Stoolball

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Steyning Cricket Club Stoolball

Stoolball is a sport that dates back to at least the 15th century, originating in Sussex, southern England. It may be an ancestor of cricket (a game it resembles), baseball, and rounders. Traditionally it was played by milkmaids who used their milking stools as a "wicket".

Stoolball is strongly associated with Easter, and some historians theorise that the game was a Christian adaption of pagan ball games strongly associated with fertility rites. This is evidenced throughout early literature where the game is also strongly associated with romance and courtship, and in Fletcher and Shakespeare's comedy "The Two Noble Kinsmen", the phrase "playing stool ball" is used as a euphemism for sexual behaviour.

Stoolball is played on grass with a 90-yard (82-metre) diameter boundary, and the pitch is 16 yards (14.5 metres) long. Each team consists of 11 players, with one team fielding and the other batting. Bowling is underarm from a bowling "crease" 10 yards (9 metres) from the batsman's wicket, with the ball reaching the batsman on the full as in rounders or baseball rather than bouncing from the pitch as in cricket. Each over consists of 8 balls. The "wicket" itself is a square piece of wood at head or shoulder height fastened to a post. Traditionally the seat of a stool hung from a post or tree was used. Some versions used a tall stool placed upright on the ground.

As it is played today, a bowler attempts to hit the wicket with the ball, and a batsman defends it using a bat shaped like a frying pan. The batsman scores "runs" by running between the wickets or hitting the ball beyond the boundary in a similar way to cricket. A ball hit over the boundary counts for 4 runs if it has hit the ground before reaching the boundary, or 6 runs if it landed beyond the boundary upon first contact with the ground. Fielders attempt to catch the ball or run out the batsman by hitting the wicket with the ball before the batsman returns from his run.

Contact:  stoolball@steyningcricketclub.co.uk  

Steyning Cricket Club hosts a number of stoolball matches throughout the season - check the fixtures below. 

Stoolball Fixtures 2014 - Chanctonbury League

14th April  Steyning & District v Pulborough

21st April (Bank Holiday)  Barns Green v Steyning & District

28th April  Burpham v Steyning & District

5th May (Bank Holiday)  East Preston v Steyning & District

12th May  Steyning & District v Broadbridge Heath

19th May  Southwater v Steyning & District

26th May (Bank Holiday)  Steyning & District v Aldingbourne

2nd June  Steyning & District v Amberley

9th June  Roffey v Steyning & District

16th June  Steyning & District v Southwater

23rd June  Broadbridge Heath v Steyning & District

30th June  Steyning & District v East Preston

7th July  Aldingbourne v Steyning & District

14th July  Steyning & District v Burpham

21st July  Amberley v Steyning & District

28th July  Steyning & District v Barns Green

4th August  Pulborough v Steyning & District

11th August  Steyning & District v Roffey