It’s been an action-packed off season for Bacchus Marsh Bowls Club.

The club has started the process of merging with fellow Bacchus Marsh side, the Avenue.

On top of that, the club has decided to take its top side out of the Central Highlands Bowls Division and play in the metro competition, Bowls Victoria pennant.

Bacchus Marsh president Phil Minniti confirmed that the merger with the Avenue was happening. Once complete, it means there will be one, not two bowls clubs in Bacchus Marsh.

The Avenue currently plays in the Ballarat District Bowls Division, with its top side in the second grade.

“It’s full steam ahead,” Minniti said of the merger.

“It takes time to get it all right. There’s no reason to rush things.”

While the merger is underway, Bacchus Marsh has taken the step to move its top side into the metro competition, while its other two sides will remain in the CHBD.

The top side will play in Bowls Victoria pennant division 2, section 1. Last season, that side won the CHBD division 1 title.

Minniti, who plays in the top side, said it was a great opportunity.

“It’s what our members want,” he said.

“It’s the progression and as Melbourne grows out to Bacchus Marsh, it makes sense to play in the metro competition.”

Minniti said reaction to the move had been positive.

He said they had attracted some new players to the club and the main attraction was the side was now playing in Melbourne.

“It’s pretty positive with the metro side and we’ll give it a good shake. We’re looking forward to the new challenge.”

Among Bacchus Marsh’s opponents this season is Melton’s top side.

Minniti said there was already a bit of rivalry between the two clubs.

“It’s a friendly rivalry with a lot of mates between the two clubs.”

Bacchus Marsh’s other two Saturday teams will remain in the CHBD.

Its division 2 premiership side from last season will play in division 1, having earned promotion. The other side will remain in division 3.

Minniti said it would be an interesting season in division 1, with the competition now six teams, down from eight – as well as Bacchus Marsh’s top side leaving, Trentham has been relegated while Gisborne’s second side has asked to go down.

“It’s going to be a challenging game every week,” he said.

“We are expecting to put on a good show.”

Bacchus Marsh’s top side starts its season on October 5 against Werribee.

The CHBD competition kicks off the following week.