Wednesday, December 15, 2010




Phil Akroyd has been promoted to the Pacific Coast’s Territorial Panel.

Rich Boyer has been promoted to L2.

Stephanie Bruce, Bruce Ricard and Jen Tetler have been promoted to L3.

Congratulations to these referees on receipt of their early Christmas presents.


IF YOU WANT TO REFEREE, reply with your availability.

‘Travel’ means more than 90 miles or so each way. Be aware that this only works if everyone is willing to travel at least 2 or 3 times per season: we have a lot of ‘outlying’ teams.

If there is a particular weekend you’d like to plan a trip to Humboldt, Mendocino, Shasta, Reno, Fresno or the Central Coast of Arroyo Grande/Paso Robles, we can plan that right now for any time between now and the end of March. There are some definite romantic weekends at a B&B or hiking/skiing trips that could be arranged. Let’s parley.
Please cut, fill in the blanks, and return to sender:

Jan 8
Jan 15
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Jan 29


Old-Boys Warm-Up:
SOBS 40 – NOBS 15 Referee: Chris Tucker
Helping from the sidelines: Mark Godfrey, Hannah Wilkening
Helping from in between the sidelines: Eason, Wilkening Sr., Boyer Sr., everyone else

Old boys rugger on a wet and slippery pitch in Sacramento was always going to be entertaining. Having had my wisdom teeth out on Wednesday it hurt to blow the whistle, so management and a blind eye was the name of the game. It worked out quite nicely as we went: make sure the ball comes out, that everyone is safe and that the offside line is at least approximately observed. Minor knock-ons? Nah. Hands in? If it helps recycle, sure. Played evenly, nobody seemed to mind.

Sac was a little light on numbers, so they recruited a couple of youth players to help out. After they scored two tries, they were banned from scoring again. Two scrums were awarded for flagrant breach of said law. The next time one got in he deliberately knocked it on -- good awareness.

One note is a little bit of rugby karma. There were only two dangerous tackles, both by the same chap. I had a stern word after the first shoulder charge. 30 seconds later he does it again -- advantage allowed a try to score, and when I looked up to kick the guy out, he was walking off the field with a dislocated shoulder. I told him it was dangerous.

All smiles at the end, and then onto the main tourney...

Present: Don Pattalock, Cary Bertolone, George O'Neil, Phil Akroyd, Rich Boyer; also seen ARing: Chris Tucker, Joe Androvich

Scores from the round-robin:
SAC CAPS 19 – O Club 7 Ref: Pattalock
SF/GOLDEN GATE 31 – Chico 0 Ref: Bertolone
DIABLO GAELS 17 – O Club 7 Ref: O’Neil
DIABLO GAELS 24 – Sac 0 Ref: Akroyd

SFGG 22 – Diablo Gaels 19 Ref: Pattalock
Note: referee definitely outside the 22 when awarding one try...
O CLUB 7 – Chico 5 Ref: Akroyd

Report by Rich Boyer:
What a great day for rugby! Despite no sun the day was relatively warm.

Because of the rain the pitches, however, turned to pea soup later in the day with nary a green blade of grass to be found. Nonetheless, it was a great turnout by the teams and supporters.

SAC CAPS 12 – Chico Mighty Oaks 5 Referee: Rich Boyer
This was a very spirited game with a number of new players representing Sacramento. Good rucking and some good back interchange play, although the pitch conditions prevented it from becoming a true running match. Sac Mens’ scrumhalf/flyhalf connection worked well. Chico’s flyhalf and the big inside center and big 8 dominated play for Chico.

This was a great match in that on the close calls made by this referee against Chico, whenever a Chico player would protest, the captain and 8 man would inform the protesting player that indeed the proper call had been made. It’s nice to have player validation :o)

Credit Sac’s fullback for a nice line break, against the grain, in for the winning try.

DIABLO GAELS 5 – Sac Caps 0 Ref: Boyer
Sac again played a number of new players, some who are literally in their first season of rugby. The pitch really bogged down the play, so Diablo turned towards rolling mauls, which resulted in the only score when the Kiwi openside mauled in from 10 meters. Diablo impressed, with two standout locks, a hard charging prop, and a good back line led by their flyhalf. Sacramento played stout defense and had some good back play, but could not get past the Diablo defense.

11:30AM: Sac Caps Academy – SFGG Academy
Not sure what happened with this one…


Fresno Over-30 – FRESNO UNDER-30 Referee: Dan Wilson
Yes, the unders won by 2 tries. They started strong with a quick try, but the overs got back into the game by playing the team game.

Maritime Academy 5 – ALUMNI 32 Referee: John Coppinger
It was a sunny winter day until a thick fog moved across the pitch just after kickoff; however, the pitch was a muddy bog from the rain earlier in the week.

Alumni were competent and experienced across the side and were paced by strong players at 8 and 13 which allowed them to handle a fitter, but inexperienced, student side.

Paso Robles – ARROYO GRANDE Referee: Mike King
On a bright, sunny afternoon, first year club Paso Robles dedicated its home pitch with its inaugural match against nearby Arroyo Grande.

The visitors may very well be a force to be reckoned with in league play. They already looked sharp and fit, taking early advantage of the new kids on the block. While the entire side played with intensity and skill, in particular, #7 was a presence on offense and defense in the middle, and #10 provided pace in the backs so that they could overlap their counterparts.

Paso Robles has some experienced players, but mainly is comprised of novices to this game. Their early inability to cover the field, led to an onslaught of tries by Arroyo Grande. Progress was made though, and better defense on the perimeter began to materialize. The enthusiasm of Paso Robles did not wane, as they clawed back to score 2 times themselves. Good athleticism was showed by both sides. All who played seemed to enjoy the run to get a taste of what is ahead. The event was followed by a BBQ at field side, so everyone also got the spirit of the post-game celebration.

SANTA ROSA 61 – Vacaville 22 Referee: Tony Levitan
Referee Coach: Dixon Smith
65 and sunny at the full-size-for-rugby, For Pete's Sake pitch in Santa Rosa, the game produced 15 tries on a track that was a bit soggy from the previous night's rain ... We can only imagine what might have happened on a fast track ... And this with the ref coming off a calf injury and looking forward to a plodding forward-oriented match :-).

The opening match for both sides saw loads of running rugby from both teams, with Santa Rosa managing their ball a bit more protectively and productively than Vacaville. Set pieces were minimal, fairly contested and successful for whichever team was putting or throwing in. The players adapted well, mostly, to the new laws, and were intent on playing clean, fast-paced rugby.

For Santa Rosa, their left wing (#11) and mildly-mouthy lock (#5) each scored a hat-trick of tries, while Vacaville's seriously speedy right wing (#19 in this match) yielded a pair of tries -- including one off an Advantage call (which secretly delighted the ref) -- from a host of long, creative runs. For some reason, neither team's try scorers felt compelled to position the ball more favorably for their kickers, so we only saw 4 conversions all day (3 for Santa Rosa).

Dixon was enormously helpful to the ref on a number of points, providing feedback both at halftime and post-game. This returning referee would like to officially pronounce referee coaches a wonderful gift to the NorCal rugby community in general, and his game specifically. And he's not sure why he's writing in the 3rd person...

[Editor’s Note: This editor’s third person understands.]

Santa Rosa 2 – Mendocino Referee: Sean Peters
No report received

Round-robin: Berkeley, Monterey Bay, Haas Biz School
Report by Bryant Byrnes:
Berkeley RC hosted Monterey and Cal's Hass School of Business to a round robin at its home field. Eric Rauscher and I were the blooded Society refs with new Society members Patrick Loo and Jeffrey Ferguson giving it a go. As things sorted themselves out the eight games became five, all spirited, all fun. It was also an excellent opportunity for new players to get a real game in.

The teams very quickly became motleys and so everyone won some and lost some.

Quote from an unnamed ref in response to some post-game squawking about something or another: "Listen, I didn't give you a quarter of the [expletive] penalties I could have". Truth is an absolute defense.

Quote from a flanker with a French accent on getting a penalty for offside at a scrum, having twice unbound and advancing before the ball was out: "But it was not material!" Twice? Overruled.

BERKELEY A 19 – Monterey Bay 7 Referee: Eric Rauscher
TJs: Supplied by team
Tom Bates field, Berkeley
Overcast, a bit chill. A round-robin of three teams ( the other being Haas Business )

This game was closer than the score. Both teams played well for a pre-season game. The game was 40 min played straight through.

There was an injury about 15 min in. Both teams stopped playing without a whistle. It turned out to be a broken or badly sprained ankle.

We restarted play to the attacking team with a scrum where play stopped. There was also an instance of a Monterey Bay player making a valiant effort close to goal, forcing his way through defenders to dot the ball down about six inches over the white line. I awarded the try. Unfortunately the goal line is the blue one, about six inches further. The Berkeley players groused a bit, but accepted the call in a sportsman-like fashion. It is a common mistake on fields marked for more than one type of game.

Berkeley B 7 – MONTEREY BAY 21
It should be noted that the A and B is not a tier, just two different teams. Once again 40 min played straight through. .For the Monterey team this was like the second half, so the combined score would be Berkeley 26/ Monterey Bay 28, a score that indicates the closeness of the play. Once again we had strings of multiple phases with play all over the field.

All in all it was a very enjoyable day of refereeing two teams that played well.

Colusa – Reno Academy CANCELED Referee: Jackie Finck
Reno canceled, so Colusa scrimmaged themselves.

I've never been to a rugby game where the entire pitch is surrounded by muddy pickup trucks, most of them with ATVs in the back! This was my first sign I was in for a good day.

It turned out to be a bittersweet day for the Colusa Men's Rugby team; first home game of the season after a long absence (years) in the town, first/second match ever for most of the team, roughly half the town shows up on the sidelines, but where's the visiting team? Someone checked their overdue voicemail message and it was Reno saying they would be unable to attend Saturday's match.

Nonetheless, Colusa had enough guys to field two sides, so I offered to ref a scrimmage. We played 20-minute halves. Although most of these guys were brand new, I was REALLY impressed with how well they played. The veterans were evenly spread out, constantly communicating with the entire team. And although their scrums were stable and safe, they didn't have the stamina or impact power an experienced team would have. Only a matter of time before the scrum gets "rugbyfied"...this team is made of some big farm boys with All-American football players. Due to the football factor, their backline plays were fast, and the most illusive I have seen this season...they just have to practice keeping hold of that ball.

After the match, I was eager to listen to the interesting history to this rugby team; originally started in 1972. The guys were very hospitable, and we shared laughs at the moment when one of the players pushed me out of the way during the match, which knocked me to the ground (I got in the way of play), and I dove across mud, getting my entire front muddy...and not just mud, but it was farm mud, the kind that smells of farm. Whomever ref's these guys will enjoy their time in Colusa.


Tom Zanarini sent this along last week:

“Thought you might like to see this... Note the TMO.

“12 February 2011
England vs Italy at Twickenham, London
Referee: Craig Joubert (South Africa)
Assistant referees: Peter Fitzgibbon (Ireland), Peter Allan (Scotland)
Television match official: Tony Redmond (Ireland)

“13 March 2011
England vs Scotland at Twickenham, London
Referee: Romain Poite (France)
Assistant referees: Jérôme Garces (France), Carlo Damasco (Italy)
Television match official: Tony Redmond (Ireland)”

But speak of the Devil and he appears: Tony then checked in with a link to his blog about how the duties of the TMO expand when the weather worsens:


The basic rugby referee course will be offered in Sacramento on Sunday, January 9.

