Author Archives: James Hinkin

Winding Up

HAIL PELICUS!

 

Winding Up

 

For most in Pelicanland the regular season has come to an end and teams have sorted out their respective places in the world – only Men’s D1 is still playing league matches and they finish up this weekend.   Yes, the playoffs are coming and there are a few trophies to hand out but the season has wound down so we know where teams will wind up.   Clubs will now nurse a wound down at the bottom of the table or get the wind up in their sails for some bonus rugby.   (Huh?)

 

Not me, though.   The Hail Pelicus has a season too and like the pelecanus occidentalis we all favor the urge to migrate drives us ever onward.  To seek new things and find new audiences.  To find new puns and worn out jokes. To dream the impossible dream and fight the unbeatable foe.   To bear with unbearable sorrow and run where the brave dare not go.   So thus I announce the end of my tenure at Hail Pelicus.   I never wanted to do this, rabbiting on about who scored a try or what team showed up with 13 players. I never wanted to do this job in the first place!   I… I wanted to be…

 

A LUMBERJACK!

 

Nah, kidding. I’m having a great time and am going to continue doing this.   Just winding you up.

 

Playoffs Are Here!

 

We are reaching the business end of the 2014/15 season so to that end we need to know availability so we can assign Referees, Assistant Referees, and Referee Coaches/Performance Reviewers/Other Names I Have Thought Up for the conclusion of the season and playoff matches. Please ensure we get your details by going to assignr, logging in, and posting availability.

 

Ask A Pelican

 

Yes, it’s time for this week’s installment of “Ask A Pelican”, the widely loved Q and A session with Hail Pelicus.   This week’s question comes from Dr. Sheldon Cooper of Pasadena, CA, who asks:

 

“I really enjoy reading the HP.   It keeps me up to date on Northern California rugby and gives me some great zingers I can use at the university, after which I shout “bazinga!”. Are you really ending it and leaving?”

 

No, I’m not.   I hope you read the entirety of the opening bit, Dr. Cooper. It was just my little joke.

 

Cap’n Blackbearrd’s ARRRRRRRRR Course

 

Pelicus Scriptoris saw the plight of our pirate friend last week and sent in this note:

 

(USA Rugby’s AR course is) an on-line course now, given once a month. I teach it about every-other iteration. Sign up on USARugby.org. It’s limited to 10 students, and is $30. It is a prerequisite to have had the Level One Referee Course and the Touch Judge Course.

 

Go to USARugby.org , click on REF, click on Courses and then you’ll see the sign-up page.

 

         – Scriptoris.

 

Additional wisdom from Pelicus Bellatoris Cognitoris:

 

The AR course does not teach the duties of the 4, 5, and 6, however. There is no formal course for teaching those duties, although Bruce Carter and I have held a clinic to teach those duties; it takes about an hour, at most.

 

Disciplinary Action Reporting – Process for reporting incidents

 

The various competitions all have their own disciplinary chairs and this will make it difficult to centralize the communication and data.  To help Scott Wood has developed a form that will centralize the process, regardless of the competition.  The link to the discipline form is https://docs.google.com/forms/d/1mmUNg11uVOSkIsUtHifSqQzalhWbwohk_J6AmPyrucQ/viewform

  1. Copy the link and have it available on your smartphone.  If you have an Iphone add the link to your home screen.
  2. When needed fill it out and click submit.  The discipline chair of the competition you refereed will receive a notification about the incident.
  3. He/she may contact you latter for more details.

 

On To The Game Reports!

 

Date: 04/18/2015

Berkeley 17 – Baracus 40

Referee: Bernstein, Bruce

 

Berkeley played its last match of the season on a field they had used before the Otis Spunkmeyer Field. It was an oasis between the Oakland Airport & Alameda with views of the Colliseum & estuaries around the bay. Tight 1st half with Baracus barely winning 7-5. They were the only team to score in the 2nd half. Pretty clean play by both teams who obviously respected each other.

 

 

Date: 04/18/2015

Berkeley All Blues 2 44 – San Jose Women 14

Referee: Ricard, Bruce

 

San Jose started the game very strong by scoring a try in the first 3 minutes of the game. Berkeley scored 3 tries during the first half to lead 17-7 at the break.

The second half started like the first one, with a strong San Jose team. They scored a try at the 5th minute of the half. The game was very balanced until the 60th minute, and then the All Blues started to score tries. They scored 5 unanswered tries in the last 20 minutes.

 

Special congratulations to the San Jose #8 captain who has an excellent understanding of the game and who poached more balls in one game than any other player in our area, at any level. I believe she successfully poached 5 balls, and obtained 4 penalties for holding on to the ball which resulted in a yellow card for the other team.

 

 

Date: 04/18/2015

California 57 – Navy 15

Referee: Akroyd, Phil

 

Navy gave Cal a very thorough 55 minutes of competition but couldn’t match the home team for power, pace, skill and endurance. Cal’s main issue was that they gave away too many penalties early (a ratio of 6-1 at one point) and with a dangerous tackle on their own goal line, they also found themselves down to 14 after 25 minutes.

 

It was 16-10 just after the break, but then Cal turned on the afterburners and pulled ahead. Pack-leader Alec Gletzer was clearly the best player on the field but there was a lot of talent on the filed as a whole. The Varsity Cup final should be excellent.

 

Date: 04/18/2015

MIT 30 – North Shore 16

Referee: Zanarini, Tom

Location: Cambridge, MA

 

Men’s D3 club semi-final playoff

 

My primary assignment for the weekend took me to the MIT campus in Cambridge, MA.  MIT, being made up of mostly grad students, plays in the men’s club league as opposed to the college divisions.  Therefore they also welcome non-MIT students into the mix.  This makes for a slightly more stable club than a traditional grad school team.  Good for them as they were seeded 1st in the D3 playoffs.  Saturday was a beautiful spring day for a drive, until we hit Boston traffic.  Being the Saturday before the Boston Marathon (which just kicked off as I’m writing this) the traffic was madness.  It took Colleen and I nearly a half-hour to go 1.5 miles up Mass Ave.  So I made it to Briggs Field 30 minutes prior to kickoff.  Both teams were well into warmups as I arrived.  Kickoff was right on time at 12pm.  The match was a bruising affair with one yellow on each side.  The first was awarded to MIT.  At a penalty about 7m from in-goal the MIT flyhalf took a quick tap beyond the mark, so I blew my whistle to stop him.  He made it to in-goal, where a NS player made a tackle, both not quite aware of the stoppage.  That’s fine, no one else on NS was taking part.  A MIT player took offense to this and charged into in-goal to save his flyhalf from a very safe tackle.  So, you can’t control yourself, off you go.  After an understandable dustup between the teams I spoke with the captains about the incident, that it was over and let’s get on with rugby.  I let them cool for a minute and talk to their teams.  All is well, right?  Not two minutes later a NS player late hits the MIT scrumhalf at a line out.   Fine, off you go, too.  After that, we did finally get back to playing rugby.  MIT was able to find the open slots for more tries, otherwise this was a pretty even match.  Good luck to them in the final.

 

Date: 04/19/2015

Boston Irish Wolfhounds 58 – Life 921

Referee: Haylee “It’s gonna be a” Slaughter

AR: Zanarini, Tom

AR: McKenna, Sean

Location: Irish Cultural Center, Canton, MA.

 

Reported by Tom Zanarini.

 

My secondary assignment lead me back to the Irish Cultural Center for an Atlantic Rugby Championship match.  Haylee Slaughter was flying in for the match, while Sean McKenna and I ran AR.  The ICC is a great facility with numerous fields.  The main field is a huge Gaelic football field with bleachers the length of the field and a nice press box.  The rugby field is directly adjacent to the Center Building that has a large patio.  The bar is like any Irish bar in Boston, staffed by ICC employees.  It’s a three story building, not counting the basement locker rooms.  It’s as nice a facility as I’ve seen in the USA.  Haylee was challenged with two teams who seemed to want to compete more with attitude than rugby.  I was very disappointed with the quality on the field.  Maybe it’s early in the season, but it was just a very sloppy, messy match.  Either team would give a challenge for the wooden spoon in the PRP.  That’s just my take.  BIW had four yellow cards, mostly for repeated infringements and cynical play.  I haven’t seen the other ARC teams, so hopefully the quality gets better as the season progresses.  The press write up is here: This Is American Rugby: Life Down Spirited Wolfhounds

 

EDITOR’S NOTE: The press officer is suffering from early season mistakes as well. I looked for the final score in the press release and couldn’t find it.   Amateurs.

 

Date: 04/18/2015

Chico 35 – Vacaville 94

Referee: Tucker, Chris

 

A glorious day for rugby, and two teams that knew each other well played the last game of the regular season in good spirits. One of the better kicking performances I’ve seen, with Chico 5/5 on conversions, and the Vacaville starting #10 going 11/11 before taking a seat on the sideline. The subsequent Vacaville kickers were less successful, going 1/3. Fun day out.

 

 

Date: 04/18/2015

Colusa 65 – South Valley 17

Referee: Bertolone, Cary

 

Hot day in Colusa. Definitely over 80, forecast for 90. South Valley had 5 players broke down on Hwy 505, so we waited until 1:10 for kick-off (their players never made it to the game). In the 2nd minute of the game, Colusa muscled one in with good work from their forwards. 4 minutes later, their flyhalf/captain, Cody Beckley lofted a kick to their wing who picked it up on the full and was gone. The next two Colusa tries were scrum downs that they just pushed right to the goal and scored. Colusa was up 41-5 at the half as they dominated possession throughout the game. The second half was a little more balanced as Colusa subbed, 24-12 in the second half. South Valley ended on an up note; with no time left, their captain and number nine Anthony Guidry stole the ball and beat everyone to the post for a center try (the son of my former team mate, Matt Guidry). Good attitudes be all were displayed and the large crown created a festive, playoff atmosphere.

 

 

Date: 04/18/2015

EPA Bulldogs 62 – Fresno 38

Referee: Ranaweera, Aruna

 

Sunny 75F at the Stanford/Palo Alto community playing fields (turf). Both teams were structured and tactical on offense, but generally disorganized in defense, which resulted in lots of back-and-forth scoring. EPA imposed their physicality to lead 26-12 at half and 48-24 midway through the 2nd half, before Fresno stormed back to within 48-38 with 12 minutes remaining. EPA then sealed the game with 2 converted tries to win the contest, 10 tries to 6.

 

 

Date: 04/18/2015

Reno Zephyrs 47 – Napa 33

Referee: Crawley, Blake

 

Entertaining rugby match that went back and forth with several lead changes. Reno got a late try to take the lead and then added another in the closing minutes to seal the victory. Kudos to both teams.

 

 

Date: 04/18/2015

San Jose Seahawks 27 – Sacramento Lions 28

Referee: MacDonald, Neil

 

A hot, firm turf football field, more lines on the pitch than could easily be kept straight in anyone’s head, four lead changes, and the match decided at the very last moment. What a great game, and a fantastic way to spend the afternoon in San Jose.

 

The Seahawks scored and converted early following offside indiscipline from the Lions, but he Lions struck back with a brace of tries in the 13th and 16th minutes to lead 14 to 7. After much scoreless back and forth for the remainder of the half, the Seahawks tied it up just before the break. The Lions went back in front in the third minute of the second half, and the Seahawks scored eight minutes later to pull the Lions back to within two.   A few minutes later, a Sacramento player went into the side of tackle and conceded the penalty, which San Jose banged over for the lead. 22-21 Seahawks with 25 minutes to play.   The Lions got back in front with a converted try in the 61st minute, but the determined Seahawks dug deep, kept coming forward, and scored out wide on the left after sustained pressure on both wings. The conversion drifted wide, so with seven minutes to go it’s still Lions by one point.   San Jose fought valiantly back up the field, as Sacramento defended ferociously, but when the defenders conceded a penalty, the Seahawks had a chance to take the game with a long range penalty. The kick missed, was gathered by a Sacramento player in the in goal, and run up the field as the clock ticked down. In the subsequent passage of play, a desperate Lion played the ball on the ground at a breakdown, and with time expired Seahawks had one last attempt on goal. Could there be yet more drama? With the Seahawk touchline screaming “Backs chase!” the tee was brought out, and the ball sailed towards the right of the posts. Somehow, it hit the right post and bounced into in goal, where one of the aforementioned Seahawk backs caught it above his head, despite the close attentions of the Lions defenders, but he couldn’t ground it before crossing the dead ball line. The Seahawks missed out on a fairy tale win by the narrowest of margins and Sacramento escaped back up I-80 with the win. Thanks to both teams for a cracking match.

 

Date: 04/18/2015

San Jose Seahawks B 10 – Sacramento Lions B 5

Referee: MacDonald, Neil

 

Full teams, twenty minute halves.

 

 

Date: 04/18/2015

SFGG 5 – Santa Rosa 16

Referee: Lane, John

 

As usual at Treasure Island there was a strong breeze blowing mainly north to south and on winning the toss the Santa Rosa captain decided to have the wind as his friend in the first half!!

 

Santa Rosa used the wind to gain field position early and with a noticeably stronger scrum opted for scrums rather than kicking for goal or touch on two early penalties and were rewarded with a pushover try on 4 minutes. The strong breeze beat the kicker so 0-5.

 

Santa Rosa continued to dominate territory but possession was more 50-50. SFGG put some good possession plays together to build out of defense but, as with Santa Rosa, the wind often impacted backline handling and scrums were fairly frequent. Santa Rosa had the upper hand on these scrums and eventually this pressure lead to a successful penalty kick on 22 mins for a 0-8 lead.

 

As the half wore on SFGG started to get more of a foothold in the Santa Rosa half and put on some sustained field position pressure. On 30 mins, SFGG held up a maul well inside the Santa Rosa 22. In their efforts to avoid conceding a scrum turnover the defense split from the maul leaving an on-side SFGG player to step through and make a strong tackle and turnover which was driven over the line for a score. A narrow miss into the wind left the score at 5-8 on 31 mins.

 

SFGG continued to dominate the remainder of the half. On 37 mins having failed to score from an advantage SFGG opted to kick at goal from 20m in line with the left post. Going for power into the wind the kicker drilled the ball narrowly wide on the left. From the drop-out Santa Rosa kicked out on the full and SFGG retained pressure inside the 22m for the remaining 3 minutes. Santa Rosa defended well and with the last play of the half the SFGG fly half spotted his right winger free wide out and cross kicked to the corner but as rugby balls do, as the winger was running in to gather, the last bounced kicked away from him and into touch.

 

5-8 at half time in a keenly contested first half with the game all to play for.

 

Santa Rosa started well into the breeze in the second half and on 43 mins kicked a good penalty to stretch the lead to 5-11. The closeness of the score and the frequent scrums heightened the tension of the game and the vocal levels of the players rose significantly. A few quiet instructions for individuals to calm down were required which allowed the competitive nature of the game to be maintained without incident. In addition, the game was played at a fast pace so errors crept in as players tired. SFGG started to break into the Santa Rosa half on a more regular basis but a combination of good defense and attacking infringements to try to maintain secure ball allowed Santa Rosa to repel all attacks.

