Coverage Plans



Coverage Plans


More importantly, the lack of coverage plans.   With several regular referees lured by the shiny KOT and others off to hear some nonsensical ramblings of so-called experts in Chicago, we here in the beating heart of American rugby are short referees.   As of the now, there are virtually no B sides covered and quite a few A side matches that are going to be wanting a whistle.   Just about every referee assigned will be asked to do double duty so we are putting out the call: we need help.   Please go to to confirm your availability and matches, or if you haven’t received an account, contact Pete Smith at to let him know you are available.   To get an assignr account please contact our Scott Wood at .   He will get you all the information you need to sign up and announce your availability.


As for those who are going to Chicago, do you really think you need to travel long distances to hear wisdom? Well, that’s a scam.   Climbing a remote Nepalese peak just to ask the meaning of life (42) from a wrinkled old man in a loincloth is one of the greatest wastes of time ever. If wisdom could only be attained by travelling long distances you would see tons of Asian wisdom seekers prostrating themselves before midwestern housekeepers to hear their pithy sayings.


Ask A Pelican


In order to prevent such future referee drains Hail Pelicus will be offering a new weekly section, called “Ask A Pelican”.   This gives our loyal readers a chance to gain knowledge and wisdom without being forced to travel to a freezing hellscape in the middle of winter.   Our first question comes courtesy of E. Ponymous from San Jose, CA, who writes,


“How can I get my picture as “This Week’s Photo” in Hail Pelicus?


Well, Pony, that’s simple. Have someone take a picture of you in action or with colleagues at a rugby match or event and send it in to us here.   Or just a picture of a pelican in the wild, those are nice. Or really, any vaguely rugby or pelican related photo – we really aren’t that picky.


That’s it for this week. Remember to send in your questions for future issues!


Vegas Calling


From the organizers of the Las Vegas Invitational:


As is known throughout the land of the flying, double-chinned fish snacker, the most wanted referee’s in America are in Northern California. We have been asked to spread out knowledge of the game to Las Vegas for the 2015 Las Vegas Invitational presented by The Riviera. The Las Vegas Invitational — the largest rugby tournament in North America — will take place February 12 – 14, 2015 and will be played alongside the USA Sevens international rugby tournament held annually in Las Vegas. The LVI is considered the premier amateur rugby events in the United States, featuring athletes and match-ups across a wide-range of rugby divisions and age groups.


All referee’s that participate will receive a new 2015 LVI jersey, 3 day tickets to the USA 7’s and have the option of the best rates in town at the Riviera  as well as a 4 day shuttle pass to get to all the LVI and USA 7’s matches. Although we could put a monetary value on this, many consider it priceless.


The referee management would like to hear from you asap but please no later than January 31 to make sure we have a proper ticket, pass and jersey count.    Please contact Autumn Arvidson at or 612-859-6439.


Your new Delta Tau Chi name is…


There were some eager beaks responding to the call for new Pelican names, and here they are:


Referee Pelican Name Loosely Translated As
John Pohlman Pelicus Pilula Biberarius Pill Seller
Bruce Bernstein Pelicus Avoidus Whistle Dude Play/party on dude
Eric Rauscher Pelicus Veneficus Wizard
Tom Franzoia Pelicus Lentus Ephorus Tough Spartan
Peter Sandhill s?l???sn? sn??l?? u???l?? u??l???sn?
Aruna Ranaweera Pelicus ex Selan Pelican from Sri Lanka
Lee Bryant Pelicus Saltus Pelican of the Trees
Stephen Valerio Pelicus Ex Jerseius Pelican from Jersey


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

  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.



January Society Meeting


This month’s meeting will be held January 21st 7:00 PM @ the SFGG Clubhouse   For our meeting we will be discussing:

  • Audio Game Management – Whistle and Voice (Josh Pendegrass)
  • Evaluator’s Perspective (Kat Todd)


On To The Game Reports!


From Bryant Byrnes at the Dennis Storer/All-Cal Tournament at UCLA


A good rugby weekend, and the NorCal Society was honorably represented. I coached five refs over seven games and at the request of Phip Klevorick will produce several written reports.

Tim Lew was probably the best ref there and was his usual cordial self. Indeed, he did the beep test on Sunday mostly to help the other refs crank it up.

Date: 01/16/2015

Cal Maritime 70 – Pacific 5

Referee: Bretz, Paul


Cal Maritime had the majority of possession in this Friday night affair. Score was 21-5 going into the half intermission. 2nd half opened the flood gates. Both teams are well coached and were able to adjust to the referee’s interpretation of breakdowns.


Date: 01/16/2015

Santa Clara University 22 – Stanford 19

Referee: Smith, Pete


Santa Clara needed a late comeback to pull this one out. A blocked drop goal at full time sealed the win.



Date: 01/17/2015

Baracus 24 – Life West 36

Referee: Ranaweera, Aruna


Kickoff was 30 minutes late at the West Sunset Playground in SF due to field setup issues after a soccer match. Life West looked athletic but were extremely ill-disciplined, whereas Baracus was the more structured and patient team. Baracus rode their fly-half’s penalty kicking prowess to a 15-10 lead at half and extended their lead to 18-10 soon after. With the score tied 24-24 late in the game, Life West edged ahead with two converted tries at the end to win the match by 5 tries to nil. Much thanks to Baracus for their hospitality providing dinner and beverages at the post-match reception at Jackalope in SF.



Date: 01/17/2015

Baracus B 7 – Life West B 45

Referee: Coppinger, John


Pleasant match played in good spirits. Score would have greater in favor of Life West but for numerous knock-ons just at the point of the imminent breakaway.



Date: 01/17/2015

CSUMB Women 5 – Fresno State Women 90

Referee: Carter, Bruce


Windy, clear, cold day at 10 AM to start the 2015 campaign on the shores of Monterey Bay, the Otters’ pitch in perfect condition.


It was a try-fest, with several Bulldog backs tallying multiple scores.


My primary effort was directed at the new players who were oh-so-tempted to play the ball on the ground. Referees understand: many of us would still like to be able to play the ball ourselves.


The Otters had a post-game cheer about never giving up, in true rugby spirit. Up and at ’em!


My grandson Ben ran touch. Always a pleasure to have my favorite wingman. And there were freshly-grilled sideline quesadillas afterwards. Thanks to all for a fine start to a fine Saturday.



Date: 01/17/2015

Diablo 26 – Berkeley 25

Referee: Valerio, Stephen


A very tight match was played between Diablo and Berkeley at Cal Maritime’s pitch, with each team collecting four tries and the difference being decided by the slightest of margins.. The day was cool and gray, perfect for rugby. From the kick-off Berkeley dominated the opening 30 minutes, camping out in the Diablo end. However, they were only able to get 10 points out of it. Diablo then struck for 2 rapid tries to carry a 14-10 lead into halftime. Berkeley reasserted their dominance in the second half, but with the loss of their fly-half, the conversions for their 3 tries went begging. Late in the match they had built a fragile 25-19 lead when Diablo had a player sent off. Even a man down, Diablo’s outside center found a gap in the middle of the Berkeley backline and touched down for the try. The conversion was made and the final whistle blew with the Gaels walking away with the 1 point win.



Date: 01/17/2015

Fresno 17 – SFGG 20

Referee: Smith, Pete


Great game that could have gone either way.



Date: 01/17/2015

Fresno B 24 – SFGG B 38

Referee: Jury, Jeff


The boys played a shortened battle after a nice tight A side match. Fresno and Golden Gate traded blows with the first half ending Fresno 12 GG 14. A lot of the same with scored tide at 24 with 6 minutes to go. Golden Gate finished with 2 converted trys to end the game 24 – 38 visitors



Date: 01/17/2015

Mendocino 0 – Colusa 34

Referee: Bertolone, Cary


A great day for rugby. One of the loose forwards, Dan Powers, scored the first two tries with good forward work, Pono notched the third from wing and the Colusa team did not look back as they continued to score to make it a 34-0 win in Ukiah. Ukiah never gave up though, so it was good rugby all day long.



Date: 01/17/2015

Modesto 7 – Google 14

Referee: Lane, John


I arrived in Turlock to two sides just setting up. Some basic drills being executed and some one on one coaching for a small few players on both sides relatively new to rugby.


Modesto kicked off and Google brought play up to the Modesto 10 meter line. The ball was passed wide from a ruck to the Google fly half. He drifted across field and when the Modesto backline failed to hold their defensive line he broke through and kept running diagonally into the 22. The covering fullback failed to tackle and he crossed the line and cut back to touch down at the posts for an easy convert. 0-7. 2 minutes played.


Modesto did not take long to get on the scoreboard. Running close in ball carriers to gain field position. Despite giving up a knockon turnover they regained possession on the next play and some strong driving and quick ball saw them score to the right of the posts. Converted. 5 mins in and 7-7. A high scoring game was a possibility.


It did not turn out that way but an open game did develop but both sides were frequently guilty of unforced errors with regular turnovers. Combining this with some penalties through over enthusiasm and new player errors had play changing direction and ends of the field regularly. Some law education was passed on occasion!


An accidental head clash left the Google fullback a little dazed and out of the game on 20 minutes and the stoppage was used by both teams for a breather.


As the half progressed googles scrum started to get the upper hand and this continued in the second half.


Modesto took early action with a number 8 change before half time to try and improve scrum possession.


Half time 7-7


Modesto made 3 more halftime changes which seemed to give them the early momentum. While both sides looked to move ball close in first through the forwards and then going wide there were also some fine backline breaks. The Modesto fly half found gaps occasionally for good ground and this was matched through a few power breaks by their powerful center.


Google got on top for a while and Modesto conceded some penalties. Google tried two relatively long kicks at goal missing first left and later right.


Both sides made some more changes for tiring players.


Google made a number of attacks which were defended but the pressure eventually told with the Google hooker putting his scrum half into clear space on the 22 and made the line and grounded at the posts. Converted 7-14. 22 mins second half.


