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

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

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

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


Friday, March 1
Cardinal Newman High School, Santa Rosa
Referee: Joe Leisek
SANTA ROSA 22 – Oakland Warthogs 7

The first game for the visitors since the tragic auto accident that claimed the lives of David Moa, Soasi Moa, Malia Moa and Rachel Fisi’iahi, and injured Hunter Halatoa. A pre-game meeting between the teams and coaches featured a prayer written by the hosts and read by one of their players, and a new haka performed by the visitors in honor of their late teammates and friends. A very touching moment and a privilege to have been present. This really is the game they play in heaven.

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

Saturday, March 2
Russell Fields, Davis
STANFORD Women 45 – UC Davis Women 3 Referee: Joe Leisek
Assistant Referee: Don Walsh
Referee Coach: Scott Wood

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


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


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

Seconds: ST. MARY’S 49 – Penn St 10 Referee: Matt Hetterman
ARs: Mike King, Tom Wright

I had the luxury of real AR’s, and a bit of referee coaching. Cut out of work early, made it in time to see the second half of the first side match (a real drubbing, I hear the first half was closer).

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

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

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

Seconds: Barbarians – Olympic Club Referee

EPA Razorbacks 20 – SAC LIONS 27 Referee: Bruce Ricard

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

Seconds: SFGG 34 – EPA BULLDOGS 41 Referee: Bruce Bernstein

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

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

Sac Caps 24 – DIABLO GAELS 78 Referee: Neil MacDonald

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

Fresno 10 – SANTA ROSA 50 Referee: Pete Smith

SEAHAWKS 79 – Chico 10 Referee: Bruce Carter

This game was a lot of fun, for two reasons: I had thought I was going to be out of refereeing for a while, and it was like old times.

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

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

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

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

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

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

SEAHAWKS seconds 29 – South Valley 12 Referee: Bob Polito

BA BARACUS 30 – Vacaville 21 Referee: Kevin Donnelly
Location – M.L. Ward Rec Center Field

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

Seconds: Baracus 10 – VACAVILLE 22 Ref: Donnelly

The B side game was similarly competitive but with some rookie mistakes. Vacaville B were convincing winners 22 -10.

Mendocino 5 – COLUSA 70 Referee: Giles Wilson

Mendocino hosted Colusa County in Ukiah. Mendo had a limited number of players while Colusa had players and supporters to spare – nice to have traveling support.

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

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

State of Jefferson Elite 0 – SHASTA 78 Referee: Kevin Parks

The Shasta boys should be commended for their help in educating a SOJ prop who was playing his first game. We ran a few uncontested scrums until he was trained up. This is the type of play that elevates our game for everyone.

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

REDWOOD EMPIRE 71 – Humboldt Old Growth 0 Referee: Stephen Valerio

Sometimes the score just reflects the game. One side dominated the set-pieces, with a heavy penalty count favoring them. But when the other side’s backs can run rampant through your backline, it can lead to a long afternoon.

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

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

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

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

Reno – Stanislaus Referee: Jim Crenshaw
No report received.

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

Fog 11 – MONTEREY BAY 14 Referee: Jen Tetler
Evaluator: Mike Malone

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

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

CALIFORNIA 80 – U. of Arizona 14 Referee: Tom Zanarini
Assistant Referees: Rob Hendrickson, Tom Wright
Witter Rugby Field, U. California, Berkeley

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

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

Seconds: CALIFORNIA 114 – U. of Arizona 0 Referee: Matt Hetterman
ARs: Rob Hendrickson, Tom Wright

Second time in 2 days – luxury of AR’s! Match felt closer than the scoreline showed, but not by much. I got lots of practice saying “advantage over” as Cal broke the gainline over and over. I’m tired just thinking about this match.

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

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

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

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

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

UC Davis 3 – SAN DIEGO STATE 25 Referee: Aruna Ranaweera

In D1A league play, SDSU and UCD displayed entertaining rugby with multiple, contested phases and plenty of ball movement. The Aztecs held the advantage in possession, territory, and tactics and were able to touch down 5 times.

Seconds: UC Davis 2 San Diego State 2

Sac St – Cal Poly Referee: Kurt Weaver

Seconds: Sac St 7 – CAL POLY 92 Referee: Tom Franzoia

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

SF State 7 – UC SANTA CRUZ 38 Referee: Bryant Byrnes

A late Saturday match at the Fog’s TI field. Both sides had good numbers, good manners (which count), and splendid enthusiasm.

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

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

NEVADA 52 – Santa Rosa JC 33 Referee: Ray Schwartz
John Sala IM Fields, UNR

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

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

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

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

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

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

Fresno State 0 – CHICO STATE 81 Referee: James Hinkin

With Pete Smith refereeing Fresno men’s club against Santa Rosa it made sense for us to carpool to the central valley. I am forever grateful that Pete is a talker because the scenery wasn’t much to look at once you hit the valley – Hwy 1 to Monterey this isn’t…

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

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

Final score: Fresno St 0 – Chico St 81

…and yes, this counts as one of the closer games I have reffed this year…

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

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

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

HUMBOLDT STATE 26 – St. Mary’s thirds 22 Referee: Cary Bertolone

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

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

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

CHICO STATE women 55 – California 27 Referee: Sean Peters

Seconds: CHICO STATE 38 – California 7 Ref: Peters

Seconds: UC Davis women 0 – STANFORD 83 Referee: Anthony Nguyen

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

HUMBOLDT STATE women 41 – Sacramento St 14 Referee: Cary Bertolone

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

Fresno St women 15 – NEVADA 27 Referee: James Hinkin

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

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

UC Santa Cruz women 43 – SF Bats 43 Referee: Tom Clock (SoCal)

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

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

Monday, March 4

ST. MARY’S 41 – James Madison Univ. 15 Referee: James Hinkin

AR: Pete Smith

Assessor: Mike Malone

St. Mary’s hosted James Madison University from Virginia on Monday in the first game of a 3 match tour that see the Virginians take on Cal and Stanford as well. The teams were ready to go as the referee showed up with minutes to spare (I love midweek games and dealing with work and traffic, don’t you?)

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so I got miked up for Mike, talked to the teams and was ready to go.

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

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

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

Final Score: St Mary’s 41 – James Madison 15

As soon as the match was over I shook some hands and thanked the captains, gave Mike his mike and jumped in my

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car with Pete Smith for the quick trip to Cal for the Cal – Penn St match ably handled by Aruna Ranaweera. He may write it up differently but I was looking at the scoreboard after the game and saw 00 – 0. That is a tie in my book so Aruna owes us all beers.

CALIFORNIA 100 – Penn State 0 Referee: Aruna Ranaweera

ARs: Rob Hendrickson, Tom Wright

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


Hayward 7 – DANVILLE OAKS 19 Referee: Bryant Byrnes

”And many thanks to my ARs Scott Page and Eric Ibsen.”

This was Friday Night Lights in Hayward between two of the high school Gold Division heavyweights. It was an exciting, ferocious match. Bear versus mongoose; bull versus viper-I ask the reader to come up with his or her own animal kingdom analogy of two different critters go at it wholeheartedly.

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

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

BERKELEY RHINOS 38 – Napa Stormers 5 Referee: Eric Rauscher

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

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

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

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

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

Bellarmine 0 – SILICON VALLEY 41 Referee: Tony Levitan

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

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

SFGG Gold 19 – PENINSULA GREEN 20 Referee: Bruce Bernstein

Great high school match with tries going back and forth until the end when Peninsula Green barely went ahead. 5-3 in SFGG’s favor at half.

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

South Valley 22 – Pleasanton 22 (Half time 0-12) Referee: Neil MacDonald

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

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

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

Thanks to both teams for a cracking match.


For the Senate




We have a need for as many refs as are available through April 20. Then it tapers off to playoffs and so forth, when we’ll need ARs and fourth officials.

Plan ahead! Let Pete know which weekends you are ready to run:


By Bryant Byrnes

My wife Mary and I went to the Big Island of Hawaii the week of February 11th, and as I frequently do when traveling I got in contact with the local rugby folk. As a result, I was invited to partake in a day of rugby In Waimea on Saturday the 16th.

The Big Island rugby community that I met were most cordial and friendly. John Nuualiitia, a Kiwi and president of the Hawaiian Rugby Youth Association, drove me from our digs in Kona to Waimea. He was most kind in asking if I would take the premier and final match of the day, his Kona U19s versus Hilo.

There was a constructive coaches/refs meeting before the day started, at 8.30, and another one after the last match, at about 3.30. Because of the coordination and cooperation, the many matches ran on time.

It was a one pitch venue. Throughout the day there were small squalls of rain broken by brilliant sunshine and views of Mauna Kea. Starting at 9 am was the first of 14 matches, U10s, and every upward variation possible thereafter-U13s, boys and girls, U16 boys and girls, touch and tackle. The (largely Polynesian) crowd was friendly and cheerful. I coached the refs on about half the games and will send them reports-which seemed to please them to no end.

My game, the final match of the day, was remarkable. It was one of the best games I have ever had the privilege of whistling. The Big Island has produced the State high school champions the last two of three years if I have my facts straight. I think the winning Hilo side plays any California U19 team competitively.

So, what you have is five wonderfully functional youth rugby clubs on the Big Island, at least three who field up through U19s. The other two will soon follow. Every involved person that I met was a prince or princess. To continue this wonderful culture, they need experienced refs to work with their guys, mainland contacts for U19 tours, home and home, and college contacts.

What worthy kids; what a worthy project! I wish I had more frequent flier miles and more opportunity to return. I strongly encourage any Society

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member or other rugby person who goes to Hawaii to contact them before your trip and get involved.


Sac Lions 15 – SFGG 57 Referee: Phil Akroyd

A/Rs: Pete Andrew, Mark Godfrey

P/R: Kat Todd-Schwartz

Coach: Dave Williamson

This was big boys playing big boy rugby. Lots of big hits, hard clear outs and the game on the right side of “the edge” throughout. SFGG were generally the better team all around and much more disciplined, giving only a handful of penalties away.

EPA BULLDOGS 17 – EPA Razorbacks 14 Bruno

AR: Rob Hendrickson

On a clear and sunny Saturday afternoon, the Razorbacks and Bulldogs fought hard in a spirited match that came down to the last minute of play to determine the victor. The Razorbacks started the game strong, building momentum in phases with fast, strong runners off the rucks to advance the gainline and retain possession. The Bulldogs’ defense was weak at the start, allowing the Razorbacks to secure two tries before the half. The Bulldogs woke up from their slumber in the second 40, running with speed and purpose and slotting in two tries due to mismatches in the backline. With the Bulldogs leading by 3 points with 30 seconds left in the match, the Razorbacks gained possession from the kickoff and were 5 meters from the tryline, knocking at the door with the clock expired. A few pick and drives were thwarted by the Bulldogs defense. The Bulldogs recycled the ball out wide, looking for an overlap in the backline. A bobbled pass and the ensuing knock-on saw the Bulldogs the victors. A great match and many thanks to Rob Hendickson for running touch and postmatch advice.

Seconds: BULLDOGS 45 – Razorbacks 12 Referee: Nome Tiatia

Baracus 15 – SANTA ROSA 36 Referee: Rich Anderson


Santa Rosa proved themselves the Class of the Second Division with a 36-15 win over a solid Baracus Side. Rosa’s hard-hitting style in all phases proved the difference.

On a personal note, I would like to welcome Peter Sandhill to the Pelican Ranks.

Peter refereed as a youth in Australia. He oversaw the 2nd side match (Rosa 89-12). Although he was a bit rusty on the laws and such, he proved that if you say things with the proper accent, folks will listen.

Seconds: Baracus 12 – SANTA ROSA 89 Referee: Peter Sandhill

Chico 20 – DIABLO GAELS 24 Referee: Donagh O’Mahoney

Diablo started the game the stronger team but error’s prevented them from scoring in key areas. Chico led 14 – 7 at half time.

Second half saw Diablo score a try early and then took the lead with a try to lead 17 -14 with 15 mins left. Chico tied the game with 10 mins with a penalty and took the lead with 2 mins left on the clock.

From the kickoff Diablo attacked and went quickly from a penalty to score under the posts to win a very close game with an exciting finish.

Seconds: Chico – DIABLO GAELS Ref: O’Mahoney

Diablo won the second game.

