Friday, October 21, 2011




Tom Zanarini has the news:
The 2011 kit is in! If you are receiving a kit based on refereeing 5 assigned matches this past season and gave me your size a few months ago, then you will be kitted out in the newest fashion for the upcoming season. All of those referees will receive 2 jerseys (blue and yellow), navy shorts and navy socks by Canterbury of New Zealand. The kit will be available at the November 5 AGM meeting, so this should serve as an extra incentive to attend. Those receiving kit and not attending the AGM just may have to track me down at your own time and expense (I live next to Mill Valley Beerworks, so if you wish to track me down at home I may hold your kit hostage until after the first pint). I have 6 boxes taking up space in my tiny apartment. My wife has set a statute of limitations on how long these boxes can remain, so please attend the AGM, pick up your kit and keep my marriage happy. I also have some extras, price TBD. Anyone attending the Pacific Coast Collegiate 7's in Palo Alto on October 22-23 may get their kit at that time.


We could use one more referee for a men’s college sevens at UC Davis this Sunday morning, from 9:30 until 1 PM.

We also need ARs/in-goal judges for the Pacific Coast men’s college sevens at Stanford both Saturday and Sunday. This event will run 9-5 on Saturday and 10-4 on Sunday.


We need thirty referees for Saturday, October 29, and five or six for October 30. At present we have five, and one of them is a visitor from Down Under.

Here’s the lineup:
  • California College Sevens at St. Mary’s – this is a qualifier for the national championship. Cal vs. St. Mary’s (among others). 20 games on Saturday, 13 on Sunday.
  • Baracus Tens: a fun Halloween event in San Francisco. Two pitches – needs six refs.
  • Ben Quaye Memorial Tournament at UC Santa Cruz: men’s college fifteens. Needs six refs.
  • Women’s Tens tournament at Stanford
  • Need ARs for a Women’s Premier League game, All Blues hosting DC Furies
  • UOP hosting Fog
  • SFGG hosting a touring side from Australia
This weekend could be a disaster, a dark day for the NCRRS, if folks don’t volunteer.


October 13:
Stanford Graduate School of Business – Seahawks Referee: Pete Smith
No report received.

October 14-15:
Fiji Day Sevens
Report by Eric Rauscher:
Not as many teams showed up as was expected, so only two games were played on Friday and only 7 teams did two pools on Saturday. Many of the teams had different "Islander" names, but suffice it to say that many of the usual suspects were there (both EPA teams, two clubs from Santa Rosa, Sacramento). Strangely SFGG didn't have a squad there. Suffice it to say that Waisale Serevi's team down from Seattle was unstoppable, eventually winning the final.

The atmosphere was like a usual 7s tourney but more so. There were about 10 food booths, music going and a volleyball and netball competition going on at the same time. The weather was perfect and it was a very enjoyable time. The only thing that would have made it better was to have more rugby.

Maybe next year.

October 15:
UOP – San Francisco State Referee: Paul Bretz
No report received.

San Jose State – Alumni Referee: James Hinkin
No report received.

October 16:
Women’s college D2 camp scrimmage Referee: Lee Salgado
No report received.

This is pretty sorry, the lack of match reports over the past few weeks. It threatens our financial viability. We bill for matches based on the games that are played, and THE ONLY WAY WE KNOW THAT A GAME WAS PLAYED IS IF WE HAVE A REPORT FROM THE REFEREE.

The minimum report consists of the score. Without that, if teams claim that a match wasn’t played, that they don’t owe us anything, we can’t refute the claims.


Finally – someone makes it clear:

At the end they demonstrate the situation where the passer is tackled or otherwise stopped when passing, and the pass then appears to go forward. To this should have been added the situation where the pass crosses an existing line on the field, say the 22, and those who don’t understand the game will yell out, Forward pass! It was passed on the near side and caught on the far side!

To sum up: you can only tell if a throw is forward by watching the motion of the passer’s arms, hands and wrists. If it is not thrown forward relative to his body, it will not be a forward pass NO MATTER WHICH DIRECTION IT TRAVELS.

There are three things the passer is not responsible for: the wind, the bounce of the ball, and his own forward momentum. Unless the passer is standing still and the wind is not blowing, you cannot judge a forward pass by comparing Point A to Point B (point of pass – point of catch) and seeing if Point B is closer to the opponent’s goal line. You need to see the passer’s hands at the moment of release. THAT’S ALL THAT MATTERS.

There is a current term to explain this, which your writer does not like but which is nonetheless in vogue among the cognoscenti: ‘forward catch’. That is, the pass was not forward even though it was caught ahead of where it was thrown.

