Northern California Rugby Football Union Referee Society | PERFECT DAY FOR RUGBY
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Not enough refs – no ref at all for Humboldt – B sides uncovered all over Pelicanland.

Part of the problem this weekend is the fact that there are three youth tournaments. But youth and high school games draw refs the entire season, leaving fewer for the clubs and the colleges, which are the purview of the NCRRS.

We beg understanding of the teams that don’t get refs.

Let us hope that every team from U-6 up to men’s D1 has at least one certified referee among its number – these ‘team refs’ are going to be needed.

Here’s a secret: the referee society doesn’t have a source of referees. We have referees. None of our members are potential referees, or under-utilized referees.

Rugby teams are the source for referees. If you are a player, consider refereeing. If you are a coach, you know which players would make good referees. Tell them so.

We cannot make bricks without straw.


Friday, January 18, 7PM

MARITIME ACADEMY 24 – Sac State 21 Referee: Bruce Ricard

Referee Coach: David Williamson

Cal Maritime started the game very well, keeping possession of the ball, and moving forward. At the 4th minute, as they attacking, Sac State center intercepts a pass, no one will catch him. 7 – 0 for Sac. After 10 minutes, Cal Maritime gets a penalty kick 22m from the posts, and chooses to go for points. Their kicker passes the ball through the posts, and gives 3 points to his team. A couple minutes later, Cal Maritime is back in their opponents 22, and the forwards score a try 2 feet from the touch line, after a ruck just in front of the line, and no one defending the blind side. Five minutes later, they are back in Sac’s 22. Their lose possession of the ball, Sac State starts to run forward, and a couple of passes later, their winger gets the ball, and will run into in-goal. 14 – 8.

At the 23rd, Cal Maritime gets a penalty advantage 15m from the try line, and their 10 attempts a drop kick, the bounces on the crossbar, and passes though. Then minutes later, Cal Maritime’s once again attacking, and once again they get intercepted, and Sac State scores their third converted try. Three minutes later, Cal Maritime gets another penalty kick 20m from the posts, and gets three more points. Despite Cal Maritime strong domination, Sacramento leads at the half. 14 – 21.

In the second half, Cal Maritime was still dominating, but was more careful about their passes. They scored two tries at the 29th and 34th minutes, both not converted. Sac State had 15 minutes to try to score again to win. They were almost for the first time of the game in Cal Maritime’s 22, and at the 40th minute, as they are attacking, they knock the ball forward, and the game is called.

Final score: Cal Maritime 24 – 21 Sacramento State.


Sac Lions 22 – EPA BULLDOGS 29 Referee: Phil Akroyd

A/R: Favor Taueva

If this is winter rugby, sign me up.

What a great way to finally get the D1 season underway in NorCal. The field was the opposite of last week’s postage stamp marsh at Danny Nunn – full-size, dry, almost over-firm and the weather could not have been much better.

The sun was shining and the B-side game was just getting underway as I arrived at midday. Favor Taueva was in charge of the curtain raiser and he had himself a real game. Both organizations had fielded completely separate A and B sides, but there wasn’t a huge difference in capability between the two tiers (Sac won the B side game).

We finally got the A-side game going at around 1:45pm. It was a little later than scheduled, but nobody was surprised at that. It was a very open game with decent discipline; however EPA gave me no choice than to put a man in the bin after nine minutes of play. Sac had charged up the field, cutting EPA apart and the full-back was tackled seven meters short. The covering Bulldog winger made the tackle, but knowing his team was in trouble, he laid on the wrong side as Lions arrived in numbers. To make matters worse, he shifted the ball back to his side with his hands. That’s a "twofer", so he sat out for ten minutes (plus he got a bit of a shoeing that even the Bulldogs didn’t complain about). Interestingly, Sac took the tap from the penalty, passed to the fly-half, who then kicked the D.G. I thought it interesting and said a lot about their attacking ambitions.

The two teams really kept the scores close for much of the game. The Lions went in 8-5 up at half, but EPA had knocked on from five meters out on two occasions by that point. Both situations were "open goals".

