Author Archives: James Hinkin

Death Be Not Proud

HAIL PELICUS!

Death Be Not Proud

Death, be not proud, though some have called thee
Mighty and dreadful, for thou art not so;
For those whom thou think’st thou dost overthrow
Die not, poor Death, nor yet canst thou kill me.
From rest and sleep, which but thy pictures be,
Much pleasure; then from thee much more must flow,
And soonest our best men with thee do go,
Rest of their bones, and soul’s delivery.
Thou art slave to fate, chance, kings, and desperate men,
And dost with poison, war, and sickness dwell,
And poppy or charms can make us sleep as well
And better than thy stroke; why swell’st thou then?
One short sleep past, we wake eternally
And death shall be no more; Death, thou shalt die.

-John Donne

Many of you have already heard the tragic news that the Pelican Society and the whole rugby family suddenly and unexpectedly lost one of the good ones, R Scott Wood. It is a difficult time for all of us and especially his family. He is survived by his wife Danielle and his daughter Gemma. As stated in the poem above, “soonest our best men with thee do go” and never has that line rung so true. A GoFundMe account has been set up to help with the transition and to assist in Gemma’s future college fund. Please be as generous as you can. The link is here:
https://www.gofundme.com/scott-wood-memorial?member=103326

Scott Wood passed away shortly after he refereed a high school playoff match hosted by the Elsie Allen Lobo Rugby club in Santa Rosa. It is believed that Scott experienced a heart attack in his car while driving home. He was stopped at a street signal when the episode occurred and in spite of valiant efforts at CPR from first bystanders and then paramedics he never woke up.

How can I properly eulogize and give such a man his due? The short answer is I cannot. I can only reflect on how he affected me and how I saw he affected the people around him. His love for his wife and family, his love of country, his love of rugby, all of them are reflective of the man for it is how we love that, in the end, determines who we are.

All of the above could have been easily seen with just a quick perusal of his Facebook page or 5 minutes of conversation, but you wouldn’t have had to look too far or talk too long to discover one of his deepest loves and a major reason why he was so well loved in return. You see, Scott can be considered lucky to have passed after doing one of the things he loved, but that was not the thing he loved doing most: being outstanding in a field. He chronicled this passion over the years with constant selfies, showing just the top of his head from the eyes up and behind him the field in which he was outstanding. It was this kind of humor that really connected me to him. Taking a classic dad joke and turning it into your signature social media calling card? Genius.

You see, we shared that same sense of humor. This is also why he appreciated and understood when I constantly referred to him as “Our Scott Wood” in this publication. The base pun of substituting ‘R’ with ‘Our’ was clever enough – remember that the quality of a pun is inversely proportional to how funny it is – yet the deeper meaning was not lost on him either, as “Our Scott” or “Our Dave” or “Our Nev” is a term of possessive endearment used in England. It wasn’t just Scott who refereed all over Northern California without complaint no matter how long the drive, it was Our Scott. It wasn’t just Scott who served on the Board of Directors, it was Our Scott. It wasn’t just Scott who maintained the pelicanrefs.com website, it was Our Scott. Because he is one of us. He is family. He is ours.

Requiesce in pace, Pelicus Radix Lecti, Our Scott Wood.

Pelicus Scriptoris Speaks

As you will be able to tell from the next item, Dr Bruce Carter has a special relationship with Scott and his wife Danielle. Danielle asked Dr Carter to speak at Scott’s service but unfortunately he can not make the trip in time. He sent me the eulogy and asked me to publish it and to that request from him I never say no. He is far more eloquent than I could ever be.

Memento Mori: Scott Wood

We were, fair queen,
Two lads that thought there was no more behind
But such a day tomorrow as today,
And to be boy eternal.

“The Winter’s Tale”, 1.2.79-82
William Shakespeare

When one of our better friends dies young the effects are multiplied. He is gone, his family’s lives shattered and cast adrift, and our own mortality thrust unwillingly into the foreground. We do not know the right things to say. Our usual sense of having some control over our own lives is shaken.

Roman Emperor Marcus Aurelius wrote, “You could leave life right now. Let that determine what you do and say and think.”

What I propose to do, and say, and think, is to reminisce about my friendship with Scott Wood, a friendship doubly rooted in rugby and refereeing but blossoming far afield.

Scott was a half-generation younger than me, with a trace of the baby fat still about him, and consequently will always be a youth to me. In turn, our adventures together pursuing the oddly-bouncing ball from England to Edmonton to Oahu and points in between seem to me a part of my own youth, especially as I have since matured into quiescence if not incipient senility.

Shakespeare’s King Polixenes of Bohemia, grown into the cares of serious adulthood and quoted above in The Winter’s Tale, recalls his youth with his best friend and the sense that it would go on forever. (‘Behind’, by the way, carried at the time the connotation of ‘as a result’ or ‘yet to come’. People still use it this way in phrases like, “I did some time behind my addiction.”)

This youthful feeling went with Scott and me when we flew to rugby assignments, often rooming together, anticipating and then dissecting our games, celebrating the good life of friends and shared passions.

What times we had. We shared an Army background, and philosophies of life, and other interests major and minor. We introduced each other to music that took hold. The days of our youth are the days of our glory.

We were in Honolulu in October of 2008 to work a tournament, having been together on exchange in the East Midlands of England the month before. We both had jobs, but Scott at least had the excuse of not being married. That was about to change.

There in the hotel he borrowed my perhaps providentially pink Sony laptop, smart phones not having penetrated much into the market, to check e-Harmony. He announced that he had found an enticing prospect.

So next it was that he and Danielle asked me to officiate at their nuptials, set for November of 2009.

Chance may throw people together. Being thrown together repeatedly is not chance. In this light, how unlikely is it that I had long since made plans to fly to Maui for a medical conference the day after the event and found out that the happy couple would be on the same flight for their honeymoon?

To see Scott become a husband, and then the proud father of Gemma, was a joy. To share time around the pitches of the oval planet was a pleasure. To work with him on the board of the NCRRS was a privilege.

Those who have worn the uniform of life know that when we sign up for the good times, we also enlist for the lean season. That season is here.

Young Scott Wood refereed a high school playoff game April 21 2018. Mike Gadoua, there to announce the match, reports that our old friend was in good form and good spirits. Scott left this world on his way home.

That leaves the rest of us to pause, and to reflect, and to hope that we can leave behind more love than we take with us. In the long run, I trust that the happiness we derived from our associations with Scott will outweigh the immediate pain of loss, however long it may last.

Commit. Love. Serve. Care. Give. Pursue your passion. Be a friend. That’s the best way, unfortunately, to leave a void in many lives, but I am grateful that that’s the path Scott Wood chose.

– Pelicus Scriptoris

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.
4. If you have any questions as to how to use the app please refer to the following video: https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=_Uz0_gTaOnY

On To The Game Reports!

Date: 04/21/2018
Colusa County 25 – Olde Gaels 44
Referee: David Pescetti

In the D3 Norcal finals had Colusa vs the Old Gaels. Despite ‘Old’ being in their name they didn’t appear to be so. Looked more youngish and spry. Maybe they should consider changing their name to the ‘Middleage’ or ‘Graduated Gaels’. Enough of my rant and onto the game.

Colusa jumped out to a lead playing off a scrum set piece that used their backline to slice through the Gael defense. Missing the conversion put them up 5 – 0. Gaels responding in short order, two minutes later, and converting their kick to take the lead 7 – 5 Old Gaels. A penalty committed by the Gaels allowed Colusa to retake the lead by the slimmest of margins, 8 – 7. Not to be outdone, the Gaels took the ball off and marched the kickoff down to respond. This time missing the conversion, 12 – 8 Gaels. This action occurred in the first 20 minutes of the first half. The second half of the first half was, by contrast a drought. No one scored anything. That is, until the Gaels took the ball, with no time remaining in the half down the field to put an exclamation point into the break. 19 – 8 at the half.

The teams were ready before the refs were, seems like they wanted to get back at it. The second half had similar results as the first. Both teams going tit for tat. One team scoring and the other responding. The difference in the second half was Gaels making 2/3 conversion vs the 1/3 for Colusa, and Gaels converting 2/2 penalty kicks. Critically in the second half, threatened a few times, but came away without points or the Gael defense delayed Colusa enough that time eventually ran out for them.
Final Old Gaels 44 – Colusa 25

Date: 04/21/2018
San Francisco Golden Gate Rugby Club 35 – C K McClatchy High School 19
Referee: Peter Sandhill

Picture Treasure Island, a very warm sunny morning, the lush grassy pitch a little soft underfoot with a full day of playoff rugby ahead (various levels). This High School Varsity playoff had a 9.15am kick off. CK McClatchy had won the mid-season match-up and both teams had something to prove. Having set expectations before the game with each team about the tackle area (sometimes a bit random at HS level) and general behavior, the game started at a very fast pace and high skill – clean rucking, kick-chase on display, fast hands through he backs. The first PK was around the ten minute mark and the overall penalty count around 14. While SFGG had the upper-hand in the first quarter, McClatchy were first to score following a deep bomb (kick) that came down a few meters from the SFGG goal line, recovered and try. Converted: 7-0. SFGG came out with an increase in intensity and it paid off with three tries in the second quarter, two through solid forward work, one demonstrating superb pick and go from rucks. The other try was via the backs, many hands touching the ball. 17-7 at half time.

