How Long is a Junior Cricket Pitch?

In 2018, the ECB released new recommendations for junior cricket pitch sizes to enhance the enjoyment of the game following “extensive research and trialling”.

The biggest changes to pitch sizes came with the Under-9s to Under-13s age groups, with the recommended length dropping by as many as three yards. These changes, which came into effect in 2019, were designed to ensure that cricket in England offered an inclusive pathway for children to develop and enjoy the game.

Andrew Strauss, who was director of England cricket at the time, said of the changes: “The proposed changes to pitch lengths and formats are a product of extensive research and trialling conducted by ECB over the past three years.

“I am impressed by the evidence of an improvement in techniques for batting, bowling, and fielding.

“However, the most exciting feedback has come from the players themselves who found the new formats increased their enjoyment of playing our great game.”

New Junior Cricket Pitch Sizes

The biggest change is seen in the Under-12 age group, where the length of the pitch has been reduced from 21 to 18 yards. Specified lengths for girls have also been introduced since 2019 at Under-14 and Under-15, playing at 20 yards while boys play on 21 and 22-yard pitches.

Age GroupOld Pitch LengthNew Pitch Length
Under-916 Yards15 Yards
Under-1019 Yards17 Yards
Under-1120 Yards17 Yards
Under-1221 Yards18 Yards
Under-1321 Yards19 Yards
Under-1422 Yards21 Yards (20 Yards for girls)
Under-1522 Yards22 Yards (20 Yards for girls)
Under-1722 Yards22 Yards

The ECB also released recommendations for boundary sizes as part of the overhaul of junior cricket pitch sizes, which are:

Age GroupBoundary Size
Under-925-30 Metres
Under-1030-35 Metres
Under-1135-40 Metres
Under-1240-45 Metres
Under-1345-50 Metres
Under-1445-50 Metres
Under-1550-60 Metres
Under-1755-60 Metres

Why Did the ECB Changes Junior Cricket Pitch Sizes?

When former England captain Andrew Strauss was appointed to a newly created role of director with the ECB in May 2015, a review into junior cricket soon took place. In 2017, All Stars Cricket, a programme tailored to children aged 5-8 years old, was launched to introduce youngsters to the game.

All Stars Cricket provides eight one-hour sessions, delivered over eight weeks, at a local cricket club (over 2,200 registered clubs and centres nationwide) with emphasis placed on learning the fundamentals skills of cricket. This includes batting, throwing, catching, bowling, running, teamwork, communication, and the spirit of cricket.

Following the great success of the launch of All Stars Cricket, the ECB went one step further to ensure that young cricketers can continue to enjoy the game by combining the findings of their research with that of other nations.

The ECB website says on junior formats: “The recommendations are based on insight and build upon the findings of a three-year ECB and Loughborough University PhD research project, findings by other cricketing nations, most notably Cricket Australia and New Zealand Cricket, and feedback from Counties, Clubs, Schools and Junior Leagues.

“The extensive research considered how we can help juniors develop the skills that will stay with them for life, alongside helping them to understand the most important part of the game: fun!”

Out of Lockdown

The past couple of years have seen a pause in much of grassroots sports, and cricket is no different, setting back the advancement of the game at the junior level. As a summer sport, 2021 closer resembled a normal year for cricket with juniors able to enjoy a near-full schedule, though the effects of Covid-19 were still apparent.

2022, with most Covid-19 measures now removed as the world slowly moves out of the pandemic, is set to be a big year for grassroots cricket. Girls cricket, especially, is expected to kick on following the incredible success of The Hundred series. In 2021, Warwickshire County Cricket Club reported that more than 30% of children playing between the ages of five and 11 are girls.

Clubs and centres can operate without any limitations on numbers, as had been the case through the pandemic, though will understandably be encouraged to maintain high hygiene standards (such as hand gel etc…). The promise of a permanent return to the sport, mixed with the ECB’s regulations brought in shortly before the pandemic, is expected to breathe new life into cricket at grassroots level.

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