The Sydney Sunday Gateball Circuit

Several Sydney clubs have now established the Sydney Sunday Gateball Circuit. Players gather on a succession of Sunday mornings at Epping, Eastwood or Strathfield. Visitors are welcome.

Venues, timing and contacts for the circuit are:

Strathfield, first Sunday of the month
strathfieldcroquet@gmail.com
Eastwood, second Sunday of the month
gateball@eastwoodcroquetclub.org.au
Epping, fourth Sunday of the month
kenclarepoole@gmail.com

Anyone interested in playing should make contact by email to register their intention to play and to make sure that sessions will go ahead as scheduled.

Sessions commence at 9.15 and continue until about noon. Morning teas are described as “lovely” and anyone who has benefited from the hospitality of gateballers at these clubs will attest to their culinary magnificence. A retired chef at one of the clubs sets a standard that the others match!

strathfieldStrathfield has recently joined this circuit of venues and were delighted to find their first two sessions were well attended. In February, 23 players attended for the opening session. The March session attracted 14 players and last weekend at Eastwood numbers were up to 16.

Players have a rich background in the whole range of mallet sports and attract regular visitors from Toronto, Killara, Newcastle and Hazelbrook.

Players from these clubs have, for several years, played under the name Epstars – a composite of the founding clubs of the circuit Epping, Eastwood and Killara. Does the last s now represent Strathfield? The Epstars have had some success as a team. They were the third placed Australian team at the 2017 Australian Gateball Championships, have once won the NSW Gateball Championships and have had successes in NSW club competitions.

New Year – A New Club, New Coordinators and more

Happy New Year to all Gateballers!

The new year sees some changes in our game. This is an update about a new club at Deception Bay in Queensland, changes in personnel and some background on our coordinators and initiators.

The New Club. Ros, the new President, has provided the following information: “We are excited to announce the recently formed Deception Bay Gateball Club and that we will commence play on the 3rd January 2018 at The Deception Bay Club greens at 32 Bayview Terrace, Deception Bay Queensland. Deception Bay Gateball Club plays Monday and Wednesday nights (excl public holidays).

We have been welcomed by The Deception Bay Club committee and volunteers who have created beautiful greens, including marking out the gateball courts for us. The additional feature of flood lights makes this a perfect venue for summer and winter gateball. There is also the bonus of a community club to enjoy food and beverages following the games. This is a family friendly venue.

“We have chosen to create a club that plays evening gateball to better suit the Queensland climate and to encourage players from all age groups, including those who work and have family commitments on weekends. We are keen to attract junior members over time.

“We have been blessed with support from Geoff Morris from Redcliffe Gateball Club, Jennifer Morris from Eildon Croquet Club and Barbara Northcott who provided their guidance and support in getting the processes in place to commence the club. Geoff has kindly loaned the club a full gateball kit to get us started. We also hope to have Redcliffe gateball players come to share their skills and coach others as we expand the club.

“We have had some preliminary games and the club has already attracted some new members from other clubs who frequent The Deception Bay Club such as the Deception Bay Darts Club.

Deception Bay logo“We have a wonderful logo designed by Maddie Crowe and have our new uniforms with the logo embroidered. We look forward to wearing our designs and playing as The Deception Bay Diamonds when the time comes to enter competitions. For now we will continue with evening play and hopefully as the days get cooler we may expand to some Sunday afternoon sessions”

 

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New coordinators in Queensland are State Director of Gateball, Barbara while husband Jim takes the new role as Assistant. Margaret Barnard takes on a new role coordinating refereeing in the State. Some details about these new incumbents are listed below

Margaret Barnard has played all codes of mallet sports and started playing gateball about 10 years ago. She has been an international referee for 4 years so is well suited to her new role. She recently acted as tournament referee at the 2017 Australian Gateball Championships in Bateau Bay. Margaret and husband Barry retired to Broadbeach having previously been business owners in Melbourne. Margaret has plenty of previous experience in voluntary organisations having been an ‘Akela’ in a scout troup in Melbourne where she joined alongside her three sons.

Barbara Northcott: After a career spanning 40 years as a teacher and working in QLD, ACT, NSW, China, Lithuania and Japan, Barbara chose to spend her golden years in her home state of QLD. She played competitive hockey until she was 55 representing her state as a youth, adult and veteran. Always involved with coaching and umpiring of hockey, she found it easy to settle into the croquet world where many aspects of the sport were similar to hockey. Barbara joined Southport Croquet Club in 2006.

