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The Rules of Bat and Trap


The Rules of Bat and Trap

Bat and Trap is a pub game of the same family as cricket played almost exclusively in Kent, England. Being a traditional pub game without any national governing body, variations of equipment and rules abound. Where there is doubt, locally played rules should always apply.

Please note that 1 metre = 100 cm = 3.28 feet.

See also: Bat and Trap.


Any cut grass area can be used as the pitch for a bat and trap game. The trap is placed on the ground at one end of the pitch and 21 yards in front of it at the other end are two white posts, 7 feet high and 13 feet, 6 inches apart. A straight white line is drawn on the ground between the posts and another curved white line joins them behind the posts to form a semi-circle. Sometimes, a whole pitch is marked out, 21 x 13.5 yards.

The "trap" is essentially a rectangular box between 22 and 24 inches long, 5 inches high and 5 inches wide that lies on the ground. The front part of the trap features a wicket which is a square white target with a black circle on it for the bowlers to aim at. This is effectively a 5 inches square rectangular flap hinged at the bottom and standing vertically so that a successful throw will knock the flap down backwards. On the top of the trap is a simple see-saw mechanism called a "striker" with a spoon shape at one end that propels the ball upwards when a batsman pushes the other end downwards.

The wooden bat can vary in shape but the oval striking face must be not more than 8 inches long and no more than 5 inches wide at any point. The ball is made of hard rubber and is 2 and a quarter inches in diameter.


Bat and Trap is a team game with eight players on each side. The team captains should toss a coin to decide which team bats first. An "innings" consists of each player on the team having one chance to bat, each player batting until he is "out". Each team plays an innings and the team with the most points wins the game. A normal league match will be the best of three legs but if a leg is drawn a fourth leg would be played to decide the match.

Only one player bats at a time. To start, the batsman stands beside the trap and knocks the lever down smartly with his bat which shoots the ball upwards where it can be hit with the bat. The batsman is allowed 3 attempts to shoot the ball to a sufficient height to be struck but as soon as a swing is made at the ball, the strike is deemed to have been taken. The objective is to strike the ball so that it passes between two white posts. If the batsman misses the ball or the ball does not manage to cross the line between the two posts or if the ball passes over the line at a higher altitude than the top of the posts, the batsman is "Knocked Out". Behind and between the two white posts, the opposing or fielding team stand in a line ready to field the ball. The fielders must remain behind the line but should the ball be caught by one of the fielders before touching the ground, the batsman is "Caught Out". This is quite unusual however and normally, the ball bounces once or twice before successfully crossing the line where it is stopped by the fielders.

After this, the bowling half of the turn begins. This is simply a chance for one of the fielders to throw the ball back down the pitch at the target flap at the front of the trap. The fielding side take turns to bowl so that each fielder bowls only once every 8 balls and the bowler must keep one foot behind the line between the posts at all times. The batsman can do nothing to prevent the ball hitting the wicket and must stand to one side while the ball is hurled. If the ball knocks the target so that it is knocked backwards and hits the ground, the batsman is "Bowled Out". If the bowler does not manage to knock down the target, the batsman scores one run, collects the ball and starts the process over again.

There are no standard methods for bowling or batting - the batsman can hold the bat with one or two hands can bash the ball in the air however he likes, while the bowlers can bowl, toss or throw underarm at their preference



These rules are provided by Masters Traditional Games, an Internet shop selling quality traditional games, pub games and unusual games. For general information or for copying and copyright, see our Rules Information page.

Our rules are comprehensive instructions for friendly play. If in doubt, always abide by locally-played or house rules.

Copyright Masters Traditional Games © 2019. All rights reserved.

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