Visit to World and Japanese Gateball Union

At the request of the National Coordinator, Barbara and Jim Northcott represented Gateball Australia at the World and Japanese Gateball Union’s new office to make enquiries and update the organisation about gateball in Australia. They report that:
The new offices are in a huge building which has all of the Sports Federations/ Organisations in the one skyscraper. Japan Hockey is across the hall from Gateball. Rugby along the corridor. The Olympic Museum is on the ground floor and the Olympic Committee on the top floor. The building looks over the new Olympic Stadium which was officially opened last week. People everywhere gawking and taking photos just like we did.
Items discussed at the meeting included:

1. The recent interest shown by NZ Croquet in gateball and moves by that organisation to support the development of the game.

2. The 2019 Australian Gateball Championships were reported as being both successful and very friendly. Barbara explained the place and the venue for 2021 and hoped Japanese teams would visit and play. Fridge magnets were distributed

3. Additional copies of the 2019 rule book were reported as not having been printed yet. Ten copies were initially sent to Gateball Australia and others will follow in the new year.

4. The Asian Gateball Union Championships have been planned for Shen Zheng in Guangdong Province for November 2020. However with current uncertainties in Hong Kong there is doubt about that being a certainty because people from overseas have to fly via Hong Kong. A meeting will be held in January or February to clarify the situation

5. An update of issues facing Gateball Australia were clarified for the WGU
On another day, Jim and Barbara played gateball at Kita Park. They reported: Satoshi Kamijo, Keiichi Imagawa, Shoiichi Nakamura (he is playing in the World Croquet Champs in Melbourne as the only Japanese player involved), Taka, who played in Melbourne with Woodville) attended and are all English speakers . A mixed group of others – young, talented men  and older players, male and female, all met after Satoshi organised it. There were almost twenty of us. 
Good fun, interesting tactics and plenty of snacks kept us there from 10 to 3:30. I certainly spoke about 2021, gave out the fridge magnets, Keiichi translated, hotel accommodation and best airports were discussed. I feel positive there will be definite interest from this younger group as opposed to the players at Adachi where we normally play.

AGC – players’ thoughts and comments – part 2

Penny Park – Lithgow
As far as the Lithgow team was concerned, the highlight of this competition was the pre-comp visit from the Korean ‘Join’ team. We had such fun hosting them in the mountains and then down at Lithgow. They were so generous in sharing their Gateball expertise and demonstrating play that is consummate in both strategy and execution. We did not perform as well as we can in this competition, but we all have happy memories of friendships made and rekindled and share in John’s relief that, after all the hard work, the competition was a huge success. Relaxed and refocussed, we will be back!

Julia Vickers – Southport
A great weekend was had by both Southport Teams at the National Gateball Championships held at Cairnlea Victoria. Southport White was especially excited winning their first six games in Block A. This included winning against both International teams in the block – South Korea (Join) and China (Hu Nan). Unfortunately, we then lost the final two games and ended up in coming fourth in the block. Although Southport Red did not do so well in block B, they had good close games.  We all play each other at the Club so really it is great for all Southport gateballers to have done so well.

What a great experience we all had playing local, state, national and international competitors in such good facilities. We all look forward to meeting again in 2021.

Helen Chalmers – Hunter Allsorts
Just writing to say a big thank you to the organisers for the AGC in Cairnlea.  The Hunter Allsorts thoroughly enjoyed themselves and were happy with most of their play.  The weather was absolutely awful but no one can do anything about that. Thank you to everyone for doing a great job.

Robert Roose – Pine Rivers Croquet Club.
I along with the rest of the Pine Rivers team had a great time (except for the bloody weather). The competition was played in a friendly although competitive manner. We as a small gateball club learnt a lot about strategy during the competition and I personally learnt that captaining a side is not as easy as I though it was ! but I thoroughly enjoyed the experience and can’t wait to have another go.
Judy Stringer – Pine Rivers Croquet Club
In my opinion the three days of Gateball were outstanding. One of the things that stands out for me was when we walked in the door every morning we were greeted by so many smiling faces and always felt welcome and part of this gateball community. On the courts all games were played in very good spirit, with as much friendliness at the beginning and end of each game as was extended to one and all in the clubhouse. Thank you Melbourne for a wonderful Australian Gateball Championship, you did the sport proud.
Kathleen Hayes and Robyn Lyon – Capricornians
A big highlight was firstly to be asked to join a team and travel to Melbourne to compete in the Australian Gateball Championships 2019. We found it all very exciting from the excellent Cairnlea Croquet Centre with its wonderful fast greens to competing against overseas and southern teams we had not previously met.
Coming from different clubs within the Central Queensland Region, this was the first time the Capricornians had competed as a whole team and we had not had much chance to practice together previously which meant we were rather outclassed. However we thoroughly enjoyed the whole experience.
Overall I think a wonderful highlight was to have defeated in practice 11/8 Shen Yang who later went on to win the Championship.
Son Suk Ja – Join, Korea

The Korean Join team had a great experience in Australia.

Our team had a number of incidents before this competition. In August, one player was absent, making it difficult to find a replacement. And I only had two exercises with the new member. In addition, one week before departure, one of our members was admitted to the hospital, and our team had to make a strategic decision. He was an important part of my team, so I and my team even thought about giving up on Australia.

This was because it was hard to travel to Australia with two members who had been practising for one year. In fact, my team had a lot of conflict before leaving the country a week before the departure. But for a month-long schedule with John Park, I decided to travel to Australia.

