ORANGE High School will take on school sports giants Westfield Sports High School in Wednesday’s opening clash of the New South Wales Combined High Schools girls’ netball knockout final eight stage after a strong opening day to the series on Tuesday.
The OHS girls came through the series’ pool of death, claiming victories over Endeavour Sports High School (20-10), Inverell High School (14-7), Lambton High School (24-18) and Illawarra Sports High School (20-7) to progress from the final 16 through to the top eight stage on Wednesday.
Qualifying fourth out of Pool B, Orange must now beat Westfields SHS to progress through to the final four of the NSWCHS knockout.
Easier said than done - Westfields has dominanted the tournament for a decade.
“It’s a mammoth task,” Orange High School coach Tegan Dray said after Tuesday’s seven games.
Westfields finished Pool A undefeated in first place.
“They’ve won every one for the last 10 years or so,” Dray continued.
“But we’ve had the benefit of watching Westfields all day today.
“We’re obviously underdogs ... but our aim will be to make them think a little bit about what they’re doing; change our tactics and make Westfields second guess themselves a bit.
“It’s good to go into these games as an unknown.”
Pooled against renowned sports high schools as well as last year’s runners-up Northern Beaches Secondary College (NBSC), Dray couldn’t be more proud of the way her girls handled the challenge.
“Absolutely. It’s always great to make the top eight,” she said.
“We’ve come through a really tough pool which was great as well.”
Orange lost its three games to NBSC 28-12, Elderslie High School 18-12 and The Hills Sports High School 17-10.
“We were expecting Hills Sports High to be tough and they were and Northern Beaches have been up there in the final against Westfields over the last couple of seasons. We had a tough period there through the middle but it’s great to qualify,” Dray said.
OHS’s opening game is at 8.30am on Wednesday at the Illawarra Sports Stadium.