The Salix Cricket Bat Company was established in 1990 by Andrew Kember and Hugh Betts. The aim was simple: to produce handmade cricket bats of the highest quality, in both build and performance. Andrew’s background working alongside John Newbery (until 1989), and also at Gray Nicolls and Readers, gave him strong foundations for a new bat manufacturing company, having spent incomparable time in all aspects of production and wood cutting, as well as principally in hand shaping and sanding bats.
The difference, and challenge, with Salix was to create a fully independent manufacturing company producing handmade bats in-house from cleft to finish, giving absolute control over performance throughout every stage. This remains the keystone of the brand, and uniquely, Salix is still owned and managed by Andrew and Hugh, together with Andrew’s wife Victoria. In addition to these manufacturing principles, Salix is also creatively independent, with all design work also in-house: every label, glove, pad, bag and accessory being drawn by Victoria in collaboration with Andrew.
At the outset, we entered an (already saturated) market by basing everything on quality: an artisan approach to sports equipment. By being self-sufficient in our manufacturing and therefore working to exacting and consistent standards, we were able to maintain total control of the product. With limited resources for sponsorship and marketing, the name grew through word of mouth and the refusal to mass produce. Now, the profile of the brand is totally disproportionate to the volume of bats sold, with demand outstripping supply each season. We have eschewed the industry norms of sub-contracting and CNC machinery, to keep as much by hand as possible. This is incredibly labour intensive and restricts output, but continues to offer the very best outcome for each and every blade, delivering real value as a purchase, and at the crease.
The theory behind the bat making is simple: the best raw materials available, attention to detail and expert treatment of each bat individually at every stage of manufacture. Good bat making is a kind of alchemy: turning basic, natural raw materials into something very special; achieving this quality consistently, and independently, is what sets Salix apart. Our bats and equipment are now firmly established at the top of any cricket range and the top of many batting orders.
Salix bats are not just conventional bat making, but the culmination of years of experience, development and investment to inspire and reward the most discerning and demanding players.