Springing Forward

HAIL PELICUS!

 

Springing Forward

 

Yes, we are back. With a couple of weeks of rugby to cover this edition of the Hail Pelicus may take more than one bathroom trip.   Vegas has come and gone and so has Vancouver. The clocks have been reset to save electricity and confuse German bombers (or something like that) and rugby has returned to its full glory in Pelicanland.   For those who thirst for the witty banter of Hail Pelicus and are adrift without the results from our great game rest assured that normal service has resumed.   The leagues are hotting, yes, hotting up as the wheat separates from the chaff.     Yes, the mills of Pelicanland grind slowly but they grind exceedingly fine.    And why do we grind?   We knead the dough.     I will leaven you with this: it is the yeast we can do.

 

A Little Tongue In Cheeks Commentary

 

USA Rugby has just announced that Nigel Melville, current CEO of USA Rugby has accepted a job as CEO of Rugby International Marketing (RIM).   So what does that mean for USA Rugby going forward?

 

Yes, Nigel Melville finally got the RIM job that he always wanted.   One could even say that he has been craving this RIM job ever since he became aware that it was a possibility.   One could see him spending a lot of time talking USA Rugby into this RIM job – not an easy task I can assure you.   One question that remains, however, is who actually gave him this RIM job?   Since Rugby International Marketing is a creation of USA Rugby it is possible to speculate that Mr Melville gave himself the RIM job, though we are not sure if he is enough of a legal contortionist and could bend over backwards far enough to do that.   Technically speaking, we here at HP have no legal training so we can not have an official opinion but it looks messy when the head of a non-profit organization creates a for-profit organization with some very close ties, then leaves to lead that for-profit organization. Per USA Rugby’s announcement RIM is a “’for-profit’ commercial entity… that will represent USA Rugby’s current commercial rights” and they followed that up with “Of course, Nigel won’t be far away and there will likely be a great deal of interaction between Nigel in his role at RIM and the new USA Rugby CEO.”   One can only hope that this RIM job is explored in great detail and leads to a healthy intercourse between Mr Melville and USA Rugby, possibly during a live webcast.

 

In any case, this kind of messy RIM job tends to stink and any unwanted hangers on should be washed away before the RIM job commences.   At the very least engaging in this kind of behavior should result in a serious tongue lashing for Mr Melville.   Starting off a RIM job this way could leave a bad taste in the mouth.

 

Once Mr Melville is thoroughly engaged in his RIM job as CEO he is expected to dole out many more RIM jobs in order to fill out and strengthen his staff.   What exactly do these RIM jobs entail, one might ask?   Well, that requires a deeper dive than we here at Hail Pelicus are willing to engage in at this time, although I am sure that it involves furthering the needs of the oval balls and the joy that comes with playing with them. Many in the rugby and financial community are drooling at the possibility of getting one of these coveted RIM jobs.   I am sure that Mr Melville will be taking application for future RIM jobs and if that sort of thing tickles your fancy I say go for it and good luck.

 

The Late Late 7s Show

 

A couple of years ago the USA Sevens in Las Vegas kicked off a few weeks early in order to avoid conflict with the Winter Olympics.   Last year the traditional mid February date was re-established but that lasted only a year.   With the addition of Vancouver to the World Sevens Series the schedule has realigned and the tournament has been moved (I am assuming permanently) to an early March date.   While this may have led to hopes that a later date closer to spring would engender better weather in Vegas (it didn’t) and Vancouver (irrelevant – they play in a dome) the fickle Weather Priestess decided a perfect Saturday would be followed by a cold, windy and rainy Sunday.   It is worth noting that the only time it seriously rained on Sunday was when the US was playing and when it wasn’t raining the wind really started picking up, to the point where the VIP tents had to be taken down proving once again the old adage that it rains on rich and poor alike.   Or possibly there was some divine judgement going on, as Matthew 5:45 states that the Christian God “sendeth rain on the just and on the unjust”.   Personally, I believe that with the USA strutting into Vegas as legitimate Cup threats and all of us Yanks predicting an easy win our delightful Weather Priestess may have had a bit much and decided it was time to punish our hubris.   That’s my theory and I’m sticking to it.

 

So what about the Vegas results?   The USA advanced to the Cup semifinals (hooray!) but didn’t look convincing doing it (booo!).   After a mistake filled loss to Fiji we ended up 4th in a tournament that we only won 2 out of 6 matches – hardly a dominant performance at home.   After an expected win over Wales to warm up we drew with Canada in a game that was snatched from the jaws of victory.   All praise to Canada for not giving up on the game when down 3 tries but the USA needs to learn how to close out matches when we build up these big leads.   Yes, we lost Unufe to injury but if we are targeting a gold medal in Rio we have to be mentally stronger than that.   With Wales taking care of Canada we were into the Cup round again but then put in a lackluster performance against South Africa, getting shut out.   Not a good sign, that.   The stars did align for us, however, as we avoided New Zealand in the quarterfinals to play a surprising Kenya and in that match we actually looked like the team we hope to be.   The ball movement was crisp, the defense was strong and the victory was ours for the second and final time on the weekend.   This set up a semifinal against Fiji that started during the Great Vegas Storm of 2016.   We had possession; we had breaks; we had defense; we had knock ons; we had forward passes.   Yes, we actually looked the better side for most of the match against eventual champions Fiji but just could not handle the weather conditions.   Simple knock ons and forward passes ended at least 3 genuine scoring threats and while you can blame the weather for much of that, Fiji didn’t seem to have the same problem.   Gifting possession to that side is rugby suicide and Fiji made us pay.   With the wind knocked out of us we (again) meekly succumbed to South Africa for a 4th place finish and a move up to 5th overall in the standings.

 

Vancouver was in my opinion a much better tournament for us even with all of the injured or missing players but the results were not as good, losing against that same Fiji side in the quarterfinals.   This is yet another game where we built a lead but could not hang on to it and many of the younger players who stepped up all weekend will hopefully put that in the memory banks as a lesson in concentration and the need for fitness.

 

The Great “If Only” Argument Of American Rugby

 

More breaking news this past week was the announcement that the New England Patriots would allow Nate Ebner to take time and try to make the USA 7s team for the Olympics.   This has always been the dream of rugby in the USA and ties to the old Sleeping Giant myth.   A Super Bowl champion leaves the NFL to play rugby!   If only we could get our best athletes to play rugby, imagine that!   LeBron James dominating lineouts while Demarcus Ware destroys scrums!   Adrian Peterson and Odell Beckham Jr slicing through back lines while NaVarro Bowman tackles everything that moves!

 

Tempting, isn’t it?   Unfortunately life doesn’t work that way but now we have the genuine article in Nate Ebner.   Pat Clifton gives a passionate response to why this is, he claims, “the biggest American rugby news this century”. (See article here: http://www.rugbytoday.com/columns/cliff-notes-why-ebners-return-so-important)

 

Mr Clifton makes some valid points because but my take on this is slightly different.   Yes, this has and will continue to make a big splash in the national media outlets such as ESPN who have almost completely ignored rugby in the past.   The benefits of this level of exposure can not be understated. Previous attempts to include rugby in the national conversation were limited to the Rugby War Goddess clip and ESPN anchors giggling behind their hands at Nigel Melville’s offer to Tim Tebow to play rugby when he was cut from the NFL.   Isn’t that cute? Little rugby wants to play with our NFL castoffs.   We were treated like children playing dress up.

 

But now we have an NFL player in his prime, a man who just won the Super Bowl, changing the conversation with that magic word, “Olympics”, but is Ebner really the answer? Remember all the hype around the 15s World Cup stars joining the 7s circuit this year?   Sonny Bill Williams, Quade Cooper and Brian Habana were all going to be playing 7s and they have… but it took them a few tournaments to crack the travelling squad, to get up to speed, and while they are useful players they are definitely not the stars of their team.   These are professional rugby players, players who are practicing rugby skills every day and are at the top of their game, who needed time to adapt to the 7s game.   Ebner played in high school and college so he has a grounding in rugby skills, but none of that experience can compare to the speed and physicality of international 7s.   He will, in fact, get more benefit from his NFL experience and training regimen.   “But he played for Ohio State in the CRC!” people say and that is true, but remember that the CRC teams are mostly picked not on rugby ability but on the size of their alumni base and Ohio State is a prime example of that.   NBC is trying to sell advertising and the CRC is trying to sell tickets, so their choice of invitees is perfectly understandable, but don’t kid yourself into thinking that these are the best of the best.

 

Does Nate Ebner deserve a look? Absolutely.   Will he make the team? Maybe, trending to doubtful.   If he does, then more power to him and I will be cheering as hard for him as I do for the rest of the squad, but I am not holding my breath.

