Tuesday, October 28, 2008




The pre-season is heating up. There are three tournaments this Saturday, plus three stand-alone games. Each tournament has two fields in use all day. Simple math: (3 refs per pitch X 2 pitches X 3 tourneys) + 3 other games = 21 refs. We have 11. Ergo: we need ten more!

There are also two games Friday evening and five games on Sunday. It’s like this, excepting Thanksgiving weekend, from now until mid-December.

We are especially disappointed in the absolute lack of participation by recent attendees at level one referee classes. The autumn in the perfect time to get in some low-stress whistle time, even if you plan to play rugby with your club this season. We welcome new blowers this time of the year. Please reply to this e-mail if you would be able to referee some over the next seven weekends.


The Pacific Coast Grizzlies will be hosting the New Zealand Heartland XV this Sunday, November 2, at Rocca Field on Treasure Island at 3 PM. Admission is $10.

The Heartland competition is the top tier of amateur rugby in the Land of the Long White Cloud. This is the all-star team from that league. They will also be playing a USA XV in Utah the following weekend.

See you there?


The Hawaii Harlequins Invitational was played in Waikiki this past weekend and the event was refereed through the combined efforts of the Northern California and Texas societies: Hail, Pelitex!

Scott Wood and Bruce Carter were joined by James Summers, Jim Wolfinger, and Jim’s wife Carolyn for five lovely days in paradise. The tournament ran Friday and Saturday.

The referees were hosted by the Harlequins at the brand-new and lovely Wyland Waikiki Hotel. You know Wyland – he’s the artist who does the building-size murals showing underwater scenes. He also did the paintings and sculptures which adorn the rooms and the grounds of the hotel.

The tournament was a round-robin featuring five teams, one of which came from Australia. There was also an old-boys division of four teams, with one from Oz and one from Vancouver. All of the games were played in Kapiolani Park at the foot of Diamond Head.

The four intrepid refs provided teams of three for all of the games using the newest technology, the EarTec duplex radios with allow for simultaneous conversation between a ref and assistant ref with the ref remaining hands-free. This kept the nonsense to a minimum and was much appreciated by the players and organizers.

The tourists spent a day at Pearl Harbor and got in some hiking time well up into the mountains. Training table consisted mostly of sushi and mai-tais, with the Spam musube featuring prominently in late-night fare.

It is a mystery to your writer why more Pelicans did not avail themselves of the opportunity to enjoy rugby in such a fabulous location. Perhaps next year – all signs point to our being asked back.


Report by David Williamson:
Lots of teams, and lots of smiles, described the spectacular Stanford 10s. Twelve women's teams (including many rookies) and six men's teams started the tournament at 7:45 am and concluded at 5 pm, after 41 matches. The Davis Double-Deckers won the women's trophy over the San Francisco Fog, and the Stanford Business School won the men's final over San Jose State University.

Much appreciation to the refs who braved the 49 F dewy first matches (Bruce Bernstein and James Hinkin), the refs who arrived early and left late (brand-new ref Brian Schnack and Chris Labozzetta), those who handled matches during the 80 F heat of the day (John Coppinger, Preston Gordon, Ray Schwartz, and Eric Rauscher), and to Tony Redmond for both early-morning referee coaching and the late-day final matches. Your combined efforts kept the tournament on schedule, with just one-minute breaks between matches. Well done!!

Eric Rauscher reporting
Had to work Sat morning so was not able to make it down until about 11 am. I ended up reffing two games and running touch for the men's and women's finals. The weather was great and the gathering of people was fun.

First game
DAVIS DOUBLE DECKERS 34 – UC Los Angeles 0 (womens)
The total time for the games was 24 min as sounded by an air horn. I was really impressed by Davis #12 (Sharon) who scored four tries and converted two, so all in all she scored on average of a point a minute. It wasn't that the UCLA team played badly, but Davis was just head and shoulders above.

Second Game
UCLA 26 – Cal Blue 17 (womens)
This was a much closer game. Both teams traded scores and kept me running up and down the pitch. We had a minor injury and a little time was lost which make the combined total of 43 points in 24 min impressive.

Report by Ray Schwartz:
Just a quick report from the Stanford 10s. Warm day, lots of running rugby, good spirits all around. I showed up mid morning to help spell the early risers and ran three matches, all women's. I had reffed three matches the weekend before in Reno as well. It's good to be back at the whistle, after being out for nearly 18 months, but the knee is doing fine, and I just keep chipping away at my fitness.

It was great to see Brian Schnack ref 7 matches! The youngster has springs for legs and a great demeanor. With Labo and Dude reffing as well, that made 4 Speed Freak Clown refs on the day, a new record! It was also great to see San Jose St. field two competitive sides and reach the tourney finals on the men's side. Could Spartan Rugby be back?!

In the matches I ran, the FOG dominated Stanford Red, winning 43-0 in just 24 minutes of play, Stanford Red then smashed Stanford White, then before I reffed Stanford Red once again, I traded with Preston and handled Chico St. vs. UCSD.

I had reffed Chico last weekend in Reno, and I can report they seemed twice as good in just one week's time, due in part to their #17 who apparently came out to try rugby on Tuesday, and yet was playing hard-nosed and flawless rugby Saturday. All Chico players seem confident going into contact, passing easily out of it, and with lots of support. They overmatched a game UCSD squad, who lacked some depth, but featured Julia, their #13 and captain. Julia was a good leader, working tirelessly to help her teammates out in support and with good passes, and making lots of tackles. I predict a World Cup may be in this young lady's future, whereas a march to the National Championships may be in Chico's!

Report by Brian Schnack:
The day started with me waking up late, too late to pick up Bruce Bernstein at 0700 to get to the first match.

Or perhaps the day started 13 years ago on my second day in California after driving West from Iowa. I had the number of a certain guy named Griff Lacey, who was running the Paxos in what sadly turned out to be their last year. So I called him.

But a different guy (if I only knew how truly different) answered. While sincerely appreciating my interest in playing with the Paxos, I promise you that Ray Schwartz’ 3rd or 4th question to me (after what do you play, you’re not married are you, have you had your shots) was, “Do you want to meet up at the British Bankers Club? It’s full of cute old ladies with husbands out of town.” With that promising start, 12 years of fun and occasional Clowning ensued, with me catching more diseases from Ray & Dude & Crew than I did rugby balls.

Or, rather, the day started last year, the morning after Dude’s 50th birthday party, when Ray’s salesmanship with Dude’s persistence (over morning food and drink in Capitola) got me to agree to admit I’m not playing much, so why not ref.

But a year passed, with me actually playing more Old Boys and Mission than reffing. So maybe the day started after Ray kicked me verbally in the shins and Dude volunteered me for the Slugfest. Which was a fun time, all things considered.

So, that brings me back to 10/25/2008. The day started with me waking up a few minutes too late to pick up Dude, but early enough for me to squeeze in 7 games of fun, active rugby under the helpful eyes of David, Tony, and the others who were all too eager to remind me to:

1. Be more North / South
2. Get in shape (okay, that one’s a lie)
3. Focus on whistle / signal and verbal
4. Get in position better; anticipate
5. Tuck my shirt in
6. Keep having fun

So with a little help from my friends new and old, the players were up for a long day of fun, fast, competitive rugby, and I was up for doing my part to help them have a go at it.

Game 1: The Cherry: UC Davis Women vs Cal White Women
15 minutes after showing up, I’m hunting down the teams. Surely UC Davis is in Blue and Yellow? No. Surely they are at least wearing UC Davis jerseys? No. But surely they can play. Davis won 42 – 0 over a Cal squad loaded with rookies who played a spirited match but could neither retain the ball, take it away, nor catch up to it as it travelled through and down for 8 tries. To their credit, Cal’s rare Berkeley winds blew foul all but 1 of Davis’ 8 conversion attempts, although I’d give some due to Mary’s rusty boot. Joking aside, Cal kept at it and played through, using the game as a great experience for their next matches. Much like their ref...

Personal Highlight: Dave running onto the pitch 2 minutes in to swap out my red jersey with a Pelican’s. Wolf calls from both Davis and myself. Ray’s no longer the apple in this ref’s eye.

