Today, 10th October 2018 marks 125 years of the Camanachd Association. Following on from Monday nights article around where it all began, today we have a look at the very first rules of the game, decided and implemented by the CA after the first meeting in 1893. There were, of course, rules before this point but these were the first 'official' rules of the game. Thanks once again to Hugh Dan Maclennan for providing some fascinating reading on this subject;
With considerable forethought the Kingussie Club had previously drawn up draft rules for the consideration of the conference. These draft rules were printed and submitted to the delegates so that the course of business was very much facilitated, as each rule was taken up and discussed, and if found not satisfactory, adjusted and adopted.
A rule that was the subject of considerable discussion had reference to the size of the field for play. The dimensions suggested were as follow: - "Not less than 250 yards long by 150 yards broad; not more than 300 yards long by 200 yards broad.'' Mr Gunn and several others referred to the great difficulty that many clubs experienced in obtaining a field so large for practice, and held that it would be unfair to such clubs if such a minimum as that suggested was adopted by the Association. It was ultimately agreed to reduce the minimum to 200 yards long by 150 yards broad. The conference, which lasted for about five hours, finally agreed upon the following rules:-
1. Each team shall number 16 players, who shall be bona fide members of the Club for which they play, and no individual shall play for more than one Club during one season.
2. The field of play shall not be less than 200 yards long by 150 yards broad, nor more than 300 yards long by 200 yards broad. In cup matches the maximum obtainable must be played.
3. The hails shall be 12 feet wide and 10 feet high, attached by a fixed cross-bar above.
4. The time allowed for playing a game shall be one hour and a half, with an interval of five minutes at half-time. Teams to change sides after each hail scored; but if no hail is scored by half-time, ends shall be changed, and no further change to take place.
5. Nothing but hails shall count.
6. When both teams are ready the referee, standing in mid-field, shall throw the ball straight in the air, between two opposing players.
7. No player shall use his hands or club to hold or push his opponent, neither shall he trip, hack, jump at, or throw him by the use of his leg or club. A set blow will be given as a penalty for every foul granted by the referee, but a hail from such blow will not count.
8. Rough or unruly play will not be tolerated, and any player observed wilfully infringing any of the rules shall be expelled the field of play, and shall not be replaced by a fresh man.
9. A player disabling an opponent must retire from the game unless the referee declare the man so disabled to be in fault.
10. When the ball is sent from the field of play through the hail-posts and under the cross-bar connecting them, the hail is won, even should it graze the posts or bar, or be sent through by one of the defending side.
11. The ball may be stopped by the hand, but if caught must be immediately dropped. No player shall be allowed to run with or throw the ball.
12. The ball to be played with shall consist of cork and worsted with a covering of leather, and shall measure 7 to 8 inches in circumference.
13. When the ball passes the side lines the player first reaching it must bring it within the line, and, if no opponent challenges him, can take a set blow, but if challenged he must take it 10 yards within the line, and drop it between himself and his opponent.
14. When the ball passes the hails without scoring, the hail keeper has the option of sending the ball afield with either hand or club.
15. Players are prohibited from playing with spikes in their shoes, and no iron plates or metal of any kind shall be allowed on the clubs.
16. If the ball be sent from the field of play past the hails on either side by a player of the defending side, it shall be taken back 15 yards in front of the point at which it was sent out of play, and thrown up by the referee between two opposing players.
17. When the ball is thrown in the air, as provided for in rules 6 and 17, the two players shall stand with crossed clubs, and no other player allowed within 5 yards till the ball is hit.
18. Each competing club to choose 2 umpires and between them 1 referee for each match.
19. At the commencement of the game, and after each hail is scored, the players shall take the places allotted to them by their respective captains.
20. Except in a scrimmage, no opponent shall be allowed to stand within five yards of the hails unless the ball be in play in front.