Things at hand:
What a difference a month makes! After your editor's complaint last month about the lack of numbers at training, we've had a dramatic change. Training numbers have been consistently in the high 20's to low 30's and the intensity has gone up due to this. You all should know that we are a pretty reasonable team this year, and with the extra depth and competition we could turn into a very good team. So keep it up! One reason for the increase in numbers is the number of new guys who joined us after Christmas:
Lev Elson, Clint Nelson, Josh Williams, Lu Loiola, Clay Orey, David March and Gareth Mills. Gareth and David are our Kiwi Ringers, Lu rejoins us after 10 years away playing in NZ and professionally in Italy, Clay played for us a few years ago, and Lev Clint and Josh have all played in college. Also RBHS players have been making an impact, with five ex players on the team this year and accounting for 5 try's last week alone vs. South Orange County Plus we had three new guys come out this week: Sy Nease, Paul Redfern and Jason Henry. Welcome!
For all CIPP registered players we have: last year's 21 members, 2 returning prior members, 5 new members from RBHS, and 9 new members. Definitely a younger club this year (apart from Lu!).
Big news for Gurkha rugby this season, (as a result of Dave Levine happening to sell a car to a representative of Tetley's beer), we now have a $2000 sponsorship from Markstein Distributors and Tetley's. They are giving us a set of 30 jerseys, goal post pads, banners and balls. In return we must patronize establishments that serve Tetley's and be available for any promotions. What a deal! We now have an excuse to go out to new bars and drink decent beer. Plus we can wear our rugby jerseys and tell lies about being athletes to hot women! I think we owe Dave Levine our first born (daughters - our sons are already promised to the Gurkhas, plus he likes little girls!). As a result of this sponsorship, we are likely to move from the 49'er after home games, possibly to Peabodys or Tom Giblins. The 49'er has been good to us for a long time but because we're looking for a higher profile its time to move to an upscale Bar. Also over the last couple of years fewer members have been socializing at the Bar after the game. With a change of scenery perhaps this will change.
League results so far this year:
Away vs. Los Angeles
As your editor predicted, we had our work cut out for us playing Los Angeles our first game. Their forwards dominated the first half and we were hard pressed to stop their hard charging Tongans. They led 28-3 at the half. The second half was much better for us, we narrowly missed a number of try's but proved fitter than them and eventually lost 33-6, the second XV also lost We know what we have to do to beat them now. This will be the match of the season for us! Gareth had a rude introduction to US rugby with a cut and broken nose, but only missed the one game.
Away vs. Old Aztecs
We had to switch our home game vs. Old Aztecs to their field due to field scheduling and rain during the week. The game was close until midway through the second half, where our forward dominance allowed the backs to turn great possession into points. We won the A game 19-7, and were leading the second game at the half, until some injuries and lack of numbers allowed them to pull away.
Notable events on the day were:
Chris DeFalco getting knocked senseless (he's OK and will be back in a few weeks). Ray Steel un-retiring for the second's game and running down Pierre Charmasson on the wing (just caught him with an ankle tap). A.J.'s Uncle John broke 3 ribs (also OK but probably out for the season), Scott Mitchell (ex RBHS scored his first A game try for us (and had to 'shoot the boot' at the after-match).
Home vs. South Orange County
Our first home game of the season was a Sunday game vs. South Orange County. We dominated throughout and won 38-7. They got the 7 after the referee gave them a penalty try due to hands in the ruck (a very generous decision in the editor's opinion!). Matt Gardner suffered a third degree shoulder separation and will be out until the playoffs (make sure you're back by then Matty, because we'll be in them!). Gareth Mills and Alan Armstrong (ex RBHS) scored their first try's for us in the A game (shoot the boot!). Scott Mitchell scored two (before breaking his pinky finger touching the second one down with no one within 10 meters of him!), and Alan's brother Mike scored two try's in the B game (the boot awaits!). They only brought about 20 guys, so we filled in about half their Second XV. For the record, the team in S.O.C. colors beat the Team in Blue 15-10. It was a refreshing feeling for the coaches to have too many guys for the B game. Probably the first time it's ever happened in Gurkha Rugby History! After the editor complained about the standard of Referee's we've been getting, we were lucky to have Dave Peters (ex Gurkha #8) referee this game Dave hasn't reff'ed us much since he stopped playing for us, and I'm happy to see that he's turned into quite a reasonable Ref (apparently one of the top 10 in the country).
