This Astley Cup tie’s not over, not by a long shot.
That’s the word from Lachlan Blaikie and Tegan Dray, Bathurst High and Orange High’s respective Astley Cup coordinators, heading into the second day of the 2018 tournament’s second tie on Friday.
With three wins from four sports Bathurst took a huge step toward claiming a second straight title on Thursday’s opening day and the reigning champions lead by 106 points overnight, an effort Blaikie’s stoked with.
But he did admit he’s only “as confident as I can be” considering three of Friday’s four sports are traditionally Orange High’s best – basketball, netball and hockey.
“They’re Orange’s big sports but we’ve got a lead, we’ll definitely take that,” he said.
“I’m as confident as I can be considering everything, we’ve picked up a few injuries that will impact [Friday], but we’ll go out there and see what happens.”
Dray, who “couldn’t be prouder” of the Hornets’ efforts on day one, says she’s hopeful of pegging that deficit back and then some, they’ll have to if they want to keep their title hopes – and Dubbo College’s, for that matter – alive.
Bathurst trampled Dubbo last week, and needs only to win the tie to secure the title and render Orange High’s trip to Dubbo next week redundant.
“I’m hopeful, I am. But all we can ask for is everyone putting in 110 per cent until the very end because as we drill into the kids every year, every single points counts. If the effort is there and results don’t fall your way, so be it,” Dray said.
“It definitely isn’t over though, it’s never over until the final whistle goes and they’re all playing for school pride too. We couldn’t be prouder of the efforts on [Thursday] and we do have some of our stronger sports coming up on [Friday] but as I’ve said before, you don’t know what can happen.”
The Hornets gave Bathurst a warm welcome on Thursday morning, lining the pavement at Orange High in a bid to show the reigning champions just how big their home ground advantage would be.
That didn’t translate into a first-up win though, as Bathurst claimed the tennis fixture eight sets to four, for a 67-33 overall points split, at Ex-Services Tennis Club.
Orange High looked likely to cancel that out immediately afterward though in the boys’ football clash on the school’s back oval, the Hornets led 2-1 heading into the final minute and eventually were just seconds away from a monumental upset.
After a Will Cooney double for Orange High and Alex Smith’s goal for Bathurst, with the visitors down to 10 men Steve Jones landed an equaliser with five seconds left on the clock, the clash finishing 2-2 for a 50-50 split.
Bathurst picked up a win in the girls’ football after that, downing the Hornets 2-0 for a 75-25 split.
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Although the weather threatened to force a few of the athletics events to be postponed it held, and the visitors took advantage to win a 61-39 points split there.
“We were consistent in the athletics, it was a good way to finish the day and a few kids jumped PBs in the high jump too,” Blaikie said.
“The boys pegging back that goal late in the football gave us the 50-50 split which was big and the girls’ football and tennis sides did well too.”
Orange High’s effort in the girls’ football clash was one Dray saved special praise for despite the loss, considering the Hornets were beaten 9-0 by the same team in the NSW Combined High Schools Knockout.
“There was a lot of pressure on the football sides after the knockout results, the boys did well to draw too,” Dray said.
“It really was a great result for the girls though. It was 0-0 at half-time and even though Bathurst proved too strong in the end, we were really proud of their effort. The tennis team too actually, I know the coaches were really pleased with that because Bathurst had a big win over Dubbo.”
Basketball kicks off Friday’s second day at 9.30am and netball follows at 11am, both at Sir Neville Howse Stadium, before rugby league at 12.30pm at Wade Park.
Hockey is the leg’s main event, finishing the tie off at Orange Hockey Centre from 2.15pm.