Category Archives: News

Cliff Hanger

HAIL PELICUS!

 

Cliff Hanger

 

Rugby Today (rugbytoday.com) has an assistant editor and columnist named Pat Clifton.   He has been commenting on rugby for years and hails back to the days when Rugby Today was Rugby Magazine – the only real source for American rugby news.   He recently wrote a column titled “The State of American Refereeing”.   As one would expect, we here at Hail Pelicus were overjoyed to see how American referees measured up.   You can read the full article here.

 

Oh dear, where do I begin.   This is such a steaming pile of ignorance that it was difficult to work my way through, but I did it.  Let’s take a look at some of Mr Clifton’s better bon mots.

 

“I am a certified referee. I’ve done some games. I don’t know how many – probably more than 20 but less than a hundred.”   Well, that establishes your bona fides as an expert.  He is obviously well trained and takes refereeing seriously.

 

Our expert then goes on to state that there are two fundamental problems with American, and specifically American rugby, that refs aren’t paid enough and that refs aren’t accountable.   Let’s start with accountability.  Mr Clipfton states that the only person who would ever referee is an egomaniacal masochist.   Why?  Because he abuses referees.  Apparently his players abuse referees.   Also, his spectators abuse referees.   And yet, with all of this abuse he has the gall to suggest that “back-chat penalties are flung around with too much freedom every weekend”.

 

Seriously?

 

What does that tell me?   It tells me that for the teams he is associated with the players, coaches and fans spend a lot of time abusing referees and then complaining about being penalized for it.   That sounds like poor coaching and a toxic culture to me and I am glad we don’t, or rarely have that kind of thing out here in Pelicanland.   Possibly a look in the mirror would be more appropriate than slinging blame at the referee.   Respect is the cornerstone of this game we all love and it starts with respect for the referee.

 

He continues his diatribe against referee accountability by stating that, well, we aren’t.   Players and coaches train twice a week while referees sit on their butts.   We don’t watch film or talk to players and coaches so only feedback available is the rare evaluation.  Players have a won-loss record to measure themselves by but referees have nothing and we are fine with that because players and coaches “like to win, and referees never get to win”.   Well maybe it is like that out in his part of the country but we here in Pelicanland have strong an organization that not only includes monthly meetings where we discuss laws, technique and other topics (see announcement below for next meeting!) but we also have over 20 certified referee coaches.    We talk to each other via email, send videos, ask questions.   We have workout schedules and fitness tests.    How many players can get to level 13 on the beep test?    Or level 11?  That is the standard for A and B Panel referees and we have many who meet or exceed it here.    As for winning?   Referees tend to be some of the most competitive people you will ever meet, but we don’t judge our “wins” on point totals.   We judge it on control, number of penalties (and penalties avoided), number of cards and, above all, respect.   Not as easy to quantify but it is there and is very satisfying.

 

The other big topic he discusses is money.  If only we paid referees all would be gravy and unicorns.  His initial complaint is “when my local area and territorial unions dissolved as USA Rugby went to the geographical union model, combined there was a surplus of upwards of $100,000 to be dealt with. That means members were charged upwards of $100,000 in membership fees over the years without receiving the value of their investment. Made my stomach turn a bit. “

 

Where did he get this $100,000 figure?   To start, Local Area Unions did NOT dissolve with the switch to a Geographical Union model – Northern California Rugby Football Union still exists, as does Southern California, Pacific Northwest, Met NY, Heart of America (Clifton’s own LAU), ect… they all still exist.   What no longer exists are Territorial Unions and if his Territory had $100,000 when it broke up, then that is something different.   When the Pacific Coast was dissolved they had a surplus of money (nowhere near $100K) that was earmarked for Grizzly events so to spend it they arranged a couple of Grizzly tours and went out in style using the money exactly as it was allocated, for a Pacific Coast Grizzly representative tour.   Mt Clifton apparently doesn’t realize that a TU (or a LAU) is NOT the same as a referee society.    I really don’t see any local referee society in the world with that kind of cash lying around and probably not even a national society.    Don’t start blaming the referees for monetary irregularities of the TU.

 

He now turns his attention to referee payments and comes out with some numbers he made up.   Remember, however, that paying referees is a very new concept.  We volunteered our time before and many referees still refuse payment, doing what they do for the love of the game.   He continues, “I get there are operating costs for referee societies. They pay out mileage, and sometimes they fly in better referees for bigger games. They occasionally pay for evaluators. There is kit, maybe a recruitment budget, money set aside for development, etc. “    Glad to see he recognizes that there is overhead to running a referee society, although when referees are flown in to Pelicanland for matches the quality usually goes down.  We are, in fact, a net exporter of top referees for big matches.  (HA!)    He then proposes that referee fees be raised to $300/game, pay the ref $200/game and $40 ea for ARs (he calls them line judges because, you know, he is an experienced referee).   Sounds great, I would love to get $200 per match.   Now we here in Northern California charge $100 per match and I would like to have him explain to the clubs why they are having their match fees tripled with no change in service, because, trust me on this, you will never be able to find enough referees and ARs to send a team of three to every match.   Not even close.   In Pelicanland most B side matches go uncovered and during the meat of the season several referees do double duty, and we are one of if not the strongest societies in the country.  Now you are magically going to find touch judges for all of these matches as well?

 

The tripling of referee fees would cause several clubs to fold because they can’t afford the referees – how would that be good for rugby?   This may not have occurred to Mr Clifton because his bio lists him as the Head Coach and Director of Rugby at Lindenwood University (although strangely the team’s website and USA Rugby page lists JD Stephenson) and Lindenwood is a varsity program.  Well done them, but that tells me the players aren’t paying for referee fees out of their club dues, the University is taking care of that.

 

If this was an April Fools joke then consider me well and truly fooled.    If not, and I suspect not, Pat Clifton is demonstrating the critical thinking acumen of a concussed duckling and the complex problem solving abilities of Donald Trump discussing foreign policy.   This section was originally much longer but I had to edit it down because it was becoming redundant (You see what he just said?  Here is why he is wrong).   The astounding ignorance and pure condescension exhibited in this article, to borrow Mr Clifton’s own phrase, turns my stomach.

 

Pro Rugby Update

 

Last week’s HP had a passionate defense of and plea to support Pro Rugby from Dr Bruce Carter.  I was fired up and have been eagerly scouring all news sources for updates, promotions, advertisement, ect.    Curious at not finding anything I sent a request to the Associated Press about Pro Rugby and got this response:

 

“Chirrup, chirrup.”

-Crickets

 

Let us be clear here, the only reason you, dear reader, and the editorial staff here at HP even know about the existence of Pro Rugby is because we are connected to the rugby community.    I have not been able to find any outside source mentioning the existence of a league that is set to kick off their inaugural season in a couple of weeks.   This is a pattern that has been consistent since the announcement of the league – a complete information blackout when the polar opposite is what was called for.   Even finding out basics like how many teams were in the league and where these teams would be located was like pulling teeth but less painful.   The latest move, to ask for unpaid “social media ambassadors” to generate publicity is typical of the whole process, because, you know, Facebook and Twitter are free.    This is supposed to be a professional operation, not another semipro, volunteer driven enterprise.   For details on how well that works see the Super League.

 

Make no mistake, the US needs a professional league if we have any ambitions to play with the rest of the world, but this needs to be a successful pro league, not a flash in the pan XFL league.   If you don’t have the  money to fund it, then DON’T DO IT.   If you aren’t organized enough to start then DON’T START.  A failed league would do more harm than no league at all as it would just reinforce the perception that Americans won’t care about rugby.

 

Pro Rugby needs to hire professional PR and marketing people and not rely on the untrained fan with a Twitter account.   Because that always ends well.

 

Pro Rugby needs to send out regular press releases, blanket the media with details, tidbits and information.   Many sources will ignore it but some will not and the word will get out.  The PR and marketing people above should be calling sources directly and selling the league.

 

Pro Rugby can not rely on rugby players and rugby players alone to support the league, but that is what they are doing.   Pro Rugby needs to draw in casual fans who are new to the game and hook them.  Thus, the marketing mentioned above.

 

It may be too late to back out but this league looks to be set up to fail.   I really, really hope not, though.

 

Laying Down Some Knowledge

Our April Society meeting is coming up and on that note, a message from our Noble Leader, Pelicus Iudex Pennipes:

 

We are moving into playoff mode for the 2016 season and have a full slate of games through April.  Please note your availability in Assignr as far in advance as possible.

 

Our last society meeting for the 2016 season is set for April 13th, 7:00 PM, at the SFGG clubhouse on Treasure Island.  Our presenters will be:

 

  • Matt Hetterman: officiating the scrums
  • Tim Lew:  7’s officiating

 

Food will be provided.  We are asking those of you who have officiated matches that have resulted in ties to bring refreshments.  It’s better to provide a six pack now rather than buy at some more expensive event latter.  Please note we will be reviewing the match scores and taking notes

 

Eternal Pelicus At The Meeting

More from Pelicus Iudex Pennipes:

 

Immediately following the presentation Pelicus Pedem Referre (James Hinkin) will be facilitating the naming of our new officials.  To my knowledge we have several officials that are new to our flock and have yet to receive their Pelican names.  While this might be an oversight it is none the less unacceptable.  Those officials that have yet to claim their rightful nomenclature may find themselves with names they might not appreciate: Pelicus Littlus Dickus is just one example.  Newbies, please visit the website http://pelicanrefs.com/about/eternal-pelicus/, review the criteria, and present your pelicus name to the society’s scribe, James Hinkin, prior to the society meeting.  If you don’t the flock will be forced to name you

Final Meeting Notes – Kit

If you have not received your kit for this year please show up to the meeting or make arrangements.   This is by far the easiest way to get your kit as logistically it is difficult to get them out to more remote Pelicans and may take some time.

Any kit left over at the end of the season will be made into a quilt to keep my toes warm next winter.

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 Edward Nigma, of Question Mark, CA who asks:

 

“Riddle me this.   If there is rugby year round and referees for these matches, why does the NCRRS stop having monthly meetings in May?”

 

Thank you for your question, Mr Nigma and that is quite the conundrum you have postulated.  The simple answer is this: by the time May rolls around we know everything.

 

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 the following video: https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=_Uz0_gTaOnY

 

On To The Game Reports!

 

We are again starting off with a report from back east.   All of these exotic club names and places makes one truly aware of the global reach of this fine sport.  I mean, there is not a “Los”, “Las”, “San” or “Santa” anywhere to be found.   Amazing.

 

Date: 03/26/2016

Prince William County 57 – North Bay Div 4 21

Location: Aberdeen, MD

Referee: Valerio, Stephen

 

A week after being in the snow Saturday was sunny and in the 60s. I was looking forward to a great day of rugby when my app took me to a dead end, supposedly where the pitch was. Luckily I had a call with someone familiar with the area and he mentioned that the pitch was behind a Home Depot, so I doubled backed and circled the store to find a small gravel path that led to the pitch which was squeezed between the Home Depot, a residential neighborhood and a highway.

 

Prince William County came up from Virginia in a tight race for the Central championship and the opportunity for promotion and it showed from the kick-off. Despite a soft pitch, Prince William County raced out to a quick 35-0 lead at the half. However, North Bay played it tight in the second half, but found the deficit too much to overcome. I had to decline North Bay’s barbecue hospitality due to a pending dinner with the in-laws, but hopefully will get a chance to sample it in the future.

 

Date: 03/24/2016

Solano 26 – Jesuit 60

Referee: Boyer, Rich

 

Thursday night lights, Solo v. Jesuit.  Two of the top high school teams in the nation squared off in a Premier division match.  Jesuit struck first on a penalty kick, followed shortly thereafter with a converted try.  Solo then seemed to shake off the cobwebs and put together multiple phase ball earning them a penalty kick.  The teams parried back and forth, with Jesuit scoring converted tries and Solo hanging around with penalty kicks.  22-9 at half.  The Solo wing collected the second half restart and scorched down the sidelines to make it 22-14.  But Jesuit would answer back, as they did all night, with another converted try.  Very good backline phases and overlaps were frequent when Jesuit had the ball.  Solo had to work harder to find gaps, with their excellent flyhalf stepping half gaps and placing strategic pop kicks into space for his Solo players to collect.   In the end Jesuit enjoyed the majority of ball and made the most of it.  Thayer at flanker was dead on with kicks (7/8 on conversions and 2/2 on penalties).  Credit to Solo, they never quit and ended up scoring the last try.  A clean, well played match with very good tactics.

 

 

Date: 03/26/2016

Aptos 75 – SF Fog 10

Referee: Bernstein, Bruce

 

Beautiful day & field on top a hill , drive to Preston Park by CSUMB & Ft. Ord in Marina & back with a late lunch stop @ Phil’s Fish Market for Happy Hour half priced white sangrias & Blackened Scallops & a stop in Santa Cruz.  Good competitive fairly played 3rd side match but Aptos was much quicker with more numbers & long runs by their fullback & outside center in the 1st half leading 35-5 while their forwards had some good runs in the 2nd half (adding 40-5).  Nice BBQ after match right at park,

 

 

Date: 03/26/2016

Baracus B 50 – Berkeley B 55

Referee: Madsen, Erik

 

This was a match delayed due to rain and played just before Easter. With that, each team scraped up enough to put 12 on the field for both sides. BA put on a lot of points in the first half with great offloads and big breaks. The story of the second half was just the opposite with Berkeley doing a lot of scoring. The back and forth sprint-a-thon ended 55-50 Berkeley.

 

 

Date: 03/26/2016

Chico St Women 58 – University of Washington 3

Referee: Hettermann, Matt

 

Chico St. Women book a spot in the national round of 8 – including a perfectly executed drop goal …

 

 

Date: 03/26/2016

Chico State 47 – UCSC 12

Referee: Pescetti, David

 

No report received

 

 

Date: 03/26/2016

Chico State B 3 – UCSC B 0

Referee: Hosley, David

 

The Chico coach informed me after I had inspected the field and met both coaches and came back for captains that the match had been forfeited by UCSC, due to lack of players and men from the Chico senior team would fill in for UCSC.  I went on with the match, as both sides had a number of new players, a number of which had traveled a long ways to play.  Final score was CSU Chico 334, UCSC 29.

 

 

Date: 03/26/2016

Google 29 – South Valley 8

Referee: Simko, Paul

 

Saturday night game at the GarField at the Googleplex.  This was a hard hitting game that was closer than the final score, but sloppiness at the breakdown and penalties were the difference.  The first half was close and started out with some strange events.  Two guys banged heads less than a minute into the match that sent one to the hospital for the 3 inch gash on his forehead.  A little later in the match, I saw a head bounce off the turf about 2 feet back up.  Finally the injury spirits went away and South Valley started out with a penalty kick to take the lead.  Later, Google started the most impressive maul on a lineout at the 10 meter line and went all the way into goal.  South Valley did their part by holding the ball up in goal.  Google scored soon after on a quick tap on a penalty.  Google went in for another try but was tripped by a South Valley player, resulting in a penalty try and a yellow card.  12-8 at the half.  The second half was all Google.

 

 

Date: 03/26/2016

Humboldt State 0 – Santa Rosa JC 64

Referee: Bertolone, Cary

 

Drizzling at the 2:00PM kickoff, turning to light rain, only the fans noticed. Started off pretty even with both teams making big hits and nice tackles. Finally, at the 20 minute mark, SRJC put one in and it was 7-0. They scored again at 25 minutes in, but with two late in the half it was 26-0 at the half. The score was lopsided, but the game was pretty evenly played in the first half with Santa Rosa having better downfield support enabling them to score.

The second half started out even, again, but after 10 minutes, Santa Rosa dominated with their big backs crashing and great follow up by their forwards. Mikey Tomasin is a great scrumhalf for Rosa, his father being the Rosa men’s team scrummy for 20 years (Doc Tomasin), who was there to watch. No cards all game. Humboldt has a lot of young players, so good luck next year. SRJC is off to Southern Cal next weekend, as the number 2 seed {behind Cal Maritime as the number 1 seed) . Good luck to all in the playoffs!

 

 

Date: 03/26/2016

Humboldt State Women 66 – UNR Women 12

Referee: Bretz, Paul

 

Too many weapons for Humboldt State and too few options for UNR led to the one sided affair.  UNR never gave up and for their efforts scored the last try in the closing stanza of play.   Thanks go out to Robert and Eric for running the lines and a big shout out to Pete Smith for providing match commentary.

 

 

Date: 03/26/2016

Mendocino 17 – Reno 31

Referee: Byrnes, Bryant

 

Your father’s bare knuckled rugby, just you and me. In the lovely and green outback of northern Northern California, Reno-who for the second week in a row drove four and a half hours-had 15 players; Meno had about 17. And some damn fool had a drone over the field for part of the game.

 

The first half was exploratory surgery-Mendo ahead 10-7 at 40 minutes. The second half was all Reno. Their superior back line-it must be said-asserted itself and scored four tries. In the last ten minutes, unhappily there were some unanticipated failures to adhere to the core value of sportsmanship. Such is life in D3.

 

 

Date: 03/26/2016

Modesto 76 – Marin 10

Referee: Fenaroli, Steven

 

Kudos and thanks to Scott Wood for joining me for the day to give me some feedback. It’s always nice to have someone to give you immediate feedback. Onto the setup, the pitch was wonky from the start. 22m was not at the appropriate place, the flags were on the wrong markings. Then during a break away, there were a number of issues with one of the people running touch and one even had to be removed to avoid further abuse. Modesto had limited numbers but both teams were ready for a match. Modesto took a commanding lead with break always and chip kicks that broke through the defensive line. I knew about 10 minutes into things that spring had arrived when I found myself warm and sweaty. It’s nice to have the sun back but I think we will be relishing the 60 degree weather soon enough. Marin kept battling and managed two tries. Spirits were high and the game was enjoyable.

 

 

Date: 03/26/2016

Riordan  26 – Danville 49

Referee: Travitz, Jason

 

Beautiful day at Treasure Island (in Michigan it would be the start of the spring season and snowing / raining / freezing cold).

Score was Danville 25 – Roirdan 12 at the end of the first half, including two PKs from the Danville kicker

Final score was Danville 49 – Riordan 26

Danville moved the ball wide and had a number of long runs with a couple ending in tries.  Riordan forwards moved the ball forward with hard runs when they had possession.

 

 

Date: 03/26/2016

Sacramento Amazons 0 – Danville 0

Referee: Wilson, Giles

 

Saturday is a rugby day and this day started out with the promise of a top girl’s HS game. I arrived at the field in time to catch up with Neil MacDonald at half time of his game between the Blackhawks and EPA Razorbacks. As I wandered around the field I bumped into several old friends including Terry Gascoigne and Dan Rose before having a brief chat with Luke Gross who was out in the sun with his young baby to watch some rugby.

 

As the men’s game finished, I became concerned about the absence of either the Sacramento Amazons or the Danville Oaks. I started making calls to see who knew what.

 

About the time that I spoke with Mark Carney, who hadn’t heard anything, Terry heard from one of the Sacramento people that “Danville had forfeited” on Saturday morning. I was soon called back by both the girl’s rep for NorCal rugby and then Mark to confirm that the game was not going to happen. They had not been advised in advance and I’m sure will be seeking explanations for why the scheduled game between the nationally #1 ranked team vs #6 ranked team, failed to happen.

 

The lack of respect shown by both teams to the league and the game in general for failing to notify anyone is appalling; the fact that I drove 170 miles for no reason is insignificant when it seems likely that two other teams had no referee.

 

 

Date: 03/26/2016

UC Davis 96 – Arizona State 10

Referee: Carney, Mark

 

It was a one sided affair from the get go. Stand out performances from UCD 12, 3 and 6. On the ASU side, #’s 15 and 9 had good games, but as teams, the UCD side clearly out performed ASU in every facet of the game.

 

 

Date: 03/26/2016

USF 0 – Cal Maritime 49

Referee: McDougall, Grant

 

Cal Maritime dominated the game with a strong forward play.

 

 

Date: 03/26/2016

USF Women 25 – Fresno State Women 59

Referee: Leisek, Joe

 

A wonderful rugby Saturday at the West Coast Conference championships, held at Cal Maritime. USF coach/conference commissioner/NCRRS board member Vicki Hudson organized a first-class event, complete with a referee’s tent featuring snacks, drinks, and comfortable chairs. (Thank you, Vicki.) Referees in attendance included Paul Bretz, who refereed the DII match, and assistant referees Eric Rauscher and Robert Hammack, who worked both games. Stadium announcer Pete Smith earned positive reviews for his commentary. Members of the Santa Clara women’s rugby club volunteered as #4-5-6 officials, as well as other tasks. Truly a fantastic rugby event.

 

First up was the DIII title game between Fresno State and USF. The two teams quickly made it clear they were there to play an open game with multiple phases and distribution of the ball out wide. Fresno won most of the set pieces in the first half and moved forward through many attempted tackles. The teams were a little more evenly matched in the second half, as USF played much better defensively. This game was a pleasure to referee, as both teams gave it their all and really focused on their game plans.

 

Many thanks to Eric and Robert for their help and to Paul for providing a coaching report.

 

The women’s rugby blog The Breakdown (www.therugbybreakdown.com) provides a great account of the match. Here’s an excerpt of the post by editor Jackie Finlan:

 

“The West Coast conference named its first-ever DIII champion on Saturday, and both finalists are advancing to the next stage of regional playoffs. The DIII championship preceded the DII title match, which occurred on the idyllic campus of the Cal Maritime Academy. The University of San Francisco entered the match as the top seed, but Fresno State was the more polished side in the 59-25 win.

 

“Within the first minute of play, eventual MVP Stephanie Rovetti tore down the sideline for the first of her five tries for Fresno State. The grad student is a former basketball player for BYU and Fresno State, and younger sister to former BYU All American Morgan, who currently plays for Life West. Rovetti is in her first year as a rugby player and she lined up against USF freshmen along the sideline. Fresno did well to continually move the ball and spread the field, and that was enough room for Rovetti to slip through the defense.

 

“USF enjoyed the lead during the first quarter, answering Rovetti’s opening try and then tacking on a crowd-pleasing drop goal from flyhalf and captain Sydney Abel. But then the Fresno forwards took over and continued to steal USF’s scrums for more and more possession. USF shored up the set piece in the second half and stole some put-ins of its own, but the Bulldogs made good use of ball in hand to pull away in the first half.