Any coach of a college team who attends with one or two players from that team will have their course fees reimbursed at the meeting, courtesy of a friendly donor.

The lead instructor will be Matt Eason: Let him know if you plan to attend. On-line registration is not yet available (as of December 8).

Lois Bukowski, Eugene Baker and Dave Newport in front of the new bar in the SF/Golden Gate clubhouse at the recent NCRRS meeting.


For the Senate
Pelicus Scriptoris

Thursday, December 09, 2010




The Pelican Refs will be meeting in the Golden Gate clubhouse from 7 to 9 PM. Food will be available starting at 6, so plan to arrive early. You can eat and talk rugby if traffic is light, and you won’t be late if it’s not.


The USA High School All Americans will be playing Canada U-17 two games in Santa Barbara, on Wednesday, December 29 at 3 PM and Friday, December 31, at 9 AM.

SoCal is putting out a call for ARs but so are we, in case they don’t get volunteers to cover these work-day games.

Your scribe will be one of the ARs for the Wednesday game. Don Pattalock and Joe Androvich have been appointed to ref the two games.


NorCal rugby is growing. There are going to be 25 youth clubs in the Bay Area alone (this number doesn’t include the Sac Valley, which has been the pioneer here). Each of these will have multiple sides beginning as young as Under-6 up to U-14.

At the opposite end, club and college rugby features a number of new teams as well.

Men’s club:
SL: One. SFGG played in the league final each of the last two years.
D1: Seven teams, Reno Zephyrs having dropped down and East Palo Alto Bulldogs as a new entrant. Five of these teams have scheduled matches with SF/Golden Gate prior to the start of the SL season.
D2: Ten teams, playing a round-robin. Same teams as last year less Vallejo and Arroyo Grande.
D3: Sixteen teams, divided into North and South conferences of eight teams each.
There would be seventeen except that Monterey organized too late to be put into the schedule. They will be combining with Aptos as Monterey Bay for the season.

New teams include: South Valley (Morgan Hill), Paso Robles, Colusa, Reno Academy, and Samoa United. The Reno Zephyrs, Vallejo and AG have dropped down to D3.

Men’s college:
CPL: Three. California, St. Mary’s and UC Davis will compete in the inaugural season of the new premier division.
D1: Four. Santa Clara will move up from D2 to compete with Chico State, Sac State and Stanford.
D2: Eleven teams divided into two conferences.

Women’s College:
D1: Six teams, with UC Santa Cruz having moved up from D2. Chico State is new. Nevada has dropped down.
D2: Four. St. Mary’s and USF have vanished. The SF Bats are new. Perhaps they represent SF State?


Tuesday, November 30
STANFORD women 60 – California 0 Referee: Pete Smith
This game was a bit one sided on the scoreboard at 60-0. However, if you were watching the game on TV and were just glancing at the set from time to time and didn’t see the score, you would think that the team with 0 was winning. They dominated possession and position, but time and time again, Stanford would get the turnover they needed and would run back, typically all the way, for a try. The majority of Stanford’s tries were scored from over halfway. Cal would have long periods of sustained pressure only to have Stanford counter punch with a length-of-the-field haymaker. Stanford ran one out from 15M deep in their own try zone, made it to the 22, won the ruck, took off again, next tackle at the Cal 10M line and then in for the try from there. Emilia from Stanford had the play of the game as she took off from the shadow of her own goalpost, chipped the ball over the defense, grubbed the bounce past the full back, picked the ball up about their own 10M line, passed it out to the wing who was caught from behind, but Emilia was in support to catch the return pass and as she was being tackled off loaded to the try scorer-WOW!!!! Note that Cal was there the length of the field to make tackles; Stanford was just too good in support and keeping the ball alive. Stanford has some good forwards (particularly the loose forwards) and they are still learning to work together as a unit up front, but as usual the strength of Stanford is their backs. They BELIEVE that they can score from anywhere on the field. Cal needs to learn how to finish and they will be a strong team this year.


MARITIME ACADEMY 25 – UC Davis 20 Referee: Paul Bretz
AR: Bruce Bernstein

Seconds: Maritime Academy 12 – UC DAVIS 20 Referee: Bruce Bernstein
Saw two very competitive well coached matches Friday night at CMA in Vallejo. Was slightly less cold & windy & muddy reffing the seconds after ARing the firsts. Both games could have went easily went either way & the highlights in my match were: CMA's flyhalf caught & distributed some great ball that was all over & he never knocked on; CMA's 2nd row & lankiest player on the pitch scored 2 really nice tries by extending his long arms juts across the try line; UC Davis flyhalf had a slithering run for a great try; & after the match heard a comment form one of the losers: “That was an entertaining game.”



St. Mary’s hosted four matches with their large squad of players. The Gaels’ packs were stronger than their opponents’ in all four matches, a remarkable depth of front-row not normally seen at any level.

ST. MARY’S 4, 37 – San Francisco State 5 Referee: John Pohlman
This Saturday took me to the St. Mary's rugby experience. I call the day this in tribute to the rugby program they have built.

I arrived around 9:00am for a 10:00AM kickoff. I was scheduled to do St. Mary's fourth side against SFSU. That is correct St. Mary's is fielding four sides.

The weather was low 50's a couple of sprinkles throughout the game. But all and all very good rugby conditions.

St. Mary's had good size and some faces I recognized from high school programs. They obviously had plenty of players.

Coach Dean has SFSU on the upswing. They had some injuries to their back-line. The captain and #10 was out. This hurt their organization and go forward. Eventually St. Mary's needed to give a player to SFSU.

The game was pretty one-sided. The St. Mary's players seemed to have run the entire Thanksgiving break. Fitness was the primary difference.

St. Mary's scored five first half trys. They added one more in the second half.

To SFSU’s credit they scored the final try and I blew my whistle to end the game.

I stayed around the whole day. Watching the other St. Mary's sides play two GG teams and finish the day with another one-sided game against Humboldt State.

After I had a chat with head coach Tim O'Brien whole said they have 63 very committed players. If their fitness is testimony to their commitment, look out.

I also noticed an physical edge to the players throughout the four sides. No backing down.

If you get a chance catch the Gaels.

St. Mary's 3, 14 – SF/GOLDEN GATE seconds 75 Referee: Bruce Carter
ARs: Eric Rauscher, Anthony Yeo
This team was largely SFGG’s D2 squad with some real youngsters and a few transfers from around the Bay. A lot of tries were scored from long range, giving the ref the kind of workout referees hope for in the pre-season.

St. MARY’S 30 – SF/Golden Gate 15 Referee: George O'Neil
ARs: Eric Rauscher, John Pohlman
Video-coach: Bruce Carter

St. MARY’S seconds 78 – Humboldt State 7 Referee: Anthony Yeo (SoCal)
ARs: Eric Rauscher, John Coppinger
Evaluator: Dixon Smith
Video-coach: Bruce Carter

U. of the Pacific 17 – U. OF SAN FRANCISCO 39 Referee: Rich Boyer
AR: Ron Decausemaker
Referee Coach: Scott Wood

I was fortunate enough to referee on the finest pitch in Northern California (in my opinion), bar none. UOP’s pitch is fantastic!

UOP is a young team, but they came out swinging and played to a 12-12 tie at halftime. USF had fewer numbers, but their experience showed in the second half as they won a game closer than the final score indicates. UOP had the stronger pack (even taking a penalty scrum from five meters out in for a try), but USF had the more experienced backs, which was the difference for the day.

USF captain Paddy, from Worcester, England, played flyhalf and was easily man of the match. Great ball handling skills, an eye for the quick tap penalty, and a good burst through the gap separated him from all others. Although only 22, he played professionally for Worcester, then coached in Brisbane, having the opportunity to coach Wallaby sensation James O'Connor.

UOP has improved tremendously since I last reffed them in October, with numbers 6 and 8 very hard men indeed. Solid runners and willing, strong tacklers.

Good sportsmanship, and a good game!

Special thanks to Ron DeCausemaker for offering to run touch, and to Scott Wood for his insight into the game.

Fresno State 19 – FRESNO 33 Referee: Phil Akroyd
AR: Dan Wilson
Both teams made hard work of this. Game was pretty even until half. The men dominated the ruck but didn't use the ball too effectively while State thrived in broken play. Not a bad game for pre season but not the best either.

SHASTA 17 – SF Fog 12 Referee: Mike King
Bingham Stein Game
The match commenced on schedule on a relatively dry surface and no rain. There were some patches of mud that played occasional havoc on footing. Play was a bit sloppy at first with dropped balls slowing several attacks down. Shasta struck first with its charging forwards attack, but its tactics changed after several substitutions in the backfield. The Highlanders became more effective in counterattack when the Fog would kick ahead. The Fog’s #10 was near perfect kicking for goal, slotting 2 first half penalty kicks and 2 in the second half. Unfortunately, the drives of the Fog near Shasta’s goal did not lead to paydirt. With the ref off his game a bit, there was some chippiness that settled down. Kudos for both sides, especially the Fog who traveled a long way to slide in the mud and for the post-game pint

SIERRA COLLEGE 59 – Nevada 14 Referee: Joe Androvich
To any referee who gets a SCJC assignment, be prepared for a fast run, especially if they are playing on the football team's field turf. These guys play a fast-paced game.

Seconds: SIERRA COLLEGE 44 – Nevada 10 Referee: Jackie von Finck
ARs: Rod Chance and Marc Godfrey
The weather behaved nicely that afternoon for a 3pm b-side match. Sierra College had a full fresh side for their B-game, whereas UNR needed roughly five A-side players to fill a B-side team.

Sierra College executed great communication with each other throughout the match; players knew who was at the off-side lines at rucks/mauls/tackles which were defensively stocked without gaps, and arriving players were vocal as to their support of their teammate being contested. It was during the second half UNR gave Sierra a good contest; UNR quickly swung the ball wide to the outer edge of the field to score both times. Nonetheless, Sierra College was more vocally and physically hungry for the ball.

Overall, both teams did an excellent job and I really enjoyed my time out there...running on turf made me feel faster! Looking back, both teams were low on penalties during their B-side match. That said, I did have the assistance of two good touch judges who kept a 'third eye' out for me.

MONTEREY BAY 17 – Marauders 6 Referee: Bryant Byrnes

The odd fellows that are referees; I drive 2 hours to do a match that is 10 minutes away from Bruce Carter’s house, and he drives 2 hours to do a match 10 minutes away from mine.

I liked Monterey Bay. It has the makings of an excellent D3 and with some seasoning a creditable D2.

In lovely Monterey; dry but atmospherically dramatic. Monterey has merged with Aptos, resulting in excellent numbers; it had 30 plus. The Marauders are an ''independent'', whatever that means. Some oldsters, but they certainly came to play.

These being early days and D3, it took a bit to get the tackles lower, off side lines established, and the sea lawyers under control (this last being a worthy subject in a Society meeting). But then a game broke out. First try by Monterey at 22 minutes, 12-3 to them at half. Then good multiphase stuff. With a minute left and on the attack, the Marauders had a chance- but the other fellows got the ball at a tackle and dotted it in the corner as the siren sounded.

