was finally able to string passes together and were able to get around the outside for the winger to run 50 meters and score under the posts - their first real attack. James Madison would add a penalty kick to go into the half leading 15-7.

The second half saw St Mary's get back to basics and put together some phases. All of the sudden passes were no longer dropped and rucks were contested with vigor. When James Madison lost their tighthead prop (mentioned earlier) to a knee injury the entire scrum dynamic changed, Now St Mary’s were dominant at set pieces and in the ascendency. The tourists started feeling the miles travelled and were reorganizing far too slowly as St Mary’s went sideline to sideline on successive phases, whether going around the outside or creating a hole in the middle of a stretched defense. The Gaels ran in 6 tries on the trot to pull away in a fun match. Many thanks go to Pete Smith for ARing and to Mike Malone for watching.

Final Score: St Mary's 41 - James Madison 15

As soon as the match was over I shook some hands and thanked the captains, gave Mike his mike and jumped in my car with Pete Smith for the quick trip to Cal for the Cal - Penn St match ably handled by Aruna Ranaweera. He may write it up differently but I was looking at the scoreboard after the game and saw 00 - 0. That is a tie in my book so Aruna owes us all beers.

CALIFORNIA 100 – Penn State 0 Referee: Aruna Ranaweera
ARs: Rob Hendrickson, Tom Wright
6pm kickoff under lights at the new Witter Rugby Field, which has a much faster artificial surface than the previous grass field. From the outset, Cal took the initiative with ferocity and speed. Except for an early cynical foul yellow card near the goal-line, Cal was not troubled by the visitors' physicality. Cal led 52-0 at half and 83-0 with 20 min remaining, but the scoring decelerated after 4th quarter substitutions. Cal tallied 15 tries and would have added a few more if not for suboptimal open field decisions by the late-match subs. Much thanks to Rob and Tom for their help as AR's.


Hayward 7 – DANVILLE OAKS 19 Referee: Bryant Byrnes
''And many thanks to my ARs Scott Page and Eric Ibsen.''
This was Friday Night Lights in Hayward between two of the high school Gold Division heavyweights. It was an exciting, ferocious match. Bear versus mongoose; bull versus viper-I ask the reader to come up with his or her own animal kingdom analogy of two different critters go at it wholeheartedly.

Danville scored twice in the first half on opportunistic, quick play and led 12-0 at half. But in the second half Hayward's Big Bang approach paid off with a converted try -and it was a 5 point difference and anyone's game. A late Danville try with less that 10 minutes left iced it.

Free legal advice. If offered a match by either of these teams, take it-and start doing more wind sprints. It may be the best game you have all season.

BERKELEY RHINOS 38 – Napa Stormers 5 Referee: Eric Rauscher
Tom Bates field in Berkeley, synth turf, but full sized and lined. 9am start made for a crisp but clear day. Berkeley is a long established club, but the Stormers are a club in their first year of existence. As might be expected, I believe the coach to be from South Africa. Perhaps a couple of players have played rugby before, but most of the team are total newbies. They are well coached in that they know what they are supposed to do, but don't have enough playing experience to make it flow.

A couple of highlights from the game. A Berkeley player got the ball in the back field and screamed around the defenders on the side. Shades of Carlin Isles. I asked and discovered his name (Elijah, didn't get the last) and that he indeed ran track at Berkeley high.

As I set the first scrum of the game, the front line from each side reached out and shook their opponents’ hands. What a great thing to see.

Also, at the very end of the game, with Napa having scored 0 points, I awarded a penalty to Napa. I told the player that time had expired and there was no time for a lineout. Some of his fellow players said, "Just kick it to touch (and lets be done with it)"

The player, Luke Kamplin (sp?) had other ideas. At about mid-field he took a quick tap and darted down the side, shedding tackles as he went Close to goal, he had to go through a couple of defenders to dot in down in the corner. I ran up, blew the try and reached down to help him to his feet and congratulate him on an incredible play. It was a great way to end a game played in great spirit.

Bellarmine 0 – SILICON VALLEY 41 Referee: Tony Levitan
Under the dim lighting of Calabazas Park in San Jose, we had a spirited Bay Silver Varsity match on a chilly Friday evening. The Silicon Valley boys have come a long way since this ref handled one of their matches at the KOT in late January, running over seven tries against an intrepid but overmatched Bellarmine development side. The 17-0 first half (3 tries, 2 conversations) stretched to 41-0 at the close with the home team running over 4 more tries (1 converted).

Gotta love the spirit of the "Man of the Match" ceremony that follows local high school matches and this one was no exception. Classy, solid, gentlemanly.

SFGG Gold 19 – PENINSULA GREEN 20 Referee: Bruce Bernstein
Great high school match with tries going back and forth until the end when Peninsula Green barely went ahead. 5-3 in SFGG's favor at half.

SFGG had more possession, territory, and won more set plays (and had two long runs for tries by their fast winger), but could not stop the Green's 13 center who set up his wingers to come from behind and also had two good kicks ahead putting pressure deep in SFGG's territory. Plus SFGG's prop knocked on two sure tries trying to down the ball.

South Valley 22 – Pleasanton 22 (Half time 0-12) Referee: Neil MacDonald
On a beautiful evening under the lights in Morgan Hill, South Valley hosted Pleasanton Cavaliers in an exciting match played in great spirits, with very contrasting styles of rugby, and four changes of lead. Cheered on by coach Paul Bretz from the sidelines, Pleasanton's expansive play led to the first try after fifteen minutes, and they followed with another to take a well-earned 0-12 lead at half time.

Whatever Bart Nielsen and his team said to their players at half time worked, as South Valley came out with a relentless pick and drive, scoring three times in the first thirteen minutes of the second half, getting their noses in front 15-12. Pleasanton replied, getting the lead back 15-17 with twenty minutes to play. Another South Valley try - converted this time - snatched back the lead 22-17 with fourteen minutes remaining. With time expired, and South Valley conceding penalties in defense, Pleasanton scored under the posts to tie the game. The kicking tee was brought onto the field, and the Pleasanton kicker lined up his chip shot over the bar. Excellent, I thought to myself: no beers to be procured for a draw.

In every match as a referee, you learn something, often - at least in my case - through lessons (aka glaring faux pas) never to be forgotten. Occasionally you get the chance to see a player doing the same. Friday night was one of those nights. As soon as the Pleasanton kicker began his run up, the heads up South Valley team sent a couple of fliers forward to charge the kick. Alas, the kicker froze and, with a bemused expression, turned to the referee, as the South Valley players grabbed the ball, and the referee blew time...

Thanks to both teams for a cracking match.


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