Thursday, November 24, 2011




As of December 14 (or shortly thereafter), the Pelican Referee kit will be available for sale at the SFGG Clubhouse. Jerseys $50. Canterbury Shorts (what's left) $20. Gilbert shorts (some larger sizes remain) $15. Socks $10. Touch Flags $25. Society Ties $15. Society pins $2. I think this is the best setup as most referees pass through Treasure Island at least a couple times a year. Your chance of hooking up with me for kit individually is very slim, unless you want to make you way to Mill Valley prior to the 14th, where I'll force you to buy me a pint at Mill Valley Beerworks prior to any other transactions.

John Coppinger checks in:

October was a busy rugby month, and spilled over well into November.

10/15 & 10/16

First up was the New England Exchange 10/15 & 10/16. My wife and I both have extensive family living in New England and this made a typical exchange experience impossible. Instead of an all-encompassing rugby experience, this was a family experience with two interludes of rugby.

Torrential rain was falling Friday night upon my arrival; however, the rain was gone on Saturday morning as I drove 30 minutes to the Irish Cultural Center in Canton for my Saturday match featuring the Hartford Wanders, who just stepped up into the NERFU D1 from D2, to take on the Boston Irish Wolfhounds. The Irish Cultural Center has four fields, but only one was judged to be playable. It was a little short and a tad tight and I thought that it meant I was in for a forward fest. However, the field was firm, the wind was howling making both clubs reluctant to kick the ball, and both sides played an attacking style from all over the pitch. Wolfhounds were bigger, fitter, faster, and more skilled and while Hartford was committed early, Hartford was broken by the unrelenting attack of the Wolfhounds as the Wolfhounds won going away 67-6. Don Morrison was on hand as the evaluator and we enjoyed a Guinness talking about rugby and life in the comfortable bar that is just one small part of the impressive Irish Cultural Center.

Sunday morning found me driving down to Providence to handle the Brown v Princeton match. It was a beautiful, cool day and the trees were turning fall colors. The Ivies played back-to-back matches on Saturdays and Sundays this fall in order to get through the Ivy League season. Both Brown and Princeton sustained critical injuries on Saturday depriving them of important players; however, while Brown had played at home on Saturday, Princeton had to travel to Hanover to face Dartmouth, the league power. From the start, Brown attacked aggressively and Princeton was sluggish and committed silly penalties. Brown led at the half 19-0. Second half was very different as Brown went into a funk, while Princeton began to string together phrases of play and was able to score two tries and a conversion. Princeton was on the attack most of the final 15 minutes; however, Princeton’s front row was no match for Brown and any scrum became Brown possession and Brown hung on to win 19-12. Peter Watson was on hand to evaluate and we talked about the match for about 30 minutes and I left for Logan Airport and the long flight home.

Both Don and Peter were great to talk to about my matches and I took way a great deal from both gentlemen. The NERRS folks were welcoming and seemed disappointed they couldn’t do more for me in terms of hosting. My thanks to the Society for the opportunity.


My son, Jack, is a freshman at Whitman College in Walla Walla, Washington and Parents’ Weekend at Whitman this fall was the weekend of 10/21-10/23. In early August I sent an email to DJ Heffernan, the president of the PNRRS, volunteering to do the Whitman game over Parents’ Weekend. Impressed by my credentials no doubt (or more likely stunned that anyone would actually volunteer to go to Walla Walla to referee rugby), DJ gave me the job.

The rugby pitch at Whitman is Ankeny Field, which is located in the central quad of the college surrounded by dorms and other college buildings, all red brick. Just like the week before in New England, the trees were changing colors and it was a beautiful sight.

As I warmed up, the Whitman Women were playing the Lewis & Clark Women. Apparently, a couple of rookies scored for Whitman because immediately after the match, two Whitman players took off on a Zulu run cheered on by both clubs.

Whitman Men played Seattle U. Seattle U. was a bit bigger and faster and had a couple of Islander kids who knew the game. It was a scrappy match with lots of management to avoid what could have been a penalty fest. Seattle dominated early, but Whitman came back late to score a 50 meter try on a quick throw-in that caught Seattle napping and made the score 21-19 in favor of Seattle with about 5 minutes left. After the kick-off, Seattle successfully counter-rucked and stole the ball to stop a Whitman threat, spun the ball wide, and scored the unconverted try in the corner to make the final 26-19 in favor of Seattle. It was not the best rugby, but the players seemed to enjoy the match and they all headed off to Whitman’s off-campus clubhouse for cookies and milk. Jack, my son (who plays baseball, not rugby), later told me that the Whitman players said I didn’t suck. I guess this means I can invite myself back next year.


Next up was the Pan Am Games in Guadalajara Mexico where I was appointed as the IRB’s Citing Commissioner. Also appointed were Brian Zapp of Colorado and Bryan Arciero of Canada, both as referees, Alan Hudson of Canada as the Judicial Officer, and Jim Russell, as the Appellate Officer. (Bryan prepared for this appointment by working the Pac 12 event at Stanford the week before.)

After a sprint to get the venue constructed, organized, and functioning, the event came off spectacularly and it was a great achievement for the Pan Am Games Organizers and the Mexican Rugby Union.

As for the rugby, Canada and Argentina were the class of the teams, with the USA just behind, but well above the rest, the tie with Brazil notwithstanding.

Old Guadalajara is a beautiful and inviting place and the people could not have been nicer, but I only wish my Spanish could have been better (i.e., existent).


St. Mary’s College put on an impressive show this past Saturday fielding four sides against opponents from Santa Rosa JC and UCSB.

I handled SMC Thirds against UCSB Seconds. Lots of rookies, lots of kids making the transition from football to rugby, lots of penalties (but not as many as there could have been) and a couple or three yellow cards for silliness, but everyone seemed to have had a good time. Both teams wanted to play fast and furiously, but as I told the coaches after the match, their ambition did not match their current rugby skill sets and rugby IQs. Score: SMC 38 – UCSB 19.

Phil Akroyd came down sick and George O’Neil stepped in for Phil in the SMC Seconds vs, UCSB Academy match. I am glad he did. SMC put up somewhere around 100 points on UCSB and I was dying running AR for George after my match. The Fourth side was reffed by Evan, a student at SMC.



Stanford 22 – MARITIME ACADEMY 29 Referee: Stephen Moore
Stanford was outplayed by Maritime forwards.

Seconds: STANFORD 34 – Maritime Academy 10 Referee: Jordan Bruno
The reserve side match kicked off on a rainy evening in Palo Alto. The intensity of the first side match carried over to the second side players, who started the match with a bang. Stanford had the leg up on experience and structure in phase play while the Maritime side had the edge in the set pieces, outweighing the Stanford side and doing a fair bit of bullying in the forwards. Stanford played with a man down after the first 20 minutes due to a dangerous spear tackle, but still managed to stay on the offensive, slotting over a couple of early tries. Until half, Maritime unsuccessfully made breaks downfield. With little support to offload, these turned into easy Stanford turnovers. Realizing their forward dominance, Maritime regrouped after the half and focused on rolling mauls and forwards picks, giving them a couple of unconverted tries and narrowing Stanford's lead. Stanford's backs proved too speedy and scored a few more tries before the end of the match, giving their side an easy win.

STANFORD women 82 – UC Santa Cruz 10 Referee: Dan Wilson
AR: Mike King
Driving North on a Friday night from the Central Valley, I planned ahead “just in case” I ran into the fun Bay Area traffic. Not only did I hit that traffic, but the weatherman lied and it rained. Thankfully, with my destination being a rugby pitch, nothing can take away the luster of the night. When I arrived, I realized that the Stanford Men’s B-side game was getting under way late allowing me to take my time in warming up.

I did notice that the two women’s teams getting ready were Stanford Women’s (check) and Cal Maritime Women’s...wait, it was supposed to be UCSC. Maybe, I thought, I had the A and B side opponents mixed up. Either way, I had the A game. As soon as I ran into the B-side referee Mike King, who luckily had arrived early, I was informed that UCSC had forfeited and Stanford was only hosting one game. Two referees and one game = someone not refereeing. Let me put out up front a large Thank You to Mike for allowing me to referee the game and being my helpful AR for the night.

