Category Archives: News

Year of the Constipated Sloth

HAIL PELICUS!

 

Year of the Constipated Sloth

As we leave 2018 and venture into 2019 the rugby calendar turns over from the Year of the Insulted Goat to the Year of the Constipated Sloth.   There were many highs and lows in the past year for both club and country and we here at Hail Pelicus look forward to watching this Constipated Sloth reveal what is in store.   Slowly, of course, and with a slightly uncomfortable look on its face.

I am also starting a new tradition this year that, for as long as it holds true, I will end the first segment with a reminder to everyone that the USA is ranked #1 in the world in 7s.

Ben Parker, 1970-2018

Northern California and the rugby community lost a big figure suddenly as former NCRFU President and Head Coach of the Sacramento Blackhawks Ben Parker passed in his sleep on Christmas Eve.   Almost immediately after hearing the news tributes sprang up on Facebook and other social media and eulogies were sent in to me for inclusion in Hail Pelicus.    It is fitting that a man who carried so much influence in the rugby community elicit a massive response so I can not publish them all but, as always, when Pelicus Scriptoris feels the need to comment I cede the floor to him.

From Dr Bruce Carter, Pelicus Scriptoris,

Ben Parker blazed like a meteorite across the NorCal rugby firmament, creating a bright trail that dazzled but didn’t last as long as we might have hoped.

I knew Ben mostly through the intersection of our interests, he as chair of the NCRFU and I as the chair of the NCRRS. In a rugby community that has been blessed with a lot of strong personalities and hard workers, Ben stood out for the depth of his commitment and his willingness to work the politics of people to get things done.

His preferred method of business was the open-ended phone call. Why wait for the next meeting?

I also knew Ben, of course, as a referee for teams that he coached. His teams were trained and disciplined, always winning the warmup while the other team often just stood in a circle and threw a ball around.

It was in this capacity that Ben’s persistence was to turn to my own advantage, much like a judoka turns an opponent’s strength around.

It was the occasion of my annual game in the central coast area, this time in Paso Robles, on St. Patrick’s Day in 2012. Northern California was getting hosed down by epic storms that week, but the Paso club assured us that they had an all-weather pitch. So my wife and I took Friday off and went down a day early, staying at the Madonna Inn, happy to have a rugby getaway weekend in a lovely corner of Pelicanland.

An early call Saturday morning brought the news that the all-weather pitch was fine, but that the sole access road to it was flooded and closed. Game off. Disappointment loomed. Killing a rugby buzz should be a capital offense.

But what could I do other than despair?

As luck would have it, the opponents were the Sacramento Blackhawks, coached by Ben, already embarked upon their four-hour-plus drive and keen to compete.

Chairmen of unions must have more persuasive ability than those of societies. Perhaps Ben reminded them of some double-secret provisions for disciplining teams who pull out of matches at the last minute. This dog was not going to give up that bone.

One of those open-ended phone calls must have ensued, and it worked in my (and the players’) favor. A flat patch of ground materialized, turned into a pitch by the placement of kit bags where normal field markings would have intersected. We had a fine match in the muck that was tied when my watch started beeping, the Blackhawks winning by taking that last scrum against the head and forcing it across the line with a series of desperate phases, the circumstances allowing no tolerance for error.

Ben’s persistence and pertinacity led to this game happening at all, and it is probably no coincidence that his team won my demonstrating some of the same characteristics as its coach.

Strong personalities engender strong opinions. Those who do the most work attract the most flack. Among the pillars supporting Northern California rugby over the decades, Ben stands tall and bears a large share of accomplishment.

Our game is the weaker for losing the involvement of someone with the experience, expertise and commitment of Ben Parker, and we will miss him and his passion.

– Bruce Carter

From Matt Eshoo, friend and former player of Ben Parker’s

As many of you have heard it is with great sadness that I share the news that former NCRFU President Ben Parker unexpectedly passed away.  Ben is survived by his beautiful wife Andrea, parents and four siblings.

Ben’s life began on April 28, 1970 in New Zealand.  Like most children in New Zealand Ben loved rugby and played often.  Some might say that Ben was ahead of time in that he was the biggest flyhalf most people had ever seen.  He was literally a second row playing first five.  He had an extremely strong kicking leg, hard shoulders and a total and complete understanding of the game supported by his super-intelligent family who often debated rugby, politics, economics and just about anything at the dinner table.  Ben would say that if you didn’t have a sound argument you would be destroyed and left fighting for scraps.  However, because of several injuries his dream of becoming an All Black fell short.  During his early 20’s, Ben also began working as a rancher and owned a successful sheep ranch before selling the ranch and becoming a world traveler.  It was during his travels that he landed in America.  In late 90’s he was hired by the New York Athletic Club and led them to a national championship and later coached Belmont Shores Rugby Club and again led them to a national championship before coming to Santa Rosa becoming our head coach.  Ben lived with me during this time and I trained him to become an appraiser and like all things he quickly figured it out and excelled at it.  This would later become his primary occupation for many years, finally evolving into selling real estate and flipping houses.

In 2001 Ben married the love of his life Andrea and in 2004 the couple moved to Sacramento where he started his own real estate appraisal practice.  It wasn’t long before the happy couple bought a beautiful home and were living the American dream.  Ben continued to spent time in rugby and eventually started his own club – the Sacramento Blackhawks.  Sacramento had two others teams searching for talent and the Blackhawks recruited many unknown or new players.  Ben’s love and kindness turned those young players in men and women.  Some of them coming from disadvantaged families where Ben would find ways to help them always treating them as equals and with kindness.  Ben’s saw these young, first generation men and women as the future and his heart reached out not with just words but with actions.  One day he noticed a foreclosed home near his community park rugby field and set about buying the property and transforming it into a club house with rooms for player to live in while they got on their feet.  He then acquired three more vacant lots next to the city park and made them his practice field.  Many players came through the Blackhawks club house and were transformed.  Not content with just making his local community better, Ben set about making Northern California rugby better with intelligent and straight forward ideas and plans.  In 2014 he was elected President of the NCRFU and held the position for four years.  Ben’s home flipping business was also thriving and he had several properties in the works before his untimely passing on Christmas Day during his sleep from heart failure.  He will be sorely missed and the rugby community is at a huge loss.

There aren’t many people who have the will and energy to do what Ben did.  His dry wit and quick tongue could put the best lawyer into mental gymnastics especially for those who didn’t understand his giant heart that was always full of compassion.  He sure was fun to watch.  Be well Ben Parker – I’ll see you on the greatest pitch ever someday to chase down one of your legendary cork screw, up and under kicks and later hoist a pint with you as you teach me more about the game we all love.

There is a celebration of Ben’s life on January 16, 2019 at 1:30pm at Officer’ Club located at Depot Park, Sacramento.  A place Ben loved.

– Matt Eshoo

2019 USA Rugby Game Management Guidelines

Looking for guidance on how to manage a game?   Well, USA Rugby has your back.  You can find the 2019 USA Rugby GMGs here: https://drive.google.com/open?id=1XXcRfsVtLL-qUawEHUI47ei0dt_65fDM.

If you do not have access to the google drive linked above you can also view them as well as other pertinent documents here:   http://www.usarugby.org/referee-resources/

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 we have 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.
  4. If you have any questions as to how to use the app please refer to the following video: https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=_Uz0_gTaOnY

 

 

On To The Game Reports!

Date: 12/29/2018

St Mary’s College B 48 – Santa Rosa 19

Referee: James Hinkin

AR: Allen Gray

AR: Peter Gray

A late appointment over the holiday period filled a need for St Mary’s, Santa Rosa and myself to get out and run off some of that Christmas Dinner.   This promised to be a fast game on the perfect pitch of St Mary’s with plenty of open, running rugby and the promise was fulfilled.   St Mary’s had a full slate of matches with their C side doing battle with Google, their B side tilting against Santa Rosa, and their A side (insert another metaphor for a contest) against Diablo Gaels.

