Tuesday, November 28, 2006




The first society meeting of the 2007 Northern California rugby season will be next Wednesday evening, from 7 to 9, at the SF/Golden Gate rugby clubhouse on Treasure Island.

RDO David Williamson has put together an interesting and educational program which will be heavy on hands-on activities: we’ll be working through referee situations with whistles in hand.

Food will be available from 6 to 7 for early arrivals, while the Development Committee is working.

Please mark your calendars and plan to attend.


Reno will be hosting Santa Rosa on December 2. A referee is needed and sought after.

Want to drive up through the majestic snow-covered Sierra?


Manu Finau has asked us to announce this year’s edition of the Hayward pre-season tournament. Contact him if your team is interested:

“The tournament will take place on the 9th of December and is scheduled for Oliver Garden Sportspark on Hesperian, the usual site for this event.

“All teams including D2 and D3 are welcome. We will have two fields, with spaces for 10 – 12 teams, with a guarantee of 3 games to each team. The charge is $300.00 per team.”

This means we’ll need more referees as well! Please chime in if you’d like a run on the ninth.


Scott Wood knows how to celebrate Turkey Day:

For the third year in a row, S.O. and I jetted off to Europe to spend Thanksgiving weekend. Each year is filled with fun and adventure. First we saw Italy beat up on the US and last year Wales triumphed over Australia. So it was with some wonder that the home team this year did not fare well against the visiting Springboks. As usual, we crammed into steerage for untold numbing hours to fly over the upper latitudes, arriving bleary-eyed at a bright 9 a.m. GMT. A quick stamp at passport control and off we went to fetch our luggage. While watching the conveyor go round and round (and patiently wondering when our bags would appear), we were approached by a Department for Transportation (DfT) woman. She stated they were training a new wonder mutt (i.e., drug-sniffer) and asked if she could use my cargo pocket for such. Since I was not doing anything at the moment (our bags having a bit of stage fright) I said, "Okay. But I've left my cocaine on the plane." Apparently she has dealt with this sort of wise-ass because she replied, "That's okay, this is heroin." The dog made its way down the line of passengers and bags (none of which were ours) and finally to us. Gave me a quick sniff and moved on. The handler must have figured something was up so he brought the dog around for another try. This time it keyed to my stash and immediately sat down to await its treat: a tennis ball. Ah, the dog's life. Well, finally our bags arrive and we left to catch the train to Bedford (yes, DfT retrieved the heroin).

An hour and a half ride through the countryside, into the outskirts of London, and northwest to Bedford. We were picked up by Murray Felstead who delivered us "home" to the Felstead Manor, Touchdowns. Dinner that evening was at a wonderful Wellingborough restaurant ("The Courtyard"?) that featured a very animated Italian chef who did a hard sell on a great tray of fish. I opted for a traditional Thanksgiving meal of sea bass (re-check your history if you doubt the validity of that) while S.O. went for the fish stew. The stew was more like a bucket of salmon, trout, sea bass, prawns and oysters with a little broth--very large and tasty.

On Friday, after a wonderful, traditional breakfast prepared by Murray, the legendary ‘fry-up’, we hired a car to drive on the wrong side of the vehicle on the wrong side of the road. A quick drive along the carriageway and, after a missed-marked turn, we arrived at the American Military Cemetery outside of Cambridge. This stop is highly recommended for anyone wondering what sacrifices are made to live in a free society. There are 3,812 American military dead buried there. On the wall running from the entrance to the chapel are inscribed the names of 5,127 Americans who gave their lives in the service of their country, but whose remains were never recovered or identified. Most of these died in the Battle of the Atlantic or in the strategic air bombardment of Northwest Europe during World War II.

Afterwards, we walked around the city of Cambridge. Great college town with very old architecture. Lunched at a Greek restaurant. Walked some more about the town. And then walked even more because we forgot just exactly where we parked the car. Found the car, made a couple loops in the city, found the highway, and returned to Felstead House. That evening after a well-needed nap and meal, we took in a bit of evening Rugby on the telly between Bristol and Gloucester. Bristol edged the 'Best in the West' showdown at the Memorial Stadium thanks to a late Jason Strange drop goal which clinched a 14-12 win over Gloucester. The drop goal, with the last kick of an enthralling encounter, took the Cherry and Whites unbeaten record and left Bristol as sole leaders of the Guinness Premiership. Quite a remarkable finish as Bristol was on the attack and Gloucester maintained excellent discipline at the rucks even in the face of the impending drop goal that was being set up.

Saturday's a Rugby day. A quick breakfast and Laurie Pearson arrived to take S.O. and I to Twickenham. We dropped off our bags at the hotel and found a car park in town. After a brief deluge, we walked to the pitch to join Laurie's boss, Michael Haygate, for a picnic (what we call tailgating). Some beer, wine and fresh salmon sandwiches, and we were off to find our seats. What a match! Suffice to say, maybe USA will do better than expected in its RWC pool. If England plays the way they did against South Africa, the Eagles stand a fair chance to keep the score real close. Two words of advice: Drop Goal. After the match we met up with Sue and her daughter, Kate, for some pre-Christmas shopping at the Stadium Store, then off we went to our hotel. Given the chance, stay at the Lensbury Hotel at Teddington Lock. This place is very nice and everybody boasts about their breakfast (which we unfortunately missed because we had to catch the train). Back at the airport we were offered a chance to get on the "volunteer list". Our intrepid travelers did not win the opportunity to catch a flight the next morning, "win" 400 GBP each, and receive a free night's stay at a local hotel. Many hours later I arrived back at SFO, well-traveled and tired, looking forward to a longer stay on the continent next year.

Many thanks to Sue and Murray Felstead for their hospitality and to Ian and Elaine Baggott and Michelle and Laurie Pearson for celebrating Thanksgiving with us.

This week’s photo memorializes this gathering of trans-Atlantic rugby cousins.


