Author Archives: James Hinkin

Slip Sliding Away

HAIL PELICUS!

Slip Sliding Away

You know you’re near your destination the more you’re slip sliding away.

-Paul Simon

With years of drought drying up the topsoil and weakening the root systems of our varied and various flora it is no surprise that during our current winter deluge that many of the hillsides of Pelicanland have decided to become the valley floors of Pelicanland. It is now nearly a daily occurrence for Hwy 17 in the Santa Cruz Mountains to have mudslide blocking lanes and snarling traffic. Flooding is rampant in the Sacramento Valley and the North Bay and whole streets seem to be washed away at times. The rain is here – be careful what you wish for.

The slipping and sliding translates to the rugby pitch as well as teams relearn how to play in the mud. The exceptions, of course, are the turf fields that have cropped up across the region as well as the entire globe. While I personally prefer grass I do appreciate the value of turf on a day like last Saturday when steady rain kept up all day with a 5 minute deluge in the first half just for punctuation. The field remained playable and none the worse for the rain.

Of course, once spring arrives and we move into summertime we shall see how we feel about these fields radiating heat, but that is a different column.

February Society Meeting

Our society meeting has been double Comstock’d due to weather so we will be meeting Wednesday, February 8 at East Bay Sports in Livermore, CA (6474 Patterson Pass Rd, Livermore, 94550 http://eastbaysports.net/livermore.html).

From our Noble Leader: This will be the only fitness testing session that the society will provide this season. If you desire to receive national appointments or participate as a center official for NCRFU playoffs you need to participate in the testing. We have an indoor synthetic field reserved for 1800hrs. Please be there ready to go by 1800hrs so arrive early to warm up. @ 1900hrs our meeting will commence in a conference room. The society will provide food. Beverages, both adult and soft drinks, are available for purchase.

Language, Please!

“Words are the litmus paper of the minds. If you find yourself in the power of someone who will use the word ‘commence’ in cold blood, go somewhere else very quickly.”

-Terry Pratchett, Small Gods

New Kit

We have jerseys. We have socks. We have shorts. We have track suits. The (astonishingly stylish) new kit will be distributed if I see you at some point in the next couple of weeks and at the Society meeting.

Las Vegas Invitational

The previous LVI Tournament Director has left his post to study interpretive dance so Steve Albrecht has taken over. Below is his call to the Greatest Rugby Referee Society On The Planet:

Referees One and All !

The biggest rugby tournament in North America is looking for YOU! The Las Vegas Invitational needs you on March 2nd, 3rd, and 4th to help volunteer and officiate 7’s (and a few 15’s) matches across youth, collegiate, and adult divisions in Sin City. As our tournament continues to grow, so does the number of referees needs to keep this event rolling! Come ref by day, and enjoy the most exciting city on earth by night!

All Referees receive:
– Rhino LVI Referee jersey (both Male and Female cuts)
– Tickets to all 3 days of the USA Sevens International event (when you stay at the Westgate Hotel – massive LVI discounts available)

ALSO – USA Rugby is holding a 1-day clinic Wednesday March 1st at the Westgate Resort. Don’t miss out on your chance to train with the best in the ever-growing world of Sevens Rugby.

Westgate Hotel link: https://www.usasevens.com/las-vegas/official-lvi-hotels/

To register to ref at the LVI 2017: https://goo.gl/forms/e5Om9GuMqYsM5zR43

Any questions about the event?: https://www.usasevens.com/las-vegas/las-vegas-invitational/

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

Copy the link and have it available on your smartphone. If you have an iPhone add the link to your home screen.

When needed fill it out and click submit. The discipline chair of the competition you refereed will receive a notification about the incident. He/she may contact you latter for more details.

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: 02/04/2017
Vacaville 24 – Sacramento Blackhawks 27
Referee: Lew, Tim

An early 10A kickoff in Vacaville on an all weather field started my Saturday. The game was fast and clean for the conditions. Halftime was tied at 12-12. Sac Blackhawks gave away 8 first half penalties compared to Vacavilles 3 which gave Vacaville most of the possession. Sac had a solid second half and both teams traded off scores. Sac had the last try and ended holding off Vacaville in the 22m for the remainder of the game.

Date: 02/04/2017
USF 36 – Sierra College 29
Referee: Heil, Duane

Note: away team was college of the Sierra. Not sfstate.
The game was played on artificial turf at negocio field at usf. The field was wet, but it only rained slightly twice during the game.
Both teams were highly physical and very fit. The usf side is well coached and it showed by their organization and level of play. 24 players showed.
Sierra Had only 20 players. They asked for open subs, but usf requested standard closed subs.

The first half Sierra out scored 3 try’s to 1. At the half, Mike coached me to become more aware many offsides by Sierra and breakdown infractions. Once I started penalizing Sierra, the flow of the game changed radically.
There were also several high tackles, one lifting, and a couple no wrapping calls.
With 15 minutes left in the game, I stopped play and had a conference with the captains to stop the excessive chatter and profanity, mostly by Sierra.
In the final minutes of the game, usf scored the winning try.

I was extremely grateful to have Mike coach me in my effort.
His main points were for me to be better positioned so I could see the flow of the game. Also, he suggested that I become more deliberate in my calls and signals. I also need to call out the advantage and blow it up sooner.

Personally, this was a great opportunity to learn and move forward in my referee career.
Thank you!
Duane Heil.

Date: 02/04/2017
UOP 20 – Sonoma St 34
Referee: Barfels, Ed

The skies were cloudy and the field was grass. Given all the rain this week, we all knew it would be muddy. Before the game the coaches and I decided on uncontested scrums (for safety). Sonoma State (SSU) started early with a try in minute two. The SSU scrum half came off the side of a ruck and ran 10 meters (untouched) for the score. It was a move he repeated two more times during the game with the same results. In the first half, SSU scored two tries with one conversion. Additionally, SSU made one penalty kick. UOP did score one try (without conversion). Half time score: SSU 15, UOP 5. The second have was a little more even. UOP had to play short a man for 10 minutes due to a high tackle. UOP #14 high tackled a SSU player in the 16th minute of the second half. However, UOP did score a try while short handed. Both teams scored three tries in the second half. SSU had two conversions and UOP none. The final score was SSU 34, UOP 20. Not bad for a wet & muddy field.

Date: 02/04/2017
UCSC 24 – Chico State 36
Referee: Bailey, Andrew

No report received

Date: 02/04/2017
UC Davis Women 20 – Sonoma St Women 20
Referee: Hosley, David

Cloudy but just a few drops for a friendly between two evenly matched sides.

Sonoma dominated early, but UCD came back with some impressive work by the forwards.

Played on an artificial turf field next to the cow barn due to wet grounds at Russell Field.

Date: 02/04/2017
UC Davis Women 15 – BYU Women 30
Referee: Bretz, Paul

BYU were happy to be out of the snow despite the rain as they visited UC Davis. The coaches agreed to 4 20 minute quarters and open subs. BYU were bigger and faster than their hosts and scored first and last. Both teams learned allot from the game and I believe they will see each other come playoff time.

Date: 02/04/2017
UC Davis 87 – SJSU 7
Referee: Crenshaw, Jim

This match was over early. UC Davis scored early and often. Score at half time was 50 to 0.

Date: 02/04/2017
South Valley 5 – Google 60
Referee: Freitas, Larry

I arrived at Paradise Park in Morgan Hill after a commute over the hill via Route 152 that winds its way over the south end of the Santa Cruz Mountains to the South Santa Clara Valley and South Valley’s home turf. A few showers near noon gave way to partial sun but mostly clouds and a 60F afternoon. Google, the visitors, started the scoring just 2 minutes into the game by crossing South Valley’s line, continued with another try at 8 minutes from a kick and chase from half way out that saw the South Valley full back desperate to defend and in a spot of bother, and after a period of play in which no team seemed to be able to do much with the ball, Google again scored as they swung the ball out wide to the backs in South Valley’s quarter, with the wing going over for another un-converted try and a 15-0 lead with a quarter of the match played. South Valley responded at 25 minutes when Marcus Rosevear crossed the line from a penalty awarded 5 meters out and 5 meters in from touch, with South Valley running the ball from the mark.
Google got right back on track and scored three more tries before the half time whistle, and their number 8, Pila Tai, had a few of them. He would add a few more in the second half as Google kept South Valley scoreless, adding on three converted tries and one unconverted for a 60-5 margin as the game ended. Google had some very experienced players in their side with accents that weren’t American: one French, and then more than a few Australasian. A few flare ups happened with tempers, but nothing to warrant disciplinary action. Several players got warned for their tackling, as in one more and they’d be off the pitch with a yellow or red card, so no second offenses for any one player.
The recent rains meant the surface was greasy, and as Paradise Park was the venue for the previous Saturday’s win against the Central Coast Beach Dogs, the turf got even more torn up. South Valley is to be commended for getting the old goal posts that once were at Live Oak High School, the real-deal metal posts, which are thirty feet high, a great improvement over PVC uprights and cross bars. If only Paradise Park hadn’t that one short stretch of the asphalt walk way on the south end keeping the pitch from being lined wider and the in-goals lined deeper, it would be an excellent place to play. Someone needs to do some jack hammering! I’m reminded of Wrigley Field back in the day when the Bears still played there, and the south east corner of the end zone was sliced off by the visitors’ dugout! We all went to the Box Seat afterwards, south of downtown Morgan Hill off the Old 101 (Monterey Highway), for beers and hamburgers afterwards. A shout-out to Alan Barker, Google’s coach, for the conversation post match.

Date: 02/04/2017
Solano-Yolo 33 – Mother Lode Varsity 39
Referee: Richmond, Jeff

Very fast match with multiple lead changes. The teams were very similar in size and game style, dependent on forwards able to crash off of loose play then use a quick back line to exploit overlaps. Solano was trailing in the final minutes and nearly came back to win it.

Date: 02/04/2017
Silicon Valley 12 – Napa 48
Referee: Lane, John

Independence High School was the venue for this entertaining D2 game. Both sides were committed for the full 80 with a vocal sideline encouraging them on throughout.

Napa started the stronger and after turnover ball from the kickoff attacked the line with a few phases. Silicon Valley infringed just short of the line and the Napa 10 converted the penalty for a 0-3 lead on 3 minutes.

For the rest of the half Napa dominated the majority of play and territory. SV had a number of promising phases but did not make any opportunity count.

Napa crossed for tries on 10, 24 and 34 minutes with each converted for a 0-24 scoreline.

On the restart Napa continued to have the upper hand and stretched SV’s defense a number of times before crossing for a 4th converted try on 43 minutes stretching their lead to 0-31.

SV reacted positively to this score and dominated possession and field position for the next period and after a number of close surges to the line shifted the ball left and scored wide out. Conversion missed – 5-31 on 52 mins.

Having scored SV lost concentration and Napa scored a simple try left of the post which was again converted – 5-38 on 56 mins.

SV got back in the game form the kick off and controlled territory again for the next 10 minutes. Scoring a well taken try on 63 minutes which was converted for 12-38.

Both sides were visibly tiring but the Napa subs bench were stronger and they controlled play for the final stages of the game crossing for 2 unconverted tries on 69 and 74 minutes leaving the final scoreline at 12-48.

Date: 02/04/2017
SFGG Women 0 – Life West Women 62
Referee: Tiatia, Nome

No report received

Date: 02/04/2017
SFGG 35 – Life West 19
Rerferee: Micheletti, Chris (Montreal)
Referee Know It All: Johnson, Lee

Visiting referee Chris Micheletti from Montreal. Chris is being coached this season for Rugby Canada by our own Lee Johnson.
With both sides fielding their respective Cal Cup sides, SFGG were in a determined mood to win this first Men’s D1 game for the “Gold” side. Life West took an early lead in the 6th minute. SFGG had an extended period of pressure, during which they missed two kickable penalties before finally succeeding in the 30th minute. A further period of pressure resulted in a well worked try for the SFGG number 8. Half Time 8-5.
The second half was all about SFGG in which they controlled the scrums and enjoyed long periods of attacking pressure. With two tries all of which were converted and two penalties by SFGG number 10, Volney Rouse. With 10 minutes left on the clock, Life West scored a converted try. Not to be outdone SFGG completed their scoring for the day with Hooker, Neil Barrett scoring SFGG’s fourth try of the day, that was again converted. Life West had the final say as SFGG seemed to shut off for the last five minutes with a further converted try to bring the end to a very entertaining game.

Date: 02/04/2017
San Joaquin 12 – Colusa 59
Referee: Wilson, Giles

The rain took a break for Saturday (a rugby day) and Colusa travelled to Manteca to play the Harlots. The field was in good shape, firm and marked correctly.

Colusa kicked off and had score within a couple of minutes, direct running and regularly breaking the first tackle was a feature of the game. The hosting Harlots battled on and had some good passages but were generally on the back foot. The first half ended 33 (5 tries) to Colusa with the Harlots on 7 ( 1 try).

The Harlots had some better patches in the second half but also some more covering tackles (some very brave rear guard efforts) and mistakes that led to turnover scores. In the second half Colusa racked up 4 more tries to one in reply from the Harlots. The final score was Colusa 59 – Harlots 12.

Date: 02/04/2017
Sacramento State Women 10 – CSU Monterey Bay WR 7
Referee: Devlin, Joe

No report received

Date: 02/04/2017
Sacramento Amazons 101 – Colusa Women 0
Referee: Wood, Scott

Initially, this match was scheduled for 11 a.m. at Danny Nunn Park; however, due to (somewhat understandable) weather conditions, the Amazons were left seeking an alternate pitch location. Securing the pitch at Robla Park prior to the Lions / Santa Rosa match was perfect as I was assigned to evaluate the referee at that location. As with all well-laid plans, they rarely play out as desired. Sacramento State women had lost access to their field and were also accommodated at Robla. Nonetheless, Joe Devlin was able to get his match finished in an expedited manner and we transitioned to the pitch in a fairly economical manner. While there were some poorly drained areas, the pitch held up relatively well.

Both teams were seeking their first win of the season and it was apparent from the onset that the Amazons were not going to let the opportunity to go to waste. The first of nine first-half tries was scored three minutes into the match. Forwards kept moving forward and backs spread the ball wide exploiting space and tackles. Undeterred, Colusa competed at rucks and tackles but were overwhelmed by the Amazons’ experience and tenacity. Colusa lost its loosehead to a head injury (NB: don’t duck into an elbow) and we had to deal with the abysmally boring (no pun intended) uncontested scrums for the remainder of the first half. HT: Amazons 55 / Colusa 0.

The second half was a continuation of the first with Colusa missing tackles and the Amazons scoring. Kudos to Colusa on its improved tackle form (read: lower) and offside lines / tackle entry. Amazons lost some focus but was able to cross the 100-point barrier. FT: Amazons 101 / Colusa 0.

Date: 02/04/2017
Reno 17 – Redwood 22
Referee: Reagle, Sam

The game was moved 35 miles from Reno to Fernley because the city believed the reports that a storm was coming. Though it was quite windy, it was a beautiful clear, cool day. The first 20 minutes of this game were somewhat sloppy. Turnovers and scrums were frequent. Then Redwood managed to break a tackle and open the scoring with an unconverted try at 27 minutes in. This seemed to awaken Reno as they took the lead back with a converted try at 32 minutes and closed out the half with an unconverted one. Halftime: 12-5

The second half was just the opposite, Reno scored first to take what looked like a commanding lead at 17-5, but something happened. Redwood started playing noticeably better. Their support was better and their passes were accurate. Redwood scored a converted try at 20 minutes and an unconverted try at 31 minutes to tie the game. The last 9 minutes were very exciting as both teams wanted the victory. Redwood sealed the win with a try at full time thanks to 3 perfect passes to supporting players thru several defenders. The social at the Man Cave was well attended by both teams.

Date: 02/04/2017
Olympic Club 34 – EPA Razorbacks 0
Referee: Fenaroli, Steven

An emotion filled game saw OC putting phases together. EPA struggled to make tackles and stop OC momentum.

Date: 02/04/2017
Fresno State 19 – UNR 5
Referee: Jury, Jeff

The day was between rain storms, clear and the warmest of the year (65’F) so far. The pitch was firm, but slick for scrummaging. UNR was smart to split up their ride, make the pass Friday-finish the ride Saturday morning.
Both teams were fit and ready. The first half was played at a frenetic pace with CSUF stretching the field and trying to exploit gaps. UNR countering with Hard hits and committed direct running. UNR drew first blood with an uncovered try 5 minutes before the end of a long half. CSUF responded by pinning UNR down inside the 22m after the restart. Slow ball from the breakdown provided an
opportunity for a slashing interception and converted try. CSUF 7 UNR 5
The second half picked up right where it left off. Play felt desperate, almost playoff like. Unfortunately, knocks and forward passing instigated more than a few scrums. This and the heat started wearing on the UNR pack. CSUF scored a couple of worthy trys at 9 and 18 minutes in (1converted). UNR was game and threatened, but couldn’t convert in the second half. CSUF 19 UNR 5
The B game had more than a few rookies but, was contended well. CSUF 19 UNR12

Date: 02/04/2017
Chico 67 – Shasta 0
Referee: McSwain, Beau

Final was 67-0 in favor of Chico. 11 Trys and 6 Conversions. Shasta was a little short handed, but Chico graciously gave them a couple of players throughout the game. Game went off in good order and no cards were given.

