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

Wednesday, September 20, 2006




SAN FRANCISCO FOG 26 – Sacramento Amazons 12 Referee: Joe Leisek
Saturday, September 16
Crocker-Amazon Playground, San Francisco

An unusually warm, clear day in San Francisco. However, there was plenty of...Fog!

Actually, more than anything, there was a very competitive, stirring game of rugby. Fesi's Amazons were strong and played best when they kept ball in hand, especially in the maul, while the Fog looked for opportunities to spin the ball wide, or at least wide enough to reach Bridget Madell. The young center had a spectacular game, scoring all of her team's points: four tries and three conversions. She is a smart runner who changes direction quickly; with a bit of space, she left would-be tacklers flat-footed.

The game was very intense and fast, as both sides played hard for 80 minutes. The Amazons, led by their captain, Leka, scored two tries and one conversion. They were hard as nails on defense as well, stuffing several Fog attacks cold.

Lots of multi-phase play, open field running, hard rucking and mauling. Both sides played well, with the Fog backline clearly making the difference on the day (with the delivery of quick ball from their forwards).

A well-attended and entertaining social capped a wonderful rugby day.

University of San Francisco – Fog men Referee: Joe Androvich
No report received.

Aspen exchange by John Pohlman: report pending.

By Pelicus Scriptoris, In His Element


Wednesday morning brought about the brightest dawn possible for some Pelicans – the one where your bags are packed for a long-anticipated trip.

Converging on SFO from various ports of debarkation, Sam Reagle and Teresa Schwartz, Dave Miller and Bruce Carter exchanged warm smiles, hugs and handshakes; pre-tour bonding setting the stage for what was sure to follow.

Semper Bonis Avis: Sam and Dave had already found and photographed the giant gilded Pelicans incorporated into the wall design of the departure lounges of SFO’s International Terminal. The good birds were lining up for takeoff.

New restrictions on carry-on luggage, related to the plot uncovered in England last month to blow up multiple jetliners, do mean that boarding, stowing and getting airborne is faster than it used to be. The capacious overhead bins on the 747 had a few shoebox size items in each of them, no more.

Modern travel is miraculous: movies to choose from or a favorite book brought along, a few hours’ sleep, nice folks periodically put food in front of you and there you are – circling over Kent in a holding pattern but unable to see through multiple cloud layers and ground fog.

It was Dave Miller’s first trip abroad and he longed to see the ground. Ever helpful and rarely quiet, Bruce did his best to describe what Dave was missing.

But O! to be in England!


The friendly face of Nando DiMatteo awaited just through customs. Nando conveyed Murray Felstead’s regrets; Murray was appearing at an immigration hearing on behalf of a family friend many miles to the north.

It was good to see Nando, who visited NorCal on the very first exchange back in 1994 and was to be, along with his wife Adriana, Dave’s host for the duration.

But first, a challenging puzzle had to be solved.

The elements are as follows:

- A ‘normal’ size European car (small, with a hatchback less than two feet behind the back seat)

- Five adults

- Luggage for eight – the four tourists and all the stuff they seem to have brought for four more people who perhaps are following on a later flight

The Enigma code-crackers of Bletchley Park had nothing on this crew, who required only twenty-minutes of packing and re-packing to get it all in. It required the shoulders of three men to get the hatchback to close. A crate of wine had to be opened so that the individual bottles could be stowed in a wine rack of nooks and crannies. Stuff was on laps and underfoot, but the tour was afoot!

Sam’s decision to wear shorts on the flight was a good one: England had been having unusually warm weather. It was over 80 early in the week. Of course, the tour group had left Northern California in the throes of summer, the coastal areas typically getting their hottest days of the year in September. The mercury had been flirting with ninety in Monterey when Bruce was shopping for cheap trinkets – er, meaningful giveaways – at Cannery Row on the Tuesday.

Nando drove round London’s ring road, the M25, up the M1 through the greenbelt, exiting at the A509 through Buckinghamshire, through Olney, and thence across the River Nene into Wellingborough.

As only a new tourist could do, Dave Miller took pictures of houses and fields though the windows of the moving car. Bets are being taken on when he will satiate his camera’s one-gigabyte memory card.

During the journey, Sam and Teresa were heard conversing about a license in New Zealand. After a brief interrogation, the following details were extracted: they are to be married in New Zealand, on the beach, on November 1!

Congratulations are well in order for Teresa and Sam!