SAN JOSE STATE 28 – Santa Rosa JC 15 Referee: Pete Smith
It was an odd game that felt more like a scrimmage than a preseason game between two of the best Div 2 teams around. SRJC was short on numbers, especially in the front row, and clearly wasn’t the team that I was expecting. The players had fun and got a good run in. All in all a good rugby day.

Seconds: San Jose State – Santa Rosa JC Referee: Rob Hendrickson
Santa Rosa JC had too many injuries to field a B side, so SJ put up forwards and we played a 20 minute half/game. Not worth reporting as a game.

UC SANTA CRUZ women over San Jose State Referee: Sandy Robertson
The two teams got together for a scrimmage--both teams showed great enthusiasm, energy, and gentleness towards the referee. They ran and tackled hard. UCSC's greater experience and time together proved to be the difference (San Jose State included both students and Seahawks women). After going down a couple of tries the SJS women put together a sustained march to put one down under the post.

MORGAN HILL 35 – Modesto 6 Referee: Chris Fisher


The basic rugby referee course will be offered in Sacramento on Sunday, January 9.

Any coach of a college team who attends with one or two players from that team will have their course fees reimbursed at the meeting, courtesy of a friendly donor.

The lead instructor will be Matt Eason: Let him know if you plan to attend. On-line registration still does not appear to be available as of December 8.


Ever fallen into a wormhole? Start with the slider all the way to the right and proceed down the scale for the full effect.


For the Senate
Pelicus Scriptoris

Tuesday, November 30, 2010




We trust everyone enjoyed a peaceful and gratitude-filled Thanksgiving. Your editorial staff certainly did, sharing a turkey dinner with family at a hotel on Waikiki.

Now it's time to check the bathroom scales, re-calibrate the workout schedule, and prepare for some rugby.


December 4:
We have games in Rocklin, Redding and Fresno that need refs. Let us know if you can travel to any of these destinations. We have refs available but they are all in the Bay Area, where there are very few games.

December 8:
Society meeting from 7-9 PM at the Golden Gate clubhouse on Treasure Island

FRIDAY, November 19, 7:00 PM
Maritime Academy 5 – STANFORD 7 Referee: John Hinkin
A rainy, muddy Friday night up in Vallejo saw Stanford take the field against Cal Maritime...eventually. Both the Stanford bus and the Refmobile were caught in ridiculous traffic so the match kicked off a half hour past the 7:00 designated time The conditions made handling extremely difficult as both sides struggled to maintain possession of the ball. Many opportunities went begging or didn't get off the ground due to knock-ons. Kicks at goal were attempted and missed by both sides as kickers struggled with their footing and accuracy. Eventually in the second half Cal Maritime was able to get on the board after some sustained pressure but the conversion was wide. Stanford were able to hit back with their own period of pressure that led to a forward try off a 5-meter scrum. This try was nicely centered allowing Stanford to take a lead by the second narrowest of margins. Play went back and forth at that point with both sides desperate for points. An audacious Cardinal drop goal was well wide and after that Cal Maritime seemed to pick up their game. The match ended with Cal Maritime pressing for a score but giving up possession allowing Stanford a counter that went nearly the length of the field. With the ball safely in their hands and time up, captain and scrumhalf Dan Ibarra kicked the ball to touch to secure the win.

Seconds: CAL MARITIME 15 – Stanford 0 Ref: Hinkin
An enthusiastic affair saw Cal Maritime's depth on display as they ran in 3 tries to none for Stanford. Stanford had exactly 15 players for the B game and ended up borrowing a Cal Maritime player after an injury, so thanks goes to Steve Hiatt and the Cal Maritime staff for donating a body and keeping the game going. With the level of experience and the conditions there were the predictable handling errors but also some surprisingly solid phases of play. The difference was that Cal Maritime were able to finish off some breaks and Stanford wasn't.

SATURDAY, November 20

MONTEREY BAY 20 – Berkeley 15 Referee: Eric Rauscher
The game was originally scheduled to be played at the Presidio in Monterrey. The rain came in and the field was re-scheduled to one in Salinas. Nine AM driving down, I got a phone call saying "We're back at the Presidio, since the rain is gone." Both teams did their warm-ups. Five minutes before the game, I did the coin-toss with the two captains and as we're about ready to start the game someone walks on the field and says "You're not playing on my field." I think to myself, "Surely someone knows the base commander and we can get this straightened out." Oh. It is the base commander. So we move to Salinas. Kind of a field, no posts, gopher holes, short, etc., but two teams that wanted to play. Monterey Bay is the old Monterey RFC and Aptos combined into a new team. Berkeley RFC is the same. Both teams had many new players, so we played two thirty-minute periods followed by one twenty-minute period. The last two periods had uncontested scrums. At the end of the day, both teams seemed happy to have had a friendly game and headed off for a social afterward which I was invited to, but could not go to.

SANTA ROSA JC 36 – McGeorge 10 Referee: Cary Bertolone
Saturday, 11/20/10 at 2:00 PM in Santa Rosa at For Pete Eiermann's Sake Field, McGeorge kicked off to Santa Rosa in a drizzle that soon turned into a torrential down pour. The game was even and started out tightly fraught, with Santa Rosa making a couple of long runs to take a 12 point lead. The JC had a bigger pack and controlled the scrums and rucks, but their superiority was obviously in the backline. When they got it outside, they were gone! They took a 26-0 lead into half. The rain was coming down so hard, both teams took about two minutes for the half and were back on the field for the kick off. It was so cold, nobody wanted to stand around. I hardly had time to change my jersey. It would have been no fun on the sidelines, yet there was a sizeable crowd. Both teams scored a couple of tries amid substantial thunder and lightning and pouring rain and the final score was 36-10.

SAN JOSE STATE 37 – Seahawks U23, 0 Referee: John Pohlman
The weather kept me close to home, but not by choice. I was originally slated to go referee a woman's tournament in Davis. That tournament was moved to Sunday. I then picked up a game in Stockton, University of Pacific versus Sierra College. That game was postponed due to field being closed for rain. I then got the opportunity to referee 15 minutes from home on Saturday.

San Jose State was splitting up their sides and hosting San Jose Seahawks Under 23 and then USF.

I got the noon game. The skies never cleared, but we had a pretty dry game. The field was much firmer than I would have expected, but poorly marked. The pitch was probably in better shape than any other game played this weekend.

State split up their forwards and played their A-side backs against the Seahawks.

The game was more competitive than the score. The Seahawks had a lot of ball possession. But the State defense was overwhelming. State scored three tries, a conversion and a penalty in the first forty. The Seahawks had a couple of opportunities. In one phase of play State stopped the Hawks three times on the goal line.

The State defense was one of the most dominating I have seen for a while. They simply pressured the Hawks into mistakes and turnovers. The Seahawks #10 usually received a tackler or two upon catching the ball. The second half saw State scoring three more tries.

Final score San Jose State 37 San Jose Seahawks Under 23 0.

SAN JOSE STATE seconds 8 – Uni. of San Francisco 0 Referee: Chris Fisher
SJSU have really recruited well. At the end of the game when they were taking off their jerseys many of the players had 6-packs. When I was there, most players had beer bellies. If you can pull in athletes and give them a good coach i.e., Rick Humm, then good things will happen. Watch out for them this year.


UC DAVIS B 24 – SF State 5 Referee: Chris Tucker
A cool, blustery day for rugby marked my first game of the season. Still, at least we managed a game on a wet weekend, a remarkable feat sometimes in NorCal. Both teams were scrappy, but the game was played in good humour throughout. UC Davis started to exert their authority as injuries took their toll on an already-depleted SF side. 2 quick tries just before the half, and two more mid-way through the second put the game away. To their credit the visitors kept at it until the 80th minute, when continued pressure on the Davis line yielded two quick penalties at the breakdown, for not rolling away and then for pulling down a maul. A quick tap from the scrum half and the consolation try was scored.

SF FOG 17 – Mendocino 5 Referee: Jen Tetler
Referee Coach: Dixon Smith
There was a little bit of a fight that happened at the end of the 1st half, but then everyone settled down. I was nervous, but Dixon helped out a TON and gave really good feedback. Thanks :)

SF Fog B 0 – SEAHAWKS 46 Rookies Referee: Bruce Bernstein
Pretty sure these weren't Seahawk "rookies" as advertised to play Fog B players (really rookies); but a pretty strong 2nd division team in mid-season form, now including a new set of Polynesian players that were fast, big, dynamic; but lost the party to the Fog.

Other highlights were the fact there was no rain at TI until we got in our cars, around the time it started getting dark; & a prelim 8's (3 forwards & 5 backs) match b/w San Jose State Women & Seahawk Women which the much smaller & younger coeds won at the end 10 (2) - 5 (1); which were both coached by former Silverhawk/Old Black Old Boys.

4PM: Seconds: Chico State 5 – CAL POLY 34 Referee: Jackie Finck
An afternoon match felt like an evening match due to the weather. Because of the downpour of rain, the field lights came on early. The field lights magnified each drop of rain, and they also gave the illusion it was warmer than it was, which was in the low-60s.

Despite the very wet conditions, I was impressed at how well both teams handled the ball and endeavored to stay on their feet at tackles, rucks, and mauls. However, it was Cal Poly who dominated both halves; with a slightly stronger scrum and better at creating space.

Funny, there were a few times 'fast ball' had to happen FAST; I almost thought I was going to have to stop some tackles and rucks because of unsafe conditions, say drowning to the tackled player. Everyone got muddy, including myself....I'm still finding dirt on my scalp.

6PM: Chico State – CAL POLY Referee: JC Van Staden
No report received.

We only have reports from one of the four refs.

ST. MARY’S 34 – UCSB/Indiana/SMC Combination 15 Referee: John Coppinger
Uncontested scrums with lots of first year players. Didn't rain.

Seconds: UCSB – USAFA


St. Mary's – Indiana

USAFA seconds, 25 – Indiana/St. Mary's Combo 5 Referee: John Coppinger
With lots of new players and wet ground, scrums quickly became uncontested for safety. 60 minutes running clock. Also no rain.

UCSB – Indiana

St. Mary’s – USAFA

Seconds: St. Mary's – UCSB

Stanford Many – ALUMNAE Many + Referee: Sandy Robertson
Tries came fast and furiously in a match that where the numbers on each side varied from 10 to 12 depending on the moment. Both sides played like Stanford women--always aggressive, attacking; good hands and support.

The primary blemish for the alums was a failure to properly execute the traditional "penalty moon"--the 20+ cheeks were never properly aligned, the students were never awed, and the alums smothered.

Stanford 22 – ALUMNI 54 Referee: Bruce Ricard
Referee Coach: David Williamson

Report by Sam Davis:

Four women’s college teams gathered in Davis for a pre-season tournament:
UCD 15 – Sac St 0
UCD 5 – USF 5 Great game back and forth USF came back in the last mins of the game to tie it up.
Reno 5 – Sac St 5
Reno 0 – USF 12
UCD 7 – Reno 5
USF 12 – Sac St 5

I did all the games. The level of play was very good and they were all great games.

