Category Archives: News

HAIL PELICUS!

Chica Statement

Life is generally pretty good here in Pelicanland. We have the best weather, the best community and the best rugby in the country. About this time of year the editorial staff here at Hail Pelicus rather smugly starts listing all the national championships won by our local clubs. We usually start with the easy one: Men’s D1 college. Between Cal and St Marys we have a slam dunk champion every year. UC Davis has been on a roll in the D1AA competition lately but moved back up to D1A so we fully expected UNR to step up. Stanford has been a solid bet for the D1 college women’s championship in the past but have fallen off recently so we may not get one there is the thinking. Men’s club is a little less automatic than men’s college but SFGG is usually is in the hunt for whatever competition they are involved in (it changes as the fickle winds of fate changes in USA Rugby) and there is usually a strong run in D2 and D3 that will produce a champion most years. The women are harder to predict because our women’s D2 teams are not quite at that level, but Sacramento Amazons are always in the final mix, and the WPL will not be considered a proper competition by Hail Pelicus until Life West is part of it – sorry, but if you want to be the top league you need to have the top teams. See “Annual CRC Is Not A National Championship Rant” for the details of that particular argument.

Speaking of the CRC, we could also count on Cal winning that competition – a made for TV Invitational – and calling it a national championship while St Marys goes after the USA Rugby 7s championship.

So how are we doing so far? Ooops. Um… this is a little embarrassing. For the first time in memory, we have been shut out. Nada. Zilch. How can we continue to claim to have the best rugby in the nation if we all lost?

STOP THE PRESSES! Our blushes have been spared, thanks to the Chico St women’s rugby team. Chico State thoroughly outclassed Central Florida to win the D1 championship 54-26. Congratulations to Captain Darby McFall and the rest of the Chico State women ruggers. This was truly a Chico State Chica Statement.

We Still Have Life

Speaking of chicas making statements, we actually still have one more Northern California club in national contention. The Life West Gladiatrix will be going for their second consecutive title v the Raleigh Venom on June 2. They will go in to the contest as defending champions and heavy favorites but rumor has it that Raleigh has a secret weapon. A mole. A double agent. You see, former San Jose Seahawk Jamie Tolen moved back east this year and is now playing with Raleigh. Upon being confronted by the Hail Pelicus staff she promised not to tell her new team about the Life West game plan. Of course, she may be lying. Good luck to the Gladiatrix.

(EDITOR’S NOTE: This last bit was written with tongue firmly in cheek as Jamie is one of the sweetest, nicest ladies I have met. Of course, she is also a fantastic player, tough as nails and a fierce competitor, which explains why she is in a national final.)

Annual CRC Is Not A National Championship Rant

Well, the title says it all, doesn’t it? Just like the Varsity Cup (another invitational that was billed as a national championship), the CRC in an invitational tournament. A national championship must have teams that earn their way in on the field, not teams that are invited to boost ad revenue. Yes there are now some slots in the CRC that you can earn via qualifying tournaments and yes, there are big time schools that are good enough at rugby to have qualified if they had needed to, but while there are still teams invited solely to boost TV ratings and ad money it can’t be considered a national championship.

Not that that’s a bad thing.

I love the CRC. It is the first time I can recall that rugby was on American network television, exposing the game to a wider audience than ever before. Gods and Weather Priestesses know I would have loved to play in it. It still isn’t a national championship, and that is well known to United World Sports who run the event. They hint at a national championship with the name “Collegiate Rugby Championship” but don’t quite say so. It is instructive to note that the original name of the event in 2010 was the “Collegiate Championship Invitational”. The only people who call it a national championship are overeager press (I’m looking at you, Alex Goff and Pat Clifton) and the teams that participate in it – especially the winners.

But is there a collegiate national 7s championship? I am not so sure. The USA Rugby national championship has been hurt in the past by many of the better teams opting out to play in the CRC and in the present by the Byzantine and opaque selection process for participants. Yes, there were a series of 7s tournaments around the country, but nobody was ever sure which events led to which seeds, or even if winning a particular tournament guaranteed a seed or not. Until these issues are addressed I can’t call the winner a real national champion.

