Requiem aeternam dona eis

HAIL PELICUS!

 

Requiem aeternam dona eis, et lux perpetua luceat eis
Eternal rest give to them, and let perpetual light shine upon them.
 

To An Athlete Dying Young

A.E. Houseman

The time you won your town the race    
We chaired you through the market-place;         
Man and boy stood cheering by,             
And home we brought you shoulder-high.          

Today, the road all runners come,                    
Shoulder-high we bring you home,         
And set you at your threshold down,     
Townsman of a stiller town.       

Smart lad, to slip betimes away
From fields where glory does not stay,  
And early though the laurel grows          
It withers quicker than the rose.               

Eyes the shady night has shut   
Cannot see the record cut,          
And silence sounds no worse than cheers            
After earth has stopped the ears:            

Now you will not swell the rout 
Of lads that wore their honours out,      
Runners whom renown outran 
And the name died before the man.       

So set, before its echoes fade,   
The fleet foot on the sill of shade,            
And hold to the low lintel up      
The still-defended challenge-cup.            

And round that early-laurelled head      
Will flock to gaze the strengthless dead,               
And find unwithered on its curls               
The garland briefer than a girl’s.
 

For the supposed quiet time of Pelicanland the last few weeks have been full of excitement, news and sadness.

 

We start with sadness.   Jonah Lomu, a titan of the sport in every sense of the word, passed away at the unthinkable age of 40. 6 foot 5 inches, 260 pounds, strong, quick and fast… as a WING!   He was something unheard of.   As an unstoppable natural force Jonah Lomu was the first great rugby star of the professional era. While the details of his passing have not been published (to my knowledge as of this writing) he has long been struggling with nephrotic syndrome, a rare kidney disease that cut short his brilliant rugby career and a decade later cut short his brilliant life.   If you haven’t already seen all of the tributes to his rugby prowess then a very quick search will bring them up, but the most moving, and by far the most important and revealing video I saw was a short clip from a documentary on his life that showed him visiting the man who was instrumental in breaking his heart in 1995, Joost Van Der Westhuizen, who is himself suffering from Amyotrophic Lateral Sclerosis (ALS), more commonly known in the USA as Lou Gehrig’s disease. Just take a few minutes to watch this:

 

There will always be great players and great humans.   Occasionally they will combine in a single entity.

 

There will only be one Jonah Lomu.

 

One Order Of Crow, Please

 

I have lived my sporting life with two certainties: the Cubs will never again win the World Series and the All Blacks can not win a World Cup on foreign soil.   I smugly based my RWC predictions on the latter certainty and picked the Irish to hoist the Webb Ellis Trophy with one hand while giving the English two fingers with the other.

 

Alas, I was sadly mistaken. Ireland, as well as Wales, were cruelly dealt a rash of critical injuries and faded valiantly in the quarterfinals.   The French never looked like beating anyone outside of tier 1 and, to the delight of the world north of Hadrain’s Wall, south of Dover’s white cliffs and east of the Gresford bells, the English failed to qualify out of their group.   The southern hemisphere dominated this Cup and the final pitched Austraila against New Zealand, who’s dominance was on show for all through the entire tournament.

 

And what a final it was!   As a fan with no horse in the race I was looking for spectacle, entertainment and fun and I got all of that and more.   As a referee I was greatly impressed with how Nigel Owens handled the match, allowing the players to show their skills and pace while maintaining control at all times.   I am reminded of descriptions of great waggoneers who controlled teams of 8 horses with just a few clicks and commands plus the occasional flick of the reins.   New Zealand ran out the deserved victors and, as I promised, I will give them their due credit. It has been said that this is the finest team ever assembled and I can find no sound argument against that statement. Richie McCaw, who just announced his retirement after the RWC, rides off into the sunset with GOAThood attached to his legacy.

 

Avé! Duci Novo, Similis Duci Seneci!

 

As with all organizing bodies within the rugby universe, the periodically NCRRS holds their Annual General Meeting and elected their Board of Directors. The NCRRS Board for the next two years is as follows:

 

Pete Smith

Preston Gordon

Our Scott Wood

Paul Bretz

James Hinkin

 

Congratulations to all of the board members and be aware that the editorial staff at Hail Pelicus will be watching your activities with considerable interest.   We are closer than you think.

 

Fancy A Game, Old Chap?

 

World Cup Final referee Nigel Owens spent the weekend after the match not, as you would expect, in a hot tub drinking champagne with buxom female celebrities but at a local club match in Wales.   The story is here if you would like to read about it : http://www.telegraph.co.uk/sport/rugbyunion/11981826/Nigel-Owens-Grassroots-rugby-helped-me-through-the-dark-days-now-Im-glad-I-can-pay-the-game-back.html

 

One quote, however, from that article I have some issue with: “You know people can hear what you say, but when you’re in a game you have to concentrate so much, you’re not aware of what you’re saying. It’s certainly not a performance. I think once you start playing up to it, you’re on a loser.”

