They’re on the ball at Orange Public

THEY say good things come in threes, just ask Orange Public School vice principal Rebecca Hilton Brown.

For the first time in the school’s history, three OPS teams qualified for the Primary Schools Sports Association state finals.

OPS girls’ netball and boys’ cricket teams have already competed in their respective finals series, finishing seventh and third.

The boys’ softball team will play its state semi-final tomorrow at Blacktown.

Hilton Brown said having three teams qualify is a massive achievement, but not entirely surprising.

“It’s definitely special, especially because all three teams are from different sports,” she said.

“We consistently have a team in for something each year, but never three at once.”

Hilton Brown credited the success to the kids’ dedication, all three coaches and OPS’s in-school sporting program.

“The kids just love sport, and Debbie Smith [cricket] and Lydia Ebert [softball] put in huge amounts of time,” she said.

“I coach netball, and it is a lot of effort, but it’s great to see the results we get. Our in-school sport program is not competitive, and it has older kids working with younger kids to learn a broader range of sporting skills. I have no doubt it is a huge factor in the school’s sporting success.”

After finishing western region runners-up last year, the netballers went two steps further this year before losing out in their state quarter-final.

“We kept a core group of three or four netballers together from last year,” Hilton Brown said.

“Last year’s experience made them a much better team.”

OPS boys’ cricket team won its second consecutive western title, before overcoming Young Public in its quarter final. 

The cricketers eventually lost out to a powerful Niagara Park Public team in the semi-final, before beating Benvenue Public from Armidale in the third and fourth playoff.

“They were a pretty special bunch of cricketers,” she said. 

“We had our fingers crossed they would go further than the top four, because they are very smart cricketers.”

Hilton Brown said the softballers are a real chance of bringing home a state title, based on previous form.

“They beaten everyone in the lead-up convincingly,” she said.

“We’re expecting them to do very well.”

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