Category Archives: News

Fifteens Finales

HAIL PELICUS!

 

Fifteens Finales

 

“There is no real ending. It’s just the place where you stop the story.”

-Frank Herbert

 

The sentiment above is especially true these days where rugby seems to have no off season.  The 15s portion of the year is winding down with championships and championship-like substances and, as expected, Pelicanland is well represented.   Congratulations are in order for Cal who beat BYU for the Varsity Cup and that goes double for UC Davis whose women beat Virginia to claim the D1 Spring National Championship and whose men beat Notre Dame College for the D1-AA National Championship.   Sacramento Amazons took home the Girls National High School Club Invitational Championship while Granite Bay matched them with the Boys National High School Club Invitational Championship.  Congratulations on your victories.

 

St Mary’s lost a heartbreaker to Life in the Di-A final while Life West and Sacramento Capitols lost in the national semifinals for D1 and D2 club.   SFGG also lost in the final of the PRP to ageless nemesis Mose Timoteo and the Glendale Raptors.   Great seasons for all of these clubs.

 

Yes, we do have the best rugby in the country here.   How many other unions can boast so many champions, finalists and semifinalists?

 

Annual Complaint About The Lack Of True Championships

 

After reading the previous section I am sure there will be a large contingent of angry letter-writers who will ask why I don’t recognize Cal as national champions?    Or Granite Bay?   After all, they put “national champion” on all of their press releases, Facebook posts, Twitterations, ect.   Why am I hating?

 

There will also be a group of deep thinkers who will sagely nod their heads at the accuracy of the nomenclature above and silently congratulate me on my journalistic rigor.

 

The problem is that USA Rugby, through mismanagement, arrogance and lack of resources, has lost control of many of their national championships and various clubs and organizations have stepped in to fill the gap.    This creates confusion across the landscape as Life University and Cal both are claiming the collegiate national championship.    This is, of course, nonsense – neither can claim it.   Cal has won the Varsity Cup, a 16 team invitational knockout competition that involves some of the best rugby teams in America as well as some absolute stinkers.   In the first round eventual finalists Cal beat Texas 138-0 and BYU beat ASU 113-8 and those were not the only blowouts.    The total score for round 1 was 507 to 92, averaging 65.375 to 11.5.  It didn’t get much better in round 2 where the winners of the 2 competitive games, Utah and Dartmouth got hammered 75-15 (BYU over Dartmouth) and 58-5 (Central Washington over Utah).   While there were some blowouts in the USA Rugby D1 playoffs they weren’t as large or consistent – it is obvious that these are not the 16 best teams in the country.  Varsity Cup teams are invited the same way the CRC invites teams: get a couple of rugby powerhouses, mix them in with some big name football factory schools to generate press, and then throw a bone to a small unknown with a solid program.

 

The USA Rugby D1A championship has in some ways more right to be called a national champion as it is a true play-in competition that takes conference/league winners and lets them play out.    The problem with them is that too many of the top teams opt out in order to play in the Varsity Cup.   You can’t claim a championship if you don’t play the best teams.

 

It says something about the state of your national championships when the most anticipated games of the year (Cal v St Marys, Life v Arkansas St, St Mary’s v BYU, ect) are mid-season friendlies because we know then can never play off against each other for hardware.

 

USA Rugby’s management of their national competitions was never so apparent as the awarding of a Spring National Championship to UC Davis.   This truly made no sense.   With the split season USA Rugby decided to crown a “cold weather” champion in the fall and have them play off in the spring against the “warm weather” champion.   The only problem is that U Conn, who won the fall event, declined in January to go because of conflicts with finals.   USA Rugby sat on this information until a couple of weeks before the final, and then decided to essentially award 2 championships.   So who is the Women’s D1 champion?    Neither, again, because apparently the D1 women need to be treated differently than every other collegiate championship USA Rugby operates.

 

The high school championships are also in much the same boat as the Varsity Cup in that it is an invitational tournament rather than a play in championship.  The organizers do try to get the best teams there but rugby ability is not always the first priority.   The organization and strength of the club are also taken into consideration as well as ability to travel.  Apparently there have been some very late cancellations and no-shows in the past so they are trying to cover their bases and insure a full tournament.   This isn’t a bad thing and from all accounts it was forced on the organizers when the previous iteration of the tournament threatened to collapse, but it does mean this isn’t a true national championship.

 

So where does all of that lead us?   I used to be all up in arms about this incredible injustice – especially when I was still playing and this idea of a competition not controlled by USA Rugby first started with the Super League.    I knew from results both nationally and locally – both head to head and via common opponents – that my club was better than half the clubs in the Super League and yet they were considered a higher level, elite competition?   #@&%$ them!

 

Nowadays I am a bit more sanguine about it.  Rugby is being played now more than ever and it is even on TV.   I limit myself to this annual rant and maybe a smaller one for the CRC and after that?  I’ll take my cue from Jeff Lebowski and realize that well, you know, it’s just my opinion, man.  The Dude abides. I don’t know about you but I take comfort in that. It’s good knowin’ he’s out there. The Dude. Takin’ ‘er easy for all us sinners. Shoosh. I sure hope more Pelican teams make the finals.

 

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 will be the final one of the year and is a special one as it comes from Trolly McTrollface of Underbridge, CA who gets this honor by virtue of being the 1,000,000th commenter on the Hail Pelicus youtube channel, “Hailing Pelicus and the Risible Rants”.   Let’s see what Trolly wants to ask:

 

“Thank you for the honor – I never knew sitting at my computer all day and night would lead to such a moment as this.   As a longtime follower of HP I am always impressed with the new and exciting innovations that you have brought in, such as the user poll to rename Performance Reviewers and, of course, the Ask A Pelican section.   My question is, are you planning anything for next year and, if so, can you give us a sneak peek?”

 

Thank you for your dedication Mr McTrollface – it is fans like you that make this all worthwhile.  The answer to your question is a resounding YES.    The editors here at Hail Pelicus are always looking to improve the product we produce and, by extension, the experience of the readers.   One thing we are particularly excited about is our upcoming series for Epic Rap Battles Of History.   If you aren’t familiar with these look them up on youtube.   Our first Epic Rap Battle will feature Bruce Carter against Ed Todd.   We are also looking to set up other great battles such as Pete Smith vs Ben Parker.   I just can’t wait to hear their sick rhymes.

 

Well, that’s it for this season, and Ask A Pelican will be back with the next 15s season.   Until then, keep those questions coming even throughout the summer!   After all, if we get a particularly good one we may just put a bonus item in.

 

NCRRS Awards Banquet

 

This Saturday May 28 we are gorging ourselves and honoring our own.  This feast is one of the highlights of the year so I hope everyone has already signed up.    Attire is formal – dress to impress.  Mascot checks will be enforced.   Please see banquet details below.

 

Where:  Scott’s Seafood in Walnut Creek

Address: 1333 N. California Blvd. Walnut Creek, CA 94596

Telephone Number: (925) 934-0598

 

Doors open at 6:30 with lite hors d’oeuvres being served until 7:15. We’ll have a bar set up to order your own drinks and an extra one for the Hail Pelicus staff.  Dinner will commence at approximately 7:15.

 

The coveted Pelican Awards (aka The Pellies) will be handed out once the meal is finished and we are noshing on our desserts.

 

Menu:

Here’s the link needed to order your entree and dessert choices for you and your guests:

https://docs.google.com/a/pelicanrefs.com/forms/d/1F5Gfz7K_89-XEky_E2o3qNbrb4aMCBoYR94UXs7RmzA/viewform

Please complete your food choices no later than Wednesday, May 25

 

EDITOR’S NOTE:  This was mostly transcribed directly from Pelicus Iudex Pennipes’ group email.   You will have noticed that I got rid of the “1830 hrs” nonsense and translated the times into proper format.   You’re welcome.   Not all of us were in the military, Paul.

 

Sevens And the NFL

 

WE have been chronicling the journey of Nate Ebner as he attempted to make the transition from the NFL to 7s rugby.  Apparently one of our followers here in Pelicanland read about Nate in Hail Pelicus and decided that he, too, could transition to the 7s circuit from the NFL.  Yes, Jarrod Hayne decided to leave the 49ers and bring the Hayne Train to Fiji and try to make the Olympic team.   It always makes us at Hail Pelicus feel all warm and gooey inside when someone gets inspired by our writings.   It makes it all worthwhile.

 

The Great Ebner Experiment Continues

 

So London came and went and the World Sevens Series has finished.   The big question now is did Nate Ebner do enough to make the Olympic team?   I know that NBC sure hopes so as well as the formless void currently in charge of USA Rugby.   Ebner’s story  is tailor made for one of NBC’s patented Olympic Athlete Fluff Piece and you just can’t buy that kind of publicity.   The only opinion that matters, however, belongs to Mike Friday.   It is telling that last week Nate was dropped from the squad to give other players a look and that the US played much better in London, finishing 3rd after beating both New Zealand and Fiji, than in any other tournament Nate was in.   Is that entirely on him?   Of course not – there were other changes and a myriad of different circumstances.    Personally I think that Nate did very well but my feeling is that he will not make the squad.  We shall all find out when Friday makes his announcement this summer.

 

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: 05/05/2016

Danville 72 – McClatchy 10

Referee: Gordon, Preston

 

Both teams were clearly well motivated for this playoff game, which was the first round of a 3-day tournament for the Pacific Coast area. As you saw from the score, it was somewhat one-sided, but there was still lots going on. Danville wasted little time getting on the board, scoring a converted try in just the 2nd minute. Their good runners, interplay, and propensity to break tackles resulted in 3 more tries in the first half, at 6′, 10′, and 17′ (all converted). McClatchy did fairly well when they were able to get possession of the ball, which was not as often as they would have liked, and they got a well-deserved but unconverted try at 22′. The following 8 minutes of the (30-minute) half were full of ball movement and more good running, but no further scoring. Then, just before halftime, Danville’s #5 performed a dangerous tackle on an opponent, tipping him past horizontal so he landed on his upper back/shoulder area. He was sent off, and the half ended at 28-5 shortly thereafter.

 

The second half started much the same way as the first, with Danville scoring a converted try in the 2nd minute. This time, McClatchy got the next one in the 7th minute, though they couldn’t convert it. At 35-10, I was wondering if McClatchy could take advantage of their 14-man opponents and score a couple more tries to make things really interesting. It was not to be – Danville scored again at 10′ and 12′ (converted) to restore their healthy lead, before adding 2 more tries at 19′ and 21′. Their replacement kicker couldn’t convert those two, but it didn’t seem to matter because it was hard to notice that Danville was missing a player (except at the scrums, of course). They went on to score again at 28′ (unconverted) and at 29′, which the kicker finally converted, to leave things at 72-10.

 

Danville clearly has something good going and I later heard that they’re ranked #1 in the nation. I don’t know if that’s true or not, but they ought to do well in the rest of this tournament. Thanks to the 3 different people that helped as ARs throughout the game.

 

The pace of this high school game reminded me a little bit of the one I reffed in April 2010 when Napier HS (from NZ) played a combined EPA/San Mateo/Hayward side at Stanford. I was surprised to see that I had covered nearly 3 miles in a 60-minute game, which (if extrapolated) is more than most men’s games produce. If we ignore the infrequent sideways running, this is a really good sign for the future.

 

Date: 05/05/2016

Red Mountain 27 – SD Mustangs 12

Referee: Carney, Mark

 

No report received

 

Date: 05/05/2016

Union HS 11 – Kahuku HS  29

Referee: Devlin, Joe

 

No report received

 

Date: 05/06/2016

San Francisco Tech Bros 28 – Marsupial Pouch Maggots 12

Referee: Lew, Tim

 

Bay barbarians vs Union from Vancouver BC. Bay Barbarians showed up 15 minutes before kickoff which is normally a bad sign. But the Barbarians ended up scoring the first 12 points. The barbarians athletism showed with a handful of individual tries.

 

EDITOR’S NOTE:  Great report, Tim, and I’m glad to know that one team scored the first 12 points.   Pity both teams scored more than 12 so we have no idea who won the game.  See Bryant’s report below.

 

Date: 05/06/2016

McClatchy 22 – Mustangs 17

Referee: Byrnes, Bryant

 

This was a second day game of the three day Pacific Cup, an invitational tournament on TI of the best boy’s high school teams in the West. It was also wet.

 

My match was McClatchy of Sacto and The Mustangs from San Diego. It was skilled rugby, hotly contested-won in overtime. McClatchy played a gunslinger style, slashing and relying on its backs. The Mustangs had a more deliberate approach, keeping the ball more in a nice sized and skilled pack.

 

McClatchy scored first and at half was up 12-5 (I think; my card is too soggy to read). But the Mustangs persevered and tied it at 17-17 at the end of regulation time. With a minute left in OT, McClatchy utilized a penalty to dot it in the corner for a 22-17 win.

 

Great thanks to Tim and Matthew, the Magnificent Mulhollands- both are referees who are associated with the Danville Oaks. They did about as fine a job of ARing as I have seen; lucky to have them. And another of the sons was the 4th official.

 

Date: 05/07/2016

UC Davis Women 30 – Virginia Women 25

Referee: Bryant, Lee

 

No report received

 

Date: 05/07/2016

Notre Dame College 34 – UC Davis 38

Referee: Akroyd, Phil

AR: MacDonald, Neil

AR: Fenaroli, Steven

 

What a great game to end my college season.  Two very evenly matched teams, as you would hope, went at it in the stadium at SMC.

