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Traditional craftsmanship knocks competition for six

Chris Leaf stickers up the bat. Picture Tony Johnson.
Chris Leaf stickers up the bat. Picture Tony Johnson.
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IT TAKES craftsmanship that was handed from father to son, and English willow grown especially for their workshop, but watch an international cricket match this summer, and the chances are the bats were hand made right here in Yorkshire.

Kippax Willow in Methley, Leeds, was founded by former Yorkshire and Durham batsman Peter Kippax in the 1970s, and now has an reputation so strong, that whenever there is am international game at Headingley, its workshop is full of players hoping to buy their bats. Mr Kippax, who died last year, handed over the business to his son Chris, who along with partner Chris Leaf, handcrafts thousands of bats every year from their workshop.

Chris Leaf sands the bat. Picture Tony Johnson.

Chris Leaf sands the bat. Picture Tony Johnson.

Unlike other English bat makers, Kippax Willow also grow their own willow in Yorkshire and around the UK and export clefts to bat manufacturers around the world.

Mr Leaf, 40, said: “We can get 50 to 60 bats from each tree and it really is a fine art. The demand for English willow is now bigger than ever, especially from India and Pakistan.”