A Deep Breath

HAIL PELICUS!

A Deep Breath

Not a whole lot went on last weekend but a whole lot is going on this weekend so we here at the editorial board are going to take a deep breath, relax, and celebrate Cinco De Mayo (or The Return Of The Fifth if you practice the dark side of the Jedi religion). Next week there will be your normal fun, witty and touching content that you have all grown to know and love. Now I’m off to the score to get more tequila. Oh yea, and here are the events to check out…

High School Championships

Will be held at the Stockton Soccer complex. As an aside, we really need to start playing at a rugby complex rather than a soccer complex. It is giving rugby a complex. The solution isn’t that complex.

9:00 De La Salle v Parkway on field 1
10:30 Danville v Jesuit on field 1
10:30 Lamorinda v Granite Bay on field 2
10:30 Sac PD Pal v Pleasanton Cavaliers on field 3
12:00 Sac PD Pal v Land Park HS on field 1
3:00 Bellarmine v Chico

USA Rugby CR 1 Playoffs

The Best of the West will meet at SFGG on Treasure Island this weekend as well, so you can see…

10:00 SFGG Women v Seattle Mudhens
12:00 Chico v Eugene
2:00 SGFF Men v ORSU
4:00 Sacramento Blackhawks v Tacoma

USA Rugby D1-A National Championship

For the 5th straight year St Mary’s will take on Life University. The game will be in St Mary’s Stadium in Moraga at 4:00. Life took the first meeting in 2013 but St Mary’s bounced back with consecutive championships in 2014 and 2015. Last year was a nail biter as Life pulled off a 24-20 victory, so with the series tied 2-2 expect a great match with no clear favorite. Except St Mary’s. They are definitely favored to win.

Varsity Cup Final

The Varsity Cup final will be played May 6th in our own backyard at Steven’s Stadium on the campus of Santa Clara University. The high noon showdown will be the winner of Penn St. vs Cal and Navy vs Arkansas State. For tickets and more information please go to www.varsitycup.us.

Banquet

Have you signed up yet for strapping on a free, high quality nosebag? Here are the details:

Good morning NCRRS Referees,

Thanks for providing your feedback related to the banquet date. The date to come and celebrate our accomplishments and season is set for Saturday May 13, We will be celebrating at Scott’s Seafood in Walnut Creek.

We need to get a headcount of participants and guests and we ask that you complete the following form by May 1: https://goo.gl/forms/y6axwPj9KNT9heJH3.

The form has a list of entree choices. We will have a no host bar set up and appetizers will be served from 6:15-7:00. Awards will be presented after the dinner. The society will be picking up the tab for referees. We ask that you pay for your guests prior to the event by using the PayPal link provided in the form. The link will also be available for access when you hit the “submit” button.

We look forward to seeing you all, dressed to impress, on Saturday May 13.

Regards,

Pelicus Iudex Pennipes

Disciplinary Action Reporting – Process For Reporting Incidents

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

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

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

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

On To The Game Reports!

Nope. Just you wait until next week.

This Week’s Photo

Representing about 37,042 years of rugby knowledge and experience, some of the flock decided to gather for lunch. Standing, L-R Pelicus Bellatoris Cognitoris , Pelicus Iudicialis Eunuchorum , Pelicus Saltus (Mike Malone, John Coppinger, Bryant Byrnes). Sitting L-R Pelicus Dixsonian, Pelicus Bunnicus, Rob “No Pelican Name” Hendrickson (Dixon Smith, Dave Williamson, Rob Hendrickson)

Hail, Pelicus!
For the Senate
Pelicus Pedem Referre

The Passing Of A Legend

HAIL PELICUS!

The Passing Of A Legend

Donal Walsh was one of the Patriarchs of the Northern California Referee Society and he recently passed away. He was Atlas, a Titan upon whose shoulders our whole world rested. I do not have the skill to write a sufficiently powerful obituary so I have called on my predecessor, Dr Bruce Carter, Pelicus Scriptoris, Dux Deux to rise to the occasion and he has with flying feathers. Here are his words:

From Dr Bruce Carter,

Donal Walsh died earlier this month.

Donal was a stalwart of our Society for many years, and those in Davis will have seen him on the touchline with flag in hand almost right up to the present.

He will be remembered for doing something that has proven exceedingly useful to many hundreds of thousands of people, including presumably everyone who reads this, and that can never be done again. How many of us will have that said about them?

Donal was the first person in the world to put the Laws of the Game into readable form. He was given the Denis Shanagher Award for these things, which is the USA Rugby Referee Hall of Fame by another name.

When I bought my first law book (1977), it was by mail order from the NCRRS. The society published essentially the only useable law book in the world, and the society was funded entirely from the profits.

Before Donal, the Laws were published by the RFU. Rulings and amendments were issued from time to time. The text of laws that were amended was not changed: the amendments and rulings were merely appended at the end. So, when you read a law, you then had to go through all of the rulings and amendments to see whether anything had been changed. And you had to go through all of them, covering many decades, because they were arranged chronologically, not by law.

These were hundreds of full-size pages, due to the fact that nothing was ever taken out. Learning the Laws of the Game was like learning the US Legal Code.

Donal got permission from the RFU to compile and edit it all into coherent form and for the Society to publish it in a paperback, pocket-size edition. I don’t believe we even paid royalties, because the RFU hadn’t been making anything from it.

A memorial service will be held in his honor this Sunday, April 30, at 1 PM at the Veteran’s Memorial Center at 203 East 14th Street, Davis.

I would suggest that any time someone reads the Laws, a thought should be spared for Donal Walsh.

Assigned Games

Teamwork and trust are essential in rugby. When you are put under pressure you expect your teammates to have your back.

This is not always the case.

Playoff Match Reports

It is playoff time again and many of us will be called on to adjudicate these matches. Please note that quite often matches will be listed by seeds, so the game will be something like Pacific #3 vs South #1 or Winner Match 3 vs Winner Match 1. When writing your report narrative please make sure you explicitly identify which team is which so that I can update the team names in our reporting section below. Many thanks to those who did playoff matches already who have made my life easier.

Disciplinary Action Reporting – Process For Reporting Incidents

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

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

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

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

On To The Game Reports!

Date: 04/22/2017
Boston Irish Wolfhounds 98 – White Plains 5
Referee: Zanarini, Tom
Location: Irish Cultural Center, Canton, MA

Saturday was a day designed for rugby. Weather wise, anyway. Cool air, soft ground, and cloud cover. You could play all day in weather like that. Good thing, because at the second half the #1 question was “Sir, how much time?” The match started well enough. Both teams came out firing. White Plains wasn’t at the level of BIW, but they seemed to be playing up a level. Halftime was 27-5. Unfortunately WP lost their two best assets who were #10 & #12. BIW didn’t take long to see the new holes open up and the scorecard started filling up. The long sprints and constant whistle for try made the match seem endless, but end it did. WP kept their spirits high throughout. Toward the end the WP hooker proclaimed, ‘hey we’re playing rugby. How bad can it be?’ Well said.

Date: 04/22/2017
Danville Varsity 17 – Granite Bay Varsity 3
Referee: Gordon, Preston

Granite Bay gave Danville a run for their money on a really nice Saturday morning in Danville. Things were pretty even in the first half, with Danville opting to take a (successful) shot at goal in the 11th minute and opening their account at 3-0. Lots of good defense followed, along with several silly knock-ons that seemed surprising at this stage of the season. In the 27th minute Danville scored a converted try to go up 10-0, which is how things stood at halftime.

The second half began in a similar way to the first, except that Granite Bay took the first points with a penalty goal at 14′ to come within 7 points at 10-3. Shortly after that, Danville’s #12 went out of his way to knock over a Granite Bay player who had just kicked ahead, thereby earning himself a 10 minute rest. Granite Bay was unable to capitalize on the advantage, however, and Danville made a break on the outside and scored another converted try just before they returned to a full complement of players. Their 17-3 lead withstood a number of Granite Bay attacks in the last 10 minutes of the match, and while the score flatters them somewhat, Danville deserved to win this game.

