ALTON Social Bowling Club members have much to feel happy about.

Not only did they entertain a Bowls England team in the second of two prestigious fixtures to mark the opening of the club’s superb new home in Chawton Park Road, but two Alton Social bowlers, Margaret Holden and Lesley Johnson, became national champions on Tuesday by winning the England Senior Pairs Final at Leamington Spa.

The Social pair, representing Hampshire in the National Finals, played their first match in the last 16 on Sunday and beat Surrey 26-23. This put them through to Monday’s quarter-finals and Holden and Johnson trounced Cornwall 33-9.

Tuesday’s semi-final against Devon was a nail-bitingly close affair and the Hampshire duo only won on an extra end, 21-20.

And so they were through to the final the same day, up against the Gloucestershire pairing of Rita Gerry and Julia Stannard.

Again, it was a very tight match, but the Alton Social aces were not to be denied and triumphed 22-19 to claim the national title.

In the earlier match against Bowls England, Alton Social welcomed president Viv Tomlinson and her team, comprising players from 12 counties.

The weather intervened, of course, but nothing was going to stop the match going ahead on the new green and amidst the damp and drizzle, there was much laughter and banter between the two teams. Alton Social lost by quite a few shots ...

A meal and drinks followed before Alton Social bade farewell to their new-found friends.

Two days later, it was President’s Day at Alton Social and a chance for members and friends to show their appreciation for club president Gary Johnson. Without all his hard work and dedication over the past four years, the club would not have the wonderful new facility.

Odiham, Four Marks, Liphook, Farnham and Whitchurch Bowling Clubs all brought teams and with the weather favourable this time, it proved to be an excellent event.