Wayne’s World

HAIL PELICUS!

Wayne’s World

The Wales v France clash last weekend was notable for some good rugby but all anyone could talk about was the ending. It took around 20 minutes to play the last 30 seconds of the match – a statistic you don’t often see outside of basketball. England’s Wayne Barnes was in charge of the match and, as expected, many commentators were complaining that he lost control, but what do you expect? Most sports commentators are chosen because they are big name former players or coaches with big personalities (think John Madden or Charles Barkley) and while they may understand what it takes to compete at the top level, they rarely understand the laws of the game – especially when it comes down to precise, critical, pressured decisions. They deal with the emotion of a match as fans do rather than process what is happening as referees do so it is no surprise that they immediately look to blame the referee if things go wrong. These talking heads almost always come down on the side of the player (“just let them play and they will sort it out”) and have no understanding as to what would actually happen if the ref just lets them play. An all-out brawl would be the just the start.

(To be fair there are many excellent commentators who do understand all aspects of the game and one takes note if they criticize a referee because it is probably well deserved. Unfortunately they are often overshadowed by the Truthiness Brigade. Excitement and controversy sells.)

At the end of this match, Mr Barnes had several key decisions and made them all perfectly while keeping his composure, no mean feat. A masterful performance, I would say. It all started with Wales clinging to a slender lead but defending their line at a scrum. Wales gets pinged for engaging the scrum early and then the French engage in what can only be described as chea… sorry, gamesmanship. A confused looking medical staffer rushes on to pull off French tighthead Uini Atonio, who doesn’t think he is hurt and after Barnes asks him (several times) plays on. After the reset scrum goes down the French medic comes back on and claims Atonio needs to come off for a HIA. At this point Barnes can not overrule the doctor and must allow the replacement.

This is the fun bit. Several French phases run into Wales’ desperate defense which ends up with a yellow card against them for killing the ball. Good call, that. Apparently there is a bit of a language barrier between Barnes and the #4 as he makes sure the replacement prop (who was on earlier) was removed for tactical reasons and not for injury. This is important as a player who is replaced for injury can not come back. It took him several questions, usually a rephrasing of the same question, but Barnes handled it well. Then he has to sort out who is sacrificed and to make it even more complex, France also wants to make a change. Took a while to sort that out.

Then Wales is pinged again at the scrum for an early engagement but this time it is a penalty. This seemed to confuse many talking heads(it was a free kick before!) but it is good refereeing. It was obvious that Wales did not learn their lesson with a free kick so Barnes rightly upgraded to a penalty. The next upgrade is a yellow. Play finally restarts and we now have a biting incident that Barnes did not see and the TMO really was no help on. Barnes’ hands are tied at this point so play on.

All of this scrummaging and resetting and penalties and substitutions and more scrums and more resetting means that the player who was yellow carded earlier…. with 30 seconds left in the match… comes back on. Amazing.

Now we have another scrum and another penalty against Wales. Before the inevitable scrum can be reset there is an issue with the 4th official which stopped the match (again) and turned out not to be an issue with the 4th official (huh?). Eventually France get their try and win the match to Wales’ great disappointment. Players, fans and the media lashed out at the referee for this “travesty” but cooler heads who actually know what they are talking about all agree that Barnes did nothing wrong while under extreme pressure. This ending was a travesty, yes, but not of the referee’s making. Players infringing, biting accusations, technical issues, all of these things combined to create this mess but Wayne Barnes was calm above it all and did what he needed to do.

Moral of the story: If you want to win a match, try scoring more points instead of hoping the referee will bail you out.

A great step by step writeup and analysis from Wales Online is here.

And Now Here It Is, Your Moment Of Zen

Last week a TJ was upset that I ignored his suggestions on how I could referee better. He accused me of not respecting the game while he was running touch holding a dog on a leash.

Ask A Pelican

Yes, it’s time for the return of weekly installments of “Ask A Pelican”, the widely loved Q and A session with Hail Pelicus. This week’s question comes from Yakov Smirnoff of Odessa, Ukraine, who is in town for the Forgotten 80s Comedian Tour, asks:

“What a great audience! In Russia, pelican asks YOU! What a country! I love Pelicanland! So my question is this: I have noticed that many referees are trying to use comedy in their matches. Why are you trying to take my job? After divorce I need the money!”

Ha ha! What a great question from a great comedian. It is true that humor can often be used to develop empathy with the players and while not many referees are known for their comedic timing it is a useful tool to have in your kit bag. The referee considered the greatest current exponent of this technique is Welsh referee Nigel Owens, perpetrator of the “this is not soccer” talk with chatty players. After Nigel came out as gay and the rugby world collectively shrugged its shoulders (just ref a fair game, sir – we don’t care what you do after or who you do it with) he was dealing with wayward lineout throws by saying “I’m straighter than that one.” (See that clip here.)

Roman Poite recently came to fame during the England v Italy “no ruck” match with his great reply “I am a referee, not a coach” when the English captain asked how they should deal with the Italian tactics.

One of my personal favorites was a couple of years back when doing a CSUMB match the captain complained to me that the sideline fans were saying hurtful things to his players. My reply? “Haters gonna hate, hate, hate. Players gotta play, play, play. Just shake it off. Shake it off.” That got a laugh and we moved on from there.

The point being having a sense of humor and sharing it with players can not only be an effective management tool but can defuse potential flashpoints. This is a game and it is supposed to be fun.  Talk to players, especially at stoppages like scrums. After all, if you can’t have fun with the front row then you have a serious humor deficiency and should have it looked at. Just remember to use small words.

Between Two Pelicans

Hail Pelicus, leading exponent of Fake News tried some Real Journalism in Las Vegas at the USA Sevens when we had a sit down with USA Rugby CEO Dan Payne. Last week saw Part 1 and Dan discussing USA Strategy 2020 and we continue with that topic this week, so get ready as we present Part 2 of our interview:

Hail Pelicus: Looking at the (USA Strategy 2020) model it, like every other model I have seen, looks to increase the youth base. Are they looking to direct financial resources more into the youth game and grass roots rugby?

Dan Payne: So there is a multi-prong effort . We are looking at regional development officers who will be focused on growing the youth and expanding the contact/non contact youth game – flag rugby – all those different initiatives. We are going to be communicating the message quite a bit to those who are completing their playing career that you need to please think about reffing, think about coaching youth, think about starting to build out the game at the 5-13 year old age group. So a lot of it is going to be messaging but we are going to be putting resources in to help facilitate the growth.

HP: Well that ties into my next question. In the 90s we had Dan Lyle, a superior athlete who picked up rugby in college and then went on to a famous professional career with Bath. Then we moved on a bit and the next great Captain America would be Todd Clever who came up through the high school system, started playing as a 14 year old and then moved on to college and then on to the professional game, becoming the first American to play Super Rugby. Our players are starting younger. So do you think our next talismanic figure will be someone who comes through the youth system or more of a crossover athlete in the Perry Baker mold?

DP: Well I think we will have to let time tell us that. We have our Perry Bakers, we have our Nate Ebners, we have out Liv Kelter. We have these men and women who are becoming such great ambassadors and representatives of the game that I would bet that it will continue to be a combination of both. We are going to have some crossover athletes who come to the game later but we also know that on the men’s side we have 28 players that are at NCAA D1 football programs right now that played High School rugby so we are tracking them. So we know that at 21, 22 if they don’t make it to the NFL, which the majority of them don’t, we can bring them back into the game.

And that is Part 2. Part 3 we will discuss money and finances and how Dan feels about RIM jobs and the relationship with USA Rugby.

New Kit

If you weren’t at the last Society Meeting then you missed out on a chance to get your kit, including the kit bags. The (astonishingly stylish) new kit will be distributed if I see you at some point in the next couple of weeks and at the Society meetings. I will do my best to find someone to distribute kit to those who can not make the meetings but feel free to reach out to me at hailpelicus@pelicanrefs.com if you plan to be in the San Jose area.

Please note that I am tired of storing this junk. If you don’t claim your stuff soon I may just dump it in the Guadalupe River while there is still enough water in it to cover up my misdeeds.

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

Copy the link and have it available on your smartphone. If you have an iPhone add the link to your home screen.

When needed fill it out and click submit. The discipline chair of the competition you refereed will receive a notification about the incident. He/she may contact you latter for more details.

If you have any questions as to how to use the app please refer to the following video: https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=_Uz0_gTaOnY

On To The Game Reports!

(EDITOR’S NOTE: Starting off by cleaning up a few submissions that were emailed directly to me for various reasons.   I missed posting them at the time but wanted to make sure the effort was appreciated. Keep them coming!)

Date: 02/19/2017
MD Exiles 29 – St John’s 5
Referee: Valerio, Steven
Location: St John’s High School, Somewhere on the Wrong Coast

When I moved from California, I thought I would miss February the most. While the weather may be cool, it was perfect for outdoor activities. Meanwhile, I knew February weather from NJ to be cold and gray.

So, when I saw I had a February 19th match, I prepared for the cold, not thinking to check the weather report until the day before. Match day was sunny and in the 60s and probably broke into the 70s at some point. While the wind made the kicking a little interesting and challenged the throw ins, it was a fantastic day for rugby.

It was a pre-season friendly played in 3 20-minute periods. While the Exiles are maturing after the club separated into 2 different teams, they had played some friendlies leading into the match. St. John’s boasted a larger squad than in the past, but this was their 1st time out on the pitch this year and they were definitely the smaller of the 2-sides. The first period was marred by very enthusiastic, but undisciplined play. Everyone wanted to take a quick tap, even if they weren’t in the same zip code as the mark and some early lineouts were plagued by confusion over who went where. St John’s benefited from the developing organization right from the opening kick. The Exiles misplayed it and St John’s collected the ball went through a couple of quick phases to score their opening try of the season. The rest of the period did surprise with good ball-handling and no scrums with knock-ons being infrequent. The Exiles excelled in the counter-ruck, stealing several balls, but employed a straight-forward, brute force approach. While they were able to gain ground, they weren’t able to string together multiple phases with their structure not holding after the 2nd phase. Never being able to take advantage of the St John’s defense bravely tackling, but committing significant numbers to bring down the larger Exiles. St John’s, for their part, had a better shape to their game, but weren’t able to physically match the Exiles. The opening period ended with St John’s up 5-0.

The second period was similar to the first, though some substitutions led to more ball-handling errors. The Exiles were able to punch over a try and won the 2nd period 7-0.

The third period was different as St John’s made whole-sale substitutions, with many of the players getting their 1st rugby playing experience. The Exiles, short on numbers, still had many of their starters on the pitch. Their fly-half gave the Cadets fits, cutting through and breaking the gain-line. The new players got sucked in, frequently leaving the wing unmarked and the Exiles collected 3 tries on the outside. The Cadets finally adjusted and stopped the bleeding, but the Exile were finally able to punch a try through the middle.

Date: 02/25/2017
Peninsula Green JV 75 – CK Mclatchey JV 17
Referee: Wilson, Giles

I was reassigned to these games at the last minute and ended up with two enjoyable games on a beautiful, sunny day.

The JV game was at 12.15pm and the players were warming up and ready. Peninsula Green were noticeably bigger than their opponents and ran hard and straight. McClatchey stuck to their task and tackled bravely but were continually scrambling.

The first half ended with a 38-5 lead for Pen Green ( 6 tries to 1) and the second half continued in the same vein with another 6 tries for Pen Green to 2 for McClatchey and a final score of 75 – 17.

Date: 02/25/2017
Peninsula Green Varsity B 26 – CK Mclatchey Varsity B 34
Referee: Wilson, Giles

The Varsity B side game followed and the physical disparities were reduced but Pen Green still had a size advantage but were less organized and less disciplined. Pen Green lost a player to a red card (dangerous tackle) at 12 minutes and this limited them. Half time saw McClatchey ahead 20 – 12; they couldn’t buy a conversion for their 4 tries.

Pen Green fought back in the second half, scoring two converted tries to take the lead at 26-20 before McClatchey re-awakened themselves to close the scoring with two converted tries of their own for a final in their favour of 34 – 26.

Date: 03/17/2017
Elsie Allen 42 – Dublin 27
Referee: Bertolone, Cary

Friday night game at Elsie Allen High School in Santa Rosa, on St. Patty’s day/night. Kick off at 7:30 PM, with Mike Gadau announcing the game, the game was very even with the teams taking turns scoring tries and Dublin scoring the last one for a 17-10 lead at the half. In the second half, Elsie outscored Dublin 5 tries to 2 and won going away, 42-27. Good game to ref with some some fast kids out there.

Date: 03/18/2017
Granite Bay 25 – Danville Varsity 31
Referee: Fenaroli, Steven

A high level high school match played on Bonney field gave both teams a chance to play rugby on the same pitch as internationals. Both teams were disciplined but GB came back late to score a try at 80′. It just wasn’t enough to overcome the deficit run up by Danville

Date: 03/18/2017
Cal Poly SLO 81 – Sacramento State 0
Referee: MacDonald, Neil

A short-handed Sacramento State squad of 17 were overpowered by Cal Poly on a beautiful spring day in San Luis Obispo. The Hornets did a great job of legally disrupting the Cal Poly rolling maul, but had no answer in the scrum. With a surfeit of front foot ball, Cal Poly scored thirteen tries in a dominant performance.

Date: 03/18/2017
Colusa Women 0 – Sacramento Amazons 0
Referee: Barfels, Ed

It was a nice 90 minute drive to Colusa County. The last time I went to Colusa was when I played for Humboldt State in the 80’s. While overcast, it did not rain. The field was a bit small, but in ok shape. The Amazons only had 11 players so they forfeited. A friendly game of 10’s was played. After the game the Colusa team hosted a nice lunch. Beer, beef, salad and garlic bread. Overall it was a nice experience.

Date: 03/18/2017
Fresno 46 – San Jose 14
Referee: Pescetti, David

Hot, dry, and windless day down in Fresno. It was a great day,

This match started off tight. Fresno scoring 8 minutes into the match, and 5 minutes later SJ taking a two point lead with a converted try. It stayed that way for 15 minutes, With 12 minutes left in the half Fresno began its onslaught. Scoring 4 times before the halftime whistle sounded.

Fresno tacked on three more tries in the second half. But SJ scored once more again with 27 minutes remaining, seemed to be their lucky number.

Date: 03/18/2017
Fresno State 92 – SJSU 0
Referee: Jury, Jeff

It was a long, hot (about 90’f) day for San Jose State in Fresno. The Bulldogs spread the field then just sliced and diced. The Spartans were game and got close, but in the end, it was for not. CSUF 92 SJSU 0.
The second game of 10s was closer with a few Bulldogs beefing up the vistors. CSUF B 32 SJSU 31.

Date: 03/18/2017
Google 107 – South Valley 17
Referee: Bretz, William

SV played game with one man short at 14 players.

(EDITOR’S NOTE: I see that young Liam follows in his daddy’s footsteps when it comes to match reporting. It is nice to see skills passed on from father to son like that. )

Date: 03/18/2017
Life West Women 125 – SFGG Women 0
Referee: Hinkin, James

What can you say about a scoreline like that? Well, it actually was closer than the score indicates as SFGG had structure and solid phase play, but the Gladiatrix are just lethal, especially in the open field. Their combination of speed and power is very difficult to stop once they break the line and they break the line often. SFGG battled the entire game but had no answer to their opponent.

Date: 03/18/2017
Life West Gladiatrix B 67 – Santa Rosa Black Roses 26
Referee: Hinkin, James

After a try fest for the A side Life West’s B side took on the newly formed Black Roses from Santa Rosa. This is a team with some seriously good rugby athletes combined with a spate of brand new players and it showed. There was some good play both ways as Life West continued its domination of Nor Cal women’s rugby, running out to a 48-0 half time lead. The Black Roses never gave up and were rewarded for their efforts in the 2nd half as they actually outscored the Gladiatrix 26-19. The Roses’ scrum half was especially active, starting the scoring with a brilliant solo effort off the base of the scrum, going 50 meters and displaying a perfect in and out sidestep to beat the covering fullback. Well done to all.

Date: 03/18/2017
CSU Monterey Bay 8 – Cal Maritime 41
Referee: Byrnes, Bryant

This was venued at CSUMB’s new field (at least new to me; it has been a while). And while not a close game, it was well played.

I last had CSMB several years ago. They were a cheerful bunch, but not very good. This gang is an marked upgrade. While offensively unorganized, their tackling was fierce; perhaps the best I have seen this year. At the half the score was 8-17.

But Maritime is going to the playoffs for a reason. Forward play stopped? No problem. Crashing centers stopped? No problem. In the second half they swung it out to the wing with frequency. Four tries in the corner, and Bob is your uncle.

Date: 03/18/2017
Mendocino 55 – Reno 14
Referee: Bernstein, Bruce

Give Reno a lot of credit for driving 5 hours each way with 13 players, refusing to forfeit & accept 2 or more players to even up the sides–they gave it hell & we’re in the match until the last 10 minutes when Mendo’s speed started equally its superior size & #’s.
Also their 23 players put on another great party featuring Red Tail Ale & pulled pork sliders.
Both teams at full strength should make an impact in their playoff matches.
Also real nice soft, plush field with a nice crowd & perfect 68 degree Nor Cal sunny day; plus pretty drive!

