Hall Cricket is a bat and ball sport played between two teams based somewhat on cricket, usually of one or two players each, though 4 aside matches have been known. A hall cricket match is played in a hall of a house (which is usually long and thin), which can have a variety of surfaces (Tiled, Carpet, Parquet, Pleather, etc.) which is called the Pitch. At one end of the pitch is a large cereal packet and a pillow. This is called the wicket. A player from the fielding team (the bowler) bowls a table tennis ball from a chair at the other end of the pitch. The ball usually bounces once before reaching a player from the opposing team (the batsman), who defends the wicket from the ball with a hall cricket bat. The batsman must start from a kneeling position on the pillow to play the pitch. The batsman, if he or she does not get out, may score runs by hitting the ball into key parts of the pitch. The other members of the bowler's team (if there are any) stand or squat in various positions around the field as fielders. The match is won by the team that scores more runs.
Cricket has been an established team sport for less than two decades of Earth years. It originated in its modern form in Chestnut Avenue, Leeds, England. It has been known to be played in Germany, England, Spain and The USA (citation needed). There have been established amateur club competitions in countries as diverse as the Australia and Canada, among others.
Hall Cricket was invented (though some say it was discovered) in Chestnut Avenue, Leeds in the 1993. Soon after the momentous occasion the Chestnut Avenue Cricket Club (CACC) was formed who have been guardians of the game and its rules.
The Game: An Overview
Hall cricket is played as the name dictates in a hall. Not any hall will do for the purposes of official matches between registered players as in these circumstances a CACC ratified pitch must be used.
The object for the bowler is to bowl the ball (the action is more akin to pitching in baseball than the cricket equivalent) to try and get the batsman out. The bowler must be seated in the chair a �fair� distance (mutually agreed) from the wicket. The bowler cannot bowl out (to hit the stumps) a batsman with a ball that is �Too Fast� unless it hits the Snake.
The object of the batsman is firstly not to get out and secondly to score runs, which come from hitting the ball onto certain positions.
See also the original hall cricket home page.
Rules Of Play
Each over is made of twelve good balls.
The first ball is the first ball of a batsman�s innings. A batsman cannot be out until he/she has had his/her first ball. It must be considered a "fair ball." This means that it cannot be either a wide or a fast ball. If it is wide or fast the umpire will indicated that the batsman is receiving another first ball by saying "First Ball". Note that a batsman may score off of a fast first ball and get another first ball.
A wide is any ball that hits an object (excluding the snake) on the way to the batsman. On some very wide pitches distances from the crease could be measured but this is frowned upon. On pitches where the bowler is bowling from another room, the ball bouncing back off of the doorframe is not considered wide, just a dead ball. This is naturally humbling to the bowler.
The Shame of Two Wides
If a bowler bowls two wides in a row he is immediately removed from bowling attack for shaming the game. An unfinished over is marked in the book and the next ball is designated a First Ball. In the case of a 1 aside game a new over is started leaving the old over forever unfinished.
Fast ball is in reality less to do with speed and more to do with available reaction time. The length of the pitch therefore dictates what kind of ball is considered "fast". A long pitch like The Backs allowed faster "fair" deliveries than The Gods. Fast balls are considered good balls in all regards except you cannot be out bowled, LBW or Played On from them.
The standard of the batsman is also taken into consideration. A fast ball to an amateur may be considered fair to a board member in the same game! The calling of a fast ball is left to the discretion of the umpire.
The king of the fast ball is M. Bydder who used it as an intimidatory tactic often following the ball down the pitch while screaming (edit: executing a simple Howzat appeal to the umpire). This has often been cited as proof of his New Zealand roots for its similarity of effect on the opposition to the Haka is startling. It seems to have absolutely no effect whatsoever.
The bowler must be sat on a chair with his /her buttocks in contact with the chair. There is no control on how the ball is released from the hand with regard to body, arm or hand shape. As soon as the ball has left the hand the bowler may run down the pitch in an attempt to field the ball. T. Mellor is a renowned practitioner of this method of fielding.
The batsman must be knelt on a pillow. The pillow must in no way be hindering the line to leg stump (the closer edge of the wicket to the batsman). No part of the batsman's body or bat may be contact with the ground in front of the crease (the front edge of the pillow) or a stumping or run out is possible. The bowler may request that the batsman realigns the front of the pillow at any point in the contest. The batsman may not be run out as this readjustment is happening.
