Category Archives: News

Professional Startup

HAIL PELICUS!

 

Professional Startup

 

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

 

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

 

All Tied Up And Nowhere To Go

 

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

 

Wrong.

 

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

 

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

 

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

 

The Other Big Change

 

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

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

The Great Ebner Experiment Continues

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

A Fond Farewell

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

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

Ask A Pelican

 

Yes, it’s time for this week’s installment of “Ask A Pelican”, the widely loved Q and A session with Hail Pelicus.   This week’s question comes from Ernie Dinklefwat of Bloom County, USA who asks:

 

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

 

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

 

Keep those questions coming!

 

Disciplinary Action Reporting – Process For Reporting Incidents

 

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

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

On To The Game Reports!

 

Date: 04/16/2016

Colusa County 35 – Modesto 33

Referee: Pohlman, John

 

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

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

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

 

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

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

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

Thanks for one heck of a workout.

 

 

Date: 04/16/2016

Danville 49 – Granite Bay 14

Referee: Gordon, Preston

 

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

 

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

 

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

 

 

Date: 04/16/2016

Napa 85 – Reno 19

Referee: Bertolone, Cary

 

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

 

 

Date: 04/16/2016

Cal Maritime 29 – New Mexico Highlands University 31

Referee: Sandhill, Peter

 

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

 

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

 

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

 

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

 

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

 

Thanks to Tim and Eric who did a wonderful job.

 

 

Date: 04/16/2016

Claremont Colleges 42 – Denver University 18

Referee: Lew, Tim

 

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

 

 

Date: 04/16/2016

Peninsula Green 31 – McClatchy 28

Referee: Bernstein, Bruce

 

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

 

 

Date: 04/16/2016

Peninsula Green 38 – McClatchy 12

Referee: Carney, Mark

 

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

 

 

Date: 04/16/2016

Sacramento Amazons 14 – SFGG Women 59

Referee: McDougall, Grant

 

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

 

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

 

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

 

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

 

 

Date: 04/16/2016

Sacramento Amazons 48 – Pleasanton Cavaliers 12

Referee: Crenshaw, Jim

 

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

 

 

Date: 04/16/2016

San Jose State 39 – Alumni 17

Referee: Simko, Paul

 

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

 

 

Date: 04/16/2016

Santa Rosa 31 – EPA Razorbacks 33

Referee: Fenaroli, Steven

 

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

 

 

Date: 04/16/2016

SFGG 24 – Mother Lode 50

Referee: Byrnes, Bryant

 

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

 

 

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

 

 

Date: 04/16/2016

UC Davis 29 – University of Southern California  12

Referee: Boyer, Rich

 

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

 

 

Date: 04/16/2016

Vacaville 29 – Life West 2 21

Referee: Devlin, Joe

 

No report received

 

 

Date: 04/17/2016

Claremont Colleges 35 – New Mexico Highlands University 25

Referee: Lew, Tim

 

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

 

 

This Week’s Photo

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

NSCRO 7s refs

Hail, Pelicus!
For the Senate
Pelicus Pedem Referre

Death And Taxes

HAIL PELICUS!

 

Death and Taxes

 

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

-Benjamin Franklin, 1789

 

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

-Pelicus Pedem Referre, 2016

 

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

 

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

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

RIP Seigfried Kohl.  You will be missed.

 

Party Like It’s 1999

 

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

 

The Smartest People In The Room

 

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

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

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

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

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

 

The Great Ebner Experiment On Hold

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

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

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

 

A Fond Farewell

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

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

The Naming Of The Flock

 

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

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

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

All Hail Pelicus Guinness Consumptus and Pelicus Caledonius!

 

Ask A Pelican

 

Yes, it’s time for this week’s installment of “Ask A Pelican”, the widely loved Q and A session with Hail Pelicus.   This week’s question comes from Jaco Peyper, of Bloemfontein, South Africa who asks:

 

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

 

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

 

Jen Tetler has been promoted to C1.

Robert Hammack has been promoted to C2

Andrew Kenny has been promoted to C3

 

Congratulations to these fine referees!

 

Disciplinary Action Reporting – Process For Reporting Incidents

 

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

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

 

On To The Game Reports!

 

Date: 04/05/2016

Sacramento Capitals 58 – Missoula Maggots 26

Referee: Carney, Mark

 

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

 

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

 

 

Date: 04/09/2016

Berkeley 18 – Olympic Club 2 17

Referee: Byrnes, Bryant

 

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

 

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

 

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

 

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

 

 

Date: 04/09/2016

California 136 – Texas 0

Referee: Lane, John

 

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

 

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

 

 

Date: 04/09/2016

Colusa 86 – Mendocino 5

Referee: Bertolone, Cary

 

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

 

 

Date: 04/09/2016

Danville 37 – Riordan  13

Referee: Wilson, Giles

 

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

 

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

 

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

 

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

 

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

 

 

Date: 04/09/2016

Fresno 75 – San Jose 10

Referee: Devlin, Joe

 

No report received

 

 

Date: 04/09/2016

Google 38 – Aptos 34

Referee: Simko, Paul

 

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

 

 

Date: 04/09/2016

Jesuit 26 – Granite Bay 24

Referee: Androvich, Joe

 

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

 

 

Date: 04/09/2016

Life West 46 – EPA Razorbacks 7

Referee: MacDonald, Neil

AR: McDougall, Grant

 

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

 

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

 

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

 

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

 

 

Date: 04/09/2016

Life West 2 29 – Baracus 27

Referee: McDougall, Grant

 

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

 

 

Date: 04/09/2016

Life West Women 55 – SFGG Women 10

Referee: McDougall, Grant

 

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

 

 

