Terang Gateball Championships 2022


It’s taken some time, but life – and gateball – in Victoria is finding it’s old rhythms again. One of the best parts of gateball in Victoria is the tradition that on the weekend before the Melbourne Cup, the friendliest and most hospitable tournament in all of gateball is held in the delightful town of Terang.

Terang itself is between Colac and Warrnambool, around two-and-a-half hours West of Melbourne. The Terang Croquet Club is just off the main road, sitting slightly downhill from the beautiful avenue which serves as the main thoroughfare of the town.

This year four teams competed in the teams contest (two from Terang, a composite South Australian team and Kew). The South Australian team was made up of members from Woodville and Mt Gambier (with an extra player from Kew for good measure).

The contest continued despite some heavy rain on the Saturday, with slightly soggy socks a small price to pay for some excellent gateball and truly extraordinary afternoon tea (another tradition of which Terang should be justly proud).

The rain didn’t affect play too much, despite the odd puddle on the field. Terang has some areas with mild flooding, but nothing like the difficulties being experienced further north in Victoria. Our thoughts are with those in and around Shepparton, and the other parts of the state more seriously afflicted.

Kew did not have all of the players who have been representing the club at recent championships and debuted two new players: Iain and Ingrid. Nevertheless, they were still a strong team and went through the teams competition undefeated, duly winning the title. The South Australian team placed second. But for a most out-of-character sparking foul in the game against Kew the positions could easily have been the other way around.

For the doubles competition on Sunday, the sun was shining and the need for sunscreen replaced the need for raincoats. The pairing of Kerry Seipolt and Elaine Coverdale proved the strongest winning all five of their games. In second place were Geoff and Trish from Woodville, who only just managed to edge out Catherine and Eric on points differential.

Congratulations and thanks to Heather and the whole Terang Croquet club for another wonderful visit.

Philip Brown

Caloundra win the Eildon Competition

On Saturday 17th September, Eildon hosted its annual Gateball Teams Competition. There were six teams competing: Eildon White, Eildon Blue, Southport Red, Southport White, Pine Rivers and Friends, and Caloundra, 35 participants in total.

The weather held and players enjoyed a mainly fine day with a bit of humidity and intermittent sea breezes towards the afternoon.

Format was ‘round robin’ with play commencing at 8.25 am and then at basically hourly intervals. There were many close matches and one point wins but no shoot-outs.

At the end of the day, Caloundra were tournament winners with four wins and a 10 net with Eildon White second with four wins but a 5 net – see Gateball Scores. All games were played in good spirit and camaraderie.

The usual Tournament Raffle with prizes comprising a Gift Basket from our local MP Yvette D‘Ath and Gift Cards from our local Bunnings and Woolworths was well supported and the home baked goodies supplied by the Eildon players for morning and afternoon teas were much appreciated.

Written byPhilip Rowland, Captain of Gateball, Eildon Croquet Club

CNSW 2022 Gateball Championships faces challenges!

A record number of 25 contested the Doubles competition in 4 blocks, with semi finals played between the winners of Block A – the Kele Crew ( Cheryl & Steve ) 10 defeating
Redcliffe Three (Alan James & Crystal Carling) 8. The winners of Block C Canberra Whiteheads (Glen & Kristina) 18 defeating Redcliffe One (Geoff Morris & Paul Ekeberg) 6.

The final between Kele Crew and Canberra Whiteheads was a game of cat and mouse strategy with victory to the Canberra Whiteheads 14 points to 7.

After the match, Steve Kele conceded they had more to learn from this couple with their 20 years experience and had thoroughly enjoyed the competition.

An emotional Glen Whitehead dedicated the trophy to fellow Canberra CC Gateball player Andrew Davies. Andrew suffered a heart attack during the first round of the Doubles on Friday morning and died in the Albury Hospital.

Around noon on Saturday, Justin Clancy, MLA for Albury and son Xavier, hit balls through a gate to open the Tournament. 13 teams contested the Clare & Ken Poole Teams trophy in 2 blocks. Players in both Canberra teams wore black arm bands to remember their team mate.

In the Sunday semi finals matches, Hazelbrook were defeated by the Macs (combined team from Toronto and Epping) 12 – 10 and Kew defeated the Canberra Sparkers 15 points to 7. Around 50 people cheered on players in the final, with winners Kew defeating the Macs 14 to 9. 

In accepting the trophy from CNSW Board Member Rosie Landrebe, Philip Brown. the Kew Captain, thanked people for the organisation of a successful tournament under trying conditions and reminded everyone to treasure the friends they have made playing Gateball.

