A Song For Eric

HAIL PELICUS!

 

A Song For Eric

or

Ode To The Truncated B Side Match

A one, two
A one, two, three, four

Half a B, philosophically
Must, ipso facto, half not be
But half the B has got to be
A vis-a-vis its entity, d’you see?

But can a B be said to be
Or not to be an entire B
When half the B is not to be
For fear of sustaining injury?
>

(Singing)

A laa dee dee, a one two three
We’re playing a half a B
A, B, C, D, E, F, G
It’s only half a B

Is this wretched demi-B
To be determined worthy
For players, coaches and referee
When it’s only half a B?

A fiddle de dum, a fiddle de dee
We’re playing a half a B
Hoh hoh hoh, tee hee hee
It’s only half a B

The watch is set to minute twenty
Or even captains will agree
To tens or sevens, no matter to me
You’re charged a full game fee

Yes, a full game fee
Our time is not for free.

The end

 

As Ford Prefect noted, “Vogon poetry is of course the third worst in the Universe. The second worst is that of the Azgoths of Kria…”   Although there is some speculation concerning Paula Nancy Millstone Jennings, one can only guess as to what the worst poetry in the Universe is.

 

Las Vegas Needs Refs

 

Apparently LVI Tournament Director Jon Hinkin was upset at last week’s call for LVI referees stating, for the record, that “I give great gifts”. His passionate pleas have swayed the editorial staff here at Hail Pelicus and we fully retract last week’s statement that he gives thoughtless birthday presents and want to say that we truly enjoy the belly button lint brush he gave us last year.

 

Now that that unpleasantness is cleared up, if you are planning to go to Vegas for the USA 7s and want to referee at the LVI, details are here:

 

Referees – we need your help as a volunteer with the biggest tournament this spring – Las Vegas Invitational March 3, 4, 5-6th! We have 70 refs currently registered… and need 40 more refs!!!!!!

Referees will receive:
1. Free referee jersey
2. Tickets to all 3 days of the USA 7’s International tournament (when you stay at The Westgate Hotel) at LVI Discounted Rates.

Hotel Register HERE:
http://www.usasevens.com/las-vegas/official-lvi-hotels/

Referee Register HERE:
http://lvireferee2016.doattend.com

For more information email Autumn Arvidson at mnrugbyref@gmail.com

 

February Society Meeting

 

February 10 will be the next society training at the SFGG clubhouse.   This is a biggie so coaches and referees are strongly encouraged to attend or to watch via the live webcast.

6:00 PM will be the final Beep test opportunity for referees desiring to be assigned national appointments.  All referees are encouraged to participate.

7:00 PM marks the start of our meeting and we will be discussing the new law changes that have taken effect. As a side note, I (NCRFU President Paul Bretz) will be developing an online activity to review the law changes.  Please check the online class feed regularly.

 

As well as discussion of the law changes the schedule will include the following.

  • Pete Smith will be making a presentation on the tackle
  • Paul Bretz and the Life West coach Adrian Ferris will be presenting on developing a positive relationship between referees and team coaches.  We all need to recognize that there are too many instances of issues between referees and team coaches in which our interactions have negative tones and we also need to take ownership for those issues.  Ferris and I have been planning a joint presentation for a few weeks and wanted to capitalize on the recent Rugby Summit.  We are asking for both referees and team coaches to be at the meeting.  Please plan on attending.

 

Well Tie Me Up And Cal Me Sally

 

The USA and an Argentina development side met last weekend in Houston, TX.   Northern California, the undisputed beating heart of rugby in America, was, as expected, well represented in the USA Eagles squad.   Not only that, but our own Phil Akroyd was ARing along with Kurt “I Love Justin Beiber” Weaver.   For those who don’t know the result, too bad, because I am going to tell you: it was a tie.   As we all know, by long and sacred tradition whenever a referee is involved in a tie he or she must buy a round for the society.   As this was a USA Eagles match, Mr Akroyd is now obliged to buy a round for every referee in the country.   Because we are not cruel, we will allow him to split the tab with “Beiber” Weaver.

 

Ask A Pelican

 

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

 

“I see that some high school matches are now being assigned by the NCRRS. Aside from the standard U19 variations, is there anything else an overprotective and micromanaged league might change to conform to their personal tastes?”

 

Why yes, Mr Wooderson, there is and as a long time observer of high school it is no surprise that you noticed this.   You see, World Rugby sets the laws of rugby union as they are to be followed around the world with changes moving gradually into unions as seasons allow and these laws include what equipment is allowed for players to wear. As we can tell from last week’s question the unique pioneering spirit we have here in America says “pish tosh and applesauce!” to the rest of the world so don’t be surprised if you see high school boys wearing tights in the games you referee – it is allegedly perfectly fine for certain conditions.

 

From Rugby NorCal: “Leggings can be worn by boys and girls of all age groups (U8-HS) in both dry and wet conditions ONLY on artificial turf. So they are not allowed to wear them on grass.”

 

Thanks again, Mr Wooderson and we’ll see you at The Emporium.

 

Disciplinary Action Reporting – Process For Reporting Incidents

 

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

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

 

On To The Game Reports!

 

Date: 02/06/2016

California 15 – UBC 20

Referee: Lane, John

 

First weekend of February and the California sun arrived for the early kickoff (11:00am) for CAL v UBC.

TV Coverage certainly adds to the pre-match activities and also noticeably to the pre-match crowd buzz. It also adds to making things a little more complicated but healthy good humored banter with Rob and John was the order of the day!

CAL were gathered in the bowels of the superb Coliseum facilities so following a golf cart ride down I had the team talk with captain and players. Driven back up (I felt I should have brought my clubs!) I did the same with UBC and left the teams to their respective warm-ups.

By this stage 4 people had repeated that TV was dictating an 11:12 kickoff and I had been asked 3 times if I had been mic’d yet! On arrival I had met the mic guy and agreed we would do that at 10:50 which we did.

Rob, John and I went through the pre-match team of 3 prep with minimal interruption but we did get our “entry” instructions from the TV organizer, Jerry Figone and also the CAL Communications organizer.

After being mic’d and with CAL still in the Coliseum there was a quick deputizing of one of the CAL injured squad members to step in for the coin toss – which he won and chose to kick (with mobile phone instruction) with UBC opting to play from the Coliseum end (or uphill as one of the locals explained to me).

I managed to squeeze in a few minutes of warm up and was back in position with Rob and John at the stated time of 11:02.

UBC were welcomed to Witter Field, CAL were introduced to a raucous roar from the large crowd as they ran onto the field. Your Team of 3 walked authoritatively to the center and flanked by both teams faced the flags for the National Anthems. Who knew – we were introduced as the Ref and Assistant Refs for the World Cup!!

 

After all the prep we finally got the game underway at exactly 11:12!!

 

CAL kicked off and it was clear both sides intended to play open attacking rugby. UBC played the ball out of defense but and early handling error gave the ball to CAL who quickly spread the ball and while UBC made a few strong tackles they conceded a penalty for not rolling away and on 2 mins CAL converted it with a powerful kick splitting the uprights. 3-0 on 2 mins.

 

Both sides moved the ball well, mixing it up between spreading it wide and taking it up in close. Strong defense and some big tackles forced turnovers. Set plays of lineout and scrum were overall quite clean in the early stages with both sides winning their own ball reasonably well.

 

A few minutes in, following a high kick and chase the UBC 15 fell heavily on his back to the turf after a fair contest in the air – with the loud gasp from the crowd I was about to blow to check for player safety when the 15 hopped up and charged forward and placed the ball at the next ruck.

 

Play ebbed and flowed with a lot of endeavor and quite a bit of skill in a game which maintained a high pace through out. UBC started to gain field position through some strong back play and then with some close in forward play forced the penalty from CAL and leveled the scores on 3-3 on 13 minutes.

 

The game continued at pace with the large CAL crowd making themselves heard at every opportunity! At the occasional injury stoppages it was possible to check in with John and Rob and between us we were supporting a highly competitive game develop between the players.

 

On 21 mins, following a turn over on half way, the CAL 10 attacked at pace and crossing the 10m line, chipped the on coming 15 who then stepped across deliberately impeding the CAL 10 in full stride. With cover behind it was only a penalty but warranted a yellow card. The CAL 10 slotted the penalty for 6-3 on 22 mins.

 

Down a man, UBC upped their game and held the majority of field position for the next 10 minutes with some strong running from their 2 centers in particular and some probing kicks into the 22.. However CAL started to get the upper hand in the lineout with some steals on attacking UBC lineouts to relieve the pressure. UBC returned to 15 men but CAL dominated the close of the half including an excellent penalty conversion on 35 mins which lead to a 9-3 half-time scoreline.

 

UBC’s coach won the half time talk credits as his team started extremely strongly from the restart – retaining the ball well at the breakdowns and using their centers ability to break tackles or at least step through and offload, multiple phases were put together and they crashed over wide on the left. Their kicker converted brilliantly from almost on the touchline for a 9-10 lead on 43 mins. A period of fairly even play in terms of territory and possession followed but it was clear that UBC’s scrum was getting a slight upper hand giving CAL slow or poor ball but in direct contrast CAL were stronger at the lineout with the same effect.

 

On 52mins CAL were awarded a penalty just inside the UBC half straight in front of the posts. CAL’s 10 drove the 47 yard kick straight between the posts to regain the lead at 12-10 52 mins.

 

Shortly after this, the score of the game went to UBC. From just inside their own half they moved the ball through the hands right to left, and then left to right with some quick tackle recycles. CAL were stretched and as play came back right to left again their 12 had the speed to round one of the CAL forwards and offloaded to his outside center who fed the winger just short of the 22. With CAL desperately tracking to the corner flag defensively the winger feed back in field to his supporting 12 who went in untouched just left of the posts. Converted and UBC were back in front 12-17 on 56mins.

 

Roared on by the home support CAL upped their game again, turned down kicks at goal to play for the corner lineouts deep in UBC’s 22. UBC held firm but following a period of penalty advantage which lead to nothing CAL opted to kick a penalty from in front of the posts to bring the score to 15-17 on 64 minutes. From the kickoff UBC mounted pressure and were awarded a penalty 35 meters out near the 15m line. Despite excellent contact there was a big sigh of relief from the CAL stands as the ball went narrowly wide to the left of the posts. This was the only missed kick of the day with both kickers showing excellent skills.

 

At this stage it was clear CAL had adjusted their attacking plan as UBC were defending them well out wide. With much more direct play, they built momentum with a few pick and drive series. However UBC’s defense stayed strong and on each occasion the turn over came either through an isolated CAL player or strong tackling forcing a knock-on.

 

Just past 68 minutes CAL spread the attack wide having sucked in some of the UBC defence with strong drives. 5 meters inside the CAL half the UBC 13 cynically impeded his opposite number with a pull back after he had mis-timed a “shooter” attempt. This earned him a 10 minute rest with a yellow card.

 

CAL were pushing hard all the time but UBC managed to build a number of phases on 74 minutes and CAL conceded a breakdown penalty. After a few seconds of consultation the UBC captain indicated a kick at goal and turned to his players saying CAL had failed to score a try so far and if they kept it like that the game would be won (his wording was a little more direct!). The kick was good and with 5 minutes left it was 15-20.

 

The following 5 minutes saw CAL take up the challenge from the UBC captain and they dominated possession and spend most of the 5 minutes in the UBC 22. Despite UBC getting back to 15 men with 90 seconds CAL continued to pound towards the UBC line. Only one penalty was conceded and with multiple phases played off this last penalty UBC maintained there discipline and through some strong counter-rucking forced a turnover on 81 mins and kicked the ball dead.

 

From my seat this was an excellent game with two fully committed squads giving it everything with only a score between them at the end.

 

An excellent day out in the sun in Berkeley and I am sure the team of 3 would love to officiate at the return fixture in BC later in the season!

 

Date: 02/06/2016

All Blues 65 – San Jose Women 7

Referee: Sandhill, Peter

 

Held at Gilman Field in Berkeley (synthetic) on a stunning sunny Feb. day; must have been around 70 degrees. The All Blues had enough replacements to field two teams, the Seahawks had none. This really showed in the second half. The All Blues were very well coached and had responses for nearly everything thrown at them. The heart of the Seahawks was impressive, never giving up.

 

Both teams started out hard. Solid rucking, set piece and forward play from both sides. After the first quarter it was very even and then the All Blues began to pull away. There was a 15 minutes period in both halves where the Seahawks were camped on the All Blues line with raid after raid. They only yield once in the second half. For the past fifteen minutes the Al Blues scored a try every three minutes as the fatigue and lack of replacement options for the Seahawks began to take its toll. The back line play of the All Blues was a joy to watch.

 

 

Date: 02/06/2016

Cal Maritime 53 – Sierra College 12

Referee: Simko, Paul

 

Bodnar Field at Cal State Maritime is an excellent facility. It was a perfect day in the 60’s. Maritime had a strong pack and a working kick and chase game to manhandle Sierra College. Thanks to Lee for the great feedback. Reminder to other refs who go there, they ticket everyone. The machine was broken by Bodnar Field, so I had to drive further into campus to find another machine.

 

 

Date: 02/06/2016

Cal Maritime B 17 – Napa 2 48

Referee: Byrnes, Bryant

 

Lovely rugby day at Maritime. This was the second match on the day. While these college guys v senior men’s side games can be unsavory, such was not the case here.

 

Indeed, it was fun. Constructive for Napa, for the opportunity for the second side to have a full contested match- and they tried some new combinations. It was instructive for Maritime; these young fellows for the most part gave as good as they got against a bigger more experienced team. It was something of a rite of passage.

 

The first half was all Napa-and frankly some nifty ball handling in the back line. In the second 40 minutes Maritime settled and scored 17, as many as Napa.

 

 

Date: 02/06/2016

CSUMB 10 – Santa Rosa JC 39

Referee: Freitas, Larry

 

It was another Saturday drive southward to near the Monterey Peninsula, arriving at Cal State Monterey Bay, this time under sunny skies and a temperature that read 67F on my car’s thermometer, over ten degrees warmer from the previous weekend’s cold front weather. Both teams were warming up, and unlike last week, in which there was ample time to have the ladies team re-line the pitch, there wasn’t enough time today. Note to CSUMB: this needs to be done before every game! The touch lines, halfway, goal and dashed lines were all hard to see during the match. CSUMB’s pitch is one of the best in the state, has the real-deal goal posts, and so on; it’s well beyond “course rugby” conditions I’ve played on, officiated, and watched as a spectator from time to time since January of 1973.

Santa Rosa Junior College Bear Cubs would score the first try of the match three minutes in, when Devante Manning, who plays inside center, wearing number 12, and stands about 6’3” and probably weighs upwards of 240 pounds, ran in a try that was unconverted; I had to warn a CSUMB flanker that I was the referee and would officiate the game in these early minutes as well. Many minutes would go by before there would be another score, as both teams struggled to put together any sort of meaningful attack, and were hard-done by defenses that wouldn’t give. I sensed that Santa Rosa was the team that would eventually get an upper hand in this game, and they did. A penalty at 35 minutes put the visitors up 8-0, and some six minutes later, one minute into injury time, another unconverted try was scored to put them up by 13-0. There was still a few minutes of injury time left in the first half, and the Otters were able to put pressure on Santa Rosa deep in their half; an infringement at a ruck gave the home team an opportunity to kick a penalty for three points as time expired.

Seven minutes into the second half Santa Rosa was able to win a tighthead some ten meters out from CSUMB’s goal line, and once again Devante Manning scored after taking a pass from his outside half. The conversion followed, and it wasn’t too long before Santa Rosa had another opportunity to score a try, this time from a tap penalty just inside ten meters of the goal line, when CSUMB’s players failed to turn and face as they retreated to their goal line. CSUMB would have their chance to score a try when a penalty kick to touch didn’t find it from deep inside Santa Rosa’s end. A counterattack from halfway started; one of their centers who has pace touched down under the posts after a long run that included a few missed tackles from swerves; the easy conversion complemented that phase of play. As the game wore on to its conclusion, it seemed the weather was taking its toll on the energy of the players. Some players made mention of the fact this was the first game of the season played with warm and sunny conditions. If anything Santa Rosa seemed the fitter of the two sides. Two soft tries would be scored very near the end of the match, the last in injury time, for Santa Rosa to increase their lead before no-side was whistled. The game ended with the Santa Rosa scoring 39 points to CSUMB’s 10.

Both teams had a mixture of new and more experienced players. A few times I caught players on the deck, after releasing the ball, snatching it back into their hands and arms again while still on the ground. It’s also good to see more rucking from the defensive side, not just letting a team in possession “win” a ruck without a contest for the ball, and both teams used this tactic at various times in the match.

Menlo, a newcomer to the game, played both teams in a round-robin of sevens afterward. With a slight muscle twinge in my right hamstring, I let one of the CSUMB coaches take over the officiating duty.

Finally, I don’t understand why the big tarmac that lies between the pitch and the parking lot isn’t used for parking as well. Seems silly. Even the portable toilet had been moved from near the gate of the pitch to the middle of the tarmac, a good distance away! That’s a long walk after a match back to the parking. CSUMB’s admin needs to do something about this, and it would also be nice to have a parking permit vending machine near the pitch as well.

 

Date: 02/06/2016

Danville 60 – Mother Load 12

Referee: Pohlman, John

 

National Champion Danville hosted Mother Load in the first High School Variety Gold game of the year. Monte Vista High School was in full gear with food tents, numerous games and fans. The field is an artificial turf field. The size of the field and very tight side lines made the field far from ideal.

Danville has a bunch of hard running athletes mixed into a few high quality rugby players. This combination with the coaching staff could lead to another national championship.

