A National Coordinator of Gateball Refereeing

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Pic: Refereeing at a WGU Championship

At its meeting last week, the ACA Board appointed Bruce McAllister as National Coordinator of Gateball Refereeing. Bruce was selected from a field of three high quality applicants, all of whom had much to offer the Gateball Community in administering this specialised aspect of the game. 

Bruce has been on the Gateball scene for almost 20 years. His first exposure to the game in the early noughties came through his parents-in-law, who were early adopters of the game at the Ipswich CC. They had managed to co-opt Bruce’s son into playing too! But, because he was working long hours, it took a while before Bruce decided to go along. His intention at the time was primarily to play with his son and in-laws.  He remembers that it did not take long before he was engaged in playing at the small circuit of competitions at Queensland Clubs, which included McIlwraith, Ipswich and Rockhampton. 

Keith McCleod, the first National Director, moved from Victoria and started playing at Broadbeach. He encouraged Bruce to apply to be the Queensland Director of Gateball from 2005. Bruce held this role for 13 years.

Although the first priority at the time was to grow the game, the WGU also encouraged Gateball Australia to develop a refereeing system.  At the 2005 Australian Championship in Mossman about 10 players (3 Vics, 1 NSW and 6 Qld) were given a written exam by Jun Nogami from the WGU and, on passing, deemed to be referees.  Bruce was one of that number and went on from here to provide practical support for Keith McLeod as they developed the foundations of our current GA system: Levels 1 and 2 and a practical component, for which Bruce was a strong advocate.

At the AGC in Rockhampton 2009, three Australian players, including Bruce, took the International Referee Examination.  Two of this trio were the core of a group of Australian Referees that formed a team to officiate at the 2014 World Gateball Championships in Japan.

Since those early days, as Qld Director of Gateball and more recently as a member of the Gateball Australia Referee Committee, Bruce has been an advocate for the maintenance and improvement of our standards and for there to be processes in place which are known and followed by all.

In his new role Bruce has thought about a few general directions, which include:

– continuing to develop the role of the GA Referee Committee. 

– continuing to align GA processes with those of other codes of mallet sports and Sports Australia processes

– implementing and reviewing GA processes 

– conducting a review of processes around International Referees

– referee training course

– recorder training course

– on-line referee theory exam

– on-line referee practical training

– on-line referee practical assessment

Over the next month or two the NCGB and the NCGBR will complete a handover of GA referee functions.

New Gateball Referees

Robyn Irwin, Alan Gray and Marion Davies pictured with Tournament Referee – Bruce McAlister.

At the recent NSW Gateball Championships, three players from Toronto and Newcastle National Park NP were awarded their Level 2 GB referee badges after successfully completing a rigorous practical assessment. They were assessed by International GB referee Bruce McAlister assisted by Level 1 referees Glen Whitehead and Geoff Crook and National Coordinator, John Park.

Three players from Canberra and Newcastle NP have passed their theory exam and will likely be assessed at the Newcastle NP Triples and Teams event in July.

Strathfield Gateball News

INTERSTATE GATEBALLERS VISIT SCC

Our club was fortunate to have visits from two highly experienced and talented Victorian Gateballers, who graced our lawns in December, and put us at ease, as we had fun and learnt as much as we could from these experienced players. I must admit I did not know much about either of them until this visit. So what did I do in this situation, I ‘googled’ them.  I have just scratched the surface in my knowledge of them. These Gateballers are Gilon Smith and Anthony Dask. Hopefully, they will return to play with us when in Sydney. They would be most welcome.

Gilon Smith has been a past National Director of Gateball, is an International referee and has played Gateball in international competitions.     

 Ann (Bronze AC Champion, has recently joined our ranks as a Gateballer)

Anthony Dask is Assistant State Director of Gateball (Vic) and President – Elsternwick Croquet Club. Gilon has represented Australia in both U21-GC, and also represented Australia in Gateball.  Anthony referees in Japanese and translates into English. He has recently produced coaching videos.  See them at

https://www.youtube.com/channel/UCMzfcMq_j4ogVvAFF0nfcHQ/playlists.

SUNDAY GATEBALL DURING DECEMBER

We played at both our regular Sundays (the 1st and the 3rd of month). We now have our QR code operating for contact tracing, and have a prepared group list with contact numbers, so we were able to speedily get on with the pleasure of playing Gateball. We had 16 players who turned up that first Sunday. On the second occasion in December we had reduced numbers so had lots of turns…marvellous! Despite rain showers that were a bit of a dampener, we had several games of Gateball, as those living close to Strathfield knew and trusted it was just ‘Strathfield Rain’…sure enough, it cleared up by 10.30am!

2021 BEGINS

Sunday Gateball was to resume on the 3rd January 2021, but the starting date has been postponed due to increased Covid-19 concerns in Western Sydney. Contact me via our club website https://www.strathfieldcroquet.com if you don’t have my mobile number, and would like to know more about this and other GB sessions currently conducted at our club throughout the week.

