Category Archives: News

The Champion Is Back

HAIL PELICUS!

 

The Champion Is Back

 

Last year, in my inaugural season as editor of the Hail Pelicus, I offered up many viewpoints and observations, peppered with jokes and psudo-classical references.   Based on the response, one of the most evocative pieces I wrote was after the Cal – St Mary’s game that was handily won by the Gaels, a result that surprised many but not all, especially those who have been paying close attention to collegiate rugby in the USA.   I dubbed it the Most Significant Game Of The Year and went on to make my arguments, even going so far as to suggest that I may have understated it. (You can find the whole article at http://pelicanrefs.com/news/page/4/ should you wish to refresh your memory.)   Cal has been the dominant force in US collegiate rugby for decades and have often taken on and beaten the top club teams as well, staking their claim to being the top rugby program in the country period, yet this time Cal was the underdog at home – a clause that is rarely typed when dealing with American colleges.

 

I was fortunate enough to be assigned to AR the match and for the first time I was able to directly witness this rivalry.   In college in the early 90s I played against Cal in the old Pacific Coast playoffs and lost, but we weren’t blown out. This, however, is a whole different animal.   Since then Cal has taken to heart the philosophy of High Performance training and has made a habit of beating teams by upwards of 80 points, often over 100.   When I was in college I also played against St Mary’s in a preseason friendly, and in fact we won. This also is a whole different animal, as since then the program has improved to the point where they are now staring down Cal as equals, and often, betters.   The quality of the rugby and the enthusiasm of the crowd, combined with the Pac 12 Network televising the game live, is what we all dreamed of back in the day and I feel privileged to have witnessed it first hand.   Say what you like about Cal, and many people do, but they know how to put on a show and manage a production. It is the most professionally run venue I have ever been a part of at any level, and St Mary’s stepped up and matched Cal on the field, a most worthy opponent.

 

(As an aside, after reaching the pinnacle of Traditional American Success and being on TV, my mother was less than impressed: “You didn’t appear on the TV too much, did you?   The center ref was on all the time.”   Thanks, mom.)

 

Last year I wrote,

 

Cal built their legacy with years of tradition, university and alumni support, excellent coaching and a steady stream of dedicated players who bought into the program. They will not go away and I fully expect them to be better next year than they are this year.

 

St Mary’s have built their team with years of tradition, university and alumni support, excellent coaching and a steady stream of dedicated players who bought into the program. They will not go away and I fully expect them to be better next year than they are this year.

 

This is gonna be fun.

 

I feel I nailed that one.

 

 

Who Has It Better Than Us?

 

This weekend not only saw a top 4 collegiate rugby match in Cal v St Mary’s, but an international select touring side taking on your best young ruggers.   From the website of the English Lambs, “Founded in 2006, The Lambs exists to create openings for boys to showcase their rugby skills at a representative level … The Independent Schools RFC was set up to promote traditional rugby values and a ‘Corinthian’ spirit as our style: this is to play unreserved ‘heads up’ running rugby in a fast and expansive style…”

 

Not many other Local Unions get that in a year. It is rather commonplace here in Pelicanland.   Make no mistake, though, because we know what we have here and are very appreciative of it.

 

 

The #1 Destination for Visiting Referees

 

Report via Kevin “Some Call Me Barry” Donnelly

Visiting referee from Virginia Rugby Referee Society: Patrick Benner from Richmond, Virgina.

Hosted by Kevin Donnelly and Bruce Bernstein.

(See Patrick’s report in the game reports section)

Friday 27 March.  Many thanks goes to Bruce “Dude” Bernstein for meeting Patrick at the airport at Friday noon and entertaining him until early evening, including a personal guided bicycle tour of the Golden Gate Bridge and surrounds.

 

Patrick, being on Eastern Time, was exhausted by 10pm and retired.

 

Saturday 28 March.  We made our way from Palo Alto to Napa on Saturday morning for the scheduled Men’s D3 festival, stopping along the way for a suitable pre-game brunch.  Patrick willingly ran touch for other games during the midday and early afternoon prior to his scheduled match at 4pm.  His game between Aptos and Marin was a one-sided affair (Marin 71 – Aptos 0) but the rugby was fully contested and Patrick showed good judgement and pace to manage a run-away game of that type.   An official evaluation was tendered by Lee Johnson (many thanks to Lee). It is notable that as a referee with about 18-months experience, Patrick showed maturity and resolve by promptly ejecting a verbally confrontational coach from the enclosure within the first five minutes of the game!

The outdoor festivities that followed the day of rugby were enjoyed by all, Patrick was awarded a festival t-shirt and bottle of Napa wine (what else would you give an exchange ref?).  We ended the day later with fine dining in downtown San Francisco.

 

Sunday 29 March.  As an additional aspect to the exchange weekend, we lined-up Patrick for an AR role in the team-of-four that officiated the youth international touring-side match at SFGG between the England U-19 Lambs and the NorCal U-19 Select Side.  With all the trappings of an official international rugby event, a pre-game team speech by the NorCal captain that included something about throwing tea into a harbor, beautiful weather, Pete Smith in the center, and a hard fought game; it was certainly an experience for all involved.  To boot (excuse the pun) NorCal come away on-top by surprising the English lads with ferocious tackling and a physicality in the loose play that they clearly did not expect. The Lambs players and staff were gracious in the post-game ceremonies and many new friendships made.  A good day for US rugby, NorCal rugby, and the Pelican Society for providing such a unique opportunity for an exchange referee.

We finished off the evening having Patrick out to dinner in the coastal town of Pacifica to enjoy a West Coast sunset before putting him on his 11pm red-eye flight back east.

Patrick was a credit to himself and the Virginia Society, and he was a superb guest for the entire weekend.

Thanks again to the hosting coordinators – Bjorn Stumer and others.

 

EDITOR’S NOTE: From being copied on the email exchanges it looks like Kevin has a new BFF.   Exchanges change lives!

 

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 Bill Shakespeare of Stratford-upon-Avon, UK, who asks:

 

“What’s in a name? That which we call a rose by any other name would smell as sweet. So learned man and womenfolk would, were they not Evaluators call’d, retain that dear perfection which they owe?
Without that title. Performance Reviewer, doff thy name, and for that name which is no part of thee.”

 

Oh no, Mr Bill, you are spot on there.   This is an issue that has plagued us here at the editorial staff of Hail Pelicus as well – we are just coming to terms with Assistant Referee and Touch Judge.   With nomenclature changing all the time it is sometimes difficult to know what the currently accepted titles are for the people who are watching and (officially) judging a referee’s performance.   Is it Evaluator?   Performance Reviewer? Sometimes a Referee Coach?   In order to come up with a standard we here at HP have decided that for the next several weeks we will make up some titles and throw them out there to see what the public thinks.   There were several matches watched this week so see if you can spot the new titles and let us know here at hailpelicus@pelicanrefs.com which ones you think are the best.   Results will be tallied and published at the end of the year.

 

Keep sending in your questions to us here at hailpelicus@pelicanrefs.com!

 

The Once And Future Pelican

 

Pelican Tom Zanarini has moved to the east coast but old habits die hard – he is still sending in reports to Hail Pelicus. Now that is a well trained bird – look for his contributions in the game reports section.   Even better, he has written us a letter:

 

Dear NCRRS members,

My relocation to New England can now be considered complete after I have been activated by the New England RRS.  I understand from reading Hail, Pelicus! that there seems to be a difference in the weather from Northern California to Rhode Island.  You didn’t also get 65 inches of snow this winter?   Hmm. Interesting.  Please accept my match report so as to enlighten the left coast on the trials and tribulations of New England rugby in the springtime.

 

April Society Meeting

 

This month’s meeting will be held April 15th 7:00 PM @ the SFGG Clubhouse on Treasure Island.   For our meeting we will be discussing:

  • Signalling (Bruce Ricard)
  • Injury, Concussion, & Ref Responsibilities (John Pohlman)

 

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.

 

 

On To The Game Reports!

 

Date: 03/28/2015

California 27 – St. Mary’s College 20

Referee: MacDonald, Neil

AR: Hinkin, James

AR: Hendrickson, Rob

#4: Carter, Bruce

#5: DeCausemaker, Ron

Detached Bystander: Wood, Our Scott

 

A capacity crowd, glorious sunshine, TV cameras, and all the hoopla that comes with this most intense local rivalry awaited us at Witter Field. Festooned with antennas and microphones, I was joined by James and Rob for the anthem, then once the PAC-12 Network commentary team had completed their pre-match commentary, we got the signal to kick off.

 

The physicality and pace of the match was everything you’d expect from two gifted teams fighting for bragging rights. St Mary’s drew first blood in the 8th minute, banging over a penalty after Cal took a scrum down. With St Mary’s lineout misfiring, Cal had a surfeit of possession, and tied the game up after St Mary’s infringed at a breakdown in their own 22. Ten minutes in, 3-3 score line.   Cal had a number of attacks thwarted by St Mary’s vigorous and scrappy defense, or squandered as the ball was lost, before Cal’s scrum half Bosco darted in on the right corner after a series of phases in St Mary’s 22, with 26 minutes played. The conversion drifted wide, and Cal led 8-3.

 

St Mary’s riposte included an incisive sequence of runs linked by offloads driving deep into Cal territory, only for the final pop pass to go straight into Cal hands, and the opportunity was snuffed out. Only for a moment. Fielding a ball deep, St Mary’s lethal fullback and captain Cooper Maloney accelerated through a gap between two defenders, broke a tackle, somehow kept his feet under him when he looked certain to fall, and scored to tie it up at 8-8 with eight minutes remaining in the half. The conversion sailed over and took St Mary’s to an 8-10 lead.   The ensuing restart kick was spilled by St Mary’s but they recovered to push downfield and a Cal infringement at the breakdown gave St Mary’s the chance to stretch their lead to five points, with a handful of minutes left before the break. Cal pummeled the St Mary’s defense but the pressure came to naught when St Mary’s held on. Right at the end of the half, St Mary’s infringed deep inside their 22, but Cal’s kick missed right, and St Mary’s carried their 8-13 lead into the break.

 

Cal closed to within two points with a penalty kick early in the second half as St Mary’s had hands in a ruck, but St Mary’s struck a hammer blow a few minutes later. St Mary’s #8 picked up from a scrum just outside Cal’s 22, #9 Holden Yungert whipped a short crash ball pass right from the following ruck, whipped another left from the next one, and when the ball carrier was hauled down on the Cal 5m line, Yungert saw a gap as Cal drifted to cover the narrow side, and darted for line, somehow grounding the ball despite the two Cal defenders hanging on to him as he crossed the line. A successful conversion, and St Mary’s had their largest lead of the game at 11-20, with 7 minutes of the second half gone.

 

For the next ten minutes, Cal hammered at the door. Salaber had a strong run only to be hauled down in the St Mary’s 22. The ball was spun wide to the right, and after a phase or two held up short of the line. Back for a penalty for a high tackle close to the St Mary’s 5m line. The ball is sent left, only for the last Cal pass to go astray as the try line beckoned. Cal kept knocking at the door. Finally, from a line out on the St Mary’s 10m line, Cal went left, recycled and went right, with Jake Anderson putting lock Kondrat into space between two St Mary’s defenders for the score wide on the right. 16-20, with the conversion going wide. 4 point game with 20 minutes left.

 

Cal closed it to 19-20 in the 65th minute, after Yungert was offside at a scrum. Moments later, St Mary’s lost the ball in contact when an offload a fraction of a second earlier could have put Maloney through again. Cal’s Adolphus chipped into space, regathered his kick, straightened his line to stand up the defense, and slipped a pass to Battaglia on the wing, who beat a tackle, fended the next defender and…. James “I don’t need ‘go faster’ stripes on my shorts” Hinkin lent credibility to his many prior tales of winning matches in his playing days by dint of his lightning acceleration as he shot down the touchline to be well positioned as Cal winger Battaglia touched down  With James’ confirmations, the try was awarded and Cal was back in front 24-20 with 13 minutes to play.

 

Cal pulled ahead to 27-20 with 6 minutes remaining after a successful penalty kick. St Mary’s drove close to the Cal line and came within a few meters, but Cal held on for the win.

 

Thanks to both teams for an exciting match which thrilled the capacity crowd and kept the drama going to the very end. Thanks to James and Rob for their help on the touchline, to Bruce and Ron for their service as #4s, to Scott for his insightful observations following the match, and to NCRRS for the wonderful opportunity to referee these two great teams at such a storied venue.

 

Date: 03/28/2015

California B 83 – St. Mary’s College B 7

Referee: Hinkin, James

AR: MacDonald, Neil

Overly Critical Fanboy: Wood, Our Scott

 

After the thrilling match between the A sides this was a bit of a let down. Cal showed why it has remained a power for so many years and that is their depth.   There are teams that can suffer a few key injuries and it will devastate their season but Cal has the horses to step into any gap.   A dominant Cal scrum set a platform for attack that came in waves.   St Mary’s has some very good talent that could easily slide up to the A team, but not across the board.   They made some great plays and key breaks, but were only able to cross the line late for a consolation try. The key difference was the support level enjoyed by the Cal runners was not available to the St Mary’s ruggers.

 

Great thanks must go to Neil “I Love My Go-Faster Shorts” MacDonald for manning up (or is that Scotting up?) and ARing for this match after refereeing a tense A side match.   Many would have taken their well earned rest but Neil was Jocko-on-the-spot and was of great help, especially on a footrace to the try zone near his touchline when we had, nearly word for word, the exact same conversation as occurred 45 minutes prior, only with the roles reversed.

 

“Did the player stay in field?”

“Yes”

“Are you happy with the grounding?”

“Yes”

TWEEEEEET!   “Try awarded.”

 

 

Date: 03/28/2015

Newport 20 – Old Gold 0

Referee: Zanarini, Tom

Location: Fort Adams State Park, Newport RI

A great day for rugby, if you were not in attendance.  In hindsight it may have been better to postpone this friendly match.  The cold, damp wind howled off the bay to add even more chill to the near completely saturated field.  Maybe it’s the seven years in Northern California that has tempered my tolerance for such conditions?  Either way, both teams seemed eager to get started, until we got started.  The shallow pool otherwise known as a rugby pitch soon turned into a mud pit suitable for an organic pig farm.  I say organic due to the copious amounts of goose droppings that may soon add infection to the open flesh wounds awarded during play.  Somehow, someway, there were ample ball handling skills, rucks, mauls and other rugby like encounters occurring between scrummages and lineouts.  Kicks headed for touch were blown back in.  Kicks headed for posts were blown back out.  Drop kicks for restarts rarely found the 10m line since no ball can drop and bounce out of 6 inches of mud.  The players eventually gathered their senses at around the 60 minute mark and asked for only 5 minutes more of suffering.  Newport scored a try within 90 seconds of that request, which then ended the match, no conversion attempted.

 

Date: 03/28/2015

Marin 71 – Aptos 0

Referee: Benner, Patrick (Richmond, Virginia)

Location: Fort Adams State Park, Newport RI
(Halftime: 33-0)
Marin: 11 trys, 8 conversions, 0 PKs, 0 DGs
Aptos: 0 trys, 0 conversions, 0 PKs, 0 DGs

The match was pushed back 15 minutes for start at the request of Aptos due to player shortages and concern that they might not arrive by the set kick-off time of 4pm.  Aptos also requested open/rolling subs, which was agreed to by the Marin captain and Coach.

The pace of this match was quickly set by Marin.  As they were a much more prepared and established side they set their platform early and struck at each opportunity given.  Their strength in the pack was also very evident resulting in much stolen ball and the ability to utilize their loose forwards to advance play at the perimeter of each scrum, particularly the 8-man.

While the players of Aptos never gave up and never conceded a tackle or try, they were overpowered and outmatched in this affair.  I applaud the Aptos players for their fortitude and the competition the continued to display at each tackle zone and set piece.  However, the platform and game plan that Marin had established early on served them well as they continued to strike in close to collapse the defensive line of Aptos only to result in the ball being spun out to the backs for breakaway scores that always had the needed support.

Despite the score, this was a contested match that drew a lot of attention at the end of the tournament.  Well played by both teams and well fared by both captains.

 

Date: 03/29/2015

Northern California Pelicans U18 23 – England Lambs 10

Referee: Smith, Pete

AR: Benner, Patrick (Richmond, Virginia)

AR: Donnelly, Kevin

#4: Rauscher, Eric

 

The English side was large and imposing. Based on a conversation I had with Nigel Melville about them earlier in the week, I expected them to pick the NorCal Pelicans apart. NorCal was able to match their size up front, but was much smaller throughout the backs especially compared to the huge right wing the lambs had on their side (the player is a certain England National team player).   The game was close throughout played between the 22’s.  NorCal had 2 penalty kicks to England’s try 6-5, England scored again to make it 10-6 and NorCal scored a try just as the half was ending to go up at the break 11-10. NorCal scored another well earned try to go up 16-10 for most of the second half and their relentless defense kept the Lambs off the board for the second half. England had their chances, but untimely mistakes and cynical penalties were their undoing. NorCal added another try with 3 minutes left in the game to push the score up to a more flattering 23-10 and walked off the field with a well earned victory. From a referee perspective, the first half was smooth sailing with virtually no issues. For some reason in the second half, the English team went to a tactic at the tackle that I am still shaking my head over. They would arrive at the tackle/or the tackler would quickly get to their feet and place their hands on the ground past the ball and ball carrier making no attempt to play the ball (in my mind this is sealing and/or going off your feet), then they would wait for contact (ruck) and then they would make an attempt to play the ball (hands in the ruck). When I talked to their captain and tried to clarify what I was seeing and subsequently calling, their captain told me that putting their hands on the ground past the ball was the same thing as playing it and that I needed to penalize the ball carrier for not releasing. That was a first for me. I told him what my standard was and consistently applied it. As much as we can agree to disagree, I was the one with the whistle and wasn’t about to change my standards 60 minutes into a match based on what I can only guess is a local variation or assumption that other refs don’t differentiate between hands on the ground and actually making a play on the ball.