Sue Felstead greeted the group upon their arrival at Touchdowns, many a NorCal referee’s home away from home. Sue’s happy face and warm embrace were a balm to all the miles.

Nando took Dave Miller to his home. In time-honored fashion, the remaining tourists determined to stretch their legs, obeying the clocks on the wall which said it was mid-morning rather than the body’s internal chronometer of biochemistry, which read ‘deep slumber’.

A walking tour of Wellingborough highlights ensued, including post card and stamp purchase, Thornton’s fudge shop, ATM access and finally, a chance to bend the elbow at the Old Grammarian’s downtown club.

As they walked in, Bruce said to Sam and Teresa, “This may be my only chance to buy you a drink on tour.” But there at the bar were Nando and Dave, and Bruce’s coins were only so many slugs, worthless in the land of rugby hospitality nonpareil.

Nando’s wife Adriana made a nice pasta lunch for everyone, enjoyed between walking in the DiMatteos’ lovely garden and watching the news in Italian on television.

After a short stroll back to the Felsteads’, Gary Malpas came by to collect Teresa and Sam, as they will be staying with him and his wife Ann. It took two people three trips to carry their bags out…


It dawned a perfect day: lightly-etched cirrus clouds, the kind Californians have to drive to Nevada to see, laced across a rich blue vault. Off in the western sky were ranks of contrails pointing south, the tracks of jetliners arriving from the New World. Opposite, in the eastern perspective, another bundle of such gossamer traces heading north, flights from Europe on their way to visit their cultural descendants.

Gary Malpas took Dave, Teresa and Sam on a tour of Rugby School, Gilbert’s Museum, Warwick Castle and the Northampton Saints’ home grounds, Franklin Gardens, a full-on rugby pilgrimage with appropriate photo documentation.

Bruce accompanied his dear friend Murray up the M6 to the north of Blackpool, on a business trip to meet halfway a man driving down from Scotland.

Be advised that the ‘little’ cars one sees on the motorways of Britain take about seventy pounds of gasoline to fill the tank. That’s more than $130! At first glance, it might appear that petrol costs a little less over here until you realize that it’s priced by the liter, not the gallon.

So imagine Murray’s reaction at the end of an otherwise successful meeting, the deal done, when the man he drove three hours to meet halfway reveals that he was on his way to London!

That’s like driving from LA to meet someone from SF in SLO, then finding out they’re on their way to San Diego.


As ever, Saturday is a rugby day. The hundreds of weekly phone calls that Murray receives (he’s the re-appointments officer) dwindle down to their last dozens.

Out the windows of Northamptonshire there’s no rain in sight, but rain is in sensation: a humid closeness to which Pelicans are unused. We might as well be in Mississippi. Just putting on Number Ones and walking around is enough to wet the epidermis.

Which brings up another point, the passing of a tradition: match officials and their performance reviewers no longer necessarily wear number ones.

Colin Wright, who picked up Dave and Bruce for their drive down to Bletchley, was dressed casually and explained that yes, a memo had gone out. Independent confirmation from a variety of sources reveals that yes, indeed, yet another sun has set on the British Empire.

You don’t have to wear number ones anymore. Let it be noted: WE ARE NOT AMUSED.

Sam Reagle had two games on the day: school boys in the morning and the Oundle club in the afternoon. We recall that David Williamson refereed at Oundle just ten years ago this month.

Dave refereed Bletchley’s thirds against High Wycombe’s thirds. Old timers might recall the visit of High Wycombe to Northern California in the mid-1980s. This writer played against them at Monterey.

Bruce had a league fixture, Bletchley against Amersham & Chiltern. Both home teams won handily and everyone was happy.

Small world department: Ian Punter is a friend of Ian Baggott’s and has been to California. He is a clubman with Bletchley. He and Bruce had met before but didn’t expect to see each other on this day.

In the bar afterwards, Ian said, “One of our players moved to the States a few years back and became a referee.”

Bruce said, “Try me. There’s a chance I’ll know him”

“John Chapman.”

How cool is that? Until recently, John was the president of our neighbor referee society to the north, the Pacific Northwest. Before that, he was Matt Eason’s coach at Sacramento State.

As the Bletchley old(er) boys gathered ‘round, they were pleased to hear that John has a large family and has gained fame announcing at the IRB Sevens and the USA Collegiate Finals.