Thanks to Aruna Ranaweera for this account:

Wednesday Nov 22

On the day before thanksgiving, Paul Bretz and I travelled to Victoria, BC for the annual NCRRS exchange with the Vancouver Island RRS. The international departure terminal at the Seattle airport was deserted, probably because most Americans chose to stay in the US for thanksgiving. Canada's top international referee, Phil Smith, welcomed us in Victoria and drove us to a warm neighborhood bar near the University of Victoria (UVic). Another international referee, Bruce Kuklinski, and a highly-regarded local referee, Dave Valentine, joined us for beer and shepherd's pie. To my pleasant surprise, our Victorian hosts insisted on paying the tab, a not-so-bad pattern that would continue throughout the tour. Paul was hosted by Phil Smith, and I stayed with Dave Valentine and his wife Lee. My hosts provided hotel-quality accommodations: pretty sweet.

Thursday Nov 23

Former international referees Keith Morrison and Mel Jones drove us to Shawnigan Lake School, 45 minutes up the hilly forest above Victoria. Cold, dark rain and 40F temperatures reminded us that we were far from California, but our jovial chaperones kept us entertained with rugby talk. Shawnigan is an immaculately maintained, co-ed private (prep) school in which rugby is the dominant sport. They have a cozy, elaborate clubhouse that has an international-grade rugby field on one side, and two more rugby fields on the other side. The Vancouver Island Junior (Grade 10) Boys' rugby championship was being held at Shawnigan and Paul and I had been assigned to referee: there was even an official program with our names on it: cool. I refereed a 60-minute quarterfinal match between St. Michael's University School (SMUS) and Dover Bay. SMUS qualified for the semifinal with a 39-7 win, 7 tries to 1. For the first time in my refereeing career, I did not need to hydrate during half-time as the Canadian cold prevented me from sweating! Mel Jones provided a useful referee coaching report. Another international referee, John De Goede, hosted us to a nice dinner at his home that night. The lively dinner-table discussion covered rugby, North American politics, the environment, the probability of a bridge being constructed to Vancouver, and Arnold Schwarzenegger, amongst other topics.

Friday Nov 24

From the Vancouver Island waterfront, the view of the majestic, snow-tipped Olympic Mountains in Washington State is pretty spectacular. On our way back to Shawnigan with Keith Morrison for the Junior Boys' championship, Paul and I checked out hundreds of salmon swimming upstream the river: quite a sight. (I had no idea the salmon deteriorated so much in the process: not a pleasant way to go). I refereed a 60-minute consolation match between Oak Bay and Mt. Douglas, which Oak Bay won 55-24, or 9 tries to 4. Although the ground was wet and muddy, it didn't rain like yesterday, so the quality of play was quite good. (Paul refereed a semifinal match). Back in Victoria, Dave Valentine and his wife Lee hosted me to an excellent home-cooked dinner.

Saturday Nov 25

I tried to wake up at 6am to watch the Argentina vs France match on TV, but failed to get out of my warm bed. Armed with my Mediazone password, Dave Valentine and I managed to watch most of the All Blacks versus Wales match on his computer. At 1pm, I refereed a Vancouver Island men’s Division 1 quarterfinal match between the University of Victoria Norsemen and Cowichan. In Canada, colleges and men’s clubs play in the same league in the Fall. I learned that the UVic coach was an assistant coach at UC Berkeley earlier this year. The UVic playing field is considered the best in Victoria, so the 35F weather was not a hindrance. The UVic "Norsemen" are UVic's 2nd XV, but they are considered a formidable outfit because they include many Canada Under 19 players. Sure enough, UVic's speedy backs opened up a 33-0 half-time lead that left the men’s Division 1 team, Cowichan, quite demoralized. In the second half, UVic emptied its bench, but still won, 69-19, at the end: 12 tries to 3. This was a fun match to referee with lots of open play. Keith Morrison provided a useful coaching report. If UVic's 2nd XV was that sharp, how good must their 1st XV be, the UVic "Vikings"? I got to find out because the Island Elite division Final was played soon after my match (at a different ground) between the UVic Vikings and the Castaway wanderers. This was an excellent final: I'll leave the details to Paul, since he was an official. After the Elite Final, we metup with Phil Smith, Keith Morrison, and John De Goede for dinner at a restaurant owned by a local rugby player. Phil Smith and another Victoria referee took Paul and me to a downtown Victoria bar/nightclub to celebrate with locals, including a number of UVic and Castaway rugby players who (fortunately) had good things to say about the two California referees.

Sunday Nov 26

Back at Keith Morrison's comfortable (heated) house, I woke up to the sight of heavy snow falling outside my window. All Sunday rugby matches were cancelled. Phil Smith and Keith Morrison treated Paul and me to a farewell brunch at a local diner, after which Phil drove us to the airport. I learned that as a New Zealand/Canada dual citizen, Keith Morrison was the last New Zealander to have refereed the All Blacks, back when they toured British Columbia. (Pretty neat trivia question.) The 22km drive to the airport in Phil Smith's rear-wheel drive Volvo was quite dramatic as the heavy snow had caused numerous accidents on the highway. Some guy with a strange accent on the radio said it was 0 degrees Celsius! Even then, Phil delivered us to the airport in time and after bidding farewell to Phil until San Diego in February, Paul and I were on our way back to USA. After a 2-hour snow delay in Seattle, I was back in Oakland and paying California rates for airport parking.

Much thanks to NCRRS and VIRRS for setting up this referee exchange! Paul Bretz was an excellent rugby travelling companion, so much thanks to him for his advice and mentorship. Overall, this was a fun and educational rugby trip. I plan to visit BC again someday, probably in the spring/summer.


We haven’t heard from our travelers to the New York Sevens. Presumably, a long holiday weekend of travel followed by a return to work during a busy social season is impinging on their keyboard composition time.

That just means there’ll be more fun reading a week from now!


RENO 86 – Mendocino 12 Referee: Don Pattalock
Touch Judge: Phil Ulibarri

In a preseason friendly, this was a match played with great spirit and minimal tackles. For the fist half, the teams played 13 on 13 and in the second half, 12 on 12. Needless to say, there was a lot of space for the more experienced Reno side to exploit. Mendo played hard throughout the match and scored a hard fought try at full time.


Report from David Williamson:

On November 19, representatives of the four NorCal high school conferences conducted a business meeting. Items concerning referees included the Safety Protocol, mouthguards for high school players, and yellow/red cards.

The reps confirmed their support for the Safety Protocol, and did not propose any revisions. The reps decided mouthguards are required for all high school players--to be enforced by the coaches.