Thanks to Mike and Steve for being ARs, and good luck to both sides in the rest of the playoffs. I was happy to get 5.5 miles of rugby in on a great day (ARing in the JV match too), and even happier to meet someone from Danville who shot drone video of my match. If you get an opportunity to watch footage from that perspective, I highly recommend doing it. Here are the two halves of my game:
https://www.facebook.com/DanvilleOaks/videos/1413307718692450/
https://www.facebook.com/DanvilleOaks/videos/1413338888689333/

Date: 04/22/2017
Sacramento Capitals 27 – Sacramento Blackhawks 41
Referee: Boyer, Rich
AR: Barfels, Ed
AR: Anderson, Rich

Made the two hour plus drive through traffic to SFGG pitch to referee to sides local to Sacramento……This match was a tale of two halves….Blackhawks won the toss and elected to receive going into the wind. Caps kick off deep, Blackhawk receiver catches the kick ten meters from the try line, passes and an intercept try was scored by the Caps winger within the first 20 seconds. Caps continued to put pressure on and scored off a lineout maul. The Blackhawks utilized a nice pick and drive phase and scored to make it 12-5. Caps added a penalty kick to enter the half leading 15-5. The Blackhawks revised their gameplan and came out a new team in the second half. They began relying on their forwards on second and third phase ruck ball, yet the Caps would not break. The Caps looked to score from 5 yards out off ruck ball but the Blackhawk wing reversed fortunes with 95 meter intercept try. Caps were hard done by some handling errors but never waivered in their tackling. Blackhawks scored off good pick and go phases to pad their lead 24-15, but the Caps responded by punching the ball downfield, with continual pressure on the Blackhawks, then took a quick tap penalty five meters out to spin the ball to the wing for an unconverted try. 24-20 and a tight game. The fourth quarter saw Blackhawk ascendancy through an increased sense of urgency at the rucks, good ballhandling and straightforward running to increase the score to 29-20. The Caps responded as they had all game long with prolonged phases, swung the ball wide within the Blackhawks 22 only to be undone by another long range intercept try. One more Blackhawk forwards score seemed to ice the game, but the Caps were awarded a try near the death to narrow the score. The difference in the final score would be the two intercept tries. Huge thanks to ARs Ed Barfels and the newly emerged Rich Anderson as well as to John Coppinger.

Date: 04/22/2017
SFGG Women 28 – Sacramento Amazons 0
Referee: Hettermann, Matt

NCRFU Women’s D2 Final: Amazons notified SFGG that they were forfeiting at 10PM on Friday night.

Date: 04/22/2017
Lindenwood 95 Our Lady of Perpetual Nothingness School Of Ennui 7
Referee: Bryant, Lee

No report received

Date: 04/22/2017
Stanford 68 – University of Arizona 15
Referee: Pescetti, David

Stanford Cardinal faced off against the University of Arizona Wildcats.

This match was all Stanford seeing Cardinal, eyyy, all match long, but being very even keeled about it. Scoring 6 Tries in each half. Only 3 of their 12 tries were scored by their forwards meaning they played with speed in the backline used utilized their skills to fly by the Wildcat defense. Arizona was able to punch in for three scores of their own, but inevitably fell to the superior Stanford firepower.

Date: 04/23/2017
Pope Francis Rugby Tournament 0 – Jesuit 7’s 0
Referee: Hinkin, James
Referee: Lane, John
Referee: Stockton, Andrew
Referee: Bretz, Liam
Referee: Mulholland, Pat/Matt

8 Jesuit schools descended on Santa Clara’s Seven’s Stadium (formerly Buck Shaw) for a fine weekend of 7s. Host Santa Clara welcomed Gonzaga, St. Joseph’s, Loyola of New Orleans, Notre Dame, Boston College, University of San Francisco and Wheeling Jesuit to a top class, well run 7s event on a pitch to die for. John Lane, Andrew Stockton, Liam Bretz, and Pat/Matt Mulholland were there to make sure everyone behaved and Sunday morning all of the players attended mass to reinforce the message.

The matches were contested hard and the play was fast. The teams sorted themselves out with the occasional lob sided match on Saturday and set up a series of Sunday matches that were all barn burners. Teams exchanged tries and only pulled away with full time efforts in a series of exciting rugby games. The organizer, Andy Schatzman, got his dream final as Boston College, featuring his son Danny as a try scoring machine, faced off against his alma mater Santa Clara. The local lads were too much for the East Coasters as they pulled away with a 28-12 victory and the Cup while coach Paul Keeler stood stoically on the sidelines watching. A fantastic event and one that I hope continues on.

Date: 04/23/2017
University of Arizona 24 – Washington State 34
Referee: Gordon, Preston

The women’s D1 consolation final at Stanford saw University of Arizona (home) playing Washington State (away) in front of a decent crowd at Steuber Rugby Stadium. Both teams played their hearts out in this game, which featured lots of breakaways, great defense, several turnovers, and a fairly low penalty count. WSU made an early attack that went most of the length of the field, with their ball carrier tackled ~8m short of the goal line. Unfortunately one of the arriving Arizona players didn’t take heed of my “ruck” call, from very close by, and went in from the side to kill the ball. Given the field position and the deliberate infringement, she went to the sin bin despite how early in the match it was. For the remainder of the half things were pretty even. In the 36th minute, with the score tied at 10-10, WSU’s #17 tackled an Arizona player above the shoulder line, leading to a yellow card for her team.

By the middle of the second half, Arizona scored two more tries had 24 points on the board. Washington State stayed with them, however, and managed to take a 10-point lead at 34-24 by the 73rd minute. At that point, I saw their #17 lash out by kicking an Arizona player who had run into her a little bit late. This warranted a second yellow card for her foul play, and thus a red. Arizona increased the tempo for the remaining time in the match but ultimately couldn’t get another score.

It was a pleasure to referee this very close, entertaining game, helped by David Pescetti ARing on one side and Amber, a very capable Arizona substitute player, on the other (unfortunately, he was the only AR available for this game – thanks for sticking around!). I also got to catch up with 2 of the Arizona coaches with whom I used to play in Tucson. And 6.25 miles of rugby, including ARing for Lee’s track meet, was a great time on a sunny afternoon.

Date: 04/23/2017
Tulane 15 – Kennesaw State 21
Referee: Pescetti, David

The D2 Spring Championship pitted Tulane vs Kennesaw State University in a southern battle to be the spring belle.

This match was incredibly even and nail-bitingly close, the way a finals should be. Tulane jumped out to a 12 – 0 in the first half employing the Italian defense and intercepting an ill fated pass and sprinting in for the try. But before the first half closed KSU managed to close the gap by scoring their own converted try and narrowing the gap to a mere 5 points.

In the second half Kennesaw managed to narrowly take the lead during an extended push midway through the second half. The slim 2 point KSU lasted 8 minutes before Tulane regained the lead after a Kennesaw penalty and successfully making a penalty kick. With 15 minutes remaining in the match Tulane lead by singular point, 15 – 14.

Under 5 to go. Kennesaw is pinned within their own 22 and had control of a scrum. They won the ball, spun it wide, and their speed, grit, and want to break two tackles allowed them to run the go ahead try. This sealed their victory and move onto the National Finals. Congratulations to both teams for an incredibly hard fought game.

Date: 04/23/2017
Trump University 0 – Unseen University 103
Referee: Bryant, Lee

Stanford vs. Lindenwood

(EDITOR’S NOTE: That’s nice, but who is who? Who won?)

This Week’s Photo

Donal Walsh receiving the Denis Shanagher Award. Legends came out to congratulate him, L-R Bryan Porter, Keith Seaber, Donal Walsh, Peter Watson, Don Reordan, Don Morrison

Hail, Pelicus!
For the Senate
Pelicus Pedem Referre

Oh, Canada?