Vacaville 35 – BERKELEY 36 Referee: Favor Taueva

Referee Coach: Mike Malone

First things first, thanks to Malone for his time and effort to come out and enjoy the game. Vacaville and Berkeley did bring their A game from the first whistle until the last second of the game. The visiting team played smart the last two minutes of the game winning it all. Vacaville 35 – Berkeley 36

Seconds: VACAVILLE over Berkeley Referee: Jen Tetler

After a super close first side match up in Vacaville, which was decided by a single point, the second sides jumped out onto the field for some additional friendly play. Both teams were running hard and hitting hard, but Vacaville just had more support on the inside and speed on the outside. Both teams had some sweet offloads combined with some clear breakaways. The first half was fairly close with Vacaville up two tries to one. But in the second half, Berkeley let in a few back to back tries off the bat which sealed the match. The second half was 5 tries to 1, Vacaville. Both teams were excellent sports and fun to ref.

Marin 0 – SEAHAWKS 69 Referee: Tom Zanarini

Redwood High School, Larkspur, CA

Seahawks had the upper hand on the attack. Seemed bigger, faster and more practiced than the Reds. Still, it was a well contested match with a low penalty count.

Best news is this: the Reds lost the ability to play in Marin City, which has been converted to baseball/softball only. An outfield fence now runs through what was used as the rugby field. I say good bye and good riddance to what was my opinion the worst rugby field in Nor Cal, if not the Western USA. The game was played on the turf football field at Redwood HS, modified for a full sized rugby pitch. I’ll take this ‘alternate field’ any day of the week and twice on Saturday.

COLUSA 61 – State of Jefferson 7 Referee: Scott Wood

TJs: Smokey, Carl

A cool, windy afternoon in Colusa. The relative balance of talent was in Colusa’s favor but SOJ has tons of heart and never imploded or bickered with each other. The penalty heavily leaned against Colusa but SOJ was unable to effectively take advantage of those transgressions.

Both teams wore different shades of green; fortunately SOJ had enough grey to be usable. I considered wearing my green kit and probably should have in the second half when my gold kit was analogous to a matador’s red cape.

Colusa led at half: 19-0. That was mostly because they were penalized so much…They got their act together and scored eight tries in the second half.

SOJ was attacking from five meters as my watch sounded full time. Colusa apparently lost the script and committed three penalties (including one player going to the bin) allowing SOJ several bites of the apple. And so it was that Joe Hooper was able to worm under Colusa’s tacklers to score SOJ’s first try of the season.

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I overextended my knee (twice), got run into (three times), and somehow got cleated on my elbow. I love this game!

SHASTA over Humboldt by forfeit

This was a Saturday-morning cancellation but luckily the referee received the news before leaving home and was able to fill in for another game in the afternoon.

VALLEJO 29 – Reno 12 Referee: John Coppinger

At Morton Field on Mare Island

On a pleasant, sunny, and comfortable winter day, Vallejo came out with power and pace and stormed out to 24-7 lead at halftime. In the second half, as fatigue set in and not so fit subs came on, the quality of play dropped as did the scoring. Both teams had to be reminded that there is only one referee on the pitch and Vallejo’s captain, a very good player, had to be reminded that his appointment as captain did not make him an assistant referee ex officio.

SIERRA FOOTHILLS 64 – Sac Blackhawks 12 Referee: Bruce Bernstein

Blackhawks had no answer for Sierra’s flyhalf creating space & fullback & #6 flanker breaking game line to score. Great pulled pork @ Sierra’s Irish bar the Boxing Donkey.

SFGG 29 – Fog 10 Referee: Neil MacDonald

Referee Coach: Mike King

ST. MARY’S 64 – UC Santa Barbara 3 Referee: Aruna Ranaweera

Assistant Referees: Bruce Ricard and Ron DeCausemaker

Former national evaluator Bryan Porter was in the stands as a spectator for this D1A league match under sunny skies. UCSB played with commitment and dominated possession in the first quarter but could only manage a 3-0 lead. SMC made many uncharacteristic errors but took advantage of the little possession they got to secure a 17-3 lead into half-time.

In the 2nd half, SMC used superior athleticism and skill to pile-on 47 more points, mostly in the backs. Although the final score was lopsided, 10 tries to nil in favor of SMC, UCSB made SMC play defense, perhaps more than they are used to. Much thanks to Bruce and Ron for their help as AR’s.

Seconds: ST. MARY’S 93 – UC Santa Barbara 7 Referee: Bruce Ricard

SANTA CLARA 45 – Sac State 17 Referee: Preston Gordon

This is a very nice turf field, full of lines – the yellow ones are for the rugby. Don’t try to bring anything but water in there however – the security guards are no slackers. The match was good, and fast. The SCUTS scored first with a converted try at 9′, followed by another unconverted try at 17′, then a 7-pointer at 21′. Sac State got a try of their own at 26′, answered by a converted Santa Clara try at 31′, then Sac State had the last word with a converted try at 39′. Halftime score: 26-12 to the home team.

Santa Clara’s offloading game was working well, and in the second half they added 3 further tries (at 10′, 16′, and 38′), converting two, vs. only one additional try to Sacramento State. Unfortunately it would be fair to say that I was responsible for Sac State’s 2nd-half try, as I missed a deliberate knock-on when I couldn’t see through a couple of players, and only saw the ball come off the scorer’s foot. As it turned out (luckily), this didn’t have an impact on the end result.

1 player from each team spent 10 minutes on the sideline for playing the ball when off his feet. As mentioned, there probably should have been another yellow card, and perhaps a penalty try. I also got booted in the shin somewhere around the 60-minute, which wasn’t nice. By the end of the game I was able to show off a nice knot to a couple of the parents/fans.

Seconds: Santa Clara 24 – SACRAMENTO STATE 50 Ref: Gordon

After ~15 minutes we started the B game. The players were keen and both sides had full squads with several players new to the game. It was just about as fast as the A game, but with more stoppages. Obviously I was being looser with interpretations, and playing advantage as long as possible, but still had to do a lot of explaining. After a few resets, the scrums went very well, and I think the new front rowers would have enjoyed themselves. Sac State had several really fast guys in their backline who were making runs through traffic and then cracking on the pace to score – great to watch. Unfortunately for me, the knot on my leg had grown to the size of half a tennis ball by halftime, and the initially impressed parents/fans were now looking a little more horrified. Thanks to the trainer, also impressed, who made an ice bag for me that I could

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stick in my sock at halftime.

I didn’t write down the score at the break since the scoreboard operator was doing such a great job, but it was pretty close. In the second half the visitors ran away with it (literally) scoring 3-4 tries in the last 10 minutes or so. Once the game was over I had a chat with the home coach before limping off towards the train home to take

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care of the baby alien trying to break out of my leg. Rugby remains a very rewarding experience!

UCSC 42 – Nevada 33 Referee: Tony Levitan

Video Coach: Bruce Carter

If there had been a barn next to the beautiful rugby pitch at UC Santa Cruz last Saturday, then it’d be burned down… Because we had a barnburner of a match. (Get it? Barn at the pitch? Barnburner? Just making sure all the forwards are still with us .. :->)

In a match that saw 7 lead changes and a rousing finish, the crowd had plenty to enjoy besides the magnificent weather on the Slugs’ enviable campus. UCSC opened the scoring with a penalty kick that, in some ways set the stage for the match; UCSC taking its shots deliberately, even in the face of a desire among some of its players to be more aggressive. Nevada’s forward took over the match for the next 15 minutes, bulling over a converted try near the posts, 7-3. The teams traded converted tries, both sides committing to solid driving rugby … when they weren’t busy knocking-on, that is.

UCSC topped off the first half with another penalty and a late try off advantage to lead 18-14.

Nevada’s halftime break must have included imbibing a Red Bull/Monster cocktail as they exploded out of the gate, their forwards taking over the match even while playing down a man. With two more converted tries, they reclaimed the lead, 28-18, looking as if they had the game in hand. Obviously, Nevada neglected to inform UCSC, which stormed back. A converted try mid-way through the second half tightened things to 28-25. Both sides played their variation of stout goal line defense (tho this observer would suggest uninspired offensive choices assisted the defenders) on numerous occasions before the UCSC’s forwards dotted down off an advantage play. Missed conversion, UCSC 30-28.

With a bit more flair including involving their strong running backs, notably their outside center, fullback and right wing, Nevada reclaimed the lead with an unconverted try, 33-30 with 12 minutes remaining.

Play then reached a fevered pitch, with the ball being recycled faster and swung wider. UCSC put down another unconverted try to pull ahead once again (35-33), before a Nevada pass was intercepted out on the wing and run 60 yards back for a 0:00 on the clock final converted try, UCSC 42-33, making the final score non-reflective of the closeness of the match. Phew.

One final note of thanks to Dr. Carter who video coached the festivities. Not sure when in one’s reffing career the true value of such support is realized but I certainly am benefiting mightily. May I suggest to anyone who hasn’t been video coached by Bruce that you prepare to underwrite a few pints for his quaffage at an upcoming Pelican soirée?

SIERRA COLLEGE 43 – Fresno State 21 Referee: Eric Rauscher

This was my first experience reffing a game at Sierra. I have reffed them at other locations but never at home. They play on a synth turf football field with adjacent stands and press box. Luckily the field is wide enough that with a little duct tape it can be made full sized albeit with a short in-goal. A fair number of folk showed up to watch the game, and that always makes it a little better. There is no doubting that Fresno can play a very physical game. They have some excellent players, but just didn’t have the team cohesiveness that allowed Sierra to string together phases of play that eventually led to scores.

Sierra did have their problems though. Half way through the first half I awarded Fresno a penalty five meters out from Sierra’s goal. After a quick tap, the Fresno player was immediately tackled by Sierra. A penalty try and a yellow card. Then about half way through the second half, a couple of substitutions came on and another ‘not back any’ penalty again. Another yellow card and then one two min later. After that they were pretty good about retiring.

SANTA ROSA JC 65 – SF State 17 Referee: Cary Bertolone

At For Pete’s Sake in Santa Rosa, we kicked off at exactly 1:00 PM on a beautiful, sunny day. The first 10 minutes were scoreless. It was still 5-0 until the 23rd minute. SRJC led 36-5 at the half. Their backs are pretty fast and their players provide a lot of support. San Francisco State looked to be better than in the past and they scored 12 points in the second half, never giving up, but the final score was 65-17.

San Jose State 13 – CHICO STATE 54 Referee: John Pohlman

This past weekend saw San Jose State host Chico State in a college division 2 league game.

Both teams were top of the division with 10 points each. I was hoping for a fast competitive game.

Although Chico State won convincingly, the game was competitive and pretty fast. Both teams are well coached, with James Fonda leading SJS and Beau McSwain leading Chico.

SJS is a young team on the rise. Chico State is in full form.

Chico’s back row totally dominated the game. #8 Matt Zarchin maybe one of the most dominating runner I have refereed since seeing Danny Barrett in high school. Flanker Jim Beahm scored three trys due to a high work rate and strong running.

Chico started the scoring by dominating possession for the first 20 minutes. Chico may have reached 20 phases of play on a couple of early possessions. They were awarded by trys by #5 Chase Wick at 5 minutes, followed by #8 Matt’s first of two trys for the day.

SJS came back with two penalties and an intercept try to keep the first half close. Chico State 22 SJS 13.

The second half Chico picked up the pace, to score 6 unanswered trys. Final Chico State 54 San Jose State 13.

MARITIME ACADEMY 47 – Univ. of the Pacific 7 Referee: Ray Schwartz

TJ: Mason, a high school recruit visiting CMA campus from Palos Verdes

A couple years ago I would have had low expectations of this match, but hats off to UoP, they brought a tough squad, willing put in the effort and fight a deep, talented and well coached opponent. The Keelhaulers had their 30+ players, organized w/ military precision, but the Tigers had 24, a bit more ragtag, but gutsy. The game started off slowly, back and forth, with both sides enjoying extended periods of possession, but frankly, UoP seemed to have better continuity and commitment at the tackle/ruck.

Sadly, UoP’s Captain, Kyle, their #10, went off with a dislocated shoulder early, he could have made a difference, but then, probably shouldn’t be trying to play with that injured wing. The Keelhauler’s blonde #7 kept wanting to push the edges of legality, not rolling away, hands in… silly stuff that kept putting the ball back into the Tiger’s hand.