 

 

Date: 03/28/2015

Berkeley 17 – Diablo 19

Referee: Richmond, Jeff

 

A close match for a change. Berkeley led until the final minutes on the fast pitch at Cal Maritime. Both teams were solid with marking the opposing backlines and sure tackling. No long, breakaway tries. Forwards kept possession going through multiple phases, though often giving up the ball through a knock-on.

 

 

Date: 03/28/2015

Berkeley All Blues 2 82 – Sacramento Amazons 0

Referee: Ricard, Bruce

 

No report received

 

 

Date: 03/28/2015

Berkeley B 47 – Diablo B 6

Referee: Hammack, Robert

 

Spirited game that saw Berkeley claim a large win after a narrow defeat by the A side.

 

 

Date: 03/28/2015

EPA Bulldogs 52 – SFGG 23

Referee: Lane, John

 

After a brief mis-direction on the home field and the grateful assistance of Pete Smith I arrived at Maypark in Palo Alto in plenty of time to start the game at 13:00. Another warm day in March!

 

Two very committed teams started the game well combining some direct close in ball carriers with wide moves to set the tone for the day. Both sides were guilty of going off their feet and also hands in ruck and early penalties were awarded. The sides quickly adjusted with some inputs from the coaches and the breakdown throughout the rest of the half was generally clean but well contested.

 

Bulldogs physical strength was evident early on and throughout the game in general. Carries through the center of the breakdown areas delivered good ground and quick ball to hard running centers led to an early 12-0 lead.

SFGG then had some territory but did not score and Bulldogs broke out for a converted try to lead 19-0. 25 mins played.

SFGG got on the scoreboard with a penalty shortly after and on 35 mins scored another to trail 19-6. Having now got into the game the restart was not claimed with a few players looking at each other. This allowed Bulldogs to gather the bouncing ball and crash through for a converted try. 26-6 at halftime.

 

The second half started with Bulldogs mounting the pressure and again their physical power lead to another try this time unconverted. 31-6. SFGG efforts then lead to their first try with some strong carries and offloads getting them past the strong Bulldogs defense. 31-11.

Bulldogs reacted strongly and with some strong midfield running broke tackles for another converted try. 38-11 with 20 mins left.

Bulldogs started to use their bench and SFGG picked up the pace chasing the game. The player change led to an increase in the Bulldogs breakdown infringements and after a team warning a yellow card was issued to the Bulldogs No 8 for repeat team infringements on 26 minutes.

SFGG took advantage by kicking the penalty to the corner and with the man advantage drove the line out maul over for an unconverted try. 38-16.

With the man advantage SFGG started to move the ball wide every time but a misjudged pass with an overlap in place was intercepted for a Bulldogs score. 45-16.

SFGG got another score shortly after Bulldogs were back to 15 and Bulldogs closed out the match with a final try. Both were converted to leave the final score at 52-23.

 

 

Date: 03/28/2015

EPA Razorbacks 100 – San Jose 12

Referee: Ranaweera, Aruna

 

Both team played with structure, but San Jose could not match EPA’s athleticism and physicality. EPA lead 54-0 at half, and dominated the scoreboard, 16 tries to 2.

 

 

Date: 03/28/2015

Fresno 12 – Santa Rosa 55

Referee: Wilson, Dan

AR: Jury, Jeff

AR: Jury, Zane

Closely Supervised By: Williamson, David

 

Santa Rosa started off the scoring in the 11th minute with a converted try and Fresno answered in the 14th minute. Within the first 20 minutes, Fresno was two men down due to a serious lapse of judgement. Santa Rosa was able to take advantage of Fresno’s yellow cards as well as undisciplined defense by scoring four more converted touch downs. Halftime score: Fresno 7 – Santa Rosa 35

 

Second half was all Santa Rosa starting off with a converted try in the 42nd minute. Fresno was able to score a converted try on last movement with a man down. Final score: Fresno 12 – Santa Rosa 55

 

Thanks to Jeff and Zane Jury for running AR and to Dave Williamson for giving some good pointers and advice.

 

 

Date: 03/28/2015

Google 15 – Colusa 60

Referee: Franzoia, Tom

Keen Observer Of The Niceties Of The Match: Byrnes, Bryant

 

Love the enthusiasm the Highway men show with their version of the “Haka”, so did the whole City of Napa, very colorful gentlemen!!! Colusa struck first with quickness and strength as Google couldn’t get into a rhythm in the first half. The second half had Google in the try zone first and half as often as Colusa. A beautiful drop kick gave Google hope but the pesky Highway men would not give in. Thanks Bryant for the coaching!

 

 

Date: 03/28/2015

Mendocino 22 – Reno 91

Referee: Bertolone, Cary

 

Eighty degrees in Napa where 14 Div 3 rugby clubs congregated for 7 league games and Napa hosting with Lagunitas IPA and BBQ by Up and Under. Our game kicked off at 3:00 and Reno quickly scored for a 7-0 lead. I think it surprised everyone when Mendo came back and scored three minutes later. At the 11 minute mark, it was 14-12, Reno. Heat had an effect and Reno took over. They proceeded to score 7 converted tries for a 49-12 halftime lead. You would think they must of all been center tries for their kicker, Greg, to be 7 for 7 on conversions; not the case. More of the same in the second half with Reno scoring 7 tries to Mendo’s two more. Good, clean game with everyone displaying great attitudes and playing hard rugby. And finally, at 5:00 iish, the beer and BBQ, in that order. Fun seeing all of the different refs and players. Good job Pete Smith and Napa RFC.

 

 

Date: 03/28/2015

Olympic Club PRP 29 – OMBAC PRP 50

Referee: O’Neil, George

 

No report received

 

 

Date: 03/28/2015

Stanford Women 87 – University of California at Santa Barbara Women 0

Referee: Lew, Tim

 

Stanford v UCSB- On a sunny and clear day at Stueber Statium at the Stanford camps, the Cardinal dominated this game controlling every aspect of the game. They had some great kicks to pressure UCSB. UCSB didn’t have enough continuous play to reach the try zone.

 

 

Date: 03/28/2015

Washington State University Women 37 – University of California at Berkeley Women 20

Referee: Pescetti, David

 

This opening round match-up between WSU and Cal under the hot Palo Alto sun. WSU donned their crimson red while Cal clad in classic colored hoops. The match began with plenty of jitters and subsequently many mishandling errors and scrums. After the first 15 minutes of the match, nerves calmed and smoother play was had. A blitz of scoring by both teams finished off the end of the first half, with WSU forcing their way in front. WSU 27 – Cal 10.

 

The second half was even. Both teams only able to score two tries a piece. But the momentum had significantly swung in the favor of Cal. However time ran out for their comeback.

 

 

Date: 03/28/2015

University of California at Davis Women 45 – University of California at San Diego Women 15

Referee: Hettermann, Matt

AR: Bretz, Paul

AR: Simko, Paul

 

Women’s Collegiate D1 Pacific Mountain playoffs at Stanford – this match UC Davis beat UC San Diego. Despite some early confusion regarding side entry laws, UC Davis was the more clinical side. Thanks to Paul Bretz and Paul Simko for assistance on the lines, and Paul Bretz for some good pointers and feedback.

 

EDITOR’S NOTE:   Gotta love an All-Paul support system.

 

 

Date: 03/28/2015

Humboldt 38 – Modesto 68

Referee: Byrnes, Bryant

 

Napa Valley D3 Super Site. Super sites are a new idea this year (I think)-and an idea whose time has come. It has most of the advantages of your grandfather’s antediluvian tournament-food, drink, tees, lots of rugby to watch. It plays well to the sociability of rugby.

 

D3? Most of it was pretty good. It is an opportunity for these hard working journeymen, these rugger lumpen proletarians, to strut, to show their stuff. And this all applies to refs also. One gets to see our peers in action, get feedback, catch up. A day with Dude? Priceless.

 

EDITOR’S NOTE:   Bryant Byrnes received a thesaurus for his birthday this year.

 

Redwood flaked at the very last moment, so Humboldt stepped up on this sunny warm day. A good game-no wine and cheese at half for these guys. Each team had excellent scrum halves who played their own game within a game. Humboldt had a bigger, more physical pack; Modesto had two smallish outside backs who were faster than blazes.

 

Fifteen minutes into the second half it was Modesto up 35 to 26. But then the two Modesto whippets went to work and scored four 60 meter plus tries under the posts. Few penalties, no cards; good sportsmanship, great fun.

 

 

Date: 03/28/2015

Life West 64 – Baracus 12

Referee: Smith, Pete

 

Life West started off hot and got hotter as the day went on. They were applying constant pressure until the Baracus team forced a turnover and raced the length of the field for a would be try, but with the try line 10M ahead the goal post the player touched the ball down behind the dead ball line. The line works both ways. Life West scored a try and at subsequent conversion I allowed the defending team to either stand on the try line and not advance or on the dead ball line where the goal posts are and charge. A Baracus player jumped straight up from the goal line (not advancing or breaking the plane of the goal line) and caught the conversion. the Life West kicker wasn’t happy, but I pointed out it was his field and it cost the other team 7 points on a centered try that ran out the back of the try zone 5 minutes prior. It was a more competitive game than the score would indicate. Life West has a strong team in general, but also some standout players that really put then over the top. Hats off to Baracus for playing hard for all 80 minutes and showing the true rugby spirit.

 

Date: 03/28/2015

Sacramento Capitals 94 – Chico 27

Referee: Tucker, Chris

 

It’s too darn hot for rugby. It feels like we should be playing 7s. Some would say that is a default state of being, but I still have a fondness for the traditional format of the game. Call me old-fashioned, and surely as I descend through my 40s that will inevitably become true. But there is still room for games like Saturday’s, between the upward-swinging Capitals, and the [precisely] 15 visitors from Chico, who were short-handed enough to require both their coach to play, and for the Caps to provide both TJs.

 

Suffice it to say that from the off, Sacramento looked the better team. But that didn’t stop Chico from playing hard, even as their lineup grew progressively gimpier. In fact they managed to put across their 4th try mid-way through the second half to earn themselves a bonus point — just because you’re short-handed doesn’t mean you suddenly forgot how to play.

 

Given the difference in score, I think the most notable moment came in the second half. It was the first time I’ve ever seen a direct-to-touch restart accepted. Lineout. Chico’s scrum was crumbling, so they took the best option. Still waiting for someone to take the re-kick — suspect that may be a while.

 

At the end, Sacramento just fell short of the ton, and Chico hobbled off the field to find a beer. A B-side game was played where the Caps beat the Caps, refereed by a fellow funny-talker. Since there was no cheating of any kind, he was able to do this from the centre spot. Another rugby day in the books, and smiles all round as a result.

 

 

Date: 03/28/2015

San Jose Seahawks Women 26 – Life West Women 31

Referee: Wilson, Giles

 

An early game in San Jose at what used to be Blackford HS and a regular rugby location; the early start had the visitors straggling in with all their players only arriving about 30 minutes before the 9.15am kick off.

 

The hosts got off to a good start with two tries before the visitors woke up. As the visitors woke up, their size and physicality started to bear down on the more experienced Seahawks who gave up a pair of tries. Half time saw a score of 14-12, with the difference being a single conversion.

 

The second half was similar, with the more physical Life Women bashing through and the Seahawks responding with their experience. The Seahawks managed two more tries in response to Life’s three and a final score of 31 – 26 for the visiting Life West team.

 

 

Date: 03/28/2015

SF Fog 27 – South Valley 53

Referee: Donnelly, Kevin

Sharp Eyed Observer:   Johnson, Lee

 

One of the mid afternoon matches at Napa set South Valley against San Francisco Fog. The score line does not indicate the fact that the match was close and well-contested from start to finish. South Valley led at half 38 – 7 but were outscored 20 – 15 in the second half, a testament to SF Fog determination. The game was a credit to both teams. Thank you to Lee Johnson for providing a helpful referee evaluation.

 

 

Date: 03/28/2015

Shasta 68 – Sierra Foothills 34

Referee: Bernstein, Bruce

 

This was the 11 AM match at Napa’s Kennedy Park between 2 teams both hurting for numbers as the season wears on. It gave me the opportunity to spend time checking out the all of the other matches & make 2 trips to the “party location” served by Napa’s airport shuttle bus. The Up & Under was there with its BBQ food (real good pulled pork sandwiches) all hosted by the Napa team (The Wine Thieves) who were great hosts throughout the day with not only 2 beautiful full grass fields but adding touch judges, players when necessary & great free beer for us refs. Pretty sure all 14 teams enjoyed themselves as well as the 7-8 refs & ref coaches in attendance. I would highly recommend this assignment next year.

 

 

Date: 03/28/2015

Vacaville 33 – Sacramento Blackhawks 33

Referee: Sandhill, Peter

Wandering Sage With Spare Time: Malone, Michael

 

EDITOR’S NOTE:   It is good to see a new report from our resident Aussie but there have been some complaints in the past that people couldn’t understand his accent, so I ran the report through a translator (Oz -> Murrican). I hope this helps – the translation is below the original report.   Keep that billy boiling, Peter!

 

?????? pu? ?no ??o? o? ???? pu? s???no?? ???s s?? ?o? ?uol?W ???W o? s?u??? ????p ? ?u??q ?? ?o? su???l?? ?? s?oq ??? o? s???q ??? ? ??o p,I ???? ?no ?u?od p?p ???o? ?uO ?no? ?u???ld?o? s????o? ??oq u??? ll?? p?p no? ?ou? no? ‘??? ? s? ???? o? ??ns??ld ? ?p????sqo I ????ds od??? dn u??l? ??? p?????? ????? ??ld lno? ?o? u???? ??l?u?d ?uo ?oN ??ooq o? ?u?lpu?? poo? ???? s???q ??? u? p??ds ??os pu? ???? ???od p????o? ? ?o uo???u?q?o? ? p?? ??oq pu? p?los ???? sll??s ??s?q ll? ????? ll? ?o? o? ?o? ?u?? o?? ‘??p ??? uo s???? p?????? ?lu??? ???? o?? ???p ?l??ol ? pu? ‘u???un ?l???l ? ???ql? ‘????d ss??? ? ?sno??ol? s?? ?ln?? ?? pu? ,,??p l?? ?oN sno??ol? ????ou? uO,, ‘?u???s ?o p???? ?u????? ?ou ?? I ‘s??????? ?u?? ???? s?

 

TRANSLATION:

 

As with many referees, I am not getting tired of saying, “On another glorious Nor Cal day” and it truly was glorious. A grass pitch, albeit a little uneven, and a lovely day. Two very evenly matched teams on the day, who went toe to toe all game. All basic skills were solid and both had a combination of a forward power game and some speed in the backs with good handling to boot. Not one penalty given for foul play which matched the clean up tempo spirit I observed. A pleasure to ref. As a ref, you know you did well when both coaches compliment you. One coach did point out that I’d owe a few beers to the boys at Pelicans for it being a draw. Thanks to Mike Malone for his sage thoughts and time to come out and watch.

 

EDITOR’S NOTE:   Looking forward to some VB stubbies at the next meeting.

 

FINAL EDITOR’S NOTE:   This single report has set a Hail Pelicus record for most editorial intrusions with 4, including this one.

 

Date: 03/28/2015

Vacaville B 55 – Sacramento Blackhawks B 10

Referee: Devlin, Joe

 

10 a side. Shortened halves at teams request. No misconduct

 

 

Date: 03/28/2015

University of California at Santa Cruz Women 0 – University of Nevada-Reno Women 59

Referee: Freitas, Larry

 

Another beautiful beach day in Santa Cruz, which means about 10 degrees too warm for a rugby match, in my opinion. University of Nevada-Reno scored first on an intercepted pass as UCSC attempted to run from their quarter. So it was 7-0 Wolfpack as the try was converted, and there would be many more to come in that first half, leading to a 38-0 lead by its end. The Banana Slugs were missing three players, two who had recent kitchen accidents involving knives at home while on spring break; one player cutting her thumb, the other dropping a knife on her foot (reminding me of Matt Cain’s and Jeremy Affeldt’s non-baseball injuries), and so they weren’t playing at full strength, especially at the inside center position. Nevada’s forwards beat UCSC’s to tackles and more often than not pirated balls from the home side’s ball carriers when they went to ground. UCSC did manage to counter ruck several times, but those moments of fighting for possession didn’t lead to much of a threat. Nevada played a complete game: running, kicking into space when that space was left unattended, and passing the ball about in movements that led to some well-deserved tries; and they tackled and wouldn’t let UCSC’s backs or forwards penetrate much into their own half, keeping up the pressure constantly. It might have made a difference if those three UCSC missing players were on the pitch, as they did score over 20 points in Reno earlier in the season, but they did give up a similar amount of points as well in that match then.

