Canterbury Cricket will implement changes to transform the junior game next summer. Juniors will start their cricket journey on grounds with shorter pitches, smaller boundaries and with less fielders, to enable a faster paced game with increased activity.
Canterbury Cricket believes the changes will result in more balls in play, more runs scored and increased fielder activity.
The changes include a reduction in pitch length from 20m to 16-18m depending on the group’s stage; limited boundary sizes and has either seven or nine players on the field.
Players will progress to playing on the full-sized adult’s pitch, and with 11 players on the field, after participating in two development stages: the under 10/11s and the under 12/13s.
The changes are based on extensive research and piloting by Cricket Australia and are endorsed by New Zealand Cricket, which expects the changes to be implemented countrywide in the 2018-19 season. The changes were also unanimously endorsed by Canterbury Cricket’s district and sub associations at a recent Community Cricket Conference.
Feedback from the pilot programmes in Australia showed that the shorter pitch resulted in fewer wides and no balls, and the match scorecards showed that there were more balls in the hitting zone for the batsmen.
Canterbury Cricket Chief Executive, Lee Germon, urged people to consider the changes as a great opportunity for children to develop their skills in a fun and engaging way.
“Some of these formats are already being played successfully throughout Canterbury and this will ensure consistency throughout our province,” he said.
“These changes will include inter-district and sub-association junior level matches (Year 8 and below) and tournaments – which will mean our young cricketers will be playing the same formats from South Canterbury to the West Coast and everywhere in between.
Mr Germon said the modifications would allow children to better develop their skills; experience more success, build greater confidence, and be more involved in each game.
“It should also, importantly, reduce the potential for injury through having age and stage-appropriate transitioning to the adult game. This is critical in developing techniques and skills that are sustainable over time”, he said.
“The changes will mean more children starting to play cricket, and more children staying in the game for longer.”
“I’m confident that these changes are the most important Canterbury Cricket will make to junior participation,” said Germon.
“They’ll help develop a generation of Canterbury youngsters who have basic cricket skills and allow them to really enjoy cricket, setting them up for a lifetime love of our great game.”
A roadshow of information sessions will be developed with local cricket associations in Canterbury over the winter which will provide the opportunity for parents, children and all those involved in cricket to understand and ask any questions about the formats.
Greater explanation and a summary of changes is included in the following pages.