Perhaps the most important issue was the concern that many yellow and red cards issued by referees are not documented in reports to the NCRFU disciplinary committee. The High School organization does not have its own Disciplinary Committee, and relies on the NCRFU committee for follow-up. Teams also rely on the reports from the Disciplinary Committee regarding eligible players. All cards issued must be reported!!

From a scheduling standpoint, the NorCal High School playoffs are scheduled for April 27-28 (semi-finals), and May 4-5 (finals).


This is primarily for those who play or coach the game, not for refs.

From Dave Pelton:

Please pass this on......The more responses we receive, the better!

For Immediate Release
November 14, 2006

USA Rugby's Competition Review Taskforce Requests Members Feedback

BOULDER, Colo. - USA Rugby, in an effort to unlock the full potential of rugby in the U.S., has set up a taskforce led by Alan Sharpley to review and develop the best possible competition model that will support the goals of the new strategic plan and make rugby the best experience in American sport by meeting the varying needs of youth, high school, college and men's and women's adult rugby.

"The current USA Rugby competitions model is not producing all that it might in challenging and developing American rugby players in a strategic and high performance sense," Alan Sharpley said. "There is no coordinated competition policy that promotes player advancement through the different tiers of rugby, and there needed to be a process for evaluating the competitions structure."

The taskforce, whose members include Danita Knox, Jen Joyce, Keith Englebrecht, Rick Humm, Kristin Richeimer, Alan Solomons, Ed Todd, Michael Sagehorn, Morgan Buckley and Bob Karetsky, has met twice since the appointment of the new board in July and will be making its final report in March 2007.

In an attempt to hear from as many people as possible before the next competitions review meeting in December, the taskforce has requested that USA Rugby members fill out a brief questionnaire, found online at http://www.usarugby.org/about/2006CompetitionSurvey.doc

and email their responses to Jen Gray at jgray@usarugby.org by November 30.

"We will be taking account of the member's views at the December meeting, and will be meeting again at the end of January to develop proposals based on our review and feedback to date," Morgan Buckley, USA Rugby's consultant for the competitions review process, said. "In order to create the right competitions model, which will generate an environment for real high performance rugby, in addition to developing sustainable pathways at each level of the game and meeting the needs of the many recreational players across the U.S., it is essential that we collect as much feedback as possible, in the short amount of time that we have."

USA RUGBY, founded in 1975, is the national governing body for rugby and is a member of the United States Olympic Committee (USOC) and the International Rugby Board (IRB). The organization is responsible for the development of boys, girls, high school, collegiate and club athletic programs, and ultimately, the seven national teams representing the United States in international competition.


We trust that all referees keep up with the latest Rulings from the IRB. These have the effect of Law.

In terms of civil and criminal law, IRB Rulings are equivalent to case law that has been upheld by the appropriate appellate courts, having the same authority as statutory law.

Here are the Rulings for November. Note especially the first one, regarding flying wedges, formations of players running down the field, one of whom has the ball:



Touch Judging Levels 1-2-3: 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.

English-Style Thanksgiving 2006

Thanksgiving in the original land of the Pilgrims:

Clockwise from near left: Michelle and Laurie Pearson, Sue Felstead, Tammy Cowan, Scott Wood, Murray Felstead, Elaine and Ian Baggott.


For the Senate
Pelicus Scriptoris

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

Tuesday, November 14, 2006




We are chagrined to admit that a good rugby match in NorCal had to proceed without an assigned referee this past weekend.

Stanislaus hosted the Sacramento Lions. They notified us and asked for a referee in plenty of time. A referee was appointed, but he found out Friday that he absolutely could not cover the match.

There was no-one else to be found. You will notice as you read on that several referees had more than one match Saturday.


This coming weekend is a case in point: there are fifteen full games plus the Chico Holiday Classic, with games on two pitches from 8 AM until dark (twelve teams).

If at all possible, please try to lend a whistle:

One or two who could ref a match in the South Bay.

Several who could go to Chico. There are only three refs for this one so far. The tournament will be happy to provide motel rooms Friday and/or Saturday nights.

We anxiously await replies.

And the following weekend – we don’t need anyone. No games are scheduled on Thanksgiving weekend, although four of our members will be out on exchange.


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:


It has been proposed that our Society meetings all occur on Wednesday evenings, one each month December through April.

If this would affect your ability to attend, please let us know. So far, one such response has been received. We want to encourage attendance and make allowances if necessary.


(Craig Parish, known as Wags to most rugby folk, is President of the Pacific Northwest RRS. He often refers to referees as ‘blowers’. We heartily approve of this turn of phrase and have adopted it from time to time; we now accredit its provenance.)

Joe Leisek was recently in Virginia on exchange.

It was the perfect exchange: not only did Joe have fun and make new friends, he returned with an above-grade evaluation from a territorial evaluator!

Report by Joe Leisek

Friday, November 3: On the 5 a.m. airport bus from Petaluma to SFO, I fumbled for my iPod and dialed in a selection of You Bet Your Life radio episodes. A Marxophile since the age of 14, I had discovered .mp3 nirvana on eBay two weeks prior: 200 episodes of Groucho Marx’s radio program on one CD. Listening to probably a half-dozen of them throughout the day helped pass the time traveling to Richmond, VA, on a new Pelican exchange to the Ed and Sandy Lee Cup.

The plane touched down right on schedule at 6 p.m. in Richmond, where I was met by smiling Jeff Anderson, President of the Virginia Rugby Referees Society whose motto is Solus Judis Legis. A short time later, the two of us welcomed Peter and Marianna Simpson arriving from New York. An English expat, Peter is a former referee who is now an evaluator.

After checking into our hotel, we drove into downtown Richmond for the captains’ meeting. Shortly afterwards, our group of four (Peter and Marianna, David Metcalfe, an evaluator from Florida, and me) took a cab to a district of converted tobacco warehouses. We had dinner in a restaurant housed in one such brick building built in the 1860s. What a great evening it was…meeting new friends, telling rugby stories, talking about families; all the while eating good food and drinking good wine. After dinner we listened a bit to a very good R&B cover band (similar to Price and Joy) before taking a cab back to the hotel.

