Cody and Brodie Eccles get in some sneaky practice on their special Christmas Day backyard cricket pitch at their home in The Basin. Picture: Valeriu Campan Source: News Limited
TRADITIONAL backyard cricket has been hit for six by the Eccles family, who have elevated their game to a whole new level — and that's no spin.
The family from The Basin take their backyard cricket very seriously, and have a dedicated pitch which is specially prepared and can only be used for their Christmas Day match.
They have three cricket pitches on the property; the 'Cool Yule', a second one they use for matches throughout the year and a third synthetic deck they use for batting practice.
Mum Debbie described her family as "cricket-mad" and said her sons Brodie, 15, and Cody, 13, who attend St Joseph's College in Ferntree Gully, were the envy of their cricket club friends.
Their Christmas Day backyard cricket match involves the extended family and is a serious affair.
Mrs Eccles and husband John set up several cameras around the yard each year, and edit the footage at the end of the day — complete with dubbed commentary and game highlights.
And this year will be the first year they use a spidercam to get footage from the game play.
Yep, a moving camera, suspended in the air, just like the international coverage.
The Eccles' warm up deck. Picture: Valeriu Campan Source: News Limited
"My kids have been playing cricket in the backyard since they learnt to walk," Mrs Eccles said.
"The pitch gets mowed down on the night before Christmas to make sure it's all prepared.
"They usually try to start before lunch and it usually goes for about four hours."
Mrs Eccles said they used a standard car tyre to roll out the pitch, and a small hand mower to get the lawn to the perfect length.
A garden hose marks out the boundaries, and they use a half-taped tennis ball instead of a cricket ball to avoid breaking any roof tiles, car windows — or bones.
Hopefully no one will be bowled out for a duck this year.
After all, it's a day for turkey.
Leader's new cricket-dedicated Facebook page, Leader Local Cricket, put out a call for your best backyard pitches.
And readers didn't disappoint, with some brilliant examples that would put a turf pitch to shame.
If you've got a backyard pitch you'd like us to see, head on over, like the page and send it to us.
You'd be happy to have a hit on Ben Hodgart's well manicured cricket pitch. Source: Supplied
Ben Hodgart's awesome deck at his Hoppers Crossing home also gets the camera treatment.
That thing looks like every blade of grass has been waited on with a pair of nail clippers, not one is out of place.
Here's a clip of Ben versus Dan, complete with Channel 9 commentary, action replays and even a sneaky hot spot appearance.
The boys watch the action at the Seehusens. Source: Supplied
The view from the bowler's end at the Seehusens. Source: Supplied
The VIP viewing area from the deck at Peter Seehusen's backyard cricket pitch is prime position.
The deckchairs are lined up for those not involved in the action, so they can get an up close and personal view of the brilliant performances produced when the Seehusens battle it out with friends and family.
It's a fairly scenic set up too.
The pitch backs directly onto the home, which gives views that almost look like they could be on canvas.
The Seehusens even employ a traditional cricket roller, to keep their deck perfectly flat for the batsmen, with some noticeable green to give the bowlers some hope.
We can just envisage the epic battles on Christmas Day.
So much fun.
The backyard deck at the Hookeys' home is about 14m long. Source: Supplied
"It's all happening here at the HCG" – That's the fabled Hookey Cricket Ground, in Cranbourne.
Lovingly tended to by 18-year-old Craig Hookey and his family, the backyard battles are more a daily occurrence in summer, than just a Christmas staple.
"About four years ago I started making a backyard cricket pitch out the back for the family Christmas party," Craig said.
"Over time, it has started late November and ended late February due to mates always wanting to have a game!"
"The pitch is about 14 metres long.
"Rules are windows on full are out and the most important rule, which my dad came up with, is lemon tree on the full is out!
"I can't think of anything better to do over summer than play backyard cricket!"
Benjamin Luca's backyard pitch looks like it would be home in Mumbai, India. Plenty for spinners and nothing for the quicks. Source: Supplied
Blake John Papas reckons if you win the toss you bowl in his backyard. Source: Supplied
And sometimes backyard cricket is more serious than just the odd knock around on Christmas Day.
Welcome to the BBL ...
No, not the KFC T20 Big Bash League, the Backyard Bashes League, of course.
Set in the suburbs of Melbourne, the clubs battle it out throughout the summer for the BBL title.
It's a fun league that doesn't take itself too seriously, headed by a group of inventive chaps who treat it with a bit of schtick, as the video in the Facebook post below attests.
Lucas Butcher's poolside pitch. Source: Supplied
The deck at Dylan Rhys-Jones' home. Source: Supplied
Paddy Inglis roped off his square. Source: Supplied
The Wyatt Recreation Reserve, located in Drouin. Source: Supplied