Caversham, Dunedin Tech poised to merge

Andrew Ridden (left) and George Thrussell compete for the ball during a match between Caversham...
Andrew Ridden (left) and George Thrussell compete for the ball during a match between Caversham and Dunedin Technical at Tahuna Park in 2018. Photo: Getty Images
Two of Dunedin’s most successful football clubs may be set to combine as New Zealand Football undergoes a major realignment.

The Otago Daily Times understands a merger between Caversham and Dunedin Technical is at an advanced stage.

It follows a revamp in New Zealand Football’s competition structure and may be part of a trend nationally.

Notably, Onehunga Sports and Three Kings United have combined to form Auckland United in the Northern Regional League.

The new structure does away with the winter and summer-season format.

From this year, teams will qualify through regional leagues to play in a national league at the end of the year.

Both club presidents Phil Collings (Caversham) and Tony Boomer (Dunedin Tech) declined to comment.

Caversham and Dunedin Tech have been as successful as any at the top level of southern football, particularly over the past 20 years.

Since 2000 the pair have only been denied the men’s title three times, while Tech has won eight women’s titles in a row and is close to 100 matches unbeaten.

Tech has also won national titles in the men’s Chatham Cup in 1999, as well as the women’s Kate Sheppard Cup in 2018.

However, last year both clubs finished in the bottom half of the men’s Southern Premier League.

It raises questions around the potential club’s name, uniform, coaching staff and home ground.

Will they change names and uniforms or fall under one club or the other?

The teams also had two respected head coaches last year in Malcolm Fleming (Tech) and Richard Murray (Caversham).

A home ground for premier games will also need to be decided upon.

Caversham moved from Tonga Park to Hancock Park two years ago and the ground, also home to the Pirates Rugby Club, was redone for football.

Meanwhile Tech is based just 700m down the road at Culling Park.

It is understood the merger would also involve junior grades.

This season is set to act as a transition year for the southern teams.

The lateness of the revamp announcement meant no qualification process had been in place last season.

Southern teams will qualify for a South Island league through finishing in the top three of a double-round Southern Premier League beginning March 10.

From there the top two in the South Island league would qualify for a national league, which will be played from September through to December.

Next year the South Island league will become a fully-fledged competition, with promotion-relegation.


 

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