Date: 04/09/2016

Marin 7 – Napa 41

Referee: Richmond, Jeff

 

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

 

 

Date: 04/09/2016

UC Davis Women 44 – Washington St Women 0

Referee: Bretz, Paul

 

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

 

 

Date: 04/09/2016

UN Reno Women 57 – Oregon Women 5

Referee: Franzoia, Tom

 

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

 

Date: 04/09/2016

Sacramento St 25 – Chico St 17

Referee: Tucker, Chris

 

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

 

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

 

 

Date: 04/09/2016

UC Davis 35 – UNR 3

Referee: Taueva, Favor

 

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

 

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

 

Manuia

 

 

Date: 04/09/2016

Redwood 21 – Napa 2 15

Referee: Hammack, Robert

 

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

 

 

Date: 04/09/2016

Reno 27 – Modesto 33

Referee: Crenshaw, Jim

 

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

 

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

 

Date: 04/09/2016

Sacramento Blackhawks 10 – SFGG 38

Referee: Pescetti, David

 

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

 

 

Date: 04/09/2016

South Valley 21 – SiliconValley 17

Referee: Freitas, Larry

 

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

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

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

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

 

 

Date: 04/09/2016

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

Referee: Fenaroli, Steven

 

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

 

 

Date: 04/09/2016

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

Referee: Carney, Mark

 

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

 

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

 

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

 

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

 

 

Date: 04/09/2016

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

Referee: Pohlman, John

 

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

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

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

First half St. Mary’s 15 SLO 8.

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

 

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

 

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

 

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

 

 

Date: 04/09/2016

Vacaville 45 – Chico 19

Referee: Hinkin, James

 

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

 

So that was all settled.

 

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

 

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

 

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

 

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

 

 

Date: 04/10/2016

UC Davis Women 35 – Chico St Women 5

Referee: Bretz, Paul

 

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

 

 

Date: 04/10/2016

Long Beach St Women 22 – Western Oregon Women 10

Referee: Franzoia, Tom

 

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

 

 

Date: 04/10/2016

NorCal NSCRO 7’s Qualifier

Referee: Boyer, Rich

 

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

 

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

 

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

 

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

 

 

Date: 04/10/2016

NorCal NSCRO 7’s Qualifier

Referee: Fenaroli, Steven

 

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

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

 

 

Date: 04/10/2016

Chico St 0 – UNR 0

Referee: Tucker, Chris

 

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

 

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

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

 

 

Date: 04/10/2016

UC Davis 40 – Sacramento St 29

Referee: Taueva, Favor

 

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

 

 

 

This Week’s Photo

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

Fox Man

Hail, Pelicus!

For the Senate

Pelicus Pedem Referre

 

Opening Weak

HAIL PELICUS!

 

Opening Weak

 

There have been a lot of sporting distractions this week and not all of them have been rugby related.   This is, after all, Opening Week for baseball during which we had the NCAA basketball final (what an ending!) as well as the continued chase for the NBA single season win record by our own Golden State Warriors.   Even the San Jose Sharks were getting into the fun as they clinched a playoff berth and were tuning up for the second season.

 

It all came to a head on Thursday with the San Francisco Giants home opener against the Hated Dodgers (a nice win for the good guys, thank you very much), the Warriors taking on their closest competitor the San Antonio Spurs (another nice win for the good guys that secured the #1 overall playoff seed), the Sharks losing a heartbreaker by giving up the winning goal with 10 seconds remaining and finally, the start of the Masters.   Waking up the next morning we have Friday on our mind with the start of the Hong Kong Sevens, the jewel of the World Sevens Series.  (See what I did there?)   The Great Ebner Experiment seems to have started and we here at Hail Pelicus will be paying very close attention.

 

All in all the staff here at Hail Pelicus really didn’t have much time to devote to this edition so there aren’t the usual jokes, witticisms and in depth analysis that is the usual fare.  We hope the readers forgive us for opening weak during Opening Week.   That is all, and don’t forget your towel.

 

e-Holder

 

There is a new book about Rob Holder that would interest most Pelicans called Crossing the 101.  It first came to my attention when reading an interview with Mr Holder on thisisamericanrugby.com .  Rob spent time in Pelicanland as the Head Coach at Stanford before moving on to coach the newly formed EPA club.   His son is currently representing the US in 7s and I fully expect to see him performing in Rio.   But don’t just take my word for it, here is a review for you:

CROSSING THE 101

Mike Kils

Published by smashwords.com

Reviewed by Bruce Carter

 

There is a new e-book out about Rob Holder, former coach at Stanford and East Palo Alto. It is written by Mike Kils and is available from smashwords.com. Readers in Pelicanland will definitely enjoy the time spent with it.

If you’ve been a member of this the Northern California rugby community over the past dozen years, you will find that your life intersects with this story in many cases, and intertwines with it in many others.

First things first: the author shows excellent research skills and impeccable taste in reference material: referee match reports are quoted from Hail, Pelicus! on two occasions, from Pete Smith and Chris Labozetta. Keep writing those reports: you never know how you might become immortalized!

There have been a number of down-and-outers-find-their-way-in-rugby stories and movies in recent years. This is no surprise. We’ve always believed that rugby appeals to and brings out the best in many people. This book – a quick read, about 70 pages – shows exactly how that magic works, using a cast of characters that most NorCal referees will know well.

This is the story of how Rob Holder formed the East Palo Alto Razorbacks club to help keep graduates of the EPA high school program out of trouble.   Rob had recently been the paid coach of the Stanford team, doing this out of love, both rugby love and Christian love, as becomes clear. The team went from non-existence to national D2 champions in its third season (2009).

