Well our three days of Gateball are over. I am sorry to say that we came third! Not the result we wanted but it all comes down to how we play on the day. For our first round robin on Tuesday we were very sharp and played so well. Yesterday we had bad patches. Today, I think tiredness came into play plus nerves. We had to play the International Team which had three Japanese players – one was Keiichi – and two from Switzerland. We lost both games in very tight circumstances. The young player Satoshi San is in his early 20s and did all of the damage both as a player and as captain. He can slide the ball so well and is accurate in long touches.
This team then played the Japanese team, won the first game, and lost the second. So it was down to Game 3. So close and exciting! In the last stroke it was a foul with a bad stroke that lost the game for the International Team. It was won on a count back by the Japanese team led by Mrs Nosaka who has played at Southport (and won). They had two balls through gate three but the opposition had only one.
Overall it was a great success for the local players, many of whom were beginners, who learned a great deal. There were four boys and one girl all aged between 10 and 14 who were such big improvers and so keen. Hopefully Ripon can work building this game here and spreading it to other places. They were given a great deal of equipment by WGU.
The three of us did a lot of umpiring as well as the Japanese team and the International team. It was a constant juggle to get games on. If we were playing the Japanese and the International team was playing at the same time, no other referees were available. We hope the UK and Swiss players will work on the tactics of the game and also get referees qualified.