Saturday, November 4
Pole Green Park, Richmond, VA
WASHINGTON IRISH 22 – Richmond Lions 12 Referee: Joe Leisek
Touch Judges: VRU referees Bob Underwood and James Ivory
Evaluator: David Harwood

In the early morning I ran touch for Stuart Willis, a new ref from Virginia. The other touch judge was Bob DeStafney, a Marine Corps Colonel who once captained a Combined Services touring side to England that featured Bruce Carter at hooker.

The game I refereed was a VRU D2 men’s club match, and not officially part of the tournament. There was a good crowd and a very good game ensued. Both teams had obviously intended to play open, running rugby.

The Irish had most of the ball and most of the territory for about the first 35 minutes, but Richmond came roaring back with several attacks, culminating in a try at halftime which pulled them to within five points (7-12). The second half was very even, and may in fact have been an even more entertaining half.

Richmond scored one more try and held the Irish to just a penalty kick, until the end of the game, when Richmond, desperate to attack, turned the ball over and Washington scored a runaway try at the whistle.

The late afternoon was spent staying warm in evaluator Dave Harwood’s van, discussing the game. The referees’ dinner was held that night in a restaurant next to the hotel. I sat next to Dave Metcalfe again, one of my dinner companions from the night before (it would be three nights in a row before the exchange was over). I was appointed to the college D1 final the next day: the University of Virginia v. Virginia Tech. I also learned the two teams were rivals, to say the least.

Sunday, November 5
Ed and Sandy Lee Cup
Pole Green Park, Richmond, VA
UNIVERSITY OF VIRGINIA 32 – Virginia Tech 12 Referee: Joe Leisek
Touch Judges: VRU referees Peadar Little and Matthew Robinette
Evaluator: Steve Verna

Once again I ran touch early in the morning, this time for Steve Myers, a B1 referee. I really enjoyed watching him. Then it was time for the main match, which was expected to be a barnburner between two excellent sides.

Bill Burch of Lineout Video set up his ladder and taped the proceedings. I was mic’d by a local production company that is trying to break into the rugby market. They stationed four cameras and even had an announcer.

While parts of the game did feature open running and multi-phase play, there were just too many penalties and not enough continuity. A better job of managing this by me might have helped produce a more entertaining game.

That being said, Virginia was clearly the better team, jumping out to a 29-0 lead at the half. Ranked #14 in one recent poll, UVa scored four tries and one penalty goal in the first 40 minutes. The second half was more in VT’s favor, but they never seriously contested the game.

I had a good debrief with Steve Verna, a MARFU evaluator and former referee. It was great to see Steve again; he had evaluated me two seasons ago at the Pat Vincent Cup at St. Mary’s.

Earlier in the day I had the pleasure of meeting Paul Gauthier, an evaluator and a retired Navy man. Paul is known for his distinctive whistle style: He holds his index finger over the top opening, blows to start the pea rattling, then gradually lifts his finger to produce a very unusual sound. At least two VRU referees use his style—Steve Myers and Bob DeStafney—Paul’s disciples. Paul had open-heart surgery just three weeks before the tournament and was proud to be standing on the sidelines, “looking down at the grass.” A widower, Paul noted his appeal to single women of his age (or younger), even in the hospital. “I’m a play-YA” he joked, in his deep, sandpaper voice.

Later in the evening I had a beer with Dave Harwood and Dave Metcalfe, then had dinner with Dave before preparing for the early Monday morning flight home, then crashing to sleep.

It was a wonderful weekend in a beautiful setting. Many thanks to Jeff Anderson and the VRU referees for their hospitality.


Report by Aruna Ranaweera
St. George, Utah

Saturday Nov 11: Grizzly Shield 2nd semifinal
ARIZONA ALL-STARS 19 – NorCal Barbarians 12 Referee: Aruna Ranaweera
Touch Judges: Rich Wartner (URRS), Sam Madsen (URRS)

Since the Pacific NorthWest did not field a team this year, Arizona played a Barbarian team comprised of mostly NorCal players (Div I-III) and a few others from Snake River. This match was started an hour late as the previous match between Utah and Northern California was delayed by an hour until the Northern California All-star team arrived.

Both teams recycled the ball well, with numerous multi-phase possessions. On offense, the Arizona backs were more organized than their Barbarian counterparts, but the forward exchanges were even. Arizona led 7-5 at the half. The Barbarians had several individual breaks, but lacked the support to mount sustained pressure. Arizona played tactically wise rugby to win the match, 3 tries to 2.

Sunday Nov 12: Grizzly Shield Final
UTAH ALL-STARS 34 – Arizona All-Stars 12 Referee: Aruna Ranaweera
Touch Judges: Rich Wartner (URRS), Sam Madsen (URRS)

As the two NorCal teams scrimmaged in the consolation final, Utah and Arizona prepared for a championship battle under sunny skies. Arizona fielded mostly Red Mountain players, while the large Utah team featured players from Haggis, Provo, and former players from BYU and Las Vegas.

The match was played at a frantic pace with plenty of open-field running and multiple-phases. The rucking was very efficient and intense on both sides of the ball. Utah created large gaps in the first half and scampered to a 24-7 lead. Arizona's speedy backs mounted a number of attacking moves, but were thwarted often by Utah's back three who were solid in both attack and defense. Utah's fly-half (US Eagle), scrum-half, and openside flanker were prominent.

In the second half, Utah appeared to take the foot off the pedal and Arizona looked the more aggressive team, scoring out wide once more to close within 24-10. Arizona's coach/captain/fly-half ran a tactically intelligent match, while the Arizona full-back enjoyed a number of long, darting runs through the Utah defense. However, silly forward penalties in the red zone negated Arizona's momentum. Utah decided to create some breathing room by playing controlled, run-straight rugby, which yielded two more breakaway tries. At the final whistle, Utah had earned the Grizzly Shield by scoring 6 tries to 2.

Overall, this was a fun match to referee with good skills and fine athleticism displayed by both teams. I would like to thank the Utah Referee Society representatives (Jon Moore, Rich Wartner, and Sam Madsen) for their hospitality during my first visit to that state.


STANFORD women 96 – SF Fog 0 Referee: Sandy Robertson
A competent group of Fog women came to Stanford to play rugby and like many women's teams over the last few years they discovered that the Stanford women play the game a bit differently. With a solid core of veterans the Stanford women attacked from anywhere on the park, threw the ball around with abandon, and kicked for advantage, forcing the Fog to defend in ways and places not common in the women's game.