In the evening it was Indian food in Wellingborough, where the tourists and their hosts were delighted to be joined by Bob and Karen Tustin, Ian and Elaine Baggott and John Wearing.


California shorts weather. That’s the only way to describe it. Little wonder they aren’t wearing number ones hereabouts.

The drive down to London was complicated by road works on the M1. This yearlong project will probably shorten people’s lives; such is the effect it is having on commute times from anywhere north of the metropolis.

It was a rugby day: the Saracens hosting Newcastle in the premiership. It was also a Southern California day: beach weather! Bright sun, no breeze, temperatures tempting flesh to be seen.

The sad truth was confirmed when Murray gained everyone access to the official’s changing room: the team of three were in casual clothes.

Well, those who were present were in casual clothes: Paul Dickens, well-remembered no doubt by many Pelicans, was late.

Paul just stepped down from the RFU Panel at the end of last season. This was to be his first appointment as an RFU touch judge in the professional league. But alas! – car trouble – left him as the fourth official because he didn’t get there until 45 minutes prior to kickoff.

We wish our old friend better days ahead.

Saracens were dominant, a fact which their California foreigner home-team-supporting fans appreciated. Especially inspiring was a try from a maul that was driven, beginning near touch thirty meters out and finishing up between the posts.

We are confident that everyone is enjoying tremendous hospitality from their hosts. We know for a fact that Dave Miller is enjoying the Mediterranean diet at the DiMatteos’. But on this night, this Sunday, it was the British diet at Touchdowns as Murray made his famous Yorkshire pudding. That’s one scrummy pud!

There was a coda to the evening as karma came calling.

Murray’s phone rang late. Hardly surprising, Murray’s phone ringing, but this was not, strictly speaking, a rugby call.

Bob Tustin had had car trouble. In Bristol. He needed a tow and some work but had left his credit card at home, thinking he wouldn’t need it, apparently never having memorized its number.

Ah, but the source of the trouble – he put the wrong fuel into his car!

Let us return to March of 2004, when an unnamed Pelican put gasoline into his diesel vehicle while showing some exchangees around Tahoe and Reno. Bob Tustin was firstest and loudest to remind all he encountered of this fact for the duration of the exchange.

And now Bob found himself getting home at 4 AM on a workday, another day older and deeper in debt.

Tisk, tisk.


A muted dawn as cloud-bedeckt England greeted the week. It was still quite warm, the grapes groaning on the arbor in the Felstead’s back yard, flowers a-blooming in the giant vases that many roundabouts are. Another short-sleeve day for a group who didn’t bring any such.

Sam and Teresa undertook a walking/shopping tour of Northampton. As charming as this might have been, there are those who suspect that Sam may not be correct in his estimation that the shops of Northampton will have quelled Teresa’s desire, and that she will thereby be proof against the palatial emporia of Oxford Street and willing to spend their one full day in London next week visiting the Cutty Sark.

Nando and Murray showed Dave and Bruce around Cambridgeshire.

First was a stop at Madingley, a cemetery for American servicemen who gave their lives during World War II. Many thousands lie in honored rest here in the heart of ‘Little America’ as it was called during the war.

East Anglia was known as the ‘World’s Largest Aircraft Carrier’. The countryside was a grid of American airfields as both the 8th and 9th Air Forces had scores of bases here.

Dave Miller’s father served here as a tail gunner aboard B-24s, the aptly named Liberators. He survived being shot down twice, once over the Channel, and made it home to have a family after VE Day.

Next, at Duxsford, a visit to the Imperial War Museum proved to be entirely satisfying.

A wonderful indoor display of US aircraft ranged from WWI to Desert Storm.

Archives there allowed Dave to quickly find precisely at which airfield his father had served, and a mint-condition B-24 should ready to be photographed, the tail-gunner’s port right there within arm’s reach.

Bruce was reminiscing over a paired display, a Scud missile and a Patriot interceptor, when a woman approached and said, “I worked on those.”

He said, “Then you saved my life. I spent many nights in a chemical suit and gas mask listening to the Patriots launch and hearing the explosions overhead.”

(Actually, he typically ran outside with his camera and tried to photograph the pyrotechnics, rather than into the shelters he and his tent-mates had dug, in gas mask nonetheless.)

So they had a photograph taken, this engineer with Raytheon and this veteran of the United States Army Medical Corps, the two of them with the implements of war that inspired their shared humanity.

