For the man with everything - a tailored cricket bat

Thu Jul 30, 2009 2:35am EDT
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By Pauline Askin

SYDNEY (Reuters Life!) - When Australian Lachlan Fisher watches the third Ashes Test starting Thursday, he'll be keeping his eye more on the cricket bats used by the players than the game, with his rivalry directed at English bat-makers.

Fisher, an ardent cricketer, has turned his passion into his living and for the past 16 years has been handcrafting tailored bats from Australian-grown English Willow trees grown on his farm in the Macedon ranges, 80 kilometers (49.71) north west of Melbourne in the state of Victoria.

"It's definitely unique in Australia. There's no one else doing what I do," said Fisher, who boasts that he is the only Australian manufacturer of handcrafted cricket bats from Australian-grown willow trees.

Fisher, who has a farming and visual arts background, found himself getting into the cricket bat industry dominated by English craftsmen when he answered a job advertisement for someone who could work unsupervised and discovered he was about to learn how to make cricket bats.

Now he admits it's a labor of love.

"The skill in bat making is being able to use the tools and making the bat feel, in the batsman's hands, like it's quite light and balanced," said Fisher, who runs a small shop in Melbourne to sell his bats, some of which are made-to-order.

He doesn't sell his unique bats to famous cricketers because they are under contractual agreements regarding their equipment.

He became so passionate about his craft that he now grows up to 200 English Willows on his farm in Victoria where the weather is cold enough to allow the trees to grow slowly to achieve the fine-grain needed for good cricket bats.   Continued...

<p>Lachlan Fisher brushes on a protective coat of oil on a cricket bat at his workshop in suburban Melbourne July 27, 2009. Fisher produces about 30-40 bats a week which he sells to players from semi-professional down to 4th, 5th and 6th grade cricket players at a price of between $350 and $500. The Internet has opened up his market and he now sells to cricketers in England and Canada as well. Picture taken on July 27, 2009. REUTERS/Mick Tsikas</p>