Date: 02/04/2017
California Women A 12 – Stanford Women A 31
Referee: Hinkin, James

It is always a pleasure to referee at Cal’s Witter Field and Cal v Stanford is one of the great rivalries in American Sports no matter what the game or situation so I was looking forward to this clash. Steady rain was no problem with Cal’s turf field so when everyone was ready I damply started the match. Stanford looked the more precise team early and it showed with an early score but Cal battled hard. The scoreline was flattering to the visitors as the game was much more balanced than it indicates, but Stanford was able to finish off their moves while Cal struggled in the final phase. Captain Abby Vogel was a powerful presence for the Bears all over the pitch but her Cardinal counterpart Olivia Huey got the decisive word in with a late try. Cal was able to get the last laugh with a converted try but could not stop the inevitable Stanford victory.

Date: 02/04/2017
All Blues 99 – San Jose Women 0
Referee: Carmody, Martin

lop sided game played fairly by the dominant team. No issues, no cards.

Date: 02/05/2017
Stanford Women B 0 – Humboldt Women B 0
Referee: Bretz, William

Referee showed up. Teams did not have enough healthy players for game. Meet with coach to confirm.

Date: 02/05/2017
Stanford Women A 41 – Humboldt Women A 17
Referee: Bretz, Paul

Fun Sunday morning game between Stanford and Humbolt women. Less than 12 penalties and lots of open field play. Stanford were much smaller than their visitors yet controlled the scrum and maintained possession in the tackle. The last passage of play of the first half lasted more than 4 minutes of open play.

Date: 02/05/2017
California Women A 5 – Chico State Women A 39
Referee: Sandhill, Peter

It’s always a pleasure to referee at Witter Field, home of the Cal bears rugby. This year in this league, all teams play each other twice and it’s early in the season: Chico and Cal’s first meeting. Cal women started strongly with some very positive front foot forward play resulting in a near try (held up). After a couple of tries to Chico, Cal fought back and scored. Chico were ahead 3 ties to 1 at the half. In the second half, Cal changed their tactics and stopped committing to the ruck and instead placing forwards in defensive positions.

Overall, both teams seemed pretty even, with Chico gradually demonstrating stronger rucking and counter rucking skills. Chico had a strong #10 and some quality outside backs while Cal seemed to have a slight edge in the forwards, especially at the set piece. It’s funny in rugby how teams can sometimes seem close on the field and how the scoreboard doesn’t reflect that. Often it’s the little things, an edge here or there. To their credit, Cal never gave up and were positive until the final whistle. You would have thought the scores were close at the end by the way both teams kept attacking from deep in their own quarter, until late in the game. Lovely rugby.

This Week’s Photo

The Monthly Society Meeting is this week and food will be provided. Players and coaches are always welcome to attend.

Hail, Pelicus!
For the Senate
Pelicus Pedem Referre

The Late January Report

HAIL PELICUS!

The Late January Report

You heard that I was feeling ill
Headache fever and a chill
Where the nurse to restore my pluck?
Looks like I am out of luck.

Yes, the entire editorial staff here has caught a bug and, combined with actual paid work that we need to do because the salary here is, frankly, peanuts, means that this week’s edition will be late and lacking the usual risible commentary. Though many of you, our dear readers, may prefer their Hail Pelicus that way we here are fully confident that normal service will be restored next week.

February Society Meeting

Our society meeting was also Comstock’d due to weather so we will next be meeting Wednesday, February 8 at the usual location, the SFGG clubhouse on Treasure Island. NOTE: If rain is forecast we will be holding the training at Tracy High School so keep your ear to the mud for updates from our illustrious leader Pelicus Iudex Pennipes and also in this space.

There will be a Yo-Yo fitness test at 6:00 to determine which referee can do yo-yo tricks the longest. If you desire to receive National Appointments or wish to be considered for NCRRS playoffs plan on completing the test. You must “walk the dog” at least twice and maintain a “sleeper” for a minimum of 10 seconds to be considered.

At 7:00 we will commence our monthly training. The following are the presenters and topics:

Neil MacDonald – Breakdowns
Lee Johnson – Scrum and the Dark Arts
Lee Bryant- Psychological elements of officiating
Paul Bretz- Game Management Guidelines

New Kit

We have jerseys. We have socks. We have shorts. We have track suits. The (astonishingly stylish) new kit will be distributed if I see you at some point in the next couple of weeks and at the Society meeting.

Las Vegas Invitational

The previous LVI Tournament Director has left his post to embark on a journey of self discovery and contemplation as a roadie for the Billy and the Boingers reunion tour so Steve Albrecht has taken over. Below is his call to the Greatest Rugby Referee Society On The Planet:

Referees One and All !

The biggest rugby tournament in North America is looking for YOU! The Las Vegas Invitational needs you on March 2nd, 3rd, and 4th to help volunteer and officiate 7’s (and a few 15’s) matches across youth, collegiate, and adult divisions in Sin City. As our tournament continues to grow, so does the number of referees needs to keep this event rolling! Come ref by day, and enjoy the most exciting city on earth by night!

All Referees receive:
– Rhino LVI Referee jersey (both Male and Female cuts)
– Tickets to all 3 days of the USA Sevens International event (when you stay at the Westgate Hotel – massive LVI discounts available)

ALSO – USA Rugby is holding a 1-day clinic Wednesday March 1st at the Westgate Resort. Don’t miss out on your chance to train with the best in the ever-growing world of Sevens Rugby.

Westgate Hotel link: https://www.usasevens.com/las-vegas/official-lvi-hotels/

To register to ref at the LVI 2017: https://goo.gl/forms/e5Om9GuMqYsM5zR43

Any questions about the event?: https://www.usasevens.com/las-vegas/las-vegas-invitational/

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
Copy the link and have it available on your smartphone. If you have an iPhone add the link to your home screen.
When needed fill it out and click submit. The discipline chair of the competition you refereed will receive a notification about the incident.   He/she may contact you latter for more details.
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: 01/26/2017
Cal Poly SLO 3 – BYU 91
Referee: Lane, John

After the 3 hour drive down to SLO I got to stretch and prep for the 19:30 kickoff while Pete Smith ran an entertaining B Game.

In pre-Game BYU looked to be more organized and intense and while Cal Poly put in some strong phases throughout the game overall the extra power and on average the higher skill set across the BYU roster ensured a steady ticking over of the score board which did little justice to the efforts put in by the Cal Poly side over the 80 minutes.

On what this Irishman viewed as a pleasant evening in January, the strong support were out in their “winter woolies” on the side line and added plenty of encouragement to both teams.

Throughout the 1st half BYU were scoring regularly as Cal Poly were proving competitive through the first few phases but would become stretched defensively resulting in scores being conceded.

BYU scored 6 tries and converted 4 in the 1st half while Cal Poly had a number of attacking opportunities but had to settle for 1 successful penalty conversion to leave the half time scores at 3-38.

The second half continued in a similar way with BYU dominating the scoreboard throughout. Cal Poly continued to play open rugby despite the pressures they were under in contact but the stronger BYU side wore them down and in addition to some well crafted scores by BYU some errors crept into the Cal Poly play giving away a few softer scoring opportunities which BYU took.

In total a further 9 tries were scored by BYU with only 4 conversions successful.

This left the final score at 3-91.

Date: 01/27/2017
UC Davis Women A 46 – Stanford Women A 0
Referee: Bryant, Lee

Great game to start off the season in the beautiful Aggie Stadium. Highly contentious game at the breakdown with both teams getting a handful of turnovers throughout the match. Davis dominated a bit more in the scrum and the backs moved the ball easily with deadly support. Stanford fought all game and knocked on the door of the in-goal a few times but could not punch it in. Stanford supported well at the breakdowns but could not match the ferocity of Davis’ backs.

Date: 01/28/2017
All Blues 132 – Colusa Women 0
Referee: Rauscher, Eric

No, that’s the right score. Perennial powerhouse the Berkeley All Blues play in the fall in the WPL and use the spring D2 league as a means of practice. As I understand it they forfeit all of their games in the spring, so I guess Colusa won. This is the first year for Colusa. They recruit from the city of Colusa and have players from the men’s team as their coaches. They showed true grit and a willingness to receive a pounding and play on.

I offered to shorten the game and they refused. I am really impressed by how Colusa has embraced rugby.

Date: 01/28/2017
BA Baracus 38 – Silicon Valley 10
Referee: Richmond, Jeff

My first time at the Crocker Amazon park, with an interesting pitch set-up. We ran sideways across a half-soccer field on artificial turf, nearly a square rather than a rectangular playing area. It was a hard-fought match, both sides able to get the ball out wide and assemble attacks with their backline. With the score 17-7 at half-time, Baracus brought in fresh legs and blew it open in the second half. There were a lot of problems with people going to ground at the breakdowns early on but we (captains and I) were able to sort that out and play flowed much more quickly. I understand Silicon Valley has moved up from D-3 and they certainly are able to compete at the D-2 level. Many thanks to Nome Tiatia who ran AR on one side. He was able to suppress his allegiance to Baracus by helping me call back one of their tries!

Date: 01/28/2017
Berkeley 19 – Fresno 23
Referee: Rauscher, Eric

The ref for this game was Mauke Mauke BCRRS. It was played at Albany Middle School on their turf Football field, with all the problems that that entails. The game however was a very hard fought close affair. Mauke enjoyed doing the game. He especially liked that the #10 for Fresno used to play for the Auckland Blues.

Date: 01/28/2017
Cal Maritime 57 – Sonoma St 24
Referee: Tucker, Chris

CMA looked organized, and turned out in numbers on their home field for the game. SSU, on the other hand, were in technical forfeit based on roster issues before the game started. But we played regardless, on the general theory that more rugby is much, much better than less rugby. The game went the way my preamble suggests, with CMA putting their opponents to the sword. SSU’s roster issues got worse in the second half as their 8 man got the second yellow for contact to the head. It’s always with a heavy heart that one looks at the number of the player and sees the same as the one noted from the earlier misdemeanor, but the second offence was worse than the first and World Rugby apparently does not want such transgressors on the field of play. So he sat down again, this time for good. 3 other players got a time out for head contact. I’m pinning my hopes on this being the first game of the year for these guys. I’m spending too much time on the subsequent paperwork…

Date: 01/28/2017
California Res. 143 – Pleasanton Cavs 0
Referee: Bretz, Paul

At half time the score was 73-0 in favor of Cal Bs. With 30 minutes to go in the match the score board had reached 99. I offered the Jester captain the opportunity to the end game early and to their credit chose to continue the beatdown. This is the inaugural season for the Pleasanton-based U23 program and believe that they will bounce back. I had the opportunity to see them the week before while coaching a referee and they looked good and dominating against USF.

Date: 01/28/2017
Chico State 35 – Fresno State 21
Referee: Bryant, Lee

Both teams fought hard to contest at the rucks and secure ball and poach. The first 20 minutes remained close for both teams but Fresno was a bit undisciplined at the breakdown and earned a few penalties that kept them in their half, but they maintained momentum throughout the first half and worked their strong pack at the rucks. Chico has a very organized attack and was patient when moving form back to forwards in open play allowing them to attack weaknesses in the Fresno line. Fresno had more speed in the back but was plagued by handling errors which hindered the speed on the outside. The score was 23-7 half to Chico at half, but Fresno gained back momentum in the second half though it wasn’t enough to overcome the point deficit continued by Chico. Also enjoyed a 7 phase goal-line defense that resulted in a beautiful try by Fresno in the second half.

Date: 01/28/2017
Diablo Gaels 17 – Napa 21
Referee: Leisek, Joe

Season opener and Napa’s first D2 match. The match was played at Alhambra High School in Martinez, on an all-weather surface marked for football with slightly wider soccer sidelines. Compliments to the hosts, the Gaels, for the field setup and markings. The match itself featured several early-season handling errors, players not yet familiar with each other, etc. Territorial kicking was basically non-existent. The teams seemed to prefer running the ball directly at each other from everywhere on the field. A very physical game with a ton of commitment from both teams. The visitors scored two converted tries in the first half and another fairly early in the second, and it looked like a shutout might be possible. However, the hosts scored three tries in the second half–only one of which was converted. Napa seemed to lose focus and discipline and nearly coughed up the lead in the waning minutes. Kudos to both sides for a hard-fought match.

Date: 01/28/2017
Google 22 – Colusa 5
Referee: Santiago, Roberto

Google hated Colusa at the near witching hour of 8pm in a classic D3 style match. Both team displayed a mix of veteran skill, new comer enthusiasm, and 1980s tough-guy bravado. For teams with few true old boys the tone and style certainly reminded me of the games I witnessed in the early 1990s. Colusa held up well considering the late start and long travel. Both teams gave away multiple opportunities inside their opponent’s 22 in the first half, with Google finally breaking through at 27:00 minutes. The G-men aded a penalty at 34:00, and ended the first half a long run up the sideline by a big fella, who looks like he shouldn’t be that fast.

Colusa gave up another score while short handed early in the second half, but came back to make a game of it by scoring a try at 58:08. After that Colusa had chances to get closer, but just couldn’t find enough continuity or ball retention to get over the line again. Though the game was contentious at times and tempers flared, in true rugby fashion all was forgiven after the final whistle. Both teams greeted each other in good spirits, and even had some nice things to say about the ref.

Date: 01/28/2017
Lamorinda Varsity 0 – Danville Varsity 50
Referee: Lew, Tim

Cold day in the Orinda valley, the two high school teams came out with high energy. Both teams traded strong running and solid tackles. Danville scored after ten minutes and continued score. Lamo made a strong push at the start of the second half but had a knock on the 5m which stalled their push.

Date: 01/28/2017
Life West 30 – EPA Razorbacks 27
Referee: Smith, Pete

No report received

Date: 01/28/2017
Marin 17 – Chico 39
Referee: Bertolone, Cary

A nice, sunny day, for once, we had a kick off in Marin City at 1 PM. Both teams initiated play with a lot of off sides, knock ons and a few high tackles, so the whistle was blowing. Chico scored two penalty kicks in the first twenty minutes. In the second twenty, Chico converted three tries, all a product of great passing and catching their passes on the burst. All three were over 50 yards of multiple passes with plenty of support for their runners. Nice rugby! So, the score was 27-0 at the half. In the first 15 minutes of the second half, Marin put together some great forward work and scored two tries of their own. That coupled with Chico playing short because of a yellow, the game had a different look. Chico was making mistakes, missed a few tackles and the game seemed pretty balanced. Chico scored another try, Marin received a yellow and the rest of the game Chico scored two tries and Marin scored one for a final score of 39-17. A fun game to ref as everyone played in good spirits. BBQ dogs at the pitch with three shooting the boot.

Date: 01/28/2017
Redwood 28 – Mendocino 26
Referee: Barfels, Ed

Both teams scored two tries in the first half. SR made both conversions, while Mendocino only made one. Additionally, Mendocino missed a penalty kick. In the second half, both sides scored two tries and all conversions were made.

Date: 01/28/2017
Sac Lions 5 – Olympic Club 47
Referee: Fenaroli, Steven

Home games for Sacramento teams are always nice to travel to. The dry weather and firm ground made for good rugby. OC had two scores and Lions scored before half. OC came up with 5 more scores rounding out the game 47-5. Lions had limited numbers with OC bringing plenty of guys to play

Date: 01/28/2017
Sacramento Amazons 12 – SFGG Women 50
Referee: Taueva, Favor

Weather was perfect for rugby especially considering the rain and cold at the KOT last weekend: SFGG was there on the pitch with enough time for them to warm up: Amazon was still looking for numbers up to the last 15 minutes to play. SFGG was very good with their handling skills. Amazons showed very good heart for rugby to defend SFGG. SFGG put up 20 points within twenty minutes into the game. SFGG was too good today for Amazons to go past 20 points: According to the Amazon’s captain words “we had our moments today and it will be a different story next time we play against SFGG”.

There is always room for improvement. Thanks to both team’s coach for the game of rugby. #alwaysafety

#alwaysfavor

Date: 01/28/2017
Sacramento Capitals 25 – Vacaville 12
Referee: Akroyd, Phil

A last minute switch found us playing this game in Lincoln, which was a first for me. However, the City fields were in good shape and given the recent weather, there wasn’t much to complain about.

The Caps went out to a 15 – 0 lead and had trouble converting their tries, so even though they were generally the all around better team, they never got too far out of reach. Vacaville managed to keep a foothold in the game and with a couple of minutes to go, we were at 20 – 12. Vacaville had possession and were slowly advancing through the home team’s half when they coughed up the ball and it was taken in for a try by the Caps, making it 25 – 12.

Not a bad game given little prep by both sides, and the silly mistakes that occurred will hopefully be eradicated as the season advances.