A visit to the souvenir shop inevitably followed, a visit made more interesting when Bruce recognized a familiar face: a player for Belmont Shore! Sure enough, the team is on tour and playing at Hertford Tuesday night.

Lunch was at an Italian restaurant in Cambridge, alongside the River Cam where the punters go about. These are pole barges which can be hired for a leisurely tour of the medieval city and the various colleges, and it was a lovely day to be so doing.

One crept by, a single fare apparently asleep on the deck. The punter was immediately dubbed Charon.

But such slow-motion tourism was not to be, for an appointment awaited back in Wellingborough: a visit from the Hansfords.

Peter, Belinda, Abigail and Jonathan live in Swansea, of course. Misfortune conspired to bring them to Northampton when one of Belinda’s relations died.

Abigail stayed home to attend school this week but the others drove across, looking as well and happy as ever.

Belinda, retired from Levis, has found work but Peter, retired from finding work, has not. (Insert smiley face icon!)

It was a delight to pass a glorious late afternoon with old friends on all sides.

Monday evening found everyone in Olney for the monthly meeting of the East Midlands Rugby Referee Society. There weren’t enough chairs to hold everyone in the large room and for good reason: the featured speaker was Martin Heinz, front-row coach for the Bedford Blues, formerly with the Saints, who prior to that played in the premiership.

This guy knew all the techniques and all the tricks. An engaging speaker, he educated and involved a lot of referees to such effect that they should have safer and more enjoyable games in the future through a better understanding of what the players are trying to do.

After the presentation Clive Leeke, the East Mids training officer, graciously asked Bruce if he wished to have a few minutes of the groups’ time. As he just so happened to have a jump drive containing almost two dozen of his rugby talks in his pocket, he allowed as to how that would be nice; Martin’s session dove-tailed perfectly with the talk he gave at the June conference on Scrum Time.

Lots of old NorCal friends were in attendance and send along their regards. Particularly: Melanie ‘Shooter’ McGowan, Bill Hulme, Paul Dickens (who was only a few minutes late), Nicola Reynolds, Steve Oliver and others – such is the whirl of re-acquaintances that even the fact-checker cannot keep up.

Monday drew to a close with no rain yet to have fallen on the tourists. There were to be some schools games to referee the next three days. Some South African exchange referees were arriving Tuesday to be billeted with the Felsteads and their daughter Kate, who lives seven houses down.

The world was spinning round very nicely indeed, like a perfectly kicked rugby ball.

September 7-10, 2006
Report by Dave Williamson, NCRRS RDO

Referees: National Panel Refs (Davey Ardrey, Paul Bretz, Graeme Bullen, Richard Every, Jem McDowell, Tim Luscombe, Chris Henshall); plus two promising refs (Mitch Damm and Aruna Ranaweera)

RDOs and Referee Coaches: Cap Pelletier (SoCal), Ted Serfas (SoCal), Josh Tameifuna (SoCal), Gerry Fitzgerald (South), Steve Glentzer (West), Tom Barr (M.West), Gary Devoe (Northeast), Dave Williamson (NorCal)

Trainers: Ed Todd (Tackle)), Al Klemp (Scrums), Andy Melrose (RFU--Referee Coaching course), Dave Williams (Strength and Weight Training), Peter Thorburn (refereeing the tackle/ruck/muck), Paul Bretz (heart rate monitor)

Thursday evening social: meet and greet for refs and coaches

Friday morning: Fitness testing and discussions re use of heart rate monitors. Coaches helped keep track of refs’ times for beep test, 40-yard sprint, and 505 agility test. Paul Bretz described his personal use of heart rate monitor; Polar rep described team-wide use of heart rate monitor data.

Friday afternoon: Scrum Discussion for all/Electronic Diary/Referee Coaching course. Al Klemp (recently-retired from the A panel) led a video review of the scrums from Phil Smith’s NA4 match, presented iRB’s DVD on the scrum, and led further discussion. Ed Todd described the referee’s Electronic Diary. Andy Melrose led a discussion of the course material previously distributed to the coaches and RDOs.

Friday evening: Video review for refs/Referee Coaching course. Refs analyzed Phil Smith’s match; coaches continued with their course.

Saturday morning: Ropes course for all. Refs paired with refs--plus one pair of RDOs--tackled various sections of an elevated ropes course.

