Written by the referee: Freitas, Larry
I arrived at CSUMB at 12:30 to discover that a few players from Fresno State would be late in arriving, delaying the game until 2pm. I had time to catch up on Marc Ferguson’s story about the rugby pitch on campus, and the advent of rugby in the last four years following its demise more than ten years ago. He has plenty out for the sport, and a number of foreign players with great skills.
Fresno State and Monterey Bay played pretty evenly during most of the first half, but the home team had more size and power overall. They scored two tries, one converted, in that first stanza. Their flyhalf, Matai Leuta, was a dominant player on the pitch. He has size, speed, and skills to his advantage, and can cut through a defense like butter through a knife, and know when and how to kick ahead.
Fresno scored early in the second half and converted, making the score, but Monterey Bay scored two tries, one on a long run by Leuta, which was converted by his drop kick in front of the posts. Fresno scored late, and I’d have to take some credit for that, as I let play go on from a kick taken by a Monterey Bay player deep in his own half near the touch line, and he had several players offside ahead, and didn’t run up field to put his team mates onside . Fresno State managed to move the ball into the center of the field, and after a breakdown and winning ruck ball, scored a try from passing the ball further across the field on the opposite.
I’m impressed by the pitch at CSUMB. It rivals that of UCSC some twenty-five miles further note. Great views of the Gabilan range to the east of nearby Salinas, and at least outside the pitch’s fence, a great view to the west and south of the Pacific Ocean and Monterey Peninsula.