Northern California Rugby Football Union Referee Society | WEEKLY FIX
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We’ve been having problems with the schedules we were given in the pre-season not agreeing with what various teams have. This makes for big problems when we find out on Thursday that a game will be played four hours from where we thought it was going to be played.

Please look at this website and compare what we have to what you have. If there are any discrepancies for the rest of the season, we need to resolve them now.

Please immediately inform Pete Smith me and John Compaglia compagliarugby. If we don’t hear from you, we will presume the information is accurate and make assignments accordingly.


Congratulations and hearty best wishes to Bruce Ricard and his new bride Carla, who were married on Friday.


Send Pete Smith your availability to referee for the upcoming weekends. Once he has enough names he can make the assignments. It’s difficult even to assign one week in advance when only a handful of referees have announced their availability.



Friday, January 25

Stanford JV 7 – USF 27 Referee: James Hinkin

Friday night under the lights saw Stanford’s B side take on the University of San Francisco. While fighting through rush hour traffic to get to Palo Alto for the 7:00 kickoff I had decided to start the game off with a penalty against Stanford, but it turned out that the Stanford captain answered to the noble name of James so I decided to let it slide this time. Well played, Coach Sherman.

Stanford got on the board early with a quickly taken penalty that caught USF napping but USF soon answered with a converted try of their own to tie the score at 7 apiece. A penalty kick from USF near the end of the half finished off the scoring for a 10-7 halftime lead. For the second half Stanford started bringing on subs and the inexperience showed for a number of these young ruggers. USF didn’t make any subs as they traveled with only 15 players. The second half started with the home side down to 14 men as a dangerous tackle on the opening kickoff saw the Stanford hooker in the bin for 10 minutes and USF took advantage with a try to extend their lead to 15-7. Soon after the teams regained full strength USF returned the favor with a touch of retaliation but Stanford couldn’t take advantage. Again at full strength USF was able to put 2 more tries across as Stanford’s youngsters couldn’t stop the USF runners.

MARITIME 14 – UC Davis 12 Referee: Pete Smith

Two tries on intercepts produced a win for the Keelhaulers in this friendly. Davis had a penalty that they might have kicked for the win but chose to tap and go, and didn’t make it.

Seconds: Maritime Academy 0 – UC DAVIS 53 Referee: Rich Boyer

This was my first run on Cal Maritime’s new turf pitch. Quite a difference from the former old “mud puddle”.

Both teams scrambled to find a 15th player. Davis came out stronger in the rucks and scored numerous times off pick and drives. CMA tried desperately to defend but were on the back foot all night long.

It was evident this was the first game for a few players, but opposing players helped the new ones with technique. The game was played in fine spirits, even after the second-half try-parade put on by Davis.

I had a smile on my face after every restart as the CMA kicker would let out an expletive after kicking the ball which was generally mis-struck every time. But occasionally the ball was well positioned despite the mis-strike. Same expletive was uttered.

Kudos to CMA for not quitting. Nice team play by Davis resulted in a 53-0 win.


SAC LIONS 73 – EPA Razorbacks 17 Referee: Paul Bretz

Seconds: Favor Taueva

EPA Bulldogs 12 – SFGG 50 Referee: Pete Smith

Seconds: Nome Tiatia

Seahawks – Sac Caps rescheduled to April

Fresno – Vacaville Referee: Jeff Jury
No report received.

BERKELEY 41 – Chico 12 Referee: Stephen Valerio

My rugby weekend started Friday night coaching my kids’ youth team. Saturday I jumped in the car and went up to Morton Field. The pitch was soft, and it was breezy leading to a view restarts not going the requisite 10 meters.

The first half was a choppy affair. Lots of scrums, and they weren’t very stable. After a couple of penalties they settled and the overall play started to get more flow. Berkeley were able to put together a couple of tries for a 12-0 halftime lead.

Berkeley put it all together in the 2nd half. The added 2 more tries and a penalty before Chico got on the board with a try of their own. After Berkeley put their fifth try across, I thought the game might be a one-way affair, but Chico put its best sequence together of the game with several phases of rugby, from which they got a much deserved try.

The match had one last twist as Berkeley had a breakaway that was brought down just short of the try line. The defender released the tackler, but never left his feet, as he dove over and sealed the ball. With Berkeley’s support already there a penalty try was awarded.

Seconds: Berkeley 7 – CHICO 20 Ref: Valerio

Chico was short on numbers so many of their A-side players agreed to play a single half for the B’s. The came out strong with several strong runs from their backs, and quickly pulled ahead 15-0. Berkeley B’s then put together with a powerful burst from their front row and collected a converted try. Chico closed out the scoring though the mysterious disappearance of their tee didn’t help their kicking, with the last one banging off of the cross-bar.