I thought that this spoke to the preparation of each team. In pre-match talks, EPA said they had no pre-season games and hadn’t really been working together that much. The Lions had been hitting the gym as a group, running weekly training sessions and had some pre-season.

It appeared that EPA managed to knock the rust off in the second half. They pushed the lead out to 15-22, with some excellent back play. With four minutes to go, the Lions leveled up the scores at 22 each. From a "game-on" point of view as a ref, it’s exactly what you want. But from a "looks like I’m about to buy a lot of beer for a lot of refs", point of view, it was pretty bad. Good thing that the EPA number eight had stiff-armed the Lions try scorer in the act of scoring, as it applied a penalty from the restart and gave one of the teams an opportunity to uneven the scores.

With time ticking down, the Lions were making progress to the Bulldog’s line but a lazy, floaty pass to the backs off a ruck, served the ball up on a plate for the veteran Bulldog outside center, to run in for the game winner under the posts. The Lions knew they had thrown the game away, but they also knew that they had a lot of fun playing

in great display of rugby… and the barbecue was going, so that was good.

Seconds: SAC LIONS 30 – EPA Bulldogs 19 Referee: Favor Taueva

My game last week turned out really good. Both team played very clean the first 10 minutes, it was about 20 minutes into the first half couple high tackles occur, but I handled it right away. Both teams decided to play only 25 minutes of the last half. Sac 30-19.

EPA Razorbacks 7 – SFGG 84 Referee: John Coppinger

No report received. Score from

Seconds: EPA Razorbacks – SFGG Referee: Eric Rauscher

No report received.

Sac Caps – Fresno Referee: Jim Crenshaw

No report received.

SANTA ROSA 51 – Diablo Gaels 3 Referee: Cary Bertolone

Referee Coach: Mike Malone

I was guessing this was going to be a heavily contested match, and it was, until about the last 20 minutes. The game began at 1:00 PM and the Gaels went up by 3 within the first three minutes. A see-saw battle ensued and nobody could score a try until the 16th minute. Seven minutes later, Santa Rosa forwards punched another one in against a very determined Gael defense. The score was 10-3 until the last play of the half, when Santa Rosa scored a 50 meter corner try by their backs and they somehow converted

In the second half, Santa Rosa scored a quick, unconverted try and then no one could score for 20 minutes. Tough defense from both teams; it was a good, hard fought match. The last 20 minutes, however, went to Rosa as they appeared to be in better shape and their subs were just as good as their starters. They scored 5 more tries in the last 20 minutes and the final score was out of hand at 51-3. It seemed sooo much closer, and it was, for the first 60 minutes.

Bob Polito reffed the second game and appeared to do a great job!!

Seconds: Santa Rosa – Diablo Gaels Referee: Bob Polito

No report received, other than that it was a great job.

BARACUS 24 – Chico 21 Referee: Rich Anderson

This was a fun match to start the season with. What both teams lacked with some sloppy play at the tackle and ruck, they more than made up for with effort and determination.

BA controlled the pace early and was able to get ahead on the strength of strong goal kicking from their #9. His injury in the second half helped Chico get back in the match, which was tied 21-21 with 5 minutes left.

Baracus was able to take the re-start and move down the field, converting a Penalty kick to pull out a 24-21 win.

Vacaville 13 – Seahawks 13 Referee: Donagh O’Mahoney

Ideal playing conditions, no rain, very little wind and not too warm.

With the ideal conditions both teams tried to play open rugby with very little kicking in the first half. San Jose opened the scoring with a penalty but Vacaville scored a well worked try but failed to convert to lead by 5-3. Both sides came close to scoring but it was Vacaville who extended their lead in the first half to 8-3.

The second half was played in the same fashion with both teams spreading the ball when possible. Early in the second half, Vacaville kicked and up and under from just inside their own half. An error from San Jose caused the ball to be loose near their own line and Vacaville pounced to score another try. Leading 13 – 3 Vacaville looked good for the points but San Jose came back to score 2 unconverted tries to tie the game. Vacaville defended for the last 10 mins but were penalized for not releasing in the tackle with 1 min to go in the game. San Jose missed the penalty.

