THE BIG PICTURE: Local player shines on international stage

ROYAL PRIVILEGES (right): Orange’s Eddie Bone (left) meets Prince Harry during the Glasgow Commonwealth Games.WELL, I don’t know about you, but I think that year went quickly.

Somehow Orange’s sporting people crammed plenty into it.

I decided with the new year upon us, I would try to recall some of the moments in 2014 which caught my attention.

Of course we were able to watch Orange product Eddie Bone win Commonwealth Games gold in Glasgow with the Australian women’s hockey team – the Hockeyroos.

It felt surreal watching someone I used to see running around the hockey fields in Orange on the international stage.

Of course, the Hockeyroos kept us on the edge of our seats by taking the gold medal match in a shoot out 4-2 over England.

One of the entertaining stories to come out of the final was Eddie’s father, Gary Bone, who couldn’t bring himself to watch the televised shoot out and instead opted to take a walk around the house.

There was also the added bonus for Eddie of meeting the Queen and Prince Harry during the Games.

* ORANGE clubs may not have won the 2014 Blowes Clothing Cup first grade title but Emus and City delivered some of the best finals matches in the lead-up to the decider.

Emus and City clashed three times in four weeks and played out some thrilling matches.

In the final round of the regular season Emus enjoyed a 33-21 victory at Pride Park.

One week later in the qualifying semi-final, they met again. The lead changed hands 13 times with the Lions coming out on top 35-29 after outside centre Jake Davis scored in the game’s final minute.

This sent Orange City into the major semi-final where they lost to eventual champions Dubbo Kangaroos 20-19, while Orange Emus accounted for Bathurst Bulldogs 28-19 in the minor semi-final.

It meant the two Orange sides met again in the preliminary final, where the winner would book a place in the grand final against the Kangaroos.

Played at Orange City’s Pride Park, Emus were up 18-9 at the break before the Lions clawed their way back and took the lead 19-18 with minutes left on the clock.

However, Nigel Staniforth was awarded a penalty with a minute left in the game and he kept his cool in front of a deafening crowd to nail the conversion and give Emus the win.

Unfortunately they lost the grand final 42-24, but those finals matches against City were hugely entertaining.

*ORANGE netball continued to flourish in 2014.

Orange took out the open state championship on the June long weekend. It was a great result after finishing third in 2013 and claiming the division two title in 2012.

Then in August, Orange won a 19th-consecutive Central West State League crown.

What made this title better than others was the competition was tighter.

I once watched Orange win a state league match 72-27 in the early 2000’s. In 2014, Orange had to come from behind to beat Dubbo in the decider 56-47.

The decider was physical and proved Orange cannot become complacent otherwise the winning streak will come to an end.

Expect Dubbo to close the gap further in 2015 which should make for a fantastic battle with Orange.

* WHEN I first heard former Australian rugby league player Matt King was going to have a one-off game for Orange CYMS in 2014, I was sceptical.

I was concerned he may only play five or 10 minutes and the people who came to watch him could be left disappointed.

I will gladly accept I was wrong. King’s cameo was fantastic. His class was evident as he scored one try and set up three others for CYMS in their Group 10 opening round 42-24 win over Hawks.

Being a derby, and a re-match of the 2013 grand final, it was entertaining and King’s addition only added to it.

* ONE thing we enjoy at the sports desk is a good laugh and my colleagues Matt Findlay and Nick McGrath supply plenty of those (no wonder McGrath’s nickname is “Giggles”).

This year Findlay has provided a few extra giggles when he has taken unflattering photos of sportsmen.

He had us in hysterics when he took a photo of Orange Emus hooker Tom Goolagong looking less than intimidating.

Findlay also caught Kinross bowler Andrew Johnson delivering his best blue steel look.

So, I hope 2015 brings Orange’s sporting men, women and juniors more success and enjoyment … and perhaps a few more funny photos.

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