Category Archives: News

Requiem aeternam dona eis

HAIL PELICUS!

 

Requiem aeternam dona eis, et lux perpetua luceat eis
Eternal rest give to them, and let perpetual light shine upon them.
 

To An Athlete Dying Young

A.E. Houseman

The time you won your town the race    
We chaired you through the market-place;         
Man and boy stood cheering by,             
And home we brought you shoulder-high.          

Today, the road all runners come,                    
Shoulder-high we bring you home,         
And set you at your threshold down,     
Townsman of a stiller town.       

Smart lad, to slip betimes away
From fields where glory does not stay,  
And early though the laurel grows          
It withers quicker than the rose.               

Eyes the shady night has shut   
Cannot see the record cut,          
And silence sounds no worse than cheers            
After earth has stopped the ears:            

Now you will not swell the rout 
Of lads that wore their honours out,      
Runners whom renown outran 
And the name died before the man.       

So set, before its echoes fade,   
The fleet foot on the sill of shade,            
And hold to the low lintel up      
The still-defended challenge-cup.            

And round that early-laurelled head      
Will flock to gaze the strengthless dead,               
And find unwithered on its curls               
The garland briefer than a girl’s.
 

For the supposed quiet time of Pelicanland the last few weeks have been full of excitement, news and sadness.

 

We start with sadness.   Jonah Lomu, a titan of the sport in every sense of the word, passed away at the unthinkable age of 40. 6 foot 5 inches, 260 pounds, strong, quick and fast… as a WING!   He was something unheard of.   As an unstoppable natural force Jonah Lomu was the first great rugby star of the professional era. While the details of his passing have not been published (to my knowledge as of this writing) he has long been struggling with nephrotic syndrome, a rare kidney disease that cut short his brilliant rugby career and a decade later cut short his brilliant life.   If you haven’t already seen all of the tributes to his rugby prowess then a very quick search will bring them up, but the most moving, and by far the most important and revealing video I saw was a short clip from a documentary on his life that showed him visiting the man who was instrumental in breaking his heart in 1995, Joost Van Der Westhuizen, who is himself suffering from Amyotrophic Lateral Sclerosis (ALS), more commonly known in the USA as Lou Gehrig’s disease. Just take a few minutes to watch this:

 

There will always be great players and great humans.   Occasionally they will combine in a single entity.

 

There will only be one Jonah Lomu.

 

One Order Of Crow, Please

 

I have lived my sporting life with two certainties: the Cubs will never again win the World Series and the All Blacks can not win a World Cup on foreign soil.   I smugly based my RWC predictions on the latter certainty and picked the Irish to hoist the Webb Ellis Trophy with one hand while giving the English two fingers with the other.

 

Alas, I was sadly mistaken. Ireland, as well as Wales, were cruelly dealt a rash of critical injuries and faded valiantly in the quarterfinals.   The French never looked like beating anyone outside of tier 1 and, to the delight of the world north of Hadrain’s Wall, south of Dover’s white cliffs and east of the Gresford bells, the English failed to qualify out of their group.   The southern hemisphere dominated this Cup and the final pitched Austraila against New Zealand, who’s dominance was on show for all through the entire tournament.

 

And what a final it was!   As a fan with no horse in the race I was looking for spectacle, entertainment and fun and I got all of that and more.   As a referee I was greatly impressed with how Nigel Owens handled the match, allowing the players to show their skills and pace while maintaining control at all times.   I am reminded of descriptions of great waggoneers who controlled teams of 8 horses with just a few clicks and commands plus the occasional flick of the reins.   New Zealand ran out the deserved victors and, as I promised, I will give them their due credit. It has been said that this is the finest team ever assembled and I can find no sound argument against that statement. Richie McCaw, who just announced his retirement after the RWC, rides off into the sunset with GOAThood attached to his legacy.

 

Avé! Duci Novo, Similis Duci Seneci!

 

As with all organizing bodies within the rugby universe, the periodically NCRRS holds their Annual General Meeting and elected their Board of Directors. The NCRRS Board for the next two years is as follows:

 

Pete Smith

Preston Gordon

Our Scott Wood

Paul Bretz

James Hinkin

 

Congratulations to all of the board members and be aware that the editorial staff at Hail Pelicus will be watching your activities with considerable interest.   We are closer than you think.

 

Fancy A Game, Old Chap?

 

World Cup Final referee Nigel Owens spent the weekend after the match not, as you would expect, in a hot tub drinking champagne with buxom female celebrities but at a local club match in Wales.   The story is here if you would like to read about it : http://www.telegraph.co.uk/sport/rugbyunion/11981826/Nigel-Owens-Grassroots-rugby-helped-me-through-the-dark-days-now-Im-glad-I-can-pay-the-game-back.html

 

One quote, however, from that article I have some issue with: “You know people can hear what you say, but when you’re in a game you have to concentrate so much, you’re not aware of what you’re saying. It’s certainly not a performance. I think once you start playing up to it, you’re on a loser.”

 

Yes, as a referee it is critical to remember that you are neither the center of the game nor the reason that people watch but performance is a big part of it.   You have to play to the crowd, in the sense that when you make a decision EVERYONE must know about it.   A small gesture and quietly telling the players what happened is insufficient when you have 200 spectators wondering why this idiot just blew his whistle.   To borrow from the stage, you need to play to the back row. A good referee will stand up straight and make obvious, deliberate signals that can be seen from everywhere even if their voice can not be heard.   No, you don’t prance around and make the game about you but when you are forced to make a call you sell it for all you’re worth to both the players and the crowd.

 

Upcoming Referee and Coaching Courses

 

Northern California will be hosting a number of referee and coaching courses over the next few months.   Please watch this space for further details on these chances to improve your rugby knowledge and acumen.   From personal experience, I can tell you that there is definitely an aspect of academic rigor involved in being a referee – you need to know the laws and keep up with all changes and interpretations.

 

When a player shows an interest in the finer aspects of the game we generally try to guide them into refereeing.   If a player doesn’t know the laws and doesn’t understand how to apply them, they usually become a coach rather than a ref.

 

Disciplinary Action Reporting – Process for reporting incidents

 

The various competitions all have their own disciplinary chairs and this will make it difficult to centralize the communication and data.  To help Scott Wood has developed a form that will centralize the process, regardless of the competition.  The link to the discipline form is https://docs.google.com/forms/d/1mmUNg11uVOSkIsUtHifSqQzalhWbwohk_J6AmPyrucQ/viewform

  1. Copy the link and have it available on your smartphone.  If you have an Iphone add the link to your home screen.
  2. When needed fill it out and click submit.  The discipline chair of the competition you refereed will receive a notification about the incident.
  3. He/she may contact you latter for more details.

 

 

On To The Game Reports!

 

EDITOR’S NOTE: More reports are coming in from the Wastelands Beyond The Pelican’s Flight!   Keep them coming!

 

From Senior East Coast Correspondent Stephen Valerio:

 

Data: 10/17/2015

Navy C-side 24 -Frostburg St 22

 

Saturday was one of the cool, crisp days I missed in California. Nice and sunny, with the trees approaching peak color. I headed out to Frostburg St and the trees got more colorful as I headed into the Appalachian Mountains. I didn’t notice the skies getting cloudier at first, but as I approached the exit the skies had turned gray. As I pulled into the lot just as the hail started.

 

Saturday was one of those days that I laughed at when I lived in California. We played the match with intermittent hail showers. Not rain, not snow, hail. I have never heard of hail showers before, so I like to believe I coined the term. Frostburg State’s pitch is carved into the side of a hill and is fairly narrow. The grounds crew was kind enough to paint lines for the rugby club. Blue lines, which showed up brilliantly off of green. I passed on to the captain that they could use gold paint to contrast with the white. They could also learn to make dotted lines. Solid 10 m lines, 15 meter lines, 5 meter lines. Nope, no confusion there.

 

The match kicked off on time, and Navy was at first frustrated by the narrow width and sloppy playing conditions, letting Frostburg St score an early try. However, they soon adapted and put across 4 tries, converting 2, in the first half. They received fairly good go forward ball from the pack, but the rhythm of the match was choppy with plenty of knock forwards and balls on the deck.

 

The second half started during one of the breaks in the hail. But the pitch was now thoroughly muddy. However, the biggest change was the substitutions to Navy’s backline. The centers didn’t come up as aggressively allowing Frostburg’s backs to get the ball wide and their rhythm. After being burned out wide twice, the Navy backs over-compensated leaving themselves vulnerable to a cutback run from Frostburg’s flyhalf who dotted down between the posts. This allowed Frostburg to finally collect a conversion as they pulled to within 2 as the match moved into its final frame. Frostburg moved back into Navy’s half and picked up a penalty with the clock running out. They chose to go for the penalty kick, but it drifted wide, costing them the upset.

 

Data: 10/24/2015

Chambersburg 73 – Washington Renegades ‘D” 31

 

Chambersburg was victimized earlier this season when some idiots in pick-up truck decided to do donuts on their pitch after a rain, destroying their home field. So we moved further north to Shippensburg State’s home field for the match. Weather was great, with a firm (some would say hard) surface and try zones the maximum 22 meters. I was wondering if the larger than typical try zones were going to factor in, but they didn’t.

 

Chambersburg had defeated Washington 17-5 earlier in the season at Washington. However, this match was not going to be the same defensive affair. Washington didn’t shake off their road trip quickly and Chambersburg ran through them quickly for 3 tries and and an early 19-0 lead. After a severe tirade under the posts, Washington eventually got the ball back and quickly struck for a try. However, their defensive structure and poor tackling continued to let them down and Chambersburg ended the half up 31-5.

 

The second half started with more of the same with 5 more tries for Chambersburg. However, injuries hurt their defense and Washington started to gain the upper hand in the attack. By the end, it seemed no one was playing much defense with Washington putting  4 tries over in the last 20 minutes to one by Chambersburg. As the last conversion sailed through the post, Chambersburg came charging out of the in goal looking for one more try, but time had expired. I am pretty sure they would still be playing now if I would have let them.

 

Date: 10/31/2015

Wheeling Jesuit 41 – Loyola of Maryland 8

 

While there was a rugby match of some note going on at Twickenham. I trust the reader of this note knows how that much ended by the time this comes out. However, a different rivalry was being renewed in Towson, MD. Loyola University of Maryland was hosting Wheeling Jesuit. The 2 Jesuit schools had not played each other since 1994, meaning most of the current players, if not all, weren’t alive then. However, the Jesuit Rugby Classic marked a renewal of the rivalry.

 

Wheeling Jesuit came into the match ranked #11 in D1, while Loyola plays in the NSCRO. However, Wheeling had played and defeated Delaware the night before. A bigger challenge was the narrow, football-sized pitch. Wheeling’s first several offense thrusts were thwarted by the lack of space. Loyola came out fired up and was able to collect an early penalty while Wheeling was collecting itself. Loyola fought hard throughout the half, but Wheeling’s backs were lethal. Three tries and a penalty gave Wheeling a 22-3 lead. The same held in the second half with Wheeling in control, though Loyola was disruptive enough that the match remained competitive despite the final score line.

 

Wheeling Jesuit B 35 – Loyola of Maryland B 7

 

The B-side was more organized and structured. While Wheeling’s backs proved decisive in the first match, their front row made the difference in the B-side match. Their front row consistently punched through the Loyola defense and made the hard meters. Plus they popped up all over the field. Loyola was able to contain the damage in the first half and went into the break down 7-0. However, the physicality took its toll and they were able to punch several tries over in the second stanza. The only thing preventing the whitewash was an intercept try at the final whistle

 

Date: 11/7/2015

Mount St Mary’s 79 Navy C’s 7

 

I returned to Mount St Mary’s for a match between 2 squads whom I had seen both defeat Frostburg St earlier in the season. While a bit closer than the first match I had managed at Mount St Mary’s, it was still heavily one-sided for the home squad. The primarily plebe-side from Navy had their hands full with the experience MSM squad and their quick recycle game. Even a yellow card for repeated infringements deep in their end didn’t allow the Midshipmen to keep the game close. The inexperienced side made some strategic errors that the hosts punished mercilessly.

 

Date: 11/14/2015

University of Maryland 85 – UVA 0

 

This ACRL match was officially a forfeit as injuries had decimated UVA, particularly in the pack. The match was played with open substitutions so that Maryland could more fairly match the squads. While the UVA pack was under pressure, it wasn’t the biggest challenge for the team. They were unable to take advantage of opportunities due to inconsistency in their lineout and some rushed strategic moves borne out of desperation more than anything else. Instead of catching Maryland napping, it often resulted in isolated runners or kicks that left them vulnerable to counterattacks. The scoring slowed in the 2nd half as Maryland liberally subbed out their starters.

 

Date: 11/15/2015

Potomac NSCRO Finals

Mount St Mary’s 41 – Catholic University 21

 

I ran AR for Roberto Santiago, so 2/3s of the team of the 3 were Pelicans. Assuming Roberto’s battery didn’t die, he may have a picture.

 

Hoping you have a wet season

 

Date: 10/24/2015

Cal Invitational 7’s

Referee: Lane, John

 

Cal Autumn 7’s – 8 team – 16 game tournament

 

An excellent day of collegiate 7’s Rugby – committed and clean play throughout in a very well organized day’s rugby.

 

4 Ref’s including myself, PaulB, PeteS and Neil MacD ably supported by RobH as AR throughout.

Operating teams of 3 throughout the day with the full 5 for the final – so everyone’s legs got plenty of exercise!!

 

My ref day started with Game 3 (AR – Game 1) for Cal Poly v UC Davis which were 2 physically well matched teams but Poly proved to have that extra level of execution skills and eventually won 19-0 with 3 tries.

