Don Bradman's bat: A lasting partnership
When Don Bradman was 17, he played for Bowral against Mittagong in the final of the Berrima District Competition in New South Wales.
Bradman had always played with second-hand bats given to him by older players, but his mother promised to buy him a new bat of his very own if he made a century against Mittagong.
Bradman made 300 in the first innings of a match that continued over six successive Saturday afternoons. His mother fulfilled her promise and Bradman chose a bat made by William Sykes and Sons of Yorkshire. He continued to use this brand, almost exclusively, for the rest of his career.
Left: Don Bradman with his new Sykes 'autograph' bat, 1932. Photo: State Library of NSW.
In 1929, shortly after Bradman scored what was then the highest first-class innings for New South Wales against Victoria, Sykes signed him up to produce an autographed 'Don Bradman' bat. Slazenger, who bought out William Sykes Ltd during the Second World War, continued to produce Don Bradman bats into the 1990s.
Left: This 1934 Sykes 'Don Bradman' bat was one of many that Bradman used over the course of his career. This bat is wooden with a rubber grip. Photo: George Serras.