Wednesday, October 31, 2012




For those of you that qualify (refereed 5 assigned matches in 2012 - these matches do not include NCYRA matches) who haven't collected your 2012 green jerseys, please intend to do so at the AGM meeting on November 17. I also have a boat load of shorts and socks for sale. Extra green jerseys (and whatever blues and golds) will be on sale as well.

Also, please send me an email if you are interested in polos, workout tops or tracksuits. We can order pretty much anything through our sponsorship with Canterbury, but need a minimum order. These are not gratis, money will be due as the kit is distributed. Cost will be determined by the number of orders placed.


The Maritime Academy has a scrimmage this Sunday, November 4, at 4 PM that needs a referee.

The Stanford women will host a qualifying tournament for the USA national sevens championships next Sunday, November 11. We have two refs at present and need three. We have one AR and need one or two more. The winner goes to the national finals, so this should be a good one!


Berkeley All-Blues 14 – GLENDALE RAPTORS 17 Referee: Aruna Ranaweera
Assistant Referees: Robert Phelan (Ireland) and Mike King
Warm, sunny day at Morton Field in Vallejo. Final weekend of the WPL regular season. Winner earns red conference #1 seed into the WPL semifinals; loser gets #2 seed. Lots of adventurous, back-and-forth, physical play, but also lots of unforced handling errors, so continuity was limited and both teams squandered scoring opportunities. Berkeley led 7-5 at the half. Thanks to Robert and Mike for their assistance.

Seconds: All Blues 17 – GLENDALE 19 Referee: Robert Phelan
2nd XV game finished 19-17 to Glendale - a thoroughly enjoyable experience, many thanks for affording me such a great opportunity.


Unlike the previous Saturday, it was nothing but sun and sky from atop the rolling hills that overlook Monterey Bay.

Six teams competed at the Slugfest on two fine pitches. Referees included Austin Brown on debut, who plays for the men's Slugs, Neil MacDonald, also relatively new, Lee Salgado and Bruce Carter.

USF 27 - Chico State 7 Referee: Bruce Carter
I had just ARed for Austin in a game where Chico State looked pretty good, and was surprised to see the Bats of USF come out strong.

Their scrumhalf took two penalties quickly, eluded several defenders, and scored both times. She then added a third try from open play, all in the first ten minutes. Quite a player!

USF 47 - UC Davis 10 Ref: Carter
USF's #9 and their #13 are both fast and difficult to tackle, even when in the grasp. Intriguingly, they are also two of the smaller players. Somehow, they didn't end up in the final.

Final: UC SANTA CRUZ 33 -Sac State 14 Ref: Carter
I keep thinking I've done my last tournament final. (I've been thinking this for at least ten years.)

But on this day, Austin had to leave early. Lee was assigned the final. Neil had the 5th-place match which kicked off thirty minutes ahead of the final on the other pitch.

It was then that AAA arrived to help Lee with car trouble that she'd called them about when she arrived at the pitch before 10 AM. So the old man did the championship match.

All of these teams were a mix of experienced players and abject novices. I'll bet I could tell you how many practices each team has had, vis-a-vis the others.

Sac State would have been shut out but for their #14, who poached a try and finished another.

It will be fun to see these teams again come the regular season.

Report by Neil MacDonald

Six teams in pools of three for round robin play in this pre-season tournament, blessed with sunshine, beautiful views of the Monterey Bay, and great hospitality from the Slugs. Lots of new players in their first matches, requiring selective penalizing and coaching by the refs. Every team had a win and a loss in pool play, so Pelican Math was exercised to separate teams on points scored for and against. I had one of the round robin matches, and the 5th-6th playoff.

UC Davis 12 – FRESNO STATE 14 Ref: MacDonald
AR: Salgado
Fresno kicked off in their first, and Davis's second, match of the day. Davis had lost a player or two to knocks in the first game. Two converted tries to Fresno separated by an unconverted Davis score made it 14-5 Fresno at the half. In a tightly contested second half, Davis came back to score in 5 minutes from time, but even with the successful conversion, it wasn't enough, and Fresno edged it. Thanks to Lee for her help on the touch line.

5th-6th place playoff: Fresno State 5 – CHICO STATE 22 Ref: MacDonald
Solid reds versus red with black and white hoops, neither team with alternate shirts. Lots of new and newish players, so sorting the scrum out was a bit of a saga. Fresno got the only score of the first half, leading 5-0 at half time. I had been, until this point, enjoying my day in the sun overlooking Monterey Bay, particularly since - unlike last weekend - you could actually see the Pacific. Alas, it was at this point in the proceedings that I encountered Chico's full back. I would like to thank her for the interval training she offered me for our upcoming beep test, with the 60m sprint interval session she led me on while scoring her brace of tries. While evidence may suggest that this training may be too little too late, it was very considerate of Chico's #15 to provide it. In all, Chico ran in four in the second half, turning the tables on Fresno, and secured 5th place.


Sat, Oct 20, 2012
3rd Annual Bryan Archibald Cup
Wildwood Park, Chico
Cal Poly 3 sides, vs Chico St A, B and Mighty Oaks
Refs: Ray Schwartz, Mark Godfrey, Favor Taueva, Tom Franzoia

All day long Youth rugby clinics and fundraising to honor fallen rugger Bryan Archibald preceded games that began at 4pm. Bryan grew in Chico and returned there after an All-American run at Cal Poly, only to pass suddenly from a heart defect. His passion for helping grow youth rugby touched both communities. The crew met for a lunch in North Sac before sharing the drive up, good chats about law and proper reffing along the way.

Tom reffed the 3rd side and did well. Favor reffed the Mighty Oaks v Poly's 2nd side and is doing fine. The lights were coming on during his match. I had a cracker of a game, which kicked off at 7:15.

Poly's #10, a freshman from Granite Bay High slipped through for the only try of the first half. Chico State answered back with a penalty, and we went into the half 7-3. Before halftime, I had been unsighted on a play that left many players on the field unhappy. Chico seemed to slip through to score a try, but Poly complained of a knock on, and body language from Chico players seemed to confirm it. I blew the whistle but rather than award a try turned to my AR. Having the luxury, I asked Mark Godfrey to come on and report. Mark dramatically paused before confirming the knock on...

Chico State were flopping a bit at the tackle, and though I tried to change this behavior, Poly did a much better job in the 2nd half of protecting the ball. Their method of sealing off the tackle had its own set of consequences, but they took the upper hand. They scored 4 minutes into the 2nd half and then again. Chico answered back but Poly was pulling away. Uncharacteristically, Poly's backs showed poor discipline on a kick and chase, when a wing changed his line and clearly shouldered his opponent to the deck. Yellow card. But Poly still scored 3 short a man.

As the match wound down, the Poly Captain complained of the Chico scrumhalf getting "chippy." I offered, "What do you expect, he's a scrumhalf, and after all, his name is Potato!" I suggested his scrumhalf get chippier! My vote for man of the match would be Paul Cappellano's kid (the dreadlocked white guy!), who played in the centers for Poly and scored two tries. The matched ended 33-10 for Poly. Overall, the forwards seemed well matched, Poly just a bit more disciplined. Despite some heroic efforts from Chico, the Poly backs took the day.

Good crowd, great park, wonderful cause, fabulous match (frankly I was lucky to get it), glad to help!

Thanks immensely to Tom, Favor and Mark.

Sac State
Women's DII Pre-season scrimmages at conclusion of joint training camp
Refs: Mark Godfrey and Ray Schwartz

(7) 20-minute periods played between about 100 student athletes from Sac St, USF, Humboldt, UC Santa Cruz, Fresno St, Nevada, Santa Clara... am I missing anyone? Good fun, fine spirits. Mostly new or newer players, but a few familiar faces from years past were seen as well. Gabby, a former Mother Lode rugger did well for Nevada, Monica, now playing scrummie for Santa Cruz shined, but Sal, the feisty scrummie for Fresno was the find of the day, great pass, good leadership, hard as nails.


