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

16 thoughts on “Clare Poole

  1. I will never forget at my first Gateball Triples Competition, first competition away from home, at Jamberoo 2017, I think it was. Clare quietly came up to me after our first game (we had done badly), she had been watching…(I couldn’t get through gate one)…and she whispered to me “Don’t rush…you have 10 seconds, use them” – what a special woman she was. What good advice for a panicky newbie! She will always be admired and remembered by me…rest in peace Clare…I will forever admire you.

  2. It all started back in 1996 when Japan wanted to introduce Gateball to western countries in the region. The then Croquet Players Association of NSW was approached & Clare along with other interested players started to learn Gateball. They did this by watching a video sent from Japan. Understanding & following that video was made difficult because the video instruction was in Japanese.
    This group of players persevered & in 1998, 2 teams including Clare represented Australia at the World Gateball Championship held in Hawaii. This was the first time Australia had played in this Championship.
    Clare has also represented Australia at the World Gateball Championship in South Korea, Japan, China & Thailand. A true International Gateball player.
    Clare has always promoted Gateball going around to different Croquet Clubs demonstrating the game. She has been a mentor to many players being very generous with her knowledge & explaining tactics. Clare has always been very supportive and those of us who benefited from her experience, appreciated it.
    Clare also played Association & Golf Croquet. I natural talent with the mallet. Clare held different committee positions at the Epping Croquet Club including President and was a ‘Life Member’ of the club.
    Clare will be greatly missed by her family and friends.

  3. I enjoyed getting to know Clare, and her skills as a Captain, back in 2014 at Maitland. Clare remained a force in GB, and her encouragement for other players was exemplary. Vale.

  4. I first played in a team with Clare at the 2010 CNSW State Championships in Canberra. We enjoyed jointly captaining our team comprising Epping and McIlwraith players. We shared a few knowing glances and shrugs of the shoulders as the more adventurous members of our team wanted to “go for it.” I second Cas’s comments too – even when Clare became less mobile, you could always ask “What did I do wrong there, Clare” Her advice was always kindly given and very useful. We will miss you Clare,

  5. It was a shock to hear the unexpected news of Ms. Clare POOLE’s passing.
    She was always kind and made a huge contribution to the spread of Gateball in Australia.
    I am honoured to have known her.

    She is my Australian mother and an irreplaceable friend.
    Please accept my sincerest condolences.
    May she rest in peace.

    Jun NOGAMI

  6. I first met Clare and Ken at the 2005 National Gateball Championship held at Mosman Croquet Club in November 2005. Saw them many times at the National Championships around different States [Victoria, Queensland and New South Wales] within Australia, the NSW State Championship as well and on occasions when venturing to Queensland at the CAQ Championship.

    Clare had a very strong and keen interest in Gateball, very willing to assist anybody with advice on how to play Gateball, on the tactics of the game and generous with her knowledge. Always kind and made a big impact and contribution. Clare was highly regarded amongst the Gateball community in Australia and whoever she met. Clare was a special lady, a lady in the true sense.

    It was a shock to hear the unexpected news and a sad day for Gateball not just in Australia but in the whole Gateball Community.

    Please accept my sincerity, sympathy and condolences on the passing of Clare Poole. Wishing family members all the best in this time of grief. May you remember all happy and special memories of Clare.


  7. I was deeply grieved to learn of the death of Ms. Clare Poole. I met her at Australian Championships 2000 in Sydney for the first time. She was nice, and we Japanese players loved her. With deepest sympathy.

    Message from Keiichi Imagawa, Executive Director, WGU.

  8. Thank you for your kind words
    about Mum she always talked fondly of her time in Japan and the Japanese players she meet over the years with gate all

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