Tuesday, December 22, 2009




Twenty-eight folks have sent in their availability. That leaves about 45 who haven’t.

For perspective: on January 30 we’ll have 29 club and college games, plus scores of high school games at the Kick-Off Tournament in Sacramento. Of the 28 referees who have responded with their availability, only 14 of them can ref that day.

So: we have about a third as many referees as we’ll need on January 30.

This is the time of year when the high schools start to worry about their coverage. They write: why can’t the NCRRS provide them refs?

Exhibit A is detailed above. We’ll have thirty-plus club and college games on the Saturdays in February and March. If the past continues to serve as a guide, not on any one of those Saturdays will we have thirty referees available. We’ll have sixty-plus folks ref at least one game this year, but the prevalence of refereeing on a particular Saturday is less than half of the incidence of refereeing over a season.

PLEASE send in your availability. I can’t assume you are ready to go, no matter how intrepid you’ve proven in the past.

As soon as we have enough names to match to games the process will start. Late-comers will get leftovers.

There are tournaments January 16-17 (Stanford Invitational) and January 30-31 (Sacramento Valley High School Kick-Off Tournament) that will need Sunday coverage as well.

Please format your response as follows (cut and paste as needed):

Available? Y/N Able to travel? Y/N

Jan. 16 ____ _____
Jan. 17 ____ _____
Jan. 23 ____ _____
Jan. 30 ____ _____
Jan. 31 ____ _____

‘Travel’ means more than ninety miles or so each way. With lots of teams in outlying areas, we need everyone to travel several weekends a year.

This is where you may request specific games. Pick a weekend that you’d like to spend on the far north coast, or near Mt. Shasta, or in Fresno or Arroyo Grande. Or Reno for that matter, skiing. Let us know which weekend and where.

January 16: game in Humboldt, two each in Reno and Chico
January 23: games in Humboldt, Mendocino, Fresno, two in Chico, three in Reno
January 30: games in Humboldt, Redding, Mendocino, Modesto, Fresno


Fifty-two have signed up with CIPP for the coming campaigns, and it’s fallen off considerably with only one registrant so far in December.

Go to www.USARugby.org

Click on Registration ’09-’10 just below Welcome in the column on the left.

Take the first option: Create/Renew Individual Membership. Go from there.

Your ‘club’ is the Northern California Rugby Referee Society.

REMEMBER to print out the liability waiver. This needs to be signed and submitted in hard copy to our treasurer, Jim Crenshaw, with your $10 annual NCRRS dues.


Much of the USA was digging out from under. Not us. High sixties along the coast.

Salinas Touch

By Bruce Carter

Many of our readers will know a rugger who hung in there until he could play alongside his son. Well, the Salinas (HS) Mongols were running Saturday morning and your correspondent, an assistant coach, played touch for an hour and a half with his grandson in the game.

I may not be able to run with these teens, but they’re initiates to the Game. They’ve never been sold a dummy, or seen a touch-pass, or seen someone take a half-gap and then pass to an on-rushing teammate an inch behind the defender’s back, so that I might as well have been a Harlem Globetrotter running through the Generals.

My goal is to teach them these things. When I’m the worst player on the pitch, my work will have been done.

Berkeley RFC 7 – SF/GOLDEN GATE 49 Referee: Rich Anderson
ARs: John Coppinger, Bruce Bernstein
I think everyone involved on Saturday was happy to get a chance to stretch their leg muscles.

With Treasure Island still feeling the effects of the rain, Berkeley was able to retain the Gilman St turf tracks as they hosted SF-GG. Golden Gate brought a team mixed with first and second side players, yet Berkeley was able to keep the match tight for the first 20 minutes. SF-GG backs continued applying pressure and secured a 22-0 lead at the midway mark.

A late try brought tired smiles to the home 15 as the final score became SF-GG 49-Berkeley 7.

Personal thanks to Dixon Smith for coming out, Bruce Bernstein for AR-ing and John Coppinger, who mistakenly thought there was a December Beer-fest (who would have told him that?) but stayed any way to AR.

Happy Holidays to all.

Seconds: Berkeley RFC 0 – SFGG 27 Referee: Bruce Bernstein
ARs: Rich Anderson, John Coppinger
Referee Coach: Dixon Smith

I was impressed with Berkeley's new artificial turf field, proximity to the horses at GG Fields, the Bay, Hwy. 80 & Pyramid Brewery. Plus both their sides put up a hell of fight against bigger, stronger, more powerful SFGG teams with a combo of Islander savvy & homegrown youth.

Similar results happened in both matches, but Berkeley never backed down from a tackle, ruck, or maul & never gave up any push-over type scores. For one of the first matches of the year, everyone should be impressed with all 4 sides' potential.

Thanks to Cop & Rich for their touch/assistant refereeing & Dixon for his 1/2 time & post-game comments.

FRESNO 15 – Kern County 12 Referee: Preston Gordon

A good game between 2 very evenly-matched sides. Kern County plays in SoCal, so I don't think these teams play each other much during the regular season. They brought about 18 guys up from Bakersfield and we settled on two 30' halves for the A game and two 20' halves for the B game.

In the A game Kern County got an early try, which Fresno equaled before too long. Fresno also put over a penalty kick, and that was it for the first half (8-5 to Fresno). In the second half each side got another converted try, leaving the final score at 15-12 in favor of the home side.

Seconds: Fresno 12 – Kern County 12 Ref: Gordon

In the B game, Kern County again scored first. They converted that one and that was it for the first half. Fresno got 2 of their own in the second half, converting 1, while Kern County got one more unconverted try. The final score in this one was 12-12.

There were some pretty good passages of play throughout both games, despite the relatively low score. As I mentioned, these 2 teams were evenly matched, and aside from one dangerous tackle worth a yellow card in the B game, very clean.

EAST PALO ALTO 63 – Seahawks 10 Referee: Pete Smith

Mine was pretty much a scrimmage with EPA dominating. They ‘won’ 63-10 over the Seahawks playing 4-20 minute periods. EPA looks VERY strong this year. They called me for ref on Wednesday, I told them that wasn’t possible because they only had 3 people CIPP’d and one is Frank Merrill. By Friday they had over 30 CIPP’d. No excuse not to be CIPP’d for the season. USA Rugby worked with EPA to get it done in 24 hours.

Vallejo 7 – SANTA ROSA 52 Referee: Ryan Luis
AR: Mike King
Referee Coach: Bob Destafney

Santa Rosa came to Mare Island to play Vallejo. The game was slated for a 1pm kick-off, which was promptly moved to 1:15pm as the home side slowly assembled. The home side had no formal warm-up as a team, and in fact hadn't even brought a ball. This should be a tell-tale sign to how the game went. Santa Rosa dominated the match with their fitness and organization. The game was played in 4 20 minute periods with a final score of 52 to 7 in favor of Santa Rosa. Thanks to Mike King for running touch for me.


PALM BEACH 52 – Daytona B's 0 Referee: Sam Reagle
Conditions: Perfect

The heat wave earlier this week subsided. We missed the all-time record of 87 by 2 degrees. 85 may sound lovely in California, but at 90 percent humidity, you can't even go for a walk without wringing out your clothes afterward. This is my humble attempt to bring cheer to those in colder climates. Actual gametime temperature was in the low 70's. The pitch was dry and fast.

I got an email a couple of days ago asking if I would be interested in a game in Daytona Beach. Needless to say, I jumped on it.

Saturday morning, I was told that the union needed another D3 team so Daytona offered to play their B-side as a D3 team. The problem with that plan occurs when you don't have the numbers as was the case today. The Daytona A-side just finished playing against Jacksonville and the B-side needed about 5 players. They recruited what they could and off we went.

The Panthers appeared to want the game more than Daytona. Physically, they seemed pretty evenly matched, but Palm Beach supported noticeably better at the breakdowns creating overlaps and long runs. The Panthers scored first just 2 minutes into the game. Then, 5 or 6 penalties later spread among the two sides, Palm Beach scored again with a penalty kick at the 17 minute mark. My talk with the captains must have worked because the teams really cleaned it up. The Panthers scored their second try a couple of minutes later, their third at the 35 minute mark and their fourth to complete the first half. Halftime score: 31-0

Palm Beach scored a try off the kickoff and another about 5 minutes later. They touched down their final try about 20 minutes after that. This completed the scoring as both sides seemed to tire. Palm Beach has a young South American named Fernando who showed real potential. He runs well and he made every kick (8) that he attempted. He also spent the last 10 minutes in the sinbin.


Your writer earned his nickname with a series of refereeing articles composed for the Pelican’s Beak in the previous millennium.

Assuming the audience has mostly changed, we intend to reprise some of them from time to time.

From The Pelican's Beak
Volume I, Issue 4
February 15, 1994


Fans in Uniform?

A story in the newspaper about one a veteran professional athlete described the respect he had earned and noted that opposing players often tell him they like his style of play. The writer went on to note that “Even one of the referees complimented him.”

This writer’s incredulity reflects a belief common among players and fans in general: that sports officials, like grade-school teachers as perceived by their pupils, are out to spoil all the fun.

I have never heard a casual sports conversation mention officials except to degrade them. The ‘constructive’ criticism offered on sports radio shows usually extends to requiring further schooling for refs or making their positions less secure as a means of improving performance.

On TV a few years ago, I saw an NFL quarterback fumble while setting up to pass. Most of the players, including the quarterback, thought it was an incomplete pass and stopped playing. The referee (the only guy to wear a white hat in the NFL) did not blow his whistle and moved into a better position to see the ball.

One defensive player tentatively approached the ball, then looked up at the ref. The referee extended his arm to point toward the goal line. On the replays, I could not tell whether he was also speaking, but he had to be saying the gridiron equivalent of “Play On!”

The defensive player picked the ball up and ran in for a touchdown.

The network replayed this several times. The defender was interviewed after the game. All the sports columnists and talk show hosts had their extended say about the game and this particular touchdown. I didn’t hear or read any mention of the guy in the zebra shirt who really allowed the play to happen.