Both sides played rugby and it was a very enjoyable game to referee.

Seconds: Vacaville 5 – SEAHAWKS 17 Ref: O’Mahoney

Again a very open game with both sides running at most opportunities. San Jose were on top for the game and scored 3 tries to one.

Vacaville were very hospitable in the after match liquid refreshments as we debated rugby and who would fill the last spot in the Qtr Final of the European Heineken Cup.

For anybody interested Munster reached the 1/4 Final of the Heineken Cup to the expense of Leinster, who now play in the Amlin.

Marin – Berkeley Referee: Stephen Valerio

No report received.

COLUSA COUNTY 91 – Mendocino Steam Donkeys 3 Referee: Tom Zanarini

At Colusa, CA

Colusa had two full sides, Mendocino had 13 players. Needless to say, Colusa found the overload gaps quite successfully.

SHASTA 115 – State of Jefferson 0 Referee: ???

Highlight reel from the Jan 19 State of Jefferson at Shasta Highlanders match:

Thanks to Scott Wood for the link. Anyone able to identify the ref? We’d like to thank him.

Humboldt – Redwood

Not sure if this one was played. We were not able to find a ref to go to Humboldt.

We have the same problem this weekend, Humboldt State hosting CSUMB, and no ref able to make the drive.

VALLEJO 31 – Blackhawks 24 Referee: Scott Griffin

Vallejo hosted Sacramento Blackhawks on a nice day; the pitch was in good shape. Competitive game beginning to end. I learned that I could have used cards to help control Vallejo’s inability to get back 10 after penalties. Although Vallejo was not as fit as Sacramento (nor as young) they won 31-24. Final minutes were a particularly pitched battle with Sacramento struggling to score deep in Vallejo’s territory and being continually repelled.

Stanislaus 17 – RENO 50 Referee: Matt Hetterman

My first NCRFU league match gave me a bit of deja vu – the drive from Walnut Creek to Turlock was eerily similar to my annual trip from my playing days between Pasadena and Bakersfield to play Kern County … quick run through the foothills, over a pass, and then a long flat drive through the central valley.

Reno had a MUCH longer drive, but were already there when I arrived ~1 hour before kickoff. I sorted out the details of the match paperwork with the clubs, ran through my standard pre-match, and we were off right on time.

Reno came out of the gate strong – quick off-loads, or pick-and-go’s if the ball carrier went to ground, with several big line breaks, while Modesto’s game plan was more set the ruck and play very controlled rugby. Modesto did impress with quite good lineout work and mauls off of lineouts, but they were burned by committing too many men to defensive breakdowns. Half-time score had Reno up 24-5.

Halftime led to bench-clearing subs on both sides – Reno actually did a disfavor to themselves with this, as their continuity seemed to fracture, and Modesto put up two early tries, one converted. Modesto was unlucky with one certain try that the winger ran 5m past the dead ball line, and one solid lineout maul that was pushed into

touch-in-goal. Reno regrouped in the last 20 minutes and ran away with it – final score was 50-17.

The match did have one curiosity – my first instance of this as a player or a ref – on a restart kick that did not go 10m, Reno elected a re-kick instead of a scrum @center. Not sure why, as the scrums were pretty equal, but I am going to blame it on the fact that Reno had a fullback as their captain. He did redeem himself with a beautiful Garryowen from the attacking 22m that he fielded himself on the fly to score under the posts.

Had a good time sharing a few beers at the social – looking forward to getting out and meeting more folks across the NCRFU.

MONTEREY BEACH DOGS 8 – San Francisco Fog 5 Referee: Bruce Bernstein

Beautiful day and field (St. Francis Central Coast HS) where I reffed a competitively fought 3rd division match which was notched 0-0 at half & 5-5 most of the second half.

With 2 minutes to go the Fog were guilty of first a high tackle & then killing a ruck deep in their defending try zone, which resulted in the hosts finally making one of the many kicks both teams missed earlier.

