The 5 Famous Bat Makers You Didn’t Know
I have an obsession with cricket bats. I currently have 4 and it’s a real struggle to keep it at that!
Like most people I’ve watched the great batsmen wielding their trusty blades on TV and been seduced into buying the Slazenger’s, Gray Nicholls and GM’s, hoping it would bring me some of their runs.
Then one day a teammate of mine lent me his bat, an unknown piece of willow with some minimal stickers from some company down south I’d never heard of. Wow! Why didn’t my bats go like this? My local shop didn’t stock these bats and I was at a loss. My Dad suggested an alternative as he knew someone who had connections with a bat maker who was called John Newbury (whoever he was, I thought at the time…)
It was in this warehouse in an industrial northern town where I was introduced to my cricket bat obsession. It turned out the person in question did in fact know the great John Newbury and had his bats made by a trainee of his. “Don’t bother looking at them, it’s all about the feel. Pick it up, give it a swing. Some bats might look great but they’re only good enough to be a Sightscreen!” That was the first piece of advice and it was a priceless one. Having been seduced in the past by shiny stickers I was now being shown the real way to pick a bat, with your hands not your eyes.
We spoke about grains, handles & what type of player I was and then I picked 3 bats out, all similar feel, weight, pick up. Tapped them up and 2 were good but one of them, oh yes, this was the one.
“Good choice that. If I sticker that up as something else I could charge twice the price”
“What do you mean sticker that up?” I said.
“Don’t believe everything you see. A sticker is just a sticker. The bat’s a different matter.”
The penny dropped, just because that England player had a bat with his sponsor's name on it didn’t mean he was using the same bat I could by in my local shop! I was converted.
Now, before the lawyers start sharpening their pencils I’m not going to name names. The point in this blog post is to highlight a few of the fantastic UK bat makers who can make you a professional bat to your specifications. Yes they make for professionals but no I’m not going to tell you who for. So who are these guys? Click on the logos to go to the manufacturers websites.
Based in Nottingham this company is revolutionising the way club cricketers can buy their bats. With their CAD controlled machines you can have a bat designed to your exact specifications, picking your weight, density, and bat profile down to the mm. You can also choose from a series of pre made shapes or go for their series bats in a choice of 3 different profiles. If you can’t get to Nottingham then you can Skype them to see your blade take shape on their special software. You get the same professional treatment that International players are getting at a great price.
Robert Pack Cricket
Rob is an experienced Master Bat maker and has been trusted with making bats for big companies such as Puma & Kookaburra with his creations being voted ‘Best Bat’ for 3 years running. He has 2 ranges to choose from with the custom RPC bats or the off the shelf Blue Room bat range. Custom is where you can have the bat made to your exact specifications with choices of profile, handle shape and sweet spot amongst others. The quality of willow is exceptional & you won’t find a better finished bat on the market which all come sealed with Rob’s own special brew of oil! You too can have a bat made for you by the same person to make for some of the biggest names in cricket.
Paul is an ex-professional cricketer and current coach. He also makes exceptional handmade bats. Using all the traditional skills and tools each bat is individually handcrafted and pressed ensuring maximum performance from the finest English willow cleft. Paul offers everybody the opportunity to get the same service and quality as any professional cricketer and is always happy to talk Cricket. His YouTube site is a wealth of knowledge, showing you some of his work and answers some of the common questions asked of Bat Makers. Bang for Buck you’ll be hard pressed to find anything better out there.
H4L are starting to go places with their custom made bats. Each bat is created to individual specifications with choices of handle, weight and size to suit. Master bat maker Matt Barton personally selects his own willow even felling his own trees and the H4L bats are now being used at all levels of the game. You can book a factory visit day, pick your own cleft of willow & work with the bat makers to create a custom bat to your exact requirements or If you’ve ever fancied trying to make your own bat they also offer part made clefts for sale, so get your tool kit out!
Kippax are doing something truly revolutionary. Growing their own willow. Unbeknown to most people, the English willow which virtually all other bat makers use is supplied by the same company, J.S Wright. Kippax grow their own willow up in Yorkshire which enables them to produce the wonderfully oversized clefts that help to make their monster bats. With some international players now using their brand they are sure to go from strength to strength being truly unique in this industry. They have also created the Wavex handle which redirects lost power normally transferred through the handle meaning up to 50% of the energy is put back into the bat. Match that with the oversized cleft and you’ll definitely be dealing in boundaries.
So, you’ve taken a look at these companies, what are you waiting for? You too can be an original, having a custom made bat perfectly suited to your game from a Master Bat maker. We’d love to see your choice of willow so why not share it on our social media pages?