Neil MacDonald, Lee Salgado, Ben Bravo and Austin Brown are dressed like referees for Halloween.


For the Senate
Pelicus Scriptoris

Wednesday, October 24, 2012




…is the Eastern Penn society’s gain.

Jeff Richmond will be migrating to Wilkes-Barre, where we are told there are seven rugby clubs and no referees.

The Pelican Refs, filling needs from coast to coast! Best of luck and thank you, to Jeff and his family.


Saturday, Nov. 3
Mittry Memorial Tournament in Redding
At least two college games

Saturday, Nov. 10
California College Sevens Qualifier at Cal Poly-SLO Need two refs and ARs. This is a two-day event.
Two games at the Maritime Academy in Vallejo
College and Old Boys games

Sunday, Nov. 11
Women’s College Sevens Qualifier at Stanford. Need 4-5 refs.

Thursday, Nov. 15
Two games at the Maritime Academy, at 6:30 and 8.

Saturday, Nov. 17
NCRRS AGM at Golden Gate clubhouse on Treasure Island.


For those of us south of the Bay Area, the college seasons kick off with the men’s and women’s Slugfests, usually on consecutive weekends in October.

The men’s event is now in its third year commemorating Ben Quaye, who died after (not due to) a match in 2010.

Twelve teams played three games each on the two upper pitches. Normally we’re perched above the fog on the UCSC campus, but not this time: it was socked in all morning.

UC SANTA CRUZ 24 - Santa Clara 14 Referee: Bruce Carter
With visiting family in town from the east coast and only for the weekend, I needed to do two of the first games and then leave to do my fraternal duty.

This was a pretty good match. Teams now string phases together in the pre-season, and both of these had success doing so. Then a missed tackle occurs, or an unexpectedly fast player gets the ball, and off we go.

Each half the score was 12-7, so pretty evenly matched.

NEVADA 24 – San Jose State 7 Ref: Carter
The Spartans have a lot of athletic players but many seem to be new to the game. This requires some referee adjustments.

One memorable moment: a Wolfpack player was being penalized for being ‘not back any’ at a quickly-taken penalty. San Jose State’s coach was heard saying, “That should be a card!”

The ref started to explain that he was pretty sure the player was a novice but then noticed the coach trying to stifle a big smile and a laugh, the bait not having been taken.

I love this game.

But to ref two games on the trot, to come off the pitch with a well-earned sweat and that second wind we referees get when we see that our compatriots are gathered at the ref tent, and then to pick up one’s kit bag and leave well before noon – well, that’s not to love.

Report by Eric Rauscher:
So I ended up doing the first and last two games. The last one was very good, with Santa Cruz beating Sierra College to the delight of the crowd.

Sam Davis ended up doing the 3:15 game Fiji style. He didn't bring any kit since he didn't think he would be needed. I asked him if he would be willing to do it and he said "But I don't have a whistle." Out of my kit bag comes my spare whistle along with a score pad, pencil and flags. Since he was there to sell USA rugby kit, he said "But who will watch my table?"

I went over to ask one of the nice young ladies selling muffins and whatnot if she would be willing to supervise his table while he was doing the game. She said yes. Sam had very little wiggle-room at that point and did the game. I don't think the players would understand why doing it barefoot is Fiji style.

Report by Neil MacDonald:
Had a blast on Saturday. Great to get my first adult games under my belt, and encouraging to get positive feedback from coaches on both ends of a shellacking.

Sign me up for the Women's Slugfest next Saturday!

Match reports below.

USF 32 – San Jose State B 3 (HT 20-0) Referee: Neil MacDonald
USF ran in three tries, and converted one, in a first half which they brought to a close with a successful penalty kick. SJSU kicked a penalty over to open their account in the second half, before one of their number was yellow carded for a dangerous tackle. USF scored once more during their one man advantage, but missed the conversion. Another USF try with a successful conversion completed the scoring.

UCSD 41 – U. of San Francisco 6 (HT 26-3) Ref: MacDonald
Coming off their earlier win, USF opened the scoring with a penalty kick from in front of the posts, before UCSD's abrasive pack, led by their firebrand hooker, began to completely dominate the scrum. Off such front foot ball, UCSD scored four times in the first half, converting three of them. USF had no answer in the scrums, but kept their chins up and played positively with what ball they had. Repeating the pattern in the second half, USF scored first with a penalty kick, bringing the score to 26-6, before UCSD's physical and skilled running rugby ran in three tries, as the sun started to drop over the Pacific. If only UCSD had remembered to pack a kicking tee for the long drive north, they might have converted a few more...


Report by Bryant Byrnes:
Fun on the Farm on a lovely Sunday. Steve Valerio and I had the pleasure of working with the Stanford and Cal Women's Sevens. The format was alternating rookie/veteran matches from 2 until after 4. I believe we had a total of seven matches.

Good spirited, well played. Thanks to Stanford's coach Matt Sherman for getting the field and he and Cal's Ellen Owens for keeping the trains running on time.

Morning in Santa Cruz finds John Pohlman, Bruce Carter and Eric Rauscher ready to run.


For the Senate
Pelicus Scriptoris

Thursday, October 18, 2012




That’s trying to put together a referee schedule this time of the year.

We have a number of younger and newer refs. Your assigner will preferentially give such referees assignments in order to get them some experience, to get them ready for the coming season.

And yet – there are seven refs available this weekend (we need thirteen), the youngest of whom is probably John Pohlman.

If you are sitting on your hands thinking we don’t need you, WE NEED YOU. Get a run and get some rugby in. This is the time of year when you can pick your own game.

Saturday, Oct. 20
Donkeyfest in Ukiah – no refs at present
Men’s Slugfest at UC Santa Cruz – could use two more

SUNDAY, Oct. 21
Stanford-Cal women's sevens – six games – need one more ref

Saturday, Oct. 27
Women’s Slugfest at UC Santa Cruz – needs three refs

Saturday, Nov. 3
Mittry Memorial Tournament in Redding – we’ll be taking the Pelicanmobile on the long trip from Salinas. Anyone want a ride?

Saturday, Nov. 10
California College Sevens Qualifier at Cal Poly-SLO Need two refs and ARs. This is a two-day event.

Two games at the Maritime Academy in Vallejo

Sunday, Nov. 11
Women’s College Sevens Qualifier at Stanford. Need 4-5 refs.

Thursday, Nov. 15
Two games at the Maritime Academy, at 6:30 and 8.

Saturday, Nov. 17
NCRRS AGM at Golden Gate clubhouse on Treasure Island.



Two Reports on Fiji Day, Morton Field

By Eric Rauscher:
The start time was supposed to be 9 am. I showed up around 8:15 to the smell of BBQs already in full operation, a whole pig turning over a bed of coals, but nobody that had any idea of game schedule. Kind of typical for an island event. Nic Talemo showed up a little while later and knew the contact people and acted a liaison. Eventually ten teams showed up to play in two pools of five; Sac Lions, LA, Vallejo, San Mateo and Bay Barbos 1 in the first pool with Seattle, Brotherhood, Bay Barbos 2, NorCal Barbarians, and EPA Razorbacks. The refs on hand were (in order of appearance) Eric Rauscher, Nic Talemo, John Pohlman, Jen Tetler and Bruce Ricard. We simply followed each other in doing games, with John and Jen leaving early. That meant that after the pool play, Richard and I did the semis and Nic did the final. Each of us did from 4 to 7 games. My semi was Sac Lions 5 / EPA 17.

In talking to Jen, I mentioned that at this kind of tournament the competition is fierce, but not aggressive. In speaking to the security guy, (who had a slow day), he said he noticed that the players would help each other to their feet after making a very good tackle. I replied, yes and they also giggle. It is that love of the game which makes this brand of rugby so interesting.

Having the pitch surrounded by about a million food stalls also makes it appealing.
Can't wait till next year.

By John Pohlman:
Smiles everywhere. If I had to sum up the Fiji Games in one word it would be smiles. Two words, big smiles.

