Category Archives: News

Changing Of The Guard

HAIL PELICUS!

 

Changing Of The Guard

 

With the USA National Championship Western Regionals at Treasure Island on May 30th and 31st (more on that below) , Northern California had the chance to show at least the western half of the country why Pelicanland is considered the hotbed of American rugby.   EPA Razorbacks had stormed through the season and into the playoffs, Colusa had met every challenge and was raring to go. The Amazons had held off all opposition with power and flair. Life West had nary a close match all year. It was a foregone conclusion that all of the Nor Cal teams would advance.

 

Oops.   Apparently the rest of the country no longer sees us as the invincible, all conquering champions. In the D1 quarterfinal, in particular, EPA were thoroughly outclassed and outplayed by a solid, well drilled Dallas Reds side.   Colusa fought well but were downed by Wichita. Only the Amazons and Life West won on the first day and the second day was even harder.   Life West needed an epic comeback in the final 5 minutes just to force overtime and the Amazons were pushed to the limit.   They both did manage to go through and will be playing for a national championship so good luck to both squads.

 

The changing of the guard was never more evident, however, than in the Men’s D1 final: Dallas vs Austin.   Has the country’s rugby epicenter moved to Texas?   For this year it may seem so, but I see Northern California reasserting itself next year as harsh lessons were learned.

 

The Miserable Ones

 

On that note, on Sunday after finishing my AR duties at the National West Regionals your humble scribe was asked to be the PA announcer for the final two matches.  As always, I tried to have a little fun. The final match of the day (National D1 semifinal) was Dallas Reds v Austin Blacks. Red v Black.

 

I couldn’t resist.

 

At halftime and every injury stoppage I started playing over the PA the classic Les Miserables anthem “Red and Black”.  I mean, really, for this rugby match what could be more appropriate than deep, powerful operatic voices singing “RED!! BLACK!! RED!! BLACK!!”?  You know, I really do crack myself up.

 

In case anyone wants to know exactly what I was playing, go here: https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=T3MAwJTRNwo&feature=youtu.be&t=138.   That link should take you to the first clip, but for reference I used the bits starting at 2:18, 3:15 and 3:42.

 

 

Pelican Durham

 

It may come as a shock to many of the loyal reader of Hail Pelicus but the referees are not always the stars of the games and, in fact, are even not necessarily the reason for rugby in Northern California. I’ll pause a moment for you, dear reader, to digest this truth.

 

I hope that wasn’t too big of a shock. As a matter of fact, Pelicanland is teeming with excellent practitioners of the Game That Is Played In Heaven and who gracefully submit to the decisions of the flock when they are caught being naughty.   Pelicus Fistulator has worked long and hard behind the scenes along with the NCRFU to resurrect our Northern California Select Side – The Pelicans.   A number of players and coaches from all divisions have worked long and hard to produce a representative side that played their first game of the 21st century at the LVI in February (beating the Texas All Stars) and are now poised to take on Durham University (England) at historic Kezar Stadium in San Francisco on Saturday, June 13th. The development side will kick off at 5:00 and the select side will kick off at 6:30.   Tickets can be purchased here: http://www.eventbrite.com/e/norcal-pelican-selects-vs-durham-university-tickets-15248806591

 

For more information visit the Facebook Event page: https://www.facebook.com/events/551598868315875/

 

What’s a NACRA?

 

The USA will be playing in the NACRA 7s Olympic qualifier in North Carolina this Saturday as well.   Details can be found on usarugby.org.   Both fields of the NACRA Championships can be viewed live online worldwide – at USARugbyTV.com.

 

The men are riding high from the Cup victory at the London 7s and need to keep the momentum going. The women also are coming in strongly after upending Fiji and New Zealand in their last tournament in Amsterdam.   Go Eagles!

 

The Summer Pelicus

 

With the 15s season staggering to an end the summer 7s season sits beckoning us all forward for more rugby fun. During the long, languid months of the summer and fall Hail Pelicus will be published, but less frequently.   Probably about once a month when a roundup of all the local 7s tournaments will be published. In essence, they will come out when I feel like doing it. Regular weekly service will start again in January at the latest.

 

Chicken Running

 

Once again the flock will be coordinating our banquet around the USA National team schedule as the United States Eagles take on Samoa and Canada takes on Japan in San Jose.   The Pelican Elders will be holding our Annual Awards Banquet in San Jose on Friday, July 17 HOWEVER the location is now a closely guarded secret.

 

Once word leaked out about the planned venue being the Sonoma Chicken Coop there was a massive chicken uprising. It was horrible. You have not known fear until you have had a maddened chicken coming at you at groin height, feathers flying and a look of pure desperation in its beady eyes.

 

The event will take place, however, so if you haven’t already 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:              Cluck cluck, SQUAAWK!! Noooooo!!! Not the groin!

Cost:                      All NCRRS members receive a free meal – guests cost $50.00.

 

Pacific Nations Cup – International Rugby in Pelicanland

 

As I am sure you are all aware, July 18th will see the first of many rugby internationals at San Jose’s Avaya stadium when Canada takes on Japan followed by the USA taking on Samoa.   What has been less rigorously promoted is that that is only the first weekend of Pelican Internationals as on July 24th Sacramento’s Bonney Field, host of last year’s dramatic US win over Canada, will feature Fiji taking on Samoa and the USA manhandling Japan.   Event detail can be found here:

 

July 18th, San Jose, CA: usarugby.org/usavsam

 

July 24th, Sacramento, CA: usarugby.org/usavjpn

 

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:

 

“I plan to referee sevens this summer because I thought to myself, “Self, with only 7 minute halves, how hard can it be?”   Then someone told me that you actually need to be in better shape for sevens.     This makes no sense to me – is it true?”

 

Hi Lazy, and thanks for the question.   In spite of what your mates in the forward pack think, your friend is actually correct.   You need to be in better shape to both play and referee sevens. Yes, the games are only 15 minutes long with 7 minute halves but it is played on a full sized pitch and you spend a considerable amount of that time sprinting.   Now is the time to start your sevens training regimen if you haven’t already as Pelicanland is experiencing a glut of sevens tournaments and we will need every available whistle blower.

 

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: The weekend of May 30 and 31 saw the USA Rugby National Championships Western Region compete at the SFGG fields on Treasure Island.   While Nor Cal was richly represented in the refereeing and assistant refereeing corps, not to mention the sterling #4s, these were national appointments and there were several referees flown in who were either USA A Panel or promising B Panel referees. These referees are collectively known as the Northern California B Panel.  

 

Several of them even consented to send me reports of their matches which makes them, at least temporarily, Honorary Pelicans. HAIL PELICUS HONORIUM!

