IT was an ‘amazing’ 7s experience for Whitland Ladies player Natalie Walsh earlier this month, as she travelled with the Ponty Butchers to compete in the women’s International Open tournament in Dubai.

The elite invitational squad, that selected 10 players from the Cardiff Blues (including Whitland’s Heather Rees) - plus Walsh and Scarlets teammate Brittany Price, spent two days training on the beach after arriving in Dubai, in readiness for the tournament that attracted top sides from around the World.

And it started well for Walsh and co, as on day one they won 38-0 against Scotty’s Tigers, before another big win, 49-12, over the Swiss Barbarians. 

They carried their form into day two, winning their final pool game 50-0 against Cairo Ladies, with the 29-year-old from Fishguard crossing for a try.

Next up was the quarter final against Haka Global.

“We had no idea what to expect and it was a really physical game”, Walsh told Telegraph Sport.

“It seemed we were constantly on the back foot as we gave away penalty after penalty, went down to six players - but then still managed to win 29-0.”

Day three saw Ponty Butchers meet again with Scotty’s Tigers in the semi final, which they won 40-7.

“Everyone was nervous for the final against Krasnodar Region,” continued Walsh.

“It was played on ‘pitch 2’ so there was a good crowd. They looked a really athletic side and like us, had cleared up in their pool.”

And the Butchers didn’t start well losing a player to injury and another sin bin, but battled to trail 19-12 before scoring from the game’s final play.

But the conversion drifted wide, condemning the Welsh side to a heartbreaking 19-17 defeat.

“The atmosphere was amazing,” said Walsh.

“It was hard to lose like that but everyone’s spirits were still really high getting so far in the tournament after so little time together.

“It was an amazing experience to bring home and I really hope I get the opportunity to go again next year.

“It was also nice to see other Welsh players out here with their clubs.”

Walsh added she wanted to thank Clinton Roberts, of the Ponty Butchers, for making the trip possible.