Our new Encinitas field was everything we had hoped it would be. We had high visibility (about a dozen people stopped to ask for information), and the surface was good. It should be great advertising for our new sponsor, Tetley's Beer. We also had the added bonus of some new goal posts thanks to Scott Talbot (our awesome Aussie!). We talked about new posts on Tuesday before the game, and the next thing we knew we had two new professional looking metal goal posts. They're even painted Gurkha blue and white thanks to 'Adders artistic ability. They're going to look even more awesome with the Tetley's pads around them. Thanks Okker!
A fly in the ointment!
Our two Kiwis (and Ray) have spent literally thousands of dollars coming out here to play for us this season, but they need work to be able to stay. A few days work a week isn't going to do it! Ray and John and Vino have helped out with a few days work, but if things don't improve soon they may have to move on. You all know what a difference they have already made, they both are good enough to play professionally, but instead they are playing with us. So ask your Boss, and friends and relatives and get these guys some steady work! Promises were made and so far not kept, and if we (and Ray personally) get embarrassed any more, then Ray is not likely to bring more guys out and put them up at his house. If this situation is not resolved within a week the next time you see them may be in an Old Aztecs uniform!
These 23 people are signed up for the tour so far: Joe & Pam Clarke, Ray & Claire Steel, Phil & Matt Gardner, Darin Meyers, Dave Levine, Jeff McCoy, Miguel Perez, Eric Olsen, Alan Miles and family (3), Sean O'Connell, Leonard Vargas, Chris & Tina DeFalco, John & Justine Gibb, Dan Beaulieu, Scott Wilkes, and Phil Archuletta (Archie). Also Gareth Mills and David March are planning on being there. We need more players so we've opened the tour up to other clubs. We already have some interest from the Old Aztecs and South Orange County. It's extremely reasonable, only about $1000 each for 10 fun filled days on a tropical island, playing Rugby and drinking Bahama Mama's (and perhaps a beer or three!). Touring is one of the things that makes your Rugby career complete, ask anyone who went on the world cup tour last year! This will be the experience of a lifetime, so don't miss it.
Rancho Bernardo H.S. Rugby
Once again Devon Cutrell has been coaching and organizing the RBHS Barbarians with some help from John Gibb. He has about 30 kids coming out, including a few girls. The Barbarians won their first game of the season, and this weekend are playing in Phoenix. Devon had hoped to have a youth rugby event on Feb 17th, but that has been postponed until the summer. The Barbarians do have a game on the 17th at RBHS, and if our postponed game vs. Pasadena is not played that day, then the kids need our support. Devon has been doing a great job keeping this team afloat with minimal support from the school, and the Gurkhas are now benefiting from the relationship between the two clubs. The only reason we have 5 ex players from RBHS is because of our prior involvement. So get out there and help where you can! The future of High School rugby in San Diego depends on all of us.
Thanks to Joe & Pam for having the Super Bowl Party at his house. Special mention goes to Jeff McCoy (yet again!) for showing up at halftime with the BBQ's for the cooking the halftime carne Asada (Miguel's special recipe). This guy would be late for his own funeral! Fortunately Joe had plan B, and we were able to eat on time.
Thank you John Gibb for taking care of all the CIPP and ID card paperwork. Gone for good are the old days where you just showed up with 15 or so guys and played the game. Now there is so much paperwork it's unbelievable! John has spent a lot of time on this and your editor for one is glad that he didn't have to do it!
Train Trip to the "Swallows"
This Friday Night at 6 PM we will meet at the AMTRAC station in Oceanside for a train trip to San Juan Capistrano at the now infamous "Swallows Inn". Train leaves O-Side at 6:38 PM and the last train back leaves at 11:05 PM. Roundtrip fares are $16.00, the trip only takes 30 minutes to get there. So grab your significant other and come join us for a fun night of dinner and dancing.