League Rules

Suffolk and Essex League Rules

Winter 2018/19

Printable copy here.

Full Rules


League Secretary – Alec Livingstone

League Sub-committee – Ali Livingstone, Anselm Gurney and John van Heuman


1.      Qualification and Structure 

1.1.   The Suffolk and Essex Squash League is administered by the League Secretary, a member of the Suffolk SRA Committee. The League Secretary may convene a small sub-committee to advise and support him/her.

1.2.   The League is open to teams from Clubs who have paid league fees to Suffolk Squash and who are also affiliated to England Squash (ES). All players must be individually registered with ES via their club or individually, except in exceptional circumstances with the prior agreement of the League Secretary. Failure to pay the relevant fees may result in expulsion from the Leagues.

1.3.   A new team wishing to be considered for entry to the League must make an application in writing (usually by e-mail) to the League Secretary. Teams will normally be placed in the bottom divisions unless otherwise agreed by the League Secretary.


2.      Player Registration and Nomination

2.1.   All players must be a registered member of the club they represent. A player may not concurrently represent more than one club in the League in any one season.  If a player moves club mid-season then it will be for the League Secretary to determine if this is reasonable and in the best interests of the league and the player.

2.2.   Prior to the start of the season, team captains must nominate three players, in order. Those players cannot play for a lower team.

2.3.   Each team must play strictly in their order of merit. It is understood that players, particularly juniors, may change position during the course of a season as they improve however if a team is deemed to have played ‘out of order’ then they will lose that fixture. The League Secretary reserves the right to scrutinise a Club’s order of merit and request authentication of the playing order by reference to Club Leagues.

2.4.   A player will become tied to the higher team once they play their 4th match. If having become tied, the player plays further matches then these will be declared void.

2.5.   Teams from the same Club in the same Division cannot share players.


3.      Fixtures

3.1.   Division 1 comprises the top teams from Ipswich, Lexden, Martlesham and Moreton Hall and will play on Thursday nights.  Each club’s 1st team six players will play as two distinct teams of 3. Players cannot move between 1A and 1B. All six players will play on the same night against their opposition. Teams will play other clubs four times in the season and twice during the season will play each other.

3.2.   Each team in Divs 2 and 3 will play every other team in its division twice – once at home and once away. Monday is the recognised match night for those divisions but in exceptional circumstances teams may change their home match night..

3.3.   At least 48 hours notice is required of any request to postpone a fixture, except in exceptional circumstances, i.e. bad weather affecting travel, when a fixture may be postponed at short notice. The non-availability of players will not normally be considered suitable grounds for postponing a fixture.

3.4.   Requests to postpone fixtures must be made to the League Secretary – only the League Secretary can cancel a fixture. Any match which is not played, without the League Secretary’s agreement is automatically a walkover.

3.5.   There are limits on how long matches may be postponed. Any match postponed during the first half of the season must be played before the start of the second half; any match postponed during the second half of the season must be played within two weeks of the end of the season.

3.6.   If a team is granted a postponement, their opponents must offer two possible dates for a rearrangement at their convenience. If a suitable date for a postponement cannot be agreed a walkover will be awarded.

3.7.   Whether the circumstances for cancelling are ‘exceptional’ will be determined by the League Secretary.



4.      Playing Order Within Clubs

4.1.   Teams must play in the correct order of strength. A player may only play out of position as a result of injury, etc with the prior approval League Secretary.

4.2.   A player cannot play the last 4 games unless he/she has played in the league previously.

4.3.   Any irregularities in the result of a fixture due to non-observance of the above rules will mean that the ties of any affected player and all those playing below will be forfeit, or, at the discretion of the League Secretary, the match may be treated as a conceded fixture. Teams flouting these rules on regular occasions may be subject to a deduction of points, relegation, or in extreme cases expulsion from the Leagues as decided by the League committee. 


5.      Matches 

5.1.   The double yellow dot ball must be used for all matches. Balls must be new at the commencement of the match and are to be provided by the home team.

