By Jordan McArdle
HORSHAM RSL Diggers and Pimpinio football and netball clubs have opted not to merge.
Both clubs hosted meetings on Monday night, where financial and life members voted on the merger proposal.
Wimmera Football League side Horsham RSL Diggers voted narrowly in favour of joining Pimpinio, but the large majority was against moving into the Horsham District Football League.
About 100 Pimpinio members voted unanimously against the merger.
Pimpinio president Wally Dumesny said it was clear the Tigers did not want to merge.
“We deliberated the pros and cons for about an hour before deciding that we wanted to remain in our own right in the Horsham District league,” he said.
Mr Dumesny said the strong support from club members showed there was light at the end of the tunnel.
“It’s not just about winning games of football and netball – it’s about
supplying a hub out there for the Pimpinio community,” he said.
“There seems to be vibes of at least six to eight new committee people so it’s full-steam ahead.”
Horsham RSL Diggers president Peter Miller said the club would keep its options open about a future merger.
“It would be narrow-minded for any club to not look to the future because we are all aware of the growing imbalance between players and volunteers and clubs,” he said.
The Diggers also used their meeting to announce Gary Davidson as senior coach.
Davidson has a reputation for rebuilding clubs, after success coaching Pimpinio, Nhill and Dimboola.
Davidson said he had taken on the role believing he could turn the club’s misfortunes around.
“I’ve returned to coaching to help the Diggers out and it’s important that Diggers – both past and present – get behind their great club now,” he said.
“There is a core group of quality players at the club who have remained loyal and we can build the club around them. “The club has a powerful executive and good people behind it but it needs more.
“We will be working to get the playing list to a good standard and we’ve got a recruiting program in place that is targeting specific players.”
Davidson said his role was not just about coaching the senior side but building the club through all grades.
“I have a role right through from Auskick to senior level to strengthen all grades and it’s time for the Diggers to get involved,” he said.
Mr Miller said Davidson’s appointment was a huge coup for the club.
“We’ve been trying to get Gary to our club for years and we are just thrilled that he is on board,” he said.