7th December 1999, 18:15
CC Report 1999 Durham 6 Cardiff Cougars 36
We left Cardiff at 6am after literally driving around the city
Because the RFL wanted a non-university Welsh side in the competition, Leeds Met University, who UWIC beat in the 1999 BUSA Final took the student place and Richard Hodges, the new rugby league development officer for Wales, contacted UWIC and asked if they could put a team on the park, but not under the name of UWIC or student Rugby League.
So Cardiff Demons and UWIC combined forces. The Cardiff Demons name wasn‟t chosen for these matches as the players wanted to sever ties with the Academy club so for a brief period, the Cardiff Cougars were born and were drawn away to Durham in the first round. Rhodri Thomas, who played in all the matches in that Challenge Cup run, remembers the campaign starting with this trip in December 1999.
"The first round was one hell of a game," he said. "We left Cardiff at 6am after literally driving around the city dragging players out of bed. There were 17 of us plus kit bags on a 16-seater mini bus all the way up to Durham. I think we got there about 45 minutes before kick-off, a quick warm-up and then it was one of those days when everything went right. I think we took Durham a bit unaware and won the game quite comfortably 36-6."