 

Of course, Josh Pendegrass, George O’Neil, Phil Akroyd and Marquise Goodwin all know better and should feel great shame for not contributing a report.  

 

Date: 05/30/2015

Tempe Old Devils 67 – Dallas Rugby (D2) 21

Referee: Cole, Brad (Tennessee)

 

It was the Division II national Quarterfinal, and both teams attacked the game with fervor for a full 80 min.  Tempe were superb at maintaining possession and seemed to be running downhill.  They recycled the ball at lightning speed, and despite a stalwart defense by Dallas Rugby, consistently put points on the board.  Dallas showed great poise to maintain intensity and focus on the match for a full 80 min. and fought hard to put some points on the board late in the match.  Both teams played with excellent spirit. Thanks to the NorCal referees for their hospitality and tradition of impressive rugby.

 

Date: 05/30/2015

Dallas Reds 35 – East Palo Alto Razorbacks 0

Referee: Houston, Josh (New England)

 

A fairly lopsided match that saw EPA commit a wide variety of errors, with the Reds capitalizing on almost every one of them. The match kicked off at 5 PM on Saturday and by that time, the sun had receded behind the clouds and the chilly wind picked up, mirroring the early morning conditions. The pitch was in great shape despite the four matches played on it prior to this match. Both teams were evenly matched in size and physicality, and both seemed to possess similar skills in what on paper appeared to be a very competitive match. This was not the case as EPA found it difficult to maintain any consistent possession, discipline and cohesion among themselves. Frequent handling errors plagued EPA, which was caused by both sloppy, 50/50 passes and poor handling. The Reds scored their first try of the match as a result of EPA knocking on 5 meters from their own goal, with a Reds player in close proximity to gather the loose ball and score with ease.

 

Dallas were up for the challenge in regards to meeting the big, strong Razorbacks at each gain line, making one tackle after another and missing none. Despite three tries and one penalty goal in the first half, the Razorbacks were only down 18-0 due to a poor display of kicking from the Reds that included three missed conversions and one missed penalty, that if made, would have left EPA down 27-0 and probably out of contention for coming back.

 

The second half wasn’t any kinder to EPA though, as the mistakes kept piling on and with Dallas reluctant to take their foot off of the gas. Frustration and arguing began to set it among the Razorbacks, only furthering their problems. Throughout the match, EPA consistently made their way into Dallas territory, stringing some well developed phases together, but only to squander the opportunity to make it a game. The final score ended up being 35-0 with EPA feeling disappointed and dejected from the poor effort. Dallas clearly had a game plan going into the match and were able to stick to it for 80 minutes. They committed very few errors, were patient to wait for their opportunities and for the most part, maintained their composure throughout. Unfortunately for EPA, they did the exact opposite and paid the price.

 

Date: 05/30/2015

Life West Gladiators 79 – St. Louis Bombers 17

Referee: Ranaweera, Aruna

 

Men’s D2 National Quarterfinal

 

Lots of breakaway running at Treasure Island as Life West rampaged all over the field.  St. Louis had the edge in scrums and mauls, but could not keep up in open play.  Much thanks to Dan Wilson and John (Buffalo/San Diego) for their help as AR’s.

 

Date: 05/31/2015

East Palo Alto Razorbacks 38 – Belmont Shore (D1) 35

Referee: Cole, Brad (Tennessee)

 

It was the D1 consolation match on Sunday following the Division I national quarterfinals.  Both teams had lost hard matches the day before and would be looking for a win against their local rivals. It was certainly expected that this match would be hard-hitting and contentious.  The result was a spectacular match with both teams trading the lead through the first half.  EPA extended the lead to 15pts at the start of the second half, then lost a player upon a send-off.  Belmont Shore methodically chipped away at the lead, yet the EPA Razorbacks were just out of reach for the Belmont shore second side even up to full time, when the Belmont wing was forced into touch in the corner while attacking for the win.

Date: 05/31/2015

Wichita Barbarians149 – Dallas Athletic Rugby Club 10

Referee: Ranaweera, Aruna

 

Men’s D3 National Semifinal

 

This was a tightly contested, back-and-forth game in which the outcome could have easily gone either way.  Wichita (Kansas) was a bit more structured, which enabled them to punch their ticket to the national final in Glendale (Colorado) in two weeks.  Much thanks to Brad Cole (Tennessee) and Preston Gordon for their help as AR’s.

 

EDITOR’S NOTE: It wasn’t all USA Playoffs that weekend. We had a high school all star event as well.

 

Date: 05/30/2015

Sac Valley All Stars 41 – Bay Area All Stars 17

Referee: Lew, Tim

 

In a selection game for the NorCal allstar team, Bay Area vs Sacramento. While it was only a JV game, both teams had some great athletes and solid rugby skills. Both teams played well but Sac was able to capitalize on a few missed tackles for breakaway tries.

 

 

Date: 05/30/2015

Sac Valley All Stars 0 – Bay Area All Stars 44

Referee: Asonye, Elvy

 

No report received

 

 

Date: 05/30/2015

Sac Valley All Stars 12 – Bay Area All Stars 70

Referee: Tetler, Jen

 

This game was a selection camp for the NorCal girls high school all stars team that will head down to play against SoCal later on this month. The Bay Area team dominated the first half, with several breakthroughs of tackles, quick support, and speedy runs around the edges to rack their score up to 43 points before half, without letting the Sac Valley get a try in. The Bay Area girls did not get brought down easily, and they had quick backs, particularly their #13. The second half was a bit more even, with Sac Valley scoring a pair of tries themselves and staying in the game. On both sides, there was smart rugby, quick thinking, and strong rucking. The NorCal high school program is going strong!

 

 

Date: 05/30/2015

Sac Valley All Stars 26 – Bay Area All Stars 23

Referee: Carney, Mark

 

No report received

 

This Week’s Photo

Pelicus Editorem Minimus, Ex Dux and Pelicus Ex Selan enjoying the rugby action at Treasure Island.

Ed and Aruna

Hail, Pelicus!
For the Senate
Pelicus Pedem Referre

Pelicus Laureate

HAIL PELICUS!

 

Pelicus Laureate

 

(with apologies to Ernest Lawrence Thayer)

 

The outlook wasn’t brilliant for the Eagle seven that day:
History had shown for the Cup they wouldn’t play.
But when France died first and Portugal did the same,
A hushed silence fell for the South Africa game.
 
A straggling few got up to pace nervously about. The rest
Clung to that hope which springs eternal in the human breast;
They thought, if only Perry could get on the outside of the Boks,
We’d put up even money, now, with Unufe stepping out of his socks.
 
