Thanks for coming back on this, I am pleased that you are eager to get this right - as am I because we do want to get as many eligible teams as possible playing in this event.
You're all right - the rule itself is a little ambiguous (and deserving of some careful review) so I shall attempt to clarify with an example or two. This is intended to illustrate how the rule will be applied this year when ensuring teams and players meet the eligibility criteria.
Let's start from the beginning:
55 (a) All counties must hold a separate qualifying competition for teams that wish to enter this competition, the format for the qualifying event will be at the discretion of each individual county. If only one team within a county wish to enter, they will be declared the winners with no competition necessary.
This means that counties cannot simply create and nominate their 'all star' team to play in the event. The team must be real and exist as a group in one of their leagues/competitions. Now, there is some flexibility in this rule in that in creating a dedicated competition through which the winners are selected to represent in this event, there is scope to create a team made up of a range of players.
55 (b) A team may enter a guest player PROVIDED he only plays for the team he is guesting for (and plays regularly for a Team within ANY league in the same county). Players are not restricted to the one county rule (Rule 47) in this competition provided the fulfil the other criteria.
Let's break this one down. Please imagine that in Kent there were 8 teams that entered the qualification competition for this event. Eventually, the winners were crowned and are therefore the representatives from Kent in the Grand Finals later this year. This team cannot then add a guest to their line-up who had previously played for another team in the same qualification competition. Further, they can select a guest who did not play for another team in the qualification stages so long as that player regularly plays for a league team in that county. For example - if that Kent team needed to add a guest (in order to secure a full side on the Grand Finals event day for example), they could only add, say Kevin Tunstall, so long as he regularly plays in a league team in Kent (and did not play in the qualification stages of this competition for anyone else). However, Kev does not play regularly for a Kent team and so would not meet the eligibility criteria.
For regularly - this needs to be quantified - but I would say at least 1/3 of league matches for that team. However - this potentially conflicts with 55(a) above and I will therefore look carefully (hence the early registration of teams) to ensure that the spirit of the event and our game is not being challenged.
55 (c) Players must be registered for the host venue and the same league at the start of the calendar year.
55 (d) Teams from the same league within a host venue may amalgamate.
In Northants, there are The Cock 'A', The Cock 'B' and The Cock 'C' teams in the league. They are entitled to amalgamate and select their best side to enter the Northants qualification event.
55 (e) No player may play for more than one team during the same year.
This follows from 55(b) above and underlines that players cannot represent more than one team in this event. For example, Gerry Fitzjohn cannot play in one team in Kent, fail to qualify, and so play for his Sussex league team and win their qualification event to represent Sussex in the Grand Finals - he would be ineligible.
55 (f) Registration forms must be supplied (normally by the County Secretary) to the AEBBA Secretary by the end of August of that year’s competition to allow scrutinizing. Failure to comply with this will result in automatic disqualification from the finals.
As per the registration on the AEBBA website. Whilst payment is not essential on registration - it is easy for you to do! But the purpose of having this process is to enable me to check eligibility and sort out any issues, should there be any, well in advance of the event.
55 (g) County champions will represent their counties at the Grand Finals.
This underlines that there will only be one team from each county at the Grand Finals event. So, in a county with multiple leagues - such as Sussex - each league may have their own qualification event where winners will compete against those from the other leagues within the county in order to determine the county representatives at the Grand Finals event.
Hope that all makes sense but happy to work through any further clarifications as required.