Game 2: WTF is the call here? You mean I’m miked?: Cal Gold Women vs SF Fog Women
Dave and Tony were good sports (Dave NEVER was this nice while reffing Mission), with focused, apt coaching after my first game. I figure they only loaded me with a mere sample of what they REALLY could have told me, not wanting me to roll myself up in a big ball and die. So they miked me in order to let me hear from myself what not to do. Fog won 60-0 with 10 tries in a game against another green Cal squad largely overmatched in terms of ability to ruck, maul, hit, and break through for scores.

Personal highlight: My highlight will be when I watch the DVD of my game, audio off so I don’t hear myself go, “Hmmm...I think that’s okay...”

Game 3: You Again?!? Version 1: SJSU Blue Men v Stanford Red Men
I like Dean White. They must like him too, because his guys (SJSU) play hard, run hard, and hit hard. Stanford was up for them, getting down 0-10, evening it up to 10-all, only to lose 10-15 with a few final lost charges into the 22. A good, tough, well-fought game with action in both directions that got a little sloppy on high-tackles and a few non-wraps near the end, one that either team could have won. Speaking of could have won, SJSU could have taken away a few more scrums if I’d have called Stanford on their feeding.

Personal highlight: Players being appreciative about having a nice, fun game.

Game 4: You Again?!? Version 2: SJSU Yellow Men v Berkeley MBA Men
I’ll throw in my last plug on the support Dave, Tony, John, etc. provided, ensuring each game was a growth experience rooted in the rotten, failed harvests of prior games (wait; that came out wrong). And I took this accrued advice into another competitive match which saw two pounding SJSU scores and conversions make the difference. SJSU hit first with some nice forward play, scoring off a pick & go. Berkeley evened it up, only to see SJSU’s high-tackling-but-thigh-pumping #12 take the ball 20 meters through Berkeley’s belly, pinballing into a combination of players, post, pads and pay dirt for a try. Third-best try of the day from my view at least (Stay tuned for Humboldt v Stanford Alum). That was followed by SJSU’s ruby-shoed, earring-studded #10 going in for a long score, then showboating on touching the ball down for a try. (Word of advice – be careful during the season) Berkeley closed the game with a score, which ended in SJSU’s favor, 19-10.

Personal highlight: Remembering the “Kick here at your 5 meter, scrum up there at mid-field” call on a penalty to SJSU on which the kicking team charged the ball down offsides, and having to explain “why the hell I called that” to the team receiving the call (Hat-tip to Bryant from the Slugfest on this call from the prior week, when I called it “scrum where it was played, kick where it happened”)

Game 5: You Again?!? Version 3: SJSU Blue Men v Stanford Red Men
After rolling his eyes and introducing me to his parents in anticipation of making our relationship official, Dean and his guys took the field for a rematch with Stanford Red. Warning both teams in advance (particularly SJSU) to keep the tackles clean and below the neck, the game started like the other game ended – with hits & sprints. SJSU got up 12-0, many thanks to a wonderful SJSU rolling maul, seeing SJSU peel off and feed it to part-time Mission Wing Koby (#16) for a well-earned score. Stanford answered with a beautiful series of rucks & mauls, ending the sequence with a converted try for 12-7 score. From a scoring perspective, SJSU took the rest of the game, ultimately winning 34-7. I’d blame it largely on the heat, not to mention the pace of the games these guys were playing all day. Both sides ran & hit at full clip, so nothing was left on the pitch. Speaking of leaving the pitch, this game saw me get out the Yellow for my first Sin Binning (as a ref at least). SJSU blasted through an obstructing player; while not intentionally dangerous play, the tone of the game if not the Laws asked for that call. Many thanks to the binned player for taking it in stride despite his annoyance.

Personal highlight: Tie: SJSU’s and Stanford’s scores off of continuing forward play. Me uttering the words, “Gate, gate”.

Game 6: Play to the Final Whistle: Stanford Alum Women v Humboldt Women
Let’s start by saying Stanford made a point of telling me and the opposing team’s captain that they were here for fun, so let’s not get injured and have to miss work on Monday. Part of me thought this was a misdirection, as Stanford scored four rather easy, long tries to get up 24-0. (I’ll insert, as editorial within editorial, that there were anywhere from 3 to 6 forward passes I didn’t call against Stanford. I’ll admit on the stand that I recall quite a few that made me go, “Hmm; it’s sideways; play on”, and I guarantee I was wrong on several, and that’s an area to work on. But also let me say that I’ve seen guys lean too much toward making “sideways” equal “forward”. But I’m a good person, I swear; ask Dude) So we’re at 10 minutes left, and Stanford’s winning, largely thanks to my forgiving “forward pass my ass” eye (I kid). Frankly, up to this point Humboldt wasn’t doing themselves any favors, since they were taking the ball into tackles far too often, neither getting the ball to numbers nor doing much from the rucks & mauls. But something clicked. Humboldt gets the ball into the 22, then starts a series of rucks and mauls, ending with two pick & go’s and a score. That series shined light on why people should love rugby, and you could see it in the Humboldt players’ eyes. Down 5-24 with time running out, Humboldt gets possession inside the 22. The horn blows, signaling game end, and this is last ball. Humboldt attacks and draws a penalty – play on. Humboldt taps and goes, pounding the ball inside the 10. We get a tackle, then a ruck, then...a Stanford player on the ground plays the ball. Penalty to Humboldt, back ten, quick ball through mark, pounding it through and down for a “penalty time” score. Stanford Alum won 24-10, but Humboldt won the last 10 minutes with a spirited ending.

Personal Highlight: I enjoyed Humboldt’s last two scores from a rugby-fan’s perspective. I enjoyed them from the perspective of a rugger missing the hitting on Saturdays. I especially enjoyed the final try because it was allowed to happen thanks in part to a prescient call from this bald, somewhat sunburned ref.

Game 7: AKA, “Dave, anyone else want a game? No? Okay. Gimme”: Stanford Alum Women v UC Davis Women
It was great to see Davis playing in the semis (Spoiler Alert: They ultimately won, and it’s a cookbook), and it was great to see Mary, Davis’ captain, nail 5 out of her 7 conversion attempts for the game, with Davis winning 45-0. This game was 50 minutes after both teams’ previous matches, on a hot day full of 24-minute sprints. Stanford was up for the match, but the game’s tone was set off the first scrum, with the Davis scrum half taking the ball 50 meters for a weakside score.

Personal Highlight: Taking my boots off for the day and enjoying a drink out of John’s shopping bag, then another from the bounty Ray scored from somewhere. Cheers to everyone who kicked off, nudged along, and closed out a great day. The day started early, went quickly, and ended with a cold beer and an hour’s drive back home, where I ended up falling asleep spooning my kid, him booting me in his sleep like a player rucking away at a player in the way, unseen by his dad’s rookie eyes. I’ll call him on it next time.


SILVERHAWKS 45 – San Francisco Fog 25 Referee: John Pohlman
The San Jose Silverhawks hosted the FOG in the Mike Sammon Memorial Game at James Lick High School on the corner of White and Gay.

Mike was a local high school rugby star who went to Chico State. Unfortunately, Mike suffered from mental illness, which lead to an early death at 39.

Ken Bousfield, Seahawk, Silverhawk and current coach of the FOG has helped keep this game alive. Fellow Kiwi Matt Jackson made a beautiful trophy which was presented to Mike's parents at the after party.

The Silvers are currently led by Tory Galino and his east San Jose mates. Over ten of the starting players on the Silvers played high school rugby together. And competed with and against Mike in high school.

It was decided to play four 20 minute periods.

The first twenty was all San Jose. The Old Boys looked fit, organized and finished trys. Forwards taking contact, dishing off passes as going to ground. Just enough support to finish scores. They looked like they could compete in Aspen.

The second period the heat and subs slowed the Hawks. The younger FOG came roaring back with three trys to San Jose's one. The FOG are coached by two ex San Jose players. Welshman Ian Binding and Kiwi Kenny. The Fog have good numbers, some experience and look to be capable of competing in Division three this year.