So the US took the lead, to the wonderment of all,
And the Eagles, much despise-ed, held on to the ball;
And when the dust had lifted, and men saw what had occurred,
South Africa scored twice, but the States had added a third.
 
From 50,000 throats and more there rose a lusty yell;
It rumbled through the valley, it rattled in the dell;
It knocked upon the mountain and surged further up,
For the Sleeping Giant awoke and was battling for the Cup.
 
There was ease in Hughes’s manner as he led them to their place;
There was pride in Bender’s bearing and a smile on Carlin’s face.
Tries for the captain and Baker, lightly stepping and then gone,
With a score of 29 to 10, the Eagles were moving on.
 
Thousands of eyes were on them as the home team hit the dirt,
Thousands of tongues applauded the rose upon their shirt,
And then while writhing players ground the ball into their hip,
Defiance gleamed in Leuta’s eyes, a sneer curled Niua’s lip.
 
And now the leather-covered ovoid came hurtling through the air,
And the English stood a-watching it in haughty grandeur there.
Close by the sturdy AR, Perry Baker unheeded sped-
“He moves too fast,” said England. “Try awarded,” the referee said.
 
From the benches, black with people, there went up a muffled roar,
Like the beating of the storm-waves on a stern and distant shore.
“Beat them! Beat the Yanks!” shouted someone on the stand;
It seemed likely when Mitchell scored and the ref raised his hand.
 
With a smile of Christian charity great Isles’ visage shone;
He stilled the rising tumult; racing in the English home;
He sprinted down the left, and once more the ovoid flew;
To the speedster on the right, ref said, “You’ve scored two.”
 
“Fraud!” cried the maddened thousands, and echo answered fraud;
But one mournful look from England and the audience was awed.
They saw their face grow stern and cold, they saw their muscles strain,
And they knew that they could not catch the mighty Eagles again.
 
The sneer is gone from the Aussie’s lip as they looked upon their fate;
Who are these Finals upstarts? They should be in the Plate.
And now Barret runs the ball, and now he lets it go,
The last defender is shattered by the force of Danny’s blow.
 
Oh, somewhere in this favored land the sun is shining bright;
The band is playing somewhere, and somewhere hearts are light,
And somewhere men are laughing, and somewhere the shout goes up;
It is all joy in America – the Mighty Yanks have won the Cup!
 

EDITOR’S NOTE: When Pelicus Scriptoris demands the plume from one’s hand it is best just to smile, nod and try to learn.

 

GIANT AWAKENS; STOMPS ON PEOPLE

or

FORTY YEARS IN THE WILDERNESS LEADS TO PROMISED LAND

 

Those in the rugby world who do not know me as Scriptoris know me as Dr. Sevens. My first love had a more attractive younger sister: three years after I first had a crush on rugby I met my real love, Rugby Sevens.

 

It was the Pleistocene Era of American rugby. Neither Rugby Magazine nor USA Rugby had yet been founded when I started playing; there were no rugby media whatsoever. You could go to a library and pull out weeks-old issues of the Sunday Times to see which international teams were any good if you were keen like me.

 

Now you can watch many if not most games yourself. In particular, the Sevens World Series is not only web-casted to anyone with a phone, the games are archived for your pleasure. Well, it’s a pleasure if you are not yet ready to admit that it’s an addiction.

 

What else has happened these forty years, since Rugby Magazine and USA Rugby were founded, and since the velocity of rugby information availability has continuously accelerated?

 

Some of us have followed the (fifteens) Eagles from venue to venue, trailing along after the colors, the decades proving our dedication. Some of us have been privileged to have been involved with the games, especially when our boys used to play regularly in San Francisco at Boxer Stadium.

Some of us have read about their wins and loses over the years, envying the generations of players coming and going, commenting on the coaching changes and always hopeful when a new direction was announced. Some of us have been optimistic when a few victories came together, but watched with the consternation that leads to resignation as the rest of the world ratcheted up their games after professionalism was admitted (to), and yet we continued to trail the field.

 

And all of us have been reading about the sleeping giant of world rugby these forty years as well. It was probably the subject of the first editorial in Rugby Magazine. The metaphor might well have been our mascot. There he lay. There he snoozed.

 

No offense is intended to all of those, many of whom read and write for this fine publication, who have striven mightily and given endlessly of themselves to stir this giant, but he’d been asleep at least twice as long as Rip Van Winkle. It proved very difficult indeed to arouse this fellow.

 

It was announced in October of 2009 that rugby would be again contested by the family of nations at the Olympic Games in 2016. Americans might not know English prep-school sports played for fun and honor, but they know and can be persuaded to care about anything contested within the confines of those five interlocking rings.

 

An increased focus on Sevens was the result, not the least by the players who think sure, it’d be great to represent the USA at a Test match somewhere, but it would be better to play on NBC TV in front of everyone you’ve ever known, some of whom didn’t think much of your rugby jones.

 

Some of the seed of the sower falls on fertile ground. Sevens has proven to be that ground for USA Rugby.

 

This past weekend your USA Eagles went undefeated in the London iteration of the Sevens World Series, winning their first-ever event and in the process beating two of the teams who have already qualified by merit for the 2016 Olympics.

 

There were no fluke-victory, lucky-hop, or rub-o’-the-green wins among them. They kicked people’s asses and they got better as they went along.

 

To wit:

Pool play

24 – 19 over France

28 – 12 over Portugal

21-12 over South Africa (Olympic qualifier)

Quarter:

29 – 10 over Canada (whom we need to beat next month to qualify our own selves)

Semi:

43 – 12 over England (Olympic qualifier playing at home in front of a world-record Sevens crowd)

Final:

45-22 over Australia

 

There is, of course, a Pelican angle on all that proves to be great in American rugby. You, dear reader, may well have refereed several of these immortal Eagles.

 

Let us count the ways:

 

Zack Test, the team’s best player over the past five years, did not play in this tournament due to injury, but he played his high school rugby on the peninsula and made an appearance at the Palo Alto Sevens three years ago.

 

Danny Barrett, who made the all-tournament Dream Team, played for Cal and Golden Gate.

 

Folau Niua played for East Palo Alto and Golden Gate.

 

Thretton Palomo, brought in as an injury replacement for Test, played his high school rugby in Davis. His try in the final is not to be missed. Ask yourself: would you really like to try to tackle anything that weighs 275 pounds and can outrun you?

 

Matai Leuta. This guy gets more than a thumbnail.

