The essential rules of the backyard game
Apparently, this summer is going to be an absolute belter, so bring on the backyard cricket.
There will be variations of this beloved game, from Kaitaia to Bluff, but these are some standard guidelines that all backyard cricket games should live by:
One hand, one bounce. The most important rule. Handy as you can keep a beer in one hand. If the batsman hits the ball, it bounces once and is snared by the bowler or a fielder, you’re gone. No juggles, can’t be out off a full-toss delivery, and you can’t drop a catch and then achieve one hand, one bounce.
Tips. You hit it, you run (when playing with two batsmen). Backyard cricket has no place for Geoffrey Boycott crease-hogging.
Only the batsman who hits it can get run out.
No golden ducks. Keeps the ladies, children and those of ordi- nary batsmanship happy.
LBW. Doesn’t exist in backyard cricket.
Caught behind. If a tree or fence is playing as wicketkeeper, anything that hits behind the wicket on the off side is out. For those not up with cricket lingo, off side is the way the bat is facing.
Banter. Crucial. ‘‘Does your husband play?’’ ‘‘He’s got hands like feet.’’ ‘‘I’ve seen better swings in a playground’’ etc.
Reverse sweep. Has to be done at least once per innings - just don’t go down in the stance before the bowler delivers.
A minimum of three tennis balls is advised as water/dogs/children/gullies/trees come into play. A decision must be made before start of play whether to tape one side of the ball for swing.
The bat should be of a certain vintage such as Duncan Fearnley or Newbury.
The stumps at the facing batsman’s end should be makeshift bits of wood, the classic Kiwi plastic cricket set, a tree or a rubbish bin.
A chilly bin as stumps at the bowler’s end. Full of ice and dubious quality beer.
A dog. Optional. Can be both a hindrance (slobber, haring off with the ball) and useful (searching in gorse, heading into the water to fetch).
Footwear should be jandals or none at all.
Use the above rules as a guide and add your own. What’s important is you get out there and play!
Ex-New Zealand cricket captain Stephen Fleming: handy.