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Cricket returns

The Home Counties Premier Cricket League have announced their season starts next Saturday.

"Confirmed! HCPCL will return on 18 July. 8 league fixtures across all 20 clubs aimed at more local games than div 1 and 2 would have offered. Knock out tournament for those at the top in September. 40 over pink ball cricket, 12:30 start (12 from week 15)"

Fixtures are on their Twitter feed, not on their website yet:

Opening day fixtures:
Tring Park v Amersham
Datchet v Harefield
Buckingham v Oxford Downs
Thame Town v Wargrave
Aston Rowant v Henley
Wokingham v Finchampstead
Horspath v Banbury
Chesham v Great Brickhill
Burnham v High Wycombe
Slough v Oxford

No details yet on what the arrangements are for spectators, such as use of the clubhouse. I shall probably be at Buckingham, possibly Tring Park or Chesham.


  • I saw Oxford Downs win at Buckingham Town, 2nd division beating 1st division.

    Oxford won the toss and put Town in, making 200 for 4 from 40 overs. It was steady progress, over four an over but, strangely, not putting the foot down in the final overs, with so many wickets in hand. Jack Deal top scored with 72 not out.

    Downs started brightly, keeping up with the run rate, and comfortably reached the target in the 34th over, with 204 for 2, the last two putting on over 100. Town bowling was disappointing, not incisive and ill disciplined, exemplified by medium pacer Greg Liebenberg. The 18 year old Zimbabwean, with one first class game under his belt, had a mad two overs.

    The first one went for 16 runs with some wild deliveries, none more so than one head high full toss which smashed into the batman's helmet. Thankfully the batsman was able to continue after a break but Liebenberg repeated the ball in his second over, just missing the batsman this time. The Umpire immediately called an end to his bowling and the captain delivered the final two balls of the over. Liebenberg had conceded another 11 runs from his shortened second over. I can't remember seeing a bowler stopped like this from continuing, perhaps it's not uncommon at lower levels. I assume he was rusty and short of net practice but that doesn't excuse such misdirected bowling.

    There were about 30 or so spectators present, they were meant to register on arrival, very few did. The clubhouse was not open for business, although you could use the toilet. Players came dressed and based themselves outside. Spectators were not meant to touch the ball, so kicking it back was the order of the day.

    Scorecards from today's results here, including wins for High Wycombe, Chesham and Amersham.

  • Thanks, Steve. The two-high-full-tosses-and-you're-off rule came in last season, I think. It's fair enough, but at the less rarified end of the game it's caused some problem, particularly in bringing young bowlers into adult cricket. Seeing a promising 15-year-old bowler taken out of the attack in their second over, when they are bound to be a little erratic seems to me and many others unhelpful. It often depends on the umpires, some of whom are inclined to be more understanding, but frankly, we have enough trouble keeping youngsters playing the game without making them feel like pariahs.

  • @our_frank it is a very good point - did you hear Rob Key talking about umpiring kids games at the weekend? Saying how we just produce dobbers because kids that try for more pace or leg spinners trying to rip it just get wided by umpires with zero empathy.

    I must have started every first over as a 14/15 year old in adult cricket with at least one high full toss, bowling out the back of my hand.

  • @peterparrotface Agreed, though I didn't hear Rob Key. The most acute problems come with leggies and fast bowlers. You want them to be trying to put pace or revolutions through the ball; they may well have grown 4, 5 or 6 inches since the previous season and then we're penalising them for the odd wild ball.

  • The two full tosses above waist height and you're off has been in the laws for many years now.

    One of a number of poor bits of law-making by MCC in recent years, aimed at the very small proportion of players for whom a waist-high full toss is not a gift to be dispatched to the boundary. It's had a strange effect on the young players I coach and umpire, too. Instead of licking their lips as a free hit (because it will be a no ball) approaches them (as was the case when we were kids even though it was not a no ball) they tend to have a helpless, hurt look overcome them as they do everything in their power to avoid hitting it no matter how juicy an offering it may be.

  • Don't know what level you play at but I wouldn't necessarily say a waist high full toss would only not be despatched to the boundary by a "small proportion of players"!!!

    👍 👎 ( 1 )
  • @HCblue Thanks. Some rudimentary research tells me that the rule was introduced in 2018. But it might have applied in the rarefied cricket you are used to (where high full tosses are slapped away as gimmes!) earlier.

  • I'm primarily talking about schoolboy cricket, @eric_plant. By no means all such deliveries are gimmes, of course. But the idea that they are so dangerous across the entire game as to require legislating for is not correct and the requirement that bowlers be taken off for them is far too extreme a sanction for those not playing the game at a high level, where bowlers might be expected to have a high level of control. There has always been the capacity for playing regulations specific to a competition to be introduced that could cover this sort of thing much better than this blanket law.

    Not sure where you looked, @our_frank, but the full toss law has been there for many years (at least ten, I fancy), albeit it's changed a little since its inception.

  • I see. @our_frank. In fact, that article refers to the fact that MCC realised that the two high full tosses and you're off was an inappropriate sanction at most levels of the game (rather as I was suggesting) and had removed that condition from law 41.7.

  • In 2019, yes.

    Aside from saying that the MCC has seen the error of its ways, it says, "The Law 41.7.1, as introduced in 2018, stated that "any delivery, which passes or would have passed, without pitching, above waist height of the striker standing upright at the popping crease, is to be deemed dangerous and unfair, whether or not it is likely to inflict physical injury on the striker."

    On the occasion of a second high full toss the bowler must be removed from the attack. Even a wide full toss must be regarded as "dangerous"."

    So that suggests that I'm not going mad and that it was 2 seasons ago that the 2-and-out rule was introduced to the unsophisticated levels of the game which I inhabit.

  • Ah, I see. That may well be so.

    Honestly, we never considered applying the two and out law anyway in the games I've been involved in.

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