Official Hall Cricket Ball (An approved table tennis ball normally purchased from Bobats if at all possible)
A Hall Cricket Bat (An empty two litre drinks bottle, in the early days it was preferably one that had had very cheap cider in it)
A Wicket (usually a large cereal box on top of two telephone directories but in the case of a very large box it may suffice on its own)
The Snake (The symbol of the deity of Hall Cricket: Citation needed)
A Score Book (Normally a used or unused Green Laboratory Practical Book)
A Bat should be the love and devotion of any true cricketer. If you are kneeling without something hard in your hands you are not going to get far in the world of Hall Cricket. Flaccid Bat Syndrome (FBS) was cured with invention of the freezer. The drink (preferably industrial cider) should be consumed with plenty of time to spare before the match. The ideal should be the beverage from the container was consumed during the previous match to allow the bat to be rendered for play. Remove the lid and place the bat inside the freezer. Just before commencement of the match open the freezer a securely put the cap back on as tight as possible.
This is practical use of Gay-Lussac's law which states that Pressure and temperature are directly proportional if the volume is kept constant. As the gas in the bottle warms up the pressure inside makes it harder and therefore a better bat eliminating the embarrassing problem of FBS.
Often a batsman will leave a trace of the original beverage inside the bat, some speculate as an offering to the Snake. Others speculate that there is a technical explanation since the carbonation in the beverage comes out during agitation or that the heat of the hands leads to evaporation leading to a bit of extra hardness. Noone quite knows.
All good hall cricket pitches should have spare bats in the freezer.
Types of Deliveries
The Faster Ball
The faster ball, no - let us not be coy - the FAST ball, is the jewel in the crown of every genuine bowler's array of weaponry. It is the ball which more than any other says "I question your right to exist", Cartesian cogito notwithstanding.
Few players have mastered the true fast delivery, most settling for a medium-fast alternative, which medium-fast though it may be is not fast. Despite the obvious speed advantage of travelling at a serious fraction of the speed of light, which we all know is approximately 1.80 tera furlongs per fortnight in proper English units, the fast ball is also useful in that it depends on no sleight of hand in its delivery. You can inform the batsman beforehand what you are going to bowl, and it will be equally effective. With no other ball can one exert the same psychological terrorism. Therefore you will need to know how to bowl the King of deliveries.
Instructions for how to bowl the fast ball.*
Hold the ball in the right hand. Slowly raise the elbow diagonally and to the right. At the point when no further height can be achieved, turn from the waist until the shoulders are at 45 degrees to the batsman. Then leading from the chest, swivel around rapidly bringing the right arm down hard and snapping the elbow. Release the ball. You must anticipate where the bat will be, and aim there. In my experience, there is little error in assuming that the bat will be somewhere near the batsman's face. Whilst the ball is in the air it is important to use your excess momentum to travel down the pitch and put yourself in a catching position. Personally I recommend you locate yourself somewhere near the batsman's face. Make sure to appeal if you have any suspicion there may be a wicket. A simple "Howzat ?" is all that is required. In the event that the wicket has not fallen, collect the ball and return to the bowling seat. Remember to look for the run out attempt. General advice: Never let the batsman forget he is in the hot-seat. He must feel that his slightest error will cost him, which it will. It is cruel but it is cricket. Final advice: Although you must be prepared for recriminations, remember that no-one ever regretted having a fast bowler on their team.
- NB. It is not expected that any left-hander will ever be able to bowl the fast ball, therefore instructions are given only for the right- (or correct-) hander.
A great man once said "You're my bestest (hic) mate, I really love you." What was he talking about? From the context of the philosophical discussion, it seemed to be about beer and honour -in other words cricket, and from the extent of the ensuing carnage we know how deeply the game had affected him. We must however examine which aspect of the game had so deeply aroused his passions. The clue is presented later in the monologue recorded so beautifully in "Royal Park Tales: Real Urban Horror", where one of the protagonists rather wittily remarked "Spin on this!" and raised his hand to communicate a signal reminiscent of the "Virgin Grip". Perhaps we should have guessed that our hero was a spinner, and in awe of his art. Chamberlain once said "She is fucking beautiful", and he was undoubtedly talking about the graceful girl known as spin bowling. This section is a guide of how to get into her, and release your latent potential.
Firstly, sit down, close your eyes and visualize what you want to happen. Imagine the position of the legs and chest, and the movement as the action happens. Would you like it to go in perhaps touching the legs, or you may like it to go straight through. Perhaps you would like to speed up, or would like it to suddenly rear up in the face? Don't think of the batsman, the batter will have to accept what he is given - whether he likes it or not.
