Sporting sponsorship deals rarely last for any length of time - which makes the 36-years of co-operation between an Ickleford company and the village's cricket club something special.

The 2021 Herts Cricket League season will be the 36th in succession in which Jas Bowman & Sons have sponsored the cricket balls at Ickleford.

The Arlesey Road company, who specialise in food production were established in 1857 and the current CEO, Rory Bowman, is the great-great-grandson of the original founder.

The deal covers both the adult and junior sections of the club and the continued support has helped to transform Ickleford from a small club with just two sides to a thriving one with four Saturday and one Sunday teams, together with four junior sides.

And the company have not just sponsored the balls. They have also helped towards the cost of new machinery and renovation of the practice nets.

The total value of the sponsorship is now approaching £38,000 after starting with a modest £210 in 1986.

Roy Izzard, secretary of the Tigers, said: " This must surely be one of the longest continuous sponsorships in any sport and without the tremendous financial backing from Bowmans, we would not have been able to improve our facilities to their current high level.

"We are extremely grateful to Rory Bowman and his brother Guy, who was his predecessor.

"To think it all started when I made a tentative phone call to the company in 1986 hoping for some sponsorship but without any real expectation.

"Every year since I have made one phone call and the sponsorship has been renewed straight away."

Rory Bowman said: "We are delighted to be sponsoring Ickleford Cricket Club for a 36th year.

"We have been in Ickleford as a business for 105 years and have changed a lot recently. We have progressed in to the global food processing industry and are one of the UK’s leading food coating companies and a major player worldwide with plants in Poland, Thailand and South Africa.

"Just as we have progressed as a company, we are pleased to be supporting Ickleford Cricket Club who are delivering such a vibrant youth programme for girls and boys in the area."