Tuesday, October 24, 2006




There will be three tournaments this Saturday: the Stanford Tens, the UC Santa Cruz Slugfest, and a four-team event in Monterey. We could use at least one more referee at each of them.

Please check your calendar and let us know if you’d like to help out. If you are a newer ref, the Stanford Tens is the one you should attend: Referee Development Officer David Williamson will be there, along with three other referee coaches, to help you into the mainstream of refereeing the finest rugby in the United States, the NCRFU.


There will be one tournament at UC Santa Cruz on November 4, and three games at Stanford on Sunday, November 5.

On November 18 there are three good games in San Luis Obispo that we need to cover.

Please let us know if you would like some pre-season rugby.


Remember pumpkin corner flags? Not one but two Elviras at an on-pitch wedding? Bright orange referee jerseys with black stripes? The fabulous Pelican O’Lantern?

As befits a tournament always steeped in overtones of Halloween, the Harlotfest returned from the grave this year.

After its demise was announced to a stunned world a couple of months ago, apparently for fiduciary reasons, Nick French of the Shocker RFC took up the banner of mix-and-match rugby, hoisted the corpse from the ground, dusted it off and stuck a pair of boots on its feet.

The referees for the festivities were Bjorn Stumer and Joshua Giddens, both of whom have written about the day for us:

Report by Bjorn Stumer:

The delight I felt being at this year's Harlotfest was tinged by a bit of sadness at witnessing the apparent demise of this fabulous event. Having played at the first few Harlotfests, and having refereed a few more, I can attest at the wonderful nature and spirit of this tournament. Alas, not as many folks showed up, but the spirit was there in large amounts. Folks traveled from far and wide to attend - Angus, of Clowns and Fresno fame, returned all the way from England, along with a couple of spirited women from the newly formed San Francisco State University side, just to mention a few.

This felt like being at the beginning of this fabulous venue, when tentative attendance was rewarded with great rugby and the fabulous hospitality of the Modesto crowd. On the day the rugby was much better than I would have expected; a motley crew of ruggers from all over came together, and the magic happened: fun, fast, free flowing rugby regardless of the fact that some had never been seen before, or that others had never held the rugby ball before. Notably the two courageous women who showed up, one who never played before - both of them were included in matches, were made welcome, and actually played far better than your correspondent had expected.

A gorgeous sunny day on tap, as well as a few kegs, and barbeque for all. The games were competitive, the atmosphere rugby laden, and the whole experience a delight. Old faces were notable such as Scott McDonald the originator of the event, John Christ an old Modesto stalwart as well as a number of Clowns, some Chico players, and many more stragglers - just what the Harlotfest is all about.

As a rugby community we really should rally behind this wonderful event and make sure that it does not go the way of so many wonderful rugby events of the past.

Report by Joshua Giddens:

Thanks for the opportunity to get some experience at Harlotfest. I worked with Bjorn Stumer, as the other ref broke down on the way to the tournament. Bjorn and I split halves on two games, so I got some experience and feedback on Line Judge and Referee. After Bjorn left, I refereed one more match, which was won 38-0 by the Harlots against the non-Harlots. Bjorn gave me some great advice about positioning on line-outs, how to blow my whistle in different ways for different calls, and clarified a couple of questions about the laws that I had.

Overall, it went well and although I made some errors in not allowing the advantage to be played on a couple of occasions, I think I did all right. As a middle school teacher, I am used to dealing with groups of people and was not threatened or hurt by dissent; nor did I allow "chirping." I am looking forward to the training on the 4th of November and improving more.


ALL BLUES 41– Beantown 8 Referee: Lois Bukowski
Touch Judge: Deb Hart
Referee Coach: Dixon Smith

Saturday morning rugby day arrived with great anticipation. One of the top 5 women's teams in the country had made the trip out to face the perennial champions in preparation for the Woman's Sweet Sixteens next weekend. The weather proved to be our typical balmy, beautiful October Indian Summer. While blustery in the East Bay, Treasure Island was simply spectacular; still and warm...perfect rugby weather.