 

“Outside center Jacklyn Blankenship, flanker Nikki Wheeler and Rovetti (2) dotted down pull-away tries, breaking lots of tackles along the way, and fullback Cady Riley handled the extras. USF No. 8 Sydney Beyma powered over the line for a dive-over try to end the half, giving Fresno a 31-13 lead into the break.

 

“Things looked bleak as Fresno sent inside center Jenna Balestra across for another try, and Riley’s conversion produced a 38-13 scoreline. But then Beyma – a tall, powerful volleyball convert who is still learning the game – dotted down back-to-back tries, 38-25.

 

“But Fresno stuck to the game plan, moving the ball wide to Rovetti for two more tries and another from hooker Clarissa Sparks for the 59-25 win.”

 

 

This Week’s Photo

The door to the referee changing room at SFGG leaves no doubt as to where you are.

Pelican Door

Hail, Pelicus!

For the Senate

Pelicus Pedem Referre

 

Mad Marchness

HAIL PELICUS!

 

Mad Marchness

 

Am I upset?   Can I be upset at an upset?  Should I be upset that an upset upset my brackets?   The most upsetting thing about this was I was up setting my brackets for days and upsetting my sleep schedule just for them to be useless.

 

The whole thing is a setup.   When the tournament was set up the setup suggested that teams were set up to fail.  The brackets were set, up to the point of naming the play-in sides yet the setup didn’t act the way it was set up.

 

At least I didn’t bet on this stuff.  I really don’t pay any attention to college basketball and have about as much chance of picking a winner as the proverbial coworker who picks teams based on favorite colors or vacation spots (and thus nailed the Hawai’i game).

 

So am I upset?  Of course – I was set up.   Now it is time to concentrate on my mantra: “DON’T PANIC!” and try to be like Ford Prefect.   Hey you, sass that hoopy Ford Prefect?   There’s a frood who really knows where his towel is.

 

When Scriptoris Speaks, People Listen

 

Commentary in support of Pro Rugby from Pelicus Scriptoris, Dux Deux, Dr Bruce Carter:

 

Some of our rugby days go back farther than others. Mine go back to the formation of USA Rugby and the birth of Rugby Magazine.

 

But we all go back to falling in love with a niche sport, one that our friends confused for another, ball-related sport of one sort or another, one that somehow dovetailed with our particular athletic skills better than the rest and called our names.

 

As a new player, I used to carry a rugby ball in my lap while driving.

 

We’ve all had dreams beyond our own glories on the pitch: that awareness of our sport would spread, that more and better athletes would be drawn to compete, that the giant would awaken and the money would flow.

 

The youthquake in American rugby began of course in California but has been rumbling across the fruited plain for a decade now. Colleges you never heard of have varsity programs and offer scholarships. More programs and players are taking the game seriously, and facilities are improving here and there, bit by bit.

 

So, how could we lose to Brazil, one of the lowest-rated teams in the world?

 

The problem is that the future is always arriving but it is not evenly distributed.

 

USA Rugby has a few dozen players at most who are involved in full-time training environments, playing against significant competition, more than even a dozen times a year. The teams we dream of beating have hundreds of such players, and most of them play several dozen hard, meaningful games a year.

 

We need a domestic league.

 

We’ve had domestic leagues, and still do, but the players are burdened by jobs with the attendant restrictions on time, availability and travel opportunities.

 

Pro Rugby will be changing all of that next month. Sacramento will have home games at Bonney Field on April 17, May 8 and May 15. San Francisco has home fixtures at Boxer Stadium (Balboa Park) on April 24, May 8 and May 29. You and several friends and family members need to be there.

 

The NFL started with a bunch of laborers playing on weekends for a few dollars. That was less than a century ago. They had the advantage of college football already being the most popular human sport (leaving out horse racing), but still they grew from nothing.

 

If you have dreamed of the day when the USA could win games at world cups, when you didn’t have to explain to your friends that we always get hammered, you can help make it happen: support Pro Rugby. Buy tickets and support the concessions.

 

You’ll be able to tell your grandchildren that you were an early investor in Real American Rugby.

 

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 Grunt Monobrow of South Valley, CA who asks:

 

“I read the article on therugbyrepublic.com that you linked last week, though I had to ask help with some of the longer words.  I am a prop and always wear a 1 or 3 on my back.   Did you really mean that I am guilty of dirty and unfair play as soon as I step on the pitch?”

 

Thank you for your question, Mr Monobrow.   The answer is Yes.   Unequivocally, indubitably and undeniably Yes.   In fact, you are probably guilty of unfair play even before you step on the pitch.   It’s your fault for being a prop

 

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 the following video: https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=_Uz0_gTaOnY

 

On To The Game Reports!

 

We are starting off with a report from back east.   Keep them coming…

 

Date: 03/18/2016

Archbishop Spalding 50 – Frederick U-19s 0

Location: Severn, MD

Referee: Valerio, Stephen

 

Archbishop Spalding is a Catholic High School of about 2000 co-ed students. The match was played on a fairly new artificial pitch which was in great shape. A little experience on a rugby match and how long it is would be good for the scoreboard operator, but you have to appreciate starting a match with a proper national anthem.

 

Frederick Maryland is the home of the Maryland School of the Deaf and 4 players for Frederick were hearing impaired. Luckily Mike Hill, who had covered the JV match before had experience and we went through the procedures beforehand. Both sides played with them in good spirit, though all of us were inconsistent in using them. It did make managing the players a little tricky in trying to warn them to get back and occasionally waiting for the one player who could translate to jog over to help with questions.

 

The match itself was played under the lights, and was a little chilly but a comfortable temperature. Spalding dominated the lineouts winning their own ball and a good share of Frederick’s. In addition they were strong in the scrum, but not as dominate. From early on they were in control and just sustained the pressure throughout. An early season match, it was a little sloppy and lots of random infractions from some inexperienced players.

 

Date: 03/18/2016

Mount St Mary’s 48 – West Chester University 10

Location: Emmitsburg, MD

Referee: Valerio, Stephen

 

Mount St Mary’s is moving to the new DI-AA Chesapeake Conference in the fall after being a national power at the NSCRO for several years. West Chester University plays in the DI-AA Keystone Conference and made the trip south to Emmitsburg after coming off an Argentinian tour. While we had experienced temperatures in the 70s earlier in the week, we got to have our match played in snowy conditions. The cold wasn’t a huge factor, but the pitch took a beating, particularly one corner where we had several scrums. Handling wasn’t crisp as you would expect, but the players adapted and the handling improved as the match went on.

 

Mount St Mary’s had previously beaten West Chester by a healthy amount and West Chester came fired up to play. However, Mount St Mary’s collected the opening kick-off and ran it in for a try just 30 seconds in. Mount St Mary’s was a more cohesive group and played a better structured defense. West Chester struggled with the offsides line and lost a player for 10 minutes in the first half from repeated infractions. However, Mt St Mary’s had a few rare periods of indiscipline and West Chester used them to collect their 2 tries. That being said, the match was never in doubt.

 

Next we have a travelling Pelican checking in.  Well done, indeed…

 

Date: 03/12/2016

Tucson Red Mountain 40 – Tucson Black Birds 7

Referee: Byrnes, Bryant

 

In southern Arizona for business, pleasure (read national parks), and medical sun, I was graciously assigned matches by the Arizona Rugby Referee Society, which is a component of the South California Society. Thanks to Phil Klevorick, Mike Lyons, and Rob Speers for the courtesies extended.

 

We in Nor Cal assume as a matter of course we have the best rugby in the country. We may well, but there is some pretty good stuff in our very own outback. This was high school, at the reasonable hour of 9am considering the heat. And excellent high school rugby; I believe that Red Mountain is ranked third in the country. They were led by the biggest prop in creation and had their very own cheeky, chippy Kiwi flanker. But the Black Birds gave them a game-from what I could see, Red Mountain’s 40 points may have been the least they scored this year.

 

Date: 03/19/2016

Phoenix 64 – Camelback 21

Referee: Byrnes, Bryant

 

The venue was Phoenix; at 1pm hot, low 90s, and dry, dry, dry. If you are from the Bay Area, it was like a match in Bad Water, Death Valley.

 

This was mid season D1. Phoenix probably brought 50 guys and had a relentless forward pack. (And the inside center was rather a beast.) Camelback was just happy to field a side. It told me six of its starters were either injured or unavailable.

 

Regardless; any rugby player who has played more than a few seasons has been on both sides of this equation. Play on.

 

Phoenix B 38, Camelback B 15. Everybody deserves a run. When the B side ref did not show up, I postponed my Gatorade IV drip for an hour. 10 to 12 at half, the fresher legs prevailed in the second period.

 

And now on to the local action…

 

Date: 03/19/2016

Chico 55 – Life West 2 32

Referee: Tucker, Chris

 

A Chico side that looked like it finally remembered how to play, hosted a Life West side that was struggling for numbers after they had most of their first squad pulled into the SF pro team.  Nonetheless, rugby was played, rugby was enjoyed, sun shone, world kept turning etc.  In practice we ended up with two attack-minded sides who scored 87 points between them, and ran me close to the 4 miles I view as a reasonable game.  Chico pulled out an early lead, thanks to a strong kicking performance — 3 penalties and a converted try in the first quarter, and Life just didn’t have enough to keep pace.  It was 36-10 at the half, and at that point Chico began to put their replacements in, and the game went off the boil.  Tries were exchanged for 40 more minutes, but we were done.

 

Thanks to Mr. Jagoe for the beer after the game.  Always entertaining watching B-side with a beer in hand!

 

 

Date: 03/19/2016

Colusa 70 – Silicon Valley 15

Referee: Tetler, Jen

 

There was lots of good rugby going on up in Mendocino this weekend, and a beautiful drive to get there.  Colusa came out strong at the outset, with two quick scores in the first 10 minutes.  They continued to be dominant throughout the game, including a try off a blocked kick and a few breakaways.  The first half ended 34-0 in favor of Colusa.  In the second half, Silicon Valley showed that they would not give up, and they got 3 tries during the half, showing some good handling, running, and support.  Nevertheless, Colusa still had the fitness and speed to score several tries of their own.

 

 

Date: 03/19/2016

Diablo B 14 – Berkeley B 15

Referee: Madsen, Erik

 

In a slightly shortened game both teams fronted 15 players (most pulling double duty) for a back and forth match. The first points went to Diablo after the Berkeley scrum half had his kick “charged” at the back of the scrum by the back side of his own 8 man about 10 meters out from the try line.

 

 

Date: 03/19/2016

EPA Razorbacks 31 – SFGG 13

Referee: Pescetti, David

 

On a bright sunny day in easy palo alto two great sides clashed. As it was the last home match for the Razorbacks they performed their unique haka. An incredibly close match on this rugby Saturday.

 

EDITER’S NOTE: I try not to edit or interrupt in the middle of writups too often but I must say I love the new nickname for East Palo Alto.

 

Both teams went for kicking points early in the match, each team missing their kicks. SFGG put up the first points of the match kicking in the 14th minute and going up 0 – 3. There were long stretches of uninterrupted play that was great fun to be a part of that left everyone gasping for air under the hot sun. The Razorback threatened but were unable to secure points until the 31st minute where they too successfully kicked points evening it all at 3 apiece. On the following possession Golden Gate answered 3 minutes later, kicking, and going up 3 – 6. With less than a minute remaining in the half the Razorbacks were threatening, but GG won a scrum close to their goal line. Winning their scrum they had to hold the ball for a phase or two but they kicked it away because the pressure was too great. Unfortunately they missed touch and EPA had a chance to counter attack. They made the most of it, scored and converted. EPA took their first lead of the match at the half way mark going up 10 – 6.

 

The second half was just as stubborn as the first half. Kicking was a key part to this game. Both teams were able to relieve pressure with booming kicks. There was no score until the final quarter of the match were SFGG was able to score and convert regaining the lead 10 – 13. However, the rest of the way it was an EPA game. They responded to going down with their own converted try 5 minutes later taking the lead and not turning back. GG pulled all the stops in order to try and score again, but were unable to and their tired arms couldn’t bring down the physical Razorback runners. The Razorbacks put up two more scores and ended the match with a hard earned victory 31 – 13.

 

A wonderful match to have taken part of.

 

 

Date: 03/19/2016

Jesuit 64 – Mother Lode 13

Referee: Pohlman, John

 

BIG DAY OF RUGBY…is what the flyer said.  And indeed it was.  This Saturday I had the good luck and privilege to referee the Jesuit Varsity match against Mother Lode at Bonney Field in Sacramento.  The last time I was at Bonney Field I watched the Eagles play a pre World Cup warm up.

My game started at 1:00PM followed by Granite Bay/SOLO match.  After seeing these four high level Variety programs I was quite impressed.   Great athletes, great coaches, great venue.  A select side from these four team could go far.

After the games a skills display was presented by the new Professional Rugby Team from Sacramento.  Indeed, BIG DAY OF RUGBY.

I had the pleasure to referee Mother Lode earlier in the season against power house Danville.  Unfortunately Mother Lode was again over matched.    Jesuit controlled the ball spun it wide and #14 Jamie Thomas scored twice in the first twenty minutes.  Jesuit captain Christian Dyer was my man of the match.  His unselfish play set up at least half of Jesuits nine try s.  Mother Lode played hard all game long.  They were skilled, talented and good, just overmatched.

Thanks to Matt and Steve my outstanding AR’s .

 

 

Date: 03/19/2016

Marin 24 – Google 24

Referee: Bertolone, Cary

 

Another super site Saturday, this time in Ukiah, with about 11 teams converging for league games. Did I say 11, not 12 teams? Mendo did an outstanding job of hosting with a lot of food, water, beer, tents, etc and the two fields were right by the beer gardens and food, so everyone could watch.

Anyway, I had the first game, between Google and Marin. Google kicked off and scored 5 minutes in to it with their forwards securing the ball, flyhalf kicking and the outside center/wing combo scoring in the corner, just the way it’s supposed to happen. Marin scored 9 minutes later and converted for a 7-5 lead. Google came right back with their forward work and scored between the posts, taking the lead 12-7. Marin closed the gap with a successful penalty kick. With no time left in the half, Google dotted another one down to take a 17-10 halftime lead.

By now, there were several other teams watching and another game was kicking off, so a lot of sideline action was making it more fun. Ten minutes in, Marin scored a converted try by Hamid, their flyhalf, and the game was tied. Google took the lead on the 19th minute, Marin scored on the 24th minute, tying it at 24 with 16 minutes to go, giving both teams plenty of chances of winning it. Good defense prevented more scoring and the game ended, tied up 24-24. Good spirits, clean rugby, it was fun.

 

EDITOR’S NOTE:  See you at the next meeting, Cary, and don’t forget the beer!

 

Date: 03/19/2016

Modesto 82 – SF Fog 0

Referee: Leisek, Joe

 

Game 2 of the D3  Supersite in Ukiah, graciously hosted by the Mendocino Steam Donkeys. Lots of one-way traffic in this match, with Modesto’s backline running many misdirections and sevens-style movements. The forwards kept it tight when necessary to provide good ball. The “home” team scored seven tries in the first half and six in the second. Though outgunned, the Fog showed heart and kept trying to make the gain and goal lines to the end. A clean game played by both sides and a pleasure to referee. Great to see Cary, Jen, Bruce, and Grant!

 

 

Date: 03/19/2016

Redwood 17 – Shasta 41

Referee: Hammack, Robert

 

Kickoff was delayed because neither side had 15 players. Got underway with 14 each side. Just started to get warm as we kicked off. Good play on both sides to start the match. Shasta seemed a little taken aback by Redwood’s early play that led to 2 tries. Redwood’s crafty #10 directed play well but went out midway through the first half with a leg injury. Redwood led by 10 at the half, 17-7. Shasta’s fitness and more experienced players took over in the second half as they ran away with it, outscoring Redwood 34-0.

 

 

Date: 03/19/2016

Reno 64 – South Valley 35

Referee: Bernstein, Bruce

 

A lot closer match then the score indicates.  South Valley was ahead @ half 25-24.  Reno with 14 players starting lost a few more to injuries & a yellow card in the 2nd half but still managed to tough out some impressive scores by their robo halfback with one eye patched up from being split open & a fullback who couldn’t walk but ran in 2 long tries!  South Valley showed a big improvement over last Saturday’s performance & could have used a few subs themselves.  Great 5th Super Site scene for our 3rd Division hosted admirably by Mendocino which hopefully will be continued next year & maybe for some other divisions & parts of the country & world since fun tournaments are a thing of the past for competitive teams.  Pretty sure all players & refs had a really good time in that environment with very good fields & beer tent, plus the all important sunshine & warm weather.

 

 

Date: 03/19/2016

Riordan  45 – Lamorinda  33

Referee: Sandhill, Peter

 

It’s always nice refereeing or playing or a field with dirt and grass. SFGG field on Treasure Island was lovely and the sun broke thorough on an otherwise cloudy and rainy weekend. The Varsity Premier grouping seems to have a top and bottom this year with both Riordan and Lamorinda in the bottom half. Both played well, although a little scrappy in the first ten minutes. Lots of running rugby, tries galore and free flowing play. A pleasure to ref. The Riordan forwards had the upper hand and the Lamo back, slightly had the upper hand. The better team won and probably could have scored a few more points if not for some technicalities around the breakdown. Both teams had good goal kickers, which is a pleasure and added to the tight contest. Hats off to Riordan who had the upper hand on the day.

 

 

Date: 03/19/2016

Sacramento Blackhawks 36 – San Jose 30

Referee: Hettermann, Matt

 

No report received

 

 

Date: 03/19/2016

Sacramento Lions 52 – Fresno 10

Referee: Akroyd, Phil

 

A lovely spring day in the valley and I was happy to be back on the field.  After picking up the G.I. bug that was going around the Las Vegas 7s, then getting a serious case of Influenza, I thought I might never ref again.  It was around 70 degrees and sunny for the D1 meeting at Robla Park.  The field had both lots and no grass at the same time, with some spots resembling my patio and some like a rain forest.

 

The Lions started slowly, and both teams were surprisingly rusty, given that they have played many games this season and the conditions were good.  Once the Lions hit their stride and they got into their 7s style of play, they really pulled away.  Fresno were often offside at the back of the ruck and their captain consistently reacted as though I was accusing him of murder.  Not constructive.

 

There was a “first” in the game.  A player had to change his shorts mid-game because they were covered with poop.  Thankfully for him, it was not his own.  It was a gift from a local dog, or at least that was his story.  The players were thankful for the time-off period while the victim incinerated the garment, because nobody wants to be covered in poop during a rugby match.

 

 

Date: 03/19/2016

Santa Rosa 27 – Life West 64

Referee: Bretz, Paul

 

Beautiful day in Santa Rosa.  Santa Rosa opened the scoring first with a penalty kick.  Once Life got on the front foot of attacking ball they were hard to stop.  Santa Rosa scored three of their tries on 5 meter scrums, one a penalty try and two push over tries.  Neither team had all of their starters.  Will be a fun rematch in the post season.

 

 

Date: 03/19/2016

Santa Rosa B 10 – Life West B 43

Referee: Simko, Paul

 

Santa Rosa was short players and they told Life when they arrived that there wouldn’t be a second game, so Life shipped their second squad somewhere else to get a game.  When I told them about my 2.5 hour journey, they wanted to get a second game in.  So they played 10’s with uncontested scrums, 10 minute halves. This game was all Life.  There were a couple of older guys out on the Rosa side.  Got a run in and it was clean and fun.  The chicken, rice, salad post match feast was solid.  The upside is that I got home early and got a workout in.

 

 

Date: 03/19/2016

UC Davis 40 – Fresno State 10

Referee: Gordon, Preston

 

This was a nice clean game with a fairly low penalty county on a warm and sunny day in Davis, on a freshly-mowed pitch. What’s not to like about that? The Aggies had the upper hand in most aspects of the game, with better ball handling out wide vs. the Bulldogs’ stronger scrum. The home team was a little more willing to move the ball out to their backs, while the visitors tended to keep it to one or two passes before crashing into opponents to form another ruck.

 

The first and second halves both went 20-5 to UC Davis, with their 6 tries, 2 conversions (2 others hit the post but bounced the wrong way), and 2 penalty goals coming out on top compared to Fresno State’s 2 unconverted tries.

 

Thanks for the help of the two touch judges on both sides, and to the players for a great game of rugby. Good stuff.

 

 

Date: 03/19/2016

UOP 45 – Sierra College 41

Referee: Wilson, Giles

 

Sierra College have a number of good players and probably should have won this game but about 5 starters did not arrive in time for kick off and this lack of discipline (and respect for team mates) carried over onto the field.

 

The game started with a series of offenses by Sierra; late tackle, offside and when we reached 4 inside 8 minutes the only option was a yellow card. Play went back and forth with UOP not really able to capitalize on the extra player. The flow of penalties had slowed, allowing the game to break out; UOP struggled with the big Sierra runners who kept Sierra in the game. Just as the first yellow card was due to return, a cynical offside at a defensive 5m ruck by Sierra sent their 10 to the sin bin.

 

Half time UOP 14 (2 converted tries) to Sierra 22 (1 converted try and 3 unconverted). At halftime the latest arriving Sierra players joined their more less timely team mates but left Sierra with on 2 further replacements.

 

Shortly after half time, a replacement Sierra center upended the UOP ball carrier when defending around the 5m line. The resulting red card meant that Sierra would play more than half of the game with 14 on the field. With this advantage, UOP began to make some better choices by avoiding the generally bigger and more physical Sierra players to run in 5 tries (3 converted). Sierra remained able to counter punch and scored 3 more tries of their own (2 converted).

 

At the end both teams scored 7 tries but UOP converted 5 while Sierra only converted 3, leading to the 4 point win for UOP.

 

 

Date: 03/19/2016

Vacaville 38 – Baracus 12

Referee: Wood, Scott

TJs: Anil (Vacaville), Charlie (Baracus)

Location: Calif. Medical Facility, Vacaville (outer perimeter)

Attendance (unpaid): 2,349

 

A warm day. First half was besieged with inane penalties, made worse by the referee’s abhorrence of DC reports. HT Vacaville led 19-0. Second half featured better open play and constructive tackles and rucks. Vacaville extended the lead to 31-0 before Baracus responds with two consecutive tries. Vacaville score a sixth try with five minutes remaining.

 

Kudos to both teams for the excellent demonstration of sportsmanship.

 

This Week’s Photo

With no submission from other Pelicans this week I am using a pic from when I went to a Giants game in a bunny suit on Easter Sunday.   Yes this is from 2010 so I am wearing a knit Brain Wilson beard.  You’re welcome.

Hinkin Bunny Baseball

Hail, Pelicus!

