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Chad

Visit to an old sponsor...
« on: July 27, 2018, 12:59:42 AM »

Hiya, been a little while since I made a thread with bat pics, and even longer since my last visit to a retailer! I think the last time must have been like 2013 to Vitas or something like that!

Anyways, the ex-sponsor in question here was It's Just Cricket down in London. I just happened to be down in London on Monday, and decided to pop by unannounced and pay a visit to the very first online retailer I've ever purchased from. (Bought a Mjolnir off Paul back in July 2012) As I popped in, Paul was just dealing with another customer, so I just quietly popped in and put down my bag and had a little look around. The store itself is based in an office inside a Big Yellow Storage, and is a relatively small store. I'll be totally honest and say that pads and gloves don't really interest me too much, although I do have plenty of those. I knew this visit would be short, so I fully devoted myself to checking out the bats.

(Just as a side note, the original plan was to hop in, put on my impersonation of my dad and claim I was from the Hong Kong cricket reserve team, and claim everything looked like Kashmir willow, but of course, chickened out - much to the disappointment of @WalkingWicket37 . Don't think I could do that to Paul!)

Anyways, so despite having quite the history of dealing with Paul, with numerous purchases etc, we had never actually had the chance to meet in person. Straight after dealing with the previous customer, Paul offered me a beverage and asked me if there was anything in particular I was after, and where I had come from etc. This actually makes a heck of a difference in terms of being a customer - indicates that I was welcome to take my time browsing and that he was engaging with me. Be it pointless pleasantries or an attempt to try gauge what a customer could be after, it does affect the shopping experience positively - for me anyways. After mentioning I was from Glasgow and the name was Chad, could feel a smile pop out - was great to finally meet another fellow (ex) forumer. (I think I've met a grand total of 4 so far)

Anyways, wish I took more photos of the stock, but these were 9 of the bats I had singled out and considered...






















From the left, Mongoose Big Linka (G2), Mongoose Inclusive (G1), Mongoose MMI3 Super Premium, Phantom PS7 ST (Tendulkar), Phantom Shadow Performance, Ganador Clubs and Viking Golds.

Those 2 Ganador clubs presented possibly the best value for money bats IMO, with the fainter grained one being fuller of the 2. The things that put me off Ganador is the heaps of concaving they tend to have, and also the branding. That being said, these 2 examples of the Club selection were very good.

If I'm totally honest, I wish there were more bats in stock, but understandably, it's mid-late season now pretty much, and most people have their bats sorted. Those who know of IJC know that they pick every single one of their bats, so for them to replenish is quite the task. To me, this doesn't necessarily make a huge amount of business sense, as travel is far from cheap and time efficient for picking, but having actually chatted to Paul in person, you get the sense that he's passionate about the way IJC do things, (you'd perhaps go as far as to say a little stubborn, but in a good sense) and to be honest, having watched his videos regularly since they started up in 2012, I would have been severely disappointed in my visit if this wasn't conveyed in our conversation.

Despite this relatively 'low' stock, I would be happy to have a fair chunk of the bats on sale in my collection, and expected no less from an exclusively handpicked selection.

Hope you all enjoyed this lengthy review, and despite being the ridiculous bat hoarder I am, I left the store on Monday without any bats... Cause it wouldn't make any sense to lug them around for 8 hours before getting on the train. :D More to follow sometime later, but meanwhile, enjoy some pics of that stunning PS7 Tendulkar bat!










Much more to add regarding things discussed, my thoughts on some of the brands on show etc, but not enough time. Will add to this in sometime tomorrow. If you read this Paul, thanks for being welcoming and spending time discussing things. Could have easily stayed a lot longer had I not something else to attend to!


Part 2

So yes, I did end up getting something, although took a couple of days to mull it over...

Viking Gold Edition - 36-37mm edges and approximately 56mm spine. Thick toe and decent shoulders too. (Will get those measurements tomorrow)

This particular Viking bat is an IJC exclusive - you won't get it anywhere else! The profile is a slightly updated version of their Platinum, which I actually prefer, with the thicker toe and less pronounced duckbill. Despite the bottom heavy looks, the pickup is excellent, it feels very nicely balanced (even pretty light) and is 2.9. Ping wise, it pings from the toe up about 7-8 inches up the blade, very generous sweetspot. Looks wise, well, definitely not the finest of G1s I've seen, and even Paul admitted that. The other one was slightly cleaner looking, but according to Paul, this one was that bit more punchy.

These were actually picked out from the workshop in cleft form, and seems like upon processing, some more specks than expected emerged. Viking are made by James Dollive, the owner/batmaker of Jedi cricket.