NFL referee Jerry Markbreit wrote an autobiography that rugby referees would enjoy reading, Born to Referee. He discusses the on-field relationships he has developed with the players, the conversations that go on, the pride he has knowing these guys and watching them work.

An elderly man of my acquaintance reminisces about his days as a baseball umpire. He got as far as single A (the lowest professional level) baseball. His fondest memory is the no-hitter that he saw, “from behind the plate.” The names of all the players he umpped who made it to the big leagues are still fresh in his mind.

Despite these feelings among the officials, most players and spectators view referees, umpires, linesmen and their ilk as hindrances to the game, indifferent bureaucrats at best and obstreperous tyrants at worst.

Our Singular Game

Rugby has several aspects that allow the referee to transcend this perception of “us versus them”. The good referee exploits these to raise the game to a higher level and to make it more enjoyable for all who are involved.

First and least, most referees played the game. Any respect someone earned as a player will carry into his refereeing career. Ruggers are normally aware that the refs used to play. They are more likely to know the level the ref achieved as a player than to know anything about referee grades. Unless the referee was an acrimonious, underhanded player, status as a former rugger is enough for membership to the fraternity of the pitch.

The fact that rugby referees work alone (team of three notwithstanding) also helps. Team sports nurture an us versus them mentality. If there are multiple officials, they fit nicely in the ‘them’ mold, especially when they have to confer to make a call. The rugby ref gets a certain respect for going it alone.

Many players learn their rugby law from referees. Beginners frequently have coaches who either do not know or do not see the importance of explaining the laws. The patient, concise, knowledgeable referee can greatly influence inexperienced players who will then view referees as on-field resources, both to improve their own game and to correct the transgressions of their opponents.

The advantage law makes rugby unique among team sports because of the pervasive discretion is gives to the official. It also offers the referee a chance to be as creative as the players in the attempt to produce exciting, winning rugby. Letting the teams know that the advantage is being played endears the referee to one team without alienating him from the other. They know their turn will come. Good referees announce aloud that an advantage is being played on has been gained because few players look for or notice hand signals.

Most useful for establishing rapport with the players is the referee’s attitude. Remember the grade school teacher analogy: a martinet will be hated. Enthusiasm is contagious. There is no reason for a referee not to say, "Great try!" when a great try is scored. A kicker who has just barely missed a tough one appreciates commiseration. A referee cannot be negative and at the same time be enjoying the best seat in the house. Malcontents who see a happy confident referee will realize that they are the ones who are missing a great game.

Along with a productive attitude, selective hearing helps. A referee must have difficulty hearing negative comments while being keenly aware of positive ones. When a player compliments something the referee has done, a glance, a nod or a wink suffices to acknowledge it.

Favoring Both Teams

Rugby offers its referees opportunities not given to many sports’ officials. A referee who knows this will excel. Being defensive would incite and us versus them reaction from the players. Creating positive things with the advantage law will encourage everyone. Coaching inexperienced players can only help the referee’s lot, especially in explaining what wasn’t called so that they don’t think they got away with something.

After a well-called game, the referee is welcomed in both camps, offered even the last cold drink in the cooler and made privy to the game post-mortems. The highest reward for the referee is to be perceived as showing favoritism toward both teams.

By being ambassadors for the game, representatives to the media and always willing to chat with the fans, rugby referees can insure that no one will be surprised when a referee compliments a player. It’s part of his job.

After all, he loves this game.

Christmas Visitor
Hope this guy found your place on his route the other night!


For the Senate
Pelicus Scriptoris

Thursday, December 17, 2009




January 9 will find the men’s D1 and D3 clubs and colleges playing league games. By the end of the month we’re up to forty games a Saturday not counting tournaments.

There are tournaments January 16-17 (Stanford Invitational) and January 30-31 (Sacramento Valley High School Kick-Off Tournament).

If you do not let me know that you are available you will not get assignments. We make no assumptions. The schedule is a complex and time-consuming endeavor – one false assumption and it falls apart.

Of course, it cannot be assembled to be able to fall apart unless I hear from all fifty or sixty folks who MIGHT ref a game now and then. A wonderful Christmas present would be – enough refs to cover all of Northern California’s rugby games.

Imagine the editing process required to compile the results. Please respond as follows (cut and paste as needed):

Available? Y/N Able to travel? Y/N
Jan. 9 ____ _____

Jan. 16 ____ _____
Jan. 17 ____ _____

Jan. 23 ____ _____

Jan. 30 ____ _____
Jan. 31 ____ _____

‘Travel’ means more than ninety miles or so each way. With lots of teams in outlying areas, we need everyone to travel several weekends a year.

This is where you may request specific games. Pick a weekend that you’d like to spend on the far north coast, or near Mt. Shasta, or in Fresno or Arroyo Grande. Or Reno for that matter, skiing. Let us know which weekend and where.

January 9: games in Humboldt and Mendocino, two games in Reno
January 16: game in Humboldt, two each in Reno and Chico
January 23: games in Humboldt, Mendocino, Fresno, two in Chico, three in Reno
January 30: games in Humboldt, Redding, Mendocino, Modesto, Fresno


Just over thirty attended our January meeting, including a baby in the arms of Roberto Santiago, who presented a talk on the maul.

A new face was abroad: Stephen Moore, who has now refereed three games. Would that we had more!

Mark your calendars now: the second Wednesday of each of the next four months, from 7-9 PM on Treasure Island.


Aptos 12 – Stanislaus 12 Referee: Bruce Carter
Touch Judge: Ben Bravo, Phil from Aptos
A red-letter page in my rugby diary: a home game!

Salinas has a new high school team, the Mongols. Aptos and Stanislaus agreed to play at Salinas High School as a fund-raiser, so the TJ and I had only to drive a mere 6.4 miles to the pitch.

Going back over my records… the last time I lived closer to a game was in 1990, when Monterey still had a team and I lived there. Other than that, it’s always a 45-mile ante to play for the Pelicanmobile with the average pot well above 100 miles.

Leaving Las Palmas, our residential community, we travel along River Road with strawberry fields between road and river, cattle grazing opposite and happy to see the rains arrived.

Turning onto Highway 68 heading east, Tour Rules kick in as we cross a body of water, the Salinas River. This takes us past lettuce, celery and spinach and, this late in the calendar, four Christmas tree lots in the space of two miles.

Highway 68 becomes South Main Street, from the end of which, staring down the barrel of the boulevard, is the visage of Favorite Son John Steinbeck within the atrium of his eponymous Center.

Salinas High School was recently restored to its original California Mission style of architecture, the adobe gleaming white even in the rains, the tiles and towers adding period touches, the landmark building of the entire city.

It was raining! One of the things I loved as a young rugby player was people’s surprise when they found out the game proceeded despite the elements. Mudby: That’s what we called it in Georgia sometimes, when a set of jerseys weighed a hundred pounds after a match and the red clay stained the tub you washed in.

The Mongols were set up under a tent holding a bake sale, with hot dogs and coffee also on the menu. Aptos had twenty-plus players, Stanislaus seventeen. The pitch was firm around the outside and messy in the middle, like a jelly doughnut.

The wind came whipping down the pitch, disorienting for Californians because it whistled south to north. It drove needles of rain and kept all of the play at one end of the pitch the entire game. (I believe the ball only crossed the southern 22-meter line once in the entire match.)

My approach to the game was, okay, the fans here who are new to the game don’t need to see a lot of stoppages. But the greased-pigskin of a rugby ball, and the blue hands of the players, conspired against me.

Before the game I was informed that one of the props was brand-new. He’s now as experienced as a second-year player: this was an eighty-minute scrum session interrupted by a few tries.

There were so many scrums that the front rows, who started out with their game faces on, by the end of the game were joking together and carrying on cross-scrum conversations as we engaged.

By judiciously moving each scrum over a few meters from where one had been previously, we managed to aerate the entire central portion of the pitch at no cost to the host institution.

I also practiced my new secondary signal, the one the ref in the World Cup final uses every time he calls a penalty in Invictus, but nobody noticed. Maybe they didn’t see the film on opening night. Certainly our readers have seen it by now – it’s sort of an eeny-meeny-mighty-mo motion, like counting pills in a box, or using your finger to separate small seeds from slightly smaller seeds on a table. It means “I’m reffing the 1995 World Cup Final and I can use any secondary signal I feel like using.”

I also noticed that referee calling ‘Engage’, which wasn’t part of the game until summer of 1998. No wonder he was doing the Final: he was three years ahead of world refereeing.

I also noticed that the ref who did South Africa’s pool matches against Australia and Western Samoa also did their semi-final against France. But then the poor guy got stuck on the touchline to try and break up fights in the final. I didn’t notice what he did wrong not to be able to referee every game they played, poor schmuck.

But tell you what, I wouldn’t mind reffing all of the games between Aptos and Stanislaus. This game was played in good, thoroughly wet spirits, with big hits for some and helping hands for all, and mud enough to lubricate all the trucks hauling produce out of the Salinas Valley. Several passes went to opponents, the two teams in the second half being formerly-green and formerly-gray.

The Aptos #4 scored on a lovely charge-down, falling on the ball in-goal. Later in the half Aptos’ #8, Skip Hanson, was obstructed following up a grubber kick but managed to get a finger to the ball as it squirted through the soccer-goal net.

During the second forty-minute scrum session, Stanislaus’ Justin Keller scored a try after his forwards beat their heads against the goal line for a few minutes, making it 12-5.

Then they almost had a chance to tie the game on one of the few fluid movements of the match, the ball passing through several pairs of hands from right to left and then passing through the center’s hands as he dove across the tryline, from about six inches off the ground.

He grounded the ball with his hand in the in-goal but knew it had gotten there of its own accord.

So it came to this: scrum down, the umpteenth scrum. Aptos put-in, about thirty meters from their own line. No longer raining but the mud had been rising like yeast since it stopped. “How much time left, Sir?”

“Less than one minute.”

Do you know what ‘less than one minute means’? It doesn’t mean ‘one minute’ and it doesn’t mean ‘almost one minute’. It means: ‘kill the ball and you win’.