Mare Island hosted this year’s games celebrating Fiji’s independence. Hundreds of spectators came out to watch the featured event Rugby 7’s. Volleyball and netball were included, as were numerous tents selling everything Fijian.

Eric was finishing his first game when I arrived. Nick had the second and I would do the third. This was the rotation until Jen and Bruce arrived.

A truly festive atmosphere was present. Field manager John said all Vallejo hotels were sold out. Teams from Seattle, Los Angles, Sacramento and the Bay area competed.

My first game was a Golden Gate Barbarian team led by Captain Mose Timoteo. I think they played an EPA team. There were at least three Barbarian teams competing and the games assigned sometimes changed. Thus my match card basically said Red vs. Black etc...

But the quality of play was such that in the first game I had no scrums and one line-out.

My second game had the Sac. Lions vs. San Mateo. Then changes to Seattle vs. E.P.A. Razorbacks. All I know is red scored at 6 minutes into the second half to take their first lead. Then Black scored off the kickoff to win. Final Black 17 Red 14.

And so the day progressed. Big, powerful and talented players leading to fun, fast games to referee.

I had to leave around 3:30 to meet some visitors. But with Eric, Nick, Jen and Bruce I am sure all worked well.

Stanford Men’s Sevens
Report by Phil Akroyd:

Refs: James Hinkin, Tony Levitan, Rich Boyer, Pete Smith, Phil Akroyd
A/R: Rob Hendrickson
Ref Coach: Kat Todd-Schwartz

A great day of some pretty high-level college 7s in places.

The Steuber pitch was in great shape in that it was a little softer than normal and the warm weather made for some sweaty, but fun games. All the refs (including myself) commented on how they were noticing the warm weather, fit college players and lack of off-season games. All refs manned-up and did five fast games each (Pete Smith relieved James Hinkin part way through the day).

Cal went 5-0 on the day and defeated Cal Poly in the final. Those two and St. Mary’s, along with UCLA were clearly the better teams. UC Davis, Sac State, Stanford and Santa Rosa J.C had their own battle among themselves.

Matt Sherman put on a very nice, well-run tournament with some nice little extra bells and whistles to compliment the usual positives of reffing at Steuber field. Refs had mics to the P.A. team who offered color commentary to spectators. Bill Cosden and Steve Harwood provided the insight and did an extremely knowledgeable and professional job.

Full scores:
Cal 21-7 UC Davis (Hinkin)
Cal Poly 26-7 Sac State (Levitan)
UCLA 26-0 Stanford (Boyer)
Saint Mary's 33-14 Santa Rosa JC (Akroyd)
UC Davis 17-12 Sac State (Hinkin)
Cal 24-14 Cal Poly (Levitan)
Saint Mary's 26-5 Stanford (Boyer)
UCLA 45-0 Santa Rosa JC (Akroyd)
Cal Poly 21-12 UC Davis (Smith)
Cal 41-0 Sac State (Levitan)
Stanford 14-7 Santa Rosa JC (Boyer)
UCLA 14-12 Saint Mary's (Akroyd)

Cal 26-0 Saint Mary's (Akroyd)
Cal Poly 24-7 UCLA (Smith)

Consolation Semifinal
Davis 17-0 Santa Rosa (Boyer)
Sac State 29-7 Stanford (Levitan)

Championship: Cal 31-14 Cal Poly (Akroyd)
3rd/4th Saint Mary's 38-5 UCLA (Smith)
5th/6th UC Davis 21-14 Sac State (Levitan)
7th/8th Santa Rosa 26-24 Stanford (Boyer)

UOP 26 – U. of San Francisco 19 Referee: Ray Schwartz
Preseason friendly (part of a round robin w/ SF State)

Jones'n for a run, I checked in w/ Scott Wood who said, "Yes, please help." He was gonna have to ref (3) 60 minute matches in a row if I hadn't raised my hand. Nice 45 minute drive down to UOP (nice pitch!) on a brilliant morning. Lots of friendly faces. Actually, several I did not expect to see.

Here's what I am seeing, at every level... the push to get more youth playing the game we all love continues to pay off. Each of these 3 programs, who just a few years ago may or may not even be able to field a full side, now easily fields a side +. Each club has several kids who played rugby in high school, and some, like Kyle, the UOP Captain, even when at Junior High, for Lamorinda. USF had a 9-10 combination who actually played high school rugby Singapore! The SF State Captain, Jake, came over to say hi... I had reffed him many times when he played at Oakridge High (now Mother Lode RFC). These three clubs might not feature many elite ruggers, but I think even the non-elite ruggers are getting better, and clearly every club, from top to bottom is benefiting.

The match itself was good fun. USF jumped out ahead 14-5 at the half. Odd things around the try line...two balls held up in goal, twice the ball taken back by the defense and made dead in goal...keeping me on my toes. Lots of rookies learning to pack down and scrum. This was a good match for me to help with. UOP seemed to send a few of their better players into the game in the 2nd half. They made a difference as they pulled away at the end, after trying the game at 19 with 10 minutes to play.

No cards to report, no injuries. In Scott's early game and then his match after mine, each game saw blood, major head lacerations. Scott made it through, his knee just starting to bug him. I'll do my best to keep improving my fitness. Fun with the UOP coaches later at a nice pub, Valley Brew, where I was joined by Kreg, Terry and Craig. Once the fresh keg of Lagunitas IPA was tapped, all was well again in the world!


Stanford Grad School 19 – McGEORGE 29 Referee: Bryant Byrnes
A beautiful Sunday on Stanford's excellent pitch. Stanford with good numbers but lots of new guys played the best McGeorge side I have seen in 10 years.

A well-played, good-spirited match saw an adept Stanford backline and large pack chivvied all day by the quick and opportunistic McGeorge fellows who ran straight at 'em all day. There was a bit of mild chippiness at the end; but it was a 3 point game, and lawyers – and to a lesser extent Stanfordites – just cannot help themselves. It is bred in the bone.

The new laws were applied and worked for the most part. (Note to self: call ''use it'' for rucks.) Good luck to Stanford in its upcoming Houston tournament.


For the Senate
Pelicus Scriptoris

Wednesday, October 10, 2012




Plug in this URL and get your blood boiling for the USA Sevens in four short months:

This ad features two of the nation’s top players, both from NorCal: Sacramento’s Colin Hawley and Palo Alto’s Zack Test.


We have a need for non-Saturday availability. Please have a look and let us know your pleasure.

FRIDAY-Saturday, October 12-13
Fiji Day Sevens on Mare Island in Vallejo – two refs so far, need several more

Saturday, Oct. 13
Three-team round-robin at UOP from 10 – 2. Need one more ref.

SUNDAY, Oct. 14
3PM – Stanford Grad/Biz school hosting McGeorge

4:30 – 7:30 PM at Stanford – Sevens, probably seven games

Saturday, Oct. 20
Donkeyfest in Ukiah
Men’s Slugfest at UC Santa Cruz

SUNDAY, Oct. 21
Stanford-Cal women's sevens - six games or so

6:30 PM – Stanford Grad/Biz school hosting EPA Razorbacks

Saturday, Nov. 4
Mittry Memorial Tournament in Redding – we’ll be taking the Pelicanmobile on the long trip from Salinas. Anyone want a ride?

SUNDAY, Nov. 5
4 PM – California Maritime Academy alumni game

Saturday, Nov. 17
NCRRS AGM at Golden Gate clubhouse on Treasure Island.



SACRAMENTO AMAZONS 33 – All Blues 29 Referee: Lee Salgado


20th Annual Chico State Alumni Weekend
Refs: Ray Schwartz, Bo Kaihu, Mark Godfrey
Report by Ray

Two matches plus were played; a brilliant, sunny day; pitch in great shape; nice, festive crowd, w/ lots of friends and love to go around.

