Amper, Maar Nie Stamper

HAIL PELICUS!

Amper, Maar Nie Stamper

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

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

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

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

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

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

Correction

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

Hail Pelicus regrets these errors.

Does This Tournament Make Me Look Fat?

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

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

* Buggered if I know.

That’s Just Crazy Talk

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

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

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

Playoff Match Reports

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

Disciplinary Action Reporting – Process For Reporting Incidents

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

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

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

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

On To The Game Reports!

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

Final score Colusa 81 – Reno 5

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

This Week’s Photo

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

Hail, Pelicus!
For the Senate
Pelicus Pedem Referre

Bringing The Payne

HAIL PELICUS!

Bringing The Payne

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

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

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

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

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

Now it is time to Bring The Payne.

Between Two Pelicans

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

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

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

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

DP: Yea…

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

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

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

DP:

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

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

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

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

This Month’s Society Meeting

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

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

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

You Ordered It Now You Gotta Pay For It

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

Kit For Sale

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

Pelicans Abroad

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

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

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

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

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

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

Last Saturday, In Hayward, CA…

Nothing happened.

Playoff Match Reports

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

Disciplinary Action Reporting – Process For Reporting Incidents

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

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

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

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

On To The Game Reports!

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

Final: Davis 58 – Santa Cruz 29

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

However time ran out and Davis moves on.

This Week’s Photo

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

Hail, Pelicus!
For the Senate
Pelicus Pedem Referre

Time Is On My Side

HAIL PELICUS!

Time Is On My Side

People often ask me about time. How long is it until the half? When can the sin bin come back? What is the nature of time? Is time travel possible? (To answer the last two, I usually refer to the commonly held model of spacetime that is a natural result of Einstein’s theories of special and general relativity, where the speed of light (c) in a vacuum is constant for all observers and, as a result of the famous equation E = mc2, poses a hard limit on how fast a material object can travel as in order to accelerate an object energy must be added and conservation of energy requires a proportional increase in the relativistic mass of the object thus requiring an infinite amount of energy to attain lightspeed of what becomes an infinite mass. This effect of gravity also can slow time via gravitational time dilation as an object approaches a deep gravitational well such as a black hole. Strangely enough, the laws of physics have no implicit direction of time in them and, as Richard Feynman pointed out, subatomic particles often move backwards in time relative to their antiparticle, so theoretically time travel is possible but the latest hypothesis on how to achieve that requires moving around black holes and white holes (negative energy gravity wells) to form a wormhole through time and that requires more energy than is currently available in the universe.)

One of the more common questions I get asked is how I manage to make the time to write the Hail Pelicus introduction and the other segments. Well, as it happens my family is quite wealthy so I really don’t have much else to do. You see, I am a trust fund baby. My father invented the umlat used by 80’s metal bands and the residuals for that stroke of genius keep rolling in every time Blue Öyster Cult, Queensrÿche, Motörhead, and Mötley Crüe (to name a few) play a reunion tour, which is pretty constant. We even successfully sued Berkeley Breathed over the use of Deathtöngue and were the real reason the band was renamed Billy and the Boingers. The sweet, sweet cash from that little transaction bought a vacation house in Belize.

As you can see I have plenty of time to carefully craft genuine insight and humor into your weekly Northern California rugby newsletter. Unfortunately, since I am a trust fund baby and never learned the value of hard work, I usually just slap this together at the last minute between massage appointments and lunch at the club. Not that anyone has ever noticed.

The Naming Of The Flock

I would like to expand on this week’s theme of Time. One of the primary duties of referees involves time. While it is true that at the professional and international level there is often a group of officials available to handle the various timekeeping tasks for 99% of us we have to do it all ourselves. We keep track of the match time, stopping when necessary. We keep track of sin bins and blood bins. Knowing that time is a valuable resource we harshly penalize time wasting. One of the first lessons we teach new referees is “be on time”. Very few things will give a worse impression than sauntering up to a match at the last minute or, even worse, late. The concept of advantage allows a referee to roll back time if necessary. More subtle manipulation of time occurs at breakdowns as a good referee knows when to allow time to “let it breathe”. Our own Phil Akroyd is a master of time and demonstrated this keen understanding and special adherence to Law 5 – Time, specifically Law 5.3 – Time Keeping: “The referee keeps the time”. This keenness was captured as This Week’s Photo and is this week’s featured photograph on the web version that you are currently reading. It is no wonder that Phil was assigned to one of the most high profile and probably best played rugby game in the country.

As the Keeper of the Nomenclature, it has been decided that such dedication to one of the most vital roles a referee can play should be recognized.