Barbara plays association croquet with a handicap presently at four and golf croquet with a 3 handicap. Barbara was very pleased to begin playing gateball at Southport in 2007 (with Keith McLeod the visiting coach) because she had seen the game played in Japan. She went with the Southport Gateball team to the World Gateball Championships at Shanghai in China in 2010 and to Niigata, Japan in 2014. Barbara also played in the Asian Championships in Macau in 2012, in the British Championship in 2015 and the Asian Championship Namwon in South Korea in 2016. Vitally interested in attracting people to sport, she enjoys coaching in all codes of croquet and has devoted many hours to coaching school students.

Jim Northcott A.M.Jim has been a soldier in both the British and Australian Army with service in Germany and two tours to Vietnam. He represented both the British and Australian armies in hockey and qualified as a state level coach and umpire. While in the army one of the highlights was his appointment as Chief Marshal of the opening and closing ceremonies of the Commonwealth Games in Brisbane 1982. He was appointed a Member of the Order of Australia in 1983. Retiring as a major, he took on the role as QLD Director of Australia Day celebrations for 10 years during which time he was also the Chief Marshal of the Brisbane ANZAC Day parades. Joining Southport Croquet Club in 2006, Jim played all the codes but specialises in ricochet because it is easier on his body with arthritis causing problems.

Barbara and Jim have thoroughly enjoyed their trips overseas playing gateball and regularly play in Japan where they visit their family twice a year. Through their friendships at WGU they play in competitions in Tokyo, Nagoya and Matsumoto.

They are both qualified as Level 1 coaches for all codes of mallet sports, and Level 2 referees for gateball.

These three new incumbents are replacing Bruce McAlister who has stepped down after a long stint as Queensland’s Gateball Director. The fact that the role is to be divided amongst three people is a credit to the amount of work that Bruce has uncomplainingly shouldered for over a decade. Gateballers throughout the country owe a debt of gratitude to Bruce for all the work he has done. Thanks Bruce.

In NSW, Mary Dunn is taking over as the Chair in CNSW. In the early days of gateball in Australia, the game was run by a primarily Sydney based committee and the coordinator in that state is always referred to as the Chair. Mary relishes the chance of giving it a go. She started playing gateball when players accompanying the CNSW GB coordinator visited Nowra in 2011 where she was a player at the time. Many CNSW gateballers remember calling “foot first” whenever Mary showed a sign of wanting to kick the balls together.

Previous CNSW Gateball Chairs, Kerrie Sutherland and Judy Squelch, have stepped back from their joint post as Co-Chairs of gateball for CNSW. They took over the role in 2015 and have been appreciated for the calm and methodical way they have approached the role.

Kerrie says she only started playing the game in late 2009. She tells us that on 28th Dec 2009 Gilon came to her club – that was her first attempt at gateball. Newcastle National Park Club started playing on a Saturday afternoon but Kerrie worked so could not play. In July 2011 she had holidays and she did play one Saturday. She went home, downloaded the rules, read them and then downloaded the tactics. 3 months later she played in the Australian Championships at her club in 2011. She had a few months off due to major surgery and then played at Mosman in the 2012 NSW Championships. From then on she has played as much as she is able (still working 4 days a week).

Judy started at the same time as Kerrie and the pair have worked together for several years. Judy is currently facing some health issues, still plays gateball and we hope she will soon be back to the best of health.

Kerrie and Judy are both qualified coaches and referees and have had great success in encouraging and developing enthusiam for the game in the Hunter Region. During their time as coordinators CNSW has settled into a pattern of regular club and state competitions which are well attended by all clubs. Relations with CNSW have always been cordial and the state claims a special record. Over at least the past 10 years, every Chair/President of CNSW has played in a state or national gateball competition while in office!

Thanks for all your work Kerrie and Judy.