And so it went until the Keelhauler’s #8, Lonnie Shanklin, Jr., broke through to complete the first real period of extended team pressure, scoring under the posts, and with the conversion good, the score stood 7-0, 20 minutes in. Shanklin then scored a minute later on a weaving 60 meter run, where he fended away would-be tackles coming at him from every direction. Suddenly the game looked like it could be a runaway. But UoP took the kickoff and created their own extended possession. When their relentless pressure resulted in the ball on the tryline in 50/50 possession of the attacking player, it was a try to the Tigers. I remember being careful to not screw up, taking a close look, and hearing, “You got to make a call ref.” I did and the result was a close game again.

But Shanklin finished off the first half with another try, converted, and we stood at 21-7. The 2nd half started fast, and soon Shanklin was dancing into the try zone again. He would end up scoring the Keelhauler’s first 5 tries, and just as he was about to score his 6th, off an 8 man pick up from a 5 meter scrum, he held up at the tryline and passed. He did the same again a few minutes later, and then subbed out. So, he literally could have scored all 7 tries. UoP and CMA both subbed a lot in the 2nd half, and the UoP subs proved to be more than up to the task. The game ended with them knocking on at the tryline, inches from their 2nd try on the day.

I spoke with Shanklin after a match a few weeks ago, and then extensively after this match. He’s about 5′ 11″, a supremely gifted athlete with tremendous balance and agility. He seems to master his physical space, his proprioception, his ability to fend, is amazing. Other observers suggested his physical movement is almost poetic. I approached him suggesting he (and his Captain Lorez) could go to Europe and pursue a chance to play pro rugby. He could be a flanker or hooker at the highest level by my assessment. But Lonnie, a 7-year rugby veteran, a graduate of Stu Krohn’s ICEF inner city LA rugby program, has more ambitious plans. He wants to become a Navy Seal. I stopped short of sending him overseas to play rugby. I want him on our side with the Seals! A higher calling. Inside info, UBL was taken out by a rugby playing Seal!

I would normally have reffed a high school match around Sacramento Friday night, but begged off and drove down to East Oakland to stand with 2,000 others at the Moa’s family memorial for 3 of the 4 lost 19-year olds. George, David, Jr., and Malia had all perished in the crash coming home from the Vegas 7s. I played with George’s and David’s fathers at the BATS, and knew them to be sweet, wonderful men. The loss to their families is stunning. The church (St. Benedict’s) was overflowing Friday, with many ex and future Eagles, as well as all sorts of high school ruggers in attendance.

Please join us Saturday, March 9th for a dinner with the Moa’s at the SFGG Clubhouse, starting at 6pm, in an attempt to help them get back to living a more normal life. Email to ray if we can add you (and a guest?) to the list. We are up to 80 right now for the dinner, and have a nice program planned. Food by The Up & Under. All proceeds go to the families.

ST. MARY’S thirds 56 – Cal State-Monterey Bay 12 Referee: Dave Pescetti

SONOMA STATE 57 – Humboldt State 12 Referee: Bryant Byrnes

Lovely and dry in Sonoma, where the Sea Wolves (I think) prevailed (obviously) over the Humboldt fellows. Sonoma is in only its second year, but clearly is well along.

In the first twenty minutes it was all Sonoma-three tries-then all Humboldt-two tries-and a five point game. But then Sonoma put the accelerator down. It committed, probably continued to commit, only two/three forwards to its ruck and the spun the ball out short to its mobile, agile and hostile big locks who crashed-gulping up more and more yards as they wore the opposition down.

Prettiest sequence for those of us former forwards who love rugby kept in the pack: in the second half Sonoma had a twenty plus phase attack that culminated in a try.

Comment of the day: Humboldt coach Greg Pargee instructing his new kicker on how to to do it. ”Line it up visually. Take two steps back, one to your left,…and Bob is your uncle!” Somewhere Captain Lucky Jack Aubrey is smiling.

Seconds: Sonoma State 17 – Humboldt State 17 Ref: Byrnes

Seconds match; a short half, 10 aside affair played with great enthusiasm. Tied on the last play by Humboldt, 17-17.

STANFORD women 20 – Chico State 18 Referee: Donnelly

Seconds: STANFORD – Chico State Referee: Bob Polito

Score not reported, just that Stanford won.

UNR women 22 – HUMBOLDT STATE 24 Referee: Joshua Pendergrass (SoCal)

Field was properly marked and cordoned off with rope. Uprights were perfect. Field was artificial turf. Weather was anywhere from 29 to 35 degrees with gusting winds at times as well as a few snow flurries.

I arrived at the pitch at 11am, spending an extra 10 minutes keeping warm in the car as the temperature dropped over night. The day was cold and had a bit of wind in it but nothing to complain about. Besides Saturdays’ a Rugby day. After making contact with the Reno side and meeting with the coaches for both teams I did my rounds of the pitch and found them to be in great condition for rugby. I began my warm-ups and had my boot check and team chats completed with ten minutes to spare. We actually started the match 5 minutes early due to the driving cold.

This was a great match from opening kickoff all the way down to the final whistle. It was a back and forth battle for the lead on the board with it really coming down to the wire in the final minute. Both teams showed progression of learning the offside making the penalty count less in the second half and simply playing the game. I have no foul play or any offences to report. Furthermore both teams showed an extreme amount of class and professional sportsmanship on the pitch that day.

I told both teams already, but once again my hat goes off to them for making a great experience. I wish both teams luck in their future matches and hope to meet them on the pitch again one day.

Sac St women 5 – UCSC 36 Referee: Giles Wilson

A feisty but young and inexperienced Sac St women’s squad hosted UCSC on a firm, well marked field. Both sides had some good athletes but UCSC made better use of space and off loaded frequently to put runners into spaces which kept Sac St in a regular scramble defense.

Sac St scrambled well in the first half, although they spent a lot of time in their own half and turned around 12 – 5 down. Early in the second half the effort of defending started to break down and twice attacks were stymied with deliberate infringements inside 5m resulting in two yellow cards.

The additional effort was too much against a UCSB side that was playing well and by the end of the half had added four more scores for a final of 36 – 5 (6 tries to 1).

On a side note, Sac St had saved a parking space which was a much appreciated detail since parking is at a premium by the field.

SF BATS women 53 – Fresno St 17 Referee: Matt Hetterman


Friday High School

DIXON 81 – McClatchy 12 Referee: Phil Akroyd

The game went from plodding pick and drive to line breaks and players running the length of the field. I think everyone was glad to get to the end of this game, given the late kick-off (6:30pm), the howling cold wind and uncompetitive nature of play. Dixon look like a complete team and will be hard to stop this season.

Friday Night:

LAMORINDA won over Diablo in a very tight even game.

Referee: Donagh O’Mahoney

Monday Feb 25

BISHOP O’DOWD 43 – Piedmont PITS 20 Referee: Eric Rauscher

Monday night games at BOD are pretty fun. They normally get a fair number of parents and girlfriends and classmates to show up. Both teams played pretty well with good ball distribution out of the rucks and good use of their backs. I think the difference in this game was BOD’s edge at the rucks. They seemed to be a little bit quicker in getting the ball out, thereby leading to faster attacking options, and were also pretty good at disrupting PITS rucks and occasionally rucking over to win the ball. PITS also seemed to suffer “butterfingers” at in-opportune moments. One very enjoyable thing that happened in this game is worth note. Towards the end of the game there was a knock-on and a lit

tle push-me pull-you and grabbing for the ball ensued. Nothing much in it really, but what impressed me was that the Captains for both sides (Cory #9 for BOD and Gavin #2 for PITS) handled it. I didn’t have to say or do anything. They sorted it out. Wonderful to see. My hats off to them for that level of leadership. It was also good to see the socializing that happened after the game between the two teams with hot dogs and drinks supplied by BOD. It is that kinship of rugby that makes it all worthwhile.


Bryant Byrnes went to Hawaii to vacation and found some rugby.

“Left to right Hilo coach, Travares, John Leehr, Kevin Perry, Ari Bacharach, me, Lawrence Fong, and two fellows whose name I don’t know off hand.”

The jackets were because the field is in Waimea, which is several thousand feet elevation and where the wet trade winds transit the island.”


For the Senate

Pelicus Scriptoris




Our society meeting will be this coming Wednesday, February 27, at the usual time and place: 7 – 9 PM at the SFGG clubhouse at the southeast corner of Treasure Island.


We’ve been asked to help compile a national database of referees. If you are a referee, please reply with the following information:

Email address
# of games referred in 2012

Which of the following courses have you had?

Level One – fifteens
Level Two –fifteens
Level Three
Level One – 7s
Level Two – 7s
Coaching Match Officials One
Coaching Match Officials Two
Evaluator One

Thank you.


Pete’s trying to assign March, and only a dozen or so Pelicans have let him know whether they are available.

Plan ahead! Let Pete know which weekends you are ready to run. The season is solid right up through April 20, and then we have various playoff events.

Volunteer now:


Matt Eason will be offering the IRB course in Sacramento over two evenings, Tuesday and Thursday, February 26 and 28, 2013, from 6:00 until approximately 9:30 each evening.

Attendance at both sessions will be mandatory for completion of the course.

The location of the course will be:

Kennedy High School
6715 Gloria Drive
Sacramento, CA 95831

Class size is limited to 20, the cost is $50.00 if pre-registered with USA Rugby.

Matt Eason:

By Donagh O’Mahoney

Friday, February 15, 7 PM:
MARITIME ACADEMY 29 – Sonoma State 19 Referee: Donagh O’Mahoney

Pleasure to Ref a game on the pitch at Maritime. The weather conditions were again perfect for rugby with no wind and cool enough.

Both teams were very evenly matched which was played out in the stats for the match. 26 Penalties (14 against Sonoma, 12 against Maritime), 103 Rucks and 45 set pieces evenly split between both teams. (Stats courtesy of Match DVD and Maritime Coach Steve Hiatt, just in case you think that I had time to capture all of this information)

The story of this game was between 30 to 40 mins of the first half where Maritime were stronger and Sonoma began to get tired. Maritime ran in 3 tries for 19 points in the space of 10 mins.

Sonoma opened the scoring after 3 mins with a well worked try and duly converted, Maritime tied the game after 17 mins and then hit their purple patch just before half time.

The second half saw Sonoma score 2 tries with no reply from Maritime but they had done enough in the first half.

Saturday, Feb. 16, 1 PM:
CHICO STATE 73 – Nevada 0 Ref: O’Mahoney
All one way traffic here with Chico state scoring 11 tries to no reply.

Seconds: CHICO STATE 50 – Nevada 33 Ref: O’Mahoney
More of a contest with Chico ending up with the spoils.

All in all, a full week of rugby.

3 Games refereed at the weekend, 1

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High School midweek

400 miles covered, 204 points scored with 29 tries

Sore muscles and tied body, but enjoyable.


Fri, Feb. 15
Seconds: Maritime Academy 10 – SONOMA STATE 34 Referee: Scott Griffin

I particularly enjoyed the match on Friday night 2/15 between Sonoma State and Cal Maritime Seconds. Game was played on new, synthetic field, a surface in which this referee is completely unfamiliar. The field doesn’t have the “crown” effect of most grass fields, but enjoyable to run on, and no potholes. Nice!

Sat, Feb 16
Olympic Club 13 – SFGG 58 Referee: Aruna Ranaweera
Assistant Referees: John Coppinger, Dave Pescetti

SFGG lead 27-10 at the half and pulled away to win by 10 tries to 1. Overall play was fast and physical, but also sloppy and undisciplined. Forwards were well-matched, but the SFGG backs’ ability to counter-attack from anywhere was the difference. Thanks to John and Dave for their help as AR’s.

Seconds: OLYMPIC CLUB 45 – SF/Golden Gate 27 Coppinger

SF/GG scored quickly to take a fast 7-0 lead, but then the tide turned and O Club started controlling play and went on to a 45-27 win in a pretty competitive game. The players were great — cooperative, and in good spirits. It was markedly different from the A side match.