Half time score San Jose 4 trys FOG 3.
Just one small outburst prior to halftime between a couple of front rowers, marred a very well played half.

The second half started with the FOG having much of the early ball. The Silvers tackled and consistently fell on the tackled player, or the ball, or the wrong side or all three. On the third penalty in five minutes I brought San Jose's captain over to explain the tackler must immediately move away. The tackler should look like a spring moving quickly. Of course I had called this penalty on AJ the 67 year old host of the after party. AJ tried to explain he just didn't spring anymore. As I told AJ, if I expect him to spring away after the tackle, I obviously expected everyone else to follow.

San Jose finished of the third period with three unanswered trys.

The last period the FOG put in their rookies and San Jose put in their older guys. This was still well played with two scores each for a final score of 45-25.

One of the FOG rookie props was wearing brown fingernail polish. Not sure if this was part of a Halloween costume, maybe he passed out the night before, I didn't check his eyebrows. But it totally clashed with the kit for the day. My suggestion would be a blue or aqua.

SANTA ROSA J.C. 19 – UC Davis 7 Referee: Bjorn Stumer
Perhaps it was not a good idea, after a week attending a conference in New Orleans where after hours "networking" is not only encouraged but required, and shortly after returning home on a red eye flight, to referee a couple of Seven matches before my main match. Yet, arriving at the pitch the customary hour before the match, and with UC Davis barely arriving, I was tempted to officiate my first Sevens when two sides of mainly Islanders asked me to partake.

As a former front rower, I have never done Sevens before and I always looked askance at the abbreviated game. I was however surprised of how fun it was! It is easy to have the game come to you, and rucks and mauls afford a visibility rare in the 15 matches. What I did not account for however was the impending heat of the day.....

It was hot indeed at the beautiful "for Pete's Sake" pitch in Santa Rosa. I therefore declined to officiate the third Sevens match, and concentrated on preparing for the Santa Rosa Junior College vs. UC Davis match. Without a doubt, these are two fit, promising, and dedicated sides. Tackling and determination were on tap for the duration, with a closely contested first half. Due to the heat, there were water breaks after 20 minutes of each half, but the young players continued to hammer at each other tirelessly. Davis closed the tight first half with a converted try to the JC's sole unconverted one.

The second half had the Santa Rosa lads written all over it. Benefiting from the local strong high school scene and continuity in its coaching staff, the JC continues to perform well above expectations, and again they did not fail to do so. They kept UC Davis scoreless on the second half, while adding two more converted tries. The final score does not do justice to the Davis players. They fought hard and played well, but they are obviously a team building up with new arrivals.

A good time was had by all, the pitch was a delight, but it was way too hot for late October.


November 25/26 2008
Exchangee: Don Pattalock

GLENDALE RAPTORS 8 – Denver Highlanders 7
Infinity Park, Glendale Co.
Referee: D. Pattalock
Assistant Referees: Joe Zevin, Marc Nelson
Referee Coach: Tom Coburn

Infinity Park is a great facility with all the amenities any rugby fan could want. This match was taped for broadcast on FSN Rocky Mountain so all the wires and timing were well coordinated. The rugby was not nearly as great as the facilities. Neither team was particularly fit nor efficient with the ball. Both teams rucked TO the ball as opposed to OVER the ball resulting in countless pileups, slow ball and a frustrated referee the entire match. Glendale had better possession and attacking opportunities but could not convert. The Highlanders chose to pick and drive all day, unfortunately they did so with upright body positions allowing Glendale to tackle the ball. This story played out over and over throughout the game. With the teams not responding to the referee’s commands, the penalty count was a personal best. Not the television debut I was hoping for.

Following the match, we retired to Marc’s house with the game DVD in hand to finish my prostate exam. Tom Coburn was great and we discussed my match in painstakingly frame by frame detail. The match was better to watch the second time, as it was determined that the players had some liability in the disaster. So I picked up what was left of my self-confidence, grabbed a burrito and headed off to bed at Joe’s house for what was to be a night of heavy reflection and endless tossing and turning.

University of Wyoming 29, Colorado State University 24
Laramie, WY
Referee: D. Pattalock
Assistant Referees: Larry Johnson, Vanessa McMaher
Assessor: Martin Brown

Sunday morning arrived and I had a quick bowl of cereal with Joe just as Martin arrived to give me a lift up to Laramie for the match. The match was scheduled for noon, so as I warmed up and dropped my warm up suit with 10 minutes until kickoff, neither team had even begun their warm up. As I approached the coach, he then informed me that the game was rescheduled until 1 pm. Important bit of information that never made to me or my host. I guess I could have gotten a cup of coffee and a bottle of water for the 2.5 hour ride up. So back I went into my warm ups to keep the winds from freezing my skin off. The pitch, which sloped noticeably from north to south (which I was informed was only 43 inches different from one side to the other!) with the wind howling down slope, I thought to myself, “This is a 15 point wind”. Well it turned out to be a 14 point wind and fortunately for WYO (with the wind at their backs in the first half) that they managed a 19 point differential at halftime. WOY played a wide open attacking pattern in the first half using the wind to play the match in CSU’s half. Some well worked tries as well as some opportunistic tries put WYO up 29 -10 at half. With the change in field came the change in momentum. CSU scored 2 converted tries and then WYO went into lock down and ground out the last 15 minutes of the match with slow pick and drives. Better game than the day before, but still had 10-12 unsuccessful mauls which resulted in turnover scrums.

Following the match, Martin swept me back to Denver where I sat for 4 hours and contemplated my weekend. Thanks to the NCRRS for the opportunity to participate in the exchange.


Rumor has reached the Senate that there is resentment afoot in the land, resentment that Northern California should be so well-represented at the territorial, national and International levels in rugby refereeing, evaluating, coaching, administration, touch judging, fourth/fifth/sixth officiating and in the judiciary realm with citing officers and match commissioners.

Let there be no mistake: it is our policy to feed such resentments.

Our latest initiative should provide a hearty meal to those who would dissipate their time and energy in envy rather than enterprise.

The NCRRS Board of Directors would like to announce sponsorship of a referee-specific professional fitness training program overseen by a licensed professional trainer for our members.

Daniel Kemenetzky has spoken to us at our meetings about the physical requirements that are placed upon rugby referees. Daniel, who played the game in Argentina and once refereed a bit here in Pelicanland, has developed a plan to help any referee achieve maximum potential.

The evaluation phase involves an interview, a medical, athletic and injury history, some physiologic measurements, and video analysis of the trainee’s running and refereeing style. This last utilizes a GPS tracker, enable time-and-motion studies, with simultaneous heart-rate monitoring to determine cardiac responses to different paces and distances.

Daniel will then make recommendations for training and correction of identified problems, and will monitor progress with on-going sessions.

Follow-on studies will entail at least ten monthly sessions to gauge progress and make adjustments to the training regimen.

The NCRRS is willing to pay half the cost of this training program. Let us know of your interest to discuss fees and scheduling. The cost will be within the range of a gym membership and/or a personal trainer.


If you would like to go to Victoria, British Columbia, on exchange next month, please let us know.

This five-day trip over Thanksgiving weekend (Wednesday-Sunday) is one of the highlights of our exchange calendar. The rugby and the hosting are top-drawer.

Those who have already been are welcome to go again. Spouses would be welcome. Two exchangees will be selected from those available.


All of you who might find yourself refereeing a game in the next year need to take the time to sign and submit the NCRFU Safety Protocol.

This can be downloaded from our website:


You may sign it electronically and send it in via e-mail, or print out, sign and snail-mail in the signature page.


18474 Deertrack Place
Salinas, CA 93908

Stanford Tens Refs
End of day photo, with libations: Dave Williamson, Brian Schnack, John Coppinger, Tony Redmond, Ray Schwartz, Eric Rauscher, and Preston Gordon.

Refs departing earlier: Bruce Bernstein, James Hinkin, Chris Labozzetta.


For the Senate
Pelicus Scriptoris

Tuesday, October 21, 2008




This Saturday finds plenty o’ rugby down on the Farm, with this year’s edition of the venerable Stanford Tens.