 

Pelican thoughts and musings

 

Ahmad Bahrami writes and edits The Rugby Republic website and published an article on rugby referees that includes several comments from interviews with Pelican referees.   Worth a read and you can find it here:   http://www.therugbyrepublic.com/blog/2016/3/7/he-who-controls-himself-controls-the-game-including-you

 

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 Sod Emall of Grass Valley, CA who asks:

 

“I was thinking that the turf in Las Vegas at the 7s looked fantastic until I got a closer look and I realized it was fake.   Then I noticed the same thing in Vancouver.   How could World Rugby allow an international event to be played on artificial turf?   What did they players think of it?”

 

Thank you for your question, Sod Emall, and it is an interesting one at that.   My best guess is that the organizers of the USA Sevens, Vancouver Sevens and World Rugby downplayed the turf question as it went by mostly under the radar.   I do not recall any kind of announcement that natural grass would not be used and going forward this may be the new normal. After all, the Saracens in England play on an artificial turf field as well as the University of California here in Pelicanland.   I don’t recall seeing any comments from players on the turf at all so we may just have to get used to it.

 

Disciplinary Action Reporting – Process For Reporting Incidents

 

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

  1. Copy the link and have it available on your smartphone.  If you have an Iphone add the link to your home screen.
  2. When needed fill it out and click submit.  The discipline chair of the competition you refereed will receive a notification about the incident.
  3. He/she may contact you latter for more details.
  4. If you have any questions as to how to use the app please refer to the the following video: https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=_Uz0_gTaOnY

 

On To The Game Reports!

 

We are starting off with a report from back east.   Keep them coming.

 

Date: 02/27/2016

Event: Virginia Ruggerfest

Location: Virginia, I am guessing

Referee: Valerio, Stephen

 

With spring coming, the Virginia Ruggerfest is an opportunity for teams to knock the rust (or frost off) before the spring campaigns kick-off in full vigor. The tournament has Varsity, JV and some youth and included a U-23s match as well this year. With an early start, I headed out to the sports complex, taking a highway right over Bull Run (Look kids! History! [continue driving at 65 MPH]). Over the years I have gotten use to looking for the posts as I approach the pitch, but no luck here as the turn-off looked more like a construction zone (which it was). After traveling about a mile down a pot-hole (or cratered) lined road you suddenly drove into a sports complex that has 2 all-weather fields, with more on the way. After parking in the referees’ lot (nice touch) I shook off the 90 minute ride to warm-up. Warming-up was key as the first match started with the thermometer at 30 degrees F (-1 for you metric folk). While it warmed as the tournament went out, the strong wind kept it from getting too comfortable.

 

Prince William 19 Fairfax Police 0

 

The first match was a boys varsity match between Prince William and Fairfax Police sides. With both teams sending out a decent number of first time players, both coaches agreed to uncontested scrums and lineouts. The players noticeably improved on the off-sides at the breakdowns, but Fairfax was routinely lying over the ball which I believe will be a coaching point this week. As is common at this level, one or two standouts could make all the difference. In this case it was the Prince William #8 who gave them strong go forward ball throughout the match and who picked up one of their 3 tries on the day.

 

Loudon 17 Fairfax Police 5

 

Fairfax must have angered somebody as they got me for their second match. Loudon was interested in a fuller game, so lineouts were contested, but scrums remained uncontested. A more heated affair that felt like a match more than a scrimmage, Loudon looked to take the ball quick and to keep moving. Fairfax was better at the breakdowns and the first half ended 5-5. However, Loudon kept the pressure up in the 2nd half and collected 2 more tries including one where Fairfax’s backline defense let them down as the Loudon runner ran through them untouched for the score.

 

My favorite exchange in the match is when one of the sides was a getting a little chatty. At a scrum I called over the captain and asked him to manage it. He yelled “Guys, the ref is God! No talking!” I responded “I don’t know about all that. Have you spoken to my wife?” That delayed the scrum for a minute until we could pull it altogether.

 

NOVA U-23s 26 Griffins U-23s 10

 

The 2 sides pulled together this scrimmage to get go pre-season run in. We played 4 20-minute periods with open subs. NOVAs U-23s had a few players who may have been on the upper end of U-23 and their experience showed in the breakdowns. The Griffins had several strong runs, but their inability to win consistently at the breakdown cost them. NOVA had a strong opening period where the put up 3 tries. After that the frequent substitutions broke up the continuity and some disarray in the NOVA defense led to the Griffins first try in the 3rd period. The Griffins closed out the match with another long try consistent with their strong running abilities.

 

 

Date: 02/27/2016

California 37 – UCLA 3

Referee: Akroyd, Phil

 

Although the scoreline looks pretty comprehensive, Cal put up most of their points in a 15 minute period right after half-time. It was 12-3 to Cal at half, but it really should have been 12-9 as UCLA missed some relatively easy penalty kicks. The Bears had many injuries and were missing starters, and it showed as they failed to deal with the UCLA back row. The UCLA open-side was all over the field and Cal just didn’t register that they needed someone to be over the ball immediately after their ball carriers were tackled. Last year, Alec Gletzer would have done a lot of the clean-up work, but it looks like they are still working on finding someone to step into his role, or he was injured. In good news for them, the home team had the fire power to score from set pieces and after repeated phase play.

 

 

Date: 02/27/2016

Chico 15 – Olympic Club 2 36

Referee: Tucker, Chris

 

Chico came out of the gate hard, moving the ball forward with purpose, and racking up a penalty followed by a couple of tries before O club really found their feet.

 

But the visitors settled down, began winning the ball and pressing inside the 22. The pressure yielded up repeated penalties, and ultimately a yellow card for a Chico lock. The extra man was converted into points, and O club ended the half with a 2 point advantage after running in three tries.

 

The visitors blew open the game in the second half, with 3 tries in the first 8 minutes, one memorable one coming off a charge down that rolled back to just short of the goal line, and was carried over with the momentum of the attacking player who slid to gather the ball.

 

And that was it for the scoring. The last half hour was full of effort, but no reward for either side.

 

Thanks to Rod Chance for the assistance on the sideline, as he accompanied his Motherlode girls U19s team playing Chico right after on the same field.

 

Thanks also to Pelicus Radix Lectii for the post-draw match beers.

 

 

Date: 02/27/2016

Chico State 32 – St. Mary’s College B 32

Referee: Wood, Scott

 

Dubious, adj.–questionable or suspect as to true nature or quality (Merriam-Webster)

 

Law 21.1. Grounding the ball.

(a) Player touches the ground with the ball. A player grounds the ball by holding the ball and touching the ground with it, in in-goal. “Holding” means holding in the hand or hands, or in the arm or arms. No downward pressure is required.

 

In order to reduce fuel consumption and decrease boredom, I picked up Chris Tucker on the way up to Chico as he had the honor of refereeing the Chico/Olympic Club match. Great discussions on a variety of topics made the two-hour drive fly by. I dropped him off at Bidwell and drove over to Chico State for my match. This was scheduled as a “friendly” between Chico State’s first XV and St. Mary’s B side (those that didn’t make the trip to UCSB).

 

Chico kicked off only to have the ball barely land in the field of play before going into touch. SMC won the lineout and spun the ball wide but Chico was ready to defend against the attack. Possession traded back and forth before SMC scored its first try at the 16th minute (unconverted). A lot of playing time was spent in St. Mary’s half; however, Chico lost ground to several offside penalties. St. Mary’s scored its second try 15 meters from the left touch line (32nd minute). The scoring player (number not recorded) ended on his back and was able to ground he ball you reaching backwards over his head. Despite “suggestions” that the try was “dubious” and required “downward pressure”, the try was awarded (conversion attempt unsuccessful). At the 35th minute, SMC found itself with a player in the bin for stomping. With the watch sounding the 40th minute, SMC kicked the ball downfield towards the right corner and a chase ensued. Two chasing players were bumping shoulders (legal), and holding each other jersey (not legal but neither gained an advantage). Just after the SMC player kicked the ball into in goal, the Chico player tackled him to the ground. Result: Penalty try for SMC, sin bin for Chico. Conversion attempt successful.

 

Halftime: Chico St 0, SMC 17

 

The second half opened with a quick St. Mary’s try (unconverted) (CSU 0-SMC 22). Undeterred, Chico St. was patient with the ball and bided it’s time probing SMC’s defense until #12 exploited the narrowest of gaps scoring a try between the posts at the 47th minute (CSU 7-SMC 22). SMC failed to adjust and CSU’s #12 exploited the same opening two minutes later (CSU 12-SMC 22).

 

The match settled down for the subsequent ten minutes with possession exchanging due to several ball handling errors and interceptions before SMC scored a try (unconverted) at the 59th minute (CSU 12-SMC 27). At this point, Chico turned up the pressure and attacked scoring a converted try at 62′ (CSU 19-SMC 27), and converted try at 68′ (CSU 26-SMC 27), before taking the lead with a penalty goal at 74′ (CSU 29-SMC 27). SMC lost a player to the sin bin at the previous penalty due to repeat ruck infringements (team and individual). At 77′, Chico State scored another penalty goal further extending its lead (CSU 32-SMC 27).