Sac Lions OPSB Rescheduled

Barbarians 16 – EPA BULLDOGS 47 Referee: Pete Smith

On a beautiful day in the Bay Area at a field in Hayward used primarily by gophers, these two met for a very hard-hitting spirited affair. The Bulldogs jumped out to a quick 12-0 lead with two tries in the first 5 minutes. The game settled down some, but the Bulldogs added a penalty kick and a converted try to stretch the lead to 22-0. The Barbarians finally broke through with a converted try of their own and tacked on a penalty kick to make it 22-10. The Bulldogs added another try just before halftime to make it 27-10 at the break. The Barbarians tacked on two quick penalty kicks to bring the score to 27-16, but that was a close as it got. The Bulldogs did the rest of the scoring from there to make the final score 47-16. I will say the last 10-15minutes were probably the best of the day. The ball was being flung around with reckless abandon and the players were flying around showing their raw and natural talent…the crowd loved it as did the ref…really fun to be part of.

The Bulldogs immediately starting talking about next week’s game against in-town rivals the EPA Razorbacks. That game should be something special and I would anticipate a very large and vocal crowd. I assure you it is a game that every player on both teams has circled on their calendar. Good luck to both teams …and the ref!

Seconds: Barbarians 20 – EPA BULLDOGS 54 Referee: Bruce Ricard

We played two halves of 30 minutes, between the Barbarians and the Razordogs. Half of the Bulldogs team was filled with Razorbacks players who had a BYE week.

The away team dominated the first half, scoring six tries against one, leading 5 – 34 at the break. The second half was much more balanced, both teams scored three tries. The Bulldog fly half also scored an interesting penalty kick from the halfway and 5m lines, with a drop kick. Half a second of preparation, a big leg and precision are all you need.

Final score: 20 – 54

BERKELEY 77 – Sac Caps 22 Referee: Jordan Bruno

Berkeley showed speed off of the ball and took advantage of overlaps in the backline to run up the score on their opponents. Sacramento’s strong forward pack played well in the scrum and had powerful runners off of the ruck. Berkeley’s fitness and speed allowed them to secure a win.

Seconds: Berkeley 0 – SACRAMENTO CAPITALS 24 Ref: Bruno

Sacramento showed up for their B side match. Berkeley did not have the numbers or experience to have a competitive side play the next match. The Capitals played well and secured a solid win.

Marin 0 – FRESNO 48 Referee: Bruce Bernstein

Marin hung with Fresno for the 1st 20 minutes of the 1st half; 10 minutes of the 2nd & 2 hours of the 3rd.

It was only 17-0 at half & Marin missed a penalty kick & a few other scoring chances; & redeemed themselves at the Flatirion (classic old Victorian sports bar) with great spread for the rugby party which took over 2 pretty big rooms.

Seconds: Marin 0 – FRESNO 12 Ref: Bernstein

Seahawks 21 – SANTA ROSA 55 Referee: James Hinkin
AR: Ray Schwartz

With San Jose going back to their former home at Watson Park, I had an assignment 11 blocks from my house. What could make that better? The social was 4 blocks from my house… sometimes everything just goes your way. The day started out as a perfect California winter day: sunny and temps in the mid 60s. Both teams were geared up and warming up an hour before with selected individuals eager to show me their binders full of relevant details. Yes, Saturday’s a rugby day.

With such perfect conditions the game had to start fast and it did. Santa Rosa scored in the first minute with their first possession to take a 5-0 lead. Immediately following the restart San Jose capitalized on a dropped ball and the ageless survivor Orlando Federico Lopez toed ahead the loose ball and outran the cover to score. The try was converted for a short lived (and never seen again) San Jose lead. Santa Rosa’s next possession resulted in another try for a 12-7 lead after 5 minutes and I started mentally preparing my lawsuit against the NCRRS for attempted murder when the game started to slow down.

Not much, however, as Santa Rosa continued to dominate the first half as San Jose’s backs didn’t seem to be able to tackle and their forwards got pushed off the ball. Rosa took advantage of this

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situation to attack with precision and ferocity. The half ended with a score of 40-7 to Santa Rosa.

The second half was a completely different affair as Santa Rosa seemed to take their foot off the pedal and San Jose started playing some rugby. Whatever was said in the Seahawk’s halftime huddle was effective as the game became a back and forth affair with both sides looking to attack from anywhere. Rosa got a couple of tries in early – almost against the run of play – but San Jose stiffened to claw back 2 more converted tries. Rosa got the last laugh with a try at full time to end a thoroughly entertaining match. Many thanks to Ray Schwartz for ARing before his match.

Seconds: Seahawks 22 – SANTA ROSA 48 Referee: Ray Schwartz

Similar score and results on the B Side match…

To clarify James’ report on the A game, the former Watson Bowl, is now Watson Park, a very different, much improved facility, and Jack’s Bar, just a few blocks away, good fun! But it was all of two hours away for me! It is that hard to find two full sides ready to fight it out! To further clarify James’ report, that was former Eagle-pool flanker Brad Hughes running touch in the 2nd half, giving me a break. Brad is a former Kansas City Blue (played briefly for the BATS in 1993), and recently has relocated to Campbell.

Rosa came out with both guns blaring, and the Seahawks had no answer. I ended the 1st half at 34-0 after 34 minutes. The Seahawks regrouped, and came out tougher, but Rosa also cleared the bench (had nearly three sides), and San Jose took the 2nd half. I did get 74 minutes out of them, and so felt pretty good about myself there. Big thanks to Pete Smith who let this weary traveler crash in the guest house…

DIABLO GAELS– Vacaville 17 Referee: Stephen Valerio

A tight match that was closer than the final score line appeared. The first half was a back and forth affair with the sides alternating tries, with 3 scores each. The difference at the half was conversions with Diablo leading 19-17. Diablo got an early try in the second half and the 2 sides locked down their defense for most of the half. A late converted try gave Diablo the comfortable margin at the end.

Seconds: Diablo 5 – VACAVILLE15 Ref: Valerio

A mirror image of the first game, just with less scoring. The half-time score was 5-5 with Vacaville scoring an early second half try and then a final one at the closing whistle.

Humboldt 7 – COLUSA 43 Referee: Sean Peters

REDWOOD 48 – Shasta 10 Referee: Cary Bertolone
Santa Rosa at For Pete’s Sake

The game started out very even as Shasta scored two tries towards the end of the half to bring the score 12-10 at the half. However, the second half belonged to Redwood and the score was indicative of the domination by Redwood in the second half with the final score of 48-10.

Blackhawks – Reno Referee: Jim Crenshaw
No report received.

Stanislaus 7 – SIERRA 48 Referee: JC Van Staden

Fog 29 – VALLEJO 62 Referee: Giles Wilson

SF Fog hosted Vallejo for a friendly at Treasure Island – Vallejo are a “classic” D3 club, no practices and just show up on Saturdays for a run out with a group of guys who (mostly) have plenty of rugby experience for fun. SF Fog are organized and have many members but their B side players often don’t get a run. This game suited everyone, Vallejo got a run and Fog played their A side for a half and then gave their B side guys a run.

In the first half organization and enough rugby experience won out over size and SF Fog finished the half with three tries (17) to a single try (5) for Vallejo. Good rugby in different ways from both sides, big hits and hard runs from Vallejo contrasted with good running lines and organized defense from Fog.

In the second period SF Fog introduced their B side players who had significantly less experience and size than the A side players and more significantly the Vallejo players. Vallejo were able to run at will and brush aside the much smaller defenders for 8 tries (57) to 2 tries (12).

Overall Vallejo 62 SF Fog 29, a full game between the A sides would be very interesting.

South Valley 36 – SFGG 52 Referee: Bruce Carter

When I saw that South Valley was going to be playing at a winery in Gilroy, I was thinking more along the lines of the one right by 101 that features garlic wine. But that one is not the Kirigin Winery.

Kirigin Winery’s home page invites you to stop by on a summer’s weekend to catch a cricket match. And sure enough, as you finish your drive through lovely rolling hills and pull into the parking lot, you see TWO well-groomed grass cricket ovals, the pitches in the center being artificial to lend a predictable bounce (ah – but the bowler can still spin the thing…).

And off beyond these, the lovely Pinot Noir Field, a rugby paddock with vines surrounding it on two sides.

Pelicanland has been having perfect weather. Cherry trees are in various stages of blossoming, and none have shed their pink petal carpets yet. The California lilacs offer a pleasant blue to set off the pinks, you’ll find butter-yellow daffodils if you look, and if you are a hiker or mountain-biker you will be aware that poison oak is also at its most lustrous and menacing green right about now.

Given this weather, there were lots of spectators alongside, plenty of dogs on leash, and a crew was setting up a cooking station for the pitch-side post-game picnic. This turned out to feature fried tacos with all the fixings, cooked to order. D3 rugby has come a long way!

SFGG seemed to have to come a long way as well, or perhaps it was the atypical noon kickoff, but they needed that last-minute car to pull up to have a full side.

South Valley started strong and surprised their guests with four first-half tries. They had some backs I remember refereeing from their Live Oak HS days who surprised Gate by slicing and dicing, while Gate was unable to get their own machine out of low gear. It was 29-17 at the half to the home XV, with Gate’s #12 doing most of the damage throughout the match.

Halftime found both teams’ leaders encouraging their lads: once more unto the breach and those a-bed in England, etc; and I was certain we’d have a good second half. SFGG hadn’t lost a game yet and didn’t seem keen to start today.

South Valley scored first, a forward try this time after lots of phases and several minutes knocking on the door. It was converted for 36-17, but alas they were not to score again.

Golden Gate started turning the corners and getting the bounce when they couldn’t find the corner and chipped ahead. From there it was five converted tries on the trot.

Golden Gate’s kicker, #12, perfect in the second half, and his holder are both Irish. They chatted as they got ready for conversions. On one that was centered, they were only about ten meters out.

One of the South Valley men, playing dumb, said, “You have funny accents. Where are you from? Missouri?”

The kicker said, “We’re Amish.”

There was the usual amount of belly-aching and such for a D3 game, which means quite a bit. I don’t hear most of this stuff – or at least it doesn’t register – but one comment bears repeating:

Knock-on. Whistle. Kevin Sullivan clenches fists, pounds his thighs and screams, “SIR! THAT WAS ONLY MARGINALLY FORWARD!”

At least two people were laughing, me and him.

I love this game.

CALIFORNIA 28 – U. of British Columbia 18 Referee: Phil Akroyd
A/Rs: Rob Hendrickson, Tom Wright
#4: Ron DeCausemaker
Coach: Dave Williamson

Cal conceded many early penalties, with several of them at the scrum based on a reluctance to bind. UBC had the majority of the possession and position in the first half, but could not turn it into points.

The home team scored a try and followed with a penalty goal and a drop goal to lead 13-0 at half. There was a sense that Cal may push on in the second half (and they did), but the visitors, while continuing to concede points, continued to play hard throughout the game.

Cal pulled out to a comfortable 28-3 lead, but UBC pressed the line throughput the final quarter, making the respectable scoreline of 28-18.

California seconds – Santa Rosa JC Referee: Helmer

Sac State 0 – ST. MARY’S 83 Referee: George O’Neil

Seconds: Sac State – ST. MARY’S Referee: Anthony Nguyen

It was quite a warmer day than usual and was quite noticeable late into the first half. St. Mary’s flawlessly moved the ball across the field and powered over Sac State’s valiant defenses. The First half ended with St. Mary’s leading substantially. The game progressed similarly in the second half, with St. Mary’s putting points on the board at every drive. It seemed that St Mary’s would completely shutout the Sac State offensive, until a breakthrough hole in the defense led to a victorious try by Sac State. St. Mary’s fought back and retained more points on the board, but Sac State yet again made a devastating run that resulted in another successful try. Overall, St. Mary’s overpowered the Sac State offensive, but Sac State fought valiantly throughout the whole match, resulting in successful points on the board and good spirits to leave the field with.

FRESNO STATE 43 – SF State 32 Referee: Jeff Jury

UC SANTA CRUZ 47 – Sierra College 42 Referee: Matt Hetterman

Best match for me in NorCal so far – I felt that I refereed well, great game, incredible pitch location on a beautiful day.

