Sutton claim Yorkshire Cricket Board’s Tackling Climate Change Award

2 months ago 5

SUTTON have become the first cricket club to win the Yorkshire Cricket Board’s Tackling Climate Change Award.

The Craven League club received the honour at the YCB Cricket Collective Awards at Headingley, primarily for putting undersoil heating beneath their ground, putting solar panels on the clubhouse and planting 100 trees.

Club chairman Stuart Robinson, who collected the award, is in no doubt that their actions, and particularly the solar panels, has saved the club from going under due to the vast increase in energy bills.

He said: “When I first came to the club some 16 years ago as chairman, I realised that we could not continue with the buildings that we had.

“It was at that point that I started pulling together a team, especially with Chris Todd, about ideas for a new pavilion.

“I remember very vividly standing in the middle of the ground with ‘Asa’ Paul Williams, Reggie (Dave Holdsworth) and myself, arguing where the new pavilion would go.

“And things developed from there, but with regards to the green energy side of it when we were building the new pavilion we suddenly realised that we had to have some kind of green energy going into the club to help protects its future.

“This was back in 2015, and we had that problem when we put that half a mile of piping in and dug up the ground and we had to play our home matches elsewhere for a season.

“But we overcame it, managed it and put in the undersoil heating around the whole of the ground.”

However, dark clouds were on the horizon.

Robinson explained: “At the beginning of 2023, the biggest problem that we had was when energy prices ramped up considerably and we went from 17p a unit up to 77p a unit.

“In real terms that meant an electric bill of about £2,500 a year to £18,000 a year, and that was unsustainable beyond a couple of years (we had some savings), but we knew we could not continue like that.

“We then started looking at things like solar panels, and McNally’s came to our rescue. We put them in in February of this year, and that was because of a £10,000 grant from the ECB.

“We have 20 panels on the roof and three batteries, each giving 2.5kw of power, and that has been an absolute godsend.

“It has probably taken away from our bills of somewhere in the region of a good third to a half during the summer.

“In the winter things completely change as there is less daylight and all the rest of it, so we need to wait for a full 12 months to get a complete picture, but green energy has saved our club without a shadow of a doubt.”

Robinson added: “The tree planting (at the moment just behind the clubhouse) was the idea of Stuart Todd - Chris’ son - who works for a landscaping firm, and he said it would be a good idea to put these trees in as it helps the environment, it helps carbon neutral and eventually it will make the ground look a lot better.

“We asked people (chiefly from the village) if they wanted to donate to a particular tree, and each one has a little tag on it with their name on, and they have got a certificate with their name on it.

“I have done one in memory of my mother, and I can go and look at that tree and remember my mother.

“There are also plans to redevelop other areas of the ground, and once those plans are in place, we can look at planting trees further afield.

“Another idea of Stuart’s, who is our media and development manager, is to plant wild flowers, which will help the environment.”

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