This is the perfect event for new refs! PLEASE, if you fit into this category, let us know that you can be there all day or part of the day. You’ll get short games with plenty of peer support and positive feedback to help you on your way.

We need at least a dozen referees this weekend. So far we have four. Hit Reply now and put up your hand.

Tournaments continue to be added. We will be having two to three small tournaments every weekend except Thanksgiving between now and early December. The rugby players of NorCal need your commitment to their pre-season preparation.


Rumor has reached the Senate that there is resentment afoot in the land, resentment that Northern California should be so well-represented at the territorial, national and International levels in rugby refereeing, evaluating, coaching, administration, touch judging, fourth/fifth/sixth officiating and in the judiciary realm with citing officers and match commissioners.

Let there be no mistake: it is our policy to feed such resentments.

Our latest initiative should provide a hearty meal to those who would dissipate their time and energy in envy rather than enterprise.

The NCRRS Board of Directors would like to announce sponsorship of a referee-specific professional fitness training program overseen by a licensed professional trainer for our members.

Daniel Kemenetzky has spoken to us at our meetings about the physical requirements that are placed upon rugby referees. Daniel, who played the game in Argentina and once refereed a bit here in Pelicanland, has developed a plan to help any referee achieve maximum potential.

The evaluation phase involves an interview, a medical, athletic and injury history, some physiologic measurements, and video analysis of the trainee’s running and refereeing style. This last utilizes a GPS tracker, enable time-and-motion studies, with simultaneous heart-rate monitoring to determine cardiac responses to different paces and distances.

Daniel will then make recommendations for training and correction of identified problems, and will monitor progress with on-going sessions.

Follow-on studies will entail at least ten monthly sessions to gauge progress and make adjustments to the training regimen.

The NCRRS is willing to pay half the cost of this training program. Let us know of your interest to discuss fees and scheduling. The cost will be within the range of a gym membership and/or a personal trainer.


If you would like to go to Victoria, British Columbia, on exchange next month, please let us know.

This five-day trip over Thanksgiving weekend (Wednesday-Sunday) is one of the highlights of our exchange calendar. The rugby and the hosting are top-drawer.

Those who have already been are welcome to go again. Spouses would be welcome. Two exchangees will be selected from those available.


UC DAVIS 63 – Vacaville 15 Referee: John Pohlman
UC Davis hosted Vacaville in the first game of the season for both sides. Kickoff was moved up to 11:00 AM to accommodate a fundraiser where players worked the UC Davis football game.

The backrows for Davis and Vacaville started the scoring.

Davis's #8 scored a try five minutes in. Vacaville #7 followed ten minutes later. Davis's captain and hooker Angus scored a well worked forward try at 20 minutes.

Since this was the first game for both and both had twenty five or more players it was decided to take a break at around the twenty minute mark. Water and subs came on.

Davis #15 broke though for a try, followed by Vacaville's #10. Close game two tries to three. Half time score: Davis 21 Vacaville 10.

A very well contested game. Davis was a bit fitter and much faster. Winning breakdowns with speed and numbers. Vacaville competed well using strength and experience. Both teams playing mostly positive rugby.

Before the game the Vacaville Captain who played scrumhalf and Flyhalf, Matt, said he was afraid the Davis speed and conditioning might wear down his side. Matt had played for Davis two years ago.

Well, Matt was correct.

Davis scored six tries in the second half, all of them converted. Vacaville was able to cross the line only once more.

Davis looked good. Fairly fit, finishing opportunities. That was the biggest difference of the game. Davis's speed allowed them to score on loads of opportunity. Vacaville would make breaks only to be caught.

Davis's fullback was 9 for 9 in try conversions.

BRFC & HSBRFC 2008-9 Season Kick-off:
BERKELEY RFC 45 – Haas School of Business RFC 7
Referees: Paul Berman (80 minutes); Adam Browne (20 minutes); Serban Simu (20 minutes)
Touch Judges: Adam Browne & Serban Simu
Referee Coach/Observer: Paul Berman

Venue: Job Corp Field, Treasure Island, San Francisco, Kick-off 1327; field firm under foot.
Weather: Warm & sunny

Comments: Six 20 minute periods played. Four movements under the baton of veteran ref/coach Berman & one movement apiece under the able capable associate conductors Browne & Simu.

Two clubs just beginning to get their feet wet after the long summer hiatus played an up-tempo exciting attacking no holds barred game with relatively minor ball handling errors.

Altogether a wonderful afternoon of hard fun open running rugby football!

It was delightful to have such a significant crowd of pleasant positive touch-line support & to observe the depth of talent in both clubs.

Following the final movement a lovely all inclusive barbeque was laid on by host's Berkeley.

Point spread: BRFC – 7 tries, 5 conversion goals
HSBRFC – 01 try, 1 conversion goal


Report by Bryant Byrnes:
Santa Cruz Slugfest. A cool clear fall day at arguably the prettiest venued pitch in NorCal. Seven college sides, five refs, many matches. A really nice season curtain raiser for all involved.

Host UCSC and tourney director Scott Carson did themselves proud. The fields were in great shape, a trainer was provided, food and shelter for the refs. The trainer was especially appreciated because when a player seemed to serious problems she was on it immediately. (The fellow ultimately was fine and was able to spectate the rest of the tourney.)

In that it was the Slugfest, it was free form rather than formal brackets. Santa Clara's firsts and a greatly revitalized San Jose State were undefeated. A new D2 team (at least new to me) Sierra College, made a good showing.

Report by Eric Rauscher:

No traffic to speak of so I arrived earlier than I thought I would. Games were to start at 7:30 am and of course they started late so I could have done the first one, but Sam agreed to take one before me. The weather was beautiful and the pitches were well laid out and in fine shape. I did three games with rest periods in-between.

First game: USF 0 – SIERRA JC 10
The game started well with two evenly matched teams. At about 18 min into the 25 min half the USF #3 (Gus, didn't get his last name) went down in an off-play collision with a concussion. Stop game, call over trainer. Told the captains to stand by. By the time I got back to Gus, the coach from Sierra was already on the phone calling 911. Firetruck and ambulance arrive. Gus was awake and breathing ok when they pulled away. Hopefully it was just a bad bump on the head. Started game again and within 25 seconds, the Sierra captain #10 (Steve, again did not get his last name) when down with a groin pull and knee injury. Luckily the medics were still there to assist him. Re-start game. Sierra scores two quick tries and I blow the game early, but already past the start time for the next game on the field.

Second game: USF 27 – Santa Clara 17
This was a close, hard fought back and forth game. The second half got a bit testy with some hand-bag stuff after a break-down. A player from USF came in and threw a punch. Much whistle blowing. Call captains over, tell them to settle their guys down. Yellow card the USF player. From then on play was clean and crisp. Later in the day a USF player told me that they really wanted to win that one (presumably because of the first game). I relayed that winning is one thing, but discipline is more important.

Third game: SIERRA JC 29 – Santa Clara 24
By far the best game of the day for me. The scoring was high and back and forth. With only 2 min left in the game and the score tied 24/24, Sierra pushed the ball towards Santa Clara in a steady way and won the game, but it just as well may have gone the other way. A great game to end a great day of rugby.


National D3 champions Reno Zephyrs opened the 2009 campaign with a very strong showing at their own tournament, falling 12 – 15 to Hayward in the competitive division final.

Reno will play in the NCRFU second division this year, having won national honors twice in the last five years. Earlier in the day they defeated San Mateo in another exciting game, 13 – 10.

There were also women’s and social divisions, which were played as round-robins and did not have finals. The Davis Double Deckers and the Amazons were strong in the women’s bracket while Santa Rosa did well in the social. (No complete listing of games and results was to be found at the end of play, so we cannot say much with certainty.)

There have been tournaments in the ‘greater Reno’ area in September-October going back to at least 1980, with the Tahoe Tournament which was held in Truckee. By the later eighties it was held in Gardenerville and then Sparks, where it was known as the Wild West Rugby Fest and grew to attract teams such as Aspen and the Australian Combined Services. But this event went away about ten years ago.

