Friday, October 17, 2008

A Long Rough Week

I'm finally getting back into being in school...doing those great little things like reading occasionally and participating in class and occasionally thinking. Practice has been doing swell...we're down to about 25 rookies or thereabouts which is a lot easier to handle...relatively speaking. We've gotten into contact but not positional stuff...or rucks really...erm yea tomorrow should be interesting. They're fairly comfortable with contact and we worked them into the "try dot" drill (two players, one gets the ball, they both have to run around a cone and the ball carrier tries to score on the opposite starting point while the defender attempts to tackle) which is always a fun one. Intensity is improving but handling fundamentals fluctuate a lot...inconsistent passes etc. But duh they've had like six practices. The ABs are holding their annual Hit Like a Bear clinic and yea we'll see what happens at the scrimmage. What else..I'm beat and should hit the sack for tomorrow.

sidenote...I didn't realize the National Women's Club Championship was so close..well hopefully they provide dvds of the matches like last time.

Wednesday, October 08, 2008

Delayed Match Report on the All Blues vs Minnesota Valkyries

Partially because I had an irritable night afterwards...ach well I'm letting myself get annoyed lately. Focus on is secondary ( I could ever pull that one off).

So the official match scores are up on Hail Pelicus apparently the ABs beat the Mudhens a while back 102-0. Last Saturday the All Blues took out the Valkyries 53-14 in a bruising match. There weren't a whole lot of injuries but you could definitely hear the hits from the sideline. Berkeley had the Valks pretty contained for the first half but as substitutions rolled in for both sides after the half Berkeley's defensive organization definitely suffered. I could be wrong but I'm pretty sure Christy Riggenberg scored both tries for the Valkyries.

Berkeley was fielding some familiar stars but not all of them. I'm getting a wee bit better at picking out the squad, Chou was at 1 and Biscuit was tighthead...couldn't tell who was at hooker but she looked familiar..might have been a Cal or Davis alum. It was odd seeing Tina at lock, and one of their flankers used to play for the London Wasps, Street at flank, Blair was 8, Jossy was at 9 and Steph Bruce was at fly. Ruth Bryson was at inside and I think Meagan Verdeyen was at outside. Natalie Marchino at 14 and Ashley English at 15. The roster definitely switched around a lot but yea this is how it was at least for a bit in the first half. The All Blues weren't having their typical rampant backline runs despite seeming to have a speed advantage. Props has to be given to the Valkyrie defense and their scrum for preventing Berkeley from using it as a good platform for attack (which is starting to look like a bit of a pattern). Jossy had a great match at 9, and scored a try off a defensive scrum when she used a perfectly timed hit to jar her opposing scrumhalf's pass, chased down the ball, and touched it down for a try. Berkeley did a good job stripping the valkyrie ballcarriers in the first half leading to a good number of turnovers. Berkeley's outside center also had a tendency of making a few fifty-fifty passes and the ABs pop passes were a little rough in general. Stephanie Bruce made a few great runs and seemed to boss the backline pretty well. Her inside center had made a few rugby league-esque tackles that weren't called. On the Valkyries side they were pretty good at maintaining possession for a good couple of phases when they had the ball but their runs weren't really breaking the gainline and often ended up with a speculative kick and a turnover of possession to the ABs who were all too happy to switch gears and attack. Berkeley wasn't able to counter-ruck as much as they normally do.

On the sidelines there was a good amount of spectators including a number of AB alum which was a cool show of support. I got to talk a bit with Ellen Owens (UC Berkeley's head coach, ex Grizzly U-23 coach) about the somewhat difficult task of pinning down the effects of the new ELVs. Lois Bukowski was also in the stands as well and one of our own alumni whose name is escaping me... who just moved back to the bay and apparently is looking to rejoin the blues. Sidenote I had no idea Laura Cabrera used to be a fly-half! Yea I know I'm just a kid so I'm not privy to all this info that's a duh statement to everyone else. Jen Crouse was also in civvies on the sidelines and Cabrera was patrolling the sidelines with coaching clip in hand. HP from Stanford was there and so was ORSU for part of the match and San Juanita Moreno (3 full caps at outside center u-23 eagle and grizzly and Western Oregon Alumni). Right so overall a good day to be a rugby spectator =]

The ABs played their last league game on Sunday against the Fog beating them 55-5. One of my D2 buddies Georgi Ellis (alumni prop from Cal State Sacramento NCRFU #2) started for the ABs on Sunday which is pretty tight. Long story short uh All Blues won the PCRFU (duh) ORSU takes 2nd seed and the Mudhens take third.

Other matches: ORSU beat the Valkyries 46-15...dunno how competitive/serious the match was. ORSU also beat the fog 45-12. Yea Treasure Island saw a helluva lot of rugby last weekend.

Anyways...shit that was a lot to talk about. Erm...what else...this weekend the Davis Double Deckers are hosting a round robin at Davis with Chico State, Sac State, and the Sacramento Amazons. The Berkeley All Blues are hosting their annual 'hit like a bear clinic' at treasure island on Oct 18th 9-4 and hell yes we'll be there for $25 bucks in advance it's a steal (but they haven't posted a site so we can't sign up yet). We'll be hosting our own tournament on Nov 1st. Scrum by the Sea the weekend after that...our match secretary is giving us our schedule tomorrow at practice so we'll see.

Ugh that leads me to I kinda screwed up and overstepped my self imposed boundaries on my involvement with the team this quarter. I'm only here for a quarter and I'm attempting to stay as far away as possible from any sort of decision making or advisory role when it comes to vet stuff. I'm here to coach rookies and keep my skills sharp "." I've done a fairly good job shutting up but this shit is hard! It's their team now, they can do whatever they like....argh fuckit I'm not going to discuss it. It just sucks being a politics major where you're TRAINED to identify and question the origins of policy making. But this turns me to a happier subject.