 

The rain started about 10 minutes before kick-off and ended as I blew the final whistle.  If only the weather had been dry, I think the score would have been something like 34-38.  There was so much talent on the field and a decent amount of compliance too.  UCD took a while to drop into their game plan of hoofing the ball down the field and refusing to play in their own half.  NDC often tried to run it back with their usually outstanding running back three, but would often knock it on or lose the ball somehow.

 

The scrums were well matched and the lineouts the same, so it would come down to who could break the opposition line more frequently, and in the end, Davis showed some quick opportunistic thinking by chipping over the backs with nobody at home for one try and quick tapping when the defense assumed they would kick for points for another.  Super smart play by Davis won them the game and the repeat of the D1-AA championship.

 

Credit has to go to NDC who still played some awesome rugby, despite the conditions and I genuinely thought they were going to open up the taps and run away with it in the second half.  I can see that they will be around a lot in the future and I’ll be happy to see them again.

 

Thanks to Neil MacDonald and Steven Fenaroli who made up an all NorCal national champ team of three and gave some great input, as well as RDC who was great at #4 too.

 

Date: 05/07/2016

St Mary’s 20 – Life University 24

Referee: Kelly, Mike

AR: Akroyd, Phil

AR: Kurt “Dream” Weaver

 

Reffed by Mike Kelly and A/Rd by myself and Kurt Weaver.  I’m not going to describe the game because it wouldn’t do it justice, just watch the video replay.  The fans were great, the venue was perfect, the match official crew was outstanding.  On a side note, I don’t think that a single yellow card was given over the five games.  That’s college rugby at its best.  I wish every weekend was as fun as that, even with the rain.

 

This Week’s Photo

Getting ready for the summer sevens season is our own David Pescetti.   That’s a good look you got going there.

Pescetti Tan Line

Hail, Pelicus!
For the Senate
Pelicus Pedem Referre

A Grand Farewell

HAIL PELICUS!

 

A Grand Farewell

 

Oh what an exit that’s how to go.
When they’re ringing your curtain down.
Demand to be burried like Eva Perron

– Andrew Lloyd Webber, Evita

 

No, Bruce Carter is not dead but the sentiment remains:   If you are making an exit, make sure you do it in style.   This past Friday the flock and attendant guests gathered together in San Francisco’s Marine Memorial Club to honor and pay respects to one Dr Bruce Carter, Pelicus Scriptoris, Dux Deux, who has retired and will be moving to Arizona to chase the wild iguana or something like that.   He wasn’t the first president of the Northern California Rugby Referee Society and he wasn’t the first editor of Hail Pelicus, but he embodied both so completely it is difficult to separate them.    For my entire playing career and nearly all of my officiating career he has been an omnipresent stalwart ready to dispense humor, knowledge and, quite often, diagnose an injury or pop an offending joint back into place.   He was one of those referees who, when you saw he was in charge of your game, you though “excellent, we have one of the good refs”.   As an official, higher praise is difficult to find.    You knew you were going to get a safe, fair match determined by your sweat, effort and skill rather than an errant whistle.

 

His exploits on the field as a player and a referee were not his only contribution to the game, because as the “Dux Deux” in his Pelican name will tell you, he was our second NCRRS president.    He brought a level of organization and comradery to the Society that, in the words of several well-wishers at his banquet, made us more than a society, a collection of referees, but made us a team.   There is not enough space and time to detail his accomplishments here nor to repeat the stories that were recalled during the many toasts, but let it be known that the NCRRS is considered to be the best society in the country largely due to his leadership.   His effect was not just local, however.   Dr Carter spent time (and possibly still does) on the USA Rugby Laws committee and in other national positions.  The next time you see him ask him about the Law change that he personally got passed by the IRB.   (Hint: It involves the ball in touch.)

 

Everyone dressed in their finest formal outfits, including Scott Carson who wore his finest rugby shirt.   Toasts were made, stories told, Pelicans canted, nobody recanted, and because the bar had been open since 4:00, we were all eventually decanted into the streets of San Francisco.

 

 

I Believe In Miracles.  Where You From?  You Sexy Thing.

 

“Million-to-one chances…crop up nine times out of ten.”

-Terry Pratchett

 

Let the mind’s eye look down on Pelicanland, floating up and away, gaining perspective as the coastline appears and the familiar contours of San Francisco Bay fill the senses.   Back and further away the cities and features become smaller as great bands of clouds can be seen and the Sierra Nevada’s snow topped peaks tease the eye with their dazzling brightness.    Moving east we traverse the continent, over the mighty Rocky Mountains and the Great Plains and eventually across the Atlantic Ocean to the Old World.    Zooming in now, focusing on the island that birthed our noble sport up towards our friends in the East Midland.   Focusing, focusing ever more the eye detects something strange, out of place.   Bringing the perspective in tighter on the city of Leicester the source of the strangeness is apparent.   There are no adults out on the streets, only children.    A quick scan and search soon finds the answer to our puzzle.    The streets of Leicester are empty because on Monday, May 2nd, 2016, everybody in Leicester got laid.

 

Buster Douglas knocked out Mike Tyson as a 42-1 underdog.   Greece won the Euros in 2004 as 80-1 longshots.   Had you ventured to bet on the Miracle on Ice team winning the gold medal you would have been offered a staggering 1000-1.    Leicester City FC, who in April of 2015 were in last place and needed an improbable string of victories just to avoid relegation, have won the English Premier League.   The odds before the season started were 3-1 in favor of them being relegated this season, but to win?   5000-1.   Yes, FIVE THOUSAND TO ONE.

 

This is undoubtedly the greatest upset in sports.

 

 

Hail Pelicus  – The Engine Of Change

 

As our loyal readers here know, the editors here at Hail Pelicus have been watching the birth of Pro Rugby here in the US closely.  With two teams in our back yard there is a lot to see and comment on and the quality of rugby is as expected – good all star teams comprised of the local talent that we see week in and week out.  That, of course, will change as the league finds its feet and players get used to being full time professional rugby players.

 

There are, of course, many things to criticize in this new league and here I was preparing to point out the insanity of the ticketing and pricing for the pro games.   A $30 minimum to see players you could see for free just 3 weeks earlier, combined with $80 jerseys and $30 t shirts seemed excessive, especially considering that the business plan seems to be reliant on word of mouth from current ruggers.   They are taxing the people who already give to the game and the taxes seemed harsh.   This pricing scheme would backfire and drive people away as the novelty of a pro game wore off, I felt, so I went on social media and commented on this very thing.   These teams should be slashing prices for youth, giving family discounts.   They should be giving away tickets to any high school or youth team they can find.  If they did so they would find that they fill up the stadia, create loyalty in the youngsters and, of course, these kids will bring their parents who will buy their own tickets, concessions, shirts ect.    I was very adamant about these things.

 

Now it looks like I don’t have to write all these things, which in some ways disappoints me.  I do like a good rant.   Because modesty and humility are two of my finest traits I am not going to say that I personally, and the threat of a nasty dressing down in Hail Pelicus, caused the masters of Pro Rugby to rethink their ticket pricing but it is quite the coincidence that this week both the Sacramento Sack-o-Tomatoes and San Francisco Hipsters (I assume these are the team nicknames, but there has been no official announcement) have lowered their prices for youth and children, including all children under 5 for free.   They are also offering group discounts.   Well done to them and I am sure it will pay off as the league grows.

 

As for the rest of you, the paying customers, you’re welcome.

 

Hey, You Look Like A Rugby Player

 

Back in 2005 when I was touring New Zealand with the San Jose Seahawks I sat down for a few drinks with Todd Clever who was playing for North Harbour’s NPC team.  (At least I drank – I mean, I was on tour.   Todd may have been more restrained because of his training schedule, but I digress.)   What immediately struck me was how much he had changed physically from the skinny kid I saw in high school for College Park  and playing flanker at the University of Nevada, Reno.   He had filled out and had the lean look of expectant energy, like a coiled spring.   Reading a story in the Auckland papers a few days later his coach commented on that very thing, saying that Todd was starting to develop a professional body – the kind of body that gets sculpted when working out is your job, not just something you do after work.   This physical transformation will gradually separate the professional players from the talented amateurs as time goes by.

 

This is one of the benefits of a professional league that the US has been lacking and it showed when we went up against fully professional teams.   See the latest World Cup for examples.    It is one of the first steps towards international respectability that we here hope that Pro Rugby provides.

 

One More Bruce Carter Story

 

This story has been told to me by both Bruce himself as well as Skippy Givens , the club sports manager at UCSC.    Every year UCSC host their Slugfest tournament and because he lived relatively close by in Monterey Bruce was often assigned to referee.   One year he showed up and saw the teams warming up and goal posts in place, but that was it.   So he found Skippy and asked when he was planning to line the fields.   Skippy looked at Bruce strangely and said “what do you mean?  They are lined.”    Bruce looked around and told him that they weren’t lined properly because he can’t see any from where he was standing.    “You’re standing right on top of the sideline right now, Bruce,” came the reply.    At this point realization dawned and Bruce asked which color paint they used.    “Well, we were all out of blue and aren’t allowed to use white on the upper field so we painted the lines in red.”

 

What followed would best be described as a pregnant pause, eventually ended by Bruce.

 

“I am red/green colorblind.  I can’t see the red lines on the green grass at all.”

 

I have no idea how Bruce managed to referee that day.  It probably involved a lot of guesswork and help from the touch judges.

 

Ever since that day UCSC will not use red lines to mark their field.

 

Word Of The Day: Canted

 

Canted:  noun

  1. insincere, especially conventional expressions of enthusiasm for high ideals, goodness, or piety.

 

Just in case anyone was wondering.

 

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 Greston Pordon of San Francisco, CA who asks:

 

“So I am starting to get AR assignments for playoff and other significant matches and afterwards assignr is asking me for a match report.    Should I send one in?   I know you have said repeatedly not to do so but I have not been paying attention for the last several years.”

 

Hello Mr Pordon and thank you for your question.   As has been stated again and again and again and again and again and again and again DO NOT submit a match report if you are an AR or a PR.   Only the Referee should submit a match report.  I know that you will receive notifications asking you to but just ignore them.   The children who wrote the code for assignr apparently can’t or don’t know how to shut off notifications by category, even though it is literally one line of code:

 

if notification.category != ‘R’

                sendmail.notification = false;

 

Yes, the ‘R’ is hardcoded and that is considered poor programming but this is pseudo code – cut me some slack.   It is simple enough to have a list of categories that allow/disallow mail notifications and to check against this list.   It truly is that simple.

 

The ONLY exception to the above rule is if you are hosting a visiting referee and the visitor does not have access to assignr.   Then you should produce a report with the visiting referees name in it so proper credit is given.

 

Keep those questions coming!

 

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!

 

Pelicanland this week took a small pause before the final playoff push of the 2106 15s season thus unfortunately resulting in only a couple of match reports this week.  Fortunately our Chief Foreign Correspondent Stephen Valerio was able to step up and deliver a month’s worth of rugby.

 

Date: 04/02/2016

Cherry Blossom Rugby Tournament

Fort Washington, MD Rosecroft Stadium

Referee: Valerio, Stephen

 

Back when I played in the Northeast, the Cherry Blossom Tournament was a famed tournament I never played in as my club would head down to Savannah for our spring tour. The Cherry Blossom Tournament is now a university and U-19 tournament with most of the pitches in the middle of a horse-racing track, which may be the weirdest pitch location I ever experienced. The interior pitches are hard, with some having a bit of an incline, making the selection of end a critical decision. On the occasion of guest referees from Plymouth, UK, visiting the Potomac Society, we arranged for a gray, cold and rainy day, so they would feel at home.

 

Gonzaga 40 – Colonel By Secondary 0

 

Colonel By Secondary is a U-19 side that came down from Ottawa, and hadn’t started playing outside yet due to the cold weather back home. They eased into the season against #1 in the nation Gonzaga. The first half was an uneven affair, with Gonzaga’s strong scrum only providing a 5-0 lead. A couple of substitutions at the half changed everything Gonzaga striking for 5 tries. Their flyhalf was especially savvy, confirming anytime he thought he had a penalty advantage before taking a deep kick, which more often than not was collected by a speedy back and led to one of their tries.

 

I then left the infield to go to the 2 pitches outside of the stadium where the university sides were playing. The pitches had pretty good covering of grass, but the inclines were even steeper. You know the angle is steep when you are at a lineout and you look over to the defending hooker and you can only see them from the shoulders up.

 

Towson University 52 – Virginia Commonwealth University 7

 

Towson is one of the stronger local sides and they showed it with an impressive 40-0 lead at the half, even with the abbreviated halves. The match slowed down in the second half with several subs and VCU collected a try for their efforts, but it was clear Towson was the class of the pool.

 

Towson University 29 – College of NJ 10

 

Towson sent out their B-side, plus a couple of their players helped the College of NJ who was light on numbers. The match was a story of the hill. First half, going downhill, Towson 24 College of NJ 0. Second half College of NJ 10 Towson 5.

 

College of NJ 10 – VCU 0

 

VCU contributed a few players to the NJ side. VCU failed to take advantage of the hill in the first half. The College of NJ did in the 2nd with 2 unconverted tries.

