Astley Cup 2017 | The perfect start: Hornets take lead into favourable second day fixtures | Photos

Hold the lead, and close out a win.

That’s Orange High School’s goal in Friday’s final day of the second tie of the 2017 Astley Cup, one the Hornets will have to achieve to keep their dream of back-to-back titles alive.

Orange High and Dubbo Senior College played out a thrilling, incredibly competitive opening day on Thursday, one that highlighted just how close this second tie is likely to be.

In a day punctuated by a couple of draws in boys’ and girls’ football, the hosts did manage to finish slightly on top thanks to wins in the tennis and athletics and take a 90-point lead into Friday’s second day as a result.

With three of the four sports on the final day being traditionally strong fixtures for Orange – basketball, netball and, in particular, hockey – there is plenty of reason for hope.

How those sides handle the pressure of being favourites in what will be decisive fixtures will go a long way to influencing the final result, OHS Astley Cup coordinator Tegan Dray says.

“We’ll need another good performance [on Friday]. We need to hold the lead by winning, and where we don’t minimising the damage as much as we can,” she explained.

“It was the perfect start for us but there’s more hard work to be done, we’re really pleased with it.

“We’re very happy with the way our sides played but also the nature the games were played in, there was great sportsmanship from both schools, and great support too.”

That hope doesn’t end with the hosts though.

While the tie is still alive Dubbo is always a chance, the school boasts a blockbuster rugby league side and is more than handy in the other remaining sports, certainly more than capable of causing a couple of boilover results.

Dubbo will have to, considering Orange is in the box seat, and the man in charge is confident his troops can.

“We will have to have a good day, but you never know,” Dubbo’s Astley Cup coordinator Craig May said.

“Our hockey team will need to lead from the front to stop Orange, hopefully they can cause a bit of an upset there.

“We really were hoping for some wins in the [football] games, but that’s the nature of that sport and they were very, very tightly-contested games. Our girls played very well and the boys did a great job to come back from 1-0 down.”

Orange High kicked off the day with a ripping win the tie-opening tennis fixture.

The Hornets’ side, including the likes of Aleks Radojicic, Milika Tui, Hugh Duffield and Lydia Parker, earned a 75-25 overall points split by securing a huge nine sets to three victory.

“I think our tennis players were a bit disappointed with how last week panned out,” Dray said.

“So they were motivated and they did a great job. Now we’ll just have to do it again [on Friday] and I’m sure our supporters will help us out there.”

The Hornets looked likely to follow that with another win the boys’ football, played at Orange High, after taking a 1-0 lead early in the game and maintaining it through the half-time break.

But a timely second-half equaliser from Tyler Rankmore, one of the biggest moments of the first day, put paid to a Hornets’ win. The 1-1 draw gave the two schools a 50-50 split.

That overall share of the points was mirrored in the girls’ football fixture, which finished 0-0, giving the hosts a 50-point lead going into the athletics.

Orange extended that to 90 with a 70-30 victory in Thursday’s final event.

FRIDAY PROGRAM

9.30am Hockey (Orange Hockey Centre)

11am rugby league (Wade Park)

1pm netball (Sir Neville Howse Stadium)

2.20pm basketball (Sir Neville Howse Stadium)