SEVEN years of defeat.
That’s what is motivating Orange High School as it opens its 2014 Astley Cup campaign today, hosting Bathurst High.
Orange High hasn’t tasted Astley Cup success since 2006, but school captains Trent French and Meaghan Kempson sent one very clear message to the visitors amid drums, chants and cheers at yesterday’s launch assembly - 2014 is the year for change.
“No current student has even seen the Astley Cup at Orange High,” French said.
“We want to bring it back, and change the way the school looks at the event.”
“Last year’s loss to Bathurst (by 10 points) was the turning point, it hurt, and we just said we’ve had enough of losing,” Kempson added.
“Until then no one cared that much, but we’ve put in a lot of time to make sure the attitude toward this competition changes, it’s our biggest event.
“It’s our Year 12 legacy in a way, we want to make sure the younger kids are passionate about it when we leave.
“We’re geeing it up massively, and using last year as motivation.”
Competition gets underway this morning, with the tennis starting at 9.15am at Orange Indoor Tennis Centre, before Orange Hockey Centre hosts a much-anticipated girls’ hockey clash at 11.30am.
Bathurst destroyed Dubbo Senior College 18-nil in the hockey, but Kempson said the result won’t worry Orange High.
“That’s great, but we beat Dubbo 20-nil last year,” she said defiantly.
The all-important Mulvey Cup debate starts at 1pm, at Orange High, before the girls’ and boys’ football this afternoon.
On Friday, the basketball and netball kick off at 9.15am and 10.45am respectively, at Orange PCYC, before the action returns to Orange High for the athletics at 12.15pm.
At 2.30pm, Orange High’s resurgent open rugby league team takes on Bathurst in a game doubling as the Western School Sport Association final.
“Our rugby league team is doing very well at the moment,” French said.
“But we’re trying to make sure we put as much emphasis on every sport.
“We’ve got the best teams across the board, and everyone is very keen,” Kempson added.
“It sounds cliche, but if we’re going to win it this is the year.”
Last week Bathurst hosted Dubbo, taking the leg 485-315.
Bathurst won just one of four events last thursday but a dominant performance from its tennis squad, who only lost one of their 16 sets, ensured the hosts took a 50-point lead into the second day.
Despite losing boys' football on day two, wins in athletics, girls' football and hockey secured the victory for Bathurst, taking it a step closer to a second title defence after wins in 2012 and 2013.