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The Most Significant Game Of The Year

HAIL PELICUS!

 

The Most Significant Game Of The Year

 

Ave Maria!

The Most Significant Game Of The Year in American rugby took place in Moraga last Saturday when St Mary’s took on and conquered Cal. The previous statement is not hyperbole and in fact may be a bit understated – this may have been the most significant game of the Decade. This game did not decide any championship. This game did not count towards any league standings and was, in fact, a “friendly” as if there was anything friendly about the contest. Respect, yes – tons of it. I would not be surprised if many of the participants were friends before the match or will become friends later on, but on the day and on the field this was a hard hitting game of rugby whose quality the USA has not produced very often at any level. But why is this match so significant? Cal, for all its years of dominance, has lost domestic games before and recently as well. BYU has been a thorn in their side pushing the Golden Bears and taking last year’s Varsity Cup with a thrilling finish. Stanford had a memorable win in the 90s in league play and Cal Poly beat Cal in SLO last year. This is, in fact, not the first time St Mary’s has beaten Cal. Why, again, is this single match The Most Significant Game Of The Year?

 

Because BYU is a regional power that draws on a completely separate pool of players. Because Stanford lost to Cal in the National Championship that year and Cal Poly was swept aside this year when the two programs met. As impressive as those wins were they were one-off wins and the respective teams have not threatened since. St Mary’s operates in Cal’s back yard and competes for the same players. St Mary’s has been playing Cal very close for some time now (this is in fact their second win in three years) with multiple undergrad classes cycling through and no, indeed, they did not nip them at the finish with a last minute play, but handled them from the start, getting out to a 21-3 lead and winning 55-31. This is not a fluke nor is this a case where Cal has dropped their level, but where the Gaels have risen and THAT is what is so significant.

 

For too many years Cal was the unbeatable, untouchable champion that nobody could compete with because they had the most money, the best players, the refs favored them, *insert excuse here*… but now a challenger has risen up and vanquished the eternal champion, not like Bard with his lucky arrow killing Smaug with a million to one shot (because as we all know and Terry Pratchett verified, the million to one shot comes up 9 times out of 10), but with a solid foundation built up over years. A program designed to play good, solid, fundamental and exciting rugby. This is a team that can face down Cal on their own terms and not be intimidated.

 

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.

 

A league that is dominated by one team is unhealthy and I bet that if you ask Cal’s alumni, players and coaches they will agree. Competition is a good thing and not only will St Mary’s benefit from this win but Cal will too, knowing that they now need to raise their game. Coaches Jack Clark and Tim O’Brien are too smart to not use this as a learning and motivational tool and now other programs around Pelicanland as well as the rest of the country can take note, realizing that there is a path to the promised land and St Mary’s showed them the way. These programs will get better and produce better players and that will in turn raise the level of club rugby and, by extension, all rugby in the US, including the Eagles.

 

And it all came together on one perfect, sunny afternoon for the Most Significant Game Of The Year.

 

And now on to the games…

 

Please remember when filling out your match reports on assignr, IF YOU ARE NOT THE REFEREE DO NOT CREATE A REPORT. The report section of assignr is for the match summaries that are below and if multiple people report a single game this gets confusing.

 

Date: 04/05/2014

St. Mary’s College 55 –

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Cal 31

Referee: Bretz, Paul

 

Thanks to Robert and Peter for being excellent ARs in the fast, entertaining example of college rugby. Saint Mary’s defense was too strong for Cal and forced the bears to kick. Several kicks were countered and led to exciting scores.

 

 

Date: 04/05/2014

St. Mary’s College B 17 – Cal B 36

Referee: Kenny, Stephen

 

The atmosphere for this match up was electric. Driving into Saint Mary’s College I quickly noticed this was going to be a showcase event. Cars were lined along the side of the road a mile in either direction of the campus. The A side match was a beauty, which saw the freelance play of SMC out gun the disciplined play of Cal. The speed with which these two college clubs play is unrivaled anywhere in California, and was on display in their second sides as well. Cal opened up the scoring with a 5-meter line out and drive, this would prove to set the tone for the remainder of the match. Cal took the lead and would not relinquish it for the rest of the match, closing out the first half with a four try advantage. The Cal pack were dominate in all set pieces and did well to contest or steal possession in the rucks. Saint Mary’s opportunistic play that was in pure form in the first match would show up late in the second half. A rare mishandling by a Cal back close to the half way line took a fortuitous bounce into the hands of a Saint Mary’s defender and like being shot from a gun he was away for the try. Saint Mary’s would run in two more scores much in the same fashion as the first, but Cal was up to the task running in two more of their own to disperse any chance of a comeback. Final score SMC 17 – Cal 36.

 

 

Date: 04/05/2014

SFGG PRP 41 – Belmont Shore 24

Referee: Ranaweera, Aruna

 

Sunny 65F degrees at Treasure Island for an important matchup between the 2nd and 3rd placed teams in the Pacific Rugby Premiership (PRP). The 2013 Elite Cup champs beat the 2012 D1 national champs (from Long Beach) relatively easily, 6 tries to 3. The East Bay English All-Stars, Phil Ackroyd and Giles Wilson, did a nice job as AR’s.

 

 

Date: 04/05/2014

Aptos 10 – Reno Zephyrs 37

Referee: Jury, Jeff

 

A beautiful day in Watsonville greeted players and ref. I would especially like to thank the farmer for clearing the pasture we ran on that day. The first half was a special test of wills with good running, hitting and a couple clever kicks leaving the score even at half, 10 all. The second half maintained the same intensity, but the will was all Reno with the game ending 10-37 to the visitors.

 

 

Date: 04/05/2014

Cal Poly 36 – Sacramento State 10

Referee: Crenshaw, Jim

 

Cal Poly led 12 to 10 at half, but 4 unanswered tries in the second sealed the win for them.

 

 

Date: 04/05/2014

Cal Poly SLO B 20 – Sacramento State B 12

Referee: Richmond, Jeff

 

A very spirited match with Sac State not giving an inch to Cal Poly. It was a pretty day in SLO with a stiff cross wind coming up the valley. Cal Poly showed better rugby form with quick ball out of the tackles and rucks. Sac State had a couple of speedsters in their back line but weren’t able to utilize them much. Good ball control by Cal Poly and disciplined play ultimately gave them the advantage.

 

 

Date: 04/05/2014

California Women 69 – Oregon State Women 5

Referee: MacDonald, Neil

 

Cal 69 – Oregon State 5 (Half time: 31-0)

 

Oregon State were outmatched in this contest, with Cal running in five unanswered tries in the first half, and another six in the second, before Oregon State finally earned a reward for their determination and profited from Cal indiscipline, driving in a try a few minutes from the end of the match.

 

 

Date: 04/05/2014

Chico 18 – Sacramento Blackhawks 33

Referee: van Staden, JC

 

Yet another stunning day for rugby!!!

 

Arriving at the field I found one of the “loudest” coaches during a Chico State game, in the middle of the pitch, refereeing a high school game…

Karma is a bitch they say…. lol, just a joke, Mitch, welcome to the boiler room! The only advice I have for you; ref the game not the “law-book”, and enjoy it. Remember 2 things though…., none of us will ever be bigger than the game…. and the best place to watch a game from, is the referee’s seat 😉

 

Black-hawks was first to pull blood, after a few very good and calculated runs from Chico, they turned it around and score under the sticks. Chico how ever, came right back and earned a penalty in front of the sticks.

Watching one of my Stockton kids who barely weigh 150lb,(don’t tell him, but I’m sure he thinks he weigh 280lb, 6’6”) and only start playing in his Junior year, still eating rugby, was a pleasant, and proud sight. Even the perfect, pulling defender, and pass to the outside to sent the oldest guy on the field in for an try, was any coaches proudest moment.

 

Half time score, 26-13, with the Black Hawks only leading by initiative and turn over balls. Chico was the strongest team, but could not convert their attacking moment in to real points. Despite the few yellow, 2 dangerous tackles, and 1 loose mouth, it was a decent, but hard game.

 

Saying of the day how ever, came from Chico’s captain. After a youngster tried to make his voice hurt and explain how it should be, he replied, “son, you are not playing this game long enough to have a say on this field, look where it got our no 12?!”

 

Eish 😉

 

Thanks boys, and good luck for the last bit of the season.

 

 

Date: 04/05/2014

Chico State 57 – SF State 8

Referee: Zanarini, Tom

 

It was a beautiful sunny day at Chico St. Field conditions were good, the previous rains hadn’t destroyed the field. Chico ran away with this one. Bigger, faster players with more ball control is hard to beat. Credit to SF State, they were winning the second half 8-0 for quite a bit. They had some nice line breaks throughout the match but ultimately couldn’t put the finishing touch down.

B-side saw SF borrow a couple CS players for 20 minute halves were Chico St won 17-12.

 

 

Date: 04/05/2014

Chico State Women 38 – University of Oregon Women 12

Referee: Levitan, Tony

 

As the final match on a beautiful day at Stanford’s magnificent rugby complex, we all looked forward to a competitive, hard-charging outing. Unfortunately, that description fit only the Chico State Women’s side as the completely outplayed Oregon, dominating in every aspect of play. The drubbing saw Chico State dot down 6 tries, 4 converted to Oregon’s 2, 1 converted.

 

Wholesale substitution in the last 20 minutes made for a sloppy end to what had been a reasonable run. Nonetheless, the Oregon women hung in and played with determination and grit and should be complemented for that.

 

Great thanks to my ARs, Neil MacDonald (our reliable RIC for the weekend) and Jordan Bruno.

 

 

Date: 04/05/2014

EPA Razorbacks 54 – San Jose Seahawks 19

Referee: Tiatia, Nome

 

No report received

 

 

Date: 04/05/2014

Fresno State 17 – San Jose State 19

Referee: Wilson, Dan

 

It was a beautiful day for rugby and both teams were at the pitch early. The game started off a few minutes late due to this pelican forgetting he did not put his boots in his bag. Yeah, it happens.

 

At kick off Fresno State received the ball and kept it through numerous phases until knocking it on in the fifth minute. It was obvious that the teams were evenly matched and great tackling and hard hitting were in order. Fresno controlled the ball early, resulting in a converted try in the 7th minute, but San Jose State responded very quickly with a converted try of their own less than two minutes later. Each team added on more unconverted try each in the first half, San Jose in the 16th minute and Fresno in the 24th. Halftime Score: Fresno State 12 – San Jose State 12.

 

The second

half was just as close. In the scrums, the ball would literally be won, lost and then won again on each other’s put ins. In the line outs, each team stole the others throw as much as they won their own. It was a really even game.

 

Both teams each put one try onto the board in the second half, however, San Jose was able to convert theirs. With a two point game, the little things proved important.

 

Fresno State went down to 14 men due to a red card to one of the wingers for 10.4(j) in the 66th minute, but San Jose decided to equal the playing field when their #6 decided to intentionally introduce his elbow to Fresno’s #9 face, 10.4(a), one the bottom of a ruck in full view of the referee. This gave Fresno a penalty at the 15 meter line with one minute to play and down by two points. After tapping the ball and then receiving another penalty, they ended up giving the ball away on a double movement in an attempt to cross the line (it was actually more of a triple movement). San Jose kicked the ball out of bounds and preserved the win.

Final Score: Fresno State 17 – San Jose State 19.

 

 

Date: 04/05/2014

Life West 82 – Colusa 12

Referee: Leisek, Joe

 

Life West continued its dominance of the league with an impressive display of forward power and a backline that ran rampant at times. The host Gladiators scored several breakaway tries from

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broken play and also from opportunities they created for themselves, with artful offloads and constant support. They are a cohesive blend of size and speed. To their credit, Colusa is a good team that stuck to their game plan. They scored two tries on the day, the second of which came after several impressive, well organized pick-and-drives from the forwards. Thanks to Life West’s Brett Frazer for his helpful work as touch judge.

 

 

Date: 04/05/2014

Marin 17 – Berkeley 26

Referee: Byrnes, Bryant

 

 

This was the best played match I have refereed this season. It was an ”all in” game. These two light heavyweight sides in a fine exhibition of skill and sportsmanship slugged it out for 80 minutes.

 

Marin leads at half 17-12. With about 5 minutes left, Berkeley is in front 19-17. A nice clearing kick takes a favorable bounce, Berkeley gathers it in, scores-and Bob is your uncle.

 

B Match. Berkeley wins 17-10.

 

 

Date: 04/05/2014

Marin B – Berkeley B

Referee: Byrnes, Bryant

 

 

I included a brief B side game report with my A side report.

