Tuesday, April 25, 2006




It gives us great pride to be able to announce the following promotions, all of which have occurred in the past week:

B2: Tony Latu
C2: John Coppinger
C3: Steve DiSalvo
Barry Welsh

We love seeing our blowers get better!


Mark your calendars now for the NCRRS ANNUAL SEASON-ENDING BANQUET which will be held in San Jose on FRIDAY, JUNE 9.

The banquet will the night before the New Zealand Maori – Ireland A game in nearby Santa Clara . It will also be the evening of the close of our Pelicanrefs conference, Rugby Through the Looking Glass.

All are invited. We hope that some of the international referees in town for the Churchill Cup will attend, and the conference attendees from across the USA . But primarily, this will be our society banquet – so plan to attend even if you can't make it to the conference.

We will be awarding our famous and coveted Pelican Awards!

You might want to bring a date, get a room at the conference hotel, and stay for the big match the next day!


Speaking of the Churchill Cup, USA Rugby is seeking volunteers on their website. These are game-day opportunities to get in free, help out, and rub shoulders with some other rugby folk.

Click here: USA Rugby


Ed Hagerty needs someone to report on the collegiate finals at Stanford May 5-6. A stipend will be paid for this work.

There is a fine tradition in the Pelican Society of writing for Rugby Magazine.

Scriptoris cannot count the articles and letters he's had published in that esteemed periodical, but alas, he will be refereeing the military nationals in Georgia that weekend.

Brian Gildea often reported for them and Ray Schwartz has more recently been gracing their pages with regularity. Ray is unavailable that weekend.

Do not fear if your wordsmithing skills are not of the first water, if in turning a phrase you often strangle it, or if you evince a paucity of sesquipedalian lexicon: Ed edits submissions to death. Some of this writer's most mellifluously flowing sentences have engendered three or four pedestrian, staccato paragraphs.

If you have the facts right we'll have you writing in precisely the style the young Scriptoris was using in his pages a quarter-century and more ago now. And your own byline to boot!


This tournament, now in its second year at Stanford, now has a website and Dan Hickey would like for you to have a look at it:


Touch judges are needed for this event, May 13-14, at the Steuber Family Rugby Stadium.


OLYMPIC CLUB 29 – Huntington Beach 11 Referee: Jim Crenshaw
Touch Judges: Sam Reagle, Pete Smith
Fourth Official: Scott Wood
Assessor: Dixon Smith

The Olympic Club and San Mateo will travel and swap opponents next week.

San Mateo 20 – LAS VEGAS 31 Referee: Pete Smith
Touch Judges: John Pohlman, Sandy Robertson
Fourth Official: Jim Crenshaw
Evaluator: Mike Malone

San Mateo scored the first twenty points and then saw their lead evaporate in the second half. This is reminiscent of last year, when San Mateo lost to Las Vegas at the same stage of the USA playoffs.

Last year they both managed to advance from the CR1 playoffs to the nationals.

Back Bay 23 – HAYWARD 25 Referee: Dana Teagarden

Hayward went to Orange County and came home with a victory over the team that came in second in the USA last year.

As a reward, now they get to play the team that came in first, Santa Monica , at home next Saturday. Tony Latu will referee this one.

Haggis lost to defending champions Santa Monica .

The current standing, based on won-loss records with bonus points and point differential, are as follows:

Olympic Club
Las Vegas
Santa Monica
Back Bay
San Mateo

Each team has one more game and then the top five advance to the USA playoffs. San Mateo will travel to play the Unicorns. If they can win with four tries, they should be through.

Olympic Club will play in Vegas. A victory, or a close loss, and they will be through.

Hayward will host Santa Monica on Saturday, with Tony Latu refereeing. This will be an epic match. Plan to attend!


Santa Rosa and Baracus both lost in the first round of these playoffs in Tucson . Lois Bukowski and Aruna Ranaweera refereed at the event.


MISSION defeated Bend
STANISLAUS defeated Scottsdale

MISSION defeated Stanislaus and advances to the nationals May 13-14.


California 17 – AIR FORCE 20

Chico State 8 – ARMY 15

STANFORD 50 – West Chester 11
STANFORD 79 – North Carolina 7

Stanford, defending their national title and on a bit of a roll, advances to the final four at home and will play Navy in one semi-final. Penn State and Ohio State are the other two teams.


UC Davis 11 – PENN STATE 34

The men's semi-finals at Stanford will be Cal – Utah and BYU – Penn State .


UC SANTA CRUZ 36 – Denison University 7
UC SANTA CRUZ 32 – Northeastern 29

The finalists at Stanford will be the Banana Slugs and Plymouth State .


