IT is not often that Bathurst can boast a win over Orange in the annual Central West State League Division 1 competition, but on Sunday they did it twice.
True, it might not have been the all-conquering Orange 1 side Bathurst managed to better, but a pair of victories against Orange 2 were just as cherished.
Those wins, which came in Orange, ensured Bathurst finished the 2014 State League competition in third place and fulfilled a goal the players had set themselves before Sunday’s finals.
The format of this year’s competition saw Bathurst, Orange 1, Orange 2 and Dubbo, Mudgee, Forbes and Lithgow compete over two weekends of pool games before the top four sides advanced to the finals.
The Bathurst side qualified in fourth position, meaning they came up against Orange 2 in Sunday’s minor semi-final.
While unable to beat Orange 2 during the round games – Bathurst’s efforts included a narrow 22-21 loss – this time the visitors sprung an upset with a 40-37 win.
That set up a preliminary final against Dubbo and while Bathurst went down 50-41, it was by far the best result they had produced against their Central West rivals this year.
While Dubbo advanced to the final, which Orange 1 took out 56-47 for their 19th consecutive Central West State League crown, Bathurst did battle with Orange 2 in the third place play-off.
The visitors triumphed by 18 goals as they produced arguably their best performance of the annual tournament.
“Playing against Dubbo, who had absolutely slaughtered us in the rounds, we didn’t go in thinking we couldn’t win. You want to win every game, but our main goal was to place third,” Bathurst co-coach Catherine Welch said.
“We couldn’t manage to beat Dubbo, but we beat Orange 2 again in the play off for third and fourth, so we achieved our goal.
“We beat them by 18; the girls really ran away with it in the second half.”
As well as earning third place and beating Orange twice in one day – something Welch can’t recall happening before – the co-coach was equally pleased with the effort of the entire Bathurst squad.
“The whole team played well the entire weekend and we used our whole team; sometimes in State League you only use seven players. But we used all our bench players and we didn’t lose anything when we put them on,” she said.
“Sam Thompson, our goalkeeper, was the standout. She played all three games and she was just sensational. Sam is always solid, but on Sunday she excelled herself; she was just brilliant.”
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