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Before Australia Day you will need to get the backyard cricket pitch sorted – mow the day before and remember to never remove more than one-third of the grass blade. Don’t water too close to the game or the pitch will be boggy and the soil could become compacted underneath.

Clear any overhanging branches that could impede play or sunlight reaching the lawn, and you’re all set, except for the rules. While every family and group of friends might have a slightly different set of backyard cricket rules, these are the standard rules via the team at Quest Newspapers.


Getting started:

  • Start with two teams of equal players (you can decide how to determine ‘equal’)
  • You will need a pitch and wickets at either end (wheelie bins, eskies, fences, dog houses and anything else you can find around the yard will do for a wicket)
  • Official ball is a tennis ball, often tampered with but it’s all legal in the backyard
  • Toss to start the game and decide whether team fields or bats. Aussie poet
  • Rupert McCall says if you win the toss, always choose to bat
  • Winner is determined after all batters on each team have batted. The team with the most runs is the winner


  • Children can bowl underarm
  • The bowler will continue to bowl until either:
  1. another fielder asks how many balls left to which the bowler must reply “this is my last ball
  2. the batter asks how many balls left to which the bowler must reply “three left”

During match play:

  • Batter cannot be given out on the first ball
  • Batter is given “out” if wickets are dislodged or ball is caught
  • No LBW (leg before wicket)
  • Six and out. If the ball goes over the fence or into the pool, six runs are recorded but batter is given out and batter must retrieve the lost ball
  • Break a window or damage plants and you’re out {and you better hide from your mother / wife}
  • One hand, one bounce — a fielder can catch the ball with one hand after one bounce and batter will still be given ‘out’ {some prefer to only employ this rule if fielder’s other hand is occupied — usually with a beverage or sausage on bread}
  • If a pet catches the ball, you’re out {and should give that pet a snag off the BBQ — that’s impressive!}
    One-hand catch off a rebound from a wall or roof means the batter is out

Optional rules you can have fun with:

  • Set up automatic wicket-keeper and slips — if the ball hits these locations, the batter is out
  • Set up a maximum score. When a batter reaches the predetermined score they are forced into retirement

End of game:

  • The game is deemed over when all batters have been declared ‘out’, the
  • BBQ is ready, all balls have been lost or bad light stops play
  • All damage to gardens and windows is deemed to have occurred before the start of play
  • Shake hands and share a beer together. All is forgiven.

On behalf of the team at Daleys Turf – enjoy your Australia Day public holiday.

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