Bienvenido El Niño
The weather models have been steadily growing more certain as the Equatorial Pacific current warms up and it seems to have finally arrived, so let me officially give a Hail Pelicus welcome to El Niño. For the last couple of weeks bands of rain have moved through Pelicanland watering our lawns and washing our cars for free while dumping precious, precious snow into the water bank we call the Sierra Nevada Mountains. After a couple of years of seeing pictures of horrifically parched lakes across the entire state we are already seeing signs of recovery. Lake and reservoir levels are rising and the hills are green again. Of course, the Great California Draught is not over – a few weeks of rain does not offset years of dry weather – but we here at HP are hopeful and this is a good start.
What does that mean for the Flock and Pelicanland in general now that we have kicked off the 2016 campaigns? Well, we should all keep an eye on the weather and expect rainouts or field changes as availability becomes less certain. While it is great to have a confirmation email on Tuesday, as the weekend approaches check and doublecheck field availability and start times and be prepared to switch location and even games at a moment’s notice. Now is the time to set aside the wet weather gear – bring a plastic garbage bag to keep your kit dry during the match and bring a warm change of clothes.
Above all, remember the wise words of Ford Prefect: “Never leave home without your towel”.
Who’s Got Next?
Now that the seasons are in full swing our annual availability call comes out. We have need of all available birds but we can’t tell if referees are available without you telling us first. Please go to assignr.com to confirm your availability and matches, or if you haven’t received an assignr.com account, contact Pete Smith at firstname.lastname@example.org to let him know you are available. To get an assignr account please contact our Scott Wood at email@example.com . He will get you all the information you need to sign up and announce your availability. More details on assignr are in the next section.
Trust me, there are plenty of games and referees will not be going unused.
Assignr – Making Match Reporting And Assigning Easier Since 2014
The NCRFU will continue to use the assignr system for assignments and match reports. Again, please make sure that your availability is correctly listed on the site – if you aren’t listed as available you might not get assigned. Under “My Availability” you can make yourself available for a block of dates and then recuse yourself for specific dates if needed.
Please remember when filling out your match reports on assignr, ASSIGNR IS NOT WHERE YOU REPORT MISCONDUCT. I know the box is titled “Narrative/Misconduct” but this section of assignr is for the match summaries that are below in the main body of Hail Pelicus. If there are red cards or reportable yellow cards in your match then report them via the method detailed below in the section titled “Disciplinary Action Reporting – Process For Reporting Incidents“. This information will be in every Hail Pelicus and is also available on pelicanrefs.com.
How To Write A Match Report
The best method I have stumbled across for writing your match report is to have your game card in front of you to refresh your memory of the score and other incidentals and then open a Word document (or some other word processor) and write it out there, making liberal use of the spellcheck facility. Seriously, spellcheck – it is a great boon to us all.
Once you are satisfied just copy and paste your work into the “Narrative/Misconduct” box on assignr and hit submit. Easy, yes?
From Our Esteemed Education Officer, Vicky Hudson
Wanted! Hereto unheard voices of the Flock to enlighten, edify, educate and entertain! Presenters are wanted for the following topics at the April and May Society meetings:
In April – The scrum is falling and other details about sound scrum management, fair contest, and safety.
Also in April: Law Variations & Officiating Techniques in 7s rugby – a prep/primer for the coming summer 7s season.
In May, someone with the ability to create a RWC2015 refereeing highlight presentation (drawing on what’s on youtube) to discuss interesting, surprising, and/or controversial calls from the world cup.
Reply to VickiHudson@pelicansref.com.
Ask A Pelican
Yes, it’s time for this week’s installment of “Ask A Pelican”, the widely loved Q and A session with Hail Pelicus. This week’s question comes from George R. R. Martin of Santa Fe, New Mexico, who asks:
“I am a great admirer of your match report writing style. Do you have any tips that a young referee can follow to write like you do? And how do you resist the urge to kill off beloved characters in your reports?”
Thank you for your question, Mr Martin. This is a great question and all I can really say is that I try to not only report on the game itself, but try to paint a picture of the day/event as a whole. If I have to travel any kind of distance I will talk about the scenery and the trip itself, maybe give some background and history on the teams or notable players and generally set the scene. Then I try to describe the action as a story unfolding before me rather than a simple list of tries and score. NEVER give a one line report such as “Good game” or “Well played”. Try to show a little effort – the players and the readers appreciate it.
