Monday, August 25, 2008




Pete Smith has been named to the USA Rugby Referee National Panel. Congratulations to Pete for the results of years of hard work.

With Paul Bretz already on the Panel, there are now not only two Pelicans but also two Seahawks!

Bruce Carter has been elected Chairman of the Referee and Laws Committee of USA Rugby. This three year-office was most recently held by John McConnell of Texas. The Referee & Laws Committee, as it styles itself, has the following mission statement:

“The Referees & Laws (R&L) Committee shall exercise strong leadership within USA Rugby, committed to the recruitment, retention and development of referees, referee coaches, and other match officials for all levels of rugby being played under the auspices of USA Rugby. By providing its membership opportunities to contribute and excel, the R&L Committee shall ensure that referees or other match officials are available who meet or exceed the requirements of USA Rugby to make Rugby the best experience in American sports.”

Northern California rugby has always produced and attracted people of great accomplishments who were giving of their time, energy and expertise, leading to a continuing improvement in the playing, refereeing and administration of our game. It is a cause for regional pride when NCRFU players succeed to the Grizzlies or the Eagles and no less so when our referees and administrators are recognized for their achievements by being given challenging roles on bigger stages.


We could still use some more referees for the tournament at the end of October. Please check your availability for a Friday-Saturday tournament, October 24-25. Scriptoris will be making the flight and would like some company...

If you know of any referees from other societies who might like to go, please forward this notice to them. The Hawaii Harlequins will pay for our hotel and we won't need a car - cash in some miles or find a bargain fare! The rooms will be available free of charge for five nights.

Pete and Leah
This picture of Pete and Leah is from a few years ago, but we reckon it’s been all smiles around the Smith household lately!


For the Senate
Pelicus Scriptoris

Wednesday, August 20, 2008




PAXO OLDE BLACKS (aka Merrill's Marauders) 24
Nevada Old Boys (aka Forrester's Flock) 0
Referee: Scott Wood

Location: Quincy H.S., Quincy, CA
Weather: Relatively cool

Last week, Paul Bretz refereed one of the first matches (if not the first) played in the US under the new ELVs. This week, I had the privilege to trial the new ELVs with old boy rugby. Everyone was keen to try them out and the NOBS asked me about a play they had in mind using the ELVs. The hardest thing for me to remember was to look for the defending fly half to ensure he was five meters behind the last foot at scrum time.

This event is usually a warm one and this year started no different. By 2:30 the temperature had reached 106 F. Fortunately, the heat became buffered by an advancing front which brought cloud cover, wind and some drizzle. The temperature dropped to 87 F by the time we had our 5 p.m. kickoff.

Due to reduced attendance, we played three 20-minute chukkers to build up a thirst and appetite. Tackles were made (and missed). The ball was passed around. Scrums went uncontested due to the NOBS having a prop whose sole experience with rugby was watching the SA / NZ match earlier in the day. He has seen the light and we have a new convert to the ranks of rugby.

Post-match festivities were hosted by the lovely and understanding Clarice and Frank Merrill featuring the culinary skill of Phil Ulibarri.


Report from John Pohlman:

I thought I would pass on a few of my thoughts from the tournament this weekend.

Good rugby, good venue, good organization and great officials. OK I am biased.

USA National 7's championships.

The human nature of most looks for success and ways to reinforce these successful memories so that we can have the determination to continue to work hard and grow in positive ways.

The USA National 7's completion embodied success and determination in many ways. The players and teams had to win tournaments to qualify for the nationals. These wins push players to reach levels of success they may not of imagined.

Treasure Island and the Golden Gate Rugby Club hosted the 2008 National Sevens championship this past weekend.

This tournament was a great success. From GG's outstanding organization led by Mike Walker. From USA rugby's management led by Dan Payne. Pat McNally brought in an elite group of referees. President Pelican Bruce Carter assembled an outstanding group of match officials. This tournament reinforced Northern California as one of the premier places to play, coach and officiate rugby.

The people I talked with felt the tournament ran well, was on time and safe. Dan Payne from USA rugby thanked the officials for keeping the tournament on time and committed that there seemed to be no major injuries.

The last two games were the best of the tournament and were each won on the last play.

These types of tournaments are rewards for a hard work. The teams must win tournaments to qualify. The referees and officials need to prove themselves to be invited.

Saturday is an audition.

People ask how does the referee for the finals get selected. It's by performance on Saturday.