SATURDAY, November 27

SFGG – Alumni Referee: George O’Neil
No report received.

By Phil Akroyd

NORFOLK 54 – Raleigh 26
The east coast weather was perfect for the Div 1 top of the table clash in Lafayette Park, Norfolk, VA. While it was raining back in NorCal, I arrived at the field (with my host, Jeffrey Anderson) after a morning walk on Virginia Beach, watching the military ships on manoevers in the Atlantic. By kick off, we were at 60 degrees, clear sunny skies and little to no wind.

Norfolk won the toss and elected to choose field position. A large crowd of one to two hundred gathered on the sidelines of the flat, firm field measured to maximum dimensions.

I'd been told that both teams were considered (somewhat) local rivals but it was based on mutual respect. Both teams wanted to play and play hard. After about ten minutes, it became obvious that the home team were a little better than their opposition in every area of the game. They controlled scrums, had a very effective lineout with tapped down ball to the half back and good ball recycling.

When Norfolk began to control the ball and get their backs moving via their number ten (who reminded me a little of England’s Will Greenwood, at least physically) they pressed the opposition line. Raleigh could not deal with the speed of attack and their forwards let the team down by not getting back onside quickly enough and therefore, giving away back foot penalties. Norfolk slotted a PK after ten minutes and four tries before half, to Raleigh’s' one unconverted try - 27-5 at half.

When Norfolk scored a fifth and sixth after the break, it looked like Raleigh would throw in the towel, but they did exactly the opposite. They seemed to remember that they had a lightning fast line breaker at outside center (wearing the 22 shirt) who helped create or finish three tries in a short period of time. The competition became more equal and Norfolk were reminded that they had a lead to defend. They started to put the nail in the coffin with a push over try from a scrum and another with try that started on one touch line and ended on the other, just outside the 22.

Norfolk now go onto playoffs with an unbeaten season which appears as though they deserve it with a good all around performance.

Thanks to Jeffrey Anderson and family for making me feel welcome in Virginia, although I wish I had more time to check out the surrounding area.


The basic rugby referee course will be offered in Sacramento on Sunday, January 9.

Any coach of a college team who attends with one or two players from that team will have their course fees reimbursed at the meeting, courtesy of a friendly donor.

The lead instructor will be Matt Eason: Let him know if you plan to attend. On-line registration is not yet available (as of November 18).


For the Senate
Pelicus Scriptoris

Wednesday, November 17, 2010




We’ve got the alumni games at Stanford this Sunday, November 21. Please respond if you would be available.


The basic rugby referee course will be offered in Sacramento on Sunday, January 9.

Any coach of a college team who attends with one or two players from that team will have their course fees reimbursed at the meeting, courtesy of a friendly donor.

The lead instructor will be Matt Eason: Let him know if you plan to attend. On-line registration is not yet available (as of November 18).

November 13
Report by David Williamson:

We were honored to have three of the best coaches in the US join us: Paul Keeler from SFGG, Tom Billups from Cal, and Tony McKenzie from Lamorinda. The coaches discussed what they expect to see from referees at various times during Game Day. Preston Gordon moderated the panel.

Overall, the coaches were very complimentary of the level of refereeing in NorCal. But, as Tom stated, "the best can always get better." Tony appreciates seeing more discipline in HS matches, and seeing refs working the Frosh and JV matches. Paul noted the need
for more HS refs.

Before the game, Tony wants refs to provide a good briefing that covers interpretations such as "when is the ball out?" Tom is looking for a high level of professionalism. Paul stressed the ref being on time. "On Time" means 45 minutes to an hour before kickoff for high school, 1 hour for college, and 1.5 hours for Super League.

During the game, Tony is looking for tougher management of the game, which helps the players as they progress. He wants refs to work with the captains. Tom emphasized "life lessons" that can be learned in rugby, and asked referees not to coach the players. Paul said, "continuity is everything." Coaches want to keep the ball alive, and sometimes referees kill it by looking for an infraction. He encouraged refs to find a way to keep the game going.

At scrums, Paul urged refs to line up players in slots with their opposite numbers in the front row--the correct distance apart—to avoid collapses. Tom supports a slower cadence and utilizing input from the ARs to manage the contest. He stressed safety and recognized a dominant scrum's responsibility to manage it. Tony pointed out the different sizes of HS players.

After the match, Tony appreciates a 5 minute discussion with the referee regarding law interpretations. Tom prefers to review the video before engaging in a discussion. Paul said the post-match discussion "comes down to personalities." The discussion is much more productive if the ref has good "people skills" and is truly interested in the coach's perspective.

Finally, it was enlightening to hear how captains are selected: The Lamorinda players select their captain for the season, and the coaches encourage the players to look to him for on-field guidance. It takes a while to assume leadership at this level. At Cal, the captain has a defined role to manage team’s relationship with the referee. At SFGG, the captain may be selected based on who the referee is that week.

We're very appreciative of the time and energy the coaches devoted to the panel, and their candid remarks. Their efforts help make us better referees.


Friday, November 12:
Maritime Academy 6 – SANTA ROSA 22 Referee: Bryant Byrnes
Maritime's Friday Night Lights. Hey, new refs, if you are offered one of these matches, take it. It is great college D2, wonderfully venued.

This was the first match for both clubs-and like football, the defense tends to be ahead of the offence. The first half was 6-0-all Keelhaulers. They kept it in the pack and spent a lot of time parked on the Rosa goal line.

For the second half, Rosa changed tactics-deeply angle the backs, swing the pill out wide right to the outside center/wing, and let them ponies run. Run straight, at full sprint. Support. It worked. A missed tackle and they were downfield for big gainers-and tries.

Seconds: MARITIME ACADEMY 19 – Santa Rosa 10 Ref: Byrnes
A bit of a shambles but a happy one. This was the first match for many if not most of the Maritime seconds players, so uncontested scrums. The challenge with these games is to keep it safe, work on stuff, but give everyone a run. So that is what we did.


SOUTH VALLEY 47 – San Francisco State 0 Referee: Cary Bertolone
On 11/13/10, a gorgeous day in Morgan Hill, South Valley kicked off to SF State at 1:00PM. South Valley is a new Div. 3 team from Morgan Hill featuring several graduates of Live Oak H.S. They have a lot of youth mixed in with some sizeable, more experienced players that make the core of a really good team. This being early in the year, a lot of mistakes were made by the bigger, faster men's team, keeping them in check. I was tough on the high tacklers as well as the players diving over killing rucks. I even yellow carded one player for playing the man (ripping a lock out of a maul and throwing him aside) to keep things civil. S.F. State, on the other hand, played with urgency and determination and we had a really close game for the entire first half, with the score being only 5-0 in favor of South Valley. In the second half, however, we had an entirely different game. South Valley scored 42 unanswered points for a total score of 47-0. They rucked and ran and passed and their backs completely dominated the S.F. backs. (I believe S.F. lost a couple of backs to substitution and those subs were not up to the task.) One back scored 4 times with some great running. Both teams had reason to be proud and we all had a great run.

Santa Clara 6 – SAN JOSE STATE 71 Referee: Terry Ryan

Seconds: SANTA CLARA 21 – San Jose State 15 Ref: Bertolone
Afterwards, I reffed Santa Clara B side against San Jose State B's. I know San Jose State won the first side game, I think rather handedly. My B side game was evenly matched. The smaller, faster Santa Clara side beat San Jose 21-15 with each side scoring three tries, but Santa Clara making their conversions. I awarded one penalty try to San Jose State, along with a yellow card, for a high tackle on the two meter line with the ball carrier appearing like he was going in. Everyone, even the Santa Clara coach, thought this was appropriate, even though it was not malicious or intentional. Everyone had a good run, once again!

SF/GOLDEN GATE 46 – Vancouver Rowing Club 6 Referee: Bruce Carter
This is a fixture that dates back to the Rowers’ annual trips to the old Golden Gate Tournament at the polo field thirty years ago. Some of the fellas on the pitch may have some shared memories with the ref.

But not most of them: youth was served alongside experience.

The different was in the front rows, Golden Gate having relative vigor, power and pace to make it a one-sided affair.

The referee meeting having ended in the clubhouse, the players were free to enjoy the fruits of the brand-new bar that now graces dining area.

Coaches Panel
Tony McKenzie, Tom Billups, Paul Keeler and Preston Gordon at the Pelican Refs annual training meeting.


For the Senate
Pelicus Scriptoris

Thursday, November 11, 2010




7 PM game at the Maritime Academy

6 PM game at Santa Clara
7 PM game at Stanford

6:30 PM game at Stanford

Sharp-eyed readers will notice that those who refereed this past Saturday did two or more games. There is an abiding need for referees over the next month. I keep hearing about new referees but with rare exception they (you) are not responding with a list of dates that you can ref.

There’s no other way to get a game. Answer this e-mail and say when you can run.

Friday, Nov. 19: One ref needed
November 20: Need at least ten more refs
Sunday, Nov. 21: Four refs

December 4: Five or six more refs needed

December 11: Ten more refs needed


At the SF/Golden Gate clubhouse on Treasure Island
All of those who would like to referee over the next year should attend. New referees especially!

“Managing The Breakdown"
9:00 AM: Beep Test: The Multi-Stage Fitness Test (Beep test) will be given Saturday morning at 9 AM on the netball court at the Golden Gate clubhouse. Please be there early and warmed up if you would like to take the test. It's a back-and-forth shuttle run, so select your shoes accordingly. Those referees who aspire to territorial and higher levels should be taking this test annually. The more the merrier!
9:30 AM: Coffee, Bagels, and Juice for early arrivals
10:00-11:00: Seeing and Reacting to Tackle Scenarios (Pete Smith and Ref Coaches)
11:00-11:45: Coaches Panel--Paul Keeler, Tom Billups, Tony McKenzie
Moderated by Preston Gordon
11:45-12:00: Lunch
12:00-12:45: AGM: Reports/Registration/Safety Protocol
12:45-1:15: Managing A Dynamic Contest (Aruna Ranaweera)
1:15-1:45: 2010 Law Revisions and Key Video Links (David Williamson)
1:45-2:00: East Mids Exchange (E. Rauscher and S. Moore)
2:00-2:30: Video Quiz from South Africa (Aruna Ranaweera)


October 30:
Seconds: UC DAVIS 36 – Humboldt State 5 Referee: Scott Griffin
Late match report: Davis seconds beat Humboldt seconds 36-5 over two 30 minute halves. HSU was using some Davis players as they didn't have enough to fill out a full seconds team. Rain started coming down 1/2 way through second half, did not effect play substantially. Referee received much appreciated constructive criticism from 1st side ref at halftime.

November 5:

Stanford 18 – SAN JOSE STATE 24 Referee: Bruce Ricard
7th and 13th minutes of play, San Jose scored two try, and converted them (0-14). In the 15th minute, a San Jose player made a high tackle. This was already the third of the game, and after having warned the team on the second one, gave a yellow card to the player who committed this foul, for repeated fouls. The tackles were not particularly dangerous, but they occurred too often. At the last minute of the sin bin (25th), Stanford scored a try, not converted. Just before the half-time, Stanford scored a penalty. Score at half-time: 8 - 14 .

