For two days 3-4th June many Gateball players converged to the the premises of Ipswich Gateball Club at North Ipswich Bowls Club to compete in their Ipswich Gateball Challenge. It lived up to its name of a “Challenge” because so many of the teams, used to playing on grass, encountered difficulty in tempering their strokes to cope with the short, quick surface of the bowls courts. It made everyone aware of the reverse difficulty when Ipswich players visit croquet clubs where grass is the normal surface,
The weather was perfect which made up for last year’s deluge and the disruption it caused. Ipswich Gateball Club were very well organised with all the games proceeding on schedule, plenty of space for eating and socialising in the clubhouse, wonderful food and gift bags with lovely souvenirs provided by the local Ipswich Council. The whole event was excellent and a real credit to all of the members of the Gateball Club, their supporters and the family members who assisted.
Ten teams attended which would be a record number for this event. Rockhampton players were marvellous in attending since they endured a twelve hour journey on 2 trains to get to the venue. Toowoomba also travelled to make it to the competition. Other teams included a mixed team from Eildon, Ipswich and Bribie Island; one team each from McIlwraith, Broadbeach and Ipswich plus two teams from Southport and Redcliffe.
By the end of day 1, several teams had won all of their games so day 2 was the crunch time to sort out the positions. Good sportsmanship prevailed and there was a lot of encouragement and support for those who are relatively new to the game. After all the teams had played their nine games, just one team- Southport Red- was undefeated. Normally this team does not play well on the surface but put in a super effort to try to control their strokes. It was good for them to have a new member, Roy Huang, from Taiwan, who is very tactical and skilful when playing Gateball. The other members were (L_R ) Peter Sweet, Bruce McAlister, Barbara Northcott, Gaye Pitman and Jim Northcott. Unfortunately the Wentworth family members were not available for that weekend.
Second place went to the Ipswich Team with 8 wins. As last year’s winners, they were favourites for the event since it is on their home surface.
Plenty of exciting games happened with wins on count backs occurring and some last minute grasps of the point scoring opportunities. Below are several photos of the participants.