The Stanford 22 included a number of first year players, and the fact that, on the pitch, several were essentially indistinguishable from their veteran teammates, bodes well for Stanford.

Seconds: STANFORD women 43 – Santa Clara 17 Referee: John Pohlman
I had the pleasure of working three games of rugby at Stanford this past Saturday. On a day thought to be rainy and miserable the weather gods smiled on us and it turned out to be perfect for rugby.

I did a couple of Santa Clara and Stanford games last year and it's great to see tremendous improvements in both programs.

The Stanford second side was hosting Santa Clara's seconds for a noon kick-off. When I went over to do the pre-game chat I counted about 20-25 players warming up on each side. Wondering if this would be a full game, 25 players for two sides and two games. I was pleasantly surprised when the coaches said no our first side players are in the stands. That's right both Stanford and Santa Clara have close to 60 players.

This was a very fast game. Santa Clara scored the first try at the 3 minute mark. Followed by a Stanford try at 6 minutes. The first half was very competitive. The difference being the Irish standoff who scored two of Stanford first half tries. The first half ended 26-7.

Lots of substitutions in the second half and many of the players were playing of the first time. The quality of play wasn't up to the first half but everyone learned a lot. Final Stanford 43 Santa Clara 17.

Keep getting in shape. Make your tackles, listen to your coaches and both teams could be playoff bound.

STANFORD 31 – Santa Clara 26 Referee: Pete Smith
Pete typed up a nice report but forgot to periodically hit ‘Save’. His computer burped and that was that…

BERKELEY RFC 47 – Univ. of San Francisco 25 Referee: Lois Bukowski
Treasure Island
Good numbers for BRFC, USF gamers and pretty green.
It was 28-15 Berkeley after the 1st 30 min period, with USF closing the gap to 28-25 after the second.

BRFC ran away in the 3rd. It was a pre-season contest; rugby broke out quite often.

On an unfortunate note, the All Blues have lost for the first time since 1996 with NY scraping by 22-17. Ah, it will merely light the fire for the Blues for next year…all good streaks must come to an end. Clearly, this has to be one for the ages. Berkeley still leads all Women's clubs with 10 total National Championships!

[Editor’s Note: Paul Bretz refereed this national championship match. Paul called to say that this one reminded him of high-level games he’s done for the RFU: every ruck was contested with vigor, velocity and skill. He thoroughly enjoyed it, was proud to be on the pitch, and hopes that any unpleasant associations the All Blues might understandably make with him and this historic defeat will be short-lived.]

Santa Clara women 5 – SAINT MARY’S ~60 Sandy Robertson
Saint Mary's had more bodies and more experience and it showed in a scrimmage that was enthusiastic and positive. Santa Clara stuck with it throughout and were rewarded, near the end, the result of perseverance through several phases after a penalty 5 meters out

MISSION a lot – San Jose State not so many Referee: Pete Smith


It was a light and drizzly morning. Rod Chance picked me up and after an early morning drive in the rain (described as a light mist by wunderground.com), past the golden hills of Sun City, through the choke point in Lincoln, and along the Upper Sacramento Valley orchards and rice fields turned duck blinds, we arrived at Chico Junior High School. Bjorn Stumer was already there preparing for the first match of Chico's pre-season college tournament. Jim Crenshaw arrived with Tony Latu to enjoy the festivities and the climatic nuances.

The day started as a cold, wet, muddy affair. Overall, the tournament was a success. Chico State, Humboldt State, Oregon State, and Saint Mary's College arrived with more than enough numbers. Each team played an A and B side match on Saturday and Sunday.


Seconds: CHICO STATE 27 – Oregon State 10 Referee: Bjorn Stumer
A three-hour drive up to Chico in the rain was rewarded by an exciting and hard fought match between two evenly matched Chico State and Oregon State B-Sides. Due to the rain, the venue was moved to Chico High School in conditions that can be gently described as soft under foot. Yet neither rain, mud, or the fading lines of the pitch could dampen the enthusiasm of two sides determined to play hard, have fun, and stay within the laws and ethos of our beloved sport.

This was Chico's day as they scored five tries (one converted) to Oregon's two, both unconverted. Although the ball remained slick throughout, the many expected knock-ons failed to materialize and what naturally ensued was a match of rucks and mauls ably handled by both sides. Chico found space on numerous occasions, a fact reflected in their 27 to 10 victory, but Oregon State fought throughout thus providing their hosts with capable and aggressive competition. A clean, fun, and hard match thoroughly enjoyed by all involved.

Chico State 14 – Oregon State 14 Referee: Scott Wood
Touch Judges: Rod Chance, Jim Crenshaw
Understated Field conditions: Wet and muddy
The drizzle ceased during Bjorn's match but the sod was suitably conditioned for an autumn slip-and-slide. Chico came out strong and worked hard to score two converted tries in the first half. Both teams had difficulty keeping their feet, some of which was attributed to field conditions. At half I changed out of a well-soaked long-sleeve jersey. In retrospect, that was a great idea for the clouds broke and the temperature rose. In the tale of two halves category, Oregon State collected itself at halftime and came out charging for the second half. They scored an early converted try before losing a player to the bin. Chico tried to advance but was unable to capitalize off the power-play. With seconds remaining and the Beavers knocking on Chico's door, a penalty was awarded to the attackers. They elected to scrum from which an additional penalty was awarded for Chico's flanker unbinding early. A tap-and-go and subsequent passing to the wing scored a try mere inches from touch-in-goal. The pressure mounted as Oregon's Chase McQuillen lined up for the conversion. Chico charged as the ball was kicked, fading just inside the upright to tie the game at full-time.

Seconds: ST. MARY’S 17 – Humboldt State 7 Referee: Tony Latu
St. Mary’s won the game but it was a good game considered the field situation. Both teams are well disciplined and well coached.

Unfortunately I called off the game with 15 mins to go. One of the St. Mary players was taken by ambulance, broken ankle.

But the highlight of the game happened when this ref ran faster than any player trying to avoid the falling goal post. Not one, but both goal posts.

Now I have to avoid the players and the goal post running lanes.

