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Author Topic: The Best Batmaker in the UK  (Read 7728 times)

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billyb

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The Best Batmaker in the UK
« on: December 10, 2020, 10:16:04 PM »

I'd love to see a competition where batmakers send in their best bats made to the same spec for comparison, but I doubt that would happen.

So who do you think is the bee's knees?

Is it Keeley of Sussex fame? Pack, of the Irthlingborough Cave? Kember of the Salix Clan? Is it one of our very own, on this forum, like @Red Ink Cricket?
Maybe it is someone at Gray Nics, or @Kippax, Charlie French...

Who makes the mightiest wand in the land?
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Jimbo

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Re: The Best Batmaker in the UK
« Reply #1 on: December 11, 2020, 04:00:28 AM »

I think it all depends what you want in your bat. At the minute I've got a TK made, a H4L and a Red Ink and all are very nice bats but for different reasons.

TK makes a very well balanced bat but the TKs I've had have all sacrificed weight in the toe and shoulder to achieve this. Specs are generous for the weight but the handle is very thin and had to be built up even for a smaller bloke.

H4L hasn't seen any use in anger but it's super grainy, the response from an old ball and mallet is excellent and again good specs for the weight. However, it doesn't pick up quite as nicely as the TK, probably owing to the amount of weight left in the toe. Finishing however is excellent.

Red Ink was the value bat. Really nicely balanced, good spread of coverage, thick toe, thick shoulders and a thick handle. Specs not as generous as the other two but mallet and old ball response is very nice, and the price for a custom is significantly cheaper than either TK or H4L.

So even in my limited collection, there's things that each maker does well and not so well. I hear people rave about the finishing of a Salix, I've had a Kippax which was enormous but didn't pick up very well, etc.. So I think the difficulty in declaring a top maker is that we all want something different in a "great" bat.
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wasted_talent

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Re: The Best Batmaker in the UK
« Reply #2 on: December 11, 2020, 09:14:28 AM »

Best bat i have ever used to date, is a 3lb H4L Pro Grade. Still got it mind you. Have had it for 5 years. Its gone through plenty of refurbs but it is still the best pinging bat i have atm and have ever owned!
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ProCricketer1982

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Re: The Best Batmaker in the UK
« Reply #3 on: December 11, 2020, 09:16:15 AM »

all about the sheer amount of wood, lack of concaving and does it go all over the bat. If it's pretty.. great... if it's got some lovely 'buff' on it.. great.. but if it ain't a go'er then tbh, that's all just window dressing (which is what a lot of people choose or fall for depending on your view point).


The best bat's I've personally used are

Rob Pack - Had nothing but guns. Saw 2 bat's I'd class as 'standard' ones to others dotted around
Matt H4L devil from 2016 ish
A second hand salix in one game which was a weapon but I could never justify the price as the others I've seen look good but were nothing special bat wise so I was worried about over paying for a standard bat.

all mine are 2.9/2.10


just my view though
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JTtaylor145

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Re: The Best Batmaker in the UK
« Reply #4 on: December 11, 2020, 10:45:40 AM »

This is a really difficult one, especially if you have had every single bat made by every single brand.

I think you would have to exclude the big brands from any discussion as they may have multiple bat makers.

That leaves you with amongst others (the smaller boutique brands):

Rob Pack
Nick Nixon
Paul Aldred
John @ Red Ink
Ed @JN Garrard Bats
Matt @H4L
Charlie French
AJK

To each their own. I've had great TK/Newbery bats, good Hunts County Bats, great Garrard bats, etc. etc.

What do we consider to be the most important factor in terms of bat-making? Is it performance, durability, pick up and balance, shape/size?

I personally like bat makers that individually press their bats. I don't like the man but I can't say I've had a bad Aldred bat. They are all heavier than expected but they all perform well. They are all reasonably big profiles. I just can't put up with his views/opinions so wouldn't spend my money with him anymore.