 

Yes, as a referee it is critical to remember that you are neither the center of the game nor the reason that people watch but performance is a big part of it.   You have to play to the crowd, in the sense that when you make a decision EVERYONE must know about it.   A small gesture and quietly telling the players what happened is insufficient when you have 200 spectators wondering why this idiot just blew his whistle.   To borrow from the stage, you need to play to the back row. A good referee will stand up straight and make obvious, deliberate signals that can be seen from everywhere even if their voice can not be heard.   No, you don’t prance around and make the game about you but when you are forced to make a call you sell it for all you’re worth to both the players and the crowd.

 

Upcoming Referee and Coaching Courses

 

Northern California will be hosting a number of referee and coaching courses over the next few months.   Please watch this space for further details on these chances to improve your rugby knowledge and acumen.   From personal experience, I can tell you that there is definitely an aspect of academic rigor involved in being a referee – you need to know the laws and keep up with all changes and interpretations.

 

When a player shows an interest in the finer aspects of the game we generally try to guide them into refereeing.   If a player doesn’t know the laws and doesn’t understand how to apply them, they usually become a coach rather than a ref.

 

Disciplinary Action Reporting – Process for reporting incidents

 

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

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

 

 

On To The Game Reports!

 

EDITOR’S NOTE: More reports are coming in from the Wastelands Beyond The Pelican’s Flight!   Keep them coming!

 

From Senior East Coast Correspondent Stephen Valerio:

 

Data: 10/17/2015

Navy C-side 24 -Frostburg St 22

 

Saturday was one of the cool, crisp days I missed in California. Nice and sunny, with the trees approaching peak color. I headed out to Frostburg St and the trees got more colorful as I headed into the Appalachian Mountains. I didn’t notice the skies getting cloudier at first, but as I approached the exit the skies had turned gray. As I pulled into the lot just as the hail started.

 

Saturday was one of those days that I laughed at when I lived in California. We played the match with intermittent hail showers. Not rain, not snow, hail. I have never heard of hail showers before, so I like to believe I coined the term. Frostburg State’s pitch is carved into the side of a hill and is fairly narrow. The grounds crew was kind enough to paint lines for the rugby club. Blue lines, which showed up brilliantly off of green. I passed on to the captain that they could use gold paint to contrast with the white. They could also learn to make dotted lines. Solid 10 m lines, 15 meter lines, 5 meter lines. Nope, no confusion there.

 

The match kicked off on time, and Navy was at first frustrated by the narrow width and sloppy playing conditions, letting Frostburg St score an early try. However, they soon adapted and put across 4 tries, converting 2, in the first half. They received fairly good go forward ball from the pack, but the rhythm of the match was choppy with plenty of knock forwards and balls on the deck.

 

The second half started during one of the breaks in the hail. But the pitch was now thoroughly muddy. However, the biggest change was the substitutions to Navy’s backline. The centers didn’t come up as aggressively allowing Frostburg’s backs to get the ball wide and their rhythm. After being burned out wide twice, the Navy backs over-compensated leaving themselves vulnerable to a cutback run from Frostburg’s flyhalf who dotted down between the posts. This allowed Frostburg to finally collect a conversion as they pulled to within 2 as the match moved into its final frame. Frostburg moved back into Navy’s half and picked up a penalty with the clock running out. They chose to go for the penalty kick, but it drifted wide, costing them the upset.

 

Data: 10/24/2015

Chambersburg 73 – Washington Renegades ‘D” 31

 

Chambersburg was victimized earlier this season when some idiots in pick-up truck decided to do donuts on their pitch after a rain, destroying their home field. So we moved further north to Shippensburg State’s home field for the match. Weather was great, with a firm (some would say hard) surface and try zones the maximum 22 meters. I was wondering if the larger than typical try zones were going to factor in, but they didn’t.

 

Chambersburg had defeated Washington 17-5 earlier in the season at Washington. However, this match was not going to be the same defensive affair. Washington didn’t shake off their road trip quickly and Chambersburg ran through them quickly for 3 tries and and an early 19-0 lead. After a severe tirade under the posts, Washington eventually got the ball back and quickly struck for a try. However, their defensive structure and poor tackling continued to let them down and Chambersburg ended the half up 31-5.

 

The second half started with more of the same with 5 more tries for Chambersburg. However, injuries hurt their defense and Washington started to gain the upper hand in the attack. By the end, it seemed no one was playing much defense with Washington putting  4 tries over in the last 20 minutes to one by Chambersburg. As the last conversion sailed through the post, Chambersburg came charging out of the in goal looking for one more try, but time had expired. I am pretty sure they would still be playing now if I would have let them.

