UPDATE: Border Districts merger ‘glimmer of hope’

A potential merger between Border Districts Football Netball Club and Edenhope Apsley is not completely off the table for 2018 after all.

On Thursday, Border Districts declared that it would not be merging in 2018 – but might in 2019. That was because Eagles officials were of the understanding that the Edenhope Apsley committee was going to recommend to its members a merger wouldn’t be possible this year because of the tight timeframe

But Edenhope Apsley officials have since done more homework and believe they could possibly push a merger through in time for this season if its club members supported the move.

EA president Carolyn Middleton said she herself had thought this week a merger wouldn’t be possible with the season so close to starting, but things had moved quickly with two club meetings taking place.

“I did shut the door saying I couldn’t do it, but I looked into it more and I think there’s a glimmer of hope,” she said. “It may not happen – even if we went to a vote, we might not get it across the line.

“It may all fall through, but it’s just doing due diligence really so all the options are able to be considered.”

Ms Middleton said she was still awaiting legal advice relating to the club constitution, and that might not be back for a week, then the club had to give written notice to members of a vote on the merger proposal if that’s the way officials want to go. So, they might run out of time.

“It’s getting very close to the season and exiting one league and going into another isn’t that easy,” she said.

Edenhope Apsley had an open meeting on Thursday night where there was a positive feeling among the 65 people present, but Ms Middleton stressed there was no indication yet whether her club’s members would support a merger. The meeting was merely to provide interested parties with information rather than gauging interest in a merger.

ORIGINAL STORY, Thursday January 11: 

Border Districts Football netball Club won’t be merging with anyone in 2018.

Border Districts 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.