The Sport of Rounders

Rounders is a sport played between two teams, each alternating between batting and fielding. The game originates in England most likely from an older game known as stool ball. The first nationally formalised rules were drawn up by the Gaelic Athletic Association (GAA) in Ireland in 1884. The game is regulated by the Gaelic Athletic Association (GAA) in Ireland and the National Rounders Association (NRA) in Great Britain. Both have different, although similar, game-play and culture. Competitions are held between teams from both traditions with games alternating between codes, often one version being played in the morning and the other in the afternoon.


Game-play centres around innings where teams alternate at batting and fielding. A maximum of nine players are allowed to field at one time. Points ("rounders") are scored by the batting team by completing a circuit around the field through four bases or posts without being put 'out'.

The earliest nationally formalised rules of play were devised by the GAA in Ireland in 1884. In 1889, associations were formed in Liverpool and Scotland. The NRA was not formed until 1943. Baseball (both the "New York game" and the now-defunct "Massachusetts game") as well as softball are likely to share the same historical roots as rounders (see origins of baseball) and bears a resemblance to the GAA version of the game. Rounders is linked to British Baseball, still played in Liverpool, Cardiff and Newport. Although rounders is assumed to be older than baseball, literary mentions of "base-ball" pre-date those of rounders. Rounders is now played from school-level to international.

In many respects, rounders is identical to Baseball. It is however considered a school game, rounders is played at international level. Canada, England, Ireland, the Isle of Man, Scotland and Wales compete against each other, and the Pakistan Rounders Association held its first national competition in 2006.

The ball is hard with a cork centre, covered in white leather and comparable in size to a tennis ball (a standard tennis ball or "soft" rounders ball is often substituted in school games). In Ireland, a hurling ball called a sliotar is used. Bats are similar in shape to baseball bats and can be made from wood or aluminum. Four bases are laid out in a diamond shape and a fifth marker is placed in-line between home and second base indicating where the bowler stands.

A team can have a maximum of 15 players and a minimum of 6. No more than 9 players can be on the field at one time. The fielding team must include one bowler and one backstop. Other outfield players take positions at each of the bases or elsewhere on the field.

The bowler bowls the ball with an underarm pendulum action to the batter. It 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 (NRA). Otherwise, it is called a "no-ball" or "bad" ball. The ball is also "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. A player is not out if a "no-ball" is caught.

When a batter leaves home base, each runner on a base may advance to the next and succeeding bases. A base runner cannot be declared out when occupying a base. The batter must keep in contact with the base to prevent them from being declared out.

A rounder is scored if a member of the batting team completes a circuit without being out. In NRA, a half rounder is scored if half a circuit is completed without being 'out' or if a batter has not hit the ball but makes it all the way to the fourth base.

A batter is out if: (a) a ball hit is caught, (b) running to (NRA) or touching (GAA) a base that had been 'stumped' by a fielder, or (c) they drop the bat while running

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