For the Senate

Pelicus Pedem Referre

 

 

Springing Forward

HAIL PELICUS!

 

Springing Forward

 

Yes, we are back. With a couple of weeks of rugby to cover this edition of the Hail Pelicus may take more than one bathroom trip.   Vegas has come and gone and so has Vancouver. The clocks have been reset to save electricity and confuse German bombers (or something like that) and rugby has returned to its full glory in Pelicanland.   For those who thirst for the witty banter of Hail Pelicus and are adrift without the results from our great game rest assured that normal service has resumed.   The leagues are hotting, yes, hotting up as the wheat separates from the chaff.     Yes, the mills of Pelicanland grind slowly but they grind exceedingly fine.    And why do we grind?   We knead the dough.     I will leaven you with this: it is the yeast we can do.

 

A Little Tongue In Cheeks Commentary

 

USA Rugby has just announced that Nigel Melville, current CEO of USA Rugby has accepted a job as CEO of Rugby International Marketing (RIM).   So what does that mean for USA Rugby going forward?

 

Yes, Nigel Melville finally got the RIM job that he always wanted.   One could even say that he has been craving this RIM job ever since he became aware that it was a possibility.   One could see him spending a lot of time talking USA Rugby into this RIM job – not an easy task I can assure you.   One question that remains, however, is who actually gave him this RIM job?   Since Rugby International Marketing is a creation of USA Rugby it is possible to speculate that Mr Melville gave himself the RIM job, though we are not sure if he is enough of a legal contortionist and could bend over backwards far enough to do that.   Technically speaking, we here at HP have no legal training so we can not have an official opinion but it looks messy when the head of a non-profit organization creates a for-profit organization with some very close ties, then leaves to lead that for-profit organization. Per USA Rugby’s announcement RIM is a “’for-profit’ commercial entity… that will represent USA Rugby’s current commercial rights” and they followed that up with “Of course, Nigel won’t be far away and there will likely be a great deal of interaction between Nigel in his role at RIM and the new USA Rugby CEO.”   One can only hope that this RIM job is explored in great detail and leads to a healthy intercourse between Mr Melville and USA Rugby, possibly during a live webcast.

 

In any case, this kind of messy RIM job tends to stink and any unwanted hangers on should be washed away before the RIM job commences.   At the very least engaging in this kind of behavior should result in a serious tongue lashing for Mr Melville.   Starting off a RIM job this way could leave a bad taste in the mouth.

 

Once Mr Melville is thoroughly engaged in his RIM job as CEO he is expected to dole out many more RIM jobs in order to fill out and strengthen his staff.   What exactly do these RIM jobs entail, one might ask?   Well, that requires a deeper dive than we here at Hail Pelicus are willing to engage in at this time, although I am sure that it involves furthering the needs of the oval balls and the joy that comes with playing with them. Many in the rugby and financial community are drooling at the possibility of getting one of these coveted RIM jobs.   I am sure that Mr Melville will be taking application for future RIM jobs and if that sort of thing tickles your fancy I say go for it and good luck.

 

The Late Late 7s Show

 

A couple of years ago the USA Sevens in Las Vegas kicked off a few weeks early in order to avoid conflict with the Winter Olympics.   Last year the traditional mid February date was re-established but that lasted only a year.   With the addition of Vancouver to the World Sevens Series the schedule has realigned and the tournament has been moved (I am assuming permanently) to an early March date.   While this may have led to hopes that a later date closer to spring would engender better weather in Vegas (it didn’t) and Vancouver (irrelevant – they play in a dome) the fickle Weather Priestess decided a perfect Saturday would be followed by a cold, windy and rainy Sunday.   It is worth noting that the only time it seriously rained on Sunday was when the US was playing and when it wasn’t raining the wind really started picking up, to the point where the VIP tents had to be taken down proving once again the old adage that it rains on rich and poor alike.   Or possibly there was some divine judgement going on, as Matthew 5:45 states that the Christian God “sendeth rain on the just and on the unjust”.   Personally, I believe that with the USA strutting into Vegas as legitimate Cup threats and all of us Yanks predicting an easy win our delightful Weather Priestess may have had a bit much and decided it was time to punish our hubris.   That’s my theory and I’m sticking to it.

 

So what about the Vegas results?   The USA advanced to the Cup semifinals (hooray!) but didn’t look convincing doing it (booo!).   After a mistake filled loss to Fiji we ended up 4th in a tournament that we only won 2 out of 6 matches – hardly a dominant performance at home.   After an expected win over Wales to warm up we drew with Canada in a game that was snatched from the jaws of victory.   All praise to Canada for not giving up on the game when down 3 tries but the USA needs to learn how to close out matches when we build up these big leads.   Yes, we lost Unufe to injury but if we are targeting a gold medal in Rio we have to be mentally stronger than that.   With Wales taking care of Canada we were into the Cup round again but then put in a lackluster performance against South Africa, getting shut out.   Not a good sign, that.   The stars did align for us, however, as we avoided New Zealand in the quarterfinals to play a surprising Kenya and in that match we actually looked like the team we hope to be.   The ball movement was crisp, the defense was strong and the victory was ours for the second and final time on the weekend.   This set up a semifinal against Fiji that started during the Great Vegas Storm of 2016.   We had possession; we had breaks; we had defense; we had knock ons; we had forward passes.   Yes, we actually looked the better side for most of the match against eventual champions Fiji but just could not handle the weather conditions.   Simple knock ons and forward passes ended at least 3 genuine scoring threats and while you can blame the weather for much of that, Fiji didn’t seem to have the same problem.   Gifting possession to that side is rugby suicide and Fiji made us pay.   With the wind knocked out of us we (again) meekly succumbed to South Africa for a 4th place finish and a move up to 5th overall in the standings.

 

Vancouver was in my opinion a much better tournament for us even with all of the injured or missing players but the results were not as good, losing against that same Fiji side in the quarterfinals.   This is yet another game where we built a lead but could not hang on to it and many of the younger players who stepped up all weekend will hopefully put that in the memory banks as a lesson in concentration and the need for fitness.

 

The Great “If Only” Argument Of American Rugby

 

More breaking news this past week was the announcement that the New England Patriots would allow Nate Ebner to take time and try to make the USA 7s team for the Olympics.   This has always been the dream of rugby in the USA and ties to the old Sleeping Giant myth.   A Super Bowl champion leaves the NFL to play rugby!   If only we could get our best athletes to play rugby, imagine that!   LeBron James dominating lineouts while Demarcus Ware destroys scrums!   Adrian Peterson and Odell Beckham Jr slicing through back lines while NaVarro Bowman tackles everything that moves!

 

Tempting, isn’t it?   Unfortunately life doesn’t work that way but now we have the genuine article in Nate Ebner.   Pat Clifton gives a passionate response to why this is, he claims, “the biggest American rugby news this century”. (See article here: http://www.rugbytoday.com/columns/cliff-notes-why-ebners-return-so-important)

 

Mr Clifton makes some valid points because but my take on this is slightly different.   Yes, this has and will continue to make a big splash in the national media outlets such as ESPN who have almost completely ignored rugby in the past.   The benefits of this level of exposure can not be understated. Previous attempts to include rugby in the national conversation were limited to the Rugby War Goddess clip and ESPN anchors giggling behind their hands at Nigel Melville’s offer to Tim Tebow to play rugby when he was cut from the NFL.   Isn’t that cute? Little rugby wants to play with our NFL castoffs.   We were treated like children playing dress up.

 

But now we have an NFL player in his prime, a man who just won the Super Bowl, changing the conversation with that magic word, “Olympics”, but is Ebner really the answer? Remember all the hype around the 15s World Cup stars joining the 7s circuit this year?   Sonny Bill Williams, Quade Cooper and Brian Habana were all going to be playing 7s and they have… but it took them a few tournaments to crack the travelling squad, to get up to speed, and while they are useful players they are definitely not the stars of their team.   These are professional rugby players, players who are practicing rugby skills every day and are at the top of their game, who needed time to adapt to the 7s game.   Ebner played in high school and college so he has a grounding in rugby skills, but none of that experience can compare to the speed and physicality of international 7s.   He will, in fact, get more benefit from his NFL experience and training regimen.   “But he played for Ohio State in the CRC!” people say and that is true, but remember that the CRC teams are mostly picked not on rugby ability but on the size of their alumni base and Ohio State is a prime example of that.   NBC is trying to sell advertising and the CRC is trying to sell tickets, so their choice of invitees is perfectly understandable, but don’t kid yourself into thinking that these are the best of the best.

 

Does Nate Ebner deserve a look? Absolutely.   Will he make the team? Maybe, trending to doubtful.   If he does, then more power to him and I will be cheering as hard for him as I do for the rest of the squad, but I am not holding my breath.

 

Pelican thoughts and musings

 

Ahmad Bahrami writes and edits The Rugby Republic website and published an article on rugby referees that includes several comments from interviews with Pelican referees.   Worth a read and you can find it here:   http://www.therugbyrepublic.com/blog/2016/3/7/he-who-controls-himself-controls-the-game-including-you

 

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 Sod Emall of Grass Valley, CA who asks:

 

“I was thinking that the turf in Las Vegas at the 7s looked fantastic until I got a closer look and I realized it was fake.   Then I noticed the same thing in Vancouver.   How could World Rugby allow an international event to be played on artificial turf?   What did they players think of it?”

 

Thank you for your question, Sod Emall, and it is an interesting one at that.   My best guess is that the organizers of the USA Sevens, Vancouver Sevens and World Rugby downplayed the turf question as it went by mostly under the radar.   I do not recall any kind of announcement that natural grass would not be used and going forward this may be the new normal. After all, the Saracens in England play on an artificial turf field as well as the University of California here in Pelicanland.   I don’t recall seeing any comments from players on the turf at all so we may just have to get used to it.

 

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 the following video: https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=_Uz0_gTaOnY

 

On To The Game Reports!

 

We are starting off with a report from back east.   Keep them coming.

 

Date: 02/27/2016

Event: Virginia Ruggerfest

Location: Virginia, I am guessing

Referee: Valerio, Stephen

 

With spring coming, the Virginia Ruggerfest is an opportunity for teams to knock the rust (or frost off) before the spring campaigns kick-off in full vigor. The tournament has Varsity, JV and some youth and included a U-23s match as well this year. With an early start, I headed out to the sports complex, taking a highway right over Bull Run (Look kids! History! [continue driving at 65 MPH]). Over the years I have gotten use to looking for the posts as I approach the pitch, but no luck here as the turn-off looked more like a construction zone (which it was). After traveling about a mile down a pot-hole (or cratered) lined road you suddenly drove into a sports complex that has 2 all-weather fields, with more on the way. After parking in the referees’ lot (nice touch) I shook off the 90 minute ride to warm-up. Warming-up was key as the first match started with the thermometer at 30 degrees F (-1 for you metric folk). While it warmed as the tournament went out, the strong wind kept it from getting too comfortable.

 

Prince William 19 Fairfax Police 0

 

The first match was a boys varsity match between Prince William and Fairfax Police sides. With both teams sending out a decent number of first time players, both coaches agreed to uncontested scrums and lineouts. The players noticeably improved on the off-sides at the breakdowns, but Fairfax was routinely lying over the ball which I believe will be a coaching point this week. As is common at this level, one or two standouts could make all the difference. In this case it was the Prince William #8 who gave them strong go forward ball throughout the match and who picked up one of their 3 tries on the day.

 

Loudon 17 Fairfax Police 5

 

Fairfax must have angered somebody as they got me for their second match. Loudon was interested in a fuller game, so lineouts were contested, but scrums remained uncontested. A more heated affair that felt like a match more than a scrimmage, Loudon looked to take the ball quick and to keep moving. Fairfax was better at the breakdowns and the first half ended 5-5. However, Loudon kept the pressure up in the 2nd half and collected 2 more tries including one where Fairfax’s backline defense let them down as the Loudon runner ran through them untouched for the score.

 

My favorite exchange in the match is when one of the sides was a getting a little chatty. At a scrum I called over the captain and asked him to manage it. He yelled “Guys, the ref is God! No talking!” I responded “I don’t know about all that. Have you spoken to my wife?” That delayed the scrum for a minute until we could pull it altogether.

 

NOVA U-23s 26 Griffins U-23s 10

 

The 2 sides pulled together this scrimmage to get go pre-season run in. We played 4 20-minute periods with open subs. NOVAs U-23s had a few players who may have been on the upper end of U-23 and their experience showed in the breakdowns. The Griffins had several strong runs, but their inability to win consistently at the breakdown cost them. NOVA had a strong opening period where the put up 3 tries. After that the frequent substitutions broke up the continuity and some disarray in the NOVA defense led to the Griffins first try in the 3rd period. The Griffins closed out the match with another long try consistent with their strong running abilities.

 

 

Date: 02/27/2016

California 37 – UCLA 3

Referee: Akroyd, Phil

 

Although the scoreline looks pretty comprehensive, Cal put up most of their points in a 15 minute period right after half-time. It was 12-3 to Cal at half, but it really should have been 12-9 as UCLA missed some relatively easy penalty kicks. The Bears had many injuries and were missing starters, and it showed as they failed to deal with the UCLA back row. The UCLA open-side was all over the field and Cal just didn’t register that they needed someone to be over the ball immediately after their ball carriers were tackled. Last year, Alec Gletzer would have done a lot of the clean-up work, but it looks like they are still working on finding someone to step into his role, or he was injured. In good news for them, the home team had the fire power to score from set pieces and after repeated phase play.

 

 

Date: 02/27/2016

Chico 15 – Olympic Club 2 36

Referee: Tucker, Chris

 

Chico came out of the gate hard, moving the ball forward with purpose, and racking up a penalty followed by a couple of tries before O club really found their feet.

 

But the visitors settled down, began winning the ball and pressing inside the 22. The pressure yielded up repeated penalties, and ultimately a yellow card for a Chico lock. The extra man was converted into points, and O club ended the half with a 2 point advantage after running in three tries.

 

The visitors blew open the game in the second half, with 3 tries in the first 8 minutes, one memorable one coming off a charge down that rolled back to just short of the goal line, and was carried over with the momentum of the attacking player who slid to gather the ball.

 

And that was it for the scoring. The last half hour was full of effort, but no reward for either side.

 

Thanks to Rod Chance for the assistance on the sideline, as he accompanied his Motherlode girls U19s team playing Chico right after on the same field.

 

Thanks also to Pelicus Radix Lectii for the post-draw match beers.

 

 

Date: 02/27/2016

Chico State 32 – St. Mary’s College B 32

Referee: Wood, Scott

 

Dubious, adj.–questionable or suspect as to true nature or quality (Merriam-Webster)

 

Law 21.1. Grounding the ball.

(a) Player touches the ground with the ball. A player grounds the ball by holding the ball and touching the ground with it, in in-goal. “Holding” means holding in the hand or hands, or in the arm or arms. No downward pressure is required.

 

In order to reduce fuel consumption and decrease boredom, I picked up Chris Tucker on the way up to Chico as he had the honor of refereeing the Chico/Olympic Club match. Great discussions on a variety of topics made the two-hour drive fly by. I dropped him off at Bidwell and drove over to Chico State for my match. This was scheduled as a “friendly” between Chico State’s first XV and St. Mary’s B side (those that didn’t make the trip to UCSB).

 

Chico kicked off only to have the ball barely land in the field of play before going into touch. SMC won the lineout and spun the ball wide but Chico was ready to defend against the attack. Possession traded back and forth before SMC scored its first try at the 16th minute (unconverted). A lot of playing time was spent in St. Mary’s half; however, Chico lost ground to several offside penalties. St. Mary’s scored its second try 15 meters from the left touch line (32nd minute). The scoring player (number not recorded) ended on his back and was able to ground he ball you reaching backwards over his head. Despite “suggestions” that the try was “dubious” and required “downward pressure”, the try was awarded (conversion attempt unsuccessful). At the 35th minute, SMC found itself with a player in the bin for stomping. With the watch sounding the 40th minute, SMC kicked the ball downfield towards the right corner and a chase ensued. Two chasing players were bumping shoulders (legal), and holding each other jersey (not legal but neither gained an advantage). Just after the SMC player kicked the ball into in goal, the Chico player tackled him to the ground. Result: Penalty try for SMC, sin bin for Chico. Conversion attempt successful.

 

Halftime: Chico St 0, SMC 17

 

The second half opened with a quick St. Mary’s try (unconverted) (CSU 0-SMC 22). Undeterred, Chico St. was patient with the ball and bided it’s time probing SMC’s defense until #12 exploited the narrowest of gaps scoring a try between the posts at the 47th minute (CSU 7-SMC 22). SMC failed to adjust and CSU’s #12 exploited the same opening two minutes later (CSU 12-SMC 22).

 

The match settled down for the subsequent ten minutes with possession exchanging due to several ball handling errors and interceptions before SMC scored a try (unconverted) at the 59th minute (CSU 12-SMC 27). At this point, Chico turned up the pressure and attacked scoring a converted try at 62′ (CSU 19-SMC 27), and converted try at 68′ (CSU 26-SMC 27), before taking the lead with a penalty goal at 74′ (CSU 29-SMC 27). SMC lost a player to the sin bin at the previous penalty due to repeat ruck infringements (team and individual). At 77′, Chico State scored another penalty goal further extending its lead (CSU 32-SMC 27).

 

With one minute remaining, SMC’s restart kick went fairly deep to the left corner. Chico, in an attempt to cycle out of the ensuing ruck, knocked on the ball–scrum SMC. The watch sounded full time as the scrum was being set and the teams were informed this would be the final non-penalty reset. SMC retained possession and drove tackles and rucks to within five meters of the goal line before transitioning to the right side of the posts. Pass to the left and quickly back to the right gave St. Mary’s the space it needed to score the tying try. Maybe SMC should pack a kicking tee in its kick. Despite six opportunities, the kicker was only successful on one and this was not it. The ball squibbed low and well left of the posts.

 

This was one of the most exciting matches I have had the honor to referee. Kudos to both teams and coaching staffs for their positive attitudes and professionalism.

 

Tucker was able to arrange a ride to my location as Chico B was playing Chico State B. As I saw him approach, I witnessed the very recognizable form of John Fox. It was great to see him vertical and had a great discussion with him before setting back south. Two hours later flew by before I dropped off Chris (with a couple beers in his belly) and returned to Pookie Manor.

 

Date: 02/27/2016

Colusa 60 – Modesto 24

Referee: Gordon, Preston

 

The predicted sunny 80-degree weather in Colusa last Saturday thankfully did not materialize, and instead was replaced with a nice overcast and mid-60s slight breeze, which is just about perfect for rugby. Colusa’s pitch is nearly full size, well marked, and only has a few lumpy spots. There’s lots of room for their spectators as well, who seemed to be entertained while the home team romped to a large 41-5 lead in the first half of the game. It took Colusa only 2 minutes to get their first try, which was followed by 5 more at 6′, 11′, 23′, 30′, and 34′. In addition to those, there was a penalty try in the 17th minute when a defending Modesto player took out the ball carrier in front of the posts using a collar tackle, earning himself a 10-minute rest. Colusa was only able to convert 3 of these tries, and Modesto had the last word in the half with an unconverted try of their own in the 41st minute (running time).

 

In the second half, things were much more evenly balanced. Modesto opened the scoring with 2 tries at 56′ (converted) and 62′, both of which happened while they had another man put in the bin for another high tackle in the 52nd minute. At 41-17, with 30 men back on the field and Colusa seeming to have their foot off the gas, the tempo increased noticeably and we saw some great rugby being played by both sides. The full width of the pitch and the warning I had issued to the Modesto captain about the tackling were both helping. At 67′, 74′, and 77′ Colusa added three further tries (converting 2), which put the game out of reach. Again, however, Modesto got the last word with a converted try at 82′ to finish the game.

 

Modesto did not help themselves with their third yellow card at 64′, which their hooker earned for throwing a punch in retaliation for a provocation I could not see on the other side of a maul. An AR there would have allowed us to identify the original Colusa offender as well, but as everyone probably realizes, we are short-staffed. Ultimately, everyone seemed to enjoy a good day of rugby, and seeing 84 points scored in a pretty open D3 game was great. Thanks for the help from the two touch judges, and I wish both teams the best of luck for the rest of the season.

 

 

Date: 02/27/2016

CSU Monterey Bay WR 29 – Fresno State WR 45

Referee: Wilson, Giles

 

A beautiful day on the Monterey Peninsula with two fairly new women’s college teams. Having just had time to watch England defeat Ireland before needing to leave for the game and a smooth drive down.

 

Fresno scored two tries to one in reply from CSUMB in the first 20 minutes. At that point during a CSUMB attack, there was a bad clash of heads which left a CSUMB player dazed but the Fresno player out. She didn’t come around for a couple of minutes and was clearly disoriented so we waited for the ambulance. With such a long stoppage (over 20 minutes), the players elected to just take half time and restart from there.

 

Fresno have a somewhat more established program with a few more experienced players who straitened and ran well, this experience paid off in the second half with a further 7 tries. CSUMB were sparked by their captain and scrum half (who was half the size of most of the players, not much over 4 ft tall and probably under 100 lbs but tough and dynamic, lots of fight ad heart) for 4 tries in reply.

 

Overall an enjoyable game from two squads that will learn and improve in the future.

 

 

Date: 02/27/2016

Danville 31 – Granite Bay 27

Referee: Sandhill, Peter

 

It was a hot Nor Cal ”winter” day, on a high school turf pitch (narrow) with two very strong, well coached teams with a healthy rivalry who met for a much anticipated game. The game started at high pace as Danville controlled the breakdown effectively. Their forwards had sublime control for the first ten minutes guided by their gifted scrum half. They took the lead and looked solid. As happens in rugby, when a team who has character are down, they often come back. Granite Bay hustled, tackled and rucked their way back into the game. In the second quarter, Danville showed some ill discipline under pressure giving away some penalties for two high tackles and shoulder charge into a ruck (resulting in a yellow card) in the space of ten minutes (before half time), which let GB back in as well. The second half was equally as tight with great running rugby and solid forward play from both sides. The Granite Bay #7 was particularly impressive with some heroic plays, one off their own restart which led to a quick try. As mentioned, the Danville #9 was a strong leader and a gifted ‘natural’ player. It was a very emotional game for many of the boys in both teams in it until the final whistle. Seeing the tears in the eyes of several GB players at the end, indicated their passion and intensity in hunting for a win, right to the end. Well done both teams.

