Gateball History – Rockhampton Mallet Sports Club Inc.
In late 2002 membership of Rockhampton Croquet Club was dwindling fast and we needed to look further afield to boost numbers and offering gateball as an added game looked attractive, but how?
We held an open day – nineteen attended – eight agreed to come again. The next three Saturdays saw nine, then thirteen, then eleven persons attended.
By December we had new balls and sticks, also gates, poles and score boards made be member Les Feddersen.
In February 2003 Edna Vincent visited with twenty-seven players from all clubs in the region attending her demonstrations. We then applied to Australian Croquet Association for funding assistance for gateball – we received $300.00 to buy equipment for school programs. By this time we had seven new members join the club, and Ethel, Averil, and May were busy making bibs for our seventeen gateball players. We were going great guns!
With much hesitation and trepidation and with Keith McLeod’s encouragement, we agreed to play in the Australian Championships at Caloundra in November 2003. We excitedly decided on a uniform of gold shirt with white slacks/shorts and had to make another set of bibs with up to twenty players on Saturday morning enjoying the game. We still value greatly our “Bravery Award” for competing in this competition. In 2004 our club won the Midas Cup in Caloundra and in 2005 two teams, (Gaters and Gold) competed in the Inaugural State Titles in Ipswich with Gaters winning the trophy with six wins from six games played and Gold winning two. Six players (Steven O’Connor, Norm and Bette Bull, Ethel and Eric Hughes, and Greg Featherstone) competed in the Australia Titles in Mosman, Sydney and our club was buoyed by our success, so much so that we applied to host the State Titles in Rockhampton in August 2006. In May 2005 we won the Inaugural inter-regional Championships at the McIlwraith Club. The team was Margaret Daniel, Margaret and Ron Gall, Ethel and Eric Hughes, and Steven O’Connor.
We were now well equipped and our membership had grown substantially and we often had up to twenty-two members attending. The State Titles saw eleven teams competing, three of them from our club. In 2007 we ventured into playing doubles gateball and this proved popular at our C.Q. Gateball Tournament with a total of seven teams, three of them from Rockhampton plus nine doubles combinations.
In four years we had come a long way and would continue competing in State titles annually. In November 2007 Bette and Norm Bull, John Dargel, Lynne Farry, Ethel and Eric Hughes competed in the Australian Championships at Cairnlea in Melbourne. In 2008 Rockhampton Gold (Margaret Daniel, Lynne Farry, Bette and Norm Bull, Margaret Gall, and Greg Featherstone) won the Ipswich Heritage Cup and in 2009 we were honoured to host the Australian International Gateball Championships. There were many months of organisation led by Ethel Hughes and her teams, Magpies and Herons. Credit must be given to John Hoffman and Vince Hagen for their valuable assistance in preparing for the event and throughout the tournament.
We are always thankful for the support and encouragement we received from other clubs and especially from Keith McLeod, Bruce McAllister, and Edna Vincent without whose initial encouragement we may never have started.
We continue to play locally, competing in competitions whenever possible and are thankful that gateball added another dimension to our club’s activities.
May Feddersen/Ethel Hughes