 

On 13:23 minutes the SFGG scrum half was sin-binned as his team executed a number of offside infringements in quick succession to slow and stop Santa Rosa attacking ball. Opting for a number of scrums in a row, the Santa Rosa captain and No 8 peeled off the back and ran in from 15 yards untouched to score (unconverted) for 5-16.

 

SFGG survived the rest of the sin bin time without conceding and put in a strong effort for the last 15 minutes which Santa Rosa continued to repel. The efforts being put in by both sides raised the temperature on the field and a quick chat with both captains was necessary to calm things down. The remaining 8 minutes was played out between half way and the Santa Rosa 22 as SFGG pushed for another score but Santa Rosa continued to defend effectively across the field.

 

The game finished with Santa Rosa driving an SFGG attack into touch on the 22 with the final score of 5-16 in favour of Santa Rosa.

 

A note of recognition to both hookers for some excellent line-out throwing throughout the game in the windy conditions!!!

 

This Week’s Photo

Referee Neil MacDonald can feel the pain of the offender but still awards the penalty, albeit reluctantly. It really is breaking his heart. (Photo courtesy of Peter Kobliska)

Neil MacDonald

 

Hail, Pelicus!

For the Senate

Pelicus Pedem Referre

Super Rugby

HAIL PELICUS!

 

Super Rugby

 

As we boldly forge our way ahead into the Century of the Fruitbat new things appear on the rugby scene as old things fade away. Sometimes the new things resemble old things and give hope that some old things may reemerge, like a 17 year cicada, to overwhelm American rugby as it did in the past.   So what bold new idea are we speaking of?   What old retread is threatening to rise, Lazarus style, from the grave?   I am speaking of Super Sites and Tournaments, naturally. The Super Sites were rolled out for Men’s D3 this year and came back to mixed reviews – some liked them and some didn’t. Some were well organized and some were less so.   Some teams stuck around to drink beer, watch rugby and socialize and some teams took off immediately.   There were lessons learned, feedback given and notes taken, but overall we can consider the first iteration of the Super Site concept a success.

 

Next question to be addressed: Is it a Super Site, a Supersite, soup or sight, or just a super site?   I’ll need to get clarification on that.

 

So what does this have to do with tournaments?   The last 2 decades have seen USA Rugby get more organized around the various national championships and, by extension, have expanded the playoff structure all the way from the national level to the local level.   The, possibly, unintended effects that this had was to kill the spring tournaments that used to flourish in the rugby landscape.   Teams are playing or preparing for playoff games as we go through the local playoffs, then the territorial/competitive region playoffs and finally the nationals.   Teams can’t commit to a tournament because they don’t know if they are committed elsewhere and any tournament budget is sucked up in that trip to Dallas for a regional playoff. From the late 1960s until the mid 1990s the Santa Barbara International Rugby Tournament was a must-play event marked on a club’s calendar in indelible ink.   Your humble correspondent ran this event in 1992 and 1993 with over 70 teams across several divisions on 8 fields.   Now the tournament is no more and I tell youngsters about the glory days while yelling at them to GET OFF MY LAWN!   When I joined the San Jose Seahawks we went every year to the Golden Gate Rugby Tournament held up in San Francisco on the Polo Grounds.   Numerous fields covered with ruggers from all over playing the Game That Is Played In Heaven.   This has also succumbed to the vagaries of modern rugby.

 

The Super Sites were a taste of a tournament atmosphere.   I felt it up in Reno last weekend, a feeling that many young ruggers have not experienced.     Once people get used to this concept I hope to see some Lazarian tournaments arise again. That would truly be Super Rugby.

 

Playoffs Are Coming!

 

We are reaching the business end of the 2014/15 season so to that end we need to know availability so we can assign Referees, Assistant Referees, and Referee Coaches/Performance Reviewers/Other Names I Have Thought Up for the conclusion of the season and playoff matches. Please ensure we get your details by going to assignr, logging in, and posting availability.

 

Ask A Pelican

 

Yes, it’s time for this week’s installment of “Ask A Pelican”, the widely loved Q and A session with Hail Pelicus.   This week’s question comes from Captain “AR” Blackbeard of The Seven Seas, who asks:

 

“Yer Cap’n Bretz gave a fine chinwag fer duties o’ an AR last night.   I be wanting to ARRRRRRRR meself in these upcoming battles. Be I shipshape fer the job?”

 

Aye, aye Captain, your message has been received!   To be an official AR for a playoff match you must have completed the USA Rugby Assistant Referee course.   If you haven’t yet don’t feel like you have to walk the plank – we here in Pelicanland are looking to see if we can get an AR course scheduled before the playoffs start in earnest.   An eye patch and parrot is not mandatory, though often appreciated.

 

Pelicans Flying Ever Higher

 

Two promotions were announced at this month’s society meeting:

 

  • Matt Hetterman has been promoted to C1
  • Joe Delvin has been promoted to C3

 

Congratiilations to both of you! Keep up the hard work and dedication.

 

Pelicans Abroad

 

From Pelicus Avoidus Whistle Dude:

 

I reffed at the French 1/4 Fest Old Boys this past Saturday taking a break from the free music, food & drink which goes from Thursday to Sunday interrupted by a few showers each day. Palmer Chiro, Baton Rogue, & mixed teams from both Washington, DC & Texas were hosted by the New Orleans Rugby club which beat the Texans in the first match I reffed 15 – 0; & went on to win the tourny. Pretty humid conditions in between the storms & bars with more free bands on on Frenchmen Street. I can’t wait to return for my 9th year next year.

 

April Society Meeting

 

This month’s meeting was yesterday.   I am sure you already knew that, though.

 

Disciplinary Action Reporting – Process for reporting incidents

 

The various competitions all have their own disciplinary chairs and this will make it difficult to centralize the communication and data.  To help Scott Wood has developed a form that will centralize the process, regardless of the competition.  The link to the discipline form is https://docs.google.com/forms/d/1mmUNg11uVOSkIsUtHifSqQzalhWbwohk_J6AmPyrucQ/viewform

  1. Copy the link and have it available on your smartphone.  If you have an Iphone add the link to your home screen.
  2. When needed fill it out and click submit.  The discipline chair of the competition you refereed will receive a notification about the incident.
  3. He/she may contact you latter for more details.

 

On To The Game Reports!

 

Date: 04/12/2015

New England Collegiate Rugby Conference Sevens Championships

Referee: Zanarini, Tom

Location: University of Rhode Island, South Kingston, RI

Competing schools: USCGA, Univ. of Vermont, Univ. of New Hampshire, Norwich University, Boston University, Univ. of Rhode Island

 

Final: US Coast Guard Academy 15 – University of Vermont 10

 

Finally! The winter has passed. Spring has arrived and all is well with the world. The gift of spring brings a gift of sevens. The rugby season here is flip flopped from California as most of you know. League matches are played in the fall, while the spring season is meant for thawing out and getting some friendly matches to tune up for playoffs, if you made it that far. With the growth of sevens rugby in college programs, we are now seeing spring sevens tournaments in New England, much the same as California now has fall sevens tournaments. Thus the never ending debate of ‘when is the rugby season?’ continues. So, when is the rugby season? Yes. Just answer ‘Yes.’ It is always rugby season.

 

URI hosted a 15s tournament on Saturday. I’m sure it was a friendly tournament. Why that was held the day before a sevens qualifier tournament I’ll never understand. Old habits I suppose. Young legs don’t care, they just wanna play. At any rate, 6 schools participated with A, B and C side brackets. My matches included 1.) USCGA 19 v BU 5; 2.) URI 19 v Norwich 20; 3.) Norwich 5 v UNH 5; 4.) UVM 17 v UNH 5; and the final for 5 total matches, which was bequeathed to me due to the tie match #3.

 

The prediction was that the Coast Guard Academy would run away with this game as they beat UVM 29-0 in pool play. But that game started soon after UVM arrived from a very long bus ride. They found their legs as the day went on and earned a championship berth. The scoring in the final was back and forth and could have been a different result if the match were 10 minute halves. Best of luck to the Coast Guard as they move on to the NSCRO sevens championships in Glendale, CO.

 

EDITOR’S NOTE: I rather think that you were awarded the final not because of your draw earlier in the da, but because of your outstanding officiating. The Aura of Pelicus that surrounds you may also have helped as most societies look upon us here in Pelicanland with a mixture of awe and heady jealousy, as well they should.   You still owe the society a beer for that tie the next time you travel to Pelicanland or meet one of the members abroad.

 

Date: 04/11/2015

Aptos 0 – Life West C 0

Referee: Wilson, Giles

 

The super site model has been set up to be similar to tournament rugby in that many sides are present at the same location and they have the opportunity to make it more than a regular game and party.

 

From the start, the model was a little too close to be true with a couple of drop outs, something that even happened at Monterey in it’s heyday (but with an element of these young kids don’t know how to travel any more….) However, besides a few teething problems on the set up, those that traveled had a good time and rugby was played and some players filled out teams missing players (traditional rugby whores).

 

Some of the Mendo players enjoyed the night before a little too much, while injuries have decimated Sierra who required several loans of local players. This sounded like a mismatch but the first half belied that description with Sierra getting on the board first with a converted try. The teams went back and forth in the first half which ended at 27 (5 tries) to 22 (4 tries) in favour of Sierra.

 

In the second half, Sierra hung on to score three more tries but fatigue and the unfamiliarity of players with each other meant that their defensive pattern was ad hoc and Mendo worked over 9 second half tries for a final of 75 (13 tries) for Mendo to 46 (8 tries) for Sierra.

 

All involved departed for well earned burgers and libations which may or may not have assisted with the dehydration.

 

This is a good idea and I look forward to participating in more – it is nice to see multiple referees along with many rugby friends on multiple teams.

 

 

Date: 04/11/2015

Baracus 59 – Diablo 29

Referee: Ricard, Bruce

 

Diablo started the game very strongly, completely dominating Baracus. They scored 3 tries in the first 10 minutes of the game, to lead 19 to nothing. The next 30 minutes of the first half were much more balanced, but Baracus’ game strategy was better, opened space for their backs, who scored 2 times. 14 – 19 at the break.

The second half was the exact continuation of the first one: Baracus playing better and better. They scored an unconverted try at the beginning of the half, tying the game. Diablo scored a penalty goal from 40m to retake the lead, but after that is was all Baracus. Their English full back had a devastating sidestep, and was playing formidable counter-attacks. A few times he caught his opponents’ long kick, ran between the defenders, and drew the last defender before passing to his winger. Some very beautiful plays by the Baracus backs. They score 7 tries in the second half, when Diablo could only score one.

 

Baracus 59 (9 tries) – 29 (4 tries) Diablo

 

 

Date: 04/11/2015

Life West 64 – Berkeley 17

Referee: Gordon, Preston

 

Life scored early and fairly often in this game. It was a pretty nice afternoon at SFGG too.

 

 

Date: 04/11/2015

Life West Women 55 – Berkeley All Blues 2 30

Referee: Pohlman, John

 

Life West Woman hosted The Berkeley Old Blues second side this Saturday at 5:00PM. The games were moved to SFGG’s field on Treasure Island. Beautiful day, Beautiful field and location and most importantly some beautiful rugby. I had refereed both these teams earlier in the season and both have improved. The level of rugby was quite high. Both teams played psychical, clean rugby. Both teams showed closing skills finishing off scoring opportunities as they arouse.

Both teams scored four trys each in the first half. Life’s captain and kicker Jen converted two of Life’s trys to lead at half time 24-20.

Life’s hooker was my player of the day. She took the ball up hard breaking tackles and scored a hat trick. Life’s bigger players wore down the younger, smaller Old Blues team to pull away with a 55-30 final score.

 

 

Date: 04/11/2015

California Maritime Academy 29 – Colorado School of Mines 7

Referee: Pescetti, David

 

We kicked off the NSCRO PacWest semifinals between Cal Maritime and Mines. Vallejo provided perfect backdrop for playoff rugby.

 

The match began with hard physical hitting between two sizable teams. Both equally matched in ability and drive. The keel haulers were there fractions earlier. The half ended with Maritime 17 – Miners 0.

 

The second half was a change of wind. The miners dig in their heels and they chipped back at the Maritime lead. However, on this day the sea sailed over the rough rocky deep earth 29 – 7.

 

 

Date: 04/11/2015

Reno 69 – Shasta 10

Referee: Byrnes, Bryant

 

The mastodons of the southern Cascades lumbered south to meet the not so gentle Zephyrs of the Sierra on the alluvial plains of the Basin and Range -aka the Reno super site. [Author’s note to Editor; I learned this stuff in Geology for Non Geology Majors back in my antediluvian university days. The hell with Roget’s.]

 

Not exactly a closely run thing; Redding played about 12 forwards against an undefeated Reno team. But good spirited real rugby enjoyed by all. And nice play by the scrum halves.

 

EDITOR’S NOTE: Touché.

 

Date: 04/11/2015

Sacramento Blackhawks 76 – Chico 29

Referee: Boyer, Rich

 

As I approached Danny Nunn park I thought I was mistaken on match time….only a few Chico stragglers (and no fans) were in sight. They continued to trickle in, 16 strong, when the Blackhawks arrived on the pitch at 12:55. Nonetheless both teams were ready to go shortly thereafter. Chico opened up an 8-0 lead on a great flyhack and chase by captain Casey, followed by a penalty kick. An inordinate amount of handling errors were observed, as one player remarked, despite the perfect playing conditions. Blackhawks began playing their game, offloading in/before tackles, and the tries began ringing up. Blackhawks were up 47-8 at half and had momentum. Credit to Chico, they never stopped trying, and all of a sudden the momentum shifted back as they rang up three tries precipitated by quick thinking/quick taps from captain Casey and some yeoman’s work at the breakdowns. Even as they lost two players to injury and went to 14 for the last twenty minutes Chico continued to battle. Blackhawks countered with free flow play and racked up four quick tries to close out the match. Hard fought, great sportsmanship and only a handful of penalties.

 

 

Date: 04/11/2015

Sacramento Lions 20 – EPA Bulldogs 48

Referee: Wilson, Dan

 

What shaped up to be a heaving hitting power match between the Sacramento Lions and the EPA Bulldogs didn’t turn out that way. EPA controlled the ball from the initial kick off, scoring converted tries in the 5th and 11th minute. Most of the first quarter was played inside Sacramento’s 22-meter line with staunch defense holding out other scoring opportunities. In the second quarter, both teams traded unconverted tries with Sac pulling together as a team and getting effective wide ball going. EPA, however, was scrappy and turned defense into offense quickly dotting down a converted try at the 40th minute. Halftime score: Sac Lions 10 – EPA Bulldogs 31.

