17 -36 were the squad numbers. Gogledd Cymru were without 17 of their squad, owing to injury and work commitments and fielded a squad with only two substitutes. In contrast, the University was showing the benefit of its recent intake of freshers with 36 players in the warm up.
Starting with a core of experienced players, the University looked strong and it was some time before the Gogs began to gain the ascendency, with a try by Jack Moorhouse, converted by Rhodri Carlton-Jones. Jones was one of 7 regular players in a Gogledd Cymru side which showed individual and collective signs of the developments they have made in the last 2 years. At other times basic skills and decision making seemed lacking.
Overall it was a brave and committed performance by the Gogs with COBRA's open side flanker Alun Jones again ourstanding.
The University responded with a first half try. At the break the score was 15-5 from a penalty by Carlton-Jones and a try by Richard Hopkins.
With five minutes to go and the Gogs suffering the wear and tear which goes with asking 17 players to compete against 36, the University scored two break away tries, one from a hack ahead and the other from a breakdown on the Gog's line.
"I didn't expect the best" commented coach Jon Aby "But I asked every player to give of their best and they did that." "Being able to field a side with so many people injured or unavailable through work demonstrates the depth of our squad."
When Loughborough collapsed the scrum on their own line for the fourth time in the closing stages of the game, Gogledd Cymru expected a penalty try, having already been awarded three sequential penalties. It was not to be and Loughborough emerged 12-10 winners, in their first visit to Parc Eirias last Wednesday night.
It was an exciting match. In the first half Gogledd Cymru controlled large parts of the game, the scrum was strong, the defence effective and for the first time the Gogs put pressure on the opposition line out. At the break the score was 10-5 in their favour. A break, by open side and man of the match Alun Jones, was finished by Rhodri Carlton-Jones. Carlton-Jones, playing at 15 for the first time looked solid in defence showing excellent decision making in timing his runs out of defence.
Substitutions in the second half made Loughborough a stronger side and a converted try took the score to 12-10. In contrast to Loughborough, the Gogs had a small bench. Injuries to Alun Jones and Huw Roberts resulted in centre Jodie Prior and wing Ioan Davies playing in the back row. Davies assumed his new role with gusto. Relishing the frequency with which he was able get his hands on the ball, his size, speed and penetrating runs caused the opposition considerable problems.
Simon Griffiths, returning from injury was also called in as a substitute and at this stage the Gogs had 3 props and 2 backs in the scrum. Inspirational captain Will Bown remained on the pitch despite carrying a thigh injury.
At the end of the game coach Jon Aby praised the commitment of the players. “I was impressed by the commitment of every player but was disappointed, as they were, with the result. It was a game that we could and should have won. We were camped in the red zone for the last quarter of the game and should have been awarded a penalty try in the closing stages.”
Loughborough coach and former Gogledd Cymru player Dave Morris enjoyed the game and in spite of the long journey has offered to replay the fixture again at a similar time next season.
The Gogs travelled to Waterloo on Wednesday 26th Aug, following an invitation from ex Gogledd Cymru and Wales second row Steve Moore for an evening kick off, preseason friendly. Steve is currently coach of Waterloo.
Jon Aby's team had considerable strength in the back line but the pack was depleted by holidays, work and injury. However, led by an inspirational performance by captain Will Bown(Llangefni), at 8; debutante openside Alun Jones (Cobra), centre Harri Morgan(Ruthin) playing out of position at 6 and late replacements Rhodri Owen (Llangefni) and Tom James (Bro Ffestiniog) moulded into the patterns of play of regulars Andrew Baston (Sale). Tom Hughes (Bala), Llion Trefor (Sale) and Dave Blackwell. The pack gained the ascendancy particulary in the latter stages of the game and were rewarded with tries by Owen and James.
Outside the scrum Gogledd Cymru had a strong hand. With the exception of 10, two players competed for each of the back positions. Christian Lille was scintillating in attack although in just failing to hold a well timed pass from centre Steffan Morgan(Ruthin) he missed and ambitious and well deserved try. His running out of defence always troubled Waterloo and on two occasions his darting runs were excellently finished by fellow wing Ioan Davies (Nant).
In the end it was four tries to one. Gogledd gifted three penalties and without a recognised goal kicker, failed at all the conversions.
This was a good start for the Gogs. Two years ago they were soundly beaten 37-0 by Waterloo.
Welcome to GOGLEDD CYMRU the North Wales Regional Rugby Team.
Mae GOGLEDD CYMRU yn anelu at fod y rhanbarth rygbi blaenaf yng Nghymru a'r tim sy'n canolbwyntio ar y chwaraewyr fwyaf, y tim sydd mwyaf ymwybodol o iechyd eu chwaraewyr yn Ewrop.