Danville’s scrum half and captain Kevin led the way with two try s. Danville’s #8 was playing in one of his first games. He made a silly mistake which sent him to the bin, slapping the ball from Mother Load scrum half as he was preparing to take a quick tap penalty. I mention this because within minutes of returning he scored his first try of the game. He also scored another to start the second half.

This game had Danville with over 70% ball possession. Their hard runners just wore down Mother Loads tackling.

Final Danville 60 Mother Load 12.

Thanks to Jake and Steve two qualified referee’s for running AR.

 

 

Date: 02/06/2016

Fog 0 – Colusa 123

Referee: Bernstein, Bruce

 

Not much to say except Colusa looks like they’re back to last year’s division championship form. Their hooker stole most every Fog scrumdown & their captain & #8 & flanker #7 took their ball up numerous times along with an assortment of others–very team-oriented attack & defense. Most tries were of the 50 meter breakaway type, with no tries starting as a lineout or scrum inside the 20. 57 points (9 tries) in the 1st half followed by 66 (10) in the 2nd for 19 total tries. Also no high tackles or misconduct of any kind & great post-match festivities with food (BBQ chicken) & drink (local micro brews) provided by Modesto who hosted this 3rd Division Supersite with 10 teams & 5 refs.

 

 

Date: 02/06/2016

Fresno State 31 – UCSC 36

Referee: Fenaroli, Steven

 

Wednesday night comes and goes and I did not draw a game. After reaching out to the powers that be, I was selected as tribute to travel to Fresno for Saturday’s competition. I figured that I would outsmart the decision makers and take the train; heck I didn’t feel like driving 3 hours so why not kick back and experience the rails like our forefathers. The trip down the valley through America’s salad bowl was foggy and not very salad-y. I had arranged a ride from the station from the coach’s father, Milt; a very nice man. We spent the 15 minute car ride comparing collegiate programs and some of the hiccups that teams run into. We parted ways at the warm, 65° lush field.

Santa Cruz scored first and dominated the first half. Their set piece was much more disciplined than Fresno. Fresno struggled at the scrum and keeping their footing. There were calls against them for early push, unbinding and standing up in the scrum.

The second half showed a resilient Fresno and a less experienced Santa Cruz. Once Fresno realized that they could swing the ball out wide and beat the defense on the wing, they were able to score three tries.

Coming into the final 5 minutes, Fresno was down by 5 points, there was a last effort to score but they came up short. Santa Cruz kicked the ball away at time and won.

 

 

 

Date: 02/06/2016

Fresno State B 53 – UCSC B 5

Referee: Fenaroli, Steven

 

Fresno St came out strong after a disappointing A side match, winning handily 53-5. Both side were relatively inexperienced. This left the game full of scrums and restarts.

 

 

Date: 02/06/2016

Google 0 – Napa 41

Referee: Wood, Scott

 

For the second consecutive Saturday, I was assigned a match with a 10 a.m. kickoff. Normally, I’m not a morning person but I appreciate the relative calm and a light fog can be enjoyable. However, this week’s drive down to the Modesto Supersite (in Manteca) involved a less-than-civil person passing me on the left shoulder at about 100 mph followed by what can only be described as Stockton PD’s entire morning shift (see item 1: https://www.tipsoftonline.com/Push/uploads/572/020616DM.pdf).

 

Modesto’s Supersite was held at a multi-purpose park in Manteca. While the lines were appropriately straight, the five-meter lines were three meters from touch while the 15-meter lines were about nine meters from touch. Moderate initiative coupled with poor execution.

 

Napa arrived with enough players to field close to a full second side, whereas Google had 16 players. Overall, Google competed very well and maintained pressure on Napa spending a significant amount of time in Napa’s half of the field. However, Napa was able to exploit gaps in Google’s defense through the use of quick hands and tight passes. Despite their effort, Napa was held to two penalty goals in the first ten minutes before crossing the goal line. After one try, we were set to restart when a Google player called my attention to one of his teammates who may have had a knock to the head. Since I did not witness the event and he did not initially exhibit immediately recognizable signs of a concussion, I asked the player several questions (I’m not a medical professional or attorney, the following does not constitute medical or legal advice):

 

Ref: What day is it?

Player: Uh, Saturday.

R: Ok, Saturday’s a rugby day. What did you have for breakfast?

P: Um…a bagel…with ham…and, uh…cheese.

R: Was the bagel toasted?

P: Uh…no. Microwaved.

R: Who drove you here?

P: (pause) Me?

R: Do you feel dizzy?

P: Uh, yeah.

R: Have a nice day. Your participation is over for the day. Please seek medical evaluation and do not drive yourself home.

 

First half: Google 0, Napa 27

 

The second half was similar to the first with the primary difference being Napa finding gaps more exploitable scoring two tries in 17 minutes. As I awarded the second try, I noticed two Google players lying immobile on the ground. Before I could call for time off, several individuals were immediately tending to the players. One complained of a headache and sore mouth while the other had a headache and was bleeding from the back of his head. The best presumption we could make was they contacted each other mouth-to-head. Down to 12 players (and only 8 willing to continue), Google decided to concede the match.

 

Google 0, NAPA 41

 

 

Date: 02/06/2016

Granite Bay 42 – Riordan 21

Referee: Taueva, Favor

 

No report received

 

 

Date: 02/06/2016

Humboldt State 10 – UOP 37

Referee: Devlin, Joe

 

No report received

 

 

Date: 02/06/2016

Lamorinda 10 – Solo 24

Referee: Coppinger, John

 

This match followed the Cal/UBC match on beautiful Witter Field. Both sides came out looking to run wide, but we may have set a record for scrum restarts because of an incredible number of knock-ons in picture perfect conditions for rugby. In close match until the end, Solo won 24-10.

 

 

Date: 02/06/2016

Sacramento Amazons 57 – Pleasanton Cavaliers 19

Referee: Jones, Herb

 

The score did not dictate how well and hard fought this game was. The Amazons just were able to capitalize on mistakes and gaps in the Pleasanton defense. And with talking to the players on the visiting side after the match, there were a lot of graduates last year and this season is a rebuilding one.

 

 

Date: 02/06/2016

Santa Rosa 34 – SFGG 5

Referee: Hinkin, James

 

With the rain having held off for a week the conditions at For Pete’s Sake field were warm, sunny and muddy – the kind of field forwards dream of, backs less so.   With regulation posts and clearly marked rugby lines it is always a pleasure to referee in Santa Rose. There are no football, soccer, field hockey, quiddich, ultimate, lacrosse or any other lines marring the perfection of the field and that is a thing of beauty.   The home side was out in force when I arrived with SFGG players arriving in bunches, just less so.   A high school match ably handled by Joe Leisek was underway and the future of rugby put on a grand display for the several hundred strong crowd. I was looking forward to a lively atmosphere once the big boys took the field, so it was slightly shocking to see the spectators empty out so fast once the high school match was done. Oh well, there were still a vocal and passionate array of Rosa stalwarts on hand to cheer the action.

 

The first half was all Rosa as both teams struggled with discipline giving away silly penalties, but the home side adapted quicker and used their forwards to dominate possession.   They were unable to break through until midway through the half when SFGG lost a player to the bin for a dangerous tackle. The man advantage proved costly as Santa Rosa got on the board with their first try, converted.   A solid wave of possession led to Rosa’s second try with the extra man and increased the lead to 14-0.   Once parity was restored SFGG got back into the match but were unable to break the line and in fact surrendered a third converted try to go into the break 21-0.

 

The second half was a better performance by SFGG as their captain tried to rally the troops. Bringing their dangerous back line into play more allowed them to be more aggressive with the ball and some promising moves were snuffed out with poaches, knock ons or more silly penalties.   Santa Rosa was able to get 2 more tries on the board (converting neither) before Golden Gate was able to respond with a hard earned try of their own, also unconverted.   A penalty kick to Rosa finished off the scoring as SFGG defended strongly down a man for the last 7 minutes due to another yellow card infraction, but they could not breach the solid Rosa defensive wall.

 

Date: 02/06/2016

Santa Rosa B 15 – SFGG B 55

Referee: Hinkin, James

 

The B side saw a tired SFGG A side (with a few changes) go up against a true Santa Rosa B side and the game proved to be just that.   A compromise between the captains set the time for each half at 22 minutes (huh?) so that is what we played. The game kicked off and it was immediately obvious what the game was going to be like. With both sides making some shocking kicking decisions this looked more like soccer at times.   Santa Rosa kicked, it seemed, because they were out of ideas – SFGG seemed to kick because it was silly and fun.   Be that as it may the tired A siders were far too much for the fresh B siders and dominated the first half 31-0.

 

Alex Trebek: The answer is “Time and space”.

Jeopardy Contestant:   What are two of the three building blocks of the universe, along with mass, shown to be related by Einstein’s General Theory of Relativity?

Alex Trebek: I’m sorry, the question we are looking for is “What should not be given to the SFGG back line?”   Considering the category was “Pelican Sports” you should have known that your initial answer was wrong.

 

The Brosas (copyright James Hinkin, 2016) gave a much better account of themselves in the second half scoring three tries of their own as they started exploiting the space left by tired legs in the SFGG side. They were able to put three unconverted tries on the board for a respectable 22 minute haul. Unfortunately they gave up 4 tries to the opposition.   The excellent SFGG captain Pat Schock needs to learn when to “drop the mic”, however, a skill that will come to him in time as he grows into his role.   You see, the B side kicking duties were a bit all over the place and as the lead grew more people wanted a shot.   Pat stepped up in the second half to try a rather difficult conversion… and nailed it.   (Now is when you metaphorically drop the mic, my friend.)   Unfortunately he followed that up with a trivial kick from in front of the posts that, naturally, went wide.   Rugby, like life, is a learning experience, after all.

 

Date: 02/06/2016

SFSU 20 – UNR 48

Referee: Pescetti, David

 

An abnormally hot winter afternoon in San Francisco, SFSU met UNR at the future home of the SF ProRugby team, Boxer field. This match was a wonderful match to be at, with both teams putting forth tremendous efforts.

 

UNR came out of the gate sprinting. within the first two minutes of the match they had spun their way to an opening converted try. SFSU turned around and themselves marched right back and responded within only a few short minutes. UNR then managed to string together two tries and a conversion. But before they could relax with their lead SFState answered right back with two tries of their own. At the half it was a marginal lead for UNR 19 to SFSU 15.

 

The second half was all UNR. While SFSU put up a great defense, their conditioning seemed to be their weak point. The game was a lot closer than score indicates because UNR scored 14 points in the last 2 minutes of the match. But it was clear before those closing seconds that Reno had the right touch.

 

Date: 02/06/2016

Silicon Valley 38 – Mendocino 14

Referee: Wilson, Giles

 

Played as one of the last pair of games at the D3 “super site”. Having all of the D3 teams in one location certainly seems to allow some socialization , which is nice.

 

Silicon Valley and Mendocino both have some experience, some athletes and also some new guys. The game started well with long periods of continuity. Both sides ran well at space, supported and off loaded well and also tackled well. Silicon Valley had a little more pace and were a little younger and faster.

 

The first half ended 24 – 7, four tries with two conversions to a single converted try. The second half was more of the same but with Mendo picking up a couple of dings to key players and both sides bringing on young replacements, the continuity wasn’t quite as good. Silicon Valley ran in two tries, both converted to a single converted try for Mendo.

 

Final score Silicon Valley 38 to Mendocino 14.

 

 

Date: 02/06/2016

South Valley 7 – Marin 12

Referee: Bertolone, Cary

 

A beautiful day at the Super Site in Manteca. Marin kicked off at 12:00 PM and South Valley/Marin played evenly for much of the game. Marin finally broke through for a try at the 33rd minute of the half with a nice interception for a 60 yard sprint, when he was caught from behind, on the 10 meter line, but was able to make a pass to his support who scored. On the 38th minute, Marin’s wing scored another one and with the conversion, were up 12-0 at the half. Marin missed two penalty kicks and South Valley missed one (goal posts were only 15 meters apart) in the first half.

Status quo in the second half until South Valley, while down a man, at the 27th minute, pushed one over and converted to make it 12-7. At that point, both teams picked up the intensity and we had a battle for the last 12 minutes, both teams ferociously contesting, both teams almost scored tries and Marin missed a few different penalty kicks that could have sealed the game. Down to the last minute, Marin saved the game for a win.

 

 

Date: 02/06/2016

Stanford B 17 – SJSU B 7

Referee: Makino, Ren

 

Unlike two weeks ago it was a sunny Californian day at Steuber Stadium. The two teams played 1 30-minute half (because Stanford didn’t have a full B-side) and the two teams fought hard during the 30 minutes. Stanford was the better side but San Jose State had some nice breaks. Was able to call my first penalty try (a Stanford player high tackled a San Jose State player three meters from the line right under the posts). Received some great coaching after the game, Thank You!

 

 

Date: 02/06/2016

UC Davis 29 – Chico State 12

Referee: Tucker, Chris

 

Fun game, although the penalty count was high. Some silly stuff, but the majority came from over-competing at the breakdown. UC Davis in particular were all over the map in the tackle, with multiple penalties for entry, tackle assist poaching before the tackler was away, and lying on their own ball when Chico were on their feet trying to poach. Regardless, they were the more effective team with the ball, and they made the gainline repeatedly. Chico had their opportunities, but butchered a couple of clear scoring chances, and at the end of the day the scoreline was a fair reflection of the action on the field.

 

 

Date: 02/06/2016

USF – Sonoma

Referee: McDougall, Grant

 

A good spirited and competitive match in the first half. SFU fielded a well-organized and mobile side. Sonoma State has some newer and enthusiastic players. SFU was the fitter and more experience on the day winning 55-19.

 

For the first twenty minutes both teams ran the ball with confidence but SFU soon found space out wide to exploit. Mis-matches out wide let to many break out tries. This was a pattern that would continue in the second half.

 

The field at SFU also came into play with kicks having to be taken down at one end as the neighbours are not enthused by on target kicks at goal and like to pilfer the game balls.

 

All in all a great game of rugby played at pace.

 

Cheers

 

Grant

 

Date: 02/07/2016

California Women B 12 – Stanford Women B 24

Referee: Hendrickson, Robert

 

Cal women’s B side faced off against Stanford women B side in a 12 on 12, 20 minute halves after the A side game.

 

 

Date: 02/07/2016

St. Mary’s College WR 13 – USF Women 25

Referee: Byrnes, Bryant

 

This was the curtain raiser for the Super Bowl later that afternoon-and probably the better game.

 

Playing on the old grass field near the campus entrance was a bit of remembrance of things past for rugby folk of a certain age. At one time a bog that swallowed entire teams during the rainy season, it later became one of the premier NorCal pitches.

 

On this clear windy day, it was a forwards game. The difference was that USF had three large fleet footed forwards rumbling north/south; the Lady Gaels had only two. At half, it was the Lady Dons (Hilltoppers?) 15 to 8. But credit to the home team-they scored just before full time.

 

This Week’s Photo

The team of three ready to referee their first World Cup. L-R Rob Hendrickson, John Lane and John Coppinger

Team of 3 CAL v UBC

Hail, Pelicus!

For the Senate

Pelicus Pedem Referre

 

Bait and Switch

HAIL PELICUS!

 

Bait and Switch

 

Now that the American rugby east of the Rocky Mountains have finished their league seasons and qualified for national playoffs and the blessed world west of the Rockies have played the first couple of rounds of their season the brain trust at USA Rugby have decided to make an announcement:

 

“Ha ha!   We are going to change the laws of rugby mid competition and you can’t do anything about it!”

 

EDITOR’S NOTE: There is some slight artistic license taken with the press release issued by USA Rugby. They didn’t actually say “Ha ha”.

 

We all know that after every World Cup cycle World Rugby (formerly the IRB) gets together and makes a few law changes.   This is a natural part of the evolution of the game and is usually a good thing.   If you, dear reader, ever watch a match from the 60s or 70s you would have trouble even recognizing the game as compared to modern rugby. Another side benefit is to give the front row something to complain about whenever the scrum cadence changes. Their small minds need to be occupied with these trivialities so that the actual rugby can be played by everyone else, but I digress.

 

For those who were paying attention it came as no surprise that there were some law changes made after this last world cup and, as has been the standard protocol for every other year when this occurs, the changes go into effect January 1 for the Southern Hemisphere because they are out of season and on July 1 for the Northern Hemisphere, allowing competitions that are currently in progress to complete before the changes go into effect.

 

Makes sense, yes?   Apparently not enough sense for USA Rugby who decided to implement the changes last week. “Why would they do this?” I hear you ask.   Simple: for 5 matches.   And 20 players.

 

Yes. 5 matches. And 20 players.

 

Richard Every, the USA’s high performance referee manager said, in a direct quote that I am not making up, “The reason for USA implementing them is that the Americas Rugby Championships are, and we want to ensure consistency for all our players.”    The logic here is that since the South Americans have already changed over and the ARC will be using the new laws, for the sake of the 5 matches the USA will be playing in the ARC the national competition will be compromised.   This is increasingly silly considering about half of our team, depending on who gets released by their club, is currently playing in Europe under the old laws.   So again, the USA’s national competition will be compromised for the sake of 5 matches and about 20 players.   Glad to know what USA Rugby’s primary focus is.

 

In this trying (ha!) time let us not forget the wise words written on the outside of The Hitchhiker’s Guide To The Galaxy: “Don’t Panic.”

 

Las Vegas Needs Refs

 

After another 10 months of ignoring our calls and giving crappy and thoughtless birthday presents, LVI Tournament Director Jon Hinkin has decided to mend fences and suck up to the Hail Pelicus editorial staff and the Greatest Referee Society In The World, to wit, the NCRRS.   If you are planning to go to Vegas for the USA 7s and want to referee at the LVI, details are below.