St Mary’s, as expected when competing against a men’s club, was undersized but that bothered them not at all as their speed and fitness proved to be more than adequate for the task at hand.   They came out of the gate with speed, precision and passion and Santa Rosa gave up the initiative almost from the kickoff as St Mary’s put points on the board within 5 minutes.   That is not to say that Santa Rosa rolled over or were not committed, because they regrouped and held their own for long stretches.   Unfortunately, turnovers were deadly as the St Mary’s counterattack looked to be in mid season form.

Not all was sweetness and light, though.   The first 20 minutes was marred by far too many penalties as tackles were high and the breakdown lacked discipline.   After a word to the captains the discipline improved until a high tackle from the Santa Rosa 15 resulted in a yellow card.  Unlucky for him as it was his first penalty but too many team penalties made the decision inevitable.

St Mary’s took advantage of the man advantage to put a few more tries across to end the half up 24-0.

The second half saw a much more committed Santa Rosa side against an uncharacteristically mistake prone St Mary’s side.   The undergrads looked to lose a little focus as they allowed points for the first time all day.  In fact, Santa Rosa can leave the field happy with their response after the break as they put 3 tries on the board with hard, straight running and solid support.   St Mary’s, being who they are, responded with 4 tries of their own to win handily on the scoreboard but Coach O’Brien will not be happy with the mental and physical lapses.   A late yellow card to St Mary’s for a shoulder charge off the ball is exactly the kind of thing that the Gael coaching staff will want to stamp out.

As always, it was a great day of rugby on one of the premier pitches in the country with perfect weather conditions.    Many thanks go to Allen and Peter Gray for ARing – a luxury whenever you have qualified ARs.   In spite of the 2 cards the game was played in excellent spirits and both sides, holiday depleted as they were, could take many positives away.   It was a pleasure to referee.

This Week’s Photo

Doesn’t that look pretty?

Hail, Pelicus!

For the Senate

Pelicus Pedem Referre

2018 Holiday Edition

HAIL PELICUS!

2018 Holiday Edition

I hope everyone is enjoying the Holiday Season, no matter which holiday you celebrate.  If you don’t celebrate anything and are just enjoying some time off I suggest you look back on the previous year and celebrate Rugby.   It has been quite a year for the good old U.S. of A.   Both our men and women have performed exceedingly well this past year as the fruits of our High Performance programs is starting to pay off.    

The women finished the year ranked 5th In the world in 15s and finished 4th in the 7s World Cup and could make a case for being #2 behind the mighty Kiwis.   Remember, they lost a close, back and forth semifinal to New Zealand 26-21 and were the ONLY team to score points on the Black ferns.  Let me rephrase that: The scoreline against the US was 26-21.  The scoreline against everyone else was 105-0 and that includes the World Cup Final.  

The men finished the year ranked 12th in the world – their highest ranking ever – and recorded their first ever win against a Tier 1 nation when they took it to Scotland.   With 2 straight ARC titles and a win over Samoa they look ready for the World Cup next year.    The 7s team lost a semifinal in over time to runners up England in the World Cup and have established themselves as a perennial Cup contender and one of the most feared teams on the circuit.  Perry Baker also had a very impressive year as he was named the World Rugby 7s Player Of The Year for the second consecutive year.   As I sit here this Christmas Eve to write the final Hail Pelicus of the year I am tickled pink to be able to say that the USA is ranked #1 in the world in 7s.    

Gods, but that felt good to type.  So good that I am going to do it again.  The USA is ranked #1 in the world in 7s.

Nor Cal Business

This was an off year for Northern California when it comes to championships.   The men were completely shut out but the ladies stepped up.   Chico St Women won the collegiate D1 national championship and Life West women won the second consecutive D1 club championship by oh, about 70 points.   They followed that up this fall when the WPL, after several years of stalling and hemming and hawing, finally relented and allowed Life West a play in game to join the league.   With only a few days notice the Gladiatrix took flight for Atlanta and beat the DC Furies by, oh about 90 points.  

Sevens was an especially tough season as for the first time ever there were no Northern California sides in the USA Rugby 7s National Championships.    This was truly embarrassing for a region that has won more championships than any other and currently supplies a quarter of the men’s Eagles as well as a few women’s Eagles.   I will now repeat the challenge I laid down in the summer:

So now I throw the gauntlet down.  To all NCRFU clubs who care about 7s, I challenge you.   Take back what is rightly ours.  Life West, SFGG, San Jose, O Club, Sacramento, Santa Rosa, Amazons, All Blues, you may think you train hard but it isn’t hard enough.  Everyone else, this is your chance to do something special.  Push yourself.   Dedicate yourself.   Southern California will be sending 3 teams to nationals while we have none – this is intolerable.   Focus.  Start training earlier.   Play more tournaments.  Commit.   Travel outside our region to get better competition.   In the past we didn’t need to do that because the best was right here.   Not so any more.    The purest form of rugby must come home or there will be a wailing and a gnashing of teeth and other indecent carrying-on.

We Couldn’t Have Done It Without You

The Hail Pelicus isn’t a one man operation and the publication relies on all the match reports that the Pelican Society produces throughout the year.   Of special note are the Pelicans who have moved on to other pastures yet still send in reports – we love them so keep them coming.   Every time a Pelican goes on exchange we get a report.  Every time a Pelican travels just for fun and gets some rugby in we get a report.   This is the heart and soul of this publication.

I would be remiss if I failed to mention the contributions of Our Noble Leader Paul Bretz, aka Pelicus Iudex Pennipes, as I often take his general announcements to the Society and copy paste them directly in and, of course, Dr Bruce Carter, aka Pelicus Scriptoris, for his guest columns which are welcome at any time.

We here at Hail Pelicus often throw in some Latin phrases and other references to classical Greco-Roman culture as well as references to books, movies, musical theater and, of course, obscure words.   We couldn’t do that without our research department headed up by Ibid, but you know him already.

Between Two Pelicans

We will finish off the year with a final Between Two Pelicans interview and for this edition we were lucky enough to get Teller of the fantastic magical duo Penn and Teller.    We covered a wide range of topics and I like to think we uncovered a few surprises.   So without further ado, Between Two Pelicans:

Hail Pelicus:  We are joined here by one half of one of the most successful magical duo of all time, Penn and Teller.   Born Raymond Joseph Teller, our guest, much like Madonna and Bono, is professionally know by the single name Teller.   Teller began performing with his friend Weir Chrisemer as The Othmar Schoeck Society for the Preservation of Weird and Disgusting Music. Teller met Penn Jillette in 1974, and they became a three-person act with Chrisemer called Asparagus Valley Cultural Society, which started at the Minnesota Renaissance Festival and subsequently played in San Francisco. In 1981, they began performing exclusively together as Penn & Teller, an act that continues to this day.   Welcome, Teller

Teller:

Hail Pelicus:  Quite.  I understand you have signed up for another season of your hit show Penn & Teller: Fool Us where magicians come on the show and perform tricks while you and Penn try to figure out how it is done.   Do you prefer being fooled or do you prefer it when you are able to spot the trick the magician is using?

Teller:

Hail Pelicus:  You don’t say?

Teller:

Hail Pelicus:  Fascinating.    Moving on, did you ever watch or play rugby when you were younger?  Perhaps in college?

Teller:

Hail Pelicus:  I did not know that.

Teller:

Hail Pelicus:  So what is your opinion on the state of US Rugby?

Teller:

Hail Pelicus:  Some strong language there, but I can not disagree with you.  I appreciate the passion as well.