Bo reffed (4) 20 minute periods that saw the Alumni women thump the undergrads 10 tries to nil. Amazingly dominant stuff. The undergrads rarely enjoyed possession, and then rarely retained it when they did get their hands on it. Late in the game they finally crossed into the attacking 22 for just the 2nd time. But were never a threat. The alumni had fierce, skillful attackers at most every position, and subbed in studly players too. Near the end, Mary T. struck a sweet drop goal from the 22 in the flow of play. Eagle Nai Reddick was one of many outstanding alum on the day.

Bo is going to be a decent ref, and he certainly enjoyed this run... but lots to work on. Alex and Mary are coaching the college side again. They've got lots of work ahead of them!

Ray then reffed the 1st four of (5) 20 minutes periods on the men's side, with Bo reffing the last 20. This game was very different, a fierce match from the start, hard and fast on both sides of the ball, with the undergrads taking the lead 14-10 early in the 2nd period, and extending it to 28-10 by the end of the 3rd.

The alumni were grousing. This was not how the alumni game's scripted to go. I asked if I should penalize the youngsters for break away runs? But as the rookies cleared the bench for the college, the vets smelled blood and came on strong to finish w/ 4 unanswered tries and a victory, closing out the 4th period ahead 34-28. Mitch Jagoe's son was a three-try scorer, turning in a man of the match performance.

Mitch now is coaching the youth, the high school side to be coached by Beau McSwain, while Jeff McCreedy and Danny Lacko are coaching the college men. Finally, youth and high school rugby in Chico!

Great to have AR Mark join us, and great to have been able to offer a team of three refs all day long. We were nicely rewarded as the party rolled over the world famous Madison Bear Garden for pitchers of fresh Sierra and Bear Burgers. I have to say, with all sincerity, I am reminded how good the guys and girls have it there in Chico.

Not 100% sure this is the pinnacle, but cannot imagine there is a healthier mix of men's and women's rugby anywhere in America. To see so many good looking, athletic girls hanging with the equally fit guys... it is rare! Truly a treasure and every one of them seemed to know it, and revel in it! This was at least my 4th Alumni Day reffing at Chico, and I look forward to more!

Humboldt State 5 –ALUMNI 35 Referee: Sean Peters

Stanford men – ALUMNI Referee: Bruce Ricard
A first game between the men alumni (in red) and the current students (in white). The alumni hooker was too big to fit in the red jerseys, so he took a white one. The game started with me wondering why someone was always offside and pushing the rucks the wrong way, before realizing that he definitely couldn't be a student. The alumni were dominating the first half, scoring several tries, before the students score their first points by a try on the line, at a ruck, by their scrum half. The second half was pretty much the same. At the last minute of game, the alumni get a turnover ball at a ruck in their 22, and start running forward. The ball is beautifully passed from a back to another, which finally ends in the hands of a winger, who gets tackled 5m from the Grail, but who manages to pass the ball to... his prop ! who followed the whole action, and scores a try after a 80m run. The alumni won the game by about 8 tries to 1.

Stanford women – ALUMNAE Ref: Ricard
A second game in three thirds of 15 minutes happened next between the women alumni and the students. Again, I am amazed how women are able to keep the rucks up and stable. They must have some powerful balance gene that men don't have. In the first third the alumni crushed the students. They shuffled the teams to try to have a more fair contest, which worked because no points were scored in the second third. They did another shuffle before the last third, which was again very balanced. There is not really any score because of the shuffle, but the students know for sure that they still have a lot to learn.

Sunday, October 7

BERKELEY 48 - New York 0 Ref: Phil Akroyd
ARs: Stephen Valerio & Giles Wilson

An 8am kick-off on Sunday morning at a foggy Mare Island. I was only partially joking when I asked the home team if there was a way to switch on the flood lights before we started.

One of those games where the play was actually closer than the score suggests. Having said that, New York barely even troubled the Berkeley try line at any point during the game.

Berkeley are a pretty complete team with strength in depth and key players in key positions. Their two flankers ruled the breakdown throughout, and like you would expect from well coached Eagles, they were frequently on the wrong side of the law... and they knew it. Special mention for the home team's inside center who blew through the opposition back on many a crash ball.

New York had especially poor delivery and distribution all day. Their scrums were often going backward with possession, and the half-back had trouble delivering a decent pass to her colleague.

Sunday, September 30

NORCAL TRIPLE THREAT 43 – Emerald City Mudhens 42 Referee: Tony Levitan
What an engaging 15s match with which to being the latter 2012 campaign, a total see-saw event that ended with the visiting Mudhens being pushed out of bounds threatening the NorCal line ...

A magnificent day in Corte Madera started a bit sketchy when this ref pulled up to the pitch an hour before kickoff only to find two squads and no pitch. The nomadic Triple Threat were relying on the Marin Reds to set up the pitch in a new park where, apparently the Reds hope to play this season. While off to a limping start on their field set-up duties, the Reds pulled their effort together under the able leadership of Whitney Blake and had the pitch ready to go only 30 minutes after the scheduled 11am kick-off.

A running affair from the opening whistle, NorCal scored a converted try before the first minute was up, and then proceeded to dot down 3 more times to the Mudhens' 1 converted try for a 26-7 halftime lead.

Apparently either the home side thought they could set things to cruise control or the downhill grade benefiting the Mudhens in the second half truly kicked in as Emerald City unleashed barrage after barrage, using 3 unanswered converted trys to take a 28-26 lead a mere 11 minutes into the second half. The match saw strong set play and dynamic efforts to remain active in the loose with plentiful quickly recycled ball from both sides and long breakaway runs. Shaken from their stupor, NorCal answered with 2 converted tries to retake the lead 40-28 before the Mudhens added another converted try (40-35) to once again pull within striking difference.

The match proved to hinge on a NorCal penalty kick from just outside the 22 with just under 7 minutes remaining, awarded after the Mudhens were again offside at the ruck (a repeated offense which also came with a team warning for an impending yellow should the Mudhens infringe again), 43-35. Undaunted, the Mudhens tried to wrest control of the match with a furious display of determined running, dotting down with 4:30 remaining (43-42). The final play was to be at a scrum between the halfway and the Mudhens 22, but hard running and repeated penalties against NorCal found the teams still battling some 2 minutes later, only to have the Mudhens winger pushed into touch a scant 5 yards from the NorCal line to end the match.

The high-quality of play, wide-open offense which saw 12 tries, strong tackling and rapid recycle of the ball made for an entertaining 80+ minutes. Of note for a women's match managed by this ref was the outstanding kicking by both squads which collectively converted 11 of the 12 tries and the one penalty kick attempted.


Two reports follow. Read ‘em and weep. If you haven’t been yet, set your sights on two years from now and do some referee hosting in the meantime.

Rich Boyer

9/20: We (James Hinkin, girlfriend Emily and Jordan Bruno) took the ten hour flight to London and were collected by Richard Parrish and John G. The flight is very manageable considering Virgin Atlantic provides up to 60 movies (free) from which to choose. We were treated to tea after the 75 minute drive to Bedford. Afterwards we went to the local pub where four referees were strategizing about onboarding new referees. Hand pulled ales made the setting all the more better.

9/21: We awoke to eggs and bacon (actually ham), with tea. Richard Parrish's wife Jill is a great cook. After breakfast Trevor McCarthy took us all, including the Parrishes, through Bedford's major park; through the narrow streets to his former high school, to a few churches, including St. Peter de Merton with it's 1,000 year old Norman arches, and along the Ouse River, which housed two crew rowing clubs.

We then walked to the Bedford Blues pitch. Last year the Blues lost out to London Welsh, who were promoted to the Aviva Premiership this year. We met Mike Rayer, former Welsh international fullback and Blues director. We drank pints of Red Stripe while taking in the beautiful pitch, which had a 9 degree slope.

After that Trevor took us to a church that housed information on John Bunyan (no relation to Paul), a 17th century travelling handyman turned preacher. He wrote allegories which were subsequently translated into 150 languages and purportedly remain popular to this day. We also walked through Bedford School (high school), where we would later ref. It is a beautiful school with 8 pitches, a 1500s church, and an administration building that looks like a palace.