The play continued with attacking possession for both sides but an error or good defense caused turnovers and relief.


With less than 5 mins left the Google 11 was sin binned for a deliberate knockon. The penalty was kickable but with just 4 minutes left Modesto went for a kick to the corner for a line out. Unfortunately their kicker misjudged and kicked direct into touch in goal.


Google opted for the scrum to ensure possession and to work the clock. Despite Modesto putting in a huge effort Google controlled most of the last 4 minutes and closed out for a 7-14 victory.


A committed game with plenty of on field banter and guidance to me as ref. The supporters got in on the banter now and then and we even had a young support looking to join his dad in the Modesto line out. An excellently timed tackle by his mother saved the day!!!!





Date: 01/17/2015

Santa Rosa 17 – EPA Bulldogs 22

Referee: O’Neil, George


No report received


Date: 01/17/2015

Santa Rosa B 31 – EPA Bulldogs B 15

Referee: Richmond, Jeff


Turned out to be a bit of a friendly match with 20 minute halves. EPA had to use most of its A side to form up an opponent for Santa Rosa. Santa Rosa stayed disciplined throughout and was able to generate some strong back play. Thanks to Mike King for his feedback on the match.


Date: 01/17/2015

Silicon Valley 3 – Aptos 34

Referee: Hinkin, James


Silicon Valley, a first year D3 team that has grown out of the successful Silicon Valley youth and high school programs, hosted their first ever home match this last weekend against the Aptos Beachdogs. With former teammates coaching both sides – and even playing – I knew that I would be receiving plenty of advice all day.   (To be fair, I received no grief from the sidelines. Either I did a perfect job or the coaches are actually respectful and well-behaved. As unlikely as it seems I will go with the latter.)


The game started on a small field in Cupertino and Aptos testing to see if I was paying attention to the off side line. This early penalty helped by an extra 10 meters for not retreating gave Silicon Valley first blood as a penalty was calmly stroked through from 25 meters.   After that a tense defensive match ensued with territorial advantage going to Aptos but the Beachdogs couldn’t seem to find a way through until the inevitable knock on or turnover ended the attack.   Both sides had trouble keeping their feet and, once on the ground, just couldn’t resist helping ball back to their own side. The penalties and scrums made this half a bit of a stop-start affair but Aptos finally managed to get it together long enough to break through for a couple of unconverted tries.   Lack of experience and communication on second and third phase ball doomed the young Silicon Valley team yet they only went into the half down 10-3.


The second half started much the same way as the first with an immediate penalty against Aptos for handling in a ruck yet SV couldn’t capitalize.   Aptos defended their line well from a series of scrums and lineouts until they finally broke free and were able to reassert their territorial dominance.   Speaking with the captains at half time helped the flow of the game as there were far fewer penalties and that made for much better rugby. Aptos certainly benefited as they now started to dominate the proceedings.   Their back line started to carve up a tiring SV defense and 4 tries were added to the total (2 converted).   A good match from both sides.   Final Score: Aptos 34 – Silicon Valley 3.


Date: 01/17/2015

St. Mary’s College 59 – Arizona State 15

Referee: MacDonald, Neil

AR: Bruce Bernstein


St Mary’s began forcefully with a try under the posts in the first minute from a scrum center following a short kick off from Arizona State. Fifteen minutes in, St Mary’s were 21-0 up, putting pace and width on the ball. Arizona State got on the scoreboard with a penalty kick on the 20th minute, and came very close to grounding a kick ahead into St Mary’s in-goal for a try. One more converted try to St Mary’s brought the first half to an end with the score 28-3.


St Mary’s stretched their score to 35 points early in the second half, before Arizona State’s rambunctious flanker, who brought intensity and urgency to his play throughout the match, went over for Arizona State in the 54th minute, and converted. St Mary’s got four more, one of which came when #13 Kingsley McGowan regathered his own beautifully judged chip over the defence deep in his own half and accelerated down the field. Arizona State’s last defender did well to haul him down, only for St Mary’s support to spin the ball wide. Urgency and determination from Arizona State’s backs injected pace with quick taps and quick distribution, and Arizona State went over in the corner for another try in the 77th minute.


Thanks to Bruce Bernstein for his invaluable help on the touchline.



Date: 01/17/2015

St. Mary’s College B 38 – Arizona State 10

Referee: Sandhill, Peter


Another glorious Nor Cal winter’s day – warm and dry, a well groomed grass pitch – a perfect day for rugby. The visiting Arizona team was well coached and were up for the task. The game was clean and fast. However, in the last ten minutes, with fatigue setting in, the breakdown became less neat. St Mary’s were the better team. Both the Arizona & St Mary’s back lines were fast. However, the St Mary’s forwards clearly had superior breakdown technique, especially their counter rucking. Unfortunately, an out of character moment from one young man around the 70 min. mark occurred. He threw the ball into the face of an opponent yelling very threatening remarks, immediately after his team had already been penalized, resulted in a yellow card for misconduct while the ball was out of play. When I spoke to the coach afterward, he said something like, “That boy has hardly spoken all season. Wish he’d picked a better time to speak up.” Of course, play calmed down and the fast, clean pace we’d seen to that point, unused. Overall, a very enjoyable game to referee. Days like this make refereeing a pleasure.



Date: 01/17/2015

St. Mary’s College C 45 – Sonoma State 38

Referee: Bernstein, Bruce


Awesome 3rd Division College match with Sonoma State going ahead by two tries only to see St Mary’s come back to win 45-38.



Date: 01/17/2015

UC Santa Cruz Women 84 – Santa Clara Women 14

Referee: Freitas, Larry


Santa Clara arrived with 14 fit players and started the game one player short in the back line. UCSC immediately took advantage of the situation, scoring within the first five minutes a converted try. The Banana Slugs ran the ball on the narrow side of the pitch several times for long runs ending in tries. About thirty minutes into the match the Broncos lost their hooker, and now were down to thirteen players, having to move their flyhalf into the position for set scrums. Center Ellen Bridgman scored a few tries and made some conversions for Santa Cruz.

UCSC was sporting enough, with a lead of 42-nil, to take two players out for the rest of the match. I wondered if that decision to play with even numbers was going to change the balance of the attack, as Santa Clara quickly responded to an early second half Santa Cruz try with a converted try. Another Santa Cruz score was also equaled by a Santa Clara try, but as the game wore on Santa Cruz kept on the attack, resulting in 42 second stanza points. Players on both sides deported themselves well, and Santa Clara didn’t give up. A few long runs by Santa Cruz that I thought would result in tries were run down by Santa Clara, in particular Michelle Coleman, showing lots of hustle at scrum half and following play and arriving at every break down.

It was another sunny and above average temperature day, like we really need those here in California, again, this rainless January. It looked like the Santa Cruz Yacht Club was having a regatta out in the Monterey Bay. Right now the pitch at UCSC is in excellent condition, but with water rationing, I’m afraid that grass is going to turn brown soon if it doesn’t start raining again.



This Week’s Photo

Pelicus Pedem Referre setting a scrum in the first ever home match for the new Silicon Valley RFC v Aptos Beachdogs.

Hinkin Silicon Valley First Ever Home Game


Hail, Pelicus!

For the Senate

Pelicus Pedem Referre


What Is Missing In Pelicanland?


What Is Missing In Pelicanland?

We here in Northern California rightly pride ourselves not only on the quality of our lifestyles but the quality of our rugby and that goes hand in hand with the quality of our referees.   The good referee makes a bad game good and a good game better.   So that begs the question, with all of these factors in our favor, what is missing in Pelicanland?

Naturally, the answer is The 3 Rs: Rain, Referees, and Rithmatic.

The lack of rain is well documented and after a series of December storms the drought patterns have reasserted themselves.   Another seasonal pattern is a lack of referees. Once the calendar turns over leagues across the land start up and we need referees to cover all of these matches.   Please go to to confirm your availability and matches, or if you haven’t received an account, contact Pete Smith at to let him know you are available.   To get an assignr account please contact our Scott Wood at .   He will get you all the information you need to sign up and announce your availability.

“Rithmatic” is, of course, just folksy math and frankly I feel we are better off at a penalty not asking players to retreat “no further than Old Man Wheeler can spit a wad o’ tobakky”.

Crenshaw Update

There have been many people who have expressed concern and would like an update on the condition of long time Top Referee Jim Crenshaw, who suffered a stroke last summer.   In his own words:

“I’m probably about 90% back to normal. Still have a bit of numbness on my left side… I really appreciate all of the support from everyone!!!   Thanks!!”

Vegas Calling

From the organizers of the Las Vegas Invitational:

As is known throughout the land of the flying, double-chinned fish snacker, the most wanted referee’s in America are in Northern California. We have been asked to spread out knowledge of the game to Las Vegas for the 2015 Las Vegas Invitational presented by The Riviera. The Las Vegas Invitational — the largest rugby tournament in North America — will take place February 12 – 14, 2015 and will be played alongside the USA Sevens international rugby tournament held annually in Las Vegas. The LVI is considered the premier amateur rugby events in the United States, featuring athletes and match-ups across a wide-range of rugby divisions and age groups.

All referee’s that participate will receive a new 2015 LVI jersey, 3 day tickets to the USA 7’s and have the option of the best rates in town at the Riviera  as well as a 4 day shuttle pass to get to all the LVI and USA 7’s matches. Although we could put a monetary value on this, many consider it priceless.

The referee management would like to hear from you asap but please no later than January 31 to make sure we have a proper ticket, pass and jersey count.    Please contact Autumn Arvidson at or 612-859-6439.

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

  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.

Questions on Questions

From the Northern California Law Exams…

14) Two defenders joining a ruck drop their heads and shoulders lower than their hips. What should the referee rule?

  • a) Play continues
  • b) Scrum
  • c) Free Kick
  • d) Penalty Kick
  • Option 5

Referees and other interested parties have asked what Option 5 is. Option 5 is an option that is only available to Top Referees and should be only used by said Top Referees. Simply put, if you don’t know what Option 5 is then you shouldn’t use Option 5.   We will know if you do.

