Many of the top cricket brands originated in the UK. Put on a test match or high-level cricket match and you’re likely to see British brands being represented. Bats, balls, stumps, you name it.
In this guide, though, we’re championing the little guy. There are some smaller companies around the UK that are doing some brilliant work and their businesses are making cricket more accessible. These could even be the next best thing in the world of cricket.
Village Cricket Co. – Best Budget
The Village Cricket Co. set out with the ambition of making a quality cricket bat for under £100, and they managed.
While a lot of smaller companies come with big price tags as they are making products for a niche market, and aren’t able to benefit from economies of scale, the Village Cricket Bat has some key distinctions making it more affordable. The use of Indian-grown willow is one of these differences, and it helps to keep the prices low while retaining quality.
The Village Cricket Co. makes bats in all sizes, offers a guarantee, and the bats even come knocked in already. This makes cricket more accessible for beginners, which can only be a good thing.
B3 Cricket – Best Bespoke Bats
B3 cricket bats is a Nottingham-based company that has a focus on building bespoke bats and giving the customer loads of choice. Since their inception in 2012 the company has made a name for itself by giving customers different ways to buy a bat.
There are pre-designed “off the shelf” products, but B3 also give the customer loads of choices to tailor a bat and get a totally bespoke product. You can even choose the type of willow you want used in the production. The weight, shape, even the design and decals on the front and whether you want a scuff guard. This can all be customised and you can build virtually any type of bat you want.
There is even a bespoke service aimed more at pros, creating a bat to suit the style of play and preferences you possess. A little more expensive, but a way to try and create your dream bat.
It’s hard not to admire the branding of Viking Cricket, and they offer some really good bats to back up these impressive good looks.
With bats called things like “Jorvik” and “Valkyrie” you expect a level of quality from these. They don’t disappoint.
This is another brand that lets you do some customisation, including the shape of the bat. You can choose between the duck bill shape or the “full to toe” shape. One thing a lot of cricketers really value is the option to choose the weight. While many of us are happy using an average weight, some want something a little heavier, and Viking Cricket can accommodate, their bats can be up to 3lbs and you can choose this in the purchase process.
They have some limited edition bats using Grade 1 or Grade 1+ willow, and the quality seems fantastic. Viking Cricket won a best in class award as well as 2nd Overall in The Cricketer magazine good gear guide in 2018. The willow is grown in Suffolk and the bats are hand-made in Yorkshire.
Aldred – Sustainable Bats
Paul Aldred used to be a professional at Derbyshire, and has since created the Aldred range of bats. These are handcrafted in the UK and make the list largely due to the fact that, as well as being brilliant quality, these bats have a large focus on sustainability.
The makers have an environmentally-friendly ethos. Aldred describes the philosophy implemented “with view of reducing the huge air miles produced in the cricket industry, as the bats don’t get flown back and forth to be produced in India.
As well as making some beautiful bats with the finest materials, the company offers a range of pads and other accessories. For the environmentalists among us this is very appealing.
Hear Aldred talk passionately about his awesome small cricket company here below.
Millichamp & Hall
It is hard to know how long we will be able to keep calling this a “small” cricket brand. Jack Leach uses the brand, and so does James Bracey who recently made his test debut for England.
They make some incredible bats including the F200, a pronounced bat with a big sweet spot and the potential to make some crashing drives. This does come at a slightly higher cost than some of the other bats, but they have budget and junior bats too. On top of that, you can buy pads and other gear from the M&H brand.
The brand has classical yet beautiful branding, and they aren’t the newest of brands on the list as they have over three decades of experience.
The company is based in Taunton, Devon, and are even welcome to visitors to their outlet. On top of this, you can join their M&H XI and play cricket for them, if you’re good enough!
This is a very cool small cricket company in the UK and we love their ethos and team-spirit.
Salix is another brand that is growing significantly and while they aren’t on the G&M level just yet, they are certainly making waves.
The manufacturing all takes place in-house, and the brand makes some simple but effective cricket bats. You can choose the grade of willow which has a big impact on the price, and you can choose the finest in English willow if you wish.
The product is described as “Artisan” by the manufacturers, who oversee every aspect of the production of each of their quality blades, and are even open by appointment if you want to pop in and visit and get your own bat made to spec.
It’s great to know that there are so many brands paying such close attention to detail in the UK!
Cricket is one of those sports that relies a lot on equipment, and you need to know that you are using quality when you head to the crease, even if there is a chance you’ll be bowled first ball.
These are just a selection of great independent brands working in the UK, making bats, pads, and more, with reliable quality every single time.