McIlwraith Challenge

IMG_1529Queensland’s first gateball event of 2018 was closely fought. As the final team games were about to be played, 5 of the 9 teams playing in the event were on five wins apiece. Blue Macs, Ipswich, Redcliffe, Southport Red and Toowoomba were all in with a chance.

In the final round Ipswich were to play Southport White. Toowoomba and Redcliffe faced one another on court 2 while Southport Red and Blue Macs played on court 1. 5 teams all had a chance of winning the competition!

Southport White defeated Ipswich while the Blue Macs went down by a point to Southport Red. In the remaining game Toowoomba failed to put all their balls on court and Redcliffe won the game by a convincing 7 points. This margin gave them a 1 net hoop advantage to win the comp over runners up, Southport Red.

The McIlwraith lawns were in great condition after a wet start to 2018. Although conditions were humid, play was only interrupted for about ten minutes during a brief heavy shower which was considerate enough to schedule its arrival between games.

In the doubles competition an innovative format allowed ten pairs to contest three rounds in which teams were matched by a random draw. After three rounds two pairs were undefeated and thereby faced off in a closely fought final. Jim and Barbara Northcott won 12 to 11 over Claus Jehne and John Park. The game was still in contention until the last stroke.

The Sydney Sunday Gateball Circuit

Several Sydney clubs have now established the Sydney Sunday Gateball Circuit. Players gather on a succession of Sunday mornings at Epping, Eastwood or Strathfield. Visitors are welcome.

Venues, timing and contacts for the circuit are:

Strathfield, first Sunday of the month
Eastwood, second Sunday of the month
Epping, fourth Sunday of the month

Anyone interested in playing should make contact by email to register their intention to play and to make sure that sessions will go ahead as scheduled.

Sessions commence at 9.15 and continue until about noon. Morning teas are described as “lovely” and anyone who has benefited from the hospitality of gateballers at these clubs will attest to their culinary magnificence. A retired chef at one of the clubs sets a standard that the others match!

strathfieldStrathfield has recently joined this circuit of venues and were delighted to find their first two sessions were well attended. In February, 23 players attended for the opening session. The March session attracted 14 players and last weekend at Eastwood numbers were up to 16.

Players have a rich background in the whole range of mallet sports and attract regular visitors from Toronto, Killara, Newcastle and Hazelbrook.

Players from these clubs have, for several years, played under the name Epstars – a composite of the founding clubs of the circuit Epping, Eastwood and Killara. Does the last s now represent Strathfield? The Epstars have had some success as a team. They were the third placed Australian team at the 2017 Australian Gateball Championships, have once won the NSW Gateball Championships and have had successes in NSW club competitions.