The second half started quite slowly. At the 15th, San Jose scored a penalty kick. Just after the restart kick, Stanford's ball carrier was high tackled, the advantage was gained, and 20 seconds later, the ball carrier was again high tackled. I sent the second high tackler to sin bin, and warned the San Jose captain that the next time, it would be red. The last 20 minutes were agitated, I missed two strange things in rucks, didn't see what was happening, it was on the other side of the ruck, even if I was close, and players stated to talk. I penalized a team for this, they talked a little less after that. Stanford made a couple of high tackles, but nothing dangerous; San Jose didn't make any other high tackles after the sin bin. San Jose scored a new converted try at the 25th. Stanford scored 2 tries in the 10 last minutes, not converted. But San Jose had too much of a lead.

Seconds: Stanford 0 – SAN JOSE STATE 32 Referee: Terry Ryan

November 6:

Anderson, Calif.

Report by Phil Akroyd:
It was a really enjoyable event that ran perfectly on time, was well organized with two pretty good fields (good and wide, but maybe a little short) and not one yellow card. We had a total of 4 refs (Pattalock, Wilkening, Ellis and Akroyd), so we ran one game on, one game off. I think there were too many games to give a detailed match report for each but I will include the highlights from the games I took.

My most entertaining game was Sierra College A V Chico State A. There seems to be some rivalry between these two evenly matched teams that meant a game with lots of aggression, intense rucking and a real desire to win.

Santa Rosa JC showed up with a large group of rookies who hadn't played before, not that you could tell. They went toe-to toe with Chico A and gave them a real fright with a game tied at 5-5 at half, which Chico finally won 10-5.

Sac State appeared to be their usual well organized squad with athletic players and strong forwards (the A side won all of their games, as did Chico State A). Having reffed UC Davis last week and Sac this weekend, I think that their games could be a lot closer this season.

Special mention to West Oregon who travelled a long way to play and came away winless. However, they conducted themselves magnificently under adversity with special mention to their captain who was a refs dream - in total control of his team and accepting of every decision from the refs. West Oregon also provided me with a "First". The coach asked that their opponents not wear full length tights, as he was well within his rights to request. Sierra College did not argue and obligingly, all three players removed them, as they did not have a break in the tights at the knee. Anyone else have this yet? Current Pelican law knowledge pays off again.

Report by Dave Ellis:
The imminent rain held off long enough to provide a glorious weather for a full day of rugby at the Mittry Memorial Tournament in beautiful Shasta County thanks also to my wonderfully obstinate mother, who despite being hospitalized insisted I go and ref the games (and I’ve never wanted to knowingly disappoint my mother). Once again the Mittrys put on a quality event in memory of their son Andrew - an ardent, ever-improving young rugger who was taken from us in an auto accident. Aside from an interesting array of field markings and lack of posts for a game or so, it was pretty much perfect out there.

CHICO 10 – Highwaymen 5
Two mostly veteran teams, with Chico gearing it up for another hard season. Chico have a nice mix of veterans and young guys in the team though, and as always are strong in the backs and tough in the tackle, which allowed them to eke this one out two tries to one.

Highwaymen 0 – SIERRA JC 5
JC rugby - you’ve got to love it! The Sierra squad seem to hold high aspirations for the season as they held off the veteran Highwaymen, who played as though they really did not want to lose this game. In the end a first half try held up for Sierra, who maybe had a little edge conditioning-wise.

Santa Rosa JC 7 – SAC STATE A 10
JC Rugby - you’ve got to love it!! Santa Rosa Junior College held sway in the first half of this thrilling game but resilient defense limited the first half damage to a converted try for Santa Rosa. Sac State came back strong in the second half with an early unconverted try, but even though Santa Rosa pressed again and looked dangerous, it was Sac State who battled to the final whistle and pulled it out with a try at the very end.

Santa Rosa put their foot on the gas from the kick off in this final game of the day and overwhelmed Sac State’s B side with 5 tries (4 of them converted) in the first half, coming from a mix of fluid running rugby and sometimes brute force. Sac State tightened things up in the second half, but couldn’t penetrate the Santa Rosa defense, which was impressive all day. JC rugby, you’ve got to love it!!!


Report by Bryant Byrnes:
On a pretty Fall day in the San Joaquin Valley, four teams, three refs, six games, 20 minute halves. Mike King did the first two, I did two and Sam Davis finished the day.

SOUTH VALLEY 17 – Stanislaus 7
South Valley is, I understand, the Morgan Hill High School Club all grown up. Hey guys, keep those tackles lower. Stanislaus is that same team I had the pleasure of reffing four times last year. Although they did not win a lot, they were always game. Same here.

FOG 17 – Univ. of the Pacific 12
This was tied until the last play, when the Fog dotted one in the corner. Much better back play from the week before. The Tigers had a motor that would not quit and will be a welcome addition to college D2.


UC Santa Cruz 0 – SF State 0 Referee: Rob Hendrickson
I got my first run of the upcoming season reffing the opening game of the delayed UC Santa Cruz Slugfest tournament, which pitted the Slugs against SF State in a 2 X 20 minute halves format.

The Slugs use the upper pitch until soccer gives up the lower pitch for the winter season, which was moist but firm, and by half time, the clouds were lifting and parting to open that prized view of Monterey Bay.

SF State controlled possession in the Slugs’ half of the field for most of the play, and came close to scoring a try as the ball squirted out of their maul at the goal line, only to wind up under a Slug in goal. SF State looked very strong in both back line and forwards, although scrums need work on both sides. The Slugs mounted a spirited defense, with a strong line, but need to work on not being so anxious to charge the opposing scrum half at rucks resulting in offside. A fun start to the season.

UNR 22 – Santa Clara 19 Referee: Blake Crawley
Well fought match. A seesaw match for the first 25 minutes, then UNR got ahead and traded scores while staying just out of reach until the death. Two long runs for tries by speedy UNR backs sunk Santa Clara.

Seconds: UNR 42 – Santa Clara Seconds 39 Ref: Crawley
Santa Clara Seconds jumped to a 15 point lead and UNR clawed their way back and took the lead, dominating the middle hour of the match. After an injury delay Santa Clara came back with intent, scoring two converted tries and actually had the ball at the end but inexplicably kicked it away to allow UNR an escape.

UC DAVIS 36 – Oregon State 17 Referee: Rich Boyer
Oregon State left windswept Corvallis for an eight hour bus ride to Davis for a perfect day for rugby. OSU came out quickly and took the lead through good back play. Davis looked a bit rusty, this being only their second game of the season (preseason). Davis countered with two tries to lead at half 12-10.

OSU continued spinning the ball wide and racked up more points, however, at halftime Davis replaced the starting fullback with a larger man. This fellow broke the gain line every time he touched the ball, had incisive running and great offloading skills. He was instrumental in the three late tries scored by Davis. OSU visibly tired from the quick paced game in the second half and was unable to mark the new fullback. OSU were game, forsaking penalty kicks in the hopes of scoring more tries. However, the backs made mistakes which were capitalized on by Davis. Davis captain Sam (#8), and #6 played very well, scoring a try each. OSU #8 was everywhere on the pitch.

Seconds: UC DAVIS 22 – Oregon State 17 Ref: Boyer
The seconds game was as fast paced as the first. It was nice to hear a number of accents: German, Australian and Austrian. The Austrian informed me rugby is gaining a foothold in his country. This game featured some less seasoned players, prone to making the simplest of mistakes. They took the penalties in stride, oftentimes apologizing for their infractions. OSU scored first, then Davis score 22 unanswered points and it looked like a rout. OSU fought back and scored three more tries near the end to make it a very close game. I particularly enjoyed refereeing a boy I originally coached while at Christian Bros. and another boy who played rugby with my son at Jesuit.

FOG Women B 36 – USF Women 10 Referee: Bruce Bernstein
Played on the Fog's TI field in pretty good condition & what became sunny skies.

Highlights included: Both teams played very well for a pre-season scrimmage-type match with two 30 minute periods followed by a 20 minute one. Good ball control by the Fog; good kicks by both flyhalfs into space past the defensive centers; USF won everyone of their lineouts & were very crisp about it; & the best two plays involved the Fog's inside center (12) intercepting a USF pass & running a good 60 meters, only to be outdone by USF's outside center (13) returning the favor a little later & going a good 80 meters as the Fog was about to score.

Nov. 7:
Maritime Academy Intrasquad Scrimmage Referee: Joe Androvich

Mixed squads of experienced to true rookies played three 30-minute periods. The Blue team beat the Gold team 22-20. I always enjoy refereeing the Maritime Academy; they are well-coached, disciplined, and have a passion to learn the game. I wish them success this year.

Five Out of Six Refs
The Armed Forces Championships were contested all last week at Fort Benning, Georgia. The Air Force beat the Coast Guard in the final.

Six referees were assigned. Pete Smith had to leave prior to the picture-taking.

Left to right: Bruce Carter, Marc Nelson and Joe Zevin (Eastern Rockies), Carla Cross (Minnesota), Ed Gardner (USA Panel, living in London)

This event began in 1985. Your scribe has attended eighteen of the twenty-six tournaments, three times playing for the Army, four times coaching Army, and the remainder as an official.


For the Senate
Pelicus Scriptoris

Tuesday, November 02, 2010




“To: Anna McMahan
I am delighted to tell you that the Northeast RRS Evaluation Committee has promoted you to the Territorial Panel of Referees.

“Congratulations. This is the result of a lot of hard work on your part, and we are looking forward to much more of the same in the future.

“All the best,
Peter Watson”


We've had several long moments of non-silence for the San Francisco Giants this past three weeks.

What an autumn!


Friday, November 5:
Two referees needed for games at Stanford, 5 and 7 PM

Men’s Slugfest at UC Santa Cruz. Games all day on two pitches. One ref so far.
Four-team short-game round robin in Turlock (just south of Modesto). No refs so far.
Several other games that need refs including Stanford and two in Reno.

We’ve got a tournament in Redding with three refs. Even though it’s two pitches, that’ll have to do.

Maritime Academy intra-squad game at 3 PM

Your assignments officer and re-assignments officer are both in Columbus, Georgia, and will be refereeing the Armed Forces Championships at Fort Benning the next four days. If you respond with availability YOU WILL GET AN ASSIGNMENT.


Fresno State 5 – SIERRA COLLEGE 74 Referee: Bruce Carter
It was a perfect day to drive over the Pacheco Pass, a World Series of a day: a bright sunny sky over smiling hills. In the Central Valley, cloud-shadows danced across recently-baled cotton and fit-to-be-trod-upon grapes were sagging the vines.

We had seventy-plus at kickoff on Halloween Eve.

The referee drove 150 miles, the visitors 190. Young legs proved to be more resilient out of the cars in the early minutes as Sierra set their point-a-minute pace immediately.

This official did a game three weeks previously in Reno when Sierra beat a senior men’s club, using pace and doggedness. They have twin brothers who are not to be tackled. (More information would be provided but the View Club Rosters portion of hasn’t been working.) We can safely predict a good season for them in the college ranks.

Fresno State is a new side, of which we can never have too many.

Seconds: Fresno State 12 – SIERRA COLLEGE 22 Ref: Carter
Each squad needed only to recycle four or five players to fill out two sides. We had a front-row clinic and then proceeded with full scrums in safety.