Date: 03/18/2017
Napa 24 – Sacramento Blackhawks 26
Referee: Bertolone, Cary

Both teams were undefeated, Sacramento going from Div. 1 down to Div 2 and Napa moving up from Div.3 to Division 2. Both teams were loaded with talent. We were in Napa at Kennedy Park, but on the smallest field.. only 50 meters wide, etc. It was a battle with the Blackhawks seemingly out playing Napa. but making a lot of knock-ons and penalties. Napa kicked a penalty kick and scored two tries before Sacramento could get on the board with a try of their own. Napa nailed one more penalty kick before the half and had the lead 18-7. In the second half, Napa picked up 3 more points, leading 21-7. Sacramento finally cleaned it up a little and scored two tries. making it close at 21-19. Napa scored another penalty kick at the 32 minute mark. Sacramento spent the next 5 minutes knocking on the door, with Napa making tackle after tackle. Finally, on the 37th minute of the second half, they scored a converted try to take the lead 26-24. Napa, still not done, advanced the ball to about the 20 meter line and with another penalty against Sac, had a very good chance to win the game with 30 seconds left. Their previous kicker had been subbed out and Elkin’s kick went wide, the game was over and the Blackhawks went crazy with joy, silencing the large Napa crowd and making me very unpopular as I got my gear and left. A lot of talking from the Sac team mandated more than one discussion, but I worked it out for the most part, even having to replace the touch judge at the half.

Date: 03/18/2017
San Jose Women 5 – All Blues 94
Referee: Turner, Jessica
Frumpy Old Codger Offering Advice: King, Mike

I had arrived a tad later than I would prefer and slightly over-hyped on coffee. I briefly discussed with Mike what my goals were for the match and got hooked up to my first radio experience, weeee! SJ had 11 girls so they forfeited and the All Blues loaned them a few to give them 14, since they still needed one for a sub. The 80 minute game went well overall aside from the All Blues scoring many, many tries. The discipline from the ABs was lacking as I had to hand out my first yellow to my old team. Womp womp…pretty confident those girls low key hated me after the match even though they won by 89 points. Repeated and accumulated infringements around the breakdown and offsides were the name of the game, of which I obviously was expecting, seeing that I was a recent co-perpetrator of said violations and then some recently myself with these girls. Post match I got good feedback from Mike overall, and my positioning improved greatly, in addition to increasing my comfort of doing the referee thing around the park.

Date: 03/18/2017
SFSU 31 – UNR 38
Referee: McDougall, Grant

No report received

Date: 03/18/2017
Shasta 0 – Chico 96
Referee: Godfrey, Mark

No report received

Date: 03/18/2017
Silicon Valley 23 – Diablo 34
Referee: Bretz, Paul

Fun game on a postage-stamp sized field at Independence High school. Silicon Valley scored first and controlled the lead going into the 1st half intermission. That lead extended in the second half with a penalty try as a result of tackling the kicker late. However, Diablo maintained their composure and were able to exploit gaps on the edges of the exterior defense. @ 70 minutes Diablo scored to make it a one point game, 22-23 and continued to get the ball wide, scoring 2 more trys late to secure the win.

(EDITOR’S NOTE: How is it possible to have a postage stamp sized field at Independence High School? There is a massive amount of space out there – more than enough for 2 fields plus warmup areas. You could easily fit in 3 fields there. )

Date: 03/18/2017
St. Mary’s College B 95 – American River College 17
Referee: Stockton, Andrew

For such a blowout, this was a well contested match. St. Mary’s had a massive advantage in the scrum, and won possession off of the scrum the vast majority of the time, despite who had the put in. They kicked off the scoring 2 minutes into the first half and tallied 45 before ARC got on the board with 6 minutes left in the first half. St. Mary’s scored 3 more times in quick succession and ended the half 66-5. I pulled both captains aside at half and told them that I was unhappy with the tackling toward the end of the first half. I told both teams to clean it up or there would be consequences. The half began and after one high tackle, I pulled both captains aside and told them the next tackle would be a yellow card. At 54 minutes, #20 on ARC came over the back of a St. Mary’s player and landed on his neck. I immediately blew for a penalty and gave the offending player a yellow card. The rest of the match was incident free, and St. Mary’s tacked on 29 more points while ARC added 12.

I was asked to play a 20 minute “garbage period” to give some of the ARC players who didn’t make it into the first match some playing time. Before the game started, I asked both captains if they would like to move to uncontested scrums because of the overwhelming advantage St. Mary’s had. They both agreed. I then reminded them, and cautioned them, that I had already sent a player off for a high tackle and that I was not going to stand for any more. I told them they would get a single warning and then I would eject players from the game for repeated offenses and for playing dangerously. Less than 2 minutes into the game, there was a high tackle from ARC and I brought both captains over and reminded them that the next tackle would be an ejection. At 8 minutes in, ARC made another high tackle, and I ejected the offending player. 10 minutes later, St. Mary’s committed the same offense, with an identical tackle, and I ejected him as well for dangerous play and a repeated offense. Garbage time ended 15 to 5 for St. Mary’s.

Date: 03/18/2017
Stanford B 17 – UCSC B 20
Referee: McKenzie, Jonathan

Conditions: warm, sunny

UCSC built a 15-0 lead by halftime with three unconverted tries.
Stanford stormed back briefly taking the lead at 17-15.
UCSC scored a fourth, unconverted try to wrestle victory from the clutches of defeat.

I still need a lot of work. I could probably use a day reviewing hand signals alone. On the positive note, i did keep up with the action which was a feat considering I’m a prop and these were college kids. I noticed I don’t see all penalties or infractions. I would see the aftermath and know something occurred, but did not blow the whistle. I explained as much to the captains. It would have helped having line judges. I’m going to need to purchase some flags. I’m going to need to review the offense infraction vs. penalty list again too. I’ll plan on watching games on tv and brushing up.

Date: 03/18/2017
Vacaville 24 – Berkeley 19
Referee: Wood, Scott

No whistle for first five minutes. Three penalties and one scrum in first 20 minutes. Berkeley scored first. HT Berkeley ahead 7-5. In the second half, Vacaville scored three unanswered tries. With under five minutes remaining in the match, Berkeley scored a converted try. Restart at 77th minute. Vacaville loses a player to the sin bin. Berkeley scores a try, full time sounds as kicker is setting the ball for the conversion. Valiant effort by both teams. Another exciting match. Social with the Mooses.

Date: 03/18/2017
Lamorinda 19 – Mother Lode Varsity 40
Referee: Gordon, Preston

It was a great day to be at Wilder Fields, where the sun burned through the fog just as this match kicked off at 1345. The field below us must have had 200 kids doing various youth rugby things, which was also great to see.

Mother Lode had the upper hand in this match, and the score is a fair reflection of that. In the first half, Mother Lode scored first (9′) and got 2 more tries (18′ and 36′ running time), converting all three, whereas Lamorinda got only one try at 34′ (converted) for a halftime score of 21-7 to the visitors.

Lamorinda kicked off to start the second half, and their #7 was sent off for a dangerous tackle as that kickoff returned to earth. Mother Lode soon took advantage of the missing Lamo player by scoring another converted try 4′ into the half. At 13′, Lamorinda lost a backline player to the sin bin for a late charge on a kicker. Mother Lode again quickly capitalized on their 15-13 advantage with 2 more tries at 15′ (converted) and 18′ (unconverted), effectively putting the game out of reach at 40-7. To their credit, Lamorinda didn’t give up, and managed to stop any further Mother Lode scoring while 2 players down. After their yellow card expired, they scored the last 2 tries of the match at 24′ (converted) and 31′ (unconverted) to bring it to 40-19, which is respectable given that they went half the match missing one player.

Thanks to both Touch Judges who did a good job.

Date: 03/19/2017
San Jose State Women 26 – CSU Monterey Bay WR 27
Referee: Pescetti, David

Much to my surprise, when I arrived I was told we were going to play 10s. I had to brush out the old law book to refresh myself on the variations, But enough about me.

(EDITOR’S NOTE: There is never enough about the referee. That is what the people pay for! )

SJ started off by scoring the first try of the match and was able to convert. There was a stalemate for the next 10 minutes. When the stalemate broke down Monterey burst through for 3 tries, only converting once. At the half Monterey Bay lead 17 to SJSU 7. The second half began much like the ending of the 1st, Monterey put up two more tries but wasnt able to convert any. Gassed Monterey’s defense became porous. SJ took advantage with 6 minutes to go, but they missed a crucial conversion. With 5 minutes to go down 15 it looked out of reach. They did not let that score lessen their determination. with 2 minutes to go they scored again, and this time converted. In the last seconds of the game, SJ punched the ball through one last time and converted. Unfortunately for them the bell tolled and the match ended with the momentum in their favor, but a point short after 40 minutes.

They decided to play a game of 7s to settle things. San Jose left too much out on the pitch after the 10, and Monterey took the 7s match 15 – 0.

Overall an enjoyable, rare, Sunday of rugby.

This Week’s Photo

Pelicus Byrnest hamming it up with Santa Rosa High School boys rugby after a recent match.

Hail, Pelicus!
For the Senate
Pelicus Pedem Referre

Indoor Rugby

HAIL PELICUS!

Indoor Rugby

The World Sevens Series moved up to Canada last week and, because of the rabid moose infestation, was played indoors. The USA looked even stronger than their 3rd place performance last week as they cruised through the Day 1 pool with comfortable victories over Japan, France and Australia, recording a +88 point differential. The clinical evisceration of Australia was especially impressive as we took apart a very talented team with ease. Hopes were high as we headed into Day 2 with a quarterfinal against Argentina (again). Déjà vu all over again as the US didn’t play particularly well but managed a narrow victory over the South Americans. That set up a Cup Seminfinal against Series Leaders South Africa (again). Déjà déjà vu… or something like that. The US would come into this game with confidence knowing how close they came to beating the Blitzbokke in Las Vegas but would have to do it without their talismanic bruiser Danny Barrett, who was serving a suspension for a head high tackle in the Argentina match. Will Ben Pinkleman step up and take over the Barrett role? Will Folau Niua be able to orchestrate an upset over their bogey team? Will Madison Hughes finally be able to eat at the adult’s table? The answers to those questions are, in order, yes, no, and maybe next year, little guy.

Pinkleman was huge. South Africa is possibly the only team on the circuit that has the speed to contain Perry Baker so he was a non factor in this match. The hard work done by Pinkleman, Duratolo and the rest of the Eagles led to an early lead and when the inevitable South African comeback occurred kept them in the game until the final whistle. Down by 4, we had possession and were attacking scant meters from the try line when we tried one too many pick and go’s and were held up in goal. This is how close we are to the top echelon on 7s rugby: for two tournaments in a row we were beaten by the #1 team on a critical defensive play at full time. Last week we stole the lineout but were then pushed off the ensuing ruck. This week we crossed the try line but were held up in goal. Agonizingly close to the finals.

I would like to turn that around now to talk about what makes a champion. South Africa are pulling away with the points race having won 4 tournaments already and, even though they lost to England in the finals of this tournament, are playing inspired rugby and it would take a monumental collapse for them not to take the Series title this year. One of the hallmarks of a championship team is that they defend and make plays when they need to and that was never more apparent than in the last two semifinals against the US. Twice the US were down by less than a try and had possession in a very dangerous position with no time left and both times South Africa won the all important turnover to clinch the game. This is what champions do. The mental strength to know that you are never beaten translating to the desire and effort to ensure that you are never beaten is a rare and wonderful thing. In English soccer they used to talk about Manchester United and “Fergie Time”, referring to Sir Alex Ferguson and Man U’s seemingly magical ability to pull victory from the jaws of defeat with late goals. How many times have the All Blacks won games they should have lost with late scores or defensive stands? South Africa has the look now of an all time great squad and this mental strength at the end of games and tournaments is a big part of it.

Let Me Tell You About My Tight Pants

World Rugby made a rather controversial decision last week to allow the men to wear tights while playing in Vancouver as a “one time exemption”. The official reason this was done was for player welfare as the burns and abrasions from two straight tournaments on artificial grass were considered a health hazard. However you feel about this decision there is no doubt that this has opened Pandora’s Box. Online discussion forums are already awash with “why can’t we wear tights all the time?” posts and the subsequent arguments. My guess is that WR will push back hard on any other exemptions or Law changes. The original Law allowing women to wear tights (and head scarves) were intended for religious reasons, but since it was quickly apparent that referees couldn’t ask a player to prove their religion it was expanded to include all women. There is no religious reasoning for men wearing tights so that argument won’t fly. WR is a very conservative body at times and won’t budge on this for a while, in my opinion.

That being said, we here at Hail Peilcus were able to get a camera into the meeting where this was discussed and it was intense, to say the least. The women, who have been dealing with this issue for a few years, were able to dominate the conversation at the end.

You can see the meeting below. It is worth it to see the inner workings of rugby at… er… work.


The Best Mentors A Girl Could Have

Last weekend saw a girls high school and middle school tournament that was refereed by an all female crew. At least that is the rumor. I have no reports of this happening, really, in spite of the promises of prominent Pelicans to do so. Several young girls had their first taste of refereeing with some pretty hefty assistance, having National Panel Besties as their ARs. Here is a picture of Lee Berard and Leah Bryant at the tournament.

Between Two Pelicans

Hail Pelicus, well on its way to a whole truckload of journalism prizes, scored yet another coup in Las Vegas at the USA 7s. You will recall last fall when our legendary segment Between Two Pelicans garnered the first exclusive interview with newly promoted USA 7s Tournament Director Jon Hinkin. Well, we have followed it up with a sit down with USA Rugby CEO Dan Payne. Sit back and relax as we present Part 1 of our interview:

Hail Pelicus: We are here with USA Rugby CEO Dan Payne for another edition of Between Two Pelicans. Hello Dan and thank you for taking the time to speak with us.

Dan Payne: Sure. It is an honor.

HP: Quite. Let’s start off with the leadership in US rugby, not just USA Rugby itself but across the country. It has turned into an OMBACtorship with yourself as CEO, Brian Vizard in charge of the US Rugby Foundation and Jon Hinkin running the USA 7s after taking over from Dan Lyle. What do you think your constituents think about that?

DP: Well I think that you may be one of the first to make that connection. I think it is great because Jon and Viz are very good friends of mine but many people forget that the roots of my rugby started in New York while it flourished in Southern California.

HP: In Northern California, especially in the Referee Society we prefer a more Seahawkian model with Paul Bretz as the President, Pete Smith as the scheduler and myself running the media so we find that setup to be much more intelligent, subtle and nuanced.

DP: Yea, yea. Well that’s all up for debate.

HP: Moving on. USA Stategy 2020. I read that and my first impression was that it read like US Soccer’s infamous “We will win the World Cup by 2010” plan, so I have some questions regarding that. To start, who is the Rugby Business Executives Association? Is this a Dan Payne thing? Something started under Nigel Melville? Or is this an independent group that stepped up?

DP: So the Rugby Business Executives Association is championed by George Henderson. George was the lead consultant that did a lot of the information accumulation throughout the constituency in the development of this Strategy 2020. As they were going through the process one of the things that came up to him was that there are so many people throughout our rugby community that are excellent businessmen, businesswomen, that have a skill that might be beneficial to the organization but we haven’t had a way to harness them. We haven’t had a way to even identify and allow those people to collaborate. This kind of morphed out of George doing all of his work and the brainstorm of how do we utilize our best asset which is our people.

HP: This touches on what I have long considered one of the great paradoxes of US Rugby in that, especially our generation and the previous ones, most people picked up rugby in college. So the majority of older rugby players are college educated and many have demonstrated competence in business but most rugby clubs are run horribly. There are a few shining examples but most clubs are run day to day, week to week, with no vision. If you have enough money to cover fields for the next 2 months you are in a good spot.

DP: Right.

HP: Are you trying to harness that particular skill?

DP: Yes. That would be accurate.

And there you have it. Part 1 of our interview that touched on the USA Strategy 2020 for building our game as well as the obvious superiority of a San Jose Seahawk based leadership over a San Diego OMBAC based leadership. Part 2 will be presented next week.

For more information on George Henderson and USA Rugby Strategy 2020 you can find information and useful links here: https://www.linkedin.com/pulse/usa-rugbys-strategy-2020-released-george-henderson

New Kit

If you weren’t at the last Society Meeting then you missed out on a chance to get your kit, including the kit bags. The (astonishingly stylish) new kit will be distributed if I see you at some point in the next couple of weeks and at the Society meetings. I will do my best to find someone to distribute kit to those who can not make the meetings but feel free to reach out to me at hailpelicus@pelicanrefs.com if you plan to be in the San Jose area.

Please note that I am tired of storing this junk. If you don’t claim your stuff soon I may just dump it in the Guadalupe River while there is still enough water in it to cover up my misdeeds.

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

Copy the link and have it available on your smartphone. If you have an iPhone add the link to your home screen.

When needed fill it out and click submit. The discipline chair of the competition you refereed will receive a notification about the incident. He/she may contact you latter for more details.

If you have any questions as to how to use the app please refer to the following video: https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=_Uz0_gTaOnY

On To The Game Reports!

