Caversham Club History
Caversham AFC came into being at a meeting held in the Caversham School Gymnasium on Tuesday February 9th, 1931 when it was decided, after much discussion, to form a Football Club. Mr M Thorn was elected as the President and Mr H Morris as the Honorary Secretary and Treasurer. There being no other club in the south end of the city it was decided to affiliate with the Otago Football Association and enter two teams, one in Third Division, the other in Fifth Division. The Third Division team finished fifth out of eight teams in 1931.
With an influx of players with experience in 1933, Caversham had its first success winning the Third Division without a loss. The record - Played 11, Won 6, Drew 5, Goals For 48, Goals Against 8. The team was as follows:
H Morris, W Jepson, G Reid, T Thorn, T Bennett, G Wright, H Groves, M Thorn, S Allen, C Caskie, B Leslie, G Pearce
In 1934 Caversham moved up to Second Division, remaining at that level for four years until gaining promotion to First Division.
From 1938 to 1967 Caversham continued to play at the highest level of Otago competition save for two years (1959 and 1967) when the club lost status through relegation.
When the Southern League began in 1968 Caversham contested Division 2 finishing second. A year later the club was successful in winning the division to earn promotion.
Playing in Division 1 in 1970 Caversham finished runner-up to Christchurch Technical. The latter as a feeder club to Christchurch United, did not exercise the right to seek promotion to the National League so Caversham, as the second placed team in the Southern League, gained the right to vie with the Northern and Central league champions for one of two National League vacancies.
The hope, at the time, was for all Otago clubs to join in an amalgamation at National league level in 1971.
However, a difference of opinion arose as to whether Derek Daniels, who had coached Caversham for the past three years, should become the coach for an amalgamated team. Dismayed at this turn of events, Caversham’s officials broke off negotiations. Caversham duly competed in the three-team promotion series and, by finishing second to Mt Albert-Ponsonby, earned entry to the national league for the 1971 season.
The impasse over amalgamation was finally resolved at a meeting on November 26 1970 when Maori Hill and Technical College Old Boys (now Dunedin Technical) agreed to support Caversham in putting forward a national league team from Otago under the name “Dunedin Suburbs”.
After only one season in the national league, the club announced it was disbanding. Two clubs, Maori Hill and Technical found themselves unable to support the combined club, notwithstanding satisfactory on field performance [Suburbs finished sixth in the ten-team league and emulated Caversham’s effort of the previous year in reaching the semi-finals of the Chatham Cup].
Taking the brave decision to continue alone, Caversham continued in the national league under its own name for two seasons before being relegated from the league. An end-of-season play-off with the winners of the three regional leagues offered hope of a reprieve but North Shore finished above Cavershamin the series to gain promotion at Caversham’s expense.
Relegation spurred the club to turn to the United Kingdom for new players. This policy brought immediate success, Caversham winning the Southern League and gaining promotion back to the national league, through a subsequent play-off series at the expense of Wellington Diamond United.
In all, Caversham played at National League for five years [1972 to 1973, 1975 to 1977] nefore returning to Southern Regional League football in 1978.
During the national league years the club fielded a “reserve” team in Division 2 South of the Southern League.
From 1978 to 1989 Caversham played at the highest level of Southern League football beforedropping to Division 2 South for three seasons ‘1990-92].
In 1993 the National League was replaced by a superclub championship with 10 teams in three regions playing home and away. The top three in each regions (two in the case of Southern) then went forward to a national round. This change elevated the 10 Southern League Division 1 teams to the new national competition.
As a consequence Division 2 South, in which Caversham was to compete, became the Premier South Division of the Southern League. Notwithstanding the nomenclature, Caversham was, in effect, playing second tier football in 1993, 1994 and 1995.
Caversham returned to the top level playing Southern Region Superclub in 1996 and Southern Premier in 1997 and 1998 after the Superclub format was abandoned.
In 1999 national competitions were restructured with a 12-team North Island League and an 8-team South Island League. Caversham contested the latter.
A major restructure of the national football association then took place. 22 affiliated associations were reconstituted as seven federations. Otago, along with South Canterbury, North Otago and Southland, formed the new Southern Federation (now Soccersouth) and from 2000 onwards the Federation Premier league has been the top level of competition for Otago clubs.
As winner of the Federation League Caversham contested play-offs for promotion to the National League in 2000, 2001 and 2002, eventually earning the right to compete in the 2003 National League. This was a summer competition so a team was also maintained in the winter Federation League.
The National League has since been replaced by a franchise-based New Zealand Football Championship(ASB Premiership). A number of Caversham players have turned out for Southern United (formerly Otago United) in the ten years this summer competition has been running.
In recent years Caversham has competed in Federation league football winning the premier division 15 times since 2000 including 3 South Island Championships.
Currently the club provides teams in Men’s Premier, Division One, Division Two and Youth, Woman’s Division One, and junior levels.