Teller:

Hail Pelicus:  Indeed.

Teller:

Hail Pelicus:  (laughing) Ha!  I’m dying here!  Now that is a story that you may wish doesn’t see print!

Teller:

Hail Pelicus:  (more laughter) I didn’t even know that was possible!   I’m in tears!   Moving on, with the Rugby World Cup coming up, are you willing to make a few predictions?

Teller:

Hail Pelicus:  Bold.   With you living in Vegas you may be tempted to put your money where your mouth is.  

Teller:

Hail Pelicus:  Totally agree.   One final question, if you would be so kind.   Yanny or Laurel?

Teller:

Hail Pelicus:  My feelings exactly.   That is all the time we have so I would like to thank Teller for his time and if anyone wants to purchase that perfect gift for the rugger in their family audio recordings of this interview are available.

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 we have 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.
  4. If you have any questions as to how to use the app please refer to the following video: https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=_Uz0_gTaOnY

On To The Game Reports!

Date: 11/03/2018

Hendon II 14 – Cuffley II 29

Referee: Preston Gordon

Location:  Greenlands Lane, Hendon, London

Competition: Hertfordshire/Middlesex Merit Table 4 NE

This was another late appointment that I was able to pick up in the London area. In this case, the Hendon seconds’ scheduled opponents (Barnet Elizabethans II) begged off at the last minute. Hendon was able to arrange a friendly match against one of their other regular opponents in this league, which meant I got to ref this past Saturday on a slightly cold, windy, but otherwise great day for rugby.

Hendon’s clubhouse is in North London, just off a major road, and somewhat hidden behind an auto repair/tire shop. Nonetheless, it was an easy tube/train/uber ride away from central London, and the normal practice here is for the home club to pay the refs’ travel expenses after the match. They still had many of their Halloween decorations up. The Saracens play at Allianz Park, which is a very short distance away – the grandstand is easily visible from Hendon’s pitch. This particular Saturday, Hendon’s first side was playing on the adjacent pitch to their second side, which was my game.

Each side had 18 players on its roster, though as a friendly, there were no limits on substitutions. There was also a lack of front row replacements, and most of the match was limited to uncontested scrums after one of the props went off injured fairly early on. There was a paucity of scoring in the first half, with Cuffley getting the only points on the board with a 7th-minute unconverted try. The remainder of the half saw some good line breaks, lots of tackling, and a lot of knock-ons with no opportunity to play much advantage. Luckily the uncontested scrums didn’t tire out the forwards. There was one moment of unfriendliness near the end of the first half, in which a few swings were taken, but none of these connected and good order was shortly restored after a few words from me and a handshake between the would-be pugilists. The half ended with Hendon attacking the Cuffley goal line repeatedly, only to knock the ball on a few meters out: 5-0 to the visitors.

Hendon started the second half strongly, with two converted tries at 45′ and 49′, to take a 14-5 lead. Cuffley regrouped and scored at 51′ (unconverted) to cut the lead to 4 points, and took a 17-14 lead five minutes later with a converted try at 56′. Hendon continued to threaten, but were not able to stop a couple of the Cuffley runners scoring one try around the outside and another through the middle (at 62′ and 77′, converting the first one). The last score sealed the

29-14 win for Cuffley, given the amount of time left in the match.

After changing, one pint, and catching up for a bit with the captains, we all caught the last 10 minutes of the England-South Africa game which was being broadcast in the clubhouse bar. The place emptied out soon after that and I took my leave, heading back to central London the way I came. Thanks to both teams for playing at short notice, to the touch judges (including the very young deputy TJ), and for the hospitality after the match.

Date: 11/14/2018

Robert Clack School 36 – Harris City Academy 10

Referee: Preston Gordon

Location:  Robert Clack Leisure Center

Competition: London Midweek Schools (U18)

This match was located in Dagenham, an eastern suburb of London that generated a pretty consistent raised-eyebrow reaction whenever I mentioned to anyone where it was. It seems that people don’t find it too nice of an area, but that kind of thing doesn’t bother me: I was there for the rugby. One explanation of that simple reason for my presence got perhaps the best reaction ever. “What’s an American doing here?” “Well, I’m just here for the rugby.” “In Dagenham?” (with the last question being one of total disbelief and incredulity. The neighborhood may be considered the London area’s equivalent of Richmond’s iron triangle, but the group of students I refereed was some of the best-behaved and well-coached high school teams I’ve had the pleasure of refereeing. Robert Clack’s mission seems to be to use rugby as a channel for adolescent energy, producing positive outcomes in the lives of its young men and women. I doubt there are too many other schools in similar neighborhoods sending their students to Cambridge. It reminded me of the Oakland Warthogs program (see https://www.telegraph.co.uk/sport/columnists/jimwhite/2308586/How-rugby-turned-bad-boys-into-ambassadors.html for a relevant 2007 article).

Both teams had plenty of large, fast players, including a few wearing kit from some of the top men’s clubs in England, and one whose 400m dash time ought to have him in the British Olympic track squad. We kicked off at 1500, after a somewhat drawn-out wait for the visiting team to arrive while I was starting to be eaten alive by mosquitoes.

After a short bit of back-and-forth play, Robert Clack scored the first (converted) try 9 minutes in. Harris stayed strong and held the hosts scoreless until 21′, 25′, and 30′, when their defense cracked and they allowed 3 more tries, all unconverted. This was a classic case of the slightly smaller team (Robert Clack) playing better rugby as a group, vs. the larger/faster Harris players making more individual attacks. This led to me having a word to the Harris captain after the 3rd time a particularly large player had smashed through the defense, then getting pinged for not releasing the ball after being tackled, primarily because he had isolated himself. Thankfully that trend stopped, and there was only one further home team score 36′ in, with a converted try for a 29-0 halftime lead.

Given their 5 tries and blanking of Harris, I expected more of the same form Robert Clack in the second half. However, I suspect the Harris coaches’ halftime instructions included a change of tactics, because they got on the scoreboard first with a really well-worked try

5 minutes in (unconverted) that cut the gap to 24 points, with half an hour to play. More great, hard-hitting rugby followed, with both sides’ defenses doing a lot of work to prevent scores from line breaks or attacks on the wings. The only annoying thing was the increasing number of scrums, but I’ll ascribe that to the sun being just a couple of degrees above the horizon from KO onward, and setting with perhaps

20 minutes left to play. There were no lights, and more mosquitoes. At the 30th minute, Robert Clack picked up another try, converting this one, for a 36-5 lead. That secured the win, but Harris had the last word with a try 2 minutes past the end of the half that I had to work hard to see clearly, given the twilight conditions and, just before that last score, a tackler’s flying boot to the softest part of the top of my ankle that left me hopping on the other foot. Ouch.

Harris were happy to win the second half 10-7, Robert Clack was happy to pick up what I believe was just their third win of their season, and I was really happy with the way each team played and responded to my management suggestions. Both of these groups of young men were a pleasure to ref, aside from that annoying ankle stamp I couldn’t avoid, and I’d be happy to go back to Dagenham anytime I’m sent there.

Good luck to each team for the rest of the season, and thanks to the TJs and the Robert Clack coaching staff who got me set up in their well-equipped referees’ locker room.

(EDITORS NOTE:  In 1998 I lived in Dagenham while playing for Barking RUFC.   I can attest to the reputation of the area as well as the surprise of seeing a Yank there.)

Date: 10/20/2018

Stanford Women  Rookie 10s  

Referee: Giles Wilson

Two games at the Stanford Women’s rookie 10s 

Chico 10 USF 17 (2 tries to 3 plus one conversion).  This was Chico’s first game and USF’s second at this event; USF had a fairly large group of players and rotated them. Chico are well drilled but the players needed some game exposure.