HUMBOLDT STATE 28 – Georgia Southern 27
Humboldt State 6 – COAST GUARD 12

This will be the only competition at Stanford in two weeks that does not have a Northern California team involved. The Coast Guard Academy will play defending champs Northern Colorado for the title.

Further details on the games played at Witter Field this past weekend:


BRIGHAM YOUNG 73 – Wyoming 3 Referee: Pat McNally ( USA )
Touch Judges: Jim Crenshaw, Bruce Carter
Fourth Officials: Scott Wood, David Williamson

CAL POLY SLO 83 – Perdue 13 Referee: Jason Harper (SoCal)
Touch Judges: Jim Crenshaw, Bruce Carter
Fourth Official: Scott Wood
Referee Coach: David Williamson


CALIFORNIA 45 – UC Santa Barbara 15
NAVY 46 – Clemson 35
PERDUE 22 – Wyoming 15 Referee: Jason Harper (SoCal)
BYU 55 – Cal Poly 7 Referee: Pat McNally ( USA )

All who watched BYU had to have been impressed with the weekend's performance. They are big, strong, fast and almost always not only do they tackle behind the gainline, they drive the ball-carrier even further back.


UC SANTA BARBARA 32 – Clemson 22
Referee: Bob Toomy
Touch Judges: Kat Todd-Schwartz, David Williamson
Fourth Officials: Pat McNally, Scott Wood

CALIFORNIA 29 – Navy 12
Referee: Tim Luscombe
Touch Judges: Pat McNally, Bob Toomy
Fourth Officials: Rob Hendrickson, Scott Wood

The referees for this pool were Tim Luscombe and Bob Toomy (both USA ). We do not know which games they each did (but the webmaster does).


SF/Golden Gate OB 24 - HAYWARD OLD BOYS 33 Referee: Ray Schwartz
Touch Judge: Terry Gascoigne

I arrived at TI early to find the field looking good, but getting watered. After 8 weeks of rain, the thought was, "How crazy is that?" Still the rain predicted for the weekend never materialized, and the sun even poked out at times.

Upon parking right in front of the Clubhouse, I found Bjorn Stumer assembling furniture for the new referee's room. I helped him by sorting out the seat cushions, and carrying many loads of goods into the room. Then made my way out to check on the field and the gathering players. There I encountered Ray Sheeran, the old SF Irish rugger who has served so well as this new field's keeper.

Ray explained with the lack of rain the past 7 days, the surface was getting quite hard, and so the one cycle across with the automatic sprinklers would provide a little give. Ray also pointed out two small iffy patches, where I would later make certain no scrums took place.

As I prodded him with questions, he then went into a lengthy discussion of how the field was built, and how with its heavy use, plus 8 straight weeks of rain, the pitch has been put to an extraordinary test. One persistent muddy patch had worried him. He dug down to find a concrete floor that had trapped storm runoff. A new pile of broken concrete added to the pile of old barracks' footings (along the northeast corner of the try zone) and that problem area was solved.

Two full sides were slowly assembling. Time was taken to say hi to several old friends. And then back to the clubhouse where I enjoyed the special distinction of being the first to kit up (and to later hold a post-match court) in our new ref's lounge. 10 weeks from my left knee cleanup and microfracture, I strapped on my hi-tech DonJoy brace, and stepped outside to coax some rugby out of a bunch of old men!

Hayward sported a few massive Islanders: Fijian Ben Whiskey, and Tongans Takataka and Loketi. That plus the likes of Adam Perry and Kyle Davis in the back line and I wondered if this would be a slaughter. But SFGG countered with Mike Comstock, and the fight was on.

Hayward scored first and looked to be in command. Gate answered back, but the Griffins took a 19-5 lead into the half. I 'felt' my knee just a few times, but the brace kept my tracking true. Overall I was amazed to feel just fine. I was able to keep up with slow-as-molasses play, as well as doing a decent job of keeping players on their feet, and on sides.

It was actually starting to warm up. As the second half started, the Golden Gaters started grousing, "How much time ref?" This went on for the next 20 minutes, but they raised their game well, actually drawing to within 2 points late in the second half. Mike Gadoua finished a nifty outside move. Richie Hennum did some smackin' about. Dude Bernstein surprised even himself stripping a ball at a tackle. Barry Welsh distributed the ball well at times for Gate. Dan "Sticks" O'Connell played great outside Barry Welsh for the Gaters, setting up trys and scoring his own as well..

But Hayward closed out the scoring. After about 45 minutes of 'action' I could hardly coax another moment out of these clowns. Cheers all around, and then a few funny sodas started to flow.

We were amused to watch Comstock and Whiskey play again, in the Berkeley v. SFGG match handled by Bjorn. We then retired to the clubhouse and were pleased to find the walls just keep getting covered with more and more cool rugby memorabilia. The food and grog was good for sure, but the camaraderie was awesome. So many of us who were once rivals now sat together to revel in the glory of it all.