The game produced the only yellow card of the day for a deliberate slap down denying a clear try scoring opportunity – penalty try and YC – accepted with no challenge from the player involved which reflected the player spirit and ref respect all day.

 

2 more AR’s runs kept the legs warm before returning for Game 8 – UC Davis v Cal Frosh/Sophs. A new challenge here with the teams in virtually identical kit!!! After a request for a jersey change was met with a no option available response I started the game with heightened awareness spotting that UC Davis had a Blue square around the jersey number at least gave something to work with (thank god it was 7’s). Again a good contest but Cal F/S used field width combined with quality cut-backs to score 3 1st half tries for 19-0 half time lead. NeilMacD had used the first half and his Scottish charm to good effect and miraculously a change of jersey arrived for the Cal F/S during half time. Davis started the second half well scoring an early try and kept up the pressure for the next few minutes but did not convert the posession. Cal F/S capitalized on a turnover ball to score from long range with the game finishing UC Davis 7 – Cal F/S 26.

A short break and then back out for game 9 – SF State v Cal. Both teams were 2-0 so playing for a spot in the final. Cal wasted no time to put their mark on the game – receiving the kickoff they secured possession and using the width of the field work through a few quick phases to create the space and the first score. Despite a high defensive work rate from SF State the traffic remained mainly one way in the first half with Cal particularly strong on regaining their restart kicks (a feature of the whole day). 3 more tries and a halftime lead of 26-0. Cal scored first in the 2nd half to extend the lead but SF State finally managed to retain possession for a series of phases and deservedly got on the score board. At this stage Cal had released fresh legs from the bench and re-asserted control with 2 further tries to secure their spot in the final on a scoreline of 5- 47.

 

3 more AR runs before I returned to the middle to close out the day with the Cup Final after PaulB – Shield, PeteS – Bowl, NeilMacD – Plate had set the scene.

 

The final saw Cal Poly take on Cal (after tournament rules avoided a Cal F/S v Cal final after 3 wins each!).

 

Cal continued their dominate form despite a never say die attitude from Cal Poly but an overall higher fitness level across the squad definitely started to show in the players 4th game of the day. 4 tries to 1 in the 1st half with a noticeable drop off in the Cal goal kickers strike rate as only one Cal try was converted . The Cal subs bench kept the pace up in the second half adding 3 more tries before the end to win out the tournament on a 7-41 scoreline.

 

A special mention to RobH for a very long and active day on the AR sideline – not sure you knew what PeteS had roped you in for but much appreciated – I hope we spotted you out enough through the day.

 

And back to do it all again for the Pac 12 on 7&8 November!!!

 

Date: 10/24/2015

Google 56 – McGeorge 28

Referee: Simko, Paul

 

We played four, twenty minute quarters in this preseason warm up. There were plenty of new players out there for both sides, which unfortunately kept the whistle blowing. It was close for the first half. The 3rd quarter became a track meet for Google. McGeorge came back with 2 tries at the end.

 

Date: 10/24/2015

UCSC Men Slugfest

Referee: Freitas, Larry

 

I officiated four matches in this men’s pre-season tournament at UCSC, played on the upper field and lower field. First thing I noticed on the upper field was that the rugby pitch wasn’t lined correctly, and that the east touchline ran through, and I mean right on, two drains that were encased in cement! I immediately got in touch with the OPERS director, had a few UCSC players come up from the lower pitch with spray cans, and had a new touchline added at least a yard further infield, and had bags and other assorted material thrown over the drains. With the drought and evidence that the field has been used plenty for intramurals, and last week’s women’s tournament, there wasn’t a lot of grass on much of the pitch, though on other parts there was plenty of grass. Cal Poly 2s beat Santa Clara’s 2s, most of whom were playing in their first ever game, 55-0. UC Davis beat Sacramento State 29-0 in my next match an hour or so later. Cal Poly then defeated Sacramento State 29-7, with a late try by the Hornets from a free kick given because of a scrum infringement by Cal Poly, between the 10 meter line and the 22, in which Cal Poly hadn’t retreated the 10 meters, so that they were marched back another ten with a free kick now a penalty for that offense, and a Cal Poly player now obstructing a Sacramento player from taking a quick tap, meaning another ten meter march off and a verbal warning from me, and then the penalty run in for a very late try.

 

My last match was on the lower field, one of the best rugby pitches in California if not the whole USA, and possibly the world given the view of the Monterey Bay below. I just hope we get some rain soon, because its wear and tear is starting to show, with some patches of turf well torn up from use, and I was noticing wear and tear on my legs from running around on hard pitches all day. I happened to have played in a “veterans” match in Tewksbury in the West Midlands of England a few weeks earlier on the California Bald Eagles RWC tour, and playing on that grass was easy on the legs and feet to say the least. It was finally starting to cool off from the 80F warmth of mid-day, and the unusually high humidity. Sacramento State beat an undermanned Sonoma State, that had borrowed a few Humboldt State players, 45-0. I was fairly worn out from the day’s activity by then, and got a night’s sleep straight through from 9:30pm to 5:30 the following morning.

 

 

Date: 10/24/2015

UCSC Men Slugfest 100 – TBD 100

Referee: Asonye, Elvy

 

Great day of rugby had, many teams with only 4 referees but we made it work in the hot heat.

 

EDITOR’S NOTE: I will give Elvy a pass on the brevity of this report as she, as well as your humble scribe, ended up reffing 8 games each on the day. We were really kinda tired after that, you know?

 

 

Date: 10/24/2015

UCSC Men Slugfest

Referee: Bernstein, Bruce

 

I reffed 4 matches all blowouts by Sac St, Cal Poly (twice), and UC Davis giving me plenty of sprint workouts. Could have used a few more refs (only 4 of us showed up). Luckily James Hinkin & one of the UCSC coaches Rob filled in for me for two other matches I was too exhausted to ref.

Great tourny for all those who attended on a spectacular day overlooking the bay.

 

Date: 10/24/2015

USF 0 – University of San Diego 13

Referee: Pescetti, David

 

These two colleges met on a warm sunny morning on Saturday. I don’t think they got the memo that New Zealand and South Africa were playing!

 

These two teams were very evenly matched. Both teams had stout and stingy defenses. The only try of the match coming off of a miss-handled kick that was scrambled for by both teams. USD managing, in the scramble, to kick the ball down field a few times and managing to collect the ball right before the goal line. The only other scores were via penalty kick. At the half the score was 10 – 0 in favor of USD. The rest of the match was even more stingy than the first. USF threatened several times but was unable to punch it in. The match finished with USD winning 13 – 0.

 

Date: 10/25/2015

Stanford 17 – Alumni 17

Referee: MacDonald, Neil

 

Stanford’s Alumni match kicked off under clear skies and sunshine at Steuber Field. The alumni came to play hard, opening the scoring with a converted try seven minutes in. The students found themselves a player down mid-way through the half, after one breakdown penalty too many, and the alumni carried their lead into the break.   The students clearly left their half time talk with their new coach re-energized, and scored twice, taking a 12-7 lead half way through the second half, before extending it further to 19-7 with nine minutes left. The alumni did not tire, their heads did not go down, and they came roaring back with a line break, and taking the ball through a few phases with great ball retention to crash over and close the gap to seven, and with a successful conversation, to five with three minutes left. A bridge too far for the alumni? Don’t you believe it. Over they went again in the final minute to tie up the game. A nailbiter conversion for alumni captain Nathan from wide on the right to pull out the win, but the kick drifted left and the honors shared. Stanford look to have recruited well this season, with a number of athletic additions to the squad including a scrum half with dancing feet who looks to have a lot of potential.

 

 

Date: 10/28/2015

Stanford 32 – Stanford GSB 10

Referee: Lew, Tim

 

Always a pleasure to referee a game on Stueber Field at Stanford. With a newly appointed coach, Stanford Men looked athletic and fast. GSB started the game with a quick score but that was all they had for the game. Stanford Men were more athletic and took advantage of their fitness in the end.

 

 

Date: 10/31/2015

Berkeley All Blues B 32 – Berkeley All Blues C 17

Referee: Tetler, Jen

 

This was originally going to be a friendly 2nd side with some other players filling it, but it ended up being All Blues on All Blues playing 10s after the high quality WPL 1st side game. Some great plays and some excellent support was seen on both sides, and it was fun to get a run in for everyone.

 

EDITOR’S NOTE: See next two reports…

 

Date: 10/31/2015

UC Santa Cruz 0 – San Jose State 0

Referee: MacDonald, Neil

 

Match cancelled. Found out after I got there.

 

 

Date: 10/31/2015

UC Santa Cruz B 0 – San Jose State B 0

Referee: Lane, John

 

Game was cancelled night before. Clubs informed Neil MacDonald who was on the A game.

 

EDITOR’S NOTE: Teams must realize that cancelling a game at the last minute not only affects the players but the referees, who sometimes have to travel long distances to get to the match.   Please make sure that all referees are notified in a timely manner if a fixture is not to be played.

 

Date: 10/31/2015

UOP – USF, SF State

Referee: Wood, Scott

 

After coaching my daughter’s last silly-round-ball game of the season, I travelled over to UOP for their annual pre-season round-robin tournament. Three teams (UOP, USF, SF State), three games (2×20), one referee…

 

Match 1

UOP 17

USF 41

 

UOP was stronger in the scrums and breakdowns but their backs were unable to contain USF’s 8-10(?) power combo.

 

Match 2

UOP 21

SF State 33

SF State countered UOP’s scrums and was able to exploit holes in the backline.

 

Match 3

USF 28

SF State 0

The aforementioned USF power combo was the featured attraction. SF State controlled its scrums and breakdowns well.

 

Kudos to all participants for demonstrating that rugby is the world’s greatest sport.

 

On my way to my car, I was appoached by a SF State parent. We had a great, albeit brief, discussion on how some of the game has changed and his stated desire to return to the ranks. It has been around ten(?) years since I have seen Joe Saccomanno and hope to see more of him. Especially on the pitch, whistle in hand, rugby in heart.

 

EDITOR’S NOTE: I have also run into Pelicus SSaaccoommaannoousas well when refereeing SF State – it would be nice to bring an apostate back into the fold.

Date: 11/07/2015

AKM Memorial Tournamnet

Referee: Boyer, Rich

 

It was a fine day for a festival. Santa Rosa played Humboldt St. Early days for both teams, who were very enthusiastic and energetic, which resulted in multiple penalties in the opening stanza. They calmed down a bit second half and Santa Rosa won 21-0. On to Bend v Blackhawks, with Bend being the team of the tournament.   They are in midseason form, have a great gameplan and are patient. Bend with the win, 31-17.   A newly reconstituted Sac Capitols then played Emerald Triangle, a composite of Mendo, Colusa and Shasta player. Capitols exhibited really solid team play and won 32-20.

 

 

Date: 11/07/2015

AKM Memorial Tournamnet

Referee: Richmond, Jeff

 

A beautiful day in Reading and a nice event, supporting the AK Mittry Memorial. Reffed 4 matches, with Rich Boyer, Bruce Bernstein, Mic Dunston (from Bend) and Kevin Brown (Oregon Inst. of Tech) also covering a bunch. 20 minute halves made for a manageable day.

Started with Bend v Sac Capitals; Bend dominated 32-7. They put together multiple phases at each breakdown and were often able to find gaps in the Sac back line. I understand Bend is just wrapping up the first half of their split season ans they were a bit more polished with their play.

Second match was Central Oregon v Santa Rosa JC. Very fast game, though more rough around the edges with a number of inexperienced players. Came down to the last few minutes of play. Central Oregon scored the go-ahead try off a scrum at about the 5-m line. The ball was put in cleanly by SRJC and hooked by SRJC, I looked up to check the positioning of the backline players and suddenly the CO scrumhalf was diving in front of me with the ball and touching it down in-goal. SRJC players claimed it came back out the tunnel, but I didn’t see it, so awarded the try. CO 17, SRJC 12.

Third match was ugly, Sac Blackhawks v. a mish-mash of Shasta, Santa Rosa and other whores. Apparently, there were a number of grudges to settle among players and coaches. Sac chose to make some kind of statement by not attempting conversions after each try. At the close of the first half, there was a bit of pushing, shoving, and taunting going on. I took aside both captains and told them I would call off the match at the first sign of escalation. They were able to calm things down but there was a lot of bad blood between the two. Sac’s decision to not take conversions came back to bite them as the mish-mash won 24-20.

Closer was Sac State v Santa Rosa JC. Reffing SRJC for the second time, they showed a noticable level of improvement in their play. Sac State is a strong team but didn’t travel with many of their first 15, so SRJC hung with them. Sac State 12, SRJC 5.

 

Date: 11/07/2015

AKM Memorial Tournamnet

Referee: Bernstein, Bruce

 

Definitely worth driving up to Redding for the Andrew Mittry Memorial Rugby Tourney. 6 college & 6 mens teams played for the fun of it with: 3 college scholarships handed out at lunchtime; a tri tip dinner served after; and a great bar hop through downtown Redding (which was pretty good). 6 refs helped out. Our Jeff Richmond, rich Boyer & myself; with Mic Dunston from Bend & Kevin Brown a prof & coach of the Oregon Inst of Tech (OIT). Bend looked in mid-season form since they started a split season in September, but Sacto Capitals & Emerald (a local touring side) were also right there. The college teams all were fun to watch & ref with tough competition from Sac State, Central Oregon CC (from Bend) & OIT (which beat Sac State in a great match I was able to ref.

