Dubbo College will face a fired up Orange High School next week after Bathurst stole the tie in the final event of the opening Astley Cup battle of 2017.
Thursday’s boys high jump was postponed after a competitor was injured and it would only be continued if the overall tie come down to seven points or less after the rugby league match.
As it panned out, Bathurst High School trailed Orange 357-336 going into the league match at Carrington Park and needed a solid victory to close the gap.
With just 10 minutes to go scores were locked at 20-all and Bathurst High’s rugby league team knew they were up against it.
But two late tries saw Bathurst claim a 30-20 victory and draw within a single point of Orange in the overall tally.
It was a rough and tough game that saw four sin-bins.
With minutes remaining and the tie still in the balance, Bathurst sports organiser Josh Lawler rushed over to the Sportsground to set the high jump up for a thrilling finale.
Lawler said Bathurst were lucky to get away with the victory after his school took out the high jump.
“The heart was in the mouth at the footy, when we were down 10-nil early and than the rugby league boys came back to give us a 60-40 split,” he said.
“Then we had to come over and finish the high jump.”
Lawler praised the efforts of the Bathurst students.
“I can’t speak highly enough of the kids. They played their hearts out, they played with great sportsmanship.
“As far as I can tell, they were really positive with the communication on the field.
“They just wanted it a little bit more. It was just great to see, after a couple of years without it, that we could actually get it back.”
Bathurst will travel north in two weeks to play Dubbo College.
“It’s never over. They (Dubbo) could be really strong in a couple of areas,” Lawlor said.
“They could beat us and Orange could beat them by more than a four-point split and still could end up with the Cup.”
Orange sports organiser Tegan Dray was proud of her students in defeat.
“In these kind of events you always see the best of everybody, the best of competitors, the best of school spirit and it’s always an enjoyable experience to be part of,” she said.
“We got the home ground advantage next week [against Dubbo] which always work in every team’s favour. It was great to how such close competition with Bathurst, the last two days.
“For the three schools, they realise how special this competition is and how unique it is.”
Dubbo will take on Orange next Thursday and Friday before hosting Bathurst a week later.