Glenda and Manuel Gutierrez will be assisting Mary as Gateball Referee Coordinators for CNSW. They took on this role to ease the burden on the State Chair. Glenda and Manuel play at the Jamberoo club where the game was introduced after players from the club gave the game a try at a CNSW Gala Day in early 2012. Manuel’s talks during CNSW comps keep all participants up to date with interpretations of the rules and the correct actions that referees should be taking. His attention to detail suits him for this role. He and Glenda organised the equipment for the 2017 Nationals, and, before the games began, not only did they check the courts but also took great care in checking that all equipment was of the correct size. Manuel takes refereeing seriously; he states that he does not like to see games won or lost because of poor refereeing or courts not set up correctly.

In South Australia, lead club Woodville, where Trish Fazackerley and Geoff Crook play, continue to promote the game. Hyde Park club now has regular playing sessions. Gateball’s contact on the ACA board, Hon Sec has is an enthusiastic advocate and is working with Croquet SA to hold a doubles event which we all hope will be supported by players from other states.

Murray and Kerry Loane – In WA, at East Fremantle, Murray Loane has organised two playing sessions each week. Murray and Kerry Loane started playing gateball a few years ago. They visited the Blue Mountains and Jamberoo and started playing at Bundanoon in the Southern Highlands of NSW.

NSW Gateball lost touch with Kerry and Murray as they moved to WA but on a quick trip to visit with grandchildren in NSW, Kerry and Murray met John and Penny at a McDonald’s eatery on the Hume Highway at Sutton Forest. A chat over chips resulted in Kerry and Murray buying enough gear to introduce gateball to East Fremantle Croquet Club. Some ACA gear has also been loaned.

Their challenge is to get a nucleus of players with at least basic knowledge.

According to Murray, the game is totally unknown in WA. All, and any, ideas are welcomed by him. Any visitors to the west could get in touch and lend a hand.

Kerry and Murray only claim they have limited experience but they are keen and are, at the moment, the most experienced gateball players west of the Nullabor.

East Fremantle Croquet Club is totally behind the planned introduction. They have been invited to Croquet WA meetings in Jan and Feb, as gateball representatives. Those meetings are to ponder ways to encourage younger players to mallet sports.

At Fremantle, they have 12-13 players. (only counting those who have returned on a third occasion). A Sportsmans’ club north of the river is their next ‘area of interest’. They have lawns under-used by bowls and are looking for other ways to bring in members.

“I thought you might like to contact them and suggest gateball, Murray,”, said a nice lady from Croquet WA. Naturally they accepted the challenge.

Anyone reading this article is encouraged to send Murray anything and everything that might help with the sales pitch to Inaloo Sportsmens’ Club.

Philip Brown continues as the Coordinator in Victoria. He tells us…

“My role is the Gateball Director for Victoria. This involves promoting the game to new players and new clubs, and organising the Victorian Championships each year (normally the last weekend of April).

“I came to gateball in Canberra. I had just moved to Canberra to start a new job and was a 30-ish year old looking to meet some like-minded people. A school friend who also lived in Canberra told me that there were quite a few people playing a game called gateball down at the croquet club on Sunday afternoons. So I came down one afternoon to join them.

“I am a mathematician, of sorts, and I work in the research department of a major bank. I am attracted to the ‘board game’ aspect of gateball, with the richness of tactics and strategies it offers. I am also an amateur thespian, when I can find the time to do it.

I have two children, Freya (nearly 5) and Rhydian (18 months) who can often be found underfoot at the tournaments…. ”

Philip is a level 2 referee and has recently qualified as a level 1 coach.

John Park continues as National Coordinator and thanks all previous and continuing incumbents for their previous efforts. He welcomes new volunteers to their roles and looks forward to working with them. John started playing at McIwraith in Brisbane when son Alex presented him with a stick and said, “Here you are Dad, you’ll enjoy this.” He did and has now been playing for 10 years. Moving to the Blue Mountains in 2011 John and Penny introduced the game and now play at Lithgow. After a few years as Chair of CNSW gateball John took on the national role at the beginning of 2015. He has thoroughly enjoyed playing overseas in the UK, France, Hong Kong and Korea. He looks forward to working with as wide a group of volunteers as possible to promote the game in Australia. He is particularly excited about the growth of the game in SA and WA and hopes that visiting gateballers from the Eastern states will call in for a game at clubs who have recently started playing. Expertise would be welcomed.

Woodville Christmas Doubles

woodville 11It’s quite amazing sometimes how good stuff happens with Gateball – what started as a simple request for me to nick off from a conference in Melbourne (unfortunately it was the weekend of the NSW State tournament) ended up with an impromptu doubles tournament at Woodville Croquet Club this morning (27th December 2017).