 

Referees – we need your help as a volunteer with the biggest tournament this spring – Las Vegas Invitational March 3, 4, 5-6th! We have 70 refs currently registered… and need 40 more refs!!!!!!

Referees will receive:
1. Free referee jersey
2. Tickets to all 3 days of the USA 7’s International tournament (when you stay at The Westgate Hotel) at LVI Discounted Rates.

Hotel Register HERE:
http://www.usasevens.com/las-vegas/official-lvi-hotels/

Referee Register HERE:
http://lvireferee2016.doattend.com

For more information email Autumn Arvidson at mnrugbyref@gmail.com

 

The Great Unreffed Weekend, part 2

 

We are now on our second critical mass weekend of the season and the society is in dire need of referees.   All leagues are in play and we need referees to cover the games.

 

If you have not already, please go to assignr.com to confirm/announce your availability and matches, or if you haven’t received an assignr.com account, contact Pete Smith at me@petesweb.com to let him know you are available.   To get an assignr account please contact our Scott Wood at rscottwood@gmail.com .   He will get you all the information you need to sign up and announce your availability.   More details on assignr are in the next section.

 

February Society Meeting

 

February 10 will be the next society training at the SFGG clubhouse.   This is a biggie so coaches and referees are strongly encouraged to attend or to watch via the live webcast.

6:00 PM will be the final Beep test opportunity for referees desiring to be assigned national appointments.  All referees are encouraged to participate.

7:00 PM marks the start of our meeting and we will be discussing the new law changes that have taken effect. As a side note, I (NCRFU President Paul Bretz) will be developing an online activity to review the law changes.  Please check the online class feed regularly.

 

As well as discussion of the law changes the schedule will include the following.

  • Pete Smith will be making a presentation on the tackle
  • Paul Bretz and the Life West coach Adrian Ferris will be presenting on developing a positive relationship between referees and team coaches.  We all need to recognize that there are too many instances of issues between referees and team coaches in which our interactions have negative tones and we also need to take ownership for those issues.  Ferris and I have been planning a joint presentation for a few weeks and wanted to capitalize on the recent Rugby Summit.  We are asking for both referees and team coaches to be at the meeting.  Please plan on attending.

 

Ask A Pelican

 

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

 

“What are these new law changes I have been hearing about?”

 

Great question, Mr Rugger, as we will all need to brush up on these immediately.   The main alterations are:

1)   No more “turnover wheel” in scrums.

2)   Added a clear “use it or lose it” in scrums

3)   Losing scrum half must stay out of pocket

4)   Formal sanction for feinting that you were fouled.

5)   A player injured through foul play may be replaced by a player who was previously substituted.

 

Please remember that these will be discussed in detail at the February society meeting on February 10 – see previous item for details.

 

Disciplinary Action Reporting – Process For Reporting Incidents

 

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

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

 

On To The Game Reports!

 

Date: 01/30/2016

Baracus 30 – Life West 2 15

Referee: Pescetti, David

 

A lovely day in the city for Life and Baracus to meet. The pitch was short. Too short for Life to use the space that they needed to formulate a cohesive attack. They threatened many times but had many turnovers. The biggest difference in the game was Baracus kicked for points a lot. Making 4 Penalty kicks and a drop goal. Both teams scored 3 tries a piece.

 

 

Date: 01/30/2016

Cal Maritime 52 – UOP 10

Referee: Wood, Scott

 

Ref: Scott “Take that, knees” Wood

PA: Bryant “Dolcent Tones” Byrnes

 

Venue: Cal Maritime

Attendance (est): 2,400

 

It has been 91 days since the last time I did anything that could be considered significant cardiovascular activity. Even my wife said, upon hearing of my assignment, “Can you even run?” Having recently moved to Egypt where stubbornness and ignorance are omnipresent, I answered, “Yes, dear.” (nobody asked about quality or quantity)

 

Cal Maritime dominated nearly every phase of play while Pacific had trouble with support, scrums, and were too slow passing the ball in contact. One scrum was rotated beyond 90 degrees and, much to my displeasure, a reset was awarded with the original team putting in the ball. This Law change is an abomination that clearly was the work of people who have never played in a jersey numbered less than 10. Additionally, having front rows crouch ear-to-ear will lead to problems as there is little, if any, space for proper engagement. Alas, we triumphed over evil and were able to go about our way. Cal Maritime scored five tries before Pacific was able to get on the board at the waning moments of the first half.

CM 33, UOP 5

 

The second half opened with Cal Maritime moving quickly and decisively, spreading the ball around the pitch. Pacific competed better at the breakdowns and was able to move the ball to within five meters when Cal Maritime’s lock decided to use his fist to dislodge the ball from a maul. Nevermind entered the piece illegally and even looked at me prior to attempting to tenderize his opponent’s back. Off to the bin. This led to Pacific scoring its second try. Another 30 minutes of back-and-forth rugby went by before the final whistle.

CM 51, UOP 10

 

Kudos to both teams for great sportsmanship and giving me a good run.

 

 

Date: 01/30/2016

Cal Women 27 – Chico St Women 22

Referee: Coppinger, John

 

This was a great game in the sunshine on Witter Field. Both teams came to play fast rugby and the two teams kept trading scores with Chico taking a 17-15 lead at the half. Chico went up late to take a 22-20 lead, only to have Cal score the winning converted try with a Chico player in the bin for a cynical penalty in the red zone.

 

 

Date: 01/30/2016

Chico 29 – Vacaville 40

Referee: Franzoia, Tom

 

Under cloudy skies and soft uneven turf the Bulldogs and Mighty Oaks enjoyed a well played but sometimes sloppy game and encouraged by the boisterous crowd. The attire at the “O” were bathrobes and they came in many flavors.

 

 

Date: 01/30/2016

CSU Monterey Bay WR 12 – Univ San Francisco WR 26

Referee: Freitas, Larry

 

USF’s Lady Dons came down to CSU Monterey Bay on another overcast Saturday, to play the Lady Otters in what was a very competitive match. Again, perfect weather for rugby, meaning cool temps, threatening skies with the next storm lining up from the north, and very unlike last season’s weather. USF arrived a good hour plus late for the match, due to traffic issues; and the game was originally scheduled at 1pm, and then moved back to noon. So the game ended up starting at 1:35. The pitch was a bit torn up from the previous week’s play, but at least no puddles of water like last weekend. USF started off the match showing that their back line was more organized for attack than CSUMB’s. Seven minutes in, flyhalf Sydney Abel was able to score and covert her own try for a 7-0 lead. Nearly half way through the first half USF would score again, with their center crashing over after a nifty run through the defense. That try was again converted for a 14-0 score. Another try, this one unconverted, made the score 19-0 at half time.

I was very impressed by Abel’s play, especially in that she would find space down field and kick her team out of any CSUMB pressure, forcing CSUMB to play much of the game in their own half of the pitch. I would have to say that there isn’t much of that pressure-relieving kicking going on in matches I’ve officiated, men’s or women’s college games, in the recent past, and therefore full backs and wings don’t seem to react well with counter-attacking moves, and that was the case with CSUMB’s full back letting the ball bounce a few times when she should have been catching it and either kicking it back or linking up with wings for a counter attacking move.

As the second stanza started, CSUMB started putting more pressure on USF’s defense, which seemed to be tiring some. Momentum was starting to turn, and penalties were being given away by USF, now on the back foot, mostly for offsides at rucks, and one on a kick from deep in USF’s half by their flyhalf that ricocheted off a teammate standing too close by, only to land in the hands of one of their forwards up field another ten meters. A few minutes later, with CSUMB sensing that they could cross USF’s line, Sabrina Bacuangan, their scrum half, picked the ball up from the base of a scrum inside USF’s 22, darting diagonally toward the right hand side corner flag some 15 meters away. She was tackled just short, but arriving at the scene of the tackle I saw that she had reached out and grounded the ball half a foot over the goal line. The unconverted try made it now 19-5. Bacuangan wasn’t finished. About seven minutes from time she once again made a dash for the goal line from a CSUMB scrum feed in mid-field, between the ten and 22, reaching the goal line and scoring just inside the right post; it seemed the correct tactic with split backs and plenty of open space with the ball channeled away from the opposing scrum half side of the scrum to the number 8. She was channeling her Gareth Edwards. That try was converted and now the score read 19-12, but there was a scant seven minutes left, as I was adding injury time for quite a few stoppages earlier in the half. Now it was USF’s turn to score as time was running out, with one of their flankers crashing over with at least three CSUMB defenders trying to stop her. That try was converted again by Sydney Abel, who was picked as “Back of the Match” after the game by USF’s coaches. I blew the whistle for no-side immediately after the whistle to signal that the ball went over the cross bar.

Final thoughts: regarding the new laws, I had one call on the USF scrum half for going into the “pocket.” There was a blood injury as well, as USF’s prop went off the field for about five minutes, in the middle of the second half, and they had to play short, as a few of their players had already gone off with injuries. There was plenty of hard tackles by players on both sides, but none warranted a dangerous tackle call from me. Finally, some women on both teams are new to the game, and haven’t seen much action yet, but they seemed to listen well and tried their best not to infringe to keep the game going as much as possible. I didn’t have collapsed scrums, and there was no reason to go with uncontested scrums. Both teams have good coaching going for them. If these ladies continue playing, on each side, they have reason to have many wins in the future.

I also want to report a late score from last week at UCSC: Nevada Reno had brought some extra players and wanted a second game, as did UCSC. So with half of Nevada’s team made up of first team players who had just finished a match, a sixty minute affair took place, with Nevada beating Santa Cruz 30-14. I was originally scheduled to referee that match, then it was cancelled as Nevada said they would only bring enough players for one game, and then it was on again. The only problem, as I had planned on watching the first teams play anyway, was that I had to go all the way back to Aptos to get my kit!

 

 

Date: 01/30/2016

EPA Razorbacks 22 – Life West B 34

Referee: Lew, Tim

 

Unfortunately Utah got stuck on the I-80 which was closed for snow at the pass. So I headed to TI to check out Leah and the OC play Glendale. Fortunate for me, EPA wanted a run and Life West (+ some SFGG players) were ready to play. As expected, huge hits and collisions continued throughout the game. Life West had better fitness and youth which showed in the end. Life West is looking good…

 

 

Date: 01/30/2016

Fog 17 – Google 59

Referee: Hendrickson, Robert

 

No report received

 

 

Date: 01/30/2016

Fresno 17 – Santa Rosa 33

Referee: Hinkin, James

 

No report received

 

 

Date: 01/30/2016

Fresno B 12 – Santa Rosa B 15

Referee: Tuisavalalo, Rodney

 

The two teams decided on two 20-min halves which was more than enough action for the already bruised competitors. Most of the players for the developmental game (“B” game) had already played 80 minutes of intense rugby, and now had to take the field for a second time. The flyin’ Fijians that made up the Santa Rosa back line team took first blood as they offloaded several no-look, over the shoulder, between the legs, behind the back passes that made Fresno wondering whether to contest or just sit back and watch the show. In this instance, they watched as the ball was dotted near the posts. The missed conversion by their kicker was the first indication that they were truly only humans after all.

Not to be outdone, Fresno countered back with some fancy maneuvers of their own. Tough, hard running from the forward pack culminated with a 20 meter sprint by the winger for a try. Conversion was no good as well. Just before the half, the Santa Rosa forwards mauled and rucked their way near the posts for another unconverted try. [HT score: 10-5 Santa Rosa]

The second half started out with some sloppy play from both sides as the muddy conditions created a lot of turnover balls. Repeated knock-ons made for a tiring number of scrums that clearly wore on the forward packs. I used the repeated scrums to implement the new Law change as it pertains to the losing scrumhalf. (Question: I gave a penalty for the non-offending team after several warnings to the opposing scrumhalf, but should it have been a free-kick? The amendment does not say or maybe I missed it.) The visiting team pushed their way to another unconverted try with 5 minutes left to play. Fresno countered just before the end with one of their own. The try was converted this time bringing the final score to 15-12 in favor of the visitors.

 

(My thanks to James Hinkin for sticking around to give me some great feedback. Faafetai!)

 

 

Date: 01/30/2016

Mendocino 15 – South Valley 29

Referee: Leisek, Joe

 

Beautiful sunny day in the Redwood Empire. Two competitive teams played a physical, enjoyable match on the Steam Donkeys’ home field next to the county administration building. Defense dominated on both sides, as soft conditions made it difficult to spread the ball wide. But both teams did their best to run whenever possible. The final score reflects the fact that South Valley made fewer mistakes and made more of their opportunities. These teams are fairly evenly matched and should play some good games against each other in the future.

 

 

Date: 01/30/2016

Olympic Club 2 27 – Berkeley 0

Referee: Tetler, Jen

 

A ton of fun rugby was happening all day on Treasure Island. In this game, Olympic Club came out strong from the gates, earning getting 2 early tries after a yellow card for a cynical foul to Berkeley. That was all they would get for the half as Berkeley regrouped and had a few pointed kicks and penalties go their way. The second half stayed competitive. Unfortunately for one never-to-be-future-rugby-player, a penalty kick for touch made direct contact with the head of a small bike rider on the other side of the fence. The rest of the game had a couple of break through tries by O Club, with the final one making the only conversion.

 

 

Date: 01/30/2016

Reno 19 – Colusa 47

Referee: Bryant, Lee

 

Field was originally moved due to snow to a small town 30 minutes outside of Reno. Ironically, the alternative field had received a solid three inches of snow the night before; gotta love El Niño. Both teams were troopers and decided to play the match and work through the shoveled and food coloring dyed lines. Game started off a little rough with tempers flaring and big hits as the teams adjusted to the slower game the snow. When Reno was able to get a series of passes through the backline their size was hard to match, but connections were not always made knock on’s plagued both sides. Scrum were well contested but Colusa’s back kept finishing consistently with tries all game and had a sure kicker for points. Reno had both both yellow cards in the match, both for repeated team infringements and the second for issues in the red zone. Seemed by second the game settled there there were series of 15-20 ball being recycling and it looked like good solid rugby. Both teams also seemed to adjust to the new law changes without any issue.

 

 

Date: 01/30/2016

Sac State 24 – Stanford 29

Referee: Akroyd, Phil

 

A very nice game played in some much needed sunshine at Sac State. The field was in surprisingly great shape and both teams were up for some entertaining rugby.

 

Sac State started off with a suicidal tactic of running the ball from anywhere, including their own in-goal. This really hurt them throughout the game as they played in their own territory for much of the first half. Stanford took advantage and ran out an early lead by playing a more structured game with multiple phase play.

 

The Hornet’s open style of play did gain them some yardage at times and they hung in there for most of the game and were never out of it. It was close and competitive throughout and the home team even had a chance to win it on the last play of the game, but couldn’t break through Stanford’s back line. Overall, a very entertaining game and hopefully both team will progress technically throughout the season.

 

 

Date: 01/30/2016

Sac State B 24 – Stanford B 29

Referee: Boyer, Rich

 

Great match, great enthusiasm! Stanford looked to run away after tries by halfback/captain Lorenzo and converted back number six. But Sac St. lock found a knock on and sprinted 50 meters for a try near end of second half, resulting in huge momentum for Sac St. The last ten minutes featured strong running from the same lock, number 6 and the flyhalf, with another try and one gone a- begging.

 

 

Date: 01/30/2016

Sacramento Capitals 73 – Diablo 15

Referee: van Staden, JC

 

For the first time in about 10 years I got to be at the KOT on Saturday, and it was a blast. Thanks Pelican Refs…..

Getting to reffed a blowout, was not expected, but the game were played. I got to see some youngsters I used to coach while they where U/17, winning a national championship in Colorado, and I was a proud coach, looking at 2 young men that have walked a straight path, and today serving the country and still playing like there is no drinking time to waist. With some of the most textbook tackles, I was glad to admit I use to be their defense couch 😉

Wish someone can say that about my kid to 😉

Back to the game…. lol… Capitals probably way too strong for the second division, but I guess all have to start somewhere and build up again. Solid team, with a deep bench, with only a cpl of small weaknesses, which all could have been sorted out, if I brought the “BLUE” card, but with Mike Malone in the vicinity, I had to oped out using it, lol, I promised I’ll retire it 😉

Half time, 55 – 0

But with Diablo, never chucked it the towel, manage to pull 2 tries in, to avoid a white wash….

 

 

Date: 01/30/2016

Sacramento Lions 29 – San Jose 5

Referee: Tucker, Chris

 

The sun burst through the clouds in approval of two teams who decided to actually play a game in Sacramento this weekend. Both sides may have been short on numbers, but that didn’t mean we couldn’t all go have fun at the Robla slip’n’slide, right? I dashed over from saying hi to old friends at the KOT, and arrived as the Amazons and Berkeley were kicking off their second stanza, got set up, and we kicked off on time. Or as close to on time as one gets with the Lions 🙂

 

The first half was a cagey battle — Seahawks had the better of the set piece, winning more ball, Lions the better of the back play, turning it over more often to even it up. Both teams split the honours in the number of knock-ons. My total mileage for the day was only 3.7, which speaks to the frequency of stoppages. Both teams scored once, although I contrived to award 3 tries… The other one was as the Seahawks #8 was tackled as he went over the 5m line. The line was painted solid instead of broken, and his dive to me looked like a scoring attempt with the ball clearly grounded, so up went my arm. Having finished apologizing to all and sundry for this evident error, we reset with a scrum 5 to San Jose, in accordance with the rarely-used 20.4(d). The Seahawks won the put in, and scored. 5-5 at the half.