As for the second part of your question, the temptation to kill off a “beloved” character from the narrative is indeed great, but I have so far restrained myself. There might be a lesson there… or there might not.
Disciplinary Action Reporting – Process For Reporting Incidents
The various competitions all have their own disciplinary chairs and this will make it difficult to centralize the communication and data. To help Scott Wood has developed a form that will centralize the process, regardless of the competition. The link to the discipline form is https://docs.google.com/forms/d/1mmUNg11uVOSkIsUtHifSqQzalhWbwohk_J6AmPyrucQ/viewform
- Copy the link and have it available on your smartphone. If you have an Iphone add the link to your home screen.
- When needed fill it out and click submit. The discipline chair of the competition you refereed will receive a notification about the incident.
- He/she may contact you latter for more details.
- If you have any questions as to how to use the app please refer to the the following video: https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=_Uz0_gTaOnY
On To The Game Reports!
Life West Women/Stanford Women – Chico State Women/New Mexico Women
Referee: Pescetti, David
First match of the day: Life West Women vs CSU Chico
To start our wet Rugby Saturday we had Life West Women play Chico. The slippery conditions made ball handling crucial and cautious scrumming. In the end, Life was bigger, faster, and more organized than Chico and managed to spin the ball wide and utilize their superior speed to score many of their tries.
Life West Women 34 – 0 CSU Chico
Third match of the day: CSU Chico vs New Mexico University
Over this 40 minute match it was back and forth. Chico opened up the scoring and converting off spinning the ball wide and breaking tackles. New Mexico responded with a hard fought, multi-phase try, which went unconverted. Chico, once again, capitalized on mistakes was able to use their speed and break a tackle to score right under the posts and making the easy conversion. New Mexico would not be deterred. After the last try by Chico, it was all New Mexico. They fought back and applied the pressure to Chico. They ended up score two more tries and forced Chico to play very defensive. Eventually the score ended with NMU winning by a hair, but in a longer match they would certainly won by more.
CSU Chico 14 – 15 NMU
Fifth match of the day: Life West Women vs New Mexico Universtiy
At the end of the day everyone was tired, but there was still rugby to be played. NMU had to borrow players to field their team. Life, being the home side, was able to field a fresher team. This lead to many missed NMU tackles. This should not sell Life short, they pulled together some marvelous tries. Like a 50+ meter prop try, she broke at least 4 tackles to finish in the try zone.
Life West Women 53 – 0 NMU
Napa 36 – Diablo Gaels 13
Referee: Boyer, Rich
Napa hosted Diablo in soggy conditions. Napa has a strong bench with what must be 40+ players suiting up. The game started slowly, with Napa kicking a penalty for first points. It was a forward dominated game, owing to the conditions, and very physical. At one point on a scrum the ball was completely encased in mud prior to put in. Napa illustrated a good game plan, with strong running from the number 8. After multiple phases the ball eventually found its way to the wings, who scored two straightforward tries. But Diablo fought back behind their captain BJ, who scored a strong try in the second half. Diablo #12 had a strong game running as well. But Napa were too good on the attack this day, with a few scintillating runs off quick taps from Tomasi at 13 followed by pick and drives by replacement hooker Sione. The final five minutes saw a very spirited goal line stand by Diablo, only to be thwarted in probably the 20th phase on a maul and score by #8.
Sacramento Lions B 70 – Sacramento Blackhawks B 13
Referee: van Staden, JC
What can I say, at min 55 I was the only person that chase down the try scorer, for a third time, so I put an end to the wasting of good drinking time 😉
Santa Rosa 5 – Olympic Club 43
Referee: Bryant, Lee
This friendly comprised of 3x 30min periods taking place on a bog in the rain. Good times on a Saturday. True to the definition of a friendly, there were no tempers and no foul play, just two teams working it out in the mud.