 

 

Date: 04/05/2014

Olympic Club Alumni 48 – Olympic Club B 12

Referee: Wilson, Giles

 

With both the OC Alumni and OC 2nd side looking for games with their presumed opponents crying off they decided to play each other.

 

The alumni were sharper in thought and deed, after giving up an early try to wake themselves up.

 

At half time it was 24 – 5 and the second half was almost identical 24 – 7 for a final of 48 – 12.

 

 

Date: 04/05/2014

Olympic Club B 0 – Santa Rosa JC 0

Referee: Lew, Tim

 

SR JC & SFGG old boys cancelled. OC alumni played OC Bs

 

 

Date: 04/05/2014

Sacramento Amazons 62 – SFGG Women 17

Referee: Baker, Eugene

 

Beautiful, sunny day with gentle breezes on a pitch that was still damp from rains earlier this week but still firm enough for several breakaway tries – Most of them coming from former Women’s Eagle Nana Faavesi, as the hosts dominated the match from beginning to end.

 

The Amazons kept cycling the ball through their front eight, especially several Green siblings and cousins and #8 Angela Veevalu, pounding away and keeping the ball on the SFGG side of the field almost the entire first half.

 

The home team scored off their first possession of the match and never let up, racing out to a 45-12 halftime lead.

 

Despite the sizeable deficit at the break, SFGG never quit and regrouped to play a more sound second half.

 

The final score was nearly the reversal of the meeting two months ago, leaving me eagerly awaiting a potential knockout match between these two for playoffs.

 

 

Date: 04/05/2014

Sacramento Lions 19 – EPA Bulldogs 16

Referee: Tucker, Chris

 

Hard fought game between two strong teams. Lots of pressure at the breakdown led to turnovers in both directions, as well as a lively time for the ref!

 

In the end, a close game that could have gone either way.

 

 

Date: 04/05/2014

Sacramento Lions B 0 – EPA Bulldogs B 0

Referee: Franzoia, Tom

 

No report received

 

 

Date: 04/05/2014

San Jose Seahawks Women 14 – Berkeley All Blues 5

Referee: Valerio, Stephen

 

Saturday brought good weather in San Jose for the match. The pitch was a bit narrow, and the turf was little patchy and weedy, but it was in good shape. Berkeley’s scrum was dominant from the start, putting San Jose under pressure. However, some imprecision in the back line never allowed them to take advantage. San Jose was able to orchestrate two long tries from their backs and took a 14-0 lead into the half. Things got worse for Berkeley in the second half as their light numbers resulted in them being down to 13 players at one point as they couldn’t replace 2 injured backs. However, they were able to keep the pressure on San Jose. One of their players was able to return

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and then San Jose received a yellow card after repeated infractions. Down to 14 for both sides for most of the remainder of the match, Berkeley finally earned some reward for their grit. Appropriately, they scored through their forwards, as their #2 picked up the ball off of a ruck and went to the uncovered wide side to collect the try.

 

 

Date: 04/05/2014

SF Fog 20 – Mendocino 19

Referee: Gordon, Preston

 

This was a pretty evenly-matched game, with the Fog scoring 10 points in each half (1 try + conversion and 1 penalty; 2 unconverted tries) and looking the better team in the first half. Mendocino managed to score 3 tries in the second half, but only converting 2 of them, leaving them one point adrift.

 

The Mendo guys had a GoPro camera mounted to a head strap that they talked me into wearing. It was an interesting experience to have it bouncing around on top of my head, but I’m looking forward to seeing the video when it appears on YouTube soon.

 

 

Date: 04/05/2014

SFGG 35 – Santa Rosa 48

Referee: Akroyd, Phil

 

It was great to be back home after a trip back to England. While the reffing at RFU Level 5 was challenging and rewarding, I am a fan of warm sunny weather and dry grassy pitches. That’s exactly what I got on Saturday at the GAA field at Treasure Island. The sun was out, a light breeze blowing off the bay and temps in the 60s.

 

Golden Gate scored in the first minute or two and I thought that the rout was on. Neither team had any league standings up for grabs, so I was worried that two uninterested teams would play out a formality. Not true.

 

We had 83 points, about six lead changes, a competition at the tackle and some great attacking play. I’ll leave out the fact that neither team wanted to play defense, and the tackling resembled flag rugby at times.

 

However, it was a lot of fun and the players seemed to enjoy the flowing game. A little bit of foul play here and there added to the spice, but Rosa walked away with a narrow victory, partly as a result of their technically brilliant scrummaging.

 

After that game, it was off to Ray Sheeran field to A/R for the PRP game, which wasn’t quite as fun in comparison, due to the fact that it was pretty one-sided.

 

 

Date: 04/05/2014

SFGG B 55 – Santa Rosa B 62

Referee: Bernstein, Bruce

 

Rugby ref trifecta: AR’d & reffed exciting back & forth matches will some great back moves & tons of tries; plus great food hosted by SFGG on top of their 25th celebration seeing some old faces including on the video Dr. Carter reffing the GG Tourny Final b/w SF & GG. And the weather & free beer didn’t suck

 

 

Date: 04/05/2014

UC Davis Women 5 – Washington St Women 22

Referee: Tetler, Jen

 

The D1 Women’s Collegiate Playoff tournament kicked off with West #4 UC Davis vs. North #1 Washington State. This game was one of the closest matches of the day, with some excellent rugby from both teams. Wazzu just had a bit more aggression in the open field. Though Davis’s scrum was stronger, they kept losing their hook. WSU scored mostly off of breakaways once they got through the line. Davis had some opportunities at the goal line, but was only able to convert once.

Huge thanks to Tony Levitan and Jordan Bruno for ARing that early game.

 

 

Date: 04/05/2014

UC Santa Barbara 31 – Santa Clara University 32

Referee: Smith, Pete

 

No report received

 

 

Date: 04/05/2014

UC Santa Cruz 32 – UN Reno 39

Referee: Ricard, Bruce

 

Both teams were very close during the whole game. Two tries on each side, and one penalty kick for Reno at the end of the first half, to take the lead 15-14 at the break.

Santa Cruz took the lead back at the beginning of the second half, with a penalty kick at the 6th minute, but Reno scored a converted try 5 minutes later. An other penalty kick from UCSC to make it 20-22 after 18 minutes in the second half. Reno then scored two other tries against one for UCSC, and an 11 point lead. 9 minutes from the end, they score a penalty kick to take an important 14 point lead. UCSC scored a converted try at the 34th minute, coming back to 7 points, and leaving them hope. They pushed to score a try, but they lost the ball two minutes before the end. Reno kept the ball for those two minutes, before kicking it out as soon as time was off, to advance to the next bracket.

 

 

Date: 04/05/2014

Vacaville 49 – Baracus 15

Referee: Hettermann, Matt

 

Great weather, hard fought match that was closer than the scoreline reflected.

 

Vacaville had excellent ball control and support at the breakdown which set an excellent attacking platform, especially in the first half.

 

Second half was a bit more balanced, Baracus never gave up.

 

Players listened well, low penalty count, great day of rugby.

 

 

Date: 04/05/2014

Vacaville B 32 – Baracus B 28

Referee: Johnson, Lee

 

Following a 90 minute drive somewhat disappointed to be advised that due to low numbers the B game will 10’s with two 15 minute half’s with uncontested scrums. This was more like a training game and didn’t really need to have a referee assigned to it.

Due to other commitments, I’m now not available again this season. This game aside I have really enjoyed my first season in Pelican Land, and I’m looking forward to the annual social, when I get to meet more of you and then into next season with renewed vigor.

 

 

Date: 04/06/2014

UC Davis 78 – Oregon State 0

Referee: Levitan, Tony

 

Kicking off Day 2 at Stanford with a consolation game (“loser” seems too harsh for the aura of the West Coast…) matching UC Davis and Oregon State. At the end of this contest, it was hard to imagine anyone associated with UC Davis’ Women’s Rugby Club not wanting a re-do on their Saturday opening match loss to Washington State. The Aggies played with such precision and flair – especially in the backs where they executed moves that would invoke envy from a Super 12 series backline – that we all could only watch in admiration. Unfortunately, the incredibly game Oregon State team seemingly adopted a similar view towards the game as they played as if they too were in awe of their opposition.

 

UC Davis tallied 8 tries, 2 converted in the opening half and then tacked on an additional 6 tries, 2 converted in the second half. Though whitewashed on the scoreboard, I have to express my admiration for the Beavers squad who fought til the last whistle; AR Neil MacDonald noting their determination to cover across the pitch to bundle a UC Davis runner into touch just a couple meters from another try. One can only hope that this squad will be handsomely rewarded for their positive attitude and never-say-die drive in the near future, if not on the rugby pitch then for the individual players in their post-graduation professional endeavors.

 

Once again, thanks and appreciation to Neil and Jordan Bruno for their strong AR support. What a delight to know that someone out there has your back…

 

 

Date: 04/06/2014

Washington State Women 13 – Cal Women 22

Referee: MacDonald, Neil

ARs: Jen Tetler, and Jordan Bruno.

 

A cracking match in glorious sunshine, with a converted try or less separating the teams until the 75th minute. Cal opened the scoring in the 4th minute, and then spent most of the first half pinned in their own half by Washington State, who tied it up in the 23rd. Cal hit back on the break with a converted score three minutes later, and soaked up the pressure to carry their 5-12 lead into half time. Washington State scored early in the second half to make it 10-12, before Cal extended their lead to 10-17. Cal lost a player to a sin bin for a dangerous tackle in the 14th minute of the second half, and a few minutes later, Washington State pulled it back to a four point game with a successful penalty. There the score remained with committed skillful rugby played by both sides until 5 minutes from time when Cal closed the game out with another score. Thanks to Noelle and Ireland and their teams for a cracking match, and to Jen and Jordan for ARing for the fourth time in two days.

 

 

Date: 04/06/2014

Stanford 55 – Chico 0

Referee: Tetler, Jen

 

The winners of the last two games on Saturday faced each other on Sunday, and it ended up being the rivalry of Chico (who had beaten the Oregon Ducks) versus Stanford (who had beaten University of Washington). Chico had a ton of aggression and gave Stanford a great run for their money, however, they were no match for Stanford’s speed on the wing. Their winger scored the first three trys off of breakaway’s. The intensity of the game was manifested with some bickering leading to a yellow card for Stanford, followed by a red card for Chico when their player put her cleats to a Stanford player outside of play. Neither team let down their intensity, but Stanford still outscored Chico 55-0. Overall, a great weekend of rugby!

Huge thanks to AR’s Jordan Bruno and Neil MacDonald who stuck it out for a long day and a long game.

 

This Week’s Photo

Since nobody thought it would be a good idea to take a picture of the match with the referee in it…

St Mary’s on attack vs Cal (Photo courtesy of Michael Geib/rugbymag.com)

St Marys Cal

 

Hail, Pelicus!

For the Senate

Pelicus Pedem Referre

 

 

A Worthy Fool

HAIL PELICUS!

 

A Worthy Fool

When the winds of change move a pelican from one shore to the next it can be taken as either a stoic acceptance or a violent cacophony. I chose the former as I touched upon the stones of England. I have been assigned to the Sceptered Isle for a few weeks of labor so I decided to take it as I liked it. Touring the local village, I have has few chances to leer at the king’s ruins but mostly have toiled away, much ado about nothing. A few visits to the local pubs allowed me to meet a couple of gentlemen from Verona. They were in town to meet a merchant from Venice and, aside from the Italians, everyone seemed to have the same name. There must have been three Richards and at least eight Henrys – pretty strange for a local hamlet but who am I to judge? We were at the Windsor where we were served by the landlord’s wife, Mary. I kept trying to play Romeo to several Juliets but I mostly lost in that labor of love, so I took on John, the local king of drinking, measure for measure. It truly was a comedy of errors but, after all, all’s well that end’s well.

 

The tempest that I felt in the morning seemed like it would take twelve nights to abate. I got a hangover recipe from a couple of cousins who tell me we are distantly related to the Julius Caesar, but it was no use. All I can think of now is that am I not a rare fellow, good my lord? I is as good at anything, and yet a fool.

 

April Fools

 

A couple of rugby related April Fools videos…

 

https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=6dT3iTLl0Fs&feature=player_embedded

 

https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=KTKRAMsiwgM&feature=player_embedded&list=UUtUmfYBCsWPLznczvbUx9GQ

Hawai’i Rugby

 

Pelicus Byrnest reports:

My wife and I recently returned from a ten day trip to the Big Island of Hawaii. We had visited there about this time last year and had been delighted to find a thriving community of high school rugby. (At least I had been delighted.) Indeed, it was so enjoyable that it was a factor in coming back again.

