Avon and Bristol & District Squash League Rules

    Rule changes from the 2017 AGM are in italics.

    1. Eligibility to play in the Avon and BAD Squash Leagues
      1. Any team can enter the Avon and BAD Squash League providing its club pays the appropriate league fee by sending it in with the entry request or within a 30 calendar days of a given deadline date following a club's entry request. Any club failing to pay the appropriate fee may result in their respective team(s) being withdrawn from the current leauge. The payment required is discounted if that club is represented at the previous Annual General Meeting (AGM) meeting.
      2. All players must be England Squash members and have a valid and current membership number. This is best done through their club being affiliated with England Squash but individual membership is also accepted.
      3. Each player's ES membership number must be entered on the website and will be verified automatically. Players registered on the badsquash website can check if their ES membership number is valid by viewing their player history page. Club admins can see this information for all club players. It is also available for the team on the team page.
      4. If a player plays three or more league matches in any one league and they do not have a valid ES membership number on the system, their team will be penalised with two penalty points for that player. Each player will be measured and treated independently so a maxiumm of ten penalty points could be awarded on the third league match if no-one in the team has entered their ES membership numbers by that time.

        Earlier penalties can be rescinded once ES membership has been obtained and entered on the system as long as best efforts were demonstrated. Membership is year long - we just want to make sure everyone is a member. This is measured by England Squash and our additional rebate depends on it.

        Note, it is important that the membership number is entered on the badsquash system. Having a valid membership number and not entering it on the system is equivalent to not having a membership number at all!
      5. Each team entered must consist of a squad of at least five players for the Autumn and Spring leagues and four players for the Summer leagues. This may vary at the discretion of the league secretary. The key point is that if the league specifies teams of five players, then please make sure your team can reliably achieve that for the duration of the league. This implies each team having one or two reserves.
      6. Home teams must provide hot food and refreshment for the visiting team after matches during the Autumn and Spring leagues. This is not required for the Summer leagues but a social drink afterwards is always welcome!
    2. The league will be run with the following mindset:
      1. The purpose of the league is to organise and facilitate regular, competitive team squash matches that are enjoyable and have a social element.
      2. The league structure is designed so that, in general, teams in the same division are of a reasonably similar standard so that the matches are closely contended. At the end of each league, the better teams go up and the lower level teams go down to enable that.
      3. It is assumed that all teams are doing their best to turn up and play with a full squad for each fixture.
      4. It is assumed that all teams will play fairly with a resaonably consistent set of players, playing in approximately the right order with no ringers being played near the end of the league. The rules detailed below perform a level of formality around this but the expectation is that fair play will be the norm.
      5. Some amount of rule flexibility is allowed to enable full teams to play a fixture as long as it's an honest attempt to put out a full team, all the alternatives have been tried first, fair play is applied, common sense has been applied, there's no benefit gained compared to the 'normal' team make up and it has been agreed with the league secretary before the match.
      6. It is assumed that club and team captains are competent and able to record the results correctly and in good time after each match has been played. If they are unable to do so for any match, it is their responsibility to delegate that responsibility to someone else.
    3. Scheduling Matches
      1. Each team must make the league secretary aware of any dates they cannot make (such as half term) or nights they cannot play at home (such as club night is on a Thursday) when asked at the start of the fixture generation process. This also applies to the university teams who have term times to consider and BUCS matches to play. This allows the league secretary to work around all these constraints as best they can.
      2. Mixed League matches are normally scheduled for a Wednesday night, Ladies League (ladies only) for a Thursday night. As we have a shortage of courts in our county, fixtures can also be schduled for Tuesday or Thursday nights in order to schedule all that are needed. The Ladies league have priority for Thursday and so their fixtures are scheduled first.
      3. Matches start at the time as shown on the website. It is the club captain's responsibility to see this is accurately displayed.
      4. Failure for any club to have a player ready to go on court within 10 minutes of the correctly advertised start time could lead to the opposing team claiming the starting tie(s), if a complaint is referred to and upheld by the League Secretary.
