Lithgow’s second gateball tournament certainly smashed a few records. We found ourselves facing a weekend predicted to be the hottest since New South Wales records began, with high winds and fire danger to add to the mix. These extreme conditions needed extreme solutions to ensure the tournament could go ahead, while keeping all players safe and providing a good competition.
So we set out to be flexible and ready to change the plans as required. Teams were allowed to field less than 5 players if anyone needed a rest and competing teams decided the length of breaks between games. Play finished at lunchtime. Spray bottles provided some added relief from the heat and the lawn watering system was turned on from time to time.
We welcomed 4 teams: Jamberoo, Newcastle, Epstars and Youngroos, not forgetting our regular guest David from Queensland. Lithgow fielded two teams, with the weather-related names of Thunder and Lightning.
A round robin team competition over the two days replaced the original plan for team games, plus doubles and triples running simultaneously. And a third court was used this time on the adjacent sports field (courtesy of Lithgow City Council). The council has been very supportive of the Croquet Club and we were delighted to welcome the mayor, Cr Stephen Lesslie, who opened the tournament and struck a ball through the traditional ‘ceremonial gate’.
After day 1, scores were very close and the winners weren’t decided until the very last game on Sunday between Jamberoo and Lithgow Lightning. Out on the sports field in scorching heat and high winds, the teams battled until Lithgow Lightning edged in front and won the day.
We would like to thank all the players who braved the very exceptional conditions and played with gusto and good humour to make the competition such a success.
Full scores can be viewed on gateballscores.com