The first three sessions can be accessed here:

Questions 1-20
Questions 21-40
Questions 41-60

January Society Meeting

This month’s meeting will be held January 21st 7:00 PM @ the SFGG Clubhouse   For our meeting we will be discussing:

  • Audio Game Management – Whistle and Voice (Josh Pendegrass)
  • Evaluator’s Perspective (Kat Todd)

Do The Tighten Up

It seems like just about every other week I troll around Facebook and see a picture of a local men’s team in action… and one (or more) of the players are wearing tights.   This is, again, unless you are female, illegal as tights are not approved clothing.   When I tell a player that he can not wear them at a match I am officiating I inevitably get “but the last referee let me” and frankly, it is getting annoying.   Pelicans! As with all other aspects of law, we need to be consistent on this. See Law 4.2.b:

4.2 Special additional items for women

In addition to the previously permitted clothing women may wear:

(b)   Cotton blend long tights, with single inside leg seam under their shorts & socks.

2014 registration

Referees need to be CIPP’d too! Don’t forget to get registered with USA rugby.  Once you’ve registered send your society dues, $10.00, to Jim Crenshaw.   His address can be found on as well as

On To The Game Reports!

Date: 01/10/2015

Baracus Tournament

Referee: Sandhill, Peter


John Coppinger and I split up the five games in a mini tournament hosted by Baracus. It was a beautiful sunny and warm SF day with no (cold) ocean breeze. Baracus fielded two teams, the other two teams were from Chico State and Stanford Graduate School club. Each half was 20 minutes, with a 5 min., half-time break. As it was a pre-season warm-up, fitness seemed to be the main factor, especially in the second half. A lot of the games were close and it appear there were several players in each team who were new to rugby. A good day for all.


Referee: Coppinger, John


This was 3 team mini-tournament with short period. Perter Sandhill did two matches and I did three.


Chico State 21, Baracus 7


Stanford GSB 14, Baracus 14.


Yes, another tie, but not my fault. Baracus was up by 7 with 1 minute remaining when SGSB committed a penalty infraction ten meters from their own try-line in front of one the posts. One of the Baracus locks (who had already displayed a dubious grasp of the laws of the game) quickly tapped through in front of the far post. I whistled play dead to bring him back to the mark. Incensed, the lock slammed the ball sending it 15 feet back into the air on the rebound. I reversed the penalty; SGSB tapped through and went 90 meters to score in front of the posts and tie the match at full time with the conversion. Why should I owe beers for a fool’s poor decision making?


EDITOR’S NOTE:   Your thoughts on a tie were rejected last week – why should this week be any different?   We will expect suitable beverages at the next meeting for both results.


Chico State 29, SGSB 14



Date: 01/10/2015

Colusa 24 – Napa Valley 12

Referee: Richmond, Jeff


Toughly contested match. Napa surprised Colusa with a lead at halftime, with a lot of head-knocking forward play. Colusa was able to have some long breaks at the wing that Napa couldn’t match. Both teams had trouble staying on their feet in the loose play, which was handled with a combination of management and penalties – chalk it up to early season cobwebs.



Date: 01/10/2015

EPA Bulldogs 15 – EPA Razorbacks 29

Referee: Lane, John


Venue: Joseph Kelly Park, Menlo Park

Primarily a soccer field synthetic surface but EPA Bulldogs did a good job marking the rugby lines making good use of the existing markings.

Prematch team boot inspections and captain coin toss and chat were concluded 40 mins before kickoff allowing the teams to be unhindered in their pregame routine.

I was supported by Nome Tiatia (NCRRS) and Antoine ? So without an official team of 3 we had a good pre game session covering the core roles they needed to support.

The game started in sunshine with no wind of significance and it was clear both sides wanted to play open ball in hand rugby with some direct straight carries mixed in. As was to be expected the contact area was highly contested but both captains had heeded the prematch discussion and there was early good discipline at the ruck and maul offside lines with only one early penalty.

10 mins in and we had the first score with the Razorbacks getting in by the posts to allow an easy conversion for a 0-7 lead. They continued to dominate the next few minutes but good defense from the Bulldogs kept their line intact. After their period of defending the Bulldogs got some field position and on 20 mins got in for a good score after a few wide back line moves. Successfully converted for 7-7. Having got the score the Bulldogs had the better of the next 10 mins but at key times the Razorbacks forced errors for turnovers to relieve the pressure. The pressure eventually told after first conceding a penalty for offside which gave field position to the Bulldogs they then conceded a kick able penalty for off feet at a ruck. This was converted for a 10-7 lead on 31 mins. Play balanced out with both sides putting in some strong defensive tackles to Halt momentum.

With half time nearing the Razorbacks upped their effort and scored a multiphase try wide on the right which they failed to convert.

In the first half some judicious words with the two captains dealt with some unnecessary banter between a few players from both sides and there were no further issues as it was clear how I would deal with players if it repeated.


The second half started with the Bulldogs quickly on the attack but a long left to right multiplayer skip pass was picked off by one of the Razorback forwards who just made the try line by the posts from the halfway line. Successfully converted for 10-19.

Visibly impacted by this score the Bulldogs attacking efforts faltered through some loose play with turnover; knock ons not helping them. While this gave the Razorbacks some good field position the Bulldogs defensive play remained strong and they kept their line intact and started to rebuild their momentum.

Having brought themselves back into the game and pressing for a score another skip pass was picked off by the Razorbacks but this time it was one of their backs and he streaked away to score under the posts.

The conversion straight in front was missed which brought some humorous comments from the supporters. (10-24 on 13 mins).

The Bulldogs kept up the pressure in an effort to close the score and the Razorbacks conceded a number of penalties in quick succession for side entry at the breakdown leading me to issue a team caution to their captain on 18 mins. A few plays later, a just arrived substitue repeated the offense and received a yellow card on 19:54.

With the extra man the Bulldogs looked to increase the pace but a phase of play broke down when on the attack.

The ball was gathered by the Razorbacks and they relieved the pressure with a huge kick down the middle of the field which the kicker aggressively chased. The first high bounce took the ball away from one Bulldogs defender and the second bounce kicked wickedly away from the second closing defender with the ball falling straight in the hands of the chasing Razorbacks player who went straight in to score 10 yards left of the posts. The conversion was missed. (10-29 on 22 mins).


With the extra man the Bulldogs kept the pace up but the Razorbacks put in some very strong defense to hold them out. With some players tiring substitutions were introduced regularly between 55 and 70 mins.

The Bulldogs kept chasing the game and were rewarded with an unconverted try on 34 minutes. (15-29)

They kept pushing in the remaining minutes but the Razorbacks held them out with strong tackling giving them 2 turnovers and play moved back to the Bulldogs half.

Following a knee injury to one of the Razorbacks backs the Bulldogs spent the last minute on the attack put play eventually broke down with a knockon to leave Razorbacks victorious on a 15-29 score line with a bonus point as well for scoring 5 tries.

A good physical game of rugby played at speed was an enjoyable way to start the 15s league season. Also a mention for Nome and Antoine for good TJ support throughout.




Date: 01/10/2015

Fresno B 26 – San Jose B 12

Referee: Taueva, Favor


Fresno played very well on their side B game vs their A game. Fresno first try and converted with in 7 minutes of the first half.   San Jose use the ball very good and manged to have 12 points. Both team decided to do only 20 minutes half game.



Date: 01/10/2015

Humboldt 5 – Mendocino 38

Referee: Wilson, Giles


Humboldt play on what must be one of the worst fields in Northern California (they have apparently done the paperwork for a better field) and by way of putting lipstick on a sow, they have one of the best sets of portable goal posts – tall, metal and quickly installed and removed. Said posts were installed by 12.30 and so there was plenty of time for the home team to warm up for the 1pm kick off.


If the league games were 20 minute halves, then Humboldt would compete well. This was demonstrated by their 5-0 lead at half time, in a half where defensively they kept Mendocino narrow and offensively battered with some big carriers. As Humboldt tired quickly in the second half, Mendocino were able to get quicker ball from the break down and this ball went wide very productively. Mendocino ran in 6 tries (4 conversions) to no response from Humboldt for a 38-5 final score.



Date: 01/10/2015

Modesto 87 – Silicon Valley 5

Referee: Ricard, Bruce


After 80 seconds of play, a Silicon Valley forward falls to the floor in pain. Everybody around heard something cracking, and we knew that he had broken something. The ambulance arrived a couple minutes later, and took him away. I wish him a good recovery, and hope that he’ll be back on the pitch soon. The team only had 15 players there, so they restarted the game with only 14 players. Unfortunately for them, two more players got injured in the first half, and there quickly were playing at 12 against 15. Modesto easily led 33 – 5 at the half, despite their full back being sent off for misconduct.

At the beginning of the second half, after 3 tries by Modesto in the first 7 minutes, SV captain asked if they could borrow some players from the Modesto team. This was accepted, and the game restarted between 2 teams of 14 players. But this didn’t stop Modesto, who scored many more unanswered tries.


Date: 01/10/2015

Santa Rosa 17 – Life West 62

Referee: Tucker, Chris


I’ve been refereeing here for about 8 years now, but this was my first ever trip to the legendary For Pete’s Sake field in Santa Rosa. I took advantage of the journey to stop off for a swift 40 miles on my bike along the shores of Berryessa, which was beautiful and importantly devoid of other people. Nice ride.


EDITOR’S NOTE: Show off.


Made it to FPS in time to see Scott Griffin finishing up the early game — no doubt about who is in charge when you hear his whistle tone.


Pitch itself was as good as it gets: nicely crowned, lined precisely and with huge great tree trunks for goalposts. None of the usual deciding whether the kick is good when it passes over a crooked post, that’s for sure.