      5. The home team is responsible for providing sufficient court time (40 minutes per tie) for the match to be completed.
      6. Play should be continuous with no more than 10 minutes between ties.
      7. If time runs out because the visiting team was late then the uncompleted tie(s) will be awarded to the home team.
      8. If the match started on time, the uncompleted tie(s) will be awarded to the away team.
      9. Rearrangements. Please do everything you can to avoid a rearrangement but if necessary:
        1. There has to be a good reason to rearrange a match. Please clear this with the league secretary first!
        2. It is the responsibility of the requesting team to find an alternative date.
        3. Bad weather such that it is dangerous to travel (e.g. snow) is a valid reason to request a rearrangement. In this case it is assumed the decision will be made by the away team and must be made before 5pm on the day of the match to give the home team fair notice or the home team will be able to claim a walkover. If only one of the team is unable to make it on the night then the match should go ahead.
        4. Last minute court closure is another valid reason to request a rearrangement. In this case it is the home team that will request the rearrangement. Fair notice must be given to the away team (and the league secretary) by 5pm on the day of the match or the away team will be able to claim a walkover.
        5. The other team should be accommodating but are not expected to play twice in a week or outside of the league period.
        6. The rescheduled date must be no later than one week after the end of the season (based on the original fixture list) unless that falls into national holiday periods such as Easter or Christmas.
        7. It is OK for the requesting team to play twice in a week.
        8. If a mutually agreeable date (by both team captains and the league secretary) cannot be found then the requesting team will have to forfeit the match as a walkover.
        9. If a match is rescheduled earlier than the original fixture then the official match date is left unchanged and the results should be input on the original planned date.
        10. If a match is rescheduled later than the original fixture then the date on the system will be updated. if both captains and the league secretary agree.
    4. League Structure - Mixed leagues (the Ladies and Doubles leagues are not covered for now)
      1. The league will be organised as a single column of divisions, generally each consisting of six teams. They are named Premier A through C, then numbered 1 through 9 as needed.
      2. If there aren't enough teams to fill all divisions then, starting from the bottom, the divisions will be made up of five teams. In general there will be one division of five teams for every team missing. For this reason, adding and removing teams can have far reaching effects on promotion and relegation.
      3. Any new team entering the mixed league will be placed at the lowest division, or in a more appropriate division if they can demonstrate to the league secretary that it is justified based on evidence such as ranking levels. They may still end up one division down so that they can 'prove themselves' over one league but we also don't want teams playing out of position as that just leads to a set of one-sided matches.
      4. Each team will play all the other teams in the division both home and away.
      5. Within their division, teams will be ranked by (in order of priority):
        (1) Number of league points (see below)
        (2) Number of league matches won
        (3) Number of league matches drawn
        (4) Head-to-Head match results between teams still tied
        (5) Number of individual games won
        (6) Play-off between tied teams
      6. As the whole season is split into two leagues - Autumn and Spring - the season champions for each division will be decided by a play-off between the winners of that division from both the Autumn and Spring leagues. Details of dates and locations of the play-offs will be determined and communicated by the League Secretary.
      7. Promotion and relegation. As a general rule, the top two teams go up one division and the bottom two teams go down one division.
      8. Other changes:
        1. If a team drops out of a division then there is the option in all the divisions below that for either the team above the bottom one to not go down or for the third placed team in the division below to go up. This will be based on:
          1. Which team has the higher level.
          2. Reducing the number of teams from the same club in the same division.
          3. Keeping teams from the 'far north' away from the teams from the 'far south' just to reduce the amount of travel.
        2. If a team is added to a division then that will result in only a single team being promoted in each division below.
        3. For this reason, new teams will be added to the bottom division unless there is a good justfication.
      9. The league secretary will have final descretion over which teams should play in which division but will provide justification if that means not applying the rules above.
    5. League Scoring
      1. Each league match consists of 5 matches. The winning team is the team winning 3 or more of these matches.
      2. One league point will be awarded for each game won.
      3. Bonus Points:
        1. The winning team will receive a 4 point win bonus as long as they played with a full team. Teams missing a player cannot earn bonus points. This is to encourage a full turn-out even if the team is confident of a win with less than a full squad.
        2. In the ladies league, the 4 point win bonus will still be awarded to an incomplete team as long as they are the lowest ranked (or only) team representing the club in the BAD league.
      4. Results input
        1. Match scores must be entered on the website (or, in an emergency only, notified to the League Secretary) within five days of the match date. Failure to do so will incur a 5 point penalty against the Home team.
