Don’t Cry For Me World Rugby

HAIL PELICUS!

Don’t Cry For Me World Rugby

(Song titles in italics, singers in square brackets. To be sung to the music of the musical “Evita”.)

“Oh What A Circus”

[Hail Pelicus:]              Oh what a circus, oh what a show
                                       Argentina has left town
                                       After the finals defeat by USA 7s
                                       We’ve all gone crazy
                                       Partying all day and partying all night
                                       Falling over ourselves to get all of the celebration right

                                       Oh what an exit, that’s how to go
                                       When they’re sounding the final hooter
                                       Standing alone like America’s team
                                       It’s quite a sunset
                                       And good for rugby in a roundabout way
                                       We’ve made the front page of all the world’s papers today

                                       But who is this USA 7s?
                                       Why all this howling, hysterical cheering?
                                       What kind of gods has lived among us?
                                       How did we ever get by without them?

                                       They had their moments, they had some style
                                       The best show in town was the crowd
                                       Inside Sam Boyd Stadium crying, “Go USA!”
                                       But that’s all gone now
                                       As soon as the smoke from the firework clears
                                       We’re all gonna see and how, they did everything right

“On This Night Of A Thousand Stars”

[Hail Pelicus:]              Now USA Rugby had every disadvantage
                                       You need if you’re gonna succeed
                                       No money, no cash
                                       No rugby tradition
                                       There was nowhere they’ve been
                                       In the game of fifteens

                                       But as the Sevens Series found out … 2015 London 7s
                                       Who has the distinction of being the first
                                       Tournament to be won by USA 7s

[USA:]                             On this night of a thousand stars
                                       Let me take you to Twickenham
                                       Where the music of rugby sevens
                                       Plays for evermore

                                       In the glow of those twinkling lights
                                       We shall play through eternity
                                       On this night in a million nights
                                       Fly away with me

                                       I never dreamed that a win could be as sweet as this
                                       But now I know that it can
                                       We used to try so hard without a win of our own
                                       We were desperate to a man
                                       But all our grief disappeared and all the sorrow we’d feared
                                       Wasn’t there anymore
                                       On that magical day when we first won a Cup
                                       In London

                                       On this night
                                       On this night

“Rugby’s Latest Flame”

[Hail Pelicus:]              At the watering holes of the Sevens Series
                                       I detect a resistance to
[ENG, NZL, FIJ, RSA:]   Precisely!
[Hail Pelicus:]              The American’s style
[ENG, NZL, FIJ, RSA:]   We’re glad you noticed!

[Hail Pelicus:]              The top nations of the Series table
[ENG, NZL, FIJ, RSA:]   Give them a win!
[Hail Pelicus:]              Are afraid the Sleeping Giant
                                       Of world rugby
[ENG, NZL, FIJ, RSA:]   They’ll try again!

[ENG, NZL, FIJ, RSA:]   Such a shame they wandered
                                       Into the Cup round
                                       How unfortunate these upstarts
                                       Have forced us to be blunt
                                       No we wouldn’t mind them
                                       Playing in a final
                                       But behind on the scoreboard, not in front

[Hail Pelicus:]              Could there be in our rugby corps
                                       A lack of enthusiasm for
[ENG, NZL, FIJ, RSA:]   Exactly!
[Hail Pelicus:]              Rugby’s latest flame
[ENG, NZL, FIJ, RSA:]   You said it brother!

[Hail Pelicus:]              Should you wish to cause great distress
                                       And make your pool a mess
                                       Just mention their name

[ENG, NZL, FIJ, RSA:]   That isn’t funny!

                                       Winning their pool, breaking every taboo
                                       Installed as a regular in the Cup round, too
                                       And they’re the States, the last straw
                                       Their only good sports are the ones they make up
                                       World Champions at sports that no one else plays
                                       This is our game, it’s not theirs

                                       The evidence suggests
                                       They have other interests
                                       They can’t be this good
                                       Never thought they would
                                       Ugh!
                                       Dangerous team!

                                       We have allowed ourselves to slip
                                       We have completely lost our grip
                                       We have declined to an all-time low
                                       Yanks have become the team to know

[USA:]                             I am only a rugby team with just one Series win
                                       Our experience in finals is much, much too thin
                                       We are tired of the dismissal of the Americans
                                       With no sign of a tournament expecting to give us the Cup we deserve

[ENG, NZL, FIJ, RSA:]   It’s no crime for nations to try as they might
                                       As long and they know they will lose the last fight
                                       We ignore, we disregard
                                       But once they allow to run on the outside
                                       To step through the center where our tackling has died
                                       We are forced to concede the try

                                       They should get into their head
                                       They should not get out of bed
                                       They should know that there’s no chance
                                       They could make the final dance
                                       Crap!
                                       They won again!

[Hail Pelicus:]              This has really been your year, USA 7s
                                       Tell us where you go from here, USA 7s
                                       Which are the teams that you yearn to play?
                                       Who will you run past and beat today?

[USA:]                             We’re ready for the final, the try line’s mine
                                       That’s no help to the Argentine

[Hail Pelicus:]              Can we hope then that you’ll win?
                                       Is this because of your involvement with Mike Friday?

[ENG, NZL, FIJ, RSA:]   Things have reached a pretty pass
                                       When some team pretty lower-class
                                       Graceless and vulgar, uninspired
                                       Can be accepted and admired

“Don’t Cry For Me World Rugby”

[USA:]                             It won’t be easy, you’ll think it strange
                                       You’ll have to get used to the States
                                       Still standing on top after all that you’ve done

                                       You won’t believe us
                                       All you will see is a team you once knew
                                       Although they’re on the podium
                                       After the sevens with you

                                       We had to let it happen, we had to change
                                       Couldn’t stay all our life down at heel
                                       Looking up at the champions, staying out of the Cup

                                       So we chose winning
                                       Running around, trying everything new
                                       Our quality impressing you all
                                       As we expected it to

                                       Don’t cry for me World Rugby
                                       The truth is we never left you
                                       From the Olympics
                                       Back in the 20s
                                       We’ve always been here
                                       We’ll always be here

                                       And as for rugby, we love the game
                                       We’ve always been passionate here
                                       Though it seems to the world we need foreign players

                                       They are illusions
                                       They are not the solutions they promised to be
                                       The answer was here all the time
                                       The Sleeping Giant awakening now

                                       Don’t cry for me World Rugby

                                       Don’t cry for me World Rugby
                                       The truth is we never left you
                                       From the Olympics
                                       Back in the 20s
                                       We’ve always been here
                                       We’ll always be here

                                       Have we said too much?
                                       There’s nothing more we can think of to say to you.
                                       But all you have to do is look at us to know
                                       That every word is true

(And the final curtain drops)

This Week’s Photo

Hail, Pelicus!
For the Senate
Pelicus Pedem Referre

We Are Warriors

HAIL PELICUS!

We Are Warriors

What a weekend of rugby in Pelicanland. Northern California hosted a slew of top games this weekend, and nearly all of them were close, hard fought games that went down to the final seconds. Cal over UBC in an unusually high scoring thriller; St Mary’s taking care of business against Glendale Merlins to remain perfect; Golden Gate over Life West for PRP bragging rights in Nor Cal; top of the table D2 action with San Jose over EPA in the Seahawk’s second straight game with the winning score coming at the final whistle. High schools joined the party as Danville played a tight one with Granite Bay. High level dramatics are all the rage here and those who love and follow the game couldn’t be happier. Yes, it is the annual “Who’s got it better than us?” column.

Regular readers of Hail Pelicus are not only known for their high fiber diets but will also recognize the above theme as at least once a year we have several games with national implications happening on the same weekend while most other unions get these kinds of games once a year, if that. How many other LAUs will have this level of rugby in a year much less a weekend? St Marys and Cal dominate the college landscape with the occasional pretender rearing their head only to be slapped aside. The most consistent college sides from the rest of the nation, Life University and BYU, are isolated programs who need to travel for big games and those are rare, once a season type of games for them. Cal will play St Marys, Olympic Club, SFGG, UBC and Army – all of these outside their regular season schedule. St Marys will play Cal, Olympic Club, BYU, Central Washington and Glendale – all of these outside their regular season schedule.

And those are just the home fixtures we get to see here.

While MLR is still getting its legs and may someday overtake it, until then the PRP is the top league in the country and SFGG, Olympic Club and Life West will be playing top rugby every week against each other plus Southern California powers OMBAC, Belmont Shore and Santa Monica. And speaking of Life West, they are the reigning Women’s D1 champions and made their call to be included into the WPL even louder with a victory over WPL founding member and national powerhouse All Blues. Should they be promoted Nor Cal would be, you guessed it, the only region with two WPL teams.

D2 surprise team San Jose Seahawks have alternated between blowing out teams by 50 and winning at the final whistle – including a rare defeat for St Marys B side. There is no middle ground for them – should they have a well managed 10 point win that might be the biggest shock of the season. They are set up to take on the equally perfect Sacramento Blackhawks for top of the table bragging rights just after the Las Vegas 7s. That may be the Nor Cal Game Of The Week come March 10, if it not for the exact same challenge for Diablo Gaels and Colusa as they take their undefeated records at each other in D3 that same day.

Do What I Say, Not What I Do

What was the point of the previous section? That we live in America’s Rugby Heaven. Every week we have some of the best rugby in the country and they eyes of the nation are fixated here – especially since most of the leagues east of the Rocky Mountains are hibernating at this time of year. You can’t take a week off because you will miss something spectacular with national implications.

And on that note, I am announcing that I will be taking a week off for the Las Vegas 7s. Hail Pelicus will resume after the March 10 Madness.

Oprah’s Got Nothing On Me

With all of the big, exciting games this past weekend fan interest was high. And yet, and yet… nobody, be it a referee, club or fan, thought to send me a picture to be featured in this newsletter in spite of previous calls to do so. Sometimes it feels that I will see Godot before I get a picture sent to me. So far I have tried to share the iconographic wealth as much as possible but even then I appear more often than I should or want to. If this continues the Hail Peilcus will start looking like my version of Oprah’s magazine O, which has a picture of, you guessed it, Oprah on it every issue.

I don’t think anyone wants that.

To prove I am serious, this week I am giving you a taste of what this dystopian future would look like. The solution is in your hands. Send me captioned pictures and this can all be avoided.

ARC Round Up

A hard fought win over a tenacious Brazil side kept the Eagles undefeated and top of the table at the ARC. Things are looking good for the US to retain the title.

If only we can get our scrum halves to stop box kicking. We still truly suck at it.

The NCRRS Kit Store

Is closed. We will reopen it periodically as demand requires. Thank you to everyone who ordered kit and made this first run a success.

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 following video: https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=_Uz0_gTaOnY

On To The Game Reports!

Date: 02/24/2018
St Marys College 58 – Glendale PRP (RM) 12
Referee: Steven Fenaroli

Glendale Merlins traveled from Colorado to play St Marys at home. There was some last minute switching of times for the game and Glendale D1 played SMC B side at 1pm. Following that game was the Glendale U23 playing SMC A side at 2:45. The kickoff was delayed due to an injury from the first game.

Neither team could slot many conversions and the wind would be a factor throughout the game. Scrums were an issue with the Glendale the and the SMC lh losing their bind throughout the game. If I was on that side, there werent issues. This leads me to believe there was some tomfoolery amidst.
SMC was tough to stop with their dominant ball play. It was a team win as they were happy to get the ball out.

Date: 02/24/2018
St Marys College B 31 – Glendale 26
Referee: Rich Boyer

St. Marys hosted Glendale in a friendly. The match started with St. Marys scoring first on a penalty kick. Momentum soon swung to Glendale, as they gave St. Marys more than they could handle. Glendale quickly scored a forwards try, followed by the big inside center’s gallop for another. Both tries were converted. St. Marys got on the front foot immediately at the restart due to a Glendale handling error. Repeated pressure resulted in two consecutive penalties, the second of which captain Sean, the halfback, quick tapped and dove in for a try. Converted. The next try was a mirror image of St. Marys first try, capped off by the wily halfback. 21-17 Glendale towards the end of the first half. St. Marys restarts, and instead of kicking to touch the flyhalf swings the ball to 13, who makes a great line break, links up with the wing and runs 85 meters, to be tackled a few yards from the tryline. He first pikes to present the ball, then decides to lunge for a try. Penalty, and St. Marys escapes. The game was hard hitting, and the second half did not experience a drop off. The teams parried back and forth, with Sean from St. Marys scoring from the base of a strong scrum. Hat trick. Glendale’s number 7, who had a huge impact at breakdowns with timely poaches, rambled down the sideline and scored, with the try the only one of the day uncoverted. 26-24 Glendale. St. Marys eventually won ball back, the omnipresent Sean make a nice little pop kick collected by the flyhalf, ball was recycled near the try line and St. Marys scores. The flyhalf converted, resulting in the final score 31-26.