I had to pass on Berkeley’s hospitality to get back in the car to head to Sacramento to help out with the KOT.

BARACUS 54 – Marin 0 Referee: Preston Gordon

West Sunset Playground, 1300

It’s always nice when you find out that you know several members of both the teams in your match, as was the case for me this past weekend. Each side looked well prepared for the game and we got the pregame chats out of the way with minimal fuss and kicked off on time. Baracus opened their account with a converted try at 16′, followed by an unconverted one at 28′. They added 2 penalty goals at 36′ and 37′ to stretch the lead to 3+ scores, although that would be it for the half. In the second period they started quickly with a 41st-minute try, followed by 5 more (at 44′, 47′, 52′, 55′, and 69′), converting 3 of those to leave the result at 54-0. Baracus played well, but the lopsided scoreline didn’t really seem to do justice to Marin’s efforts. A yellow card to Marin in the 59th minute for retaliation was offset by one to Baracus in the 67th minute for cynically killing an attack that was approaching their own goal line.

There were two other interesting occurrences in this game. First, a Marin player wondered why I hadn’t seen his quick throw-in to himself and subsequent unmolested stroll to the try line. I had been busy repositioning the touch judge on that side (he was new, and went way too far down the line after a Baracus kick went directly into touch from in front of their 22) and didn’t even notice the would-be scorer until he was standing in the Baracus in-goal area with the ball, ~40 meters away. I apologized to him at the time for missing it, but he was gentleman enough to admit after the match that one of the soccer players on the adjacent pitch had tossed him the ball before he took his throw-in – I was relieved to be off the hook for that one but it was a good lesson to remember!

Second, as Baracus was working an attack up the same touchline later in the game, a soccer ball bounced into the middle of several players just as some good interplay and offloading was in progress. Believing that any rugby player would know to ignore the predictably-bouncing shiny round ball with the silly colors, I called “play on”. None of the defenders was obstructed by that object and a few seconds later Baracus scored. One of the Marin guys wondered why I had let it continue, but I thought it was reasonable to do so. Unfortunately, I wasn’t able to get near enough to the offending ball to look cool by kicking it out or grabbing it myself on the run without tripping/knocking someone else over, so we all had to get on with it.

The common moral of these stories: keep in mind that you might see some new things every time you go out there.

A B-side match was played, but I didn’t ref it. I had taken a boot to the calf late in the A game, which was still pretty stiff, and I had a classmate from New York to entertain during his 5-hour layover at SFO before he headed on to Australia.

Redwood 10 – COLUSA 17 Referee: Rich Anderson

State of Jefferson 0 – HUMBOLDT 41 Referee: Kevin Parks

Mendocino 0 – SHASTA 14 Referee: Sean Peters

SIERRA FOOTHILLS 29 – Vallejo 0 Referee: Scott Wood
Location: Back 40, Johnson-Springview Park, Rocklin, CA

Sierra Foothills is growing in numbers and talent. Vallejo has talent but was lacking in numbers; they started the match with 13 and one arrived at halftime.

The first half was sloppy, ugly rugby bereft of continuity, flow or structure. A true homage to Division III industrial grade rugby. Numerous penalties (my wife was probably more than thrilled not be in attendance…), multiple pleadings with the captains, two yellow cards (one per team). Isn’t that enough? Sierra’s game plan was suspect to start but they were able to put together some impressive drives only to miss out on two scoring opportunities. Vallejo stood its ground and covered the wings very well considering a two-man overlap.

Halftime: Sierra 3, Vallejo 0

Apparently, Sierra cobbled together a game plan during the break as they came out attacking pretty well. Unfortunately for them, Vallejo didn’t get the message and disrupted play just as well. It wasn’t until the 60th minute that Sierra was able to score a try. Penalties reduced in the second half but that’s more due to the teams employing their backlines. Vallejo kept with it and would have scored a try but for an intercepted pass. Sierra managed three more tries before the final whistle.

Fulltime: Sierra 29, Vallejo 0

Note, in my opinion (and the opinion expressed by some Sierra folks), Vallejo could have possibly won if they had a full side (and some substitutes) in attendance.

Blackhawks – Stanislaus Referee: Jim Crenshaw
No report received.