 

How much fun? There are five different regional youth teams. The primary venues are Kona, Hilo and Waimea. Every weekend- commencing in January and going through the end of April-a team hosts the weekend’s games.

 

I attended one weekend of matches in Hilo, and then a weekend in Waimea. The day starts early with U10s and ends with U19s. (The latter is very good stuff.) Because this is the time of year they are switching from the the U10s and U13s to the older kids, I worked with the youth refs doing these younger groups and then was privileged to ref U16s and U19s. These games were fast and skilled.

 

The rugby community-players and their families, coaches, and refs-were and are remarkably cordial and friendly. And they are most appreciative of anyone who is interested in spending time them. I have been over to Hawaii a number of times and am familiar with rugby on all of the main islands. I find this the most enjoyable.

 

If anyone in our Society is planning a trip to the Hawaiian Islands, I make a pitch for the Big Island. If you are interested, let me know and I will make introductions.

 

And those of you involved with high school teams; I think this would be an excellent place to set up a tour/exchange.

 

Cheers Bryant Byrnes

 

Shakespearean plays referenced in the opening paragraphs

 

  • The Tempest
  • The Two Gentlemen of Verona
  • The Merry Wives of Windsor
  • Measure for Measure
  • The Comedy of Errors
  • Much Ado About Nothing
  • Love’s Labour’s Lost
  • The Merchant of Venice
  • As You Like It
  • All’s Well That Ends Well
  • Richard III
  • Henry VIII
  • Hamlet
  • Twelfth Night
  • King Lear
  • The Two Noble Kinsman
  • Julius Caesar

 

 

 

And now on to the games…

 

Please remember when filling out your match reports on assignr, ASSIGNR IS NOT WHERE YOU REPORT MISCONDUCT. The report section of assignr is for the match summaries that are below. If there are red cards or reportable yellow cards in your match then report them via the channels described on pelicanrefs.com.

High School Matches

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Lamorinda 20 – Alameda 17

Referee: Hetterman, Matt

Well fought match – decided by a penalty kick at 79 minutes!

 

Berkeley Rhinos 37 – Ygnacio Valley 15

Referee: Byrnes, Bryant

 

This is the first season and second game for YV. And a good effort. With only 22 players, they did a nice job of the pack engaging in pick and go. To good effect-hey scored the first try.

 

The Rhinos had a slew of players, and also put in a good showing. It did not take long for the first team backs to get untracked; they led 20-10 at half.

Club and College Matches

Date: 03/29/2014

Baracus 7 – Berkeley 31

Referee: Bernstein, Bruce

 

Berkeley slowly dominated each half with 2 tries/half; while Baracus had a few penalty chances which Berkeley defended well. Thanks to Bryant for his help/coaching.

 

 

Date: 03/29/2014

Baracus B 17 – Berkeley B 3

Referee: Byrnes, Bryant

 

This is a first half score. I did the first half and Nome did the second. His game was canceled and I had a function to attend.

 

It was an interesting match, for probably 10 of the Baracus players were ”guest” players-Islander guys from the Saints (?) whose game had been canceled. This side was probably as good if not better that the A side.

My compliments to the Berkeley team, who just grinned and tackled.

 

 

Date: 03/29/2014

Colusa 102 – Modesto 5

Referee: Crenshaw, Jim

 

Colusa dominated and Modesto played with 12 the whole match.

 

 

Date: 03/29/2014

EPA Razorbacks 41 – Fresno 7

Referee: Williamson, David

 

No report received

 

 

Date: 03/29/2014

EPA Razorbacks B 22 – Fresno B 0

Referee: Valerio, Stephen

 

It is always great when you get in the car and the heavens open up. The heavy rain continued until just before the A-side match kicked-off. Luckily EPA had secured the pitch at Cesar Chavez which held up well throughout the day, though the intersecting white lines from 2 soccer pitches that ran perpendicular to the rugby lines made for one or two interesting moments. The sides played 20 minute halves as both relied heavily on A-side players continuing on.

Occasional showers kept both the pitch and ball slick, leading to runners and tacklers slipping and a few knock-ons. The game was still surprisingly open with EPA being particularly adventurous considering the conditions. A couple of big runs gave them a 10-0 halftime lead and the pattern held through with 2 more tries in the second half. A late hit by EPA (a note all the players out there, late hitting your opponent into the ref is a good way for us to pick up on it) led to a Fresno lineout at the EPA 5-meter line, but the ball was knocked on in the ensuing lineout and the opportunity went begging. Thanks to EPA for their hospitality and to Chad Douglas for running AR.

 

 

 

Date: 03/29/2014

Humboldt 31 – Napa Valley 41

Referee: Wilson, Giles

 

Taking advantage of a Humboldt trip for a weekend away with the wife and visit our son – a rugby excuse for a weekend away, can’t get better than that.

 

Rain on the way up and forecast but at the field it was fine – although the field looked like a pasture – the sun came through for the game.

 

Napa are well organized and although new, they play to

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a pattern. Humboldt have some good players and if they could just get together once a week for practice, they’d be in better shape and their organization would be better.

 

As it was, organization and a little bit of conditioning was worth 10 points to Napa who came out 41 – 31 winners.

 

It will be interesting to see how their games work out next year when they are “real” and some opposing players don’t take the weekend off.

 

 

Date: 03/29/2014

Sacramento Amazons 43 – San Jose Seahawks Women 6

Referee: Baker, Eugene

 

Saturday was a perfect day for rugby in South Sacramento!! Overcast with with swirling winds and heavy rain…The high grass, winds and sopping wet conditions played into the strengths of the much larger Amazons, whose physicality was jarring…

 

The Amazons thoroughly outhit and outackled the Seahawks, and the weather limited ball handling and back line play for both sides, keeping the ball in the middle of the field and in the hands of players with single digit numbers.

 

Far from surrendering – The Seahawks hit back as much as possible, and were in the match for much of this game with the halftime score being only 15-3. It was only at the end when a pair of long tries by former Eagle Nana Faavesi (capped against South Africa) put the score out of reach.

 

Despite the weather and the score – A spirited match by both sides.

 

 

Date: 03/29/2014

Sacramento Capitals 41 – Chico 10

Referee: Richmond, Jeff

 

My match card is still wet two days after being rained on Saturday afternoon. The pitch held up well for the match between the Capitals and Chico. Sac jumped out to an early lead in the first two minutes with a poached pass they took in for the score from mid-field. Chico answered with two tries in the first half but it was all Capitals after that. Sac overpowered Chico in the scrums taking away almost every Chico

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put in.

 

Both teams played very hard and tested me with their tactics. After explaining to the scrumhalves before the match my expectations about scrum put-ins being straight, the first Sac put in went straight to the second row. When I whistled a free kick, the Sac scrum half looked at me and asked, “What, no warning?” I gave him the look, he smiled and said, “Good call.”

 

I enjoyed this match and appreciated the conduct of both teams.

 

 

Date: 03/29/2014

Santa Rosa 36 – Sacramento Lions 40

Referee: Malone, Michael

 

No report received

 

 

Date: 03/29/2014

Santa Rosa B 31 – Sacramento Lions B 26

Referee: Zanarini, Tom

 

Weekends like this are what make refereeing in Nor Cal such a pleasure. The weekend of rugby started Friday as I hosted Chris Davis from Richmond, Virginia. Chris was promoted to C1 this winter and is keen to get some higher level matches. After picking him up at bus stop in Mill Valley, we did a quick drive out Route 1 for some easy sightseeing and a pint at The Pelican Inn at Muir Beach. It was a lovely cool day that a pint of Fuller’s on the lawn only made better. After that we drove back via Muir Woods and into Mill Valley. Chris is a big UVA fan, so the night’s dinner plans were revised to a night out to watch the UVA v MSU. We selected The Barrel House in Sausalito as a place to get a good meal, have a great view of the Bay/SF and watch the game. UVA lost, but we won as dinner was fabulous. Jet lag struck early, so off to bed for an early rise on Saturday.

Rain insued all morning so we again edited our plans to stay put and watch the Australia v Lions match 1 while having breakfast. The drive to Santa Rosa saw the rain taper to the point of dry skies at the time of arrival. Chris took control of the A side with vigor, Mike Malone was there to assess his work and I ran AR along with Ren Renyolds of Santa Rosa. This was a great match that Chris handeled well. A report is available on rugbymag.com. The B-side kicked off soon after with 30 minute halves agreed to. Sac Lions had to recycle a lot of A-siders to fill the voids, but they were game (for a while). Overall it was fun and allowed me to work on position and communication. Sac decided to call it a match with 4 minutes left. Thanks to Carey Bertolone for showin up on his ‘day off.’ But when you show up wearing your Pelican track suit and jersey, you are gonna get some work. His AR presence came in handy more than twice.

Chris and I headed back to Mill Valley after finishing some delicious turkey sandwiches that my wife paked for us.

Chris’ flight was scheduled for 10pm Sunday night, so we had all day Sunday to play tour guide. And what a better way to loosen tight legs than a quick 9-holes? Off to Mill Valley Golf Course

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before breakfast for a walk spoiled. Chris mentioned over the weekend that he had never been to horse races. Guess what? Golden Gate Fields has $1 Sundays so off we went. We lost some money, drank $1 Miller Lites and basically enjoyed the sun and ponies. From there we toured around AT&T park (Richomnd, VA is the location of the Giants AA team, so there was a nice connection with that). Then what a better place for dinner than North Beach? None, really. Cafe Divine on Washington Square was its typical delicious self. That about filled the day, so off to the airport to send Chris back with a full weekend of great rugby and activities. Thanks to all involved for helping get Chris out here including Pete for getting him a prime match, Bjorn for arrainging the trip and Mike Malone for his evaluation.

 

 

Date: 03/29/2014

Shasta 32 – State of Jefferson 24

Referee: Franzoia, Tom

 

Game delayed by 10 minutes awaiting the arrival of some Jefferson players. Teams decided to begin play, while waiting, with 12’s and a tight 5 adding players as they arrived.

Jefferson was the first to strike, taking an interception i for their second try, and took command of the first half leading 24 – 10. Second half belonged to Shasta taking advantage of field position as a result of high tackles from Jefferson and an injury and a yellow card to the Jefferson side providing several scoring opportunities.

 

 

Date: 03/29/2014

Solano Community College 30 – McGeorge 40

Referee: Bretz, Paul

 

McGeorge earned a win despite having several players in the bin at the same time for various offenses. Aspiring lawyers should learn to listen before they learn to argue. Best comment of the game came from a forward asking his #10 to stop kicking because they have to run to far.

 

 

Date: 03/29/2014

South Valley 36 – Aptos 33

Referee: Johnson, Lee

 

A close encounter, with some good rugby played by both sides. Aptos took the lead, which seemed to wake up South Valley, who then ran in two quick tries, only for Aptos to come back and score again. A line break by the South Valley Full Back, was passed out to the outside center, who then outpaced the defense to score their third try of the half. The half time score 20-14.

The second half was end to end with both sides looking for the killer score to tie up the game. Two loose over throws on their own five meter line by Aptos, allowed the South Valley captain to score both times to head into the final quarter with a healthily 33-14 lead, however two tries in the space of three minutes allowed Aptos to get a foothold back in the

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game. Five minutes remaining Aptos went over for their fifth try of the day which was duly converted by their captain to tie the game at 33 each. Both sides now push for the score that would win the game. With the final play following a break by the impressive South Valley number 7, the Aptos Scrum Half, conceded a penalty for not releasing at the tackle, South Valley took a quick penalty, but were held up short of the vital score, however the Aptos defense had not retired so a further penalty was awarded which this time the South Valley captain opted for a shot at the posts which taking the kick himself duly spilt the uprights with the final kick.

An entertaining and enjoyable game.

 

 

Date: 03/29/2014

UOP 10 – St. Mary’s College 55

Referee: Wilson, Dan

 

The rugby Gods decided that the game between UoP and St. Mary’s C would be a scrum practice in the first half with a lot of wide open running in the second. About ten minutes before kickoff, the skies opened up and seemed as if it was trying to cure our drought in one storm. Wet, slippery and a lot of resets was the order. Even my score card was drenched through by halftime. It was a great rugby day!