Secondly consider your grip. If you are a swinger you may not have developed the necessary strength in your grip. Do not be afraid, your balls will move laterally much more if your grip is firm. More important than this however is the placement of your fingers, practice and find areas that produce a pleasant affect.
Always remember what you are aiming for, if you are not ready, wait. the build up may be long but the climactic moment must be right: you don't want it to go the wrong way!
Finally remember that what you are doing is a beautiful thing. The batsman may not appreciate it, he may hit you, but be stubborn, and toss it back in.
The swing ball is a tactically different ball from the one employed by the outdoor version of the game. It is not dependent on the shininess of a surface but on the spin on the ball. Unlike a spinner who is dependent on a looping flight and movement off of the surface, the swing bowler relies on movement through the air. The added bonus is turn off of the pitch in the opposite direction to movement in the air if the ball is designed to pitch.
In or Out swinging Yorker
This is a ball that is not meant to pitch (or bounce on the ground). Rather, the ball moves sharply towards or away from the batsman. The in-swinger is aimed at off-stump with curved motion into the legs in the hope of a deflection onto the stump. Generally delivered from a lower trajectory than a faster ball or any pitching swinging ball. The simplest version of comes from snapping of the ball between the thumb and forefinger. The in-swinger comes out of an upward facing hand. The reverse is true of the out swinger. A talented swing bowler is able to move the forefinger in the snap reversing the action (dubbed reverse swing) The less often used out swinging Yorker is either aimed at the legs with the hope of hitting off-stump or at off-stump trying to draw an edge off the bat in matches with a wicket keeper.
The slider is low delivery with lots of backspin making it take the trajectory of a short ball delivery (the yellow ball) but the spin keeps the ball airborne to pitch on a length. On pitching the ball will kick up off of a length. When bowled well the batsman will be fooled into moving into a cross bat stance with the bat low to the ground. Thus the ball can pop up over the bat onto the stumps (the white ball).
A delivery that looks like a Yorker (the yellow ball) but the ball dips short of a length and then accelerates along the ground causing it arrive earlier than expected (the white ball). Used to good effect in union with the snake.
Split finger swinging cutter
Typically bowled with the ball held between the first and second fingers high above the head allowing for large amounts of variation in swing and speed. The ball will typically cut in the opposite direction to the swing.
Some bowlers have been known to bowl the fabled three movement ball or snake. Normally a short pitched out swinger that cuts back into the body before moving away again after pitching. Not the most successful delivery but beautiful to behold.
The Click Ball
A delivery only mastered by T. Virgo and used to devastating effect especially against the unwary. The characteristic click as the ball leaves the hand causes fear in even the most diligent of Batsmen. It remains unknown quite what the click ball does off the pitch but eyewitness reports suggest Not Much.
The Big Fat Lazy Full Toss
In an intense competitive situation with fast balls, cutters, seamers, swingers all on off stump or thereabouts it is often the Big Fat Lazy Full Toss lobbed in at head height that proves the undoing of a batsman on his way to a high score. With his eye is so finely tuned, he's reading everything perfectly but then what's this? Some joker throws a bag full of junk into the affray. The release of tension caused by seeing such an easy 4 runs creates a momentary lapse in concentration and he swings stupidly at it, missing and getting bowled out and humiliated simultaneously.
Other doors and radiators in the hall. It has been know that certain posters have been used as scoring points.
Hitting onto the stairs but it coming back down. Occasionally other risky shots like a radiator door on the offside can be rewarded with a 2 with prior agreement
There has possibly been a three on some pitches (Citation needed)
Hitting the ball past the Bowler
A Natural Four:
Landing and staying on the staircase
Hitting the bowler on the head, going upstairs (in the case of halls with a staircase), hitting the lampshade or landing in an orifice (defined as any upturned utility with a hole: e.g. a cup, a dustbin or more usually a shoe)
Methods of getting a batsman out:
Howzat is the traditional appeal to ask the proverbial question: "Is that out Umpire?" Unless the batman walks (a sadly disappearing occurrence when Batman calls him or herself out) the umpire will not give a player out unless there is an appeal.
A ball that is not too fast hits the stumps.
When the leg, or more usually the forearm in Hall Cricket, gets in the way of a ball that is not too fast from hitting the stumps.
