University-Grange determined to justify its return

Matiu Workman
Matiu Workman
University-Grange is back for a second dig and under new management.

The club returned to the senior grade last season after a four-year absence.

It was an awfully tough campaign. The team managed just one win all summer.

Some of the goodwill that existed towards the side at the beginning of the season started to fade towards the back end.

University-Grange's return ushered in the need for a bye and that came with a dose of resentment from some quarters.

But a seven-team format has been confirmed again for this season. And University-Grange will continue to carry the can for making that bye count.

Former club president Matiu Workman stepped down last month and has been replaced by former Otago representative Andrew Hore.

But Workman, who is going overseas, was instrumental in getting the club back in the senior grade and told the Otago Daily Times he hoped it would be more successful this season.

''Obviously, we are definitely looking to build on last year and not just languish,'' Workman said.

He took University's failings to heart. He was so closely involved with the team, including accommodating some of the overseas players in his spare room, that it was hard not to take it personally when people questioned whether the club belonged in the grade.

''I would not be surprised if the patience was running a wee bit thin. I've said it before but the bye is just growing pains.

''It is never going to be comfortable but there are competitions all around the world which have byes. It is not like it is a new concept.

''I commend Otago Cricket for taking another leap with us this year and putting a lot of faith in us.

''We know how hard it would be to face some of the feedback from the other clubs about last season. But we are determined to repay that faith this season and into the future as well.

''And I think having someone like Andrew in the hot seat will give us a lot more mana around the table when it comes to talking with potential players.''

Hore, who has signed up as player-coach as well, played 26 first-class and 45 one-day games for Otago between 1997 and 2005.

''He brings something to the table that we've probably lacked in the past. He is a pretty amazing asset to have,'' Workman said.

Hore, who turned 50 in June, joked he was ''getting involved''.

He played two senior games last season and part of his motivation this summer will come from his desire to play for the New Zealand over-50s team.

He is trialling for the team in late October and needs to get match fit.

But other than that, he just wanted to get back involved with the club.

''This is an opportunity for me to give back and it is something I've wanted to do,'' Hore said.

''And there is a few good things happening at the club which I'm interested in pushing forward and helping with.''

Hore is in charge of cricket at John McGlashan College, so is well placed to help direct talent towards the club. But he would like to see a more even-handed view from administrators.

''I think Dunedin Cricket on a whole needs to get together and build the whole of Dunedin cricket and get away from the super club status.

''That does not build pathways for too many at all. The clubs need to work together and build the strength in our grassroots.''

The senior grade gets under way on October 5.

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