Date: 02/24/2018
St Marys College Women 22 – Univ Nevada Reno Women 42
Referee: Cammeron Feusi

No Report Received.

Date: 02/24/2018
Silicon Valley 17 – Google 33
Referee: James Fonda

Great day but a little windy and cold. Rugby was pretty good. Technical zones needs to be understood.

Date: 02/24/2018
Santa Rosa Black Roses 0 – Life West Gladiatrix B 0
Referee: Giles Wilson

This game was cancelled at 9.20pm on Friday night. Life West had call ups to their Elite team and on Friday night several other players apparently discovered that some didn’t get off work until 11-12, funerals and a couple of weddings – things that couldn’t have been foreseen……
I ended up refereeing Santa Rosa HS team against a combination of Milpitas (the official opponent) augmented by Elsie Allen players.

The game started with 8 Milpitas players, 2 from Elsie Allen and 6 on loan from Santa Rosa who didn’t show much cohesion giving up three tries in 10 minutes. Milpitas did manage a single try in reply. Several more Elsie Allen players arrived and filtered onto field. Six first half tries went unconverted by Santa Rosa to three tries and two conversions from Milpitas for a 30 – 19 half time score.
The combine Milpitas/Else Allen team developed more cohesion in the second half, they also managed to kick a number of conversions. Two more tries to Santa Rosa in response to four (and three conversions) from Milpitas/Elsie Allen gave a final score of 40-41 a conversion of any one of their 8 tries by Santa Rosa would have given them the honours to go with the forfeit win they already had in the bag.

Date: 02/24/2018
Santa Clara 10 – UC Davis 46
Referee: David Pescetti

The score does not reflect what this match was. This match was tight and quick paced. Neck a neck for the first half, that was until a key injury occurred to the Santa Clara 10. The punch, counter punch left when he was helped off the pitch. The context of the match changed. Davis punched, and it took longer for SCU to respond. The game slowly shifted from a dominant Santa Clara team, to an even match, and lastly to a Davis favored match as time ticked off the clock. It went from a 65% SCU ball to a possession which favored Davis. At the half Davis led 17 – 5. A game still within reach for SCUts. However, as the second half wore on the game, slowly, went out of reach. Davis 46 – SCU 10

Date: 02/24/2018
Santa Clara B 24 – UC Davis B 31
Referee: William Nelson

Everything seemed good!

(EDITOR’S NOTE: This is some top end, focused reporting. Definitely not Fake News.)

Date: 02/24/2018
Sacramento State Women 22 – UC Santa Cruz Women 36
Referee: David Hosley

UCSC Assistant Coach, whom the head coach identified as Scott Palmer, did not stay in the zone but early in the match went to far side of the pitch. The CSUS coach brought that to my attention about 15 minutes in to first half, I asked the head coach to bring him back, which he said he would. About ten minutes later, the CSUS coach said the assistant was still out of the zone, and I admonished him to return or be removed from the pitch. He slowly complied. When I discussed the issue with UCSC’s head coach, whom I believe to be Chet Angus, after the match he said he lost sight of the assistant because he was focused on the match. I believe UCSC was trying to place a coach on the far side of the pitch for a coaching advantage.

Date: 02/24/2018
Olde Gaels 61 – Chico Mighty Oaks 33
Referee: Robert Hammack

Good back and forth match played with skill by both teams. Chico had plenty of opportunities to score additional points in their 22 but, ultimately, little errors cost them (knock-ons, missed lineouts, etc.).

Date: 02/24/2018
Life West Gladiatrix 36 – Berkeley All Blues WPL 25
Referee: Scott Wood

Life West traveled from Hayward to Sacramento to host Berkeley for this non-league match. This was to accommodate the logistics involved with Berkeley All Blues D2 facing off against Sacramento Amazons in the opening match.

Robla Park has never been well known for having much grass. With the return of drought-like conditions, the grass has migrated to greener pastures. However, two scrums were formed over some semblance of vegetation.

A well-played match with several lead changes. Several scoring opportunities were lost to penalties.
HT: Life West Gladiatrix 14 / Berkeley All Blues 15

Berkeley led 25-24 before Life West was able to put in two unanswered tries. The All Blues had an opportunity to score a try at final time but the ball carrier was pushed into touch less than a meter from the goal line.

Kudos to Catie (Life West) and Allie (Berkeley) for their captaincy and both teams for an exciting match.

Date: 02/24/2018
Life West D2 28 – Vacaville 38
Referee: James Hinkin

Looking at the standings one would have expected a comfortable victory for Life West over Vacaville this past Saturday but, as they say, this is why we play the game. Outsized at nearly every position, Vacaville threw themselves into the mix with wild abandon and proved that you can not sleep on a well-coached side and Chris Motes is a well-coaching coach. A lack of commitment from the home side saw them struggle to find 15 players to start the match and in fact the match was delayed two minutes so that 2 players who literally just walked up could put their boots on and start the match. Vacaville took full advantage of this lack of preparation and jumped out to a 19 point lead within 20 minutes. Sharp, angled running lines in midfield were cutting up the Gladiator’s backs while good technique and full commitment stopped the larger Life West forwards from making any progress. As the game progressed, however, Life West seemed to finally warm up and get their heads in the game and the contest balanced out. The last 20 minutes of the first half saw an exchange of tries to go into the break 26-7 to the Vacavillians.

The second half was the bizzaro version of the first as Life West came out on fire. More players had showed up for the home side and substitutions were made and paid immediate dividends. A pair of quick tries cut into the Vacaville lead and suddenly we had a game. The intensity rose as both sides realized that we were balanced on a knife edge. Vacaville were the next to score to increase their lead to 31-21 but the Gladiators replied to narrow the gap to 31-28, the closest they had been since the opening kickoff. With 7 minutes left and all the momentum going the home side’s way it looked for all the world like an epic comeback but Vacaville stuck to their guns. Desperately defending their line they first held up an attacking maul in goal, then defended the ensuing scrum and several phases of “I am bigger than you” crash ball until they finally were rewarded with a turnover. Running the ball out of their 22 ended with some controversy as a Vacaville wing was tackled near the touch line and, clearly seeing the ball infield, I played on. The touch flag went up while I called “PLAY ON” and Vacaville ran wide around the far side to score a try. Chaos ensued as several Life West players had stopped and were remonstrating with the TJ (a LW man) and the Vacaville team, who remonstrated right back. After consulting with the TJ I waived off the try and awarded the lineout, a decision that was made easier by a Vacaville player arguing with me about the call. (Seriously? I have awarded you a try and you are arguing the call?)

Fun fact, there are 2 reasons why a try may be taken off the board and one of them is touch. Law 18: “When play reaches a touchline, the ball is in touch and becomes dead.” Combine that with Law 7.3.f “Advantage must not be applied and the referee must blow the whistle immediately when…The ball is made dead.”

This all became academic when Vacaville scored on the ensuing set piece, stretching their lead to an unassailable 38-28. Well played by both teams and I must call out both captains for being a pleasure to work with and helping keep an intense finish exciting without disintegrating into a penalty fest.

Date: 02/24/2018
Danville Oaks RFC 27 – Granite Bay Grizzlies 19
Referee: Andrew Stockton

This was an excellent curtain raiser match at Witter Rugby Field. Both teams were incredibly competitive throughout the entire match and were playing with grit, heart, and determination until the end of the match.

I had originally thought that Danville, who I have seen a couple times over the past year or two, was going to walk away with a relatively easy victory. They have had good discipline, incredibly talented players, and some great tactics. I had seen Granite Bay the week prior against SOLO, and thought that they would be relatively disorganized (although that may have been a byproduct of an incredibly disorganized SOLO team).

My prediction could not have been more off. Both teams played a fast, hard hitting game with multiple line breaks and bone-crunching tackles, and some fantastic tries. Danville was able to score a couple of early tries and Granite Bay answered right back, keeping the first half tied. However, when Danville was put a man down for repeated ruck infringements, Granite Bay was unable to capitalize, and gain a lead. In fact, Danville, through a series of lucky breaks, was able to score a try while down a man, and effectively put the game away after that.

I think that given a second chance, Granite Bay would give Danville a run for their money and could most certainly beat them.

Date: 02/24/2018
CSU Monterey Bay Women 10 – Santa Clara Women 70
Referee: Larry Freitas

Drivng down Highway One on the morning of the 24th of February, I saw the snow capped higher peaks of the Santa Lucia Mountains in the distance. Yes, winter has returned to this area of California. I arrived at the CSUMB campus by 10:30 AM, and everything was set to go on this cool morning, a perfect day day for rugby at 50F. There was a breeze blowing in off the ocean, and clouds off in the horizon heading toward land. I saw that both teams didn’t have a lot of players, and in fact at the kick off Santa Clara University had 13 ladies kitted out to Cal State Monterey Bay’s 14. Both teams have had some injuries, but even more critically haven’t been able to recruit enough players to have a good amount of subsitutes on hand to replace those who get hurt, or otherwise miss matches because of other committments, be they studies, work, or anything else.

CSUMB won the toss and elected to defend the north end, figuring to have the wind at their backs for the second half of the match. The ground was firm, as little rain fell on the Monterey Peninsula during the fronts that went through the area during the week.

The game got off to a fast start for Santa Clara, as the Bronco women scored a few tries early. From a scrum some ten meters out Jessica Lew-Munoz, playing at 8, broke through a few attempted tackles and got the visiting side its first points for a 5-0 lead at 4 minutes of play. At 11 minutes Carley Fowler got the last pass from a ball that got passed through the hands of the backs, and ran away from the cover for another try and a 10-0 lead. It seemed at this point of the game that Santa Clara had the superiority in the backs, as they were running onto the ball as opposed to Monterey, who’s flyhalf was not getting good ball, and therefore not able to distribute quality passes to her backs, who were getting knocked over by the Santa Clara defense time and time again. Otters Janike Stein and Isis Smith rarely got touches that amounted to any gained ground. In the meantime Rachel Schneider, Carley Fowler, and Courtney Davis were running rampant through gaps and scoring tries or setting up tries for Santa Clara. In the forwards things were fairlly even, whether line outs or scrums, no one side dominating the other. Davis and prop Mariela Murillo each scored two tries apiece for Santa Clara to finish their scoring in the first half to give them 34 points, with Murillo connecting on two conversions, one for her own first try of the match, and for Davis’ second try. I am really impressed by Davis, who is on the smaller side, and has speed and the ability to side step tacklers, and change direction in her running. The ball got swung right out to the backs for that second try, from a lineout near the 22 of CSUMB, and she took the pass at her outside center position and wrong-footed a defender to glide past the goal line to touch down at the pitch’s north end. She’s a freshman. CSUMB did score at the 23rd minute when flanker Aliana Criado scored a try that was unvconverted. Half time score: 34 for Santa Clara, 5 for CSUMB. CSUMB lost Isis Smith to a groin pull injury, taking out their fastest back playing at full back.

The second half was a repeat of the first, with Santa Clara’s tries coming, in order, from Fowler at 46 minutes, for 7 points, followed by Schneider who basically returned the restart kick after the ball went through several hands, at 48 minutes. She scored another try at 55 minutes. Scrum half Stephanie Haro scored a try at the 68th minute of play. By this time CSUMB had a few more injuries, and were down to 10 on the field. I asked their captain if they’d be willing to finish the match if Santa Clara took out some of their players to even the sides, and the visitors agreed. Two more Santa Clara tries were scored, as Davis once again got the ball and had space ahead of her and no one able to catch her from behind. At 73 minutes Carley Fowler picked up a ball at the base of a ruck and scampered nearly half the field to the goal line under the posts at the south end. Near full time Stephany Arriola scored a try for CSUMB from close range. Final score, Santa Clara 70, CSUMB 10. A rather clean game played. I didn’t have too many penalties to call overall. Some few offsides now and then on either team’s back line, and a hands in the ruck call once, and a Santa Clara player entering the side of a ruck on another occasion.

