Bat and trap is the modern name for trapball, a very old game played in England since the Middle Ages. It is definitely older than cricket, and probably older than stoolball. By the time The Boy’s Own Book was published in 1828, it was considered to rank next to cricket in popularity.
The rules of the game
The first of the batsmen will walk to the trap and place the ball on it. The other team will stand on the line between the posts to bowl or even attempt to catch the ball. The batsman strikes the back of the trap with his bat. As the ball raises the batsman attempts to hit it between the goal posts. The batsman is allowed to strike the trap twice without hitting the ball. However, should the batsman strike at the ball and miss then he is out.
If the batsman fails to hit the ball between the posts then he is out. If a fielder catches the ball the batsman is out, with the following provisos: The catcher must have one foot touching the ground on or behind the line, and the ball must be caught in front of the line. The batsman, having struck the ball between the posts, shall then stand well clear of the trap whilst the ball is bowled back.
Bat and Trap on The Level
In Brighton Bat and Trap was traditionally played on The Level and the Bat and Ball public house commemorates this. Andrew Mills was lucky enough to have his camera at the ready when he saw a group of enthusiasts participating in a Good Friday game.