 

If you have refereed Cal State – Monterey Bay in the last few years, or the Seahawks last summer in the NorCal Sevens series, you might have noticed the tall #10 with the I-fro who had more skills than the rest of the people on the pitch. CSUMB Coach Marc Ferguson supported (support in the off-the-field rugby sense of dollars) Matai in his dream to play at a higher level than even the might Otters or ‘Hawks.

 

Sevens Coach Mike Friday, an Englishman who bought into the Sleeping Giant rubric, thought one way to awaken this beast was to have an open call for players. I can only speculate as to the reaction to the applicant from CSUMB. What? Where? They should have realized that NorCal is known for producing champions at every level, in every division, and that many teams in Pelicanland can boast of a USA championship in one or another division and of having produced multiple Eagle players, with Monterey proud among their ranks.

 

Matai made the team. He played for the Eagles shadow side in the Las Vegas Invitational. He’s had some minutes here and there in the tournaments since, with some famous tries already to his credit, but he STARTED the biggest game our boys have ever known. (He’s also lost the -fro, which probably slows you down.)

 

And, as a matter of fact, your faithful scribe, who is 61 years old and has definitely refereed his last competitive match, refereed this World Series Champion in this very season.

 

How lucky we are.

 

Now, you can wallow in the luck:

 

Set aside an hour. This was forty years in the making www.Universalsports.com Click Sports and pick Rugby Find and click on 2015 World Rugby HSBC Seven World Series, London, England, Day #2 Lay in a supply your favorite cold malted beverage, Scroll to:

2:22 for the Canada quarter

5:52 for the England semi

8:37 for the culmination of all of many thousands of peoples’ hard work over two-score anni, the players of course first and foremost.

 

Play on!

 

– For the Senate

Pelicus Scriptoris

 

Strapping On The Ol’ Nosebag – Save The Date

 

Once again the flock will be coordinating our banquet around the USA National team schedule as the United States Eagles take on Samoa and Canada takes on Japan in San Jose.   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. 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.

 

Pacific Nations Cup – International Rugby in Pelicanland

 

Several people have inquired about bulk purchasing tickets for the Pacific Nations Cup on July 18 in San Jose.  If you would like to take advantage of this opportunity, sit with your fellow referees and watch the matches  please provide us with your desire to do so by clicking on the following link:  Register for ticket purchase.

You have until May 23rd to order your tickets.  After May 23rd you’ll have to purchase the tickets on your own.

 

May Society Meeting

 

There still hasn’t been one.   If you faithfully read the Ask A Pelican segment like you’re supposed to then you would know why.   And apropos of nothing…

 

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 Patricia Bishop, host of Wednesday Trivia Night at O’Flaherty’s Irish Pub in San Jose, CA, who asks:

 

“What is the greatest sports related trivia question of all time?”

 

Wow, Patricia, that is a difficult one and no mistake.   No wonder you run the most fun, yet difficult Trivia Night in Pelicanland.   Well it is tough to say but tthere really are only 2 contenders, the first being “Who was the last switch hitter to win MVP in the American League?” and the second being “What country currently holds the Olympic Gold Medal for rugby?”.   You have to keep an eye on these questions, though, because the American League gives out an MVP award every year and rugby will be reintroduced to the Olympics in 2016 for the Rio games.

 

EDITOR’S NOTE: If you want to know the answers send me an email.

 

Summer Referee Exchanges

 

We have two opportunities for referee visits to Canada.  The first opportunity is June 5th and 6th for the high school championships held in Edmonton.  The coordinator for this is our good friend Paul Cassidy.  Let me know your availability ASAP(by May 18) by emailing me.

The second opportunity is Late June/Early July in conjunction with the Calgary Stampede.  Let Bjorn Stumer know your availability for that week’s exchange.

As always, the society will pay for your transportation there and back.  Hosting will be provided by our gracious hosts.
Regards,
Paul Bretz, Pelicus Iudex Pennipes

 

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: Apparently there were no local games, but our East Coast Pelican is still hard at work.

 

Date: 05/16/2015

Boston Barbarians 7 – British Police Rugby Club   55

Referee: Zanarini, Tom

Location: Irish Cultural Center, Canton, MA

Matches like this are what makes rugby a special sport.  Two senior level select side clubs from different continents getting together for the love of the game.  The Boston Barbarians are made up of the best players in New England available on the day.  This team comprised players from Boston Irish Wolfhounds, Boston RC, Brown U., Providence RC and South Shore RC.  The Empire GU playoffs were also scheduled for the weekend, so a great many other D1 and D2 players were unavailable.  The British Police Rugby Club comprises, obviously, the best ruggers on police forces from Wales, England, Scotland and Northern Ireland.  Boston wore all white while the British Police styled their kit after the B&I Lions: red shirts, white shorts and blue/green striped socks.  They did not come here just to sightsee.  They are a well drilled club with very good rugby players.  They consistently play 5 times a year and tour out of country every other year.  This was their second tour to the USA.  They will be playing the Empire GU Select Side on Randall’s Island in NYC on May 23.

 

The match was held at the Irish Cultural Center, home of the Boston Irish Wolfhounds.  I’ve previously written about the facilities, it is top stuff.

 

Boston came out first with a great try spun wide to the wing.  Great platform from the ruck and excellent speed on the wing.  Unfortunately their brightest play started and ended 5 minutes into the match.  The rest was a resistance against a far superior side.  To their credit, the Babas had 3 tries held up in-goal.  I couldn’t, after long deliberation and searching for the ball against any blade of grass, justify awarding any of them.  The Police got legs and bodies under each one.  Despite the score, the match flowed well.  Both teams listened to my pre-match instructions that I was here to call the clear and obvious and let them get on with playing the game.

 

The Babas hosted a formal dinner after, where I received the standard tie from the tourists.

 

This Week’s Photo

Is there any doubt that this should be the Photo of the Week?

LONDON, ENGLAND - MAY 17:  The USA team lift the Cup as they celebrate winning the Cup Final match between Australia and USA in the Marriott London Sevens at Twickenham Stadium on May 17, 2015 in London, England.  (Photo by Christopher Lee/Getty Images)

LONDON, ENGLAND – MAY 17: The USA team lift the Cup as they celebrate winning the Cup Final match between Australia and USA in the Marriott London Sevens at Twickenham Stadium on May 17, 2015 in London, England. (Photo by Christopher Lee/Getty Images)

Hail, Pelicus!

For the Senate

Pelicus Pedem Referre

Pastiche

HAIL PELICUS!

