Junior cricket bats

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  • Updated:23 Dec 2006
 

03.Product profiles

The models in the What to buy list are profiled below in rank order. Prices are what we paid in October 2006. Most of the tested bats are available in a range of junior sizes.

SLAZENGER V389 Select

Price: $135
Size tested: Harrow
Suitable for: Hard ball competition

Trialist comments:

Michael Slater: “Looks and feels great. Very good extensive middle. Feels like it has all the right attributes. Really well placed value.”

Lisa Sthalekar: “Good light pick-up, The grip is colourful and different. Needs knocking in and oiling. Very good value.”

Julian Millichamp: “Very good playability. A lovely little bat. Finish is a bit cheap. Good value, but will need preparation and maintenance."

Dean Magee: “Perfect weight for a kid. Best suited to a top junior. The best value bat in test, along with the KOOKABURRA Kahuna Magic and the GRAY-NICOLLS Fusion Enforcer.”

David Mason: “Nice long sweet spot. Good grip. Good for players at club or district level. A bargain.”

 

GRAY-NICOLLS Fusion Enforcer

Price: $80
Size tested: Six
Suitable for: Hard ball competition

Trialist comments:

Michael Slater: “Nearly too heavy; better for a stronger kid. Good pick-up and balance. A powerful little bat. Excellent value.”

Lisa Sthalekar: “Good pick-up and handle. Suited to a wide range of players, perfect for club cricket. A bargain.”

Julian Millichamp: “Feels good. Fantastic quality for a Kashmir willow bat. If I wasn't a bat maker, I would buy one for my own son."

Dean Magee: “A fraction bottom heavy. Great bat for first year of hard ball cricket. Beautiful shape and graphics. Top grade Kashmir willow. Great value.”

David Mason: “OK balance but not great. A good all round bat for hard or soft ball. Good value.”

KOOKABURRA Genesis 8000

Price: $175
Size tested: Harrow
Suitable for: Hard ball competition

Trialist comments:

Michael Slater: “Medium heavy. Grip is comfortable and sticky. Really good middle. Looks good. A serious competition bat.”

Lisa Sthalekar: “A bit bottom heavy. Kids would love the funky grip. Maybe better suited to a 13-14 year old, middle or lower order comp player. Overpriced: should be $120.”

Julian Millichamp: “Heavy pick-up, feels bottom heavy. Very nice hitting power. Good value for performance, but not for balance and feel."

Dean Magee: “Good balance, handle and grip. A perfect kid's bat for hard ball comp. Great value, but this bat is now hard to find in stores.”

David Mason: “Good grip - non-slip and absorbs shock. Big sweet spot. Suitable for a top junior. May be wasted on a less skilled player, but good value for a kid who can make use of its power.”

GRAY-NICOLLS Powerbow 500

Price: $135
Size tested: Harrow
Suitable for: Hard ball competition

Trialist comments:

Michael Slater: “Would need to be a stronger 12 year old. Pick-up a bit dead; overall heavy feel. Looks good but too much wood's been removed from the back, reducing the sweet spot. OK value.”

Lisa Sthalekar: “Feels heavy, but nice pick-up. Good middle. A tad heavy. Pretty reasonable value.”

Julian Millichamp: “A bit wieldy and toe-heavy. Good for a stronger player. Good value."

Dean Magee: “Good balance and pick-up. A good first English willow bat for a junior starting hard ball comp. Just about right for the money.”

David Mason: “Feels light and nice. Good balance and pick-up. Good grip. Well made. Good value.”

PUMA Ballistic 3000

Price: $150
Size tested: Harrow
Suitable for: Hard ball competition

Trialist comments:

Michael Slater: “Particularly bottom heavy. Distinct oval base of grip is very good as it allows correct grip. But the grip is very thin at the top. OK middle, hard face surface. Good bat for hard ball comp. Presents well.”

Lisa Sthalekar: “Bottom heavy. Don't like the flared grip as it encourages kids to grip too hard. Too heavy for a 12 year old, OK for a 13-14 year old. A good batter could use this well. Not good value; should be $130.”

Julian Millichamp: “Very good pick-up, handle shape is good for teaching correct grip. Good finish and presentation. Better for a stronger kid. Good but not great value."

Dean Magee: “A bit toe heavy. Great handle; helps train a kid to use grip properly. Excellent hitting power. A good second English willow bat for a kid who's really getting into serious play. Decent value.”

David Mason: “Good balance, feels light. Good grip, allows correct grip and prevents slipping, but maybe too large for a kid with small hands. Suited to better players. A little overpriced; should be $140.”

KOOKABURRA Kahuna Magic

Price: $50
Size tested: Harrow
Suitable for: Backyard/soft ball; could be used for a minimal amount of hard ball play

Trialist comments:

Michael Slater: “OK pick-up. Slippery grip. Face is as hard as rock. Nice cosmetics. Not for serious comp; suited to backyard or school cricket. Could take a minimal amount of hard ball. No better than the CRICKET AUSTRALIA, but it has the KOOKABURRA name.”

Lisa Sthalekar: “Good pick-up. Not ideal for hard ball, but could be used. Best suited to backyard or school cricket. A better middle than the other cheap bats.”

Julian Millichamp: “Good balance and pick-up, but very thick handle. Only good for soft ball. Reasonable value."

Dean Magee: “A starter's bat, only good for soft ball. OK value.”

David Mason: “Reasonable pick-up. A bit heavy through the air. Sensible value bat. OK for hard ball.”

CRICKET AUSTRALIA Test

Price: $38
Size tested: Six
Suitable for: Backyard/soft ball; could be used for a minimal amount of hard ball play

Trialist comments:

Michael Slater: “Dead pick-up. Not a nice feel. Backyard soft ball play only. Well protected, looks attractive. Not for the talented youngster, but a much better buy than the AERIAL.”

