Kew dominant at the CNSW Gateball Championships

Jamberoo and Kew prepare for their final game

Jamberoo and Kew prepare for their final game

The NSW Gateball Championships were held in Young, NSW, over the weekend of 17-19 November. New South Wales was represented by 6 teams, one of which was strengthened by the inclusion of Queensland’s Bruce McAlister. Victoria was represented by five players from Kew and one from Essendon. The remaining CNSW team was from Canberra.

Young had generously stepped into the breach to host the tournament on short notice and provided an excellent venue for the event. This was Young’s first gateball competition and their friendly welcome was appreciated by all. High-quality gateball was on display for the entire weekend.

The pairs competition was held on the Friday, with 14 pairs competing. Philip Brown and Kerry Seipolt went through the rounds undefeated, topping their block and winning a semi-final over Kerrie Sutherland and Judy Squelch. Peter Freer and Hilary White topped the second block, but lost to Elaine Coverdale and Trish Watts in the semi-final. That left four Victorians playing the doubles final. Nerves got the better of both pairs early in the final, before giving way to a free-flowing and hard-fought game. Elaine made a magnificent touch-and-gate, but tactical positioning of sequential balls saw Philip and Kerry win back control and go on to take the final 12 points to 9.

Some CNSW players remembered a visit to Young to introduce gateball 6 years earlier when temperatures had reached 40 plus! This weekend  did not reach extremes of temperature but was was an exercise in contrasts with torrential rain on the Saturday dampening the courts, but not the spirits of the competitors. The rain had cleared by the Sunday and the tournament finished in blazing sunshine.

The hosts, Young, made their competition debut and impressed everyone with their sharp improvement over the tournament and won the prize for the best new team in the process. The final match of the round-robin saw eventual semi-finalists the Newcastle Sabres scrape home 14-12 over the home team in front of a cheering crowd.

Kew and Jamberoo dominated the round-robin stage, both taking six wins from the seven games. Kew’s sole loss was to Jamberoo, while Jamberoo were bested by perennial strong performer Canberra. It seemed fitting that the team final saw Kew and Jamberoo take each other on for the second time.

Jamberoo made the early running in the final, but an excellent long-range touch from Elaine turned the tables. Kew dominated the middle third of the game, scoring heavily and scattering the opponents’ balls. While Jamberoo came back in the later stages of the match, Kew held on to win by 13 points to 10.

In his winner’s speech, Philip acknowledged the tussle between the two teams in both the round robin and finals stages. As runners up, Jamberoo’s Manuel Gutierrez noted that his team had won the new teams trophy at Maitland a few years ago and thereby set up the challenge for Young!

As always, detailed results are available on gateballscores.com

The event was opened by local Mayor, Brian Ingham who stroked a ball through the ceremonial gate with the aplomb of an experienced player.

Also worthy of note was that the event was run by the concerted efforts of a number of CNSW clubs. The position of state chair of gateball has been vacant since mid October. Mary Dunn has volunteered for the position and she will be sending her nomination in to CNSW as soon as possible. Mary awarded the prizes at the end of the competition. Thanks were also given to Maggi Williams of Lithgow who undertook the administration necessary for the competition  to proceed.

Congratulations to the winners and thanks to everyone involved in making a wonderful tournament happen.

Mayor, Brian Ingham's perfect shot

Mayor, Brian Ingham’s perfect shot

Caloundra Masters Gateball Teams and Doubles

Despite the heavy rain elsewhere, Caloundra experienced fine weather for their annual Masters Teams and Doubles competition. Always a very good venue, the courts were in tip top condition for the fast games in Gateball. The proceedings were smoothly controlled and with the very friendly club members, everyone was welcomed. There were many good close games although not really high scoring ones.

Six teams vied for the placings. In the photos you will see Susan Bertram, President of Caloundra MSC, and Glenda Windust, Tournament Manager, presenting first prize to the Toowoomba  team. Second place went to Redcliffe Roses team and in 3rd place was Southport White.

Toowoomba were the winners.

Toowoomba were the winners.

Redcliffe Roses came 2nd

Redcliffe Roses came 2nd

Southport White was 3rd

Southport White was 3rd

Redcliffe Roses with Jen's Friends' team

Redcliffe Roses with Jen’s Friends’ team

Jan Wells in action

Jan Wells in action

Toowoomba team read to play the Rocky Point team

Toowoomba team read to play the combination Rocky Island team.jpg

Seven teams contested the Gateball Doubles event. Paul Ekberg and Geoff Morris won that in a close finish against Barbara Ridgeway and Pat each with five wins. It was good that several “new faces” competed over the weekend. Always, new players are welcomed to Gateball competitions. 2018 awaits and hopefully more new players will enter the competitions.

Niki and Nikki are ready to shine in the Doubles Competition

Niki and Nikki are ready to shine in the Doubles Competition

(Thanks to Julia Vickers, Julia Tai and Redcliffe Gateball club for their photos and comments for this article. Barbara Northcott)

 

 

Korea’s Unicorn Club wins the Australian Gateball Championships

IMG_0380-1The 2017 Australian Gateball Championships were held at EDSACC in Bateau Bay from Friday 13th to Sunday 15th October. In all, 22 teams participated. Originally, we had hoped to host 24, but last minute visa issues meant teams from Indonesia and China were unable to make it.