Aptos Coach Vaughn Stumpf knows that. And he tried to tell his players after they won the scrum and attacked up the sideline right in front of him, heading towards the south end of the pitch were there were hardly any footprints.

Knock it on, throw it forward, boot it to touch, step into touch – and win the game.

But attack into a crowd, pass it behind the wing, have him miscue a pirouette fly-hack – and an alert Harlot Garret Seymore picks it up, tip-toes down the touch-line, rounds the cover defenders, centers the ball and Captain #10 John Gornik drops the conversion and kiss your sister.

Fresno – Fresno State Referee: Hennie Strydom
No report received.

FOG – Redding Referee: Ryan Luis
Score was a lot to a little for the Fog. I wasn't able to keep a completely accurate score because of the rain. Fog dominated the game through better organization and pouncing on Redding’s mistakes.

I was actually impressed with the handling given the heavy rain. In the end there seemed to be an average amount of scrums. Redding did finish on a high note with a game finishing Try to avoid the shutout.

Fog B 7 – SILVERHAWKS 29 Referee: Sam Davis
Great game it stopped raining just as we took the field and it started raining when we left;-)

The Silverhawks with their old age and treachery were the victors in a fun match. We played 2-20s and a 40. They were all bemoaning about the time the first half.

The second half they just played like Ruggers. The Hawks scored first on some fine back line movements two min later they did it again. This time they placed it in the center and our own James Hinkin kicked the extra point. The Hawks scored a few more times with a lot of back and forth play. To my surprise I did not have any extra refs on the field helping me call the game. I did have a number of comments but all in good fun in the second half, when the FOG scored. The final score was Hawks 29- Fog 7. Great day of rugby!

Seahawks 5 – SB BARBARIANS 34 Referee: George O'Neil
We played four 20's and there were a lot of substitutions in this preseason friendly match. The Barbarians seemed to piece together more consistent play with great counter-attack and capitalized on the Seahawks’ mistakes. The Seahawks had great leadership and were quality for most of the play but made some subs in the second half that led to inconsistencies in play. Both should do well in the upcoming season.

SANTA ROSA JC 20 – Diablo Gaels U23, 7 Referee: Cary Bertolone
For Pete's Sake field in Santa Rosa
The teams warmed up in the "POURING" rain, so by kickoff at 1:00, no one noticed the light rain as it was so much of an improvement over warm-ups!

Diablo Coach Barry Thompson and I go way back; I was playing for the Griffins in 1984 and billeted Barry's team (from New Zealand) for a week in San Diego, before they beat the pants off of us. While at my apartment, Barry fell in love with my neighbor, returned to the U.S., married her and had two boys, one of whom was playing on Saturday.

[Editor’s Note: this one may win the ‘going way back’ award.]

Santa Rosa scored tries on the 4th minute and the 23rd for a 10-0 halftime lead. It was 20-0 before the Gaels finished the game with a converted try for a final of 20-7.

It was sloppy and muddy and fun. Mike King was there, in the rain, helping me with feedback! Thanks Mike!!

St. Mary’s C 0 – SIERRA COLLEGE 37 Referee: Stephen Moore
Referee Coach: Bryant Byrnes

80 minute game played on a very good ground but in miserable weather conditions, raining consistently in second half. A score line that reflected the strengths of the two sides. St. Mary’s defended well at times with some promising attacks, but were no match against the very powerful and better trained Sierra College scoring 7 tries and one conversion. Plenty of foul play, three yellow cards in the first half to Sierra and one red card to St. Mary’s in second half. Most of Sierra’s tries scored in the second half as a result of St. Mary’s tiring and short one man as a result of a red card.

ST. MARY’S 26 – Diablo Gaels 22 Referee: Pete Smith
ARs: Preston Gordon, Tom Wright
It was a full downpour for the entire pre-game and first 20 minutes of the game. Despite the conditions, the teams played very hard, with flare and almost a disregard for the conditions.

SMC scored two early tries to go up 14-0.

Diablo were undisciplined, conceded too many penalties and SMC took advantage of the situation. I had a brief chat with the Diablo captain after the second try and informed him that the penalty count is way out of whack and his team needs to listen to my instructions.

They took my advice, settled down and scored the next two tries to pull to 14-12. SMC scored next making it 21-12, only to have Diablo answer back before halftime for a 21-17 score. The next 20 minutes were a back and forth affair with no points being scored. Finally Diablo broke through with about 15 minutes remaining to go up 22-21. SMC opened it up and played almost recklessly only to have their efforts rewarded with a try that put them back on top at 26-22. Diablo tried to counter back; they needed a try as 3 points were not enough, only to come up two meters short as they were pushed into touch at full time.

St. Mary's B 17 – VACAVILLE 25 Referee: Preston Gordon
As I arrived at St. Mary's for the first game I figured the weather forecasters were completely wrong - the sun was out. They were proven right not much later, as the rain started during the first game and continued into the second. I was running touch for those two, but the good news is that our new track suits perform pretty well in terms of water resistance.

The rain had tapered off towards the end of the second game, but when mine started at 1500, it came back with a vengeance. There was even a little bit of thunder in the area. The pitch was in remarkably good shape after 2 full games, although the amount of knock-ons increased markedly as the players got tired in the second half.

Vacaville was able to match St. Mary's in the backline for nearly all of the match, and I'd say they definitely had the edge in the forwards. They had 3 tries by halftime (15-0), and although St. Mary's mounted a good comeback in the second half - starting by running the kickoff back for a try - Vacaville got a last-minute try to seal their win.

And, of course, after 80 minutes of rugby in the driving rain, it stopped pissing down shortly after the final whistle. It was a good, fast game nonetheless, and thanks to both coaches for running the line for me.

Marin 0 – BARACUS 39 Referee: Dave Ellis
Referee Coach: Dixon Smith
Baracus proved that it is possible to show flashes of open, running rugby in the mud and rain in Saturday's game at Marin City.

The well-disciplined Baracus forwards used their power to keep their Marin counterparts on the back foot and provide a hard running back line with quality ball, which was taken full advantage of with some quality, flowing movements.

Marin defended with intensity throughout, but penalties resulting from their lack of discipline in and around the rucks helped Baracus maintain their forward momentum and score a total of 6 tries.

California Maritime Academy 11 – ALUMNI 29 Referee: Joe Leisek
Bodnar Field, California Maritime Academy, Vallejo
In the cold and the rain, one of Northern California's best rugby settings drew a good-size crowd for the school's annual alumni game. Rugby is a varsity sport at CMA, and refereeinig there is always a highlight of a referee's season.

Coach Edward Roberts has a squad of 40 this year, according to one player I spoke with before the game. Having reached the round of eight in last year's national collegiate championships, the team has a foundation of success on which to build. On this day, the guests showed that not all alumni teams have spent too much time away from the game. These guys were good.

There were contests for the ball throughout the late afternoon, and neither team established consistent control at the breakdown, but the alumni made a lot more of their opportunities to score five tries. Both teams ran the ball whenever possible, but there were many handling errors in the slick, cold conditions.

A great rapport among everyone on the field and a pleasure to referee. That evening, the alumni were to take the current varsity players to dinner.

This was my first game since May, and what an inspiring rugby weekend it was: a game at Cal Maritime on Saturday and Invictus with four South Africans on Sunday evening. Funny story: During the scene where the actor playing Joel Stransky kicks the game-winning drop-goal against the All Blacks, my friend Frans silently pumped his fist as if he were back home in Pretoria watching the game on television in 1995.


Your editor remembers watching this game on a giant-screen TV at the home of our late friend, Dave Jaquint, and his wife Connie.

The game was played about 6 AM local time in late June of 1995. Some of the flock arose as early as 3 AM to get to his house in time. Dave paid whatever fee was necessary to get the rights to show the game privately.

John Curry and Josh Tameifuna from SoCal were staying with Dave, and were joined by a number of us including Mike Gadoua. (Forgive me forgetting others – no pictures were taken!)

We all knew the referee for the Final, Ed Morrison: Ed had spent three weeks in the old Pacific Coast territory refereeing when it included Southern California, in 1990. He worked the Pacific Coast college and club playoffs as well as the Pebble Beach Tournament. He was the first referee we had ever heard who talked to the players, things every referee in the world does now. It was revolutionary. He changed refereeing in a profoundly fundamental way, and we were not surprised to see that he’d gone onto the RFU Panel and then to the biggest game in the world all within five years of leaving our shores.

Memories do include an endless breakfast, course after course arriving courtesy of Connie throughout the match, and she was more than prepared to continue feeding us as it went into overtime.

And one more: the enormous television literally filled one entire wall of the room, floor to ceiling. Dave said he was given it in gratitude by a client whom he had gotten freed from a serious charge.

Asked the charge, he said without a trace of irony or a hint of a smile, “Robbing a Good Guys.”


As the credit roll in Invictus there plays a stirring version of “World in Union” sung in an African language.

This has been the theme song of the Rugby World Cups since the second one.

A reader commented that this tune seems to play on a continuous loop at the cafĂ© next to the Soarin’ Over California ride at Disneyland’s California Adventure in Anaheim. Your correspondent has heard it there himself and can vouch for it. Very moving accompaniment to your Pilot Burger and fries, with a Mickey shake and a water back.

But there’s not a rugby connection: the music is by Gustav Holst, the melody from the Jupiter (fourth) movement of The Planets.

You could do worse with your leisure listening, and you’d find yourself thinking about the Oval Planet!


San Bruno Saints – East Palo Alto 3rd CANCELED – LACK OF CIPP
SFGG – Sacramento Capitals RAINOUT
Seconds: SFGG – Sacramento Capitals RAINOUT


ORLANDO 13 – Gainesville 3 Referee: Sam Reagle
Conditions: Perfect
There were overcast skies here in Clermont on the outskirts of Orlando when I looked outside this morning. I hadn't checked the weather channel and it was cold and rainy on Thursday so I really didn't know what to expect. When I opened the door of The Odyssey midmorning, I was somewhat surprised at how really nice it was out. Perfect rugby weather.

