Monday, May 15, 2006




Joe Leisek has been promoted to B3 by the Pacific Coast referee society, on the strength of several performances the season immediately past!

Joe will be getting married next month, so this is shaping up as a red-letter year for him.


The annual end-of-season banquet for our referee society will be Friday, June 9, at 7 PM. Plan now to attend, whether you will be able to attend the two-day conference or not.

We’ll be enjoying dinner and companionship at one of the South Bay’s finest restaurants:

Paolo’s Restaurant
333 W. San Carlos St.

The annual, attractive and much-coveted Pelican Awards will be presented. Don’t miss out!

‘Rugby Through the Looking Glass’, our two-day international conference for referees, will be well-worth your time and travel. David Williamson has arranged for a top-notch group of speakers for Thursday and Friday, June 8 and 9.

Plan to attend the conference and stay at the Crowne Plaza Hotel in downtown San Jose. Call Robyn Clever at 800-675-3202 to make your arrangements.


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

Folks are also needed to help out with some distinguished visitors: drivers are needed to take Iain Goodall (Scotland Referee Manager) and Robert Horner (past president of the RFU and friend of Murray Felstead) around - apart from airport and match days.

USA Rugby Referee Manager Ed Todd had this to say about our hosting abilities:

“The Northern California Refs are absolutely great, and have a long history and reputation for hosting anyone who knows which end of the whistle to blow into.”

Let’s not let him down. Contact Ed if you’d like to help make these visitors’ visits better.


Thursday, May 18:
SF/Golden Gate U-23 versus Crawshay’s Welsh

Saturday, May 20:
U-17 tournament at Jesuit (exact status unknown)

Two rugby games at the Livermore Scottish Games

Paul Bretz will be refereeing the OMBAC – NYAC super league quarterfinal

Memorial Day weekend:
Nothing of which we are aware in NorCal

Lois Bukowski will be refereeing the third (and her third) Mark Bingham Cup in New York City

Saturday, June 3:
National championship weekend for men’s D1, 2, and 3 in San Diego.

USA versus Ireland A at the Churchill Cup in Santa Clara

Wednesday, June 7:
USA versus NZ Maori at the Churchill Cup

Thursday and Friday, June 8 – 9:
Pelicanrefs.con, ‘Rugby Through the Looking Glass’ at the Crowne Plaza Hotel in San Jose

Friday, June 9:
An old boys memorial tournament on the campus of Santa Clara University

Friday, June 9:
Annual NCRRS banquet at Paolo’s in San Jose, 7 PM

Saturday, June 10:
USA Super League Final at the Churchill Cup in Santa Clara

Ireland A versus NZ Maori at the same venue

Saturday, June 17:
Three rugby games at the Campbell Scottish Games

Saturday, June 24:
Palo Alto Tonik Summer Sevens Series begins


Jim Crenshaw is holding a supply of the current IRB lawbooks. All current members of the society are entitled to one free of charge. Additional books may be purchased for five dollars.

At a minimum, a good Pelicanref should have a lawbook in the kit bag, in the car, next to the bed and by the throne.

Let Jim know if you need the free one and/or if you’d like to buy some more!


The second annual PC HS tournament was held at Steuber Family Rugby Stadium at Stanford this past weekend.

Success has many fathers but this tournament appears to be the brainchild of Dan Hickey. Mike Sagehorn, Frank Merrill, Ray Schwartz and Steve DiSalvo were also observed doing a lot of work to make things happen by this reporter.

Pacific Coast referee chairman Mark Ormsby and PNW referee chairman John Chapman attended and did a fine job coordinating the officials. They refereed, along with Andrew Ormsby of Utah and Sean O’Connell of PNW.

Pelicanrefs also helping out were: Paul Bretz, Lois Bukowski, Bruce Carter, Jim Crenshaw, Tony Latu, Rachel Lawton, Aruna Ranaweera, Sandy Robertson, Pete Smith and David Williamson.

This writer was present on Saturday but not on Sunday and has not received any reports on the various finals.

‘Feature’ Match:

Jesuit B 0 – CRAWSHAYS WELSH 102 Referee: Bruce Carter
Touch Judges: Mark Ormsby, John Chapman

A team representing the best age-grade players of Welsh extraction throughout Britain assembled for the occasion of playing a local high school B side.

They had beaten sweet sixteen team Univ. of New Mexico 58 – 32 Wednesday night in Albuquerque and probably should have been playing Cal.

Three old men, two with flags and one with a whistle, tried their best but couldn’t keep up. The Welsh speedsters ran with abandon, shed tacklers with aplomb, passed with creativity and scored tries with the regularity of a time bomb ticking down to zero.

The Jesuit players asked for no quarter and played through to the final whistle.


ISLANDERS 20 – Lamorinda 19 Referee: Paul Bretz
According to the ref, this was the game of the day on Sunday, a real barn-burner.

Golden Gate U-23 – CRAWSHAYS WELSH Referee: John Chapman
No report received. We’ll go out on a limb and guess that the visitors won this one.

A final:

LIVE OAK – East Palo Alto Referee: Pete Smith
No report received except that Live Oak won.