 

Pastiche

 

We here on the editorial staff are always looking for ways to improve ourselves and our readers, especially in the areas or arts, literature and vocabulary. Little known fact: Hail Pelicus’ motto is “An ‘SAT word’ is a word you were expected to know when you were 18.”   With only a few matches this week we had more time to devote to the lexicanonical health of our devoted readers.   (After, of course, petitioning Merriam-Webster to add “lexicanonical” to their dictionary because it is such a cool sounding word.   It is on the opposite side of the aurally pleasing scale from words like “moist”.)   With this in mind we have picked a Vocabulary Word Of The Week:

 

Pastiche [pa-steesh, pah-] noun

  1. a literary, musical, or artistic piece consisting wholly or chiefly of motifs or techniques borrowed from one or more sources.
  2. an incongruous combination of materials, forms, motifs, etc., taken from different sources; hodgepodge.

 

You’re welcome.

 

Let’s start this discussion with the first definition.   A perfect example of a literary pastiche is Hail Pelicus itself.   We here pull from many different sources – literally with the inclusion of the referee match reports – and artistically as I combine the works of some of the greatest word-slingers of the English language for these opening remarks and subsequent sections.   Last year the introduction of one edition consisted of a string of allusions and references to 17 different Shakespeare plays… which were then listed at the end.   This year I played on the legend of Archimedes discovering the principle of water displacement linking it to the eponymous city name up near the Humboldt St campus.    Implicit and explicit references to Monty Python and Terry Pratchett are almost too numerous to mention. I really only write about 10% of this with the rest being borrowed and shaped to fit the chosen theme of the week.   With 700 years of inspiration to choose from I don’t see the HP Literary Allusion Express slowing down.   700, is of course, the hard limit as I don’t consider anything before Chaucer to be literature – or even English.

 

On to the second definition.   This concept has been enthusiastically grasped by USA Rugby and the member clubs as trying to determine a national champion has become something of a joke.   Cal lost to BYU in the Varsity Cup final so that makes BYU the national champion.   St Mary’s beat Life in the USA Rugby D1-A final so that makes them the national champion.   Arguments for the Varsity Cup (these are the 2 best teams in the country so it should count) and against (it is an invitational tournament that is restricted to only 14 clubs) are countered by arguments for USA Rugby (this is a true national tournament that all clubs can play their way into) and against (the champion lost to both Varsity Cup finalists and should be considered, at best, the 3rd best team).   Of course, these arguments work for 2015 but what about 2014 when the same teams finished in the same order yet St Mary’s also beat both Cal and BYU?   All we know so far is that these 4 teams are the 4 best teams in the American collegiate universe but they don’t play each other for any kind of championship.

 

This then gets exasperated when the CRC rolls around and competes with the USA Rugby 7s championship.   The CRC is a fantastic event, a made for TV rugby showcase, but calling it a national championship is disingenuous at best.   There is only one slot for a team to play its way in and the other 15 places are mostly determined by the size of the football program/alumni base (to bring in advertising money) and relative distance to Philadelphia (to encourage fans to fill the stadium).   There are only three pure rugby choices: Life, Kutztown and Dartmouth.   So, a great tournament that I will surely watch, but not a national championship.   So what does USA Rugby offer? Not much, really.   Many of the top teams don’t even bother to enter the tournament and some that win a spot decline to go because they would rather go to the CRC. Hardly a ringing endorsement, that.

 

This doesn’t just exist at the collegiate level.   With the inevitable dissolution of the Super League (which originally existed outside of USA Rugby and then, like the prodigal son, was welcomed in a the Most Favored League, even though entry was mostly based on ability to travel rather than ability to play rugby) most of the member clubs split into their own competitions, the PRP and the ARP.

 

This, my friends is a pastiche, an incongruous combination of materials, forms, motifs, etc., taken from different sources; hodgepodge.

 

I still hold out hope that one day everyone will get together and sort it all out, but probably not anytime soon.

 

Strapping On The Ol’ Nosebag – Save The Date

 

Once again the flock will be coordinating our banquet around the USA National team schedule as the United States Eagles take on Samoa and the Canadian Mooselovers take on Japan in San Jose.   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. 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.

 

May Society Meeting

 

There isn’t one.   I’ll bet anyone who showed up on Wednesday at Treasure Island expecting one feels a bit silly right about now.

 

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 Sillius Maximus of Camelot, England, who asks:

 

“I went to Treasure Island on Wednesday and boy howdy, did I feel silly.   Why wasn’t there a society meeting this month?”

 

That’s a good question, Sillius, and it boils down to a couple of weeks ago when the Referee Development Officer Vicky Hudson and I, along with the Pelican Elders, were paging through the law book searching for appropriate topics.   Imagine our surprise when we found this gem:

 

Law 6.A.4 (a) The referee is the sole judge of fact and of Law during a match.

 

Apparently we really don’t need to study the laws all the time like we have done in the past.   According to this law, whatever we decide is true no matter what so having these meetings to go over the legalities and dynamics of rucks, tackles, lineouts, ect seemed rather pointless.   It was quite liberating, really. Kind of like going commando at work; refreshing and revealing.   I don’t see us having any more meetings this year.

 

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: 05/09/2015

Providence 5 – Newport 31

Referee: Zanarini, Tom

Location: Pawtucket, RI

A fine local derby on schedule.  North v South in the battle of the Ocean State.  Only 33 miles separates the only 2 men’s clubs in the state and the rivalry shows.  This was a friendly, scheduled one week after the NERFU Cup Tournament.  No trophies or league points to win, just pride.  This was a battle of a match.  Both teams took the ball up the middle, rucked hard and tackled well.  The penalty count was pretty low considering the situation.  Scrummaging was nearly equal and both seemed to be about the same skill level.  Newport had stronger backs that broke more tackles and set up tries.  Probably had a touch more fitness as well.

Date: 05/09/2015

Budd Bay Bandits 17 – Sacramento Amazons 45

Referee: Tetler, Jen

 

The Budd Bay Bandits came down from Olympia, WA for this battle against the Sacramento Amazons for the Women’s Div 2 Playoffs.   The Bandits opened up the scoring with their speedy winger kicking the ball down the field to touch it down. The Amazons responded with a try off of a lineout with their strong center bursting through the back line. Each team got another try before the half, but the Amazons were up 14-10 after making both their conversions. The second half was dominated by the Amazons. They had good support at all their breakdowns and established a strong passing and kicking game. They scored 3 tries before Budd Bay could retaliate. The final score was 45-17 in favor of Sacramento. Great playing by both teams!

 

Date: 05/09/2015

Salem 19 – Colusa County 29

Referee: MacDonald, Neil

AR: Cary Bertalone, Cary

AR: Byrnes, Bryant

 

Colusa met Salem from Oregon in the ACR1 D3 Final, in the opening match of the day’s quadruple header at Cal Maritime. Colusa crossed in the tenth minute from a penalty close in, and the remaining thirty minutes were eventful, highly contested, but ultimately scoreless. 5-0 Colusa at the half.