 

 

Date: 04/07/2016

Calvert Hall 35 – Archbishop Spalding 0

Location: Severn, MD

Referee: Valerio, Stephen

 

The Junior Varsity match played before the key match-up between these rivals was delayed nearly an hour due to thunder and lightning, a problem I never had in NorCal. Archbishop Spalding has an impressive set-up with a changing room, public address system and scoreboard. For the JV match, it didn’t help with Calvert Hall in control from the beginning in an open, fast-moving match. Calvert Hall put across 3 tries in each half for a comfortable win, though the open spirit the game was played in was promising for both sides in the future.

 

 

Date: 04/09/2016

Chambersburg 93 – North Bay D4 5

Location: Chambersburg, PA

Referee: Valerio, Stephen

 

The snow held off, but in a match that kicked off below freezing, Chambersburg dominated a weakened North Bay side that showed up with 1 sub. The match was very consistent with Chambersburg collecting the ball, trying some attacks in tight which the North Bay forwards were able to control. Then they spun the ball out wide and invariably struck for the try. They collected 10 in the first half alone for a 62-0 lead. One penalty against Chambersburg that let North Bay collect a second half try stemmed the Chambersburg attack.

 

 

Date: 04/17/2016

Washington Women’s RFC Ruggerfest

Fort Washington, MD Rosecroft Stadium

Referee: Valerio, Stephen

 

I returned to Rosecroft stadium, this time starting on the outside pitch and then moving inside the track.

 

New York RFC 26 – Black Ice 0

 

Black Ice Rugby traveled from Colorado and avoided the wintery weather back home. New York was much stronger in the pack, particularly in the first half and they used this base to build a 14-0 halftime lead. While Black Ice was able to stabilize the pack in the second half, NY was able to strike twice in the second half while Black Ice wasn’t able to threaten the NY defense.

 

Severn River 15 – NOVA 12

 

A crazy match on a hard pitch. Severn River carried the early momentum, but was only able to get a try for their effort. Then late in the first half, they found the NOVA back three lacking and started kicking. Twice the back three misplayed the ball and Severn River outside center collected a ball that was allowed to land and struck for 2 long distance tries. With no conversions made Severn River held a 15-0 lead. For some reason, Severn River abandoned this attack in the second half and NOVA started a strong pick-and-go game and collected 2 tries, and importantly a conversion. While only 3 points adrift, NOVA ran out of time and Severn River held onto the win.

 

 

Date: 04/23/2016

Monmouth 45 – Montclair 31

Location: Montclair, NJ

Referee: Valerio, Stephen

 

I had to return to New Jersey for a family function, and the Rugby Referee Society of NY was kind enough to assign me a match. A friendly between two D2 sides who were rivals from my playing days with North Jersey Rugby (I my first men’s club match was against Montclair at the Sea Girt Tournament Monmouth organizes in August).

 

Monmouth looked the stronger side from the beginning and struck out to a 12-0 lead, but Montclair countered and the half ended with Monmouth leading 19-14. Montclair picked up an early penalty in the second half, but Monmouth’s outside center and fullback repeatedly broke through the Montclair defensive line and lead an attack that put 4 second half tries on the board. Montclair stuck with Monmouth until the final 15 minutes when Monmouth finally pulled away.

 

 

Date: 04/23/2016

Monmouth B  14 – Montclair B 5

Location: Montclair, NJ

Referee: Valerio, Stephen

 

The B-side match was another close affair. Montclair suffered from inexperience players who were repeatedly penalized, but the Monmouth attack wasn’t consistent enough to benefit. The sides exchanged tries in the first half, but Monmouth sealed it with a second half score.

 

 

Date: 05/01/2016

West Carroll Girls 105 – Eleanor Roosevelt HS 0

Location: Union Bridge, MD

Referee: Valerio, Stephen

 

West Carroll boasts a wonderful, proper pitch with permanent posts, large try zones and a lush playing surface. The match was only 26 miles away, but going through the rural roads meant a respectable 45-minute drive for me on a gray, cool day. The rain fell earlier giving us a soft pitch, but no rain fell during the match.

 

Unfortunately for Eleanor Roosevelt HS, they were outmatched from the beginning. It was Senior Day for the West Carroll Girls, and they never saw a cold ruck all day.  , Even when Eleanor Roosevelt won the ball they were under pressure. As the match wore on, Eleanor Roosevelt’s conditioning betrayed them and they started falling off their tackles, even when they were in position to stop the relentless Marauder attack.

 

 

Date: 04/30/2016

CSU Monterey Bay WR 29 – Alumni 25

Referee: Freitas, Larry

 

Another beautiful day down at the former Fort Ord near Monterey.  There weren’t enough alumni women to actually form a team, and Alena Porte and another San Jose Seahawk, as well as Betsy, one of the CSUMB coaches who long ago played at UCSC, took to the field for two sevens matches of seven minute halves.  Lots of passing the ball about and scoring, especially by Sabrina Bacuangan.  I have to wonder what her speed is in the 40 meter dash.  Bruce Carter arrived as the second match was ending, and as I missed the banquet the previous evening, it was great to see him before he leaves for Arizona.  We ended up touch judging for Neil McDonald for the men’s alumni-varsity match.

I’m looking forward to how Cal State Monterey Bay will do next year.  They have a building program, with many enthusiastic student-athletes.  Both the men and women’s sides will be looking for coaches, by the way, so anyone interested who lives in or near the Monterey Bay area might want to contact.

 

 

Date: 04/30/2016

SFGG PRP 31 – OMBAC PRP 10

Referee: Akroyd, Phil

 

This one had big implications for the PRP playoffs.  OMBAC were second, leading SFGG in the table in third and had some momentum from previous results.  SFGG previously had a big win against the Barbos, followed by a postponed fixture.

 

It looked ominous for SFGG when OMBAC scored a try in the first minute from fullback Pangelinan.  SFGG answered pretty quickly with a try from Huihui, then the game settled into a cagey battle.  SFGG were struggling immensely in the scrum but did have a powerful maul.  Gate pushed ahead just before half with a second try and OMBAC answered back with more pints from the fullback to make it 14-10 at half.

 

There was no more scoring from OMBAC in the second half but the home team opened up their attacking game with Tai Enosa repeatedly making an impact when he came into the line from 15.

 

 

This Week’s Photo

The torch was well and truly passed as Pelicus Scriptoris poses with the Centurian, also known as the Eternal Pelicus.

Carter Pelicus

Hail, Pelicus!
For the Senate
Pelicus Pedem Referre

The Big Hurt

HAIL PELICUS!

 

The Big Hurt

It was the injury that rocked Northern California.   The agony and the disappointment evident on his face.   The painful limping as he struggled off.   The helpless looks of his team.   The question on everyone’s mind was how would they respond?   Would the team fall apart without their leader?   Or would they step up and do the job that was in front of them like the professionals they are?   Only time would tell and, boy howdy, has time told the tale.

Yes, when John Coppinger ran along the side of the snooker table that Buck Shaw Stadium calls a field he somehow managed to find a divot and turn his ankle.   Seriously.     On an absolutely perfect surface John Coppinger found a divot and injured himself.   Fortunately, yours truly was able to get a tape job and with my own Achilles injury sufficiently mended I was able to take up the slack and Mr Coppinger took over as #4 for the rest of the tournament.    The team stepped up.   We had a team of 4 on every game and if you doubt the veracity of the statements made by this fine publication then you are a poopy head.   The tournament was streamed live by Next Level Rugby. Here are the links:

Day 1 (Saturday) streaming = https://youtu.be/WRlyk8bZqJk

Day 2 (Sunday) streaming = https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=VJeuW_3BkPo

This was a very well run, professional event that was set up, as far as I can tell, so that a proud dad could watch his son play rugby.  Hey, there are worse reasons.   Andy Schatzman’s son plays at Boston College and he rarely gets to see him play so he organized sponsors, a venue, media and paid the remainder out of his own pocket to bring 6 Jesuit Universities together for this event.   Travel was paid for, a dinner on Friday night was arranged with guest speaker Jarrod Hayne, a BBQ lunch on Saturday and breakfast on Friday rounded out the hosting and the setting could not have been better.

Let’s hope this becomes an annual event as it was well worth the price of admission.

Day 1 highlights included Pelicus Pedem Referee doing color commentary for an afternoon  Jordan Bruno match.   After a conversion kick there was a lull in the commentary ably filled by a gurgly burp from Mr Bruno picked up nicely by the extra sensitive mikes used by Next Level’s broadcast.    Segueing adroitly I commended the organizers on their BBQ during the lunch break (we hear another burp) and the play by play man Ryan Ginty quips “And the referee obviously agrees.”    You have to love live broadcasts.

Another Day 1 highlight: on a day dedicated to the Pope that saw almost no foul play and only one yellow for a technical violation I was given the honor of adjudicating the final Saturday match.   Naturally, I had to announce my presence with authority so not 3 minutes in I had a yellow card to each team in the books for foul play.   I finished the weekend leading all referees in cards.   And Pat Clifton doesn’t think referees can ever win.   Idiot.

Day 2 highlights included more color commentary from yours truly where I renamed Boston College standout Joseph D’Antonio as “Joey Bag-o-donuts”.    Play by play man Ryan Ginty smoothly went along with it and he was Joey Bag-o-donuts (with the proper Italian gangster accent) for the rest of the tournament.

There was some good rugby and some not so good rugby, but all in all a great event.   Loyola Marymount only travelled with 7 players and were blown out in all their matches yet had the play of the weekend in their final match when a LMU player ran towards the ball rolling on the ground and, without breaking stride, popped the ball up with his toe straight into his hands as he sliced through the defense for a try.

Another great moment was during the early day 2 matches, which were try fests as teams were looking to gain or maintain a spot based on point differentials.   Notre Dame scored with just seconds remaining but needed 5 more points to tie and a conversion to win and make the tournament final.   With no more time on the clock they HAD to win the restart.  So the kick goes up and it’s a good one.  The Irish forward charges downfield and leaps, taking the ball in the air with a magnificent catch and unimpeded sprints to score under the posts.    A do or die play and they did it.   Amazing.   This is rugby at its best.

Was There Another Injury This Week?

Oh yea, I almost forgot.  Steph Curry sprained his knee but the Dubs took care of business against James “I should have been MVP last year because defense doesn’t matter” Harden and the Houston Rockets.   I was never worried and Steph will be back for the next round.

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 A Confused Reader of San Francisco, CA who asks:

“Last week’s ‘Ask A Pelican’ section was all about referees making sure to put team names and score in their write-ups so that everyone can tell who played in and the results of Loser Game 3 v Loser Game 4, yet looking at the match reports this week I see a lot of made up names and some absent scores.   So my question is, does anyone still read the ‘Ask A Pelican’ section?   Or are they not paying attention?”

A wonderful question from A Confused Reader and a timely one, although I have no idea how this reader could have read this Hail Pelicus and yet still write in before it was published to ask a question about it.    Some sort of time-twisting transperambulation of pseudo-cosmic antimatter, no doubt.   In any case I would guess the answers to your questions are, in order, only a few and probably not.   Maybe all of the amazing commentary and humor of the previous sections overshadow this bit.

In any case, we aren’t planning to stop it so keep those questions coming!

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: 04/23/2016

CSU Monterey Bay WR 48 – Sacramento State Women 20

Referee: Freitas, Larry

 

I arrived at CSUMB about noon on Saturday after a tedious drive down Highway One, with traffic bumper to bumper from just south of Watsonville through Moss Landing.  After Friday’s rains the skies had become mostly sunny, and the temperature was in the mid-60’s, with a strong breeze coming off the ocean not much more than a mile from the pitch.  There’s a screen wrapped around the fence on the west side, and inside the ground one would have hardly noticed the wind at all.  Monterey Bay, wearing brand new navy blue jerseys that were the correct size for women, won the toss and elected to kick off to Sacramento State.  By three minutes time the Lady Otters had scored the first try of the match, by none other than senior Sabrina Bacuangan, who once again darted with the ball from loose play, leaving would be tacklers behind.  At 12 minutes the home team would be on the Hornet’s doorstep, scoring from a 5 meter scrum when Sabrina dotted down.  Both these initial tries were converted by fly half Katy McGill, who was to do some running of her own during this match.  CSUMB was very dominant this half, scoring three more tries until finally, at 35 minutes, Sacramento State scored when their number 8 picked up at the back of an awarded 5 meter scrum and bulled her way over for their first unconverted try.  Before half time a tap penalty that was given to Sacrament State 5 meters out was run in for the visitor’s second try for another five points.  Half time score read 31-10, and three tries had been scored by Bacuangan, whose ability to side-step tacklers has been noted throughout the season.  It’s too bad she is a senior, playing in her one and only season for her school’s side.

The second half started with CSUMB scoring two quick tries, and it seemed that another was on when McGill had intercepted a pass as Sacramento State penetrated into CSUMB’s quarter.  This gal has some speed, as well as the ability to side-step from tacklers, and it seemed she might be running the ball all the way to the other team’s in goal when she was tackled from behind near the opposition 22.  A ruck formed quickly, and the ball was picked up by a Hornet, the only one in the ruck on their side of the breakdown, who then passed it on to their number 8, who had managed to get back in support, and then had a clear path to score a try at 62 minutes, as nearly all the Otters had followed up and were caught flat footed by the turn of events.  Two more tries would follow for CSUMB, the last from a lineout in Sacramento State’s quarter, with Sac State throwing in and losing, and the loosehead prop of CSUMB was able to score from play that followed.  McGill converted from near the touchline out about 30 meters, and that kick might have brought the most applause from the supporters, who numbered near 100, students and parents alike.  Near full time Sacramento State would score from a tap penalty that was given from 10 meters out from CSUMB’s line.  Final score was a season high 48 points for Cal State Monterey, to Sacramento State’s 20.

