First Gateball Competition in Tokyo in 2023

Every start of the year there is a Gateball Singles Competition held in Tokyo. Players from outside Tokyo love to travel during the New Year holiday period to compete in this Singles Competition. Many players from neighbouring countries like S. Korea, China and Taiwan would compete because it is also a holiday time for many of them. However, the Covid pandemic has halted the event. This year the Gateball Singles Competition went ahead with smaller numbers in the Singles section. One overseas player who came from Taiwan was given a warm welcome.

Consequently the games were expanded to include a Doubles Competition and one in which a Doubles plays a Singles player. Altogether, there were 83 Players involved and 19 courts were set out on a huge area that is used for baseball and soccer. Satoshi Kamijo, one of the instigators for this Singles Competition, was helped by other people to set out the 19 courts.

Because of the multiple uses for this expanse of playing area, there were several lines permanently marked in white paint. The surface is artificial grass so great care was taken in setting out the line tapes. The corners were carefully anchored to avoid damage to the grass. Big spikes are attached to the metal plate.

Every game was started by the tournament manager and a big clock face was provided to show the count down. No referees were used and everyone kept their own score. As expected, mutual respect and honesty was paramount to a smooth running of each game. The youngest players were two brothers who were ‘captained’ by their mother.

It was a very good event for all concerned. Having played in quite a few Gateball competitions in Japan, this singles competition is the most challenging with little time between games. The joy of playing the game with like minded players is obvious as I met up with so many players.

Barbara Northcott

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

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

New Zealand Gateball – Dec 2020

Gateball Australia has received an update from Gateball New Zealand
Dennis Bulloch, the Director of Gateball New Zealand tells us that the organisation is formally established.  Claire Horncastle, Gaylene Jones, Duncan Dixon, Kathie Grant and Dennis are on on the national committee and that  meets monthly with the aid of Microsoft Teams.  Duncan is working on a gateball website which should be up and running by the end of the year. Gaylene is our secretary and Claire our Treasurer.  They are assembling a database of gateball payers.  A gateball club has been formed in Christchurch and there has been quite a lot of interest from a number of croquet clubs. Dennis reports they are still in the state of establishing Gateball in NZ and feel there is a long way to go.  
Hopefully they will be able to have Croquet New Zealand recognise Gateball and be willing to liaise with GNZ. They are seeking funding to purchase gateball sets and loan them to clubs that are showing interest in the sport. 

GNZ will organise and run national tournaments.  
Sadlyit has been decided not to hold the NZ Gateball Championships next year in February due to quarantine border problems. They will let the WGU know of this as well and hope that an Australasian bubble between our 2 countries can be established soon. However, it seems that will not happen before March next year at the earliest.  Fingers crossed, NZ Gateball hope they  can travel in September to compete in the Australian Gateball Championships. 
They recently had a fun day at Rose Gardens Croquet club  which was part of their centenary celebrations and gateball sets were used in many of the activities. 
GNZ has promiised to give us  some information on how the sport is being tackled in Christchurch. Photos featuring the gateball course for students during the last school holidays and an introductory course for a large number of club members in the Christchurch and Ashburton areas. 
CNZ  will try to keep you informed on our gateball progress over the next few months.