Bristol- based Tildenet has built a strong reputation for their design and production of quality products across the sporting sector, but for Tildenet Chairman, Joe Downey, cricket has always been at it’s heart. He is a passionate advocate for creating products which make the game accessible for all and help support the game from grass roots up – The success of the ‘Portanet’ – a portable, easy to assemble, modular practice cage has demonstrated the value of flexible systems which allow clubs, recreation grounds and schools to create safe and affordable training facilities wherever they are required. Durable in all weathers, it packs away easily into a small zip up bag and the whole structure can be put up and taken down in minutes. And because it can also be assembled in a straight line it’s a ball stop net for any sport, not just cricket. “Its utilization has far outweighed the initial design,” says Joe “And we are really excited about its potential influence and contribution to the great British game of cricket.”
Joe had been travelling across Africa with his wife and young children when he came up with the idea for his netting company back in 1975. He has now come full circle with Tildenet supporting the work of Cricket Without Boundaries – a charity dedicated to helping, educating and developing local communities around the world through the spread and growth of cricket – by regular donations of Portanets to their projects in Africa, where cricket has been embraced with energy and enthusiasm. As a volunteer with the charity, Joe visited Kenya to support their work teaching HIV and Aids awareness, using cricket to break down any initial barriers. The trip saw Joe coach no fewer than 1,500 Kenyan youngsters, some of whom had never even seen a bat and ball before.
“It was an emotional and exhausting two weeks,” Joe says. “The travel and work schedule was punishing but it was one of the most rewarding and humbling experiences I’ve ever had.”
“I am delighted that a company I set up inspired by what I saw on my travels, has been given an opportunity to help 40 years later – The running between the wickets often verged on shambolic, but the smiles on the children’s faces and their natural exuberance as they tried to master a game they had never seen before, will live with me for ever.
As official supplier to Cricket Ireland and the leading UK and European supplier of cricket nets and covers, Tildenet continues to create innovative solutions to problems for schools, clubs and groundstaff. Whether it’s lightweight rain covers to prevent waterlogging or discreet perimeter fencing to protect neighbouring properties from big hitters, the aim is to help improve facilities and encourage cricket at all levels.
The first 40 years have seen Tildenet develop a comprehensive range of exclusive products including indoor and outdoor practice nets, mobile sight screens, germination sheets and rain covers as well as the capacity to create bespoke solutions to individual requirements. With new products in the pipeline for the coming year the Tildenet team look forward to their half century and another 40 years of inspiring cricketers of all ages.
For further information, images or products for editorial contact Vicky Standing on 0777 9769008 [email protected]