It was a tremendous bonus as it not only gave me the opportunity to indulge myself in the game itself, but also the beautiful Georgian city of Edinburgh - a great favourite of mine.
Promising my wife a belated Valentine's Day break in the Scottish capital I set about trying to find a hotel. No cheap Bed & Breakfast would suffice anymore and with only three weeks to the match there were very few spare beds in town. What else could I do? I swallowed hard, broke out my flexible friend, and booked into the grand and imposing Hilton Caledonian, just off Princes St.
"Would you like a room with a view of the castle?" asked the receptionist, before quoting a price of rock-star proportions. I politely declined,
"No, the car park will do just fine!"
We flew up late on the Friday night, checked in at the hotel, and went out in search of sustenance. Edinburgh was a blaze of red shirted revelry and doorman after doorman turned us away, presumably for being too sober. At least we had the hotel mini-bar to fall back on.
Match day arrived amidst glorious sunshine coach loads of Welsh reinforcements were pouring into town, headed for the bars at the front line, ready for the "big push" when they opened. "Never pass a bar with your name on the door", I had once been told. So at "Dirty Dick's" in Rose St. I duly stopped and very nearly stayed - it was so full I couldn't get out!
The game itself is probably best remembered for Wales snatching a draw from the jaws of victory. The kilted Scot next to me in the South stand was clearly regretting getting out of bed that day, until something clicked in the second half and the blue-shirted ones began to run amok. He was a friendly chap, but to this day I still haven't a clue what he was talking to me about throughout the game. Maybe someone else will have better luck if he turns up in Cardiff this year!
At full time we made our way directly to the Grassmarket, determined to get into the pubs this time. Fed and watered we retired to enjoy our luxury accomodation,
"Let's finish off the mini-bar", I suggested without thinking first.
My crikey, how I paid for my mis-placed enthusiasm when I saw the bill the next morning!
At least my Wife was laughing!
Nearly 40 players were involved in the first Wales Under 18 training session of the season. WRU National Performance Manager Gethin Watts is excited at the potential shown by the group and expects the Regional Under 18 Championship to hone their skills even further.