 

The first half, in between the numerous knock on’s and resets, was actually a sort of equal game. Hard hitting with most of the forward momentum seemingly going St. Mary’s way, but both teams had some opportunities lost. The half half score was not indicative of the efforts put forth by both teams. Halftime:

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UoP 0 – St. Mary’s C 19

 

The second half was a completely different game. St. Mary’s kicked off put was able to control the kick, and with only one ruck, score a converted try in just over one minute. The scoring gates opened for St. Mary’s, seemingly scoring at will with their backs exploiting huge holes in the defense.

 

UoP was able to take advantage of two mental mistakes resulting in two unconverted tries. The first was stealing the ball at a 5-meter scrum by the scrum half, and the second was a quick tap at about the 15 minute mark. Final Score: UoP 10 – St. Mary’s C 55

 

I have to commend both teams and their coaches. The sportsmanship was excellent and the spirit was enjoyable the full 80 minutes. It was a joy to referee.

 

 

Date: 03/30/2014

USF 29 – Alumni 19

Referee: Bernstein, Bruce

 

Fun alumni scrimmage broken into 3 “halves.” The Alumni winning the 1st; USF winning the 2nd & the 3rd was played by mixing both sides.

 

 

 

 

 

This Week’s Photo

Another shot of our East Midlands visitors at Yosemite, this time with their Pelican Guides. (Standing: Eric Rauscher, Chris Elliot, Pelicus Antiquum Barbarus, Andrew Beckett, Pelicus Scriptoris; Kneeling Paul Senior)

Yosemite 2

Hail, Pelicus!

For the Senate

Pelicus Pedem Referre

Spring Has Sprung

HAIL PELICUS!

 

Spring Has Sprung

 

“Spring is here, spring is here. Life is skittles and life is beer. I think the loveliest time of the year is the spring.”

-Tom Lehrer

 

(To see where the above quote came from go here. Highly recommended.)

 

Yes it is officially springtime in California. The weather patterns are settling into the norm (sunny and warm – although the more intelligent residents are still hoping for some massive rainstorms or we will all be rather thirsty come September). Birds are singing and flowers are blooming as the northern hemisphere starts renewing itself and the sound of booted rugby balls and hard tackles is no longer confined to the west coast but is now echoed across the country. Granted, some of these sounds are still muffled by snow – we’re looking at you New England – but all in all the hope and promise of springtime has wound its way into our souls, reminding some of us that we have one.

 

East Mids Yosemite Tour

 

As reported by Dr Bruce Carter:

The biennial East Midlands exchange hinges on more than trans-Atlantic camaraderie and rugby games: the midpoint of the exchange consists of a visit to Yosemite Valley with our guests.

 

Tuesday morning, March 18, found Eric Rauscher on the road with his two billets, Paul Senior and Chris Elliott, while I made a detour north from Salinas to pick up Andrew Beckett at Frank Merrill’s house in Atherton.

 

Sometimes you wonder – I’ll be in the car half a day with someone I’ve never met. How will the time pass? And then you find a world of common interests, rugby aside, and the miles fly by. Such are many rugby friendships. Rugby is often a shibboleth, an indicator of an interesting person who would make a good friend. Among other overlaps in our Venn diagrams, Andrew was in the Army.

 

I took a couple of bicycles along for an invigorating tour of the valley floor, but but the time Andrew and I finished it was too late, nearing dinner time, to pass them on for the next pair to ride around. We rode right up to the base of Bridalveil Falls, which you certainly couldn’t do in the summertime for the press of the crowd.

 

Jim Crenshaw joined us, making five by Eric’s reckoning… (he asked someone to take a picture of “the five of us”).

 

We stayed at the Yosemite Lodge and, as often happens, all found each other in the bar. Introductions were made and someone got off cheap: half the group weren’t drinking.

 

Dinner in the lodge did not lead to singing, as it did two years ago when we were eighty-sixed for climbing up Sunshine Mountain. Nope. Eat, pay the bill, walk out. Harrumph. At least the food was good. I had what sounds like the result of an accident in the kitchen but it was very good: gnocchi with braised lamb, spinach and pistachios.

 

Pre-dawn found us at breakfast and dawn found us behind schedule. We were supposed to be at the trailhead. Rugby tour is often herding cats, but in an enjoyable way of course. But no matter, soon enough we shuffled backpack contents for balance and hit the delightful trail. This year’s route was to the top of Nevada Falls.

 

Pelicanland’s weather has not been much good for ducks this past winter, but it was perfect for hiking. Snow is pretty to look at, and we were able to look at plenty of it – but we didn’t have to walk through any of it, making for a good cadence. Before the sun hit, jackets were needed, but afterwards it was a shorts and sleeves day. This contrasts with the previous time we took a group up this route and we needed to put Ray Schwartz in the lead as our snowplow.

 

Our visitors were duly impressed with the neck-wrenching scenery, as were, truth be told, those of us who live here. The normal shuffling of hiking companions that occurs along a trail allowed us all to get to know each other better.

 

One advantage to leaving early is that we caught some folks doing what they shouldn’t oughta: rappelling down, then ascending, Vernal Falls. Wet, happy, but home dry before the later crowds arrived.

 

It’s just plain exhilarating in the high country, even if you aren’t abseiling. Watching the glorious vistas slowly evolve as you make your way through makes you want to take that next step up the trail.

 

Our quartermaster, Jim, brought along tuna, potatoes and salad for everyone, with fruits and nuts to follow.

 

This is the smallest group we’ve had along for these hikes, now ten years on. But I always look at the bright side: it saved me a lot on hotel rooms.

 

It was a beautiful day, spent with friends old and new, a tradition that I hope I can continue to undertake for many years to come.

 

 

East Midlands Exchange Dinner

 

A flock of Pelicans swooped down on the Up and Under Pub in Pt Richmond to honor our guests from the EMRURS. “Young” Chris Elliot, Paul Senior and Andrew Beckett had been whisked around Northern California from the coastline to the mountains to the valleys and plains. San Francisco, Alcatraz, Lake Tahoe/Reno, Yosemite, Oakland; we tried to give them as much in a week as we could. Young Chris repaid his hosts by saving the society the $40 cost of his meal by accepting AND COMPLETING the Scrum Burger Challenge – for which he also won a nice T shirt. I have no idea how he managed to eat that much food in one sitting, much less 45 minutes. The night ended with the Pelicans and guests taking over karaoke night and proving our choral and terpsichorean talents.

Young Chris 1 Young Chris 2 Young Chris 3

/editor’s rant

As a side note, the biggest night of the NCRRS year is the annual Awards Banquet, closely followed by the East Mids Exchange Dinner. This dinner happens only once every other year and I was disappointed that there were not more Pelicans in attendance – I made a rough guess at 10. I must confess to overlooking this in the past as well as last weekend was my first time in attendance so I am not guilt free at all. After going on exchange in 2012 and seeing how much is done for us travelers in England I feel we need to put more emphasis on this event. This is the most important exchange we have and also is, coincidentally, the most fun. Those that did attend (thank you!) wore a mishmash of colors and outfits that suggested that we as a society do not take this very seriously. Perhaps I am wrong here but I see this as a time to show the Nor Cal colors and strut our stuff a little and that means we literally show the colors. Three times in every two years should not be too much to ask to wear one’s formal Nor Cal #1s. There were many who legitimately could not make this dinner but to those who decided it just wasn’t worth the effort I would suggest you rethink that line of thought. The Northern California Rugby Referee Society is justly envied around the country for our leadership, membership, quality and organization. This is one area I believe we need to improve on.

 

/end rant

 

And Now, On To The Games…

 

Date: 03/17/2014

California 99 – Dartmouth 7

Referee: Lew, Tim

 

Great day for rugby. St Patricks day clash at Witter field of Cal vs Dartmouth. They started off quickly with strong running by Cal. Dartmouth had little answer to Cal’s quick rucks and strong set piece. Dartmouth was able to sneak a try in before half but the game was all Cal.

 

Thanks for great AR work by Robert Hendrickson & Jen Tetler.

 

 

Date: 03/18/2014

SFGG Women 0 – Princeton Women 0

Referee: Tetler, Jen

 

Princeton traveled out to Cali for their spring tour (poor east coast with all their snow and mud). This ended up being more of a friendly friendly with lots of great practice for both teams…exactly what they both wanted.

 

 

Date: 03/22/2014

Aptos 15 – Colusa 36

Referee: Smith, Pete

 

When I pulled up to the field in Watsonville, I noticed the posts and though that the game would end in some increment of 5 as they didn’t seem wide enough for anyone to make kicks…Colusa managed three conversions with one worthy of beer! The field wasn’t much better. When I asked about it, they said that they had just fired their groundskeeper…I think they mean someone ate the goat. After I lined up a ride to the hospital in case of a broken ankle, we were underway. (I hope this is read in the spirit it is intended and with a chuckle). Both teams came out like a house on fire and the tackling was fierce on both sides. It didn’t look like either team was going to score with the D being played, but both sides softened up a bit to break the eggs on the scoreboard. I was happy to see Steve ‘knock-on’ Kenny playing outside center for Aptos. Safe to say he had the hands of a referee knocking on 3 times, but managing one try. Beautiful day and worth the drive. The game was played in good spirit and all had fun.

 

 

Date: 03/22/2014

Baracus 15 – Sacramento Blackhawks 43

Referee: Paul Senior (East Midlands)

 

It was a hard-fought game with both teams 100% committed both in the tackles and in running the ball. Had to issue a red card for violent conduct to a Sacramento player early on and later on, 2 yellow cards, 1 to each side.

 

However the game was played largely in good spirit and Sacramento ran out victors due to their strong running and quick hands

 

Paul Senior

EMRURS

 

 

Date: 03/22/2014

Baracus B 33 – Sacramento Blackhawks B 26

Referee: Chris Elliott (East Midlands)

 

The game was played in good spirit. Considering that the majority of Sacramento players were involved in the first game.

 

The game could gone either way, but the Baracus held there nerve.

Thoroughly enjoyable

 

Regards

 

Chris Elliott

EMRURS

 

 

Date: 03/22/2014

Modesto 19 – South Valley 29

Referee: Jury, Jeff

 

A beautiful clear day greeted the teams in Turlock. The first half was fought pretty much between the 22’s with score Modesto 5 South Valley 3 @ 40′. The second half started great with good

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collective action by the Harlots and a scoring run in the first three minutes. South valley answered 8minutes later. Then a midfield break and a total breakdown by a Harlots player earned the visitors two more scores. Harlots found new life and dotted a converted try with seven minutes left.

The play became frantic with a points difference of 3 . But South Valley sealed the deal with a converted try. Final score Modesto 19 South Valley 29.

 

 

Date: 03/22/2014

Napa Valley 51 – Mendocino 12

Referee: Wilson, Giles

 

Napa are a new team, playing friendlies while they develop their player base. They have recruited well and should be a good addition to the league next year.

 

Mendo didn’t bring a full squad, but still had 20+ and good support. Those that came

seemed to be in “week off” mode as well.

 

Napa started with an early return from a good full back, who seemed to surprise Mendo. From then Napa scored pretty regularly while Mendo could only manage short periods of control.

 

An enjoyable game, with plenty of new players – all of whom had been well drilled. It was nice to see supporters on both sidelines.

 

 

Date: 03/22/2014

NorCal NSCRO 31 – SoCal NSCRO 33

Referee: O’Neil, George

 

SoCal backed out of this game and St. Mary’s filled in. SMC started with 16 guy’s against at least 25. Well fought match all the way around. Also Steve at Cal Maritime ran a fine tournament on the weekend. Thank you to all that participated.

 

 

Date: 03/22/2014

Pepperdine 35 – Gonzaga 22

Referee: Lew, Tim

 

Warm sunny day in Vallejo at Cal Maritime Bodnar Field. Pepperdine was better on the day than Gonzaga. Both teams had chances but handling in the ruck was sloppy.

 

 

Date: 03/22/2014

Reno Zephyrs 27 – Life West 57

Referee: Ricard, Bruce

 

Windy day in Reno. A pretty strong wind was blowing north/south on the pitch, and the temperature was quite cold at kickoff time compared to what we have been used to in the bay area for the last week.

The first half of the game was quite balanced. The score was 10-14 after 35 minutes. But Life West finished the half very strong with 2 tries at the 37th and 40th minutes, to lead 28-10 at the break.

 

Life West started the second half how they finished the first one. They scored a try at the 8th minute. A couple minutes later, their 9 passes to their 10, the Reno 10 arrives to tackle him, but he magically

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gathers the ball and scores after an easy uncontested 22m run. Both teams will score another try in the next 5 minutes, but Life West dominates the rest of the second half, scoring 3 tries. Reno finished the game on a good note, with a try at the 80th minute.

Final score Reno 27 (5 tries) – 57 (9 tries) Life West.