 

With one minute remaining, SMC’s restart kick went fairly deep to the left corner. Chico, in an attempt to cycle out of the ensuing ruck, knocked on the ball–scrum SMC. The watch sounded full time as the scrum was being set and the teams were informed this would be the final non-penalty reset. SMC retained possession and drove tackles and rucks to within five meters of the goal line before transitioning to the right side of the posts. Pass to the left and quickly back to the right gave St. Mary’s the space it needed to score the tying try. Maybe SMC should pack a kicking tee in its kick. Despite six opportunities, the kicker was only successful on one and this was not it. The ball squibbed low and well left of the posts.

 

This was one of the most exciting matches I have had the honor to referee. Kudos to both teams and coaching staffs for their positive attitudes and professionalism.

 

Tucker was able to arrange a ride to my location as Chico B was playing Chico State B. As I saw him approach, I witnessed the very recognizable form of John Fox. It was great to see him vertical and had a great discussion with him before setting back south. Two hours later flew by before I dropped off Chris (with a couple beers in his belly) and returned to Pookie Manor.

 

Date: 02/27/2016

Colusa 60 – Modesto 24

Referee: Gordon, Preston

 

The predicted sunny 80-degree weather in Colusa last Saturday thankfully did not materialize, and instead was replaced with a nice overcast and mid-60s slight breeze, which is just about perfect for rugby. Colusa’s pitch is nearly full size, well marked, and only has a few lumpy spots. There’s lots of room for their spectators as well, who seemed to be entertained while the home team romped to a large 41-5 lead in the first half of the game. It took Colusa only 2 minutes to get their first try, which was followed by 5 more at 6′, 11′, 23′, 30′, and 34′. In addition to those, there was a penalty try in the 17th minute when a defending Modesto player took out the ball carrier in front of the posts using a collar tackle, earning himself a 10-minute rest. Colusa was only able to convert 3 of these tries, and Modesto had the last word in the half with an unconverted try of their own in the 41st minute (running time).

 

In the second half, things were much more evenly balanced. Modesto opened the scoring with 2 tries at 56′ (converted) and 62′, both of which happened while they had another man put in the bin for another high tackle in the 52nd minute. At 41-17, with 30 men back on the field and Colusa seeming to have their foot off the gas, the tempo increased noticeably and we saw some great rugby being played by both sides. The full width of the pitch and the warning I had issued to the Modesto captain about the tackling were both helping. At 67′, 74′, and 77′ Colusa added three further tries (converting 2), which put the game out of reach. Again, however, Modesto got the last word with a converted try at 82′ to finish the game.

 

Modesto did not help themselves with their third yellow card at 64′, which their hooker earned for throwing a punch in retaliation for a provocation I could not see on the other side of a maul. An AR there would have allowed us to identify the original Colusa offender as well, but as everyone probably realizes, we are short-staffed. Ultimately, everyone seemed to enjoy a good day of rugby, and seeing 84 points scored in a pretty open D3 game was great. Thanks for the help from the two touch judges, and I wish both teams the best of luck for the rest of the season.

 

 

Date: 02/27/2016

CSU Monterey Bay WR 29 – Fresno State WR 45

Referee: Wilson, Giles

 

A beautiful day on the Monterey Peninsula with two fairly new women’s college teams. Having just had time to watch England defeat Ireland before needing to leave for the game and a smooth drive down.

 

Fresno scored two tries to one in reply from CSUMB in the first 20 minutes. At that point during a CSUMB attack, there was a bad clash of heads which left a CSUMB player dazed but the Fresno player out. She didn’t come around for a couple of minutes and was clearly disoriented so we waited for the ambulance. With such a long stoppage (over 20 minutes), the players elected to just take half time and restart from there.

 

Fresno have a somewhat more established program with a few more experienced players who straitened and ran well, this experience paid off in the second half with a further 7 tries. CSUMB were sparked by their captain and scrum half (who was half the size of most of the players, not much over 4 ft tall and probably under 100 lbs but tough and dynamic, lots of fight ad heart) for 4 tries in reply.

 

Overall an enjoyable game from two squads that will learn and improve in the future.

 

 

Date: 02/27/2016

Danville 31 – Granite Bay 27

Referee: Sandhill, Peter

 

It was a hot Nor Cal ”winter” day, on a high school turf pitch (narrow) with two very strong, well coached teams with a healthy rivalry who met for a much anticipated game. The game started at high pace as Danville controlled the breakdown effectively. Their forwards had sublime control for the first ten minutes guided by their gifted scrum half. They took the lead and looked solid. As happens in rugby, when a team who has character are down, they often come back. Granite Bay hustled, tackled and rucked their way back into the game. In the second quarter, Danville showed some ill discipline under pressure giving away some penalties for two high tackles and shoulder charge into a ruck (resulting in a yellow card) in the space of ten minutes (before half time), which let GB back in as well. The second half was equally as tight with great running rugby and solid forward play from both sides. The Granite Bay #7 was particularly impressive with some heroic plays, one off their own restart which led to a quick try. As mentioned, the Danville #9 was a strong leader and a gifted ‘natural’ player. It was a very emotional game for many of the boys in both teams in it until the final whistle. Seeing the tears in the eyes of several GB players at the end, indicated their passion and intensity in hunting for a win, right to the end. Well done both teams.

 

Date: 02/27/2016

Fog 19 – Silicon Valley 50

Referee: Byrnes, Bryant

 

This was real rugby in the heart of San Francisco on a beautiful afternoon. Silicon Valley is a reasonably new club, its beginnings in a high school side. The Fog are at this point one of the older D3 sides-I had the pleasure of reffing one of their first matches almost 15 years ago.

 

Silicon rolled in the first half, scoring 28 unanswered points. Their eight man/captain was a beast. But then the Fog finally began to swing it out wide to their very good back line and scored (and converted) the next two tries. 28-14 at half; we had ourselves a ball game.

 

The second half was initally more of the same-Silicon scored twice, but the Fog dotted one. However, Silicon’s defense stiffened (can I say that?) and in spite of the Fog’s backs battering away keep them out of goal.

 

As is always the case when they are the host team, the Fog’s drink up was splendid, with almost all of the gracious Silicon lads in attendence.

 

 

Date: 02/27/2016

Google 17 – Reno 17

Referee: Kenny, Kevin

 

I arrived at GARfield well before match time to warm up and ready myself. I brought along two volunteer ARs from Pleasanton Cavaliers Youth Rugby Club. I found Reno on the pitch, geared up and ready to play. Apparently they had arrived at 5pm, with the impression the game was to start early. Google was a bit disorganized; match play was delayed due to no Google roster being made available. I would have thought the team representing one of our world tech leaders would have been more organized.

 

Once the teams were able to sort out the Google player roster, match play could finally begin. Reno had a strong start scoring back to back trys in the first twenty minutes of the game, one of which was a very strong elusive run from their number nine. They failed to make either of their conversions. Google followed in hot pursuit with a series of attacks ending in a try with a completed conversion. End of first half score was Google 7 – Reno 10. Google closed the gap in the beginning of the second half converting a penalty shot at goal. Google struck again from the red zone, with three failed attempts at goal. Reno was able to kick the ball out for territory. Reno moved ahead with another hard earned try and was able to gain their conversion points this time. Google tied the game with a try and conversion. With ten minutes left in the game and an injury, Google ran out of substitutes and had to play a man down. Four minutes were remaining on the clock, Google on the attack, the field lights shut down. It took a good ten minutes for the lights to return so play could continue. Final play ensued with Google losing the ball to Reno. With seconds remaining Reno started a good counter attack, game ended in a tie with a Reno knock on. Final score was Google 17 – Reno 17. This was fun, hard played game which I thoroughly enjoyed. Both teams were spirited, but very well mannered.

 

Date: 02/27/2016

Lamorinda 0 – Jesuit 64

Referee: Bretz, Paul

 

Jesuit rested several players and were still dominant on the day. Jesuit retained possession and were excellent on phase 1 and phase 2 ball.

 

 

Date: 02/27/2016

Life West 112 – San Jose 10

Referee: Tetler, Jen

 

Life West has an extremely fast, fit, and disciplined team. They were able to break through several tackles with some nice footwork and excellent support. San Jose kept fighting throughout the entire game. They had some hard hits, and made a couple of breaks themselves for their two tries. It was a great day for rugby.

 

 

Date: 02/27/2016

Life West 2 60 – Diablo 12

Referee: Simko, Paul

 

19-12 at the half and then the flood gates opened. Many missed tackles and long runs by Life West.