Looking back at the season that is now in its final few weeks, I recall how CSUMB, when it had all their players available, starters or substitutes, lost by just two points to UC Santa Cruz in mid-November. UC Santa Cruz pulled ahead of Santa Clara in the last twenty minutes of play in that game in Janauary to win. I would have expected a close game today, using the evidence of those past two matches. I can only say that Santa Clara has been fortunate not to lose their best players, as CSUMB has lost three of their best players, two in the back line and their hooker, not able to play in this match. It made all the difference today.

CSUMB has one more game on the 10th of March to finish against USF. Santa Clara plays one more home match versus Sacramento State on the same day. Hopefully by then both teams will have fifteen out on the pitch at kick off.

Date: 02/24/2018
Central Coast RFC 48 – Reno Zephyrs 27
Referee: Paul Simko

On a partly cloudy day, with temperatures in the mid 50’s, I began to wonder why I left the warmer temperatures of Singapore. The game moved to San Jose due to field issues in Seaside, and the generosity of the San Jose Seahawks saved me a few hours that day. Both appeared to be struggling with numbers with a number of new players. Despite a yellow card in the first half for an intentional knock on, Central Coast (The former Aptos Beachdogs) went up 29 to 12 in the first half. The second half was much the same, but within the last 5 minutes, Reno scored 2 tries to even up the try total for the second half, making the final 48 to 27 in favor of Central Coast.

Date: 02/24/2018
Cal 39 – UBC 1 36
Referee: Tim Lew

No Report Received.

Date: 02/24/2018
Cal B 147 – USC 0
Referee: Roberto Santiago

Not a lot to see here. Cal was Cal. USC traveled with less than a full roster and had to go to uncontested scrums after an injury to one of their props. To their credit, the Trojans played with the same effort and determination from start to finish. They stuck together in the face of adversity, never complaining about anything. They lined up, kicked off, and played the best they could all the way through. The Gold Bears were just better.

Date: 02/24/2018
BA Baracus 21 – Sacramento Capitals 32
Referee: Peter Sandhill

The Sacramento Capitals traveled to SF to take on BA Baracus in this D2 men’s matchup. Baracus have returned to their home field this season, in the SF Sunset area, after being displaced for two years due to major rec. complex renovations. Refereeing with the Pacific Ocean as a backdrop is something special, especially on a nice sunny afternoon on a grass field.

This was a close game with Baracus scoring in the first two minutes after starting fast and pressuring the Capitals backs. The Capitals then settled and ten minutes later scored through a nice team try. Around the twenty min. mark, the Capitals pulled away as their backs hit their stride and scored two more tries and a PG to be up at halftime 24-7.

Baracus brought on a few big men at halftime and came out firing, ready to take the fight up front and their forwards began to dominate. While the Capitals had a foray into the other half and scored a PG, Baracas camped in their half for around 25 or 30 min. scoring a hard won try and later another. With the scores at 27-21, the intensity rose for the final ten min. Mostly, clean hard and fast rugby. The Capitals scored on the bell to take the score to 32-21.

The Capitals #10 had a great day with the boot with some well placed line and field kicks as well five through the posts. Hats off to captains Robert and Kevin who worked to keep their teams behaving as the intensity rose.

This Week’s Photo

Suprisingly, this came out BEFORE the famous cover with Kim Kardashian. And yes, I do agree that referencing Oprah Winfrey and Kim Kardashian in the same issue is a cry for help.

Hail, Pelicus!
For the Senate
Pelicus Pedem Referre

Good As Gold

HAIL PELICUS!

Good As Gold

There is a sense of hope in the air around USA Rugby these days. Our Sevens program has been ticking over nicely for the last few years under Mike Friday and while we have yet to reach the mountaintop we can see it and are a threat to win any tournament and beat any team. Our Fifteens team faces much greater challenges as we struggle to break out of Tier 2 status or even to the top of Tier 2. The Golden Age has started well with wins over Argentina, Canada and Chile in the ARC but these victories need to be put in perspective. Argentina sent their B side and any true test will have to be against their full squad and that hasn’t happened in a number of years. Canada is on possibly their worst run of form in their history and lost to Uraguay in their World Cup home-and-home playoff. To even make the tournament they will now need to win the final repechage spot. Chile is a team we must beat regularly and thoroughly – after all there are only 18,000 registered players in the whole country and we have more than that number just here in California.

Not to be all doom and gloom. We won and we won convincingly over our biggest rival Canada and ARC doormat Chile. The Argentina game was close but a quality effort against a side that will produce several Pumas. I like what Gary Gold is doing and the structure and gameplan he is utilizing. I am also eager to see what Psalm Wooching and Paul Lasike bring to the table. They had impressive debuts and showed signs of both inexperience and athleticism. USA Rugby has been for years using the age grade teams to feed the Eagles, as they should. That is what they are there for. Nearly every Eagle these days was a U19 or All American representative, but let’s not lose sight of the fact that there is a great untapped pool of amazing crossover athletes. Back when I started playing there was a common “What If?” game played where you would have Deion Sanders on the wing, Emmitt Smith in the centers, Michael Jordan as a flanker, Tom Rathman as a prop and so on. The thought was with that level of athlete we would be unstoppable. There still is a kernel of truth to that and athletes raised in the Great American Football Factory all the way from high school, through college and the pros can have a huge impact – we just gotta teach them how to play. Let’s not forget how Perry Baker, the current World Rugby Sevens Player Of The Year, got his start.

We have a long road ahead of us for rugby in the USA. After the disaster of the last World Cup we needed to change and get better. We needed to become more professional and that has had mixed results. The failure of Pro Rugby hurt but MLR has made some impressive strides. The PRP is the best league in the country but still is an amateur league – how long will that last? I am quietly pleased with results so far.

If only we can get our scrum halves to stop box kicking. We truly suck at it.

Uranus Takes A Pounding More Frequently Than Thought

Yes, that is an actual headline from an actual news article about interstellar objects smashing into Uranus. Some times they just write themselves. Speaking as a commentator who has to make up his own headlines, I would like to thank USA Rugby for selecting Head Coaches with such easily punnable and headline worthy names. A good headline should be short, informative and to the point but a great headline has that perfect level of Dad Joke that makes the reader smile and cringe at the same time. Friday? Gold? I am set for the foreseeable future. Even Coach Gold’s first name begs for Gary Glitter references. Mr Dan Payne, I am calling on you to keep this wonderful tradition going when selecting the next Women’s Head Coach, a position that as of this writing has yet to be filled. I am confident you won’t let us down and will expect an update on your progress at the I’Maul In Poker Tournament in Vegas.

Poker? In Vegas?

Whodda thunk it? Yes the USA Rugby Foundation headed up by former Eagle captain Brian Vizard hosts a couple of events during the USA 7s. Along with the Scrumble Golf Tournament there is the 9th Annual I’Maul In No Limit Texas Hold ‘Em Charity Poker Tournament. The action takes place Friday March 2 at the Poker Room at the Mandalay Bay Hotel & Casino. This is a fun event that draws a number of rugby legends past and present and the banter around the table is priceless. I play in it every year and I highly recommend it. The first hand will be dealt at 10:30 pm. The buy-in for the I’Maul In No Limit Texas Hold ‘Em Charity Poker Tournament remains $100 ($40 for the USRF, $30 for the player prize pool and $30 for Mandala Bay), which will be paid (cash only) at the Mandalay Bay Poker Room and additional, limited rebuys are available. Seating is limited to the first 100 players so get there on time to get a seat. If you’d like to guarantee your seat at the 2018 I’Maul In Tournament, please contact Brian Vizard at bvizard@usrugbyfoundation.com.

To find out more about the I’Maul In Poker Tournament, the Scrumble Golf Tournament or the USA Rugby Foundation in general go to www.usrugbyfoundation.org.

Wheresthematchreport?

I hope everyone enjoyed the Whostheref match reporting demonstration last night at our February meeting. I expect to be inundated with detailed and lovingly crafted reports from here on out. I would like to once again reiterate that should you decide to just email me scores and a writeup it will be summarily ignored. The notable exceptions to the above blanket statement are, of course, matches that are not assigned here in Pelicanland and are thus not in the system. So any referees on exchange can send me their thoughts as well as our excellent Roving Pelicans Tom Zanarini, Stephen Valerio and any others who wish to tell us of their exotic rugby experiences.

To help educate the flock Our Scott Wood has put together a nifty User Guide that is accessible from this very website: http://pelicanrefs.com/resources/whos-the-ref-user-guide/ . .

The NCRRS Kit Store

Last chance – the store closes Sunday, February 25!

As stated before, the NCRRS is moving away from buying all the kit and then reselling it to our referees. The reasons for this should be obvious in that 1) we have to guess ahead of time how many referees will want or need kit and we have guessed wrong in the past and 2) I really don’t want to continue to have to deal withal these boxes of old and new kit. So to that end, while we will continue to order and distribute jerseys, because we do not sell them – they are earned, moving forward we have set up a store through Canterbury to sell our kit directly to you, our loyal customers. This also allows us more flexibility to sell branded merchandise, such as warm up shirts, tee shirts, backpacks, tooks and so on. The store is now open so please check it out using the following link:

https://norcalrefsjan2017.itemorder.com/sale?read_message=true

The store will stay open until 11:59:59PM, Sunday Feb 25, at which point Canterbury will collect the orders, stich and screen as needed, and then ship them out. This store can be reopened as needed depending on demand, but don’t wait! Get your gear now!

Soaring On The Wings Of Pelicans

Glorious Leader Pelicus Iudex Pennipes has announced some promotions:

“Please join me in congratulating both Jessica Turner and Steven Fenaroli on their grade promotions. JT moves to C2 and Steven has been promoted to the B panel. Both referees were unanimously approved by the Referee Promotion Committee.”

I would also like to remind everyone that the Nor Cal B panel is equivalent to the USA Rugby National Panel so well done there!

Another Legend Passing

Hail Pelicus great Dr Bruce Carter sent in this bit of sad news and I will let him tell you of it:

Don Burgess died, a fellow from Vancouver Island and one of the unsung innovators of our game. He invented the kicking tee for rugby, and managed to get it approved by the IRB – never an easy task getting anything through them (or World Rugby) that wasn’t invented or dreamed up in-house.

http://www.timescolonist.com/news/local/obituary-rugby-legend-don-burgess-was-inventor-of-the-burge-tee-1.23170913

The tee was approved in the late 80s. I remember it well. Don came to a referee meeting I was at (can’t remember where) to promote the use of the tee.

It really made a huge difference. You think kickers waste a lot of time now with their routines – add a minute or two for digging a hole, or sculpting a mound, and then re-doing it when the ball didn’t sit right, even using a bucket of material brought from the sidelines for the purpose.

I’m hoping that although he might be unsung, he might not be forgotten.

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 following video: https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=_Uz0_gTaOnY

On To The Game Reports!

Date: 02/16/2018
Solano-Yolo Rugby Club 5 – Granite Bay Grizzlies 61
Referee: Andrew Stockton

I originally hoped that this would be a relatively close match after seeing Solo at this year’s KOT. I had thought they were a tough, and hard running team that would pack a lot of punch. However, their biggest downfall of the evening was discipline. Quite a few of their players didn’t arrive to the field until about a half hour until kickoff, leading to a bit of disorganization and a semi-lax attitude at kickoff.
Granite Bay scored first after a 7 minute run consisting of some offside penalties, a few lineouts, and a scrum. They scored again a few minutes later, pressing their advantage and superior running lines. Solo then struck back at 16 minutes into the half with a try of their own after a Granite Bay penalty inside their own 22. After that it was all Granite Bay. They added 9 more tries but were only able to score 3 of their conversion kicks.

