Northern California Rugby Football Union Referee Society | ALMOST APRIL
post-template-default,single,single-post,postid-181,single-format-standard,mkd-core-1.1,ajax_fade,page_not_loaded,,burst child-child-ver-1.0.0,burst-ver-2.1, vertical_menu_with_scroll,smooth_scroll,blog_installed,wpb-js-composer js-comp-ver-7.6,vc_responsive



Don’t let Easter weekend fool you, when we only have four or five games (there’s one in Humboldt that isn’t on the website yet).

We could use another fourth official for the Cal – Utah game this Saturday at 1 PM.

April 6 and April 13 we have dozens of games. The men’s clubs are still playing, along with the top colleges, and there are playoffs in the other divisions.


April 20 is down to a dozen or so games, and then playoffs continue for a while.

Let Pete know that you can ref:


We have two incoming referees from the Vancouver Island society here for the weekend of April 11 to 14.

If you’ve been on exchange, you know how important it is that we provide a good experience for our guests.

If you haven’t been on exchange, hosting is the way to move to the top of the list.

Let Bjorn know if you can help:



Seconds: EPA RAZORBACKS 39 – Barbarians 15 Referee: John Pohlman

East Palo Alto hosted the Bay Barbarians in East Palo Alto at McNair field (formerly Niners academy). I arrived a few minutes after 10:00 a.m. for an 11:00 a.m. kick-off.

This being an early B side game things were a bit disorganized but we managed a kick-off about 10 minutes late.

It was a very tight hard hitting game early on. I gave an early shoulder charge yellow card to the Barbo’s #4.

EPA got on the board with a try at 28 minutes. EPA 5 Barbos 0 A very competitive game.

At 30 minutes another Barbarian led with a shoulder leading to a yellow card. This was followed by another dangerous tackle committed by the Barbarians two minutes later. Into the bin you go.

With two men down the Barbos gave up two trys right before half time.

The second half EPA scored 4 more try s to the Barbarians scoring three. No more cards.

I was talking with the players from the Barbarians who said many of the players were from Cabot College football team. They apologized because in football shoulder charges are legal. Hopefully they will stay with rugby long enough to learn the laws. Many were very athletic.

After my game I was getting ready to AR for James first side game. I noticed how many people had arrived. Both sides stands were filled, as well as, the many people on the side line. There were a few food tents and first aid station.

A really fun and festive Polynesian atmosphere.

Final EPA 39 Barbarians 15

After James’ game came the game of the day. EPA under 19 versus Oakland Warthogs under 19.

EPA RAZORBACKS 43 – Bay Barbarians 3 Referee: James Hinkin

ARs: John Pohlman, Bruce Bernstein

Spring rugby in California… is there anything better? Occasionally you hear some blowhard from the east coast who says we should all play a fall league so the seasons line up but why would we ever do that? Give up rugby on a spring day in the 70s with no clouds and a light, refreshing breeze? Don’t be silly.

As I arrived the John Pohlman was ably handling the opening match so I approached the teams and sorted out the paperwork and all was set to kick off until a Barbarians player walked on the field with tights. It is nearing the end of the season and yet the memo still hasn’t gone out to many players and teams: unless you are female, you can’t wear tights. Once that was sorted we were underway. EPA looked strong from the start but a series of penalties kept the game from flowing. Barbos got on the board with a penalty while EPA pounded in a try. Unfortunately for the Bay Barbarians that was all they could muster on the day. Some strong running led to opportunities and a missed penalty but that was all. EPA were able to convert their opponent’s ill discipline into points with strong, opportunistic rugby. Half time score was 24 – 3.

The second half was more of the first with the exception that frustration was starting to show. A couple of flash points were calmed down as the Razorbacks ran in 3 more tries with no response from the visitors. EPA looked stronger and more organized throughout the match while the Barbarians have some good rugby players but lack cohesion. Many thanks go to John Pohlman and Bruce Bernstein for ARing. It is a rare luxury.

High School:

EPA RAZORBACKS 24 – Oakland Warthogs 17 Referee: Bruce Bernstein

This was a hella match. No score until almost the end of the first half when each team traded tries. Warthog winger mistakenly put ball down outside try zone twice within minutes.