As it is with rugby, you never know what will happen, especially if players heads are ‘right’. McClatchy were singing at half time and I knew they weren’t done. For the first 15 minutes of the second half, McClatchy demonstrated some deft backline work, really stretching SFGG, until around 8min when McClatchy scored once (converted) and then again around 15min, out wide. McClatchy 19 – SFGG 17. Game on.

The final quarter saw SFGG, with great composure, rally back with all sorts of skillful rugby – hard forward drives, lovely backline work, maintaining possession for periods, and most impressively, the SFGG #10 put several deep, high kicks through to the McClatchy left winger with the SFGG opposing winger, like lightening, putting pressure on his opponent. Two of those moves led to tries (one converted). Add two successful PKs leading to a final score of SFGG 35 – 19 McClatchy. Hats off to both teams for a clean, well fought, superb game of rugby, with great sportsmanship.

At the end of this game, a PRP coach said to me, “Wow, that was high school rugby! What great athleticism and rugby skills on display. NorCal Rugby is really progressing.” Indeed, his words echoed my experience of refereeing this game.

Date: 04/21/2018
Cougar Rugby Club 48 – Oakland Warthogs 28
Referee: Rich Boyer

A nice game in the pre summer heat. Cougars would hit with quick strike tries, while the Warthogs had to work for theirs. Warthogs were undone by knock ons at inopportune moments. The Cougar #8 was quite prominent and scored a few long range tries, while the wing, #11, made some nice runs himself. The Warthogs were physical, but the Cougars created overlaps and took advantage. The Warthogs got on the front foot late in the second periods scoring three converted tries, results brought on by impact subs.

EDITOR’S NOTE: With so many territorial and national appointments this week for playoff matches there are several reports that I can’t access via our reporting system as the NCRRS is not the official assigner for the matches. To alleviate that problem I have included the summaries from USA Rugby’s Club page. I have edited out matches that didn’t involve Northern California sides.

Samurai Sportswear Pacific Rugby Premiership

This week’s only PRP game showed Life West Gladiators attempting to play the late-season spoiler against visiting San Francisco Golden Gate (SFGG). SFGG is on a red-hot streak in the wake of last week’s must win domination of Old Mission Beach Athletic (OMBAC). The game seemed to never get going, as both teams bolstered their defense when necessary, not letting the other gain any momentum. SFGG scored first at the 25 minute mark, with Life West answering a few minutes later. The half closed with both teams knotted up at just 7 apiece. SFGG knew they needed this win in order to be a contender at the top, and that determination showed when flanker Matangi Tonga scored right away in the second half, Again, Life West were able to answer and brought the score back to even at 12. At the 60 minute mark, #8 Akuila Uaisele scored the go ahead try (his second of the contest) and Colby Stevens was able to add the conversion. Life West had the opportunity to immediately answer, but opted for a safe penalty kick as a response. In the stratagem that is rugby, it is a gamble to answer 7 points with 3, and that gamble proved to be fatal to Life West as Matangi Tonga scored his second try at 73 minutes, sealing the victory for SFGG 15-26. This win completes the trinity atop the PRP at 34 points, with all three teams on the road for round 10.

Northern California Men’s Division II

The final between SFGG D2 and San Jose Seahawks was on the ticket as the one to watch. The Seahawks bested SFGG in a defensive battle 25-22 for the NCRFU Division II title. The will “host” PNRFU DII champions Eastside Tsunami at Treasure Island this coming Saturday.

Northern California Women’s Division II

In the championship match for the second division of Northern California’s women’s rugby, the Sacramento Amazons triumphed over the Berkeley All Blues D2 36-24. The game got out of hand early for the Blues as they gave up 26 unanswered points to the Amazons in the first half hour. While, the All Blues made an impressive attempt at a comeback, ultimately, the Amazons’ large lead was just too big for the All Blues to overcome.

Northern California Men’s Division II

See Pelicus Spaghetticus’ outstanding report above.

Collegiate Men’s D1AA

The two premier teams in men’s spring D1AA rugby, Dartmouth and Nevada, met to see who would be crowned Spring Champion. The winner of this game would advance to go up against the Fall Champion, Mary Washington, to be crowned D1AA’s national champion. It was Dartmouth who got on the board first via a try to their hooker Mason Koch. Nevada’s attempts to keep pace with Dartmouth proved fruitless, as every time Nevada responded Dartmouth seemed to score two tries and quash any chance of a comeback. Despite this, at the break Nevada was only down fourteen.

As the second half kicked off Dartmouth again was the first team to score scoring the first ten points of the second half. The score remained 39-15 until Nevada responded with a try to cut the lead to 19, in the 70th minute. This lit a fuse underneath Dartmouth and the men from New Hampshire went on to score 21 points in the waning moments of the game to blow the score line out to 60-20. Dartmouth will now take on Mary Washington in the National Championship game in Fullerton, CA on the 5th of May.

Collegiate Women’s D1 Elite/D1

The women’s top tier of collegiate rugby has a rather unusual structure. D1 Elite and D1 compete against each other in the Round of 16 and quarterfinals and do not get separated until the results of the quarter finals. The winners of the quarter finals advance to the D1 Elite Semifinals while the losers compete against each other in the D1 semifinals.

The third quarterfinal saw BYU come up against UC Davis. BYU had prevailed against Arizona State the day before, while UC Davis put away Grand Canyon to book their spot in the next round. It was another one-sided affair as BYU showed their class and advanced to the D1 Elite semis courtesy of a 92-0 score line.

The final game to determine who would be placed in the Elite bracket and who would be in D1’s bracket came down to Lindenwood and Chico State. Lindenwood saw off Stanford, while Chico State pushed their way through UC Santa Barbra to advance. The match went to Lindenwood in a 71-0 affair.
The semifinals and championship will be determined over the weekend of May 4th and 5th in Fullerton, CA.

Collegiate Women’s D2

In the round of 16 and quarterfinals for women’s D2 we saw some familiar faces triumph and book their spots in the semifinals. In Stanford, it was Claremont and Nevada that went toe to toe in the quarterfinals after they beat Santa Clara and Long Beach, respectively. This was the closest of all the quarterfinals Claremont prevailed by six points. They shot out to an early 15-0 lead in the first 25 minutes, but Nevada determined not to go down without a fight, clawed their way back into the match in the second half, and eventually took the lead with only four minutes left on the clock. Unfortunately, for Nevada, that was enough time for Claremont to come back and secure a win with only two minutes left in the game.

In a battle of California, UC Irvine and Fresno State faced off against each other after automatically qualifying for the quarters. It was all one way traffic with Fresno opening the game by scoring 67 unanswered points. UC Irvine, in a show of tremendous spirit, was able to add some points to the board in the final ten minutes of the game, but the game was Fresno’s. Final score 74-14.

This Week’s Photo

Scott Wood, front and center, in his usual position of being surrounded by friends.
Standing: Bruce Carter, Paul Bretz, Tim Luscombe, Lois Bukowski, Aruna Ranaweera
Sitting: Josh Tameifuna (holding ball), Scott, Tom Coburn.

Hail, Pelicus!
For the Senate
Pelicus Pedem Referre

There Are The Tries That Time Men’s Souls

HAIL PELICUS!

There Are The Tries That Time Men’s Souls

It is playoff time here in Pelicanland and this is the reward, the payoff for all the hard work put in for the last 12 months. Very few teams win a championship so for everyone else the season ends with disappointment and the need to work harder for next year starts then. Actually, I tell a lie. Even the teams that win championships feel that need because they want to experience that feeling again. The joy of victory. The satisfaction of a job well done. The point is everyone has been putting the work in and for the teams that make it this far, this is when it pays off. Training in the cold and the rain. Doing just one more set in the gym. Passing up that last beer at the pub. (Yes, I know, but it does happen. Weird, but true.)