Saturday afternoon: Coaching--the Referee’s Perspective/Training and Warmup Activities. Andy Melrose asked the referees some of the same questions regarding coaching that he presented to the coaches. The refs’ responses were very similar to the coaches’: It’s all about the ref taking ownership of the learning process; the coach listens more than talks. Dave Williams provided DVDs on training and conducted an excellent demonstration of a 15-20 minute warmup.

Sunday morning: Tackle/Ruck/Muck--Past/Present/Future. Peter Thorburn discussed the current difficulty (impossibility??) in refereeing the breakdown, the reasons for and effects of the current situation, how he coaches the USA team to run with the ball with a strong preference for the maul over the ruck, and how the game might look after the Rugby World Cup.

Summary: Ed Todd did an admirable job of assembling

Useful training materials for refs, RDOs, and ref coaches,
A good cross-section of participants,
Excellent trainers, and
Group activities to bond the participants

The participants mixed well together, actively participated in all the activities, and thoroughly enjoyed themselves.
The next gathering, and the second portion of the coaching course, will take place in early December at the ITTs in Florida.


We have been asked to publish the following in a good cause:

“Save The Harlotfest Rugby Festival”

It’s always been a sad day when something that you knew was a good thing has gone and disappeared. As of now, that thing that is gone is the Harlotfest as you knew it. Created by two players from the Stanislaus Rugby Football Club, Scott McDonald and Miles Hunter back in 1991, this year would have been the 15th birthday of this unique event. The Harlotfest gave rugby players across the nation, and even around the world, a new way to attend tournaments and play rugby. Ruggers know that playing for another team during a tournament is called whoring, but in a good way. We can’t pick an exact point in time when this practice began but we gave the rugby whore his/her own tournament. That tournament happens every third weekend in October, this year on the 21st.

Although this won’t exactly be the Harlotfest everyone remembers, it will be one that will never be forgotten. Throughout the years people have become accustomed to paying $80.00 and getting a jersey and having a great time playing with a lot of guys they hardly know but this year is a little different. Due to lack of sponsorship and attendance being down in recent years, we have had to scale down this year’s festivities to not include jerseys. Sad I know, but look at the bright side! We have passed that savings on to our fellow ruggers and taken away the excuse not to show up. A simple donation of $20.00 gets you a few rugby games and a bunch of great laughs, and if that isn’t worth saving the Harlotfest, then I don’t know what is. Take a stand and come out, we ruggers can’t afford to let another great rugby tournament slip away!

The format for October 21st will be kick-offs at 10:00 a.m. The fun will run until the social is done or they kick us out of the park, then we move on from there. In the place of jerseys we will provide mesh tops to help separate the teams and make it a bit easier. We will have referees and fields as usual but the difference will be no structured teams. The good thing about this is that you can play as much as you want, as often as you want, whenever you want and with who ever you want. We are taking the idea of the Harlotfest and breaking it back down to its roots. So for the rookie who wants to pick up the game, jump in one. The Old Boy who wants two, play two or the Die Hard who wants every game, well that’s your choice. Come out, bring your friends and teammates. For the $20.00 you donate the beer and rugby is on us, but the memories are yours to keep.

Time and Place:

Saturday October 21st 10:00 a.m.

Beyer High School,
Modesto Ca, 95355 for any additional information.


Knowing the predilections of the editorial staff here at HP, Alex Goff was kind enough to forward this photograph he took at the Royal Alberta Museum in Edmonton while he was in that city covering the World Cup.

We are sure that you will be as taken with it as we were.


For the Senate
Pelicus Scriptoris

Monday, September 11, 2006




New kit will be ordered soon. It will be of the same design that we have been wearing since 2005.

Bjorn Stumer is in the process of finding which vendor can best meet our needs. Although the initial ordering process with our most recent supplier went very well, it was difficult if not impossible to order additional items once their stock ran out.

Bjorn needs to know what volume of material we are looking at for an initial order. Please e-mail Bjorn if you want to buy any new kit:

Refereeing jerseys (sublimated) in yellow
Refereeing jerseys (sublimated) in blue
Shorts with society logo
Warms up
Touch flags
Kit bags

Include the quantity and sizes for each (S, M, L, XL, XXL)

This will enable informed negotiations on his part and the best on-going service on ours.

Bjorn’s e-mail is:


The Horsemen won the Tri-Tip Sevens over Fresno on Saturday in San Luis Obispo.

The Horsemen are comprised of alumni of Humboldt State University and their friends. A number of them have Santa Rosa roots as well.

