Tuesday, October 16, 2007




At the NCRRS Annual General Meeting last Saturday, a new board of directors was elected for a two-year term: Bruce Carter, Joe Leisek, Pete Smith, David Williamson and Scott Wood.

The Board has asked Bruce to continue as President.

Dixon Smith stood down after several decades of service as an officer of the society. We are very grateful to him for his dedication and for all of the contributions that he has made over the years.

Dixon will of course continue to teach, to assessor, to evaluate and to coach rugby referees. He is one of the bedrocks on which the Pelican Society has been built.

Bjorn Stumer is our new Exchange Coordinator. The three major functions of our society, from the point of view of our members, are education, assignments and exchanges. Thus, Bjorn assumes a major role.

We are always attempting to increase the ranks of our exchange partners in order to provide opportunities and rewards to more of our members. Bjorn has proven his abilities on several projects for the society the past few years.

Kat Todd-Schwartz did an excellent job with exchanges the past two years. She hands the baton to Bjorn at full speed and with a lead on the field. We are grateful for her service.

Exchanges announced: Scott Wood and Paul Berman will be traveling to Victoria for our annual exchange with the Vancouver Island RRS. They will be spending a five-day Thanksgiving weekend with our friends to the north.

Bruce Bernstein will be attending the New York Sevens.


About three-dozen Pelicans assembled for our annual pre-season meeting at the SF/Golden Gate clubhouse on Treasure Island.

REO David Williamson has designed another coherent season’s curriculum, and this session featured before the match refereeing: mental and physical preparation, game-day pre-match rituals, and some basic issues of Law.

Joe Leisek facilitated a coaches panel discussion for the second year. The felicitous relations between Northern California rugby players, coaches and referees are among this region’s strongest rugby advantages.

A brief summary by David Williamson:

Joe Cavallaro (Cougar U-19) noted high school coaches are looking for consistency in refereeing, and don't want refs coaching their players.

Tina Nesberg (Stanford Women) urged respect for everyone; safety; communicating what you see on the pitch to the players; and accepting coaches' comments after the game.

John Everett (St. Mary's Men) seeks more "flow" in the game, with less whistle; fitter refs; more consistency between refs interpreting the "gate".

Ray Lehner (Olympic Club) seeks more consistency in refereeing the breakdown, and strict, prompt dealing with dangerous play, saying "the yellow cards don't come quick enough"


We have one unfilled place for a referee at the New York Sevens on Saturday, November 24. If you’d like to do some Christmas shopping on 5th Avenue, gawk at the tall buildings and work one of the biggest sevens tournaments around, this is your chance. And, we might add, at minimal cost to yourself.

Even if you have been on this exchange already, you would be welcome to go again. Please let us know of your interest.


The numbers aren’t balancing quite right: we have 7 available this weekend and 21 the next. We could use two or three more this weekend, but we are in good shape for the 27th.

October 20, two tournaments:

Harlotfest in Modesto: a day of fun with those who would play with anyone.

Slugfest at UC Santa Cruz: colleges teams on two pitches, including the hosts, UC Davis, Cal Poly, Santa Clara, and others TBA.

November 3: Mittry Memorial Tournament in Redding. Two pitches, ten games anticipated.

Nov. 10: About a dozen games on the schedule so far.

Weekend of November 16-18: Three tournaments and at least four other games. Refs needed Friday evening in Sacramento, Saturday all over, and Sunday afternoon.

Let us know if you would like to referee on any of these dates.


Some folks are dropping in out of the sky to referee with us the next couple of weekends:

October 20:
Andrew Petti of Calgary is in San Francisco with his wife and will be working the Slugfest.

Cam Wilton of Edmonton is traveling down to watch the Raiders on Sunday and will referee at the Harlotfest.

October 27:
Tevis Vandergriff of the South will be in Monterey on business and will help out at the Stanford Tens.

Bill Gillies of the Victoria Society (Australia) will be in San Francisco on business and will be at one of the Tens tournaments that day. Bill was in town two years ago about this time of the year.

If you get a chance, welcome these folks and make them feel at home. Thus does the Rugby Circle get both larger and smaller simultaneously.


The annual society meeting was interrupted at noon by a live telecast of the France-England semi-final of the RWC. Golden Gate’s big screen held everyone’s attention to the final whistle.

Our dear friend Murray Felstead writes with news of an American who is the latest bandwagon-jumper on the Johnny Wilkinson Express:

“Have you seen any interviews yet with England's latest ‘celebrity’ fan - Your own Country & Western singer - Kenny Rogers who has been interviewed wearing his full England strip and wishing the guys good luck.

“So much so that the team sing all his songs on the team coach before and after the games and in the dressing room - especially on Saturday last!”

Personal Message from the Gambler:

Photo Collage set to music:

This one we especially like. Scroll quotes from Shakespeare’s Henry V… you might remember whom Henry was leading the English against.


Sandy Robertson forwards this link to a column in the Times of London that has some nice things to say about our lot, mostly vis-à-vis the ‘competition’ who are reffing other sports:


Coaches Panel

The Coaches Panel at the NCRRS meeting October 13:

John Everett, Ray Lehner, Joe Leisek, Tina Nesberg, Joe Cavallaro.

(That’s great photographic strategy: bigger folk closer, smaller folk further away.)


For the Senate
Pelicus Scriptoris