I asked USA 7's referee director Pat McNally how the Pelicans stacked up as officials. He stated very good. That at the end of Saturday’s competition he likes to give the consolation games to local referees if they are qualified. Last year he was not able to do this. This year the Pelicans were able to supply the qualified referees to run in the middle. This allowed the elite referees an opportunity to have a beer, soak up some sun and watch some local referees. This allowed the local referees to call a game in the Nationals. Don Pattalock, Mike Gadoua, Jim Crenshaw and Pete Smith were expected to do these games. Pete had a family vacation planned a year ago and was not able to attend on Saturday. Jim showed up with the flu, did his best for the morning but removed himself for the afternoon. So Don, Mike and I got to do the games. Yeah.

I was also able to run touch for the third place game and end goal for the final.

NOVA won third place in sudden death over time while a player from each team was in the sin bin. Tom Lyons called the game and put pressure on Tim Luscombe to supply a game as entertaining as his.

Tim was rewarded the final for his strong performance on Saturday.

The final is ten minute halves. With 30 seconds left in the game, Belmont Shore had a line out and a five point lead. BS over threw the lineout. Aspen gained possession and scored under the posts for the tie. The conversion would win it for Aspen or send it into overtime. Teddy the Aspen/Kenyan stand-off kicked the conversion backwards, while walking away from the posts.

OK let me paint the picture. Game tied. USA National Sevens Championship on the line. The kicker picks up the ball from the end goal and as he is walking away from the goal line he drops the ball and kicks it with the his foot while his back is to the posts. WOW.

I asked Teddy after the game if he knew the game was tied and the conversion would lead to the win. Teddy simply said I knew it was tied, if I missed we simply went into overtime. Aspen did score the last two tries of the game and their form was improving. That's confidence.

There you have it. End of a great rugby year.

Be proud to be a Pelican. If you were out their working the event I know you are.


An old rugby teammate of your faithful scribe from the 1970s in Georgia, Quigg Davis, sends this along:

Check this out, an IRB Olympics pitch:


From Scott Wood:

This video was linked on the East Midland’s site, Aug 08 ITM:

And some people wonder why there's only one referee in the middle...


From Russ Wilkening:

Thought you might find this interesting


Tom Lyons was one of the referees for the national sevens. He has a plea to make:

“My Tunebelt with a large pouch, went into use the second half of the day, I'd love to get it back as it is the only double radio belt I have. Not sure who all the gear ended up with?”


Last week a pelican blocked traffic on the Golden Gate Bridge.

Thanks to Rob Hendrickson for the link:


“This year a record 5,856 pelicans were counted on Southeast Farallon Island in mid-July, researchers said.”

Brought to our attention by Tom Zanarini:


The Hansfords, Peter, Belinda, Abigail and Jonathan, dropped in last week on their way home to Wales from Hawaii. They lived here twice and Peter was one of the stalwarts of our society, particularly in getting our finances on sound footing.

We were pleased to show them around their old home and took them to one of the highlights of any Bay Area tour, the San Francisco Golden Gate rugby clubhouse and Rocca Field.

Did you know there are three more pitches under construction on Treasure Island at present?

It was good to see this happy and growing family.

Nationals Crew
Surrounding the NCRRS recruitment banner at Rocca Field on the morning of the national Sevens finals are, standing left to right:

Josh Tameifuna (SoCal), Mike Gadoua, Chris Draper (Texas), John Pohlman, David Williamson, Sam Reagle, Pete Smith, Scott Wood, Kat Todd-Schwartz, Don Pattalock, Eric Rauscher, Dixon Smith, Bruce Carter, John Coppinger, Jim Russell (ERRRS), Ray Schwartz, Gareth Morgan (South), Tom Lyons (Potomac), Brad Kleiner (Met NY)

Not standing, left to right: Tim Luscombe (ERRRS), Aruna Ranaweera


For the Senate
Pelicus Scriptoris

Wednesday, August 06, 2008




Rocca Field on Treasure Island will host the USA Rugby Sevens Club Championships this weekend, with games beginning at 9 AM on Saturday and Sunday.

SF/Golden Gate, the Olympic Club and Mission will be representing the Pacific Coast among the sixteen teams.

Come on out to support champagne rugby in Northern California. A large and profitable crowd would do wonders towards assuring that more such events transpire in Pelicanland.


So far we’ve got two Pelicans who would like to undertake the long but pleasant migration to Hawaii to referee at the Hawaii Harlequins Invitational October 24-25.

This is a Friday-Saturday tournament. Rooms will be provided for Tuesday (or later) arrival and Sunday departure. You need only pay your own flights and some meals. (Lodging will probably include breakfast.)

The hotel provided will be within walking distance of the pitches, so no rental car would be necessary.

