French Cricket

French Cricket is an easy variation of traditional cricket using only a cricket bat and tennis ball. It can be played anywhere and is suitable for players of all ages and fitness levels.

Age: Adults and older children

No. of players: Large groups

Equipment: Cricket bat, tennis ball (or similar)

Time: 10+ minutes

Aim: The batter aims to avoid getting out while all the other players aim to get them out.

French Cricket is a popular game in Australia that can be played in the backyard, at the beach or anywhere. It is suitable for any number of players.

1. One player is chosen as the batter. The batter stands in the middle of an open space with the bat held vertically in front of their legs. The remaining players (the fielders) can stand around the batter at any distance and in any direction. Once in position the batter cannot move their feet but the fielders can move anywhere. Fielders should avoid getting too close to the batter so that no one is injured during the game as the batter attempts to hit the ball.

2. One of the fielders stars the game by throwing the ball underarm, trying to hit the batter on the legs between their ankles and their knees.

3. The batter tries to avoid the ball hitting their legs (ankle to knee) by moving their body (as long as their feet do not move) or trying to hit the ball with the bat.

4. If the batter hits the ball with the bat, any fielder who catches the ball before it touches the ground swaps places with the batter. Likewise, a player who throws the ball, hitting the batter on the leg, swaps places with the batter.

5. If no one catches the ball, or if it misses the bat or legs, any fielder can pick it up and throw it at the batter's legs. Fielders are not allowed to move once they have the ball. The batter cannot move their feet so they may have twist their body around if the thrower is behind them.

6. Fielders can also throw the ball to another fielder, or they can try to psyche out the batter by faking throws.

7. Play continues until each player has had a chance as batter. To make it fairer for all players, a fielder who gets the batter out and has already batted may choose another player to become the new batter.

Note: Older batters may like to "accidentally" hit the ball into the air for younger players to catch. Likewise, batters should not hit the ball too far so that fielders have a reasonable chance to hit their legs.

Variation: Once a batter has been batting for a while they may like to offer a fielder a "free throw" by holding the bat away from their legs and only moving their body and legs (not their feet) to avoid the throw. For young fielders, the batter may choose not to move their legs at all.

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