For most of the evening, both teams struggled with maintaining a good offside line. There were several penalties to both teams, and I made a note to myself after watching the game film that I would produce a card the next time I had repeated issues with offside, even at a high school level. The other problem area was scrums. Granite Bay had obviously better technique and power, while Solo clearly needed work on staying steady and taking weight. There were quite a few resets, and a number of instances where we would spend 3 minutes or more at the same scrum because of balls coming out the tunnel and players slipping on the poor field conditions. I hesitated giving penalties because the penalty count against Solo was already high, and unfortunately, I don’t believe that penalties would have fixed the problems. I was able to manage my way out of it, and scrums toward the later parts of the first half and most of the second half were good.

Overall, I think that it was a challenging match, especially given the short and narrow field conditions. I will be interested to see how Granite Bay performs against a more quality opponent on a regulation sized field this weekend against Danville at Witter Field.

Date: 02/17/2018
Cal Poly Men 69 – USC 5
Referee: James Hinkin

A bright and sunny day in the Pelican Territories was the setting for a D1A clash between California Polytechnic State University at San Luis Obispo against the University of Southern California. The whistle time temps were approaching 80 degrees so it was going to be a hot one. Unfortunately, (I assume) a series of injuries left USC without a capable front row so the match was forfeited. The End.

Just kidding. Not about the forfeit, but since everyone had travelled all the way to this remote outpost to play rugby we decided to play the game anyway, just with uncontested scrums. As California Polytechnic State University at San Luis Obispo is known to have a powerful scrum one would think that would advantage USC but that turned out to be not the case as the California Polytechnic State University at San Luis Obispo forwards got extra rest during the scrums and were much more active around the field. The scoreline does not reflect the tenor of the game as USC was more competitive that a 64 point loss would suggest. The Trojans were able to string several phases together and scored their lone try off of a sustained period of pressure, admittedly helped along by some ill discipline by California Polytechnic State University at San Luis Obispo at the tackle. The difference was the unforgivable communication breakdowns that led to a few simple first phase tries and the fact that USC could only really sustain 4 or 5 either offensively or defensively and California Polytechnic State University at San Luis Obispo would exploit the disorganization after that tipping point. 6 tries in the first half and 5 in the second half told the tale. USC was not without its bright spots as their bescrumcapped, long haired center (allegedly a transfer from St Marys) was a thorn in their side with numerous breaks, tackles and perfect timing when poaching the ball. He must have stolen at least half a dozen balls at tackles and also managed to be a part of one of the lighter moments that was shouted across the field:

USC Coach (after a penalty): “Did he penalize you for off side?”
Player: “No, for playing the ball on the ground.”
Me: “Don’t worry about it. You were off side, too.”
Player: “Coach! I was offside, too.”
USC Coach: “OK!”

Final note: “California Polytechnic State University at San Luis Obispo” is the longest university name in the US.

Date: 02/17/2018
Berkeley All Blues B 15 – Life West Gladiatrix B 44
Referee: Duane Heil

Life hit harder and was more aggressive. They clearly dominated. Good game all around

Date: 02/17/2018
Sacramento Amazons 49 – SFGG Women 7
Referee: Sam Reagle

No Report Received.

Date: 02/17/2018
Sacramento Capitals 17 – Life West D2 20
Referee: Jeff Richmond

A very hard fought match; fast-paced, physical. Both teams made use of the full width of the field generating strong attacks by their back lines. However, good defense kept the try count much lower than it might have been. The Capitals had several opportunities pushing Life back against their goal line, but a knock-on or other turnover left them short. Life suffered through playing with less than 15 after yellow cards for repeat infringements, though they were able control the damage. The score stood at 17-17 for the last 10 minutes, then a penalty by the Capitals gave Life a kick at goal from 20 meters out. Life converted as time expired.

Date: 02/17/2018
Fresno 17 – Olde Gaels 33
Referee: John Pohlman

Fresno hosted Diablo Old Gaels on a beautiful sunny Saturday. Field a bit rough but set up perfectly, well lined with technical zones. Everyone ready for a 1:00 AM kick-off.

Both teams in the running for making the D-3 playoffs and this game lived up to playoff bound teams. The first twenty minutes had both teams attacking, tackling and testing each other. Gaels started the scoring at 21 minutes with an overall team score dotted down by Gaels #7. Only to be matched three minutes later by man of the match flanker Jon-Paul Salvador #7 . The Gaels had more possession in the first half and broke down the strong tackling Fresno defense for two more try’s at 34 minutes and 40 minutes. As time was completed for the first half the Gaels decided to run the ball rather than kick which led to a long try by a very talented Gaels winger. Haft time score Gaels 19 Fresno 5.

Fresno came out on fire in the second half. They had early ball possession leading to two try’s at 51 and 60 minutes. A missed conversion only stopped a complete Fresno comeback. Score Fresno 17-Gaels 19.
Game on. I hope the players know how much referees love rugby and love, even more, close hard fast games.

So thanks. Gaels had more experience and played slightly better rugby. This allowed them to breakdown the Fresno defense which led to two Gael try’s at 27 and 37 minutes. Final Gaels 33 Fresno 17. Thanks guys for a fun, fast competitive game. The players came to play rugby and the fans and myself were treated to a great game.

Date: 02/17/2018
Google 19 – Berkeley RFC 29
Referee: Stephen Moore

Fun match to referee, disciplined and competitive. Berkeley stronger side overall. End of first-half Berkeley led by 12-7. Berkley increased margin in second-half to 17 points, but Google came back strong narrowing the gap once again to 5 points. Berkeley scored one more try for a final result of 29-19. Google finished strong in the last minute running from deep kicking the ball to opposition 22. It was a touch and go contest at full pace, with Berkeley just kicking the ball out in time off the ground to make it full time.

Play of the day was a spectacular flowing run by Berkeley, starting deep with the ball passing delicately thru multiple sets of hands, ending with a final low pass skillfully picked up by a Berkeley player diving low to score. It was All Blacks type stuff, and great being in a box seat to experience it.

I really appreciate the polite input and questions I got from both captains during the match. I especially appreciated the input I got from one captain at half-time about squaring up a little more to see offsides. He will make a great referee one day, no kidding!

Date: 02/17/2018
Redwood Empire RFC 10 – Colusa County 26
Referee: Cary Bertolone

High tackles galore, from Redwood. Two high tackles from their number 4 in the first 7 minutes. Red card and penalty try for a high tackle on #3 at the ten minute mark. Then, number 4 from Redwood was yellowed for repeating high tackles at the 30 minute mark. He then kept talking from the sidelines and I had to warn his coach to shut him up or I would remove him from the rugby enclosure entirely.

Colusa was up 12-0 at the half. In the second half, I yellowed #23 of Redwood for high tackles and then gave him a red after he spent one minute after his high tackle lecture from me, making another one. As he was leaving the pitch because of the red, a Colusa player showed me a vivid bite mark on his back, made by the same player. Each team scored two trys in the second half, giving Colusa the 26-10 win. The Redwood coach kicked his #23 player off the team, after the game. Redwoods #3 actually only made one bad high tackle and was very apologetic about it during and after the game.

Date: 02/17/2018
San Joaquin-Stanislaus RFC 78 – Mendocino Steam Donkeys 33
Referee: Giles Wilson

Winter (?) rugby in California – clear sky, 70+ degrees and the first home game for the Harlots who now have a coach and some new blood in their ranks. One thing that would have been nice would have been if more teams bought the reversible jerseys – these two teams have almost identical kit. Since I lacked a nice matching dark blue, Mendo reversed their jerseys to play as white (no numbers of course – but what 3 player knows their number anyway?).

The field at Northgate Park is in pretty good condition, some gopher holes but nothing too bad. The markings were above average, with clear technical zones and even a score board. The spectators took a few minutes to realize the benefits of being on the sideline with the sun at their back but it all worked out.

Mendo arrived with only 13 players, based on their performance the outcome could have been different if they had a full squad. As it was they ended up playing short for the duration and were well in touch until about 50 minutes.

Things started a bit ominously with one of the new Harlots – “Junior” at 8 man – pounding through for two tries in the opening minutes before Mendo got themselves onto the scoreboard. At 27 minutes, the score was tied at 26. A Mendo sin bin at 33 minutes led to a half time score of 33-26 (Harlots). In the second half, the extra effort of playing short took a toll and Mendo managed a single score against 7 more from the home team. Final Harlots 78 Mendo 33

Date: 02/17/2018
Shasta Highlanders 10 – Central Coast RFC 13
Referee: Scott Wood
Attendance: 3,500

A beautiful day in you-don’t-get-much-more-north Northern California. The Beachdogs scored an early unconverted try before Scrumfest 2018 established an exhibition zone. A second unconverted try by the Beachdogs put them up 10-0 prior to the Highlanders scoring an unconverted try of their own.
HT Shasta 5 – Central Coast 10

A significant reducing in scrums in the second half due to improved handling / reduced mistakes / advantage quickly gained. Under penalty advantage, Beachdogs set up and attempted a drop goal which went wide right. They opted for and were successful at the ensuing penalty goal increasing their lead to eight points. With just under three minutes remaining, Shasta was able to score an unconverted try (next practice may include conversion attempts…), reducing their deficit to three points. The Highlanders were able to regain possession; however, their efforts ended with a knockon into touch.
Kudos to both teams for the match and the Highlanders’ award winning chili at the social.

Date: 02/17/2018
UC Santa Cruz B 15 – Univ Nevada Reno B 42
Referee: Larry Freitas
Scotsman Shouting At The Referee: Neil McDonald

This was another warmer than normal Saturday in this rainless February so far. UC Santa Cruz II hosted Nevada Reno II after the first team match ended. The game was scoreless for the first 17 minutes and I figured that this would be a close match. Then Reno scored a try by getting the ball out to their right wing Brent Hererra, the conversion kick failing. Some six minutes later the loose head prop for the Wolfpack, Mika Somers, would score a try from close range, using his bulk to muscle his way over the goal line. At 29 minutes of play a UCSC player shoulder charged a UNR runner. I had already warned the home side about their tackling, so the player was yellow carded by me, and would be on the bench basically for the rest of the half. Another try by Somers followed at 38 minutes. With time running out UCSC finally put some points on the scoreboard when Alvaro Vasquez broke free on a long run. the halftime score was UNR 15, UCSC 5.

In the first minute of play, after UNR kicked off for the restart which failed to go the required 10 metres, UCSC, now at full strength, took the set piece option on the halfway line, and the ball got spun out to the right, eventually into the hands of speedy winger John Kim, who raced away from the cover to score. Now the home team was only a try and a conversion away from taking the lead. It was not to be. At 46 minutes flanker Nick Taylor of the Wolfpack scored a try under the posts, finally converted by the flyhalf who had been either close or way off in his previous conversion attempts. That try was followed up 3 minutes later by Keaton Richards. The floodgates appeared to be opening. At 57 minutes, with Reno taking a tap penalty from the five metre line, prop Somers would score his third try of the match. From the restart kick Reno would score again, with center Ed Ferrigno breaking through attempted tackles to dot down, again the conversion missing. One more try for the Wolfpack was scored five minutes from time by Jacob Bourgault who took off on a long run that covered over sixty metres. Before the no side whistle Marcos Gonzalez would get a consolation try for the Slugs to end the match.

UCSC had a few opportunities in the second half when they pinned Reno back to their goal line, but some sloppy play cost them points, such as when a tap penalty was given, with UCSC trying to score from the Reno five metre line. The ball carrier ran into his teammate for the accidental offside offense. Reno cleared their lines following their put in at the set piece. Overall the game was played as a friendly, with both teams showing a lot of sportsmanship and with some humourous commentary from time to time, especially about Reno’s failed conversions. This was my first men’s match in awhile, and I thoroughly enjoyed it, even if I had to hoof it a bit more up and down the pitch, though not to imply that there aren’t some very fast women college or club players. I want to thank Neil McDonald for his advice from the touchline as well.

Just as an aside I took a crack at stand up comedy later that evening down in Monterey. I have never taken a class, and didn’t really prepare, but I got more laughs than three comics out of the seven who performed. The funny thing is that the owner of this small theatre, after introducing me as Denis (I used my middle name) Freitas, a retired teacher and rugby referee, then announces to the crowd that she played women’s rugby in the past, as a lock for a club in Cleveland. I went into a monologue, with no planning, on the game, and the difference in the men’s and women’s game, even the size of shorts worn, joking a bit about how at 63 it’s a little more of a physical challenge to ref a college men’s match. It got some laughs, along with another bit I did on a former teacher of mine in high school! One other comic on stage was a former UNR women’s player. I guessed she played prop and I was right. I might do stand up again, but I’ll take a class first.