My association with Rob Holder goes back to 1992, when he was a couple of years out of West Point, playing for the Combined Services. I was a referee, in the Army, who toured with the team. He was the proverbial nicest guy you’d ever meet, and was later included in the player pool for the 1999 Rugby World Cup.

Many of our readers will have first become aware of who Rob was and what he could do in 2003, when his US Air Force Academy team stunned Cal in the national semi-final at Stanford, and went on to win the championship.

Here’s another point of contact for our readers: Marc Ward, one of Rob’s players, was memorably injured in the Cal game making a game-changing tackle. His injuries meant that he couldn’t pass a flight physical, which precluded him from continuing at the academy. So he became a Pelican Ref, enrolled at Stanford, and helped as a volunteer with the team until his full capacities returned and he was able to resume his Air Force career.

As an immediate result of the victory over Cal, Rob received an offer to become the full-time coach and director of rugby at Stanford.

Some of you will remember his eager young son Will, a ball boy in those early days, and will have derived great pleasure seeing this same young man in the side that beat New Zealand in Dubai, scoring two tries against the sevens All Blacks.

Another ‘son’ of Rob’s, a wayward soul that Rob later helped give some rugby direction to, was the flyhalf on EPA’s championship team, Folau Niua. Folau and Will Holder will probably be together in Rio this summer playing on the biggest stage possible.

Rob’s story of course intersects with Rich May, a policeman killed in the line of duty in EPA, the stepson of Frank Merrill. (Some may not be surprised to learn that Frank’s one quote is NSFW.) Rob, attending seminary at the time, provided ministerial support to the family during the ordeal and performed his first official service, a funeral, in front of many thousands of mourners at the arena where the Sharks play.

The rugby as described is exciting, and only occasionally devolves to the execrable how-rugby-is-like-other-sports mode of explanation. Many of us know these players, and their opponents, and when the game is afoot you can see the players and the action in your mind, in memory yet green.

Tongan culture plays a major role, with former EPA high school coach Dave Tupou serving as the link between Rob’s two worlds. The critical role of the player’s wives in furthering their success is outlined, wherein we learn about fund-raising on the east side of highway 101. Note that it is somewhat different from the venture capital method epitomized on Sand Hill Road west of 101.

Others making appearances include Tony Redmond, an Irish Test referee who lived in Palo Alto and refereed for us for a couple of seasons, and Paul Berman. Paul is not named, but he will recall the match described that he was meant to referee in EPA until it was canceled due to nearby gunfire. He went from there back to Stanford, where he had been running touch for a Pacific Coast high school tournament, making Rob’s journey in reverse: back to the safer side of the highway.

I wrote and edited Hail, Pelicus! for fourteen years as an on-going love letter to the sport that has given so much to me. Rob Holder’s story is also a love story.

If you are reading this missive, you share that love.

If you are a part of Northern California rugby, if you have ever had to overcome adversity, if you have experienced the selfless pleasure of helping a teammate achieve more than was thought possible, if you have delayed gratification for hard work in the here and now, and if you have competed and succeeded in an arena where you previously did not belong, then this is your story, too.

https://www.smashwords.com/books/view/624839

 

A Fond Farewell

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

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

 

Laying Down Some Knowledge

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

 

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

 

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

 

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

 

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

 

Eternal Pelicus At The Meeting

More from Pelicus Iudex Pennipes:

 

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

For those who would like to suggest a Pelican Name for themselves or for others please send an email to hailpelicus@pelicanrefs.com.    Please verify via the Eternal Pelicus link above that the individual in question doesn’t already have a Pelican Name or that the Pelican Name is not already in use.   If you fail to do this then expect reprecussions.

Final Meeting Notes – Kit

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

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

Ask A Pelican

 

Yes, it’s time for this week’s installment of “Ask A Pelican”, the widely loved Q and A session with Hail Pelicus.   This week’s question comes from Snarky McSmarmyface, of The Internet who asks:

 

“A couple of weeks back in the ‘Springing Forward’ edition of Hail Pelicus you wrote a section entitled ‘The Great “If Only” Argument Of American Rugby’.   You conjectured that Nate Ebner had very little chance at making the US team and yet here he is in Hong Kong.   Are you ready to admit you were wrong?”

 

Thank you for your question, Mr McSmarmyface and thank you for paying such close attention to our noble publication.   Your answer is No, I am not ready to admit being wrong because what I actually said was his chances of making the Olympic team were “maybe, trending to doubtful” and yes, he has made the USA Eagles after impressing in the Hong Kong 10s so well done him – that is step 1.   I also said that he “absolutely” deserves a look and I think this is it.  If Mike Friday is to evaluate how Ebner will perform at the Olympics he needs to see him in a competitive, international environment and there are not too many of those left.    He, more than any other player in the squad, is currently on trial for the Olympics.   He has much to do to catch up with everyone else.

 

Grab hold of this opportunity, Nate, as I believe this is your one chance to grab the brass ring – or rather the interlocking rings.

 

Disciplinary Action Reporting – Process For Reporting Incidents

 

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

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

 

On To The Game Reports!

 

Date: 03/30/2016

Stanford 5 – California 121

Referee: Lane, John

 

A beautiful sunny evening for a game and with the recent decent rainfall Steuber Field is in exceptional condition.

Pre-game coach expectations was for a Cal win and that is what transpired but Stanford were there to play and despite the ending score line they competed for the full 80 minutes.

From the kickoff Cal pushed the pace of the game and punished every defensive error.  Converted tries on 2, 4, 6 and 10 minutes say a 0-28 lead and as such the result was never in doubt.  In this period Stanford were defensively passive with soft line speed allowing Cal the space to build momentum and gaps appeared easily.

