When we've done a single-wicket competition it's always been with
twelve players. By discussion and argument we endeavour to make the pairings equal.
Sometimes this works and at others it doesn't, but we try. The six pairings are then
arbitrarily put into some sort of batting order. The field set should be of a standard
type that will apply with all pairings.
One player will bowl, one will wicket-keep and all others are
spread relatively evenly, some close, some distant so it neither too aggressive
negative. With one wicket-keeper the remaining nine players get an over at each pair,
regardless of bowling ability. This is where mis-matches in the batting pairings could
make itself felt. Generally we have no problem (perhaps we're all garbage). Bowling takes
place from one end only. At the end of each over, the field (minus the wicket-keeper)
moves clockwise around one position, thus mid-on is the next umpire, while the current
umpire will move to mid-off and second-slip will move to first-slip, etc.
The batsmen swap ends to simulate alternate-end bowling which
saves time but can also assist with training as inexperienced players get an opportunity
to get used to certain fielding positions. Each over takes place as normal with the usual
rules applying (except LBW, see later). Wides and no-balls are scored accordingly and an
extra ball must be bowled, however in the case of a player who's never bowled, some
discretion can occur. Alternatively he can be excluded from the bowling attack as long as
all pairings face the same amount of overs overall. If a batsman is out, he continues as
still in, but the pair are docked ten runs each time one of them is out.
The only tricky bit is the LBW ruling. For us, the LBW rule
does not really apply. However, no-one should consider themselves above the Laws of Cricket and
if one batsman is adjudged to be repeatedly taking the mick by padding up (especially with
no shot played) the poor sod who happens to be umpiring can give him out. Thankfully we
can all agree to this but it must be down to the whole group to decide what to do before
play starts. When all nine fielders have bowled, that is the end of the first pairings
innings. Ideally, the wicket-keeper should change place when required with a player of
reasonably equal ability if possible.
And that's about that, except for the Awards Evening when we
give a serious award to the winning pair. That gives an incentive to all to take it as
seriously as a decent Sunday game and make it all worthwhile. ;-)