Monday, June 19, 2006




It’s the first weekend of the greatest summer sevens series in the rugby world.

John Tyler has been putting on the Palo Alto Summer Sevens four times a year since 1972. That’s 132 iterations so far, and counting!

Last year the tournament picked up a sponsor, Tonik health insurance, and moved to new pitches at Greer Park. The new facility offers shady picnic areas which the Pelican Society puts to good use at the conclusion of the day’s games.

Join us this Saturday! There is competition from high school to national level, boys and girls, men and women.

Here are directions to Greer Park. You can see it from 101.,palo+alto+ca&hl=en

Games start at nine. The Pelican refs like to arrive at eight to set up shop and prepare for the day. Bring good food – there’ll be a grill!

Paul Bretz checks in with his regrets at not being able to be there this weekend: he’ll be running touch for a world cup qualifier, Barbados hosting Canada.



The Stanford Seahawks (a summertime creation – Chris Kron being the link) scrimmaged for two hours with the Olympic Club to prepare for the Sevens campaign.

John Pohlman got to work on his fitness alongside these speedsters. Here is his report:

Well the seven's season is upon us. In the words of our esteemed leader, Dr. Bruce Carter, real rugby now begins. No rucks, no mauls, few scrums and line-out... just wide open running and great open field tackling.

This Saturday saw the San Jose/Stanford team play Olympic Club in four games.

Kick-off was scheduled for 10:30. It was warm and there were no other officials, so I was in for a good sweat.

The O-Club won the first game five tries to two. The first game was wide open. No line-outs and one scrum. Lots of running. I attribute the lack of stoppages on two items. First the teams wanted to play open 7's. And second, a clear advantage, waiting to see what happens and allowing the advantage to be gained... play on.

The second game saw the first line-out and a 3-3 (try count) tie.

San Jose/Stanford had close to twenty five players and Olympic Club had 14 or so. So as the games went on the boys started to fatigue.

The third game was 4-3 San Jose/Stanford.

The last game was one 8 minute half. This was some good rugby. San Jose/Stanford with more players prevailed 3 tries to one.

Sevens is here. Run and get fit. It is amazing how the heat and pace can test the conditioning. See you in Palo Alto.


Who remembers playing against several touring sides every season? Northern California used to host dozens of incoming tours every year. And many of the teams we played on in the eighties used to tour every second or third year.

A few teams still drop into the Bay Area these days, but for some reason it always seems to be on short notice.

This may be one area where the Internet has hampered communication: in the pre-email era (ten years ago for almost everyone), tours were arranged up to a year ahead of time through the post. Dates and fixtures were finalized long in advance and those involved were notified.

Now, because such arrangements can be made on the fly, they are. And the notification process is as lax as email is informal.

Case in point, the game involving the touring bank side from Ireland a few weeks ago was noticed to the referee society 3 ½ hours before kickoff.

And now we have another Irish team, Cork Constitution, playing one of two games scheduled for a tour because they ‘only’ brought twenty-one players and had some injuries in their first match.

CORK CONSTITUTION – Olympic Club Referee: Pete Smith
No report received.

We believe that the visitors won but haven’t actually heard any score. They then wussed out of their next fixture.

‘Only’ twenty-one players on tour! That was enough to play firsts and seconds at every match for the first century and a half of rugby’s existence.


MARAUDERS 27 – Fog 5 Referee: Bruce Carter
Dave Santos scored the Fog’s only try after a nice break by their firecracker scrumhalf.

The Marauders, a sometime-team augmented by some longtime Seahawks, braved the ninety-plus degree heat knowing that they had to play two games back-to-back. And they didn’t even have 21 players.

MONTEREY 22 – Marauders 7 Referee: Bruce Carter
Monterey, like the Marauders, seems to put their best team on the field in the summer. Their straight-ahead game was not to be denied, and they seem to have gotten better at it as the following score will demonstrate.

MONTEREY 11 tries – Fog no tries Referee: Sean Dmyterko


USA Rugby will return to Stanford, Calif. for its Rugby World Cup qualifier July 1 against Barbados. The match will kickoff at 2 p.m. at Stanford’s Steuber Rugby Stadium, site of this year’s college championships. The all-general admission tickets will be $10 (adults) and $8 (youth and students with valid ID) at the gate.


Last week we spent our normal writing and editing day entertaining Sue and Murray Felstead in Monterey, visiting the Maritime Museum and the Pacific Grove lighthouse.

This meant that Hail, Pelicus! was rushed to press after having been largely delegated to the Fact Checker. That untrustworthy scoundrel, as profligate with errors as he may be, is at least always willing to sit down and type.

So it was that only four of the five major annual awards given at our banquet were detailed.

The Scriptoris Award owes to the old Nor Cal Notes that Brian Gildea put together back in the days when widespread use of the Internet was young. His departure left a void which Bruce Carter stepped in to fill.

Hail, Pelicus! began as a vehicle for reporting on the rugby played in Northern California over the previous week. It expanded into a serial love letter to the Game and to all that it has meant in one man’s life.

Hail, Pelicus! serves to disseminate information about the quality and the breadth and depth of the game played here in Pelicanland. We hope that it also serves as a recruiting tool, exposing rugby players and fans to the idea of becoming a referee, letting them know that it’s not at all solitary slogging and being abused by dimwits.