Last year it was revived in a two-day format at Mira Loma Park, which features three decent-sized pitches with lights. This year the number of entrants expanded but the event was reduced to Saturday-only. Twenty teams were scheduled; four did not show but two others appeared, for a total of eighteen.

New referees included Matt Samuel, making his NorCal whistle debut. Matt will be playing rugby this season but appears to have a future should he decide to give up being tackled.

Also taking a first star turn was Lee Salgado, from Reno, who was coaching the Nevada women but was convinced to put her level-one referee training into action. Lee’s confidence visibly grew in her match and she was all smiles afterwards. Coaching’s loss could be refereeing’s gain.

Old campaigners included Sam Reagle and Ray Schwartz, both coming back from a year off due to injury/surgery. Each managed three games on rebuilt chassis.

Other refs included Chris Labozzetta, Preston Gordon, Scott Wood, Jim Crenshaw, Don Pattalock and Bruce Carter.

Final: Reno Zephyrs 12 – HAYWARD GRIFFINS 15 Referee: Don Pattalock
Assistant Referees: Jim Crenshaw, Bruce Carter

As the sun set behind snow-dusted Mt. Rose, the field lights came up and the contest began. A large crowd surrounded the pitch with anticipation.

Reno has a number of big, powerful runners, who consistently made holes and hard yards. Hayward fronted up and a battle of collisions ensued.

The crowd was stunned when Nelo Lui, on one of his darting, scampering runs, executed his trademark side-step directly into a massive, thundering tackle, full-force and flush-on. If he hadn’t gotten up, it would have been a tragedy but no-one would have been surprised. And of course he didn’t take so much as a minute, but continued the game.

Your writer does a fair amount of treating people for work-related injuries. If the average person incurred such trauma at their job, they would never work again. The disability would be famous, permanent, and broadcast to the heavens. Lawyers would flock (well-meaning all of them, we hasten to add).

But ruggers – they get up and play on.

Reno’s kicker, who earlier in the day had landed some penalties from halfway, closely missed two in the first half, at the end of which Reno was ahead 12-10.

But Hayward were to control play in the second half and score the only points.

It was an exciting end to a long day of rugby.

Report by Sam Reagle:
My compliments to the Zephyrs for hosting a great tournament. I'm sure I speak for all of the referees when I say thanks for the top-shelf treatment. The spread from L&L Barbeque was delicious and the tent from Scheel's really saved the day.

HAGGIS 12 – Chico 9 Referee: Sam Reagle
This was the first game of the day for both teams here at the Reno Tournament and they came to play. It was a hard hitting game between a strong side from Utah and a very cohesive team from NorCal.

Chico got on the scoreboard first with a penalty kick just one minute into the game, but Haggis' good ball handling took the lead a few minutes later with an unconverted try. After about 10 minutes of very fluid rugby, Chico was on the attack again when an off-sides penalty against Haggis gave Chico the lead again at 6-5 with Haggis converting a try to finish out the first half scoring 12-6.

In the second half, the defenses seem to take over as both teams kept each other out of their respective goals, but Chico's penalty kick with 9 minutes to go raised the intensity of both teams for the remainder of the game.

This was an amazingly well-played game for off-season rugby. I look forward to seeing both teams again.

Fog Women 43 – UNR Women 0 Referee: Sam Reagle
No disrespect intended to UNR who brought a young and inexperienced team in the hope of preparing them for the coming season, but this was a game of women against girls. The Fog players were bigger and faster. They also have a scrumhalf who runs like a gazelle. The scoring was fairly systematic with 4 first half tries and 3 in the second. UNR played hard and attacked well at times, but the Fog defense always managed to make plays when they needed them.

Humboldt 19 – Santa Rosa 7 Referee: Sam Reagle
This game was scheduled to kick-off at the same time as the big final between Hayward & Reno. Both teams wanted to play, but wanted to watch the final also. We found an empty pitch and kicked off early. Being late in the day with 2 games under their belt, I would not have been surprised if the players had let up a little, but that wasn't the case. It was a multi-phase, well-played game by both teams. The first Humboldt try worked its way downfield and finished with 3 crisp passes inside 5 meters as each player was being hit. Every phase was contested including another attempted try held up at goal. It was very good rugby by both teams.

Humboldt also won the boat race immediately afterwards.


Report from Paul Bretz:
I was fortunate to spend 5 days with several young upwardly bound referees at a Referees with Potential camp in New Mexico in conjunction with the High Desert Classic Tournament. Camp participants included Scott Florence from Florida, Mike Kelley from Philadelphia, Bridget Tannan from Boston, Brian Zapp from Colorado, Leah Berard from Minnesota, and Andrew Ormsby from Utah.

The camp focused on referee development, fitness testing and training, referee coaching and match review/analysis. Ed Todd and I were the presenters. Participants arrived Wednesday evening, put through classwork and field work Thursday and Friday, and worked the tournament Saturday and Sunday. After each match participants received coaching and feedback from Ed and myself.

It is anticipated that more camps in the near future will be forthcoming.


All of you who might find yourself refereeing a game in the next year need to take the time to sign and submit the NCRFU Safety Protocol.

This can be downloaded from our website:


You may sign it electronically and send it in via e-mail, or print out, sign and snail-mail in the signature page.


18474 Deertrack Place
Salinas, CA 93908


Report by Nik Talemo:

Thanks for the updates last weekend. Below is a short cap of our Fiji Day 7s in Oregon:

Fiji Independence Day 7s Tourney - Portland, Oregon

Final: UTAH SAINTS 19 – Portland Tsunami 7 Referee: Nik Talemo

Oct 10th-11th saw a full 7s Tournament that celebrated the Fiji Independence Day in wet Portland, Oregon.

Wanda and I arrived on Friday morning and were met by local old boy Rich Shrama who put us up at the Marriot Hotel for two nights. I was the only Pelican who flew up and was later joined at the pitch by a lone Portland cowboy Bernie. Eight teams showed up and played two pool games each on Friday. On Saturday another Portland cowboy showed up by the name of James.

The pools were made up of the following teams from all around the US:

Utah Saints Seattle Fijians
Portland Tsunami Bay Barbarians
Santa Rosa I & II Sacramento Lions
Fresh off the Boat(Washington) British Army(Germany)

James and Bernie had a quarterfinal each and I did the rest up to the Final game. The Utah Saints had the likes of the US Eagles Pate Tuilevuka and Isikia and two former Fiji 7s reps and were too experienced for the local Tongan Tsunami team. They won $4,000 and the Tsunami team got $1,000.

We used the ELV rules on both days and I was constantly refreshing our local cowboys about these changes, and the players I must say have grasped the new law changes quickly and taking advantage of it from the quick free kick taps. We were later rewarded with Meal Tickets and Allowances after the game and got invited to their Annual After Match Function.

Kudos to the Saints and the Organizers.

Reno Corps
Referees in Reno about to attack the Island-style feast after the festivities:

Standing, L to R: Jim Crenshaw, Don Pattalock and daughter, Sam Reagle, Bruce Carter, Ben Whisky (well, he likes refs), Ray Schwartz
Not standing, L to R: Preston Gordon, Lee Salgado, Scott Wood, Chris Labozzetta

We promise that next week’s photo will not feature Preston again.


For the Senate
Pelicus Script

Tuesday, October 14, 2008




Some folks have been lamenting the lack of ‘big’ rugby tournaments on the West Coast since the days of OMBAC, Santa Barbara, Golden Gate and Pebble Beach.

For those of our readers too young in referee years to know of what we speak, now is your chance to find out what refereeing a top-flight fifteens tournament is like.

The Wild West Rugby Fest had a heyday twenty years ago, and now it is growing back into a serious, competitive event. Twenty teams are confirmed for this Saturday. Have a look at the line-up in the top bracket:

Pool A
Santa Rosa
Sacramento Lions

Pool B
San Mateo
Sacramento Rebels
Reno Zephyrs

Games will be played on two fields from 9:30 until evening. WE NEED A MINIMUM OF SIX REFEREES FOR THIS EVENT – NINE WOULD BE BETTER.