 

Colusa’s wing scored in the first minute after the break, with scorching pace up the touchline after fast ball through the hands. 12-0 Colusa. Salem pulled the gap back to 5 points with a converted try in the 53rd minute, despite being down a player for repeated team infringements. Colusa came roaring back, and after a late hit on their kicker as he chipped the Salem defense, quickly took the resulting penalty, and hammered forward with a series of pick and go phases close to the Salem line, finally crossing for the score in the 57th minute to restore a 12 point lead 19-7.

 

The large and vocal Colusa support in the stands made radio comms with the ARs challenging at times, but the visitors from Oregon were not intimidated. Salem crossed in the 59th minute and again in the 63rd to tie the game up at 19-19. Game on. At this point I was glad I had checked on the extra time protocols during the week.   Colusa got back in front with ten minutes remaining, but it was still only a five point game with minutes left, with both sides chasing the win. An exciting match was settled by a final score from Colusa to make it 29-19.

 

Thanks to both teams for a great game of rugby, congratulations to both teams on great seasons, and all the best to Colusa in the next stage of the competition.

 

Many thanks to Cary and Bryant for all of their help from the touchline.

 

Date: 05/09/2015

Stanford 0 – California 0

Referee: Bryant, Lee

 

Fun little scrimmage between the two sides. Three full sevens scrimmages were played between the teams to get some extra practice in for the season.

 

This Week’s Photo

The referee team from the recent national semifinal match at St Marys.   L-R: s?l???sn? sn??l??, Nick Riccono (Nor Cal B Panel), Pelicus Byrnest

St Marys Semi

Hail, Pelicus!

For the Senate

Pelicus Pedem Referre

Legacy

HAIL PELICUS!

 

Legacy

 

Legacies can be defined in many ways. One of the ways Webster defines it is “anything handed down from the past, as from an ancestor or predecessor: the legacy of ancient Rome.”   Sporting institutions most certainly have legacies – see California, University of, Rugby – though they are not always quite so flattering or even relate to the field of play.   I know of some clubs and institutions that have a proud social legacy and that is not necessarily a bad thing.   Sometimes all that needs to happen is for a commitment to an ideal be made and honored for a period of time, until that commitment is so ingrained is it indistinguishable from the ideal.

 

Legacies are tricky things.   You can try to institute a legacy but this rarely seems to work.   They may stick around as an idea for a while but fail when the generational shift inevitably happens.   These can often be the result of marketing and tend to last just as long as the marketing campaign.   What really makes a legacy is when people buy into an ideal and then live that ideal. No catch phrases or slick campaigns, but a tradition that grows organically and is handed down through the generations naturally: THIS is what we stand for… THIS is what we strive for… THIS is what we try to be.   Results are not necessary, but they often follow because players are not playing just for themselves or their teammates, but for the generations that came before.   When another kind of legacy comes around, when the son or daughter plays for their parent’s club, then that feeling becomes even more intense and the effort that much stronger and the legacy is strengthened.

 

Why, I hear you ask, am I so fascinated with the topic of legacies at this time?   Well, I’ll tell you.   Last week my family gathered together to celebrate the 50th wedding anniversary of my parents.   This union, cemented in Michigan, soon moved out to California and started raising a family – a family of doctors, engineers, musicians, salesmen, executives… and athletes.   We were initially swept up in that first true American soccer generation of the 1970s but when a soccer scholarship at St Mary’s ran out of eligibility rugby stepped up.   This in itself is unremarkable as in the early 90s that was how people got to know rugby – they picked it up in college.   What is remarkable is what happened next.   This young soccer player, Jon Hinkin, just happened to be the fastest guy anyone had ever seen and with the ability to kick of either foot was a natural at left wing.   After helping St Mary’s to a famous victory over Cal he started to get noticed and was selected to represent Northern California against Southern California in the collegiate Pelican – Griffin game to held at UC Santa Barbara during the Santa Barbara Rugby Tournament.

 

Now I was an undergrad at UCSB at the time and a member of the track team (pole vaulter, actually) and came out to watch this “rugby” thing.   I was getting a little bored with track and, to be honest, had probably topped out at vaulting, so I was the perfect receptacle for what I saw. I was hooked. This game looked like SO MUCH FUN!

 

And thus a legacy started to germinate.

Jon went on to play for OMBAC and to make the USA Eagles, where he was the 7s captain for several years.   After retiring he stayed involved and, as a way to bring fans to the USA 7s in San Diego he started a tournament called the San Diego Invitational.   When the USA 7s moved to Las Vegas he went with it and now runs the Las Vegas Invitational, the largest rugby tournament in North America.   He also helped start the CRC and is involved in bringing other rugby events to the US.   He has become one of the more influential people in the spread of rugby in the USA.

 

I never quite reached those heights, although I am immensely proud to have participated in an Eagle 7s camp and captained the Pacific Coast Grizzlies once.   After retiring from active playing I took up the whistle and have done a little coaching but I see this publication as my greatest sphere of influence as I (try to) entertain and enlighten people as to the goings on in Northern California rugby and to evoke the joy that this game can bring and thus helping cement the legacy of Dr Bruce Carter, from whom I took over the Hail Pelicus.

 

Both of us were hooked early by the addictive rugby bug and have striven to give back to the game we love.   Our legacies will be determined when someone else takes over these jobs.

 

This brings us back to the 50th wedding anniversary of Michael and Joan Hinkin.   For 50 years they have loved and struggled and raised 6 children along with assorted others who spent a large percentage of their time at the Hinkin place – when you are making dinner for 8 what is 1 or 2 more?   They taught us to love what we do and to give back what we can for there is no better way to repay that which you love.   They taught us the value of loyalty and honor. For 50 years they have been an example to everyone without any attempt to swagger or bring attention to themselves, they just did what they did and did it well.   The made a commitment to an ideal and honored it.

 

This is the heart and soul of a legacy.   That is the heart and soul of this rugby legacy.   May it live on for generations uncounted.

 

Strapping On The Ol’ Nosebag – Save The Date

 

Once again the flock will be coordinating our banquet around the USA National team schedule as the United States Eagles take on Samoa and the Canadian Mooselovers take on Japan in San Jose.   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. 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.

 

Tonga? Samoa? What’s The Difference?

 

There is a big difference and in last week’s Hail Pelicus I misidentified the USA’s opponent on July 18 as Tonga.   The correct opponent is reported above: the USA will play Samoa.   Many apologies to my Tongan and Samoan friends… and even to the ones who don’t like me all that much, if there are any.