 

 

Date: 11/07/2015

Cal Maritime 3 – UC Davis 14

Referee: Coppinger, John

 

Cal Maritime dominated the scrum and the breakdown, but had no answer for the speed Of UCD’s outside backs on the turf temple of rugby at Cal Maritime. Donal Walsh was prowling the UCD side and it is always to good to chat with Donal.

 

 

Date: 11/07/2015

Cal Maritime B 10 – UC Davis B 29

Referee: Byrnes, Bryant

 

First match for everybody. And first ”oh f***” moment of the season. In spite of traffic, I arrived 30 minutes before kick off. Except both teams are on the pitch, ready to go, missing only a referee. The host coach hit a note of grace; “No worries; ready when you are. The first match actually started on time.”

 

The Aggies the better team on the day. They took the opening kick and methodically rucked their way down the field-scoring on about the 19th phase. But Maritime-mostly new fellows-played hard and dotted it down just at full time.

 

Play of the game: a Davis back fielded a kick near touch inside his 22, and with a fine disregard for shouts of ”run straight!” immediately crossed the field east west to the the other side of the field, and then reversed field again before being tackled. 200 meters for a gain of 50. The days of our youth are the days of our glory.

 

Date: 11/07/2015

Fresno State 10 – Santa Clara 46

Referee: Jury, Jeff

 

Santa Clara ran some good clean lines and kept shape pretty well in attack and defense. Fresno State has good, fit athletes but is still in the learning phase. Fresno was able to fill some gaps in the second half and managed a couple trys.

 

 

Date: 11/07/2015

Fresno State B 15 – Santa Clara B 29

Referee: Jury, Jeff

 

A little more scrappier than the first game with newer players filling both sides . Fresno B was able to match Santa Clara B try count in the second half.

 

 

Date: 11/07/2015

PAC 12 7’s

Referee: Fenaroli, Steven

 

4 games. I got good pointers on managing the ruck and seeing when space is taken away what to look for

 

EDITOR’S NOTE: As a game description or analysis, this leaves much to be desired.

 

Date: 11/07/2015

Stanford Women 48 – UNR Women 0

Referee: Simko, Paul

 

There were 3 teams (SCU was the third team) that played 4 quarters. In the first quarter (40 minutes), Stanford rolled over UNR 48-0. In the second quarter (40 minutes), Stanford blanked SCU 39 – 0. In the third quarter (30 minutes), UNR shut out Stanford 27-0. In the 4th quarter (30 minutes), we had a tight one. It was 17-10 with Stanford leading SCU. SCU scored on the final play, but missed the conversion and lost 17-15.

 

 

Date: 11/08/2015

PAC 12 7’s – TBD

Referee: Fenaroli, Steven

 

Officiated 2 games, I had the 3/4 game. First time working with radios and a full crew. The second game went well and was managed well.

 

 

Date: 11/14/2015

CSU Monterey Bay WR 10 – St. Mary’s College Women 27

Referee: Asonye, Elvy

 

Great friendly between the two teams. St Mary’s got a try within the first two minutes and had the only successful conversion to start off the match. They were able to push through the center of the field two other times in the first half, until CSUMB got a break on the outside and the winger scored a try. Going into halftime St. Mary’s got another try, making the score 22-5 at the half. Halfway into the second half CSUMB got another try, after a hell of a fight pushing through inside the 22 and managed to get around to the outside for a try. St Mary’s fought hard the whole match and were able to get one last try with five minutes still left on the clock. A great fight by both teams, I’m sure the rest of their season will be even more fruitful.

 

 

Date: 11/14/2015

Solano CC 23 – McGeorge 57

Referee: Pohlman, John

 

Solano College hosted McGeorge in a pre-season friendly. The Solano Football field was well marked and in good shape. It was a bit small, but for my first game since last season suited my conditioning well.

McGeorge looked to be in mid season form. Their back row was all over the field led by captain Dan. The McGeorge backs looked like they had played together for years, hitting the ball with speed and angles. After two 20 minutes periods McGeorge was up 35 – 8.

Second half Solano started to link up some passes which led to two nice try’s. Solano’s captain Chris scoring one.

Final McGeorge 57 Solano 23.

Two items of note. This being my first game back in this early season and a supposed friendly, I was a bit relaxed to start the game. Both teams played hard, mostly positive rugby. I needed to set my standard early and remember once the ball is kick off there are no friendlies.

And two, if you referee at the Solano College Stadium bring your mosquitoes repellent. The mosquitoes were very bad.

 

Date: 11/14/2015

St. Mary’s College B 0 – SF State 0

Referee: Gordon, Preston

 

Bryant Byrnes and I switched off for the 4 40-minute periods at St. Mary’s. I did the second and fourth periods. There were a lot of tries scored in this fast pre-season match, most of which went to St. Mary’s, but SFSU got a few good ones of their own. It was a great day to put in 5 miles of work reffing (and ARing) and each of these teams should do very well in the upcoming season.

 

 

Date: 11/14/2015

St. Mary’s College C 0 – SF State B 0

Referee: Byrnes, Bryant

 

A beautiful Fall day for a friendly in Moraga. And on their old Pat Vincent Field. Many an old China hand ref fondly remembers this as the Everglades of NorCal pitches. You needed to bring your whistle, watch and defrib paddles to bring back players drowning in the muck.

 

The format was four 40s. Preston Gordon and I did alternating periods. St Mary’s had 40 plus players, the Gators perhaps 26,27-so it was a bit of mix and match. When subbed in, the Gael A side was a bit of a tidal wave. But when the SFSU guys played the SMC younger fellows, they were stout. Fun day for everyone.

 

 

Date: 11/14/2015

UOP 19 – Fresno State 33

Referee: Boyer, Rich

 

Fresno St. made the two hour trek to play UOP at their fine pitch. Both teams started strong, but promising phases were cut short by knock ons. UOP were in the match early on, following their captain Justin, scrumhalf, who scored two tries on long range quick tap penalties and who also had a hand in the third try. Fresno St. backs shone, particularly the fullback and wing, both who had blistering pace. The Fresno St. flyhalf set up multiple back line plays and was handy with the boot on conversions. Both teams exhibited good pattern of play. Good game played in good spirits. Fresno St. had too much firepower but UOP never quit battling.

 

 

Date: 11/15/2015

Stanford Women 7’s Tournament

Referee: Tetler, Jen

 

Fun times with Neil McDonald, John Lane, Lee Bryant, and newbie ref Ren! The final game of UC Davis v. Stanford showed a lot of good passing and support.

 

 

Date: 11/15/2015

Stanford Women 7’s Tournament

Referee: Bryant, Lee

 

Despite the weather report and waking up at 4:30 am by a downpour, not a drop of rain on the pitch for the games. Great rugby with a great fight to qualify for nationals. Stanford won top honor in a well fought final.

 

 

Date: 11/21/2015

Chico Holiday Classic

Referee: Wilson, Giles

 

Mitch, Beau and the rest of the Chico rugby folks once again put on their Holiday Classic. No goal posts, no scores recorded – a chance for teams to give new players their first games, to get the big lads/lassies back doing what they enjoy after a summer of 7s for the fast lads and lassies.

 

Play started on time with strict instructions that whatever happened, the games must finish on time, in order to keep the event rolling. And so it went.

 

I started with a spirited game between Chico State (who requested the TJs stand as goal posts, for the first game anyway) and Sacramento Capitols. The former have some good skills being developed but were significantly outweighed in the front row. Despite this, they managed well. Both teams ran hard in the centers and there were some significant collisions. This game featured the first game of Mike Dopson’s “retirement”, with the Capitols needing a scrum half.

 

SFGG women vs Nor Cal women was my next game. A wide range of skills and experience levels were on display. A few rampaging runs from either side and plenty of skill. Youngster’s got some game time and started to learn about what old age and treachery can do to youth and exuberance.

 

I finished with Sac Capitols against UNR, who were also bringing in some newer players. They have couple of horses in their back row but struggled with the physicality of the Capitols. They are developing a playing style under Maka and will get better.

 

Another fun event with the spirit of rugby to the forefront.

Date: 11/21/2015

Chico Holiday Classic – TBD

Referee: Franzoia, Tom

 

Well, a good day was had by all teams, Chico, Colusa, Chico State, Sac Capitals, Reno, BA Baracus, Mendocino, UN Reno,Chico State Women, Humboldt State Women, Nor Cal Women, SFGG Women. Twenty minute halves flew by, Mitch kept an eye on everyone especially the Chili, outstanding.

 

 

Date: 11/21/2015

Fresno State B 14 – CSU Northridge B 26

Referee: Jury, Jeff

 

CSUF A 28 v CSU Northridge A 19, Good clear day, hard pitch. Northridge somewhat neutralized CSUF better coordinated attacks by “bringing the wood”. Northridge pressure kept Fresno away from the gainline, but Fresno kept shape and averaged 2 converted trys a half to Northridge’s try count 1 and 2 with a missed kick at the end. Good day had by all.

 

 

Date: 11/21/2015

San Jose 31 – Berkeley 17

Referee: Pohlman, John

 

San Jose hosted Berkeley in a preseason 3 thirty minute period game. The game was played at Shepard Middle schools football synthetic turf field. First period was fast, positive rugby. Both teams played strong defense yet both had brief tackling lapses which allowed soft trys.

Berkeley 10 San Jose 7.

Second period was dominated by San Jose in ball position and scoring. San Jose 19 Berkeley 0.

Last period had lots of newbie players but still mostly positive go forward rugby. Berkeley 7 San Jose 5.

Final score San Jose 31 Berkeley 17.

Thanks to both Captain Dan and Captain Mark for great leadership. My only problem was the field and try area being poorly marked. But a great day of rugby.

 

Date: 11/21/2015

Solano CC 10 – Napa 2 50

Referee: Asonye, Elvy

 

Quite the friendly match between these two teams. For my last game to referee in California, I asked both teams to play clean and fair. The teams decided on breaking up the first half into 20-min periods, then finishing the second half straight through. Napa started off early with a try by their flanker, that was answered back by Solano two minutes later. Napa followed up with one more try in the first period, with a score of 5-12, Napa 2. Tensions were still pretty low and contained and players began to get a little more anxious. I called the captains together to talk to their players and remain calm during the game. Napa got a pair of breakaways through the center and scored two trys, and Solano stripped the ball from Napa to score a try before halftime with a score of 10-26, Napa 2. During the second half I spoke with both captains to speak with their team as there was unnecessary fighting and yelling, and cautioned that the game could end early if players were more focused on fighting than playing rugby. Early into the second half, I cautioned the Solano hooker for a dangerous charge. Napa took advantage and were able to get a try down the center. Napa was then able to use the momentum to score another 3 trys. Of the 8 trys that Napa had, five conversions were successful.

 

 

Date: 11/21/2015

UC Davis Women 45 – TBD 10

Referee: Hosley, David

 

This was to be an exhibition with four teams, but two dropped out so Jen and I discussed online with the Davis club president and I did the four quarters of 20 minutes each between Reno and UCD. This was a good match for the pre-season, and lots of new players for both sides on a beautiful day.

 

 

 

This Week’s Photo

The game that is played in heaven just got a bit better.

Lomu Tribute

Hail, Pelicus!

For the Senate

Pelicus Pedem Referre

Adult Swim

HAIL PELICUS!

 

Adult Swim

 

We have started getting to the pointy end of the World Cup (don’t ask me why a cup has a pointy end) and kiddie time in the pools is over: it’s time for Adult Swim.   For all of their bluster and pompousness, England turned out to be a kiddie.   For all of their poise and daring, so did Japan which is a real tragedy.   The outcry against the scheduling – forcing Japan to play South Africa and Scotland back-to-back being the most obvious calamity – has resonated around the rugby world yet World Rugby remains firmly in the control of the Home Nations and the Tri Nations who, as the beneficiaries, see nothing wrong with it.   There will be lip service towards making the schedule fair and balanced (now there’s s phrase that causes rational people to shudder), but in the end all you need to do is ask yourself, “What would ESWIFSANZA do?” and you have your answer.

 

Naturally, ESWIFSANZA stands for England Scotland Wales Ireland France South Africa New Zealand Australia.   I’m embarrassed I even had to tell you that.   I’m even more surprised nobody has produced a “WWESWIFSANZAD?” bumper sticker.

 

The more surprising results came in the quarterfinals as every remaining northern hemisphere team was knocked out. It’s an antipodean world and we just live in it.   My personal pre-tournament favorite Ireland looked overmatched against Argentina, a team that has taken their lumps in the Rugby Championship and learned from them.   France looked hopeless against New Zealand, a result that has every Kiwi everywhere breathing a sigh of relief as France has a habit of knocking the All Blacks out of the tournament.   Wales defended valiantly against South Africa but there are only so many tackles you can make in a game (197!) and finally Scotland was once clean lineout away from upsetting Oz but could not come up with the ball at that critical moment.

 

And so Joubert, you see it’s true, Jon Welsh bears no more guilt than you!
What’s the score?     3 5 to 3 4!

 

Craig Joubert’s decision to penalize Scotland’s Jon Welsh for off side has been analyzed, commented on, the commentary commented on and then this commentary analyzed.   Speaking as a referee and presuming to do so for all of my fellow Pelicans (even I suspect Neil MacDonald, though I haven’t talked to him about this) I am appalled at the vitriol that has been hurled at Joubert. As Nigel Owens so famously said, this is not soccer.   The reaction around the world had some nasty roundball undertones and that greatly concerns me.