Then 2nd half just as intense with EPA slimly leading 19-17 before EPA grabbed a quick penalty for a try with 2 minutes to go.

EPA dedicated the match to Oakland’s players no longer with us by each wearing wrist tape on both wrists with their #’s written. Oakland played inspired as if they had 17 players.


Seattle OPSB 27, SAN FRANCISCO GOLDEN GATE 36, Referee: Aruna Ranaweera

Assistant Referees: Jen Tetler, Craig Parish (PNW)

1:30pm kickoff at Magnuson Park in Seattle featured the 2012 Rugby Super League (RSL) runner-up hosting the 2011 RSL champion. This match doubled as a NorCal D1 fixture and an Elite Cup match. (The Elite Cup takes the place of the disbanded RSL and features two divisions of four teams each.) SFGG conceded many penalties in the 1st half but were efficient-enough on offense to take a 17-10 lead into half. The visitors established a rhythm in the 2nd half to secure a 36-15 lead before OPSB fought back to score 2 late tries. Both teams were physical in contact and very fast out wide. In the end, SFGG’s offensive talent enabled them to overcome their indiscipline by 6 tries to 4. Thanks to Jen for help with key calls near the corner flags.

Olympic Club 25 – SACRAMENTO LIONS 30 Referee: George O’Neil

ARs: Ray Schwartz, Mark Godfrey

Seconds: OLYMPIC CLUB 19 – Sac Lions 10 Referee: Ray Schwartz

AR: Mark Godfrey

Good quality B Side action, two full sides keen to play, the match shortened though by a neck injury to the O Club scrummie, we hear he’s well and should recover fully. Curtain raiser to an awesome A Side match reffed by George O’Neil on a special day.

SACRAMENTO CAPITALS 65 – Chico 12 Referee: Phil Akroyd

(No B-Side game played due to lack of interest/bodies)

Beautiful weather for rugby but the recent rain had not done anything to soften the rock-hard Danny Nunn field.

Chico had five players an hour before kick-off, while Sacramento were running full team drills. The Chicoans (is that what the plural is?) managed to get a full team plus one sub for kick-off time, so the alarm bells were ringing already. Both teams have had, let’s say, less than successful seasons so far and Sac picked up their first league win in style. They looked far better than their record suggests and played some lovely free playing rugby. Their best player by far was the number seven, Bula, who provided and excellent link between forwards and backs and got the ball moving forward quickly.

The run was pleasurable enough and both squads played with the full knowledge that the game was irrelevant, other than the fun of it, so we had plenty of fun and the players picked up a little law knowledge along the way. Chico’s coach made a humorous point in the second half, clearly letting me know that he was bringing in his sub for the day. There was a running bet between me and the Sacramento kicker, a player asking me if I had the ability to yellow card the breeze and the Village People with a keg at the side of the field. Good quality local rugby.

We played a full eighty minutes, then it was off to Hoppy Brewing for some happy hour beer and appetizers on the terrace, with the whole family. This was my seven week old’s second pitch side experience but my parents also made the outing too, during their visit to the Golden State.

Fresno 23 – BARACUS 31 Referee: Neal MacDonald

Fresno hosted Baracus on their new field at Todd Beamer Park on a sunny afternoon. I had my first trip over Pacheco Pass on the way – no idea how I’ve lived here as long as I have and never been over that road. Baracus scored two converted tries early, before Fresno kicked a penalty for an offside infringement on seventeen minutes. From an attacking lineout, Baracus ran a set move and their winger came in off the narrow side on a switch to score. Their full back made his third successful conversion to take the scoreline to 21-3 with almost twenty minutes left until half time. Fresno took full advantage of that time, scoring from a scrum 5m from the Baracus line, and kicking another penalty to make it 13-21 at half time, and everything very much to play for.

After the break, Fresno continued where they left off, scoring early in the second half to cut Baracus’ lead to three points. With twelve minutes left, Fresno scored another try, and went into the lead for the first time in the match, by two points. With minutes left in the match, Baracus kicked a penalty to get their noses in front by one. Pressing their attack inside the Baracus 22, Fresno knocked on, and with advantage being played, Baracus got the ball out to the wing and away up the field for the final try of the game with time expired to secure the win.

