CROWDS of people flocked to Victoria Park as Finchley Victoria bowling club launched its first croquet club.

Members of Victoria Park’s bowling club, in Ballards Lane, were delighted the launch of their croquet club over the bank holiday weekend was a success.

The club had previously argued with Barnet Council against plans for parking spots on their green space.

The club turned their green into a croquet lawn, and have now launched the borough’s first croquet club.

Club member Gary Bargroff, said the club has exciting plans for the club in the new few weeks.

He said: “It was a wow of a day, just incredible. I was expecting about 40 people, but around 70 turned up, and we had so much attention, we are arranging a second launch day for next month.

“Barnet Mayor Cllr David Longstaff opened the club and said he enjoyed the day and even played a few croquet games himself. This is exactly what we need to make the community stronger.”

Visitors travelled from Watford, Ealing and Hampstead Heath Croquet Clubs enjoyed the day and Gabrielle Higgins, the second highest ranked croquet player in the UK played a few games.

Chairman of the Croquet Association, development officer Michael J Hague, wrote a letter a support to the club.

It read: "The day was well organised by the existing bowls members. The Mayor of Barnet BC formally opened the green now dedicated to croquet and it was evident that this well located sports facility by the addition of croquet will attract a far greater number of active members.

"It will allow the renamed Finchley Victoria Bowling and Croquet Club to make an increased contribution to the social and sporting opportunities available to all members of the local community.

"With such help together with the skilled management by Garry Bargroff, the club’s Publicity and Marketing Secretary, of his project to make better use of the excellent facilities available, I am confident that the club will thrive and prove to be a success."

A spokesman for Barnet Council, who the authority refused to name, previously said: “One idea was to look at bringing the existing car park to the side of the bowls green into wider public use, however no final decisions have been made and would not be taken without a full public consultation."