Bat review: Black Rat Cricket Stealth

At 2lb 10oz, it might have been among the heavier pieces of willow tried on testing day, but that was hardly noticeable. The Stealth picked up nicely with an excellent middle

br20-blackrat

RRP: £309.99, Weight: 2lb 10oz, Edges: 35mm

Every year, bat-testing throws up a new name. And this might just be the year of the rat.

On the Skipton-based brand's website, they talk enthusiastically of the relationship between rats and humans, relating it back as far as ancient Chinese proverbs and the need to display similar "shrewdness and adaptability" in the development of their fledgling bat company.

If it sounds unusual, then that is presumably the idea.

"Don't judge book by its cover," laughed Rikki Clarke, the former England allrounder. He declared it a "surprise package", highlighting the angled toe that "looks like a duck's bill".

fl20-blackrat

At 2lb 10oz, it might have been among the heavier pieces of willow tried on the day, but that was hardly noticeable. The Stealth picked up nicely with an excellent middle.

Some might consider the artwork to be on the wrong side of intrusive: a silhouette of a rat painted onto the splice.

In reality, though, it isn't domineering and actually has been put together quite subtly despite the audacity of the brand.

The sticker on the back could certainly be more imaginative and it will be an acquired taste – for most, it will feel like a long way from the Gray Nicolls days!

With a retail price of £309.99 for a Grade One option, there might well be more established alternatives on the table. But it didn't disgrace itself on its debut testing day.

Initial impression: 6.7

Build quality: 6.5

Pick-up/feel: 6.5

Performance: 6.8

Overall score: 6.6

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