Newcastle National Park Gateball Triples Carnival

On a very cold weekend (4th and 5th June) our Gateball Triples carnival was held at Newcastle National Park Croquet Club.

Eight teams attended. Two from Hazelbrook, three from Newcastle and one each from Toronto, Canberra and Epping. It was played as a block tournament with finals at the end. 

The games were highly contested during the block matches with the teams securing a place in the finals being Newcastle Jades 6 wins, Hazelbrook Blue 6 wins and Canberra 5 wins. The fourth place went to Toronto after gate averages were taken into account from Newcastle Sapphires and Epstars who all had 3 wins.

In the semi finals Newcastle Jades 10 defeated Toronto 7 and Canberra 10 defeated Hazelbrook Blues 7. 

The final was hard fought to the end with Newcastle Jades  10 defeating Canberra 9. 

Congratulations to Alan Gray (capt), Philippa Rose and Chris Gill from the Newcastle Jades team on their win. 

Lynne Thomas
Newcastle National Park Croquet Club

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

Clare Poole

On 14th March the gateball community was greatly saddened to hear of the death of one of our highly regarded ‘originals’, Clare Poole.

Clare’s involvement with gateball commenced in the mid-1990s, following visits to Sydney and demonstrations of gateball by Japanese and Korean tourists. Gateball became a regular weekly game at Clare’s club, Epping.

In 1998, following an invitation from the World Gateball Union, the Australian Croquet
Association sent two teams to the Gateball World Championship in Hawaii. Clare was a captain of one of these teams. She also attended the 1999 President’s Cup in Taiwan.

Considerable enthusiasm for the adoption of Gateball as a supported code of the ACA resulted from the Hawaii event and prompted the inaugural Australian Gateball Championship, held in 1999. Clare and her husband Ken were involved with the organisation and management of this event.

Then, in 2001, the second Australian Gateball Championship was held in Melbourne and Clare’s Epping team was among the 15 entries, which also included 3 from Peru, 2 from NZ and 6 from Japan.

From that time, Clare and a small band of players kept the gateball flame burning in NSW, until a young group of players from Canberra took up the baton in the mid 2000s. Clare’s Epping players formed the backbone of a composite team which won the NSW championship at Maitland in 2014, the first time players from Greater Sydney had won the NSW Championships.

Epping Croquet Club celebrated 20 years of gateball in Australia on Sunday 25th September 2016. With Ken’s superb catering and Clare’s smiling presence, it was a wonderful occasion.

Clare was regarded by many of us as the ‘mother’ of gateball in Australia. Her strategic understanding of the game made her a valued captain and her patient coaching skills were welcomed by new players. She was always willing to observe and make useful comments. “Low, slow and with flow – and halve your backswing!”

Even when her deteriorating mobility made active participation impossible, Clare never lost her keen interest in the game and the people who now enjoy it here. She was held in high regard by those who knew her and will be greatly missed.

Vale Clare.

If anyone wishes to share memories of Clare, please post your comments below.

Penny Park

Rain Bomb

Our thoughts go out to all those Queensland clubs affected by the recent wild weather. The picture of the beautiful lawns and clubhouse at McIlwraith yet again underwater brought back memories of the 2011 floods.

We have been told of fellow gateballers having to sandbag their homes, and having cars and houses inundated.

Stay sane and safe everyone.

We are all looking forward to playing at the Nationals in the Sunshine State!

John Park
National Coordinator of Gateball