This was a D2 game between two proud clubs. I found the pitch just over an hour before kickoff and was the last to arrive. Both teams were there in force and already warming up. We ended up kicking off about 10 minutes early which was fine with me since the visiting Hogs brought enough players for a B-game which isn't the norm around here.

The Hogs scored first just 3 minutes into the game when Orlando cheated, I mean committed an infraction around 22 meters out. With the wind at his back, the kick had plenty of distance. I wish I was as eloquent as our editor, but I labor to find the right words to say that there was very little offense by either team for the remainder of the half. Orlando had one attack that made it to the goal line, but it was held up there by the defenders who poached the scrum and cleared the ball. Halftime score: 3-Nil Gainesville.

The second half really wasn't much different than the first except that Orlando had 2 attacks compared to only one in the first half and they capitalized both times. One try was 12 minutes in and the other 29 minutes in. Since they missed both conversion kicks, it was still anybody's game. Score: 10-3 Orlando. Orlando made a penalty kick with 5 minutes to go to seal their victory.

Sidebar: At one of the lineouts, a defender grabbed the ball being held by the opposing hooker. When the hooker stated that it was his lineout, the defender looked at me and said that he didn't want them to throw it in quick. Somewhat surprised, I awarded a free kick for delay of game. I had thought he was just confused and would have cut him some slack.


Rugby is a game that doesn’t generally stop for injuries. The referee should stop the game only if necessary, which means one of three things apply:

• It is not safe for play to continue – the injured player is in the way
• It is not possible for play to continue – the injured player is required for the restart phase
• There is no-one seeing to the injured player and the referee needs to take care of it personally

Here’s an example involving a friend of ours where the injured party IS in the way but play is able to continue safely:

Joe Leisek used to write away for rugby programs from famous matches when he was a teenager, and big-hearted PR folks in foreign lands complied.

Here he is presenting a program to Scott Wood from the first USA Eagles match against England at Twickenham in 1977. This match was featured in Sports Illustrated and is pictured on the wall of the Golden Gate clubhouse because San Francisco hooker Jay Hanson was involved.

The program will be placed in the Referee Changing Room.


For the Senate
Pelicus Scriptoris

Tuesday, December 08, 2009




The NCRRS will meet Wednesday, December 9, from 7-9 PM at the SF/Golden Gate clubhouse on Treasure Island (southeast corner of the island). All referees are encouraged to attend and all others will be welcomed as well.

REO David Williamson has another comprehensive training program arranged for the 2010 season. Having covered the tackle at our meeting in October, his week we’ll focus on the ruck and maul. George O’Neil will also speak on his experience refereeing in New Zealand earlier this year.

Food will be provided beginning at 6 for early arrivals while the Referee Development Committee is meeting. Plan to arrive at 6 – if everything works you’ll have dinner and conversation. If traffic is bad, you won’t miss the meeting and the food will still be there, the traffic having affected everyone else, too.


Isaac Caselis of Hayward, who has reffed and ARed a little for the Pelicans, is helping to coach the Warthogs in Oakland. They could use some practice jerseys.

You might recall reading about the Warthogs in the Chronicle’s Sporting Green: Scott Osler wrote about them earlier this year: http://www.sfgate.com/cgi-bin/article.cgi?f=/c/a/2009/01/22/SPNV15EG24.DTL

If you have any rugby jerseys that you could spare, why not bring them to our meeting this Wednesday? Maybe you’ve – er – outgrown them. Perhaps you’ve forgotten the significance of one of those in the far reaches of the closet. Or it may be that the colors simply no longer suit.

Your jersey will be recycled in the best possible way for a rugby jersey: it will be worn to practice, muddied and bloodied, and another lucky athlete will fall in love with our sport thereby.


At UC Santa Barbara on Friday afternoon, January 1:
Chris Tucker: USA high school All Stars – Canada U17
Pete Smith: USA U20's – NZ Universities

At the IRB Sevens in Las Vegas, February 13 and 14th:
Aruna Ranaweera: Assistant Referee
Kat Todd-Schwartz: Referee Performance Reviewer

Congratulations to these four hard workers on their just rewards!


Fresno over 35 – Under 35 Scheduled Referee: John Pohlman

Fresno’s board realized that the old boys weren’t CIPPed and most of them were not going to get CIPPed, so they called the game off mid-week.

John Pohlman was prepared to drive 170 miles each way but instead didn’t get a game.

SF Fog – Univ. of Nevada, Reno Scheduled Referee: Dave Ellis

Non event! My early Saturday morning due-diligence on the USA Rugby website determined that UNR had only one CIPPed player on their roster. A phone call to their coach confirmed that to be the case. Unfortunately, they were already on their way to Treasure Island. Wasted trip, as Dave Williamson, the Fog President and I all concurred that the game be cancelled. Bummer!

Dave, who was scheduled to be evaluated, saved a round trip of 460 miles. But he and Roberto Santiago, who was slated for the seconds, didn’t get matches either.

[Editor’s Note: As of four days later there’s no evidence of a learning curve: they still show that lone CIPP ranger.]


Three involving St. Mary’s at Rocca Field:

SF/GOLDEN GATE seconds 51 – St. Mary's thirds 5 Referee: Preston Gordon
This was a perfect demonstration of that old saw about how old age and experience will beat youth and exuberance every time. We played the full 80, with open subs, and while the St. Mary's side put together some pretty good passages of play, and caught SFGG napping one time with a quick lineout that resulted in a try, there wasn't much doubt about who would win after half an hour or so. The halftime score was 15-0, but then it opened up pretty quickly in the second half.

I stuck around to AR for Paul and John afterwards. There was a pretty good crowd for the SFGG A - St. Mary's A game; I'd estimate 300 all together.

A great day of rugby!

SF Golden Gate 22 – ST. MARY’S 35 Referee: Paul Bretz
ARs: Preston Gordon, John Coppinger
If this is preseason I can't wait until the real thing. Saint Mary’s defeated SFGG 35-22. SMC has speed everywhere and their running lines are very good. SFGG had a combination of Super League, D1, and U21 players. The breakdown was well contested and SMC seemed to always have more bodies contesting for possession. Thanks to Preston and John for running the lines.)

ST. MARY’S seconds 49 – Humboldt State 6 Referee: John Coppinger
ARs: Paul Bretz, Preston Gordon
In the finale of the three match set at Rocca Field, SMC ran by and over the over-matched Lumberjacks.

The match, which was played in perfect rugby conditions, ended just before darkness descended.

My thanks to Paul Bretz and Preston Gordon for sticking around to act at ARs.

SAC CAPITALS 35 – Diablo Gaels 29 Referee: Scott Wood
TJs: John Compaglia (Gaels), Sacramento Player
A cold, overcast day at Danny Nunn Park greeted those who arrived for what is becoming an annual pre-season match-up. Sacramento has a great set of barriers for both sides of the pitch. Both teams scored off interceptions. Both teams scrummaged relatively well. Both teams had early problems with tacklers not getting to their feet before playing the ball. Overall, this was a very active and exciting match. Diablo maintained the lead until the 71st minute. Then Sacramento scored to cut Diablo's lead to one. The ensuing kickoff went over the dead ball line. Sacramento opted for a scrum, got stable ball, passed left, missed tackle or two, ball carrier scampers in for a try. The conversion was made. Diablo had about two minutes remaining. Unfortunately for Diablo, the Gods were preparing for the Raiders' and did not have enough in the tank to bless the visitors with a resurgent attack.

Seconds: Sac Capitals 10 – DIABLO GAELS 33 Referee: Bjorn Stumer
I was frankly surprised at the quality and speed of this B side match, especially if one considers the fact that most of the players were veterans of the A side match played just prior. Sacramento as the hosts were able to field a number of new faces, whereas Diablo had virtually their whole A side on the pitch. This reflected on the score, with Diablo putting in 3 tries and two conversions in the first half. Sacramento came back in the second half scoring three tries in the corner. This meant that all the kicks at the posts to convert went wide. Diablo however did not have that problem and converted both of the tries scored in the second half. As I said before, the fitness and skills exhibited were far above B side. Cooperating weather and the best safety perimeter around the pitch I ever saw contributed to the success of the day.

MARIN 29 – Santa Rosa 10Referee: Rod Chance
AR: Mark Godfrey, player not to be named later
Referee Coach: Dixon Smith
The sun came out for local rivals Marin and Santa Rosa. Both teams were out early getting ready for a spirited game. The first half was a battle that ended with Marin converting 1 try and Santa Rosa with 3 from a penalty kick.

The second half Marin came out with a quicker pace and strong forward play that taxed a worn-down Santa Rosa pack, resulting in three quick tries. Santa Rosa responded valiantly with hard running, scoring a try at the 60th minute. It was a well played game with a great attitude from both clubs.

STANFORD 22 – Maritime Academy 19 Referee: Tom Zanarini
Hello, game day butterflies, oh how I've missed you. It was the Tri-Tip 7's tournament in August that I last blew my whistle. The break was nice but now it's back to good times on Saturdays.

A beautiful day on Stanford's campus, both teams came ready to play. This was my first encounter with Cal Maritime and they put on a good show. Both teams had issues with hands in rucks and playing the ball on the ground. Hopefully it’s just preseason jitters; they see the ball and just can't help themselves. For as many penalties as I called, there must have been an equal number of misses as evidenced from all the assistant referees on both sides. They want the call for themselves, but can't help themselves from infringing either!

Anyway, on to better things. The preseason tag is for the schedule only as both teams when at it full force. Stanford only just pulled out the win with a penalty goal in the last minutes. Both teams were fast and strong and pretty equal in strengths. Hard to believe Cal Maritime is a small Division 2 school.

Seconds: Stanford 5 – MARITIME ACADEMY 10 Referee: Referee: Stephen Moore
Assistant Referee: Tom Zanarini
A tough match between two very determined sides with a score line of nil at half time reflecting strong first half defense.

