BANBRIDGE Town and Banbridge Ladies FC are to amalgamate in a bid to strengthen the club and expand its membership.

The chairmen of both clubs have said that they are delighted that the move is taking place - one which they believe will benefit both clubs.

In a statement released by Banbridge Ladies they said they were pleased to announce their integration into the club.

“Following several meetings and proposals put before the committee of Banbridge Ladies FC it has been agreed to pursue their integration into the wider ‘football family’ with Banbridge Town FC.

“It is envisaged that this will strengthen a club identity for the ladies in having a focal point at Crystal Park which was previously missing for them.

“Additionally it is hoped that the Ladies can draw on the wealth of experience and skills already in existence at Crystal Park. The local girls have been in existance for several years and now feel that there is a synergy with the bigger football family at Banbridge Town and bring with them their own extra dimension to that set up.

“Next season the Ladies will formally register with the NIWFA as Banbridge Town Ladies FC and are eligible to play in the NIWFA Euro-Electrix sponsored Division Two. Opponents within that league will include Newry City Ladies, Portadown Integrated Ladies, Ballymoney Utd Ladies, Cappagh Spurs, Bangor Ladies and Moyola Park Ladies.

“The NIWFA leagues are ability based and operate on a province wide basis. Despite failing to retain their Division One status in the 2012 season the local girls have tremendous spirit and ability. Indeed one team member, Aisling Cull, was voted as the most consistent player in Division One by the opposing team managers for the season just ended.

“The ladies will begin pre-season fitness training in January 2013 leading up to start of the league in April. New members are sought and will with the new set up will be made welcome. The committee will also be seeking to select and appoint a new team manager for the 2013 season. The committee believe that this is a fresh beginning with exciting opportunities and potential for both Ladies and mens football in the Banbridge district.”

The sentiments were echoed by Banbridge Town Chairman Andrew Cully.

“This is a positive move for everyone connected to both Banbridge Town and Banbridge Ladies and we look forward to welcoming the Ladies under our banner,” he said.

“This is the continuation of a lot of hard work to make our club bigger and better and with the Ladies on board I’m sure we can succeed together in reaching our goals on and off the pitch.”