The second half proved to be a tighter game. UCSC is a good team, and they weren’t going to stop fighting, so Nevada scored three converted tries that were spaced out amongst the 40 minutes. The visitors also subbed in a few players, anticipating another match against Humboldt State Sunday morning, and therefore giving some rest to those replaced. I was very impressed by Nevada’s outside center. She is a power to be reckoned with when she has the ball in space. And that brings me to my final comment: it was great to see a game played in somewhat of the older fashion of forwards from both sides committing to rucks and mauls and not playing this game based on rugby league of committing as few forwards as possible to the tackle situation that has come into fashion the last decade or so. It created space for the backs, as there weren’t so many forwards cluttering up the mid-field!

When I left the parking lot my car’s thermometer was registering at 79F. I got home to Aptos where it was a cooler 72F. I was nostalgic about late March Saturdays of the past when it could have been raining or threatening rain, and it would have been chillier and windier up on the hill where that beautiful pitch is located. Oddly enough during this warmer than normal winter, the UCSC men’s team, exactly a month ago, played in the snow against Nevada Reno in Reno.

 

 

Date: 03/29/2015

Stanford Women 41 – Washington State University Women 22

Referee: Pescetti, David

 

On Sunday it felt like déjà vu. The colored overcome remained but the teams were reversed. Stanford was able to wear their home roaring red and WSU had to settle with grey, or was it gray? As the day before dictated a slow beginning, the next day could do nothing but continue. After both teams settled, scoring was afoot. Stanford lead at half 22 – 7 over WSU.

 

As I would not fade and would not go down without a fight. In the second half the teams went try for try matching each other. Slugging out the physical second half against one another. When the final whistle blew on the weekend the score ended with Stanford 41 – WSU 22.

 

The real take away is wear red in the playoffs.

 

 

Date: 03/29/2015

Central Washington University 54 – University of California at Davis 10

Referee: Lew, Tim

 

Central Washington v UC Davis. The game started close with Davis scoring the first try. Lots of offsides and ruck penalties but midway through the 1st half the game settled down. CWU had strong dynamic runners that could offload and make line breaks. UC Davis could not finish while CWU was able to finish their scoring opportunities better.

 

 

Date: 03/29/2015

Pacific Mountain Playoff’s 62 – TBD 3

University of California at Berkeley Women 62 – University of California at Santa Barbara Women 3

Referee: Hettermann, Matt

Authoritarian Curmudgeon: Bretz, Paul

 

Women’s Collegiate D1 Pacific Mountain playoffs at Stanford – this match Cal beat UC Santa Barbara. Mostly one-way traffic. Thanks to Paul Bretz for the coaching report and my first time using the SoloShot.

 

 

Date: 03/29/2015

Humboldt State University Women 18 – University of Nevada Reno Women 7

Referee: MacDonald, Neil

 

Santa Cruz is an unlikely location for two teams from Reno and Humboldt to play, and less convenient for either team than it is for me to referee, but we were lucky to have these two strong teams here on the central coast for the West Coast Conference D2 women’s rugby playoffs. The pitch at UCSC was, as ever, in great shape and well prepared. Far below, the Monterey Bay lay shrouded in mist and haze despite the sunshine on the pitch.

 

Humboldt opened the scoring ten minutes into this physical match, but were unable to extend their lead in the face of robust defense from Reno, so 5-0 it was at half time.   Humboldt finally got their second try in the 63rd minute, after an earlier penalty kick, but Reno were not going to roll over in the face of a 13 point deficit with 17 minutes to play, and scored from a very well worked move sparked by their feisty scrum half. The successful conversion pulled Humboldt back to just 6 points lead with 10 minutes to play. Reno launched everything they had in pursuit of a decisive second score, but Humboldt built another period of sustained pressure in the final minutes of the game, once again building on strong incisive running from the backs to cross for another try to settle the match and take the championship.

 

The travelling support for both teams enjoyed an exciting match with everything to play for until the very end. Congratulations to Meredith and her Humboldt State team, and all the best in the subsequent rounds of playoffs.

 

 

This Week’s Photo

The Team of 4 for Northern California Pelicans v England Lambs. L-R Patrick Benner (Virginia), Pelicus Fistulator, Kevin “Some Call Me Barry” Donnelly, Pelicus Veneficus

Lambs Team of 4

 

Hail, Pelicus!

For the Senate

Pelicus Pedem Referre

Springtime In The Park

HAIL PELICUS!

 

Springtime In The Park

 

Spring has officially arrived in the Northern Hemisphere, a fact that causes ruggers and non-ruggers alike to celebrate the end of a long, cold winter.   At least in most places it does – Pelicanland has barely noticed.   Our drought parched landscape has been subject to springesque weather for most of the winter broken up by occasional, fleeting rainstorms.   It may seem churlish to our brethren in the rest of the country busy digging out from under another massive snowstorm that we complain of sunny, warm weather all the time but, in spite of the debunking of the fantastical “California Has One Year Of Water Left” scare, we are a thirsty people indeed.   Hail Pelicus has always been a bold publication and has tested the limits of the possible, probable and particularly silly and we aren’t backing down from this, our latest outrageous stance: We could use a little more winter around here.

 

Apparently not enough of you loyal readers had sacrificed a chicken to the Weather Priestess when I asked you to.   You only have yourself to blame.

 

So it was with another postcard day that I arrived to referee the San Jose Seahawks hosting the EPA Bulldogs (see thrilling account below) when I ran into Pelicus Scriptoris, Dux Deux aka Dr Bruce Carter who had just finished adjudicating a high school match on the next field over.   Up walked Josh Pendegrass who is currently recovering from injury but had a rugby itch that needed scratching. After chatting with them a bit I went over to the Bulldogs and Seahawks to set the timing of the day and say hello to see that EPA had added a new coach to their staff, a rather familiar face.   Guess what? I had played with every single coach on both coaching staffs.   This got me to thinking about the current juxtaposition of two trends I see in rugby today.

 

The first is an old one: the rugby community is a close knit group and as you progress through your career you will see friends again and again. As you age out of your (always illustrious) career and move into refereeing, coaching or just plain fandom you tend to see old friends and teammates giving back just as you are.  Friends from my playing days are coaching their kids and the kids of other teammates and, occasionally, bitter opponents.   Once rugby gets its hook into you it is a rare human who can resist the pull, and why would you?   It is the Game That Is Played In Heaven, after all.

 

The second is a new one: the explosion of rugby across the age groups in Pelicanland as well as the rest of the country.   This is the second time I have been at a Seahawks home match – the first being the result of a rare rainout – and on both occasions there was youth rugby, high school rugby, women’s rugby and men’s rugby all going on at the same time.   There was more rugby than you could shake a stick at, not that you would want to.   I really don’t know what shaking sticks at things is supposed to accomplish anyway.   The point is that in the days of my youth high school rugby was a rare thing, youth rugby was non-existent and women’s clubs were limited to a few hardy bastions. An event like last Saturday just didn’t happen. Now it is a regular part of the schedule.

 

So what does this mean?   We are now living in the sweet spot, that time where rugby is still “underground” enough to be a community where everyone knows each other to within a few degrees of Kevin Bacon, yet the upswell of popularity in the game is creating the first generation of players who will have played since their single digits and will have more teammates than not who are in the same boat.   It has been noted by many that at the national team level it is now a rarity for a player not to have started in high school and learned the game as a teenager.   The old team building rubric of finding some ex-football/soccer/wrestling stars who picked up the game in college is obsolete – we no longer need to turn athletes into rugby players because they are already there.   We are now poised to go a step further and join the rest of the fully developed rugby nations in exposing our players to the game when they are hardly bigger than the ball, running and passing and giggling as little tykes and picking up skills, allowing for players to enter high school with 6 or more years under their belts and reaching the national team with just as much rugby experience as that Kiwi starting across from them.   This makes a huge difference.

 

In the 90s we had Dan Lyle, a superior athlete who played football in college, then picked up rugby to stay fit and within few years was one of the best players in the world.

 

Today we have Todd Clever who started playing in high school with his brother and went on to become a world class flanker and the first American to play Super Rugby.

 

Tomorrow… well, who knows? I expect to see someone whose parents started him in minis at age 5 and arrived on the national scene at age 19 not only with a man’s body, but with a rugger’s brain.

 

There will always be room for the freak athletes, the exceptional ones who can be all world at anything they try with just a bit of effort, but the days of relying on that paradigm are gone.   There were too many misses for the hits.

 

I guess Spring is a time of renewal and hope, after all.

 

Up Stepping Has Happened!

 

Thank you Kevin Barry – the Reputation is intact. There is an opportunity for more stepping up, however.   If there is anyone who can meet our visitor this Friday (March 27) at SFO and keep him company until Kevin returns from his own trip late Friday and takes over hosting duties please contact Bjorn Stumer at bstumer@att.net.

 

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 Upset Procrastinator of Latework, CA, who asks:

 

“I didn’t see my match report in the Hail Pelicus even though I submitted it at least 15 minutes before the HP was posted.   Was I too late?   When should I submit my match report?”

 

That’s an excellent question, Mr Procrastinator, as I know that there are some reports that get missed.   While there is some editing, just about everything that is submitted is published.   The HP is usually put together on Wednesday afternoon so if you want to see your prose on the World Wide Web it is a good rule of thumb to have your report in by Tuesday night.

 

Keep sending in your questions to us here at hailpelicus@pelicanrefs.com!

 

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.

 

On To The Game Reports!

 

Date: 03/21/2015

Baracus 42 – Berkeley 17

Referee: Pescetti, David

 

A, lovely day at the polo grounds for a bridge battle between Baracus and Berkeley.

 

The match was close. With a half time score of Baracus 14 – 0 Berkeley. Beverly was able to quickly respond, opening up the second half scoring. But in the end Baracus was too much for Berkeley.

 

It was a joy to oversee a battle of two brutes.

 

Date: 03/21/2015

Baracus B 34 – Berkeley B 24

Referee: Rauscher, Eric

 

Forwards win the game, backs decide by how much. In this case the Baracus forwards never let the Berkeley backs win the game. My thanks to Berkeley player Erik Madsen who reffed the first half so I could do my after game coaching session with David Pescetti. A mighty fine job he did. We must lure him into the world of reffing

 

Date: 03/21/2015

Fresno 20 – Sacramento Lions 35

Referee: Tucker, Chris

 

Another weekend, another looooong road trip. Redding, Humboldt and now Fresno — certainly getting a good tour of the state. Arrived at the dust-bowl pitch in Fresno with the temperature around 80, felt like 7s season. The Lions looked at the pitch and felt right at home. This was a day for the backs, with sideline-to-sideline play. That said, both back lines pressed well and the game kept close and intense throughout. With two teams both up for it, it became testy at times, with a couple of yellows for dangerous play — silly stuff, rather than malicious. But fundamentally both teams wanted to play, not to muck around, and we made it the full 80 without any flare-ups, something I took personal satisfaction from. As for the game, the Lions gradually racked up tries throughout, and although Fresno pushed and kept it close, the visitors were just a half step better and came away with the points.

 

 

Date: 03/21/2015

Marin 19 – Reno 20

Referee: Bernstein, Bruce

 

As advertised: hard hitting, back & forth, competitive 3rd Division conference title match. Marin got off to a good start with 2 converted tries leading 14-10 at half but Reno stormed back to open the 2nd half scoring 2 more also non-converted tries ahead 20-14. With minutes to go Marin intercepted a Reno lineout on its own 10 meter line & went in untouched. A conversation or a penalty kick they got with seconds remaining for about 40 meters out would have won the match for them had either been good instead losing 19-20. Tough match to lose. With some luck they may sneak into the 4 team playoff format for the 3rd Division & might win it the way they played in both their forwards & backs Saturday. Another good party hosted by Marin at the Flatiron in San Rafael which looked different with other guests there. Oh yeah, thanks for Lee Johnson providing invaluable insights & giving me a thumbs up for not missing a forward pass which apparently I did in the 1st half.

 

 

Date: 03/21/2015

Napa Valley 98 – Humboldt 7

Referee: Hettermann, Matt

 

No report received

 

 

Date: 03/21/2015

Olympic Club Alumni 39 – SFGG Alumni 14

Referee: Pohlman, John

 

San Francisco Golden Gate hosted a rugby hootenanny on Saturday. A series of high school games being played on their two fields, along with mens PRP, D1 and Alumni.

Just a beautiful day for rugby. Temperatures 70s, good field, good crowd and lots of food and beverages. Truly one of the gem venues in the USA for rugby.

In my game the O-club was too young for the combo SFGG/Bald Eagle team. There was real rugby played in four 20 minute periods. The first period ended in a 7-7 tie. O-club started to get their form in the second with three try s. SFGG won the third 7-5. O-Club finished strong with a 12-0 final period.

All good with captains Mike, Rich and Shawn controlling their “boys”. A fun run for all.

 

Date: 03/21/2015

Olympic Club B 17 – SFGG D1 31

Referee: Coppinger, John

 

SF/GG D1A overcame a battling O Club B side in a good match, generally marked by good, hard, and competitive rugby played in good spirits, but the match was marred by some silly moments.

 

 

Date: 03/21/2015

Sacramento Amazons 48 – Life West Women 22

Referee: Taueva, Favor

 

Thanks to both team for the great rugby joy today. Life West keep up the good work. Have fun at the rest of the seasons.

 

 

Date: 03/21/2015

San Jose 15 – EPA Bulldogs 55

Referee: Hinkin, James

 

Saturday’s a rugby day and San Jose hosted a full afternoon of oval ball action at Blackford in San Jose.   The pitch looked great as I walked up, even allowing for the uninformed kids playing a rather silly game with sticks and nets. My hope is that some of them stayed to watch what a real sport looks like and will afterwards consider LAX to be no more than an airport in Southern California.   The grass looked freshly mowed and even all around – and that was the problem.   Unfortunately the local gopher population has taken a keen interest in this patch of open land and the field was pitted with holes and divots hidden by the deceivingly flat grasstops.   Upon even closer examination of the field with Larry Freitas who adjudicated the Women’s match that started off this rugbypalooza we found an absolute mess of lines as first soccer, then rugby had painted white lines on the field – not too bad that as they are easily distinguishable, but then lacrosse had decided that THEY needed more white lines on the field and somehow managed to paint them at a 10 degree angle from everyone else.   Oh well, you play on the field you have.   One of my first instructions to the captains was to play the whistle as I would most likely at times need to look around for flags and cones to see where exactly we were on the field before making a decision.

 

I am assuming that I did such a wonderful job on the first encounter between the EPA Bulldogs and San Jose Seahawks that both teams begged Pelicus Fistus to assign me to the return leg so here I was with the same teams and same captains as in January, with the Bulldogs hoping for the same result.   The game kicked off and away we went.   San Jose played structured rugby and EPA tried disrupting everything they could, especially in the scrums where they were dominant.   A series of EPA penalties gave San Jose some territorial advantages but they could not unlock the defense.   The first score finally came after EPA pressure forced a lineout near the Seahawk goal line. The lineout throw wasn’t straight so San Jose chose to throw themselves, a choice that would haunt them as sloppy ball bounced into the try zone only for an alert Bulldog to pounce on it for a try.   The conversion was wide and we went back to half for a kickoff.   More EPA penalties resulted in a missed kick at goal by the Seahawks and eventually a yellow card.   With the man advantage San Jose put EPA under enormous pressure but the Bulldogs turned the ball over in the tackle and spun it to the backs who found space and scored on a 70 meter break.   And then something happened that I have not seen since I was a player and, in fact, did it myself.

 

The conversion was blocked.   Not a slight brush with the fingertips gently changing the ball’s flights but a full on rejection back to where it came from.   The EPA kicker had a rather deliberate run up to the ball and just took too long to kick. A very alert play from the San Jose 13.

 

After this try against the run of play San Jose kept the pressure up earning another penalty that was duly converted.   San Jose’s scrumhalf was adept at getting the ball out of a backwards moving scrum and was very effective sniping around the sides of breakdowns.   EPA was able to make a long goal line stand that eventually ended in another penalty kick that went wide.   The half ended 10-3 to the visitors.

 

The second half was a completely different story as EPA made the adjustments necessary to combat San Jose’s patterned approach.   Three rapid fire tries started the half and EPA was rolling. The addition of ex 7s and 15s Eagle (and former Seahawk suiting up against his old team, no less… yea he played there before going to San Mateo) player/coach Alatini Saulala didn’t help matters for the home side as what he has lost in speed he has more than made up for in guile and Rugby IQ.   EPA’s discipline increased as far fewer penalties were called against them but that may also have to do with them spending all their time scoring.   A 4th try was added before San Jose added one of their own (converted) and in the move the Bulldogs lost another player to the sin bin.   San Jose took advantage to score another try (unconverted) but once parity was reestablished EPA were able to dot down 2 more times to finish off any hope of a comeback.

