YORKSHIRE Crown Green Bowling delegates voted in favour of merging with the County Ladies' Association during the annual meeting at Mirfield Old Bank.
With a two-thirds majority required for the move to get under way, the vote went 96 in favour and 42 against with one abstention, from the 139 voting cards collected.
The decision means that the first step of amalgamating the men's and ladies' administrations has got the thumbs up, but the wheels cannot be put fully in motion until after the same vote has been taken by lady representatives at their annual meeting at Broad Oak on Saturday, March 10.
The biggest opponents to the merger plans were representatives from Huddersfield who believed that, ultimately, it would lead to women becoming too involved in the men's game.
Huddersfield fixtures secretary Neil Hinchliffe and Huddersfield secretary-treasurer Jean Wrathall, voiced concerns.
"I'm all for equality," said Wrathall, "but if this vote goes ahead then I'm worried about women getting a foothold and infiltrating into the men's game on a playing level."
Yorkshire administrative secretary-treasurer Alan Stephenson, emphasised that the amalgamation would not affect the running of local leagues or the senior county men's, women's and junior teams.
"The amalgamation would help create a one-stop county shop for administration purposes instead of the ladies' and men's associations frequently discovering that they are duplicating their roles."
Linthwaite-based Joan Wrigley, secretary-registrar of the Yorkshire Ladies CGBA, added: "I have got to emphasise, particularly to opponents of the move in Huddersfield, that if this gets the full go ahead, then it will not affect league bowling at all, but it would ease administration aspects of organising bowling at county level.
"For example, I'm just on my way out to post more than 100 letters, notifying ladies of the AGM, and surely this could have been done as part of one administrative umbrella with the men's association."
She added: "I'm really pleased that the majority voted for the merger but this is just the start of a lengthy process from now on."
Also at the annual meeting, Yorkshire competition secretary, Tony Emerson, revealed that this year's Yorkshire Cup would be sponsored by Elland CA and BC who have put £750 into the event and will stage the final.
The annual Inter-District day will be staged by Harrogate on July 22 and Emerson revealed that competitions continued to be well supported with numbers increasing significantly in the Eric Hutchinson mixed team knockout.
There would be a £1 increase for teams entering the Yorkshire, Henry Taylor and Eric Hutchinson Cups.
Emerson replaces Peter Fellowes, who retired as Junior county secretary, and Almondbury-based Alan Sharpe takes over from Joe Borrill as president of the Association, a prestigious role he will hold along with that of county registrar.
Stepping up as deputy president is Castleford representative Ted Parker.
Great praise was given to secretary-treasurer Stephenson, of Kirkheaton, who will begin his 12th year in the key administrative role.
Outgoing president Borrill said: "As long as Alan Stephenson is involved with Yorkshire, then the Association will be in good hands."
And outgoing Huddersfield Association president Dougie Mellor, proposing Stephenson to the role for another year, added: "I do not think there is a better secretary-treasurer in the whole of British County Crown Green Bowling than Alan Stephenson."