ORANGE High School hockey coach Pete Shea is hoping his side can improve on last year’s result at the NSW Combined High Schools final eight knockout.
If they can, it’ll mean OHS has a champion hockey team.
Shea’s girls finished the 2012 knockout as runners-up, going down to Kiama High School in last year’s final.
It’s the third year in succession the school’s open girls’ hockey outfit has contested the final eight knockout, and Shea was confident the wealth of women’s Premier League Hockey experience in the team will serve it well in its first game against Grafton this morning.
“There’s some good quality kids all playing premier league coming through and representing Orange High, and that’s probably part of our success, the experience at that sort of level,” Shea enthused.
“Playing at school level, they really do step up.”
Playing in Narellan, if OHS is successful in round one against Grafton they’ll then play Kiama in the semi-final.
“It’ll be a game we’re looking forward to,” the coach said.
“Then if we get into the final we’re looking at Lithgow, they’re on the other side of the draw. It’ll be an all-Central West final which would be good.
“The sport, at this level, has highlighted how good the area is.”
Taking a squad of 14 led by state representatives Madie Smith and Rachel Divall, OHS has beaten some pretty handy opposition, including an impressive 6-0 thumping of Westfield Sports High School in their last game, to again be in this position.
“That’s probably a reflection of where we are,” Shea said.
“Locally we beat Kelso with a couple of Watterson girls, we’ve played some good teams to get to where we are and hopefully that puts us in good stead.”
Momentum will be the key to being the last team standing at the end of tomorrow’s final.
“Last year we won 6-nil first game, 7-nil the second game ... we’re hoping Grafton, we’ll start well against them, win that then go into the semi-final with a bit of confidence,” he said.
OHS takes on Grafton from 8am today.
Aside form Orange and Grafton, Kiama, Wingham, Kingscliff, Taree, Armidale and Lithgow are the other sides contesting this year’s knockout.