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ECB Guidelines for Junior Players playing Senior (open age) Cricket

ECB Guidelines for Junior Players playing Senior (open age) Cricket

The  ECB has  issued  guidance covering the selection and participation of young players in open age group cricket. This is to help clubs decide when to select young players in open age group  cricket  and  how  best  to  help  their  cricketing  development  when  they  play within  open age  groups.  The  guidance  applies  to  boys  and  girls.  The  ECB  keeps  these  guidelines under  review.    Put  simply,  the  overall  aim  is  to  allow  young  players  to  develop  in  safety,  but not  to  spoil  the  game  for  adults.    For  the  avoidance  of  doubt,  this  guidance  applies  to  training and nets  as well as games, for men's and women's cricket, and for the indoor game.

Making  the  step  up  from  junior  to  open age group  cricket  is  an  important  event  in any player’s  cricket  experience.  The player’s  safety, personal  development needs and  overall  cricket  experience must  be  considered. Typically at Poulton, the first experience of open age cricket will take place in the friendly environment of a Sunday game where the result is secondary to the enjoyment of every player. It is not a league game. 

In terms of our commitment to steps taken for caring for our young players:

  • Poulton's coaches, captains and managers will  take into account the requirements on age detailed in this guidance.
  • Each  case  must  be  determined  on  an individual basis, depending on the player’s  ability  and  stage  of  cognitive  and emotional  maturity  to  take  part  in  Open Age  cricket The  minimum age guidance provided below will be  followed.
  • Juniors  should  be  involved  in  all  aspects of the game wherever possible i.e. socialising, team talks, practice, decision making and so on, so they feel part of the team
  • Children will often feel more comfortable and able to perform if they have a family member or friend also playing in the side
  • A child’s early experiences will remain with them always and will often determine whether they want to remain playing the game or  give  up  and do something else so at Poulton we take this initial stage very seriously 
  • We will provide  an  opportunity  for  players  to show their  talents in an appropriate way. Children who are just used as fielders will not fully experience the game but equally we will be fully aware of the batsmen or bowlers they will face. 
  • We wil be supportive, at all times, for all forms of  effort  even  when  children  are  not successful. We will try and put them in situations where they will experience some success (however small) and ensure plenty of praise and encouragement
  • The captain  will inform the Umpires of under 18s in the side. 


ECB  Helmets, Fast  Bowling  Directives and Fielding Regulations will always be adhered to for junior players in Open age group cricket.

Minimum age

The  minimum  age  for  Open  Age  cricket  is the  under13  age  group.  Players  must  be  in  Year 8,  and  12  years  old  on  the  1st  September  of the preceding year. This  applies  to  all  club  and  district  players who  are  not  in  a  county  or  area  squad  (or region  in  Wales).  Written  parental  consent is  required.

Exceptionally,  players  who  are  selected  in  a  County  U12  squad  (or  Regional  squad  in Wales)  in  spring  for  a summer  squad  -  are also eligible to play Open age cricket 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. 

At  under  12  level, the  ECB  recommends  that  the  focus  is on  participation  rather  than  Talent  I.D, and  many counties  no  longer  run  under 12  squads.  Inclusion  of  ANY  Under  12s in  Open  Age  teams  should  be  an exception  and  not an expectation.

Poulton Cricket Club takes the  ‘duty  of  care’  obligations  we have towards  young players  in Open Age cricket incredibly seriously. This duty of care is interpreted in two ways:

  • Not to place a young player in a position that  involves  an  unreasonable  risk  to that young player, taking account of the circumstances of the match and the relative skills of the player
  • Not to create a situation that  places members of the opposing side in a position whereby  they  cannot  play  cricket  as  they would  normally do against adult players

In  addition,  the  guidelines  note  the  need  for clubs and leagues to recognise the positive experience young players should have in open age cricket. Clubs should provide an opportunity for players to show their talents in an appropriate way.