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Quick start stoolball

These are the 10 simplified rules you need to play fun quick start stoolball. Perfect for trying out the sport in the park or leading a school PE lesson. Always use a soft ball.

Mark out a large playing area and set the wickets in the middle. 16 big paces apart for adults (13 for juniors). Mark a ‘crease’ line to bowl from, 10 big paces for adults (8 for juniors) away from the batter’s wicket.

  1. Decide how long the match will last (how many 8 ball overs), who will field first and who will bat first, usually by tossing a coin.
  2. Batters: hit the ball and aim to score as many runs as possible. Both batters run down the left side of the strip, so as not to collide, and must touch the wicket when they get to the other end to score a run. Good communication between batting partners is key!
  3. If you hit the ball to the edge of the playing area, you score 4 runs. If it didn’t touch the ground on the way, you score 6 runs.
  4. Bowlers: Bowl underarm only, from behind the ‘crease’ line. Bowl 8 times per ‘over’.
  5. A ‘no ball’ is given when you bowl below the line on the wicket post. The batting team gets an automatic 3 runs plus any extra runs scored. The batter can hit a ‘no ball’ and score extra runs. A batter can be ‘run-out’ but not ‘caught out’ on a no-ball.
  6. A ‘wide’ ball is when you bowl a ball too high or wide for the batter to hit. The batting team gets 3 runs plus any extra runs scored. But, if the batter manages to reach the ball, it’s no longer a ‘wide’ of course!
  7. If you think someone is out, fielders must ask the umpire by shouting ‘How’s that?’ (If you’ve decided the batters will stay ‘in’ for a decided number of ‘overs’, then the batters lose 5 runs instead of being ‘out’).
  8. A batter can be out in 3 ways:
    • Caught (you can’t be caught out on a no ball)
    • Bowled (the ball has hit the square face or edges of the wicket)
    • Run-out (the ball is thrown onto the front face or edges of the wicket, not the back, before the batter gets there).
  9. After the ball is hit, the wicket-keeper and bowler should return to cover their wickets for a run-out. They should stand beside the wicket, on the same side from which the ball is being thrown and must not get in the way of the batters running to the wickets. Fielders should not run to the wicket with the ball.
  10. Halfway through the match, swap over so that the fielding team gets to bat, and the batting team gets to field. The winner is the team with the most runs. Have fun!