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.




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

Prince Chaudhary – Indian Gateballer

Prince Chaudhary, an Indian Gateballer, tried to bring a team to the 2019 Australian Gateball Championships. Unfortunately, the visas did not arrive in time and the team did not make it. We have kept in touch, and, recently, when invited, he agreed to share his Gateball story with us.

My name is  Prince Chaudhary and I am 29 years old. I come from Himachal Pradesh, a state in Northern India.

I started playing Gateball in 2007 in the  state of Orissa. My coaches’ names were Dr Suman Shankar Tiwari, Manoranjan Mishra & Biswaranjan Mishra. They taught  me how to play Gateball in  the city  of Chandigarh and in Orrisa, I’d spent my 2 weeks in every month learning Gateball.

Game promoted in Utter Pradesh with my Coach Manoranjan Mishra

One day I was selected for my first international tournament in Hong Kong.  At that time time I was in 10th standard (last year of school in India.) Unfortunately, my parents and my teachers were reluctant to allow me to participate in international travel because I missed my final exams and failed my exams. 

At that time, I was the only person from the northern area who was going to play in Hong Kong. I had never been that far from my hometown before. That was the first time for me.

(On arrival) I was excited to see overseas players and how they played Gateball. I learned many techniques from overseas players and later explained these to my team mates in India. After this, I started to promote Gateball in different cities in my state and in other states also. We established a team in every state in Northern India. I spent  4 years promoting Gateball in Delhi, Punjab, Haryana Jammu & Kashmir and my state too. I was working alone without financial support.

I organised two national tournaments in my state. I made some mistakes when I organised my first tournaments  but slowly, slowly I learned everything about how to organise tournaments. After some time i got some financial problems to play tournaments because no-one sponsors our tournaments and that time i was a student. It’s very difficult for a student to organise two national tournaments without sponsorship or any support.

Playing in Kallinga stadium

National tournament which I organised

It is a challenge to play in international tournaments without any sponsor but my parents always supported me. After Hong Kong, I played in Macao, Indonesia, Singapore, Thailand and other countries. 

With Japanese team mates

I remember my father said to me, ” Don’t worry, one day your game will enter in the Olympics. He  always helped me to play international tournaments and organise tournaments. Sadly,  he has now passed away. Because of financial problems in my home I am going to Singapore for work and now I am working in Singapore from last 5 years. 

Every weekend I am going to play Gateball in Singapore with Mr Kho Sing Tjai and Mr James Wong Fook Meng and Mr Fujimoto Yoshihiro.  

The first time I won  a gold medal in Thailand, it was a memorable day in my life. 

National Gateball Tournament in Orrisa

Last Gateball Report from Jamberoo

This will be the last gateball report from Jamberoo Croquet Club.

Gateball has been played for over 5 years at Jamberoo but sadly the code is no longer being played. There are many reasons for this.

Jamberoo gateball has always been a dominant force in NSW. We have managed to win or take podium places in many a competition and achieved runner up at NSW State Championship. Jamberoo CC will be missed both as a competitor and a tournament host. We have run the most patronised tournament annually since Jamberoo has been playing gateball.

Our players have upskilled themselves to include 2 coaches, 1 Level 2 referee and 1 Level 1 referee. We have run refereeing clinics and coached many who have given the game a try.

Glenda and Manuel Gutierrez

Our last playing members – Manuel Gutierrez, Glenda Gutierrez, Eilis Golightly, Graham Shephard, Gai Bathe, Evan Bathe: Inset Gerry Hassett and Marilyn Benson.

Visit of the Korean team

Notes from my diary….

Tomorrow, our club hosts the ‘JOIN’ Korean gateball team. The lawns are ready, the weather just has to behave itself! The Mayor of Strathfield, Councillor Antoine Doueihl will be coming at 10am to ‘meet and greet’ this talented and nice team from near Busan, South Korea. At least this experience is helping me to get to know more about Korea and Koreans.  Another special guest and SCC Club member is Lucille McKenna who will be coming tomorrow, not only to volunteer but also to represent the InnerWestCouncil, as Lucille is one of their Councillors.

This increasing knowledge of Korea, which hopefully more of us will experience over time and not be confined to just Korea, can only strengthen ties between citizens of our respective countries, at least at the personal level as well as the gateball level. The connection with Korea was strongly felt by me today when I attended – coincidentally – a luncheon in honour of Korean War Veterans at Concord Hospital.  My husband (Keith) who died in 2016 was a Korean War Veteran. This function in honour of Veterans and their guests was hosted by the Consul-General of Korea, Sangwoo Hong.  Whilst I had invited the Consul-General to the SCC event he was unavailable that day and this was this next best thing. As the Consul-General pointed out, next year is particularly significant for Australian-Korean bonds as they commemorate the 70th Anniversary of the Ceasefire.

Keith and I used to attend annually the Cheil Church at North Strathfield, again in honour of Korean Veterans. However, today was the first time I had a really long and pleasant discussion (over lunch) with a lady who attends that church. So at the next anniversary function I will go with the knowledge, I now know one of their parishioners, that kind Korean lady at my table, who gave our croquet club the Korean flag. She felt it had a more valuable role to play in that location, rather than being stored at her home. Its presence will add to the welcome the Korean team will feel with their flag on display tomorrow. Epping Club borrowed a Korean flag from their local Council and that gave me the idea. The flag is a significant addition to our club and a stepping stone to a closer connection. Today I also printed out a map of Korea and I wrote to Jay ( Jae-won), the son of the JOIN team’s manager who will act as interpreter tomorrow.  I asked Jay which was the closest city from which their team came. Jay said Busan (a port city in the very south).

So again this gateball experience, along with my husband’s war experience of Korea, is motivating me to really extend the hand of friendship to the Korean gateballers in a more meaningful way

Ruth Bridger
Strathfield Croquet Club