Seconds: UCSC 15 – Sierra College 10 Referee: Larry Freitas

The seconds match, which initially was supposed to go 80 minutes, only went for a half, as Sierra decided their players, along with leftovers from UCSC, had had enough of a run. It was 72F and another spectacular day in which you could see the sailboats out on the Monterey Bay below, a view one never gets tired of seeing (I wonder if there’s going to be snow on the Santa Cruz Mountain ridges in the background next week!). Spirited match, with the Slugs outscoring their opponents by one un-converted try. Sierra’s second side had some players who hadn’t much experience, and the same with UCSC. I did some “coaching” in trying to get players to stay on their feet and keep the ball moving. This was my first game as a referee since March of 2010. I had fun, and if I can remain healthy, I’m doing more games!

UOP 17 – Humboldt State 17 Referee: Scott Wood

Pacific Tigers 17 (3T 1C)
Humboldt St Lumberjacks 17 (3T 1C)

Humboldt capitalized off Pacific’s mistakes including a pass intercepted inside the 22 that turned into a try. They led 17-0 before Pacific was able to get on the board. Not wanting to be shown up, the Tigers intercepted a pass inside the 22 and ran all the way to center their second try between the posts. The conversion missed…Continuing their attack, Pacific put the Lumberjacks under pressure from a 5-meter attacking scrum. The scrum collapsed (for the second time) as the ball simultaneously emerged from the side. Pacific’s scrumhalf quickly scooped up the ball and dotted it down for the host’s third try.

With less than three minutes remaining and the Lumberjacks on attack, a Pacific player decided to forego good sportsmanship (intent was not weighed) to have a penalty awarded to the visitors on the right 22m x 15m. Humboldt wisely opted for a penalty goal attempt. The kicker asked for the score. “Tied at 17”, I replied. “Oh, no pressure here,” he stated. It’s tough being your worst critic. And prophetic. The ball sailed left of the posts and was collected by Pacific who attempted to run out the ball. The pass inside was either off mark or mishandled. Regardless, Pacific kicked it to touch before Humboldt could collect it.

As a demonstration of how evenly matched the teams were, both halves started with the kick offs going directly to touch.

STANFORD women 77 – Oregon State 14 Referee: John Pohlman

My assignment this week took me to the Stanford, for a full day of rugby. In the Bay Area we are spoiled with great venues and rugby tradition. Stanford is another of those both from a traditional point and a great venue.

I needed to arrive early to be micro-phoned up so that the announcer could share my refereeing pearls with the crowd. Not a weekend refereeing experience shared by many throughout the U.S.

Stanford woman’s Division 1 side was hosting the Oregon State Division 1 women in a conference game, with a noon kick-off. I dropped off my kit in the referee’s locker room and proceed to warm-up and chat with the players.

Ten minutes later, my pre-game out of the way. I had plenty of time to warm up, enjoy the crowd and discuss comments with the announcer, Bill Cosden.

Stanford was just much better on the day. The forwards were bigger, dominating scrums. The back row were all over the field. The backs were both fast and consistently attacking. The leadership by Captain #13 Jamie Lawrence and my player of the game #8 Ally Gleason were outstanding.

Oregon State I had referred in sevens this past fall. They were the cream of the 7’s tournament led by #9 Hannah Lockwood. But in 15’s they were outmatched.

Stanford scored 5 trys in the first half led by #12 Michelle Teo’s two trys. The second half had Stanford scoring 8 more trys. Jamie and Ally got two each. With about 20 minutes left Stanford emptied their bench of 8 subs. This evened out scrums and led to a more competitive game.

Good to see Stanford’s pack leading the way.

CALIFORNIA women 38 – U of Oregon 14 Referee: Preston Gordon

Stanford 20 – CAL POLY 53 Referee: Brian Zapp

Seconds: Stanford – Cal Poly Referee: Clock

Humboldt St women 15 – SF BATS 23 Referee: Sean Peters

Fresno State women 12 – UC SANTA CRUZ 43 Referee: Jeff Jury

UNR women 30 – Sac St 12 Referee: Lee Bryant

Sun, Feb 17
STANFORD women 45 – U of Oregon 34 Referee: Pete Smith

Stanford rolled out their A side to start the match against a depleted Oregon team that left 8 starters at home. Stanford has several All-American candidates again this year with Alley their #8 and kicker really standing out in the scoring column, but supported by at least 9 other potential All-American candidates. This is the youngest and most athletic Stanford team I can remember. They have the talent and athleticism to win it all, but most of these players are new to rugby with just a handful of players with more than a year or two of experience. It will come down to coaching and leadership if Stanford is to regain the title this year.

Stanford dominated the first half of this game and played almost entirely in the Oregon end of the field. The halftime score was 38-3. They added another quick try to open the second half and then Stanford starting making massive substitutions; perhaps the biggest was taking out their captain and team leader Jamie. Oregon dominated the rest of the game scoring 31 unanswered points to make the score a lot closer than it could have been. It is hard not to respect the effort put forth by Oregon, down by 42 points, they never quit, they never gave up and they played to the final whistle. The 8 freshmen that started in place of those left at home will likely never forget that comeback and it will be something they can build on for the future.

CALIFORNIA women 43 – Oregon St. 12 Referee: Bruce Ricard

Both teams had some experienced players, and some rookies. Thus, a lot of dropped balls. The teams were very disciplined, except for those two times where a penalty kick was called, and the opposing team players would just stand there and tackle the quick tap player after two meters. Cal dominated the game by scoring 7 tries against 2 for Oregon State.

Seconds: California – OREGON STATE Ref: Ricard

We played twelves rugby, for two halves of fifteen minutes. Almost only rookies in this game: the ball probably spent more time on the ground than held. The referee tried not to see all the knock-ons, and to let the players have some game time.

Oregon won by 3 tries to 1.

U. of San Francisco 5 – ST. MARY’S thirds 53 Referee: Preston Gordon

Varsity: DE LA SALLE 31 – Bishop O’Dowd 14 Referee: Edward Barfels

It was a cool clear morning & great for youth rugby. The varsity played first. DLS scored twice in the first 20 minutes to take a 12 point lead. BOD was close to scoring at the end of the first half. In the 34th minute, DLS committed two penalties in the red zone and the half could not end on a defensive penalty. On the last penalty, BOD was close to scoring when the DLS wing intercepted a pass and sprinted the length of the field for a score. Score at half DLS 19, BOD 0.

The second half saw BOD come back and score twice for 14 points. The momentum seemed to shifting to BOD. However, the DLS forwards took over the game and scored twice for a final score of DLS 31 : BOD 14.

Frosh/Soph: De La Salle 0 – BOD 40 Ref: Barfels

Oakland Warthogs 14 – PENINSULA GREEN 30 Referee: Preston Gordon
Merritt College, Oakland, 1100

There’s obviously been some work done at this facility since I was last up there for a rugby game ~12 years ago when I was playing for Olympic Club. It’s no longer a sloped mud pit, but now a really nice, flat, full-size grass pitch with proper markings, goal posts, sideline ropes, etc. There were plenty of folks on hand for this game, including a camera crew for the Way of the Warthogs film:

We got started on time, with plenty of scrums to follow knock-ons where advantage wasn’t possible. Both sides seemed very keen to play but perhaps a little over-exuberant. Once they settled down, Peninsula Green opened scoring with a penalty goal at 18′, followed by another one at 29′. 2 tries for them followed, at 33′ and 35′, with the last one converted to leave it at 18-0 to the visitors at the half.

In the second half Oakland used their size advantage to counterattack well, scoring converted tries at 7′ and 26′. PG also scored 2 further tries at 5′ and 15′, but could only convert 1. That was a fair reflection of that half, where Oakland played a lot better than they did in the first half. Other than the one yellow card to each side for dangerous tackling in the second half, it was a great 35 minutes of rugby. I understand that this was their first game, so both teams should do well this season.

PITS 65 – Danville 5 Ref: Gordon
St. Mary’s College, 1430

After a quick snack in Lafayette, I headed to SMC for my second game of the day. It’s a treat to do 2 games on rugby-only pitches around here, and this game didn’t lack for ball movement either. Danville’s fullback (I believe, though there were definitely some numbers we don’t usually see on a rugby field being worn) scored the first try in the right corner, just 6 minutes into the game.

A lot of back-and-forth followed with relatively few mistakes. Eventually PITS replied with a converted try at 21′. Things were looking good for a close match, even after PITS scored 2 more unconverted tries at 29′ and 35′ – 17-5 didn’t seem to be an unsurmountable lead.

Danville continued to threaten, but ultimately PITS came out well on top after scoring 8 additional tries in the second half (converting 4 of them). As before, this was apparently the first game of the season. Things are looking good for high school rugby this year and I’d encourage those of us who usually do senior matches to pick up a game when possible – it helps the teams by exposing them to a different refereeing style (the style they may see in the playoffs, for example) and it’s a great opportunity to focus on anything that might need improving as a ref.

Friday evening, U19 touring side match
SFGG 26 – Rockridge HS 26 (from the Vancouver area) Referee: Preston Gordon
ARs: Jen Tetler, Dave Newport

Islanders 17 – 48 GRANITE BAY Referee: Phil Akroyd

While there were some excellent displays of rugby, highlighting the good of local U19 rugby, we also got the negative. One sideline, with large numbers of players and support, roaming the touch and feeding unnecessary negative energy into the players on the field. Inevitably, the players lost focus on the positive rugby and instead concentrated on settling non-existent scores with opposition players.

Youth rugby has to figure out a way to deal with these sideline issues if we want to recruit refs, create a positive environment and show what rugby really is. Not a football/soccer hooligan approach.

Tuesday night February 19th, 2013 @ Cardinal Newman in Santa Rosa

Varsity: Rosa 17 – GOLDEN GATE 22 Referee: Cary Bertolone

We kicked off at 7:00 PM on a cold evening and the Rosa High School team scored first, eight minutes in to make it 7-0. Golden Gate had a larger pack and they began to dominate forward play as they scored three unconverted tries, making it 15-7 at the half. Santa Rosa had some fast backs and they scored two tries in the second half, but it wasn’t enough as Golden Gate won 22-17. Pretty evenly matched teams!! Good game with a lot of good runs and hard tackling.

JV: Rosa 12 – GOLDEN GATE 14 Referee: Chris Curtis

Chris Curtis reffed the second side game and everyone got a good run. A lot of fast players on the field. JV rugby never looked so good!!

SIERRA FOOTHILLS 50 – Mother Lode 14, Varsity Gold action, Friday night in Rocklin
Ref: Ray Schwartz
ARs: Mark & Marshall Godfrey

Sierra Foothills is reaping the benefits of some 5 years of continuous youth and middle school programs. The kids are coming through and club is deep. Mother Lode won NorCal High School championships a few years ago, but only recently has started their middle school and lower program. They have some catching up to do. Great coaches on both sides, great crowd, good scene overall, but to paraphrase from James Hinkin’s match report, Sierra would, “dominate the first half as the Mother Lode’s backs didn’t seem able to tackle and their forwards got pushed off the ball. Sierra took advantage of this situation to attack with precision and ferocity.” Mother Lode had a few moments, and overall this was fun stuff.

The real story was the B Side match (Junior Varsity) reffed by Marshall Godfrey (similar score and result). Marshall will take his Level 1 class this week from Matt Eason (!), is hoping to make the USA U-20 National side that travels to France in June, was the Mother Lode RFC’s middle school program when he started on the Varsity as a 7th grader… now a first year college student, and just 19 years of age. Marshall did marvelously well for reffing only his 2nd match. He’ll learn to blast his whistle (rather than blow into it) and will pick up the nuances of signals and positioning, but in many ways he is already reffing at a high level. His dad Mark couldn’t have been prouder!


Who remembers boiled hot dogs and cold spaghetti at rugby parties? How about sliced boiled hot dogs with ketchup for sauce over the cold spaghetti?

Those who play against South Valley at Kirigin Winery will remember tacos sizzling amidst the vines.


For the Senate
Pelicus Scriptoris




Bruce Ricard has been promoted to L1 on the basis of his recent reports. Congratulations to Bruce, and our apologies for misspelling his new bride Karla’s name.

Dave Pescetti has been promoted to L3. Dave is a graduate student at Cal Poly who is from the Bay Area and spends enough time here to have begun his refereeing career on the right foot.


Send Pete Smith your availability to referee for the upcoming weekends.

Also, remember to check for assignments at They are on the home page.