SF Fog 6 – Shasta Highlanders 3
Referee: Bernstein, Bruce
Fog hosted Shasta for a pre-season scrimmage at their back up artificial turf field b/w the Mission & Portrero Hill. Fog outscored Shasta 3 tries to 2 both halves. It helped the Fog had about 25 players while Shasta only brought 15 bodies.
Shata commented that the Fog were diligent in both their tackling & counter rucking.
Party was back to normal Fog standards with plentiful drink, eats & conversation, which Shasta also took advantage of.
EDITOR’S NOTE: If the “Fog outscored Shasta 3 tries to 2 both halves” how could the final score be 6-3?
St. Mary’s College 3 – SFGG 44
Referee: Lew, Tim
Two elite sides playing one another in a preseason tune up for the year. It was a very physical and fast game. SFGG made positive tackles all day which made SMC have slow ball. SFGG’s forwards timed their poaches well and made SMC work for ball. SMC never was able to string together multiple phases or have quick turnover ball. It was great fast game.
St. Mary’s College B 31 – Vacaville 19
Referee: Bretz, Paul
Fun day despite the rain. Best line came from a Vacaville Prop: “you again… You are always telling me what I’m about to do that is wrong and I’m really getting tired of it”.
St. Mary’s College C 39 – Modesto 12
Referee: Hettermann, Matt
After 9 long months of Achilles repair/rehab, I finally got to blow the whistle again – glad to be back! In super wet and muddy conditions, this preseason friendly was played in mostly good spirits. Match was all tied up 12-12 at half, but the fitness of the college boys was too much for the Modesto club in the second half. Thanks to Tim Lew for AR’ing for me, and John for the feedback. Stuck around and AR’d for Paul in the next match and watched Tim cover St Mary’s-SFGG.
All Blues 15 – SFGG Women 15
Referee: Tetler, Jen
Technically, SFGG won this game because the All Blues had some ineligible players. But on the field, it was a fantastic game! The All Blues came out aggressively and put up two clean tries in the first 15 minutes. But Gate started gaining ground with a few well-placed kicks. They got 3 for a PK, then came back out with a try to put the score at 10-8, then they got another converted try with 2 minutes left to go ahead at the half. The second half had quite a bit less scoring (and several balls going over the fence), but was no less competitive. With 2 minutes to go, the All Blues scored again, but missed the kick to tie the game. Great match overall. Thanks to Vicki Hudson for referee coaching.
EDITOR’S NOTE: Technically a forfeit? Balderdash! This still counts as a tie and you owe the society a beer. See you at the next meeting, Jen!
All Blues 25 – California Women 10
Referee: Pescetti, David
Soggy Saturday made another return to the pitches this past weekend, but this time we were prepared with field turf! We played 3 20 minute periods. The first two thirds, were edged out by the All Blues scoring 2 tries in each. The third third was a completely different game. Cal turned it on as the All Blues fatigued scoring two tries within minutes of the kick off. After the stun faded from the All Blues, they were able to stabilize, playing staunch defense and stopped any further leaks in their defense.
Aptos 10 – Mendocino 24
Referee: Bernstein, Bruce
Actually played in Ukiah due to rain out in Aptos. Very competitive 3rd Division match throughout where Aptos held Mend on many tackles preventing further scoring. Great scores by Mendo’s outside center scampering 60 meters & Aptos #8/Captain in a small whole in the try zone. Halftime score was 14-5. Dude’s theory of relativity once again prevailed: The team with relatively more players WINS.
Also great after party at Mendo Brewing Company & their Red Tail Ale & make your own burritos, making the 2 hour drive worth it.
Berkeley B 19 – Baracus B 8
Referee: Rauscher, Eric
Bodner field in the overcast and drizzle. Perfect conditions. Well balanced teams. Baracus had a couple of it looked like sure tries (intercepted pass and streaking down the field for gold) but somehow Berkeley turned on their jet boots and not only caught up with but got the ball back due to lack of support. Had to call the second half short due to having to be off the field at four, but a good B side game.
Chico St Women 17 – Oregon St Women 19
Referee: Richmond, Jeff
No rain but a muddy, beat-up pitch made this a game of possession. Both teams controlled their breakdowns well, developing multiple phases. I made a bit of allowance for the conditions when players lost their feet. Chico had a chance to win with 2 minutes remaining when their center broke through the Oregon St. defense and headed for in-goal from 30 m out. She attempted to dive and slide in for the try but the mud prevented a smooth entry, she grounded the ball a half meter short and knocked on.