The ball is caught by a fielder (not the bowler) before it touches the ground. N.B. You can be caught off of a fast ball.
Caught and Bowled
The ball is caught by the bowler before it touches the ground. N.B. You can be caught and bowled off of a fast ball.
The batsman in the course of playing a shot becomes off-balanced and touches the ground. A member of the fielding team, usually the wicket-keeper, hits the stumps will the player or his/her bat is still in contact with the ground. N.B. You can be stumped off of a fast ball.
As with stumped but at anytime during the game. No part of your body or bat may be in contact with the ground in front of the batting cushion at anytime. (N.B. feet behind the batting cushion do not count.) The batsman may ask permission of the umpire or bowler to move away from the crease: Either to get more booze or to relieve oneself. Elaborate deceptions have been organised to get a run out off of people who naturally place their bat on the ground before the ball is bowled. This is not considered bad sportsmanship.
Hitting the ball but it then goes on to hit the stumps. You cannot play on off of a fast ball.
The Early Years
39 Chestnut Avenue
19 Chestnut Avenue
The Golden Era
Sometimes described as the beginning of the Modern Era because rules were solidified and the games popularity started to grow. Two new board members were added to CACC as for the first time in the games history it move out of Chestnut Avenue completely. Talk was made of expanding overseas but some began to whisper that CACC talked too much. Perhaps this period of the game's history will be remembered most the new ideas that came with the new board members: like the formal inclusion of women into the game (against some tough opposition from some of the more established board members), the first professional player (Rik Turner), the introduction of Amateurs and the thankfully vetoed idea of proxy catching posters (Fought hand and nails by M. Bydder for the good of the game)(See here for the ruling)
Unfortunately it will also be remembered for the very sad, ugly and perhaps destructive "LBW Incident", which was the culmination of numerous erroneous decisions by a prominent umpire who should have known better, that took place at the Backs in spring 1999.
It is hoped that the era will really be judged by the fact that More Hall Cricket was played in the four years between 1995 and 1999 than in the rest of the game's history. Whether the game will ever be played with such devotion again is the question on everyone�s' lips.
Address: Kensington Terrace, LS6
Date: August 1995 - June 1996
Many consider the Tiles to be the stand out Test pitch which gave assistance to both bat and ball. Cracks in the wicket allowed for movement off the seam and the occasional ball stayed low. There was spin off of the surface and it was an ideal swing bowlers length. The bounce assisted the big hitting batsman and the decent scoring opportunities allowed the more calculated batmen to develop reasonable scores. What really made the pitch ideal was the provision for a wicket keeper and a good umpiring angle. The one weakness was the 3rd fielding position was awkward (Two possibilities: Square leg or Mid-on) and never really worked satisfactorily. It was on the basis of the ownership of this pitch that D Lomax and M Tweedie were admitted onto the board. Strangely for a pitch so universally celebrated that batting and bowling records are so low and that there was no staircase. The hours of slow deliberate eking out of runs from the days of the Chestnut Avenue pitches was not possible as any batsman knew that the perfect delivery might be just around the corner.
Address: Kensington Terrace, LS6
Date: Sept 1995 - June 1996
Many consider this to be the worst of all the Ratified pitches. Too short with too thick a carpet causing the ball not to bounce. Some tests of little interest were played here. Used mainly as a practice pitch. It is famous for T. Mellor�s refinement of spin bowling practicing from a rocking chair for hours and hours on end while Championship Manager 2 took over half an hour a game on J. Clarke's crackling computer.
Address: Kensington Terrace, LS6
Date: July 1995 - June 1996
?? Royal Park Avenue
Address: Royal Park Avenue, LS6
Address: Back Brudenell Road, LS6
Date: August 1998 - June 1999
For Hall Cricketers who never knew The Original Chestnut Avenue Pitches this is considered to be the 2nd best of the Modern Era Pitches.
The pitch itself was long enough for real swing bowling. The in-swinging and out-swinging Yorkers became staple fare in a bowlers armoury. The extreme swing ball was first introduced as well as the hidden delivery. Spinners suffered from the width of the pitch and the wide became a much larger part of the game. The disgrace of two wides in a row became more common on the pitch. For the first time in hall cricket the left armed bowler had a real tangible advantage.
The batsman had to work very hard to score but flamboyant all out sloggers of the Turner Ilk became successful for the first time. The days of the slow and steady batsman were back and players like Mellor thrived.
