DURI Public School is celebrating 125 years in 2012.
It is also celebrating its girls’ softball team, a 10-player collection of young ladies ranging in age from eight and Year 2 to 12 and Year 6, which has won a North West PSSA regional title and is gunning for a berth at the State semi-finals when it plays Harrington Park or Oatlands public schools in Tamworth tomorrow.
Remember, Duri has just 30 students.
It has already beaten large schools such as Tamworth’s Hillvue and West Tamworth .
It also accounted for Armidale City (12-8) and Narrabri Public to win the North West regional title and then Mudgee Public in an Inter Regional game to reach the quarter-finals.
Duri principal (acting) Craig McDonald is the team coach and is amazed at the results the little school has garnered in recent years.
It’s not the first time the side has won a NW title but it is the first time they have progressed past an Inter Regional Final into the final eight.
“We’ve been lucky too – we’ve only had to travel once,” McDonald said.
“That was to Armidale and we beat them in the wind and rain, sleet and snow.
“We were most impressive beating Mudgee too.
“I didn’t expect us to get through that game.
“We’d been soundly beaten in a previous Inter Regional Final.”
He said Harrington Park and Oatlands were playing their Inter Regional Final today and the winner was then travelling to Tamworth today to tackle the Duri side at the Riverside ground in Tamworth from 10am tomorrow.
“Harrington Park had four kids in their regional side,” he said.
“We had three – Claire Brown (catcher), Hope Taylor (pitcher) and Emma Ison (first base).”
Those three are key players in the Duri side that contains girls from Year 2 (Kobi Mai-Fox), Year 3 (Charlotte Kesby and Phoebe Reynolds), Year 4 (Eden Walters and Leisl Cooper), Year 5 (Lara McKay and Emma Ison) and Year 6 (Hope Taylor, Claire Brown and Jacinta Cooper).
Cooper is the school captain while Brown is catcher and the team captain.
“All up, we have 10 girls at school and 10 in the team,” McDonald said.
“Some of these girls have been with me for three years so they’ve had a fair bit of work.
“ They train four days a week too.
“And we have had a lot of help from Richard Webb.
“Hope, Claire and Emma have worked a lot with Richard in the rep teams.
“We appreciate everything he has done.He has worked hard with them.
“We’re just glad we have got this far.
“It’s great for all the girls and all their hard work.
“The boys here have also helped out.
“They give us some good practice games.
“They have plenty of skills too and could make good baseballers.”
He said a win tomorrow would make the 125th year of Duri Public School something to really value.
“A trip away to Sydney to play in the State semi-finals would be something for a small school like us.
“That would be big.”