Humboldt State 0 – ST. MARY’S 12 Referee: Jim Crenshaw
I ref'd the St Mary's Humboldt game on Saturday. Both teams hadn't played much this year and it showed. The first half was a constant struggle to keep them on their feet, coming through the gate, rolling away and not playing while off their feet. It took 2 yellow cards, but the second half was much better, with a much more open and running game. St. Mary's won 12 to 0.

Chico State hosted a spaghetti feed on campus for the four colleges and two referees (Jim and Tony returned to the Mother Ship). Kudos to Oregon State arriving in Number 2s consisting of khakis, dress shirts (many with ties), and OSU Rugby vests. Thanks go out to Beau McSwain for hosting Rod and me for the evening.


Woke up and grabbed breakfast before heading off to the pitch. The skies were grey but it did not look like rain. In fact, it felt too cold to snow. Fortunately, the Chico State Athletic Director authorized the use of the pitch on campus. We arrived in plenty of time to warm up. The pitch was well marked, unfortunately, those responsible for field preparations did not arrive in a timely manner so the first kickoff was delayed 20 minutes so the posts could be erected.

SAINT MARY'S COLLEGE 47 – Oregon State 26 Referee: Scott Wood
Temperature at kickoff: 57 F
Temperature at halftime: 55 F
Temperature at fulltime: 54

This was a fast-paced affair with SMC providing the forward speed and OSU backpedaling most of the first half. OSU was repeatedly off their feet at rucks but managed to get it together after the captain was instructed as to possible outcomes if such behavior continued. Both teams played well but Saint Mary's backs were able to outmaneuver OSU throughout the first half. Halftime score had SMC leading 26-7.

As with the previous day, OSU must have had an epiphany as they came out strong in the second half. Attacking play and scoring seemed to switch back and forth with SMC scoring three tries to OSU's two tries and a penalty goal before fulltime. With less than a minute remaining, OSU kicked for touch from a penalty and had a lineout between SMC's 10 and 22. The ball ended up being kicked into in-goal with two defenders and one OSU player giving chase. Both SMC players arrived first. Both managed to touch the side of the ball knocking it towards the dead ball line. Both did not successfully ground the ball before the OSU player dove on it scoring the try. Again, I found myself at fulltime with OSU attempting a conversion just inches from touch. Unfortunately, the conversion was unsuccessful.

Seconds: ST. MARY'S COLLEGE 17 – Oregon State 10 Referee: Rod Chance

CHICO STATE 28 – Humboldt State 5 Referee: Sam Reagle
I drove up to Chico on Sunday to referee a preseason game between last year’s Division 2 Champions, the Humboldt State Lumberjacks and the Division 1 Chico State Wildcats. The lumberjacks showed a lot of promise, but were hamstrung by a lack of continuity in their offense.

The Wildcats made better decisions and fewer mistakes to get the win. This was a full 80 minute contest with the score 14-0 at halftime. The Wildcats’ defense thwarted one strong Lumberjack attack by preventing the ballcarrier from "downing" the ball in goal and another by poaching the ball from a Lumberjack who outran his support. The Lumberjacks’ persistence finally paid off with a score at the 70 minute mark to bring the score to 21-5. Chico State scored at full time to end the game.

Seconds: CHICO STATE 31 – Humboldt State 5 Referee: Dan Lacko
Lots of talking and diving by players. Dan did very well, especially considering he has never taken the Level 1 course. Humboldt struggled for continuity and possession.

CAL POLY SLO 80 – University Nevada, Reno 3 Referee: Andy Doukas
(Note: Andy is our newest level one-certified referee. He lives in San Luis Obispo and we are happy to have him as a Pelican!)

Experience and depth took the day. An overcast and sometimes dreary day led to good conditions in the first half to wet conditions and a lot of knocked-forward balls in the second. Cal Poly's experience controlled the match and led to committing defensive players to the rucks, leaving open back line players for through the hands, good decision making, trys.

Cal Poly forwards worked hard all day, with good running off the scrums by their #8, and a pushover try from a scrum on the 5 meter attacking line.

Kudos to the Reno side, well coached for this inexperienced and no subs side. They played hard and with passion, which made for a great day of rugby.

Thanks to both sides for giving me the opportunity to improve my refereeing skills. Captains, Chris, fullback for Cal Poly, and Carl, halfback for Reno, led their teams to a welled played match and treated the ref with great respect in the tradition of the game!

Sunday, 3PM
Cal Maritime Academy Intra-squad Scrimmage Referee: Ray Schwartz
Ref coach: Kat Todd-Schwartz

Coach Ed Roberts is back and putting his young Keelhaulers through the paces. They held a 2 day minicamp, concluding with a spirited Intersquad match. I had all players in for a common chat. By show of hands, I asked, "Who will be playing their first match today?" Half of the 28 players present raised a hand! I offered how proud I was to have the honor, and hoped they would have fun giving it a go. I quickly went over my expectations for the match ahead, and suggested they recognize that all refs will seek the same in the coming season.

Scores didn't exactly matter, adding up to about 48-27 after (3) 25 minute periods. It seemed no matter who wore the blue jerseys, Blue just kept pulling ahead, with perhaps a few dominant forwards in blue making the difference.

Ed is assisted by an energetic Argentine "Maximo," and World Class trainer Jeff Ward. Their players' willingness to get the ball wide, to pass before contact, and even out of contact was truly impressive. Scrums and lineouts showed no imagination, but should improve as the season approaches. But decent continuity from contact, and exceptional passing and pace, all made for a rewarding day. Some good decision making and unselfish play by the experienced players helped show the youngsters the way.


We have three new Level Two certified referees in Pelicanland: Rich Anderson, John Coppinger and Don Pattalock.

Dixon Smith and Bruce Carter taught the course Saturday and Sunday at the excellent facilities of the Bay Club in San Francisco. Thank you to all of the students and to Joe Saccomanno for arranging the venue.


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

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

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

We are looking into offering another Level 1 Referee course. January 6th or 7th are possibilities.


The game refereed by Aruna Ranaweera on November 5 between Stanford and San Jose State was a men’s game, not women.

Metcalfe, Gauthier, Leisek, Simpson

Two Pelicans and three East Coast referee stalwarts:

L-R: Dave Metcalfe, Paul Gauthier, Peter Simpson, with a happy Otis B. Driftwood in the back.