I arrived at the pitch, greeted friend and former teammate, Kathy Flores, then made my way to Beantown's side where Jan Rutkowski steers the ship. Always fun to see a former opponent on the touchline guiding the team. While both of these teams have not faced off much in recent years; there is tremendous history on both sides. Berkeley had to go through host Beantown in the semifinals of their first National Championship in Amherst in 1994. The 2 sides met in the ‘96 final with Beantown the victor and then most recently the All Blues beat them in 1999 and 2001. Beantown had been a dominant side in the 90s, winning several Championships, but recently has seen a lot of turnover of the old guard. They are climbing back and are plenty stocked with fit, young, athletes, just lacking big game experience, thus the trip west to face the best test in the land. The All Blues have reloaded, as usual, also young and fit, but sporting 6 World Cup Eagles in their first 15 and plenty more capped and U-23 Eagles. The rich have gotten richer.

The first half was closer than expected. Both teams were sloppy at the tackle, however, after a few quick penalties, they sorted it out and decided to abide. Surprisingly, there was much mauling on both sides. Typically Berkeley plays a wide open game, starting with quick rucks, and Beantown more of the 10-man rugby. Not to say that Berkeley shut it down and played tight, but they did take advantage of a rolling maul close in for their first score and used the maul quite successfully to set up a good platform for their impressive backline. Their next try came off a long run with several different All Blues involved before Ashley English touched down. Converted, the score was 12-0. It looked like that half would end that way, then longtime Beantown back Bev Armstrong broke a long run, however, she was in pursuit by Laura Cabrera, who caught her about 10 meters from goal and quickly turned ball over back to the blues. Beantown would not end the half quietly though; they were rewarded for their persistence, hammering away inside the 22 for several minutes and finally touched down in a maul at halftime.

Second half started interesting as Beantown capitalized on an All Blues miscue to slot the 3 pointer and put the score at a tantalizingly close 12-8. That would be it, perhaps it was just the fire they needed to get the Big Blue scoring machine in gear. They ran off 5 tries in the second frame, several beautiful runs by Courtney Warner, a Cabrera load off a scrum and a few more to close it out. Beantown labored to keep it close, but in the end, succumbed.

The All Blues have to look like the favorite for their 10th straight (yes, 10 straight) National Championship. This fall will be the first time in recent history the women will hold their championship in November.

Cal women 12 – BEANTOWN seconds 32 Referee: Sandy Robertson
Beantown brought a large contingent west; enough to play a 2nd match on a beautiful afternoon on Treasure Island.

They put over 5 tries against a mix of Cal and All-Blue Women. Beantown put on a lot of pressure in the scrums, used the maul to great effect and mixed in some good attacks with ball in hand. The Cal/All Blue crew made Beantown work for their win generating 2 good tries of their own.

All should have been able to retire to the post-match socializing at the SFGG clubhouse reasonably content.

Hayward women 0 – SAN FRANCISCO FOG 44 Referee: Isaac Caselis
S.F. came out with a quick start to the game, scoring from the first kick off. Experience was the major scoring factor for the day. S.F. Fog controlled the ball well thru their forwards. Unleashing well ball handling skills from their backs to score 6 trys in the first half.

Hayward due to lack of experience was unable to retain the ball for any length of time to create any type of offense for the team.

Half time score was Fog 37 - Hayward 0.

S.F. Fog in the final half was generous enough to lend key players: a scrum half and a few backs. The vocal scrum half led the Hayward pack to move forward and recycle the ball well. Key runs by prop Asenaca & Sammy K. helped to move the pack forward. But inexperience caused the backs to sputter. But Hayward's notorious defense stiffened and only allowed 1 try in the second half.

Final score was S.F. Fog 44 and Hayward 0.

Try scorers:

Dana (2)
Linda (1)
Anna (1)
Bridget (1)
Chelsea (1)
Jen (1)

Great sportsmanship and camaraderie between these two teams...made it fun for both players and for me as a referee

Reno Zephyrs 7 – SACRAMENTO LIONS 57 Referee: Don Pattalock
There is a reason 7's games are played in two 7 minute periods............and it’s so the referee can rest! But when they play fifteens as if it were 7’s, it’s a real workout.

