Balls on the ground at Sidmouth Cricket Club

Sidmouth cricket club's boundary. Ref shs 12-17TI 9208. Picture: Terry Ife

Sidmouth cricket club's boundary. Ref shs 12-17TI 9208. Picture: Terry Ife - Credit: Archant

A charming story from the picturesque Sidmouth Cricket Club grabbed some national attention over the past week. 
Esteemed magazine, The Cricketer, carried a report that Sidmouth have introduced new batting restrictions preventing sixes being struck over one boundary at the club, as it runs adjacent to the esplanade and beach.  
The rule was introduced as an understandable safety measure for passers-by, who might be blissfully unaware of a cricket match taking place while they take their summer stroll. 
To enforce the rule, teams that hit a six which clears the boundary netting installed in 2019 will incur a five-run penalty. The rules will apply for all friendly and touring fixtures, although competitive matches are unaffected. 
Club chairman Richard Sommers, said: "The club has already invested £20,000 in netting along the boundary, and it’s been hugely successful in stopping balls going out of the ground, but we’ve decided to take a further step based on the size of our ground, the location of the ground and the various matches we play. 
"Our square is about 16 pitches wide and some of them are closer to the sea than others. For Devon county games and league matches, the pitches in the middle of the square will be used to allow normal run scoring. 
"But you can’t play all the games on those pitches otherwise you won’t have quality pitches. We’ll use the outer ones for junior games, where the risk of the ball being hit out of the ground is nil, and for visiting friendlies with the restrictions in place. 
"It’s just our determination and sense of duty to our members and the public to provide a safe and enjoyable environment to play the sport. 
"I’ve observed many games over the last two years where the ball has hit the netting which is fine. You have to hit it quite high to go over the netting, but it is possible with the quality of batsmen, the quality of bats and the growth of T20 cricket.” 
Thanks to The Cricketer for their fantastic coverage of Sidmouth CC. 

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