 

 

Date: 02/27/2016

Life West Women 64 – San Jose Women 0

Referee: Byrnes, Bryant

 

This was the first of three matches at Life’s Hayward field. Not close, obviously. Indeed, because of lack of players San Jose forfeited-but accepted some guest players so that everyone could get in a run. And they did.

 

A good spirited match. Life was a gracious host; there was a ref tent, food and drink, and a gift bag worth $240,000-it included socks, jewelry, a camera, a lap top, keys to a new car, one year’s membership to the Pacific Union Club, elective plastic surgery, and a certificate for a two week trip to Paris and the Loire Valley.

 

EDITOR’S NOTE: They must have forgotten the gift bag when I refereed there a few weeks back.

 

Date: 02/27/2016

Mendocino 45 – Marin 21

Referee: Rauscher, Eric

 

Cool, high clouds in lovely Ukiah. Full sized grass pitch (yes James, I paced it off). Lines, flags, spectator barrier, all up to snuff.

Marin showed up with more players than Mendocino, and went through a rigorous and detailed warm up.   They showed a lot of preparation for the game. Then the game started.

Mendocino roared out scoring two tries in the first ten minutes. Marin seemed a little shell shocked, but fell back into their game plan and scored two tries, followed by one by Mendocino at the end of the first half. Half time score 17/14 Looked to be a very good game.

Mendocino opened the second half in similar fashion by scoring a succession of tries. Unfortunately for Marin, they were never able to fall back into their game plan, but did score another try in the second half.

Mendocino plays a very open and opportunistic game relying on great individual effort, and it served them well here.

If Marin can gel into their game plan, I think they will do far better.

Social at the Mendocino Brewing Ale House afterwards. Kind of disappointed. Last time I was up here, Mendocino showed up in costumes for the social. Not too disappointed though, the beer was great as was time spent with the players.

 

Date: 02/27/2016

Mother Lode 33 – Riordan 34

Referee: Taueva, Favor

 

Very good game . Enjoy my time with both team. Thank you coaches for well behave atmosphere from both team.

 

 

Date: 02/27/2016

Pleasanton Cavaliers 12 – Peninsula Green 45

Referee: Labozzetta, Chris

 

Well fought match by two well coached teams. Peninsula Green was the stronger side on the day, and had the more physical & talented athletes.

 

Very enjoyable game to referee. Always great to work a game when both sides play high quality, fit rugby with good attitudes and discipline.

 

 

Date: 02/27/2016

Sac State 60 – UCSC 12

Referee: Carney, Mark

 

No report received

 

 

Date: 02/27/2016

Sac State B 29 – UCSC B 17

Referee: Franzoia, Tom

 

A close game in the first half but three scores by the hornets with quick ball to the wings doomed the slugs who mounted a vigorous offensive attack to begin the second half.

 

 

Date: 02/27/2016

Santa Rosa 57 – Sacramento Blackhawks 29

Referee: Bertolone, Cary

 

 

Because of a previous rainout/switch fields game a month ago, this game was held in Sacramento at the Blackhawks home field. The game started out with the Blackhawks scoring tries by running in the open field and Santa Rosa not making their tackles. Blackhawks scored three tries by their backs with some nice passing and strong running. Santa Rosa tried to keep pace by making two penalty kicks and scoring a converted try Rosa scored a second try on the 35th minute to make it 18-19 at the half, in favor of Sacramento. Rosas second try came from marching a scrum right to the goal line and diving in; they controlled the scrums all day.

In the second half, the game tactics changed and Santa Rosa kicked more and spun the ball out to the backs for try after try. They scored on the second minute and then also on the 12th, 19th, 25th, 29th, 33rd and 35th minutes of the second half. They controlled all of the set plays and showed off some nifty passing to take control of the game. Sacramento did manage to score two late tries at the 39th and 41st minute of the second half to end the game with something positive, but I think Rosa’s superior fitness level showed itself in the second half. Both teams as well as all coaches were courteous, well minded and fun to ref.

For the second game, a player who just passed his first ref class reffed a 7’s game between the two sides and Sacramento won 5 tries to 4. The player/ref did a great job reffing!

 

 

Date: 02/27/2016

Santa Rosa JC 7 – Cal Maritime 34

Referee: McDougall, Grant

 

It was a sunny afternoon in Santa Rosa. If you haven’t been to For Pete’s Sake Field you should. The goalposts are made from phone poles, and they are buried fifteen feet deep.

 

Santa Rosa has a good developing side and came ready to play. Cal Maritime is a well-coached and organized group. The game was a pleasure to ref with both sides making me feel very welcome.

 

The first half was a great contest with Cal dominating the half with a highly effective ruck and maul. Santa Rosa showed good spirit spreading the ball wide. The game was getting a little heated, and I provide a general warning to both sides about foul play. There was foul play between number 2 Codi Jones from Cal and number 18 from Santa Rosa. I was required to issue a yellow Card 2 minutes before halftime for a Cal player striking a Santa Rosa player in a ruck. The half ended 7-17.

 

The second half remained good spirited and no further with no further incidents of foul play. Cal continued to dominate the ruck, maul and lineout. Santa Rosa showed some great moments when the ball was spread wide to their number 14 who had pace and purpose.

 

The game ended 7-34 with Cal Maritime securing the win.

 

 

Date: 02/27/2016

SFGG 43 – Sacramento Lions 12

Referee: Boyer, Rich

 

Great day and atmosphere at SFGG. The match began with strong runs from both sides, each of which seemed to take measure of their opponent in the hopes of finding a weak point to exploit. SFGG scored first with adept back play; the outside center being the beneficiary. Both teams continued to attack each other with free flowing ball to the backs. The SFGG flyhalf spotted a half gap and raced through, converting his own try to make the score 12-0. Strong phases for the Lions resulted in captain Vi barreling through the defense and scoring a 25 meter try under the posts at the 25th minute. 12-7 and game on! Lions were quickly under pressure and SFGG capitalized with a great weakside break by the wing, good vision and hands from three or four teammates, quick ruck five meters out and then a bullocking try by Coony, #1, well rewarded for his hustle, with the flyhalf again converting. By this time each team would make a break, kick, then the defender would gather the ball, make a break, kick. Repeat. The Lions exerted great pressure towards the end of half with Freddy the 8 man going weak for what looked like a deserved try, only to get tackled by captain Jack and knocking on in the try zone, ending the first half. 19-7 SFGG. The second half saw SFGG bring on fresh legs; the Lions had fewer replacements and it began to show later in the half. Prop Coony opened up the second half where he left off in the first with a nice run for a converted try. SFGG had their foot on the throttle. Their inside center was well positioned to collect a ball and run unabated for another converted try as the Lions began to tire. Credit to the Lions; they played until the final whistle, which was to mark a well earned try. The SFGG flyhalf was prominent with conversions and kicks to touch while the entire SFGG forward pack were very strong during the ruck stages. Warrior tighthead Sione provided a very strong runner for the Lions.

 

 

Date: 02/27/2016

SFGG Women 24 – All Blues 12

Referee: Bernstein, Bruce

 

Early match starting @ 9 AM to accommodate Gate’s two men’s teams & a Hall of Fame Banquet for Mike Comstock (who still plays & Brian Going (ex-head coach of GG from New Zealand with an All Black connection & a few famous bro’s).

Scrumhalf for Gate had a cracker match doing an assortment of kicks, tackles & passes & was by far the smallest player on the field maybe not only this but all rugby matches ever.

Also was the closest match I have done as every other was pretty one-sided.

 

 

Date: 02/27/2016

SFSU 24 – Fresno State 25

Referee: Pescetti, David

 

Another nail-biter in Boxer stadium. SFSU stepped up to the plate first and set the tone for this match scoring in the first 2 minutes off of a kick going up 5. Fresno was able to answer back with a great individual play was able to score under the posts to turn the match to SFSU 5 – 7 FSU. At the 20 minute mark saw FSU kick for points off of a bone head play from a SFSU player, they extended their lead to by 3 additional points. However FSU could not turn their man advantage into any real points. A few minutes before the half time whistle rang, SFSU was able to retake the lead by converting their 2nd try of the match. At the half SFSU lead 12 – 10.

 

In the second half it was all FSU, with only three minutes of rest between halves, the poor ref! They took off and scored in three minutes, the points battle swinging their way again. A stunned SFSU allowed two more tries before steadying themselves. Before you know it they were down 12 to 25, but they were not done yet. Under 10 minutes of play left they scored and the pressure was on their kicker to make a long conversion for them to have a shot to win. The clutch kick brought the match to 19 – 25. As time wound down FSU had the ball and all they needed to do was retain possession. But with second left they had a handling error and gave SFSU a window, a tiny crack of a shot, beginning with a scrum on their own 22. As my watch sounded its little notification that the match was to end SFSU defied expectations and used a crashing fullback to break through the tired arms of Fresno defenders for a 80+ minute try 15 meters in. The prayers of all SFSU fans could be heard as their prop came up to take the conversion, he previously made a kick similar only a few minutes earlier but from the other side. He stepped back, took the kick. It had the distance, back back back back, heart-breakingly veering wide left.

