Dunstan High School’s First XV girls have plenty of reason to celebrate after securing the Don Clarke Memorial Trophy for the first time in 15 years.

The team scored three tries to finish with a 15-12 lead over Cromwell College at Anderson Park on Wednesday night, last week.

Dunstan coach Bruce Hansen said he was proud of the determination and discipline the girls showed throughout the match, which he believed they won as a result of sticking to their “game plan”.

“They had a bit of a lull in the middle of the game, but they came back [with the right] attitude.

“It was a great game to watch.”

Their reaction to the win showcased just how much it meant to them.

“They were all jumping around, arms in the air, hugging each other,” Hansen said.

“It was pretty neat to see.”

He said Ruby Shaw was “outstanding” in the forwards who “just ran the ball all night”, and half-back Annie Hansen also impressed by scoring the team’s first try.

The team, however, failed to convert any tries.

Cromwell scored two tries and converted one.

Hansen was not just celebrating a team win, but also the ongoing progress the girls had made after many signed up not knowing anything about rugby.

“To see them develop the skill level they ended up with, it was pretty rewarding to see that happen.”

Referee Derek Shaw said the trophy had been a proud tradition for Cromwell over recent years, having won it numerous times.

“So, it was a great effort by the Dunstan team to win it.”

“Both teams played really hard. I was really impressed with the tackling ability and intensity that both teams brought to the game.”

Cromwell’s team transport manager Danny Winstanley said both teams played hard during, what he described as, a “great final”.

“Both teams turned up to win and I think Dunstan played outstandingly well. They ran the ball very well and they retained their possession and that was the big difference,” he said.

“Our girls defended strongly, but they made mistakes at key moments and Dunstan didn’t.”

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