Monday, December 11, 2006




Please let us know if you can referee each of the following Saturdays, and whether you can travel that weekend. 'Travel' refers to driving more than an hour or so from where you live.

Realize that we have a new team in Mendocino. There are more out-lying games this year than ever before.


If you do not answer this request, you will not be assigned games. We cannot run the risk of assigning people who have not positively averred; it is very difficult to change games around once the complex schedule is made.

Please use this format. Just cut and paste and fill in the blanks:

Referee Yes/No If yes, Travel Yes/No
January 3
January 10
January 17
January 24
February 3


David Buckey, Andy Doukas and JC Van Staden have been promoted to C3.

Congratulations to these rising referees!


Twenty-eight attended the December meeting of the NCRRS last Wednesday at the Golden Gate clubhouse.

David Williamson organized and conducted a program covering Ruck, Maul and Re-start Kicks. This is in keeping with our syllabus, which will review all of the key elements on which referees are evaluated for promotion.

We were happy to see Barry Sheppard at the meeting. Barry is an old NorCal refereeing hand, now back in Marin after being in England the past dozen years. He hopes to watch a few games and help a few referees along the learning curve.


Maritime Academy 0 -SANTA ROSA JC 33 Referee: Paul Bretz
Friday 7:00 PM

I had the privilege of refereeing the Cal Maritime V Santa Rosa JC match Friday at the Maritime Academy. Santa Rosa's defense was the star of the match as they defeated Maritime 33-0. Santa Rosa easily defeated the Academy by committing bodies to the rucks at the breakdown and consistently winning the 50-50 balls. They scored 3 tries off of turnovers at the tackle/ruck. Of notable mention was the Santa Rosa hooker Josh Inong. Two years ago Josh was playing for the Elsie Allen Lobos and was shot at a graduation party. I am happy to report that Josh is once again terrorizing the pitch. The bullet that was removed from his leg does not seem to have hampered his ability to steal hooks at scrums; he stole three hooks on the day; nor has it slowed him down in the loose play.

Mendocino 10 - STANISLAUS 22 Referee: Ray Schwartz
Nokomis School, Ukiah

Always a fan of grassroots rugby and curious about the new side in Mendocino, I threw up my hand to volunteer when the chance came up. I was rewarded with a good game to handle, and fresh experience all around. Little did I realize this would be the Steam Donkey's first ever home game.

I began mid-week speaking with co-coach Vance Ricks, who was struggling to find an appropriate pitch. As Friday approached, I realized my truck needed some special attention going into the winter rains, and so arranged for a ($14/day!) rental. Stopped by The Beat to pick up some new CDs for the 6 hours of driving ahead, and neatly ran into an old friend and fellow open side flanker from the Sacramento Capitals (1982!), Jeff Poteet.

From the farmland north and west of Davis I took Road 27 off 113N. Then over I-505 to Road 89, to 23, to 85B, and onto Hwy 16 into the glorious Capay Valley! I visited a couple of jobsites where I had built pools, and continued on my lazy way. The drive got quite beautiful past Rumsey around the Upper Cache Creek, but I noticed some fallen rocks along the rugged canyon road, and sure enough, I would hit one on my way home later in the evening. 16 dead-ended into Hwy 20. It was then a beautiful 60 mile ride into Colusa, Lake and then finally Mendocino County, through Upper Clear Lake and numerous other small towns, and past many Rancheria casinos. A British band of four 21-year olds, named The Kooks, have a great new rockin' disc, and made the trip a breeze!

The day's off and on drizzle was now threatening to break into sunshine as I pulled into Ukiah, but the slivers of sun were not to last. I found a friendly gas station to change into my kit and was amused to find everyone knew about the game I was in town to ref. The mechanics all thought it was a little crazy. The Steam Donkeys had gotten an article in the local paper.

The town had perhaps 12,000 folks, maybe 60,000 total across the vast county. But they have a couple Fijians, a few Elsie Allen graduates, and a former Sac State #8, Liam Kidd, who put up his credit card and the energy to coach, all to help get this new club up and running. And the Harlots were willing to drive (even further than I) to help them get ready for the 2007 competition ahead.

It was 52 degrees as I pulled up to the small elementary school, an hour before the 2PM kickoff, there where perhaps 8 guys passing a ball around, and two small boys playing in the mud. Goalposts and pads were up, and paint was laid down. It looked like Vance had done a decent job of sorting things out. The try zones were short, the pitch just a little small, the midfield stripe was nowhere near midfield, but the lines where straight as an arrow. And stunning redwood covered mountains were just to the west.

