Two years ago, as a thunderstorm raged around them, the Lithgow players were pondering suitable names for their team. Lightning was a natural choice and, as the number of players grew, teams Thunder and Storm joined the list.
So it is fitting that the Third Annual Lithgow Gateball Competition should have gone out with a bang. Forecast storms circled around the town throughout Sunday but all games were completed – until the final was due to start!
It had been a great tournament until then. Seven teams took part; one each from Canberra and Newcastle, two from Epstars and three from Lithgow. With 7 teams taking part, Lithgow was once again challenged as to how to structure the comp. We played a round robin on the Saturday extending to the first game on Sunday. With not enough time to play a second round robin we played a modified seeded double elimination knockout on Sunday This ensured each team had at least two extra games but a problem was that in abbreviating the knockout we may have upset its integrity.
The round robin was very even, one team on 4 wins, 5 teams on 3 wins and one on 2 wins. The knockout provided some interesting games and finally the two finalists were decided – Canberra and Lithgow Lightning. But as we prepared for the final, thunder and lightning descended and a discussion took place between the two teams who agreed that the last game should be abandoned and a draw declared.
Organising a draw for 7 teams is always tricky. Comments from participants and readers on how to structure a 7 team comp to run over two days but to finish early enough on the Sunday for players to drive home would be very welcome. If anyone has any suggestions please write your ideas in the comments section below.
During the weekend Peter Freer completed his level 2 referee assessment and was presented with his badge on Sunday. An appeal was made for more people to qualify as referees with a target set of at least 2 referees for every team entering a comp. Gateballers were asked to note that the first step to becoming a referee is to undertake the Community Officiating General Principles Course available on the Australian Sports Commission website at https://learning.ausport.gov.au/auth/login/
Judy Tier completed her training as a level 1 gateball coach and was presented with her certificate alongside Ruth Bridger who had been accredited at a session in December at Strathfield. The prerequisite for this qualification is another ASC course, Community Coaching General Principles, which is available through the same ASC learning portal.