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Rory Thornhill wins as Orange claims share for Central West Inter-Club Triathlon Series lead

Following Sunday's opening leg, Orange Cycle and Triathlon Club have moved into a share for the Central West Interclub Series lead with Mudgee.

The Red Devils performed well at their home leg last weekend, while the Piranhas kicked off their title defence with an emphatic performance on the road.

The two clubs finished the day deadlocked on 30 Interclub points, under the competition's new scoring system which boasts an equalisation strategy to level the playing field between all clubs regardless of size.

A huge Piranhas contingent was on hand despite the long trip to Mudgee and there was dozens of competitors from across the region, with Bathurst and Dubbo also showing while Cowra was absent from the opening leg of the 2019-20 series.

Rory Thornhill was the star of the show for the defending champions though, his Piranhas are actually gunning for their fourth title in the last five seasons and ninth since breaking Mudgee's seven-season streak in 2010.

Last weekend's series-opening leg featured a unique, five-pronged race format, with the main enduro race run over a two-kilometre run.

There was then a 250-metre pool swim and 18km cycle leg, before athletes return to the pool for another 250m swim and another 2km run.

Thornhill clocked 51 minutes and 27 seconds to salute in the main race and continue his form, he's been dominant in recent Inter-Club seasons, but he was forced to hold off a huge challenge from clubmate Tom Tudor.

The pair battled it out for top spot, with Thornhill eventually beating his fellow Orange young gun by a solitary second, Tudor crossing the mat in 51.28.

As usual the Piranhas' women also dominated proceedings, with Jess Richards leading the charge among an all-Orange top five in terms of the female standings.

She clocked 1.01.03 to finish just ahead of clubmates Abby Dean (1.01.18), Jessie Dean (1.02.00), Kim Dale (1.02.36) and Sophie Martin (1.02.48), with Mudgee's Sian Potter the next best with a time of 1.02.48.

With the Red Devils also claiming 30 Interclub points the summer's second leg at Bathurst on Australia Day will, as usual, be a hotly-contested one.

The Bathurst Wallabies finished the opening leg in third spot after picking up 23 Interclub points while the Dubbo Stampede claimed 12.5 points to sit fourth.

Following Bathurst's leg of the series Dubbo will host the third on February 9 before the Piranhas' home event on February 16.

The latter could be a chance for the Orange club to seal the title before the final event of the series, at Cowra on March 22.

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