If I had a unlimited budget and could choose only one UK bat maker I would go to Aldred or maybe Rob Pack, or possible Ed as he is a mate and only 2 miles from home or maybe Andrew Kember. In truth I have no idea. Bats are so variable and what I might think of as rubbish I could give to someone else and they could love it and think it was the best bat ever.

The truth of the matter is that we all should support UK bat makers and ideally the smaller brands we like/love so that the skills aren't lost. Find a bat maker you like (or several) and just use them and enjoy the experience of buying a bat. I just love bats and the feeling of getting a new one...and then selling it for a minimum 50% loss  :(   
 

Jimbo

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Re: The Best Batmaker in the UK
« Reply #5 on: December 11, 2020, 11:48:29 AM »

The truth of the matter is that we all should support UK bat makers and ideally the smaller brands we like/love so that the skills aren't lost. Find a bat maker you like (or several) and just use them and enjoy the experience of buying a bat. I just love bats and the feeling of getting a new one...and then selling it for a minimum 50% loss  :(

Bar losing 50% on every bat, well on board with this. If you've got the money (and not everyone does, let's be fair) then it's a great option to support some of the smaller guys. I love the personal level of service you get with the smaller batmakers and kit suppliers, plus there are some cracking deals to be had.
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Chad

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Re: The Best Batmaker in the UK
« Reply #6 on: December 11, 2020, 01:10:16 PM »

I think all batmakers have their own quirks, and as much as I'd like to see the results of a competition - it wouldn't be indicative of what batmakers are truly capable of. Every batmaker has their forte, probably based on what their customer demands are like. (ie. I'd imagine Aldred would do Butterfly better than most, H4L do monster sized bats better than most, etc etc.) It would probably do the consumers no good if they all flock to the 'winner' - they would probably get more orders than what they could fulfill, probably rush to get them out, might cut corners etc. etc., while other worthy batmakers go under the radar a bit. We're very lucky to be able to actually talk to a batmaker to figure out what we want.

Based on my experience, I love Keeley, H4L, and Robertsbridge made bats. I've seen a few other smaller batmakers bats, such as Scott and G&F, who have all been very impressive too. (Most of the bats I've had most success with have been from India and NZ.)

The most important aspect of a bat is that you enjoy using it! Does dealing in boundaries by swinging from the hip please you most? Get something with a stiff handle with a slightly firm press. Do you like to have that glorious silky feeling of driving the ball neatly into the gap for a well run 2? Get something with a slightly whippier feel. Does using a bat that your favourite batsman uses bring you enjoyment? Go for it, just make sure you get a good one! (Never underestimate the mental side of things, unless you're @19reading87)

What you feel is probably the most important thing - go with a maker who presses well, (most I've bought from do) but does the handle and pick up exactly the way you like it. (Again, I'm a collector, so I'll try anything from anyone/brand I like the look of.) Rebound is important, but as @sarg says, a premium rebound might net you a few more runs in the entire season. Pick up, feel and correct weight are the most important tangible things. Oh, and I also like high quality handles/handle fitting and non-storm damaged bats - nothing worse than finding a bat you love, only for it to split at the shoulder and never feel the same again even after rehandle.



all about the sheer amount of wood, lack of concaving and does it go all over the bat. If it's pretty.. great... if it's got some lovely 'buff' on it.. great.. but if it ain't a go'er then tbh, that's all just window dressing (which is what a lot of people choose or fall for depending on your view point).


The best bat's I've personally used are

Rob Pack - Had nothing but guns. Saw 2 bat's I'd class as 'standard' ones to others dotted around
Matt H4L devil from 2016 ish
A second hand salix in one game which was a weapon but I could never justify the price as the others I've seen look good but were nothing special bat wise so I was worried about over paying for a standard bat.

all mine are 2.9/2.10


just my view though

About time we got some RP specials on here. ;)
« Last Edit: December 11, 2020, 01:13:31 PM by Chad »
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edge

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Re: The Best Batmaker in the UK
« Reply #7 on: December 11, 2020, 02:37:58 PM »

