It may not have gone exactly how they expected it to, but James Sheahan have progressed through to the grand final of the James Grant Cup.
Schoolboy rugby was all the buzz on Friday night when Sheahan took on the visiting Forbes Red Bend at Waratahs.
Prior to kick off, both teams learned that they just had to win the single match to progress through to the grand final.
This came after Orange High pulled out at the last minute due to a lack of available players.
It was Sheahan who took hold of the opportunity and ran out 24-10 winners.
Central West Rugby Union runs the James Grant Cup and CEO Matt Tink said the boys played well beyond their years.
"The game itself was a great game of footy, really impressive," he said.
"Both Sheahan and Red Ben had contested scrums, which you don't always see at the schoolboy level. Their coaches did a great job to get those kids up to speed."
The 15-a-side Cup was scheduled to debut in 2020, but its opening round was quashed by the initial shock of the COVID-19 pandemic last March.
"It was an excellent day," Tink added.
"Orange City Rugby Club opened their venue for us, set up the field and put on a great barbecue for all the players afterwards.
It was a nice little enthusiastic crowd there as well and hopefully a number of those boys who played will now gravitate to Orange Emus, Orange City or Forbes Rugby club.
"The intensity of both teams in the breakdown was very willing and despite the windy conditions the boys really threw the ball around and it looked like a fun, physical game to play in."
The 2021 edition has seven schools competing, with Wellington High, St Matthew's Mudgee, St John's Dubbo and Dubbo Senior Campus also involved via a northern pool.
The winner of the northern will play in a grand final at a date and venue to be determined against James Sheahan.
Those games are yet to be played but Tink is hopeful they can get them going soon.
"It's difficult with open boys as they've got assessment tasks, excursions and other things," he said.
"So I'm trying to find a window to play those games this week, so If I can get them all on board then the grand final will be next Friday which was always the plan.
"We've been working hard to make it right."
The games are played in 20-minute halves and Tink is hopeful that they can build on the competition for the next few years to come.
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