The Olympic Games have always had more than a touch of romance and magic about them. Every country would send their best athletes and the world would find out who, exactly, was the runner, jumper, swimmer or team. The individual sports may come and go but the spirit remains and the idea of using sports to promote international relations has a lot of merit. If one takes into account the quadrennial stories we all hear about the number of condoms used in the Olympic Village, one can safely assume that quite a lot of international relations is going on.
The Olympics is a draw. The golden prize on top of the hill. With rugby’s reemergence in the Games as 7s some of the greatest stars of the “proper” 15s game are being drawn to the shorter code like moths to a candle. Next weekend the World Sevens Series is making its annual stop in Las Vegas and Sonny Bill Williams, Quade Cooper and Brian Habana will be turning out for New Zealand, Australia and South Africa, respectively. While this star power may bring more attention to the 7s game the question remains if these players will make a difference? As my old coach Gary Townsend used to say, 7s and 15s are two entirely different games played by the same rules. This is gonna be fun.
The Best Rugby In The Land – Schoolboy Edition
There are many benefits to living in Northern California and being a member of the Pelican Society but one of the best is the quality of rugby that we get here. Last weekend Cal (26 national championships) hosted Air Force (3 national championships) while just a few miles away in Moraga #3 St Mary’s hosted #1 BYU. The St Mary’s v BYU match was, in particular, a match for the ages. The best description I heard was that if you wanted to show someone great rugby and get them interested in the game, show them a film of this match.
Ask A Pelican
Yes, it’s time for this week’s installment of “Ask A Pelican”, the widely loved Q and A session with Hail Pelicus. This week’s question comes from Hunter S Thompson of Louisville, KY who asks:
“I’m heading to Las Vegas on an epic journey of self discovery enhanced by copious amounts of drug use this weekend but I don’t want to fall behind on my Northern California rugby news. Will there be a Hail Pelicus next week?”
Thank you for your question, Mr S Thompson, although I must say it is quite odd to receive a question from someone who has been dead for over 10 years. My compliments to your necromancer for the quality of the connection. The short answer is No. The long answer is No, because the entire HP staff will be in Vegas next weekend and can’t be bothered. We literally can’t even.
Normal service will resume the following week.
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 the following video: https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=_Uz0_gTaOnY
On To The Game Reports!
St. Mary’s College 29 – BYU 30
Referee: Smith, Pete
AR: Byrnes, Bryant
AR: Coppinger, John
Evan Lappen of rugbytoday.com did such a good article on the game (http://www.rugbytoday.com/college/1-byu-stops-mighty-comeback-3-st-marys) we will just reproduce it here:
The final ten minutes of the marquee match of the weekend nearly culminated in an epic comeback as the Varsity Cup Champion, #1 Brigham Young University, edged the defending DIA National Champion, #3 St. Mary’s College of California, 30-29, on Saturday in Moraga, Calif. Down by 15 points with ten minutes remaining, a BYU yellow card gave St. Mary’s the opening it needed. Requiring three scores to either tie or take the lead, the Gaels showed immense heart to put in two converted tries in the time remaining, but came up one point short at the whistle.
Both teams traded blows and struggled to sustain drives without turning the ball over or being penalized. BYU was a big, physical, organized presence on the field, but showed that they are green with not many games under its belt. On the other hand, St. Mary’s found opportunities hard to come by fighting against the Cougars’ stout defense. The Gaels’ resiliency and ability to play hard for 80 minutes kept them in the game.
The first scoring chance came for BYU after an offsides penalty. Inside center Calvin Whiting went for points, but the 38 meter kick was wide. When St. Mary’s’ Dylan Audsley had a similar kick soon after, the outside center nailed it to take 3-0 lead in the 10th minute.
BYU responded when Whiting stopped Audsley in his tracks forcing a turnover at the 22. After phase ball, flyhalf Jared Whippy sent a beautiful chip to the corner where wing Kevin Schofield beat the opposing wing for the try. Whippy missed the conversion, but the Cougars took the 5-3 lead.
On the ensuing kickoff, BYU marched 60 meters to get into scoring position. Eightman Joe Pikula finished off the scoring drive running around the open weak side of the ruck to score in the corner. The Gaels’ answered with a try by wing Tommy Wallace after prop Dino Waldren broke the line for a long gain. The conversion missed, but the lead was cut to 10-8, BYU.
