Arriving on the cricket calendar with the pace of a fast bowler’s delivery, the Betway SA20 League was announced with great excitement. World-class elite sporting trophy makers, Thomas Lyte, were tasked with designing and making the biggest prize in South African sport, a 24-carat gold and silver plated masterpiece, to be unveiled to the nation ahead of the opening match in January 2023.
Thomas Lyte, a Royal Warrant holder, as silversmiths and goldsmiths to the late Queen, have designed, made, and restored some of cricket’s most prestigious pieces of silverware, including the ICC Test World Championship mace, the Hundred trophies and the ICC T20 World Cup crown. These are tournaments that fuse the very best in tradition with the cut and thrust of the modern short-format game. Now we’re proud to welcome a new trophy into this unique family, as the official trophy partner of Betway SA20 League – a tournament that is breaking new ground in one of cricket’s long-established heartlands.
The trophy is the brainchild of Thomas Lyte’s industry-leading team of designers and master crafters, which came to life in our fine silver workshops in London. The workshops have produced many of the most storied pieces of silverware in global sport.
The six handled 14kg piece – with each representing the six franchises involved in the tournament – was crafted over 300 hours, and measures 60cm in height. Graeme Smith, the tournament’s commissioner, has already coined it the ‘most coveted prize in South African sport’, and all at Thomas Lyte are justifiably proud of the role we have played in its creation.
Modern cricket moves at a ferocious pace. The hits from batters get bigger with each passing year. The skill and canniness of bowlers charged with stopping them, has evolved at a similar speed. It’s cricket, but not as we used toknow it. Thomas Lyte shares the values embodied by a trophy for a tournament aimed at attracting both the cricket-mad public of today and a whole new generation of supporters tomorrow. Like Twenty20 cricket itself, we have brought together the very best of age-old techniques and cutting-edge ways of working.
The trophy, which was unveiled in Cape Town in the run-up to the first match of a tournament that succeeded in attracting many of the biggest names in world cricket, symbolises a new beginning for the shortest format of the sport in South Africa.
The six-team tournament involves franchises from across the Rainbow Nation. The trophy they’re playing for resembles a six-pointed star when viewed from above. The curved arc of the six handles was designed and produced to resemble the curved arc of the ball’s trajectory once it has left the bowler’s hand. The inside of the trophy, meanwhile, is gold-plated, using an age-old technique that applies a layer of gold to create a pure surface for drinking from. The champagne will doubtless taste sweet for the team that comes out on top in the 33-match competition.
The trophy is lovingly hand-crafted by our team of silver and goldsmiths, and manufactured from scratch from base metal, which is both silver-plated and 24-carat gold-plated. The final product is the culmination of work by a team of ten craftspeople, with each member bringing their own particular specialism to the process. Whether that’s silversmithing, polishing, plating, or engraving – each of them is integral to a trophy that will be handed to the winners each February.
The advent of Twenty20 cricket, first introduced in England in 2002, has changed the sport out of recognition and delivered an entirely new and lucrative revenue stream to a game whose roots date back more than 250 years.
The first tournament in England proved to be the forerunner to an explosion of franchise-based competitions across the globe. The Indian Premier League (IPL), which was first played for in 2008, and competitions such as Australia’s Big Bash, are now firmly established in the international cricket calendar. The Betway SA20 League has already won the hearts of many cricket fans both in South Africa and internationally.
Despite the relatively recent nature of the format T20 is now, arguably, global cricket’s dominant format. Traditionally played with a white ball, T20 sees two teams compete in a match of 40 overs, with both sides given 20 overs to score as many runs as possible.
T20 has not only delivered enormous levels of excitement since its inception, it has also given rise to a range of astonishing new shots and power hitting, with batters routinely clearing the ropes to send the ball flying into packed crowds in grounds around the world. From a bowling perspective, it has also produced a new and generation of adaptable spinners as well as quick bowlers capable of sending the ball down the 22-yard track at speeds approaching 100mph.
In addition to designing and making The Betway SA20 Trophy, Thomas Lyte is proud to have a deep and long-established relationship with the sport. We have designed and hand-crafted many of the sport’s other major prizes including the ICC Test Championship Mace, the ICC T20 World Cup Trophy, the Hundred Trophies, the Vitality Blast Trophy, and the Kia Super League Trophy. In addition, Thomas Lyte also restores the ICC Women’s T20 World Cup and design and make medals for a range of ECB and ICC tournaments.
Our team make the conceivable possible, while preserving traditional skills, pioneering modern methods, and promoting authentic British craft across the globe. Combining the latest technologies with centuries of knowledge, Thomas Lyte’s silver workshops in London, England house world-class facilities for an elite team of designers and makers, masters of their craft. Learn about 3D printing, electroforming and other new technologies that our team have introduced to our sustainable handcrafting process.
Materials. Silver-Plated Base Metal + 24-Carat Gold Plate
Workshop Processes. Spinning, 3D Printing, Casting, Filing, Sanding, Polishing, Plating, and Engraving
Thomas Lyte are proud to be the Official Trophy Partner of the Betway SA20 League and the designers and makers of the Betway SA20 trophy.
Take a glance at these fast facts about the biggest prize in South African sport.