Howzat! Stowmarket malt manufacturer is growing its own cricket bats

A game of mixed cricket at Muntons.

A game of mixed cricket at Muntons.

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About every 13 years, the malt and malted ingredients manufacturer Muntons 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.

Some of the cropped trees at Muntons in Stowmarket.

Some of the cropped trees at Muntons in Stowmarket.

With the river Gipping running through their grounds, Stowmarket-based Muntons have the ideal growing conditions for cricket bat willows and as soon as the trees were cropped 11 more trees were planted,

Muntons’ managing director, Alan Ridealgh said: “We are lucky that our site has a managed flood plain 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.”

“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.”

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.