 

 

Date: 03/22/2014

SF Fog 70 – Shasta 5

Referee: Baker, Eugene

 

Beautiful day at Treasure Island! Sunny and clear with moderate breezes. The Fog’s pitch was in much better condition than the last time I saw it, although the grass was still just a tad high.

 

Shasta showed up with only 13 players, and we agreed to start the match while waiting for players 14 and 15. This didn’t work well for Shasta’s defensive efforts, as they were constantly outflanked and outrucked by superior numbers and some occasional flashes of speed by Fog centers and wings. Outnumbered and outran by the Fog, the Highlanders found themselves on the short end of a 56-5 halftime score.

 

While still awaiting players 14 and 15, a game Shasta team made no excuses and made the Fog work for every try (albeit some harder than others)…

 

After injuries dropped Shasta to 11 men, they still insisted on finishing the match. But near the 70th minute, Shasta, then down 70-5, suffered two more injuries on the same play, reducing their number to nine men. It was at that point that I blew full time, and the Fog loaned and swapped players and jerseys, and we played a 20-minute intermixed third half without incident (Fog Jerseys winning 12-7).

 

Hats off to a plucky and congenial Shasta squad who fought hard all day, and to a Fog team whose centers and wings looked as explosive as I’ve seen them in ages.

 

 

Date: 03/22/2014

SFGG Women 79 – Berkeley All Blues 5

Referee: Pohlman, John

 

Golden Gate 79 All Blues 5

The GG woman hosted the All Blues on a beautiful day on Treasure Island.

We had a good crowd for the only game played at Ray Sheeren field this past Saturday.

Golden Gate overwhelmed the All Blues.

The 9 -10 combination of Tiana Stroughter and Lindsay Tinsler ran to team. Tiana’s aggressive running

created opportunities that Lindsay finished, feeding backs and forwards to 7 first half try’s. Lindsay

converted 6 of her eight kicks.

All Blues continued to play hard and were reward with their lone try ten minutes into the second half.

Final score Golden Gate 79 All Blues 5.

 

 

Date: 03/22/2014

UC Davis 0 – St. Mary’s College 135

Referee: Ranaweera, Aruna

 

Sunny 75F at Russell Blvd on the UC Davis campus. Although this was an official D1A California league game, soon after kickoff it became clear that Davis was not at all prepared for the visitors’ firepower. SMC galloped to a 99-0 half-time lead despite taking their foot off the throttle as early as the 2nd quarter. If not for wholesale SMC substitutions and ad-hoc deviations from game-plan, the score would have been even more lopsided. Davis’ only scoring opportunities were 2 kickable penalties, which they missed.

 

Thanks to Mark Godfrey and Jeff Richmond for their help as AR’s.

 

 

Date: 03/22/2014

UC Davis B 0 – St. Mary’s College B 74

Referee: Richmond, Jeff

 

A runaway in the literal and figurative sense of the word. I think UC Davis had spring break on their mind as they really couldn’t organize any kind of response to St. Mary’s relentless quick ball and full speed attack by their back line. Thanks to Mark Godfrey for helping me at AR.

 

 

Date: 03/22/2014

UC Santa Cruz Women 65 – Sacramento State Women 7

Referee: MacDonald, Neil

 

UCSC were too strong for

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an inexperienced Sacramento State team that struggled with persistent infringement and spent 20 minutes of the first half a player down as a result. With two penalties against UCSC for zone entry in the first two minutes UCSC’s captain and #8 quickly understood that this was not going to be allowed to continue, and sorted it out. Alas, the less experienced Sac State team did not respond when given the opportunity to fix their persistent offside infringements, so one of their number was temporarily relieved of the distractions of playing in order to focus the team’s reflections. Just as she was due to come back onto the field, one of her team mates went off for another 10 minutes following a trio of infringements in rapid succession disrupting UCSC’s latest thrust into the Sac State 22.

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UCSC ran the score up to 38-7 by half time with relentless pick and go, and inside passes off of their fly half, who kicked four of six conversions. By the time the second half began, Sac State’s plucky captain and #10 had imposed her leadership on the team, and there were no further issues. This led to a much more contested second half, in which the Hornets held their hosts for long periods after a couple of initial UCSC scores, despite often suffering from a lack of committed support for their ball carriers. One notable UCSC break that went out to the wing and down the length of the field was prevented from scoring by an outstanding Sac State cover tackle on the line. Late in the game, the grinding physicality of the UCSC pack and the pace of the UCSC backs started to take its toll with several more tries against a tiring Sac State side who only had three substitutes available, and the match finished 65-7.

 

 

 

Date: 03/23/2014

TBD 0 – TBD 0

Referee: Pescetti, David

 

Occidental College forfeit to Gonzaga Universtiy.

 

This Week’s Photo

Our tourists (L-R: Chris Elliot, Paul Senior, Andrew Beckett) enjoying the scenery in Yosemite, although there seems to be a strong yet oddly out of place sense of inclusion. I have never seen a Stanford shirt worn with a Cal cap before.

Tourists

Hail, Pelicus!

For the Senate

Pelicus Pedem Referre

 

 

 

March Madness

HAIL PELICUS!

 

March Madness

 

At this time of year not just in Pelicanland but all across the nation sports fans start looking forward to March Madness. This is the time where teams put the finishing touches on their season and start maniacally checking other results to see if they have reached the Holy Grail – USA Rugby playoffs and a national championship. Everyone, of course, except for Cal. When we rode up to Strawberry Canyon and the fortress that is Witter Field and queried them on it, they told us they already had one – 26 to be precise – and then went off on some tangent about swallows before insulting us in bad French accents. Very strange.

All other teams are busy waiting for local leagues to set up their playoff seedings and determine their champions until Selection Sunday when USA Rugby announces their National Championship brackets. Riveting stuff, that.

In the spirit of completeness, there also is some schoolboy basketball thing going on as well, but nobody really pays much attention.

 

Referee Kit

 

From our official Hoarder of Socks, Shorts and Jerseys: Tom Zanarini.

 

Please let me know if you need/want new kit. I am putting in an order for our yellow/white jerseys and navy shorts. If I get enough requests for black shorts, I’ll order those too. I also may order polo shirts/track suits if there is enough interest. These will all cost money unless you haven’t yet received your gratis jersey.

 

Email me directly t_zanarini@yahoo.com

 

Dinner With The English

 

It’s time to reserve your spot. Please plan on attending a dinner to honor (or, possibly, honour) our visiting brothers from the East Midlands at the Up and Under in Pt. Richmond on March 22nd. Drinks begin at 5:30 and Dinner at 6:00. (NCRRS President Paul Bretz will be unable to attend as he will be on a bus with 30 high school girls traveling to Fullerton for their tournament. Likely excuse…) Dress to impress, Number 1?s (coat and tie). Please RSVP to Bjorn “Again” Stumer (bstumer@att.net)

 

And Now, On To The Games!

 

Date: 03/16/2014

UNR 30 – San Jose State 24

Referee: Elliot, Chris (East Midlands)

 

The game was a hard but fair and both teams willing to play positive rugby.

Both teams were evenly match, it could of gone either way.

 

I really enjoyed it and pleasure referee. Great facilities.

 

Although I never experienced a haka as the University of Nevada do!

 

Chris Elliott

East Midlands Referee Society

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Date: 03/16/2014

UNR B 22 – San Jose State B 0

Referee: Senior, Paul (East Midlands)

 

Good hard game, both teams enthusiastic and committed. Slightly marred by a couple of overly aggressive play resulting in 4 yellow cards. Overall was a pleasure to ref and very enjoyable. Paul Senior

 

Date: 03/12/2014

Stanford GSB 48 – Marauders 29

Referee: Coppinger, John

 

This was a real track meet with GSB playing most of the match down a man b/c of injury and then compounding the situation with YC for a high tackle. The score is a bit deceiving as the Marauders had the better of play for large portions of the match, but GSB was a bit more opportunistic.

 

 

Date: 03/14/2014

Stanford Women 22 – Princeton Women 29

Referee: Williamson, David

 

No report received

 

 

Date: 03/15/2014

Berkeley 29 – Chico 0

Referee: MacDonald, Neil

 

Berkeley hosted Chico on another day of glorious sunshine. A highly contested first half saw both sides come close, with scores prevented by cover tackles and loss of attacking composure in the red zone. Berkeley finally broke through in the final moments of the half, to take a 7-0 lead. Berkeley expanded their lead early in the second half, and added a third score on 60 minutes to go 19-0 up. Chico pushed hard with sustained pressure in the Berkeley 22, and Berkeley’s winger earned a yellow card for killing the ball a few metres out. Chico couldn’t retain possession as they attacked, and Berkeley scored two more on the break to finish 29-0 winners in a scoreline that didn’t do justice to Chico’s contribution to the match.

 

 

Date: 03/15/2014

Berkeley All Blues 19 – Sacramento Amazons 58

Referee: Hinkin, James

ARs: “Young” Chris Elliott (East Midlands), Paul Senior (East Midlands)

 

The All Blues hosted the Sacramento Amazons in a fast and furious match on Treasure Island. The All Blues were by far the more organized side with a full team ready and warming up early while Sacramento started the game with 13 as the rest of the team was late arriving at the pitch. That didn’t seem to bother the Amazons; if you didn’t know that they were playing short you never would have noticed. The All Blues have some excellent rugby players and were able to score some impressive tries, but didn’t seem to have everyone on the same page. For every runner going forward there seemed to be one running sideways and unsure of herself. The Amazons didn’t have that problem as they only really know one way to run: right at you. The Sacramento backs, led by flyhalf and captain Leka, were able to find the holes in the defense and create holes where there were none. The #13 especially was very, very good at running onto the ball at pace and hitting a half gap, then calmly offloading to a support runner in contact. Excellent skills. The pace of the Amazon fullback was a problem when Berkeley tried to kick out of trouble leaving the All Blues with few options. Halftime score of 14-29 ended with a final of 19-58 as Sacramento was on their game all day.

 

Many thanks to Paul and Young Chris who waved their flags judiciously for this match. ARs are a luxury that I rarely get and since Eric Rauscher was buying them beers while I did my second game at the SFGG field, I didn’t even have to do that. Cheers!

 

 

 

Date: 03/15/2014

Berkeley B 44 – Chico B 10

Referee: Johnson, Lee

 

The game was reduced to 30 minute half’s due to Chico being short on numbers and many their A team players having to take to the field again.

Berkeley played all the rugby, but took until 15 minutes in for the first try to arrive. The second try of the half was sublime, following a gain line break from the impressive Berkeley Fly Half, a series of close passing between him and the winger drew in the defender, allowed the winger to touch down in the corner.

The second half followed in much the same vain of the first with Berkeley playing all the rugby, as tired bodies began to effect Chico, Berkeley were able to loan players so that we could continue with a full complement on each side. This seemed to spur on Chico who then managed to sneak in two scores, which a just reward for those players who put their bodies on the line in both games.

 

 

Date: 03/15/2014

Humboldt State Women 39 – UNR Women 23

Referee: Franzoia, Tom

 

No report received

 

 

Date: 03/15/2014

Marin 12 – Sacramento Blackhawks 67

Referee: Zanarini, Tom

 

Blackhawks ran away with this one. Ohterwise a very fun match. Both teams played hard and kept their focus on playing the game in front of them.

B-side was a sevens match where some players took the whistle.

 

 

Date: 03/15/2014

Modesto 14 – Life West 65

Referee: Bretz, Paul

 

Life West visited Modesto and played exceptional running rugby. This team has several former Tongan National players and will be hard to beat in division 3 rugby. Modesto did score 2 well earned try’s and demonstrated great resolve in their defense.

 

 

Date: 03/15/2014

Redwood 7 – Mendocino 45

Referee: Bertolone, Cary

 

Mendo came to Santa Rosa ready for a battle and they got one, but good team rugby prevailed and the Steamdonkeys went up three tries to none in the first 15 minutes. Mendo was leading 33-7 at the half. In the second half, the game seemed even at first, but when Mendo scored two more tries, Redwood, not in as good of shape and losing, on a hot day, detracted from trying to win the rugby game and became more focused at chipping at me and trying to hurt players with their tackling, so I blew the ending whistle early. Good after party with a great EPA Bulldogs vs Santa Rosa rugby game to watch while eating!!

 

 

Date: 03/15/2014

Sacramento Capitals B 34 – Baracus B 29

Referee: Boyer, Rich

 

This was a match played in good spirits. Baracus ran with the back line straight away, and it resulted in a try, which was almost immediately answered with a Caps try by the hard charging 8 man. The match ping ponged back and forth in this manner with time finally running out on Baracus.

