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Thursday 21 September '17
The Bat Making Process
ALL Out Cricket Magazine - Gear Test 2009
Gear Test 2009
 
Enter, Stage Right

After an ecclesiastic edition last year, for this year’s GRAR TEST we head for the spotlight and look to well and truly break a leg, darling.
Dim the house light and raise the curtains for the best and most entertaining kit review in the world of cricket…
Photo shoot: Lawrence Griffiths
 
EDITOR’S NOTES
As I seem to repeat every year, all of these sort of tests are purely subjective, and down to how things pan out on the day. That is especially in the case with the bats. How a panelist hits the ball, how they like the bat to feel in their hands – even down to it having an oval-shaped or round handle – it all plays a part in the decisions they make.
What I will say is we do try to make our selections wholly relevant to our readership. And in doing our research and testing properly, we want you to trust us, not in a ‘blind faith’ kind of way, but we do fell we offer a compelling argument on how you might want to spend your cash. And we do try to wherever possible balance quality with the value of money.
Our panel all continue to play or are involved in good club cricket. Some have played at a higher level than others, but no person’s decision is made out of any allegiance to any particular brand being tested.
All of the kid was shot in shop condition at the wonderful Theatre Royal in Nottingham. Many thanks to Jonathan, Lucy, Rachel and Austin for their help in making the day run smoothly – you are all stars. For further information, visit www.royalcentre-nottingham.co.uk.
Andy when the supertrouper hits Afford
 
EDITORS’S PICK
 
BELLINGHAM & SMITH
A South African brand, with equipment used by various South Africans players, although the players may choose a different sponsor’s sticker… superb quality across all the product ranges. The real surprise package of Gear Test 2009.
www.bellinghamsmith.co.za
 
Bats
Picking a winner from such an undeniably fantastic field proved harder than in any previous years.
Bats by Fusion Sports and Bellingham & Smith broke open the field, making top-end and mid-range bats at times impossible to differentiate between in terms of performance. Generally, hitting a cricket ball indoors has favoured the heavier bats when striking a throw-down. This time we looked at the performance of a bat when cutting, sweeping and pulling as well as driving, giving the bats more of an all-round road-testing than the past. 

Batting Gloves
As with pads, it’s generally combining protection with comfort that results in one set of gloves coming out on top. In the past, tradition has held the edge over modern protective design. But with little innovation this year, what is regarded as traditional and what is not has blurred somewhat. Quality is available from all of the companies that send gloves for testing. Newbery, as ever, were excellent, as too were Millichamp & Hall.
The Winner…

BELLINGHAM & SMITH LIMITED EDITION

The best of the lot. Light, airy. Good styling, slightly jazzier than previous winners, and a unanimous top three pick across the testers, these beautiful South African-made gloves were the clear winners. Using an almost sticky calves leather material on the palms as opposed to the standard pittards leather provides the batter with fantastic grip: the bat handles feels stuck to the palms, producing great control on attacking shots. “These felt like putting on the pair of gloves that you’ve been looking for but could never find “, said one of our number. You kind of knew what he meant.
 
BELLINGHAM & SMITH FIREFLIGHT

I was astonished when I realized how cheap it was. Not as gargantuan as I generally like my bats to be, but this has a really sweet pick-up, a nice bow and a forgiving middle. The South African colours were a problem for some of our testers, but as I generally think all bat stickers look a bit silly I really couldn’t care less. A Steal.