As it pleases the Senate, Phil Akroyd shall be known forevermore as Pelicus Tempus Procurator!

All Hail Pelicus Tempus Procurator!

Pelicans Abroad

Larry Freitas recently decided to hop over to the Sceptered Isle and squeeze in a few rugby games. For the sake of brevity I have split his report into sections, so here is his first report:

I touched down at Heathrow Airport on March 1st, St. David’s Day, for a two and a half week visit to England which would include refereeing two rugby matches. I stayed at the Twickenham Marriot’s, where I enjoyed a tour of the stadium along with a group of security system sales people, at no charge, as I went along as their ‘guest.’ I did get into London afterwards, and took in the East Embankment, the British Museum with all that stuff that Egypt and Greece would want back, and Sherlock Holmes’ lodgings at 221B Baker Street. The third day of this journey was a cold and rainy one, unlike the first two that were just cloudy and cold, and saw me on a train to the West Midlands and Evesham, where Kevin Falvey, the president of Bredon Star Rugby Club, and his wife Meryl, picked me up at the station. Bredon Star had hosted the California Bald Eagles in October of 2015. We drove on to Rugby to take in the two museums in the town, luckily the rain stopped, and wandered over to the school store, and then as a group of students passed on in their school uniforms, including girls with skirts down to their ankle, we walked over to “The Close” and the adjoining wall with the plaque to William Webb-Ellis. It was then on to Stratford Upon Avon and Julius Caesar that played that night, apparently with some known BBC and ITV and screen actors. On the 4th Bredon travelled to Dursley RFC, in a little village in the south Cotswolds, the game played on the third pitch, which was less muddy and better than the first or second, near the clubhouse, which made me wonder why it’s the third pitch; but it took a walk of about 1/8th of a mile to get to it down a very muddy trail. Dursley won, it was 9C, or 48F, but the wind, from the south, could cut you like a knife! Most onlookers had Wellies on. I got to borrow a pair of ankle high boots.

Skipping on to the 5th, at Bredon’s recreation grounds, the club’s U-17 side took on a team from Lancashire’s Oakham RFC, who were on a weekend tour of the area. The pitch was very muddy after the few days of rain, and the cold that had been hanging around since I had arrived hadn’t left, as the temperature was about 8C, or 46F, at kickoff at 11am. Both sides spent the majority of the match stifling each other’s offense, as the conditions weren’t conducive to running rugby. But at the 30th minute of play one of Bredon’s backs saw a gap, raced through down the right touch line and scored an unconverted try in the corner. The rest of the game was scoreless, and Oakham had a few chances very late, in injury time, to run the ball because of infringements. A knock on and kick into touch ended the match. I had a train to catch in Cheltenham for Barnstaple at 1pm, so it was a quick shower, a few sausages and chips, and Kevin racing me out of town to the train station. For much of the rest of the day I spent in a train carriage, heading southward to Exeter, changing trains there for a rickety train line northwest to the North Devon coast and Barnstaple, where a referee from the Devon Referee Society, Jack Russell, picked me up and then gave me a ride to the Woodford Bridge Country Club, out in the middle of farm country, in a very remote location, some 16 miles from Bude and the northermost stretch of Cornwall’s northwest coast. There’s random bus service in the area, and the nearest village is Holsworthy, six miles away, but not an easy or safe walk with narrow two lane roads and in a very hilly terrain. Woodford Bridge is famous for having hosted Oliver Cromwell during the time that his side was fighting the loyalists in the English Civil War of the mid-17th century. I did get the history lesson on the ride. The next day I took a bus to Bude, walked to the beach there during a storm in which it wasn’t really raining, but drizzing side ways because of the wind. Some fool was out surfing in junky surf inside the harbor walls. I walked to the Bude Rugby Club a mile to the south away from the village and beach. The sun came out, it warmed up a bit, and I walked back to town, visiting the local museum. I had to take a taxi back.

It remained mostly cloudy for a few more days, but it was warming up into the 50’s, or plus 10C, like 11 or 13 or so. Dean Davies, another referee, gave me a tour of the Devon north coast line, and it was unfortunate that it was foggy and cloudy that day, because it’s a coastline that could rival Big Sur. We attended the referee society meeting that evening at Crediton RFC, a very old club in Devon. The major topic was about using a computer service like our Assignr, to assign games. Another ref who lives in Stratton, near Bude, gave me a ride back to Woodford Bridge, Zerren Bale, an up and coming referee in his early 30’s who has an ambition to get up to Level One if he can. Jack Russell is his coach.