Game wasn’t as good as it gets, but was fun for all regardless. It was a preseason affair — both teams had their issues. Santa Rosa’s kicking game was perhaps in need of a little work (3 direct to touch, and at least 4 run back for tries), and Life West’s scrum was distinctly vulnerable. And your correspondent also had a few problems. Ball in the back of the head (all my fault). Law error (backs offside at LO — penalty mark 10m up, not on line of touch. Duh.) Management in need of improvement (too many players on the ground with a lax early standard paving the way for a messy second stanza.) All learnings, which is why preseason is a good thing.


As for the game itself, it was close until the half, when Rosa took off a few of their better players, then the visitors ran a bunch of tries in from back moves. The left wing in particular (name I carelessly omitted to obtain) scored 4 tries from deep. Teams giving these guys room to run will pay the price!


Fun day out. Hopefully it won’t be another 8 years before I get to return.



Date: 01/10/2015

Santa Rosa B 17 – Life West B 17

Referee: Bertolone, Cary


In a shortened second game, largely because Santa Rosa was short on numbers????, the game was back and forth with two evenly playing rugby teams. Life West used bursts of speed to outrun Rosa’s backs and Santa Rosa seemed to hold more than their own in tight play. A beautiful day to play rugby in Santa Rosa, with three games and a lot of food, at the field, afterwards. Thank you, Afa !



Date: 01/10/2015

South Valley 22 – Google 12

Referee: Asonye, Elvy


Great season opener for South Valley, and quite the showing for Google’s first league match. South Valley looked like they would take the entire game, scoring two tries in the first half making the score 10-0. Google answered back with two tries in the second half and got the first conversion of the day. South Valley rallied back toward the end of the game and managed two more tries – one of which included a conversion to round up the score of 22-12 in favor of South Valley.



Date: 01/10/2015

St. Mary’s College 81 – University of Utah 15

Referee: Akroyd, Phil


The score speaks for itself, so the venue will get most of the attention in this report. St. Mary’s have moved their rugby field this year, from the already excellent Pat Vincent Memorial Field, to the old football stadium at the top of campus. There is seating for 3,500, a press box, warmup facilities and many other benefits of the stadium. The ground is very firm, but flat and excellent for rugby with 15+m in goals.


The match was somewhat competitive for about 30 minutes, with two contrasting styles of play. The Utes only really had the option of a pick and drive offense, which made hard going of it early on, but were rewarded with two tries. However, the Gaels, like last season, were experts at turning defense into attack by stripping the ball out of the tackle and counter rucking. They would quickly find their centers, full back or wings and score quickly while the opposition defense scrambled to line up.


SMC still look good and appear to have shaken off some of the pre-season rust.


EDITOR’S NOTE: This is a sad day for me personally, though a good day for St. Mary’s rugby. You see, I was the first person to score on the Pat Vincent Memorial Field.   When the field first opened the Gaels hosted UCSB in a preseason match and after about 10 minutes I went over for a try…   I no longer have that distinction.   Tempus fugit.



Date: 01/10/2015

St. Mary’s College B 42 – University of Utah 5

Referee: Lew, Tim


After reffing St Mary’s vs Cal Maritime, I also reffed the 3rd game of the day, SMC vs Utah B. This game was much more one sided with SMC showing their fitness and dominance in all aspects of the game mainly in the scrums. SMC stole 50% of the scrums and wheeled another 20%. Get fit or go home- i reffed a full 80 min game plus a 30 min extra period for the SMC/ Cal Maritime 3rds, then reffed another full 80 min game SMC vs Utah Bs. Awesome day of rugby…



Date: 01/10/2015

St. Mary’s College C 55 – Cal Maritime 12

Referee: Lew, Tim


On a perfect day for rugby, we played the inaugural rugby game on the St Mary’s new pitch. Cal Maritime vs SMC was a fast paced and quick game. The first half was close with both teams scoring 2 tries, but SMC opened up the scoreline quickly in the 2nd half. In the end, SMC looked much stronger and played together in open play versus their opponents.


Date: 01/11/2015

Stanford Women’s XV Invitational

Referee: Lane, John


After enjoying Saturday’s Div 1 EPA match-up it’s was up bright and early to meet up with James Hinkin and Jen Tetler for day 2 of the Stanford Women’s Invitational 15s tournament and a 9:00 start.


Jen and James had done the hard work with the pool games on day one so it was down to the playoff stages on Sunday morning.


James ref’d the first consolation pool on Pitch 2 with Oregon defeating Chico State fairly comfortably 23-5. While this was going on Jen had the first main Semi on Pitch 1 between UC San Diego and UC Davis. Davis dominated the first half territory and kept San Diego in their own half for virtually the whole time. Despite the dominance they only scored one unconverted try to lead by 5 at half time. Davis continued to have the best of the second half but as their players tired a little in the final minutes San Diego started to get some space out wide and first crossed for a converted try on the right with 3 minutes to go. Shortly afterwards the got around the Davis defense wide on the left and scored another try, unconverted, to win by 12-5.


I started my days work with the second consolation semi on pitch 2 with UCLA versus Western Washington who were one of the 2 winless teams from day one. A scoreless first half was played mainly between the 22s with both sides putting in a lot of effort but some poor handling skills giving turnovers on a frequent basis.


Washington were playing a simpler game plan recycling close to the breakdown while UCLA occasionally looked to spread the ball wide. As the first half progressed Washington’s stronger scrum was disrupting UCLA’s possession more and more.


Early in the second half the direct close in play of Washington brought them just outside the UCLA 22 and from a scrum they recycled 4 times to go in for an unconverted try for a 5-0 lead. UCLA then had a few minutes of dominance but never really threatened a score. Shortly before the end Washington again held position for multiple phases and UCLA ran out of defenders and conceded another unconverted try.


Washington were delighted with their first win of the weekend at the final whistle.


While I was reffing this game, Jen was doing the second main semi final between CAL and Stanford. I cannot say I saw any of this game but thanks to the enthusiastic home match commentary and passionate announcer!!!! I have no problem in remembering that Stanford scored 3 tries for a 15-0 victory.


With Jen having completed her two day shift at this point, James who at this point had refd Stanford 3 times already scheduled himself for the Davis v Cal 3v4 playoff and the consolation final Oregon v Washington and I ref’d the consolation consolation match between Chico St and UCLA before the main final between Stanford and San Diego.


Cal defeated Davis and Chico St much to the delight of their players and small traveling support finally won a game by reversing the Saturday pool result by beating UCLA.


As Oregon and Washington had also played each other on Saturday they took the opportunity to waive their final match to save a couple of hours for their long trek northwards home. James’ knee was happy with this decision!!!


The final between Stanford and San Diego developed into an exciting fast game with both teams looking to move the ball quickly at every opportunity. Stanford favored moving the ball wide whenever possible with San Diego attacking the mid field area through their centers.


The first half territory was dominated by Stanford and they deservedly built up a 3 try lead, each excellently converted for a 21-0 lead after 16 minutes. San Diego were playing quite well but mostly defensively with only the occasional breakout towards the Stanford 22.


The half finished with continuous play lasting almost 4 minutes where Stanford recycled well in excess of 20 times while San Diego steadfastly defended their line. The play move left and right inside and outside the San Diego 22 and with each passing phase the crowd became more involved and vocal. The half finished with the Stanford right wing driving for the corner with 2 San Diego defenders holding her up over the line and just driving her out in touch in goal.



San Diego started the second half strongly and recycled a few phases deep I to the Stanford 22. Stanford with held the pressure and on gaining a turnover ran the ball deep into San Diego’s half. They recycled and got in for another try which surprising went unconverted after the excellent kicking display of the first half. 26-0.


There were a few minutes of midfield play with the defenses on both sides causing turnovers but gradually San Diego started to gain the upper hand. On 11 minutes they scored a very good try wide on the right which was expertly converted. They continued to dominate and Stanford conceded 3 “in at the side” penalties which resulted in a team warning. This gave San Diego more confidence and with 4 minutes to go they score anotherr wide out try, this time on the left. The conversion was well struck but fell short. 26-12. You could hear the anxious Stanford supporters encouraging their team to keep possession.


San Diego kept pushing looking for more scores but a turnover when trying to squeeze out a risky pass led to Stanford finishing the match well inside the San Diego half and while the score board looked comfortable at 26-12 they knew they had earned their victory.


The day finished with James presenting the medals and cup to the victorious Stanford team!!!



Referee: James Hinkin


The Annual Stanford Women’s Invitational was played under crisp, sunny skies on Saturday and cold, cloudy skies on Sunday.   Teams participating were Stanford, Cal, UC Davis, Chico St, UCLA, UCSD, Oregon and Western Washington.   The first day was a sorting out with pool play and Stanford managed to win all of their matches without giving up a point.   Yes, their defense is that good.   Teams would get chances and put Stanford under pressure, but they never broke and made the tackles when they had to until a turnover relieved the pressure.   Twice on the weekend they ended a half with the ball held up in goal and that was no accident – the ladies knew where they were on the field and swarmed the ballcarrier so that she couldn’t ground the ball.

UC Davis also impressed with a couple over very dynamic players. They have a hard running center who uses her fend well and is very tough to bring down as well as defensively being a ball thief at the breakdown.   The Aggies also boast a flanker with possibly the best pace in the tournament who will run right at a defense and with one sidestep will be beyond and off to the races.

UCSD was the team that gave Stanford their biggest test, appropriately in the final. After losing 28-0 in pool play UCSD learned and regrouped to make it back to the final where they once again went down by 4 tries.   This time they stormed back in the second half to score 2 tries of their own and kept Stanford under constant pressure. A couple of try saving tackles prevented the Southern Californians from completing the comeback and Stanford took the final of their own tournament yet again.

Many thanks to the teams and organizers – especially Matt Sherman – as well as referees Jen Tetler, John Lane, Bryant Y. Byrnes and Aaron Nelson.


This Week’s Photo

Jet Tetler calmly surveying the field before Stanford v California

Tetler at Stanford

Hail, Pelicus!

