The rest is history. The signing of Andrew
Flintoff, Kevin Pietersen, James Anderson
and Murilatharan to use the commercially
made bats was to follow. Finding financial
backing was a vital part of the story. Now the
company has 10% of the U.K market. Who
knows what will happen in the future? There
is no doubt the company will expand into
other areas as investors will be keen to join
forces with the young company.
Bob Sirett presents a painting of Kevin
Pietersen to the England player at Arundel
The artist shows Pietersen in full flow
Behind many great sporting headlines are
odd little stories that add to the background
and bring almost a touch of romanticism
to such events. In a modest way, such
a tale involves both me and my son, Joe,
a discarded cricket bat and last summer’s
heart-stopping Ashes series.
After reflecting on that thrilling series
against Australia and all those tense, nailbiting
moments, I find it difficult to believe
that I had a personal involvement with the
proceedings, or that the Sussex village of
Billingshurst had a connection with the
massive contribution made by England stars
Andrew Flintoff and Kevin Pietersen, two
players contracted to the local Woodworm
cricket company, run by my son Joe.
When we were preparing to move from
Christ’s Hospital to Billingshurst on my
retirement, a bat was found in the garage
which was riddled with woodworm.
There were trails and holes everywhere
and it was only fit for the dustbin.
What made me keep it? I don’t know
and I certainly don’t know why I bothered
to go to work on it with my sander and
wood filler. However, after many hours
I felt that the new shape which emerged
with ‘cut-aways’ at the top of the bat had
something different to offer.
Wood had been taken away from a
vulnerable area of the cricket bat, which is
always susceptible to that little snick to the
wicketkeeper or slip. There was a symmetry
in the new-shaped bat, which looked elegant.
The next defining moment was when Joe
used it in a match for his Surrey League club.
He scored 142 not out and everybody at the
game said that this bat performed like a
magic wand. Hence the name of the first
commercially produced bat!
It was a great team effort, which Freddie
never ceases to stress, but when I see the
‘heart and soul’ batting and bowling of
Freddie and the ‘rock and roll’ batting of
Kevin, I just pinch myself and think about
those hours whittling away with that
Black & Decker mouse in Dell Lane.
Web site created by Mark Griffin