“These are the times that try men’s souls”, talented scrumhalf Thomas Payne (no relation to Dan Payne) said way back in 1776, while he was discussing his local club’s chances in the British Colonial Rugby Football Union D1 semifinal (they won). Seeking to further encourage his side he continued, “The summer 7s player and the sunshine supporter will, in this crisis, shrink from the service of their club; but he that stands by it now, deserves the love and thanks of player and coach.” Sage words, indeed.

(Historical footnote: Dissatisfied with the administration of the BCRFU Thomas Payne – still no relation to Dan Payne – successfully advocated for the local clubs to break off and form their own Union, which has been in operation ever since.)

It is no different for the members of the flock as we have all been working hard to perfect our craft, putting the extra running in, studying the laws and guidelines, and working with our coaches and evaluators to be at Peak Beak for the playoffs. Not only do the cream teams rise to the top but the cream referees do as well. For all of those who get playoff assignments, congratulations. For all of those who didn’t, don’t despair, but remember Thomas Payne (he really isn’t related to Dan Payne) and his famous dictum, “Missed appointments, like hell, are not easily conquered; yet we have this consolation with us, that the harder the conflict, the more glorious the triumph.”

(EDITOR’S NOTE: The Thomas Payne quotes above were taken from his inspirational leaflet The Catastrophe and not the famous revolutionary pamphlet The Crisis that was published some time later on. Although, to be fair, The Crisis was based on The Catastrophe, which passionately detailed the need to separate from the BCRFU.)

Weekend Update

With several leagues heading into or already in playoffs it is time to take a quick look around the landscape. So here we are with the latest:

Women’s D2

The All Blues D2 side beat an impressive SFGG 48-40 but the Sacramento Amazons still remain on top with a 7-1 record . The All Blues will play the Amazons this weekend in the D2 Final at SFGG.

PRP

Not really sure, as most of these are national appointments (ie: USA Rugby sends the Nor Cal B Panel to do our games) and because of that I don’t get results when I download the games. All I know is that OMBAC and Belmont Shore sit atop the standings with SFGG close behind. Life West and Olympic Club are well back. Do they have playoffs? Who knows?

Men’s D2

In the Upset of the Week SFGG D2 beat the perfectly cromulent #1 seed Sacramento Blackhawks, dealing them their first on field loss of the season. They will meet the San Jose Seahawks in the D2 final this weekend as the Hawks took care of business against a game Vacaville side.

Men’s D3

Was off. The final is this weekend when thine most Olde Gaels will deal combat with Colusa. Huzzah!

Men’s D1-A

Both St Marys and Cal cruised through their first playoff matches and will each host quarterfinals this weekend. Cal takes on Navy and St Marys gets Lindenwood. With the D1-A Final to be held at Santa Clara University’s Steven’s Stadium, neither Cal nor St Marys should sleep anywhere else but their own beds before meeting in the final. Yes, that’s a prediction, and I’m sticking to it.

Men’s D1-AA

Nevada took care of business down south in Long Beach and beat the hosts in the semifinal to set up a date for the D1-AA National Championship. Nevada will now face Dartmouth in the Spring Championship at East Carolina University this Saturday.

Women’s D1-Elite

Chico State will take on the Gauchos of UC Santa Barbara while Lindenwood will try their luck against Stanford this weekend at Stanford University’s Steuber Rugby Stadium. More on that next week.

Women’s D2

University of Nevada’s ladies get a chance to match their brethren with a matchup against Long Beach St. The men won in an exciting, tense match and now for the women to match that this weekend at Stanford. Fresno St is set to take on UC Irvine as well in the other quarterfinal held at Steuber Rugby Stadium.

As you can tell there is a lot going on and Nor Cal is well represented in the national landscape yet again. Good luck to all participants as they battle it out. Personally, I will be lying on a beach so will have to wait until Monday to find out what happened.

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.
4. If you have any questions as to how to use the app please refer to the following video: https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=_Uz0_gTaOnY

On To The Game Reports!

Date: 04/14/2018
University of California 85 – Grand Canyon University 14
Referee: Phil Akroyd
AR: Matt Hetterman
AR: James Hinkin
#4: Eric Rouscher

One of the D1-A round of 16 games brought together number 16 seed GCU and number three seed California in Strawberry Canyon. GCU sneaked into the playoffs in only their fourth year of existence. The Phoenix, AZ outfit have made some real investment into their rugby program and brought in a former Scotland 7s player as coach, a kiwi coach, and their captain is a giant Englishman from Staffordshire. That gives the impression of a wholly overseas flavor, but those are the only foreigners involved – all others are U.S. born and raised players who have taken up the game here. Very commendable, and also highlights the level of competition of serious rugby colleges and the recruitment battles that we may have in the future. That has to be good for the college game.

Unfortunately, when it game to the on-field operations, GCU showed their lack of experience. They really put themselves in a deep hole early on with some kicking decisions that appeared a little ‘off-piste’, while deep in their own half. They gave up 26 points in the first eleven minutes so the game was out of reach from the start. Cal managed to put 45 points up by half and GCU managed a converted try that also came from some risky play from Cal’s own line, which seems to be a tactic of late but undid them last year against SMC too.

In a near mirror image of the first half, Cal added another 40 points in the second half and GCU 7, so I certainly covered some miles. Other than the high scoring, the game was notable for the lack of other events. Scrums were very clear, no foul play or cards, lots of advantage, and very few penalties conceded by either team.

GCU can be happy with their season, while Cal move on to play Navy on Saturday back at Witter Rugby Field, which should be a more thorough test. Thanks to James Hinkin, Matt Hetterman, and everyone’s favorite Wizard, Eric Rauscher for the in-game support.

Date: 04/14/2018
SFGG Women 40 – Berkeley All Blues B 48
Referee: Lee Bryant

Beautiful day for some great rugby! Being a part of a good women’s club rugby match is one of my favorite places on the rugby pitch. Watching those experienced women weave the ball through well-executed tough hits reminds me why I love this sport. The first half was relatively evenly matched with a small margin score going into half time. Both teams had great runners and big forwards so the contest at the breakdown was tough. High tackles became the bane of SFGG and played down to 14 twice in the match. Blues managed to put up a few unanswered scores in the second half and SFGG couldn’t make up the difference despite a push with 15 minutes to go in the match.

Date: 04/14/2018
Sacramento Blackhawks D2 22 – SFGG D2 29
Referee: Rich Boyer

This was a hard hitting game. The Blackhawks stepped to an 8-0 lead on a quick try and penalty kick. SFGG fought back and were rewarded with a converted try. At times it looked easy for the Blackhawks as they found space and were off to the races, only to be undone by errors. They continued to pound and scored a converted try, which was answered near half time by SFGG. 15-14 at half. Both teams continued to be very physical. The Blackhawks had two long goal line stands but were eventually done in by the SFGG number six, who identified a gap, took advantage and scored the winning try.

Date: 04/14/2018
San Jose Seahawks 49 – Vacaville 36
Referee: John Lane
AR: Stephen
AR: Jonathan

A glorious day at Independence High School for the D2 playoff.

Two enthusiastic sides prep’d for the game and the formalities of boot checks and coin toss were completed early allowing the teams to go through their pre-match routines un-interrupted. Supported by Stephen and Jonathan as AR’s the game was started with Vacaville kicking “uphill” to San Jose who had chosen side having won the toss. The Seahawks dominated early play opting to kick at goal for a 3-0 lead on 3 minutes following a breakdown infringement. This was followed by a converted try on 6 mins with Vacaville slipping off a couple of tackles. 10-0. Vacaville started to get more into the game after these early setbacks. Looking to move the ball across the backline, a period of pressure was build up. This was initially turned over but the clearance was returned upfield with some strong running and after a few phases Vacaville crossed for a converted try leaving the score at 10-7 on 13 minutes.
The Seahawks drove forward and maintained pressure in the Vacaville half for most of the rest of the half with occasional breakouts by Vacaville. There were a number of turnovers by both sides as players became isolated after multiple phases. The Seahawks, trusting their kicker from reasonable distance, extended their lead to 16-7 with penalty kicks on 20 and 25 minutes. This was followed up with a disallowed try for double movement as they looked to build a strong lead before half time. On 31 mins, the lead was extended again with a converted try, 23-7. Vacaville put in a strong finish to the half but a number of opportunities were lost through knock-ons and players becoming isolated leading to turn overs. The half finished at 23-7.