Mongoose MMI3 Super Premium, boasting 40-41mm edges (35mm at the toe and 32mm at the shoulder), 40mm toe and approx 63mm spine.

So Mongoose were recently bought over by someone who is pretty much just downstairs from the IJC premises, so Paul can pretty much just nip in and pick out bats. Not too many MMI3s were available, but of the lot, he felt this one was the best in terms of response and weight etc. Don't get me wrong, it doesn't pick up well, it feels pretty bottom heavy, but as expected, the whole thing is pretty much a sweetspot! Won't be reverse sweeping anything mind you, as I tend to catch them quite high up on the bat, but this is really just for fun, and also a chance to own something which is pretty damn unique and iconic. The stickers haven't really changed at all from the previous ones, but the full length bladed bats all have a new design of stickers which is a bit more minimal.

Just a little bit regarding Mongoose, it seems like they won't be sponsoring anyone for the time being, and are looking to build the brand as one that is more inclusive, so the common cricketer can have access to their goods without breaking the bank it seems. Probably the right direction as it seems like you really have to throw money out their to grow into one of the big brands, and even then, it might not work out.









« Last Edit: July 28, 2018, 03:44:58 PM by Chad »
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Biggie Smalls

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Re: Visit to an old sponsor...
« Reply #1 on: July 27, 2018, 04:20:48 AM »

I love the mongoose .
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leatherseat

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Re: Visit to an old sponsor...
« Reply #2 on: July 27, 2018, 07:08:47 AM »

I enjoyed your write up. You convey the excitement and uncertainty of not knowing what gems you will find when you stroll into a cricket shop. The thrill of browsing a wide variety of bats.

Look forward to your second chapter....

David
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Boondougal

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Re: Visit to an old sponsor...
« Reply #3 on: July 27, 2018, 08:11:15 AM »

So you didnít actually leave with any bats.... but can we all assume that Tendulkar is no longer available for sale!!!
#whycarrywhenyoucanpost
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alexevo94

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Re: Visit to an old sponsor...
« Reply #4 on: July 27, 2018, 11:51:54 AM »

Mongoose are back 😮
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Jaffa

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Re: Visit to an old sponsor...
« Reply #5 on: July 27, 2018, 01:15:47 PM »

Good to see you back Chad; great write up. Not having your regular writeups does leave a large hole in the cbf forum.

Don't think you're back in full flow yet if you leave willow behind.   ;)  I've lumped a bat around London before (because I didn't really have a choice). Wasn't too thrilled, not at lease with the notion of 'imagine they think this bat over my shoulder is a rifle'.

Paul (whom I have also met once) is a character and I get the 'stubborn in a good sense' feeling. I'd be more inclined to say focused and prudent. Especially when you see other cricket shops closing down. With IJC hand picking their bats you'd definitely comfortable if you were to ask them to source one for you if you're not able to visit the 'shop'.

What is on your wishlist Chad? The Aus made XXX bats look lovely don't they?





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Chad

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Re: Visit to an old sponsor...
« Reply #6 on: July 28, 2018, 01:56:48 AM »

I love the mongoose .

@Biggie Smalls Me too, not the prettiest looking Super Premium MMI3, but looks are just a bonus when you have something which is literally an oar shaped sweetspot! The 2nd Mongoose is an absolute stunner, and IMO, a very well priced piece at £320 for G1. It's BIG, it's 2.8, and it PINGS! The first one is noticeably smaller, but very good looking too, and considered G2. Excellent ping on that one too!


I enjoyed your write up. You convey the excitement and uncertainty of not knowing what gems you will find when you stroll into a cricket shop. The thrill of browsing a wide variety of bats.

Look forward to your second chapter....

David

@leatherseat Indeed, although the selection was relatively small, the excitement was still there, and saw a few of brands I have never seen before in person, such as Mighty Willow and Ganador. :)


So you didnít actually leave with any bats.... but can we all assume that Tendulkar is no longer available for sale!!!
#whycarrywhenyoucanpost

Hahahaha saw right through me, eh? ;)


Mongoose are back 😮

@alexevo94 Yes, and I'll go onto share what I've learned about them and their new owner from Paul.


Good to see you back Chad; great write up. Not having your regular writeups does leave a large hole in the cbf forum.

Don't think you're back in full flow yet if you leave willow behind.   ;)  I've lumped a bat around London before (because I didn't really have a choice). Wasn't too thrilled, not at lease with the notion of 'imagine they think this bat over my shoulder is a rifle'.