By Bjorn Stumer, NCRRS Exchange Officer:

As part of our development program, our Society has an active exchange program with other Societies throughout the US, in Canada, and the UK. We send our folks out and we receive incoming referees, all in the name of development and the spirit of our sport. We need hosts for the following incoming referees, so please let me know if you can provide billet, transport, and/or hospitality. If you cannot billet, you can still take the refs out for a good time, or help with their transportation.

1. A yet to be named referee from Victoria, BC/Canada: either the 9th or 16th of March (still to be determined).

2. Virginia referee Chris Davis: March 23d – Match at Treasure Island.

3. Northwest referees Tony Maphosa & Mary Castle: March 1; and Chad Douglas April 6.

Personally I am hosting Alberta referee Andrew Petti on March 9th

Hosting can be a way to repay the Society for that exchange you went on, or will get you kudo points for upcoming exchanges.


It’s one of Murphy’s laws: people inform us of their desire to take a level one referee course a week or two after several courses are held.

To help meet this need, Matt Eason will be offering the IRB course in Sacramento over two evenings, Tuesday and Thursday, February 26 and 28, 2013, from 6:00 until approximately 9:30 each evening.

Attendance at both sessions will be mandatory for completion of the course.

The location of the course will be:

Kennedy High School
6715 Gloria Drive
Sacramento, CA 95831

Class size is limited to 20, the cost is $50.00 if pre-registered with USA Rugby.

Matt Eason:


Don’t forget our monthly meeting at the Golden Gate clubhouse on Treasure Island next Wednesday, from 7 until 9. We start on time and finish on time, but if you’d like to arrive any time after 6 food will be available.


Wednesday, February 6C

CALIFORNIA 62 – Cal Maritime 6 Referee: Preston Gordon

ARs: Rob Hendrickson, Rich Anderson

Witter Field

By the 7pm kickoff time it was crisp and clear but not windy. Cal, playing their frosh/soph side with the odd upperclassman or two, kicked off to the west and immediately put the Keelhaulers under pressure to the point where, maybe 20 seconds later, they had earned themselves a 5-meter scrum after the ball was carried back into in-goal and grounded by the visitors.

Cal enjoyed the first couple of minutes of possession before one of their players was caught in a high tackle by Maritime’s #8 in the 3rd minute (Nota bene: foul play is foul play, whether in the 3rd second, 3rd minute, 30th minute, etc. No leniency is warranted just because it happened early in the game). He took a 10-minute break, and it took Cal about 5 minutes more to score their first try. From that point on it was mostly one-way traffic, with Cal scoring 6 tries before halftime and converting 4, for 38-0 on the board at the break.

In the second half play was much the same. Cal did a good job countering Maritime’s deep kicks but were also playing in a more disjointed manner than usual, so Maritime had several opportunities to attack. Their efforts were rewarded with 3 shots at goal due to Cal offenses at the tackle and they kicked 2 of those penalty goals. Cal added 4 more tries and 2 conversions to finish things at 62-6. More details here:

A couple of other notes: thanks to Rob and Rich, and to the coaches of both sides for the feedback. Thanks also to whoever it was that was cheering for the ref from the stands – it’s hard to see up there at night when the lights are on. Next, I was pretty impressed by the new high-performance athletic facility that Cal’s rugby team is using. That can only be good news for American rugby. Lastly, this game makes it 299-16 to the victors in the 4.375 games I’ve reffed in 2013, so I can’t be far behind James Hinkin on this year’s hit list.

Stanford 0 – ST. MARY’S 57 Referee: Donagh O’Mahoney

Quick summary, don’t have my score sheet handy but from memory.

Very good conditions. Dry with very little wind and pitch in very good condition.

St Mary’s were the stronger team and scored the majority of tries in the first half to lead 40-0

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at half time. Stanford were more competitive in the second half and came close to scoring but errors and good defense prevented them from scoring. Very high penalty count against St Mary’s in the first half at the breakdown but second half saw a vast improvement in the penalty count.

Seconds: Stanford – St. Mary’s

No report received.

CALIFORNIA 112 – Cal Poly 7 Referee: Pete Smith

AR: Rob Hendrickson

Referee Evaluator: Mike Malone

My score was 112-7. Not much to write about. Very clean game with just a few penalties and pretty much one way traffic.

Seconds: CALIFORNIA 133 – Cal Poly 0 Referee: Paul Bretz

SF State – San Jose State Referee: Jen Tetler

No report received.

CHICO STATE 46 – Santa Rosa JC 10 Referee: Stephen Valerio

The last time I found myself heading up I-5, I had the benefit of Giles and Bruce’s company. At lot less conversation this time.

The teams were ready, the pitch was soft, though a couple of lines were missing and some were thin (which caused the occasional difficulty), but it was clear, crisp day and we kicked-off on-time. Chico St’s loose forwards were very strong and provided the basis for their attack throughout the match. With the bonus that their outside center was a very strong runner, and Santa Rosa had their hands full. The game remain contested throughout, but the final score line of 46-10 didn’t do justice to the strong Santa Rosa’s effort. Both sides played hard but were friendly throughout and displayed great sportsmanship. It was definitely worth the trip.

Seconds: CHICO STATE 55 – Santa Rosa JC 5 Ref: Valerio

With Santa Rosa having only half a B-side, Chico St provided the remainder. Unfortunately when one side is still introducing themselves and the other is a cohesive group, readily able to string several phases together, it makes for a one-way match. That being said, the match was notable for several reasons:

Chico St’s Flyhalf slotted a drop goal, his first successful one in match after 6 unsuccessful attempts.

I had a Santa Rosa kick drill me from behind. I will put that to the fact that a forward was kicking rather than to my positioning.

In one sequence I called 3 successive penalties against a Chico St player. Clearly a rookie still finding his way around the pitch, he failed to bind correctly at a scrum, played a ball from the ground and came in from the side. He then collected a pass off of a breakdown and dotted down for a try. When I blew the whistle to award the try, he went to his teammate “What did I do wrong?”

Finally, Santa Rosa’s one score took me by surprise. After poaching a ball, they got an all too rare chance to run a couple of phases. Inside Chico St’s 22,

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the flyhalf then kicked the ball. I figured the ball would go dead but the kick was perfectly weighted and Santa Rosa touched it down for the 5.

NEVADA 44 – Sierra College 34 Referee: Cary Bertolone

A beautiful, sunny day in Reno (although it never got over 36 degrees) saw us kick off at 1:00 PM. Reno took one minute to find the try zone. Two minutes later, Reno’s speedy backline dotted another one down and before you knew it, Reno was up 17-0. Sierra steadied up and scored 7 at the 24 minute mark. The score was 22-12 at the half.

Reno started out the second half with a quick try. At the 17 minute mark of the second half, Reno took a quick tap after a penalty for Sierra not coming through the gate and I figured that about settled the game with a lead of 32-12 and later 39-19, but Sierra came on strong in the end with three late tries to close the gap to a final score of 44-34. Great game with good players and good coaches!! Fun to ref!!!!

Seconds: Nevada 0 – SIERRA COLLEGE 15 Ref: Bertolone

We had a short seconds game with Reno loaning Sierra a few players. In fact, Reno’s scrumhalf scored the last try for Sierra, giving everyone a good laugh. Good spirits and rugby vibes all day long!


Lamorinda 12 – DANVILLE 60 Referee: Tom Zanarini

Not all rugby ceases during the Vegas Sevens. Beautiful sunny day on St. Mary’s campus. The field was a little worse for wear. Better than most, but pretty torn up for SMC’s usual standard. Both teams came out swinging but the bigger, older Danville team won the day.


Barbarians 15 – SAC LIONS 36 Referee: Jordan Bruno

Seconds: Barbarians 5 – LIONS 31 Ref: Bruno

For both matches, the speed and discipline of the Lions side proved too much for the Barbarians to handle. Lions dominated the scrums and set pieces and showed great agility in their backline to move ball in hand and outscore their opponents.

COLUSA 31 – Shasta 13 Referee: Anthony Nguyen

The weather was great as the two teams took the field for kick-off. Both teams started off strong with possession changing rapidly between teams. Several close penalties towards Colusa’s own try zone allowed Shasta to take multiple penalty goal attempts, two of which they made. Colusa hammered back with quick and fast maneuvers that resulted in two spectacular tries in the first half. Half-time was rapidly approaching, and both teams fought fervently for points before the end of the half, but to no avail. So far, Colusa was leading at 14, Shasta 13.

The second half started off with a bang with Colusa immediately scoring another try. Shasta fought back harder with strategic runs and excellent gameplay, which earned them a well-deserved try. Much of the same intensity found in the first half also lingered into the second half. Colusa was able to close the match with one more successful try. Final Score: Colusa 31, Shasta 13.

SJSU 52 – Fresno State 22 Referee: Tony Levitan

San Francisco State 10 – SIERRA COLLEGE 39 Referee: Paolo Diaz

Reffed SFSU vs. Sierra at Treasure Island.

Beautiful day for Rugby at Treasure Island. Cool, no wind. 2 PM start so the sun was a little low in the sky.

Game started out with a lot of intensity. Good hard, rucking and counter rucking by both sides. SFSU scored first and then was matched by Sierra. Went back and forth through the half. Halftime score was 12-10 for Sierra.

Second half was a different story – Sierra’s superior fitness and athleticism overwhelmed SFSU’s heart. SFSU threatened to score several times but Sierra’s defense was just as committed as their offense. 27 unanswered points by Sierra for a final score of 39-10


Reffing in and around California
Report from Wesley “wezflash” van der Linde, Natal Sharks Academy

I’ve been back home in Durban a week now and still can’t believe that my time in California is now over. I will never forget the friends made and places visited. I’m in awe of how blessed I am to have been afforded the privilege of visiting such a vibrant rugby community in California. My time in Sacramento was indeed extra special. I got to stay with such wonderful people, namely Rich and Nola Boyer and Ray and Kat Todd-Schwartz. They treated me like their own son and I cannot begin

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to thank them for all the hard work they put in to making me feel at home.

Refereeing in California was quite an unforgettable experience. All in all I refereed close to 15 matches across all age groups. I got a good idea of the quality of rugby in California and it definitely surpassed my expectations. I’ve already shared on my experience refereeing St Mary’s and SFGG, and how I felt the rugby very fast paced and of good quality for a pre-season fixture.

I was well impressed with Motley Land Park Rugby Club, and believe the work being done there by Richard Boyer, Matt Eason, and the coaching team is going to impact on the National team in the near future (editor’s note: it already has!). Their ball skills and free flowing rugby is something to behold, and I am really happy to have had the opportunity to referee one of their Sunday matches.

I got to referee a midweek high school fixture between Davis and Kennedy High. It was the first time I had ever refereed on a (gridiron) Football turf and that I will definitely never forget and certainly brag about among my peers. My refereeing experience in LA was also unforgettable. UCLA is stunning. Being able to referee there was quite magnificent. The field was gorgeously green, and the weather was a lot more of what I am used to back home. UCLA’s Dennis Storer Classic was the name of the event. I had the privilege of refereeing Cal twice, once on Saturday and again in the final match of the tournament.

The next big event I was fortunate to be a part of was the Kick Off Tournament. The 2013 version was the 29th Annual in Sacramento. With 130+ sides from all around this was definitely the biggest tournament I have ever been involved in. The weekend started off on Friday with a referee’s development course wonderfully run by David Williamson (Berkeley) and Paul Cassidy (Alberta), and a referee coach’s course, both of which went very well. That evening we enjoyed an informal dinner and drinks social at Streets of London Pub. The food was great, meeting and chatting with all the refs and those involved in the KOT was absolutely fantastic.

That next morning we were in full swing! All the refs were there and ready to tackle the day’s rugby matches, which spanned across 9 levels of competition and 7 whole rugby fields! I was amazed at how enthusiastic everybody was and how passionate the rugby players were. Who would have guessed that one would find such joy for the game of rugby in the USA, but here it was, a wonderful rugby spectacle. There was a good crowd in to watch the rugby and they were not to be disappointed. I enjoyed all the support from my fellow referees and we all had such a great time doing what we all love.

I was given the privilege of refereeing the final match of the day, the Varsity Gold final. This match included a color guard presentation from the California National Guard, and a beautiful rendition of the national anthem. It was all quite overwhelming but I just took in the moment. The match was a great way to end the day’s action, well contested and played in good spirit, with Jesuit triumphing over Lamorinda (last year’s NorCal champs).