GOGLEDD CYMRU aims to be the foremost rugby region in Wales and the most player centred, health conscious team in Europe.
Mae'r tim yn cael eu ffurfio o 23 clwb yng Ngogledd Cymru trwy system tryloyw a democrataidd. Mae GOGLEDD CYMRU yn ymgeisio i cydbwyso y gofynion gwaith, bywyd a rygbi clwb gyda'r chwaraewyr sy'n cynrychioli'r rhabarth, mewn un o'r ardaloedd gyda un o'r dwysedd poblogaidd lleiaf yn Ewrop. Mae adnoddau T.G fel y blog yma yn rhan o'r system yma.
The team is drawn from 23 clubs in North Wales through a transparent and democratic method of selection. GOGLEDD CYMRU is attempting to balance the demands of work, life and club rugby with those of regional representation in one of the most sparcely populated areas of Europe. Novel IT solutions like this blog are part of this approach.
Was captain Wil Bown's response to coach Jon Aby's question "How do you feel?" after Gogledd Cymru's 56-23 win over the Welsh Fire Service.
This hypercritical retort, to a congratulatory question, is a measure of how far this Gogledd Cymru side have come in 2 years. They have played sides from the Russian Champions to the Sale and Worcester development teams. They know how good rugby can get and they want to be there.
"To be the best, you have to play against the best" This tautology from national coach Warren Gatland signifies the approach Gogledd Cymru have taken over the past two seasons. "Why don't you play sides you can beat?" say the critics. The answer is obvious.
Last night Gogledd Cymru played some scintillating rugby, providing the modest crowd with some of the best rugby seen in North Wales this season.
"Too many penalties and not enough structure!" cut in Bown. The discussion that ensued was a testament to coach Jon Aby. Players added their technical analysis of the game. It encapsulated the progress the team has made.
"Eight months ago, you couldn't have done what you did tonight" commented Aby. Heads nodded - but everyone knew there was more! They have played against it and they want it.
The success of the evening was not in the score it was in the dressing room discussion.
At half time the players were unanimous in their critical analysis of the game. Everyone knew what was going wrong, even with 30 points on the board, and they knew what was needed to correct it. It was a moment of empowerment which marked a change in this team.
"I have heard the coach shouting" commented video analyst Dave Cheesbrough "But it is the first time I have seen the team shouting corrective instructions to each other."
"Tonight! You are Worcester! You are Sale!" commented coach Jon Aby at half time, "You have to execute. Anything less than 50 points will be a failure."
In doing so, new potential emerged. The Gogledd front row were outstanding. Man of the match Simon Griffiths demonstrated that he has the potential to succeed as a top class prop. Pwllheli's Arron Owen, one of the successes of the game against Russia, added analysis to attitude, His half time appraisal of the game and physical commitment demonstrated why he is emerging as one of the best props in the region. English U18 international hooker Dave Blackwell laid down the gauntlet to injured hooker Baston with an outstanding performance.
Behind the scrum, Carwyn Williams demonstrated why he has already played at Premiership level. Mathew Parry showed a return to his old form choosing to distribute rather than kick. The penetration of Jack Moorehouse and the speed of Christian Lille finished a number of tries.
But Aby's, last words were for Bown. "Wil's comments demonstrated how much HE and the team have changed. He has always been an inspirational leader but over the past few months I have seen a huge change in his technical aspirations. He wants excellence. I want to give HIM the chance to play Premiership rugby, possibly even to lead the team into that."
It was over 50 years ago that Tom Lloyd Ellis, Jack Evans and Bev Thomas took the field wearing the gold and black colours of North Wales. On Friday, 17th April, at the Imperial Hotel, Llandudno, they were able to celebrate their achievements, for the first time, at a unique players reunion dinner.
Over the past 2 months Rygbi Gogledd Cymru CIC, the Cooperative established to take the regional team to the Premiership, has assembled a list of over 600 players who have represented North Wales. Three hundred and fifty of these have been traced and on Friday over 60 were present at the dinner.
The guest of honour was Robin McBryde but British Lions Geoff Evans and Mike Roberts were also there as were Internationals Tony Gray and Ian Buckett.
It promised to be a night to remember. There were clips of North Wales v Tonga and North Wales v Western Samoa, programmes, memorabilia and press clippings were shown, there were live links with Australia and Robin McBryde ended the evening with a forthright and challenging speech.
