Shortcut to success – part 3

The results are in from Australia – shorter pitches will be introduced for U11s & U13s, nationwide, starting from next season.

Good to see this is going ahead – time for the ECB to pick up another CA initiative?

But this isn’t ‘proper’ cricket…

For anyone who still thinks that juniors need to play on full length pitches, with full size equipment, CA posted a brilliant video showing some elite players using over-sized kit.

Now this definitely is not proper cricket!

A couple of the comments on the CA site do beg the question as to what format has been used in Australia for these age groups: Junior cricket overhaul to transform summer

The increase in the proportion of playable deliveries is impressive, but just how inaccurate was the bowling, previously?

The same question occurs when a coach can be quoted as saying “I was frustrated to watch (during 2015-16) a lot of our batsmen padded up and ready to go, but they had to run off the wicket and on to the grass to try and hit the ball.”

What did junior cricket look like in Australia before the new formats were proposed?

Terriers cricket, 1970s

It is true – nothing new under the sun!

When I first played Club “Colts” cricket (45 years ago, now, back in the early 1970s), we only ever played “Terriers” games at U12:

  • 8-a-side, batting in pairs (so everyone batted for 4 overs), everyone except the ‘keeper had to bowl (at least 2 overs);
  • I can’t remember how long the pitches were, but I do recall that deliveries that bounced more than once were rare (and remarked on), so I assume that we were playing on strips significantly shorter than regulation 22 yards; boundaries were marked with flags, 20 yards or more inside the (painted) line used for adult cricket.

This wasn’t “mini festival” cricket – this was (occasionally fiercely) competitive, inter-club, season-long league cricket, played (mostly) on Sunday mornings on a strip cut on the club’s 1st XI square.

Anyone know why (and when) this format was dropped?

Published by Andrew Beaven

Cricket coach, fascinated by the possibilities offered by the game. More formally - ECB level 2 cricket coach; ECB National Programmes (All Stars & Dynamos Cricket) Activator Tutor; Chance to Shine & Team Up (cricket) deliverer; ECB ACO umpire.

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