Written by the referee: Carter, Bruce
This was the first official game on the brand-new, full-size, all-grass, gorgeous pitch at CSUMB, and a good crowd turned out from the campus dorms, all of which are in easy walking distance.
Those of us who played for Monterey in the eighties, which includes me and the coach of the Otters, Marc Ferguson, remember when this was the Engineers’ Field, one of the sorriest patches of semi-grass ever to host a rugby practice – the one saving grace being that the old park had lights.
I would put this surface on a par only with Stanford’s in Pelicanland.
The weather, undoubtedly shared all over the region, was too good to be winter: clear, bright, warm and with cirrus clouds lingering all day.
We rarely see cirrus clouds on the coast in any season. This ‘winter’, at least for the western seaboard, has been a false one. The cherry trees are blooming and we still have bees and hummingbirds in our yard. Trees, the leaves of which I finished raking up two weeks ago, are already green again.
So, too, rugby is born during January in California.
USF certainly had the run of the first half, going up 20-0.
The home team took inspiration from a waste-laying, try-scoring long run by the their #5, playing better and getting within 3 points, 27-24, with seven minutes left to play.
College rugby crowds make more noise than most. All of the players of both teams take inspiration from this fact. I made eye contact with a USF flanker just before a key scrum, crowd blaring. We agreed that we were happy to be part of the proceedings.
USF’s captain and #10, Joe (sorry, I forgot the surname) kept calm, electing to drop a goal at a penalty chance for a six-point cushion.
Then, with my watch already having beeped, the Otters attacked desperately, flinging the ball about with abandon.
As Chick Hearn would have said, there was a hot-dog pass with too much mustard that went astray. This same Joe got there first, hacked ahead, scored and converted his own try for a comfortable, thirteen-point final cushion.
The sideline grill was ready right on time for the celebration of the new season to continue, old friends and new acquaintances alike, dedicated veterans of the sport and newly-smitten novices, all wondering why every day cannot be a Rugby Day.
|University of San Francisco||37|