For the Senate

Pelicus Pedem Referre


Beatus Novus Annus!



Beatus Novus Annus!


Welcome to 2015 (Gregorian) to all who fly the good flight in Pelicanland and beyond.    With the start of the new year comes the start of the WEEKLY Hail Pelicus, so start getting those report in!


2014 was a year full of excitement, surprises and, naturally, lots of rugby. Some good, some not so good and some great rugby, but all of it was rugby and that can’t be a bad thing, can it?   We here at the staff of Hail Pelicus have fond memories of 2014 but are eagerly looking forward to 2015.   Vegas 7s! SuperSites! The Return of the Pelicans! The World Cup! There is much to look forward to and I for one can’t wait.    Beatus Novus Annus!


Time to Boil Your Boots And Polish Your Whistle


I am sure that we have all by now completed our holiday fitness regimen and are ready physically for the upcoming season, but that is only part of the preparation needed.   This may come as a shock to many coaches and players, but we as referees need to be mentally sharp as well and that means constant brush ups on law.   Our Noble Leader Pelicus Iudex Pennipes has designed a series of law exams based on the exams used by New Zealand Rugby.


The format is simple: The tests developed by New Zealand are each 100 questions but these tests have been broken up into 20 question sessions. Users access the page, complete the questions, and click submit. Users receive an email noting their scores, answers they submitted, the correct answers, and a link to see the law that corresponds to the question. It’s then the users responsibility to research the question. The IRB logo in this post contains a link to the IRB’s law website to help you research the law.  This is not only useful for referees but any player, coach or fan would benefit from learning some of the fine points of the Laws of Rugby. The first three sessions can be accessed here:

Questions 1-20
Questions 21-40
Questions 41-60


January Society Meeting


This month’s meeting will be held January 21st 7:00 PM @ the SFGG Clubhouse   For our meeting we will be discussing:

  • Audio Game Management – Whistle and Voice (Josh Pendegrass)
  • Evaluator’s Perspective (Kat Todd)

All referees interested in receiving additional training are encouraged to attend as well as anyone interested in what the referees are thinking when we make that critical call against your side.   Remember, these are the meetings where the referees all get together and decide who is going to win the next month’s games, probably by calling a critical pass interference and then picking up the flag because this isn’t football.


Eternal Pelicus


For those of you who are new to the society and have wondered at the funny sounding names that referees are occasionally referred to as in this publication, it is a tradition that each member adopt a pseudo Latin name, known as your Pelicus name.   You can find the back story and a list of current and former Pelicus names here:


If you would like to nominate a name for yourself you can send a request to Paul Bretz (Pelicus Iudex Pennipes) at and I am sure he will do something with it.   NOTE: You may not get the name you request. Some names are earned and/or bestowed without your consent and can’t be fought.


2014 registration


Referees need to be CIPP’d too! Don’t forget to get registered with USA rugby.  Once you’ve registered send your society dues, $10.00, to Jim Crenshaw.


Assignr – making match reporting and assigning easier since 2014


The NCRFU will continue to use the assignr system for assignments and match reports.   Please make sure that your availability is correctly listed on the site – if you aren’t listed as available you probably won’t get assigned.   Under “My Availability” you can make yourself available for a block of dates and then recuse yourself for specific dates if needed.   Please remember when filling out your match reports on assignr, ASSIGNR IS NOT WHERE YOU REPORT MISCONDUCT. The report section of assignr is for the match summaries that are below.   If there are red cards or reportable yellow cards in your match then report them via the channels described on


Upcoming Courses – Level 1 Officiating Course


The Northern California Youth Rugby Association, with the assistance of the Northern California Rugby Referee Society, will host a Level 1 Officiating course Sunday, January 11, 2015, in Orinda, CA.

Date: Sunday, January 11, 2015

Time: The course will start at 8.00am and end at 5.00pm.

Location: Either at Wilder Field or Campolindo High School, both in the City of Orinda, CA. The exact location will be confirmed after the first of the year when school officials return and all registrants will be notified of that location.

Online registration at USA Rugby and with the NCYRA will remain open through Wednesday, January 7th after which any further registration may only be accomplished by personally contacting the lead Trainer, Mike Malone (, no later than Friday, January 9th.


Exchange Notes


The Totally Not An Exchange At All Hawai’i Exchange


Bruce Carter, Cary Bertolone, James Hinkin and JC Van Stadin accepted the call of duty and flew half way across the Pacific to participate in the Totally Not An Exchange At All Hawai’i Exchange.   The overly complex name is mainly because we do not have an exchange with Hawai’I, but when they request referees as they do every year for the Hawaii International 7s Tournament, Pelicanland, led by Dr Bruce Carter, responds to the call and fly, float or swim their way to Oahu and a few days in Paradise.   The society doesn’t pay for this – it is not an exchange – but Pelicans somehow manage to find a way to get there on their own for a fantastic time of not being in the middle of the Storm Of The Century.   The local teams seem to relish our presence as well. To pull a quote from Bruce Carter’s writeup, “We had a total of one punch in 38 games. Someone observed that that’s the inverse of the ratio often encountered over there”   Here are the reports:


Dr Bruce Carter


The last few years, Pelicans have been needed at the Hawaii International Sevens, held on Oahu the second weekend (Friday-Saturday) of December. It’s pay-your-own-way, not an exchange, but we’ve always managed to find a few folks who would spring for such an excursion.


This year Cary Bertolone, James Hinkin and JC van Staden joined me for the event, with JC and me bringing our wives. Everyone having made their own arrangements, we were at four different hotels in Waikiki.


The slow season for tourism in the islands, such as it is, runs October – mid-December. The weather hardly varies year-round – i.e., highs of eighty and lows of seventy – but the length of daylight swings about two-and-a-half hours (compare to more than five at the latitude of San Francisco), so there isn’t as much time to get an unseasonable sunburn.


James joined Penelope and me for one of our traditions, dawn atop Diamond Head on the first morning there. It’s an easy uphill hike of about a mile with million-dollar views.


Another tradition is dinner at the Shorebird, where you graze at a wonderful salad bar and then cook your own entree – steak, kebabs, fish. The van Stadens had a prior engagement, dinner at a restaurant that included Peltier Station on its winelist, but JC dropped by to present us with a bottle of eponymous wine, his own private label.


Three years ago, we met with the governor. Two years ago, we met with the mayor. This year we met with a drunk who wanted to pick a fight during the captains and officials meeting the night before the event. We thought, surely he knows he’s outnumbered? There were a dozen of us – not ‘me’ us, you understand, but ‘rugby-player’ us. It only occurred later: probably eveyone else in the place, all looking like regulars, might have bailed him out. Good times!

During World War II, Britain went on double-daylight time. Well, this tournament features doubly-altered time as well: the well-known Rugby time combined with Island time. It makes getting to the pitch on time a snap: you can arrive late and still be more than an hour early.


Ever been to the Mystery Spot near Santa Cruz? It’s disorienting. Same thing occurs when you visit the pitch that was laid on for the tourney.


How to describe: technically, it was a rhombus with internal angles of 72 and 108 degrees, 100 by seventy meters. The goal lines, as laid down, were seventy meters apart, but the night crew that put up the goalposts put one on the goal line and the other on the deadball line. Now the field-of-play was eighty meters long, with the ‘mid-field’ line 35m from one goal and 45m from the other.


You can do the trigonometry. With the corners being 18 degrees away from right angles, the goal posts (properly centered, I might add) were offset from each other by 25 meters.


Back to the Mystery Spot: the same person can be both shorter and taller than another person, depending on where they stand. Well, on this pitch, you can have a scrum at the center of the halfway line and still have a short side, a wide side, a deep end and a shallow end.


In the four years the tournament has been held, its international character has consisted of a single team: Deadwood RFC, from Australia. You can find them on the web – they play to raise money for charities, mostly children’s hospitals. They finished second in 2013 and won the event the other three times.


This year there was a women’s bracket as well, which was won by Youngbloodz of Minnesota.


A young local ref was recommended to us as the best ref in the state. He did a fine job but only too late did we realize that he never bothered to keep score. The last game of the round-robin turned out to decide who would advance to the final. The announcer-scorekeeper had it as a draw. Both teams felt they had made a conversion that was not credited. The ref couldn’t help. The in-goal judges weren’t much help either, and I was one of them – as we’d been involved in several dozen games on the trot and you know how all those tries and conversions can run together in the mind. We went with the scorekeeper’s tally, and Deadwood went through on aggregate points.


It is a pleasure to referee in Hawaii. They have many skilled players and lots of teams, they appreciate competent refereeing, and they respect the ref and play accordingly. We had a total of one punch in 38 games. Someone observed that that’s the inverse of the ratio often encountered over there.


Your scribe is rapidly transitioning to the sideline. My wife and I intend to continue to attend this event as an excuse to get to Hawaii every year, and I’d be happy to assign you a few games should you be able to join us in 2015 or beyond. Four refs is about right. It’s a selection process with two criteria: you gotta love Sevens, and you can be in Honolulu December 11-12, 2015. Do what we did and make it a week – it’s not like there’s nothing else to do. The Honolulu Marathon is the next morning and so there’s that. You could probably think of other diversions, over a few mai-tais, as well.


Cary Bertolone


I had the opportunity to fly to Oahu with Bruce Carter, James Hinkin and JC Van Stadin to ref a 7 ‘s tourney on Dec. 12 and 13th, last week. Making a week vacation out of it enhanced the fun. Missing the bulk of the rain storms made me feel slightly guilty (only slightly, though).

I reffed teams like the Maui Warriors, the Seasiders, the Raiders, PolyBlue, the Titans and the marines called Scarface. I also had a women’s game and ran touch for several games, giving me a lot of exercise.

The weather was great, the players were good natured and I had a blast with my fellow refs. Bruce thought that after an enormous amount games, having zero fights was a compliment to us. It was also great to watch other refs of their high caliber!

