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Eastern Counties changes rules

Rule changes: Cleveland celebrate winning last year’s Eastern Counties Cup (Photo by Nicola Muirhead)

The Eastern Counties Cricket Association has announced two crucial rule changes as it attempts to “modernise the competition”.

The gap between the number of overs each side bats has been reduced and there has also been an easing of the eligibility requirements for players.

This season the team batting first will face a maximum of 65 overs and the team batting second will have a minimum of 53 overs in which to win or draw. Should the team batting first be out before the 65 overs are up, the remaining overs will go to the other team.

The amount of time a player must play for a club to qualify for their county team will also change.

This rule governing this now reads: “A player who is Bermudian or a Bermudian resident for one year, and has played league cricket for a member county club for one year, shall be eligible to play for that county club in his second year.

“However, if the player leaves the club, he will not be eligible to play county until he returns to play league cricket for that club. A returning player can resume playing county in the same season that he returns to the club. Proof of league registration is required.”

Steven Douglas, the Eastern Counties president, said: “These changes represent a positive move forward as we look to modernise our competition.

“As the Eastern Counties Cup series is an integral part of our cricket culture in Bermuda, we felt that we should look to enhance our competition while maintaining a balance of the traditions of a competition that has been in place since that first ball was bowled in 1904. Our desire to provide a high-quality series of games for our dedicated fans is of the utmost priority.

“We are confident that the changes will result in many more challenging and exciting games, and increase the chances of producing an outright winner or an exciting draw. Also, by lowering the time that players, who are ineligible due to not being born with in the ECCA boundaries, have to play for an associate’s league team in order to qualify to play county will give teams greater flexibility in team selections.”

This year’s competition will take place at Lord’s in St David’s and will be played on July 18, August 15 and August 29. Cleveland County will open the defence of their title against Bailey’s Bay, with Flatts playing second and St David’s the final match.