12 Nov 2019
UPDATED OCTOBER 2021
Backyard cricket is a rite of passage for Australian families.
Whether you’re playing at the MCG or on a pitch mowed by Uncle Bob, we all need a set of guidelines to ensure a solid match!
Follow these simple rules and we can (almost) guarantee a meltdown free game this summer.
Out First ball?
In backyard cricket NO ONE can get out first ball. Not everyone’s a natural like you, so this levels the playing field for amateurs like us!
One hand, one bounce.
This is a fundamental of the game. A catch is completed if taken with one hand only after it has rebounded off any surface including the fence, a window or uncle Trev’s head!
Note that this rule has been specifically designed for fielders who have wandered into the game carrying a bevvie or snag.
If any batter decides he or she is in good enough form to hit the ball over any fence, in addition to the six runs, they will also be deemed out, thus balancing their sense of pride at hitting a six with the shame of being dismissed and having to retrieve the ball from over said fence! It's only fair.
All runs will be deducted from their total if the ball should remain lodged on a roof, rendering it irretrievable and halting the game in the absence of an alternative ball.
This rule is far too contentious for a game of backyard cricket and therefore no appeals for leg before wicket will be considered by the umpire, should one exist. In fact, it should be noted that anyone appealing for LBW in backyard cricket is to be shunned in all subsequent social settings once the game is deemed complete.
The only exception to this would be in the case of repeated offences of batters offerring no shot when standing in front of their wicket. In this case, see the above stipulation about avoiding said offender in all subsequent social settings. No tomato sauce for you my friend.
The spirit of backyard cricket is improvisation. If you lack an actual wicket, a bin, esky, chair, gas bottle, BBQ, surfboard or even a reasonably sized set of sticks will suffice!
If you don't have a bat, anything capable of striking a ball is good enough. A tennis racquet is popular, as is a rolled up newspaper, umbrella or even some washed up driftwood can come in handy. Always keep it fast and loose!
Hit-and-run a.k.a. 'Tippy-Go'
This is absolutely a rule of backyard cricket and as long as you hit the ball you MUST run, even if it’s obvious you’ll be dismissed run out. Hit and run in backyard cricket is a time-homoured tradition of the game and MUST be observed at all times.
Anyone who disputes this in the hope of trying to 'build an innings' in this context should be subject to penalty, and as per the non-observance of the LBW law above, have their character interrogated by all other players and shunned in subsequent social settings once the game is over.
Auto Wickie a.k.a. 'Automatic Caught Behind'
Although it is preferred in order to prevent ball retrieval fatigue, especially when numbers are thin on the ground, an actual human is rarely required to wicketkeep during backyard cricket. Any fence, wall, garden bed or conveniently parked vehicle is good enough.
Auto Wickie is called into play for any instance of a batter 'nicking', 'glancing' or 'ramping' a ball behind the wicket within an earlier agreed upon dimension. To avoid Mum having to separate the players, it might be worth codifying this in some way or literally 'drawing a line in the sand.'
Note that no Auto Wickie has ever dropped a catch in the history of backyard cricket, and while a potentially controversial element of the game, Mum's word is always final.
Pets as Fielders
Pets are absolutely allowed onto the field in backyard cricket!
A dog counts as a fielder just as much as Aunt Mavis and her awkward new boyfriend Gary. Any catch taken by them is a completely legal mode of dismissal and will be reflected in the scorebook if one exists. As per the 'One hand, One bounce,' rule above, a modification to allow 'One mouth, One bounce' will apply in all games.
Should your dog or any other animal leak any quantity of 'slobber' moisture onto the ball, this is entirely up to the bowler to deal with. No complaints will be heard and the ball shall not be replaced nor washed before the next delivery takes place. Them's the rules, buddy.
Equal numbers of players
Although traditional cricket dicates things like 'side' and 'equal numbers' these things are outdated concepts in backyard cricket and are therfore meaningless.
Backyard cricket is all about one's own personal glory in any case and the only time a sense of 'team' should exist is when running between wickets (although this is mostly about getting yourself back on strike) and when catching a ball so as to dismiss the incumbent batter and get yourself another bat as soon as possible!
Field of Play
The world is truly your oyster in backyard cricket. However, as the name suggests, you should try to confine yourself to your own backyard.
The beach is different of course, and on some of Australia's more expansive stretches of sand, the field of play could extend for miles. Generally speaking, it's useful to set some kind of ground rule to mark what counts as a four or six, especially where there is no natural barrier (a fence, for example).
That said, running twenty three off one ball is never not fun!
Again, this is slightly contentious, and could easily be argued to go against the spirit of the backyard game. Scoring itself is not necessary in this format, and should be frowned upon at any opportunity.
Flamboyant strokeplay, mastery of the prevailing conditions and maintaining the integrity of one's beverage recepticle while keeping the kids happy are the main goals of backyard cricket. No need to get caught up in things like runs, wickets or scoreboards! Just get out in the sun and enjoy the game!
You can play backyard cricket at any one one of our 70+ holiday parks around Australia.
Get your team together, set up your park pitch and don't forget to get your neighbours involved!
Book a stay with Discovery Parks today!