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.


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