 

 

Date: 03/21/2015

San Jose B 5 – EPA Bulldogs B 29

Referee: Hinkin, James

 

With most of the EPA A side doing double duty the skill level was in favor of the visitors while San Jose had the fresh legs and the thirst for vengeance.   This worked out very well for the first few minutes as San Jose got on the board first with a well worked, unconverted try.   After that the Bulldogs realized they were in a game and started playing like they meant it.   Using their size advantage they were able to free up some space and get a try across and then convert it.   With both sides playing the last 9 minutes of the shortened half with 14 men due to some naughtiness the game settled into a back and forth affair.

 

The second half started with the Bulldogs scoring directly off the kickoff – so fast in fact that the sin bins were still serving the final minute of their sentences and were not allowed back on for the restart.   Once the game was restored to 15 a side the Bulldogs started rolling.   EPA was able to put 4 tries on the home side in the second half to run away with a score of 29-5.   San Jose played hard throughout and showed commitment to the tackles but were not able to match the speed of the EPA first teamers.

 

Date: 03/21/2015

San Jose Seahawks Women 5 – SFGG Women 95

Referee: Freitas, Larry

 

Another warm day in this rugby season that had many of them. Is this the “new normal?” I’d say that Sierra Nevada ski resorts wouldn’t like an affirmative answer on that. Wearing all white kit at least reflects back the sun.

The San Jose Seahawks are back playing home games at the old Blackford High School site in the border region of West San Jose and Campbell, as they did some time ago back in the 90’s. The pitch was laden with gopher holes. A youth lacrosse match was being played when I arrived, meaning the kick off for the women’s match of the day was pushed back to 12:30. It would have been better had it been a soccer match, because lacrosse lines shouldn’t be allowed on a rugby pitch. The Seahawk field committee got to work right after the match (and even before, as they did have one set of the north gold posts already up, and the goal line chalked) lining the field. It really didn’t affect things after all, except that a few times the kicker for a re-start had to check just which line to kick off from, and so did I, which are why there are flags at the half-way line. San Francisco Golden Gate had the advantage from the start, as they were playing a full XV to the Seahawk women’s XIV. Six GG first half tries, two converted, to one for the home side was the result, and a 34-5 lead by the half. After the second half started, two more San Jose women went off due to injury, though one returned after getting a bleeding wound attended. So playing 13 and 12 against 15 meant that the floodgates were opened and Golden Gate scored 11 more second half tries, four of which were converted. There seemed to be some familiar faces on the pitch, as Golden Gate has some Old Banana Slugs on their roster who played on some very good sides at UCSC a decade or so ago, and I was a referee for some of their matches back then. I’d have to say that the Woman of the Match had to be the scrum half for Golden Gate, team captain Tee Stroughter. She scored a hat trick of tries and was in the thick of things during the game. A number of Golden Gate players scored various tries. I was impressed overall by the ball handling ability of either team, and the overall deportment of players. There were some offside and hands in rucks, but the game was cleanly played and San Jose played as well as they could under the circumstances of having few players on the pitch.

No one fell into a gopher hole, but my right ankle was a bit sore after the game, as I stepped into a few and half turned my foot, but not enough to get seriously injured.

As an aside, a few of Golden Gate’s players, having scored their first tries ever for the squad, had to go through a ritual after the match where a table was set up for food and drink, a fair distance from the touch line, during the men’s match against EPA. I remember that ritual being introduced to California thirty years ago next month (April 1985), when Beantown, a women’s club from Boston, toured in these whereabouts, having their first match against UCSC women. The Santa Cruz Rebels hosted a party for them in downtown Santa Cruz at the Del Mar (now part of the Palomar Restaurant) after the mid-week match. We Rebels were astonished when a huge size 16 high-top rugby boot appeared (and obviously none of the women wore a shoe that size) and was filled with a liquid beverage, only to be consumed at pace by team member who had scored her first try, while her team-mates cheered her. Alena Port, Seahawk player and CSUMB coach, got to hear that story from me yesterday.

 

Date: 03/21/2015

Santa Rosa 21 – EPA Razorbacks 27

Referee: Akroyd, Phil

 

Not a bad little game. Perfect weather as always in Santa Rosa and the field was in great shape. A couple of lead changes but EPA had much of the control of the game until around the final 20 minutes when Rosa were consistent in their attack of the EPA half. A converted try each in the second half but the Razorbacks did all the necessary damage in the first half.

 

EPA are playing well, but they will have to step up their accuracy at the scrum, lineout and also with their penalty discipline, if they hope to make a deep run into the playoffs.

 

 

Date: 03/21/2015

SFGG PRP 83 – Olympic Club PRP 3

Referee: Ranaweera, Aruna

 

One-way traffic. 29-3 at half. AR’s John Coppinger and John Pohlman were thrilled to work on their speed endurance.

 

 

Date: 03/21/2015

Shasta 5 – Colusa 65

Referee: Franzoia, Tom

 

Both teams enjoyed the game with friendly bantering back and forth over the pitch. Colusa struck first by managing the ball through strong support players on all breaks, well conditioned. Shasta just couldn’t find a rhythm but was scrappy to the end.

 

 

Date: 03/21/2015

Sierra College 52 – Solano JC 12

Referee: Richmond, Jeff

 

Sierra kept up a fast pace of quick picks and hard running to bury Solano. Solano made 3 or 4 strong attacks deep into Solano’s territory only to have Sierra steal possession and run it back the length of the field for a score. Sierra was down a man or most of the second half due to repeat infringements but Solano couldn’t capitalize.

 

 

Date: 03/21/2015

Silicon Valley 19 – Google 16

Referee: Valerio, Stephen

 

Google came out the stronger side, and collected several penalties as a reward. Unlike most clubs I have seen this season, any penalties inside the Silicon Valley half Google went for posts. While they collected some early points with kicks close to the posts, several opportunities went begging as they took several kicks from near mid-field. While Google took a 13-5 lead at the half, they came to regret the lost chances for territory as Silicon Valley was able to get 2 tries across including the final score in the second stanza as they stole victory 19-16.

 

 

Date: 03/22/2015

St. Mary’s College Women 68 – CSUMB Women 10

Referee: Donnelly, Kevin

 

Fine day for rugby at St. Mary’s. CSUMB didn’t travel with enough players for 15’s or 10’s so we played three consecutive 7’s games (cumulative score given). This was the first time most of the players had ever played 7’s but they were well coached and caught-on quickly. CSUMB tired fast and were outplayed by many more numbers on the St. Mary’s side. To CSUMB credit they fought-on to the final whistle despite a large score differential.

 

 

This Week’s Photo

All sorts of fans were on hand to see San Jose Seahawk Women take on SFGG Women, ably handled by Larry Freitas, all in white.

Gopher

 

 

Hail, Pelicus!

For the Senate

Pelicus Pedem Referre

The Ultimate Pi Day

HAIL PELICUS!

 

The Ultimate Pi Day

 

Pi, our old, irregular friend who, like some of my relatives, is extremely useful at times but also goes on forever: 3.141592653… Simply put, Pi is the ratio between the diameter and the circumference of a circle.   It has been studied for thousands years and ubiquitous in Euclidean geometry and analytical mathematics and even crops up in the Greatest Math Formula Of All Time, Euler’s Identity: ei? +1 = 0. No, seriously. A poll of readers conducted by The Mathematical Intelligencer in 1990 named Euler’s Identity as the “most beautiful theorem in mathematics”.  Those silly foreigners who put the day in front of the month will never know the beauty of Pi Day without a serious rearrangement of their calendar and consequently can never understand the orgasmic mathematical purity of March 14th, 2015 at 9:26 and 53 seconds: 3/14/15 9:26:53.   This is a once in a century event, my friends.

 

So how perfect was it that on Saturday morning I found myself at Stanford University, second only to the University of California, Santa Barbara for its appreciation of math and science?   I also had some pie.

 

 

Up Stepping Has Happened!

 

Thank you Kevin Barry.   The reputation is intact.

 

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 Valerie Stephano of Pleasanton, CA, who asks:

 

“I recently had to change my email due to a scandal that involved federal agents shutting down my company’s email server.   I updated my contact information on pelicanrefs.com but the Hail Pelicus is still going to my old address.   Why is this?”

 

Valerie, great to hear from you and good luck with the upcoming trial.   The reason the Hail Pelicus was going to the old address after you updated your NCRRS details is that we maintain separate email and contact lists.   The pelicanref.com site has the official contact details for the Northern California Rugby Referee Society, but Hail Pelicus is a completely different animal, gnashing and ravening across the internet with reckless abandon and malice aforethought.   While kindly looked upon (mostly), Hail Pelicus is not the official organ of the NCRRS but more like a pirate radio station that is tolerated but not fully understood.   If you would like to change the address that the HP goes to please send a request with BOTH THE OLD AND NEW email addresses to hailpelicus@pelicanrefs.com. We need both email addresses so that the old address can be removed while the new one is added.

 

The HP email list goes out not only to the whistlers of Pelicanland but to coaches, players and anyone else that wants to receive it – we aren’t picky.   There are a number of recipients who do not live in Northern California and have sadly never been here, including some international subscribers who found out about us on the dark web or via our anonymous 4chan posts.   So thus we come to the core reason that there are separate email lists – plausible deniability.

 

Keep sending in your questions to us here at hailpelicus@pelicanrefs.com!

 

March Society Meeting

 

  • Happened yesterday. If your weren’t there you totally missed out.

 

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.

 

On To The Game Reports!

 

Date: 03/14/2015

Aptos 12 – Google 34

Referee: Asonye, Elvy

 

It felt great to finally get back into the groove of being around rugby now that I’m fully healthy again and able to exercise. What didn’t feel so great was the 85+ degree heat wave that was swirling around Watsonville. Before kick off I told both captains that if we ever needed to take a break during the game for water, they should let me know and we would make sure no heat casualties happened during the match. Things started out pretty slow with Google getting their first try in the 11th minute after a missed punt to clear the ball inside Aptos’ in-goal, and Google easily falling on the ball. In the 18th minute, Google got another try. Toward the end of the first half Aptos answered back with a pair of tries, with one successful conversion. 12-10 for Aptos at the half. Second half favored Google where they were able to get two tries with two conversions midway through. In the 75th minute, a penalty inside the 22 gave Google the opportunity to kick for points, where they were successful. With everyone tired and covered in sweat, Google was able to get one more try before the final whistle.

 

 

Date: 03/14/2015

Baracus 40 – Vacaville 26

Referee: Taueva, Favor

 

Besides the turf was very hot , it was very good game to enjoy. Vacaville did very well the first five minutes, just a simple mistake give Baracus a chance to have the first score of the game. Thank you Mike for the great opportunity to work with you. Baracus and Vacaville, enjoy the second round of our seasons. Looking forward for the second round.

 

 

Date: 03/14/2015

Baracus B 60 – Vacaville B 12

Referee: Tetler, Jen

 

A hot day in the city, and the turf fields were even hotter. Both B sides were ready to get playing soon after the A side ended. Baracus dominated the tries with a few breakaways from a super speedy outside center. In open play, there were lots of back and forth turnover balls off of knock ons or mauls, which allowed us to play without too many whistles. Baracus had 5 tries each half, mostly off of back plays, but a few from some pounding in by the forwards. Vacaville had a try each half, giving them some payoff from their hard work.

 

 

Date: 03/14/2015

Chico 24 – Berkeley 14

Referee: Hosley, David

 

No report received

 

 

Date: 03/14/2015

Chico State Women 12 – UC Davis Women 41

Referee: Cousillas, Eduardo

 

Hard fought match between two talented teams.

 

 

Date: 03/14/2015

Chico State Women B 12 – UC Davis Women B 21

Referee: Baker, Eugene

 

Unusually warm March day on the beautiful CSU Chico Campus; High 70s and sunny without a cloud in the sky.

 

Partially due to their superior roster numbers, UC Davis was fresher and opened the match with two quick converted tries.

At halftime, UC Davis emptied their bench, and the second half was much closer. Chico State drove the length of the pitch twice to score tries and UC Davis scored on a long breakaway try to bring the final score to 21-12, Davis. Very cleanly played match with good tackling and ball movement by both sides.

 

Date: 03/14/2015

EPA Bulldogs 37 – Santa Rosa 31

Referee: Lane, John

 

A hot day in Kelly Park in Menlo. Both teams prep’d and also took on plenty of water. Throughout the game water was on boarded at all scores and injuries.

 

EPA Bulldogs started the stronger and scored on 4 minutes to lead 5-0. While the Bulldogs continued to dominate territory Santa Rosa got progressively into the game making progress when moving the ball to their speedy back three. By mid way throught the first half the game was being played between the 22’s. Bulldogs bigger ball carriers then created a score on 24 minutes. As Santa Rosa pushed hard to get on the scoreboard an intercept freed Bulldogs players to score on the left side. Neither was converted with the score 15-0.

 

The final 10 minutes was dominated by Santa Rosa. On 32 minutes the outside backs made ground down the left offloaded inside and crossed by the posts. 15-7. On 37 again ground was made again on the left with the ball again released inside. This time the defense made the tackle but a quick recycle delivered the score. Again converted.

Half time 15-14.

The second half started with an even quicker score for Bulldogs on 2 minutes. Converted. 22-14. Santa Rosa responded with a try on 8 minutes to close to 22-19.

On 16 minutes Bulldogs restored their 8 point lead with a try. 27-19. Santa Rosa pushed hard but Bulldogs defended strongly and on 26 minutes turned over an attack and with some off loads stretched the lead to 32-19 with a try. Having stretched the lead they visible relaxed and suffered at the restart with Santa Rosa returning the restart kick through multiple phases for an immediate response. Back to 8 points at 32-24.

This stirred the Bulldogs who made up for the mental switch off with their final try of the day on 34 mins. 37-24.

Santa Rosa again responded to this score and dominated the final 5 minutes. The last 3 were camped on the line. Bulldogs committed a number of breakdown infringements in this period and having been warned a yellow card was issued for repeat team infringements. From the next play Santa Rosa crossed under the posts with the conversion being the last kick of the game. 37-31.

 

Date: 03/14/2015

EPA Razorbacks 29 – Sacramento Lions 10

Referee: O’Neil, George

 

Great day!

 

EDITOR’S NOTE: Great Report!

 

 

Date: 03/14/2015

Fresno State Women 7 – UNR Women 77

Referee: Jury, Jeff

 

No report received

 

 

Date: 03/14/2015

Humboldt State 10 – Cal Maritime 29

Referee: Tucker, Chris

 

6am wakeup. 6.10 on the road for the day of service — doing my duty up in Humboldt. 2 games on the docket — State and Club men were back to back at noon and 2. Or at least it would have been noon, but nobody told the trainer that people needed taping up before the game. So we sat and waited for a while. I politely suggested to the visiting Keelhaulers that they not do their pregame chant. They equally politely obliged and kicked straight off.

 

First half started out a bit nervy — a few technical errors at scrum and lineout, but the teams settled into an even contest, the only items of note in the half being a try by the visitors and a yellow card to the hosts for tackling a player in the air. Silly stuff.

 

The second half started and the Keelhaulers started to figure out the gaps. Their scrum worked better, and they moved purposefully in the backs with ball in hand. 3 more tries were dotted down and effectively ended the contest by 60 minutes. The Jacks, playing in front of a loud, partisan crowd, weren’t going to go quietly, and scored a couple to make the score a more accurate reflection of the standard of the contest, which I was thoroughly enjoying.

 

Throughout, there was an element of chippiness to it, and I spoke with both teams and players on both sides about the desire to keep it passionate but safe.   Shortly thereafter time was up, and it was time to dash over to the other field in McKinleyville for the second game.

 

 

Date: 03/14/2015

Humboldt 10 – Colusa 76

Referee: Tucker, Chris

 

After my dash over to the second game, I did prelims as quickly as possible prior to kickoff. An issue arose with a couple of the Colusa players using boots that they bought from World Rugby Shop, made by Nike, which have screw in cleats that are clearly not legal. The ends are flat, they do not have a rounded edge, and the tip is pointed and does not have a sufficient cross-sectional area (apparently 78mm^2 at a depth 2mm below the tip — this equates to 10mm or 2/5 of an inch). They swapped them out promptly without complaint, but I wonder what possesses a supposed rugby outfitter to sell gear that is banned from the game.   The boots in question are manufactured by Nike. Keep your eyes out.

 

The game itself was more an issue of control than anything — various people wanted to make dangerous tackles, question me, question the other team’s manliness, the usual. Unlike the previous game, we collectively managed to keep everyone on the field for the full 80. There was one point where I did have to pull out the ‘I don’t know what you think you can get away with saying to me, but let me assure you that this gentleman (#8) has overstepped the line’. The captain asked for time to go talk to his guys. Good idea.

 

The Colusa coach also channeled his inner Galileo Galilei, when he complained about a perceived dangerous tackle. I stopped the game, went over and explained that, while he might see it that way, here’s what I saw, why I called it, and further that I’d be grateful if he’d be quiet. Just as Galileo, who after retracting his theory that the earth revolved around the sun said “Eppur si muove”, so the coach apologized, but then walked away with “but it was still dangerous.” And promptly got told to leave the enclosure. OK, so leaving the enclosure is merely stepping back behind the rope, but it’s an important symbol of the revocation of privilege. He did this without further complaint, and we shook hands and smiled about it after. All good.