Report by Eric Rauscher:
Stanford 10s, overcast with patches of rain and sun
I ended up doing four games. Games were 24 min, no half, started and stopped by an air horn.
Stanford just out-played Cal. Both teams displayed decent skills and drive, but Stanford came out on top.
EPA BULLDOGS 57 – Stanford GSB 7
The Bulldogs were defiantly dominant. Stanford scored by a little chip kick forward into goal which was pounced upon by a teammate
The Bulldogs were again dominant.
My closest game of the day. Chico played well with a converted try, but EPA had two unconverted. All in all a fun day with 5 new refs showing up, three of whom were ladies.

Fog 15 – SAN FRANCISCO STATE 25 Referee: Bryant Byrnes
Moist early days rugby on TI (after some mucky nonsense at the Baracus 10s). The sides wished 20 minute quarters and who was I to argue?

At the end of three quarters, SFSU 15 and Fog 15. Both sides then substituted. This is not your father's SFSU. Probably 30 strong, they are stout and fit. And the Fog were their usual high energy selves. Their coach is now Kathy Flores; welcome back to the Bay Area.

Report by Ray Schwartz
Jeff Ferguson had taken the Level 1 class at Bellarmine High two weeks ago, and got to ref his first matches. Like so many of us at the start, he has a long way to go! I watched him a bit, shared some training techniques and ref philosophy, and believe I was able to sell him on the opportunity in front of him. He appreciated the honest assessment I offered him.

I challenged Fergy to stop playing (or at least play less), to focus on his fitness (adding it would serve to improve the home life with his wife Heidi), and start reffing as many games as he can fit into his schedule. He lives in Berkeley, attends seminary school in Marin,... I mentioned lots of midweek youth and high school games need his help, and how his becoming a ref will only compliment a desire to professionally serve others as a mentor.

I invited Fergy to attend the next KOT (Jan 28/29/30) in Sacramento. Don Whidden (Alberta) will lead a ref training session, focused on getting newer refs more comfortable with the task at hand, and along with Kat, Josh Tameifuna and Peter Simpson (to name a few ref coaches) will be ref coaching all weekend at the KOT Sat and Sunday, to back up the training session Friday. Sounds as though Ed Todd will join us as well!

I'm starting to build a list for this Friday session and weekend long tourney. A formal announcement (promoting the KOT Ref Development Program) will go out shortly to all NorCal clubs (focusing on youth and high school sides), as well as to all Ref Societies across the US, once again inviting other refs to come in and help with the KOT. 96 sides are once again expected to compete in Sacramento at the KOT!

I offered they are doing the right thing providing leadership in supporting the ref coaches and the KOT RDP, and added that good ref coaches just do not grow on trees. But we have a good, growing pool of younger local refs in and around Sacramento (Tucker, Akroyd, Androvich), and we will continue to grow that pool.

But this conversation was coincidental with the Level 1 Ref Class scheduled for Sacramento being cancelled due to a lack of numbers. Not good.

UC DAVIS 38 - 5 Humboldt Referee: Phil Akroyd
Davis were in control all the way. Even though they are down on bulk and power throughout the team, they did enough to execute moves and win enough set-piece ball to see off a less experienced travelling team. Humboldt scored on a break-away; Davis mixed it up with tries from backs and forwards. Not a bad pre-season game.


If you are interested in taking the beep test for fitness level measurement the morning of the AGM meeting, November 13 at Treasure Island, please contact Dave Williamson to confirm.

This is strongly encouraged for anyone who would like territorial assignments or who hopes to receive national appointments this year or in the future.


For the Senate
Pelicus Scriptoris

Thursday, October 28, 2010




The teams and players in NorCal would appreciate your help:

Oct. 30 2 tournaments plus six games 15 11 ½ (one ‘maybe’ due to illness)
Nov. 6 3 tournaments and 7 other games 17-20 7

For this coming Saturday, we particularly need a ref in Fresno as well as several more for the Stanford Tens.

You won’t be unless you reply to this e-mail and say, “I am available to referee on the following Saturdays" (list as many as you like!)

Nobody who is available doesn’t get a game. Raise your hand!


If you are interested in taking the beep test for fitness level measurement the morning of the AGM meeting, November 13 at Treasure Island, please contact Dave Williamson to confirm.

This is strongly encouraged for anyone who would like territorial assignments or who hopes to receive national appointments this year or in the future.


Our readers will have had the experience of people asking when referee and touch judge courses will be offered. Our readers will have faithfully asked their interlocutors to let Rob Hendrickson know of their interest, so that Rob could let them know when courses were scheduled.

Rob has lists of such folk, and duly informs them as requested.

Two weeks ago the NCRRS offered the Level One referee course in San Jose. Advance registration is offered on-line and strongly encouraged: course materials need to be ordered two weeks in advance of the course.

This course had four registrants. Twenty-three people showed up. We are still trying to straighten out the after-the-fact distribution of course materials to people who paid for the course and passed the test, but who live all across Pelicanland.

Another Level One course was scheduled for this weekend in Sacramento. A week after course materials needed to be ordered, no-one had signed up. The course has been canceled. We have no doubt that a dozen or two people may well have planned to attend, but you certainly cannot plan for unannounced visitors: a room needs to be reserved which is big enough, food has to be arranged, training aids brought along, and even the number of instructors needs to be proportionate to the audience.

We also just canceled a TJ and AR course for want of a second.

Please remember in the future to continue to refer inquiring minds to Rob Hendrickson for courses, but emphasize to them that THEY HAVE TO SIGN UP IN ADVANCE once the course is announced.

Report by Bjorn Stumer:

As I am in the Boston area for a month for some training, I contacted the North East Society to see if they needed any help with minor action. I made clear my qualifications and answered truthfully when asked about my age (old), and speed (slow). Regardless of this fact, I was assigned the Tufts University vs. Wentworth Institute of Technology match. This was a 3rd division college affair, played under sunny skies at the Tufts university sports complex where, all at once, one could have enjoyed American football, Rugby, a women's soccer match, and a women's field hockey match.

Players were all there an hour before the match, and took the field at the allotted time well kitted out, and obviously well coached. A notice had just come out from their Society about not tolerating foul or dangerous play, something obviously needed because both sides had to be penalized quickly to keep them from tackling high (I awarded a yellow card for this offence in the b-side match that followed). To their credit the players settled quickly and humored this referee's need to have all players on their feet, coming from the correct side, and tackling below the neck. Thus settled we had a nice match on tap.

Wentworth Institute of Technology (WIT), a small Boston based university, was no match for a well drilled and capable Tufts side but, to their credit, the WIT players never gave up and fought throughout with determination and self-belief. Alas this was not enough, as Tufts' superior skills and speed saw them away with 46 points to 7. Interestingly the converted try scored by WIT was due to a cheeky quick run from restart, following a try, which saw a WIT player run under the posts while most of the Tufts players were walking slowly away with their backs turned. There were some distinct differences in the way they play here, namely the heavy reliance on the maul and what appeared to be a true appreciation for the efforts of referees, the latter evident by the behavior of players and coaches alike.

It was so much fun, I stayed on to do the second sides. The B-side was an altogether even more scrappy affair with much referee input needed to keep the match safe, and players on side and on their feet. Again problems with high tackles, so after a penalty for the first, a penalty and a warning for the second, the third episode resulted in a yellow card. This kept the foul play at bay and kept spirits and the match under control. Overall a great day of Rugby. Scheduling and the reporting of matches and disciplinary actions are all computerized here, making the job a bit easier for the ref.

I am truly grateful for the opportunity.


USF women 18 – Chico State 10 Referee: Eric Rauscher
Job Corps field, overcast and blowing from the south.
The field was firm at the beginning of the game but it unfortunately began to rain, and by the end of the game we had standing water in various locations.

The game was a friendly played in four 20 min periods. We started with uncontested scrums due to new players. The interesting thing about this game was usually when it rains the play degrades, but with both of these teams, play seemed to develop as we went along. The first quarter was a lot of broken play and scrum restarts, but by the end even with the rain I felt that play had improved. Both teams had players that displayed a good head for the game and made good decisions based on circumstances.

For example, I observed backs on both teams kick the ball into clear space in attack. Once from a free kick penalty at a 5m scrum, USF took a quick tap and ran it in for a try before Chico could respond. It was good heads up play.

I look forward to seeing both teams progress this year.

Seahawks U23, 24 – SOUTH VALLEY 48 Referee: John Pohlman
Saturday I dusted off the referee kit, shook out the cobwebs and grabbed my whistle. I headed for Santa Teresa High School for a 1:30 PM kickoff.

San Jose Seahawks Under 23 team was hosting a new team from Morgan Hill, Live Oak ex-pats. I think they are going by the name South Valley and will be playing in the third division.

For a new team they played pretty well and had some good players whom I recognized. The field was right behind the Santa Teresa High School football field.

Santa Teresa was hosting Leigh High School in their homecoming football game, which was due to start at 1:30. Around 1:00 the Leigh players took over the pitch to warm up. We all gave them the space they needed for their 15 minute warm up.

This made for a fun and interesting environment. I believe Santa Teresa won, yeah Homecoming. The rugby field we played on was used for soccer and worked. I was not sure what to expect for this preseason game.

By 1:00 both teams had at least 15 players warming up. Great no 10's game today. By game time both teams had what looked like 25 players dressed.

San Jose had only started practice a week or two ago. The South Bay team looked like they may have logged a bit more time on the practice pitch.

The coaches and I finally decided we would play two forties with pretty free substitutions.

The game had some very long well worked tries. Both team had moments of both individual and team brilliance.

San Jose scored first when a rookie S. Valley player caught a ball in goal and ran out of the try zone, then booted a kick into to arms of a San Jose player who ran it in from 10 meters out. Hopefully he won't do that again.

S. Valley dominated the scrums all day. They were better organized at the line outs. But the first half was pretty fast with the lead changing back and forth. Half time score was S. Valley 26 Seahawks 24. A converted try the difference.

I did give two yellow cards in the first half. The first when a S. Valley prop lifted a player’s leg and didn't properly return him to the ground. The second was when a Seahawk rookie dove on a ball at the back of the ruck thus killing a potential try opportunity within the 22.

The second half got sloppy at the tackle. Early season fatigue led to some "flopping about" at the tackle. The South Valley team was fitter and their better organization which led to 24 additional points. The Seahawks were held scoreless in the second half for a final score, South Valley 48 Seahawks Under 23

I had two good TJ's for the game, a coach from South Valley and a coach from the Seahawks. Thanks!


Fiji Day started late as expected.

It opened with hymns, prayers, and a short speech by Waisale Serevi.

It was mostly a rugby tournament, but there was a volleyball competition run all day also, along with food stalls and such.

The round-robin schedule was unworkable from the get-go( I figured it would take 10 hours to get to the semis), so three rounds were played (seven teams).

We each did three games. The teams were mostly combined teams from the Bay area.

The rugby, was great all day long. No blow-outs, many close games. Mike King, Chris Labozzetta, and I did round games. Bruce Bernstein and Tom Zanarini did semis, and the final was done by a ref from Fiji as the sun went down.

This is the second Polynesian tourney I have been to and I hope to be at many more.

