Essex trees used for cricket bats

PUBLISHED: 16:27 20 August 2008 | UPDATED: 21:32 31 May 2010

Steve Plumb (left) with Keith Fletcher and two of the bats, one of which has been signed by the ECC team

Steve Plumb (left) with Keith Fletcher and two of the bats, one of which has been signed by the ECC team

CRICKET bats made from Saffron Walden willow trees could soon find their way into the hands of the country s leading players. Top cricket bat producer Gray Nicholls has used 12 trees from the golf course at Saffron Walden Golf Cub to produce their top-of-

CRICKET bats made from Saffron Walden willow trees could soon find their way into the hands of the country's leading players.

Top cricket bat producer Gray Nicholls has used 12 trees from the golf course at Saffron Walden Golf Cub to produce their top-of-the-range bats.

Marketing manager at the golf club, Chris Standen, said: "Three years ago we were approached by several bat manufacturing companies regarding the number of willow trees on the course.

"Our then club captain, Ian Dyce, knew the value of the trees, and brokered a deal with Gray Nicolls."

The willow trees have been used to make the Gray Nicholls Powerbow and Viper cricket bats. The light but powerful Powerbow is one of the company's leading products and is used by England's opening batsman Alastair Cook.

"They are very selective about the willows they use," said Mr Standen. "They only wanted the straightest trees because they have a straighter and tighter grain which is less likely to split.

"I don't how many bats they made from our trees, but each bat sells for about £200 so I'm sure they've done very well out of them."

As part of the deal, the golf club were offered 11 bats at trade price and one further bat free of charge - all of which were made from the willows on the course.

"After a lengthy wait the bats have now been delivered and the interest shown among the membership was very large indeed. So much so, in fact, that all of the bats have been sold already," said Mr Standen.

One of the bats has been signed by players from Essex County Cricket Club and will be auctioned later in the year. The money raised will be donated to the Ellie Savage Memorial Trust.

The golf club has a long-standing cricketing connection and batsman Steve Plumb - the second highest run scorer of all time in minor county cricket - joined the club in 1994.

Former England captain and Essex county player Keith Fletcher is also a member of the club.

Youngster Joe Barrs, who plays for Saffron Walden Cricket Club, was one of the golf club members who purchased a bat made from Saffron Walden willow.

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