We then proceeded to a play after a fantastic dinner. The play re-enacted various parts of Monty Python shows and was quite funny. British humor. They closed with a scene and song from Life of Brian, Always Look on the Bright Side of Life.

9/22: I arose at 7:00 for ham and eggs (and tea). I find it difficult to travel East, and had two consecutive nights with 4 hours sleep. Watched an ITM Cup game, then put on my number ones and Richard deposited me at Ampthill, about 25 minutes outside Bedford. There I was escorted to a large referee changing room where I met Maurice Skermer, my evaluator. He departed after we made friendly conversation and the Ampthill President, Dave Williams, then entered to share with me Ampthill's club history and how Americans from the nearby air base would join the club and play.

I then went outside and addressed both teams, spoke with captains, who delegated AR duty, and subsequently was asked for water breaks every 20 minutes since "it was so hot". The temperature was perhaps 70 degrees and the pitch was in perfect condition with the 2 story clubhouse along one side....We then began the match. Ampthill were an older club with players up to 45 years old, and Milton Keynes were the younger club. Ampthill were relentless with their forward play while Keynes would swing the ball wide at every opportunity.

I found that the players worked out scrums and lineouts (numbers and spacing) so that my part during these stages was very easy. Every tackler tackled a little lower than chest high and went for the ball. Consequently many rolling mauls ensued. The Ampthill forwards offloaded magnificently in tackles while Keynes backs threw long passes and made incisive running lines. Keynes ended up winning 28-15.

I then went back to the (locked) ref changing room where I was let in by the barkeep from upstairs, who presented me with the club tie and a momento pint glass (empty...). Inside the room I was greeted with a tray containing tea, lemonade, biscuits and a Kit Kat bar (but no water, which seemed to be in short supply everywhere I traveled).

I used the referee shower, put on #1s, then went to the party upstairs. It's really cool in England rugby clubhouses in that players offer the ref a drink at every opportunity. This clubhouse puts every clubhouse I have been in to shame. Multiple rooms, large bar with at least 8 different beer options, food, and various club memorabilia including decades' worth of team photos and hardware/plaques.

A quick point: talk about a small world. The players informed me two Americans were upstairs viewing our game. I met the husband and wife and it turns out the husband is Mike Purcell's (former Eagle wing) cousin. They were in England for their honeymoon, didn't know much about rugby, but decided to attend the match. The locals showered the lady with many momentos (and beer).

Paul Dannett then collected me and drove me to the Bedford Ath (short for Athletic Club), Richard Parrish's haunt. I met up with James, Richard and a few well oiled others. We were provided pint after pint after pint. We then walked home singing songs for a late dinner provided by Jill.

9/23: I finally had a sound sleep and awoke to eggs and ham and tea. I had an 11:00 game at Bedford Ath, where the U-15s were playing. Bedford vs. Dunstable. Bedford won going away 28-5. The crowd was delightful (no soccer moms...) and the coaches were respectful and quiet. After showering I was treated to a lunch cooked in the kitchen, numerous pints of beer, and great conversation. The Bedford Ath has four pitches, games played concurrently. But what a sight to see! All the age grade kids afterwards dressed in their number ones taking in the club atmosphere. I awarded the two captains keychains in the shape of California. Their eyes lit up and they were thankful.

Up until this point it had not rained. But once in the clubhouse the famous rain began to fall. After some time we drove back home where Jill treated us to a proper English Sunday roast complemented with JC Van Staden's finest red wine, followed by nightcaps of Benedictine.

9/24: We awoke to more rain and reports of floods in nearby counties. After another fantastic breakfast we departed for the town of Rugby. What a sight to behold! Beautiful pitches, and a school built in the early 1800s. We were met by Guy Steelebodger, former Northampton hooker and captain, now an economics professor at Rugby school. Interestingly enough, the school does NOT place an emphasis on rugby, nor on rugby academies. It formerly consisted of 600+ males but was integrated some time ago and counts 400 females and 400 males as its students. Some board at Rugby while others commute.

After a quick school tour we drove to Rugby Museum, where, California Bald Eagles players may be interested, a Bald Eagles pin is proudly displayed in a glass case. The museum was much smaller than anticipated, but it nicely outlined the history of rugby, from original pigs' bladder balls, more akin to medicine balls than the ball of today, through the world wars, to rugby league.

After a quick tea time we then drove to Warwick Castle where we took a dungeon tour. It was pretty creepy to experience (nearly firsthand!) the dungeon conditions and instruments of torture used on the dungeon inhabitants.

We then drove to Olney, location for the refs meeting. But we arrived early, so we had the best fish and chips to date. Then on to the society meeting where many gents were keen to introduce themselves and speak of their time in California. Max Barnard and Richard Parrish presented a fine power point presentation outlining their March visit. James, Jordan and I briefly touched on our perceived differences between American rugby and English rugby, then James presented Colin, president of the society, a pelican carved from a golf club driver. We then retired to the bar, where I met Max's father Stuart who impressed me with a story when he began reffing. He was assigned a Vets (Old Boys) v. prisoners (Villains) game. The Villains had 13 prisoners and two wardens. Stuart said the Villains hooker had the fastest feet he had ever seen, so fast in fact he thought the hooker was wearing shinguards. So at the beginning of a scrum Stuart kicked his shins, hard, to determine if said shinguards were present (they weren't). The hooker crumpled, his mates began laughing, Stuart turned away only to find the hooker coldcocked two of his fellow mates for laughing and was chasing after a third. Stuart asked the hooker afterward what he was imprisoned for. "Four murders, for life" was the response.....

9/25: We awoke to no rain. I took a quick walk through town to replenish supplies, then off the Bedford School, where three schoolboys provided a quick school tour. We were then treated to a very good lunch in the dining commons one hour prior to the game.

I refereed Bedford IIs (effectively the Bedford Varsity Silver side) v. Tonbridge, a rival school. Trevor volunteered to run touch but the other side remained without an AR. The forwards showed a little better technique than our high school forwards on lineouts and mauls, but back play was similar to ours. Despite being penalized more frequently, Tonbridge eventually asserted their dominance and won 45-0.

Jordan and Jame's games ran concurrently with mine, so that after we showered we all entered into the HeadMaster's "suite" on the second floor. This "suite" was 60 feet by 20, with wall memorials to all Bedfordian School boys who lost their lives in the wars. Eight comfortable leather couches were in the suite, with beautiful, ancient, huge oak tables. Just outside the "suite" was the obligatory bar as well as glass cases with war trinkets/memoirs/paintings. We had a few beers, ate from the foodline, discussed the game with all coaches, then departed. We treated the Parrishes to a nice meal at a pub.

9/26: We awoke early for a 60 minute trainride to London to meet up with Max Barnard, who would serve as our tour guide/comedian for the day. We visited the British Museum, which was fascinating, then Buckingham Palace in rain. We dined in Covent Garden (fantastic Cornish Pasty), then toured Westminster Abbey, which is in my opinion a must. We had a few pints at a local pub, then took the train back home.

9/27: Richard delivered us to Steve Wormersley's in Huntingdon, where Andy Croson was already waiting. They both drove us to Cambridge whereupon Steve acted as our tour guide. Cambridge is comprised of 15-20 colleges abutting cobblestone paths on which rode numerous bicyclists. Most buildings were built in the 15th century. We saw the likes of Kings' College and Trinity College. Upon passing through the beautiful arches the remainder of each college was visible. The grounds were meticulously kept, with large grass quads and flowers about the perimeter. We had a great lunch at a pub, toured Wren Library, which houses the oldest know music scroll dating back to 1420 along with writings from the 1400s, including Sir Isaac Newton's (1600s). Andy then negotiated a great price for punting, that is, taking a flatbottom boat on the river Cam, propelling it by pole a la the gondoliers in Venice. The river Cam provided riveting views of more colleges and was also the sight for many hilarious moments as tourists attempted to guide the punts along the river.

