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Salix cricket bats - an individual touch

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Post by Barrington Sports Wed 07 Dec 2011, 1:00 pm

Salix cricket bats - an individual touch Barrin12



In a market where importing and outsourcing has been on the rise in recent years, a small family run bat company continues to keep things very much local. Salix, the Latin name for 'Willow', are a small, uncompromising manufacturing brand crafting extraordinarily fine English cricket bats which compete well alongside the bigger brands names.

Under the guidance of one master bat maker, each and every one of the Salix bats made from English willow are hand crafted at their small workshop in Butlers Farm, Kent. In keeping with the Latin theme, each Salix bat name is derived from Latin, with examples including Praestantia meaning 'Excellence' and Falx, which translates as 'Sickle'.

This season, Barrington Sports were the first retailer in the UK to pick from the selection of willow at Salix, leaving us pretty confident that we have the best Grade 1 and 2 Salix bats in the land this year. We tested the weight and feel of every single bat before committing to our stock order.

In fact, we even selected a Grade 2 bat that displayed markings from a bullet, which had previously struck the tree before that particular section was cut out to make the bat. Don’t worry, this is of no detriment to the performance of the bat for whichever customer is lucky enough to choose it, but serves as another reminder that in a Salix bat you really do have something that is unique to you.

Salix cricket bats - an individual touch Img_9910

To browse the selection of Salix bats available through Barrington Sports, please visit the following link Barrington Sports - Salix Cricket Bats

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Post by 19th Hole Wed 07 Dec 2011, 3:20 pm

Just been looking at the range and I have a question (and sorry if this is a silly one!).

But as they are so unique, do you get better years than others, like you would with wines?

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Post by Barrington Sports Wed 07 Dec 2011, 5:41 pm

A very good question. We certainly don’t profess to be wine connoisseurs here, so won’t try to make too many direct comparisons!

That said, it’s not really about ‘good years’ and ‘bad years’. The uniqueness of each bat or range stems predominantly from:

- the grade of the willow, depending on which part of the tree is selected;
- the individual craftsmanship of each manufacturer, as technique and machinery can differ slightly;
- the profile of the blade i.e. the bow and ‘meat’ of the bat in terms of whether it suits your style of play;
- whether the weight and balance of the bat suits your style and strength.

The biggest difference in willow of course is between English willow, which represents top end quality and performance vs. poorer Kashmir Willow from India which you will see predominantly in cheaper junior bats.

The closest correlation we could perhaps draw to wine suggestions would be the effect of the weather (in a particular year) on how the tree may grow in certain years. For example, very dry years might not see much growth on the willow tree, particularly as they prefer wetlands as their natural habitat. This though, would be simply covered by the grading process of the willow.

Hope that helps in some way?!



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Post by Adam D Wed 07 Dec 2011, 5:47 pm

Great answer by the way - I have been watching this thread to see if anyone would answer 19th greens question!

Supplementary to that question then:

Out of your range, is the Salix bat the Chateau Lafite of cricket bats? Or do you stock a even more premium range?

And which bat would you consider the Jacobs Creek Laugh (as in cheap, cheerful but will do in the short term!)

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Post by Barrington Sports Wed 07 Dec 2011, 6:18 pm

Salix top end bats are certainly at the premium end of the market. Frankly even their cheaper bats are excellent!

But if you want real extravagance this season, then go for the Gray-Nicolls Captain’s Choice experience. You get to go to the factory itself, taking advice directly from either Strauss or Cook no less, who will be on hand to help you select your bat and then watch the master bat maker finish it off.

We have a few of these booked if people are interested. But they aren’t cheap – take the most expensive bat you can find and roughly double it!

We just ran a competition for Cheshire’s Best Up and Coming Club Member with the winner getting A Captain’s Choice experience. We went down on Monday to meet Strauss and it was an excellent day all round – thoroughly recommend it.

On cheap and cheerful, we think that most of the top brand’s bats in the £150-200 range [so Gray-Nicolls, Kookaburra, Gunn and Moore and Salix to name a few] are a good bet if you need to step down on price in the current environment, whilst still delivering a good level of quality. That price range includes our reductions by the way, which in most cases are already at 20% off!



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Post by Fists of Fury Wed 07 Dec 2011, 6:39 pm

Wow, sounds quite a superb day out. I'd love to meet Strauss/Captain Cook however the standard of my batting doesn't warrant spending such money, unfortunately.