SFGG 3rd Division 58 – Monterey Beach Dogs 12 Referee: Bruce Bernstein

I had the pleasure of reffing on a beautiful day at Treasure Island and saw Monterey start the match not only keeping pace with SFGG but pushing them on their heels which lasted for the first 20 minutes. They only scored one try however and SFGG took over with either its #8 Steve taking the ball up or the two half backs setting up Irish Steve at inside center who either scored or set up the rest of his team. Both teams played very well as a team but SFGG is on another level which should only get better as the season continues.

SF Fog 12 – SOUTH VALLEY 37 Referee: Giles Wilson

Beautiful day on Treasure Island, clear with a consistent wind.

South Valley kicked off into the wind and applied solid pressure with a good pick and drive game augmented by a willingness to move the ball wide once the tight defense had been committed. An effective game plan well executed.

Fog defended well in spells and had some good attacks when their backs ran well into space; they lacked the defensive cohesion and support play generally to take advantage of opportunities with or without the ball.

South Valley ended the half with 5 tries and 27 points to 0; but a player in the bin. In the second half Fog capitalized on two opportunities while South Valley scored two more tries for a final of 37 (7 tries) to 12 (2 tries).

CALIFORNIA 176 – Stanford 0 Referee: James Hinkin
ARs: Rob Hendrickson, Ron DeCausemaker

Yes, the score is accurate. The halftime score was 95-0, which led to a brief bit of parity early in the second half when Cal scored another try and the scoreboard read 00 – 0…until the conversion went over for a 02 – 0 scoreline.

Thanks go to Ron DeCausemaker and Rob Hendrickson for their able assistance – it is a luxury to have ARs. To read all about the game you can go to

Seconds: California – Stanford
No report received. Not sure who was supposed to ref it. The schedule said Hetterman but he did a game at St. Mary’s.

Santa Clara 5 – CENTRAL WASHINGTON 61 Referee: Kurt Weaver

Seconds: Santa Clara 0 – CENTRAL WASHINGTON 108 Ref: Weaver

Scores from Central’s website.

ST. MARY’S 53 – Olympic Club 11 Referee: George O’Neil

ST. MARY’S seconds 26 – Seahawks 15 Referee: Matt Hetterman

Old guys vs. young bucks friendly match. Muddy – which probably helped the old guys.

Half time: SJ 5 – St M 14. Full time: SJ 15 – St M 26

Fresno State University 19 – UNIVERSITY OF NEVADA RENO 46 Referee: Aruna Ranaweera

On my way to Fresno to referee Colin Kaepernick’s alma mater (UNR), I briefly stopped for a cheeseburger at his home town, Turlock, but did not see any road-signs mentioning his name. Perhaps that will change if the 49ers win the Super Bowl.

Meanwhile, the field at Wawona HS was well-cordoned with several other games being played on the adjoining field. UNR dominated the first half to take a 22-0 lead before Fresno joined the party in the 2nd half to make it exciting for the spectators. UNR won comfortably, 8 tries to 3.

SANTA ROSA JC 35 – San Jose State 15 Referee: Bryant Byrnes

Global warming as a reality-a beautiful spring like day in Santa Rosa. The Spartans were certainly larger and fairly fit, but Santa Rosa JC’s experience prevailed. Thanks to Sonoma’s excellent high school rugby programs, some of these fellows have played for six years.

SJS scored first on a niftily intercepted pass, but Santa Rosa JC settled (figured out the ref) and cranked it up with quick ball out to a skilled backline. These adroit gents pinned back their ears and went straight at the defense. 21-5 at half; at the end of day, five tries pretty much between the posts; five conversions. Kudos to two enthusiastic, well coached teams.

Seconds: Santa Rosa JC 22 – SAN JOSE STATE 29 Ref: Bryant

Two more enthusiastic, well coached teams. Thanks to Tyler Ahlborn for reffing the second half.

UC Santa Cruz 46 – CHICO STATE 60 Referee: Bruce Carter

The schedule said this game was in Chico. Chico State planned to host. The assigned ref (not me) got in touch with the ‘home’ team and everything was set.

Until UCSC wrote on Thursday to inquire who was going to referee their home game. Then it was scramble time. Hence the plea at the top of this week’s Hail Pelicus asking teams to confirm the schedule for the rest of the season.

I was pulled from a B side match and asked to drive to the Slugs’ place for the second Saturday in a row. Tough duty.

Chico State’s captain, Tyler Poland, was a wing. It being inconvenient for the captain to be an outside back, generally when this is the case there’s a good reason. And today, the captain scored five tries.

They needed them – the game was tied at 41 with about twenty minutes left. Until that point it was like an NBA playoff game, trading scores.

Seconds: UCSC – Chico St Referee: Robbie Bellue
No report received.