Your Chance To Meet The Editorial Staff Of Hail Pelicus

The 15s season is winding down so it is time for the Members of the Society to gather together and congratulate each other on a Job Well Done. We even allow non-referees to attend, although you will have to pay for your own dinner. From our Beloved Leader, Pelicus Iudex Pennipes:

It’s been an incredible season for NCRRS and we need to come together to celebrate our accomplishments, thank our family members who provide us with the ability to follow our passions, recognize those that we have lost and enjoy the evening together. All referees who have officiated matches this season and guests are encouraged to attend.

Save the Date: June 16th 2018
Location: Scott’s seafood Walnut Creek
TIme: 1800 hrs to 2100 hrs
Actual Time: 6PM to 9PM

(EDITOR’S NOTE: OK, I added the actual time.)

As soon as we finalize food options I’ll be sending out a Google form to collect your food choices. NCRRS will pick up the tab for officials and guests are covered by you.

On a separate note, we have several new members to our flock that have yet to be adorned with Pelican names. I will be asking James Hinkin to reach out to you all to ensure that you have a name. If you do not name yourself you will be assigned a name by the flock. You have been warned. Roll call will commence our banquet so be sure you come up with your Latin (or Latin-ish) name.

Pelican Names

You have been warned.

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 we have developed a form that will centralize the process, regardless of the competition. The link to the discipline form is https://docs.google.com/forms/d/1mmUNg11uVOSkIsUtHifSqQzalhWbwohk_J6AmPyrucQ/viewform

1. Copy the link and have it available on your smartphone. If you have an iPhone add the link to your home screen.
2. When needed fill it out and click submit. The discipline chair of the competition you refereed will receive a notification about the incident.
3. He/she may contact you latter for more details.
4. If you have any questions as to how to use the app please refer to the following video: https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=_Uz0_gTaOnY

On To The Game Reports!

Date: 04/28/2018
De La Salle 50 – Bullard 29
Referee: Andrew Stockton

This was a great match between two very talented teams, although the score isn’t really an accurate reflection of how close the match was. While Bullard certainly played with a lot of heart and passion, it was clear from the start that DLS was the stronger team. They had better conditioning, better tactics, and better skills, and it showed throughout the match.

The scoring was opened about 10 minutes into the first half with a brilliant break down the line by DLS. He was completely in the clear until Bullard #10 streaked in from out of nowhere to make a great, try saving tackle. However, his tackle was a high, seatbelt style tackle, and, as he brought the player to the ground, he rolled him up on his back to prevent the try. I consulted with my AR and we came to the decision that without the infringing player, there was no doubt that the try would have been scored. I awarded a penalty try to DLS and yellow carded #10. After that, DLS was able to score a couple of more times and make a few of their kicks before Bullard went on a tear down the field and scored a great running try to put 5 points on the board. It was a tactic that they would reuse throughout the day and one that would give them a decent amount of success if it weren’t for handling errors within arms reach of the goal line.

Also worthy of note in the first half, and something I haven’t seen in many high school games, was the great discipline from both teams. There were a few early penalties, but then there were almost none for a good chunk of the first half. This would continue into the second half until the last couple of minutes where the tired DLS replacements would commit 3 stupid penalties leading to a Bullard try with time expired on the clock.

As I stated earlier, the skills of DLS were what won them the match, and this was apparent in the second half. DLS was clearly the better conditioned team, and when it came down to it, they were able to make big breaks and play with speed to put themselves up by a comfortable margin. In fact, with time winding down, it looked like the score would end at 50-10 in favor of DLS (Bullard had knocked on two clear try scoring opportunities on the wing). However, the replacements seemed to lack the passion that the starters had, and they gave up 3 tries and 2 conversions, including the try in extra time that was aided by a yellow card to DLS #17 for a high tackle.

