Tuesday, June 13, 2006




Cork Constitution (a club from Ireland) will be playing the Olympic Club on Monday, June 12, at 6:30 PM at Rocca Field on Treasure Island.

Pete Smith will referee. TWO TOUCH JUDGES ARE NEEDED MONDAY. Let Pete know if you can be there to help out.

Cork Constitution will then play a NorCal D1 selection Wednesday at 6:30 PM on the same pitch. Paul Bretz will referee. Touch judges are already covered. What the NorCal players in both of these games would appreciate are fans to cheers them on!


Pete Smith announced and presented our annual awards Saturday night:


When David Williamson retired from PG&E he asked whether there were anything he could do to help the society.

There was, and he did it.

Of immediate note is last week’s conference, which simply would not have happened without his efforts. No other referee society attempted to step into the biennial gap left by the lapsing of the old Conference on the Game, but David did.

Of more lasting importance is his work last year on the safety protocols for match officials. Northern California rugby, and the safety of referees in particular, had reached a crisis. David chaired an effort involving several constituencies, not all of whom see things identically, and put our game back on safe footing.

Then, too, it was his initiative and checkbook that allowed our members to benefit from the presentations of the two sports psychologists who spoke to us.

So for doing the most to make us the best in the past year, our Pelican of the Year is David Williamson.


On Valentine’s Day, the Senate received an e-mail from Bjorn Stumer stating that he would like to decorate the referee changing room in the Golden Gate clubhouse and asking if we had any mementoes that might be placed in it.

The board of directors of the society felt confident in Bjorn’s ability to do an even better job if his idea were funded. After getting approval from the SF/GG board to formalize the project, our board voted funds and Bjorn was named as project manager.

Thus, a fine idea led to a wonderful reality.

For years to come, visiting and exchanging referees from all over the oval planet will enjoy the facility, sign the guest book, and have one more dimension for their envy of the Northern California Rugby Referee Society due to the ambassadorship of Bjorn Stumer.


How is it that a referee who began the season as a B3 could prove to be the most improved by the time it ended?

Simply put, Tony Latu exceeded the expectations of those among us who think they can judge a referee’s talent, ability and potential.

On exchanges to Southern California and the Mid-Atlantic, Tony impressed evaluators who were expecting a mere B3.

His first game after he was promoted to B2 was Hayward’s CR1 victory over eventual national champion Santa Monica. With his masterful control of this match, Tony showed that he can literally referee any game in the United States, the fastest, most competitive and physical, and make it look easy.

He was already refereeing at the B1 level. The season ended too soon for our most improved referee, Tony Latu.


Those who saw Joe Androvich in February or March might have been forgiven for assuming that a new territorial referee had moved into the area: here was a new face and a very good referee.

But Joe was just getting started. The high school kick-off tournament in Sacramento was his debut.

Joe is a law student at USF who played at Jesuit and Cal. We hope that he gets his level one credentials so that we can assign him to some meaningful games and get him onto a fast track.


Two games will be played at the Campbell Highland Games on Saturday, June 17, at noon and 2 PM. The Marauders and Monterey apparently will be the two teams and will play each other twice.

One or two refs would be nice for this day in the sun.

There’s also a night game on the 17th, in Reno. The Nevada Old Boys will be playing Redding. Let us know if you fancy a trip to Reno for this one. We are sure the hosting will be excellent.


June 10:
Skyhawk – Sac Valley Referee: Aruna Ranaweera


The NCRRS hosted Rugby Through the Looking Glass: Different Perspectives on the Game, at the Crowne Plaza in downtown San Jose last Thursday and Friday.

David Williamson put together an interesting and informative program that earned a lot of very positive feedback. One of the organizers of a previous USARRA Conference on the Game told us that this was the best referees’ conference he had ever been to.

Parochial pelicans would, of course, second that emotion.

Out-of-state conferees hailed from Oregon, New Mexico, Wisconsin, Michigan, Florida, Texas, Colorado and the District of Columbia.

Sessions were both well-attended and well attended-to. David did a great job of coordinating events, introducing the speakers and meeting all of the many needs that arose.

International presenters included Murray Felstead from Wellingborough, Colin Hawke from New Zealand, Iain Goodall of Scotland and Bruce Kuklinski from Victoria, BC. USA speakers were Ed Todd, Pat McNally of SoCal and Coach Pete Steinberg of the Mid-Atlantic. Pelicans on the podium were Dixon Smith, Mike Sagehorn and Bruce Carter.

