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A new season...and it didnt take long

posted 9 May 2014, 06:47 by Mike Madden   [ updated 9 May 2014, 06:52 ]
Confidently expecting rain I booked a week's break in Fuerteventura that coincided with the first match of the season, but the weather played tricks and it was a pleasant day as the seconds headed to Buxton under the guidance of Andrew Gibson. We have a junior in our ranks this summer who has been given dispensation to play open age cricket, despite his age, and he was given the opportunity to perform in the season opener. Unforunately the required paperwork did not appear to be in place, an oversight by many, and it would appear that the junior would not be allowed to play, which would have evened up the sides as Buxton only had 10 men. Now, I have no complaints regarding the umpire, he was following the rules. Unfortunately the rule book was not available until two days before the fixture, when I was already away, and although the rule probably hadn't changed since the previous season my 2013 handbook went the way of half empty Lucozade bottles, rotting tubigrips and chewing gum that had seen better days in preparation for the new campaign. I did check the ECB website, under whose guidance we all must play, and it was clear that our youngster was eligible...

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, are in School Year 7 on 1st September 
in the year preceding the season, and have 
written parental consent to play.

However, the written consent was with a) the parent who was in the first team and b) myself in the Canaries (for those of you wondering...)

I believe that common sense ultimately prevailed, although it appears that the junior should have had consent from the league too, and not just his parents.

Now, my question is this. When is a junior eligible to play open age cricket? Is it, as states above, that he has quaified through selection and parental consent? Or is it when pieces of paper are put in place? The start of the season is a fraught enough time as it is, and the umpire was clearly trying to do the right thing, but a lot of what happens with juniors is already taken on trust.

We could have a junior, lets call him Brian Rix to avoid any disclosure issues, who is under 17 as is clearly stated on the umpire sheet submitted by the captain. But what if Brian Rix is actually under 16, or under 18? No one checks birth certificates and so this is taken on trust. And what if young Brian is unavailable for some reason, and another junior, who we shall call Terence Scott, takes his place. Now the umpire doesnt know Terry or Brian from Adam, so again it is taken on trust that the junior listed at under 17 on the sheet is not unly under 17, but is actually Brian Rix.

Anyway, you will be pleased to know that the league have now granted the necessary approval and the junior, who is not Brian or Terry, will be allowed to play in future (if he carries his paperwork with him).

As a footnote, it has also been pointed out to the vice captain that there is a reason for the age group of juniors to be listed on the umpire sheet, and adding the ages of every player from 12 to 65 is not only not funny but is actually obstructive!
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