Afterward we retired to Stamford, Andy's home town, where we had fantastic fish and chips and then a good old English pub crawl. We were met by Andy Malpass. Fifteen pubs in three hours. Fifteen different beers.

9/28: Morning came much too quickly. We met up with Bruce Benyon at a great outdoor market serving fabulous food. We drove to Blenheim Palace, Winston Churchill's "home". The palace grounds sit on hundreds of acres, and the palace is truly a palace. At this point in our stay it was kind of like "ho hum, another beautiful, old palace". Bruce then drove us to the tiny hamlet of Hook-Norton, where he gave us a tour of the brewery at which he works. We then drove an hour to meet up with the ubiquitous Richard Parrish in Northampton to watch the Northampton Saints play London Wasps. 12,900 supporters in attendance. Saints played well and won convincingly 24-13. The atmosphere was much like that at a college football game. Afterward we met with ref Dave Pearson and also Samu Manoa, formerly of SFGG and American lock making a name for himself in Northampton.

9/29: I slept in til 9:00, took another quick tour of Bedford, then prepared for my 3:00 game at Bedford Ath. Bedford Queens, a team that shares the Ath with Bedford, hosted Stockwood. Once again, many mauls ensued, great forward offloads in tackles, quick play and little backchat. Queens won 33-24, with Stockwood gaining a bonus point for a try in the dying minute. Andy Croson, my evaluator, then drove me to Rushden, where we were to have our final dinner amongst our new friends.

9/30: My last day refereeing. Where has the time gone? I reffed Bedford U-15s vs. Hitchins Hedgehogs. It's nice to see the Bedford coaches from last week meeting me with quips and thoughts. Both teams played really well, and they were tied for the last 20 minutes of the game. My thoughts went to having to buy everyone in the clubhouse a round, but in the dying seconds Bedford knocked on five meters from their tryline, Hedgehogs sturdied a scrum and the eight man picked and dove over for a final score of 17-12. Whew!

Jane Parrish outdid herself that night with Paella, Spanish wine and sourdough bread. Philip and Michelle, good friends of the Parrish's, came by afterwards for a few nightcaps.

The tour was absolutely splendid! The English were very hospitable, and my wallet was not allowed to open. They were thankful for the California momentos and jumpers/ties I provided and replied in like fashion. The assessor's opinions were spot on. The games were a joy to ref, the post party and clubhouses just as good. And the weather pretty much cooperated as it rained three days, but never on gameday. Finally, the tradition and history of towns/cities visited and of the rugby clubs refereed is rich indeed.

James Hinkin

Never Above. Never Below. Always With You.

I was lucky enough to experience this year’s East Midlands Exchange and I was pulled aside and told by numerous pelicans that I would have the time of my life. And they were right.

The tour started with Jordan Bruno and Rich Boyer meeting the Better Half (Emily) and me at SFO. We were all excited and looking forward to an adventure that we wouldn’t ever forget. After a pleasant flight we were met at the airport by our hosts and whisked away. The compact size of the English automobiles caused some minor discomfort as we struggled to fit Richard Parrish (host and driver), Rich Boyer, Emily and me in the car and still maintain possession of all of our luggage, but the excitement of being on the Sceptered Isle overrode all mundane irritants. Thursday was pretty relaxed with a brief afternoon nap and a trip to the pub to acclimatize ourselves to the local beer.

Friday the 21st was also rather relaxed as we were adjusting to the 8 hour time shift and spent the day on a walking tour of Bedford lead by the garrulous and knowledgeable Trevor McCarthy, ably assisted by Our Hero, Richard Parrish. Unless it was the other way around – truth to tell, they both kept us interested and entertained all day. We were treated to a local comedy review show in the evening and seeing Monty Python skits live is loads of fun. Even after 40 years they are still hilarious. An early night and then off to bed, because Saturday’s a Rugby Day.

Saturday the 22nd was the official Assessment Day to determine how our American rating corresponded to the English system, which has several more gradations in it. Details can be found in the match report section. After the match and some convivial beverages in the host clubhouse I was transport back to “The Ath” – the Bedford Athletic Rugby Club and home club of Richard our host. More beers were consumed in an effort to get the Yanks up to speed. At this point Rich Boyer presented the bar with a shot glass to commemorate out visit so we had to start drinking out of it. After all, it would be rude not to and we were guests in that country. Combine that scenario with the previously unmentioned results for the Ath’s A and B sides (the first won by 90 points, the seconds by 50) and the evening ended with the highly predictable stumble back to the Parrish Palace singing “American Pie” in 4 separate keys all at once.

Sunday the 23rd was an earlier start for Bedford Blues youth games followed by a traditional Sunday roast prepared by Richard’s wonderful wife, Jill. Prawn and salmon starters followed by a pork roast with potatoes and veggies. Finishing off dessert with a wee drop of Benedictine had us all happily in bed, dreaming of the week to come.

Monday the 24th was an off day so Rich, Emily and I met up with Jordan and were taken up to Mecca, Eden, Aman: the source of the game played in heaven, Rugby School. We were given a guided tour by Guy Steele-Bodger, son of Micky Steele-Bodger, president of the Barbarians, that ended at the Webb Ellis Museum. Now that we had been shown the really important part of history, we moved on to some other bits of history that some people think are important and toured Warrick Castle. A true castle out of the middle ages, it was impressive enough to us modern folk and I wondered how it appeared to the people of the era that it was built for who didn’t have our modern sense of scale and technology. Truly awe inspiring. That evening we attended the monthly meeting of the East Mids society where we listened to a presentation by the youth academy manager for Northampton Saints and the exploits of Richard Parrish and Max Barnard on their visit to California. Then it was our turn and Jordan, Rich and I each gave a quick speech outlining our experiences so far and the differences we see as well as the similarities which were many as well. We presented our Main Gift at that point and each received a lovely framed poem. Emily also received a framed poem that was customized to her experiences – including the ones she hadn’t had yet. Impressive.

Tuesday the 25th was one of the highlights of the trip for me, refereeing at Beford School. Bedford is a classic school in the grand English tradition: centuries of history, uniforms, architecture and, of course, immaculate pitches. We were given a tour of the school by a couple of sixth form boys (essentially high school seniors) and had a cafeteria lunch that would rival several restaurants. Once again, details can be found in the match report section. After the match we all showed up in our #1s for a relaxing drink in the Master’s Lounge. The smell of oiled leather and the susurrus of quiet conversation were in perfect keeping with the occasion. The room itself was dominated by a roll of honor on the front and back walls listing the Old Befordians killed in action in the First and Second World Wars. The sheer number of names was humbling.

Wednesday the 26th was a London day. The gang took the train into London and met up with Max Barnard who some of you may remember from the last group who visited us from the East Mids. He sends his regards to all of the Pelicans, especially Eric “The Wizard” Rauscher and his family. We started at the British Museum, continued on to Buckingham Palace (wouldn’t let us in even though I told them the Queen and I are old drinking buddies), on to Westminster Abbey (just kidding about the drinking buddies thing), and then Dim Sum in a restaurant called Ping Pong. A train back home and we were done with another day.

Thursday the 27th was a day that was circled on the calendar from the very beginning for reasons that will be made known. We started off with a tour of Cambridge – ably guided by Steve Womersley who also happened to be my referee coach - and managed to poke our heads in to some of the colleges. It’s no UCSB, but it wasn’t bad at all (joke). Seeing notes written by Sir Isaac Newton himself in the library in Trinity College was awe inspiring. Keeping an eye out for bicycle traffic was a necessary activity as velocipedes were moving fast and from the wrong direction. We ended the afternoon punting down the river Cam much as I suppose students have done for centuries. Then we were put into the hands of Andy Crowson and went on a pub crawl of Stamford.