Always been intrigued by Salix bats - given the size of the company they make some beautiful, high quality bats, and the locally sourced handcrafted nature of them certainly gives them added appeal. Never had a knock with one, though, nobody has ever trusted me enough!

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Post by Pal Joey Thu 08 Dec 2011, 7:15 am

It's always intrigued me how these hand crafted cricket bats are made. Do you use modern machinery at any stage or are they all shaped using hand tools right from the outset?

I saw a documentary on an Australian bat maker where the craftsman was using what looked like antique tools to shave the willow from a rough block of wood. There seemed to be considerable skill involved and obviously one has to have a feel for the willow.

Can you tell us a little bit about the 'knocking in' aspect at the end of the manufacturing process? Does this strengthen the grain by compression and make the bat less springy - or take the spring out of the natural fibres? Or is some spring required but not too much?

Also, can you please elaborate on the preferred direction of the grain in cricket bats. I've heard that the grain running horizontally across the blade width is best. What's the reason for that in terms of the physical strength of the bat?
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Post by Bathite Thu 08 Dec 2011, 8:58 am

Andrew Kember is a genius, not only are the bats incredible, but once they get a bit tatty or the toe goes, you can take it back to the shop and get a refurb for ~£30 and it looks good as new.

Having said that, i'm glad I already have my bat from 8 years ago, because they have tripled in price since. How anyone can justifty more than £200 a bat, never mind £300, when most come from the same 2 factories, I don't know!

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Post by Fists of Fury Thu 08 Dec 2011, 9:56 am

Just seems to be the going rate these days, Bathite, regardless of make. As such, if I was going to buy a new one I guess I'd be happier doing so for one that I know has been worked very carefully on and hand crafted - a bit more of a traditional sense as opposed to something churned out in a factory.

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Post by Barrington Sports Thu 08 Dec 2011, 11:41 am

A few quick reactions to lots of interesting issues raised:

I'm guessing the documentary you saw was of Paul Bradbury of Bradbury bats? He mentioned that he did at documentary sometime ago on Australian TV. Another good craftsman.

On machinery vs. antique tools, it’s usually a combination of both. To move from a cleft of wood to a basic bat shape, there are some very specific planing, sawing and pressing machines required. But it does still require significant skills to use them well. We think the antique tools you are referring to though involves the final shaping and sanding of the bat.

On grains, the predominant truth is that it is down to personal preference. Some players have strong views on the issue one way or the other. That said, a bat with between 6 and 12 clear horizontal grains is a good indicator of quality willow. Bats with 6 grains, for example, are likely to be slightly softer than 10-12 grains and therefore take longer to knock-in and reach optimal performance initially. However, there are some extremely good premium range bats with lower grains. There is no exact science here unfortunately, but that is part of the beauty of it.

Full concur about comments regarding Andrew. On pricing, I'm afraid you are asking a retailer to comment on market forces! Online cricket retailers are pretty competitive regarding early season discounts though. And whilst we can’t disagree that the top end bats are relatively steep in tough times, there are some phenomenal looking bats this year. Biggest edges ever, thickest bows, and best pick-ups we have seen, so there continues to be progression in the bat making world. Lastly, be sure to scrutinise the service that online retailers offer if you go down that route. You have every right to expect next day delivery, efficient returns, and top class customer service functions for the price you are paying.

Apologies if we haven’t answered all of your questions – just coming in on the discussion every now and then when we get a moment amidst the madness.


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Post by Pal Joey Thu 08 Dec 2011, 11:50 am

Thanks for that - you answered my questions perfectly.
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Post by Barrington Sports Thu 08 Dec 2011, 12:35 pm

No problem at all. A keen eye in Barrington Sports also observed that in the last post we omitted a key fact – namely that inflation in willow prices over the last few years has been another factor in driving up prices throughout the supply chain for cricket bats.

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Post by Corporalhumblebucket Sat 10 Dec 2011, 6:47 pm

At the risk of lowering the tone of the discussion, twice now (admittedly when not wearing my glasses) I have mistaken the foreshortened picture of the bat at the front of this page for a mousetrap.... Very Happy

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Post by Johnny Dice Sun 11 Dec 2011, 2:56 pm

Not really Salix specific but how would you recommend prolonging the life of a bat?

Obviously if you buying something so expensive, it needs looking after!