Stanford decided to play a combination of it’s A’s and B’s...well, at least that is that they stated up front. At the kickoff of the first of three 30-minute periods, it was evident that Stanford’s strategy was to play the A side first and the B side afterwards. The first period was a track meet, with Stanford scoring as quickly as two minutes apart many times. Their largest obstacles were their own simple errors and the accuracy of their kicker. To end the suspense, the first period ended with Stanford leading 66-0.

The second and third periods were much closer. Stanford had almost a completely different team on the pitch and Cal Maritime changed their front rows. Both of these changes allowed the last two periods to be more of a rugby game and not a track meet. Stanford won these two periods as well with three tries scored, but Cal Maritime did score its lone try in the corner by the winger with 3 minutes left in the game. The jubilation by the Cal Maritime Women which resulted cannot be accurately described but that one try seemed to make the night's game worth their efforts.

Final Score: Stanford 82-10. More accurately: Stanford Women A’s 66 – 0 Cal Maritime Women & Stanford Women B’s 15 – 5 Cal Maritime Women.


Chico Holiday Classic
Pleasant Valley High School
Report by Ray Schwartz

24 matches played by 12 sides, 4 women, 4 college men, 4 men's clubs. Three smallish fields. Nice crowd. Tournament Director Mitch Jagoe reported he had to turn sides away. Games were all 40 minutes long, scores were not kept, no trophies awarded. Lots of preseason action for the rookies. Good to sharpen the skills of the refs as well. Sunny and almost warm to start, but then cloudy, a bit windy and then downright chilly to end the day.

I had hoped to referee coach, but only grizzled veterans who wouldn't take my input came to ref. Just kidding! But less than 24 hours before the opening kick off disaster struck, in Reno, and in San Jose.

Reno, literally declared a state of emergency with some 32 homes destroyed (Jerry Winter was lucky to make it through!), which meant no Lee Salgado or Phil Ulibarri, both public servants pressed into duty. And from San Jose, James Hinkin reported in with regrets, feeling sick and getting worse. Busy with my own end-of-the-week stuff, I could do no scrambling to recruit others, called to let Mitch release one hotel room, and I headed up expecting to run rather than write.

Mark Godfrey and Jeff Richmond helped with the other first matches, then Rich Boyer and JC Van Staden arrived and we just keep reffing... My first games were the university sides, Chico rolling over a very competitive UoP, San Francisco State then gave UNR a run. Lots of talented athletes on display, lots of rookies getting their first taste. UoP and SF St where both better than I had expected. With more depth and time together, they both may enjoy some success this season.

I then drew Vacaville vs. Shasta. A very dominant display by Vacaville, as they seemed to fire on all cylinders, whereas Shasta looked like a Chevy Vega w/ a blown cylinder head. Still, they fought to the end and scored one to Vacaville's ten. Phil Ulibarri then showed up; he was released from his duties only early Saturday. I finally took a break, saw some old friends, and got a surprise hug from Olo Fifita, who had arrived to watch a cousin play.

One last game, Chico vs San Jose Seahawks on the main pitch. A bit of a pressure cooker. Nice to see a couple of UC Davis ruggers I had coached (Dan Nagle and Brandon Taylor) playing for the Hawks. Lots of big hits and gutsy passes. Not a lot of structure to the game. Several unplayable piles. Didn't seem to matter what I called, the other team was gonna be unhappy. Even when I didn't make a call (correctly) someone was unhappy. The two sides had come tied 3 to 3 with 8 minutes left when the match ended abruptly.

At another rough tackle (in front of the thick of the crowd) with bodies flying everywhere, I observed the Chico center, try scorer, and arguably the best player on the field at the entire tournament, Austin Ernest, was rolling on his back, screaming and pointing to his boot. He had a brutal dislocated ankle. The seas parted, as I blew my whistle and came upon him. Unbelievable as he quickly calmed, and didn't pass out. The medic was right there, we called the game, his boot and sock was cut off, emergency services were on the scene soon enough, and poor Austin went off with his girlfriend to the hospital. Let's hope he recovers to run again. He was a bull!

JC and Rich headed home, as Jeff, Mark and I found our way to the Bear. The Celebration Ale... delicious. Not sure why Chico doesn't have a few refs of their own. They are going to need them, as a first ever Youth match was featured at Noon on the main pitch. Get a carload to the next ref clinic Mitch!

SF/Golden Gate 19 – SAN MATEO 34 Referee: Pete Smith
ARs: Mike Gadoua, Tom Zanarini
Your reporter arrived with five minutes left in the match. It was tied.

Having just refereed a game with 55 points in it and cultivating his thirst, he hoped perhaps the match would conclude with a common score.

[When a referee has a game that ends in the tie it is not good. Obviously, the point of all this activity is to score points and to win the game.

[So, when nobody wins the game the referee has failed to serve our Holy of Holies, the Object of the Game. The referee is then obliged to assuage the disappointment of all fellow blowers who witnessed this failure, and this is traditionally done at the nearest elbow-bending facility.]

But five minutes was plenty of time for a San Mateo side to run in three tries against a substitution-depleted SFGG, so it wasn’t even close. (The score is a guess. Someone thought the game had been 19-all prior to the late scores.)

Seconds: SF/Golden Gate 19 – SAN MATEO 42 Referee: Tom Zanarini
ARs: Mike Gadoua, Dave Newport
Miles: 3.75 (plus 2 miles as AR for the A match)
A pleasant early afternoon turned into a cold day as the B sides took the field. Many substitutes from the A match filled in, which was played with typical pre-season precision. San Mateo just seemed to have the finishing touch on the day for both matches. Special thanks to Mike Gadoua for car-pooling.

Diablo Gaels – Vallejo Referee: Unknown

St. MARY’S 46 – UC Santa Barbara 5 Referee: Aruna Ranaweera
Under soggy conditions, 2011 CPD quarter-finalist SMC met 2011 DI finalist UCSB in a preseason match in which the opposing captains were brothers.

Scrums were well-contested and the ball was moved around a lot in open play, but overall execution was indicative of a preseason encounter. SMC lead 15-5 at the break.

In the second half, SMC played occasional pick-and-go rugby but for the most part attempted to play 15-man sevens until they found a gap. UCSB tackled with commitment but squandered the little possession they got.

ST. MARY’S JV 99– Santa Barbara Academy 0 Referee: George O’Neil

ST. MARY’S thirds 38 – UC Santa Barbara seconds 19 Referee: John Coppinger
See the report in John’s October diary, above.

St. Mary’s fourths 5 – SANTA ROSA JC 39 Referee: Evan Schlinkert
(Evan is a student at SMC who is a fledgling Pelican. We’ll be seeing him at the December 4 Level One Officiating course at Campolindo.)

CALIFORNIA women 55 – UC Santa Barbara 0 Referee: Bruce Carter
ARs: Rod Chance, Robert Monforte
Witter Field on the Cal campus hosted this pre-season friendly.

The UCSB men played less than eight miles away and suffered nearly as bad a defeat.

With construction still underway of the Cal football facility, temporary offices for the athletic department take up the areas where spectators used to watch rugby games. The field is now artificial grass, which surface the football team needs for practices. But the dual scoreboards at least still announce it as the Witter Rugby Field.

It is a bit disconcerting to see a gridiron laid out on the hallowed turf in Strawberry Canyon, albeit with blue rugby lines superimposed.

The Cal women look to have a good season ahead of them. They were dominant from the front row through to the outside backs, and when Santa Barbara subbed in rookie front rows Cal
proved adept at dialing it back just enough to keep the scrums safe, which keeps the referee happy, while still dominating their opponents.

Of particular note was the quality of ball-handling and inter-passing when in open play: it was essentially flawless.

Cal Captain and #8 Jennifer Sever scored three tries and kicked as many conversions. She had one held up in-goal but then scored from the ensuing scrum.

There were some problems with lying near the ball after losing the counter-ruck and ‘hatching’ squeeze ball instead of properly laying it back, but Cal Coach Ellen Owens wanted to know about these penalty patterns afterwards and even took notes.

UCSB had some handy players, in particular #6 and #12, but couldn’t make their combinations work.

Cal/UC Santa Barbara combined Bs 0 – USF 66 Referee: John Pohlman
AR's: Paul Berman and Jennifer from Cal who is soon to be an official Pelican
Wittier Field at Cal is alive. The Cal. women hosted UCSB and USF at the field this weekend.