 

The game itself was largely one-way. Colusa clearly were the better organized side, and ran away with it, 76-10.

 

And with that, it was back in the car, 5 hours up and over the hill to Redding and back down I-5. I’d have stayed, but there was a half marathon in Sacramento the next day. 1h 32m. Passable.

 

 

Date: 03/14/2015

Life West 56 – Sacramento Capitals 16

Referee: MacDonald, Neil

 

A ridiculously hot afternoon for March combined with heat coming off the turf field to drive temperatures on the pitch to the 90s. The match itself was also hot, with two unbeaten teams coming together to settle the pecking order in D2. Both teams had physical, mobile packs, with pace to burn in the backs. Life West opened the scoring in the first few minutes of the match. Sacramento marched down the pitch, and banged over a penalty kick to pull it back to 7-3. Life stretched their lead to 14-3 before the Capitols scored their first try in the 25th minute, and pulled the gap back to four points. From sustained pressure, the Capitols kicked another penalty to pull to within a point, before Life West infringed in a goal line stand and conceded another penalty right before the end of the first half, which the Capitols used to get in front 14-16 at the break.

 

A reinvigorated Life West team recovered the lead with a converted try in the first few minutes of the second half, and never looked back. In all, Life ran in 6 unanswered tries in the second half in a scoreline which didn’t do justice to the Capitols’ contributions to the match.

 

Thanks very much John Pohlman and Bryant Byrnes for their assistance on the touchlines on a scorching afternoon.

 

 

Date: 03/14/2015

Life West B 33 – Sacramento Capitals B 12

Referee: Byrnes, Bryant

 

A very, very hot Hayward venue. This was another rump game, as most club B side games are; a 20 minute half and a 15 minute half (then we got tossed).

 

The Caps were game but tired-most had just played in the A match. Not so for the Chiros-In-Training; the fresh legs of these putative DCs (am I correct on this point?) yielded five tries.

 

Date: 03/14/2015

Life West Women 48 – SFGG Women 15

Referee: Pohlman, John

 

Life West Woman hosted SFGG woman at Cal State Hayward’s Pioneer Field this past Saturday. Beautiful day for rugby. The all turf field did get hot as the sun it midday.

Life was led by #15 Cameo Motley who scored at least two first half try’s. Life totaled five trys in the first half to SFGG’s two. Both of SFGG’s try’s scored by #13 captain Naima Reddick.

First half score Life 29 SFGG 10.

SFGG has had a load of injuries. Life is gaining experience rapidly. These combined facts led to a final score of Life 48 SFGG 15.

 

 

Date: 03/14/2015

Mendocino 27 – Shasta 17

Referee: Bertolone, Cary

 

A very even match took place in Ukiah with great weather and a relatively large crowd for Mendo’s last home game. Controlled by the forwards for most of the first half, and after missing two penalty kicks at the 25th and 26th minute mark, Shasta finally crashed through one minute later for the only score of the first half, taking a 7-0 lead. Early in the second half, Shasta made in 10-0. Both teams started getting the ball out and the backs started scoring. It was knotted up at 17-17 with 15 minutes to go, so it was anyone’s game. I think the fact that Shasta had zero substitutes, only 15 players, started to hurt them as Mendocino had the energy to score two more tries to seal the game. The game ended with Shasta pounding towards the try line, with at least one “held up”, for 5 minutes straight, but Mendo’s defense was relentless and the game ended 27-17. Once again, the party was well attended and there was food for all !!

 

 

Date: 03/14/2015

Modesto 22 – South Valley 15

Referee: Valerio, Stephen

 

A week when there was great international rugby going on in the 6 Nations and at the Atlanta 7s, two Division 3 clubs got together in Northern California and reminded everyone what is great about the game. The technical skill and fitness may not be the highest, but the game was played with great intensity and in good spirit. Things percolated a little, as they would with any competitive match, but nothing that a post-match beverage wouldn’t fix.

 

It was a warm Central Valley day when South Valley arrived in Turlock to take on Modesto. South Valley came in fighting for 1st place in the standings, but Modesto had their Old Boys were in attendance and came to play. The first half was an up and down affair, with South Valley kicking deep and putting the Modesto fullback under pressure, but he was up to the task. While Modesto took penalties as an opportunity to kick for touch and the gain in ground, South Valley went for the points. South Valley’s early kicks went amiss and Modesto capitalized with a try. South Valley finally collected a kick late in the half and went in down 7-3 at the break.

 

Early in the second half Modesto collected a try in the corner, despite being short a man after being carded for repeated offense and the possibility of an upset started to look real. South Valley then showed why they are playing for the league lead when their backs struck for several strong runs. Two tries and one conversion finally gave them the lead heading into the final quarter. The specter of several close loses Modesto suffered this season hung over the match as South Valley camped out in the Modesto half, when Modesto intercepted a wayward pass and collected a converted try. A late penalty sealed the upset. Unfortunately I couldn’t hang around after the match, but I am sure I would have enjoyed the banter between these 2 rivals.

 

 

Date: 03/14/2015

Reno 69 – SF Fog 10

Referee: Wilson, Giles

 

SF Fog travelled with a severely depleted side, with players crying off on the morning of the match. They have several good players but these few could not hold off the larger number playing for Reno (who were also physically larger as well) as well as the overall rugby experience of the Reno team.

 

The field is not bad, although the local dog owners should find a supply of bags to police up after their dogs – this is after all a neighbourhood park where children play (quite apart from rugby playing).

 

Reno had nearly all of the play running in 6 tries in the first half (only 1 conversion) to 1 try for the Fog. The fatigue played hard on the Fog in the second half when they conceded 7 tries (again 1 conversion) to 1 try in a 20 minute second half.

 

It was a Saturday and rugby was played.

 

 

Date: 03/14/2015

Sacramento Blackhawks 76 – Diablo 13

Referee: Akroyd, Phil

 

Not sure what the Blackhawks had in their half-time drinks, but I need some. It was 17-13 at half to Sacramento, but then they shoveled on 59 points in the second half, which was somewhat impressive given that it was 80 degrees and they played for 30 minutes with fourteen players. The home team didn’t seem to understand that you can’t tackle players around their necks. Diablo battled away but didn’t have the experience or the depth and it showed in the second half.

 

 

Date: 03/14/2015

Sacramento State 41 – St. Mary’s College 25

Referee: Pescetti, David

 

It was a sunny day under the blistering heat of the Sacramento sun. The sun affected everyone’s abilities that day.

 

We started off at a blistering pace where Sac scored two tries in a row quickly to take a 10 – 0 lead. St Mary’s was able to stabilize and score right back. By half time St. Mary’s had worked themselves into a narrow lead 15 – 10.

 

The second half was filled with physical runs and long stretches of open play. Sac St seemed to dominate this session. Being more comfortable playing in the hot hot weather helped them pull ahead and never look back. Final score Sac St. 41 – St Mary’s 25.

 

 

Date: 03/14/2015

Santa Clara 0 – California 106

Referee: Ranaweera, Aruna

 

Just like the ongoing cricket world cup, this was a day/night match that started under 80F sunshine but ended under lights. Cal rested most of their starters but still dominated every aspect of play, sprinting to a 56-0 halftime lead and scoring 18 tries in total. The margin would have been even larger had the Cal ball carriers used their support more often. Much thanks to Neil MacDonald for his help as AR.

 

 

Date: 03/14/2015

Santa Clara B 37 – Silicon Valley 56

Referee: Smith, Pete

 

No report received

 

 

Date: 03/14/2015

Santa Clara Women 22 – Sacramento State Women 42

Referee: Donnelly, Kevin

 

Fine warm day in Santa Clara, if anything, quite hot on the field and a water break was called-for in the second half. The score does not reflect the fact that this game was close and hard fought with a narrow score line through most of the match. Santa Clara defended and attacked well but could not overcome Sacramento State who found that passing the ball out wide produced considerable gain-line advantage and several tries scored by the wings. It was one really great collegiate rugby game from start to finish.

 

 

Date: 03/14/2015

SFGG 40 – Fresno 7

Referee: Lew, Tim

 

Warm humid day at TI. Both teams looking to tackle hard and run hard. Fresno had lots of problems with offsides and ruck offenses early on giving SFGG points. Fresno started 2nd half very strong but lost momentum with lost opportunities.

 

 

Date: 03/14/2015

Sonoma State 26 – CSUMB 22

Referee: Hettermann, Matt

 

No report received

 

 

Date: 03/14/2015

St. Mary’s College Women 24 – UC Santa Cruz Women 50

Referee: Rauscher, Eric

 

Ah to be back on ole New Pat Vincent field at St Marys. Another perfect rugby day on real grass.

This was my second week doing a game involving UCSC women. I must say that they play like a machine. Support is almost always there a split second after a tackle is made. If there is a ruck it is very short and the ball is away again in the blink of an eye. The play in the first half was almost penalty free. I only remember awarding two. More penalties came in the second, but even then the count was low. St Marys play was pretty good, but UCSC was just too much to handle. In almost every game I do there tends to be at least one player that stands out to me for various reasons. This time it was St Marys’ #22 Chanel Farago. She was most likely the smallest player on the field, but first caught my eye by tackling a player twice her size. She ended up on her opponents’ back and rode until a teammate could bring her down. Chanel played with the heart of a tiger.

 

 

Date: 03/14/2015

Stanford 87 – Fresno State 5

Referee: Hinkin, James

 

A perfect setting for rugby but I think only the home side’s fans were entertained. Certainly not any neutrals.   I had seen Fresno St earlier in the year and they had a good squad but unfortunately injuries have hit too many key players for them. It seems as if the 5 players they could least afford to lose are the 5 players who have been hurt.   Stanford was ready to roll at home and dominated from the first whistle, scoring on their first possession within 2 minutes, and didn’t slow down from there.   Fresno St tried to stop the tide but to no avail as waves of Stanford runners rolled on up the field for try after try.   Fresno St had a few opportunities and were within meters of the try zone on more than one occasion but couldn’t get the ball across to score.

 

Discipline held perfectly for both sides, something that is often difficult in a lopsided match such as this and all credit goes to both captains.   The players tackled hard and played hard and never let frustration or arrogance rise to the surface.   Fresno finished off the match with a try at full time which is nothing more than they deserved for their endeavor.

 

 

Date: 03/14/2015

Stanford B 36 – Fresno State B 29

Referee: Simko, Paul

 

It was 85 degrees in the beating sun at Stanford today, which broke my streak of 2 matches with double rainbows. Players from Fresno State said it was hot. They also said it was cooler at home. After playing in Fresno for the Mighty Mission many times, I find that difficult to believe. Stanford started out with 15 and cut back to 13. It was close the whole way. After watching Fresno A side having a really tough game, I thought this would be much of the same. Fortunately for everyone it wasn’t and I got my workout in.

 

The difference in the game was a Fresno State (wing?) who fielded a kickoff and brought the ball back into his try zone and dropped it in the tackle and Stanford pounced on it. Fresno scored a try with 1 minute left on the clock to bring it within 7. After attempting a quick conversion, and the last play being the kickoff, Fresno State was pushing downfield, even got a penalty at Stanford’s 22. I thought I was buying beer for the meeting for the tie, but they never got it in. The only downside was uncontested scrums for about 3/4 of the game.

 

 

Date: 03/14/2015

UC Davis B 24 – SJSU B 0

Referee: Ricard, Bruce

 

Only one half of play between two UC Davis teams with a couple SJSU players.

 

 

Date: 03/14/2015

UNR 28 – Chico State 69

Referee: Franzoia, Tom

 

A beautiful day on the UNR campus including the National Anthem from the baseball field below. A very physical game by both sides. Chico was the first to score and gained three tries in the first 15 minutes of play to take a halftime lead of 43-7. Chico’s game plan was to get the ball out to their wings for quick play and done effectively. Nevada regained their composure in the second half with two quick tries and conversions from their outside backs and lost the second half by a try 21 -26. Thanks, Josh for the unexpected PR.

 

 

Date: 03/14/2015

UNR B 15 – Chico State B 22

Referee: Crawley, Blake

 

Fast flowing match. The Chico State side took the lead early and never relinquished it, though the UNR side fought back with purpose at times.

 

 

Date: 03/14/2015

USF 93 – Solano JC 0

Referee: Bernstein, Bruce

 

Easy commute by scooter to USF’s beautiful stadium pitch. USF last regular season match needing to win to get into their playoffs in Bend. They did not disappoint with an assortment of long tries by mostly their backs with an occasional forward scampering. 60-0 at half & 2nd half was just a little less intense. Solano JC had a few scoring chances but was thwarted by a swarming USF defense at the try line 2-3 times. Thanks for David Williamson helping me before, during & after the match.

 

 

Date: 03/15/2015

St. Mary’s College C 49 – University of Pacific 31

Referee: Boyer, Rich

 

A beautiful day in Moraga. The St. Mary’s pitch, formerly used as the football field, is very fine indeed. The pitch had been heavily watered earlier in the week and the head groundskeeper approached me prior to the match asking if I thought it would be OK to play and that by playing the pitch would not get torn up…..a rhetorical question.

 

The game was played with the utmost in sportsmanship. St. Mary’s had the upper hand but UOP turned the tables on them frequently throughout the match. One of those true gems to ref.

 

This Week’s Photo

The most delicious rendering of Pi I have ever seen.

 

pi pie

 

Hail, Pelicus!

For the Senate

Pelicus Pedem Referre

Midterms

HAIL PELICUS!

 

Midterms

 

We have reached the midpoint of the season so leagues are offering their midterm examinations.   Who has excelled and is at the top of the class?   Who is in danger of being held back? The tension grows as more questions are being asked.

And so on and so forth…

 

To be honest, I just don’t feel that funny right now. It’s been a long week and I have things on my mind and it just isn’t happening. It happens to everyone as they get older, you know. It’s not like there is a little blue pill for funny – funny doesn’t work like that.   Plus, if I did take a little blue funny pill and I could sustain my usual levels of funny for more than 4 hours I would have to call my doctor.   I think I need a lie down.

 

A Perfect Example

I was watching London Wasps play the Saracens and saw this play. I immediately shouted “TRY” and the rest of the bar (yes, the bar had rugby on 3 screens – I love 2015) started to argue but I held firm.

 

This a textbook example of one of the more rarely seen calls.   Good to know the referee got it right and I will generously concede that he would have got it right even without a TMO.   For your reference, Law 22.5 (g): “If an attacking player is in touch or in touch-in-goal, the player can score a try by grounding the ball in the opponents’ in-goal provided the player is not carrying the ball”.

 

https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=yVzeo2BIauI&feature=player_detailpage#t=31

 

Time to step up!

 

This is starting to get a little embarrassing.   We have a reputation to uphold.

 

For the past THREE weeks we here at Hail Pelicus extolled the virtues of the Northern California Referee Exchange program and how travelling to other unions and even countries to referee rugby is one of the great advantages of being part of this society.   So for nobody has raised a wing to host our far-flung future friend.   Alliteration aside, this is an opportunity not to be missed as I have great friends whom I have met while both hosting and being hosted.

 

Time to look deep inside, make a few concessions with the SO and open up your home to incoming Virginia referee Patrick Benner, who will be here on March 28 and will partake in the tournament at Napa. We do not want to sully the immaculate reputation of Northern California as the best destination in the USA.   If interested contact Bjorn Stumer at bstumer@att.net.

 

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 Rocky McHandsome of Redding, CA, who asks:

 

“I have noticed that some referees have their picture next to their information on the pelicanres.com referee contact page.   I am an extremely good looking person who takes a greet photo.   How can I get my picture next to my contact detais?”

 

Well Rocky, that’s simple.   If you send a selection of photographs to Our Scott Wood at rscottwood@gmail.com then he can add a photo to your details.   Please note that, similar to Pelicus Names, if there is a highly inappropriate photo available on social media then he may elect to use that one and you will have no say in the matter.

 

Substantial Progress

 

Substitute me for him
Substitute my coke for gin
Substitute you for my mum
At least I’ll get my washing done

 

-The Who

 

From Steve Hiatt, Head Coach at Cal Maritime, French linguist and all around great guy:

 

FYI, NorCal Collegiate Rugby Conference (NorCal CRC aka NorCal small colleges) does us a Blowout Substitution Flexibility rule (BSF), which should always be explained to the referee well before the match. In one case, the referee did not agree so we did not use. The rule is as follows: if a team is up by 28+ points, neither team is restricted by the 23-man match roster listed before kickoff. Instead, teams may substitute “freely” from their team as long as all other rules comply (e.g. no playing subbing off only to be subbed back on unless specifically a front row player for safety reasons, etc.). If the winning team’s lead starts to fade b/c it took off its star players, c’est la guerre. They must soldier on without bringing those stars back in to “save the day”.

 

The intent is to allow less experienced players from the dominating team to get involved while at the same time leveling the playing field and making it more competitive for the losing team. The winning team gets to play players it wouldn’t normally list and the losing team subsequently faces a weaker team, a much more satisfying condition for everyone. Is it perfect? No, but NorCal CRC would rather see game scores of 55-25 than 75-5. Could it play havoc with standings and bonus point systems? Theoretically, but it really hasn’t yet. I was inspired by the Positive Coaching Alliance to suggest the BSF rule. I’ve also heard that high school rugby does something similarly, but not sure it’s true.

