BASINGSTOKE RFC’s girls enjoyed an historic first-ever tour, which saw their under-15 and under-18 teams travel to Wales.
First stop was their hotel in Cardiff and then, on the following morning, they travelled to the Cynon Valley and Aberdare RFC.
The opening game saw the under-15 side in action and resulted in a narrow 10-5 loss.
In the second game, in the true spirit of rugby, Aberdare leant a couple of players to make up the Basingstoke side in a game against a strong side from Porth RFC.
Such was the intensity of this game that two of the Porth girls had an altercation about who should have tackled who as Basingstoke won a hard-fought game 10-0.
It was then the turn of the under-18s to open their tour with a game against Wattstown, who were billed as the most experienced side in the tournament.
With a display of fast and open heads-up play, the under-18s won their opener 26-5.
Their second game was against a newly-formed Treorchy side and it proved to be a closely-fought game, with the Basingstoke girls coming out on top, winning 12-0.
After the games, the teams travelled back to Cardiff and then made the short walk to Cardiff Arms Park to watch the match between Cardiff Blues and Ulster.
Basingstoke’s host at Arms Park was Nadine Griffiths, the regional development officer for Cardiff Blues and holder of 50 caps for Wales and three for the British Lions.
The girls had been booked on a Blues Experience, and they were not disappointed.
Before the game, they had a buffet meal and met some of the Blues players – Welsh international winger Harry Robinson, lock Chris Dicomidis and centre Richard Smith.
At half-time, they were taken on to the pitch to get a team photo in their tour shirts, which had been generously subsidised by the Basingstoke Rugby Supporters Club.
The Blues went on to win the game before the girls met more of the Cardiff players, with first on their list being recent signing, Basingstoke’s very own Simon Humberstone.
After this, they also met Welsh international winger Alex Cuthbert and then the player of the British Lions tour to Australia last year, Welsh full-back Leigh Halfpenny.
After a great evening, the following day the girls headed off to Nelson RFC, situated near Caerphilly in the Taff Bargoed Valley.
Here they played two full matches against the host club. The under-15s, in a brilliant display of fast, open rugby and in the face of some ferocious Welsh tackling, scored seven magnificent tries to win 41-10.
In the second match, the under-18s produced an equally gutsy display of pace and power which saw them run out winners 38-12.
Head coach of Basingstoke RFC girls’ rugby, Russell Amos, said: “We had a magnificent inaugural tour. The girls played great rugby and were great ambassadors for our sport.
“They were a credit to Basingstoke RFC, their coaches, schools, parents and themselves.
“We are so proud of them and bring on the return games next season.”
He added: “Of course, none of this would have been possible without the kind and generous donations from our tour sponsors.”