Great article by the way OK

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Post by Barrington Sports Mon 12 Dec 2011, 1:09 pm

Apart from the usual oiling process that we know and love when first buying a bat, we would suggest:

- shifting from bat oil to bat wax [Salix have a great wax product funnily enough]. It will ensure you don't over oil your bat;
- add anti scuff sheeting to provide the bat with further protection;
- don’t read 'pre-prepared' on the label as an excuse to avoid knocking in your bat. It may require less intensive work, but you still need to do some light knocking in and/or slip catch work before you fully use in anger in the nets or out in the middle;
- oil the bat thereafter once a season.

Picking up on the expensive bats in a time of recession theme: worth pointing out that the Puma 2011 range, including the bat we advertised in the 606v2 competition, are at least 30% off this season. We think that is pretty good value for money! Links attached in case people are interested:

http://www.barringtonsports.com/browse/cricket_bats/puma/show/333-19-0-0/list

http://www.barringtonsports.com/browse/cricket_sets/show/391/list


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Post by Mad for Chelsea Tue 13 Dec 2011, 11:38 am

I was wondering, on a slightly unrelated note, if you sold those fusion "skyer" bats that are used for belting high catches in training. Had a quick browse of the website without finding them, but maybe I'm just looking in the wrong place.

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Post by Barrington Sports Tue 13 Dec 2011, 5:32 pm

We did have the Gray Nicolls cloud catcher in stock, which is a similar belting high catches product to the Skyer. Alas, the last one went out to a customer today and we are waiting for more stock to arrive early in the New Year. Hunts County also have a similar product [although they come in two separate pieces that you have to stick together] – these are also due with us in the New Year. So do look out for them then - apologies none were in stock when you were browsing.




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Post by Mike Selig Tue 13 Dec 2011, 5:46 pm

Ah the "skyer", the best thing ever invented to prevent coaches get shoulder injuries!

Actually I love Salix bats (I think I mentioned them in the "favourite kit" thread at least I hope so). Lovely pick-up and middle. When my current bat packs it in I may very well go for one in the £180 range...

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Post by JDizzle Tue 13 Dec 2011, 6:05 pm

My Mongoose has recently broken and I'm looking at getting another one as my previous one served me well. The only weight you have in this make ( http://www.barringtonsports.com/products/11/style/mongoose_torq_prime_cricket_bat_2011/14512/view ) is 2'9, but are there any plans to get in any 2'8 Mongooses as that is the weight I would be looking for ideally?

Also, I tend to mark up my bats on the toe quite quickly with cracking becoming evident quite soon. Does anyone know why this might be? Is it just the way I play, or is there something I can do during knocking in to prevent this?

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Post by Mad for Chelsea Tue 13 Dec 2011, 10:43 pm

no worries, it's something I've been thinking about since I first had a go at belting some high catches with one last season. They're great as you can whack the ball sky high with minimum fuss and effort! It's something I'm looking into for our club to acquire for next year, so no real rush.

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Post by Barrington Sports Wed 14 Dec 2011, 10:52 am

Mongoose are part of a growing number of brands who market their Senior Bats as either Light or Medium, rather than by specific weight. You will see a number of other retailers who use this new terminology when they present the range online.

In our case, when we received the 2012 Mongoose stock, we weighed the bats individually as we thought you would still want to know their exact weight. Unfortunately for you it appears they are starting their senior weights in the 2lb9 category this year - at least in terms of what we received as part of our stock order. That said, if you are desperate for a 2lb8 bat we can put in a request directly to Mongoose and see if they can deliver some early in the New Year. Do let us know.

Hope that helps

[On the toe cracking, it sounds like it might be worth fitting a toe guard if not already there, or buying a new bat with guard already fitted? Not always a cure for all ills admittedly, but perhaps worth a go given your previous experience].



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Post by JDizzle Wed 14 Dec 2011, 12:32 pm

Thanks very much for that. I didn't realise that was how they did it as the one I have at the moment I picked up at a shop and it just felt the "right weight" so I checked and it was 2'8 so that was what I was looking for again. Thanks for the help!

And as for the toe cracking, I do generally start off with a toe guard on but I just forget to replace it when it falls off which probably doesn't help! But cheers for the advice again! OK

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Post by mohitnrverma Sat 23 Nov 2013, 9:57 am

Salix cricket bat wax is an excellent product; I also like salix bats because I keep in mind that innings when I obtained 50 runs in a friendly match with my salix bat. I know one web shop for salix bats at excellent costs, the shop is VKS.com which is very well-known in London, uk,

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