After a Whippy penalty extended the tally to 13-8, the Cougars took further advantage when outside center Josh Whippy intercepted a Holden Yungert pass for a try. The subsequent conversion was good and BYU went into halftime up 20-8. Unfortunately for St. Mary’s, Waldren was injured late in the half and didn’t return to play.
BYU picked up where they left off in the first half by scoring in the first two minutes of the period. After a 40 meter break by Whippy, lock Matt Jensen found the tryzone and the 27-8 lead. On the next series, BYU’s Josh Whippy was binned for a dangerous tackle and the consequent Gaels’ PK attempt was wide. Down a man, the Cougar defense rallied and killed the penalty without allowing a try.
When the teams were at full strength, St. Mary’s found cracks in the defensive front and stormed into the 22. After a stolen scrum and multiple attempts at the tryline, a swift tap pass from Mike McCarthy to Audsley resulted in a try. BYU came back with another Whiting penalty kick to size up an epic last ten minutes with the Cougars leading 30-15.
St. Mary’s was knocking at the door again inside the 22 where BYU’s Pikula was yellow carded for repeated infringement. The Gaels attacked with the man advantage and flyhalf Aaron Matthews evaded his defender from ten meters out for the try at the 74th minute.
With precious minutes remaining, St. Mary’s opportunities were slipping as a fullback Charlie Loudon break and support by Wallace ended with a turnover. The Gaels were not finished and on the final play, Matthews found the tryzone once more off a quick tap. Audsley made the kick, but the referee blew the final whistle and BYU held on for the 30-29 win.
The two teams will meet again in three weeks on March 12th in Provo, Utah. In the meantime both teams will face high quality opponents as St. Mary’s will take on Cal and Utah, while BYU welcomes Air Force and Central Washington to South Field in the coming weeks.
Aptos 39 – Modesto 56
Referee: Bernstein, Bruce
Nice competitive match. Aptos hosted Modesto on Silicon Valley’s home field in San Jose making it an easier trip for everyone except Aptos who were lucky to have 15 with their coach filling in admirably at flyhalf. Modesto outscored Aptos 42-14 at half (tripling their score) with some nice long, high kicks resulting in 6 tries all converted; while Aptos came back in the 2nd half doubling Modesto’s scoring. Aptos may have scored more if not for about 5 untimely knock-ons. Good spirited party at Britannia Arms.
Baracus 39 – Chico 14
Referee: Bertolone, Cary
Beautiful, sunny day in South San Francisco. It went back and forth for a while and Baracus scored a try on the 9th minute. On the 22,nd minute, .Chico made an interception and their center ran about 70 meters for a try and after making the conversion, were up 7-5. Evenly played game for the first half. In the second half, the most fit team won. Baracus scored tries on the 10th minute, 17th, 31 and 37th minute plus added three points for a penalty. Meanwhile, Chico scored one try on the 33rd minute and never gave up. Fun game to ref; everyone played in good spirits and only one yellow on the day.
Baracus B 26 – Chico B 14
Referee: Bertolone, Cary
Both teams had full second sides and were anxious to play 80 minutes. Baracus ran three converted tries in and were up 21 – 0 at the half. Chico came back with two converted tries in the second half, but Baracus scored one more try to put the game out of reach. Good sportsmanship by both sides; great game!!!
Cal Maritime 12 – CAL 35
Referee: Pescetti, David
It was a cold morning at Witter field in Berkeley, but it weather warmed up for a beautiful Rugby Saturday. The early fixture pitted Cal Maritime vs Cal.
Cal kicked off and was able to win the ball back and use their space and pace to score within the opening minutes of the match. However, Maritime was not to be undone. They were awarded a scrum 5 meters out of the Cal try line. A surprise to everyone was that Maritime pushed the Cal pack. Pushed them back to score a pushover try; galvanizing Maritime. Cal and Maritime were able to score points in this hard fought battle. Whenever Cal seemed to take a step ahead Maritime would muster up points to remind Cal they hadn’t gone anywhere. By the half the score was Cal 20 and Maritime 12.