Date: 02/17/2018
CSU Monterey Bay 14 – Santa Rosa JC 27
Referee: Paul Simko

No Report Received.

Date: 02/17/2018
Humboldt State 31 – Univ San Francisco 17
Referee: Peter Sandhill

Thanks you weather gods for giving us another NorCal sunny day for rugby in the maw of winter. The fields were nicely marked and the sky blue, perfect conditions. University of San Francisco, USF, arrived with 16 players hence few replacements; luckily they had six who could play in the front row.
The game started in a flurry with some hard running and tackling. The first twenty minutes, however, were characterized by a plethora or (material) tackle and ruck infringements from both teams: hands-in, side entry, diving-in, not rolling or releasing. I was concerned it was going to be a long day so I called both forward packs in for a brief chat. Immediate response and cleaner ball ensued. The first half was fairly close with Humboldt scoring once and USF scoring twice to lead at halftime 12-7.

A different Humboldt team emerged in the second half playing wide, with quicker distribution to the backs, in general, with their outside center making some line-breaking runs and scoring two tries in quick secession. All of a sudden Humboldt were on the front foot and in the lead. USF scored a try again and with the scores now at Humboldt 26 – USF 17 the intensity rose for a brief period. USF seemed to run out of gas, however, possibly due to lack of replacement options. Another try to Humboldt and they were up 31-17 (the final score) and played hard until the final whistle. To USF’s credit, they didn’t give up and were attacking the line right to the end, until a final knock-on ended play.

Addendum: Humboldt State is a 5-6hrs drive north from the Bay Area through some of the most beautiful, lush country that includes mountains, rivers, flatlands, estuaries, forests… and then there are the Giant Redwoods. I encourage referees to travel north, at least once, to enjoy the beauty of far Northern California and some good rugby.

Date: 02/17/2018
St Marys College C 136 – Pacific 0
Referee: James Fonda

Beautiful day in Moraga. St. Mary’s C vs UOP. Teams were very disciplined throughout the whole match. They just played rugby. St. Mary’s out classed UOP but UOP never gave up and kept fighting no matter the outcome. In the 65″, a tackle from behind by a St. Mary’s player led to a potential bad injury. Time was off. In the 72″, St. Mary’s player 12 was yellow carded for dangerous tackle. Great match, though but a lot of running with so many tries.

Date: 02/17/2018
St Marys College B 45 – San Jose Seahawks 47
Referee: Paul Bretz

Throughout the week I was looking forward to officiating St. Mary’s 2nd side against San Jose Seahawks; I was not let down. As anticipated San Jose was much more physical in the first half and took control of the pitch leading by as much as 10 points going into intermission. I assumed that fitness combined with the size of the pitch would control the second half and as anticipated, St. Mary’s came from behind and went up by 18 points in the second half. However San Jose’s fitness was not an issue and with 10 minutes to go San Jose started coming back. With 30 seconds to go San Jose got ball in hands and immediately spun it out wide where the Seahawk wing went 70 meters to score in the corner to tie the game 45-45. I advised the kicker that he has his choice: He could hurry the kick and we would have a restart or he could take his time and the game would conclude in either a tie or the win. The kicker opted to take his time and made a successful conversion kick winning 47-45.
Congratulations to both teams. Lessons learned from this friendly will surly play dividends for both teams down the road.

Not a bad day of rugby. Got to referee coach my son, Run AR for the BYU V. St. Mary’s A side, and referee.

Date: 02/17/2018
Fresno State 26 – Sacramento State 39
Referee: Dan Wilson

Fresno State v Sac State turned out to be much more entertaining and competitive than anyone, including the Fresno State coaches thought. Sac State jumped out to a 22-0 lead in the first quarter, but Fresno State turned the pressure defense up and put Sac State under constant pressure. This pressure resulted in a converted try in the 36th minute and almost one more before halftime. Halftime score: Fresno State 7 – Sac State 22. The second half start was as the first half finished with Fresno State pressuring both offensively and defensively. Fresno scored two tries within the first 10 mins but Sac State was able to right the ship and hold the pressure for the final quarter. The teams traded tries but Sac State was able capitalize on some little slips from Fresno and scored two more. Excellent game to referee. Final Score: Fresno State 26 – Sac State 39.

Date: 02/17/2018
Cal Women 46 – Humboldt State Women 65
Referee: Robert Hammack

HSU got off to their typical fast start with a strong recycling, possession game from the forwards and very powerful running from their backs (especially their hard-running #13). Cal never backed down but fell off of too many tackles in the first half. HT 41 – 12 to HSU.

2nd half started off with Cal scoring 3 quick tries and the match started to have the feeling of a tale of two halves. However, HSU was up to the task and countered with several tries of their own, several against the run of play. It was a back and forth 2nd half but the lead proved insurmountable for Cal. Well-played and skillful match played in good spirits and sportsmanship. FT 65 – 46 to HSU.

Date: 02/17/2018
UC Davis Women 34 – Stanford Women 36
Referee: Jessica Turner

Another beautiful day for rugby in Davis! This time there was no wind and nothing but action during this tightly contested match, with the Stanford women at UC Davis. From the first to the final whistle, the entire match was back and forth. Both sides played very strong and intelligent footy, matching try for try on the scoreboard. It was a great match to be in the middle of, both sides displayed excellent discipline overall, which helped the management and flow stay at a maximum. There was a good mix of strong forward play from both sides, with their backs outshining them just a touch. Many of the tries from both sides were set up from brilliant individual effort, with some great vision from the backs from both sides. As promised, the excitement carried on until the very final whistle, with UCD scoring a try with no time left and Stanford held their breath while waiting for a conversion attempt wide left of the sticks. The kick was short and with a sigh of relief, the visitors held on for a tight 2 point win.

Date: 02/17/2018
Jesuit High School Rugby Club 10 – Mother Lode Rugby Football Club 37
Referee: Andrew Stockton

No Report Received.

Date: 02/17/2018
Marin Highlanders Rugby Club 22 – Lamorinda Rugby Football Club 39
Referee: David Pescetti

In a high school match that pitted east bay vs north bay; Lamorinda met Marin. Classic size vs speed matchup. Lamo with the size. Marin with the speed. The first half saw Lamorinda lead, taking advantage of a Marin binned player. Scoring twice in that time frame. Before the Marin error, we were playing an even match with both teams responding to the scores. Into the half Lamo led Marin 22 – 12.

The second half had an uphill battle. Temporarily a man down, and 10 point behind. However they held strong during that time and kept themselves within reach. Marin caught a break when, with twenty minutes to go Lamo went, permanently, a man down. 10 points. 20 minutes. Momentum was in their favor. However Lamo was able to overcome that disadvantage and place a converted try to extend their lead to 17 with 15 minutes left. Gritting their teeth, with the last 10 minutes Marin found their feet. Scoring and then scoring off the kick off possession. The quick strike brought them within 7. Five minutes remaining. Marin looked like they had the game given the momentum and advantage. But it looked like they used their last gas in the tank for those 2 tries. Lamo, stunned them by, off the kickoff, scoring. Making the game effectively out of reach for Marin.

Wonderful match by both side. Marin 22 – Lamorinda 39

Date: 02/17/2018
Peninsula Green Rugby Club 21 – San Francisco Golden Gate Rugby Club 61
Referee: Preston Gordon

On yet another perfect day for rugby at Sequoia High School, SFGG’s top tier U19 team was dominant over an enthusiastic Peninsula Green team. SFGG took two minutes to score their first converted try of the game, adding 4 more before halftime to lead 35-0 at the break. The second half started much the same way as the first, with a quick SFGG try, except this time the hosts got themselves on the scoreboard 5 minutes later with a well-worked converted try. At 40-7, the contest was perhaps over at this point, but the second half was a lot more balanced: 4 SFGG tries to 3 for Peninsula Green, who accomplished that while having 2 players in the sin bin for dangerous tackles in the second half (with a 6-minute overlap). The kickers on each side also did a great job with the conversions, missing only 1 out of the 12 in the aggregate. All in all, a fun game to ref.

Upon being asked, and finding out there was nobody else suitable and available, I took on the B side game as well. This one was played mostly by younger players, most of whom seemed to have plenty of experience doing things other than rugby while on the field. After 1 yellow card to a SFGG player for a dangerous tackle, and some additional post-breakdown activity, a brief but intense directive to both captains put an immediate stop to further nonsense. Each team went on to score one try in the first half (7-7), and in the second half SFGG added 3 more to win it 24-7.

A brief recommendation for a post-match meal if you’re in the area: Gourmet Haus Staudt, 2615 Broadway, in Redwood City. They’ve got excellent potato pancakes and other German food/drink selections in a pub and gourmet shop.

This Week’s Photo

Pelicus Tempus Procurator was deservedly appointed as AR for the USA Canada match in Sacramento and was caught reacting in the most English way possible to a dirty joke told by the referee

Hail, Pelicus!
For the Senate
Pelicus Pedem Referre

HAIL PELICUS!

Winter Athletics

This last week the Winter Olympics started in a show of unity as the two Koreas marched together in the opening ceremonies. This is an international quadrennial gathering that celebrates the fun people can have when it is really, really cold out and PyeongChang did not disappoint, with record breaking cold. Not to be outdone, the Weather Priestess here in Pelicanland decided on… a heat wave? Yes, as the world watched miserable sportscasters bitterly complain about the unearthly freezing temperatures we here were suffering, yes suffering through 80 degree days.

And yet, somehow the rest of the country doesn’t seem to want to send exchange referees over here this time of year. The mind boggles. To my certain knowledge the only non-Pelicans in town were national appointments.   While we can not guarantee beach-worthy weather, at this time of year there are very few leagues playing. Essentially you have the west coast and some D1A matches in Texas and that may be about it. All of those snow-bound referees in the midwest and east looking for a match are more than welcome because what we can guarantee is quality rugby matches. I would start harassing your exchange officer immediately. There are few better places for Winter Athletics than Northern California.

Matches? We Don’t Report No Stinking Matches!

A significant percentage of the flock are still having issues with the Whostheref assignment and match reporting system that we are using these days. We have all had a few months to get used to this system so it is time to start using it. Please note that should you decide to just email me scores and a writeup it will be summarily ignored. I have neither the time nor the inclination to comb through my email for referee reports. To be honest, I don’t know how my predecessor managed it.

The notable exceptions to the above blanket statement are, of course, matches that are not assigned here in Pelicanland and are thus not in the system. So any referees on exchange can send me their thoughts as well as our excellent Roving Pelicans Tom Zanarini, Stephen Valerio and any others who wish to tell us of their exotic rugby experiences.

To help educate the flock Our Scott Wood has put together a nifty User Guide that is accessible from this very website: http://pelicanrefs.com/resources/whos-the-ref-user-guide/ . There will also be a presentation at our meeting next week. We live stream those so there are no more excuses.

The NCRRS Kit Store

As stated before, the NCRRS is moving away from buying all the kit and then reselling it to our referees. The reasons for this should be obvious in that 1) we have to guess ahead of time how many referees will want or need kit and we have guessed wrong in the past and 2) I really don’t want to continue to have to deal withal these boxes of old and new kit. So to that end, while we will continue to order and distribute jerseys, because we do not sell them – they are earned, moving forward we have set up a store through Canterbury to sell our kit directly to you, our loyal customers. This also allows us more flexibility to sell branded merchandise, such as warm up shirts, tee shirts, backpacks, tooks and so on. The store is now open so please check it out using the following link:

https://norcalrefsjan2017.itemorder.com/sale?read_message=true

The store will stay open until 11:59:59PM, Sunday Feb 25, at which point Canterbury will collect the orders, stich and screen as needed, and then ship them out. This store can be reopened as needed depending on demand, but don’t wait! Get your gear now!