 

The second half continued how the first went, with EPA controlling much of the tempo. Injuries seemed to be the main defense against EPA. The Bulldogs scored three tries, one of which was converted, and the Lions scored one converted try and one penalty kick. Overall, great spirited game and enjoyable to referee. Full time: Sacramento Lions 20 – EPA Bulldogs 48.

 

 

Date: 04/11/2015

Santa Rosa 69 – San Jose 19

Referee: Bertolone, Cary

Summer Intern Made Good: Lee Johnson

 

Hot day at For Pete’s Sake in Santa Rosa. Traffic congestion for the visitors caused a little bit of a late start. Rosa wasted no time, scoring in the third minute. Down 17-0, Seahawks pushed with forward work to close the gap to 17-7, but it was all Rosa the rest of the half. They had good forward work, but their speed, both in the backs and some of their forwards, was too much and they took a 43-7 halftime lead (with 6 conversions from 7 tries and a penalty kick; Stein is a really good kicker). Seahawks started strong with a converted try in minute two of the second half, but four more tries from Rosa in the second half to create a lopsided score. Seahawks scored a try in minute 38, showing they fought to the end. Good game to watch is what I heard from the crowds. Thank you Lee Johnson for giving me advice and for watching my refereeing.

 

 

Date: 04/11/2015

Santa Rosa B 40 – San Jose B 7

Referee: Bertolone, Cary

 

In the second game, Rosa had all fresh players, as well as substitutes. Seahawks had some of the same players on the field again and it was pretty hot. San Jose scored first and played pretty evenly for a time, but the fresh players from Rosa wore them down and Santa Rosa won this game also, 40-7. Again, Rosa’s wide open style and timely passing was fun to watch and hard for the Seahawks to equal, although the Seahawks had some good passing also. I should have been drinking more water in between games because in the second game, my calves were threatening to revolt (cramps) any time I had to sprint. So, I was grabbing water from the sidelines as often as possible, which helped me with the second half, but I will admit, there were some breakaway ties in the second game where I was further away than I should have been. HYDRATE!!!

 

 

Date: 04/11/2015

SFGG 0 – EPA Razorbacks 41

Referee: Coppinger, John

AR: Sandy Robertson

AR: Paul Simko

 

This match marked the first day of formal use of the new, all-weather turf Rich May Field in East Palo Alto. The field is named in honor of Rich May, an East Palo Alto police officer killed in the line of duty in 2006, and was built through the extraordinary efforts of the Rich May Foundation (http://www.richmayfoundation.org/), spearheaded by Rich’s mother, Clarice Merrill, and his step-father, Frank Merrill, former president of the Pacific Coast Rugby Union and long-time Nor Cal Rugby stalwart. The next step is the installation of lights and tax-deductible contributions are more than welcome to help finish the project.

 

The match started as a battle and SFGG was tough for the first 30 minutes when the damn broke and EPA began to score more often than not.

 

Typical rugby match; one side alleging that their opponents had knives, guns, and cudgels (without any evidence of gun fire, wounds, or blood); and the other side claiming that the referee favored the other side even as the complaining side was awarded penalty after penalty. Thanks to Sandy Robertson and Paul Simko for acting as Assistant Referees (and neither of whom saw any evidence of knives, guns, and cudgels). Really, the whinging has to stop; it’s rugby folks.

 

Date: 04/11/2015

SFGG B 14 – EPA Razorbacks B 70

Referee: Simko, Paul

 

Great day in EPA with the unveiling of Rich May Field. It doesn’t get much better with fans, VIP tents, and pig roast (3 pigs). SFGG didn’t have many second side players, so they played 10’s for 15 minute halves. Half of the players on SFGG were EPA players, so it was a fun lighthearted match among friends.

 

Date: 04/11/2015

SFGG Women 38 – Sacramento Amazons 29

Referee: Freitas, Larry

 

For once I left my home in Aptos dressed in street clothes, knowing that upon arrival at Treasure Island I would have a referees’ room to get dressed for the game.   The kickoff to this encounter was at 12:10 following a high school boys match. San Francisco Golden Gate and the Sacramento Amazons were apparently well matched according to various reports I’d read and heard, and for the first twenty minutes there was no score as both teams failed to complete any forward or backline moves. The tackling was crisp and clean, and play generally within the confines of law. Sacramento penetrated deep into Golden Gate’s half, and a maul formed near Golden Gate’s goal line, with the Amazon’s pushing it over and one of their players touching down for the first converted try of the game. Some ten minutes later, Amy Fletcher, one of Golden Gate’s second rowers, took off with the ball and scored, drawing level with the conversion.   Later in the first half Golden Gate’s fly half followed up a kick downfield, dribbled it toward the Amazon goal using soccer skills, and the SFGG right wing pounced on the ball in-goal for another try and Golden Gate’s lead that they would never surrender. Another SFGG try made the score 19-7 at the intermission.

 

The second half opened with Sacramento gaining much possession and pressuring San Francisco in their end, and they would eventually give up a penalty near their goal. A tap and go from five meters led to the Amazon’s second try of the match at fifty-one minutes. Golden Gate’s ensuing kick off was deep enough to land near the 22, and the Amazon players didn’t get a handle on the ball. Amy Fletcher did, and she ran away from would be tacklers for her second try of the match for the home side. Sacramento would score another try from another penalty that was run at 58 minutes. It seemed momentum was flowing toward the Amazons, as they had made a few substitutions, and their new scrum half was sparking their play. Amazon forwards were rampaging into Golden Gate territory, gaining ground, going to ground, and forcing Golden Gate players to tackle time and time again; and at various times Golden Gate’s defenders were a bit hasty in anticipating the end of rucks, giving away penalties and ground. Another Amazon try came from a ruck that developed some ten meters out from Golden Gate’s line near the touchline, and the Amazon scrum half ran to her left and shifted the ball out to her backline, with the ball passed on quickly to the left of the posts in the classic fashion, so that one of their backs could score another try that was converted. Now the score stood at 31-24 with not much time left. Golden Gate responded by scoring a converted try with some four minutes left in the game. Sacramento would score once more with time running out, and after the conversion kick was taken and missed, I blew the whistle for no-side. Final score SFGG 38, Amazons 29. I’d say both teams were a bit gassed at the end of an enjoyable match to have adjudicated.

 

Golden Gate’s clubhouse is such a rare treat after a match: shower, food, and drink, and socializing with players, ex-players, and referees. The place is really a rugby museum as much as it is a clubhouse. I certainly enjoyed the experience.

 

Date: 04/11/2015

Silicon Valley 7 – Colusa 61

Referee: Hinkin, James

 

Something is wrong when there are two 5:00 in a day, but Saturday it was so as the gentle strains of my phone’s alarm eased me from the grasp of Morpheus at 4:45 am.   I love technology – it is so much nicer to awaken this way rather than being unceremoniously jolted from sleep with a loud and harsh buzzer.   So, awake at last, freshly scrubbed and kit bag at the ready I hopped in Pelicus Fistulator’s rocket van for the long drive to Reno.   On our way we picked up some bagels that came with Pelcius Procrastinorix and coffee.   With breakfast well and truly served we rocketed northward and eastward to The Biggest Little City In The World for the final Division 3 Supersite weekend.   My fears about not arriving on time for my 11:00 kickoff were unfounded as, reminiscent of a previous story in HP about travelling to Humboldt and arriving 1 hour before kickoff, Pete “Fistulator” Smith pulled into the parking lot and turned off his rocket ship at exactly 10:00 – approximately 260miles and we arrived 1 hour before kickoff to the minute.   I’ll let you, dear reader, ask him what time we left San Jose.

 

The Circle of Life was in evidence as back in January I refereed the first ever match for Silicon Valley RFC and today I refereed final match of the year for them.   Unfortunately for the rookie club the result was the same and possibly the reason: too many rookies.   They have the makeup that one would expect of a new D3 club: some wily vets who may be past their prime, a few players who know what they are doing and a couple of athletes who have no clue but like to run around and smash things.   They came up against an organized Colusa side that tried to cheat early, were caught, and then were smart enough to adjust resulting in open, expansive rugby. They scored early and often while limiting SV’s attacks to minimal gains.   The game was enjoyable (for me) and played in good spirit with the notable exception of a young rookie fullback for SV who didn’t seem to understand that loudly trash talking (actually shouting as loud as he can) is generally a bad idea and especially a bad idea when you are getting beaten so badly on the field.   SV’s captain Paul Davis had his hands full dealing with this player and the many other silly rookie mistakes and handled the responsibility admirably so that I did not have to deal with it myself. He is in his first year of rugby and is a player to watch.

 

The half time score was 37-0 and to their credit, Silicon Valley kept plugging away until a kick and chase garnered them a well deserved try.   This, of course, happened just after one of the greatest passes I have ever seen as SV produced slow ball to their flyhalf who rushed a clearing kick only to see it go off the side of his boot. The resulting kick streaked across the field into the arms of the chasing open side winger without his breaking stride with 30 m of open grass in front of him.   Magic.

 

Colusa were dominant in all phases and took their foot off the gas a bit in the second half as they emptied their bench.   Their tighthead prop was especially helpful when SV brought in an inexperienced prop to go against him and he helped keep the scrums safe and provided a few tips to the appreciative young rugger.   Well done, sir.

 

Hakuna matada. I finished the first match scheduled and retired to the beer tent to observe the rest of the day’s rugby.   As this is D3 rugby there are certain traditions that must be kept so, as protocol demands, a boat race was organized and officially started by the official, that being me.   The results of the boat race are a closely held secret, one that I will never tell.

 

 

Date: 04/11/2015

St. Mary’s College B 53 – Santa Clara B 5

Referee: Tetler, Jen

 

After seeing a bit of a runaway A-side game, I was hoping that this B-side match would be a little more competitive…and it actually was (although St. Mary’s still clearly dominated). The first try for St. Mary’s didn’t come until 15 minutes into the match. After that they had a nice breakaway down the sideline and another couple of breaks through the middle. The first half ended with St. Mary’s up 24-0. At the start of the second half, Santa Clara was backed up into their try zone. They played some excellent defensive for several minutes until St. Mary’s was finally able to find a way over the line. The next try was practically like a soccer game, with kicks down the middle of the field led to a great race between two players, but St. Mary’s was able to fall onto the ball in the try zone first.   A few minutes after that, Santa Clara got the ball out wide and their wing was able to get around the outside and score a try. Much cheering ensued!! St. Mary’s scored 3 more tries in the game, for a final score of 53-5.

 

 

Date: 04/11/2015

Stanford 12 – Chico State 25

Referee: Richmond, Jeff

 

Chico used a strong pounding attack by their forwards to gain ground off each breakdown. When Chico went wide, Stanford positioned extra men on the defensive line, limiting the Chico backs. Stanford was more disciplined and effective in developing their back line but possession was dominated by Chico. Thanks to Neil MacDonald for AR support and his ref coaching.

 

Date: 04/11/2015

UC Davis 81 – Sacramento State 0

Referee: MacDonald, Neil

 

One way traffic, as Sacramento State struggled to regain possession from a dominant UC Davis side, who scored freely through a combination of smash mouth pick and go play, and pace and width from the backs.

 

Date: 04/11/2015

Vacaville 33 – Sacramento Capitals 66

Referee: Lane, John

 

A warm day in Vacaville – and the longest grass I have ref’d on since my move to US last year.

 

Walking into the football field the baseball fields were in full swing – it must be April!!!!!

 

Two enthusiastic sides took the field after the equipment check and captain talk and coin toss.

 

Sacramento chose ends so Vacaville kicked off. They quickly re-gained possession and controlled play for the first two minutes. But a midfield handling error and a quick pick-up and release put Sacramento in for a converted 50+ yard try. 0-7 at 3 mins.

 

For the next 15 minutes Sacramento dominated possession and territory but Vacaville held their line intact. Vacaville’s scrum was in the ascendency which helped them through this period of the game. Having held out, on 18 mins it was their turn to score. Some good handling and strong running through a few phases resulted in their first score, converted. 18 mins tied at 7-7. Play was even for the next few minutes but Sacramento then broke through again on 27 mins for 7-14 and from another turnover situation scored again on 31, unconverted. Leaving the score at 7-19. Vacaville put in a strong finish to the half and deservedly scored on 39 mins bringing the halftime score to 14-19.

 

The second half again started with an early score for Sacrament0 on 43 mins to stretch the lead to 14-26. Vacaville responded with a wide out score on 47 mins to continue the tit for tat scoring and 19-26.

 

The next 15 minutes decided the match as Sacramento through some good play of their own but aided heavily by Vacaville missed tackles and turnovers scored tries on 51, 53, 55, 58 and 62 mins with all bar 1 being converted for a 40 point lead at 19-59.

 

With their pride dented Vacaville responded with a converted try on 64 mins for 26-59. They continued their last quarter efforts but conceded again on 71 mins after a blood injury delay had slowed the game. 26-66. Again with some encouragement from their sideline support they regained field position and crossed in the left corner and an excellent conversion kick brought the score to 33-66 on 75 mins.

 

The remainder of the game was played out mainly in midfield with both sides tiring visibly in the heat and the game finished on double scores 33-66.

Date: 04/11/2015

Humbolt State Women 87 – West Oregon Women 12

Referee: Lew, Tim

 

Humbolt State v West Oregon – Humbolt State ran all over West Oregon to win the first round of Women’s Sweet 16 to advance to QF and play Cal State Northridge the following day at Stanford.

 

 

Date: 04/12/2015

New Mexico Highlands University 28 – Colorado School of Mines 24

Referee: Pescetti, David

 

Two teams very familiar with each other traveled a long way to play for the fourth time this year. The match started off with an impromptu singing of the national anthem. Sung as only collegiate rugby players could, out of tune and out of synch.

 

The match couldn’t have been any different from the singing. They played as two teams who are all too familiar with each other. The first half was a stalemate at 5 points apiece.

 

The second half was a blown open. Both teams were able to put a plethora of points up. The open play was a treat to witness. The end finished with rushed with both teams refusing to be outshined. The last two plays were tries from each team. They both fought to the last second.

 

Date: 04/12/2015

Stanford Women 0 – Sacramento St Women 0

Referee: Richmond, Jeff

 

This was the consolation match for the weekend playoffs. Sac State arrived with 17 players and a relaxed attitude. The humbling at the hands of UC-Davis the day before, left them ready to end the season on a high note. Stanford approached the day with the same pre-game discipline and preparation as they would any match. The game was a good one for the few folks that came to watch on a Sunday morning. Sac scored first and that seemed to light a competitive fire. Sac kept a lead through the first half with strong running and shaking off first contact with Stanford tacklers. Stanford stayed close trailing by 3 at half time. Stanford drew from their deep bench and the fresh legs enabled the Cardinals to put together two tries in a 5 minute span early in the second half. After looking like they were going to wilt under the Stanford attack, Sac fought back with scoring of their own, drawing to within 4 points with 2 minutes. The Stanford defense held got the win. The caliber of play during this match demonstrated why these two teams had advanced to the playoffs.