The second half was just as hard fought, but with less scoring from either side. Cal was the only side to put points up on the board in the brutal continuation of the physical contest of the 1st half. It was a great match by both sides. Final score Cal 35 – Maritime 12
California 65 – Air Force 12
Referee: Bretz, Paul
Good first half of play. Air Force scored early 2 times and gave Cal all they could handle. Second half was all Cal as they controlled the pace. Air Force never stopped trying and will look to improve from this match.
Chico St Women 29 – Cal Women 12
Referee: McSwain, Beau
Chico had 5 tries with 2 conversions and Cal had 2 tries with 1 conversion. Chico #6 had a yellow card for multiple team infractions. Other than the card it was a very good straight forward game.
Chico State 41 – UNR 19
Referee: Devlin, Joe
No report received
CSU Monterey Bay WR 5 – St. Mary’s College WR 62
Referee: Freitas, Larry
I drove down from Aptos to CSUMB mid-morning Saturday for another game pitting two fairly new programs against each other, as St. Mary’s of Moraga’s Gaels would take on Cal State Monterey’s Sea Otters. The skies were partly cloudy, and the big puffy ones hung over the various coastal ranges that ring the inland crescent of the Monterey Bay, leftovers from the last cold front that only produced some sprinkles the previous night.
My dashboard’s thermometer read 57F arriving a half hour before the match. I made the long walk to the pitch, and did my pre-game preparations.
The pitch itself was in fairly good shape, given the season’s rain, the games played previously in wet conditions, and the fact it is used for training. The field certainly was dried out from the quick-moving storm of Wednesday night and early Thursday morning.
Kick off was at 11:05, and right away I could see that St. Mary’s had a game strategy laid out that would lead to a number of tries as the game wore on: the forwards running the ball straight up the field, and with any contact having the next player up scoop the ball and advance it further up the field. There really weren’t many rucks then as opposed to a St. Mary’s tackled player just leaving the ball behind and having the next team mate pick it up and run on. Finally enough space would be created in mid-field that the ball was spun wide as defenders were sucked into the forward’s rushes. Katy Conway, St. Mary’s outside center, did score the first try of the match seven minutes into play, but it was a try scored from a turnover by CSUMB, when their inside center mishandled and pass that was scooped up from the ground just inside CSUMB’s half, and St. Mary’s had the chance to counterattack for a quick 7-0 lead. Eight minutes later the Lady Gaels scored a forward’s try after minutes of pressure deep in the opponent’s half. In fact much of the first half was played in the Monterey end of the pitch. Another key player for St. Mary’s was Katy Whiting, their scrum half, who was to switch to flanker in the second half of play. She’s very accurate with the boot, converting the first four tries for her team for a 28-0 lead, some from not the best angles for any kicker. Her coach told me after the game she spent the first semester of the school year at Oxford, and did make the Oxford second team. Pete Dawkins would be proud.
Before the half ended CSUMB would get on the scoreboard. Near the halfway line and from the left-hand side of the pitch CSUMB’s scrum half would score following a set scrum, when the ball was passed on to the flyhalf, who proceeded to run wide and pass the ball behind her in what appeared to be a planned scissors move. The problem was that the inside center wasn’t close enough to receive the pass that fell harmlessly to the ground. Scrum half Sabrina Bacuangan was close enough to scoop the ball up and start a sprint, leaving defenders behind, as she scored. The try wasn’t converted, and I was in a spot of bother, as I felt that hamstring pull that’s been bothering me lately when I dashed off behind the runner. St. Mary’s would score a few minutes later, the forwards using a few phases to finally crash over the goal line. Half time score was 33-5. I had the CSUMB trainer attend to my right hamstring, and I was able to complete my refereeing duties with a wrapped leg.