Having refereed quite a few CSUMB WR matches this season, I was very impressed by the improvement in play of their backline.  McGill at flyhalf, changing position from full back in late February, has been a great difference.  The ball was shifted a number of times during this match through the three quarters to the wing, and in defense their full back was able to counter attack from some kicks that failed to reach touch several times.   Regarding scrum half Sabrina Bacuangan, she plans on returning to her Seattle home after graduation next month, and is thinking of continuing her rugby career up there with either the Breakers or Puget Sound.  I’m convinced if she were just a few inches taller she could play rugby at a representative level, even perhaps making the Eagles, she is that good, not just on offense, as she doesn’t flinch when it comes to making a tackle.  Perhaps her size will not hold her back anyway, and if there is a player who could overcome size as a handicap, she’s it.  This is supposed to be a game for people of all sizes, regardless of gender.  What other sport has dictated positional assignments based somewhat on body type and size?

Sacramento State was sorely missed as a competitor for the majority of the season, and I’m sure they are looking forward to having a full season’s worth of matches for next year.

 

 

Date: 04/23/2016

Napa 2 19 – Shasta Highlanders 8

Referee: Wood, Scott

Venue: Kennedy Park, Napa

 

Attendance: 3,453 (High-density crowd estimating probability matrix)

 

It doesn’t get any better than starting a full day of rugby with the NCRFU Men’s Club Division IV Championship. This match featured two D4 powerhouses vying for supremacy at the top of the table. Shasta started strong attacking along the left side and had an early scoring opportunity when awarded a penalty just outside Napa’s 22. Unfortunately for the visitors, the ball sailed just left of the less-than-vertical left upright. The match settled down into exchanges of possession until Napa scored an unconverted try at 24′. Shasta was able to make its second penalty attempt at 34′ before Napa closed the match with a converted try. HT: Napa 12 — Shasta 3

 

The second half featured fewer penalties and more scrums. Napa scored a converted try at 19′ but Shasta was able to score a converted try at 36′. Final whistle shortly thereafter. Fans erupted from the sidelines, swarming the pitch and tearing down the goal posts.

 

 

Date: 04/23/2016

Napa 27 – Colusa County 10

Referee: Bertolone, Cary

AR: Gordon, Preston

AR: Hammack, Robert

Nosy Busybody:  Johnson, Lee

 

It was a beautiful day at Treasure Island with 4 championship games as well as a Premier League game mixed in, all day, top level rugby. I watched Pete Smith’s game that kicked off at 9:00 am and then got ready for my 11:00 am kick-off between Colusa and Napa. Both teams were 10-0-1 with their only tie being between them, a 36-36 tie, earlier in the season. Several players were ex-teammates. I’d reffed both teams in the last couple of weeks, so I knew it would be a battle. Luckily, I had Preston Gordon and Robert Hammack as AR’s, knowing they would be a huge help.

With Pete Smith announcing and rock and roll music playing before kick off, the players were stoked and I even had goose bumps, wishing I could play (for about 5 minute), Colusa kicked off and it immediately looked “like a battle”. Hard hitting and running, fierce rucking and some good passing, it all made for an entertaining game.

Napa broke through first with a try on the 14 minute mark, while playing one man down. Colusa tied it up with good, prolonged forward work at the 25 minute mark. With 5 minutes left in the first half, Napa regained the lead with some long runs and good support, scoring a diving try on the right side of the try zone. On the last play of the half, Colusa punched another one in for a half time tie. The second half began and Napa again found themselves playing one man down for repeated infringement, players leaving their feet in the ruck. Neither team scored for the first 22 minutes, until Napa found the try zone. With only a 5 point lead, it was anyone’s game until the last 10 minutes, when Napa scored again and then finishing off Colusa, who, by then, were only playing with 13 players,  with one last try and conversion, with only one minute left, for a final score of 27-10. Thank you Preston and Robert and also for Lee Johnson’s feedback as my referee coach.

 

 

Date: 04/23/2016

Life West 22 – EPA Razorbacks 15

Referee: Lane, John

AR: Bretz, Paul
AR: Wilson, Giles

 

The last game of finals day at SFGG delivered an uncompromising and entertaining tight match between 2 highly committed teams.

Having won both the head to head league matches earlier in the season Life came is as the favorites but from the start it was clear EPA were in the mode to upset.

 

For those of you who know these teams the physical contest was all that was expected but with able assistance from Paul and Giles we kept the “lid on the pot” with only a few no wrap tackles needing direct intervention and a few words.

 

Life started the stronger having opted to play into the wind but some strong defense and the occasional unforced error left them with no reward after 10 minutes of strong field position.  EPA then had a few minutes in the Life half but turn overs cost them possession.

 

Life had the stronger scrum throughout the game and also the better lineout (neither side was helped by the strengthening Bay breeze with crooked throws frequent).  But on most occasions when needed, EPA held their own possession and cleared their lines.  Their No 8 did some great work at the base of a frequently retreating scrum to retain possession.

 

Having regained the upper hand, Life finally got the score board moving on 19 minutes with a penalty from in front of the posts.  This score actually spurred EPA into life and they dominated the next period of play from the kick-off.  On 26 minutes after getting deep into the Life 22 on the right, they recycled possession a few times and Life infringed at the breakdown on the defensive 5m line.  A quick tap was taken and the Life No 8 in an offside position deliberately tackled the ball carrier to stop the score.  The penalty try was awarded and the No 8 (and captain) accepted the yellow card with no issues.  The successful conversion put EPA in the lead 3-7.

 

From the restart Life turned over possession and following a few phases earned a penalty on the EPA 10m line – given the wind against the attempt at goal was optimistic (and missed) but it did eat into the sin bin time.

A long 22m restart put play back into the Life half and after a few minutes of pressure EPA were awarded a kickable penalty which was converted.

 

EPA in the lead 3 – 10 on 31 mins.  This is how the half ended although Life did have another long range penalty effort go wide.

 

The second half started with Life dominating again and on 52 mins after some strong running they broke through for a converted try and  leveled the score at 10-10.

You could physically see the Life players now expecting to pull away but EPA were not in the mode to let that happen.  Life continued to dominate field position with the strong breeze but EPA were putting in big defensive hits which frequently turned over possession.

We passed 60 minutes with the sides locked at 10-10.

On 66 minutes, after putting a number of phases together and using the width of the field EPA regained the lead with the best score of the match, touching down wide on the left.  The conversion was unsuccessful so EPA were 10-15 ahead and their confidence grew.

By this point multiple substitutions had occurred on both sides without the intensity dropping.

Having conceded the lead, Life really looked to increase the pressure.  They tightened their game plan and drove multiple phases down field – turn overs cost them possession but with the strong breeze EPA were finding it difficult to get out of their 22.  On 34 minutes the pressure finally told with with one of the Life backs scoring under the posts after some really physical contact phases cleared the way.  Converted and the lead at 17-15.

 

From the restart EPA did manage to gain possession and briefly threatened through a few phases but a turn over and wind assisted kick put the m back in their own half for the last 5 minutes.  Despite winning some defensive turnovers they could not get around or through the Life defense and the last couple of minutes had Life camped in-side the EPA 22 and an unconverted try with the final play of the game brought the final score to 22-15 in favor of Life.

 

On the final whistle both teams (as usual) forgot the previous very physical 80 minutes and shock hands and bantered with both teams acknowledging the crowd and thanked the team of 3!

 

On Sunday I answered the call to help out on Day 2 of the Pope Francis Jesuit 7’s Cup and had the best player comment of the season:

 

Having questioned a decision at the end of the 3/4 playoff the young student in question approached me after the game with the phrase “I just want to explain why you are wrong so that you know for your future refereeing”.  Your silver haired Pelican (who has probably been ref’ing longer that the young student has been a resident of planet earth) proceeded to explain the decision taken and our young scholar joined his team mates with a little extra knowledge of the laws of the game!

 

EDITOR’S NOTE:  Well I hope you do try to learn a little about the laws of the game if you want to keep doing this refereeing thing.

 

 

Date: 04/23/2016

Cal Poly 17 – Air Force 43

Referee: Fenaroli, Steven

AR: Apparently not worthy of a mention in the report

AR: Lower than the dirt on your shoe, to be overlooked

 

After some juggling by USAR, Cal Poly was slated to host Air Force on Saturday at St Marys. Cal Poly got on the board first followed by an Air Force try. Three more unanswered trys by Air Force and one pushover scrum try by Cal Poly made the score 26-10 at halftime. Air Force is a kicking team and this game had plenty of kicks. One cross kick by Air Force led to a try, At that point Cal Poly could not recover. Cal Poly scrum was dominant the whole game, but Air Force backline was quicker and got the ball out to the wings on multiple occasions.

Great AR crew who helped out. Thanks

 

 

Date: 04/23/2016

Salisbury 38 – Tulane 53

Referee: Tetler, Jen

 

Teams from the south and mid-atlantic were represented at our own UC Davis for the women’s DII playoffs this weekend.  Salisbury from Maryland was taking on Tulane from New Orleans.  Both teams seemed fit, well coached, and disciplined, and both were out for a win.  Salisbury seemed to have more momentum in the first half, and they scored first going up 12-0, but they had a series of unfortunate knee injuries during the game and some of their girls had to come out.  Meanwhile, Tulane scored twice in the last 11 minutes to bring the halftime score to a tie.  Salisbury came out hard again in the second half, with a score in the first 5 minutes, but Tulane again fought back and tied the score up AGAIN with only 4 minutes left.  80 minutes ended too soon!  So, we went into overtime (much to the excitement of Scott Wood who was very thirsty at that moment).  Overtime taxed both teams with the heat and the extra exertion, and Tulane pulled off the win with some astute poaching and a few breakaways in those extra 20 minutes.  Not to be cowed, Salisbury got the last word with the last try at the very end of the game.  The final score did not reflect quite how hard these girls played and how close the game was overall!

 

 

Date: 04/23/2016

Diablo Gaels 57 – British Explosive Ordnance Disposal Regiment Touring Side 43

Referee: Bernstein, Bruce

 

Climax match of season at beautiful field of dreams in Orinda foothills backing Tilden Park & Caldecott Tunnel used by Diablo to practice hard to get apparently for Saturday matches including an awesome clubhouse nicer than any other I’ve seen in the US.

Diablo jumped out to a 40-5 halftime lead only to see the Brits fight back (as bomb squads do), scoring 6 2nd half tries almost all in one corner where their fullback hit almost all the impossible kicks.  Then the Gaels scored another 3 2nd half tried to edge ahead.

Great camaraderie at the clubhouse.  Hopeful will hang out with the funny talkers today @ the Pro Rugby match in SF before they go south to play their hosts OMBAC & another match against the Old Aztecs.

 

 

Date: 04/24/2016

St. Mary’s College Women 20 – Santa Clara Women 41

Referee: Byrnes, Bryant

 

Sunday. This was a friendly on SMC’s front field after the men’s earlier smashing win over Air Force in the rugby stadium. The Lady Gaels were somewhat depleted-their seniors were off doing something else-but looking forward to a last match. And the Lady Broncos were pleased to give them one.

 

Just when it seemed that Santa Clara would open the flood gates, SMC would score a couple. There were some marvelous multiphase drives down the field-one must have been 12 phases. My MVPs-the Santa Clara scrumhalf, fearless, and the St Mary’s fullback, who spent her afternoon tackling ladies 60 pounds bigger than she was.

 

 

Date: 04/24/2016

USC 0 – Salisbury 0

Referee: Fenaroli, Steven

 

USC and Salisbury lost on Saturday so they played Sunday. The game had some good backline distribution and saw USC just hammering down the field. USC earned a yellow card late for team fouls and other than a few warnings, was a clean game. USC won 3rd

 

EDITOR’S NOTE:  How did USC manage to win 3rd if the reported score is 0-0?    Did you award the winner based on number of yellow cards?

 

 

Date: 04/24/2016

Humboldt  – Tulane

Referee: Tetler, Jen

AR: Not worthy of notice

AR: A Peasant who shall not be named

#4: Not even sure if someone so unimportant has a name

 

It was winner versus winner of the quarterfinals for DII women’s rugby, with Humboldt and Tulane looking to go to the national championships in a couple of weeks.  I had refereed Humboldt a few weeks ago for playoffs and knew they were a strong formidable team, and knew that Tulane was also strong and well coached.  Humboldt didn’t come out with their usual aggression, and they conceded 4 tries in the first half, partly due to a yellow card for grabbing the tempting braid of a Tulane ball carrier.  Tulane had great defense, including a picked ball run in for 5 points.  Humboldt did score early in the half, and were able to cross the line once more before the halftime whistle blew to bring the halftime score to 24-10.  I expected Humboldt to make up some points in the second half, which they did.  Humboldt was able to put 3 more tries on the board in the time that Tulane was only able to get 3 points from of a penalty kick.  Meaning that with only 13 minutes left, there was a tie score of 27-27.  Tulane answered back to break the tie a few minutes later, and put the nail in the coffin with a second score on the outside.  Humboldt tried to get back in the game and actually scored with 1 minute left, but it was just not quite enough.  Both teams had some excellent players, some hard hits, great runs, and the game was excellent.  Thanks to all the folks at the playoffs.  It’s great to have AR’s and a #4.

