Border Districts Football Netball Club will not merge with anyone in 2018 – but might in 2019.
The club held a series of meetings late last year and came close to a merger with Edenhope Apsley Football Netball Club, but just fell short.
Club president Darren Walter said an “overwhelming majority of (Borders) members voted in favour” of merging with Edenhope Apsley in December. But this week the EA committee voted to recommend to its own members that the Saints continue in their own right in 2018 with a view to pursuing a merger in 2019.
While nothing is set in stone, the Saints' preferred merger partner would be Border Districts, and Mr Walter believed that it was more likely the new entity would play in the KNTFL rather than the Horsham district league where Edenhope Apsley currently plays.
Edenhope Apsley played in the KNTFL until 2006 when it moved to the Horsham league.
Mr Walter said Border Districts had explored other options so that it had all bases covered, and had met with representatives from Kybybolite and Naracoorte, but those clubs were comfortable with their positions at present.
Mr Walter said it was disappointing that the Edenhope Apsley merger couldn’t happen this season, but Borders had now refocussed on going ahead on their own in 2018 and were confident of having a productive year.
“We’re getting geared up to go by ourselves in 2018, we think we’ve recruited reasonably strongly,” he said. “We’re still working on getting a senior colts (under 17 football) team together but at this stage both junior teams will be very light on.
“Under 17 netball numbers are also looking a bit low, so I’d encourage anyone looking for a game to get in contact.
“We’re not into poaching kids from other clubs, but anyone who is not getting a game or wants to try a new club is more than welcome.”
The Eagles A grade football side will be coached for the second year by non-playing coach Darrin Wilson.
Mr Walter said it was a concerning time for many football and netball clubs with rural populations dwindling, and Borders and Edenhope Apsley were both trying to be proactive to protect their futures.
“I’ve been involved with mergers before, and obviously Edenhope and Apsley went through it as well, and it can be a tough time,” he said.
“There will be some fallout, that’s inevitable, but we want to minimise that and try and keep as many people on board as possible.”
Mr Walter encouraged anyone looking for a game of football or netball, or wanting to know more about the club, to contact him on 0429 961 236.
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