Some behind the posts encouragement from the Stanford captain saw some adjustment to this and the stream of one way traffic was slowed.  Stanford started to get some ball and build a few phases at times but Cal were equally strong in defense and turned over possession frequently. 3 more tries on 17, 22 and 28 minutes with one converted stretched the lead to 0-45.

From this last restart Stanford had their best 5 minutes of the half with good line speed halting Cal and winning a turnover.  They maintained possession for multiple phases aided by an off the feet penalty by Cal to keep the pressure on.  After a string of 6 phases the Stanford 9 took quick ball from a breakdown and broke to the open side and dummied through a gap.  With support following him there was a scoring opportunity but under pressure from the Cal 15 his pass went forward.  To make things worse Cal gathered possession and making full use of the advantage moved the ball quickly to the wings and rounded the defense to score (converted) from 80 yards!!  One more converted try followed to leave the half time score at 0-59.

Cal started the second half with two converted tries but Stanford were defending stronger and more phases were required for Cal to break through – 7 minutes in the score was 0-73.

Stanford then raised their biggest cheer of the evening on 11 minutes.  Building some pressure and winning penalties at break downs they kicked for the corner and had a lineout on the 5m line.  Having thrown all lineouts high to 2 or 4 so far a quick through low to the front jumper was fed to his supporting prop who barreled his way over right in the corner.  Unconverted for 5-73 on 11 mins.  Lack of concentration after the score saw Cal score again from the restart 5-80.

But lifted by the score and encouraged by their coaching staff to maintain their systems Stanford kept playing positively and defended with commitment.  The stronger Cal team continued to generate the line breaks and scored 4 tries on 19, 23, 28 and 31 minutes.  These all went unconverted as the scores were happening further out due to the Stanford defensive effort.  5-93 with 9 mins remaining.

By this stage many substitutes were on the field and Stanford were tiring a bit leading to 3 rapid fire converted tries in the final 6 minutes.  Final score 5-121.

While the scoreline was extreme the committed efforts of both teams throughout made this an enjoyable game to ref and certainly covered my mid-week sprint session requirements!!!

 

 

Date: 04/02/2016

San Jose Women 5 – All Blues 39

Referee: Freitas, Larry

 

I drove over infamous Highway 17 from Santa Cruz to East San Jose for this match at Independence High School.  By the time I arrived the coastal marine layer had burned off, and the air had warmed into the low 60’s an hour before for the 11:00 start an hour later, meaning it would be warmer by kickoff.  San Jose had a full team, and one extra player, while the All Blues had some 17 players suited up for this match, along with supporters who looked as if they might play in their fall league team.  The grass on the pitch was thick and needed mowing, and running around on it to warm up, I imagined that the grass might slow down some of the faster runners; just as well the grass was thick, because the ground beneath seemed quite hard.  And kudos to the Seahawks for getting this pitch this year to play, a great improvement!

The All Blues kicked off to the Seahawks with the sun in their faces for the first half.  The first ten minutes of the match were very evenly played.  The Seahawk women had most of the possession, actually, but couldn’t spread the ball to their backs without gaining much ground.  The All Blues scored the first try of the match 13 minutes in, when after a semi-deep cross kick from their fly half, from their left hand side of the field at halfway, the ball bounced around just outside San Jose’s 22, and ended up in the hands of a Berkeley Back, and one pass later the right wing touched down quite far out to the right of the posts, for five points that went unconverted.  Nine minutes later the All Blues would score again, making the score 10-nil.  San Jose was putting up a good fight, but overall it seemed the All Blues just had a bit more pace and fitness and were starting to wear down the Seahawk defense.  At 30 minutes the All Blues won a tight head in San Jose’s quarter, and the All Blues ran in another try.  At the half the score was 15-0 in favor of the visitors.   The players who impressed with their play were the All Blues’ substitute hooker, who came in after the first ten minutes as a substitute, Skyfire Knight, and their number 8, Sydney Provan, who was to score three tries in this match.  The Seahawks tight head prop, Angie Tukulua, had the opportunity to rumble with the ball a number of times in this match, breaking tackles, and shedding tacklers.  Though neither Tukulua or Knight would score tries, their ball running skills created opportunities for scoring.

The All Blues would score a try after the first ten minutes of the second half.  Again, it was unconverted, and brought the score to 20 points to none.  It was Tukulua who set up the Seahawks one and only try of the match, when after one of her runs down the left-hand side of the pitch, she was brought to the ground just meters from the All Blues’ line.  Scrum half Allison Mendonsa (no ‘c’ with the tail on American keyboards) picked up the ball from the ensuing ruck, and darted under a tackle to place the ball just on the front edge of the goal line for the only Seahawk try of the match.  The kick failed, and the score stood 20-5 in Berkeley’s favor after 59 minutes of play.   Soon afterwards Tukulua would have another long run after taking the ball away from an All Blues player who was stood up in a tackle, only to be tackled herself from behind by Sophie Coysh, one of the All Blues’ flankers, who has been playing rugby for a few months, and had been playing a very good game.  Unfortunately the tackle was dangerous, as she had her arms wrapped around the Seahawk player’s neck.  I blew for the penalty and made the quick decision, that since each team had at least one high tackle penalty each, a yellow card was warranted.   Down one player, the All Blues did fashion another try at 64 minutes.  San Jose managed to shift the ball a bit with the extra player advantage, but couldn’t cross the All Blues line, though they did manage to penetrate into their territory.  Alena Porte, playing out of position at fly half, started making some breaks from her position instead of passing on the ball, taking advantage of gaps that opened up.  With the All Blues back to full strength, and the air getting warmer and warmer, there was another try scored at 71 minutes, when I awarded the All Blues with a penalty after a Seahawk infringement at a tackle, just outside the Seahawk 22.  Number 8 Sydney Provan took the ball, saw that the Seahawks were collectively slow to retreat, tapped it and took off with it for the goal line and the goal posts to her left, with no one near enough to make a tackle; that was Provan’s third try of the match, and I mentioned to her she had the hat trick!  Finally, with the ball having been placed right between the posts, the All Blues kicker put one over the cross bar for a 32-5 lead.  The All Blues weren’t finished yet, and scored one more converted try at 80 minutes.