 

The heart-stopper ended with SFSU 24 – 25 FSU. An amazing match.

 

 

Date: 02/27/2016

Shasta 48 – Redwood 17

Referee: Godfrey, Mark

 

No report received

 

 

Date: 02/27/2016

SJSU 0 – UC Davis 68

Referee: MacDonald, Neil

 

UC Davis may have lost a lot of seniors since their D1AA National Championship Triumph last season, but while that has translated into a loss of some accuracy, the team still has great structure and clarity of intent every time they get hold of the ball. They were too strong, too skilled and too structured for SJSU’s much less experienced team, which had many players new to the sport.

 

After some scrappy initial exchanges, Davis crossed for their first try in the 7th minute, and less than ten minutes later their #14 crossed with blistering pace down the left wing on the end of a sweeping backs move for the first of his collection of tries on the day. Down 0-17 mid-way through the half after Davis converted a penalty for SJSU not rolling away, the hosts made a break and were awarded a penalty inside the Davis 22, with many players still catching up with play. One of Davis” lazy runners opted to slap the ball out of the hands of the SJSU scrum half who was about to take a quick tap, and earned ten minutes on the sidelines to reconsider the wisdom of his actions. SJSU were unable to convert the pressure, and despite being a man short, Davis scored again, and ran in another three in the last part of the first half, let down only by inaccurate kicking for conversions.   Shortly before halftime, SJSU were down to 14 for the remainder of the match, after taking out a Davis player in the air as he jumped to gather a kick. Davis up 37-0 at the half.

 

Davis scored twice more in the first 15 minutes of the second half, extending their lead to 49-0. With substitutions coming on, SJSU held the visitors scoreless for the better part of 20 minutes – despite being a player short – as the knock-on count from both sides climbed. It was only in the final ten minutes that Davis cut loose once again, running into three more tries to end the match 68-0 victors.

 

Date: 02/27/2016

South Valley 17 – Aptos 40

Referee: Moore, Stephen

 

A physical match. Aptos had the advantage with greater discipline at the break down and greater speed and agility in the back-line. South Valley lacked discipline a little in the five and ten meter space at scrums and line-outs which cost them penalties. In the final second minute there was a minor altercation between players over hands in the ruck at breakdown. But this was easily settled with handshake between players. A good spirit all round and a good effort by both sides.

 

 

Date: 02/27/2016

St. Mary’s College WR 10 – Univ San Francisco WR 10

Referee: Pescetti, David

 

As you can tell by the scoreline it was a very close match. USF kicked us off by putting a few well executed phases together and scoring the first try of the match in the 5th minute of play. The next score was very similar to the first, but the teams were reversed. SMU was able to string a very similar set of phases and scored in almost the same spot as USF but in the mirrored opposite. USF not to be undone was able to respond to SMU and punched in a try only three minutes later. At the half it was USF 10 – 5 SMU.

 

The second half was much like the 1st, hard fought. The only try was scored by SMU in the 57th minute. After that USF was knocking and knocking on the door, but couldn’t complete their plays. And that’s the way it ended. USF 10 – 10 SMU.

 

Homebrew is a coming

 

 

Date: 02/27/2016

Stanford 21 – UNR 24

Referee: Hinkin, James

 

Conditions could not be more perfect at Stanford’s Steuber Rugby Field as the University of Nevada came down off the mountains from Reno for a bit of fun.   The Stanford ladies had just completed an emphatic win over arch rival California so the stage was set for the home team to dominate.   Unfortunately, nobody gave the visitors the memo because it was UNR out of the gates hard and fast.     Scrumhalf Chris Stevens was directing traffic and #8 Marco Diaz was causing havoc every time he touched the ball.   Stanford was not without their own firepower as they battled back and forth across the field.   Inside center Jay Reader was creating havoc every time he touched the ball but it was the battle of the fullbacks that was one to watch.   UNR was able to exploit their early physical dominance with a try after a period of serious pressure saw them pound the Cardinal line only to have Stanford’s captain and hooker Jeremy Kim poach the ball, but the home side was unable to clear the ball and UNR promptly poached it back and pushed over for a try. The simple conversion made it 7-0.   UNR was displaying dominance in the scum and using Diaz like a wrecking ball.   Put a naked Miley Cyrus on his back and you could make a music video. This led to a second unconverted try in the half to let us into the break at 12-0.

 

The second half had no changes in personnel and started much the same as the first half ended.   The Wolf Pack were turning the screws and eventually got their reward with another converted try to push the lead to 19-0.   At this point substitutions started to come in and the nature of the game changed.   Reno subbed a prop and move #8 Diaz to the front row and lost some dynamism off the back of the scrum.   They also lost some scrum dominance as Stanford started pushing them back.   Another try from UNR seemed to put the game to rest, however as they led 24-0 with 15 minutes remaining, but then #8 Diaz hurt his ankle and had to leave giving Stanford total scrum domination and worse yet, UNR lost their captain and fullback Garren Albright.   The battle of the 15s was a good one as both were tactically aware and rarely got out of position on kicks or defense.   Stanford’s Seb Goddjin as well as Albright each made several penetrating runs and were asking questions of the defense.   UNR’s Albright suffered a knee injury with 10 minutes remaining and that changed the game as UNR could not replace him adequately.   Stanford now had dominance in both the forwards and the backs and started to make the visitors pay and wake up the large home crowd.   A converted try at 8 minutes got them on the board.   More pressure led to a second try, also duly converted.   Goddjin was immense, but UNR was further hampered when they lost their influential scrumhalf Stephens to a yellow card for a dangerous tackle.   With the clock against them Stanford threw everything they had at Reno and with 2 minutes left on the clock dotted down in the far right corner and the crowd went wild.   With his bench yelling at him to hurry up, the kicker rushed to tee up the ball and calmly lashed it through the posts, leading the crowd to even greater heights of frenzy.     Only seconds remained when UNR kicked off and Stanford controlled the ball and started marching up field.   They swung it right and swung it left.   After several phases Goddjin broke through a gap and was racing past midfield when the cover defense caught him, but he couldn’t control the ball and it squirted forward in the tackle.   Knock on. Game over. Reno held on 24-21.

 

What a match. One of the best I have ever been a part of.

 

Date: 02/27/2016

Stanford Women 64 – California Women 3

Referee: Hinkin, James

 

The conditions could not have been better in Palo Alto as the Stanford ladies hosted their good friends (just kidding ) from California.   The match started out rather even with Cal’s captain and prop Abby causing all sorts of problems at the breakdown.   She poached a couple of balls and won a few penalties and was a menace to the Cardinal whenever she was near the breakdown.   Stanford had more class across the board however and were able to use the space on offer much better.   Cal was game and didn’t give up a try until around the 20 minute mark. Several “oooos” and “ahhhhs” from the crowd attested to the ferocity of the defense being played by both sides, but only Stanford was able to get that killer pass off to put a player away.   Cal was able to slot a penalty but Stanford led at the break 12-3.

 

The second half showed why Stanford, as well as just about every other great program, win matches and keep on winning: depth.   As both teams started subbing players in and out Stanford’s level didn’t noticeably drop but Cal just could not keep up. The second half turned into a track meet with the Cardinal ladies running in 8 tries.   Cal never gave up but the pace and power of the home side was not to be denied.

 

Date: 02/27/2016

UC Davis Women 45 – Chico St Women 12

Referee: Pohlman, John

 

UC Davis hosted Chico State in a Division 1 woman’s game. Both teams are nationally ranked and have already qualified for the playoffs. The Aggie Stampede dominated possession, field position and basically the entire game. I refer to them as the stampede because they simply attack with numbers to each and every play.

UC Davis scored four tries in the first half. Led by inside center #12 Syonee Watanabe. Syonee runs hard, tackles harder and has the work rate of an open side flanker. She looks to have the potential for the US national team.

The second half saw Davis scoring three more tries. Chico never gave up and finished the game scoring in the 40th minute.

Final UC Davis 45 Chico 12.

Side note of major importance. I was contacted on Friday night by Davis asking me to do both the first and second side game. I gave Mr. Jim Crenshaw a call asking if he wanted to do the second side game. Jim agreed, looked great and I think is going to rejoin the Pelican flock. Jim great to see you. Your game was spot on. Welcome back. Yeah.

 

 

Date: 02/27/2016

Univ Nevada Reno WR 85 – UC Santa Cruz WR 5

Referee: Smith, Pete

 

No report received

 

 

Date: 03/05/2016

All Blues 20 – Sacramento Amazons 27

Referee: Wilson, Giles

 

An early start saw the Amazons drifting in close to game time and a slow start to the game. Both sides have some newer players, which had some impact on the game. The All Blues play to their strengths of ball movement and working for space while the Amazons play to their strengths which are built around the power of their centers and solid pick and drive to punch holes.