 

I saw that play in real time and thought that he got it exactly right.   Even the first replay angle I saw looked like he got it exactly right. I only saw the ball come off an Australian on the third replay while it was in slow motion so yes, he got the call wrong. Even World Rugby said he got the call wrong in a rather pompous, wordy and officious statement.   Australia should have been awarded a scrum and who knows what would have happened. Based on statistical analysis the chance of scoring from a scum inside your opponent’s 22 is about 9%, so Scotland should have won and they should be declared victors by fiat from World Rugby.

 

Or not.

 

This is rugby.  You have one referee who will make hundreds of decisions in a match and acting on a few of them to penalize one team or the other.   We all make mistakes and there is zero chance that Joubert was trying to influence the outcome of the game as some rather rabid pundits have suggested.   The play looked like a Scottish knock on played by a Scottish player in an off side position and it was called that way.   He didn’t see the ball come off the Aussie 21 so he couldn’t call it – it was a bang-bang play and only obvious on replay.   For all the people (including just about every TV pundit I could find) clamoring for the TMO to step in, well, he couldn’t. From World Rugby:

 

“It is important to clarify that, under the protocols, the referee could not refer to the television match official in this case and therefore had to rely on what he saw in real time.”

 

And there you have it.   Joubert had to rely on what he saw and he made his call. For those who think that Scotland was hard done by then let me remind you that all Scotland needed to do was hit their lineout jumper cleanly.   Australia didn’t contest the lineout so he was up there all by his lonesome but the Scottish hooker missed his throw. Make your throw and we aren’t having this discussion – and that is ignoring all of the other mistakes that led to Australia getting their first 32 points.

 

This loss is on the players. It is always on the players and always will be on the players. The referee is there to ensure that safe, clean and hopefully fast rugby is played but, much like some people I have played with, DOES NOT EVER SCORE A POINT OR MAKE A TACKLE.   A poor refereeing decision will affect a single play, but rarely affects an entire game.   Referees are not perfect and the higher you go, the higher the stakes, the faster the game goes and the quicker you must make your decisions.   For all of the players and coaches, before you criticize a referee for a single mistake (or two, or three…) remember that a player, if he’s good, may be involved in 25 actions during the game.   Let’s say he misses 1 tackle and knocks on 1 ball.   That’s a pretty good game, but this player failed 8% of the time he was asked to do something.   A referee has easily over 200 decision a game – often simultaneous – so if he misses 2 he has a 1% failure rate.   Who had the better game?

 

Still waiting patiently

 

The editorial board here at Hail Pelicus is quite surprised that we have not heard of Mike Tolken’s resignation yet.   After that disastrous and embarrassing World Cup campaign we all thought he would resign his position the instant he touched down on US soil in a rather symbolic gesture that the World Cup was over for us.   Possibly he isn’t here yet and was delayed doing some last minute scouting for his successor. I hear the Newcastle Falcons have a new flaker who is tearing it up in the English Premiership and is eligible to play for the USA.   Hopefully he is getting a look.

 

Quis docet ipsos doctores?

 

Our Referee Development Officer Vicky Hudson created a survey regarding last year’s referee development.

 

Please take a moment and help up develop our development and learning processes as this is a major tool in improving the Society.   You can find the survey here: https://www.surveymonkey.com/s/Pelican_Development

 

Ask A Pelican

 

Yes, it’s time for this week’s installment of “Ask A Pelican”, the widely loved Q and A session with Hail Pelicus.   This week’s question comes from Sunshine Moonwillow from the Natural Holistic Life and Earth Mother Energy Institute of Berkeley, CA, who asks:

 

“I have been reading your World Cup coverage and it all seems so grim.   You seem a depressing person. What makes you happy?”

 

Well thank you for your concern, Sunshine.   As a matter of fact something occurred today that put a smile on my face and a spring in my step: I discovered that my iPhone autocorrects “Hail Pelicus” to “hell pelvis”.   This is a true thing.

Keep sending in your questions to us here at hailpelicus@pelicanrefs.com!

 

Disciplinary Action Reporting – Process for reporting incidents

 

The various competitions all have their own disciplinary chairs and this will make it difficult to centralize the communication and data.  To help Scott Wood has developed a form that will centralize the process, regardless of the competition.  The link to the discipline form is https://docs.google.com/forms/d/1mmUNg11uVOSkIsUtHifSqQzalhWbwohk_J6AmPyrucQ/viewform

  1. Copy the link and have it available on your smartphone.  If you have an Iphone add the link to your home screen.
  2. When needed fill it out and click submit.  The discipline chair of the competition you refereed will receive a notification about the incident.
  3. He/she may contact you latter for more details.

 

 

On To The Game Reports!

 

EDITOR’S NOTE: Not only do we have expat Pelicans sending in reports but we have current Pelicans on assignment sending in reports. Great stuff, Mr Akroyd.   Next time you might even want to include a date and a location!

 

Date: A long, long time ago

Location: A galaxy far, far away

KC Blues 13 – 33 Metropolis

Referee: Akroyd, Phil

A/Rs: Pete Winklebauer/Tyson Haney

P.R: Callum Pender

 

In what was billed as a close Midwest rivalry game, it was a shame that it didn’t quite end up as close as the crowd would have liked.

 

The game was played at Swope Soccer Complex in Kansas City with a 7pm kick-off under the lights. The crowd rolled in late but happy after watching the Royals play at home in the MLB playoffs in a come from behind home win.

 

KC took the early lead with a penalty kick after a high tackle from Metropolis inside their own 22. That was the last piece of attacking play they would have for a while though. KC were a little weak outside of their front nine and had a pretty poor kicking game. Metro were all power and skill in the three-quarters which happened to feature former Sacramento Lion, Pate (who went over for a nice try).

 

It was 3-19 at half and Metro continued to put the hammer down in the second half, stretching out to a 3-33 lead. KC came back a little toward the end but it was far too late.

 

It was a little odd finishing a game at 9pm on a Saturday night and a 6:45am flight the next morning didn’t help my recovery, but it was a fun weekend in the Midwest.

 

Date: 10/10/2015

Baltimore-Chesapeake 41-15 Frederick

Referee: Valerio, Stephen

 

It has come to my attention that since I am no longer submitting scores through the I NorCal system that some of the staff are confused as to when my matches have occurred. I have endeavored to alleviate this problem with this report.

 

Saturday was the perfect autumn day that I missed when living in Northern California. While I did relentlessly mock my east coast friends as I went for a run while they were trapped under a layer of ice in February, it is tough to pass on a sunny, crisp October afternoon. Cool enough for the players but not so cold that the spectators were uncomfortable.

 

With the beautiful weather I showed up early to get a run in as an AR for the Frederick Women’s Club match against the DC Furies Div 2 side.

 

Properly warmed up we started promptly at 1:00. Both the Frederick club and the Baltimore-Chesapeake Division 3 side came in with a couple of losses under their belts. However, based on the start, both sides came to play. As one on-looker said to me afterwards, within 2 tackles you knew this was being played like a Division 2 match.

 

BC took the opening kick-off and ran through several phases of play before touching down for the early try. Frederick quickly responded with 2 tries and about 10 minutes into the match Frederick was leading 10-5 and I thought we were off to the races. However the rest of the half was spent with the 2 sides slugging it out between the 22s.

 

The second half opened with BC collecting an early penalty and then the floodgates opened. BC started to get the ball out wide and their winger was a deadly combination of speed and power who struck several times throughout the half. Their outside center broke the Frederick line consistently enough to through the Frederick defense into disarray. With Frederick only mustering a single try in the second half BC walked off with a 41-15 win.

 

Date: 10/03/2015

Berkeley All Blues 22 – Glendale 19

Referee: Asonye, Elvy

 

Good game

 

EDITOR’S NOTE: I see that Elvy has learned from the best and perfectly emulates our NCRRS President Pelicus Iudex Pennipes with her match reports. The skill to be able to boil down a match experience of over 80 minutes with 41 points to two words is rare indeed.  

 

Date: 10/03/2015

Berkeley All Blues B 12 – Glendale B 36

Referee: Tetler, Jen

AR: Asonye, Elvy

AR: O’Brien, Michelle

 

After a nailbiter of an A-side WPL game (in which the All Blues edged out Glendale 22-19), the B-sides geared up to play. Even though Glendale was thin on players for a second side, they came out with a vengeance in the first half. They had some quick inside runners as well as some speed on the outside combined with an ability to break tackles, and scored 4 times in the first half to Berkeley’s one. The second half continued to be competitive, with strong play by both side. Glendale ended up with 6 tries and 3 conversions to Berkeley’s 2 tries and 1 conversion (though the second conversion was super close, bouncing off the cross bar, as one of the last plays of the game). Huge thanks to Elvy Asoyne and Michelle O’Brien as AR’s!

 

Date: 10/03/2015

OC Invitational 0 – NorCal Pelicans Development 0

Referee: Richmond, Jeff

 

Enjoyed the opportunity to participate in some good 15’s rugby after a summer of 7’s. The Norcal squad suffered from a lot of penalites and lack of cohesion as a team. Olympic Club was much more organized at loose play and working through phases of attack.

 

Date: 10/17/2015

Santa Clara B 17 – UNR B 17

Referee: Simko, Paul

 

Good to get back out there. Sloppy preseason rugby with lots of new guys. Reno ties it up with no time on the clock, and misses the conversion. Santa Clara had this at 17-12 but I confirmed the score with each captain at the end of each half (3 twenties).

 

EDITOR’S NOTE: Looks like the AGM will not be a dry one this year!   Thanks Paul!

 

Date: 10/17/2015

UCSC Women Slugfest

Referee: Freitas, Larry

 

Here are the results of three games I officiated during the UCSC Women Slugfest this past weekend: Chico State 15, Cal 2s 5, Nevada Reno 34, UCSC 7, Chico State 28, Nevada Reno 5. Chico State scored it’s last try of the day against Reno when a loose ball near their goal line was scooped up and carried nearly 100 meters in the other direction. Nevada’s coach had told me that some of their players didn’t make the trip to the tournament. Based on what I saw in their matches I would think Chico State and Nevada Reno are going to have winning seasons in front of them.

 

 

Date: 10/17/2015

UCSC Women Slugfest 0

Referee: Asonye, Elvy

 

Great day of games from all teams!

 

 

Date: 10/17/2015

UOP 19 – Alumni 29

Referee: Richmond, Jeff

 

The alumni had a size advantage on the UOP team though UOP played well as a unit considering a number of new players. We played three 20 minute periods giving the alums a chance to catch their breath. When the university President showed up we regrouped for a 5 minute bonus period in which the UOP team played some inspired rugby and aided by a untimely alum penalty was able to put in a try as time expired.

 

 

 

This Week’s Photo

Throw Back Thursday, Hail Pelicus style! We don’t know who the rest of these men are but the fellow in the middle wearing the white shirt is none other than rugby stalwart JRR Tolkien playing for Exeter College, Oxford.   After a stellar schoolboy rugby career Mr Tolkien went on to write a couple of books (The Hobbit, The Lord of the Rings, The Silmarillion) that essentially defined modern fantasy literature and made Peter Jackson a couple of billion dollars. This was sent in by Pelicus Veneficus, who should know a few things about wizards.

JRR Tolkien

Hail, Pelicus!

For the Senate

Pelicus Pedem Referre

Is The Cup Half Empty Or Half Full?

HAIL PELICUS!

 

Is The Cup Half Empty Or Half Full?

“There are, it has been said, two types of people in the world. There are those who, when presented with a glass that is exactly half full, say: this glass is half full. And then there are those who say: this glass is half empty.

The world belongs, however, to those who can look at the glass and say: What’s up with this glass? Excuse me? Excuse me? This is my glass? I don’t think so. My glass was full! And it was a bigger glass! Who’s been pinching my beer?

And at the other end of the bar the world is full of the other type of person, who has a broken glass, or a glass that has been carelessly knocked over (usually by one of the people calling for a larger glass) or who had no glass at all, because he was at the back of the crowd and had failed to catch the barman’s eye.

– Terry Pratchett, The Truth

Yes it is finally here. The World Cup, that quadrennial tournament that determines, once and for all, why the All Blacks are not the best team in the world.   The mighty All Blacks come swaggering into the tournament every 4 years after pounding the rest of the world for the previous 3 ½ years and everyone fully expects them to win.

 

Except they don’t.   Not if they have to get on an airplane, that is.   The only Webb Ellis Trophies that reside in their cabinet were earned on home soil.   If they win in a month’s time then I will change my tune and sing their praises to the mountains, but until then, my money’s on the Irish.

 

Who knew that Cherry Blossoms were lethal to Springboks?

 

This has to be the best thing to ever happen in rugby.  A couple of years ago I wrote in Hail Pelicus that the St Mary’s win over Cal was the most significant game of the year and implied it was the most significant game in US collegiate rugby.   My reasons were simple – the unbeatable champion was beaten and it wasn’t just a one-off game of their lives fluke, but a systematic deconstruction of the champions that had been building for years. It proved that solid coaching and backing could raise the fortunes of all programs and that nobody was unbeatable.

 

South Africa v Japan was the most significant game of rugby played anywhere at any level this year, and possibly ever. I see only two other contenders; the first true international that was played between England and Scotland in 1871, by virtue of being the first (and coincidentally, the first international of any kind for any version of football – take that, soccer!); and the Invincibles tour from 1924 which established the power of Southern Hemisphere rugby.   But why is this such a significant game?   Because Japan are minnows and are only at the World Cup for geographic diversity. Because South Africa are past winners and perennial contenders and are expected to cruise into the knockout stages. Because Japan is supposed to lose games like this by a minimum of 50 points and possibly 100.

