Image: The LeftBacks
It’s that time of year again - time to dust off the old Powerscoop from the back of the shed, steal all of dad's electrical tape, set the mower to the lowest cut and run 3 x 20m strips down the middle of your backyard.
That’s right folks, it’s backyard cricket season.
There are two great reasons to get your family and mates together and enjoy Australia’s favourite summer tradition the weekend
- It’ll save you and your mates crying in each other’s arms after another horrific Australia battling collapse
- If you’re in good touch, you’ll improve your chances of replacing Nic Maddinson in the national team next summer
While backyard cricket is a staple in most ‘Strayan driveways and backyards, each deck has its own quirky rules and regulations. So it’s time to set the record straight… presenting Triple M's Official Guide to Backyard cricket.
The Definitive Laws:
- One hand, one bounce – This one is a staple. If the ball has bounced once, the fielder is able to dismiss the batsman by catching the ball with one hand (A rule widely believed to be introduced to allow fielders to suck on a VB whilst still having an impact on the game).
- 6 and out – “Yeah nice shot, d*ckhead”. No one likes a slogger, hence the most diplomatic rule of backyard cricket. Hit it over the fence on the full, you’re out. Oh, and go fetch it too mate. If you can’t find the ball, get a new one. If you can’t find a new ball, just walk home – no one wants you here.
- Not out on the first ball – You know that cousin of yours who looks like he could have an aneurysm every time he kicks a football? This rule is for him. At least let him face two balls – it’ll do wonders for his self-esteem.
- No LBW – Howzat? Not out.
- Caught by the dog / clothesline / pool / pot plant / tree – This one depends on the ground you’re playing on. But in any backyard, the dog is your most prized fielder.
If you’re feeling a bit warm, smack one straight into the pool. You’ll have to go fetch it, but that’ll give you a nice cool off before you come in for a blistering 3 over spell of left-arm chinaman around the wicket.
- Tipsy run – You’re not faced with an imposing 500 to chase down with 6 wickets down on the final day, so you’re certainly not blocking the day out for a draw. If there’s two batsmen in, it’s tip and run pal.
So they’re the basics, but there are a couple of other rules that are a little contentious around these parts…
The Contentious Rules:
Electric wickie – If you’ve got limited room to play in, then Gilly the Electric Wickie is your best mate. Not only is he tidy behind the stumps, but he extends as far as third slip. The only exception is leg slide – bowl too straight and glance it for 4 and you’re safe.
But, if you’ve got a nice big backyard to play with, there’s nothing like having a full slips cordon and a bit of chirp amongst the boys. Ditch the electric wickie and play for real.
Rebound catches off the house / fence / roof / project car that’s been stationary for 8 years – In some households, hitting the house, fence or roof on the full is out. But we think that’s a bit of a hack.
This rule is essentially one hand, one bounce but off a vertical surface. If the batsman hits a vertical surface on the full, you can catch them out with one hand. If it goes onto the roof, dribbles off and caught with one hand, gone. If it hits Davo’s pile of sh*t Kingswood and is caught with one hand, back to the pavilion, buddy.
Other things to keep in mind:
- Finding the right bat – Sorry, but that plastic, cracked Milo bat of your son's won’t do. Neither will your freshly knocked in, overpriced Spartan. The best backyard cricket bats are buried deep in the garden shed, or from dad’s old kit bag. The older, the better.
- Prepare the pitch – If you want to have the home ground advantage for Summers to come, you owe it to your mates to have the right deck. This means NO BINDIS in the yard, a clearly mowed pitch, plenty of room on the off and leg side, and of course, beers flowing. A pitch with variable bounce is also favourable.
- Ball tampering is ENCOURAGED (Faf will be proud) – Unlike the recent ‘Lollygate’ scandal, we openly encourage you to make that ball talk in any way you can. Duct tape, electrical tape, shave the ball in half, inject concrete into the ball…etc.
Our personal favourite – on a concrete deck, wrap a golf ball in duct tape until it looks about the size of a cricket ball. Have fun facing that.
- Sledging is also ENCOURAGED – “I didn’t know Kookaburra made fishing rods, mate”. Nothing’s too harsh in the backyard.
- Know when to give up your wicket – Yeah, we know you had the fifth highest average in your D-Grade team last year. But remember that most of the blokes you’re playing against can’t even grip the bat properly. Once you’ve enjoyed 10 minutes at the crease, pop up a nice easy catch to your mate’s sister who you’ve been eyeing off all afternoon.
- Share around the bowling amongst the lads – Likewise, you’ve told us all a million times about that game changing 4 over spell you bowled in your U15’s grand final. But when someone asks how many balls you’ve got left in the over after sending your 10th ball down leg side in a row, then it’s time to wrap it up.
- Bowled is bowled – regardless of what your stumps are – “But it hit the wheel of the wheelie bin”. You’re out. “But it hit the handle of the esky”. On your bike, mate. “But the ball didn’t hit the front of the milk crate, it went inside it”. WHO’S UP NEXT FELLAS?
- Match your batters and bowlers – Yeah, be that hero who fires a toe-crushing yorker to Aunty Mary causing her to impale herself on the stumps. Make your 6-year-old nephew chase 4 balls to the fence in row. Nice one, champ. Try and match up your batters and bowlers to their own skill levels, and share it around evenly amongst everyone.
Most importantly, have a drink in hand, the BBQ firing, slide the bat and have fun.