Colusa 57 – Google 12
Referee: Bryant, Lee
No report received
Diablo 10 – Chico 19
Referee: Coppinger, John
A fun game for all played on my new favorite venue, Cal Maritime’s rugby pitch. Although the sides were fairly even, Chico went out to a 12-0 lead at half time thanks to the hard running ginger at center and the consistent support given by the Chico forwards. Both sides just missed scoring a try with a knock-on in-goal. Gaels came back in the second half to score two unconverted tries to cut the Chico lead to 2 points late, but Chico scored a converted try to put the match away 19-10.
Fog 0 – Napa 101
Referee: MacDonald, Neil
The Napa “Wine Thieves” RFC ran rampant in the rain in San Francisco, maintaining momentum in contact and offloading out of tackles to the waves of support players that always seemed in just the right place at the right time. With pace to burn outside, and great hands through the back line, Napa were unstoppable.
Fresno 8 – EPA Razorbacks 60
Referee: Wilson, Dan
It really was a game for approximately 15 minutes of each half. In the first half, Fresno kept the ball in the forwards which kept the ball in their hands. However, Fresno could not get past EPA’s 22 and they had to settle for penalty kicks, only making one in the 5th minute. As soon as EPA actually kept ball in hand for more than two possessions, they scored, and scored, and scored. They scored tries in the 8th, 19th, 30th, 36th and 39th minute. Many of EPA’s tries came off of Fresno mistakes, losing the ball, fatigue and just plain bad tackling. Halftime score: Fresno 3 – EPA 33
At the start of the second half, Fresno showed life with some ball retention and scored a team effort, unconverted try in the 15th minute. Unfortunately, you could tell that fatigue was starting and the majority of the Fresno team wasn’t enjoying trying to tackle EPA’s power and speed. On the other side, EPA was just starting to enjoy the ball by running at the defense and creating textbook support passes. They scored tries in the 20th, 29th, 32nd, 35th and 38th minute. In the end, the score was purely indicative of the game. Final score: Fresno 8 – EPA 60.
Fresno B 0 – EPA Razorbacks B 62
Referee: Tuisavalalo, Rodney
Both teams decided to play 20 minute halves with 10 men a side. The Razorbacks continued to dominate in all facets of the game. Scrums were uncontested, but the set plays by the Razorbacks off of those scrums were well run and calculated. Fresno had some good moments in the game with strong running and intermittent defensive prowess. However, their inexperience with several new players this year was no match for the visiting team.
For future B games, I would encourage teams to front 15 men a side. Sure the format is similar, and the fundamentals are the same in both instances, but in order for developmental players to truly understand the concept of 15’s rugby then they must field the correct numbers.
Modesto 21 – SiliconValley 24
Referee: Jury, Jeff
A beautiful day and ride to and from Fresno that day. The game was both team’s first game of the season, so we all got reacquainted with the Law book. I have to say, I got tired of my whistle. But, to their credit, neither team made the same mistake twice. Play was fair. First half ended with Silicon Valley scoring an unconverted Try, none for Modesto. All that “learning” really paid off in the second half with some space, nice running angles and some good tackles. Final score Modesto 21 Silicon Valley 24.
Sacramento Blackhawks 3 – Santa Rosa 13
Referee: Akroyd, Phil
No report received
Sacramento Lions 15 – SFGG 13
Referee: Tucker, Chris
A mud-fest between two competitive teams, that ultimately hinged on the kicking — or lack thereof — from both sides. Highlight for me was a try scored at my feet by the GG flanker. Lions had a defensive ruck near the goal line, which Gate shoved hard, moving it backwards towards the line. The ball rolled onto the line, at which point I called “Ball In Goal, Ruck ended!”. The Lions looked at it, while the attacking flanker dived round the outside to ground it on the line. The eminently kickable conversion missed, ultimately forming the difference between the two teams.
San Jose 10 – Life West 71
Referee: van Staden, JC
Long awaiting rain, and a rough few days almost made me pray for a lot of rain so the game can be canceled and I can go home and feel sorry for myself….. nah!!!
