Thursday, August 20, 2009

H STANDS FOR RUGBY

HAIL, PELICUS!

RUGBY TREASURE IN THE BAY

Treasure Island is well on its way to becoming the epicenter of American rugby that the polo field in Golden Gate Park used to be.

Treasure Island was created to host a World’s Fair and then to serve as the Bay Area’s major airport. (You can see the control tower on the corner to the right at the stop sign where the entrance gate used to be.) The lower deck of the Bay Bridge was at that time covered with railroad tracks – the airport would have been at the heart of the mass-transit network. But this was in 1939 when storm clouds on both the Atlantic and Pacific horizons led the government to take possession of the engineered island for the Navy.

Those clouds finally dissipated fifty years later when the Berlin Wall fell and with the retrenchment of our forces Treasure Island freed up for civilian development.

The San Francisco/Golden Gate club has developed an enviable facility on the southeast corner of the island, with Rocca Field running parallel to Avenue H between California and 1st.

Golden Gate has dreams of resurrecting the Golden Gate tournament, and what could be more appropriate? With the Gaelic Association having three pitches along Avenue H, each of which is much larger than a rugby field, the athletic acreage exists already.

There is also the possibility that SFGG will be developing a second pitch of their own just to the north of their clubhouse.

Recently, the San Francisco Fog have obtained the use of enough land at the corner of 6th and H to build two full-sized fields or to squeeze in three playable pitches in order to realize their dream of hosting a Bingham Cup. They also have two choices for potential clubhouses. One is 70,000 square feet. The other was formerly a YMCA, which means it already has changing rooms. If we word-associate ‘YMCA’ and ‘San Francisco’, 'Fog' can’t be far behind.

And then, of course, there are those three Gaelic pitches. The Fog and Golden Gate are on good terms with the GAA. There could be six or eight athletic grounds along Avenue H where never a soccer ball fears to tread...

CIPP EXPIRES AT THE END OF AUGUST

In order to remain current with USA Rugby everyone reading this needs to register for 2010.

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

Take the first option: Create/Renew Individual Membership. Go from there. It's $60.

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 ‘club’ is the Northern California Rugby Referee Society. So far, we have five members for 2010. We’ll need more than that to meet the regular-season schedules.

TWO NATIONAL SEVENS CHAMPIONSHIPS

Belmont Shore won the USA Rugby Club Sevens Championships hosted by SF/Golden Gate this past weekend at Rocca Field, defeating Aspen and gaining revenge for their defeat in last year’s final.

SF/GG reprised last year’s performance, winning the Plate. This requires finishing the round-robin in the top half of the sixteen-team field, losing a quarterfinal, and then winning two in row to go home with hardware.

NOVA won the first-ever nationwide women’s club competition hosted by the Fog at the GAA fields at the northern end of Treasure Island, along Avenue H between 10th and 11th.

The All Blues were dominant in their first six games, giving up only one try. However, in their final game they gave up six trys to the NOVA juggernaut.

NOVA 2 won the Bowl, emulating their men’s team who also won the Bowl at the other end of Avenue H and were on hand to watch the women triumph.

Readers will recall that there wasn’t a USA Rugby-sponsored Girls High School Championship until after the girls proved their interest by holding it themselves. Perhaps these women’s efforts will be similarly noticed and rewarded.

MEN’S CHAMPIONSHIPS
Report by John Pohlman:

This was Golden Gate’s 2nd year of a three year contract to host the USA National Club 7's.

Props to Golden Gate for doing a great job. Way too many GG supporters to name all. Mike Walker stood out by organizing the ball boys and generally keeping the tournament on schedule. It looks like they may have even come close to making a profit.

The Pelicans were well represented in all phases of officiating. We had members @ 1-8 or whatever includes referee, AR's, In Goal Officials, evaluators, substitution officers, etc...

My Saturday started by arriving at Treasure Island around 7:45. This allowed enough time to check out the woman's Club 7's hosted by the FOG.
I was one of the first officials to arrive. The main group coming from SF were detoured by a mail truck which closed the Bay bridge. But being well prepared officials and leaving plenty of time, the tournament started at exactly 9:00AM.

Sweet Donnie Pattalock was deputized by Patty Mac to organize the AR's and IGO's. Patty does a great job running the referees, always positive and loads of energy. Donnie set up assignments for the AR's and IGO's.

Paul Bretz got the opener. Denver versus Life. First game and everyone was warming up. Aruna had the third game. Not bad three games two Pelicans already in the middle. Unfortunately a player rolled into Aruna's knee in the first half. He had to leave the game with a fractured tibia and will be out for an extended period.

First day saw 28 games played. I ran AR or IGO for 14 of them. The first eight hours were fun with the energy of the tournament fueling the competitive juices. By the end of the day I had 'almost' had enough rugby. Fortunately three things happened. First and foremost, Tony Wells GG workhorse and tournament organizer, brought me a Genius at the end of the last game. Yes I did the first game of the day and the last. Second, the Pelicans from the FOG tournament showed up with birthday cake for Mike Gadoua's 50th. And last rugby really was over for the day. Finally got home a little after 9:00PM.

Sunday got to sleep in. First game at 10:00AM. I arrived before 9. Most of the officials were there, no mail mis-deliveries.

And day two starts with renewed energy and knowing this is A-game day. The competition is heating up. A loss and you are gone.

I am not going to get into details of the games, you can go to a number of website and get specifics. Aspen, last years champions played Belmont Shore. Aspen's roster was filled with players from everywhere...except Colorado.

