This summer the ECB is running 180 Soft Ball Cricket Festivals across England and Wales to introduce a fresh, new, social form of the game for women of all abilities.
Open to everyone but designed specifically for those new to cricket, the festivals and rules (more on those below) are designed to help players develop a sense of the game and of fair play and – most importantly – have fun.
We've pulled together a bite-sized general guide to help you prepare for your festival adventure and get the most from your day.
1. My team
Teams consist of six to eight people and every player will have the chance to bat, bowl and field.
When batting you should be divided into pairs so you and a team-mate will bat together, one at each end of the wicket. Each pair will face two or three overs, with six balls in an over. Your team will bat once during the game.
In the field, your festival organiser will encourage each player in your team to bowl at least one over (with a maximum of three) per innings. You can choose to bowl overarm or underarm depending on your experience and preference.
2. How do I score runs?
Each batting team starts with a score of 200 runs. You and your team-mates score runs by running between the wickets (stumps) or by hitting the ball to the boundary.
Boundary scoring is four if the ball hits the ground before going across the boundary; six if the ball is hit over the boundary without hitting the ground.
Even if you miss the ball or it hits your body, you can still run and score.
If you are out, five runs are deducted from the score and your batting partner faces the next ball – except if you are run out, in which case you will not need to change ends.
Two runs will be awarded to your team for each wide (a ball bowled to you wide of the wicket that you aren't able to reach).
Your team will also get two runs for a no-ball with the ball bouncing more than twice before reaching the batter or arriving at shoulder height, or above, without bouncing.
3. Can I be dismissed when batting?
When you're batting, you could be out (dismissed) in the following ways:
- Bowled (the ball hits the stumps)
- Caught (a fielder catches the ball in the air off your bat)
- Run out (a fielder hit the stumps before the running batters can reach them)
- Stumped (the wicketkeeper hits the stumps with the ball when you are not behind your line or crease)
- Hit wicket (you hit the stumps with your bat or body)
You cannot be out leg before wicket (lbw), unless you deliberately block the ball with a leg or foot.
4. How long will we play for?
Each game should last no longer than an hour and the team with the highest score wins. If your team scores the same number of runs as your opposition, the game is tied.
5. Do I need specific kit or equipment?
There is no dress code to take part, all we recommend is that you wear comfortable clothes and shoes. You will also receive your own Women's Soft Ball Cricket Festivals t-shirt. All playing equipment is also provided as well as a great atmosphere, of course.
Festivals run right through the summer – if you haven't already signed up to your local one, you can do so here. Get involved today!