At the closing ceremony of the Australian Gateball Teams Championship held at Bateau Bay, north of Sydney in NSW, a special, surprise presentation was made to Keith McLeod of Southport Croquet Club. Keith has been a dedicated croquet player since 1985 when he joined Dandenong Croquet Club. Initially he played Association Croquet but quickly moved to include Golf Croquet and Gateball to his skill set.
As a prime mover for the development of Gateball, Keith was State Director of Gateball for Victoria and organised that state’s first team and singles championship. In 1999 Keith was appointed the first National Gateball Director within the auspices of the Australian Croquet Association. He held this position until 2007. Importantly, Keith promoted and managed the first Australian Gateball Teams Championship in Melbourne in 2001. Two teams came from New Zealand and five from Japan. So it was fitting that at this Australian Championship Keith was given a wonderful portrait created by Frances Wregg who is an accomplished artist belonging to the McIlwraith Club in Brisbane.
Frances Wregg the artist with Keith McLeod the subject.
Keith has represented Australia in 1998 in Hawaii and that was the first time Australia had sent a team to compete in the World Gateball Championship. Then he continued attending World Gateball Championships- Toyama in Japan in 2002, Busan in South Korea in 2006, and in Shanghai China in 2010. A big milestone for Australian Gateball occurred when Keith took two other referees to represent Australia as official referees for the first time in the World Gateball Championship in Niigata in Japan in 2014.
Wherever and whenever he could, Keith and his wife, Val, travelled all over the country at various times to spread the ‘seed’ of Gateball much like Johnny Appleseed spread the apple seeds in the USA. Now, there are players in Western Australia, South Australia, New South Wales and Queensland as well as Victoria where he started his Gateball career. After all of these ‘firsts’ in Gateball, Keith never tires of helping all the players who wish to learn about the tactics, the skills, the rules and the knowledge he has gained. Selflessly, he has hastened the spread of the sport of Gateball so it was a wonderful thing to see Keith’s surprise when he received the painting as a token of appreciation in front of all of the local and overseas players and dignitaries.
Toowoomba Croquet Club held its annual Garden City Gateball Teams Tournament over the weekend of 30th September until 1st October. It had been an unusually dry and warmer winter so everyone experienced a very warm Saturday for the first day of the event. Nine teams were competing with two from Toowoomba and two from Southport. Rockhampton players made the long drive from home to compete and were warmly welcomed. Many of these teams were gaining the necessary practice required for the Australian Gateball Teams Championship that is being held two weeks later at Bateau Bay.
The President of Toowoomba Croquet Club, Paul Reynolds, welcomed everyone and Cr. McDonald opened the competition by successfully sending he ball through Gate 1. All of the games were completed as per schedule on day 1 and the standard of catering was very good. Sunday came along and what a change in the weather! Clouds formed and the welcome rain was heading Toowoomba’s way. But all went well for the completion of the games and the presentation of prizes and the drawing of the raffle prizes.
The results were very close and it was not until the final game that all placings were decided. Winning 6 games the Ipswich Snoopy team was in first place just as they did last year. Then, with 4 teams each winning 5 games, a count back was needed so Net Points were calculated. Second place went to Blue Macs, third place went to Southport Red, fourth place went to Redcliffe Roses and fifth place went to Southport White. All the teams planning to compete at the Nationals will have some fine tuning to do. Rain started falling as most people drove home.
1st place – Ipswich Snoopys
2nd place Blue Macs
View of the clubhouse
Big crowd of players during the break in play
The Doubles Tournament followed the Teams event on Sunday afternoon. By Monday morning a heavy fog descended over the area. Despite this and the difficult conditions the wet lawns, play continued.
Monday’s weather- Fog!
Hard to see the Grandstand through the fog
The Final of the Doubles tournament was between Block A winners Geoff and Kurt and Block B winners Sandra and Jan. Congratulations to Sandra and Jan who won the Doubles. (Thanks to Dianne Sweet for the fog photos)
Referee is Bruce McAlister seen through the rain.
Eildon hosted the 2017 QLD Gateball Doubles Championship on Saturday 16th September. The weather was very good and the courts were carefully set out. While the number of competitors was not as many as would be expected, it was pleasing to see that players like Sandra Reynolds from as far away as Toowoomba were prepared to travel for the event.
The one pair out of six that was undefeated was comprised of Peter Sweet from Southport and Bruce McAlister from Ipswich. Congratulations Peter and Bruce on a most successful series of games.
Jennifer Morris presented Peter and Bruce with their medal and trophy.
In second place was Jim and Barbara Northcott from Southport Croquet Club who lost the one game to Peter and Bruce.
Jim and Barbara Northcott with Bruce McAlister who presented their medallions.
The members at Eildon prepared very good refreshments and it was a very good atmosphere on the day. The two photos below show players in action.
Eight teams entered the Doubles tournament so it was decided to set out 4 courts and play the games in two blocks. This was done to ensure the event concluded before darkness. Thanks to the referees who took charge of all the games- Keith McLeod, Julia Vickers, Paul Ekberg and Barbara Northcott- all of the matches were held quite quickly so that the crossover semifinals and finals were concluded by 4:30.
The first semifinal was between the team of Bruce McAlister and Trudy Cummins against the team of Lee and Christopher Wentworth. The Wentworth combination won and played in the Final. A new team of young Chris from Woodville and David Hughes played in the second semifinal against Claus Jeune and John Park. Experience paid off so that Claus and John were matched against Lee and Christopher Wentworth for first place. Both these finals games were closely contested. Once again the Southport Croquet Club members, Lee and Chris Wentworth, won the MSOB Doubles for the third time in four years.
Lee and Christopher Wentworth holding the trophy for the third time.
Claus Jeune and John Park were second.
David and Chris with Kerry Lamerton- our catering convenor, from Southport – who presented the prize.
MSOB was held over a typical QLD weekend in winter where the weather was perfect, the sun was shining and the winds were negligible. Seven teams participated- Ipswich, Beyond Blue Macs, Redcliffe Roses, Woodville in South Australia, Southport White, Southport Red and Broadwater. The Broadwater team was a composite one which had Glenda Windust and Pat Burton from Caloundra, Bruce McAlister from Ipswich joining two new members from Southport- Julia Tai and John Cheng. The team that travelled the furthest was the young team from Woodville, captained by David Hughes from the Gold Coast.
A group photo of the competitors in the Teams event.
The Patron of Southport Croquet Club and local Councillor, Dawn Crichlow OAM, officially welcomed the players and sent a ball through a make-shift gate created by Bruce McAlister QLD -Director of Gateball- and John Park -Australian Co-ordinator of Gateball. The schedule flowed smoothly, the lawns were in good condition and the catering supplied to the players was, once again, of a high quality. By 10:30 on Sunday morning the round robin format was concluded and the results were finalised. In first place was the Southport Red team with 5 wins. This is the third time in four years that Southport has won this Teams competition. The newest member, Roy Huang from Taiwan, was a welcome asset to the team. Second place went to Beyond Blue Macs, also with 5 wins but with 12 fewer net points. Third place was taken by Southport White. The presentations were made by Michael Hare, owner of the Sponsor -Vision MichaelHare EyeCare Plus.
Southport Red displaying the trophy with the sponsor, Michael Hare.
Second place getters- Beyond Blue Macs
Third place went to Southport White.