 

Date: 02/27/2016

Fog 19 – Silicon Valley 50

Referee: Byrnes, Bryant

 

This was real rugby in the heart of San Francisco on a beautiful afternoon. Silicon Valley is a reasonably new club, its beginnings in a high school side. The Fog are at this point one of the older D3 sides-I had the pleasure of reffing one of their first matches almost 15 years ago.

 

Silicon rolled in the first half, scoring 28 unanswered points. Their eight man/captain was a beast. But then the Fog finally began to swing it out wide to their very good back line and scored (and converted) the next two tries. 28-14 at half; we had ourselves a ball game.

 

The second half was initally more of the same-Silicon scored twice, but the Fog dotted one. However, Silicon’s defense stiffened (can I say that?) and in spite of the Fog’s backs battering away keep them out of goal.

 

As is always the case when they are the host team, the Fog’s drink up was splendid, with almost all of the gracious Silicon lads in attendence.

 

 

Date: 02/27/2016

Google 17 – Reno 17

Referee: Kenny, Kevin

 

I arrived at GARfield well before match time to warm up and ready myself. I brought along two volunteer ARs from Pleasanton Cavaliers Youth Rugby Club. I found Reno on the pitch, geared up and ready to play. Apparently they had arrived at 5pm, with the impression the game was to start early. Google was a bit disorganized; match play was delayed due to no Google roster being made available. I would have thought the team representing one of our world tech leaders would have been more organized.

 

Once the teams were able to sort out the Google player roster, match play could finally begin. Reno had a strong start scoring back to back trys in the first twenty minutes of the game, one of which was a very strong elusive run from their number nine. They failed to make either of their conversions. Google followed in hot pursuit with a series of attacks ending in a try with a completed conversion. End of first half score was Google 7 – Reno 10. Google closed the gap in the beginning of the second half converting a penalty shot at goal. Google struck again from the red zone, with three failed attempts at goal. Reno was able to kick the ball out for territory. Reno moved ahead with another hard earned try and was able to gain their conversion points this time. Google tied the game with a try and conversion. With ten minutes left in the game and an injury, Google ran out of substitutes and had to play a man down. Four minutes were remaining on the clock, Google on the attack, the field lights shut down. It took a good ten minutes for the lights to return so play could continue. Final play ensued with Google losing the ball to Reno. With seconds remaining Reno started a good counter attack, game ended in a tie with a Reno knock on. Final score was Google 17 – Reno 17. This was fun, hard played game which I thoroughly enjoyed. Both teams were spirited, but very well mannered.

 

Date: 02/27/2016

Lamorinda 0 – Jesuit 64

Referee: Bretz, Paul

 

Jesuit rested several players and were still dominant on the day. Jesuit retained possession and were excellent on phase 1 and phase 2 ball.

 

 

Date: 02/27/2016

Life West 112 – San Jose 10

Referee: Tetler, Jen

 

Life West has an extremely fast, fit, and disciplined team. They were able to break through several tackles with some nice footwork and excellent support. San Jose kept fighting throughout the entire game. They had some hard hits, and made a couple of breaks themselves for their two tries. It was a great day for rugby.

 

 

Date: 02/27/2016

Life West 2 60 – Diablo 12

Referee: Simko, Paul

 

19-12 at the half and then the flood gates opened. Many missed tackles and long runs by Life West.

 

 

Date: 02/27/2016

Life West Women 64 – San Jose Women 0

Referee: Byrnes, Bryant

 

This was the first of three matches at Life’s Hayward field. Not close, obviously. Indeed, because of lack of players San Jose forfeited-but accepted some guest players so that everyone could get in a run. And they did.

 

A good spirited match. Life was a gracious host; there was a ref tent, food and drink, and a gift bag worth $240,000-it included socks, jewelry, a camera, a lap top, keys to a new car, one year’s membership to the Pacific Union Club, elective plastic surgery, and a certificate for a two week trip to Paris and the Loire Valley.

 

EDITOR’S NOTE: They must have forgotten the gift bag when I refereed there a few weeks back.

 

Date: 02/27/2016

Mendocino 45 – Marin 21

Referee: Rauscher, Eric

 

Cool, high clouds in lovely Ukiah. Full sized grass pitch (yes James, I paced it off). Lines, flags, spectator barrier, all up to snuff.

Marin showed up with more players than Mendocino, and went through a rigorous and detailed warm up.   They showed a lot of preparation for the game. Then the game started.

Mendocino roared out scoring two tries in the first ten minutes. Marin seemed a little shell shocked, but fell back into their game plan and scored two tries, followed by one by Mendocino at the end of the first half. Half time score 17/14 Looked to be a very good game.

Mendocino opened the second half in similar fashion by scoring a succession of tries. Unfortunately for Marin, they were never able to fall back into their game plan, but did score another try in the second half.

Mendocino plays a very open and opportunistic game relying on great individual effort, and it served them well here.

If Marin can gel into their game plan, I think they will do far better.

Social at the Mendocino Brewing Ale House afterwards. Kind of disappointed. Last time I was up here, Mendocino showed up in costumes for the social. Not too disappointed though, the beer was great as was time spent with the players.

 

Date: 02/27/2016

Mother Lode 33 – Riordan 34

Referee: Taueva, Favor

 

Very good game . Enjoy my time with both team. Thank you coaches for well behave atmosphere from both team.

 

 

Date: 02/27/2016

Pleasanton Cavaliers 12 – Peninsula Green 45

Referee: Labozzetta, Chris

 

Well fought match by two well coached teams. Peninsula Green was the stronger side on the day, and had the more physical & talented athletes.

 

Very enjoyable game to referee. Always great to work a game when both sides play high quality, fit rugby with good attitudes and discipline.

 

 

Date: 02/27/2016

Sac State 60 – UCSC 12

Referee: Carney, Mark

 

No report received

 

 

Date: 02/27/2016

Sac State B 29 – UCSC B 17

Referee: Franzoia, Tom

 

A close game in the first half but three scores by the hornets with quick ball to the wings doomed the slugs who mounted a vigorous offensive attack to begin the second half.

 

 

Date: 02/27/2016

Santa Rosa 57 – Sacramento Blackhawks 29

Referee: Bertolone, Cary

 

 

Because of a previous rainout/switch fields game a month ago, this game was held in Sacramento at the Blackhawks home field. The game started out with the Blackhawks scoring tries by running in the open field and Santa Rosa not making their tackles. Blackhawks scored three tries by their backs with some nice passing and strong running. Santa Rosa tried to keep pace by making two penalty kicks and scoring a converted try Rosa scored a second try on the 35th minute to make it 18-19 at the half, in favor of Sacramento. Rosas second try came from marching a scrum right to the goal line and diving in; they controlled the scrums all day.

In the second half, the game tactics changed and Santa Rosa kicked more and spun the ball out to the backs for try after try. They scored on the second minute and then also on the 12th, 19th, 25th, 29th, 33rd and 35th minutes of the second half. They controlled all of the set plays and showed off some nifty passing to take control of the game. Sacramento did manage to score two late tries at the 39th and 41st minute of the second half to end the game with something positive, but I think Rosa’s superior fitness level showed itself in the second half. Both teams as well as all coaches were courteous, well minded and fun to ref.

For the second game, a player who just passed his first ref class reffed a 7’s game between the two sides and Sacramento won 5 tries to 4. The player/ref did a great job reffing!

 

 

Date: 02/27/2016

Santa Rosa JC 7 – Cal Maritime 34

Referee: McDougall, Grant

 

It was a sunny afternoon in Santa Rosa. If you haven’t been to For Pete’s Sake Field you should. The goalposts are made from phone poles, and they are buried fifteen feet deep.

 

Santa Rosa has a good developing side and came ready to play. Cal Maritime is a well-coached and organized group. The game was a pleasure to ref with both sides making me feel very welcome.

 

The first half was a great contest with Cal dominating the half with a highly effective ruck and maul. Santa Rosa showed good spirit spreading the ball wide. The game was getting a little heated, and I provide a general warning to both sides about foul play. There was foul play between number 2 Codi Jones from Cal and number 18 from Santa Rosa. I was required to issue a yellow Card 2 minutes before halftime for a Cal player striking a Santa Rosa player in a ruck. The half ended 7-17.

 

The second half remained good spirited and no further with no further incidents of foul play. Cal continued to dominate the ruck, maul and lineout. Santa Rosa showed some great moments when the ball was spread wide to their number 14 who had pace and purpose.

 

The game ended 7-34 with Cal Maritime securing the win.

 

 

Date: 02/27/2016

SFGG 43 – Sacramento Lions 12

Referee: Boyer, Rich

 

Great day and atmosphere at SFGG. The match began with strong runs from both sides, each of which seemed to take measure of their opponent in the hopes of finding a weak point to exploit. SFGG scored first with adept back play; the outside center being the beneficiary. Both teams continued to attack each other with free flowing ball to the backs. The SFGG flyhalf spotted a half gap and raced through, converting his own try to make the score 12-0. Strong phases for the Lions resulted in captain Vi barreling through the defense and scoring a 25 meter try under the posts at the 25th minute. 12-7 and game on! Lions were quickly under pressure and SFGG capitalized with a great weakside break by the wing, good vision and hands from three or four teammates, quick ruck five meters out and then a bullocking try by Coony, #1, well rewarded for his hustle, with the flyhalf again converting. By this time each team would make a break, kick, then the defender would gather the ball, make a break, kick. Repeat. The Lions exerted great pressure towards the end of half with Freddy the 8 man going weak for what looked like a deserved try, only to get tackled by captain Jack and knocking on in the try zone, ending the first half. 19-7 SFGG. The second half saw SFGG bring on fresh legs; the Lions had fewer replacements and it began to show later in the half. Prop Coony opened up the second half where he left off in the first with a nice run for a converted try. SFGG had their foot on the throttle. Their inside center was well positioned to collect a ball and run unabated for another converted try as the Lions began to tire. Credit to the Lions; they played until the final whistle, which was to mark a well earned try. The SFGG flyhalf was prominent with conversions and kicks to touch while the entire SFGG forward pack were very strong during the ruck stages. Warrior tighthead Sione provided a very strong runner for the Lions.

 

 

Date: 02/27/2016

SFGG Women 24 – All Blues 12

Referee: Bernstein, Bruce

 

Early match starting @ 9 AM to accommodate Gate’s two men’s teams & a Hall of Fame Banquet for Mike Comstock (who still plays & Brian Going (ex-head coach of GG from New Zealand with an All Black connection & a few famous bro’s).

Scrumhalf for Gate had a cracker match doing an assortment of kicks, tackles & passes & was by far the smallest player on the field maybe not only this but all rugby matches ever.

Also was the closest match I have done as every other was pretty one-sided.

 

 

Date: 02/27/2016

SFSU 24 – Fresno State 25

Referee: Pescetti, David

 

Another nail-biter in Boxer stadium. SFSU stepped up to the plate first and set the tone for this match scoring in the first 2 minutes off of a kick going up 5. Fresno was able to answer back with a great individual play was able to score under the posts to turn the match to SFSU 5 – 7 FSU. At the 20 minute mark saw FSU kick for points off of a bone head play from a SFSU player, they extended their lead to by 3 additional points. However FSU could not turn their man advantage into any real points. A few minutes before the half time whistle rang, SFSU was able to retake the lead by converting their 2nd try of the match. At the half SFSU lead 12 – 10.

 

In the second half it was all FSU, with only three minutes of rest between halves, the poor ref! They took off and scored in three minutes, the points battle swinging their way again. A stunned SFSU allowed two more tries before steadying themselves. Before you know it they were down 12 to 25, but they were not done yet. Under 10 minutes of play left they scored and the pressure was on their kicker to make a long conversion for them to have a shot to win. The clutch kick brought the match to 19 – 25. As time wound down FSU had the ball and all they needed to do was retain possession. But with second left they had a handling error and gave SFSU a window, a tiny crack of a shot, beginning with a scrum on their own 22. As my watch sounded its little notification that the match was to end SFSU defied expectations and used a crashing fullback to break through the tired arms of Fresno defenders for a 80+ minute try 15 meters in. The prayers of all SFSU fans could be heard as their prop came up to take the conversion, he previously made a kick similar only a few minutes earlier but from the other side. He stepped back, took the kick. It had the distance, back back back back, heart-breakingly veering wide left.

 

The heart-stopper ended with SFSU 24 – 25 FSU. An amazing match.

 

 

Date: 02/27/2016

Shasta 48 – Redwood 17

Referee: Godfrey, Mark

 

No report received

 

 

Date: 02/27/2016

SJSU 0 – UC Davis 68

Referee: MacDonald, Neil

 

UC Davis may have lost a lot of seniors since their D1AA National Championship Triumph last season, but while that has translated into a loss of some accuracy, the team still has great structure and clarity of intent every time they get hold of the ball. They were too strong, too skilled and too structured for SJSU’s much less experienced team, which had many players new to the sport.

 

After some scrappy initial exchanges, Davis crossed for their first try in the 7th minute, and less than ten minutes later their #14 crossed with blistering pace down the left wing on the end of a sweeping backs move for the first of his collection of tries on the day. Down 0-17 mid-way through the half after Davis converted a penalty for SJSU not rolling away, the hosts made a break and were awarded a penalty inside the Davis 22, with many players still catching up with play. One of Davis” lazy runners opted to slap the ball out of the hands of the SJSU scrum half who was about to take a quick tap, and earned ten minutes on the sidelines to reconsider the wisdom of his actions. SJSU were unable to convert the pressure, and despite being a man short, Davis scored again, and ran in another three in the last part of the first half, let down only by inaccurate kicking for conversions.   Shortly before halftime, SJSU were down to 14 for the remainder of the match, after taking out a Davis player in the air as he jumped to gather a kick. Davis up 37-0 at the half.

 

Davis scored twice more in the first 15 minutes of the second half, extending their lead to 49-0. With substitutions coming on, SJSU held the visitors scoreless for the better part of 20 minutes – despite being a player short – as the knock-on count from both sides climbed. It was only in the final ten minutes that Davis cut loose once again, running into three more tries to end the match 68-0 victors.

 

Date: 02/27/2016

South Valley 17 – Aptos 40

Referee: Moore, Stephen

 

A physical match. Aptos had the advantage with greater discipline at the break down and greater speed and agility in the back-line. South Valley lacked discipline a little in the five and ten meter space at scrums and line-outs which cost them penalties. In the final second minute there was a minor altercation between players over hands in the ruck at breakdown. But this was easily settled with handshake between players. A good spirit all round and a good effort by both sides.

 

 

Date: 02/27/2016

St. Mary’s College WR 10 – Univ San Francisco WR 10

Referee: Pescetti, David

 

As you can tell by the scoreline it was a very close match. USF kicked us off by putting a few well executed phases together and scoring the first try of the match in the 5th minute of play. The next score was very similar to the first, but the teams were reversed. SMU was able to string a very similar set of phases and scored in almost the same spot as USF but in the mirrored opposite. USF not to be undone was able to respond to SMU and punched in a try only three minutes later. At the half it was USF 10 – 5 SMU.

 

The second half was much like the 1st, hard fought. The only try was scored by SMU in the 57th minute. After that USF was knocking and knocking on the door, but couldn’t complete their plays. And that’s the way it ended. USF 10 – 10 SMU.

 

Homebrew is a coming

 

 

Date: 02/27/2016

Stanford 21 – UNR 24

Referee: Hinkin, James

 

Conditions could not be more perfect at Stanford’s Steuber Rugby Field as the University of Nevada came down off the mountains from Reno for a bit of fun.   The Stanford ladies had just completed an emphatic win over arch rival California so the stage was set for the home team to dominate.   Unfortunately, nobody gave the visitors the memo because it was UNR out of the gates hard and fast.     Scrumhalf Chris Stevens was directing traffic and #8 Marco Diaz was causing havoc every time he touched the ball.   Stanford was not without their own firepower as they battled back and forth across the field.   Inside center Jay Reader was creating havoc every time he touched the ball but it was the battle of the fullbacks that was one to watch.   UNR was able to exploit their early physical dominance with a try after a period of serious pressure saw them pound the Cardinal line only to have Stanford’s captain and hooker Jeremy Kim poach the ball, but the home side was unable to clear the ball and UNR promptly poached it back and pushed over for a try. The simple conversion made it 7-0.   UNR was displaying dominance in the scum and using Diaz like a wrecking ball.   Put a naked Miley Cyrus on his back and you could make a music video. This led to a second unconverted try in the half to let us into the break at 12-0.

 

The second half had no changes in personnel and started much the same as the first half ended.   The Wolf Pack were turning the screws and eventually got their reward with another converted try to push the lead to 19-0.   At this point substitutions started to come in and the nature of the game changed.   Reno subbed a prop and move #8 Diaz to the front row and lost some dynamism off the back of the scrum.   They also lost some scrum dominance as Stanford started pushing them back.   Another try from UNR seemed to put the game to rest, however as they led 24-0 with 15 minutes remaining, but then #8 Diaz hurt his ankle and had to leave giving Stanford total scrum domination and worse yet, UNR lost their captain and fullback Garren Albright.   The battle of the 15s was a good one as both were tactically aware and rarely got out of position on kicks or defense.   Stanford’s Seb Goddjin as well as Albright each made several penetrating runs and were asking questions of the defense.   UNR’s Albright suffered a knee injury with 10 minutes remaining and that changed the game as UNR could not replace him adequately.   Stanford now had dominance in both the forwards and the backs and started to make the visitors pay and wake up the large home crowd.   A converted try at 8 minutes got them on the board.   More pressure led to a second try, also duly converted.   Goddjin was immense, but UNR was further hampered when they lost their influential scrumhalf Stephens to a yellow card for a dangerous tackle.   With the clock against them Stanford threw everything they had at Reno and with 2 minutes left on the clock dotted down in the far right corner and the crowd went wild.   With his bench yelling at him to hurry up, the kicker rushed to tee up the ball and calmly lashed it through the posts, leading the crowd to even greater heights of frenzy.     Only seconds remained when UNR kicked off and Stanford controlled the ball and started marching up field.   They swung it right and swung it left.   After several phases Goddjin broke through a gap and was racing past midfield when the cover defense caught him, but he couldn’t control the ball and it squirted forward in the tackle.   Knock on. Game over. Reno held on 24-21.

 

What a match. One of the best I have ever been a part of.

 

Date: 02/27/2016

Stanford Women 64 – California Women 3

Referee: Hinkin, James

 

The conditions could not have been better in Palo Alto as the Stanford ladies hosted their good friends (just kidding ) from California.   The match started out rather even with Cal’s captain and prop Abby causing all sorts of problems at the breakdown.   She poached a couple of balls and won a few penalties and was a menace to the Cardinal whenever she was near the breakdown.   Stanford had more class across the board however and were able to use the space on offer much better.   Cal was game and didn’t give up a try until around the 20 minute mark. Several “oooos” and “ahhhhs” from the crowd attested to the ferocity of the defense being played by both sides, but only Stanford was able to get that killer pass off to put a player away.   Cal was able to slot a penalty but Stanford led at the break 12-3.

 

The second half showed why Stanford, as well as just about every other great program, win matches and keep on winning: depth.   As both teams started subbing players in and out Stanford’s level didn’t noticeably drop but Cal just could not keep up. The second half turned into a track meet with the Cardinal ladies running in 8 tries.   Cal never gave up but the pace and power of the home side was not to be denied.

 

Date: 02/27/2016

UC Davis Women 45 – Chico St Women 12

Referee: Pohlman, John

 

UC Davis hosted Chico State in a Division 1 woman’s game. Both teams are nationally ranked and have already qualified for the playoffs. The Aggie Stampede dominated possession, field position and basically the entire game. I refer to them as the stampede because they simply attack with numbers to each and every play.

UC Davis scored four tries in the first half. Led by inside center #12 Syonee Watanabe. Syonee runs hard, tackles harder and has the work rate of an open side flanker. She looks to have the potential for the US national team.

The second half saw Davis scoring three more tries. Chico never gave up and finished the game scoring in the 40th minute.

Final UC Davis 45 Chico 12.

Side note of major importance. I was contacted on Friday night by Davis asking me to do both the first and second side game. I gave Mr. Jim Crenshaw a call asking if he wanted to do the second side game. Jim agreed, looked great and I think is going to rejoin the Pelican flock. Jim great to see you. Your game was spot on. Welcome back. Yeah.

 

 

Date: 02/27/2016

Univ Nevada Reno WR 85 – UC Santa Cruz WR 5

Referee: Smith, Pete

 

No report received

 

 

Date: 03/05/2016

All Blues 20 – Sacramento Amazons 27

Referee: Wilson, Giles

 

An early start saw the Amazons drifting in close to game time and a slow start to the game. Both sides have some newer players, which had some impact on the game. The All Blues play to their strengths of ball movement and working for space while the Amazons play to their strengths which are built around the power of their centers and solid pick and drive to punch holes.

 

In wet conditions, both teams elected to play with the ball in hand when field position may have been the more pragmatic choice. Amazons did score from one nice kick through but both sides could have benefited from clearing their lines better in defense.

 

The first half was back and forth but both sides struggled to maintain support for their tackled players which led to holding on penalties which led to matching repeated team offense cards at 25 and 26 minutes. As the teams placed the ball further back in the tackle and were more aware of their support, the game flowed although both sides gave up several turnovers. The All Blues weathered the half better than the Amazons ending the half up by 4 tries to 2 for a 20-10 lead.

 

The Amazons stayed with their game plan and despite The All Blues using some replacements, the toll of the Amazons physicality on offense and defense began to be seen. The All Blues didn’t flinch from tackling or being tackled but the force of the Amazons left the All Blues playing most of the second half in their own half. This combined pressure led to three more Amazon tries (one converted) to no reply from the All Blues.

