Teams sign up for a competition that plays by different rules
GLOUCESTERSHIRE skipper Alex Gidman has lent his support to a new cricket initiative heading for Bristol.
Last Man Stands is an eight-a-side version of the sport that has proved popular in Australia, New Zealand and South Africa.
Six Bristol-based teams have already signed up to take part in a local league with the winners having the chance to progress to regional and then national finals when a place in the Last Man Stands World Championship will be at stake, as well as 10,000 dollars in prize money.
Gidman was this week at Bristol West Indians' Rose Green home, which will host matches involving the Bristol teams, starting later this month.
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Games are designed to be completed in less than two hours to encourage participation on midweek evenings or Sundays, and to attract new players to cricket or bring back men or women who have not have held a bat or ball for a while.
Matches are 20 overs a side, but an over consists of five balls instead of six. And the eight-player teams are bowled out only when all eight members are dismissed, hence the name of the format.
The last ball of each innings can be worth 12 runs to a batsman if he or she hits a six. And to ensure matches take place in around two hours, only one extra delivery an over is allowed for a wide or no ball.
After that 'first strike', three runs will be added to the score for any further wides or no balls.
Organisers say there are now 20,000 players and 1,200 teams around the world taking part in Last Man Stands.
Statistics from games are loaded on to a central database, giving all players and teams, wherever they live, a world ranking, adding an extra layer of interest to the format.
Last Man Stands gets under way at the Rose Green Centre on May 21 (6.30pm) when the Afghan Warriors will be in action.
More teams can be accommodated in the new Bristol league. For further details visit www.lastmanstands. com/playcricketbristolbath or email: email@example.com.