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Don Bradman's bat: A lasting partnership

Don Bradman's bat: A lasting partnership

A black and white photograph of a man sitting on a bench seat, holding a cricket bat with the front of the bat toward the camera. He is sitting in what appears to be a stand at a cricket ground. He wears a suit, shirt and tie and has his hair neatly combed back. He holds the bat with the top of it resting against his left shoulder. The bottom of the bat rests in his hands near his left knee. Behind him are rows of more bench seats leading up to a wall. The seats further back and the wall are in shadow, suggesting an overhanging roof. The edges of the photo fade to white. The are some numbers and letters down the left side of the photo.

When Don Bradman was 17, he played for Bowral against Moss Vale 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.

A wooden cricket bat, photographed in a horizontal position against a white background. The bat's handle is to the left of the photograph. The handle has a black rubber covering on it. The front of the bat's blade is visible in the photograph. There is a v-shaped section that shows where the base of the handle is joined to the bat blade. The name 'Don Bradman' is visible on the blade, close to where the handle joins the blade. Under the name are some other markings. Part of these markings is a row of what appear to be four crowns. The grain of the bat blade can be seen running along its length.

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.

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