Laws of the Eton Field Game (1862)

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The Laws of the Eton Field Game

Laws of the Eton Field Game, dating from 1862. Revised under the supervision of R. W. W. Follett and A. Richards.

2402227The Laws of the Eton Field Game


1. The game lasts an hour, and is commenced by a "bully" in the middle of the field.

2. At the expiration of half the time, "goals" must be changed, and a "bully" formed the middle of the field.

3. Two umpires must be chosen, one by each party; their position is to be at the "goals" of their respective parties.

4. The goal-sticks are to be seven feet out of the ground, and the space between them eleven feet. A "goal" is gained when the ball is kicked between them, provided it be not above them.

5. A "rouge" is obtained by the player who first touches the ball after it has been kicked behind, or on the line of the goal-sticks of the opposite side, provided the kicker has been "bullied" by one of more of the opposite side in the act of kicking.

6. As the act of "bullying" cannot be defined by any fixed rule, the umpires must exercise their judgment on this point.

7. If the umpire is unable to give a decision a "bully" shall be formed one yard in front of the line, in a straight line with the spot where the ball was touched.

8. If a player kicks the ball behind, or on the line of the goal-sticks of the opposite party, without being "bullied", or should the ball be first touched by one of the defending party, no "rouge" is obtained, and the ball must be placed on a line with the goal-sticks, and be "kicked off" by one of that party.

9. When a "rouge" has been obtained, the ball must be placed by the umpire one yard from the centre of the goal-sticks at the end at which it was obtained.

10. No player on either side may move the ball, until the player who "runs in" has touched the ball.

11. No player who is behind the line of the goal-sticks, before the ball be kicked behind, may touch it in any way, either to prevent or obtain a "rouge."

12. Should the ball have been behind the goal-sticks, and be kicked before them again without being touched, any player may touch it, and claim a "rouge".

13. If a "rouge" be already obtained before the time for leaving off expires and the time expires before the "rouge" is finished, it must be played out, until either a "goal" be obtained, or the ball be kicked outside the side-sticks, or behind the line of the goal-sticks.

14. The above rule applies also to all "bullies" which have commenced or "kicks off" which have taken place before the expiration of the hour.

15. Should a player fall on the ball, or crawl on his hands and knees with the ball between his legs, the umpire must, if possible, force him to rise, or break the "bully" or "rouge."

16. Hands may only be used to stop the ball, or to touch it when behind. The ball may not be caught, carried, thrown, nor struck by the hand.

17. No player may hit with the hands or arms, or use them in any way to push or hold one of the opposite party.

18. No player may kick the ball behind the goal-sticks of his own party. Should this be done, and one of the opposite party touch the ball, a "rouge" is obtained.

19. A player is considered to be "sneaking" when only three, or less than three, of the opposite side are before him, and the ball behind him, and in such a case he may not kick the ball.

20. If a player stand apart from the rest of the bully, even if three or less than three of the opposite side be before him, he is "cornering," and may not kick the ball; if he does the opposite side may claim a "bully" on the spot whence the ball was unfairly kicked, neither shall any "goal" or "rouge" which is obtained by the player so "cornering" count at the discretion of the umpire.

21. On the violation of Rules 15,16, 17, or 18,[1] the opposite party may require a "bully" to be formed on the spot whence the ball was unfairly removed, or where a player of their side was unlawfully prevented from stopping or kicking the ball.

22. The ball is considered dead when outside, or on a line with the side-sticks, and may not be kicked.

23. When the ball is dead, a "bully" must be formed opposite to the spot where it stopped.

24. Should the ball rebound off a bystander, or any other object outside the line of the sticks, it may be kicked immediately on coming in.

25. If a player be not present at the beginning of a match, or be hurt, or otherwise prevented from going on, no substitute may take his place, but the match must proceed without him.

26. A "goal" outweighs any number of "rouges." Should no "goals" or an equal number be obtained, the match is decided by "rouges."


  1. "15, 16, 17, or 18" in the source, but should probably be "16, 17, 18 or 19". This text is taken verbatim from the 1857 rules, but the insertion of an extra rule in 1862 means that the 1857 rule 15 corresponds to 1862 rule 16, etc. (Wikisource contributor note)

This work is in the public domain in the United States because it was published before January 1, 1929.

The longest-living author of this work died in 1924, so this work is in the public domain in countries and areas where the copyright term is the author's life plus 99 years or less. This work may be in the public domain in countries and areas with longer native copyright terms that apply the rule of the shorter term to foreign works.

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