The first ever meeting of the Zephyrs and the Lions took place in Reno under a clear sky and almost perfect rugby weather; 64 degrees with a slight breeze. The Zephyrs are rebuilding and have some new players meshing well with some of the old stalwarts of Reno rugby. This would be their first match of the new season. The Lions arrived in numbers and size; the Lion pack easily out weighed the Zephyr pack by 400 lbs.

That being said, the game was played as wide open as any 7's match.

Both sides possessed players with speed, steps and wide passing; however, the Lions just had more; of everything. With Toshi Paloma and his younger brother on the side, several Fijian flyers as well as many Sacramento 7's veterans, the track meet ended with the Lions scoring 57 points and the Zephyrs scoring 7. The referee was convinced that every passage of play encompassed approximately 200 meters of running, kicking, counter attacking, more kicking and more counter attacking.

Look for more good things from both of these sides.

San Jose State 15 – UNIV. OF SAN FRANCISCO 25 Referee: John Pohlman
(No goal posts!)

San Jose State invited USF to a preseason tune-up. The game was played at a park in San Jose. The official San Jose State field could not be used due the game not being pre-registered with the University.

USF came down with 14 players. Dean, the San Jose coach and Alex, USF student, player and coach decided on 10's.

Well they say preseason games are to work out the bugs and improve each game. All 21 on the field have lots to work on next week. The game was played in good spirits. Lots of good scoring and some nice phases.

The San Jose State guys have good numbers and look to be on the right road with Dean as new head coach.

The USF team has some skilled players and would love to have an official coach.

The referee has lots to work on, also.

UC DAVIS 49 – Sacramento State 20 Referee: Ray Schwartz
Touch Judges: Rod Chance, Paul Smith
Preseason scrimmage
Preston Youth Correctional Facility, Ione

Sunny and warm in the Foothills. The Preston Facility, located 40 miles southeast of Sacramento in Amador County, houses approx 450 male wards on a campus-like setting. The grounds are vast, and feature a historic castle on a hill, with a full-sized pitch on what was once a lake, down below.

After allowing 30 minutes for check-in (IDs required) both sides changed at the gym and strolled out into brilliant sunshine, and across the soft pitch. Lots of loose soil had been placed "to fill in holes." For those who played, it was agreed this was like running uphill for the first 20 minutes, no matter what direction one was headed. But it made for a soft and safe surface.

Rick Flynn, a former San Jose State rugger, and presently assistant at UCD (for the last 10 years), also helps run the tough Mental Health ward here. He set this match up last year for the first time, and coaxed Sac Bee feature writer Marcos Breton to produce a nice piece that graced the cover of that Sports Page. This 2nd Annual match proved to be well played, and an interesting event.

About 100+ of the wards came out to watch, and all enjoyed, though most had no idea what they were watching. At the end of what was obviously a pasting, one yelled out to me, "Hey, who won?!" About a third of the wards had visitors on the day, and so were unavailable, but another third didn't care to attend. But the staff of the facility loved it. It seemed to be a vacation of sorts for them, and we enjoyed their company greatly. One of Rick's co-workers was former rugger for Pomona in the 80s, and we will see him out again this season.

Anyway... I had assisted the Aggie staff at a two day camp, just two weekends before, and had enjoyed reffing an intersquad scrimmage at Sac St. just on Thursday, so I enjoyed a familiarity and inside knowledge of these two sides. Sac St. fielded a true A Side to start, including Collegiate Grizzly Nick Cavallero starting at scrum half, and Captain Nick Klein at hooker. The Hornets actually came out strong, taking a 20-13 lead into the half. Four 20-minute periods were played.

The Aggies' coach Steve Gray had specifically told his club the Fall preseason would be dedicated to squad building. The club finished ranked 9th nationally last season, and appears to be blessed with even greater depth today. They fielded a mixed A Side in both halves. Collegiate Grizzly prop Ben Reynolds and Captain Scott Mallory lead the pack, but it wasn't until the second half when Adam Collins came into play flyhalf, that the Aggies attack truly opened up. And Sac State, fielding a lot of Frosh/Soph, with high school rugby experience, but a long way to go, just could not match this blistering pace.