Date: 03/11/2017
Berkeley 19 – Sacramento Capitols 38
Referee: Hinkin, James

No report received

Date: 03/11/2017
CK McClatchy 58 – Marin Varsity 7
Referee: Boyer, Rich

Marin began the match with stout defense and good running lines. CKM managed a converted try early but for the next 15 minutes the game see-sawed with no team breaking the try line. Then CKM started building phases and recognizing the overlap. From there it turned into a track meet. CKM really move the ball well. They are a team to be watched. Marin played well technically in the heat, but they were just outmatched.

Date: 03/11/2017
Colusa 49 – Central Coast 7
Referee: Sandhill, Peter

It seemed like the first day of spring, with a very warm sun and a grassy field in Colusa. Central Coast drove from Santa Cruz and Monterey surrounds, around four hours each way. Unfortunately, they barely had a full team and the game started with uncontested scrums.

Colusa were four tries up at the half. In the second, they scored five more.
Both teams played hard and were really well spirited. Colusa were disciplined and athletic. Central Coast stayed on them and fought hard with some spirited runs on several occasions. It was hard not to go to the social afterwards.

Interestingly, Central Coast asked beforehand about how I saw them not contesting after a tackle (tackle only). They didn’t contest many rucks and, like Italy against England, had several players amongst the Colusa backs, moving around. After they adapted, Colusa were creative in response. It was clear they had thought about it – pick & go.

Thanks Pelicans for the interesting and informative coaching to referees about the ruck and tackle only situations.

Date: 03/11/2017
Colusa Women 0 – All Blues 81
Referee: Heil, Duane

Beautiful day for a drive to the valley. Listened to Jim Jefferies on the trip out to get myself in a happy place…worked.
Upon arrival, Colusa was setting up the field. I was about 45 min early, so I suited up and walked the pitch. What I found in the school yard grass was appalling. I picked about 6 big hand fulls of trash, part of which included a huge piece of 1/4” steel bar about 16” long…what the ****?
I brought it to the attention of the men’s team guys who were hanging out, but they really could care less…
Right before the woman’s team started, I showed the women’s team pres the collection from the field, and she was at least concerned….

OK, on to the game: Colusa, the home team, only had 7 or their own players, but lucky for them, Berkeley brought 22 players. So everyone played.
The game was uneventful save for a score approx every 5 minutes. Couple of high tackles, offsides, etc.

Date: 03/11/2017
Danville 27 – Solano-Yolo Varsity 21
Referee: Bretz, Paul

One of the finest high school games I’ve had the privilege to officiate. Both teams were well coached. Danville moved out to a 17 – 0 halftime lead thanks to their back play. Solano utilized their forwards with runs off of the breakdown.

Date: 03/11/2017
Fresno 38 – Silicon Valley 31
Referee: Tiatia, Nome

No report received

Date: 03/11/2017
Google 70 – SF Fog 0
Referee: Santiago, Roberto

Another Saturday Night Lights game in Mountain View with a crisp but pleasant game time temperature around 55. This game went about how you’d expect from teams at opposite ends of the standings. The Fog look to be going through a bit of a rebuild with a mix of a few vets and a binder full of new players. Google showed cohesion and familiarity as a squad. They has a good mix of athleticism and experience to go with a deep bench. There was no drop off in play when the subs came in over the course of the second half. Google has gotten better around the breakdown and play with more overall discipline than they did when I saw them early in the season.

On the other side, the Fog looked to be a bit undersized, especially in the forwards. This disparity showed up in open play and at the breakdown, but SF dominated the scrums with great technique. The Fog #2 was able to get quick hooks, which negated Google’s size advantage. The Fog players also deserve a nod for their courage and approach to the game. Despite facing size mismatches in one-on-one situations Fog defenders overwhelmingly chose to breakdown, stick their nose in, and attempt to make the play. You don’t always see that determination from a team getting blown out late in the game, but the Fog played just as hard at 79:00 as they did at 02:00.

Date: 03/11/2017
Jesuit 88 – Lamorinda Varsity 14
Referee: Stockton, Andrew

Saturday was a gorgeous day out in Carmichael. The sun was shining, the field was dry, and it was about 78 degrees. Perfect conditions for a match. From the very beginning of the match, it was apparent that Jesuit was the better team. Jesuit’s fast paced style of play mixed in with a wonderful kicking game I have not seen in a high school match ever, kept them in control of the match from start to finish. Because of the speed and constant pressure from Jesuit, Lamorinda was in a state of disarray making many bad or arrant passes, including a few that were wildly thrown without looking, which Jesuit capitalized on. However, despite the lopsided score, the boys never gave up, and it was very apparent that they were still enjoying themselves; a quality that I always admire in a team.

Date: 03/11/2017
Life West Women 48 – San Jose Women 0
Referee: Pohlman, John

What a beautiful day and a Saturday…so it must be a rugby day. Life West Woman were hosting the San Jose Seahawks. The Seahawks have some injuries and could only supply 13 players. So they forfeited, and then played a 40 minute game, which Life dominated in every way. Scoring 8 tries.
The players then broke into three teams of 10’s and played 40 minutes rotating amongst the three. All in good spirits and sportsmanship.
Life West looks like they have the players to possibly go very deep in the playoffs. But they need some competitive games to get ready.

Date: 03/11/2017
Marin 45 – Reno 7
Referee: Labozzetta, Chris

Reno was shorthanded for this match, but still put in a valiant effort. However, Marin carried the day with strong tackling and offensive attack.

Date: 03/11/2017
San Joaquin 70 – South Valley 19
Referee: Wilson, Giles

South Valley are struggling for playing numbers and while they have some skillful players, they lack pace. The Harlots had numbers at home (although several arrived late and came on at half time).

The first replacement that the Harlots used was a young, strong and fast center (late arrival). His first run saw him break a tackle but during the contact he struck the defender with his elbow and went off for 10 minutes.

Harlots scored four tries in the first half but couldn’t kick the conversions while South Valley stayed in the hunt with two converted tries for a 20-14 HT score.

At half time the Harlots brought on 5 replacements and the increase in energy was too much for South Valley. The Harlots used their last replacement and South Valley used their only replacement but the game became a parade with Harlots running in 8 second half tries (5 converted) to a single unconverted try for South Valley.

FT score Harlots 70 – South Valley 19.

Date: 03/11/2017
Santa Rosa 18 – EPA Razorbacks 40
Referee: Gordon, Preston

On a nice, warm, and humid day in Santa Rosa, featuring the division’s #4 and #5 sides playing, EPA Razorbacks got an away victory. The scoreline somewhat flattered them, however, with Santa Rosa coming away with no points from two scrum put-ins on their opponents’ 5m line, and having the ball knocked out of the hands of one of their players just before he could ground it for a try. The last play of the match was also an EPA interception, returned for a converted try.

EPA got the first try 2 minutes into the game, converting it for a 7-point lead. Santa Rosa responded by moving the ball around well, and at 16′ one of their wingers got around the last defender on the right and into the in-goal area. He got about 2 steps further towards the center of the pitch before getting collared by EPA’s scrum-half, resulting in a penalty try and a yellow card. Note that penalty tries now require no conversion attempt – they’re an automatic 7 points. At 22′ Santa Rosa kicked a penalty goal to take a 10-7 lead, followed by another at 33′ to go up 13-7. Two minutes later, the EPA captain went to the bin for another high tackle. The Razorbacks kicked things up a gear and got their second try at 37′ to pull within a point, and then converted it to take the lead into halftime, at 14-13.

Similar to the first half, EPA scored another try at 42′ to extend their lead to 19-13, still playing with 14 men. Santa Rosa’s outside center picked up a yellow card at 45′ for another poorly-executed tackle, though their defense held firm while they were missing him. EPA then added two further converted tries at 19′ and 25′ to pull comfortably ahead at 33-13. The character of the match didn’t change too much with the addition of most of Santa Rosa’s bench and a handful of EPA replacements. At 77′, Santa Rosa got another try, though they were unable to convert it. Their tails were up, and they spent the rest of the match looking for a way through EPA’s defense, with lots of good attacks. Ultimately, a long pass was picked off by the EPA captain to end the match with their last converted try under the posts.

Despite the 3 yellow cards, this match was played in good spirits and the players all seemed to enjoy it. I certainly did. Thanks to everyone involved!

Date: 03/11/2017
SFGG 29 – Olympic Club 5
Referee: Akroyd, Phil

SFGG were always in the lead but O Club never made it easy for them. Golden Gate could also have cut their penalty count in half if they had clear understanding of the tackle law, but they were too good to let that slow them down too much.

Some good rugby played overall but it seems like SFGG have another couple of gears to go up when they need them.

Date: 03/11/2017
SFGG Women 57 – Sacramento Amazons 12
Referee: Barfels, Ed

The weather was nice and sunny. A beautiful day for rugby. SFGG scored first and Amazons scored about two minutes later. However, that was all the scoring for the Amazons till the last play of the game. SFGG controlled the loose play. Ruck and drive; excellent phase play. Eventually, the backs would get a 2 on 1 or 3 on 1. The two SFGG wings were fast but did not out run their support. The half time score was SFGG 45 {7 tries, 5 conversions} : Amazons 7 {1 try, 1 conversion}. The second half SFGG brought in their players that need more experience, but the game plan was the same {2 tries, 1 conversion}. The Amazons forwards did punch it in on the last play of the game {1 try, no conversion}. Final score SFGG 57 : Amazons 12.

Date: 03/11/2017
Sonoma St 13 – CSUMB 22
Referee: Anderson, Rich

No report received

Date: 03/11/2017
St. Mary’s College Women 31 – Sacramento State Women 12
Referee: Santiago, Roberto

It was a beautiful morning for rugby. Sac State went in as the underdog, but played stout for the first quarter not allowing a St. Mary’s score until the 24:00 minute mark. The Gaels managed to score three more tries over the next twelve minutes, converting three two of them. Sacramento scored right at 40:00 to make it St Mary’s 26 – 5 Sac State. Sac came out strong again in the second half, holding St. Mary’s off for the first fourteen minutes. St. Mary’s finally broke through for another try and a 31-5 lead. Sac did their best to make a game of it by scoring just two minutes later, but that would be the final tally of the day. In all, St. Mary’s played to the level you would expect, while a young Sacramento team showed promise for the next few years.

Date: 03/11/2017
Stanford Women A 5 – UC Davis Women A 55
Referee: Lane, John

A beautiful sunny and warm morning in Stanford for an 11am kickoff with the Steuber Field in magnificent condition following the rainy weather!!

Two very committed teams put in significant effort from the start and maintained it throughout the game.

Stanford lost one of their 2nd row forwards with a knee injury in the first minute of the game.

For the majority of the first half Davis dominated territory and generally maintained longer multi-phased periods with their middle field putting Stanford under constant pressure. This pressure was converted into tries on 5, 13, 16 and 20 minutes with 3 conversions leaving the score at 0-26.

At this stage Stanford started to gain some consistent territory but strong defense created turnovers or forced knock-ons in contact allowing Davis to exit their half.

On 3 occasions the turnovers looked like leading to break-out scores for Davis but some excellent commitment to not give up the chase stopped 2 of these including one excellent tackle over the line dislodging the ball for a turnover knock on. On 34 minutes one of these breakouts did lead to a score after some excellent handling and offloads. Converted.

Stanford finished the half on attack with first a try being overruled for a foot in touch with a minute remaining. Stanford then won the turnover lineout and after a few re-cycles were held up in-goal under the posts to be denied a first half score. 0-33 at the half.

Davis obviously refocused at the break as they came out all guns blazing and dominated the opening 10 minutes showing excellent speed from right wing and fullback. Tries on 2, 6 and 9 minutes (1 conversion) brought the score at 50 minutes to 0-50.

With some home vocal support Stanford remained competitive and play for the next 15 minutes was mainly played between the 22’s with some enterprising play getting little reward from either defense. The heat and substitutions disrupted continuity a little from mid-way through the half.

On 34 mins Davis again broke wide out to score an unconverted try for a 0-55 lead.

At this point, Stanford put everything into the last 5 minutes most of which was played in the Davis 22. With lots of vocal support they finally crossed the line with the last play of the day. The conversion was missed however.

Final score 5- 55.

Date: 03/11/2017
UCSC 69 – Fresno State 21
Referee: Bailey, Andrew

No report received

Date: 03/11/2017
UCSC B 36 – Fresno State B 28
Referee: Bailey, Andrew

No report received

EDITOR’S NOTE: At the annual NCRRS Awards Dinner we hand out, amongst others, the Scriptorus award for the referee who has the best, most interesting and thoughtful write-ups. This year Andrew Bailey is in contention for the Anti-Scriptorus award.

Date: 03/11/2017
UNR 14 – UC Davis 41
Referee: Ulibarri, Phillip

Solid passing skills and commitment under beautiful Spring skies took Davis ahead in the first stanza and they never looked threatened.

Date: 03/11/2017
UOP 5 – Cal Maritime 61
Referee: Wood, Scott

One replacement bus driver, one wrong turn, one train delay. All things that can ruin a game plan. However, CMA was up for the task of a 30-minute warm-up. The temperature was a record high for 2017 in Stockton. Fortunately, CMA’s kickers saw their water bottle often enough to stave off potential heat stress.

CMA Rugby earned another league victory over a courageous UOP team, defeating the Tigers 61 to 5. Ten different Keelhaulers scored 11 tries with sophomore Daynon Matthews scoring two and senior Markus Foutaine, juniors Shane Bracken, Michael Tumusiime, Allen Washington, Kevyn Huntsman, CJ Ferrigno, Joe Belman, and sophomores Chase Cirilo and Tommy Orvick each scoring. UOP’s Justin Giardino scored the host’s lone try.

Date: 03/11/2017
USF 7 – SRJC 43
Referee: Carmody, Martin

Beautiful day in SF made this an enjoyable encounter between two 5-1 teams (both have only lost to Cal Maritime). Santa Rosa Junior College came out strong and scored good tries in both halves. USF kept in the game but could not match the power and skilled of the well coached SRJC side. As we were getting ready for a scrum in the second half the USF open side flanker stepped between the front rows and gently rubbed the portly tummy of the SRJC hooker and promptly stepped back. Strange behavior but no reason for a penalty :).

Date: 03/15/2017
California 120 – Stanford 0
Referee: Berard, Leah (Minnesota)
AR: Hinkin, James
AR: Turner, Jessica

It was a beautiful evening in Berkeley and my first visit to the famous Witter Field. It was the annual showdown between Stanford and Cal. Unfortunately, Stanford showed up with 14 players (apparently, the others missed the bus). I was hoping the game would end with 14 players; however, two injuries in the second half dashed those hopes. The good news is that it took Cal 10 minutes to score in the second half and Stanford had a shot at putting up 3 points. That was not to be, as the final score was 120-0. At least Stanford gave it the old college try!

This Week’s Photo

I read the news today, oh boy! In the press box after the Between Two Pelicans interview with Dan Payne.

Hail, Pelicus!
For the Senate
Pelicus Pedem Referre

HAIL PELICUS!

We Won The Lineout But Lost The Ruck

This week’s Hail Pelicus is a bit on the tardy side but in my defense, 3 days in Vegas can often last a week. Looking back on the USA 7s all I can say is what a weekend it was! There was great rugby all around, especially on Sunday. Starting with the USA’s quarterfinal against Argentina and going all the way to the final, what I witnessed was some of the best rugby I have ever seen. Every game seemed to balance on a knife edge and when any team opened up a big lead the opposition came storming back – often to win (see: USA v Argentina and USA v South Africa). Our semifinal loss on Sunday was particularly torturous theater as we jumped out to a deserved early lead (by actually using the wind instead of being baffled by it as we did last year) and when South Africa came back we battled back and forth exchanging tries and the lead until the final seconds with the BlitzBokke throwing in a lineout 5m from their own goal. We had to steal the lineout or the game was over – end of story – and as the ball came in Danny Barrett rose with perfect timing and STOLE THE LINEOUT! HAPPY HAPPY JOY JOY! South Africa is not the championship side they are without their own never give up qualities so they hit the ensuing ruck with vigor and pushed us over the ball to resecure it and, with a simple kick, end the game. Wow. Emotions flowed from elation to despair over the course of the game and even more so in those final seconds as we stole a sure victory from South Africa and then they stole it right back. After all, who didn’t believe that we would have scored from that position had we retained the ball?

We won the lineout but lost the ruck – the knife edge of sport that made this tournament so compelling.

It is a truism in rugby that any time you can beat New Zealand you have done a great thing and the USA did just that in the 3rd place game with (yet another) come from behind victory being settled in the final seconds. Anyone who watched that spectacle and wasn’t thrilled, excited and enthused probably is already clinically dead but just doesn’t know it yet. With yet another record crowd (80,691) filling Sam Boyd stadium over the three days of the tournament the USA 7s has firmly established itself as the clear #2 stop on the World Sevens Series, trailing only The Grand Daddy Of Them All, the Rose Bowl. Sorry, I meant The Grand Daddy Of Them All, the Hong Kong 7s. The size of the stadium in Hong Kong combined with the decades of tradition means that the title of Best Attended World Sevens Stop will remain out of reach unless something stupid and unlikely happens, such as an NFL team run by an incompetent and increasingly desperate owner tries to build a stadium in Las Vegas for the 2 year boost it would give his attendance numbers before they plummet.

