2021 NSW Gateball Championships

What a great location for a tournament. Lake Macquarie is a magnificent backdrop to the Toronto Croquet Club who were the 2021 hosts for the NSW State Championships.

The 4 GB courts were all but swallowed up in the vast cricket oval. Perhaps a venue to be considered for an Australian Championships or at their new 2023 Glendale location?

GB players are prepared for all weathers and our gear was well tested on Friday for Day 1 of the Doubles. The cold wet day did not detract from the standard of play with a high level of skills and strategy resulting in some extremely close scores.

It was wonderful to see 4 pairs of Doubles representing South Australia, the ACT, and Queensland competing for the trophy. In an incredibly tight fought game the ACT pairing of Glen and Kristina Whitehead beat Geoff Crook (Woodville) and Barry Jennings (Hyde Park) 8 cb – 8 and the 2 Queensland teams finished 10 – 9.

In a nail biting finish Glen and Kristina pulled out a 12 – 11 score to beat Bruce McAlister and Peter Sweet.

On a warm and sunny Saturday Pam Durie, founder of the Toronto CC, opened the Tournament and awarded the trophy and badges to the Doubles winners.

Eight teams entered the Teams Championship. Many high scoring matches resulted in a finals contest between Canberra Mavericks on 6 wins/34 net hoops and Canberra Sparkers on 5 wins/25 net hoops. The Mavericks showed considerable skill and determination in their 17 – 6 win. In third place was the Queensland team from Southport, Rockhampton and Ipswich with 4 wins/17 net hoops.

Winners in the teams Championship, the Canberra Mavericks

A very relaxed ‘line-up’ of Canberra Sparkers players after receiving their badges as Runners Up for the teams event.

The Sydney EPSTARS, made up of players from 4 Sydney clubs, improved their performance throughout the tournament and Strathfield benefitted from the strategy of Geoff Crook from the SA Woodville CC.

It was such a pleasure to hold this event at such a happy and welcoming CC where so many volunteers contributed to a smooth and efficient tournament.

All scores for this tournament can be seen in Gateball Scores at this link:

Judy Tier
Coordinator – NSW Gateball

Victorian State Gateball Championship

The Victorian state gateball championships were a great tournament this year despite not being able to hold the tournament the year prior due to the pandemic. Teams contesting for the title of Vic state champions were Essendon, Kew, Hazelbrook/Strathfield and Albury/Yarrawonga.

The weather was on our side after a little drizzle during the first game of the round robin. In true Melbourne fashion though we went from wet weather clothing to shorts and polo shirts within 20 min as the sun came out. The games were all played to an extremely high standard and were wonderful to spectate.  A huge thanks to all those who assisted as referees during the event.

The teams event came down to an all-Victorian final of Kew vs Essendon. Kew managed to come out on top after a hard fought final and retain their state title for another year, making this the third year in a row that they have won the championship.

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

The pairs event was similarly an exciting affair to spectate with all pairs competing to an extremely high standard. The final came down to Philip and Clare from Vic and Penny and John from NSW who had a very exciting match indeed. The match was action packed until the end and is available to watch at your leisure here

The event was a huge success with the championship being held in a local Melbourne club for the first time in some years. Many thanks to the Elsternwick Croquet Club for hosting the event and for arranging lunch for the competitors on both days.

Anthony Dask
Assistant Director of Gateball Victoria
President Elsternwick Croquet Club Victoria 

 

 

 

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Southport Croquet Club

Southport Croquet Club’s publicity machine has been working overtime and we thought you would like to see the recent story featured on ABC Gold Coast.

https://www.abc.net.au/news/2021-02-18/southport-croquet-club-set-to-expand/13158548

And Jim and Barbara Northcott have given us more information about gateball at the club.

From a small number of members keen to learn about gateball back in 2006/7 the numbers of gateball players at Southport CC have grown to 24 members who play this code of croquet. Our initial coach was the legendary, Keith McLeod, who is still as enthused as has always been, and a much loved member of the club. His knowledge and expertise is widely shared and he inspires everyone. 

In the news item the first person to speak is Jim Northcott, Club President, who plays gateball and is a Level 1 referee and a coach. Listening to the story you are introduced early on to Beryl Phillips who has been so keen to play gateball. She explains so well why she loves the game. Trudy Cummins also in her 90s is a regular player. Our young boy Ronan Chilton is entering his first year of competition and joins his brother Ethan in travelling to compete.