 

The second half started similarly, but as the visitors’ legs began to tire, so the Lions found more openings out wide, and pushed over a bunch of tries, ending up with another 4 for the half.

 

Both teams acquitted themselves well, and I thoroughly enjoyed myself too.

 

 

Date: 01/30/2016

Santa Clara 37 – Wyoming 30

Referee: MacDonald, Neil

 

A tense and tightly contested match at Bellomy Field which yielded nine tries and six changes of lead. Wyoming full back and captain Koz, opened the scoring thirteen minutes in, before Santa Clara’s left wing crossed minutes later after quick Broncos hands from a 5m penalty awarded when Wyoming’s tackler didn’t release. Back to the other end of the field a few minutes later, and it was Santa Clara’s defensive discipline which let them down, and the visitors kicked the penalty to reclaim the lead 7-8 midway through the first half. Wyoming extended their lead to four points kicking another penalty a few minutes later. Santa Clara regained the upper hand with a well worked running line by their standoff from a 5m scrum, and piled on with two more scores, one a flowing move the length of the field from a restart. Racking up 17 points in eight minutes, Santa Clara went into the break leading 24-11. Wyoming came out strongly in the second half, scoring twice in the first eight minutes and converting both to retake the lead. Wyoming’s centres carried the ball unbelievably well, dragging and handing off tacklers, and were a real handful for Santa Clara. Another Wyoming score on 17 minutes extended their lead to 24-30 before the Broncos finally got going in the second half.   However, their try wasn’t converted, so Wyoming still had a one point lead which they still had with three minutes left, when Santa Clara crossed to reclaim the lead 34-30. With moments remaining, Santa Clara won a penalty deep in Wyoming’s 22, and slotted the kick over to secure the win 37-30.

 

 

Date: 01/30/2016

Santa Clara Univ WR 10 – Humboldt State Univ WR 100

Referee: Bernstein, Bruce

 

Piece of cake match to ref. A lot of running followed by 18 stoppages for kicking after tries. Humboldt State is very impressive with a solid team highlighted by its huge/fast/strong outside center, 8 & their coach & #7, who should all be somebody’s allstars if not national champs. They went up with the opening kick off scoring 50 points in the 1st half & didn’t let up in the 2nd equally another 50. Two of Santa Clara’s players also had nice albeit individual tries with their flyhalf slicing & dicing in for a try & their prop taking a bunch of tacklers into the try zone & barely being able to touch down while on her back. Pleasure to ref both teams on a real nice artificial surface & having Scotty Carson walking touch for me.

 

 

Date: 01/30/2016

SFGG Women 6 – Life West Women 62

Referee: Wilson, Giles

 

Life started off fast scoring twice in five minutes before SFGG really got going. The rest of the first half was fairly even with SFGG scoring two penalties from their pressure while Life added another try for a 21-6 half time lead.

 

Life started off the second half as fast as the first, with their backs manipulating the SFGG defense at will. Life ran 7 tries in the 2nd half with 3 of them converted for a final tally of 10 tries (7 converted) to 2 penalty goals for SFGG.

 

Date: 01/30/2016

Sierra College 48 – USF 5

Referee: Byrnes, Bryant

 

A blue skies super site rugby day at Maritime. In spite of the score, this second of four matches had two quality D2 teams.

 

But on this day, it was all Sierra. Being bigger helped, but being bigger and fit explains the score. Lots of nifty stuff, including three, four, five forward crashes, and-and Bob’s your uncle as the Brits say- the ball all the way out the backline to the wing.

 

However, the Dons never lacked effort. Indeed, on the last play before full time, after a series of tackles, kicked balls, and god knows what else, three Dons chased the ball into goal, and upon Sierra mishandling it, touched it down. A bit of the Key Stone cops? Perhaps, but a nice ending. And it goes in the books.

 

Thanks to Scott Wood for constructive comments, my touch judge Nicole, and guest referee Ian from Calgary, who did the last TWO games. A hero.

 

Date: 01/30/2016

Silicon Valley 27 – Marin 8

Referee: Moore, Stephen

 

A competitive game with plenty of rugged attack and defense by both teams. Marin took the early lead with a penalty kick, followed by a try shortly afterwards. Marin dominated the first quarter of the match until Silicon Valley broke through their defense and scored a try after several close misses. More confident in their attack and settled Silicon Valley took the lead attacking and scoring all remaining points scored. It was a tough match played well by both sides with Marin near Silicon Valley’s goal line several times but held back by SV. Players, spectators and coaches really well behaved, cooperative and disciplined.

 

I refereed a second match (D4 I think) Silicon Valley (10) v Shasta (31):

 

A spirited kick off by the vintage ‘green machine’ of Silicon Valley team taking on a younger and athletic looking Shasta. The experience and wisdom of the green machine led to early success as they pounded away using their years of experience to score two tries and win the half time score of 10 points to 5. In the second half Shasta got down to business taking the lead in attack out maneuvering some tiring legs of the green machine. A spirited match played to the best of the abilities by all to the enjoyment of players and spectators.

 

 

 

Date: 01/30/2016

SJSU 26 – UCSC 16

Referee: Lane, John

 

As I arrived at 12:00 both teams were just starting to warm up. I was quickly brought up to speed that UCSC had left their Jersey’s behind at their meeting point and there was a frantic effort on going to get someone to collect them and drive to the game. We agreed that this would delay kick-off by 15 to 30 minutes depending on traffic (in the end it was 45 minutes!).

 

This gave me the time to run through the new law amendments with no real pressure so the time was well spent!

 

The game itself was played in an open attacking style with every effort to play fast and open rugby but on occasions the skill levels deserted the players and turnovers were frequent. SJSU dominated field position in the opening minutes but turnovers gave field position and pressure to UCSC which resulted in a successful penalty for a 0-3 lead. Play ebbed and flowed for the next 10 minutes with some positive play by both sides coming undone with loose execution and some strong defense. A few minutes of sustained pressure by SJSU resulted in a try out wide with the missed conversion leaving the score at 5-3 on 20 mins.

 

The next 15 minutes of the 1st half was played end to end with neither team making a break through. UCSC dominated the final few minutes of the half and had a good opportunity to score but some white line fever denied their efforts.

 

SJSU obviously gave the more robust half time encouragement as they started strongly. Again turnovers gave away field position and UCSC converted another penalty to talk a 5-6 lead. Stung by this score SJSU gathered the restart and proceeded through a few phases and scored to the left of the posts for a converted try and a 12-6 lead. SJSU continued to dominate field position and extended their lead on 20 minutes with another converted try for 19-6.

 

With a lot of input from the sideline this latest try seemed spur UCSC into life. Their error count reduced dramatically and they started to string multiple phases together. This resulted in an unconverted try on 26 mins to close to 19-11. Encouraged by this they continued to push and closed to 19-16 with another unconverted try on 34 minutes.

 

The chase for the win was now on and UCSC continued to press. Unfortunately “white line fever” crept in again and at least 3 scoring opportunities were lost with rushed passes and some solo charges leading to defensive turnovers.

 

On 38 mins, one of these turnovers was turned into a breakout converted score for SJSU leaving the final score at 26-16.

 

B-Side Game

 

Following the delay on the main game it was agreed that the B game would be 30 min halves.

 

In a game with some obvious first year rugby players the open play of the first game was also to the fore. After a first half of much effort but limited structure UCSC held a 0-5 lead.

 

The second half progressively from a structure perspective and produced some tit for tat scoring. SJSU opened their scoring on 7 minutes with an excellent conversion giving a 7-5 lead. UCSC responded almost immediately with an unconverted try for 7-10.

 

On 14 mins, SJSU regained the lead with another superbly converted try – 14-10. UCSC scored again on 21 minutes and again failed to convert to lead 14-15.

 

The lead changed hands again on 27 mins with a SJSU try which was not converted. 19-15 and 3 minutes left.

 

UCSC pushed hard for these few minutes and with the last play created an overlap on the left but the ball carrier tried to crash through rather than pass and in the tackle lost the ball forward!

 

Game over with a second SJSU win on the day – 19-15.

 

 

Date: 01/30/2016

UC Davis Women 46 – Stanford Women 19

Referee: Fenaroli, Steven

 

The drive to Davis from Downtown Sacramento is gorgeous, the uneven pavement of I-80, the slow traffic over the bypass. I am appreciative of the short commute. This was the first week since the rule changes. I brought a piece of paper with the points, but I tried remembering them; I got about three out before I needed to consult the paper. UCD had large numbers so they would be plenty fresh. In the end, both teams only made one or two subs, incredible in its own until you know that multiple Stanford players went down with injuries mid games but toughed things out and stayed in. Davis kept attacking and controlling the match. There was a lack of discipline at the breakdown and when the ball was available to play, and obtaining it legally. The women were apt to listen to direction which makes my job easy. The weather held out, the pitch was firm minus 2 soft muddy spots.

A great Saturday for rugby with two quality teams.

 

 

Date: 01/31/2016

Stanford 17 – Wyoming 36

Referee: Hinkin, James

 

With the threat of rain no longer an issue there are few better places to be on a sunny Sunday morning than Stanford University’s Steuber Rugby Field.   Sunny, but not warm were the conditions – at least to some of us.   The 11:00am kickoff saw temps in the low 50s that the Stanford players and I thought were unreasonably cold yet for some reason the Wyoming players were acting like it was beach weather and breaking out the sunblock.   Strange.

 

The teams definitely came to play and this was a crackerjack game, moving from one end of the field to the other.   Stanford dominated the first 10 minutes of the half scoring 2 tries and converting one to jump out 12-0 but Wyoming seemed to wake up and start using their size advantage to good use as the pendulum of momentum swung over towards the visitors.   Bruising runs and solid tackles were the order of the day until Wyoming broke through with a converted try to cut the lead to 12-7 and then swiftly followed that by scoring and converting another try to take a lead that they would never relinquish.   A 3rd converted try at the end of the half put the tourists in front with a solid 21-12 lead.

 

The second half was more of the same but a bit sloppier as both benches started to be used.   Each side had their chances with penalties, possession and territory (including trading “held up in goal” scrums) but it was Wyoming that had the finishing power.   Three more tries equaled their first half output with the only difference being Wyoming’s fullback, captain and goal kicker Cos somehow losing his kicking boots during the break.   Stanford was able to pull a well deserved try back after some high quality rugby but it was too little too late. The only blemish on the match was a late yellow card against the Wyoming tighthead for a cynical not 10 penalty 15 meters from the goal line when the Cardinal tried to go quickly from a previous penalty.   As there was less than a minute left the result was not in doubt at that point but the score still was yet Stanford was unable to convert and the game ended with the Cowboy’s flyhalf kicking the ball into the Steuber crowd.   A thoroughly enjoyable match and both sides should be complimented not only on their play but their attitudes. This was rugby at its finest.

 

This Week’s Photo

There are few better sights in Pelicanland than Stanford’s Steuber Rugby Stadium under sunny January skies.

Stanford in January

 

Hail, Pelicus!

For the Senate

Pelicus Pedem Referre

And They Played Stormy Weather

HAIL PELICUS!

 

And They Played Stormy Weather

 

What a relief it is to be writing about wet, muddy conditions and the need for (read “scramble to find”) rain gear.     The Great California Draught is not over by a long shot but the winter of 2016 is doing its level best to put some water back in our reservoir and snow in our mountains.   As I write this we here in Pelicanland are enjoying a respite from the rain but the forecast calls for a bit of rain come the weekend – nothing to worry your Wellies about but a good sign of the rain cycle continuing.

 

Of course, I’m not a meteorologist. I just play one on TV.

 

Above all, remember the wise words of Ford Prefect: “If you want to survive out here, you’ve got to know where your towel is.”

 

The Great Unreffed Weekend

 

“I have assigned every available referee for this weekend and we will be woefully short with several league matches uncovered. KOT, injuries … all contributing. There are 4 league matches and at least a dozen B sides with no ref with a few more games unconfirmed by the ref. I assigned a few folks in the hopes they will accept, but otherwise, we are gonna have a lot of unhappy people this weekend that don’t get refs. “

 

-Pete Smith, Referee Assigner

 

We have reached our first critical mass weekend of the season and the society is in dire need of referees.   The KOT up in Sacramento has drawn many of our regulars as well as a separate event that limits the availability of several senior referees has piled on to the usual unavailables and leaves the flock in a rather embarrassing position:

 

We don’t have enough referees to cover our games.

 

This isn’t the usual litany of B sides going uncovered but several A side matches are in need of an adjudicator.   If you have a whistle now is the time to step up and represent the Northern California Rugby Referee Society, the greatest referee society in the world.   Do it for the kiddies.

 

If you have not already, please go to assignr.com to confirm/announce your availability and matches, or if you haven’t received an assignr.com account, contact Pete Smith at me@petesweb.com to let him know you are available.   To get an assignr account please contact our Scott Wood at rscottwood@gmail.com .   He will get you all the information you need to sign up and announce your availability.   More details on assignr are in the next section.

 

Assignr – Making Match Reporting And Assigning Easier Since 2014

 

The NCRFU will continue to use the assignr system for assignments and match reports.   Again, please make sure that your availability is correctly listed on the site – if you aren’t listed as available you might not get assigned.   Under “My Availability” you can make yourself available for a block of dates and then recuse yourself for specific dates if needed.

 

Please remember when filling out your match reports on assignr, ASSIGNR IS NOT WHERE YOU REPORT MISCONDUCT. I know the box is titled “Narrative/Misconduct” but this section of assignr is for the match summaries that are below in the main body of Hail Pelicus.   If there are red cards or reportable yellow cards in your match then report them via the method detailed below in the section titled “Disciplinary Action Reporting – Process For Reporting Incidents“. This information will be in every Hail Pelicus and is also available on pelicanrefs.com.

 

Ask A Pelican

 

Yes, it’s time for this week’s installment of “Ask A Pelican”, the widely loved Q and A session with Hail Pelicus.   This week’s question comes from, well, me.   I guess I had better do this properly so… This week’s question comes from James Hinkin of Los Gatos, CA who asks:

 

“We all know that if a player catches a kick directly while one foot is in touch and one foot in the field of play the ball is considered in touch but NOT taken into touch by the player who caught the ball (Law 19 definitions).   We also know that if a player catches a kick while one foot is in goal and one foot in the field of play the ball is considered in goal but NOT taken into the goal by the player who caught the ball (Law 22 definitions). What is the call if a player is near the corner flag and catches a kick with one foot in goal but the other foot in touch AHEAD of the goal line – aka in touch not touch-in-goal?   Would that also be considered touch-in-goal because one foot is in goal?”

 

Yes, I actually asked this because I happened to be with Leah Berard of Woodruff, Wisconsin who was in Pelicanland for last weekend’s National Rugby Summit and is scheduled to referee a match in San Francisco this weekend, so she decided to stay and enjoy the delights of Northern California… and the lack of snow.   With a referee who is not only on the Northern California ‘B’ panel (aka the USA Rugby ‘A’ Panel) but is an international referee employed by World Rugby available, I asked the question.   Her ruling: Since the player’s foot was in touch and not touch-in-goal the ball is considered to be in touch and NOT to be touch-in-goal and the subsequent restart should be decided accordingly.   (emphasis mine)

 

Well, that makes sense.   We here at Hail Pelicus thank Mrs. Berard for clearing that up and wish her luck not only on her match this weekend but wish her a safe flight in a couple of weeks when she flies out to Great Britain to referee in the 6 Nations.

 

Disciplinary Action Reporting – Process For Reporting Incidents

 

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

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

 

On To The Game Reports!

 

Date: 01/23/2016

Baracus 17 – Olympic Club 2 24

Referee: Fenaroli, Steven

 

The game was moved late to Franklin Square due to weather. Franklin Square is meant to be a soccer field so preparing the field meant duct taping goal lines, 22 m, 10m and chalking out 5m from touch lines. This meant setting the line out required a little more work and it was my discretion for quick line outs.

Baracus scored first after a hard fought series, but missed the kick. The next 40 minutes saw a tough fight from both teams, but O club managing to score more than Baracus.

That did not stop Baracus and around 70′ was down by one try and one conversion. O club was able to hold them off and win 24-17.

 

 

Date: 01/23/2016

Baracus B 41 – SF State 15

Referee: Fenaroli, Steven

 

With a large turnout, Baracus was apt for a second game that afternoon. SF state pulled some O club players to round out their side. Baracus started the game off strong and never relented. Baracus was awarded a penalty on SF State 22m, they went for points and scored. 5 minutes later, in front of the post, they went for points and scored again. The conversion kicks in this game were much better than the first. Baracus were 100% for their conversions scoring 16 points from kicks.

 

 

Date: 01/23/2016

Cal Maritime 71 – CSUMB 0

Referee: Devlin, Joe

 

No report received.

 

 

Date: 01/23/2016

Chico 15 – Sacramento Capitals 25

Referee: Boyer, Rich

 

The drive to Chico was beautiful: abundant flocks of geese and ducks, and standing water everywhere! The Chico pitch, try as the administrators may, remains a challenge and is quite lumpy. But it drains well. It did not particularly impact the game quality Saturday. Sacramento Capitols came out on fire, with a quick lightning strike that started with great backs ball and ended with a Fischer chip and Rich at fullback chase dot down try. The second try was scored by captain Mike Dopson, taking the scrum feed at the base and running weak side. 12-0 Caps and it looked to be a blowout. Chico fought back, correcting previous handling errors, and were rewarded with a try by their wing after good forward play. The period seemed to fly by, with great sportsmanship illustrated by both teams in conjunction with very few penalties. Chico were on the back foot in the second half and the penalty count increased. Capitols capitalized (no pun intended) with two penalty kicks and another 3 went a begging. The Chico halfback made a nice break the resulted in a ruck near the try line, and the big Chico lock looked for all the world like he would bring three tacklers with him and score a try, but he was unselfish and passed to the wing, only for a knock on to ensue. The Caps changed tactics midway through the period and used a driving maul to put Joel Scott into the try zone. 25-8 Caps. Credit Chico, they never gave up and scored a converted try at the death. A gem of a game.