 

In wet conditions, both teams elected to play with the ball in hand when field position may have been the more pragmatic choice. Amazons did score from one nice kick through but both sides could have benefited from clearing their lines better in defense.

 

The first half was back and forth but both sides struggled to maintain support for their tackled players which led to holding on penalties which led to matching repeated team offense cards at 25 and 26 minutes. As the teams placed the ball further back in the tackle and were more aware of their support, the game flowed although both sides gave up several turnovers. The All Blues weathered the half better than the Amazons ending the half up by 4 tries to 2 for a 20-10 lead.

 

The Amazons stayed with their game plan and despite The All Blues using some replacements, the toll of the Amazons physicality on offense and defense began to be seen. The All Blues didn’t flinch from tackling or being tackled but the force of the Amazons left the All Blues playing most of the second half in their own half. This combined pressure led to three more Amazon tries (one converted) to no reply from the All Blues.

 

 

Date: 03/05/2016

Santa Clara 20 – San Diego State 22

Referee: Freitas, Larry

 

This game was one that Santa Clara should have won. They had the lead up until the last four minutes, when the visitors, San Diego State, tied it and then won it with an easy conversion in front of the posts with the wind at their backs. Santa Clara had built up a lead in the first half, when it wasn’t raining yet, and added to it, having a 12 point lead going into the last quarter of the match. Going against the wind, SCU did score two second half tries, but two conversions from good angles and not very far out were missed by their fullback, which meant a loss at the end. Another penalty kick in the second half was missed as well, from a distance. Another aspect of play early in the second half is the fight that broke out as foul play by an Aztec ignited a kurfluffle, and perhaps Santa Clara has a “99” call as their players jumped into the fray of the original combatants. No one was sent off, however, and a penalty was awarded to the home side. Santa Clara’s backline didn’t seem to handle very well as the game waned on and the rain started to fall into the twenty minutes, and they would rue the missed opportunities they had as they advanced deep into SDSU’s end a few times and came up empty. Several bad passes and drops meant the Aztecs got scrum downs in mid-field, making for their march to the goal line, using multiple phases with their big number 8 hammering through to gain vital meters. As I was touch judging on the San Diego State side that half, I picked up that this player’s nickname is “Country;” I guess he’s country-strong to use a phrase from Mike Krukow. It’s not a very creative way to play rugby, in my opinion, but useful considering the law changes to loose play in the last decade or so. The Broncos, not as big up front as the opposition, just couldn’t put up a defense to stop it as they had earlier in the game.   When the game was 20-8 in Santa Clara’s favor going into that last 15 minutes of play, I did the math, and I knew San Diego could win the game if they were given the chance, and they did get the chance.

I was impressed by Santa Clara’s play as the game opened, as they used their backline to score the first try, and constantly had San Diego under pressure most of the first half.   San Diego also was a frustrated lot in that half, giving away penalties. They couldn’t put the game away in the second half, though they had the opportunities to do so. To San Diego State’s credit, they never gave up, stayed close enough to always threaten, and did at the end.

 

Date: 03/05/2016

Sonoma 22 – Humboldt State 12

Referee: Bernstein, Bruce

 

Another relatively close match moved to For Pete’s Sake Field after about 6 blowouts.   Sonoma was more disciplined on defense & with the penalty count greatly in their favor, Humboldt was lucky to be this close only getting outscored 2 tries to 1 each half. Sonoma’s scrumhalf had a great match stealing a try in Humboldt’s try zone, a real nice run for a try from about 30 meters out and had some crisp passes to his flyhalf, who also had a real good match distributing a lot of ball. Humboldt’s outside center also took the ball up about 40 meters every time he touched the ball in his 1st year. Somehow there was no rain during the match but it started pouring & storming when it got done & all the way home.

 

 

Date: 03/05/2016

St. Mary’s College C 15 – Sierra College 46

Referee: Byrnes, Bryant

 

This was the first of three games in Moraga-on a wet, wet Saturday. My match was played on the Pat Vincent Field, where in olden days many a stout player was lost to Davey Jones’s Locker. Before proper drainage was finally put in, it was often an absolute bog.

 

Sierra is a big, classy team coached by the Bay Area’s own Jay Hanson. The young Gaels are exactly that-and proud to be part of a similarly well regarded program under Tim O’Brien.

 

At half, it was Sierra up only 10 to 5. But as the field reverted to form with the heavy rain (read mud), the Gaels could not play their speed game and the heavier Sierra lads’ power prevailed.

 

 

Date: 03/05/2016

Stanford 40 – SFSU 10

Referee: Lane, John

 

Another day of ref’ing in rain from start to finish – it’s starting to feel like “home”!!! With Grant McDougall arriving early for the B game we had some good “home union country” banter through the game to distract us from the weather!

 

Overall the players handling skills stood up to the wet weather but a large number of them could have done with investing in more appropriate “cleats”.

 

The game itself was open and adventurous with a more structured Stanford side supported by the strong breeze dominating the first half from a possession and territory perspective. This lead to regular scores spread through the half. 5 tries with 4 converted gave a half time score of 33-0.

 

It was clear that individually SFSU were equally as skilled as Stanford but lacked some team cohesion as multiple phases developed in both defense and attack.

 

The significance of the strong breeze also became more obvious as SFSU had much more territory and some sustained periods of pressure throughout the second half. A weak lineout and a scrum which was under pressure (but generally retained its own put-in despite going backwards) throughout gave turn over ball to Stanford to relieve the pressure regularly.

 

SFSU got off the mark with a try after 10 minutes of the restart. Unconverted for 33-5. Play was very much 50/50 for most of the rest of the game. On 25 mins Stanford scored at the posts after using turnover possession well for 40-5.

 

The scoring finished with a second unconverted try for SFSU leaving the final score at 40-10 with a morale boosting “second half win” of 7-10 for SFSU but the day belonged to Stanford overall.

 

Date: 03/12/2016

Arizona 45 – Notre Dame 10

Referee: Simko, Paul

 

Arizona plays 15’s like they do 7’s. Notre Dame kept it somewhat close at the half and couldn’t keep up.

 

 

Date: 03/12/2016

Cal Maritime 53 – Humboldt State 0

Referee: McDougall, Grant

 

The game was played in rainy & blustery conditions at Cal Maritime. Humboldt State came out early with strong defense and it looked like it was going to be a good contest. After about ten minutes Cal Maritime got back to the highly organized and disciplined rugby that they play and broke through the Humboldt defense. Humboldt State continued to put up a strong game but could not answer the power of Cal Maritime. The final score was 53 – 0 with CMA Rugby scoring 8 tries in their defeat of Humboldt State today. Jonathon DiBacco started the scoring for the Keelhaulers followed by Clayton Jordan, Evan Chambers, Teddy Bendrick, Chad Mensinger, Daynon Matthews, Brian Martinez, and Sean Carroll. Michael Mukuru was good on 1 penalty kick and 5 of 8 conversions.

 

Overall a great game.

 

SOLO – CMA 12 -10

 

After that main game, I refereed a 10”s game between CAM and Solo Rugby which was an exciting affair. Solo won the game in 12 -10 in a fast paced game.

 

 

Date: 03/12/2016

Chico 19 – Diablo 10

Referee: Richmond, Jeff

 

Why was I out there in the driving rain for 80 minutes? Must be love of the game, certainly not the $40.

 

Very competitive match, the conditions were a great equalizer for Diablo against a seemingly stronger Chico squad. Chico was able to maintain consistent pressure on the Diablos defense despite the high number of wet ball knock-ons. Diablo’s flyhalf made effective use of kicks dropping behind the Chico back line to generate some offense. Diablo had a flurry in the last 10 minutes with a late try and chances for more but the Chico defense held. A complete game played by both squads.

