NSW State Gateball Championships 27th to 29th October 2023

Article provided by Judy Tier, retiring NSW State Gateball Coordinator on 5th November 2023

Fifteen pairs and eight teams registered for the tournament held at the National Park Croquet Club (NPCC) in Newcastle.

The make up of teams made this a pretty unique tournament. One half of the team entries included players from two States and another two combinations from different Clubs. Covid, broken ribs, fractured ankle and a broken toe accounted for the changes which were incorporated up to two days before commencement.

Derek Bull, Vice President of Newcastle National Park CC, welcomed players to the pristine lawns and Clubhouse and to Doubles play. In very wet and cold weather players battled it out with new combinations of Kathie Grant & Alan Thomas and Mark Auai & Allan Graham making it to the semi finals.

Glen and Kristina Whitehead, representing Canberra, defeated Emma Mauceri and Kaelan Sweatman from Moreton Bay in a tightly fought game 16 – 13 to take the trophy for the 5th time.

The teams played in two Blocks and results were extremely unpredictable with teams in the final being beaten by the bottom team.

In a break from tradition NPCC hosted a BBQ on Saturday evening with the low $5 cost subsidised with registration fees. Forty six people attended and enjoyed the generous food selection and two options for learning. John Park took several players to work on the Gareth Denyer computer GB simulation game and Kathie Grant from Southport CC gave an address titled ‘The Psychology of the Game’.

She spoke about the rationale for training, how to encourage players to train by encouraging players to set personal goals and the imperative to create an atmosphere of camaraderie at practice and within the team.

Kathie drew inspiration from James Kerr’s book ‘Legacy’ – ‘What the All Blacks can teach us about the lessons of life’. Kerr’s lessons to ensure a successful team include staying focused, being mentally fit and practising humility. This last concept, Humility in Captains was the title of Barbara Northcott’s address at Captains training earlier this year. It is available to read on the GBA website.

The Tournament Referee and the CNSW Referee Coordinator were kept busy with far too many complaints about players questioning referee decisions. We all understand that Recorders and Lines people are part of the referee team, not aggrieved players. On the plus side Bev Mersmann (NCNP) and Judy Tier (CCC) were finally assessed as level 1 referees.

The Clare & Ken Poole Gateball team trophy was presented by Janelle Poole, daughter of Clare and Ken Poole. to Tournament winners Moreton Bay 1. This team finished with 5 wins and 30 net hoops and defeated Canberra with 4 wins and 9 net hoops in a very tight game 12 to 11. Toronto and Moreton Bay 2 came equal 3rd.

Sandra Townley from Epping CC gave a history of the Poole’s engagement in Gateball from introducing it to NSW and Victoria to Clare being the most capped Australian player.

Clare represented Australia at the World Gateball Championship in South Korea; twice, Japan, China & Thailand. Clare along with Ken promoted Gateball going around to different Croquet Clubs demonstrating the game. To further promote Gateball interstate Ken, an early convert to Gateball, organised and drove a mini-bus full of Sydney Gateball players down to the Mornington Peninsula to demonstrate the game at the different Croquet Clubs in that area.

Thanks everyone for competing in this Tournament and ensuring Gateball is alive and well in ACT/NSW. I know I will be leaving GB organisation in competent hands with Petula Shun, Strathfield Club Captain.