 

EDITOR’S NOTE:  With all of this scoring going on one would think that there was an actual final score.   Apparently not.

 

 

This Week’s Photo

The referees of Pope Francis 7s/Jesuit Cup on Sunday at Buck Shaw Stadium in Santa Clara.   L-R: John Coppinger, Paul Simko, Jordan Bruno, James Hinkin, John Lane

Pope Francis 7s

Hail, Pelicus!
For the Senate
Pelicus Pedem Referre

Professional Startup

HAIL PELICUS!

 

Professional Startup

 

The day long longed for (longing long time?) or, in some cases, dreaded has finally arrived.   The United States of America finally has professional rugby.   There were 2 matches scheduled to start the league off, one in Sacramento against their Bitter Arch Rival San Francisco and the other in Denver (well, Glendale) with the Ohio squad visiting.   The match in Sacramento was everything the organizers could have hoped for, an exciting 37-25 match under blue skies in perfect conditions with a vocal, engaged crowd.  Just what you would expect from Pelicanland.

 

The other match, of course, wasn’t played in Northern California so things didn’t go quite so well.  A reliable source tells Hail Pelicus that the field was covered with 18 feet of snow and the match wasn’t actually visible to the spectators.   The game devolved into a battle of sappers as players had to dig tunnels in the snow to advance the ball and if it weren’t for GPS tags in the player’s jerseys nobody would have known where the action was.   Fortunately the big screen was able to track the players this way and have colored dots move around to give people an idea of the flow of the game.   Unsurprisingly this resulted in the game ending in a tie so the Worst Idea Of Pro Rugby was implemented immediately (see below).    Nor Cal B Panelist Derek Summers, naturally, owes every referee in America a beer.   Looking forward to your next match out here, Derek.

 

All Tied Up And Nowhere To Go

 

So the first match in Denver ended in a tie.   The captains and the referee wearily dug tunnels towards each other and shook hands before digging a tunnel back to the locker rooms for the post match interview, right?

 

Wrong.

 

Pro Rugby has fallen for the old lie that American sports fans can not understand what a tie is so they played a 10 minute sudden death period after full time.   Every time a “foreign” sport gets introduced to the USA some marketing wantwit insists that Americans don’t like ties.   When the MLS started up they had those ridiculous shootouts and then went to overtime before scrapping the whole thing and playing soccer like the rest of the world has been doing so successfully.   England doesn’t play overtime.  New Zealand doesn’t play overtime.   Heineken Cup and Super Rugby don’t play overtime.   Why in the name of all that is oblong are we doing it?

 

It’s embarrassing, really.   The rest of the rugby world is looking at us like a doting parent looks at a toddler playing Monopoly.    Yes, we can roll dice and move our doggie around the board but we don’t understand entirely what is going on and will change the rules to something we like so that we can win.

 

If you are in a playoff or a knockout competition that requires a winner to advance, the yes, you play overtime.   For a standard league match?   Don’t’ be ridiculous.

 

The Other Big Change

 

Well, not really a big change, but a trial proposed by World Rugby and this is actually a solid, common sense idea.    When a team that has been awarded a Penalty Kick after time expired they may kick for touch and play the lineout.  Similar to the scrum option that is already in effect it removes the tactical limitation against a team with a strong lineout by allowing this option.

This is an idea adopted by Pro Rugby I can get behind.

The Great Ebner Experiment Continues

Nate Ebner got his first playing time and his first tries (a double against Portugal).   Well done, that man!  From what I saw he looked good, if slightly uncomfortable at times and fully justified his inclusion in the squad.   Did he do enough to make an Olympic team?   Not yet, but I was impressed and he is closer than I expected.   It will be interesting to see what Mike Friday does when Carlin Isles gets back and he has a full squad to choose from.

A Fond Farewell

We all know Pelicus Scriptoris as possibly the greatest contributor and most passionate advocate of Northern California Rugby and especially the Referee Society.    Sadly, he has decided to move on.

On Friday April 29th all of Pelicanland will be celebrating Bruce Carter’s retirement and departure from the Bay area as Bruce will be migrating to Arizona.  Make plans now to celebrate Bruce’s incredible career as an official, President of the Northern California Rugby Referees Society, and his most impactful legacy, teacher.  Bruce’s impact on refereeing has been immense and we have all been fortunate to have been the recipient of his mentorship for so many years.  Click the link here to find out more details about the event and to choose your entree options.

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 Ernie Dinklefwat of Bloom County, USA who asks:

 

“I have been assigned to playoff and tournament games that list teams with placeholders like ‘Nor Cal 1’, ‘West 2’ or even ‘A3’ and ‘Winner Game 7’.    My question is how should I let Hail Pelicus editors and readers know who was playing in these matches?”

 

Thank you Mr Dinklefwat for your question and let me say that I hope your hog riding rendezvous works out for you.   This comes up every year around this time and occasionally at other times when you have tournament or seedings to deal with.   The best solution, one that was universally applied this week thank you very much, is to put the names of the teams in your writeup so that the editorial staff here can identify who is with what score.   A report like “Good solid playoff game, thanks for the run” does not work (and is terribly dull), but “Central City Wormhuggers were able to snatch a victory from the Old Plaid RFC…” works perfectly.    If you don’t identify the teams we will just make up silly names and nobody wants that in a publication of this stature.  It would be undignified.

 

Keep those questions coming!

 

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: 04/16/2016

Colusa County 35 – Modesto 33

Referee: Pohlman, John

 

Playoff rugby is upon us and this weekend I had one heck of a game.  Colusa was hosting Modesto on a hot Saturday.  I knew this would be a competitive game.  Colusa has won the division, I believe, the last five years.  Modesto was being led and coached by Soni, a Tongan friend who used to play in the Bay area.  Modesto had some new faces and Colusa had all there players.

The game was hard hitting, competitive and hard hitting.  Colusa has three backs who given any space can slice through the defense and when tackled offload to what seemed like always a support player.  Colusa’s #12 scored two first half try s.  The Colusa #10 added another.

Modesto had three backs to match the Colusa players, though.  First was captain and #10 Soni who scored both of Modesto’s first half try s.  Soni also made both kicks making the first half score Colusa 21-Modesto 14.

 

Colusa scored a quick second half try at 3 minutes in.  They seemed to be taking charge when an ill advised pass by captain and # 8 Cody (really the only mistake I saw him make on the day) was intercepted and scored at 6 minutes.  Just when it looked like Modesto had the upper hand, a turnover led to a quick Colusa try.   This made the game 35-21 Colusa.

But captain Soni would not let his player letdown and their fast #13 scored try s at 16 minutes and 35 minutes.  One missed conversion ended up being the deciding factor.

Wow what a game.  It was one of those games as a referee you really love and just hope you don’t get in the way.

Thanks for one heck of a workout.

 

 

Date: 04/16/2016

Danville 49 – Granite Bay 14

Referee: Gordon, Preston

 

This was the boys JV championship, held on a sunny day with the stands full of fans. What’s not to like about that?

 

Both teams were evenly matched in the first half, which ended at 14-14 with 2 converted tries each. At that point Danville had a player sitting in the bin for repeated offside infringements, although this didn’t degrade their effectiveness much. In the second half, Danville added 5 further converted tries, with some impressive touchline efforts from their #10 to ensure the complete haul of points.

 

Watching both teams competing ferociously and showing this level of skill and game knowledge, while still this young, would give anyone confidence in the future of our sport in NorCal. Thanks as well to Ed Barfels and Bart Nielsen, my 2 ARs for this one.

 

 

Date: 04/16/2016

Napa 85 – Reno 19

Referee: Bertolone, Cary

 

Playoff atmosphere; not really. A warm day, about 80 degrees, or felt like it, the game was tied at 7-7 six minutes in and then it became a lot of Napa offense and it was 42-12 at the half. Both of Reno’s tries resulted from Napa mistakes and thus, penalties, but beyond a little of that, Napa appears ready for the playoffs. The game was played in good spirits, good running and some hard tackling; I think everyone had a good run and a lot of fun. Final score was 85-19.

 

 

Date: 04/16/2016

Cal Maritime 29 – New Mexico Highlands University 31

Referee: Sandhill, Peter

 

This was the Pac West Semi-FInal 1 of the NSCRO – National Small College Rugby Organization played on a properly marked and sized rugby field (synthetic turf) between Cal Maritime Academy (CMA) and New Mexico Highlands University (Highlands) . It was a very hot spring day, around 78 degrees at 1pm. Tim Lew had the other later semi; he AR’ed this game with Eric Rauscher.

 

This game was a ‘cracker’ (as we say in Australia) and went down to the wire, decided in the last minutes. Two very different styles of play – CMA had a very strong forward pack that demonstrated great skill and slowly, in the second half asserted dominance. Highlands had exceptional backs. Their coach explained before the game that they play like Fiji, open styled, athletic and spontaneous. As an example, they scored two tries in open play while defending, when Cal Maritime dropped the ball, and they towed it through and chased half way up the field. Twice.

 

After kick off, Highlands came out of the gate and scored (unconverted) for a 5-0 lead. CMA looked stunned. They responded with tight play and soon scored themselves. At half time it was 10-12, two tries a piece with a Highlands conversion helping them hold a slight lead.

 

In the second half the game opened up, a little, with three tries a piece plus two conversions each. Highlands never lost the lead, but it was close. CMA scored two sensational team tries at different points, as the momentum went to and fro at different stages of the second half. Both teams kept the pressure up the whole game. It was a captivating game to watch and ref with a very vocal and positive home crowd on the sidelines.

 

The last four minutes saw a long drive by CMA from their 22, two thirds of the field, with three consecutive penalties (different infringements) allowing play to continue after the hooter, into injury time. With a PK right in front right on full time, the CMA captain was deliberating taking a scrum, a shot for three points, which would have won them the game, or a kick to touch for a line-out. Unfortunately, the scoreboard (maintained by hosts, CMA, his club) mistakenly read 31-27 so he thought 3-points wouldn’t matter. In the heat of the moment, he quickly elected to have a scrum. They won the scrum and then knocked the ball on, game over.

 

Thanks to Tim and Eric who did a wonderful job.

 

 

Date: 04/16/2016

Claremont Colleges 42 – Denver University 18

Referee: Lew, Tim

 

Denver University vs Claremont Colleges was the sweet 16 round on Saturday at NSCRO playoffs. The game was fun and open. Claremont was able to control DU from start to finish. They controlled set play and pace of the game.

 

 

Date: 04/16/2016

Peninsula Green 31 – McClatchy 28

Referee: Bernstein, Bruce

 

Saved best match I did for last.  McClatchy up 21-0 & 28-5 loses in last minute 31-28. Obviously either could have won.  Great match to be part of & guessing watch. McClatchy well-coached team oriented game highlighted by their flyhalf & center who had some real nice runs & also made all 4 of his conversion kicks with his dad’s incentive of: “This ones for your car.”  They were also helped in the 1st half by Pen Green’s insistence on holding on to the ball after being tackled, which they corrected the 2nd half & had two really big Pacific Islander decent props score solo tries to push them ahead; preserving an undefeated season.  Both of their varsity teams should be back next year with that much depth & coaching.  Thanks for Neil for some simple & good advice I will utilize in the future.

 

 

Date: 04/16/2016

Peninsula Green 38 – McClatchy 12

Referee: Carney, Mark

 

Contentious game that ended up being closer than the score would lead you to believe. Both teams were extremely physical; Pen Green just played a faster game and had some beautiful set piece tries that took them over the top of CKM to win the Rugby NorCal D1 Championship.

 

 

Date: 04/16/2016

Sacramento Amazons 14 – SFGG Women 59

Referee: McDougall, Grant

 

Glorious day for Rugby in Sacramento, the sun was out and both teams turned up to play running rugby. We had the pleasure of teams lining up to the American Nation Anthem played on rock guitar from the stands. Not something i have witnessed in all my travels. Sacramento now has a special place in my heart!

 

Golden Gate got off to a quick start spreading the ball wide and stretching the Amazon defense. The first half was dominated by golden gate with the ladies racking up six tries all converted by their captain in a brilliant exhibition of kicking. The Amazon’s did not give up at any point with solid defense in the mid field and forwards.

 

The second half felt like a different Amazon team  turned up to play, they drove through the forwards with a flawless pick and drive game which led to the first try of the second half. Golden Gate struggles to get their shape back until late in the second half. They did a good job of retaining possession and kicking for territory, turning the Amazon pack around.

 

It was a solid semi final and a pleasure to Ref.

 

 

Date: 04/16/2016

Sacramento Amazons 48 – Pleasanton Cavaliers 12

Referee: Crenshaw, Jim

 

Lovely day – match a bit one sided – 4 yellows to Amazons 3 for offsides 1 for not back 10 at a penalty – didn’t seem to matter much.

 

 

Date: 04/16/2016

San Jose State 39 – Alumni 17

Referee: Simko, Paul

 

Sunny day, but for alumni match, there appeared to be no love lost between these two teams.  Once we got some of the hot heads under control, the match went well.  Too much speed for the Alumni to overcome.