If you’ve ever longed for the days of high-flight tournament rugby, now is the time: let us know of your availability, whether you need a hotel room Friday and/or Saturday, and plan a trip to the Biggest Little City in the World.

This Saturday we also need some refs for the Slugfest on the lovely pitches at UC Santa Cruz and for a game in Davis. Please put up your hand!

November 1:

We will need all hands on deck, at least twenty referees this weekend.

There are games Friday night, half a dozen games and three tournaments on Saturday, and on Sunday, NorCal games as well as the Pacific Coast Grizzlies against the New Zealand Heartland XV.

Andrew Mittrey Memorial in Redding
Baracus Tens on Treasure Island
Slugfest (women) at UC Santa Cruz

We especially need a few folks willing to make the drive up to lovely far northern California to take in the fall colors of the Mt. Shasta area.

November 15:

Women’s tournament in Humboldt
Plan now for a weekend away and take a date!
Plus nine other games registered so far.


All of you who might find yourself refereeing a game in the next year need to take the time to sign and submit the NCRFU Safety Protocol.

This can be downloaded from our website:


You may sign it electronically and send it in via e-mail, or print out, sign and snail-mail in the signature page.


18474 Deertrack Place
Salinas, CA 93908


The Harlotfest is now the Harlotgame.

This one-of-a-kind event bucked the trends, beginning in the early nineties and becoming wildly successful at the same time that other tournaments were going away. At its peak, a raucous Friday night Equalizer party was followed by more than a dozen teams-for-a-day taking the four pitches the next morning.

The spirit lives on. On this occasion, players assembled and by some process agglutinated into two teams. Most of one team wore gray shirts and most of the other team didn’t wear gray shirts. There were approximately thirty players most of the time.

Bjorn Stumer won the coin toss and elected to referee the first twenty-minute interval.

One team was better than the other team, scoring all the tries.

Bruce Carter took over for the second stanza. The same team continued to score all the tries.

After forty minutes, by mutual consent of the players they all repaired to the barbecue and the warm keg beer. The two referees, both of whom had planned to make a day of it, looked at each other in alarm. But they were assured that the rugby would resume immediately after lunch.

Which it did, two more twenty-minute periods and then the 17th (?) annual Harlotfest was history.

It should be noted that the team which could not score any tries did manage to get three in the last period, thereby winning the fourth quarter.

One player new to the game was from Patterson, Calif. Asked what he thought about rugby, he said he didn’t like having to come to the big city (Modesto) to play it!


Report by Scott Wood:

Sacramento State Hornets 10 – SACRAMENTO AMAZONS 15 Referee: Scott Wood
Both teams were reportedly inexperienced in the front row so the game started with uncontested scrums. Amazons started strong with two quick tries. Sac State started to find its form and put together a great series of phases down the field to finish with a classic two-on-one overload to score. Amazons almost scored a third try but Sac's #13 (Lisa?) managed to worm her way under the ballcarrier to hold up the attempted touchdown. Halftime score: Amazons leading 10-5.

We switched sides and the match stayed primarily between the 22s. Sacramento threw together a great run to even the score 10-10. Amazons were well disciplined at the breakdown and exploited defensive weaknesses but were held scoreless until the final minute when they scored a go-ahead try.

DAVIS DOUBLE DECKERS 31 – Chico State Wildcats 0 Referee: John Pohlman

DAVIS DOUBLE DECKERS 36 – Sacramento Amazons 0 Referee: Sam Reagle

Chico State Wildcats 5 – Sacramento State Hornets 5 Referee: Pohlman

SACRAMENTO AMAZONS 19 – Chico State Wildcats 7 Referee: Reagle

DAVIS DOUBLE DECKERS 27 – Sacramento State Hornets 0 Referee: Wood
Davis carried, passed and kicked the ball around the pitch, stole ball at lineouts and scrums, and ran rampant over the defense (and occasionally the ref) to lead at halftime 22-0. Sacramento was able to bolster its defense in the second half allowing only one unconverted try. Sacramento started the day with a number of rookies running disjointed plays and finished with concerted defenses and increased continuity.

Report by John Pohlman:
Saturday saw the new Davis Double Decker woman's team hosting a round robin tournament.

The Sacramento Amazons, Sacramento State and Chico State woman's teams were invited. Scoot Wood, Sam "Brick" Reagle, and I were the referees for the day.

The Davis team was the clear winner and best team on the day.

In my first match Davis beat Chico 31 to 0. Davis's #8 [editor's note: Lisa Cheeks Butts], who also played centers was the clear player of the game. She is also the starting hooker for the USA. She would power step, shift the ball and stiff arm. Always keeping tacklers off balance and controlling the tackle. She would make a good video on how to run with ball in hand. There were no rosters so I did not get names, except for captains.

In my second game Chico tied Sacramento State, 5-5.
This game had almost all newer players.

All four sides looked to have decent numbers. Chico looked to have two full sides.

Brick made his refereeing comeback from major knee surgery. In his first game he stepped in a hole and twisted his ankle. I bring this up because it shows Brick's dedication and spirit.

Scott looked at me and said I should go on to relieve Brick, who was laying on the ground whistle in mouth still trying to referee the game. I ran on as play continued, I think Brick blew his whistle due to a knock-on. I asked about his knee, but he said it was the ankle and he would try and go on. He finished that game and did the next.

I know Scott and I will never forget the sight of Brick laying flat on his stomach, whistle in mouth still in control of the game. That's rugby spirit.


Stanford Grad School – Grad School Alumni Referee: Labozzetta
No report received.

PCRFU U19 Lady Grizzly (NCRFU Trialists): Aspiring NCRFU U19 Lady Grizzlies 62 vs. San Francisco State University RFC 0 (H-T 24 -0)
Referee: Paul Berman
Referee Coach/Observer: David Williamson

Venue: Rocca Field, Treasure Island, San Francisco, Kick-off 1420; field firm under foot.

Weather: Warm & sunny

Comments: Two 20 minute halves of open running rugby! Two squads of approximately equal number 13 -14 players played an exciting attacking no holds barred game with surprisingly few ball-handling errors particularly from a scratch all-star team.

The hopeful/potential NorCal Grizzlies (2 present & 4 veteran Alameda Riptide HSG RFC, 4 Chico State University & 3 El Dorado Hills Mother Lode HSG RFC lassies) were put through their paces by the very able Tasha Bishop (previously Assistant U20 Lady Eagles Coach & Principal U19 Lady Grizzly Coach) & her able assistants Ellen Owens (Head Coach UC Berkeley Women) & Tina Watts (Principal Coach Fortuna Husky HS Girls RFC Humboldt County & Secretary U19 Lady Grizzly & NCRFU HS Girls League).

A hard fun time was had by all!

Fleet Week saw the famous Blue Angels doing what they do best, flying low in tight formation just above our heads at a rip roaring pace. Fun but deafening!

Point spread: Grizzlies - 10 tries, 6 conversion goals

Bernstein, Harris, Gordon
Three likely lads share pints at the Worcester Warriors rugby clubhouse.
Left to right: Bruce ‘Dude’ Bernstein, Doug ‘Angus’ Harris, Preston ‘Triple Threat’ Gordon


For the Senate
Pelicus Scriptoris

Wednesday, October 08, 2008




Please respond if you can work any of these tournaments:

This Saturday, October 11:
Davis Double Decker Tournament

Both of these are one-pitch tournaments, so they need 2-3 refs each.

October 18:
Slugfest at UC Santa Cruz
Wild West Rugby Fest in Reno – twenty teams expected

These are two one-day tournaments which are always a lot of fun, and perfect for newer refs. There will be two pitches in play at UCSC and three in Reno. The Reno team will also pay for hotel rooms for refs Friday and/or Saturday night.

Let us know if you can ref, and if you’d like a room in Reno.

November 1:
Andrew Mittrey Memorial in Redding
Baracus Tens on Treasure Island

We especially need a few folks willing to make the drive up to lovely far northern California to take in the fall colors of the Mt. Shasta area.

November 15:
Women’s tournament in Humboldt
Plan now for a weekend away and take a date!