Date: 01/28/2017
San Jose Seahawks 10 – Sacramento Blackhawks 44
Referee: Pescetti, David

No report received

Date: 01/28/2017
San Jose Women 0 – Life West Women 83
Referee: Tuisavalalo, Rodney

The game was forfeited by San Jose even before the first whistle due to the lack of players. The teams agreed to play 4 quarters-20 minutes a quarter. As the score line suggests, Life West dominated in all facets of the game. Their forwards were relentless and were just as good as their backs in offloads. What impressed me the most was their unselfishness. Every open line break saw the ball move through the hands which kept San Jose’s defense just a step short of a successful tackle. Life West’s #8 was explosive in the attack and often drew in multiple defensive players. This led to pretty wide open gaps in the defensive line and easy scoring opportunities. Halftime score 53-0. In the second half, San Jose tried to make it a game. The forward pack led by their #3 kept the score line from getting away too far. San Jose made some clean breaks which saw them sniff Life West’s 22 meter line only to have an untimely penalty or knock-on stall their momentum. What the Seahawks lack in experience, they make up for it in heart and grit. With bloodied faces and bruised egos they played hard until the final whistle was blown. On the other side of the ball, the Gladiatrix is a well-oiled machine and are dangerous from 1-23. They are well coached and the ladies look like they’re having fun on the pitch. That combination will make it difficult for any opponent to handle. Final score 83-0.

Date: 01/28/2017
Santa Clara Univ WR 32 – UC Santa Cruz WR 24
Referee: Freitas, Larry

January 28 arrived with sun and a bit more warmth than what the previous days had offered, and a contrast to the prior weekend weather here in the northern and central parts of California, with the cold rain and coastal mountain snow. This would be a great day for some running rugby then. Santa Clara University hosted UCSC in the first round of D2 second half play, with both teams having made the “winners” bracket via their records in the first half of the season in the fall months. Santa Clara had 13 players suited up for this match, with two on the sidelines having not been cleared by the athletic trainer to play, and another two missing because of other commitments. UCSC arrived with most of their team, though the captain, the team’s hooker, and also the regular fly half and team’s kicker were missing. This meant that the Banana Slugs were basically fielding a team made up of first-year players or players who hadn’t that much experience playing in the previous year, so they were not at full-strength, though they had plenty of subs on their bench.

With Santa Clara having played only one game with 15 players so far, a loss to Santa Cruz on December 3, their coach, Kyle Domingue, seems to have figured out ways to control and possess the ball and keep it away from the opposition and constantly put pressure on them. They did it at CSUMB back in November, and they would do it again on this day. Within four minutes of play one of Santa Clara’s forward went down with an injury as I blew a whistle for an infringement deep in Santa Cruz territory. After the delay to get the player off the pitch, the Bronco women proceeded to score the first try of the match when a tap penalty saw the ball swung out wide into the hands of Carly Fowler, playing out of position in the back line, who crashed over for a try. Number 8 Jessica Lew-Monoz would score the second try of the match at 17 minutes to make the score 10-0, this after two attempts to cross the goal line had me denying tries as the ball was held up in the tackle and not grounded, awarding 5 meter scrums to Santa Clara, the second one setting up the try as a result. Santa Cruz was being denied the ball throughout much of the first half, and with quite a few first year players on the pitch as forwards, there were some offside calls going against them as a few loitered on the side of rucks, or were slow in rolling away or getting up from the back of rucks after tackles, not allowing the ball to come out. Regarding the high tackle rules, both teams had one player cautioned about this infringement, but overall the tackling was clean and hard, but not dangerous. Santa Cruz started to counter ruck as the game wore on, successfully winning ball a few times, but there didn’t seem to be any real advantage created from this, as Santa Clara’s backs and forwards were tackling anything with a black shirt on that had the ball, and therefore keeping Santa Cruz from gaining ground or creating any back line movements, or forcing handling errors. Finally at 27 minutes UCSC would score an unconverted try by one of their flankers, as a mishandled ball by Santa Clara set up an opportunity for the visitors. At 10-5 I was starting to assume that the Santa Cruz XV would start to wear down the Santa Clara XII, but that wasn’t to be the case. Within three minutes Michelle Coleman, playing outside center instead of her usual fly half position, would score a converted try, as Santa Clara methodically and clinically marched down into the Santa Cruz half after taking the kickoff from the previous try. Coleman got a pass from quick ruck ball deep in the opposition end, that went through several pairs of hand, and was able to dodge and squirm her way over the goal line. Nearer to the half time whistle Coleman would again dot down. Half time saw the cardinal red and white hooped-shirted home side ahead 22-5. I had in mind that Santa Clara, of the two teams, might be the more fit, and that might have had much to do with the score. Santa Clara also played a game the previous weekend as a tuneup to this match; Santa Cruz had last played December 4.

The second half started with both teams basically playing defense, and with a substitute forward coming in for the visitors. Santa Cruz seemed to be more determined in their efforts to stop Santa Clara’s attempts to hog the ball with some good tackling, and with that sort of pressure Santa Clara players were suddenly guilty of some handling errors and bad passing. From half way Lauren Roundtree, UCSC’s flyhalf, broke free and left would be tacklers behind, scoring a try at 50 minutes under the posts. The ensuing conversion was good, and now the deficit was cut to ten points. In less than five minutes history repeated itself, with Roundtree breaking a tackle in loose play, running down the pitch near the right touch line, crossing the goal line with a few Santa Clara players fast approaching, thereby forcing her to touch down just to the right of the posts; the conversion was good, and now the score was 22-19. UCSC was now within taking the lead with lots of time on the watch and the score board clock. Santa Clara didn’t panic, got back to playing to their original pattern, cut down on the handling errors, stopped UCSC’s attempts to counter-ruck at the breakdown, and finally would score from a tap penalty by Michelle Coleman, her third of the match. As the game wore on, Santa Cruz seemed somewhat desperate to stop the pressure on them, and a few backs were guilty of being up too far ahead of the offside line at the breakdown, and in one instance a Santa Cruz player tackled a Santa Clara runner who hadn’t run more than a few meters, after being in an offside position well behind play in a just concluded ruck. Another Santa Clara try at the 70th minute followed, again after UC Santa Cruz was penalized deep in their own end; but they would get another Roundtree try from a tap penalty down deep in Santa Clara’s quarter, with some four minutes left in the game to close out the scoring. Santa Clara was able to control the ball in the dying minutes after taking possession of the ball on their kick off following the try, the scoreboard horn going off while the ball was still in play, and my final whistle ending the match with a knock on infringement.

Final comments: Michelle Coleman and Lauren Roundtree were both women of the match in my estimation. Coleman, at 5’4” has sure hands, an ability to read defenses via instinct or quick thinking, good speed, and can beat tackles with her side stepping. Roundtree, at 5’8” has speed and good size, and is learning the game and developing into a fine player, better suited perhaps to play center or wing. I would have to also credit Santa Clara’s Carly Fowler, a freshman who usually plays second row, on her running ability as a substitute inside center. With two more games left to play, I would assume Santa Clara can get 15 on the pitch as winning the division is within reasonable possibility. Santa Cruz has two home games left to play against Fresno State and Reno, and I would think that some questions about commitment and overall fitness would be answered for them to succeed. I also want to correct a report from the CSUMB match back on Nov. 5, as it was Xitlalic Soto who scored the second to the last try of that match for Santa Clara, not Jessica Godinez.

Date: 01/28/2017
Santa Rosa 28 – SFGG-Green 22
Referee: Gordon, Preston

The pitch at For Pete’s Sake had mostly dried out by Saturday afternoon, which was great. Santa Rosa had the advantage of a full roster, whereas SFGG brought 17. Santa Rosa scored first, and held the lead throughout the game. The halftime score was 18-5. SFGG made the last few minutes interesting when they closed to within 6 points shortly after a Santa Rosa player went to the sin bin for his team’s repeated infringements near their goal line, but ultimately Santa Rosa held out to win.

Date: 01/28/2017
SF Fog 17 – San Joaquin 47
Referee: Tiatia, Nome

No report received

Date: 01/28/2017
Shasta Highlanders 95 – Reno Zephyrs 22
Referee: Wilson, Giles

Due to some sort of scheduling issue, Reno had only 10 players available to travel but neither teams wanted a forfeit so we started with 15 vs 10. The teams managed the scrums pretty well but it was fairly predictable that by half time the score was 43-0 in favour of Shasta, scoring 7 tries.

For the second half, the teams balanced numbers a little but it didn’t change things very much. Shasta ran in another 8 tries while Reno managed 4 of their own.

Final score was Shasta 95 – Reno 22

Date: 01/28/2017
SJSU 0 – UNR 53
Referee: Hinkin, James

A break in the recent rains left the fields at Independence High School in great shape for rugby on a perfect winter Saturday . The fields were well lined (with only flags at the back of the try zone missing) and the teams were eager to get started on 2017. UNR came out with their guns blazing as they scored practically off the opening kickoff as the Spartan backline were still playing fall touch rugby. Another kickoff and another series of missed tackles brought the same result. A few minutes later the forwards decided that they didn’t need to tackle either so a 3rd try in 6 minutes was on the board and it looked like a long day for myself (I gotta sprint with these kids too) and the SJSU squad. The game settled down a bit as rugby started to be played and the Spartans started to test the Wolfpack a bit and make some breaks, but the inevitable error would shut down the move. A high tackle from the SJSU wing resulted in 10 minutes of quiet time for him and the Nevadians took full advantage to score some more. The first half mercifully ended at 48-0 and it could have been more if the UNR kicker hadn’t started drop kicking the conversions. Or not, we will never know.

Judging by results the UNR team had a pretty relaxed half time while the SJSU team were told in no uncertain terms that they were there to play rugby, dammit, so they had better start. The match evened out quite a bit at this point and even when the San Jose #10 was yellow carded for a cynical foul Reno was only able to get one unconverted try on the board. Back at full strength the men of Sparta threatened the Reno line again but tried to power the last 2 meters against a bigger, more physical team and the inevitable turnover occurred when the ball carrier was piled back into bodies on the ground and couldn’t get it back to his side, resulting in a rather simple poach. Excellent attacking space was available just 3 or so meters on either side of the breakdowns so I am sure the coaching staff will review the white line fever of the forward pack. The game ended on a sour note as a young Reno player was carded for impolitely questioning a decision by the official, but with the watch at all zeroes San Jose only had a chance for one score which they were unable to get when they knocked the ball on.

UN Reno looks to be in excellent form with a powerhouse #3 that couldn’t be stopped and a #2 that was consistently battering over opponents half again as big as he was. San Jose St needs a little more discipline and to be organized from the opening whistle and they will be fine – they have the athletes.

Date: 01/28/2017
SJSU B/Seahawks B 27 – UNR B 0
Referee: Hinkin, James

Men and Boys vs Boys was the theme of this match. The men from San Jose Seahawks combined with San Jose St reserves to take on UNR reserves. What generally happens when you have 30 year olds playing against 18 year olds? Yup. Lessons were learned on both sides and everyone seemed to be happy with the match.

Date: 01/28/2017
South Valley 34 – Central Coast 12
Referee: Moore, Stephen

Excellent competitive match despite score line. SV dominated first half scoring 29 points. Excellent malls from SV forwards and sweeping backline attacks from SV backs along with dogged defense. Second half was very different, SV scoring one try and Central a try and a conversion. At least three times SV went over their try line and held up by Central and one occasion SV knocked the ball on on placement in try zone. Central to their credit counter attacked sweeping all the way down field three times only to lose control of ball at last moment. Both sides disciplined and cooperative. A small altercation between backs at final whistle as Central sweep to try line, but knocked ball on. It was a pleasure to referee this match. Thanks.

Date: 01/28/2017
St. Mary’s College C 34 – Santa Clara B 39
Referee: Byrnes, Bryant

This match on the main field was the last of Saturday’s three games, and clearly the best. Santa Clara’s B side had clearly not been paying attention to the Gael’s dominance in the previous matches. SMC scores first? No problem, they then scored twice. The young Gaels are exactly that and still sorting things out. But their improvement since I last saw them two weeks before was vast.

It was a closely run thing and anyone’s game. There were four lead changes in the first half-with the Broncos on top at half 24-19; their back line was slightly better on the day. With four minutes left, Santa Clara led by a flimsy two points. They padded the lead with a penalty kick at full time. Bravo to both teams.

Date: 01/28/2017
St. Mary’s College 15 – Santa Clara 106
Referee: Lane, John

A lovely spring afternoon in Moraga with a slightly soft field following all the recent rain and excellent team of 3 support from Bryant and Peter.

As the scoreline suggests this was a very comfortable win for St Mary’s but it does not reflect the commitment and effort and solid play put in by Santa Clara.

The Gaels started at pace turning over possession from the kickoff and crossing for a score (unconverted) on 90 seconds for a 5-0 lead. Santa Clara settled after that and following a mid-field individual line break with good support lines and offloads scored a converted try to take the lead 5-7.

The Gaels responded well to this setback. Throughout the game they dominated line-out and scrum time turning over multiple possessions and always putting Santa Clara on the back foot.

Scores came steadily with 3 tries (2 converted) leaving the score 26-7 on approximately 30 mins. Santa Clara were competing well but would eventually be short in defense or slip off a tackle after multiple phases.

St Mary’s own discipline at the breakdown was costing them territory and eventually another 3 points from a penalty. 26-10.

The half was rounded off with 2 converted further tries by the Gaels and a 40-10 scoreline.

The second half continued in the same manner with St Mary’s crossing for tries on a regular basis despite the high work rate of Santa Clara throughout. St Mary’s stronger bench helped keep their momentum and pace up for the full 80.

10 tries and 8 converted for St Mary’s with one excellently timed intercept and an 80 yard foot race to the corner by Santa Clara left the final score at 106-15.

Date: 01/28/2017
St. Mary’s College B 43 – Santa Barbara Academy 12
Referee: Sandhill, Peter

St Mary’s front field was very soft underfoot, muddy in places. It was a morning game and there was plenty of sunshine. A great day for rugby. St Mary’s and Santa Barbara were evenly matched for the first period with some nice rucking by both. Both teams had a good backline and were competitive out wide. The game was clean, fast and a joy to referee.

Date: 01/28/2017
St. Mary’s College WR 84 – Univ San Francisco WR 0
Referee: Stockton, Andrew

In general, this was a well played match between two competitive teams. Scrums were played uncontested at the request of a less experienced USF side. Both coaches agreed to this change prior to match day. St. Mary’s had a very obvious upper hand due to playing experience and superior numbers. However, USF played very well. The field was not in the best condition due to the recent rain. There was lots of mud and chunks of grass overturned that could have made play dangerous, so, when possible, I moved set pieces such as scrums laterally away from the hazards. Toward the end of the first half, with about 5 minutes left, I cautioned and gave a yellow card to one of the USF players (Sydney Abel) for tripping. The rest of the match was relatively uneventful aside from a stoppage to discuss a forfeiture by USF. Ultimately, the game was not forfeited, but both coaches agreed to a stoppage of play 10 minutes early. This was because USF was taken down to 14 players because of illness (one player became sick to her stomach) and a lack of subs. the final score, after 70 minutes, was 84-0 in favor of St. Mary’s.

Date: 01/28/2017
Stanford 79 – UC Davis 12
Referee: Coppinger, John

A minute into the match, there was clear sign that the match would be a track meeting played out on the Stanford pitch when the Stanford 7 (a class player) intercepted a pass from the UCD 10 to 12 off the UCD lineout to go 85 meters for the try between the posts. In another sign of things to come, Stanford 7 missed the dropkick conversion to leave the score at 5-0 in favor of Stanford.

After the initial bit of good fortune for Stanford, the match went almost completely in UCD’s favor as they ran riot scoring 79 points while only giving up one second half try on a nifty 25 meter run by Stanford 7 whose sidestep left the UCD 15 on the ground trying to tackle 7’sshadow. For UCD, 2 and 3 were effective ball carriers and very good at the defensive breakdown poaching a lot of ball and creating Stanford penalties for holding on. The UCD 10 was magnificent with ball in hand and in distributing the ball on the pass and via the boot. The only thing that stopped UCD from crossing the 100 points mark was that they were occasionally too adventurous leading to turnovers.

Date: 01/28/2017
Stanford B 12 – UC Davis B 17
Referee: Pohlman, John

Beautiful day at Stanford. Defending champion U. C. Davis’s second side defeated a mix of Stanford second side and first side players in a shorten game.

Date: 01/28/2017
UC Santa Cruz 70 – SF State 5
Referee: Bailey, Andrew

No report received

Date: 01/28/2017
USF 36 – Humboldt St 10
Referee: Tucker, Chris

Second game of the day, just after I’d managed to cool down from the last one, it was time to warm up again. The teams were both fired up and ready, and we got going into a hard-hitting encounter. SFS took a while to get into the rhythm, but had the better possession in the first quarter, putting a try across after 17 minutes. By this point I was noticing Humboldt’s tendency to over-commit at the breakdown, and after a couple more penalties, their first player hit the sin-bin. Shortly followed by his compadre, guilty of not rolling away, 2m from the goal line. With two men up, SF scored from the subsequent scrum-option. Miraculously, playing 2 short focused the minds, and we began to get clean ball… Then, just as it looked like Humboldt would escape with only the one try, their fullback needlessly tackled high, and found himself the third player in the bin. SFS eventually took their third score before the half, but they made heavy going of it, requiring a dozen phases to eventually get the break they needed.