The second half started with CSUMB finally able to penetrate St. Mary’s half and put pressure on their defense. Several times I awarded five meter scrums to the Otters, but they couldn’t capitalize. I awarded a try and immediately disallowed it seeing that a St. Mary’s pair of hands had kept the ball from being grounded by a CSUMB player, just held up inches from the ground. I called a penalty when CSUMB’s scrum half double played the ball close to the goal line as she was tackled and tried to crawl forward to score. St. Mary’s finally ended quite a few minutes of this constant pressure when they cleared their lines, the clearing kick made by a forward. For the rest of the match CSUMB didn’t really threaten St. Mary’s territory. As for St. Mary’s, Conway, their center, would score two more back-to-back tries, as the ball was moved wide to the backs. Three more tries ended the match when St. Mary’s number 8, a second half substitute, took off on some long runs to score, two of these from lineouts from half way.
Final score: St. Mary’s 62, CSUMB 5. One positive note for CSUMB was that they did try to vary their offensive approach to the game, using their fly half to kick deep into space behind St. Mary’s backline when the opportunity arose, and making St. Mary’s retreat to cover. St. Mary’s also had a fly half adept at this tactic, though much more often than not the ball was kept in hand, whether by backs or forwards.
I stuck around for the CSUMB v Sonoma State match. I was going to referee that match as well, but my hamstring was telling me no. Fortunately Jeff Carlile, St. Mary’s coach, is certified, and he offered to referee that match. I owe him a pint.
Danville 97 – Lamorinda 7
Referee: O’Neil, George
No report received
EPA Razorbacks 21 – Life West 47
Referee: Lane, John
Arriving to Rich May Field the underage rugby games were still on-going and there was some good entertainment for the large crowd who were enjoying the bbq and refreshments while cheering on the young players!!
While the two teams were warming up on the nearby school fields I executed the pre-game boot check and coin toss with the captains.
As the youth games overran a few minutes both sides were ready to go immediately the games completed. The Razorbacks kicked of the game proceeding with a rousing Haka which Life West faced with calm composure. The supporting crowd loved it!!
Life kicked off and EPA held possession and the theme for the day with strong running into contact and powerful tackling being prominent. On their first real series of possession Life moved the ball quickly through a few phases and following a line break move the ball left and scored wide out. Unconverted – 4mins 0-5.
Following the score EPA put in some strong running but Life maintained field position domination forcing a few penalties from EPA. Life kicked these penalties to the corner and during this period of pressure the EPA No 8 deliberately slowed up their attack and received a yellow card. Opting for the 5m scrum Life truned over possesion and EPA cleared their line.
Down a man they were not able to hold Life out for long and they scored a second try (converted) on 17 minutes for 0-12. EPA then had a period of pressure and despite being down a man scored a converted try on 21 minutes to close to 7-12.
While EPA were being competitive with both sides executing aggressive lines and seeking contact they were reduced to 14 players on 24 minutes when after just returning to the field their No. 8 deliberately impeded an attacking Life player with a no arm early shoulder charge.
EPA’s 14 men kept the game competetive after the double yellow sending off but in a 5 minute period between 32 and 37 Life score 3 tries with one converted to take a 7-29 half time lead.
With the lead Life appear to lose some concentration and EPA dominated the early parts of the 2nd half scoring a converted try on 14 minutes. 14-29. EPA continue to pressurise and the Life 7 received a yellow card on 17 mins for deliberately slowing down attacking possession.
The card seemed to generate improved focus on the Life side and they returned a turnover for an unconverted try on 20 mins – 14-34. EPA responded and built the pressure again crossing for another converted try on 26 mins for 21-34.
With some input from the coaches on the side line Life decided to tighten the game up and where they were previously kicking penalties to the corner for attacking lineouts they decided to kick at goal on a penalty on 29 mins. Converted for 21- 37. Another penalty received for a yellow card deliberate obstruction by the EPA 14 on 33 minutes was also converted to stretch the lead to 21-40. Despite being 2 men short EPA put in a huge effort over the remaining 7 minutes but on 36 mins Life picked up a loose ball and returned it for a converted try.
This left the final score at 21-47 in a physically hard fought game.
Fresno State B 21 – Sac State B 39
Referee: Jury, Jeff
No report received
Jesuit 19 – Granite Bay 17
Referee: Carney, Mark
Great game that allowed for a lot of expansive play. Jesuit never trailed, but Granite Bay made it a nail biter all the way to the dying seconds. Notable players were Jesuit 1 and 7, and Granite Bay 2 and 10.
