If you’ve never been, Settle Cricket Club’s Marshfield ground has just about everything going for it.
It’s got bags of character with craggy hills behind and the chance of seeing a steam train puff its way across the viaduct on the Settle-Carlisle Railway.
What it lacked a few years ago, as Chairman Andrew Davidson told me, was enough seating.
In this content partnership with British Recycled Plastic, we look at how Settle encouraged more supporters, while remembering and supporting the environment.
With the construction of the McCarthy Stone retirement complex, the club sold about four metres of land and the boundary was moved in. It meant the wooden plank seating that ran by the wall, behind the bowler’s arm and down the slope, was lost.
There were also not enough places to sit at the Marshfield Road end of the ground where the archetypal Yorkshire whitewashed wall separates the grey terraced houses beyond.
Andrew noticed that those with mobility issues didn’t stay at the ground because seating was either too far away, hard to access or deemed uncomfortable.
Apart from wanting to be as accessible as possible, Settle were advertently losing income through gate receipts, bar takings and the like.
Andrew hit upon the idea of memorial benches.
He contacted 30 people who might be willing to part-fund a memorial bench for their loved one – and the response from the community was fantastic.
Clitheroe Cricket Club’s recycled plastic benches came to mind; a club Settle have faced many times and that arc of seating is well known to spectators in what was the Ribblesdale Cricket League.
Of particular appeal was the Harewood bench; a stylish, moulded-end recycled plastic bench with backrest, produced by British Recycled Plastic.
- Comfortably sits three adults
- Available in black or brown
- Remembrance plaques in stainless steel or brass (supplied fixed to your furniture)
The Yorkshire company, based in Mytholmroyd, make high-quality 100% recycled plastic outdoor furniture, along with landscaping and construction products.
They are popular with cricket clubs because the seating is easy to clean, durable, secure, weather-proof and comes with a 25-year guarantee.
You can dry them with a cloth in moments, they can be fixed to the ground and are difficult to vandalise because they don’t absorb anything.
Most importantly of all, each bench has saved its equivalent weight from ending up in landfill. A product like the Harewood bench is the equivalent of 3,333 one pint milk containers.
Given the lifespan of the products, they represent terrific value – but if bulk buying for your club is a consideration, you could go the route that Settle did.
A few years ago, they ended up purchasing 30 benches from British Recycled Plastic. It was a collaborative effort. Families getting a bench dedicated to a loved one contributed as did members, supporters, local councillors and the cricket club.
There was also a hat-trick of successful funding bids from the Local Co-Op Community Fund (£500), Hanson Quarry Environment Fund (£3,000) and Arcow Quarry Community Fund (£3,000).
I can absolutely see how products like these would fit certain community funding criteria given they can increase attendance at games, improve facilities locally and have a vital environmental component.
Remembering all those who have a connection to a cricket club is a lovely way of acknowledging characters, stalwarts and bringing the past alive.
For Andrew, as Chair of a cricket club at the heart of this market town in the Yorkshire Dales, the practical blends with the emotive.
He told me: “We now have bigger gates, attract relations who watch and sit on the bench and now offer seating all around the ground.”
“The benches are easy to move, easy to look after, are well made and are comfortable. But above all, they give some folk a focus.
Ethel Mitchell (83) wife of former player and captain Eric Mitchell, visits his bench every day come hail or shine, others leave flowers and so these are just far more than just being benches. They are a focus and have positive effects.”
In our conversation, I reckoned that I’ve probably sat on hundreds of benches at cricket clubs around Yorkshire – including a few from British Recycled Plastic – without realising it.
The point is that you wouldn’t know that these benches were plastic by casting your eye over the ground. They blend in, Andrew reckoned.
As ever for a cricket club, cost weighs heavily on the mind and at committee meetings.
If you had a Google, you could probably source cheaper benches, perhaps wooden ones, but they come with a raft of problems – not least the cost of maintenance over years.
Over time, with our glorious British weather, they will split, decay, the paint will fade and flake and well, you get the gist. You might need to lug everything inside too at the end of each season.
For Settle, they can now seat many more spectators which is the right thing to do and happily enough, it helps crowds to linger, socialise and ok then, shall we get another drink?
Want to find out more?
Since 2008, British Recycled Plastic has been helping organisations make smart and practical use of UK waste.
It ought to be said that they also do a huge range of products from decking to litter bins and fencing to planters. Suitable for clubs, businesses or at home.
British Recycled Plastic are also @britishrecycledplastic on Facebook or you can check them out on Instagram.
This is a sponsored article for British Recycled Plastic – if the mood takes you, click to read Cricket Yorkshire’s policy on sponsored content*
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