5.2.   The home team is expected to provide light refreshment for themselves and the opposition after the match. All players should make every effort to attend, but if this is not possible then the home captain should be informed. If the home team is unable to provide food on a particular occasion, then the away captain should be informed.

5.3.   All matches must be marked and it is the responsibility of the home team captain to ensure that this rule is observed. Markers will normally also perform the duties of the referee. The home team should mark 3 of the 5 matches.

5.4.   Each match should start at 7:30pm unless arranged otherwise in the posted fixtures or agreed by both teams concerned. Three points may be deducted from persistent offenders if at least one pair is not ready to go on court at the designated match start time.

5.5.   Each team will consist of 5 players who must play strictly in order of merit, and the order for each match must be declared on the scorecard before the match commences. Each tie will be the best of 5 games.

5.6.   The normal order of play is 5-4-3-2-1. If a team cannot comply with this they should where possible contact their opponents before the match to agree a revised playing order. If players are not ready to start within 15 minutes of the appointed time, or within 15 minutes of the previous matches finishing, ties may be forfeit upon appeal to the League Secretary.

5.7.   The matches will be played best of five, scoring PAR 11 for Division 1 and scoring PAR 15 for Divisions 2 and 3. In the event of games getting to 10-10 or 14-14, then it will be 2 clear points.

5.8.   Should any player fail to arrive without prior warning the other players will be moved up the order so that the team plays short of the lowest nominations. If lower ties have already been played then the missing players’ tie(s) and all those below will be conceded unless extenuating circumstances are made known on appeal to the League Secretary.

5.9.   The whole of the match (all 5 ties) must be completed within the day arranged.

5.10.        In the event of a court(s) becoming unplayable, the results of completed ties shall stand. Uncompleted ties shall be abandoned and started from the beginning at the same venue at a date to be mutually agreed. If however the stoppage is only temporary and the court(s) can be made playable, then interrupted ties shall be restarted at the point of suspension provided reasonable time remains for the completion of the match.

5.11.        If, after a prompt start has been made, a match has to be curtailed because courts become unavailable for further play, the home team shall forfeit the uncompleted ties.

5.12.        In the event of a player becoming injured during the course of a match and is unable to continue i.e. if an injury is self-inflicted the player has up to 3 minutes to recover provided the marker/referee is satisfied that the injury is genuine. In the case of an accidental injury contributed to by the opponent, play may be suspended until the player is able to continue, provided there is reasonable time for this; otherwise the injured player must concede. Where an injury is caused deliberately or by dangerous play by the opponent then that tie is awarded to the injured player.

5.13.        Junior players must wear eye protection during matches.


6.      Match Results 

6.1.   One point will be awarded for each game won. A maximum of 15 points is available to the winners of a match with a 5 player team. The winning team will also be awarded an extra 3 bonus points.

6.2.   “Double- headers” will not be allowed unless in extenuating circumstances and agreed by the League Secretary prior to the match.

6.3.   Unless otherwise agreed it is the responsibility of the home team to ensure the correct result has been submitted within 3 days of the match being played. In the event that a score has not been submitted, the team will be penalised 3 points. If, after 2 weeks the result has still not been submitted, the match will be awarded to the away team. The results should be submitted electronically, by email, SMS or WhatsApp. A picture is acceptable but must include both names of all the players.


7.      Promotion and Relegation 

7.1.   In the event of 2 teams finishing the season on equal points the higher position will be decided by, i) the team winning most matches, ii) the team with the better record in matches between the teams involved. If teams are still level and promotion or relegation issues are involved their position will be decided by a play-off.

7.2.   Promotion and relegation will usually be 2-up/2-down.

7.3.   A club’s higher ranked team cannot play in a lower division than their lower ranked team(s). In the event of this occurring the teams shall swap places.

7.4.   Where extra places become available through teams withdrawing from the League, these places will be allocated at the discretion of the League Secretary.

