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Moving up . . . St Kevin's College teacher in charge of cricket Craig Smith will play for the school's first XI next season, which has made the step up to senior grade in the North Otago club competition. PHOTO: DANIEL BIRCHFIELD

The 2019-20 cricket season will start as something of an unknown for the St Kevin’s College First XI as it makes the jump to the top flight of North Otago club cricket.

For several seasons the side played in the now defunct senior reserve grade, which also included Glenavy and Union. It also combined with Oamaru in the senior competition.

As the senior reserve competition had only three teams, it was not considered viable to continue it and, as a result, St Kevin’s and Glenavy have been given the option to step up.

Union already has a team in the top senior grade and it is not clear whether its two teams will combine or one will play in the second grade competition.

St Kevin’s College teacher in charge of cricket Craig Smith said a meeting was held with players to broach the idea of playing in senior grade and they were universally in favour of moving up.

That means there will no longer be a combined Oamaru/St Kevin’s side in the senior competition to defend its Borton Cup title.

As it stands, St Kevin’s, Waitaki Boys’ High School, Oamaru, Valley, Union, Glenavy and Albion could have teams in senior grade for the coming season.

Given the St Kevin’s First XI was light on experience, it would not be easy to begin with, Smith said.

“It will be a challenge, but the positive is they were keen, so that’s the main reason we have taken the plunge. It’s hard to know. The level of competition in the senior competition does vary, but it does depend on who is there from week to week. As long as we are competitive, that’s one of our main goals week to week.”

Smith, a former Otago Volts representative, will play for the school team, as will at least one other adult to help strengthen the side’s batting, which was exposed at times last season.

He said the team would improve as it played quality opposition.

The school would also have teams in the second grade competition, which was also expected to be played under a revised format this season.