Stanford white 17 vs Chico 17. Stanford scored twice in the first 10 minutes and then again after the half before Chico got their first and second score – both under the posts but they couldn’t manage to make contact on the attempted drop kicks. Then Chico scored a third time as time expired and finally sent out a tee for a harder kick. Of course this kicker was able to make the kick for the 17 all tie.

Date: 10/20/2018

Unknown

Referee: Roberto Santiago

Day 1 was a lot of fun. Some very good rugby, and a lot of corny jokes by the announcer.

Date: 10/21/2018

Unknown

Referee: Roberto Santiago

Day 2. Send help, my legs feel as like the Tin Man’s before they oil him up. Another great day, but that’s a lot of running. Wouldn’t trade it, but it was a lot. 

Date: 11/03/2018

Cal Poly Men B 21 – Chico State B 33 

Referee: Andrew Stockton

This was the first of two matches on my first weekend 15’s trip since I’ve been at UCSB. I took the train up after Friday class and stayed with a buddy for the evening and drove out to the field the next day. The match was played at Atascadero High’s football field due to a mix up with Cal Poly’s regular fields. This ended up shrinking field size which I believe worked to Chico State’s advantage in both games.

The first match was essentially a way to let new players get match time. Cal Poly had quite a few new players as did Chico (apparently they’ve converted a couple of baseball players into wings). Because of the large amount of new players, there were constant subs just to get kids minutes. In my opinion, this created a bit of chaos and there wasn’t much continuity to the match because of gaps in skill and chemistry. However, it was still a high paced and intense match.

Chico State scored first early into the first half after a few bruising runs by their forwards (who were much larger than the Cal Poly forwards) and then a quick knifing run through the middle by the Chico backline. 

Date: 11/03/2018

California Bald Eagles 35 – SF Fog 25 

Referee: Giles Wilson

I arrived at the GAA field on Treasure Island to see a locked field and a group of SF Fog players passing a couple of balls around. Chatting with Dany (the chubby unicorn) Samreth, waiting for the Bald Eagles and the lock code.

Getting into the field about 45 minutes before game time, and Bald Eagles began to drift in while the Fog warmed up enthusiastically.

Both teams agreed to no kicking in front of the 22m line, full halves with a break at 20 minutes for changes (and recharging time for the older guys).

The Fog started strongly and clearly had pace and energy on their side against a group of old guys with significant rugby intelligence but not able to do things as fast as they remembered.

Half time was 4 tries to 1 in favour of the Fog (no goal posts so no kicks at goal). The Fog then introduced more rookies and loaned one of their better players (a wing with good pace). The rookies couldn’t compete with the rugby savvy of the Bald Eagles or, more specifically, the pace of the winger loaned to the Bald Eagles.

The second half was 4 tries to 3 in favour of the Bald Eagles but at least 6 of the scores were actually by Fog players.

Full time; 7 tries to 5 for the Fog

Date: 12/01/2018

Fresno State Women 28 – CSU Monterey Bay Women 12 

Referee: Rodney Tuisavalalo

It was good game to start the season. Both teams were ready to go by the time I got to the pitch. The overnight rain and morning showers made it tough for ball handling for both sides, but that didn’t matter really. The first half started well enough, but it was Fresno that dictated the pace and play. They attacked well and often that eventually led to a nice run and try by Fresno State. Another converted try soon after indicated that there might be a runaway, but Monterey would not let that happen. They successfully denied Fresno’s attack with sheer power tackling. What they lacked in offensive possession they made up for in their defense. They were eventually rewarded when a knock-on by Fresno at the half-way point led to some pretty footwork by Monterey’s 12 which ended with a try near the posts. It was converted and cut Fresno’s lead to a try. HT score 14-7 Fresno. Fresno came out firing in the second half. The tries came easier as the ground started to firm up a little. Monterey forwards started to pick up the pace as well. One after another they charged the line and committed at least 3 defenders to the breakdown. They would eventually score in the end with a tap and go from the number 3. Fresno’s back-line became more and more confident as the game wore on. They moved the ball through the hands pretty well, and unleashed their wingers at the end. Solid effort from both teams.Good game overall! Much luck to both teams next week! Cheers, Rod

Date: 12/01/2018

San Jose State Women 27 – Santa Clara Women 24 

Referee: John Lane

6pm at Spartan Stadium is an excellent venue – great surface and excellent lights!

After a short discussion on ensuring everyone one was on the same page for the line markings on the American Football field the pre-match formalities of boot checks, captain introductions and coin toss were executed.

Santa Clara kicked off and the opening 5 minutes was dominated by San Jose although both sides took a few minutes to settle into the game.  On 10 minutes Santa Clara showed that they had settle down and following multiple phases crossed near the posts for a converted try (0-7 on10 mins).

The next 10 minutes was played mainly between the 22’s with multiple turnovers from both teams.

At this point, San Jose took a decided upper hand for the remainder of the half – in particular with some strong running from their outside center.

On 25 mins, she crossed for an unconverted try on the left and then catching a slightly long restart kick accelerated through 2 attempted tackles, swerved around the fullback and sprinted from the half way line to score under the posts.  The conversion pushed the score to 12-7 on 27 mins.

San Jose remained on top for the remainder of the half and extended their lead when being awarded a penalty on the 22m line to the right of the posts.  Their kicker indicated a shot at goal to me and rather than wait for a kicking tee just turned and split the uprights with a text book drop goal.  Half time 17-7.

Santa Clara opened the second half well and on 46 mins broke through for an uncoverted try for 17-12.  San Jose’s No 13 responded again and on 52 mins crossed for her hat-trick – converted for a 24-12 lead.

For the next 15 minutes, play moved from end to end in a very open game – control was not always accurate but the enthusiasm and commitment of both sets of players brought the supporters to life with plenty of loud encouragement.  This raised the players efforts further – the subs bench was used heavily by both sides as players tired through the committed efforts.

On 27 mins, San Jose crossed again for an unconverted try to stretch the lead to 27-12 and the game looked to be settled.

Backed by some very vocal support, Santa Clara finished with a flourish scoring 2 tries (1 converted) to close score to 27-24 with the last play of the game.

After a well fought and good humored fair contest throughout the two sets of players clapped each other off the field with the vocal supports joining them from the stands. 

Date: 12/01/2018

UC Davis 43 – UC Santa Cruz 5 

Referee: Rich Boyer

UC Santa Cruz started very strong, with multiple pick and drives from rucks.  UCD didn’t have much of a response to this strategy until their back picked off a pass and scored under the posts.  Santa Cruz were game, and responded with a try.  But from then on it was all UCD, with brilliant phase play, strong up and unders, and good defense.  Standouts for Davis included Tarik, the flyhalf, and the entire forward pack, with number 7 showing especially well.  Santa Cruz’ number 8 did well with numerous strong runs and the flyhalf exhibited great kicking skills. 

Date: 12/01/2018

UC Davis Women 17 – UCSB Women 70 

Referee: Steven Fenaroli

First 15s start in norcal due to the bad weather a couple weeks ago. The weather was poised to open up and downpour and at the start of the game, our odds didn’t look great. Within the first 10 minutes the sky cleared and the match was a sunny one. It was a close score at halftime with UCD trailing 12-10. With the large turnout that the UCD women saw on their team, they rotated in substitutes. UCSB traveled with about 17 players who toughed out the entire 80 minutes. The UCSB women ran away with it as their offloads and discipline at the breakdown kept them with overlaps and finding the gaps.