This has been my third time seeing USF this fall. They are being coached by Kathy Flores. Each time I am impressed with how much USF has improved.

The USF players are coached to step over the ball to gain possession. For example a tackler will get up and stand over the ball rather than try and poach it. Or at counter ruck the player will stop when you get over the ball. This led to loads of turnover in USF's favor.

Prior to the game I introduced myself to the USF captain Jess and asked center Sally, she had played wing and fullback before, how many trys she had in her today. The previous games she had scored three each. She just smiled and did not answer. A humble back, go figure.

Sally may be the best runner I have seen in woman's rugby. Great balance, pace and vision. USF scored 5 try s in the first half and another seven in the second half.

After the game a USF player who had overheard our conversation came up and said, "Ref I think she scored seven today."

Yes Sally had scored three in the first half at center. The coach moved her to scrum-half for the second half which led to another 4 trys.

It will be interesting to see how this team progresses throughout the season. And of course in a year of so if Sally stays healthy can work her way onto the Eagles.=

UC Davis 12 – CAL POLY 29 Referee: Paul Bretz
AR: Anthony Nguyen

Seconds: UC Davis 10 – CAL POLY 22 Referee: Jordan Bruno
The weather broke as UCD hosted Cal Poly in a hard hitting second side match that saw well matched phase play in the forwards and backs. Both teams remained evenly matched in the forwards for the first 20 minutes of play with the score tied 0-0. The Poly backline was much more physical and experienced, producing easy ball for their scrum half and allowing their backline to advance upfield in swift counterattacks. This allowed a few scoring chances for the Poly 2nd side which they capitalized on before half. UCD remained on the back heel for much of the second half, holding the Poly offense within their half while showcasing their gritty defense. UCD had a few breaks upfield by the forwards and backs, but lacked the support and organization to provide fluidity in phases. Overall, a clean, well-played match on both sides. A more structured Poly side gave them the easy win.

SAN FRANCISCO FOG 65 – LA Rebellion 5 Referee: Tony Levitan
Having sent my match scoresheet through the washing machine already, I'll be working on this report without a net. In the first match of a gathering of gay men's teams from SF, LA and San Diego, the Fog ran the Rebellion all over the pitch, running in 11 tries to 1. The match was actually contested much more closely than the score would indicate but the Fog's scrum dominance and talent in the backline was too much for the Rebellion who had a few too many inexperienced players attempting to shore up their defenses.

Favorite moment of the match was a light one: Ball thrown in from line out was off line so I blew my whistle and announced "Not straight." One of the players retorted, "What is that, commentary?" I'm sure he's used that line before, but it was a new one for me ...

SF Fog B 12 – SAN DIEGO ARMADA 34 Referee: Bryant Byrnes
This was played under grey winter skies on the lumpy but comfortable Fog TI field with great spirit and good cheer. The Fog made an initial tactical error of inquiring whether I had played with Mr. Ellis back in my salad days-but assuaged the slightest of hurt feelings with a boffo post match rum punch cocktail and including me in the team picture.

10-5 for the guests at half; Fog takes the lead early in the second half, but then a bit of a deluge of points. But the Fog win the mini B match. I was very sorry to miss the Occupy The DNA Lounge movement post match. New refs: these guys give a great drink up.

Mini-tourney at old Fort Ord:
Cal State-Monterey Bay 10 – SAN JOSE STATE seconds 12 Referee: Mike King

SAN JOSE STATE 29 – Aptos 10 Ref: King
Sunny day. Pitch on the small size. Good hard hitting and spirited play. Aptos valiantly answered the call, playing 2 matches in a row. They faced the buzzsaw of SJ State, soon after finishing their first match against UC Santa Cruz. San Jose fielded 2 full sides and seems ready to fare very well this season. Cal State Monterey Bay made a fine showing for a new club with many players new to the game.

Aptos – UC Santa Cruz Referee: Bruce Ricard
No report received.

CSUMB – UC Santa Cruz Ref: Ricard
No report received.

UC Davis women's round-robin

UC DAVIS 33 – UC Santa Cruz 5 Referee: Jordan Bruno
A crisp fall morning on UCD’s Russell Field allowed the UCD women’s side to display their clinical backline play and solid defense as they battled a motley crew from Santa Cruz in the first morning matchup. UC Davis provided easy ball with great rucking, allowing a mismatched UCD backline to outpace the Santa Cruz offense. UCD scrums were solid and produced good set pieces for the backs to gain ground. UCD forwards handled their opponents easily in defense and at the breakdown. UCD’s lock and kicker had a great boot on the day, converting all but one kick in the match.

UCSC 21 – Fresno State Ref: Bruno
In the final match on the day, Santa Cruz matched up well with Fresno. Forwards worked hard throughout the match, scrimmaging 15 times easily per half due to knock-ons and held up mauls. As the match continued, the backs were used less and the match evolved into a series of rolling mauls and pick and goes from the ruck. Fresno’s side saw streaks of brilliance but with little support to capitalize. Santa Cruz’s side communicated better and moved as more of a structured unit, allowing them to score as the backline broke through the Fresno defense. A close match to the very end, UCSC outplayed their opponents with more cohesive play in the backs.

There were some more games refereed by Rich Boyer, but no reports have been received.


Rushden & Higham 10 – RUGBY SAINT ANDREWS 38 Referee: Preston Gordon
League match in Midlands 3 East (South), which I believe is RFU level 8.

Since I was going to be in England with rugby on the brain this past weekend, after going to the Northampton Saints-Llanelli Scarlets match on Friday, I got in touch with our friends in the East Mids society and offered my services if they needed me. As it turns out, they did, and gave me this appointment in Rushden. Coincidentally, this is where I stayed when on exchange here in 2008, and one of the first people I saw when I turned up at 1245 was Duncan Clayton, my host 3 years ago. I had brought him a framed photo of him with that year's exchange crew at a Northants pub after the 2 games at Moulton College, so we had a happy moment before I headed inside to the referees changing room to get down to business.

Kickoff was set for 1415, and the pre-match stuff was well out of the way in plenty of time before that. St. Andrews were a few places higher in the league table, and had had a better string of recent results, and so I was not too surprised when they dotted down a try in the opening minute. The conversion followed, as did 10 more minutes of them holding possession and moving the ball upfield using their forwards to maul effectively. Another try followed at the ten-minute mark, unconverted, leaving them ahead at 12-0. At this point Rushden began to get into the game themselves, using their speedy wings and fullback in attack. The game seesawed back and forth for the next 25 minutes with few penalties and just a few more stoppages. Rushden let a certain try go begging when one of their number hacked on a loose ball and their wing knocked the ball on about a meter from the line after running well clear of his opponent. St. Andrews were the ones who finished the scoring in the half though, with another converted try at the 35' mark, so at the break it was 19-0 to the visitors.

The second half was much the same. Rushden opened the scoring with a 22m penalty goal in the 3rd minute, but again St. Andrews was dominant. The handful of substitutions on each side didn't make much difference, although one of the tries for each side was more of a result of the defense caught napping than creativity in attack. St. Andrews converted 2 of their 3 tries, and Rushden converted their only one, leaving the final score at 38-10.

Refereeing outside your own local area is always a pleasure, especially here. I would like to thank the East Mids referees for the opportunity to get a game in, and I was happy to find that this level of match, which challenged me when I last reffed here 3 years ago, was well within my capabilities this time. And it's always nice to hear both sides tell you "great job" afterwards. Unfortunately I probably won't get to referee again in England, due to other commitments, but I may get another 80 minutes with the whistle in while in France or Germany in December. We shall see!


He should have taken up with the oval ball:

SantaBarbra vs CalWomen
At Witter Field:

Rod Chance, John Pohlman, Bruce Carter, Robert Monforte


For the Senate
Pelicus Scriptoris

Wednesday, November 16, 2011




First time we’ve said this in a while: there are fifty games on the schedule for this early pre-season weekend and EVERY ONE OF THEM HAS AN ASSIGNED REFEREE.

I love you guys.

*** We do still need a ref for Monday evening, November 28, 7 PM in Vallejo. ***


The 24 teams that will compete for the first-ever USA Rugby collegiate sevens title have been announced – including the top four from the California Sevens.

One-sixth of all the competitors were at the St. Mary’s tournament at the end of October!


The All Blues have won an even dozen Division One championships since 1994. Now they can add a Premier League trophy to their collection.