 

Date: 10/31/2015

Wheeling Jesuit 41 – Loyola of Maryland 8

 

While there was a rugby match of some note going on at Twickenham. I trust the reader of this note knows how that much ended by the time this comes out. However, a different rivalry was being renewed in Towson, MD. Loyola University of Maryland was hosting Wheeling Jesuit. The 2 Jesuit schools had not played each other since 1994, meaning most of the current players, if not all, weren’t alive then. However, the Jesuit Rugby Classic marked a renewal of the rivalry.

 

Wheeling Jesuit came into the match ranked #11 in D1, while Loyola plays in the NSCRO. However, Wheeling had played and defeated Delaware the night before. A bigger challenge was the narrow, football-sized pitch. Wheeling’s first several offense thrusts were thwarted by the lack of space. Loyola came out fired up and was able to collect an early penalty while Wheeling was collecting itself. Loyola fought hard throughout the half, but Wheeling’s backs were lethal. Three tries and a penalty gave Wheeling a 22-3 lead. The same held in the second half with Wheeling in control, though Loyola was disruptive enough that the match remained competitive despite the final score line.

 

Wheeling Jesuit B 35 – Loyola of Maryland B 7

 

The B-side was more organized and structured. While Wheeling’s backs proved decisive in the first match, their front row made the difference in the B-side match. Their front row consistently punched through the Loyola defense and made the hard meters. Plus they popped up all over the field. Loyola was able to contain the damage in the first half and went into the break down 7-0. However, the physicality took its toll and they were able to punch several tries over in the second stanza. The only thing preventing the whitewash was an intercept try at the final whistle

 

Date: 11/7/2015

Mount St Mary’s 79 Navy C’s 7

 

I returned to Mount St Mary’s for a match between 2 squads whom I had seen both defeat Frostburg St earlier in the season. While a bit closer than the first match I had managed at Mount St Mary’s, it was still heavily one-sided for the home squad. The primarily plebe-side from Navy had their hands full with the experience MSM squad and their quick recycle game. Even a yellow card for repeated infringements deep in their end didn’t allow the Midshipmen to keep the game close. The inexperienced side made some strategic errors that the hosts punished mercilessly.

 

Date: 11/14/2015

University of Maryland 85 – UVA 0

 

This ACRL match was officially a forfeit as injuries had decimated UVA, particularly in the pack. The match was played with open substitutions so that Maryland could more fairly match the squads. While the UVA pack was under pressure, it wasn’t the biggest challenge for the team. They were unable to take advantage of opportunities due to inconsistency in their lineout and some rushed strategic moves borne out of desperation more than anything else. Instead of catching Maryland napping, it often resulted in isolated runners or kicks that left them vulnerable to counterattacks. The scoring slowed in the 2nd half as Maryland liberally subbed out their starters.

 

Date: 11/15/2015

Potomac NSCRO Finals

Mount St Mary’s 41 – Catholic University 21

 

I ran AR for Roberto Santiago, so 2/3s of the team of the 3 were Pelicans. Assuming Roberto’s battery didn’t die, he may have a picture.

 

Hoping you have a wet season

 

Date: 10/24/2015

Cal Invitational 7’s

Referee: Lane, John

 

Cal Autumn 7’s – 8 team – 16 game tournament

 

An excellent day of collegiate 7’s Rugby – committed and clean play throughout in a very well organized day’s rugby.

 

4 Ref’s including myself, PaulB, PeteS and Neil MacD ably supported by RobH as AR throughout.

Operating teams of 3 throughout the day with the full 5 for the final – so everyone’s legs got plenty of exercise!!

 

My ref day started with Game 3 (AR – Game 1) for Cal Poly v UC Davis which were 2 physically well matched teams but Poly proved to have that extra level of execution skills and eventually won 19-0 with 3 tries.

The game produced the only yellow card of the day for a deliberate slap down denying a clear try scoring opportunity – penalty try and YC – accepted with no challenge from the player involved which reflected the player spirit and ref respect all day.

 

2 more AR’s runs kept the legs warm before returning for Game 8 – UC Davis v Cal Frosh/Sophs. A new challenge here with the teams in virtually identical kit!!! After a request for a jersey change was met with a no option available response I started the game with heightened awareness spotting that UC Davis had a Blue square around the jersey number at least gave something to work with (thank god it was 7’s). Again a good contest but Cal F/S used field width combined with quality cut-backs to score 3 1st half tries for 19-0 half time lead. NeilMacD had used the first half and his Scottish charm to good effect and miraculously a change of jersey arrived for the Cal F/S during half time. Davis started the second half well scoring an early try and kept up the pressure for the next few minutes but did not convert the posession. Cal F/S capitalized on a turnover ball to score from long range with the game finishing UC Davis 7 – Cal F/S 26.