 

But, glory be, none of these things happened. Japan was smart, physical and daring. The Springboks were sluggish and predictable, quite obviously relying on individual skill and reputation to carry the day.   Japan has spent the last decade importing international rugby stars to play in their leagues and have studied and learned from them. Japan, a team that just recently lost to the USA, did not look outmatched and took the game to the ‘Boks and came out deserving winners.   It wasn’t a case of the bounce of the ball going their way or an untimely injury to key SA players, this was a well-planned and well-executed game plan.   The fact that the Cherry Blossoms opted for a scrum with no time left rather than kick a very honorable, game tying penalty says a lot about the belief of that team.   I am sure that Japan will come back to earth and that South Africa will regroup, but now there is a chink in the armor, a vulnerable spot in Smaug’s underbelly that teams can see and exploit.   The gap is closing and the days of not needing to pay attention until the quarter finals are over.

 

The Eagles’ Cup Run

 

But what about the Eagles?   Everyone in America was giddy this past summer as the USA started flexing those metaphorical long slumbering muscles. We won the London 7s going away and qualified for the Olympics a few weeks later!   We beat Canada twice in a month for our first ever 3 match winning streak in the series with our closest rival. GO USA! We have a very manageable pool and hopeful eyes were cast on the quarterfinals.

 

Then we lost to Samoa in San Jose. Not a tragedy, we had some good passages of play but learned a valuable lesson: don’t try to take on the physically strongest side in the world up front, but use speed and fitness to find gaps and capitalize on the inevitable turnovers.

 

We rebounded with a win over Japan which must have made the coaching staff happy and then followed with a predictable, yet spirited defeat to Australia in Chicago.   We were playing well (at times) and had the most complete run up and preparation that a USA side has ever had.   Onward to glory!

 

Unfortunately the rest of the world looked at us and decided that we are what they thought we were.   We lost to Samoa playing essentially the exact same game plan that failed in San Jose with the exact same result.   We lost to Scotland after playing 40 minutes of solid rugby and 40 minutes of schoolboy rugby.   I am waiting for one of the forwards to pull our halfbacks aside to tell them that if they ever box kick again, they will have their legs broken.

 

There are many who look at our performances and see the positive phases of play and see improvement and claim our cup is half full.   There are also many who watch these games and see the unforced errors and mistakes that really shouldn’t be made at the international level and claim our cup is half empty.

 

Referencing the quote at the beginning of this newsletter, I long for the day that American rugby demands a bigger cup and that cup be filled all the way up.   Only then we will take our place amongst the rugby nations and not just be there to fill out the pools.   Right now we are at the back of the bar with a broken glass watching the Tier 1 nations drink all the beer.

 

Professional Rugby Is No Longer An Option But A Requirement

 

Looking back on our first two matches and comparing them to the Japanese stunner over South Africa one thing has really been highlighted: the value of a professional league.   This is not a new idea or a new observation but never has it been more apparent.   We seemed ill-prepared against Samoa and resorted to the same unworkable tactics that beat us in July.   We looked the better side against Scotland for 40 minutes and had a deserved lead at half time, only for our lack of depth and fitness get exposed in the second half.   We have better athletes than the Scots do, but they are all fully professional from 1-23, and can even bring on a completely different side of fully professional players and the result would be the same. Have we ever beaten Scotland A? Not that I can recall.

 

The Eagles can not seem to get the ball into the hands of the impact players we have. Samu Manoa is one of the best players in the world yet was nearly invisible in these two games. We kept feeding the ball to knock on machines while he was relegated to rucking and support duties. Give him the ball and let him crush – it is that simple.   For the backs we have the same issue.   Z Ngwenya has been a standout in the French Top 14 and Heineken Cup for years scoring numerous outstanding tries, yet can’t seem to get his hands on the ball for the USA. These are our impact players and we should be feeding them as much as possible.

 

We can not continue to field a team filled with amateurs.   I don’t care how good you are, if you have to get up at 5:00AM to work out, then spend 8 hours at your real job before going to the gym/track/training in the evening you will always be behind the fully professional athlete. It is merely a matter of time and resources.  When your job is to work out, you get fitter, faster and stronger.   When your job is rugby, you spend more time studying, learning and practicing.   This is never more apparent than in the scrum where we are constantly under pressure.

 

If USA Rugby is at all serious about moving forward, we need a pro league.   Here is a suggestion: get on the phone with Don Garber and ask him how he made MLS a viable pro league.  Yes, they lost money initially (predictable) but are now on very sound financial footing and even draw better than most European leagues.   Most MLS teams by now even have their own soccer specific stadiums. There may be something in what he did that we can learn from.

 

Quis docet ipsos doctores?

 

Our Referee Development Officer Vicky Hudson created a survey regarding last year’s referee development.

 

Please take a moment and help up develop our development and learning processes as this is a major tool in improving the Society.   You can find the survey here: https://www.surveymonkey.com/s/Pelican_Development

 

Ask A Pelican

 

Yes, it’s time for this week’s installment of “Ask A Pelican”, the widely loved Q and A session with Hail Pelicus.   This week’s question comes from Abby Normal of Berkeley, CA, who asks:

 

“I keep getting these emails from membership@usarugby.org telling me my membership has expired even though our leagues don’t start until January.   Do I still need to renew now?   Why are people bothering me with this in September?”

 

Hi Abby and thanks for writing. Well yes, you do have to renew your membership if you plan to referee during the upcoming year and yes, you should do this as soon as possible. You see, the rest of the country does many silly things and one of them is they start their 15s season in September, if not August. I know, right?   For that reason USA Rugby decided that September 1 was a good day to start their calendar year as a natural break from 7s to 15s and all annual registrations start on that date.

 

Personally, I think they are mistaken and they should use September 4 as the start of the calendar year as it is a more obvious and natural annual transition but when I mentioned this I got a letter back saying “your comments have been noted” and have heard nothing since.

 

In any case, you can renew for the 2015-2016 USA Rugby competitive season, by going to www.usarugby.org and clicking on the red “Register/Login” button. On the next page click on “Login.”   If you have registered before you should have a login ID already.

 

Keep sending in your questions to us here at hailpelicus@pelicanrefs.com!

 

Disciplinary Action Reporting – Process for reporting incidents

 

The various competitions all have their own disciplinary chairs and this will make it difficult to centralize the communication and data.  To help Scott Wood has developed a form that will centralize the process, regardless of the competition.  The link to the discipline form is https://docs.google.com/forms/d/1mmUNg11uVOSkIsUtHifSqQzalhWbwohk_J6AmPyrucQ/viewform

  1. Copy the link and have it available on your smartphone.  If you have an Iphone add the link to your home screen.
  2. When needed fill it out and click submit.  The discipline chair of the competition you refereed will receive a notification about the incident.
  3. He/she may contact you latter for more details.

 

 

On To The Game Reports!

 

EDITOR’S NOTE: As more Pelicans fly off to other societies they still manage to send in reports.   This is a tradition that started last year with Tom Zanarini and is now being upheld by Stephen Valerio.   Keep up the good work!

 

Date: October 14, 1066

Severn River Women 81 – Harrisburg 10

Referee: Valerio, Stephen

 

 

The rugby season is kicking into gear in the Mid-Atlantic Conference. While some teams saw regular season action start this past weekend, a few teams squeezed in one last friendly. Severn River Women, who got as far as the National Division 2 Quarterfinals last year and have moved up to Division 1, took on their former Division 2 rivals Harrisburg.

 

It rained the entire drive out but it let up a bit before play started with just some intermittent showers. I had to remember the preparations for rugby in the rain since it has been so long since I had to referee in it. Of course right now, I believe the rain would be more welcome back in NorCal.

 

Severn River has a great pitch, tucked behind an American Legion Post. It is flat, covered in grass that held up even in the wet conditions, and proper posts. While the weather led to some ball-handling issues, the pitch wasn’t held up well. The teams agreed to 3 periods, 2 30-minute sessions and a 20-minute window to give the new players a run.

 

Severn River showed their class immediately scoring a try in the first minute. Their fly-half, center axis carved up their Harrisburg counterparts. They mixed set plays; with kicks downfield to keep the Harrisburg back three under pressure. Harrisburg’s tackling was too inconsistent for the quality of the opposition who were operating with training ground ease. Severn River’s forwards also pounded some runs with their #4 putting in some long runs after punching threw Harrisburg’s defense.

 

The one concern for Severn River would be in their scrums. The best they could hope for was parity, with Harrisburg keeping them under pressure all day and frequently pushing them around. Even with that, Severn River dominated the first 2 sessions. The third period was closer, as the structure in the game broke down with several rookies taking the pitch. That being said Severn Park owned the day and seems ready to start their season.

 

EDITOR’S NOTE: It has come to our attention that October 14, 1066 was actually the Battle of Hastings and not the date of the above rugby match. Unfortunately no date was specified and we had to use carbon dating to determine when it occurred. We regret this error.

 

 

Date: Unknown. Possibly in the Pleistocene Epoch

Mount St Mary’s 100 – Frostburg St University 0

Referee: Valerio, Stephen

 

Mount St Mary’s lost in the NSCRO National Championship Final last spring to New England College. While small college programs can be susceptible to turnover if there is a large graduating class, Mount St Mary’s has the numbers to boast of 2 solid sides. They have a strong infrastructure with multiple coaches and support of the administration. The benefits of this were clear with the professional set up with a tent, plenty of food and drink for hospitality and a healthy number of fans sitting on the hill alongside the pitch.

 

Frostburg State is undergoing one of those transition years with graduation and injury, including one of their props getting hit by a car earlier in the week (in true front row fashion he still played) taking their toll.  This meant that several players getting their first run ever in a rugby game as starters against the Mount St Mary’s squad. The results were predictable. Mount St Mary’s backs were explosive and ran a variety of angles at the Frostburg backline. Both the forwards and backs showed great skill in the offload game, and only periodic handling errors seemed to blunt their attack. Unfortunately for Frostburg, they weren’t able to consistently win their own ball, allowing Mount St Mary’s to avoid any sustained pressure. Frostburg played hard throughout, without letting their frustration boil over. Though some players need to work on their rugby tackles versus their gridiron technique. Mount St Mary’s put 10 tries across in the first half for a 62-0 lead. They built on that in 2nd half with their scoring rate only slowed as they made their substitutions in the final quarter.

 

 

Date: 09/12/2015

Event: Tri Tip 7’s

Referee: Bernstein, Bruce

 

Did 6 matches Saturday starting with a strong USD alumni side which made it into the top 4 beating UCSB Grunions/Old Boys; with a Fresno-Super Hero contrast in costumes & play; highlighted by 2 undefeated (3-0) sides playing the last match of their bracket by the beer/band tent when SLO barely beat LA only because the LA kicker missed a kick under the posts which could have knotted the score. I also did the women’s semi b/w Belmont Shore & San Fernando but forgot who won–didn’t matter also a great game by the beer tent. (Also was AR for the women’s final–also don’t know who played or won–but NorCal had 2 out of 4 the top 4 teams there with EPA Razorbacks winning in dominating fashion & the Seahawks making it to the semis.

 

The tri tip was outstanding, awesome weather, hospitality by SLO & SoCal refs who organized the wives & girly friends to spend most of Saturday wine tasting & female bonding; then being delivered in good spirits back to their refs; and the bar hop wasn’t bad either.

 

 

Date: 09/26/2015

Event: NorCal NSCRO 7’s

Referee: Bryant, Lee

 

Great weather on a great pitch. There were a lot of new players on all teams so it was a good day to work with next generation of rugby. Fun little group of four officials who made the day full of laughs. Good day for rugby all around.

 

 

Date: 09/26/2015

Event: NorCal NSCRO 7’s

Referee: Richmond, Jeff

 

Well played matches. Good to see schools such as Menlo helping grow the sport.

 

Date: 09/26/2015

Event: NorCal NSCRO 7’s

Referee: Hinkin, James

 

With a strong referee crew of myself, Lee Bryant, Jeff Richmond and Steve Fenaroli we were well prepared for the Nor Cal NSCRO 7s.   Teams included Cal Maritime A & B, Menlo College, San Francisco St, Sonoma St A & B (hosts), Sierra JC and a motley side to fill out the 8th spot.

 

The tournament was held at For Pete’s Sake field which was shockingly lush, even swampy at times. How could this be in the midst of a massive drought? I have no idea but I personally believe it involves black magic. I have never fully trusted Alan Petty and the Santa Rosa Brain Trust – things happen in the Santa Rosa scrum that I have no other explanation for.

 

The tournament itself was well organized and stayed on time.   I raced out of the gate and nearly awarded a red card 1 minute into the tournament as a tackler picked up the ball carrier (“NO! PUT HIM DOWN!) but then set him safely back on his feet and continued the tackle. Phew!   Well, if I wasn’t going to give a red then I had to settle for 2 yellows, one in each of my first two games.   Lee Bryant, being the top referee that she is, saw that and immediately responded with a double barrel yellowing of two players who were exchanging post tackle pleasantries to tie up the card count. Apparently, Steve Fenaroli and Jeff Richmond need more experience because they didn’t respond to the example set by Lee and I and didn’t issue any cards at all. We in the Society have high hopes that they will learn from this.

 

As for the teams, there was a mix of new players and experienced players. Some of the youngsters who were playing for the first time saw marked improvement and you could see rugby setting its hook and landing them for life. San Francisco St won the final with a runaway 33-17 victory that showed off their fitness as the game was tied 12-12 at half time.   Yes, fitness was a definite factor as I am positive this is the first time these players have played in a final with 10 minute halves.   It makes a difference.

 

This Week’s Photo

This week’s photo is from our Annual Banquet where we were honored by a visit from the Centurion.   Pelicus Pedem Referre is also shown holding the microphone so the Centurian’s wise words could be heard across the senate.