Seconds: FRESNO 50 – Baracus 0 Referee: Jeff Jury

Marin – SANTA ROSA Referee: John Coppinger

We are having the upstairs painted and my kit bag and score card are under plastic in one of the rooms upstairs. Rosa won big, but Marin scored a try late. I am guessing 90-5 Rosa.

Seconds: Marin – Santa Rosa Referee: Rich Anderson

No report received.

Berkeley 8 – DIABLO GAELS 71 Referee: Stephen Valerio

The match started off well with 3 back and forth scores in the first 10 minutes with Berkeley leading 8-7. After that it was pretty much just ‘forth’ for Diablo the rest of the way.

Seconds: Berkeley – Diablo Gaels Referee: Rob Hendrickson

The second sides from Berkeley and the Gaels squeezed in a shortened game (20 minutes 1st half and 15 minutes 2nd half) between their first side match and the Marin vs Santa Rosa game at Morton field on a beautiful Saturday afternoon. The contest was a little scrappy, but generally clean, although scrums seemed to be a problem with the ball repeatedly coming out the tunnel. A great social in the form of BBQ chicken, a keg of beer and plenty of good cheer followed.

State of Jefferson – Mendocino Referee: David Trujillo (PNW)

ARs: Kevin Parks, Kevin Brown (both PNW)

No report received.

STANISLAUS 60 – Vallejo 14 Referee: Bryant Byrnes

This was D3 in Turlock, but good D3. The match was close at half, with Vallejo in front only by 3; 17-14. But after banging it out pack to pack mano-a-mano to only slight advantage, Vallejo in the second half quickly got the ball out to its greyhound back line. To great effect.

My thanks and compliments to the teams, the captains, and the presidents Ben and Paul for a good game with few management problems.

Reno Zephyrs 31– SIERRA FOOTHILLS 32 Referee: Jim Crenshaw

I drove up to Reno Saturday to ref the Reno Sierra Foothills match. Both teams are good D-3 teams with Sierra not having lost a match since last season.

Sierra scored first and had a 12 – 0 lead about half way through when Reno got going by scoring three tries to take a 19 – 12 lead at halftime on some great runs by their scrum-half and stand-off.

The Sierra pack was dominant, but the Reno backs were, for the most part, quicker and faster than the Sierra backs.

In the second half, Sierra built up a 32 to 19 lead but let Reno get within 1 point with less than a minute to go. Reno had the momentum, but a forward got isolated and was penalized for not releasing allowing a penalty kick to touch to end the match.

SFGG 71 – Morgan Hill 8 Referee: Chris Davis (Virginia)

Referee Coach: Mike King

AR: Eric Rauscher

NSCRO California Cup at Maritime Academy

Saturday – Semifinals

OCCIDENTAL COLLEGE over Puget South Referee: Pete Smith

ARs: Scott Wood, Dave Newport

They had a score board and I just keep checking to see if it was correct. It was like 36-22…maybe 43 -28…plenty of points. Only 4 penalties in the first half and about 6 in the second half. Two teams that listened and just wanted to play rugby…one of my favorite games of the year so far. Well coached teams that played the game the right way.

CAL MARITIME ACADEMY 51 – Pepperdine 6 Referee: Tom Zanarini

ARs: Scott Wood, Dave Newport

CMA owned this contest. Pepperdine couldn’t penetrate the CMA defense, and when the Keelhaulers got the ball, they attacked.


Consolation Match

UNIV. OF PUGET SOUND over Pepperdine by forfeit Referee: Tom Zanarini

Pepperdine was peppered with injuries after their loss on Saturday, forcing a forfeit. UPS loaned Pepperdine some players, so we still had a rugby match. And a pretty good one, at that. Pepperdine was probably sorry they had to forfeit, since the ‘score’ was 41 – 27 in their favor.


Cal Maritime 10 – OCCIDENTAL COLLEGE 25 Referee: Pete Smith

AR: Eric Rauscher, Chris Davis (Virginia)

Both teams advance in NSCRO. The game was for seeding.

