Bat and Trap is an ancient game originating in the area of Kent, England. It is played between two teams of 8 persons on a grassed pitch. Bat and Trap fields were traditionally located behind taverns such as this illustration showing a game played at the Black Prince Tavern in Newington Butts, now a suburb of London, in 1764. It is one of the tavern games we will have at Old Fort Johnson’s Colonial Tavern Night on Friday July 19.
How to Play:
Only one player bats at a time. To start, the batsman stands beside the trap and knocks the lever down smartly with his bat which shoots the ball upwards where it can be hit with the bat. The batsman is allowed 3 attempts to shoot the ball to a sufficient height to be struck but as soon as a swing is made at the ball, the strike is deemed to have been taken. The objective is to strike the ball so that it passes between two white posts. If the batsman misses the ball or the ball does not manage to cross the line between the two posts or if the ball passes over the line at a higher altitude than the top of the posts, the batsman is "Knocked Out". Behind and between the two white posts, the opposing or fielding team stand in a line ready to field the ball. The fielders must remain behind the line but should the ball be caught by one of the fielders before touching the ground, the batsman is "Caught Out".
After this, the bowling half of the turn begins. This is simply a chance for one of the fielders to throw the ball back down the pitch at the target flap at the front of the trap. The fielding side take turns to bowl so that each fielder bowls only once every 8 balls and the bowler must keep one foot behind the line between the posts at all times. The batsman can do nothing to prevent the ball hitting the wicket and must stand to one side while the ball is hurled. If the ball knocks the target so that it is knocked backwards and hits the ground, the batsman is "Bowled Out". If the bowler does not manage to knock down the target, the batsman scores one run, collects the ball and starts the process over again.