I love cricket bats. I love the look, the feel and the smell but most of all I love the graphics. Mmmmm. Nothing quite gets me like a classic bat with some old school graphics and it’s what inspires me to keep creating new designs. I am always looking back to move forward in that I like to take inspirations from classic designs from yesteryear and give my own modern interpretation to create a new Cricket Originals classic.
As you’ve read there will be a Cricket Originals bat launching in 2018 and so I needed to find some classic bat inspiration to help create my own bat - The One. So where would a verified Bat Badger like myself go to find some lovely old school willowy goodness? Well, to the Batman of course!
Bill Vallence may not wear a cape or have a butler named Alfred but he does have a Bat Cave! And is this Bat Cave Bill keeps a collection of over 130 cricket bats, most of them original, all of them cool, so naturally I had to get in touch with him to talk old school bats. You can see them on his Instagram page Billisbatty
I asked Bill for his top 5 favourite bats in the collection.
“It’s impossible for me to limit it to just 5 so I’ll have to go with my top 10” he said. Then he gave me 11.
So here’s Bill’s, ahem Top 11. Cue the music…
10 - Slazenger V800
“I had a couple when I played and I’ve never had a bad one” says Bill. “Even managed to fluke a couple of those Mark Waugh on drives using one. This one cost $50”
9 - Fisher Classic
“I would have to say this is the nicest piece of willow in my entire collection, had a few hits in the nets with my son and this thing is Brilliant. If I was to saddle up again this is what I’d use”
8 - Duncan Fearnley Magnum
“I loved the Magnum, made you feel a bit special using one.”
7 - Newbury Merlin
“This was the last bat I used in a match, our 4th Grade team was short of a few players so they dragged me out. I remember a forward defence that raced to the fence, no effort at all in the stroke. I lent it to the next guy in and he made 60 odd with it and said it was the best bat he’d ever used”
6 - County Reflex
“The flash brother to the County’s produced in Aus. Nice shape and great pickup”
5 - Gray Nicolls GN100
“Pretty much the go-to bat for budding Greg Chappells and a good all round bat”
4 - Straight Six
“The Straight Six was produced by Maddocks Sports in Melbourne. A very good club kit bat, very good quality for such a low priced bat”
3 - GM Purist
“The Gunn and Moore Purist, very elegant and a lovely middle. I’m a big fan of GM”
2 - Slazenger V12
“Only just pipped by the number 1 you didn’t need to put much effort into your shots they would just fly out of the middle.”
1 - SS Jumbo
“I rate the SS Jumbo as the best bat I’ve ever used, had a couple of them back in the day and made my first 100 with one”
And that concludes our Top 10 with the winner...woah, woah, woah wait a minute!
You said there was 11 so where’s this other other bat?
Symonds Super Tusker
“How could I leave out Symonds! These are 2 originals and when I was in the army the Unit kit bags always had a few symonds and some County Clive Lloyd Supercats. The Super Tusker was an absolute beast!”