Later that evening all were treated to a ‘fabulous’ referee banquet at the Courtyard Marriot Grand Ballroom (Number 1s required!). We all had a great evening chatting, eating, drinking, and listening to a couple of speeches. Fortunately Ray Schwartz gave me a Pelican mascot, but it didn’t stop there as I found myself with a rather large collection of referee pins, kindly handed over from various people.

The next morning it was back to business. It is important to note here that we were very well catered for under the (20 x 40’) referees’ tent. Thanks to our “referee mom,” Thais Armenta, we had everything we needed and more. Good food, healthy fruit and plenty of liquid! We couldn’t have refereed as well without it all. Sunday was just as busy as Saturday and we were all once again immersed in the wonderful game of rugby. The weather was once again good and it stayed that

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way throughout the day.

We had a few new referees on Sunday, but they all just slotted in and everything ran smoothly. I had a good opportunity to just take in the atmosphere and I realized that what was happening all around me was absolutely phenomenal. I am blown away by the quality of rugby and the commitment of those involved in their local schools and clubs. The commitment that drives the KOT organizers is clearly a reflection of this widespread passion. I don’t know why anyone would not want to be involved in such a wonderful event.

As the day drew to a close I had to say goodbye to a number of referees who had to catch a plane (or drive) home. It wasn’t easy to do this because of the bonds we had formed. This is what rugby does, it brings us together, and it makes the world a lot smaller. It’s a wonderful thing.

I would like to thank all those who made this KOT 2013 tournament such a success. I especially would like to thank Ray Schwartz for all his hard work in organizing the referee side of things at

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the KOT. It was such a blessing getting to know Ray and I’m looking forward to coming back some time soon in the near future. My refereeing season is about to start back home and I believe that the refereeing in California has prepared me very well for the coming months. I’ve grown as a person and referee and this is all thanks to what is going on in California with regards to rugby development. Keep up all the hard work! Keep celebrating and growing this wonderful, heavenly game!

“Refereeing is not a popularity contest; it is a test of integrity, honesty, and having the guts to make the right decision at the right time, regardless.”

– Mark Lawrence

Regards/Beste Groete

Wesley van der Linde


Something was going on in the concourse at the IRB Sevens in Las Vegas. Let us know what you think it was…


For the Senate
Pelicus Scriptoris



EARLY TO PRESS The Senate is packing up and relocating to Southern Nevada for the next week. Penelope and I will be in the Pelicanmobile, planning to cross a line of departure at or before 0600 hours Wednesday, 6 February 2013. You’ll find us at the IRB Sevens, and your intrepid reporter will be attending the continuing medical education conference on concussion in rugby held at Planet Hollywood.

Which means that this edition of HP is missing a number of match reports, the ones that haven’t come in yet.

Please send in the scores of the games you reffed, even though it’s too late for the reports. Referee reports form the basis for our billing of teams and they support the audit process when teams claim certain games weren’t played or no ref showed up.

AVAILABILITY NEEDED Send Pete Smith your availability to referee for the upcoming weekends. Once he has enough names he can make the assignments. It’s difficult even to assign one week in advance when only a handful of referees have announced their availability.


Seconds: Santa Clara – Stanford Referee: Pete Smith
No report received.

SANTA CLARA – Stanford Referee: Tim Luscombe
We heard that they had a good crowd and that the home team won.

Saturday OLYMPIC CLUB 39 – EPA Razorbacks 29 Referee: Tim Day (SoCal)
Evaluator: Mike Malone
AR: Dave Newport, Preston Gordon

Seconds: Olympic Club 7 – EPA RAZORBACKS 25 Ref: Day/Gordon
GAA fields

It was 7-5 to the home side when I took over from Tim Day at halftime. I had a quick word with the captains to let them know that the ref had had a body transplant, and to ask them to go easy on me since I had just finished an 80-0 game 15 minutes earlier. This game was pretty fast too, and O Club played well, but the EPA backs were good enough to get around them and score 3 or 4 tries. I don’t have my scorecard with me at the moment but 25-7 is reasonably accurate.

After that 30 minutes of running, I was ready for a break (again) but duty calls and I stuck it out to AR for Tim in O Club’s 39-29 victory over East Palo Alto. It was quite the day of rugby but I’ve recovered well and will be back at it again on Wednesday evening when Cal takes on Cal Maritime.

Barbarians 15 – SAC LIONS 36 Referee: Bruno?
[Not sure who reffed this.]
Seconds: Barbarians – Sac Lions Referee: Nome Tiatia
No reports received.

EPA Bulldogs 5 – OPSB 42 Referee: Pete Smith The difference between the international level players and D1 players is very noticeable and Mike Palefau and Miles Craigwell ran wild. EPA Bulldogs had their chances, but couldn’t quite breech OPSB’s line. It was 20-0 at one point and it could have easily been 20-14. Both teams showed up to play rugby and it must have been a great game to watch as it was played pretty wide open.

SFGG 80 – Santa Rosa 0 Referee: Preston Gordon
Sheeran Field, 1200

Both teams had what looked like their best sides out to play this bye-week game. It may not have counted for the league standings, but one wouldn’t know that from watching the game. Golden Gate kicked off to the south, and Santa Rosa moved the ball up the field and immediately set up camp inside their opponent’s 22m area. They spent most of the first 15 minutes attacking the try line, coming very close on a couple of occasions, but ultimately were unable to score. SFGG broke out on a nice run from deep, with their fullback scoring in the corner, and spent most of the rest of the game on attack, notching 14 tries (5 converted) before it was over. Interplay was good on both sides with lots of great passing and offloading, and the defense was strong. Once again, the score was one-sided, and once again, that didn’t really do justice to the losing team’s efforts. I think this game will

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help both teams as the season progresses.

Tim Day, up from Southern California, was nice enough to give me some feedback at halftime. He also asked if I could AR for his game later in the afternoon, where he was being assessed, and of course I said yes.

However… as Dave Newport and I arrived at the GAA fields, we found Tim already reffing Olympic Club and EPA Razorbacks. I figured that someone must have gotten the kickoff time wrong, but then realized that he was just finishing the first half of the B-side matchup. Apparently someone called him to tell him that he had to do the B-side game too! (Note: this is not the case.) Knowing that this would not be a good way to get ready to ref a D1 match while being watched, I offered to ref the second half so Tim would be in tip-top form.

Sac Caps 28 – VACAVILLE 41 Referee: Taueva Favor Sacramento Capital didn’t bring their best game during the very first 15minutes of the first half. Vacaville was ready to play and did really well with the first 30minutes of the first half. Both team needs to work with the keeping the hands off the rock and staying onside. Too many referee-players on the Vacaville team. Second half was Sac Capitals coming back but it was too late. Hope both teams have the best season.

Fresno 15 – SEAHAWKS 18 Referee: John Pohlman Wow what a game. Occasionally as a referee you get one of those highly competitive games where all you hope for is not to get in the way. This past Saturday was one of those games.

I had been traveling for the last 10 days or so. So when I was asked to drive to Fresno upon my return, I hesitated. But in Fresno and San Jose, two of the Division 2 powers, I thought the game might be worth the drive. I was not let down.

I talked Eileen into driving with me. And we arrived around 11:30 AM. By three minutes after 12:00 I had talked to both teams and done the coin toss.

On to the game.

Fresno scored first on a penalty six minutes in. The only challenge I had throughout the game was players losing their feet at tackles, whether it was Fresno counter rucking (which they dominated) and losing their feet as they tried to clear the tackle., or San Jose tacklers falling on the Fresno side slowing ball.


San Jose tied up the score at fifteen minutes. Finally, San Jose scored the first try by their man of the match #7 Peter Kobliska.

Then Fresno tied the score with a try of their own at 35 minutes, and then converted the try for a half time lead of 10-8.

At half time I like to refuel and possibly talk to captains about potential law challenges. But this was a very clean game. I never gave a penalty for a dangerous tackle or high tackle.

Fifteen minutes into the second half San Jose’s hard working prop, #3 Gabe Escalera, finished a drive where both backs and forwards combined to finally break the tough Fresno defense.

Fresno continued to control ball and when Coach Dan Wilson came in his leadership gave them some real go forward.

Fresno won a counter ruck on their 22 and proceeded to drive the ball to the San Jose goal line. Rebuffed on their first two attempts Fresno scored the tying try at 40 minutes. Fortunately for me, as referees we hate ties probably more than players, I had 3 minutes of injury time which I announced to the players and by this time, rabid fans.

San Jose controlled the ball worked their way down field, but crossing the Fresno try line was not going to happen. San Jose’s #10 sensed this and attempted a drop kick which hit the crossbar and bounced over.

Wow I looked at my watch and about a minute remained in injury time. Fresno gained position on a San Jose kick for touch. As Fresno did all game long, they fought back. One of Fresno’s backs broke through and fed another Fresno runner who broke a tackle and seemed able to score a try.

The Fresno runner felt pressure and heard support, so he made a pass which feel short. The San Jose’s hard working # 3 Gabe chasing down field had the ball drop at his feet. With every San Jose player and fan screaming kick it out…he did.

So for the last time…WOW what a game. Thanks for letting me be part of it.=

CHICO 75 – Marin 18 Referee: Cary Bertolone
The fog burned off and we had a nice, sunny day. Marin showed up with 14 ruggers and no coach. They had their binder properly filled out though and were ready to play, short. They told me they owed it to Chico to keep the game, even though they might likely lose the game playing short, with no subs. Admirable!!! Mike Comstock still playing, also admirable!!

Chico greeted me with a couple of 18 year old high school graduate products on their team, Mike Tomasin and Barry Bartlett. They and a few teammates attend nearby Butte College and have joined the “old guys” of Chico to form a nice mixture of ages for the home team. Besides the old guys and the young guys, Chico has some speed in the backline!!!

Chico blazed through, around and over Marin, scoring 39 halftime points. Marin never quit and scored a try and a penalty kick in each half. Chico was smart to never take the foot off the accelerator, because Marin, even one man down, is dangerous. They all played hard, laughed off the bad parts and had a good run.

Seconds: Chico 19 – MARIN 24 Ref: Bertolone
Just to get a run in for some that had not played, a sevens match was organized and Chico lent Marin a couple of players to make it work. Beau McSwain (Chico State Coach) was on hand to ref the seconds’ game, but since it was a quickie, I just finished it off so he didn’t have to put his gear on. Thanks Beau, for being there to back us up!! We played 7 minute halves and as I warned them, that was all they needed. A couple of Marin players scored tries, helping to make the drive worth it. Everybody had fun and then Chico hosted a nice after party with food and beer that completed the rugby weekend.

Berkeley 5 – BARACUS 48 Referee: Bryant Byrnes
ARs: Neil MacDonald, Jeff Ferguson

Another climate changed winter’s day-clear, mild, dry-at Morton Field, Mare Island. Both teams came into this match with early season wins.

Both have reloaded since I last saw them.

Obviously, Baracus is further along in the process; certainly it had fewer really, really new guys. What those of us who have been around the game for any length of time tend to forget is how complicated our rugby is. It takes the novices a while to figure it out-and games like these.

Thanks to the Society’s Jeff Ferguson and Neil for being my TJs. Two extra pair of hooded, narrowed eyes does wonderfully in keeping the lads somewhat honest. Sorry to say we lose Jeff at the end of the season to the East Coast.

Seconds: Berkeley 14 – BARACUS 41 Referee: Neil McDonald
Referee Coach: Bryant Byrnes

Following a morning of youth matches in Danville, Saturday lunchtime saw me

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headed north on 680 for my inaugural visit to Mare Island, arriving in time to AR for the first team match, with a certain TV theme tune blaring from the sideline and cigar smoke filling the air.

In the seconds game, a depleted Berkeley squad could not be persuaded to bite off more than 30 minute halves against the superior numbers of Baracus. I had to summon all of my patience to resist the temptation to begin the game with a penalty kick, after a well-meaning player – from a team who shall remain nameless – told me the result of my countrymen’s match at Twickenham earlier in the day, and ruined my plans for evening viewing. Berkeley’s hooker – who I learned is a man of the cloth – would no doubt have appreciated my magnanimity. When asked about the wisdom of a man of such propriety playing in the front row, he assured me that he saw it as a missionary endeavour. I fear he may have more than a life’s work ahead of him.

