SCC Invitational Gateball Teams Challenge

The atmosphere at this inaugural Invitational Challenge on 14th May was electric and positive, especially as the sun shone during all of the games. It lifted our spirits after a week of mounting anxiety over the weather.

Strathfield Council employee, Ryan, charged with maintenance of our lawns, did a brilliant job to get the lawn ready, in ways above and beyond the call of duty. Petula Shun was chief organiser, ably assisted by Ann Shaddick and Ruth Bridger. On the day itself, all players participated fully in their playing and refereeing duties, and enabled the day to proceed without a hitch.

In all, there were five Gateball teams, Strathfield, Newcastle, Hazelbrook, Canberra and Toronto. It was the largest gateball gathering to have ever taken place at Strathfield CC.

Notably, this was the first time we had fielded a GB Team made up solely of Strathfield members, without forming a composite team with players from other clubs. At this evolutionary stage of our GB game code in Australia, while we may not be able to field a full team of our own, it is still possible to join another club’s team even at state or interstate level. For example, at the recent National GB Championship in Runaway Bay, Queensland, Petula Shun played for Canberra CC, and Ruth Bridger played for Southport Stripes. Their host clubs were so welcoming and happy to share their knowledge. This resulted in bonds being strengthened between our clubs. What invaluable experiences they brought back to their home club.

The SCC Invitational Gateball Teams Challenge was held to thank those clubs who in very recent years, have continued to support SCC’s Sunday gateball sessions. We will, of course, remain indebted to those other croquet clubs, Eastwood, Epping, Lithgow and Jamberoo, who helped our fledgling SCC gateballers, gain valuable experience as part of the Epstars Team. The clubs invited on Sunday helped carry on that tradition of support to SCC.

Play between teams was very close, and games were heavily fought. As we all know, there is that time in a game when suddenly the opposition runs away with the game. Nevertheless in many games it could have gone either way.

Toronto was the eventual winning team, and it was a well-deserved win.

Many of our recent participants in the club’s first foray into GC Division 3 Pennants volunteered as members of our catering team. It was good to see that inter-game code collaboration. What a splendid display of food was on offer.

The event marks another special occasion in our club’s proud sporting history by not just keeping a newish game code alive, but helping it thrive. To see new players from elsewhere better able to help develop gateball at their own club is also a welcome development.

Thank you all.

Ruth Bridger
On behalf of Strathfield Croquet Club

Gateball in Stratford, South Taranaki, New Zealand

We began by opening a large cricket bag filled with gateball gear donated by the Japanese Gateball Union. In the bag we found 3 rather chipped gates and a goal pole, a bag of slightly used balls, a pristine tape, Q & A Book, 10 unused sticks, a small scoreboard with purple and yellow markers and a narrow 1 metre wooden stick.

Kathie Grant, now from Southport CC, organised Bonnie Johnstone, her AC partner and Taranaki gateball organiser, to take me from New Plymouth a thirty minute drive to the small rural town of Stratford.

The sun was shining on the Stratford Croquet Club lawns as we all used the brand new line tape to prepare our court and then find a use for the 1 metre wooden stick.

After giving a brief explanation of game basics the ten croquet players from Inglewood, Eltham and Stratford eagerly lined up for a few drills. They all mastered sparking and their knowledge of the lawns meant few problems in over and under hitting. We played a 30 minute game with Bonnie concentrating on my coaching pointers. After a tea, cake and chat break Bonnie and I captained each team in a serious competitive game.

With no timer to guide me I kept checking on the small scoreboard and was bemused to see yellow markers noted the red team gates under the blue side? A lesson to note; explain blue and red sides of the scoreboard and assign sides to purple and yellow markers. One of the players immediately volunteered to bring in blue and white markers.

I really hope Bonnie can maintain the enthusiasm in this group and throughout Taranaki croquet clubs who have their own ‘cricket bag’ of gear. And, OK, you all know the narrow 1 metre wooden stick is useful when doubled to measure the distance to the gates from outside lines.

Judy Tier

Workshop Summaries from the 2021/22 Australian Gateball Championships

Refereeing workshops:

At the 21/22 AGC a number of referee workshops were held. Supporting resources clarifying roles were handed out and are available as follows: Basic Interaction between Referees A and BDuties of the Assistant RefereeDuties of a LinespersonDuties of a RecorderReferee Role A&B and the Scoreboard Keeper.