Speaking of competitions, Southport will send 3 teams to play in the McIlwraith Gateball Challenge 13-14th March. Then comes the annual Triples Competition at Southport on Sunday April 11th.  The inaugural triples competition in Australia began in 2012 at Southport and this is the 10th year it has been held – 2020 had to be cancelled. 

The next set of competitions at Southport will be the MSOB Gateball Teams and Doubles Competition that is scheduled from 26-28th June. All registered ACA players are welcome to attend and can contact the club at southport@croquetqld.org 

Hazelbrook Mini-Comp

As a result of Covid, NSW Gateballers have been missing the round of competitions we have come to enjoy in recent years.  The last time we met up for interclub competition was the Newcastle Triples event this time last year. We were all looking forward to things picking up again in 2021. So it was very sad that the Lithgow lawn was not quite ready to re-open for the first competition of the year in February. How could we get some much needed competition practice?

A few of us put our heads together and came up with the idea of a Covid Claytons Competition – a mini-comp for a strictly limited number of players from around the Sydney region, to be hosted by the Hazelbrook Croquet Club, where Gateball has recently been introduced by Lithgow exiles and which now boasts a small, but keen contingent of Gateballers.

The format of the competition was three rounds of three games, played on one lawn. In each round, each team played two games and officiated once.  Teams consisted of six players, with two trained referees in every team and everyone else taking on the other duties. Definitely no time to relax!

We never know what the weather will be like in the Blue Mountains, but Valentine’s Day dawned bright and clear, the mist and rain having cleared miraculously overnight. And, amazingly, it stayed fine all day!

The major challenge for our visitors (from Newcastle, Toronto, Strathfield, Epping and Lithgow) was the super-fast lawn at Hazelbrook, as we play on a bowling green. However, outballs notwithstanding, players adapted to the conditions and we all enjoyed some exciting games, played to competition standard, with strict time limits and effective refereeing. Petula Shun, from Strathfield, successfully completed her Level 2 Referee practical assessment during the competition. Congratulations to her.

In the end, the home ground advantage worked in favour of the Hazelbrook team, who won all their games, which was a really positive outcome for the 3 players from Hazelbrook experiencing competition standard GB for the first time. But many of the games were a real tussle and so very enjoyable for both competitors and spectators. (I enjoyed overhearing comments from a group of bowlers sitting enjoying a beer at the clubhouse and watching the sliding and bombarding and the interplay between Referee A and B. “Like snooker, isn’t it? Looks quite complicated. Think I’ll stick to bowling!)

We were well supported by the Hazelbrook Bowling and Sporting Club, who opened the clubhouse early for us – and even offered to have the bar open at 9am!  (Which perhaps relates back to the comments above!!)

All in all, a low key, but positive start to competition for Gateballers in NSW in 2021. Thanks to all who participated in any way.

Penny Park

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President’s Trophy – SA State Gateball Doubles Competition

Third time lucky!  After two cancellations of this event due to Covid-19 restrictions, a smaller format event was held on Wednesday 30 December 2020 at Hyde Park Croquet Club.

Unfortunately, the continuing travel uncertainty meant that we had no competitors from outside metro SA.

So, four pairs battled for the trophy in sunny conditions on the smooth, fast court.  Looking at the pairs, I thought the teams could beat any of the others, so an interesting tournament was in store.

The games were all hard fought with moments of brilliance (long range bombards, soft bombards using the team’s own ball to nudge off an opponent, and some long range touches very tight to the line), sprinkled with Gate Touches, some long range touches and well judged sparks.  More surprising was the number of mistakes – particularly short touches (mostly by my team initially, but I think we inspired others!). 

This reminded me that competition play, with the added pressure of referees and a strict 10 second rule can affect even the best, and I encourage any newer players to try competition play – it really is a different challenge.

Ultimately every team had a win, but Barry and Karen were undisputedly the most consistent players and took out the tournament with 2 wins from 3 games and a net gates score boosted by a 23-7 victory in their second game.

An honourable mention should go to Peter M and Peter W.  Peter W has only been playing Gateball for a few weeks and to be runner up in a State tournament is a solid achievement. Well done to both Peters.

Everyone had a go at officiating – either as Chief referee, Assistant referee or Recorder, and the tournament was played in a friendly and sporting manner.

Many thanks to the competitors, spectators, Graeme Thomas for organising and Hyde Park Croquet Club for their warm welcome and professional tournament management.

Hope to see more people at the tournament next year.

Geoff Crook
Woodville Croquet Club