Second half was more even, and probably better reflected the abilities of the teams. SFS still on top, 3 tries to 2, but Humboldt showing they knew the way past the gain line with some hard, direct running. Another card for dangerous play, this time on SFS’s loose head for a fend to the face of his opponent took my disappointing total to 7 for the day. The lack of discretion available was informed to all teams before the game. And when it was as blatant as those 7 were, it’s impossible to ignore. One hopes for a swift adjustment, because short-handed rugby is a mean game.

Date: 01/29/2017
UC Davis Women A 84 – California Women A 0
Referee: Bryant, Lee

No report received

Date: 01/29/2017
UC Davis Women B 56 – California Women B 5
Referee: Hosley, David

Beautiful day for rugby at UC Davis. Austin Davis, a certified ref new to the area, came out and ARed for me, which was very helpful.

Competitive match into the second half, when UCD’s ability to pick and drive set up a number of scores. Lots of new players for both sides, which is great for rugby.

This Week’s Photo

Is a video of Saint Nigel explaining the new tackle emphasis. Best takeaway – there are no new tackle laws.

http://www.walesonline.co.uk/sport/rugby/rugby-news/nigel-owens-perfectly-explains-new-12545017

Hail, Pelicus!
For the Senate
Pelicus Pedem Referre

The Wettening

HAIL PELICUS!

The Wettening

For years we here in Pelicanland, both within and without the rugby community, have been badgering the Weather Priestess for rain. The drought California was experiencing was of epic proportions with serious concerns about the availability of potable water in several remote communities. Hail Pelicus even suggested reverting to the ancient practice of animal sacrifice, accompanied by seasonal vegetables and a nice wine, to convince the Weather Priestess to bring some rain to our parched landscape.

Apparently the Weather Priestess took notice and granted all of our wishes all at once. Pelicanland is no longer a dry, desolate landscape but now a damp, muddy bogland. Bolstered by our success in reversing the drought the editorial staff here at Hail Pelicus recommend that all of you petition the Weather Priestess to lighten up a little bit on the rain, say, leaving at least the weekends sunny and dry. As always, these petitions will get more attention when accompanied by a sacrifice and I personally plan to sacrifice a Delmonico steak on the grill this Friday to assure a dry weekend. For best results, as a base for any reduction sauce sautéing garlic in butter is highly recommended because, obviously, the gift ascends to the heavens via the smell. Thus it is the true essence of the steak that the Weather Priestess enjoys and all one has left to eat is the earthly shell which is as ashes in one’s mouth, but this is the sacrifice we all should be willing to make. To paraphrase Terry Pratchett, whose ideas I baldly and badly plagiarized for this opening bit, that explains why the smell of the steak and the reduction sauce is always better than the actual meal itself.

Don’t forget the garlic.

The Great Irony Of Northern California Rugby

Mike Comstock is a legend. He didn’t grow older, he grew tougher. He was an old school prop who took props to school and even as he got older speed was never an issue because speed was never an issue. Back in 1994 in my first year out of college he greeted me, a cocky young winger, with a bone crushing (and late) hit then mumbled “welcome to D1 rugby”. He played anywhere, anytime – nothing would keep him from strapping the boots on and hitting the pitch. He was playing prop for club sides into his 60s. He was a force of nature.

This year the NCRFU and Division 3 tried to honor him with a tournament and would play for the Comstock Cup. It was rained out… twice.

New Year, New GMGs

USA Rugby has produced new Game Management Guidelines for 2017. You can read them in all their glory here: https://drive.google.com/file/d/0B5vxlc6Mi03oT3djWGRkUnVnckU/view.

The biggest change is in how we are to referee high tackles – that section begins on page 17. Pelicus Iudex Pennipes will also be presenting on this topic at next month’s meeting. Speaking of which…

February Society Meeting

Our society meeting was also Comstock’d due to weather so we will next be meeting Wednesday, February 8 at the usual location, the SFGG clubhouse on Treasure Island. NOTE: If rain is forecast we will be holding the training at Tracy High School so keep your ear to the mud for updates from our illustrious leader Pelicus Iudex Pennipes and also in this space.

There will be a Yo-Yo fitness test at 6:00 to determine which referee can do yo-yo tricks the longest. If you desire to receive National Appointments or wish to be considered for NCRRS playoffs plan on completing the test. You must “walk the dog” at least twice and maintain a “sleeper” for a minimum of 10 seconds to be considered.

At 7:00 we will commence our monthly training. The following are the presenters and topics:

Neil MacDonald – Breakdowns
Lee Johnson – Scrum and the Dark Arts
Lee Bryant- Psychological elements of officiating
Paul Bretz- Game Management Guidelines

New Kit

We have jerseys. We have socks. The rest is up for debate. The (astonishingly stylish) new kit will be distributed if I see you at some point in the next couple of weeks and at the Society meeting.

Las Vegas Invitational

The previous LVI Tournament Director has left his post to study the sexual habits of Arctic mollusks so Steve Albrecht has taken over. Below is his call to the Greatest Rugby Referee Society On The Planet:

Referees One and All !

The biggest rugby tournament in North America is looking for YOU! The Las Vegas Invitational needs you on March 2nd, 3rd, and 4th to help volunteer and officiate 7’s (and a few 15’s) matches across youth, collegiate, and adult divisions in Sin City. As our tournament continues to grow, so does the number of referees needs to keep this event rolling! Come ref by day, and enjoy the most exciting city on earth by night!

All Referees receive:
– Rhino LVI Referee jersey (both Male and Female cuts)
– Tickets to all 3 days of the USA Sevens International event (when you stay at the Westgate Hotel – massive LVI discounts available)

ALSO – USA Rugby is holding a 1-day clinic Wednesday March 1st at the Westgate Resort. Don’t miss out on your chance to train with the best in the ever-growing world of Sevens Rugby.

Westgate Hotel link: https://www.usasevens.com/las-vegas/official-lvi-hotels/

To register to ref at the LVI 2017: https://goo.gl/forms/e5Om9GuMqYsM5zR43

Any questions about the event?: https://www.usasevens.com/las-vegas/las-vegas-invitational/

The Naming Of The Flock

As the Keeper of the Nomenclature, over the fall I have been working to increase the number of Officially Recognized Pelican Names and the flock did not disappoint. As it pleases the Senate, I would like to announce that the following people be known to all learned men and women by the following names:

Sebastian Ainslie shall be known forevermore as Pelicus Varinius!
Rich Anderson shall be known forevermore as Pelicus Amans Bersabee!
John Coppinger shall be known forevermore as Pelicus Iudicialis Eunuchorum!
Steven Fenaroli shall be known forevermore as Pelicus Parvus Scurra!
Grant McDougall shall be known forevermore as Pelicus Veteris Apteryx!
Matt Hetterman shall be known forevermore as Pelicus Machinor Lumen!
Joe Devlin shall be known forevermore as Pelicus Senatus Porcos!
Jeff Richmond shall be known forevermore as Pelicus Caseum Caput!
Rob Hendrickson shall be known forevermore as Pelicus Consiliarius!
David Pescetti shall be known forevermore as Pelicus Spaghetticus!
Favor Taueva shall be known forevermore as Pelicus Gratiam!
Jen Tetler shall be known forevermore as Pelicus Alta Matriculus!
Nome Tiatia shall be known forevermore as Pelicus Nuntium Ignorare!
Dan Wilson shall be known forevermore as Pelicus Tonitrui Percute !

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 Douglas Adams of Santa Barbara, CA who asks, “What happened to all the Hitchhiker quotes? I quite liked them”

Great question Douggie and thanks for reading Hail Pelicus even if you are, technically, dead. Each year brings new challenges and organically generates new themes. Last year “The Hitchhiker’s Guide To The Galaxy” provided that theme and generated at least one new reader, if not a new fan. We here at Hail Pelicus are all excited to see what themes appear in the new year.

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

Copy the link and have it available on your smartphone. If you have an iPhone add the link to your home screen.

When needed fill it out and click submit. The discipline chair of the competition you refereed will receive a notification about the incident.
He/she may contact you latter for more details.
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: 01/21/2017
Life West Women 83 – Sacramento Amazons 10
Referee: Hinkin, James

With Mother Nature making up for lost time Life West chose to move their match against the Sacramento Amazons to the wonderful turf field at Cal Maritime – a wise decision. Both teams were warming up when I approached… sort of. Apparently the Amazons only traveled with 8-10 players (guess based on conversation, not actual numbers), so the game was a forfeit and Life West lent several bodies to Sacramento so they could get a game in.

The game itself was played under crisp, dry weather with one three minute exception where it just dumped down. It is almost like the clouds weren’t paying attention to the rain schedule and realized too late that they were supposed to put an inch of rain on the field by 11:00AM and hey, it’s 10:55 already so they had to do a rush job. The ladies didn’t care and played hard throughout. Unfortunately, as is common with these kinds of games, it was one sided with Life West running out 83-10 victors. All in all a fun game played with energy and good spirit.

Date: 01/21/2017
UC Davis 10 – UC Davis B 5
Referee: Kenny, Kevin
Nosy Person With Opinions: Johnson, Lee

With heavy rains predicted for Saturday, the venue was changed from CMA to UCD and then back to CMA. UCD pitch was flooded, so the turf at CMA was the final location for the days match. I arrived early to a dry pitch and in time to watch the A teams play and hang out with Mike Malone.

UCD b and CMA took the pitch under cloudy skies with the rain gods retreating. UCD kicked off, though it was a highly contested defensive match, they eked out the only try of the first half without the conversion. The second half went the same with CMA nailing a try early and UCD followed with another try shortly thereafter, both with failed conversions. In the last two minutes CMA was awarded a penalty kick which they punted in to touch at UCD 10 meter line. With UCD winning the line out, on borrowed time, they kicked to touch to win the match.
CMA offered great hospitality, and all enjoyed the after game camaraderie.

My referee coach, Lee Johnson, offered great feedback after the match. I was able to work on them on two high school matches the following day. Thank you, Lee.

Date: 01/21/2017
California 39 – University of Arizona 12
Referee: Fenaroli, Steven

A close game with handling and discipline errors in the beginning. Both teams figured their gameplan out and played some tough rugby. Cal missed conversions which left the score closer than it needed to be. Cal was quick to squash Arizona line breaks but U of A kept fighting putting up two scores.

Date: 01/21/2017
California B 81 – UC Santa Cruz 0
Referee: MacDonald, Neil
AR: Fenaroli, Steven

Always a treat to referee at Witter Field. Cal were just too direct, too strong, too creative, and too quick for UCSC to handle. Many thanks to Steven Fenaroli for staying on to AR after his match.

Date: 01/21/2017
Chico State Women A 12 – UC Davis Women A 33
Referee: Tucker, Chris

Blustery day? Rain on the horizon? Anybody care??? Admittedly it felt like a spring day in Wales, but as I’ve always maintained, if we never played in the rain back in the UK, we’d never play. So we had to play on an artificial turf field with gridiron lines, but better weird-looking pitch rugby than no rugby at all.

Both teams fielded strong, fast teams that looked purposeful with ball in hand. How often the ball itself was in hand was probably the difference between the two teams, with Davis being sharper on the passes, and stringing numerous phases together, while Chico saw more than a few errant passes disrupt positive possession. As time went by, the narrowness of the pitch became less prevalent as the teams got a little more tired, and Davis was able to score 3 tries in the second half to put the game away. Still, I was at 3.7 miles for the game, which represents a good, fast match between two sides who will both do well this season.

Thanks to Matt Mulholland on the sideline for his invaluable assistance.

Date: 01/21/2017
Colusa Women 15 – San Jose Women 22
Referee: Wood, Scott

Highway 20 closed due to local flooding changed my travel plans to venture into the depths of rice, tomato and orchard (ah-monds, not all-monds) country. Pelicans were not the only birds migrating to various grounds. Egrets, geese, and other unidentifiable flying creatures (I never professed to be an ornithologist) were flying about making up for travel delays. Storrmageddon v1.21.17 rested long enough to provide for sunny skies shining upon sodden ground. Sloggy conditions, first game of the season, and first league game for many, created for long bouts of sloppy play periodically interrupted by some rugby (it really wasn’t that bad). San Jose traveled with 14 whereas the hosts had 17 on hand. The neophytes had steep learning curves and struggled with fundamental issues like tackling and offside, but seemed to shine just when things seemed bleak. Of particular note, San Jose was in possession as the watch signaled full time. Deep in their territory, the ballcarrier decided to throw the ball directly into touch (this being only the second time in 17+ years of refereeing that I have penalized such). Colusa was awarded the penalty and drive to within five meters of the goalline when they lost the ball. This time, San Jose kicked the ball to touch to end the match.

Kudos to the players and fans for braving the windy, muddy conditions (more standing water along the touchline than in the field).

Date: 01/21/2017
California Women A 24 – Humboldt Women A 38
Referee: Coppinger, John

HSU came out strong and took an early lead through the hard running and conversion kicking of their big and fast #13. Cal regrouped in the second half when their big replacement #8 began to settle things down with big hits on the defensive side and big carries on the offensive side, which allowed Cal to swift the ball wide where their faster and quicker backs were able to exploit one on one opportunities to score three second half tries. HSU, however, scored two tries late to seal the victory in their first D1 game. A big thanks to Ed. Barfels for running touch notwithstanding the 9 a.m. start on the chilly GAA pitch on TI.

Date: 01/21/2017
Pleasanton Jesters U23 45 – SF State 10
Referee: Tuisavalalo, Rodney

We were spared the dirt and muddy fields created by the weekend storms . Livermore provided a good clean field with excellent playing conditions. The first half saw some pretty competitive rugby. The Jesters provided strong running while SF State played very good defense -which capitalized into penalty points 10 minutes into the contest. The Jesters would answer back with 2 tries minutes apart. They would score another one just before half time to make it 19-3. SF State would not go away so easily. They made some good breaks to start the second half. Their captain led the way with a 30 m carry that saw him score on the line 5 meters from touch. But that would be their last good run of the day as injuries would force a couple of men off the field. The Jesters meanwhile continued to dominate all facets of the game, especially a backline that saw several breaks through SF state defensive lines. The game became out of reach by the 3rd try by the Jesters in the second half. Final score 45-10. (Note: The boot is given to a player- who only by the will of the gods- scores their first ever try. It’s usually filled with beer or some alcoholic beverage that for the most part acts as an antiseptic. When you fill the boot with plain water you are basically guzzling down all and every known germ that was once part of the foot that inhabited said boot. Drink wisely my friends. Cheers!)

Date: 01/21/2017
St. Mary’s College 55 – Univ Utah 12
Referee: Akroyd, Phil

Summed up in one word, this game was wet. However, the game didn’t suffer too much due to the conditions, so we had lots of continuous play and many points.

SMC pulled out a large lead in the first half, but only scored a couple of tries in the second as they got bogged down a little with penalties. Utah did well to keep the game interesting to the end but the Gaels will need to cut out errors and increase discipline if they intend to push for a national championship title again.

Date: 01/21/2017
St. Mary’s College C 29 – Sonoma State 15
Referee: Santiago, Roberto

The game was competitive throughout. Sonoma State suffers from lack of depth, but are well coached and plays with great camaraderie. The St. Mary’s C side shows the evolving skills you expect from a developmental side at that level, meaning they’re actually quite good; particularly up front.

Date: 01/21/2017
St. Mary’s College Women 33 – Santa Clara Women 10
Referee: Pohlman, John

A rainy and muddy day found me refereeing the St. Mary’s women against the Santa Clara Woman in a pre season scrimmage.
The field was had standing water but the conditions did not seem to bother either side, so play on.
I was surprised and happy to see both teams with quality players and coaches leading to a very competitive game. The difference was a couple of the St. Mary’s players being brutal runners and simply breaking down the defense. St. Mary’s hard charging #1 scored two try’s and was player of the game.
Both teams played allot of forward crash ball due to the conditions. I hope to see them on a dry field this season so their backs can show their abilities.

This Week’s Photo

The 2017 California Cup completed play with the Old Mission Beach Athletic Club claiming the title over Life West. It makes me happy to see this competition back as I loved playing in it back in the 90s and it was one of the few opportunities I had to go head to head with my brother. I would prefer to have a picture of the referees but nobody thought it would be a good idea to send me one.

Hail, Pelicus!
For the Senate
Pelicus Pedem Referre

Exciting And New

HAIL PELICUS!

 

Exciting And New

 

The susurrus of an expectant audience is broken by the quick staccato of the conductor’s baton as she taps for attention.   A swell of applause fills the hall as Pelicus Pedem Referre saunters onto the stage, impeccably dressed in his NCRRS #1s and approaches the dais.    All sound ceases for a moment, pregnant with possibilities and expectation, as the conductor raises her arms.   With a sweeping gesture the orchestra leaps into the familiar opening bars and Pelicus Pedem Referre steps forward and starts singing…

 

Love,

Exciting and new.
New season, we’re expecting you!
And tries, life’s sweetest reward
Give a pass, it comes back to you

Rugby! Soon you’ll be making another run
Rugby!  Promises something for everyone<

Set a course for adventure
Your mind on a new set play.

