Tuesday, August 31, 2010

Time To Lace 'Em Up



If you can possibly free up all or part of Saturday to referee, we can use you.

There is a club match on Treasure Island, Fog hosting the Triple Threat.

There is an English touring side playing in Sacramento.

The Polynesian tournament in Sunnyvale will run all day on three pitches. We’ve got a skeleton crew. If you could spend even a few hours there anytime between 9 AM and 5 or 6, please let us know.

The Scottish games in Pleasanton will have four games and only has one referee assigned.


September 11:
Women’s club season in full swing with three home games. Two of these are covered. Who’s on?

Tri-tip Sevens in San Luis Obispo – four or five refs signed up. Could use a few more.

Pleasant Valley High School, Chico, CA
Saturday, August 21
Report by Scott Wood

Temp: 85

Referee: Scott Wood
ARs: Ron DeCausemaker, Ryan Luis
TJs: Beau McSwain, Alex Triantafyllou, unnamed individual

Rule Number 1: Never piss off a pregnant woman
Rule Number 2: 7 a.m. departure does not mean meet at 6:30
Rule Number 3: See rule #1

Ron and I took an early morning drive up Hwy 99 to Chico. He has never made the trip and I have countless times. The highway is relatively empty on a Saturday morning so we made pretty good time and arrived at the pitch with minutes to spare. The tournament was scheduled for six matches (2x20 minute halves). Fortunately, I volunteered to referee.

Unfortunately, all other referees are slackers and did not step forward (packing for Hawaii is a lousy excuse).

Kudos to Ron for ARing all 200 minutes of rugby and to the TJs for their fantastic job. Beau, you can contact Jim Crenshaw (crenshaw@cal.net) to sign up for the referee course on Oct 30 in Sacramento (this statement only reflects Beau's interest in the course).

NORCAL 13 – Amazons 12
NorCal scored two unconverted tries in the first half to take the lead 10-0. From my initial appraisal, it looked like the hosts would be able to coast through the second half. Not so much...Amazons came out firing on all cylinders. Great hands, scissors, and crash ball gave them the lead a two-point lead early into the second half. However, Norcal got its bearings and punched down the field. A penalty advantage was awarded about five meters from the goal line. Norcal put together a multi-phased attack to move their position just in front of the right upright when I spotted Mary Triantafyllou out of the corner of my eye. Wisely, I stayed put because she took the next pass and slotted a textbook drop goal for the win.

Berkeley 5 – FOG 10
Berkeley started strong but suffered from penalties. Fog started sloppy but had good continuity when needed.

NORCAL 14 – Berkeley 5
NorCal attacked well and took advantage of Berkeley's missed tackles. To Berkeley's credit, they had players participating in four of the five games on the day.

Amazons 0 – FOG 21
Roll, Fog, Roll. And roll they did. Amazons had several opportunities but turned over the ball in rucks. The Fog put together great attacking plays and defended well.

NORCAL 14 – Fog 12
This was the best game of the day and I'm glad my legs and lungs held out. Both teams used the full width and length of the pitch for 40 minutes of action.

Sad note: A handful of NorCal's team, coaches, etc. had to depart early to attend a funeral. Bryan "Beezer" Archibald died in his sleep on August 15, 2010. He played rugby at Cal Poly and coached Chico State. He was 32.

Saturday, August 28
Report by Bruce Carter

Arroyo Grande hosted a tune-up tournament for the Tri-Tip Sevens coming up in two weeks on Saturday.

The Central Coast ruggers, representing AG, SLO, Cal Poly and what appears to be the nucleus for a new team in Paso Robles, were divided Harlot-style into four sides to compete in a round-robin with Fresno on the lovely and perfect pitch at Talley Fields.

A forecast calling for a high of sixty did not dissuade Tom and Colleen Zanarini from driving down on Friday, nor Eric Rauscher from spending the night at the Pelican's Nest in Salinas and then riding down with Scriptoris at crack-of-dawn Saturday morning.

At the pitch the referees were met by Paul Phillips, a local ref, and by clearing skies which revealed temperatures that were ideal for Sevens. Must have been seventy-seven degrees.

Andy Doukas made sure everything ran on time and Paul got the first match off precisely at the beep of ten-thirty. It ended in tie.

The remainder of the round-robin matches went without any further transgressions, Fresno losing only one match with everyone else losing more.

Eric Rauscher refereed the third-place game between two of the mix-and-match sides.

Championship: Central Coast All Star team 22 - FRESNO 27 Referee: Bruce Carter
AR and In-goals: Tom Zanarini, Eric Rauscher, Paul Phillips

Alas, the first and last games of the day ended with common scores.

Fresno had a lot of young faces, looking like they might be Fresno State Bulldogs. The 'Barbarians' team featured the better players from the four mix-and-match teams we'd worked with earlier in the day.

The teams could have been mirror images of each other, so evenly were they matched. The score was 12-12 at the half and 17-17 time with one minute remaining. The home favorite Barbarians scored.

