Orange High School and Dubbo College will be playing for pride and pride only in next week’s final tie of the 2018 Astley Cup after Bathurst High secured its second straight title win on Friday afternoon, also its fifth overall victory in the last seven years.
Just needing to win this week’s tie after thumping Dubbo, Bathurst won three of Thursday’s four sports to boast a 106-point lead overnight and then held on despite an almighty Orange High comeback on day two, ultimately claiming the tie by a mere 16 points.
After Orange High won basketball 87-60 (for a 59-41 overall split) thanks to Kobe Mansell’s 73-point haul and then netball 45-14 (76-24) to open Friday’s second day Bathurst’s lead had been slashed to just 36 points, with only rugby league and hockey remaining, setting up a grandstand finish.
FT | Take a bow Kobe Mansell, the kid's dropped 73 of Orange High's 87 points. Yes, 73! Unbelievable.— Matt Findlay (@MRFindlay24) June 29, 2018
Orange High 87 defeats Bathurst High 60, a big win the Hornets needed.#AstleyCup18#WhiteChocolate#OldSchool#MakingItRain#GetBuckets#Fundamentalspic.twitter.com/EQiPYNVY7d
Bathurst downed a gallant, injury-plagued Hornets side 28-12 (70-30) in the rugby league fixture at Wade Park to extend their lead back out to 76 heading into the hockey, that left Orange High needing a 7-0 victory in the main event to complete a miracle comeback.
The Hornets went close too, Eva Reith-Snare’s hat-trick inspired the side’s 4-0 (80-20) win but it wasn’t quite enough, Bathurst ultimately winning the tie 408-392.
“There was a lot of nervy moments, the whole day’s been full of nerves,” Lachlan Blaikie, Bathurst’s Astley Cup coordinator, said.
“I’m really proud of everyone, everyone’s done their bit to make sure no one sport had too much pressure on them and I’m just really pleased we got the job done.”
If you were to highlight one moment through the tie that proved decisive, it’d be tough to go past Bathurst star Steve Long’s equaliser in the dying seconds of the boys’ football clash on Thursday afternoon.
With his side down to 10 and trailing 2-1, Long found the back of the net to salvage a 2-2 draw and a 50-50 points split, rather than going down 67-33 overall.
“In hindsight that was very important but it comes down to every team, every player doing their job over the two days,” Blaikie said.
“You know, the rugby league team needed to win to take pressure off the hockey side and they did that. Orange has a great hockey side, and our girls needed to stand up and hold them out and they did.
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“Even the basketball and netball sides [on Friday morning], they lost but the margins make a big difference and it’s all played a role.”
Orange High School coordinator Tegan Dray did cut a somewhat dejected figure after the hockey clash, and while she admitted to being disappointed she couldn’t speak highly enough of her Hornets’ effort.
“It is a bit disappointing in terms of the cup because it does mean so much to everyone, but when you ask people to go out and give it everything and they do, you can’t be too disappointed if you get pipped at the post,” she said.
“That’s what everyone did, they gave it everything they possibly had and we almost got there. We knew it would be tough [on Friday] and they all did an amazing job.
“I couldn’t be prouder of everyone, we’ll go to Dubbo next week playing for pride and the message will be that we don’t want to lose both ties in one year.
“We haven’t lost to Dubbo for some time and we don’t want to now.”
Dubbo College hosts Orange High in the third and final, and now redundant in terms of the cup itself, tie next Thursday and Friday.
2018 ASTLEY CUP
BATHURST HIGH SCHOOL 408 def ORANGE HIGH SCHOOL 392
- TENNIS: Bathurst 8 def Orange 4 (67-33)
- BOYS’ FOOTBALL: Orange 2 drew with Bathurst 2 (50-50)
- GIRLS’ FOOTBALL: Bathurst 2 def Orange 0 (75-25)
- ATHLETICS: Bathurst 69 def Orange 31
- BASKETBALL: Orange 87 def Bathurst 60 (59-41)
- NETBALL: Orange 45 def Bathurst 14 (76-24)
- RUGBY LEAGUE: Bathurst 28 def Orange 12 (70-30)
- HOCKEY: Orange 4 def Bathurst 0 (80-20)