U. of the Pacific 20 – SONOMA STATE 39 Referee: Dan Hattrup

In Sacramento for the first ever presentation of the new IRB coaching match officials course, I put the material to work by picking up a game to referee.

UoP were the original hosts and informed me that the school closed the pitch due to the inclement weather that we experienced all weekend in Sacramento. I understand their concern about the weather, as I’m sunburned from having forgotten to put on any sunscreen.

Saturday morning I watched a visiting referee from New York at the KOT, then jumped in the rental and headed off toward the vineyards for the relocated game. Blue skies, a slight chill in the air and college students eager to play combined for a great afternoon of rugby. The hosts came out flat and UoP jumped to a quick 5-0 lead after some nicely worked phase ball; this was the last time they would lead the game.

Sonoma State’s crowd, and scoreline, began to build throughout the rest of the 80 minutes. Bursts from a few key strike runners, followed by security from the forwards meant that Pacific was mostly chasing during the game. It was great to watch Pacific stick to their game plan, building structured rugby, adding pressure and punishing penalties with kicks to the corner, setting up short distance tries. However, the individual effort and ability of a few of the players from Sonoma State was simply too much, and 60-70 meter runs led to the score line keeping the same gap, even as the magnitude increased.

Standing with me at the half way, as his team readied itself for a restart kick, Rob Keene (second row and drop kicker extraordinaire for UoP) made the stray comment “I can’t wait to ref my first game, I just took the course in Fresno”, not realizing that the rugby gods often grant such wishes.

With the final whistle gone, the captains asked “would you be willing to do the B-side match?” I smiled and said “I know just the man for you.”

HUMBOLDT 51 – CSU, Monterey Bay 5 Referee: Cary Bertolone
Saturday January 26th at Humboldt State University in Arcata

On a mostly sunny, quite beautiful day in Arcata, we kicked off at 5 minutes before 1:00 and Humboldt State quickly went to work. They scored their first try before 2 minutes went by, and a couple more 10 minutes later. Forwards were getting the ball out to the backs and the backs were scoring tries. Even playing with one large forward down, for 10 minutes, they dominated the first half and took a 31-0 lead.

The second half saw a little closer game. Monterey did better with their tackling and made a few offensive thrusts. Humboldt still scored 4 tries, but the longer the game went, the harder Monterey played, which was impressive and gratifying to coach Mark Ferguson. They ended the game with a nice, well deserved try of their own to complete the scoring at 51-5.

I have to say a couple of things about that game and one thing about the drive. Those two clubs were loaded with polite gentlemen. They played hard rugby, but completely respected the ref and I must have received 20-30 thank yous after the game. All four coaches, two from each team, headed by Mark Johnson and Mark Ferguson, lead by example and they were a pleasure to work with, even when things were not going their way. The crowd was great too. The field, new to me (in the last year or two), was beautiful also. Lastly, the drive, was “over the top” as well. I had a great weekend!

SF BATS 46 – Sac State 12 Referee: Olivia Martinez

It was a beautiful day in San Francisco, nice and sunny. The ladies played on the “sunken field” (turf) on the USF campus. Don’t let the score fool you, it was a hard fought battle and a great first game for the players, coaches, and me!

It came down to discipline and control of the game from the Bats. They have a seasoned team and managed to keep possession even though they played 2 ladies down for most of the game. Their #12 scored 3 tries and is mighty fast. Their kicker did an excellent job and successfully made two PK’s.

Sac had a few great breakaways and managed to get some points up on the board. Overall, it was a delightful game to ref.

California women 0 – STANFORD 38 Referee: Lois Bukowski

I had the 2nd match of the slate of 4. A tale of two halves at beautiful Witter Field on Saturday.

Slight wind blowing west to east, sun shining down….the Cal Women had their homecoming happening for their alumnae; could they get the monkey that wears maroon and white off their back?

It certainly looked that way in the first half with only one unconverted try for Stanford at about the 20-minute mark.

Sloppy breakdowns made for a painfully long first half; the referee needed to find her whistle quicker and put an end to some shenanigans happening on the ground way too often. A series of repeated
ball-slowing and offside calls ended the half with Stanford short one player, but that would not affect them in the least.

After a talk with captains to start the second half, letting them know that I was going to be tighter at the breakdown with a quicker whistle, Stanford came out gangbusters with some amazing athletic runs and penetrating drives into the Cal defense. 5 tries, 4 converted in the second half made this one a run away.

Word to the wise, if you have a poor 1st half, you can start over again at halftime. Don’t give up!

I talked a bit more, had a zero tolerance on crap on the ground and voila! Things cleaned up quite nicely.

