Early magazine pages , 1899, (3)

The third and final paragraph on the early history of Badminton published in Lawn Tennis, December 6, 1899 relates to the rules of the game:

1881 rulesThe rules of the game, as first played, were naturally unwritten, purely experimental, and very local, especially as regards the shape and dimensions of the courts. Racket scoring was from the first adopted, and is still the rule of the game, though it is thought by some that tennis scoring would be an improvement, as it would probably make the handicapping of very unequal players easier that at present. It was also obvious from the very first that overhead service would give an undue advantage to the ‘in’ sides, owing to the forward position allowed to the server. The game, however, developed so rapidly that the Poona Gymkhana was able, within a year from its first introduction, to prepare and issue a set of exhaustive and well drafted rules, which at once obtained a wide acceptance, and have since formed the basis of all subsequent rules, even to the present day. The author of these historic laws of the game was Lieut. (now Colonel) H.O. Selby, R.E.. On the title page the author, with a subtle but kindly humour, introduced the Shakespearian quotation, “Here’s law and warrant, lady!” Whether the ladies of Poona were specially addicted to disputing rules is not known, but in any case the quotation was a happy one. In 1876, three years later, Colonel Selby’s rules were revised and republished, with such modifications as experience had shown to be necessary, by Mr. J.H.E. Hart, an honoured name in the annals of lawn tennis as well as Badminton. Mr. Hart again revised the rules in 1889, in which year they were issued by the Bath Badminton Club. Many other collections and editions of the rules have from time to time been published. On comparing the most recent edition of the Association rules with the original Poona rules of 1874, it is surprising to find how few really radical changes have been made. The exact wording of many of the old rules is reproduced. The natural tendency of the late years has been to assimilate Badminton practice as far as possible to that of Lawn Tennis, on the principle that what is sauce for the goose is sauce for the gander. Thus in the early days of Badminton it was a fault if the shuttlecock touched the net, whether in play or in service, and a player could not claim a fault if he made the slightest attempt to, or even indicated an intention of, taking a return which, being missed, fell out of court. In these and other respects the rules now closely follow Lawn Tennis, and other respects the rules now closely follow Lawn Tennis, and future changes are likely to be in the same direction.