Written by the referee Larry Freitas
It was another Saturday drive southward to near the Monterey Peninsula, arriving at Cal State Monterey Bay, this time under sunny skies and a temperature that read 67F on my car’s thermometer, over ten degrees warmer from the previous weekend’s cold front weather. Both teams were warming up, and unlike last week, in which there was ample time to have the ladies team re-line the pitch, there wasn’t enough time today. Note to CSUMB: this needs to be done before every game! The touch lines, halfway, goal and dashed lines were all hard to see during the match. CSUMB’s pitch is one of the best in the state, has the real-deal goal posts, and so on; it’s well beyond “course rugby” conditions I’ve played on, officiated, and watched as a spectator from time to time since January of 1973.
Santa Rosa Junior College Bear Cubs would score the first try of the match three minutes in, when Devante Manning, who plays inside center, wearing number 12, and stands about 6’3” and probably weighs upwards of 240 pounds, ran in a try that was unconverted; I had to warn a CSUMB flanker that I was the referee and would officiate the game in these early minutes as well. Many minutes would go by before there would be another score, as both teams struggled to put together any sort of meaningful attack, and were hard-done by defenses that wouldn’t give. I sensed that Santa Rosa was the team that would eventually get an upper hand in this game, and they did. A penalty at 35 minutes put the visitors up 8-0, and some six minutes later, one minute into injury time, another unconverted try was scored to put them up by 13-0. There was still a few minutes of injury time left in the first half, and the Otters were able to put pressure on Santa Rosa deep in their half; an infringement at a ruck gave the home team an opportunity to kick a penalty for three points as time expired.
Seven minutes into the second half Santa Rosa was able to win a tighthead some ten meters out from CSUMB’s goal line, and once again Devante Manning scored after taking a pass from his outside half. The conversion followed, and it wasn’t too long before Santa Rosa had another opportunity to score a try, this time from a tap penalty just inside ten meters of the goal line, when CSUMB’s players failed to turn and face as they retreated to their goal line. CSUMB would have their chance to score a try when a penalty kick to touch didn’t find it from deep inside Santa Rosa’s end. A counterattack from halfway started; one of their centers who has pace touched down under the posts after a long run that included a few missed tackles from swerves; the easy conversion complemented that phase of play. As the game wore on to its conclusion, it seemed the weather was taking its toll on the energy of the players. Some players made mention of the fact this was the first game of the season played with warm and sunny conditions. If anything Santa Rosa seemed the fitter of the two sides. Two soft tries would be scored very near the end of the match, the last in injury time, for Santa Rosa to increase their lead before no-side was whistled. The game ended with the Santa Rosa scoring 39 points to CSUMB’s 10.
Both teams had a mixture of new and more experienced players. A few times I caught players on the deck, after releasing the ball, snatching it back into their hands and arms again while still on the ground. It’s also good to see more rucking from the defensive side, not just letting a team in possession “win” a ruck without a contest for the ball, and both teams used this tactic at various times in the match.
Menlo, a newcomer to the game, played both teams in a round-robin of sevens afterward. With a slight muscle twinge in my right hamstring, I let one of the CSUMB coaches take over the officiating duty.
Finally, I don’t understand why the big tarmac that lies between the pitch and the parking lot isn’t used for parking as well. Seems silly. Even the portable toilet had been moved from near the gate of the pitch to the middle of the tarmac, a good distance away! That’s a long walk after a match back to the parking. CSUMB’s admin needs to do something about this, and it would also be nice to have a parking permit vending machine near the pitch as well.
|12:00 pm||NorCal Collegiate Rugby Conference||2015-2016||2/6/16|
|Santa Rosa Junior College||39|