 

 

Date: 04/16/2016

Santa Rosa 31 – EPA Razorbacks 33

Referee: Fenaroli, Steven

 

The game was intense and full of lead changes. EPA held on to win as Rosa was making a late drive to score. Thanks to Robert for the AR help and Mike for the PR

 

 

Date: 04/16/2016

SFGG 24 – Mother Lode 50

Referee: Byrnes, Bryant

 

This was the Boys High School Open JV Plate Final at TI-game four of seven high school championship games. Think this kind of game is an easy day at the office: little guys running in circles and falling down? Think again. These are young men who have at least a season of honing their skills, often more. They are well coached. They play a consummate  game; run straight, tackle hard, get the ball out to wing more than any other level. Thanks to my AR Preston.

 

 

First half: they traded try for try. 26-19 for the Mother Lode Whippets. The tide turned early in the second half when not one, but two SFGG players got yellows for dangerous tackles. Mother Lode played 15 to 13 aside adroitly.

 

 

Date: 04/16/2016

UC Davis 29 – University of Southern California  12

Referee: Boyer, Rich

 

It was a sunny, warm Picnic Day at UC Davis, so the students were out in droves.  USC had arrived the night before and also showed up with numbers.  They took the opening kick and immediately Davis were on the back foot, as it seemed to me they were taken aback by USC’s intensity.  USC were on the five meter line after repeated patient phases only to knock on.  Davis then controlled possession throughout the remainder of the first quarter but were prone to little mistakes as neither team scored.  Eventually Davis Captain flyhalf Josh Farnsworth took second phase ball through a gap for a try which he converted.  Back and forth it went in a game nearly devoid of penalties.  The Davis wing benefited from previous phase pick and drives when an overlap ensured and Farnsworth skipped two to allow #11 to score an unconverted try in the corner.  But USC fought back and the flanker burrowed in under the posts on recycled ruck ball to make the score 12-7 UCD.  The momentum then swung to Davis as Farnsworth skillfully sliced through another gap and subsequently converted his try.  The Davis lock picked up the ball at a ruck and stormed down the sidelines, eventually offloading to the Davis wing who cut back inside for a try under the posts.  24-7 Davis at half.  Every time Davis got the upper hand in the second half USC would counter through their big #12 and mercury quick 13 to blunt the attack and threaten to score, alas, only to be undone by knock ons and forward passes.  USC substituted wisely in the second half and stood toe to toe with Davis, matching Davis’ one second half try with a well deserved try by the English hooker cum flanker #7, who really stood out on the day with his powerful incisive runs.  The second half saw a slightly higher penalty count but total for the day was under 10 as the players were very disciplined and responded to instruction.  Standouts include Farnsworth and #13 and the ubiquitous Welsh hooker who made several poaches.  USC 12 and 13 were very talented with ball in hand, while #7 and the tighthead prop were prominent with their runs.   Davis are strong and best of luck to them in the finals.  Credit to USC as the program they are building is a good one indeed.   Special thanks to David Hosley for braving the traffic to run awesome AR.

 

 

Date: 04/16/2016

Vacaville 29 – Life West 2 21

Referee: Devlin, Joe

 

No report received

 

 

Date: 04/17/2016

Claremont Colleges 35 – New Mexico Highlands University 25

Referee: Lew, Tim

 

The sun was blazing on Sunday of NSCRO elite 8 round in Vallejo. Claremont Colleges and New Mexico teams traded tries and at halftime the game was almost tied. Claremont Colleges ended up being more disciplined than NM. NM had some amazing athletes who will need to learn the game but they’ll be a great team in years to come.

 

 

This Week’s Photo

The referees of the NSCRO 7s Qualifier two weeks ago  L-R:  Rich Boyer, Steve Fenaroli, and the newly minted Pelicus Caledonius

NSCRO 7s refs

Hail, Pelicus!
For the Senate
Pelicus Pedem Referre

Death And Taxes

HAIL PELICUS!

 

Death and Taxes

 

“‘In this world nothing can be said to be certain, except death and taxes.”

-Benjamin Franklin, 1789

 

“‘In this world nothing can be said to be certain, except death, taxes and that the referee is always right.”

-Pelicus Pedem Referre, 2016

 

As I write this America’s annual Tax Day is approaching fast and Pelicans across the land are trying to determine if that spa day they took back in June can be tax deductible as a business expense.    Personally, I just let my lawyers and accountants from that nice Panamanian firm handle all of the details and so far things just seem to be going great.   I highly recommend them and if anyone wants their contact details I can supply them.

 

The other great inevitability, of course, is death.  Not all deaths are as widely known and widely mourned as Jonah Lomu quite simply because not all people affect emotionally as many people as someone of that stature.   Some people pass with barely a ripple but some passings send shockwaves through a community.   Thus it was with the death of Seigfried Kohl who passed this week after a 2 year battle with cancer.   He lived up in Washington so is not technically a Pelican, but he is a man all Pelicans can admire and emulate.   As a friend remarked to me (and I agreed) every other post on our Facebook feed was someone – often someone we didn’t know – commenting on Sig’s passing and sharing wonderful moments.    Many Pelicans played against him in various playoffs and National 7s events and many more played with him as a member of the Bald Eagles.   Sig was a giant on and off the field with “the body of Adonis and the face of a goofball”.   Even after undergoing months of radiation treatment Sig lived life to the fullest, running marathons, playing touch and generally enjoying himself.   He was an inspiration to everyone, including US Eagle and former St Mary’s star Kevin Swiryn who brought his “What Would Sig Do?” bracelet with him everywhere on tour and wrote “WWSD” on his wrist tape.   You will be missed, Siggy.   Times like this bring forth the words of Robert Herrick,

Gather ye rosebuds while ye may,
Old time is still a-flying;
And this same flower that smiles today
Tomorrow will be dying.

RIP Seigfried Kohl.  You will be missed.

 

Party Like It’s 1999

 

I am awash in nostalgia as Pro Rugby announced that it was partnering with AOL to stream their matches.   I now regret not trying out for the teams because I also was kind of a big thing in the 90s.

 

The Smartest People In The Room

 

It is no secret that there is an alarming and growing trend in America of anti-intellectualism, most often exhibited in politics but also in popular culture.   I don’t plan to turn this section into a political rant or a series of shadenfreude inducing “gotcha” scenarios but I feel I must speak on the anti-intellectualism that has been creeping into our noble game recently.

One can see this when some enterprising team or coach does something unexpected and people complain about “cheating” or “not in the spirit of the game”.   The most egregious recent examples of this are the “no maul” lineout defense and the “no ruck” defense in open play.   I participate in a number of online referee forums and you can’t go very long without someone posting a video and an argument ensuing about legality and once that is established the fallback of “it’s against the spirit of the game” rears its ugly head.   Some of the responders who say this are highly successful and respected players, referees and coaches so it is impossible to assume that these comments are originating from lack of understanding.   The hope I have is that people will learn that this is exactly the spirit of rugby and how the game should be played.   It really comes down to people being upset that either they didn’t think of it first or that they don’t know how to deal with the unexpected.

Rugby has always been about experimentation and thinking about how to gain an advantage.  Remember the origin story of rugby?  How William Webb Ellis defied expectations and picked up the ball and ran with it?   That is what we are talking about here.   Rugby is not only a grueling physical contest but also a mental contest.  As many coaches have said, “the top three inches” are the most important part of a rugger’s body.   The trend seems to be away from the guiding principle of “Everything which is not forbidden is allowed” to TH White’s totalitarian version of “Everything which is not forbidden is compulsory.”

There is nothing in law that states that a team must join a ruck, only how to do it legally and what laws apply to a ruck.  The last match I refereed I was saying “tackle only” far more than I said “ruck” because neither team was committing defenders.   The advantage that the defense got was that there was no off side line so I didn’t bother looking for one.  To a coach or a team that is playing to a pattern that expects a certain amount of space this can get very frustrating yet it isn’t illegal in the slightest.   The same applies to the “no maul” defense at lineouts.   This has evolved from the “sack” defense that my old club would often use because we were generally undersized in the forwards and wanted to avoid a maul.   If the defense doesn’t want to form a maul you can’t force them to.   The latest (and by far the most egregious) comment which inspired me to write this piece started innocently enough with a question of knock on, throw forward or nothing if a player throws the ball ahead and catches it himself.  (Spoiler alert: it is a throw forward.)   Eventually the discussion came around to intent (deliberate or not?) and some started agitating that ANY pass to oneself should be illegal because that is just not rugby even if, and this is the fun bit, the pass does not go forward.    That is when I felt I had to make a stand.

The main objections to these tactics is that they don’t “look like rugby”.   What that comment tells me is that these tactics don’t look like what people expect and that annoys them.   We used to celebrate teams like the Barbarians who would try silly things like a 13 man lineout and yet now there is far too much complaining about unusual tactics.  Rugby as a game is constantly evolving, more so than any other sport I know and much of this is driven by individual innovation.   To claim that is not in the spirit of the game is, in my opinion, completely against the spirit of the game.

 

The Great Ebner Experiment On Hold

With Nate Ebner added to the roster for the Hong Kong 7s everyone wanted to see what he could do.   It is at this point the maxim that “the anticipation is half the fun” comes into play.   Ebner logged 0 minutes in Hong Kong and was held as an emergency sub only.  There, of course, is nothing to read into this as Mike Friday explained “He (Ebner) had had a very tough two-day tournament in the Hong King 10s, and it would have probably been too much physically for his body to cope with, after only being with us for three weeks, to ask him to go again.”

That is a very valid point considering the stress an international 7s tournament can put on any athlete’s body, but it does go a bit towards validating my opinion that there is very little chance for Ebner to be ready in time to make the Olympic squad.   From all accounts he did well in the 10s but that is a different kettle of ichyopods.   His physicality and explosiveness are not to be denied, but can his rugby education keep pace?  And can his physical stamina keep pace?

Mike Friday and the rest of the US staff are very astute individuals and surely know all this.  They also know that time is running out to test him in a pressure environment.  I am not talking about pressure from fans, expectations or the gravity of the moment – the man has already proven he can handle that in the NFL.    How he reacts under rugby pressure is the key.  The game is so fast at the international level that you have to be thinking ahead.  Any hesitation and you are lost.  The skills have to be automatic and the reads immediate.   This can only be tested at a World Series event and time is running out.   Mike Friday is well aware of this as he said Ebner was included so that he could be “integrated into the 12 and around the squad; getting familiar with our routines and what actually goes on in the sheds as we prepare “.   Time for the exams because Friday added “he will be good to go this week in Singapore.”   Good luck to him.

 

A Fond Farewell

As you can tell from the above book review, Pelicus Scriptoris still keeps a keen eye on all things rugby, especially when it comes to Northern California Rugby.    Sadly, he has decided to move on.

On Friday April 29th all of Pelicanland will be celebrating Bruce Carter’s retirement and departure from the Bay area as Bruce will be migrating to Arizona.  Make plans now to celebrate Bruce’s incredible career as an official, President of the Northern California Rugby Referees Society, and his most impactful legacy, teacher.  Bruce’s impact on refereeing has been immense and we have all been fortunate to have been the recipient of his mentorship for so many years.  Click the link here to find out more details about the event and to choose your entree options.

The Naming Of The Flock

 

Hail Pelicus would like to salute two members of the flock who have been honored with their official Pelican Name.

From now on John Lane shall be known as Pelicus Guinness Consumptus!

From now on Neil MacDonald shall be known as Pelicus Caledonius!

All Hail Pelicus Guinness Consumptus and Pelicus Caledonius!

 

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 Jaco Peyper, of Bloemfontein, South Africa who asks:

 

“I have been following the careers of several Northern California referees because this society is an inspiration to all rugby referees around the world and, personally, I long for the chance to join.   Since there is an abundance of top referees in Pelicanland it is often tough to get noticed but I feel some may have been overlooked.  Have there been any promotions recently?”

 

Thank you Mr Peyper for your question.   We have also been following your career here at Hail Pelicus and feel you may one day be worthy of a Pelican appointment if you keep working hard.  To answer your question, yes, there were three promotions announced at this month’s meeting:

 

Jen Tetler has been promoted to C1.

Robert Hammack has been promoted to C2

Andrew Kenny has been promoted to C3

 

Congratulations to these fine referees!

 

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: 04/05/2016

Sacramento Capitals 58 – Missoula Maggots 26

Referee: Carney, Mark

 

Game was fairly evenly matched in the first half with the Capitals playing most of their B side players. Missoula had a couple of great tries from a very speedy winger who sliced through the Caps defense.

 

In the second half, the Caps allowed some of their A side players to get a run, and the result was that Missoula was over matched in the backs and consistently lost possession at the breakdown, allowing the Caps to run away with the game in the second half.

 

 

Date: 04/09/2016

Berkeley 18 – Olympic Club 2 17

Referee: Byrnes, Bryant

 

This was a boffo game played late afternoon on Maritime’s lovely field. The O Club starts D2 play offs next week; Berkeley had had a frustrating season and wanted to end on a high note. When the teams had met earlier in the season it was all O Club. But its roster had been raided to stock the higher level sides for play offs, so a lot of capable guys were playing together for the first or second time.

 

The first half belonged to the O Club-14 to 5. They were organized and methodical. They supported their runners well and used their speedy outside center and wing to good effect.