A short break and then back out for game 9 – SF State v Cal. Both teams were 2-0 so playing for a spot in the final. Cal wasted no time to put their mark on the game – receiving the kickoff they secured possession and using the width of the field work through a few quick phases to create the space and the first score. Despite a high defensive work rate from SF State the traffic remained mainly one way in the first half with Cal particularly strong on regaining their restart kicks (a feature of the whole day). 3 more tries and a halftime lead of 26-0. Cal scored first in the 2nd half to extend the lead but SF State finally managed to retain possession for a series of phases and deservedly got on the score board. At this stage Cal had released fresh legs from the bench and re-asserted control with 2 further tries to secure their spot in the final on a scoreline of 5- 47.

 

3 more AR runs before I returned to the middle to close out the day with the Cup Final after PaulB – Shield, PeteS – Bowl, NeilMacD – Plate had set the scene.

 

The final saw Cal Poly take on Cal (after tournament rules avoided a Cal F/S v Cal final after 3 wins each!).

 

Cal continued their dominate form despite a never say die attitude from Cal Poly but an overall higher fitness level across the squad definitely started to show in the players 4th game of the day. 4 tries to 1 in the 1st half with a noticeable drop off in the Cal goal kickers strike rate as only one Cal try was converted . The Cal subs bench kept the pace up in the second half adding 3 more tries before the end to win out the tournament on a 7-41 scoreline.

 

A special mention to RobH for a very long and active day on the AR sideline – not sure you knew what PeteS had roped you in for but much appreciated – I hope we spotted you out enough through the day.

 

And back to do it all again for the Pac 12 on 7&8 November!!!

 

Date: 10/24/2015

Google 56 – McGeorge 28

Referee: Simko, Paul

 

We played four, twenty minute quarters in this preseason warm up. There were plenty of new players out there for both sides, which unfortunately kept the whistle blowing. It was close for the first half. The 3rd quarter became a track meet for Google. McGeorge came back with 2 tries at the end.

 

Date: 10/24/2015

UCSC Men Slugfest

Referee: Freitas, Larry

 

I officiated four matches in this men’s pre-season tournament at UCSC, played on the upper field and lower field. First thing I noticed on the upper field was that the rugby pitch wasn’t lined correctly, and that the east touchline ran through, and I mean right on, two drains that were encased in cement! I immediately got in touch with the OPERS director, had a few UCSC players come up from the lower pitch with spray cans, and had a new touchline added at least a yard further infield, and had bags and other assorted material thrown over the drains. With the drought and evidence that the field has been used plenty for intramurals, and last week’s women’s tournament, there wasn’t a lot of grass on much of the pitch, though on other parts there was plenty of grass. Cal Poly 2s beat Santa Clara’s 2s, most of whom were playing in their first ever game, 55-0. UC Davis beat Sacramento State 29-0 in my next match an hour or so later. Cal Poly then defeated Sacramento State 29-7, with a late try by the Hornets from a free kick given because of a scrum infringement by Cal Poly, between the 10 meter line and the 22, in which Cal Poly hadn’t retreated the 10 meters, so that they were marched back another ten with a free kick now a penalty for that offense, and a Cal Poly player now obstructing a Sacramento player from taking a quick tap, meaning another ten meter march off and a verbal warning from me, and then the penalty run in for a very late try.

 

My last match was on the lower field, one of the best rugby pitches in California if not the whole USA, and possibly the world given the view of the Monterey Bay below. I just hope we get some rain soon, because its wear and tear is starting to show, with some patches of turf well torn up from use, and I was noticing wear and tear on my legs from running around on hard pitches all day. I happened to have played in a “veterans” match in Tewksbury in the West Midlands of England a few weeks earlier on the California Bald Eagles RWC tour, and playing on that grass was easy on the legs and feet to say the least. It was finally starting to cool off from the 80F warmth of mid-day, and the unusually high humidity. Sacramento State beat an undermanned Sonoma State, that had borrowed a few Humboldt State players, 45-0. I was fairly worn out from the day’s activity by then, and got a night’s sleep straight through from 9:30pm to 5:30 the following morning.

 

 

Date: 10/24/2015

UCSC Men Slugfest 100 – TBD 100

Referee: Asonye, Elvy

 

Great day of rugby had, many teams with only 4 referees but we made it work in the hot heat.

 

EDITOR’S NOTE: I will give Elvy a pass on the brevity of this report as she, as well as your humble scribe, ended up reffing 8 games each on the day. We were really kinda tired after that, you know?

 

 

Date: 10/24/2015

UCSC Men Slugfest

Referee: Bernstein, Bruce

 

I reffed 4 matches all blowouts by Sac St, Cal Poly (twice), and UC Davis giving me plenty of sprint workouts. Could have used a few more refs (only 4 of us showed up). Luckily James Hinkin & one of the UCSC coaches Rob filled in for me for two other matches I was too exhausted to ref.