Date: 12/08/2018

Cal Poly Women 31 – CSU Monterey Bay Women 45  

Referee: Paul Bretz

This was my first run since I tore my meniscus in October.  Happy to say no issues or pain.  As for the game… Cal Poly women dominated the play early on scoring 19 points before CSU Monterey Bay go on the board.  Cal Poly played a more open style game utilizing their 3 dominate players:  6,8 and 10.  However, 6 and 8 went out with injuries and that left the door open for Monterey to come back using a more controlled pick and drive attack.  While it wasn’t particularly attractive it was effective; as the first half drew to a conclusion Cal Poly was up 31-19. 

In the second half CSU continued to use their pick-and-drive to establish quick ball then used their wing to create lots of runs.  With 21 minutes to go the game was tied @ 31.  That was it for Cal Poly as CSU pulled ahead for good scoring 2 more converted tries to make the final score 45 to the visitors and 31 for the hosts. 

This Week’s Photo

Hendon RFC in Hendon, London, England, United Kingdom.    Not too shabby.

Hail, Pelicus!

For the Senate

Pelicus Pedem Referre

Seven And Done

HAIL PELICUS!

Seven And Done

The collegiate fall 7s season has finally come to a close and the clubs are beginning their preseason preparation. As a result this edition of Hail Pelicus will have tournament recaps of all the collegiate action in our Game Reports section. Normal service will resume with our next edition, so if you are refereeing, get your reports in.

With that being said, there is no longer an off season for Pelicans so feel free to feed your rugby jones year round. To that end please be sure to update your availability on WhosTheRef so that our assigner Pelicus Fistulator can get referees to all the games and tournaments.

Attention All Club Administrators

It has come to our attention that some of the clubs we provide services for have games scheduled but have not yet contacted the referee society. Our website, pelicanrefs.com details the steps required to secure a referee. Please visit it and complete all steps.

As you are aware Scott Wood was our tech guru and responsible for uploading the matches into our referee allocation software. Some of you may have inadvertently sent your match fixture spreadsheet, the template is available on the website, to that Scott’s email address. If you have a completed Match Fixture Spreadsheet completed, kindly resend it to the following email address: fixtures@pelicanrefs.com. That email address is being sent to the new fixture secretary, Neil MacDaonald.

Secondly, we are embarking on a new season and clubs may be using different administrative personnel. Kindly review the following page http://pelicanrefs.com/contacts/club-contacts/ and if needed update the information to ensure your club receives timely communication from the society as needed.

NCRFURS AGM Results

Thank you to everyone who participated in our NCRRS AGM, especially our coach’s panel. The Flock gathered to run a fitness test, discuss law application and the thought behind it, and pick the winners of the 2019 NCRFU season.

Most importantly, we elected a replacement for the sadly departed Our Scott Wood. Congratulations to Lee Bryant (aka “LB2”), who couldn’t make the meeting due to her refereeing a WPL match, but when she received the endorsement of the NCRFU President all pretenders faded away. We look forward to Lee filling her role on the board with the thoughtfulness and passion that she brings to everything in her life.

The NCRRS Kit Store

It isn’t too late – there is still time to get your order in. The NCRRS Fall Collection is available online. To access the store you can click on the banner below or go directly to https://norcalrefereewinter18.itemorder.com/

Please note that you can get your entire kit plus accessories EXCEPT for a jersey. Those are still handed out by the society’s Kit Cat because we don’t sell them but give them away in appreciation of refereeing 5 assigned matches.

The store is currently open and will be available until midnight, Sunday November 11, so any purchases made should arrive in time for the holidays. Try to remember that date as all orders need to be in by then to be processed. If only there was some way to ensure remembrance of that date. Oh well, as a veteran of many online stores I am sure I will come up with something.

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 we have 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.
4. If you have any questions as to how to use the app please refer to the following video: https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=_Uz0_gTaOnY

On To The Game Reports! – Collegiate 7s Edition

Event: West Coast 7s
Date: 10/06/2018 (Cal Poly, San Luis Obispo), 10/20/2018 (Ray Sheeran Field, Treasure Island)
Referee Reporter: Steven Fenaroli

While the rest of our great 49 states are fully engaged in 15s rugby, Norcal continues its trend of being special and hosting the final weekend of the annual West Coast 7s on The Treasure Island at the famed San Francisco Golden Gate Rugby Club.

This two day tournament was officiated by four southern California brethern, and three locals. The first of many partnerships proved fruitful as I were introduced to Matt “Uncle” Rico and Alexis the opera singer. It was well attended by schools. The usual suspects entered the tournament, from powerhouses like Cal, Arizona, UCLA, we saw some newcomers like Cuesta College make a strong showing.

As usual, SFGG is a great host, and Pete Smith thoroughly enjoyed himself on the microphone. Full of quips like Fenaroli wearing small powerlifting shirts, to putting on a great playlist both days- the guy was on fire!

Newly minted FLORUGBY carried the video of the matches and they did a great job of covering the action from start to finish.

Uncle Rico loved his sweet red matching tracksuit so much that he wore it all weekend just so he would have the strength to throw a football over the mountains. There was some superb coaching provided by none other than Paul Bretz. We thank you for the feedback and constructive criticism to help the game grow.

Day one had a host of injuries with one referee complete decimating University of San Diego’s roster and leaving bodies along a trail leading to Oakland hospitals.

Semi Finals featured Cal v Arizona, & UCLA v Cal Poly

Once Cal got by Arizona, and UCLA did the same versus Cal Poly, it was an all California final, featuring THE university of California and The one from South of the Grapevine.

Cal worked hard to distribute the ball and ultimately came out on top

The weekend was capped off with what was meant to be a BBQ competition featuring the likes of USA Eagle Todd Clever, but due to copyright issues, Clever was told he would have to take his pulled pork elsewhere. The San Jose Rugby Foundation had a monopoly on the weekend and even had a respectable 50/50 raffle that awarded more than chicken bones.

So we will get 15s, until then we enjoy counting down from 7, and doing less math when it comes to numbering players on the field.

Event: NSCRO 7s West Coast Qualifier
Date: 10/13/2018 (Cal St Monterey Bay)
Referee Reporter: James Hinkin

CSUMB hosted the West Coast Qualifier for the right to represent at the NSCRO National Championship. The field was in great shape and clearly marked and the teams were all ready to compete for the title. A special thank you to CSUMB for providing water and snacks to the teams and the referees all day – a fantastically organized event. Teams included Humboldt St, CSUMB and a couple of motley sides. Of course, the participants from last year’s epic final, Cal Maritime and Claremont Colleges, were present with a wary eye on each other.

The day proved to be perfect for rugby as Monterey showed off why it is a world class destination. The teams were playing hard and fair – I do not recall any cards for foul play – and the games were fast. As the day progressed it became increasingly obvious that a finals rematch was on the cards as Cal Maritime and Claremont Colleges separated themselves from the pack. Last year Cal Maritime prevailed in a thriller with a try at full time to Claremont and a simple conversion to tie and send the match into overtime, but the conversion was missed. That is why we play the game – nothing can be taken for granted.

Claremont clearly wanted revenge for their loss last year and came out on fire in the final. As good as Coach Steve Hyatt’s Keelhaulers were, they had no answer to the relentless attack and stifling defense of the southerners and the final ended up with a lob-sided score of 31-0. That did not tell how evenly matched these teams were, but was an indication of how lethal Claremont was once they sniffed the try line. Good luck to Claremont Colleges as they seek to add to their 15s national championship earned back in June. This is a solid program that has put together quite a run.

A great job was done by the refereeing crew of Neil MacDonald, Jordan Bruno and James Hinkin with congratulations going to Roberto Santiago for earning the whistle for the final. Also of note was the tireless efforts of young Gregor MacDonald who ran touch all day without in the least looking like he was tired. Ah, to be young again.

