There were some big changes made during the winter to the way that 3rd and 4th XI cricket is organised. We have moved to a regionalised, open structure, where many clubs will play limited overs cricket only.
The aim of the change is to achieve competitive cricket in all divisions while reducing travel times for many of the teams. We hope that those playing in the new structure have an enjoyable season and we look forward to feedback.
To ensure everyone knows what rules & playing conditions they are playing to in this new structure, a new “Tier” has been created to make it as easy as possible for you to find the correct playing conditions for the match you are taking part in.
Tier 4 Rules & Playing Conditions applies to Regional Divisions 2. 3, 4 and 5 of the new structure. For the avoidance of any doubt that is: Division 2 East; Division 2 West; Division 3 East; Division 3 West; Division 4 East; Division 4 West; Division 5 East; Division 5 West
The playing conditions for teams in the Premier Division and Division 1 of the 3rd XI remain in Tier 3.
Between them, Playing Conditions for Tiers 3 & 4, cover all aspects of the formats and regulations which are specific to 3rd and 4th XI cricket and should be read by your captains and your umpires, at the very least.
This following provides some reminders of what’s changing (and what isn’t) and we'd encourage everyone to read on.
Our new structure places 3rd and 4th XIs in 10 divisions of 10 teams per division.
The two top divisions will contain the teams that would have been the 3rd XI Premier Division and Division 1 under the previous structure. The Premier Division and Division 1 are not regionalised and will play under the conditions that applied to the 3rd XI Premier Division last season, i.e. 50 overs per side win/lose cricket at the start and end of the season and 100-over(minimum) timed cricket in mid-season.
The 80 teams below this will be organised in an east/west structure of 4 divisions in each, and will play only limited overs cricket: 45 overs per side in Divisions 2 and 3 and 40 overs per side in Divisions 4 and 5.
Points for wins, losses, draws etc will apply to matches in the same way as they do to all Championship matches and you can refresh your memory by looking at paragraph 5 of Appendix 1 of the Constitution.
In theory, 4th XIs can rise through the structure to Division 1, but that can only happen over time and we won’t allow clubs to have two XIs in the same division. There will however be matches between 3rd XI and 4th XI’s for the first time this season in the East and West 3rd divisions.
There was some discussion at the AGM of how to address the situation where two teams from the same club would find themselves in the same division as a result of complex relegation and/or promotion scenarios. It was agreed to amend playing conditions to allow the Executive Committee discretion over such promotions and relegations and give the options for a permanent solution more thought. If necessary we will say more in the season about how we intend to use this discretion although there we may not need to do so, particularly in the first year or two of the new structure.
The new structure supersedes the joint regional 3rd XI divisions so it is important to note that none of the games covered by the new structure will be subject to Fuller's Surrey County League playing conditions but they will work with us in overseeing how the new structure works and addressing any issues that arise.