 

EDITOR’S NOTE: Apparently with all that excitement nobody scored and the game ended in a 0-0 tie.   You owe the society a round of beers, Jeff.

 

Date: 04/12/2015

UC Davis Women 0 – Chico St Women 0

Referee: MacDonald, Neil

 

UC Davis carried the day in this highly contested and physical final between the two strongest sides in D1AA’s Pacific Western conference. A brace of intercept tries by UC Davis’s #11, taking his total for the weekend to five, enlarged the score differential between the teams, as UC Davis’ defense repulsed Chico State’s attacks for much of the match.

 

Many thanks to Jeff Richmond and Patrick Mulholland for their AR help, and to both teams for a great match.

 

EDITOR’S NOTE: See above note.   You also owe the society a round of beers, Neil.

 

Date: 04/12/2015

Humbolt State 35 v Cal State Northridge 37

Referee: Lew, Tim

 

In the closest game of the weekend, Cal State Northridge narrowly defeated Humbolt State to advance to Pittsburgh for the Women’s D2 final four.

 

This Week’s Photo

In honor or Throw Back Thursday, I am digging into the archives to show you Pelicus Pilula Biberarius and his wife on tour in France for the 2007 Rugby World Cup.

Pohlman in France

 

Hail, Pelicus!

For the Senate

Pelicus Pedem Referre

Spring Fever

HAIL PELICUS!

 

Spring Fever

 

“It’s spring fever. That is what the name of it is. And when you’ve got it, you want — oh, you don’t quite know what it is you do want, but it just fairly makes your heart ache, you want it so! “

-Mark Twain

 

With March reluctantly giving way to April, as it is wont to do, spring has well and truly arrived, notwithstanding the brief rainstorm that rolled through Pelicanland late Sunday and Monday.   That final salvo was Old Man Winter’s last desperate attempt to disrupt the lives of the flock, which is a bit ironic, as we would have welcomed a bit more disruption just a scant few weeks ago.   Ever since January, really.

 

So what is this spring fever?   What is it that makes your heart ache because you want it so much? Why, rugby, of course. More specifically, playoff rugby.   This is the time of year where teams either make that final push to secure bonus rugby or officially designate this as a rebuilding year.   Hope springs eternal in the breasts of all ruggers, whether it is hope for a trophy, hope for next year or something in between, but all of us hope.

 

There weren’t too many games this week as most competitions had a BYE week to allow for any rainouts (seriously, rainouts) so this week’s HP will be a little on the lights side, but make no mistake, we will be back in full squawk next week as a full slate of games hit the schedule.

 

For those who are looking to advance to the local playoffs in April and the national playoffs in May, I leave you with one more inspirational quote.

 

“April is a promise that May is bound to keep. “

-Hal Borland

 

Playoffs Are Coming!

 

We are reaching the business end of the 2014/15 season so to that end we need to know availability so we can assign Referees, Assistant Referees, and Referee Coaches/Performance Reviewers/Other Names I Have Thought Up for the conclusion of the season and playoff matches. Please ensure we get your details by going to assignr, logging in, and posting availability.

 

Ask A Pelican

 

Yes, it’s time for this week’s installment of “Ask A Pelican”, the widely loved Q and A session with Hail Pelicus.   This week’s question comes from Redundo Circulus of Backwater, NV, who asks:

 

“Is there an Ask A Pelican question this week?”

 

No.

 

April Society Meeting

 

This month’s meeting will be held April 15th 7:00 PM @ the SFGG Clubhouse on Treasure Island. We’ll be doing our last fitness test of the year, the beep test. If you have yet to test, this will be the last one for the year.   Beep testing will begin at 6:00. Get there early as I suspect we’ll need to run two legs. For referees desiring to move up in grades from C1 to B panel you’ll need to complete the beep test.  For our meeting we will be discussing:

  • Signaling (Bruce Ricard)
  • Injury, Concussion, & Ref Responsibilities (John Pohlman)
  • Assistant Refereeing: Running teams of 3 (Paul Bretz)

 

Disciplinary Action Reporting – Process for reporting incidents

 

The various competitions all have their own disciplinary chairs and this will make it difficult to centralize the communication and data.  To help Scott Wood has developed a form that will centralize the process, regardless of the competition.  The link to the discipline form is https://docs.google.com/forms/d/1mmUNg11uVOSkIsUtHifSqQzalhWbwohk_J6AmPyrucQ/viewform

  1. Copy the link and have it available on your smartphone.  If you have an Iphone add the link to your home screen.
  2. When needed fill it out and click submit.  The discipline chair of the competition you refereed will receive a notification about the incident.
  3. He/she may contact you latter for more details.

 

 

On To The Game Reports!

 

Date: 04/04/2015

Colusa 46 – Missoula Maggots 21

Referee: Bertolone, Cary

 

Missoula drove up in a bus with the Missoula Maggots painted on the sides and they were pounding on the windows: I knew this was going to be good. Gluttons for punishment, Missoula played Thursday against Reno (and won). Friday against Chico (lost in a good game), Saturday against Colusa and then. after partying from 5:00 till 12:00, took the bus to Portland for a Easter day game at 1:00 PM. 4 games in 4 days!

Big, muscle bound ruggers they were, but Nor Cal rugby we be! Big time friendly with a boat race to decide the kick off (OMG).

A very solid rugby game ensued, with Colusa collecting most of the penalties and Missoula taking the lead. Colusa finally got it together and got back on top right at the half, 17-14.

Both sides had 30 plus players, so a lot of substitutions were taking place and Colusa had the deeper team and pretty much took over in the second half. Great comradery on the field amongst the players and it was a great rugby day. 46-21, Colusa. The party was awesome with pulled pork, sausages, salads and a lot of beer. Thank you to the Montana refs that AR’d for me, Skip Hegman and his brother, Psycho Hegman!!

 

EDITOR’S NOTE:   I have been on the famed Maggot Bus while touring with the Modesto Harlots as the Hosted Side of the Missoula Maggotfest.   Great times were had (Maggotfest is highly recommended) and just about everyone on the team was ill the next week.   It was an experience I will never forget, though sometimes I try, especially when thinking about that bus and the things that went on inside.

 

Date: 04/04/2015

Napa Valley 119 – SF Fog 0

Referee: Bernstein, Bruce

 

Back up to Napa’s heavenly field through Carneros. Fog had limited numbers but stood firm in their pack. Problem was their backs looked like tackling dummies as Napa’s Islander backline (fed amply by their captain, coach & #9 Paul) finessed their way to score beginning at a pace of a try every 2 minutes & only slowing down to miss most of their 1st half kicks or they would led by a lot more than the 65-0 halftime lead they built. They only ran over 8 tries in the 2nd half (to 11 in the 1st) but Tomasi (Fijian outside center hit almost all his conversions). The Fog had possession on Napa’s 5 meter line for a few minutes & a few penalties but failed to score a try & missed their one long shot at 3 points with a stiff wind blowing against the kicker. In fact they were way ahead in the boat race but got screwed by their #4 drinker who collapsed as Napa again breezed by them. Should make for a very interesting & competitive 3rd division playoffs as Napa is peaking at the right time.

 

 

Date: 04/04/2015

Sacramento Amazons 86 – San Jose Seahawks Women 12

Referee: Hosley, David

 

Field did not have sideline flags. Home team said they couldn’t find them and finally put out tiny cones that were hard for the players and ref to see.

 

 

Date: 04/04/2015

Sacramento State 24 – Chico State 34

Referee: Boyer, Rich

 

Another fine day for rugby. The sidelines began filling up and by match time were end to end. Both teams were very patient: Sac St. controlled the ball the first three minutes, rarely making the gain line, yet continued to chip away. Rarely did a team engage a ruck while on defense. Chico drew first blood with a nice chip by their flyhalf, putting their wing into space for an easy try. Another chip followed shortly thereafter to the other wing. Chico up 14-0.

 

But Sac St. showed tremendous heart and clawed its way back with great passing, captain Travis being the beneficiary and toeing it in the last 25 meters. This was followed by a lighting quick try by their wing. 14 all. Chico elected for a penalty kick near halftime and closed out the stanza 17-14.

 

Sac St. ramped it up in the second period, scoring first on repeated pick and goes to lead 19-17. Chico responded with another penalty kick to go up by one. Both teams were knocking on the door, each being held up in goal. Sac St went ahead with kick penalty taps, had Chico on the last foot, then dove for a try in the corner, unconverted. The game continued to go back and forth, each teams’ patterns matching the other. Then the ball squirted out from a Sac St. ruck, Chico flanker pounced on the ball and pick and drive did the rest. Chico up 27-24 with ten minutes remaining.

 

Chico had a penalty advantage when their inside center made a line break and kicked the ball, was the recipient of a strange hop and scored in the corner for the final score.

 

Great match, great sportsmanship. Sac. St. #7 was all over the pitch making plays, inside center Zach ran very hard, and #13 was a very elusive and effective runner, while the wing and replacement fullback were dynamic, yet received little ball. Chico St. forwards were big and physical, yet the Sac St. crew were their equal. Chico’s big center JW was devastating with his runs and the wings show good pace as well. The flyhalf controlled the game well and 15 made incisive runs.

 

 

Date: 04/04/2015

Sacramento State B 17 – Chico State B 44

Referee: Richmond, Jeff

 

The match started with physical play by Sac State and they jumped out to an early lead. After explaining to the Chico captain that I would penalize for dangerous tackles, not hard tackles, Chico got down to business. The Chico flyhalf started their scoring with a drop goal from about 20m out, the first I had seen this season. Chico was successful in stringing together multiple phases, keeping constant pressure on Sac State. Sac State’s strategy of trying to get the ball to their strongest backs just never got any traction.

 

 

Date: 04/04/2015

SF State 0 – UC Davis 124

Referee: Ranaweera, Aruna

 

After a decade in the bay area, I was looking forward to my first time inside Boxer Stadium at Balboa Park in SF. Between 1996-2003, the US national rugby team played 16 test matches at this venue against some of the best teams in the world. Now, Boxer stadium is considered just a “soccer-specific public stadium” owned by the SF Recreation & Parks Department, which charged SF State University an exorbitant $1000 for just four hours of use (12-4pm). At that price, it’s no wonder local teams don’t use this stadium more often, even though the picturesque setting is well-suited for high-level rugby.

 

The D1AA game itself was one-way traffic, with UC Davis leading 55-0 at half and notching 20 tries in total.

 

 

Date: 04/04/2015

SF State B 24 – UC Davis B 47

Referee: Pescetti, David

 

A beautiful sunny day at Boxer stadium. Fun fact, the USA Eagles used to play there. Thanks Aruna for that bit off knowledge.

 

Onto the match. It was a high spirited match by both teams. However, SF State started off the match having to play with some players from their A side. Despite having to repeat players they put up a good fight sprinkling into the mix a hint of cheeky play. But the depth of the Davis was too much for State.

 

We all had a blast during the match.

 

 

Date: 04/04/2015

SFGG Women 10 – Berkeley All Blues 2 17

Referee: Coppinger, John

 

This was a good competitive match played between two well organized and physical sides on a rock-hard pitch at SFGG. After pounding on the door for a while in the last minutes of the match, Blues scored almost on full time to break the 10-10 deadlock. The conversion made the final 17-10.

 

Date: 04/04/2015

UCSC 49 – SJSU 5

Referee: MacDonald, Neil

 

Another beautiful day of sunshine at what has to be one of the most spectacular pitches in the country, as SJSU visited UCSC to contest the MacBeath-Porter Cup, named for the founding men of the two clubs. UCSC kicked off towards the ocean, and it took 17 minutes for the first points, with the visitors grabbing a try. UCSC pulled back level with a score in the 29th minute, finished by a no look behind the back offload to the scorer. After conceding a couple of defensive penalties, UCSC found themselves a man down after not being back 10 at a penalty, but despite the deficit, scored right at the end of the half to go into the break up 10-5, after a very competitive first half.

 

A great break by UCSC was stopped by a no wrap tackle, and the home side banged over the resulting penalty from the 22 right in front of the posts to extend their lead. With a tidier breakdown and quicker ball, the Slugs piled on the pressure in the second half, adding a converted try during their one man advantage, and adding another two scores in the 56th and 66th minutes, for a 32-5 lead with fourteen minutes remaining. As SJSU tired, and fell off tackles, UCSC exploited space to score another three tries in the last six minutes, the last a length of the field break from full back, and won back the MacBeath-Porter Cup.

 

Thanks to Giles for his help on the touchline.

 

Date: 04/04/2015

UCSC B 5 – SJSU B 3

Referee: Wilson, Giles

 

With SJSU a little undermanned, the teams agreed to 25 minute halves and didn’t manage a score until 45 minutes had been played. SJS opted to kick a penalty from the 22m line – even then it glanced off the post before going over. UCSC were then galvanized into action and scored an unconverted try. Off the restart, SJSU applied pressure but knocked on 5m out and after the scrum, managed to clear the ball and end the game.

 

Date: 04/04/2015

UNR 0 – Stanford 24

Referee: Hettermann, Matt

Bullpen Referee: Wilkening, Russ

High Altitude Fitness Evaluator: Pendegrass, Joshua

Bunny Impersonator: Williamson, David

 

I took the opportunity of a match in Reno to make a family weekend in Truckee – which was great fun.

 

On to the match – Stanford was more disciplined than UNR – which was the difference. They split their four tries evenly between the halves. Approximately 30 minutes into the match I took a harsh (accidental) boot to the achilles. Joshua Pendergrass was watching the match and commented “I can’t believe you can even stand, let alone run” – although I’m not sure you could call it running after that. I lasted the rest of the half and about 10 minutes into the second, at which point my entire calf was cramping and I tapped out. Luckily Russ Wilkening had just shown up to cover the b-side match for me, and he filled in admirably.

 

Thanks to Dave Williamson (who happened to be in Tahoe that weekend) for offering to observe me.

 

When I got back to Truckee, my wife commented “I thought you switched from playing to refereeing to get away from contact injuries?” Indeed.

 

This Week’s Photo

I touched on hope at the start of this newsletter and sometimes the hope is just to keep playing forever.   Fred Forrester was opposite William Webb Ellis when, with a fine disregard, he first picked up the ball.   After chasing Webb Ellis down Freddy was credited with the first ever rugby tackle.   True story.

L-R Pelicus Byrnest , Fred Forrester, Pelicus Pilula Biberarius

Fred Forrester

 

 

Hail, Pelicus!

For the Senate

Pelicus Pedem Referre

The Champion Is Back

HAIL PELICUS!