Event: Pac West 7s
Date: 11/03/2018 (Kinesiology Field, Fresno St)
Referee Reporter: Dan Wilson

The Pac West 7’s were held on campus of Fresno State on their Kinesiology field. It was true regulation with well-defined lines and phenomenal grass. Pac West Commissioner James Fonda and his liaison at Fresno State, Mike Darling, definitely set up a great arena for rugby. The Pac West teams included UC Santa Barbara in the tournament, and as with the teams, our referee group was a combination of NorCal and SoCal referees. Austin Reed and Alexis Alfaro joined Rod Tuisavalalo, Andrew Arballo and Dan Wilson for what Austin described as the most stress free tournament he had been to all season. Additionally, 7 ARs from the local area joined to run the lines. Yep, it was set to be a good rugby day, but then again, isn’t every day?

The competition on the pitch could be described as competitive, with only one pool-play game being lopsided. In the two brackets, Stanford clearly was dominant on one side and both Fresno State and UN Reno were the lead teams on the other. That side’s final pool play game was against each other with Fresno State coming out on top at the end, but it could have gone the other way easily. Most of the other games were more evenly matched even with certain teams not winning their games yet still being in each game until the end.

Overall, the games were played with great sport. It was rare that a card was pulled demonstrating both fair play and effective referee control and management. The one stoppage for injury was even not due to foul play. From the referee aspect, the scheduled rotation worked well and the collaboration between NorCal and SoCal went on to include sharing of concepts being taught. We all enjoyed the day.

The final game demonstrated Stanford was above the rest of the teams in both talent and strategy. Stanford focused on Fresno State’s one weapon, Isiah and was able to dominate the game by not allowing him to shine. Meanwhile, Stanford’s teamwork and athleticism was on display with emphasis. Fresno State star, Kruse, was able to dot down a try in the final minute to ensure it they were not shut out, but the game was really decided in the first two minutes. Congrats Stanford.

Thank you, also, to the Fresno Men’s Club for hosting a family social at a park on Fresno State’s campus which allowed both Austin and Alexis to have a social and meal before getting back on the road to the land down south.

Event: Pac 12 7s
Date: 11/03/2018, 11/04/2018 (Witter Field, Berkeley)
Referee Reporter: Pete Smith

First and foremost, I want to thank everyone at the University of California from Coaches Clark and Billups to the non-rugby Cal students working the concessions stands for putting on the first-class event you would expect from one of the finest Universities in the world. Special shout out to Mike MacDonald for running the operational aspects of the event. Clearly a huge job that Coach MacDonald made look easy.

Congratulations to Cal for winning the tournament. Consider that at the coin toss the options are to kick or pick an end (which means receive as well). The thought behind that is kicking off has the same benefit as putting the ball in the scum or throwing at a lineout. You should retain 80-90% of your kickoffs and Cal was absolutely dominant in this area. They put on a clinic on why you choose to kickoff. In a typical 7’s match, you will have 2-3 scrums (with short advantages) and 1-2 lineouts (almost no kicking and teams work to stay inbounds) so the set piece that occurs by far the most is kickoffs. Moreover, kickoffs are momentum opportunities. You are either starting a game/half or you have either just scored or been scored on, so the kickoffs are critical. Cal performed well in all aspects but excelled at kickoffs and major point of separation between them and the competition.

Stanford deserves recognition for this event as well. It wasn’t that long ago that they were being criticized for cancelling their game against Cal. Stanford showed up with their B side because their top team was in Fresno winning the Pac Western 7’s (the league they actually compete in). They played hard, competed in every game, took their lumps, didn’t complain and showed that their program is on the rise again.

Oregon St likewise deserves some recognition for making the long trip and being competitive. They were 2-2 heading into the 5th place game against USC. USC has Michael Cesar and he is a scoring machine that is hard for anyone to stop and he was the difference in USC taking 5th. I can’t believe I just typed that either- USC 5th (and not last)…it shows how far has that program come in the past few years.

I’d like to recognize 16year old Cole Wallin for doing a great job as an AR all weekend. He performed at a level of maturity well beyond his years and is primed to follow in Andrew Stockton’s path to success. He was given the whistle for the 7th/8th place game between Utah and Stanford and to quote Hall of Fame Coach Billups who went well out of his way to let Cole know “he outperformed the players”. I let Cole know of the assignment only 20 minutes before kickoff as I didn’t want him to have time to be nervous doing his first (and definitely not his last) match on National Television. There was a play late in the second half of Cole’s game where there was a clear not releasing penalty, Cole let it breath to see if the non-offending team could gain advantage once the ball was released and that decision resulted in a try. High level stuff from a ref of any age. Well done Cole!!

Continuing the youth topic, I would like to thank Allen Gray and his 12-year-old son Peter for coming out on Sunday to complete the team of 5 for the final round. Allen and Peter both performed at the high level we expect from our AR’s here in Pelican Land. Peter has no fear and the moment never seemed too big for him. In fact, he was chomping at the bit the take a whistle on the field…already Cole has to look over his shoulder at who is coming up behind him! I look forward to Allen’s contribution to the Society and watching Peter develop.

A referee issue occurred in the first semi-final match that bears some discussion. Once we realized that the delays caused by television allowed us the time to use radios, we put them to use on Sunday. There was a play late in the game with the score 17-12 where the UCLA player dropped a pass and the ref was slightly unsighted, but the pass appeared to go backwards. The AR radioed in that a knock on had occurred, the ref asked if he was certain and the response was ‘yes’. The referee blew the whistle-game over. Needless to say, the ball went backwards. First off, you can’t un-blow the whistle. It only took a few moments to realize the AR made a mistake, unfortunately the law doesn’t allow for correcting that mistake. When questioned by the media the referee correctly stated that we are a team and he needed to trust his team. They let him down in this instance, but the thought process was correct. Like players, a team of refs need to operate as a team and we need to trust each other. Like players, we make mistakes that cost the team. Both the referee and myself apologized to the UCLA coach for the mistake. Nothing more we could do. Lessons learned.

This Week’s Photo

The Pac 12 Sunday Referee Crew. (Matt Hetterman not pictured as he was only available Saturday).
L-R (Back Row): Marquise Goodwin, Allen Gray, Pete Smith, Steven Fenaroli, David Pescetti, Jordan Bruno. L-R (Front Row): Peter Gray, Cole Wallin

Hail, Pelicus!
For the Senate
Pelicus Pedem Referre

Do You Mind? We Are Meeting

HAIL PELICUS!

Do You Mind? We Are Meeting

This week you, our loyal readers, will be getting Hail Pelicus Light, the same great taste of a regular Hail Pelicus but with only half the calories.

The reason for this promotion of Diet HP is that there isn’t all that much rugby going on at the moment and reminders need to go our regarding requesting referees, our AGM and the Kit Store. We here at HP would also like to post the first write up from our newest international correspondent Pelicus Miratus Velocitas. Exciting times here at HP.

So, with that being said.

Attention All Club Administrators

It has come to our attention that some of the clubs we provide services for have games scheduled but have not yet contacted the referee society. Our website, pelicanrefs.com details the steps required to secure a referee. Please visit it and complete all steps.

As you are aware Scott Wood was our tech guru and responsible for uploading the matches into our referee allocation software. Some of you may have inadvertently sent your match fixture spreadsheet, the template is available on the website, to that Scott’s email address. If you have a completed Match Fixture Spreadsheet completed, kindly resend it to the following email address: fixtures@pelicanrefs.com. That email address is being sent to the new fixture secretary, Neil MacDaonald.

Secondly, we are embarking on a new season and clubs may be using different administrative personnel. Kindly review the following page http://pelicanrefs.com/contacts/club-contacts/ and if needed update the information to ensure your club receives timely communication from the society as needed.

