Rules of rounders
Rounders is a game played between two teams, who alternate between batting and bowling as in cricket, with both teams taking a turn at batting (called an innings) then a turn at fielding. Rounders can be played either as one game comprising of one innings each or as a series of innings with the scores being added to a final total.
A rounders team can be any size between five to fifteen players, however many people will remember playing rounders at school, where a class of 30 or 40 would simply be divided into two teams!
The aim of the game is to score rounders while batting. This is achieved by each player batting in succession, then running a circuit of four bases in order to score a rounder. The fielding side tries to stop progress by catching the ball or “stumping” the bases before the 4th base can be reached. Rounders has similarities with cricket and also baseball, popular in the USA.
Rounders is played with a wooden bat and a leather hard ball, although a soft ball is more often used for reasons of safety. The bat, which resembles a policeman’s truncheon or a short baseball bat, may be up to 8.6" (21.8cm) in diameter and between 27" to 43"(68cm – 109cms) in length, according to the NRA rules.
The rounders pitch
The pitch for competitive rounders is laid out as follows:
- There should be the bowlers square (measuring 2.5metres) positioned 7.5 metres from the batting position. The batting position is also a marked square measuring 2 metres.
- The backstop line should be marked at 1 metre behind the batters square in rounders.
- The four bases or rounders posts are positioned around the bowlers square and should be 12 metres apart, save the distance between the third and fourth post which should only measure 8.5 metres. The final fourth rounders post is positioned to the left of the batting square. For a casual game of rounders, this lay out does not have to be strictly followed. Rounders bases can be marked by jumpers, markers or natural features of the playing area and the bowler and batting position similarly indicated.
Size of rounders team and positions.
- Six is a perfect number for a rounders team. When fielding, the fielders should be positioned with four players covering each rounders base or post, plus there should be a backstop and a bowler. In a larger rounders team, surplus fielders can stand in any position likely to make a catch.
- The batting side will all get a turn to bat and should line up to await their turn. In rounders, unlike cricket, the batters bat in rapid succession.
- The bowler can be changed within the innings, if so desired by the rounders fielding side.
Bowling and no balls
- A “no ball” is declared for a bowling infringement in rounders.
- When playing rounders, the ball should be bowled underarm and should not bounce before making contact with the bat.
- The rounders ball must arrive in the batter’s box and should not be bowled “wide”
- The rounders ball must be bowled at a height between the batters knee and the batters head, but must not be thrown at force, aiming at the body. Bodyline bowling is not permitted in rounders.
- Failure to comply with any of these rules results in a no ball being declared.
- A batter can try to hit a no ball and can also run on a no ball, whether the ball is hit or not. However once the batter reaches the first rounders post he cannot return to the batting position.
- If a no ball is bowled, the bowler should bowl again to the same player. However if two no balls are bowled in succession to the same batter, the batter scores a penalty point of half a rounder.
- The batter has only one chance to hit the ball in rounders and must run, even if he does not make contact with the ball (this does not apply to no balls)
- If the batter hits the rounders ball behind the square, he can only run to first base and no further.
- If the batter has hit the rounders ball, he should attempt to run round all of the bases and should only stop if in danger of being stumped – this is when a fielder throws the ball at the rounders base which makes contact before the batter can reach it.
- If the batter misses the rounders ball completely he can still attempt to run to the 4th rounders base.
- Once the batter has safely reached the 4th base he resumes his position in the batting line until he gets his next turn to bat.
Being “out” can be a bone of contention in a rounders game. The following are all reasons for being out when batting in a rounders match:
- If the batter hits the rounders ball but it is caught by a fielder before it hits the ground.
- If the batter is stumped or run out – that is the rounders ball is thrown at the base before the batter can reach it.
- If the rounders ball has been returned to the bowlers square before the batter is positioned by a base.
- If the batter overtakes another batting team member when running round the rounders bases.
- A batter can also be out if his foot is outside the batting square when the rounders ball is bowled.
- If a rounders player on the batting side tries to obstruct a fielder in order to help the batter from reaching base, the batter is out.
- Once all the batting side are out, it is the end of the innings and play passes to the opposing rounders team.
- When reaching a rounders base, the player must make contact with it by physically touching it with their hand as they pass. If the player does not touch the base, the fielding side can stump the following rounders post to put the player out.
- Stumping a rounders base only applies to one turn. A previously stumped base does not follow on into the next turn.
- Once the bowler has the rounders ball back into his square, the players cannot move, but if caught between bases, may carry on running to the next base.
- Two members of the batting team can not be at one rounders base at the same time.
- Batting players are not allowed to overtake members of their own team when running.
- A batting team player does not have to run from their base every time a ball is bowled.
- A batting player standing at a rounders base may move once the ball leaves the bowlers hand.
- Every batting player must touch the 4th base when getting home.
- After getting home to 4th base, the batter joins the line to await their next turn to bat.
- Scoring in rounders is easy and should be updated continuously as play progresses, as in the game of cricket.
- 1 rounder is awarded if the 4th base is reached by the batter after hitting the rounders ball.
- 1 rounder is scored if the batter reaches the 4th base after running on a no ball.
- ˝ rounder is scored if the batter does not hit the ball but reaches 4th base anyway.
- ˝ rounder is scored if 2nd base is reached after hitting the rounders ball.
- A penalty ˝ rounder is awarded to the batting team for an obstruction by a fielder.
- A penalty ˝ rounder is awarded to the batting team if 2 consecutive no balls bowled to the same batter.
The innings is over once all the batting team are out and there are no rounders players left in to bat. This team then takes up their fielding positions and the opposing team gets ready to bat and start their rounders innings. The rounders team with the highest score wins.