A Kingsville cricket bat maker is pulling up stumps on his inner-west business.

Lachlan Fisher, of Fisher Bat & Willow said cheaper, mass-produced bats from India had slashed demand for his custom-made bats.

But he is yet to declare his innings entirely, vowing to continue plying his trade from country Victoria.

“We are selling the property here – the house is on the market – but the business will keep going,” he said.

“The cheap imports from India have knocked us around a bit and the participation in cricket is dwindling – a lot of clubs are folding.”

Mr Fisher, 60, has handcrafted nearly 15,000 willow bats in his Williamstown Road workshop in the past two decades.

But he says cheap labour in India means imported willow bats can be bought for well under the cost of his bats, which can take hours to craft and cost up to $600.

“I love making bats, but the good old days are gone,” he said.

“The market has well and truly gone – they only come to me when they want the quality of our bats.”

Mr Fisher has established a number of willow plantations across the state to supply wood for his bats.

He says the trees have reached harvesting size so he plans to set up a workshop in Camperdown in country Victoria and create bats to order, as well as continuing to carry out repairs.

“I reckon I’m better now at 60 than I was 15 years ago,” he said.

“It’s very physical activity, but I reckon I can knock them out pretty well.”

But he will miss living in Kingsville, his home of 20 years.

“It’s changed from all the old Footscray people, there are lots of young families here now but the people are still really nice.”

Village Real Estate will auction 126-128 Williamstown Road, Kingsville, on Saturday, August 27.


Photo: Damjan Janevski

Photo: Damjan Janevski