Product: Spartan CG Boss
Cheapest Place to Buy: Amazon.co.uk
Grade: Grade 1 English Willow
Weight: Approximately 2 lbs 10 oz (Medium-heavy)
Handle Spec/Shape: 9 piece Cane and rubber / round
Profile/Shape: Slight bow, thick edges, massive sweet spot, wide face, extended swell and mid-high profile
My Rating: 5/5 (Great!)
Even if you’re not a cricket fan, you will no doubt have heard of West Indian batsman Chris Gayle. ‘Universe Boss’, as he calls himself, is well-known for hitting countless gigantic shots into the stands and scoring hundreds of runs very quickly. Currently opening the batting for the West Indies T20 and ODI sides, the Jamaican left-hander is also known for wielding one of the biggest and heaviest bats in international cricket. But just how heavy is it, how does it perform in the hands of a good-average club player and will it enable you to play like Chris Gayle? I have written a review to try to answer these questions.
At first sight, the review bat’s overall looks are not very appealing. The nine grains in the face are not very straight although there are no blemishes or flaws. The grains are actually very much intact, just not very flattering to the bat itself. They tend to be a bit wavy for my liking.
However, the decals look absolutely stunning and are probably my favourite across all ranges. The stickers have an attractive gold and black colour scheme and are fully embossed. There is also a reggae theme at the shoulders, reflected in the reggae-styled handle grip. This bat looks amazing.
Many modern bats have a contoured edge profile, whereby manufacturers can lose a lot of wood to keep the bat’s weight manageable. Not so with this big bat. If you look all along the blade there is a lot of wood here: the shoulders contain a lot of wood, the toe contains a lot of wood, the edges are ridiculously thick and, if you look down the spine, there is almost no concaving, perhaps just a hint to keep the weight down.
This bat has a really big, heavy-looking profile with very thick edges. In fact, the edges are 40mm and the spine is 66mm, which is a very high spine, especially given the fact that it is full profile.
With a flat, wide face and slight curvature, Spartan claim provides an even distribution across the full face of the bat to enable precision and accuracy as well as power. Indeed, when I picked it up, the bat felt consistently weighted and consistently distributed, though I would add that this is to be expected from a bat with such a consistent profile.
As I already mentioned, the bat weight is very consistent and evenly distributed. Surprisingly, this bat is not as heavy as expected nor as heavy as it looks. The large edges and thick, consistent profile, together with Chris Gayle’s reputation for big hitting, make the bat appear heavier than it actually is.
The weight of each individual bat cannot be guaranteed, nor can the number of grains contained within the face, but I’d say it ranges from about 2 lbs 7 oz to around the 3 lbs mark. So there is a range of weights and the Spartan CG Boss can be lighter than you think. With this kind of profiling, it’s possible to have a lot of wood together with a manageable weight
The average, therefore, is not as heavy as you might expect and the pickup is fairly light, especially for a bat this size.
The lighter pickup gives the bat a manageable feel, while the large swell and massive sweet spot confer an awesome feeling of confidence in terms of smashing those sixes. Even with the lighter pickup, make no mistake, this is a bat for big hitters.
One of the best features of this bat is the fact that the wood is fairly evenly distributed along the length, which means the bat has a good performance all along the blade. I can recommend this bat for both front foot and back foot players who like to play big shots. This bat is good for whatever big shots you like to play and, furthermore, the mid-positioned sweet spot is absolutely great for playing any kind of shot be it off-side or on the leg-side. The large bow also adds a scooping effect, perfect for lofting the ball over the infield and gaining vital singles and twos.
This is a good all round bat. You think of Chris Gayle and you instantly think Twenty20 cricket and this bat is good for T20. However, it has a conventional shape and the length of the blade is the same as a normal short-handle bat, so it is actually excellent for all formats in my opinion and not a specialist T20 bat.
Bouncing a ball on the face revealed the feel of the bat to be quite firm and not as springy as some others but the ball pings nicely off the face, which also responds very well to a mallet all along the length from shoulder to toe.
Warning – The Amazon product description states that this bat does come pre-treated, however after testing the blade with a ball and mallet, I would suggest that it still requires a fair bit of knocking in.
The bat has a round profile handle with the Spartan Wave rubber grip in the characteristic green, yellow and red colours associated with reggae. I love the handle’s look, which adds to the overall character and beauty of the bat, but not only that, the round thick handle is also a feature that contributes to the lighter feel of the pickup.
This handle is generally better for the bottom handed player; the type of player who likes to use that bottom hand and wrist to steer the ball around. I would assert that this bat is suitable for a big, aggressive player who likes to manipulate the ball around.
The square toe provides a bit more mass. This is another way of squeezing more wood into the blade, unlike bats with a rounded toe, where the wood is shaved off to give the radii. The square toe also lowers the centre of gravity of the blade, effectively lowering the sweet spot, which makes effective use of the wood, whereas rounded toe bats tend to waste a lot of that wood. There is no such waste here.
Spartan also claim that this toe shape increases the power, distribution and swing weight of the bat, thus enhancing performance.
Another advantage of this toe is that when you tap the bat on the ground it is less likely to slip than those bats with a rounded toe.
To summarize, I found this bat to be an excellent all-rounder, suitable for all formats of the game. Although it is designed preferentially for big hitters, the deceptively light pickup makes it suitable for many other types of players too. Make no mistake though, this is NOT a light bat. It is, however, one of the top two or three bats out there on the market. If you are a serious club player and/or you play in proper championships, you should certainly take a look at this all-round superb piece of Willow. I give it top marks.