HAIL PELICUS!

Oh Canada?

The USA 7s team continues to improve as they made the Cup Final in Singapore and they accomplished this by doing the impossible: they beat Fiji in a game where they made 0 tackles. Yes, zero. None. Saiva. Who does that? Well, apparently we do. We were awesome on the restarts and retained all of them – both ours and theirs. We had possession for what seemed liked 90% of the match. We retained possession until we scored or the few times we turned it over. How do I know we only turned the ball over a couple of times? Because every time we did, Fiji picked up the ball and scored.

That was the pattern of the game. The USA had possession and worked the ball back and forth probing for openings. This either ended in a try for us or a turnover where Fiji would score untouched with occasionally a pass or two. It was amazing to watch. This seriously underscores the importance of the US being the best restart team in the world because had Fiji gained possession on any of the kickoffs then I don’t know if we could have stopped them. They were that good with the ball in hand. Granted, this also underscores the truism that the best time to attack is after a turnover because the defense is out of shape but still, we are a very good defensive team and nobody else has done anything similar to that to us since we reached this elite status that we now enjoy.

Elite status. Our current play has earned us that title and 5th place in the standings, only 9 points behind New Zealand, offers further proof. How elite are we? After losing to Australia in the 3rd place consolation match in Hong Kong we rebounded by spanking the Aussies in the semifinal match. That set up the easiest of finals imaginable. Canada was upsetting teams left and right to get to the finals with wins over New Zealand and South Africa and we OWN Canada. Seriously, they had no chance. Just give us the Cup and thank everyone for coming.

Last week, after yet another win over Argentina, I boldly proclaimed that “there is no doubt who is the top dog in the Americas these days”. The Gods of Hubris apparently noticed and invoked the dreaded Commentator’s Jinx. Canada continued their upsetting ways and scored their first Cup win in a tight, back and forth game. Congratulations to our neighbors to the north. Oh, Canada!

What Is In The Water In Singapore?

Singapore was added to the World Sevens Series last year as a companion stop to Hong Kong. Last year Kenya came through against all odds with their first Cup win. This year Canada came through against all odds with their first Cup win. I fully expect newly promoted Spain to get their first Cup win in Singapore next year.

The Greatest Rugby Weekend Of The Year

It is almost impossible to overstate how much good rugby we have here in Pelicanland. On Saturday, May 6th, we will host the Varsity Cup at Santa Clara, the D1-A final at St Mary’s, the CR1 club championships at Treasure Island and the High School Championships, featuring the reigning champions and the current #1. Who’s got it better than us?

Promotional Considerations For Hail Pelicus are Brought To You By The Varsity Cup

The Varsity Cup final will be played May 6th in our own backyard at Steven’s Stadium on the campus of Santa Clara University. The high noon showdown will be the winner of Penn St. vs Cal and Navy vs Arkansas State. For tickets and more information please go to www.varsitycup.us.

Eat, Drink And Be Merry

A missive from our Glorious Leader, may he never be short of blow. For his whistle. For blowing his whistle.

Good morning NCRRS Referees,

Thanks for providing your feedback related to the banquet date. The date to come and celebrate our accomplishments and season is set for Saturday May 13, We will be celebrating at Scott’s Seafood in Walnut Creek.

We need to get a headcount of participants and guests and we ask that you complete the following form by May 1: https://goo.gl/forms/y6axwPj9KNT9heJH3.

The form has a list of entree choices. We will have a no host bar set up and appetizers will be served from 6:15-7:00. Awards will be presented after the dinner. The society will be picking up the tab for referees. We ask that you pay for your guests prior to the event by using the PayPal link provided in the form. The link will also be available for access when you hit the “submit” button.

We look forward to seeing you all, dressed to impress, on Saturday May 13.

Regards,

Pelicus Iudex Pennipes

Playoff Match Reports

It is playoff time again and many of us will be called on to adjudicate these matches. Please note that quite often matches will be listed by seeds, so the game will be something like Pacific #3 vs South #1 or Winner Match 3 vs Winner Match 1. When writing your report narrative please make sure you explicitly identify which team is which so that I can update the team names in our reporting section below. Many thanks to those who did playoff matches already who have made my life easier.

Disciplinary Action Reporting – Process For Reporting Incidents

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

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

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

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

On To The Game Reports!

Date: 04/01/2017
Washington D2 38 – Washington Irish D3 10
Referee: Valerio, Stephen
Location: Washington, DC

Overcast day, on a soft, tilted pitch. Washington’s D2 side was playing Washington Irish’s D3 side in a post-season friendly. With Washington just finishing a campaign where they finished last with only 1 win, and their players showing up late, it didn’t look promising as the Irish had numbers and were in the middle of a structured warm-up. First appearances can be wrong.

The Irish seemed better organized and their 10-5 lead at the half didn’t represent their overall advantage at that point. The first half ran about 48 minutes with Washington giving away penalties on their half of the field late in the half. The Irish kicker turned down a chance for posts with the mark centered and at the 22. He looked winded so the Irish ran some crash balls. They got close, but were held up in goal and the half ended. The 2nd half started close but in the last 20 minutes Irish had more and more gaps in their defense and Washington’s superior athleticism took hold. With Irish players falling off the tackles, Washington scored a series of long range tries and by the end were capable of scoring from anywhere on the pitch.

Date: 04/01/2017
Mount St. Joseph’s 5 – Archbishop Spalding 19
Referee: Valerio, Stephen
Location: Severn MD

A perfect evening for a mid-week match. Archbishop Spalding’s one home match of the year (I anticipate an awkward post-season review for the Match Secretary) also served as Senior Night for the team.

Perfect temperature with no noticeable wind for a match played on a new artificial pitch.

A tight, back and forth affair between 2 rivals. The two sides were well-drilled, but only in a limited range of tactics, meant for predictable play punctuated by burst of either athletic talent or miscues. MSJ picked up the sole try in the first half, but the game was still very much in the balance.

Unfortunately, high tackles became a problem, with both squads having players carded for repeated dangerous tackles. MSJ wasn’t able to take advantage of the man, but Archbishop Spalding, which had tied the match when a MSJ player was sent off for high tackle Archbishop Spalding collected 2 converted tries to seal the match.

Date: 04/15/2017
Life West 28 – SFGG 38
Referee: Akroyd, Phil

A lovely day at Maritime Academy’s wonderful rugby field. Almost a point a minute scored in the first half but most of that was due to indiscipline from the players and subsequently, yellow cards meaning more gaps on the field. Each team scored tries when the other team had players in the bin, but they still continued to offend throughout the game.

The indiscipline was disappointing given the display of talent and athleticism on show. Both team’s abilities are a credit to the hard work and dedication they invest, and the quality of rugby was a product of that.

Date: 04/15/2017
Olympic Club 27 – East Palo Alto 24
Referee: Hinkin, James

No report received.

Date: 04/15/2017
Chico 26 – Google 24
Referee: Fenaroli, Steven

Great D3 semifinal game. Both teams came to play and were interested in rugby without the extracurriculars. Jim Crenshaw and I carpooled from Sacramento which made for a nicer drive to Chico. The game went well with Chico down 12-24 in the second half. A penalty try made it 19-24. On the next kickoff, Chico returned the kick for a breakaway try down the right sideline pulling ahead 26-24. Google tried to come back and make something but a late knock on killed any momentum. Chico held on to win.

Date: 04/15/2017
Sacramento Capitals 39 – Fresno 27
Referee: Bretz, Paul

Sacramento recovered from a 17 point deficit in the first half to beat the Fresno visiting side 39-27. Fresno came out in the first half and was on fire. The former San Fransico Rush flyhalf did a great job of putting his backs on the front foot. Unfortunately Fresno struggled to control the scrums. With 3 minutes left in the head the capitals finally got on the board with a penalty kick.
3 minutes into the second half the Fresno hooker was sin-binned for punching an opposing player and Sacramento took the opportunity and scored 22 tries. The second half, like the first half was controlled by one team. Sacramento tied the game with 20 minutes to go and then scored 3 more tries to seal the match. Fresno did score the final play of the match to bring the score closer.