Bruce Carter was lucky enough to referee both their first and last games on the day, and was surprised to find out that they were not a team that played together regularly. They beat good sevens teams like the Seahawks with ease.

A novel feature of the tournament was the ‘play in’ game to reach the quarterfinals. There were seven pools of round-robin play. The best second-place finisher needed to be determined to join the winners in advancing. Based on the criteria in place, it was a tie between the Seahawks and Fresno.

Each of these teams has won this tournament multiple times. In fact, the two met in the Santa Barbara final only two weeks previously.

Bryant Byrnes refereed this very exciting match, where the teams alternated scoring tries. Fresno won the conversion contest and the game, 21 – 19.

It was nice to run into Jeff Jury and see his two sons playing for Fresno.

There are certain joys of refereeing through the years. Balanced against the inevitable slowing of pace is the accumulation of experience and memories. One of the privileges we have is taking the pitch with skilled and creative players, the kind you remember forever after.

One such was Barry Williams. Back when your writer was at the top of his game, so too was Barry an untacklable phenom for the Los Angeles Rugby Club, the Grizzlies and the Eagles.

And there he was coaching a youth team, the San Pedro Red Rhinos; suiting up for the second half to show his young charges the patterns that produce tries.

His patented “leg-lift left, cut right” is still there, and still fools the defense every time. But the referee – this referee – was anticipating it with glee and feeling the warmth of summers long past every time Barry got the ball.

Pelicus Septenae, Mike Gadoua, renewed his love of the Sevens code. He found a ride from and to Salinas with Scriptoris. The miles were found wanting against the thoughts to be shared.

Sevens season should never end.


September 2:
Hayward 0 – SACRAMENTO 30 Referee: Isaac Caselis

September 9:
FOG 66 – Hayward 5 Referee: Dave Miller

Saturday was the opening game for a new team in Northern California. The San Francisco Fog Women's Rugby team made an opening statement that they will be a force to be reckoned with in NorCal Women's Rugby beating a mainly Hayward squad 66-5 at the aptly named Crocker Amazon field. Captain Aimee Lee requested my presence early so I arrived at 9:45 for the 11 AM game having encountered little traffic on the drive from Sacramento. The temperature had dropped steadily since leaving the Valley. It was a cool 58 degrees and my windshield wipers were on because of the SF mist. Perfect weather to prepare me for my upcoming exchange to the East Midlands. I found 6-8 Fog members already getting psyched up and prepping the field.

Chatting with them I found that, as I would see later, this was a new team but the players were not new to rugby. Of the roughly 25 players, six were from BASH, 3-4 newbies and the rest had college rugby experience. They were playing only friendlies this year because they were a "probationary" team. Several mentioned that the Berkeley Blues had refused to schedule them. that stuck in their collective craw and you could hear the sound of a gauntlet being thrown. The Hayward team was late arriving showing up shortly after the appointed start time and had only 10 players. The Fog lent them their second backline and we got the game off at 11:45. By kickoff there was a large contingent of the Fog men's team and club supporters there to cheer on the women. It did not take long to send up a cheer as scrumhalf Liz Floyd broke through for a long run to dot down between the posts 90 seconds into the game. #12 Bridget Madell slotted the first of 8 conversions to make it 7-0. Following the kickoff two phases was all that was needed below the ball was swung wide to winger Cherice Mahal who also put it down between the posts. She was followed by Fullback Linda Kilmartin slashing through defenders to score 6 minutes later. The conversion made it 21-0 after 10 minutes. The Fog were not to be denied opening day glory as they scored three more times in the first half. The scorers were Liz Floyd and Cherice Mahal again along with #8 Annah Dominis. Do not think that Hayward was rolling over for the Fog. As the opening blitz the Hayward ladies found their wind and the game became one of the hardest hitting affairs I have seen in a women's game. Hayward spent much of the second half knocking on the door of the Fog goal only to have turnovers cost them. Their captain Sami finally powered in for their only try. The Hayward ladies with a second string backline were game, always fighting hard and playing with spirit. The second half saw 4 more tries coming from Tighthead Dawn Alice Keith, Flanker Kate Starr, scrum half Liz Floyd (scoring a Hat Trick) and Center Abby Gordon. Bridget Gordon slotted all four second half conversions. Bridget has a strong and accurate leg, her two misses coming on long kicks from the sideline. Her strength and accuracy make a danger from up to 35-40 meters.

The final score was 66-5 but was not indicative of the competitive nature of the game. The Fog team showed great skills and teamwork for a side that had been together only three weeks.