 

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 Reginald Kenneth Dwight of Pinner, Middlesex, England, who asks:

 

“Is the Pelican Awards Banquet really on a Friday this year?”

 

Yes, Mr Dwight, it is.   As we all know Saturday’s all right for fighting so the USA and Canada internationals are being held on Saturday night. Since we all want to watch the matches we would have to wait for them to finish before congregating, and if the society was to wait until they were over to hold the banquet we would have started at 10:00PM at the earliest.   We wouldn’t have time for your song when you do the crocodile rock with a tiny dancer.

 

The option of having an Annual Awards Tailgate Party was never considered.

 

Summer Planning – Looking Ahead

 

From our Noble Leader, Pelicus Iudex Pennipes:

 

It’s hard to believe that the 2014-2015 season is fast approaching its conclusion but the fact is that there are only a few more games. Please update your availability on Assignr as assignments will be forthcoming. All of the matches this weekend will require teams of three.

Additionally, 7’s scheduling will be taking the forefront and some tournaments are all ready on Assignr, including a June 20th event in Bakersfield. This is a major event with a 7’s tournament, 15’s challenge matches and Youth Regional All Star Challenge held on 10 fields- Similar to the LVI. NCRRS will be looking to send a minimum of 10 referees.

 

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.

 

Referees On Tour

 

From Cary Bertolone:

I was asked to ref the Catalina over 40’s on May 2nd, for the third year in a row. It fits in nicely with getting to play the over 50’s match for my University Alumni team, Ancient Aztecs now, SDSU back in the day. I had the first game at 8:00 am. LA Rugby vs Las Vegas. It went well for L.A., not as well for Las Vegas, 40-5.

I had the third game of the day, Huntington Beach vs. Pasadena. Same kind of game. Huntington Beach had too much for Pasadena and they won 50-0.

My game that I played in was Aztecs of San Diego vs “all of L.A.”. We won that game 15-5, but “who cares?” Only we cared and so be it!!!

Too much fun!!

 

On To The Game Reports!

 

EDITOR’s NOTE: We are starting with a pair of reports from our East Coast Pelican, Tom Zanarini, the first being his report from last week that I forgot to put in.

 

Date: 04/25/2015

Referee: Zanarini, Tom

 

Slippery Rock Rugby Tournament

Location: Lawrence County Fairgrounds, New Castle, PA

Teams: Slippery Rock U., Clarion U., South Pitt Men’s Club, SLOBS (Slippery Rock Old Boys)

 

I haven’t been to my alma mater since 2008 where I refereed the tournament as a relative rookie. Moving back home made this opportunity too good to pass up. I left Westerly, RI on Thursday night to stay with my best friend, college mate, prop to my hooker, Vice President to my President while at the Rock, Andy Wehr. I was able to finally convince Andy to take up the whistle, which he did last year for the New York Rugby Referee Society. So this weekend he was in the same position I was in 2008. After a night in Red Bank (see Jay and Silent Bob), NJ we drove on I-80 for 6 or so hours to our old stomping ground. Arriving on campus is surreal as the campus has changed quite a bit. All of the old 1960 style class buildings and dorms are nearly gone, replaced and updated to modern standards. Good to see our tuition money going to work. But first, Bob’s Subs. I’m sure every college town has what they consider the best sub on the planet. In Slippery Rock it is Bob’s and a mandatory stop for any returning alum.

 

Friday night we hooked up with the current club members at the rugby house. This place is in desperate need of a demolition permit. Living in squalor is a complement. Keg firmly planted in the middle of the living room, no ice required as it is Natural Light and not worth the price of frozen water. After hearing the sweet young voice of a coed say, “I’d like to do a shotgun, please,” we decided it was time to leave the young ones to their own devices. Not before we were given the tour and noticed 2 trophies from 1995 and 1996, when we were in charge. No need to wonder though. We did return after dinner (and after dark) with two female rugby alum to show them the ‘house.’ And wouldn’t you know that the 1995 plaque for 1st place in the Rock Rugby Tournament somehow ended up under my shirt? Funny thing.

 

EDITOR’S NOTE: You do know this is being published on the interwebs, yes?

 

Saturday was the cluster that we predicted. The 10am kickoff was pushed to ‘whenever our jerseys get here.’ That was about 10:50am. First match, SRU took it to Clarion 17-5. Second match the SLOBS outlasted South Pitt 17-12. Third match South Pitt whitewashed Clarion 35-0. Fourth match the SLOBS showed that age and treachery beats youth and speed by 31-12. So, what of the 3rd v 4th and 1st v 2nd matches? Well, times ticking on the kegs, so let’s just play one more. Green (SRU/SLOBS) were twice as good as Red (South Pitt/Clarion) 24-12. So, off to Rock Falls for the after party!

 

SRU was fortunate (for entertainment’s sake) to have about 8 zulus on the day. The zulu trail was composed of a slip and slide lined with ketchup, mayo, mustard, jalapenos, and I’m sure lots and lots of other slippery additives that lead directly to the Slippery Rock Creek. Yeah, they put a lot of effort into that. After the dying fire was helped to a second life by way of used motor oil, we decided to leave early once again. A quick trip back to town for some refreshments at Ginger Hill Tavern was in order.

 

All in all a great trip to see old friends where rugby is only a part of the reason to go.

 

Date: 05/02/2015 – 05/03/2015

Referee: Zanarini, Tom

New England Rugby Union Championships

Fort Adams State Park, Newport RI

 

The end of the spring season in New England culminates with the NERFU Cup, a 15’s tournament for the men’s and women’s clubs. No colleges are present and this year no men’s D1 teams were present. The tournament is traditionally held later in May, but a previously scheduled boat race (a real boat race, not what you’re thinking) is passing through Newport later. D1 teams had league matches already scheduled so had to pass on the festivities. Newport is less than an hour from my new home in Westerly, RI so our Friday commute was no problem. Newport is of course a gem of a town. Old colonial architecture downtown mixed with massive Gilded Age mansions along the coast. If you’ve never been on the Cliff Walk before, it’s worth the trip.

 

Fort Adams State Park is the home of Newport Rugby, with their own dedicated pitch overlooking Newport Harbor. It is one of the most picturesque rugby scenes in the country. While Santa Cruz’s field is superb overlooking Monterrey Bay, Newport Harbor has it’s own charm with some mansions across the water, downtown visible and the Sail Newport docks across the street. On the other side is former Navy officer housing that has that special New England charm. 3 fields are used for the tournament, one right next to another. Plenty of food and beer for all and Ruggers sets up an excellent kit tent for all your gear needs. I managed to find a pair of Puma studded boots for $25 in anticipation of the autumn’s sloppy mud matches.

