The McIlwraith Gateball Challenge held on 21 and 22 March was, as usual, a real challenge. It was a challenge for organisers and the home team, as several of our best players were not available to play or to assist on the day. The McIlwraith Croquet Club members stepped in and did a great job with the morning and afternoon teas and keeping the kettle on the boil. John Angus, one of the first to play Gateball at McIlwraith, joined us for the competition. There were 9 teams entered but only a few doubles teams.
The weather, as usual, was a challenge. We had a ‘stinking’ hot and humid morning on Saturday and then an incredible storm from 2.00 till 3.00 which darkened the sky, flooded all the courts, washed out play and sent the Gateball balls floating off towards the adjacent park. It left us with a trail of tree debris strewn across the courts which was a challenge to clean up. My car and some others were flooded. We all abandoned the McIlwraith courts which are otherwise known as “the duck pond”.
Play resumed under cloudy skies on Sunday and we soldiered on in challenging rain and drizzle throughout the day. No doubles competition was held. Southport won the McIlwraith Gateball Challenge antique pewter trophy and $120.00 to put a smile on their faces. Eildon came in second and McIlwraith a surprising third after all the drama of the day.