2020 New Zealand Gateball Teams Championship from an Australian perspective

When Dennis Bulloch advertised that the N.Z. Gateball Championship was being held at Rose Gardens Croquet Club at Palmerston North 6-8th March, there were some very excited ex-Kiwi players in the Gateball community who were very keen to travel there to compete. As a result three teams were formed from the Queenslanders. One was called Aussie Gold which had players from Rockhampton, Caloundra and Eildon. Judy Tier from Canberra linked in with Southport and two teams were formed – Southport Red and Southport White. There were two players from Mt Gambier who joined with a player from Kew to compete in a composite team which included two local NZ players.

The Aussie Contingent

The draw for the competition was organised later than would have been desired because of the withdrawal of 4 teams from Indonesia. But the positive and very friendly atmosphere of all associated with Rose Gardens Croquet Club meant a ‘can do’ approach took over. Courts were set out for the practice day on the Friday, then early on Saturday and Sunday.

On Friday afternoon Glenda Windust who is an International referee from the Caloundra Mallet Sports Club provided plenty of valuable insights into refereeing for those who were new to the game. Thank you Glenda.

On Saturday the sun shone brightly and the lawns changed speed quite quickly. All teams suffered from balls accidentally being sent off the court.  The young fellows from Rose Gardens CC were skilful with stroking the ball but they were to be shown some hard lessons in the tactics of the game. It was a very positive time for all of them.  By the end of the afternoon, Southport Red team was undefeated after 5 games and won the Championship.The beautiful new trophy of a globe on a wooden stand was presented to the team.

In second place was the Mt Gambier Team. The players did not know each other very well yet achieved good results. Below is the photograph of them with Dennis Bulloch (in red shirt) who organised the Championship.

Barbara Northcott
Queensland State Director

First New Zealand Open Gateball Championship.

Rose Gardens Croquet Club recently hosted the first New Zealand Open Gateball Championships on their lawns in the Esplanade. 

A third of the players in this tournament were from Rose Gardens and the balance from Australian clubs; Rockhampton (Qld), Southport (Qld) Canberra, Mount Gambier (SA), Kew (Vic), Caloundra (Qld) and Eildon (Qld). Some New Zealanders were guest players for Australian clubs and Croquet New Zealand President, Kathie Grant played for Southport as she is a member of that club.

The Mayor Grant Smith, having opened the tournament and run the first hoop, Saturday saw teams of five competing. Here, the tactics of the experienced Australian players told, with the eventual winners, Southport Red, being unbeaten in their five games. The Mount Gambier team were runners up. The better performing of the two Rose Gardens teams was Red Sparks, in fourth place with two wins. 

Sunday was occupied with Doubles play, and was notable for the play of the five participating Rose Gardens teenage members against their more experienced Australian opposition. Logan McKinnon and Jacob Mildenhall were unbeaten in section play, and in the final, lost a close game 16-12 to Philip Brown (Kew) and Leah O’Neill (Mount Gambier) to be runners up. Callum McKinnon and Bradley Forsyth, were second placed in their section and lost narrowly 16-12 to Kathie Grant and Barbara Northcott (Southport) in the playoff for third place.

At Rose Gardens, gateball is offered to members as a code additional to association and golf croquet, and a dozen members turned out for this tournament. We look for bigger numbers for this Tournament, next year, as interest in the game is being shown in other parts of New Zealand, and we would expect more overseas players to participate. 

Rex Oliver, Publicity Officer
Rose Gardens Croquet Club Inc

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NEWCASTLE TRIPLES GATEBALL CARNIVAL

Eight teams participated in the tournament with players from Newcastle, Toronto, Strathfield, Killara, Jamberoo, Lithgow and Canberra.

What a great event! Lynn’s thorough organisation and time keeping ensured a
smooth program and the many Newcastle volunteers delivered scoreboard and
kitchen duties with efficiency and humour. Oh, how I envy their luxurious clubhouse and expanse of lawns.

I thought that the standard of play and refereeing was a considerable improvement from the 2019 Nationals.

On Sunday afternoon all teams played two games to decide final positions. There were several hard fought close games. Toronto 1 were defeated by MIX (Members from Newcastle, Killara and Lithgow) 13 – 8 to decide 3rd and 4th positions. In the final CanJam (Manuel and Glenda from Jamberoo and Judy Tier from Canberra) were defeated by Lithgow 9 – 8 (John and Penny Park and Robyn Hayes.)

What a great way to kick off our 2020 gateball year.

Judy Tier
Coordinator NSW/ACT Gateball

And more from Lynne Thomas ….

Luckily we chose the weekend that didn’t include a heat wave or destructive storms and our courts were able to withstand large amounts of rain.

8 teams participated with players coming from Canberra, Jamberoo, Lithgow, Toronto, Sydney and Newcastle. 

Lithgow was the standout team of the carnival winning all their round robin matches but the competition for all the other places was very tight and not really decided until all matches had been played. Some teams were made up of seasoned players while others included novices as well as first time captains. 

After the round robin the teams were placed into 2 groups for playoffs according to their final positions.

Lithgow, CanJam (better known as the Jam Cans or Jam Tarts), MIX (Sydney/Lithgow/Newcastle) and Toronto 1 played off for the top spot while Toronto 2, Newcastle White, Epstars and Newcastle Triple Treats played off for the lower places.

After a very close fought, strategic match Lithgow defeated CanJam by one gate to be the overall winners. Congratulations to John and Penny Park and Robyn Hayes.

Thank you to all those who participated and refereed.

A big thank you to all our club members who pitched in in many ways to make this a successful carnival.

We are looking forward to seeing everyone here again next year.

