A stunning come-from-behind rugby league victory on Friday afternoon wasn't enough for Dubbo College as Orange High School claimed Astley Cup glory.
Going into the rugby league, the final event of the two-day tie, Dubbo College needed a convincing victory to be any chance of keeping its hopes of back-to-back Astley Cup victories alive.
After trailing 20-10 early in the second half, the hosts stormed home to claim to 26-20 victory and while it sparked celebration among Dubbo fans, the Orange crowd erupted soon after when a 412.5 to 387.5 overall victory was confirmed.
That, combined with a win over Bathurst last week, was enough to secure Orange Astley Cup glory for the first time since 2016.
Few cherished the first cup victory result as much as Orange year 12 student Kaitlyn Hinrichsen.
Someone who has achieved the rare feat of competing in the cup as a year seven student, Hinrichsen had never won the cup until her last year as a competitor.
"This is absolutely amazing," Hinrichsen said.
"It's the best feeling in the whole world to have the entire team surrounding you. It's just the best feeling.
"I've been in it since year seven and it's the event I look forward to the most. To finally win it in our last year is the best feeling ever."
The triumph for Orange was set-up on Thursday as they defeated Dubbo in netball, tennis and hockey while the hosts won basketball.
That gave Orange a 134-point overall lead and left Dubbo a mountain to climb on Friday.
It was a stunning comeback they nearly completed.
A narrow win in the athletics was followed by convincing performances in both the boys' and girls' soccer.
That left it all down to a rugby league match in front of a huge and raucous Apex Oval crowd.
Orange, knowing all they needed to do was avoid a heavy defeat, began well and shot out to an 8-0 win inside the first 10 minutes.
The visitors' lead was 14-10 at half-time and it grew to 10 points early in the second stanza.
But slowly Dubbo College began to work itself into the game and as the influence of halfback Latrell Fing, the hosts improved.
Two tries in the space of three minutes, one of which was converted, levelled the scores up with seven minutes to go.
Then, inside the final minute, Dubbo had one last chance and Fing went over from close range to spark wild celebrations.
"I think in the moment it (overall score) was irrelevant and it was sensational," Dubbo coach Jarryn Powyer said.
"I think we might have been matching up against a better side but we kept digging deep and showed a lot of that Astley Cup spirit, which was great to see.
"This is a rare opportunity. We said before the game that weekend footy isn't the same. This is one of the only times you get to play for your school in front of hundreds of people.
"We told them to make the most of that opportunity and they did. We probably have the crowd to thank as well."
As special as the winning moment was for Dubbo students and teachers, the tie and the cup for this year belonged to Orange.
"All our teams came together and really gave it their all," Hinrichsen said.
"Every point in Astley Cup counts so you need to get behind the team and make sure they do their best in every game and that's what we did."
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