The second half was lively on the scoreboard as both sides played open and attacking rugby throughout.
As in the first half, Seahawks started better and crossed for a relatively easy score on 43 mins to move to 30-7. The response was quick by Vacaville with an excellent score, converted, to bring the score to 30-14. This score was negated on 50 minutes as Seahawks pushed the lead out to 37-14 with a converted try. The next 10 minutes were fairly even with the subs benches starting to be activated in the hot sunshine! Seahawks scored next on 62 mins in what appeared to be the close out score for 44-14.
Possibly Seahawks relaxed a bit with the 30 point lead but it was also clear that Vacaville were going to play to the full 80 and the last 15 mins were played with open endeavor to pull back the lead. 12 points were added with tries on 27 (converted) and 31 minutes by Vacaville. 44-26 with 9 minutes remaining. Now I was being asked for the score and points difference by both sides!!! Seahawks broke away for a try on 74 minutes to stretch the lead out to 49-26. Vacaville kept chasing the game and crossed for unconverted tries on 39 minutes and with the last play of the game with the clock in the red! to leave the final score 49-36.

Date: 04/14/2018
Olympic Club B 24 – OMBAC B 51
Referee: Cary Bertolone
AR: Tony

Beautiful day at Treasure Island, around 70 degrees with a breaze. OMBAC scored at 7 minutes and at 24 minutes. O Club intercepted a pass to score at the end of the half. OMBAC up 12-7. It became more of a trackmeet in the second half. OMBAC scored in the 4th minute, then scored on an 80 meter sprint one minute later, O club scored a try two minutes later, and so on. Good game, most everyone in good spirits, final score of 51-24, OMBAC. Thank you Tony, who AR’d for me. On a funny note, my touch judge from O club allowed one of his yellow card players back in, 5 minutes early. I saw him playing, immediately, and stopped the game, penalized them and sent the player back off the field. Team mate yells that’s your touch judge, I replied that’s your teammate and we all laughed.

Date: 04/14/2018
Shasta Highlanders 62 – Southern Oregon University 29
Referee: Jeff Richmond

With twelvish players on each side, rookies, and a coed component this was truly a friendly match. Worth the drive!

Date: 04/14/2018
St Marys College B 48 – PAC (A-Side) 14
Referee: Roberto Santiago

A picture perfect day for rugby at St. Mary’s. The home team was their usual selves; cohesive, fast, well coached. The visiting representative side came with just 15 players, and put up a good showing considering that they hadn’t played together much and had no subs. St. Mary’s scored at the ten-minute mark on a nifty move that saw the ball carrier nearly tackled, but able to cradle the ball between his palm and wrist just long enough to reach over for the try. The side traded scores before St. Mary’s put in two in a row, the second coming off of a lineup and maul into in-goal. The visitors then put in a furious series that ended with a grubber that caromed off the goal post and right to a hard charging back, who dove over for the score at 41:00.The second half saw fatigue set in as St. Mary’s was able to bring in fresh legs and score four unanswered tries. The visiting side did put up a memorable goal line stand. St. Mary’s kicked ahead and looked for all the world like they would score on the initial 3-on-1 action within five meters. But the lone defender was able to tie up the ball carrier until help arrived. The next two phases produced a ball held up in goal, and a point of pride for the undermanned team.

Date: 04/14/2018
Danville Oaks RFC 24 – Lamorinda Rugby Football Club 31
Referee: Steven Fenaroli

Lamo and Danville met at St Marys for a match to decide #1 and #2 for high school clubs. Danville struck first with a penalty goal. Lamo responded with two tries. By halftime, Lamo had scored twice more and Danville had scored two tries as well. Danville kept trying to claw back but Lamo continued to keep the game out of reach.

Date: 04/14/2018
San Francisco Golden Gate Rugby Club 62 – Marin Highlanders Rugby Club 0
Referee: Preston Gordon

SFGG jumped out to an early 12-0 lead in their last match of the regular season with second and fourth-minute tries. Marin settled things down after that, mounting attacks of their own, until SFGG added 2 more tries at 17′ and 19′ to increase their lead to 24-0. The fast game continued, helped by the sunny and fairly warm weather. Before the end of the half, SFGG added two more converted tries to lead 38-0. The yellow card to a Marin player for not releasing the ball (as a team repeated infringement) didn’t help their cause.

In the second half several substitutions were made on both sides. This may have reduced the scoring somewhat, with SFGG being held to 4 more tries, but Marin certainly came close to scoring themselves, and their defense was standing up to the onslaught pretty well. With 10 tries and 6 conversions to zero, this game was one-sided, but that didn’t detract from the spectacle.

One further note from this game that pertains to law 9.7.b: I awarded a scrum in the Marin 22 just before time in the match expired, with SFGG throwing in. Time expired well before the scrum engagement sequence, and both captains were made aware of this. The scrum ensued and SFGG hooked the ball back to their captain, who was at #8. He unbound from the scrum, picked the ball up, took a step backwards, turned, and threw the ball ~20m into touch. He watched the ball go out, turned back around, and seemed a bit shocked to see my yellow card already flying high. While the yellow card may be a bit harsh in this case, I determined that this was an extremely cynical infringement, especially when it would have otherwise ended the match. Once I explained the laws and the SFGG captain went off, Marin took their last opportunity to attack and made good use of it. Eventually SFGG effected a turnover, went through one ruck, and then kicked to touch to end the match.
There is a very similar situation as in the second video example on the World Rugby laws page (http://laws.worldrugby.org/?law=9).

This Week’s Photo

With no other picture available, here is a shameless plug for Saturday’s Club Finals at Ray Sheeran Field.

Hail, Pelicus!
For the Senate
Pelicus Pedem Referre

The Weekend That Was

HAIL PELICUS!

The Weekend That Was

April rugby – you gotta love it. Playoffs matches were fiercely contested across the land and the Official USA D1 National Championship Preview Match was played between Cal and St Marys. St Marys won in a tight match where neither side committed their full squads but the crowd was certainly entertained. It is a good time to be a Pelican, that is for sure.

The Weekend That Wasn’t

It is a good time to be a Pelican except up in Sacramento, apparently, as the late season storm that ran through last week cancelled the Epic Wrap Battle In The State Capital. This has lead to one of the more head scratching decisions I have ever heard of. At the start of the day San Jose Seahawks had a 4 point advantage and a 99 point advantage in point differential over Sacramento Blackhawks while Life West trailed SFDD by 5 points for the 4th and final playoff spot with a significant, tie breaking point differential advantage. So for Sacramento to get the #1 seed they would need a bonus point win and for Life West to make the playoffs they would need a bonus point win – any other result than a bonus point win for either team and the table wouldn’t change with Vacaville in the #3 slot to round things out.

Then the game was rained out.

So what to do? Neither Life West nor Sacramento were able to arrange a midweek game so it went to (I assume) the competitions committee to sort out the final table. What the result of that meeting was… well that is the head scratching part. Somehow it was decided that 7 wins, 0 losses and 1 draw for 37 points with a +191 point differential was not as good as 6 wins, 0 losses and 1 draw for 33 points with a +92 point differential. Yes, Sacramento was awarded the #1 seed and will play SFGG while San Jose got the #2 seed and will host Vacaville. Sacramento was rewarded for playing fewer matches because the committee decided to average out the points per game. Yes, the rainout was unfortunate but does that equate to a bonus point win? Someone needs to take a very long look at the NCRFU regulations and come up with a more equitable system for rainouts at the end of the season. Granted, this is Northern California and April rainouts are rare indeed, but this can not be allowed to happen again.

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.
4. If you have any questions as to how to use the app please refer to the following video: https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=_Uz0_gTaOnY

On To The Game Reports!

Date: 03/31/2018
Fresno State Women 76 – Univ Nevada Reno Women 17
Referee: John Lane
AR: Jessica Turner
AR: Giles Wilson

As befits a conference final, Cal Maritime was basking in glorious sunshine for Saturday’s game between Fresno State and UN Reno.

Two enthusiastic squads were going through their pre-game routine while the boot checks, coin toss and general chat with both captains were executed. As this was a game requiring a result, a quick discussion was held with the Tournament Commissioner and the two coaches to confirm the Extra Time policy to be applied if it were to be required.

After a pre-game consult with my two AR’s, JT and Giles, the game was started with Reno kicking off to Fresno.

From the early stages it was clear that Fresno were collectively slightly better drilled in their game plan and looking to play on the front foot at every opportunity while Reno, with some strong talent in their ranks were a little less dynamic.

This showed in the first 15 minutes with Fresno scoring 3 tries (one converted) following multiple phases – Fresno were managing to keep the ball moving through offloads and quick tackle recycles which stretched the Reno defense and created the try scoring line breaks.

Reno, with some strong running from 10 and 15 started to get field position and following a few forward charges recycled well and moved the ball left to the stretched defense and a cutback lead to a score by the posts, converted. 17-7. The strong tackling of the Reno No 8 also became a feature of the game through this phase.