The highlight of my trip was watching the sun go down, poolside,  with Bruce and James and talking about past rugby experiences, and then working our way back to our hotels with James! Too much fun.


Actual Game Reports!


Date: 11/08/2014

CSU Monterey Bay 24 – Fresno State 12

Referee: Freitas, Larry


I arrived at CSUMB at 12:30 to discover that a few players from Fresno State would be late in arriving, delaying the game until 2pm. I had time to catch up on Marc Ferguson’s story about the rugby pitch on campus, and the advent of rugby in the last four years following its demise more than ten years ago. He has plenty out for the sport, and a number of foreign players with great skills.

Fresno State and Monterey Bay played pretty evenly during most of the first half, but the home team had more size and power overall. They scored two tries, one converted, in that first stanza. Their flyhalf, Matai Leuta, was a dominant player on the pitch. He has size, speed, and skills to his advantage, and can cut through a defense like butter through a knife, and know when and how to kick ahead.

Fresno scored early in the second half and converted, making the score, but Monterey Bay scored two tries, one on a long run by Leuta, which was converted by his drop kick in front of the posts. Fresno scored late, and I’d have to take some credit for that, as I let play go on from a kick taken by a Monterey Bay player deep in his own half near the touch line, and he had several players offside ahead, and didn’t run up field to put his team mates onside . Fresno State managed to move the ball into the center of the field, and after a breakdown and winning ruck ball, scored a try from passing the ball further across the field on the opposite.

I’m impressed by the pitch at CSUMB. It rivals that of UCSC some twenty-five miles further note. Great views of the Gabilan range to the east of nearby Salinas, and at least outside the pitch’s fence, a great view to the west and south of the Pacific Ocean and Monterey Peninsula.



Date: 11/08/2014

Stanford Women 50 – UN Reno Women 0

Referee: Parkinson, David


lopsided game. three 30 min halves.


Pacific 26 (4T, 3C)

UC SANTA CRUZ 45 (6T, 6C, 1PG)


Relatively good match, high level of aggressive play mostly featuring great initiative but lacking viable execution.



Date: 11/15/2014

Baracus 40 – Baracus Alumni 15

Referee: Byrnes, Bryant


If one did not know beforehand, one would not think this was a friendly alumni/club match. The kids won, but the alum played them tough.


A lot of rock ’em sock ’em hard hitting play the entire 80 minutes. And while certainly not at mid season form, the quality was good. A really nifty standoff- center- wing and bob- is -your -uncle try was memorable.


Post match beer and burgers and camaraderie in a verdant City grove while the sun goes down; why we who serve do so.


Date: 11/15/2014

Cal Maritime 39 – USF 10

Referee: Hinkin, James


Cal Maritime were more organized than a game USF side and that led to a couple of well worked Maul tries.   USF had some breaks but lacked a finishing touch.



Date: 11/15/2014

Santa Clara University 61 – Loyola Marymount 0

Referee: Smith, Pete


Good game. Played in good spirits. Santa Clara despite ‘rebuilding’ seem to have a pretty good talent pool to develop and build on.



Date: 11/21/2014

Stanford – Cal Maritime

Referee: Pendergrass, Joshua


It was a beautiful night at Stanford. No wind with an overcast sky and humid.

Both teams put forth strong sides with an eagerness to win the match.

The first half Stanford dominated at the ruck and used the penalties in front of goal to put points on the board with well struck kicking. It wasn’t until later in the first half that we saw Stanford put the ball over the try line.

At the whistle to end the first half the score was Stanford-13 with 1 try, 1 conversion 2 penalty conversions to Cal Maritime- 0.

The second half saw Cal Maritime compete more at the ruck and with good gate entry they figured out how to gain possession and with some good forward movement inside the 22 got the ball over to begin a second half scoring trend.

The captains were both very good about keeping their teams discipline level on high and the lads just really played some good rugby.

At 54min Stanford (#12) received a yellow card for repeated high/dangerous tackle which I attributed to players missing tackles and getting a bit lazy and the yellow saw the end of that. There was also a yellow issued to Cal Maritime at the 79th min for a late hit (#7) which was once again attributed to players missing tackles and frustration setting in.

All in all I want to commend both teams for a very hard fought match. The players put their all onto the pitch last night and the final score shows just that. Cal Maritime pushed over the line twice for tries with one conversion in the second half nearly unanswered and going into the final minutes of the match the score was and would end at Stanford-16 to Cal Maritime-12.




Date: 11/22/2014

Chico Holiday Classic

Referee: Richmond, Jeff


Good rugby and good hospitality by the Chico forks. The worst fields I’ve been on in a long time. There were so many ruts, holes, and mounds it was as if it had undergone a week of bombardment from enemy artillery. At least it didn’t rain.



Date: 11/22/2014

UC Davis B 29 – Solano Community College 12

Referee: Bertolone, Cary


We kicked off at noon in a slight mist, but no real rain. Davis pushed one across at the eight minute mark and then both teams played close to even for a while. Davis got two more tries and were up 19 to 0 at the half. Solano scored a well earned try at the 7 minute mark and they played even for another 20 minutes. Both teams scored at the 30 minute mark for a 24-12 score and at the last minute, Davis pushed another over with hard forward work. Great sportsmanship throughout and the sidelines were fun and enthusiastic as well. The high lights were watching each team’s 8 man run and make tackles with some great tackling/collisions that even made me wince. Paul was Davis’s eight man and Solano’s was, I think, Cameron. Big guys that run and tackle powerfully!



Date: 11/22/2014

USF 3 – San Francisco State Univ 12

Referee: Pescetti, David


A brutal rivalry match between the two San Francisco colleges. It was a physical match from whistle to whistle. Both teams are very evenly matched. The first score of the match came with 3 minutes left in the first half scored by SFSU in the right corner. In the second half the tempo and physicality did not drop. 15 minutes into the 2nd half USF answered with a penalty kick making the score USF 3 – SFSU 5. The score remained that way until 5 minutes left in the match when SFSU scored the last points of an exhausting game. USF 3 – SFSU 12.



Date: 12/06/2014

CSU Monterey Bay Women 5 – UCSC Women 75

Referee: Carter, Bruce


Beautiful day after several days of heavy storms with a soggy pitch that didn’t slow down the Slugs, who are of course known to come out after the rain.


Beginners on both teams – always a pleasure to referee, taking on a slightly different role – but more on the home team and it showed in the tackling and the scoreline.


Best of luck to both teams. As always, a pleasure to take the pitch with young ruggers.



Date: 12/06/2014

Marin 35 – B. A. Baracus 19

Referee: Lew, Tim


On a brisk Saturday morning in SF, Marin and Baracus played a preseason game to get a feel for their upcoming season. Both teams looked rusty with low communication and plenty of missed tackles. Baracus was better on the day by finishing their line breaks and being able to put phases together close to the goal line. Both teams had good athletes and will be physical in the regular season.



Date: 12/06/2014

San Jose Seahawks 29 – Diablo Gaels 17

Referee: Moore, Stephen


Well played friendly, no incidents !



Date: 12/06/2014

San Jose State scored many points – Silicon Valley scored lots of points

Referee: Hinkin, James


A change in time and a change in opponents left this referee more flustered than the teams as the game was unexpectedly moved up 2 1/2 hours from the original kick off time to 10:30 – a change I was enlightened of at 10:00 while sipping my morning coffee while relaxing in my bathrobe.   Adversity is my calling card, however, and as I said to the captains, “I didn’t have time to shower this morning so you’re lucky that I roll out of bed this good looking”.


Stunned silence from the crowd.


This preseason match was to be played in a series of 20 minute periods and the first was underway overseen by a referee’s worst nightmare – a well-meaning coach who has decided to “not call too many penalties and let them play”. The good news was that both teams were eager to learn and were not interested in extracurriculars.   Once I warmed up and took over the tone of the match was set as I called approximately 6 penalties in 5 minutes.   At that point the players realized that we were here to play proper rugby and cheating would be frowned upon and the game well and truly started.


Silicon Valley is an established high school and youth program that has decided they have enough alumni to put together a 3rd division team.


San Jose St is a talented college side who just released their previous coach and is changing directions as a club.


The game itself went much to form as the largely inexperienced Spartans (many of the upper classmen were held out of this game) went into contact with great enthusiasm and poor body position that allowed the visitors to dominate much of the contact areas.   Many lessons were learned on the futility of tackling high.   Silicon Valley has the expected mix of wily old veterans and highly impressionable youth that one would expect on a fledgling 3rd division team and played to exactly those types. Their veterans were dominant at times while giving up some speed and athleticism to the hosts. Their youngsters were overwhelmed at times while adding energy and excitement to the match. No score was kept officially so let’s just say the final was many to lots.


Date: 12/06/2014

UC Davis Women ‘s Tournament

Referee: Ricard, Bruce


Two pretty balanced good games. The first one was between Sacramento and Reno. Sacramento won by 4 points. The second one was between Davis and Reno. Reno did pretty well in the first half, but certainly got tired in the second half from player two games in a row, and lost 50-13.

I was nicely surprised by the level of play during this tournament. Those 3 teams have some excellent players.



Date: 12/13/2014

Berkeley RFC – Reno Zephyrs/South Valley

Referee: Bretz, Paul


Players were keen to enjoy a dry day. Players were looking to play themselves into shape and seemed to enjoy the day. Everyone enjoyed their first hit out.



Date: 12/13/2014

Sacramento Lions 42 – Santa Rosa 12

Referee: Lew, Tim


In a preseason rematch of the D1 NorCal final last year, Sac Lions and Santa Rosa squared off for a preseason runaround. Both teams looked very different dominated by younger players and more physical play. Overall SR dominated in set piece as Sac Lions were more dynamic in the loose.



Date: 12/13/2014

SF Fog – West Coast Rucktacular

Referee: Coppinger, John


6 20-minute matches b/c of time constraints on the use of the pitch (Franklin Square Park). I did three matches and Bryant Brynes did the others.


