Vandal Cricket is a family run business in the cricket-loving Southern Highlands, NSW. We specialize in custom bats for the everyday cricketer.
THE STORY OF VANDAL CRICKET FROM FOUNDER, BILLY BARGE.
Back in 2015 on a trip to the UK I went on a tour to a local bat makers workshop and he spoke about the monopoly on the willow (wood used to make bats) distribution around the world. The biggest plantation produces almost 95% of all willow to the bat makers across the world. The rest is either grown by the bat makers or grown by smaller plantations and cannot usually keep up with demand. Not to mention it is not an easy business to get into due to the fact a willow tree can take up to 25 years to mature enough to produce bats.
Now, there are 2 problems with this. Firstly if there is a monopoly on a product's distribution it is common knowledge that they can control the supply of a product and by doing that can drive up the cost of the product to the bat makers which mean that the bat makers put the price of the bats up when wholesaling with cricket retailers which finally mean that you have to pay crazy prices for your new bat. Every year we see the big companies introduce bats well above the $1000 mark. Now... while I acknowledge the effort that goes into a bat and the so-called “players grade” willow they use unless the bat does the batting for you I cannot justify ever selling a Vandal Bat for that much.
The second problem is they are no longer supplying to new bat makers unless they order large quantity. This means the big companies have a monopoly on the market and here we go again.......
So wait, how do I make bats? What are my bats made of? Well, all my bats are made of English willow. Well sort of. Bats are made of a specific type of willow from the willow tree. It's commonly known as “English Willow”, but it does have a scientific name that a cannot pronounce let alone spell. So for the sake of my spelling ability, it will be X willow. (WOW cool name for a bat company). Anyway X Willow can be grown anywhere in the world that meets the requirements, such as temperature, rain, and elevation. Now while England has perfect conditions for the growth of X willow it is grown in many different places but at smaller scales. The other common willow is Kashmir willow. This is known for fewer quality bats. But what they don't tell you is this is the same willow as the willow grown in England. It is just less quality because of the environment it is grown. Other places producing good quality X willow is New Zealand and where we get our willow from, Yarra Glen in Victoria Just outside of Melbourne.
Brace yourself, this is where it gets a tiny bit creepy and scary and well it just makes me mad! Willow had been grown in Australia since the 1920s and when it was in its prime some big names used the bats. But when the cricket bigwigs in England found out that Australia was having success at something they had been doing for decades before. So here we go, a few of these bigwigs bought all the willow plantations and cut every last tree down! After that, they launched a campaign to create a myth that willow can only be grown in England and renamed the willow ENGLISH WILLOW.
So just to say it again, all vandal bats are made from English Willow grown in Australia! The name of the willow plantation is “willow blue” so that's what we are calling our willow. I also refer to it as Aussie Willow.
The Vandals were the people who sacked Rome and brought the end of the Roman Empire, Vandal cricket is dedicated to doing things differently and ready to bring down the English cricket manufacturing empire.
19-year-old cricket tragic.
Billy started making hobby bats at the age of 13 and at age 16 was trained in the art of bat making by Australian cricketer, willow grower and bat maker Ian Callen. He is passionate about both the industry but also each and every cricketer.
Peter Barge aka. Farmer Pete
Peter Barge, Billy's father, and yet another cricket fiend. He was also trained by Ian Callen in the art of making the perfect cricket bat. Peter brings experience in business as well as the love of hands-on work.