Also a nice, fun party at a local BBQ joint 1/2 mile down the road in the scenic Monterey Bay region.

Morgan Hill – Paso Robles RESCHEDULED

ST. MARY’S 83 – Chico St 10 Referee: Preston Gordon

Pat Vincent Field, 1300

In this friendly match, St. Mary’s got into gear early with 3 tries in the 1st, 8th, and 12th minutes before Chico State had a chance to respond with a penalty goal at 15′ (after missing an earlier attempt). St. Mary’s scored another try at 18′ before their #4 went to the sin bin at 28′ for a high tackle. While he was cooling his heels, his teammates scored another try at 30′, but Chico State had the last word before halftime with a converted try at 37′. At the break it was 33-10 and things were still looking reasonable.

However, as they had done in the first half, the hosts started running in tries early. They managed to score 8 more before the end of the game (at 1′, 5′, 8′, 10′, 19′, 27′, 33′, and 35′), while Chico State had a few good opportunities they ultimately couldn’t capitalize on, with one of their players being penalized on the goal line for a double movement after some very nice running and interplay. St. Mary’s converted all but 4 of their tries in the game, leaving the final score at 83-10, and almost had another but for the last offload being forward as time expired.

All in all, it was a good game to be involved in, especially as this was the first one I had refereed in a while.

SAINT MARY’S 2nds 52 – Santa Rosa JC 12 Referee: Bruce Ricard

Saint Mary completely dominated the first half, scoring six tries, while Santa Rosa scored one. 38 – 7 at the break. The second half starts very quickly with a try by Saint Mary’s at the second minute. At the fourth minute, Saint Mary’s winger is running towards the goal line alongside the touch line. As he’s five meters from the try line, the opposite winger catches up with him, grabs him by the collar, and pulls. An instantaneous whistle makes him release, and a penalty try is awarded. At the eighth minute, Santa Rosa scores an other try. The rest of the game will still be very challenged, but no more points will be scored.

SAINT MARY’S 3rds 41 – Chico State 2nds 0 Ref: Ricard

I stayed at the pitch to watch Preston’s game between those teams first sides, under this great weather in Moraga. As the game ended, I understood that a third game was going to take place, and that they had no referee for it, so I offered to do it, and they seemed to be happy not to have to do it themselves.

As the two previous games of the day, this game was totally dominated by Saint Mary’s team, in a very friendly atmosphere. Except for a few words exchanged after a player had blocked the ball at a penalty, and got pushed by an opponent, this whole day was very cordial.

Saint Mary’s scored seven tries, without letting Chico scoring any point.

Final score : Saint Mary’s 41 – 0 Chico

Stanford 27 – SAN JOSE STATE 38 Referee: John Pohlman

Stanford hosted San Jose State this past Saturday. It was a beautiful, Northern California day. Stanford’s field is in good shape.

I arrived a few minutes after noon. It looked like 30 to 40 players were warming up for each side.

The game opened quickly with Stanford’s backs taking advantage of SJS turnovers to dot down the first two trys at 6 and 8 minutes.

SJS steadied the ball and game. The SJS forwards were much bigger and more physical. This led to three unanswered scores at 21, 24 and 31 minute mark.

Stanford’s backs stole another try just at half to make the score SJS 19, Stanford 17.

My penalty count against SJS was adding up so I went to chat with their captain, #6 Jeremy. I explained repeat infractions within the 22 would force me to the next level. Jeremy thanked me and passed the word on to his players.

Both captains and teams were great in responding to most of my direction. There was never a concern from my point.

Stanford led off the second half with a penalty to move ahead six minutes in for, the third lead change of the game. SJS scored a try 4 minutes later.

At the 14th minute of the second half I gave my first card of the 2013 season, a yellow for repeat offenses within the 22 to SJS. Twelve minutes later I went to my pocket again for the same reason against SJS. Four minutes after that I carded another SJS player for a dangerous tackle.

With two SJS players in the bin, Stanford scored a try for the fifth lead change of the game.

Stanford 27 SJS 24.

