BATS BY RATING: BROWSE AND BUY

WOODSTOCK AIRSTREAM PLAYERS LE

They never let you down.

For some of The Cricketer's testers, the bat of the day, fresh from Woodstock's subtle rebrand.

Beautiful bats with terrific sweet spots and excellent pick-ups. Hard to beat.

Initial impression: 8.3
Build quality: 8.1
Pick-up/feel: 8.6
Performance: 8.5

RRP: £450

Weight: 2lb 12oz

Edges: 36mm

NEON SKY
Every bit as fluorescent as the name suggests, Neon's bats are sparkling with Ian Bell onboard as an ambassador.

Their willow, though, is doing all the talking.

Generous grains and, in the words of The Cricketer's resident pro: "All you'd want in a bat."
Initial impression: 7.9
Build quality: 8.1
Pick-up/feel: 8.1
Performance: 8.5

RRP: £484.99

Weight: 2lb 10oz

Edges: 34mm

GRAY-NICOLLS VAPOUR PLAYERS
A heavy piece of wood that pings off the middle tremendously and was a hit with all of The Cricketer's testers.

A disarmingly generous pick-up given its weight, and a pleasure to use.

Plenty of runs to be had.
Initial impression: 7.7
Build quality: 7.8
Pick-up/feel: 8
Performance: 8.7

RRP: £400

Weight: 2lb 13oz

Edges: 40mm

MRF LEGEND 2.0
If it'll do for Virat Kohli, then it'll do for us. Beautiful design, and unmistakeably MRF.

The middle absolutely flies and the rest of it ain't bad either.

A pleasing pick-up and a flattering sweet spot: what is there not to like?
Initial impression: 7.8
Build quality: 7.7
Pick-up/feel: 8
Performance: 8.2

RRP: £150

Weight: 2lb 9.5oz

Edges: 38mm

GRAY-NICOLLS CLASSIC PLAYER

You usually know what you’re getting with Gray-Nicolls, and the look and build of their Classic Players was characteristically classy and pretty accessible financially.

While a little bottom-heavy, most of our testers found the weight paid off with a sumptuous middle.

Initial impression: 8
Build quality: 7.7
Pick-up/feel: 7.5
Performance: 7.5

RRP: £300

Weight: 2lb 8.5oz

Edges: 36mm

KIPPAX SANCTA GRAIL

 A smart buy and by far the least decorative of the Kippax collection.

A solid bat, albeit at a lofty price point, with a generous middle, healthy grains and a balanced pick-up.

Initial impression: 7.7
Build quality: 7.3
Pick-up/feel: 7.8
Performance: 7.6

RRP: £480

Weight: 2lb 9.5oz

Edges: 35mm

PRYZM PURE SIGNATURE

Nearly the heftiest bat going under the scanner on our testing day, and it handled with far more dexterity than you might expect from a bat this size.

For most of our testers the ball flew out of an ample middle which somehow avoided bottom-heaviness.

Initial impression: 7.5
Build quality: 7.7
Pick-up/feel: 7.4
Performance: 7.9

RRP: £449.99

Weight: 2lb 12oz

Edges: 36mm

NEWBERY RENEGADE 5-STAR
A lovely-looking bat with all the traditional hallmarks of an old-school Newbery. 

A slightly unusual shape that wasn't to everyone's taste but very solid bat with thick edges and more than a touch of class.
Initial impression: 7.7
Build quality: 7
Pick-up/feel: 7.5
Performance: 7.7

RRP: £315

Weight: 2lb 11oz

Edges: 41mm

SIKA STAG

From Kent, the spiritual home of batmaking, the Sika – another name for the Japanese spotted deer, if you were wondering – is intended for the all-round strokemaker, albeit with another unusual, cut-off flat toe.

“It felt really fluent,” said one of our testers.

Initial impression: 8
Build quality: 7.3
Pick-up/feel: 7.3
Performance: 7.2

RRP: £295

Weight: 2lb 9oz

Edges: 36mm

WOODSTOCK TOUR DE FORCE

Another excellent Woodstock product that is still going strong after several years as the brand's star turn.

Freshened up by a slight rebrand that has seen the main logo shifted to the bottom.

Initial impression: 8.2
Build quality: 7.3
Pick-up/feel: 7.3
Performance: 7.3

RRP: £450

Weight: 2lb 11oz

Edges: 36mm

PRYZM INSTINCT EXCLUSIVE

This is an absolute monster.

If you are a predominantly front-foot batter, then this bat has been designed with your kind in mind.

A handsome bat with a huge, low, sweet spot and powerful edges to boot. 

Initial impression: 7.3
Build quality: 7.4
Pick-up/feel: 7.1
Performance: 8

RRP: £279.99

Weight: 2lb 13oz

Edges: 36mm

DSC FLIP 2.0

Set aside your preconceptions about DSC bats, because this one flew.

Though it scored low on appearance, it came in high on performance thanks to its light pick-up and monstrous middle.

One judge said he walked into the net looking like Rory Burns but came back feeling like Garry Sobers.