 

 

Date: 03/12/2016

Fresno 19 – Sacramento Blackhawks 40

Referee: Fenaroli, Steven

 

Blackhawks scored early and never looked back. The field was wet and had some standing water which made for some especially muddy rucks. Social followed. Thanks to al

 

 

Date: 03/12/2016

Fresno B 14 – Sacramento Blackhawks B 26

Referee: Tuisavalalo, Rodney

 

Both teams decided on playing 10’s with 10 min. halves, and with muddy conditions it looked to be a fun one. The Blackhawks struck first with awesome passing by the backs that saw the ball through the hands of every single player culminating in a try under the posts by the winger. Fresno hit back with some tough running that began with a Sac player knocking on at the restart, but a knock-on of their own at the 5 meter line ended their chances. Play continued with both teams constantly knocking on the ball, and with inexperienced subs that came onto the field for both teams, I decided that uncontested scrums would be the safer option. It opened up the field quite a bit, and the Blackhawks took advantage. They quickly scored two more tries before the end of the first half. Fresno’s #13 got Fresno on the scoreboard with a great run through the defense with a dotted try under the posts. (HT 7-21)

Fresno struck first in the second half when Kyler Lorin barreled his way in from the 10 meter line. The try was set up by some fancy passing by their forward pack. The conversion was good. Not to be outdone the Blackhawks captain and scrumhalf Justin Mano laid out a nice well timed restart kick that was secured by their winger who then took it the house for another unconverted try. Fresno tried to rally for more points as repeated infringements by the visiting team saw them just 5 meters shy of the try line. But another great defensive effort by the Blackhawks at their try line and a knock-on by the Fresno #12 stopped the rally and the subsequent end to the game. (FT 14-26)

 

 

Date: 03/12/2016

Fresno State WR 22 – Univ San Francisco WR 27

Referee: Jury, Jeff

 

A beautiful valley rugby day was the setting for the women of CSUF v USF. Fresno struck first and second making a lead of 10-0. USF replied with three trys of their own, last one converted. 10-17 starting the other half, Fresno strikes holding 2 short. USF endeavored to score twice more. Fresno scored one more converted try at the end. 22-27 USF win.

 

 

Date: 03/12/2016

Google 3 – Modesto 21

Referee: Hinkin, James

 

A rare Saturday night match under the lights saw Google take on Modesto on a rainy evening.   With city soccer leagues taking up the field all day both teams waited patiently for the kiddos to finish and were able to take the field for warmups a good half hour before kickoff.   With both sides duly briefed while waiting all was smooth sailing to the kickoff.   The rain slicked up the ball considerably so it was unsurprising when a number of handling errors prevented the game from getting into any kind of flow.   A lone penalty from Google was the only score that needed to be kept (in pencil – I learned not to use pen in the rain a long time ago).   Both sides were solid on defense and strong in attack but neither side could hang on to the ball long enough to score.

 

The second half saw the game open up more as Modesto got an early converted try.   Google attempted to reduce the deficit with a second penalty but that missed wide left.  A second Modesto try, duly converted, put Google under enormous pressure and things did not get any better when they lost a player to the bin for a dangerous tackle. The defense held firm, though and they did not concede while a man down.   Modesto helped out in this by returning the favor as they had a player send to the bin to reconsider how he addresses a referee, so we played 14 on 14 for 5 minutes before Google gained the numerical advantage.   This time it was Modesto who stayed strong and no scoring was allowed during this period.   The nail in the coffin for Google came as a third try was pushed over and converted by Modesto. Emotions were high and even though the visitors were down a man yet again with 5 minutes remaining for repeated team infringements the home side could not take advantage.

 

Date: 03/12/2016

Humboldt State Univ WR 43 – Univ Nevada Reno WR 14

Referee: Pescetti, David

 

The Rugby Gods truly gave us their graces on this rugby Saturday. Driving up it was a torrential downpour for hours, however upon arriving at the pitch the rain ceased. Surprisingly it stopped long enough to complete our match.

 

Humboldt came out of the gate utilizing great individual and team skill to turn the ball over. They were able to capitalize early on the few mistakes that Reno made and converted those errors into a formidable lead. Before you knew it, Humboldt was up 17 to 0. The first half closed up with Humboldt adding another score to make it 24 – 0.

 

From minute 20 to minute 60 the match was quiet, scoring wise, but intense otherwise. After the 60th minute and impact subs coming into the match the game opened up again and we had a seesaw of a points race. HSU opened up the scoring in the second half. Reno responded and then Humboldt answered back. Humboldt put one more score before Reno taking the last points of the match.

 

It was a wonderful match. Humboldt 43 – 14 Reno

 

 

Date: 03/12/2016

Life West 14 – Sacramento Lions 10

Referee: MacDonald, Neil

 

AR: Matt Hetterman

 

After a day or more of heavy rain, and this match being the third on the same pitch on game day, I headed for Hayward suitably equipped with towel, a change of clothes, and a bin liner for storing my kit bag during the game. The pitch at Sunset Park had held up remarkably well, and we got started with only a few really muddy patches. Life West Gladiators opened the scoring in the second minute, scoring from close range after Sacramento Lions defence was caught offside. As the intermittent drizzle continued, the teams fought a hard physical contest, with needle aplenty. After long periods of sustained pressure, the Lions kicked a penalty in the 29th minute to cut Life West’s lead to four points. Just before half time Life scored a well worked team try and went into the break 14-3 up.

 

Down to 14 men after a red card in the 44th minute, Life West were unable to impose themselves on the visitors in the manner they have done in other matches this season. The Lions pressed home their advantage with a converted try in the 51st minute. With the pitch cutting up badly now, the fiercely physical contest continued with many scrums. The Lions came close to a go ahead score three times on the left wing, only to be thwarted by errant final passes or knock ons with the line beckoning, and Life West, scoreless in the second half, hung on for the win.

 

 

Date: 03/12/2016

Life West Gladiatrix 86 – Sacramento Amazons 0

Referee: Simko, Paul

 

The game was closer in the scrums, but as soon as the ball got out to the backs, it was all over. Sacramento never gave up and with only 15 people, fought to the end.

 

 

Date: 03/12/2016

Marin 15 – Colusa 51

Referee: Crowson, Andy (East Midlands Referee Society, UK)

Report Submitted by: Rauscher, Eric

 

It was the Marin pitch which meant that although it was raining, the pitch was available. It only rained a little, just enough to get everybody wet, but not miserable. And by the end of the game everybody looked like they had played a game of rugby.

Marin is still trying to get it’s bearings, but Colusa looks to be on course for another championship playoff. Marin scored a couple of tries off of Colusa mistakes, and Colusa just scored tries off of good play.   Very low penalty count, game played in good spirits.

Social afterwards was also played in good spirits.

Andy got a good taste of grassroots rugby in America, followed by a trip to The Up and Under for dinner and to watch England beat Wales (on delay).

Lovely day.

 

 

Date: 03/12/2016

Redwood 7 – Napa 2 39

Referee: Bertolone, Cary

 

No report received

 

 

Date: 03/12/2016

Riordan 14 – Solo 31

Referee: Gordon, Preston

 

Cal Maritime’s pitch was a good location for the rainy weather that came and went, but never stopped during this game. Both sides used its width to good effect, though there was a little too much unproductive sideways running as well. Solo were the stronger and more balanced side, though Riordan has a number of very good players too. The kickers for each team did a good job in the wind as well.

 

In the first half Solo controlled things, scoring 3 converted tries and closing with a penalty kick to lead 24-0. That penalty was awarded along with a yellow card for a dangerous tackle by a Riordan player. In the second half, assisted somewhat by the wind, Riordan got two well-earned (and converted) tries of their own while Solo notched one more converted try, leaving things at 31-14.

 

Date: 03/12/2016

Sac State 56 – SJSU 7

Referee: Taueva, Favor

 

Thank you Scott Wood for your precious time to be there for us. Much appreciated. Very good weather for rugby. One thing about this field is to have coach’s zone for better formation. Good for Sac State. I really enjoyed my game. Special thanks to all of our people that makes things happen and we refs just need to be there to serve our community. MANUIA !!!

 

 

Date: 03/12/2016

Sac State B 12 – SJSU B 5

Referee: Franzoia, Tom

 

In an abbreviated match on a rainy day the Spartans gave it their best effort to challenge the fresh legs of the Hornets and provided a strong inside defense that matched well with the Hornets. The two Hornet scores came from quick hands and good support and the loan Spartan score was accomplished with a stout attack within the 5.

 

 

Date: 03/12/2016

Sacramento Capitals 46 – Vacaville 26

Referee: Tucker, Chris

 

We should be so lucky to get this much rain again. The pitch in Carmichael was in great shape, as were both teams. It started out cagey, as the sides got into a rhythm, but then both sides got into attack mode, and the score quickly ascended. Both sides looked great going forward — a particular highlight was a fine catch and drive for a score from 15m out by the Capitals.

 

As it was, Vacaville clawed their way back to within a score with 15 minutes to go, but that was as close as they got, and the Caps scored a couple at the death to flatter the scoreline a little. Both teams look playoff bound, and will represent Norcal well.

 

 

Date: 03/12/2016

Sacramento State Women 7 – UC Davis Women 99

Referee: Wood, Scott

Attendance: 125 (modified Jacobs Method)

 

Rain earlier in the week was greedily absorbed by a pitch that does not receive irrigation. This created a perfect pitch to run on, plenty of grass and no mud. While the conditions called for rain and wind later in the day, the gods blessed this match as cool but moisture free. Well, UC Davis decided to combat the cool by heating up the match with deft off loads and plenty of running on the outside lanes to leave no doubt in the outcome of the match Sacramento State is returning from a timeout due to reported off-the-field shenanigans. It is great to see a team rebound with plenty of players who were eager to play and never let their spirits dampen. UCD was up 31-0 before the Hornets’ #7 went into beast mode shaking off three would-be tacklers, growling through a fourth, and steamrolling an unsuspecting back for a 30-meter try. The Aggies (nee Mustangs) completed the half with three additional tries to close the stanza 52-7.