One of SJS yellow cards came back onto the field about the time the Stanford #8 made a dangerous tackle for my forth yellow of the game. SJS scored on a nice back line break at 30 minutes for a SJS 31 Stanford 27.

A final try by SJS backs finished of the scoring.

San Jose State 38 Stanford 27

SJS has good numbers, some very athletic players and good coaching. If they learn to control their aggression they could compete for the Division 2 playoffs.

Seconds: Stanford – San Jose State Referee: A San Jose State coach

SANTA CLARA 74 – Fresno State 0 Referee: James Hinkin

Santa Clara seems to be listening to what Coach Paul Keeler has been telling them as they put in a complete performance against the visiting Fresno St team on a perfect day for rugby. Last week’s under armor was not needed as the sun was out giving tantalizing hints of spring with nary a cloud to be seen. Both teams had arrived early and were preparing when I arrived 75 minutes before kickoff and were ready for the game to get going, so I obliged. Santa Clara were the dominant team throughout scoring 6 tries in each half and could have had more if their players had remembered that the rugby lines were marked in yellow and the purple/white lines near the try zone should be ignored. Fresno St played hard and had their moments, putting together some solid phases and attacks but couldn’t seem to out it all together and cross the line. Santa Clara was able to exploit a lack of defensive organization on the 3rd and 4th phases while keeping their own defensive shape through all the phases Fresno could put together.

Seconds: Santa Clara 17 – FRESNO STATE 58 Ref: Hinkin

Fresno St traveled with 1 1/2 teams to this fixture so they recycled several A side players to give the Santa Clara B siders a game. The skill and experience differential was apparent as the tables were turned for the B side match as Fresno ran rampant against the Santa Clara opposition. To be fair, many of the Santa Clara players were new to the sport and show some promise, as indicated by the 3 tries they were able to score, but they need more hours on the practice and game pitch. The defensive organization and offensive structure just wasn’t there and Fresno exploited their advantage to the fullest, breaking tackles and shooting through gaps that were not there in the first match. The last 30 minutes or so were played with uncontested scrums as inexperience had caused too many collapses and front row safety became an issue. (Surprisingly enough, the back row players didn’t want to go uncontested – possibly because they were not the ones going face first into the turf.) A solid 80 minutes saw both sides playing hard their entire time on the pitch. Fresno St is a young program but the foundation has been laid for a successful program.

149 points over two games makes for one tired referee.

UC Santa Cruz 24 – CAL POLY 57 Referee: Bruce Carter

Another California winter day: ice on the windshield in the morning, but 75 degrees at game time.

My wife was out of town, but I held to our weekend routine of walking the dogs while the espresso machine warmed up. Then I was off for a home game, it being a mere 50 miles to the heavenly UC Santa Cruz pitch.

There were three games on tap, with only the one appointed ref – such is the state of our society these days. We always hear about all these new refs, but they don’t ask for assignments. News flash: there’s no assignments fairy. We don’t know you want a game unless you tell us.

Robbie Bellue of UCSC was kind enough to volunteer for the two games that I couldn’t do, my leg muscles having somehow become less rapid and resilient over the past few decades, and he did a fine job.

The first match was the Slugs hosting CSUMB. My old friend and teammate Marc Ferguson is coaching now and wonders what possessed him to drop out of the game for twenty years (besides raising a family, career, etc). He had never seen the current pitch, it having debuted in the early nineties.

The Otters played well. They took the kickoff, controlled the ball for more than two minutes, and scored a centered try after many phases. This is small-college rugby in the first minutes of the first game! What a continuous game our sport has become, certainly more spectator-friendly.

Then it was time for my game:

UC Santa Cruz 24 – CAL POLY 57 Referee: Bruce Carter

This game featured an ambitious lower-division team against an established upper-division team. Cal Poly

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also have several games under its belt, and came out firing.

Cal Poly doesn’t do the contemporary multi-phase up-the-gut: one of two phases, then the ball goes to opposite wing who either scores or gets tackled, in which case there are two phases and then it goes to the other opposite wing. Nobody kicks for having run out of ideas; the idea is to run with the ball.

