This guidance on Fantail cricket bat willow grading hopefully helps assist you in making an informed judgment when selecting your grade of willow.
Please keep in mind that all brands have different criteria when grading willow. It's best not to compare the appearance, pricing or performance based on a similar willow grade name.
If you are looking for a specific grain structure, please get in touch, and we'll let you know what is available.
A Grade LE (limited edition) is the best looking and performing blade money can buy. A typical GLE will have 9+ grains, no blemishes on the playing surface and a tight, clean and straight grain structure. These are outstanding pieces of willow turned into the most exceptional bats imaginable.
GP (performance) bats are graded on performance. The ping/performance of these bats is often equivalent to our top GLE grade, but they don't meet the same grain structure/aesthetics required. You can expect upwards of 8 grains, with the possibility of small blemishes and heartwood.
A Grade 1 is aesthetically sound and high performing. You can expect a beautiful bat with at least six straight grains visible, that will perform to a high level. The odd blemish or heartwood is not uncommon, but in general, they will have a clean grain structure.
Grade 2 willow still produces great quality cricket bats. Often heartwood can be seen on the edge of these bats, this has no effect on the playing ability of the bat it is purely cosmetic. There will be at least four straight grains on the face of the bat with maybe some blemishes, pin knots or "speck" visible.
A Grade 3 bat may have up to half heartwood across the bat. Again this has no direct relation to the playing ability of the wood. It just has less visual attraction. There will be a minimum of 4 grains on the face of the bat, which may not always be perfectly straight. Again some small knots or a little 'butterfly' stain may be present with perhaps more prominent "speck".
Butterfly stained willow doesn't have the aesthetics of the grades above. Fortunately, good looks can only go so far, and butterfly willow can often perform exceptionally well. The ball can ping off a bat with a butterfly stain. This grade makes a standout value for money cricket bat.
Acquired specifically for indoor cricket, our Indoor willow is cosmetically inferior to the rest of our grades but still structurally sound. This grade of willow produces some fantastic bats as indoor cricket is all about hand speed and control rather than outright bat performance.
G1 is the top grade of Kashmir willow available, you can expect 6+ grains and will have a clean playing surface. We don't advise using Kashmir willow for use with standard leather or bowling machine balls. It should only be used with incredi-balls, tennis balls, hard tennis balls and indoor cricket balls.