Junior Cricketers playing in Open Aged Group Cricket Matches
The ECB has issued guidance covering the selection and participation of young players in open age group cricket. It is designed to help clubs to decide when to select young players in open age group cricket and how best to help their cricketing development when they play within open age groups. The ECB keeps guidelines under review and, following feedback from clubs and leagues, has revised these guidelines for the 2011 season.
Making the step up from junior to open age group cricket is a significant event in any player’s cricket experience. Ensure that the player’s safety, personal development needs and overall cricket experience are considered.
There is no definitive age at which they should be introduced to open age group cricket but determine each case on an individual basis dependant on their ability and stage cognitive and emotional maturity to take part at this level, however, clubs, squad coaches and managers must take into account the requirements on age at point 9 of this guidance.
ECB Fast Bowling Directives and Fielding Regulations should always be adhered to for junior players in open age group cricket.
Provide an opportunity for players to show their talents in an appropriate way. Children who are just used as fielders will not fully experience the game.
Be supportive at all times for all forms of effort even when children are not successful. Try and put them in situations where they will experience some success (however small) and ensure plenty of praise and encouragement.
try and involve them in all aspects of the game wherever possible i.e. socialising, team talks, practice, decision making etc. so they feel part of the team.
Children will often feel more comfortable and able to perform if they have a family member or friend also playing in the side.
Remember, children’s early experiences will remain with them always and will often determine whether they want to remain playing the game or give up and something else.
Players who are selected in a County U12 squad in Spring for a summer squad or in another squad deemed by ECB Performance Managers to be of a standard above ‘District level’ for that season are eligible to play Open Age Cricket. This is providing they are at least 11 years old, and in School Year 7 on 1 September in the year preceding the season and have written parental consent to play. In allowing these players to play in Open Age Cricket it is essential that Clubs and Coaches recognise the ‘Duty of Care’ obligations towards these young players.
This means that County Squad and Area Squad players, both boys and girls are able to play Open Age Group Cricket if they are U12 Age group and are a minimum of 11 years old on 1 September of the year preceding the season. District and club players who are not in a County or Area squad must wait until they reach the U13 age group, 12 years old, Year 8 on 1 September of the preceding year prior to being able to play in any Open Age Cricket, again written parental consent is required for these players.
The duty of care should be interpreted in two ways:
Not to place a young player in a position that involves an unreasonable risk to that young player, taking account of the circumstances of the match and the relative skills of the player.
Not to create a situation that places members of the opposing side in a position whereby they cannot play cricket as they would normally do against adult players.
In addition the following specific requirements apply to young players in open aged group cricket matches:
All young players who have not reached their 18th birthday must wear a helmet with a faceguard when batting and when standing up to the stumps when keeping wicket. Parental consent not to wear a helmet should not be accepted in open aged group cricket matches. A young player acting as a runner must also wear a helmet even if the player he is running for is not doing so.
The current ECB fielding regulations must be adhered to and enforced by the umpires and captain. The umpires are empowered by these fielding regulations to stop the game immediately if a young player comes within the restricted distance.
The umpires and the opposing captain must be notified of the age group of all players participating in an open aged group cricket match who are in the Under 19 age group or younger even if the player is not a fast bowler. This requirement also covers any young player taking the field as a substitute fielder. The ECB Team Sheet cards* are freely available to facilitate this.
It is strongly recommended that a parent, guardian or other identified responsible adult is present whenever a player in the Under 13 age group plays in an open aged group match. This could include the captain or other identified adult player taking responsibility for the young player.
Safety guidance on the wearing of cricket helmets by young players
In February 2000 the England and Wales Cricket Board (ECB) issued safety guidance on the wearing of helmets by young players up to the age of 18. This guidance applies to all players up to the age of 18, both in open age group cricket and in all junior cricket played with a hard cricket ball. The guidance also applies during all practice sessions. Any individual taking responsibility for players should take all reasonable steps to ensure this guidance is followed at all times.
Helmets with a faceguard or grille should be worn when batting against a hard cricket ball in matches and in practice sessions
Young players should regard a helmet with a faceguard as a normal item of protective equipment when batting, together with pads, gloves and, for boys, an abdominal protector (box)
Young wicket-keepers should wear a helmet with a faceguard when standing up to the stumps
With the assistance of schools, cricket clubs and leagues, the wearing of helmets by young players is now standard practice in cricket throughout England and Wales. Helmets are widely available and are covered by the latest British Standard.
This guidance applies to all players up to the age of 18, both in open age cricket and in all junior cricket played with a hard cricket ball. The guidance also applies during all practice sessions. Any individual taking responsibility for players should take all reasonable steps to ensure that this guidance is followed at all times.
Junior fielding regulations
The ECB has regulations covering the minimum fielding distances for young players in all matches where a hard ball is used.
No young player in the Under 15 age group or younger shall be allowed to field closer than 8 yards (7.3 metres) from the middle stump, except behind the wicket on the off side, until the batsman has played at the ball.
For players in the Under 13 age group and below the distance is 11 yards (10 metres).
These minimum distances apply even if the player is wearing a helmet.
Should a young player in these age groups come within the restricted distance the umpire must stop the game immediately and instruct the fielder to move back.
In addition any young player in the Under 16 to Under 18 age groups, who has not reached the age of 18, must wear a helmet and, for boys, an abdominal protector (box) when fielding within 6 yards (5.5 metres) of the bat, except behind the wicket on the off side. Players should wear appropriate protective equipment whenever they are fielding in a position where they feel at risk.
These fielding regulations are applicable to all cricket in England and Wales. Age groups are based on the age of the player at midnight on 31st August in the year preceding the current season.
ECB Fast Bowling Directive
The fast bowling directives are designed to raise awareness of the need to nurture and protect young fast bowlers through their formative years. Research has shown that fast bowlers are by far the most likely players to be missing playing and training time due to injury.
Max Overs Per Spell
Max Overs Per Day
Up to 13
U14 / U15
U16 / U17
U18 / U19
For these purposes a fast bowler should be defined as a bowler to whom a wicket keeper in the same age group would in normal circumstances stand back to take the ball.