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.

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.

New Perpetual Trophy for the Australian Gateball Championships

gateball prizes 2Arthur Graham, of Newcastle National Park Croquet Club, has crafted a magnificent new trophy for the Australian Gateball Championships.

Arthur offered to do this late last year and when the product was displayed it was just too magnificent to give away. Arthur set to work and produced two small replicas which the lucky winning teams are able to keep.

gateball prizes 1Having developed the momentum, Arthur has then produced some mini-mallets to be given to all our visiting players.

Great job Arthur. What an artist!

Garden City Gateball Teams Tournament, Toowoomba

Toowoomba Croquet Club held its annual Garden City Gateball Teams Tournament over the weekend of 30th September until 1st October. It had been an unusually dry and warmer winter so everyone experienced a very warm Saturday for the first day of the event. Nine teams were competing with two from Toowoomba and two from Southport. Rockhampton players made the long drive from home to compete and were warmly welcomed. Many of these teams were gaining the necessary practice required for the Australian Gateball Teams Championship that is being held two weeks later at Bateau Bay.

The President of Toowoomba Croquet Club, Paul Reynolds, welcomed everyone and  Cr.  McDonald opened the competition by successfully sending he ball through Gate 1. All of the games were completed as per schedule on day 1 and the standard of catering was very good. Sunday came along and what a change in the weather! Clouds formed and the welcome rain was heading Toowoomba’s way. But all went well for the completion of the games and the presentation of prizes and the drawing of the raffle prizes.

The results were very close and it was not until the final game that all placings were decided. Winning 6 games the Ipswich Snoopy team was in first place just as they did last year. Then, with 4 teams each winning 5 games, a count back was needed so Net Points were calculated. Second place went to Blue Macs, third place went to Southport Red, fourth place went to Redcliffe Roses and fifth place went to Southport White. All the teams planning to compete at the Nationals will have some fine tuning to do. Rain started falling as most people drove home.

1st place - Ipswich Snoopys

1st place – Ipswich Snoopys

2nd place Blue Macs

2nd place Blue Macs


View of the clubhouse

View of the clubhouse

Big crowd of players during the break in play

Big crowd of players during the break in play

The Doubles Tournament followed the Teams event on Sunday afternoon. By Monday morning a heavy fog descended over the area. Despite this and the difficult conditions the wet lawns, play continued.

Monday's weather- Fog!

Monday’s weather- Fog!

Hard to see the Grandstand through the fog

Hard to see the Grandstand through the fog

The Final of the Doubles tournament was between Block A winners Geoff and Kurt and Block B winners Sandra and Jan. Congratulations to  Sandra and Jan who won the Doubles. (Thanks to Dianne Sweet for the fog photos)

Referee is Bruce McAlister seen through the rain.

Referee is Bruce McAlister seen through the rain.