Sacramento will play the the Blackhawks for the division 2 title match next week.

(EDITOR’S NOTE: With Sacramento scoring 22 tries in the first half I would expect the score to be higher.)

Date: 04/15/2017
Pacific Western 7’s
Referee: Stockton, Andrew

A fantastic day for 7’s out at Stanford. Two teams, Chico and Davis, canceled at the 11th hour, and it left the bracket system in shambles. However, with some great juggling by the tournament coordinators, the tournament ran smoothly, and there was some very exciting competition.

My first match was UNR against Fresno State. Fresno State clearly had better athletes, but UNR had better knowledge of the game, and were able to hold Fresno State scoreless.

The second match was UNR against SJSU. This was a slightly closer contested match, but with the help of #4 on UNR (a very big and powerful runner who was able to break through multiple tackles in a single run), they were able to win without much consequence.

My final match of the day was the bowl final between SFSU and UCSC. Both teams had struggled to have any offense throughout the day, and this game was low scoring as a result. However, SFSU was able to prevail with better discipline and a couple of line breaks that led to long runs and scores.

It was clear than Stanford and UNR were the best teams at the tournament. They had superior tactics and athletes that led to easy wins for them over their opponents. The Cup final between the two teams was incredibly exciting and was won in the last seconds by Stanford after a closely contested first half.

This Week’s Photo

The HSBC World Series Standings are looking mighty fine this week as the US is poised to pass New Zealand in the next round.

Hail, Pelicus!
For the Senate
Pelicus Pedem Referre

Amper, Maar Nie Stamper

HAIL PELICUS!

Amper, Maar Nie Stamper

The USA 7s played in the Greatest 7s Tournament Of Them All last weekend, the Hong Kong 7s. Expectations are high for the lads from the States and they did not disappoint, going 3-0 in pool play with close victories over Russia and Scotland and a 33-5 dismantling of Argentina. There is no doubt who is the top dog in the Americas these days. This set up a difficult quarterfinal with England and it is well known to those who know it well that England is the only team that seems to have Series leader South Africa’s number as nobody else can find a way to beat them, so the Americans had their hands full.

No problem. USA 27 – England 7. This was not the prettiest of games but it was won when the US relentlessly pounced on England’s mistakes. Dropped ball? Try. Knock on? Try. This is a sign of a very good team. It wasn’t that long ago that teams like England (and Fiji, and New Zealand, etc) would just sit back and wait for the inevitable US mistake and make us pay for it. The tables have turned.

This match also produced a great referee game management moment from our old friend Craig Joubert. After Dan Norton of England stretched for a pass but instead knocked the ball on about 4 meters apparently some US players felt the need to inform Joubert of that by shouting “knock on!”. His reply is a classic: “Do you really think I could possibly have missed that?”

After this match this tournament started to get the feel of the magical run in the 2015 London 7s as our boys got stronger as the tournament went on. That tournament also included a date with South Africa and, no surprise here, we got the Blitzbokke in the semifinals. Again.

If you have not watched that game go to the World Sevens Series website and watch the replay. Don’t worry, we will wait. Trust me, it is worth it.

All done? Good. It’s ok if you need to take a moment and have a good cry. For the third straight tournament the USA has played South Africa in the Cup Semis and for the third straight tournament we have literally lost on the last play of the game. Yes, literally. In Las Vegas we were down a try and SA had a lineout in their end with no time left so we needed to steal it and we did – but got pushed over in the ensuing ruck and SA kicked the ball out to end the game. In Vancouver we were down a try with no time left (again) and attacking hard, stopped just short of the line when we drove over and were held up in goal. This time we were down a try with no time left (sensing a theme here) but instead of turning the ball over we scored sending the game into overtime! But once again, in overtime a critical mistake led to a SA try and we lost on the very last play. We are soooooooo close. Mike Friday had better have his sports psychologists working full time to get us over the mental block that is the South African Blitzbokke 7s team. As they say in Cape Town, amper, maar nie stamper.

Correction

Last week we referred to Steve Hiatt as the poor man’s Paris Hilton. This is incorrect. Steve is actually the poor man’s Alice Sheets Marriott. We also incorrectly referred to Mr Hiatt as the Head Coach of CSUMB. He is actually the Head Coach of the California Maritime Academy.

Hail Pelicus regrets these errors.

Does This Tournament Make Me Look Fat?

One of the issues that the USA 7s team has is we are very thin, that is we lack depth. Our top 7 can hang with anyone. Our first two subs are world class, even, but after that the drop off is precipitous. Ben Pinkleman deservedly made his first Dream Team along with Perry Baker who has become a regular, but it was the loss of Danny Barrett in the second straight South Africa semi (this time to injury) that may have been the difference. Danny Barrett is a world class player, indeed, but the lack of depth means that when he is unavailable others have to step up. Pinkleman has done so admirably but once that happens he and Duratalo get almost no rest. The same is true for other key members of the squad as Baker, Hughes and Niua are almost never off the pitch and those legs are tired. At the end of a long 7s tournament fresh legs can be more important than skill. As my old 7s coach used to say, “if you are 5 meters faster than someone but 6 meters out of position, it doesn’t make a bit of difference.”

I am sure Mike Friday is well aware of this. If we are to have continued success on the international 7s scene we need to start producing young studs. Niua is 29 and Baker will be 31 in June. That is old for 7s. Who will be their replacements?   As the great philosopher Alberto Malich said, “Sodomy non sapiens.”*

* Buggered if I know.

That’s Just Crazy Talk

The pools for next week’s Singapore 7s have been announced and the USA is drawn with New Zealand, Scotland and Wales. A tough pool indeed, but that isn’t the story. The USA is the top seen in that pool.

Let me repeat that. The USA is the top seed in their pool. A pool that includes the All Blacks.

Go ahead and lie to me – tell me you ever expected to see that.

Playoff Match Reports

It is playoff time again and many of us will be called on to adjudicate these matches. Please note that quite often matches will be listed by seeds, so the game will be something like Pacific #3 vs South #1 or Winner Match 3 vs Winner Match 1. When writing your report narrative please make sure you explicitly identify which team is which so that I can update the team names in our reporting section below. Many thanks to those who did playoff matches already who have made my life easier.

Disciplinary Action Reporting – Process For Reporting Incidents

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

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

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

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

On To The Game Reports!

Date: 04/08/2017
University of Rhode Island 48 – Providence College 29
Referee: Zanarini, Tom

Coming off of two hard fought playoff matches at Brown in consecutive weeks, I was looking forward to a friendly, good ‘ole rugby match. But then I remembered, there’s a trophy on the line. The Rhody Cup, passed between colleges in Rhode Island, Ranfurly Shield style. So, this was gonna be a match. The weather was cool and pleasant for a New England spring, although a strong wind made kicks for posts, restarts and touch very challenging. More than a few kicks to touch didn’t make it and I even had the most fun restart kick making it 10m in the air and then blowing back 3 meters. Confusion set in regardless of my calling ’10m, play on!’ Never saw so many deer-in-headlight stares all at once.

(EDITOR’s NOTE: Didn’t these kids watch the USA Sevens last March?)

Both teams play in New England D2, so it was a step slower than my two former D-1AA playoff matches. Either way, the pace was equal on both side but eerily reminiscent of Brown v Yale where both teams were equal in size and fitness, but URI out rugby’d the Friars. And unfortunate yellow-card tip tackle by the URI fullback at the end of the 1st half saw advantage played until PC scored a try. The second half was URI scoring tries in the first 20, then PC answering back with a few to gain momentum. One try at the 75th minute saw my favorite fullback chase a breakaway runner to the 5m line, jump high and brought him down by the shoulders. Penalty try/yellow card/red card. This player does not seem to want to finish a half. URI took the cup from PC and will retain it until the fall. I also took on the B-side match that saw URI win 54-0.