B final:

PENINSULA GREEN 52 – Fullerton Youth 0 Referee: Paul Bretz

C final:

CHUCKAWNUT BAY 32 – South Bay Exiles 5 Referee: Jim Crenshaw

A Grizzly Shield competition was held in conjunction with the HS tournament for women’s U-23. NorCal, Pacific NW and Utah competed on Saturday for Grizzly selection and training that was held on Sunday.

Tournament Scenes

Paul Bretz:

“I might also add that Crenshaw was late for his game; Players started the game without him. He also forgot his whistle and had to borrow Pete's”

Jim Crenshaw:

“I would like to thank Pete for graciously loaning me his whistle. I might add that the players were having a brilliant game before I showed up.”

Bruce Carter:

After refereeing the runaway train that was the Welsh touring side, I ran touch for four matches in a row.

Sometimes the games and the players begin to merge in memory after a day like this.

But not always.

There was a wing for the Southern California Lady Lions youth team who played on the side where I was running touch. She was keen and responded with alacrity to the comments of her coach. She was also quite petite, yet completely unafraid of tackling or carrying the ball into the tackle against much larger opponents. The coach called her ‘Mac’.

After one of her runs I said to a supporter of her team, “How about that eager player?”

He said, “She’s ten.”

“No,” I said, “the winger. Not wearing a number.”

He said, “She’s ten – ten years old.”


Best of luck to Jesuit in Tier A and Vacaville in Tier B at the nationals at Dartmouth this weekend!


Wednesday, May 10:
BURBANK 19 – Rio 3 Referee: Sam Reagle
Touch Judges: Jim Crenshaw, Rod Chance
Fourth Official: Ray Thompson

On a hot dry sunny Wednesday afternoon in south Sacramento, 2 proud teams battled on a pitch that was not ready for prime time. It was short, maybe 80 meters, maybe not. It had a light post in one goal and a tree in the other. The goal posts leaned downhill costing Rio 3 points when a penalty kick sailed inside the bottom of the right post, but not inside the top.

The Islanders struck first with a converted try at the 9 minute mark with Rio Americano answering back 4 minutes later with a penalty kick from about 20 meters out. Another converted try by the Islanders at 29 minutes made it 14-3 at the half. In the second half, there were plenty of strong runs and hard tackles, but little to show for it score wise. One reason may have been that the Islanders are getting better at killing penalties. They had 4 players in the bin for repeated infringements (offside). Three were in the second half with a 2 minute period of 2 at once. They still managed a short-handed try at 49 minutes to complete the scoring 19-3.

The Islanders have a good combination of size and speed and would alternate crashing big men with strong running by the backs. Rio showed excellent ball handling with crisp passes to split seams in the defense for good gains, but never managed to beat the last man.

Players of the game for Rio were Cody Dodge and Sean Gallinger. Players of the game for the Islanders were Tim Tautuiaki and Vili Kula. It was noted that all four finalists in this years playoffs were from the Sacramento Valley conference. Well Done!


Division Three:
Mission Rugby Club defeated OMBAC’s third side on Saturday 53 – 20, and then beat the Toledo Celtics 13 – 11 on a late drop-goal by Joe Domine.

Mission will play for the national championship against the Boston Irish Wolfhounds third side on June 4 in San Diego.

Four different NorCal teams have done every well in the D3 championship since it was created:

2000 Stanislaus 2nd
2001 Chico tied for 5th
2002 Chico 1st
2003 Reno 1st
2004 Reno 2nd
2005 Stanislaus tied for 3rd
2006 Mission – will be 1st or 2nd

Division One:
Title track leads through California
All five of the Competitive Region One (old Pacific Coast) teams won their first-round games on Saturday and advanced to the quarter-finals on Sunday.

Hayward had their way with Woodlands, 31 – 10, and then with Atlanta Renegades 41 – 13.

Olympic Club defeated Chicago Griffins 26 – 24 but then lost to Santa Monica 12 – 20 on Sunday.

This brings to mind something Olympic Club coach Ray Lehner said to this writer during the season: “I’ve been telling the guys we just need to stay in this until we can get out of California.”

After a tough NorCal season, they had two Pacific Coast playoffs games in NorCal and then two CR1 games against two SoCal teams.

They finally got their ‘non-California’ game as a twelfth seed against fifth-seeded Chicago Griffins, which they won – but then ran into another California team, reigning D1 champions Santa Monica.

Even had they beaten the champs, they would have been facing another SoCal team, Las Vegas, in the semis and this possibly Hayward in the final!

Division Two:
NorCal is not represented in this bracket. Red Mountain (Arizona and Pacific Coast) made it to the final four. The other Pacific Coast entrant, Provo, lost both of their games.

Santa Barbara of SoCal also advanced to the final four.

Titles in all three divisions will be decided in San Diego on June 3 – 4. This is, unfortunately for California rugby fans, the same day as the USA’s Churchill Cup opener with Ireland A.



A partial viewing of the referees and tournament organizers on hand for Saturday’s festivities at Stanford:

Standing: Pete Smith, Ray Schwartz, Rachel Lawton, Jim Crenshaw, Tony Latu, Mark Ormsby, Andrew Ormsby
Seated: Bruce Carter, John Chapman, Dan Hickey, Sean O’Connell, Mike Sagehorn
Sitting: Jim Murray


For the Senate
Pelicus Scriptoris