Friday, December 23, 2011




Several months ago we learned of an international Sevens tournament to be played in Honolulu. Acting quickly we asked, might they need a few referees?

They did. Self-funded referees, but Referees in Paradise nonetheless.

Who would pay good money to referee Sevens in Kapiolani Park at the foot of Diamond Head? Jim Crenshaw, Mike Gadoua, Don Pattalock and Bruce Carter, for four. With Susan Gadoua, Andrea Pattalock and Linda Carter, that made for an auspicious seven Pelicans: Semper Bonis Avis.

There are no bad times to visit Hawaii, but December prior to Christmas is particularly good: rates are still low and Hawaiian carols are in the air. Holy imagery of arid Bethlehem and secular imagery of the arctic North Pole contrast with tropical reality, while greetings of ‘Mele Kalikimaka’ tie it all together.

The weather is the same year-round: eighties in the daytime, seventies at night, warm rain for a few minutes every now after which rainbows spring up from the ground, fully formed.

On our first morning together, we hiked up to the top of Diamond Head to greet the dawn, a ritual all visitors to Oahu should observe. From there it was a short drive for another moderate hike to the Makapu’u Lighthouse, with a view of Molokai in the distance.

Tour mathematics: two hikes before breakfast equals macadamia nut pancakes with cocoanut syrup.

The first official tour event was an afternoon meeting with the Governor of Hawaii, commemorated in This Week’s Photo. The wives didn’t attend for lack of proper attire – the men attended in improper attire.

Shopping occurred in the interim. Drinking occurred in the afterim.

Poolside in December, surf breaking across the street, Sevens on the morrow, Paradise Regained.

The tournament was played on the gorgeous pitch in the park opposite the aquarium at the foot of Diamond Head.

Two auld acquaintances were brought to mind at the tournament. Justin Lam of the Seahawks was in town to run the Honolulu marathon and to visit his mother. He saw an article in the newspaper about the tournament and dropped by.

Apenesa Tui played fullback for Monterey for years in the seventies and eighties, and is now living on the North Shore of Oahu. He ran touch for essentially all of the matches that his team was not playing in, which was greatly appreciated.

On our last night in the islands we also ran into Tui playing speed chess on the beach. Coincidence? Or does speed chess bears an analogous relationship to regular chess as Sevens does to fifteens?

The tournament was won by Deadwood Rugby, an ad-hoc touring team put together to win purses for a children’s hospital in Sydney. They included players from the Wallaby’s world cup team (under contract – no names mentioned here) to collegians. They did not include any pedestrian players. They pretty much put the wood to everyone and then hung around afterwards to compliment, among others, the referees. Great guys!

This is meant to be the first annual event. If the tournament grows – as it should – they will need more than four referees next year. The tour party made certain that the NCRRS will be invited to send referees for any future iteration.

Start thinking about whether you’d like to go next December!


SF/GOLDEN GATE over Seahawks Referee: Pete Smith
Golden Gate showed the benefits of pre-season training and games, running out to an easy victory over the Seahawks.

Seconds: SF/Golden Gate – Seahawks Referee: Lee Salgado
No report received.

FRESNO 49 – Stanislaus 24 Referee: JC Van Staden

Diablo Gaels – Sacramento Capitals Referees: Tim Lew, Craig Smith
Referee Coach: Bryant Byrnes
Report by Craig Smith:
We did referee on Saturday but Sacramento only had 16 players so instead of playing two separate 80 minute games, Diablo Gaels 2 played Sacramento for two 20 minute periods (Tim refereed these periods) and then Diablo Gaels 1 played Sacramento for two 25 minute periods (which I refereed).

Vallejo 24 – SANTA ROSA 64 Referee: Bryant Byrnes
This one was played under sunny skies at Morton Field in on Mare Island in Vallejo. It was one of four matches on the pitch.

This cheerfully played and fast paced game was not a defensive battle. In the spirit of the holiday season, the Gaels gave Vallejo their pack from the previous match, which allowed their backline to frolic sevens style. That was just fine with Rosa, as indicated by the score.

History buffs, Mare Island was the US Navy's Pacific Shipyard from 1853 to 1995. It is huge-during WW2 50,000 worked there-and accessible. It is presently is slowly moldering away while various factions fiddle around. It is wonderful for a walkabout.

Santa Rosa JC 15 – SANTA ROSA seconds 44 Referee: Rob Hendrickson
Two Santa Rosa teams traveled down to Morton Field in Vallejo to square off in what I was told to be the fourth of four games at the field that day, followed by a field social hosted by the Vallejo team. We played 4 x 20 minute quarters, which allowed the teams to substitute and me to try to catch my breath. The play was more even than the score would suggest, although Santa Rosa controlled in field position throughout the game. It was a real treat to ref a true friendly, as SRJC is a big feeder to SR mens, so virtually all the players knew each other, and many of the SR side had recently played for the JC.

Marin Reds 17 – SAMOA UNITED 34 Referee: Chris Labozzetta

Rugby Day in Hawaii
Governor Neil Abercrombie, the seventh governor of the State of Hawaii, presents a proclamation to Hawaii International Sevens Tournament Director Dan Sataraka declaring December 16th Rugby Day in Hawaii.

You’ll find four Pelicans nesting in the crowd.


For the Senate
Pelicus Scriptoris