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  • Accreditation Document: Grounds, Facilities & Youth
  • Appendix A: Youth Accreditation Criteria
  • Appendix B: Grounds & Facilities Criteria
  • Clubmark & Gradings

Southern Premier Cricket League Accreditation Scheme for Grounds, Facilities and Youth Development

Opening Statement

As an ECB Premier League we are required to ensure that standards in the Premier Divison are of high quality and to report annually to the ECB the quality of pitches and outfields achieved. The standards set out in this document for the Premier Division are based on the requirements for an ECB Premier Cricket League. Those for our other Divisions are set proportionally below those required for the Premier Divison.

An important aspect of playing league cricket at a high level is the opportunity to enjoy the game of cricket in good quality playing environment. This is quickly recognised by most cricketers, particularly in respect of the standard of the pitch and outfield, but also with regard to the condition and upkeep of the changing rooms and other aspects of grounds.

Everyone is keenly aware that providing and maintaining good quality facilities is a significant demand on scarce funds and resources. The League Committee recognises this fact and seeks to work with clubs, ECB/HCB and others to ensure available funds are used to the best effect to maintain and improve standards of ground wherever possible.

A discreet proportion of available club funds should be targeted on the upkeep of grounds, facilities, ground machinery, equipment, etc. Upgrades and new provision of facilities and machinery should be enabled by the club. External funds are also often of great assistance in this regard and should be considered wherever possible.

It is considered unacceptable that clubs who have taken care to ensured high quality conditions to find themselves travelling to play at grounds where similar efforts have not been made and the quality of the ground has suffered as a result.

It is acknowledged that clubs often need time to undertake significant improvements especially where additional fundraising is required and/or permissions from planning authorities or landlords is required. The required standards for progression to a higher Division are normally required prior to the promotion being recommended. However, where there are specific circumstances where a promotion may be allowed given sufficient guarantee of a future improvement being made, promotion may be allowed.

1. Introduction

This document provides a guide to the background, purpose, operation and governance of the Southern Premier Cricket League (SPCL) Accreditation Scheme for Grounds and Youth Development. It brings together, in a single document, information which has previously been available through a range of sources such as the League Handbook, AGM Reports and Captains' meetings. The SPCL Committee will update the document to incorporate future changes to the Scheme.

2. Brief History

The notion of accreditation is not new in League Cricket in Hampshire. The former Southern Cricket League introduced an accreditation scheme in the early 1990s to address the generally poor quality of pitches, and to promote the development of coaching and Youth Cricket. The HCL introduced a Grounds assessment scheme shortly afterwards.

At the inception of the Southern Premier League, accreditation was strengthened as part of the drive to further improve standards at the top of the Club 'Pyramid' in line with the vision of the England and Wales Cricket Board (ECB) for the recreational game. All member clubs signed up to the accreditation approach as a condition of membership and by adopting the Club Charter.

3. Purpose of the Scheme

The purpose of the Accreditation Scheme is to ensure that minimum ground standards are achieved and then maintained as required in all Divisions. The standards are intentionally set lower in the lowest Division and rise incrementally to the Premier Division.

Participation in the Scheme is a condition of membership of the SPCL.

The Ground Marks awarded for each match play an essential part in the assessment process and therefore need to be awarded as fairly and accurately as is possible.

To ensure that Ground Marks awarded for each match are accurate and useful careful attention is required from all players and umpires completing the Ground Report. Each category marked is accompanied by a description to aid completion and ensure that those completing the Ground Report can judge each category against a common standard.

Ground Marks should be awarded solely on the condition of the ground for the match without bias or preference. The match result, personal performances and success or failure should be separated from the completion of the Ground Report.

4. Registering for participation in the Scheme

Any Club can register for participation in the Scheme by application to the SPCL General Secretary. However, given the constraints on resources available to administer the Scheme participation is effectively restricted to SPCL Clubs and HCL D1.

Where an Accredited club falls out of the SPCL or HCL D1 its Accreditation will remain active but will be subject to review when and if the club is in a position to re-enter the SPCL or HCL D1. The depth of consideration in such circumstances may well depend in part on the length of time spent outside of the SPCL or HCL D1.

Accreditation is specific to each ground and is not transferable.