 

 

Date: 03/15/2014

San Jose Seahawks Women 0 – SFGG Women 37

Referee: Tetler, Jen

 

Golden Gate women came down to the Seahawks on a beautiful rugby Saturday, complete with pitchside social, men’s game afterwards, and a St. Paddy’s day theme. The game opened up with some scrum issues, but those were resolved quickly once cleats were cleaned. Golden Gate opened up their scoring with a couple of nice runs by their fullback and ended the half with 2 tries by their prop with one in between by their 9. 2 conversions brought the score to 29-0 after 40 minutes. San Jose was playing pretty well even with the score, and they held their own in the second half much better with some good continuity. Golden Gate got just a penalty kick and a try in the second half. Final score was 37-0 for Golden Gate.

 

 

Date: 03/15/2014

Santa Clara Women 48 – Fresno State Women 42

Referee: Lane, John

 

A more than pleasant morning in Santa Clara. Two enthusiastic teams were warming up as I arrived. One side was slightly short but after a practical coach to coach chat a full 15 v 15 game was agreed.

 

Santa Clara started well and took an early lead and continued to dominate the early exchanges but slowly Fresno started to get the upper hand particularly in the scrum taking 4 balls against the head. This possession lead to field position and scores and with 10 minutes left in the half they led 12 – 15. Santa Clara finished the half strongly and scored a converted try to lead by 4 at the half – 19-15.

 

In a very lively second half both sides crossed for 5 tries each with Santa Clara converting 2 to Fresno’s 1.

 

With some player position adjustment Santa Clara got to grips with their scrum problems which gave them more position than in the 1st half. They stretched their lead early in the second half but every score was quickly matched by Fresno with the lead reducing to 1 point with 15 minutes to go.

 

Santa Clara’s showed some strong running from deep in the final minutes to stretch their lead to 11 points but Fresno kept playing until the last second scoring with the last play to lose by 6 at the end of a lively and fun game.

 

 

Date: 03/15/2014

Santa Rosa 12 – EPA Bulldogs 31

Referee: O’Neil, George

 

Well played game by both teams. Thank you to my TJ’s Ren and John.

 

 

Date: 03/15/2014

Santa Rosa B 37 – EPA Bulldogs B 10

Referee: Coppinger, John

 

Vets and rookies abounded on both sides. Luckily for the vets, a cool breeze blew in before kick-off. Rosa was keener, but the match was played in great spirits. Alan Petty reminded me to report how well coached Rosa are. Check. [Editor’s note: This is hearsay and not admittable in the Hail Pelicus and will be struck from the record.]

 

 

Date: 03/15/2014

SFGG B 51 – Sacramento Lions B 12

Referee: Hinkin, James

 

Both teams were on the field looking like they were ready to go when I arrived from my earlier game down the road so I just strolled up and blew a whistle. Well, not really, but nearly so. I walked up and called the captains over, did the toss, walked to where each team was gathered and did my talks and then started the game – about a 2 minute procedure. After what had been (reportedly) a thrilling A side match SFGG was fired up to play but the Lions seemed to be less interested in rugby and more interested in seeing what they could get away with. An early yellow card for 3 high tackles in the same movement calmed things somewhat and SFGG took advantage of their superior depth and conditioning to sun in 4 tries (2 converted) to 1 converted try.

 

The second half was a continuation of the first half as SFGG put another 4 tries to Sacramento’s solitary score. The continuation theme was a bad thing as well as a good thing when another high tackle let to another yellow for Sacramento. I spoke with the captain and let him know that penalties and sin bins were obviously not working so the next one was red. Shockingly enough, no more high tackles. Sacramento was able to get their try in a man up as well as SFGG committed some cynical play near the goal line but the try was well deserved from the pressure the Lions had applied.

 

 

Date: 03/15/2014

Shasta 27 – Humboldt 28

Referee: Crenshaw, Jim

 

Good match and great day in Redding. Humboldt led 14 13 at half and squeaked out a 1 point win.

 

 

Date: 03/15/2014

Solano Community College 12 – Sacramento State B 39

Referee: Bernstein, Bruce

 

Anyone who gets assigned to Solano CC should take it–real nice field, facilities, fans, & atmosphere. Both teams played to their forwards in the1st half with many rucks & drives; followed by a wide open 2nd half when Sacto St. had some impressive runs by their outside backs (11-15). Solano showed a lot of promise for a “provisional” team in only their 3rd match & has real good inside backs led by their capt./HS All-American inside ctr. Rico who was a force running, kicking & tackling–one man show!

 

 

Date: 03/15/2014

South Valley 36 –

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Reno Zephyrs 43

Referee: Ricard, Bruce

 

South Valley started the game strongly, by scoring 3 tries in the first 25 minutes. But they seemed to lack of stamina in the last 10 minutes, and Reno scored 2 tries, to get to the half only 7 points behind.

South Valley started the second half as strongly as they started the first one. They scored a try on the first play, and an other one after 12 minutes, now leading 29-12. But they once again seemed to lose their legs, and Reno scored 3 tries in a row between the 17th and the 21st minute, to tie the game 29-29. Reno was attacking in South Valley’s side at the 28th, but they lost the ball, and South Valley scored a counter attack try between the posts. Five minutes later Reno, still dominating possession and attacking, scores an other try, to once again tie the game. One minute from the final whistle, Reno is awarded a scrum not far from South Valley’s 22. The ball is passed to the 10, and to the 12, who breaks the line, and goes to score the winning try.

 

 

Date: 03/15/2014

Stanford B 73 – Fresno State B 12

Referee: Pohlman, John

 

On a warm to hot day at Stanford the Stanford B’s soundly beat a Fresno B side roster mostly filled with players who had already played an 80 minute game in 80 degree heat.

 

 

Date: 03/15/2014

Stanford Women 41 – Chico State Women 17

Referee: Pescetti, David

 

The game was much closer than the score indicates. It was a very good physical game. Both teams tackled strongly and had a quick support at rucks.

 

The game was even for the first 15 minutes before Stanford was able to break through the tough Chico defense to score the first try of the match. With a great kick by Chico and a mistake by Stanford gave Chico a 5m scrum. Off this scrum Chico was able to punch in for their try. Stanford was able to quickly respond minutes before the half making the score 17 – 5.

 

The second half was much more open, but not any less physical. There were breakaways from both teams leading to six second half tries. Stanford scored four and Chico two.

 

Great play from both teams. Stanford had to work very hard for the win. Chico came to play. Stanford 41 – 17 Chico State.

 

 

Date: 03/15/2014

UC Davis Women 22 – Cal Women 27

Referee: van Staden, JC

 

[Editor’s note: What happened to the Afrikaans, JC?]

 

So, for a change, this was a perfect day for rugby. And did I mentioned I got coach?!?! For real, it was awesome! Thanks Bryant Byrnes, it was much appreciated.

 

So, rugby 🙂 Davis and Call girls took each other. And trust me, if you think you are going to do a women’s game and rest, you clearly have not reffed these girls before.

But, let me start at the beginning, or lets go back to Tuesday :o… Jesuit got challenged by a touring team from “”the Woodlands”” in Houston TX. I have not ask the coach how good they were back home, but having the guts to take on the most caped team in North Call, mean something. The forwards were big and strong, and manage at least 2 tight heads, and some serious pressure. Despite that fact that Jesuit never got into their grove, they still manage to chase up the score. Second half Woodlands hold onto the ball, and expose Jesuit’s weak point… “”no ball, no happy””. With 2 penalties in the red-zone, Woodland had a perfect scrum, but Jesuit broke up early, and dived into the scrum to kill the ball… Yip, you guess it right, penalty try under the sticks, and a yellow for repeated infringement… :0

Despite Jesuit hit right back, the touring guys manage a well earned try to end the game on a high not for them.

 

Only two days later, I found them again, this time facing probably one of the current best open school teams, Sierra Foothills, in Lincoln. The field was all weather, which come in handy if it rains, but no rain, it’s pretty bad, and narrow. Sierra is use to that, and their 8th man went through holes, where there were none… reminded me of Joost 😉

 

Friday even a double wammy in the regular league…. BUT by now you are wondering, what is his point?! within 2 weeks, I have recorded more than 500 points, in 11 games. And trust me, I’m not complaining, it was out off the best seat in the house, and I had pretty good spectators, win or loos. But, getting reviewed, or coached to be more accurate, after all of this, I realized this is going to be a lllllloooooonnnnnggggg day.

 

Call pulled first blood, and Davis were not happy on there own grounds. The spectators were rowdy, and both the captains had to make their coaches keep quiet… after I use Jim Crenshaws, binocular suggestion…. Scoring was pretty equal, and both teams weigh up perfectly. But they did not believe me after awarding a penalty try…. again…. this time for repeated tackler not releasing before contesting for the ball. It did not helped them to be blown up for the same thing, so yellow it was.

 

Davis was not far behind, and just after going up with 2 points, lost a player for repeated high tackle…. Davis staid on the attached, and work their way up, but somehow, the ball ended up at Call, with only 30 sec on the clocked, rethink her kicking idea, and swing the ball wide to a speedster, who took me for a 85 meter sprint to end a very good week for rugby! Congrats to Call, for pulling it off in the dire end minute. To Davis… you guys could smell a wine :(, sorry.

 

Thanks girls, that was nice rugby. And thanks to Donal Walsh who always manage to show up, and give me a few words of advise and encouragement at the same time…

And thanks to all the spectators, especially the grand parents, and great grand parents I got next to the field. Even heard you guys hand out the “tackle lower” speech to the grand-kids after the game? love it!!!! And you guys have only watch this game 1 day?!?! eish

 

 

 

 

Date: 03/15/2014

UC Davis Women B 19 – Cal Women B 12

Referee: Byrnes, Bryant

 

This was the well played follow up to a great A side match won on the last play try on a 75 meter run.

 

Twenty five minute halves. Davis up 19-0 at the mid point, but Cal brings back in some starters and is knocking at the door at full time.

 

Free Legal Advice for Unhappy Players/Coaches (and yes there was one). You are certainly entitled to ask for clarifications-feedback and dialogue are positive-but observe the five/ten minute rule. Let the ref know. But also let her/him leave the field, get some water, and get into something dry before starting the discussion. It will be a better chat.

 

 

 

Date: 03/15/2014

UC Santa Cruz 17 – Chico State 53

Referee: Hettermann, Matt

 

Beautiful day in Santa Cruz! Started a bit dicey with a six-car pileup on 17 in Los Gatos that I sat in a traffic standstill for an hour.

 

Once I made it (a few minutes before scheduled kick-off – we ended up going 5 min late), the rest of the match went smoothly. Players listened, penalty count was low, everyone was in pretty good spirits. Chico St just had a bit more size,

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especially in the midfield, and used it.

 

 

Date: 03/15/2014

UC Santa Cruz B 7 – Chico State B 25

Referee: Freitas, Larry

 

B side match played again in sunny and too warm conditions for March (or for a rugby match generally speaking). Chico State scored two tries in each stanza, plus a drop goal in the first, while the Santa Cruz side could only manage a converted try half way through the first half. Chico State’s big second rower should develop into a good player once he gets in a few more games. He had an excellent long charge of a run during the second half, and he’s hard to put down in the tackle.

 

So many games at UCSC would have been played under cloudy and cool conditions in the past. I miss the drizzle and rain. I miss the once or twice a year snow on the tops of the Santa Cruz Mountains that can be viewed from the pitch if the clouds aren’t in the way.

 

There wasn’t even the usual breeze out of the west that the home side tries to take advantage of in the second half depending on who wins the coin toss.

 

Of course the downside of rain is too many postponed games.

 

 

This Week’s Photo

 

Visitors and hosts taking in the games at the SFGG Clubhouse. L-R Marquise Goodwin, James Hinkin, Eric Rauscher, Chris Elliot (East Mids), Paul Senior (East Mids)

5 in San Francisco

Hail, Pelicus!

For the Senate

Pelicus Pedem Referre

 

 

 

Springing Forward

HAIL PELICUS!

 

Springing Forward

 

As much of the country toils under the lash of a harsh winter mistress those of us lucky enough to live in Pelicanland bask in the loving caresses of rugby mid season. The mandate to move our clocks forward is a signal to the colder parts of the country to start boiling whistles and polishing boots because the rugby season is approaching. Out west, of course, our whistles have been boiled, soiled and reboiled while our boots have been shined, grimed and reshined as the various league seasons builds towards a mighty crescendo. Now is a time to take a deep breath and prepare for the business end of the rugby season because this is when a year’s work can be won or lost.