 

 

Date: 03/05/2016

Santa Clara 20 – San Diego State 22

Referee: Freitas, Larry

 

This game was one that Santa Clara should have won. They had the lead up until the last four minutes, when the visitors, San Diego State, tied it and then won it with an easy conversion in front of the posts with the wind at their backs. Santa Clara had built up a lead in the first half, when it wasn’t raining yet, and added to it, having a 12 point lead going into the last quarter of the match. Going against the wind, SCU did score two second half tries, but two conversions from good angles and not very far out were missed by their fullback, which meant a loss at the end. Another penalty kick in the second half was missed as well, from a distance. Another aspect of play early in the second half is the fight that broke out as foul play by an Aztec ignited a kurfluffle, and perhaps Santa Clara has a “99” call as their players jumped into the fray of the original combatants. No one was sent off, however, and a penalty was awarded to the home side. Santa Clara’s backline didn’t seem to handle very well as the game waned on and the rain started to fall into the twenty minutes, and they would rue the missed opportunities they had as they advanced deep into SDSU’s end a few times and came up empty. Several bad passes and drops meant the Aztecs got scrum downs in mid-field, making for their march to the goal line, using multiple phases with their big number 8 hammering through to gain vital meters. As I was touch judging on the San Diego State side that half, I picked up that this player’s nickname is “Country;” I guess he’s country-strong to use a phrase from Mike Krukow. It’s not a very creative way to play rugby, in my opinion, but useful considering the law changes to loose play in the last decade or so. The Broncos, not as big up front as the opposition, just couldn’t put up a defense to stop it as they had earlier in the game.   When the game was 20-8 in Santa Clara’s favor going into that last 15 minutes of play, I did the math, and I knew San Diego could win the game if they were given the chance, and they did get the chance.

I was impressed by Santa Clara’s play as the game opened, as they used their backline to score the first try, and constantly had San Diego under pressure most of the first half.   San Diego also was a frustrated lot in that half, giving away penalties. They couldn’t put the game away in the second half, though they had the opportunities to do so. To San Diego State’s credit, they never gave up, stayed close enough to always threaten, and did at the end.

 

Date: 03/05/2016

Sonoma 22 – Humboldt State 12

Referee: Bernstein, Bruce

 

Another relatively close match moved to For Pete’s Sake Field after about 6 blowouts.   Sonoma was more disciplined on defense & with the penalty count greatly in their favor, Humboldt was lucky to be this close only getting outscored 2 tries to 1 each half. Sonoma’s scrumhalf had a great match stealing a try in Humboldt’s try zone, a real nice run for a try from about 30 meters out and had some crisp passes to his flyhalf, who also had a real good match distributing a lot of ball. Humboldt’s outside center also took the ball up about 40 meters every time he touched the ball in his 1st year. Somehow there was no rain during the match but it started pouring & storming when it got done & all the way home.

 

 

Date: 03/05/2016

St. Mary’s College C 15 – Sierra College 46

Referee: Byrnes, Bryant

 

This was the first of three games in Moraga-on a wet, wet Saturday. My match was played on the Pat Vincent Field, where in olden days many a stout player was lost to Davey Jones’s Locker. Before proper drainage was finally put in, it was often an absolute bog.

 

Sierra is a big, classy team coached by the Bay Area’s own Jay Hanson. The young Gaels are exactly that-and proud to be part of a similarly well regarded program under Tim O’Brien.

 

At half, it was Sierra up only 10 to 5. But as the field reverted to form with the heavy rain (read mud), the Gaels could not play their speed game and the heavier Sierra lads’ power prevailed.

 

 

Date: 03/05/2016

Stanford 40 – SFSU 10

Referee: Lane, John

 

Another day of ref’ing in rain from start to finish – it’s starting to feel like “home”!!! With Grant McDougall arriving early for the B game we had some good “home union country” banter through the game to distract us from the weather!

 

Overall the players handling skills stood up to the wet weather but a large number of them could have done with investing in more appropriate “cleats”.

 

The game itself was open and adventurous with a more structured Stanford side supported by the strong breeze dominating the first half from a possession and territory perspective. This lead to regular scores spread through the half. 5 tries with 4 converted gave a half time score of 33-0.

 

It was clear that individually SFSU were equally as skilled as Stanford but lacked some team cohesion as multiple phases developed in both defense and attack.

 

The significance of the strong breeze also became more obvious as SFSU had much more territory and some sustained periods of pressure throughout the second half. A weak lineout and a scrum which was under pressure (but generally retained its own put-in despite going backwards) throughout gave turn over ball to Stanford to relieve the pressure regularly.

 

SFSU got off the mark with a try after 10 minutes of the restart. Unconverted for 33-5. Play was very much 50/50 for most of the rest of the game. On 25 mins Stanford scored at the posts after using turnover possession well for 40-5.

 

The scoring finished with a second unconverted try for SFSU leaving the final score at 40-10 with a morale boosting “second half win” of 7-10 for SFSU but the day belonged to Stanford overall.

 

Date: 03/12/2016

Arizona 45 – Notre Dame 10

Referee: Simko, Paul

 

Arizona plays 15’s like they do 7’s. Notre Dame kept it somewhat close at the half and couldn’t keep up.

 

 

Date: 03/12/2016

Cal Maritime 53 – Humboldt State 0

Referee: McDougall, Grant

 

The game was played in rainy & blustery conditions at Cal Maritime. Humboldt State came out early with strong defense and it looked like it was going to be a good contest. After about ten minutes Cal Maritime got back to the highly organized and disciplined rugby that they play and broke through the Humboldt defense. Humboldt State continued to put up a strong game but could not answer the power of Cal Maritime. The final score was 53 – 0 with CMA Rugby scoring 8 tries in their defeat of Humboldt State today. Jonathon DiBacco started the scoring for the Keelhaulers followed by Clayton Jordan, Evan Chambers, Teddy Bendrick, Chad Mensinger, Daynon Matthews, Brian Martinez, and Sean Carroll. Michael Mukuru was good on 1 penalty kick and 5 of 8 conversions.

 

Overall a great game.

 

SOLO – CMA 12 -10

 

After that main game, I refereed a 10”s game between CAM and Solo Rugby which was an exciting affair. Solo won the game in 12 -10 in a fast paced game.

 

 

Date: 03/12/2016

Chico 19 – Diablo 10

Referee: Richmond, Jeff

 

Why was I out there in the driving rain for 80 minutes? Must be love of the game, certainly not the $40.

 

Very competitive match, the conditions were a great equalizer for Diablo against a seemingly stronger Chico squad. Chico was able to maintain consistent pressure on the Diablos defense despite the high number of wet ball knock-ons. Diablo’s flyhalf made effective use of kicks dropping behind the Chico back line to generate some offense. Diablo had a flurry in the last 10 minutes with a late try and chances for more but the Chico defense held. A complete game played by both squads.

 

 

Date: 03/12/2016

Fresno 19 – Sacramento Blackhawks 40

Referee: Fenaroli, Steven

 

Blackhawks scored early and never looked back. The field was wet and had some standing water which made for some especially muddy rucks. Social followed. Thanks to al

 

 

Date: 03/12/2016

Fresno B 14 – Sacramento Blackhawks B 26

Referee: Tuisavalalo, Rodney

 

Both teams decided on playing 10’s with 10 min. halves, and with muddy conditions it looked to be a fun one. The Blackhawks struck first with awesome passing by the backs that saw the ball through the hands of every single player culminating in a try under the posts by the winger. Fresno hit back with some tough running that began with a Sac player knocking on at the restart, but a knock-on of their own at the 5 meter line ended their chances. Play continued with both teams constantly knocking on the ball, and with inexperienced subs that came onto the field for both teams, I decided that uncontested scrums would be the safer option. It opened up the field quite a bit, and the Blackhawks took advantage. They quickly scored two more tries before the end of the first half. Fresno’s #13 got Fresno on the scoreboard with a great run through the defense with a dotted try under the posts. (HT 7-21)

Fresno struck first in the second half when Kyler Lorin barreled his way in from the 10 meter line. The try was set up by some fancy passing by their forward pack. The conversion was good. Not to be outdone the Blackhawks captain and scrumhalf Justin Mano laid out a nice well timed restart kick that was secured by their winger who then took it the house for another unconverted try. Fresno tried to rally for more points as repeated infringements by the visiting team saw them just 5 meters shy of the try line. But another great defensive effort by the Blackhawks at their try line and a knock-on by the Fresno #12 stopped the rally and the subsequent end to the game. (FT 14-26)

 

 

Date: 03/12/2016

Fresno State WR 22 – Univ San Francisco WR 27

Referee: Jury, Jeff

 

A beautiful valley rugby day was the setting for the women of CSUF v USF. Fresno struck first and second making a lead of 10-0. USF replied with three trys of their own, last one converted. 10-17 starting the other half, Fresno strikes holding 2 short. USF endeavored to score twice more. Fresno scored one more converted try at the end. 22-27 USF win.

 

 

Date: 03/12/2016

Google 3 – Modesto 21

Referee: Hinkin, James

 

A rare Saturday night match under the lights saw Google take on Modesto on a rainy evening.   With city soccer leagues taking up the field all day both teams waited patiently for the kiddos to finish and were able to take the field for warmups a good half hour before kickoff.   With both sides duly briefed while waiting all was smooth sailing to the kickoff.   The rain slicked up the ball considerably so it was unsurprising when a number of handling errors prevented the game from getting into any kind of flow.   A lone penalty from Google was the only score that needed to be kept (in pencil – I learned not to use pen in the rain a long time ago).   Both sides were solid on defense and strong in attack but neither side could hang on to the ball long enough to score.

 

The second half saw the game open up more as Modesto got an early converted try.   Google attempted to reduce the deficit with a second penalty but that missed wide left.  A second Modesto try, duly converted, put Google under enormous pressure and things did not get any better when they lost a player to the bin for a dangerous tackle. The defense held firm, though and they did not concede while a man down.   Modesto helped out in this by returning the favor as they had a player send to the bin to reconsider how he addresses a referee, so we played 14 on 14 for 5 minutes before Google gained the numerical advantage.   This time it was Modesto who stayed strong and no scoring was allowed during this period.   The nail in the coffin for Google came as a third try was pushed over and converted by Modesto. Emotions were high and even though the visitors were down a man yet again with 5 minutes remaining for repeated team infringements the home side could not take advantage.

 

Date: 03/12/2016

Humboldt State Univ WR 43 – Univ Nevada Reno WR 14

Referee: Pescetti, David

 

The Rugby Gods truly gave us their graces on this rugby Saturday. Driving up it was a torrential downpour for hours, however upon arriving at the pitch the rain ceased. Surprisingly it stopped long enough to complete our match.

 

Humboldt came out of the gate utilizing great individual and team skill to turn the ball over. They were able to capitalize early on the few mistakes that Reno made and converted those errors into a formidable lead. Before you knew it, Humboldt was up 17 to 0. The first half closed up with Humboldt adding another score to make it 24 – 0.

 

From minute 20 to minute 60 the match was quiet, scoring wise, but intense otherwise. After the 60th minute and impact subs coming into the match the game opened up again and we had a seesaw of a points race. HSU opened up the scoring in the second half. Reno responded and then Humboldt answered back. Humboldt put one more score before Reno taking the last points of the match.

 

It was a wonderful match. Humboldt 43 – 14 Reno

 

 

Date: 03/12/2016

Life West 14 – Sacramento Lions 10

Referee: MacDonald, Neil

 

AR: Matt Hetterman

 

After a day or more of heavy rain, and this match being the third on the same pitch on game day, I headed for Hayward suitably equipped with towel, a change of clothes, and a bin liner for storing my kit bag during the game. The pitch at Sunset Park had held up remarkably well, and we got started with only a few really muddy patches. Life West Gladiators opened the scoring in the second minute, scoring from close range after Sacramento Lions defence was caught offside. As the intermittent drizzle continued, the teams fought a hard physical contest, with needle aplenty. After long periods of sustained pressure, the Lions kicked a penalty in the 29th minute to cut Life West’s lead to four points. Just before half time Life scored a well worked team try and went into the break 14-3 up.

 

Down to 14 men after a red card in the 44th minute, Life West were unable to impose themselves on the visitors in the manner they have done in other matches this season. The Lions pressed home their advantage with a converted try in the 51st minute. With the pitch cutting up badly now, the fiercely physical contest continued with many scrums. The Lions came close to a go ahead score three times on the left wing, only to be thwarted by errant final passes or knock ons with the line beckoning, and Life West, scoreless in the second half, hung on for the win.

 

 

Date: 03/12/2016

Life West Gladiatrix 86 – Sacramento Amazons 0

Referee: Simko, Paul

 

The game was closer in the scrums, but as soon as the ball got out to the backs, it was all over. Sacramento never gave up and with only 15 people, fought to the end.

 

 

Date: 03/12/2016

Marin 15 – Colusa 51

Referee: Crowson, Andy (East Midlands Referee Society, UK)

Report Submitted by: Rauscher, Eric

 

It was the Marin pitch which meant that although it was raining, the pitch was available. It only rained a little, just enough to get everybody wet, but not miserable. And by the end of the game everybody looked like they had played a game of rugby.

Marin is still trying to get it’s bearings, but Colusa looks to be on course for another championship playoff. Marin scored a couple of tries off of Colusa mistakes, and Colusa just scored tries off of good play.   Very low penalty count, game played in good spirits.

Social afterwards was also played in good spirits.

Andy got a good taste of grassroots rugby in America, followed by a trip to The Up and Under for dinner and to watch England beat Wales (on delay).

Lovely day.

 

 

Date: 03/12/2016

Redwood 7 – Napa 2 39

Referee: Bertolone, Cary

 

No report received

 

 

Date: 03/12/2016

Riordan 14 – Solo 31

Referee: Gordon, Preston

 

Cal Maritime’s pitch was a good location for the rainy weather that came and went, but never stopped during this game. Both sides used its width to good effect, though there was a little too much unproductive sideways running as well. Solo were the stronger and more balanced side, though Riordan has a number of very good players too. The kickers for each team did a good job in the wind as well.

 

In the first half Solo controlled things, scoring 3 converted tries and closing with a penalty kick to lead 24-0. That penalty was awarded along with a yellow card for a dangerous tackle by a Riordan player. In the second half, assisted somewhat by the wind, Riordan got two well-earned (and converted) tries of their own while Solo notched one more converted try, leaving things at 31-14.

 

Date: 03/12/2016

Sac State 56 – SJSU 7

Referee: Taueva, Favor

 

Thank you Scott Wood for your precious time to be there for us. Much appreciated. Very good weather for rugby. One thing about this field is to have coach’s zone for better formation. Good for Sac State. I really enjoyed my game. Special thanks to all of our people that makes things happen and we refs just need to be there to serve our community. MANUIA !!!

 

 

Date: 03/12/2016

Sac State B 12 – SJSU B 5

Referee: Franzoia, Tom

 

In an abbreviated match on a rainy day the Spartans gave it their best effort to challenge the fresh legs of the Hornets and provided a strong inside defense that matched well with the Hornets. The two Hornet scores came from quick hands and good support and the loan Spartan score was accomplished with a stout attack within the 5.

 

 

Date: 03/12/2016

Sacramento Capitals 46 – Vacaville 26

Referee: Tucker, Chris

 

We should be so lucky to get this much rain again. The pitch in Carmichael was in great shape, as were both teams. It started out cagey, as the sides got into a rhythm, but then both sides got into attack mode, and the score quickly ascended. Both sides looked great going forward — a particular highlight was a fine catch and drive for a score from 15m out by the Capitals.

 

As it was, Vacaville clawed their way back to within a score with 15 minutes to go, but that was as close as they got, and the Caps scored a couple at the death to flatter the scoreline a little. Both teams look playoff bound, and will represent Norcal well.

 

 

Date: 03/12/2016

Sacramento State Women 7 – UC Davis Women 99

Referee: Wood, Scott

Attendance: 125 (modified Jacobs Method)

 

Rain earlier in the week was greedily absorbed by a pitch that does not receive irrigation. This created a perfect pitch to run on, plenty of grass and no mud. While the conditions called for rain and wind later in the day, the gods blessed this match as cool but moisture free. Well, UC Davis decided to combat the cool by heating up the match with deft off loads and plenty of running on the outside lanes to leave no doubt in the outcome of the match Sacramento State is returning from a timeout due to reported off-the-field shenanigans. It is great to see a team rebound with plenty of players who were eager to play and never let their spirits dampen. UCD was up 31-0 before the Hornets’ #7 went into beast mode shaking off three would-be tacklers, growling through a fourth, and steamrolling an unsuspecting back for a 30-meter try. The Aggies (nee Mustangs) completed the half with three additional tries to close the stanza 52-7.

 

Nine tries were scored in the second half but apparently Davis was testing kickers as only the second one was converted. The final try of the match put the Aggies up 99-7. The conversion was taken slightly right of the uprights and the kick was true; however, a gust of wind reminiscent of Candlestick Park stopped the ball cold and dropped it to the ground prior to reaching the posts.

 

Kudos to the teams, coaches, and supporters for a wonderful Saturday morning.

 

 

Date: 03/12/2016

San Jose 19 – SFGG 22

Referee: Bretz, Paul

 

Enjoyable game for all parties. SFGG controlled the open field play and had better options. SFGG flyhalf distributed ball well. San Jose was able to control the set piece in the second half.

 

 

Date: 03/12/2016

San Jose Women 20 – SFGG Women 96

Referee: Wilson, Giles

 

San Jose only had 10 players and so borrowed from SFGG, we started with 13 against 15 and played that way to a 24-0 SFGG lead in 20 minutes. In that time some additional SFGG players arrived and more players were loaned to SJ. SFGG continued to dominate and led by 50-5 at half time (8 tries with 5 conversions to a try).

 

In the second half there was some more balancing of the sides but SFGG still scored another 8 tries (3 conversions) to 3 San Jose tries. A lot of rookies got playing time from both clubs and gained some experience.

 

 

Date: 03/12/2016

Santa Rosa 17 – EPA Razorbacks 17

Referee: Lew, Tim

 

In the pouring rain of Santa Rosa, EPA took on Santa Rosa. The game started with EPA scoring first. Santa Rosa quickly replied with a drive through the rain but was unable to score on their 5m. EPA forced themselves back into the try zone with the half ending 12-0 EPA. Santa Rosa came out of halftime with two trys to even the match. Santa Rosa scored again off a push over scrum. EPA then scored off a missed tackle and had a chance to take the lead but missed the conversion. The game ended in a wet 17-17 kiss your cousin tie.

 

 

Date: 03/12/2016

Santa Rosa B 22 – EPA Razorbacks B 27

Referee: Lew, Tim

 

11 first side EPA players stayed to play a fun B side match. Each team traded scores back and forth in the pouring tornado weather. It was a fun and light hearted match that allowed some 2nd side Santa Rosa players some extra game time.

 

 

Date: 03/12/2016

Sierra College 44 – CSUMB 0

Referee: Hosley, David

 

Spirited contest despite lopsided score. Muddy field, some standing water, and steady rain in the second half.

 

 

Date: 03/12/2016

Silicon Valley 27 – Aptos 14

Referee: Moore, Stephen

 

Well played match by both teams, great effort on the part of Aptos with a 16 man squad with limited numbers. Both sides played well, respectful of offside lines and laws of the game. Clean match no significant incidents.

 

 

Date: 03/12/2016

Sonoma State 34 – UOP 32

Referee: Hammack, Robert

 

The rain stopped by the 4pm kickoff but the field was still wet and slippery. Sonoma state began the match with 2 tries and it looked like it was going to be one way traffic for the match. UoP responded with several tries of their own, however, and it was game on. A cyncical play by Sonoma 15 while UoP was on attack in their opponent’s 22 warranted a yellow card and UoP took advantage by scoring a try just before the half. HT 23-22 to Sonoma State. The second half was a continuation of the well contested first half. UoP scored 6 tries to Sonoma’s 4 but only converted 1of those tries as Sonoma converted all 4. The missed conversions and several penalties kicks by Sonoma was the difference in the end. FT: 34-32 to Sonoma.

 

 

Date: 03/12/2016

South Valley 15 – Napa 104

Referee: Bernstein, Bruce

 

Rugby gods blessed the Glavan Park field in Morgan Hill with sunny skies, peferct albeit short pitch & view of the Santa Cruz Mts. As advertised “a track meet” which Coach Rabbitt predicted. 45-10 @ half & even more the 2nd. Nice tries by Jeremiah O’Brien Bornstein, Kiwi long lanky winger, scrumhalf, fullback & by Napa’s big prop who also took most of the 17 kickoffs well past the game line. Almost all were the 60 meter ones including one as a result of a failed South Valley penalty kick. Not great defense–looked like 20 v. 10 on most tries. Also pretty good match by both sides who both only had 2-3 subs each.

 

 

Date: 03/12/2016

St. Mary’s College WR 52 – CSU Monterey Bay WR 25

Referee: Griffin, Scott

 

A pleasant day, without much rain, on a slightly soggy field. An open game of rugby in good spirits, the home team prevailing 52-25.

 

 

Date: 03/12/2016

UC Davis 65 – SFSU 5

Referee: Carney, Mark

 

A fun game to ref, UC Davis had a very structured pattern of play and exploited SFSU’s lack of depth. Standout players for UC Davis included their #8 and #9 who controlled their forwards and backs respectively throughout the game. SFSU had some good performances of their own from #8 and #13 who ran strongly all day and did cause problems for the UC Davis centers.

 

 

Date: 03/12/2016

UC Santa Cruz WR 19 – Santa Clara Univ WR 20

Referee: Freitas, Larry

 

The first thing to report on this match is that the location was at Santa Clara University’s Bellomy Field instead of the Lower or Upper Field at UC Santa Cruz. Once again weather prompted UCSC officials to call off the match (something that wouldn’t do some years ago). The game had also been moved to 11:00 AM from the originally planned 2PM start. I left Aptos with rain falling, and it was a wet drive over Highway 17. I arrived at SCU about 10:15 with cloudy and threatening skies overhead, and a cool 56F, and went through the security check to enter the confines of the “turf” pitch. Both teams were warming up, and I noticed that the goal posts weren’t the same as used the previous week when the men played, but a much shorter version with uprights that met the minimum standard of some 12′ high. Paddy Halpin, the Banana Slug coach, checked his Internet app to make sure the posts were legal.

UCSC won the toss and elected to defend the west end, meaning they had the wind at their back for the first half (and it wasn’t near as bad a wind as last week’s SCU men’s match v San Diego State). The game started with UCSC scoring a try, unconverted, within the first three minutes. At 11 minutes Santa Clara would tie with Rachel Schneider, their inside center, crashing over the goal line. For the remainder of the half there was no more scoring, though UCSC would pressure the Broncos several times, only to be denied a try. On one occasion the ball was held up in goal. Another attempt misfired when a loose forward knocked on inches short of the goal line. The first half ended deadlocked 5-5.

