The following editorial was published in Friday's edition of Bathurst's Western Advocate ...
A WEEK on from the ugly brawl that ended the 2014 Astley Cup competition, there is a lingering sense of unease about the way it panned out.
Orange High School had already wrapped up this year’s Astley Cup when its rugby league clash against Dubbo College kicked off last Thursday, but was well behind on the league field as the match entered its second half.
The match was soon abandoned after descending into an all-in brawl that even spilled into the crowd.
Match officials called the game off and Orange was awarded the Cup – but we now say they should be handing it back.
As it stands, Bathurst High is the only competitor that remains deserving of the honour of Astley Cup champion for 2014.
"While one team appears to have been the instigator of the brawl, it takes two to tango and both teams should be punished"
Bathurst’s Astley Cup teams upheld the true traditions of the 91-year-old competition, displaying good sportsmanship both on and off the field.
The Astley Cup is a grand tradition in the Central West that cannot be stained by the actions of the Orange High and Dubbo College teams last Thursday.
While one team appears to have been the instigator of the brawl, it takes two to tango and both teams should be punished.
And while it may seem unfair to also punish Orange High’s netball, soccer, tennis, athletics, hockey and basketball players by stripping them of the 2014 title, the Astley Cup is a team competition and the essence of teamwork is that all members pay for the errors of a few.
Decisive action now will ensure that all future competitors appreciate the true meaning of the Astley Cup.
It should not just be about running faster, hitting a ball better or scoring more goals than the opposition.
It must also be about sport and sportsmanship in their purest sense.
Give Bathurst High the Astley Cup for 2014.
Bathurst has proved to be a worthy Cup holder for the past two years – and has proved to be the only school fit to hold it for the next 12 months.