The score:
1. The George (Trelawny Ale)
2. The Jolly Brewer (Battle of Britain Ale)
3. The Green Man (Inferno Golden Ale)
4. The Punchbowl (Timothy Taylor Landlord Ale)
5. The Otter’s Pocket (Fuller’s London Pride)
6. The Golden Fleece (Tiger Ale)
7. The Cozy Club (Toga Man)
8. The Cellar Bar (Brains IPA)
9. The King’s Head (Wherry)
10. The Tobie Norris (Southwold Bitter)
11. The London Inn (Doombar)

To steal a line, no, we didn’t have any fun.

Friday the 28th started with a late breakfast and a tour of the Hook Norton where we saw a horse with a Twitter page and the tasting room. Really, it was all we needed. Kind of like the 7s of brewery tours - we cut out all the unnecessary bits and left the essence intact. Then off to the Northampton Saints v Wasps game. We were treated well: seats in Row F behind the try zone. A great game with the home side winning followed by access to the player’s lounge to meet up with local hero Samu Manoa and the referee for the match, Dave Pearson, who is probably most famous for calling off the France – Ireland match last year 5 minutes before kickoff.

Saturday the 29th is a rugby day and the match report is in the appropriate place. After the match and a few pints in the host clubhouse we were treated to dinner by the East Midlands Referee Society. A nice dinner followed by more speeches and gifts and several offers from both sides to keep sending volunteers across the Atlantic.

Sunday the 30th was our last full day and started with more youth matches at the Ath. A few happy pints after the game put us in a festive mood and we arrived back at the Parrish Palace to feast on a paella expertly prepared by Jill. Grain and grape were in abundance and we talked long into the night until reality set in and an early morning departure started nagging for our attention.

Monday the 1st. Flight home. Sleep. What a trip! There are so many people to thank it seemed like the entire East Mids society helped us out in some way at some time. To steal (and slightly change) a line from Sir Winston Churchill, “Never before has so much been owed by so few to so many.”

The games:

Sat Sept 22:
Leyton Buzzard 29 – Stewart and Lloyd 36 Referee: James Hinkin
Some slight confusion had my original game cancelled (well, not really confusion – one team said they weren’t going to be able to field a team) so my host Richard Parrish “took one for the team” and gave me his match. Much appreciated. Got to the changing room and put on the kit and went out to meet the captains who were already on the pitch. Speeches were made and the coin was tossed and then I had a little time to myself. This was my first match in England and some butterflies were definitely present. Once the game started, however, that all went away as we were just playing rugby and that is universal.

The home side (Leyton Buzzard) started brighter than the visitors but they had the wind and the slope to their advantage. They were able to use this advantage to score 4 tries (2 converted) while only giving up 2 tries (1 converted) for a halftime lead of 24 – 12. The second half was an entirely different story as the visitors took advantage of the conditions. Also, S&L were a noticeably younger team and the fitness of the older LB players was starting to get tested. S&L ran in 4 tries (2 converted) to just the single reply and took the match 36 – 29. The pivotal moment in the game was midway through the second half when S&L kicked to the corner where the ball was
finally chased down by a young winger playing his first senior match. Faced with 3 defenders and no support he tried sidestepping and was caught, so he threw the ball into touch. The resulting penalty was quickly taken and our young hero compounded his error by immediately tackling the ball carrier. This resulted in a yellow card and in that time period 2 tries were scored giving S&L a lead they would not relinquish. (As a side note, this was only the second time I have given that particular penalty, the first being at this year’s Tri Tip 7s. I was planning to use that incident as part of my “Differences Between USA Rugby And English Rugby” speech at the Society meeting but that went out the window. I guess we aren’t so different after all).
Final Score: Leyton Buzzard 29 – Stewart and Lloyd 36

Sun Sep 23:
Bedford Blues U16 36 – Watford U16 12 Referee: James Hinkin
I worked out a deal with the Weather Priestess that whenever I was
refereeing there would be no rain. She kept her promise throughout the tour but cut it very close with this match. I think she was just messing around but still, she was true to her word. To fulfill my end of the bargain I sacrificed a chicken last night… in a nice sauce with butter, garlic, olive oil, tomatoes, more garlic, sausages and clams over fresh pasta. It does not do to offend the gods.

In any case, the weather held and the conditions were perfect for a fast game and that is what I got. Bedford had a size advantage in the pack and a speed advantage in the backs – a lethal combination. Watford played hard and clean, but had to succumb to the inevitable as Bedford were just too much.

At the end of the game there were hand shakes all around and off to the clubhouse just before the rain started. I hope the Weather Priestess appreciated her sacrifice.
Final Score: Bedford Blues U16 36 – Watford U16 12

Tues Sep 25:
Bedford School 15 – Tonbridge School 27 Referee: James Hinkin
This is what it is all about. My personal highlight of this exchange was the honor of doing the First XV at one of the premier schools in England. The history of the place, the immaculate grounds, and the centuries of rugby played here all come to a head for a couple of hours on a sunny afternoon.

Bedford kicked off to Tonbridge who proceeded to keep the ball for 5 minutes without Bedford getting a chance to see it. Excellent recycling by Tonbridge kept possession but Bedford’s defense matched them and no real gain in ground was made. Finally Bedford got their hands on it and immediately scored a try (unconverted). Tonbridge regrouped, however, and started their attack once again. The game was evenly matched until Bedford attempted to use the boot to gain some position but failed to tackle the Tonbridge backs in an incisive counterattack. This happened a few times resulting in a pair of tries as Bedford struggled to contain the Tonbridge counter. Finally giving up on the kicks, Beford was pinned in their end and tacked manfully but pressure resulted in more points. The half ended with Tonbridge up by a score of 24 – 5.

The second half was a different story as Bedford made the adjustments necessary to contain Tonbridge. This time it was Tonbridge who were struggling to contain the Bedford attack as pressure mounted. The home side was rewarded with a pair of tries countered only by a single penalty kick (the only one I had for the entire tour, oddly enough) but Bedford had dug themselves too big a hole to climb out of.
Final Score: Bedford School 15 – Tonbridge School 27

Sat Sept 29
Rushden 108 – Northampton Men’s Own 0 Referee: James Hinkin
My second Saturday promised to be an exciting match between two teams with similar records. Unfortunately, one of the Men’s Own players decided to go sky diving and several of his mates went to go watch. Seriously. They must have been key players because the team that showed up to play were timid and directionless, only giving strong efforts in individual bursts. Rushden scored early and often: within the first minute of the first half and off the opening kick of the second half without getting touched – just two passes to beat the entire defense. With a score of 108 – 0 there really isn’t much to say. Both teams were pleasant in the clubhouse after for the required pints, though. Just goes to show once again why this is the best game in the world. In what other sport will a team take that kind of thrashing and
then go have a few beers with the opposition?
Final Score: Rushen 108 – Northampton Men’s Own 0

Sun Sept 30:
Bedford Blues U15 (A) 12 – Fitchley U15 29 Referee: James Hinkin
The Bedford U15 have enough players to field 2 U15 sides, but just barely. They had 15 players suited up for the game and actually played the last 15 minutes of the first half a man down as one of their forwards was getting treatment for a leg injury. He did return for the second half, though. The Bedford pack was bigger and stronger than Fitchley – to a point where they were admonished and finally free kicked for excessive pushing in the scrum (the hooker/captain for Bedford was trying to get his team to stop pushing after the initial shove but his mates were getting a bit excited), but the difference in the match was the fly half and the outside backs for Fitchley.

The visitors had a fullback who, once he got going, was nearly impossible for Bedford to stop. He was big and fast and used it well. The right wing for Fitchley was the fastest player on the pitch with a killer step off his left foot, scoring one try by taking a kick in his own half near the left touch line and then stepping through the defense before turning on the speed to score in the right corner. The final try came from a scrum and featured the Fitchley flyhalf stepping through a gap inside his opposite and then floating a perfect 30 meter pass to his onrushing wing, catching him in stride and the speed did the rest. That was the best pass I saw all tour and I told him so after the match.
Final Score: Bedford Blues U15 (A) 12 – Fitchley U15 29

Ithaca College men 10 – GENESEO 15 Referee: Eric Rauscher
Once again I asked for and received an appointment(s) on my annual trip to Ithaca, NY. I got to do the Ithaca College men again this year, this time against another closely matched team from Geneseo. This is div two, and the game was played on a slightly widened football field, but the play was still at an enjoyable level.