It was 22-17 with six seconds left at the restart. The referee said, "Last play!" The kicker asked, "Is this it?" The ref said, "Next dead ball."

The kicker saw an unmarked touch line deep and to the right. He kicked for it. The ball bounced about five meters from touch, about ten meters from the goal line, AND DID NOT GO OUT. It barely even bounced. It just lay there.

The Fresno players seemed to have accepted their defeat and hadn't pursued. One unmarked Barbarian chased. All he needed to do was toe it over the touch line for the trophy.

But you know rugby players and they know the object of the game: to score as many points as possible. So he picked it up, ran into the try zone, and then dropped the ball the last three inches, a knock-on.

A Fresno player had recovered and was there to scoop it up and begin his run upfield. Everyone seemed to look at the ref, including Tom Zanarini who was standing in-goal two steps from the play with a look that said 'Nothing to report. Certainly nobody's scored any trys around here'. The ref said, "KNOCK ON. ADVANTAGE GAINED." This counter-attack went 105 meters to knot the score with a try in the corner.

The pitch was 80 yards wide. The kick was only about 20 yards wide.

Overtime similarly ended with an unusual play, one giving Fresno the victory.

A Barbarian was tackled to his knees about 25 meters out from scoring. He released the ball, the tackler released him, and then he picked up the ball and got to his feet.

Wrong sequence - it's supposed to be, got to his feet and then picked up the ball. Whistle. Penalty.

Captain, #10 and tournament MVP Beau Brodtmann took a quick-tap as the Barbarians began to retreat. But he was energized and trying to do everything he could to win the game so he kicked the ball too hard, out of his hands, about five meters ahead.

You've seen this happen. The player didn't mean to do it. He meant to kick it one inch, catch it instantly, and continue running. It was a mistake, the ball was in his hands and now it's gone forward and hit the ground, and players often react as if it were a knock-on.

It's a play-on. It's a short kick out of the hands taken from the mark for a penalty kick.

Beau knows play-on.

While others relaxed just for one count, which is how long it took the referee to say, "NO KNOCK, PLAY ON," Beau exploited their late starts to toe the ball further ahead, collect it on the bounce, and scamper all the way to the bank to deposit a decisive fiver.

Brodtmann’s was a new face to the referee, and this will be his first season with Fresno. We are told he comes from the University of Michigan.

As penance for their tied matches, Paul and Bruce sprung for pitchers of Sierra Nevada at the Branch Street Deli. All's well with the refereeing world.


Dan Wilson will be moving back to Fresno in October after a few years on the east coast to resume his Pelican career.

Welcome home, Dan. The Society missed you, but we kept a seat open.


The NCRRS is only up to sixteen registrants. Commit!

Be sure to print the liability waiver, sign it, and mail it to our treasurer along with your $10 dues for the upcoming year.

Note that there are two pages to the waiver, both of which need to be signed and returned, and six paragraphs where you initial. It’s like renting a car in that respect, although more rewarding.

Checks to: NCRRS
Jim Crenshaw
c/o Delta Supply
1248 East Oak Avenue #D
Woodland, CA 95776


You'll appreciate this: a fellow I'd never seen before asked me at the club sevens two weekends ago how pelicans came to be associated with rugby referees.

I tried to explain but it became clear I wasn't answering the question that he was asking.

Just as I realized his mistaken assumption he voiced it: "I understand about Northern California. But why are ALL rugby referees called Pelicans?"

Obviously new to the sport but off to a very good start!


Scott Wood sends along this link to Air New Zealand’s pre-flight announcements:



Here's a good article on the origins of our Game.


It's written by a Pelican expat now living in Mexico - David Harper!


Through the generosity of an anonymous benefactor, the NCRRS is offering free Level 1 tuition for any coach from a men's or women's college and one or two players from the team. (Coach attends course with the player.) Players must have at least two years experience.

This would provide benefits to teams (those who attend the course will be smarter players and can handle scrimmages), and to players (full-time students can receive money for refereeing matches). The Society benefits from a greater understanding of the laws among those we officiate, and perhaps some refereeing of regular season high school or adult matches.

We can provide coaching to any new referees at the Sacramento Kickoff Tournament in January.


Saturday, October 16: level one referee course in San Jose
Sunday, Oct. 17: TJ and AR course in Vallejo
Saturday, Oct.30: level one referee course in Sacramento
November 13-14: level two refereeing course in Vallejo
December 4: TJ and AR course in Sacramento

Please let our recruitment officer know if you would like to take any of these courses, or simply go on-line to www.USARugby.org, click on Referees and then on Sign Up For a Course.

Rob Hendrickson: RCHendrickson@duanemorris.com

Team of Five
Here’s the team of five from the national Sevens championship at Rocca Field August 15. Preston’s brother took this fine photo.

Preston Gordon, Phil Akroyd, Tom Lyons, George O’Neil and Don Pattalock.


For the Senate
Pelicus Scriptoris