So tomorrow will be practice #4 and we're still getting around 40 rookies out to practice...maybe it's down to 35 but still that's a shitload. And the pace is still going well...we introduced light contact with pads yesterday. Needless to say I'm stoked. Our lines are looking serviceable, everyone is picking stuff up fairly quickly and integrating well with the rest of the team. There are some exciting ass kids in this bunch and fun folk as well. Had a film night team dinner on Tuesday and played the most ridiculous name ice-breaker ever (mwahahahaaaa I know 9/10 of the rookies names). Ohh! The new coach from ORSU. Apparently she played her college games for Reed, played for ORSU, then moved to Connecticut and coached a bit there (her names Myca? Mica?). Seems nice, loud, clear. Yup. Danni my old prop showed up yesterday and was helping instruct as well. So four forwards coaches...erm so I might slip into more of a player mode which is fine with me.

What else...Women Eagles posted a cool new set of videos interviewing different national team players on "what it means to be an Eagle"

with Jamie Burke:

Ashley English:

and Emily:

Er lastly there's been a lot of chit chat about the format of PCRFU playoffs because Utah is finally gonna be involved this year (or so they say). Initially the PNRFU were going to get two seeds and NCRFU #2 was going to get bumped out so Utah would have a spot. Now it looks like there is going to be a challenge match between PNRFU #2 and NCRFU #2 hosted by PNRFU over the spot which seems to be fair especially because NCRFU still holds the top PCRFU seed spot (and national ranking). But yea when it comes to UCSC's post-season stuff it's really up to these young guns. So as it stands...

PCRFU Playoffs

Host: NCRFU (natural rotation - NC '09, U '10, PN '11)
Dates: April 3/4, 2009 (Fri/Sat)
Venue: TBD
Point of Contact: TBD
If PN2:
Match A: NC1 v PN2
Match B: U1 v PN1
If NC2:
Match A: NC1 v U1
Match B: NC2 v PN1

Match C: Loser A v Loser B
Match D: Winner A v Winner B
Winner D = PC 1
Loser D = PC 2
Winner C = PC 3
Loser C = PC 4

Lastly I've been checking out my options for moving to the Bay. North/West Oakland or Emeryville looks to be my best bet balancing the price/security issue. I'd be jumping into some deep waters for a kid used to the beachy (heh in more ways then one) parts of LA but I think I'd have enough of a support network. BLeh my paycheck was waaaaaaay smaller then I had hoped (they took out damn near 500 bucks in taxes) but I ought to have enough (if I don't have to fix my damn this point maybe I could convince someone to just steal it...). Right...well I'd join the Blues...duh. I heard some rumor from Ellen that Vallejo is trying to start a women's team but it's late and this has taken the better part of an hour so I'll look it up later.

Friday, October 03, 2008

Two Practices Down, A New Coach? and a Showdown on Treasure Island

The last two practices I've been working almost exclusively with the rookies. Doing the same old shit but things are running smoother (kinda). There's still about forty-five girls coming out. We'll see what this number inevitably shrinks to. Lots of talented rookies, and for the most part a good attitude and work rate. Everyone seems to be picking up the drills fairly well. I'm still suffering the ill effects of this cold but hopefully I'll be able to kick it. I got new running shoes for everyday life and they're a vast improvement to what I was wearing before. Apparently a woman showed up after Thursday's practice asking if she could help out coaching (people are saying that she's used to coach ORSU) obviously this would be a frickin amazing boon but the details are sketchy 'cause I wasn't there and I can't get any concrete answers about the incident from anyone. I'll definitely update as the details come in. Kickoff for tomorrows game is at 12:30 and I'm totally going to be their for the All Blue vs Minnesota Valkyrie game, it's at SFGG field. Sidenote, apparently there's a collegiate round robin oct 11 in sac I don't think we were invited but I'll try and post more details about it later. Yup that's it. Short but sweet.

Some quick **edits***. We'll see how much of a match this turns out to be...I did a little research in the morning and San Diego recently beat the Valks 31-26, a close match and the Surfers are no push-over team but yea...this is going to be against the All Blues. Also while the Valkyries traditionally hold a strong spot in the national seeding they kind of squandered their #3 seed last year by losing 17-7 against ORSU (a team that the All Blues beat last weekend). The Valkyries will be having a rematch against ORSU on Sunday while the ABs will play the Fog but I won't be able to catch those match ups. Hm apparently the Valkyries played the Twin City Amazons on the same day and won 19-12 which is a better sign. Did I mention I dislike the midwest's TAU site (I couldn't find a single mention of women's senior club rugby)? Granted I wasn't super searching but it should be easier then that. Also in the lead up to this match the Valks beat Chicago North Shore in an a-side match 53-0 (Chicago having some standout eagle 7s players like Pam Kosanke and Teena Mastrangelo). I checked the Valkyries official roster and it was kind of odd 'cause their website lists Barb Fugate as their coach while their cipped roster lists Martha Daines and Jane Tierney (also listed on their website) and their site seems rather up to date so I don't know the story behind that one. They have 26 rostered players like Kris Zdanczewicz (World Cup Standout flanker and duh fully capped Eagle) Christy Ringgenberg (current captain of the world cup bound Eagle 7s squad). There are probably more on the team but I'm just a little norcal journalist (*cough* *cough* more like starstruck fan) so I don't know the ins and outs of midwest rugby. Oh it should be noted that the Surfers participated in last years Sweet 16s (by beating belmont who in turn had taken the spot from Austin) and lost in the first round as well to the Atlanta Harlequins (the only D1 team in the south). Just for sake of comparison the ABs have 45 rostered active players. Alright that's enough number running for today.