7.5.   If a team withdraws from the Leagues during the season then all that team’s fixtures for the season will be declared void, and the withdrawing team placed in the bottom position – subject to the team being able to re-form the following season. A team conceding more than 3 fixtures in any one half will be treated as having withdrawn. Any team withdrawing must be the lowest ranked team in their club.


8.      Players Conduct 

8.1.   If a player is alleged to have acted in a threatening or abusive manner towards their opponent, spectators or the referee, this should be reported to the League Secretary as soon as possible. The League Secretary will then decide whether any further sanction is appropriate.  

8.2.   Referees will apply the following Guidelines in the appropriate circumstances. Once the Referee has decided that an offence has occurred, the following actions must be taken:

8.2.1.      Abuse of equipment (racket or ball or other equipment):
Minor offence (e.g. throwing the racket onto the floor after losing a game, hitting the ball hard after the rally is over): Conduct Warning
Major offence (e.g. deliberately breaking the racket; smashing the racket against the wall; hitting the ball or throwing the racket out of the court): Conduct Stroke

8.2.2.      Audible or Visible Obscenity:
Minor offence (e.g. muttered expletive; blaspheming): Conduct Warning
Major offence (e.g. audible obscenity): Conduct Stroke

8.2.3.      Time-wasting:
Minor offence (e.g. a few seconds late back on court; taking excessive time to serve): Conduct Warning
Major offence (e.g. very late back on court; prolonged discussion with Referee): Conduct Stroke

8.2.4.      Dissent:
Minor offence (e.g. questioning a decision): Conduct Warning
Major offence (e.g. prolonged or repeated questioning of or disagreement with decisions): Conduct Stroke

8.2.5.      Abuse of Official:
Minor offence (e.g. unflattering comments about official or decisions): Conduct Warning
Major offence (e.g. pejorative comments about official or decisions): Conduct Stroke
Severe offence (e.g. hitting ball at official or into spectators; throwing racket at official or into spectators): Conduct Game or Match (depending on the severity of the offence and the danger caused)

8.2.6.      Excessive physical contact:
Minor offence (e.g. running into the opponent): Conduct warning
Major offence (e.g. physical abuse of the opponent): Conduct Stroke
Severe offence (e.g. deliberately injuring the opponent; dangerous play that injures the opponent): Conduct Game or Match (depending on the severity of the offence and the extent of the injury caused)

8.2.7.      Unsporting conduct:
Minor offence (e.g. making negative comments to the opponent): Conduct Warning
Major offence (e.g. repeated negative or pejorative comments to the opponent; any attempt at intimidation of the opponent): Conduct Stroke
Severe offence (e.g. extreme behaviour that brings the game into disrepute): Conduct Game or Match (depending on the severity of the offence)

8.2.8.      Repeated and excessive bad conduct:
When, in the Referee’s opinion, the player is guilty of repeated acts of unacceptable conduct on court following the imposition of the penalties outlined above, the Referee may impose for the next occurrence of the offence either the same penalty for the second offence or a more severe penalty than the one already imposed. However, if a Conduct Warning has been given for both the first and the second offences, for the third offence of a similar nature a Conduct Stroke must be applied. (Example: If a player has received a Conduct Warning for Dissent, on the next occurrence of this offence, either a Conduct Warning or a Conduct Stroke may be imposed. On the third occurrence, however, a Conduct Stroke is mandatory.)


9.      The League Secretary is responsible for ensuring that the League rules are observed and adhered to. Their decision will be final, pending any appeal to the Suffolk League Committee.


October 15th, 2018


Key points


  • The League is open to Clubs and players affiliated to England Squash.
  • All teams have to nominate three players in order.
  • Players are tied to higher team having played four times.
  • Match results have to be submitted within 3 days, including full names of players.
  • All first half session matches must be played before start of the second half session.
  • All matches must be played within 2 weeks of the scheduled end of the season.
  • Matches can only be postponed in exceptional circumstances with the prior agreement of the League Secretary.
  • Junior players must wear eye protection.