Tuesday, November 21, 2006




Don Pattalock refereed two games at the Capitol City Invitational this past weekend as well as attended all four levels of the touch judging course on Saturday.

Don not only earned IRB Touch Judge Certification, he survived gang-evaluation and coaching-by-committee. You can read about the details below.

Matter of fact, he earned a promotion to C2!

And now he’s snaked the only game in all Pelicandom this coming weekend, Reno hosting Mendocino.

Congratulations to a deserving new face among the flock.


We have four lucky Pelicans refereeing on the road over the Thanksgiving weekend.

Well, it’s not luck – they have earned appointment to the following exchanges:

Vancouver Island, BC, Canada: Paul Bretz and Aruna Ranaweera will be traveling to Victoria to visit our good friends of the VIRRS. They will each be doing games Thursday, Friday and Saturday.

New York City, New York, USA: John Coppinger and Ray Schwartz will be enjoying the New York Sevens in one of the premier cities of humankind.

We are sure we speak for all of our readers when we say we are looking forward to their exchange reports!


The IRB is mandating that these be the exact words used by all referees at all scrum engagements, at every level of the game, beginning worldwide January 1, 2007.

Here is the text of the announcement:

A couple of notes:

“Touch” means touch opposing prop’s outside shoulder AND THEN TAKE THE ARM BACK. It does not mean ‘bind’ or ‘pre-bind’ or ‘keep your hand there to cause irritation’. In fact, they MUST bring the arm back. This accomplishes two things: it insures that they are no more than arm’s length apart, and that they are at the same height.

It also does not preclude a team using a crouch cadence or sequence. If a team wishes to call, ‘squeeze, knees, sink’ or ‘Blue sink’ or whatever words they use to coordinate their own efforts in the interests of safety or in pursuance of their accustomed practice, that is fine. In any case, the sequence will be:

Referee says, “Crouch.”

Neither, either or both teams give a cadence or say sink, and all front row players crouch.

When both front rows are crouched and stable, referee says, “Touch.”

They touch and un-touch.

Referee calls, “Pause.” Players wait.

Referee says, “Engage.” Players engage. They may not push until the ball is put in.

With Law changes, it is a good idea for referees to implement them in the pre-season if they do not contradict current Law. This is one such. You should make this part of your front-row brief and implement it now.


Bjorn Stumer has been arranging for new kit order.

However, there is a minimum order necessary to set up production and allow for reasonable pricing. We need at least eighteen orders of a basic load:

Package to cost $118 - for those who did at least five matches last year the cost is $63.

Package includes:

1 Jersey with logo
1 Pair of shorts with logo
1 Pair of socks
1 Set of flags with logo
1 Society tie – either traditional or new BOW TIE

Of course, you can order additional of any or all of these, assuming the minimum totals are met.

Please let Bjorn know:


CAL MARITIME 32 – Stanford 13 Referee: Rich Anderson
The only thing better than Friday Night rugby, is Friday Night rugby on a
dry pitch when you thought all week that it was going to rain.

Both squads thought it was such a nice night, that this pre-season get
together demanded three 30 minute halves (periods? quarters?). Needing a
run myself, who was I to say no.

Cal Maritime sported the stronger pack, but Stanford took the first segment
of the match 13-8. The remainder of the evening had some lively action (in
front of a good sized Vallejo crowd), with Cal M doing all the scoring.


SACRAMENTO STATE 123 – San Jose State 0 Referee: Bruce Carter
Referee Coach: David Williamson

What to say?

San Jose State kicked off deep. Sac State’s halfback received the kick and immediately fed his wing, who was even deeper, near the corner post.

A bad decision right off the bat? No, the wing ran through most of the pack and passed to the outside center around midfield. The center took it the rest of the way, the first of many tries for him and his mates.

One happy note of nepotism: Marcus Williamson (the referee’s coach’s son) either scored, had a hand in, or converted about two-thirds of Sac State’s twenty-one tries.

The ref found twenty-one tries the perfect way to shake off a 200-mile automobile journey.