The intermittent drizzle would keep the grassy field sloppy and slick. The Harlots only brought about 13 players (plus Kreg Nelson as coach, and several wives and girlfriends), and so Mendo's wings got to play against each other (and they would see a lot of action!). I had been told about Mendo's two Fijians, one with 3 caps from Fiji 7s, but Tukai Seru, their usual flyhalf (recently spent 3 seasons with Belmont Shore), could not make it this day. R-r-r-ush, a 47-year old hooker had fun helping the kids learn on the day. With Tukai missing, Jason Page, Mendo's usual outside center moved into 10. A big and talented runner, Jason would score a nice try, and single-handedly hold their backline together. He would later tell me of his days playing at Pepperdine and New Orleans.

The Harlots would assert themselves early, scoring the first try just minutes into the game. Their pack was more aggressive, their backs more skillful, but Mendocino made a nice game of it. They tied it up, and then minutes after Jimmy Mason joined the game at flanker for the Harlots, he score a converted try, and 10 minutes later a second unconverted. Just at halftime, the Harlots were to score again, but their last pass down the wing was deemed forward. And so we broke as the rain grew more steady, with the score 17-5. I hadn't really noticed, but a nice crowd was gathering to enjoy the spectacle, and so I fielded questions from a group of happily curious onlookers, as I sipped some water.

The second half saw lots of spirited play, end-to-end and side-to-side stuff, with the Harlots clearly in control, but no scores until past halfway. Prop Nick French ("I would have been a Clown, if was only old enough!") knocked on a double move at the tryline. A minute later, the Steam Donkeys kicked ahead, got numbers to the ball, and two quick phases later had drawn the match to 17-10. The Harlots soon scored again and truly dominated the last 15 minutes, turning the ball over several times with their powerful scrums and superior fitness (Yes, I did just say that!).

The match ended with great spirit, everyone exhausted, no one injured, rookies muddied. I enjoyed a rare experience then. I walked across the street (literally) to shower and change at Andy's house, a young lock enjoying just his 5th or so match (like most all of his teammates). I reflected on the odd fact that not a single penalty went to tackled players not releasing as I walked back to my car, parked just two doors down. A short drive to Harold's Club, a little private pool hall and whiskey joint. Here I enjoyed chatting with the coaches and captains.

Harlots' Matt Bradford (who played his typical solid game) told me of his brother Johnny moving to Scotland. Matt's outside center Brian Lynn I thought was a natural, showing great hands, a good sense of space, and a nice ability to change direction, but I was told he was playing his first game in the backs. At just 24, Brian may have found a home. Mendo's Geoff Drake, a 21-year old prop, showed a great spirit, and may be one of those guys who'll play rugby for the next ten or twenty years. I gave the nod to the Harlots' Jimmy Mason as Man of the Match, and was on my way through a rain that just got worse and worse, until a near whiteout the last 10 minutes between Davis and home.

SACRAMENTO CAPITALS 66 - Reno Zephyrs15 Referee: Scott Wood
Referee Coach in the Rain: Matt Eason
Spectator/Coach in the Rain: Tony Latu

I know a referee who says he has an agreement with God that it does not rain during his matches. While I have seen otherwise, this match came close. The rain we received was a couple minutes of light drizzle at the first conversion attempt three minutes into the match and a deluge of biblical proportion with two or three minutes remaining in the match. The field at Florin Reservoir Park held up nicely due to a mixture of Bermuda thatch and sand.

Reno traveled with 17 players and Sacramento arrived with plenty of first and second side players. The Capitals scored two tries in the first four minutes before Reno was able to mount coordinated attacks. While both teams appeared relatively even in the forward pack, the Zephyr back line was outpaced by the Capitals.

This is the first match for the teams and referee to use the new IRB scrum engagement procedure. The only issue was getting the props to bring back their arms after "touch". The technique does not address (nor should it) front row "reindeer games" so don't be surprised to see the same reset issues in international play. The Capitals finished the first half up 36-0. The second half began much like the first with two tries scored within four minutes in the south goal as Reno was able to utilize its replacement backs. Sacramento was somewhat surprised but collected themselves and answered with several of their own tries. The match finished out after a brief deluge with the Capitals over the Zephyr 66-15.

