The first Bellamy Sport, Bellamy Tennis, came into being during a doubles tennis match (well "match" isn't perhaps the best description as it was more of a social hit around) in 1999. The four players who were blissfully unaware of what they were about to start were myself, Leah, Steve and Mick. After a couple of regular games with various partnerships, the game suddenly changed...
Imagine, if you will, a standard doubles tennis court, with fences or walls (boundaries) at either end and perhaps to the side as well. Any side without a boundary is deemed a penalty area, and the edge of the penalty area should be determined prior to the start of the game. Any area outside a boundary is out of bounds.
There should be four players taking part as in standard doubles tennis. Bellamy Tennis cannot be played with only two people. Ends are chosen by the flip of a coin or other fair or unfair means as the case may be.
The game commences with a serve from behind the baseline. Each serve from then on will be taken by the team that won the previous point. The server must alternate each time a team serves. A serve does not have to land within the diagonally opposite service court, but must land within the court proper. For example, a serve may land in the doubles alley near the baseline and still be in play.
The receiving team then attempts to return the ball. The ball must be struck by both players before it travels back over the net. No player may hit the ball twice in succession without another player touching it. As in volleyball, each team is allowed a maximum of 3 hits before the ball must return over the net.
There is no restriction on how many times the ball bounces before it is hit. As long as the ball is played when it is still in motion, then play continues. A ball could be rolling along the back fence, for example, and still be in play.
When a ball is returned in general play there is no requirement for it to land inside the court, but it must travel directly over the net. As long as the ball lands in bounds it is in play. A ball is also still in play if it hits a boundary on the full, as long as it comes down in bounds or in the penalty area.
The penalty area comes into effect only when the ball is played directly over the net into that area, in which case the point is lost by the team that hit the ball. If the ball hits a boundary before travelling into the penalty area, it is still in play. If the ball travels into the penalty area off a player before it is returned over the net then it is also still in play.
Each team is awarded 1 point whenever they win, or their opponents lose, a rally. The only exception to this is the Bellamy Rule. If the first player reaches the ball on the full they may call "Bellamy". Their partner must then also hit the ball before it touches the ground and pass it back to the first player, again on the full, before travelling over the net. If that team goes on to win the point then they are awarded 2 points. The other team will still only score 1 point if they win. However, if one team calls "Bellamy" and fails to complete the 3 hits on the full and successfully return it over the net then 2 points are awarded to their opponents.
The first team to reach 9 points wins the set. The first team to win 2 sets is deemed the winner.
One (1) point is awarded to a team's opponents if:
Two (2) points are awarded to a team (the Bellamy Rule) if, at some point during the rally:
Two (2) points are awarded to a team's opponents if:
And there you have it. Bellamy Tennis. The game that started it all. When taking this on, be prepared for some very long rallies. Remember, the ball is still in play as long as it is moving. By the way, the winners of that inaugural game were myself and Leah in straight sets. :-)