The Golden Years

The Gary Gold era in USA Rugby has started with a couple of wins over an Argentine B side and a full Canadian side. Wins are very nice – especially against Canada – but we still look very much a 2nd tier nation. Personally I would expect us to do well in the ARC – and we have, being the defending champion – but I still hunger for that first tier 1 scalp. If MLR is more successful than Pro Rugby (not a high bar, true) then we may finally have the professional league that is so needed to build a competitive national team. I have high hopes and a sense of great optimism that is only tainted by the knowledge that our national teams are overseen by USA Rugby who has shown very limited ability to successfully organize anything. More on that next week.

Laying Down Some Knowledge

I hope everybody had a lovely Sweetie Baby Day this week. Our February Society meeting is coming up on Wednesday, February 21 and will be once again at East Bay Sports in Livermore. We will be using this facility for all of our development meetings and training sessions for the 2017/18 season. The address is:

East Bay Sports – Livermore
6474 Patterson Pass Rd
Livermore, CA 94550
925.455.8300

The agenda is

  • Next Play Speed-Anticipate the trajectory of the game (Jukka Valkonen Guest speaker)
  • Goal Setting (John Lane)
  • Materiality (Jordan Bruno)
  • Advantage -When and how long (Pete Smith)
  • Whostheref Basic use review (James Hinkin or Our Scott Wood)
  • Online Kit Store (James Hinkin)

 

Vegas Needs Refs

If you have not already signed up to referee the Las Vegas Invitational then you need to do so soon as time is running out. How else will you be able to rub shoulders with and say you refereed alongside legends such as Phil Klevorick?

Referees One and All !

The biggest rugby tournament in North America is looking for YOU! The Las Vegas Invitational needs you on March 1st, 2nd, and 3rd to help volunteer and officiate 7’s (and a select few 15’s) matches across youth, collegiate, and adult divisions in Sin City. As our tournament continues to grow, so does the number of referees needs to keep this event rolling! Come ref by day, and enjoy the most exciting city on earth by night! Northern California brought a great number of refs last year, and we can’t do it again without you!

All Referees receive:
– Rhino LVI Referee jersey (both Male and Female specific cuts)
– Tickets to all 3 days of the USA Sevens International event (when you stay at the Westgate Hotel – massive LVI benefits available on room rates, $10 breakfast deal, WAIVING ALL RESORT FEES THROUGH THE END OF JANUARY!!, and $40 shuttle passes from the hotel to the stadium and the fields)

Westgate Hotel link: https://aws.passkey.com/go/SLVI8R – again, with waiving resort fees, you get the cheapest rates and get to stay at an incredible resort and the hub of the LVI.

To register to ref at the LVI 2017, contact Autumn Arvidson at : mnrugbyref@gmail.com

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

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 following video: https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=_Uz0_gTaOnY

On To The Game Reports!

Date: 02/10/2018
Berkeley All Blues B 14 – Life West Gladiatrix 61
Referee: David Pescetti

Saturday morning pitted old rivals against each other. Life West played their northern freeway rivals, the Berkeley All Blues. The match was a dead heat, stiff competition, and play from both sides kept the game within reach for the entirety of the first half. However as the match went on, Life West was able to separate themselves with their experience. The game broke wide open for them in the second half.
Life West 61 – Berkeley All Blues 14

Date: 02/10/2018
Cal B 65 – Cal Maritime 10
Referee: Pete Smith

It was a real pleasure to ref a two teams with such well disciplined players. Both teams wanted to avoid avoidable penalties and played a hard clean game. No back chat of any kind from players or coaches. With the perfect weather and atmosphere at Witter Field it was the postcard moment for why referees carry the whistle. Thank you to both teams for letting me be a part of your day.

Date: 02/10/2018
Cal 106 – Utah Valley University Men’s Rugby 7
Referee: John Lane

This match was played on a glorious sunny day in a really good competitive spirit – the high scoreline does not reflect the full match contest and the competitive nature of the breakdown play.
Cal kept the tries ticking over steadily with 8 tries in both halves with 5 converted in the 1st and all 8 converted in the 2nd – the quality of the replacement kicker (21) in the second half was particularly impressive with multiple wide out conversions splitting the uprights!!

Utah Valley had a few periods of pressure during the first half and early on turned down a kick at goal when only 12 – 0 behind. Unfortunately they turned over the lineout and the opportunity was lost.
They did deservedly cross for a score mid way through the second half and maintained field position and pressure for a period but Cal defended well and countered with some long distance scores on turn overs.

My thanks for the support from Pete and Rob/Tom who took a half each on the sidelines.

Date: 02/10/2018
Cal Poly Men B 19 – Santa Barbara Rugby Academy 24
Referee: James Fonda

Great day at Cal Poly. Nice and warm weather throughout the match so no problem there. Cal Poly is really having their program together. I am not sure what to expect from Santa Barbara Academy. Teams were ready to go so the kick off was about 5 minutes early. From kick off, these teams came to play. They went at each other. The main issue that I was having was they were trash talking to each other. This elevated during the half which led to a talking to the captains. This lead to additional penalties to each side for back chat. Eventually right at the 40 minute mark a Yellow Card was issued to Cal Poly #7 for back char. The second half was a lot better and the rugby was great.

One thing that I need to work on is to square my shoulders to that I can catch the off sides.

Date: 02/10/2018
Chico State 64 – San Jose State 7
Referee: Jeff Richmond

Chico simply dominated all aspects of the game. Chico maintained excellent control of possession and was adept at bringing the fullback into the back line creating numerous attacking opportunities. San Jose State had a few standout players but were out-matched by the home team. San Jose didn’t help themselves with numerous offside penalties, ultimately leading to yellow cards for repeat infringements.

Date: 02/10/2018
CSU Monterey Bay 10 – Humboldt State 39
Referee: James Hinkin

It is early February, a time that many call the dead of winter, so naturally I was glad to escape the heat and get down to coastal Monterey for some rugby in perfect conditions. I arrived a late to see both teams already well into their warmups. Yes, I did arrive late, showing up at 12:30 for a 1:00 game, but I feel that the car with its wheels uppermost next to the car facing the wrong way with a crumpled front end, blocking 1 of the 2 lanes on Hwy 156, may have been significant.

No matter. With the sun shining down, the temperature in the mid 60s, a perfectly marked field and two well supported teams eager to play I made damn sure that we were ready to go at 1:00. And so we were off. Humboldt St had the early advantage as CSUMB could not stay on side at the ruck. Several early penalties necessitated a talk with the captain and things soon sorted themselves out. Unfortunately for the home side, HSU was ruthless in capitalizing on these mistakes and were running in tries. The visitors scored 4 tries in the first half with 2 conversions. Not to say that the home team didn’t have its chances, because they did. The scoreline did flatter the Lumberjacks a bit, but every time the Otters got close the inevitable turnover, knock on or penalty would undo all their hard work. HSU showed a more convincing finishing touch is all. The loss of CSUMB’s scrumhalf to a reaggravated knee injury near the end of the half was particularly devastating. The HSU #13 Dalvin Jamal-Milton was exceptionally lethal in the back line as he showed the speed and vision to repeatedly carve up the Otter line. Unfortunately, the reason I know his name so well is, with about a minute left in the first half, he made a tackle and managed to get the player off their feet but not safely back to ground, so I gave him 10 minutes to think about the error of his ways.

Even though they were down a man the second half opened with another HSU try almost immediately after the whistle, thus opening up the NSCRO substitution law allowing HSU to empty their bench in the second half. (A great idea, in my opinion. This should be considered for all youth and lower level club competitions.) As the half progressed and CSUMB got their tail up and finally got on the scoreboard with a well earned try. With only a few minutes left HSU had some discipline issues as they developed a pattern of illegally killing the ball whenever the hosts got some momentum and I finally had enough of it when one of their players crawled through a ruck to grab the ball and bring it back to his side. The visitors ended the match down a player and Monterey Bay took full advantage to score a second try. Well done, them. The match ended with handshakes all around on a perfect rugby day.

Date: 02/10/2018
Fresno State 14 – UC Santa Cruz 78
Referee: Rodney Tuisavalalo

No Report Received.

Date: 02/10/2018
Fresno State Women 40 – Sacramento State Women 0
Referee: Jeff Jury

A nice clear, cool day. Both teams were riddled with injuries and used new players. The score does not reflect the competitive nature of the match.

Date: 02/10/2018
Life West – Santa Monica PRP
Referee: Giles Wilson

I’m not sure why USA Rugby would have a referee fly in from Chicago on the day of the game for an 11am kick off. Why not the night before? The flight was delayed and the referee was left with no time to warm up properly. Life West and Santa Monica both showed first game issues and the game became more fluent in the second half. Life West wore down Santa Monica, ending comfortable winners.

Date: 02/10/2018
Life West Gladiatrix B 34 – Sacramento Amazons 25
Referee: John Pohlman

Life West D-2 woman hosted the Sacramento Amazons at Sunset Park this past Saturday. Traffic was heavy and construction at the school/park caused me to get to the field around 2:15 for a scheduled 3:00PM kickoff. Both teams were in a full warm up when I arrived and told the kick off had been moved up to 2:30PM. The field was in bad shape but well marked with goal posts padded and flagged. No technical area, no cones or flags marking anything but goal line. Amazons had 25 or so players, Life had twelve players kitted up.

We kicked off about 2:40PM with Life fielding 12 players to start. Level of play was good with Amazons scoring two quick trys with the three player advantage. Life did score on a long run by winger Angelina Lomu at 11 minutes. Amazon forwards scored their third try of the first half at twenty minutes. The Amazons forwards were bigger and used the pick and drive to breakdown the 12 player Life team.
Around 25 minutes the Life team first side “reserves” showed up to fill out the 15 player roster. Life then scored two try’s to finish the first half. Life 24 Amazons 15.
The second half saw Life controlling most of the possession but both teams scored two unconverted try’s each. Amazons led by captain Ofa Mailangi who played at least three positions and took some kicks. Both captains were a pleasure to work with.
Final score Life 34 Amazons 25

Date: 02/10/2018
Olympic Club B 7 – OMBAC B 57
Referee: Robert Hammack

First try to Olympic at 7′ but one-way traffic by OMBAC the rest of the match. Olympic held OMBAC scoreless for the first 30 minutes but the OMBAC scrum steadily gained ascendancy and began to dominate set pieces and provided a great platform for their backs. HT 7 – 17. Second half was more of the same as the OMBAC forwards dominated and provided plenty of front-foot ball for their backline. Olympic was always competitive and had some deep forays into their opponent’s half but were frequently undone by knock-ons and general a little bit of sloppiness.

(From Giles Wilson: The referee for this game had to retire hurt after 5 minutes being replaced by the referee who had just finished the previous game.)

Date: 02/10/2018
UC Davis B 39 – San Diego State 34
Referee: Jessica Turner

The drive up to Davis was a mess due to an accident on the 80 east, luckily I was in good company and we barely made it on time to her (the great Leah Berard’s) match. So many random events either occurred or didn’t occur that day which made things a bit more rough than they needed to be overall, including a very windy day at the office. After toiling away as AR for the A-side match, I shoved snacks down my throat in an attempt to not die before my own kickoff, keen to get into my zone and have a good run out. After a quick toss with the captains, it was time to go. The game going on around me was actually really awesome. The guys had pretty good discipline overall, and the match was well contested with the Davis B side starting a little slower than San Diego State B. SDSU came out the first quarter or so, with much intent to take their possession and turn it into points. Slowly but surely, the Davis boys never backed down, slowly creeping up the scoreboard keen to overtake the visitors. After a necessary halftime break, we got back into it. This time the Davis boys had a fire lit, and I’m sure it came from some choice words from the coaching staff and team leaders. They came out with the same intensity that SDSU had started with, and conversely their competition came out ready to play but not quite as intense as the beginning. Davis was able to turn their possession into much needed points, eventually overtaking the scoreboard. It was a tooth and nail fight to the end, with a lovely mix of tries from the hard hitting forwards and some individual brilliance from the backs. One of the more memorable tries was in the first half, it was a great read from a Davis defender who stole it mid-air from the SDSU backs looking to stretch them, and he took it about 75m for a score. Long story long, SDSU couldn’t convert their final bits of possession into more points, and Davis held on for the win.

This Week’s Photo

This is what Pelican Referees can expect if they continue to not provide narratives to their matches – a stern talking to.   Much like the Pelican in the picture, you will feel shame.

 

Hail, Pelicus!
For the Senate
Pelicus Pedem Referre

Early Days

HAIL PELICUS!