 

The British are coming

Well, technically they are already here, but something about that phrase just resonates on this side of the Atlantic. Please plan on attending a dinner to honor (or, possibly, honour) our visiting brothers from the East Midlands at the Up and Under in Pt. Richmond on March 22nd. Drinks begin at 5:30 and Dinner at 6:00. (NCRRS President Paul Bretz will be unable to attend as he will be on a bus with 30 high school girls traveling to Fullerton for their tournament. Likely excuse…) Dress to impress, Number 1’s (coat and tie). Please RSVP to Bjorn “Again” Stumer (bstumer@att.net)

 

The Meeting is coming

The NCRRS is hosting its monthly meeting on March 19th, at 7:00 PM at the SFGG clubhouse on Treasure Island. Please arrive on time. We’ll have food and beverages so arrive early if you want first choice of the goodies. This meeting is open to all; current referees, past referees, possible referees and even non-referees. If you ever wanted to know WHY we make the (always correct) calls we do, then this is where you want to be. It astounds me that more coaches and club leaders don’t show up. This week’s topic: we decide which teams we want to win for the next few weeks and how to call the game in their favor.

 

“The Rugby Player” Featuring Mark Bingham Airs at Cinequest

A Los Gatos passenger who died during the Sept. 11, 2001 attacks now has a place on the big screen, which will be featured at Cinequest this Saturday afternoon at 4:45 in San Jose. “The Rugby Player” features the life of Mark Bingham, a Los Gatos High School alum, University of California at Berkeley alum, and an avid rugby player who died aboard United Airlines Flight 93 but not before fighting the terrorists before his death. Mark played for Los Gatos High School before playing for Jack Clark at Cal and several other clubs after his graduation, notably the San Francisco Fog.

Emmy award-winning director Scott Gracheff tried to paint a portrait of how Bingham’s heroism can inspire a nation. “He was gregarious and charming,” Gracheff said in a movie trailer, describing Bingham as a happy go-lucky “Labrador retriever” with boundless energy and loyalty. Growing up in Los Gatos I was privileged to know him, although not well, and his story is a worthy one even if you take out the 9/11 heroism.

 

“Let’s roll”.

And now on to the games…

 

Please remember when filling out your match reports on assignr, ASSIGNR IS NOT WHERE YOU REPORT MISCONDUCT. The report section of assignr is for the match summaries that are below. If there are red cards or reportable yellow cards in your match then report them via the channels described on pelicanrefs.com.

 

Date: 03/08/2014

Diablo Gaels 5 – Santa Rosa 71

Referee: Ricard, Bruce

 

Very warm day in Oakland, probably close to 75 degrees at kickoff time.

 

The first half was very dominated by Santa Rosa, who scored 8 converted tries, to lead 56-0.

 

The second half was a bit more balanced, after Santa Rosa made some substitutions. Santa Rosa had the ball almost all the time, but they didn’t score as much as in the first half. Towards the end of the game, tempers started to flare, and 2 minutes before the end of the game, a fight started. 4 players from Diablo were guilty of foul play, and were sent off. The game ended on a last try from Santa Rosa.

 

 

Date: 03/08/2014

Diablo Gaels B 10 – Santa Rosa B 53

Referee: Rauscher, Eric

 

This was the second game I did this weekend in which the losing team scored the first and the last tries of

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the game.

The game consisted of two 20 min periods due to the Gaels just not having enough players to do a full game. As it was, the ten players that played had legs of rubber due to playing in the A side game previous. The game was played in good spirits, but fairly lopsided.

 

 

Date: 03/08/2014

EPA Bulldogs 74 – EPA Razorbacks 7

Referee: MacDonald, Neil

 

On yet another glorious spring afternoon, the Bulldogs hosted the Razorbacks in Menlo Park. An intense first half of crunching physicality and valiant defense – most of it legal – saw only one converted try apiece, with the teams separated only by a Bulldog penalty kick late in the half. 10-7 at half time.

 

In the second half, the Bulldogs pulled away, and in the last 20 minutes ran away with it, scoring ten unanswered tries and converting seven of them to finish 74-7.

 

Many thanks to David Parkinson for his great ARing, and to Mike King for making the trek down from Santa Rosa to evaluate.

 

 

Date: 03/08/2014

EPA Bulldogs B 5 – EPA Razorbacks B 0

Referee: Parkinson, David

 

the razorbacks forfeited the B side game.

 

Date: 03/05/2014

Cal F/S – Santa Rosa JC

Referee: Tetler, Jen

 

No report received

 

 

Date: 03/08/2014

Cal Maritime 60 – Sierra College 32

Referee: Tiatia, Nome

 

No report received

 

 

Date: 03/08/2014

Fresno 24 – SFGG 32

Referee: Wilson, Dan

 

This was a game of trends. Fresno started off with trends towards disrupting the attack from SFGG, but the Fresno #7 was penalized three times in the first ten minutes for not releasing. At the ten minute mark, the penalty finally cost them a Penalty kick, putting SFGG up 0-3. Fresno finally got their defense to tighten and put together some great counter attacks resulting in converted tries at the 20th and 23rd minute. Each team had a couple of possibilities fizzle within the one-meter line which left the half-time score Fresno 14 – SFGG 3.

 

The second half seemed to start off with SFGG attacking just like the first half. SFGG scored twice in within the first ten minutes of the second half, but Fresno countered with try of their own at the 55th minute.

 

The attack by both teams continued into the fourth quarter, with SFGG getting back to back unconverted tries in the 21st and 23rd minute due to loose ball handling and slip tackling by Fresno. SFGG put in one more converted try in the 37th minute, but Fresno responded with their last unconverted try in the 39th minute.

 

Both teams have the reputation for being a little vocal on the pitch and Saturday was no exception. Both captains represented their teams viewpoint well and repeatedly, and yes, it was a physical game. Saturday’s game was fantastic to referee especially because the game was not decided until the last few minutes. Final Score: Fresno 24 – SFGG 32

 

 

Date: 03/08/2014

Fresno B 0 – SFGG B 59

Referee: Wilson, Dan

 

After coming off of an intense A game, the second side match was definitely one-sided. Fresno’s B-side was made up of newer players, including some brand new people, as well as some old boys (at least mentally if not chronologically). SFGG B-side probably would do well in the 2nd or 3rd division as a team itself.

 

Fresno had issues with an organized defense from the start allowing SFGG to look like all stars as they ran through the back lines. Hands in the ruck, not releasing and serious diarrhea of the mouth seemed to be the game plan for the Fresno B-side. There were some standout newbies for Fresno, such as their flankers, but Swiss cheese was more the order. SFGG stayed focused and continued to play organized ball. Halftime score: Fresno 0 – SFGG 26

 

The most fun aspect of the game was the interaction between the crowd and the SFGG players. It’s always enjoyable and sometimes hilarious when the crowd knows they have a players number and can get into that players head. SFGG continued to push on and more than doubled their score in the second half. Final score: Fresno B’s 0 – SFGG B’s 59

 

 

Date: 03/08/2014

Fresno State Women 73 – USF Women 0

Referee: Jury, Jeff

 

Aggressive angles of attack and tackling sealed USF’s fate on the day.

 

 

Date: 03/08/2014

Humboldt 20 – Redwood 17

Referee: Smith, Pete

 

The game started out slow for Redwood as they got out of their cars after four hours on the road and had to play. Humboldt jumped out to a 17-0 lead with nice ball movement and solid defense. Redwood put a long try on the board just before halftime to make it 17-5 at the beak. It was all Redwood in the second half in terms of possession and position, but Humboldt only bent a little and never trailed. It was dead locked at 17 with about 12 minutes to play. Humboldt took advantage of a penalty right in front of the posts with about 4 minutes left to pull ahead 20-17. Scrum down to Humboldt in the Humboldt end as time was running out, alas they lost the hook. Redwood spun it wide and back again with numbers to score the game winner…knock on-game over. WOW!!!

 

 

Date: 03/08/2014

Humboldt State 27 – USF 3

Referee: Smith, Pete

 

USF pulled up with 12 players and forfeit before kick off. Humboldt St loaned them 3 pretty good players and the game was on. Just enough trash talking to the loaned players to make them Dons for a day and it was a solid game! USF had huge second rows, solid front row and nifty inside backs. the score was more about finishing than the actual competitiveness of the match. If you didn’t know the score, you would have guessed it was tied. Big hits, long hard runs, educated kicking and a DROP GOAL by the Humboldt St #10!!! Nice game, solid players, good crowd on hand-rugby wins again!

 

 

Date: 03/08/2014

Life West 43 – Aptos 15

Referee: Gordon, Preston

 

No report received

 

 

Date: 03/08/2014

Marin 7 – Sacramento Capitals 41

Referee: Zanarini, Tom

 

Some good rugby was played in between long bouts of talking about how one referees a rugby match.

 

 

Date: 03/08/2014

Mendocino 38 – Shasta 7

Referee: Leisek, Joe

 

Tough, physical game on a warm day in the Redwood Empire. The hosts managed better ball retention and made the most of opportunities created through their opponents’ miscues. The Steam Donkeys scored three tries in each half, with two converted in each half as well. Thanks to both sides for an enjoyable game.

 

 

Date: 03/08/2014

Reno Zephyrs 41 – Colusa 40

Referee: Crenshaw, Jim

 

Headed up the mountain to Reno Saturday for the Reno – Colusa match. Arrived a little before noon to a glorious sunny calm day.

Colusa started the back and forth scoring with an unconverted try followed by a penalty kick by Reno. The teams traded long breakaways with Reno converting their try to tie the match at 10 all. Colusa put up one more try (7)than Reno during the match but only converted one try to 4 conversions by Reno and it proved costly in the end for Colusa. Colusa scored 2 more tries and Reno scored one near the end of the half to make it 20 to 15 Colusa.

Colusa tallied 2 scores early in the second half and looked like they would run away with it. The teams traded tries and then Colusa kicked a penalty kick to take a 40 to 29 lead with less than 10 minutes remaining.

Colusa relaxed and Reno capitalized with a converted try and then with no time left scored in the corner to take the win.

 

Date: 03/08/2014

Chico State Women 39 – Cal Women 32

Referee: Franzoia, Tom

 

No report received

 

 

Date: 03/08/2014

Chico State Women B 33 – Cal Women B 12

Referee: Franzoia, Tom

 

No report received

 

Date: 03/08/2014

Sacramento Blackhawks 36 – Baracus 32

Referee: Tucker, Chris

 

A fast game played by both sides — my average HR was the highest it’s been all year, including PRP and College D1.

 

Baracus had the better ball, and were more constructive, but couldn’t match Sacramento’s secret weapon. 5 tries from outside centre Sione Latu gave the visitors a mountain to climb. As he left the field after 60 minutes, Baracus had the bit between their teeth, and were clawing the lead back to set us up for a great finish. 4 points in it, and Baracus had a 2 on 2 out wide, 10m from goal. But when the wing knocked on, the game was over.

 

Happy to have been a part of a game played with great spirit by both sides.

 

 

Date: 03/08/2014

Sacramento Lions 75 – San Jose Seahawks 10

Referee: Ranaweera, Aruna

 

Sunny 70F at Robla Park in Sacramento with about 100 spectators. San Jose played with structure and purpose, but could not overcome the sheer athleticism and physicality of the home team, which routinely sprung vertical line breaks. Sacramento led 32-3 at half and ran away with this contest, 13 tries to 1 (good), and 4 yellow cards to 0 (bad).

 

Much thanks to Mark Godfrey for doing a nice job as AR, which included miscellaneous pre-match preparations. Also, thanks to the Sacramento Lions for generously providing an entire Little Caesar’s pizza for the match officials. (It’s my 2nd favorite pizza, only behind Golden Boy in North Beach.)

 

(Editor’s note: apparently Aruna doesn’t get pizza very often… Little Ceasar’s?)

 

Date: 03/08/2014

Sacramento Lions B 12 – San Jose Seahawks B 22

Referee: Richmond, Jeff

 

A pretty competitive match-up with a lot of recycled San Jose A side players against fresh legs on the Sacramento side. San Jose took an early lead but the scoring in the first half went back and forth then locked at 12-12. Sac got a little worn down themselves in the second half and San Jose pulled away. Things were simplified with the scrums uncontested as San Jose didn’t have enough horsepower to go up against Sac.