In the title match last weekend in Virginia Beach, they beat the Twin Cities Amazons 17 – 8 in a close, physical contest determined by two tries off turnovers.

The All Blues advanced to this game on the strength of their 17 – 7 victory over the San Diego Surfers in the semis.

The Sacramento Amazons finished third in D2 on their first trip to nationals. They came from behind to defeat Portland 26 – 15 and then lost to eventual-champions Raleigh by one point after having been down by twenty in the semi-final

In the third-place game they defeated Albuquerque’s Atomic Sisters 29 – 7.

Congratulations to these teams and thanks to the rugby community of Northern California for giving us so many good sides to referee.


At the NCRRS AGM November 5, the incumbent board of directors were each re-elected to a further two-year term.

Meet the new board, same as the old board: Bruce Carter, Preston Gordon, Pete Smith, Scott Wood, and Tom Zanarini.


ST. MARY’S – Maritime Academy Referee: George O’Neil
No report received.

Frosh/Soph: ST. MARY’S 52 – Maritime 5 Referee: Bryant Byrnes
This was the middle game of three matches in Moraga. (St Mary's has four sides; oh my word.) This was the first match for the majority of players on the pitch. It was privilege to have been assigned the match.

And it was not only real rugby, but remarkably well paced and played. After a bit of work on binding, we went to contested scrums and they stayed up. While Maritime was outgunned, they stoutly contested the whole match. Kudos to both teams and their coaches.

ST. MARY’S BLUE – Red scrimmage Referee: Arturo Morales (Boston)
A cloudy, chilly morning turned into a wonderful sunny afternoon in the mid-fifties. SMC had their pre-season Red/Blue game after only a few days of practice and very little, if any, live scrimmaging. The two sides were mixed between first XV and second XV players, but Blue got an early advantage and cruised to a 56 to 5 win.

Overall the players had great intensity and good instincts. The scrums where typical of early season scrums, though they improved slightly through the game. That being said, if there's a place for the team work on as a whole, it is the scrums, especially the front rows as they were more unstable than they should be.

As it often happens in rugby, the score is not indicative of the competitiveness of the match and both sides played their hearts out for most of the game, although Blue did score 35 points in the last 30 minutes of the 90 minute, 3-period match. This was enabled in part by the stronger Blue side, but Red started taking more changes late in the game that resulted in turnovers and subsequent scores.

The teams adapted well to pre-emptive talk and kept it clean. This was a fun game to watch and a pleasure to referee.

Report by Tom Zanarini:

Shasta hosted the Andrew Mittry Memorial Rugby Tournament this past weekend with a full roster of teams: Chico State, Chico Oaks, Jefferson State Elite, Shasta, Sacramento St. A&B, UC Davis, Santa Rosa JC, Highwaymen Touring Side, Western Oregon U., Oregon Institute of Technology, HULKS (formerly Humboldt St.). (Allegedly some shenanigans happened on campus and Humboldt St. is on probation, or kicked off. I didn't get details. Not good for the integrity of rugby and growing the game, hopefully whatever tomfoolery happened didn't tarnish Nor Cal rugby's reputation.) Referees on hand included JC Van Staden, Mike King, Jim Crenshaw, Sean Peters, Kevin Brown from Oregon and Tom Zanarini.

Most of us got 4 matches, shortened to 20 minute halves, which according to my Garmin meant 7.5 miles of running. The weather was perfect for a long day outside. Preseason tournaments are a great opportunity to work out the kinks, both for referees and players! This tournament is just a grouping of matches with no elimination or championship trophy.

All the teams played with sportsmanship first and foremost and let the rugby do the talking. The Highwaymen added a little extra flair, dressing up as farm animals. This made for interesting player ID during penalty calls: 'Skunk, hands in!' and 'Turkey, roll away!'

Sunday I was able to check out the area's main attractions in the Sundial Bridge and Shasta Dam.

Report by Preston Gordon

SJSU 34 – UC Santa Cruz 7 Ref: Gordon
AR: Bruce Ricard

FRESNO STATE 42 – UC Santa Cruz 5 Ref: Ricard
AR: Gordon, Chris Labozzetta

SJSU B 33 – UC Santa Cruz B 10 Ref: Labozzetta
AR: Gordon

SJSU Mixed 22 – San Jose Seahawks 10 Ref: Labozzetta
AR: Gordon

San Jose State 21 – FSU 22 Ref: Gordon

I think that covers everything, but Labo/Bruce, please jump in if I missed anything. All of these games were 25m halves except the SJSU-Seahawks one, which was 20m halves. They only had one game going at a time.

I also have 3 yellow cards to report for the day, which I will submit today or tomorrow. I'm transiting through Heathrow at the moment so it's taking me longer to get this info together than usual. The good news is I'll get to ref in the East Mids on Saturday!

Report by Bruce Carter

The vast expanse of the newest-generation artificial turf field at Santa Clara University hosted a small Sevens tournament on November 12.

A neat innovation: instead of ground-up automobile tires, the ‘soil’ is minced cocoanut shells. They look more like dirt, but one suspects that they will be considerably cooler to play on in direct sun in the summertime.

Cal brought two mix-and match sides to play against the hosts and a combined UC Santa Cruz/San Jose State squad.

The sun broke out in spurts but clouds won the argument in the end.

Cal White 17 – Santa Clara 17 Referee: Jordan Bruno
CAL BLUE 31 – San Cruz 5 Referee: Bruce Carter
CAL BLUE 29 – Santa Clara 0 Referee: Pete Smith
CAL WHITE 22 – San Cruz 5 Ref: Bruno
SANTA CLARA 25 – San Cruz 0 Ref: Carter
CAL BLUE 35 – Cal White 5 Ref: Smith
CAL BLUE 45 – San Cruz 0 Ref: Bruno
SANTA CLARA 24 – Cal White 0 Ref: Carter
CAL BLUE 26 – Santa Clara 5 Ref: Smith

Pelican Coin
Here are the obverse and reverse of the latest thing you can’t live without: Pelican Flippers.

Five bucks from Scott Wood. Get ‘em, keep ‘em, give ‘em away.


For the Senate
Pelicus Scriptoris

Wednesday, November 09, 2011




Fifty people were in attendance at one point Saturday during our pre-season training meeting and AGM. This high-water mark would have been right about the time Koko Ohanessian served us lunch from the SF/Golden Gate clubhouse kitchen.

Six folks arrived early for the beep test. Phil Akroyd came to encourage, having met the international referee standard three weeks earlier at a referee camp in Albuquerque.

Congratulations to Rich Boyer, George O’Neil, Anthony Nguyen, Bruce Ricard, Lee Salgado and Chris Tucker for meeting the challenge.

The day’s focus was on the tackle and the Coaches Panel. This year we had Jack Clark of Cal, John Compaglia of the Diablo Gaels and Ryan Luis of De La Salle to offer us their views of our game and the referee’s art.

We also had some new referees, the surest sign of a healthy society. Please do all you can to encourage and support those who take up the whistle.

Our next meeting will be Wednesday, December 14, from 7 until 9 PM at SFGG on Treasure Island. Mark your calendars!


Once again on Saturday at our society training meeting we encountered consternation from some that players are often on the ground – such as at tackles/rucks in the recent World Cup – and are not penalized for it.

Please bear in mind: there’s no penalty for going to ground as long as it is not the first intent of the player and as long as access to the ball by either team is not impeded thereby.

Here’s what might happen to lead to a player being off the feet:

Fall on the ball

Be tackled
Be a tackler
Slip and fall
Be cleared from the tackle zone
Clear someone from the tackle zone
Attempt to ruck but meet no opposition
Lose footing while rucking
Be pushed over from behind by an arriving teammate

You may be able to think of more. Have some empathy for those who are playing the game, contesting the ball, as long as their actions don’t illegally decide the contest.


There are a number of games coming up that are not on Saturdays. Please have a look. We’d love nothing more than to assign all of these in the next couple of days and put the schedule to bed for a while.

REDDING – need 3-4 more referees
Mittry Memorial Tournament
The Shasta club will provide hotel rooms Friday and/or Saturday for refs in need. There will be two pitches in play from 9 until 5 or so.

We also have a need for at least half a dozen refs in the Bay Area.

STANFORD Need two refs

STANFORD Four full games beginning at 4 PM. Need four refs.