Several pelicans ‘behind the scenes’ also helped to make the conference a success: Joe Leisek, Sam Reagle, Ray Schwartz, Pete Smith, Kat Todd-Schwartz and Scott Wood.


Well, there were really two banquets, two highlights of the season just past.

Thursday night, Leah and Pete Smith opened their lovely new home to those at the conference. Given that Ron Myers was their house guest, that meant that Pete and Ron shared ideas, recipes and exquisite culinary talent to the delight of us all.

Their home is a fifteen-minute walk from the hotel via downtown San Jose and the San Jose State campus. If you still think of San Jose as the prune capital of the world, you need to get down there and get off the freeway.

Pete had a hard-drive full of high-definition rugby queued up for the 62-inch plasma screen. The recent semis and finals of the Super 14, Heineken Cup and English Premiership were there to accompany the wonderful lamb dinner.

Pete also scouted out Paolo’s restaurant on the banks of the Guadalupe River in downtown San Jose for our purposes. It was somewhat of an upgrade from prior year-end banquet sites and it was also three minute’s walk from the conference hotel.

We ate buffet style, which served both to reduce costs and to increase conviviality: folks circulate, socialize, and go back for more!

Our invited guests included the conference speakers, along with: Robert Horner, who was president of the RFU when England won the World Cup; Al Klemp, in town to referee the Super League final; and Phil Smith of Victoria, now a frequent visitor to Pelicanland and a very fine young referee with a bright future.

David Williamson and Helen Marcus presented some awards, including fine Sherlock Holmes-style looking glasses for some of the conference speakers.

Al Klemp honored Paul Bretz with a jersey to commemorate the occasion of Paul’s first Test match last month in the Cayman Islands.

Bread was broken and friendships were cemented.


The three-match event on the campus of the University of Santa Clara went well. Attendance at Buck Shaw Stadium grew with each match and was near capacity on June 10.

This is another jewel in the crown of NorCal rugby, a ‘new’ facility to host Tests. In fact, Buck Shaw will host its first Test match on July 1 when the USA plays Barbados in a qualifier for next year’s Rugby World Cup.

John Coppinger (a Santa Clara alum) and Frank Merrill brought the existence of this venue to the attention of USA Rugby and lobbied for its use. If you are one of the more than ten thousand who enjoyed being able to see international rugby in Pelicanland, then you have John and Frank to thank.


For the second time in two years, OMBAC and Belmont Shore and their fans traveled north to the Bay Area to meet in the Rugby Super League final.

In June of 2004, Belmont came out on top for their fourth RSL title. This time, OMBAC won an absolute firecracker of a game, 36-33, for their first title at this level!

Al Klemp had this tiger by the tail. Paul Bretz and Pat McNally ran touch and run they did: there was end-to-end action, a lot of tries, and the key lead change occurred on the last play of the game.

OMBAC won after an extended goal-line stand by Belmont was nullified by a dummy, bought and sold at a very dear price. Immediately after Belmont’s halfback was sent to the bin for team repeated infringement near the line, the OMBAC flanker picked up the ball from a ruck a couple of meters out and offered to pass it wide.

Maybe an experienced scrumhalf would have defended it more instinctively. But the players opposite the flanker went for the pass and in so doing, they saw the title slip away behind their backs.


The Tonik Summer Series of the Palo Alto Sevens will kick off at Greer Park (same as last year) on June 24! Start thinking about what you are going to bring to the picnic!

There’s always one: Sam Reagle arrived just as the photographer was putting the lens cap back on.

Others also are not in the picture, as not everyone who benefited from the conference attended every session.

Ray Schwartz was off refereeing the old boys tournament in Santa Clara at the time.

Look who’s here:

Not standing, left to right: Mark Handel, Murray Felstead, Ed Todd, Pelicus Maderus, Martin Brown, JC van Staden, Bruce Kuklinski, Phil Smith, Paul Berman
Standing, left to right: Kat Todd-Schwartz, Robert Horner, Bruce Carter, Dixon Smith, Bryant Byrnes, David Williamson, John Pohlman, Pete Smith, Stephen Sivyer, Tom Martinez, Dave Peters, Jason Harper, Scott Wood, Sandy Robertson, Iain Goodall, Ron Myers, Joe Otten, Chris Parkhouse, Pat McNally, Mike Malone, Larry Herbert, Richard Hessler Joe Leisek, Matt Eason, Fred Yarger, Jake Rubin, Andrew Small, Colin Hawke, Peter Allan


For the Senate
Pelicus Scriptoris