But Belmont Shore won and certainly deserved to win. They seemed to improve every game. And as the completion got faster and stronger so did they. Tom Lyons did a good job refereeing the game.

One quick plug for the Golden Gate boys. I was talking with one of the GG organizers who said they were hoping to resurrect the Golden Gate tournament at Treasure Island. They have four fields available. Thinking this would be a post season tournament sometime in May. If you have any interest in helping out with this project please contact the GG's website.

PELICAN UP NORTH
A narrative of my exchange to Alberta
By Bjorn Stumer

Customarily those who travel up North to Alberta make a week of it, with matches in Calgary one week-end, in Edmonton the following week-end with some sightseeing in between. I could not spare the time but arrived on Thursday for the long week-end hosted by the Alberta Society. I was met at the airport by David Robinson who, even though only in his late forties and still quite fit, has been refereeing top level rugby since the early nineties. As a matter of fact he remembers refereeing one of the night matches played at Kezar Stadium in San Francisco, a series that I remember playing in 1992. Since then he had many important assignments including in Dubai.

After picking up my bags, David drove me to a local watering hole where I met Andrew Petti, my host for the week end, and another referee. After snacks & a few pints we made our way to the car, but on the way met another ref. who was coming to join us. This required us to stop at another pub for an additional pint. We finally retired at the Petti’s house, having stopped on the way to stock up on liquid refreshments and steaks that Andrew ably BBQ’d for our supper. The Petti family and their two fine dogs are all most hospitable, and I was given full use of their furnished basement with my own TV and music system.

As both Andrew and his wife had to work on Friday morning, I was met by David Robinson who graciously took me for a brief tour of Banff National Park, about an hour away from Calgary. I said brief tour, because the park is so beautiful that days on end could be spent there exploring. As a matter of fact I plan to return with my wife who fondly remembers a summer spent there as a kid. After our tour, David drove us straight to the Calgary Irish Rugby Club, where I was scheduled to do a Div. 3 match between the Irish and the Canucks.

This Division 3 match was portrayed to me as a hodge-podge match comprising inter-divisional players, old boys, and even a couple of playing refs, to include David. This might have applied to the Irish, but the Canucks were a much younger and fitter side, who put in 50 points on the 5 scored by the Irish. If I were to point out the difference between the match and a Division 3 match here in NorCal, I would mention the great handling skills of both teams. Our teams would have had far more knock ons. I should also point out that there was quite a bit of running in this match, and the 3000’ feet altitude and extremely dry weather seriously affected my pre-season form. After the match I enjoyed the hospitality and atmosphere of the Calgary Irish clubhouse, then off to bed in order to approach the Saturday match in a more professional manner.

Saturday morning my host Andrew and I went out for a full Dutch breakfast and still had time to watch the South Africa – Australia tri-nation match prior to our setting off for the Saturday matches. The Rugby day unfolded at the fine facilities of the Alberta Rugby Union: Three fine pitches, the main with bleachers, a ground floor set of changing rooms, including referee facilities, and a second floor clubhouse with bar, terrace, and the usual memorabilia and accoutrements you would expect at such a Rugby venue.

This time I had a second division match. Once again pitting the Calgary Irish versus the Canucks. This was a closely fought and fast match, played by two fit, young, and determined sides. I felt much better than the day before and felt more able to follow the game, but feel that this match would have been better served by a more capable referee. Having said that, the team meant to win did on the day did, and the Irish reversed the table by handing out a defeat to the Canucks. The score was pretty close but, since no official match card materialized for this match and I gave my notes to Andrew for the official record, I cannot remember what it was. I felt that I had a decent first half but, as the score was pretty close and the rivalry high, the second half seemed to slip away from me a bit, and the penalties increased as tempers began to frail. Fortunately I did not have to resort to cards, and a good time was had by all. Oddly enough the coach of the losing team approached me later and told me that I had a good second half – go figure!

Following my match, I assisted with two more matches, both first division, one ably refereed by my host Andrew. My fellow assistant referee for both matches was Kim Godeseth, a good natured young and attractive female referee who has great potential within Alberta and Rugby Canada. I see great things for her in the future, especially if she will visit Northern California on an exchange as planned and get some of our assessment assistance as part of her development. After the 3 matches I was pretty tired, especially since all of them were played in fairly hot weather. This after weeks of incessant rains experienced in the area. I was tired, but not enough not to be able to repair to the clubhouse for the customary apr├Ęs’ rugby activities. The food choices were great, the company congenial, and the beer flowed freely – a great time indeed!

We had a nice lazy Sunday morning, then lunch with Andrew and his wife and a ride to the airport for my trip back home. All of the referees I met were incredibly friendly and hospitable, the Rugby on tap was great, and this was a wonderful experience for me. David Robinson gave me a super Rugby Canada tie and I in return gave him a San Francisco Golden Gate Rugby ball. Andrew Petty proved the perfect host and gave me two polo shirts as gifts. One from the Alberta Referee Society, and another from his old club the Calgary Canucks. In turn I gave him a few goodies including our Society tie and flags. Just a wonderful exchange!!! Thanks to all up in Calgary and to our Society for sending me up.

THIS WEEK’S PHOTO
Gadoua's Fiftieth
Pelicus Septenae Potioris (who of course prefers Sevens), Mike Gadoua, celebrates half a century with his wife Susan and hundreds of like-minded folk at Rocca Field on Saturday.

HAIL, PELICUS!

For the Senate
Pelicus Scriptoris