Again, both teams were very well behaved and I wish them both luck at their matches this coming weekend.

Date: 04/28/2018
Jesuit High School Rugby Club 45 – San Francisco Golden Gate Rugby Club 28
Referee: Steven Fenaroli

SFGG came down to meet JHS on their home field. The game was contested with both teams fighting hard at all aspects of the game to gain every advantage.

At halftime Jesuit had scored 28 and SFGG had not scored at all. 60′ through the game, JHS had begun to sub in replacements.

Scrums were issues all game as SFGG had issues driving straight, standing up, losing his bind, and losing their feet. It was a long scrum day.

SFGG kept their composure and battled back having two great runs ending in trys.

Date: 04/28/2018
Lamorinda Rugby Football Club 3 – Danville Oaks RFC 50
Referee: Roberto Santiago

It was beautiful Nor-Cal morning as we were set for a bushy-tailed 9:30am kickoff. Both teams came out playing hard right off the first whistle. Danville opened with two quick tries, including an electrifying pick and run by their #8, who did everything you tell players not to do (run sideways away from support) but managed to find the corner and get the ball down to Lamo’s five-meter line before being tackled. After ten-minutes the score stood 12-3 and it looked like we’d have a contest. Danville put over three more tries between 13:00 and 25:00 to give themselves a cushion at half-time.In the second half, La Morinda played better, controlling a fair amount of possession in Danville’s half. However, they just couldn’t find enough cohesion to put on over the try line. Three second half tried for Danville gave us the final margin in a hard fought match.

Date: 04/28/2018
Olde Gaels 32 – Bend Roughriders 34
Referee: David Pescetti

What a treat to have had the privilege to be in the best seat in the house for this one. Bend traveled far from their homes in the far north to face the prestigious Old Gaels. This one was a battle from the get-go.

Starting the match was a solid game plan from each team. Bend clearly favoring their forwards and Gaels their 7 and fullback. Striking first was the home side, Gaels, breaking through, scoring, and converting. With the ensuing kickoff they promptly marched down the field and scored again, but missing the conversion. Gaels 12 – 0 Rough Riders missing their DMX. The Gaels tacked one more try on at 20 minutes, to take a staggering lead of 17 – 0. Looked like they were cruising. However, took near on twenty full minutes before Bend was able to straighten their bearings correct. A minute after the last score Bend was able to muster their own points. Gaels ahead 17 – 7. Right before the half the Rough Riders were setting in their stride. putting points on the board to actually put the Gaels behind. Gaels 17 – Rough Ridgers 19. Luckily for the Gaels halftime came.

The second half started like the first ended. Rough Riders riding their momentum to another score. RR 26 – Gaels 17. Still very much within reach. With 11 minutes to go, Bend tacked on what seemed to be the nail in the coffin try. Going up 16. Looked like Bend was just muscling their way past the Gaels. But this sparked energy into the Gaels. They stormed back scoring at 7 minutes and at 2 minutes. They had all the momentum. On the last kickoff Gaels had possession. They were moving the ball out wide. Then tragedy struck. They knocked it on.

Final: Bend Rough Riders 34 – Old Gaels 32. Congratulations Bend. Good luck in Texas

Date: 05/05/2018
Elsie Allen 22 – De La Salle 31
Referee: Preston Gordon

Elsie Allen emerged victorious 31-22 after a tough challenge from De La Salle on a beautiful day at the St. Mary’s stadium.

Pre-match, I assumed that the game would be on Pat Vincent field, as usual, so I parked there and got set up. 40 minutes before the match it became clear to me that something was amiss, given that the only other person around was one of the assigned ARs. A quick phone call to one of the coaches sorted this out, but that meant packing everything up and driving to the stadium to look for parking. When I arrived at the stadium there was only 30 minutes left before kickoff, which obviously compressed the pre-match timeline. The lesson is the usual one: when you assume, you make an ass out of u and me. Luckily this error was not a major one, and we got started on time.

