Health and safety dictats are simply not cricket

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The Ashes series is well under way now – but away from the international arena, there comes news that a village cricket team in Norfolk has been stopped from using traditional leather covered balls for batting practice.

This crackpot ruling is the latest piece of madness to be trotted out under the sometimes farcical health and safety guidelines.

The draconian dictat means cricket will no longer be played in the village, despite the fact no one has been hit by a stray ball in the 37 years batting practice has been held on the ground in the Norfolk village and residents had petitioned the parish council not to impose the regulations.

Sky Sports tried to make a funny news item out of this when it was announced – but it is anything but funny, at least as far as villagers are concerned.

But it is not just health and safety. There is another curse of modern day society lurking behind all this - the compensation culture.

Fearful someone might suffer a bruised leg after being hit by a cricket ball and sue the council for damages, the council has bowled the cricketers a bouncer which they have ducked under and relocated to pastures new at a school where it can practice without interference from po-faced pen pushers.

Mr Pendle would like to have said this ruling is simply not cricket - but in this case it quite clearly is and if he had tried to argue that point he would have found himself batting on a sticky wicket.