For the Senate
Pelicus Scriptoris

Tuesday, November 07, 2006




RDO David Williamson has announced that the first Society meeting of the 2007 season will be WEDNESDAY, DECEMBER 6 at the SF/Golden Gate clubhouse alongside Rocca Field on Treasure Island.

The meeting will be from 7 to 9 PM. Food provided by the society will be available beginning at 6 PM for early arrivals, with soft drinks machines and a cash bar.

The Referee Development Committee will meet from 6 until 7.

We will also be meeting during the second week in January and the first weeks of February, March and April

Would anyone object to the meetings always being on Wednesday? We need to know how many folks would strongly prefer an alternate evening and if so, which one.


Setanta Sports has now made their lineup of European rugby (Tests, Premiership, European Cup, Celtic Cup) available via computer for those with broadband connections. Previously, you had to have a satellite dish and DirecTV to receive these matches.

This is being offered at the same price that Mediazone has been sending Southern Hemisphere matches over the Internet for about a year: $119 annually.

Between the two services, even the most serious rugby jones can be fed.

To prove it, on consecutive nights your diligent reporter watched the Currie Cup final, the Wales-Australia Test and the England-New Zealand Test, all from the same well-worn swivel chair.


We have ten games this weekend. Four of them are in Chico, two Saturday and two Sunday.

We could use another volunteer or two. If you are new and would only like to run touch, they could use you in Chico. These will be excellent college games among Chico State, St. Mary’s, Humboldt State and Oregon State.

Let us know.


No, not that any punches were thrown; it was the second Saturday in a row of rugby fun in the autumn sun high atop the Pacific Rim on the campus of the Banana Slugs of UC Santa Cruz.

Four teams and four Pelicans participated. A special thank-you to Edward Barfels who drove down just to run touch.

UC Santa Cruz 0 – SACRAMENTO STATE 22 Referee: James Hinkin
Touch Judge: Edward Barfels

With heavy rains hitting Santa Cruz the day before, the first game of the day on the wet, muddy fields saw Sac St take on the hosts in this preseason tournament. Both sides had several rookies in their lineups and combined with the conditions there were plenty of slips, missed passes and knock ons. There was also some hard, committed tacking and same daring runs as the veterans showed the youngsters how the game was played. Stout defense and a slippery ball saw the halftime score at 0-0. With Santa Cruz subbing heavily and Sac St playing with what they traveled with the second half opened up. Sac State's drive and experience showed with 4 second half tries and they pulled away from a gutsy UCSC 22-0.

HUMBOLDT STATE 5 – Nevada 0 Referee: Bruce Carter
Touch Judge: Edward Barfels

Early-season hands and dense mire underfoot combined to create a pitch that seemed to be two hundred meters long. Phases went backwards; passes went air-to-ground; portions of the bog might have been wormholes where Newtonian laws of physics didn’t apply: pace was only relative; a promising runner could be caught by a pretender.

Even the superannuated ref could slog along with some excellent collegiate runners!

One good thing about slow pieces in the mud is that they offer excellent opportunities for refereeing individuals. The referee was able to reach into the tackle/ruck/maul to tap and advise players who were in the wrong place or otherwise about to infringe. And when half of them aren’t wearing numbers, it’s the only effective way to address some folks.

Creative use of advantage and an especially keen sense of the immaterial kept the penalty count as low as the score.

UC Santa Cruz 7 – HUMBOLDT STATE 8 Referee: Sandy Robertson
Touch Judge: Edward Barfels

The fields were a bit soggy, but the weather was fine and the ladies ran threw and kicked the ball all around the park. With both teams wearing basic(ally) black the mud did little to make the teams less distinguishable as the game wore on, but I don't think anyone lined up on the wrong side of a lineout or packed in the wrong scrum. Santa Cruz got a nice try to go ahead in the first half; Humboldt came back with a try and a penalty in the second.

One player (black), tackled just before the line did a nice job of immediately reaching out and placing the ball over said line. The referee quickly blew his whistle and raised his hand signaling the try to a chorus of dissent from the opposition. After dutifully explaining the law, the referee realized that the dissenters were focusing on the fact that the ball was placed over a white line, not one of the orange lines dimensioning the rugby pitch. The try was rescinded, and the women were kind enough to continue to pay attention to the referee for the remainder of the match

SACRAMENTO STATE 12 - Nevada 5 Referee: James Hinkin

As the day moved on the fields dried out somewhat, although there were still some hazardous areas. Both sides had played already and the early morning jitters were no longer in evidence. Both sides showed a surprising proficiency at mauling the ball and were unafraid to take it wide when necessary. The conditions once again dictated play in the first half and neither side could break through. The second half saw the teams exchange unconverted tries and as time was running out the referee was looking at a 5-5 draw. An unfortunate injury to the Sac St winger halted the game with 4 minutes left and after treatment she was respectfully clapped off the field by both sides. Sac St went on to play with no more reserves having been hit by injury all say and both sides were energized by the break.

A clever kick and chase saw an awkwardly bouncing ball in the try zone beat two Reno defenders and the Sac St scrumhalf jumped on the loose ball for a tiebreaking score. With just 2 minutes remaining Reno threw everything they had at Sac St and surged towards the line. After nearly 4 minutes of constant pressure, including a couple of offside penalties, Reno gave one final push only to see their flanker land over the line on her back and have a defender rip the ball from her hands and ground it for a 22. The ensuing kick was knocked on and the game ended 12-5. Both sides played well enough to win but the score could only go one way.

UC SANTA CRUZ 10 – Nevada 0 Referee: Bruce Carter

WHEREAS the hosts had very good numbers, warming up in big grids, some of them even sporting clean kit.

WHEREAS the visitors had left Reno early enough to arrive in Santa Cruz for a 10 AM kickoff and were playing their third match with a skeleton crew.

BE IT RESOLVED that the Banana Slugs won a deserved victory and a good time was had by all.


SAN JOSE STATE women 90 – Stanford 45 Referee: Bryant Byrnes

South Bay Jacks-Are-Wild Fast Track Rugby. By the time you said that twice, a try had been scored.