CHICO Chico Holiday Classic. Four refs so far. Need that many more.
Rooms available for refs. Let us know.

MONTEREY Four games at Cal State – Monterey Bay. Need at least two refs.

ST. MARY’S Need three refs

UC DAVIS Need two refs

FOG ROUND-ROBIN Two refs should be enough

UC DAVIS Round-robin – needs two refs

VALLEJO – Small-college playoff game

STANFORD One game, afternoon or evening

STANFORD One game at 4 PM


Saturday, November 5:
UNIVERSITY OF NEVADA, RENO 27 – University of Pacific 10 Ref: Phil Ulibarri
Cold and breezy conditions welcomed the UOP Tigers when they got off their team bus at UNR’s John Salas Field. Thank goodness the snow in the Sierra never descended below 5,000 feet. The UNR pack had difficulty all game long, losing several of their own put-ins and almost all of Pacific’s; however, weak UOP defense - when Reno did get the ball - allowed five tries.

Abbreviated seconds game: UNR 47 – UOP 0

Sunday, November 6:
UC Davis 29 – Sac State 29 Referee: Phil Akroyd
ARs: Donal Walsh & Anthony Nguyen (Oldest and youngest active Pelican refs)
The overnight rain didn’t seem to affect the field and the clouds parted in time to make for a warm, dry Sunday morning on Russell field.

Davis scored in the second minute, running through a non-existent defense and again eight minutes later under similar circumstances. Twelve – nil. Looked like a long morning was in store for Sac.

The game then settled into a structure less pattern. Sac were dominant at the scrums, but had trouble putting together an attack. They had three goal-line stands in the first-half – literally inches from the goal line – but could not score points. Their issues stemmed from forwards making short bursts and getting isolated, then holding on. Davis were comfortable in defense but were consistently and unnecessarily infringing at the tackle. Sac scored points from Davis mistakes and turnovers, leaving it 19-5 at half in favor of Davis.

Given that Davis had their 10 in the bin from too many red-zone penalties, Sac scored two tries with the one-man advantage, getting it back to 19-17. Davis always maintained the lead but there were exchanges of try scoring several times, until it was tied up at 29s with about five minutes to go. Again, Sac had a long goal-line stand but failed to score after crossing a few meters out, after choosing to run a penalty in a kickable position.

Seconds: UC DAVIS 33 - Sac State 27 Referee: JC Van Staden
So, Saturday we talked about getting your head right before a game... Driving to the field, in the rain, to do 2 second side, did not help.... BUT, I arrived in the most perfect weather conditions you can imagine... Watching Phil work hard to buy us all a round next meeting ;) and having 2 teams that tried their best, made my head switch to overdrive....

Sac State came out swinging but Davis turned the tables quickly, and at half time, was leading 21 - 5. At that time it looked like Davis was going to show their first side how it was supposed to be done, but Sac State had another plan. Maybe it was the halftime speech, or the change-up in a couple of players, but the second half was a different story. Davis made more mistakes around the tackle and rucks, and Sac started to fight back... With a minute on the clock the score was 28-27 Davis, after Sac missed 4 conversion kicks.... and played a man down most of the second half. Davis did apply the pressure at the right time though, and ran in a last turn over try to make the score board look better.

California Maritime Academy scrimmage
Referee: Lee Salgado
It went well. We played three 20 minute halves and everyone got some playing time. Open field play was fast and exciting. Scrums took a few resets but started to look really strong. Fun to ref and the team looks to be coming along well.


Stanford 10s Tournament, 10/29/11 by John Pohlman

When I was younger my mother would tell me to come in, I would beg to play longer. She would say you’re going to run those legs right off. Well at Stanford myself and a few of my age-grade referees almost did.

It was the Stanford tens. Sixteen teams, two fields and forty five games...six referees. Fortunately the games were 24 minutes started and stopped with the hooter. Tony Levitan, Sandy Robertson, Aussie Bill Gillies (from Melbourne), Bruce Ricard, Brad Richey, Jen Tetler and Jeff Ferguson joined me. Tony was king for the day and ran everything smoothly.

I think everyone refereed at least 7 games. I did seven and the final between East Palo Alto Razorbacks and San Mateo Warriors. Two women's brackets and two men's brackets. Jen Tetler did the Woman's final (NorCal Triple Threat 31, Santa Clara Women 0) along with playing a few games.

Lots of rugby. A couple of highlights. San Mateo young versus San Mateo Old in a semi final. Not sure who won but a lot of respect shown to the Master Warriors. Refreshing breath of difference in the semi-finals was the Stanford GSB which lost to EPA 24-5 but came back to defeat San Mateo B for 3rd place, 24-22.

SAN MATEO WARRIORS 21 – Razorbacks 12
The Warriors combined players from both sides to play EPA in the finals.

San Mateo scored the first two converted trys only to have EPA come back with two trys and one conversion.

The final ten minutes was played at a furious pace and looked more like a mid-season game. San Mateo scored a final try to put the game out of reach from EPA.

Final San Mateo 21 East Palo Alto 12.

Brad and I joined the St. Mary's crew the next day for the 7's competition.

Hey Mom my legs didn't fall off...yet.

Full results at

Running Refs
At the California Sevens at St. Mary’s on October 30:
Scott Wood, JC Van Staden, John Pohlman, Eugene Baker, Tim Day, Brad Richey, Eric Rauscher, Jim Crenshaw

Not pictured: Chris Draper


For the Senate
Pelicus Scriptoris

Thursday, November 03, 2011




Teams have been kind enough to play on Sunday this weekend to accommodate our NCRRS Annual General Meeting. We might have a game that doesn’t have a ref yet. Let us know.


The day at the SF/Golden Gate clubhouse begins with the beep test at 9 AM, for those who would like to benchmark their performances and know where they stand with respect to national and professional referees. It involves running back and forth on the netball court, so dress accordingly if you’d like to challenge yourself.

Our annual pre-season training meeting, which will focus on the tackle, begins at 10 AM.

An AGM is required by our by-laws and will take place from noon until one, which lunch being served just before. This being an odd-numbered year, we will have an election to select our Board of Directors for the next two years.

The current board is: Bruce Carter, Preston Gordon, Pete Smith, Scott Wood and Tom Zanarini.

Be thinking whether you’d like to run, or to nominate someone.

There will be lots of fun stuff going on: Distribution of new society kit, with sales of additional kit items, track suits and custom-made flipping coins. There’s an ATM in the building if you forget your cash or check book.


Not so bad this weekend – we just need one more for Sunday.

We’ve made it through a couple of busy weekends with some old guys running too much. Help us out:

November 12: Mittry Memorial Tournament in Redding
November 19: Chico Holiday Classic

There are of course other games, but we need several folks to volunteer for each of these events.


BERKELEY ALL-BLUES 32 - DC Furies 14 Referee: Aruna Ranaweera
Assistant Referees: Lois Bukowski, Kerry Kubo
Performance Reviewing Committee: Preston Gordon, Mike King, Peter Buckley (PNW), Mike Malone, Dixon Smith.

On a beautiful sunny afternoon at Morton Field in Vallejo, unbeaten Berkeley hosted win-less DC on the last weekend of the WPL regular season. Set-pieces were well-matched and open play was exciting but rather sloppy. DC executed a structured, physical game-plan and frequently found gaps in the Berkeley defense. At the breakdown, Berkeley contested fiercely and often poached ball which resulted in several long line-breaks through mid-field. Berkeley won comfortably in the end, 5 tries to 2. Much thanks to Lois and Kerry for their assistance and thanks to the multiple PR's (in-training) for their constructive feedback. Also thanks to Berkeley for hosting a nice post-match picnic/barbeque, which was well-attended by players and alumni.

Seconds: ALL BLUE 39 - DC Furies 0 Referee: Lois Bukowski
Several bruising runs and 2 tries from 1st side game AR Kerri Kubo!

SFGG 24 - Petersham 14 Referee: Rich Boyer
The touring Aussies from Petersham, an inner suburb of Brisbane, began arriving half an hour prior to game time. They had flown in the day before and celebrated their arrival that night until the wee hours of the morning. One player was dressed like one of the Blue Man Group, head to toe in a blue stretch suit bearing the Aussie flag. After some pre game warm ups he decided it was too hot and he shed his garb for the more traditional rugby attire.