Some of us have understood this for thirty-five years. The game of rugby has understood it for almost two hundred. Would that the Laws made it explicit.


The multi-stage fitness test will be offered on November 5 on the netball court just before our society AGM.

If you have ambition as a referee, you need to take this test. If you’d like to know how to train to it, just reply and ask.


We are only up to 34 paid-up members for 2012, and about half of those aren’t our ‘regulars’.

Time to pony up. Pay to play. Go to and sign up.


An interesting article for those who like to think about what might be. (Your scribe must admit to not being in this group. Tell us what the Law is and we’ll ref it.)


We were in Albuquerque for the 40th annual High Desert Classic this past weekend, with Ed Todd, and Phil Akroyd refereeing the final.

Imagine that we remembered to take a photo.


For the Senate
Pelicus Scriptoris

Friday, October 14, 2011




A couple of months ago Mike Malone and I received an e-mail from Mitch Eisenberg, aboard the USS Carl Vinson, who is the organizer of the ship's rugby team. The Carl Vinson was due to take part in Fleet Week festivities in San Francisco and me wanted his guys to have a run.

Not having any local contacts, he asked rugby supplier Matt Godek, a long-time friend of military rugby, for Bay Area contacts. Matt steered Mitch our way.

Mitch and Mike Malone are both attorneys, JAG officers, Mike having served in the Marine Corps.

We thought the California Maritime Academy would be a good fit and so did coach Steve Hiatt, and but for the fact that the CMA pitch is being replaced with an artificial one they would have hosted. As it was, we needed to find a third.

San Francisco-based BA Baracus has a reputation for hosting and entertaining touring sides, and true to form they readily agreed.

Two other referees were available: Bryant Byrnes and Jordan Bruno, as well as Bryant's son Clay and my grandson Ben Bravo to TJ.

The format for the competition would depend on which teams turned up with what numbers.

As it was, the fog was rolling in at the Ocean View rec center and the Navy men were late. CMA, preparing for a collegiate Sevens qualifier at the end of the month at St. Mary's, came prepared only to play sevens. So Baracus and the Maritime Academy played two games of sevens, by which time the guests of honor arrived.

Next, Maritime would play the sailors in sevens, after which the CMA team would depart. Then Baracus and the Carl Vinson would play an eighty-minute match of fifteens.

There was a large and boisterous crowd on the touch line, many of whom were new to the game and pretty much cheered or jeered at every play, depending. Perhaps ten of the sailors were taking part in their first-ever match.

Understand that they train on the hangar deck of the ship, it being a metal-surface parking structure for aircraft.

Lieutenant Commander Eisenberg played for the All Navy team early in the last decade and has taken on the responsibility of spreading the gospel of rugby.

Baracus 7 – MARITIME ACADEMY 19 Referee: Bruce Carter
ARs: Ben Bravo, Clay Byrnes
Maritime is preparing to play in the California Sevens at St. Mary’s October 29-30. This will be a qualifier for the USA Rugby College Sevens Championship.

Baracus 12 – MARITIME ACADEMY 21 Referee: Bryant Byrnes
ARs: Ben Bravo, Clay Byrnes

MARITIME ACADEMY 14 – USS Carl Vinson 12 Ref: Carter
ARs: Jordan Bruno, Bryant Byrnes
The Academy team took at two-try lead, after which the Navy men found their land legs and scored the last two.

B.A. BARACUS 60-ish – USS Carl Vinson 10 Referee: Jordan Bruno
ARs: Ben Bravo, Bruce Carter
Referee Coach: Bryant Byrnes
Naval Rehydration Counselor: Clay Byrnes
The inexperience of the Carl Vinson crew showed through, as Baracus ran in probably ten tries in the first sixty.

Ironically, their inexperience showed even on their first try, when the Carl Vinson winger ran about 68 meters toward a 70-meter try. His teammate, knowing it was the winger’s first game, called out, “Put the ball down.”

Perhaps the caller was an officer. In any event, the winger proved his obedience by dotting the ball as nicely as you please this side of paydirt. Luckily, there was support – plenty of support – and the try was collected with a minute and a half left.

After being blanked for 78 minutes, the Navy boys managed a second try after a series of phases from the re-start! There may have been some synergy for ‘let’s play two’ but the post-equinox darkness was setting in.

After the matches we repaired to Ireland's 32 on Geary Avenue, where I bent the elbow many a time in the early eighties. They used to pass the hat there for the "freedom fighters".

A lonely, near-empty Saturday-evening room was transformed into a loud, crowded, happy place as fully and rapidly as only a rugby crew can do. The bartender wisely called in reinforcements.