 

NERRS has an exchange with the Gloucester and District Referee Society in England and coordinate the import leg of the exchange with the NERFU Cup. Three referees made the trip ranging in age from 28 to 48 to 68. A great bunch of fellas (as you would expect) who were shown around New England from Boston to Vermont to Newport over the week plus visit. The Society also hosts a dinner on Saturday night at La Forge, adjacent to the Tennis Hall of Fame. It was great to hook up with the NERRS referees to establish myself back into the mix. Of course being the small rugby world that it is, I wasn’t flying alone. Fellow Pelican Jeff Ferguson has also migrated back to New England to spread his wings among our eastern brothers. He did me the pleasure of running AR on Sunday morning in his collar.

 

Matches:

I was assigned to referee one match on Saturday and run AR three times and do one match in the middle on Sunday. As happens, another ref called in sick so one of my Saturday AR assignment turned into a middle run.

 

D3 pool: New London 6 v Boston Irish Wolfhounds 12

 

First match of the day and I get my old club, New London. I never played for them, but was their team referee and practiced with them so I never got to referee the lads. A fine match with very few penalties Both teams attacked well, rucked hard and had great defense. BIW’s was able to find in-goal territory while NL had to settle for 3’s.

 

D2 consolation semi final: Old Gold 5 v New Haven 48

 

A consolation bracket match. The winner gets into the D2 consolation final. New Haven outmatched Old Gold on the ends with some very fast wings. One is on the Olympic Development watch for 7s. If he lived in Boston or New York he would surely be on a premier team.

 

Sunday D2 Consolation Final: New Haven 24 v Newport 31

 

Newport was out to prove themselves at their host tournament. New Haven ended up leaving Saturday with 13 active players and were unsure of their ability. I thought this match was going to be very one-sided when I arrived to see Newport in full warm-up mode with 23+ players and New Haven sitting on the side of the hill wondering who will show up. Newport scored two tries right away which seemed to wake up New Haven. Halftime came with the sides tied at 17. We actually had quite an exciting match. Scored were back and forth and I was sweating a tie. Newport found ground with a few minutes left and managed to control the match til the end.

 

It was a great weekend of tournament rugby. I reconnected with some old friends and made tons more. Can’t wait for the next one!

 

Date: 05/02/2015

EPA Razorbacks 48 – Sacramento Lions 7

Referee: MacDonald, Neil

AR: Bernstein, Bruce

AR: Valerio, Stephen

 

The Sacramento Lions held Razorbacks to a 12 point lead in the first half, but strong running and fast ball enabled the Razorbacks to pull away in the second, before the plucky Lion’s positive rugby earned them a consolation try. Many thanks to Stephen Valerio and Bruce Bernstein for their help on the touch line.

 

Date: 05/02/2015

Olympic Club B 17 – Life West 52

Referee: Pescetti, David

 

A great day for rugby. But the first half was decidedly one sided. Life chose to play their A side for the first half and racked up an impressive lead. In the second half with the Life B side on the pitch it was an even contest. The lead Life created in the first half was insurmountable. A fun feisty friendly.

 

Date: 05/02/2015

SFGG Women 12 – Sacramento Amazons 24

Referee: Tucker, Chris

AR: Van Staden, JC

 

Got up early, drove down 80 to jam a quick trail run up in the Oakland hills as a warm up.   The demands of long course training mean that the 3.75 miles I would do while refereeing is nice, but no substitute for a double digit day. So 7 miles uphill and down dale in the pleasant cool sea air, and then on over to TI for the rest.

 

As a curtain raiser, the women’s Norcal championship would be hard to beat. Played with good spirit, and at a pace which surprised me at the outset, but is a strong indicator of how far the women’s game has come along. The Amazons’ strategy was clear — shove the ball down the throats of the opposition until they choked, then pass it out and gain ground. This worked well in the early going, but as legs tired, so the breakdowns became messier. The Amazons ultimately had a player temporarily suspended for repeatedly leaving their feet, but given their previous advantage in the forwards, this simply evened it up a bit. The game was also competitive in the loose, with SFGG repeatedly pressuring the Amazons back line into errors, and making ground themselves when they could spin the ball out wide. At the end of the day, however, forwards decide who wins, and backs by how much. And the visitors’ forwards are so very good at what they do. If they can minimize their tendency to overcompete at the ruck, they will do very well in the coming weeks.

 

The game did highlight the value of a competent AR. I had JC on one line, and a player with a flag on the other. On one side, therefore, observations on who’s doing what behind my back, rock solid procedural calls, and overall how can we manage the game better. On the other, well, you just have to work harder, and ask good questions when the moment arrives. So if anybody ever asks, take the best seat in the house, and run the line. Everyone will be happier, you included.

 

And then I got to watch the first of the two PRP games on the ground that day, with a beer and some fine company. Not a bad Saturday.

 

Date: 05/02/2015

St. Mary’s College 48 – Lindenwood 32

Referee: Ricono, Nick (Southern Califnornia)

AR: Byrnes, Bryant

AR: Sandhill, Peter

Attendant Miser: Crenshaw, Jim

 

Report from Bryant Byrnes:

 

Question to James-was it not Davenport rather than Lindenwood?

 

EDITOR’S NOTE: How should I know? I wasn’t there.

 

This semi final had Nick Ricono in the middle-assigned from the National panel (aka, the Nor Cal B Panel) and from SoCal. Peter Sandhill and I were the ARs. Sunny Jim Crenshaw was in attendance just to watch the ponies run and also give the kids their allowances. (I like the Society’s proactive approach to paying its members.)

 

It was all St Mary’s the first half; 24-3. But they neglected their Wheaties at the break and Davenport came roaring back. Its missed conversions (at least four) kept this from being a nail biter. Nick had a super game.

 

Date: 05/02/2015

UC Davis Women 10 – Alumni 30

Referee: Hosley, David

 

A nice tradition is starting at UC Davis, with this second annual alumni women’s match on a beautiful day. The undergrads got to the round of 16 this season, and are looking forward to sevens competition later this month. The university side started out fast, but experience won out. For one of the alumni players, it was the first time she’d laced up her boots in ten years.

 

 

This Week’s Photo

The start of a rugby legacy, all unbeknownst to them, April 30, 1965. L-R: Michael D Hinkin, Joan M Hinkin

Hinkin Parents Wedding

Hail, Pelicus!

For the Senate

Pelicus Pedem Referre