Seconds: California– Stanford Referee: Rob Hendrickson
No report received.

CHICO STATE women 33 – UC Davis 5 Referee: Tom Zanarini
Assistant Referees Don Walsh (and a Chico Old Oaks player, I didn’t write his name down).
At Chico State University

Driving up I-5 one consecutive weekends, I was unable to have a deja-vu moment as a fog thick as molasses rolled onto the highway, obscuring visibility to a 3 second approach. The field was a thin veneer of mud, but in otherwise good condition. Both teams were ready for an 11am kickoff. The pace of the women’s game is improving as is the athleticism. Lots of fast ball popped up from tackles and good pass support. Chico had the upper hand in attack, which definitely showed when they scored 2 tries when down one player due to yellow cards. Chico received 3 yellows for ‘high tackles,’ in quotes because the tackling player managed to grab the long ponytail along with the jersey. Hair is on the head and that’s a high tackle. I found it odd that probably 26 of the 30 players had long ponytails, that would be the last thing I’d want flying around when playing rugby. At any rate, 3 yellows and 25 minutes (one card 5 minutes before the final whistle) with 14 players didn’t seem to matter much. On another note, there was discussion during the week about the lack of a b-side match and how this does nothing to ‘grow the game.’ I would like to add that constant verbal abuse of the referee from a coaching staff also does nothing to ‘grow the game.’ Rugby is a game played by gentlemen and ladies, it should be coached and refereed by them as well.

UNR – UCSC Women Referee: Lee Bryant
No report received.

Kick-Off Tournament report by Eric Rauscher

So I left Berkeley late Thursday afternoon so as to avoid traffic on my way out to Sacramento. I decided that I would rather spend an extra night in the hotel, rather than get up early Friday morning for the drive out. Thursday night there was a small dinner for those that showed up. It was small but very international. We had refs from Germany, South Africa, Canada and the US.

Friday morning saw the start of two all day classes. There was the annual ref development course and a ref coaching course. The ref coaching course is a re-work of the old one and we were the first group to take it. The new course is much streamlined and more practical. Very early on we had a discussion as to whether the meeting between the ref and his observer should be called an intervention or as I suggested an encounter. All in all both courses went well with most of the attendees meeting that evening for a buffet dinner at a local pub “The Streets Of London”

Saturday morning came early, with the first games (8) scheduled to start at 8am. Those of us who had just taken the ref coaching course were assigned to watch new refs, and those that had just completed the ref development course were who we watched for the most part. The more established refs from out of town handled the higher level games, but if a neebie showed promise, they would be bumped up.

I had been scheduled to drive down to UOP to do their game against Sonoma, but Friday afternoon I got an email from Pete asking if I wouldn’t mind letting Gilligan do that game and me drive up to cover the Sierra men vs Sac State friendly. I said sure. We later discovered that the UOP game had been shifted to Sonoma, so Gilligan got a nice tour of Northern California.

Sierra mens club 15 – SACRAMENTO STATE 35 Ref: Eric Rauscher

On a field somewhere in Rocklin I found Scott Wood just finishing the first half of his game between Sierra and Vallejo. It was interesting to me that as I did the boot check for Sac State, I realized that two of the players on the team. Travis Haugen and Donny Deaile, I had just watched ref games at the KOT.

After Sierra had a little rest and re-organization, we played two 30 min halfs. Sac State came out strong and scored four converted tries in the first period, unanswered by Sierra. Sierra showed a propensity for lying around the ball at tackles and had to be warned often. I was expecting wisdom and guile to win out over youth and beauty, which it almost did in the second half with Sierra running in three unconverted to Sac States one converted. In the end however, those fresh young legs won the day. Sac State made a lot of early season/rookie errors, but showed promise.

Back to the KOT in time for the Saturday night Banquet, #1s and smiles all around

Sunday once again saw games starting at 8am, and was pretty much a repeat of Saturday with different divisions (all the way from U10s to Boys Varsity Gold). Once again we got to practice what we had learned on Friday. I came to a realization that the KOT has morphed from a pre-season warm up tourney, to a vehicle for an intensive program for ref development. It is almost as if the teams are there just for us to practice on. Not really, but pretty close.

Where else can you watch an 8/9 year old kid ref his first games? I repeat, GAMES. We get to watch refs develop doing 4/5/6 games over a two day period. As a learning experience it is unequaled.


The UC Santa Cruz pitch overlooks Monterey Bay, where sailboats can be seen having almost as much fun as the ruggers.


For the Senate
Pelicus Scriptoris

James Hinkin
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