A veteran SJS side vs. a numerous but mostly rookie Stanford side. Three thirty minute periods. No goal posts. This pre-season friendly was exactly that-and it was as well played as it was wide open. The last period was a track meet- 60 points, six ties each.

Chico State women 12 – SF Fog 12 Referee: Scott Wood

This was a fun match with plenty of turnovers through good rucking and tackling. Chico had 30+ at the pitch (including a handful of old girls) when I arrived. Alex Triantafyllou reported that Chico has over 40 players for their upcoming season. SF Fog arrived light in numbers but more than willing to play. After some negotiating, the teams decided to play three 30-minute periods. Lack of match fitness was apparent in some players ("Sir, how much time do we have?" "16 minutes.") but overall the teams competed very well. One thing of note to the teams: ensure your players know what number they are wearing ("Freeze 11. Freeze 11. Freeze 11. Advantage." "What number am I?" "Eleven." "Oh.") There was a fair bit of running during the match, on several occasions we went for three to four minutes of multi-phase play before the ball was dead or advantage not available. I look forward to seeing both teams again.

Bay Area Baracus 30 – DIABLO GAELS 37 Referee: Paul Bretz

It was certainly nice to get a full run in. Baracus hosted the Gaels in a pre-season match. Both teams had a lot of young players keen to run the ball combined with veterans more than eager to take the youngsters under their wings. The game was broken down into 4 twenty minute periods.

Both teams asked to run uncontested scrums until the bodies got warmed up. I am pleased to say that by the end of the match we were having fully-contested scrums.

The final score ended up being 37-30 to the Gales. However Baracus looked very good in the early periods. They contested the rucks extremely well and in the second period shocked the division 1 visitors by counter-rucking and winning possession. As is the case with practice games the 4th period was won by the fitter team.

I will be pleased to see the Gaels’ progression in a few weeks when they travel down to SLO to play Back Bay.

SANTA ROSA JC 12 – Nevada 5 Referee: Chris Parkhouse

This was a really hard fought game against two well matched sides. It took 25 minutes for the deadlock to be broken with Nevada taking first blood. Santa Rosa leveled the score with a try and conversion before the end of the half and went in at half time with a slender two point advantage.

The second half continued where the first left off. Strong tackling, nobody able to capitalize although Santa Rosa did have good ball movement through the backs with the openings they carved being met by strong defensive play from Nevada. The line outs were dominated by Nevada but they were not able to make the most of their maul play from the line out. Santa Rosa extended their lead in the second half with a try in the corner. The game continued to flow from one end to the other and went all the way down to the wire.

With advantage being played for a knock on 5 meters out by Santa Rosa under the posts, the No 7 for Nevada knocked on while going for the line with time having run out. Nevada failed to capitalize from the ensuing 5 meter scrum for the original offence and Santa Rosa cleared their lines for a hard fought victory.


Stanford women seconds 19 – SAN JOSE STATE 48 Referee: Aruna Ranaweera
Referee Coach: Dave Williamson

The 9am preseason scrimmage was played as three 30 minute periods with wholesale substitutions. In fact, Stanford’s team had a new look each of the three periods.

Lots of new players meant plenty of enthusiasm, but a high number of infringements. Even then, the match featured plenty of open play, with incisive breaks by both teams.

At the end of the first period, the score was tied 12-12, but by the end of the second period, SJ State had pulled ahead 31-19. By the final whistle, SJ State had cruised to 48-19: 8 tries to 3. Stanford played well in spurts, but SJ State's offense was more purposeful (aggressive) and organized.


The Currie Cup final from mid-October is a fantastic match. It is worth a look.

It is now clear that Jonathan Kaplan has picked up the mantle that Andre Watson laid down three years ago.

During the first half when the game was at a continuous rolling boil, he addressed some Blue Bulls hotheads by saying, “I don’t want to have to do anything.”

What a wonderful expression of the referee’s goal in such a momentous match: the desire not to have to do anything!

Mr. Kaplan is turning into the Zen referee.


ALWAYS REPORT YOUR RED CARDS AND FOUL-PLAY YELLOWS. This is not optional material for referees.

The high level of rugby achieved in NorCal is not only dependent on our wealth of committed players and dedicated coaches, not only arising from our ever-improving refereeing corps, but also is a result of our comprehensive, impartial and excellently administered disciplinary process.

For a referee to issue a card in the heat of the moment and then, on reflection or through negligence not to report it, is to undermine the trust in which match officials are held.

It is also unfair to subsequent opponents if some players are not disciplined accordingly.

Do not think you are doing anyone a favor by subverting the system. This is critical. Referees not reporting such cards will be themselves subject to sanctions by the Society.

We hope it is always forgetfulness when it happens.


Dixon Smith taught the Level One course to four students in San Francisco last Saturday, Jerry Acosta, Joe Androvich, Jacqueline Finck and Joshua E. Giddens.

We encourage each of them to complete and submit the written examination ASAP. Too many have let the deadline slip by in the past and missed out on certification.

Any number of society members are willing to help out with the questions, in terms of guiding the thought process and encouraging the right kind of thinking. Do not hesitate to ask for help from any of the society’s stalwarts, beginning right here at the Pelican Pressroom.


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

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

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

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

National Office Staff

Here's the gang at USA Rugby HQ. This will help you put faces to the names of the folks in Boulder who do so much work for our game.

Ed Todd was of course one of the original refereeing Pelicans and remains a Society member, while Rick Humm is also a different breed of Pelican: he played for the Pelicans and the Grizzlies.

Back row (left to right): Jen Gray (Game Development), Katie Wurst (Game Develpment Officer-Youth); Peter Thorburn (Eagles Coach); Court Jeske (Events); John Broker (National Teams Manager); Rick Humm (Game Development - Director); Dave Williams (Eagles Strength and Conditioning Coach);
Sitting: Kim Brock (Events - National Championships); Lindsay Tiernan (Membership); Sara John (Communications Director); Steve Griffiths (former interim CEO); Susan Jones (Events Director); Becky Carlson (NCAA); Casy Bailey (Administrator);
On Floor: Jen Cope (CFO); Ed Todd (Referee Development Manager); Sadie Thomas (Game Development Officer);
Not Pictured: Kristin Richeimer (Member Relations)


For the Senate
Pelicus Scriptoris