The Slugs did notch four tries, three by a winger who outran his opponents for one, poached a ball for a second, and perfectly timed the hop from his flyhalf’s grubber for the third.

When the B-side match began I wandered up onto the hillside above the pitch to get some pictures. Game in the foreground, sailboat-dotted Monterey Bay below, and the Monterey peninsula and mountains of the Big Sur coastline standing off into the distance with no clouds to mar the view.

On a day like this, for a few minutes, paying ever-increasing California taxes has some consolation.

UCSC seconds – CSUMB Referee: Robbie Bellue

UOP 32 – U. of San Francisco 29 Referee: Scott Wood

AR: Ron Decausemaker

TJ: Benji

Two evenly matched teams. For the most part, UOP dominated the first half. HT: UOP 22, USF 5

Tale of two halves: USF found its steam and the balance was tilted more into their favor. Better continuity and ball possession. Nonetheless, Pacific missed at least two scoring opportunities (one held up, another knocked-on in goal). USF battled to within three points as Pacific played short for the last six minutes of the match.


Someone should have copyrighted the phrase ‘kick off tournament’, the way Magic Johnson owns the rights to ‘Dream Team’ and Pat Riley owns ‘Three-Peat’.

We had one kick-off tournament last weekend, and there are three more this coming weekend (Sacramento, Fresno, San Jose).

Report by Bryant Byrnes:

High School Girls’ Kick Off Tournament, a sunny, warm Saturday on TI.

A tournament of their own. Twenty teams, 32 games, tons of fans, full concessions, expertly run by Karen Chance (and great help from Ron Chance). A wonderful idea, and wonderful day for everyone.

The Gold Division championship match was the best of the day. The Amazons beat Bishop O’Dowd 17-5 (or something like that.)

And the referees contributed immeasurably to the day. We not only had a certified ref at every game, we had two certified Assistant Refs as touch judges on every game. We also had referee coaches on the vast majority of matches.

The total Society members contributing were twenty two plus. Shout outs are as follows:

First matches refereed ever: Alyssa Heekin and Olivia Morales.

Best posses/pods of refs: Kevin Kenny and his sons; Ed Barfels and his gang; Ron DeCausemaker and son.

Refs about to contacted by Pete Smith and Bruce Carter: Well, everybody, but in particular Nome Tiatia and Jen Tetler.

Ref who now best knows the bus route to TI: our very own Hubie Wong.

Society Old Reliables who whistled but more importantly coached (to great effect): Eric Rauscher, Mike King, Paul Bretz, Donal Walsh, David Williamson, and me.

Apologies to referee heroes inadvertently unsung.

So, to all refs and fellow travelers, a resounding ”well done” and thanks.

NOTE TO ALL OF THESE NEW REFS: We are all volunteers, and we appreciate you stepping up. But if you want to referee, you have to raise your hand.

It’s easy enough: e-mail Pete Smith and let him know which Saturdays you can do games: Me

The assignments gig is easily a thousand-email-a-week job. There’s no slack for seeking out the non-volunteers among us.

If you say you can ref, you’ll get games. It’s that simple.

Report by Eric Rauscher:

Both SFGG’s pitch and the pitch across the street were used, with the street in between closed off and used for staging/vendors area.

The weather was astounding. There was a pretty constant cool breeze from the north, but no heavy cross wind and fog that is normally found out there.

It was sunny all day. At least 20 teams showed up. I ended up reffing two games and ref coaching four new refs. Games were 25 min with short half.

Amazons 17 / Dixon 0 This was a great game. The Amazons won it, but the game was very close and was played all over the field. The level of play was a joy to behold.

Dixon 5 / Alameda 0 A low scoring affair, but once again a very well-played game by both sides. The ball was distributed quickly and cleanly by both sides, once again giving me a wide open and very enjoyable game to ref.

I enjoyed ref coaching four newbies, watching them do their very first game. It is quite a thrill to me to be able to help people improve their game and see the results. I did not get to watch all of them do a second match, but those that I did showed marked improvement. That is the real strength of the KOT. To be able to give new refs a chance to do their very first game in a low-stress environment, with lots of feedback and support for them from more advanced refs.