Tackles won’t hurt anymore
It’s an open gap for another score

Yes love…

Rugby!

Yea rugby, soon you’ll be making another run
Rugby!  Promises something for everyone

Set a course for adventure
Your mind on a lineout maul

Penalties, won’t hurt anymore
It’s advantage played, for another score!

It’s love…
Rugby!
It’s love…
Pelican season
Rugby for all
New tackle emphasis
Game played in Heaven

It’s LOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOVE!!!!

The big finish.  The giddy crowd stands to applaud even as roses are thrown on the stage.  Pelicus Pedem Referre humbly accepts the adoration of the audience.     Shouts of “More, more!”, “Surely that can’t be all?!” and “Get off my foot you fat bastard!” echo around the concert hall.   With a calm and commanding gesture Pelicus Pedem Referre raises his hand and quiets the crowd.  Oh yes, this is just the beginning.

 

How to Remove Professionalism From Pro Rugby

 

It seems that the inaugural season of Pro Rugby will be its last, although the official party line is that they will have a season with the 4 remaining teams (the Sacramento Sack-o-Tomatoes, the Ohio Flyover States, the Denver Pot Heads and the San Diego Bro Dawgs).  I will not be holding my breath on that one as they don’t seem to have players or coaches at this time.   Pro Rugby has been a mismanaged disaster from the start and the questions brought up by Hail Pelicus as well as many other publications were never addressed.   There were substandard facilities, vendors not being paid, players not being paid, zero promotion and an overall amateurish feel to the entire setup.    Doug Schoninger was never in a position to start a league and tried to force out a sub-par product when he realized that his window of exclusive rights was closing.    Changing contracts mid season, not playing players and then, in a rush of spite, cancelling all contracts outright is a sign of panic and not planning.   This is not what USA Rugby fans deserve.

 

Let’s be perfectly clear:  The players were terrific.  They played their hearts out, played some very good rugby at times and were always available to fans.  They worked hard and it showed as the league improved over the course of a season.

 

The coaching staffs were terrific, often going above and beyond their job descriptions to make sure that the players had what they need.  When your coach is putting lunch on his personal credit card because the league office isn’t paying their bills a player will notice and appreciate it and work that much harder.

 

My issue is with the management of the league.   Far too few people were working far too hard on a shoestring budget and when Steve Lewis left – and was never replaced – everything that was held together with mud, spit and hope fell apart.  There was never any promotion of the league – if you weren’t already in the rugby community then you never knew it existed.   There was never any attempt to nurture a fan base – why were youth teams not all given free tickets?   The facilities varied widely with the San Francisco team having the worst setup of all of the teams.   How that can be possible in the beating heart of American rugby baffles me.   Mr Schoninger came in with a reported $30 million pledged to the league – a fine commitment for one man or possibly one team but you need ten times that to start a league.   Mr Schoninger also reportedly expected to earn a profit the first year, which explains much of the penny pinching.   He apparently didn’t realize that no new sports league is expected to make a profit for several years as they build up a fan base, much less a non-traditional sport like rugby.  I keep pointing to the MLS as an example of how to build a new league with a “foreign” sport.

 

There are positives, though.  We had a pro league where fans paid to see paid players.   It is a start and there was some fantastic rugby played.   It is time for either Mr Schoninger to sell off his interest in Pro Rugby or for USA Rugby to let his window shut and start a new venture, one that has a proper foundation and that takes money.  This is at least a $200 million proposition from the get go, and most likely more money will be needed.

 

The USA needs a pro league to compete at the highest level – this was a good start.

 

The USA needs a pro league that is run effectively – this was a learning experience.

 

Let us hope that the right lessons were learned.

 

Haters Gotta Hate

 

I know that Hail Pelicus is usually full of light hearted banter but I have one more axe to grind and that is with our beloved local union.   Last summer the Northern California Rugby Football Union Executive Committee voted on a resolution stating that each club must declare which competition they will be playing in for the 2016-2017 season 2 days before the AGM in August.   Because the best intentions don’t always match reality these clubs would have the opportunity to change their mind all the way up to October 1 and the scheduling secretary was to produce the full schedule by October 10.    Sounds great, yes?    Well, a schedule went out on October 10 and some people didn’t like it.   One club complained that since they had already scheduled an away preseason game against another club they should have that league fixture as a home game so they don’t have to travel twice.

 

Seriously, this happened.   And the schedule was changed.   Because of a preseason game.

 

Other clubs started looking at their numbers through the fall and decided they didn’t want to play in the division they committed to and insisted there be changes.    Fresno’s B side moved to D3.   Chico Men’s club also decided they should move to D3 and thus it was so.   Napa tried to do the same and were denied for some reason.   After all this Fresno’s B side drops out of D3 altogether.

 

While all of this is going on we have teams that have under 10 CIPP’d players (including the coach) as well as teams with exactly 15.    This doesn’t seem to be sustainable but after more calls and consultation a new schedule was produced and everyone seemed happy… except Golden Gate who now had nowhere to put their B side.   D2 refused to let them play in their competition and there was no space in the schedule for them to play in D1.

 

Finally, ON THE 16TH OF JANUARY, Santa Rosa has decided that they need to drop from D1 to D2 and this was allowed by the NCRFU.

 

This not how any competition should be managed.     All of the above nonsense occurred after December 1st, well past the cutoff date and I didn’t even come close to mentioning all of the changes that needed to be made to cater to the whims of select clubs.   Because many clubs have both men and women’s sides and even teams in separate divisions the schedule is not a discrete entity for each competition.  Field resources and referee resources need to be looked at and grouping a club’s home games together takes a lot of work.   This isn’t just done for the sheer joy of having all of your club playing at home together but it translates to real money when a club doesn’t need to rent a field on as many weekends.    This also allows the referee pool to cover multiple games at a single location.

 

When changes are made it rarely is just “add/remove them and give everyone a bye/new game” because that can unbalances a schedule.   When a club has an 8 game season and only 2 home games they tend to get upset.   Allowing teams to jump divisions so late in the day is irresponsible and will lead to more of the same behavior.   Last summer I wrote that the USA watches Northern California very closely because we traditionally have the strongest Union and the strongest competition in the country and are seen as the gold standard.   I was disappointed in how the 7s Series went as teams dropped out mid competition and speculated on how they might be punished.    They apparently weren’t.   Now I call on the NCRFU to stick to their guns on all of these late changes.   Teams can not be allowed to jump competitions at this late hour and the NCRFU should make them play what they committed to or face consequences.   Anything else just ensures this will happen again and the NCRFU will be the enabler.

 

I said it in the summer and will say it again.   We are better than this.

 

New Year, New GMGs

 

USA Rugby has produced new Game Management Guidelines for 2017.   You can read them in all their glory here: https://drive.google.com/file/d/0B5vxlc6Mi03oT3djWGRkUnVnckU/view.

 

The biggest change is in how we are to referee high tackles – that section begins on page 17.   Pelicus Iudex Pennipes will also be presenting on this topic at this month’s meeting.  Speaking of which…

 

January Society Meeting

 

Our society meeting was pushed back a week due to weather so we will be meeting Wednesday, January 18 at the usual location, the SFGG clubhouse on Treasure Island.  There will be a Yo-Yo fitness test at 6:00 to determine which referee can do yo-yo tricks the longest.    If you desire to receive National Appointments or wish to be considered for NCRRS playoffs plan on completing the test.   You must “walk the dog” at least twice and maintain a “sleeper” for a minimum of 10 seconds to be considered.   We will also conduct the yo-yo fitness test in February.

 

At 7:00 we will commence our monthly training. The following are the presenters and topics:

 

Neil MacDonald – Breakdowns

Lee Johnson – Scrum and the Dark Arts

Lee Bryant- Psychological elements of officiating

Paul Bretz- Game Management Guidelines

 

 

Las Vegas Invitational

 

The previous LVI Tournament Director has left his post to accept a position in the Trump administration so Steve Albrecht has taken over.  Below is his call to the Greatest Rugby Referee Society On The Planet:

 

Referees One and All !

 

The biggest rugby tournament in North America is looking for YOU! The Las Vegas Invitational needs you on March 2nd, 3rd, and 4th to help volunteer and officiate 7’s (and a few 15’s) matches across youth, collegiate, and adult divisions in Sin City. As our tournament continues to grow, so does the number of referees needs to keep this event rolling! Come ref by day, and enjoy the most exciting city on earth by night!

 

All Referees receive:

–          Rhino LVI Referee jersey (both Male and Female cuts)

–          Tickets to all 3 days of the USA Sevens International event (when you stay at the Westgate Hotel – massive LVI discounts available)

 

ALSO – USA Rugby is holding a 1-day clinic Wednesday March 1st at the Westgate Resort. Don’t miss out on your chance to train with the best in the ever-growing world of Sevens Rugby.

 

Westgate Hotel link: https://www.usasevens.com/las-vegas/official-lvi-hotels/

 

To register to ref at the LVI 2017: https://goo.gl/forms/e5Om9GuMqYsM5zR43

 

Any questions about the event?: https://www.usasevens.com/las-vegas/las-vegas-invitational/

 

 

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 Jack Jones of Hollywood, CA who asks, “Are we expected to sing along with the opening bit?”
Great question Jack and thanks for reading Hail Pelicus.    While it wasn’t required I fully expect people to have the appropriate song going in their head while reading that bit.   Singing out loud is appreciated by all – especially your co-workers – but also not a requirement.    If you need the backing music to keep time you can hear the song here: https://youtu.be/m2ugQ190hkc.

 

 

Coda

 

The event is drawing to a close and the conductor, seeing the need to lift people’s hearts, plans to end with the greatest piece of music ever composed, Symphony No 9 in D Minor, Op. 125 “Choral”: IV. Presto – Allegro Assai by Ludwig van Beethoven, also known as the “Ode to Joy”.   Unbeknownst to the conductor, however, is that the musicians, as musicians are wont to do, knowing that the previous items would take some time, had all gathered across the street at the local pub for a few mid-program libations.   The string section started doing shots when an argument broke out between the “sitters” and the “standers” (arbitrated by the violinists who claimed “they could do both because we hold our instrument in our hands”) over who could still play best after several shots of tequila.   When time came to head on back they lingered a little longer and when asked to hurry up one of the cellists said “relax – we have time.  I tied the last few pages of the conductor’s music sheets together.   *BURP*  ‘scuse me.”

 

Eventually they stumbled back into the hall and the double bass players – who had clearly lost the bet – were barely able to stay upright.

 

This was pressure.   These are the moments the conductor lived for.   It was time to see what kind of stuff she was made of because, you see, it was the bottom of the ninth, the score was tied and the basses were loaded.

 

Drop curtain.   Raise curtain for obligatory encore.   Drop curtain.

 

 

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

Copy the link and have it available on your smartphone.  If you have an iPhone add the link to your home screen.

When needed fill it out and click submit.  The discipline chair of the competition you refereed will receive a notification about the incident.

He/she may contact you latter for more details.

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: 01/06/2017

St. Mary’s College 98 – Arizona State 0

Referee: Pescetti, David

AR: Smith, Pete

AR: Hinkin, James

Watching For The Slightest Error: Wood, R. Scott

 

The rains gave us a respite for a match on the fields of Moraga. However, it was not on the traditional rugby Saturday, but a Friday. But when mother nature says ‘go’, we need not argue.

 

Both teams were incredibly disciplined, this lead to a personal season low in penalties. I want to thank honorable Pelicus Fistulator and Pelicus Pedem Referre for their assistance in policing these collegiate hooligans. Let’s ignore that this was my first game of the pre-season.

 

Onto the match. This was a one sided affair, with St. Mary’s doing all the scoring. However, ASU were not to be deterred, competing throughout the match and came only inches away from scoring.

 

Both teams look to be setting up for prosperous seasons and I bid them good luck!

 

 

Date: 01/06/2017

St. Mary’s College 17 – Arizona State 5

Referee: Hinkin, James

AR: Smith, Pete

AR: Pescetti, David

 

When one looks at the scoreline for the B side match one would naturally assume that ASU has nearly no dropoff in their squad and St Mary’s is 15-18 players deep before the talent dries up.    Well, that doesn’t exactly adhere to reality as ASU did, in fact, keep most of their A side out on the field due to a light travelling squad.   St Mary’s did put out a full B side and they were the better side on the day as their precision was no match for the tired Sun Devils.

 

Another factor in the closeness of the score was that we were only able to fit 20 minutes of rugby in due to the sun going down.    As the game ended I did have a rather unusual moment with the ASU flyhalf who jokingly complained about the game ending early saying he “wanted more hugs”.  So I gave him a hug, much to the amusement of his teammates and the ARs.  Speaking of which…

 

I would like to thanks David Pescetti and Pete Smith for hanging around to AR the B side.

 

 

Date: 01/07/2017

Central Coast 15 – Diablo Gaels 40

Referee: MacDonald, Neil

 

Looking at the weather forecast and observing the howling wind and torrential rain, I sought to wager with a fellow Pelican on the number of scrums I’d have for the day, given the surely enormous number of knock ons awaiting me.  I feel compelled to share his Pelican wisdom with the readers of Hail Pelicus: “Two,  One to start each half when the kicks don’t go ten, and play on for everything else”.    After the shortest trip I’ve ever made from home to referee a match, I arrived at Depot Park in Santa Cruz to find that the rugby gods were smiling upon our afternoon’s endeavor, and affording us a dry spell amidst the “atmospheric river” which had been soaking Northern California.  Depot Park has a great artificial surface, and with some imaginary 22m and 10m lines visualized we got our fixture underway.    The kickoff did, in fact, go 10m, and my misgivings about the handling difficulties were shown to be needless, with great hands from both teams. The Gaels piled on the pressure, and their pick and drive rugby took them over for the opening score in the 12th minute.      Lacking posts, both teams’ kickers had perfect records, scoring zero points apiece on the day.  Diablo bludgeoned over for their second score on 20 minutes after a strong run from #7 Tuli, bludgeoning through several defenders.  Diablo added another to take their lead over their hosts to 15 points before the Beachdogs scrum half opened their account with a sniping tap and go following a penalty deep in Diablo’s 22 for a defender coming in the side at a ruck.  Diablo scored again before the Beachdogs scored the try of the half.  It began with a break by captain Steve Maraist in his own half, and Enrique Palafox ran a great support line to take the pass out of contact and score.  10-20 at the half.

 

In the second half, Diablo became more dominant, with the Beachdogs indiscipline conceding soft penalties and territory too regularly, and ultimately taking them down to 14 men for ten minutes.  Diablo racked up four more scores during the half, with captain BJ leading from the front throughout rIght up until the point where he led with the front of his nose, and departed the field to seek repairs to his aquiline features.  Applying pressure once again deep inside the Beachdogs 22, Diablo players bore down on Beachdogs captain Maraist as he scrambled to tidy up a loose ball.  Grabbing the ball, he was tackled into in goal but he didn’t ground the ball.  Instead, channelling Berbizier in 1991, he opted to play…  Maraist popped the ball up to a team mate, and two sets of quick hands later, winger Brandon Shiramizu took on Didier Camberabero’s 1991 role tearing up the right touchline.  Unlike Camberabero that day he didn’t need his teammates to finish, and our match came to an end with a champagne try.

 

Thanks to both teams and coaching staffs, and to captains BJ and Steve for a fun match played in great spirit.  All the best for your seasons.

 

 

Date: 01/07/2017

Santa Rosa 22 – Redwood Empire 20

Referee: Bertolone, Cary

 

It was raining about as hard as possible. Of course, It was sloppy, quite a few knocks, but pretty good rugby considering the circumstances. It was tied at half, 10 to 10, Rosa took the lead with two more tries, but Redwood came back. With one minute to go, Redwood put together a 80 yard try, but missed the kick that would have knotted it up and would have forced me to buy beer for the rest of you. Fortunately, for me, the kick hit the formidable Rosa post and bounced back, giving Rosa the narrow advantage and win. No late hits, no high tackles, no dangerous plays (my goal for the game) and everyone had a great time. Awesome rugby day.

 

 

Date: 01/14/2017

Life West B 26 – SFGG B 17

Referee: Pescetti, David

 

A light hearted but fun and physical match between these two recent rivals. It was a very even match, maybe not as close and tense as the riveting earlier match, but just as fun for everyone involved.

 

 

Date: 01/14/2017

NCRFU Preseason D2  Tournament

Referee: Moore, Stephen

 

I refereed two matches: Silicon Valley (14) v Baracus (7) , San Jose (17) v Baracus (5). The first played on a very muddy field, lots of fun and good early morning spirit and cheer. The second played on turf, more aggressively fought and competitive. All sides played at their best and made for entertaining rugby.