But that would never happen.

Pelicans Dominant In Vegas

Not only did our own Danny Barrett (Cal) make the Dream Team (again) with his usual bruising yet subtle performance but Folau Niua (EPA) had a monster tournament and can feel slighted not to have also made the Dream Team. With his signature ‘fro flapping in the wind he was easily identifiable on the pitch and essentially ran the team with his ball handling and decision making, mixing in some tries for good measure. The dummy against South Africa was a perfect example as the defense had to respect his passing and didn’t commit in case he found a runner as soon as they broke the defensive line. Once he showed the ball and they bought it he gratefully waltzed through the ensuing gap to score under the posts. All of that was set up by his previous work throughout this and other tournaments and it is a weapon now honed to perfection.

Make no mistake, Madison Hughes is deservedly our captain, but Folau Niua runs the team.

What can I say about Danny Barrett that hasn’t already been said before? Just this: he is more than a bruising runner and defensive enforcer but is a complete rugby player. The ball skills and work rate have always been there and are assumed at this level but what really stands out now is at only 6’ 2” he has become a surprisingly effecting lineout option on offense and, even more surprisingly, a consistent stealer of the opposition’s lineouts. The end of our South African semifinal was just the latest case in point, but he was all over the opposition all weekend. The timing of his jump is perfect and the supporters get him up and in the ball’s path quickly. Once he has his hands on the ball his strength takes over and he just rips the ball to his side. This is yet another reason why Danny is a consistent Dream Teamer.

The USA 7s Women also had a strong showing with a fantastic win over Fiji and a tight loss to eventual champs New Zealand in the semis to finish 4th. Kelly Griffin, Bulou Mataitoga and Joanne Fa’avesi all come from Pelicanland (how many local unions regularly contribute ¼ or more of the national teams?) and especially dominant was the Sacramento Amazon’s Joanne Fa’avesi who seemed to be everywhere on the pitch.

It wasn’t just the players that represented Pelicanland well but our own referee society, The Greatest Referee Society On The Planet, provided Phil Akroyd and Lee Bryant as ARs for the event and they seemed to be chosen for some of the top matches involving Fiji, New Zealand, England and South Africa – the top sides not named “USA” which I assume they are ineligible for. Also representing were Steve Fenaroli as well as John Coppinger, the Hardest Working Man on the Judiciary Committee (not!). Mr Coppinger spend the entire weekend drinking fruity rum drinks with his feet up in the press box knowing that nobody had been red carded all weekend… until one was finally given with 3 seconds left in the final ruining his perfect vacation and requiring him to do some work after all.

And finally, Pelicanland was well represented at the ancillary events as well was yours truly entered the I’Maul In Poker Tournament hosted by Brian “do it for the kiddies” Vizard to benefit the US Rugby Foundation. Using the never back down decision making and keen analytical skills honed as a referee I managed to take 2nd in the tournament, winning a tidy sum of money that was subsequently donated back to the Monte Carlo over the rest of the weekend.

Champions Again At Last!

A hugely successful weekend for American rugby continued as our 15s side claimed their first major international trophy since the 1924 Olympics. It looked like we would need to beat Argentina in Argentina – a tall task indeed – to win the competition because of the point differential advantage that the Pumas had but with a try at full time the USA not only tied Argentina but unexpectedly secured a vital bonus point to edge out the Argies for the title. Yes. the Americas Rugby Championship is finally America’s.

Question Of The Week #1

If the ball travels 10 meters in the air but is blown back by the wind is it a live ball? (Answer: Yes. The ball just has to reach the 10m line, be it in the air or on the ground. After that play on. Law 13.5)

Question Of The Week #2

(Looking up at the light towers swaying in the wind on Sunday) I wonder what the harmonic period of a light tower is?

Question Of The Week #3

(A lady at the charity poker tournament trying to sell raffle tickets to Dan Payne to fundraise for her club) So are you involved in rugby at all?

Dan Payne: No, I’m in sales.

Lady: Oh? What do you sell?

Dan: Memberships.

Between Two Pelicans

Yes, our Pulitzer worthy segment Between Two Pelicans was in high gear this week with yet another high profile interview that will be presented in the next issue of Hail Pelicus because when the questions are that hard hitting everyone needs time to heal. Hail Pelicus also managed a few on the spot interviews with prominent rugby figures as well as “fans in the stands”. Here is a brief excerpt that I swear is true.

Hail Pelicus: We are here with CSUMB and San Jose Seahawk stalwart Matai Leuta after winning 3rd place with the USA in front of the home fans. Matai, you have worked with a few high profile coaches over the years so I have to ask, who is more likely to take his shirt off during a match, Mike Friday or Tory Golino?

Matai Leuta: Tory Golino, definitely.

HP: We asked fans to send in questions and Ryan Scott of Monterey, CA asks “Who is your favorite teammate ever?”

ML: My favorite teammate? That would be Ryan Scott of Monterey.

I tell ya, you can’t get that kind of journalism just anywhere these days.

New Kit

If you weren’t at the last Society Meeting then you missed out on a chance to get your kit, including the kit bags. The (astonishingly stylish) new kit will be distributed if I see you at some point in the next couple of weeks and at the Society meetings. I will do my best to find someone to distribute kit to those who can not make the meetings but feel free to reach out to me at hailpelicus@pelicanrefs.com if you plan to be in the San Jose area.

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

Copy the link and have it available on your smartphone. If you have an iPhone add the link to your home screen.

When needed fill it out and click submit. The discipline chair of the competition you refereed will receive a notification about the incident. He/she may contact you latter for more details.

If you have any questions as to how to use the app please refer to the following video: https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=_Uz0_gTaOnY

On To The Game Reports!

Date: 02/24/2017
Cal Maritime B 10 – SRJC B 27
Referee: Sandhill, Peter

Kickoff was close to 8pm on a cloudless crisp and nearly cold Friday night. Perfect winter rugby conditions. Both Santa Rosa and Cal Maritime were ready for a competitive match. Clearly they knew each other well. At half time it was a try a piece with Santa Rosa having also kicked a conversion and pk for a 10-5 lead. From then Santa Rosa’s backs shone with some lovey tries. Three tries to one in the second half.

Date: 02/25/2017
All Blues 12 – Life West Women 100
Referee: Santiago, Roberto

Well that escalated quickly. On a beautiful, crisp, clear day at the Tom Bates fields Berkeley hosted Life West. The score was fairly close at half time, standing at 7 – 26 in favor of the visitors. Berkeley seemed to be coming on late in the frame, and a score or two early on after the break seemed possible. It was not to be. Life came screaming out of the gates after halftime and ran away with match. Berkeley showed the sportsmanship and positive attitude one would expect from such a storied program right through the end. Many thanks to both sides for a good run.

Date: 02/25/2017
Baracus 12 – Fresno 25
Referee: Gordon, Preston

The fields at the Ward Recreation Center in San Francisco have been totally redone in the recent past, with 2 baseball diamonds and 2 full-size soccer fields laid out, all on artificial turf, where there used to be a lumpy, muddy, mess. This is great for rugby, once everyone is clear about which lines will be used for our sport. We didn’t have any problems with this, but I’d suggest insisting that flags/cones/etc be used before playing rugby on these fields.

On to the game: Fresno traveled with a roster of 20, while Baracus put out a side of 23. Both looked to be evenly matched. Fresno had a large share of possession in the Baracus 22 to begin the game and scored their first converted try after just 4 minutes. Baracus responded with some good counterattacking and got a try of their own at 15′ but were unable to convert it. For about the next 20 minutes, there was no scoring, just a handful of penalties and a fairly high number of scrums and lineouts. Fresno got another unconverted try at 33′, and then padded their lead with a penalty goal at 38′ to go into halftime up 15-5.

Baracus had a stronger second half, with their defense limiting Fresno to another penalty goal at 48′ before we spent the next 30 minutes largely going back and forth in the middle of the field with neither team able to get over the line. At 66′ the Baracus #10 was shown yellow for an unnecessary late tackle, but still nobody scored any points for the next 10 minutes. As the game wrapped up, Fresno scored a converted try at 78′ to seal their win, but Baracus, to their credit, responded with their second (converted) try at 82′ to leave things at 25-12 to the visitors.

In the B side game, which was tens for 20 minutes, Baracus scored 5 tries to 2 if I recall correctly. This was a good warm-down and everyone seemed to have fun. Thanks to all for a nice Saturday.

Date: 02/25/2017
Berkeley 14 – Napa 57
Referee: Bretz, Paul

Napa scored 28 points in the first half and 29 in the second and in the process won their 5th straight match. Berkeley scored their 14 points in the second half. Napa used their speed out wide to control the pace of the game.

Date: 02/25/2017
Cal Poly SLO 7 – St. Mary’s College 94
Referee: Lew, Tim

#1 vs #14. At the slightly soggy SMC stadium, SMC took on Cal Poly. After SMC scored 3 tries in the first 6 minutes I knew which type of game it would be. There was some issues with the scrums stemming from the SMC loosehead and CP tighthead. CP’s only points came from a penalty try on collapsed scrum. Thanks to Scott & Peter helping sort out the scrums.

Date: 02/25/2017
Cal Poly SLO B 7 – St. Mary’s College B 83
Referee: Sandhill, Peter

After being AR for the A game which was well reffed by Tim Lew in which St Mary’s dominated, a similar tone was set in the B side game, which began with a quick try to St Mary’s. The St Marys pack was dominant with some nice rolling maul play, dominant srummaging on occasion winning against the head purely with power and by pushing. St Mary’s backs were on song with some slick passing and solid defense. Cal Poly was impressive in that they were playing hard, all in, until the final whistle.

Date: 02/25/2017
Colusa 82 – San Joaquin 15
Referee: Bryant, Lee

No report received

Date: 02/25/2017
Colusa Women 0 – SFGG Women 109
Referee: Godfrey, Mark

No report received

Date: 02/25/2017
CSU Monterey Bay WR 27 – Univ San Francisco WR 24
Referee: Freitas, Larry

Drove down Highway 1 to Fort Ord on a blustery and cool Saturday for a match of these D2 women squads, the Otters of Monterey Bay and the Dons of San Francisco. Indicative of the recent weather was the fact that I could see snow on the higher peaks of the Santa Lucia Mountains as I headed south. CSUMB hadn’t played a game on their home turf since early November, and their only win of the season so far was way back in early October against USF in The City. USF had brought down exactly 15 players, and CSUMB had their starting 15 plus another 5 on the touchlines, the most they’ve had dressed out for a match, and something to note as two other players from the past two or three seasons were in street clothes.
The game started under sunny skies that would eventually turn grey, and for about the first ten minutes both teams seemed not able to function, making passing and handling errors, meaning numerous scrums that were uncontested. Finally USF scored at 20 minutes from a lineout in CSUMB’s quarter, when Catroina Clohessy, inside center, took a pass from the flyhalf and found a nice gap to run through. The conversion failed. CSUMB’s Jannicke Stien scored a try from some loose play in the USF half of the pitch five minutes later, the ball placed near to the posts for an easy conversion made by herself. Stien had switched to playing inside center, a position better suited for her speed and handling ability than flanker or #8. Another five minutes of play saw Sydney Abel score a try for five more points. Abel was all over the pitch at breakdowns, and instigating counter rucks for turnovers at times, and smuggling ball away from CSUMB’s ball carrier’s, whether in a stand up tackle in a maul or on the ground at the tackle. The half would end with a penalty given against USF for an offside infringement as one back was standing in defense well past the hindmost foot at a ruck, and playing advantage two of their players collided in a tackle attempt, the scrum half getting a head knock that would take her out of the match, leaving them with 14 for the second half. CSUMB choose to kick a goal, as the attempt was some 25 meters out, but Stien’s kick was short of the posts, and USF’s attempt to run out of their own end failed with a knock from which CSUMB did not accrue an advantage, ending the first half of play with a 10-7 lead for the visitors.

CSUMB scored an uncoverted try from loose play within a few minutes of play to open the second half, this time full back Golden Sekai doing the honors. At this point in the match passes were finding hands, and play was more fluid overall, and at 52 minutes USF would score what I would have said was the try of the match, as a ball that was turned over at half way gave some USF’s backs a chance to break away, with Clohessy taking a pass from wing Sapphire Dedrick some twenty meters out to scamper into the in-goal and round her way past the last defender to place the ball right under the posts. The conversion was good and USF had a 17-12 lead. It didn’t last long, as Stien would score another try as the game was near three quarters gone, this time taking a ball from a ruck just a few meters out from USF’s goal line. CSUMB started to use their one player advantage, putting pressure on USF and keeping possession of the ball for longer phases of play. CSUMB would then lose Clohessy with an injury, taking their numbers down to 13. Five minutes before time scrum half Alyson Carpenter would score an unconverted try near the left hand corner. A few minutes later Terree Okabe, one of CSUMB’s veteran players, would score from loose play deep in USF’s quarter, dragging a few USF players with her over the goal line. I checked to make sure the ball had been grounded and not held up off the ground, and awarded the try. CSUMB had scored three tries and added 15 points in 18 minutes of play. With no time left USF would add 5 more points and score another try by Sydney Abel, after some great efforts by the Lady Dons to keep the ball alive and drive downfield against a tiring Lady Otter side. Final score: CSUMB 27, USF 24.

After walking off the pitch and taking a seat at halfway, and cooling off from the match, I noticed how cold it felt, getting into my sweats and bundling up. I’m heading to the UK for a good part of March, and thought to myself that the day’s weather had a UK feel to it. So my next match should be a U-16 game at Bredon Rugby Club in the West Midlands, and then on March 12 a women’s club side match, Paignton the home side versus Exonian Ladies in South Devon.

CSUMB will next be taking a road trip in early April to play in a tournament up in Oregon, though some of their players expressed a desire to play St. Mary’s and make up the cancelled game from a week prior. Having seen them play quite often these last two seasons, I see a lot of improvement on their side, and next season they should have one of their best back line players back from spending a year studying in Spain. USF hasn’t had as good a season as last, as they beat CSUMB twice, and as with Santa Clara, seems to be lacking in players overall with little depth to their roster. I have to say they certainly played with a lot of effort, and they have some players with talent, especially Clohessy and Abel.

Date: 02/25/2017
CSUMB 5 – USF 28
Referee: Hinkin, James

A fun game amongst two disciplined sides. The weather held off nicely and the CSUMB pitch was in excellent condition. The score does not indicate the even tenor of the match (the score was 5-6 at half time), however in the second half USF was more precise and lethal in the attacking third.

Date: 02/25/2017
Google 74 – Central Coast 22
Referee: Pohlman, John

It’s 8:00PM on a Saturday night and I am blowing the whistle to start the Google verses Aptos/Central Coast Rugby game at Google’s artificial turf field in Mt. View. Aptos received the opening kick and hard charging #8 Tui Tuivailia scored a multi phase try at 3 minutes. The score woke up Google, who had close to thirty players, which responded by scoring six first half tries lead by #3 captain Peter Danenberg’s score at 26 minutes. Half time score Google 38 Aptos 5.
Aptos has some talented players but thin on numbers. Aptos lost almost every scrum which simply led to Googles backs getting numerously more opportunities.
Second half Google substituted in some new CIPP’ed players especially a beast at inside center who either scored or assisted in at least three of Googles six second half try s. Aptos game to the end, scored three second half tries led by their speedy backs. Final score Google 74 Aptos 22.
Watch out Division three, if Google keeps this team together we could be looking at a Division 3 national champ.

Date: 02/25/2017
Jesuit 37 – Mother Lode Varsity 12
Referee: Fenaroli, Steven

Played on the football field that has less than standard lines, teams were slipping on the turf. This game pitted a highly ranked single school versus a highly ranked club team. Both teams had errors at the breakdown and too many uncontrolled errors.

Date: 02/25/2017
Life West 53 – SFGG Green 24
Referee: Pescetti, David

The rain spared us, but the pitch did not want to fully cooperate. Unfortunately numbers didnt show up for SFGG and they forfeited before we began, but that didnt mean we still didnt play. After being lent a few players by Life we had ourselves a match.

Much to everyone’s surprise SFGG made the best of their borrowed players and opened up the games first score, a try in the corner. But Life turned right around and scored right bac,k. This was the story of the days match. Whenever GG scored Life responded within minutes. Slowly, Life built their lead. And they put up 24 – 12 in the first half and then another 29 – 12 second half. Putting the final score at 53 – 24.

Date: 02/25/2017
Marin 38 – Mendocino 10
Referee: Labozzetta, Chris

No report received

Date: 02/25/2017
Redwood 53 – Shasta 15
Referee: Bertolone, Cary

4 games at For Petes Sake in Santa Rosa. High School, womens rugby, my game and a college game after. Shasta showed up with about 12-13 players, but the ones that did were good players. Redwood loaned them a couple of guys and everyone had a great time with big hits, nice passing, good rucking and a few really fast guys. Redwood was up 29-5 at half, then outscored Shasta 4 tries to 2 in the second half. No foul play; good clean rugby from everyone. It was a pleasure to ref. Good food and beer too.

Date: 02/25/2017
Reno 12 – Chico 49
Referee: Ulibarri, Phillip

Chico ran away with this match from the opening whistle.