 

Berkeley had obviously consumed massive amounts of Wheaties at half, because it was a different side that came out (its four substitutions helped). Its several big boys in the scrum started to run with more pace and much authority. Its back line also picked up its game, especially its wily and slippery outside center-he had several whirling dervish runs.

 

With about 10 minutes left, Berkeley made a penalty kick that put them up by one. From then until full time, it was a slug fest. The game ended with the O Club on the attack, but incurring an accidental off sides penalty. My compliments to both sides, their captains, and coaches. My thanks to the assistant ref who ran touch.

 

 

Date: 04/09/2016

California 136 – Texas 0

Referee: Lane, John

 

A very wet day at Witter Field – ably assisted by Pete and Rob as the scoreline suggests we got in some sprint practice for 80 minutes.

The weather conditions were reflected in a very high knock-on count which created much frustrated sighs and gasps from the Cal Bears coaching staff.  The full roster was used through the game but the conditions won out no matter which players were on the field!

With a dominant scrum lost possession was reversed quickly on almost every occasion.

Nine tries and 5 conversions left the half time score at 55-0.  Texas missed one medium range penalty kick to the right with their only scoring opportunity.

With Texas tiring in the final 20 minutes 13 more tries were scored by Cal in the 2nd half with 7 conversions leaving the final score at 136-0.  Texas had one long range penalty attempt which again missed to the right.

A special note of thanks to Rob’s son for helping his heavily limping Dad from the field at full time!!!

Pete Smith showed his resilience and superb fitness levels by taking to the field for the Cal 2 v Santa Clara.

 

EDITOR’S NOTE:  A nice run, I am sur e Pelicus Guinness Comsumptis, but you will need to put a bit more effort in to match my 176-0 scoreline a few years ago at the official reopening of Witter Field.

 

 

Date: 04/09/2016

Colusa 86 – Mendocino 5

Referee: Bertolone, Cary

 

Drizzling a little bit, Colusa had about 35 suited up to 15 for Mendo. It actually was a pretty good game and Mendo can hold their heads up high, as they battled throughout. Mendo scored their try in the last minute of the game, to keep from getting a goose egg. Party afterwards was over the top with a fresh smoked hog, boat races, car bombs, cardboard car destruction derby, balloon blowing contest and a lot of singing, plus more and more! Too much fun! Great guys on both clubs.

 

 

Date: 04/09/2016

Danville 37 – Riordan  13

Referee: Wilson, Giles

 

I was lucky enough to be assigned to what turned out to be the best game of the season for me so far, a playoff between Danville Oaks and Riordan (coincidentally the closest game to my home that I think I’ve ever had). Before hand it was good to see old friends on the coaching staffs (including Roy, Helu, Jon Straka, Tony Wells and Mike Caravelli) and then more in the stands (including Kevin Barth, Hwyl ap Rees, Mike Walker and others) – it’s great to see all these people involved with youth rugby at all it’s different levels.

 

Both teams displayed some nerves but both had a game plan, a kicking game, discipline and an understanding of the laws of the game – a credit to both coaching teams and that many have come through a youth program.

 

Riordan gave away some size but lacked nothing in heart, having a fly half who has time on the ball and nice timing of the pass, fairly small but willing to draw a bigger tackler in order to put a runner into a gap. Danville had several big carriers in the forwards but also the willingness and ability to pass the ball to space, running into gaps.

 

Danville scored 4 first half tries (one converted) to two Riordan tries. Riordan struggled a bit at the scrum while the organization of Danville’s line outs needs some work. The second half started with the teams exchanging penalties and then Danville scored two more tries before losing two players to yellow cards in the last 10 minutes.

 

An enjoyable and entertaining game, the future looks good if these players stay involved through college and beyond.

 

 

Date: 04/09/2016

Fresno 75 – San Jose 10

Referee: Devlin, Joe

 

No report received

 

 

Date: 04/09/2016

Google 38 – Aptos 34

Referee: Simko, Paul

 

There was a light rain all evening under the lights at GarField.  Aptos got off to a quick start scoring a couple of tries, but Google cut the lead down just before half time.  Aptos kept the lead and was up 34-21 with about 15 minutes left.  After a yellow to the Aptos 8 man and a few later arrivals, Google mounted a comeback which included one converted and one unconverted try.  Teams at equal strength for the last 5 minutes at 34-33, Google scored an unconverted try for the victory.

 

 

Date: 04/09/2016

Jesuit 26 – Granite Bay 24

Referee: Androvich, Joe

 

Incredibly fast match with brilliant skills, fitness, and game knowledge from both teams.  Too bad the spectators/parents were not as professional as the athletes on the field.

 

 

Date: 04/09/2016

Life West 46 – EPA Razorbacks 7

Referee: MacDonald, Neil

AR: McDougall, Grant

 

Freshly back from the beaches of Oahu the previous evening, I drove over 17, 880, and 680 watching a litany of aquaplaning drivers and no less than six different accidents on the way to Moraga for this last match of the NCRFU D1 regular season for Life West and EPA Razorbacks.   With the match being the third on the same pitch in a day of steady downpour, I was expecting a mudbath at the field at St Mary’s, but in the event the field held up remarkably well, aside from one muddy patch in the middle.

 

Life West played the first half with intensity, structure and purpose.  Their clarity of intent every time they were in possession helped them rack up a 36-0 lead by the half.   The second half of the match was a completely different affair.  EPA scored first, disrupting a ruck deep in Life West’s half, and kicking the ball ahead, causing two defenders to race backwards trying to gather the ball.  Both got hands on it, but neither controlled it, and the chasing EPA player grounded the ball to get his team a tangible reward for their industry and their contributions to this physical match.  Life scored shortly afterwards from a backrow move, and the match slowed down as Life stopped playing percentage rugby, and conditions, replacements and substitutions took their toll on handling for both sides.  In the 70th minute, with EPA pressuring Life’s defense a few meters out, Life’s rush defense broke up the attack, and took the ball back up the length of the field in the try of the game to settle the match 46-7.

 

Thanks to both teams and their captains for a good match despite the conditions, to Grant McDougall for gamely staying on to AR after refereeing two full matches beforehand, and to the Life West team for their gracious hospitality.

 

I understand that EPA play Santa Rosa next weekend in one semi-final, while Life West plays Sacramentio Lions in the other.  It promises to be another great weekend of rugby in Pelicanland.

 

 

Date: 04/09/2016

Life West 2 29 – Baracus 27

Referee: McDougall, Grant

 

What a great game to referee. Baracus game to play in wet and muddy conditions. They ran the ball efficiently and tackled superbly. Baracus was in contention for most of the game until the second half when Life kicked into a next gear, using a strong number 8 and halfback combination. Life found Baracus wanting close to their line in final minutes and scored a try to win the game.

 

 

Date: 04/09/2016

Life West Women 55 – SFGG Women 10

Referee: McDougall, Grant

 

Women Rugby is always great to referee. This game was no different. The score line was not a reflection of the quality of rugby played. Life West Women’s dominated the first half leading to a 55-10 win. Golden Gate improved as the match went on with stalwart defence and shutting down the running game of Life West. Life regained their composure late in the second half and used the chip and kick to gain territory dominance in the game.

 

 

Date: 04/09/2016

Marin 7 – Napa 41

Referee: Richmond, Jeff

 

I was told by a Napa representative before the match to “prepare for a track meet” but Marin wasn’t playing by the script. Sure, Napa has some speedy backs but Marin did a good job containing for at least for 40 minutes.  The first 5 minutes of the match, I had the help of 30 or 40 assistant referees, since the lack of barriers along the sidelines allowed substitutes and spectators to crowd the touchline. After a brief pause to set up cones and blocking pads as a boundary, we resumed play under a much more civil atmosphere. Frequent errors by Napa left them frustrated and got them off their game. It was a close 12-0, Napa ahead at the half. Napa came out more organized in the second half and Marin was getting worn down. Napa was able to overload the backfield and work the outside or chipped the ball over the Marin backs and create an opportunity. Napa notched 5 tries in second half and Marin scored in the closing minutes, avoiding a shutout.

 

 

Date: 04/09/2016

UC Davis Women 44 – Washington St Women 0

Referee: Bretz, Paul

 

Davis’ defense was too strong for Washington State Cougars.  Defensively the Agies starved WSU for ball possession.  This marks the second year in a row that WSU has lost to Davis in the playoffs.

 

 

Date: 04/09/2016

UN Reno Women 57 – Oregon Women 5

Referee: Franzoia, Tom

 

UNR dominated Western Oregon in this rain soaked match with quick ball.

 

Date: 04/09/2016

Sacramento St 25 – Chico St 17

Referee: Tucker, Chris

 

Fun contest between two competent, organized sides.  I turned up at the pitch in time to watch Favor hare around the pitch for the last ten minutes of Davis thrashing UNR — they were a man and forty points down.  Our game was considerably closer…  The game started cagily enough, with both sides probing for weakness, but Chico getting the better of the exchanges, and Sac conceding tackle penalties as a result.  After 12 minutes, pressure came good, and Chico scored the opening try.  Sac State evened it up midway through the stanza after an error in midfield by Chico, but you got the impression that this was but an undulation in Chico’s path to victory.  Indeed they dotted down again before the half, against a penalty to the hosts, and we ended up 12-8 to Chico at the half.

 

Whatever Sac State’s captain said at the half, I have no idea., but his team came out ready to play and within 3 minutes had taken the lead on a converted try.  Chico came back briefly into the lead, before again Sac State scored a third try to retake the lead.  At this point, however the Chico centre made a critical error, deliberately taking out a chasing player off the ball on a kick and chase.  He didn’t need to, but foul play is material regardless of its impact, and he left the field at what felt like the tipping point in the game.  With a man advantage, Sac State scored again, and Chico were 8 points down and weren’t coming back.

 

 

Date: 04/09/2016

UC Davis 35 – UNR 3

Referee: Taueva, Favor

 

UC Davis was very good around the field. Having a little bit of hard time the first 15minutes to put point for themselves but mange to play really good rugby team plan and it’s was rewarded for their skills.

 

Good time for me and I know people were happy to witness good rugby .

 

Manuia

 

 

Date: 04/09/2016

Redwood 21 – Napa 2 15

Referee: Hammack, Robert

 

The match was played with intensity (mostly legal) from the opening whistle as both teams looked to end their season on a high note. Redwood scored early from on a breakaway try from a Napa knock-on. Napa responded with a try of their own with a well worked backline try. Napa seemed to control the game for most of the match but Redwood took advantage of another breakaway, length of the field try to gain the upper hand. Napa had an opportunity to win the match in the dying minutes as they had a penalty at the Redwood 5-meter line but an unlucky knock-on ended an otherwise well-contested match.

 

 

Date: 04/09/2016

Reno 27 – Modesto 33

Referee: Crenshaw, Jim

 

The rain returned to northern California just in time for a drive to Reno Saturday. Pretty steady, but light rain all the way to Truckee, but then it let up and things were overcast but dry in Reno. I was early (no Snow on the road) so I saw the reason for the late (3pm) kickoff – youth soccer. They cleared out right around 3, so kickoff was postponed till around 3:30. Both teams only had 1 substitute and were pretty evenly matched. Reno chose to play against the wind in the first half, so Modesto kicked off. Reno didn’t waste any time, with a series of rucks leading to an unconverted try in the corner in the first 5 minutes of play. The match slowed down a bit for the next 10 minutes or so until Modesto took the lead with a converted try. There was a lot of long runs back a forth for the next 20 minutes or so, but neither team could finish. Reno finished up with a flurry with 2 back to back unconverted try’s near the end of the half, making it 15 -7 at halftime. Reno scored first about 8 minutes into the second half with a converted try to make it 22 – 7. The next 20 minutes were more of the back and forth play, but no scoring. The last 15 minutes were exciting, as Modesto scored 3 unanswered try’s, the first one unconverted, but the next 2 converted to take the lead 26 – 22, with about 5 minutes remaining. Reno came back with an unconverted try to regain the lead 27 – 26 with about 2 minutes left. Modesto made a long series of runs by the centers and standoff, finally scoring under the posts with no time remaining. A great match. Final score  33 – 27 Modesto!

 

EDITOR’S NOTE: Pelicus Antiquum Barbarus , it’s good to have you back staring down naughty players and getting in the way of scrumhalf passes.

 

Date: 04/09/2016

Sacramento Blackhawks 10 – SFGG 38

Referee: Pescetti, David

 

It was an incredibly close match for the first 60 minutes. In those 60 minutes there were 4 lead changes in slippery wet conditions.  With the match being tied 10 – 10 3 minutes into the second half, when GG successfully kicked a penalty kick. After the 60th minute, the match opened up for GG and they were able to string together several series and seal their win.