(EDITOR’S NOTE: With some patient research I have managed to find a picture of young Zerren Bale’s coach relaxing after a match. Please see below)

Playoff Match Reports

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

New Kit

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

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

Disciplinary Action Reporting – Process For Reporting Incidents

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

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

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

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

On To The Game Reports!

Date: 03/21/2017
Danville Women 10 – Pleasanton Cavaliers 50
Referee: Santiago, Roberto

The game played out much as the scoreboard indicates. The Cavaliers scored their first try at 01:00 and led 31-5 at halftime. Danville, playing a younger and less experienced side couldn’t keep up with the Pleasanton backs. Pleasanton’s #15 had several electric runs, while the Cavalier forwards owned the middle of the field. To their credit, Danville never lost their resolve and played hard until the final whistle.

Date: 03/25/2017
California 24 – St. Mary’s 27
Referee: Akroyd, Phil

Maybe game of the season at Witter Field for a late afternoon/early evening kick-off. Many Pelicans were out in force to give full support of the game, and help me along my way.

I had a bit of a dodgy start by getting in the way of a very flat pass (under advantage) from the Cal 9 from the base of the ruck, but managed to get out of the way from there on out. The game started a little sluggishly because of some reset scrums early on, but when I figured out that the SMC loose head was simply getting lower than his opponent and having his way, we got some more continuity. Pete Smith reminded me over comms that the play was a bit sluggish, but that was about to change.

The Gaels got 7 points on the board early and Cal fought back with two tries, one being an end to end burner, and one an interception from halfway. Audsley kept SMC in the hunt with his huge boot but Cal looked the more comfortable in the 20 minutes before and 20 minutes after half time. It appeared that SMC had missed their chance as Cal’s fitness usually powers them through the final quarter with ease, and with a 24-13 lead it looked very likely again.

However, Saint Mary’s were not done and they brought the game back to 24-20 with ten to go. Cal were playing a somewhat uncharacteristic and risky game of playing from deep – often inside their own in-goal area – which often compounded problems they made in that area, so they played inside their own half more than they would have wanted.

With three to go, the Gaels decided to have a go from deep inside their own half and fly half Mike McCarthy made quite the jinking run to set up his team with the final score of the game. There was still time for Cal to have the final say, but SMC captain O’Connor got over the top of some isolated Cal attackers and came up with a steal to re-secure possession, ad secure the win.

An unbelievable game and wonderful rugby environment. This game had everything from a big crowd, vocal home and traveling support, TV coverage, open rugby, wonderful tries scored on advantage, extended periods of play, some sauciness and aggression after the whistle, and a close finish. The National Championship game will likely not live up to that one, but if it does, we have another great game to which we can look forward.

Date: 03/25/2017
Mother Lode 17 – Danville Varsity 19
Referee: Wood, Scott

Lots of expansive play by both teams. Danville led at halftime: 19-0.

Date: 03/25/2017
Colusa 126 – SF Fog 0
Referee: Crenshaw, Jim

Perfect day in Colusa for rugby. Obviously a very one sided match. score at half was 67 – 0. Colusa scored 11 try’s in each half and converted 8 of them.

Date: 03/25/2017
Santa Rosa 1 – Sac Lions 0
Referee: Gordon, Preston

At 9:06pm on Friday night, the Sacramento Lions e-mailed me and the coach of Santa Rosa to say, in pertinent part, “We don’t have numbers for tomorrow. Most guys figured season was over after last week.”

Obviously the score was not 1-0.

Date: 03/25/2017
EPA Razorbacks 27 – Life West 50
Referee: Lane, John

With the field in excellent condition for rugby after recent rain, on a sunny afternoon in Hayward Life West and EPA Razorbacks served up a fast, physical and open game that kept the supporters fully engaged from start to finish.

EPA kicked off and made an early turnover to gain field position. Hands in the ruck by Life gave the first opportunity to EPA but the kick was left and wide. From the restart Life picked up the pace and following some strong tackling, regained possession and through a number of phases stretched the EPA defense to score a converted try for 7-0 at 5 mins. Another hands in ruck penalty by Life on 8 mins got EPA on the board and reduced the deficit to 7-3.

Both sides were competing every breakdown but the next 10 minutes produced no scoring opportunities. EPA were looking to play quickly at every opportunity and a turn-over was moved quickly on 18 minutes to score an unconverted try for the lead at 7-8. After more strong physical play and some good cover defense by both sides Life regained the lead on 27 mins when with excellent offloading in the tackle combined with good supporting lines delivering a converted try for 14-8.