Date: 02/25/2017
Sacramento Blackhawks 82 – Silicon Valley 21
Referee: Taueva, Favor

Blackhawks shows very good ball skills from the get go. First try was 1.46 minutes from the kick off. Silicon Valley did not just let Sac Blackhawks to put score on the board. Blackhawks got their skill together and scored 50-7 at the half time. Ben Parker clear up his bench with most of his B players and still produce 32 more points. Is was very good, to see Silicon Valley put up a fight all the way 80 minutes game. Thanks to both coaches and team mate for a very clean and fun rugby time. After match was a BOMB !!!

Thanks Ben.

Date: 02/25/2017
Sacramento Capitols 40 – San Jose 12
Referee: Boyer, Rich

This match was played on an all weather pitch. San Jose marched straight down for the opening try on a nice run down the sidelines by the wing. Sacramento quickly righted itself and stayed that way the remainder of the day. Flyhalf Eric poached a SJ ball and quick ball out to a crashing fullback resulted in the first of many tries. Both teams played smart rugby at the breakdown but Sacramento proved too explosive in the backs, which resulted in tries for quick stepping winger Isaac and inside center DJ. Strong forward play rewarded Sacramento with another try. 26-5 at halftime. SJ relied not enough on their tank of an inside center, who always required 3 players to bring to ground. They had good one off runners, notably number 5, but their phases were left wanting for mishandling errors. Sacramento brought on subs early in the second half. The match see sawed back and forth with good phases of play from both teams but they were repelled always near the try lines. Finally a good break by Eric resulted in the first try of the second half for Sacramento. SJ responded with multiple phases allowing their flyhalf to slice through the defense for SJs second try. Luke Sauser from Sacramento scored a great individual try at the death on a bullocking run. Great game, very few penalties.

Date: 02/25/2017
Sacramento State 29 – Santa Clara 53
Referee: Tucker, Chris

Really fun, competitive game played in the early spring sunshine at Sac State. Both teams were playing loose — not much structure, but a whole lot of energy and creativity going on, which kept me on my toes for the full 80 minutes. Sac State pinched an early try before anybody really got started, but Santa Clara got on the board themselves after 8 minutes. Another penalty by Sac State took the score to 10-5 after 10 minutes.

After the restart, I had my 3rd penalty against Sac State in the first 12 minutes, all for not rolling away, all by #7. He promptly left for a ten minute relaxation break (he got lucky sometime after he came back on, when he deliberately killed the play again — I was mulling whether this was now enough and he could leave permanently, but Santa Clara quick-tapped and ran in for a try, so I never got to a decision). Santa Clara pressured, but came up empty from their man advantage, only to score immediately upon his return. The first couple of restarts had been 2 feet over the line, so before the restart I asked the kicker to ensure he wasn’t kicking in front of the line — his reply was that “this isn’t aussie rules, I can do what I want.” I told him to go right ahead…

Ultimately we went into the half with the hosts up 17-10.

The second half remained tight for the first thirty seconds or so, then the game went back to its fast and loose character, with Santa Clara scoring twice in the first 5 minutes and taking the lead. We went back and forth, with two more tries to each side, and with ten minutes to go, Sac State were within 3 points with a man advantage. It was shaping up for a barn-burning finish, but then Sac State ran out of gas, and Santa Clara ran over three tries in the last 10 minutes. The score ultimately 53-29, but full credit to both sides for a fun match to referee.

[Footnote: every other restart by Sac State was from right on the line. He might have a bit of an attitude, but he’s at least smart enough not to challenge the guy with the whistle. Also 13.1.a]

Date: 02/25/2017
Sacramento State Women 15 – St. Mary’s College WR 31
Referee: Hosley, David

Everyone was glad for a sunny day and dry pitch at CSU Sacramento. Nice crowd with a new coach doing a good job for the Hornets, and my first time reffing St. Mary’s College. Even match early, but St. Mary’s picked and drove to a good margin of victory.

Date: 02/25/2017
Santa Rosa Black Roses 24 – Life West Women B 32
Referee: Hammack, Robert

Santa Rosa punched Life West B in the mouth with two early tries. LWB fought back well and scored several of their own. Only a conversion separated the score at half. 3rd quarter was a stalemate as exhaustion took over. LWB’s fitness and experience showed in the final quarter with several tries to pull away. Very competitive match and a joy to referee.

Date: 02/25/2017
SF Fog 17 – South Valley 71
Referee: Anderson, Rich

No report received

Date: 02/25/2017
Solano-Yolo 55 – Lamorinda Varsity 27
Referee: Coppinger, John

No report received

Date: 02/25/2017
Sonoma St 5 – American River College 32
Referee: Barfels, Ed

American River College’s (AR) forwards dominated the game. The Sonoma State (SSU) scum was outsized and outmatched. AR won all their own scrums and most of SSUs. The score at half was SSU 0 : AR 22 {4 tries, 1 conversion}. AR sent in their forward reserves for most of the second half. AR scored 2 more tries in the second half (no conversions). SSU did manage to punch it in on the last play of the game (1 try, no conversion). Final score SSU 5 : AR 32.

Date: 02/25/2017
St. Mary’s College C 46 – Cal Poly SLO C 7
Referee: Wood, Scott

St. Mary’s was ahead 17-0 before Cal Poly got on the board. HT 22-7. Second half was a continuation of the first. Both teams played a well-disciplined match but the Mustangs left too many holes exposed in the back line for the Gaels to exploit. FT SMC 46-7.

NB: If you are a trainer/medic and the prone player you are tending to says he has a headache, it shouldn’t take the referee to determine he should be replaced and seek further evaluation.

Kudos to both teams for a great match.

Date: 02/25/2017
Stanford B 56 – Fresno State B 5
Referee: Turner, Jessica

This was my first game ever as a referee. I was a little bit tired because I ran touch for the first 2 games because of my nerves. I was trying to calm down and get my mind working in referee mode, since it’s not a mode I’m used to thinking in (especially as a recently “retired” player). I definitely need to work on my positioning, mostly getting closer to the breakdowns quickly and staying even with the ball. Prior to starting my biggest concern was being in the way, so it doesn’t shock me that I was further away than I would’ve liked/needed to be. I felt pretty confident about the laws and even making calls, although several times things got a mess and I wasn’t sure how to call it because there was a lot going on. At the end of the day, I feel like I did well asserting my authority–especially since a couple of the Fresno men were questioning me and harassing me during the match about calls and things I missed, etc. That was the most frustrating actually, being badgered about calls and feeling disrespected. I don’t have the law book memorized to a tee, but I do know most of the laws much better than most, and I feel correct with my judgment. Additionally, I truly did enjoy running around in the mix! I wasn’t sure how I was going to feel about it, and I even cried afterwards trying to process all my feelings about what just happened. However, I do see it as a fun challenge for myself to learn more and do better every time 🙂

The game itself was low skill, especially on the part of Fresno State with a lot of new players. I did try to play a lot of advantage to keep a flow of play, which seemed to be good for a first timer. Even though Stanford played with 14 and we had uncontested scrums due to a lack of front row personnel, and the halves were cut short because of the players being beat up and tired, they had the smarter sense of play and were able to capitalize on their opportunities to score. Stanford received more penalties than Fresno, mostly surrounding slowing the ball down at the breakdown with the first player and then adding a 2nd and 3rd in to contest the ball which then led to a turnover. I saw this as an unfair advantage and blew them up. They were asking me to look at Fresno State sealing, which I did see but Stanford was the first continuous offender by slowing the ball down, which caused Fresno State to have to seal to win the breakdowns fairly (partly due to lack of skill, partly due to Stanford deliberately slowing the ball down). On the next occasion I’m looking forward to having live scrums!

Date: 02/25/2017
Stanford Women A 46 – California Women A 12
Referee: Stockton, Andrew

It was a wonderful day for rugby at Stanford’s Steuber Rugby Field. I was hoping for a high intensity, closely contested match between Cal and Stanford for Stanford’s parents weekend, but I was slightly disappointed. Stanford scored on a breakaway only 2 minutes into the first half and stayed in the driver’s seat for the rest of the match. They forced multiple turnovers with aggressive counter rucking, and had a massive advantage over the Cal scrum. Cal was able to score twice in the first half, keeping it close at 36-12 after the first half, but they were shut out in the second half due to excellent goal line defense by Stanford (Stanford held the ball up on 3 separate occasions). Stanford managed to score twice more in the second half, but it seemed as though they were content to sit back and play defense rather then press their already sizable lead. In the end, it was Stanford pleasing their home crowd 46-12 over the Cal Golden Bears.

Date: 02/25/2017
UC Davis 53 – UC Santa Cruz 19
Referee: Crenshaw, Jim

Great day for rugby in Davis, warming to the mid 50s, but felt warmer in the sun.
Pretty much all UCD in the first half with score at halftime 29 to 7. Second half was closer but UCD out scored Santa Cruz 24 to 12.
Jim

Date: 02/25/2017
UC Davis B – UC Santa Cruz B
Referee: Crenshaw, Jim

Martin had a nice match. Scrums and lineouts were good. Needs to improve penalty timing and signals. Talks a little more than necessary. Overall a nice controlled match .

Date: 02/25/2017
UC Davis B 30 – UC Santa Cruz B 14
Referee: Carmody, Martin

It was a brisk afternoon at UC Davis Russell Field and the pitch was in good shape. Davis started strong and looked set to run up a big score but Santa Cruz hung in there and fought back with two converted tries. One yellow card for repeated high tackles but other that that it was a spirited well contested competition.

Date: 02/25/2017
UC Davis Women A 50 – Chico State Women A 17
Referee: Carney, Mark

No report received

Date: 02/25/2017
UC Davis Women B 67 – Chico State Women B 5
Referee: Heil, Duane

Bright clear day! Pitch was soft but firm…perfect. The B side women asked to have 4 20 min quarters. Davis also asked to have as many subs as they liked at the quarters, and they had many more players so I reminded Chico that this was to their disadvantage since they had fewer players, but the captain agreed to the Davis request.
Davis won the toss and elected to receive.

Davis consistently out ran the Chico backs, but the forwards were pretty well matched. Both sides ran and hit hard.

I had to make a very controversial call at a goal-line ruck. Chico was defending and recovered the ball, however in order to move the ball away from the goal line, she crawled along the ground with the ball. I gave a failure to release penalty which resulted in a score by Davis. The Chico coach came onto the pitch and argued with me on this point..but I was 2 meters from the play and he was 50 meters…soooo

(EDITOR’S NOTE: You got that call correct – a player may not crawl on the ground with the ball. I am more concerned with the coach coming on the field as it sounds like this was during the match.)

There were 2 high tackle penalties called. I gave verbal warnings as well as the penalties.

There were several rucks where the ball exited to the side, so the ball was out. But the women kept up the wrestling match, which ended up in some coming off the feet…however, the ball was out…so what happens after is just noise. Right?
I called lots of other penalties: hands in the ruck, not releasing, obstruction. And second row collapsing the scrum. This was after a warning to Chico that if you can’t handle the pressure, you need to just move backwards

Date: 03/04/2017
California Women A 5 – UC Davis Women A 79
Referee: Anderson, Rich

No report received

Date: 03/04/2017
CSUMB 60 – UOP 27
Referee: Wood, Scott

31 penalties (as reported by CSUMB coach all deserved), two (could have been 5-6) yellow cards (repeated team infringements), one case of handbags that even the individuals involved can’t figure out why, two opportunities for medics to enter the field of play. Both teams walking away satisfied: Priceless. Glad I have access to a TENS unit.

Date: 03/04/2017
Fresno State B 24 – UC Davis B 43
Referee: Wilson, Giles

Fresno started strongly and had some strong sections to their game, overall UC Davis had better game management and better organization overall. At half time the visitors led 21-12 (3 tries to 2), in the second half the visitors added another 4 tries to the home side 2 additional scores for a final of 43-24.

Date: 03/04/2017
SFSU 19 – Chico State 73
Referee: Gordon, Preston

What looked to be a rainy afternoon turned into great weather for rugby, with scattered clouds, sunshine, and a cool breeze at Cal Maritime. The teams didn’t disappoint, playing a fast game and scoring 92 points in aggregate, while also listening well – there were perhaps 9 penalties in the whole match. Chico State brought a full squad, including reserves for the B-side game. SF State had 19 players, although unfortunately I had to limit them to an 18-man roster because they had only 4 suitably trained front row players (having a law book in one’s bag makes these kinds of pre-game explanations of law 3.5 very credible, as well as easy).

After a very short delay to procure an acceptably-inflated ball, we kicked off a couple of minutes after 1300. The sides appeared to be fairly equally matched for the first ~15 minutes. Chico State scored a try in the 8th minute, converting it easily, then repeating that process 3 minutes later. Although Chico State was taking advantage of their scrum dominance, SF State seems to be holding up well in defense and also executing attacks of their own. The third converted try for Chico State at 17′ began to open the gap, however. Down 21-0, for most of the following 12 minutes SF State was able to hold on to the ball while staying in the opponent’s half, though ultimately not getting any points out of it. Chico State got another brace of converted tries within 4 minutes at 29′ and 33′ though, and when the half finished at 35-0 in their favor, I figured the game might turn into a one-sided track meet.

Shortly after Chico State kicked off the second half, SF State caught the defense napping and scored their first converted try at 42′. Given the immediate response of Chico State, with an unconverted try at 43′, I figured that might have been a fluke. Chico State added 3 more converted tries at 48′, 52, and 57′ to pad their comfortable lead. At that point they seemed to take their foot off the gas, and SF State snuck a back around the outside to score at 63′ (converted), and followed that up by returning the restart kick for another (unconverted) try. at 65′ to pull within 42 points at 61-19 down. At 70′ SF State’s 4th front row player, who had replaced their starting loosehead prop, had to leave the pitch due to an injury. Luckily there were only 2 uncontested scrums in the remainder of the match. Chico State finished with the last two tries of the game, one converted at 71′ and one unconverted at 73′, to clear 70 points.

I’d like to thank both teams for an excellent, fast, and clean game of rugby, and also to Tim Mulholland for ARing.

Date: 03/04/2017
St. Mary’s College B 92 – SDSU B 12
Referee: Stockton, Andrew

It was a wonderful day for rugby at St. Mary’s rugby stadium. It had been raining on and off throughout the afternoon, including for a 10 minute section of the A side match. However, the weather stayed clear throughout the B side match despite some nasty looking clouds. St. Mary’s started the scoring 4 minutes into the first half and never looked back. They tallied 35 points in the first half while SDSU could only manage 7. Repeatedly, the speed, agility, and superior skill of the St. Mary’s players got the better of the SDSU players, despite their best efforts. In the second half, it was more of the same. St Mary’s put up 57 while SDSU could only manage 5.

Date: 03/04/2017
Stanford 67 – SJSU 12
Referee: Bertolone, Cary

Stueber field was looking perfect, we kicked off at 1:00 PM on a partly cloudy day. Within 2 minutes, Stanford broke through for a converted try and a 7-0 lead. After that, things evened out and it wasn’t until the 20th minute that Stanford scored another Try. SJSU lost a player for 10 minutes, on that try, but it took 9 more minutes for Stanford to convert again. It was 26 -0 at the half, although San Jose almost scored a try while they camped out right in front of the try zone for 5 minutes, which consisted of a lot of good defense on the part of Stanford. In the second half, Stanford scored on their own kick off with less than one minute into the half. They scored a penalty kick and another try before SJSU mounted some offense of their own. On the 18th minute into the second half, San Jose took advantage of some Stanford mistakes and with nifty passes, scored a try. Four minutes later, they scored another one and San Jose thought they were back in it. Two minutes later, Stanford dotted one down and they scored three more tries after that. Stanford had a player at hooker, his first game at that position, Guy Kasnick, and he scored about 4 tries, kicked the penalty kick and all of the conversions, and was a huge contributor towards the Stanford win. Really good player. Great game, coaches were nice, students were great and the facility was supreme.

Date: 03/05/2017
UNR 32 – UCSC 17
Referee: Pescetti, David

On a rare frigid snowy Sunday, what is this football?, in the high sierras two teams met. A field covered in white snow, lines plowed, snow gently falling, we played a physical and punishing match.

The slugs against a wolf pack. Despite their mascots slow appearance, slugs, their play was anything but. Yet Reno led off the scoring scoring in the corner 7 minutes into the game. It was surprising and because of the snow it took everyone a second to realize he was in the try zone. The slugs did stabilize and counter punch 5 minutes later tying the game up at 5 a piece. The kickers were stymied all day in the snow, windy, and numbing conditions. A scoreless 24 minutes went by until the slugs put another score on the board. but with 0 time remaining in the half, the wolf pack evened the game. At the half it was 10 all.

The second half was the difference maker in this one. But again there was a flurry of action in the opening minutes where Reno scored two tries and a conversion and Santa Cruz a converted try. With under 5 minutes left in the game Reno was up 5, 23 – 17. But Reno was just too much for the Slugs on this snowy winter day. With the slugs exhausted trying to punch in to have a chance, a misplay led to a 90 meter prop try to seal the game for Reno.

Final UNR 32 – UCSC 17

Date: 03/05/2017
UNR B 19 – UCSC B 10
Referee: Reagle, Sam

It snowed.