Strap on your boots chap, cause Life have a score to settle with you, and like you have always said, and preached, “beat them on the score board boy’s!”, and so they did.
Ever saw a team running a ref into the ground? Well, if you were not at this game, you would have missed it, sorry. If you were, you would have seen rugby on a level that was hard to report, retold, or even report on.
Every trick in the book were played, from left step, to blind side blocking, penalty milking, to law-book rewriting, bring it on it was on that field.
First half, marked by about a point scored per min played, by the team that only hold 20% of all ball and field possession. Seahawks, done the work, to take Life back in their 22, for nothing less than 5 tries of more than 80m sprint turn-over tries in the first 40 min, leaving us with 6 tries, 4 converted and 38 to 0 going into the second half.
Second have was nothing less, and the moment I thought I read the play good enough to lead the play, cheat and run short cut, Seahawks intercept, which left the ref, once again on a 70 m, turn around dash to award the try. Somewhere I was thinking they have done that with intention just to drive in the dagger, but the Hawks got rewarded with a very hard earned try, just to keep their heads up. Taking nothing away from Life, that used up their entire second string, and merely missed the 80 mark by a ball hog or 2 still cranked out a total of 71 points for the day.
After refereed the same team last season, 3 reds, 3 yellows, with about 70% of the same players, it was a pleasure doing this game, with less than 10 penalties an half, and a show case of ball swinging by the back-line, lead by the captain. The maturity in this team have grown with leaps and bounces, to something rugby can be proud of. Thanks guys, it was a pleasure. And point taken, I got my spanking on that scoreboard 😉
San Jose B 41 – Life West B 10
Referee: Pohlman, John
Life and San Jose played two 25 minute halves for their second side match. Life dominated possession and finished most opportunities. Both teams used a lot of the second side as subs for the first side game this led to the shorten halves.
Both teams played hard and clean rugby. No problems.
San Jose played at Independence High School about 15 minutes from my house in Fremont. Nice field, real grass and close to a regulation side pitch.
San Jose Women 0 – Life West Women 88
Referee: Freitas, Larry
I arrived at the new pitch that the San Jose Seahawks have secured for the 2016 season, on the Independence High School campus, as some of the men’s team were lining the pitch and putting up the goal posts. I checked the field and no gopher holes! The grass surface was firmer than what I expected after the recent rains. The first half started under threatening skies, which did produce some off and on showers. San Jose forfeited the game as they only had 13 players, but borrowed a few of Life’s players to have a game. Life was able to rack up 48 points in the first half, the first try just three minutes into the match, scoring seven tries and a penalty goal overall. Megan Foster, ex of Chico State, is their flyhalf and kicker, and she was successful in converting five tries and potting the goal, and would add to her points tally with her own try.
The second half was much like the first, with the last try scored four minutes from no side, and with a prop playing for San Jose with no prior experience, uncontested scrums.
San Jose should have a full squad and subs soon enough, with some of their players unavailable until February, and Laura Pelton, their captain, also informed me that quite a few of their players, Navy personnel who were stationed at the Post Graduate school in Monterey, had been transferred elsewhere. Life should be very competitive when it comes to playing their matches with San Francisco and Sacramento. They are a very talented and experienced team and I wouldn’t be surprised if they finish first in the table when April comes around.
Santa Clara Univ WR 22 – UC Santa Cruz WR 22
Referee: Hinkin, James
Welcome to 2016! My first match of the new year and I was determined to start the year off well. Santa Clara women against the Banana Slugs of UCSC. So how did I start the year? With a tie.
I guess beer is on me.
The game itself was a barn burner – everything I or the crowd could have wanted. The teams were trading tries back and forth the entire match with neither side gaining ascendency. UCSC scored first yet Santa Clara was undaunted and responded with their own score to set the crowd afire – converted (hooray!) – to take their first lead of the day. More back and forth rugby followed and UCSC responded before the halftime whistle and converted from under the posts (hooray!) to make the score at the break 12-7 to the visitors.
