Lords Trade Show Review

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Thursday September 14th saw us take a trip down to the home of cricket to Lords where we attended the annual Trade Equipment show.

This event gives retailers the opportunity to see all of the brands new equipment at one opportunity. Prior to the event we had been able to see a number of the brands either by them coming in store or by us going out to them and seeing their equipment in the warehouses. This allowed us to spend more time with the "smaller" brands or those we hadn't seen yet but also gave us chance to arrange appointments too for coming in store and chance to work closer with the brands to the benefit of all involved.

Noticeable absentees from the show were Puma, Adidas, Newbery, Millichamp & Hall, Hunts County.

The "big three" brands (GM, Gray-Nicolls, Kookaburra) were strong once again and very impressive with the changes they've made going forward. The Kronus from Grays, Haze from GM and the new cosmetics as a whole from Kookaburra making these the ranges to beat again.

Gray Nicolls have managed to improve on one of our best selling ranges again for this upcoming season with their classic collection looking smarter and the variety of shapes and profiles on the bats making them one of my personal favourites on the market. Keeping last seasons Predator3 and Velocity XP1 the same, revamping the Powerbow range again, which in my opinion looks even better than before now with a new blue colour scheme and the new Kronus too have shown the brands continued development and there really is something for everyone this season within the brand.

Gunn & Moore have made some subtle changes to their equipment for this year. Changing the grading system on their softs, bringing out a very good (in my opinion) neck protector for their existing helmets and have made some changes within their bats too. The Paragon range has been discontinued and replaced by the new Haze and Zelos ranges. The Zelos seems to the range that GM are building their equipment around this year with that bat being available in all sizes and the bags are in the same colour scheme to match. The Haze, being a new addition alongside the Mana, Neon, Kaha and Chrome is only available in two styles, the Haze Lite and Haze Max.

Kookaburra  have done away with the Fuse and Zinc from their 2018 ranges keeping and revamping the Kahuna, Ghost, Blaze and Surge from 2017 while introducing the new Fever and Fever Max bats. Kookaburra have again improved upon their cosmetics for the bats making them even more eye catching and distinctive for each range but also keeping up with what's in fashion in sport, for example, the colour used for the new Surge range is popular with runners and skiers this winter already and Kookaburra have used this for the Surge. The other area which I really liked that Kookaburra have changed up this year is the wristbands on their pro level gloves. Rather than the traditional towel seen on most gloves, including their below the pro grade, this is replaced with a neopolythene material which gives a tighter grip to the wrist. Along with this change in material they have also changed the fastening on the gloves, for the Ghost and Kahuna Pro gloves the strap is the conventional style, on the Surge the strap does up the opposite way and on the Blaze it fastens over the top of the wrist more like a golf and goalkeeping glove. These changes are ones I'm a very big fan of. To see brands thinking about improving subtle parts of equipment like wristbands which haven't been changed since the mid 1980's is good to see and is always good for those playing the sport.

Looking around at the other brands who have done well for us over this year Aero, Ton and SF have been very good sellers for us and have both gone with the approach if it isn't broke, don't fix it keeping their ranges the same for 2018 from 2017.

 Possibly the one display that impressed me the most was the lads from Masuri. Their helmet ranges haven't changed moving forward, and in my opinion they are still the best on the market. You don't last as long as they have in the business by making bad products. This year though we see the release of their clothing range, having seen this in glipses throughout the year with Notts having a deal with them for their clothing from first team and through their age groups sides. Seeing in closer detail at Lords I was hugely impressed with the range of what they are offering in terms of playing kit and training ranges too. The variety really does rival that of the other brands doing clothing and teamwear at the minute. Personally I think the Masuri gear is up there with Gray Nicolls in terms of range and also the quality they offer.

Finally, Slazenger are a brand who seem to have gone through a bit of a resurgence and reinvigorated themselves as a brand since distancing themselves from Sports Direct. For next season their bats have carried on their "retro look" sticking with the V ranges, they have done away with the V XR as a range but instead changed their grading system putting that name to how they are grading their bats.

Overall, following the Trade Show and the samples we have seen for next season in store when the reps have visited us I am really excited for the release of all the new equipment.

Let me know what you think for any of the new 2018 ranges you've seen and what you are excited to see in the comment section below.




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