Every thirteen years or so Muntons, the malt and malted ingredients manufacturer based in Stowmarket, arrange to have an expert team fell their latest crop of purpose grown willow trees. This year nine trees were felled which will be turned into a fine crop of cricket bats ready for next year’s sporting season.
With the river Gipping running through their grounds, Muntons have the ideal growing conditions for cricket bat willows and as soon as the trees were cropped eleven more trees were planted, ready for cropping in another thirteen years or so. These trees are not only good for the game of cricket though, the young saplings are good for the environment too, converting carbon dioxide gasses into fresh oxygen.
Not all willow trees can be used to make cricket bats though, weeping willow trees cannot be used. The ideal willows are Salix Alba Caerulea (Cricket Bat Willow) and are ready when the trunk has a circumference of about 60 inches measured 1.5 metres from the ground.
Muntons Managing Director, Alan Ridealgh explained: “We are lucky that our site here at Stowmarket has a managed flood plain running alongside the river, providing exceptional conditions for cricket bat willows. The roots of the trees really benefit from the moist soil and the trees thrive.” He continued: “We moved to Stowmarket in 1948 and have always grown willows for cricket bats. This year we plan to have a few commemorative bats made for posterity – and the occasional Muntons cricket match.”