Their flanker approached me to inquire if he could play the game with a movie camera strapped to his forehead….Needless to say that did not work out.

The game was played in four 15 minute periods. The Petersham lads took the first period to shake off the cobwebs and were on the back foot the entire period. SFGG were strong, but could not finish off plays with knock-ons and forward passes underscoring the fact they have only been practicing for two weeks to date.

The game was played in good spirits and the Aussies soon put together some good passages of play. The SFGG pack were stronger so the Aussies adapted a la the Irish in the World Cup and held up the ball carrier and ensuing mauls.

The remaining three periods were played at pace with limited line outs.

SFGG won 24-14.

Report by Scott Wood:

Saturday Referees: Paul Bretz, Tim Day, Pete Smith, Scott Wood
Saturday ARs: Eric Rauscher, Ron DeCausemaker, Trey Boone (SMC), Sione Finau (SMC), Jim Crenshaw

Sunday Referees: Jim Crenshaw, Tim Day, Chris Draper, Scott Wood
Sunday ARs: Eugene Baker, John Pohlman, Eric Rauscher, Brad Richey

The California 7s was hosted by St. Mary's College. A great venue with blue skies overhead and green grass underfoot. Two pools of four played three rounds on Saturday to determine seeding for Sunday's quarterfinals. UC Davis and Cal Poly dominated their respective pools each going undefeated. St. Mary's and San Diego state were 2-0 on the day. University of San Diego and Cal went 1-2 while Santa Clara and Loyola were winless.

Sunday had a shift change as Bretz, Smith, and DeCausemaker were not available. Jim Crenshaw graciously stepped to plate and Chris Draper, in town for work, was cajoled to fill in for a couple matches.

A fine set of matches to start the day. St. Mary's defeated Cal 26-17 in an exciting display of rugby. SDSU beat cross-town rivals USD 12-5. Cal Poly blew past Santa Clara 26-0 while UC Davis played around with Loyola before besting them 19-7.

The tournament format set up for Challenger and Championship brackets. Cal and U San Diego won their challenger semi-final matches while St. Mary's and San Diego State would face each other in the championship final match.

Challenger Final
CALIFORNIA 42 – U San Diego 7 Referee: Scott Wood
ARs: Tim Day, John Pohlman, Eric Rauscher, Brad Richey
Cal was very methodical in its attack but USD maintained a strong defense forcing Cal to use its speed on the outside. USD scored a try late in the second half off some superb use of speed and passing.

Third Place Match
Cal Poly 19 – UC DAVIS 24 Referee: Jim Crenshaw

Championship Final
ST. MARY'S COLLEGE 38 – San Diego State 19 Referee: Tim Day

Many thanks to Kat Todd-Schwartz for taking the time to oil up the butcher block and join us on Saturday. Her advice, insight, and wit were very helpful.

Report by Bruce Carter:

The UC Santa Cruz Slugs hosted the second memorial tournament for their teammate who died almost two years ago.

It was another gorgeous morning on the pitch from heaven as nine or ten teams prepared for some pre-season rugger.

One surprise was a new team, Cal State – Monterey Bay, who won their first two games. (I don’t know what happened with their third – for the first time in my entire career I left before every game was finished.

(I don’t know what came over me. Perhaps it was the presence of a visiting friend, an old roommate and teammate from medical school in Georgia in the ‘70s, who doesn’t have the jones anymore; perhaps it was that our wives were back home working their magic in the kitchen. But I left while one game was in progress and another was yet to be played.)

Got four good runs in:
CAL POLY 22 – Santa Rosa JC 10
On field two the half-way line was where the north 10-meter line should have been. Everything was otherwise marked nicely and clearly visible, so we used the lines. Which meant one ‘half’ of the field was 50% longer than the other.

All of the points in this game were scored at the shorter, north end. Santa Rosa had a ten-point halftime lead, giving the lie to the pre-game handicapping that I had given my visiting friend.

UCSC 12 – Cal Poly 7
Cal Poly sat some players, perhaps looking forward to playing Sierra College.

Bad move. The Slugs played good defense, while solid work by their #7 and #8 kept the offense moving.

UC Santa Cruz II 0 – FRESNO STATE 24
The Bulldogs are learning the game, another team of recent vintage.

Nice to see new teams step into success.

UCSC 17 – Santa Rosa JC 5
Four games and I only got four different teams to ref. Fire the assignments officer!

Other refs on hand were James Hinkin and Stephen Moore, who had to leave even earlier than me, Sam Davis who was the iron man, and Bruce Bernstein who broke from a legal conference in Monterey to help out for the afternoon.

Report by Hubie Wang:

There were four teams at the tournament Baracus, Aptos, McGeorge, and Marin. Baracus the host of the tournament played a bit shaky in their opening game due to the lack of players but beat Aptos 22-7. They then beat McGeorge in their second game. The game between Baracus and Marin turns to be the combination for the final. Both team played hard and good rugby, Baracus who was trailing the whole game came back to win it 17-12 with a last minute try. After the Lunch break the playoff started with Baracus and Marin beating Aptos and McGeorge to get into the final. The consolation game between Aptos and McGeorge was well played by both side. Final score 26-24 Aptos beating McGeorge by two points. While I am wrapping up the consolation game Jim blows his whistle from the other pitch just to end the final with a "tie". Baracus clutched the title with the perfect record coming into the playoff round.

We saw a lot of new faces on the pitch which is great. Good rugby was played and overall a great turn out for everybody.

I did not keep records of all the scores.
Note: Anthony who just started reffing in May did not ref a game due to the intensity of the games and lack of experience, however he did a great job ARing for all of us.

Jordan Bruno
Jim Crenshaw
Chris Labozzetta
Hubert (Hubie) Wang
Mark Godfrey
Rod Chance
Anthony Nguyen


We scheduled seven referees for this long-time stalwart fixture of the NCRFU autumn calendar – and not one of them sent in a report.


John Coppinger attended the rugby at the Pan Am games in Guadalajara this past weekend, where the USA Eagles won bronze medals.

His camera caught two enthusiastic fans of coach Al Caravelli’s boys.

Hooray for the Red, White and Blue


For the Senate
Pelicus Scriptoris




We need more referees at each of the following tournaments this Saturday:

Men’s tens at Baracus’ pitch in San Francisco – one ref so far for two pitches
Men’s college fifteens at UC Santa Cruz – two refs so far for two pitches
Men’s and women’s tens at Stanford – four at present, also two pitches
Men’s college sevens at St. Mary’s – three refs – also need help on Sunday

Please let us know that you can help.


This is the time of the year when those who are new to refereeing, or new to our society, should be doing plenty of games to get into the flow.

But, no, we’ve got 57-year-old birds refereeing two games and running AR for an even dozen. And this old bird has to work this weekend, so the slack either will be taken up or it won’t.

Saturday was a near-perfect day, with lifting fog as I drove up Highway 1 to the lovely campus of UC Santa Cruz. The view of pelicans and sea otters in Moss Landing is always a treat.

The women’s Slugfest took place atop the world overlooking Monterey Bay, beginning with the early day already growing warm.

We get our summer in October here in coastal Northern California. Not what some call Indian summer – no, along the coast, October is hotter than June-July-August. The months of longer days are the false summer in these unique parts.

UC SANTA CRUZ 25 – U. of San Francisco 0 Referee: Bruce Carter
Lots of fun – refereeing players who were happy to comply with referee instructions because they really didn’t always know what they should be doing or where they should be. Enough of the Slugs knew, however, to make the difference.

Red lines on green grass is problematic for this referee, especially with dark blue lines running angled at about fifteen degrees to the red ones, a low bright sun, and white lines strewn about to boot. Thanks to some patient try-scorers for waiting while I triangulated with the corner flags and goal posts.

Penalty count lower than try count: I love it.

UC Santa Cruz 5 – CHICO STATE 38 Ref: Carter
Chico State is back after some lean times and with only a nucleus of experienced players.

Sandy Robertson and John Pohlman were on hand to do the remainder of the games, so I took my leave of the Santa Cruz view with the temperatures already above eighty to drive to Stanford for the Pacific Coast Sevens.

Knowing there was a home football game and not wishing to fight crowds, I parked where we play our summer sevens and rode my bicycle to the pitch, passing a long chain of cars en route, three lanes wide, several hundred at the least.