The fielding positions were good and the three asided game became possible. The five board members and the first professional started to develop into a regular fixture. The one problem was the angle of the umpiring position which led to the "LBW Incident" which temporarily left a schism through the sport. From which, many commentators believe, the game never fully recovered.
The Declining Years
Cliff Side Gardens
Address: Cliff Side Gardens
Date: July 2000 - June 2003
Positioning of the Snake
Citation Needed from T. Mellor
The Divinity of The Snake
The snake is divine. This means that any ball hitting the snake is considered fair.
e.g. A fast ball hitting the snake that deflects onto the stumps is considered a good delivery so you are considered out or a batsman hitting a ball onto the snake is not considered to have touched the ground.
The Divinity of the Snake is NEVER questioned!
The Religious Implications Of The Snake
Citation needed from T. Virgo
The Chestnut Avenue Cricket Club
In alphabetical order:
- Marky Bydder. Co-founder. A crafty player, primarily a fast bowler and extravagant batsman.
- Dan Lomax. Came to fame during the high period of the mid 90s. Particularly effective as a big hitting batsman. Inventive bowler.
- Tim Mellor. Co-founder. Solid player. Consistent and successful batsman, persistent bowler.
- Mike Tweedie-Quarter(*). Thoughtful tactical player: swing bowler and attractive back foot batsman.
- Toby Virgo. Appointed Divinely. Successful player: good batting technique (except to the fast ball), the master of the infamous click ball.
(*) The so-called "LBW indicent", or more accurately "incidents" led to this member being disqualified from the board until a period of training had been observed. On a number (possibly greater than 1) of occasions the said member in the position of umpire called a number (possibly also greater than 1) of LBW decisions that were questionable to both batsman and bowler. For the sake of the Amateurs and the health of the game, The Committee struck said member from its echelons and conditions were placed upon the member for readmittance to the Committee; namely that a period of re-training must be completed.
Records show that the training was not formally completed by the member. Months passed. Finally the Committee Members in Good Standing revealed their infinite mercy by reappointing said member to the board - rumours tell of the player being in deep depression and an unhealthy state of denial. It was recorded that high standards of umpiring duty were displayed by said member during his disqualification in friendly and non-Test level matches, and one may speculate that said member was having an "off day" for quite a long time and "just needed a little break". Or whatever. Said member accepted readmittance but still disputed the Committee's original judgment - this state of denial is healthier than the previous state of denial and has remained stable for some period of time. Said member remains officially guilty of the original sin.
The Divine One
Legend holds that One amongst us has been blessed by the Snake with an unearthly and intimidating... snake (citation needed from T. Virgo). Historians may only speculate on existing evidence who the One may be, although legend has it that the forked tongue of the Snake was originally split in two after a Higher Power struck down something-or-other and then, like, whatever and thus was the One created among us, and yet who is not of us. The One is said to possess demonic skills with bat and ball, and also oversized sexual organs, that by deadly hypnotic charm may lead fair maidens astray. The One probably leads boys astray too occasionally (citation needed *Rob cough*).
Sian Wright-Phillips: Famous for her enthusiasm and her evangelical work on spreading The Way of The Snake to foreign soil. Became the first female to play in the upper echelons of the game.
Rik Manu: Big Hitting nonchalant player who thrilled all with his all or nothing style in the limited overs version of the game. Unfortunately he never quite proved it at test level. The first recorded professional receiving a can of Stryke 5 Lager as payment.
Laura An amateur who showed skill with both ball in hand and at the crease. Unfortunately distance to the nearest available pitch was too large for her to fulfil the potential the snake bestowed on her.
Greg Turner: There is debate of whether Greg actually became a professional of the game. He certainly could have been a great but chose the life of a Sunday League Footballer instead.
Heta: The First and only Finnish player of the game. One of the first Amateurs of the game with Sian Phillips.
Julian Thorley: A lesser light amongst the lesser lights. Thorley rarely engaged with any enthusiasm, well that's what his boyfriend said.
Rob Chamberlain: Surely had some talent but his disdain for the game, and life in general, got in the way of any substantive progress. A useful umpire in a pinch.
Corky: Little is known of this player, a long term injury led to early retirement.
Ritchie: A maggot of a player who revelled in the less noble side of the game. A spirited arguer and drunk, an episode of Fisticuffs almost ensued one time leading to the Committee to issue an order for re-education, which was never undertaken.
'The Unknown Batsman: This is a tribute to all the brave heros who died before Hall Cricket was invented but who gave so much. Not that handy with the bat, as you might imagine.