The social was held at the Metro in San Francisco where the beer flowed and the food was excellent. The Fog men and women mesh very well and compliment each other socially. The Fog Women are a fine addition to the rugby community and have even added some new verses to the infamous Fog drinking songs.


Schedules are starting to trickle in. There are going to be at least several games each Saturday, increasing in November, with busy slates December 2, 9 and 16 even though the season doesn’t start until January.

Please be thinking about your availability. Any particular weekends you’d like a game for the remainder of 2006, please let us know.


(Note: this exchange took place before the Women’s World Cup began in Edmonton.)

Report by Jim Crenshaw:

Kirsten and I traveled to Edmonton, Alberta, Canada on Thursday for our referee exchange with the Edmonton Referee Society. We left Sacramento on Alaska Airlines at 7 am Thursday morning, with a flight from Seattle to Edmonton scheduled to leave Seattle a little before 10 am. Unfortunately, that flight was cancelled, so we had to wait for the 3 pm flight and then after we boarded that plane, we were informed we had to wait for a flight crew that HAD to be in Edmonton that night. The only problem with that was, the flight crew in question was still in Portland. So much for getting to Edmonton in a timely fashion on Thursday as we arrived a little after 7pm.

Paul Cassidy had arranged for John Braim, the Edmonton Referee Society Assignment Officer, to pick us up at the airport and get us to Richard Nally, who was our host for the weekend. Richard was very gracious and took us on a short tour of a small part of Edmonton's downtown where the 25th Annual Edmonton Fringe was just beginning its 2 week run. The Fringe includes a number of plays every day, street artists, street shows and booths selling food, goods and desserts. After a quick Fringe tour and dinner we were back at his house for the evening.

Next morning Richard took us to breakfast and a tour of some of the sights of Edmonton, including the largest shopping mall in the world, with it's own hockey rink, swimming pool with a wave making machine for surfing, another pool with 5 or 6 sea lions in residence and amusement park with a state of the art roller coaster, all indoors, inside the mall. The place is big!

We then had an evening Division 3 semi-final playoff to attend with this tourist selected to be the referee. We arrived at the Strathcona Druids home grounds, consisting of 3 pitches with lights, a very nice clubhouse and team and referee changing rooms. Two local teams, the Leprechaun-Tigers and the Pirates played a very hard-fought match, with the Tigers squeaking out a win 27 to 24. The Tigers led 15 -0 at half and looked like they would win easily, but the Pirates out scored them 24 to 12 in the second half. With a couple of lead changes in the second half, it proved to be a very exciting game.

Paul Cassidy attended the game and provided some excellent feedback and referee coaching advice to me after the match. After a late Thai dinner we headed back to Richard's place for the night.

Next morning we had a leisurely breakfast before heading back to the Strathcona Druid's grounds for a division 1 semi-final match between the Strathcona Druids and the Edmonton Clansmen. The Edmonton Referee Society provided me with Kristi Moorman and Dave Bailey, 2 very capable touch judges and Alan Humphries, one of their assessors.

The match started with the large Druid pack controlling the pace and pushing the smaller Clansmen pack at every scrum. The Clansmen played a very tenacious defense before allowing the Druids to score a converted try, but then denying one Druid try that was held up in goal. A Druid knock-on of a certain try helped a few minutes later seemed to really help the Clansmen's cause. That coupled with the Clansmen centers making some spectacular breaks through the Druid backline and scoring a couple of unconverted tries helped the Clansmen to a 10 to 7 lead at halftime.

The second half started with both teams relying on the same tactics, with Druids controlling the set play, but the opportunistic Clansmen backs controlling the back play, scoring a 2 more unconverted tries to 1 unconverted try by the Druids. With the score 20 to 12 about half way through the second half, one of the Druid flankers decided to (in his words after the match) “fire up his team” by punching an opponent at a ruck. Unfortunately for him he had not counted on Dave Bailey AND me seeing him do it. After the ensuing dust-up, play was stopped and, after a quick consultation between the touch judge and the referee, the captains summoned with one red and one yellow card awarded. Playing 14 against 15 for the last 10 minutes and growing Clansmen confidence was more than the Druids could handle as the Clansmen centers made a shambles of the Druid backline scoring an unconverted try and then a converted try in the final stages of the match.

Final Score: Edmonton Clansmen 32 - Strathcona Druids 12.

