Peter Freer spent a great day playing gateball with Gateball Argentina. Walter Maeto met Peter at the World Champs in Sao Paulo, and asked Peter to come to their regular Sunday event, just outside Buenos Aires.
Lots of players, and we started with 10 minutes of warm-up calisthenics. The 20 odd teams were split into Over 75 and Under 75, which gives you an idea of the age ranges – but all players were skilful, even if all of us had some bad shots. Eight courts, on fairly long grass. Each team played 8 games, and refereed another 3-4 so a long day. Huge shared meal half way through, and lots of bonhomie!
Several players were sporting kangaroo pins and Canberra Gateball badges, which we’d presented to officials for our World Champ games in Brazil. A really good day!
Seven players from Strathfield, Epping and Lithgow attended and topics covered the formalities of refereeing at all levels of competition and the roles of each member of the refereeing team. Basic rules such as hand signals were practised and the discussions moved on to more detailed explanation of fouls and penalties. Players had come prepared with questions and concerns.
An interesting part of the day involved practical refereeing sessions which gave the participants the chance to practise working as a refereeing team.
Glenda and Manuel are keen to organise more referee training sessions and their goals are to improve player knowledge of gateball rules, to have more qualified gateball referees and to maintain a high standard in refereeing.
Their long term goal is for all NSW teams which enter a State or National event to be able to supply at least one qualified referee per team.
If other clubs are interested in referee training, please contact firstname.lastname@example.org
Kew achieved an Australian first by winning their pool and progressing to the round of 16.
Having won one game and losing a second on countback the previous day, Kew faced the team from South East Paraguay conscious that a victory would clinch their position as group winners. It was a tight game with errors on both sides. Captain Philip’s final hero suicide shot on ball 10 clinched the win by denying ball 10 the opportunity to make a play. The final score was 9-8.
Through to the final knockout phase Kew played against the eventual runners up from Shanghai and were given a lesson in precision ball placement.
Canberra faced a final challenging game against a local team who had the finesse to handle the dry clay court. After establishing control the young Brazilian team kept Canberra out of the game.
Redcliffe played a Brazilian team who had been called in to the comp to replace a Chinese team that had failed to arrive. The locals were accurate with their touches and Redcliffe failed to achieve the rhythm they had demonstrated in their win on the first day of competition.
The lightening fast clay courts were a challenge for all the Australian teams. The days prior to the tournament had seen a lot of rain – and dry clay courts play very differently to the muddy ones seen in practice.
The final was between the Nippon Country Club Brazil (White) and Shanghai (Red), the team that had knocked out Kew in the round of 16.
Both teams played hold off and by the end of the first round only 5 balls were on the court -1,3,4,6 and 10. Red had control of gate 2.
In round 2, 5 came on with pivots in place but missed the pivot ball. 7 followed so all Chinese balls were in play. At this point no one was interested in scoring. It was all about jockeying for position. White gathered defensively in corner 1.
The first ball passed the second gate at 17 minutes into the game. 9 and 3 had passed gate 2 by the end of the round.
White scattered along line 1 as there was a risk of gate and touch by red. Reds gathered at 3 but in setting up put 7 out on the fast clay courts.
Brazil exploited the opportunity and sent 8 from line 1 to eliminate the reds. Ball 8 touched 9 but missed ball 1 on the line. Red slowly added points through the middle stages of the match. But an unfortunate double touch foul and an out-of-character missed shot at Ball 6 let White back in the game. Ball 6 touched 8 and the avalanche began.
With only 5 minutes remaining, Shanghai were leading 9 to 5 and the fervent Brazilian supporters were watching the clock anxiously and cheering the late Brazilian aggression.
Having achieved control, the Brazilian team gathered at gate 2.
The local crowd went wild as the Brazilians raced against the clock. Ball six sparked three balls through gate 2 and set a gate touch for 8. 8 scored the gate touch, moved 4, 6 and 10 to gate three then removed ball 9 from the line near gate 1. Ball 10 put 4, 6 and 8 through gate 3, before scoring gate 3 itself. The final Agari was icing on the cake. Brazil had scored 10 points in three balls to overturn the deficit and win by a comfortable margin in the end – though the margin overstated the closeness of the game.
The patience of the Brazilian team to set up their win was a lesson to all Australians in how to play the game at this level. The skill level demonstrated on the fast clay courts was outstanding and complemented the strategic duel. A clear feature of play at this level was the defensive positioning of clusters of balls when not in control of the gate.
Australian Gateball is improving slowly but surely…and we know what we have to practise!!!
A solid day for Australia on day one of the World Championship in Sao Paulo. Redcliffe and Kew recorded a win and a loss each.
Kew were in control against a Brazilian team in their first game and continued to win by 9 points. In their second game their Argentinian opposition cleared the court with a late gate and touch and levelled the scores. Although scores were tied, the Argentinians had put their final ball on the goal pole and won on the countback.
Despite a magnificent slide from the first corner by Paul, Redcliffe’s early game had seen them go down by only 1 point to a Brazilian team. Later in the day they came back to win a game by 7 points over a Paraguayan team. Check Redcliffe player Nikki ‘s facebook post for some pics and commentary.
The day ended with Kew and a diverse crowd watching Canberra go down in a close one. After initial dominance by the South American team, Canberra took the advantage when balls were put out and began to put on some points. In the final few minutes Argentina regained the upper hand and went on to win the game. Canberra have posted pics here
Canberra will be hoping for a win in their last round tomorrow. Redcliffe and Kew will be hoping for another win and for results to go their way to see if an Australian team can make it into the finals for the first time