Centurian

Hail, Pelicus!

For the Senate

Pelicus Pedem Referre

The Pelican Days Of Summer

HAIL PELICUS!

 

The Pelican Days Of Summer

 

Yes, here we are at the end of the Pelican days of summer, when the long, hot, lazy summer days seem to stretch into forever and 7s rules the land.   Obscene orange and pink sunsets cast an eerie light on groups of ruggers as they gather to discuss the day’s events and start formulating the lies about how fast/good they were while quaffing their beverage of choice and watching their shadows extend into the evening, getting longer as the tales get taller.   The last to leave the field of battle are often the noble members of our Society as age and wisdom – usually personified in the person of Pelicus Scriptoris – provides the foresight to bring a few beverages to ease tired muscles and aid in the retelling of stories from long ago.    We also take the time to review the day’s events and analyze the good, the bad and the ugly, but from a slightly different perspective.   The appreciation of the big hit or the mazy run is still there – trust me on this – but also the appreciation of a game well managed. Of Preston Gordon’s perfect red card.   Of the call that didn’t happen and allowed the game to flow into a try. Of the perfect positioning and assistance of an AR on a difficult decision. Appreciation of rugby as a spectacle will never leave our feathered bosoms and that is merely enhanced by the appreciation of the more technical and often overlooked aspects of making sure this game happens.

 

Preston Gordon Awarded a Perfect Red Card?

 

How can awarding a red card – the harshest individual sanction a referee can give – be perfect?   By the timing and tone of the whistle to let everyone know that something serious has happened and you are dealing with it.   By the correct application of procedure, getting the player number and name correct, calling the player and the captain over for the explanation and then awarding the card.   By deciding that the action warranted a straight red and having the courage to follow through.   By exuding calmness to relieve the tension of the moment. By managing the situation so that all parties are confident that clean, safe rugby will be played.

 

This is noteworthy because it is so often overlooked.   When handled correctly the referee is almost invisible, but when handled incorrectly chaos can ensue and the referee becomes the center of the match, overshadowing the players and even the score. Straight red cards are often the result of dangerous foul play and bring a tremendous amount of emotion to the fore. Poor handling of the situation can lead to retribution, fights and more cards down the line.   There is a reason some games have cards coming in bunches while the same two teams can meet in 3 weeks time with no issues.

 

What’s Been Happening?

 

It has been a busy summer and no mistake this year.   The 7s calendar seems to be filling up more and more with the excitement over the Olympics and the USA’s successes in the World Sevens Series inspiring more and more clubs to put on tournaments.   Add to that the Pacific Nations Cup matches held in San Jose and Sacramento, respectively and all of the World Cup preparation (3 wins in a row over Canada!! Amazing!!) and you have a full schedule indeed.   As I write this there is one more 7s event left, the tradition end of the 7s season at the Tri Tip 7s in San Luis Obispo, and then we are rolling right into the World Cup.   This year is a tad bittersweet as Pelicanland will be, as usual, heavily represented at the grandest stage but it appears that long time captain and San Jose’s favorite son Todd Clever will not be participating.   There really hasn’t been a convincing reason given for this decision but just the generic “violating team rules” line and neither side has bothered to offer and more details.   As it is Todd may not have held on to his position on form alone as there are a quality crop of young flankers coming up through the ranks, but I do feel the team is poorer for his absence and leadership.   He is and was a beast on the field and always led from the front.   As I don’t know the details I don’t know who is to blame or if blame should be shared, but this is an ignominious end to a stellar career and should have been handled better on both sides.

 

Good luck to the USA Eagles.   I will be in my face paint and wearing my jersey and cheering as hard as I can. I just wish that an accommodation could have been reached and hope that Mike Tolken will not have cause to regret this decision.

 

Ask A Pelican

 

Yes, it’s time for this week’s installment of “Ask A Pelican”, the widely loved Q and A session with Hail Pelicus.   This week’s question comes from Jon Stewart of New Jersey, NY, who asks:

 

“I have a lot of time on my hands these days so I was just wondering what have you been up to this summer?”

 

Well, thanks for asking Jon and I have been keeping busy, and not just with rugby. In between refereeing and even running a tournament I found time to expand my cultural horizons. If you get the chance I highly recommend going to see Puddles Pity Party, The Clown With The Golden Voice, who I saw in San Francisco. He puts on an amazing show and is well worth the money.   I also managed a week in France and had a chance to explore Paris for a few days, but that wasn’t the primary reason I was there.   You see, a few years ago my younger brother (no, not that one) married a lovely French lady and this summer we went back to France for the French wedding so her parents could be involved.   The setting was stunning, a 800 year old cathedral in my sister-in-law’s home village officiated by the local Catholic priest. It was a lovely ceremony and reception with all the silliness and mishaps that characterize a great wedding.   My favorite was during the most critical part of the ceremony the French priest got the participant’s names confused so now as far as everyone can tell, in the eyes of the French church, my younger brother’s wife is married to his best friend Bryan, something that amused the audience and came as a bit of a shock to Bryan’s wife as well, who naturally, was also in attendance.    You just can’t make this stuff up.

 

Keep sending in your questions to us here at hailpelicus@pelicanrefs.com!

 

Pelicans Soaring Ever Higher

 

Congratulations to our National Panel Referees that continue to represent NCRRS at the National Panel.  Phil Akroyd has been appointed to the USA Elite Panel, George O’neil has been appointed, once again, to be on the National Panel.  Congratulations also goes out to Lee Bryant on her appointment to the Seven Referee Development Workshop in Dubai hosted by World Rugby in early December.

 

2015 Pelican Award Winners

 

Congratulations to the winners of the 2015 Pelican Awards, which were handed out at our Annual Banquet in July.   The winner are:

 

Rookie of the Year – Andrew Bailey

Most Improved – Peter Sandhill

Ambassador or the Society – Phil Akroyd

Pelicus Scriptoris – James Hinkin

Bryan Porter Award – Scott Wood

Assistant Referee of the Year – Preston Gordon

Pelican of the Year – Neil MacDonald

 

Upcoming Referee Development Courses

 

NCRRS trainers are busy this time of year hosting courses.  There are two courses in particular that you may be interested in participating in.   On the weekend of September 19th and 20th Matt Eason will be conducting the Level 2 Officiating course.  This is a two day course and is a prerequisite for advancement past the rank of C1.  This course is only completed once a year so you are encouraged to take the course now.  If you are interested in signing up for the course email Matt Eason.
On October 3rd  NCRRS will also be hosting the Coaching of Match Officials course at the Maritime Academy.  We have 6 NCRRS participants already confirmed but there is space for more.  If you are interested contact Mike Malone.
Upcoming Referee Exchanges

Norfolk Exchange

We need to send a C1 referee to Virginia to referee a Division 1 playoff match September 19th.  Please provide your availability to travel to Norfolk by August 22nd.  Contact Bjorn.

 

East Midlands Exchange

It’s our turn to travel to Midlands for our annual Exchange with our Brothers and Sisters from England.  We’ll be sending referees Mid-November, looking to arrive November 12 and depart November 22nd/23rd.  Send your desire to participate to Bjorn via the following link
As an aside allow me to say that I went on this exchange 2 years ago with Rich Boyer and Jordan Bruno and it was the most amazing experience.   The fact that this time there will be this thing called the Rugby World Cup going on in England at the same time just adds to the awesomeness of this exchange.   If at all possible try to go.

 

Disciplinary Action Reporting – Process for reporting incidents

 

The various competitions all have their own disciplinary chairs and this will make it difficult to centralize the communication and data.  To help Scott Wood has developed a form that will centralize the process, regardless of the competition.  The link to the discipline form is https://docs.google.com/forms/d/1mmUNg11uVOSkIsUtHifSqQzalhWbwohk_J6AmPyrucQ/viewform

  1. Copy the link and have it available on your smartphone.  If you have an Iphone add the link to your home screen.
  2. When needed fill it out and click submit.  The discipline chair of the competition you refereed will receive a notification about the incident.
  3. He/she may contact you latter for more details.

 

 

On To The Game Reports!

 

Yes, there are actual game reports. As this is a summer’s worth and tournament reporting isn’t quite as rigorous as league reporting, it is a bit of a mish-mash. Oh well…

 

Event: Sharkapalooza Old Boys Tourney

Referee: Bruce Bernstein

Date: No clue – he didn’t say. It was on a Saturday, though.

 

Reffed this past Saturday in Newport Beach’s awesome field by the beach & Strand & Fun Zone on the Balboa Peninsula. Reffed the 2nd match & Fresno dominated North County (San Diego) 24-5. They went on the barely squeaked by a strong Misfit team & again spanked Vegas in the Finals. I also reffed a loser bracket where Huntington Beach got by Old Southwest 7-0. Great party place Cruisers crawling distance to the field as was a dip in the ocean& awesome 80 weather with light breezes.

 

Event: Carlsberg Cup 7’s

Date: 07/11/2015

Referee: Bertolone, Cary

 

Great support from Silicon Valley, providing food and drinks and a tent for the refs. Plenty of refs made it easy, so we all took turns as AR’s as well. Good rugby, good refs, great weather. I reffed Google twice, both wins! A lot of good teams, good sportsmanship by all.

 

Event: Carlsberg Cup 7’s

Date: 07/11/2015

Referee: Rauscher, Eric

 

This is a three weekend series, with the cup given away at the end of the third Saturday. It is played at Calabazas Park in San Jose.

A full sized grass field with rope barriers and correctly flagged. Over all the organizers (Silicon Valley Rugby Club) are doing an admirable job of running this affair. As refs, we get our assignments via pre-made match cards indicating time and the two teams. The card is used to record scores ( and cards if required) and then handed back to the organizers. Lunch and drinks are provided, and there is a social afterwards.

The refs to show up this week were Paul Simko ( a new but promising ref), Bruce Bernstein, Jeff Richmond, Jeff Jury, Cary Bertolone and Eric Rauscher.

We each got two/three games. Six teams played round robin for a total of 15 games.

All in all a very enjoyable event.

 

EDITOR’S NOTE: I saw the field.   If that was a full sized field then I am the Queen of England.

 

Event: NorCal 7s Series

Date: 07/11/2015

Referee: Fenaroli, Steven

 

I had San Jose/ East Bay to get the day started. The game went off fairly well. I felt confident and had control over the match.

Life West and East Bay was a quick game and by the second half, I found myself out of control. I did not like the feeling of being out of my element and after the game, I realized that it had gotten away from me. My fitness was not the problem, but the players were arguing back with every call and with the game being played at such a high level by both teams, I found myself with tunnel vision and not able to manage the game properly.

The third game was SFGG and Santa Rosa. SFGG had control of the game the whole time. After my hiccup in game two, i found myself right back in the drivers seat for this game. SFGG ran away with this one.

Finally in the 3/4 Mens B, the game was much more relaxed, but still played at a high level. Both teams were having fun and not worrying about making the game go any further than the play at hand.

 

I had a good day and learned lots in terms of positioning, advantage, scoring after I get back to the midway line, and general game management between the teams, Phil, Joh, Pete and Neil were fantastic and had lots to offer in terms of advice and help when I came asking. I hope to continue more with Pelicans

 

Date: 07/18/2015

Classic Eagles 67 – Classic Canadians 24

Referee: Wood, Scott

 

Referee: Scott “It’s my story and I’m sticking to it” Wood

ARs: Preston “I don’t do Facebook” Gordon & Bruce “The Dude” Bernstein

Referee Support Crew: Cary “Back in the hunt” Bertolone

 

Venue: PAL Stadium, San Jose

Estimated attendance: 1,500

 

What a weekend! On Friday, I received a Certificate of Merit from Rugby Norcal, then surprisingly bestowed the Bryon Porter Award. All this leading up to my first assignment of an international rugby match featuring the Classic Eagles versus the Canadian Classics. To top that off, it was the curtain raiser for the Pacific Nations Cup. Of course, there were the doubters trying to fill my head with how bad this derby has been for other referees but I brushed them aside and slept like a champ.

 

“Life is made of choices. Every morning you start with the choice to get out of bed. Do you choose to be happy or just a pain in the ass to everyone else?” I chose to be different and be happy (good coffee helps).

 

Both teams arrived over an hour before kickoff, having entered the parking lot and passing the sign “REMINDER: THIS IS A POLICE FACILITY”. San Jose Seahawks did a fine job setting up the pitch with line appropriately marked, football uprights padded, and storm grates covered. Introductions were made, ground rules established (uncontested scrums, 2×40-minute halves–much to the chagrin of Canada, rolling subs), and coin tossed.

 

The game was fast paced with USA controlling much of the possession. The score was 17-0 before Canada answered with two tries. Passing was tight and decisive by both teams. The half closed with the hosts leading 24-10. USA was undeterred and scored in the first minute of the second half. And the fifth. And many other times after that. Canada was able to slip in two tries of its own during the USA’s rout. Breakdowns were relatively well organized with the occasional hand-in, sealing off/not rolling away penalty. Tempers never rose (admittedly questions occasionally arose regarding the referee’s “interpretations”) and the game functioned better than many D1 Club matches. This was by far the EASIEST “old boys” match I have ever encountered.

 

Event : San Jose Elite 7’s

Date: 07/18/2015

Referee: Fenaroli, Steven

 

I had mostly women’s games with one or two mens games. I felt more in control and less susceptible to the chatter coming from the teams. I felt comfortable managinging the situation and able to tell the players I didn’t want to hear from them unless they were one of the captains. That quieted the talking but the groans and moans continued. The women’s games were low key and without a lot of competition. Both were pretty lopsided and without much contest. The SFGGB/LifeB was much closer but ended well.

