Wednesday, September 27, 2006




USA Rugby is inquiring whether anyone would be available to act as the local NorCal liaison for the match officials who will be doing the USA – Uruguay game October 7.


They will be in the area October 1-7. We need someone to meet them at the airport and take them to the Santa Clara Marriott, and also folks to entertain them, show them around, etc, during the week.

This does not have to be one person. If you could help out, please let us know as soon as you can.

Judicial Officer: Judge Jeffrey Blackett (England)
Citing Commissioner: Judge Guillermo Tragant (Argentina)
Referee: Robert Debney (England)
TJ: Martin Fox (England)
TJ: Leighton Hodges (Wales)


We have some autumn rugby going on for those who would like a run. Please respond:

Humboldt State alumni game

Chico State alumni games: games at 11 AM, noon and 1:30 PM.

September 23

UC DAVIS Women 17 -Chico State 12 Referee: Bryant Byrnes
A crisp curtain raiser-both teams came ready to play. An enjoyable effort with lots of ball well distributed. Davis wins with a little help from their Chico friends.

Nevada – Chico State Referee: Tony Latu
Baracus – Vacaville Referee: Pete Smith
No reports received.


A report on the second half of the exchange will be forthcoming in our next issue. The urgencies of time will not allow for it at present.

By John Pohlman

Wow is Aspen beautiful.

When the Northern California Referee Society asked me to represent our Union at the Aspen Ruggerfest I was honored and a bit nervous. I had attended the Ruggerfest as a player and knew the quality of play, quality of officiating and quality of teams. This being prior to our season’s start I knew proper preparation would be a challenge.

Day 1 No rugby
Eileen and I arrived in Denver the Saturday before the tournament to see some friends and try to allow me to start my acclimation to the altitude. Visited with Stupendous man, Al Haegele an old rugby friend from Illinois State and St. Louis Bombers. Mostly we played croquet and socialized.

Day 2 No rugby
I had forgotten how beautiful Colorado is and how much I enjoyed the mountains. Al took us on a local two hour hike in the mountains southwest of Denver.

Day 3 No Rugby
Today we spent in the Boulder Co. area. Al had given us a two-hour hike up Bear Mountain. When we arrived I looked at Bear Mountain and thought it would take at least two hours just to get to the top. We stocked up on extra water and started to hike. A Beautiful hike which was around four hours in total. The last hour we could see one of the afternoon thunderstorms approaching. Trying to beat the storm we started a light jog. About 20 minutes from the car we were climbing a ridge, which was full of lighting strikes. Jogging into lighting while trying to avoid a soaking took our minds away from how hungry we were. Good news no one hit by lighting, bad news totally soaked.

Day 4 No rugby
Today we left Denver and headed to Aspen.
The drive we choose was through Leadville and Independent Pass. Leadville is an old mining town at 10,000 feet. Great drive and a great pizza but not much to Leadville. The drive through Independent Pass was spectacular. The pass is over 11,000 feet. Walking around taking pictures left us breathless from the beauty and lack of oxygen. Only two more days to acclimate.

Day 5 No rugby
Wednesday was the day before the start of the tournament and we chose to rent mountain bikes and ride Smuggler's Mountain. This is a much-used hikers and bikers route. The views, climb and altitude were great. After that I treated Eileen and myself to a massage at the St Regis. A definite highlight. Editorial note to married guys. It is very important to build up husband points prior to a rugby tournament. Your time in the sin bin should be greatly reduced.

Wednesday night kicked off the official start of the Aspen Ruggerfest with our first meeting. Each night we would meet to discuss the day’s games and receive our assignments for the next day.

Larry Johnson, Eastern Rockies Rugby Referee Chairman, introduced us and explained the details of the tournament. Jim Russell, ERRS (Eastern Rockies Referee Society) Referee Development Officer gave out the next day’s assignments. I was assigned to run touch for two of the games. The ERRS likes to use the first day of games as assessment opportunities for up and coming referees from their society. The Thursday games were the start of the over 45 and over 50's division.

Drats! No games to call, but I get two games running touch. And the rugby tournament begins.

The weather up to this point had been pretty good. A few afternoon mountain showers which only last 30 minutes or so.

Today was 30% rain and temperatures in the 60's to low 70's. Not bad. Got to see the Bald Eagle play Colorado Old Pokes. Good start.

Thursday night's meeting started with Ed Todd giving a presentation on the scrum. This presentation revolves around an English development CD which hopefully Ed will share at one of our meetings.

The meeting concluded with Jim giving out Friday's assignments. Three games, all running touch. Once again I have the first game of the day and the last. This works for spending quality time during the day with Eileen (remember those points).

Day 7 Lots of RUGBY
Well the weather is starting to turn, and not for the best. Today was about 50% rain, temperatures in the 60's and the fields are starting to get a bit beat up. First game was Fresno over 35 verses Boulder over 35. Fresno spotted Boulder 20 points in the first fifteen minutes then scored two tries in the last five minutes. Dan Wilson of Fresno was a boy among men scoring two tries. (Usually you would want to stand out as a man amongst boys... but this is old boys rugby). Fresno made it close but lost 23-19.

The over 35 division has some very good teams. The speed of many of the games was faster than the open division.

The last game was semi-final. Fast and furious. Sorry I gave my game card to the scoreboard official.

9:00pm meeting to receive tomorrow assignments.
Yes, two games to referee, one to touch judge.

One of the challenges of bringing your wife to Aspen is eating dinner. My last game gets over around 6:00pm. Shower, change, dinner and an 8:00pm meeting. Tonight was the first time I actually got to eat my entire meal, due to the 9:00pm start. O.K. I did leave before dessert.

