"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.