This was a fun game to referee, as it was a very competitive match overall.  Snacks and beverages awaited players and referee on the touchline; thanks to Laura Pelton for providing that.  I want to also mention that two women’s college coaches were on the pitch for the Seahawks: Alena Porte, who coached CSUMB the past two seasons, and Christine Cox, who played outside center in today’s match, of Santa Clara University.   Long time Seahawk supporter Larry Oakenfell was present, along with Seahawk/Silverhawk and Bald Eagle former players Karl Laucher, and Rich Golino.  Players from both squads stuck around for the food and drink and conversation, mostly about rugby, as EPA and the Seahawk men took to the field.

 

 

Date: 04/02/2016

San Jose 19 – EPA Razorbacks 41

Referee: Lane, John

 

Another new field for me at Independence High School and the contrast of this meadow to the pool table surface at Steuber Field midweek was stark.  For anyone with Ireland/Munster connections this was like playing/refing in Abbeyfeale, Bruff, NewcastleWest in the 80’s (without the 70 degree sunshine!!)

EPA played with the slight slope in the first half.  Both sides looked to move the ball at all times with kicking to a minimum.  Neither side was shy with carries into contact and then moving wide when the opportunity was on.  EPA were the stronger overall in the first half and scored at regular intervals when they managed multi-phases and stretched the defense – Tries on 7, 12 (converted), 22, 32 and 37 had the half time score at 0-27.  Seahawks had some opportunities in the first half but did not close them out.  With the heat it was also clear that both teams needed the half time break.

The first 20 minutes of the second half produced no scores but gradually the Seahawks were gaining field position with the majority of play in the EPA half.  The heat was impacting both sides with both sets of forwards taking their time to make it to scrum and line-out restarts!.

Seahawks did score on 21 mins but missed the conversion for 5-27.  They maintained pressure for the next few minutes but with some fresh legs on the field EPA scored a break out try from their own 22m and converted on 26 minutes for 5-34.  The Seahawks failed to close down from the kickoff and EPA recycled through a few phases to score immediately and again converted for 5-41 on 28 mins.

The Seahawks responded well to this score and on 32 minutes scored the best worked try of the match.  A couple of quick recycles had play between the EPA 22 and 10 m line, 10 m from touch.  The scrum half drew the near cover with a break to the open side, fed the crossing center with a pop ball,  this created hesitation in the defense and the Seahawks No. 8 hit the line at speed taking the reverse offload was straight through the cover.  With 30 metres to go he then stood up the fullback and managed to swerve past and despite a last ditch cover tackle reached the line for the score.  Converted.  12-41 32 minutes.

With lots of tired bodies on the field at this stage both sides still put in great effort for the last 8 minutes.  Seahawks continued to look for another score and after a couple of missed chances they crossed the line with the last play of the game for another 7 points – Final score 19-41.

 

 

Date: 04/02/2016

Olympic Club PRP 25 – Belmont Shore PRP 17

Referee: Akroyd, Phil

 

Olympic Club blitzed their opposition with 18 points in the first eighteen minutes, then did enough to hang on for the remainder of the match.  They looked sharp off their set pieces with great backs moves originating from the scrums, and lineouts allowing them to get on the front foot.  After defeating SFGG in their previous game, Belmont looked flat and offered little.  It’s hard not to empathize with a team when nothing is going their way but they had a hard time getting anything going.

 

The game itself was pretty choppy with lots of knock-ons, injuries, stoppages and restarts, and isolated ball carriers not releasing was the main reason for the majority of the penalties.  Not a classic, but Olympic will be happy to get a win in any circumstances.

 

 

Date: 04/02/2016

Sacramento Capitals 60 – Chico 15

Referee: Fenaroli, Steven

 

First day of the year lathering on the suncreen. Oh how I have missed the sun! Sac Caps hosted Chico at La Sierra Community Center in Sacramento. I had spent the morning watching two games and reading up on law, suffice to say Rugby was on the brain. The game kicked off and both teams were happy to be there. The game was quick paced and full of big hits. Both teams had a number of big guys who were quick, but didn’t have the stamina to make 80 minutes. Even with Chico scoring two tries after half, Sac ran away with the game.

 

 

Date: 04/02/2016

Silicon Valley 10 – Google 46

Referee: McDougall, Grant

 

This was a fast paced game. Google dominated the possession in both halves. Silicon Valley made a strong comeback in the second half but couldn’t make up for the slow start in the first half.

 

 

Date: 04/02/2016

Berkeley 17 – Life West 2 25

Referee: Tetler, Jen

 

Life west came out attacking strong, and when Berkeley let the ball bounce off the kickoff, one of Life West’s chasers caught it and ran it in for a quick try.  Life west scored again minutes later.  It looked like it might be a rough game.  But then Berkeley came back with a really nice run of their own and realized they could stay in the game.  Each team got another try before the half, and Life West kicked a penalty, ending the half at 22-10.  Life West started getting a little tired in the second half, and Berkeley picked up their urgency.  Life West had a few penalties in the tackle, which got the ball going Berkeley’s way.  At the end of the game, Berkeley had a dangerous tackle for a red card, and Life West capitalized to put themselves ahead by 8.  Neither team wanted to stop playing: Life West wanted to try to put a nail in the coffin even though time was up, and Berkeley wanted to try to get a last try in.  Neither happened.  Final score 25-17  Thanks to Lee Johnson for referee coaching!