"Much has been achieved," commented McBryde "But it is commitment which will see this through. By commitment I mean the ability to keep doing the things that need to be done long after the enthusiasm has disappeared. North Wales has the opportunity to be innovative and to do something different and it needs to decided exactly what sort of region it will be"
Addressing the players, Kenton Morgan, Rygbi Gogledd Cymru CIC, Chair said, "It your effort and your achievements that have kept the torch of North Wales rugby burning. We are proud of you and we want to celebrate and reward your achievements."
On a sunny warm April afternoon, Parc Eirias welcomed future stars of the women’s game. Wales U20 played their English counterparts in front of an enthusiastic and vociferous crowd of around 500.
From the kick off it was clear that this was going to be a hard fought game with crunching tackles from both sides. Wales took and early lead through a penalty by Elinor Snowsill but an infringement soon after allowed England to equalize; Claire Garner kicking the goal.
The first half remained a close encounter with both sides penalized repeatedly for infringements in the contact area. Gogledd Cymru centre, Ceri Redmund and partner Adi Taviner were impressive but their penetrating runs were thwarted by a defiant English defence. An unconverted try, out wide, by England second row Harriet Mills put the visitors 8-3 ahead at the half time break. It was clear that this was going to be no walk over for the English side.
During the break, the crowd were entertained to an U15 sevens match between Colwyn Bay Mermaids and Sandbach with both teams providing a great advertisement for the community game.
Wales remained in contention in the second half. Even with the score at 19-8 the end result was uncertain.
England extended their lead at the beginning of the second half through a try by Hunt followed by a penalty by fly half Garner. Wales kept up the pressure with input from Gogledd Cymru substitutes Sian Williams and Yasmin Leung and in the 53rd minute a try by centre Taviner put the home team back in the game.
The game as sealed by a last minute break which put Lizell Heather over for a try. Final score 26-8
Wales: Try – Taviner; Pen – Snowsill
England: Tries: Mills, Hunt, Heather; Con: Garner; Pens: Garner (3)
15 Kerin Lake, 14 Charlotte Murray, 13 Adi Taviner, 12 Ceri Redman+, 11 Paris Nicholas, 10 Elinor Snowsill (C), 9 Natalie Watkins, 1 Alex Stokes, 2 Amy Lawrence, 3 Lowri Harries, 4 Sian Williams, 5 Sioned Harries, 6 Kathryn Joseph, 8 Vicky Owens, 7 Carys Thomas. Replacements: 16 Cory Toule, 17 Sophie Mangano, 18 Sian Williams+, 19 Yasmin Leung+, 20 Bethan Preece, 21 Levi Hallett, 22 Rhianydd Morgan.+ Gogledd Cymru Player
A feast of rugby was enjoyed last night at Parc Erias when Gogledd Cymru hosted Russian club champions VVA Monino. The match was only confirmed onThursday 2nd April when Steve Diamond former Sale and Saracens coach asked his previous clubs and Worcester to suggest a fixture at short notice. Both had no reservations in recommending Gogledd Cymru. WRU permission was given on Monday and Rygbi Gogledd Cymru's management team and Conwy Council are to be congratulated on staging such a prestigious game at short notice. Monino are Russia’s premier Club boasting the majority of the Russian national team .Russia are ranked 16th in IRB ratings ahead of Japan and Rumania.
The bright spring evening commenced with the national anthems. The Russian visitors sang with passion bringing echoes of their famous anthem heard on the victory podium of past Olympic games.
They took their passion onto the field of play and after weathering the home side's enthuastic start they came to the fore with sublime rugby skills and power. At the end of the first quarter they had scored three well worked tries which brought the appreciative crowd to their feet. The home side to their credit stuck to their task and against the run of play scored two breakaway tries through Rhodri Carlton Jones and wing Richie Hopkins both converted by Jones.
The Russian visitors then moved up a gear and scored further tries to make the halftime score 49-14 in their favour.
After the interval they carried on in the same vein with fast open rugby which provided great entertainment to the appreciative crowd. Their outstanding half backs orchestrated scintillating moves. At times the Gogledd Cymru boys were struggling to keep up the pace. Although outgunned, in their usual dogged fashion, they persevered and after going through good phases of play they scored a converted try through their impressive centre Jack Moorhouse.
In the last quarter the Russian visitors ran in further tries to make the final score 76-21.The match was excellently refereed by local official Kevin O’Mara who made himself understood despite the language barrier.
Kenton Morgan the GC manager said, “We are showing that we are capable of welcoming high quality teams to North Wales . Our results to date may seem disappointing but it is part of a process. Much of our efforts so far have been on improving skills and offering local players and supporters the opportunity to experience high quality rugby. Tonight was a good example of this”
North Walian British Lions Mike Roberts and Geoff Evans will join fellow Welsh internationals Tony Gray, Steven Moore and guest of honour Robin McBryde for a unique North Wales players rugby reunion dinner in Llandudno on April 17th.
