For some, backyard cricket is the only way to christen a new backyard. Before you dust off the stumps remember no one is exempt from the rules. Not even Nana.

The game begins well before the players arrive; with the mowing of the pitch and the removal of any bindies and or thistles. The esky must be well stocked and the BBQ primed.

Teams should be divided equally based on numbers, skill and alcohol intake. Dust off dad’s bat from 1984 and ensure the tennis ball hasn’t had a run-in with the dog. If you’re short on space then the electric wickie is the way to go, otherwise the wheelie bin, esky or a good old fashioned human will suffice. Finally, keep a good length of electrical tape on hand for any necessary ball tampering.

It is important to establish the ground rules before initiating play to avoid starting family feuds which will inevitably erupt over the Christmas turkey. Though there is always a risk of this occurring due to the dynamic nature of the game. There will always be an unaccounted for level of interference, whether it be getting the ball caught in the clothesline or landing on the full in an unsuspecting person’s drink. In any hotly contested issue always defer to the umpire. Unless they are an in-law. In which case they are not to be trusted.

Be sure to have a lengthy discussion as to whether a six over the fence is out. The same goes for pool shots and those intercepted by the family pet. Bowlers take note; the dog is your best fielder.

You may feel you’re above the first ball not out rule but your six year old nephew might need another go. The same goes for one hand, one bounce. Those with a beer in hand, be wary when attempting the two bounce headbutt.

Now while your mates in c-grade appreciate your fast bowling, chances are your mother will not. Match your bowlers and your batters and always remember who is in charge of the food.

Banter is a requirement and underarmers will be given the sledging they are due.

And play.