 

 

Date: 04/09/2016

South Valley 21 – SiliconValley 17

Referee: Freitas, Larry

 

This was a match I started but didn’t finish.  Driving over State Highway 152 and the Santa Cruz Mountains from Watsonville over to Morgan Hill there were raindrops splattering on my windshield.  I drove onward to Morgan Hill’s Community Park, arriving shortly after noon; the wobbly PVC goal posts were up, the field lined, and the showers ceased as the two teams, Silicon Valley and South Valley were warming up on the pitch under solidly cloudy skies.  The first thing I noticed was that the field had been laid out between three softball infields, two on the south end, and one on the north end.  I checked the grass and ran around the field a few times warming up, and my feet “found” a few gopher holes.  Not good.  Overall the rain hadn’t had much of an effect in making the conditions slick and muddy.  The pitch was no more than 90 yards between goal lines, with 5 meter in goals both ends, though they could have been a bit deeper had the pitch been lined differently, and the shallow north end in-goal would have a bearing on the final score; and the pitch was somewhat narrow, maybe 65 yards wide, because on the south end on either touch line softball infields overlapped on the pitch about five meters or more, from about 10 meters out from the goal line to the dead ball line, and the same on the north end as part of the right-hand side of the pitch also was on that softball infield.  South Valley told me a better field that they’ve used this season was unavailable because of…wait for it…soccer!  At least the City of Morgan Hill has allowed South Valley to use Galvan and Paradise Parks as home venues this season, as they lost the use of Betabel RV Park south of Gilroy.

This was a very competitive match, as the final score indicated.  Silicon Valley would score first from a set scrum just inside South Valley’s 22, but would miss the conversion.  Another try by the visitors, not converted, was scored at 22 minutes.  Silicon Valley seemed to be in control this early, but South Valley would be awarded a penalty at 31 minutes, and Eric Cifuentes was successful from nearly half way out, which in this case would be about 45 meters.  South Valley intercepted a pass and ran it back all the way for a try by Tom Sparling, converted by Eric Cifuentes.  Another penalty was awarded to South Valley as time expired in the first half, giving them another three points with that kick.  South Valley had a 13-10 lead.  One note to make: during that half Silicon Valley could have scored another try, but the player who had the ball in hand seemed to touch down, running on his feet, some meters short of the goal line near the left touch line.  I was close by and had a good view of the in-goal area, clearly lined and marked by the corner flags on the goal line and dead ball line.  The ball carrier then ran into the in-goal with the ball and then crossed the dead ball line veering toward his right as though headed for the posts.  I blew the whistle and called for a 22 meter drop out.  There was a protest that the ball had been placed in-goal, but that is not what I saw.  I checked with this player after the match and he did admit he was a bit confused as to whether he had placed the ball short of the goal line, mistaking the five meter dashed line for the goal line, and then decided to run further on.  With very short in-goals, I’m not surprised this happens, especially with a player with not much experience, and I have to say with proper deep in-goals of at least of 10 meters or up to 20, this doesn’t happen, but even top club matches in England seem to be played on pitches with very short in-goals in this modern era of the game, seemingly with the intent to have as little or no 22 drop outs during a match.

South Valley would add another try early in the second half, when Matt Almeida, their big inside center, crashed over after a scrum five was awarded to the home team.   Pressure on Silicon Valley continued, and at 53 minutes they again were awarded a scrum at the five meter line.  There is a slight downward incline toward the in-goal, and though in a few previous scrums at that north end of the pitch, both teams “set” perfectly and the forwards facing the downhill direction kept steady for the put in.  Not this time, as South Valley barged forward beyond the center point, and I awarded a free kick, which Silicon Valley took advantage of by tapping and running out of their end, seeing not many to defend behind where the scrum was set.  I set off to follow, and then two things happened: my right hamstring, which had been giving me problems earlier in the season, gave way, but not at the same spot on that muscle as before, and my right foot found a gopher hole, and my ankle got turned.  I hobbled after play as best I could, and arrived downfield (good thing it was some twenty yards short overall) as a Silicon Valley player knocked on after a series of passes as they fled downfield toward South Valley’s goal line.  I blew the whistle, and everyone on the pitch and touchlines knew I wasn’t right.  I had to leave the pitch, and fortunately Norm Boccone, former Seahawk, was on-hand to come off Silicon Valley’s touchline and take my place for the remainder of the match.  Silicon Valley would add another converted try, and South Valley would kick a penalty in the remaining 25 minutes, and South Valley got the win, 21-17.  I viewed the rest of the match on the touchlines, with a bag of ice under my hamstring wrap.  My ankle didn’t feel that bad, but several hours later it indeed was quite swollen, and I had the ice on it watching TV at home with a medicinal Sierra Nevada Pale Ale.

Silicon Valley’s captain and number 8, Paul Davis, and wing Omar Naguib were responsible for their team’s trys.  Silicon Valley is going to move on to the Third Division playoffs now that the regular season is over.  South Valley hosted a social after the match at the Box Seat sports bar, just down a block or two on the Old Highway 101, AKA Monterey Highway.

 

 

Date: 04/09/2016

St. Mary’s College 50 – Cal Poly SLO 11

Referee: Fenaroli, Steven

 

The weather held out all afternoon but the field was damp and slow due to the rain. About half way through the first half, the rain started coming down. Cal Poly was low in numbers from the first two games. SMC scored two back to back tries before Cal Poly got on the board with two penalties 20m out from their goal, 26-6 at half. Cal Poly put up 5 more points before the end of the game, while SMC was able to put up 4 more tries and convert 2 of them. All in all some quality rugby with no extracurriculars going on outside of the game. 50-11 SMC. Cal Poly plays air force next in Colorado Springs, SMC has bye and will face winner of USAF/Cal Poly

 

 

Date: 04/09/2016

St. Mary’s College B 20 – Cal Poly SLO B 10

Referee: Carney, Mark

 

The weather conditions were not ideal for a fast paced game of rugby. There was a steady drizzle all day, was wet under foot, and the ball was slippery.

 

The game started very fast with sustained possession and intensity from Cal Poly. Unfortunately, with the slippery ball, Cal Poly turned the ball over close to the SMC line. This was the story of the day really as both teams were fairly evenly matched, but neither could hold onto the ball long enough to really pull away on the scoreline.

 

The match was a bit of back and forth until the second half where SMC showed their fitness and depth of roster and managed to hit back immediately with a full length individual effort from SMC #14 after the last Cal Poly score. Both sides missed all their conversions, which could have changed the outcome of the game when Cal Poly had two penalties right in front of the posts in the last 5 minutes but chose to run instead of kick.

 

All in all, a very spirited match with unfortunate weather conditions. The forwards should be happy however as we had about 30 scrums…lol.

 

 

Date: 04/09/2016

St. Mary’s College C 36 – Cal Poly SLO C 16

Referee: Pohlman, John

 

I had the pleasure of refereeing at St. Mary’s this Saturday.  Cal Poly San Luis Obispo was in town.  These two programs field three full sides, have outstanding coaches and are consistently ranked in the top 20 of college mens rugby.

It rained on and off all day.  But the field held up quite well.

I started the action at 12:30 with the third side match.  Great and fun game to referee.  Pretty competitive.  St. Mary’s scored try’s at 3, 10 and 17 minutes.  SLO had a penalty kick at 6 minutes and a try at 20.

First half St. Mary’s 15 SLO 8.

The second half was basically the same with St. Mary’s scoring try’s at 14, 26, and 30 minutes, all converted this half.  And SLO making a penalty kick at 12 minutes and a try at 23 minutes.

 

St. Mary’s plays a fast pace both with ball and in defense.  Their speed just seams to eventually overwhelm.

 

The only draw back of the game was the combination of a soggy day and strong defense pressure forced allot of mistakes which led to allot of scrums.  Fortunately both teams had qualified front row so no problems arose.

 

If you have not been to the St. Mary’s rugby stadium you are missing one of the nicest pitches of bay area rugby.  And thanks Andy my AR from San Luis Obispo.   Final St. Mary’s 36 SLO 16

 

 

Date: 04/09/2016

Vacaville 45 – Chico 19

Referee: Hinkin, James

 

A wet drizzly day in Vacaville was the site for a D2 match featuring Chico and, as one would guess, Vacaville.   Arriving at the field 20 minutes after the hour (why can’t people drive in the rain?) to see both teams warming up and the field all set to go all I needed to do was chat with the coaches, captains, a few select players and then loosen up the legs and off we go.   The chatting took a little time as my old college teammate John Fox was there with Chico.  It was great to see Fox Man after he survived a heart attack scare a couple of weeks ago and he was looking good.   I told him if he even thought about putting his boots on and taking the field I would immediately stop the game, red card him and then harangue him for at least 15 minutes.

 

So that was all settled.

 

The game started sloppily as both teams struggled with the conditions.  The grass was firm underfoot but thick which could make it slippery if grass started accumulating in your shoes.    A constant, drizzly rain kept the ball nice and slick so we ended up with a series of scrums punctuated by occasional flashes of rugby.   At one point the excellent #8 for Vacaville (Thor) tried to pick up off the back of the scrum but managed a little knock unseen by just about everyone else.   When I blew the whistle there were cries of “what is it this time?”. All I did was point over at Thor who was busy swearing at himself.   Ah, I see.  Gotcha.

 

That being said, once the Vacaville team had the ball in hand they knew what to do with it.  Several breaks out of the backs saw long runs that Chico didn’t seem to have an answer for.   Vacaville ran in 4 tries in the first half to make the score 26-0 at halftime.

 

The second half was much more balanced as Chico got a fire lit under them and Vacaville started bringing on subs and relaxed a bit.   The rain had basically stopped at this point which improved handling tremendously and Chico was able to mount a solid attack.  A couple of unanswered tries brought the score to 26-12 before #8 Thor decided to take things into his own hands and bust over for his second try.  The last 20 minutes was a fun, back and for affair as both sides competed well and ran in a try each with Thor completing his hat trick and earning himself a boot at the post match social.

 

In all my years of rugby dating back to 1990, this is the first time I have ever attended a social in a coffee shop.   There is usually a patio available but weather had forced us all indoors where the rugby players took over a back room.  Beer was provided and good food as well so all was right in the world.   The boat race was won by Vacaville to complete the day’s sweep.   Good game.  Good people.  Good times.

 

 

Date: 04/10/2016

UC Davis Women 35 – Chico St Women 5

Referee: Bretz, Paul

 

Ditto to my report from yesterday.  Aggie’s defense starved Chico of ball possession.

 

 

Date: 04/10/2016

Long Beach St Women 22 – Western Oregon Women 10

Referee: Franzoia, Tom

 

Long Beach State brought a small but talented group of women and prevailed against Western Oregon 22 – 10.

 

 

Date: 04/10/2016

NorCal NSCRO 7’s Qualifier

Referee: Boyer, Rich

 

First Match:  Menlo v. Santa Rosa.  Mired in silly mistakes, match was over before it began as both teams really needed to shake off the cobwebs.  Which they did to great extent in subsequent matches.   7-0 Menlo on captain Lenny’s converted try.

 

Second Match:  Sonoma St. v. Sierra.  Sierra came out strong with two converted tries by captain Bobby.  Second half Sonoma St. 15 put team on his back and scored three tries, one on an intercept.  Final score 22-14.

 

Third match:  Menlo v. Sierra.  Menlo began strong with a converted try, but could not keep up with Sierra, which ran off a string of 5 tries.

 

Fourth match, semi final.  Host UOP v. Sonoma St.  Sonoma was in the game first half, but UOP made adjustments, tightened up the defense and capitalized on  Sonoma mistakes.  Only three points in it, 22-19 UOP.

 

 

Date: 04/10/2016

NorCal NSCRO 7’s Qualifier

Referee: Fenaroli, Steven

 

A very good Sunday spent doing 5 games of early season 7s. Thanks to Rich and Neil for the support.

Sonoma-5, Pacific 17; Claremont-22, Menlo-0; Sonoma-7, Santa Rosa-24; Santa Rosa- 7, Claremont-26; Final saw Claremont over Pacific by a score of 31-12

 

 

Date: 04/10/2016

Chico St 0 – UNR 0

Referee: Tucker, Chris

 

Mostly one-way traffic on a morning game that had no great meaning.  Both teams played hard, Chico was clearly the better on the day.   Two great moments, neither resulting in a score:

 

1)  Chico stand-off drops back for a drop goal.  Which would be the first I’ve given this season.  Pass is right there, which he promptly spoons forward.  I pause for a moment, just to see if he’ll kick it anyway.  He splits the uprights.  Excellent kick!  Scrum white.

2)  UNR hooker gets the ball 15m out, and grubbers a kick through the defense.  He’s got the pace to beat the Chico back line, but he’s overweighted his kick, and it goes just over the dead ball line.  Would have been spectacular.  As it is, Chico restarts quickly, we all hare down the far end, where UNR works it all the way back into Chico’s half, and knocks on.  A UNR prop says “wish the backs would stop kicking it!”.  Hooker smiles…

 

 

Date: 04/10/2016

UC Davis 40 – Sacramento St 29

Referee: Taueva, Favor

 

Very good game over all.  Sac State mange to have the first score of the game. UC Davis respond back with good ball handling and mange to give their team a score too. Couple non sense here and there but nothing major except UC Davis # 16 Cole Collins [hope I spell his name correct] starts bad mouth to the ref toward the last 15 minutes of the second half. So I warned him. Less then 5minutes later, I penalized him, joining the ruck from outside position and gain possession of the ball which will give Sac state a slow down toward the goal line. Cole first reaction is to swear to the ref without any respect. This behavior is not allow in the game of rugby. I red card him with confidence is the right decision.  Like I say, the game was a awesome rugby time to watch and it’s was a joy for me to ref. Manuia

 

 

 

This Week’s Photo

UCSB and Chico legend John Fox (R) with Pelicus Pedem Referre (L).    Apologies for the picture quality as the photographer was obviously nervous at being in the presence of two such legends.

Fox Man

Hail, Pelicus!

For the Senate

Pelicus Pedem Referre