One of the biggest challenges for Australian teams will be adapting to the longer grass expected in Niigata Stadium. In Australia gateball is played on faster courts with short grass. It could be expected that longer grass would result in lower scoring however analysis of 2,535 All Japan, JGU, Nagano Open and Prime Cup matches since 2011, mostly on longer grass, shows that scoring is generally high. Average scores in the Japanese sample are 12.4 points per team compared with 11.6 from recent Australian competitions (Australian, Victorian, New South Wales and Queensland Gateball Championships).
What is a winning score in Japanese conditions?
The results of the 2,535 Japanese games are recorded in the heat map below. The winning team’s score is on the x-axis and the losing team’s score is on the y-axis. The number in the cell indicates the number of matches that ended with that score. For example the most common result was 11 (x-axis) to 10 (y-axis) which occurred on 57 occasions (equivalent to 2.2% of matches). The next most common result was the 25-5 demolition which was the result in 52 matches. Interestingly 7.6% of games (192) resulted in a perfect game (25 points) for the winning team while only 4.1% of matches finished in a tie.
The figure below shows the percentage of winning results (y-axis) for a given score (x-axis). The chart shows a rapid increase with 11 points winning 55% of the time, 12 points 71% of the time, 13 points 82% of the time and 14 points 91% of the time. Teams scoring 13 points in a match in Niigata should feel confident of victory in most circumstances.
The final chart shows the distribution of scores by winning team (blue) and losing team (red).
Thanks to Satoshi Kamijo for the analysis and to Jim Northcott for forwarding the information.