Initial impression: 6.8
Build quality: 7.3
Pick-up/feel: 7.5
Performance: 8.1

RRP: £320

Weight: 2lb 9oz

Edges: 39mm

GUNN & MOORE PRIMA 808
A beautiful purple design from Gunn & Moore, who really do corner the market in smooth, evenly distributed blades which look classy in the hands of whoever is wielding them.

Our testers reported that the ridged back helped deliver in performance, if with a slightly tinny sound.
Initial impression: 6.6
Build quality: 7.3
Pick-up/feel: 7.3
Performance: 7.6

RRP: £285

Weight: 2lb 10oz

Edges: 32mm

GUNN & MOORE DIAMOND 909
Designed for Ben Stokes, the Diamond 909 is intended to provide both middle and off-centre power from front or back foot, depending on whatever situation the all-rounder finds himself in across the three formats.

Another smooth, classically shaped offering from GM.
Initial impression: 7.8
Build quality: 7
Pick-up/feel: 6.8
Performance: 7.4

RRP: £330

Weight: 2lb 7oz

Edges: 31mm

GRAY-NICOLLS ALPHA GEN 4-STAR
A daring gambit from Gray-Nicolls – belying their classical reputation with a whiteish blade verging on Storm Trooper bleach and a rear design resembling Megatron from Transformers.

However, for all the sci-fi appearance, it struck the ball out of the middle much like any Gray-Nicolls.
Initial impression: 6.2
Build quality: 8
Pick-up/feel: 7.3
Performance: 7.3

RRP: £200

Weight: 2lb 8oz

Edges: 36mm

NEW BALANCE BURN PLUS

Plenty of artwork, especially down the back where New Balance is tattooed along the spine, on this refreshingly light number.

Some players will find it too feather-like, while others will have been crying out for something this comfortable with a sweet spot quite so generous.

Initial impression: 6.3
Build quality: 7
Pick-up/feel: 7.4
Performance: 7.8

RRP: £350

Weight: 2lb 5oz

Edges: 40mm

ROE STAG

This boutique offering from the Maidstone manufacturers is designed for the junior batter who wishes to add a bit more oomph to their strokeplay, whether on the deck or over the top.

A low middle and bottom-heavy weight distribution could help patient batters cash in.

Initial impression: 6.7
Build quality: 7
Pick-up/feel: 7.5
Performance: 7.2

RRP: £295

Weight: 2lb 8.5oz

Edges: 38mm

GUNN & MOORE SPARQ SIGNATURE
Another classy looking offering from Gunn & Moore, who have perfected a certain look of bat.

But, this being from the lower end of the price range, the Sparq Signature lacked the oomph of many of our other tested bats.
Initial impression: 7
Build quality: 6.9
Pick-up/feel: 6.5
Performance: 6.4

RRP: £175

Weight: 2lb 8oz

Edges: 36mm

KOOKABURRA RAPID 5.1
Not quite a Kahuna despite its sprinklings of green.

A generous middle and a well-balanced pick-up and among the lighter bats at just 2lb 8oz.

Perhaps didn't play quite as nicely as it looked but not too expensive and an option worth considering.
Initial impression: 7.3
Build quality: 6.9
Pick-up/feel: 6.5
Performance: 6.1

RRP: £175

Weight: 2lb 8oz

Edges: 35mm

KOOKABURRA GHOST 3.1
Strangely bland on the design front for a Kookaburra but perfectly clean and understated.

On the lighter end of the spectrum with a decent middle, albeit nothing particularly special.

It works for Marnus Labuschagne, so you'd be in good company…
Initial impression: 6.5
Build quality: 7
Pick-up/feel: 6.6
Performance: 6.1

RRP: £300

Weight: 2lb 7oz

Edges: 35mm

BLACK RAT CRICKET STEALTH

It's not every day that your bat features the silhouette of a black rat on its splice.

But that's Black Rat Cricket for you.

An ambitious, unusual brand but a very decent piece of wood that would certainly stand you out from the crowd…

Initial impression: 6.7
Build quality: 6.5
Pick-up/feel: 6.5
Performance: 6.8

RRP: £309.99

Weight: 2lb 10oz

Edges: 35mm

DSC PERLA X3

DSC's cheaper offering does not match up to the higher-end Flip 2.0 in terms of build quality and performance, but the middle still delivered well enough if you could find it.

It should be a solid purchase for a certain type of cricketer.

Initial impression: 6.5
Build quality: 6.5
Pick-up/feel: 6.6
Performance: 6.3

RRP: £140

Weight: 2lb 8oz

Edges: 35mm

KOOKABURRA BEAST 6.3
Once upon a time, the bat that everyone wanted.

Not so much anymore despite the best efforts of this 2022 revamp.

The famous beast animation isn't so prominent, which feels like a shame but the nostalgics among you might not care about that!
Initial impression: 6.2
Build quality: 6.4
Pick-up/feel: 7
Performance: 6.5

RRP: £130

Weight: 2lb 8oz

Edges: 35mm

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