Handles are key to what you think are the best bats - I could never use an H4L or Keeley, for example, but I'm well aware they make nice bats! The amount of batmakers with a great reputation in the UK is ever growing, we're spoilt for choice these days.
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thedon

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Re: The Best Batmaker in the UK
« Reply #8 on: December 11, 2020, 02:52:43 PM »

Roger weston, choice willow, vulcan,  vsports bats...there are quite a few to choose from. I personally love my keeley made blank bat. Only problem I found was the splice area to be too thin. Had to have a new handle fitted twice. I've got a custom made hunts I'm planning to use next season
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Buzz

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Re: The Best Batmaker in the UK
« Reply #9 on: December 11, 2020, 03:18:27 PM »

It is impossible to answer this question, it is so subjective.
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Jimbo

Re: The Best Batmaker in the UK
« Reply #10 on: December 11, 2020, 03:20:24 PM »

It is impossible to answer this question, it is so subjective.

Absolutely no excuse not to have a rambling 20 page thread on the respective merits of various batmakers until somebody gets in an argument  :D
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billyb

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Re: The Best Batmaker in the UK
« Reply #11 on: December 11, 2020, 04:41:06 PM »

I mean surely that's literally the point of a 'CustomBats' forum... 😉
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SD

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Re: The Best Batmaker in the UK
« Reply #12 on: December 11, 2020, 04:47:28 PM »

It is impossible to answer this question, it is so subjective.

I think a consensus would be arrived at quicker than the question of whether Butler, Foakes or Bairstow should keep wicket for England
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SOULMAN1012

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Re: The Best Batmaker in the UK
« Reply #13 on: December 11, 2020, 05:16:36 PM »

Well the best Wand must come from Willow & Wand lol.

Iv had my fair share of bats over the years and if I had to stick to one bat maker for the rest of my playing days it would be anything made by Kember. Thats purely due to the pressing being absolutely top notch, the finishing is second to none and the shapes offered cover all bases plus the design and styling is always classy and subtle which I like.

If found that after making a few bats now and being totally honest not feeling like I get much in the way of feeback or interest the branding plays such a vital part in peoples options. If people dont like the look of the stickers than its almost a non starter (well I can only assume that from my point above.

From recent experience Ed Garrad is a superb bat maker and still very young compared to the big names mentioned so I have no doubt his stock will rise further in years to come.
In the same vain I think Scott is producing some stunning shapes and his branding and finish looks spot on as well.

Its just each to there own, I actually think its harder to find a bad bat maker over a good bat bat maker these days as the overall quality is superb pretty much across the board
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SD

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Re: The Best Batmaker in the UK
« Reply #14 on: December 11, 2020, 05:59:58 PM »

Well the best Wand must come from Willow & Wand lol.

Iv had my fair share of bats over the years and if I had to stick to one bat maker for the rest of my playing days it would be anything made by Kember. Thats purely due to the pressing being absolutely top notch, the finishing is second to none and the shapes offered cover all bases plus the design and styling is always classy and subtle which I like.

If found that after making a few bats now and being totally honest not feeling like I get much in the way of feeback or interest the branding plays such a vital part in peoples options. If people dont like the look of the stickers than its almost a non starter (well I can only assume that from my point above.

From recent experience Ed Garrad is a superb bat maker and still very young compared to the big names mentioned so I have no doubt his stock will rise further in years to come.
In the same vain I think Scott is producing some stunning shapes and his branding and finish looks spot on as well.

Its just each to there own, I actually think its harder to find a bad bat maker over a good bat bat maker these days as the overall quality is superb pretty much across the board

I think that branding does play a role.  I got my first bat from Ed Garrard at the start of last year purely on the basis that I thought that the branding is as good as anything there is on the market.  There wasn't much I could find online from anyone reviewing the performance.  As it happens it is a great bat and I have picked up another one this year (and I will certainly go to him again) but when taking a punt on something unknown, branding is important.

It certainly isn't the be all and end all though.  My main match bat at the moment is a B3 and I have to concede that I neither like the name nor the branding
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