The second half started off with UCSC taking charge of the match, controlling the ball and moving it down field with multiple phases and then distributing ball to the backs. Ehi Ehizode, an inside center, broke tackles and used her speed to score two quick tries, both converted, to give the visitors a 19-5 lead. At nine minutes Santa Clara would reply with a try by number 8 Jessica Lew-Munoz. Santa Clara started putting the pressure on UCSC, using the wind to their advantage and keeping the ball mostly in the opponent’s half of the pitch. Ehi Ehizode would also leave the game with an injury some fifteen minutes into the second stanza when her team managed to once again start an attacking movement just inside their half, as she was tackled near touch just outside Santa Clara’s 22 after another sizzling run. Santa Clara started using their power runner Schneider, who broke tackles, swerved, dodged, and gained many meters. As the game entered the final quarter Santa Clara would score again, this time through their loose-head prop, Melinda Lin, after a few forward drives toward the goal line. Finally the comeback victory would be completed when once again Jessica Lew-Munoz scored at 38 minutes, giving Santa Clara the lead 20-19 after another attempt to convert failed. There was three minutes of injury time to play, and UCSC attempted to run out of their end of the pitch. Santa Clara infringed as time was up, giving Santa Cruz one last time to score from just inside their 22. The ball was tapped and quickly spun out to the substitute left wing, who used her speed and a swerve to make it to the halfway line, where she had one woman to beat, but was bundled into touch by Santa Clara’s flyhalf. I blew the whistle for no-side, and Santa Clara had their first victory of the season in the Second Division.

One last comment has to do with the fact that there are three divisions now in the university ranks for women. Teams had to play round-robin, and in talking to some of the Santa Clara gals after the match, they voiced that now that the playoff teams are set, they’d like to play a few more games, after spring break, to end the season against some of the teams they played last year, like Fresno State, St. Mary’s, or CSU Monterey Bay. Perhaps there needs to be a reshuffling of these divisions for next year, especially if Nevada Reno, and/or Humboldt State, are put into the first division.

 

 

 

This Week’s Photo

Our East Mids visitor experiences The Rock.   L-R Tim Lew, Andy Crowson (East Midlands), Pete Smith

East Mids Alcatraz

Hail, Pelicus!

For the Senate

Pelicus Pedem Referre

 

 

 

Olympus Proximitus

HAIL PELICUS!

 

Olympus Proximitus

 

The Olympic Games have always had more than a touch of romance and magic about them.   Every country would send their best athletes and the world would find out who, exactly, was the runner, jumper, swimmer or team.   The individual sports may come and go but the spirit remains and the idea of using sports to promote international relations has a lot of merit.   If one takes into account the quadrennial stories we all hear about the number of condoms used in the Olympic Village, one can safely assume that quite a lot of international relations is going on.

 

The Olympics is a draw.   The golden prize on top of the hill. With rugby’s reemergence in the Games as 7s some of the greatest stars of the “proper” 15s game are being drawn to the shorter code like moths to a candle. Next weekend the World Sevens Series is making its annual stop in Las Vegas and Sonny Bill Williams, Quade Cooper and Brian Habana will be turning out for New Zealand, Australia and South Africa, respectively.   While this star power may bring more attention to the 7s game the question remains if these players will make a difference?   As my old coach Gary Townsend used to say, 7s and 15s are two entirely different games played by the same rules.   This is gonna be fun.

 

The Best Rugby In The Land – Schoolboy Edition

 

There are many benefits to living in Northern California and being a member of the Pelican Society but one of the best is the quality of rugby that we get here.   Last weekend Cal (26 national championships) hosted Air Force (3 national championships) while just a few miles away in Moraga #3 St Mary’s hosted #1 BYU.   The St Mary’s v BYU match was, in particular, a match for the ages.   The best description I heard was that if you wanted to show someone great rugby and get them interested in the game, show them a film of this match.

 

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 Hunter S Thompson of Louisville, KY who asks:

 

“I’m heading to Las Vegas on an epic journey of self discovery enhanced by copious amounts of drug use this weekend but I don’t want to fall behind on my Northern California rugby news.   Will there be a Hail Pelicus next week?”

 

Thank you for your question, Mr S Thompson, although I must say it is quite odd to receive a question from someone who has been dead for over 10 years.   My compliments to your necromancer for the quality of the connection.   The short answer is No.   The long answer is No, because the entire HP staff will be in Vegas next weekend and can’t be bothered.  We literally can’t even.

 

Normal service will resume the following week.

 

Disciplinary Action Reporting – Process For Reporting Incidents

 

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

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

 

On To The Game Reports!

 

Date: 02/20/2016

St. Mary’s College 29 – BYU 30

Referee: Smith, Pete

AR: Byrnes, Bryant

AR: Coppinger, John

 

Evan Lappen of rugbytoday.com did such a good article on the game (http://www.rugbytoday.com/college/1-byu-stops-mighty-comeback-3-st-marys) we will just reproduce it here:

 

The final ten minutes of the marquee match of the weekend nearly culminated in an epic comeback as the Varsity Cup Champion, #1 Brigham Young University, edged the defending DIA National Champion, #3 St. Mary’s College of California, 30-29, on Saturday in Moraga, Calif. Down by 15 points with ten minutes remaining, a BYU yellow card gave St. Mary’s the opening it needed. Requiring three scores to either tie or take the lead, the Gaels showed immense heart to put in two converted tries in the time remaining, but came up one point short at the whistle.

 

Both teams traded blows and struggled to sustain drives without turning the ball over or being penalized. BYU was a big, physical, organized presence on the field, but showed that they are green with not many games under its belt. On the other hand, St. Mary’s found opportunities hard to come by fighting against the Cougars’ stout defense. The Gaels’ resiliency and ability to play hard for 80 minutes kept them in the game.

 

The first scoring chance came for BYU after an offsides penalty. Inside center Calvin Whiting went for points, but the 38 meter kick was wide. When St. Mary’s’ Dylan Audsley had a similar kick soon after, the outside center nailed it to take 3-0 lead in the 10th minute.

 

BYU responded when Whiting stopped Audsley in his tracks forcing a turnover at the 22. After phase ball, flyhalf Jared Whippy sent a beautiful chip to the corner where wing Kevin Schofield beat the opposing wing for the try. Whippy missed the conversion, but the Cougars took the 5-3 lead.

 

On the ensuing kickoff, BYU marched 60 meters to get into scoring position. Eightman Joe Pikula finished off the scoring drive running around the open weak side of the ruck to score in the corner. The Gaels’ answered with a try by wing Tommy Wallace after prop Dino Waldren broke the line for a long gain. The conversion missed, but the lead was cut to 10-8, BYU.

 

After a Whippy penalty extended the tally to 13-8, the Cougars took further advantage when outside center Josh Whippy intercepted a Holden Yungert pass for a try. The subsequent conversion was good and BYU went into halftime up 20-8. Unfortunately for St. Mary’s, Waldren was injured late in the half and didn’t return to play.

 

BYU picked up where they left off in the first half by scoring in the first two minutes of the period. After a 40 meter break by Whippy, lock Matt Jensen found the tryzone and the 27-8 lead. On the next series, BYU’s Josh Whippy was binned for a dangerous tackle and the consequent Gaels’ PK attempt was wide. Down a man, the Cougar defense rallied and killed the penalty without allowing a try.

 

When the teams were at full strength, St. Mary’s found cracks in the defensive front and stormed into the 22. After a stolen scrum and multiple attempts at the tryline, a swift tap pass from Mike McCarthy to Audsley resulted in a try. BYU came back with another Whiting penalty kick to size up an epic last ten minutes with the Cougars leading 30-15.

 

St. Mary’s was knocking at the door again inside the 22 where BYU’s Pikula was yellow carded for repeated infringement. The Gaels attacked with the man advantage and flyhalf Aaron Matthews evaded his defender from ten meters out for the try at the 74th minute.

 

With precious minutes remaining, St. Mary’s opportunities were slipping as a fullback Charlie Loudon break and support by Wallace ended with a turnover. The Gaels were not finished and on the final play, Matthews found the tryzone once more off a quick tap. Audsley made the kick, but the referee blew the final whistle and BYU held on for the 30-29 win.

 

The two teams will meet again in three weeks on March 12th in Provo, Utah. In the meantime both teams will face high quality opponents as St. Mary’s will take on Cal and Utah, while BYU welcomes Air Force and Central Washington to South Field in the coming weeks.

 

 

Date: 02/20/2016

Aptos 39 – Modesto 56

Referee: Bernstein, Bruce

 

Nice competitive match. Aptos hosted Modesto on Silicon Valley’s home field in San Jose making it an easier trip for everyone except Aptos who were lucky to have 15 with their coach filling in admirably at flyhalf. Modesto outscored Aptos 42-14 at half (tripling their score) with some nice long, high kicks resulting in 6 tries all converted; while Aptos came back in the 2nd half doubling Modesto’s scoring. Aptos may have scored more if not for about 5 untimely knock-ons. Good spirited party at Britannia Arms.

 

 

Date: 02/20/2016

Baracus 39 – Chico 14

Referee: Bertolone, Cary

 

Beautiful, sunny day in South San Francisco. It went back and forth for a while and Baracus scored a try on the 9th minute. On the 22,nd minute, .Chico made an interception and their center ran about 70 meters for a try and after making the conversion, were up 7-5. Evenly played game for the first half. In the second half, the most fit team won. Baracus scored tries on the 10th minute, 17th, 31 and 37th minute plus added three points for a penalty. Meanwhile, Chico scored one try on the 33rd minute and never gave up. Fun game to ref; everyone played in good spirits and only one yellow on the day.

 

 

Date: 02/20/2016

Baracus B 26 – Chico B 14

Referee: Bertolone, Cary

 

Both teams had full second sides and were anxious to play 80 minutes. Baracus ran three converted tries in and were up 21 – 0 at the half. Chico came back with two converted tries in the second half, but Baracus scored one more try to put the game out of reach. Good sportsmanship by both sides; great game!!!

 

 

Date: 02/20/2016

Cal Maritime 12 – CAL 35

Referee: Pescetti, David

 

It was a cold morning at Witter field in Berkeley, but it weather warmed up for a beautiful Rugby Saturday. The early fixture pitted Cal Maritime vs Cal.

 

Cal kicked off and was able to win the ball back and use their space and pace to score within the opening minutes of the match. However, Maritime was not to be undone. They were awarded a scrum 5 meters out of the Cal try line. A surprise to everyone was that Maritime pushed the Cal pack. Pushed them back to score a pushover try; galvanizing Maritime. Cal and Maritime were able to score points in this hard fought battle. Whenever Cal seemed to take a step ahead Maritime would muster up points to remind Cal they hadn’t gone anywhere. By the half the score was Cal 20 and Maritime 12.

 

The second half was just as hard fought, but with less scoring from either side. Cal was the only side to put points up on the board in the brutal continuation of the physical contest of the 1st half. It was a great match by both sides. Final score Cal 35 – Maritime 12

 

 

Date: 02/20/2016

California 65 – Air Force 12

Referee: Bretz, Paul

 

Good first half of play. Air Force scored early 2 times and gave Cal all they could handle. Second half was all Cal as they controlled the pace. Air Force never stopped trying and will look to improve from this match.

 

 

Date: 02/20/2016

Chico St Women 29 – Cal Women 12

Referee: McSwain, Beau

 

Chico had 5 tries with 2 conversions and Cal had 2 tries with 1 conversion. Chico #6 had a yellow card for multiple team infractions. Other than the card it was a very good straight forward game.

 

 

Date: 02/20/2016

Chico State 41 – UNR 19

Referee: Devlin, Joe

 

No report received

 

 

Date: 02/20/2016

CSU Monterey Bay WR 5 – St. Mary’s College WR 62

Referee: Freitas, Larry

 

I drove down from Aptos to CSUMB mid-morning Saturday for another game pitting two fairly new programs against each other, as St. Mary’s of Moraga’s Gaels would take on Cal State Monterey’s Sea Otters. The skies were partly cloudy, and the big puffy ones hung over the various coastal ranges that ring the inland crescent of the Monterey Bay, leftovers from the last cold front that only produced some sprinkles the previous night.

My dashboard’s thermometer read 57F arriving a half hour before the match. I made the long walk to the pitch, and did my pre-game preparations.

The pitch itself was in fairly good shape, given the season’s rain, the games played previously in wet conditions, and the fact it is used for training. The field certainly was dried out from the quick-moving storm of Wednesday night and early Thursday morning.

Kick off was at 11:05, and right away I could see that St. Mary’s had a game strategy laid out that would lead to a number of tries as the game wore on: the forwards running the ball straight up the field, and with any contact having the next player up scoop the ball and advance it further up the field. There really weren’t many rucks then as opposed to a St. Mary’s tackled player just leaving the ball behind and having the next team mate pick it up and run on.   Finally enough space would be created in mid-field that the ball was spun wide as defenders were sucked into the forward’s rushes. Katy Conway, St. Mary’s outside center, did score the first try of the match seven minutes into play, but it was a try scored from a turnover by CSUMB, when their inside center mishandled and pass that was scooped up from the ground just inside CSUMB’s half, and St. Mary’s had the chance to counterattack for a quick 7-0 lead. Eight minutes later the Lady Gaels scored a forward’s try after minutes of pressure deep in the opponent’s half. In fact much of the first half was played in the Monterey end of the pitch. Another key player for St. Mary’s was Katy Whiting, their scrum half, who was to switch to flanker in the second half of play. She’s very accurate with the boot, converting the first four tries for her team for a 28-0 lead, some from not the best angles for any kicker. Her coach told me after the game she spent the first semester of the school year at Oxford, and did make the Oxford second team. Pete Dawkins would be proud.

Before the half ended CSUMB would get on the scoreboard. Near the halfway line and from the left-hand side of the pitch CSUMB’s scrum half would score following a set scrum, when the ball was passed on to the flyhalf, who proceeded to run wide and pass the ball behind her in what appeared to be a planned scissors move. The problem was that the inside center wasn’t close enough to receive the pass that fell harmlessly to the ground. Scrum half Sabrina Bacuangan was close enough to scoop the ball up and start a sprint, leaving defenders behind, as she scored. The try wasn’t converted, and I was in a spot of bother, as I felt that hamstring pull that’s been bothering me lately when I dashed off behind the runner. St. Mary’s would score a few minutes later, the forwards using a few phases to finally crash over the goal line. Half time score was 33-5. I had the CSUMB trainer attend to my right hamstring, and I was able to complete my refereeing duties with a wrapped leg.

The second half started with CSUMB finally able to penetrate St. Mary’s half and put pressure on their defense. Several times I awarded five meter scrums to the Otters, but they couldn’t capitalize. I awarded a try and immediately disallowed it seeing that a St. Mary’s pair of hands had kept the ball from being grounded by a CSUMB player, just held up inches from the ground. I called a penalty when CSUMB’s scrum half double played the ball close to the goal line as she was tackled and tried to crawl forward to score. St. Mary’s finally ended quite a few minutes of this constant pressure when they cleared their lines, the clearing kick made by a forward. For the rest of the match CSUMB didn’t really threaten St. Mary’s territory. As for St. Mary’s, Conway, their center, would score two more back-to-back tries, as the ball was moved wide to the backs. Three more tries ended the match when St. Mary’s number 8, a second half substitute, took off on some long runs to score, two of these from lineouts from half way.

Final score: St. Mary’s 62, CSUMB 5. One positive note for CSUMB was that they did try to vary their offensive approach to the game, using their fly half to kick deep into space behind St. Mary’s backline when the opportunity arose, and making St. Mary’s retreat to cover. St. Mary’s also had a fly half adept at this tactic, though much more often than not the ball was kept in hand, whether by backs or forwards.

I stuck around for the CSUMB v Sonoma State match. I was going to referee that match as well, but my hamstring was telling me no. Fortunately Jeff Carlile, St. Mary’s coach, is certified, and he offered to referee that match. I owe him a pint.

 

Date: 02/20/2016

Danville 97 – Lamorinda 7

Referee: O’Neil, George

 

No report received

 

 

Date: 02/20/2016

EPA Razorbacks 21 – Life West 47

Referee: Lane, John

 

Arriving to Rich May Field the underage rugby games were still on-going and there was some good entertainment for the large crowd who were enjoying the bbq and refreshments while cheering on the young players!!

 

While the two teams were warming up on the nearby school fields I executed the pre-game boot check and coin toss with the captains.

 

As the youth games overran a few minutes both sides were ready to go immediately the games completed. The Razorbacks kicked of the game proceeding with a rousing Haka which Life West faced with calm composure. The supporting crowd loved it!!

 

Life kicked off and EPA held possession and the theme for the day with strong running into contact and powerful tackling being prominent. On their first real series of possession Life moved the ball quickly through a few phases and following a line break move the ball left and scored wide out. Unconverted – 4mins 0-5.

 

Following the score EPA put in some strong running but Life maintained field position domination forcing a few penalties from EPA. Life kicked these penalties to the corner and during this period of pressure the EPA No 8 deliberately slowed up their attack and received a yellow card. Opting for the 5m scrum Life truned over possesion and EPA cleared their line.

 

Down a man they were not able to hold Life out for long and they scored a second try (converted) on 17 minutes for 0-12. EPA then had a period of pressure and despite being down a man scored a converted try on 21 minutes to close to 7-12.

 

While EPA were being competitive with both sides executing aggressive lines and seeking contact they were reduced to 14 players on 24 minutes when after just returning to the field their No. 8 deliberately impeded an attacking Life player with a no arm early shoulder charge.

 

EPA’s 14 men kept the game competetive after the double yellow sending off but in a 5 minute period between 32 and 37 Life score 3 tries with one converted to take a 7-29 half time lead.

 

With the lead Life appear to lose some concentration and EPA dominated the early parts of the 2nd half scoring a converted try on 14 minutes. 14-29. EPA continue to pressurise and the Life 7 received a yellow card on 17 mins for deliberately slowing down attacking possession.

 

The card seemed to generate improved focus on the Life side and they returned a turnover for an unconverted try on 20 mins – 14-34. EPA responded and built the pressure again crossing for another converted try on 26 mins for 21-34.

 

With some input from the coaches on the side line Life decided to tighten the game up and where they were previously kicking penalties to the corner for attacking lineouts they decided to kick at goal on a penalty on 29 mins. Converted for 21- 37. Another penalty received for a yellow card deliberate obstruction by the EPA 14 on 33 minutes was also converted to stretch the lead to 21-40. Despite being 2 men short EPA put in a huge effort over the remaining 7 minutes but on 36 mins Life picked up a loose ball and returned it for a converted try.

 

This left the final score at 21-47 in a physically hard fought game.

 

 

Date: 02/20/2016

Fresno State B 21 – Sac State B 39

Referee: Jury, Jeff

 

No report received

 

 

Date: 02/20/2016

Jesuit 19 – Granite Bay 17

Referee: Carney, Mark

 

Great game that allowed for a lot of expansive play. Jesuit never trailed, but Granite Bay made it a nail biter all the way to the dying seconds. Notable players were Jesuit 1 and 7, and Granite Bay 2 and 10.

 

 

Date: 02/20/2016

Mendocino 12 – Google 45

Referee: Hammack, Robert

 

Good game of rugby played on a beautiful day in Ukiah. The pitch was still wet from the recent rains which made for a slippery ball and a corresponding number of scrums. Continuity was also hard to come by given the conditions but both teams strung together several nice periods of play. Unfortunately for Mendocino, Google played more with ball in hand and made less handling errors which resulted in the final score.

 

 

Date: 02/20/2016

Mother Load 11 – Solo 34

Referee: Boyer, Rich

 

Saturday night under the lights, full moon in Folsom, where Mo Lode hosted Solo. Mo Lode came out strong and put Solo on the back foot. Multiple penalties resulted in a quick penalty goal for Mo Lode followed by a try. Solo clawed back to tie the match at halftime. Solo made adjustments in the second half which resulted in 4 second half tries. Notable players included Mo Lode six and nine; Solo flyhalf with a cannon boot and 8 man. Good ball movement by both teams with good recognition of gaps.

 

 

Date: 02/20/2016

Olympic Club 2 37 – Diablo 14

Referee: Gordon, Preston

 

O Club had an edge in the backline in this game, which went well with their offloading play and lineout work. Diablo looked pretty good too, and were the stronger team in the scrum. Both teams were looking for opportunities to move the ball around, which was a good use of the GAA’s full-width pitch C, nor were they shy about making big hit-ups and ferocious tackles.

 

The scoreboard started running in the 3rd minute, with a try to Olympic Club, followed by 4 more (1 converted) in the half, at 5′, 10′, 15′, and 34′. It was a little windy, but nothing too unusual and most of those conversions were kickable. Regardless, they had a sizeable lead of 27-0 at that point. Diablo put a dent in that with 2 of their own converted tries in the 40th and 46th minute (running time) of the first half to leave things at 27-14. The extra time was needed to get the Diablo #1 patched up after he and the OC #7 ran into each other in a tackle situation, leaving a pretty solid coat of blood on one guy’s forehead and the other’s eyebrow. Both went off to get stitches, I assume, skipping the blood bin.

 

In the second half, both teams kept up the tempo, with O Club getting 2 further tries at 9′ and 37′ to end up at 37-14. The penalty count was reasonably low, but the Diablo #13 went to the bin in the 2nd minute of the 2nd half for a no-wrap tackle. He was followed by the OC #19, yellow carded in the 23rd minute for a high tackle, and a really silly yellow card just before the end of the match to an OC player for cynically not retreating 10m and killing a Diablo tap & go in O Club’s 22.

 

Overall, it was a pretty good matchup, though the score may flatter Diablo a bit due to O Club’s 6 missed conversions. I covered 3.5 miles myself, which isn’t bad for the 2nd match of the day. Thanks to both teams for playing a fast, good-tempered, and almost completely clean game, and thanks to the guys that touch judged as well.

 

 

Date: 02/20/2016

Olympic Club Alumni 65 – Bald Eagles 17

Referee: Gordon, Preston

 

It was a lovely day on TI and this game saw a great gathering of familiar faces, along with a few guys who look like they could still be playing in the men’s league. Fred Forrester scored the first of the Bald Eagles’ 3 tries, using his red beret to its full advantage.

 

Ultimately, O Club was stronger in the 4 20-minute periods we played, with 11 tries to their credit. There was the occasional running narrative on the laws in this game, but nothing too annoying. I covered a bit over 3 miles in this game, which was a pretty good warmup for the later O Club men’s league match that afternoon.

 

 

Date: 02/20/2016

Sacramento Capitals 60 – Berkeley 13

Referee: Tucker, Chris

 

Story of the day — Capitals have a strong, strong back line. They cut holes in the Berkeley defence all day. I gave a couple of yellow cards to the Caps for goal line infringements, which cut the pace of scoring in the second half, and Berkeley then touched down their second try with the two man advantage they’d built. But by then the score differential was insurmountable. Thanks to all for a fine run in the Sacramento sunshine.

