Western proves a tough beat at NSWCHS carnival
Written by Matt Findlay - Central Western Daily
Both stacked with Orange Thunder talent, the boys’ and girls’ Western Combined High Schools sides clashed with the state’s best in last weekend’s NSW under 15s carnival at Mudgee.
In this case, stacked means 15 Thunder guns across the two sides, a remarkable number from one town considering the sheer size of the Western region.
The boys’ side, including Orange’s Jake Morgan, Dylan Ryan, Wil Phillips, Caleb Tamatea, Jackson Hill, Max Wilson and Jack Cole, ended up finishing sixth.
The girls’ side, with City of Orange Touch Association stars Hailey Prestwidge, Rebecca Prestwidge, Caitlin Prestwidge, Savannah Moore, Briana Priest, Kiana Pakinga, Ruby Clarke and Kiara Sullivan all lining up, came sixth as well.
The former side finished with three wins from its eight games but acquitted itself well, performing strongly in its five losses too.
The carnival didn’t start particularly well for the boys though, Western went down to Sydney North (6-0), Hunter (4-0) and Sydney West (3-1). The big factor for the red, green and whites though, was that they continued to improve through those three competition-opening games.
Western went on to win three of its last five games, proving that development.
The side scored two consecutive wins over North West and North Coast in its fourth and fifth games, before dropping back-to-back fixtures against South Coast (4-1) and Riverina (5-3).
Western finished on a high though, thumping traditional heavyweights Sydney South West 5-1 in its last game.
Phillips shared the players’ player award with Bathurst High’s Noah Griffiths.
The Western girls’ side started with a loss to Sydney North (6-0) before finishing deadlocked with Sydney West (1-1).
Western opened its account against North West in the third game of the tournament, securing a 3-1 victory before sharing the points with Riverina (4-4).
North Coast (3-0) got the better of Western after that, followed by a win over South Coast (3-1) and a 7-0 loss to Hunter. In the final two games of the carnival, Western drew with Sydney East (2-2) and lost to Sydney South West (3-0).
Hailey Prestwidge was named players’ player.