Merger: Duncan Lanchester, of the former Downham Town CC, and Stow’s Mike Fairey, the new club’s chairman.Picture: CHRIS MILSOM.

CRICKET: Two long-standing West Norfolk clubs have merged to offer a stronger cricketing package for junior and senior players in the area.

Downham Town and Stow have joined forces to become Downham Stow CC, bringing benefits for both clubs, according to new club’s chairman Mike Fairey.

“Both clubs operated in the same catchment areas, being only one mile apart, and also operated in the same leagues,” said Fairey. Coming together allows the focus to be on the future of cricket, not the future of the club.” 

The merger will see more teams competing, a focus on youth cricket and resources spent on one club rather than two. 

“We will have a spread of senior teams right through the Norfolk Cricket Alliance, which will allow a better progression for players,” said Fairey.

“This will allow an improved focus on development for junior players, with an easier access into adult cricket, with specific academy-style training for the most promising juniors.”

Both clubs agreed to the merger and Fairey said: “A strong leadership team, brought together from both clubs, along with a new operational structure and dedicated roles, backed with a clear and positive constitution and policy framework, will deliver recreational cricket opportunities for all levels of player from u9.”

The clubs’ grounds at Stow Hall and Downham Market Memorial Field will host four Saturday sides as well as Sunday cricket. 

Junior co-ordinator Daniel Ward said: “Junior sides will play in both the West Norfolk and Cambridge Junior Leagues, to provide plenty of opportunities. It is fundamental that we can offer plenty of opportunities, success and enjoyments for all members.

“Senior players are already training and playing in the Norfolk Cricket Board mini leagues, which has given them time to gel for next year. 

“Training has seen a high standard and competition for places, which will push players to be as good as they can and raise standards even higher.”