Last wooden lacrosse stick maker Tom Becket to retire
The last wooden lacrosse stick maker in the UK is to retire, bringing to an end a century of production in Salford.
Hattersleys in Eccles has made wooden sticks for 102 years, but will switch to plastic-only production when Tom Becket downs tools at the end of 2014.
Mr Becket has been bending and shaping the hickory sticks for 50 years.
Director Matthew Rigby said Tom's last run, which had already sold out, would be the "final production" in Britain.
He said the company had taken orders for the sticks from as far afield as Canada and Australia.
Hattersleys opened for business more than 130 years ago and initially made cricket bats, before diversifying into hockey sticks, tennis rackets and lacrosse sticks.
At its peak, the company made thousands of the sticks every year from imported American hickory wood.
Mr Becket said the majority returned to the US, where the sport has a high number of players.
He said his final stick could possibly be the last wooden one "of all time".
Mr Rigby said there was not a market for wooden sticks any more, as plastic ones were "lighter and much easier to produce".
- Lacrosse is a Native American game, a version of which has been played for about 900 years. In the 1600s, French Missionaries called it "La Crossier" after the stick which resembled a cross
- The Native Americans called it "Baggataway" meaning "little brother of war", and used it to settle tribal disputes. The games were often brutal and played for days
- In the UK, the sport was introduced in the late 1800s by a team of Canadians and Native Americans who toured the sport and played a game for Queen Victoria
- The Women's Lacrosse World Cup will be hosted by England in 2017
Source: BBC Sport