On the next series of play on 28 mins, Life were reduced to 14 men for repeat team infringement at rucks (this followed a warning via their captain shortly before). Despite losing a man Life kept their tempo and stretched the lead with an unconverted try on 34 mins (19-8). While EPA looked to stretch Life while they were down a man it took until the last play of the half for it to pay dividends. An unconverted try wide on the right left the half time score at 19-13 in favor of Life West.

The opening 10 minutes of the second half was played with great intensity. Life scored on 43 mins to extend the lead further, 26-13, but EPA came straight back into the game on 48 mins bringing the score to 26-20. While play remained fairly even in terms of territory for the middle 20 of the second half it was Life who scored 3 tries (2 converted) on 56, 61 and 63 mins. Two of these scores came from turnover ball wide out as EPA chased the game. 45-20 at 63 mins.

Substitutions were frequent by this stage and islander pride in the tackle and the charge into contact came to the fore with some strong but legal contact from both sides of the ball. Both sets of players were obviously enjoying the contest with the crowd fully engaged!

EPA scored on 76 minutes as their scrum-half spotted a defensive gap and was through untouched. Converted for 45-27.

Not to be out done Life finished with an unconverted try with the last play of the game to close out the score at 50-27.

Date: 03/25/2017
Diablo 22 – Baracus 27
Referee: Bertolone, Cary

A supersite for Division 2 with 5 games on the docket, I had the first game between Baracus and Diablo. We kicked off at 10:00 am and Baracus took control, scoring 3 tries and a penalty kick for a 22-0 score, before Diablo scored with one minute left in the half. In the second half, it was much more even with Diablo putting there offence in gear. Baracus did score the next try for a 27-5 lead, but Diablo outplayed Baracus for the last 20 minutes, scoring three tries to none to make the score close. The game was played in good spirits. Thanks to Eric Rauscher for watching and helping me with some pointers and good advice as my referee coach for the day.

Date: 03/25/2017
Vacaville 20 – Fresno 18
Referee: Sandhill, Peter

This was one of several D2 Men’s games held in one day at same venue aka a super-site . Sunny spring weather and a grass field in good condition set the platform for an intense, hard game of rugby. The game started with 25 minutes of fast clean good rugby. Both teams were strong in both forward and back play with a lot of pick and drives off the rucks and a lot of ball to the backs as well, including many kick and chase plays.

Around the 28 min. there was a skirmish between two opposing players and, for about ten minutes, behavior was testy. After talks to the captains and a couple of yellow cards, players brought their full attention back to playing. At halftime, Fresno were up 13-3 after two unconverted tries and a penalty goal each.

If the first half was Fresno’s, the second half was Vacaville’s. Vacaville scored several in the second, including a lucky run away intercept try, off a Fresno attacking play around the Vacaville 22, that showed athleticism and speed. Both teams were in it to the end. Fresno scored on the bell but were unable to convert the try, leaving the score at 20-18.

Date: 03/25/2017
San Jose 10 – Napa 52
Referee: Richmond, Jeff

San Jose scored early when their inside center poached a soft pass off of Napa and took it 40m for the try. After that, it was all Napa. Napa had strong running from their backfield and a stiff defense, denying San Jose any real chance to stay with them. Many thanks to Sam Reagle for the coaching, especially the pointers on better managing the penalty count.

Date: 03/25/2017
Silicon Valley 40 – Berkeley 46
Referee: Taueva, Favor

This was a very good game. Silicon Valley was 33-17 at the half time. I thought myself this will be a run over by Silicon Valley. It was a very good come back by Berkeley . Berkeley have enough subs for their team while Silicon Valley only shows up with 16 players. Berkeley uses the ball wisely and controlled the game during the second half. Berkeley uses their fitness against Silicon Valley and that is how they managed to win the game.

Good game for both teams. Good rugby spirit though out the game. Thanks to Ben Parker for his home team and always very good hospitality. Hope Ben will host some more Rugby tournament. Manuia to you all!!!

Date: 03/25/2017
Oregon 26 – Chico St 27
Referee: Hettermann, Matt
AR: Pescetti, David
AR: Foley, Barry

Oregon (North #2) vs Chico St (West #3)

Exciting rugby match – winner is guaranteed a seed to Nationals. Lead traded hands several times. Chico State’s fitness and line breaks were the difference in the match.

Thanks to David Pescetti and Barry Foley for volunteering to AR – Pescetti definitely earned his keep by confirming a try that I had no visual of!