If proposals are made for a move to a non-Accredited ground, then the General Secretary must be informed at the earliest possible opportunity. If the proposed ground exists and is in use in the HCL (or other League), then its Ground Standards and Ground Marks and Ground Reports at the current level will be considered. If there is no SPCL or HCL history of use, then use in the HCL at the highest possible Standard is recommended for at least two seasons to establish a record of the quality of the ground. If the new ground is a new facility, then the League will require advance sight of plans and specifications. Updates of progress and access to the site are required. If possible, at least two seasons' use outside of the SPCL within the HCL, or other League with Ground Standard and Ground Marks and Reports, is normally required.

Accreditation transferred from an existing to a new ground will be provisional for a period not exceeding 5 seasons. If the Ground Marks and Reports show that the Outfield and Pitch meet the required minimum marks, then the Accreditation Grade will be confirmed within the provisional period. If the Ground Marks and Reports show that the Outfield and Pitch do not meet the required minimum requirements for the Accreditation Grade awarded provisionally then the League will within the provisional period place the team (ground) into a League where the minimum requirements are met.

Only in the most extreme circumstances will a new ground be considered for use in the SPCL without following the process described above. If no other match information exists, then a number of practice matches and/or demonstration of use of the Outfield and Pitch may be required.

All Clubs in HCL D1 are advised to allow themselves at least two seasons following registration to prepare their ground for entry into the SPCL. This period of time is allowed to conduct the required inspections and allow for any improvements required to be achieved.

5. Standards

The Accreditation Standards are set out in this document and Appendices A and B. The Standards are set by the SPCL. The Standards for pitches and outfields are supported by performance criteria and a rating scale which is applied at the end of each match by the Umpires and the visiting Captain.

6. Performance

6.1 Grounds

The minimum marks required are:


  • Pitch: 28 out of 40 (70.00%)
  • Outfield: 14 out of 20 (70.00%)
  • Total: 42 out of 60 (70.00%)


  • Pitch: 26 out of 40 (65.00%)
  • Outfield: 13 out of 20 (65.00%)
  • Total: 39 out of 60 (65.00%)


  • Pitch: 24 out of 40 (60.00%)
  • Outfield: 12 out of 20 (60.00%)
  • Total: 36 out of 60 (60.00%)

The Pitch Marks are awarded in 6 categories marked 1-5, total 30. Support to the game of Skill is awarded 1-10, total 10.

Total for Pitch - 40

The Outfield marks are awarded in 4 categories marked 1-5, total 20

Total for Outfield - 20

The figures in brackets above show the required marks as a percentage of the total.

There is an Overall requirement to cover where one aspect is marked very high and the other very low. Pitch, Outfield and Overall minimums must all be achieved.

6.2 Facilities

Facilities are checked against Appendix B on physical evidence by Umpires and Grounds Assessors based on 'present / not present' and reported accordingly.

6.3 Youth Development

Gradings are checked against Appendix A by the HCB Cricket Development Manager using Club Mark Evidence Files and District records, independently of the League Management Committee (see 7.3).

7. Assessment Procedures

7.1 Grounds

Grading of grounds is determined by the following:

  • A - Considering the Facilities provided against the League requirement.
  • B - Considering the Ground Marks awarded against the requirement.
  • C - Considering comments from Umpires and Captains Ground Reports.
  • D - Considering reports from Hampshire Pitch Advisor & Accreditation Team in general and specifically:
    • D1 - Is the standard met consistently over the season?
    • D2 - Is there the capability and capacity in groundsmanship to maintain the standard?
    • D3 - What is the trend over several seasons?

It is expected that the grade achieved by A, B and C will not be overturned by D; however, in some circumstances, a Ground may be graded up or down from that expected from the results of A, B and C by factors in D.

7.1.1 Tenure

A minimum of 10 years' secure tenure on entry to the SPCL is required.

A running record of remaining tenure is kept (in the handbook alongside grades and Clubmark renewal dates).

At the end of the season where there are 4 full seasons of remaining tenure the Club is to commence discussions to return the tenure back to the required minimum term (minimum).

At the end of the season when there are 3 full seasons of remaining tenure the club will be issues a 1st Warning.

At the end of the season when there are 2 full seasons of remaining tenure the club will be issued as 2nd Warning.

At the end of the season when there are 1 full seasons of remaining tenure the club will be issued a Final Warning.

At the end of the season when there is less than 1 full season of remaining tenure the club will be demoted from the League.

This process and timings should cover the needs of the League and of Clubs. It covers the need for continuing tenure for the season following the reduction in tenure. It is designed to ensure the tenure continues throughout the following season.

The following tenure types...

Are suitable:

  • Ownership of the ground.
  • Holding a long (25+ years as per ECB / Playing Pitch Strategy) secure, written, lease.

