Birstall Victoria Under-15s met touring Australian school champions Merrimac under floodlights at Mount Pleasant last Monday.
The Birstall girls produced a terrific display, in front of a healthy crowd, and they pushed the Australians all the way before losing 18-6, in a game played in fantastic spirit.
Birstall threw everything at Merrimac in the first 20 minutes despite playing up slope and forced the Aussie champions into clearing kicks on several occasions.
A sloppy 10 minutes just before half-time allowed Merrimac to score two tries and take a 12-0 lead.
The Vic mounted a fight back after the break as captain Evie Kilburn crossed for a try, which Charlotte Graham converted only for Merrimac to secure victory with a try in the final minute.
The Vic pack of Lea Dixon, Kilburn, Patsy Briggs, Athena Boughen, Ellie Oldroyd and lily Clarke were exceptional.
Centres Madison Laverick and Graham kept their opposite numbers quiet, while wingers Holly Bernard and Ellie McNamara worked hard.
Full-back Georgia Coply was solid under pressure and returned kicks to make ground.
Half-backs Millie Taylor and Casey Rhodes led the Vic well, while substitutes Hannah Hartley, Emma Willans, Becky Jackson and Georgia Halliley supported.
The Australian team’s coach paid tribute to the Vic, admitting it was their closest contested game as they regularly win by over 20 points when playing in their competition back in Australia.
The Vic are now in the early stages of planning a return fixture and become the first team to tour Queensland.
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n The Vic Under-13 Girls defeated Shaw Cross 24-16.
The team of Ellie Frain, Izzy Baily, Codie Slack, Caitlin Beevers, Tilly Longstaff, Bethany Dyson, Mya Taylor, Martha Bradley, Masie Brierly, Phoebe Ford, Summer Rothery, Kadie Sheldrake and Macey Thomas have won seven straight matches, since losing their opening game when they were formed in June.
The Vic Under-13s (school Years 7 and 8) train Tuesdays and Thursdays (6pm to 7pm) while Under-15s (Years 9 and 10) train Mondays and Wednesdays 6pm to 7pm at White Lee School fields.