After a brief respite for the Berkeley players recycled from the first team game, we got underway on a beautiful afternoon for rugby, as the smoke from the barbecue drifted across the field, and the sun sank lower in the sky. Baracus scored a brace in the first half, before Berkeley pulled them back with a converted score right on half time, cutting the deficit to 5 points. Baracus scored in the first minute of the second half. Berkeley replied minutes later, closing the gap to within a score once more. However, Baracus’ numbers along with a couple of moments of Berkeley indiscipline took their toll in the latter part of the match as Baracus ran in four more tries for a final score of 14-41.

Thanks to Bryant for his coaching, and thanks to the teams for a fun game, and great hospitality.

Colusa – Shasta Referee: Anthony Nguyen
No report received.

State of Jefferson – Redwood Referee: Kevin Brown
No report received.

Eric Rauscher Road Trip:
So Bonnie and I actually look forward to the trip up to the Humboldt area. It is a beautiful drive and gives us time to listen to music.

We also discovered a great restaurant. I like to drive up on Friday, so Friday night after checking into the hotel, we went out to “Bless My Soul” cafe right there in Eureka. It is Creole food and very good. The owner of the place kind of wanders around from table to table making sure that all is ok, and just in general making you feel at home. I highly recommend it On to the reports.

HUMBOLDT OLD GROWTH 24 – Mendocino Steam Donkeys 5 Referee: Eric Rauscher
Bonnie and I actually saw a number of Steam Donkeys at Fort Humboldt, and I think Mendocino calls themselves Steam Donkeys. Anyway, the game was played at Manila Community Field which is about one foot above sea level. The last time I was here it was covered with water, but this time it was dry and covered with gopher mounds. The sky was overcast, but not raining. It turns out that those teams to the North play for the Emerald Cup. The cup is defended by the home team and only lost to a team that can beat them. It would be great to see other such mini-competitions in our area just to add a bit of flavor. The only other one of which I am aware is the Cal/UBC World Cup. Back to the game. Humboldt put up a couple of tries early on off of either a knock on or errant pass. They got another “gimmie” in the second. This was too much for Mendocino to overcome. The teams were fairly balanced, but these types of scores just come out of the blue. The first was a Humboldt knock on. I called advantage, Mendocino scoped out the ball and advanced past the gain line. About a millisecond after I called “advantage gained” the ball was lost forward into the arms of a Humboldt player who ran it in.

The Humboldt captain was being very judicious in approaching me and letting me know of subs coming in. Then late in the second half, the sidelines (those that hadn’t played yet) decided it was time to do substitutions. The Captain became frazzled and I had to stop the game and make sure that they had it all worked out. After I explained the intricacies of the substitution law, and sorted things out we restarted play. The players that came in were of no help to the team. Scuffles broke out like chicken-pox and I had to have the captain call his team together and settle them down. Not really sure what it was all about, but it ended up with a yellow card against Humboldt at 34 min. After the game both sides seemed to put it behind them as the beer came out, but I was on to my next match.

HUMBOLDT STATE women 60 – Fresno State 15 Ref: Rauscher
The game was played on the synth turf field at Humboldt State with a crowd of about 100 cheering fans in attendance. Fresno came out strong and pretty much dominated the forwards play. Then at about 18 min into the match, Humboldt decided to shift gears and start employing their backs. The tries came like clock-work about every 4/5 min. The score at half was 41/0. Fresno never dropped their heads or gave up. They were able to get their hands back on the ball in the second half and once again displayed a very good pick and go type of offense. They were able to put up three tries in the second, matching Humboldt’s three. Each time I approached the Fresno captain towards the end of the game asking her if she would like me to call it early, her response was no. Good

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on her. Fresno may not have come away with a win, but a winning never say die attitude.

As a sidelight, Humboldt’s #10 Meredith Conrad-Forrest, really stood out. Her skills were great and a work rate that had her involved in seemingly every play. I asked about her after the game and her coach said that she was coming back after an injury last year, but had played for Davis girls for four years.

That was four years that have paid off.

VALLEJO 32 – Stanislaus 15 Referee: Bruce Bernstein
Tight first half match which continued for much of the 2nd.

Vallejo outscored Stanislaus in the 2nd who hung in & had a few good mauls & rucks to either score or back up Vallejo.

SIERRA FOOTHILLS 42 – Reno 17 Referee: Lee Bryant

Monterey Bay Beach Dogs 19 – SOUTH VALLEY 34 Referee: Bruce Carter
Monterey Bay is now playing their home games at St. Francis HS in Watsonville. It’s basically just over the Hecker Pass road from Gilroy and about nine miles as the pelican flies from South Valley’s home pitch.

In that way, it’s a bit like England: two small cities, each about 50,000 souls, separated by a scenic drive of but a few miles, each with a rugby team and a budding rivalry.

I had a lot of ‘support’ – lots of representatives of my generation were on hand, familiar names from Santa Cruz rugby lore: Vaughn Stumpf, Dan Smith, Larry Freitas, Larry ‘The Landlord’ Hebert, Charlie Ukestad, Tif Aiono, Stevie Ball (still playing!) and others…

The home team got out to a good start with two converted tries from lots of chaotic, pinball type rugby (imagine balls bouncing off bumpers, bells ringing, lights flashing). This pace couldn’t sustain long, and when the game settled South Valley had more overall success moving the ball leaving the game 14-12 at half.

South Valley then scored four second half trys, with Monterey Bay’s one being the final tally.

Carmona’s BBQ and deli just down the road had signs up welcoming both teams and a good spread, ending this day’s good edition of D3 rugby.

Paso Robles 0 – SFGG 112 Referee: James Hinkin
Help! The referee society is trying to kill me!

[Editor’s Note: that makes it 294-0 in James’ last two

ST. MARY’S 81 – UC Davis 0 Referee: Aruna Ranaweera
In the opening match of the D1A season for both teams, SMC sprinted to a 41-0 half-time lead and finished with 13 tries.

Seconds: St. Mary’s – UC Davis Referee: Pescetti

Referee Coach: John Coppinger
No report received.

CALIFORNIA 104 – Arizona State 0 Referee: Bruce Ricard
AR: Rob Hendrickson

Beautiful game of rugby. In the first half, Arizona State was infringing a little too much. Around the 25th minute, their tight head prop got a yellow card for repeated infringements. They had only three players able to play front row, so we had to play the 2 or 3 scrums that happened in the next 10 minutes uncontested.

After that, the game was very clean, only a few infringements, not many knock-ons. The contest was pretty fair, and the game pretty challenged, except that Cal was scoring on almost every possession, while ASU was unable to enter their opponent’s 22.

Sac St 0 – CENTRAL WASHINGTON 78 Referee: Derek Summers
AR and reporter: Ron DeCausemaker

It was a nice balmy day to play rugby, like most other venues this day. Had a slight delay to starting, since goal post pads were not in place, and flags needed to be positioned.

Briefly, CW won 78 – 0, scoring seven trys each half. One conversion in the first half, three in the second.

Most of CW’s trys were from getting the ball out to the wings, and then a 30 meter sprint to the try line. Some of their field advantage came from long kicks down the field. Sac St. primarily relied on running up the middle, to little avail.

San Jose State – Fresno State Referee: Tony Levitan
No report received.

SANTA ROSA JC 19 – UC Santa Cruz 17 Referee: Matt Hetterman
Perfect rugby day in Santa Rosa – overcast, but not raining, pitch was soft but not muddy.

Half-time: Santa Rosa JC 12 – UCSC 5. Full-time: Santa Rosa JC 19 – UCSC 17

SF State – Sierra College Referee: Paolo Diaz
No report received.

Maritime Academy – USF Referee: Paul Bretz
No report received.

CSU-Monterey Bay 21 – UOP 25 Referee: Giles Wilson

Saturday – what a rugby day! Started out with an early trip to the Brit in Cupertino for breakfast and to watch the Calcutta Cup (happily retained by England). After that game, on down to the old Ft Ord and CSUMB.

A very nice field, well marks and only a little let down by the goal posts – I am told that a rugby specific field is on the way, more good news for N Cal rugby.

This was a classic game of two halves. CSUMB had two ball-carrying, battering props who set the stage in the first half. They carried well, went forward and UOP were pinned back and under pressure. CSUMB also have some very good backs who work space well. This formula carried CSUMB to a 21 point lead from 3 goals which UOP countered with a late try, while CSUMB were down a player to a sin bin.

At half time one of the props was replaced (he came back when the other one was injured) and UOP put a vigorous 9 man game into over drive. Relentless picking and jamming by the whole pack and even some of the backs was rewarded with a series of tries. Occasional mistakes gave the CSUMB backs some scraps to feed off but as a team they couldn’t summon the energy after being sapped by having to defend against the driving of UOP. UOP punched in 4 second half tries to no reply from UOP.

A very good game, both clubs deserve credit – it is great to see “small” colleges develop such good rugby.

Final CSUMB 21 (3 goals); UOP 25 (5 tries).

Sonoma State – St. Mary’s thirds
No report received.

STANFORD women 37 – Santa Clara 24 Referee: Bob Polito
Good game, with SCU ahead at half 12-10, but ultimately losing 37-24.

UC DAVIS women 21 – California 10 Referee: Scott Wood

Seconds: UC Davis 5 – CALIFORNIA 31 Ref: Wood

Sac St Women – SF Bats Referee: Phil Akroyd?
No report received.


Saturday, January 26:

Seconds: UOP 10 – Sonoma 5 Referee: Rob Keene

After stepping off the field at Sonoma State Dan Hattrup called me out on me previous comment of wishing to ref my first game. Sonoma approached Pacific for a Bside match, and Dan knew just where to find a referee.

As the sun began to disappear behind the clouds a weary Pacific team strung together a side using some of Sonoma’s players, while Sonoma produced a seemingly well rested group of players. However, it was clear they were smaller and inexperienced.

As the 20-min half began it was certainly clear that even after the 80 min Pacific’s experience would be a good match for the Sonoma Seconds. After a few early penalties Pacific was able to get Sonoma on their heels and push in a try. However, just like in the first game Sonoma was able to respond with one of their own. It would have been two, but the second row ran the ball over dead ball line before touching it down.

Pacific responded again after costly penalties by Sonoma and were again able to push in a try in the 17th minute. The match featured good back and forth play by the forwards, with both teams having ample attempts to make big plays, but not converting. Play continued past the final minute as Pacific refused to kill the ball, and played on attempting to score. To little avail they killed the ball after 23 minutes with a final score of 10 to 5 Pacific.


Friday February 1st, 2013 at Elsie Allen in Santa Rosa
ELSIE ALLEN 19 – Oakland Warthogs 7 Referee: Cary Bertolone

We kicked off at 7:00 PM under the lights at Elsie Allen’s artificial turf rugby field. Oakland began to attack and beat on the smaller Elsie Allen players, but made quite a few mistakes, as they have some athletic but inexperienced players. After a penalty for diving over at the 40 meter line, Elsie’s scrumhalf took a quick tap and ran right through most of the defenders for a try.

Another long try at the ten minute mark and Elsie Allen was up 14-0. The teams played evenly for a while and then Elsie broke through for a third try, leading 19-0. This led to Oakland kind of losing rugby perspective and one red card later, Oakland was playing down one for the rest of the game.

In the second half, a lot of the penalties that were occurring at the tackle and in the rucks (diving over, playing it on the ground, hands in, not coming through the gate) disappeared, finally, and the game was considerably improved. Oakland scored a converted try and kept Elsie from scoring, but tenacious tackling by Elsie kept Oakland from scoring more. At least two “almost tries” were thwarted by impressive defense. These teams will get better and be tough for other teams to handle.

Friday night – High School
HAYWARD 29 – Marin 12 Referee: Bruce Bernstein

Tied 12 each at half Hayward’s scrum & specifically prop broke the game line continuously leading to scores off goal line scrum downs by their #8 & scrumhalf.

Marin had opportunities to kick for points but opted to go for tries unsuccessfully.


No photo. I’ve got some video from the Who playing Quadrophenia at the Oracle Arena last Friday night…


For the Senate
Pelicus Scriptoris