 

 

Date: 01/14/2017

NCRFU Preseason D2  Tournament

Referee: Tuisavalalo, Rodney

 

 

The game was a good preview to what we’ll be seeing in the upcoming year. The Capitals forward pack will be a force to be reckoned with this season. They showed this on Sat as they literally dug their heels in and scored tries off of driving mauls and well formed scrums. San Jose had some good moments as well  as hard running and wide ball movement saw them score a couple of tries of their own. A couple of costly penalties stalled some opportunities for points. All in all, the Capitals look dangerous and despite the field conditions, they were able to score with ease. I would not be surprised to see them atop or near the top of the division by season’s end.

 

 

Date: 01/14/2017

NCRFU Preseason D2  Tournament

Referee: Hinkin, James

 

A nice relaxing day of rugby as the weather dried out.   While all this rain recently was much needed it did necessitate a change of venue from host San Jose’s home field at Independence High School to Yerba Buena High School where we had the use of a turf football field and a grassy, muddy field.   This was an ideal preseason setup, really, as teams could practice an open, flowing style on the turf field and a grinding, muddy style on the grass field.

 

In theory, at least.

 

The grass field actually held up quite well and good rugby was played all over.   The Sac Capitols seemed to be the best team on the day with the Sacramento Blackhawks using physicality and athleticism to dominate at times but needing a little more rugby in between.  San Jose and Diablo were just behind them and if they can get a bit more precise they look to be well placed to challenge for league honors.

 

 

Date: 01/14/2017

Shasta Highlanders 51 – SF Fog 5

Referee: Richmond, Jeff

 

A beautiful day in Redding after the drenching rains of the prior week. SF Fog traveled well to play Shasta while the home team just had 16. Numbers didn’t turn out to be a challenge however, as Shasta took over from the beginning. Their forward play was too much for Fog to defend against. Multiple phases of rucking by their big forwards enabled Shasta to keep Fog on their heels. Good sportsmanship prevailed – the teams played 4 period of 20 minutes each with Fog rotating in new players to give them game experience.

 

 

Date: 01/14/2017

St. Mary’s College 99 – UC Santa Barbara 0

Referee: Tucker, Chris

 

Glorious day in Moraga for some early season rugby.  My first time to the repurposed stadium, was suitably impressed by the facilities — even an all weather warmup field next door.  Good to see!

 

Game itself was a bit of a non-event.  It started out a bit sloppy, with missed passes, and more than a few low-level dangerous tackles from the hosts.  After about 20 minutes I had enough and gave a yellow for the 4th such incident.  Lee, coaching, pointed out that I should have gone to my pocket earlier.  In hindsight I recognized this to be true.  The game settled down after this point, leaving the hosts to score regularly, the visitors to get a run out and enjoy themselves (and there were still smiles at the end, much to their credit), and me to work on my scrum analysis.  With a few things going on, it took a little while to figure out the collapses, but I got there in the end.  And we had 3 good scrums in a row before the 3rd Gaucho prop went off injured and we went to uncontested scrums for the last 20 minutes.

 

With that, the heat went out of the game, and the pace slowed.  After the last try, the kicker asked if we were done.  I told him that if he waited 20 seconds more, then we would be.  He duly did, thus saving the scoreboard from being broken.  99-0.

 

This Week’s Photo

 

Pelicans gathering in Moraga to watch and adjudicate UCSB valiantly hold St Mary’s under 100 points.    The pregame speech apparently was “Boys, the Golden State Warriors never lose if they hold their opponent under 100 so that is our goal today!”   L-R Lee Johnson, Pelicus Augustus, Pelicus Byrnest, Pelicus Diversus Oculus and Preston Gordon

Pelicans in Moraga

Hail, Pelicus!
For the Senate
Pelicus Pedem Referre

Giving Thanks And Giving Thought

HAIL PELICUS!

 

Giving Thanks And Giving Thought

We have reached that time of year when it is customary to reflect on one’s life and appreciate what is there.    For me and I am sure many of you, our dear readers, it is Friends, Family, Community and, of course, Rugby.   Rugby often combines all of the other aspects mentioned and now is as good a time as ever to appreciate the joy the Game They Play In Heaven has brought to all of us.   Rugby is a sport that builds communities that span generations and that was never more apparent than the San Jose Seahawk Invitational preseason tournament last weekend, as evidenced by this week’s featured photo.   Three referees, several coaches and a couple of spectators all from the same club coming out to grow and watch the game.  There were even a couple of former teammates in Eric “Famous” Amos and Alatini Saulala who weren’t around when the picture was taken and I may have missed more.   The best part?  These former players represented not only referees but 3 other clubs – including youth – that have either started or grown because of the commitment of former players who love the game and want to keep it growing.  The second best part?   This is not unique to one club or one event.   This scene is repeated constantly across Pelicanland and the rest of the country as America starts to wake up to rugby.

That is what I am thankful for.

 

Lots To Cover

With the preseason in full flight and many other rugby events gong on this week’s HP is longer than usual – you may have to stay beyond the first flush.

 

December Society Meeting

We will be having our monthly society meeting at the usual location, San Francisco Golden Gate Rugby Club on Treasure Island (725 California Avenue, Treasure Island, San Francisco, CA).  As always food will be provided.  We ask that you to bring your choice of beverage and bring one for a friend.    Please remember that if you have refereed a tie then you are required to bring beverages for the society to enjoy while we mock your shame.

This month’s topics include the Art of Advantage presented by Tim Lew, who will then be substituted out for Mark Carney who will discuss something – I don’t know what.  Finally, Pelicus Iudex Pennipes will be presenting on means to focus referee development using trigger warnings and safe spaces.

Performance Reviewers and Referee coaches are asked to be at SFGG clubhouse at 6:00 so that we can discuss coaching assignments and performance reviews.

Please be mindful that Fitness testing will commence at our January and February meetings and not to wait to get fit.  National panel referees and perspective National Panel candidates will be required to complete the testing prior to assignments being awarded.

 

Hail Pelicus 2017 Calendar

Last year Hail Pelicus released the coffee table book “Hailing Pelicus” as the ideal gift for the rugger in your life, along with a step by step guide in how to give money to your assigned referee to insure a copy of the book.   Curiously, while many teams offered referees their donations they didn’t actually ask for the book so we went in another direction with this year’s stocking stuffer ideas and are proud to announce the 2017 NSFW Northern California Rugby Referee Calendar.    Each month comes with numbered days and a full page picture (as well as smaller bonus pictures) of some of your favorite referees in a more revealing and relaxed environment than they are usually seen.  Some teasers:

  • Does Neil MacDonald really wear anything under his kilt?
  • See a glimpse of John Lane’s “Irish Pride”
  • Lee Bryant exploring mountain streams with only an AR flag
  • NCRRS President Paul Bretz showing all the world what makes him a great leader
  • Rob Hendrickson slipping into something more comfortable in the “Bear’s Lair”

Just like last year, to order a calendar just approach a referee – any referee – before a match and give him or her $60, plus $20 handling fee plus $20 for shipping.     For best results donations should be in cash, be presented to the referee before the match starts and be done in full view of the opposition to show them your support for Pelican Charities.   Who knows?  You may even shame them into matching or even bettering your donation.    If you don’t have a match before the New Year don’t worry as we will continue to accept orders while supplies last.   That means you can continue to order copies at all of your matches throughout 2017 and beyond.   Do it for the kiddies.

 

Between Two Pelicans – Hail Pelicus’ Pulitzer Prize Winning Interview

At least we here at the editor’s desk assume that we will get a Pulitzer for this journalistic scoop.   Hail Pelicus managed to get an exclusive one-on-one interview with the new Tournament Director for USA Sevens in Las Vegas as well as the CRC, Varsity Cup and all other United World Sports’ rugby ventures, Mr John Hinkin.  One of the most respected competitors and successful businessmen in the sport, Mr Hinkin has been involved in the growth of the USA Sevens since its inception.   John has been with United World Sports (UWS) since 2006 and amongst other accomplishments, he created and built what is now the Las Vegas Invitational, which consists of over 270 teams from 25 countries and is played congruently with the USA Sevens in Las Vegas.

The former soccer All American turned to rugby and became a star at rugby powerhouse St. Mary’s College and enjoyed a brilliant playing career which saw him represent the United States from 1991 – 1998, captaining the USA Sevens team in 1997 and 1998. He played in the inaugural Rugby Sevens  World Cup in 1993 and was a reserve on the 1997 USA Rugby Sevens  World Cup team. John also had a successful amateur career where he was part of 12 National championship sides in 15’s and 7’s with OMBAC and played for the select sides Northern California Collegiate Pelicans, Southern California Griffins and the Pacific Coast Grizzlies (both collegiate and club).   He has also represented the United States five times at the World Rugby Classic in Bermuda.

Hail Pelicus:  Mr Hinkin, thank you for your time and welcome to Between Two Pelicans.   We only have a few minutes here until Mom calls everyone to dinner so let’s get started.

John Hinkin:  Thank you Mr. Hinkin, it is an honor to be on your show.  Also, I noticed you misspelled my name.  It is spelled “Jon” – with no ‘h’.

Hail Pelicus:  Really?  I apologize.   I just assume you spelled your name normally, you know.

John Hinkin:  That’s all right, Jim.

Hail Pelicus:  Touché.

Jon Hinkin:  (Smirks and says nothing)

HP: This weekend you participated in the annual Hinkin Open Thanksgiving Golf Classic.  Now that you are in a more senior position at United World Sports does UWS have any interest in investing in this wonderful charity event?   And a follow up, if I may, same question for the annual Hinkin Open Midsummer Golf Classic in San Diego?

JH:  These are both exclusive events that many PGA stars have never played, an invite is the most treasured trophy in golf. UWS will continue its exclusive, private sponsorship and rest assured, I will make sure the investment is doubled next year.

HP:   As a follow up, you claimed to have won this year’s Hinkin Open with a score of 83, but there have been reports of shenanigans on the golf course and your score has been brought into question.   There is a movement gaining steam for a recount and a highly placed source recently tweeted out about “Millions of illegals(sic) shots that were never counted”.   Do you have any response to this budding scandal?

JH:  Wrong! Wrong! Wrong! It is unbelievable that some crooks can say anything they want and the crooked media buys into it.

HP:  I would like to talk to you about plans for the USA Sevens now that you are in charge.  There is talk of bringing the Women’s USA Sevens to Vegas from Atlanta.   Is this true?   If so, how will this be accomplished logistically on one field?   Will the men and/or women need to play pool matches outside the stadium?

JH:  I have put together a very extensive schedule and all matches will be played in the stadium.  All teams will have their required rest time between matches, so you will see a bunch of Women’s matches followed by Men’s and so on.  This brings into play very full days of rugby starting early Friday morning and ending with the Men’s Cup Final at 2:00 pm on Sunday. The Women will finish up with their Cup Final on Saturday night.

HP:  Now that 7 a side rugby is an Olympic sport will you be embracing the Olympic Ideals of competition, corruption and nepotism?

JH:  We will follow the FIFA model as we have found that is the most efficient way to fill the coffers and then blame others.  If you have any follow up questions concerning this subject I can’t be reached on my private island

HP:  That is all the time we have so I would like to thank you again for appearing on Between Two Pelicans.  I wish you success in your new position and it is your turn to do the dishes.

JH:  Thank you.  It has been an honor and no it isn’t.

 

Election Night Fever

 

You can tell by the way I use my words I’m a writing man, no time to talk.   The oval ball if the day is warm is kicked around, and jerseys torn.   And now it’s all right, it’s okay, and you may look the other way.   We can try to understand a rainy day’s effect on games.

 

As we all recover from the interminable election season, whether you are celebrating or mourning or something in between, remember the wise and profound words of the famed Australian poet, Barry Gibb, “Whether you’re a turtle or if you wear a girdle you’re stayin’ alive.”

 

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 Tim Gunn of Manhattan, NY who asks, “I am always excited by new fashion and the NCRRS Kit Release Day is one of the highlights of the fashion year.   Can you give me any spoilers on this year’s look?”
Great question Tim and we here at Hail Pelicus are glad that our fashion sensibilities are appreciated across this great nation.   We really don’t want to give away any spoilers and so are playing this close to the vest but I can tell you we have re-energized a classic look with exciting new colors.   Offerings of polos, track suits and ties are also in the mix this year for a casual to formal, full time Pelican Fashion Statement.

 

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!

Stephen Valerio continues to send in his match reports from East Coast.   The editors here at HP wonder what has happened to our other itinerant correspondent, Tom Zanarini.

 

Date: 11/05/2016
Loyola of Maryland  31 – Catholic University 34
Referee: Valerio, Stephen

 

The final week of the regular season in the Potomac Rugby Conference featured first place Loyola hosting 3rd place Catholic University. The 1st place team received a bid to the NSCRO play-offs while the 2nd and 3rd place teams would face-off on Nov 19 for a place in the play-offs. Loyola, Catholic and American Universities had all clinched one of the top 3 spots, but the crucial order had to be worked out.

 

Loyola had dominated the season winning every match with a bonus point win and a win differential over 47 points per match. After striking quickly for a try, Catholic shocked them with a 19 point run. However, Loyola picked up a try before the half ended to pull to within 5 points.

 

Loyola came out stronger in the 2nd half and pulled ahead of head of Catholic before Catholic counterpunched and collected a penalty kick to pull ahead 29-28.

 

Late in the match Catholic committed a penalty which Loyola calmly slotted over for a 31-29 lead. Late in the match Catholic lost the ball forward into touch. Loyola took the lineout option, which they won. However, the scrumhalf delayed his pass to the flyhalf, allowing Catholic to intercept the ball and run in the game winning score on the final play.

 

Date: 11/12/2016
Frederick 45 – Delmarva 5
Referee: Valerio, Stephen

 

In their last match before the winter break Delmarva traveled west to take on Frederick. Delmarva had recently moved up to D3 and had been struggling with the step u in competition. Earlier in the season Frederick traveled to Delmarva and won handily 45-14. The young Delmarva side wasn’t up to the task again as Frederick ran out to 38-0 lead at the half, with a strong scrum giving them a solid platform and their superior organization exploiting gaps in the Delmarva defense. Delmarva had too many isolated ball carriers which left them vulnerable to lost ball or penalties at the breakdown. However, late in the first half Frederick started to lose their focus and their attack lost its crispness. This carried over into the 2nd half where Delmarva picked up a try 13 minutes into the 2nd half because of disarray in the Frederick defense. The rest of the half was a sloppy affair, with many knock-ons and errant passes. Substitutions in the Frederick pack allowed Delmarva to seize control there, but their backs weren’t able to do anything with the benefit of stable ball. A Frederick try at 65 minutes put an end to the scoring on the day.

 

 

Date: 11/05/2016
Fresno 26 – Sacramento Blackhawks 29
Referee: Wilson, Dan

 

Fresno hosted a round robin, preseason tournament with the Blackhawk’s being game 2. Sacramento showed up periodically over an hour due to bad traffic problems and with a total of 10 players. With Fresno loaning Sacramento five of their newbies, the game kicked off. The Blackhawk’s opened the scoring with a converted try at the 11th minute, but Fresno controlled the scoring the rest of the first half with an unconverted try in the 19th minute and converted tries in the 32nd and 35th minute. Sacramento had better talent but lack of discipline and too much infighting seemed to take them out of the game mentally. Half-Time Score: Fresno 19 – Blackhawk’s 7 The second half started with a renewed vigor for Sacramento with at least one player deciding that he needed step up to play. The Blackhawk’s controlled the scoring with two unconverted tries and one converted try to take the lead in the 70th minute. The typical lack of fitness, not playing as a group and overall ego’s led to several “much to do about nothings” at times, but nothing to write home about. Fresno retook the lead at the 78th minute with a converted try. At the restart, “1-minute” was called, but Fresno kicked the received ball straight out resulting in one last movement. Sacramento took advantage of the line-out, spinning it wide, completing a beautiful pop-kick and scored in the corner with no time left on the clock resulting in a 3 point win. Final Score: Fresno 26 – Blackhawks 29

 

 

Date: 11/05/2016
AKM Memorial Tournament
Referee: Richmond, Jeff

 

This is always a nice affair with the awarding of scholarships on behalf of the AKM Memorial. Conditions were great, which helped because Mark Godfrey and I did 6 matches each – granted only 20 minute halves. The Fitbit said 9.95 miles which doesn’t sound like much for the day. I guess I should get out the slide rule and figure out watts.

 

Sac Capitals dominated everyone they played. Two Oregon college squads attended as well as two women’s teams. Thanks to Kevin from OIT and Andrew from the Sac State Alums for filling in as ref for a match to give Mark and I a break.