Despite wet weather on Saturday and Sunday, we had a glorious weekend of gateball, with Team Unicorn from Korea beating Zheng Bang, Jianxi from China in the finals. Australian teams reaching the final stage included Epstars, Ipswich Snoopies and Redcliffe Roses.

EDSACC were wonderful hosts and New South Wales players worked together to ensure that the organisation was seamless.

Some individual highlights emailed to info@gateball.com.au included:

“We enjoyed the entire weekend. Everyone was very friendly, both on and off the courts. It was great to meet the overseas teams and watching their skilled play was very enlightening. The 3 day format was a definite bonus as it allowed for plenty of meet, greet and convivial practice before the competition itself.”

“Our team has thoroughly enjoyed their first tournament and being such a big one as well. Overall the whole experience for them was fantastic and they are looking forward to the next comp. I personally enjoyed the strategy sessions and the rest of the team learned the correct way to do the rest of the court work correctly.”

“Passing the ref’s assessment but not the terror of reffing the actual game! Also Keith’s review of my first game – very balanced and useful.The euphoric feeling halfway through playing the Koreans and thinking we might win! My 13 year old son, having had to be dragged to the tournament, begging to go to another tournament as soon as possible! Meeting up with old and new friends”

“It was a privilege to compete in a competition with overseas teams and observe their skills and strategies. This fact alone will benefit Gateball Australia and all the competitors immensely.”

“- being the best Australian team – never imagined in our wildest dreams that it would happen
– the support of the other clubs and friendships you make that just pick up from comp to comp.
– the venue was lovely, a club to be proud of and Bateau Bay was lovely. We got to see dolphins and whales where we stayed everyday – so fantastic.
…some pics on our Facebook page @redcliffegateball.com”

“Being shown how to do jump touches and super slides by the Korean team with their fancy mallets. We should ask them for a demonstration of their supersticks if they return to defend their title in 2019!”

The winning Koreans had to rush off at the end of the competition as there had been a change in the arrangements for their shuttle – they apologised for their hasty departure and sent us this message: “Im jay who is Korean team. First im really sorry for making hurry up and uncomfortable. Next time i will do my best so we can enjoy the event. Really we feel happy and thank you. More than 100% when you come to Korea, we can do everything for Australian team! And everyone is so nice and kind. We are so lucky guy cause of you! thank you so much. All of things and everyone. Please be safe and have a lovely day♡”

Finally, Ian McKinnon of EDSACC managed video the final – so follow these links if you want to see it again

Part 1
Part 2
Closing Ceremony

And here is how Channel 9 covered the event

Thanks to those who have given feedback by email – please give us some of your individual highlights as comments below.

At the end of the competition, CNSW Chair Nerida Taylor handed the ceremonial gate to Philip Brown, the VCA Coordinator of Gateball as the 2019 Australian Championships are to be held at Cairnlea. Philip announced that the competition will be held from Friday 29th November to Sunday 1st December.

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Presentation to Keith McLeod

At the closing ceremony of the Australian Gateball Teams Championship held at Bateau Bay, north of Sydney in NSW, a special, surprise presentation was made to Keith McLeod of Southport Croquet Club. Keith has been a dedicated croquet player since 1985 when he joined Dandenong Croquet Club. Initially he played Association Croquet but quickly moved to include Golf Croquet and Gateball to his skill set.

As a prime mover for the development of Gateball, Keith was State Director of Gateball for Victoria and organised that state’s first team and singles championship. In 1999 Keith was appointed the first National Gateball Director within the auspices of the Australian Croquet Association. He held this position until 2007. Importantly, Keith promoted and managed the first Australian Gateball Teams Championship in Melbourne in 2001. Two teams came from New Zealand and five from Japan. So it was fitting that at this Australian Championship Keith was given a wonderful portrait created by Frances Wregg who is an accomplished artist belonging to the McIlwraith Club in Brisbane.

Frances Wregg the artist with Keith McLeod the subject.

Frances Wregg the artist with Keith McLeod the subject.

Keith has represented Australia in 1998 in Hawaii and that was the first time Australia had sent a team to compete in the World Gateball Championship. Then he continued attending World Gateball Championships- Toyama in Japan in 2002, Busan in South Korea in 2006, and in Shanghai China in 2010. A big milestone for Australian Gateball occurred when Keith took two other referees to represent Australia as official referees for the first time in the World Gateball Championship in Niigata in Japan in 2014.

Wherever and whenever he could, Keith and his wife, Val, travelled all over the country at various times to spread the ‘seed’ of Gateball much like Johnny Appleseed spread the apple seeds in the USA. Now, there are players in Western Australia, South Australia, New South Wales and Queensland as well as Victoria where he started his Gateball career. After all of these ‘firsts’ in Gateball, Keith never tires of helping all the players who wish to learn about the tactics, the skills, the rules and the knowledge he has gained. Selflessly, he has hastened the spread of the sport of Gateball so it was a wonderful thing to see Keith’s surprise when he received the painting as a token of appreciation in front of all of the local and overseas players and dignitaries.