        2. All player names must be entered in full with no unknown players listed. It is the responsibility of both captains to ensure that the correct player name(s) are entered for both teams. Failure to do so will incur a 3-point penalty against the Home team. The Away team will also incur a 3-point penalty if the unknown player is one of theirs.
        3. The away captain should make sure the home captain has the full player names of their team by the end of the evening.
        4. If one of the players is injured during the match and retires before the match is completed then the result should be entered at the point the match stopped and the injury icon used to indicate the injury. The system will calculate the team points as if the non-injured player went on to win the match but will exclude the result from the rankings.
        5. If there is an injury during (or even before) the match but play continues to the end then this is not considered an injury situation. The injured player accepted the injury and carried on. In this case the match result is entered normally and the result is included in the rankings. If the injured player feels particularly hard done-by then they must get agreement from both team captains that the result should not be included in the rankings and provide a convincing argument to the league secretary.
      5. Fulfilling fixtures
        1. Should a team be unable to put out at least three players for either of the last two fixtures of the season, that team will be penalised 5 penalty points per no-show at the start of the next season unless they come up with a jolly good reason to the satisfaction of the league secretary.
        2. In the event of a team not being able to fulfil a fixture during the Autumn or Spring season, 15 points will be awarded to the other team (and no bonus points).
    6. Match Rules
      1. Matches are to be played in accordance with the "Rules of Squash", as defined by England Squash. At the time of writing, their website provides a summary, as well as the complete rules. Note that the rules restrict the length of any warm-up.
      2. If the Rules of Squash contradict the league rules as set out in this document in any way, the league rules take precedence.
      3. The warm-up must be fair without either player hogging the ball. If the marker spots an unfair warm-up or one of the players feels hard done by then the marker can 'have words' with the offender and ensure the other guy gets a decent hit.
      4. All teams in all leagues will play point-a-rally scoring. The premiere divisions will play to 11 and the teams in the numbered divisions will play to 15. Winner must win by two clear points in both cases.
      5. If there are exceptional circumstances, such as a team is running out of court time and the courts are hot then the home captain from a numbered division may opt to play PAR to 11 to reduce the likely match time. This should be agreed by both captains before the start of the match.
      6. Generally, matches should be played with SRA approved double dot balls but if is particularly cold and both captains agree, single dot balls may be used.
      7. Play must be continuous. Once a match is in progress, players must be ready to go on court within the maximum of 10 minutes of an earlier tie being completed. Failure to do so may lead to the opposing team claiming the first game of the next tie to be played. The League Secretary has the discretion of either issuing a warning or issuing penalty points to repeat offenders.
      8. Players must play in the correct order (See Team Ordering)
      9. It is the responsibility of the Home team to arrange markers and record the results for the matches.
      10. Any team without a full complement of players will be deemed to be without the lowest ranked player(s). As long as at least 3 players are available the match should be played.
    7. Team Ordering and Player Limitations
      1. Team captains must play players in order of merit i.e. the strongest player at number one and the weakest at number five. This is the key philosophy behind this section. In any case where the formal rules conflict with this aim, teams may apply to the league secretary for a discretionary ruling in advance of the match. Prefence will be given to playing in the correct order.
      2. The order change rule has been removed. Players can now change order within their team from week to week as they like to suit timings, logistics or whatever but the out of order rule has been tightened up and there are limitations for moving players between teams. See below for more on these.
      3. Team order rule: Players must have a level less than 50% more than that of the player playing immediately above them in the team. This allows for a good deal of flexibilty for team order and also for inaccuracy in the system. A player who has 50% higher level than their opponent would expect to beat them reasobably comfortably so, players out of order are usually spottable from the balcony, let alone from the levels on the system.

        The rule is not applied, however, when the level confidence of either player is less than 35% just to ensure that it is only applied when the system is sure. This allows for a match or two for new players before their level is calculated.
      4. Playing down: Only the bottom two players (by level) can play down from a team above the week before. This is to keep it fair for the opponents of the lower team.
      5. Virtual teams: If a team doesn't have a fixture one week but the team below does, the team captain needs to be able to list (on request) a full team of available players for the non-playing team in addition to the players playing for the team below. This is to ensure that the team below aren't unfairly strengthened by players who wouldn't have been available had the team above been playing that week. This is to keep it fair for the opponents of the lower team.