SANTA ROSA JC 41 – Willamette University 12 Referee: Cary Bertolone

At For Pete’s Sake in Santa Rosa, on a Sunday afternoon, Santa Rosa JC had a friendly scheduled with Willamette University from Salem, Oregon. The Oregon boys drove all the way down for a Saturday tour of San Fran and just this one game, before heading on the long ride home.

They had 25 players and both teams had open substitution. The pace was fast. SRJC opened the game with some nifty back moves and that produced a couple of nice trys. About twenty minutes in to the match, w/ Santa Rosa up 19-0, we had a little discussion with the captains about offsides by both teams as I explained a “no tolerance” policy from that moment on and the game settled down. It was 24-0 at the half. Fifteen minutes into the second half, Willamette scored a well earned try by their forwards to close the gap, but Santa Rosa scored three more trys to put the game away. Santa Rosa did the guests a bit of a favor by liberally substituting in some rookies and Willamette took advantage by scoring a late try to finish the scoring 41-12.

At 73 degrees with a slight breeze, it was a beautiful day of rugby, no one got hurt and a good time was had by all.


BELLARMINE 49 – Berkeley Rhinos 22 Referee: Bruce Carter

I needed an early, nearby game, with social plans for the early evening in the works back home. This 10 AM kickoff on Bellarmine’s campus was perfect, only 75 miles from home.

Looking at the teams’ records coming in, you would not have predicted the outcome. This time of year, of course, you can have one school on spring break and the other not, given that the spring break ‘season’ runs about six weeks most years.

Old teammates and playing opponents of mine coach both teams, so it took a few minutes longer to conduct my pre-match as it included catching up.

The teams seemed to be pretty evenly matched, with

each scrum taking at least one against the head and both capable of exploiting the full one-and-a-half-meter push that they are allowed.

Both teams had a number of fast runners. The difference was in the Bells breaking the primary line of defense more often and then exploiting the resultant overlaps.

The spirit of rugby walked the pitch: there was no aggro. I overheard one player, shaking his opponent’s hand afterwards, saying, “Man, you really trucked me.”

Great stuff, guys. But I have to say, it’s an odd thing for me on a Saturday to be driving home before noon.

Silicon Valley 26 – SFGG 31 Referee: Tony Levitan

In a hard-fought Varsity Silver match, SFGG prevailed on a try with no time left on the clock. The distinct slope on the pitch made for a dominating first half by SV, running up 23 points on the strength of 2 converted tries and 3 penalty kicks to SFGG’s 12 points (2 tries, 1 conversion). With the field slope in their favor — and SV playing down a man after a yellow card for cynical play — SFGG began running more aggressively, dotting down a converted try in the 21st minute of the second half, (23-19, SV). SV expanded their margin with a well-slotted penalty with 9:30 minutes remaining, 26-19. A yellow for dangerous tackle in the backline took SV back down to 14 players after only a few minutes back at full strength. SFGG tied the match with just over 3 minutes remaining after a converted try, 26-26. The teams traded penetrating movements, each threatening before our final scrummage with 30 seconds remaining. In the harried play that followed, SV infringed at a breakdown and SFGG took advantage of their man-up advantage in the backline to put over the winning try. Final score, 31-26, SFGG.


Bishop O’Dowd 7 – BELLARMINE 14 Referee: Rob Hendrickson

O’Dowd hosted Bellarmine to a spirited Monday night game at the Dragon’s home pitch. Given the pitch’s location and proximity to a main arterial alongside and below the pitch, they have a rather unique home field rule which provides that penalty kicks from that half of the field are automatically awarded a lineout 20 meters down the field to avoid losing errant licks over the fence. Even with that rule, we still lost a ball.

The teams were well matched in terms of both skill and intensity, and the game provided a show case for when and how to counter ruck. Bellarmine scored a converted try in each half, with O’Dowd coming back and scoring its converted try as the final whistle blew. Both these programs have developed skilled and disciplined rugby players and programs which can’t help but advance the level of the game generally.

JV: BISHOP O’DOWD 26 – Bellarmine Prep 21 Referee: Bryant Byrnes

The fecklessness and cluelessness of the new player trumped by a great amount of young rugby talent. Good teams, well coached.


For the Senate

Pelicus Scriptoris

James Hinkin
No Comments

Sorry, the comment form is closed at this time.