Sports in the Army have always been popular and are a useful training exercise. They discipline, quick thinking, fitness, no wonder I hated sports at school, and break the monotony of routine P.T.
Bomb-Ball was introduced during the FWW and almost certainly been played at Shorncliffe. It is mentioned and recommended in “Notes for Commanding Officers” a publication for those who attended the Senior Officers School in Aldershot.
The game is intended to use the muscles used in a bombing and, helps develop fast and accurate throwing. Throwing quickly and with a high degree of accuracy are skills a bomber needs to have. The game was normally played on a football pitch.
Most games involved two teams of eleven, The book “Notes for Commanding Officers” illustrates the position of the players in the 5 forwards, 3 midfield, 2 backs, position. A small canvas bag filled with sand or shot the weight of a Mills Bomb is used instead of a ball. Much like a beanie bag. In the rest of this narrative, it will be referred to as a ball.
The game seems to need a referee, however, the book doesn’t state whether the referee needs to be blind or make reference to the person’s parentage.
The ball is passed from player to player by throwing. The throw can be in any direction. Two methods can be used to throw the ball. By putting as in Shot putting, or overarm as in Grenade throwing as shown in army training manuals on bombing. The ball can be caught by using both hands but, thrown by only one hand. The throwing hand can be changed by the referee every ten minutes.
There is no running with the ball, as soon as it is caught the ball must be thrown. If the ball is dropped it must be picked up and thrown immediately.
To score a goal the ball must land on the ground in the goal.
The offside rule applies.
If a ball goes behind or into touch and a corner or throw in is awarded the ball must be thrown in or the corner is taken with one hand. Penalties or fouls result in a free throw of the ball, again with one hand, from where the foul occurred.
Fouls are awarded when rough play takes place, (the grabbing of another player). A player runs with the ball, the ball is thrown by another method then the two methods previously described, or being off-side.
The game consists of two halves, each half being between 20 to 30 minutes long.
Hopefully a game will once again be played at Shorncliffe in 2018.