The second half saw Maritime cross Stanford’s goal line with a try in the corner after the ball being played out wide with a long sweeping run. Stanford latter replied breaking through Maritime’s defense to equal the score. A short lapse in Stanford concentration led Maritime to respond quickly at the re-start with a second try. Both sides doggedly fought out the remaining game time with no further points.

This was my second match as a referee and first officiating a full 80 minute game.

I felt more physically relaxed this time, but still feel there is a way to go with mental relaxation despite feeling more confident with some decisions at times. Tom Zanarini (Assistant Referee) rightly pointed out that my whistle and signal combination is slow, and my whistle for a penalty and arm signals need to be more pronounced. Also I was not giving clear secondary signals after infringements at breakdowns. Advantage play after a knock is also a struggle for me. I feel I will confuse myself with too much info at this early stage. I hope to improve this. Like everyone else I don’t like referees who don’t play advantage.

Thanks to Tom Zanarini for his input and advice. I wrote down plenty of notes after the match, and read up on the law book and other materials.

Again I look forward to the next match. Thank you again Pelicans!

SAN FRANCISCO STATE 25 – Univ. of San Francisco 12 Referee: Pete Smith
At was a day that took me back to the mid-eighties with the mud, blood and beer credo that reigned supreme back then. Not to mention the sizable crowd that had assembled including 6 coeds with exposed midriffs and ‘G-A-T-O-R-S’ painted on them. There were several photographers and someone filming the warm-up and game from USF that seemed to be doing some sort of movie. What the players lacked in experience they made up with enthusiasm. There was singing and chanting before and after the game, it was a real college atmosphere. Maybe these teams have played against each other several times in the past that I am unaware of or this has instantly become a fierce cross-town rivalry.

The field had a strong slope and the elements were in favor of the slope making almost the entire game at one end, the muddy one. The home SFSU Gators scored early and often in the first half by pinning the USF Dons in their own end. The Gators were led by both their captain Joseph #6 and hooker who a hand in every try. They were tremendous at the tackle and listened to my instructions well enough to almost completely avoid penalties at the break down, but pushed the limit to the max. The Gators sat on what they thought was a comfortable 25-0 lead with five unconverted tries. Unfortunately rugby is played with two halves and the second half was much more evenly played and ultimately all the scoring was done by USF. With the wind, sun and slope all at their back, they were able to apply similar pressure on SFSU. The Dons scored two tries to make it 25-12 and the score should have been 25-19, but with the goal post at the back of the try zone (soccer goals with nets, posts added) a USF player ran out the back of the try zone while trying to center the try, for a 22 meter drop out. Otto came on for USF and he settled and led his forwards in the second half and that likely helped change the momentum as well as the captain for SFSU Joseph going off with a lower leg injury.

Under the Duh file, I overheard one of the teams talking about their play calls with one call being ‘Argentina’. The player asked if the call was just any country or specifically ‘Argentina’ to which he was answered that it was specific and not just any ‘South African’ country.

FOG women 96 – Sequoias 25 Referee: Hennie Strydom
Fog Ladies vs Sequoia Invitation XV (combination of Sequoia and Fog)
Due to shortage of players we played 10's, with 20-minute quarters.

Scoring broke down as follows: 39-0, 25-5, 17-20, 5-0.

The field was well-marked and ropes set to manage the spectators. Overall a good experience.

Chico State 12 – CAL POLY 39 Referee: Don Pattalock

TJs: B. McSwain, A. Triantafyllou

There are stories detailing the game on the rugby news sites so I won’t recount the match. The score flatters Cal Poly somewhat as the game was heavily contested. Every tackle/ruck was contested and the match was extremely physical. Both teams countered well off turnovers; however, CP managed to score while Chico fell short. CP was much larger in the forwards and that fact alone had Chico on the back foot. A couple soft try’s after halftime lead Chico to lose some focus and CP finished off the match from there. Fun match to be a part of.

PS: Dan Lacko did the 2nds and I stayed and watched the first 30 min period. Two fantastic trys awarded by Lacko: one he was on both knees as a maul went to ground in-goal and Dan awarded the try from his knees; the second, Dan is in-goal as a maul is advancing towards him, the maul roll’s and the try is scored right at his feet. Perfect or serendipitous positioning: you be the judge.

Seconds: Chico State 17 – CAL POLY 36 Lacko


ORLANDO 16 – Pelicans 7 Referee: Sam Reagle
Conditions: Sloppy
I have been looking forward to refereeing the Pelicans of St. Petersburg since I got the assignment 3 weeks ago. As it turns out, one of their coaches is Russ Boring who played for the Sacramento Capitals in a previous life. It's always nice to run into someone you know when you are far from home. We chatted a bit before getting on with our respective duties.

It has rained here in central Florida for the past 2 days. Not torrential, but varying between none and some. Just before kickoff, the rugby gods waved whatever it is they wave and the sun peaked out from behind some clouds and all was good, except the pitch which was woefully saturated. Muddy conditions usually hurt the offense more than the defense and today was no exception. All but one of the scores was from a penalty kick or directly related to an offensive miscue by the other team.

The Pelicans got on the board first just 3 minutes into the game with a well earned converted try. I was impressed with how well they recycled the ball after attacking the defenders head on. Little did I know at the time that that would be the only score for the next 30+ minutes without any real organized plays from either side. Orlando got on the board just before halftime when a Pelican with the ball in his own goal had it ripped away and downed for a try. Halftime score: 7-5 Pelicans

Minutes into the second half, Orlando striped a penalty kick to take the lead 8-7. This held up for about 20 minutes of back and forth industrial rugby when Orlando scored a try by stealing a lineout about 8 meters out and slicing between defenders into goal. Orlando made another penalty kick about 5 minutes later to finish the scoring. Because the winner was in doubt up to the final minutes, it was very exciting to referee and (I hope) to watch. I look forward to seeing Orlando again next week when the play Gainesville.


We have a dozen games on tap this weekend, with eight available referees left over.

This is a problem we won’t have much longer, after the seasons ramp up in January.

You can see the lineup at www.Pelicanrefs.com. Assistant Referees are always welcome and some of these games look to be quite good. Drop an e-note to the assigned ref if you’d like a run.


The B grades are no more. B3, B2 and B1 will combined into a single territorial grade known at T.

The existing C grades will be renamed as local grades, L3, L2 and L1. New, ungraded referees who are currently called D referees may be called L4 or some other designation that the local society prefers.

These changes were approved by the General Committee of the USA Rugby Referee and Laws Committee, which met in Las Vegas this past weekend. They should be implemented nationwide by the start of California league play in January.

Under the new criteria, it will be slightly more difficult to make L1 (old C1) and likewise T (formerly, initially at least, B3). But once on the T Panel, a referee will be in the same pool for assignments and appointments, including national appointments, as the other T panelists.

Distinctions among those on the T panel will be made by the grades that they receive on their evaluations. The road to the National Focus Group and National Panel will of course run through T territory.

Everyone with an existing grade will be transferred to the corresponding grade without having to meet additional criteria if they happen to be C1 or B3 at present. Those C2 and C1 referees who have above-grade reports in the bank already can be reassured that these reports remain valid currency toward promotion even though subsequent reports must be written against the higher standards.



“I was in Paris for a couple days last week and stayed near a small cafe/sports bar shown in the attached picture. They served Pelforth beer, which used to be called "Pelican" and is now owned by Heineken. No idea if they serve this in the US.


Here's what Wiki says:

Pelforth Brewery

25 cl bottle of Pelforth Brune


A recently-wedded couple has come up with a proposed Pelicus name for the bride:

Pelicus Pookie Goochicus

A special plenary session of the Senate was required to consider this issue. Long-time readers will recall what happened to the one who proposed a name in pig-Latin: he became Pelicus Littlus Dickus for a few years until redeeming himself by good works.

But if a woman wishes to apply pillow-talk to herself in public, we can only respond as did Cicero: “O tempora! O mores!”

Muchos Pelicanos
Somebody we know is hanging out with a bunch of our friends.


For the Senate
Pelicus Scriptoris

Monday, November 30, 2009




Backwards score last week: Berkeley beat Stanislaus 15 – 7, not the other way ‘round.


This Saturday shows fifteen games on the schedule, including one in Sacramento without a referee. Let us know if there are some yams or pecan pie you need to get rid of.


GREEN 38 – White 22 Referee: Phil Akroyd
Approximately 50 former SFGG U19 group players showed up for this formal scrimmage game. The players had mixed experience, from those who had not played for five years to those currently playing in the super league team.

When the game got going, it was not obvious that there were players on the field who had not had a run for a while. The standard of play was generally very good and with solid, safe scrummaging. Coach Tony Wells’ Green team generally had the edge throughout and scored five first-half tries to the white team’s one try.

The pitch was in fantastic condition – one of the best I have seen for a long time and the players appeared to relish the dry, sunny and breezy conditions. There were some wonderful long range tries which did not help me and my currently dodgy hamstring, as well as boom-boom raids from short distances.

Players, supporters and official all enjoyed the Marty Bonney Memorial Match in which the score was irrelevant and fun and open play were most important.


This is pretty good, but there are still some names that are conspicuous by their absence from the membership rolls of the NCRRS.

Go to www.USARugby.org
Click on Registration ’09-’10 just below Welcome in the column on the left.

Take the first option: Create/Renew Individual Membership. Go from there.

Your ‘club’ is the Northern California Rugby Referee Society.

REMEMBER to print out the liability waiver. This needs to be signed and submitted in hard copy to our treasurer, Jim Crenshaw, with your $10 annual NCRRS dues.


Your writer is a busy and bookish sort who has seen maybe an average of one movie a year throughout his adult life (not counting those seen at the behest of offspring and the further begatted).

The night before Thanksgiving Penelope Pelicus said, “Netflix sent a rugby movie. Let’s have family movie night.” So it was that we sat down and watched a film that I have been determined to see for well over a year: Forever Strong.

Everyone’s a critic these days, right? Well, here goes: it’s the best rugby movie I’ve ever seen. Better even then This Sporting Life.