We all retired the Druid clubhouse and along with some excellent feedback from Assessor Alan Humphries, we all shared in the postgame activities.

Then Richard took Kirsten and I to a barbeque at one of his old rugby mates house and another pass through the festivities at the Fringe, before heading back home for the night.

The next morning, after breakfast, Richard, Kirsten and I went for a nice hike down to the river for a couple of hours before heading back to the airport for the fight home.

Kirsten and I would like to thank all of the Edmonton referees for being so gracious, to Paul Cassidy and Alan Humphries for some excellent advice, to Kristi Moorman and Dave Bailey for running touch, and especially to Richard Nally for driving us around and putting up with us for 4 days.

I would encourage any our society members to visit or go on exchange to Edmonton. You won't be disappointed!!


Dave Miller, Sam Reagle and Bruce Carter will be leaving for the East Midlands on Wednesday, for two weeks of the finest rewards rugby refereeing can afford.

Hail, Pelicus! will appear with increased frequency during these revels, celebrating much of what is best about our avocation: friends, travel and adventures, both on and off the pitch.


Ron Myers has written a how-to guide for clubs to obtain tax-exempt status. This same procedure should work for referee societies. It is published on the USA Rugby website:


In San Luis Obispo, Mike Gadoua, Gary Patterson of SoCal, and Bruce Carter wish the sun would never set on such a day of Sevens!


For the Senate
Pelicus Scriptoris

Sunday, September 03, 2006




Kathy Flores' Eagles opened with a loss to England last week in Edmonton.

They will be playing Ireland on Monday and Australia on Friday. Knock-out rounds begin the following week.

Go Eagles!


The 21st annual Tri-Tip Sevens will be played this Saturday on the lovely pitches at Damon-Garcia Park in San Luis Obispo.

So far, the two old Sevens comrades Mike Gadoua and Bruce Carter are committed and will be driving down together Friday evening. The SLO team will provide rooms Friday and/or Saturday for interested Pelican refs.

Please contact Bruce if you would like to join the fun.

Also, any NorCal teams that would like to have an enjoyable run and a memorable meal afterwards are invited to sign up.

This webs page contains all the information and points of contact:

Click here: SLO Rugby Football Club - News Articles


September 2:
Hayward 0 – SACRAMENTO 30 Referee: Isaac Caselis


Please respond if you would be available to referee at any of these:

Dixon Scottish Games, September 23
Women’s league round-robin hosted by the Fog, September 30
Harlotfest in Modesto, October 21

Those who are preparing for exchanges receive priority in assignments.


Martin Ellis of the East Midlands Society will be visiting Everybody’s Favorite City with his family from Wednesday until Saturday, staying at the Fisherman’s Wharf Holiday Inn.

Those who went on the exchange in 2004 will remember Martin, who joined us for the Saracens – Worcester game that Chris White refereed.

If you have enjoyed any hospitality from our English friends in the past, or just would like to have a drink with a visiting referee, please contact Bruce Carter for more details on Martin’s visit and contact information.


Speaking of exchanges, some eager Pelicans are preparing to celebrate the autumn season in style, by going on exchange!

East Mids, September 13-26: Dave Miller, Sam Reagle and Bruce Carter
Aspen, Sept. 21-24: John Pohlman
Victoria, November 22-26: Paul Bretz, Aruna Ranaweera
New York Sevens, Nov. 25: John Coppinger, Ray Schwartz


We’d fire our worthless and pathetic fact-checker if he didn’t’ have mouths to feed.

Last week, we described NCRRS volunteers as “talented and tiresome people”. Although we’d like to think that ‘-some’ is better than ‘-less’, these folks have, in fact, proven to be TIRELESS.


The link to the priceless Australian video addressing forward passes was sent in by David Williamson.

Of the many rugby Davids we are fortunate to know, our old teammate was not uppermost in our mind in the context of

Thank you!


Saturday August 26
Santa Barbara Grunion 7's Tournament
Elings Park, Santa Barbara

Championship Final: SAN JOSE SEAHAWKS 27 – Fresno 17
Referee: Aruna Ranaweera

In an exciting all-NorCal tournament final, San Jose outlasted Fresno 5 tries to 3. The score was tied 17-17 with 2 minutes left.


At the USA Club Sevens Championships the top Pelicanref was caught having too much fun, wearing a smile to light up the Pacific Northwestern gloom.


For the Senate
Pelicus Scriptoris