 

March Society Meeting

 

This month’s meeting will be held March 18th 7:00 PM @ the SFGG Clubhouse on Treasure Island.   For our meeting we will be discussing:

  • Game Knowledge (Matt Eason)
  • Lineout Start to Finish (James Hinkin)

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.

 

On To The Game Reports!

 

Date: 03/06/2015

Cal Maritime 32 – Sonoma State 12

Referee: Hammack, Robert

 

A well contested match between two quality sides. CMU’s superior discipline, game plan, and home field advantage in the form of swarms of giant (no exaggeration) mosquitos proved too much for a Sonoma State side that competed to the final whistle.

 

Date: 03/06/2015

Cal Maritime B 5 – Sonoma State B 22

Referee: Byrnes, Bryant

 

This was a rump game-10 a sides, 10 minute halves. 10 a sides are tricky-do you ref as 7s, or as 15s? When the question was put to him, Bruce Carter responded, “Depends.”

 

And Bruce is of course right-which style are they playing? Here it was a very fast and wide open 15s. It was also vastly good spirited and fun.

 

EDITOR’S NOTE: You ref 10s, of course.

 

Date: 03/07/2015

Berkeley All Blues 2 32 – Life West Women 7

Referee: Tetler, Jen

 

Friendly game over at the beautiful Cal Maritime field. The All Blues were the more skilled and well trained team, but Life West had great aggression and passion. The game started off with a try by the All Blues about 5 minutes in off a quick tap penalty. They scored again off of a scrum after the ball was held up, and once more in the half for a halftime score of 15-0. Life West is a new team and had players who were keen to get the ball, but tried to do it from the bottom or back side of a ruck. They scored a breakaway try in the middle of the second half for their only points of the game. But they had some excellent goal-line stands and solid defense all game. The All Blues kept up their speed and support, managing a ton of nice offloads throughout the second half. They scored 3 times in the second half. Overall, a fun game for all sides.

 

 

Date: 03/07/2015

Chico State 41 – Stanford 28

Referee: Boyer, Rich

 

I was greeted with a beautiful day in Chico, with what seemed half the city in attendance to support the home team. Purportedly this rivalry has become intense over the last few years. It certainly showed in players on both sides as the action was fierce from the get go. Both teams are well coached and the players verbalized changes in gameplan throughout the match according to conditions. A little “cat and mouse” occurred whereby Chico St. would not commit to a maul on Stanford’s line outs and Stanford would keep the ball with the line out jumper, in front, so no obstruction would occur. Stanford started strong with two tries and most of the possession in the first half. Chico St. had numerous unforced errors and was on the back foot. 14-12 Stanford at half. Chico St. made an adjustment for the second half and peeled off two tries in the first 4 minutes courtesy of JW, the big outside center, who put the team on his back, made two gaps and simply outran the defense for long tries. Chico St. had the preponderance of possession, but two ill advised backs passes were picked off and returned for converted tries by Stanford’s wing and one could feel the momentum shift back to Stanford. 36-28 Chico St. after a short penalty kick and a forwards led try. Chico St. ran a nice pick and drive multiple phase attack at the death resulting in a try for their lock.

 

 

Date: 03/07/2015

Chico State Women 9 – Stanford Women 12

Referee: Richmond, Jeff

 

A sloppy game by both teams – frequent miscues at the breakdowns, knock-ons, etc. Even yellow cards didn’t help slow down the repeated infringements. Great kicking at goal kept Chico in the game. Chico had opportunities to score a winning try only to be undone by a forward passes and knock-ons.

 

Date: 03/07/2015

CSUMB Women 15 – UC Santa Cruz Women 69

Referee: Rauscher, Eric

 

Pitch looks like an English pitch. Grass is firm and lovely. Full sized, lined, flagged. Next to a parking lot the size of a small airfield that you can’t park in. And the parking lot you can park in, you need to first, see the signs that say you need to by a permit, and then find the machine that will sell you a permit. Neither of which I did, $45 parking ticket.

CSUMB is a new team. UCSC is not. The point differential tells all. But the MB ladies tried hard and seemed to enjoy the day. After the game one of them said “You reffed one of my games in High School.” This sort of thing is happening more often now.

The UCSC #12, Rachelle Tanase. was amazing. Not only was she able to slot conversion kicks, she scored tries, directed traffic and was all over the field. She also choose a re-kick at least four times when a MB restart kick didn’t go ten meters. Have never seen that before.

So to recap the game, incredible pitch, blue skies and cool breeze, and two teams that liked to play rugby. Very nice day.

 

 

Date: 03/07/2015

Diablo 47 – Chico 35

Referee: Bernstein, Bruce

 

Match could have gone either way starting 24-21 (3 tries apiece) in favor off the Gaels. Each team had a back with a hat trick, Grant the fullback for the Gaels & the Mighty Oaks outside center. Both teams then scored two more converted tries in the 2nd half as both kickers were also on fire (10 tries total). The difference was 4 penalty kicks Chico surrendered mostly as time was running out.

Party at the Port Costa Warehouse was awesome & dinner across street at the Bull Valley Restaurant was even better.

 

 

Date: 03/07/2015

EPA Razorbacks 27 – EPA Bulldogs 5

Referee: Coppinger, John

 

Tight in the beginning stages, especially after a yellow card to Razorbacks #6 for high tackle at minute 4, but Razorbacks won handily in the end as Bulldogs tired in the second half and fatigue and needless penalties by Bulldogs allowed Razorbacks to pull away in front of good-size crowd for the EPA derby.

 

 

Date: 03/07/2015

Fresno State 12 – San Jose State 26

Referee: Taueva, Favor

 

No report received

 

Date: 03/07/2015

Fresno State B 0 – San Jose State B 19

Referee: Jury, Jeff

 

No report received

 

 

Date: 03/07/2015

Modesto 32 – Aptos 38

Referee: Wilson, Giles

 

The Aptos Beachdogs traveled to Turlock to play the Modesto Harlots, delayed a little by an accident which pushed back kick off by 15 minutes.

 

Both teams went back and forth in the first quarter before Modesto claimed the first two scores after a quarter of the match for a 14-0 lead. Aptos claimed a try back and the half ended at 14-5.

 

Modesto started the second half strongly with good off-loading and vision from their more experienced players building a 28-5 lead. They should have gone further ahead but a clean break around a ruck which should have been a score but was knocked on in-goal, a mistake that would haunt the home side.

 

As Modesto’s older legs tired, Aptos stayed with their game plan and were able to add two scores of their own, cutting the lead to 28 – 17. Another score reduced the margin to 28 – 24. With their confidence back, Aptos maintained the pressure and Modesto struggled to respond.

 

Aptos then worked another score to take a 31 – 28 lead, leaving their tails up and confidence strong. As Modesto tried to build an attack to reagin the lead, a telegraphed pass was intercepted an 45m later Aptos were ahead 38 – 28. Modesto were able to build for a final score but ran out of time and Aptos won 38 – 32.

 

Date: 03/07/2015

Napa 54 – Mendocino 24

Referee: Bertolone, Cary

 

Warm, sunny day, again. Napa has some big boys. They took the lead, scoring 4 converted tries by the half and were up 28-12. Mendo made a game of it in the second half, with the score 40-24 for quite a while. Napa scored to more converted tries in the last 2 minutes of the game to pad the score. Final score was 54-24.

 

 

Date: 03/07/2015

Olympic Club B 52 – Stanford GSB 22

Referee: Tetler, Jen

 

For a friendly game, this was well contested and there was strong play from all sides. Olympic club opened up the scoring, but Stanford GSB came right back with a stolen pass for the try. In the first half, OC scored twice more, while Stanford got a penalty kick. The second half showed off the speed and fitness of Olympic Club, with a few more tries, but Stanford kept up their pressure, and even scored in the final minute of the game.   Good times over at Treasure Island. Thanks to Mike King for watching.

 

 

Date: 03/07/2015

Olympic Club PRP 29 – Belmont Shore PRP 43

Referee: Akroyd, Phil

 

Tied at 29 with 8 minutes to go, so not really decided to the end. O Club are becoming quite the second half team although they need to add a first half to that. They do have one of the best scrummaging tight-fives in the country and set a lot of their platform from there.

 

Belmont Shore tore the opposition apart with Mike Teo starting at full-back and then shifting to fly-half and Sinapati Uiagalelei on the right wing being pretty impossible to stop.

 

Nice game overall and some great rugby on show. Good to see that games at the bottom of the table are still high in quality.

 

 

Date: 03/07/2015

Pacific 70 – Sierra College 24

Referee: Hosley, David

 

Hot day, allowed two extra minus at half for hydration.

Sierra Coach didn’t have paperwork so nothing to sign. Someone else with the club does that task and he didn’t before going out of town.

 

 

Date: 03/07/2015

Sacramento Amazons 41 – SFGG Women 31

Referee: Tiatia, Nome

 

No report received

 

 

Date: 03/07/2015

Sacramento Lions 29 – SFGG 27

Referee: Wilson, Dan

 

Beautiful day in Sacramento. The Lions took advantage of the wide field in the first minute of the game by quickly swinging the ball to their winger who was able to turn the corner and dot down a converted try. The Lions pushed again into the try zone with an unconverted try in the 5th minute. SFGG’s fly half, Mike, put them on the board with penalty kicks in both the 11th and 15th minute. Even through the Lions were able to put in two more tries, one converted, most of the first half was controlled by SFGG with lapses in defense allowing Sac to score long tries. SFGG took advantage of being a man up by successfully dotting down two converted tries between the 30th and 40th minute, however, three other close scoring attempts in the half didn’t come to fruition. Halftime score: Sac Lions 24 – SFGG 20

 

The second half was a slug fest and seesaw battle. Each team had opportunities to score with long runs, breaks and great support play. While the Lions were down to 14 men due to dangerous play, SFGG was able to dot down a converted try and take the lead. Just like the first half, each team pushed close to the try line coming away empty. The Lions were able to create a fast break which resulted in a converted try in the 36th minute taking the lead back by just 2 points. The game wasn’t in the bag for the Lions until the final whistle blew. Final score: Sac Lions 29 – SFGG 27.

 

 

Date: 03/07/2015

Sacramento State Women 62 – SF Bats 15

Referee: Baker, Eugene

 

Beautiful spring weather and a hardpan pitch greeted me this morning at CSU Sacramento for a refreshingly early 11am kickoff. It was Senior Day for Sac State Women; Seniors playing their last home match were honored and given roses before kickoff. Opposing the Hornets would be the USF/San Francisco State combination known as the BATS – Bay Area Touring Side – A moniker used decades ago by a bunch of tournament-hopping vagabonds whom I remember fondly…

 

Sac State had control of the match from the opening kickoff. More physical, faster and more skilled, they imposed their will upon the visitors from San Francisco. Their forwards overpowered the BATS and CSUS had ball possession, which led to field position, which led to tries – for the first forty minutes, which resulted in a bruising 40-5 score in favor of the hosts at halftime.

 

The plucky BATS who played all day with only 15 bodies and no subs never shied away from contact, and made the second half much more competitive (22-10 Sac State) for a final tally of 62-15 as the Hornets closed out their home slate and CSUS seniors went out with a home win.

 

 

Date: 03/07/2015

San Jose Seahawks B 7 – Fresno B 22

Referee: Simko, Paul

 

Another 10’s game that had 15 minutes halves. Neil coached me this game. Fresno had 4 tries with one conversion (and it was an ugly drop that just looped over the bar). The Seahawks squandered opportunities.

 

 

Date: 03/07/2015

Santa Clara Women 10 – UNR Women 76

Referee: Smith, Pete

 

I have reffed the Santa Clara women’s team a few times recently and know that they have a strong team, so when you look at 76-10 as your final score know that is because UN Reno has a VERY GOOD team. They have talent all over the field with sure fire All American at center, one of the best collegiate kickers around and can play you hard up front or fast outside. This a COMPLETE team. Assuming they don’t have a total exodus of players, this is a team that should be competing at the next level. It was a comprehensive performance using every player at their disposal and a well earned victory. Look for them to go deep in the playoffs.

 

 

Date: 03/07/2015

SFGG PRP 22 – Santa Monica PRP 22

Referee: O’Neil, George

 

No report received

 

 

Date: 03/07/2015

Sierra Foothills 75 – SF Fog 19

Referee: Franzoia, Tom

 

This match was played with a fun spirited attitude and commradiere. Sierra struck first and often in taking a 30 – 12 lead into the second half where they continued their dominance. The Fog gave it a good try but were no match with the game played on their half the most of the game. Sierra did away with the hamburgers and provided all with a pork bbq and beverages to quench the thirst on a hot day in Lincoln at Joiner Park.

 

 

Date: 03/07/2015

South Valley 33 – Silicon Valley 32

Referee: Pescetti, David

 

It’s always a tough day when SVR plays SVR. Going into the match I anticipated SVR coming on top. But what a back and forth match. It was exciting from start to finish.

 

The match started off with southern sprinting out to a quick 15 – 0 lead. Based on those first twenty minutes you would have thought southern was going to take this match easily. Not so fast said silicon. They were able to capitalize on a few mistakes and some hard running to pull this match even at half time. It was 15 a piece under the blistering San Juan Bautista sun.

 

The second half was brutal. It was hot. Everyone was tired. And the match pounded on. Scores were answered with scores. It was neck a neck. The difference was the kicking game. While each team was only able to complete a single conversion, but southern chose to go for two penalty kicks in the second half. Silicon had their own chance to take a penalty kick, wanted but changed their mind and kicked for touch. With under ten minutes to go in the match southern was leading by a single point. The match ended with southern still up by that single heart breaking point.

 

Date: 03/07/2015

St. Mary’s College Women 0 – Humboldt State Women 81

Referee: Ricard, Bruce

 

Saint Mary’s fought well and never gave up, but was never in a position to score points. Humboldt scored 15 tries.

 

Date: 03/07/2015

UC Davis 61 – Sacramento State 5

Referee: Hinkin, James

 

Pelicanland produced another postcard last Saturday as I added to my windshield’s collection of Central California’s low-flying insects on my way to Davis.   Rolling onto campus at 12:00 with a sizable crowd already cheering on the women’s match I paused to take in the atmosphere of college rugby on a (nearly) spring day.   Life doesn’t get much better than that.   One of the reasons I took up the whistle after laying down the boots was to stay involved in rugby and one of the great side benefits is that you stay connected with the community.   Just about every week I run into an old friend, coach, teammate or opponent and chat about life, the universe and everything (42). Often this requires beer, but not always.   This week I had the privilege or running into Steve Gray, who I first met while enjoying my cup of coffee at the USA 7s Eagle Camp.   He always seemed like he was fitter than me then – and I was pretty damn fit then – but now I’m not going to bother asking the question.

 

Both teams were ready to go and, if possible, more prepared than your humble correspondent.   I brought a set of radios and offered one to each coach so they can listen to me as I talk to the players.   The Sac St coaches looked confused and wondered how to incorporate this as they already had radios that they would use to communicate amongst themselves.   This is not your grandpappy’s rugby.

 

The game started bright and fast with both sides running hard and tackling with abandon.   To be fair, there really isn’t much to write about. UC Davis had an advantage with size and speed and used it to score points, but Sac St was just as determined and tenacious but didn’t have the finishing edge.

 

I think I talked to the captains twice; once to both captains to explain why there had been no off side penalties so far (both teams were disciplined and both teams rarely committed to a ruck, thus no off side line) and once to Davis for a not 10 penalty.

 

That’s it.   It was the cleanest, hardest, most fun game I have refereed in longer than I can remember.   It was a joy to be a part of, really. Even as the score tilted away from Sac St they played hard, clean, disciplined rugby and were rewarded with a well deserved try late in the game.   Both captains were gracious after the game and should be proud of their teams.

 

Date: 03/07/2015

UC Davis Women 29 – Cal Women 5

Referee: Bailey, Andrew

 

No report received

 

 

Date: 03/07/2015

Vacaville 26 – Life West 87

Referee: Bretz, Paul

 

Life looks to be the cream of the crop in Division 2 moving into the playoffs. This week Life worked incredibly hard to change the culture of the club on the pitch. The captain did a phenomenal job of managing his players so the referee didn’t have to. At one point in the game a player was told to release the ball at tackle, mind you only one time, by the referee, and the captain reiterated what was asked.   Pleasure to referee the game.

 

 

Date: 03/08/2015

Fresno State Women 0 – Humboldt State Women 118

Referee: Franzoia, Tom

 

The teams arrived at Danny Nunn Park, Fresno in a charter bus and Humboldt in team vans after their two game set at St. Mary’s the day before. Humboldt scored on the their first possession within the first minute and then again every three minutes for an 88 – 0 halftime advantage. The second half provided Humboldt with 6 additional trys and a conversion for an agreed upon shorter half.

 

Danny Nunn park is in terrible condition, hard ground and large patches of dirt, lack of mowing what grass is there, made it difficult to see any of the lines. The flags were the guideposts and the home team had to supply them! We can do better than this!

 

This Week’s Photo

A coach for UC Davis Women took charge of a scrimmage against Cal and has mastered the first rule of refereeing:   When both teams are wearing the same color, you should wear that color as well.

