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CJI Cricket

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Salix Cricket Bats

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A brief history about Salix
All I ever really wanted was a cricket bat. For Birthdays and Christmas, it was always top of my list. As soon as I could physically lay my hands on the wood, cane, rubber and tools to make one, that's what I made. I don't suppose I would rate it very highly now, but thankfully John Newbery did, and took me on as his apprentice in 1984. The grounding during those years with him at Northiam and Robertsbridge was invaluable, coupled with time spent at Gray Nicolls, with woodcutters and so many extraordinary craftsmen who are sadly no longer with us. This kind of training is almost impossible now, and whilst I feel privileged to have been able to learn with these people, it has made me even more determined to keep manufacturing here and to continue investing in people and development in this country.

My ethos is quite simple: I believe that consistently good products come from those who make them and put their name to them. Those who are qualified and experienced, who understand the raw materials, all the necessary processes and who have the design and hand skills both to produce and to keep on developing.

I set Salix up in 1990 with Hugh Betts, and our aim was to expand upon the methods I had been taught, to design a totally self-sufficient bat manufacturing company which made from the cleft.

Today that remains key, and we have advanced this side of the business technically to produce what I feel is the best foundation for a cricket bat. Labour intensive, time consuming and hard work, but a real product.

Handwork and skilled finishing remain incredibly important, to create inspiring shapes, exquisite pick up and lustrous finish; design of the labels, grips and attention to detail are vital to us. But the real value of a Salix is how it is turned first from cleft to blade, then from blade to bat.

When I started I followed a well-trodden pilgrimage to Wrights and Greens to choose my clefts. Now I am told that only one other company still does this: there are only a handful of brands still making from the cleft in this country. Salix is committed to manufacturing in this way and I feel that our bats offer real value and unrivalled performance because of this.

Today our small team remains unchanged since the 90's - myself, my wife Vicky, Hugh, Ian and now Ben who joined as our apprentice a year ago. We are all proud of what Salix has achieved and immensely excited by the future of our bat making."

Andrew Kember
2012