Lynne Thomas
Newcastle Gateball

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Visit to World and Japanese Gateball Union

At the request of the National Coordinator, Barbara and Jim Northcott represented Gateball Australia at the World and Japanese Gateball Union’s new office to make enquiries and update the organisation about gateball in Australia. They report that:
 
The new offices are in a huge building which has all of the Sports Federations/ Organisations in the one skyscraper. Japan Hockey is across the hall from Gateball. Rugby along the corridor. The Olympic Museum is on the ground floor and the Olympic Committee on the top floor. The building looks over the new Olympic Stadium which was officially opened last week. People everywhere gawking and taking photos just like we did.
 
Items discussed at the meeting included:
 

1. The recent interest shown by NZ Croquet in gateball and moves by that organisation to support the development of the game.

2. The 2019 Australian Gateball Championships were reported as being both successful and very friendly. Barbara explained the place and the venue for 2021 and hoped Japanese teams would visit and play. Fridge magnets were distributed

3. Additional copies of the 2019 rule book were reported as not having been printed yet. Ten copies were initially sent to Gateball Australia and others will follow in the new year.

4. The Asian Gateball Union Championships have been planned for Shen Zheng in Guangdong Province for November 2020. However with current uncertainties in Hong Kong there is doubt about that being a certainty because people from overseas have to fly via Hong Kong. A meeting will be held in January or February to clarify the situation

5. An update of issues facing Gateball Australia were clarified for the WGU
 
On another day, Jim and Barbara played gateball at Kita Park. They reported: Satoshi Kamijo, Keiichi Imagawa, Shoiichi Nakamura (he is playing in the World Croquet Champs in Melbourne as the only Japanese player involved), Taka, who played in Melbourne with Woodville) attended and are all English speakers . A mixed group of others – young, talented men  and older players, male and female, all met after Satoshi organised it. There were almost twenty of us. 
 
Good fun, interesting tactics and plenty of snacks kept us there from 10 to 3:30. I certainly spoke about 2021, gave out the fridge magnets, Keiichi translated, hotel accommodation and best airports were discussed. I feel positive there will be definite interest from this younger group as opposed to the players at Adachi where we normally play.
 

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AGC – players’ thoughts and comments – part 2

Penny Park – Lithgow
As far as the Lithgow team was concerned, the highlight of this competition was the pre-comp visit from the Korean ‘Join’ team. We had such fun hosting them in the mountains and then down at Lithgow. They were so generous in sharing their Gateball expertise and demonstrating play that is consummate in both strategy and execution. We did not perform as well as we can in this competition, but we all have happy memories of friendships made and rekindled and share in John’s relief that, after all the hard work, the competition was a huge success. Relaxed and refocussed, we will be back!

Julia Vickers – Southport
A great weekend was had by both Southport Teams at the National Gateball Championships held at Cairnlea Victoria. Southport White was especially excited winning their first six games in Block A. This included winning against both International teams in the block – South Korea (Join) and China (Hu Nan). Unfortunately, we then lost the final two games and ended up in coming fourth in the block. Although Southport Red did not do so well in block B, they had good close games.  We all play each other at the Club so really it is great for all Southport gateballers to have done so well.

What a great experience we all had playing local, state, national and international competitors in such good facilities. We all look forward to meeting again in 2021.

Helen Chalmers – Hunter Allsorts
Just writing to say a big thank you to the organisers for the AGC in Cairnlea.  The Hunter Allsorts thoroughly enjoyed themselves and were happy with most of their play.  The weather was absolutely awful but no one can do anything about that. Thank you to everyone for doing a great job.

Robert Roose – Pine Rivers Croquet Club.
I along with the rest of the Pine Rivers team had a great time (except for the bloody weather). The competition was played in a friendly although competitive manner. We as a small gateball club learnt a lot about strategy during the competition and I personally learnt that captaining a side is not as easy as I though it was ! but I thoroughly enjoyed the experience and can’t wait to have another go.
 
Judy Stringer – Pine Rivers Croquet Club
In my opinion the three days of Gateball were outstanding. One of the things that stands out for me was when we walked in the door every morning we were greeted by so many smiling faces and always felt welcome and part of this gateball community. On the courts all games were played in very good spirit, with as much friendliness at the beginning and end of each game as was extended to one and all in the clubhouse. Thank you Melbourne for a wonderful Australian Gateball Championship, you did the sport proud.
 
Kathleen Hayes and Robyn Lyon – Capricornians
A big highlight was firstly to be asked to join a team and travel to Melbourne to compete in the Australian Gateball Championships 2019. We found it all very exciting from the excellent Cairnlea Croquet Centre with its wonderful fast greens to competing against overseas and southern teams we had not previously met.
 
Coming from different clubs within the Central Queensland Region, this was the first time the Capricornians had competed as a whole team and we had not had much chance to practice together previously which meant we were rather outclassed. However we thoroughly enjoyed the whole experience.
 
Overall I think a wonderful highlight was to have defeated in practice 11/8 Shen Yang who later went on to win the Championship.
 
Son Suk Ja – Join, Korea

The Korean Join team had a great experience in Australia.

Our team had a number of incidents before this competition. In August, one player was absent, making it difficult to find a replacement. And I only had two exercises with the new member. In addition, one week before departure, one of our members was admitted to the hospital, and our team had to make a strategic decision. He was an important part of my team, so I and my team even thought about giving up on Australia.

This was because it was hard to travel to Australia with two members who had been practising for one year. In fact, my team had a lot of conflict before leaving the country a week before the departure. But for a month-long schedule with John Park, I decided to travel to Australia.

We had a hard time challenging the Australian championship with a hurried team, but thank you for completing this long Australian event. Thank you to everyone in Australia for the competitions from Korea Join team.