Day 8 Blowing the whistle
Rained pretty much all day.

This is a good time to share the history of the Aspen Ruggerfest. The 2006 tournament is in the 39th year. Next years 40th is supposed to be even more special.

So supposedly 39 years ago some players from Denver asked an Englishmen (why is it always an Englishman) if he could organize a tournament in Aspen. He agreed and the city said fine. The first few years the tournament was in October, then moved the third weekend in September in hopes of better weather. The Englishman organized some of the locals to put teams in those first few years. So the Aspen team started in response to the tournament and only played once a year in those early years.

My first game to referee was Mountain Select verses Fort Collin. Mountain Select was organized and practicing when I arrived. They were a select side from Vail and Steamboat. They had beaten Aspen some weeks prior as Vail. Fort Collins is a D-2 team and overmatched. Final 29-0 Mountain Select. The Mountain Select went on to place third.

My touch judges were Charlie Haupt and Larry Johnson. Charlie wired me up for the game. What a treat having two B+'s as touch judges. All of my games and everyone else's had a qualified team of three.

My second game was Air Force woman verses Aberdeen. Air Force won in a close game.

Saturday night is the big banquet. The ERRS is a strong society. They are well organized, have a number of outstanding referees. And they throw a pretty darn good party. They promoted some of their referees at the banquet. Of note were John Lawson to C-2. John was sitting next to me and said he only started rugby as a player and a ref a couple of years ago. He said he was going through mid life doldrums and his wife researched rugby, contacted the local team and sent him to practice. Now that's wife points.

The other promotion of note was to 20-year-old Vanessa McMarer who was promoted to C-2.

The Kangaroo Court was the liveliest entertainment in Aspen that Saturday night. The British scallywags took so many prizes that this exchange ref was happily overlooked.

Got my assignments for tomorrow. First game. 8:30 K.C. verses Sundogs on the main field. Touch judging two games.

Day 9 the finals and going home
Well the rain and constant play has turned the field into a cow pasture. At 8:00am I am inspecting the fields.

Blue sky, temperatures in the 30's, a light frost on the ground. Both teams were getting organized, game on. The K.C. team won 29-3. This was my highlight. Lots of good coaching and feedback. A fast somewhat competitive game.
Both of my other assignment were cancelled due to the teams not showing up.

2:00pm picture in front of the posts, prior to the finals. Then off to the Denver airport for a 8:45pm flight.

I would highly recommend the Aspen exchange. The ERRS is one of the best societies in the US. The tournament is competitive and Aspen is wow beautiful.


EASTSIDE BANSHEES 22 – Wisconsin RFC 19 Referee: Scott Wood
TJs: Neil Petrie (Minnesota RRS), Kim Chaeng (England via Canada)

Location: National Sports Center, Blaine, MN
Weather: Extremely windy ("Cow. Another cow." "No, that's the same cow.")

Due to the NSC's soccer-minded grounds crew, the six tournament pitches were lined on Friday for 100 meters--dead-ball line to dead-ball line. Early Saturday morning, we arrived at the pitch to find Groundskeepers 1 through 6 re-erecting posts where they belonged. Unfortunately, they were unable to figure out how to get green paint to stick to the grass so there were two 22-meter lines per half.

Two Midwest DII sides, Eastside Banshees (0-1) hosting Wisconsin RFC (1-0), were slated for this Saturday's match. Eastside lost its previous match to a last-second penalty goal the week prior, whereas, Wisconsin entered the match 1-0 having bested its opponent 19-14.

The match started out quickly with the Banshees kicking off, recovering the ball, a chip ahead, a fortuitous bounce, and a try scored all within one minute. The dust settled and both teams used forwards to control and attack, occasionally giving the backlines work. The teams should great discipline and poise and seemed to enjoy the match as much as I. One Wisconsin player found himself in the bin for ten minutes contemplating better uses for his boots. Both teams scored off interceptions to close the half with Eastside up 12-7. The second half started as a mirror to the first with Wisconsin scoring a try off a great pass within the first minute. As the match continued, Banshees 12 was cautioned that his number was being called too many times by the referee and continued negative action could have similar consequence. Banshees had a twelve-meter attacking lineout to which Wisconsin's backs did not mind the space required. A quick tap and Banshees scored to bring the score into their favor 22-14. The intensity of both teams cranked up as Wisconsin was able to score in the corner bringing the tally to 22-19.

With five minutes left in the match, Banshees 12 decided to again bring attention to himself resulting in a yellow card and the spot 30 meters out between the posts. The Wisconsin kicker lined up what looked to be a sure thing. As I thought "Do I have enough cash to cover the bar tab?", he pushed the ball missing the post by several feet. A 22 drop and Wisconsin was again on the attack using forwards to pick-and-jam. The defense was as frenzied and intent as the attack. Fortune did not smile on Wisconsin as time ran out and a knock-on closed the match. Kudos to both teams for a well fought match and keeping their composure.

Many thanks to Kevin and Wendy Terpstra for hosting Saturday evening's feast. How they arranged the magnificent heat-lightning display is beyond me.


Frank Merrill and Rob Holder have asked us to help them announce a fund-raising memorial golf tournament for Frank’s step-son, Officer Rich May, who was killed in the line of duty in January.

The event will be played on the Stanford Golf Course on Monday, October 30. This is a course you might otherwise not get to play.

Proceeds will benefit a fund which aims to build a rugby/soccer pitch for the youth of East Palo Alto.

Please let Frank know if you would be interested:

Top of the Eye

From the top of the London Eye at the end of a great exchange:

Sam Reagle, Teresa Schwartz, Bruce Carter and Dave Miller


For the Senate
Pelicus Scriptoris