Mendocino 12 – Google 45
Referee: Hammack, Robert
Good game of rugby played on a beautiful day in Ukiah. The pitch was still wet from the recent rains which made for a slippery ball and a corresponding number of scrums. Continuity was also hard to come by given the conditions but both teams strung together several nice periods of play. Unfortunately for Mendocino, Google played more with ball in hand and made less handling errors which resulted in the final score.
Mother Load 11 – Solo 34
Referee: Boyer, Rich
Saturday night under the lights, full moon in Folsom, where Mo Lode hosted Solo. Mo Lode came out strong and put Solo on the back foot. Multiple penalties resulted in a quick penalty goal for Mo Lode followed by a try. Solo clawed back to tie the match at halftime. Solo made adjustments in the second half which resulted in 4 second half tries. Notable players included Mo Lode six and nine; Solo flyhalf with a cannon boot and 8 man. Good ball movement by both teams with good recognition of gaps.
Olympic Club 2 37 – Diablo 14
Referee: Gordon, Preston
O Club had an edge in the backline in this game, which went well with their offloading play and lineout work. Diablo looked pretty good too, and were the stronger team in the scrum. Both teams were looking for opportunities to move the ball around, which was a good use of the GAA’s full-width pitch C, nor were they shy about making big hit-ups and ferocious tackles.
The scoreboard started running in the 3rd minute, with a try to Olympic Club, followed by 4 more (1 converted) in the half, at 5′, 10′, 15′, and 34′. It was a little windy, but nothing too unusual and most of those conversions were kickable. Regardless, they had a sizeable lead of 27-0 at that point. Diablo put a dent in that with 2 of their own converted tries in the 40th and 46th minute (running time) of the first half to leave things at 27-14. The extra time was needed to get the Diablo #1 patched up after he and the OC #7 ran into each other in a tackle situation, leaving a pretty solid coat of blood on one guy’s forehead and the other’s eyebrow. Both went off to get stitches, I assume, skipping the blood bin.
In the second half, both teams kept up the tempo, with O Club getting 2 further tries at 9′ and 37′ to end up at 37-14. The penalty count was reasonably low, but the Diablo #13 went to the bin in the 2nd minute of the 2nd half for a no-wrap tackle. He was followed by the OC #19, yellow carded in the 23rd minute for a high tackle, and a really silly yellow card just before the end of the match to an OC player for cynically not retreating 10m and killing a Diablo tap & go in O Club’s 22.
Overall, it was a pretty good matchup, though the score may flatter Diablo a bit due to O Club’s 6 missed conversions. I covered 3.5 miles myself, which isn’t bad for the 2nd match of the day. Thanks to both teams for playing a fast, good-tempered, and almost completely clean game, and thanks to the guys that touch judged as well.
Olympic Club Alumni 65 – Bald Eagles 17
Referee: Gordon, Preston
It was a lovely day on TI and this game saw a great gathering of familiar faces, along with a few guys who look like they could still be playing in the men’s league. Fred Forrester scored the first of the Bald Eagles’ 3 tries, using his red beret to its full advantage.
Ultimately, O Club was stronger in the 4 20-minute periods we played, with 11 tries to their credit. There was the occasional running narrative on the laws in this game, but nothing too annoying. I covered a bit over 3 miles in this game, which was a pretty good warmup for the later O Club men’s league match that afternoon.
Sacramento Capitals 60 – Berkeley 13
Referee: Tucker, Chris
Story of the day — Capitals have a strong, strong back line. They cut holes in the Berkeley defence all day. I gave a couple of yellow cards to the Caps for goal line infringements, which cut the pace of scoring in the second half, and Berkeley then touched down their second try with the two man advantage they’d built. But by then the score differential was insurmountable. Thanks to all for a fine run in the Sacramento sunshine.
Sacramento Capitals B 68 – Berkeley B 14
Referee: Madsen, Erik
With a majority of players having to put in double duty for both teams we settled on a match of 10s. Sacramento kept the momentum and wide ball for a lot of big breaks in this one sided match.