Rygbi Gogledd Cymru, the company set up to take the Regional team to the Premiership have attempted to trace everyone who has ever played for North Wales and to invite them to the dinner. 590 players have been identified and over 300 have been traced and invited.
Fifty years of rugby will be represented and players, who last took the field in the 1950’s will be photographed alongside those currently in the Gogledd Cymru team. A photographer will recapture the teams that played Tonga(1974), Samoa (1988) and Romania, along with those which won the Counties Cup on 3 occasions.
In an evening of celebration of North Wales rugby there will be a showing of highlights of the Tongan game, exhibits of memorabilia from the last 50 years and anecdotes from the past. It promises to be a night to remember.
Tickets are still available. Any players who have not been contacted but wish to attend should call or txt 07973247986 or email firstname.lastname@example.org
After their performance against Newbridge on Saturday, the take home message for the Gogs is that although they are still 18months away from a Premiership place, they can compete at Division 1 level.
One of the advantages of their experience against sides like Sale Jets and Worcester Warriors A is that the Gogs, as individuals and as a team have learned how to play rugby at a high level. There are two clear messages at this level; every mistake, be it missed tackle or turnover, is a potential try and every try scoring opportunity has to be finished to put points on the board.
This was evident again on Saturday, when 16 Gogs, depleted by injury and bereavement, traveled down to Newbridge to face a team that has topped Division 1 for most of this season. After 60 minutes, with 2 tries under their belt the Gogs trailed 29-17. Four further try scoring opportunities went begging. Hooker Andrew Baston playing at 6 in place of the injured Richard Hughes, broke the line for a second time but narrowly failed to score his second try and two incisive breaks by Rhodri Carlton Jones should have given the Gogs a further 10 points. Wing Christian Lillie coming in as late replacment for Richie Hopkins also failed to gather a ball, metres short of the line.
The Gogs expected a tough physical contest and the front five of Tom Hughes, Dave Blackwell, Osian Williams, Steven Williams and Llion Trefor held a steady scrum for 80 minutes. Newbridge, with the advantage of numbers on the bench, were able to replace their front row before the end of the game. The Gogs were without their full compliment of props; Elgan Davies, James Jones and Steve Barnard were missing because of injury
Outside the hard fought forward battle, Newbridge were enterprising in attack. Their inside centre and strong running wing threatened throughout the game with most of their tries coming from these positions. In the last 10 minutes of the game the Gogs conceded two tries to make the final score a flattering 43-17 but this was an enormous confidence boost for Will Bown's men and Gogledd Cymru's development.
On a chilly evening Gogledd Cymru succumbed to a heavy defeat at their Parc Eirias home last night (Wed 25th Feb) after both teams had a pre match welcome by Councilor Phil Edwards Mayor of Colwyn.
A LIST OF FORMER PLAYERS HAS BEEN ASSEMBLED. IT HAS OVER 450 NAMES ON IT AND IS GROWING DAILY.
IF YOU ARE A FORMER PLAYER AND WISH TO CHECK THAT YOU ARE ON THE LIST PLEASE EMAIL YOU NAME AND ADDRESS, POSITION AND APPROXIMATE YEAR IN WHICH YOU PLAYED TO email@example.com
Playing against a Wooden Spoon Charity side made up mainly of National Division 2 players, Gogledd Cymru competed well and there was no score in this match for most of the first half. Adam Robson converted a penalty and the Anti-Assassins retorted with a converted try to make it 7-3 at the interval, Robson hitting the posts with a late penalty.
Hooker Andrew Baston was outstanding in a game played in wet muddy conditions. There was lack of cohesion in the Gogledd Cymru side, a reflection of a backline combination playing together for the first time and a forward back disrupted by injury and work commitments.
In the second half Gogledd Cymru started to improve their performance in the rucks but poor decision making and desperate individual try scoring efforts frustrated a number of try scoring opportunities.
As in the last game against Sale Jets, it was the ability of the opposition to punish Gogledd's mistakes that made the difference, even when these were made deep into their own territory.
A last minute try took the score to 19-3, in a game in which there were few positives for Gogledd Cymru; the addition of new players who, with time, will take this team to a higher level and the realisation that players have to be playing at this level, rather than at North Wales club rugby level in order to improve were two. Last season, Waterloo defeated Gogledd Cymru 37 -0 and this result indicated the improvement that the regional team has made over 2 seasons.