 

 

Date: 03/08/2014

Sacramento State Women 19 – Humboldt State Women 27

Referee: Baker, Eugene

 

Beautiful weather and a nicely prepared pitch greeted me Saturday morning at Sac State. I went there a few days early to check out the playing surface and decide which boots to wear, due to rain earlier in the week and the field being used by multiple sports. I was pleasantly surprised to find the field in much better shape Saturday than Tuesday.

 

Humblodt State scored minutes into the match when one of their wings broke containment and glided down the sideline untouched. This would be how the Lady Lumberjacks scored most of their points – Wings breaking containment for long breakaway tries. In contrast, Sac State pounded the middle of the field for their tries, recycling the ball and relying on creative playmaking by their flyhalf.

 

In the end – With the score 22-19 Humboldt and minutes left in the match – The Lady Lumberjacks put it away with yet another breakaway try by one of their wings. Final 27-19, and HSU gets the win after a long drive down from Eureka.

 

 

Date: 03/08/2014

San Jose State 31 – Fresno State 5

Referee: Hinkin, James

 

Fresno St made the journey from the Central Valley to the Silicon Valley on a perfect day. After experiencing the Escheresque field markings San Jose St has employed in the past I was pleasantly surprised that the field was perfectly lined with every line exactly where it was expected to be. It’s only a pity there are so many bare patches or this would be one of the best pitches in the union.

Both teams were at the pitch early and ready to go, aside from some small confusion from the SJSU captain. “San Jose, you have won the toss, what would you like to do?” “We will receive” “Your choices are to kick or to choose to defend an end.” “Oh, sorry. We’ll kick.”

 

Huh? Oh well…

 

The first half was notable for three things: knock ons, SJSU coming offside and a lack of scoring. The knock ons were the result of stout defense and over eager attackers. Several offsides were managed back and the rest were dealt with via the whistle until I got tired of it and the SJSU #12 was the recipient of the team infringement yellow. To be fair, the SJSU back line were all under the impression that a lineout ended when the ball left the hooker’s hand but the #12 was leading the charge. To nobody’s surprise, they were not offside the rest of the match. To Fresno’s surprise, they didn’t score at all with the man advantage. In fact, they gave up the only try of the half while up a man. The conversion was missed so we entered the break at 5-0.

 

The second half opened up nicely for San Jose St as they started to exert their will. The backs found gaps and exploited them to run in 4 tries. There are some athletes on that squad and when they find their rugby brains they will be a very dangerous side, indeed. Fresno was able to get a deserved try in late as they did enough positive things that a goose egg would have been a disservice.

 

 

 

Date: 03/08/2014

San Jose State B 22 – Fresno State B 34

Referee: Hinkin, James

 

Fresno St travelled with an A side and a few extras so much of their team valiantly doubled up to provide San Jose St with a B side match. San Jose St has two full teams with numbers to spare so it was a case of tired A side players vs fresh B side players. The game went as expected, one would think given that setup, as Fresno St ran out to an early lead using their skill and experience to good advantage. As the game progressed the tired arms and legs of the visitors started to betray them as the Spartan Youth kept coming on in waves of 18 year old energy. In particular the San Jose #6 may have been the fastest and most explosive player on the field while, to be fair, not really looking the part. As an example, San Jose St had a penalty just outside their 22 that they decided to tap and run. A simple, short pass to the #6 running at a cluster of defenders was the strategy and I slowed down anticipating a tackle and possible ruck. The San Jose flanker didn’t seem to get the memo and never slowed or broke stride as he crashed through the defense leaving me flat footed and scrambling to catch up. He rumbled nearly untouched the full 70 meters for a try as nobody could bring him down from in front or catch him from behind. The half ended 22-12 in favor of the Bulldogs with momentum firmly in the Spartan camp.

The second half, in deference to the fatigued visitors, was agreed to be 20 minutes and the Spartans may have regretted that bit of generosity. Fresno used to break to recharge and scored a couple of more tries right off the bat. Fatigue set in again and San Jose scored a couple of more tries themselves but quickly ran out of time for a proper comeback.

 

 

 

Date: 03/08/2014

SFGG Women 52 – Sacramento Amazons 5

Referee: Bernstein, Bruce

 

What started as a tight competitive match turned into a one-sided affair when SFGG Women played as a team controlling possession, location and most phases resulting in 6 2nd half tries after only being up 12-5 at half.

 

 

Date: 03/08/2014

Sonoma State 55 – CSUMB 21

Referee: Johnson, Lee

 

A tale of a game of two halves, with both teams looking to play a fast open running game.

In the first half SSU were scoring at the rate of over a point a minute, running in seven tries in the process. CSUMB’s only reward was a picked off loose pass for the outside center to score under the posts, to give a half time score of 43-7.

The second half was a more even contest with both teams still trying to play an open game despite the rising heat, which started to lead to more knock on’s as both set of players tired in the latter stages of the half. CSUMB sneaking it two tries to one.

Final score 55-21

 

 

Date: 03/08/2014

St. Mary’s College Women 14 – UC Santa Cruz Women 58

Referee: Sandhill, Peter

 

Beautiful California spring weather and a soft grassy pitch welcomed the UC Santa Cruz Banana Slugs to battle their college women’s rivals, the St Mary’s Gaels. It was a tight match in the first half, with a 22-14 scoreline at half time.

 

The Slugs played to their strength in the second half with some strong forward play, including excellent counter rucking and lots of pick and drives. Consequently, the tries rolled in.

 

The attitude was positive with both teams demonstrating a fierce desire to win along with excellent sportsmanship. A joy to referee.

 

 

Date: 03/08/2014

Stanford Women 37 – UC Davis Women 24

Referee: Bretz, Paul

 

Good game by both sides. Davis scored first and chose to keep it in tight. Stanford chose to spread the ball wide.

 

 

Date: 03/08/2014

Stanford Women B 56 – UC Davis Women B 7

Referee: Nguyen, Anthony

 

No report received

 

 

Date: 03/08/2014

State of Jefferson 24 – SF Fog 15

Referee: Parks, Kevin

 

Reffed by Kevin Parks of Southern Oregon. And reffed well, I would imagine.

 

 

Date: 03/08/2014

UC Santa Cruz 44 – SF State 7

Referee: Kenny, Stephen

 

After much encouragement from my former coach, here is the much-unanticipated debut of my first match report. (editor’s note: Hooray!) The draw was UC Santa Cruz Vs. SF State. Two teams I was familiar with having played them for three years while at Sierra. UCSC has the pitch with the million-dollar view, and it was in full effect on this day. I arrived at noon to find both teams had strong numbers, and were not letting the stunning views of the bay distract them from the task at hand. Ten minutes in saw UCSC dot down their first try. Two more would be worked in in slow precession, with the final coming as time ran out in the half. The UCSC back line has the runners to really challenge the edges and a #10 with good pace, who was more apt to spin it wide, which UCSC used with great success. With the tries coming at the edges UCSC’s kicker had a rough go at it with the conversions and was unsuccessful in the first half. Half time score was 15-0 in favor of the hosts. The second half for SF State started strong, some great phase work resulted in them plunging over, heads up play by UCSC saw it held up in goal. SF State would not be denied and two phases off the 5-meter scrum garnered what would be their lone try right by the posts. Great effort by both sides brought good energy to the second half. SF state was pressing hard to put more points on the board, but UCSC used this and there speedy back line to their advantage to pour on four more try’s before the final whistle. Final score UCSC 44 SF State 7.

 

 

Date: 03/08/2014

UC Santa Cruz B 26 – SF State B 15

Referee: Freitas, Larry

 

The second XV match between UC Santa Cruz and San Francisco State ended with the home side complimenting the varsity’s win earlier in the afternoon. UCSC has plenty of second XV players, and they all had a chance to take the field. San Francisco State had nearly enough, but a few 1st XV players were in for their second match of the day. In the second half it seemed that SFSU had the momentum, but a charged down kick near San Francisco’s goal line ended up in a Banana Slug try. Some moments later, a Gator back tried to run from his own goal line, was tackled, released the ball on the line, and a UCSC player promptly touched down. Kicking for touch is sometimes the better choice, even in a game that doesn’t count in the standings. Overall both teams attempted to stay on their feet in ruck situations, and other than a few high tackles and random offsides committed by both sides, there were few penalties.

 

 

Date: 03/08/2014

UOP 43 – Santa Rosa JC 41

Referee: van Staden, JC

 

They say you know the season is in full swing when you recorded 449 points, in 8 days during 7 matches…

 

Full report to follow later 😉

 

(Editor’s note: I could understand that report. What gives, JC?)

 

Date: 03/09/2014

Stanford 28 – Chico State 0

Referee: Gordon, Preston

 

It was a balmy 70F in Palo Alto for this 2pm Sunday kickoff, my third game of the weekend. Both of these teams were clearly up for this game, which was closer than one might think from the scoreline. Each side had their chances, but Stanford’s stronger scrum gave them a good platform and they ended up 12-0 ahead at halftime after tries at 6′ and 25′ (converted).

 

One minute into the second half Stanford added 3 points from a penalty, which put them ahead by more than 2 converted tries. They seemed to ease off the pressure a little bit, but ultimately their defence held Chico State out after being made to work for it. They ended up adding 2 additional unconverted tries at 45′ and 60′ (with their captain in the bin for a deliberate knock-on while offside and defending their goal line), and finished the scoring with another penalty goal at 66′ that resulted from the Chico State hooker being sent to the bin for an off-the-ball tackle.

 

Stanford B 32-22 Chico State B

 

In the B-side game, things were a lot closer. There were a few lead changes, and at halftime it was something like 17-12. Aside from two yellow cards for dangerous tackles – one to each side – this featured a lot of (sideways) running rugby and the standard was close to the A-side game. Stanford

scored a couple of tries near the end of the match to end up winning 32-22. After the 290th minute of reffing this weekend, I managed to make it home before falling asleep within about an hour. Fun!

 

 

Date: 03/09/2014

Stanford Women 24 – Berkeley All Blues 38

Referee: Tetler, Jen

 

The All-Blues brought down a mixture of A and B side players for a friendly with Stanford women. The All-Blues showed their strength and skills in the first half…starting with a forward try 5 minutes in. They got 4 more tries in the half. The Stanford girls put in a great effort, but their efforts were thwarted by the All-Blue defense. The All-Blues were having their way with Stanford in the scrums, stealing many of their balls. The half ended with Stanford knocking on the door, but no score to show for it: 24-0. The second half proved the superior fitness of the college girls with a breakthrough try just a few minutes in. Berkeley retaliated a few minutes later with a try of their own by the forwards. Stanford’s next try was a penalty try after Berkeley tried to stop a girl chasing her kick, and they scored again after a blocked kick rebounded into the try-zone and Stanford was able to touch it down (the scorer, however, was crunched in the process). Both teams were able to score one more try in the half, with Stanford hoping for a little more time to run, for a final score of 24-38 to the All-Blues.

 

High School Reports

Date: 03/07/2014

Stan Elsie Allen Lobos 26 – Napa Stormers 7

Referee: Joe Leisek

Touch Judges: Barend Ventner, Jack Petty

Friday night rugby under the lights at the Lobodome. The visitors came into the match undefeated, with the Lobos’ lone defeat coming against the Stormers a few weeks prior. This was a heavyweight bout, with tensions and physicality running high. Napa scored the game’s first try about a third of the way into the first half, and they controlled possession for most of the half. The Lobos scored at the end of the first half to tie the score. The second half was nearly all Lobos, as they made long gains through straight-ahead, physical running. Napa had opportunities but could not break through. Thanks to Barend and Jack for their help, and to Mike King for his halftime and post-match observations.

 

Date: 03/07/2014

Bishop O’Dowd 34 – Ygnacio Valley 12

Referee: Eric Rauscher

 

You may not recognize Ygnacio Valley. Not surprising since this was their first ever game of rugby.

It was basically BOD jv against a team of newbies.

This was also the first game I did this weekend in which the losing team scored the first and last tries. Ygnacios #1 was able to bowl his way into goal and land on the ball in the second minute of the game. Rarely have I seen such joy in the face of a player.

There was one of those heart stopping moments in this game as well. Ygnacios’ player with the ball was tackled cleanly low around the hips and momentum carried him up onto the tacklers shoulder as he stood up. Time slowed down and I could hear myself crying “NOOOOOOOOO”. The BOD player safely set him down on his feet and we all breathed a sigh of relief and restarted play with a scrum to Ygnacio Valley

 

This Week’s Photo

South Valley promoted their match vs the Reno Zephyrs this week with a nice photo of noted Pelican John Pohlman. Apparently there are some rugby players providing background and context.

Pohlman South Valley

Hail, Pelicus!

For the Senate

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