Nor Cal Triple Threat 0 - BELMONT 41 Referee: Greg Lundell
The Nor Cal Triple Threat hosted Belmont at Pioneer Park in Davis on Saturday. Conditions were perfect, if even unseasonably warm. The game did not feel as one-sided as the score suggests. Both teams put a great effort in, Belmont was just better able to capitalize on offensive position and Nor Cal did not have Belmont’s breakaway ability.

U. of the Pacific – SANTA ROSA JC 54 Referee: Rich Boyer
This was my first time on the UOP campus and hopefully not the last. The pitch was absolutely perfect!

Rosa JC came out swinging and passed the ball to the wings at every opportunity. A sight for sore eyes for a back!!!

UOP were game, but Rosa had the more experienced players and it showed in the scoreline: Rosa 54-UOP 0. The Rosa boys were helpful with the newer UOP players and would pack down lightly and instruct their opposites how to bind, etc. Great sportsmanship.

I witnessed something I have never seen in 30 years of rugby. The Rosa winger made a break for the corner flag but was approaching the touch line. He blindly passed back infield, but a UOP player (prop, at that) new to the game caught the ball. His momentum then took him in goal, where he "turtled" with the ball on his chest. The Rosa winger meanwhile could not believe his good luck and plucked the ball off the UOP player's chest and touched down for a very interesting try.

Good play by all.

Thursday, October 14
Stanford v Santa Clara
Referee: James Hinkin

Late Thursday I got a call from the Santa Clara coach and ex UCSB man Gabe Calebotta to see if I could oversee a scrimmage at Stanford. As I had been running on my injured foot and not feeling (much) pain I agreed, so Saturday morning saw me at the familiar facilities of Stanford University. The scrimmage was in 3 parts and I will address them as such:

Part 1:
Stanford Vets 5 - Santa Clara Vets 7
The first action of the day saw the veteran performers line up to knock some of the rust off each other. Expecting to run into old friends Chris Kron (former San Jose Seahawk and Los Gatos teammate) and Chris O'Brien (former Old Blue adversary and Pelican/Grizzly teammate) I was surprised to find the fields completely innocent of a Coach Chris. Apparently Chris O'Brien has taken a position with the US Eagles in preparation for the World Cup and Chris Kron has taken on new responsibilities as Director of Rugby at Santa Clara. Is that news to you? It was news to me. Good luck to them both in their new roles.

In any case we kicked off promptly at 11:00:00 and had our first of many knock-ons at 11:00:04. This was to be expected as both teams were in early preseason and looked it. The teams showed promise and had some active and influential players but both sides seemed to be lacking structure - also to be expected at this stage. Play went back and forth as both sides saw enticing runs end with forced and unforced errors until finally Santa Clara was able to convert a turnover into a 50 meter break for the try. The conversion was crucially awarded because soon after Stanford began to use some of their forward dominance and was able to respond with a try of their own. This one was out wide and the difficult conversion was missed.

One must note that the referee was also doing his first match in some months and was a bit rusty at the start, reacting to penalties rather than preventing them. Back to work...

Final Score: Stanford Vets 5 - Santa Clara Vets 7

Part 2:
Stanford Mixers 12 - Santa Clara Mixers 5
The second period saw several rookies appear in both sides. Also, in one of those "only in preseason" situations Stanford had not practiced any lineouts while Santa Clara wanted to work on their lifting. So the captains agreed that neither team would lift defensively while Santa Clara would still lift on offense. The result was some lineouts straight out of the 70s without all the facial hair. With Santa Clara having a larger squad to deal with they kept fewer experienced players in the game and we saw the action tilt more towards Stanford. Two tries, including an opportunistic Rookie Try for Stanford when Santa Clara wasn't able to properly secure a bouncing kick near their try line, were enough to see off the solitary try scored by the Broncos. With the mix of players and experience the rugby itself was what one would expect, though there were some solid phases put together. Both sides are going to need handling practice.

Final Score: Stanford Mixers 12 - Santa Clara Mixers 5

Part 3:
Stanford Rookies 5 - Santa Clara Rookies 5
The rookie game was full of young, eager ruggers, many of whom were in their first action ever. I will say that this was the first time I have ever had to reset an uncontested scrum. Several potential penalties were overlooked with shouted warnings because while, for example, a player was badly off side, it wasn't material. Both sides have young players with good instincts and it will be interesting to see how they develop as they learn the game and get introduced into the subtle nuances of the Game They Play In Heaven.

Final Score: Stanford Rookies 5 - Santa Clara Rookies 5


The NCRRS pre-season meeting and AGM HAS BEEN MOVED to November 13.

The Level Two referee course has swapped weekends with it: the course will now be given on November 6-7.


For the Senate
Pelicus Scriptoris

Tuesday, October 05, 2010




The IRB courses for those who would work with a flag in one hand, aiding and abetting the performance of Rugby in Northern California, should sign up for the TJ/AR courses which are being offered in Vallejo on Sunday, October 17.

We seem to have a great demand for such courses throughout the year but here we are less than two weeks out from a course offering and not one person has signed up for it.

Please publicize this to anyone you know who has expressed an interest, or whom you think should be expressing an interest.

Signing up is done through the USA Rugby website at Click on Officiate the Game in the left-hand column, then click on Training Courses, then Register for a Course down at the bottom of the page.

Contact lead instructor Mike Malone with any questions, but register on-line.


We are VERY thin on the ground for the foreseeable future.

Here are the number of refs needed each weekend and the number who have said they can ref that weekend:

Oct. 9 2 tournaments, five games 17 12
Oct. 16 three games 3 0
Oct. 23 tournament, two games 9 4
Oct. 30 2 tournaments, six games 15 4
Nov. 6 tournament, 7 games 10 0

For this Saturday, October 9, we have two college games in Fresno that need a ref, and the Reno tournament needs 3-4 more refs. Hotel rooms will be provided for Friday night.


The referee turnout has been pathetic (see above). When your writer moved here from Georgia, where we played most of the year, I wondered why the California teams did not play in the gorgeous autumn weather.

Now I know: the refs take the bulk of the year off.

Last weekend we had two games and one referee. Lee Salgado drove to Chico for their alumni games:

The weather was hot and muggy, but everyone was excited to play. The Chico Women's team won with a decent margin even playing one down. I reffed part of the men's game so I don't remember the score from the women's game. The Chico men also won by a large margin with many subs to supplement the game. The game started off rough with small scuffles, but, in each of the 20 minute quarters the game got cleaner and more exciting.


The NCRRS pre-season meeting and AGM HAS BEEN MOVED to November 13.

The Level Two referee course has swapped weekends with it: the course will now be given on November 6-7.


The main computer at the Pelicans’ Nest is on the fritz. We’re cobbling this together using old telegraph keys, tin cans and string. Forget pictures.


For the Senate
Pelicus Scriptoris

Wednesday, September 29, 2010




Kat Todd-Schwartz has been recognized as and promoted to National Evaluator by the Evaluation Committee of USA Rugby.

Such hard work recognized casts a happy glow that brightens all Pelicanland.

Congratulations, Kat!


October 2: We’ve got two alumni games in Chico this weekend and only one referee. Any takers?

October 9: need help in Reno, the Sac area, and Santa Rosa. Rooms will be paid for the Friday night in Reno for the Ruggerfest.


This Thursday morning finds the tourists heading off to Cambridge in the morning them returning to Bedford School for the afternoon games. This evening we are in for a pub games night with the East Mids Society.

Yesterday, we returned from Rugby to jump in the middle of our matches. The Wizard and The Jafa refereed at Stowe School, a palatial public school fit for kings; while I enjoyed a more organic experience at Shuttlesworth College. Enjoyed a wonderful meat pie dinner with all of our hosts families at Keith and Vicky's.

Bedford College 81 – South Essex College 0 Referee: D. Pattalock
TJ: Club Representatives
Venue: Shuttlesworth College
This match was a College (u-19) Cup match, and as you can tell by the score line, they just build them bigger in Bedford. The interesting points about this match surround the venue. Shuttlesworth College is a satellite campus of Bedford College which is home to their agricultural school. The grounds are large and lush with a nice rugby pitch. The field shed, in contrast to the palace the others were in, was a small wooded hut with 2 6'x10' rooms and a toilet. Nonetheless, all enjoyed the unique location of the pitch.

Don, Andrea and Addison

Thursday morning started early with a trip up to Cambridge with Bob Kamper for a tour of the city/college. Lots of interesting facts and stories in one of the oldest institutions of higher learning in the world. The tour was led by a man with an unbelievable set of knowledge surrounding the college, its residents and its deep history. History, not just relative to the kings of England; but of religion, science and war. Then The Jafa and I were off to Bedford School for matches while The Wizard and Del headed to Leighton Buzzard for their matches.

Bedford School is one of the main rugby centers of the public school system in England. Today, Bedford was hosting Tumbridge, another rugby reveled school. We were met at the school gates by one of the headmasters, Trevor (East Mids referee who has been over to NorCal several times) the coaching staffs and three of the senior boys. The boys provided us a tour of the school, discussed the significant historical events and past students that went on to greatness.

There were several games on the afternoon, U16's A &B, U14's A, B, C & D. I took the U16's 1st XV while Steve took charge of the U14 1st XV. Steve then managed to poach a second match and also refereed the U16 2nd XV's.

Bedford School 7 – Tumbridge 39 Referee: D. Pattalock
TJ: Team Representatives
This was the most enjoyable game I have been involved in for a long time. Both teams played expansive running rugby. The breakdowns were managed (and more significantly, stayed managed) thus allowing the referee to truly enjoy the spectacle of rugby that was happening around him. Following the match and a shower, we all retired to the schools common room for a sandwich and pint with both coaching staffs. Tremendous day.

Trevor then took us around Bedford and its waterfront area. Wonderful downtown and river walk. Then it was off to Pub Night with the Society. Met lots of good folks, ate a fantastic meal, maybe a pint or two and a rousing match of Skittles. Trevor made a great presentation to us of maps of England and the Midlands as well as a couple of other rugby and Skittle related gifts. We then headed home to our hosts for a well deserved (and necessary) rest.

Don, Andrea and Addison

Following Thursday’s pub night with the society, Friday was determined to be a casual day around the house/town. The Jafa decided he would stay local and do some shopping in Northampton while The Wizard and I joined Del for a shopping trip to Milton Keynes. Following our economic endeavors at the giant mall, we decided to tour each and every pub between Del's house and the train station where I would catch my train back up to Keith's. Surprisingly, there are many pubs in Leighton Buzzard! We had a great stroll through the town, threw some arrows, drank some beer and finished up with a lovely doner kabab.

Perfect day off.

Saturday arrived with the anticipation of clear skies and day of cup rugby. The Wizard and Jafa were assigned matches at Olney, where a full day of rugby was on tap. Olney's 1st, 2nd, colts and veterans sides were all at home. The vets enjoyed a guest player by the name of Will Greenwood who quite regularly plays vets rugby for Olney. I was assigned an exchange fixture with the West Midlands Society with a level 7 match on tap between Droitwich and Shrewsbury.

