Backyard cricket is as much a staple as Christmas ham for Australian families every festive season.
However, visit any backyard this summer and it's likely the rules will either be slightly, or even, completely different to the one before it.
In fact, you don't even need to have a backyard to actually play backyard cricket. The game can be held in the street, in a park, on the beach and even a car park.
It doesn't matter where the match is being played, but that's not to say it's a game people don't take seriously.
Over the years people have mown pitches into lawns, spent hours watering and curating the perfect area, some have even installed "spectator seating" for those who don't wish to partake in this age-old Australian tradition.
There's the serious players and the not-so-serious players, but the important thing to note is backyard cricket can literally be started anywhere there's a bit of space.
You don't even need a fancy ball, bat or stumps.
Buckets can be turned into stumps or even a box of beer.
Sturdy sticks can be used as bats (the old plastic one never fails) and there's no way you need a proper ball to play as a trusty tennis ball (usually with some duct tape wrapped around it) will suffice.
Outfits don't need to be traditional; swimmers, dresses, boardies, no shirts, singlets and stubbies are all accepted wardrobes.
Basically, if you're wearing it, you can play. Shoes are also not required, but hey what's not to love about seeing someone run in a pair of thongs.
But what about the actual rules of this great backyard game? What applies? What doesn't?
I thought I would go straight to the expert on this one. My husband, Josh Carn - former Leeton Soldiers Club Colt, current Hanwood Cricket Club newbie.
He's been playing cricket probably since he was straight out of the womb and shows no signs of giving up this national past time anytime soon.
Cricket I swear is his one true love ... on my side of the family his reputation has led him to have his very own "fan club". Yes, quotation marks are absolutely necessary in this instance. They call themselves the "Carny Army", a not-so-original play on words of both his surname and England's own Barmy Army fan club.
So, in the name of research, I sat down with my husband to see what he thinks are the essential rules that should be included in any game of backyard cricket.
We've limited the rules to 11, the same number of players in a given cricket side (ironically, in backyard cricket, one of the more undisputed rules is teams can have as many players as possible).
- 1. You can't get out on the first ball. Ever. Period.
- 2. Catching the ball with one hand after one bounce counts as out.
- 3. You must have some sort of beverage in hand at all times.
- 4. Sledging is absolutely a must.
- 5. Six-and-out (you must determine what the boundaries are for this).
- 6. Tip and run.
- 7. Underarm bowling is only allowed for those under 12 and over 80.
- 8. No LBW.
- 9. Enforced retirement is a thing, especially if you've been at the crease for far too long. Same goes for bowlers. No hogging of the ball.
- 10. The end of the game is negotiable between both sides. Things tend to get a little stale after a while. A winner isn't necessarily required.
- 11. No umpire is required. However, arguing between each other is also a big no-no. It's the festive season - have fun!