Every time a ref would appear on-screen Penelope would ask, “Who’s that?”

That’s Mark Ormsby! That’s Jon Moore! That’s Larry Gelwix!

“No”, she said, “Larry Gelwix is the coach of the team.”

Well, the fix must have been in because he’s seen refereeing the national championship game of this own team. Wonder who’s going to win?

Every sport has at least one misfits, castoffs and rejects-overcome-adversity-and-win-the-title-on-the-last-play flick. Now rugby has one in that genre.

In a few days rugby will have two in that genre: another rugby movie is going to be released that will probably achieve a greater presence in the public awareness than Forever Strong. A lifetime underdog hooks up with recently-reformed long shots and they win it all in overtime.

The only downer for rugby fans is that it was a game with no tries, and in terms of suspense the winning drop-goal came some time before the final whistle. Sort of like a soccer game, where the dénouement may occur before the fans are settled in their seats.

I’m wondering if anyone has mentioned to Clint Eastwood, supposedly now a rugby fan, that he’s quarter-owner of the site of the late, lamented Pebble Beach Rugby Classic. Perhaps he could put in a good word for us and get this thing going again.

And perhaps I’ll see two movies this year.

Copied from the Internet, a photo of Santa Cruz Island off Santa Barbara, courtesy of www.calliebowdish.com/BirdsJanSept2006.htm

No doubt these pelicans and cormorants are swapping fish stories.


For the Senate
Pelicus Scriptoris

Saturday, November 28, 2009




Hennie Strydom and Stephen Moore each did their first match this past weekend, were evaluated, and passed muster as our newest C3 Pelicans!

We also have promotions on the table for Dave Ellis and Mark Godfrey to C3, so a bumper weekend by any measure!

Congratulations to these gentlemen. See you at the Society meeting December 9.


Newlywed Scott Wood has a mea culpa:
“We need somebody with database skills and some creative artistic flair to create, maintain, etc a mo-better site. It is taking too much of my now extremely limited time (and ability).”

Is this your chance to step up and join those folks who make our Society happen?


Not only did the Eagles defeat Uruguay last Saturday to win their qualifying series 2-0, all four tries were scored by men who played their college rugby in Northern California.

Perhaps our readers have refereed Todd Clever (College Park and Nevada), Lou Stanfill (Jesuit and California) and Kevin Swiryn (St. Mary’s).


Be thankful for your turkey and go run it off elsewhere.

There will be one game this Saturday, November 28, 1 PM at Rocca Field. Phil Akroyd will referee the Golden Gate high school alumni game, with graduates of even-numbered years going up against the hated odd-numbered years.


There were 49 games played last weekend, mostly of course shortened tournament games.

But December 5, 12 and 19 should each have a dozen or more full matches (the 12th already does) and we’ll need more refs than have currently provided their availability.

I don’t need to know if you cannot ref, but I certainly need to know it you can. Assumptions ‘R Us (NOT).


Seconds: Stanford 24 – SAN JOSE STATE 25 Referee: Hennie Strydom
AR: Prys Hughes
Referee Coach: David Williamson
No report received.

STANFORD 19 – San Jose State 5 Referee: Pete Smith
AR: Prys Hughes
On a cool and misty night SJSU made the 20-minute trek north to Stanford to play a heated game under the lights. After an extensive fall season, the Spartans wanted to test themselves against the Cardinal. Both teams came out and showed their athleticism with crunching tackles and fast play around the pitch. Unfortunately the damp conditions proved to be the equalizer to both teams as neither could finish their plentiful scoring opportunities.

Despite trying to let every marginal knock on go, it was still a scrum fiesta and Stanford held a slim 5-0 lead at halftime. SJSU missed two penalty kicks and narrowly missed a drop goal that would have had the Spartans in the lead.

Early in the second half Stanford capitalized on a quick tap penalty and dotted down for a converted try to push the lead to 12. The Spartans fought back and scored a well earned try to make it a one score affair at 12-5. Late in the second half the Spartans were pressing and forced to play with a reckless style that unfortunately caused a turnover leading directly to the clinching try for the Cardinal.

Despite being beaten, the Spartans did not quit and with no time left, they almost scored the try of the night on a perfect chip and chase from their speedy winger that bounced perfectly into his arms. He was tackled about 15 meters short of the line where he off loaded to a teammate, but alas, as was the theme of the night for SJSU, the pass was well forward and that was that.



Report by Bjorn Stumer:
A break in the weather regaled us with a beautiful sunny day of Rugby at the Chico Classic tournament. On tap a couple of dozens of matches for 8 referees, and an assessor, who assembled there at eight o' clock in the morning. After a beautiful drive from the Bay Area, once the sun came up and after the fog, I kitted up and was ready to go on with the second set of matches. Three fields were in use - one regulation size, one smaller, and one very small and narrow and lacking posts.

1. Sacramento State women 5 – NEVADA 10
Reno walked away with this fast paced match, not aided by the small size of the field and the lack of goal posts. No conversions or penalty kicks at the posts were therefore taken. I did not recognize many faces in the Sac State side, a sign that they are in a rebuilding mode, with new blood replacing the ladies who have moved on. They were no match for the obviously more experienced Reno side, but gained composure in the second half and kept the scoring gap small. I was surprised by the skills exhibited by both sides, and enjoyed what overall was a fun match. As usual the ladies did our sport proud.

2. CHICO 15 – Mendocino 0
Two fit, fast, and very determined sides battled it out, alas again on the small pitch. Chico was obviously the stronger side, but Mendocino really surprised me by their skills and grit, and will make a name for themselves in their league soon. The small pitch did not allow for long runs, and therefore this became a percussive slow moving match with many tackles and mauls. A great, great game witnessed by a goodish crowd of spectators. Crunching tackles, effective mauling, and quick ball out of the rucks ensured fun for all. No conversions or penalty kicks at the (non-existing) posts were taken.

3. SAN FRANCISCO FOG Women 26 – Sacramento State 0
There were a lot of new faces, youth, and speed on the FOG team, a side that is continuously improving and is sure to become one of the top women's team in our region. The match was played on a good pitch with posts, something that the FOG capitalized on by putting in three conversions to their tries. The FOG had just too much speed and skill, and came with plenty reserves. This proved too much for the inexperienced Sac. State ladies which, however, put on a brave fight. Nice clean match with lots of scoring and plenty of good runs. Well done to both sides.

CHICO 26 – BA Baracus 24 Referee: Phil Akroyd
A great game to get the tourney started. Baracus came out the strongest in their first game of the day, while Chico were playing their second. Baracus put up three unanswered tries before Chico came back with one to make it 7-24 at the half. It looked like that may be too much to come back from with only 20 minute halves, but Baracus didn’t post another score for the rest of the game and Chico got into their rhythm and clawed back a lead of 26-24, at which point the next game had to start and the contest came to a close. Looks like that would be a great game to ref if and when these two meet again in the regular season.

NEVADA women 10 – Humboldt State 0 Ref: Akroyd
The Reno ladies missed their first game due to a late start, so this was their first match. The game was slow to get started, due in the main to a long delay from a concussion and possible neck injury to one of the Humboldt front rowers. With most of the first half lost, the second half went until the final three minutes before UNR scored after sustained pressure on the Humboldt line. Humboldt were keen to come back as they were only down by 5, but on the restart they kicked directly to a Reno forward who passed it out to the right wing who charged right back over the line to secure a win. As a side note, some of the highest quality tackling that I saw at the whole tournament came from the Humboldt number eight.

RENO ZEPHYRS 45 – Santa Rosa 0 Ref: Akroyd
In contrast to the previous game, the pace of play was quite astounding. Reno came out with amazing power and speed and blasted into Santa Rosa. The captain and open side (Lo?) got most of their tries – I counted five of their seven coming from him. The power and speed was present throughout the whole team and forced Santa Rosa into capitulation. It has to be said that Santa Rosa were by no means a bad team. They, too, were actually very good but could not match the Zephyrs in terms of physical size and speed. They even asked at one point if Reno could “bring on some slow white guys”.

RENO ZEPHYRS 12 – Chico State 7 Ref: Akroyd
This was an interesting game. It was not on the schedule but both teams really wanted to play each other so we squeezed it in at the end of the day. The light was fading fast, and the beer that had been consumed throughout the day by the spectators was making itself heard. We managed to get in forty minutes of non-stop play, with three tries scored in that time, a number of instances of players getting to know each other off the ball and more chat than Instant Messenger. It would have been interesting to see how this worked out over eighty, but I’m pretty sure it would have ended with fewer than thirty men on the field but with lots of fast, physical rugby displayed. Overall, a very good little tournament.

RENO 22 – BA Baracus 5 Referee: Rich Boyer
Reno played a very physical, expansive game. Baracus were brave, but unable to match Reno's pace and power. Reno #7, #13 and #15 were especially impressive on the run.

SIERRA COLLEGE over U. of San Francisco Ref: Boyer
This was a very active game, with some players new to the game on either side. Sierra College were more adventurous, tossed the ball more, and as a result scored more tries. USF would not quit, but Sierra College prevailed.

Games refereed by Mike King:
SHASTA 24 – Mendocino 7
SIERRA COLLEGE 40 – Mendocino 5

EAST PALO ALTO 48 – SB Barbarians 19 Referee: Preston Gordon
Saturday was a perfect day for rugby on the peninsula - clear and cool. I turned up at the 49ers Academy field at noon for a 1300 kickoff to find a couple dozen kids having a Pop Warner practice session. The pitch itself still needs some work, but EPA has started putting large pieces of grass turf on it and at this point there's a large new area of grass in the middle of it, where the worst part was last year. It's a good improvement.

Both sides had good numbers present, perhaps 25 for the Barbarians and 50 for EPA. Since this was not a league game, and the coaches wanted to have a look at everyone, we decided to play four 25-minute quarters with open subs.