 

 

Date: 04/02/2016

Aptos 51 – Marin 12

Referee: Pohlman, John

 

Aptos hosted Marin in Seaside at Marin Luther King High School.  The weather was beautiful.  The field had views that somewhat compared itself to UC Santa Cruz’s field.  The field itself was a bit beat up, but the Aptos team had filled most of the pot holes and made it safe.

Aptos is in a rebuilding year, with allot of new players.  Their coach Stevie Ball was forced to play #10 to get some experience onto the field.

Aptos was led by their big #8 in the forwards.  He must have been involved with 50% of their 9 try s.  Breaking tackles and offloading to the speedy backs.  And yes Aptos has allot of speed.  Four of the backs were super fast and knew how to finish.  A new player whom I was told played fullback in football scored two tries both breaking tackles and out running Marin to the try zone.

Marin on the other hand had lots of good experienced players.  They wanted to play a forward pick and drive game.  This worked most of the time but after 6 or 7 crash balls they would spill the pill and the Aptos speeders would make them pay.

Marin also had a difficult time tackling the new winger, who should be looked at for the Pelicans, and huge #8 which made both players look like all stars.  Poor tackling can do that.

Oh well, a fun game to referee, both sides were pretty respectful and much more competitive then the score indicates.

And always good to see Bruce Carter.

Final Aptos 51 Marin 12

 

 

Date: 04/02/2016

Modesto 50 – Mendocino 5

Referee: Wood, Scott

TJs: Modesto-supplied

Venue: Northgate Park, Manteca

Attendance: 4,500 (Feinstein Crowd Estimating Model)

 

As Spring springs, mercury expands. Despite the relatively warm day, both teams wanted to run, contest hard at the breakdowns, and generally play rugby. Modesto scored three tries (2′, 21′, 24′) before Mendocino dotted the ball down over the goal line (30′). Modesto possibly could have scored more tries in the first half but they had difficulty keeping their tackles low. HT: Modesto leading 17-5.

 

A reading of the Riot Act by Modesto’s captain brought the tackles down and they scored five tries in the second half (44′, 55′, 58′, 60′, 72′). One injury of note was to Modesto’s scrumhalf who managed to dislocate his elbow (that explains the loud popping sound I heard). The #9 jersey for Modesto has harbinger as this was their third scrumhalf lost to injury this season. This particular individual had just returned from Australia and CIPP’d the night prior. Here’s to hoping for a speedy recovery.

 

Ref has had enough moment: Modesto passed the ball off the top of a lineout and was advancing to score a try when one of their players repeatedly complained about being pulled down in the lineout. Not wanting him to miss out on a penalty opportunity, the referee blew the whistle to allow Modesto its opportunity. As kids nowadays say, “#isawit #calledadvantage #shhh”.

 

Good spirits all around and a fun run.

 

EDITOR’S NOTE:  The first hashtag…  “I saw it” or “Is a wit”?   Or both?

 

Date: 04/02/2016

SF Fog 12 – South Valley 96

Referee: Bernstein, Bruce

 

Match moved from Ft. Scott Field  in the Presidio to Franklin Park b/w the Mission & Portrero Hill for a 6:30 PM start making it easier for South Valley & to hit the Pilsner Inn by the Castro for the party.  Real SF Fog actually came in as match started & the Fog (the team) responded with two real  nice 1st half tries (one by #10 kicking a high up & under around the try line & taken in by their new fullback making his debut; & a 2nd by a good scrum drive).  Those were their highlights until the Pilsner as South Valley put together a complete match with their forwards getting their backs all kinds of ball and great back line passes, catches.  Anthony playing halfback, Jed at fly & all the remaining backs played great with their centers breaking the game line & all 4 of their fast wings & fullback scoring often (6 in the 1st half & 10 in the 2nd).  Fun match to ref as both teams were in good spirits and no dirty play.  I wore a GoPro which according to Chile (playing #8 for SV) could be found at their website @ svrugby.com to check out the many match highlights.

 

 

Date: 04/02/2016

Silicon Valley 2 7 – Redwood 73

Referee: Byrnes, Bryant

 

D3. I get my fair share. It’s like life its own self-there are good D3 matches and there are bad D3 matches. Last week was the latter; this week in San Jose was the former.

 

I had never had Redwood before. I think the side they fielded was more D2 that D3. I have refed Silicon Valley before; good team, nice guys. But this was their second match of the day and the team was an interesting mix of team members, guest players (of all stripe), and innocent civilians kidnapped from more innocuous activities. But it was real rugby, and safe rugby. No tears at the end of the day.

 

 

Date: 04/02/2016

Napa 92 – Reno 0

Referee: Hettermann, Matt

 

Kicked off about 30 minutes late to accommodate Reno’s long drive. Reno had exactly 15 players, which did not bode well for the track meet that was the next 80 minutes …

 

 

Date: 04/02/2016

SFGG Women 63 – Sacramento Amazons 12

Referee: Gordon, Preston

 

The sun burned through the fog just as the game got started. The SFGG ladies put together lots of offloads leading to (lots of) tries, and while the Amazons were enthusiastic, they ended up with two of their own.

 

 

Date: 04/02/2016

Sacramento Blackhawks 5 – Sacramento Lions 72

Referee: Tucker, Chris

 

A testy match between two local sides.  Blackhawks had lost their centres to the Pro team squad and, with Luke Gross watching, the Lions ran through the middle time and again.  The rising score — and a few questionable tackles — didn’t help the level of chippiness going on, and I had to work hard to keep things calm.  But nothing actually flared, and the home team had their moments, in spite of the lop-sided score, finally dotting down a consolation try towards the end of the game.

