Youth Cricket – Fielding Regulations
The ECB has regulations covering the minimum fielding distances for young players in all matches where a hard ball is used, including Open Age cricket.
- No young player in the Under 15 age group or younger shall be allowed to field closer than 8 yards (7.3 metres) from the middle stump, except behind the wicket on the off side, until the batsman has played at the ball.
- For players in the Under 13 age group and below the distance is 11 yards (10 metres).
- These minimum distances apply even if the player is wearing a helmet.
- Should a young player in these age groups come within the restricted distance the umpire must stop the game immediately and instruct the fielder to move back.
- In addition any young player in the Under 16 to Under 18 age groups, who has not reached the age of 18, must wear a helmet and, for boys, an abdominal protector (box) when fielding within 6 yards (5.5 metres) of the bat, except behind the wicket on the off side.
- Players should wear appropriate protective equipment whenever they are fielding in a position where they feel at risk.
- These fielding regulations are applicable to all cricket in England and Wales. Age groups are based on the age of the player at midnight on 31st August in the year preceding the current season.
Safety Guidance on the Wearing of Cricket Helmets by Young Players
The England and Wales Cricket Board (ECB) issued safety guidance on the wearing of helmets by young players up to the age of 18, the guidance recommends that:
- Helmets with a faceguard or grille should be worn when batting against a hard cricket ball in matches and in practice sessions
- Young players should regard a helmet with a faceguard as a normal item of protective equipment when batting, together with pads, gloves and, for boys, an abdominal protector (box)
- Young wicket keepers should wear a helmet with a faceguard, or a wicketkeeper face protector when standing up to the stumps. With the assistance of schools, cricket clubs and leagues, the wearing of helmets by young players is now standard practice in cricket throughout England and Wales. Helmets and Face Protectors are widely available and are covered by British Standards.
- Original guidance allowed parents or guardians to give their written consent to allow a young player not to wear a helmet. This option no longer applies.
- This guidance applies to all players up to the age of 18, both in Open Age cricket and in all junior cricket played with a hard cricket ball.
- The guidance also applies during all practice sessions. Any individual taking responsibility for players must take all reasonable steps to ensure that this guidance is followed at all times.
- Young players are not allowed to bat or stand up to the stumps when keeping wicket against a hard ball without wearing appropriate protection.