 

The seconds match saw an inexperienced Chico squad encounter a very strong Caps side. The game was played in good spirits, with lots of creative backline play from the Caps as well as good instructions provided to the newer Chico players. 54-10 Caps.

 

 

Date: 01/23/2016

Chico State 31 – SJSU 7

Referee: Richmond, Jeff

 

The Chico State match was played on a muddy pitch well churned up by a Chico – Sac Captials immediately before. SJSU was quite outmatched. Chico State was able to launch quick attacks by their back line before SJSU really had a chance to form a defense. On a fast field the difference in scores may have doubled. SJSU was less skilled at the breakdowns, regularly infringing for every offense possible – side entry, going to ground, not releasing. I gather it is a relatively inexperienced side. Some of the usual excess testosterone and overly zealous coach to deal with, otherwise everyone stayed safe. The losing captain made a point of complimenting me, especially in being consistent with the calls.

Had one new situation – a missed drop goal went past the dead ball line. I incorrectly offered the choice of scrum or drop out to the defender. I’ll know what to call next time someone tries a drop goal – maybe in 5 years?

 

EDITOR’S NOTE:    The correct call is a 22m drop out. See Law 22.8 Ball kicked dead through in-goal: If a team kicks the ball through their opponents’ in-goal into touch-in-goal or on or over the dead ball line, except by an unsuccessful kick at goal or attempted dropped goal, the defending team has two choices:    to have a drop-out, or to have a scrum at the place where the ball was kicked and they throw in.

 

 

Date: 01/23/2016

CSU Monterey Bay WR 5 – Fresno State Women 61

Referee: Freitas, Larry

 

Saturday arrived after a Friday of heavy rain on the Santa Cruz side of the Monterey Bay, with less of it having fallen on the Monterey Peninsula side. I hardly left the house Friday, so with Saturday’s partly cloudy skies and wind, it was time to drive down to CSUMB for a college women’s match. Fresno State had a good many players on the pitch warming up, but Monterey Bay was suiting up just 15 players, as two were on the touchlines with injury, and with school not having started just yet, a few other players were not on campus for the game. The weather, as far as I’m concerned, was perfect for a rugby match: cool mid-50’s, lots of cloud overhead, and a chilly breeze blowing in from the ocean only a mile and a half away to the west. The pitch was somewhat soggy, though. CSUMB had stopped a practice session late in the afternoon Friday when a heavy downpour hit.

Fresno State got off to a great start, scoring its first try seven minutes into the game, from a tighthead inside Monterey’s 22, which wasn’t converted. Four more converted tries at the Seaside end of the pitch would follow for a 26-0 lead at halftime.   Fresno kept the ball alive, not always going to ground in tackles, and passing the ball off before a tackle could be made, so there really wasn’t that much phase play from them overall. So, even with a wet ball, the passing between forwards and backs produced scores, whether from a short or longer distance for the final touch down. UCSC had a few chances to score themselves. Their scrum half, Sabrina Bacuangan, made one break from a scrum after a dummy to the flyhalf, near the halfway line, and sped off for what I thought would be a try at the Marina end of the pitch, only to be chased down by the cover defense of the Bulldogs some ten meters short, and then give up a penalty for not releasing the ball before any Otters could arrive at the tackle. The Otters also lost one of their props to injury 30 minutes into the game after a high tackle offense by a Fresno player, and therefore a Fresno State sub came in for them at that position.

Fresno’s try-scoring spree would continue after the intermission. Six tries were scored, with three within the first twelve minutes of play. After that things settled down, and Monterey’s defense stiffened. Ten minutes would go by before the Bulldogs scored again, and two more later, the last eleven minutes from no side. Monterey Bay scored a try just minutes before the game ended when one of their forwards reached out and placed the ball over the goal line after being tackled near the touchline, following a period of pressure that produced some of Monterey’s best play of the day.

Regarding penalties, both teams backs were caught offside a few times at rucks, there were at least two calls per team for not releasing the ball in tackles, and a few each for playing the ball on the ground. Both teams did well in listening to my “instructions” at various times during the game.

Fresno State’s Stephanie Rovetti, fly half, had three tries, as did their flanker Nikki Wheeler, and scrum half Mariah Holtman had scored two. It was a wet and mud-splattered group of players that walked off the pitch with the final whistle. One other note on the game itself is that despite the soggy pitch and some mud patches (and I did move some away from the worst of those), not one scrum collapsed during the match, and there were quite a number of them.

There was an after match function at the Round Table in Marina afterwards, and I enjoyed trading stories about the recent RWC with Monterey’s coach Alena Porte, who also was in the UK and Ireland at that time, and also found out that Fresno’s coach played for the Fresno club back at a time when we surely would have played against each other when I was a Santa Cruz Rebel back some thirty years ago.

 

 

Date: 01/23/2016

EPA Razorbacks 59 – San Jose 9

Referee: Smith, Pete

 

No report received

 

Date: 01/23/2016

Life West Women 48 – All Blues 0

Referee: Hinkin, James

 

Life West hosted a rugby festival as the scheduling genius of Pelicus Fistulator had every Life West die playing at home.   Women, men’s D1 and men’s D2 put 5 matches on the docket for a full day for everyone.     (As an aside, this will not be a unique occasion. Every club with multiple sides in multiple competitions have had their schedules aligned.   Fantastic.)   With a solid week of rain behind us and promises of more ahead this was not only a test of the players but of the ground.   I look forward to reading about the state of the grounds after the final match.

 

This match was technically a forfeit as the All Blues needed to field a couple of players who were ineligible due to participation in the WPL but Life was glad for a game and up to the challenge.

 

And up to the challenge they were indeed.   The scoreline flattered the home side as the game was more even than the score suggested, the difference being the finishing. The All Blues are well coached and methodically worked the ball up the field but inevitably would lose possession due to either a penalty, a poach or, quite often, a slippery ball going to ground.   Life West boasted an absolute firecracker at fullback named Cameo Motley who scored 5 tries – many from distance.   She had another gear that the other ladies just could not match and when she was put into space she showed the defense a muddy pair of heels as they tried to contain her.   She is someone to watch.

 

Three tries in the first half were followed by 5 in the second half as the All Blues seemed to tire as the day went on.   The tackles were fierce and the commitment was unwavering but the sight of Cameo in the try zone seemed to deflate the All Blues as the day went on and they had no answer.

Date: 01/23/2016

Life West 2 56 – Berkeley 10

Referee: Bernstein, Bruce

 

Life was in mid-season form. Berkeley played their usual tough defensive match but Life was too much with too much ball.

Real nice try & moves by Calvin their flyhalf/captain & good prop play. Halftime score was a close 24-10. Life has many interchangeable players on 4 teams they’re field & should be even tough as the season moves on. Fresno however won the party as being the only out of 10 teams to show up! Relatively nice weather except for a torrential downpour 10 minutes into match lasting about 10 minutes. And field was playable in one half while the other was sunken with mud.

 

 

Date: 01/23/2016

Life West 56 – Fresno 5

Referee: Sandhill, Peter

 

When I was a kid in Sydney, I loved the muddy games. It was so enjoyable to be at a grassy NorCal field in the wet. It was pouring with rain on the drive to the this game. At the field the rain had abated, however, underfoot it was mushy, muddy, very wet with intermittent grassy spots. The Fresno players were so happy to be playing in the mud and not in Fresno where apparently their home field was underwater.

 

Life West were D2 National Champs last year and seemed very fit and hungry. Fresno took it to them for 30 min. after scoring the first try. At about 25 min. it was 12-5 to Life and quite tense and competitive on the field. The first quarter tended toward more forward play, a lot of pick and drives . As Life began to utilize their faster outer backs, especially in the second half, the game opened up and the points began to tick over. No tries were easy give aways as Fresno stuck in there until the end. Both teams were also well coached and played clean hard (muddy) rugby.

 

Life West responded well to referee (my) concerns about repeated off side at the ruck early in the game and a tendency to be a bit “lippy.”

 

Thanks to Matt and John for AR duties well dispatched. And big gratitude to Dave Williamson for his time to PR, coach.

 

 

Date: 01/23/2016

Life West B 35 – Fresno B 5

Referee: Pohlman, John

 

Life West hosted three rugby teams at Sunset Fields in Hayward. Five games were played on the field, mine was the last. Fresno second side played Life West’s second’s in a shorten game. After four previous games played on the field with lots of rain throughout the morning, the field was pretty beat up.

Life continued their domination in a 35-5 win.

 

 

Date: 01/23/2016

Marin 7 – Reno 20

Referee: Coppinger, John

 

Wet bog of a field in Marin City. Most sunny with occasional showers and rainbows. Rugby the way it used to be in Northern California before the drought. I actually wore cleats for the first time in three plus years.

 

Reno came out from the get-go with some big hits, but struggled with most aspects of the laws such as offsides, the gate, and what is a legal tackle. After a quite a few penalties and two yellow cards to Reno, Marin scored a scored between the posts and added a conversion while Reno had two men in the bin. The Marin try and conversion were the only points of the first half.

 

At half time, Reno apparently held a seminar on the laws and were much more compliant with the laws in the second half. Reno also started to get the ball to their big ball carriers on the outside and Marin soon began to slip off tackles, which led to four unconverted and unanswered tries for Reno. Final score: Reno 20, Marin 7.

 

Date: 01/23/2016

Olympic Club 19 – Central Washington 15

Referee: MacDonald, Neil

 

Central Washington University, stir crazy from pre-season work indoors, drove for 13 hours to play Olympic Club’s PRP team. We were fortunate to be playing the match at Cal Maritime, where the field shed the pre-match downpours amazingly well, and gave the teams a great surface to play on.

 

CWU’s gym work had clearly paid off, and they were itching to tackle hard and to smash their opponents at the breakdown. The initial exchanges were fast and physical, with first blood to CWU, scoring from a lineout maul just 12 minutes in.   CWU proved to be a handful for O Club in the early scrums, and were fiercely contesting the breakdown.   An O Club player was beaten by the ruck at a tackle mid-way through the first half, and CWU kicked the resulting penalty to take an eight point lead.   O Club, recovering from some initial surprise at CWU’s intensity, came back with a period of sustained pressure inside the CWU 22, and finally got on the scoreboard in the 28th minute, crossing to score from a 5m penalty after CWU collapsed a driving maul. With CWU down to 14 after an O Club’s player was taken out in the air jumping to gather a kick, a CWU infringement in the last movement of the half gave O Club the opportunity to tie it up with a kick for an 8-8 half time score.

 

Exploiting the huge boots of Keegan, Hawley and Anderson – now playing #15 for O Club following his stellar career at Cal – the home team took lots of territory and cleared their lines numerous times throughout the match.   11 minutes into the second half, this gave them the platform to show that they could maul from lineouts too, and they crossed to take their first lead of the match at 13-8.   A hugely committed CWU team scored and converted with 13 minutes left, but two successful penalty kicks from O Club put them 19-15 up. CWU battered their way to O Club’s 5m line with time expired, only for the ball to be lost forward at the back of the final ruck.

 

A highly contested match from two talented sides, with the result contested to the very end. Blessed as we are with great teams and great rugby in Pelicanland, we should consider ourselves lucky to have had a team of CWU’s calibre visit northern California, and with this performance in their first match of the season, there’s a lot of promise of good things to come. O Club did well to weather the storm, adjusted, and were dynamic and dangerous whenever the back line was set free. Roll on this year’s PRP! All the best to both teams with their seasons.

 

 

Date: 01/23/2016

Sac State 7 – UC Davis 53

Referee: Tucker, Chris

 

A lopsided score, but not that much of a lopsided game. Sac State showed enterprise with the ball, but lacked a cutting edge going forward. Davis were organized, and ran the home sides somewhat wayward kicking back hard against them. For a supposed grudge match between two local sides, this was played positively, safely and in good humour throughout. A genuine pleasure on a beautiful Sacramento afternoon.

 

Also good to see a cast of Pelicans on the sideline. Messrs. Walsh, Crenshaw and Franzoia were all on good form and out enjoying the sunshine.

 

 

Date: 01/23/2016

Sac State B 5 – UC Davis B 100

Referee: Franzoia, Tom

 

A beautiful partly cloudy day after a morning downpour didn’t wake the sleep from the Sacramentans as they tried to be awaken by Davis Aggies who finished the day with a 100 to 5 mule kicking over the Hornets.

 

 

Date: 01/23/2016

Santa Rosa JC 43 – Menlo 14

Referee: Leisek, Joe

 

The match was a friendly between hosts Santa Rosa Junior College and Solano Community College (apparently Menlo and Solano have both dropped out of league competition). Played in front of a good crowd at For Pete’s Sake in Santa Rosa, even after days of heavy rains. A variety of skill and experience levels, with lots more passing and running than I expected. Not a lot of structure in the play of either side, but more so from the home side as the score indicates. More than enough chirping, however, particularly from Solano. Many thanks to John Tomasin for serving as AR and to Dominic Patrick for his help as touch judge.

 

 

Date: 01/23/2016

St. Mary’s College 24 – Lindenwood 13

Referee: Lane, John

 

Having supported Jordan Bruno (welcome back) in an entertaining B game I got my first game on the excellent St Mary’s pitch at 1pm last Saturday.

 

With the heavy rain over the last period the pitch was quite wet but playable with only one very small section showing surface water which was agreed with both teams to be acceptable to play.

 

Despite the wet surface and ball both sides served up an open and attack minded game of highly competitive rugby with excellent commitment and a fair bit of skill thrown in.

 

Pre game the body language was showing a more confident St Mary’s squad but after a early period of attack from the kickoff it was Lindenwood who held the upper hand in the opening quarter.

 

On 12 minutes after a few phases of attack the Lindonwood 10 (a fellow Irishman) converted a penalty for a breakdown infringement to lead 0-3. From the resultant restart St Mary’s looked to put immediate pressure but in doing so lost their defensive shape and Lindenwood capitalized on the gaps to return down field and despite St Mary’s attempting to slow the ball recycle Lindenwood played through their advantage and another quick recycle saw them crash through tackles to score a converted try. 0-10 on 14 minutes. And the home support were clearly restless and the volume rose appreciatively.

 

A few minutes of play between the 22’s with some turnovers mainly due to knockons in the conditions and some over anxious play by St Mary’s followed but steadily they started to dominate field position and having missed a penalty chance some quick recycling and straight running lead to their first try by the posts to bring the game to 7-10 on 25 minutes.

 

St Mary’s continued to dominate territory for the next 10 minutes but we’re well defended against and Lindenwood controlled the final 5 minutes to lead by 3 at halftime.

 

The half time chat had most impact on St Mary’s who restarted with a strong purpose. Moving the ball well across the backline in the conditions stretched Lindenwood and the pressure paid dividends with unconverted tries on 7 and 14 minutes turning the score to 17-10 in their favor.

 

Lindenwood looked to be running out of ideas at this stage of the game but some good kicking brought them in range and they drew another penalty from the stretched defense and closed the gap to 17-14 on 18 minutes.

 

They then dominated the next few minutes but St Mary’s who had received a team warning for repeated slowing down of attacking ball retained their discipline and kept their line intact during this crucial stage of the game.

 

Having survived the pressure St Mary’s the used some turnover ball to good effect with quick phase recycles and scored by the posts on 27 minutes for a 24-13 lead.

 

Neither side slowed down with the benches coming on with good energy but despite some good opportunities to both sides the defenses won out in the last 10 minutes with no further scoring leaving St Mary’s with the win in this highly entertaining and strongly contested friendly game.

 

Best of luck to both sides as they face into the competitive stage of the season.

 

 

Date: 01/23/2016

Stanford Women B 10 – Chico St Women B 24

Referee: Makino, Ren

 

(Game was moved to 1:00 PM) The rain was on and off during the match and when it rained it rained hard(Californian Standard) but the pitch was not too muddy. It was unexpectedly a smooth game with no high tackles and not many off-sides but a lot of not releasing (both tackler/ball) and playing on the ground. Great match from two disciplined teams with really respectful players. Thanks to Bryant for coaching.

 

 

Date: 01/23/2016

Vacaville 48 – Diablo 24

Referee: Bertolone, Cary

 

We kicked off at exactly 2:00 PM; not much rain, mostly cloudy with a 10-15 mile wind. It seemed like Diablo was out playing the home team, but mostly because of penalties on the Diablo forwards, Vacaville was able to play on their side of the field. They broke through with a try from their winger at 11 minutes. All 5 of Vacaville’s first half tries were scored by their backs (of course, they needed their forwards to get them the ball) and Diablo was guilty of not making their tackles. Strong running though and it was 31-5 at the half. The second half was much more even and Diablo actually outscored Vacaville in the second half, 19-17 for a final score of 48-24. Both teams had players receive yellow cards, one penalty try was awarded and I had to end the game four minutes early because of fiestiness (is that a word?).

 

 

Date: 01/24/2016

Santa Clara 12 – Lindenwood 62

Referee: Bretz, Paul

 

Lindenwood was too fast and too strong for Santa Clara. Thanks to John Coppinger and Ed, Zin Zan, Gardner for providing AR duties. Lindenwood effectively stretched Santa Clara’s defense.