 

A swift round of B-side 7s later, and we were done for the day.  Although the score was closer in that game, the visitors still won.

 

 

Date: 04/02/2016

SFGG 15 – Santa Rosa 67

Referee: Bertolone, Cary

 

A beautiful day at For Pete’s Sake in Santa Rosa. Golden Gate was short on numbers, so we agreed to a late kick-off. Golden Gate had 16 players at kick off. Good players though, except at loose head prop, where we immediately had issues. Big hits, good running, Rosa had too much speed in the back line and a couple of rambling big forwards that were tough to bring down. It was 29-8 at the half. In the second half, Rosa put up 38 more points, to only one try for the visitors. Only one card, a yellow against Rosa, for repeated infringement.

 

 

Date: 04/02/2016

Santa Clara 24 – St. Mary’s College 100

Referee: Pendergrass, Joshua

 

This was a great match to referee. Regardless of the score, both teams played with honor and respect as well as listened to guidance to keep the match flowing.

Hats off to both sides.

 

 

Date: 04/02/2016

Santa Clara B 3 – St. Mary’s College B 105

Referee: Sandhill, Peter

 

What a stunning day at Santa Clara University – sunny and hot, a full sized pitch, a happy crowd all out to enjoy some rugby. St Mary’s completely outplayed SCU in every facet. Many tries were scored from kick-offs with no rucks or tackles made. It seemed many times there was no desire to tackle and you can’t be competitive in rugby if you don’t tackle. Good sportsmanship and the post-game socializing between the teams reminds me why this sport is so special.

 

 

Date: 04/02/2016

UNR 49 – UC Davis 5

Referee: Boyer, Rich

 

This was my first game on UNRs turf pitch, with its five different colored markings.  Both teams arrived early for warm ups, but all they really needed to do was stand in the intense sunlight for a minute.   UC Davis started the match, put pressure on UNR, then began what would be a common theme throughout the match:  swing the ball to the backs and allow them to utilize creativity.  So it was a fast paced game from the beginning.  UNR had a good cover defense, and UCD were hampered with handling errors leaving multiple tries begging.  UCD struck first on an uncoverted try scored by the wing, followed up with a strong run by #6 for a converted try.  UCD then changed tactics on a set piece and mauled in a third try.  UNR responded with a nice line break by 12 and then switched the ball to the openside at the ruck with the wing scoring on an overlap.  UCD had the lion’s share of possession which resulted in a halftime score of 27-5.  The second half was more of the same, with UCD never seeming to tire despite elevation, and UNR fighting valiantly.  The UCD scrum was dominant in the second half, putting more pressure on UNR.  The  UCD scrumhalf scored two nice try on sniping runs while unselfish play led to the other second half tries.  The game was played in good spirits with very few penalties awarded.  Captain Josh Farnsworth and Harry the Wizard at 8 stood out for UCD while Peter the captain at prop and #13 were noticeable for UNR.

 

 

Date: 04/02/2016

Diablo 33 – Vacaville 36

Referee: Simko, Paul

Keen Eyed Observer: Hinkin, James

 

Great day at Cal Maritime.  Vacaville showed up with 17 players and Diablo had many extra.  This match was a battle with 6 or 7 lead changes.  Diablo received a yellow card with about 15 minutes left in the match for a late hit on the kicker.  Vacaville took advantage of the opportunity.  With a full squad, Diablo finished the game with a late score/missed conversion that kept it close.

 

 

Date: 04/05/2016

Sacramento Capitals 58 – Missoula Maggots 26

Referee: Carney, Mark

 

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

 

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

 

 

This Week’s Photo

Paul Simko all miked up and getting ready to take the field for the Vacaville v Diablo match.

Paul Simko Capture

 

Hail, Pelicus!

For the Senate

Pelicus Pedem Referre

 

Cliff Hanger

HAIL PELICUS!

 

Cliff Hanger

 

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

 

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

 

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

 

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

 

Seriously?

 

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

 

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

 

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

 

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

 

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

 

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

 

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

 

Pro Rugby Update

 

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

 

“Chirrup, chirrup.”

-Crickets

 

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

 

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

 

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

 

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

 

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

 

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

 

Laying Down Some Knowledge

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

 

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

 

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

 

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

 

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

 

Eternal Pelicus At The Meeting

More from Pelicus Iudex Pennipes:

 

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

Final Meeting Notes – Kit

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

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

Ask A Pelican

 

Yes, it’s time for this week’s installment of “Ask A Pelican”, the widely loved Q and A session with Hail Pelicus.   This week’s question comes from Edward Nigma, of Question Mark, CA who asks:

 

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

 

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

 

Disciplinary Action Reporting – Process For Reporting Incidents

 

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

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

 

On To The Game Reports!

 

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

 

Date: 03/26/2016

Prince William County 57 – North Bay Div 4 21

Location: Aberdeen, MD

Referee: Valerio, Stephen

 

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

 

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

 

Date: 03/24/2016

Solano 26 – Jesuit 60

Referee: Boyer, Rich

 

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

 

 

Date: 03/26/2016

Aptos 75 – SF Fog 10

Referee: Bernstein, Bruce

 

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

 

 

Date: 03/26/2016

Baracus B 50 – Berkeley B 55

Referee: Madsen, Erik

 

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

 

 

Date: 03/26/2016

Chico St Women 58 – University of Washington 3

Referee: Hettermann, Matt

 

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

 

 

Date: 03/26/2016

Chico State 47 – UCSC 12

Referee: Pescetti, David

 

No report received

 

 

Date: 03/26/2016

Chico State B 3 – UCSC B 0

Referee: Hosley, David

 