As I was finishing my warm-up 2 of the football coaches remarked that they'd never seen a ref do anything before a game except get out of his car, get dressed, and have a cup of coffee. I suggested that they stick around for a few minutes afterwards to see why (they obviously weren't disappointed since they stayed for the whole game and were impressed with the intensity of the game and the amount of running involved).

Since we were on island time, we started around 1310. Both sides had to work off the rust, and while the game was pretty fast, there was no shortage of knock-ons, scrums, and line-outs.

EPA got the first try after some general confusion due to the lack of lines on the field (the goal "line" was marked by cones on one end and flags on the other). The first quarter ended at 5-0.

The second quarter opened up more as the teams settled into their rhythm. The Barbarians were awarded a penalty try (converted) after some great backline play was stopped just short of the goal line by a high tackle. EPA also did some great work through the forwards and backs and scored 4 more tries (2 converted) to make it 29-7 halfway through.

The third quarter was pretty even at one try apiece, with EPA converting theirs (36-12). By this point the ball was being recycled out of the tackle pretty quickly by both sides and moved back and forth across the pitch. We also spent about 5 minutes in a ping-pong contest as each back three competed for territory.

The last quarter was also pretty evenly matched, with lots of line breaks at pace and hard hitting by the forwards. EPA edged out the scoring in this period with 2 tries to 1 (1 conversion each) to close the match at 48-19. Both of these sides look very good this early in the pre-season and should be competitive in whatever divisions they'll be playing in.

UC SANTA CRUZ women 41 – Santa Clara 15 Referee: Sandy Robertson
Santa Cruz showed excellent support play while generally dominating a young Santa Clara squad. Though Santa Cruz dominated possession, Santa Clara made the most of its opportunities with 3 good tries.

UC Santa Cruz men 27 – APTOS 58 Referee: Bruce Carter
A storm front whistled through Northern California on Friday evening. Lucky for rugby, it was in a minor key and left nothing but clarity behind.

There’s no better place to witness a clear sky than from Heaven’s Pitch on UC Santa Cruz. You can see halfway to LA and a third of the way to Hawaii.

And with the university having installed a fence all the way around the pitch that keeps poachers, squatters and players-of-fortune off of it, it has never been in better shape.

Vaughn Stumpf has returned to coach Aptos, after sidelines as a referee and as a former rugby person without portfolio. Whether their resurgence will be due to him or to a very dynamic set of players who slotted into the back row of the scrum will wait to be seen.

The Slugs are having a good preseason. Their offense springs from the precision kicking and incisive passing of their #10, Captain Tyler Pritchard. He threw a beautiful cutout pass to his #13 that opened up a green highway to the tryline to make it 10-10 midway through the first half.

Aptos was ahead 17 – 10 at the half when the ref was asked by an Aptos partisan why Aptos wasn’t further in the lead. His analysis was that Pritchard’s long kicks were finding only one player back in defense with no-one to pass to, thus allowing two or even one of the Slugs to tie it up and force Aptos to play from scrimmage.

Perhaps referees should value their opinions more dearly. Whether this information was communicated to the Aptos XV, those same long kicks that had led to static ball now found hands with others in support and counterattack was the order of the last forty.

There were ten trys in the second half, but seven belonged to the visitors with their back row accounting for much of the damages.


Of note in this game: this is the second novel use I’ve seen made of the opponents’ ‘huddle’, the two being just over 20 years apart.

The first takes me down memory lane, assisted by my diary, to my first season of refereeing. February 20, 1989: Old Blues hosting the University of Victoria from Wellington, New Zealand.

The Old Blues wanted to huddle prior to throwing in at their first lineout. I’d never seen this before, and neither had the visitors – so they wandered over to join the huddle and see what was being discussed.

Some of the Blues glared at me until I said, “The ball’s dead. They can stand anywhere they want to.”

We didn’t have any more huddles that day.

November 21, 2009: UC Santa Cruz hosting Aptos. Aptos scored a try off a busted play, a lucky try really because several players had misplayed their parts. The coach called for a huddle while the conversion was taken.

The conversion was taken and missed while Aptos huddled over against the touchline.

The Banana Slugs fielded the missed kick, sprinted up and restarted against – mmm – against Aptos, still huddled over against the touchline.

#10 kicked ten meters to #15 who collected the ball and had only one frantically-retiring man to beat to score between the posts.

We didn’t have any more huddles that day, either.

Seconds: UC Santa Cruz rookies – APTOS Referee: Robbie Bellue
Coach Bellue of the Slugs stepped in for two old and footsore veterans and did a fine job.

Your reporter was too busy talking to old teammates and opponents from the Santa Cruz/Monterey Bay Rebels era to notice much more than Alatini Saulala and some of his supporting cast running over a bunch of freshmen.

Not to demean the freshmen – there were some serious ringers out there.

UC Davis B 0 – SANTA ROSA JC 35 (7T 0C) Referee: Scott Wood
AR: Donal Walsh
TJ: Tyler Harrison(?) (UCD player)
I woke up early enough to watch a match on my DVR (of which there are many). I chose Wales v Samoa. Good choice as there is an interested play/decision related to a player in-touch picking up a rolling ball in-goal. AR awarded five-meter lineout to Wales. Referee reversed possession to Samoa for the lineout. For illustrative purposes: Was this the correct call? I think Samoa should have been awarded a 22 drop-out. I argue the Samoan player was not in the field of play when he picked up the moving ball which was already in-goal. Either way, the referee made his decision with enough authority that nobody argued it (after Samoa was properly awarded the put in).

Law 22.5 talks about the ball being grounded in-goal (which it wasn't although the player could/should have done so). Law 22.7 states: "When an attacking player sends or carries the ball into the opponents’ in-goal and it becomes dead there, either because a defender grounded it or because it went into touch in-goal or on or over the dead ball line, a drop-out is awarded." It didn't go into touch in-goal but it was made dead the instant the Samoan player picked it up. Law 22.11 discusses how the ball can become dead in-goal but refers to the "touch in-goal line".

Now to my day...

After a long sabbatical, I finally got to stretch my legs on the pitch. Both teams competed in a positive manner. Davis made a number of rookie mistakes but played with a lot of heart. Santa Rosa's players displayed great continuity and situational awareness.

There were four drop outs awarded, each went directly to touch. The referee made the same mistake three time before the AR's words sunk in. This malady was corrected at the fourth drop out.

The ball must land in the field of play. If it is kicked directly into touch, the opposing team has three choices: To have another drop-out; or to have a scrum at the centre of the 22-metre line, and they throw in the ball; or to accept the kick. If they accept the kick, the throw-in is on the 22-metre line.

However, the referee did not make an error in Law (as was debated with his AR at halftime). I did look this up after the match to ensure I wasn't completely daft.

A maul ends successfully when the ball or a player with the ball leaves the maul. A maul ends successfully when the ball is on the ground, or is on or over the goal line.

(c) Scrum following maul. The ball is thrown in by the team not in possession when the maul began. If the referee cannot decide which team had possession, the team moving forward before the maul stopped throws in the ball. If neither team was moving forward, the attacking team throws in the ball.

All things considered, it was a fun, sunny day with positive rugby played by both sides. SRJC needs a kicker. UCD's B-side scrummaged well considering it had seven rookies in the pack, tackled hard, and competed at the rucks.

I look forward to my next match.

CALIFORNIA women 17 – UC Santa Barbara 12Referee: Sam Davis
Saturday is a Rugby day!

It was a beautiful day in Berkeley but everyone went to Stanford for the (big game) which a long time ago was a Rugby game.

Berkeley women's team is still treated as the redheaded stepchild on that campus. We were relegated to the soccer pitch which someone forgot to unlock. The 11 am kick off time was delayed in spite the valiant efforts of the coaches who had been calling since 9:30 to have it opened up so they could prepare the field. Santa Barbara took this in stride along with the 70+ fans.

Since this was a soccer pitch we used the soccer goals to mount the post which all kicker love because of the extra 3 ft of opening. We were also running late so both teams agreed to start play while Cal set up the poles and moved the goals into place (more on this later).

Cal scored first at the 26 min mark with a play in the corner that was not converted. Play continued with both teams running up the off side penalty count SB capitalized on one such play and put it in and converted for 7. Half ended.

2nd half Berkeley on a drive threw a forward pass the winger downed the ball on what she thought was in-goal. There was a bit of confusion due to the soccer lines and the placement of the soccer goal. Upon closer inspection the goal was at the back of the dead ball line vs. the try line. (Setting up the field after the game starts sometime can create a bit of a problem.) We stopped time for that to be adjusted: scrum down place of infraction which happened to be the five-meter line.

Berkeley was not to be denied and the pulled ahead 10-7. SB on a drive did a pop kick deep into Berkeley the full back obstructed the SB player then when she started to try and down the ball the full back pulled her jersey. Penalty Try awarded, kick missed. Berkeley came back with a strong drive and scored with 8 min left to play (due to injury, field repair) both teams finished strong final score Cal 17- SB 12

Seconds: California women 5 – U. OF SANTA FRANCISCO 10 Ref: Davis
The second game was Cal vs. a combined UCSB & USF game.

A lot of new players for both sides, fun rugby. It was agreed free sub so everyone would get to play. USF-10 Cal 5

At Job Corps field:
Seconds: Fog 0 – BERKELEY 20 Referee: Stephen Moore
Assistant Referee: Rich Anderson
Referee Coach: Dixon Smith

Despite the score line this was a well contested game. Berkeley were the stronger side with their backs dominate and more aggressive in attack, their forwards were an equal match. The game was played at a fast pace with plenty of phase continuity. Berkeley’s scoring opportunities came from balls played out wide. Both sides defended aggressively and in the final play of the match Fog B successfully held up Berkeley who crossed the goal line propelled by their maul. It was a good note to end on, both sides very respectful of each others efforts.

There was no foul play in the match; penalties were awarded mainly for off sides and ball handling in rucks. Scrums were generally well contested, with some collapses due to early engagement.

The match was my first ever as a referee, and first time being on a paddock since last playing 20 years back in Australia, I really enjoyed this experience.