Great tourny for all those who attended on a spectacular day overlooking the bay.

 

Date: 10/24/2015

USF 0 – University of San Diego 13

Referee: Pescetti, David

 

These two colleges met on a warm sunny morning on Saturday. I don’t think they got the memo that New Zealand and South Africa were playing!

 

These two teams were very evenly matched. Both teams had stout and stingy defenses. The only try of the match coming off of a miss-handled kick that was scrambled for by both teams. USD managing, in the scramble, to kick the ball down field a few times and managing to collect the ball right before the goal line. The only other scores were via penalty kick. At the half the score was 10 – 0 in favor of USD. The rest of the match was even more stingy than the first. USF threatened several times but was unable to punch it in. The match finished with USD winning 13 – 0.

 

Date: 10/25/2015

Stanford 17 – Alumni 17

Referee: MacDonald, Neil

 

Stanford’s Alumni match kicked off under clear skies and sunshine at Steuber Field. The alumni came to play hard, opening the scoring with a converted try seven minutes in. The students found themselves a player down mid-way through the half, after one breakdown penalty too many, and the alumni carried their lead into the break.   The students clearly left their half time talk with their new coach re-energized, and scored twice, taking a 12-7 lead half way through the second half, before extending it further to 19-7 with nine minutes left. The alumni did not tire, their heads did not go down, and they came roaring back with a line break, and taking the ball through a few phases with great ball retention to crash over and close the gap to seven, and with a successful conversation, to five with three minutes left. A bridge too far for the alumni? Don’t you believe it. Over they went again in the final minute to tie up the game. A nailbiter conversion for alumni captain Nathan from wide on the right to pull out the win, but the kick drifted left and the honors shared. Stanford look to have recruited well this season, with a number of athletic additions to the squad including a scrum half with dancing feet who looks to have a lot of potential.

 

 

Date: 10/28/2015

Stanford 32 – Stanford GSB 10

Referee: Lew, Tim

 

Always a pleasure to referee a game on Stueber Field at Stanford. With a newly appointed coach, Stanford Men looked athletic and fast. GSB started the game with a quick score but that was all they had for the game. Stanford Men were more athletic and took advantage of their fitness in the end.

 

 

Date: 10/31/2015

Berkeley All Blues B 32 – Berkeley All Blues C 17

Referee: Tetler, Jen

 

This was originally going to be a friendly 2nd side with some other players filling it, but it ended up being All Blues on All Blues playing 10s after the high quality WPL 1st side game. Some great plays and some excellent support was seen on both sides, and it was fun to get a run in for everyone.

 

EDITOR’S NOTE: See next two reports…

 

Date: 10/31/2015

UC Santa Cruz 0 – San Jose State 0

Referee: MacDonald, Neil

 

Match cancelled. Found out after I got there.

 

 

Date: 10/31/2015

UC Santa Cruz B 0 – San Jose State B 0

Referee: Lane, John

 

Game was cancelled night before. Clubs informed Neil MacDonald who was on the A game.

 

EDITOR’S NOTE: Teams must realize that cancelling a game at the last minute not only affects the players but the referees, who sometimes have to travel long distances to get to the match.   Please make sure that all referees are notified in a timely manner if a fixture is not to be played.

 

Date: 10/31/2015

UOP – USF, SF State

Referee: Wood, Scott

 

After coaching my daughter’s last silly-round-ball game of the season, I travelled over to UOP for their annual pre-season round-robin tournament. Three teams (UOP, USF, SF State), three games (2×20), one referee…

 

Match 1

UOP 17

USF 41

 

UOP was stronger in the scrums and breakdowns but their backs were unable to contain USF’s 8-10(?) power combo.

 

Match 2

UOP 21

SF State 33

SF State countered UOP’s scrums and was able to exploit holes in the backline.

 

Match 3

USF 28

SF State 0

The aforementioned USF power combo was the featured attraction. SF State controlled its scrums and breakdowns well.

 

Kudos to all participants for demonstrating that rugby is the world’s greatest sport.

 

On my way to my car, I was appoached by a SF State parent. We had a great, albeit brief, discussion on how some of the game has changed and his stated desire to return to the ranks. It has been around ten(?) years since I have seen Joe Saccomanno and hope to see more of him. Especially on the pitch, whistle in hand, rugby in heart.

 

EDITOR’S NOTE: I have also run into Pelicus SSaaccoommaannoousas well when refereeing SF State – it would be nice to bring an apostate back into the fold.

