The Vallejo Barbarians won their third league match against the Petaluma Leghorns at Petaluma’s Mcmear Park on Saturday 54 to 7.
The Barbarian trys were made by Nemani Ledua,Gordon Toki, Patrick Levi, Haukoula Toki, two by Taua Anitini, Joe Uqeuqe, and Doug Houseman, Patrick Levy made six point after conversions.
The Barbarians next play the Mendocino Steam Donkeys at Morton Field at 1:30 on Saturday February 7,2009.
John P Kelly
VALLEJO 40 – Shasta 8 Referee: Ray Schwartz
Referee Coach: Mike Malone
Qualified Touch Judge: Vaea Anitoni
After driving to Shasta the weekend before and yet having no game, both Shasta and I hoped for a full 80-minutes in Vallejo. Before this match, the Highlanders collectively commented on how they had never seen 10 rugby players drive so far and yet not bother to at least scrimmage, as Aptos had the week before. Hard to say, but the 25 Highlanders ready to play last week at home had now dwindled to 17 in Vallejo. I’m sure if they had played a decent match the week before, their numbers would have been higher…
Vallejo has numbers. And a field! In a stadium, with lights, and flagpole, rest rooms, man, this is legit! John Kelly never played rugby, but founded the team last year, and is blessed to have coaches Ben Whisky and Vaea Anitoni to work together on helping to change hearts and minds among the troubled youth of Vallejo. A great group with a great spirit. They lacked some discipline, some skill and some fitness…however, some of their players are fit and skillful. It made for a compelling match.
Mike Malone got me mic’ed up, and the game would be broadcast on local cable and the internet, with my voice over! Mike reported afterwards I had done a very good job of communicating, and during at least one long stretch, I did a lot of heavy breathing too!
Shasta came out blazing and scored the first points through a penalty. Vallejo would be persistently infringing at the tackle/ruck, just a fraction below earning a yellow card for repeat team infringements on the day. They collectively seemed to commit every penalty at least twice! I talked them out of what I could, and let advantage go as much as possible.
Vallejo roared back with a converted try. Play moved fast from try line to try line, but with no score. My left hamstring clamped up about 30 minutes in, ouch! Shasta missed two more attempts at goal before finally scoring an unconverted try, and take an 8-7 lead into halftime.
Shasta remained game, but the story of the second half was Vallejo raising theirs. There were some nice combinations between their centers and fullback leading to long runs. Their scrums, though a man short, dominated. Ben was really concerned about making certain to pick up the bonus point, and sure enough his 55-year old self scored the third of 6 tries in the half! The game ended with a charged down kick (in general play) caroming off the face of a Vallejo player, ricocheting forward to a teammate, who danced in for the score.
I appreciate Mike Malone’s feedback and enthusiasm after the match. Even though I project confidence, in truth I am a steaming mass of self-doubt…like so many of us. Mike pointed out my strengths, confirmed I had more than I thought (!), and provided good direction toward how I might best improve my ref skills.
Had a great chat with John Kelly afterwards, as I helped him take down his Stars and Stripes. Vallejo will host the NCRFU DIII championship at their home pitch, a facility/location filled with great potential, and yet surrounded by a largely abandoned former naval base. The aftermatch function was at John’s facility nearby, over the bridge in town, kind of a halfway house/youth center. The food was great, the spirits infectious! Great to be a part of NorCal rugby, and witness it growing in positive directions!