Date: 04/08/2017
Cal Poly SLO 14 – SDSU 41
Referee: Bryant, Lee

Cal Poly struck first by making good use of two penalties in front of the post. Game was fast and close in the first half. Both teams contested hard at the breakdown and attempted to spread the ball wide in the middle of the field. Cal Poly had a far superior scrum but San Diego had cleaner play in their back line and were able to pull away in the second half.

Date: 04/08/2017
Fresno 39 – Diablo 32
Referee: Jury, Jeff

The day was cool and overcast with a chance of rain in Fresno. The previous wet days softened the Valley hardpan and greened up the grass nicely. Fresno started the scoring at 7 minutes in with a converted try. The Diablo Gaels matched 3 minutes later. Both teams trade penalty kicks to even at 10 a piece. Then Diablo started opening up with some punch kicking that rewarded them 2 unconverted trys with about 10minutes to go in the first half. Fresno rallied back to the 5 meter where Diablo’s ball killing tactics gave Fresno a converted try. At the ensuing kick off, a couple neat passes and a long sprint put Fresno ahead with a converted try, with 4 minutes to go. Fresno 24 Diablo 20 at half.
The rain started to fall as Diablo kicked off. Fresno made quick work to open the second half, with an unconverted try at 2 minutes in. Fresno defended Diablo’s kicking game well at this point, by scoring in the corner at 10 minutes. Try unconverted. Diablo, never out of the game, pounded their way back through Fresno territory to score an unconverted try 3 minutes later. The battle continued between the 22’s for the next 12 minutes, until Fresno found themselves on the five meter going in. Two minutes of hard bashing earned Fresno another unconverted try. Both teams played a desperate game of protect and advance with Diablo scoring a converted try with seconds left.
Fresno 39 Diablo 32.

Date: 04/08/2017
Sacramento Blackhawks 24 – Baracus 15
Referee: Sandhill, Peter

Spring ducked behind the rain clouds this past weekend in Sacramento. The Blackhawks home field was washed out. Due to some fast leg work, Ben Parker secured a patch of grass behind a local high school. While sloshy and soft underfoot, the field was very playable. BA needed a win to secure a playoff birth. Blackhawks were hoping to secure a #2 seed. There was a sense of urgency and focus from both teams.

Unfortunately, the wet led to a lot of dropped ball = lots of scrums throughout the game. The first half was both aggressive and athletic with some lovely kick and chase work on both sides. For a few minutes some tempers flared leading to a no wrap (yellow card) tackle however both captains were responsive and players cooled and refocused. Blackhawks scored twice to BA’s one, plus a penalty goal. 12-10 at half time.

The second half saw a change of tactics from BA for a while as they began to not contest rucks. The pace picked up and the game opened up for a while. The Blackhawks score twice in the second half to one BA try.

Date: 04/08/2017
Colusa 81 – Reno Zephyrs 5
Referee: Wilson, Giles

The last game of the quarter finals meant that the last hail shower of the day had passed through. The fields were well marked and held up well to the days play.

The game started well with periods of pressure from both teams, culminating with the first Colusa score at 17 minutes, followed by another three minutes later. Reno hung in for the remainder of the half but still reached half time 28 – 0 down giving up four scores.

The second half saw Reno tire pretty quickly and with Colusa running hard, direct lines it became a procession of Colusa scores – 9 tries but only four of them converted with a single Reno try, also unconverted.

Final score Colusa 81 – Reno 5

Date: 04/08/2017
Google 32 – Marin 0
Referee: Tucker, Chris

4 seasons in 1 day — sun, rain, hail, back to sun again — reminded me of home. Pitch was in excellent shape in spite of recent rain, and the two sides went at it hammer and tongs. Game was a lot of fun, even with a couple of incidents of foul play, and Marin kept hammering away to the final whistle, and were unlucky in the end not to get on the scoreboard.

Date: 04/08/2017
Redwood Empire 17 – San Joaquin 12
Referee: Coppinger, John

Initially marked by some heavy hits. Boorish behavior seemed the norm as Empire held off San Joaquin at the end.

Date: 04/08/2017
San Jose 10 – Berkeley 22
Referee: Pescetti, David

The final match of the regular season ended with San Jose vs Berkeley.

This was a very close match. The first half was a complete stalemate. The only scores coming minutes of each other. Each scoring around the 14 minute mark. And we headed into halftime tied 5 a piece.

The second half was not as kind to San Jose. Berkeley seemed to be to have more wind in their sails. They scored 3 times twice by their 15. This pushed them over the top in today’s game. San Jose did manage to add a late try to bring the final to 10 – 22. The standout players from each side were the full backs. As a former forward, nothing pains me more than to say that. They scored 4/6 or two thirds for all you math nerds out there, of the tries.

Date: 04/08/2017
San Jose Women 42 – Colusa Women 5
Referee: Hinkin, James

What was supposed to be a pleasant Saturday morning run in the California spring turned into a dithering atmospheric mishmash by a Weather Priestess who is, I assume, badly in need of a drink. Alternating between glorious sunshine and rain, the Weather Priestess couldn’t seem to make up her mind at all. We even got some hail and a roll of thunder for good measure. It must be that time of the climate for the Weather Priestess. (Yes, I know starting a report on a women’s match with a joke about the menstrual cycle of a mythical goddess may be considered in bad taste, but I have been assured that the mythical goddess community doesn’t mind and, in fact, thought it was quite risible. At least I didn’t make a global warming = hot flash joke. Now that would be tasteless.)

The ladies didn’t seem to mind the weather and were ready for some rugby. Colusa showed up with 10 so we decided to play 10s. San Jose had a few subs and the extra legs helped them with what was a convincing victory. They scored early and often in the first period as Colusa struggled to get out of their half. First and second phase tackles were made but as the ball was recycled the defense got more out of shape and gaps appeared. Seahawk scrum half Angela Silva has developed a nice sidestep to compliment her game and she used it to great effect, leaving defenders grasping at air. Halftime score was 37-0.

The second period was a different story, however. Colusa’s team talk at the break must have stiffened a few resolves as they came out the more aggressive side and pressed the action. Several breakaways were left wanting due to bad passes and knock ons but they finally got their just reward with a well worked try. San Jose was able to score one of their own but the second half ended with honors all even and a final of 42-5.

After the whistle the ladies got together and decided to play one more period. Colusa was carrying a few injuries so San Jose lent them a couple of players to keep the numbers even. A great time was had and great spirit shown by both sides. The sideline BBQ/drink up that went on during the San Jose men’s match was fun and who is to say if any traditional acts were performed by first time try scorers? (Note: Henry V – Act 2 would have been great to see performed, but that is not the kind of traditional act I was referring to.)

Date: 04/08/2017
SFGG 72 – EPA Razorbacks 8
Referee: Bretz, Paul

SFGG controlled the game with set pieces and moving the ball out wide. EPA scored all of their points in the first 15 minutes of play. After that it was all SFGG.

Date: 04/08/2017
SFGG Women 0 – All Blues 17
Referee: Byrnes, Bryant

A fool’s errand, I thought as I drove through the pouring rain to TI for this early match. But at the Bay Bridge, blue skies broke out. As did an excellent match. This was listed as a ”friendly”; not so friendly on the pitch. I recently commended a men’s team on its tackling, Well, the tackling in this one was better. Play of the game-a 110 lb Blues fullback absolutely nailing a 160 lb Gate flanker (I think) to save a try. A thing of beauty.

Blues score early (6 minutes) and late (35 minutes) in the first half, but only put it away with a third try at about 60 minutes. Gate banged away all day with fervor within the Blues 22, but no success on this day.

