DESPITE losing its NSW Primary School Sports Association state knockout cricket semi-final, Orange Public School finished its campaign on a positive note.
Playing at Maitland Park on Tuesday, OPS overcame Benvenue Public, from Armidale, in a play-off to finish third in the state.
In Tuesday morning’s semi-final, OPS lost to a powerful Niagara Park Public team by 10 wickets.
Batting first, the blue and golds never really got going, and were bowled out for 86.
Bailey Ferguson tried to spark a resurgence mid-innings, top scoring for OPS with 33. Despite support from Sam Ridley (20), Orange Public finished with a below-par score.
Niagara Park, the eventual state champion, blasted its way past OPS’ total without losing a wicket, finishing 0-92 in the 17th over.
Tweaker Hugh Middleton (0-9 off three overs), along with Ferguson (0-9 off two), tried valiantly to restrict the Central Coast team to no avail.
In the afternoon OPS restored some confidence, demolishing Benvenue Public in a stellar performance.
Spurred on by the morning’s loss, the Orange players put together a complete performance in their 42-run victory.
Again batting first, OPS compiled 122 off its 25 overs before restricting Benvenue to 6-80.
Ferguson topped off an impressive day personally, leading the way with 40 retired. Jack Taylor (24) was OPS’ next best with the willow.
Middleton once again spun his magic with the ball, taking 2-16 off five, with good support from an economical Taylor (1-3 off three).
OPS coach Debbie Smith said despite not making the state final, the boys couldn’t be happier.
“We’re all so proud of the boys,” she said.
“Third in the state is still a very good achievement. The boys were very pleased with the fact we scored more runs against Niagara Park than Jasper Park did, who played Niagara in the final.”
“We’ve got three boys who can play next year, so we’ll build our 2014 team around them.”