Sacramento Lions 14 – Santa Rosa 33
Referee: Bryant, Lee
This was one of the more contentions matches I have done in awhile. Big hits and tough scrums throughout the match made this a cracker of a game. Santa Rosa dominated the scrums through the whole game and managed to push for at least 5-7 meters each scrum before getting the ball out to the backs. Both teams fought hard at the breaks downs and were proficient at poaching. This game also had a number of great rolling mauls from both sides that made me work the offside lines. When they were on the offense, the Lions backs moved the ball beautifully and smoothly and was able to score couple of tires in the second half to keep the match close after being shut out in the first half. Santa Rose stayed steady in the match as was able to score a couple of tried and make points off of penalties near the posts for a solid win over the home team.
San Jose 17 – Fresno 29
Referee: Hinkin, James
The San Jose Seahawks took on Fresno for a D1 clash on a picture perfect day in San Jose. With the Seahawks ladies warming up the pitch for the men we had another one of these glorious rugby festival days that old timers such as myself could only dream of. The grass was green and lush with a wide, perfectly marked field to play on – perfect conditions. The only imperfection to my eye was the rather short in goal areas. As a former winger who loved the kick and chase I always wanted a large in goal. This would prove significant.
Both teams started well with a pattern designed to dominate in the forwards. The teams went back and forth with possession and territory changing hands in an entertaining back and forth match. San Jose was able to draw first blood with a lineout move from in close where #8 Dan Nagle was stopped just short, but lock Aaron Goldfarb has really long arms and was able to pick up the ball and reach forward and dot it down for a try. Fresno responded with increased pressure but San Jose was up for the task. This is when the short in goal became a factor. With the half looming the Seahawks were able to swing the ball wide and the winger put a kick in behind the defense for the chase. The ball rolled towards the try line when the covering Fresno winger tried to corral it but failed, knocking it back into the in goal where both San Jose and Fresno players converged on it. San Jose won the race and dotted it down and as I arrived I looked around for the dead ball line. The ball was resting about a foot beyond the dead ball line to I awarded a 5 meter scrum for the defense bringing the ball into the end goal. San Jose protested that they got it down in the try zone but I have AR nor do I have a TMO, so play on. Fresno was able to turn the ball over from the resulting phase play and run 90 meters for a score at the other end on the stroke of half time. With the conversion the score was 7-5 – a 12 point swing on that sequence.
The second half was another back and forth affair as Fresno scored early only to have the Seahawks strike back with a converted try from Ismael “Sefa” Keller to tie the game at 12. After that Fresno was able to show their finishing prowess as they pushed San Jose back and got over the line twice more. With 9 minutes remaining San Jose was given a lifeline when Ill discipline at the tackle saw a Fresno prop sin binned for repeated team infringements at the breakdown only to have the fullback do the exact same thing 2 minutes later, resulting in another yellow. With a 2 man advantage the Seahawks were able to exploit the space and get another try from Keller but on the ensuing kickoff San Jose was penalized for holding on and Rodney Tuisavalalo calmly stroked the kick through to put the game out of reach. San Jose was determined however and the game ended with Fresno captain and scrumhalf “Cowboy” latching on to the ball as the Hawks tried to get it down over the line. Held up in goal. End of match. A very entertaining match from both sides.
San Jose B 15 – Fresno B 32
Referee: Tuisavalalo, Rodney
I thought this game was an example of true gamesmanship and rivalry to be expected in the game of rugby. Former teammates now opposed each other on the pitch, and no one backed down from this familiarity. Insults were hurled, crunching tackles were given, and hard runs were rewarded with sly comments and the occasional pat on the back. It made my refereeing that much more enjoyable. Fresno dotted down first to take the lead after the 5th minute. The Seahawks countered with a dazzling run by their center to even up the score. Both tries were unconverted. A second try by the Seahawks captain and number #8 saw them take a brief lead in the waning moments of the 1st half. With a little less than a minute left, Fresno powered their way down the field for a try in the corner-again tying the game. The second half saw Fresno playing the ball out wide with little use of their forwards, and were rewarded with a few more tries which were all unconverted. A Seahawks player by the name of Holcolm displayed an unusual talent of kicking and chasing the ball. I say unusual because he was same size as Fresno’s biggest prop. The twinkled toed forward was rewarded when San Jose dotted their final try of the game near the goal post. The try was unconverted. The game ended with a final try to the visiting team when their #8 Peni broke through the lines and secured the try under the posts. Fuahala , the 290 lb prop slotted the only conversion of the game. Big men ruled the game this day, and from what I’m told took their winning ways to the beer kegs post match.