Hayward Tournament

Report by David Williamson:
Something old, something new, something borrowed, something blue--traditionally describing wedding garb, would also describe this tournament featuring four first division clubs, plus Mission--which played like a first division club. Some of the teams--Hayward, San Mateo, Olympic Club, and San Jose had some old players, but they had plenty of new ones as well. Due to the proximity of the thoroughfare to the pitch, plenty of balls had to be borrowed when the wind carried kicks to touch over the fence. And San Jose had a patch of blue on their uniforms, to repeat one of the colors on the referees' kit.

The teams played a round-robin format in good spirits: Lots of fast breaks, heavy tackles, and nifty ball handling kept the refs hopping and the spectators entertained. Hayward won three games, but lost a close contest to San Mateo 7-5. At times, this match resembled a sumo-wrestling contest with its high impact. Perhaps the fastest match--with the most passes and long runs--was San Mateo v. O-Club--won by San Mateo. San Mateo won three matches, plus a forfeit.

We had two new touch judges--Chris Arnold and Eric Rauscher, plus an experienced one: Ed Barfels. Their assistance allowed us to have official touch judges for all nine 20-minute matches, and allowed Mike Malone and yours truly to coach. Our referees were all seasoned vets who managed the games with gusto and a smile: John Coppinger, Bryant Byrnes, Sandy Robertson, Chris Parkhouse, and Bjorn Stumer.

Plenty of fun for everyone, plus plenty of anticipation for the season beginning next month.

SAN MATEO 17 - Olympic Club 5 Referee: Bjorn Stumer
This was a fast open match in windy and cold conditions. San Mateo played fast "ball in hand rugby" and threw repeated attacks at the Olympic Club. It is a credit to the Olympic Club that they limited the damage to only three tries by never giving up. They were awarded a late unconverted try, but it was too late as San Mateo walked away 17-5.

OLYMPIC CLUB 18 - San Jose 0 Ref: Stumer
By the time San Jose and the Olympic Club entered the pitch for the last match of the Hayward Tournament, the rain had returned, all were tired, and darkness was looming. However, the "O-Club" seemed immune to all of that and put in a brilliant display versus a combative San Jose side. A bit scrappy here and there, but the Olympians played a tight one scoring three tries and one penalty. It was a delight to see them regain some of the discipline they lost in their earlier match against San Mateo, and this paid off - final score: Olympic Club 18 - San Jose 0.

Redding 25 - SAN FRANCISCO FOG 31 Referee: Jim Crenshaw
After reading Ray Schwartz's report about the boring drive up I-5 to Redding, I got up a little early and took 99 up through Yuba City, Live Oak, Gridley, Durham, Chico, Los Molinos and Red Bluff, i.e., the scenic route. Some interesting things along the way, including a stop in Chico to get a little Christmas shopping done at the Orient & Flume Glass shop. For anyone that enjoys glass artwork, Orient & Flume is a must stop.

This route is also full of all kinds of roadside stands selling fruit, vegetables and Christmas knickknacks.

Arrived in Redding around noon to find Redding at the SF Fog getting ready to play the 6th annual game for the Mark Bingham cup. Redding was in possession of the cup after winning last years match in San Francisco and after the first half, it looked like they would retain possession. The Fog won the second half, the cup and bragging rights for the year, final score SF Fog 31 Redding Highlanders 25.

We then played another 30 period, so all of the reserves and new players could get some playing time. That ended with a common score of 14 each.

We retired to the Dry Creek saloon for food and liquid pain killers. Redding put on a great spread with BBQ ribs salad and garlic bread. Redding turned over a slightly bruised cup to the Fog.

Another great rugby day!!!

Cal Poly 19 - ST. MARY'S 28 Referee: Pete Smith
No report received.
You can read about this game on either American Rugby News or Goff on Rugby (subscription required). Sounds like it was pretty exciting!

Seconds: Cal Poly - Arroyo Grande Referee: JC Van Staden
No report received.

Chico State - SFGG U-23 CANCELED

Univ. of Nevada - Humboldt State CANCELED


You can now register with USA Rugby for 2007 participation. The amount is $55. This will be tax-deductible if you are a member of the referee society:

You can complete payment on-line. You'll need to print out the waiver, sign it, and get it to our Treasurer, Jim Crenshaw.