This Week’s Photo

USA’s Perry Baker gives 2 thumbs up to Hail Pelicus readers after scoring against England in the Hong Kong quarterfinals. He is a big fan.

Hail, Pelicus!
For the Senate
Pelicus Pedem Referre

Bringing The Payne

HAIL PELICUS!

Bringing The Payne

This week we will be presenting the final piece of the Between Two Pelicans interview with USA Rugby CEO Dan Payne and while transcribing the interview I ruminated on the power of language, especially when used by a leader. When in a leadership position one’s words carry more weight than those of the crowd. Words of praise and encouragement from a captain or coach has a demonstrably greater effect than criticism, which is why good leaders limit their criticism and negativity and strive instead to encourage and point out the positive instead. This is a key facet to refereeing as well because when you are the Sir (which is somehow a non-gendered term for referee) you have authority oozing out of your pores. You are the Sole Judge Of Fact And Law and what you say, as well as how you say it, matters. Relationships can be built or broken and how you say what you say can determine what happens and whether you have players complying with your vocal cues or resisting them. This applies to referee/coach interaction as well. A wise player, coach or referee will think and measure their words to achieve the desired effect.

This is not news and if you get a chance to talk to Dr Bruce Carter he has a wonderful story about two English coaches who were about to utterly destroy an underperforming exchange referee before wisdom intervened.

Words are the building blocks of thought. It has been claimed that English is the largest language in the world – usually by native English speakers – but while English is a large and varied language, that is frankly nonsense. It is true that the English language has great abundance of words all with subtly different meanings, but so does nearly every other language. French and Spanish will have several conjugations of the same verb and will inflect much more than English while the German habit of creating new words by sticking several others together makes the potential vocabulary huge. You can spend an amusing time on the internet just looking up “words in xxx language that we need in English”… and I haven’t even gone beyond European languages. The point is there are a variety of options when it comes to choosing exactly what you want to say and meaning exactly what you intend.

Without the correct words we can not articulate our thoughts and many experts suggest that without the correct words we can’t even think them properly because we have no context or manner of organizing our thoughts. There is ample evidence of this throughout history as new concepts came into being and suddenly join the zeitgeist, leaving people to look back at the past with a look of “what were those people thinking?” The simple answer is, they weren’t, or at least they weren’t thinking the same way people did later. The words to express the thoughts didn’t exist so, by extension, the thoughts didn’t exist.

As power and authority are gathered then one’s words have greater effect. They not only help steer other’s thinking, but more importantly, provide a window into how the speaker thinks. This is why the Dr Seuss vocabulary of our current President alarms so many people – it indicates a mind that can not grasp subtle nuance and lacks the means to create complex thought. Speaking with Dan Payne left me with the impression that not only was Dan passionate, but thoughtful. He was very articulate and made very sure that when answering questions he addressed all of USA Rugby, not just the shiny bits. The men’s 7s team gets all the publicity but he made sure to speak to the accomplishments of our women, who have by most measures outperformed the men. He extolled the progress and hard work of our youth programs. Even when he was walking around a subject he didn’t distract, change the subject or obfuscate, but thoughtfully and intelligently said nothing. In short, he used his words. That is a skill I can appreciate and admire.

Now it is time to Bring The Payne.

Between Two Pelicans

This week, as noted above, we present the final chapter in Hail Pelicus’ beloved interview series “Between Two Pelicans, The Dan Payne Tapes”. It all comes down to money with USA Rugby CEO Dan Payne. Sit back and relax as we present Part 1 of our interview:

Hail Pelicus: We have already touched on this subject: money. Money and also Rugby International Marketing – RIM. It is reported that there is a $1million shortfall in USA Rugby and there were some people who were let go. Are there any plans to rectify this? Does Strategy 2020 address this or is that a separate initiative and finally, isn’t this the issue that RIM was created to solve?

Dan Payne: I would say that if you look at Strategy 2020 financial accountability and sustainability is one of the key focal points especially in 2017. We have to live within our means but that also means that we don’t have to be happy with what our means are. We have to be prudent – we have to be disciplined and only spend what we have but at the same time we have to go out and generate new revenue and revenue streams. RIM was created for that very reason – to create additional revenue however until 2019, 2020, we are set with a static licensing fee. We are just getting a licensing fee from RIM for the next three years with a predetermined amount with the hope that as they commercialize the game and drive additional revenue that in 2020 when they can pay a larger dividend.

HP: I didn’t realize it was a fixed rate contract.

DP: Yea…

HP: You inherited RIM from your predecessor Nigel Melville. You mentioned there is a 3 year contract. Do you see this as the way to go forward? From the outside perspective is appears as if RIM has produced very little outside of The Rugby Channel and I don’t see anything outside of that they have produced or generated on their own.

DP: It takes time to prove – we can’t accelerate or speed up the results. We will know three or four years from now. If the intent of RIM is successful it will be a great resource for USA Rugby. It will have helped create the revenue we need to really grow and accelerate the development of our players and the game as a whole and that will have a knock on effect and continue to add value. I don’t waste a lot of time thinking about it because it is what it is – it is the world I live in, so we need for them to have success. We need The Rugby Channel to have success. We need for RIM to have success with the commercial assets they have.

HP: So if it proves successful then we would continue with it and we might see more RIM jobs in the future?

DP:

(EDITOR’S NOTE: There were some technical difficulties with the recording for the next few minutes so Mr Payne’s response is sadly lost.)

HP: Thank you again for taking the time to speak with Hail Pelicus and I notice that while you have a jacket you are not wearing a tie so the Northern California Rugby Referee Society would like to rectify that situation. (Hands Dan a NCRRS tie)

DP: That’s phenominal. I will probably wear this to my next Nor Cal event.

And there you have it. Please note, Mr Payne that we here in Pelicanland will be watching carefully the next time you are in Northern California that you keep your promise and proudly sport our tie.

This Month’s Society Meeting

Next Wednesday will be the final officially scheduled referee meeting of the season and the last good time to get your kit. This includes the boxes of track suits and kit bags that still infest my house and need to go.

The meeting will be held April 12, from 6:00-9:00 at the SFGG clubhouse on Treasure Island. Plan on coming early to play touch and enjoy some food and drink.
Here are the topics:

Eric Rauscher – Technical Zone, What and Why
Paul Bretz – Effective Team of 3 or more

You Ordered It Now You Gotta Pay For It

Expect invoices this week from Dan Wilson for the kit that has been ordered and handed out. If you have any disagreements with your invoice please let Dan and I know and I will be happy to tell you that you are wrong.

Kit For Sale

I am assuming that if you had earned and wanted your free jersey then you would have it by now. I will be selling jerseys as well as the rest of the kit at the Society Meeting.

Pelicans Abroad

Last week we had a report from Larry Freitas’ trip to the Sceptered Isle. He was very impressed with everything he saw and wrote about it in great detail so I split the report up. As promised, here is his second report:

Saturday the 11th the cloud returned, but at least it was in the mid-50’s, not the 40’s at in the previous week. Jack picked me up at the resort at 10am and took me to some farm where there was a gathering of locals, some on horse back, mostly women, in boots, white tights and navy or black flannel jackets, with black helmets. You guessed it, this was a fox hunt! There must have been 50 hounds let loose as two guys in red jackets tooted the horns for the start, but only after about a half hour of socializing amongst the onlookers, mostly elderly English, but with mostly west country accents, not BBC or RP accents, very tweedy non the less. Refreshments were handed out by women with platters of all sorts of delicacies and pastries, and mulled wine, orange juice, and anything but water. We got in Jack’s Jeep and took off after the hunt, and he had a good sense as to where they were headed, and we could see them riding up and down the hillside, riding through the glen, whatever, but I was just amazed and flabbergasted buy the whole event. I did get some great photos! Then it was on to rugby match at Bideford, hosting North Petherton. King George the V Ground a nice pitch, with covered grandstand on one side, and the clubhouse adjoining. Old Boys at the match in blazers, ties, scarves. The visitors won, and Stephen Bubyer was refereeing his first 6th level match. Jack and I were joined by Zerren. After the match everyone was packed into the clubhouse for a viewing of England thrashing Scotland. Afterwards we went down to Bude for dinner. One thing I learned is that Devon and Cornwall don’t like each other much.