San Jose Women 6 – Sacramento Amazons 75
Referee: Hinkin, James
The ladies of the San Jose Seahawks took on the Sacramento Amazons Saturday morning on a perfect day in San Jose. Both teams had a full compliment of players but San Jose was forced to work with a short bench – a fact that would prove significant later. Both sides came out firing but the Amazons quickly established a physical dominance. It seemed as if San Jose had 10 players willing to tackle but the other 5 were either unsure or unaware of their responsibilities and the Amazons gratefully took the offered gaps. Even with a player advantage after only 8 minutes due to a dangerous tackle the play was dominated by the visitors. 7 tries were scored with 3 conversions while San Jose could only muster up a solitary penalty.
The second half was much the same as the first as a full strength Amazon team took it to the home side. 6 tries (2 converted) to the same solitary penalty was to damage as injury and attrition left the Seahawks playing with only 14 for the last 10 minutes.
This is not to say that the Seahawks did not do themselves proud. They tackled for all they were worth and put in a solid effort. There was never any hint of giving up nor a lack of commitment. I have seen the growth of the club from a few ladies playing 7s a couple of years ago to a full 15s side. Now that the numbers are starting to show they can look to clubs such as the Amazons to see how the next stage of their development should go.
Santa Clara Univ WR 12 – Univ Nevada Reno WR 68
Referee: Pohlman, John
Santa Clara University women hosted University of Reno women at Bellamy Field this past Saturday for a 1:00 kick off. Beautiful day for rugby.
Reno had close to thirty players available. SCU had some injuries and only had 17 players available.
This was a far more competitive game the the score would indicate. SCU had many opportunities to score only to turn the ball over and not reset their defense quickly. The first four tries for Reno were off penalties or mostly turnovers. One early opportunity had SCU turn the ball over within ten meter of their try line, only to have Reno score from the mistake.
Both teams had some quality players. Reno led by captain Cara #10 and their #12 and #15. These three were fast and dynamic runners who scored numerous tries.
SFGG 28 – Sacramento Blackhawks 17
Referee: Leisek, Joe
Beautiful, crisp morning on Treasure Island, with an 11 a.m. kickoff being the first match of a rugby triple-header on Ray Sheeran Field. This was an intense, competitive contest throughout, with the home side pulling away only in the last 10 minutes. Lots of hard contact up front and ball movement out wide. One of the highlights was a prolonged, sustained goal line attack and defensive stand in the second half. The Blackhawks eventually scored a try at midfield after several pick-and-drives just in front of the goal line. Patience rewarded. Great moment.
Sierra College 10 – Santa Rosa JC 46
Referee: Hosley, David
This was a first for me–a community college match. It’s an area for possible growth, as not many have club sports and it could help retain students and provide some activities outside the classroom.
Stanford Women 19 – UC Davis Women 12
Referee: Simko, Paul
It was a perfect 60 degrees in a warm sun at Steuber Field at Stanford. We had a noon kickoff and this game was probably the best contested game I have every refereed. This was a match of momentum and UC Davis had it in the first half, keeping the ball in tight with the pack with a pick and go strategy that they used much of the game. Two penalties by Stanford in the first half near their goal line set the stage for two tries by UC Davis. One was near the posts and the other was outside. Score at half time was 12-0 in favor of UC Davis, but the match was closer than the score revealed. The second half was very similar, except the teams, flip-flopped. Stanford’s backs were running downhill in the second half, and UC Davis was playing tough defense. Stanford tied the game 12-12 around the 65 Minute mark. Stanford’s second try was in the middle of the posts after 3 or 4 held up in goal attempted tries. Stanford took the lead around the 70 minute mark. The hitting was hard with blood and a few injuries. UC Davis had untimely knocks and penalties that kept them out of the try zone in the second half.
