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No arm wrestle required - Jeremy Smith assumed the captaincy of club cricket’s newest team without a struggle.
The 24-year-old all-rounder will lead the combined Carisbrook-Dunedin/Kaikorai side this summer.
The two clubs have combined their top two teams on a trial basis and will open their campaign with a match against the defending Bing Harris champion North East Valley at Tonga Park No2 today.
Both clubs are still working through the details of how the merge is going to work.
But they have got a working name — Demon Dogs — and have appointed a captain.
North Otago Hawke Cup representative Smith will take on the role.
"It was one of the easier things to decide on," he said.
"With Rhys Bayly and Matt Hunter not around this season, and our captain from last season, Taine Bayly, heading up to Wellington, I was put in charge of the Kaikorai team.
"And I don’t think Kurt Johnston from Carisbrook, who did it last year, actually enjoys captaining that much. Plus he has quite a bit on his plate as well with Otago A and everything like that."
Smith, whose brother, Nathan Smith, plays for the Volts, has captained North Otago age group sides but has generally focused on his role as an all-rounder.
Smith sees himself as a batsman who bowls a bit and he loves to get up the order and play a few shots.
He has a fondness for short bowling and he is not afraid to go after the spinners.
As for whether the right-armer will call on himself to bowl many overs this season, that remains to been seen.
"We’ve got some pretty good seamers so I’ll slot into that fifth seamers’ role."
Johnston and Mason James will be expected to take their share of the wickets, while with the bat Smith is hoping Kurtis Weeks will have a big summer.
Otago player Josh Finnie is sticking to white ball cricket this season, so he will be around for more games and should be among the runs as well.
Smith said the target was to win the Bing Harris Shield but today’s game would help set down a marker.
"Hopefully, we’ll be quite strong but then we are a young team. I think Richard Sillars is the oldest at 28 and I’m probably the next oldest at 24."
Green Island will want to turn around a series of close losses last season.
Former player Dion Lobb is coaching this year and he took roughly a million wickets for the Swamp Rats.
He is the right man to help rebuild the dynasty and will lean on players such as top order batsman Gregor Croudis to drive the team forward.
Albion finished the season strongly and will want to pick up where it left off.
The Eagles have a good core of players returning and have collected a couple of promising players, including Dutch international Max O’Dowd.
Taieri played superb limited-overs cricket but struggled in the declaration competition.
Improving its performance in that format is the priority.
North East Valley has the title and will want to keep it. Llew Johnson is fresh from scoring a century for Otago A and will be looking to push his claims for a spot in the Volts.
New Zealand indoor cricket representative Corey Perrett took 34 wickets last season and is another key cog.
University-Grange has struggled to compete since returning to the grade two seasons ago. But they have some very decent help on the sidelines.
Former Otago bowlers Jimmy McMillan and Warren McSkimming join Andrew Hore in a knowledgeable coaching team.