Geneseo was a team with a player-coach while Ithaca has a female head coach (AnneMarie Farrell). The Geneseo men seemed to have the size advantage, but Ithaca had better general play skills. They were twice able to turn the scrum 90, and twice able to hold a maul. The difference in the game was an intercepted pass 15 min into the second half that Geneseo ran 70 meters for a try. Low scoring games can be kind of dull, but not if both teams are moving the ball up and down the field in close-matched play.

Ithaca College women 7 – SYRACUSE 12 Ref: Rauscher
This was a div two match. I have never done a div two women's match so was not sure what to expect. Both teams played with spirit, but as can be guessed, low skill level. Most of the play involved the scrumhalf taking the ball out of the ruck and handing it to someone standing behind them who would then crash into the oncoming defenders. At one point, the Ithaca # 11 made a great break down the side with a sole defender in hot pursuit. A near-tackle was made about 15 meters from goal, and she did a clean roll out of it and I yelled "Not held, not held" upon which she placed the ball back towards her own goal. The one very bright spot was the Ithaca #9. My friend that I stay with and takes me to the games doesn't really know rugby very well, but at the half he commented to me "There is a little blond girl from IC
who is all over the field" and he was right. Her work rate was incredible, and she was fearless in the tackle. I saw her take on opponents twice her size and take them down. The sun finally peeking through the clouds and her play were the bright spots.


At the monthly society meeting of the East Midlands RRS, Ian Baggett smiles as Colin Wright brandishes a tour memento he’s just been presented by Rich Boyer, Jordan Bruno and James Hinkin, who have conveniently lined up alphabetically by height.


For the Senate
Pelicus Scriptoris

Tuesday, October 02, 2012




NORTHAMPTON SAINT 24 – London Wasps 6
Friday 28th September 2012
Report by Murray Felstead

Your 3 tourists + 1 girlfriend enjoyed a visit to Blenheim Palace and the Hook Norton Brewery on Friday followed by an appointment with Samu Manoa ( US Eagles & Ex Golden Gate ) the Northampton Saints lock forward, and Dave Pearson, World Cup and RFU Premiership Referee who was refereeing his last but one Premiership game before leaving his post as a full-time RFU referee to take up a Referee Coaching role for the "SIX NATIONS".

3 attachments were included -
Dylan Harley - Northampton Captain and England International poses with a shiner of a black eye received during the game.
Samu Manoa sporting the latest in headgear reminisces about missing the sun of California and "home cooking"
And the third one, which serves as our photo of the week.


We need a few more referees every upcoming weekend now:

Saturday, October 6
Three alumni games at Chico State - one ref so far

Sunday, October 7
All Blues - New York game needs ARs and a second-side ref. These are the last two national champions. Phil Akroyd will be the referee.

Friday-Saturday, October 12-13
Fiji Day Sevens on Mare Island in Vallejo

Saturday, Oct. 13
Stanford men's Sevens from 9 - 5
Three-team round-robin at UOP from 10 - 2

Saturday, Oct. 20
Donkeyfest in Ukiah
Men’s Slugfest at UC Santa Cruz

Sunday, Oct. 21
Stanford-Cal women's sevens - six games or so


Saturday, September 29
Fog 19 - MUDHENS 41 Referee: Giles Wilson
First, my apologies to both teams for mis-reading the email meaning that the game started late.

Fog hosted the Mudhens and played hard for the whole game, taking a lead in the first half at 14 - 12 but overall lacked the experience and rugby savvy of the Mudhens. The Mudhens were able to defend against overlaps and spoil chances created by the Fog, and then take their own chances with strong support.

First half ended 22 - 14 in the favour of the Mudhens and then a final of 41 - 19.

Seahawks 15 - EPA Lady Razorbacks 15 Referee: Sam Davis
I arrived at the field to find that we would be playing on grass part of a baseball diamond. No posts and it was a terrible field, one of the worst I have been on. Pot holes, gopher holes and a bog. Both teams wanted to play so we did 10-a-sides since Seahawks were short. It was a game of two halves as Seahawks scored two unanswered trys in the first half.

Second half Hawks scored another try on penalty the score 15 to 0. EPA continued to battle back a poorly marked field confused a lady hawk and EPA's first try was scored. The second try came on a breakaway run and the third in the last second of the game in the corner off a 5 meter scrum.

All in all a fun game.

AMAZONS 108 – West Bay Angels 12 Referee: Lee Salgado
I believe the phrase “box of chocolates” is appropriate for rugby games; you are not always sure what you are going to get. As I walked into the park where the game was to take place, I was informed the field had been double-booked and the game was rescheduled to 2:30ish instead of 2 depending when the current men’s game ended.

The Angels only had 10 players but still made the trip and borrowed players from the Amazons.

The score was a bit lopsided but both teams waged through the very hot afternoon and made a good game of it. I don’t think I have ever heard so many giggles from tacklees or so many smiles while players were running each other down, so it made the game very enjoyable.

McGeorge Law 38 – SIERRA COLLEGE 52 Ref: Ray Schwartz
Danny Nunn Park, Sacramento
ARs: Mark Godfrey, Alex Pal
Couldn't crack the ref ring at Aspen Ruggerfest. Now Back in Sac, was pleased to get the ask from the Ducks to ref this pre-season friendly.

Arrived at the Park to find the City double booked the pitch, the Amazons were hoping to play too. We got our match going just after 1pm, and the boys played (4) 20-minute periods. Both sides would bloody several rookies on this warm, still day. This turned out to be quite a match.

My first go with the new laws... crouch, touch, set. Frankly, I prefer it, but it was news to many players! McGeorge has some experienced and tough players, and were able to match the youth and skillset of the well-coached Sierra club. Both sides scored tries in each of the 4 periods, w/ McGeorge always scoring first.

But Sierra always looked more dangerous, and began to pull away, 19-5 after 20, 31-10 at the half. Some heat coming from the boys lead to a long whistle and a moment to cool off. The captains met before the 2nd half kickoff and hatchet was buried. No scalping on my watch.

McGeorge was able to put on sustained pressure and outscore the youth 22-7 in the third and when they scored first in the beginning of the 4th period the score was 38-37, and their conversion just missed. But they had no gas left and Sierra pulled away with a nice try from Chris Lujan who suffered a laceration on his forehead upon dotting down. Blew the whistle a few minutes early as clearly McGeorge had nothing left to give.

Lee Salgado was looking good handling the Amazons v. the West Bay Angels. I eventually made my way over to the swimming pool at McGeorge to join a proper rugby party, until security came to ask the attendees to quiet down. Law students studying.


The college sevens season is underway now, with tournaments up and down California the next month or so. St. Mary's hosted three teams in a tune-up, with everyone's B-sides filling out an eight-team bracket.

It was hot, about 95 degrees at the 2 PM peak. No wind except the Gaels running by as both of their entrants pretty much lit it up.

Pete Smith, George O'Neil, Bruce Ricard and Eric Rauscher got things going, with Ron DeCausemaker helping out on the line. Bruce Carter showed up to poach a quarter-final and the consolation match, which turned out to be the final run of the day as both St. Mary's sides made it through and elected to go do something else rather than chase each other in the oppressive heat.


The introductory rugby officiating course will be given in Fresno on Sunday, January 13. Sign up on-line at


Dave Pearson (centre) - famous for calling off the France v Ireland game just 5 minutes before the kick-off in front of 80,000 fans earlier this year, relaxes knowing he only has one game left to referee!

He is pictured with one of his Assistant Referees, Robin Goodliffe (left), James Hinkin, Rich Boyer and Jordan Bruno.


For the Senate
Pelicus Scriptoris