 

 

Event: Carlsberg Cup 7’s

Date: 07/25/2015

Referee: Bertolone, Cary

 

Another beautiful rugby day with a breeze that kept the weather tolerable. 5 refs plus Bruce Carter and James Hinkin to watch, evaluate and to offer unsolicited commentary. John Pohlman brought a tent for the refs, thank you John. I reffed Google, Reno, the Fog and Aptos during the day and finished with the championship game between Modesto and College Park. It was 7-7 at the half, but College Park ran away with the title game in the second half, winning 31-7. Fun reffing with Bruce Bernstein, John Pohlman, Jeff Richmond and Paul Simko and it was great to have James and Bruce there too. Awards and beer after the tourney, sponsored by Carlsbad!

 

Event: Carlsberg Cup 7’s

Date: 07/25/2015

Referee: Bernstein, Bruce

 

Reffed 3 matches starting with College Park beating Modesto who would meet in the Championship plus the 3rd place match where Google ran past Aptos.

 

 

Event: Carlsberg Cup 7’s

Date: 07/25/2015

Referee: Richmond, Jeff

 

Good final day of the Carlsberg series. Enjoyed the fellowship and support of the other refs in attendance.

 

Event: Carlsberg Cup 7’s

Date: 07/25/2015

Referee: Pohlman, John

 

Paul Simko, Jeff Richmond, Bruce Bernstein, Cary Bertolone and myself refereed the final week of the Carlsberg Cup. Each of us got three games.   Cary did the finals. Well run and organized event. Had a nice after party with trophies and team recognition.

All in all, a fun event. Nice to have visits from Pelican clan Bruce Carter and James Hinkin.

 

 

Event: NorCal 7s Series

Date: 07/25/2015

Referee: Bretz, Paul

 

Rich Boyer, Favor Taueva, and your truly each officiated 4 games in this final series of NorCal’s 7’s. The event was rather low-keyed and played in good spirits. Life West’s B side demonstrated its dominance against the hosts Sacramento winning 5 tries to 2.

 

Event: Palo Alto 7’s

Date: 08/08/2015

Referee: Bertolone, Cary

 

Another 7’s tourney. Could it be the last Palo Alto 7’s tourney ever, after 40 something consecutive years? Not sure, but we had a nice day to ref this year. I reffed Mission, Aptos, Silicon Valley, Seahawks, the Fog, Modesto and a few other teams. Good camaraderie, pretty good rugby and another visit from Bruce Carter all made for a great day.

 

Event: Tight Five 7’s

Date: 08/22/2015

Referee: Bertolone, Cary

 

Hilarious watching the players walking in, many in costumes and several with beer in their hands. A lot of fun with all of the camaraderie. Highlanders had their own BBQ and kitchen, Golden Gate was selling beer, food truck was doing a lot of business. Weather was perfect. Womens’ high school rugby in the am. Kicked off the tourney at 12:00 PM, my first game was Golden Gate vs the Highwaymen (put together touring team lead by Sean Peters, mostly Colusa and Santa Rosa) and Golden Gate prevailed with a second half comeback. My best and last game was Life West vs Highwaymen. Tied at half, Highwaymen won 35-14. With one minute to go, I turned sharply and heard and felt a pop in my knee. Trainer and I think medial collateral, I have a bad feeling I will need surgery as I’ve been there before (but not as a ref). I did finish the game, but not the tourney. I was done by 4:00 and the tourney probably went till 7:00. Funniest thing I’ve ever seen on a pitch, Highwaymen kick off to Marin after scoring a try and while the ball was in the air, all 7 went to their backs and put their feet and arms in the air and waived them around; called the dying ants. Marin hesitates and then, think they can score, so the player goes for the sprint and one of the dead ants jumped up and took the ball carrier out of bounds with a great tackle, right into the crowds on the sidelines. All caught on film. Lot of fun, except the knee.

 

 

Event: Tight Five 7’s

Date: 08/22/2015

Referee: Richmond, Jeff

 

A long day with a 9:00 am scheduled start actually being noon. Then a scheduled 5:30 pm finish turning into 7:00 pm. Very much enjoyed the company of Bryant, Paul, Cary (until his knee gave out), and “Mongo” from Seattle. Also enjoyed the fun atmosphere of the tournament.

 

Event: Tight Five 7’s

Date: 08/22/2015

Referee: Bryant Byrnes

 

A wild and wooly day on TI. It was much of the running of the bulls as it was rugby. But it went well and ended well. And this was due in large part because Jeff Richmond assumed the role of Ref In Charge, scheduled the matches and molded a piecemeal and somewhat rag tag of refs into a hard working efficient group of officials.

The group included a guest PNW  ref who went by the name of Mongo (big fella), a high school senior, a couple of sliver backs, and Nome.

No real fights, no injuries, no tears. Considering what it was, a very successful event. Hats off to Jeff.

Event: Tight Five 7’s

Date: 08/22/2015

Referee: Simko, Paul

 

Good day, except the kickoff time was wrong. So was up at 6:30 am and was at the pitch at 8am for a 9am kickoff 45 minutes away from my house. Found out that kickoff was at noon so drove all of the way home and back.

 

This Week’s Photo

A group shot of the shenannegans at the Tight 5 7s on Treasure Island.   Trust me, you did not want me to use the other photo that was sent in.

Tight 5 7s

Hail, Pelicus!

For the Senate

Pelicus Pedem Referre

Summertime And The Livin’s Easy

HAIL PELICUS!

Summertime And The Livin’s Easy

Yes, summer is here. It has been a few weeks since our last Hail Pelicus and yours truly has spent the time herding llamas in the Andes. That, and working on my repertoire of “yo mama” jokes.  Have you ever tried to “yo mama” a llama?   Those long necked Andean freaks are brutal.

The rugby world didn’t stop, however, and momentous things have been happening.   Championships were won and lost and the seasons turned, as they often do, from 15s to 7s.   It is a sacred duty to delight and inform the Pelicani about such things and thus do I fulfill my obligations.

Show Me Your O Face

Her name is Rio and she dances on the sand!”
-Duran Duran

Yes, I know the song above refers to a different Rio but I have it on good authority that Rio de Janeiro has sand and the women do a fair amount of dancing there.   Why should we care about the terpsichorean tendencies of our South American friends?   That is simple: the US Men’s and Women’s 7s teams BOTH qualified for the 2016 Olympic Games to be held in Rio de Janeiro.   These dedicated men and women worked hard to realize their dream and now get to show the world their on their O(lympic) face.   The women are starting off fresh – the men have a pair of dusty old gold medals to defend. Based on recent results we could very well see both teams take top honors.

Both the men and the women cruised through the NACRA Qualifying tournament with impressive wins over unimpressive sides. Politics, culture and geography dictate that the North American and Caribbean countries duke it out amongst themselves to see who gets the automatic bid to the Olympics and who has to try again with the repechage tournament, officially known as the “Final 2016 Men’s Olympic Qualifying Tournament” while unofficially known as the Last Chance Saloon.

EDITOR’S NOTE: An accident of geography has made our region a difficult one to name in any sport.   NACRA barely rolls off the tongue as “North American Caribbean Rugby Association” and is probably as good as it is going to get. I believe the powers that be looked at the mess soccer made with CONCACAF, the “Confederation of North, Central American and Caribbean Association Football” and wanted no part of it.

The US Women are one of the best teams in the world and faced no significant challenges – the other regional power Canada had already qualified via their place in the World 7s Series. The US was able to qualify with ease as the class of the US women was not to be denied.   The US women were impressive in all phases and more than up for the task.

The US Men are staking their claim as one of the best in the world and were able to cruise through pool play with some ridiculous scores while the Great Rival did the same in the opposite pool.   This set up the expected clash in the final: USA v Canada.   Canada has always been our greatest rival and matches against them were always tough. Up through the 2013-2014 7s Series Canada had dominated the Americans but after the hiring of Mike Friday for the 2014-2015 7s Series the pendulum swung back to the US.   Or did it?   A humiliating, record breaking, shutout loss in the Glasgow 7s proved that Canada could beat the stuffing out of us if we weren’t on top of our game.   Once the game started all doubt was erased as the US took control early and never let go. Canada made some breaks and put pressure on the US but a lost penalty in a great attacking position at the end of the first half followed by a try given up at the start of the second half ended the final realistic chance the Canadians had and the US was victorious.

Cool as the other side of a cucumber.

I do wish the Canadians luck in their final qualifying tournament as it would be wonderful for NACRA rugby to have both powers represented for both the men and the women.

Northern California flavor to the Olympics

The numerous connections of the current USA teams to Pelicanland has been detailed before so we won’t go into it again here except to say that our influence is so great that even the latecomer to the squad, Chris Wyles, has a Nor Cal connection. When I last saw him I showed him a map of the US and he immediately, almost instinctively was able to point out California.   Well done, indeed.

We must look to the past then, to really appreciate the depth of the Pelican contribution to Olympic rugby.   For the gold medal teams of 1920 and 1924 ALL of the players came from Northern California. Every. Single. One. For a more complete history than I can provide here I suggest going to http://www.agiantawakens.com/ and buying the movie. It is worth it.

Stars Upon Thars

I have one final note before tabling the topic of Olympic Rugby.   If there is anyone from USA Rugby – I’m looking at you Pelicus Editorem Minimus, Ex Dux – or the USOC who reads this missive and has a say in the design of the USA jerseys, please take moment to consider the more subtle aspects of the team jerseys.   It is customary in some sports to put a star above the crest to indicate a world championship or an Olympic gold medal.  Some of the more astute readers who followed the USA Women’s Soccer team to their recent World Cup championship may have noticed this. A couple of stars above the USA crest would remind the world that we are – at least on the men’s team – the 2 time defending Olympic Champions.

Northern California – Home of Champions

The roll call of USA National Champions out of Pelicanland just keeps getting longer.   Congratulations to Life West Gladiators for the Men’s D2 National Championship with a 43-24 win over Wisconsin. Well done!

Spring Chicken

Loyal readers will recall how this publication reported on the chicken uprising touched off by the announcement that the NCRRS will be holding their annual banquet at the Sonoma Chicken Coop, what is being dubbed by the media as the Chicken Spring.   For the last several weeks our humble correspondent has been embedded with the troops led by Colonel Sanders, whose experience in chicken warfare goes back decades.   I can barely count the number of times my assigned monitor Pfc Herb and I travelled the Spice Road together. Well it was 11 times, so I guess I can count it.   “11 Herb; Spice” read the report we sent to Colonel Sander.

In any case the chicken revolt continued. Propaganda and statements were hurled back and forth by each side.   “I don’t want to be a pie. I don’t like gravy” said a spokeschicken.   This epic contest came to its conclusion in the decisive Battle of the Barnyard when finally the chicken’s sweet, slightly spicy leader General Tso surrendered.

Final Banquet Details

Now that the feathers have settled the Pelican Elders will be holding our Annual Awards Banquet in San Jose on Friday, July 17 at the Sonoma Chicken Coop on Skyport Drive – right by Avaya Stadium where the internationals will be held. There is rumored to be a special guest speaker so mark this event on your calendar. Please RSVP via email to Jim Crenshaw at crenshaw@cal.net with how many guests you are bringing.

Banquet details:

Date:                  Friday, July 17
Time:                  Drinks start at 7:00, Dinner served at 8:00
Location:              Sonoma Chicken Coop, Skyport
90 Skyport Drive Suite 100
San Jose, CA 95110
Cost:                  All NCRRS members receive a free meal – guests cost $50.00.

Ask A Pelican

Yes, it’s time for this week’s installment of “Ask A Pelican”, the widely loved Q and A session with Hail Pelicus.   This week’s question comes via Lazy von Slowpoke from Germantown, CA, who asks:

“When is the ball out?”

Hi Lazy, and thanks for the question.   The best answer we here at Hail Pelicus have ever heard comes from Bert Moeller of the Southern California Rugby Referee Society: “When the ball is comfortable with its own sexuality and is in a safe, nurturing environment the ball can come out. It can’t be forced, though. You can not out the ball, the ball must be out on its own.”

Pelicans On Tour – The Calgary Exchange

Below we have Steven Fenaroli’s report from the Calgary exchange.

Flying out of Sacramento, I never realized how close Calgary was. After a two short flights I had arrived. Anyone who billets in a different city knows about the lack of details/plan and suffice to say I was nervous about any questions the customs officers would have for me regarding my accommodations. I found David Robinson no problem, and he and I left the airport for his third time that night. He gave me a lay of the land on the way to the hotel where I would meet up with Tom Franzoia. My goal going into the Stampede was to enjoy the city and take in as much information as possible to improve my refereeing.

Saturday, Tom and I had the morning to ourselves so we walked the 3km to the Calgary Rugby Union to get a look at the pitch during the day. There are 5 pitches, with field 1 which has a grandstand and a clubhouse overlooking. The fields were in top shape and it left me with water envy from our drought. We would later learn that the water bill for the Calgary Rugby was sizeable.

David picked us up later that morning and we split up. Some went to the Stampede for the afternoon, however David, visiting referee Toby Mustill from Vancouver, BC, and I all went to Banff for the afternoon. The weather was fantastic in the mid 80s (the conversion from metric to imperial the whole weekend left my brain sore).

Banff is a small tourist town set among the Rockies in the Banff National Park. Anyone who has seen a picture of Lake Louise’s blue glacier runoff water knows the picturesque views. After lunch, we went to the local rugby pitch which is set in the valley and runs along the river with towering mountains on all side. It truly is one of the most scenic rugby pitches I have been fortunate to see.