 

 

Date: 01/24/2016

UCSC 11 – UNR 32

Referee: Hinkin, James

 

With rain forecast for Saturday but sunshine on the menu for Sunday the UC Santa Cruz rugby club wisely decided to push their scheduled match out one day and host the Wolf Pack from the University of Nevada, Reno on the drier Sunday.   There are few sights in Pelicanland finer than the UCSC rugby pitch on a clear, sunny day.   The view from the pitch of the Monterey Bay and surrounding vistas is a gentle reminder of the reasons we live here in this great region.   The day, as promised, was clear and dry with a lush, firm pitch perfectly marked with proper, regulation posts and boasting an electronic scoreboard – a joy to referee (and play, as I recall) on.   The collegians were enthusiastically warming up when I arrived and I was quickly able to dispense with the necessary protocols and leave them to their own devices for the final 30 minutes before match time.   The partisan crowd swelled and started to be heard and was helped along by the addition of UCSC cheerleaders. After seeing the Santa Clara trot out the band I didn’t think anyone could do a better job of creating a festive atmosphere. This is now a toss up.   I love college rugby.

 

The first half started with plenty of energy from both sides as they tested each other as well as the referee.   Once standards were set and the players realized that I was going to hold them to said standards the game moved along quite nicely.     UNR was able to put a couple of tries on the board against a solitary penalty goal for the hosts as the Banana Slugs just couldn’t convert pressure into points effectively.

 

In spite of UCSC enjoying a man advantage for 8 ½ minutes form a yellow card just before half, the second half was more of the same as UNR was able to punch through the UCSC defense for tries while the Slugs could only muster a penalty.   Things got worse for the home side when 2 yellow cards in quick succession (repeated infringements, time wasting) saw them playing 13 on 15 but, as it does at times, this seemed to inspire the team and UCSC started finding space to run in and sliced right through the center of the UNR defense to score a well earned try.   Once parity was restored they regressed again and a capable and well drilled UNR side started scoring tries again, finishing with 4 for the half.   With one conversion from six they really should have had more points but a guess the air was too thick for their kicker down here at the coast

 

This Week’s Photo

The future of Pelican Referees at Stanford with a wise mentor. L-R Ren Makino and Bryant Byrnes.

Ren and Bryant

Hail, Pelicus!

For the Senate

Pelicus Pedem Referre

Bienvenido El Niño

HAIL PELICUS!

 

Bienvenido El Niño

 

The weather models have been steadily growing more certain as the Equatorial Pacific current warms up and it seems to have finally arrived, so let me officially give a Hail Pelicus welcome to El Niño. For the last couple of weeks bands of rain have moved through Pelicanland watering our lawns and washing our cars for free while dumping precious, precious snow into the water bank we call the Sierra Nevada Mountains.   After a couple of years of seeing pictures of horrifically parched lakes across the entire state we are already seeing signs of recovery.   Lake and reservoir levels are rising and the hills are green again.   Of course, the Great California Draught is not over – a few weeks of rain does not offset years of dry weather – but we here at HP are hopeful and this is a good start.

 

What does that mean for the Flock and Pelicanland in general now that we have kicked off the 2016 campaigns?   Well, we should all keep an eye on the weather and expect rainouts or field changes as availability becomes less certain. While it is great to have a confirmation email on Tuesday, as the weekend approaches check and doublecheck field availability and start times and be prepared to switch location and even games at a moment’s notice. Now is the time to set aside the wet weather gear – bring a plastic garbage bag to keep your kit dry during the match and bring a warm change of clothes.

 

Above all, remember the wise words of Ford Prefect: “Never leave home without your towel”.

 

Who’s Got Next?

 

Now that the seasons are in full swing our annual availability call comes out. We have need of all available birds but we can’t tell if referees are available without you telling us first.   Please go to assignr.com to confirm your availability and matches, or if you haven’t received an assignr.com account, contact Pete Smith at me@petesweb.com to let him know you are available.   To get an assignr account please contact our Scott Wood at rscottwood@gmail.com .   He will get you all the information you need to sign up and announce your availability.  More details on assignr are in the next section.

 

Trust me, there are plenty of games and referees will not be going unused.

 

Assignr – Making Match Reporting And Assigning Easier Since 2014

 

The NCRFU will continue to use the assignr system for assignments and match reports.   Again, please make sure that your availability is correctly listed on the site – if you aren’t listed as available you might not get assigned.   Under “My Availability” you can make yourself available for a block of dates and then recuse yourself for specific dates if needed.

 

Please remember when filling out your match reports on assignr, ASSIGNR IS NOT WHERE YOU REPORT MISCONDUCT. I know the box is titled “Narrative/Misconduct” but this section of assignr is for the match summaries that are below in the main body of Hail Pelicus.   If there are red cards or reportable yellow cards in your match then report them via the method detailed below in the section titled “Disciplinary Action Reporting – Process For Reporting Incidents“. This information will be in every Hail Pelicus and is also available on pelicanrefs.com.

 

How To Write A Match Report

 

The best method I have stumbled across for writing your match report is to have your game card in front of you to refresh your memory of the score and other incidentals and then open a Word document (or some other word processor) and write it out there, making liberal use of the spellcheck facility.   Seriously, spellcheck – it is a great boon to us all.

 

Once you are satisfied just copy and paste your work into the “Narrative/Misconduct” box on assignr and hit submit.   Easy, yes?

 

From Our Esteemed Education Officer, Vicky Hudson

 

Wanted! Hereto unheard voices of the Flock to enlighten, edify, educate and entertain!    Presenters are wanted for the following topics at the April and May Society meetings:

 

In April – The scrum is falling and other details about sound scrum management, fair contest, and safety.

 

Also in April: Law Variations & Officiating Techniques in 7s rugby – a prep/primer for the coming summer 7s season.

 

In May, someone with the ability to create a RWC2015 refereeing highlight presentation (drawing on what’s on youtube) to discuss interesting, surprising, and/or controversial calls from the world cup.

 

Reply to VickiHudson@pelicansref.com.

 

Ask A Pelican

 

Yes, it’s time for this week’s installment of “Ask A Pelican”, the widely loved Q and A session with Hail Pelicus.   This week’s question comes from George R. R. Martin of Santa Fe, New Mexico, who asks:

 

“I am a great admirer of your match report writing style.   Do you have any tips that a young referee can follow to write like you do?   And how do you resist the urge to kill off beloved characters in your reports?”

 

Thank you for your question, Mr Martin.    This is a great question and all I can really say is that I try to not only report on the game itself, but try to paint a picture of the day/event as a whole. If I have to travel any kind of distance I will talk about the scenery and the trip itself, maybe give some background and history on the teams or notable players and generally set the scene.   Then I try to describe the action as a story unfolding before me rather than a simple list of tries and score.   NEVER give a one line report such as “Good game” or “Well played”.   Try to show a little effort – the players and the readers appreciate it.

 

As for the second part of your question, the temptation to kill off a “beloved” character from the narrative is indeed great, but I have so far restrained myself.   There might be a lesson there… or there might not.

 

Disciplinary Action Reporting – Process For Reporting Incidents

 

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

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

 

On To The Game Reports!

 

Date: 01/09/2016

Life West Women/Stanford Women – Chico State Women/New Mexico Women

Referee: Pescetti, David

 

First match of the day: Life West Women vs CSU Chico

 

To start our wet Rugby Saturday we had Life West Women play Chico. The slippery conditions made ball handling crucial and cautious scrumming. In the end, Life was bigger, faster, and more organized than Chico and managed to spin the ball wide and utilize their superior speed to score many of their tries.

Life West Women 34 – 0 CSU Chico

 

Third match of the day: CSU Chico vs New Mexico University

 

Over this 40 minute match it was back and forth. Chico opened up the scoring and converting off spinning the ball wide and breaking tackles. New Mexico responded with a hard fought, multi-phase try, which went unconverted. Chico, once again, capitalized on mistakes was able to use their speed and break a tackle to score right under the posts and making the easy conversion. New Mexico would not be deterred. After the last try by Chico, it was all New Mexico. They fought back and applied the pressure to Chico. They ended up score two more tries and forced Chico to play very defensive. Eventually the score ended with NMU winning by a hair, but in a longer match they would certainly won by more.

CSU Chico 14 – 15 NMU

 

Fifth match of the day: Life West Women vs New Mexico Universtiy

 

At the end of the day everyone was tired, but there was still rugby to be played. NMU had to borrow players to field their team. Life, being the home side, was able to field a fresher team. This lead to many missed NMU tackles. This should not sell Life short, they pulled together some marvelous tries. Like a 50+ meter prop try, she broke at least 4 tackles to finish in the try zone.

Life West Women 53 – 0 NMU

 

Date: 01/09/2016

Napa 36 – Diablo Gaels 13

Referee: Boyer, Rich

 

Napa hosted Diablo in soggy conditions. Napa has a strong bench with what must be 40+ players suiting up. The game started slowly, with Napa kicking a penalty for first points. It was a forward dominated game, owing to the conditions, and very physical. At one point on a scrum the ball was completely encased in mud prior to put in. Napa illustrated a good game plan, with strong running from the number 8. After multiple phases the ball eventually found its way to the wings, who scored two straightforward tries. But Diablo fought back behind their captain BJ, who scored a strong try in the second half. Diablo #12 had a strong game running as well. But Napa were too good on the attack this day, with a few scintillating runs off quick taps from Tomasi at 13 followed by pick and drives by replacement hooker Sione. The final five minutes saw a very spirited goal line stand by Diablo, only to be thwarted in probably the 20th phase on a maul and score by #8.

 

Date: 01/09/2016

Sacramento Lions B 70 – Sacramento Blackhawks B 13

Referee: van Staden, JC

 

What can I say, at min 55 I was the only person that chase down the try scorer, for a third time, so I put an end to the wasting of good drinking time 😉

 

Date: 01/09/2016

Santa Rosa 5 – Olympic Club 43

Referee: Bryant, Lee

 

This friendly comprised of 3x 30min periods taking place on a bog in the rain. Good times on a Saturday. True to the definition of a friendly, there were no tempers and no foul play, just two teams working it out in the mud.

 

Date: 01/09/2016

SF Fog 6 – Shasta Highlanders 3

Referee: Bernstein, Bruce

 

Fog hosted Shasta for a pre-season scrimmage at their back up artificial turf field b/w the Mission & Portrero Hill. Fog outscored Shasta 3 tries to 2 both halves. It helped the Fog had about 25 players while Shasta only brought 15 bodies.

Shata commented that the Fog were diligent in both their tackling & counter rucking.

Party was back to normal Fog standards with plentiful drink, eats & conversation, which Shasta also took advantage of.

 

EDITOR’S NOTE: If the “Fog outscored Shasta 3 tries to 2 both halves” how could the final score be 6-3?

 

Date: 01/09/2016

St. Mary’s College 3 – SFGG 44

Referee: Lew, Tim

 

Two elite sides playing one another in a preseason tune up for the year. It was a very physical and fast game. SFGG made positive tackles all day which made SMC have slow ball. SFGG’s forwards timed their poaches well and made SMC work for ball. SMC never was able to string together multiple phases or have quick turnover ball. It was great fast game.

 

Date: 01/09/2016

St. Mary’s College B 31 – Vacaville 19

Referee: Bretz, Paul

 

Fun day despite the rain. Best line came from a Vacaville Prop: “you again… You are always telling me what I’m about to do that is wrong and I’m really getting tired of it”.

 

Date: 01/09/2016

St. Mary’s College C 39 – Modesto 12

Referee: Hettermann, Matt

 

After 9 long months of Achilles repair/rehab, I finally got to blow the whistle again – glad to be back! In super wet and muddy conditions, this preseason friendly was played in mostly good spirits. Match was all tied up 12-12 at half, but the fitness of the college boys was too much for the Modesto club in the second half. Thanks to Tim Lew for AR’ing for me, and John for the feedback. Stuck around and AR’d for Paul in the next match and watched Tim cover St Mary’s-SFGG.

 

Date: 01/16/2016

All Blues 15 – SFGG Women 15

Referee: Tetler, Jen

 

Technically, SFGG won this game because the All Blues had some ineligible players. But on the field, it was a fantastic game! The All Blues came out aggressively and put up two clean tries in the first 15 minutes. But Gate started gaining ground with a few well-placed kicks. They got 3 for a PK, then came back out with a try to put the score at 10-8, then they got another converted try with 2 minutes left to go ahead at the half. The second half had quite a bit less scoring (and several balls going over the fence), but was no less competitive. With 2 minutes to go, the All Blues scored again, but missed the kick to tie the game. Great match overall. Thanks to Vicki Hudson for referee coaching.

 

EDITOR’S NOTE: Technically a forfeit? Balderdash!  This still counts as a tie and you owe the society a beer. See you at the next meeting, Jen!

 

Date: 01/16/2016

All Blues 25 – California Women 10

Referee: Pescetti, David

 

Soggy Saturday made another return to the pitches this past weekend, but this time we were prepared with field turf! We played 3 20 minute periods. The first two thirds, were edged out by the All Blues scoring 2 tries in each. The third third was a completely different game. Cal turned it on as the All Blues fatigued scoring two tries within minutes of the kick off. After the stun faded from the All Blues, they were able to stabilize, playing staunch defense and stopped any further leaks in their defense.

 

 

Date: 01/16/2016

Aptos 10 – Mendocino 24

Referee: Bernstein, Bruce

 

Actually played in Ukiah due to rain out in Aptos. Very competitive 3rd Division match throughout where Aptos held Mend on many tackles preventing further scoring. Great scores by Mendo’s outside center scampering 60 meters & Aptos #8/Captain in a small whole in the try zone. Halftime score was 14-5. Dude’s theory of relativity once again prevailed: The team with relatively more players WINS.

Also great after party at Mendo Brewing Company & their Red Tail Ale & make your own burritos, making the 2 hour drive worth it.

 

 

Date: 01/16/2016

Berkeley B 19 – Baracus B 8

Referee: Rauscher, Eric

 

Bodner field in the overcast and drizzle. Perfect conditions. Well balanced teams. Baracus had a couple of it looked like sure tries (intercepted pass and streaking down the field for gold) but somehow Berkeley turned on their jet boots and not only caught up with but got the ball back due to lack of support. Had to call the second half short due to having to be off the field at four, but a good B side game.

 

 

Date: 01/16/2016

Chico St Women 17 – Oregon St Women 19

Referee: Richmond, Jeff

 

No rain but a muddy, beat-up pitch made this a game of possession. Both teams controlled their breakdowns well, developing multiple phases. I made a bit of allowance for the conditions when players lost their feet. Chico had a chance to win with 2 minutes remaining when their center broke through the Oregon St. defense and headed for in-goal from 30 m out. She attempted to dive and slide in for the try but the mud prevented a smooth entry, she grounded the ball a half meter short and knocked on.

 

Date: 01/16/2016

Colusa 57 – Google 12

Referee: Bryant, Lee

 

No report received

 

Date: 01/16/2016

Diablo 10 – Chico 19

Referee: Coppinger, John

 

A fun game for all played on my new favorite venue, Cal Maritime’s rugby pitch. Although the sides were fairly even, Chico went out to a 12-0 lead at half time thanks to the hard running ginger at center and the consistent support given by the Chico forwards. Both sides just missed scoring a try with a knock-on in-goal. Gaels came back in the second half to score two unconverted tries to cut the Chico lead to 2 points late, but Chico scored a converted try to put the match away 19-10.

 

Date: 01/16/2016

Fog 0 – Napa 101

Referee: MacDonald, Neil

 

The Napa “Wine Thieves” RFC ran rampant in the rain in San Francisco, maintaining momentum in contact and offloading out of tackles to the waves of support players that always seemed in just the right place at the right time.   With pace to burn outside, and great hands through the back line, Napa were unstoppable.

 

Date: 01/16/2016

Fresno 8 – EPA Razorbacks 60

Referee: Wilson, Dan

 

It really was a game for approximately 15 minutes of each half. In the first half, Fresno kept the ball in the forwards which kept the ball in their hands. However, Fresno could not get past EPA’s 22 and they had to settle for penalty kicks, only making one in the 5th minute. As soon as EPA actually kept ball in hand for more than two possessions, they scored, and scored, and scored. They scored tries in the 8th, 19th, 30th, 36th and 39th minute. Many of EPA’s tries came off of Fresno mistakes, losing the ball, fatigue and just plain bad tackling. Halftime score: Fresno 3 – EPA 33

 

At the start of the second half, Fresno showed life with some ball retention and scored a team effort, unconverted try in the 15th minute. Unfortunately, you could tell that fatigue was starting and the majority of the Fresno team wasn’t enjoying trying to tackle EPA’s power and speed. On the other side, EPA was just starting to enjoy the ball by running at the defense and creating textbook support passes. They scored tries in the 20th, 29th, 32nd, 35th and 38th minute. In the end, the score was purely indicative of the game. Final score: Fresno 8 – EPA 60.

 

Date: 01/16/2016

Fresno B 0 – EPA Razorbacks B 62

Referee: Tuisavalalo, Rodney

 

Both teams decided to play 20 minute halves with 10 men a side. The Razorbacks continued to dominate in all facets of the game. Scrums were uncontested, but the set plays by the Razorbacks off of those scrums were well run and calculated. Fresno had some good moments in the game with strong running and intermittent defensive prowess. However, their inexperience with several new players this year was no match for the visiting team.

For future B games, I would encourage teams to front 15 men a side. Sure the format is similar, and the fundamentals are the same in both instances, but in order for developmental players to truly understand the concept of 15’s rugby then they must field the correct numbers.

