The longest Astley Cup campaign in recent memory is set to finally have a conclusion, after Bathurst High and Orange High decided on a date for the postponed round.
Both Bathurst and Orange were meant to face each other in tennis, athletics, hockey and rugby league back in June, however, snow across the region forced the postponement of the fixtures.
The threat of COVID also delayed things but it has now been confirmed that the remaining sports will be played in Bathurst on Thursday, August 26.
Dubbo College students won't be involved but will keep a close eye on proceedings as they remain a chance to score a drought-breaking overall victory after defeating Bathurst High in June.
Bathurst High principal Ken Barwick said there was an attempt to play the round this week, however, with the Higher School Certificate (HSC) trials looming next week, both schools decided to find a date later in the school term.
Barwick, who has seen his school win the last three editions of the Astley Cup from 2017-2019, said it'll be extremely tough for Bathurst High to claim victory considering the depth of quality in the Orange squad.
"Bathurst High has done all the calculations considering the results against Dubbo and Orange so far and we need to secure 233 of the remaining 400 points to win the cup," he said.
"It's going to be an incredibly tough ask, considering Orange has a strong hockey team on paper.
"They have a strong athletics team and they currently hold two of the number one ranked female players in NSW. We're normally extremely strong in tennis but it's going to be a really tough task to beat them.
"In saying that, it's going to be exceptionally hard to win the day."
The play that did go ahead between Bathurst and Orange saw the former take a 256-144 lead after wins in basketball and both the boys' and girls' soccer, however, the latter won the netball.
Bathurst then travelled to Dubbo and suffered a 449-351 loss after managing just wins in the boys' soccer and hockey, as well as a draw in the girls' soccer.
Success followed for Orange at home, defeating Dubbo 421-379.
Last year's Astley Cup did not go ahead because of the COVID-19 pandemic forced the cancellation of the competition for the first time since the Second World War.
Orange is the most successful school in Astley Cup history, having won 42 titles, with the most recent in 2016.
Bathurst is second on the list of champions, with 27 and the most recent being in 2019.
Dubbo is the least most successful Astley Cup school, having won 22 titles and the last being in 2011.
Bathurst has won five of the last seven editions of the cup.
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