Delta Supply
1248 E. Oak Avenue #D
Woodland, CA 95776


All referees (and teams) need to sign the safety protocol for the coming season. This is the same document that was in use last season.

Even if you have signed it previously, you need to do so again. If you did not sign it at the society meeting, you will be receiving a copy by e-mail.

Please read it, print the last page, sign and mail it to:

Bruce Carter
19235 Creekside Lane
Salinas, CA 93908


The PCRFU Board of Directors has approved a new charter for the Pacific Coast Rugby Referee Society. This document specifies procedures for election and removal of officers, defines their duties, and will provide a framework for the continued development and advancement of Grizzly referees.

The officers will be President, Secretary/Treasurer and Referee Education Officer (this is new terminology for was originally to be called the RDO - USA Rugby recommended the use of this title).

A plebiscite is necessary in order for the charter to be adopted. If 65% of the referees in the territory approve and sign it, it will take effect.

This needs to be accomplished within the next week or so for elections to be held and officers put in place for the coming season. It is absolutely imperative that they be able to chart the assignments and promotion opportunities for C1 and B panel referees during the competitive season.


John Coppinger
Donahue, Gallagher, Woods & Wood, LLP
300 Lakeside Drive, Suite 1900
Oakland, California 94612-3570

The board members and officers of the NCRRS recommend approval. Please contact any of them if you have questions or doubts.


The Northern California Rugby Football Referees Society will host a combined Level 1 and 2 Evaluator courses beginning Friday evening, 12 January 2007, and continuing through Sunday, 14 January 2007, in San Francisco, CA. The fee for participation in this course is $150.00. This course will include a practical assessing and coaching exercise on Saturday, 13 January. Details of the requirements for participation in the course are found at

Parties registering for the course should plan on a start time of the Friday evening session at 6:00 p.m. and running until 10:00 p.m. The Saturday session will run all day and require participants to prepare a Level 2 evaluation report Saturday night for presentation to the class Sunday morning. The Sunday session will be completed no later than 1:00 p.m. The exact location of the training site is still to be determined and will be disseminated at a later date.

Persons wishing to participate in the course should register with the course's lead trainer, Mike Malone, at or
(415) 472-2091

So far we have three members of our society signed up, and we are hoping that folks from other societies will take advantage of this opportunity.

The referee world definitely needs more trained coaches and evaluators. They provide the currency that referees exchange for promotions.

One of the goals that the current NCRRS president has been pursuing for some years is for NorCal to have one-third as many evaluators as we have referees. This is the normal ratio in the rest of the rugby world. It is an unheard of pipe dream in the USA.

With active society membership being around sixty, we need twenty evaluators and coaches. With three more scheduled to be trained in January, what seemed to be an impossible dream ten years ago is now within our grasp.


The Referee Development Committee discussed its own goals at their meeting last Wednesday.

Some of them included:

� Formally evaluating every referee at least once a year, for liability reasons. This includes referees who do not want to be evaluated

� Evaluating those referees who desire to earn promotion three or four times per season

� Re-evaluating any referee who earns an above-grade report within two weeks of receipt of that report

Bearing in mind that we are committed to evaluating all incoming exchange referees, and that several of our evaluators often receive appointments that take them out of the area, these are going to be difficult goals to achieve without twelve to fifteen 'watchers' working every Saturday in the season.


Saturday, January 6 in San Francisco - Mike Malone

Sunday, January 14 in Sacramento - Matt Eason

Need to get certified? Now's your chance! Plan to spend the day taking the IRB's Level One Refereeing Course.


Bicycle parts produce all of the sounds you will hear on this site. The video is mesmerizing in itself. You like bikes? Tune in and turn it up:


Brian Gildea, Propus Celtus, forwards this link announcing that the 2008 Mark Bingham Cup will be played in Dublin:


Brian and his wife will be visiting San Diego for the Sevens in February. It will be good to see the originator of NorCal Notes again, the harbinger of Hail, Pelicus!

Hayward Tournament Crew

A cool, blustery day produces a variety of expressions at Pepsi Park in Hayward.

Front Row: Referees Bryant Byrnes, Chris Parkhouse, Sandy Robertson, John Coppinger and Bjorn Stumer.

Second Row: Referee Coach Dave Williamson

Others present on the day: Referee Coach Mike Malone, plus Touch Judges Ed Barfels, Chris Arnold and Eric Rauscher

Photographer: Mose Timoteo


For the Senate
Pelicus Scriptoris