THE Bradford Junior League have opted to implement recommendations from the ECB regarding pitch lengths and cricket ball sizes for the 2019 season.

Under-14s and under-15s will use a full-size pitch, while under-13s will play off 19 yards, under-11s 17 yards and under-nines 15 yards.

In terms of the size of cricket balls, under-14s and under-15s will use a full-sized 5.5oz ball, while under-11s and under-13s will play with a 4.75oz ball and under-nines will use an Incrediball.

The Incrediball has a stitched seam and is an introductory hard ball but softens upon impact with a batsman or fielder.

The league’s chairman and treasurer Phil Radcliffe said at their extraordinary general meeting at Cleckheaton Sports Club: “The main reason for shortening the pitches is to give the bowler more control in direction, resulting in many fewer wide balls and thus reducing the length of the game.

“The bowler will also get more satisfaction out of the game.

“These pitch lengths will be amended into the league rules without a vote.”

He added: “These (changes) have been accepted for ECB, Yorkshire County Age Group and regional cricket, and also in the Yorkshire Junior Cricket Festival Competition.

“Therefore we feel the league must follow in this respect. There is no point playing on different pitch lengths in different competitions.

“One clear message coming through is we need to provide a competition for the benefit of the young players and to keep them all interested and ensure that they participate fully in the game.

“We do not want to put up any barriers which may hinder this enjoyment.”

Ten proposed rule changes were put to the meeting and nine were passed, with the only one being defeated being a proposal to scrap rule 6L.

It states that a junior can only be registered with one YCB club and that any club who regularly transgresses this rule (for example for the purpose of winning trophies) be deducted points or penalised by other means.

The league’s executive committee wanted this rule deleting as cricket needs as many clubs and teams as possible, and they may not enter a side if they are two or three players short, thereby denying eight or nine players and their opponents from a game.

However, the motion to delete rule 6L was defeated 14-13, with Bolton Villas’ Steve Wilson saying: “The rule could amount to a cheats’ charter and get all of the superstars at one club, with teams chasing trophies.

“We have a duty as coaches to look after our kids.”

Among the rule changes passed were giving more flexibility in terms of opposition, rather than playing the same teams every year home and away; to introduce top-four sectional play-offs at under-11, under-13 and under-15 age groups and to make entry into under-11, under-13 and under-15 cups optional rather than mandatory.

Other rule proposals that were passed were: to reduce the maximum number of overs per bowler at under-11s from four to three; to have every player bowl two overs at under-nine level and to allow every player bar the wicket-keeper to bowl at least one over but no more than three at under-13 level.

Hartshead Moor were accepted into the league.