Adam was returning from some tough injuries last year, but appears to be back on the track he took in helping lead Jesuit High's high powered backline a few years ago. He had a huge hand in the first three (of 5 unanswered) tries in the 2nd half, and surely was Man of the Match. He also slotted some tough conversions.

Both clubs have dedicated staffs and good numbers, and with a little luck and lots of hard work, should greatly enjoy the season ahead.

As a ref working my first preseason match, I was just pleased that my legs didn't fall off! I feel I've successfully taken the first steps on a path of what I hope will be continual improvement this season. I am working daily on my fitness, and I am vocalizing more, which is better, but must do so more often, and even more effectively. Paul Smith was very helpful afterwards in discussing my need to not focus on the tackle/ruck, but to remain sighted to the offside line when managing the breakdown: To stand facing North-South, and scan! I've got a lot of work to do, but am excited for the year ahead.

All participants enjoyed a feast of BBQ chicken, but then had to be on our ways. UC Davis returned to campus to play an afternoon match (with more rookies seeing action in that one) vs. Santa Rosa JC.

Paul and Rod, my TJs, were former teammates of Rick Flynn at San Jose State back in the good old days. We enjoyed a long chat about the facility, and especially about its historic place as the first youth prison on the entire West Coast.

Preston has housed such characters as Merle Haggard and Karl Malden, but Rick reports that the gangs are so much more violent today, and the kids who get to Preston are so much more "hardened"... He regularly hears, "Why should I look into getting a regular job when I get out, when I was making three thousand a day selling crack?"

It’s a tough world and it appears to be getting rougher. But at least the wards who attended the match got to see young men, acting fearlessly, and yet with discipline (there was one yellow card for professional foul), having fun, and well on their way to making something very special of their lives. But the disconnect seemed vast.

Rod coaxed Paul and me up to Plymouth for some of Amador County's best wine tasting, and I must say, it made for a great afternoon. Far more relaxed than Napa, very scenic, and the wines are good and getting better all the time!

SAN JOSE STATE women 6 tries – St. Mary's 0 Referee: Pete Smith
6 tries top none SJSU Women over St. Mary’s. It was 3 twenty minute periods with no posts. Both teams played hard, but SJSU’s backline was too much and was the difference.

I had to eject the SJSU coach 2 minutes into the scrimmage for excessive abuse. He added a sweatshirt and hoped I wouldn’t notice and I had to stop the game again to get the guy out of the enclosure. I hope it helps the next ref that has to deal with that guy.

NEVADA 22 – Chico State 17 Referee: Jim Crenshaw
Reno scored twice in the first half and held Chico scoreless.
Chico scored 3 times in the second half, but UNR scored last to win.

UC Davis 2 – Santa Rosa JC Referee: Joe Androvich
No report received.


Rod Chance forwarded an MRI report for the perusal of the medical experts here at the Hail, Pelicus! editorial offices.

The unfortunate joint being magnetically interrogated was a knee.

The report told a sad tale. The only part that made us smile was the medicalese version of what led to this state of affairs, what it was that constituted the injury. Under History it read, "Repetitive trauma".


Level One Referee Course: November 4, San Francisco; Dixon Smith

Level Two Referee Course: November 11/12, San Francisco; Bruce Carter

Touch Judging Levels 1-2-3: November 18, Sacramento; Bruce Carter

Touch Judging Levels 1-2-3: December 2, San Francisco; Mike Malone

Please let the instructor know soonest if you are interested in any of these.


The Society has placed an order for 2007 rugby law books, which will be provided free of charge to all dues-paying members. Copies, or additional copies, will be available for six dollars.

The IRB has requested our order be submitted through USA Rugby by the end of October. They anticipate shipping in early January. When the books arrive, the membership will be notified.

Old Friends

From last month’s exchange to the East Midlands, a picture from the end-of-tour banquet:

Teresa Schwartz, Sam Reagle, Bob Tustin and Dave Miller share the memories.


For the Senate
Pelicus Scriptoris