FOLLOWING a successful trial season, two sports clubs in Basingstoke are merging.

Thornycroft Bowls Club and Basingstoke Croquet Club have merged to form a single club at the bowls green beside St Andrew’s Road, South Ham.

Bowls club chair Valerie Smailes said: “This merger came about as a result of suggestions from the Council’s officers in 2017. We did not know how it would work out but there have been no significant problems. We are delighted that more people from the community are using our facilities and that we have been able to give the Croquet Club a helping hand. The Thornycroft Club celebrates its Centenary in 2019 so this is a really special move forward in the Club’s history.”

Acting chairman of the croquet club, Dr Ian Harrison, said: “From the Croquet Club’s point of view we feel to have landed in heaven.

“Our previous site at Down Grange had no facilities so to play on a very fine surface with the clubhouse facilities is wonderful.

“We are able to share the green because croquet takes place during the day whereas most bowls matches are played in the evenings.”