by Peter Edwards,

Ah the joy of the festive season. Sunshine, holidays and get-togethers lead to perfect conditions for a game of backyard (or frontyard/park/beach) cricket. 

Whether you're playing with family, friends or neighbours, backyard cricket rules often vary from person to person. To help avoid rule confusion this summer, LiveLighter's Peter Edwards shares his family's backyard cricket rules.

Officiating and set-up

  1. Assign an official umpire. In our house it’s Mum, who also acts as the third umpire and is responsible for all reviews. What she says, goes.
  2. All players can bat and bowl, however a player cannot be dismissed from batting and then immediately bowl.
  3. A green wheelie bin, a deck chair or an esky shall be used as wickets at opposing ends of a pitch.
  4. The official backyard cricket ball is, of course, a tennis ball. Tampering with the ball is at the discretion and consensus of all players.

Bowling / Fielding

  1. The bowler will continue to bowl until either:
    1. The batsman asks how many balls left; or
    2. Another fielder asks how many balls are left. In both instances, the bowler has three balls and must finish the over.
  2. A rule for our family game, if Dad’s around, he must bowl spin at all times. Alternatively, he comes off a three-step run up and bowls with the opposite hand.
  3. Kids may bowl to their full ability to any older players; but “slow-medium” pace to anyone younger.
  4. The bowling crease is to be taken by a crack in the road / driveway, or by an identifiable patch in the grass.
  5. One hand, one bounce ie. catching a ball with one hand off the first bounce is given out.


  1. No player can be given out first ball. Similarly, no player can be given out second ball when the age gap from bowler to batter is greater than 15 years
  2. “Auto Wickie” rule to be applied at all times. Will vary by venue, but any deflection off the bat carrying at least 30cm passed the stumps, anywhere from 10 o’clock to 12 o’clock (i.e. gully to keeper). Auto Wickie never drops a catch.
    * in cases where the third umpire / DRS fails to ascertain a ‘nick’, the batsmen will be responsible of making an honest call.
  3. Tip and run on the third ball faced. If a batsmen swings and misses, or deliberately leaves, the ‘tip and run’ delivery will roll-over to the subsequent ball.
  4. Six and Out. Hitting the ball over the fence will be given out. Similarly, hitting the ball onto the roof, the pool or into the washing on the line (and being caught) is also out.
  5. In any event that the ball is lost, a new one will be found, and the batsmen will be out.

We'd love to hear about the rules in your house in the comments section below! 

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