Seattle 5, LA 5


SF Fog 10, Seattle 10


LA 5, San Diego 5


While some might claim I owe a few beers to the members of the Society b/c of the scores, I assert the defense of a lack of posts that prevented conversions and penalty kicks at goal. (The try line on the east side of the pitch consisted of Gatorade bottles lined up across the pitch about 5 meters apart. That was a first as was the Fog paying off the soccer players holding the 3 pm permit so the final match could be completed.)


EDITOR’S NOTE:   Your thoughts on what constitutes a tie have been taken on board and soundly rejected.   We will expect suitable beverages at the next meeting.


This Week’s Photo

The Pelican crew in Hawaii relaxing after the tournament final: (L-R) Bruce Carter, James Hinkin, JC van Staden, Cary Bertolone


Pelicans in Hawaii



Hail, Pelicus!

For the Senate

Pelicus Pedem Referre




The Sky Is Falling!



The Sky Is Falling!


With the meteorological conditions that have assailed Pelicanland over the last few years many of the flock may have recently been startled by small, individual packets of dihydrogen monoxide falling relentlessly to the earth causing chaos and widespread panic. Yes, my fellow pelecanidae, it is raining in California.   And not just any rain, but great rivers are falling, descending upon the land and, as I type this, Northern California is preparing for the Storm of the Century.   I, however, will have to rely on the usual keen eyewitness testimony that Hail Pelicus thrives on as I am boarding a plane to Hawai’i tomorrow and will miss all the excitement. More on that trip next week.


Congratulations to the 2014 Pelicus Award winners


At the annual banquet last June several Pelicans were honored for their hard work, dedication and contributions to the Society.   Here are the award winners – let them be honored:


Tim Lew – Rookie of the Year

Lee Bryant – Most Imprved

Ambassador of the Society – Kat Todd

Pelicus Scriptorus – Todd Zanarini

Assistant Referee of the Year – Mark Godfrey

Bryan Porter Award – Mike King

Pelican of the Year – Eric Rauscher


December Society Meeting


This month’s meeting will be held December 17th 7:00 PM @ the SFGG Clubhouse   Please note that the monthly society meeting is set for December 17th, NOT December 10th, as was stated at our AGM and most recently in Hail Pelicus.  There was a conflict for December 10th. For our meeting we will be discussing:

  • tackle scenarios
  • incident reporting
  • Pre-match responsibilities
  • Referee Coaching/feedback

All referees interested in receiving additional training are encouraged to attend as well as anyone interested in what the referees are thinking when we make that critical call against your side.


2014 registration


Referees need to be CIPP’d too! Don’t forget to get registered with USA rugby.  Once you’ve registered send your society dues, $10.00, to Jim Crenshaw.


Assignr – making match reporting and assigning easier since 2014


The NCRFU will continue to use the assignr system for assignments and match reports.   Please make sure that your availability is correctly listed on the site – if you aren’t listed as available you probably won’t get assigned.   Under “My Availability” you can make yourself available for a block of dates and then recuse yourself for specific dates if needed.   Please remember when filling out your match reports on assignr, ASSIGNR IS NOT WHERE YOU REPORT MISCONDUCT. The report section of assignr is for the match summaries that are below.   If there are red cards or reportable yellow cards in your match then report them via the channels described on


Upcoming Courses


Coaching Certificate


A Level 300 Coaching certification will be offered Dec 20,21 hosted by SFGG on Treasure Island. Link for registration:

See course listing for prerequisites.


Exchange Notes


This report comes from Stephen Valerio in Switzerland


People who aren’t enlightened about rugby often ask, ”What is so great about the sport?’ I recently had an opportunity that perfectly answers this question. I had an extended business trip in Europe that left me with a free Saturday in Basel, Switzerland. Basel sits in the northwest corner of the country right where the borders of Switzerland, France and Germany meet.

Preston Gordon was able to put me in contact with the Swiss Rugby Referee Society and I was given the opportunity to officiate a match between Basel Future vs Zug in a Swiss National League C match. Paul de Wouters, a fellow colleague in our large, multinational company, met me at the tram. That’s when I discovered a jacket and tie would have been a better choice than my warm-up suit. I enjoyed the changing room and clubhouse where I was told the club was lucky, as they generally only had to share their pitch with an American football team, since they both required the same posts. After dressing for the match, I stood in the middle of the pitch wondering why the two clubs weren’t joining me on the pitch. Paul came on the pitch and explained that I needed to go on the sideline and lead the squads on. Note, when traveling outside the US, spending some extra time on cultural elements would be a good call.

Mercifully we got onto to rugby, which was refreshingly familiar (thankfully both clubs were English-speaking). Zug had been late to the match due to traffic, but once we got underway they got right to work. Basel Future struggled with the mauls coming off of the lineouts and Zug was generally quicker to the ruck, putting Basel on pressure throughout. Zug put 5 tries over in the first half and took a 31-0 lead into the half.

The second half got choppier as Basel ran out of front rows and Zug’s substitutions weren’t as skillful. Zug still got 3 more tries across, but Basel Future put Zug under some extreme pressure and after several penalties, I had to award a penalty try. This led to another unique experience as I spoke to the Zug captain after I awarded the try, one of the other Zug players called the squad around to listen. He then started yelling at them to stop committing penalties. I have never seen that in the US. Matters then did settle for the rest of the match and it closed with Zug 52-7 winners.

I then got to run as an Assistant Referee for a National League A match between Basel and Hermance. Hugues Steyner was much better suited to handle the French-speaking Hermance side, which came out 37-17 winners.

After the match we enjoyed a few beers and compared our experiences in Switzerland and the US. If anyone ever has the opportunity to referee a match in Switzerland, I highly recommend it. It was a great time. Many thanks to Paul for shepherding me around, and to Preston for putting me into contact with the Swiss referee society.


This Week’s Photo Dr Bruce Carter after refereeing in one of the most beautiful settings in the world at the University of California at Santa Cruz with the Pacific Ocean in the background

Bruce in Santa Cruz




Hail, Pelicus!

For the Senate

Pelicus Pedem Referre



HP Is Back!



HP Is Back!


The rumors are true: we’re back!   After essentially taking the whole summer off from Hailing the Pelicus the beloved organ of the Northern California Rugby Referee Society has shaken off the dust and is ready to go into full squawking mode.   We have much to cover so I will limit the introductory comments – don’t count on that in the future, however.


Thank you, Preston


Preston Gordon asked the board to accept his resignation as the Referee Development Officer due to work commitments.  The society owes Preston a debt of gratitude and our thanks for his service.  Vicki Hudson will be filling Preston’s role as RDO.  She graciously accepted the challenge to further develop our society’s skills and is in the process of developing this year’s agenda.


Highlights of the 2014 AGM as reported by NCRRS President Paul Bretz:


  • Pete Smith has taken over as the scheduler for the NCRFU; he now is responsible for setting the master schedule for the league as well as communicating referee assignments.
  • Pete outlined the idea of “super-sites”, multiple matches at the same venue throughout the day, and the sponsorship opportunities currently in the works.  This year’s season will be very enjoyable for all stakeholders.
  • Dave Williamson discussed youth rugby.
  • Paul Bretz hit on changes in store for referee coaching.  Coaches will be inputting their information into a database which will provide the opportunity for coaches to see referee trends and track progress.  Referees will also be asked to provide input about the coaching experience as a means to improve referee development and referee coaching.  Coaches will be shown the system in December.
  • Paul Bretz and Pete Smith provided instructional sessions on officiating the tackle and the location of penalties in relation to the field.


Beep Test


In order to progress as a referee one needs to meet fitness standards. This is measured by the infamous beep test and was administered at the AGM.   Tests will be administered at upcoming meetings if there is sufficient interest.


  • 14 brave members participated in the beep test
  • Congratulations to Chris Tucker and Jordan Bruno…14.8 and 13.12 respectively on the beep
  • Tom Zanarini, Phil Akroyd, Jen Tetler all scored at least 12 on the test
  • James Hinkin was unable to take the test due to a strained hip but mentally ran a 13.4.

Future society meetings


The society is in the process of booking its monthly training sessions and is looking to reserve the following dates:

  • December 10,
  • January 21,
  • February 18,
  • March 18,
  • April 15
  • May 13


Keep a close eye on this newsletter for date confirmation.


2014 registration


Referees need to be CIPP’d too! Don’t forget to get registered with USA rugby.  Once you’ve registered send your society dues, $10.00, to Jim Crenshaw.


Assignr – making match reporting and assigning easier since 2014


The NCRFU will continue to use the assignr system for assignments and match reports.   Please make sure that your availability is correctly listed on the site – if you aren’t listed as available you probably won’t get assigned.   Under “My Availability” you can make yourself available for a block of dates and then recuse yourself for specific dates if needed.   Please remember when filling out your match reports on assignr, ASSIGNR IS NOT WHERE YOU REPORT MISCONDUCT. The report section of assignr is for the match summaries that are below.   If there are red cards or reportable yellow cards in your match then report them via the channels described on


Upcoming Courses


Level 1 Officiating Course

A level 1 course will he held on December 7, 2014 from 7:45 am – 5:00 pm



Location:  Redwood High School, 395 Doherty Drive, Larkspur, CA
Please see for details or contact the Lead Educator: Mike Malone at


Coaching Certificate

A Level 300 Coaching certification will be offered Dec 20,21 hosted by SFGG on Treasure Island. Link for registration:

See course listing for prerequisites.


Pelicus winners


Jim Crenshaw – The Stare remains strong with this one


Yes, we know what we did wrong and we are sorry.