Saturday, Sept. 20:
ALL BLUES 102 – Mudhens 0 Referee: Pete Smith

Saturday, Sept. 27:
Fog Women 12 – DAVIS DOUBLE DECKERS 16 Referee: James Hinkin
The Women from Davis were able to translate a strong first half performance into a win at Job Corps field. Early game jitters let to a series of knock-ons and turnovers but DDD was able to break through in the 25th minute. The conversion was missed but Davis was able to continue putting the pressure on the Fog Women and soon had a penalty straight in front of the posts that was duly converted into 3 points. The halftime score stood at 8-0 Davis.

The second half started with the Fog dominating. They put DDD under a lot of pressure and were able to translate it into a converted try. Davis regrouped and was able to respond with a try of their own. When awarded a penalty for off side 5 meters from their line DDD elected to tap and go and they sent their center in through a large gap to score. The conversion was no good but the lead was extended to 13-7. The Fog came back strong and once again pressure turned into points as a try was scored out wide by the Fog’s rookie winger playing her first game ever. The celebration mostly consisted of “We’re so proud that you remembered to put the ball down!”. The conversion missed so the score moved to 13-12 to Davis. Both teams were getting tired at this point and some handling and mental errors crept in. Davis was able to get another penalty over to expend their lead and then survived a scare with a bit of luck. The Fog center was put through and made several defenders miss to breakthrough into the try zone but in attempting to put the ball down with one hand dropped it and was called for a knock on. Claims that she dropped it backwards went unheard. This was the difference in the game as it ended 16-12 to Davis.

Note: In spite of the controversial call to disallow the try one of the women came up to me at the social and said “I usually hate the referee after the game but I didn’t hate you too much today.” I think that means I did a good job.

Saturday, Oct. 4:

ALL BLUES 53 – Minnesota Valkyries 14 Referee: Pete Smith

Fog Women 12 - 45 ORSU Referee: Phil Akroyd
The weather was perfect for rugby - dry and sunny conditions with a cool temperature, a light breeze blowing off the ocean and a soft pitch. ORSU never looked like losing this one, although it took over 15 minutes before their dominance showed on the score board, running in a try. After their first try, they found their groove and took advantage of the Fog breaking their defensive line in the half-back and three-quarter positions on more than one occasion. ORSU ran in five tries in the first half, with the score at 0 - 31 at half-time.

It looked like more of the same after the restart with ORSU adding another try but the Fog began to play an open, fast and almost chaotic game. This was in contrast to the way that ORSU had been controlling the game with planned moves and a structured game. The Fog got back two tries in the second half, with a much more even and competitive game, resulting in a final score of Gate Fog Women 12 - 45 ORSU.

Sunday, Oct. 5

Report by John Pohlman:
Two trips to Treasure Island on the weekend must mean the beginning of rugby season. Saturday the referee society met to discuss the new laws and our annual kick-off training meeting.

Sunday saw the SF Fog women hosting perennial powerhouse Berkeley All Blues.

Teams from Oregon and Minnesota were in town to compete against the Fog and All Blues. The Fog had played a strong Oregon team on Saturday. The All Blues had played another powerhouse team from Minnesota on Saturday.

The Fog looked like they had pretty much the same team on Sunday as they had on Saturday. The All Blues with a roster of 40 including six current Eagles looked to field a competitive mix of players.

SF Fog Women 5 – BERKELEY ALL BLUES 55 Referee: John Pohlman
This was a much closer game than the score. A hard tackling game with only 9 penalties. Most of the stoppages were from ball lost forward in the tackle. This maybe a place both coaches would want to focus on controlling the confrontation with ball in hand. Other than that these are two well coached and disciplined teams.

The All Blues started fast with tries at three and thirteen minutes. The second scored by winger Petrie Quigley, who tied #8 Blair Goefsema with two tries each.

The All Blues was the superior side. Loads of depth. Making substitutions did not seem to change the pattern or level of play. The Fog continues to both play hard and tackle strong and were rewarded with a try at half time.

Half time score All Blues 31 Fog 5.

The combination of playing two very hard games in two days and the All Blues depth and numbers led to four unanswered tries by the All Blues in the second half.

Scrappy scrum half and captain Ashley Goefsema, sister of #8, was my player of the game.

It was a beautiful day on Treasure Island, with loads of activities, Dragon Boat races, art fair, parties and one thing I had never seen in my 30 plus years involved with rugby. After the game one of the Berkley star players who had just left the field changed her rugby hat to her mommy hat and nursed her young child. Ya got love and support moms who play rugby.

ORSU 46 – Minnesota Valkyries 15 Referee: Chris Labozzetta


This remains the best referee exchange going. Ask Bruce Bernstein, Bruce Carter, Preston Gordon, Scott Wood or Tom Zanarini, who returned this week from twelve days in Rugby Heaven.

Colleen Zanarini and Tina Bernstein accompanied us as we travelled from Twickenham to Bath, Windsor to Worcester, London to Peterborough.

Peterborough? Ah, you ask – the home of the Peterborough Dog Races, a Friday night entertainment to build camaraderie between hosts and visitors!

Nicola Reynolds is the exchange coordinator for the East Midlands, and she lives in Peterborough where she is engaged to be married to Paul Dickens, an old friend of NorCal refs. Nicola saw to it that all were well taken care of.

Sue and Murray Felstead hosted Bruce Carter and gave generously of their time to squire the tourists around and to keep their home open as a drop-in point for all.

Elaine and Ian Baggott hosted Scott for the second time and no disasters were reported on this occasion.

The Zanarinis stayed with the Pickle family (with a teenage son referee) in Northampton and then with Phil Woodcock in Towcester.

Duncan Clayton of Rushden hosted Preston Gordon, who scored a tour trifecta: most games, most pints, and most kebabs.

Bruce Bernstein stayed with Bob Kamper in Oundle the first few days and then moved to stay with Nando Dimatteo and his wife when Tina arrived.

The sun shone every day. The only one who was rained upon was Scott Wood, when he had a game in Bedford where a renegade found him while sparing everyone elsewhere.

Many old friends of the Pelicans appeared for such events as Pub Night, including the Wearings, the Leakes, the Abrahams, the Graces, Tony Neff, and Gary Malpas. The biggest shock was seeing Bob Tustin, his hair grown long to raise money for a charity, looking like a refugee from a Swinging Sixties movie.

The group ran into erstwhile NorCal referee James Minards, who ran touch for the A league game between Worcester and Harlequins Also joining up at that match was Angus, Doug Harris, who used to play for Fresno but is now teaching at a public (private) school in Bristol, coaching their rugby team, and doing very well.

Belinda and Peter Hansford joined us for the banquet, as did Tony Kennedy from Cambridge.


Preston Gordon refereed eight games. This is a tour record, not counting Sevens matches.

On the inaugural 1994 exchange, at the Harpenden Pub Sevens Neil Novotny was sent down to the fifth pitch to referee the first game or two, until relieved.

The fifth pitch was out of sight of the other four, and of the referees’ tent. The society’s assignor arrived only after festivities had begun and did not realize that it existed. The games followed each other so closely that he hadn’t any opportunity to make his plight known.

Being a diligent referee, he ran till he could run no more and then simply abandoned his post after nine games on the trot.

Thursday, September 18
Under 14:
BEDFORD MODERN SCHOOL 45 – Oakham 8 Referee: Bruce Bernstein

Under 14 Seconds:
BEDFORD MODERN SCHOOL 26 – Oakham 5 Referee: Preston Gordon

Saturday, Sept. 20
Towcester 10 – OLNEY 25 Referee: Bruce Bernstein

Northampton Casuals 0 – DEEPINGS 21 Referee: Scott Wood

TOWCESTER 5 – Northampton Old Scouts 0 Referee: Tom Zanarini

Leighton Buzzard 7 – OLD NORTHAMPTONIANS 25 Referee: Preston Gordon

RUGBY SCHOOL 24 – St. Edward’s 21 Referee: Bruce Carter
This game will be the focus of a write-up at a later date.

It was one of the highlights of my career to referee a game on this pitch, and I carried a photograph of Dave Jaquint in my pocket because he would have wanted to have been there.

