Korea’s Unicorn Club wins the Australian Gateball Championships

IMG_0380-1The 2017 Australian Gateball Championships were held at EDSACC in Bateau Bay from Friday 13th to Sunday 15th October. In all, 22 teams participated. Originally, we had hoped to host 24, but last minute visa issues meant teams from Indonesia and China were unable to make it.

Despite wet weather on Saturday and Sunday, we had a glorious weekend of gateball, with Team Unicorn from Korea beating Zheng Bang, Jianxi from China in the finals. Australian teams reaching the final stage included Epstars, Ipswich Snoopies and Redcliffe Roses.

EDSACC were wonderful hosts and New South Wales players worked together to ensure that the organisation was seamless.

Some individual highlights emailed to info@gateball.com.au included:

“We enjoyed the entire weekend. Everyone was very friendly, both on and off the courts. It was great to meet the overseas teams and watching their skilled play was very enlightening. The 3 day format was a definite bonus as it allowed for plenty of meet, greet and convivial practice before the competition itself.”

“Our team has thoroughly enjoyed their first tournament and being such a big one as well. Overall the whole experience for them was fantastic and they are looking forward to the next comp. I personally enjoyed the strategy sessions and the rest of the team learned the correct way to do the rest of the court work correctly.”

“Passing the ref’s assessment but not the terror of reffing the actual game! Also Keith’s review of my first game – very balanced and useful.The euphoric feeling halfway through playing the Koreans and thinking we might win! My 13 year old son, having had to be dragged to the tournament, begging to go to another tournament as soon as possible! Meeting up with old and new friends”

“It was a privilege to compete in a competition with overseas teams and observe their skills and strategies. This fact alone will benefit Gateball Australia and all the competitors immensely.”

“- being the best Australian team – never imagined in our wildest dreams that it would happen
– the support of the other clubs and friendships you make that just pick up from comp to comp.
– the venue was lovely, a club to be proud of and Bateau Bay was lovely. We got to see dolphins and whales where we stayed everyday – so fantastic.
…some pics on our Facebook page @redcliffegateball.com”

“Being shown how to do jump touches and super slides by the Korean team with their fancy mallets. We should ask them for a demonstration of their supersticks if they return to defend their title in 2019!”

The winning Koreans had to rush off at the end of the competition as there had been a change in the arrangements for their shuttle – they apologised for their hasty departure and sent us this message: “Im jay who is Korean team. First im really sorry for making hurry up and uncomfortable. Next time i will do my best so we can enjoy the event. Really we feel happy and thank you. More than 100% when you come to Korea, we can do everything for Australian team! And everyone is so nice and kind. We are so lucky guy cause of you! thank you so much. All of things and everyone. Please be safe and have a lovely day♡”

Finally, Ian McKinnon of EDSACC managed video the final – so follow these links if you want to see it again

Part 1
Part 2
Closing Ceremony

And here is how Channel 9 covered the event

Thanks to those who have given feedback by email – please give us some of your individual highlights as comments below.

At the end of the competition, CNSW Chair Nerida Taylor handed the ceremonial gate to Philip Brown, the VCA Coordinator of Gateball as the 2019 Australian Championships are to be held at Cairnlea. Philip announced that the competition will be held from Friday 29th November to Sunday 1st December.

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Lee’s trip to Singapore

lee in singaporeLee Robertson, a member of Jamberoo Croquet Club, was keen to play gateball on a recent visit to Singapore. Lee was inspired by a story from Chris Thompson of Hurstville Croquet Club who played in Singapore in 2016. See Chris’s story here.

Lee’s trip was a great success. She contacted the Bedok group in Singapore and played with them on Friday and Saturday, 14th and 15th July. The artificial lawn at the Bedok Community Centre gateball court took a bit of getting used to but she was able to adjust to it soon enough to enjoy the games.

Lee stayed on to watch the one-day Bedok Gateball Competition on Sunday which included teams from Japan and China, as well several Singaporean teams. In the photo from the competition, the China team is in red, the Japan team in white and the rest are from different groups of gateballers around Singapore. The competition winner was the Tampines group from Singapore.

Lee’s contacts in Singapore, James & Sebastian, asked her to try to organise an Aussie team to play in their one-day tournament next year in July or August. They will need to know by March 2018 if anyone is interested in taking part.

If any Australian gateballers are visiting Singapore and are interested in playing, email info@gateball.com.au and you will be put in touch with Chris and Lee who have developed contacts in the island state.

August 2017 WGU Meeting

20170818_143615A meeting of the World Gateball Union was held in Tokyo in August 2017 primarily to review the rules. Gateball Australia was invited to attend and participate in the deliberations.

In the opening address it was stressed that the rules of gateball need to be easily understood so that it is simple for beginners to start playing but that the game should still provide a challenge for those who are highly skilled. Improving the image of the game, simplifying decisions for referees and reducing the number of fouls were seen as components of this general direction.

A fascinating issue that the game has to deal with is the phenomenal size of the game in China. Growing skills and standards in that country have encouraged the CGA to adapt the rules for internal competition. Zhang Na, the Chinese Secretary General constantly reiterated that, although variations to the rules were used in China, it was understood that in international competition the WGU rules would be followed.

Topics that were discussed included: coloured balls, shapes of mallet heads, hats, the resolution of tied games, consideration of balls on gate lines, gate touches and touch gates, indicating the start of games, laser pointers, how the rules are set out, fouls at start stroking, movement of balls after a spark, gateball for the disabled, the 12th WGU championships in Brazil 2018 and the Kansai World Masters Games 2021.

A more definitive report to Australian gateballers will be possible once the official outcomes of the meeting are issued by the WGU.

June Long Weekend Gateball Promotion in Adelaide

Adelaide Trip 9th – 11th June

From the 9th to the 11th of June, I visited Adelaide in South Australia in an attempt to teach, promote, and generate interest in the game of gateball. Across the three days when I was in South Australia, 3 different croquet clubs were visited, Woodville, Hyde Park and North Adelaide. Over the three days, approximately 30 – 40 people gave gateball a try, many of whom were croquet players, including Australia’s current No. 1 golf croquet player, Greg Fletcher. The players’ ages ranged from as low as 9, to people in their 70s.

Immediately, those who tried gateball noticed there were many different skills involved when comparing it to croquet; the main one being sparking. Although at first most people found the game a challenge, by the end of the sessions all seemed to have gained a much more thorough understanding of the game. For those who had previously played and had an understanding of the game, there were also strategic elements and teachings which were incorporated into the introductory sessions.

Overall, the entire weekend went smoothly and was very enjoyable for myself, as well as those who were new to the game, with many expressing interest in playing again. I would like to thank Geoff, Trish, Peter, and Chris, who were my hosts and welcomed me with open arms, and also John Park for allowing me to travel to South Australia on behalf of Gateball Australia in an attempt to develop and increase the interest of gateball in their great state.

For those interested in playing gateball in South Australia, please contact Geoff and Trish at trishfaz@hotmail.com

David Hughes

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