English cricket has been at the forefront of developing Twenty20 cricket over the past two decades – and as the designers and makers of the Vitality Blast Trophy, we’re proud to be playing our part in continuing to develop one of the sport’s most exciting formats.
Thomas Lyte, a Royal Warrant holder, as the silversmiths and goldsmiths to Her Majesty the Queen, has handmade a huge number of globally recognised trophies since our formation in 2007, and the Vitality Blast trophy is another exquisite example of our craft. As luxury silversmiths and trophy makers across all elite sports, we were commissioned by Vitality – the new title sponsors for T20 cricket in England – to produce a range of trophies covering the domestic, international and recreational game.
The commission in February 2018, would see the first trophy handed to the winners of the inaugural Vitality T20 Blast in September of that year.
“T20 is widely seen as a hugely exciting format of the game and one which continues to bring in crowds the world over,” says Kevin Baker, Thomas Lyte’s CEO and founder. “We believe the trophy we’ve created is a reflection of that and also a demonstration of our determination to do everything we can to support sport across all levels – from the grassroots to the international game.”
Twenty20 cricket was pioneered in England, with the first-ever tournament in what was then the shortest format taking place in 2003. Since then the T20 Blast has become one of the world’s flagship tournaments, with the Vitality Blast continuing to attract some of the world’s most exciting talents year after year.
Following an extensive consultation process – which saw Thomas Lyte work hand-in-hand with the client from the initial design phase through to the production process itself – the trophy took over 140 hours to hand-craft, with eight of our specialists involved in creating a trophy that remains one of the most prestigious in Twenty20 cricket.
The trophy itself is 60cm in height and is a unique take on a classical vase, which in this instance features a set of cricket stumps with an oversized ball perched on top. There is a V-shape opening running down the length of the body, helping to create the signature Vitality ‘V’. The twin methods of annealing and hammering have been used to shape the opening, with the manipulated edge of the body hand-painted in the trademark Vitality pink.
The stumps and ball were hand-spun, with the technique enabling Thomas Lyte to include great detail on the seam of the ball. The four (or five?) individual elements of the trophy – which was lifted for the first time by Worcestershire in the late summer of 2018 – were then brought together and plated in silver, prior to our team of experienced polishers giving the trophy its stunning finish. Our polishing lathes, spinning at speeds of 3000rpm, were used during this specialist period of the process. The T20 Blast logo was then engraved at the foot of the trophy before it was passed to our quality control team, who are charged with the duty of signing off, not just this exquisite piece of silverware, but some of the world’s most recognisable trophies, including those for the Emirates FA Cup and the Rugby World Cup. We view this as one of the most essential parts of our work, with no trophy leaving our London workshop without our experienced QC team having carried out the final inspection process.
Twenty20 cricket has revolutionised both domestic and international cricket since it was first introduced in the summer of 2003 – and the Vitality Blast has been at the forefront of that transformation. T20 was very much viewed as a fad when it was first introduced, a format that would shine brightly for a short time and then fade. As it is, the format has become not just one of the most entertaining formats of the sport, but also its most lucrative.
Despite the vast number of T20 tournaments played across the world, the T20 Blast is still very much viewed as the original, and one which continues to bring in both the world’s best players and also huge crowds at grounds up and down the country each summer. The Finals Day at Warwickshire’s Edgbaston home has become one of the standout days in the English cricket calendar – a celebration of the sport.
Thomas Lyte’s now-iconic trophy is a reflection of that, and also a symbol of our passion for the sport across all its formats. The Vitality Blast Trophy is just one of a number of cricket trophies Thomas Lyte have crafted, this lengthy list includes the ICC World Test Championship mace – presented to New Zealand for the first time at Southampton’s Ageas Bowl back in the summer of 2021 – and the Vitality International T20 Trophy.