 

Date: 01/16/2016

Modesto 21 – SiliconValley 24

Referee: Jury, Jeff

 

A beautiful day and ride to and from Fresno that day. The game was both team’s first game of the season, so we all got reacquainted with the Law book. I have to say, I got tired of my whistle. But, to their credit, neither team made the same mistake twice. Play was fair. First half ended with Silicon Valley scoring an unconverted Try, none for Modesto. All that “learning” really paid off in the second half with some space, nice running angles and some good tackles. Final score Modesto 21 Silicon Valley 24.

 

Date: 01/16/2016

Sacramento Blackhawks 3 – Santa Rosa 13

Referee: Akroyd, Phil

 

No report received

 

Date: 01/16/2016

Sacramento Lions 15 – SFGG 13

Referee: Tucker, Chris

 

A mud-fest between two competitive teams, that ultimately hinged on the kicking — or lack thereof — from both sides. Highlight for me was a try scored at my feet by the GG flanker. Lions had a defensive ruck near the goal line, which Gate shoved hard, moving it backwards towards the line. The ball rolled onto the line, at which point I called “Ball In Goal, Ruck ended!”. The Lions looked at it, while the attacking flanker dived round the outside to ground it on the line. The eminently kickable conversion missed, ultimately forming the difference between the two teams.

 

 

Date: 01/16/2016

San Jose 10 – Life West 71

Referee: van Staden, JC

 

Long awaiting rain, and a rough few days almost made me pray for a lot of rain so the game can be canceled and I can go home and feel sorry for myself….. nah!!!

Strap on your boots chap, cause Life have a score to settle with you, and like you have always said, and preached, “beat them on the score board boy’s!”, and so they did.

Ever saw a team running a ref into the ground? Well, if you were not at this game, you would have missed it, sorry. If you were, you would have seen rugby on a level that was hard to report, retold, or even report on.

 

Every trick in the book were played, from left step, to blind side blocking, penalty milking, to law-book rewriting, bring it on it was on that field.

First half, marked by about a point scored per min played, by the team that only hold 20% of all ball and field possession. Seahawks, done the work, to take Life back in their 22, for nothing less than 5 tries of more than 80m sprint turn-over tries in the first 40 min, leaving us with 6 tries, 4 converted and 38 to 0 going into the second half.

 

Second have was nothing less, and the moment I thought I read the play good enough to lead the play, cheat and run short cut, Seahawks intercept, which left the ref, once again on a 70 m, turn around dash to award the try. Somewhere I was thinking they have done that with intention just to drive in the dagger, but the Hawks got rewarded with a very hard earned try, just to keep their heads up. Taking nothing away from Life, that used up their entire second string, and merely missed the 80 mark by a ball hog or 2 still cranked out a total of 71 points for the day.

 

After refereed the same team last season, 3 reds, 3 yellows, with about 70% of the same players, it was a pleasure doing this game, with less than 10 penalties an half, and a show case of ball swinging by the back-line, lead by the captain. The maturity in this team have grown with leaps and bounces, to something rugby can be proud of. Thanks guys, it was a pleasure. And point taken, I got my spanking on that scoreboard 😉

 

 

Date: 01/16/2016

San Jose B 41 – Life West B 10

Referee: Pohlman, John

 

Life and San Jose played two 25 minute halves for their second side match. Life dominated possession and finished most opportunities. Both teams used a lot of the second side as subs for the first side game this led to the shorten halves.

Both teams played hard and clean rugby. No problems.

San Jose played at Independence High School about 15 minutes from my house in Fremont. Nice field, real grass and close to a regulation side pitch.

 

 

Date: 01/16/2016

San Jose Women 0 – Life West Women 88

Referee: Freitas, Larry

 

I arrived at the new pitch that the San Jose Seahawks have secured for the 2016 season, on the Independence High School campus, as some of the men’s team were lining the pitch and putting up the goal posts. I checked the field and no gopher holes! The grass surface was firmer than what I expected after the recent rains. The first half started under threatening skies, which did produce some off and on showers. San Jose forfeited the game as they only had 13 players, but borrowed a few of Life’s players to have a game. Life was able to rack up 48 points in the first half, the first try just three minutes into the match, scoring seven tries and a penalty goal overall. Megan Foster, ex of Chico State, is their flyhalf and kicker, and she was successful in converting five tries and potting the goal, and would add to her points tally with her own try.

The second half was much like the first, with the last try scored four minutes from no side, and with a prop playing for San Jose with no prior experience, uncontested scrums.

San Jose should have a full squad and subs soon enough, with some of their players unavailable until February, and Laura Pelton, their captain, also informed me that quite a few of their players, Navy personnel who were stationed at the Post Graduate school in Monterey, had been transferred elsewhere. Life should be very competitive when it comes to playing their matches with San Francisco and Sacramento. They are a very talented and experienced team and I wouldn’t be surprised if they finish first in the table when April comes around.

 

 

Date: 01/16/2016

Santa Clara Univ WR 22 – UC Santa Cruz WR 22

Referee: Hinkin, James

 

Welcome to 2016!   My first match of the new year and I was determined to start the year off well.   Santa Clara women against the Banana Slugs of UCSC.   So how did I start the year? With a tie.

 

I guess beer is on me.

 

The game itself was a barn burner – everything I or the crowd could have wanted. The teams were trading tries back and forth the entire match with neither side gaining ascendency.     UCSC scored first yet Santa Clara was undaunted and responded with their own score to set the crowd afire – converted (hooray!) – to take their first lead of the day.   More back and forth rugby followed and UCSC responded before the halftime whistle and converted from under the posts (hooray!) to make the score at the break 12-7 to the visitors.

 

The second half was a tale of enterprising rugby and poor goal kicking.   Santa Clara was determined not to let down the crowd and shot out of the gate to score a try and tie the match.     From then on the game was in the balance as UCSC scored to retake the lead followed by the Broncos answering and tying the score.   Rinse and repeat.   With both sides missing conversions from rather simple angles it seemed that if anyone could convert it would be the difference.   Inevitably, the ladies ran out of time and the final whistle blew with honors even.   Good game from both sides.

 

Date: 01/16/2016

Santa Clara B 26 – Cal Maritime B 12

Referee: Hinkin, James

 

The B-Ballers for Santa Clara and Cal Maritime were pumped up after a hard hitting and exciting A side match and were eager to take the field to prove to Coach Hiatt and Coach Keeler that they belonged in the top squads.   Santa Clara used to power of the crowd and some nifty rugby to jump out to a 7-0 lead before Cal Maritime responded with a patient buildup topped off with a kick and chase that saw one player from each team diving for a bouncing ball in the try zone.   Well, our balls aren’t round so Fate stuck a finger in to nudge it towards the Cal Maritime player who was able to ground it just ahead of the defender.   With the difficult conversion missed the score stood at 7-5. At this point the game settled into a series of scrums as wet, muddy conditions produced a slick ball nearly impossible to catch.

 

Wait, what?   Wet? It has barely sprinkled all day.   Muddy? Santa Clara plays on turf. I guess both sides had some early season jitters and need to do a little more handling work.   The scrums, after a couple of penalties and free kicks, settled down and were a true contest, but the constant need for them slowed the game down. Late in the half there was a Santa Clara kick and chase into the try zone and the race was clearly won by Cal Maritime yet Fate was feeling a little whimsical and nudged the bouncing ball into an awkward hop that evaded everyone until a Santa Clara chaser fell on the ball to score.     The half ended 14-5 to Santa Clara.

 

The second half was nearly a carbon copy of the first with both sides trying to play enterprising rugby but the flow of the match was interrupted by handling errors.   Not to say that there wasn’t some really good stuff. Poaches, defense, running angles, passes – these are both well coached teams and they showed it.   A little more concentration and precision with the hands and this is a top class barn burner.   That being said, Santa Clara put up 2 tries (one converted) to 1 from the Keelhaulers to finish out the match 26-12.   A good time was had by all.

Date: 01/16/2016

Santa Rosa JC 10 – St. Mary’s College C 28

Referee: Bertolone, Cary

 

The game was played at St. Marys. It was raining pretty hard throughout and the field was a muddy bog. Everyone had a good time and the game was fairly even most of the time. St. Marys scored two tries in each half and converted all four (good kicker) while Santa Rosa scored one try in each half without making their kicks; hence, the score of 28-10. After the final whistle, most of the players made skidding dives through the mud on the 50 meter line, I guess because they were not muddy enough from the game itself. Great camaraderie and fun to ref them.

 

Date: 01/16/2016

Vacaville 34 – Sacramento Capitals 30

Referee: Boyer, Rich

 

It’s nice to have a game go on despite rain! Of course, the all weather pitch on which host Vacaville plays had a lot to do with it, and, to be fair, rain ceased at match time. Sacramento Caps travelled with numbers; Vacaville had fewer. Vacaville struck first with a penalty kick, but momentum shifted back to Caps through good phases of forward play and a lightening quick try by the fullback which, combined with a penalty kick, to result in a score of 10-3, Caps. The try was set up by an intercept by Ryan Koewler, center. Momentum was then snatched by Vacaville with an intercept try by the fullback, and back and forth and so on. Vacaville scored on a penalty advantage chip kick deep in Caps territory via a wicked bounce and great chase. This was followed by good forward pick and drives which resulted in another score to Vacaville.   The second half saw Sacramento come out strong and on fire.   They tied the score 24 all on a great open field run that resulted in a try by Koewler, followed by a pick and drive try by flanker Seth. Then captain Mike Dopson, who was perfect on kicks all day, converted two more penalty kicks. 30-24 Caps. Momentum then favored Vacaville with the Caps often on the back foot. Pressure resulted in a try, followed by a penalty kick by captain Matt, who, like his counterpart, was perfect on kicks all day. The Caps rallied but time expired as the ball was knocked on. A good match played by two competitive teams with good technique and game plans.

 

This Week’s Photo

Welcome to El Niño. A snapshot of this Saturday’s forecasted weather map.

Rain Map

Hail, Pelicus!

For the Senate

Pelicus Pedem Referre

Pelicus Festivus

HAIL PELICUS!

 

Pelicus Festivus

 

We here at the editorial board of Hail Pelicus would like to wish everyone a Happy (insert holiday here – or not).   Ever since humans first started to look around and think “what’s is all about, really?” there have been midwinter festivals to hasten the end of the darkness that is taking over the world and bring the sun back. Surprisingly enough, it worked every time.   Apparently those old druids and shamans knew a thing or two about Ancient Rites From The Dawn Of Time.   These traditions have continued throughout history and have now evolved into all of our modern late December holidays.

 

With the rugby season preliminaries winding to a close teams are polishing up their set pieces and looking forward to a season of rugby come the new year.   2016 promises to be an exciting and fun filled year as divisions have been shuffled and a new men’s club 4th division has emerged. Supersites will be in their second year with lessons learned and more ambitious plans.   The Northern California Pelicans Mens and Womens teams will be in their second year of revival and have a slate of matches lined up. It is a good time in Pelicanland.

 

Hailing Pelicus

 

For those of you looking for a holiday gift for the rugger in your life we here at Hail Pelicus are proud to announce that the last 2 years of newsletters have been bound together for publication as “Hailing Pelicus” a coffee table book just in time for Christmas.   Relive all the warmth, humor and introspection of the introductory comments while recalling past matches through the eyes of the referees.   Full color photographs and large typeface allow even front row forwards to enjoy this gift.   All proceeds, minus a discreet editorial fee, will go to Pelican Charities, a non-profit supporting good works in the community.

 

How do I get this gift, I hear you ask?   Simple!   To order a copy approach a referee before a match and give him or her $60, plus $20 handling fee plus $20 for shipping.   For best results donations should be in cash and be done in full view of the opposition to show them your support for Pelican Charities.   Who knows? You may even shame them into matching or even bettering your donation.   If you don’t have a match before the New Year don’t worry as we will continue to accept orders while supplies last.   That means you can continue to order copies at all of your matches throughout 2016 and beyond.  Do it for the kiddies.

 

Pelicus Scriptoris speaks

 

The Rugby Republic http://www.therugbyrepublic.com/ is a California based rugby news site created and edited by Ahmad Bahrami out of Fresno.   He recently interviewed my predecessor Dr Bruce Carter. It is a good read and well worth the time.   It can be found here: http://www.therugbyrepublic.com/blog/2015/11/6/thank-you-sira-wrap-on-a-great-career

 

Eagle 7s Flying High

 

The World 7s series has started up again and the USA Eagles looked to improve on what has traditionally been a poor start to the 7s season.   We were the in-form team at the end of last season with a dominant Cup win at the London 7s followed by Olympic Qualification.   The big question was if Mike Friday and his staff could keep the momentum going after several months off?   Could he reintroduce players who participated in the World Cup smoothly?   Would these players be 7s ready or need more time to switch gears?   After 2 legs, Dubai and Cape Town, the answers are yes, yes and no, and maybe.   The US is still playing at an elite level getting to the cup quarterfinal in both tournaments while placing 3rd and 5th respectively and maintaining 3rd place in the World Sevens Series standings.   After never having beaten them before the US now has a 3 match winning streak against New Zealand.   Let me repeat that.

 

The US has a 3 match winning streak against the New Zealand All Blacks.

 

There is no finer indication that we have arrived.   Yes, the kiwi machine had some injuries but that is what elite teams do: they take the chance given and exploit any weakness.   Let’s not kid ourselves – New Zealand will reload for the next tournament and will remain a force and a favorite to win the series and a gold medal, but this may be the final mental hurdle we had to overcome.   Core team status? Check.   Consistent Cup round appearances? Check.   Cup victory?   Check. The ability to beat EVERY team on the circuit? Check.

 

I can’t wait for the Olympics.

 

Things that make you go “hmmmm?”

 

Question: Why does world rugby’s World Sevens Series feel the need to put “7s” after every country’s name?   USA 7s, England 7s, New Zealand 7s… This is the 7s series – isn’t it obvious?

 

Ask A Pelican

 

Yes, it’s time for this week’s installment of “Ask A Pelican”, the widely loved Q and A session with Hail Pelicus.   This week’s question comes from Rich Uncle Pennybags of Atlantic City, NJ, who asks:

 

“Do referees get paid?”

 

Thank you for your question, Mr Pennybags and the short answer is yes, referees do in fact get paid.   This was a change in policy in the NCRRS enacted a couple of years ago in response to other organizations both locally and around the country paying their referees and it was felt that we would lose the services of younger refs to these paid matches.   There was, of course, quite a lot of debate over this issue as many argued that we need to keep up with the times while more traditional referees held out that we should referee for the love of the game and since the players weren’t being paid neither should we.

 

The most telling argument, although not a decisive one, came from the observation that as Pelicans we were duty bound not to accept money for our services because there is no room in the game for a professional fowl.

 

Exchange Notes

 

David Pescetti and Pete Smith went on our East Midlands Exchange this time around. Below is David’s report.

 

I arrived into London on an all too typical British afternoon: dreary, muggy, and pleasantly rainy. My first host was the wonderful couple of David and Annie Roberts, who live in Leighton Buzzard (I had to look it up too). Leighton Buzzard is a quaint town 45 miles to the north of London. On the way there we were told that the majority of matches, even the premier matches, were played at the same time. This seems very odd because all the people playing club rugby don’t have the opportunity to watch their favorite teams play on Saturday.

David Annie Roberts

Thursday was spent recovery and adjusting as best I could with an introduction course to their homemade spirits. I have at minimum come away learning a lot about preserves, not of the jelly variety. Friday we went to a local pub and spent the evening what they called “going to a session”. This was a group of people in a pub singing songs, folk and contemporary. I knew a few of the songs, thank you Metallica! They all seemed surprised when a young guy was singing along to an old folk song. Onto the weekend matches!

Saturday I was driven to Northampton where I had Northampton School for Boys vs Leicester Grammar. The day was fresh despite the muggy weather. I was very happy to feel the rain. It was a tale of two halves. The first half was dominated by the fresh Northamptonion boy legs. In typical English fashion it was a forward heavy game and after sucking the defenses in they would spin it out wide. They were able to force a 12 to 0 lead at the half. However the second half was equally if not more physical than the first. Leicester, within the first 10 minutes of the second half, had managed to respond and make it a 12 to 5 game. Unexplainably in the middle of the second half a Leicester prop socked a Northampton boy in the head. He claimed to have been punched first but I did not see any such initial strike upon video review. . It was a shame that he chose to take such action and for it I sent him off. Leicester was apply pressure on Northampton and would have threatened much longer had they been at full strength for the remaining of the match. The match ended with the score Northampton 12 – Leicester 5.

After the match I traveled up to Kittering Rugby Club for a pint and to drop off a Washington DC referee, Mike O’Brian, for his match. We stopped for a pint within their clubhouse and enjoyed atmosphere that is club rugby in the UK. My driver, thanks Jon!, and I stayed to watch a bit of Mike’s game and the other men’s match occurring one pitch over. During our viewing of Mike’s match he also sent a player off for striking. Needless to say the Yanks were seeing red that day! The evening was spent conditioning and making homemade pizzas in the wood fire oven my hosts have in their back yard.

On Sunday I was taken to Bedford to referee Bedford rugby club U15s vs Rutheford U15s. It was a fun match to referee, despite the old school no lifting/supporting at the lineout. The difference in play style is very different at the U15 level than at the high school level. They play a much wider game, with the ball being spun to gain space and use their athleticism to gain ground. Bedford was clearly the better side on this day. Bedford scored three times in the first half and twice in the second. Rutheford was only able to score once within the 60 minute match. Unfortunately we had a brief stoppage for a suspected broken collar bone. Twas but a scratch!

Monday we traveled to back to Huntingdon to partake in the East Midlands referee meeting. Their meetings a structured very similarly to ours, covering similar topics. Many good laughs were had while covering the new lineout vs maul management. Tuesday I traveled down to London to visit the Museum of Natural History and British Museum. After spending a few hours getting lost within the wonders that the English managed to accumulate, I went and had drinks with a friend in Soho before hopping back on the train back up to Leighton Buzzard.