Exchange Notes


David Pescetti and Jordan Bruno were our representatives for this year’s Alberta exchange. Here are their reports:


Jordan Bruno


I flew into Calgary International a day before our nation celebrated its birthday to visit our northern neighbor.  David Robinson, President of the society, greeted me at the gate and I went back to gear up for a busy Fourth of July.  I happened to visit Calgary the day of their largest parade and rodeo, an event that draws thousands from all over the globe on an annual basis.  It is the largest cash prize rodeo around, with two million dollars in prize money distributed over a few days.  With the Canadian dollar trading at 94 cents to the American dollar, that’s still a lot of money.  It was like Texas in Canada. Bronco riding, bull riding, barrel races, and calf roping, the event drew the best competitors from North America.  That evening David and I made it over to the venue for the Stampede 7s tournament to officiate a few evening 7s matches.  The fields were in great condition, all 5 of them, with the last overlooking downtown Calgary and the snow capped Rocky Mountains in the distance.  Calgary’s economy has been doing well with 60% of the local economy coming from oil and gas, evidence being a tower built in the 70s dwarfed by newly constructed office towers.  I was told I could still go to the top of Calgary Tower, but did not have a lot of interest after hearing that you had a better view of people working on the 40th floor of the neighboring office than of the surrounding city.  The next morning was more rugby—matches started at 8 and as refs straggles in from celebrating the night before, we realized we had more than enough hands on deck for ARs and in touch for all the matches, with plenty of breaks to go around.  Teams were mainly from Canada, with a US select side that made it pretty far into the playoffs.  The Cannibal Rugby Team did very well, albeit without their most well known player.  Jerry Collins, the well known New Zealand All-Black, made his way to Canada after playing in Japan, and practiced with their all islander side.  It was rumored that while playing in Japan, Collins got involved with a girlfriend of one of the Yakuza gang members.  Fearing for his life, he held up a liquor store with a rubber gun to get deported.  This of course voided his contract and brought him to Canada.  The story itself was a fine substitute for seeing the legend in action.  The Cannibals in fact beat out the US Select Side in the finals to the tune of 44-0.  A great weekend of rugby with a great referee society.  This reciprocal exchange is definitely something that more of our referees will enjoy in the future.


David Pescetti

Calgary, Alberta Canada

Thursday June 5 – Sunday June 8, 2014

Rugby Alberta, Exchange with Alberta Rugby Society


Last week I was fortunate enough to be given the opportunity to travel to Alberta, Canada for the Provincial Championships held in Calgary. It was rugby filled two day event with two tears of both boys and girls schools competing for the right to call themselves champions of Alberta. Matches were played at the Calgary Rugby Union (CRU). A beautiful facility with 5 pitches overlooking downtown Calgary and the Canadian Rocky Mountains. I was hosted by stellar referee Andrew Petti. Magically the skies parted for both days and the sun was shining, amazing weather for rugby both days. Onto Day 1!

Day 1: Arrived at the CRU at 8am to get ready, attend coaches meeting, and referees meeting. Began the day with two AR assignments.

First was West Island vs West Central a battle over the west. It was a close, hard fought match with West Central prevailing 15 – 5 over West Island in the 40 minute contest.

My second match was a match between Winston Churchill vs Rimbey. Unfortunately Winston Churchill was too strong and too fast for Rimbey. Final score Winston Churchill 42 – Rimbey 10. I was given an hour break before my first match center match.

Western Canada vs Holy Trinity Acadamy: Western Canada is a strong team from a strong rugby school. HTA was new to the scene for girl’s rugby. Western Canada was more organized and played better defense. HTA had the athletes to compete but seemed unsure when attacking and could not recover when things got messy. HTA was able to put points on the board through broken plays but they were unable to consistently run phases necessary to punch it in. The final: Western Canada 33 – Holy Trinity Acadamy 12. HTA has a promising future with their athletes and great coaches at their school.

Directly following my match I moved scampered over to a new assignment, Winston Churchill vs West Central. I had the pleasure of working with a great New Zealand referee. She had great command over the game and I was able to learn a lot listening to her over coms. Winston Churchill’s pack behind the play of their 8-man was able to out muscle West Central. They made great moves off the scrum and were able to catch West Central unprepared in the first half. While the second half was slower because West Central caught onto Churchill’s 8-man play, the overall game was much the same. Winston Churchill 30 – West Central 7.

With the 2nd round of the tournament underway I had to rush over to my next assignment. Two teams fought for their right to advance, Assumption/Cold vs Beaumont. A game which was back and forth, eventually Beaumont prevailed with the speed in their backs. Beaumont 22 – Assumption/Cold 14.

Directly after this match I made my way to my second center match of the day, Medicine Hat vs Lloydminster. Med Hat had a size advantage over Lloyd. During the game Med Hat’s size allowed them to break the tackles of Lloyd and push their advantage as a result of these breakaways. Lloyd played with tremendous heart, never showing an ounce of frustration or meekness, despite the size and physical disparity. Behind the superb play of the Med Hat fly half, they took a sizable lead and never looked back, ending the game with a 15 meter drop goal. Med Hat 58 – Lloydminster 0.

After, I was able to relax for a little bit before my last AR assignment for the day. An evening match between two 3rd division men’s teams, pitting the Canucks vs the Rams. Being able to be the fly on the wall with multiple high level refs and listening in on their conversations with coaches on current issues how they handle them is quite informative. The teams were two big groups of men with powerful scrums. As last year’s reigning champions, the Canucks are on the road to repeat. Their play did not disappoint. Powerful scrums with support at the rucks. The Canucks flustered the Rams with their defense. The Rams ultimately had a player sent off close to the end of the game, which sealed the win for the Canucks. The final result was Canucks 29 – Rams 10.

After being at the pitch for 12 hours it was nice to get out of the boots, relax with the rest of the crew, and enjoy a pint with a view.


Day 2: After day one I felt like I was going to lose a few toenails. Putting on my socks and boots wasn’t painful but left me nails and by extension me, uneasy, as if the pain was just beyond the horizon. Luckily, once into my boots there was nothing but rugby ahead.

My day began with the Consolation championships between West Island College and Parkland Comp. It was a very back and forth game. 5 lead changes throughout the match. The players were in good spirits yet visibly tired. The scrums due to the fitness of the players began to suffer, after seeing how other referees handled the scrums in the past weekend helped me address the issues better than I have previously. The longer match, 60 minutes as opposed to 40 the previous day, began to wear on both teams as the game went on. Tackles became lazier and weaker. The game ended in a 24 – 24 tie. The challenge of being a player down seemed to energize Parkland. Despite being a man down Parkland Comp took the extra 10 minutes in decisive fashion, scoring a converted try and a penalty kick to snatch the win in an extremely hard fought match from West Island College. Parkland Comp 34 – West Island College 24. Both teams played their heart out and it was my pleasure to be the match official during this game.

After this game I was again in the center for a tier 3 Men’s match where Banff would play the Calgary Saracens. This match I would be without AR, I had been spoiled the entire weekend until that game. I had a lot to absorb from my previous match. This match was more difficult than previous matches due to my own fatigue, beginning to lose my voice, and both teams testing my limits as far as what they could get away with. It was a great challenge for me to referee this game with two formidable teams. Both fought hard in the scrums with Banff being a bit craftier. The kicking game was used heavily by both teams to great effect. Banff had the more consistent play throughout the match. The game went to full time with Banff coming out on top after the full 80 minute contest. Banff 34 – Saracens 24.

I was able to ref with someone who had a US Rugby referee jersey, but I could not find anyone with their NCRRS Pelican jersey on. However, everyone was jealous of the reversible jersey I had on most of the weekend.


My last match, I was able to be on AR for an Alberta Premier Cup match between Strathcona Druids and Calgary Saints. This was a highly contested match with two teams with very similar styles. Mid-range sized packs with amazing quick backs. The Druids began to dominate the Saints with the Druid loose-head overpowering the Saints Tight-head, which lead to a pushover try from a scrum at the 5 meter line. The back play by both teams was superb. The smoothness and power displayed by both teams was great to be a part of. The high level of rugby on display led to a back and forth 1st half. In the second half the Saints displayed more brilliance after weathering the 1st storm brought by the Druids. Saints back-line play was too good for the Druids. With minutes to go I popped my Red card cherry. The final: Calgary Saints 43 – Strathacona Druids 22.

Amazingly after my last game it was time to head out, thankfully before I had to buy rounds of pitchers for all the remaining match officials who were last because I had a tie game, its tradition (I was told). I had to quickly shower and dress in my Number 1s for an elegant dinner.

After two amazing days of rugby and people at the Calgary Rugby Union it was time to head to a celebration of more rugby, the Presidents dinner at the Calgary Canadian Irish Athletic Club. The three visiting referees: Trevor Honey, Brett Hay, and myself along with our hosts: David Robinson, Kim Godeseth and Andrew Petti respectively were invited to join an amazing fundraiser for the Calgary Irish Rugby Club. Amazing food, laughter, and company led to a great evening full of thoughtful discussions about the future of rugby and hockey as viewed by President of the Calgary Flames (NHL Hockey team) and Board member of Rugby Canada Brian Burke.

Left to Right: Kim Godeseth, Trevor Honey, Brett Hay, David Robinson, David Pescetti, Andrew Petti

Andrew warned me at the beginning of my trip that Rugby Alberta loves to run visiting referees into the ground. While I believed him I was not prepared for the 10 matches in 2 days totaling 540 minutes refereed. With a tired body I was ready to leave lovely Canada and return to warmer California and a bath full of epsom salts.

I would like to thank everyone for your help in making this amazing event come together for me. It was an amazing experience, one I will remember for a long time.

My thanks goes to:

David Robinson for coordinating the exchange with NCRRS.

Andrew Petti for putting up with me in his wonderful home.

To all the amazing referees I met out in Alberta over the weekend.

Bjorn Stumer for organizing the NCRRS side of this exchange.

And finally the Board of the NCRRS for allowing me the privilege of participating in this wonderful program.


Thank you, David Pescetti


This Week’s Photo I was humbled to be asked to pose for my first ever magazine shoot. I like the way it turned out.

James Rugby Cover


Hail, Pelicus!

For the Senate

Pelicus Pedem Referre