 

The Champion Is Back

 

Last year, in my inaugural season as editor of the Hail Pelicus, I offered up many viewpoints and observations, peppered with jokes and psudo-classical references.   Based on the response, one of the most evocative pieces I wrote was after the Cal – St Mary’s game that was handily won by the Gaels, a result that surprised many but not all, especially those who have been paying close attention to collegiate rugby in the USA.   I dubbed it the Most Significant Game Of The Year and went on to make my arguments, even going so far as to suggest that I may have understated it. (You can find the whole article at http://pelicanrefs.com/news/page/4/ should you wish to refresh your memory.)   Cal has been the dominant force in US collegiate rugby for decades and have often taken on and beaten the top club teams as well, staking their claim to being the top rugby program in the country period, yet this time Cal was the underdog at home – a clause that is rarely typed when dealing with American colleges.

 

I was fortunate enough to be assigned to AR the match and for the first time I was able to directly witness this rivalry.   In college in the early 90s I played against Cal in the old Pacific Coast playoffs and lost, but we weren’t blown out. This, however, is a whole different animal.   Since then Cal has taken to heart the philosophy of High Performance training and has made a habit of beating teams by upwards of 80 points, often over 100.   When I was in college I also played against St Mary’s in a preseason friendly, and in fact we won. This also is a whole different animal, as since then the program has improved to the point where they are now staring down Cal as equals, and often, betters.   The quality of the rugby and the enthusiasm of the crowd, combined with the Pac 12 Network televising the game live, is what we all dreamed of back in the day and I feel privileged to have witnessed it first hand.   Say what you like about Cal, and many people do, but they know how to put on a show and manage a production. It is the most professionally run venue I have ever been a part of at any level, and St Mary’s stepped up and matched Cal on the field, a most worthy opponent.

 

(As an aside, after reaching the pinnacle of Traditional American Success and being on TV, my mother was less than impressed: “You didn’t appear on the TV too much, did you?   The center ref was on all the time.”   Thanks, mom.)

 

Last year I wrote,

 

Cal built their legacy with years of tradition, university and alumni support, excellent coaching and a steady stream of dedicated players who bought into the program. They will not go away and I fully expect them to be better next year than they are this year.

 

St Mary’s have built their team with years of tradition, university and alumni support, excellent coaching and a steady stream of dedicated players who bought into the program. They will not go away and I fully expect them to be better next year than they are this year.

 

This is gonna be fun.

 

I feel I nailed that one.

 

 

Who Has It Better Than Us?

 

This weekend not only saw a top 4 collegiate rugby match in Cal v St Mary’s, but an international select touring side taking on your best young ruggers.   From the website of the English Lambs, “Founded in 2006, The Lambs exists to create openings for boys to showcase their rugby skills at a representative level … The Independent Schools RFC was set up to promote traditional rugby values and a ‘Corinthian’ spirit as our style: this is to play unreserved ‘heads up’ running rugby in a fast and expansive style…”

 

Not many other Local Unions get that in a year. It is rather commonplace here in Pelicanland.   Make no mistake, though, because we know what we have here and are very appreciative of it.

 

 

The #1 Destination for Visiting Referees

 

Report via Kevin “Some Call Me Barry” Donnelly

Visiting referee from Virginia Rugby Referee Society: Patrick Benner from Richmond, Virgina.

Hosted by Kevin Donnelly and Bruce Bernstein.

(See Patrick’s report in the game reports section)

Friday 27 March.  Many thanks goes to Bruce “Dude” Bernstein for meeting Patrick at the airport at Friday noon and entertaining him until early evening, including a personal guided bicycle tour of the Golden Gate Bridge and surrounds.

 

Patrick, being on Eastern Time, was exhausted by 10pm and retired.

 

Saturday 28 March.  We made our way from Palo Alto to Napa on Saturday morning for the scheduled Men’s D3 festival, stopping along the way for a suitable pre-game brunch.  Patrick willingly ran touch for other games during the midday and early afternoon prior to his scheduled match at 4pm.  His game between Aptos and Marin was a one-sided affair (Marin 71 – Aptos 0) but the rugby was fully contested and Patrick showed good judgement and pace to manage a run-away game of that type.   An official evaluation was tendered by Lee Johnson (many thanks to Lee). It is notable that as a referee with about 18-months experience, Patrick showed maturity and resolve by promptly ejecting a verbally confrontational coach from the enclosure within the first five minutes of the game!

The outdoor festivities that followed the day of rugby were enjoyed by all, Patrick was awarded a festival t-shirt and bottle of Napa wine (what else would you give an exchange ref?).  We ended the day later with fine dining in downtown San Francisco.

 

Sunday 29 March.  As an additional aspect to the exchange weekend, we lined-up Patrick for an AR role in the team-of-four that officiated the youth international touring-side match at SFGG between the England U-19 Lambs and the NorCal U-19 Select Side.  With all the trappings of an official international rugby event, a pre-game team speech by the NorCal captain that included something about throwing tea into a harbor, beautiful weather, Pete Smith in the center, and a hard fought game; it was certainly an experience for all involved.  To boot (excuse the pun) NorCal come away on-top by surprising the English lads with ferocious tackling and a physicality in the loose play that they clearly did not expect. The Lambs players and staff were gracious in the post-game ceremonies and many new friendships made.  A good day for US rugby, NorCal rugby, and the Pelican Society for providing such a unique opportunity for an exchange referee.

We finished off the evening having Patrick out to dinner in the coastal town of Pacifica to enjoy a West Coast sunset before putting him on his 11pm red-eye flight back east.

Patrick was a credit to himself and the Virginia Society, and he was a superb guest for the entire weekend.

Thanks again to the hosting coordinators – Bjorn Stumer and others.

 

EDITOR’S NOTE: From being copied on the email exchanges it looks like Kevin has a new BFF.   Exchanges change lives!

 

Ask A Pelican

 

Yes, it’s time for this week’s installment of “Ask A Pelican”, the widely loved Q and A session with Hail Pelicus.   This week’s question comes from Bill Shakespeare of Stratford-upon-Avon, UK, who asks:

 

“What’s in a name? That which we call a rose by any other name would smell as sweet. So learned man and womenfolk would, were they not Evaluators call’d, retain that dear perfection which they owe?
Without that title. Performance Reviewer, doff thy name, and for that name which is no part of thee.”

 

Oh no, Mr Bill, you are spot on there.   This is an issue that has plagued us here at the editorial staff of Hail Pelicus as well – we are just coming to terms with Assistant Referee and Touch Judge.   With nomenclature changing all the time it is sometimes difficult to know what the currently accepted titles are for the people who are watching and (officially) judging a referee’s performance.   Is it Evaluator?   Performance Reviewer? Sometimes a Referee Coach?   In order to come up with a standard we here at HP have decided that for the next several weeks we will make up some titles and throw them out there to see what the public thinks.   There were several matches watched this week so see if you can spot the new titles and let us know here at hailpelicus@pelicanrefs.com which ones you think are the best.   Results will be tallied and published at the end of the year.

 

Keep sending in your questions to us here at hailpelicus@pelicanrefs.com!

 

The Once And Future Pelican

 

Pelican Tom Zanarini has moved to the east coast but old habits die hard – he is still sending in reports to Hail Pelicus. Now that is a well trained bird – look for his contributions in the game reports section.   Even better, he has written us a letter:

 

Dear NCRRS members,

My relocation to New England can now be considered complete after I have been activated by the New England RRS.  I understand from reading Hail, Pelicus! that there seems to be a difference in the weather from Northern California to Rhode Island.  You didn’t also get 65 inches of snow this winter?   Hmm. Interesting.  Please accept my match report so as to enlighten the left coast on the trials and tribulations of New England rugby in the springtime.

 

April Society Meeting

 

This month’s meeting will be held April 15th 7:00 PM @ the SFGG Clubhouse on Treasure Island.   For our meeting we will be discussing:

  • Signalling (Bruce Ricard)
  • Injury, Concussion, & Ref Responsibilities (John Pohlman)

 

Disciplinary Action Reporting – Process for reporting incidents

 

The various competitions all have their own disciplinary chairs and this will make it difficult to centralize the communication and data.  To help Scott Wood has developed a form that will centralize the process, regardless of the competition.  The link to the discipline form is https://docs.google.com/forms/d/1mmUNg11uVOSkIsUtHifSqQzalhWbwohk_J6AmPyrucQ/viewform

  1. Copy the link and have it available on your smartphone.  If you have an Iphone add the link to your home screen.
  2. When needed fill it out and click submit.  The discipline chair of the competition you refereed will receive a notification about the incident.
  3. He/she may contact you latter for more details.

 

 

On To The Game Reports!

 

Date: 03/28/2015

California 27 – St. Mary’s College 20

Referee: MacDonald, Neil

AR: Hinkin, James

AR: Hendrickson, Rob

#4: Carter, Bruce

#5: DeCausemaker, Ron

Detached Bystander: Wood, Our Scott

 

A capacity crowd, glorious sunshine, TV cameras, and all the hoopla that comes with this most intense local rivalry awaited us at Witter Field. Festooned with antennas and microphones, I was joined by James and Rob for the anthem, then once the PAC-12 Network commentary team had completed their pre-match commentary, we got the signal to kick off.

 

The physicality and pace of the match was everything you’d expect from two gifted teams fighting for bragging rights. St Mary’s drew first blood in the 8th minute, banging over a penalty after Cal took a scrum down. With St Mary’s lineout misfiring, Cal had a surfeit of possession, and tied the game up after St Mary’s infringed at a breakdown in their own 22. Ten minutes in, 3-3 score line.   Cal had a number of attacks thwarted by St Mary’s vigorous and scrappy defense, or squandered as the ball was lost, before Cal’s scrum half Bosco darted in on the right corner after a series of phases in St Mary’s 22, with 26 minutes played. The conversion drifted wide, and Cal led 8-3.

 

St Mary’s riposte included an incisive sequence of runs linked by offloads driving deep into Cal territory, only for the final pop pass to go straight into Cal hands, and the opportunity was snuffed out. Only for a moment. Fielding a ball deep, St Mary’s lethal fullback and captain Cooper Maloney accelerated through a gap between two defenders, broke a tackle, somehow kept his feet under him when he looked certain to fall, and scored to tie it up at 8-8 with eight minutes remaining in the half. The conversion sailed over and took St Mary’s to an 8-10 lead.   The ensuing restart kick was spilled by St Mary’s but they recovered to push downfield and a Cal infringement at the breakdown gave St Mary’s the chance to stretch their lead to five points, with a handful of minutes left before the break. Cal pummeled the St Mary’s defense but the pressure came to naught when St Mary’s held on. Right at the end of the half, St Mary’s infringed deep inside their 22, but Cal’s kick missed right, and St Mary’s carried their 8-13 lead into the break.

 

Cal closed to within two points with a penalty kick early in the second half as St Mary’s had hands in a ruck, but St Mary’s struck a hammer blow a few minutes later. St Mary’s #8 picked up from a scrum just outside Cal’s 22, #9 Holden Yungert whipped a short crash ball pass right from the following ruck, whipped another left from the next one, and when the ball carrier was hauled down on the Cal 5m line, Yungert saw a gap as Cal drifted to cover the narrow side, and darted for line, somehow grounding the ball despite the two Cal defenders hanging on to him as he crossed the line. A successful conversion, and St Mary’s had their largest lead of the game at 11-20, with 7 minutes of the second half gone.

 

For the next ten minutes, Cal hammered at the door. Salaber had a strong run only to be hauled down in the St Mary’s 22. The ball was spun wide to the right, and after a phase or two held up short of the line. Back for a penalty for a high tackle close to the St Mary’s 5m line. The ball is sent left, only for the last Cal pass to go astray as the try line beckoned. Cal kept knocking at the door. Finally, from a line out on the St Mary’s 10m line, Cal went left, recycled and went right, with Jake Anderson putting lock Kondrat into space between two St Mary’s defenders for the score wide on the right. 16-20, with the conversion going wide. 4 point game with 20 minutes left.

 

Cal closed it to 19-20 in the 65th minute, after Yungert was offside at a scrum. Moments later, St Mary’s lost the ball in contact when an offload a fraction of a second earlier could have put Maloney through again. Cal’s Adolphus chipped into space, regathered his kick, straightened his line to stand up the defense, and slipped a pass to Battaglia on the wing, who beat a tackle, fended the next defender and…. James “I don’t need ‘go faster’ stripes on my shorts” Hinkin lent credibility to his many prior tales of winning matches in his playing days by dint of his lightning acceleration as he shot down the touchline to be well positioned as Cal winger Battaglia touched down  With James’ confirmations, the try was awarded and Cal was back in front 24-20 with 13 minutes to play.

 

Cal pulled ahead to 27-20 with 6 minutes remaining after a successful penalty kick. St Mary’s drove close to the Cal line and came within a few meters, but Cal held on for the win.

 

Thanks to both teams for an exciting match which thrilled the capacity crowd and kept the drama going to the very end. Thanks to James and Rob for their help on the touchline, to Bruce and Ron for their service as #4s, to Scott for his insightful observations following the match, and to NCRRS for the wonderful opportunity to referee these two great teams at such a storied venue.

 

Date: 03/28/2015

California B 83 – St. Mary’s College B 7

Referee: Hinkin, James

AR: MacDonald, Neil

Overly Critical Fanboy: Wood, Our Scott

 

After the thrilling match between the A sides this was a bit of a let down. Cal showed why it has remained a power for so many years and that is their depth.   There are teams that can suffer a few key injuries and it will devastate their season but Cal has the horses to step into any gap.   A dominant Cal scrum set a platform for attack that came in waves.   St Mary’s has some very good talent that could easily slide up to the A team, but not across the board.   They made some great plays and key breaks, but were only able to cross the line late for a consolation try. The key difference was the support level enjoyed by the Cal runners was not available to the St Mary’s ruggers.

 

Great thanks must go to Neil “I Love My Go-Faster Shorts” MacDonald for manning up (or is that Scotting up?) and ARing for this match after refereeing a tense A side match.   Many would have taken their well earned rest but Neil was Jocko-on-the-spot and was of great help, especially on a footrace to the try zone near his touchline when we had, nearly word for word, the exact same conversation as occurred 45 minutes prior, only with the roles reversed.

 

“Did the player stay in field?”

“Yes”

“Are you happy with the grounding?”

“Yes”

TWEEEEEET!   “Try awarded.”

 

 

Date: 03/28/2015

Newport 20 – Old Gold 0

Referee: Zanarini, Tom

Location: Fort Adams State Park, Newport RI

A great day for rugby, if you were not in attendance.  In hindsight it may have been better to postpone this friendly match.  The cold, damp wind howled off the bay to add even more chill to the near completely saturated field.  Maybe it’s the seven years in Northern California that has tempered my tolerance for such conditions?  Either way, both teams seemed eager to get started, until we got started.  The shallow pool otherwise known as a rugby pitch soon turned into a mud pit suitable for an organic pig farm.  I say organic due to the copious amounts of goose droppings that may soon add infection to the open flesh wounds awarded during play.  Somehow, someway, there were ample ball handling skills, rucks, mauls and other rugby like encounters occurring between scrummages and lineouts.  Kicks headed for touch were blown back in.  Kicks headed for posts were blown back out.  Drop kicks for restarts rarely found the 10m line since no ball can drop and bounce out of 6 inches of mud.  The players eventually gathered their senses at around the 60 minute mark and asked for only 5 minutes more of suffering.  Newport scored a try within 90 seconds of that request, which then ended the match, no conversion attempted.