Denver arrived, and eventually the Super League match started up. For those who saw SFGG earlier in the year, I can report the pace of the game they are playing really has gone up a few notches. Aaron Satchwell and Phillipe Farner were on the sidelines, but youngsters were stepping up and stepping in well.

Checked in with Dan Hickey were we talked some business for the upcoming Pacific Coast Invitational HS Tournament. Enjoyed saying hello to the likes of Fred Forester and Paul Still, and then ran into Eagle Tina Nesberg, just back from her trip to Hong Kong . She had kindly scored some booty on my behalf, and so I promptly put my new pink polka-dotted Pot Bellied Pigs RFC jersey!

Late in the day, after the Super League match I came back to the ref's room to shower and clear out my gear. I walked in on Dave Peters being debriefed by Bunny. They were in great spirits. Dave exclaimed, "This is the best ref's quarters in the land!" That's pretty good, especially considering the paint is still drying and the lockers haven't even gone in yet.

SFGG D1/U23, 43 – Berkeley RFC 10 Referee: Bjorn Stumer

Ominous clouds gave way to brilliant sunshine at the Treasure Island home of SF Golden Gate where the hosts' under 23 side met to face a determined Berkeley R.C. side. Although SF Golden Gate prevailed on the day, Berkeley surprised with a spirited performance that saw them only 5 points behind their hosts at the closing of the first half. Of notice was their bullocking try by local Fijian stalwart Ben "Whiskey".

SF Golden Gate likes its tries from deep and hugging the touch line. Their number 11 obliged with a couple of them, one of which was converted. They did not change their game plan at the second half and more of the same ensued with their numbers 14 & 20 both notching a couple of tries. Four conversions sealed the score, but Berkeley refused to give up & scored a brilliant try in the corner at the closing minutes of the match.

It was obvious that both sides were missing players, but they both played a clean, hard, and fast match. It is to be noted that a few players, like old hand front row Mike Comstock, were on their second match of the day. Overall a great day of rugby at Treasure Island . Final score: SFGG 43 - Berkeley R.C. 10

SF/GOLDEN GATE 36 – Denver 21 Referee: Dave Peters
Touch Judges: John Coppinger, Tony Latu
Fourth Official: Scott Wood
Assessor: David Williamson

The Defenders of the Golden Gate solidified their hold on second place with a victory in their third (and last) home game of the regular season.

They have road games the next two weekends at undefeated Belmont Shore and at tied-for-next-to-last Dallas .



JESUIT 50 – East Palo Alto 0 Referee: Sam Reagle
Touch Judges: Mike Villierme, Dave Miller

Silicon Valley , the second place finisher in the Skyhawk conference, cried out of this match. The third- and fourth-place teams declined the opportunity to step up and play Jesuit. Fifth-place finisher East Palo Alto were happy to compete, even though they didn't have a full squad.

East Palo Alto represents much that is good about our game: driving a long way, without fifteen, to play against the best. Good for them!

Jesuit and their fans, we are sure, appreciate the game. They are in the fine-tuning stages for another run at a national title.

Jesuit will next play the winner of Lamorinda – Montgomery in a semi-final that will be refereed by Pete Smith.

Wednesday, 7:30 PM:

Lamorinda – Montgomery Referee: Lois Bukowski

Live Oak 7 – VACAVILLE 12 Referee: Rich Anderson

If anybody has any question as to what high school rugby is all about, this playoff match between Live Oak and Vacaville would have been a great place to catch the fever: A nice well-marked pitch in Morgan Hill; parents covering both side lines; coaches who were really invested into their players; and players playing hard, tough Rugby.

Live Oak scored the only points in the first half with a converted try minutes in the match. The rest of the first half saw Oak squander a few scoring opportunities and Vacaville beginning to get their bearings. In the second half, Vacaville began pounding the ball time and time again with their centers and almost always gaining positive yards. Two Vacaville tries put them up by 5 with about 10 minutes remaining. The remainder of the match saw aggressive rucking and tackling from both squads, with both teams laying everything on the line. No points were scored, but it was a wonderful 10 minutes with back and forth play and intensity.

Final score was Vacaville 12-Live Oak-7. It was a fine day of rugby for everyone present, including my wife who found many ways to kill 3 hours at the Gilroy Mall Outlets.

Vacaville will face the winner of Elsie Allen – Hayward in a semi-final that will be refereed by Jim Crenshaw.

Elsie Allen – Hayward Referee: Joe Leisek
Touch Judges: Bo Rodman, ONE MORE NEEDED

This game will be Saturday, April 29, at noon.


BURBANK walked over Peninsula Green by forfeit. Burbank will host GOLDEN GATE, who also won by forfeit from Santa Rosa .

