HistoryThe game of rounders has been played in England since Tudor times, with the earliest reference being in 1744 in '' '' where it was called base-ball. In 1828, William Clarke in London published the second edition of ''The Boy's Own Book'', which included the rules of rounders and also the first printed description in English of a bat and ball base-running game played on a diamond. The following year, the book was published in . The first nationally formalised rules were drawn up by the (GAA) in Ireland in 1884. The game is still regulated in Ireland by the GAA, through the GAA Rounders National Council ( ga, Comhairle Cluiche Corr na hÉireann). In Great Britain it is regulated by Rounders England, which was formed in 1943. While the two associations are distinct, they share similar elements of game play and culture. Competitions are held between teams from both traditions. After the rules of rounders were formalised in Ireland, associations were established in , England; and Scotland in 1889. Both the ' New York game' and the now-defunct ' ' versions of , as well as , share the same historical roots as rounders and bear a resemblance to the GAA version of the game. Rounders is linked to , which is still played in Liverpool, and . Although rounders is assumed to be older than baseball, literary references to early forms of 'base-ball' in England pre-date use of the term ''rounders''. The game is popular game among British and Irish school children, especially among girls, and is played up to international level. It is played by seven million children in the UK, with having played it as a young girl.
RulesGameplay comprises a number of , in which teams alternate at batting and fielding. Nine players constitute a team, with the fielding side consisting of the bowler, the catcher, a player on each of the four bases, and three deep fielders. Points (known as 'rounders') are scored by the batting team when one of their players completes a circuit past four bases without being put 'out'. The batter must strike at a good ball and attempt to run a rounder in an anti-clockwise direction around the first, second, and third base and home to the fourth, though they may rest at any of the first three. While there are differences between the rules set by Rounders England and by the GAA, they share much in common. The bowler, or 'feeder', bowls the ball with an underarm pendulum action to the batter. According to Rounders England rules, the ball is deemed a 'good' ball if it passes within reach on the striking side between the batter's knees and the top of the head. Otherwise, it is called a 'no-ball' or 'bad' ball. The ball is also regarded as bad if it is thrown into the batter's body or wide of the batting box. A batter may try to hit a bad ball but is not required to do so. A player is not out if a no-ball is caught and cannot be called out on first base. When a batter leaves the post, each runner on a base may run to the next and succeeding base. A post runner cannot be declared out when standing at a base. The batter must keep in contact with the base to avoid being declared out. A rounder is scored if one of the batting team completes a circuit without being out. The Rounders England rules state that a half rounder is scored if half a circuit is completed by a player without being put out, or if the batter has not hit the ball but makes it all the way to the fourth base. A batter is out if a fielder catches the ball cleanly; the batter reaches a base that had been 'stumped' (touched while holding the ball) by a fielder; the bat is dropped whilst the batter is running; the batter leaves the base before the bowler has bowled the ball; or the batter is 'run out' (overtaken) by the next batter.
Rounders England-specific rulesIn the UK, the rules of rounders are regulated by Rounders England. Games played under these rules use smaller bats and balls and are played on a smaller pitch compared to GAA games. The bases are marked with posts, which batters must keep in contact with and fielders must 'stump', and only one 'good' ball needs to be thrown before a batter must run. 'Half-rounders' are also counted in scoring. The fielding team must field a minimum of six players (one on each base plus bowler and catcher). The total number of players on a team is limited to nine. The ball circumference must be between and and the bat no more than in length and in diameter. Rounders England place a weight-limit of on the bat. The bases are laid out in a manner similar to a baseball diamond, except that batters run to a separate fourth base, at right-angles to third base and the batsman's base.
GAA-specific rulesIn Ireland, the rules of rounders ( ga, cluiche corr) are laid down by the Gaelic Athletic Association. The GAA rules are the earliest nationally organised rules of play, being formalised in 1884. It is played on a larger pitch compared to the Rounders England game and consequently uses larger bats and slightly larger balls. A GAA rounders pitch is a square field and bases are apart, compared to for the Rounders England game. Foul ground runs along two adjacent sides of the pitch with a home base at the intersection of these sides. Three substitutes may be made to the list of field players during play. A maximum of nine players are allowed to field at one time. There is no limit for the number of batters a team may list. The ball (or ) circumference is and bats may be long and up to in diameter. There is no limit on bat weight. Bases are normally marked with temporary square mats 64 cm (28") wide for home-base and the pitchers stand and wide for all others. Each batter is entitled to three good balls. A batter must try to hit any good balls that are bowled but need not run hitting the ball. If a ball is struck that would otherwise be considered 'bad', the ball is then considered to be 'good'. If on the first or second good ball, a ball is hit into the foul ground, or the ball is hit but no running occurs, it is considered a 'dead' ball and the batter or runners may not advance. If a batter receives three bad balls then a 'walk-on' is called and all runners advance one base. The batter may run on any ball except a dead ball. The batter is not allowed to drop the bat whilst running or that person is out and no rounders are scored. A batter is out if: * on a third good ball, the batter fails to strike the ball and the catcher holds the ball before it touches the ground; * the bat is thrown or tossed in a dangerous way; * on a third good ball, the batter strikes the ball into the foul area; * the bowler or catcher's view is obstructed for a second time, after a warning given on the first instance; * deliberate contact is made with a fielder carrying the ball; * the batter touches a base that has been 'tagged' by another fielder carrying the ball, in which case the batter must return to the previous base if it is still unoccupied; * the batter attempts to occupy a base occupied by someone else (with the exception of first base, which must be vacated to make way for the approaching batter). Batters must run in straight lines between bases and fielders must not obstruct their way or stand on bases. Disobeying this rule is considered unsporting behaviour and may result in up to two bases being awarded to the batting team or a batter being sent out. Normally, one batter may not overtake another while running between bases, although there are exceptions to this rule. Five innings constitute a game, depending on the level of the match. Each batting team's inning continues until three outs are made.
Comparison with softball and baseballThe GAA version of rounders is very similar to , the main difference being that the game is played with baseball-sized bats, balls and field. However, baseball-style gloves are not allowed. The main differences between and the Rounders England version of the game are that the rounders bat is much shorter and is usually swung one-handed; misses or strikes are not called, so there are no walks or strike-outs; each batter receives only one good ball and must run whether they hit it or not. Other differences include the posts for marking the bases, which should be wooden, and are preferably encased in plastic sheaths, the layout of the pitch, especially the location of the last base; and the bowler's arm motion, which is an underarm pendulum action, as in softball.
See also* Brännboll * Lapta * Oină * Palant * * *