 

Date: 03/28/2015

Marin 71 – Aptos 0

Referee: Benner, Patrick (Richmond, Virginia)

Location: Fort Adams State Park, Newport RI
(Halftime: 33-0)
Marin: 11 trys, 8 conversions, 0 PKs, 0 DGs
Aptos: 0 trys, 0 conversions, 0 PKs, 0 DGs

The match was pushed back 15 minutes for start at the request of Aptos due to player shortages and concern that they might not arrive by the set kick-off time of 4pm.  Aptos also requested open/rolling subs, which was agreed to by the Marin captain and Coach.

The pace of this match was quickly set by Marin.  As they were a much more prepared and established side they set their platform early and struck at each opportunity given.  Their strength in the pack was also very evident resulting in much stolen ball and the ability to utilize their loose forwards to advance play at the perimeter of each scrum, particularly the 8-man.

While the players of Aptos never gave up and never conceded a tackle or try, they were overpowered and outmatched in this affair.  I applaud the Aptos players for their fortitude and the competition the continued to display at each tackle zone and set piece.  However, the platform and game plan that Marin had established early on served them well as they continued to strike in close to collapse the defensive line of Aptos only to result in the ball being spun out to the backs for breakaway scores that always had the needed support.

Despite the score, this was a contested match that drew a lot of attention at the end of the tournament.  Well played by both teams and well fared by both captains.

 

Date: 03/29/2015

Northern California Pelicans U18 23 – England Lambs 10

Referee: Smith, Pete

AR: Benner, Patrick (Richmond, Virginia)

AR: Donnelly, Kevin

#4: Rauscher, Eric

 

The English side was large and imposing. Based on a conversation I had with Nigel Melville about them earlier in the week, I expected them to pick the NorCal Pelicans apart. NorCal was able to match their size up front, but was much smaller throughout the backs especially compared to the huge right wing the lambs had on their side (the player is a certain England National team player).   The game was close throughout played between the 22’s.  NorCal had 2 penalty kicks to England’s try 6-5, England scored again to make it 10-6 and NorCal scored a try just as the half was ending to go up at the break 11-10. NorCal scored another well earned try to go up 16-10 for most of the second half and their relentless defense kept the Lambs off the board for the second half. England had their chances, but untimely mistakes and cynical penalties were their undoing. NorCal added another try with 3 minutes left in the game to push the score up to a more flattering 23-10 and walked off the field with a well earned victory. From a referee perspective, the first half was smooth sailing with virtually no issues. For some reason in the second half, the English team went to a tactic at the tackle that I am still shaking my head over. They would arrive at the tackle/or the tackler would quickly get to their feet and place their hands on the ground past the ball and ball carrier making no attempt to play the ball (in my mind this is sealing and/or going off your feet), then they would wait for contact (ruck) and then they would make an attempt to play the ball (hands in the ruck). When I talked to their captain and tried to clarify what I was seeing and subsequently calling, their captain told me that putting their hands on the ground past the ball was the same thing as playing it and that I needed to penalize the ball carrier for not releasing. That was a first for me. I told him what my standard was and consistently applied it. As much as we can agree to disagree, I was the one with the whistle and wasn’t about to change my standards 60 minutes into a match based on what I can only guess is a local variation or assumption that other refs don’t differentiate between hands on the ground and actually making a play on the ball.

 

 

Date: 03/28/2015

Berkeley 17 – Diablo 19

Referee: Richmond, Jeff

 

A close match for a change. Berkeley led until the final minutes on the fast pitch at Cal Maritime. Both teams were solid with marking the opposing backlines and sure tackling. No long, breakaway tries. Forwards kept possession going through multiple phases, though often giving up the ball through a knock-on.

 

 

Date: 03/28/2015

Berkeley All Blues 2 82 – Sacramento Amazons 0

Referee: Ricard, Bruce

 

No report received

 

 

Date: 03/28/2015

Berkeley B 47 – Diablo B 6

Referee: Hammack, Robert

 

Spirited game that saw Berkeley claim a large win after a narrow defeat by the A side.

 

 

Date: 03/28/2015

EPA Bulldogs 52 – SFGG 23

Referee: Lane, John

 

After a brief mis-direction on the home field and the grateful assistance of Pete Smith I arrived at Maypark in Palo Alto in plenty of time to start the game at 13:00. Another warm day in March!

 

Two very committed teams started the game well combining some direct close in ball carriers with wide moves to set the tone for the day. Both sides were guilty of going off their feet and also hands in ruck and early penalties were awarded. The sides quickly adjusted with some inputs from the coaches and the breakdown throughout the rest of the half was generally clean but well contested.

 

Bulldogs physical strength was evident early on and throughout the game in general. Carries through the center of the breakdown areas delivered good ground and quick ball to hard running centers led to an early 12-0 lead.

SFGG then had some territory but did not score and Bulldogs broke out for a converted try to lead 19-0. 25 mins played.

SFGG got on the scoreboard with a penalty shortly after and on 35 mins scored another to trail 19-6. Having now got into the game the restart was not claimed with a few players looking at each other. This allowed Bulldogs to gather the bouncing ball and crash through for a converted try. 26-6 at halftime.

 

The second half started with Bulldogs mounting the pressure and again their physical power lead to another try this time unconverted. 31-6. SFGG efforts then lead to their first try with some strong carries and offloads getting them past the strong Bulldogs defense. 31-11.

Bulldogs reacted strongly and with some strong midfield running broke tackles for another converted try. 38-11 with 20 mins left.

Bulldogs started to use their bench and SFGG picked up the pace chasing the game. The player change led to an increase in the Bulldogs breakdown infringements and after a team warning a yellow card was issued to the Bulldogs No 8 for repeat team infringements on 26 minutes.

SFGG took advantage by kicking the penalty to the corner and with the man advantage drove the line out maul over for an unconverted try. 38-16.

With the man advantage SFGG started to move the ball wide every time but a misjudged pass with an overlap in place was intercepted for a Bulldogs score. 45-16.

SFGG got another score shortly after Bulldogs were back to 15 and Bulldogs closed out the match with a final try. Both were converted to leave the final score at 52-23.

 

 

Date: 03/28/2015

EPA Razorbacks 100 – San Jose 12

Referee: Ranaweera, Aruna

 

Both team played with structure, but San Jose could not match EPA’s athleticism and physicality. EPA lead 54-0 at half, and dominated the scoreboard, 16 tries to 2.

 

 

Date: 03/28/2015

Fresno 12 – Santa Rosa 55

Referee: Wilson, Dan

AR: Jury, Jeff

AR: Jury, Zane

Closely Supervised By: Williamson, David

 

Santa Rosa started off the scoring in the 11th minute with a converted try and Fresno answered in the 14th minute. Within the first 20 minutes, Fresno was two men down due to a serious lapse of judgement. Santa Rosa was able to take advantage of Fresno’s yellow cards as well as undisciplined defense by scoring four more converted touch downs. Halftime score: Fresno 7 – Santa Rosa 35

 

Second half was all Santa Rosa starting off with a converted try in the 42nd minute. Fresno was able to score a converted try on last movement with a man down. Final score: Fresno 12 – Santa Rosa 55

 

Thanks to Jeff and Zane Jury for running AR and to Dave Williamson for giving some good pointers and advice.

 

 

Date: 03/28/2015

Google 15 – Colusa 60

Referee: Franzoia, Tom

Keen Observer Of The Niceties Of The Match: Byrnes, Bryant

 

Love the enthusiasm the Highway men show with their version of the “Haka”, so did the whole City of Napa, very colorful gentlemen!!! Colusa struck first with quickness and strength as Google couldn’t get into a rhythm in the first half. The second half had Google in the try zone first and half as often as Colusa. A beautiful drop kick gave Google hope but the pesky Highway men would not give in. Thanks Bryant for the coaching!

 

 

Date: 03/28/2015

Mendocino 22 – Reno 91

Referee: Bertolone, Cary

 

Eighty degrees in Napa where 14 Div 3 rugby clubs congregated for 7 league games and Napa hosting with Lagunitas IPA and BBQ by Up and Under. Our game kicked off at 3:00 and Reno quickly scored for a 7-0 lead. I think it surprised everyone when Mendo came back and scored three minutes later. At the 11 minute mark, it was 14-12, Reno. Heat had an effect and Reno took over. They proceeded to score 7 converted tries for a 49-12 halftime lead. You would think they must of all been center tries for their kicker, Greg, to be 7 for 7 on conversions; not the case. More of the same in the second half with Reno scoring 7 tries to Mendo’s two more. Good, clean game with everyone displaying great attitudes and playing hard rugby. And finally, at 5:00 iish, the beer and BBQ, in that order. Fun seeing all of the different refs and players. Good job Pete Smith and Napa RFC.

 

 

Date: 03/28/2015

Olympic Club PRP 29 – OMBAC PRP 50

Referee: O’Neil, George

 

No report received

 

 

Date: 03/28/2015

Stanford Women 87 – University of California at Santa Barbara Women 0

Referee: Lew, Tim

 

Stanford v UCSB- On a sunny and clear day at Stueber Statium at the Stanford camps, the Cardinal dominated this game controlling every aspect of the game. They had some great kicks to pressure UCSB. UCSB didn’t have enough continuous play to reach the try zone.

 

 

Date: 03/28/2015

Washington State University Women 37 – University of California at Berkeley Women 20

Referee: Pescetti, David

 

This opening round match-up between WSU and Cal under the hot Palo Alto sun. WSU donned their crimson red while Cal clad in classic colored hoops. The match began with plenty of jitters and subsequently many mishandling errors and scrums. After the first 15 minutes of the match, nerves calmed and smoother play was had. A blitz of scoring by both teams finished off the end of the first half, with WSU forcing their way in front. WSU 27 – Cal 10.

 

The second half was even. Both teams only able to score two tries a piece. But the momentum had significantly swung in the favor of Cal. However time ran out for their comeback.

 

 

Date: 03/28/2015

University of California at Davis Women 45 – University of California at San Diego Women 15

Referee: Hettermann, Matt

AR: Bretz, Paul

AR: Simko, Paul

 

Women’s Collegiate D1 Pacific Mountain playoffs at Stanford – this match UC Davis beat UC San Diego. Despite some early confusion regarding side entry laws, UC Davis was the more clinical side. Thanks to Paul Bretz and Paul Simko for assistance on the lines, and Paul Bretz for some good pointers and feedback.

 

EDITOR’S NOTE:   Gotta love an All-Paul support system.

 

 

Date: 03/28/2015

Humboldt 38 – Modesto 68

Referee: Byrnes, Bryant

 

Napa Valley D3 Super Site. Super sites are a new idea this year (I think)-and an idea whose time has come. It has most of the advantages of your grandfather’s antediluvian tournament-food, drink, tees, lots of rugby to watch. It plays well to the sociability of rugby.

 

D3? Most of it was pretty good. It is an opportunity for these hard working journeymen, these rugger lumpen proletarians, to strut, to show their stuff. And this all applies to refs also. One gets to see our peers in action, get feedback, catch up. A day with Dude? Priceless.

 

EDITOR’S NOTE:   Bryant Byrnes received a thesaurus for his birthday this year.

 

Redwood flaked at the very last moment, so Humboldt stepped up on this sunny warm day. A good game-no wine and cheese at half for these guys. Each team had excellent scrum halves who played their own game within a game. Humboldt had a bigger, more physical pack; Modesto had two smallish outside backs who were faster than blazes.

 

Fifteen minutes into the second half it was Modesto up 35 to 26. But then the two Modesto whippets went to work and scored four 60 meter plus tries under the posts. Few penalties, no cards; good sportsmanship, great fun.

 

 

Date: 03/28/2015

Life West 64 – Baracus 12

Referee: Smith, Pete

 

Life West started off hot and got hotter as the day went on. They were applying constant pressure until the Baracus team forced a turnover and raced the length of the field for a would be try, but with the try line 10M ahead the goal post the player touched the ball down behind the dead ball line. The line works both ways. Life West scored a try and at subsequent conversion I allowed the defending team to either stand on the try line and not advance or on the dead ball line where the goal posts are and charge. A Baracus player jumped straight up from the goal line (not advancing or breaking the plane of the goal line) and caught the conversion. the Life West kicker wasn’t happy, but I pointed out it was his field and it cost the other team 7 points on a centered try that ran out the back of the try zone 5 minutes prior. It was a more competitive game than the score would indicate. Life West has a strong team in general, but also some standout players that really put then over the top. Hats off to Baracus for playing hard for all 80 minutes and showing the true rugby spirit.

 

Date: 03/28/2015

Sacramento Capitals 94 – Chico 27

Referee: Tucker, Chris

 

It’s too darn hot for rugby. It feels like we should be playing 7s. Some would say that is a default state of being, but I still have a fondness for the traditional format of the game. Call me old-fashioned, and surely as I descend through my 40s that will inevitably become true. But there is still room for games like Saturday’s, between the upward-swinging Capitals, and the [precisely] 15 visitors from Chico, who were short-handed enough to require both their coach to play, and for the Caps to provide both TJs.

 

Suffice it to say that from the off, Sacramento looked the better team. But that didn’t stop Chico from playing hard, even as their lineup grew progressively gimpier. In fact they managed to put across their 4th try mid-way through the second half to earn themselves a bonus point — just because you’re short-handed doesn’t mean you suddenly forgot how to play.

 

Given the difference in score, I think the most notable moment came in the second half. It was the first time I’ve ever seen a direct-to-touch restart accepted. Lineout. Chico’s scrum was crumbling, so they took the best option. Still waiting for someone to take the re-kick — suspect that may be a while.

 

At the end, Sacramento just fell short of the ton, and Chico hobbled off the field to find a beer. A B-side game was played where the Caps beat the Caps, refereed by a fellow funny-talker. Since there was no cheating of any kind, he was able to do this from the centre spot. Another rugby day in the books, and smiles all round as a result.

 

 

Date: 03/28/2015

San Jose Seahawks Women 26 – Life West Women 31

Referee: Wilson, Giles

 

An early game in San Jose at what used to be Blackford HS and a regular rugby location; the early start had the visitors straggling in with all their players only arriving about 30 minutes before the 9.15am kick off.

 

The hosts got off to a good start with two tries before the visitors woke up. As the visitors woke up, their size and physicality started to bear down on the more experienced Seahawks who gave up a pair of tries. Half time saw a score of 14-12, with the difference being a single conversion.

 

The second half was similar, with the more physical Life Women bashing through and the Seahawks responding with their experience. The Seahawks managed two more tries in response to Life’s three and a final score of 31 – 26 for the visiting Life West team.