We had a hard time challenging the Australian championship with a hurried team, but thank you for completing this long Australian event. Thank you to everyone in Australia for the competitions from Korea Join team.

AGC – players’ thoughts and comments

We asked competitors for their comments about the Australian Gateball Championships.We’ll add another post in a couple of days. so it’s not too late to send in your comments or stories to

Here’s what Philip Brown told us about the event.
For me, Kew’s three most memorable games were all against the Chinese teams – with an honourable mention to Barbara Northcott’s threading a ball through gate two without touching either of the two balls resting against the two gate legs.  I’m still not entirely sure how she managed it.  
In the block stage, Kew’s strong performance was mostly attributable to the team, not individuals.  Each player played their part – sometimes taking the glory shots and sometimes doing the team thing by placing their ball as a bridge, or blasting out an opponent’s ball near the line.
The game Kew came closest to losing was against eventual champions Shen Yang.  We were behind until an unintentional agari by one of the Chinese players.  Although the two points helped Shen Yang, the remaining 15 minutes were 5 balls against 4.  This allowed Kew to take control and, eventually, push past Shen Yang to take the game.  Thanks to a gate-and-touch by Kerry and a brilliant down-hill shot on Court 2 to touch the opponents ball.  
In the semi final against Hu Nan, Anthony’s incredible turn to score three points (gate two for himself and a very long range agari for another ball) will be with me for a long time.  The shot would have been difficult enough in fine weather, but to succeed at the spark during a rainstorm of such epic proportions was truly magnificent.  I could barely see the goal pole – that one’s for you Anthony – let alone spark a ball onto it!  
The third game, of course, was the final where Kew couldn’t quite make it happen for the win, but the game had a lot of twists and turns and was, I hope, entertaining to watch.  
I also feel I learned a lot  about captaincy during the tournament.  Kew is lucky enough to have multiple players who could captain, if needed, but whose advice and insight I could draw on during the game. We did this at multiple times throughout the tournament, often to very good effect.  This was also the first tournament where I had, deliberately, at about 5 minutes to go in a game, decided which ball I wanted to be the last to play.  A couple of times this meant deliberately speeding up so that we could score more points but leave our opponents nothing at the end (sorry to the Hunter Allsorts particularly on that score).
Despite Kew’s strong performance as Runners-Up, I think I am most proud that I managed to help organise a tournament where so many people had such a good time and so many games were played in such good spirit.  The ovation on returning to the club rooms was heartwarming.  I was also very pleased to see a few newer players seemingly bitten with the bug of gateball and asking questions about captaincy, about refereeing and more.  Welcome to the club. 
I am earth-shatteringly tired, but I wouldn’t have changed a thing.  Well, maybe I would like a do-over on one game…. but that’s going to have to wait for 2021!
Philip Brown
Captain of Kew Gateball

Australian Gateball Championships

The Shen Yang team from China won last weekend’s Australian Gateball Championship after two days of intense play. 
Both Kew and Shen Yang had emerged from Block B. Kew had won all their games in the pool and were clear winners. Shen Yang’s run to the semis was much tighter. Along with Woodville’s International Friends and the Hunter Allsorts they had won 4 out of 7 games with losses to Kew, Multimacs and Woodville International Friends. They just made it to the semis by one point over Woodville.
In Block A, Join Korea registered 7 wins but with one loss to Southport White. 3 other teams, Canberra, Southport White and Hu Nan, all achieved 6 wins. Hu Nan had a clear advantage of 30 points and so progressed to the semis.
The semis saw improved performances from both Chinese teams. Shen Yang defeated the Korean team, Join, by a sizeable margin while previously dominant Kew relied on a count back to win against Hu Nan. A very heavy shower during the semis on a cold Melbourne day may have dampened the momentum of the two block winners.
As a result the final took place between the winner and runner up from Block B. Kew battled valiantly to become the third Australian team to win an Australain Gateball Championship but lost control of the game which saw Shen Yang win through.

The competition was held in great spirit, with many competitors remarking on the friendly nature of the event. Saturday evening’s BBQ was well attended and overseas players were all given small gifts as a token of appreciation for their having made the effort to come to the 10th Australian Championship. Quiz sheets kept players racking their brains while they awaited their turn to line up for their meals

At the close of the event, ACA Deputy Chair, Jim Nicolls presented trophies and thanked players and organisers. The event program reminded participants that Gateball Australia’s first State Championships would be held in Victoria on the weekend of the 27th to 29th March.
John Park
National Coordinator – Gateball Australia

Gateball on ABC Radio National

ABC Radio National’s ‘ Sporty’ program
Saturday 7th December at 10.30 AEDT
Monday 9th December at 05.30 AEDT

Amanda Smith, presenter of ABC radio program ‘Sporty’, recently interviewed various players at the Australian Gateball Championships with the aim of publicising our sport and encouraging new players. 

Check out ‘Sporty’ on Radio National on your local frequency. If you can’t listen at these times, you should be able to find it on the ‘Sporty’ page of the ABC website from Saturday
or on the ABC Listen App.

Interviewees included:

    • Glen Whitehead Canberra Croquet Club – a qualified ref, one of the first players in Canberra
    • John Park – National Coordinator of Gateball Australia and captain of the Lithgow team
    • Ethan, Julia and John – three generations playing for Southport Croquet Club
    • Korean player- Son Suk Ya and her son Jay, and
    • Trish Fazackerly – Woodville SA Friends International team 

Judy Tier
Canberra Croquet Club