My wife and I decided that in this decade we would contribute to the cause of the freedom fighters, with Linda buying and pouring pitchers of Sierra Nevada, telling the sailors who said, "Thank you, ma'am", "Call me mom!"

This is not to imply that Baracus neglected their duties: no-one wanted for food or drink and the sailors' money was no good at all.

From there all were invited to Baracus' pub on Haight Street to watch the RWC quarterfinals.

LCDR Mitch Eisenberg had invited those who wished to tour the carrier on Sunday. The referee corps all wished: this is a Nimitz-class carrier whose first home port was Alameda.

Sunday morning at the Ferry Building saw sailors and Marines on shore leave and a mounting crowd for the air show later in the day. We were stopped by guards at the embarkation point only to find our names were not on the list for tours. Disappointment.

But then, the magic word: Rugby. That and 'the lawyer'. Even the guards seemed to know that the ship's attorney ran the rugby team (this on a ship with a complement of about 5000) and that he was offering a personally-guided tour, hence no list of names. Just then, around the corner strode Mitch like the Pied Piper, a contingent from the Maritime Academy in tow.

Rugby opens doors. I've played or refereed in eighteen countries, made friends all over the globe, and done some pretty cool things following the unpredictable bounce of the oval ball. Visiting one of the mightiest warships on Earth with my family and friends on a glorious, sunny day on San Francisco Bay - all I can say is, if I refereed another sport I probably would not have gotten the opportunity.

Special thanks are due to Mitch Eisenberg, who gave up a day of liberty in San Francisco to escort some new rugby friends around his sea-borne world. The Spirit of the Game is alive and well in this officer's heart.


It’s not enough to read about the activities of the Flock on Hail, Pelicus!



We are hurting for enough referees to cover these events. Please raise a wing and volunteer – if you’d already done so, thank you.

And if you are reading this on Thursday night or Friday morning and you can play hooky on Friday, October 14, they could use you at the Fiji Day Sevens at Sheeran Field at Golden Gate. At present we have three refs for Friday for a highly-competitive tournament with a festival Island atmosphere.

Your scribe is off to New Mexico to help out with a Referees with Promise camp at the High Desert Classic or else he’d be there.


In Chico:
NorCal Triple Threat – Tempe Referee: Lee Salgado
No report received.

EPA Lady Razorbacks – Opponent Referee: Bruce Ricard
No report received.

Santa Clara – Alumni Referee: John Coppinger
No report received.

UOP – McGeorge Referee: Scott Wood
No report received.

SF Fog 0 – TEMPE 41 Referee: John Pohlman
T.Js: Amy and Mollie from the FOG
My first rugby game of the fall was both an enjoyable challenge and a safe journey.

The safe journey relates to how I finished last season: being run into on May 29th while refereeing an under-19 all-star game, breaking a rib and puncturing a lung.

Finishing this game healthy was good. Not visiting the doctor was great.

The enjoyable challenge started at the Job Corps Field on Treasure Island. The FOG were hosting Tempe in a Division 1 Woman's game. Both teams are part of the Pacific division which includes teams from Seattle, Portland, Northern California and Arizona. I believe this may have been the end of the season for both teams.

I arrived at 10:00AM for an 11:00 o'clock kick off. It was a welcome sight to see two old friends coaching the teams. The FOG is being coached by Ben Whiskey, formerly from Vallejo. Tempe is being coached by an ex-teammate friend of mine, Brad Fligas.

Both teams had plenty of players warming up and the field looked good.

The FOG was being captained by Jen Tetler. Jen is a fellow Pelican. The FOG has lost a lot of experienced players but still looked to have 30 dressed players. Many rookies. Tempe was captained by Katie "Pudge" Wright.

Both captains did a great job. There was no complaining or arguing from the players.

Jen won the toss and elected to receive.

This was an interesting game. Both teams had good athletes but Tempe was better organized and had Pudge at #9 leading way. Tempe's #8 and #10 were also experienced players. This led to multi-phase ball which broke down the FOG defense and allowed winger #15 Mary Whittaker to score trys at 7, 14, 16, and 39 minutes. Mary was about 5'2" and 110 with full kit. But when she had space, she could carve it up.

Half time score Tempe 31 FOG 0.

The FOG slowed down Tempe in the second half, for a final Tempe 41 FOG 0.

I blew my closing whistle and heard a noise which overwhelmed my whistle. The thunder over head was planes buzzing the field. Yes, The Canadian Snowbirds started their air show with a fly over. Oh yeah it was fleet week and TI is one of the best spots to catch the action.

