TWO south-west cricket clubs will unite under a new identity as they become the latest to sign off on a future together.
East Warrnambool-YCW and Grassmere Cricket Association club Killarney plan to play under a new name - Southern Titans - in the Warrnambool and District Cricket Association.
The Warrnambool and District Cricket Association has approved the merger and the new club is expected to meet its strict entry requirements, with leaders Luke Smith and James Cole both determined to drive junior development.
Killarney is the latest Grassmere Cricket Association club to shift to the Warrnambool and District Cricket Association after the GCA voted to cease play at the end of this season in November.
We're obviously based to the west of town and East Warrnambool is obviously out the other side but culture-wise, we're very similar and have a lot of the same values.James Cole
It follows Panmure, which merged with Allansford, Purnim, which unveiled a new identity in Northern Raiders, and Hawkesdale, which will officially join the WDCA in the winter.
East Warrnambool-YCW president Luke Smith said the merger would reap benefits for both clubs long-term.
He said more senior numbers, the ability to use Jones Oval - a turf wicket - and Killarney Recreation Reserve - a hard wicket - and more capacity to reinvigorate a junior program were some of the key victories.
"It's been a good experience. It was much easier than I ever thought it would be," Smith said.
"It's just a really good fit with Killarney. It wasn't something that was on our radar to begin with, but with (the GCA folding) and clubs needing somewhere to go we thought we'd speak to a couple of clubs and test the waters.
"We spoke to Yambuk and Killarney and with Killarney, it just flowed and clicked straight away. We went in with an open mind and it made a lot of sense to us.
"It helps us both with numbers for players and strengthens us off-field as well with the social aspect."
Smith said the Southern Titans name would likely be ratified next month.
Killarney president James Cole said while the move "didn't make sense geographically", the clubs shared a similar culture and blended well.
"We're super happy. It's a great chance for Killarney to survive into the future and still get to play cricket at Killarney," he said.
"We're obviously based to the west of town and East Warrnambool is obviously out the other side but culture-wise, we're very similar and have a lot of the same values.
"We were keen to go in either on our own or with a merger and we're happy with a new identity. I think it shakes tags from the past and starts afresh for everyone."
Cole said both he and Smith were committed to re-establishing junior cricket at Jones Oval and Killarney Recreation Reserve.
Smith said Southern Titans would continue to build its junior female cricket program and would look to lay the foundations for under 11s and under 13s in its first year.
Both clubs thanked the WDCA for its support through the process.
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