UCSC 60 – SFSU 7
Referee: MacDonald, Neil
Glorious sunshine and stellar views across the Monterey Bay were the reward for finding my away around road closures in the mountains, and circumnavigating the Slugs’ campus to avoid the bike race the university was hosting. Of course, since Santa Cruz must be kept wierd, there was a group of unicyclists racing too. Ten years and twenty pounds ago I used to race road bikes, and I briefly felt the pull of the peloton, before being forced to admit that the occasional outing as a MAMIL (middle-aged man in lycra) would have been scant preparation for umpteen circuits of the campus, and that in any case, I had a prior engagement.
This bottom of the table clash in the Pacific Western Rugby Conference pitted SFSU (#9, 0-3) against UCSC (#8, 1-3). UCSC began strongly, with SFSU’s front row struggling mightily at scrum time, but UCSC had to settle for kicking a penalty despite sustained pressure in the opening exchanges, having spilled the ball over or close to the line a couple of times. A rush of blood to the head led to Santa Cruz’s fullback spending ten minutes on the sidelines after failing to wrap, and SFSU took advantage to score a well-earned try and go ahead 3-7 with 22 minutes played.
Restored to full numbers, and stung by SFSU’s try, UCSC opened the flood gates and scored three of their own in the last ten minutes of the half to go into the break 24-7 up, much to the delight of the home crowd.
SFSU’s hopes for a second half resurgence were dashed in the second minute, when UCSC executed a devastating blind side move. #10 and #14 worked well together to cover 60m and put #14 in for the score. The rest of the match was more of the same, as UCSC’s superior accuracy earned rewards, and SFSU compounded the pressure with infringements in defense, conceding more territory to the strong boot of UCSC’s #10. In the final minutes of the match, with the hosts up 46-7, UCSC’s winger was cut down 5m out by a clothesline tackle from SFSU’s last defender. Straight from the kickoff from the resulting penalty try, UCSC’s fullback, determined to make amends for his earlier transgressions, took the ball 70m down the field, going around and through numerous defenders and scoring a brilliant individual try to end the match.
UCSC B 24 – SFSU B 0
Referee: MacDonald, Neil
UCSC and SFSU contested a B side match of 20 minute halves. UCSC B carried the day comprehensively with three converted tries and a penalty kick, despite having a player in the bin for “not back any” for a quarter of the shortened match. The pick of the UCSC scores came in the 15th minute when their winger ran in from long range, stepping five defenders and stiff-arming a sixth on his way to the line. One wonders what damage he might have wreaked given 80 minutes in the A side game…
Univ San Francisco WR 13 – Fresno State WR 36
Referee: Labozzetta, Chris
A very clean game between two well coached sides. The talent level was fairly even for both teams, with the exception of the Fresno #12 who scored several tries and was a step ahead of all the other players on the field.
UOP 25 – USF 38
Referee: Wilson, Giles
Two small college teams that are trying to establish their place with their universities played a competitive game. Both teams had several new players with UOP being slightly more experienced overall but the USF flyhalf was better able to control the game.
The first few minutes were back and forth before the teams settled. UOPs style was big runners, staying close to the breakdown and when they played to their pattern they looked better. USF kept their #8 in the backs and worked the gaps in the 12 & 13 channels well, they created space well when they could settle into their pattern.
The first half ended with UOP ahead 15-10 (3 tries to 1 converted try and a penalty). In the second half, USF were able to pull away with a 4 tries to 2 margin but also by virtue of kicking their goals.
Vacaville 29 – Life West 2 26
Referee: Taueva, Favor
very good day for rugby. Turf pitch is not my best for rugby but it was JR for two team to play good rugby. My appreciation for Johnson Lee. Thank you for taking your time to be part of our referee associations and helping us to better refs. Hope we can do things together in the near future. Learn a lot for a short time we have and I deeply appreciated. Vacaville was on their best behavior and ball skills while Life West was in a Lazy mode to play the first half. It was 21 to Life West 5 at the second half and that’s a lot of points to catch up at the second half. Life West almost catch up with Vacaville but the time didn’t allow them. Over all I feel very good and enjoy being a ref.
This Week’s Photo
The crew who oversaw the epic battle in Moraga. L-R Pelicus Byrnest, Pelicus Fistulator, John “I have no Pelican Name and it makes me sad” Coppinger.
For the Senate
Pelicus Pedem Referre