Let us know if you are available. There’s room for four!


Roberto Santiago

Exchange is always fun (as far as I know) but this exchange was extra-super-happy-fun times.

New England Ref Don Jennings picked me up at Logan airport in Boston and proceeded to cook up a delicious dinner. The rest of the night was spent eating, watching some IRB training films and breaking down the Manny trade.

Drove up to Saranac. It’s not often you can spend 5 hours in a car with someone you don’t know without some odd gaps in the conversation but Don was a great tour guide and it turns out there are many facets to be considered and discussed in this whole Manny business. Oh, and ELVs, can’t spend enough time discussing ELVs.

Driving past the Olympic training center and the “Miracle on Ice” arena was a great lead in to arriving at the Can-Am tournament venue. We pulled into the Motel parking lot and immediately saw a few familiar faces. One of the great things about this whole reffing gig is meeting up with other refs from around the country and then meeting up with them again somewhere else.

Alas, all the games for the day were done so here we are two days on exchange and no rugby yet. The best story of day came in about a ref who started and old boys match that morning by telling the captains “I’m not familiar with these new laws yet so we’re going to play by the old laws for this game.” Little did he know one of the captains is a C2 or higher and was not amused.

It’s like Christmas morning! Seriously, it was cold and foggy just like Christmas in the Bay. We also had to be up and at breakfast at 6:30 to get our assignments. But you really can’t complain in a beautiful setting like that. Among the goodies we received that morning were our tournament jerseys. There was some grumbling about the color scheme but one ref (guess who) was thrilled with the 1972 Oakland A’s Charlie Finley Kelly Green and Gold trim motif.

8:00am Game One:
First game of the day was a men’s social division game. The overall skill level of the players was pretty “eh” but it was a fairly quick match. The penalty count was low and the players had a good time. The big bonus on the game was getting videotaped and getting a really great coaching session from a guy named Gusto.

Then there was a lot of waiting and a delay for lightning.

4:00pm Game Two:
Sloppy sloppy sloppy women’s consolation bracket match. Sometimes there’s only so much you can do as a ref to keep things going. It’s too bad you can’t call “running sideways too much” or “passing to static players” and award kicks at goal or something. Both teams played hard and had some skilled players but no one really moved the ball well. In the end there was a winner and that’s what’s important.

6:00pm Game Three:
This was a fun men’s club consolation semi-final. One team was clearly better and dominated the score board but both teams showed good skill with the boot on the short pops and intermediate kicking game. This was one of those games where there were a lot of fluky plays and it was great to have Scotty Florence from Florida as an assistant ref. He was on the spot and really showed how well a referee team can work together when the assistant refs are confident enough to make calls and discreet enough to make sure the game ref doesn’t look like a dope. The winning team in this match went on to win the consolation final.

Saturday Night:
Turns out having a motel full of refs and only refs is a hilarious thing. The New England refs hosted a mean BBQ, threw down a Kangaroo Court, and generally kept us all in stitches until people threatened to call us in on a noise complaint.

Had the distinct pleasure of reffing the over 50 men’s consolation final. As you can guess these geezers sounded like a flock of geese. One of these old guys ended up as my only card of the weekend, a yellow for a late tackle immediately after twice being penalized for being offside. What’s that you say? Try managing the game by talking him out of the penalty? I had already told him twice, “19 Blue you’re offside. 19 Blue you are still offside. 19 Blue don’t play the ball carrier” etc. Each time he looked at me as if he wanted to kill me. Among the gems to come from this band of merry miscreants were things like:

While being managed for being not ten at a penalty “Sir, he ran five meters!” and, “But Sir he kicked it into me.” While being penalized for putting the loose head in a head lock in a scrum, “Sir, he engaged that way.”

As one player said, “I don’t know how they have the energy to keep talking this much.” Me either. But once again everyone seemed to have a good time when all was said and done.

We stayed to watch the women’s premier final which was won by NY over Beantown 5-3 in a game that was far more entertaining than the score indicates.

Overall it was a great experience to be around so many experienced refs. Especially with the ELVs in effect this weekend it was nice to be able to have so many people to bounce things off of. Many thanks to Judah Boulet of New England for setting things up for me, and many thanks to the Pelicans for sending me. The Can-Am was a great experience and I am a better ref now for having been there.

Pelican on a Beach
Barney Miller is an Australian artist who has fallen in love with a place called Pelican Beach. You can see here the series of paintings it has inspired:

And here is one of them that bespeaks where we’d love to find ourselves today.


For the Senate
Pelicus Scriptoris