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.

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