Demon Dogs set for senior appearance

Carisbrook-Dunedin and Kaikorai are expected to pool resources and compete under the same banner in the Dunedin senior grade this summer.

But do not worry — they will not be calling themselves Carisbrook-Dunedin-Kaikorai.

That is one too many hyphens and uses up more than one breath.

The early favourite is the Demon Dogs which is a combination of both club’s nicknames.

The new merger is on a trial basis and will involve only the senior grade teams.

Carisbrook-Dunedin committee member Martin Whangapirita said the move had been largely driven by the Otago Cricket Association’s desire to shrink the competition from seven to six teams.

The senior grade has operated with a bye for the past two seasons since University-Grange returned following a four-year absence.

"It is more about consolidating the top two teams as both clubs are more or less in the same position with local player numbers," Whangapirita said.

"Once you take the Volts out and the students out of the equation, you are left with around [six to eight quality players], so that is how both clubs came to the decision to field a combined team."

Home games will be shared between Tonga Park and Bishopscourt. The Demon Dogs will wear the strip of the home club.

Pre-season training sessions will be held at King’s High School and training may end up being held at Tonga Park.

The merging was not forced but Whangapirita said the Otago Cricket Association "made it pretty clear going forward they saw six teams as being the ideal number".

"Whether there is 66 senior cricketers is yet another discussion point," he added.

University-Grange has struggled since returning to the league and, if there was to be a merge to strengthen the competition, University-Grange shaped as the most likely club to be melded.

"They didn’t want to go down that route because they have invested a lot of time in getting to where they are now and they wanted to keep going.

"But ... that would have been the more logical choice."

Carisbrook-Dunedin is one of the more storied clubs. Carisbrook was formed in 1873 and Dunedin started in 1894.

The two clubs merged at the start of the 1989-90 season.

But despite its proud history, the club was taking a pragmatic rather than sentimental approach and was focused on the future rather than the past, Whangapirita said.

Kaikorai senior club president Geoff Bates said both clubs were "a bit skinny on numbers" and the merging made sense from that point of view.

"I think it will happen. The two teams will merge just to provide a more competitive team and to make sure everybody is playing to a decent standard — that is the argument behind it all."

The clubs were meeting last night to confirm the merging.

"I don’t see any reason why the teams won’t merge to create this six-team format that Otago Cricket are asking for."

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