Paul (whom I have also met once) is a character and I get the 'stubborn in a good sense' feeling. I'd be more inclined to say focused and prudent. Especially when you see other cricket shops closing down. With IJC hand picking their bats you'd definitely comfortable if you were to ask them to source one for you if you're not able to visit the 'shop'.

What is on your wishlist Chad? The Aus made XXX bats look lovely don't they?


@Jaffa Yeah, it's good to be back for a bit. Writing these leaves a large hole in my free time and wallet, but sometimes when the opportunity arises, well, you gotta do it. ;)

Yes, agreed with regards to Paul, and I genuinely hope IJC do remain open for a long time. With Barringtons being bought over by SD and Fordham's shutting, the future does look a little bleak for the specialist stores. Having ordered 5 SD specials blind at bargain prices, I honestly wish I didn't and just saved up that for this trip, even if I only got 1 bat, it would be one I got to pick myself, and I knew I'd be in good hands with regards to after sales service!

Well, my wishlist consists mostly of bats I wish to sell haha, the collection has grown out of control. It must be said, ever since the size restrictions, buying bats from GN Aus doesn't seem to set me alight as it used to - usually it was the 75mm spines etc that got me excited!
« Last Edit: July 28, 2018, 02:03:34 AM by Chad »
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Chad

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Re: Visit to an old sponsor...
« Reply #7 on: July 28, 2018, 01:58:31 AM »

Some more pictures added in to Part 2 on the topic main post. :) Was thinking of making separate threads, but may as well keep it in this one. Will probably update with things discussed, brands, etc etc. :)
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Biggie Smalls

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Re: Visit to an old sponsor...
« Reply #8 on: July 28, 2018, 03:20:31 AM »

Wow @Chad ....you lucky so and so , bought the mmi3 ! Only 2lb9 too . Wow .
What would you say the handle is like  (from about where a s.h would start) ?
Just that I'm seriously thinking of getting one , and would like to get impressions on handle shape/thickness as well as pickup .
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i12breakfree

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Re: Visit to an old sponsor...
« Reply #9 on: July 28, 2018, 03:36:29 AM »

Chad is back and mongoose is back  :D
Lovely write up and good to see CBF members bonding
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Timbo287

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Re: Visit to an old sponsor...
« Reply #10 on: July 28, 2018, 07:46:37 AM »

That Viking looks like a monstrous piece of willow.
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Bwcc

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Re: Visit to an old sponsor...
« Reply #11 on: July 28, 2018, 08:30:51 AM »

I thought the Viking gold was a grade one bat?
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Chad

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Re: Visit to an old sponsor...
« Reply #12 on: July 28, 2018, 03:50:18 PM »

Wow @Chad ....you lucky so and so , bought the mmi3 ! Only 2lb9 too . Wow .
What would you say the handle is like  (from about where a s.h would start) ?
Just that I'm seriously thinking of getting one , and would like to get impressions on handle shape/thickness as well as pickup .

@Biggie Smalls have updated the OP with my thoughts on the bats. The handle itself is a touch on the thin side, nothing an extra grip wouldn't sort out though. I'm thinking of adding some extra binding to the part where I hold the bat... Pick up is pretty bottom heavy, but having used heavier bats in the past, it feels manageable for me. If you play on bouncy pitches and hit the ball quite high up the blade at times, might not be the bat for you!


Chad is back and mongoose is back  :D
Lovely write up and good to see CBF members bonding


Hopefully both are back to stay! The 3 Mongoose bats I saw at IJC were excellent. :)


That Viking looks like a monstrous piece of willow.

A very stable hitting area, especially low down. Not the prettiest, but it does go!


I thought the Viking gold was a grade one bat?

It is indeed, and to be fair, these were picked out in cleft form to begin with, and seems like during processing, a few more blemishes were found under the surface. :( Doesn't quite matter though, picked this one up purely based on the shape, pickup and performance. :)
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alexevo94

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Re: Visit to an old sponsor...
« Reply #13 on: July 28, 2018, 06:46:31 PM »

Chad do you know if IJC have some sort of deal with phantom about promoting there bats i notice they promote a lot of there bats and one of them actually has the gear
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Chad

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Re: Visit to an old sponsor...
« Reply #14 on: July 31, 2018, 07:36:13 PM »

Chad do you know if IJC have some sort of deal with phantom about promoting there bats i notice they promote a lot of there bats and one of them actually has the gear

@alexevo94  other than the fact that they stock them and have a good relationship to Phantom, not really. Reason for one of them using the gear? It's probably some of the highest quality gear you can buy, the bats are made by one of the best in the business, and the owner has a good eye for softs etc. :)
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