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

 

 

Date: 03/26/2016

Google 29 – South Valley 8

Referee: Simko, Paul

 

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

 

 

Date: 03/26/2016

Humboldt State 0 – Santa Rosa JC 64

Referee: Bertolone, Cary

 

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

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

 

 

Date: 03/26/2016

Humboldt State Women 66 – UNR Women 12

Referee: Bretz, Paul

 

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

 

 

Date: 03/26/2016

Mendocino 17 – Reno 31

Referee: Byrnes, Bryant

 

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

 

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

 

 

Date: 03/26/2016

Modesto 76 – Marin 10

Referee: Fenaroli, Steven

 

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

 

 

Date: 03/26/2016

Riordan  26 – Danville 49

Referee: Travitz, Jason

 

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

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

Final score was Danville 49 – Riordan 26

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

 

 

Date: 03/26/2016

Sacramento Amazons 0 – Danville 0

Referee: Wilson, Giles

 

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

 

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

 

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

 

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

 

 

Date: 03/26/2016

UC Davis 96 – Arizona State 10

Referee: Carney, Mark

 

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

 

 

Date: 03/26/2016

USF 0 – Cal Maritime 49

Referee: McDougall, Grant

 

Cal Maritime dominated the game with a strong forward play.

 

 

Date: 03/26/2016

USF Women 25 – Fresno State Women 59

Referee: Leisek, Joe

 

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

 

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

 

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

 

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

 

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

 

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

 

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

 

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

 

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

 

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

 

 

This Week’s Photo

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

Pelican Door

Hail, Pelicus!

For the Senate

Pelicus Pedem Referre

 

Mad Marchness

HAIL PELICUS!

 

Mad Marchness

 

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

 

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

 

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

 

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

 

When Scriptoris Speaks, People Listen

 

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

 

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

 

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

 

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

 

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

 

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

 

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

 

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

 

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

 

We need a domestic league.

 

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

 

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

 

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

 

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

 

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

 

Ask A Pelican

 

Yes, it’s time for this week’s installment of “Ask A Pelican”, the widely loved Q and A session with Hail Pelicus.   This week’s question comes from Grunt Monobrow of South Valley, CA who asks:

 

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

 

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

 

Disciplinary Action Reporting – Process For Reporting Incidents

 

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

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

 

On To The Game Reports!

 

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

 

Date: 03/18/2016

Archbishop Spalding 50 – Frederick U-19s 0

Location: Severn, MD

Referee: Valerio, Stephen

 

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

 

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

 

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

 

Date: 03/18/2016

Mount St Mary’s 48 – West Chester University 10

Location: Emmitsburg, MD

Referee: Valerio, Stephen

 

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

 

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

 

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

 

Date: 03/12/2016

Tucson Red Mountain 40 – Tucson Black Birds 7

Referee: Byrnes, Bryant

 

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

 

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

 

Date: 03/19/2016

Phoenix 64 – Camelback 21

Referee: Byrnes, Bryant

 

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

 

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

 

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

 

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

 

And now on to the local action…

 

Date: 03/19/2016

Chico 55 – Life West 2 32

Referee: Tucker, Chris

 

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

 

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

 

 

Date: 03/19/2016

Colusa 70 – Silicon Valley 15

Referee: Tetler, Jen

 

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

 

 

Date: 03/19/2016

Diablo B 14 – Berkeley B 15

Referee: Madsen, Erik

 

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

 

 

Date: 03/19/2016

EPA Razorbacks 31 – SFGG 13

Referee: Pescetti, David

 

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

 

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

 

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

 

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

 

A wonderful match to have taken part of.

 

 

Date: 03/19/2016

Jesuit 64 – Mother Lode 13

Referee: Pohlman, John

 

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

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

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

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

Thanks to Matt and Steve my outstanding AR’s .

 

 

Date: 03/19/2016

Marin 24 – Google 24

Referee: Bertolone, Cary

 

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

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

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

 

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

 

Date: 03/19/2016

Modesto 82 – SF Fog 0

Referee: Leisek, Joe

 

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

 

 

Date: 03/19/2016

Redwood 17 – Shasta 41

Referee: Hammack, Robert

 

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

 

 

Date: 03/19/2016

Reno 64 – South Valley 35

Referee: Bernstein, Bruce

 

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

 

 

Date: 03/19/2016

Riordan  45 – Lamorinda  33

Referee: Sandhill, Peter

 

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

 

 

Date: 03/19/2016

Sacramento Blackhawks 36 – San Jose 30

Referee: Hettermann, Matt

 

No report received

 

 

Date: 03/19/2016

Sacramento Lions 52 – Fresno 10

Referee: Akroyd, Phil

 

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

 

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

 

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

 

 

Date: 03/19/2016

Santa Rosa 27 – Life West 64

Referee: Bretz, Paul

 

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

 

 

Date: 03/19/2016

Santa Rosa B 10 – Life West B 43

Referee: Simko, Paul

 

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

 

 

Date: 03/19/2016

UC Davis 40 – Fresno State 10

Referee: Gordon, Preston

 

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

 

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

 

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

 

 

Date: 03/19/2016

UOP 45 – Sierra College 41

Referee: Wilson, Giles

 

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

 

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

 

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

 

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

 

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

 

 

Date: 03/19/2016

Vacaville 38 – Baracus 12

Referee: Wood, Scott

TJs: Anil (Vacaville), Charlie (Baracus)

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

Attendance (unpaid): 2,349

 

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

 

Kudos to both teams for the excellent demonstration of sportsmanship.

 

This Week’s Photo

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

Hinkin Bunny Baseball

Hail, Pelicus!

For the Senate

Pelicus Pedem Referre