 

 

Date: 11/05/2016
AKM Memorial Tournamnet
Referee: Godfrey, Mark

 

chico 5       sac alumni 19

chico women 5   hsu women 86  60 min. game

sac caps 36      chico men 0

shasta 5     sac alumni 30

 

 

Date: 11/05/2016
Sacramento St B 20 – UC Davis B 31
Referee: Boyer, Rich

 

This match turned out to be the A side.  Davis came out strong and scored two quick tries while dominating possession for extended periods of play.  Davis’ gameplan was executed well during this period and their defense was very good.  Sac State would get close to the tryline occasionally only to knock on.  Davis looked well in control at halftime, leading 26-0, led by flanker turned flyhalf Harry “the Wizard”, and intercept try by #12, and great forward/backline interplay.  Sac State made the necessary adjustments at halftime and eventually scored an unconverted try by the wing during a penalty advantage, which was followed by a converted try shortly thereafter.  Sac State injected a sense of urgency in their play which caught Davis off guard, resulting in a higher penalty count against Davis.  This led to a penalty kick by Spencer Moreno. 26-15 and one could feel the momentum swing.  Sac State upped the tempo even more with quick tap penalties, limited forward play and quick back ball.  Davis fought back but Sac State hardened the defense, then scored off a Davis knock on a turnaround run by the wing of 50 yards.  This try went again unconverted.  26-20.  Sac State had two more probing long runs, one by lock Blake, who looked like a wing, and Isaiah, the newly inserted wing, only to have handling errors thwart their attempts near the tryline.  Davis tried to turn the tide and did so with strong phases and pressure  forcing a penalty in the dying minutes.  Instead of taking points the Wizard found touch and Davis mauled in the lineout as time expired.  A well played, good spirited match by both sides.

 

 

Date: 11/05/2016
Santa Clara B 24 – Fresno State B 27
Referee: Simko, Paul

 

Back and forth game.  Fresno scored the tying try and then made a penalty goal with no time on the clock for the win.

 

 

Date: 11/05/2016
UOP 29 – Pleasanton Jesters U23 59
Referee: Pohlman, John

 

UOP hosted the new Pleasanton Jesters Under 23,  team in Stockton this past weekend.   Early wide open rugby.  Both teams were well matched except for a couple of the Jesters backs.  Two of the backs must have scored half of the nine Jester try’s.  Unfortunately they were using practice Jerseys because the new game jerseys had not arrived, thus no numbers on the players backs.  These two were hard runners, but needed to be tackled.  So UOP missed lots of opportunities to bring them down.  UOP looked a bit better organized and with more commitment to the tackle could have won this game.

Some fun open rugby with a total of 14 try s scored.

Good luck for the rest of the season.

 

 

Date: 11/05/2016
CSU Monterey Bay WR 36 – Santa Clara Women 44
Referee: Freitas, Larry

 

I got down to the Cal State University Monterey Bay campus on the former Fort Ord a bit earlier than I needed to so as to check that the pitch was being lined correctly, and it was.  Hats off to Lia Cuevas for getting it done right.  The Otters were warming up as Santa Clara’s players and coaches trickled in from the long walk from the parking area.  I was asked to hold off kick off until 1:15 or so, as some were going to be a bit late.  A half hour before the game I was informed that Santa Clara only had 13 players available for the kickoff; a few players are overseas studying, and three weren’t present because of injury, ROTC commitment, and family commitment.  CSUMB had 17 players suited up, with a few out with injury.  The weather seemed perfect for rugby: 64F with sun, but as kickoff time approached, a fog bank that I had seen way off on the fringes of the Monterey Bay on the drive down from Aptos was approaching landfall.

The Bronco women were first to score just 3 minutes into the match, when tight head prop Mariela Murillo took a pass from a tap penalty, and breaking through some tackle attempts, scored a try that went unconverted.  Santa Clara, though down two players, were keeping CSUMB on the back foot for a good portion of the first quarter.  Another try would come at 18 minutes when lock Carly Fowler scored, giving Santa Clara an early 12-0 lead, with Murillo converting their second try, as the sun had disappeared with marine layer now covering the sky.  CSUMB would counter at 23 minutes when hooker Emiliana Lacandazon picked up a loose ball near the half way line and scampered to the goal line to touch down near the posts.  Flyhalf Hanna Kim converted easily to close the gap to 12-7.  It didn’t take long for Santa Clara to counter with another converted try as number 8 Rachel Schneider scored from a tap penalty when CSUMB were caught with hands in at a ruck some 10 meters out.   CSUMB got another score when Kim went on a run from a set scrum near the Santa Clara 22, setting up fullback Sakai Golden’s score near the posts.  Five minutes from half time Santa Clara once again had a chance to score, when Michelle Coleman, at times playing flyhalf, at times playing scrum half, dove in for a try from a ruck near the goal line.  At the half Santa Clara led 24-14.  Unfortunately the try came at the cost of Schneider, who had to come off the pitch with an ankle injury.   It seemed if anyone was getting hurt in this match it was a player wearing cardinal red and white hoops, not a navy blue shirt.  Regarding penalties, both teams had their various infringements, and most came from lack of experience than anything else.

The second half started with CSUMB having a 15 to 12 player advantage.  At 46 minutes CSUMB’s number 8 Janicke Stein scored from a set scrum at the halfway line toward the left side of the pitch, as Santa Clara didn’t have anyone covering the short side in the back division, cutting Santa Clara’s lead to 24-19.  Two minutes later the Otters would score again when Santa Clara knocked on and the Otters recovered, and Amanda Mast scooped up a ball that was left on the ground by a tackled player just a meter outside Santa Clara’s goal next to the left hand post, and dove over.  With the conversion CSUMB now had the lead, 26-24, and to add worry to the situation, Michelle Coleman, who should be on the division two select side, was having trouble with leg cramps and had to go off briefly.  Santa Clara got the lead back when Coleman would score a try from a tap penalty at 62 minutes, managing to dodge and sidestep her way around the opposition in her run to the goal line.  CSUMB had a chance to kick a penalty when a kick deep into Santa Clara’s half was covered by Michelle Coleman, who got back in time to cover full back, and though she had time to make a clearance kick into touch, panicked and kicked the ball off to her right and the center of the pitch, where one of her own teammates caught the ball in an offside position.  CSUMB took the kick choice some 35 meters out directly from the posts instead of the scrum inside the 22, and Kim missed the chance to add 3 points.  I had the thought that a previous leg injury earlier in the match might have had something to do with the kick that sailed to the right, as she had briefly handed over kicking duties to number 8 Stein.   CSUMB would make up for that lost opportunity on what I would say was the best try scored on the day, when Kim, taking the ball from her other half back pairing, after a scrum at mid-field, saw the Bronco backline defense up and no one covering deep, and strategically kicked toward the right hand side of the field, with the ball landing just about at Santa Clara’s 22, where right wing Cammie Smith scooped up the ball, and using a burst of her speed, scored in the corner.  At 65 minutes CSUMB were back in the lead with 36 points to Santa Clara’s 34.  Santa Clara wasn’t giving up the fight, and I would have to say that Maricela Murillo and Michelle Coleman’s leadership at this point in the game made all the difference in who was to win and lose.  These two were leaving it all out on the pitch, with both of them taking the ball in the dying stages of the game to push their team toward the goal line, and both getting injured in the process, but refusing to leave the pitch once recovered.  At 77 minutes Santa Clara scored another unconverted try from a set scrum some 30 meters out from CSUMB’s goal, when the ball was quickly transferred by the backs out to the right wing Jessica Godinez, who beat the cover to score in the right hand corner.  The last minutes of the game were hard fought by both teams as Santa Clara made their tackles and CSUMB tried to get into Santa Clara’s half to set up a score, and it had started to drizzle and really cool off on top of if all.  A penalty near full time gave Coleman a chance to quickly tap the ball and take off for the goal line, scoring near the left hand corner.  After the conversion attempt failed I blew the whistle for no side.  Santa Clara had won the game 44-36.

 

 

Date: 11/05/2016
St. Mary’s College Women 63 – Sacramento State Women 5
Referee: Coppinger, John

 

SMC easily ran over and around Sac State on the newly* re-sodded Pat Vincent Field.  SMC appeared experienced and were certainly well drilled; on other the hand, Sac State, while game, seemed to be mostly players new to the game with only a few players being vaguely aware of the Laws.  To their credit, Sac State played hard and seemed to enjoy themselves.  SMC featured hard running, powerful forwards, speed to kill on the wing, and one of the best 10s with a boot I have seen in Women’s College Rugby.

 

*Literally, as I walked on the pitch, the landscaping contractor was driving off after replacing probably 35% of the Pat Vincent turf damaged by marauding feral pigs.

 

EDITOR’S NOTE:  This may be the first time “marauding feral pigs” has been used in a Hail Pelicus story and it didn’t refer to the forward pack.

 

 

Date: 11/06/2016
Stanford Women 7’s Tournament
Referee: Simko, Paul

 

5 Teams: Stanford, Chico, Davis, Cal, Oregon State.  Davis is the favorite.  Chico beat Davis in an early match.  Stanford went undefeated until they lost to Davis.  Chico, Stanford, and Davis are all 3 wins and 1 loss.  Davis wins the first tie breaker.  Stanford wins the second tie breaker with more tries scored.  Final is Stanford and Davis.  Davis wins.  Chico and Oregon State played for third place.

 

 

Date: 11/12/2016
San Jose State B 37 – UCSC B 15
Referee: Hinkin, James

 

The Big Stage.   Everyone wants to play on it and the B Ballers from San Jose St and UC Santa Cruz got their chance as they took the field at Cefcu Stadium (formerly known as Spartan Stadium).   After observing the A side match it was obvious that both teams decided rather comically to ignore the chalk marked rugby lines and just use the football lines which resulted in several runners (in both matches) going wide and cutting in when they reached the football sideline or tiptoeing along it attempting to stay 6 meters in bounds.

 

They boys were young and fast but inexperienced with a few exceptions.  UCSC in particular had a flanker who was very good and well coached (read: immediately responded to referee commands).   The Cefcu Stadium turf was fast and everyone seemed to be enjoying themselves, especially San Jose St since they came out as 37-15 winners.   The one blemish was a SJSU rookie who just could not figure how to tackle properly and after penalties and warnings earned himself a yellow card and 10 minutes to think on the error of his ways and, hopefully, get some coaching.   This being a preseason B side match I brought the captains together and they agreed to my suggestion that while the carded player may not come back for 10 minutes SJSU could bring on a replacement to keep the match at 15 on 15.    Everyone was happy and rugby occurred – what could be better than that?

 

 

Date: 11/12/2016
Sonoma State 47 – SF State 50
Referee: Santiago, Roberto

 

This was an exciting pre-season match between two teams boasting plenty of athleticism and slightly less experience. Both squads were working with short benches, however their intensity never flagged. Sonoma jumped out to a lead and carried a 10 point advantage into half time. In the second half SFSU’s centers proved to be the difference. Sonoma’s #12 nearly made up the difference with strong running. SFSU had the dominant pack and won several defensive scrums.

 

Overall the game was played in good spirits and with hard hitting on defense to meet the determined running by ball carriers on both sides. I look forward to seeing each team later in the season after they’ve had a few more practices and warm up contests. They’ll both be competitive and fun to watch.

 

Many thanks to John Pohlman for the coaching.

 

 

Date: 11/12/2016
St. Mary’s College 107 – Chico State 3
Referee: Fenaroli, Steven
AR: Gordon, Preston
AR: Coppinger, John

 

 

Kinda lopsided game here. Coppinger and Preston gave me a lot of help on the sidelines. The game was warm and both teams came to play. It took smc 1:30 to score their first try. I had to remind them it wasn’t 7s. The trend continued and smc went up by 100. Chico had three penalties in front of the goal and opted for points all three times. They missed two and made the final kick at final time giving them their 3 points.

 

 

Date: 11/12/2016
St. Mary’s College B 97 – Chico State B 7
Referee: Bretz, Paul

 

A friendly between two teams of varied skill.  Saint Marys was clearly the dominant team in all facets of play and score 50+ points in both halves.  Despite the one sided affair Chico did not give up and scored a try for their efforts at the end of the game.

 

 

Date: 11/12/2016
St. Mary’s College C 24 – Santa Rosa JC 24
Referee: Gordon, Preston

 

First of all, good news: the pitch at Pat Vincent field is once again usable. It had apparently been dug up by wild hogs, and at the end of October there were large patches of turf missing as repairs progressed. That necessitated at least one match being canceled. While the missing sections have been replaced, and the pitch is safe for rugby, there are a few parts where some extra care should be taken to avoid twisted ankles etc.

 

In this game on a sunny day, St. Mary’s ran out to a 19-5 lead at halftime against Santa Rosa JC (3 tries + 2 conversions to 1 unconverted try). This was helped to some degree by a yellow card awarded to the SRJC #12 for a high tackle. In the second half, SRJC scored 19 points to SMC’s 5 (also 3 tries + 2 conversions to 1 unconverted try) before the 60th minute, and appeared to be in the ascendancy with the match tied at 24-24.

 

Unfortunately, at that point we had to stop and wait for the professionals to take a look at an injured player. Given that there were two games scheduled right after this, I agreed with the captains that we would shave 10 minutes off the match. That gave us another 10 minutes to settle the contest, but neither side was able to score any more points. In my defense, my professional referee opinion is that one side would have won if we had played the full 80!

 

EDITOR’S NOTE:  Beverages at our December meeting will be provided by Mr Gordon, thanks to this score.   The shortened playing time is irrelevant. 

 

 

Date: 11/17/2016
Cal Maritime 63 – Stanford 24
Referee: Pescetti, David

 

After hours spent in traffic, the Stanford team and I (traveling separately) made it the lovely Maritime facilities.

 

This game was a barn burner. It began with a shock. Stanford scored first within 2 minutes of the kick-off, on the back of their scrumhalf. Maritime 10 was able to poach a ball but then conceded a penalty for not releasing once he hit the ground, and the Stanford 9 quick tapped, catching all the Maritime players off guard and slipping past them for our opening Try.

 

Maritime’s shock lasted 90 seconds and they responded with quick hands passing and using their backs to manufacture scores. After that it was mostly Maritime controlling the pace of the game. Stanford was light on players and this contributed to the scoreline. It was a great game with high friendly spirits in this friendly match.

 

 

Date: 11/18/2016
Stanford Women 0 – Lindenwood 123
Referee: Moore, Stephen

 

One way traffic by a very strong Lindenwood team.

 

 

Date: 11/19/2016
NorCal Pelican Selects 18 – SoCal Griffins All Stars 28
Referee: Lew, Tim
AR: Pohlman, John
AR: Hendrickson, Rob

 

In an early preseason hit out between NorCal Pelican vs SoCal Griffins at Cal Maritime, SoCal came out on top. It was wet conditions with two all stars teams early in the year. As expected lots of athletic running but NorCal lacked support and retaining their own ball. SoCal ended contested in the rucks which made it harder for NorCal to get phases. In the end, SoCal had two intercept tries which ended up being the difference. Thanks to Paul for giving me feedback in the wet rain. Thanks for Robert H & John P for running the touch lines. Looking forward to 2017!

 

 

Date: 11/19/2016
Chico Holiday Classic
Referee: Richmond, Jeff

 

Pretty awful conditions for the Holiday classic in Chico: mid-40’s, windy, constant rain. A Chico player entertained us by recreating the scene from Forrest Gump – “… little bitty stingin’ rain and bit ol’ fat rain…”  Only managed to play 7 matches out of the 18 planned for the tournament. Still, those who participated played solid rugby. The Chico State women closed out the day with mud slides at the pit that had formed around the 22 on one of the pitches.

 

 

Date: 11/19/2016
Fresno 0 – Cal Poly SLO 40
Referee: Wilson, Dan

 

The top game in Fresno on Saturday with the three Cal Poly teams playing was Fresno Men’s v Cal Poly A.  it was the final of the three games for the visitors but quickly it showed the difference between the two clubs, teams and organizations. Fresno started the game kicking off and was immediate under pressure by Poly who played fundamentally sound rugby.  Cal Poly had their first converted try in the 3rd minute and then another in the 10th.  Poly scored two more converted tries in the 19th and 29th minutes. Fresno responded to the pressure by not rolling away or giving that slightly late hit.  Needless to say, penalties came mostly to Fresno.  In the 30th minute, Fresno’s captain was sin binned for an obvious late hit on the fly half just after the team was warned (10.4e). Fresno had its moments of team unity only to be pushed back by Cal Poly.   Fresno threatened several times in the second quarter including having lineouts, scrums and mauls inside the 10-meter line, but they could not cross the try line.  After their unconverted try at the 36th minute, Cal Poly put to bed a half of dominance. Even though the half was clearly one-sided, it at least flowed. Halftime Score:  Fresno Men’s 0 – Cal Poly A 33

 

The second was the opposite of the first.  Fresno had times of opportunities, as in the first, but their control of their tempers, attitudes and emotions brought the game down.  Unfortunately, several of the substitutes made their situation worse.   In the 56th minute, a Fresno player was sin binned for punching (10.4a). In response five minutes later, Cal Poly had a push over scrum try that was text book rugby scoring the only points slotted in the second half.  After several dust ups during the thing that loosely resembled rugby, Fresno had its next player sin binned for a late tackle in the 63rd minute (10.4e) which was a carbon copy of the play which sin binned their captain in the first half.  With the game continuing to deteriorate, and honestly, after a particular emotional outburst by one of the Fresno players to the like that I have never seen, I called the game in the 73rd minute.  Final Score: Fresno Men’s 0 – Cal Poly A 40.