Nevada 0 – HUMBOLDT STATE 33 Referee: Don Pattalock
Touch Judge: JC Van Staden
Referee Coach: David Williamson
Videographer: Bruce Carter

In a game marked by an innumerable amount of double knock-ons; Humboldt managed to piece together some positive rugby and walk away with the win. Both sides have lots of young athletes and will benefit from the experience of this game. Being as young as both of these teams are, the coaching staffs have lots to work with to prepare for the league season.


Capitol City Invitational:
Consolation: NEVADA 42 – San Jose State 0 Referee: Tony Latu
Touch Judges: Rod Chance, Bruce Carter

Both teams were at the field around 1600 and they were ready to play at 1630. But first things first: our National Anthem was played. This ref, the T/J and both teams were on the field, just like the IRB games.

SJ has a very young and inexperience team, but they have Dean White to coach them. Reno dominated the second half and won the game, 42-0.

Championship: SACRAMENTO STATE 48 – Humboldt State 23 Referee: Don Pattalock
Touch Judges: Matt Eason, Tony Latu
Referee Coaches: Kat Todd-Schwartz, David Williamson
More Referee coaches: Matt Eason, Jim Crenshaw, Tony Latu, Rod Chance, several spectators and anyone else with an opinion.

Sacramento, clearly the stronger side, struggled to put this wide open game away until the final 20 minutes. Humboldt, after shaking off a below par performance on Friday, showed remarkable heart and determination as they stayed within a few points of Sacramento for ¾ of this match. Both sides have runners who can break tackles and make the defense pay with extreme pace. Sacramento looks deep and are well coached and disciplined. Both sides should fare well in their respective leagues this season.

Elsewhere on the day:

STANFORD women 64 – St. Mary's 7 Referee: Bjorn Stumer
A beautiful day of rugby at Stanford's Steuber rugby stadium, where the Stanford ladies hosted St. Mary to delight of the many tail gaters who parked around the pitch in anticipation of the Stanford/Oregon State football match.
The match had Stanford written all over it, even though a number of their players had already left town for Thanksgiving break. Stanford showed a rugby style simple yet effective - pass the ball out wide to your speedy wings who outpace the opposition and the score grows rapidly. The first half closed with Stanford having scored 43 unopposed points. Seeing the match in the bag, Stanford relaxed a bit and only scored 21 points in the second half. To their credit, the St. Mary's ladies never gave up and salvaged honor with a nice converted try in the last minutes of the match. A beautiful day, on a fine pitch, with two fine and honorable teams. Final score Stanford 64 - St. Mary 7.

SEAHAWKS 37 – Aptos 19 Referee: Sandy Robertson
The two teams started to work out the kinks in a preseason scrimmage at Watson Bowl. The ‘Hawks had more bodies to throw into the affair and put 7 tries on the board. Aptos had 3 tries of its own, including one long break and a touchdown after a deft kick over the ‘Hawks backline defense.

SF GOLDEN GATE U23, 88– Berkeley RFC 8 Referee: John Coppinger
In a pre-season friendly, SF/GG-23 comprehensively defeated BRFC in a match played in 4-20 minute periods on brilliant sunny and calm day.

SF/GG-U-23 have a lot of the same faces from last year, but they have a very different look from last year's team. SF/GG's management brought in a strength and conditioning coach who worked w/ the side during the fall. The players, perhaps b/c they are fitter than last year, are prepared to be patient and work through phases of play, retaining possession and working towards the try, rather than trying to break each run to a score. The coaches mentioned that they having been working on discipline as well. No back chat by SF/GG, a change from last year, and only one incident of conflict, which of course happened behind my back and ended as soon as I turned around blew the whistle. Good work by the club's coaches.

BRFC has a number of new faces and need to work on fitness as the pack often struggled to follow the ball around the spacious TI grounds.


Scott Wood, Referee in Charge
Jim Crenshaw
Joshua Giddens – new guy
Dan Lacko – helps out a lot and Thanks!
Ray Schwartz
JC Van Staden
Russ Wilkening – touch judge and would-be ref

We’ll begin with a report from a brand new referee, experiencing the joys of blowing a tournament for the first time:

Report by Joshua Giddens:

Hello! I really enjoyed the Chico tournament and received excellent feedback from Jim and Scott Wood. Schwartz also gave me some pointers. I really felt and saw some improvement in my reffing over the course of the day, especially on my "progressions" of checks and communication with the players to manage the game and prevent penalties.