NCRFURS AGM Details

Time:
9:00 AM-2:00PM

Location:
Newark Memorial High School
39375 Cedar Blvd. Newark CA 94560

Agenda:
8:30 am: arrival and warm up for the Yo-yo fitness test at 9:00 AM.
fitness testing will be conducted on the football field (grass surface so bring cleats)
10:00-10:30 AM: AGM begins in the NMHS Library
society to provide light breakfast and refreshments

AGM: Reports
All reports to be submitted electronically
Reports will be in the Google environment and all referees society members will have the ability to pose questions. Report committee authors will answer the questions that are posed.
Reports to be produced and submitted to me by Thursday 10/25/18
Report to detail last year’s history
President’s report (Bretz)
Recruiting report: (Fenarolli)
Exchange report (Hetterman)
Financial report (Wilson)
Kit/Uniform (Hinkin)
Wilson Scholarship (Hosley)
Website and WTR (Macdonald)

Officer selection
Vote to replace Scott Wood. James Hinkin was appointed by the board to replace Scott until the AGM. If you have an interest in serving the referee community by becoming a member of the board please email me. We will have an election based on those members who wish to serve on the board.
If you will not be present at the AGM but wish to cast a vote, provide a member of the society with your proxy by emailing the member in attendance and give them right to vote on your behalf and include Pete Smith in the email. Pete will keep track of who is voting by Proxy.
Dan Wilson and another member of the society, to be determined at the meeting, will be responsible for counting the votes.
All those voting should be CIPPed and have paid referee dues. To pay society dues go to the following Paypal link

10:30-12:00 Coaches Forum (facilitated by Bretz)
12:00-12:30 Lunch with coaches (please complete the form noted above so we can get an accurate count (https://goo.gl/forms/HuEgKXbq745qcMzk1)
12:30-1:00 Lee Bryant and Steve Fenaroli to present “Pathways to National assignments”.
Location: NMHS Library
1-1:30 Weight and Conditioning review (JT)
Location: NMHS Weight Room
1:30-2:00 Training Run
NMHS Football Field
2:00-3:00 LMS training (if interested)
Location NMHS Library

Don’t forget your mascot.

The NCRRS Kit Store

The NCRRS Fall Collection is available online. To access the store you can click on the banner below or go directly to https://norcalrefereewinter18.itemorder.com/

Please note that you can get your entire kit plus accessories EXCEPT for a jersey. Those are still handed out by the society’s Kit Cat because we don’t sell them but give them away in appreciation of refereeing 5 assigned matches.

The store is currently open and will be available until midnight, Sunday November 11, so any purchases made should arrive in time for the holidays. Try to remember that date as all orders need to be in by then to be processed. If only there was some way to ensure remembrance of that date. Oh well, as a veteran of many online stores I am sure I will come up with something.

A Pelican Lands in London – Preston Gordon

While rumors of my demise in San Francisco are greatly exaggerated, to paraphrase Mark Twain, it is true that I am now a legal resident of the United Kingdom: it’s official. I’m writing this from a Hertfordshire (“Herts”) town that’s about an hour north of London, and the five days I’ve been in this country as a guest, vs. many previous times as a frequent visitor, have been jam-packed with UK immigration administrivia, family time, shaking the work bushes, and house-hunting. They have also been productive from a rugby standpoint.

Over the last few weeks I’ve been in touch with the ladies & gentlemen of the London Society of Rugby Football Referees (“LSRFUR”), who kindly accepted my application to join their society, and promised they would put me to work refereeing once I arrived here. Because I expect to be spending the majority of my UK time in Herts or central London, they allocated me to their North Region, which is one of 4 semi-autonomous regions of the oldest (1889) and largest (500+) referee societies in the world – for more info, take a look at www.londonrugby.com.

I’m here for less than a week on this trip, before I fly back to California to attend our AGM and take care of some other business.

Given the quick turnaround and my full schedule, I wasn’t expecting to be able to referee in London until I had a 3-week block of time in the UK between Halloween and Thanksgiving. In this case, fortune favors the flexible, and on Tuesday evening I picked up a late assignment for a universities match on Wednesday afternoon. London being a fairly dense city with lots of open space, I left a meeting with a recruiter in the City of London at 1130, stopped at my flat so I could quick-change from my banker suit into suitable pre-match rugby attire, jumped back on the tube for a few more stops, and was at the pitch just 90 minutes later having never set foot in a car. Having spent plenty of time in London, this should not prove to be unusual in the future.

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 we have 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.
4. If you have any questions as to how to use the app please refer to the following video: https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=_Uz0_gTaOnY

On To The Game Reports!

(As reported above, we would like to welcome our newest Senior International Correspondent Pelicus Miratus Velocitas, vulgarly known as Preston Gordon, to Hail Pelicus. Many of you may remember Preston as a Senior Local Correspondent but he has since relocated to Foreign Places. We wish him the best and still expect weekly reports.)

Date: 10/23/2018
SOAS 68-7 LSBU
Location: The Hub, Regent’s Park, London
Referee: Preston Gordon

First, here’s an explanation of these FLAs (four-letter acronyms):
SOAS is the School of Oriental & African Studies, LSBU is London South Bank University, and BUCS is the British Universities & Colleges Sport organization, under which high school & university rugby is played in the UK.

At the coin toss, I surprised the skippers by telling them they would be playing for my NCRRS necktie to commemorate my first match assigned by LSRFUR. We kicked off at 1400, on a day that couldn’t have been more perfect for rugby. It was in the low 60s with a slight breeze, the pitch was firm and fast, and the leaves were just starting to fall off the trees. We had perhaps 50 spectators, plus passerby enjoying a bit of rugby during their walks in the park.

SOAS wasted no time opening their account with a quick try after catching the defense napping, followed by another one scored around the outside. Soon after, SOAS took a quick-tap penalty ~15m out from the defending team’s posts, only to see the player taken out by a LSBU defender who made no effort to retire 10m. Being an English league fixture, a yellow card was appropriate without prior warning. I keep my yellow card loose in my pocket for occasions like this – players seem to take heed when it’s drawn quickly in situations like this. The card didn’t have any effect on the outcome of the game, because SOAS went on to score 4 more tries in the half (converting only one) to finish ahead at 32-0.

The second half was more of the same, except that we had to go to uncontested scrums due to LSBU losing one of their three qualified front-row players in the team. This was unfortunate for them, because the scrum was one of the areas where they had parity with SOAS, having stolen a couple of tighthead hooks. Ultimately, SOAS steadily added to their lead by scoring another 6 tries, but converting only three. This pitch, like many English pitches, is a full 100x70m with 10m in-goal areas, so I worked hard to be at the tackles, on the spot for the scoring, and to make most of the touchline calls myself. Each side supplied TJs, who were willing (when not completely absent), if unsure how to do their job, so it was up to me to make the close calls while working with somewhat faded markings.

I hadn’t refereed a 15’s match since May 5th, and I was happy that I was in the right places at the right times. The 7s tournaments over the summer definitely helped with this. One major difference I’ve seen in the English game is the players’ instinctual desire to look for the offload in the tackle. Another is the higher amount of communication between players. LSBU was missing several first-team players, which didn’t help their cause, but they did not stop fighting even though another one of their players was sin binned for a careless high tackle around the 60′ mark. LSBU finally got on the scoreboard by finishing the match with a great breakaway try from midfield, with the result firmly in SOAS’ favor at 68-7.

Everybody was happy after the match, including LSBU. Both teams were very thankful that I could do the game, because the night before, they weren’t sure they would have a referee at all. We adjourned to the locker rooms below The Hub, where I realized that like a rookie, I had brought no shower gear with me other than sandals (they only happened to be in my bag because I’ve been juggling luggage for the last week).