Early Days

This past weekend I was assigned a match way up in the extreme north of Pelicanland at Humboldt St University (see report below). Not only is this a 5-plus hour drive but the HSU women scheduled their match for 11:00 even though there was no other matches being played that day. Apparently they scheduled it for then because “they always play at 11:00” and by the time I asked them to change it other groups had booked the field, so that made for a VERY early morning for me.

I am not a fan of getting up early.

There are people, most notably in the military and the sports advertising world, who believe that getting up early is a sign of moral character. One should always run quickly away whenever someone says something like “Oh Five Hundred” as if it were a real thing. Be prepared during the upcoming Olympic Games for lots of feel-good stories of athletes overcoming obstacles to get to the top of their sport and the inevitable soft focus montage of these athletes getting up while it is still dark out to run the lonely streets/work out/go to training. With stirring music in the background we are reminded of the noble and moral sacrifice they are making by getting up early.

Balderdash.

Yes, there are some times when getting up early is necessary – often it is your job that requires it like, for example, the angel in heavy disguise who makes my morning donuts. I know that at times that is the only time one has for training or whatnot, but that doesn’t make it a morally superior choice – it is just time management. If you get up later and are awake for the same number of hours, doing the same activities, what matter is it the position of the sun when you do it? Farmers are well known for going to bed with the cows and getting up with the chickens. Some people consider this a sign of moral rectitude but I consider it a sign of deviant sexual practices that should be reported to the Humane Society. As a guiding philosophy I much prefer Orson Scott Card’s “early to bed and early to rise makes a man stupid and blind in the eyes.” It makes the rest of the day much easier to face.

Hail Pelicus Rewind

A few years ago when I had made a similar trip to Humboldt I wrote one of my favorite pieces. It had everything; natural splendor and a celebration of Pelicanland combined with several layers of jokes and wordplay. I always thought it exemplified the stylistic advice of E.B. White to “Be obscure clearly! Be wild of tongue in a way we can understand.” Here at Hail Pelicus the goal not only is to entertain and inform, but to do so in a manner that celebrates this wonderful language of ours and the diversity of nuance available.

Also, whenever possible, I reuse old material so that I can fill a few column inches without having to do any work, so here is one of my favorite items, originally published in February of 2015:

The Roads Less Travelled – Redux

Early morning Saturday, I slowly return to consciousness at the insistence of a pesky buzz. An early start is needed to complete the 325 mile migration northwards to fulfill the promised rugby regimen. The night was still upon us and a crisp, quiet darkness ruled the neighborhood. With the kit bag already readied and the motorcar fully gassed up all that was needed to begin the journey was to preen the feathers and take off. Starting north up the east side of the San Francisco Bay to cross the San Pablo Bay in darkness as the sun struggled to meet its appointment with the day. After a planned stop off in Santa Rosa to grab some coffee and a breakfast sandwich I added a few more stops just to take time and look around at the scenery. As the sun rose Pelicanland slowly lit up to the dazzling beauty that it is known for with vistas found in few other places in the world. Early fog blanketed rolling vineyards, thick enough that the far side was obscured from sight. Breaking into more secluded regions the morning sky sparkled clear and blue as the clouds that should have been floating by were still asleep in the wooded valleys. Looking down on these opaque cotton balls still clinging to the valley floor on a crystalline day is a magnificent sight.

Finally, I have arrived at my destination. The gods have declared that rugby is a sport best played in fine weather and arranged such accordingly. Also noting that close matches with last minute heroics are more fun than blowouts, the gods arranged this as well. What could be better?

As is common at my age, I had played with the coaching staff at Humboldt St and we spent some quality time rehashing old and new stories over a few pints in the taproom at the Redwood Curtain Brewing Company. The good people of Redwood Curtain have figured out some excellent ways to combine flavors and have quite the selection and I wish I had time to try them all, but families and rest called to us as we parted, going our separate ways.

I moved 10 miles down the coast of Humboldt Bay to the next town and checked into my lodging for the night. There was one requirement: a hot tub. I stopped by the hotel bar and obtained a suitable libation and stepped into the hot tub. I idly noticed how the water sloshed over the edge when I stepped in and, as my mind wandered, I saw how the level of my drink changed as well. With a sudden flash of inspiration I jumped out of the hot tub shouting “EUREKA!” and went to get a new drink.

Heading home the next day there was an opportunity presented that is unique to this special area of the world. I pulled off the freeway and drove for about a half mile or so… and then I drove through a tree. As they so often are, the roads less travelled are the most interesting.

The NCRRS Kit Store

As stated before, the NCRRS is moving away from buying all the kit and then reselling it to our referees. The reasons for this should be obvious in that 1) we have to guess ahead of time how many referees will want or need kit and we have guessed wrong in the past and 2) I really don’t want to continue to have to deal withal these boxes of old and new kit. So to that end, while we will continue to order and distribute jerseys, because we do not sell them – they are earned, moving forward we have set up a store through Canterbury to sell our kit directly to you, our loyal customers. This also allows us more flexibility to sell branded merchandise, such as warm up shirts, tee shirts, backpacks, tooks and so on. The store is now open so please check it out using the following link:

https://norcalrefsjan2017.itemorder.com/sale?read_message=true

The store will stay open until 11:59:59PM, Sunday Feb 25, at which point Canterbury will collect the orders, stich and screen as needed, and then ship them out. This store can be reopened as needed depending on demand, but don’t wait! Get your gear now!

Laying Down Some Knowledge

Our February Society meeting is coming up on Wednesday, February 21. Apparently a few Pelican Sweetie Babies objected to having a meeting on February 14, thus the later date. Details will be posted next week.

Vegas Needs Refs

For Behold! I see in mine eye a City full of Sinners whereupon unruly masses descend for feats of violence, tests of skill and corybantic rituals fueled by mind-addling ambrosia. Should Paragons of Law not also descend upon this madness all will be lost, there will be a great wailing and gnashing of teeth and nobody will have any fun at all. Thus I proclaim the following missive:

Referees One and All !

The biggest rugby tournament in North America is looking for YOU! The Las Vegas Invitational needs you on March 1st, 2nd, and 3rd to help volunteer and officiate 7’s (and a select few 15’s) matches across youth, collegiate, and adult divisions in Sin City. As our tournament continues to grow, so does the number of referees needs to keep this event rolling! Come ref by day, and enjoy the most exciting city on earth by night! Northern California brought a great number of refs last year, and we can’t do it again without you!

All Referees receive:
– Rhino LVI Referee jersey (both Male and Female specific cuts)
– Tickets to all 3 days of the USA Sevens International event (when you stay at the Westgate Hotel – massive LVI benefits available on room rates, $10 breakfast deal, WAIVING ALL RESORT FEES THROUGH THE END OF JANUARY!!, and $40 shuttle passes from the hotel to the stadium and the fields)

Westgate Hotel link: https://aws.passkey.com/go/SLVI8R – again, with waiving resort fees, you get the cheapest rates and get to stay at an incredible resort and the hub of the LVI.

To register to ref at the LVI 2017, contact Autumn Arvidson at : mnrugbyref@gmail.com

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

Flock Talk, Enriching The Vocabulary Of Pelicanland

Taken from the Vegas intro, we have this edition’s Word of the Day:

Corybantic

adjective kawr-uh-ban-tik, kor-
1. frenzied; agitated; unrestrained.
2. of or relating to a Corybant.

Bonus Flock Talk!

Taken from Flock Talk:

Corybant

noun kawr-uh-ban-teez, kor-
1. Classical Mythology. any of the spirits or secondary divinities attending Cybele with wild music and dancing.
2. an ancient Phrygian priest of Cybele.

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 following video: https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=_Uz0_gTaOnY

On To The Game Reports!

Date: 02/03/2018
Chico State 39 – UC Santa Cruz 17
Referee: Rich Boyer

A beautiful day greeted me on my trip to Chico. UCSC were keen from the start and worked the ball methodically down field only to be undone by an error. Chico took control from there, but had a difficult time finding the try line, until a few well worked mauls resulted in two consecutive tries. Chico’s forward pods were difficult to stop, try as UCSC might, and eventually it took its toll, resulting in two tries scored out wide. UCSC have a very strong, big number 8, who put his hand up second half. That, combined with a revised gameplan, resulted in two tries in the second half, but it was too late as the damage had been done. Chico State’s notable players included captain Matt, their flankers, vice captain Kevin at lock and the flyhalf, who directed the game. UCSC’s outside center has pace to burn and played very well to complement the 8 man, hooker and captain Billy at ten.

Date: 02/03/2018
Pacific 17 – CSU Monterey Bay 24
Referee: Giles Wilson

A beautiful day in Stockton with a well marked field, in great condition. Both teams and the field were ready in plenty of time; we got the coin toss out of the way and then the other pre-match conversation. This left plenty of time to talk Scott Wood into being one A/R.

(EDITOR’S NOTE: Good choice. I hear he is outstanding in his field.)

Both teams were ready to go about five minutes early so we didn’t delay and got things rolling. CSUMB started well and scored after five minutes but then Pacific came back into the game for a try of their own. Things settled into more of an arm wrestle until CSUMB scored another try to pull out to a 12-5 lead. Late in the half, Pacific had a breakaway who was pulled down with a high tackle, resulting in a Penalty Try and a half time score of 12-12.

CSUMB started the second half a little over excitedly, with dangerous tackles at 2 and 3 minutes meaning they’d spend 9 minutes with only 13 players. Pacific chose that time to drive narrow and keep the game narrow allowing CSUMB to play out the sin bins. CSUMB in fact scored first in the half for a 19-12 lead. Pacific pulled back a try to close the gap to 2 points but CSUMB got the final word with another try for a final of 24-17.

Both teams have promise and will improve as their conditioning improves. Pacific should have made more of their time with a 2 player advantage. CSUMB have the athletes to score more when they identify spaces rather than running to contact.

Date: 02/03/2018
Central Coast RFC 35 – Sacramento Blackhawks D3 22
Referee: Stephen Moore

A competitive match marred by ill-discipline in the second half. Both sides were quick to put points on the board early in the first half. The score oscillated competitively with Blackhawks ahead at half-time, 17 to 14. The second half saw the Beachdogs gain strength and come out on to top due to foul play by the opposition. A Blackhawks player was sin-binned for a dangerous tackle in the first-half that carried over to a four-minute suspension in the second half. Following his return another dangerous tackle occurred by Blackhawks, resulting in a send-off, red card. In the final 15 minutes of the second half, two more yellow cards were issued to Blackhawks, dangerous tackle, and obstruction professional foul. With Blackhawks playing now with twelve men, for an eight-minute period, Beachdogs exploited the situation scoring several tries. The final score: Beachdogs 35, Blackhawks 22.

Apart from the ill-discipline, players accepted their marching orders, were cooperative, and the match was competitive with some big hits and very determined contesting at the breakdown. Blackhawks did score one try in the second half and it was a beauty. Kicking the ball from deep towards the goal area the Blackhawks scrum-half raced to reach the ball, he jumped high in goal and received a lucky bounce off the ground with the ball depositing into his arms coming down to score. He was one of five jumping players and the only Blackhawk. It was a skilled but beautiful fluke.

For a very hot sunny afternoon for the month of February in Monterey, it was a good and competitive effort by both sides all around. Thank you to the captains and players for their cooperation.

Date: 02/03/2018
Vacaville 26 – Sacramento Blackhawks D2 31
Referee: Jeff Richmond

A contrast in two different playing styles. Sacramento had a very powerful group of forwards and was able to dominate scrums and loose play. Vacaville was forced to bring more attention and manpower to slow down the forwards and that opened up gaps in their backline that Sacramento could exploit. Vacaville had a disciplined set of backs that could coordinate attacks by getting Sac defenders to commit to a tackle and create openings. Vacaville was able to stay in the hunt, down 24-14 at the half. The Blackhawks began to fade in the second half and Vacaville closed the gap and had chances to take the lead but Sac held on for the win.

Date: 02/03/2018
Mother Lode Rugby Football Club 39 – Solano-Yolo Rugby Club 12
Referee: Scott Wood

Both teams competed well, albeit early season issues with tackle entry and offside disrupted contest and continuity.

