Rounders is an ancient field game for two teams that is popular in schools and is the ancestor of more modern sports like Baseball and Softball.
See also: Rounders Equipment.
Rounders Equipment & Preparation
The equipment needed for rounders consists of a truncheon shaped rounders bat, a rounders ball and 4 posts set out in a diamond shape. A traditional ball is hard and covered in leather although safer, softer balls for schools are also available.
The pitch features a bowler's square (2.5m) which is 7.5m from the batter's square (2m). 1 metre behind the batter's square the Backstop line should be marked. The four posts are positioned around the bowler's square as shown in the diagram (black lines show lines that should be marked; green lines are for measuring only).
Of course, if you are just playing in the park or your garden, exact dimensions don't matter and shrubberies and flower beds may come into play...
For a decent game, each team should have at least 6 people, so that when fielding, a person can stand next to each post in addition to the bowler and the backstop.
Each team has two innings with all people in the team having a go at batting. The innings is over when all the batting players are either out or at a base so that there is no-one left to face the next ball.
One, by one, the batters line up to take their turn in the batting square. The bowler throws the ball towards the batter.
Bowling and No-Balls
The bowler must bowl a ball towards the batter so that:
- it is thrown with a smooth underarm action
- the ball arrives without bouncing and within the batters square
- the ball is above the batter's knee, below the batter's head, and not at the batter's body
- the bowler's feet are inside the bowler's square when the ball is bowled
otherwise a 'no-ball' is called.
A batter can attempt to hit a no-ball and can run on a no-ball, if desired whether the ball is hit or not, but cannot return once first post is reached. If two consecutive no-balls are bowled to the same batter, the batter scores a half-rounder.
- The batter gets one chance to hit the ball (ignoring no-balls) and must run even if the ball is not struck.
- If the ball is hit behind the batting square or not hit at all, the batter may can only run to first base.
- Otherwise, the batter runs around as many of the bases as possible and stops at a post only when the batter thinks there is a danger of the next post being 'stumped'.
The batter is out if:
- the batter hits the ball and it is caught without first hitting the ground
- the post being run to is 'stumped' - a fielder touches it with the ball
- the batter runs inside a post
- the batter loses contact with a post when the bowler has the ball inside the bowler's square
- the batter overtakes a fellow batter when running around the posts.
- while not running between posts, the batter obstructs a fielder
- the batter's foot is outside the batter's square when the ball is bowled
A score is immediately posted in the following situations:
- If the batter hits the ball or is bowled a no ball and then reaches the fourth post, a rounder is scored.
- If the batter fails to hit the ball and reaches the fourth post, a half-rounder is scored.
- If the batter hits the ball and reaches the second post, a half-rounder is scored.
- A fielder obstructs a batter running to a post, a half-rounder is scored.
- If the batter hits the ball and reaches the first, second or third post without being out, the batter stays at that post (and must keep in contact with it) until the next ball is bowled. As soon as the ball leaves the bowler's hand, such a batter can run to the next post, if they wish, even if a no-ball is called.
If the batter does not keep contact with the post, the fielding side can stump the next post to get the player out. 2 batters cannot be at the same post so a batter must run on to the next post if the next batter catches up with them.
- A batter who continues in this way and reaches the fourth post scores a half-rounder.
Once the fourth post is reached, the person goes to the back of the batter's line and awaits their next turn to bat.
After both sides have played both innings, the side with the most rounders wins.
Other Rounders Rules
The above rules are consistent with the National Rounders Associations laws. However, those wishing to play more strictly, may also wish to incorporate the following NRA rules which aren't really necessary for a friendly game.
- A team consisting of a maximum of 15 players and a minimum of 6 of whom no more than 9 may be on the field at one time. An innings is over when the 9th batter is out.
- If the ball goes behind, the batter may only run to first post but may continue to run once the ball has returned in front of the batter's square again. In this way, it is possible to reach 4th post and score a rounder, even if the ball is hit behind (although this would only happen in practice due to a fielding error).
- A batter can run to a post even if it has been previously stumped but there is no score if this is done on 4th Post
- Batsmen must carry their bat when running
- When the bowler has the ball in his square, you cannot move on, but if you are between Posts, you can carry on to the next.
- You must touch 4th Post on getting home.
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.
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