Wednesday, May 23, 2012




Prepare to celebrate Memorial Day by refereeing rugby. There are a lot of games, and each of them needs a ref. Nine games of fifteens and several of Sevens.

Let us know if you can do any of these. Flexibility is appreciated if you could list several options.

Saturday, May 26:
Noon: UC Santa Cruz alumnae game
2 PM: UC Santa Cruz alumni game

1 PM: Olympic Club OB – Berkeley RFC OB

10AM Lady Razorbacks – Amazons (fifteens)
11:30AM EPA U19 – Islanders U19 (fifteens)
1PM Razorbacks – Sacramento Lions
Several games of Sevens starting at 1 PM

Sunday, May 27:

All-Star games: Bay Area Select sides versus Sac Valley Select sides at Sheeran Field, Treasure Island.
10 AM: Boys’ Middle School
Noon: Boys’ JV
2PM: Girls’ varsity
4PM: Boys’ varsity


Good news from Tom Zanarini:
The new kit is in! If you've refereed 5 assigned matches in 2012, you are eligible for our new Pelican Green jersey. The first mass distribution will most likely be at the Annual Banquet on June 30. You are also welcome to come by my place in Mill Valley. I also have a fresh supply of everybody's new favorite shorts and some new socks to boot. Shorts and socks are not gratis, these things cost money. I haven't gotten the new invoices yet so the price is TBD. Expect around $10 for socks and $30 for shorts. That being said, we may have a fire sale on the old kit. I only have so much storage in my tiny apartment. We have a boatload of the Rugby Imports jerseys and the sky, navy or gold polos. Most are XL and larger. hey make great gifts and trading schwag!! We're all out of flags, so I'm attempting to find a vendor for the super fancy ones instead of the old-school short-half-life wood models.

We just received a message from Jeff Lombard at IA Rugby that there are three blue Kooga tracksuits available at $85 each. These are left over stock from a previous order. If anyone is interested, please contact him directly at:
Jeff Lombard
International Athletic


It’s never too early to raise your hand for summer weekends. It you’d like to ref any or all of these, let us know:

Saturday, 16: Loaves and Fishes Sevens at For Pete’s Sake
Sunday, 17: Youth Sevens in Morgan Hill

Saturday, 23: Sacramento Lions Sevens
Sunday, 24: Youth Sevens in Dixon

Saturday, 30: Palo Alto Sevens
Annual NCRRS awards banquet

Saturday, 14: Palo Alto Sevens
Sunday, 15: Youth Sevens, Pleasanton

Saturday, 21: Marin Highlanders high-school Sevens

Saturday, 28: Palo Alto Sevens
Sunday, 29: Youth Sevens championships, location TBA

Saturday-Sunday, 4-5: USA Rugby club sevens championships (men and women) at SFGG
Saturday, 25: Fifteens tournament in Reno


FULLERTON 15 – Motherlode 8 Referee: Tony Levitan
ARs: Mike King, Eugene Baker
#4: Jeff Richmond
Coach: Jim Crenshaw

After a 20-minute delay caused by the ruckus and celebration associated with the CA State Boys Junior Varsity Club match, followed by some seriously ill-timed and snit-like behavior by an adult involved in our match, the Girls Varsity Club match finally kicked off under warm, sunny skies at Jesuit HS in Sacramento. The very evenly-played match was marked by loads of running rugby, some seriously fine counter rucking, and really hard-nosed running by girls from both teams. Motherlode opened the scoring 9 minutes in with a penalty after Fullerton was tagged for hands in the ruck. Fullerton's superior size began to show as they repeatedly created long run opportunities from loose play, dotting down twice for unconverted tries, ending the half up 10-3.

Another try for Fullerton 6 minutes into the second half (15-3) looked like a harbinger for domination the remainder of the game but, if that was to be the case, no one showed Motherlode the script. Fullerton infringements were the launching pad for hard, determined quick-tap runs by Motherlode's captain/flanker, Gabby, who almost single-handedly willed her side back into the match with an unconverted try with 18 minutes remaining, 15-8. The back-and-forth flow continued until Fullerton went down a player having infringed at the rucks one too many time, earning a yellow card. The remainder of the game saw repeated, concerted attacks by Motherlode and desperate clearing runs and kicks by Fullerton. Motherlode twice breached the Fullerton goal line, only to be held up in-goal both times (as confirmed by my more-than-able ARs). The match ended with a spate of scrappy, pull-out-all-the-stops thrusts by Motherlode including a dangerous but thwarted effort on the final whistle, 15-8 Fullerton.

Our officiating team was spectacular in their support: Jeff Richmond, especially for helping navigate a pre-match tantrum by one of the coaches; Mike King and Eugene Baker for their clear calls on the touch lines and on the odd eye-contact request for confirmation or input. Thanks, boys. My final shout out of appreciation to Jim Crenshaw for the time and commitment he made to watch our match and offer some insightful tips for next time 'round.

Report by Bryant Byrnes:

Fog A 5 - SFGG (kinda) 0
Fog B 15 – UN Reno (kinda) 34

This was a tune up for the Bingham Cup in Manchester UK in two weeks. The TI field was clipped and moistened on a beautiful day. The teams mixed and matched all day.