Date: 11/07/2015

AKM Memorial Tournamnet

Referee: Boyer, Rich

 

It was a fine day for a festival. Santa Rosa played Humboldt St. Early days for both teams, who were very enthusiastic and energetic, which resulted in multiple penalties in the opening stanza. They calmed down a bit second half and Santa Rosa won 21-0. On to Bend v Blackhawks, with Bend being the team of the tournament.   They are in midseason form, have a great gameplan and are patient. Bend with the win, 31-17.   A newly reconstituted Sac Capitols then played Emerald Triangle, a composite of Mendo, Colusa and Shasta player. Capitols exhibited really solid team play and won 32-20.

 

 

Date: 11/07/2015

AKM Memorial Tournamnet

Referee: Richmond, Jeff

 

A beautiful day in Reading and a nice event, supporting the AK Mittry Memorial. Reffed 4 matches, with Rich Boyer, Bruce Bernstein, Mic Dunston (from Bend) and Kevin Brown (Oregon Inst. of Tech) also covering a bunch. 20 minute halves made for a manageable day.

Started with Bend v Sac Capitals; Bend dominated 32-7. They put together multiple phases at each breakdown and were often able to find gaps in the Sac back line. I understand Bend is just wrapping up the first half of their split season ans they were a bit more polished with their play.

Second match was Central Oregon v Santa Rosa JC. Very fast game, though more rough around the edges with a number of inexperienced players. Came down to the last few minutes of play. Central Oregon scored the go-ahead try off a scrum at about the 5-m line. The ball was put in cleanly by SRJC and hooked by SRJC, I looked up to check the positioning of the backline players and suddenly the CO scrumhalf was diving in front of me with the ball and touching it down in-goal. SRJC players claimed it came back out the tunnel, but I didn’t see it, so awarded the try. CO 17, SRJC 12.

Third match was ugly, Sac Blackhawks v. a mish-mash of Shasta, Santa Rosa and other whores. Apparently, there were a number of grudges to settle among players and coaches. Sac chose to make some kind of statement by not attempting conversions after each try. At the close of the first half, there was a bit of pushing, shoving, and taunting going on. I took aside both captains and told them I would call off the match at the first sign of escalation. They were able to calm things down but there was a lot of bad blood between the two. Sac’s decision to not take conversions came back to bite them as the mish-mash won 24-20.

Closer was Sac State v Santa Rosa JC. Reffing SRJC for the second time, they showed a noticable level of improvement in their play. Sac State is a strong team but didn’t travel with many of their first 15, so SRJC hung with them. Sac State 12, SRJC 5.

 

Date: 11/07/2015

AKM Memorial Tournamnet

Referee: Bernstein, Bruce

 

Definitely worth driving up to Redding for the Andrew Mittry Memorial Rugby Tourney. 6 college & 6 mens teams played for the fun of it with: 3 college scholarships handed out at lunchtime; a tri tip dinner served after; and a great bar hop through downtown Redding (which was pretty good). 6 refs helped out. Our Jeff Richmond, rich Boyer & myself; with Mic Dunston from Bend & Kevin Brown a prof & coach of the Oregon Inst of Tech (OIT). Bend looked in mid-season form since they started a split season in September, but Sacto Capitals & Emerald (a local touring side) were also right there. The college teams all were fun to watch & ref with tough competition from Sac State, Central Oregon CC (from Bend) & OIT (which beat Sac State in a great match I was able to ref.

 

 

Date: 11/07/2015

Cal Maritime 3 – UC Davis 14

Referee: Coppinger, John

 

Cal Maritime dominated the scrum and the breakdown, but had no answer for the speed Of UCD’s outside backs on the turf temple of rugby at Cal Maritime. Donal Walsh was prowling the UCD side and it is always to good to chat with Donal.

 

 

Date: 11/07/2015

Cal Maritime B 10 – UC Davis B 29

Referee: Byrnes, Bryant

 

First match for everybody. And first ”oh f***” moment of the season. In spite of traffic, I arrived 30 minutes before kick off. Except both teams are on the pitch, ready to go, missing only a referee. The host coach hit a note of grace; “No worries; ready when you are. The first match actually started on time.”

 

The Aggies the better team on the day. They took the opening kick and methodically rucked their way down the field-scoring on about the 19th phase. But Maritime-mostly new fellows-played hard and dotted it down just at full time.

 

Play of the game: a Davis back fielded a kick near touch inside his 22, and with a fine disregard for shouts of ”run straight!” immediately crossed the field east west to the the other side of the field, and then reversed field again before being tackled. 200 meters for a gain of 50. The days of our youth are the days of our glory.

 

Date: 11/07/2015

Fresno State 10 – Santa Clara 46

Referee: Jury, Jeff

 

Santa Clara ran some good clean lines and kept shape pretty well in attack and defense. Fresno State has good, fit athletes but is still in the learning phase. Fresno was able to fill some gaps in the second half and managed a couple trys.

 

 

Date: 11/07/2015

Fresno State B 15 – Santa Clara B 29

Referee: Jury, Jeff

 

A little more scrappier than the first game with newer players filling both sides . Fresno B was able to match Santa Clara B try count in the second half.