Aptos 0 – RIO RUGBY 24 Referee: John Pohlman

The high school playoffs have started. Aptos was hosting Rio Americana at Aptos High School 's football field. The field is pretty beat-up but it's the same for both teams, so play on.

This was a very physical game. Many hard tackles but very clean without any big flair-ups.

Aptos won the toss and decided to kick off. Rio recycled well. Continued to wear down the Aptos defense until Rio was able to convert their first score at the 13th minute. #1 Cody Dodge finished off a numerous phase ball with a crashing drive over the line.

The rest of the game was outstanding recycling by Rio with great tackling by Aptos.

Captain and #10 Sean Gallingar did all the kicking for Rio . Sean converted a penalty and all three tries for Rio . He was the man of the match.

Rio Rugby will play the winner of:

Friday 6 PM:

Sonoma– Antioch Referee: Bo Rodman

All four Sacramento Valley teams defeated or won by forfeit against the four Skyhawk conference teams.

The Sac Valley conference must be one of the strongest in the USA .

Tune-up Match for the Bingham Cup:

USF over Fog Referee: Bryant Byrnes

after 2 after 3

USF 41 58
Fog 26 33

Beach Chalet Field, GG Park. The Fog - 100 members strong - are tuning up to defend the Bingham Cup in NY in May. This is in memory of Mark Bingham, former Cal player, former Fog player and one of the heroes of Flight 93 on 9/11. There will be 30 teams competing for the Cup this year. The Fog have won the first two.

USF - who started with 16 players - is simply one of those D2 teams that has gotten immeasurably better over the season. My first match of the season in October was with these two teams and Fog won easily.

There were three 30-minute periods. The Fog tried various combinations and played 40 plus players. USF simply played.

The extraordinarily jolly and somewhat incestuous relationship between the teams (whodda thunk it?) was amply demonstrated at the drink-up at one of the Fog's many, many watering holes. Delightful; hilarious.

PS-check out the Fog website:

Fog Rugby | Home of the San Francisco Fog R.F.C.

San Jose State women 12 - SAN JOSE STATE ALUMNAE- 56 Referee: Larry Freitas

Played at Spartan Stadium's side pitch, with a few less each side than the 15 players needed, Alumnae ran in a number of tries to win in the curtain raiser to the alumni match. Some of the Alumnae had played in the first year of women's rugby at San Jose State , 1998, and on through to the early 2000's. The older players, many not playing currently, hadn't lost any form.

Karl Laucher is organizing a new women's club for next season, recruiting some of his former SJS players, based out of Los Gatos .


Post-season high school friendly:

PITS 32 – Berkeley 15 Referee: Rob Hendrickson

Berkeley Rhinos finally got to play on their home field to host their long time rival PITS at Gabe's Field in Berkeley . PITS had a strong first half with 4 tries, while the Rhinos came back in the second half to score 3 tries to 2.

Piedmont 3 – LAMORINDA 48 Referee: Bryant Byrnes

Monday night. After waiting for the current bane of high school rugby – high school lacrosse – to remove themselves from the field, a traditional rivalry was renewed. Indeed, these teams played each other for the State championship in 1997.

This year Lamo had all of the guns. In a tune-up for the play-offs, the first side played perhaps 20 minutes and there was no stopping these boys. I think their inside center scored three times. But Piedmont refused to be lashed and played hard for 70 minutes.

BERKELEY RHINOS 29 – Antioch 26 Referee: Bryant Byrnes

Tuesday night. ''Sure you missed that knock on. But it was a clean game, there were lots of points, and it was close at the end. A good game!'' So said one of my touch judges.

Indeed. Although Berkeley takes its Free Speech legacy a bit too seriously, it played opportunistically and aggressively, scoring quickly and keeping the pressure on. 12-7 at half, Antioch opened it up in the second half, niftily dotting it in the corner for the last score, but ran out of time. Congratulations to both teams and their coaches for good rugby and fine seasons.


This was certainly the best-attended April society meeting we've ever had. Is it the quality of the speakers? It is the free buffet dinner? Is it the SF/Golden Gate clubhouse, bar and fantastic referee changing room?

It's the clubhouse!

Standing, left to right: Tom Martinez, Dixon Smith, Jake Rubin, Sam Reagle, Lois Bukowski, Bartender Pete Smith, Kat Todd-Schwartz, Mike Malone, Paul Bretz, Chris Parkhouse, John Pohlman, Rich Anderson, John Cullom, John Coppinger, Edward Barfels, Toshi Paloma

Front leaning rest: Scott Wood

Not standing, left to right: Bruce Carter, Aruna Ranaweera, Deb Hart, Tony Latu, Jim Crenshaw, David Williamson

Photographer: Mike Gadoua


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Pelicus Scriptoris