There is only one way to go for Holyhead after their record breaking 181-0 defeat on the opening weekend of the SWALEC National League season and that is up.
That was the stirring reaction of club chairman Emyr Williams in the wake of the biggest national league and cup hiding in UK rugby history for his side at Llanidloes in Division 3 North at the weekend.
"There will be a few hard questions asked of the players who didn't turn up for the trip to Llanidloes. The bus left the club with only 11 players on board and although a few others turned up by car we played most of the game with between 11-13 players," said Williams.
"We had 20 names listed to make the trip to Llanidloes, but a few of the players went out on Friday night and didn't make it the next day. It is a real blow for the club because we had had a morale boosting 55-14 win in a friendly the week before.
"We were beaten 145-0 by Nant Conwy back in the 1993/94 season and this is another kick in the teeth for us. Holyhead RFC were one of the founder members of the North Wales Rugby Union and we are proud of our history and the role we play in providing rugby for youngsters on the island.
"We are a young side this season, mainly built on last year's youth team, and scorelines like this are demoralising for the players. Now we need a good week of training before we host Llangollen at home on Saturday.
"At least there is only one way we can go after a defeat like that - up!"
Llanidloes outside half Tom Morgan helped himself to three tries and 16 conversions to end the match with 47 points in the record breaking rout and three players scored five tries apiece for the home side.
Llanidloes managed to convert 18 of their tries, which came at a rate of one every 165 seconds, to smash their own club records and set what is believed to be a UK league and cup record score.
Leading the rampage were openside flanker Sam Vaughan, centre Teddy Britton and wing James Davies, who each scored five tries and there were hat-tricks for outside half Morgan and club captain James Plumridge. In all, 12 different players scored tries.
"You have to give credit to Holyhead for fulfilling the fixture and battling to the end. It must have been a horrible journey for them," said Llanidloes chairman Huw Jenkins.
"There was a small dispute between our scorer and the referee as to what the actual score was in the end. Our man thought there was at least another try and the final score should have been 189-0.
"But we won't quibble with the official verdict of 181-0. We feel disappointed for Holyhead and it cost us a fortune in beer to send them on their way with a bit of a smile on their faces."
But while the score is the highest every known in the Welsh or English National Leagues, it is not a world record. That honour belongs to French club Lavardac, who beat Vergt in a Division Three fixture in 1984 by a remarkable 350-0.
There were 66 tries in that fixture, which was played against a background of administrative discontent by Vergt, who were reacting to having four players suspended. They were beaten 236-0 by Gujan Mestras in similar circumstances the previous weekend.
The highest known international score in Hong Kong's 164-13 Rugby World Cup qualifying victory over Singapore in 1994, whiel the highest league or cup score in England was registered by Chichester Institute in a Sussex Division 2 game against Ditchling in November, 1999, when they won 180-0.
Alcester did run up a bigger score in 2009 in beating Coventry Saracens 194-3 in a Midlands League match, but that result was subsequently overruled because the eight man Saracens failed to play with five players in their scrum at all times.
School and college pupils from school club hubs across the Blues region were invited to the WRU National Centre of Excellence this week to complete the Level 1 Referee course. Nigel Owens was one of the tutors and more courses of this kind will be run around Wales to cater for the demand, to increase the number of qualified referees available to officiate school and club rugby, and to find potential future referees of the senior game.
The Welsh Rugby Union is forming a new Youth Board with a brief to help keep more young people involved in the game during their late teenage years and beyond. The first task of the fifteen strong Board will be to analyse and consider the issues which lead to a number of youngsters drifting away from the sport between the ages of 16 and 21. To apply visit www.wru.wales/youthboard
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Eighty schools and colleges in Wales now have a full time rugby officer as part of the WRU's school club hub scheme. All of the school club hub officers recently gathered at the National Centre of Excellence for various workshops.
The WRU has launched a campaign to create a long term legacy for Welsh club rugby by highlighting the advantages of volunteering. Rhian Edwards, a volunteer at Seven Sisters, has enjoyed many benefits of her volunteering at a grassroots rugby club including being part of the Rugby World Cup volunteer workforce after being nominated by the WRU - and the WRU is asking for more people to develop their 'Welsh rugby roots'.
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