Sally and Paul began their own bat crafting as Bradbury Bats in 1993 in Launceston, Tasmania. Paul was in the Tasmanian state squad and Sally had just finished playing for WA. It was at this time they Paul became good friends with Ricky Ponting, who later became a long term user of Bradbury bats, along with the majority of his Australian team mates. It was not long before the players within opposing international teams became regular customers too. Sally and Paul kept a journal of all their customers over the years, they numbered every bat and recorded details of dates, names and special requirements. The journals make an interesting read.
After two years in Tasmania, the bat makers returned home to Fremantle, Western Australia. With a constant flow of international stars visiting, it was not long before demand took the business overseas. In 2001, along with their young family, the Bradburys moved to Somerset, England, working from a barn on a dairy farm. For six years they spent time in each country, alternating between cricket seasons. Challenges in the industry are constant and evolving, for example Cricket’s tarnished brand in Australia impacts enthusiasm and as younger players turn to other recreational pursuits that contribute to wholesome development. Covid-19 presented challenges through uncertainty, disrupted cricket seasons and cancelled tours. In 2022 the O’Connor workshop changed ownership and we are off to a new home in New South Wales. With the move, a new operating structure that moves away from a shop focussed outlet, to one that takes advantage of the superior freight times on the east coast. The online experience will improve access, and combine with opening of the workshop for visits during set times.
The Bradbury market grew from exclusively professional cricketers to more and more of the cricketing public. The industry is as competitive as the sport it supplies, and playing a long game, Bradbury Cricket is approaching 30 years thanks to old fashioned integrity, quality product and resilience. The greatest challenge facing the brand today is the threat from online marketers that have very little real expertise beyond the gift of the gab. In the virtual world it is easy to mislead on authenticity.
Bradbury remain traditional with a modern twist as they embrace the use of CAD/CAM in circumstances where it produces a superior product, always combining with handcrafting to achieve the highest standard that is synonymous with Bradbury.