Hard at work on a lost art

March 08, 2017

Hayden Sherwood - Sherwood Cricket hand made cricket bats

Hayden Sherwood is one busy boy.

As if a full-time career as a carpenter, a university course and renovations of his house from top-to-toe wasn’t enough to keep him more than occupied, Mr Sherwood answered the call from former Australian fast bowler Ian Callen three years ago to learn the art of hand-crafting cricket bats.

The rest, they say, is history.

What started out as a hobby for Mr Sherwood has now almost turned into a full-time job.

‘‘It was purely meant to be a little hobby,’’ he said.

‘‘I thought ‘how fun would it be to make a few bats, that’ll be a bit different’. And then all of sudden I was in the paper, on the radio and the ABC News on the TV, so I started to get a heap of messages after that and it kind of just snowballed and took off.

‘‘I always said I would have liked to be a furniture maker. I like making fine things, so when I stumbled across this bat-making course I thought I’d look in to it and it sort of just went from there.

‘‘Every bat is custom made, so when I’m making a bat for someone I make it from scratch exactly how they want it.’’

While the hand-crafted cricket bat trade seems to be almost dead and buried, Mr Sherwood is having none of it.

And, it seems, neither are the masses.

Mr Sherwood has received requests from far and wide for one of Sherwood Cricket’s unique creations.

While the creation of bats for senior players and the odd bat repair is keeping Mr Sherwood busy, the junior cricketers aren’t being forgotten either.

He doesn’t make junior bats as such, but he has started a trademark idea called Legacy, where people can take their old bats to him and he will convert it to a junior bat for the next generation to use.

‘‘Just about everyone in the country has got 10 bats lying around at home, so say for example you were a cricketer and maybe you made a 100 and you love your old bat, you can bring it to me and get it converted down for your child so then they might go and make runs with it also,’’ he said.

‘‘The benefit of that is the kids get a bat that’s a lot better quality. Junior bats aren’t made from the best timber, so if you can bring in an old bat that has been a senior bat and a really good quality bat that’s finished now, at least that child is getting a bat that’s made out of good quality English willow.

‘‘It’s just a chance to recycle the bat rather than have it just sit around.’’

This weekend he will join more than 100 other traditional artisans at the Lost Trades Fair in Kyneton.

The fair will showcase a range of skilled manual work and ancient and traditional trades and crafts which are threatened by mass-produced products in modern society.

‘‘I’m sort of at a tricky spot now. I’m nowhere near busy enough to do it full-time, but I’m getting to the point where it’s just too busy to do on weekends, so I’m hoping this fair might bump me up to that stage,’’ Mr Sherwood said.

‘‘It’d be nice to be able to do cricket bats in summer and in winter I can do carpentry.

‘‘All the traders there will will be demonstrating their craft, so hopefully I can pick up that extra bit of business and go from there.’’

●If you are interested in buying a bat or having one repaired, email Mr Sherwood at [email protected]

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