I refereed four games, Men's Chico State vs. Redding, Women's Sacramento vs. Chico, Women's Chico vs. San Jose, and Men's Redding vs. SLO. There were no cards used, though there was a little "trash talking" in the second women's game after a try where two ladies had to be directed away from each other. Players' fitness was an issue as the games and the day went on, especially in the break-down, but the fourth game was my best in terms of preventing players leaving their feet in the ruck, joining from the side, and playing the ball on the ground. I talked to the captains and front rows at the beginning about it and then penalized immediately and consistently, and it prevented messiness. So, that was positive. The fields were atrocious, but there were no serious injuries.

Overall, it was very profitable and FUN, so thanks for the opportunity.

Report from Scott Wood:

Saturday is a Rugby day, no matter how early it may start. This year's Chico Holiday Classic started with the first matches at 8 a.m. and the final match scheduled for 4:30 p.m.

A foggy journey was made to get to the pitch. The temperature was 52F at 8 a.m. causing steam to quickly rise off players and referees alike. By the end of the first matches, the mercury had dramatically risen to 60F and around 1:30 p.m. peaked at 78F! So much for mid-Fall weather in Chico.

The lineup included Chico Club Men and Women, Chico State Men and Women, San Luis Obispo Men and Women, Stanislaus Harlots, Redding Highlanders, Reno Zephyr, Mendocino "Steaming Donkeys"(?), B.A. Baracus, Santa Rosa RC, Humboldt State Women, Sacramento Amazons, and San Jose State Women. All told, 22 matches were refereed by neophyte Joshua Giddens, Dan Lacko, Ray Schwartz, and JC Van Staden with Jim Crenshaw and Scott Wood refereeing and providing feedback. Russ Wilkening arrived to play for Reno Zephyr, managed to run touch for a handful of matches and, unfortunately, had a match assigned to referee only to have the two teams make an early departure for The Bear.

CHICO MIGHTY OAKS 26 – Stanislaus Harlots 0 Referee: Scott Wood
Both teams played hard but Chico was able to maintain continuity with the ball and capitalize off the Harlots' unforced errors. Muddy, slick, molehill conditions made footing difficult at best for all concerned.

Ref: Wood
HSU came out fast for this match against a relatively inexperienced SLO team. Quick ball to the backs provided space needed to attack but neither team was very adept at exploiting overlaps or even running forward when the opportunity was present.

CHICO STATE WILDCATS 21 – Stanislaus Harlots 0 Ref: Wood
A better showing by the Harlots featuring Dan Lacko somewhere in the backfield. The Harlots' Matt Bradford was able to manipulate dummy passes for field position but Chico was quick to fill the gaps and their fitness provided additional power to defeat a wily side.

HUMBOLDT STATE WOMEN 22 – San Jose State Spartans 7 Ref: Wood
Knock-ons were prevalent in this match. SJSU defended well but as with the previous HSU game, the team that managed to run straight was going to find it much easier to break the gain line. Both teams tackled well and maintained positive rucks.

Report from Ray Schwartz:

With Sam & Teresa at their Roseville wedding party the night before, and joined by Jim Crenshaw, Matt Eason, Dave Miller, Scott Wood, Rod Chance, Kat & I then rolled into Sacramento (The Streets of London Pub) to see JC Van Staden, Bruce Carter, Don Pattalock, David Bentley, Jeff Frazier and others who had been working the tournament…. JC stayed overnight, and then off we were to Chico at 6AM.

Rookie ref Joshua Giddens and Scott Wood started off the fun, with JC and I each taking the next two. We would both handle four games with 20-minute halves on the day. JC’s games were always the same time as mine, so I suppose he did okay. He complained about his first run in 4 months (he was busy crushing grapes at his Lodi facility), and was miserably sore by the end of the day, but overall it was good to have him back in the fold.

I can report having watched Josh and Danny Lacko, and there is plenty of hope for both. Josh is as green as they come, but has a great attitude and will learn to become a good ref. Plus, he’s only 26, and with two good legs! What more can we ask for! Dan Lacko handled some tough games and did well; I truly think improving on the day. Sounds like he’ll take reffing seriously this year, between extended ski weekends that is.