The host team, River Gateball, was awarded the trophy for the best new team

The event had faced many challenges. With three days to go a number of teams had to withdraw. Their withdrawal required the draw to be redone and further modified to equip games with referees.

Two days before the tournament, the venue managers confirmed the courts were unavailable due to pools of water which had not dried as expected. Plan B to move to an Albury Council soccer field was confirmed on Wednesday and worked well for the doubles on Friday. It required extreme effort from the few Twin City CC members to paint 8 courts, move chairs and all tournament equipment from the original venue – Albury Tennis Association Centre – 150 metres up the road.

Because the soccer field was unavailable for the weekend, Plan C saw the tournament moving across the border to Wodonga Tennis Centre. This was a fantastic venue with grass tennis courts providing a pretty true and slick surface for play. And we played each day in sunshine with clear blue skies. Many thanks go to our Venue Manager for quickly identifying alternate venues and managing all the logistics of the changes. Also to our wonderful Gateball players, who loaded up their cars and utes with gear, assisted with court set up and did not complain about the moveable feast of this tournament.

Story content provided by Judy Tier
NSW State Coordinator of Gateball

Vale Andrew Davies – a link to a recent CNSW Newsletter. 

Multi Mallet Cross Training is the way to go!

A recent analysis of data from Queensland revealed that 80% of that state’s Gateballers also play another code. The South Australian Coordinator believes that in his state that figure is 100% and it is surmised that this is the case in all the states where Gateball numbers are smaller. So what is it that makes so many of us multi mallet enthusiasts?

Some examples of well and lesser known players have agreed to have their mallet sports stories published. They illustrate the pleasure and benefits gained from playing a range of mallet sports. We can even extol the virtue of playing several games as cross training – a proven approach to improving performance in someone’s main game!

 In 2017, Julia Tai did not play mallets sports. Her family from Taiwan were planning to visit Australia and told her they wanted to play Gateball. As a result, Julia joined Southport Croquet Club. Since then, Gateball has become a family affair and Julia, her father and son Ethan all played together in the 2019 Australian Gateball Championships in Melbourne. The family featured in a radio interview for the ABC’s ‘Sporty’ program along with other Gateball families.

Since that time, Julia and son Ethan have ventured into other codes too. In 2018, Julia started playing Ricochet and has participated in pennants events and Division 4 competition. In 2019, she played Golf and has played in Division 3 competitions. By 2020, she was ready to try Association and played in a Bribie Island Competition, as well as winning the Southport Shield for Association.

Linda Davies of Bribie Island came to Gateball as the fourth code in her repertoire of mallets sports. Linda began playing Golf at Bribie Island in 2008 and has made the Queensland State team on three occasions. She has made an appearance at the Worlds in New Zealand. Linda also plays Ricochet and Association. For 7 years she was the State and National Coordinator for Ricochet . She started playing Gateball about 6 years ago and was recently a member of the winning team in the 2022 Queensland State Championships. Linda’s commitment to all 4 codes of mallet sports is demonstrated not only by having been Qld State Coaching Coordinator and a coach and trainer for all codes but also being a referee. She is already qualified as a referee for Golf, Ricochet and Association and is currently working at her Gateball qualification. What an amazing commitment to the full array of mallet sports!

Karen Magee of South Australia tells us she has been playing Golf Croquet since 2012.  This year saw her selection for South Australia in the Interstate Shield for the 8th time. During that period she has had a few state coaches with lots of tips and advice, but one memorable comment was, “What will I be doing this year to improve from last year?”. That lead her to Gateball in 2019, which focusses her strokes for roqueting and gives her lots of fun. Gateball certainly keeps her mind in tune, having to make quick decisions to lead to success. Karen believes that the short games keep a player on their toes and involved. 

She took up Association Croquet as something else to help her Golf Croquet improve. Covid was instrumental in this, in that she couldn’t travel for the Interstate Shield and was looking for something else. Luckily, she has her own personal coach in this and has had some success. She tells us the long games do concern her, but alternate stroke handicap doubles and playing 14 point games is a way for her to overcome this as a beginner. She enjoys playing 3 codes.

Peter Freer discovered Croquet in 1981, when his work team hired a lawn at the Canberra Croquet Club, and he has been a member ever since – now 41 years and a Life Member there.  After retiring from work in October 2008, he took up serious competition; playing Association, Golf Croquet, Ricochet and Gateball.  Peter particularly enjoys the team aspects of Gateball, and plays in Doubles, Triples & Teams at regional, State & Australian level – plus a World Gateball Championship in Brazil, as part of a Canberra team.  Peter stresses that his interest in GB has been fuelled by the strong and enthusiastic GB base at Canberra CC, led by Glen & Kristina Whitehead and NSW GB Coordinator Judy Tier.  Peter is a keen referee and coach in all 4 codes, and notes the crossover in terms of stroking balls, running hoops/gates and tactical/positional play.  Peter is married to Kate McLoughlin and they have two (adult) daughters, and a very busy one year-old grandson.

