While concerns have not been fully put to bed about this year's iteration of the Astley Cup, with the competition still awaiting the final go ahead pending government approval, organisers have put in place a plan for the competition to be held in term three.
The cross-town competition is usually held earlier in the year, but all three participating schools have agreed to a proposal which would see the fierce rivalry begin in week six on August 27, with Dubbo hosting Orange for the first leg.
While a cancellation seemed likely earlier in the year, the time honoured tradition hasn't missed a kick-off in it's entire 98 year history, something that Dubbo College's Craig May is grateful to see continued after the initial uncertainty.
"It's been going since 1923 or thereabouts and it's only ever stopped once and that was in the 1940s due to World War 2, we've had snow and all kinds of things happen, but it's always kept going over the years," May said.
May was particularly grateful to see the three schools rally and come together in order to draw up a plan, noting that there are a number of difficult clashes in each school's schedule that make a reschedule problematic.
"The way the three schools have come together and were able to negotiate and move things here and there, it was really great to see," May said.
"People probably don't understand just how difficult it is when you've got all these differences in your exam timetables and your class schedules between the different schools."
May's been heavily involved with Dubbo College's Astley Cup efforts in recent years, and says the initial blow for the 2020 student cohort was a tough pill to swallow.
"I think it's going to give all the kids across the schools a shot in the arm, they've been down in the dumps a bit right now with all the sport having been taken away, but this announcement, hopefully, gives them a bit more of a spring in their step," May said.
"They're going to be challenged academically with everything going on, but it's something that is a highlight for some kid's entire school years."
"Some kids were really very upset when it seemed like it wouldn't go ahead."
May isn't sure how much of a knock the postponement of the competition has already had on the prospective student athletes, but he's heartened by the fact that all three schools agreeing to the same dates will provide a level playing field.
"I don't know what effect the time off will have, at the end of the day, we're all in the same boat, kids have been indoors for a while, we don't know which ones have been active and which ones haven't," May said.
"There won't have been a lot of sport played at the start of term three, this time they might only have three or four weeks."
While the laid out plan doesn't yet guarantee that the cup will return, the competition now has a clear path to being held, provided that there are no government roadblocks or tightened restrictions coming in the next few months.
"The big thing for us right now is that we have those dates set, the way things are at the moment, we might thrown a curveball, but right now we have some clarity and transparency with the way we're going about it," May said.
"We have three schools who are really committed."