The teams were very well-matched and played a competitive, very clean, and fast game in front of a couple hundred people who seemed to appreciate the entertainment on offer. Elsie Allen’s scrum was a bit stronger, and they had a couple of standout backs, whereas DLS’ backline as a whole was perhaps a little bit sharper and the team a bit fitter overall. Obviously both sides were well-coached to look for attacking opportunities wherever possible.

At halftime Elsie Allen was up 26-12, having scored 4 tries to 2 in the first 40 minutes. Towards the end of the second half, De La Salle mounted a comeback, coming within 14 points at 31-17. DLS had the opportunity to cut that lead when they opted to kick a penalty from ~20m out, more or less in front of the posts, but the kicker’s strike hooked the ball just to the left, which may have sealed the result.
The last 5+ minutes of the match were fairly intense, with Elsie Allen on defense inside their 22. DLS was helped by a 67′ yellow card to the Elsie Allen #5, who went to the naughty chair after cynically killing ruck ball as he was retiring to an onside position near his own goal line. De La Salle maintained their effective attacks, being held up in goal once, before one of their backs broke through on the outside to score after time had expired. While the conversion was missed, this brought DLS within a respectable 9 points. I think if this game had lasted 80 minutes they would have had a pretty good chance to finish their comeback.

I was asked to say a few words to the players and their parents after the match, which I was happy to do. For anyone who couldn’t hear me in that big crowd, I was serious when I said that while it was fun to be ARing Cal-Lindenwood on TV at the same venue one week previously, this was a better contest and that I was happy to be there instead of in Santa Clara for the D1A championship.
Thanks to Ed and Duane for being great ARs, and to the young man who stepped in to cover as a TJ in the first half. And, of course, congratulations to Elsie Allen on their trophy.

Date: 05/05/2018
Jesuit High School Rugby Club 24 – Danville Oaks RFC 25
Referee: Steven Fenaroli

Rugby NorCal hosted a one day tournament with games from 9am-3pm. This was a long day of rugby but was full of great rugby.

JHS and Danville met in the varsity prem final. It was a great game and JHS was ahead at halftime. Danville figured out how to get the ball out wide and were able to score more trys by getting the overlap.

At 80′ JHS was winning 24-20. Danville had a lineout on JHS 10m and was able to recycle the ball and score in the corner at the final whistle. Before they took the conversion, they had won by one point.

Date: 05/05/2018
Jesuit High School Rugby Club 53 – Peninsula Youth Razorhawks 26
Referee: Andrew Stockton

Both Jesuit and the Peninsula Razorhawks should be proud of the way that they played and the fact that they both made it to the NorCal Championships; no small task.
The first half of the match was very hotly contested in between the two teams. Each team had some excellent runners who were able to cut up defenses. The Razorhawks in particular had some very big bruising runners who would often drag 2 or three Jesuit tacklers behind them before being dragged to the ground. Both traded a few tries, and Jesuit was able to add 2 penalty goals to give them a 20-19 point lead going into half.

At half, my team-of-three and I decided to use the field monitor on our pitch to make sure that the parents on both teams were generally behaving themselves. The first half had seen comments along the lines of “keep it fair” and “call it both ways” from a couple members of the sideline, but I ignored them and decided to deal with them at half through the field monitor. We had no issues until a passing comment at the end of the match that I didn’t respond to.

The second half started just as heated as the first half. Both teams traded tries, making the score 27-26 in favor of Jesuit. However, due to the dry heat, and the conditioning of Jesuit, they began to pull away from the Razorhawks. Jesuit’s runners were able to streak through the lines, and the fatigued Razorhawks were unable to make tackles. This also led to lazy play on their behalf which led to quite a few penalties in the second half. This led to an altercation between the players that ended in a Razorhawk player being red carded for unsportsmanlike play.

