A new era for ju­nior cricket

Seymour Telegraph - - SPORT - Sey­mour District Cricket As­so­ci­a­tion has adopted a new ju­nior for­mat, with changes to the 10-to-13-year-old age groups. The changes mean teams will play on shorter pitches, every child will get a bat and bowl, and the game is over in less time.

Ju­nior play­ers in the Sey­mour District Cricket As­so­ci­a­tion should feel more com­fort­able bowl­ing — and hit­ting sixes — this sum­mer, thanks to some sig­nif­i­cant changes to the game that cater for the phys­i­cal ca­pa­bil­i­ties of chil­dren.

Af­ter last sum­mer’s na­tion­wide pilot, the ju­nior for­mat for the lo­cal com­pe­ti­tion has been tai­lored for chil­dren aged 10 years to 13 years. Changes in­clude short­en­ing the length of the pitch and the bound­aries, and re­duc­ing the num­ber of field­ers.

The changes were in­tro­duced to ad­dress the un­re­al­is­tic ex­pec­ta­tions that were placed on chil­dren to play under adult reg­u­la­tions — in­clud­ing bowl­ing on full-sized pitches and try­ing to hit fours or sixes past mas­sive bound­aries.

Analysts who stud­ied the re­sults dur­ing the 2016-17 pilot noted vast im­prove­ments due to the changes. They ob­served there were less no-balls and wides bowled; more wick­ets; more fours and sixes and a huge im­prove­ment in shot place­ment.

Ju­nior cricket as­so­ci­a­tions around the coun­try have agreed to roll out the new for­mats over the next three years, with the SDCA set to adopt the new rules this sum­mer.

The roll-out of the new ju­nior for­mat will en­sure every child has a bat and a bowl, and will al­low play­ers the op­por­tu­nity to de­velop a greater skill set.

‘‘Wides are no longer the top­scorer in ju­nior cricket and there is more ac­tion, more runs, more wick­ets and a lot more fun,’’ Cricket ACT’s chief ex­ec­u­tive Cameron French said.

‘‘An­other ad­van­tage is the for­mats have sig­nif­i­cantly re­duced a game to two to three hours which makes the sport even more ap­peal­ing for fam­i­lies in a time-poor so­ci­ety.’’

One of the first changes is the name for the age groups: un­der­11s are now known as Stage 1 and under-13s are Stage 2.

Stage 1 teams field seven play­ers, play on a 16 m pitch to cut down on wides and no-balls, de­fend a shorter 40 m boundary and each player is given a chance to bat and bowl.

Those in Stage 2 will play in teams of nine, use an 18 m pitch and de­fend a 45 m boundary. Each player is guar­an­teed a chance to bat and bowl.

❝Wides are no longer the top-scorer in ju­nior cricket and there is more ac­tion, more runs, more wick­ets and a lot more fun.❞ Cricket ACT chief ex­ec­u­tive Cameron French

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