Blue on Blue on Blue

 

 

Hail, Pelicus!

For the Senate

Pelicus Pedem Referre

The Toughest Job In Rugby

HAIL PELICUS!

 

The Toughest Job In Rugby

 

If you ask people who think the toughest job in rugby is and you will get a wide variety of answers.   Forwards always say they have the toughest job, especially the props who think a rugby match is merely a framework to allow them to scrummage.   Score is largely irrelevant to them as long as they can “win” the scrum.   Of course, we all know that is nonsense as putting your head down and pushing for a few seconds is usually followed by a slow, sedate walk to the next set piece so how hard can that be?   Occasionally the play will unfortunately circle around close enough that they can lean on a ruck or carry a ball for a few tortured steps, but that is largely to be avoided.   Backs, of course, claim to have the toughest job in rugby as not only do they have to be fit and fast, covering the entire field with their ability to run, pass and kick, but they also need to think and read the game. There is careful science involved in the decision making a backline does and when it is done correctly and at pace it makes rugby look easy, which is a very hard thing to do.

 

While I was fully invested in the superiority of the back line as a player it is nothing compared to the difficulty of refereeing.   Unless you are doing a televised match, you are probably going to be out on your own with a couple of half-interested flag wavers from each team to help you decide if the ball has gone into touch or through the uprights. Everything else is on you and a referee has to make hundreds of decisions in a match – often several at once.   For example, at a scrum, the referee must keep one eye on the player’s binds, one eye on the scrumhalf’s feed, one eye on the backlines, one eye on the defensive scrumhalf, one eye on the flankers itching to unbind, one eye on the front row and, of course, one eye on the ball. You very quickly run out of eyes, yet at the next scrum someone will invariably ask you to “watch their loosehead” or something similar.   A player who gets involved with possibly 10 situations and knocks on twice will without fail complain when you miss one call out of the 100 decisions you make… but try explaining his 20% failure rate against your 1% failure rate.

 

Even with all of that, refereeing is not the toughest job in rugby. That honor goes to the referee assigner, who in Northern California is our own Pelicus Fistulator, Pete Smith.   The constant need to juggle matches vs referees, who is available, who is proficient enough to do which match, who cannot travel beyond a certain radius, who is only available at certain times, who needs to be watched or evaluated, where can a coach/evaluator travel to, and so on and so forth.   This list and other factors are all considered as a schedule is put together and assignments are made… and then comes part 2: reassignments.   Referees beg off due to illness or injury, games get cancelled, games get added, games get moved, matches are declined because a forgotten conflict arises, referees get called in to work or have to travel for work.   The constant stream of reassignments makes this a full time job.   Last week, knowing that I had travelled to Humboldt the previous week, I was assigned to as local a match as possible at Santa Clara where I could ref their women and then bask in the glory that is USA’s #1 Rated Referee, Pelicus ex Selan as he did the men’s match.   Of course, that didn’t last as something changed and I was moved to the D1 match in Fresno.   Something changed again and I was moved to a D2 match in Chico.   That match was moved to Sunday so I was reassigned to SFGG for the B side.   Finally, on Friday morning, a referee got ill – hospital worthy ill – and I was reassigned to cover the game at Cal St Monterey Bay.   For those of you counting at home that is 5 assignments in one week and while it is a bit high, I rarely referee the match I am originally assigned to.   Knowing that you can please some of the people all of the time and all of the people some of the time, pleasing all of the people all of the time is, as the great A. Lincoln noted, an impossible job.   In fact, some days it seems like you can please none of the people all of the time.

 

So why do we do it? Why do we referee this mad group of ignorant whiners?   Why does Pelicus Fistulator put up with all of the grief? Because we love the game. Because we were once one of those ignorant whiners and know what they are going through. Because we are mentally replaying our glory days and thinking that we would have easily sidestepped that defender and scored.   Because there is nothing more beautiful that a fast paced match where people forget there is even a referee there.

 

On second thought, explaining that to non-ruggers may be the toughest job in rugby.

 

Time to step up!

 

Time is running out to get those brownie points!

 

For the past two weeks we here at Hail Pelicus extolled the virtues of the Northern California Referee Exchange program and how travelling to other unions and even countries to referee rugby is one of the great advantages of being part of this society.   So for nobody has raised a wing to host our far-flung future friend.   Alliteration aside, this is an opportunity not to be missed as I have great friends whom I have met while both hosting and being hosted.

 

Time to look deep inside, make a few concessions with the SO and open up your home to incoming Virginia referee Patrick Benner, who will be here on March 28 and will partake in the tournament at Napa. We do not want to sully the immaculate reputation of Northern California as the best destination in the USA.   If interested contact Bjorn Stumer at bstumer@att.net.

 

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 Joe Sixpack of Cordelia Junction, CA, who asks:

 

“I ARd a fantastic match between the Inner City Frognoodles and the North State Buttscratchers last weekend.   What a match!  The problem is that I keep getting a message from assignr to submit a match report.   Should I?”

 

Thanks Joe, and the answer is simple: NO! Even if the assigned referee has not done so yet, the answer is NO.

 

If you are an AR, a Referee Coach, a Performance Reviewer or any other kind of semi-interested observer you should ignore the messages from assignr.  Yes, it is a small pain but we can’t turn it off.

 

ONLY the referee should fill in the score and enter a thoughtful, spell checked match report as that prevents confusion and duplication in our game tracking system as well as the much admired match report section below.

 

EDITOR’S NOTE:   Seriously people, it is great that you are posting the match reports and we all love reading them but spell check is a thing these days.

 

Irish Rugby TV: Concussion Guidelines For Referees

Here is a video sent from our friend and former Pelican and Irish international referee Tony Redmond:

https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=05RdFrv_FO4

 

This video has some good pointers on recognizing and dealing with suspected concussions. Not all of us will adjudicate a match with a trainer who is certified to diagnose concussions so recognizing these signs and symptoms can be vital. When it comes to safety, always err on the side of caution. If you suspect a concussion but do not have a trainer or doctor available, then remove the player and do not let them continue.   Permanent brain damage or worse is not something that we need to mess around with.

 

March Society Meeting

 

This month’s meeting will be held March 18th 7:00 PM @ the SFGG Clubhouse on Treasure Island.   For our meeting we will be discussing:

  • Game Knowledge (Matt Eason)
  • Lineout Start to Finish (James Hinkin)

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.

 

 

 

On To The Game Reports!

 

Date: 02/25/2015

Cal Maritime 62 – California 16

Referee: Tiatia, Nome

 

No report received

 

EDITOR’S NOTE:   Is this score accurate?   I feel I would have heard if Cal lost by 50 – even their freshman team.

 

Date: 02/28/2015

Aptos 7 – Silicon Valley 20

Referee: Bernstein, Bruce

 

About the first match where the team with more players & a better scrum lost.

If it weren’t for a high kick Aptos fullback took on his one meter line & had to let it go when he got tackled & 2 Silicon Valley players were ready when he let it go to score; & on one of the many times Aptos pushed Silly Valley’s scrum back their Fijian #8 picked up one of the also many times & elusively ran in from about 50 meters out.

Other highlights were Hwy 1 in both directions & stopping to check out the view; seeing some old Santa Cruz ruggers like Scotty Carson, Charlie, Larry & their coaches Vaughan, Stevie Ball & Mark; great party at Appleton Bar & Grill in downtown Watsonville with a great spread, drinks & party room; & a 5 minute period play continued without a whistle or stoppage as could be seen on the Go Pro/Youtube for Aptos, Avoidus Whistle

 

Date: 02/28/2015

Berkeley 24 – Sacramento Capitals 59

Referee: Valerio, Stephen

 

My first time at Tillman Park, tucked into the middle of suburbia in Alameda. The pitch had a mishmash of gold and yellow lines, but Saturday was clearly rugby day with high school matches bracketing Berkeley and the Caps A and B-side matches. We played under beautiful skies as I managed to keep the rain from coming down until after the match. The long drive for the Caps didn’t seem to bother them as they struck quickly and hard building up a 31-5 halftime lead. While they had a large pack, they weren’t afraid to spin it wide and their centers did some damage. However, their forwards showed good ball-handling skills. They then opened up the second half with another quick score and looked like they would be off to the races. However, their pace slackened as they made some subs and Berkeley was able to put some scores over as the rest of the second half was a more balanced, if sloppy affair. Berkeley picked up a try on the final whistle, but the stronger Cap side took the match.

 

 

Date: 02/28/2015

California 82 – Utah 5

Referee: Akroyd, Phil

 

A great day for Cal’s homecoming. Weather was great, excellent crowd and perfect atmosphere. Cal really tore it up and were too much for Utah for the entire game. Good to see some Sac Valley Youth Rugby products leading the way in one of the country’s leading rugby programs.

 

Date: 02/28/2015

Colusa 62 – Mendocino 22

Referee: Pohlman, John

 

Colusa hospitality is wonderful. If you get an opportunity to do one of their home games make sure you go to the social for some of Smokeys bar-b-cue chicken. Great post match meal with adult beverages.

This was a good, fun, hard hitting game. Both teams had one serious injury. Captain Cody #10 had a rib injury and #15 for Mendocino went off with a concussion. Otherwise a clean hard rugby played by two good D-3 clubs. Colusa’s #8 Matt Huffman scored a couple of trys to earn forward of the match. Colusa #12 Lukas Polit scored and set up a couple of trys with some hard charging runs, for back of the day.

First half score Colusa 29 Mendo 10.

 

Second half Mendocino slowed from all the physical play. Colusa just keeps coming at you.

Thanks for the hospitality. Smokey my wife loved the smoked barbecue chicken you sent me home with.

 

Date: 02/28/2015

CSUMB 33 – Pacific 31

Referee: Hinkin, James

 

Northern California showed its whimsical side when it comes to weather this past weekend.   A lovely day for a drive down to Monterey was interrupted with short intervals of heavy, slashing rain that splattered hugely on my windshield as I drove merrily along.   When I arrived on campus at California State University, Monterey Bay the rain had stopped and the sun was doing its best to make up for the poor manners of those pesky rainclouds. I know we badly need rain here but is it too much to ask to not rain on my rugby?   I parked in the designated parking lot and then walked across a rather large and empty parking lot that sits adjacent to the field. (Why is this lot not being used?   I asked and received a rather apologetic and vague reply about it not being ready that ended with a shrug and “It’sFort Ord. What can you do?”)   This was my first time at CSUMB and the field itself is wonderful with goalposts and perfectly drawn lines – one of the many class venues that are cropping up at colleges across the region.

 

After putting my bags down and having a nice chat with Larry Freitas who had just finished the women’s game I scoped out the teams. CSUMB were eagerly warming up and engaging in the vaguely rugby related activities that teams do as they start to prepare while UoP seemed to be a little short of numbers.   The coach admitted that many of their players were late arriving and he hoped to have the full squad before the match kicked off.   It was now a waiting game to see who would win the race – the players or the kickoff.

 

It turned out to be a tie, really.   The match was delayed about 10 minutes with the full support of the CSUMB captain and UoP were able to start with a full side and the last remaining stragglers arriving at the pitch.   This may have contributed to the fast start by the Otters as 10 minutes in Pacific were penalized near midfield and the alert scrumhalf tapped quickly and took off completely unnoticed by the Tiger defense as they had all turned their backs to the ball when retreating 10 meters.   The centered try was dutifully converted by the Otter’s flyhalf (English, I think?) who has a very unusual, yet very effective kicking style.   CSUMB were able to get 2 more converted tries on the board before UoP rallied back with one of their own after the Monterey #13 was sin binned for repeated team infringements.   With the score 21-7 and the teams back at full strength UoP started really pressing hard with several very clever sniping runs from their scrumhalf.   A kick over the top led to a Keystone Kops routine by the CSUMB back three as they didn’t seem to want to clear the ball and were eventually forced back into their own try zone for a 5 meter scrum.   UoP won their feed and drove for the line only to be held up in goal – another 5 meter scrum.   CSUMB defended well for the next several minutes but eventually gave up a try that went unconverted.   The break saw the score at 21-12 to the home side.

 

The second half continues the theme of the first half with back and forth action from both sides.   The UoP scrumhalf continued to find gaps on the fringes and whenever the Monterey fullback touched the ball he would take off on long, mazey runs through the defense.   Tries were exchanged with CSUMB getting 2 of them (and one conversion finally missed) while UoP matched them exactly.   With time running out Pacific was down by 9 and threw everything they had at the Otters.   The pressure finally told and a try was well and truly earned but the steady ticking of the clock meant that the conversion was the final act and an exciting game ended 33-31 to the relieved home side.     The weather priestess, after making sure that the rugby match was uninterrupted by precipitation relaxed a bit and allowed another brief, yet intense, shower on the way home.

 

Date: 02/28/2015

CSUMB Women 5 – Sacramento State Women 93

Referee: Freitas, Larry

 

Finally a game in cold and wet conditions. As I left Aptos it was partly cloudy, but the skies were very gray to the south, and sure enough by Moss Landing it was raining. The field at CSUMB is available rain or shine, unlike some other venues (I won’t mention the schools, but jeez, grass does grow back). It rained a bit during the game, but by the end of the match the sun was shining, though it was in the mid-50’s with a breeze blowing in from the ocean nearby. No one player got their kit too muddy, and the grass wasn’t torn up much by play. I also have taken to wearing Adidas “turf” Mundial Team boots the last two games I’ve reffed. They worked fine on a slick pitch, but I had my Copa Mundials in my bag just in case I didn’t get traction. Regarding the cold, some players were smart enough to have long sleeve tight shirts underneath, but I have to wonder why some of these newfangled tight-wearing polyester rugby shirts aren’t made with long sleeves. Having half a dozen amongst a team set of jerseys might be worthwhile for colder days.

 

Sacramento State has one of the better women’s university sides, and within a few minutes they had the first of many tries scored, some from kickoffs by CSUMB, who are in their first year of a revitalized program. I was very impressed by the Hornet hooker who kicked conversions without a tee, the old school way, placing the ball upright on the grass. She made most of her attempts, some from a fair distance, and she’s all of 5’2”. Sacramento has an ability to throw the ball around on the pitch, keeping play alive and not going to ground. I’d certainly like to see more play like that and less of these set-up static rucks which remind me of rugby league. The Otters did managed an unconverted try some ten minutes from full time, taking advantage of a turnover and avoiding being shut out.

 

Driving back toward Santa Cruz I could see that the skies were cloudy up there, and sure enough, by Watsonville, it was raining.

 

Date: 02/28/2015

Diablo 17 – Vacaville 28

Referee: Richmond, Jeff

 

Two very disciplined teams. Vacaville seemed to have better luck generating an attack out of their back line, though Diablo had a nice score from poaching a VV pass and running it 70 meters in for a try. VV chose not to contest most of the breakdowns and their stout defense kept Diablo at bay. It was a tighter affair in the second half and Diablo drew within a try before VV put it away.

 

I had some issues with “squeeze ball” and ball carriers planting themselves into the ground, not moving away after placing the ball. Otherwise, a pretty smooth match. I appreciated the conduct of both teams. First time for me on the new Cal Maritime pitch. Great conditions even with the soaking from a 10 minute cloud burst in the second half. Thanks to Mike Malone for making the trip up to give me some pointers.

 

Stuck around for an abbreviated B side match, playing 10-a-side. First time I’ve reffed 10-a-side in years and gotta brush up on the variations. A friendly affair with VV prevailing over Diablo 36-14.

 

Date: 02/28/2015

Fresno 8 – EPA Razorbacks 32

Referee: Wilson, Dan

 

There was a change in this Pelican’s schedule mid week resulting in my having another Fresno home game. The change was fortuitous since I was flying back on Friday to California from a business trip in Philly. Wait, I should have said that I was trying to fly back. Due to DFW being closed, I ended up spending Friday night in Phoenix and arrived in Fresno Saturday morning just after 9 AM.   After spending a little bit of time with the family, it was time to head to the pitch. Fresno was hosting the EPA Razorbacks only one week after hosting the EPA Bulldogs. Both Fresno and the Bulldogs teams had ample numbers and time to warm up and both looked ready for the contest. Whistle time!

EPA received the kickoff and in the 2nd minute scored a converted try by a great run from their outside center. Fresno responded with a penalty kick in the 5th minute, but the Razorbacks controlled the scoreboard the rest of the first half. They were able to put up three tries, two converted prior to halftime. Even though the score was slanted in favor of EPA, Fresno had opportunities to keep the game close but little mistakes kept cutting short the opportunities and EPA also played stout defense. Halftime score: Fresno 3 – EPA Razorbacks 24.

 

The second half was a more balanced game with great hitting and stout defense by both sides with opportunities squandered by both teams. Tempers flared a couple of times, but cooler heads quickly prevailed. Fresno had several opportunities inside the 10 meter line but repeatedly was either turned back or lost ball. EPA also had several breaks that ended in being pushed into touch inside the 5-meter line or had a knock on inside the 5. It wasn’t until the 65th minute that Fresno was able to dot down an unconverted try with several pick and goes inside the 5 meter line. EPA was also able to pounce on a misplayed ball by Fresno inside their 22-meter line by literally grabbing the bouncing ball and dotting the ball down for a converted try in the 76th minute. Fresno again pushed inside EPA’s 5 meter line several times inside the final minute but a full press defense was able to keep them out until the final whistle. Final score: Fresno 8 – EPA Razorbacks 32.