Droitwich 12 – Shrewsbury 30 Referee: D. Pattalock
TJ's: Club TJ's
Assessor: Steve Hindson (West Mids)
This match, played on Droitwich's beautiful pitch, started fast and stayed fast for a full 80 minutes. Both teams played expansive rugby including a series of quick throw-ins at line out time which kept the ref streaming across the pitch. In the end, Shrewsbury's discipline and ability to finish line-breaks provided them with the win. Quick shower, cup of tea and a pint waiting for the ref on the bar lead into a pleasant debrief with the assessor.

Following the match, Keith and I headed back to our part of the island for the end of tour dinner. The dinner was fantastic with a great time (and a little wine) had by all. The Jafa made the presentation on our behalf and produced a terrific box framed plaque with the stars and stripes and union jack flags crossing with a commemorative label acknowledging the significant relationship of the two societies on the occasion of the 2010 tour.

Sunday is planned to relax and recover from the rugby/food/wine/beer as well a pack for our early morning departure for the new country on Monday morning. Reflecting back on the tour, I'm overwhelmed with the warmth and care all out host families have shown for us and I certainly know that I have expanded my family as a result of this care. Hopefully we have opportunity to return the kindness again on their return leg in 2012. Thanks to all for an epic experience.

Don, Andrea and Addison


The legends were so right: the East Midlands Society exchange program lived up to the best rugby trip ever! I could never have imagined the amount of hospitality and friendship extended to Don, Eric and myself at every moment during our visit. The Midland Society really laid out a great visit for us: Rugby School, Twickenham, Cambridge University, guided tours, exclusive private schools visits, club visits, after game receptions, school delegations, family dinners, pub nights, speeches, presentations you name it! On top of this I refereed seven matches with three very valuable assessments given by their society assessors.

Two matches really stood out for me as a referee. An under-16 match between Bedford and Tonbridge (private schools), these kids fought it out tooth and nail like lives depended on it. There was a one try difference in the end with Tonbridge victors. All players finished the match claiming that it had been the best match ever and refereed well (clearly very polite kids!). A second under-16 match between Old Scouts Northampton and Biggleswade ended similarly. In the last few minutes Biggleswade scored a try and needing only two points to level narrowly missed a conversion kick. But again it didn’t matter all the players were so ecstatic with their performance they did not care about the result. It felt so good, I felt like a player myself.

It’s impossible to extend enough praise to everyone involved. But special thanks to our host families: Chris and Cathy Pickles, Dell and Debbie Stevens, Keith and Vicki Mclean. Assessors: Peter, John Asker and Chris Rowan. East Midland’s Society president Collin Wright and chairman Ian Baggott. Thanks for the site seeing tours provided by: Andy, Bob Kamp, Dell Stevens, Keith Mclean, Paul Dickens and Trevor. Farewell dinner photographer and humorist: thanks to Gary Malpas, see link below. Thanks to my travelling colleagues Eric Rauscher and Don Pattalock for their friendship and support. Finally thanks to the NCRRS for making it all possible.

Best regards,

Tour summary:

Friday 9/17: Attended premiership game: Northampton Saints (32) v Bath (10)
Met international referee: Chris White

Saturday 9/18: Refereed: Northampton Old Scouts (13) v Leighton Buzzards (32) (Level 9 Seniors)
Olney Food Festival Dinner
Olney Bell and Bear Pub (late night lock-in and meet locals!)

Sunday 9/19: Sore head (a common tour malady)
Refereed: Old Northamptonians (43) v Huntington (21) (U16)
Exceptional English Roast Dinner (Chris and Cathy Pickles)

Monday 9/20: Stamford Burleigh House and Gardens Tour (Andy)
East Midlands Referee Society Meeting
Presentation: Pelicans Referee Grading System: Don Pattalock
Presentation: Eric’s Personal Rugby Story: Eric Rauscher
Presentation: Youth Rugby in San Jose: Steve Moore

Tuesday 9/21: Twickenham Guided Tour (Keith)
Hampton Court Visit (Keith)
Pub Dinner with Dell and Keith

Wednesday 9/22: Rugby School & Gilbert Museum (Paul Dickens)
Refereed: Stowe School (10) v Pangborne School (43)
Stowe School after game reception
Keith Mclean family dinner

Thursday 9/23: Cambridge University Tour (Bob Kamper)
Bedford School Reception and Tour
Refereed: Bedford School (46) v Tonbridge School (17) (U14)
Refereed: Bedford School (17) v Tonbridge School (22) (U16)
Bedford Town Tour (Trevor McCarthy)
Midlands Society Pub Night

Friday 9/24: Shopping Northampton

Saturday 9/25: Refereed: Olney Seconds (62) v Stuarts Lloyds (7) (Seniors)
Society Farewell Dinner, Speeches and Gifts

Sunday: 9/26: Refereed: Old Scouts Northampton (19) v Biggleswade (17) (U16)
Another exceptional roast dinner (Pickles)
Photos thanks to Gary: user/pass: norcal2010/norcal2010

Attached photos: Don, Eric, Keith Mclean, Steve (Twickenham Royal Box)
Eric, Steve with Chris Rowan and Jon Asker (Assessors) Olney Rugby Club


September 16th: My wife's birthday. Left her asleep in bed, with a present next to the freshly brewed coffee. Short walk to BART. Got to SFO with plenty of time. Good omens! In the seating area at the gate was a mural flanked in the corners by sculptures of sea birds. In the upper right-hand corner was a pelican.

Picked up at Heathrow by Colin Wright. Stayed with Del Stevens in Leighton Buzzard. Discovered that the town's name is after a nobleman named Leighton who was a bursar (de bursar) which became Buzzard. I discovered this by visiting the church in town, which had a little history museum attached. Back to Del's for lunch. He noticed me nodding off, so he said "Let's go for a walk!" We went to Woburn, a quaint old town famous for its false windows, which are painted to look like adjacent windows. Then off to meet Keith Bateman, the Pickles (Chris, Luke, and Cathy), along with Donny and Steve at a great Indian food place in North Hampton. This was followed by a premiership game starting at 8 pm. North Hampton 33/Bath 10.

Chris White was the ref and he met us after the game. Got home by midnight.

Saturday. A rugby day. Off to Blenchly RFC to do a match between them and Gossford. This was a second-side fixture for both clubs, meaning a mixture of young guys trying to make it into the first 15, and older guys who still want to play. Blenchly 40/Gossford 19. It was an interesting game for me. In the US, at the level I ref, most penalties are due to players making honest mistakes. Here the players make mistakes intentionally. They know what they are doing. In the second half I had to be more proactive in use of the whistle.

Sunday. Watched a couple of games on TV. Both were broadcast in Welsh. In the afternoon, Del and I went out to Luton RFC to AR for an under 19 game Donny was doing. After the game, we were sitting in the clubhouse with a couple of gratis pints and a plate of food in front of us. And I thought, "Boy, this is heaven."

Monday. Del dropped me off at the train station with a ticket for North Hampstead and the advice that if I missed it, the next stop was Edinburgh. Picked up by Cathy and Donny at the station and off to their home to meet up with Steve. Andy (?) dropped by to give us a lift to Stanford, where he lives. It touts itself as the best stone village in England. We walked to a 300 year old pub, had a pint, and sauntered to have lunch at a little shop. From there we walked to a rather stately home named "Burghley", the ancestral home of the first lord Burghley, William Cecil. Had a fish and chips dinner on our way to Olney, where the EMRFU has its monthly meeting. Donny, Steve and I gave our presentations after a short training session. Steve talked about the development of youth rugby; I gave a personal interest story about how I came to be involved in rugby and ended up in England reffing games; Donny finished up by discussing the US level system for refs and how advancements are obtained. After the meeting, we did a bit of socializing. Keith said "Oh by the way, Will Greenwood and Austin Healey may be showing up to play in your game on Sunday." Please! Don't tell me things like that before the game! When we got home, Del checked the website and discovered that I was scheduled to do the Colts game, not their first side. Whew!

Tuesday. Donny, Steve and I took a trip into London with Keith to visit Twickenham. The trip was led by a charming old gent who used as foils for many pithy comments about referees. Keith got to sit in the Queen's chair in the royal box. One of the last things we did was to run out of the tunnel onto the field (but not on the grass!). Afterward, we spent time watching the England under 20's practice. We dropped into a pub by the Thames for a pint, and then back to have dinner at a local inn.

Wednesday. Trip to Rugby with Paul Dickens. Visited the Rugby museum attached to the Webb Ellis Gilbert ball shop.We had our pictures taken in front of the Webb Ellis statue. Went to the rugby field in Rugby school. Made it back just in time to drop Donny off for his game that afternoon while Steve and I went to do games at Stowe school (a private high school). Stowe occupies an old country estate similar to Burghley. An incredibly grand setting. Steve did the varsity and I did the JV. Stowe 44/Pangburne 0. The score was one-way traffic, but I was impressed by the skill level of both sides. Then off to Keith's for a dinner with Keith and his family, Del, Steve, and others.

Thursday. Trip to Cambridge led by professional tour guide. Little bit of rain, but very interesting. Then off to Peterborough. Deacon 13/Sawters(?) 80. Once again, one way traffic. Met Nicola Reynolds before the game. After the game, a quick trip for a dinner at a pub with about 30 people. Learned the game Skittles, which entails knocking down wooden pins with another piece of wood called a "cheese". I came in 3rd.

Friday. A take-it-easy day. Spent time reading until about 11, met up with Donny, and Del took us off for a shopping trip at a local mall. Back to Del's afterward, and a walk to the train station to drop Donny off. It took about 4 hours, though, because we visited 5 pubs on the way. Got back and watched another game on TV, then went to bed.

Saturday. Kind of an easy morning. Didn't have a match until 3. Lazed about reading until about 12:30, and Del dropped me off at Olney RFC (est. 1877). Once again, a magnificent club house with three pitches and three more on an adjacent city park. There were 4 games that day. The first 15, second side, Colts, Vets. Steve did the seconds, I did the Colts. Olney 63/Stockwood Park 5. Once again, an uneven game. Colts is an under 19 team attached to a local club, as opposed to a school team. A player could therefore play for 2 different teams in a single season. This game had a lot of teenage testosterone and yielded three yellow cards. Del returned and picked me up at the train station, then took me to the Crown and Rose for our end of the tour dinner. Gifts, talks, exchanges, and much good companionship over the course of 4 hours. Then back home and into bed.

Sunday. Del dropped me off at Keith's and we took a walk through the English countryside with a bit of mist in the air. We stopped at a pub for a pint (what else?). Then back to Keith's to watch a premiership game on the telly, followed by a traditional English take-out dinner (Indian). A nice, slow, relaxed day to finish the trip.

It should be noted that when you do a game in England, you show up wearing your Number Ones and are met by the coach or an old boy who shows you to the dressing room. Then after the game, you take a shower, put your Number Ones back on again, and enjoy a plate of food and a pint or two in the clubhouse. A very social atmosphere. This was a wonderful trip and I enjoyed every minute of it. I encourage anyone to take advantage of the offer of going in the future.

Eric Rauscher


The NCRRS pre-season meeting and AGM HAS BEEN MOVED to November 13.

The Level Two referee course has swapped weekends with it: the course will now be given on November 6-7.

The Queen's Box
Eric Rauscher, Don McLean, Don Pattalock and Stephen Moore poachthe best seats in the house at Headquarters.


For the Senate
Pelicus Scriptoris