 

 

Date: 02/20/2016

Sacramento Capitals B 68 – Berkeley B 14

Referee: Madsen, Erik

 

With a majority of players having to put in double duty for both teams we settled on a match of 10s. Sacramento kept the momentum and wide ball for a lot of big breaks in this one sided match.

 

 

Date: 02/20/2016

Sacramento Lions 14 – Santa Rosa 33

Referee: Bryant, Lee

 

This was one of the more contentions matches I have done in awhile. Big hits and tough scrums throughout the match made this a cracker of a game. Santa Rosa dominated the scrums through the whole game and managed to push for at least 5-7 meters each scrum before getting the ball out to the backs. Both teams fought hard at the breaks downs and were proficient at poaching. This game also had a number of great rolling mauls from both sides that made me work the offside lines. When they were on the offense, the Lions backs moved the ball beautifully and smoothly and was able to score couple of tires in the second half to keep the match close after being shut out in the first half. Santa Rose stayed steady in the match as was able to score a couple of tried and make points off of penalties near the posts for a solid win over the home team.

 

 

Date: 02/20/2016

San Jose 17 – Fresno 29

Referee: Hinkin, James

 

The San Jose Seahawks took on Fresno for a D1 clash on a picture perfect day in San Jose. With the Seahawks ladies warming up the pitch for the men we had another one of these glorious rugby festival days that old timers such as myself could only dream of.   The grass was green and lush with a wide, perfectly marked field to play on – perfect conditions.   The only imperfection to my eye was the rather short in goal areas.   As a former winger who loved the kick and chase I always wanted a large in goal. This would prove significant.

 

Both teams started well with a pattern designed to dominate in the forwards.   The teams went back and forth with possession and territory changing hands in an entertaining back and forth match.   San Jose was able to draw first blood with a lineout move from in close where #8 Dan Nagle was stopped just short, but lock Aaron Goldfarb has really long arms and was able to pick up the ball and reach forward and dot it down for a try.   Fresno responded with increased pressure but San Jose was up for the task. This is when the short in goal became a factor.   With the half looming the Seahawks were able to swing the ball wide and the winger put a kick in behind the defense for the chase.   The ball rolled towards the try line when the covering Fresno winger tried to corral it but failed, knocking it back into the in goal where both San Jose and Fresno players converged on it.   San Jose won the race and dotted it down and as I arrived I looked around for the dead ball line. The ball was resting about a foot beyond the dead ball line to I awarded a 5 meter scrum for the defense bringing the ball into the end goal.   San Jose protested that they got it down in the try zone but I have AR nor do I have a TMO, so play on.   Fresno was able to turn the ball over from the resulting phase play and run 90 meters for a score at the other end on the stroke of half time.   With the conversion the score was 7-5 – a 12 point swing on that sequence.

 

The second half was another back and forth affair as Fresno scored early only to have the Seahawks strike back with a converted try from Ismael “Sefa” Keller to tie the game at 12.   After that Fresno was able to show their finishing prowess as they pushed San Jose back and got over the line twice more.   With 9 minutes remaining San Jose was given a lifeline when Ill discipline at the tackle saw a Fresno prop sin binned for repeated team infringements at the breakdown only to have the fullback do the exact same thing 2 minutes later, resulting in another yellow.   With a 2 man advantage the Seahawks were able to exploit the space and get another try from Keller but on the ensuing kickoff San Jose was penalized for holding on and Rodney Tuisavalalo calmly stroked the kick through to put the game out of reach.   San Jose was determined however and the game ended with Fresno captain and scrumhalf “Cowboy” latching on to the ball as the Hawks tried to get it down over the line. Held up in goal. End of match. A very entertaining match from both sides.

 

Date: 02/20/2016

San Jose B 15 – Fresno B 32

Referee: Tuisavalalo, Rodney

 

I thought this game was an example of true gamesmanship and rivalry to be expected in the game of rugby. Former teammates now opposed each other on the pitch, and no one backed down from this familiarity. Insults were hurled, crunching tackles were given, and hard runs were rewarded with sly comments and the occasional pat on the back. It made my refereeing that much more enjoyable. Fresno dotted down first to take the lead after the 5th minute. The Seahawks countered with a dazzling run by their center to even up the score. Both tries were unconverted. A second try by the Seahawks captain and number #8 saw them take a brief lead in the waning moments of the 1st half. With a little less than a minute left, Fresno powered their way down the field for a try in the corner-again tying the game. The second half saw Fresno playing the ball out wide with little use of their forwards, and were rewarded with a few more tries which were all unconverted. A Seahawks player by the name of Holcolm displayed an unusual talent of kicking and chasing the ball. I say unusual because he was same size as Fresno’s biggest prop. The twinkled toed forward was rewarded when San Jose dotted their final try of the game near the goal post. The try was unconverted. The game ended with a final try to the visiting team when their #8 Peni broke through the lines and secured the try under the posts. Fuahala , the 290 lb prop slotted the only conversion of the game. Big men ruled the game this day, and from what I’m told took their winning ways to the beer kegs post match.

 

 

Date: 02/20/2016

San Jose Women 6 – Sacramento Amazons 75

Referee: Hinkin, James

 

The ladies of the San Jose Seahawks took on the Sacramento Amazons Saturday morning on a perfect day in San Jose.   Both teams had a full compliment of players but San Jose was forced to work with a short bench – a fact that would prove significant later.   Both sides came out firing but the Amazons quickly established a physical dominance.   It seemed as if San Jose had 10 players willing to tackle but the other 5 were either unsure or unaware of their responsibilities and the Amazons gratefully took the offered gaps.   Even with a player advantage after only 8 minutes due to a dangerous tackle the play was dominated by the visitors.   7 tries were scored with 3 conversions while San Jose could only muster up a solitary penalty.

 

The second half was much the same as the first as a full strength Amazon team took it to the home side.   6 tries (2 converted) to the same solitary penalty was to damage as injury and attrition left the Seahawks playing with only 14 for the last 10 minutes.

 

This is not to say that the Seahawks did not do themselves proud. They tackled for all they were worth and put in a solid effort.   There was never any hint of giving up nor a lack of commitment. I have seen the growth of the club from a few ladies playing 7s a couple of years ago to a full 15s side.   Now that the numbers are starting to show they can look to clubs such as the Amazons to see how the next stage of their development should go.

 

Date: 02/20/2016

Santa Clara Univ WR 12 – Univ Nevada Reno WR 68

Referee: Pohlman, John

 

Santa Clara University women hosted University of Reno women at Bellamy Field this past Saturday for a 1:00 kick off. Beautiful day for rugby.

Reno had close to thirty players available. SCU had some injuries and only had 17 players available.

This was a far more competitive game the the score would indicate. SCU had many opportunities to score only to turn the ball over and not reset their defense quickly. The first four tries for Reno were off penalties or mostly turnovers.   One early opportunity had SCU turn the ball over within ten meter of their try line, only to have Reno score from the mistake.

Both teams had some quality players. Reno led by captain Cara #10 and their #12 and #15. These three were fast and dynamic runners who scored numerous tries.

 

 

Date: 02/20/2016

SFGG 28 – Sacramento Blackhawks 17

Referee: Leisek, Joe

 

Beautiful, crisp morning on Treasure Island, with an 11 a.m. kickoff being the first match of a rugby triple-header on Ray Sheeran Field. This was an intense, competitive contest throughout, with the home side pulling away only in the last 10 minutes. Lots of hard contact up front and ball movement out wide. One of the highlights was a prolonged, sustained goal line attack and defensive stand in the second half. The Blackhawks eventually scored a try at midfield after several pick-and-drives just in front of the goal line. Patience rewarded. Great moment.

 

 

Date: 02/20/2016

Sierra College 10 – Santa Rosa JC 46

Referee: Hosley, David

 

This was a first for me–a community college match. It’s an area for possible growth, as not many have club sports and it could help retain students and provide some activities outside the classroom.

 

 

Date: 02/20/2016

Stanford Women 19 – UC Davis Women 12

Referee: Simko, Paul

 

It was a perfect 60 degrees in a warm sun at Steuber Field at Stanford. We had a noon kickoff and this game was probably the best contested game I have every refereed. This was a match of momentum and UC Davis had it in the first half, keeping the ball in tight with the pack with a pick and go strategy that they used much of the game. Two penalties by Stanford in the first half near their goal line set the stage for two tries by UC Davis. One was near the posts and the other was outside. Score at half time was 12-0 in favor of UC Davis, but the match was closer than the score revealed. The second half was very similar, except the teams, flip-flopped. Stanford’s backs were running downhill in the second half, and UC Davis was playing tough defense. Stanford tied the game 12-12 around the 65 Minute mark. Stanford’s second try was in the middle of the posts after 3 or 4 held up in goal attempted tries. Stanford took the lead around the 70 minute mark. The hitting was hard with blood and a few injuries. UC Davis had untimely knocks and penalties that kept them out of the try zone in the second half.

 

 

Date: 02/20/2016

UCSC 60 – SFSU 7

Referee: MacDonald, Neil

 

Glorious sunshine and stellar views across the Monterey Bay were the reward for finding my away around road closures in the mountains, and circumnavigating the Slugs’ campus to avoid the bike race the university was hosting. Of course, since Santa Cruz must be kept wierd, there was a group of unicyclists racing too.   Ten years and twenty pounds ago I used to race road bikes, and I briefly felt the pull of the peloton, before being forced to admit that the occasional outing as a MAMIL (middle-aged man in lycra) would have been scant preparation for umpteen circuits of the campus, and that in any case, I had a prior engagement.

 

This bottom of the table clash in the Pacific Western Rugby Conference pitted SFSU (#9, 0-3) against UCSC (#8, 1-3). UCSC began strongly, with SFSU’s front row struggling mightily at scrum time, but UCSC had to settle for kicking a penalty despite sustained pressure in the opening exchanges, having spilled the ball over or close to the line a couple of times. A rush of blood to the head led to Santa Cruz’s fullback spending ten minutes on the sidelines after failing to wrap, and SFSU took advantage to score a well-earned try and go ahead 3-7 with 22 minutes played.

 

Restored to full numbers, and stung by SFSU’s try, UCSC opened the flood gates and scored three of their own in the last ten minutes of the half to go into the break 24-7 up, much to the delight of the home crowd.

 

SFSU’s hopes for a second half resurgence were dashed in the second minute, when UCSC executed a devastating blind side move. #10 and #14 worked well together to cover 60m and put #14 in for the score.   The rest of the match was more of the same, as UCSC’s superior accuracy earned rewards, and SFSU compounded the pressure with infringements in defense, conceding more territory to the strong boot of UCSC’s #10.   In the final minutes of the match, with the hosts up 46-7, UCSC’s winger was cut down 5m out by a clothesline tackle from SFSU’s last defender. Straight from the kickoff from the resulting penalty try, UCSC’s fullback, determined to make amends for his earlier transgressions, took the ball 70m down the field, going around and through numerous defenders and scoring a brilliant individual try to end the match.

 

Date: 02/20/2016

UCSC B 24 – SFSU B 0

Referee: MacDonald, Neil

 

UCSC and SFSU contested a B side match of 20 minute halves. UCSC B carried the day comprehensively with three converted tries and a penalty kick, despite having a player in the bin for “not back any” for a quarter of the shortened match. The pick of the UCSC scores came in the 15th minute when their winger ran in from long range, stepping five defenders and stiff-arming a sixth on his way to the line. One wonders what damage he might have wreaked given 80 minutes in the A side game…

 

 

Date: 02/20/2016

Univ San Francisco WR 13 – Fresno State WR 36

Referee: Labozzetta, Chris

 

A very clean game between two well coached sides. The talent level was fairly even for both teams, with the exception of the Fresno #12 who scored several tries and was a step ahead of all the other players on the field.

 

Date: 02/20/2016

UOP 25 – USF 38

Referee: Wilson, Giles

 

Two small college teams that are trying to establish their place with their universities played a competitive game. Both teams had several new players with UOP being slightly more experienced overall but the USF flyhalf was better able to control the game.

 

The first few minutes were back and forth before the teams settled. UOPs style was big runners, staying close to the breakdown and when they played to their pattern they looked better. USF kept their #8 in the backs and worked the gaps in the 12 & 13 channels well, they created space well when they could settle into their pattern.

 

The first half ended with UOP ahead 15-10 (3 tries to 1 converted try and a penalty). In the second half, USF were able to pull away with a 4 tries to 2 margin but also by virtue of kicking their goals.

 

 

Date: 02/20/2016

Vacaville 29 – Life West 2 26

Referee: Taueva, Favor

 

very good day for rugby. Turf pitch is not my best for rugby but it was JR for two team to play good rugby. My appreciation for Johnson Lee. Thank you for taking your time to be part of our referee associations and helping us to better refs. Hope we can do things together in the near future. Learn a lot for a short time we have and I deeply appreciated. Vacaville was on their best behavior and ball skills while Life West was in a Lazy mode to play the first half. It was 21 to Life West 5 at the second half and that’s a lot of points to catch up at the second half. Life West almost catch up with Vacaville but the time didn’t allow them. Over all I feel very good and enjoy being a ref.

 

Manuia !!!!

 

 

This Week’s Photo

The crew who oversaw the epic battle in Moraga. L-R    Pelicus Byrnest, Pelicus Fistulator, John “I have no Pelican Name and it makes me sad” Coppinger.

St Marys 3

 

Hail, Pelicus!

For the Senate

Pelicus Pedem Referre

 

 

Winter Break

HAIL PELICUS!

 

Winter Break

 

We all took a break from winter last week as temperatures in Pelicanland soared into the 70s and even low 80s (34 centipedes in SI units) but according to the Weather Priestess the El Niño rains will soon be returning in force, so don’t put away that rain gear just yet.   I hope everyone wakes up to one more sunny Rugby Day with the bold, italic taste of freshly brewed coffee kick starting a day of sun, fun, whistles and tries.

Down in the valleys our reservoirs are starting to fill up and up in the mountains our snowpack is getting up to 100% of normal, but as we are in a multi-year drought we need more than that.  Time for nature to give more than 100%.   Fellow Pelicans, take advantage of the free tanning sessions because it won’t last.

As Ford Prefect asked, “You got a towel with you?”

 

Inspiration or Desperation?

 

There seems to be some confusion or possibly unintended misdirection in much of the poetry and nonsense that is produced here in the Hail Pelicus.   We, the editorial staff of HP, would like to state that we are just not that original, but do think we are pretty clever when it comes to satirizing or otherwise appropriating the works of others.   This was true in the past – the poem celebrating the US 7s win in London was almost line for line taken from “Casey At The Bat” – and is still true today.   I had responses from more than one Eric regarding last week’s “Song for Eric (Ode To The Truncated B Side Match)” suggesting that the poem was directed at them and they really don’t complain about short B sides all that much.

 

That is not the case; remember, we are not that original. The poem/song was taken from the classic Monty Python sketch “Eric The Half A Bee” (the hint was in the title).   I used the Monty Python sketch to highlight the number of B sides that play 20 minute halves and, well, “half a bee” fit perfectly.   At the end I also reminded clubs that they still get charged a full match fee no matter the length of the match itself, so there is that as well.

 

Because it is hilarious I recommend you take a moment to watch the sketch here: https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=NVhXkQu5_Ig .  Those readers who are currently off their medications (or on some of the better ones) can go back to last week’s HP and sing along with our updated lyrics.

 

Trigger Warning!   If insect sodomy offends you then you may want to skip it.

 

There are other Easter Eggs scattered throughout most HPs as well, you, dear reader, just need to look for them. For example, last week’s Ask A Pelican question about high schools came from David Wooderson, which happens to be the name of Matthew McConaughey’s character in “Dazed and Confused”.   Yes, we do think about these things.

 

Las Vegas Needs Refs

 

Apparently LVI Tournament Director Jon Hinkin was upset at last week’s call for LVI referees stating, for the record, that “I give great gifts”. His passionate pleas have swayed the editorial staff here at Hail Pelicus and we fully retract last week’s statement that he gives thoughtless birthday presents and want to say that we truly enjoy the belly button lint brush he gave us last year.

 

Now that that unpleasantness is cleared up, if you are planning to go to Vegas for the USA 7s and want to referee at the LVI, details are here:

 

Referees – we need your help as a volunteer with the biggest tournament this spring – Las Vegas Invitational March 3, 4, 5-6th! We have 70 refs currently registered… and need 40 more refs!!!!!!

Referees will receive:
1. Free referee jersey
2. Tickets to all 3 days of the USA 7’s International tournament (when you stay at The Westgate Hotel) at LVI Discounted Rates.

Hotel Register HERE:
http://www.usasevens.com/las-vegas/official-lvi-hotels/

Referee Register HERE:
http://lvireferee2016.doattend.com

For more information email Autumn Arvidson at mnrugbyref@gmail.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 Edmund Gerald Brown, Jr of Sacramento, CA who asks:

 

“I am new to the Pelican Referees and I feel a little left out because I don’t have a NCRRS track suit or kit bag, not to mention tee shirts or polos.   I don’t even have ties or pins to wear and trade with other referees.   Will we ever order more and if so, when can I get some?”

 

I would like to say is an honor to have you in our society, Mr Brown and that you are not alone in thinking we need new kit.   Even the grizzled veterans of the society have noticed that their kit bags and track suits are becoming more grizzled than they are.   The NCRRS has appointed a new kit cat, Pelicus Pedem Referre, who you may have noticed handing out the jerseys, shorts and occasionally socks at our monthly meetings.   He is working with the NCRRS board to update our kit and will be sending a request for orders out to the flock soon.

 

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 the following video: https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=_Uz0_gTaOnY

 

On To The Game Reports!

 

Date: 02/11/2016
Solo 28 – Danville 22
Referee: Boyer, Rich

 

Great match. Very lively players with great gameplans. Standouts include Solo ten and fifteen, Danville nine and eight. Great offloads, tactical kicks and chase. Solo came out on fire and scored two tries in the first six minutes as a result of open play and backs offloads. Danville came back strong on the back of their number 8 and some precision running into gaps by 10 and 12. Solo were beneficiaries of Danville infringements within easy shot of posts and their flyhalf kicked three penalties, two which proved to be the winning margin. 22-10 Solo at half. Danville retrieved momentum somewhat in the second half, with an unconverted try at the death. Really good play and sportsmanship exhibited by both teams.

 

 

Date: 02/12/2016
Oakland Warthogs 36 – Los Gatos United 43
Referee: Madsen, Erik

 

Both teams showed a lot of heart through the entire match. It started with 3 unconverted trys to Los Gatos from some long runs in the first 15 minutes. The Warthogs kept working and battled back to put 2 unconverted trys up with the the first half ending by a last score by Los Gatos ending the half 10-22 to Los Gatos. The second half was nearly the reverse of the first with the Warthogs coming out the gates with 3 trys (2 converted) under 15 minutes. With some back and forth scores the game came down to a break away run with a forward pass to the wing by Los Gatos. The following Warthog scrum was lost and Los Gatos showed great speed and hands to score. The final was 36-43 Los Gatos in a fast paced high intensity match.

 

Date: 02/13/2016
Berkeley 10 – Chico 17
Referee: Wood, Scott

Venue: Godfrey Park, Alameda

 

Chico benefited more from Berkeley’s penalties than a cohesive game plan. Both teams have good back lines but space was impacted by a pitch less than 70 meters wide.

 

 

Date: 02/13/2016
Berkeley B 21 – Chico B 10
Referee: Madsen, Erik

 

Following a hard fought A-side match, the B-side followed to be well contested. Both teams had great numbers and didn’t have a lot of guys playing double duty so they played nearly a full length match (30 min halves). The first half didn’t have a scrum till 15 minutes in (although a few penalties) and ended up 7-10 in favor of Chico. The second half had some scrappy play from both sides and working down the field with the results favoring Berkeley with some dynamic running through the middle by center that could not be brought down. End result was 21-10 Berkeley Bs with great attitude and play from both sides.

 

 

Date: 02/13/2016
California Women 5 – UC Davis Women 83
Referee: Tetler, Jen

 

It was a beautiful day for rugby at Witter field on Saturday. Both teams came out hard, but Davis kicked off and got the ball back for a quick score in the first few minutes. They followed up with another breakaway a few minutes later. Cal had some good hands and answered with a try of their own, but that was the last time that the Bears would see the try line, even though they had several good series with ball in hand an got a few balls out to their winger. Davis was just overall faster and harder to tackle. Cal was able to make a couple of poaches, but Davis had excellent support all the way down the field, they would pick the ball before a ruck could even be formed and then would break through one or two people before they would go down again. Davis had some super speedy wingers and their #12 could zig zag her way around most people then accelerate to the posts. I was impressed that Cal fought the whole time and never gave up. Great job to both teams.

 

 

Date: 02/13/2016
Chico St Women 31 – Stanford Women 17
Referee: Hosley, David

 

The Valley was awash in almond and peach blossoms as I went north for a spirited contest between Chico and Stanford women. Close until late, the Chico women kicked and covered to their advantage and won going away.

 

 

Date: 02/13/2016
Colusa 81 – Aptos 7
Referee: Boyer, Rich

 

A crystal clear day, with the snow capped peaks of both the Sierras and Coastal range in full view, on the way to Colusa. This, combined with the amazing contrast of blooming almond orchards and the bright green grass brought on by last month’s rain, made for a most excellent drive.

 

Colusa opened strong with good forward play and quick back ball, with Grandma (he’s only 25 years old), the inside center making the most of it and having a hand in the first three tries, scoring one himself. Ardie the openside was conspicuous by his work rate and strong ball carrying (and WAY too conspicuous in his post match attire). Aptos had moments of brilliance but were bothered by silly mistakes. Colusa tracked to a point a minute in the first half capped by 46 years young prop Paul Santinelli’s burrowing try.   40-0 at half.

 

Colusa subbed in younger players for the second period; Aptos had none. Aptos flanker Matt was very good chasing the restarts, the young kiwi inside center showed great skills with poaching, but it wasn’t enough. Colusa picked up in the second half where they left off the first: a point a minute. They illustrated sublime offloading in tackles, led by captain Cody Beckley, and it seemed they had a never ending overlap.   But all of a sudden the Aptos outside center Fox makes himself known with two scintillating runs. Then he breaks one for a 70 meter try leaving pursuit in his wake. But after this it was all Colusa, again. Credit to Aptos for never giving in.   And credit to the great Colusa fan base.