Date: 02/03/2018
UC Davis 55 – UC Santa Barbara 0
Referee: Pete Smith

Both teams struggled mightily with the laws surrounding the maul. A maul is formed by having two offensive players and one defender. Once a maul is formed, if it goes to ground, the ball must be played immediately or a scrum is ordered to the defending team. If the ball carrier manages to get their knee to the ground after a maul a formed it is deemed to have been taken to ground; scrum and turnover. Moreover, if a maul goes to ground (it is not a tackle) no one is obligated to roll away, but if the ball is available to be played it can be if done so immediately. They also struggled with gate entry at the ruck despite the entry standards being severely relaxed and sealing off on the ball carrier. I spent an unusual amount of time explaining points of law. However at the final whistle it was me that made the law mistake. With Davis up 55-0 and time out, I awarded a penalty to Davis which they kicked to touch at roughly their own 22 and I blew the whistle for match over. The Davis captain corrected me, reminding me that the match no longer ends on a penalty kick to touch unless the kicker taps it first so we continued to the next stoppage. Minor mistake and a quick fix.

Date: 02/03/2018
Humboldt State Women 31 – UC Davis Women 49
Referee: James Hinkin

On a beautiful day up in Humboldt County the Humboldt State Lumberjills* hosted the Aggies from UC Davis at College Creek Field in a wildly entertaining match. Technical zones and flags were in place and the only blemish on the field’s perfection was an overexcited line-drawer who continued the 5m and 15m lines into the try zone and the midfield 10m lines past the touchline. Oh well – so close to perfection.

Perennial national powerhouse UC Davis were ready to play from the opening whistle and put HSU under pressure early. They scored first and their impressive #10 nailed a difficult conversion to add the extras, so when another score was put up by the visitors this looked to be a long day for the home side. Not to worry, as they settled into their game plan and got a few turnovers and started attacking the UC Davis team with purpose. The reply for HSU came with about 20 minutes gone when they scored a converted try to get to 12-7. This set up the pattern of the game : UC Davis would score to extend their lead and Humboldt St would reply to close the gap. The match saw 14 tries: 9 for UCD and 5 for HSU. The Davis #10 was excellent at attacking and distributing and threats were generated constantly by their small but extremely fast #13. In the backline Humboldt countered with a big, strong #13 of their own who would go on long, line breaking runs, handing off several defenders as she raced to the try line. In the forwards HSU had a size advantage but UCD had better scrum technique so advantage Aggies, but the Lumberjills used their size better in open play as they hammered at the defense with one-off runners to move the advantage line and create overlaps. A contrast in styles eventually won by the smaller, fitter Aggies.

A great game played by two wonderful teams in a perfect rugby spirit.

* Actually the HSU mascot is the Lumberjacks, but I think the women’s representatives should be the Lumberjills so that is what I am going to do.

(EDITOR’S NOTE: You don’t get to decide what a team’s nickname is. Use the one they use.)

Date: 02/03/2018
Univ Nevada Reno Women 46 – Santa Clara Women 7
Referee: Sam Reagle

Great day for rugby in Reno.

(EDITOR’S NOTE: Love the writeup, Sam. This kind of work gets you noticed for the Pelicus Scriptoris award.)

Date: 02/03/2018
San Jose State Women 0 – Fresno State Women 83
Referee: Larry Freitas

I got to Independence High School for the 1pm kick off, and it was very sunny and warm, especially for early February. The new normal now? I’d say the week before last was the old normal, when I was a kid growing up in the South Bay. Anyway, everything looked good on the field, except the pitch itself isn’t all that great, with dirt patches here and there, and lots of weeds. I have allergies and right after the match it seemed my sinuses went into swelling mode.

Fresno State scored the first try of this forfeited match within a few minutes of kick off. They would score 38 unanswered points in the first stanza. FSU also gave San Jose State a few players to make up numbers, to have a 15 on 15 match. The Spartan women are down to 13 active players now. It’s sort of sad that the two Silicon Valley college teams are having a hard time putting 15 healthy players out on a pitch on any given Saturday. That wasn’t the case fifteen years ago.

At the mid point of the second half San Jose kept Fresno from doing any scoring for about twenty minutes. Then the floodgates opened again. In the second half there was even more tries scored, and the final tally was 83-0, though I know the real score in the books will be different. Fresno State experimented with some players playing out of position. Balestra, who only played the first half, was the scrum half, and she scored a few tries, seemingly coasting through any gaps that popped open between defenders. Next week Nevada Reno come to San Jose State. I imagine things will repeat themselves.

Date: 02/03/2018
BA Baracus 7 – San Jose Seahawks 51
Referee: Paul Bretz

San Jose visited BA Baracus at the famed Fort Scott field overlooking the Golden Gate Bridge on a beautiful February afternoon. San Jose elected to run up field the first half and managed to control play by scoring 27 points during the first half. San Jose was able to find holes in the Baracus defense by using it’s center to soften the defense and then spin it wide. During the second half of play San Jose again controlled play by scoring 24 points to 7.

Date: 02/03/2018
St Marys College 60 – Olympic Club 7
Referee: Neil MacDonald
AR: Peter Sandhill
AR: Jeremy Sandhill (no relation*)

(EDITOR’s NOTE: * no relation to Neil, I mean. Jeremy is actually Peter’s son.)

The 76 degree weather was nothing compared to the heat that St Mary’s brought to Olympic Club in the latter’s final pre-season fixture, with the Gaels breaking a couple of soft tackles and scoring under the posts in the first minute, in front of a vocal home crowd. After sometimes intense contests at the breakdown, St Mary’s pace, ball retention and great support play were too much for the visitors to contain and 23 minutes in the hosts had scored four tries and enjoyed at 24-0 lead. A few minutes later, Olympic Club were down to 14 players after a yellow card for an attempted trip. Olympic Club stepped up and defended well, but St Mary’s crossed for another try just before half time to go into the break 31-0 up.

The second half was more of the same, although Olympic club were looking less rusty by the minute and held the Gaels to just the one early try for a long time. Bruce Thomas, back in Northern California and now playing for Olympic Club was his usual larger than life self at the breakdown, and won several key turnovers for his team, but the Gaels were clearly alert to the threat he posed as a fetcher and worked hard to meet him with numbers over the ball. The hosts scored a brace in quick succession around the 60 minute mark. By this point, the Gael halfback was on for an unusual hat trick, having hit the post with two conversion attempts from out wide. Two more tries for St Mary’s in the final ten minutes took their tally to 60 points, but the hat trick was not to be. Olympic Club got on the score board with moments remaining, through a very well executed rolling maul which they drove over through very committed St Mary’s defenders, and converted with an excellent kick. Some reward at least for Olympic Club, who played positive, committed rugby throughout on a difficult afternoon in Moraga.
At one point in the match I heard a familiar accent, and later discovered there were two freshmen Gaels from Kilmacolm, not far from my Ayrshire childhood home in south west Scotland. St Mary’s is attracting talent from far and wide, and on this showing are going to be a handful for any team this season.

Thanks to the Sandhills for their excellent help on the touchline – it was great to have good assists coming in on the radio. All the best to Olympic Club for their PRP season, and to St Mary’s for their remaining D1A fixtures.

Date: 02/03/2018
St Marys College B 31 – Olympic Club B 27
Referee: Peter Sandhill

Thank you NorCal “winter” for turning on perfect rugby conditions. This is game was a “friendly” and the last warm-up before the “real” competition starts next weekend. It was a game of two halves, well mostly.

The Gaels kicked off and the game started at a fairly fast pace. It was clear that the Olympic Clubs backs were a little faster as they ran in three tries in the first half. OC #10 had a thunderous boot which provided good field position at various key moments. SMC seemed a little surprised and on the back foot which, as coach Tim O’Brien mentioned afterward to me, was a bit new for this team this season and good for them. The forwards seemed quite even in the first half, clean, appropriately aggressive with both team allowing fair contest, challenge with amply quick ball. Half time OC ahead 22-7.

I don’t know what happened at half time but it seemed a new SMC side began the second half – harder on the ball, less small mistakes as they ran in a couple of quick tries. All of a sudden OC were on the back foot. There was a bit of heat and chatter, for the first time. The captains calmed their team down and everyone got back to work.

Both team switched it up a gear or two for the last twenty minutes as the game became tighter. OC through everything at Gaels and they responded in kind. It was tense and mostly very clean. OC #7 and #8 had some lovely runs from behind the ruck and set piece. As fatigue set in, it became a little sloppy in the last five but still compelling rugby. Gaels won by a whisper.

Keep an eye out for these two teams this year. Lots of skill, ability and solid team work.
Gratitude to Neil McDonald for hanging back after the A game to watch and offer some useful thoughts at half and full time. Cheers Neil.

Date: 02/03/2018
Sacramento State Women 17 – St Marys College Women 43
Referee: David Hosley

Technical zones not marked, nor field flags present, when I arrived at 10:10 for 11 a.m. match. I spoke to facilities staff setting up tents and stands on north side of field, who in turn informed Sac State coach. Then I introduced myself to coaches on south side of the pitch, and said we couldn’t start match without required zones and markings. Kristina had CSUS team establish zones with cones, but reported only four flags were available from shared club sports locker. I had them place those at the in goal line. It would seem the CSUS club sports office need to be contacted on the matter, as it is difficult for coaches to deal with this on match day when trying to prepare their teams. They did have zones and flags the previous week for the men’s match.

(EDITOR’S NOTE: Very nice, David, but what about the game?)

Date: 02/03/2018
Stanford 36 – Univ Nevada Reno 17
Referee: David Pescetti

Unseasonably warm sunny day down on the farm. UNR traveled down from the mountains to play the Cardinal. The heat of the day caused many players to go down with injury. The compounding effect allowed for an intense match when the ball was in play for those who were able to survive the physicality and heat combination.

The first half was a close affair. With Reno trailing into the half by a try. In the second half, Stanford used their back play to create the difference. But the second half was all Stanford. As time was near expiring Reno put a try and were meters from getting their 4th and bonus point try but their time ran out.
Stanford 36 – UNR 17

Date: 02/03/2018
Silicon Valley 15 – Colusa County 48
Referee: John Pohlman

What a beautiful day for rugby. Silicon Valley hosting Division three powerhouse Colusa at Calabasas Park in San Jose. Colusa traveled with 17 players, Silicon Valley looked to have 25 or so. Field properly set up, both teams ready at the 1:30 kick off time, 70 plus degrees, whistle in hand and big smile on my face…doesn’t get any better.

Silicon Valley was rewarded with a quick penalty in front of the posts at 2 minute and converted for a 3-0 quick lead.

Silicon Valley turned the ball over and Colusa did what they do best go forward. Both teams were ready for a physical game but Colusa broke down the defense for an early try at five minute. Colusa followed with another hard running try at 9 minutes. Both teams steadied themselves and played a physical Division three game…hard rugby.

Half time score Colusa 12 Silicon Valley 3.

Colusa opened the second half putting Silicon Valley under pressure. S. V.’s french wing made a high tackle 5 meters out for my first penalty try of my refereeing career. Colusa scored another try with a man advantage at 11 minutes. Colusa then scored what I felt was one of the prettiest try’s. #10 captain Cody kicked a ball to his outside backs picked up by #12 who was immediately high low tackled by Silicon’s backs. #12 popped a blind pas out to their hard charging #14 who went in a beautiful score. Colusa looked to be running away with the game only to have Silicon Valley score try’s at 22 and 26 minutes. Colusa realizing there was time for Silicon Valley to come back scored the last three try’s.
Final Colusa 48-Silicon Valley 15. Thanks guys for a fast, physical, hard game to referee. Good luck.

Date: 02/03/2018
SFGG D2 33 – Life West D2 44
Referee: Grant Mcdougall

No Report Received.

Date: 02/03/2018
San Francisco State 43 – Fresno State 15
Referee: Preston Gordon

No Report Received.

Date: 02/03/2018
Marin 8 – San Joaquin-Stanislaus RFC 17
Referee: Chris Labozzetta

No Report Received.

Date: 02/03/2018
Google 17 – Olde Gaels 39
Referee: Nome Tiatia

No Report Received.

This Week’s Photo

Shows Stephen Moore setting a scrum under the lights at Stanford University as they hosted UC Davis.

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