The second half was a tale of enterprising rugby and poor goal kicking. Santa Clara was determined not to let down the crowd and shot out of the gate to score a try and tie the match. From then on the game was in the balance as UCSC scored to retake the lead followed by the Broncos answering and tying the score. Rinse and repeat. With both sides missing conversions from rather simple angles it seemed that if anyone could convert it would be the difference. Inevitably, the ladies ran out of time and the final whistle blew with honors even. Good game from both sides.
Santa Clara B 26 – Cal Maritime B 12
Referee: Hinkin, James
The B-Ballers for Santa Clara and Cal Maritime were pumped up after a hard hitting and exciting A side match and were eager to take the field to prove to Coach Hiatt and Coach Keeler that they belonged in the top squads. Santa Clara used to power of the crowd and some nifty rugby to jump out to a 7-0 lead before Cal Maritime responded with a patient buildup topped off with a kick and chase that saw one player from each team diving for a bouncing ball in the try zone. Well, our balls aren’t round so Fate stuck a finger in to nudge it towards the Cal Maritime player who was able to ground it just ahead of the defender. With the difficult conversion missed the score stood at 7-5. At this point the game settled into a series of scrums as wet, muddy conditions produced a slick ball nearly impossible to catch.
Wait, what? Wet? It has barely sprinkled all day. Muddy? Santa Clara plays on turf. I guess both sides had some early season jitters and need to do a little more handling work. The scrums, after a couple of penalties and free kicks, settled down and were a true contest, but the constant need for them slowed the game down. Late in the half there was a Santa Clara kick and chase into the try zone and the race was clearly won by Cal Maritime yet Fate was feeling a little whimsical and nudged the bouncing ball into an awkward hop that evaded everyone until a Santa Clara chaser fell on the ball to score. The half ended 14-5 to Santa Clara.
The second half was nearly a carbon copy of the first with both sides trying to play enterprising rugby but the flow of the match was interrupted by handling errors. Not to say that there wasn’t some really good stuff. Poaches, defense, running angles, passes – these are both well coached teams and they showed it. A little more concentration and precision with the hands and this is a top class barn burner. That being said, Santa Clara put up 2 tries (one converted) to 1 from the Keelhaulers to finish out the match 26-12. A good time was had by all.
Santa Rosa JC 10 – St. Mary’s College C 28
Referee: Bertolone, Cary
The game was played at St. Marys. It was raining pretty hard throughout and the field was a muddy bog. Everyone had a good time and the game was fairly even most of the time. St. Marys scored two tries in each half and converted all four (good kicker) while Santa Rosa scored one try in each half without making their kicks; hence, the score of 28-10. After the final whistle, most of the players made skidding dives through the mud on the 50 meter line, I guess because they were not muddy enough from the game itself. Great camaraderie and fun to ref them.
Vacaville 34 – Sacramento Capitals 30
Referee: Boyer, Rich
It’s nice to have a game go on despite rain! Of course, the all weather pitch on which host Vacaville plays had a lot to do with it, and, to be fair, rain ceased at match time. Sacramento Caps travelled with numbers; Vacaville had fewer. Vacaville struck first with a penalty kick, but momentum shifted back to Caps through good phases of forward play and a lightening quick try by the fullback which, combined with a penalty kick, to result in a score of 10-3, Caps. The try was set up by an intercept by Ryan Koewler, center. Momentum was then snatched by Vacaville with an intercept try by the fullback, and back and forth and so on. Vacaville scored on a penalty advantage chip kick deep in Caps territory via a wicked bounce and great chase. This was followed by good forward pick and drives which resulted in another score to Vacaville. The second half saw Sacramento come out strong and on fire. They tied the score 24 all on a great open field run that resulted in a try by Koewler, followed by a pick and drive try by flanker Seth. Then captain Mike Dopson, who was perfect on kicks all day, converted two more penalty kicks. 30-24 Caps. Momentum then favored Vacaville with the Caps often on the back foot. Pressure resulted in a try, followed by a penalty kick by captain Matt, who, like his counterpart, was perfect on kicks all day. The Caps rallied but time expired as the ball was knocked on. A good match played by two competitive teams with good technique and game plans.
This Week’s Photo
Welcome to El Niño. A snapshot of this Saturday’s forecasted weather map.
For the Senate
Pelicus Pedem Referre