Good thing – two of the ARs had already had to leave and there were only two left, who had been working all day, with five games remaining. So I ran all five.

This was a good event. Matt Sherman and Frank Merrill organized this qualifying tournament, which drew ten of the twelve Pacific 12 teams. With the fields surrounding the pitch being used for tail-gating gridiron fans (that game started at 5 PM), there was also a built-in casual audience.

Frank and Clarice Merrill invited the volunteers over for dinner, always a treat, and then there was a late night watching the World Cup final.

The referee crew for the event was Phil Akroyd, George O’Neil, and Pete Smith from our society, with Bryan Arciero flying in from Houston and Tim Day from San Diego at their own expense. Tom Zanarini handled the assignments.

ARs included Mike King, Tony Levitan, Bruce Ricard and Brad Richey.

Sunday featured nine trophy games. Offense wins the pool but defense wins the trophy, as Colorado demonstrated by stifling Utah’s attack, which had previously been unstoppable.

Oh – the mercury hit the high eighties both days. Even Arizona and Arizona State players and coaches commented on the heat.


Eric Rauscher:
I have NCRFU track suits available that I will bring to the meeting on Nov. 5. They are Pelican blue and have the society logo on the breast.

Sizes range from medium to XXL. The cost is 90$ and there is a limited supply.


The bill for the new kit was eight thousand dollars. We can’t afford to give it all away. So we’re reneging on the deal: active members of the society will receive shorts and socks, but only one of the two jerseys (choice of blue or yellow).

Additional jerseys of either color will be on sale for $50. Shorts are $20 and socks, $10.

This will also be available at our AGM on November 5 at the SFGG clubhouse.

See this week’s photo to see how the kit looks on a variety of body styles.


Eric Rauscher to Upstate New York:
Ithaca Collage 14 – NIAGARA UNIVERISTY 19
Upstate New York, overcast, chilly, football field lined and flagged correctly, muddy turf

I arrived early enough to have a conversation with Annemarie Farrell (one of the few female coaches of a men's club in America) who gave me a little background on Ithaca's history. The team has been absent from campus for 16 years due to the overly-social aspects of rugby. They returned last year as a D3 club and did very well, deciding to more up to D2 this year. This was the last game of the season for both clubs. The winner when on to playoffs, the loser plans for next year. I did not know what to expect as far as the level of play was concerned. I was pleasantly surprised at the quality. In fact about half way through the second half it dawned on me that I hadn't had a single scrum reset yet. I congratulated both sides and they did not let me down for the rest of the game. A first in my book, no resets in a game of 15s!

The narrow field dictated a forwards-dominated game with the backs on both sides kicking often for field position. This was not a game played between the 22s. Niagara scored first, an unconverted try in the first half for the only score of the half. Ithaca put up a spirited defense at goal to stop Niagara from scoring again. I however speculated that the size of the Niagara forwards would win out in the end.

Ithaca scored twice in the second half, trading tries with Niagara who came out in the lead at full time. If the field had been a full 70 meters wide it would have been interesting to see how the game would have played out. Next time I am in Upstate NY, I think I will try to get another game. Maybe I'll get another one with playoff ramifications!

James Hinkin to Virginia:
NORFOLK BLUES 55 – Baltimore-Chesapeake 15
ARs: Jeffrey Anderson, Aaron Fergus
Evaluator: Jim Thompson

I was honored to be selected for the annual Norfolk exchange this year, following in the footsteps of Bjorn “Pining for the fjords” Stumer, Pete “Doctor Silence” Smith, George “I’m not Irish I swear” O’Neil and Phil “I have no nickname” Akroyd. This is as fine a tradition that Pelicanland has as the hosting and the atmosphere in Norfolk are second to none.

I was met at the airport by Jeffrey Anderson and his wife late Friday night and deposited at my hotel with promises of breakfast in the morning. Saturday morning dawned warm and bright and Jeff and I headed off to the local Cracker Barrel for a genuine Southern breakfast. Eggs, bacon, grits, biscuits and gravy were my share while Jeff opted for eggs on horseback, with the obligatory grits, biscuits and gravy. After that I had a few hours to myself to catch up on some emails (working on a rugby trip? I don’t get paid enough for that...) before Jeff and his son whisked me off to a barbeque. Cognizant of my 5:00pm match I nibbled sparingly at the food but the nasal temptations of pulled pork, barbeque chicken, hot dog and burgers were almost too much. We then headed back to the hotel where I kitted up and we were off to the Norfolk Sportsplex, which had hosted the UFL Championship game the previous night (look it up).

Norfolk were promoting Breast Cancer Awareness so they took the field in stunning pink while Baltimore-Chesapeake were in their traditional green and white. After a brief consultation with the BC coach (no, you cannot play anyone who is not CIPP registered, even if you plan to register them really soon) we were off and running. BC kicked to Norfolk who went at them with a will and BC gave as good as they got. A knock-on led to the first scrum of the day and naturally to the first issue of the day as both sides were over-eager to engage before I had called them in. This persisted until a couple of free kicks convinced the forwards I was serious about the engage and things settled down from there. BC was attacking well but could not penetrate the Norfolk line but Norfolk did not seem to have the same problems. Tries in the 9th, 13th, 22nd, 29th, 35th and 38th minutes went unanswered and with 3 conversions the halftime score was 30-0 to Norfolk.

The second half started much the same as the first with one exception: BC had found a way through the Norfolk defense. A penalty to BC followed by Norfolk not being 10 meters led directly to a try in the 55th minute but Norfolk answered immediately with one of their own. Thus began a back and forth try exchange with BC dotting down in the 61st minute and Norfolk answering in the 66th and 78th minutes. BC got a 3rd try on the final play of the game to round off the scoring and bring an end to an enjoyable match.

Both sides were quick to respond to commands and were interested in playing rugby rather than engaging in side scuffles. This resulted in a fast, fun game and a low penalty count (17) that was as fun for the spectators as it was for the participants.

Final Score: Norfolk Blues 55 – Baltimore-Chesapeake 15

Once the game was done I showered (LUXURY!) and Jeffrey and his wife took me out to a fantastic Greek/Italian restaurant where the Yingling was handy and the food was amazing. Well satiated I was dropped off at my hotel for some serious Zzzzzzzz...

Sunday morning I checked out of the hotel to once again see Jeffrey waiting for me in the lobby and we headed off to tour the USS Wisconsin, an Iowa class battleship that saw action from WW II all the way through the first Iraq war. The size of the battleship combined with the awesome armaments and the weight of history left me stunned as I walked the decks and into the interior of this mighty warship. Finally the tour was complete and we rushed back to Jeffrey’s house to catch the first half of the RWC Final. Unfortunately the timing of my flight home meant that I could not see the second half until later, but as soon as I reached Hinkin Manor I was able to catch up on the action.

Many thanks to Jeffrey Anderson, his family and the Virginia Rugby Referee Society for their generous hosting. They are what makes this game so special.


October 8:
TRIPLE THREAT 29 – Tempe 5 Referee: Lee Salgado
This was probably one of the hardest-hitting women's games I have ever been in the middle of. Good strong runners and strong packs. It was relatively close at half time but Triple Threat was able to pull off the win by getting the ball out to the wings and power through the Tempe Defense. Jim Crenshaw was also nice enough to come by and give me some pointers and positive reinforcement.

October 15:
UOP 31 – San Francisco State 29 Referee: Paul Bretz
It took UOP 79 minutes 30 seconds to get ahead of SF state in this preseason match but the home team moved ahead of the visitors on a conversion kick.

The referee was able assisted by his 13 year old son Liam Bretz. UOP has a beautiful field and it’s refreshing to see another college support rugby.

EAST PALO ALTO RAZORBACKS 17 – West Bay Angels 12 Referee: Tony Levitan
On a glorious afternoon in Millbrae, the Razorbacks and Angels squared off in their final league match. I had reffed the Angels, a new women's club coached by Moses Similai, in a friendly a few weeks ago and it's safe to say that they have come as far as any group of players I have ever seen in such a short period of time. In fact, they had the match won with just 5 minutes remaining except for ... well, read on.

The first half saw lots of running rugby and very hard contact, tackling and rucking from both squads. The Angels got an early try on a long run burst through the EPA backline for a 5-0 lead. EPA tied it 20 minutes in on a nifty run by their shifty (in a good way) scrum-half for a 5-5 tie at halftime.