Coming into it I was concerned about my fitness, concentration level and law knowledge. I also wondered about an instinct to join in and play. Surprising my fitness held up, but my concentration and law knowledge was a challenge despite some intense pre-game swatting. Fortunately my instinct to play was gone (some would argue it was never that strong anyway!).

Concentration dropped for me immediately in the second half. I realized I had restarted the match without setting my stop watch - it’s hard to set a stop watch and run and watch the game at the same time I found. Other errors: failure to let the whistle breathe (play advantage) with two knock-on incidents. Dixon also pointed out my need to signal immediately after I whistle and then speak, also my signals for scrum and penalty were indistinct. Rich pointed out an occasion where the ball had not been thrown in not straight to a lineout that I missed, and later my awarding of a free kick instead of a scrum for same. Despite these errors (and others) I am confident though they had no material effect on the game. I guess I got lucky this time!

A funny incident... at one of the stoppages one of the players started to chat with me very briefly, suddenly one of his team mates grabbed him and told him he was not qualified to speak with “Sir” - only the captain could. Thank you player for reminding both of us!

Many thanks to Dixon for his well-measured advice and encouragement, and thank you to Rich for pointers during the game, thank you Bruce Carter for making the arrangement, and thank Eric Rauscher for providing a uniform.

Ground was firm, hard in some spots, sky was blue, temperature 60-65, no wind, perfect conditions! Spectators well behaved, good sense of humor too.

Berkeley 7 – STANISLAUS 15 Referee: Rich Anderson

Bog 0 – STANISLAUS 33 Referee: Eric Rauscher
Comment: This game was a fine example of why teams that play together do better than teams made up on the spot. Playing together lends a bit of continuity. It must also be said that the combined Berkeley and Fog B sides had quite a few rookies. The play was good-spirited and it was fun to do the game.

Fog 17 – BERKELEY 22 Referee: Rich Anderson

Marin – Saints CANCELED

FRESNO 29 – San Luis Obispo 17 Referee: Chris Tucker
This missive is being written from the train on the way home. There are several advantages over driving: match report gets done while I can remember the game; there is no offence of drinking and sitting on a train (which I am doing both); when I need a nap, I don't have to pull over. These easily make up for the 30 mins extra in each direction. The kicker? Cheaper. And a greater portion is tax deductible. And I met a really interesting guy whose advice may well save me a fortune in taxes. All round win. But I digress before I'm even started. So, to rugby.

A beautiful, if breezy day greeted the two teams at Fresno's great facility. Even the 10m lines were marked 90cm past the end of the soccer centre circle -- groundskeeper #2 * actually knows what he's doing when he's doing lines. Both teams were in pre-season mode, as witnessed by the "How long, Sir?" after precisely 22 minutes of play, and the numerous little errors that slowed the game down.

Generally, though, the game was in good spirit, and both teams listened and responded well when asked to address various pieces. Looking at myself, aside from being a ball magnet (3 times) and getting in the way of play (twice, although if you can still see the ball as you go arse over tit, does it matter? Play on!), the major issue I had was at the scrum. For some reason I could not maintain a consistent call on the scrum feed in the first half, free kicking largely at random. At the first scrum in the second, I apologised to both 9s, and told them to reset their expectations. Bingo! Straighter feeds. Interesting question as to whether you lose more credibility by admitting you messed up and asking forgiveness -- I believe so, simply because you've probably lost any credibility by the point when you own up to your inadequacy. But you'd better get it consistent from then on...

The difference in the game was made in the first half -- the Fresno forwards maintained a high work rate, and won ball often and fast. The 10/12 combination worked well at opening up the gaps, and they took their chances. The ones that went begging (and both sides were guilty) were the interceptions that were run 50 metres before the ball carrier started looking around, gassed. Caught from behind! In the end, the score flattered the hosts a little -- both sides played hard, but execution and fitness will doubtless be improved upon in the coming months. But good fun all round.

* The bush was nicely trimmed too, for reference

Seconds: UC Santa Barbara – OSU or SMC Referee: UCSB Academy Ref
No report received.

Oregon State 7 – UCSB ACADEMY 31 Referee: Ryan Luis
AR: Rob Hendrickson
The game was very close and contested throughout the match. Score was 7-0 at half time to SB Academy and remained that way till the final 20 minutes when the game finally opened up and 5 tries were scored in the final 20 minutes. Ultimately it seemed like Oregon State simply ran out of gas as they gave up four tries and 2 conversions in the final quarter of the game.

ST. MARY’S 66 – UC Santa Barbara 0 Referee: George O'Neil
AR: Rob Hendrickson

St. Mary's 3/OSU 2 – UC Santa Barbara 2 Referee: UCSB Academy Ref
No report received.

ST. MARY’S 97 – Oregon State 0 Referee: George O'Neil
ARs: Rob Hendrickson, Jackie Finck
Assessor: Bryan Porter

ST. MARY’S seconds 32 – UCSB Academy 28 Referee: Ryan Luis
ARs: Rob Hendrickson, Jackie Finck
Referee Coach: David Williamson
Both teams wanted to play a wide open game and there were many long passages of play spanning sideline to sideline and 22 to 22. Saint Mary's was in control throughout most of the match leading 32 to 7 until SB Academy again made a late surge to score 3 converted tries in the final 15 minutes. Had there been another 5 minutes on the clock the game could very well have gone their way.

Stanford – Alumnae Referee: Mike King
ARs: Prys Hughes
The university side was depleted some by the holiday break as it faced the buzz saw of an alum side filled with familiar faces from past championship years. The first period was a learning experience for the yearlings, with textbook second phase rugby accounting for several scores in rapid succession. The sides then swapped players and the scoring was more balanced. All told 70 points were scored spanning 3 periods of spirited play. A great tradition to emulate at other schools.

Stanford – Alumni Referee: Pete Smith
No report received.

Apple Near Tree
What’s in a name?

Peter and Belinda Hansford (well, probably Peter) named their son after Jonathan Davies, the great Welsh rugby league and union player.

Saturday the youngster led the Welsh team onto the pitch at the Millennium Stadium for their match against Argentina last weekend.

You’ll see him through the fog caused by the pre-game indoor fireworks. And somewhere Dad’s beaming!


For the Senate
Pelicus Scriptoris

Tuesday, November 17, 2009




We need refs for two games at Stanford this Friday evening and two this Sunday morning.

And if we don’t get a few more refs for Saturday, some Pelicans will be doubling up with first- and second-sides matches. There are matches available as close as Davis, San Francisco and Santa Cruz.


MARITIME ACADEMY 17 – Santa Rosa JC 3 Referee: Chris Tucker
AR: Rich Anderson
A perfect day for rugby, 60 and sunny with little breeze down by the Carquinez Strait. Pitch is still a little firm, with a couple of ankle-breakers still to be smoothed out, but nothing major. Both sides came in a little rusty, and we had scrum after scrum in the first half. SRJC's kicking was also a little wayward, and gave the academy fullback plenty of opportunity to show off his powerful sidestep, gaining plenty of ground in the process. The errors kept momentum to a minimum, but both sides came close, with the academy hooker knocking on as he crossed the line, and the SRJC left wing just short on a kick-and-chase in the corner -- the kick was weighted perfectly, but the fullback made it over to cover. A couple of penalties and it was 3-3 at the half.

Rich's prediction at the half was that the SRJC defence would tire in the second, and so it proved, with a couple of tries bashed in by the forwards. The first I was somewhat complicit in, as I got tangled up with a tackler coming from an unexpected angle, but the second was a fine rolling maul, finished off by the #7 who dived over from 3 meters out. Both were converted from easy angles. Both sides started to tire, and the tackles became a little more cavalier with it -- nothing malicious, but enough that I had to speak with a couple of players on either team. One in particular was a badly timed tackle on an academy player jumping for the ball. Not particularly dangerous, but then the dumb clown stood over his opponent and jeered at him. Not in this game, mate.

SRJC never stopped, and camped out in their opponents' 22 for the last 5 minutes of the game, but to no effect. The stronger, fitter team won, but this early workout will have given both coaches plenty of material to work on before the season starts in earnest.

Seconds: MARITIME ACADEMY 17 – Santa Rosa JC 10 Referee: Rich Anderson
The referee reports that it was a “spirited match”.

Diablo Gaels hosting Fresno: Canceled

Orlando 0 – DAYTONA 24 Referee: Sam Reagle
Location: Orlando, FL
Weather: Perfect
This was a much better game than the score implies. Daytona's backline was the difference. Orlando had multiple attacks thwarted by turnovers and excellent pursuit from Daytona. The few times Daytona broke into the open, they outran the Orlando pursuit.

After about 11 minutes of back and forth rugby, Daytona scored their first converted try. It would be their only try of the half as a penalty kick about 7 minutes later completed the first half scoring.

The second half was very similar to the first. The visitor’s backline scored a converted try about 15 in and another about 10 minutes later. The rest of the half was typical industrial rugby. Both teams ran well, tackled well and rucked well with very few surprises.

After the game we headed to the Pine Street Pub for the social to quench our thirsts and enjoy Southern style hot wings. My thanks to the Orlando RFC for their great hospitality and to the FRFURS for the game.

Next week is USA vs Uruguay in Ft. Lauderdale. Should be a hoot.


From David Williamson:
“Ran into Paul Gauthier at the Military Championships at Fort Benning this week. He was one of the Marine Corps coaches, along with Bob Destafney. According to Paul, the Marines finally played according to the game plan and soundly defeated Navy in the consolation match--earning third place in the tournament.

“Gravelly-voiced Paul, who's been invited to return as a Marine Corps coach next year, wants to be noted in HP.”

We are happy to take note of Pelicus Sibilo Egregius nee Sarcophilus Harrisii, the whistler extraordinaire. Although: while the new Commandant of the California Maritime Academy, COL Destafney, retired from the Marine Corps earlier this year, our friend Paul is retired from the same US Navy that his adopted team soundly defeated!

Mr. and Mrs. Wood
This one shall speak for itself.

And it says, “Ahhhhhh....”


For the Senate
Pelicus Scriptoris