Lisa Sthalekar: “Bottom heavy pick-up. Backyard softball or Incrediball only. Looks good. OK value.”

Julian Millichamp: “Good strong all-weather bat. Could be used with hard ball, but better suited to soft ball. Good value for money."

Dean Magee: “A bit heavy for a kid's bat. Backyard and beach cricket only, but would survive some hard ball use. Looks good. OK value; should be $35.”

David Mason: “Feels heavy. Slippery grip. Durable enough for hard ball but won't play well. Better for a stronger kid. Good, for a cheap bat.”

PUMA Gilchrist

Price: $50
Size tested: Harrow
Suitable for: Backyard/soft ball only

Trialist comments:

Michael Slater: “Dead pick-up. OK middle. Not durable enough for hard ball; the surface finish cracks when tested.”

Lisa Sthalekar: “A little bottom heavy. Nice handle. Backyard or soft ball only. Lacquer finish cracks easily. OK value.”

Julian Millichamp: “Good pick-up and good handle thickness. No good for hard ball. An all-weather backyard bat."

Dean Magee: “Pick-up a bit heavy. Soft wood; only good for backyard soft ball cricket. Not good value; should be $35.”

David Mason: “OK pick-up and swing, but not great. OK for hard ball but the lacquer coating will crack, so should get a protective sleeve. OK value, but the KOOKABURRA Kahuna Magic is better value as it has similar playability and has a protective coating.”

MRF Prodigy

Price: $60
Size tested: Harrow
Suitable for: Hard ball competition

Trialist comments:

Michael Slater: “Verging on too heavy as it has a lot of wood. Would need to be a strong 12 year old. Handle too long and blade too short. Dead pick-up. Surprisingly good middle. Needs knocking-in. Very well priced.”

Lisa Sthalekar: “Too heavy for 12 year olds; better suited to 15-16 year olds due to its size and weight. Heavy pick-up. handle too thin. Not for top batters. Reasonable value.”

Julian Millichamp: “Heavy pick-up, feels bottom heavy. Width is inconsistent and handle too long. Might be OK for a very strong 12 year old. OK for hard ball but may not last due to cracking on face. OK value."

Dean Magee: “A fraction heavy. Better for a stronger kid. A starter's bat, OK for the first year of hard ball comp. Good value.”

David Mason: “Heavy to swing, feels a little toe heavy. Slightly slippery grip. Good power in trade-off for the extra weight. Good bat for a strong kid on a budget. Good value provided the kid can handle the weight.”

SLAZENGER V23 Kashmir

Price: $50
Size tested: Harrow
Suitable for: Backyard/soft ball; could be used for a minimal amount of hard ball play

Trialist comments:

Michael Slater: “Not great pick-up. Restricted sweet spot. Suited to backyard or school soft ball play; some hard ball would be OK but the bat wouldn't last under frequent hard ball use.”

Lisa Sthalekar: “Well balanced but too heavy. Suited to beach or backyard only. Good colours. Overpriced; should be $30.”

Julian Millichamp: “Feels heavy; doesn't feel right or nice. Handle is very rigid. Could stand up to hard ball but wouldn't play well."

Dean Magee: “Good backyard or kit bat. Maybe OK for first year of hard ball cricket. Not good value; should be $35.”

David Mason: “Feels a little heavy in the air. Restricted sweet spot. Good entry level bat, OK for hard ball. The KOOKABURRA Kahuna Magic is preferable due to being lighter.”

WOODWORM Pieterson Pioneer Torch

Price: $60
Size tested: Harrow
Suitable for: Hard ball competition

Trialist comments:

Michael Slater: “Very heavy; have to be a big strapping kid to use this bat. No great pick-up. Oval handle feels fantastic and very comfortable. Excellent long sweet spot. Looks good and well made. A solid performer and excellent value if the kid is strong enough.”

Lisa Sthalekar: “Too heavy; better for a 15-16 year old. OK bat, I like the design and shape. A bargain if the kid is strong enough to use it.”

Julian Millichamp: “Too heavy and long for a Harrow. May be a mislabelled Small Men's size*. Good playability and protection. Very poor for size and weight, but otherwise OK value."

Dean Magee: "Too heavy for a Harrow. Very big; may be a mislabelled Small Men's*. Size is questionable, but otherwise an OK bat, good for hard ball and good value for money."

David Mason: "A bit heavier than it should be. Pick-up all right, but heavy to swing. Best for a strong kid; probably too heavy for a typical 12 year old. A bargain if the kid can handle the weight, and better than the similar MRF."

* Note: WOODWORM confirmed that this bat is the correct weight for their Harrow size. Its weight is within commonly accepted limits for a Harrow size Kashmir willow bat, but nevertheless the panel generally thought it felt too heavy. WOODWORM also stated that this bat is 1.5 cm longer than industry standard for a Harrow size.

AERIAL Kashmir Willow

Price: $30
Size tested: Six
Suitable for: Backyard/soft ball only

Trialist comments:

Michael Slater: "Too light. Very light pick-up. Doesn't feel like it has a sweet spot. Poor quality wood. OK for beach/backyard games with soft ball."

Lisa Sthalekar: "Heavy - maybe better for a 14-15 year old. Looks flimsy - like a bit of wood with a handle. Backyard/soft ball only."

Julian Millichamp: "Very light, but that's good for this size. Lacks quality finish. Not suitable for hard ball."

Dean Magee: "Terrible shape. Doesn't feel good. Only suited to soft ball. Maybe pine wood rather than willow. Poor value - should be $15 including stumps and ball."

David Mason: "Nice and light. Nice pick-up. Maybe not durable enough for hard ball - may be pine wood. Suitable for soft ball/backyard. OK value but should really be $20-25."

 

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