"My Dad would have been really proud of this," commented Lynne Gamblin, as she presented the Bleddyn Williams Memorial Cup to winning captain Wil Bown after Gogledd Cymru's 29-5 victory over Rydal Vikings at Colwyn Bay RFC.

On a cold December day, in front of a crowd of over 300 people, Bleddyn Willliams, who died earlier this year, rekindled a proud North Wales rugby fixture and wrote it into the history of regional rugby.

It was the game against Rydal Vikings which provided North Wales with the stimulus and support to develop in the early days of rugby in the region. Examination of old programmes shows that when not battling it out against the regional side, some of the Vikings turned out for North Wales.

There were remnants of this yesterday with Gogledd players Gareth Holgate, Josh Leach and Jodie Prior in the Rydal squad. But this was to be a hard fought game, in cold slippery conditions, in which it looked for 60 minutes as if the Vikings would steal a 5-3 victory.

Watched by new head coach Clive Griffiths and under the hand of Jon Aby, the coach who has done so much to develop the regional side over the last 2 seasons, Gogledd Cymru looked rusty and had the demeanor of a side expecting a pushover. Nothing could be further from the truth!

Marshaled by scrum half Josh Leach and with a sizable forward pack which held their own in the tight, the Vikings proved worthy opposition. It was clear that in spite of the conditions, both teams aimed to play entertaining rugby with failures to execute effective "pass-catches" robbing both sides of points.

Led once again by their motivational leader Wil Bown, it proved a frustrating game until replacement Tom James went over for a try. This seemed to provide the impetus and confidence which Gogledd Cymru needed. Suddenly the tempo changed and in quick succession tries from centre Harri Morgan, wing Ioan Davies and No 8 Wil Bown followed. Two of these were converted by Rhodri Carlton-Jones adding to a first half penalty to make the score 29-5.

In his thank you address, Mike Silcock, President of Rydal Vikings commended the game as a potential annual event. The involvement of Rydal School with the WRU Rugby Academy will ensure that they produce the rugby stars of the future, thereby maintaining this North Wales rugby tradition.


JON ABY -Current Gogledd Cymru Coach greets new head coach CLIVE GRIFFITHS
L-R William Bown (capt), Kenton Morgan, Jon Aby, Clive Griffiths, Peredur Jenkins, Joe Lydon, John Hardy

"To be the best region in Wales and the most player centred health conscious team in Europe" These first words on this blog - were as ambitious and to some ridiculous as the prospect that a 2005 Wales Grand Slam Coach would be appointed as head coach within 3 years.

Today, the process continued with the appointment of Clive Griffiths, Rudi Meir and Jon Aby as the coaching team and the announcement that 10 Canadians would join Gogledd Cymru in January to play at least 10 top quality fixtures.
Clive brings to the team experience, confidence, a public profile and a track record of achievment.
Rudi, Senior Lecturer at Southern Cross University, New South Wales brings the application of scientific excellence and research. "To be the best, we cannot follow" commented Rygbi Gogledd Cymru Chair, Kenton Morgan. "Rudi has experience in not just doing the research that will make us leaders but in implementing it. We look forward to his arrival"
Jon Aby's team was complimented by Sale's Kinglsey Jones on Scrum V recently. It is his expertise and commitment that has brought Gogledd Cymru to its current position.
This development can be seen as just reward for the efforts of those players who have played an extra 20 games in the last 3 seasons, in addition to club commitments, for no more reward than a dream. "William Bown has been an inspirational captain. He is a great role model for every young player in North Wales." commented Morgan.
At the end of last season Gogledd Cymru recognised the need for a "step up" in performance and requested help from the WRU in achieveing this. Joe Lydon, Performance and Development manager responded to this by dovetailing the development needs of Rugby Canada with those of Gogledd Cymru. The arrival of 10 Canadians will elevate the performance and provide those players of that standard in North Wales with the framework to play in.
This will also allow the Cooperative Community Interest Company, Rygbi Gogledd Cymru, to grow the business and will provide young players in North Wales with the opportunity denied to previous generations.
The unique partnership between Rygbi Gogledd Cymru CIC, Conwy County Borough Council and the WRU is bringing top quality rugby to North Wales. This is a process en route to a Premiership place.
Our challenge now is to sustained this. There can be no more false dawns. It is up to every person, business and club in the region to get behind this project. Rygbi Gogledd Cymru's aim is to represent everything that is best about North Wales