Sunday arrived, and Stephen picked me up at 8:30am as he was heading to Topsham for a morning’s teenage boy’s match, and I went along for a ride so as to referee Topsham Exonian Ladies hosting Paignton Ladies. The game was originally scheduled for Paignton, but had been switched to Topsham. I had made arrangements for lodgings in Paignton, with the rugby club there and lodgings near the beach and train station. So I took the train to Paignton from Topsham, and got a ride with a few of the ladies back to Topsham to referee their match. Paignton had brought along 11, but Topsham had a few extra players, and at kick off the sides were even at 14 on the pitch. Zerren warned me that the last ten minutes of the match could see Topsham running away with a win because of their superior fitness, if the game was close in score. This game was considered a ‘friendly’ match that would not be reflected in division standings, as Topsham is one of the better women’s teams in the Devon and Cornwall area, and fighting for the top position in the table, and they were to score early and often for a 37-0 halftime lead. Paignton responded with a try early in the second half and were to score two more, but it all ended 56-17 for Topsham Exonian Ladies. I was impressed by the ball handling and passing ability of either side, some speedy runners who left would be tacklers well behind, and have to say that Topsham have two players, second rows, both a bit over 6 feet in height, one of them a very good runner with ball in hand, and also a very good counter rucker who also a number of times arrived at the tackle early to poach ball out of the hands of the Paignton runner. It was something to see Paignton’s little blond winger, not much over 5 feet in height, take her down in a tackle at one point in the match.

We all gathered in the clubhouse afterwards for some food and drink, mostly ales and ciders, sausages and chips (what we call fries). Got back to Paignton and my little bungalow that was home for the next two nights. Paignton is a bit on the ‘seedy’ side I was to find out. The 1902 Paignton RFC clubhouse is a bit old and decrepit, and so is much of the town center. There is a steam train that takes on some ten miles and over the hill to the south and west to Dartmouth, a much more upscale place. Unfortunately the train doesn’t run on Mondays until April, and that meant another taxi ride to Dartmouth, taking the ferrry accross to the town, and enjoying what it has to offer, including the British Navy’s officer academy up on a hillside, and a castle at the mouth of the estuary that leads out to the sea and English Channel. There are desert palms planted here, so therefore it’s the British Riviera, this part of the English southern coastline of South Devon. Agatha Christie hung out here. The day was the warmest so far, with sun and inching up to 17C or 62F. I had left my shorts back in the bungalow. I got some great photos. Being Monday, and not quite tourist season yet, the castle was, wait for it, closed!

Finallly it was taking a train back to Twickers and Marriot’s, and an upgrade to the 6th floor, which meant, at no extra charge, getting a room with a view, literally, of the pitch!
Got to London that afternoon, and took in Victoria and Albert Museum. Friday the 17th, St. Patrick’s day, saw me boarding British Air for the direct flight back to San Francisco and a balmy 74F late afternoon. Now I’m typing this and looking outside the window on an early Sunday morning, seeing what I saw so often on this trip: cloudy skies!

-Larry Freitas, who will admit to being an Anglophile.

Last Saturday, In Hayward, CA…

Nothing happened.

Playoff Match Reports

It is playoff time again and many of us will be called on to adjudicate these matches. Please note that quite often matches will be listed by seeds, so the game will be something like Pacific #3 vs South #1 or Winner Match 3 vs Winner Match 1. When writing your report narrative please make sure you explicitly identify which team is which so that I can update the team names in our reporting section below. Many thanks to those who did playoff matches already who have made my life easier.

Disciplinary Action Reporting – Process For Reporting Incidents

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

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

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

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

On To The Game Reports!

Date: 03/25/2017
Brown 44 – Yale 5
Referee: Zanarini, Tom

Welcome back, rugby! Yale traveled to Brown in this Ivy-League semi-final match up. The weather cooperated with our 11:00 am kickoff as the air remained cool and dry throughout. The match was relocated from Brown’s all grass rugby field to the turf field complex to keep it from turning into a mud bog. The make shift field was marked as properly as possible, with mobile posts in place and a plenty of width for 15’s.

Brown and Yale seemed evenly matched in size and fitness which accounted for the 5-5 tie at halftime. Brown scored first 10 minutes in, with Yale answering soon after. Lots of great high-intensity running, rucking and passing. A couple repeated infringements from both teams were handled well by the respective captains, buy Yale had considerably more penalties around the breakdown. This is where their inexperience started to show. Brown regrouped at the half and scored immediately upon gathering the ball in the second half, followed soon after by another try. Yale were strong in contact, rucking, mauling and scrumming well but Brown could anticipate Yale’s moves. At one Yale quick-tap penalty, Brown were back 10 but could see the play developing. One center sprinted forward for the intercept and a 60m try. That’s pretty much how the second half went.
(side note to the Ivy League Rugby: Harvard and Dartmouth compete in D1, the remaining Ivy League schools compete in D1-AA).

Date: 04/02/2017
Brown 19 – Princeton 12
Referee: Zanarini, Tom

Thankfully this match was played on a beautiful Sunday afternoon as opposed to a dreadful Saturday. Princeton returned from their South Africa spring break tour on Thursday, beat Penn on Friday, then traveled to Providence on Saturday to take on Brown on Sunday for the D1-AA Ivy League Championship. Both teams came out hard and fast with quick breakdowns and fast backs. There was no real flow to the match, so my commentary is lacking. The players are still having an awful lot of trouble figuring out what is a ruck and what is a tackle-only, even with communication. They want offside calls during open play. They also seem to want play-by-play from me. So, I guess that’s the common thread here; too much chirping from the players. But, not to disparage a very good match. These are both good teams with lots of skill.

(EDITOR’S NOTE: Great to have you back in the HP, Tom!)

Date: 04/01/2017
USF 67 – Willamette 5
Referee: Sandhill, Peter

The National Small Colleges Rugby Organization – NSCRO had their annual regional semi-finals hosted at Cal Maritime over the past weekend. Four teams were vying for one spot at the next level. Willamette University traveled from Salem Oregon to play University of San Francisco on a pleasant, even hot, spring morning. Blue skies, sun and a dry field.

The game started clean and tight with a quick try each and scores level at five each. Gradually, USF worn down Willamette, with both consistent forward play especially pick and go patterns, as well as wonderful backs play. To their credit, Willamette hung in there with good spirit.

Thanks to Dillon Wall and JT for AR-ing. What a pleasure.

Date: 04/01/2017
Central Coast 7 – Google 76
Referee: Wilson, Giles

Central Coast have a field which is a bit narrow and slopes very slightly, they elected to play up the hill in the first half when Google won the toss and elected to kick.

Google had most of the possession and territory and the scoring reflects this. They scored 6 tries in the first half with 5 conversions for a 40 – 0 half time score. In the second half Google matched their try count but could only add 3 conversions while Central Coast managed a single converted try in reply. Final Google 76 – Central Coast 7.

Date: 04/01/2017
EPA Razorbacks 14 – Olympic Club 27
Referee: Fenaroli, Steven

The game was sunny and a nice day for rugby. Pretty evenly matched sides meant each meter was hard earned. OC scored first and took the lead early, never looking back. The game digressed and had 3 yellow cards and a red. It ended at full time.

Date: 04/01/2017
Granite Bay 9 – Jesuit Varsity 58
Referee: MacDonald, Neil

A highly contested first half saw excellent kicking as the teams traded penalties before Jesuit finally got past the stalwart Granite Bay defense to go into the break up 13 to 9. Granite Bay were unable to continue containing Jesuit in the second half, a problem compounded by yellow cards for dangerous play leaving the home team short handed for much of the second half, creating more space for Jesuit to exploit.