Might be suitable but require confirmation from the SPCL:

  • Shorter lease or lease with break clauses.
  • Having use of the ground in trust.
  • Membership of Sports Association, Management Committee, etc.
  • Written promise/commitment of continual use from ground authority / owner.
  • Holding proof of commitment to policy of owner (Council / Sports Association etc).
  • Commitment of intent for continual use.
  • Indication of continuation of use by policy / practice.

Are not suitable:

  • Annual letting / booking.
  • Casual (weekly / monthly) booking.

7.2 Clubmark Accreditation

Clubs playing in the SPCL must have Clubmark Accreditation.

7.3 Youth Development

At the end of each season, the HCB Development Team will, via Club Mark Evidence Files and District records, assess and confirm, in accordance with Appendix A, the following:

  • The number of Colts games played at each age group, using information from District Associations records and league tables.
  • The number of ECB Qualified Coaches who are working actively with Colts in the club and have a current DBS clearance through ECB, using information obtained through the ECB Safe Hands Management System.

8. Governance

The Accreditation Standards are set by the SPCL.

For the Premier Division these are based around the Standards set for Premier League Clubs by the ECB.

Monitoring of the Grounds and Facilities Standards is managed by the Southern Premier Cricket League Management Committee. The Youth Development Assessment aspects of the Scheme are operated by the Hampshire Cricket Board on behalf of SPCL.

Any dispute on matters of fact ONLY may be reviewed by the Chairman of the Hampshire Cricket Board upon request by the club concerned.

9. Sources of Advice and Support

Further information and practical support in using the Accreditation Scheme to improve Club performance, including free ground advisory visits, is available from:

  • The SPCL General Secretary
  • The HCB Secretary
  • The HCB Grounds Adviser
  • The HCB Cricket Development Manager
  • The SPCL Accreditation sub-committee Chairman

Appendix A - Youth Accreditation Criteria


Clubs playing in all divisions must have obtained ClubMark accreditation. This requires clubs to complete an annual health check and be reaccredited every 3 years.

Number of games played per age group

In addition to achieving and maintaining ClubMark, clubs must provide regular competitive opportunities for junior players:

  • Gold: must provide a minimum of 8 matches in 3 of the following age groups - U9, U11, U13 and U15
  • Silver: must provide a minimum of 8 matches in 2 of the following age groups - U9, U11, U13 and U15
  • Bronze: must provide a minimum of 6 matches in 2 of the following age groups - U9, U11, U13 and U15

Clarification and Supplementary Notes

  1. District league tables will be used to collate the number of games played in the first instance. If clubs do not fulfil the required number of fixtures for their current grading, the number of cup/friendly games played will be requested (score sheets may be requested) from the club.
  2. A match that starts but is abandoned counts as a game played.

Appendix B - Grounds Accreditation Criteria

Clubs aspiring to be promoted must meet the criteria of the higher grade by 31 August prior to promotion. The criteria must also be met by 31 August in subsequent years. Clubs not meeting the criteria for their current Division by 31 August will be at risk of relegation.

NOTE: Any new club wishing to enter the SPCL must give proof of a minimum of 15 years tenure of their Club and Ground.


  • G = Gold
  • S = Silver
  • B = Bronze
  • M = Mandatory
  • O = Optional (but desirable)

Ground, Pitch & Outfield

Specification for preparation of the pitch must be under the club's controlMMM
Decisions on the fitness of the ground for play, prior to the arrival of the match umpires, must be under the club's controlMMM
The ground must be secured against incursion of free roaming livestock.MMM
Grass Pitch must be suitable for 120 oversMMM
Pitch must not have been artificially watered within 48 hours before a matchMMO
Square should be cut within 2 days before a matchMMM
A light and heavy roller (minimum 1 ton) must be available for use during the matchMMO
Creases shall be remarked between innings and lunch and tea intervals where applicableMMM
Covers must be available to protect an area of at least 80 feet by 12 feet during an prior to matchMMO
The outfield must be closely mown with no noticeable grass cuttings and weedsMMM
The outfield must have no holes, ruts or any other hazardous obstructionsMMM
The boundary must be no less than 50 yards and no more than 90 yards from the nearer middle stump on the match pitch. For clarification; a minimum of five individual match pitches, on a single cricket square with this measurement, must be available for use throughout the season.MOO
The boundary to be marked clearly with a rope or white line or equivalent with markers approximately 20 yards apart placed immediately on the outer edge of the boundary line.MMM
When applicable, fielding circles will be indicated as per the playing regulations. Discs can be obtained from the LeagueMMM
Fit for purpose Double Sightscreens or approved equivalent must be provided at both ends, in good condition and situated outside the boundaryMMM
A ground not enclosed by security fencing, shall be adequately roped off to protect the square at times when not in useMMM
The ground surrounds should be well maintained and suitable measures taken to ensure lost balls do not delay playMMO


