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AOC Gear: Get Retro (Part One)

Issue 92 of AOC featured a load of throwback gear, with a stunning photoshoot at the editor’s local drinking hole to show it all off. Here’s an extract, starting with the most important stuff: the bats.

Truth be told, we’re nostalgic sorts here at AOC. Nothing gets us misty-eyed like a call back to the game’s glorious golden age, when walls were wood-panelled, men had beards, and hydration drinks were not so much isotonic as gin-and-tonic. Luckily for us, just now there are quite a few modern gear brands paying homage to their past, with some seriously traditional styling – even remakes of old classics – on offer. Here’s our selection of some of the most mouth-wateringly retro kit money can buy.

SS Turbo 333 Retro Bat; SSP £295 & SS Jumbo Retro Bat; SSP £295

Stuart Surridge bats are retro by their very nature: you just don’t see people using them much these days. And though they continue to make new blades, they recently released a couple of deliberately nostalgic offerings – rolling back the years to when some of the nation’s finest sported their wares. In the Jumbo, they’ve recreated a stick used by Sir Viv himself, while in the Turbo 333, they specifically commemorate Graham Gooch’s 1990 marathon against India, with the big man’s signature and all, just as when it was brought out at the time. WARNING: Can only be used in conjunction with a bushy tache.

Duncan Fearnley 5* Retro Bat; SSP £300 & Duncan Fearnley Magnum 5* Retro Bat; SSP £300

There was a time when the only bat to have was a Fearnley. Everybody had one – and, crucially, one man above all. Botham, in ’81. The carves through point, the edges through the slips, the hooks off his nose? All done with a Fearnley blade. And now the Worcestershire make have re-released these monsters in a ‘new’ retro range. Chunky lumps of wood both, the most important thing about these two throwbacks is that they boast the brilliantly simple stump-design stickers – and little else. Surely the finest manufacturer’s logo going. Particularly effective when paired with a long-sleeve cream sweater.

Gray-Nicolls GN100 Scoop; SSP £199

Arguably the most iconic bat ever made. If you were a classy Test batsman in the 1970s you were pretty much incomplete without a Scoop: Greg Chappell and David Gower (whose image props up the bar here) were notable advocates, while decades later Brian Lara used one like a wand to slap England all over the Antigua Recreation Ground for the first of his record breaking Test knocks. Now it’s back – thicker and shinier than before, but with the same “perimeter weighting system” and famous, red-stickered canyon on the back – this goes through retro and out the other side. If you don’t recognise it, ask your dad – he probably had one.

Willostix Anaconda Classic LE; SSP £295

Deliberately retro and beautifully classic in style, the wonderfully simplistic look of this limited edition blade from Kent-based manufacturer Willostix is lent extra retro points by the absence of stickers: the artwork on the face is laser cut into the wood, creating an age-effect that sees it sit comfortably in this selection.

Photos: Joe Provis
Words: Ed Kemp

Click here to read our review from the nets of the GN100 Scoop, in Gear This Week

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