 

 

Date: 03/28/2015

SF Fog 27 – South Valley 53

Referee: Donnelly, Kevin

Sharp Eyed Observer:   Johnson, Lee

 

One of the mid afternoon matches at Napa set South Valley against San Francisco Fog. The score line does not indicate the fact that the match was close and well-contested from start to finish. South Valley led at half 38 – 7 but were outscored 20 – 15 in the second half, a testament to SF Fog determination. The game was a credit to both teams. Thank you to Lee Johnson for providing a helpful referee evaluation.

 

 

Date: 03/28/2015

Shasta 68 – Sierra Foothills 34

Referee: Bernstein, Bruce

 

This was the 11 AM match at Napa’s Kennedy Park between 2 teams both hurting for numbers as the season wears on. It gave me the opportunity to spend time checking out the all of the other matches & make 2 trips to the “party location” served by Napa’s airport shuttle bus. The Up & Under was there with its BBQ food (real good pulled pork sandwiches) all hosted by the Napa team (The Wine Thieves) who were great hosts throughout the day with not only 2 beautiful full grass fields but adding touch judges, players when necessary & great free beer for us refs. Pretty sure all 14 teams enjoyed themselves as well as the 7-8 refs & ref coaches in attendance. I would highly recommend this assignment next year.

 

 

Date: 03/28/2015

Vacaville 33 – Sacramento Blackhawks 33

Referee: Sandhill, Peter

Wandering Sage With Spare Time: Malone, Michael

 

EDITOR’S NOTE:   It is good to see a new report from our resident Aussie but there have been some complaints in the past that people couldn’t understand his accent, so I ran the report through a translator (Oz -> Murrican). I hope this helps – the translation is below the original report.   Keep that billy boiling, Peter!

 

?????? pu? ?no ??o? o? ???? pu? s???no?? ???s s?? ?o? ?uol?W ???W o? s?u??? ????p ? ?u??q ?? ?o? su???l?? ?? s?oq ??? o? s???q ??? ? ??o p,I ???? ?no ?u?od p?p ???o? ?uO ?no? ?u???ld?o? s????o? ??oq u??? ll?? p?p no? ?ou? no? ‘??? ? s? ???? o? ??ns??ld ? ?p????sqo I ????ds od??? dn u??l? ??? p?????? ????? ??ld lno? ?o? u???? ??l?u?d ?uo ?oN ??ooq o? ?u?lpu?? poo? ???? s???q ??? u? p??ds ??os pu? ???? ???od p????o? ? ?o uo???u?q?o? ? p?? ??oq pu? p?los ???? sll??s ??s?q ll? ????? ll? ?o? o? ?o? ?u?? o?? ‘??p ??? uo s???? p?????? ?lu??? ???? o?? ???p ?l??ol ? pu? ‘u???un ?l???l ? ???ql? ‘????d ss??? ? ?sno??ol? s?? ?ln?? ?? pu? ,,??p l?? ?oN sno??ol? ????ou? uO,, ‘?u???s ?o p???? ?u????? ?ou ?? I ‘s??????? ?u?? ???? s?

 

TRANSLATION:

 

As with many referees, I am not getting tired of saying, “On another glorious Nor Cal day” and it truly was glorious. A grass pitch, albeit a little uneven, and a lovely day. Two very evenly matched teams on the day, who went toe to toe all game. All basic skills were solid and both had a combination of a forward power game and some speed in the backs with good handling to boot. Not one penalty given for foul play which matched the clean up tempo spirit I observed. A pleasure to ref. As a ref, you know you did well when both coaches compliment you. One coach did point out that I’d owe a few beers to the boys at Pelicans for it being a draw. Thanks to Mike Malone for his sage thoughts and time to come out and watch.

 

EDITOR’S NOTE:   Looking forward to some VB stubbies at the next meeting.

 

FINAL EDITOR’S NOTE:   This single report has set a Hail Pelicus record for most editorial intrusions with 4, including this one.

 

Date: 03/28/2015

Vacaville B 55 – Sacramento Blackhawks B 10

Referee: Devlin, Joe

 

10 a side. Shortened halves at teams request. No misconduct

 

 

Date: 03/28/2015

University of California at Santa Cruz Women 0 – University of Nevada-Reno Women 59

Referee: Freitas, Larry

 

Another beautiful beach day in Santa Cruz, which means about 10 degrees too warm for a rugby match, in my opinion. University of Nevada-Reno scored first on an intercepted pass as UCSC attempted to run from their quarter. So it was 7-0 Wolfpack as the try was converted, and there would be many more to come in that first half, leading to a 38-0 lead by its end. The Banana Slugs were missing three players, two who had recent kitchen accidents involving knives at home while on spring break; one player cutting her thumb, the other dropping a knife on her foot (reminding me of Matt Cain’s and Jeremy Affeldt’s non-baseball injuries), and so they weren’t playing at full strength, especially at the inside center position. Nevada’s forwards beat UCSC’s to tackles and more often than not pirated balls from the home side’s ball carriers when they went to ground. UCSC did manage to counter ruck several times, but those moments of fighting for possession didn’t lead to much of a threat. Nevada played a complete game: running, kicking into space when that space was left unattended, and passing the ball about in movements that led to some well-deserved tries; and they tackled and wouldn’t let UCSC’s backs or forwards penetrate much into their own half, keeping up the pressure constantly. It might have made a difference if those three UCSC missing players were on the pitch, as they did score over 20 points in Reno earlier in the season, but they did give up a similar amount of points as well in that match then.

The second half proved to be a tighter game. UCSC is a good team, and they weren’t going to stop fighting, so Nevada scored three converted tries that were spaced out amongst the 40 minutes. The visitors also subbed in a few players, anticipating another match against Humboldt State Sunday morning, and therefore giving some rest to those replaced. I was very impressed by Nevada’s outside center. She is a power to be reckoned with when she has the ball in space. And that brings me to my final comment: it was great to see a game played in somewhat of the older fashion of forwards from both sides committing to rucks and mauls and not playing this game based on rugby league of committing as few forwards as possible to the tackle situation that has come into fashion the last decade or so. It created space for the backs, as there weren’t so many forwards cluttering up the mid-field!

When I left the parking lot my car’s thermometer was registering at 79F. I got home to Aptos where it was a cooler 72F. I was nostalgic about late March Saturdays of the past when it could have been raining or threatening rain, and it would have been chillier and windier up on the hill where that beautiful pitch is located. Oddly enough during this warmer than normal winter, the UCSC men’s team, exactly a month ago, played in the snow against Nevada Reno in Reno.

 

 

Date: 03/29/2015

Stanford Women 41 – Washington State University Women 22

Referee: Pescetti, David

 

On Sunday it felt like déjà vu. The colored overcome remained but the teams were reversed. Stanford was able to wear their home roaring red and WSU had to settle with grey, or was it gray? As the day before dictated a slow beginning, the next day could do nothing but continue. After both teams settled, scoring was afoot. Stanford lead at half 22 – 7 over WSU.

 

As I would not fade and would not go down without a fight. In the second half the teams went try for try matching each other. Slugging out the physical second half against one another. When the final whistle blew on the weekend the score ended with Stanford 41 – WSU 22.

 

The real take away is wear red in the playoffs.

 

 

Date: 03/29/2015

Central Washington University 54 – University of California at Davis 10

Referee: Lew, Tim

 

Central Washington v UC Davis. The game started close with Davis scoring the first try. Lots of offsides and ruck penalties but midway through the 1st half the game settled down. CWU had strong dynamic runners that could offload and make line breaks. UC Davis could not finish while CWU was able to finish their scoring opportunities better.

 

 

Date: 03/29/2015

Pacific Mountain Playoff’s 62 – TBD 3

University of California at Berkeley Women 62 – University of California at Santa Barbara Women 3

Referee: Hettermann, Matt

Authoritarian Curmudgeon: Bretz, Paul

 

Women’s Collegiate D1 Pacific Mountain playoffs at Stanford – this match Cal beat UC Santa Barbara. Mostly one-way traffic. Thanks to Paul Bretz for the coaching report and my first time using the SoloShot.

 

 

Date: 03/29/2015

Humboldt State University Women 18 – University of Nevada Reno Women 7

Referee: MacDonald, Neil

 

Santa Cruz is an unlikely location for two teams from Reno and Humboldt to play, and less convenient for either team than it is for me to referee, but we were lucky to have these two strong teams here on the central coast for the West Coast Conference D2 women’s rugby playoffs. The pitch at UCSC was, as ever, in great shape and well prepared. Far below, the Monterey Bay lay shrouded in mist and haze despite the sunshine on the pitch.

 

Humboldt opened the scoring ten minutes into this physical match, but were unable to extend their lead in the face of robust defense from Reno, so 5-0 it was at half time.   Humboldt finally got their second try in the 63rd minute, after an earlier penalty kick, but Reno were not going to roll over in the face of a 13 point deficit with 17 minutes to play, and scored from a very well worked move sparked by their feisty scrum half. The successful conversion pulled Humboldt back to just 6 points lead with 10 minutes to play. Reno launched everything they had in pursuit of a decisive second score, but Humboldt built another period of sustained pressure in the final minutes of the game, once again building on strong incisive running from the backs to cross for another try to settle the match and take the championship.

 

The travelling support for both teams enjoyed an exciting match with everything to play for until the very end. Congratulations to Meredith and her Humboldt State team, and all the best in the subsequent rounds of playoffs.

 

 

This Week’s Photo

The Team of 4 for Northern California Pelicans v England Lambs. L-R Patrick Benner (Virginia), Pelicus Fistulator, Kevin “Some Call Me Barry” Donnelly, Pelicus Veneficus

Lambs Team of 4

 

Hail, Pelicus!

For the Senate

Pelicus Pedem Referre

Springtime In The Park

HAIL PELICUS!

 

Springtime In The Park

 

Spring has officially arrived in the Northern Hemisphere, a fact that causes ruggers and non-ruggers alike to celebrate the end of a long, cold winter.   At least in most places it does – Pelicanland has barely noticed.   Our drought parched landscape has been subject to springesque weather for most of the winter broken up by occasional, fleeting rainstorms.   It may seem churlish to our brethren in the rest of the country busy digging out from under another massive snowstorm that we complain of sunny, warm weather all the time but, in spite of the debunking of the fantastical “California Has One Year Of Water Left” scare, we are a thirsty people indeed.   Hail Pelicus has always been a bold publication and has tested the limits of the possible, probable and particularly silly and we aren’t backing down from this, our latest outrageous stance: We could use a little more winter around here.

 

Apparently not enough of you loyal readers had sacrificed a chicken to the Weather Priestess when I asked you to.   You only have yourself to blame.

 

So it was with another postcard day that I arrived to referee the San Jose Seahawks hosting the EPA Bulldogs (see thrilling account below) when I ran into Pelicus Scriptoris, Dux Deux aka Dr Bruce Carter who had just finished adjudicating a high school match on the next field over.   Up walked Josh Pendegrass who is currently recovering from injury but had a rugby itch that needed scratching. After chatting with them a bit I went over to the Bulldogs and Seahawks to set the timing of the day and say hello to see that EPA had added a new coach to their staff, a rather familiar face.   Guess what? I had played with every single coach on both coaching staffs.   This got me to thinking about the current juxtaposition of two trends I see in rugby today.

 

The first is an old one: the rugby community is a close knit group and as you progress through your career you will see friends again and again. As you age out of your (always illustrious) career and move into refereeing, coaching or just plain fandom you tend to see old friends and teammates giving back just as you are.  Friends from my playing days are coaching their kids and the kids of other teammates and, occasionally, bitter opponents.   Once rugby gets its hook into you it is a rare human who can resist the pull, and why would you?   It is the Game That Is Played In Heaven, after all.

 

The second is a new one: the explosion of rugby across the age groups in Pelicanland as well as the rest of the country.   This is the second time I have been at a Seahawks home match – the first being the result of a rare rainout – and on both occasions there was youth rugby, high school rugby, women’s rugby and men’s rugby all going on at the same time.   There was more rugby than you could shake a stick at, not that you would want to.   I really don’t know what shaking sticks at things is supposed to accomplish anyway.   The point is that in the days of my youth high school rugby was a rare thing, youth rugby was non-existent and women’s clubs were limited to a few hardy bastions. An event like last Saturday just didn’t happen. Now it is a regular part of the schedule.

 

So what does this mean?   We are now living in the sweet spot, that time where rugby is still “underground” enough to be a community where everyone knows each other to within a few degrees of Kevin Bacon, yet the upswell of popularity in the game is creating the first generation of players who will have played since their single digits and will have more teammates than not who are in the same boat.   It has been noted by many that at the national team level it is now a rarity for a player not to have started in high school and learned the game as a teenager.   The old team building rubric of finding some ex-football/soccer/wrestling stars who picked up the game in college is obsolete – we no longer need to turn athletes into rugby players because they are already there.   We are now poised to go a step further and join the rest of the fully developed rugby nations in exposing our players to the game when they are hardly bigger than the ball, running and passing and giggling as little tykes and picking up skills, allowing for players to enter high school with 6 or more years under their belts and reaching the national team with just as much rugby experience as that Kiwi starting across from them.   This makes a huge difference.

 

In the 90s we had Dan Lyle, a superior athlete who played football in college, then picked up rugby to stay fit and within few years was one of the best players in the world.

 

Today we have Todd Clever who started playing in high school with his brother and went on to become a world class flanker and the first American to play Super Rugby.

 

Tomorrow… well, who knows? I expect to see someone whose parents started him in minis at age 5 and arrived on the national scene at age 19 not only with a man’s body, but with a rugger’s brain.

 

There will always be room for the freak athletes, the exceptional ones who can be all world at anything they try with just a bit of effort, but the days of relying on that paradigm are gone.   There were too many misses for the hits.

 

I guess Spring is a time of renewal and hope, after all.

 

Up Stepping Has Happened!

 

Thank you Kevin Barry – the Reputation is intact. There is an opportunity for more stepping up, however.   If there is anyone who can meet our visitor this Friday (March 27) at SFO and keep him company until Kevin returns from his own trip late Friday and takes over hosting duties please contact Bjorn Stumer at bstumer@att.net.

 

Ask A Pelican

 

Yes, it’s time for this week’s installment of “Ask A Pelican”, the widely loved Q and A session with Hail Pelicus.   This week’s question comes from Upset Procrastinator of Latework, CA, who asks:

 

“I didn’t see my match report in the Hail Pelicus even though I submitted it at least 15 minutes before the HP was posted.   Was I too late?   When should I submit my match report?”

 

That’s an excellent question, Mr Procrastinator, as I know that there are some reports that get missed.   While there is some editing, just about everything that is submitted is published.   The HP is usually put together on Wednesday afternoon so if you want to see your prose on the World Wide Web it is a good rule of thumb to have your report in by Tuesday night.

 

Keep sending in your questions to us here at hailpelicus@pelicanrefs.com!