Date: 03/25/2017
WSU 62 – Cal 15
Referee: Pescetti, David

Ah playoffs. Yes playoffs. It’s that magical part of the year where Jim Mora becomes relevant again.

We had WSU vs Cal in the early fixture. The number one of the North flexed it’s muscles pushing an early lead and never relenting. Opening the first quarter to a 14-0 lead. The back play by Wasu was their key to victory and their high scoring offense. Posting 40 in the first half. The bears fought mightily with their own flashes of brilliance.

WSU, in the end, was just too much and worked their way to the next round.

Date: 03/25/2017
USF 40 – UOP 7
Referee: Bernstein, Bruce

Hard fought game, tackling, running & passing mostly by USF who dominated possession.

Date: 03/25/2017
Lamorinda 21 – CK McClatchy Varsity 69
Referee: Bretz, Paul

McClatchy dominated the first half of play leading at the break 42-0. Lamo were able to string together several phases in the second half and scored 21 points; unfortunately the visitors added 27 additional points to close out the game.

Date: 03/26/2017
Chico St 22 – WSU 21
Referee: Bretz, Paul

Congratulations to Chico for making the “sweet 16” round of playoffs and in the process beating both Oregon and Washington State by 1 point in each game. Chico’s backline seemed to find space on the outside of WSU’s center defense and Chico scored first to take a 5-0 lead. WSU countered latter to take the lead and converted their try to make it a 7-5 game. Chico continued to attack and scored in the 30 minute of play to make it 12-7. Toward to waining moments of the first half WSU scored a converted try to end the half 14-12. at the 50th minute WSU extended the lead to 21-12. Mid-way through the 2nd half the game became marred with high tackles. With 5 minutes to go Chico scored a pentaly kick to make it 21-15. WIth a minute to go WSU controlled their scrum and useed pick and drives to slow the game down. However, a tackler jarred the ball from the carrier and the ball landed at the feet of Chico’s fastest player who proceeded to take the ball 70 meters under the posts to take the score 21-20. The conversion kick was successful and Chico won their second game of the series.

Date: 03/26/2017
UC Davis 52 – Stanford 19
Referee: Pescetti, David

Playoff weekend rolled into Sunday where the two top Wild Wild West teams clashed. Defending champs Davis took on hosts Stanford.

Davis was a model of consistency. That model was play it through their speedster backs for numbers wide and let the legs do the rest. Over half their tries were scored by their backs. Stanford scored through their forwards.

Davis scored and converted all of their first half tries, looking like taking the shut out into the half, but Stanford, late into expired time, was able to punch in a try and put 7 up.

Stanford came out rejuvenated and aborted the opening points of the 2nd half. Davis looked stunned, and Stanford looked threatening. Unfortunately, the daze wore off as Stanford tired at the end of the second half as Davis scored 3 times in the last ten minutes.

Davis moves on 52 – 19

This Week’s Photo

Pelicus Tempus Procurator earning his Pelican Name in the Cal – St Mary’s match by carefully adhering to Law 5.3 – The referee keeps the time.

Hail, Pelicus!
For the Senate
Pelicus Pedem Referre

Wayne’s World

HAIL PELICUS!

Wayne’s World

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

And Now Here It Is, Your Moment Of Zen

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

Ask A Pelican

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

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

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

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

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

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

Between Two Pelicans

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

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

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

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

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

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

New Kit

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

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

Disciplinary Action Reporting – Process For Reporting Incidents

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

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

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

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

On To The Game Reports!

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

SV played game with one man short at 14 players.

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

No report received

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

No report received

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

Conditions: warm, sunny

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

Thanks to both Touch Judges who did a good job.

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

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

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

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

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

Overall an enjoyable, rare, Sunday of rugby.

This Week’s Photo

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

Hail, Pelicus!
For the Senate
Pelicus Pedem Referre

Indoor Rugby

HAIL PELICUS!

Indoor Rugby

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

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

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

Let Me Tell You About My Tight Pants

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

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

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


The Best Mentors A Girl Could Have

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

Between Two Pelicans

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

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

Dan Payne: Sure. It is an honor.

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

DP: Right.

HP: Are you trying to harness that particular skill?

DP: Yes. That would be accurate.

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

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

New Kit

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

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

Disciplinary Action Reporting – Process For Reporting Incidents

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

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

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

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

On To The Game Reports!

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

No report received

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

No report received

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

FT score Harlots 70 – South Valley 19.

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

No report received

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

Final score 5- 55.

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

No report received

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

No report received

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

This Week’s Photo

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

Hail, Pelicus!
For the Senate
Pelicus Pedem Referre