This Week’s Photo

I read the news today, oh boy! Hard hitting journalism is just a day in the life of Hail Pelicus, even if it means staying an extra day in Las Vegas to attend the after party. Here is Pelicus Pedem Referre is getting the story from Matai Leuta.

 

Hail, Pelicus!
For the Senate
Pelicus Pedem Referre

How Not To Make Friends On The Phone

HAIL PELICUS!

How Not To Make Friends On The Phone

As it happens, like many of us, I do have occasion to travel to the Land of the Griffon every so often. This past weekend I had an event in Pasadena and not wanting to waste a rugby weekend I contacted the Southern California Rugby Referee Society and notified them of my location and availability. They were kind enough to assign me to Pasadena’s home match against Tempe so I was set. All I needed next was to get there, and therein lies our tale.

Hail Pelicus often has tales of long drives through the countryside of Pelicanland, marveling at the majestic and pastoral by turn. The natural wonders we live amongst are spectacular and deserve all of the appreciation that they get but not all travel stories are the same. This last weekend was a tale of adventure and disappointment, courage and conflict, hope and despair before eventual victory, but at a cost. We shall start, as is proper, at the beginning.

I had booked a flight for the weekend months ago and used some of the Southwest points I have piled up through my business travel . I arranged lodgings and a car and was happily set for a fun weekend with friends and rugby. The Wednesday prior I was setting up a ride to the airport and checked my reservation and discovered something wrong: the flight was booked out of SFO instead of San Jose. That may not seem like a big deal to most but I live about 5 miles from San Jose International Airport and for me to get to San Francisco on a Friday evening in the heart of rush hour traffic was an eye-gouging, hair pulling, minimum 2 hour proposition at the very least. This could not stand. I called up the Southwest customer service department and calmly explained the situation and asked how it could be that I am flying out of the wrong airport. Well, apparently the Southwest website automatically suggests alternate regional airports when making reservations and I didn’t notice that the perfect flight at the perfect time was in fact, out of SFO not SJC. “NO!” I cried, “This is intolerable! Look at every other flight I have taken on Southwest! Look at the flight I am taking in two weeks! I always fly out of SJC! Look at my address; I live 5 miles for the airport! Why would you move my flight to San Francisco?” At this point the lady on the phone told me she could change my flight and we found an acceptable flight both coming and going out of San Jose. Phew! She started making changes and then said the fateful words “You don’t have enough points to cover the change fee so you will need to pay for it in dollars. The charge for this change is $500. How would you like to pay for it?”

It was at this point I started using profanity.

No, I will not pay $500 to fix your mistake, just make the change! I want to talk to your manager! I want to talk to Customer Relations (which is somehow different from Customer Service)! I will not pay this ridiculous fee for YOUR ERROR! Well, as expected I got nowhere, so with a final F-Bomb I hung up and resigned myself to dealing with traffic on the peninsula.

The next day (Thursday) I went to check into my flight and received the ominous message “This record locator is invalid”. At this point I got a cold feeling in the pit of my stomach. Had I gone too far with my righteous frustration? Did Southwest cancel the whole reservation as a final middle finger to me? I called up Southwest to see what happened and got a lady on the phone. (A different lady, thank the gods. I don’t think I could have dealt with the first one again after all I had said.) This lady looked at the reservation and said it was there but there was something funny about it. “Apparently” she said, “someone had started to make a change to the reservation but didn’t complete it. I show you flying out of San Jose at 3:00 and arriving back in San Jose on Sunday at 3:45. Shall I complete the change?” “Will this cost me anything?” I asked. “No, sir.”

Rock and roll! Glory, glory halleluiah! I jumped up and down pumping my fist and generally acting like an idiot.

“That will do nicely” I replied in a calm voice. She then checked me into the flight and I was set. All was right in my world, I smugly told myself. Sometimes being a complete asshole pays off. I was in a good mood with a foolish grin on my face for the rest of the day.

Karma, however, is a bitch and had a few more tricks up its sleeve for me.

Friday rolls around and the Storm Of The Century hits Southern California. Everyone’s favorite new meteorological term “atmospheric river” was heading straight for Southern California and it was looking to party. High winds and torrents of rain pummeled the region causing havoc. About midmorning I got a message on my phone that my flight had been cancelled.

$@#*!

I called up Southwest (again – by this time I should have had them on speed dial) and told them my flight had been cancelled and asked them to book me on another flight. Sorry, sir, but all available flights are full. “Even from San Francisco?” I asked, painfully aware that I had just spent two days behaving badly to get my flight moved out of SFO. Nope, not SFO. Nothing in Oakland, either. All flights were booked up until Sunday.

&%#$*@$#!!!!

The Southwest lady (do they even hire men for this job?) apologized for the inconvenience and refunded my points. The return flight was still good to go, so now all I had to do was get to Pasadena. I called up Hertz, with whom I have been a Gold member since 1996. I asked if I could change my reservation for the weekend? No problem, sir. Do you need to extend it? No, my flight was cancelled so I am going to drive. I would like to pick up a car in San Jose and drop it off in Burbank. Not a problem, sir, let me make that change for you… you had prepaid for the original reservation so I can cancel that transaction and reverse the charges… and now the charges are $550, plus a $60 cancellation fee because this is within 24 hours. How would you like to pay for that?

It was at this point I started using profanity. Again.

So much for being a Gold member. I eventually cancelled the whole reservation only paying the $60 blood fee (or cancellation fee, as they called it) and then went shopping online. I found the cheapest car rental I could find that had a car in San Jose that I could return in Burbank. Total, including gas, was $200 – I could live with that. It was close to 3:00 when I finished all of this and I still hadn’t packed so I decided to go get the car and then wait at home for traffic to clear and, hopefully, the heart of the storm to pass. At 7:00 I packed everything in the car and took off south. If all went well I should be rolling in to the hotel in Arcadia just before midnight.

All did not go well. To start the traffic on 101 was stopped at the 280 interchange. There was an accident that people had to get around. Not too bad, I was by it in 10 minutes and speeding my way south. I was moving along and woolgathering idly when a thought started nagging at the back of my head. “Hey idiot!” I thought, “You are approaching Salinas! You missed the 152 turnoff!” Arrggg. I sheepishly turned around and headed back north to Gilroy to get on the 152 and cut over to the 5. After all, only an idiot would try to take 101 all the way to Los Angeles. The rain was coming down less and less with longer breaks in between wiper worthy weather as I started towards the Pacheco Pass (naturally) behind a couple of 18 wheelers. The one lane road became two lanes and all of us regular folk happily sped past the big rigs heading towards the San Luis Reservoir… and stopped. All traffic in our direction had come to a complete halt and then slowly inched along. Apparently there was some road work several miles ahead and the lanes were reduced to one as people worked their way by. At this point I started thinking I would have been better of being a woolgathering idiot and taking 101 all the way down.

I didn’t reach the Hwy 5 interchange until 10:00pm.

Hwy 5 south was mostly smooth sailing at that point (why do people insist on going the speed limit in the fast lane?) until the Grapevine. Traffic slowed to a crawl at that point for some very good reasons: slashing, splattery rain making seeing difficult; patches of heavy, pea soup fog making seeing more than 50 feet impossible; and gusty winds that pushed your car around making steering an adventure in hope. I eventually rolled into my hotel at 3:00am.

Fortunately the gods felt they had punished me enough for my transgressions because everything else went great the rest of the weekend – match report below.

Will I learn a lesson from this? Probably not. Oh well.

New Kit

We have jerseys. We have socks. We have shorts. We have track suits. As of today we even have kit bags! The (astonishingly stylish) new kit will be distributed if I see you at some point in the next couple of weeks and at the Society meetings. I will do my best to find someone to distribute kit to those who can not make the meetings but feel free to reach out to me at hailpelicus@pelicanrefs.com if you plan to be in the San Jose area.

Las Vegas Invitational

The previous LVI Tournament Director has left his post to fulfill a lifelong dream of being a burlesque dancer on the Las Vegas Strip, so Steve Albrecht has taken over. Below is his call to the Greatest Rugby Referee Society On The Planet:

Referees One and All!

The biggest rugby tournament in North America is looking for YOU! The Las Vegas Invitational needs you on March 2nd, 3rd, and 4th to help volunteer and officiate 7’s (and a few 15’s) matches across youth, collegiate, and adult divisions in Sin City. As our tournament continues to grow, so does the number of referees needs to keep this event rolling! Come ref by day, and enjoy the most exciting city on earth by night!

All Referees receive:
– Rhino LVI Referee jersey (both Male and Female cuts)
– Tickets to all 3 days of the USA Sevens International event (when you stay at the Westgate Hotel – massive LVI discounts available)

ALSO – USA Rugby is holding a 1-day clinic Wednesday March 1st at the Westgate Resort. Don’t miss out on your chance to train with the best in the ever-growing world of Sevens Rugby.

Westgate Hotel link: https://www.usasevens.com/las-vegas/official-lvi-hotels/

To register to ref at the LVI 2017: https://goo.gl/forms/e5Om9GuMqYsM5zR43

Any questions about the event?: https://www.usasevens.com/las-vegas/las-vegas-invitational/

Las Vegas 7s

Overwhelmed with the awesome responsibility of representing Hail Pelicus and the entire Northern California rugby community in Las Vegas, the editors will not be putting an issue next week but will put out an issue the following week with thoughts, interviews and reactions worthy of the Greatest Rugby Community In The World. Please know that we will not be using our status as credentialed media to play childish pranks on the Lords of Rugby Union, but will be hard at work. I make this sacrifice for you, dear readers.

Plus, there aren’t any games scheduled to cover here during Vegas weekend.

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

Copy the link and have it available on your smartphone. If you have an iPhone add the link to your home screen.

When needed fill it out and click submit. The discipline chair of the competition you refereed will receive a notification about the incident. He/she may contact you latter for more details.

If you have any questions as to how to use the app please refer to the following video: https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=_Uz0_gTaOnY

On To The Game Reports!

Date: 02/18/2017
Pasadena RFC 23 – Tempe Old Devils 14
Location: Pasadena, CA
Referee: Hinkin, James
AR: Reed, Austin (Southern California)
AR: Kruckenberg, John (Southern California)

An exciting D1 clash in Southern California pitted newly promoted Tempe Old Devils against the steadily rising Pasadena RFC. With heavy rains hitting So Cal the match was moved from Pasadena’s regular field to the all weather turf football field at Duarte High School. Football lines everywhere, but at least rugby was going to happen. Apparently when this happens in So Cal they have slightly different ways of dealing with the fact that the goal posts are at the back of the try zone. When I stated that any attempt to charge down a conversion should start from the goal posts rather than the try line I was told that isn’t always the case but it was accepted. Then I was asked if a penalty would be move forward 10 yards if a kick is chosen, because that is how it has been done in the past. No, I said, the mark is the mark.

Was I right? We are on a non-standard field so the law book doesn’t cover it, so yes, I was right because I made the decision at the start of the game and both teams had it the same. In reality, there is not “wrong” answer to this situation as long as you are consistent.

The game started in a drizzly rain – not enough to worry about but just enough to make the ball slippery. After 15 minutes of this match I thought Tempe would win by 40 as they were dominant in the scrum and their backs were running through the Pasadena defense. Pasadena was saved by handling errors as the slippery ball evaded the hands of the Tempe runners time and again. Tempe scored an unconverted try and were cruising in spite of their knock-ons. With all the scrums we had very few issues as an exchange of penalties at the first couple of scrums sorted them out (amazing how that works) and then Pasadena regrouped a bit and started pressing the Tempe line more and more. Pasadena had their share of knocks and was getting frustrated by the ball hawking of the Tempe defense. The #10 (a HS All American, I was told) was especially good at it, turning over several balls as the support arrived too late to prevent him getting his hands on the ball. Each side were able to kick a goal for a 8-3 Tempe lead at the half.

The second half was a different story. Pasadena made some adjustments and were able to get their support to a tackled player quicker. They also stiffened up their defense to allow fewer line breaks. Each side exchanged a couple of penalties for a 14-9 score. At this point a tiring Tempe side made some subs and that made all the difference, especially in the scrums. Tempe’s #1 is really, really strong and had been a handful all game but ran out of gas and had to be replaced. At the same time Pasadena put in a prop that usually starts and wow, did the scrums change. After 2 straight tightheads were stolen by what had been up to that point the weaker scrum I asked my ARs to check for foot up, illegal binds, or anything else that might explain it. The next scrum I was on the side of the Tempe replacement prop and saw the issue – he just wasn’t at the same level as his predecessor. Pasadena used their new found momentum to score a converted try and take the lead. With about 5 minutes left Pasadena put together a long, multi phase series and scored a great team try to put the game out of reach. Tempe fought hard until the end but came up short.

Both captains were excellent (the Tempe captain at 6’ 10” being the largest rugby player I have ever seen) and helped control a game that threatened to get chippy as legs tired and the game came down to crunch time. A pleasure to referee.   Many thanks must also go the ARs on the day, Austin Reed and John Kruckenberg, who were a great help.   Proper ARs are a luxury.

Date: 02/18/2017
Pasadena RFC B: something – Pasadena Old Boys: something more
Location: Pasadena, CA
Referee: Hinkin, James

The B side match was Pasadena B v Pasadena Old Boys with predictable results. No matter what the score, I was informed, the Old Boys won. Fair enough, but I got to use one of my favorite tricks to great amusement from both sides. Penalty and the Old Boys go quick. A B Baller tries to tackle without retreating but doesn’t bring the player down who passed on to a support player (who was playing in the A side) and he took off untouched and unstoppable. Now, the thing about Old Boys is they tend to get too tired to run but not too tired to yell at the referee and so several were lying on the ground loudly calling for a not 10 penalty. So I blew my whistle and gave it to them, despite the fact that the ball carrier was 50 yards downfield with no defenders in sight.

Sometimes you get what you ask for.

Date: 02/18/2017
Cal Maritime B 10 – Pleasanton Jesters U23 50
Referee: Byrnes, Bryant

This was the second match on a pretty and dry day at Maritime-Pistol Pete Smith having earlier moved both refs around like chess pieces on a board. And the teams were, in the rugby sense, motleys-some Jesters played with Maritime, and somehow a number of Solano fellows showed up and were mixed in.

If memory serves, these sides played each other last year. And while the result was the same, this was the better game (certainly good spirited). It took about 20 minutes of avuncular advice and penalties to herd the Jesters into rough compliance-but they scored on a number of pretty coast to coast tries anyway. And the Maritime Bs were of considerably sterner stuff this time. What they lacked in foot speed they made up for with some big hits.

Date: 02/18/2017
Cal Maritime 34 – USF 0
Referee: Fenaroli, Steven

Originally scheduled to be in Colusa for two games but this was a welcome easier trip. Hard work from both teams meant a good game on both sides of the ball. Maritime couldn’t make conversions. USF was close to the goal lines multiple times but couldn’t ever put the pieces together.

Date: 02/18/2017
Solano-Yolo 12 – Granite Bay Varsity 44
Referee: Boyer, Rich

This was an away match for both sides, held at Witter Rugby Field at Cal Berkeley. Granite Bay came out very strong with backline play and put up three tries, all scored in the corner by the outside backs, within the first fifteen minutes. Solo were game, but Granite Bay just had a little more sense of urgency. It was 27-0 at halftime. Solo made adjustments and came out firing, with three fine linebreaks by flyhalf Garlick and the outside center, only to be undone by errors. The Solo outside center had a clear try off an intercept pass but it went to ground, such was Solo’s luck for the day. Granite Bay continued with their stifling defense and wide open, expansive play, putting up 3 more tries before Solo turned the momentum with scything runs from Garlick, captain Jake and the outside center, which led to 12 points. But it was Granite Bays day.

Chico State Women 22 – Stanford Women 34
Referee: Carney, Mark

No report received

Date: 02/18/2017
EPA Razorbacks 18 – SFGG 48
Referee: Lew, Tim

On a narrow pitch in East Palo Alto, the razorbacks took on the SFGG gold. Both teams came out hard as expected with hard running and big tackles. EPA legally slowed down SFGG’s ball and prevented gate from playing a fast game. EPA was not able to defend the set pieces and gate dominated both scrums and Lineouts. Gate was able to fend off the late tries and maintain composure.

Date: 02/18/2017
Fresno State 69 – SFSU 0
Referee: Jury, Jeff

It’s been a tough week for SFSU and it didn’t get any easier traveling to Fresno. They’re a game group and threatened the Try line, but couldn’t convert. CSUF’s fitness and game plan ruled the day. CSUF 69 SFSU 0.
The B game was closer with a lot of the SFSU A’s playing twice. CSUF 24 SFSU 20

Date: 02/18/2017
Los Gatos 14 – Peninsula Green Varsity 17
Referee: Pohlman, John

Wow what a rugby game. Peninsula Green won on the final play of the game at Leland High School in San Jose this past Saturday.
This was a very well matched physical game. Many of the players have played together or against each other for many years.
United opened the scoring with #8 and former Pen Green player Nathan Garcia scoring at 25 minutes in. Pen Greens captain #7 Bo scored seven minutes later. Half time score 7-7.
The first half was fast and fun.
At 12 minutes in United’s winger intercepted a pass and went 60 plus meters for a try. Pen Green responded a few minutes later to tie the score 14-14.
The last twenty minutes were played at such a high tempo and mental drain that some of the players got a bit testy.
This led to a penalty call at the 35 minute mark to Pen Green. Their kicker converted the penalty and won the game with their first lead of the day. Pen Green 17 United 14.