Two artificial or grass nets must be available prior to the game on match daysMMO
An artificial or grass net must be available prior to the game on match daysMMM

Off Field

A large working clock must be sited so that it can be seen from the playing areaMMM
A bell, to allow umpires to signal the start and resumption of play must be providedMMO
Scorebox: An enclosed, separate and private area that provides clear, unimpeded visibility of the entire playing area for both Official scorers, in dry and ideally warm conditions; with access to approved electrical power points; and which enables adequate control of the scoreboard and signalling to the on-field Umpires.MOO
A scorebox or sheltered area must be provided for official scorers with numbers showing, at least, Total, Wickets, Overs & First Innings TotalMMM
Separate and secure changing rooms must be provided for visiting teamsMMM
Where new Build changing rooms must be to SPL recommended minimum size with suitable seating and area for equipmentMOO
Changing rooms must have a mirror and at least one hook per player for clothesMOO
Separate and secure accommodation must be provided for umpires of a similar standard to playersMMO
Separate and secure accommodation must be provided for umpiresMMM
Adequate clean and hygienic showers must be available and convenient for private access by players and umpiresMMO
Adequate clean and hygienic showers must be available for the use of players and umpiresMMM
A clean and Hygienic Kitchen shall be provided and meet all relevant health & safety requirements.MMO
Where a kitchen exists it shall meet all legal health and safety requirementsMMM
Clean and hygienic male and female toilets must be available and meet all legal requirementsMMM
Toilet access for spectators must be consistent with the security and private requirements of players and umpiresMMM
All toilet facilities should take into account the needs of people with disabilitiesMOO
A well-stocked First Aid Box must be easily accessible at all times for treatment of minor injuriesMMM
A person qualified in First Aid should be available whenever possibleOOO
Team sheets should be available for spectators or on display in a convenient locationMOO
Telephone facilities must be available and in working orderMMM

Clubmark & Gradings


  • G = Gold
  • SG = Gold/Silver
  • S = Silver
  • BS = Bronze/Silver
  • B = Bronze
  • * = Promoted the previous season
  • ** = Relegated the previous season
Premier Division
Club Ground Youth Overall Renewal
Alton G G G 2021
Bashley (Rydal) G G G 2019
Basingstoke & North Hants G G G 2019
Bournemouth Sports (2nd Grd) * SG G SG 2021
Burridge G G G 2021
Havant G G G 2021
HCCC Academy G G G N/A
Lymington G G G 2020
South Wilts G G G 2020
St. Cross Symondians G G G 2021
Division One
Club Ground Youth Overall Renewal
Andover G G G 2020
Calmore Sports S G S 2020
Hook & Newnham Basics S G S 2021
New Milton ** SG G SG 2019
OT's & Romsey SG G SG 2020
Portsmouth S G S 2019
Rowledge * BS G BS 2020
Sarisbury Athletic SG G SG 2019
Sparsholt * BS G BS 2021
Ventnor (Steephill) BS G BS 2020
Division Two
Club Ground Youth Overall Renewal
Basingstoke & North Hants II G G G 2019
Fair Oak * BS G BS 2021
Hartley Wintney ** S G S 2020
Langley Manor BS G BS 2021
Liphook & Ripsley ** S G S 2019
Paultons SG S S 2020
South Wilts II * G G G 2020
St. Cross Symondians II G G G 2021
Totton & Eling G G G 2019
Waterlooville B S B 2021
Division Three
Club Ground Youth Overall Renewal
Bashley (Rydal) II G G G 2019
Fareham & Crofton * B G B 2019
Fawley S G S 2020
Hambledon BS G BS 2020
Hythe & Dibden * B G B 2019
Lymington II G G G 2019
Portsmouth & Southsea B G B 2020
Purbrook BS G BS 2021
Tichborne Park ** S S S 2021
Trojans ** S G S 2019
Relegated Clubs
Club Ground Youth Overall Renewal
Gosport Borough BS G BS 2020
Havant II G G G 2021
Other Grounds in SPCL
Club Ground Youth Overall Renewal
St. Cross Symondians (2nd ground) B - - -