THE RULES TO BATDOWN
As children in New Zealand we played Batdown throughout summer. As is usually the case with backyard games, people have their own variations on the rules, so there was always a lot of arguing. I’m publishing the rules to Batdown here for two reasons. Firstly so people who might be interested can start to play this wonderful game and enjoy time with friends and family. Secondly, and most importantly, so if anyone argues with me about the rules I can “look online” and show them this page thus proving my own opinion is the correct one.
- One bat – generally a cricket, softball, or baseball bat
- One ball – a tennis ball is probably the best
- A field which is generally any piece of grass you can find. The game works best when there are clear boundaries, such as fences. It is a good idea to define the out-of-bounds areas before the start of the game.
The object as the batter is to stay batting for as long as possible. The object of the fielders is to get the batter ‘out’. Whoever gets the batter ‘out’ can replace the batter or nominate someone else to bat.
The bowler bowls the ball underarm to the batter who attempts to hit the ball. Any time the bat makes contact with the ball the next phase of play begins. Fielders can get the batter ‘out’ by:
- Catching the ball “on the full” meaning a clean catch without the ball touching the ground. If the ball lands on an object, such as a building and continues to move, it can be caught before touching the ground and the batter is ‘out’. If the ball stops moving, it is considered to be a dead ball.
- A one hand, one bounce catch. Meaning the ball can be caught with one hand after the ball bounces once off the ground.
- The fielder hits the bat successfully during a Batdown throw.
If the batter strikes the ball and is not caught, the fielders must yell ‘Batdown’. The batter must place the bat in a position depending on how far away the ball is.
- Outside of four of the batter’s steps: the bat is laid down on the ground perpendicular to the fielder.
- Between two and four of the batter’s steps: the bat is held vertical with the butt on the ground.
- Within two of the batter’s steps: the batter must swing the bat in a steady manner.
The fielder who retrieves the ball must throw or roll the ball from where it is fielded and hit the bat. After a successful throw the fielder can replace the batter or nominate someone else to bat.
If the batter interferes with the bat or the ball during the throw, he or she is automatically ‘out’.
Bowls should be underarm. The speed and difficulty of the bowls should be defined based on the spirit of the game. There are no defined ‘overs’ in Batdown. The bowler can continue to bowl until the fielders decide to swap, usually during a change in batter.
The out-of-bounds rule states when the ball is hit outside the play area ‘on the full’ the batter is ‘out’ and must retrieve the ball. Usually the bowler will become the next batter. This is to keep batting within the spirit of the game.
The telephone throw variation
If the ball is hit out-of-bounds a telephone throw can be used. The original fielder can throw the ball once to another fielder who is within the field of play. The throw must be caught cleanly. The fielder within the field of play can then attempt a Batdown throw.
The game of Batdown ends when:
- Everyone agrees the game is over
- The ball is lost
- Someone starts crying because they got ‘out’ and there are no longer enough people to field.
The spirit of the game
The game of Batdown is designed to have a high turnover of batter and give everyone a chance to play each position. It should be fun and enjoyable. All rules and variations can be adapted if they act within the spirit of the game. There is no umpire in Batdown as all decisions are made by the majority of the players.