Paul’s aim as a craftsman is to get the optimum performance out of any cleft of willow that is transformed into a cricket bat; we offer a range of different choices as detailed here.  The following Willow Grades are available.  Read on for more details.

  • PREMIER – Limited rare clefts Grade 1 Plus

  • PLAYERS – Grade 1 Pro
  • ELITE – Grade 1
  • EMPEROR – The ultimate looking butterfly
  • STANDARD- Grade 2

PREMIER – Limited rare clefts Grade 1 Plus

Premier willow is the ultimate in aesthetics plus performance. The general premier cleft will have minimal blemish marks throughout and clean straight and tight grains. This is the ultimate willow from the greatest willow supplier in the world that is J.S. Wright. The typical structure of these clefts are 8 plus clean straight grains, the majority often more in the region of 10-15. These are becoming rarer and rarer these days due to worldwide demand, trees being cut younger and growing conditions.

It is unusual to get more than a handful of these clefts every year and great care is taken in our grading selection and whilst in initial grading one may be put aside as a premier cleft if it doesn’t pass the final ping test it will be rejected.

PLAYERS – Grade 1 Pro

Players grade willow are aesthetically beautiful pieces of willow and high performing. These are all selected through our rigorous selection process to make sure that you get not only a beautiful looking bat but performance to match. In the players and the Premier grades of willow there is often more choice in the lighter clefts giving us the ability to make a larger looking bat profile in a lighter weight than you do in the lower grades of willow. You can expect 7 plus grains, clean and straight.

ELITE – Grade 1

The Elite grade 1 willow is a beautiful piece of English willow. This bat will be an aesthetically attractive cleft with high level performance. Cosmetically there will be minor blemishes as a general rule but with clean grains.

General grain numbers 6-9 and generally quite clean in its looks.

EMPEROR – The ultimate looking butterfly

Butterfly Emperor are a select grade of butterfly willow with minimal stain in the blade face or with colour and high grain numbers. These clefts are in grain structure every bit the quality of players grade willow but with the hint of butterfly stain with clean straight grains or some colour along with multiple straight grain structure

You can expect 7 grains upwards on these stunning clefts with performance to match.


Standard grade is a cleft that is cosmetically inferior to grade 1 and butterfly emperor but has good performance due to the quality of our pressing. They will have nice clean straight grains but will have some blemishes such as butterfly and heartwood will be common place but produce fantastic bats at a great price range for the quality. The best weight choices tend to be in 2-10 upwards in this grade although depending on stock lighter is possible. Please get in touch to check on stock if you are looking for lighter weights

You can expect 5 clean straight grains or more in the standard cleft.


Butterfly willow is a cleft with a natural stain in it. This stain can be in the form of just a small mark as in the emperor or in a lot of colour throughout the blade. The grain structure in this willow is second too non but get overlooked due to the stain and its performance is incredibly impressive and has a tendency to feel a little firmer whilst still performing to a top level. From experience they tend to be inherently stronger in their structure due to the stain but the payback is that you don’t get so much choice in lighter clefts. The most common weight choices in this grade is 2-10 upwards

Please don’t hesitate to get in touch:

07891 233238