Need a new bat, get a Laver & Wood


James Laver is a good bastard…I met him down in?the?Hawkes Bay picking up some clays to go shooting…which he loves almost as much as cricket.

He also gave me a tour of his bat factory where he makes custom bats.

Fairfax did a profile on on him that is worth reading.

Kiwi cricket bat maker Laver & Wood is having a good World Cup with orders up 20 per cent this month, before today’s final is even played.

The firm, based in the tiny Hawke’s Bay town of Waipawa, near Napier, says Black Caps fever may be behind the upsurge in trade, which is likely to be between 35 and 40 per cent higher than March last year.

Global interest in the tournament has also pushed its Facebook followers to 27,000, with many enquiries being made online as fans and players browse between overs.

Sales and marketing manager Anthony Van Dorsten said the firm was benefitting from “dual screening.”

“We have been enjoying an upswing in sales over the last couple of years, but a lot of our enquiries are coming through online channels, and we have to assume that part of the reason for that is that fans are browsing for cricket products as they watch the games or shortly afterwards.” ??

Bespoke bat maker James Laver is regarded as the world’s best. Around 180 bats of English willow have been carefully crafted and sent around the world this month, and the company is heading for sales of between 1800 and 2000 bats this year.

Around 90 per cent of Laver & Wood’s business is exports with its biggest markets in Australia and amongst wealthy members of the Indian and Pakistani diaspora living in the United States where bat makers are thought to be non-existant. It faces tougher competition in the UK, but still have some loyal customers there.

High costs and the intensive labour however, mean the bats are expensive, and the average sale price is between $400 and $750.

Van Dorsten said: “Buying a bespoke bat is an investment, but for the young sportsmen and women of the future it is as important to have the right equipment as it is for today’s cricket stars.

“The wrong bat can prevent a young player from improving their technique.”

Laver & Wood directs most of its advertising focus overseas, but is helped by its reputation as the bat maker to some of the world’s most famous cricketers.

West Indies legend Brian Lara and former Australia captain Steve Waugh used bats made by Laver, as did former England team player Ian Botham and the West Indies’ Viv Richards.

They only talk about ex-customers…because current players have bat sponsors where they slap labels onto Laver &Wood bats that they actually use. The bats are that good…and the pros know it.


– Fairfax