 

 

Date: 02/13/2016
CSUMB 14 – USF 24
Referee: Freitas, Larry

 

This game was played at USF instead of CSUMB, as the venue was changed some time ago by the two schools. USF’s turf soccer field was the destination, and on the day one couldn’t have had better weather in San Francisco: about 70F at game time under sunny skies and no wind blowing onshore from the ocean. The problem with the day was the field itself, as the goal posts were on the deal ball line, which is the actual goal line for the soccer, with the goal lines placed at the six yard box line across the pitch using tape. The 22 was partially taped across the pitch only some 17-18 yards further up field. I won’t go on about this except to say that college kids should know how to use some device to measure distances, and that perhaps USF’s rugby club should look into using one of the many fields that exist in San Francisco, with a grass surface!

 

The game started with some movements by both teams’ back divisions, finding some space to move the ball out wide before being checked by the cover defense. Finally, some eight minutes into the match, USF’s inside center, Joe Burson-Ryan, scored a try with some nifty running; 5-0 USF, drawing first blood, which would spill some from players as the game progressed. At 22 minutes the Dons would score again, this time when their halfback, who had just previously failed to score when his foot was in touch as he dived into the left hand corner, did score from a five meter scrum awarded after a crooked CSUMB throw from the lineout, as he made a break in a very determined fashion. Now it was 10-0 after a failed conversion attempt. The tackling in this game was hard, but clean, and falling on that turf meant perhaps an injury was likely, and therefore one CSUMB player went off with a shoulder separation, and thirty minutes in Mario Chavez, CSUMB’s outstanding center who last week scored on a 40 meter run against Santa Rosa, went down with what would later be diagnosed at St. Mary’s hospital with a torn ACL. Unfortunately the injury, though a mere five feet from the touch line, stopped the game for 20 minutes, as he had to be taken to the hospital in an ambulance. Play resumed with ten minutes left after such a long break, and USF would score again, when a penalty was run in from five meters out. CSUMB would score a try near the break when a maul formed a few meters USF’s goal after a tap penalty, and one of their forwards used all his strength to place the ball over. Josh Silver, CSUMB’s flyhalf and kicker, converted from a good distance and angle. Immediately afterwards one of USF’s coaches yelled over at me that kicks needed to be taken at the other end of the pitch, as homes were behind the south end, and those living in them didn’t like balls kicked over the very high fence; the ball didn’t end up in anyone’s yard, this just another reason that this isn’t such a great venue for a rugby match. USF’s lead at the half was 17-7.

 

One issue I was having had to do with both front rows, usually CUSMB, anticipating the “set” call. Both teams were penalized for barging at least once, and finally that problem disappeared. Both teams were able to win a scrum against the head as well. Another issue was one of CSUMB’s players getting a bit lippy, with the opposing side. I advised both captains to keep their players temperatures down. I didn’t want any fights breaking out; none did during this game.

 

The second half commenced and neither team was able to do any scoring for the majority of the time. USF had one long break down near the left-hand touch line, looking as though they would score, with some perfectly-timed passing, taking advantage of an overlap and supporting runners. Unfortunately, some twenty meters from the goal line, with one last CSUMB player chasing desperately, he was obstructed as he was closing in to make a tackle. I yelled out “I saw that” and blew the whistle for the penalty. Ten minutes before full time USF would score, as Joe Burson-Ryan kicked and chased, recovering the ball and finishing off a try that was converted to basically seal a win for the home side with a 24-7 lead. Not to be outdone, Josh Silver of the Otters would score a try from a free kick that was run from some thirty meters out, receiving a pass, feinting to run wide, cutting back in and finding an open field ahead of him to sprint to the goal line, touching down to the left of the posts. As I turned around after marking the try some from both sides were jawboning at each other again, with the CSUMB player previously mentioned the cause. He had already been warned by me not to talk anymore during the match, or he’d be sent off, as he had done some taunting beforehand that didn’t go over well with USF’s players. By not talking I meant not at the other team, however, and let USF’s captain know that was what I meant.   I would expect a player to celebrate some after his team scored, along with his team mates, and I couldn’t claim any taunting had occurred after this last try of the match was scored; I was some twenty meters away at the goal line. As it was I had to use my judgment that no further conduct contrary to good sportsmanship, covered by Law 10.4 m had occurred, just some celebratory words. Silver, who is English from Yorkshire and is a visiting student, and has a siege gun of a leg, converted the try easily enough. The game ended with USF having a 24-14 lead.

 

I want to thank CSUMB’s team leader Nico Di Jorlando for giving me a ride up to the match, picking me up in Seacliff. He’d never driven on notorious California Highway 17 beforehand, and neither had the other CSUMB player who gave me a lift home.

 

Date: 02/13/2016
Diablo 10 – Baracus 57
Referee: Richmond, Jeff

 

Baracus was just too strong all around for Diablo to keep up with. Diablo had a fair number of less experienced players but never backed down and played hard to the end. The fast conditions at Cal Maritime fed Baracus’ speedy back line. Of note was Baracus’ ability to dominate scrums; they probably stole a third of Diablo’s put-ins. The last 10 minutes got a little sloppy as substitutes began streaming in. Thanks to Mike Malone for the coaching.

 

 

Date: 02/13/2016
EPA Razorbacks 26 – Sacramento Lions 13
Referee: Smith, Pete

 

Great game, hard fought and well earned. EPA were better on the day, but the talent level is very similar and this game can go either way at the rematch.

 

 

Date: 02/13/2016
EPA Razorbacks B 34 – Sacramento Lions B 0
Referee: Smith, Pete

 

7’s. Fresh players versus game tired

 

 

Date: 02/13/2016
Fresno State WR 68 – St. Mary’s College WR 7
Referee: Jury, Jeff

 

A beautiful day for rugby in Fresno. Kinda hazy with the temps in the low 60’s.

Both sides appeared fit and ready for the contest. The CSUF women surprised St. Mary’s women with their straight lines and direct running for a half time score of 35-0. The second half was more of the same with a couple of the Gael’s athletes desperate side ways runs that did equate to a score, but pretty much played into the Fresno D. Final score CSUF 68 St Mary’s 7.

 

 

Date: 02/13/2016
Granite Bay 30 – Mother Load 19
Referee: Taueva, Favor

 

Mother Load seems not able to have the ball no longer then 5 minutes then is a turn over to Granite Bay. Granite Bay have the ball and use it for their benefits even they were having a hard time to break though Mother Load defense skills. When you play defense all the time eventually you are tired and that’s how Granite Bay starts making their points. Over all Granite Bay make their point using the whole game time while Mother Load score 19 points within 20miutes. Good rugby time from both teams.

 

 

Date: 02/13/2016
Humboldt State 15 – Sierra College 51
Referee: Bertolone, Cary

 

A beautiful day at Humboldt State University. Large crowd and the game was on with a kick off at 1;00. Sierra scored just one minute in to the contest.

Humboldt kicked for 3 at the 12 minute mark. Sierra outplayed Humboldt and took a lead of 15-8 and made it 27-8 by the half’ even down a man. In the second half, both teams lost a man, but the game continued with Sierra being the better team and they won 51-15.Great day for rugby!

 

 

Date: 02/13/2016
Life West 50 – Sacramento Blackhawks 7
Referee: Hinkin, James

 

Another full day of rugby hosted by Life West as the genius of scheduling kept the ladies, D2 men and D1 men all together on the same day.   The pitch looked perfect with proper posts and lines so no worries there.   A referee tent and liaison added to the goal of making the game day experience as smooth and enjoyable as possible for players, fans and referees.

 

The D2 match was in full swing as I arrived so there was plenty of rugby going on to keep me occupied as the teams organized themselves. Life West were there early and in numbers even though they had rested a number of front line players for this fixture, the Blackhawks less so as players were arriving as late as 30 minutes prior to kickoff.   Everyone was up and ready to go as the clock struck 1:00 so we were off.   Life West was clearly the dominant side but the new additions were not gelling as well as the coaching staff had hoped. Flyhalf Orene Ai’I kept calm and directed play, as one would expect, and in spite of the valiant tackling from Sacramento the Gladiators put up 3 tries (one converted).   The first half could have featured a more damaging scoreline except for Operator Error.   Your humble referee accidentally reset his watch during the half and as a result managed to blow it up 7 minutes early.   Not my finest moment.

 

The second half was more of the same as Life West pounded away.   Each try seemed to be scored by a different player as the waves of attack flooded inexorably forward.   That is not to say that Sacramento just rolled over.   Indeed, no.   The Blackhawks had stretches of possession and attack where they seriously threatened the Life West line but could not get that final push over until late in the match when a period of pressure led to a ruck 10 meters out and scrum half Josh Toy, slotting in at first receiver, sold a dummy (and provided a receipt) to saunter in untouched under the posts.   The second half eclipsed the full 40 minutes so I blew full time. A well played match and both teams should be congratulated.

 

 

Date: 02/13/2016
Life West 2 42 – Sacramento Capitals 13
Referee: O’Neil, George

 

No report received

 

 

Date: 02/13/2016
Life West Women 103 – Sacramento Amazons 14
Referee: Bretz, Paul

 

Score line is not a misprint. At half time the score was 47-0. To the Amazon’s credit they kept working and scored their 2 tries in the last 15 minutes of the game. This game had 8 penalties total. Lots of running, open rugby. Not a bad way to start off the morning.

 

 

Date: 02/13/2016
Marin 74 – SF Fog 12
Referee: Hammack, Robert

 

Late start due to a bad accident on the Richmond bridge that kept me and a fair number of players from arriving in a timely manner. The players were raring to go by kickoff and the first 15 minutes showed good endeavor by both sides including a well-worked, length of the field try by the Fog. However, Marin’s fitness and game plan slowly took control of the game and earned them a steady stream of tries. The match never quite felt as lopsided as the final score might indicate as Fog continued to battle throughout and, if not for a few unlucky passes, may have been much closer. Play of the game goes to the very large Fog #8 – instead of trying to catch a very low pass from his fly half, he decided to boot the pass through on the fly and recover in the air 15 meters downfield which would eventually set up a Fog try several phases later.

 

 

Date: 02/13/2016
Modesto 33 – South Valley 3
Referee: Wilson, Giles

 

South Valley arrived with only 14 players. Despite this, they started with the early pressure and were stopped just short of the line. From this pressure they turned the ball over and Modesto went the length of the field to score.

 

In the tight, South Valley could hold their own (interestingly whether they used 7 or 8 in the scrum) but were undone by Modesto using pace and space in the backs. This pattern allowed Modesto to run in 5 first half tries (3 cons) with South Valley only able to reply with a penalty.

 

At half time, one of the South Valley players committed a dangerous tackle, earning a yellow card. During the break, several of their players who had picked up knocks, could not continue. They requested a forfeit and then 10s for the second half. This worked for a few minutes but with commitment flagging all around it was decided that a beer sounded better, rather than being half hearted and risking injury (I couldn’t see any good coming out of some players going full speed and others just not into the contest).

 

The reported score was from the first half with the game being a South Valley forfeit.

 

 

Date: 02/13/2016
Napa 126 – Mendocino 7
Referee: MacDonald, Neil

 

In the irony of rugby match scheduling in Pelicanland, I found myself leaving Sonoma State in Santa Rosa, where I just refereed Cal Maritime, to drive over to Vallejo to referee another match, at Cal Maritime’s field. Having overcome the dual challenges of north bay Saturday afternoon traffic and of finding parking on campus at Cal Maritime, I made it to the field to see Baracus B and Diablo B playing, refereed by a player in a yellow bib. Future pelican in the making methinks…

 

Having found the 12 Mendocino players, and Napa’s phalanx, and dispensed with pre-match formalities, we were ready for the off. By kickoff time, Mendocino’s numbers had swollen to 14, and after a short pause to find a ball with more air pressure than a marshmallow, we were off.

 

Off to my afternoon of sprint repeats, that is. Napa were unstoppable, scoring in the first minute, and racking up 24 points in the first 12 minutes. By half time, Napa had run in 11 tries and converted just over half of them, for a 69-0 lead. While great support running the hallmark of several scores, the pick of the first half tries came in the 32nd minute, when Napa #11 Tomasi Roba stepped or outpaced most of the Napa squad as he went the length of the field to score.

 

Napa began the second half as they had the first, scoring in the opening minutes. This time Mendocino struck back with a hard fought score of their own from close range before the flood gates opened, and Napa ran in another eight tries with #8 Taua Anitoni proving a ferociously potent attacker and a committed defender on the other side of the ball.   Mendocino dug in and played positive constructive rugby throughout, making hard yards through their pick and go game, but could not contain the array of attacking weapons Napa brought to the match.

 

I’ve refereed Napa twice in the last month or so, and almost needed a calculator both times. Napa is going to be handful in D3 this year.

 

Date: 02/13/2016
Reno 43 – SiliconValley 26
Referee: Bryant, Lee

 

No report received

 

 

Date: 02/13/2016
Riordan 5 – Jesuit 67
Referee: Bretz, Paul

 

Jesuit is a smaller team then I have seen in years but are an extremely intelligent group. Jesuit’s plan against the much bigger team was to kick in their own 22 and make Riordan run. By 20 minutes into the game Riordan was gassed.

 

 

Date: 02/13/2016
San Jose 5 – Santa Rosa 34
Referee: Lew, Tim

 

Santa Rosa looked strong upfront controlling the scrums & mauls. San Jose looked good at times but also unorganized at times. The first half was fast and fun. Both teams competed well at the breakdown and each team got to run. In the second half, San Jose was unable to stop Santa Rosa outside and close to the try line. Good fun game.

 

 

Date: 02/13/2016
SFGG 38 – Fresno 17
Referee: Bernstein, Bruce

 

SFGG backs ran faster for the last 10 minutes to pull away from Fresno who gave Gate a fight with their scrum players. A few quicker subs for SFGG also helped as their scrum half (Travis Benson, my old teammate Bob Benson’s son) in the 2nd half had a nice 60 meter score followed by a real quick wing icing the match at the end. Score was 12-7 in Gate’s favor at half and remained close for the the next 20 minutes. Thanks to JC getting sick & Bryant switching reffing my women’s match after he did a pretty high caliber HS match on the the adjacent field for this “assigment.”

 

EDITOR’S NOTE: Many thanks must go to Pelicus Avoidus Whistle Dude and Pelicus Byrnest for improvising at the last minute to make sure this match was covered.   When you lose a referee at 10:30 Saturday morning there really aren’t a lot of options and there was nobody else able to cover it.   Well done and JC owes the two of you a bottle of his signature wine.

 

Date: 02/13/2016
SFGG B 12 – Fresno B 12
Referee: Tuisavalalo, Rodney

 

It was a well contested match from the get go. Fresno drew first blood in the 3rd minute with tough hard running by their forwards. SFGG hit them right back with some dazzling back line play to even it up.   Just before the half both teams scored converted tries with some hard hitting and blistering runs. I’d be wary of these two teams going forward as they both seem to be coming along in development. Wouldn’t be surprised if they cause an upset in the near future.

 

 

Date: 02/13/2016
SFGG PRP 36 – Denver PRP 7
Referee: Akroyd, Phil

 

Although the traffic to and from Treasure Island was horrendous, the rugby was pretty decent. The 1pm game was late in stating because OMBAC got stuck in traffic from the airport, so the 3pm game went off at 3:20pm. The low sun made for some difficult viewing angles, but we seemed to make it through without too many issues.

 

The game was pretty straight forward. SFGG held a lead and control for the entire game, and although Denver were only really out of it in the last ten minutes, they never really looked like they could overcome the “Rhinos”.

 

 

Date: 02/13/2016
SFGG Women 39 – San Jose Women 0
Referee: Byrnes, Bryant

 

Two field no waiting rugby at SFGG’s Treasure Island venue. (And where does it fit in with the TI Master Plan?)

 

After a jaunty, fast paced 9am high school match, I was most politely approached by one of the coaches for the next match-Fresno Men vs SFGG. Their ref had reported in sick; was I interested in a second match? My thought bubble said, ”Surely you jest?”, but the old war horse in me was momentarily-and insanely-tempted.

 

I was saved by Dude Bernstein, who proposed a switch-I take his women’s game and he run with the bulls. So that is what we did. Gate’s back line was nimble, nifty and simply unstoppable. The elder abuse ceased at half time; I was given a gold watch and sent home.

 

EDITOR’S NOTE: See previous EDITOR’S NOTE and feel free to send in a review of JC’s wine   Trust me, I will publish it no matter what you say.

 

 

Date: 02/13/2016
Shasta Highlanders 23 – Napa 2 37
Referee: Devlin, Joe

 

No report received

 

 

Date: 02/13/2016
SJSU 24 – Fresno State 20
Referee: Hettermann, Matt

 

Hard fought match on a beautiful day. San Jose State showed just a bit more discipline, which was the difference in the match.

 

 

Date: 02/13/2016
SJSU B 12 – Fresno State B 29
Referee: Hettermann, Matt

 

Fresno State’s fitness and numbers (several SJSU players were in for their second match) let them run away with it.

 

 

Date: 02/13/2016
Sonoma 7 – Cal Maritime 49
Referee: MacDonald, Neil

 

70 degrees and clear blue skies in Santa Rosa, on a good grass field. In February. Zanarini and Valerio, what *were* you two thinking when you opted for New England? 😉   Cal Maritime dominated their Sonoma State opponents, who look to have graduated a lot of players since last season, and are rebuilding with a lot of new talent finding their way through the laws of rugby, particularly as it pertains to the game being played on your feet.   Cal Maritime’s nous was demonstrated early when they threw in to an attacking lineout on their hosts’ 5m line, caught the ball, and set a maul, only to see the Sonoma State forwards part like the Red Sea. Without a word from the ref, the supporting players immediately disengaged without advancing, and the ball carrier ran through the gap to score. By half time, Cal Maritime were up 39-0 through a combination of stalwart forward play and devastating backs moves. With a raft of substitutions in the second half under NSCRO rules, the match was much more tightly contested, with Sonoma State holding their guests to two scores, before barreling over for a try and getting on the scoreboard in the 72nd minute.

 

 

Date: 02/13/2016
Stanford 25 – St. Mary’s B 19
Referee: Lane, John

 

On a weekend where I was not going to be available Pete Smith dug out an early 10am Saturday start in Stanford which worked.

 

There was plenty of fog on 85 on the drive to Steuber Field but absolutely no issues with the field which was in excellent condition as usual.

 

In what was an open game throughout St Mary’s started the strongest and had the upper hand overall for the first 15 minutes but handling errors stopped their momentum on a number of occasions. The turnovers conceded allowed Stanford to settle into the game progressively and on 18 minutes a turnover followed by some direct running and good hands gave them a 5-0 against the general run of play.

 

In their efforts to reverse this score St Mary’s looked to up the pace. Unfortunately for them a long floated pass on their own 10m line was well read and intercepted by Stanford for a converted try leaving the score at 12-0 on 20 mins.

 

Stung by this St Mary’s looked to up the pace even more. They looked to be in for a score at the right corner but unfortunately the winger dropped the ball over the line allowing Stanford to relieve the pressure with a 5m scrum. The pressure continued and eventually told with a try on the right well converted for 12-7.

 

St Mary’s maintained the pressure for the next few minutes but it was Stanford who finished the final few minutes of the half stronger and scored an unconverted try right on 39 minutes.

 

Half time the home side led 17-7 which both sets of coaches seemed surprised by!

 

St Mary’s started the second half with renewed effort and scored an excellent team try within 2 minutes and converted to close to 17-14.

 

They followed this with an unconverted score on 10 mins to take the lead 17-19.

 

Having take the lead the handling errors of the first half crept back into their game. Both sides had conceded offside penalties fairly frequently at the fringes of rucks in the first half and while Stanford reacted well to significantly reduce their count in the second half St Mary’s continued to infringe in the second period.

 

These penalties stopped st Mary’s momentum and Stanford managed a try on 16 mins to regain the lead 22-19. A further 3 points were added with a converted penalty on 23 mins. 25-19.

 

For the remainder of the game St Mary’s chased the game and created a number of excellent opportunities but handling errors and improved defending from Stanford kept them out with an open game finishing in Stanford’s favor 25-19.

 

 

Date: 02/13/2016
UCSC 5 – UC Davis 58
Referee: Moore, Stephen

 

One sided match dominated by UCD backline. All round a very disciplined match at the breakdown, clean offside lines with few infringement by both sides, long passages of play without whistle, made for a fast moving match at times. Good effort by UCSC but outclassed by a more experienced UCD side throughout the match.

 

 

Date: 02/13/2016
Univ Nevada Reno WR 12 – Humboldt State Univ WR 47
Referee: Fenaroli, Steven

 

What shaped up to be a great afternoon of rugby pitted Humboldt State Uni. versus University Nevada at Reno in a great women’s match. The opening kickoff showed that the teams were evenly matched. Multiple phase ball was recycled with little to no gain. There were plenty of turnovers which meant a plethora of scrums; both teams would only be so excited. Humboldt took an early lead after a penalty in front of the posts, they tacked on 3. Another penalty doubled their score. From there it was a one sided game with Humboldt scoring 6 more tries. Reno valiantly fought back and scored 2 of their own.

 

 

Date: 02/13/2016
Univ San Francisco WR 46 – CSU Monterey Bay WR 5
Referee: Makino, Ren

 

A beautiful day at Negoesco Stadium (San Francisco, I brought warm clothes thinking it will be cold but it was warm). The game started 20 minutes later than scheduled at 1:20.

 

First 26 minutes was extremely competitive as they were tied 7 (USF) – 5 (CSUMB) at the break. 26 minutes into the half one of the CSUMB props had an ankle injury (she hurt BOTH her ankles and she has history of injuring her ankles) and she had to have EMS come to take her off the pitch. Unfortunately the process took around 30 minutes and the two teams had to be off the pitch by 3pm so the first half was called early and they played a 45min.

 

The second half started at 2:15. USF started to shine during this half and they were faster than CSUMB. CSUMB had many missed tackles which resulted in multiple tries. A USF player high tackled and received a yellow within the first two minutes of the half. Both teams did not seem to understand the concept of coming through the gate and releasing the tackler after a tackle has been made.

 

Overall great playing from both teams and I really enjoyed my day at San Francisco on and off the pitch (I had a really good $40 dinner after the game)

 

This Week’s Photo

With Life West announcing g a Polynesian theme to their match weekend, Pelicus Pedem Referre decided to turn up in his Polynesian #1s.

Poly No 1

 

Hail, Pelicus!
For the Senate
Pelicus Pedem Referre