Date: 04/01/2017
Humboldt State 44 – Point Loma University 17
Referee: Stockton, Andrew

This was a well contested match through and through. Point Loma jumped out to an early lead, and maintained it throughout the entire match. Both teams fought hard, and made for a entertaining match. During the first half, there was an issue with tackles starting to become high, but I talked with both captains and made it clear that I wouldn’t stand for that kind of play, and the tackles cleaned up.

Early into the second half, #18 from PLNU failed to wrap in his tackle and jersey slung #15 of Humboldt to the ground. I yellow carded him for the offense. Humboldt took advantage of their 1 man advantage and scored a try and made the conversion. Then, at 58 minutes, #8 of Humboldt stiff-armed #9 of PLNU in the face. I awarded a yellow card for a strike to the face. PLNU was able to add a penalty kick and a final try right at the end of the match, giving them the 44 to 17 win.

Date: 04/01/2017
Marin 19 – San Francisco Golden Gate Varsity 43
Referee: Bretz, Paul

First time this year I had to have a water stoppage. Players were certainly overheated in the Marin sun. SFGG started the scoring but seemed to struggling in the waning minutes of the first half. At the half SFGG was up 17-14. Up until the 65th minute the score was 19-29. Congratulations SFGG on a good win competing against a good opponent.

Date: 04/01/2017
Mendocino 17 – Redwood 74
Referee: Bertolone, Cary

A beautiful, sunny, 82 degree afternoon and it was all Redwood in the first half. They scored at will, beginning in the first minute, and took a 38-0 halftime lead. Mendocino showed some heart in scoring three tries in the second half, but Redwood scored 7 more of their own to win 74-17 (Afa thought it was 81-17, but I have not compared my score card with his, yet).
Both teams played with proper enthusiasm with no foul play all day long. All great guys!

Date: 04/01/2017
Mother Lode 10 – CK McClatchy Varsity 40
Referee: Boyer, Rich

CKM started strong with winger Fernando scoring the first of his three long range tries within the first three minutes. Junior Waqavesi orchestrated the CKM backline to perfection which freed up multiple try scorers. CKM had no tee and consequently made no conversions. 35-0 at halftime, with an intercept try scored by the substitute 10, who would repeat his act again in the second half. Motherlode began the second half with momentum and scored two quick tries, keeping CKM on the back foot. But CKM held on, working through their phases, in a dominating display of rugby.

Date: 04/01/2017
San Joaquin 86 – SF Fog 12
Referee: Jury, Jeff

It was a beautiful day in Manteca. The Fog found themselves standing on green grass, which was unique to their season, since everything has gone synthetic in the city. Unfortunately, that uniqueness and San Joaquin’s gearing up for the finals was going to be their undoing.
San Joaquin scored 50 points in the first half, to the Fog’s 12. San Joaquin scored another 36 in the second half with the Fog coming close, but no cigar.
Final San Joaquin 86 SF Fog 12.

Date: 04/01/2017
Santa Rosa 51 – SFGG Green 0
Referee: Gordon, Preston

Santa Rosa defeated SFGG Green 51-0 on an 82F day in Santa Rosa. 5 tries in the first half and a further 4 in the second were more than enough for Santa Rosa to secure the result, despite playing the last 49 minutes of the match with 14 men after one of their flankers saw red for a punch. Aside from that one incident, the game was played in good spirits. While SFGG only brought 17 players, compared to Santa Rosa’s full complement of 23, this didn’t seem to make much difference. Thanks to both touch judges for the help.

Date: 04/01/2017
South Valley 13 – Colusa 69
Referee: Pohlman, John

South Valley hosted league leader Colusa at Paradise Park in Morgan Hill the past Saturday. Beautiful day and nice location except for a small rutted field.
Colusa scored first with a nice support try by #10 Brett Monroe. South Valley answered with a penalty three minutes later and almost took the lead but kicker Chili #3 missed the second attempt. Colusa’s hard charging #8 Ardy scored his first try. Followed by #9 Juan Loza first try of the day. Juan scored a few more as Colusa wore down the South Valley defense. The first half was competitive and finished with Colusa leading 26-13.
The second half started with Ardy catching the kick off breaking a half dozen tackles faking a couple of passes and scoring a 60 meter try. The defense for South Valley wore down and Colusa’s hard runners continued to break tackles for scores. Thus started the seven try s scored in the second half. Final score Colusa 69 South Valley 13.
The game was played in good spirits with both teams respecting each other. Good stuff.

Date: 04/01/2017
UC Davis 58 – UC Santa Cruz 29
Referee: Pescetti, David

A Pac West playoff weekend in the unanticipated Chico, California.

Saturday pitted the No. 2 Davis vs No. 3 UC Santa Cruz. The match began with a Slugs catching Davis snoozing and scoring a corner try in the opening minute to take the early lead. Still a bit dazed Davis countered with putting up 3 points on the board off a Santa Cruz penalty. Davis slowly started to awake. They converted the next score that came 8 minutes later. SC not wanting to stay within striking distance mimicked Davis and scored their own Penalty Goal off a Davis infringement. With 20 minutes gone in the first half the score was Davis 10 – SC 8. It was incredibly close. With 10 minutes remaining in the half, Davis made a push. Nailing and clawing for any points to put daylight between them and the Slugs. They managed a try, a converted try, and another penalty goal. At the half Davis had stretched it to 25 – 8.

Davis felt their opponent giving them a window of opportunity that extended into the second half scoring 19 unanswered points in the opening 10 minutes. This seemed to put the game out of reach for the Slugs, but they were determined to go out fighting. Santa Cruz scored a converted try within the last 15 minutes of the match. But during that time, Davis scored two converted of their own in an almost tit for tat ending. Santa Cruz did have the last final push, scoring two converted tries within the last 90 seconds.

Final: Davis 58 – Santa Cruz 29

Date: 04/02/2017
Point Loma University 35 – University of San Francisco 19
Referee: Hinkin, James

A perfect day for rugby at Cal Maritime saw Point Loma and USF meet for the Challenge Cup, the winner advancing to meet other NSCRO Cup winners, or something like that. Steve Hiatt – the poor man’s Paris Hilton – has all the details. The game was fast and fun and clean – just what you want. The players were committed to the tackles and ran with gusto, if not with great skill at times. some early nerves led to several knock ons but things soon settled down. PL proved to be dominant early and rang up 2 tries and a penalty in the first half while squandering several great scoring opportunities. USF were resilient and took their chances with an opportunistic try to make the half time score 17-7.

USF played better in the second half matching PL with 2 tries each but that, along with a couple of long range penalties from the impressive boot of the PL #9, meant that the game was always out of reach. Great game and great effort from both sides, both well coached and well captained.

Date: 04/02/2017
Chico St 18 – UC Davis 26
Referee: Pescetti, David

In the weekend finale pitted a rematch of two weeks ago, where Davis faced off against Chico. Davis looking to enact revenge over the loss suffered in the not so distant past. However, Chico was playing without their stud tight head prop.

Davis held firm in the first half holding Chico scoreless. Davis was able to create two converted try lead going into the half.

Davis’s two half mirror each other. Scoring both around the 4, and 13 minute mark. And only missed one conversion.
Chico made all their points in the second half. Coming out of the gate taking points with two penalty goals making 6 starter in the first 10 minutes. After another stalemate for 20 minutes. Chico made a late surge scoring twice in the last five minutes.

However time ran out and Davis moves on.

This Week’s Photo

CSUMB Head Coach and Friend of the Society Steve Hiatt got a chance to meet a hero. I’ll leave the reader to guess who the hero was. (L-R: Mike Conn, Sir Graham Henry, Steve Hiatt)

Hail, Pelicus!
For the Senate
Pelicus Pedem Referre