Baracus v Santa Rosa was my first game out. Weather was cool and clear, the fields lumpy from being trashed the weekend before. Baracus was ready, but Santa Rosa seemed to have no concept of time or urgency. They were scored upon as they muffed their first touch. Baracus pounced on the mistake and converted the try, all less than a minute into the match! Each team would score on long intercepts, and though Baracus seemed to be more dominant, Santa Rosa hung in, until they pulled ahead 13-12 on a PK. And that’s how it ended. Santa Rosa has new coach, and former high-level Fijian player and coach, Acura, very serious man, who will hopefully be patient in bringing his group along.

After a nice little break, I reffed the Sacramento Amazons 2nd and then 3rd matches. They beat the SJ State Lady Spartans 33-14 (with the Spartans scoring all their points late as the Amazons tired), and a very young, small, but game SLO side, the “Peaches” 21-10. The Amazons have a nice mix of ladies, and is led by the new Girls HS Commissioner ‘Fesi Green. Long live the Commish! Later in the evening, the Lady Spartans and Amazons would team up to lead the rugby party in song!

After an extended, and much appreciated break, my last match was an enjoyable run between the Harlots and the SLO men. Hard hits, high emotion, well played at times, and with great ball handling shown often, especially by the SLO side. It was 12-5 SLO at the half, but Harlots never seemed to seriously challenge. SLO pulled away in the second to finish 31-5.

Thanks to Scott Wood for stepping up the run the refs, and to Jim Crenshaw for popping in to do a little coaching and whistle tooting to boot. Both offered valuable feedback on my own game. Too bad Russ Wilkening, who showed up a bit late, didn’t ref a game, but he helped running touch and got to play a bit. Russ’s side, the Reno Zephyrs, looked to be the form team on the day, featuring the ageless Maka at flyhalf, and a number of players who could come off of their DIII side and go places.

Lots of thanks to best buddies Beau McSwain and Mitch Jagoe for running, not only the show on the weekend, but for what seems like a bit of a Men’s rugby renaissance up there in Chico. The University side is deeper and better, and the John Fox’ Men’s Club seems to have benefited as well. Thanks truly to a number of the Chico State players who were more than happy to help and run touch.

Sadly, the party at the Bear ended abruptly, as apparently no less than 6 underage patrons continued to drink after they were asked not to, but JC and I were able to enjoy each other’s company on the long ride home, heck it was time for us to go anyway… thanks for taking the wheel!

First two periods:
Hayward 15 – SACRAMENTO LIONS 17 Referee: Joe Leisek
Touch Judge: Isaac Caselis
Mt. Eden Park, Hayward

Hayward hosted four 25-minute periods against Sacramento. I refereed the first two frames, while Pete Smith handled the last two. The pace of the first two periods was fast and furious, with at least some bragging rights at stake. The skill level was quite high, with Hayward shutting out their opponents in the first quarter with two unconverted tries.

In the second period, the players settled somewhat and ran more, improvising and entertaining everyone. Sacramento came unstuck, scoring two converted tries to pull within one point of the lead. The final play of the quarter was a beautifully struck drop goal by a Sacramento player from about 30-35 meters. Special thanks to Isaac for his helpful touch judging and to Pete Smith for his words of advice. I stayed to watch Pete just a bit, which I enjoyed very much.

Second two periods:
Hayward– Sacramento Lions Referee: Pete Smith
Touch Judge: Isaac Caselis
No report received.


UC SANTA CRUZ firsts 35 – St Mary's seconds 10 Referee: Bryant Byrnes
The venue was Santa Cruz's upper field and with the Monterey Bay at your feet on this warm and clear day it simply does not get any prettier.

This was the curtain raiser of three matches. A good effort by the young Gaels, but as they say, age and treachery prevailed. But seriously, the Slugs showed consistent pace and good distribution judgment and were rewarded.

ST. MARY’S 90 – UC San Diego 12 Ref: Byrnes
The Gaels' first fifteen were in fine form, especially in spinning the pill in the backline, breaking the first tackle, and continuing to go wide for the score. Getting there first with the mostest. Although missing some starters, to San Diego's credit they stayed with it and scored the final two tries.

