h1 classbiography Duncan Fearnley (Born 1955)h1Taken from www.fearnleycricket.co.uk Fearnley Cricket traces its roots back to 1955 when a budding young cricketer Duncan Fearnley began his trade as an apprentice with Senior Counties Bat Makers in Yorkshire. Duncan born in the cricket hotbed of Pudsey Yorkshire was one of the youngest players to play Bradford League at 15 for Farsley. His father was a woodwork teacher and his grandfather a cabinet maker working with the grandfather of ex England Captain Raymond Illingworth so it seemed destined that the young Yorkshire Cricketer would also follow a woodworking career. In 1955 Fearnley had just played for England Schoolboys and hoped for a career in professional cricket but during the winter months had to supplement his income. Fearnley decided he wanted to make bats and within the boundaries of Yorkshire there were many small batmakers. Fearnley was fortunate to get an apprenticeship with Senior Counties of Bridlington and made bats whenever he could around his cricket commitments. The first bats Fearnley made were branded Tudor Rose but soon they became known as Fearnley of Farsley. In the winter months Duncan would sell these bats onto his friends to supplement his income. Fearnleys main aim was to play professional cricket and though a phenomenal schoolboy cricketer could not make it into his Home Countys 1st XI only managing to play for Yorkshire IIs. He sought trials elsewhere to fulfil his ambition and in 1960 he was given the opportunity he had craved at Worcestershire. Fearnley moved to Worcestershire as in those days a player had to live in the county for 12 months before he could play for his adopted County. He continued to make bats whilst dedicating his summers to the professional game. After 8 years playing professionally at Worcestershire winning 2 Championships Duncanplayed semi-pro for Lincolnshire in the Minor Counties Cricket Association League for 3 seasons and played for West Bromwich Dartmouth CC in the Birmingham & District CricketLeague. This was the start of the Duncan Fearnley brand as we know it today as professional cricket could no longer support his young family. Ambitious Fearnley sought to change the traditional market place with at the time radical and innovative ideas aggressively attacking the traditional brands. Cricket bats have always been Fearnleys roots and Fearnley first revolutionised the trade by introducing the first logo into the game. The Black Wickets Device soon became synonymous with cricket which at the time was groundbreaking. Other brands followed suit the days of ink stamped bats were almost over. During the early years Fearnley got many of his ex-playing colleagues and opponents to use his products introducing new forms of sponsorship he built the brand around these friends. John Snow was the first to use the Duncan Fearnley bat in an International with the likes of Basil DOliveira and Dennis Amiss close behind. During the 70s the Black Wickets logo was starting to get more globally recognised and with more exposure Fearnley developed the brand overseas with the likes of Graeme Pollock Bevan Congdon Graeme Yallop Clive Lloyd and Sunil Gavaskar starting to use the products. The product ranges started to develop and from being just a bat maker Fearnley started to offer a comprehensive range of soft leather products and accessories. Probably one of Fearnleys shrewdest moves was to sign a young Ian Botham fresh from the MCC Young Cricketers. Shortly after the signing Botham made the England Team and throughout his record breaking career became synonymous with the Fearnley brand with both of them growing in stature.