This weekly epistle would not be possible without match reports written by our referees. To recognize such efforts and to further inspire the Muses of our contributors, the Scriptoris Award was instituted.

Ray Schwartz was the consensus choice for this year’s award. The polls were closed after the issue of Rugby magazine came out that contained three articles and one letter to the editor by the same NorCal ref.

Ray has done the most this past year with his metaphorical pen to promote our game, and to let others know how lucky we are to live here.

Thanks, Scripto!



June 10:
Skyhawk 15 – SACRAMENTO VALLEY 51 Referee: Aruna Ranaweera
At Watson Bowl, San Jose

Sac Valley's backs dominated this match, running to a 29-5 halftime lead. Skyhawk had some moments in the forwards, particularly with rolling mauls and Number 8 pickups, but Sac Valley was overall more cohesive and disciplined. Winners scored 8 tries to 3.

By Ray Schwartz:

Kirk Khasigian and Chris Miller (both ex-Eagles, Cal and Jesuit teammates) have bonded together to produce a very professional result. The kids attend elite training for over a month, and go on a well-funded tour, this time to Alberta. Someone in the Bay Area needs to step up with seed money and leadership to help make this happen in the three other conferences! Sac Valley NEEDS the competition!

I think the capable coaches are out there. But managing such a venture requires special leadership.


1st Annual Mike Sammons Memorial Old Boys Tournament
Friday, June 9th
Santa Clara University IM Fields
Report by Kenny Bousfield
With some edit and addition by Ray Schwartz

San Jose Seahawk RFC organization lost Mike Sammon, a great club player at all levels, starting in the Cupertino High School program, then to Chico, San Jose State, and back to the Seahawks and Silverhawks. Mike, and the Sammon family, will always be part of our rugby family. We hope to continue this Tournament in the spirit Friday’s games were played, which was truly fabulous!

A huge Thank You for Marty and Rosemary Sammon, for their support in getting the tournament off the ground. Hope you enjoyed the day as much as we all did. Let’s keep it going strong. And we welcome the involvement of all others this time next year!

Thanks to Tommy Phillips, Jacko, Hacksaw, Adam, Daniel Galvin, and Dan Coonan (Santa Clara University AD), for a great day of rugby. Thanks to AJ and Charlene for the greatest venue for a rugby party (pool and bbq). (It should be duly noted, that in addition to serving as the Maori All Blacks Liaison Officer, this Tournament was dreamt up by, organized and run by the big kiwi Ken Bousfield!)

Thanks to the referees and trainers, all of you are awesome!!!! Thanks to all the Silverhawks, Erik Amos and the Aptos Old Dogs, Steve Parli and the Old Southwest, Wags Parish and his Squirting Fists, Bruce Bernstein and the Speed Freak Clowns, Bill Dent and the Hayward Griffins, and all the rest who turned out to make the day memorable for the Mike Sammon family.

5 matches, each with 20-minute halves, were played. One of the Silverhawks (Andy) reffed the first, Delyn Barclay the second and fifth, as Ray Schwartz kitted up in new Pot Bellied Pig kit, fresh from this Hong Kong 7s (thank you Tinabobina Nesberg!), to handle two in a row and get back to the Referee Conference!

At roughly 9:30 we had two full sides, Aptos, facing off versus the Silvers. But ruggers kept showing up all day. And all the ruggers enjoyed plenty of game time. The day belonged to everyone who participated in playing, set up and take down of fields, and set up and clean up at AJ and Charlene’s.

It was great to see big Roger Bueno, the Eliasons, Big Mike Ayers and Karl Laucher, and Mike McDonald. Players of the Day were Mike the Maori, Alan Lowe, Don Pattalock, Julian Halkett, Billy Klump and the soon to be married Rhoan Laymon (this soldier met his bride in Iraq!). Iron men of the day were Brent Bueno, Norm Baccone and Gary in the engine room.

Billy C separated his shoulder on the last play of the last game of the day. His golf clubs are already committed to me while his shoulder heals. Steady got to mark his son (little Kenny) in the last game of the day. Steady took Kenny to school for the game! Fended him off, ran him over, ran around him and even slowed down so Kenny could catch him once so he didn't get too embarrassed as it was also little Kenny's 21st birthday and Steady gave him one to remember!! Steady was up the next day and playing golf 6AM. Super stud!!

With the return of the Churchill Cup expected in the Bay Area next year, and with much more advanced notice this time to pull it off, we expect to see this Mike Sammons Memorial Old Boys Tournament grow dramatically in 2007! And we truly hope it will help fill the seats at the Internationals as well!

Thanks again to all the ruggers!


Dear Bruce,

That was without exception the best referees’ conference that I have been to. It is a pity that more did not attend as they missed a very thought provoking and insightful program.

Best wishes
Martin Brown


Joe Leisek got married Friday night. Some of his rugby buddies dragged him away from his lovely bride, the former Tracy Czernecki, to help hold up the bar.

Left to Right: Tammy Cowan, Scott Wood, Kat Todd-Schwartz, Bo Rodman, The Groom, Ray Schwartz, The Officiant, Sharon Theriault, Jake Rubin

Present but not accounted for: Dixon and Christine Smith, Paul and Anna Berman, Helen Marcus, Bryant and Mary Byrnes

Coincidentally playing the ninth and tenth holes at Foxtail at the time and witnessing portions of the outdoor ceremony: Mike Gadoua


For the Senate
Pelicus Scriptoris