Fresno restored their momentum over the next 10 minutes and crossed for 2 tries out wide, left and right, pushing the lead to 27-7. Reno responded with a similar score to their first with some good hands creating the scoring opportunity, unconverted for 27-12. Fresno responded with another 5 pointer and the half finished shortly after Reno closed the score to 32-17 with a more forwards driven score.

The scoreline reflected the game well at half time. The second half became one way traffic on the scoreboard with strong midfield running creating the openings for 8 second half tries with the Fresno No 12 being very prominent on the try count with 4 (later named player of the match). No 12 also took over conversion duties and managed 3 successful kicks.

Reno remained fully committed throughout but playing into the breeze in the second half failed to capitalize on the opportunities they created. The last 20 minutes were punctuated by many scrums as players tired and more frequent knock-ons occurred.

The final score was 76-17 in favor of Fresno. At the end of the game winner and runner-up medals were presented along with the Conference Trophy.

A special thanks to Giles and JT for excellent old school (no radios required!) team of 3 assistance with great eye contact and simple, clear visual signals throughout!

Date: 04/07/2018
Colusa County 36 – Redwood Empire RFC 24
Referee: James Hinkin

With the air freshly scrubbed by the previous day’s rain and the sun shining down we had a perfect, sparkling day for playoff rugby up in Colusa. Colusa hosted Redwood Empire and both sides brought everything they had in a wildly entertaining game. Redwood started out on fire with a try almost directly from the kickoff and then added to their scoreline with a converted try just a few minutes later. At that point I thought I was going to be in a track meet but Colusa seemed to wake up and realize they were in a rugby match. They started making tackles and dealing with Redwood’s kicking game much better and soon enough managed a try of their own. The momentum shift was palpable as Colusa was gifted a second try on the trot off a badly thrown skip pass from the Redwood flyhalf that drifted forward by quite a few meters. Redwood seemed to stop waiting for my whistle but Colusa didn’t and their center scooped up the ball on the first bounce and raced 40 meters untouched, scoring to even up the points at 12 apiece. Only then did I blow my whistle, but to award the try and not for a forward pass. Redwood regained their composure and the match settled into a back and forth heavyweight match. Colusa was able to get a third try on the board just before half to take the lead. The score at the break at 17-12

The second half started just like the first half with an immediate score, only this time it was Colusa who scored first to extend the lead to 24-12. Redwood knew they had to score next or the game would be out of hand and score they did to tighten things up at 24-19. Both teams were running hard and tackling harder in a real barn burner of a match. Colusa struck next with about 10 minutes to play to reestablish a two score cushion but, yet again, Redwood would not give up. This time it was the Redwood fullback who intercepted a long skip pass and raced 80 meters to score. This set up a tense final 5 minutes as Redwood was only down 5 points and Colusa was desperately trying to kill the clock. Unfortunately for the visitors they just didn’t seem to be able to get their hands on the ball as Colusa camped in their 22, twice getting over the line only to be held up in goal. Finally, with time expired, Colusa got their reward with a try, duly converted. The ball sailed over the uprights, I blew for the successful conversion, then blew full time. What a match!

Special thanks must be given to captains Sili Aiono of Redwood Empire and Cody Beckley of Colusa. They were a pleasure to work with and there was never a hint of foul play in the entire match. Both teams were extremely well behaved and were quite obviously there to play rugby, and play they did.

Date: 04/07/2018
Stanford Women 97 – Oregon State University Women 17
Referee: Andrew Stockton

I originally expected to show up for a nice, easy day of ARing. 2 games, a light jog, nothing too much However, when Pete Smith went down 20 minutes into the match with an ankle injury, I was called into action and ended up taking control of a very one sided match. Stanford had complete control of the match that was disrupted by bursts of excitement when OSU would score a try on a great few phases of crash ball and then a wide pass to their speedy wing. There were few issues with both teams (in fact, i think there were 7 total penalties in the entire game). Congrats to Stanford on their advancement to the championship game.

(EDITOR’S NOTE: To the sniper who took Pete Smith out, job well done. The money has been transferred to your offshore account.)

Date: 04/07/2018
Washington State University Women 22 – UC Davis Women 36
Referee: Andrew Stockton

One of the most entertaining matches I have seen in quite some time. WSU was clearly the better team with most of their runs making 6 or so meters. However, Davis was able to stay with them through the first half, and quite a few second half mistakes from WSU, including a knock on .2 seconds before a try, and a girl pulling another down by the pony tail, led to Davis being victorious.

Date: 04/08/2018
Stanford Women 31 – UC Davis Women 44
Referee: Paul Bretz

Fantastic game to officiate and thanks to John Pohlman and Jen Tetler for contributing to the event. First half of the game saw Stanford in the driver’s seat with a comfortable 24-15 lead. Both teams were playing good, well-disciplined rugby and only committed 4 penalties in the first half; Davis committed 3 of the 4 penalties and they were the result of sustained pressure.

In the second half of play both teams looked to contest the breakdown more; Davis committed 3 penalties in the third quarter of play and received a yellow card for the third infraction deep in their own defending 5 meter line. The resulting play saw Stanford jump to its biggest lead, 31-22 with 15 minutes remaining.
Stanford appeared to take their foot off the gas and it resulted in Davis scoring 4 tries in the last 12 minutes of play. Both programs demonstrated balanced attacks and good defensive composure. All-in-all a great demonstration of college rugby in Northern California: 75 points scored; 12 penalties total; and fantastic back and forth action. Both programs will benefit from the lessons learned during the game.

Date: 04/08/2018
Washington State Women 31 – Oregon State Women 12
Referee: Jessica Turner

No Report Received.

This Week’s Photo

A special shout out to the best captains I have had all year, Sili Aiono from Redwood Empire and Cody Beckley from Colusa County enjoying a refreshing post match beverage.

Hail, Pelicus!
For the Senate
Pelicus Pedem Referre

Wrap Battle

HAIL PELICUS!

Wrap Battle

April has arrived and that means that the season is wrapping up here in Pelicanland. Playoffs have starting for Men’s D3, while the collegiate men and women get into it this weekend. Division 2 has most of their playoff teams set with only one game left to determine teams and seeds. Vacaville is set as the #3 seed and the final D2 Wrap Battle pits Sacramento Blackhawks against Life West with the Blackhawks needing a bonus point win to take over first place from San Jose, while Life West needs a bonus point win to take the #4 seed from SFGG. Both teams have it all to play for.

Of course, for non-league friendly fun there is Cal at St Marys. A nice little friendly game between neighbors.

Epic Wrap Battle In The State Capital

As mentioned above, a highly entertaining match is set for Saturday in Sacramento and for that large percentage of rugby enthusiasts who are also grammar enthusiasts (and really, who isn’t?) this would be a chance to visit the capitol while in the capital. A capital idea, to be sure, because then one could discuss if “capital” and/or “capitol” requires a capital letter and one could even wager some capital, because this would be of capital interest to us rugby grammarians. This is of great interest because poor grammar should be a capital crime. Just kidding! We don’t condone capital punishment for grammatical errors here at HP!

As a side note, I tried writing an actual rap for this Wrap Battle and, even when looking at it as satire, it was horribly, unfathomably, painfully bad:

Rugby Ballers!
Grammar Hollas!
Epic Wrap Battle!
In The State Capital!

All readers will be relieved to know that this marks the beginning and the end of Hail Pelicus’ rap career.

Just One Thing, Again

We have reached the point of the season where playoff games will be scheduled and they are often listed as “Pacific Northwest #2 v Northern California #1” or, on a Sunday, “Winner Match 4 v Winner Match 7”. Please make sure to include the team names in your writeup and a clue as to who scored what so I can record them properly.

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.
4. If you have any questions as to how to use the app please refer to the following video: https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=_Uz0_gTaOnY

On To The Game Reports!

(Some catch up reporting from long distance correspondent Pelicus Ex Jerseius.)

Date: 03/18/2018
Chambersburg 20 – West Carroll Girls 39
Referee: Stephen Valerio
Location: Union Bridge, MD

A friendly match, with 2 fiery, if raw sides. The first half was evenly match, with a lot of pick and go rugby. Usually an isolated player rather than in a unit. However, when either side spun it wide the remaining backs found plenty of space and all 4 tries came from out wide with the Chambersburg 14 ripping the ball out of her opposite numbers hands and going the other way to give Chambersburg an early 10-0 lead. West Carroll picked up 2 tries to end the half up 12-10.

In the second half, West Carroll’s conditioning gave them a decided advantage and they were able to score several breakaway tries to coast to the win. West Carroll’s run was interrupted by an unusual play when one of their centers broke through on a break away. However, the player grounded the ball in the field of play. The ball went straight down, so no knock. So I stood there. Finally, the Chambersburg players noticed I was standing in front of their goal line, with the ball at my feet, and I was just waiting. So they picked it up and play continued. Always something new.