Seconds: UC SANTA CRUZ 22 – UC San Diego 5 Referee: Sandy Robertson
Billed as a second side match, it was the second match of the day for a number of the UCSD players, and probably the same for the UCSC side as well. The match was played with considerable enthusiasm, several outbreaks of skill, and little sense of the nuances of the law. Still the game was played in good spirits and the referee now knows that the next time he tells an inexperienced group "Lineout players may not jump before the ball's thrown in" in his most official sounding voice, he will quietly add "but if the ball is out of the thrower's hand by the time the jumper is at his peak, you'll get by". It was painful to watch hookers afraid to throw before the jump and jumpers afraid to jump before the throw

At San Luis Obispo:

Cal Poly 21 – DIABLO GAELS 24 Referee: Andy Doukas
This was suppose to be a Southern vs Northern Cal men's first division battle, but Back Bay was unable to make it and Cal Poly collegiate had to step in. A rematch of last year that I refereed (Diablo 58, Cal Poly 8), but this time Cal Poly played at the level of the team they had to step in for! A great and hard fought match.

Warm and windy conditions led to fatigue and sometimes frustrations on both sides. But most of the frustration in offensive play came from great disrupting play from the opposition. Diablo scored with two trys in the 16 & 22nd minute of the first half but not converting. A nice try in the 35th minute with good passing in the backs and a score by Chris, Cal Poly's fullback & captain. Both teams fought hard through the half way and towards the end of the game exchanging two converted try's each and a score of Cal Poly 21, Diablo Gaels 24.

Seconds: CAL POLY 48 – Diablo Gaels 5 Ref: Doukas
Outsized by the Gaels, Cal Poly 2nd's with enthusiasm and fitness kept putting trys on the board. Lack of depth had fatigue and time against the Gaels and again frustration. One bad pass by Cal Poly put the ball in the hands of Mike, Gael's scrum half, for a 40 meter scamper for their only try of the day. Fatigue was really setting in on the ref and lack of concentration led to missed calls, the game was called.


This past Saturday saw seven eager and able students attending the IRB Touch Judge courses at the law offices of Matt Eason.

Matt and Bruce Carter were privileged to present the courses to:

Chris Arnold and Jackie Finck, both of whom had previous commitments and had to leave after passing Level One and becoming certified thereto.

Rod Chance, Don Pattalock, Aruna Ranaweera, Tim Strawn of the Old Aztecs and San Diego, and Mike Villierme all are now certified at all four levels.

We are fairly certain that Aruna is the first person to receive an IRB appointment to run touch (at the San Diego Sevens) prior to taking even the level one TJ course!


Touch Judging Levels 1-2-3-4: December 2, San Francisco; Mike Malone

Referee Level 1: January 6, 2007, San Francisco, Dixon Smith, Giles Wilson

Please let the instructor know if you are interested in any of these. Late registrants and even walk-ins can generally be accommodated.


We digress into popular music on these pages from time. Music is pretty much always playing here at the editorial offices of HP, and sometimes it finds its way from our ears to our automatically-typing fingers.

So imagine our surprise and contentment to be listening to the latest disc by someone who’s been a favorite for all of our sentient life and to hear these lyrics:

Confirma amorem meum
Amorem meum
Conserva veritatem
Fac beatam animam meum
Confirma amorem meum

(Strengthen my love
My love
Keep the truth
Make my soul blessed
Strengthen my love)

This is Sir Paul McCartney on his oratorio, Ecce Cor Meum, an inspiring and cool thing to pop on the iPod rotation!

And it just so happens that the book we are reading this week is Virgil’s Aeneid, in a wonderful new translation by Robert Fagles.

Fagles has re-invigorated the classics for a new generation with his translations of the Iliad and Odyssey over the past decade. If you only remember these masterpieces from bits and pieces during your formal education, you only remember them from now-inferior English translations.

No, it’s not all strictly rugby here at the Pelican’s Roost. We have obtained immense pleasure and succor, as the day demanded, from such works.

We're All Here Together

Friday night at the Capitol Cup:

Matt Eason, JC Van Staden, Don Pattalock, Bruce Carter, Jim Crenshaw, David Williamson


For the Senate
Pelicus Scriptoris