I have reffed enough in Europe to know better than that, but I rinsed off the sweat, dried myself off with a spare shirt, and packed up my stuff in time to follow both teams as they walked to the post-match function at The Metropolitan Bar (a large, nicely appointed pub) next to the Baker Street station in Marylebone. The hike was a little over a mile, and as the group of ~100 players and supporters made their way through the park, I got to see some great reactions from the tourists, pensioners, and other civilians coming the other direction. It was more than enough to put a big smile on my face, and the walk was a good additional cool-down as well.

After each team had had a pint or two, they did their usual man-of-the-match awards, with the winners taking a spot in the boat race. Once that was concluded, I got up and gave my own very short speech to thank all the players for a very positive match almost completely free of foul play. I opened the speech by telling everyone that this was the first rugby game I had ever refereed… [loud applause]… as a member of the London society [heckling]. Then, I awarded my NCRRS tie to Redvers, the SOAS skipper, and asked him not to do anything dumb while wearing it. When the crowd heard I was from California, a spontaneous “USA! USA! USA!” chant broke out – ‘merica!

I said thanks again, stepped down off the bench, and left the players at the pub not long afterwards to return to Herts, happy that the match went well and that both sides were content.

I’d like to thank LSRFUR for this assignment, which I hope will be the first of many; my new friend Robert Brewer for taking the photo of me with the two skippers at the coin toss; the gentlemen looking after my stuff the referee’s locker room while I was stretching my legs on the pitch; and the various players who took their turns on the touchline with my flags. What a great way to open a new chapter in my refereeing career!

This Week’s Photo

Our very own Pelicus Procrastinorix in perfect position and showing great form when awarding a try to Chico St at the Stanford Women’s Rookie 10s. The ladies from Stanford seem less than pleased with the decision, although I am sure they admired the professional manner with which the try was awarded.

Hail, Pelicus!
For the Senate
Pelicus Pedem Referre

A Meeting Of The Minds

HAIL PELICUS!

A Meeting Of The Minds

As the autumn chugs on with chronastic inevitability the landscape inhabited by The Greatest Referee Society In The World starts to change as well. Leaves are changing color and dropping from their trees (and, for some reason, about 90% of them end up on my car even when parked in an open lot with no actual trees nearby), the evening air has a decided chill in it (can you believe the temperature drops all the way into the 50s at night now?), and rugby clubs across the land start to wake from their slumber as the dawn of a new season approaches (does all this side commentary make this sentence hard to read?).

The notable exception, of course, is the colleges, who are in full 7s swing right now. The National Small College Rugby Organization (NSCRO) has their regional championship last weekend to determine the west coast representative at nationals while the West Coast 7s warmed up in San Luis Obispo 2 weeks ago and are ready to reach their shuddering climax this weekend on Treasure Island with a 2 day Sevenspalooza. The Pac 12 7s and the Pacific Western 7s fill out the major collegiate events and other small warm up tournaments litter the calendar.

(EDITOR’S NOTE: I know it is trite and I didn’t want to, but by law all large gatherings, festivals, celebrations and parties are required to be referred to with the suffix “palooza” added. This is an addendum to the original law passed in 1974 that required all political scandals, no matter how small or batpoop crazy, be referred to with “gate” appended. Thanks, Obama.)

With all these happenings, well, happening, we add another to the list. Yes it is time for the annual meeting of the minds, where the greatest and most fashionable rugby minds and bodies gather together for some serious decision making. Yes, it is the Northern California Rugby Football Union Referee Society Annual General Meeting. Please free up Saturday, October 27 as this is an important date on our rugby calendar. We have a chance to come together as a group to reacquaint ourselves with fellow referees, review law changes and decide which teams we will allow to win this year. Also this year we will be having our biannual Board of Directors elections so now is the time to get your vote heard. If you don’t vote you forfeit your right to complain about anything for the next 2 years.

You know, that could be a general statement on life in America these days: If you don’t vote you forfeit your right to complain about anything for the next 2 years.

Teams have been informed that there will be no referees available that day, so should someone reach out to you for a match just remember that it will not be an assigned match and you will not be covered by our insurance. Just sayin’.

NCRFURS AGM Details

Time:
9:00 AM-2:00PM

Location:
Newark Memorial High School
39375 Cedar Blvd. Newark CA 94560

Agenda:
• AGM and Referee training
• Fitness testing for all National Panel or striving to be National Panel members

More details on the agenda to be shared by our (at the moment) Noble Leader Pelicus Iudex Pennipes.

Don’t forget your mascot.

Abbreviate This!

Recently (read: last year) it was brought to our attention that officially, according to the documents we were incorporated under, the Pelican Society is not the Northern California Rugby Referee Society but the longer and much clumsier Northern California Rugby Football Union Referee Society. The nice, elegant and sexy acronym NCRRS that everyone knows and loves is apparently incorrect and should actually be NCRFURS, which reads like a kiosk selling black market fur coats.

This is unfortunate, but what can we do? Well, I can tell you what we can do. At this AGM we can demand, yes DEMAND, that our corporate docs be updated to reflect the name that everyone knows us by already. We are the Northern California Rugby Referee Society and no moldy piece of parchment is gonna tell us otherwise. Make your voice heard, Pelicans!

Not that this has anything to do with me being the one who has to type out the full name or that baby harp seal murdering atrocity of an acronym. This is about preserving our legacy for future generations. Do it for the kiddies.

The NCRRS Kit Store

The NCRRS (HA! Fight the power!) Fall Collection is available online. To access the store you can click on the banner below or go directly to https://norcalrefereewinter18.itemorder.com/

Please note that you can get your entire kit plus accessories EXCEPT for a jersey. Those are still handed out by the society’s Kit Cat because we don’t sell them but give them away in appreciation of refereeing 5 assigned matches.

The store is currently open and will be available until midnight, Sunday November 11, so any purchases made should arrive in time for the holidays. Try to remember that date as all orders need to be in by then to be processed. If only there was some way to ensure remembrance of that date. Oh well, as a veteran of many online stores I am sure I will come up with something.

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 we have 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.
4. If you have any questions as to how to use the app please refer to the following video: https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=_Uz0_gTaOnY

On To The Game Reports!

(As usual at this time of year, we rely on our foreign correspondents to provide match reports of their season currently in progress. Many thanks to Stephen Valerio for his report. The word on the street is that he drove to this match because he could not just walk there.)

Date: 09/15/2018
Mount St Mary’s Women 69 – Molloy 0
Location: Mordor
Referee: Stephen Valerio

After a canceled match the week before due to the pitch being closed the fall season finally started. Unfortunately, Molloy couldn’t field a full side and had to forfeit the match. The coaches agreed to 3 15-minute periods of 10s. While Molloy had a few deep excursions into Mount St Mary’s half, they were never able to close the deal. On the other hand, Mount St. Mary’s dominated the lineouts, frequently stealing Molloy’s throw-ins. Mount St Mary’s had several large forwards and while Molloy was able to stop them, they invariably broke the gain line and usually took a couple of Molloy tacklers to bring them down. From there the remaining Mount St Mary’s players were able to easily score from all over the pitch.

Date: 09/08/2018
Tri Tip 7s
Location: San Luis Obispo, CA
Referee: Roberto Santiago

James. Hinkin’s. Chip.You either saw it, or you’ll feel like you did.
Good times.

Date: 09/15/2018
Life West Gladiatrix 24 – Lindenwood Women 38
Referee: Pete Smith

Great write up at Goff: https://www.therugbybreakdown.com/single-post/2018/09/15/Lindenwood-Begins-With-Big-W

(EDITOR’S NOTE: Letting someone else write your match report is frowned upon and will not win points towards the coveted Pelicus Scriptorus award.)

This Week’s Photo

Sometimes you just can’t win for trying.

Hail, Pelicus!
For the Senate
Pelicus Pedem Referre