 

Date: 02/28/2015

Google 29 – Modesto 12

Referee: Ricard, Bruce

 

No report received

 

Date: 02/28/2015

Sacramento Blackhawks 48 – Baracus 38

Referee: Gordon, Preston

 

This was a very well-matched game played at Danny Nunn park in Sacramento under cloudy skies with a nice breeze to keep things cool. The scoring started early and didn’t let up, with 4 tries for each team at halftime and a number of lead changes. The Blackhawks had a 26-24 lead after converting 3 tries to Baracus’ 2.

 

The second half was more of the same, and the substitutes did not have a negative impact on the continuity of the match as they trickled in. Putting the Sacramento #17 in the sin bin for deliberately killing the ball under pressure near their own goal line may have helped ensure this.

 

Ultimately, the home team’s speed out wide kept them ahead of Baracus, who surely deserved a point or two from this game. The offloading was impressive from both sides, even if some of the more adventurous attempts led to knock-ons or outright interceptions. Of course, more than a point per minute with a pretty low penalty count isn’t a bad thing.

 

I’d like to thank Mike King for coming out to evaluate me, and for backing me up when I found that my score sheet had turned into mush. The captains of both sides were also pretty understanding about that. I didn’t catch the names of the ARs, but they were both great at their jobs too.

 

Also: I can highly recommend La Favorita Taqueria for an after-match repast. They’re located at 5940 Florin Road, on the way back to the freeway from the pitch.

 

Date: 02/28/2015

Sacramento Lions 43 – Santa Rosa 22

Referee: Lew, Tim

 

On the hard Sacramento grounds at Robla field, Sac Lions hosted Santa Rosa. Both teams went in 3-2 with the winner deciding #2 in NorCal standings at the halfway point. Both teams traded points in the first few minutes but Sac Lions ended up winning the loose game in the end. Santa Rosa gave up a number of easy tries of knock ons or bad untimely passes. Santa Rosa ended up scoring 4 tries at the end of the game to collect a bonus point.

 

 

Date: 02/28/2015

Sacramento State 92 – SF State 7

Referee: Carney, Mark

 

No report received

 

 

Date: 02/28/2015

Sacramento State B 76 – SF State B 15

Referee: Rauscher, Eric

 

The B side game was pretty much a mirror of the A side. SF State played as hard as they could, but just could not match Sac States’ skills or depth in players. We played three 20 min periods and called it a day.

 

 

Date: 02/28/2015

San Jose State 5 – Stanford 53

Referee: Lane, John

 

As I concluded the B-side game Dave Williamson came out and asked if I could do the pre-match prep of the A-side as the assigned ref had been delayed due to traffic issues from an earlier game. Boot check and coin toss completed there was pressure to get the game started with the overall program of games to remain on schedule as it was Parents Weekend in Stanford and the Seniors were being presented to the crowd between the Men’s and Women’s A games.

 

We started a few minutes late but both sides made up for the delay with a fast open game. After some early fringing near the breakdown both teams reacted well to my communication. Stanford looking the fitter team overall started fast scoring on 3 and 6 minutes with the first converted for an early 12-0 lead. SJ State got into the game after this and the next 10 to 15 minutes were fairly even with both sides gaining field position but either solid defense or handling errors created turn overs allowing the defending team to relieve the pressure. On 20 minutes Stanford took control of the game with a converted try after multiple recycles. (19-0) The Stanford scrum was also starting to dominate and this kept SJ State under pressure even when in possession.

 

SJ State had their most dominate phase of play for the next 5 minutes and worked good field possession and reducing unforced errors the crossed on the left for a good score on 27 minutes. Unconverted. (19-5) This stirred Stanford who were being cheered on by a sizeable home crowd and the scored again on 34 minutes with the conversion bringing the score to 26-5. This is how it stood at half-time.

 

At half time it had been decided with the coaches to not change ref’s as the match was a league game.

 

The second half continued with Stanford being on top and extending their lead to 31-5 with an unconverted try on 8 minutes. Both sides started to infringe at the breakdown with SJ State guilty of not rolling away and Stanford of hands in the ruck on a number of occasions. Having spoken to both captains that their teams needed to keep their discipline at the breakdown both sides failed to do so and each had a player yellow carded for repeated infringements on 14 mins for Stanford and 16.30 for SJ State.

 

Down to 14 the game became even more open and this was to Stanfords benefit who score on 18 and 21 (converted) minutes to stretch the lead to 43-5. With both sides back to 15 Stanford continued to dominate and the subs bench was used extensively by each team as players tired in the now sunny afternoon.

 

Two more unconverted tries on 30 and 37 minutes brought the final score to 53-5 which is how the game ended to loud cheers from the Stanford home crowd!!!

 

 

Date: 02/28/2015

San Jose State B 5 – Stanford B 34

Referee: Lane, John

 

Arriving to Steuber Field at 10:30 the B teams were just starting to drift onto the field for their pre-game warm-up. Some discussion with both coaches and the two captains brought an agreement that the game would be played at 13-a-side at 25 minutes per half.

 

The game started with both sides playing open rugby – Stanford had the better of the early exchanges but San Jose State managed to scramble in defense and a number of knock-ons by Stanford gave possession back to SJ State to relief pressure and gain some field position.

 

On 8 minutes a strong tackle by Stanford on half way created a turnover and the ball was passed quickly right to left with Stanford breaking a tackle inside the 22 to score the first try. Conversion missed. 5-0. In this play a SJ State player was injured and a long delay was necessary for attention to the player who acknowledged the crowds clapping as he was stretchered from the field. With the delay the decision was taken to shorten the game to 2×20 so as to keep the overall timetable for the 3 following games. Also with a few late arrivers the coaches agreed to restart with 14-a-side

 

On resumption, Stanford continued to dominate and scored on 11 minutes on the right. Conversion missed. 10-0. Approaching half-time SJ State put on a strong series of attacks but deep in the Stanford 22 a knock-on turned over possession and quick passing released the outside backs who scored under the posts with a successful conversion. 17-0 at half-time.

 

The second half continued with the open play of the first half and Stanford scored unconverted tries on 5 and 10 minutes for 27-0. SJ State reacted to these and dominated the next few minutes and were rewarded with a try on the left which went unconverted. 27-5. The score gave SJ State more confidence and they continued to dominate territory for the remainder of the half but the effort involved took its toll right at the end as Stanford turned over ball and moved it quickly to stretch the defense and break through scoring to the left of the posts. The successful kick was the games final act. 34-5 for Stanford.

 

 

Date: 02/28/2015

Santa Clara 17 – Cal Poly 66

Referee: Ranaweera, Aruna

 

In D1A California conference play, Santa Clara U hosted Cal Poly SLO at Bellomy Field. (Bizarrely, SCU bans chairs and Gatorade on the artificial turf field in order to protect the “sensitive eco-system”, which is the most comically misguided environmental policy I have heard in some time.) SCU started well and led 7-12 at one point before Cal Poly displayed solid structure and cohesion to assert themselves in every aspect of play, especially the scrums. Cal Poly led 28-12 at half. Much thanks to Dave Pescetti for his help as AR.

 

 

Date: 02/28/2015

Santa Clara B 14 – Cal Poly SLO B 31

Referee: Pescetti, David

 

Two very well rounded teams battled bravely under the hail storm that poured onto the pitch this day. The match began under sunny skies. It quickly turned dark and damp. Many handling issues were experienced today. The scrum was our friend. The match was tough and it reflected in the score. Cal Poly lead at half time 14 – 7. The second half Poly was able to use their physical forward play to put points on the board.

 

In the end Cal Poly stood firm in the hail 31 – Santa Clara 14.

 

 

Date: 02/28/2015

Santa Clara Women 35 – Fresno State Women 22

Referee: Pescetti, David

 

It was a hard fought match by both teams.

 

Santa Clara opened the scoring, capitalizing on a Fresno misplay. In the first half both teams used their strengths to push the ball. Fresno used their superior scrum and forward play. Santa Clara used their backs to make long runs up the sidelines. The half ended with Santa Clara 15 – 5 Fresno.

 

The second half was more open. The scoring occurred with plenty. The final under the sun in Santa Clara was: Santa Clara 35 – Frenso 22.

 

 

Date: 02/28/2015

SFGG 29 – San Jose Seahawks 20

Referee: Hettermann, Matt

 

Great weather on Treasure Island – cool, not too windy, partially cloudy but only a few rain drops.

 

First half was a tight affair, with the Seahawks racking up 4 penalty kicks to Gate’s one converted try and one PK.

 

Second half saw Gate’s athleticism take advantage of some holes in the Seahawks’ defense and put down three tries. The Seahawks scored a try toward the end of the match to pull it closer, but SFGG held on for the win.

 

Thanks to Scott for watching me and giving great feedback.

 

Date: 02/28/2015

SFGG B 43 – San Jose Seahawks B 0

Referee: Hettermann, Matt

 

With lots of guys playing their second match of the day, Gate had too much youth and speed for the Seahawks.

 

Date: 02/28/2015

Shasta 20 – Napa Valley 46

Referee: Tucker, Chris

 

After much debate, my games in Reno got nixed, and I ended up assigned up to Redding. 5 hours round trip up I-5, well let’s figure out how to make a day of it. So I rose early, ate breakfast in the car, and pulled into Redding around 10.30 to go explore.

 

8 miles later, I’d crossed the sundial bridge (note: it’s set to summer time, so it’s an hour fast), run along a beautiful section of the Sacramento river, seen the older bridges over the river, and warmed up a bit for the game (8.2 mi, 8’20” splits, 134 average HR. Perfect)

 

EDITOR’S NOTE: It is true – resetting a sundial for daylight savings time is a pain in the butt.

 

5 minute drive to the pitch, quick inspection, and we kicked off. Both teams were in good humour, listened well, and rolled away when asked. So we almost had a free flowing game. This being d3 we had a few too many knock-ons to really call it flowing, so maybe open and positive would be better.

 

Napa opened the scoring early, running up a 19-3 lead after 18 minutes based on superior back play, and I was left hoping I had brought enough score sheet to enumerate the hundred plus points they were sure to score, and rue the 330 miles driven for a blowout.

 

But then a funny thing happened, as it is wont to do in our game played in heaven, and Shasta woke up. Their scrum rose up. Their forwards drove hard. Their backs strung moves together. They answered with 3 tries of their own, and left the field UP, 20-19 at the half. And then I was shaking my head, this time at myself for mentally blowing the final whistle after only 20 minutes.

 

The second half was a little different, and much as Shasta pressed in the set piece, and much as they threatened, including forcing a yellow card by relentless recycling within the 5m, they could never quite break the goal line. Napa were more clinical with their ball, and ran in 3 more tries.

 

At the last, a dangerous tackle by a Napa centre led to a bit of handbags and a deserved yellow card. I mean EVERYONE saw the tackle and there was no doubt. So why did he front up to me and ask to speak in his defence when summoned by his captain? Who knows, I wasn’t about to give him permission to speak. Off you go now….

 

As it turned out, Shasta missed touch with the kick, and Napa returned it for the final try, 46-20.

 

Awesome fun match, both sides there for the joy of the game. And i received the highest compliment I think a ref can get. On a call against Napa early in the second stanza, game still tight, one of the Napa players told his offending team-mate “shut your pie hole, he’s calling it fair.” Thanks, that made the drive home seem half as long.

 

Date: 02/28/2015

Sonoma State 31 – Sierra College 57

Referee: Bertolone, Cary

 

After being a Pelican referee for about 10 years, I had three firsts in this game. One, I had a lightning and thunder delay for almost an hour. Two, I took a pass from the scrumhalf, in the face, from 5 meters away, and had to call interference on myself and give the ball back to the offense with a scrum and thirdly, my watch band broke, so I found myself with no watch after a try scored. I fortunately had a back up in my kit, guessed on the time, until I found my original watch 10 minutes later, on the field.

Sierra came out on fire and scored 4 tries to none in the first 13 minutes. The Sonoma State trainer came out on the field and said we should stop the game because of lightning. I conferred with the Sierra coaches, Jim and Jay and they agreed to take a break, so we took to the Redwood trees and the three tents to wait out the down pour. The thunder and lightning did get worse, really bad, so all of the non-believers were convinced the rain/lightning stoppage was appropriate. An hour later, after everyone had warmed up from the flashflood, hail, etc., we commenced. Sonoma State failed to mark Sierra’s backs and Sierra scored two more tries before half, taking a 32-3 lead at half. The second half began with another Sierra try at the 2 minute mark. Sonoma finally scored a try and one minute later, Sierra scored again. Who’s making their tackles; not Sonoma State on this Saturday. Sonoma State did score three converted tries in a row to close the scoring to 31-42, but Sierra finished the game with three more tries. They had 11 tries with only one conversion, so for the second game I had in 18 hours, a coach asked me for pointers and I answered with the same advice, “ maybe work with your kicker for points”.

 

Date: 02/28/2015

St. Mary’s College 28 – BYU 32

Referee: O’Neil, George

 

No report received

 

 

Date: 02/28/2015

Stanford Women 62 – Cal Women 5

Referee: Bryant, Lee

 

No report received

 

 

Date: 02/28/2015

Stanford Women B 38 – Cal Women B 0

Referee: Simko, Paul

 

Second straight rainbow game at Stanford. Stanford A’s beat up Cal A’s, so Cal was short players in the second game. I think Cal played better than the score and came close to scoring tries on a few occasions, unfortunately they did not convert. Stanford scored 7 tries and converted 4. Scrums were uncontested because of a new front row player on Cal.

 

 

Date: 02/28/2015

UC Davis Women 40 – Chico Women 14

Referee: Hosley, David

 

Nothing unusual.

 

EDITOR’s NOTE:   This is the kind of match analysis that makes Hail Pelicus so widely read.

 

 

Date: 02/28/2015

UC Davis Women B 29 – Chico Women B 5

Referee: Franzoia, Tom

 

These two teams brought energy to the match despite Chico having to borrow 7 willing players. Davis was keen to the ball and poached often. Chico parlayed a late game poach for their only try of the game in the last minute.

 

 

Date: 02/28/2015

UNR Women 0 – St. Mary’s College Women 0

Referee: Crawley, Blake

 

There was a bit of snowy weather over the pass this weekend and the St. Mary’s team canceled. The UNR women’s coach told me they canceled, not forfeited, as he hoped to reschedule the match. This time, I got plenty of advance notice and updates. Good on UNR.

 

 

Date: 02/28/2015

USF 15 – Humboldt State 7

Referee: Coppinger, John

 

This was a good match between two enthusiastic sides keen to physically challenge each other. On the day, USF was stronger in the set piece, which gave a good attacking ball to a back line that was better organized than Humboldt State’s backs. The USF backs ran good lines and featured good tactical kicking from flyhalf Joe Ryan to score three tries and win the match handily. HSU battled to the end and scored a converted try at almost full time.

 

 

Date: 03/01/2015

Chico 0 – Life West 94

Referee: Taueva, Favor

 

3/01 Good day for rugby. Chico did show up with the expectations to win the game and that will be a shock wave though out our itinerary and will give other men’s D2 hope for their season. As a ref perspective. Life West is too good to lose. Only 64 minutes game. Both captains decided to end the game earlier.

Thanks to both club for a wonderful rugby day. Loved it.

 

 

Date: 03/01/2015

UNR 52 – UC Santa Cruz 17

Referee: Wilkening, Russ

 

It was close at half-time, with the home side ahead by a score of 12-5. In the second half, UCSC could not keep up and missed a ton of tackles. On some breaks better than six players missed tackles that led to tries.

The game was played in good spirit. One noteworthy moment came when I heard “SIR! He kicked the ball in the ruck! That’s illegal!” I heard a couple of his teammates murmur in agreement. The player who played the ball was bound in the ruck and on his feet. This caused some confusion as he wasn’t a scrumhalf. After defining the ruck at the next stop in play, and describing what was allowed, there were many more balls played out of a ruck , and quickly, by enterprising ruggers of both sides eager to explore this new tactic. Some were tactically sound decisions, others were not, but the quick application of new knowledge was fun to see.

 

Also noteworthy were the six or so very kickable penalties that had no kicks taken for points. These two teams really wanted to run.

 

It was a fun match to be a part of.

 

UNR- 8 tries with 6 converted for   52 points

UCSC- 3 tries with 1 converted for   17 points

 

 

Date: 03/01/2015

UNR B 66 – UCSC B 15

Referee: Crawley, Blake

 

Mostly fast paced match played under cool but pretty much ideal conditions. The first half was a contest, ending with UNR holding a 26-15 edge but the UCSC side faded in the abbreviated second half and conceded 40 points. The best part for the referee is the players kept about the business of playing rugby and the match was remarkable for the lack of chirping.

 

 

This Week’s Photo

As reported by Larry Freitas in last week’s Hail Pelicus, UC Santa Cruz Women’s Rugby honored their seniors with banana slug cut outs.   A high honor, indeed.

Senior Slugs

Hail, Pelicus!

For the Senate

Pelicus Pedem Referre