Wednesday I traveled back up to Northampton for a match between Northampton University vs Banbury. Unfortunately this match ended before it got started. Within the first twenty minutes of this wet and cold match we have a major injury. A player broke his leg, while it wasn’t a compound fracture, it was close. The most surprising thing was when we called 999 they said they would not send out an ambulance because it wasn’t an emergency. Talk about carry on! I sent both teams off to their respective locker rooms because we had reached 15 minutes of waiting. We then called the non-emergency line, 111, and they sent out a paramedic, who as soon as she saw the injury said, “Yup we need an ambulance.” By this point it was getting too dark to finish the match, and the game had to be abandoned. It was quite a shame because it was shaping up to be a well contested match in the mud.

After this match I said adieu to my Leighton Buzzard hosts David and Annie. I was whisked away my new home in the north, a lovely town called Stamford. Now that’s Stamford with an M not an N, as my host Andy put it. That night we had the pleasure of going to Cambridge and watching them play Crawshay, a traveling side from South Wales. Despite having Jamie Roberts, the 77 capped Wales center, the Cambridge team only managed to pull ahead of Crawshay in the closing minutes of the second half. Before that, Cambridge, was down 13 – 19. Managing to successfully kick the go ahead conversion, Cambridge went up 20 – 19, and that is how the match ended. They will have to play at a level not displayed that night if they wish to beat Oxford in the Varsity match coming up.

Thursday we spent a few hours in Cambridge seeing the colleges and some of the sights. After spending a lazy hour on the English version of a gondola, ‘punts’ they called them, I headed off to another match. Thursday’s fixture was at Bedford School when they played Harrow school. The Harry Potter-esque grounds were quite a sight to see, especially with seven matches going on at the same time. The match was a fast paced match with everyone thinking they are the next Pocock, McCaw, or Hooper. This nail biter went down to the wire with Bedford eking out the win with a score of 17 to Harrow’s 10. I learned a lot about my own chatter during this match. It turns out I shut down my talking much sooner than ten minutes into the match. I will have to address and work on being vocal for longer.

Friday we woke up too early, but the destination was right proper. Arriving at the Hook Norton Brewery right and early to get our day started. The brewery is quite different to the ones I’ve visited in the states. It was the equivalent of a craftsman home, but a brewery. They still used a steam engine to power the brewery, sometimes. It was surprising to learn that they use the same yeast strain for all their beers. After our tour we got a healthy helping of our choice of their fare. They had a much larger variety of beer than I expected, everything from a dark stout to an American style IPA. They had this amazing team of horses which they would deliver kegs fresh to their doorstep. My phone ate the pictures of this part of my trip L

After getting good and full on delicious beer at the brewery we traveled onto Blenheim Palace. This place is a legit palace. Being the birthplace of Sir Winston Churchill didn’t hurt either. This estate looks like it could have housed the Queen and I would have believed them, it was that grand.

Saturday I traveled to Dunstable to referee their third team. However, when I arrived, there was no team to be found. I ended up running touch for their first team match versus the undefeated Oundle. Despite Dunstable being a mid-tier team they put a very good showing against the top of the table. Oundle started off very sluggish only managing one of everything: a try, conversion, and a penalty kick. On the other hand Dunstable started off with a bang! They put up three tries, two converted, in the first half giving them a 19 – 10 lead at the half. The second half started with Oundle waking up, scoring a converted try to bring their deficit to 2 points. After a pair of penalty kicks by both sides we were left with Dunstable 22 and Oundle 20 with twenty minutes left. With points coming at a premium Dunstable kicked another penalty kick to go up by 5. Oundle could see their undefeated season begin to slip away. But they would not go away lightly. With 8 minutes left in the match Oundle was able to force a try into the corner to tie up the match. This invigorated their exhausted team. Pressure mounted. Finally, with only a few minutes left Dunstable fell. Oundle managed to score the go ahead try to win them the match. It was a great match to be a part of. Dunstable 25 – Oundle 30.

Saturday ended with a few pints around Stamford capped off with a fiery Indian curry to stew overnight in my belly.

Sunday, feeling the pains of my questionable late night culinary dinner choices, got into a car and struggled to make it to the airport.

I want to thank Paul Bretz and the rest of the board for allowing me the opportunity to go on such a wonderful adventure!

Disciplinary Action Reporting – Process for reporting incidents

 

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

  1. Copy the link and have it available on your smartphone.  If you have an Iphone add the link to your home screen.
  2. When needed fill it out and click submit.  The discipline chair of the competition you refereed will receive a notification about the incident.
  3. He/she may contact you latter for more details.

 

On To The Game Reports!

 

Date: 12/05/2015

Cal Maritime 21 – Alumni 37

Referee: Bretz, Paul

 

Enjoyable match to be part of. All parties agreed that we would start and restart the match with 15 on 15. Everyone agreed. How is it then that at one point and time Alumni had 19 players on the field?

 

Nevertheless played in good spirits.

 

Date: 12/05/2015

CSU Monterey Bay WR 22 – UC Santa Cruz Women 15

Referee: Freitas, Larry

 

The game had an early start because UCSC had to get back to campus to study for finals. I arrived at the pitch at the former Fort Ord to find both teams warming up, and indeed they needed to with my car’s thermometer registering 48F and the skies partly cloudy. The screen on the fence to the east had been taken down since last I officiated a match there, and with clear skies one could see the Gabilan Range off the to east, offering a great view. The kickoff was at 10:05, and about five minutes later UCSC scored what was to be the first of three unconverted tries in the half. This is a rebuild year for UCSC, and they had brought nearly thirty players, so the side taking the pitch for the first half was the more experienced of the two, and it showed as they were able to answer a Monterey Bay try with another two, and a few players who got little time to play last year were getting a chance to show what they could do. The Otter try was fashioned after a long run by their full back from half way, only to be tackled short of the line and knocking on. The subsequent scrum five found the Banana Slug scrum half hounded enough by her opposite number to make a bad pass to the right wing in goal, who then fly-hacked the ball back toward where the base of the scrum was. Monterey’s scrum half, Sabrina Bacaungan, all of 5’1” tall I would say, fell on the ball about a meter short of the line, and as I shouted at her to release the ball, she passed it off to a teammate who then dove into the in goal for their first try of the match, making the score 5-5 temporarily.   Things were starting to warm up, literally and figuratively.

In the second half UCSC had replaced a number of players with first year players, and there was much scruffy play, as both teams were showing that some weren’t completely aware of the laws of the game. The play did flow enough in that I tried to play as much advantage as possible to the non-offending side. CSUMB were able to score three tries in the half and take the lead and hold it in the last sixteen minutes of play. The first try was from a scrum five when Bacaungan scooped a ball up at her number 8’s feet and darted past defenders to touchdown. The tying score was also CSUMB’s Bacaungan’s, anticipating and intercepting a pass on Monterey’s own ten meter line after UCSC won ruck ball, and outpacing a few UCSC players to score near the posts. I didn’t think she’d make it as I chased play, but a quick change of direction by glancing back paid off, shaking off the last would-be tackler to cross the line. She was soon substituted with another player, getting an ovation from supporters. Another try some ten minutes later also came from some nifty running by CSUMB’s back division. That try was right under the posts, and the conversion was good to give them a seven point lead. The students on the touchlines, some of whom were of the men’s team waiting to train post game, and Monterey’s subs, couldn’t have been more excited, when those last two tries were scored, and when I whistled for no side. This was CSUMB Women’s first win after the team was resurrected last year. Their coach, Alena Porte, should be proud. Kevin Miske, UCSC’s coach, is also hopeful that his new players are going to improve and have a good year.   Regarding Sabrina Bacaungan, I only can say that for a player new to the game she has some instincts to run with the ball in hand that can’t be coached or learned. She was definitely “Woman of the Match.”

 

Date: 12/05/2015

Sacramento State 84 – UOP 12

Referee: Boyer, Rich

 

Sac St. came out strong, scoring a try within the first three minutes. UOP hit back quickly to level the score. But from then on it was pretty much one way traffic. Sac St. make multiple line breaks, backs being the beneficiaries of strong running exhibited by #5. Nick Weeder at ten managed the backs well and made many searing line breaks, scoring at least three tries. Isaiah at outside center filled in nicely and had a brace of tries. Credit to UOP, they never gave up or backed down. Led by captain Justin, their halfback, UOP made numerous breaks but failed to capitalize each time. Justin took quick tap penalties every time he could, getting Sac St. on the back foot. Outside center Jermaine tried to put the team on his back with very active defense and great running. But Sac St. were too dominant and won going away.

 

Date: 12/05/2015

Sacramento State B 12 – Sierra College 88

Referee: Richmond, Jeff

 

I’m sure tackling drills will be on the agenda for the next Hornet practice. Thanks to Mark Godfrey for helping out at AR.

 

Date: 12/05/2015

Solano 11 – Humboldt State 43

Referee: Bernstein, Bruce

 

Nice field & facilities like stadium seating at Solano CC in Fairfield. Both teams played a tight 1st half but Humboldt’s defense did not let up while Solano kicked a few balls to Humboldt’s strength –their back 3 who scored all tries except a real nice defensive steal & tap kick ahead by their scrumhalf who pounced on the ball before it left the barely 5 meter try zone. Humboldt’s scrum & lineouts were solid which gave them plenty of possession. Both teams should only play better since this was their 1st league match. Halftime score 26-8.

 

Date: 12/05/2015

South Bay Tournament

Referee: Makino, Ren

 

Was able to referee two matches that day. Had a great time meeting new referees as well as some players that I knew playing for Google. First game was Sacramento Capitals (88) – Silicon Valley (7). It was my first Men’s Club game and my first game that I refereed where one team dominated the other. Had one scrum during the match. The Sacramento Capitals’ 10 was a really nice guy. Silicon Valley was able to go scoreless with a lucky loose ball. I think the try scorer was new to the game so I was happy for him. Received some great feedback about positioning after the match. Second game was SJSU (19) – UCSB Frosh/Soph (0). It was my first men’s college match. This was a rookie match but there were some experienced players playing as well. Had a lot more work to do than the first game. Was helped a lot by the assistant referees. Also learned about how to slow down the game after penalties.

 

Date: 12/05/2015

South Bay Tournament 0

Referee: Pohlman, John

 

San Jose Seahawks hosted the South Bay Tournament this past Saturday at the Morgan Hill Sports Complex.   Six teams were broken into two pools. Silicon Valley lost to the Slugs from UC Santa Cruz in the opener. Sacramento Capitals then beat an undermanned Silicon Valley.   Sacramento won their pool with a win over UC Santa Cruz.

Google won the other bracket beating the host Seahawks and barely getting by San Jose State.

Sacramento won the tournament finishing off an overmatched but determined Google side.

Good run was had by all.

 

Date: 12/05/2015

St. Mary’s College 67 – Santa Rosa 7

Referee: Akroyd, Phil

 

Rosa came into the fixture with a couple of weeks of pre-season training, SMC had a couple of games under their belts and started their pre-season conditioning in September. It was only going one way.

 

The kick-off from SMC traveled about 8 meters in the air and dropped to the ground, then it rolled over the 10m line. Rosa hesitated, SMC picked it up on the bounce and ran in for the first try after about 10 seconds. And so it continued.

 

It could have been more if the field was drier but it was cutting up pretty well in the third game of the day.

 

Date: 12/05/2015

St. Mary’s College C 58 – Santa Clara B 7

Referee: Lew, Tim

 

On a soggy field at St Marys college, the SMC Cs took on Santa Clara B side to start the day. Each team traded tries to begin the game but it was St Mary’s the rest of the way. Santa Clara’s defensive first tackles were weak which allows SMC to use their ball skills. The deep three for SMC made most of the breaks. Also of note- there was 25+ scrums as a result of the wet ball.

 

Date: 12/12/2015

Cancer Awareness Tournament

Referee: Boyer, Rich

 

I managed to draw two Blackhawk matches in the finely run Blackhawk rugby tournament in Sacramento. Florin Reservoir Park has had some renovations and is in the best shape ever. First match saw Blackhawks II v. Life II. It was a physical match with Life playing a bit more cohesively. The Blackhawks hung tight, were solid in defense and had some really strong runs from Cali, but in the end were betrayed by errors. Life II hooker was noticeable in the loose and had some good runs and poaches. Life broke off a few long range tries and ended up victorious, 26-7.

 

The second match pitted Blackhawks v. Santa Rosa. The Blackhawks appeared to have the match in hand early as a result of strong forward play, but late intercept and penalty tries along with poor decisions resulted in a 26-14 win for Santa Rosa. Santa Rosa’s hooker played very well and made some well timed poaches while Blackhawks #5 was very strong with ball in hand.

 

Date: 12/12/2015

D3 Pre-Season KOT

Referee: Wilson, Giles

 

Napa had plenty of bodies and 3 marked fields; the goal posts were the last things to go up and if the teams would have arrived a little earlier then the 9am start could have worked. As it was the games went off a few minutes late, apart from that things ran very well.

 

I started with Marin vs South Valley – most players were getting their first game of the new season and this showed in the skills. In other areas some player were in mid-season form for “advising” the referee.

 

Next up Google and Aptos; both bringing some new players (more for Aptos than Google). Google made better use of space and Aptos paid the price but kept working and scored a couple of their own.

 

By the afternoon SF Fog and Google had lost some players to injury and elected a 7s game. Again google used space better.

 

In my final game Reno were worried about snow on Hwy 80 and Modesto had lost their coach to a significant injury – but they came for 3 games so why not 10s?

 

Date: 12/12/2015

D3 Pre-Season KOT

Referee: Bernstein, Bruce

 

Did 3 matches including the highlight match of my day Shasta barely squeaking by Napa’s 2nd side 19-17 with their kicker hitting two conversions & Napa’s only one.

Real good pre-season tourny for all who took part including my buddy Joe Silva who bought 5 raffle tickets & hit on 2 of them including the 1st one resulting in a tour of Buena Vista Winery; & got a bottle of good red wine form Napa.

They used a new field right by the toilets & picnic tables which was a better location then what they did last year for their late season tourny and their regular matches.

 

Date: 12/12/2015

D3 Pre-Season KOT

Referee: Pohlman, John

 

Napa Valley hosted a preseason kick off tournament this past weekend. I refereed four games which were 20 minutes halves. Beautiful day in Napa. Division three rugby is alive and well. Lots of good competitive games. Lots of good sportsmanship. Thanks to Pete Smith for organizing this tournament. These gathering bring back the tournaments from years ago. Fun competition, social activities with beers and food after. After all Saturday’s a rugby day.

 

Date: 12/12/2015

Diablo Gaels 25 – Chico 12

Referee: MacDonald, Neil

 

The Gaels met the Mighty Oaks in a pre-season match at Cal Maritime, set up as 4×20 minute playing periods. The Gaels opening the scoring early, with their fly half going over in the corner.   Rugby wasn’t often able to break out among the knock-ons, the most memorable of which occurred when a Chico player, having successfully crossed into the Gaels’ in-goal, heeded his team mates’ exhortations to take the ball in to the posts, only to drop it when he attempted to ground it. The Gales went over in the 33rd minute, under penalty advantage from Chico fringing, to take it to 10-0. Chico’s #4 went on a bullocking 70m run through and around defenders, and the kick went over to pull it back to 10-7. Rugby broke out in earnest from this point on, with direct running from Chico’s 9 and captain Kendo at 10, combining with much more attentive support running than in the first half. The Gaels on the other hand looked dangerous every time they put width on the ball and the pace of their back line will do more damage with a few fewer knock-ons as their season continues. Diablo went 15-7 up, only for Chico to score almost immediately from a wonderful series of offloads in contact to bring it back to 15-12. The last eight minutes were telling, with the Gaels running in two more scores to put the game away.

 

Date: 12/12/2015

Sacramento Amazons 10 – Life West Gladiatrix 51

Referee: Fenaroli, Steven

 

It was very helpful having Paul available for feedback and comments

 

EDITOR’S NOTE: Even more helpful would be a description of the game

 

Date: 12/12/2015

San Jose State 17 – San Jose Seahawks 12

Referee: Hinkin, James

 

A cold mid December day pitted the San Jose Seahawks against San Jose St in a friendly. The Seahawks put out a mixture of rookies and vets and the Spartans were not impressed, running out to a 5-0 in the first 20 minute period.   A game characterized by penalties that failed to find touch actually created more open play as the counters were on. The second half saw parity restored as the older, wiser Seahawks were able to match the young, fresh Spartans at 2 tries (1 conversion) apiece.   A good match for both sides as they both got a run out before finals/holidays and the Seahawks were able to talk to possible recruits for their future campaigns.

 

Date: 12/12/2015

San Jose State B 0 – Santa Rosa JC 12

Referee: Hinkin, James

 

A three legged event at San Jose St started off with Santa Rosa JC taking on the Seahawks B siders.   The youngsters proved too much for the rookie club men to handle, however as they ran out to a 12-0 lead on 2 tries (1 conversion).   On a day most notable for kickers missing touch at penalties, the match had far too many stoppages to really flow.   Knock ons, free kicks and penalties were a curse that only evaporated for short periods of running, flowing rugby.   The second 20 minute period was more balanced as the Seahawk rookies found their legs but neither side could claim any points.

 

 

This Week’s Photo

As this is the final HP of the year, I thought I would end with a joke.   Remember this the next time a member of the flock gives you two fingers.

5 Beers

 

Hail, Pelicus!

For the Senate

Pelicus Pedem Referre