Profits have climbed at the historic business behind Gilbert rugby balls and Gray-Nicholls cricket bats, although turnover has remained flat.

Grays have been at the root of some of the best known sporting products for over 160 years.  Still under the control of the Gray family, its heritage and record of innovation has been distilled into a powerful portfolio of brand names, familiar throughout the sporting world.

Gilbert started supplying rugby balls in 1823 and Grays was founded by England cricket player HJ Gray in 1855.

Grays of Cambridge which is based in Robertsbridge, East Sussex, acquired the Gilbert brand in 2002.

The Gilbert brand also comprises netballs, while Grays supplies hockey sticks as well as cricket equipment.

Accounts filed under Grays of Cambridge (International) Ltd revealed pre-tax profits climbed to £1.9m from £1.2m in the year to 31 December 2018.

Turnover was £25.1m compared to £25.8m 12 months earlier.