 

 

Date: 11/07/2015

PAC 12 7’s

Referee: Fenaroli, Steven

 

4 games. I got good pointers on managing the ruck and seeing when space is taken away what to look for

 

EDITOR’S NOTE: As a game description or analysis, this leaves much to be desired.

 

Date: 11/07/2015

Stanford Women 48 – UNR Women 0

Referee: Simko, Paul

 

There were 3 teams (SCU was the third team) that played 4 quarters. In the first quarter (40 minutes), Stanford rolled over UNR 48-0. In the second quarter (40 minutes), Stanford blanked SCU 39 – 0. In the third quarter (30 minutes), UNR shut out Stanford 27-0. In the 4th quarter (30 minutes), we had a tight one. It was 17-10 with Stanford leading SCU. SCU scored on the final play, but missed the conversion and lost 17-15.

 

 

Date: 11/08/2015

PAC 12 7’s – TBD

Referee: Fenaroli, Steven

 

Officiated 2 games, I had the 3/4 game. First time working with radios and a full crew. The second game went well and was managed well.

 

 

Date: 11/14/2015

CSU Monterey Bay WR 10 – St. Mary’s College Women 27

Referee: Asonye, Elvy

 

Great friendly between the two teams. St Mary’s got a try within the first two minutes and had the only successful conversion to start off the match. They were able to push through the center of the field two other times in the first half, until CSUMB got a break on the outside and the winger scored a try. Going into halftime St. Mary’s got another try, making the score 22-5 at the half. Halfway into the second half CSUMB got another try, after a hell of a fight pushing through inside the 22 and managed to get around to the outside for a try. St Mary’s fought hard the whole match and were able to get one last try with five minutes still left on the clock. A great fight by both teams, I’m sure the rest of their season will be even more fruitful.

 

 

Date: 11/14/2015

Solano CC 23 – McGeorge 57

Referee: Pohlman, John

 

Solano College hosted McGeorge in a pre-season friendly. The Solano Football field was well marked and in good shape. It was a bit small, but for my first game since last season suited my conditioning well.

McGeorge looked to be in mid season form. Their back row was all over the field led by captain Dan. The McGeorge backs looked like they had played together for years, hitting the ball with speed and angles. After two 20 minutes periods McGeorge was up 35 – 8.

Second half Solano started to link up some passes which led to two nice try’s. Solano’s captain Chris scoring one.

Final McGeorge 57 Solano 23.

Two items of note. This being my first game back in this early season and a supposed friendly, I was a bit relaxed to start the game. Both teams played hard, mostly positive rugby. I needed to set my standard early and remember once the ball is kick off there are no friendlies.

And two, if you referee at the Solano College Stadium bring your mosquitoes repellent. The mosquitoes were very bad.

 

Date: 11/14/2015

St. Mary’s College B 0 – SF State 0

Referee: Gordon, Preston

 

Bryant Byrnes and I switched off for the 4 40-minute periods at St. Mary’s. I did the second and fourth periods. There were a lot of tries scored in this fast pre-season match, most of which went to St. Mary’s, but SFSU got a few good ones of their own. It was a great day to put in 5 miles of work reffing (and ARing) and each of these teams should do very well in the upcoming season.

 

 

Date: 11/14/2015

St. Mary’s College C 0 – SF State B 0

Referee: Byrnes, Bryant

 

A beautiful Fall day for a friendly in Moraga. And on their old Pat Vincent Field. Many an old China hand ref fondly remembers this as the Everglades of NorCal pitches. You needed to bring your whistle, watch and defrib paddles to bring back players drowning in the muck.

 

The format was four 40s. Preston Gordon and I did alternating periods. St Mary’s had 40 plus players, the Gators perhaps 26,27-so it was a bit of mix and match. When subbed in, the Gael A side was a bit of a tidal wave. But when the SFSU guys played the SMC younger fellows, they were stout. Fun day for everyone.

 

 

Date: 11/14/2015

UOP 19 – Fresno State 33

Referee: Boyer, Rich

 

Fresno St. made the two hour trek to play UOP at their fine pitch. Both teams started strong, but promising phases were cut short by knock ons. UOP were in the match early on, following their captain Justin, scrumhalf, who scored two tries on long range quick tap penalties and who also had a hand in the third try. Fresno St. backs shone, particularly the fullback and wing, both who had blistering pace. The Fresno St. flyhalf set up multiple back line plays and was handy with the boot on conversions. Both teams exhibited good pattern of play. Good game played in good spirits. Fresno St. had too much firepower but UOP never quit battling.

 

 

Date: 11/15/2015

Stanford Women 7’s Tournament

Referee: Tetler, Jen

 

Fun times with Neil McDonald, John Lane, Lee Bryant, and newbie ref Ren! The final game of UC Davis v. Stanford showed a lot of good passing and support.

