On a day where a coronavirus scare saw Dubbo and Gilgandra pull the pin on their Bing Lee Regional League West Central West Division One appearances, a pair of Orange sides were fighting for undefeated campaigns and a first-placed finish at Anzac Park.
It was Orange Thunder who locked up top spot on Saturday with a 49-32 round five victory over Lightning, moving to a flawless 4-0 record with the semi finals looming.
It wasn't all smooth sailing for the winning side as they overcame a slow start before beginning to dictate terms from the second quarter onwards.
"We controlled," said Orange Thunder coach Cindy Gilchrist.
"The game's always won on the defensive side and our defence really stood up.
Depth is something any team craves but in Orange Thunder's case, a smaller bench might have been a blessing in disguise as it didn't halt any early momentum they had.
"Lightning had to make a few changes because they do have a bigger bench than we do. That helped us a bit," Gilchrist said.
"We had three injured players and we really missed those guys but it worked out in the end.
No matter how good your side is, there's always room for improvement and Gilchrist wants to make sure her squad is maintaining intensity throughout matches rather than drifting in and out of them.
"We need to be finishing quarters the same way we started them. We've got the experience, we've got the talent, it's just that consistency," she said.
Even though the Thunder have to get past Blayney first, Gilchrist thinks their biggest threat in the postseason is the team they played today.
"The biggest resistance we'll get is from Lightning," she said.
"The talent that Orange has got with their division one players, any town would just crave for. We're very fortunate."
Anzac Park will play host to the finals series in two weeks as the teams will prepare for a pair of elimination finals.
Thunder will play Blayney in the first vs. fourth match while Lightning will play Dubbo in the second vs. third. The winners will meet in the grand final.
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