DESPITE being on the wrong side of a 68-nil score line, Orange High School (OHS) coach Ben Callaway said his players could hold their heads high as their NSW Combined High Schools Buckley Shield campaign ended at Wade Park yesterday.
OHS’ under 14s defeated Canobolas Rural Technology High, Cowra High, Bathurst High and Wagga’s Kooringal High on the way to yesterday’s state quarter-final.
Charged with beating Mount Druitt’s Chifley College, the 2013 state champions, OHS was outsized and outclassed by the gargantuan visiting side in the 13 tries to nil thumping.
Callaway remained stoic following the loss, praising his side’s effort to make the final eight of a competition which started with 280 schools across NSW.
“These boys did well to even get this far, they can definitely hold their heads high,” he said.
“We knew were up against it today, Chifley won last year’s final 40-10, they’re an incredible side.”
Chifley fullback Trent Dixon led the way for his side with a stunning four-try performance, in which he also set up three more tries for his eager teammates.
OHS matched it with their bigger opponents in the first of two 25 minute halves, restricting Chifley’s lead to just 18-nil at the break.
After half-time the visitors kicked into gear piling on nine unanswered tries, including a period which saw Chifley score in each of six consecutive sets.
“They got on top a bit and the floodgates opened. We were great in the first half though,” Callaway said.
“We had a few solid, reliable players out who would have made a difference. But, our guys should be very proud and I think Chifley will win it again.”
In a beaten side OHS fullback and skipper Nathan Swain starred, along with front rower Elijah Smyth and lock Zac Crook, in a team forced to defend for the best part of the clash.
For the visitors, along with Dixon, hooker Luke Hawkins starred with a hat-trick and huge lock Henry Tuli-Togise was all but unstoppable with ball in hand.