At our game last night we only were able to raise 7 players. There are rules to cover this situation, however I felt it’s time to write a bit about how it should be interpreted following some of the discussion during the evening.
First, a summary of the rules. Ideally, a team has 8 or more players. A team with less than 6 players is not considered a full side and will forfeit the match (preferable to this is arranging to postpone the match which must be done at least 24 hours in advance, with the Match Secretary informed as well as the opposing team captain).
A team with 6 or 7 can incorporate extra players from any source, even from the other team’s reserves, to reach 8. The only exception is cup games were players should only ever represent one team.
So, in a situation with 6 or 7 players what happens? 16 games still need to be played, and of necessity that means that some players on the short team will need to play more than 4 matches. Repeating a match between the same two pairs of players should be avoided for good form but is not specifically forbidden in the rules.
The ‘formal’ approach is to wait until the round finishes and then form a temporary pairing from the short side to play the 4th game of that round. The standard pairs then resume to play the next round. This makes for a long evening since usually two other games are interlocked with that 4th game and will have to wait for it to complete.
A less formal approach is to dynamically create new pairs based from those pairs who finish playing first, minimising the waiting time and allowing more overlap of play. Instead of going back to their normal pairings players from the short side continue to be dynamically assigned to matches in temporary pairings as the fully-staffed opposition are ready to start them.
The informal approach makes for a shorter evening though it needs more care from the captains to avoid repeating a particular pair vs pair combination (although that is ‘bad form’ rather than actually forbidden) and balancing the number of games all the players on the short side have.
The actual rule in the constitution which applies here is:-
2.3 Team matches shall be consisted of EIGHT players per team playing in pairs to give a total of 16 games in all. It a team turns up with SIX or SEVEN players the Captain shall split pairs to make 16 games. The Captain of a team with SIX or SEVEN players may incorporate additional players from any source to get to EIGHT players (except at cup matches).
If a team fails to turn up without giving 24 hours notice (RULE 2.1) or turns up with less than SIX players the game will be forfeited and recorded as follows:-
* Non-offending team gain 3 points and a 12-4 win
* Offending team gain 0 points and a 4-12 loss
The offending team will be liable to pay average Pennies and the cost of any catering arranged by the non-offending team. Teams may appeal in exceptional circumstances. All league matches must be completed on or before the night of the team trophy final unless previously agreed with the Match Secretary.
As with many other situations, the rules don’t cover every situation, or describe every possible event, so good sense and pragmatism should be used to interpret them. Where team captains agree, the informal approach described above will make for a shorter evening compared to the time it usually takes to play out a match with the formal approach.
ps – for those following this week’s results, I’m waiting for Barley Mow/Bourne End, Craufurd A/Ivy B and Waggon A/Waggon B. Ark Angels/Golden Harp B was a draw.