### When and where do the games take place?

On Sundays throughout the season. Each team plays each other twice, once at home and once away. So each club plays eight league matches each year.

### How long do the games last?

Games start at 1.00pm and end at approximately 7.00pm.

### What kind of rules do the games follow?

The matches are what are commonly called 'time' games. This means that the usual laws of cricket apply as far as possible and that the number of overs in the game is determined by the time available - not fixed to the same number per team.

### That sounds complicated! How does it work in practice?

The biggest difference between 'time' cricket and limited overs cricket is that wins, losses and draws are possible in a time game, just like in a Test match or County Championship match. A draw happens when the side batting second are not all out by the end of the match but did not score as many runs as the team batting first. So if your team is bowling second, the only way to win is to bowl the side out before the end of play.

### What if the side batting second doesn't have time to score the runs and just tries to stay in?

The other big difference from limited overs cricket is that the side batting first have to decide when to declare their innings closed (unless they are bowled out before that point). The trick is to allow the side batting second enough time to get the runs, which also gives the side bowling second time to bowl them out. If the side batting second thinks they have no chance of chasing down the runs, it is almost invariably because the declaration was too late. Simple!

### Are there any limitations on overs bowled?

In the laws of cricket, no. And in terms of the total overs bowled during the match, no. But in the League, we have a rule that the first innings cannot be longer than 50 overs. In the second innings, the umpire will signal when one hour of playing time remains (usually at 5.30pm) and from that point on, a minimum of 20 must be bowled before the match ends. Usually it takes a bit longer than one hour to bowl 20 overs, so the games tend to finish at a little later, at about 7.00pm.

### When is tea time and how long does it last?

Tea is taken between innings. There is no fixed time for tea, as it depends on when the first innings is declared or when the team batting first is bowled out. That often tends to be between 3.30pm and 4.00pm but not necessarily. Although tea can be taken at any time, it will always last exactly 20 minutes of 'match time'. We stop the match clock when the players come off for tea and when the second innings begins, we set it going again, advanced by 20 minutes. So if tea is taken at 4.05 and play restarts at 4.35, the clock is restarted showing 4.25, so only 20 minutes of play is lost. 'Match time' is therefore now behind 'real time'. It is a good idea not to take longer for tea than necessary, or games can end quite a lot later than scheduled.

### OK, I think I get the idea, what about points?

20 points are awarded for a win.

There are also batting and bowling bonus points that teams get when they don't win the game. Here is how they work:

**When bowling**, a team gets 1 point up to a maximum of 4 points, awarded at 3, 5, 7 and 9 wickets.

**The side batting first** gets 2 points up to a maximum of 8 points awarded at 125, 150, 175 and 200 runs.

**The side batting second **gets 1 point up to a maximum of 4 points awarded at 125, 150, 175 and 200 runs.

**Important: If the side batting first bats for more than 45 overs they forfeit all of their batting points.**

Really, you just need to remember 3,5,7,9 wickets and 125,150,175,200 runs. You get a point for reaching each of these 'milestones'. The only thing to watch is that if you are batting first, you get double batting points. (The reason for this is to compensate teams who bat first and score lots of runs, which the opposition then doesn't chase very effectively and the game ends in a draw.)

### Give me an example of how the games might look...

**Mayfield vs Pacific**

Mayfield bat first. After 45 overs they have 180 runs and have lost 6 wickets, which gives them 6 batting points. They declare at 3.30pm, because even if they would ideally like more runs, they will lose all of their batting points if they continue the innings. Meanwhile Pacific have 2 bowling points, for taking 6 wickets.

After tea, Pacific bat and score 178 for 8 by the end of play. The game is drawn because Pacific were not all out but did not reach the 181 needed to win. In the second innings Pacific get 3 batting points and Mayfield get 3 bowling points. The total league points for this match are:

Mayfield 9 points (6 batting, 3 bowling)

Pacific 5 points (2 bowling, 3 batting)

**Chigwell vs Hadley Wood Green**

Hadley Wood Green bat first and reach 238-4 by 3.15, when they have received 39 overs. They decide to declare as they have enough runs and want to give themselves enough time to get Chigwell out. They have 8 batting points, which is maximum. Chigwell get 1 bowling point.

After tea, Chigwell start slowly but then, to tempt them into chasing the runs, the spinners come on and Chigwell reaches 229-9 with one over to go. All three results are possible at this stage. If Chigwell block out the last over the game will be drawn and they will get 5 points in total, with Hadley Wood Green getting 12. If they risk going for the runs and get them, Chigwell will win and get 20 points and Hadley Wood Green 12. If Hadley Wood Green gets the final wicket, they get 20 points and Chigwell retain their 5 bonus points.

These are just a couple of examples to help you see how it all plays out and can make for a very exciting and interesting form of cricket!

### How can I learn more?

A good thing to do is to talk to other players, the captains, other clubs. Read the full set of Middlesex and Essex League rules here and the Laws of Cricket here. The best book on the art of club cricket captaincy, with particular focus on time games is the brilliant "How to Win at Cricket or The Skipper's Guide" by E. M. Rose.