Date: 02/18/2017
Napa 35 – Baracus 30
Referee: Wood, Scott

Napa (from Napa) hosted Baracus (from SF) at the Minnie & Lovie Ward Rec Center (formerly Ocean View rec center) fields. Not sure about the view but the winds from the Pacific were an unabated constant 15 mph dropping the temperature to a balmy 50 Kelvin. Both teams entered the match at 3-0. Napa was relatively strong, but not overly dominant, at the breakdown while Baracus featured a quick backline. The host were first to score a penalty goal only to have Baracus quickly answer with a converted try. Back-and-forth possession was the name of the game. One yellow card at the end of the first half left Napa down a player for the first 39:10 of the second period. HT: Napa 13 – Baracus 27

Not quite the tale of two halves; however, Napa capitalized off a downward sloping pitch scoring two tries prior to Baracus slotting a penalty goal (N25-B30). This fueled Napa’s attack as they battled down the pitch scoring another try and a penalty goal. Willing to battle to the end, Baracus created a momentum that led to the final five minutes mostly played inside Napa’s 22. Baracus was able to cross the goalline only to have a Napa arm snake under the ball and create a knockon. Scrum, penalty, penalty (scrum elected), clearing kick to touch, lineout, free kick (I tried to manage that to no avail), tap, pass, kick to touch. Game over. Napa 35 Baracus 30

Date: 02/18/2017
Olympic Club 51 – SFGG Green 8
Referee: Gordon, Preston

The GAA pitch on Treasure Island was in great shape after all the recent rain, with just a few soft spots, and the weather gods favored us with warm sunshine and a cool breeze that picked up slightly as the game went on. Olympic Club had a full roster of 23, while SFGG put out 18 players, 6 of whom were front-row qualified.

O Club opened the scoring with a converted try seven minutes into the game, adding two more at 11′ (converted) and 18′ (unconverted) before SFGG responded with a penalty goal at 23′ (19-3). It was fairly clear by this time that the game would be somewhat one-sided, and O Club notched 3 more tries in the half, at 25′ (converted), 34′, and 38′ (both unconverted) to leave the halfitme score at 36-3. There were a fair number of scrums in the first half due to knock-ons by both sides with no opportunity to play advantage, and O Club’s dominance in those set pieces clearly paid off. That platform, and their well-disciplined ruck play allowed their backs to get around the outside defenders or occasionally cut through holes in the midfield. SFGG, on the other hand, seemed to have a few players playing outside their usual positions.

The Olympic Club reserves got a pretty good workout in this game, with most of them coming in early in the second half after they scored another try at 52′. At that point, the rugby became a bit more haphazard on both sides even though the intensity stayed high (for the most part). SFGG got a great try in the corner at 63′, after spending ~5 minutes camped on the O Club line, but the wind pushed the conversion a little wide. O Club added two more tries at 36′ and 44′ (running time, there were a couple of injuries in the second half) to clear 50 points. In my view, 51-8 was a fair summary of this contest.

Thanks to all involved for a good game of rugby!

Date: 02/18/2017
Redwood 24 – Marin 10
Referee: Hammack, Robert

The rain had stopped by kickoff but the field was muddy and the conditions still wet. Ill-discipline was a recurring theme for Redwood (3 yellow cards) but they made up for it with hard running and strong defense. Marin had lineout trouble in the windy conditions and didn’t ask enough questions of Redwood’s defense.

Date: 02/18/2017
Sacramento Amazons 31 – All Blues 71
Referee: Godfrey, Mark

No report received

Date: 02/18/2017
Sacramento Blackhawks 31 – Fresno 24
Referee: Richmond, Jeff

After a 45 minute delay waiting for Fresno jerseys to arrive, play began on a very soggy but lush field in South Sacramento. The Blackhawks were off their game; the wet conditions and determined Fresno defense kept them from getting any rhythm. Frustration began to show on the Blackhawk side and several yellow cards were issued as their composure frayed. Fresno was able to exploit gaps in the Blackhawk back line and keep the pressure on. With time expired Fresno drove within a few meters of the Blackhawk goal line but a knock-on ended Fresno’s chance at an upset.

Date: 02/18/2017
San Joaquin 33 – Google 48
Referee: Taueva, Favor

Straight from work to the pitch. Had two hours of rest inside my car before 1 pm. I still felt a little tired from work, but managed to enjoy my game. Google club starting dominating the first 20 minutes of the game. Google scored two tries less than 15 minutes into first half of the game. San Joaquin seems to be not on the right tune during the first two tries scored by Google. I awarded a penalty try to San Joaquin for Google #7 intentional offside to avoid a try by San Joaquin #13 quick tap and go. Very clean and aggressive game. Seems to me Google did their homework for a game plan which was well played out. Good come back from San Joaquin, but it was too late into the game. Thanks to both coaches and team players for the fun rugby day. Hope for the best for both clubs .

#alwaysfavor

Date: 02/18/2017
San Jose 10 – Vacaville 12
Referee: Pescetti, David

What a barn burner in the suburbs of San Jose.

EDITOR’S NOTE: Independence High School is a suburb of San Jose? It is less than 4 miles from the City Hall and downtown.

This match was a nail biter. These two teams were evenly matched. San Jose had the first threatening of the match but were unable to convert. Each team attempted a Penalty goal and both were unable to put it through the posts, that San Jose winds rivaled Santa Ana this day. The stalemate was broken by Vacaville with 6 minutes remaining in the first half. With those being the only points of the first 40, they lead 5 – 0 at the half. The second half lead off with Vacaville scoring a converted try with 26 minutes remaining. This seemed that this lead, 12 – 0 would put the game out of reach, if the previous 55 were to remain true. However, San Jose came storming back, six minutes later put up their own, hard earned try. The wind played havoc all day with the kickers. With 15 minutes left Vacaville lead 12 – 5. The exciting play of the game happened with 7 minutes left. Vacaville was passing it wide, attacking on the San Jose 22. The last pass to the winger was a bit behind. He reached up and tapped it forward. San Jose’s winger jumped up and snatched the ball clean out of the air and we were off to the races. Sprinting to his life, with a Vacaville play closing in, but San Jose players screaming to center it. San Jose’s winger leaped and was able to touch the ball in the corner. And with 6 minutes left the pressure was on the SJ kicker, but again that pesky wind pushed his kick wide. San Jose down, 10 – 12, but was not out. They had possession, and an ill advised high tackle with 20 seconds left gave San Jose an option. The pressure on, time winding down. They rushed the kick, and unfortunately it went out into touch-in-goal. And that is how the game ended. A dramatic. Great game.

EDITOR’S NOTE: This is hands down the greatest writeup of the season. English is a wonderfully varied language and expert practitioners can create poetic dissonance with such inspired use of sentence fragments, mismatched tenses and awkward sentence construction. Think Walt Whitman. Think Ezra Pound. Mr. Pescetti may be the first Rugby Dadaist.

Date: 02/18/2017
San Jose Women 0 – SFGG Women 79
Referee: Carmody, Martin

SJ were short players so SFGG lent them a few. Played 4 x 20 minute periods on a soft grass field. The first few minutes of the game were sloppy with 3 penalties given up within about 2 minutes for basic mistakes. After a brief warning to both teams the game progressed nicely with no incidents and lots of good multi phase open play.

Date: 02/18/2017
Santa Clara 19 – Cal Poly SLO 50
Referee: McDougall, Grant

No report received

Date: 02/18/2017
Santa Clara B 31 – Cal Poly SLO B 22
Referee: Stockton, Andrew

It was a great day for rugby at Santa Clara on Saturday. The sky was grey and gloomy for both of the matches, but thankfully, the weather held, and we were able to stay dry. SLO the scoring 8 minutes into the game with a try and a conversion kick. 4 minutes later, Santa Clara scored their first try, but missed the conversion. Then, on a penalty just inside the Santa Clara half, SLO gained three points at 16 minutes into the game. Santa Clara pulled ahead with two tries in quick succession and one conversion. They would retain the lead for the remainder of the game. The second half started to get chippy. At 62 minutes, I awarded a penalty to Santa Clara very near to their own goal line. Santa Clara took the tap quickly, and, without any attempt to retreat, a Cal Poly player made a large tackle and popped up whooping and hollering at the player he had just hit. I immediately awarded another penalty for not retreating and then issued a yellow card under section 10.2 of the law book. Santa Clara scored moments later, using the advantage they had gained. The match ended with a final score of 31-22, in favor of Santa Clara. It was an exciting match, and overall, a wonderful day for rugby.

Date: 02/18/2017
Santa Rosa 13 – Life West 54
Referee: Bertolone, Cary

It was close in the first half. The score was 21-13, Life West, at half time. In the second half, Life took control and scored 5 tries to none and won 54-13.

Date: 02/18/2017
Silicon Valley 33 – Sacramento Capitols 46
Referee: Santiago, Roberto

An overcast Saturday afternoon saw the Sacramento Capitals make the long trek down to San Jose to face the new-to-D2 Silicon Valley…Microprocessors? I don’t know what Silicon Valley’s mascot is, or if they have one. To no one’s surprise, Sacramento jumped out to an early lead. The score was 17-0 for the visitors who showed cohesion in the back line and domination in the scrums. Silicon Valley never hung their heads, and put over two score before half time. The score stood at SV 12- Sac 24 at the half, when Sacramento made wholesale changes, nearly emptying their bench. That’s when things got particularly interesting. Sacramento put one over just 01:35 into the second half to go up 19 points. But the home standing Microchips weren’t done. They answered with two converted tries to pull within 5. The Capitals responded with an unconverted try, which was met in kind by a converted try for Silicon Valley. With just a 3 point lead it looked as though substituting en masse may backfire on the first place Capitals. Then an intercepted pass turned into a 50 meter try, the defense stiffened, and another score sealed the deal for Sacramento. After the final whistle, both teams showed appreciation for a match that turned out to be more competitive than either side might have foreseen. In the end, Sacramento showed why they’re at the top of table, and SV showed that they made a good decision in moving up to D2.

Date: 02/18/2017
SJSU 5 – Chico State 29
Referee: Tiatia, Nome

No report received

Date: 02/18/2017
Sonoma St 10 – SRJC 41
Referee: Labozzetta, Chris

Hard hitting match with two disciplined and fit sides. SRJC’s #5 proved too strong against Sonoma st. His multi try performance was the difference.

Date: 02/18/2017
St. Mary’s College 27 – BYU 12
Referee: Bryant, Lee

No report received

Date: 02/18/2017
Sierra Foothills 71 – UOP 10
Referee: Tucker, Chris

And not getting the close game this afternoon either.

Curious point where the UOP coach pulled his captain and scrum-half after about 50 minutes, for no obvious reason. Since they were playing with no subs on the bench, this was not a replacement. 5 minutes later the coach asked if he could bring him back on. Law 3.13 provides for a player leaving the field “for any other reason” to rejoin when the ball is dead with the referee’s permission. Since he couldn’t be substituted, I said sure, come on back. Always amusing to me using the obscure bits of the lawbook.

Date: 02/18/2017
UC Davis Women 107 – Humboldt Women 3
Referee: Tucker, Chris

One of these days I’ll get a close game, but not this morning. They were pretty happy with getting the 3 in the second half.

EDITOR’S NOTE: This is what you get for showing off and winning the referee fitness test.

Date: 02/18/2017
UC Davis Women B 32 – Fresno St Women 29
Referee: Davis, Austin

It was the perfect evening to smell the methane emitted by the holstein cows on UC Davis’ Dairy Field right next to their famed university dairy. Both teams were looking to improve their play due to the amount of new talent on the field.

Before the game, both teams came together to practice scrums. Afterwards, only 5 scrums were contested until the scrums became messy for both teams. At that point forward, all scrums were uncontested.

The game was a back and forth game for the four quarters the teams elected to play. UC Davis kept sending fresh shirts onto the pitch while Fresno had the ability to continue building their confidence. Throughout the game, I saw numerous minor infractions but nothing a warning did not fix. Both captains lead their teams very well and both teams shared many moments of camaraderie. Overall, it was a great game to referee and work with the coaches to help the new collegiate players understand the game of rugby.

Date: 02/18/2017
UNR 26 – Stanford 15
Referee: Ulibarri, Phillip

A close fought physical match.

Date: 02/18/2017
Lamorinda 19 – San Francisco Golden Gate Varsity 31
Referee: Bretz, Paul

SFGG Varsity High school visited Lamorinda and were pushed to the limit in this game. Up until the 65th minute the score difference was 1 point. Lamorinda controlled the scrums Lineout while SFGG were more adept at using their backs. Enjoyable game with intelligent players.

Date: 02/19/2017
Chico State Women 20 – California Women 0
Referee: Mulholland, Matthew

No report received

This Week’s Photo

From the “Better Late Than Never” file we have our NCRRS 2015 Rookie Of The Year Andrew Bailey receiving his trophy from Pelicus Pedem Referre. Apparently a free meal at the NCRRS Banquet isn’t enough to get people out.

 

Hail, Pelicus!
For the Senate
Pelicus Pedem Referre

Dark And Stormies

HAIL PELICUS!

Dark And Stormies

It was a dark and stormy night; the rain fell in torrents — except at occasional intervals, when it was checked by a violent gust of wind which swept up the streets (for it is in San Jose that our scene lies), rattling along the housetops, and fiercely agitating the scanty glow of the street lamps that struggled against the darkness. The staccato tapping of the ever-changing droplets, for some were heavier than others and hit with greater vigor against the double-paned windows brought forth, by turn, awe at the power of nature and respectful contemplation of the numinous peace and tranquility these rainy winter evenings produce while I, your author, who is the subject of this tale, curl up with a volume penned by Edward Bulwer-Lytton and the ice gently clinks as it floats and bumps against the side of a cocktail glass filled with Gosling’s Dark Rum and ginger beer. And so begins our newsletter.

New Kit

We have jerseys. We have socks. We have shorts. We have track suits. As of today we even have kit bags! The (astonishingly stylish) new kit will be distributed if I see you at some point in the next couple of weeks and at the Society meetings. I will do my best to find someone to distribute kit to those who can not make the meetings but feel free to reach out to me at hailpelicus@pelicanrefs.com if you plan to be in the San Jose area.

Flock Talk, Enriching The Vocabulary Of Pelicanland

Making its first appearance in the opening paragraph, we have this edition’s Word of the Day:

Numinous
adjective nu·mi·nous \?nü-m?-n?s, ?nyü-\
1. supernatural, mysterious
2. filled with a sense of the presence of divinity : holy
3. appealing to the higher emotions or to the aesthetic sense : spiritual

Las Vegas Invitational

The previous LVI Tournament Director has left his post to fulfil a lifelong dream and try out for the Las Vegas Raiderette Cheerleading Squad, so Steve Albrecht has taken over. Below is his call to the Greatest Rugby Referee Society On The Planet:

Referees One and All!

The biggest rugby tournament in North America is looking for YOU! The Las Vegas Invitational needs you on March 2nd, 3rd, and 4th to help volunteer and officiate 7’s (and a few 15’s) matches across youth, collegiate, and adult divisions in Sin City. As our tournament continues to grow, so does the number of referees needs to keep this event rolling! Come ref by day, and enjoy the most exciting city on earth by night!

All Referees receive:
– Rhino LVI Referee jersey (both Male and Female cuts)
– Tickets to all 3 days of the USA Sevens International event (when you stay at the Westgate Hotel – massive LVI discounts available)

ALSO – USA Rugby is holding a 1-day clinic Wednesday March 1st at the Westgate Resort. Don’t miss out on your chance to train with the best in the ever-growing world of Sevens Rugby.

Westgate Hotel link: https://www.usasevens.com/las-vegas/official-lvi-hotels/

To register to ref at the LVI 2017: https://goo.gl/forms/e5Om9GuMqYsM5zR43

Any questions about the event?: https://www.usasevens.com/las-vegas/las-vegas-invitational/

Las Vegas 7s

Have no fear that Hail Pelicus will be in Las Vegas to report on the goings on and daring dos of this event. Recognizing the prestige not only of Northern California Rugby but the humble organ that reports on it, we have been granted our media credential and we have already secured one promise of a high level interview and will seek out more scoops. If we have to stay up until 4am at a craps table to get the story for you, our loyal readers, then that is what we here at Hail Pelicus will do. No need to thank me, just give me some money.

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

Copy the link and have it available on your smartphone. If you have an iPhone add the link to your home screen.

When needed fill it out and click submit. The discipline chair of the competition you refereed will receive a notification about the incident. He/she may contact you latter for more details.

If you have any questions as to how to use the app please refer to the following video: https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=_Uz0_gTaOnY

On To The Game Reports!

Date: 02/11/2017
Vacaville 19 – Baracus 21
Referee: Labozzetta, Chris

Well played physical game. Both sides were relatively focused and in good form. Obviously the score was close, which meant both sides were well matched up. Baracus had the advantage in the scrum, which ultimately helped them win with a late push over try from 5 meters out.