After the game I was gathering rosters and feedback, with the air show going on, the Navy ships littered throughout the bay...the FOG women dressing in a western theme and the smell of pig roast throughout the air. Life is good.

What... I mean what could you possibly add to this scene. While the free beer helped, it was the Daisy Duke theme that most of the FOG players chose to wear that caught my eye.

Yes take me back to the 80's and the Daisy Duke short shorts and halters, thank you ladies. Life maybe good, but Rugby Life is Great.

Seconds: SF Fog – Tempe Referee: Bruce Ricard
No report received.


You can register as a referee, player and/or coach all at the same time.

Matter of fact, it’s much easier to do it at the same time… it’s difficult to go back.

If you go to:

Membership Forms
Dual Role Registration Form

Fill out the dual role registration form and submit

Rugby Aboard
Lieutenant Commander Mitch Eisenberg, who organizes and plays for the USS Carl Vinson’s rugby team, welcomes a flock of Pelicans aboard ship.

Left to right: Bryant Byrnes, Clay Byrnes, Bruce Carter, Ben Bravo, LCDR Eisenberg, Don Goard


For the Senate
Pelicus Scriptoris

Thursday, October 06, 2011




Jordan Bruno is off to a good start, and has been promoted to L3 based on his performance on the All Blues – Beantown second-side match last weekend.

Congratulations to one of our newer Pelicans. He’ll be working with Bruce Carter and Bryant Byrnes at a Sevens tournament with the sailors of the USS Carl Vinson this weekend.

Although, Jordan: send in match reports. Rugby people want to know!


Sunday, October 9
11 AM: SF Fog – Tempe Referee: John Pohlman


Perhaps you haven't registered with USA Rugby for 2012 yet. Old registrations expired on August 31. There are only 26 Pelicans as of October 5…

You need to register here. Your 'club' is the NCRRS. Print out the waiver, sign it, and mail it along with $10 dues to:

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

Then you'll be current with NCRRS and USA Rugby.


Dates & Locations offered:

Oct 2, 2011 - Bellarmine in San Jose – OOPS, too late!
Oct 16, 2011 - California Maritime Academy, Vallejo
Nov 6, 2011 - Sacramento (TBD)
Dec 4, 2011 - Elsie Allen High School, Santa Rosa
Dec 4, 2011 - Campolindo High School, Moraga

Wanna sign up? Go to, click on Officiate the Game, then follow the links to sign up for a training course.

If you are a NCRRS member (see above), we’ll cover your costs.


Women’s Premier League:
The All Blues are undefeated in league play.
ALL BLUES 48– Beantown 10 Referee: Joe Androvich
ARs: John Coppinger, Jordan Bruno
No report received.

Seconds: All Blues 10 – BEANTOWN 43 Referee: Jordan Bruno
No report received.

Chico State 26 – ALUMNI 35 Referee: Rich Boyer
AR: Mark Godfrey
Chico State started strong and ended the first half tied with the more seasoned alumni team. The alumni had some nice back movements and dominated the third period. Chico State did not give up and scored two tries in the late stages of the game. Chico alumni won 35-26. The game was fast paced and featured strong tackling and running. A big thank you to Mark Godfrey for AR duties.

Sierra Tens in Sacramento – CANCELED

Lady Razorbacks 5 –SACRAMENTO AMAZONS 68 Referee: Pete Smith
I was optimistic it would be a great game. The Lady Razorbacks had shown so well during the summer, but just didn’t have the numbers. They kicked off with 14, had a prop go down for a while, and picked up a late arriver, finished with 13. Twenty minutes in it was 5-5, but the Amazons woke up and EPA just didn’t have the depth to compete. Final score 68-5. I will say they had a pretty good crowd. I was surprised, but most of the EPA men’s team was there in support as were several of the players from many years past.


October 15:
Friday-Saturday: Fiji Day Sevens at Sheeran Field (SFGG). Need 5-6 refs

October 22:
Olympic Club hosting NYAC on TI. Needs a team of three
Women’s Slugfest on two pitches at UC Santa Cruz. Need six refs
Women’s NorCal College Sevens in Vallejo. Need three refs
Women’s Club D2 Regional Playoffs hosted by the Amazons. Need 4-6 refs
Men’s Pacific Coast Sevens at Stanford. This will be a qualifier for the nationals in December. Need refs and ARs

Sunday, October 23:
Sevens tournament and a game of fifteens at UC Davis. Need 3-4 refs

Aspen Team of 33
Here’s a big bunch of refs and refs-assist at the Aspen Ruggerfest last month.

Bryan Porter had to leave before the picture was taken. Matt Eason and Bruce Carter are at the front left.


For the Senate
Pelicus Scriptoris