Mathew Parry kicks the conversion for one of Gogledd Cymru's three tries against Sale Jets.

This was always going to be a tough call for Gogledd Cymru, a rearranged fixture at the end of the season with work, injury, local cup games and rearranged club fixtures making 20 of the squad unavailable for selection. At the Sunday training session before the game it was clear that Gogledd Cymru would have a stripped down squad with only one substitute. The sudden withdrawal of Ynyr Edwards, six hours before kick off, in favour of a game for Rhyl and the failure of Iestyn Dafydd (Llangefni) to turn up left 14 players in the dressing room at Heywood Road wondering whether there was really a future for regional rugby in North Wales.

The team took the field with two players, both North Walians, "borrowed" from the Sale side.
Watched by Phillipe Saint Andre and Kingsley Jones, the side played with passion and flair scoring 3 excellent tries in a 57-19 defeat. This excellent performance changed the attitude of the players, who came off the field feeling positive about the future of rugby in the region. Coach Jon Aby was also pleased with the shape and character of the side and Andre and Jones were impressed by the attitude and tenacity of a side that was clearly playing for the future of rugby in the region.

There were excellent debut performances from James Salt (Llandudno) and Elgan Davies, James Jones and Grant Jones (Nant Conwy). There were fine touches from Rhodri Carlton-Jones (Llandudno) and Mathew Parry (Llangefni) controlled the game well from 10. Osian Edwards (Denbigh) stepped up to the mark, moving to hooker as Andrew Baston covered the gap in the back row. Llion Trefor the young Bethesda second row continues to show that he is a force for the future and Rhys Hughes (Ruthin) now in his 10th season playing for the regional team provided the motivation and inspiration to lift the players from their pre-match blues.

Being short of players happens even to Grand Slam teams. In the 1987 World Cup Wales also found themselves a player short. They called up a 19 year old Dai Young who happened to be in Australia and lost to New Zealand 49-6.

Establishing Gogledd Cymru was always going to be a non-linear process. The process continues.