Date: 03/18/2018
Chambersburg Bs 15 – West Carroll Bs 0
Referee: Stephen Valerio
Location: Union Bridge, MD

Chambersburg’s B-side played with more cohesion than West Carroll, punched over an early try and then spent the rest of the match with a decided territorial advantage. Eventually that led to further scores while West Carroll never seriously threatened the Chambersburg line.

Date: 03/24/2018
NOVA D2 43 – Mary Washington University 37
Referee: Stephen Valerio
Location: Fredericksburg, VA

The system stated the match was at NOVA’s pitch, maybe 45 minutes from my house. Turns out the match was at Mary Washington, an hour and half from my house. Longer, but I have seen worse (road trips out to Montauk were never fun). However, there was a march in DC, and traffic was a mess and it took me over 2 and half hours to get to the match. I love showing up 20 minutes before kick-off.

Mary Washington won the Chesapeake Conference going away in the autumn and was looking for some sterner competition. NOVA’s men’s side gave it to them. The first half was a thrilling back and forth affair. Mary Washington’s put across 4 tries, to NOVA’s three, but Mary Washington’s difficulty in going for posts left them with a mere 1-point lead at the break.

The second half started strongly for NOVA as they appeared fitter and pulled out to a 43-25 lead. However, 2 yellow cards for dangerous tackles left them down 2 men for 6 minutes and Mary Washington came roaring back in the last 10-minutes, even eschewing a conversion attempt to keep the ball in play. However, they ran out of time in a thrilling match.

(And now we return you to the present week)

Date: 03/31/2018
South Shore Anchors 19 – Providence RFC 20
Referee: Tom Zanarini
Location: Randolph, MA

As I write this on Monday morning, looking out the window at 5 inches of snow, it seems as though my match on Saturday was a whole season ago. A beautiful, sunny 50+ degree day awaited a fun rugby derby between South Shore and Providence.

Teams were evenly matched in skill and pace, but Providence ran out with a more aggressive style that garnered them a 12-0 lead at halftime. Tackling was an issue, as was playing the ball in the ruck. Teams were put on notice. Unfortunately notice had to be served with a yellow to Providence for dangerous tackle. Both teams adjusted, but more so South Shore who outscored Providence 19-8 in the second half, with a converted try at full time. Unfortunately one missed conversion kick earlier in the second half kept them one point down at fulltime.

I’m looking forward to sending my next 5 match reports from Gloucester, England while on the New England Rugby Referee Society’s 20th Anniversary exchange with the Gloucestershire & District Rugby Referee Society.

Date: 03/31/2018
Colusa County 64 – Google 24
Referee: Lee Bryant

Great playoff match! Google showed up without any subs and it became a long, hot match for both teams. Hard hitting game from both sides that wasn’t a true run away until the second half. Colusa’s outside speed was the ultimate difference in the match.

Date: 03/31/2018
Life West Gladiatrix B 53 – Berkeley All Blues B 0
Referee: John Pohlman

Life West woman’s B side hosted Old Blues at Sunset Park in Hayward this past week. Like the last game I did for the Life West woman a few weeks ago, they played a number of the D1 players. Life West won the D1 national championships last year and had hoped to move into the premier league but have not been accepted as of yet

This has led to no one wanting to play them, both locally and nationally. Stuck with no games for the first side players… they play some in the D2 which leads to a forfeit. But if USA rugby won’t allow you to move to the top league and no one will schedule games with you… what can you do?

Old Blue had some talented players and gave Life West a good game, but they were simply overmatched this day.

Date: 03/31/2018
Redwood Empire RFC 27 – San Joaquin-Stanislaus RFC 14
Referee: Jessica Turner

It was a nice and sunny day yesterday, and I was looking forward to going back into the redwoods to do another match. I got to the field a little late due to traffic from a couple accidents along the way, but there was still plenty of time to get sorted. We kicked off the match, and not soon after the penalties starting adding up, in particular around the breakdowns. Very soon after that, the disputing of my every call was standard. There was so much lack of discipline in the first half, with players from the Redwood team arguing with me over calls and all sorts of dissent surrounding the entire game without a moment to get away from it. The captain was not doing well with managing this, so I did it for him. After 40 minutes, many penalties and 3 yellow cards later, I finally made my point. For me this greatly detracted from the quality of rugby being played because they were not trying to play at all. The Stanislaus-San Joaquin team was able to cash in a couple penalty kicks off their opposition’s errors, including a very intelligent piece of play from their #10. They had a penalty advantage about 22m just to the right of the sticks, and he scored a drop goal in open play!! Absolutely brilliant rugby, knowing that if he missed they would get the call. I really would like to see more teams “gamble” on penalty advantage like that, since I don’t see it often here. Anyways, both teams did have a bit of a grinder, with lots of contact but some nice possession in the mix. Even though they were down to 13 players for a lot of time, they still managed to punch a try in.

Halftime score was Redwood 5-SSJ 9.

I was praying for a much better second half because I was quite frustrated with having to be such a disciplinarian, but they literally had given me no choice but to do so. I’m proof that prayers work people, because low and behold the second half looked a lot like this thing called rugby! The second half was such a treat to referee! Finally, nobody trash talking me and people are now focused on playing footy…even though they still had 1 man in the bin, once Redwood got it together the rugby was so nice! Great skill execution and field vision, with lots of individual effort and brilliance to score 4 tries over the course of the half. SSJ just couldn’t contain the space, and the Redwood team just found every single space possible to utilize. Even still, much credit to SSJ for playing hard the entire match. They never once gave up, and had much individual brilliance on their own, and did string together some beautiful phases with really nice plays, they just couldn’t maintain the pressure to finish those as tries. But, with that fight all the way to the end, SSJ got the final say with a try with no time left on the clock, but it simply wasn’t enough at that point for the win. Thank you to SSJ for being a respectful side to officiate, and thank you to Redwood for figuring it out and ending the match on a good note.

Date: 03/31/2018
SFGG Women 17 – Sacramento Amazons 10
Referee: Preston Gordon

This was a great game on a beautiful morning. The freshly-mowed and marked pitch was in pristine condition, with plenty of dew still on the grass from the overnight fog. My feet were soaked within a couple of minutes, but the ground felt great.

Sacramento Amazons and SFGG played an extremely well-balanced and close game, with both sides putting on an impressive display of technical skills even with a wet and slippery ball. The Amazons pack was stronger, and the SFGG backs were faster. Sacramento scored the first try at 15′ before SFGG could answer at 27′. SFGG then added another try at 35′ to lead 10-5 at halftime.

The second half was a very similar affair. Amazons scored first, at 12′, to tie the match at 10-10. The score remained that way for about another 20 minutes, with just a few opportunities missed by each side. In the 67th minute, I sent an Amazons player to the sin bin for a high tackle. SFGG capitalized on this 4 minutes later, at 71′, and scored a converted try. There was no further scoring in the match, even though SFGG had a 2-player advantage for a couple of minutes due to another Amazons yellow card for a high tackle. Amazons were missing at least one player for the last 13 minutes of the match, but this didn’t seem to make a lot of difference in their attack or defense other than the one try they conceded.
There was one sideline issue late in the game, but all in all, this was a great opener to a full day of rugby on Treasure Island.

Date: 03/31/2018
Chico State 66 – Stanford 19
Referee: Cary Bertolone

A rather warm day, about 85 degrees, in Chico. Chico scored first at the two minute mark. Their number 8 and captain, Matt, crashed through for a second try. Stanford made an interception and ran it almost all the way back, allowing them to score a try at 18 minutes and then tying up the score 12-12 at 26 minutes. Chico scored 3 points and then two more trys to take a 27-12 lead at the half. In the second half, Chico scored immediately with great passing and crashing back play. Stanford intercepted and ran a try back from 80 yards out, making it 32-19, but it was all Chico after that, as they scored 5 more trys. Strong upfield running, solid team, solid effort. Thank you Scott Wood and Jeff Richmond for AR ing and James Fonda for taking care of #4.

Date: 03/31/2018
Univ Nevada Reno 36 – UC Santa Cruz 29
Referee: Chris Tucker

Arrived early with Pelicus Radix Lectii as he was ARing the Chico domination of Stanford, so I got to chill out in the warm sunshine and watch a very organized Chico defensive unit strut their stuff while I prepared for my own game.

After I blew the whistle to start, I was glad that I had had the time to prepare, warm up and get into the right mental frame, because this game went off with a bang. Both teams heaved into each other, ran hard, kicked deep, moved the ball around well and generally went for it. Everything was well controlled, with all aggression channeled as the Law intended. In fact there were more acts of violence committed on team-mates (2 — a dropped player from the lineout, and a boot to the stomach) than opponents (1 — charging into the ruck).