It was one of those days when we can say that Rugby won!

Sunday, Sept. 21

Rushden U13, 3 tries – RUSHDEN U14, 4 tries Referee: Preston Gordon

Under 17 matches:
KETTERING 38 – Stewarts 0 Referee: Preston Gordon

AMPTHILL 55 – Oundle 8 Referee: Bruce Carter

LONG BUCKBY 21 – Saint Neots 7 Referee: Tom Zanarini

Wellingborough Old Grammarians 17 – Bugbrooke 17 Referee: Scott Wood

Wellingborough 5 – LUTTERWORTH 12 Referee: Bruce Bernstein

Tuesday, Sept. 23

BEDFORD SCHOOL 51 – Sandys Upper 0 Referee: Scott Wood

OUNDLE SCHOOL 34 – Oakham 27 Referee: Bruce Carter

Seconds: Oundle School 5 – OAKHAM 12 Referee: Tom Zanarini

Thirds: OUNDLE SCHOOL 10 – Oakham 5 Referee: Bruce Bernstein

Stowe School 5 – ROYAL LATIN SCHOOL BUCKINGHAM 21 Referee: Preston Gordon

Wednesday, Sept. 24

Moulton College is nominally an agricultural college just outside Northampton. In rugby reality, it is the academy for potential Saints premiership players, coached by men on the staff of the professional team.

Being together for less than a week, they proceeded to pole-axe a normal team from the East Anglia coast.

MOULTON COLLEGE 82 – Colchester College 5 Referee: Preston Gordon
Assistant Referees: Tom Zanarini, Bruce Carter

The young academicians scored early and often. Their number 10 converted all but one of their many tries, using his left or right leg according to which side of the pitch he was on.

At one point they scored three tries without their opponents touching the ball other than to restart.

Such is the level of play of those on their way to the top.

Seconds: MOULTON COLLEGE 74 – Colchester College 0 Referee: Scott Wood
Assistant Referees: Gary Malpas, Duncan Clayton

Saturday, 27 September 2008

Bicester 0 – BUCKINGHAM 53 Referee: Bruce Carter
Red-card Carter, the Fastest Card in the West made an appearance in this one.

The first few minutes featured bleeding players well away from play, alleging stomps, head-butts or punches. Try as I might, I couldn’t catch anyone in the act.

The players mistook the absence of an eye in the back of my head for a permissive attitude. But then a fight broke out as a try was being scored, twenty meters back upfield.

I noted the numbers of the two guys trading blows, followed the score in, awarded it, and without pausing ran back to the scene of the real action, arriving just ahead of the home team’s prop who ran in to deliver what they call over there a ‘king hit’.

Then of course a dog-pile ensued. We disentangled that while the unimpressed kicker took the conversion.

Next the players all stood around looking at me as if to say, ‘Are you going to ignore this, too?’

I asked for the captains, and then for #6 Red and #2 Green. Red’s captain looked pretty relieved, thinking I’d got the wrong guy.

Six and two arrived. I said, “You guys friends?” They said of course they were, shook hands, and vamoosed. Red captain turned on his heel to go - until I said, “And your #1, please.” His shoulders fell.

Number one needed no words, just a flash of the card.

And guess what? No further disciplinary problems arose in the fifty minutes remaining. The players were smarter than they were aggrieved.

GOSFORD AB 54 – Wheatley 0 Referee: Scott Wood

OXFORD 27 – Stow-on-the-Wold 16 Referee: Tom Zanarini

BEDFORD SWIFTS 23 – Northampton Men’s Own 18 Referee: Preston Gordon

Northampton BBOB 2nd – Kettering 3rd Referee: Bruce Bernstein

Sunday, Sept.28
RUSHDEN-HIGHAM 32 – Old Northamptonians 19 Referee: Preston Gordon


Bern 7 – STADE LAUSANNE 24 Referee: Preston Gordon
Switzerland National League A (Men's D1)
October 4, 2008 in Bern

After our East Midlands exchange, I traveled on to Switzerland for a little bit of work, time with friends, and one more rugby game. Since I refereed there a couple of years ago, I contacted the allocators and let them know I would be in town if they needed any help. I was pleasantly surprised when they assigned me one of the 3 NLA games that weekend. Attending the 2 Grasshopper Club Zürich Rugby training sessions earlier in the week definitely helped with maintaining fitness. The work on the scrum sled and 300 lb. tractor tires, while useful, probably didn't do much for this game though.

Before the match, I was running a few things through my mind. I had refereed both of these teams before, albeit a couple of years ago, and didn't expect anything unusual or any violence. Bern was newly promoted to the NLA this year, while Stade Lausanne has several players who only speak French. However, there were no problems with that - I remembered most of my rugby French, which was no doubt helped by watching Heineken Cup games with bilingual referees (Alain Rolland comes to mind).

On to the report: Saturday in Bern was forecasted to be very cold and very wet. As it turned out, it was about 50ºF and there were only a few raindrops before the game. We kicked off just after 1500 on the Wankdorf Allmend (the common, in English) next to the Stade de Suisse.

Bern scored a converted try at about 2' and were looking dangerous. They were definitely the more motivated side in the first half. I had to have a word with the captains at 5' after 3 quick penalties for hands in the ruck, which put a stop to that. Bern conceded 3 penalty goals after the try in the first half for a 9-7 lead to Stade Lausanne, whose backline play and lineout were better.

In the second half, Stade Lausanne had apparently received a good talking to, because they came out firing right from the restart. In short order they scored another penalty goal, and later an unconverted try to lead 17-7. At about 72', their forwards got another (converted) try off a rolling maul to seal the win at 24-7 to Stade Lausanne.

Bern's front row and scrum were dominant, although as the match progressed Stade Lausanne began to get the ball out of the scrums faster to compensate. Several wheeled scrums and crooked lineout throws led to changes in possession at the set piece throughout the match. Open play was good for the most part, and there were only a couple of isolated incidents of uncontrolled aggression. The Stade Lausanne #10 did a great job place kicking, scoring some long-range penalties and conversions from wide out.

Overall this was a good game, with nearly everybody happy after the match, and it was good to be refereeing in Switzerland again. The standard of play has increased from what I remember 2 years ago.


This tournament will be played over two days, October 10-11 (a Friday-Saturday), in Portland, Oregon.

A most gracious invitation has been received from Ron Myers that should be considered at least twice:

“I just wanted to extend the invite for any refs who are looking for a great run to come up for this event.

”I have been told there are 16 teams committed. Nike sponsorship has been secured and two great days are planned. The host club and PNRRS Oregon will provide lodging and meals and hosts for both days.”

If you are interested please let us know.


Life has expanded to fill what vacuum there was in your faithful scribe’s life, even when on exchange. The hiatus thereby imposed on the regularity of these missives is regretted but these circumstances threaten to occur more often than not in the future.

Several things appertain here: a new national referee job, requiring un-anticipated amounts of e-mail time, most of which comes with short deadlines attached; success in professional life, with a growing medical practice leaving fewer and smaller holes in the working days (already twelve hours long) in which to compose and compile these notes; a much-appreciated wife waiting at home and a grandson to raise, rendering computer time in the home office less and less desirable.

We are looking into setting up referee reporting of game results and posting of match reports directly onto Pelicanrefs.com. This would free up the red-pencil time to be used for continuing Hail, Pelicus! as a vehicle for announcements, upcoming events, and creative writing.

(During the heart of the rugby season ten to twelve hours are required a week to chase down match reports, do the necessary editing and cross-checking, etc.)

Please bear with us if we become a less-than-weekly. Be advised that subscription rates will not change.

Passing Time
There are so many great pictures from the East Mids exchange but this one has a story:

Wayne Barnes refereed the Leicester – Wasps match. When he was kind enough to spend some time with the group afterwards he shied away, at first, at the sight of Preston Gordon’s warm-ups.

Your faithful photographer asked them to pose together and said to Wayne, “Preston has been looking FORWARD to PASS some time with you.”

And you can see for yourself that he was gracious and kind.


For the Senate
Pelicus Scriptoris