Astley Cup buzz: Hornets primed to go back-to-back for first time in 11 years

There’s plenty of buzz around the Hornets’ 2017 Astley Cup campaign as the defending champions prepare to sting Bathurst High on home spoil in the opening tie.

READY TO GO: Elijah Smyth and Tori Writer are pumped up ahead of this year's opening tie of the Astley Cup. Photo: JUDE KEOGH

READY TO GO: Elijah Smyth and Tori Writer are pumped up ahead of this year's opening tie of the Astley Cup. Photo: JUDE KEOGH

All bad hornet puns aside, Orange High School captain Tori Writer and 2017 sports captain Elijah Smyth both believe the 2016 champions are primed to go back-to-back and retain the oldest inter-school competition’s trophy in its 94th year.

“I reckon we’ll smash it, to be honest,” Writer said, OHS gunning for its 43rd cup when Thursday’s tie begins at Bathurst.

Bathurst High has won 24 and Dubbo Senior Campus has claimed 22.

“We’ve got very strong teams and great high school spirit so I think we’ll be fine,” Writer added.

The 2017 cup begins with arguably OHS’ strongest sports, the boys’ and girls’ soccer, from 9.30am at Proctor Park.

Hitting the ground running, in terms of accumulating points, will be key as the Orange school looks to mount an irresistible charge towards consecutive cups for the first time since 2005-06.

After the soccer fixtures, Orange takes on Bathurst in athletics and tennis before the Mulvey Cup debate on Thursday evening.

In her finial year of school, Writer will have to wait for the chance to be a part of this year’s campaign with hockey staged on Friday.

Rugby league, netball and basketball will round out the final day of the opening tie before Orange hosts Dubbo Senior Campus next week.

Given 2017 will be her last Astley Cup, Writer admitted, not to feeling more pressure, but to having a greater desire to bring the cup back to OHS in three weeks’ time.

“The pressure is still the same … it’s all the same sports we played last year and hopefully we do as well,” she said.

“It’s my last year, so I definitely want to win it.”

Smyth said the school’s open rugby league team was keen to turn around a poor start to its season.

“We didn’t do too well at the CHS stuff but I think all together we’ll go well. Our teamwork will get us over the line,” he said looking forward to Friday’s game.

Smyth, who plays with Orange Hawks in the Group 10 under 18s competition on Sundays, says he’s very aware the Bathurst team will be a very formidable outfit, with the majority making up Panthers gun juniors side.

“They’ve got some tough players but if we can shut them down we’ll do well,” he added, before reiterating Writer’s earlier prediction. 

“We’ll smash it.”