The first 40 minute match was competitive (obviously), a defensive battle (also obviously). I think the strength of the Fog will be their back line- centers Rocco and Mike Estes move well and hit like a ton of bricks. (Mike is an old friend and former Berkeley Rhino/U of O player who is trying out for the Maccabee Games later this summer.)

The next game was lots of long runs and lots of points.

The drink up was, as always with these guys, a pleasure. Roll Fog!


Don’t forget to set aside Saturday evening, June 30th, for the Pelican Refs 2012 annual awards banquet. We’ll be returning to Scott’s in Walnut Creek for the festivities.

RSVP to Bjorn Stumer with your menu choices:


Dixon won the single-school high school boys championship in Utah this past weekend.

Marin Highlanders lost the national U19 semi to Highland.

Aruna Ranaweera refereed the top men’s college division championship game between BYU and Arkansas State.

Paul Bretz refereed the next-to-the-top division final, won by Davenport over San Diego State. See below.


LAMORINDA 27 – Oceanside 17 Referee: Rich Boyer
ARs: Eric Rauscher, Mike King
Waterboy: Jim Crenshaw
The Jesuit sideline was packed with home supporters; visitor's side, not so much. Oceanside from San Diego made the roadtrip to Jesuit to play Lamorinda.

Lamo played hard, ran some intricate back plays (some of which crabbed sideways), yet only had an unconverted try to show for it halfway through the first period. They may have been surprised by the aggressive nature of Oceanside's defense and strong ball running. Lamo enjoyed the majority of possession, made very good tactical kicks, which Oceanside backs were loath to catch in the air, received good bounces but just could not produce results. Lamo finally went up 10-0 after some good forward play (highlighted by #4 and captain Sam, #7) freed up the backs for a 4 on 2 overlap out wide and a score in the corner.

It must be noted that the Lamo tighthead worked very nicely with his Oceanside counterpart early in the game to ensure the scrums remained stable after a few half starts. Good sportsmanship all around.

Oceanside maintained good spirits in spite of the onslaught. Eagle eye Mike King spotted an Oceanside shoulder charge out of bounds away from the ball by captain Tito. He apologized before the ref could even utter a word. He was penalized nonetheless.

Shortly thereafter the Oceanside #7, an overachiever, shoulder charged the Lamo ball-carrier and received a yellow card. He was contrite in his apology. Some of the Oceanside players lamented that he was "pushed" by his teammates and did not have a chance to wrap. Needless to say this fell on deaf ears.

Lamo kept Oceanside under pressure and powered through for a third try, again unconverted, against the 14 Oceanside players. 15-0 at halftime.

The second half began after some much needed Gatorade and water was provided by Jim Crenshaw, who doled out a few sage observations to the ref as well. Immediately, it seemed, the humidity skyrocketed and the temperature increased, compounded by Lamo's halftime strategy to swing the ball wide and run and run and run. Oceanside remained the tortoise that could and finally was awarded a try on a simple overlap pass to captain Tito.

The Oceanside forwards picked up steam in the second half and picked and drove numerous phases for many yards. Lamo flyhalf Bobby Taylor probed with numerous kicks, hitting paydirt when another kick bounced backward into the Lamo fullback for a converted try. 22-5.

Throughout Oceanside's strong running one player became very prominent, #13, Gabe Edwards. It literally took 3-4 Lamo players to put him to deck every time he ran the ball. He simply would not be denied. The game likely would have been closer had he found opportunities in the first half.

Lamo went up 27-5 but Oceanside's continual barrage, combined with the humidity, took its toll and they scored two more tries, one of which was converted after forwards' captain Branden ran through two players and around the fullback for a very well deserved 30 yard try under the posts. 27-17. Oceanside's #11 illustrated some nice open field running during the run up to both tries. Lamo seemed to be getting a bit anxious.

Oceanside finally gave up the ghost when #13 did an unintentional spear tackle with 8 minutes remaining. Neither team scored again, having literally left it out on the field. Final score 27-17, Lamorinda. Congratulations to both teams, and to Lamo for winning the California U-19 Championship.

Nice sportsmanship by all.

A big thank you to ARs Eric Rauscher and Mike King, along with Jim Crenshaw.


Your writer wrote a report on Paul Bretz’ first game as a referee after Paul stopped playing, on November 20, 1999. Among the observations recorded at the time:

“Paul is refereeing at the C1 level with the exception of some lapses in knowledge of the Law. It is plain to see that he should quickly achieve the B panel, given the opportunity.
At his age, with dedication, he could come to the national evaluators' attention within a few years.”

Now it’s a dozen years later. Paul has spent many of those at the top of the USA Rugby refereeing corps. He has several Test matches to his credit. He has represented Northern California and USA Rugby with distinction, and made many of us very proud.

To a generation of Northern California players, Paul has always been the best referee they have been privileged to know. To a generation of Pelicans, Paul has been the exemplar.

From Phil Akroyd:
“Taken at the end of Paul's game. Was pretty emotional for all the refs. After his final whistle he walked to the center spot, sat down and took off his boots. Then left them there.”


For the Senate
Pelicus Scriptoris