The second half was more of the same, both teams using quality ball from lineouts to launch good-looking backline attacks. Unfortunately, the scrums needed constant tending as there was an unsteady mix of inexperienced and seasoned talent, but when things settled down we saw dynamic play from the base with both #8s running smartly and physically, both teams committing to spinning the ball. I especially enjoyed the EPA scrum captain constantly reminding her teammates, "0-0 now!" when indeed it was 5-5. Same difference, I suppose ...

They second half barrage of tries began with just under 10 minutes remaining as EPA's center dotted down after knocking hard at the goal line for a lengthy stretch; 10-5 EPA. The Angels not only matched that on a hard-fought forward try by their captain and hooker, but they got a magnificent kick from their fullback, slotting the conversion from a point no more than 10 yards from the touchline. 12-10, Angels.

Unfortunately for the Angels, their impromptu celebration on their side of halfway left them horribly out of position on the kickoff and EPA took notice, driving the ball deep to the opposite side of the pitch where their talented winger headed for the goal line. A couple Angels recovered, somewhat, and slowed but failed to stop EPA's advance, which saw EPA's outside center touch down in the left corner. Maybe the air got a bit lighter in the late afternoon as EPA's kicker also slotted a long, tough angled conversion. 17-12, EPA. After a frantic ending couple minutes the match ended that way, both teams seemingly satisfied: EPA with the close win, and the Angels appreciating how close they came and how far they had come.


SACRAMENTO AMAZONS 63 – Tacoma 10 Referee: Rich Boyer
ARs: Jen Tetler, Eugene Baker
The Tacoma team traveled by car to play the Amazons at Danny Nunn Park on an unusually warm day.

The Tacoma girls lamented their choice in jerseys (black) with regards to the sun.

Tacoma players were much smaller than their counterparts but nonetheless held up well in the first half. Amazons had great back ball movement and very strong rucks but were challenged getting the ball over the try line. Tacoma would commit few players to the rucks and fan out on defense. But the Amazons had the lion’s share of possession.

Finally the hard-running Amazon forwards, led by #7 and #16, broke through numerous tackles and the tries began.

Halftime 26-7 Amazons.

The second half saw the Tacoma girls wear down from playing continual defense. The Amazon backs became creative and sparked the second half “try-fest”, with Captain Sella (#12) leading the charge. Numerous successful ‘Sonny Bill Williams’ passes were observed. The Amazon forwards became more motivated by the backs’ success and soon were ripping off long runs on pick-and-goes.

Special mention to #14 on Tacoma. She stood out as a strong runner/tackler.

Olympic Club 22 – NYAC 43 Referee: Paul Bretz
ARs: Mike King, Liam Bretz
The score line makes it look like New York dominated the game. However they had to go into extra time in order to do it. The visitors took an early lead in the first half and extended it to 19 points by the first half. Olympic came back and with 4 minutes to go tied the match. Fitness played a big part in the overtime period as the visitors ran in 21 points. Thanks to Mike King and Liam Bretz for providing great side-line support.

Liam called in a dump tackle, flagged it, from the sideline that had the spectators cheering for the 13 year old AR.

[Editor’s Note: Why the overtime?, you ask. There two of the nation’s premier athletic clubs have initiated a multi-sport competition, all played on the same weekend, with an odd number of sports. Since there is a trophy, each game needs to have a winner.]

Women’s Slugfest:
Report by John Pohlman
This Saturday I joined Sandy and Bruce at UCSC, possibly the world’s most scenic rugby pitch. The weather was perfect and the field was in great shape. The rugby lines were painted red. And there were lots of other lines which made for confusion if you weren't concentrating. And it's hard to concentrate when you are running such a scenic field.

The Slugs were hosting Chico State, Fresno State and USF.
Early season rugby. Lots of rookies mixed in with talented veterans. This made for some great individual play, though fluid rugby was not the standard of the day.

I refereed USF versus Fresno. USF's #12 scored at least 2 of USF's four tries.
USF 20 Fresno 5.
My second and the last game of the day was USF versus Chico.
Chico is rebuilding but was led by their #8 who scored both tries and made the conversion.
Final Chico #8 12 USF #12 10. That's right all of USF's points were scored by #12 and all of Chico's points were scored by #8.

Report by Bryan Arciero (visiting from Houston):
Unlike previous ventures to Pelicanland (preparing for 15s in the spring), this flight was for a 7s gig in the fall. Fall rugby involving 7s while the RWC Final was being played the same weekend would seem sacrilegious to the rugby purists, but it was all in the name of rugby as this was a tune-up for me for the Pan Am games in Guadalajara the following weekend.

The familiar Zanarini hotel in Mill Valley put me up for the weekend, while the likes of Pedro, George, Tim, Tom and Ramrod* put up with me for the weekend. It was a bonus to be joined by Paddy Mac and Josh (the latter I hadn't seen since the Pac-10s in 2007) for some valuable coaching that went along the lines of "Don't do that next weekend" mixed in with some very 7s-esque rugby (6 matches, zero mauls!) which overall will help me in reducing my embarrassment next weekend. Aruna even made it along for a cameo appearance, but he knew better than to waste any wisdom on me and focused on mentoring Ramrod.

To quote South Africa's 7s coach Paul Treu: "Defense wins games". How true for the Buffs, who really put pressure on Utah in the final match win 14-12 despite a final push at the end by the Utes.

Thanks to the gang for putting up with me, Bruce Carter for letting me back into Pelicanland, and Frank Merrill for hosting us on Saturday night. I leave Palo Alto knowing that a shooter isn't a drink, a sweeper isn't a cleaner, and that if you have to give an unplayable you missed something earlier! Roll on Guadalajara!

*(sorry, this is an inside joke; the announcer had no issues with saying my foreign last name, but every detail of Phil's matches, including his last name, were butchered).

Report by Anthony Nguyen:

Three referees were able to make it out, Rich Boyer, Mark Godfrey and me. Mark decided to run touch for the tournament while Rich and I refereed all six matches. Four teams (UC Davis, San Jose State, Sierra College and Santa Clara) got to play 3 games each so that was fair. The tournament was relaxing and well organized with generous 10-20 minute breaks in between. We all had a great time with teams included. There was an incident with a coach early in the tournament but that went off (literally) so we continued. In my excitement as an AR for one of Rich Boyer's games, I apparently snapped the linesman flag whilst running. Interesting enough, I had to declare touch shortly after. Amusing but I feel sorry now that I snapped his linesman flag. Anyway, the players played all they could without tiring themselves out, with two teams playing back to back. Weather was great and good. Probably one of the most organized tournaments I have seen. This was a friendly tournament where scores were not recorded.

Report by Chris Tucker:

Refs: Chris Tucker, Jordan Bruno, Chris Labozzetta, Hubert Wang
(Hubie joins us from the Vancouver Island society, where he attended St. Michael’s, and is now a college student in Oakland.)
Ref Advisor: David Williamson

Four teams played a round-robin, 2 semi-finals and a final game. Oregon, Cal split squad and a combined Santa Clara / San Jose team duked it out on a beautiful day at Morton Field. SC/SJ went undefeated in the round robin, only to fall to Cal Blue in the playoffs. Oregon went 2-1, and defeated Cal White to set up the final.

Jordan Bruno took the final, which was all one-way traffic, finishing 59-0 to Oregon, who celebrated in the early evening sunshine. Bunny's comment: "Looks like Cal is ready for their dinner" -- they had played hard all day, but were out of gas by the time we got to the final.

Excellent food was provided by Vallejo RFC after the match.

One statistic of note: 56 tries were scored in 15 games, a reasonable return. However only 13 conversions were racked up. That's 23%. Even Shaq was better than that from the free-throw line. Time to work on those drop-kicks...


The multi-stage fitness test will be offered on November 5 on the netball court at 9 AM 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.


A first look at our new kit, modeled at the Pacific Coast Sevens this past weekend.

Tim Day is wearing his SoCal uni, while George O’Neil sports the alternate Pelican jersey and socks.

Otherwise, left to right: Bruce Carter, Phil Akroyd, Pete Smith, Bryan Arciero, Tom Zanarini, Tony Levitan

Pacific Coast Crew


For the Senate
Pelicus Scriptoris