      6. Playing for multiple teams in the same week
        1. Players may play multiple matches for the same team in the same week if this happens due to a re-arrangement and that team is simply playing twice in one week.
        2. Playing twice - If a club is struggling to get a full team out, a player from a lower team in the same club may 'play up' for the higher team. This player should be a 'placeholder' for the higher team to help get a full team out; the higher team should not benefit from this. To be considered a 'placeholder', the player should be the lowest ranked in the higher team and play at the lowest string. Please get in touch with the league secretary if you need to do this and 'clear' the player in question first. As long as there's no advantage gained, you should be OK. This should only occur rarely and if abused penalties may still be applied at the descretion of the league secretary.
        3. In all other cases, players should not play for more than one team per week. If this occurs, the higher of the two teams will incur a 5 point penalty.
      7. Ringers - Special rules for final two matches in the league. With promotion and relegation at stake, it can get very tense at the end of the league so these rules are applied to ensure that a team can't play a ringer at this time to gain an unfair advantage.
        1. In general, only players who have already played for the team prior to the final two matches of the season may play in the last two matches of the season or any subsequent play-offs.
        2. If a team captain cannot raise five players meeting this requirement, then they can play a new player who is ranked in the bottom half of the team otherwise that player will be deemed a ringer. The team page will show the cut-off level based on the average level of all those who have played for the team so far in the season.
        3. If the team can still not raise all 5 players and the new player is only just higher than the cut-off level then as long as you can persuade the league secretary that they are not a ringer then you can play them. The cut-off level may be unfairly low for instance if a couple of very low level players have played for the team. This can be taken into account as long as the request is made before the match.
      8. Play-offs - At the end of the season, the winning team for each division in the first half will play the winning team in the same division in the second half to determine the division winner for the season. The winning team will receive a trophy at the AGM to keep and display proudly.
        1. The league secretary will define a period between the end of the Spring league and a week before the AGM in which the play-offs must be played. The week is needed to get the trophies organised. It is up to the team captains to agree when and where to play as it may be easier/cheaper to play at one of the respective clubs. If the captains can't agree then the fallback is that the home captain of the first half team can choose the venue. Both captains must agree on the date.
        2. If the play-off is not played then there is no division winner and no trophy will be awarded. In exceptional circumstances, if one team has tried hard to arrange the play-off but their opponents have been unable to put a team together then that team will be awarded a walkover and will receive a trophy. This must be agreed with the league secretary within the period of the play-offs.
        3. The same constraints apply to the players in the play-off as they did for the last two matches in the half the team is representing. E.g. they must have played at least once for the team previous to the last two matches of the half or be less than the average level of the team (the ringer rule).
        4. The play-offs are treated as if they all play on the same night so the playing-up rule applies. I.e. a player can only play in two play-offs if they are the lowest ranked player of the higher team.
      9. Special consideration for university teams
        1. It is understood that at the start of every season, the university teams include quite a few new players of a relatively unknown standard. The expectation is that best guess and best efforts will be applied to distribute those players throughout the teams in about the right positions but it is likely that some will turn out to be in the wrong place in the first week or two.
        2. There will be a grace period of three weeks during which time the levels of the new players will be estabilished accurately enough that they can be put in roughly the right places. It's not an exact science but this should be possible within the flexibilty of the rules. In order to move these players around it will be accepted that this may break the 'One position per match' rule which is fine as long as the league secretary is informed ahead of time. That way there are no surprises and the penalties can be removed quickly.
        3. It is also recognised that some university teams struggle with transport and that they need a driver to get them to their away fixture who may not always be available. There are no hard and fast rules around this other than to get in touch with the league secretary and see if a plan can be worked out that doesn't give unfair advantage to the team. For instance, you can't player a driver from the B team just because your D team driver is unavailable.
    8. Conflict Resolution
      1. Any complaint about any issue must be sent to the league secretary by email within 7 days of the event.
      2. In all situations relating to the application of the rules the decision of the league secretary is final however in extreme circumstances an appeal can be made to the Avon and BAD squash Committee. The Committee's decision will be confirmed within 14 days of receipt of the appeal, and will be final.
      3. If any situation occurs that is not covered by the rules, the league secretary's discretion will be applied. Please refer to the section on the mindset behind running the leagues for clues on how the league secretary is likely to react.