 

Nine tries were scored in the second half but apparently Davis was testing kickers as only the second one was converted. The final try of the match put the Aggies up 99-7. The conversion was taken slightly right of the uprights and the kick was true; however, a gust of wind reminiscent of Candlestick Park stopped the ball cold and dropped it to the ground prior to reaching the posts.

 

Kudos to the teams, coaches, and supporters for a wonderful Saturday morning.

 

 

Date: 03/12/2016

San Jose 19 – SFGG 22

Referee: Bretz, Paul

 

Enjoyable game for all parties. SFGG controlled the open field play and had better options. SFGG flyhalf distributed ball well. San Jose was able to control the set piece in the second half.

 

 

Date: 03/12/2016

San Jose Women 20 – SFGG Women 96

Referee: Wilson, Giles

 

San Jose only had 10 players and so borrowed from SFGG, we started with 13 against 15 and played that way to a 24-0 SFGG lead in 20 minutes. In that time some additional SFGG players arrived and more players were loaned to SJ. SFGG continued to dominate and led by 50-5 at half time (8 tries with 5 conversions to a try).

 

In the second half there was some more balancing of the sides but SFGG still scored another 8 tries (3 conversions) to 3 San Jose tries. A lot of rookies got playing time from both clubs and gained some experience.

 

 

Date: 03/12/2016

Santa Rosa 17 – EPA Razorbacks 17

Referee: Lew, Tim

 

In the pouring rain of Santa Rosa, EPA took on Santa Rosa. The game started with EPA scoring first. Santa Rosa quickly replied with a drive through the rain but was unable to score on their 5m. EPA forced themselves back into the try zone with the half ending 12-0 EPA. Santa Rosa came out of halftime with two trys to even the match. Santa Rosa scored again off a push over scrum. EPA then scored off a missed tackle and had a chance to take the lead but missed the conversion. The game ended in a wet 17-17 kiss your cousin tie.

 

 

Date: 03/12/2016

Santa Rosa B 22 – EPA Razorbacks B 27

Referee: Lew, Tim

 

11 first side EPA players stayed to play a fun B side match. Each team traded scores back and forth in the pouring tornado weather. It was a fun and light hearted match that allowed some 2nd side Santa Rosa players some extra game time.

 

 

Date: 03/12/2016

Sierra College 44 – CSUMB 0

Referee: Hosley, David

 

Spirited contest despite lopsided score. Muddy field, some standing water, and steady rain in the second half.

 

 

Date: 03/12/2016

Silicon Valley 27 – Aptos 14

Referee: Moore, Stephen

 

Well played match by both teams, great effort on the part of Aptos with a 16 man squad with limited numbers. Both sides played well, respectful of offside lines and laws of the game. Clean match no significant incidents.

 

 

Date: 03/12/2016

Sonoma State 34 – UOP 32

Referee: Hammack, Robert

 

The rain stopped by the 4pm kickoff but the field was still wet and slippery. Sonoma state began the match with 2 tries and it looked like it was going to be one way traffic for the match. UoP responded with several tries of their own, however, and it was game on. A cyncical play by Sonoma 15 while UoP was on attack in their opponent’s 22 warranted a yellow card and UoP took advantage by scoring a try just before the half. HT 23-22 to Sonoma State. The second half was a continuation of the well contested first half. UoP scored 6 tries to Sonoma’s 4 but only converted 1of those tries as Sonoma converted all 4. The missed conversions and several penalties kicks by Sonoma was the difference in the end. FT: 34-32 to Sonoma.

 

 

Date: 03/12/2016

South Valley 15 – Napa 104

Referee: Bernstein, Bruce

 

Rugby gods blessed the Glavan Park field in Morgan Hill with sunny skies, peferct albeit short pitch & view of the Santa Cruz Mts. As advertised “a track meet” which Coach Rabbitt predicted. 45-10 @ half & even more the 2nd. Nice tries by Jeremiah O’Brien Bornstein, Kiwi long lanky winger, scrumhalf, fullback & by Napa’s big prop who also took most of the 17 kickoffs well past the game line. Almost all were the 60 meter ones including one as a result of a failed South Valley penalty kick. Not great defense–looked like 20 v. 10 on most tries. Also pretty good match by both sides who both only had 2-3 subs each.

 

 

Date: 03/12/2016

St. Mary’s College WR 52 – CSU Monterey Bay WR 25

Referee: Griffin, Scott

 

A pleasant day, without much rain, on a slightly soggy field. An open game of rugby in good spirits, the home team prevailing 52-25.

 

 

Date: 03/12/2016

UC Davis 65 – SFSU 5

Referee: Carney, Mark

 

A fun game to ref, UC Davis had a very structured pattern of play and exploited SFSU’s lack of depth. Standout players for UC Davis included their #8 and #9 who controlled their forwards and backs respectively throughout the game. SFSU had some good performances of their own from #8 and #13 who ran strongly all day and did cause problems for the UC Davis centers.

 

 

Date: 03/12/2016

UC Santa Cruz WR 19 – Santa Clara Univ WR 20

Referee: Freitas, Larry

 

The first thing to report on this match is that the location was at Santa Clara University’s Bellomy Field instead of the Lower or Upper Field at UC Santa Cruz. Once again weather prompted UCSC officials to call off the match (something that wouldn’t do some years ago). The game had also been moved to 11:00 AM from the originally planned 2PM start. I left Aptos with rain falling, and it was a wet drive over Highway 17. I arrived at SCU about 10:15 with cloudy and threatening skies overhead, and a cool 56F, and went through the security check to enter the confines of the “turf” pitch. Both teams were warming up, and I noticed that the goal posts weren’t the same as used the previous week when the men played, but a much shorter version with uprights that met the minimum standard of some 12′ high. Paddy Halpin, the Banana Slug coach, checked his Internet app to make sure the posts were legal.

UCSC won the toss and elected to defend the west end, meaning they had the wind at their back for the first half (and it wasn’t near as bad a wind as last week’s SCU men’s match v San Diego State). The game started with UCSC scoring a try, unconverted, within the first three minutes. At 11 minutes Santa Clara would tie with Rachel Schneider, their inside center, crashing over the goal line. For the remainder of the half there was no more scoring, though UCSC would pressure the Broncos several times, only to be denied a try. On one occasion the ball was held up in goal. Another attempt misfired when a loose forward knocked on inches short of the goal line. The first half ended deadlocked 5-5.

The second half started off with UCSC taking charge of the match, controlling the ball and moving it down field with multiple phases and then distributing ball to the backs. Ehi Ehizode, an inside center, broke tackles and used her speed to score two quick tries, both converted, to give the visitors a 19-5 lead. At nine minutes Santa Clara would reply with a try by number 8 Jessica Lew-Munoz. Santa Clara started putting the pressure on UCSC, using the wind to their advantage and keeping the ball mostly in the opponent’s half of the pitch. Ehi Ehizode would also leave the game with an injury some fifteen minutes into the second stanza when her team managed to once again start an attacking movement just inside their half, as she was tackled near touch just outside Santa Clara’s 22 after another sizzling run. Santa Clara started using their power runner Schneider, who broke tackles, swerved, dodged, and gained many meters. As the game entered the final quarter Santa Clara would score again, this time through their loose-head prop, Melinda Lin, after a few forward drives toward the goal line. Finally the comeback victory would be completed when once again Jessica Lew-Munoz scored at 38 minutes, giving Santa Clara the lead 20-19 after another attempt to convert failed. There was three minutes of injury time to play, and UCSC attempted to run out of their end of the pitch. Santa Clara infringed as time was up, giving Santa Cruz one last time to score from just inside their 22. The ball was tapped and quickly spun out to the substitute left wing, who used her speed and a swerve to make it to the halfway line, where she had one woman to beat, but was bundled into touch by Santa Clara’s flyhalf. I blew the whistle for no-side, and Santa Clara had their first victory of the season in the Second Division.

One last comment has to do with the fact that there are three divisions now in the university ranks for women. Teams had to play round-robin, and in talking to some of the Santa Clara gals after the match, they voiced that now that the playoff teams are set, they’d like to play a few more games, after spring break, to end the season against some of the teams they played last year, like Fresno State, St. Mary’s, or CSU Monterey Bay. Perhaps there needs to be a reshuffling of these divisions for next year, especially if Nevada Reno, and/or Humboldt State, are put into the first division.

 

 

 

This Week’s Photo

Our East Mids visitor experiences The Rock.   L-R Tim Lew, Andy Crowson (East Midlands), Pete Smith

East Mids Alcatraz

Hail, Pelicus!

For the Senate

Pelicus Pedem Referre