7 teams competed – Ben & Ann, Trish & Bev, and Geoff & Chris from Woodville (SA); Barry & Peter and Graeme & Philip from Hyde Park (SA); Phillip from Kew (Vic) played with David from Millswood (SA) and John & Beryl travelled furthest from McIlwraith (QLD).

The draw was divided into 2 blocks – one of 3 teams and one of 4 with the winners of each block playing off in a final. Ben and Ann from Woodville won both their games in Block A and faced the composite team of David and Philip in the final after they won their 3 Block B games.

woodville 4Experience showed with Philip captaining a perfect game to take out the tournament.

Many thanks to all players and helpers, and maybe we’ll see a few more interstate players next year!

Geoff Crook, Woodville Croquet Club

Advanced Notice: South Australia are considering hosting a doubles competition. Maybe around Easter 2018 or 19. More info when decisions have been made.

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Kew dominant at the CNSW Gateball Championships

Jamberoo and Kew prepare for their final game

Jamberoo and Kew prepare for their final game

The NSW Gateball Championships were held in Young, NSW, over the weekend of 17-19 November. New South Wales was represented by 6 teams, one of which was strengthened by the inclusion of Queensland’s Bruce McAlister. Victoria was represented by five players from Kew and one from Essendon. The remaining CNSW team was from Canberra.

Young had generously stepped into the breach to host the tournament on short notice and provided an excellent venue for the event. This was Young’s first gateball competition and their friendly welcome was appreciated by all. High-quality gateball was on display for the entire weekend.

The pairs competition was held on the Friday, with 14 pairs competing. Philip Brown and Kerry Seipolt went through the rounds undefeated, topping their block and winning a semi-final over Kerrie Sutherland and Judy Squelch. Peter Freer and Hilary White topped the second block, but lost to Elaine Coverdale and Trish Watts in the semi-final. That left four Victorians playing the doubles final. Nerves got the better of both pairs early in the final, before giving way to a free-flowing and hard-fought game. Elaine made a magnificent touch-and-gate, but tactical positioning of sequential balls saw Philip and Kerry win back control and go on to take the final 12 points to 9.

Some CNSW players remembered a visit to Young to introduce gateball 6 years earlier when temperatures had reached 40 plus! This weekend  did not reach extremes of temperature but was was an exercise in contrasts with torrential rain on the Saturday dampening the courts, but not the spirits of the competitors. The rain had cleared by the Sunday and the tournament finished in blazing sunshine.

The hosts, Young, made their competition debut and impressed everyone with their sharp improvement over the tournament and won the prize for the best new team in the process. The final match of the round-robin saw eventual semi-finalists the Newcastle Sabres scrape home 14-12 over the home team in front of a cheering crowd.

Kew and Jamberoo dominated the round-robin stage, both taking six wins from the seven games. Kew’s sole loss was to Jamberoo, while Jamberoo were bested by perennial strong performer Canberra. It seemed fitting that the team final saw Kew and Jamberoo take each other on for the second time.

Jamberoo made the early running in the final, but an excellent long-range touch from Elaine turned the tables. Kew dominated the middle third of the game, scoring heavily and scattering the opponents’ balls. While Jamberoo came back in the later stages of the match, Kew held on to win by 13 points to 10.

In his winner’s speech, Philip acknowledged the tussle between the two teams in both the round robin and finals stages. As runners up, Jamberoo’s Manuel Gutierrez noted that his team had won the new teams trophy at Maitland a few years ago and thereby set up the challenge for Young!

As always, detailed results are available on gateballscores.com

The event was opened by local Mayor, Brian Ingham who stroked a ball through the ceremonial gate with the aplomb of an experienced player.

Also worthy of note was that the event was run by the concerted efforts of a number of CNSW clubs. The position of state chair of gateball has been vacant since mid October. Mary Dunn has volunteered for the position and she will be sending her nomination in to CNSW as soon as possible. Mary awarded the prizes at the end of the competition. Thanks were also given to Maggi Williams of Lithgow who undertook the administration necessary for the competition  to proceed.

Congratulations to the winners and thanks to everyone involved in making a wonderful tournament happen.

Mayor, Brian Ingham's perfect shot

Mayor, Brian Ingham’s perfect shot

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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