Ed Kemp puts the remake of the old Gray-Nicolls Scoop through its paces in Gear This Week.
Weight of bat tested: 2lb 8oz
Hopefully you saw in issue 92 of AOC (the one with Flower on the cover holding a Rubix cube) our beautiful retro gear showcase. As we pointed out, there are several brands just now revitalising a few old classics. As well as the Bothamesque Duncan Fearnley Magnum 5 Star, Graham Gooch’s old SS Turbo 333 and the SS Jumbo as wielded by Sir IVA Richards, the most eye-catching retro blade around is surely the Gray-Nicolls GN100 Scoop. Evoking the spirit of the finest strokemakers of the 1970s – the old Scoop was used by Greg Chappell and David Gower, before Brian Lara broke the world record Test score with one – it’s a remake of probably the most iconic single bat the game has known.
Well, this week, we had a proper go with it. I mean we got in the nets at The Oval and gave the old throwback a thorough workout. Of course, it’s not really old fashioned at all. It’s got thick, meaty edges: despite the recognisable scooped-out, red-stickered canyon down the back of the blade, there is no shortage of wood in the GN100. But what is it like to play with?
We all expected the bat to feel a bit weird. I mean, the thing’s got a great hole in the back for God’s sake… But when you pick it up and play with it, it’s not really noticeable – it just feels like a fairly light bat. Chunky, but light. Obviously, because the area around the middle (at the sides and toe) is more built up than the scoop itself, there is potential for the weighting to feel a bit strange. But it doesn’t take long to adjust, in fairness. It has a good pick-up and it’s a solid bit of wood, especially as it’s RRP is comparatively low at £199 – and you can get it from other places at £139.
Personally, having a massive scoop out of the back of a bat isn’t instinctively for me, but having said that I didn’t really notice it and it certainly didn’t hinder performance. Cuts and pulls were flying off pretty well, and drives were pinging okay too. In short, we established that it’s not just to be dismissed as a gimmick.
That said, you could pick finer batting role models than two of those who endorse it: Jon Lewis and Monty Panesar aren’t exactly the run-machines you’d hope for as advocates of your new bat.
Click here for Stuart Appleby’s shout out for the Platypus ball, which measures the speed of your bowling