As Reno scored their third try after 16 minutes to take the score to 15-5 (the place kicking was hopeless for 20 minutes, then near-perfect for 60), my watch chimed the first mile completed. On pace for 5! Santa Cruz were in danger of getting overrun, but they settled down, and their position game began to pay dividends. 2 offside errors by the UNR wings put real pressure on the rest of their side, and SC capitalized to bring the score back level at 15 apiece at the half. One costly moment for SC came when the left wing took the ball into UNR’s in-goal in the corner, only to make a hash of touching it down. I looked at a perfectly-positioned Jeff Richmond, thinking “did he just step out??”, and Jeff gave no sign, except to slowly walk backwards away from the pitch. This confirmed my suspicion, and Jeff soon gave the detailed account. 22.

At the end of the half, I was at 2.25 miles — we had slowed down to a more normal pace.
The second half began as the first ended, but the energy soon sagged. We began to scrum more and more as errors crept into both sides — the score kept ticking over, however, and was tied up at 22 with 20 minutes to go, before UNR got a commanding lead with 2 solid tries in 4 minutes. Didn’t stop SC from giving it their all, gaining one back with 10 minutes remaining, but time eventually ran out on them after a frenetic attempt to score.

1.96 miles in the second half, reflecting the many, many scrums…

Thoroughly enjoyable game, played with skill and tenacity by both sides. A privilege to participate!

This Week’s Photo

2017 USA Rugby Referee Coach Of The Year Lee Johnson hard at work or hardly working? Depends on who you talk to.

Hail, Pelicus!
For the Senate
Pelicus Pedem Referre

Post Equinox Effect

HAIL PELICUS!

Post Equinox Effect

What with this, that and, of course, the other thing it has been a very busy week. Only match reports to keep everyone current.

Just One Thing

We have reached the point of the season where playoff games will be scheduled and they are often listed as “Pacific Northwest #2 v Northern California #1” or, on a Sunday, “Winner Match 4 v Winner Match 7”. Please make sure to include the team names in your writeup and a clue as to who scored what so I can record them properly. Many thanks to Paul Bretz who did that very thing with his report this week.

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.
4. If you have any questions as to how to use the app please refer to the following video: https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=_Uz0_gTaOnY

On To The Game Reports!

Date: 03/24/2018
Harvard 46 – UConn 31
Referee: Tom Zanarini
Location: Mignone Field, Harvard Athletic Complex, Allston, MA

The match took place directly after the Harvard Women’s Varsity 7’s Tournament, which was decidedly won by Army over Harvard in the final. Mignone Field is definitely a jewel for New England. Dedicated World Rugby approved turf rugby field, sky high goal posts and plentiful bleachers. This setup rivals anything else in college rugby (I’m looking at you Cal and Stanford). This was the first spring season match for both teams, so it was treated as a live fire scrimmage. Although once the whistle blew to start the match, it felt much more alive than just shaking off the winter cobwebs.

Breakdowns were a bit messy with Harvard doing most of the infringing. Off-side and off the feet at the ruck were the favorite penalties. A few quick penalties and a conversation helped put the whistle back in my pocket.

Harvard’s backs really took the match. They had better ball handling and more of a game plan once they had the ball. One Harvard back managed two yellow cards (for a red to complete the color wheel), including a high tackle/penalty try. That’s how you work out the cobwebs, I guess.

Many thanks to Amelia and Marty who rant AR for me after running all day at the 7’s tournament. And a big thanks to Nick Eldred for hosting me for the night. The pizza was excellent!

Date: 03/24/2018
Cal 101 – Dartmouth 1 31
Referee: Andrew Stockton

Another beautiful weekend out at Witter Rugby Field. I had been expecting rain all week for my Saturday match, but miraculously, the weather cleared, and we were luck enough to be able to play in warm, sunny weather, rather than cold and rainy.

This was Dartmouth’s final stop during their 2018 San Francisco Tour where they also played UCSC and USF and scored two resounding victories. As their coach James said after the match, “We wanted a crack at the best team in the country. Who doesnt?”

Dartmouth came out and scored first, kicking a penalty goal after winning a couple of not releasing penalties on Cal. Cal quickly added a try, missed the conversion, and then added two more tries before Dartmouth was able to take advantage of a Cal knock-on at midfield and run it back for a try. Dartmouth went on to capitalize on another Cal mistake during the half and was able to go into half only down 51-17.

In the second half, Cal’s dominance, as well as maybe Dartmouth’s lack of gamete fitness, certainly showed. On at least 2 occasions, Cal was able to score a quick try off of a kickoff, and then immediately put another try on the board following. Dartmouth was able to score one more try in the match thanks to another Cal mistake, and a great run through one or two tackles by their replacement #22. The other Dartmouth score came from a penalty try about 10 minutes into the second half. A Cal player, who we were unable to identify in the moment, made a high tackle on the Dartmouth winger in his attempt to score a try in the corner. Both Grant and I were in agreement about the penalty try, but because of the odd angle of the tackler, neither of us were able to get a number, and in the unpinning of bodies, we couldn’t properly identify the number (An error that I am going to work on correcting for the rest of the season and into 7’s). Cal was able to add 50 more points in the half, at times making their big 60 meter runs to the try-line look easy. All told, Cal easily won the match 101-31.

Date: 03/24/2018
Central Coast RFC 17 – San Joaquin-Stanislaus RFC 57
Referee: Stephen Moore

Fun end of season match, good spirited, good fun.

Date: 03/24/2018
Fresno State Women 96 – Univ San Francisco Women 5
Referee: Jeff Jury

No Report Received.

Date: 03/24/2018
Lamorinda Rugby Football Club 5 – San Francisco Golden Gate Rugby Club 31
Referee: Preston Gordon

I was originally scheduled to do Lamorinda vs Solano-Yolo varsity, but for whatever reason, the visitors were not able to field a team and that match was canceled on Friday. The Lamorinda coaches were able to rearrange a couple of their fixtures, however, and I ended up doing the Lamo-SFGG JV game. I think that was a bit of a treat for both me and the players – I haven’t done a high school JV game for quite some time, and they certainly seemed happy to see me.

Having said that, I almost didn’t make it do to some kind of protest in downtown San Francisco. I have no idea what those people were mad about last Saturday (as opposed to the previous Saturday, or the one before that, etc.), but I found myself unable to get my car on the road due to traffic being completely blocked. But BART + Uber got the job done, and I got to the pitch about 45 minutes before kickoff.

The game itself was very good, with both obviously well-coached teams looking for attacking opportunities wherever they could be found. The defenses held on both sides, with the first (converted) try not coming until the 23rd minute for SFGG. Lamo responded with their only try of the day at 29′ to pull within 2 points at 7-5. SFGG added one more at the very end of the first half to lead 12-5, which was a pretty close reflection of the contest.

I found the JV players to be gradually, but gladly receptive to my game management approach, which really helped the game flow. Clearly, neither side had seen much in the way of referees managing a game before, but I was really happy to hear that each side had several players certified as L1 refs (a few of whom are already reffing their own games). This portends well for our future rugby competitions here.

One hint for any younger or less experienced players out there: it doesn’t do your team any good to be yelling at any level of referee for a penalty if he’s standing 10 feet away and already has his arm out pointing towards your side – i.e. playing advantage for your team for the offense you’re complaining about. As in this game, that will always lead to an immediate game stoppage followed by some firm and direct verbal feedback. In other games, especially more senior ones, you will almost certainly get penalized, and perhaps yellow carded as well.

Back to the match: the second half was not one-way traffic at all, but SFGG did score the only points of that half with a converted try 7′ in. Their larger bench probably helped. A SFGG player went to the bin at 24′ for a high tackle, but they followed up with another try at 34′ while still one man down to lead 24-5. The last score of the game, at 39′ (running time, due to an injury), was a penalty try to SFGG. This came from a touchline Lamo high tackle that earned the player a yellow card. The ball carrier was perhaps 30m from scoring at that point, but the high tackle also came from the last defender, hence the decision.

Thanks to both teams for a great game, to the touch judges, to the Lamo coaching staff for reorganizing this fixture at short notice, and to my former O Club teammate Mateo for dropping me back at BART so I could get home.

Date: 03/24/2018
Mother Lode Rugby Football Club 13 – Marin Highlanders Rugby Club 7
Referee: Peter Sandhill

Upon exiting my car the air was frigid with snow clouds forming not far away. The high school football field in the Sierra Foothills was a 3hr drive for the Marin team, 2.5 for me and I had a moment to both enjoy the breadth of rugby in Northern California and also appreciation for the all the away travel that Mother Lode must do plus other teams that travel a lot to play.