 

Disciplinary Action Reporting – Process for reporting incidents

 

The various competitions all have their own disciplinary chairs and this will make it difficult to centralize the communication and data.  To help Scott Wood has developed a form that will centralize the process, regardless of the competition.  The link to the discipline form is https://docs.google.com/forms/d/1mmUNg11uVOSkIsUtHifSqQzalhWbwohk_J6AmPyrucQ/viewform

  1. Copy the link and have it available on your smartphone.  If you have an Iphone add the link to your home screen.
  2. When needed fill it out and click submit.  The discipline chair of the competition you refereed will receive a notification about the incident.
  3. He/she may contact you latter for more details.

 

On To The Game Reports!

 

Date: 03/21/2015

Baracus 42 – Berkeley 17

Referee: Pescetti, David

 

A, lovely day at the polo grounds for a bridge battle between Baracus and Berkeley.

 

The match was close. With a half time score of Baracus 14 – 0 Berkeley. Beverly was able to quickly respond, opening up the second half scoring. But in the end Baracus was too much for Berkeley.

 

It was a joy to oversee a battle of two brutes.

 

Date: 03/21/2015

Baracus B 34 – Berkeley B 24

Referee: Rauscher, Eric

 

Forwards win the game, backs decide by how much. In this case the Baracus forwards never let the Berkeley backs win the game. My thanks to Berkeley player Erik Madsen who reffed the first half so I could do my after game coaching session with David Pescetti. A mighty fine job he did. We must lure him into the world of reffing

 

Date: 03/21/2015

Fresno 20 – Sacramento Lions 35

Referee: Tucker, Chris

 

Another weekend, another looooong road trip. Redding, Humboldt and now Fresno — certainly getting a good tour of the state. Arrived at the dust-bowl pitch in Fresno with the temperature around 80, felt like 7s season. The Lions looked at the pitch and felt right at home. This was a day for the backs, with sideline-to-sideline play. That said, both back lines pressed well and the game kept close and intense throughout. With two teams both up for it, it became testy at times, with a couple of yellows for dangerous play — silly stuff, rather than malicious. But fundamentally both teams wanted to play, not to muck around, and we made it the full 80 without any flare-ups, something I took personal satisfaction from. As for the game, the Lions gradually racked up tries throughout, and although Fresno pushed and kept it close, the visitors were just a half step better and came away with the points.

 

 

Date: 03/21/2015

Marin 19 – Reno 20

Referee: Bernstein, Bruce

 

As advertised: hard hitting, back & forth, competitive 3rd Division conference title match. Marin got off to a good start with 2 converted tries leading 14-10 at half but Reno stormed back to open the 2nd half scoring 2 more also non-converted tries ahead 20-14. With minutes to go Marin intercepted a Reno lineout on its own 10 meter line & went in untouched. A conversation or a penalty kick they got with seconds remaining for about 40 meters out would have won the match for them had either been good instead losing 19-20. Tough match to lose. With some luck they may sneak into the 4 team playoff format for the 3rd Division & might win it the way they played in both their forwards & backs Saturday. Another good party hosted by Marin at the Flatiron in San Rafael which looked different with other guests there. Oh yeah, thanks for Lee Johnson providing invaluable insights & giving me a thumbs up for not missing a forward pass which apparently I did in the 1st half.

 

 

Date: 03/21/2015

Napa Valley 98 – Humboldt 7

Referee: Hettermann, Matt

 

No report received

 

 

Date: 03/21/2015

Olympic Club Alumni 39 – SFGG Alumni 14

Referee: Pohlman, John

 

San Francisco Golden Gate hosted a rugby hootenanny on Saturday. A series of high school games being played on their two fields, along with mens PRP, D1 and Alumni.

Just a beautiful day for rugby. Temperatures 70s, good field, good crowd and lots of food and beverages. Truly one of the gem venues in the USA for rugby.

In my game the O-club was too young for the combo SFGG/Bald Eagle team. There was real rugby played in four 20 minute periods. The first period ended in a 7-7 tie. O-club started to get their form in the second with three try s. SFGG won the third 7-5. O-Club finished strong with a 12-0 final period.

All good with captains Mike, Rich and Shawn controlling their “boys”. A fun run for all.

 

Date: 03/21/2015

Olympic Club B 17 – SFGG D1 31

Referee: Coppinger, John

 

SF/GG D1A overcame a battling O Club B side in a good match, generally marked by good, hard, and competitive rugby played in good spirits, but the match was marred by some silly moments.

 

 

Date: 03/21/2015

Sacramento Amazons 48 – Life West Women 22

Referee: Taueva, Favor

 

Thanks to both team for the great rugby joy today. Life West keep up the good work. Have fun at the rest of the seasons.

 

 

Date: 03/21/2015

San Jose 15 – EPA Bulldogs 55

Referee: Hinkin, James

 

Saturday’s a rugby day and San Jose hosted a full afternoon of oval ball action at Blackford in San Jose.   The pitch looked great as I walked up, even allowing for the uninformed kids playing a rather silly game with sticks and nets. My hope is that some of them stayed to watch what a real sport looks like and will afterwards consider LAX to be no more than an airport in Southern California.   The grass looked freshly mowed and even all around – and that was the problem.   Unfortunately the local gopher population has taken a keen interest in this patch of open land and the field was pitted with holes and divots hidden by the deceivingly flat grasstops.   Upon even closer examination of the field with Larry Freitas who adjudicated the Women’s match that started off this rugbypalooza we found an absolute mess of lines as first soccer, then rugby had painted white lines on the field – not too bad that as they are easily distinguishable, but then lacrosse had decided that THEY needed more white lines on the field and somehow managed to paint them at a 10 degree angle from everyone else.   Oh well, you play on the field you have.   One of my first instructions to the captains was to play the whistle as I would most likely at times need to look around for flags and cones to see where exactly we were on the field before making a decision.

 

I am assuming that I did such a wonderful job on the first encounter between the EPA Bulldogs and San Jose Seahawks that both teams begged Pelicus Fistus to assign me to the return leg so here I was with the same teams and same captains as in January, with the Bulldogs hoping for the same result.   The game kicked off and away we went.   San Jose played structured rugby and EPA tried disrupting everything they could, especially in the scrums where they were dominant.   A series of EPA penalties gave San Jose some territorial advantages but they could not unlock the defense.   The first score finally came after EPA pressure forced a lineout near the Seahawk goal line. The lineout throw wasn’t straight so San Jose chose to throw themselves, a choice that would haunt them as sloppy ball bounced into the try zone only for an alert Bulldog to pounce on it for a try.   The conversion was wide and we went back to half for a kickoff.   More EPA penalties resulted in a missed kick at goal by the Seahawks and eventually a yellow card.   With the man advantage San Jose put EPA under enormous pressure but the Bulldogs turned the ball over in the tackle and spun it to the backs who found space and scored on a 70 meter break.   And then something happened that I have not seen since I was a player and, in fact, did it myself.

 

The conversion was blocked.   Not a slight brush with the fingertips gently changing the ball’s flights but a full on rejection back to where it came from.   The EPA kicker had a rather deliberate run up to the ball and just took too long to kick. A very alert play from the San Jose 13.

 

After this try against the run of play San Jose kept the pressure up earning another penalty that was duly converted.   San Jose’s scrumhalf was adept at getting the ball out of a backwards moving scrum and was very effective sniping around the sides of breakdowns.   EPA was able to make a long goal line stand that eventually ended in another penalty kick that went wide.   The half ended 10-3 to the visitors.

 

The second half was a completely different story as EPA made the adjustments necessary to combat San Jose’s patterned approach.   Three rapid fire tries started the half and EPA was rolling. The addition of ex 7s and 15s Eagle (and former Seahawk suiting up against his old team, no less… yea he played there before going to San Mateo) player/coach Alatini Saulala didn’t help matters for the home side as what he has lost in speed he has more than made up for in guile and Rugby IQ.   EPA’s discipline increased as far fewer penalties were called against them but that may also have to do with them spending all their time scoring.   A 4th try was added before San Jose added one of their own (converted) and in the move the Bulldogs lost another player to the sin bin.   San Jose took advantage to score another try (unconverted) but once parity was reestablished EPA were able to dot down 2 more times to finish off any hope of a comeback.

 

 

Date: 03/21/2015

San Jose B 5 – EPA Bulldogs B 29

Referee: Hinkin, James

 

With most of the EPA A side doing double duty the skill level was in favor of the visitors while San Jose had the fresh legs and the thirst for vengeance.   This worked out very well for the first few minutes as San Jose got on the board first with a well worked, unconverted try.   After that the Bulldogs realized they were in a game and started playing like they meant it.   Using their size advantage they were able to free up some space and get a try across and then convert it.   With both sides playing the last 9 minutes of the shortened half with 14 men due to some naughtiness the game settled into a back and forth affair.

 

The second half started with the Bulldogs scoring directly off the kickoff – so fast in fact that the sin bins were still serving the final minute of their sentences and were not allowed back on for the restart.   Once the game was restored to 15 a side the Bulldogs started rolling.   EPA was able to put 4 tries on the home side in the second half to run away with a score of 29-5.   San Jose played hard throughout and showed commitment to the tackles but were not able to match the speed of the EPA first teamers.

 

Date: 03/21/2015

San Jose Seahawks Women 5 – SFGG Women 95

Referee: Freitas, Larry

 

Another warm day in this rugby season that had many of them. Is this the “new normal?” I’d say that Sierra Nevada ski resorts wouldn’t like an affirmative answer on that. Wearing all white kit at least reflects back the sun.

The San Jose Seahawks are back playing home games at the old Blackford High School site in the border region of West San Jose and Campbell, as they did some time ago back in the 90’s. The pitch was laden with gopher holes. A youth lacrosse match was being played when I arrived, meaning the kick off for the women’s match of the day was pushed back to 12:30. It would have been better had it been a soccer match, because lacrosse lines shouldn’t be allowed on a rugby pitch. The Seahawk field committee got to work right after the match (and even before, as they did have one set of the north gold posts already up, and the goal line chalked) lining the field. It really didn’t affect things after all, except that a few times the kicker for a re-start had to check just which line to kick off from, and so did I, which are why there are flags at the half-way line. San Francisco Golden Gate had the advantage from the start, as they were playing a full XV to the Seahawk women’s XIV. Six GG first half tries, two converted, to one for the home side was the result, and a 34-5 lead by the half. After the second half started, two more San Jose women went off due to injury, though one returned after getting a bleeding wound attended. So playing 13 and 12 against 15 meant that the floodgates were opened and Golden Gate scored 11 more second half tries, four of which were converted. There seemed to be some familiar faces on the pitch, as Golden Gate has some Old Banana Slugs on their roster who played on some very good sides at UCSC a decade or so ago, and I was a referee for some of their matches back then. I’d have to say that the Woman of the Match had to be the scrum half for Golden Gate, team captain Tee Stroughter. She scored a hat trick of tries and was in the thick of things during the game. A number of Golden Gate players scored various tries. I was impressed overall by the ball handling ability of either team, and the overall deportment of players. There were some offside and hands in rucks, but the game was cleanly played and San Jose played as well as they could under the circumstances of having few players on the pitch.

No one fell into a gopher hole, but my right ankle was a bit sore after the game, as I stepped into a few and half turned my foot, but not enough to get seriously injured.

As an aside, a few of Golden Gate’s players, having scored their first tries ever for the squad, had to go through a ritual after the match where a table was set up for food and drink, a fair distance from the touch line, during the men’s match against EPA. I remember that ritual being introduced to California thirty years ago next month (April 1985), when Beantown, a women’s club from Boston, toured in these whereabouts, having their first match against UCSC women. The Santa Cruz Rebels hosted a party for them in downtown Santa Cruz at the Del Mar (now part of the Palomar Restaurant) after the mid-week match. We Rebels were astonished when a huge size 16 high-top rugby boot appeared (and obviously none of the women wore a shoe that size) and was filled with a liquid beverage, only to be consumed at pace by team member who had scored her first try, while her team-mates cheered her. Alena Port, Seahawk player and CSUMB coach, got to hear that story from me yesterday.

 

Date: 03/21/2015

Santa Rosa 21 – EPA Razorbacks 27

Referee: Akroyd, Phil

 

Not a bad little game. Perfect weather as always in Santa Rosa and the field was in great shape. A couple of lead changes but EPA had much of the control of the game until around the final 20 minutes when Rosa were consistent in their attack of the EPA half. A converted try each in the second half but the Razorbacks did all the necessary damage in the first half.

 

EPA are playing well, but they will have to step up their accuracy at the scrum, lineout and also with their penalty discipline, if they hope to make a deep run into the playoffs.

 

 

Date: 03/21/2015

SFGG PRP 83 – Olympic Club PRP 3

Referee: Ranaweera, Aruna

 

One-way traffic. 29-3 at half. AR’s John Coppinger and John Pohlman were thrilled to work on their speed endurance.

 

 

Date: 03/21/2015

Shasta 5 – Colusa 65

Referee: Franzoia, Tom

 

Both teams enjoyed the game with friendly bantering back and forth over the pitch. Colusa struck first by managing the ball through strong support players on all breaks, well conditioned. Shasta just couldn’t find a rhythm but was scrappy to the end.

 

 

Date: 03/21/2015

Sierra College 52 – Solano JC 12

Referee: Richmond, Jeff

 

Sierra kept up a fast pace of quick picks and hard running to bury Solano. Solano made 3 or 4 strong attacks deep into Solano’s territory only to have Sierra steal possession and run it back the length of the field for a score. Sierra was down a man or most of the second half due to repeat infringements but Solano couldn’t capitalize.

 

 

Date: 03/21/2015

Silicon Valley 19 – Google 16

Referee: Valerio, Stephen

 

Google came out the stronger side, and collected several penalties as a reward. Unlike most clubs I have seen this season, any penalties inside the Silicon Valley half Google went for posts. While they collected some early points with kicks close to the posts, several opportunities went begging as they took several kicks from near mid-field. While Google took a 13-5 lead at the half, they came to regret the lost chances for territory as Silicon Valley was able to get 2 tries across including the final score in the second stanza as they stole victory 19-16.

 

 

Date: 03/22/2015

St. Mary’s College Women 68 – CSUMB Women 10

Referee: Donnelly, Kevin

 

Fine day for rugby at St. Mary’s. CSUMB didn’t travel with enough players for 15’s or 10’s so we played three consecutive 7’s games (cumulative score given). This was the first time most of the players had ever played 7’s but they were well coached and caught-on quickly. CSUMB tired fast and were outplayed by many more numbers on the St. Mary’s side. To CSUMB credit they fought-on to the final whistle despite a large score differential.

 

 

This Week’s Photo

All sorts of fans were on hand to see San Jose Seahawk Women take on SFGG Women, ably handled by Larry Freitas, all in white.

Gopher

 

 

Hail, Pelicus!

For the Senate

Pelicus Pedem Referre