David Pryor of Victoria is the newest of our multi mallet sports players. He tells us that the very first day he arrived for a hit at Kew Croquet Club, he was greeted by a very friendly group, who invited him to join them in a game called Gateball. He now regularly plays Gateball as well as Association and Golf Croquet – all are played both competitively and socially. He says that each code complements the others; at the same time, skills learnt in one code are also helpful across all.

He has found experienced players of all codes to be remarkably supportive, offering coaching and encouraging him to compete, even when his skills development had a very long way to go! Of Kew’s two courts, one is line marked for Gateball (in blue) as well as Croquet, and timeslots across the week have been amicably allocated to the various codes.

Ruth Bridger of Sydney’s Strathfield Club says that, when she joined Strathfield Croquet Club in 2006, she learnt just one code – AC, the only one on offer for years.  She is well placed to examine the benefits gained, not just personally, but also for her club, when they agreed to new codes being included at Strathfield CC. The first two, GC and RC, were in 2010. This change meant the club retained her as a member. She had begun to consider leaving a dying club. The changes saved her club, important for her, as she lives nearby.  Other personal benefits are: the game variety keeps her interested, and enables her to meet and play with so many club members, who she might not normally see, if they play only one game code. It certainly helps maximise club cohesion. Furthermore, it gives her the choice and flexibility when she needs to change her playing session times/days, as all game codes get good coverage. Like most at her club she is a senior, some of whom have hidden disabilities, with symptoms that change in severity. It is important to her to have access to games which both minimise risks to her health and provide: games of shorter or longer game duration; use of lighter equipment; longer or shorter ‘sitting times’; or games with less or more walking. She believes this diversity is good for her body and mind. She wants longevity in the sport. Her needs are not unique in this regard, nor are her club’s needs. She believes this holistic approach has worked better for all. 

As a coach, she finds that it has worked to trust that new players can cope and thrive, when they learn a couple of games quite early. Newer players now take it as normal to play other game codes. The club finds itself in a better position to coach existing players, some who have shown interest, to explore how their skills will transfer to AC, and discover what new skills they can add to their repertoire. 

She states enthusiastically that, “It is a great time to join our sport, especially now that we will receive support and resources provided by the newly formed ACA Croquet Academy. As a coach across these four codes, this development matters to her. For those who just want to play one game code, that is not problematic, as the club has a much larger membership and, financially, is in a better position to support all views. Strathfield needs that mix to survive and thrive. It is wonderful to experience all games now being valued.

The ACA is the umbrella organisation for all our mallet sports. The sum is clearly greater than the parts. Any game, isolated from the others, loses.




Strathfield Club Hub run “Think Like a Captain” Course

On Friday 5th August, about 20 players from Hurstville, Strathfield, Hazelbrook and Lithgow were joined by National Coordinator Ros Crowe for a pilot of a “Think Like a Captain” Course.

John and Penny Park have put the course together for players who have mastered the basic individual skills of the game and are interested in playing well and making a greater contribution to their teams.

An opening discussion with all participants noted that when teams played well, all players showed they understood and followed the game and were anticipating their captain’s instructions. Everyone recognised that to play Gateball well, all players need individual, team and thinking skills.

During the first session an updated version of Keith McLeod’s responsibilities of players list was discussed. Practical activities then occupied the remaining time until morning tea. On calls from the presenters, balls were played to positions on the court and attack, bridge, pivot and helper balls were stroked and sparked into position. The post-beginner players were appreciating the need for captains to be concise and for players to understand calls without the need for lengthy explanations! Just before the break a refresher session on slides was undertaken and focussed on the thinking required by the player to position a ball successfully using a slide.

After a break, players were presented with a series of scenarios based on real life examples from games where problem solving needed to be applied by the player. Players were challenged to find alternative resolutions for the scenarios and play them out. The scenarios were different to the whole game scenarios often used to develop captains.

Strathfield is a CNSW Club Hub. Club Hubs are an interesting initiative of CNSW. It specifies a number of clubs as hubs who play all  four codes and whose role it is to support surrounding clubs through a range of activities for example, hosting this course. Thanks club hub coordinator Petula for your support of this course by Strathfield.

Once the pilot has been evaluated and a final version produced, the course can be shared with any level 2 coaches interested in presenting it. Contact info@gateball.com.au to obtain a copy!