This was a super game of clean, fast, tight varsity high school rugby of a good standard. Clearly two well drilled and coached teams. Marin had superiority in the scrums, otherwise there was parity in most other areas. Mother Lode scored early off some tight forward running, pick and drives close to the ruck, which helped them progress up the field. The try was converted. 7-0 From there, it was an arm wrestle with possession going back and forward due to dropped ball, at speed. Following a high & long Mother Lode punt deep into the opposition half, there was some deft passing by the Marin backs and their winger scored after a burst down the side, at speed. The try was converted 7-7 and the scores stayed that way for the rest of the half.

The second half was similar with both team running hard at each other, with some skillful moves and an appropriate level of intensity for two teams equal on the scoreboard. Around the 12 min mark, a penalty against Marin and successful PG took Mother Lode into the lead, 10-7. Ten minutes later another PG from 40m out and Mother Lode were up 13-7. Marin then lifted their intensity and Mother Lode matched it. Marin had a lot of ball in the final 15 minutes, plus were a man up due to yellow card (high tackle) yet knocked it on during several plays, in the Mother Lode half. While the players seemed frustrated, they kept at it, attacking and trying to find a way through the Mother Lode defense, to no avail. Hats off to both teams – great skill and attitude with good old rugby camaraderie and culture on display afterward.

Date: 03/24/2018
Pacific 7 – Mira Costa College 88
Referee: Jessica Turner

It was a beautiful day for some rugby at Cal Maritime for the NSCRO Regional Playoffs. After some pre-match complications of all sorts including an unfortunate last minute drop out by CSU Monterey Bay, then being replaced by UOP, and then a slightly delayed kickoff time, we were finally underway! The visiting Mira Costa College from San Diego came out with a solid Sipi Tau prior to kickoff which was awesome. Once the whistle blew, it was all MCC the overwhelming majority of the game. They came out strong and stayed fairly consistent with their attack, dotting down multiple tries. UOP was in the mix fighting hard at each play, but losing a bit of shape as the phases ticked on, creating the space for MCC to get through. However, midway through the second half UOP got a sweet 7 points off a brilliant play from their winger. They actually had just turned the ball over deep in their 22m and now they were down in the attacking 22m from some kicks forward, as the chase was on one of the MCC players grabbed the shirt of the UOP winger preventing him from scoring. After a short consult with my AR, a penalty try was awarded along with a yellow card for the grab. There were some lovely conversions taken from the MCC kicker as well, easily PRP level kicks, with one being scored from the outside and getting a nice bend around and in the posts. All things considering including the scoreline, the game was very well contested and I was happy to see the last minute UOP side come out with some good fight in them. Thank you to both UOP and MCC for a lovely match with respectful players and coaches, and many thanks to my wonderful AR’s Scott Wood and Giles Wilson for their assistance during this match.

Date: 03/24/2018
Reno Zephyrs 40 – SF Fog 33
Referee: Jeff Richmond

One of the more competitive matches I had this season. The match was played in Fernley about 30 minutes east of Reno so even the home team had a bit of a drive. It didn’t look promising for Reno as players straggled in. Only about a dozen were on hand for warm up. The coach kitted up to play and his 15th player showed up 10 minutes before kick-off. Meanwhile, Fog showed up early, in good numbers and had a sharp pre-game prep. Once the match began, none of that seemed to matter mattered. Reno jumped out with two early tries, seemingly catching the Fog backline unprepared. Reno kept the pressure on with strong attacks and stout defense. A few more regulars showed up and the coach retired to the sidelines. Even when Reno played short because of sanctions, Fog couldn’t capitalize. The second half saw a more aggressive SF team and their disciplined approach rallied to tie the match 33-33 with about 10 minutes left. Reno made another solid attack to give them a go-ahead try and conversion. With time expired, Fog was advancing and threatening to at least even the score but possession was lost, Reno kicked to touch and it was over.

Date: 03/24/2018
Santa Rosa 23 – San Jose Seahawks 52
Referee: Roberto Santiago

It was a beautiful day for rugby at For Pete’s Sake field in Santa Rosa. Both teams came out with good energy and good spirits. Santa Rosa controlled the first 15 minutes of play, leading 10-0 halfway through the period. shortly after the 20-minute mark San Jose started to click with a relentless kick-heavy attack that included a brilliant chase and score by their #14 who barely outraced two Rosa defenders for the ball and then accelerated away for an outstanding try. At half time the Seahawks led 10-26. The second half saw the teams trade tries. San Jose’s first try of the half saw another spectacular kick/chase that caught 29 of the 31 people on the field by surprise. San Jose took a penalty kick near midfield and looked like they were going for touch. It looked like the ball would be caught by the defending wing, when Rosa’s own winger materialized as if out of nowhere, leapt, gathered, and took off for a score cutting the Seahawk lead to 15-30. Santa Rosa would score on more gritty try at 39:45 and nearly took the ball across for another score off of several phases from the ensuing kickoff. Special mention goes to the San Jose #15 who had several long scores and made all but one of his conversions. I also want to recognize both teams’ captains and coaching staffs for their leadership. Despite one or two potential flash points, both teams played the game in the spirit of rugby exactly the way we imagine it. Refereeing is easier and much more fun when the players have the focus displayed both both sides in this match.

Date: 03/24/2018
Santa Rosa Faded Roses 31 – San Jose Silverhawks 24
Referee: Cary Bertolone

A back and forth match that was evenly played throughout. Neither team had a lot of subs, but played tough for the entire match. Silverhawks scored first, Rosa converted two tries for a 14-5 lead. Then it was 19-17 before Rosa scored again. Faded Roses ended up with a higher point total at 31-24.

Date: 03/24/2018
SFGG Women 51 – Santa Rosa Black Roses 5
Referee: Nome Tiatia

No Report Received.

Date: 03/24/2018
Silicon Valley 18 – Fresno 38
Referee: John Pohlman

Silicon Valley hosted Fresno in East Palo Alto at Rich May Field. This was my first time seeing the new all turf field built in memory of Rich May, Frank Merrill’s son in law who was killed in the line of action as an East Palo Alto police officer. The field is lined for rugby, with a shed full of goal pads, cones and scrum sled. Very nice memory..thanks Frank.

OK rugby. I had refereed both teams earlier in the season and both looked improved. Silicon Valley missed an early penalty to gain the first lead. Fresno scored first at 18 minutes. Fresno was better on this day but this was a very competitive game, played by two good D-3 teams. Fresno traveled with sixteen players including their 51 year old player coach, Rodger. Rodger started at #8 and looked to organize the Fresno pack. This led to two more try’s and Rodger converted all kicks for a 24-3 half time lead.

Fresno substituted Rodger at half time and there organization suffered. Second half score Silicon Valley 15 Fresno 14. Silicon Valley may have won the second half but all 80 minutes count.
Final score Fresno 38 Silicon Valley 18. Well played guys good luck for the rest of the season.

Date: 03/24/2018
UC Santa Cruz 57 – Stanford 15
Referee: David Pescetti

Saturday marked the 50th anniversary of the founding of the UCSC rugby club. Many members including some of the original first 15 were on hand to watch their former club go up against Stanford.

Thankfully the rains spared the match and the conditions were pristine except one of the four goal posts was a little shorter than his brothers. No matter.

Stanford had been ravaged by injury since I last saw them. Many new faces dotted the field. Coupled with the home side playing in front of a big, alumni filled crowd. The day was to be sluggy.

Both teams played with consistency. Hard and physical game that got the home fans up in arms and cheering. A great game by all participants. Good luck to both in playoffs.

Date: 03/25/2018
Humboldt St 22 – Mira Costa 25
Referee: Paul Bretz

Sunday’s NSCRO pool finals hosted by Cal Maritime pitted Humboldt against Mira Costa from Oceanside. As happens during playoffs, team that win move on and those that don’t conclude their seasons.
Mira Costa appeared to be the more dominant side initially as they jumped to an early lead and seemed to be pulling away from Humboldt. However, Humboldt was able to adjust their play and managed to close the deficit built on in the first half and score 17 of their 22 points in the second half. The game was as enjoyable to officiate as it was to watch by all accounts of the fans who witnessed the competition.
Thanks to Peter Sandhill and Giles Wilson for aiding in making the match enjoyable for all parties

This Week’s Photo

The Unknown Pelican poses with Pelicus Parvus Scurra in their World Rugby kit at the Vegas 7s.

Hail, Pelicus!
For the Senate
Pelicus Pedem Referre