Tuesday, September 11, 2007




The showing by the USA Eagles this past weekend against the World Cup champions was one of the two or three best performances our team has ever achieved against a major rugby-playing nation.

For it to come on such a stage, with scores of millions watching the world over, is exhilarating.

We read where Dan Lyle hoped that this would be the last time the US would send an amateur team to this competition. Let us hope that he is correct. All we need is a hundred players under contract, living and training rugby full-time, year round.

I should think half a dozen might have earned contracts on Saturday!


There is one game this coming Saturday that needs a ref. Let us know.


ALL BLUES 76 – Belmont Shore 8 Referee: John Coppinger

Touch Judge: Preston Gordon

All Blues, fielding a mix of first and second side regulars, ran over Belmont Shore 76-8 in course of 4 20-minute periods at Rocca Field at TI Saturday afternoon. This 1:30 match was played after All Blues trounced Sacramento Amazons in the NCRFU league match that started at 11.

Thanks to new Pelican Preston Gordon (a former SF/GG and OC player, who has been refereeing in Switzerland for the past couple of years) for sticking around to run touch after managing the All Blues/Sac Amazon match.

NorCal League Match:

ALL BLUES 113 – Sacramento 0 Referee: Preston Gordon (Switzerland RRS)

Touch Judge: Anna McMahan (recently Boston)

NCRFU Women's League

The game began on Treasure Island right as the fog burned off, and Berkeley scored their first try shortly thereafter. They continued to score tries throughout the match every few minutes (18 in total). Sacramento made some good progress during the second half, keeping Berkeley from scoring for 10 minutes or so, but ultimately was not able to match the skills and fitness levels of the All Blues side. Aside from a couple of high tackles, there was no foul play, and overall this was a good match to referee. Anna McMahan, who is new to refereeing here in Northern California (as am I), came down and ran touch for this game (thanks Anna).


For Pete's Sake Field, Santa Rosa

Referees: Joe Leisek, Scott Wood, Bjorn Stumer, Cary Bertolone

Rugby players from throughout Northern California traveled to Santa Rosa for an event organized by Pat Culley. A graduate of Humboldt State University and Lumberjack rugby standout, Pat played for Santa Rosa for a short time before leaving for Aspen. He suffered a neck fracture on May 1, 2004, while playing for Aspen in a Super League contest in Boston.

The Bald Eagles are about to depart for an extended tour to France for a large number of matches, both playing and watching – there’s a tournament going on there, you know.

Many of those who played this weekend know Pat personally, either as a friend or a teammate. As all Pelicans know, the Pat Culley Shield is a highlight of the college rugby season, awarded to the winner of the HSU-Santa Rosa Junior College regular season match.

Pat organized this tournament with the help of his close friend David White, a former Bay Area high school rugby player and fellow HSU alum. "Whitey" is also back in Santa Rosa.

The day was a success, with rugby players, friends, and family enjoying lots of games, food, beer, and each other's company. There was Don Pattalock, playing Number Eight for the Bald Eagles (though Don has a full head of hair) and scoring his team's first try. John Tomasin, MD, played for the Santa Rosa Old Boys and could probably claim to have operated on at least a dozen players on the field.

Cary Bertolone combined playing with refereeing, though not in the same game. Great to see that Cary is enthusiastic about refereeing and that he is eager to learn.

Some of the best rugby on the day was in fact played by the Bald Eagles. This was not your father's old boys team...well, maybe in some cases, but they played well and had lots of experience and skill on the pitch.

For the referees, it was a pleasure to work this event. See you next year, Pat!

Results included:

Santa Rosa 12 Humboldt 7 (Stumer)
Sacramento Lions 39 Mendocino/Mixed 0 (Leisek)
Bald Eagles 33 Santa Rosa Old Boys 14 (Wood)
Humboldt 33 Mendocino/Mixed 7 (Stumer)
Santa Rosa 7 Sacramento Lions 5 (Leisek)
Santa Rosa 22 Mendocino/Mixed 10 (Bertolone)
Sacramento Lions 5 Humboldt 3 (Wood)

SANTA ROSA 12 – Humboldt 7 Referee: Bjorn Stumer

Two evenly matched and determined sides put on a fine display of Rugby at the fine "For Pete's Sake" event in Santa Rosa. No quarter was given in the two twenty-minute halves, but Santa Rosa outscored Humboldt by one try.

HUMBOLDT 33 – Mendocino 7 Referee: Bjorn Stumer

Touch Judges: Joe Leisek, Scott Wood

Humboldt walked away with this one, against a Mendocino side augmented by players from various teams. The extravagantly clad Mendocino side (not a like jersey on the team) was no match for an organized Humboldt crew which ran in five tries, four of them converted as they were scored under the posts.

We had a team of three for this one, thanks to Joe Leisek & Scott Wood. Fun was had by all.


Saturday, September 1

At the Beach Chalet in Golden Gate Park

SF Fog 7 – ALL BLUES 97 Referee: Pete Smith

Labor Day weekend, Bay Bridge Closed, must be rugby somewhere. And indeed the Fog and All Blues squared off for what is looking like the beginnings of a cross bay rivalry.

The All Blues are still the All Blues, perennial powers nation wide. They boast a handful of National Team players as well as several Territorial and ex-All Americans. The Fog are the upstarts, the new kids on the block with a solid foundation to grow from.

The All Blues had forty players available to about twenty-some from the Fog. The score was what you would expect 48-0 at Halftime and ended with KFOG 97.7. Yes the irony of that one is a little out there, but the Fog lost by the score of 97-7 which for us here in the South bay is the call letters for radio station KFOG at 97.7. Too many scores by too many players to attempt a recounting, but I will say that the Fog made a much better accounting for themselves than the score would reflect.

Yes, the All Blues just have more talent and continuity, but the Fog played hard the entire game, all 80 minutes. I would also assert that a good portion of the All Blues points came from individual break downs that are easier to correct. As the season progresses and the Fog get more time together, they should improve to the point of having the score more reflective of the competitiveness of the team.

The All Blues on the other hand just need more competition to help tune and oil their machine before they make another run at a title.


A reader writes:

“At least some of the Rugby World Cup matches are being presented on Versus (Channel 81 on Comcast) but delayed perhaps two days. Argentina-France was on yesterday; USA-England is on 9/11.

“This was not noted in the Pelican Refs web-site.”

Pelican Sunset
The days are getting noticeably shorter now for our Northern Hemisphere readers. Here along the coast of Northern California the days are also getting warmer and the evenings less windy. We have our hottest days in late September and early October.

So you might find yourself out for a sunset walk one evening and see something this beautiful…


For the Senate
Pelicus Scriptoris