Other clarifications were presented as follows: Example Record SheetRotational Doubles Record Sheet , Monitoring Player sequence for Doubles and Referee Hand Indications

A final group worked through the Gateball Australia Referee Accreditation and Reaccreditiation Framework using a series of questions.

All referees are reminded that attending sessions like these help them meet their reaccreditation requirements and can be noted on annual reaccreditation cards that need to be handed to State Referee Coordinators each year. 

Coaching Workshops

Five sessions were planned which coincided with three levels of the Gateball Coaching Framework. More advanced sessions were presented on Managing the Endgame ( and notes!)  and Holdback The development and presentation of  scenarios like these is a major component of the Level 3 coaching program

For competition players sessions on Openings and Ladders & Cross court sparking were presented. Activities like these are presented as part the Level 2 coaching program which aims to develop the skills players need to become good competition players

For first time competitors, the usefulness of skills cards was demonstrated in preparing for competition participation.  Skills and drills for less experienced players are part of the Level 1 coaching program

Anyone wishing to train as a coach needs to make an application through their State Coordinator of Coaching.

Stroking Advice

One observation made at the event was that several of our experienced croquet players seemed to cope better with the playing surface. An email asking them how they felt their particular stroking style enabled them to cope with the conditions produced several responses which have been posted below. The comments made, emphasise for us all that we need revisit “Level 1” skills when faced with challenges

Peter: In GC you use more backswing to get more power (an Egyptian will often have the mallet vertical behind him before slamming a ball down court).

I didn’t see many GB players doing this – instead, to compensate for the heavier conditions, most tried to accelerate through the swing.  This does produce more power, but tends to pull you off line, which is part of the reason so many shots missed target (the lawn also had a lot of deviation as well, so even if you hit straight there were no guarantees).  Hitting balls that had been pressed into the grass during sparking didn’t help – I’ve never seen so many jumps in GB, many of which were cruel!

Many GB players also jab, which is OK at short range, but to hit a target at any distance you need a bigger action – some backswing for power and a good follow through for direction.  Pedants will point out that you’ve already hit the ball before the follow through, but the follow through shows you where you’ve sent the ball, so a good follow through action will help you send it where you want.  The trick for many players is to keep a bigger action, but to slow it down to accommodate a shorter distance.  Slow, flow & follow through is the mantra.

Barry: I find a backswing as short as possible & an almost over exaggerated follow through gives me the best accuracy. That was certainly the case on the challenging lawns we have just played on.
It was still a bit of a lottery but I found that if I tried for extra power by increasing my backswing, my accuracy suffered.

Greg: I did notice a lot of Gateball players were not stalking the ball or using a lot of follow through. One way to address this is to teach/refresh the routine for stroking.

The Routine: Players should develop a consistent routine in preparation for every stroke.

A stroking routine could be:

Take your grip

Stalk the ball

Take your stance/position

Keep your eye on the ball

Keep the body still

Backswing is controlled

Hit the ball in the centre

The swing is fluid

Follow through

See the grass under the ball

Ok – so maybe this just exposed something we can work at. Maybe at a future event we can include a stroking workshop? 

Rockhampton’s Gateball Teams and Doubles Competition


Our Annual Gateball Tournament was held on 30th April, 1st, 2nd May. A lovely weekend with Teams and Doubles events. The weather was great and  would really like to thank the teams who came such a long way :- Eildon White, Caloundra, Toowoomba, Southport, and Capricorn Coast a little closer to home. Southport had 2 Rocky players in their team, and Towoomba also had a Rocky player.

Southport went through the teams event undefeated. Congratulations.

The winning team contained two players from Rockhampton and four from Southport. L-R Coral, Donna, Margaret, Rob, Lynne and Eunice

Second place went to the local Rockhampton Team.

The Rockhampton Team L-R John, Cheryl, Chris, Steve, Margie and Robyn

 Doubles had 2 blocks (A) made up of (6) sets of Doubles and (B) block (7) sets of Doubles. The final was between ‘Kele Krew’, and ‘Red & Redder’, with Kele Krew taking the winners trophy. Congratulations to all, a great weekend.

The Winning Doubles team was Steve and Chris Kele from Rockhampton on the left and Philip Rowlands and David Buckle on the right of John Dargel, President of Rockhampton MSC

Lynne Farry