Stoolball

Speldhurst Stoolball Club started  between 1912 and 1920, and now play in the West Kent Ladies Stoolball League, playing matches against Surrey and Sussex. It was mentioned in the book 'Memories of a village rectory'.  The club was founded by the Reverend J. H Masters and operated on summer evenings in the field separating (the old rectory) lawns and flower beds from the kitchen garden.  It was played by the local girls and, if they could get through the work extra quickly, the under-housemaid and kitchen maids.  The rectory would supply refreshments.

 
What is stoolball?

Two teams compete to score the most runs. There are two wickets standing at shoulder height, about 14 metres apart. The bats are made from willow, with a round face and a long, sprung handle. The ball, small and hard, is bowled underarm towards one wicket.

Just like cricket, batsmen score by hitting the ball into the field and running between the two wickets. They can also hit the ball beyond a boundary line to score 4 or 6. Batsmen can be bowled, caught or run-out, or even body-before-wicket.

 

Who can play stoolball?

Anyone!  You don’t have to be really fit to play, and it’s a great way to make friends.  Children start playing at around 8 or 9, and some people play league stoolball right into their 70’s.

 

A proud history

Stoolball is an ancient English game which has been played for over 500 years. It is the origin of baseball and is usually quoted as being the ancestor of Cricket, Bat and Trap and sometimes Rounders too.

Once popular right across England, it has been played at Lord’s cricket ground and in the gardens of Buckingham Palace, and overseas including Sri Lanka, India and Australia – even on ocean liners! In 2012 stoolball made history again with its first ever England match.

 

 

 

 

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