 

 

Date: 11/15/2015

Stanford Women 7’s Tournament

Referee: Bryant, Lee

 

Despite the weather report and waking up at 4:30 am by a downpour, not a drop of rain on the pitch for the games. Great rugby with a great fight to qualify for nationals. Stanford won top honor in a well fought final.

 

 

Date: 11/21/2015

Chico Holiday Classic

Referee: Wilson, Giles

 

Mitch, Beau and the rest of the Chico rugby folks once again put on their Holiday Classic. No goal posts, no scores recorded – a chance for teams to give new players their first games, to get the big lads/lassies back doing what they enjoy after a summer of 7s for the fast lads and lassies.

 

Play started on time with strict instructions that whatever happened, the games must finish on time, in order to keep the event rolling. And so it went.

 

I started with a spirited game between Chico State (who requested the TJs stand as goal posts, for the first game anyway) and Sacramento Capitols. The former have some good skills being developed but were significantly outweighed in the front row. Despite this, they managed well. Both teams ran hard in the centers and there were some significant collisions. This game featured the first game of Mike Dopson’s “retirement”, with the Capitols needing a scrum half.

 

SFGG women vs Nor Cal women was my next game. A wide range of skills and experience levels were on display. A few rampaging runs from either side and plenty of skill. Youngster’s got some game time and started to learn about what old age and treachery can do to youth and exuberance.

 

I finished with Sac Capitols against UNR, who were also bringing in some newer players. They have couple of horses in their back row but struggled with the physicality of the Capitols. They are developing a playing style under Maka and will get better.

 

Another fun event with the spirit of rugby to the forefront.

Date: 11/21/2015

Chico Holiday Classic – TBD

Referee: Franzoia, Tom

 

Well, a good day was had by all teams, Chico, Colusa, Chico State, Sac Capitals, Reno, BA Baracus, Mendocino, UN Reno,Chico State Women, Humboldt State Women, Nor Cal Women, SFGG Women. Twenty minute halves flew by, Mitch kept an eye on everyone especially the Chili, outstanding.

 

 

Date: 11/21/2015

Fresno State B 14 – CSU Northridge B 26

Referee: Jury, Jeff

 

CSUF A 28 v CSU Northridge A 19, Good clear day, hard pitch. Northridge somewhat neutralized CSUF better coordinated attacks by “bringing the wood”. Northridge pressure kept Fresno away from the gainline, but Fresno kept shape and averaged 2 converted trys a half to Northridge’s try count 1 and 2 with a missed kick at the end. Good day had by all.

 

 

Date: 11/21/2015

San Jose 31 – Berkeley 17

Referee: Pohlman, John

 

San Jose hosted Berkeley in a preseason 3 thirty minute period game. The game was played at Shepard Middle schools football synthetic turf field. First period was fast, positive rugby. Both teams played strong defense yet both had brief tackling lapses which allowed soft trys.

Berkeley 10 San Jose 7.

Second period was dominated by San Jose in ball position and scoring. San Jose 19 Berkeley 0.

Last period had lots of newbie players but still mostly positive go forward rugby. Berkeley 7 San Jose 5.

Final score San Jose 31 Berkeley 17.

Thanks to both Captain Dan and Captain Mark for great leadership. My only problem was the field and try area being poorly marked. But a great day of rugby.

 

Date: 11/21/2015

Solano CC 10 – Napa 2 50

Referee: Asonye, Elvy

 

Quite the friendly match between these two teams. For my last game to referee in California, I asked both teams to play clean and fair. The teams decided on breaking up the first half into 20-min periods, then finishing the second half straight through. Napa started off early with a try by their flanker, that was answered back by Solano two minutes later. Napa followed up with one more try in the first period, with a score of 5-12, Napa 2. Tensions were still pretty low and contained and players began to get a little more anxious. I called the captains together to talk to their players and remain calm during the game. Napa got a pair of breakaways through the center and scored two trys, and Solano stripped the ball from Napa to score a try before halftime with a score of 10-26, Napa 2. During the second half I spoke with both captains to speak with their team as there was unnecessary fighting and yelling, and cautioned that the game could end early if players were more focused on fighting than playing rugby. Early into the second half, I cautioned the Solano hooker for a dangerous charge. Napa took advantage and were able to get a try down the center. Napa was then able to use the momentum to score another 3 trys. Of the 8 trys that Napa had, five conversions were successful.

 

 

Date: 11/21/2015

UC Davis Women 45 – TBD 10

Referee: Hosley, David

 

This was to be an exhibition with four teams, but two dropped out so Jen and I discussed online with the Davis club president and I did the four quarters of 20 minutes each between Reno and UCD. This was a good match for the pre-season, and lots of new players for both sides on a beautiful day.

 

 

 

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