These factors gave Jesuit a 53-26 win. However, it is worth noting that at no point during the match did the Razorhawks give up. They player with a great amount of passion, determination, and grit. I believe that if they had better fitness and discipline, they would have won this match. Hats off to both teams for a great season and good luck in summer 7’s and next year.

This Week’s Photo

As the only team to win a National Championship (so far, go Gladiatrix!), Chico State get the honor of This Week’s Photo.

Hail, Pelicus!
For the Senate
Pelicus Pedem Referre

Death Be Not Proud

HAIL PELICUS!

Death Be Not Proud

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

-John Donne

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

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

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

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

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

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

Pelicus Scriptoris Speaks

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

Memento Mori: Scott Wood

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

– Pelicus Scriptoris

Disciplinary Action Reporting – Process For Reporting Incidents

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

1. Copy the link and have it available on your smartphone. If you have an iPhone add the link to your home screen.
2. When needed fill it out and click submit. The discipline chair of the competition you refereed will receive a notification about the incident.
3. He/she may contact you latter for more details.
4. If you have any questions as to how to use the app please refer to the following video: https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=_Uz0_gTaOnY

On To The Game Reports!

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

Samurai Sportswear Pacific Rugby Premiership

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

Northern California Men’s Division II

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

Northern California Women’s Division II

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

Northern California Men’s Division II

See Pelicus Spaghetticus’ outstanding report above.

Collegiate Men’s D1AA

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

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

Collegiate Women’s D1 Elite/D1

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

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

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

Collegiate Women’s D2

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

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

This Week’s Photo

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

Hail, Pelicus!
For the Senate
Pelicus Pedem Referre

There Are The Tries That Time Men’s Souls

HAIL PELICUS!

There Are The Tries That Time Men’s Souls

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

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

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

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

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

Weekend Update

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

Women’s D2

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

PRP

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

Men’s D2

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

Men’s D3

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

Men’s D1-A

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

Men’s D1-AA

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

Women’s D1-Elite

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

Women’s D2

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

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

Disciplinary Action Reporting – Process For Reporting Incidents

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

1. Copy the link and have it available on your smartphone. If you have an iPhone add the link to your home screen.
2. When needed fill it out and click submit. The discipline chair of the competition you refereed will receive a notification about the incident.
3. He/she may contact you latter for more details.
4. If you have any questions as to how to use the app please refer to the following video: https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=_Uz0_gTaOnY

On To The Game Reports!

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

This Week’s Photo

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

Hail, Pelicus!
For the Senate
Pelicus Pedem Referre

The Weekend That Was

HAIL PELICUS!

The Weekend That Was

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

The Weekend That Wasn’t

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

Then the game was rained out.

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

Disciplinary Action Reporting – Process For Reporting Incidents

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

1. Copy the link and have it available on your smartphone. If you have an iPhone add the link to your home screen.
2. When needed fill it out and click submit. The discipline chair of the competition you refereed will receive a notification about the incident.
3. He/she may contact you latter for more details.
4. If you have any questions as to how to use the app please refer to the following video: https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=_Uz0_gTaOnY

On To The Game Reports!

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

No Report Received.

This Week’s Photo

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

Hail, Pelicus!
For the Senate
Pelicus Pedem Referre

Wrap Battle

HAIL PELICUS!

Wrap Battle

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

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

Epic Wrap Battle In The State Capital

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

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

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

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

Just One Thing, Again

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

Disciplinary Action Reporting – Process For Reporting Incidents

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

1. Copy the link and have it available on your smartphone. If you have an iPhone add the link to your home screen.
2. When needed fill it out and click submit. The discipline chair of the competition you refereed will receive a notification about the incident.
3. He/she may contact you latter for more details.
4. If you have any questions as to how to use the app please refer to the following video: https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=_Uz0_gTaOnY

On To The Game Reports!

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

(And now we return you to the present week)

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

Halftime score was Redwood 5-SSJ 9.

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

This Week’s Photo

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

Hail, Pelicus!
For the Senate
Pelicus Pedem Referre