Date: 02/11/2017
Univ San Francisco WR 15 – Sacramento State Women 27
Referee: Hammack, Robert

Well contested match played in good spirits on a beautiful San Francisco afternoon. Lots of rookies made continuity difficult but there were some great phases of play and strong defense. Score was tied at halftime and well into the second half. Sacramento’s experience showed with two late tries for the final score.

Date: 02/11/2017
UCSC 91 – SJSU 0
Referee: Bailey, Andrew

No report received

Date: 02/11/2017
UC Santa Cruz WR 5 – Fresno State WR 59
Referee: Jury, Jeff

The day was overcast and cool. The ground held up pretty well in the face the deluge of the night before. UCSC Women were gracious enough to travel to Fresno to play. UCSC had closed their campus fields due to their flooding.
The score does not reflect the character and fierceness of play between the two sides. In spite of the conditions, the scrums were well contested and handling errors were minimal. The Lady Dogs played well in the open field and their fitness feeds their game plan. CSUF racked up 35 points in the first half and 24 in the second. UCSC scored with 17 minutes left in the second half, but kept the pressure on by pounding Fresno on their own 5 meter for the last 10 minutes. Fresno relieved pressure with a steal and a streaking run for a converted try to end the game. UCSC WR 5 CSUF WR 59

Date: 02/11/2017
UC Davis 85 – SFSU 12
Referee: Tucker, Chris

‘A day getting the shit kicked out of you on a rugby field is better than any other day of the week’ – SFSU Stand-Off

A sentiment I agree with, and one that sums up the game nicely.

Date: 02/11/2017
Stanford Women A 24 – Chico State Women A 12
Referee: Stockton, Andrew

After the excessive amount of rain recently, it was nice to be able to play on a field in such good condition. Both teams contested the match well, and it was much closer than the score indicated. There was no incidence of misconduct, but Stanford was consistently not rolling away, something that I failed to call correctly. Overall, a great day for rugby.

Date: 02/11/2017
Sonoma St 31 – USF 33
Referee: Carmody, Martin

Close, well contested game. Very heavy field conditions.

Date: 02/11/2017
SFGG Green 22 – EPA Razorbacks 48
Referee: Tiatia, Nome

No report received

Date: 02/11/2017
SFGG 65 – Sac Lions 17
Referee: Hettermann, Matt

No report received

Date: 02/11/2017
Santa Clara Univ WR 38 – UNR Women 19
Referee: Freitas, Larry

I arrived at Santa Clara University after a journey lasting nearly an hour and a half, as Highway 17 was closed northbound due to a massive landslide earlier in the week. So I was Monterey bound on Highway 1 to Watsonville and Highway 129, not trusting if 152 was open, east to US Highway 101, and then north all the way to the De La Cruz exit and SCU. The 10 AM kick off was a bit earlier than usual, but the men were playing UCSB later that afternoon. The air had a chill and the skies were partly cloudy as both teams warmed up at 9:30. Santa Clara has had issues getting enough players on the pitch for games, and this one wasn’t an exception: 14 were ready to play, as two on the sidelines were still deemed injured, though one was kitted-out. Nevada-Reno had their starting 15 and another six or seven subs on the bench. Santa Clara kicked off then short a player, but within a minute had gained possession of the ball and started marching down the field, with some crisp passing as players were tackled, and some quick ruck ball when a player was taken to ground; a penalty was awarded to them from an offside at a ruck, and tight-head prop Mariela Murillo broke through for the first try of the match, near to the posts, that she easily converted for a quick 7-0 lead.
At 15 minutes inside center Rachel Schneider, back in action after missing the UCSC game, scored a try from loose play, again converted for a 14-0 lead. Nevada-Reno countered quickly, when a loose ball was recovered in mid-field and Teagan Cammarano scampered her way to the goal line for 5 points, cutting the margin to 14-5. After that try there was no more scoring until late in the half, when flyhalf Kira Clifton of the Wolfpack crossed the goal line near the posts for a converted try. The half would end 14-12 in favor of the Broncos. Several players were caught making high tackles, and therefore warnings went to both teams to be aware of their tackling. As an aside, I told the Nevada captain to have her players not question calls, as a Santa Clara restart after one of Nevada’s tries ended up bouncing right on the blue dashed line when it appeared it would fall short of the required ten meters, and one of the visitor’s players yelled out that the kick was short, to me directly, as play continued on and as Santa Clara recovered their own kick off.
Santa Clara scored right from the second half kickoff, some 30 seconds into the half, as Carly Fowler received a pass and found herself in plenty of space to score a try that, though placed near the posts, saw Murillo fail to convert. Nevada’s Sammi Lyons scored a converted try at 55 minutes to tie the match at 19-19. Nevada was now putting some pressure on Santa Clara, and their nerves were starting to show a bit. One 5 meter scrum to Santa Clara had their scrum half feeding the ball to fly half Michelle Coleman’s right, just out of reach, with the ball landing beyond the dead ball line, forcing another scrum 5 to Nevada. Unfortunately one of Nevada’s forwards was guilty of a second high tackle within the space of five minutes with three quarters of the match played, and it was a third high tackle for that player overall, so she was yellow carded. In the meantime a Santa Clara player left the field with an injury, leaving them with 13 on the pitch. Now it was 14 on 13, and Santa Clara would again threaten to score, pinning Nevada deep into their own end, where they would infringe. Santa Clara ran the penalty, and Jessica Lew-Munoz would score a converted try to once again put Santa Clara into a lead they would not relinquish. Before the Nevada player could be let back on the pitch two more Santa Clara tries were added. Mariela Murillo took advantage of space to go on a fifty meter run, only to be caught by a faster Nevada back in full flight as well, but Erica Sweet took a pass some five to ten meters from the goal line as she had been running in support, crossing over and setting up Murillo’s conversion kick for another seven points. A few minutes later, near 70 minutes of play having gone by, Michelle Coleman would score after a tackle-ruck situation, taking a pass and dotting down. The conversion failed, and Santa Clara had 38 points on the score board with some ten minutes left in the match, but with Nevada-Reno now back at full strength with their player returning to the pitch after the ten minute sin-binning. Another Santa Clara player would then be injured shortly thereafter, leaving them now with 12 players. Nevada quickly tried to take advantage of the situation, and penetrated into Santa Clara territory, realizing time was short, but that a few quick converted tries might bring them a chance to win. There were some infringements by Santa Clara, defending desperately, but they were making tackles to stymie any attempts to score on Nevada’s part. The horn went off as the forty minutes of time on the score board ended, but I already had notified both teams of three minutes of added stoppage time and to disregard that horn. Into injury time Michelle Coleman made a clearance kick behind the 22, finding touch and setting up a line out after one minute. Another minute of play went by when Coleman, standing deep in her quarter, got the ball in her hands again deep in her 22, but this time the attempted clearing kick went off the side of her foot straight into a team mate’s hands in an offside position up field some fifteen meters. Nevada took the scrum much nearer to the goal line for one last gasp attempt to score, but their possession, and the game, ended with a knock on as I blew for no side. This match leaves Santa Clara and Fresno State clashing head to head in two weeks time for the Division 2 championship, in Fresno. Fresno State has greatly improved in two seasons and might be considered the favorite, and they do have a deep bench. Santa Clara now has to face whether they will have at least 15 ready to play. Hopefully for them the two injured in this match will be ready, and the other two on the sidelines who didn’t play against Reno will be as well.

Date: 02/11/2017
Santa Clara 53 – UC Santa Barbara 21
Referee: Bretz, Paul

Santa Clara dominated open play and restarts to score 9 tries to UCSB’s 3 tries. Santa Clara’s scrum was dominated and this dominance resulted in a penalty try.

Date: 02/11/2017
Santa Clara B 19 – UC Santa Barbara B 7
Referee: Bretz, Paul

Santa Clara B made it two for two as they beat UCSB second side.

Date: 02/11/2017
San Jose Women 0 – Sacramento Amazons 121
Referee: Moore, Stephen

No report received

Date: 02/11/2017
San Jose 29 – Silicon Valley 14
Referee: Hinkin, James

Two teams that spent 80 minutes ignorantly whining and complaining and in between managed a few passages of rugby.

Date: 02/11/2017
Napa 40 – Fresno 20
Referee: Coppinger, John

Interesting game moved to a turf field in Vallejo lined for softball and soccer, which necessitated the use of tape for critical lines and resulted in some confusion on my part at least once (and I am being generous to myself).

There were lot of physical confrontations and big hits (which were very much for the most part legal) with the game being pretty much even until the deeper Napa team began to find running lanes and gaps into which to drop kicks putting Fresno on the back foot. Fresno stayed in the game mainly due to the efforts of the IRB’s 2005 7s player of the year, who was a pleasure to watch play up close.

Date: 02/11/2017
Mother Lode 88 – Marin Varsity 0
Referee: Davis, Austin

The game was held during a windy day at Livermore Park’s turf field in Folsom, CA. Marin has been struggling with keeping players healthy and accountable, having to put many inexperienced starters on the field against a strong Mother Lode side. The inexperience and fatigue due to lack of players/substitutes plagued Marin through the game.

The Captains were respectful and both teams played a clean game. Despite Marin’s downfall, they held their heads high and were extremely respectful players and a great side to referee. Mother Lode was a great home team to referee for as well.

Date: 02/11/2017
Los Gatos 7 – Danville Varsity 28
Referee: Pohlman, John

A large and festive crowd witnessed a great high school variety rugby game this past Saturday at Leland High School in south San Jose.
United hosted current national high school champion Danville. Danville came up against a very physical United team. United was totally up for the game, with little to no intimidation. At 21 minutes the first and only score of the first half was by my player of the game, captain and #12 Kevin. Half time score Danville 7 United 0.
Kevin opened the second half with another long and somewhat individual effort for a try at 4 minutes. At the 8 minute mark Danville’s fullback scored on another long run. United’s primary weakness was on mid field missed tackles turned into long runs due to poor forward support. Danville powerful #8 finished the scoring for Danville at the 12 minute mark.
United scored a try at the 32 minutes. The game was played with respect, speed and ingenuity.
Thanks to the coaches and captains for showing the respect to themselves, the fans and their opponents. That is what rugby is all about. Lighting up your opposite mark with a strong legal tackle and no dancing or smack talking after.
Thanks guys.

Date: 02/11/2017
Life West Women 32 – All Blues 12
Referee: Barfels, Ed

A great day for rugby at Cal Maritime. Life West (LW) was in blue and All Blues (AB) were in yellow. It caused a little confusion at the beginning, both sides would react when I asked “blue” to do something. However, LW took control of the game with good continuity in the open field and scored two tries in the first half. One in the 20 minute and one in the 23 minute. Neither conversion was made. AB did score in the 40 minute of the first half (a penalty try) and made the conversion. Half time score LW – 10 : AB – 7. LW continued the good open field play in the second half scoring four tries and one conversion. One try was scored when LW was short a player. AB was awarded a second penalty try after LW was offside three times (and numerous verbal warnings) while the ball was within one meter of the goal. The final score LW – 32 : AB 12.

Date: 02/11/2017
Humboldt Women A 32 – California Women A 45
Referee: Bertolone, Cary

Beautiful, sunny day as we kicked off at 11:00 am. Very even game with Humboldt scoring a converted try first, Cal scored the next three tries, Humboldt scored two more……kind of all game long, a see saw battle. Humboldt took the lead with 5 minutes to go, 32-31, the crowd went crazy and then Cal scored two converted tries in the last few minutes to put an end to the crowds cheerful excitement.

Date: 02/11/2017
CK McClatchy 40 – Jesuit Varsity 48
Referee: Boyer, Rich

It was a game that lived up to its billing. Jesuit always have a very good squad; Coach Inoke at CKM has built a very strong one as well, and now they are on the radar. It was a special game for me to ref in that no fewer than 10 Land Park Motley Alum were on the pitch for both teams at any given time, sometimes numbering up to 13. The Alum went through our youth and middle school academy at Land Park so it was a game of cat and mouse, what with them being very familiar with this ref’s likes and dislikes.

The monsoon proportions of rain resulted in Jesuit hosting this match on its turf pitch. I was looking for that easing flow into the game as it started but no such luck as Jesuit took the start and center George Niethammer made a scything 60 meter run for a converted try prior to the first minute ticking off. Jesuit would score again in the corner by their wing before CKM knew what had hit them. CKM, to their credit, stuck to their gameplan, naturally based on Kiwi rugby as Inoke hails from Wellington. The outside center, very slippery indeed, beat three defenders for a try under the posts and the game was on. And so it went, Jesuit would score, then CKM, who eventually gained the momentum and the lead into the third stanza with brilliant backline play orchestrated by Junior at ten, often times capped off with tries by Zach Neff, flanker. CKM took the lead on a chip and chase by the wing, brilliantly put down in the corner for a try. 36-33 CKM. Jesuit never once backed down or showed any discomfort. They soon gathered the lead with a barnstorming run by prop Conner Bellinger off a ruck, then padded it with a fantastic up and under (remember garryownens?) by Carlos Ramirez, a fortuitous bounce of the ball for the Jesuit wing and his subsequent great catch and dot down. Towards the end, captain Garrett Kay took a ball off the base of a scrum and powered in for his try. Credit CKM, they bounced right back to score a try at the death on another slicing run by Zach Neff. Conversion good. Jesuit wins in a well contested match, played in good spirits.

Date: 02/11/2017
Chico State 33 – 12 UNR
Referee: McSwain, Beau

The game was pushed to start a half hour later than normal in an attempt to allow the field to dry as much as possible due to the large amount of rain we have received in the north state. The breeze that replaced the rain Friday and Saturday did just that and the field was in great shape for the entirety of the game. Chico scored first at the 20 minute mark of the half and then put in three more scores to take a 26-0 lead into halftime. Chico scored first again in the second half at the 45th minute and then Reno followed with one converted try at the 71st minute and an unconverted try very late in the game. The final score was 33-12 in favor of Chico State.

Date: 02/11/2017
California 73 – Cal Poly 7
Referee: MacDonald, Neil
AR: Pescetti, David
AR: Heil, Duane

My weekend got off to a poor start when weather-related road damage scuppered our plans to head up to the Sierra for some cross-country skiing. Mid-morning on Saturday the call came: could I get to Berkeley in time for a 2 pm match to cover for a now injured ref who had been covering for an ill ref. Never one to look a gift horse in the mouth I was soon wending my way through the reconstruction zone that is Santa Cruz county these days and heading into the bright sunlit skies of the Bay. It was a beautiful day at Witter Field, and for the second match in a double-header, Cal was facing Cal Poly. It was fun to see a number of players I remember from their high school years, all of whom have blossomed into robust athletes. Cal Poly’s impressive scrum platform was a serious handful for Cal’s front row for much of the match, and the breakdowns were fiercely contested, with Cal Poly’s flanker and captain winning a couple of outrageous poaches. However, Cal’s intensity in defense, ball protection, and support play gave them the upper hand in open play, and Cal Poly couldn’t contain Cal’s lineout mauls from close range. Many thanks for David Pescetti and Duane Heil for their help on the touchlines.

Date: 02/11/2017
California 44 – Arizona St. 16
Referee: Pescetti, David

The torrential week of wet weather parted for it knew better than to impede our holy day. The sun shone brightly as kick off approached and it remained that way.

The initial 40 minutes were mostly controlled by Cal. Breaking out to 22 – 0 lead in the first 30 minutes. After that momentum swung decidedly to ASU. Unfortunately ASU was only able to manage a penalty kick in those final 10, despite threatening. However, the half time break did not relent up the pressure. The beginning of the second half ASU resumed their pressure and capitalized on that pressure. Putting up a Try and another Penalty Kick to bring the score to Cal 22 – ASU 11. After feeling the sting of the Sun Devil Trident close behind them, Cal went back to their open play-style. Using their speed on the wing they were able to spring for several tries and push their lead. Cal was able to score 4 tries and a conversion in each half bringing their final score to 44. ASU had an impressive second half scoring 13 points.

Final: Cal 44 – ASU 16

Good luck to both teams the rest of the way.

Date: 02/12/2017
Humboldt Women A 10 – UC Davis Women A 119
Referee: Bertolone, Cary

Another sunny morning in Arcata. UC Davis kicked off at 11:00 am, they tackled the Humboldt player, rucked over and through the Humboldt forwards, picked up the ball, five passes and they scored within 90 seconds. They also scored a try in the 3rd minute. And in the 5th and 7th minute and so it went. They have a small pack, but they are ferocious ruckers, good passers, they have a strong backline, shifty runners and they are in shape. Humboldt couldn’t stop them. Humboldt kept their humor and their high efforts. They scored a hard fought try in the 25th minute as well as in the 75th minute, so they never stopped trying (no pun intended). They were coached by my old team mate, Gary Gordon. I loved his upbeat approach, encouraging and never yelling. Of course, there wasn’t much to be yelling about on that day. I received a little bit of a workout (which I needed anyway).

This Week’s Photo

This week’s photo is of one of our youngest referees Andrew Stockton as he keeps a close eye on the ladies of Stanford and Chico St. I call it “Stockton at Stanford”.

Hail, Pelicus!
For the Senate
Pelicus Pedem Referre