Friday night we were slated for 10 games in the Mens and Womens Premiere division. We were running teams of 5 with ARs and In-Goals. Everyone got their turn in the center the Friday proved to be a good warmup for a long Saturday with 95 games going on all five fields. The matches ended just before 9pm and the even later 10pm sunset made for a gorgeous view to end the day.

There was a men’s premiere, women’s premiere, men’s semi competitive, men’s social, women’s social division in this tournament. Everyone came for a good time, but like always, the social players had a bit more flare. My favorites were the guys in cut denim shirts and jackets and one guy who cut his only pair of jeans 5 minutes before a game so he could have denim shorts as well.

Saturday brought a wealth of games and being that it was Independence Day, it was only fitting for me to wear some Red, White and Blue flag socks to go with our outstanding Stampede 7s kit. I started my morning off with a U18 game and a men’s social back to back. With the number of refs we all had a good break in between our games. The rest of the day I would be doing men’s and women’s premiere. A total of 7 matches capped off with being given the men’s premiere final. I was a bit nervous at the challenge, but all of the folks had confidence in me. Their tips during the tournament helped me drastically improve my game in a matter of days. During the men’s semi competitive final the sky opened up and the looming storm gave way to marble sized hail and a torrential downpour. With the game on hold, all sought shelter until the lightning had passed.

The final consisted of Irish and Batus a bit later; both whom I had refereed. Irish was a strong team but couldn’t make the tackles they needed and Batus broke away. Irish kept it close going into the second half and even looked poised to make a comeback, but they couldn’t put the pieces together for the win. Batus won the men’s premiere and were drinking out of the Cup for the rest of the night and into the bar.

The friendliness and welcoming nature of Calgarians was amazing. Maybe not as much when we think about the nature of rugby and the ability to transcend borders, languages and traditions. At the end of the day, we have the shared experience and the common goal of trying preserve the legacy of those who laid the groundwork and to give back to those who come after.

I was flying out Sunday the 5th and come to find out that David’s birthday was that day. Fortunately for him, he would be going to Edmonton for the double header. David and his wife Lisa were incredibly gracious for hosting us. The Calgary Rugby Union put on a great tournament, and Rugby Alberta has amazing match officials who were always willing to give tips to improve. In the end, my time in Calgary was memorable and the friends made plentiful.

Disciplinary Action Reporting – Process for reporting incidents

 

The various competitions all have their own disciplinary chairs and this will make it difficult to centralize the communication and data.  To help Scott Wood has developed a form that will centralize the process, regardless of the competition.  The link to the discipline form is https://docs.google.com/forms/d/1mmUNg11uVOSkIsUtHifSqQzalhWbwohk_J6AmPyrucQ/viewform

  1. Copy the link and have it available on your smartphone.  If you have an Iphone add the link to your home screen.
  2. When needed fill it out and click submit.  The discipline chair of the competition you refereed will receive a notification about the incident.
  3. He/she may contact you latter for more details.

 

On To The Game Reports!

Date: 06/13/2015

NorCal Pelicans Development 19 – Durham University B 27

Referee: MacDonald, Neil

AR: Kevin Donnelly

AR: Nome Tiatia

 

I made my first visit to the fabled Kezar stadium on a Saturday night in June, resplendent in San Francisco summer: overcast with a chill wind whipping down the field from the west. The grass pitch was in immaculate condition, and a crowd of several hundred had gathered for the return of representative rugby to this storied venue.

 

With Nome and Kevin on the sidelines, the visiting Durham University RFC second XV – in their white strip with purple hoops – kicked off into the wind to begin our festivities. The Pelicans Development XV scored first, 6 minutes in, before Durham equalized a few minutes later, and a long stalemate ensued, punctuated by a litany of injuries. Nor Cal physicality and direct running jousted with savvy breakdown play and ball carrying from Durham, whose structure and pace in the backs persistently threatened. Durham were finally rewarded with the go ahead try and conversion in the 35th minute. 5-12 the score at half time, along with a dislocated shoulder and a torn ACL.

 

Durham added a penalty goal early in the second half to extend their lead to ten points, only for the Pelicans to pull back to within three with a converted try a few minutes later. Three point game in the 55th minute, with the Pelicans trailing their guests 12-15. The Pelicans then went under the cosh in an extended goal-line siege during which the Pelican scrum went down while retreating over the line twice. Durham got their third try under advantage on the next one, and the Pelicans avoided conceding the penalty try. Roaring (or do Pelicans squawk?) back into the match, the Pelicans grabbed another converted try in the 75th minute to cut Durham’s lead once again. 19-22 Durham with 4 minutes left. Game on! A flowing move from Durham put them in in the corner (with Nome beautifully positioned right there) to put the game out of the Pelicans’ reach.

 

This game had more injuries in one match than I’ve had in all my other matches this season. All the best to the players for speedy and full recoveries. Thanks to both teams for a cracking match. Many thanks also to Kevin Donnelly and Nome Tiatia for their valuable assistance as ARs, and most of all thanks to Pete Smith for his tireless work putting on this event and reinvigorating representative rugby in Nor Cal.

 

It was a pleasure meeting the Durham University RFC players and touring party. I will long remember the purple blazers with white trim. In Northern California we rarely have the opportunity to referee teams with such sartorial elegance, which was matched only by the grace of their generous remarks when we repaired across the road to the other Kezar. Thanks for making the trip, Durham. I hope you had a great finish to the tour.

 

For those illustrious readers of Hail Pelicus who weren’t at Kezar, you missed out. Next time the Pelicans are playing, come on out and enjoy some great rugby.

 

Date: 06/20/2015 – 6/21/2015

South West Regional Cup

Bakersfield, CA

Referee: Smith, Pete

 

I got the first match of the day/event in the Boy Varsity in a matchup between the SoCal Griffins and PNW Loggers. Kick off was at 8 am and only 88 degrees at the opening whistle. It was good to see that the captains knew each other considering the geographic distance between them. It was a very good game with end to end action. Both teams came very close to scoring tries if not for desperate defense and minor handling errors. SoCal started the scoring with a PK followed by an unconverted try by PNW to make it 5-3; SoCal slotted another PK to go into halftime up 6-5. The score was not indicative of the quality of play, my first scum was 9 minutes in and I didn’t have a penalty before the first water break at 15 minutes…touch, knock-ons, loose passes and solid defense by both teams kept them from blowing up the scoreboard. More of the same in the second half with SoCal adding another PK about 20 minutes in making it 9-5 SoCal. With the temp clearly cresting 90 degrees the boys from PNW started feeling the heat, they let a try slip past to bump the score to 14-5. SoCal added a final try at full time that was well earned, but a PNW player attempted to trip the Griffin while centering the try so Penalty Try officially with a yellow card to the offending player…Final tally 21-5 in favor of SoCal Griffins.

 

Date: 06/20/2015 – 6/21/2015

South West Regional Cup

Bakersfield, CA

Kern County 0 – NorCal/SoCal 0

Referee: Donnelly, Kevin

AR: Bretz, Paul

AR: Taueva, Favor

#4: Smith, Pete

 

Very competitive mid-day match between the NorCal and SCal Boys JV Select sides. Despite the heat and the fact that this was the second match of the day for these players, the game was fast and aggressive. The final score doesnt reflect how close this game was, with the game ending on a try by SoCal as part of their tremendous late-second-half effort to over-take NorCal.

 

EDITOR’S NOTE: “The final score doesnt reflect how close this game was” – Well, that seems odd since you reported a 0-0 score. How much closer do you want it to be?

 

 

Date: 06/20/2015

Rugby Ethos 7s 100 – TBD 0

Referee: Bernstein, Bruce

 

Life won but a few other men’s teams impressed; Sacramento Caps, Vacaville, Modesto & Aptos.

We could have used a few more refs (only 2 out of the 10 assigned refs showed up) but local captain/coach Ahmed showed he could be a great ref–somebody get him certified & he could be doing Division 1 games within a year.

 

 

Date: 06/20/2015

Rugby Ethos 7s 21 – TBD 0

Referee: Bertolone, Cary

 

10:00 am came around with only one ref (me) and two games kicking off. I talked a Marin player, Hamed Beytollah, into starting one field as a ref and I took the other. We just stood on the field , one team after another, reffing games one after another. Bruce Bernstein showed up by my 5th game and gave me a break for 15 minutes. Evie traded jerseys from playing and reffed two games, otherwise, I reffed 14 games, Hamed had 15 games and Bruce reffed 8-10 games, some of them really good games. Standout teams were East Bay Blues, Modesto, Life West, Aptos, Marin and Sacramento Capitals. Championship mens’ game was Life beating Sacramento Capitals, good game. In womens, the championship was Life West against Berkeley Blues with Life West prevailing. Clean play by almost everyone. The tournament worked, but would have been better with more refs.

 

 

Date: 06/27/2015

Newport 7s Tournament

Fort Adams State Park, Newport, RI

Referee: Zanarini, Tom

 

Summer feels like it finally arrives once the sevens season kicks off.  Summer was thus a little late for me as I missed the Worcester 7s tournament on June 20.  But I can’t think of a better place to kick off summer in New England than Newport.  There were four divisions at the tournament: women, men’s open, men’s NERFU and men’s Northeast Championships.  Six matches were on tap for me, starting at 9:20 and last match starting at 4:20.

 

Match 1

Boston 0 v Darkside 31

 

Darkside is a summer sevens team, newly formed this year with some great athletes.  They should seriously consider going up a bracket next year.

 

Match 2

Old Blue1 24 v Mystic2 7

 

Old Blue owned this one.  It was a fun fast match, not a lot of stoppages for anything.  Ball in hand, good movement and little penalties.

 

Match 3

Saratoga 7 v Univ. of Rhode Island 32

 

URI were a combo student/alumni team.  Youth and speed won this one.  Once the URI runners broke a tackle, it was try time.  Generally the ball stayed in the middle of the field.  Lots of 15s style rucking and mauling.  A good match to have right after lunch.  Not a great amount of running.

 

Match 4

WASPS 10 v New Haven 31

 

WASPS are a Boston area 7s side.  Seemed mostly semi-competitive side made of Old Gold, Charles River and other assortment of players not on Boston, BIW or Mystic River.  They were no match for a solid New Haven side.

 

Match 5 Plate Semi-Final

Old Blue3 12 v New Haven 29

 

The legs were getting a little heavy by this time.  New Haven had the talent, speed and force.  Old Blue, being the 3rd side were made up of new ruggers and college kids.  Mostly a Old Blue D3 side.  Score was 0-17 at the half, so kudos to Old Blue for matching tries with New Haven in the second half.

 

Match 6 Cup Semi-Final

NYAC v Old Blue

 

The pace was miles faster than any of the other matches.  NYAC had the advantage early on, setting good attacking platforms against a bumbling Old Blue side.  Half-time score was 10-7 NYAC.  The second have was totally different.  Old Blue corrected their issues shut out NYAC in the second half scoring 3 tries to Old Blue’s 0 tries.  Old Blue then went on to win the Cup Final against Mystic River.

Highlights of the final are here: 2015 NRU 7’s Series: Newport Championship Final- Mystic River vs. Old Blue

 

 

Date: 06/27/2015

Carlsberg Cup 7’s   – hosted by Silicon Valley RFC

Referee: Pohlman, John

 

Eric Rauscher, Nome Tiatia, Jeff Jury, Bruce Bernstien and I refereed to first leg of the new Carlsberg 7s Tournament this past Saturday. Well run day with no major injuries. Look forward to the next two.

 

 

Date: 06/27/2015

Carlsberg Cup 7’s 10 – hosted by Silicon Valley RFC 5

Referee: Bernstein, Bruce

 

Mission 33 – College Park 19

 

 

Date: 06/27/2015

Carlsberg Cup 7’s   – hosted by Silicon Valley RFC

Referee: Jury, Jeff

 

Silicon Valley 19-19 Barracus

Barracus 17-12 Reno

Fog 15-19 Aptos

 

 

Date: 06/27/2015

NorCal 7’s Series

Referee: Hinkin, James

 

Olympic Club B 7 – SFGG B 19

 

A solid game to break me into the 7s mode. Both teams were eager to play – well, they were once SFGG got on the field as apparently they didn’t look at the schedule. The game was fast and tight with a slight edge to SFGG for finishing skills.   Both teams played well and will be pushing their respective A sides at training.

 

San Jose Seahawk Women 0 – Life West Women 47

 

Not as one sided as the score appears but Life West were dominant.   San Jose had their chances but it always seemed as if the breakaway was thwarted by a last second dive to just hook the ball carrier’s jersey.   Life West truly showed their dominance at the breakdown where they were able to poach several balls from the Seahawks.

 

 

Date: 06/27/2015

NorCal 7’s Series 26 – TBD 12

Referee: Bertolone, Cary

 

At For Pete’s Sake field in Santa Rosa, my home turf, we had a great day of Rugby including the weather, which was about between 70 degrees in the morning to about 75 degrees with a breeze the rest of the day. I had a first game at 9:00 with Berkeley Blues women beating the Seahawk Women s 29-5 and one Seahawk Woman getting a yellow and penalty try assessed. My next game was Seahawk Women beating Golden Gate women 25-17. My third game was Men’s Golden Gate beating San Jose Seahawks 31-0 and my last game was Men’s Life West beating San Jose Seahawks 26-12, in a pretty good game; San Jose received one yellow for a no wrap. Good, clean rugby for the most part; it seemed like everyone had a good time. It was great for me to work with and watch so many top refs!

This Week’s Photo

The USA Men and Women celebrate their Olympic berth. Photo credit Cody Schmelter.

USA Olympians

Hail, Pelicus!

For the Senate

Pelicus Pedem Referre