Guidelines for Junior Players in Open Age Cricket
The ECB has had several requests to clarify the guidelines issued in December 2022 on junior players in open age cricket.
The intention of merging previous guidance documents was to clarify this area for clubs and leagues to assist them with planning and fulfilling fixtures so as:
- 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 that young players should have in open age cricket and thus clubs should 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.
The guidelines are designed to help clubs to decide when to select young players in open age competitive cricket and how best to help their cricketing development when they play within open age groups.
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. In allowing these players to play in open age cricket it is essential clubs and coaches recognise the ‘duty of care’ obligations they have towards these young players.
This means boys and girls who are county squad and area squad players, are able to play open age group cricket if they are in an U12 age group and are a minimum of 11 years old on 1st September of the year preceding the season. District and club players who are not in a county or area squads must wait until they reach the U13 age group, be in Year 8 and be 12 years old on 1st September of the preceding year before being able to play in any open age group cricket. As before written parental consent is required for these players.
These guidelines cover the selection and participation of young players in open age cricket. They designed to help clubs to decide when to select young players in open age cricket and how best to help their cricketing development when they play within open age groups.
They apply to boys and girls equally.