 

 

Date: 11/19/2016
Fresno State B 47 – Cal Poly SLO C 10
Referee: Jury, Jeff

 

CSUF B showed good coordinated play with the young third side for Cal Poly is still trying to figure out their responsibilities.  The second half was more competitive with Fresno 3 to 2 try advantage.

 

 

Date: 11/19/2016
Fresno State 56 – Cal Poly SLO B 5
Referee: Tuisavalalo, Rodney

 

In terms of their physicality, both teams were evenly matched. They had big men the middle and faster agile guys out in the backs. The difference was Fresno’s ability to move the ball out quicker and more efficiently. While Cal Poly matched Fresno’s interior defense, they could not sustain long periods of defense in their back-line that saw Fresno running through wide open gaps. That was pretty much the story. In fact, Cal Poly’s only try of the game came through from tough hard running by their forward pack which culminated in a try near the posts. Fresno meanwhile enjoyed playing a very open game-moving the ball from one side of the field to the other, constantly keeping Cal Poly on the back foot. Fresno’s Irving Castenda made quality runs around the pitch, capitalizing on some back-line  inexperience from Cal Poly. First half saw the home team run in 4 tries. Cal Poly had many opportunities to score, but were often stalled from an untimely penalty or knock-on. Fresno would go on to tack on a few more points in the 2nd half and never let off the gas until the final whistle. It will be enjoyable to see these two  teams play in the future as they look to develop their new talents.

 

 

Date: 11/19/2016
UC Davis B 10 – Sacramento State B 19
Referee: Pescetti, David

 

A fun, rainy, and wet afternoon where weather was a big factor in the match. Many scrums were had due to the wetness of the ball. Despite the poor footing conditions all the forwards were in good spirits. The match all-in-all, was very close. Davis scored first within opening 10 minutes on a long breakaway, the ball carrier diving for the corner to touch the ball down, energizing his squad. Then Sac St scored in the final seconds of the first half. Heading into the break we had the teams knotted up at 5 a piece.

 

After the short respite, Sac State where to capitalize on the short handed Davis. Scoring under the posts to take a 12 – 5 lead. Davis, not to be outdone came back, shortly thereafter being back at full strength and scored.  Winds of change were not in their favor and still trailing 12 – 10, but only by 2. Sac was able to muscle down Davis in the last quarter to add an additional score to leaves us all walking off the muddy pitch at a Sac State win, 19 – Davis 10.

 

 

Date: 11/19/2016
UC Davis 55 – Sacramento State 5
Referee: Akroyd, Phil
AR: Hetterman, Matt

 

The game shifted to Sac State as the UCD field wasn’t available.  Rumors are that UCD will be building on Russell Field, so there’s huge uncertainty as to where the Aggies will play in future.  Let’s hope they find a field fitting of their excellent play because they showed that they are hitting the ground running this season.

 

Davis appear to have a lot of returning players from their D1-AA National Champ team from last season and their skill, accuracy and teamwork showed early.  Thirty-one points in the first half, twenty-four in the second and only five points conceded in generally pretty soggy conditions.  Sac State did play well though, but they were playing a very good team.  The Hornets will do well this year if they can just get their backs attacking a little closer to the gain line.

 

Post game recommendation of Sactown Union Brewing Company at 66th and Folsom Blvd for a refreshing Kolsch and a gourmet hot dog.

 

Thanks to Matt H for sticking around in less than ideal weather to A/R.

 

 

Date: 11/19/2016
UOP 32 – USF, SF State 35
Referee: Wood, Scott

 

UOP hosted their annual three-way round-robin between them, USF, and SF State. Despite the rain, the field drained well. Oddly, there were few knock-ons during while it rained. When it was not actively raining, we had a perpetual scrumfest. Rusty legs and cobwebs. Overall, very positive periods of contest and continuity.

 

 

Date: 11/19/2016
Santa Clara Women 53 – USF Women 20
Referee: Simko, Paul

 

On Saturday, there was a continuous light rain for the Santa Clara vs USF Women’s league match.  Santa Clara had 12 players to start.  USF asked them if they wanted to forfeit and Santa Clara said no.  At worst they wanted to get a point for a loss versus a zero for the forfeit.  Fortunately for Santa Clara, they played and won decisively.  Two former teammates now captains on different teams was the story of the match.  The two of them probably made about 30-40% of the tackles in the whole game.  Strong running by the Santa Clara front row created missed tackles that converted into tries.  There are a number of good athletes on USF, and with more experience this could have been a different game.

 

 

Date: 11/19/2016
UC Davis Women 0 – Lindenwood 38
Referee: Boyer, Rich

 

The Lindenwood women made the trek from San Jose to DIxon to be hosted by UC Davis.  LIndenwood started the game with double digit phases, gaining little ground, then would knock on as a result of the wet conditions.  Then repeat.  They had the lion’s share of possession the first ten minutes but Davis did not buckle.  Davis would counter with a few pick and drives, to be undone by knock ons.  Eventually Lindenwood began taking control of the match with strong running from their one off forward pods.  They were held up in goal three times.  Finally they created an overlap for captain Rochelle to score in the corner 25 minutes into the match.  Then Lindenwood scored again almost immediately, with the #4 receiving a pass and sprinting past everyone for a 60 meter try.  At halftime the score was 10-0.

 

Lindenwood became more focused and structured the second half.  Davis did not commit to rucks on defense so Lindenwood countered with multiple forward pick and drives.  The replacement hooker scored during one of these, then second half center substitute Macca, U-20s captain, made a scathing run for another score, which she converted.  Davis, try as they might, could not penetrate the visitor’s defense.  The Davis inside center was very prominent in breakdowns, poaching at least 5 balls and helping straighten the back line with direct runs.   LIndenwood’s forwards showed their dominance in scrums with multiple tightheads and also forcing the Davis pack on the back foot.   Their loosehead and open flanker were very prominent running the ball, and the wing got involved every time she could, contributing a try.   The game became very physical halfway through the second half, with neither side backing down.  It was all clean play, but the physicality stepped up a few notches.   In addition to the Davis 12, captain Erin at flanker worked well with the other flanker around the breakdowns, and the hooker was scrappy.  The game really seemed to swing when Macca subbed on for Lindenwood, while both locks showed good ball in hand skills.  This was a very technically sound match with few penalties awarded.

 

 

Date: 12/03/2016
Fresno 16 – Fresno State 13
Referee: Wilson, Dan

 

The annual game between big brother and little brother kicked off on a soft, partially muddy field with a decent crowd.  The game flowed well with neither team really taking the edge in territory even though the Fresno State side seemed to maintain ball more.  However, maintaining ball and moving ball are different things completely.  FSU kicked a penalty kick quickly in to the game at the 4 minute mark, but that was as close as either team got for most of the first half.  Both teams had their opportunities to push inside the other’s 22-meter line, but no one really could capitalize.  I actually had to look at my score card to reconfirm to myself that it was a 3 point game sometime around the 30 minute mark.  Discipline for both sides started off well, but it started to deteriorate during the second quarter.  At last movement, Fresno Men’s received a penalty outside FSU’s 22 meter line but was able to slot a kick to go into halftime tied.  Halftime score:  Fresno 3 – Fresno State 3

 

The second half had three major additions for the Fresno Men’s side which increased the intensity of tackling and ball running and maintaining ball possession.  Fresno Men’s were able to kick a penalty kick to take a lead, but Fresno State returned the favor to even it up.  With a man in the sin bin, Fresno Men’s was able to score a converted try, but Fresno State was able to come back and return the favor again with a converted try of their own.  Fresno State had two opportunities to take the lead with a penalty kick missed left, but a charge down was attempted by Fresno Men’s, so another opportunity was given. Unfortunately, the next kick also went left.  Emotions for both teams, especially Fresno Men’s, went ballistic at various parts of the game, one resulting in a player being sent off.  However, game management hurt Fresno State and allowed, and Fresno Men’s took the lead at the 78th minute with a third penalty kick.   Final Score: Fresno 16 – Fresno State 13.

 

 

Date: 12/03/2016
San Jose Invitational 15’s Tournament
Referee: Pohlman, John

 

San Jose Seahawks hosted a one day tournament this past Saturday.  Google, Diablo, Sac Capitals, San Jose, Silicon Valley, San Louis Obispo and Aptos played three games each.  The Capitals were the top team.  Lots of positive early season rugby.  Only one yellow card all day.

The San Jose Women’s Seahawks team played the San Jose State Spartians woman.  Lots of new players.

Referees for the day Paul Bretz, James Hinkin, Tim Lew, John Lane and John Pohlman.

Saw some old team mates coaching and refereeing.  Good luck for the season.

 

 

Date: 12/03/2016
San Jose Invitational 15’s Tournament
Referee: Bretz, Paul

 

TIm Lew, Paul Bretz, James Hinkin, John Pohlman, and John Lane joined several Division 2 teams for the San Jose Invitational.  Games were 20 minutes halves and were played in good spirits.  13 games played in total and and only 1 card was given.  Sacramento Capitals look to be the team in the best form at this stage.

 

 

Date: 12/03/2016
Cal Maritime B 14 – Pleasanton Jesters U23 48
Referee: Byrnes, Bryant

 

Played at Maritime’s field on a sunny afternoon-lovely. The Keelhaulers are now in their 19th season and are a class act. The Jesters are brand new this season. They are primarily Pleasanton local high school products who are not playing college, but of course wish to continue playing our lovely sport.

 

And, as indicated by the score, they play it pretty well. While the forwards matched up well, the Jesters had a powerful backline, including one hell of a center. While they had a certain amount of uncertainly about the moral significance of the last foot in a ruck, they had mastered the concept of support; on most breaks by the center, he had two wingmen.

 

Maritime had many first time players still figuring it out. But even outgunned, in the second half they scored 14 to the Jesters’ 17.

 

 

Date: 12/03/2016
Santa Clara 50 – San Jose State 20
Referee: Pescetti, David

 

Despite the sunny and relatively warm conditions in Santa Clara players from both hands were suffering from pre-season jitters. Ball handling errors were a frequent occurrence. The speed of the pitch played into Santa Clara’s favor with their backs and was able to muscle a first half advantage, but in the waning moments of the first half the Spartans forced their way into the corner for their first try of the match. The second half was decidedly more even. Both teams matching each other, blow for blow, try for try. Second half score was SCU 22 – 15.

 

Final SCU 50 – SJSU 20

 

 

Date: 12/03/2016
SFSU 14 – USF 15
Referee: Coppinger, John

 

Cox Stadium is the San Francisco State University soccer field and the former home of the late SFSU football program.  Since the pitch is now used by the SFSU soccer programs, the pitch is a very rugby friendly 66 meters wide.  Cox is a pretty place on the west side of campus off Lake Merced Blvd. and is set in a bowl surrounded by tall trees.  On Saturday, the SFSU Men’s rugby team was given the use of the field for the first time in the club’s history and pulled out all the stops in hosting City rivals USF.

 

The SFSU Gospel Gators opened the show with a nice rendition of the national anthem with the teams and a lonely referee lined up on at mid-field and the SFSU cheerleaders were in attendance to lead the crowd in support of the home Gators.  Post-match, SFSU hosted a luncheon for USF, which was attended by the SFSU president.

 

Both teams came out of the gate trying to play expansive rugby but handling errors on both sides ended scoring opportunities for both sides.  SFSU struggled with discipline and collected a dozen or so penalties and ultimately SFSU wound up with a man in the bin for persistent team infringements.  SFSU did take the half-time lead on an intercept try scored between the posts to give the hosts Gators a 7-0 lead at the break.

 

USF came out fired up in the second half to score two tries, one converted, to take 12-7 lead with about 10 minutes to play.  SFSU countered with a converted try to take a 14-12 lead with 5 minutes left with a sustained drive down the pitch featuring multiple phrases of play.

 

Ultimately, SFSU’s discipline, which had improved in the second half, was their undoing as a Gator went off his feet over the ball in a ruck thirty meters from the SFSU line smack in front of the posts.  The penalty kick was slotted and USF took the match 15-14.  USF captain and prop Reilly, easily my Man of the Match, was brilliant on offence and defense for the Dons.

 

Hopefully, SFSU will be able to secure the regular use of Cox Stadium because it was brilliant.

 

 

Date: 12/03/2016
Sonoma State 10 – Santa Rosa JC 50
Referee: Simko, Paul

 

Beautiful day at Sonoma State.  Pre-season friendly with rolling substitutions.  It’s always strange refereeing games with the goal posts on the dead ball line. The home team had 17 players, so the rolling subs didn’t help them much.  The hits in this game were big, and both teams struggled with high tackles that resulted in 3 yellow cards.  On Sonoma State, the 9 had a solid game along with some bigger bodies in the scrum.  Santa Rosa JC had depth in the pack with a very large #5.  They also had more talent in the backs and kept the attack.  The field was quite narrow, and my guess that was a strategy by Sonoma State to prevent high scoring from SRJC.  It didn’t matter.  To Sonoma States credit they put two ties in the second half and had one more that was held up.

 

 

Date: 12/03/2016
UC Davis 0 – St. Mary’s College 54
Referee: Fenaroli, Steven

 

Early season game that showed some good fall rugby.

 

 

Date: 12/03/2016
UC Davis B 14 – St. Mary’s College B 51
Referee: Tucker, Chris
AR: Franzoia, Tom

 

Second side proceeded much as did the first side.  Thanks to Tom Franzoia for running the line for me.

 

 

Date: 12/03/2016
Fresno St Women 80 – St. Mary’s College Women 24
Referee: Jury, Jeff

 

The score does not reflect the quality of play. Fresno and St. Mary’s traded pretty evenly in the first 20 minutes. A red card to Fresno at about 18 minutes in the first half, lit a fire that the Gaels couldn’t extinguish. St Mary’s were never able to exploit their number advantage, but continued the good fight all the way through. CSUF Women 80 St Mary’s 24.

 

 

Date: 12/04/2016
UCSC Women 68 – USF Women 17
Referee: Freitas, Larry

 

A rare Sunday afternoon game at UC Santa Cruz in which the school relented in allowing the women’s rugby team to play a game on the lower field, as soccer is now wrapping up its season, against the University of San Francisco, as this was a match originally scheduled for November 5 when not only the women’s team, but the men’s Slug Fest got cancelled at the last minute, and a soccer tournament allowed instead, with rain earlier in that week as some sort of poor excuse by the school’s Office of Physical Education and Recreation for nixing the rugby.  The Banana Slug ladies just had too much, as in size and speed in particular, on this afternoon.  Playing out of her position in the first half at half back, Lauren Roundtree commenced the scoring within five minutes of the opening kick off.  Four more first half tries would follow, two by center Teale Finkel, who displayed her speed and fancy footwork, and the half would end with the home side up 32-0.  One problem in the match was that the USF scrum was wearing down as the game progressed, to the point that the half ended with two collapsed scrums, and their captain asking for uncontested scrums for the second half.  Overall the game was being played rather loosely, with a sevens feel to it, and with lots of handling errors from both teams.  UCSC has some size to their pack. The Don ladies couldn’t get any sort of offense going in the first half, and the game was mostly played in their half.

The second half started with Finkel once again scoring a try, basically from the kick restart, as the ball was handled and eventually found its way into her hands, and she had a break for a 40 meter dash to the in-goal for the hat trick.  21 points were added to the UCSC total by 45 minutes, as two more quick tries ensued.  Finally, at 48 minutes USF had a break from a mishandled ball and put their first try of the match on the board, as one of their centers got a gap to run through on her way to the goal line.  UCSC had substituted some players in the meantime with the handy lead, giving some of their bench players some on-field experience.  Sydney Beyma of USF would score a try at 68 minutes from a set scrum deep in UCSC’s half, this one converted by herself.  Sydney was having a great game, one of the stars on the pitch with her tackling and running, and clearing kicks that took some pressure off her team when they had been pinned in their own quarter.  The game would end with UCSC scoring its last try of the match.  Final score: UCSC 68, USF 17.

With the “first” half of the season for D2 done, games will resume in late January.  Unfortunately not every team in the coastal division got in three matches.  UCSC had a league match with Cal State Monterey Bay cancelled that was to be played on November 19, as an attempt to change venues on that rainy weekend at the last minute failed to materialize, though they did play each other in late October in a practice match that did not count in the standings.  That leaves USF and Santa Clara as the only two teams of the four who played three matches, the other two only having two games.  Rain played a part in this, as well as problems in getting permission to use a pitch on the part of UCSC.  It appears the issue there between the men’s and women’s rugby teams and their Office of Physical Education and Recreation regarding field use has been sorted out.  In the second half teams from the other division will get a chance to play those on the coast: St. Mary’s Sacramento State, Fresno State, and Nevada Reno.  I heard that Nevada Reno is the team to beat, though UCSC managed to get their two wins out of two games on this weekend just ended, having beat Santa Clara in a match the previous evening.  That leaves Santa Clara at 2-1, having beaten USF and CSUMB.  CSUMB had one win against USF in early October, and lost to Santa Clara a month ago.  USF was winless in their three matches.

 

This Week’s Photo

Plenty of Seahawk Old Boys around for the San Jose Seahawk Invitational.

seahawk-reunion

Hail, Pelicus!
For the Senate
Pelicus Pedem Referre