One can only hope that at least a handful will truly pick up the whistle in a dedicated fashion.


Live Oak 29 – BELLARMINE 38 Referee: John Pohlman

High school rugby in the South Bay is alive and well.

This past Friday a refereed a pre-season varsity game between Bellarmine and host Morgan

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Hill/Live Oak. Both teams had 25 players plus for the varsity squad.

This was a competitive well played game. Live Oak had larger and a bit more physical forwards. Bellarmine had speed and conditioning.

Bellarmine is led by their captain #10. He attacked the defense throughout the game and took what they gave him. And the Bell’s #12 was big, strong and hit the ball with pace and direction. Bell’s lead at half time 31 to 12.

The second half Live Oak stepped up and let their forwards control the game. This led to three trys being scored by Live Oak’s forwards.

Pleasanton 0 – BISHOP O’DOWD 47 Referee: Bryant Byrnes

Lovely Sunday match in Livermore. O’Dowd’s mix of experience with new but skilled players overran a Pleasanton team who is rebuilding and reloading. A fast, spirited game by disciplined teams.


The fact-checker lost Phil Akroyd’s report from January 12 while checking its facts.

Final Score: SACRAMENTO CAPITALS 29 – Cal Poly B 17 Ref: Akroyd

Another week of D1 calamities meant that by Friday lunchtime, I was still without a game. This one came up so I took it – there’s always something to work on.

For some reason, I expected the final score to be somewhere near the reverse of what transpired. The game was slow to get going as the small field and very soft ground made conditions difficult. When both teams had shaken off a little rust, we got some decent passages of play. Both teams had very functional lineouts, the Caps had the upper hand in the scrum, as well as some mobile forwards, a capable fly-half and a back line that knew what they were doing.

The visitors had a lot of newbies, a comparatively lighter pack and a lot of deficiencies in law knowledge. They also didn’t have much of a game plan but generally hung with play until half time, when the older, wiser heads of the Caps took control.

Overall, a surprisingly decent game, given the postage stamp swamp on Danny Nunn’s west field.


The Denis Shanagher Award was presented to Ed Todd this past weekend in SoCal.

Denis, of course, was one of the founders of the NCRRS and one of the first Test referees for the USA. The ‘lifetime achievement’ award for USA Rugby referees is named for him.

NorCal’s Bryan Porter and Donal Walsh are two of the ten recipients so far, and I think we can also claim Ed.

His curriculum vitae, excerpted from his introductory speech by Don Morrison:

In the 1990s Ed was Chairman of the Nor Cal Referees Society. Under Ed’s leadership, Nor Cal Referees Society made many contributions to USA Rugby, three of which I wish to highlight:

Nor Cal Referees Society shared its wealth of talent with other American referees by inviting them into Nor Cal to referee games, be observed and, as a result, develop their refereeing skills.

Nor Cal Referees Society agreed to share its outstanding Newsletter (Pelican’s Beak) with all USA Rugby referees when USA Rugby’s effort (Communique) came up short.

This newsletter, which Ed edited, was original, thought provoking and informative.

Nor Cal Referees Society hosted the 1996 Conference on the Game, which was not only a massive effort but also a highly successful effort.

In the 2000s Ed became more directly involved in USA Rugby matters.

In 2005 he led a strategic planning session for the USA Rugby R&L Committee, which provided the vision that led us to where we are now.

In 2006 he became the first full-time referee administrator for USA Rugby. He continues to serve in that role today. I believe all of you are aware of how far USA Rugby refereeing has advanced in these six years, so I shall simply say to Ed, "Well done."

Photo: There were a few Pelicans on hand to congratulate Ed on the occasion of his recognition as one of the pillars of USA Rugby refereeing.

Left to right: Don Pattalock, Matt Eason, Lee Bryant, Ed Todd, Kat Todd, George O’Neil, Aruna Ranaweera.


For the Senate

Pelicus Scriptoris

James Hinkin
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