SCC ACKNOWLEDGES JAMBEROO  GATEBALLERS’ POSITIVE INFLUENCE ON OUR CLUB

This influence on our club began in November, 2016, when John Creelman and I attended a ‘Come and Try Workshop’ at Tempe. We knew nothing about Gateball till then, and certainly did not know if it was possible to include such a game at our club.  But on my return from Tempe, I shared with our club’s management committee, those first good impressions. Glenda and Manuel looked so professional both in manner and attire. The committee was interested, and encouraged me to learn the game, which I did at Eastwood and Epping.  Later on, I certainly enjoyed participating in Jamberoo Gateball triples and teams tournaments.

Both Glenda and Manuel set the benchmark high. They supported one another, and guided their team well. On occasion, Manuel conducted some short referee sessions and another time, a two day workshop (in winter) at Lithgow, which a couple of us attended (and nearly froze to death). I am pleased that in 2020, Petula Shun took up the referee baton, and does enjoy that role. It was also, whilst on a visit to Jamberoo, where we received from John Park, ACA Gateball equipment (on loan to the club). In 2019, Strathfield purchased its own GB equipment. Since our success as members of the inter-club Epstars team at two State GB Championships (winners-2018/2019), SCC has had a steady increase in both interest and in numbers of our members who now play Gateball. Our educational programs (Strathfield Girls High School, U3A and Seniors Festival Sessions) include Gateball coaching.

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Thank you Glenda, Manuel, and Jamberoo gateballers for being such a positive influence and supporting our growth. We are pleased to hear that although Gateball may not be played at Jamberoo, they have told Gateball Australia that they will be looking for other players to form composite teams for future competitions. Apparently they are also considering an offer forCNSW gateball to run a Referee Workshop later in 2021.

Ebb and flow….change is a constant!

Ruth Bridger
Strathfield Croquet Club

Referee Committee 2020

Every year Gateball Australia is obliged to hold a Referee Committee meeting. Our 5 International Referees and each state’s coordinator participate. This year’s meeting meeting has concluded. This is a summary of our deliberations. Establishing a preferred position by exchange of emails is a challenging task and in our 2020 meeting we resolved some issues by voting through Survey Monkey.

This year the Committee’s major decisions were as follows:

  • GA will require teams entering the AGC to make every effort to include a referee or referee in training in their team.
  • Bruce McAllister will work at the presentation of the level 1 Exam in consultation with Gilon Smith, Geoff Crook and Philip Brown. After some discussion, the committee indicated that it wished to ensure that the assessment of field position and the rotating roles of Referee A and B needed to be included in both the written and practical assessment. The Committee re-iterated that operating as a pair of referees, where Referee A decides on the stroker’s play and Referee B decides on the movement of the ball, is such a crucial element in refereeing that it needs to be assessed in the written, practical and annual re-accreditation cards.
  • In some parts of the Gateball world, mainly China, laser pointers are used by captains to show players where to place  balls. The issues of extending their use has been raised at WGU meetings. Your Referee Committee decided that, although it was still opposed to their use, we would make efforts to discover exactly what is permissible in Australia. High powered pointers strong enough to make a mark on a lawn are currently not allowed in Australia.
  • A default forfeit procedure  for for GA was revised and is posted on our website. This process should be used if you do not devise your own process for your competitions. This topic produced some lively debate around what is fair to all concerned. 
  • There was some discussion about the referee re-accreditation process and  the format of the annual cards. The committee decided that if anyone wished to come up with an improved process, they were welcome to do the research and table improvements in advance of next year’s meeting. Re-accreditation cards, that all referees need to complete annually, are available on our website
  • A number of referees have been deemed to be inactive. See the official list of GA’s on the page “Officiating, Rules and Refereeing” which can be found under “About Gateball” on our website. Players lose their accreditation when they cease to be members of the ACA or because they have not completed the necessary online course or annual re-accreditation cards. The Committee agreed to a new process by which inactive referees can become re-accredited. Check the details on our website or discuss with your State Coordinator of Refereeing. The full updated document describing our accreditation and reaccreditation process for Gateball referees is available on our website 
  • An appeal for national consistency in calling player to start stroking was resolved by reference to the rule book and Q and A. At Start Stroking we should call “Player No 1” etc (p 92 Rules and Guide for Referees.) The Q&A book (eg p 29 & 30) indicates that during the game “Number 5” etc is appropriate.
  • A challenge for some people who may wish to become referees is obtaining the necessary training. A Referee Course Workbook has been drafted and Bruce McAllister is adding some additional material. However, usual practice is for trainee referees to have a mentor to help them through the process. The workbook may be more valuable for those remote from the wider Gateball community.
  • Gateball Australia armbands circulated to each state should now be available for use at all competitions – just contact your State Coordinator to ask to borrow them.

Documents related to refereeing can be found at any time  on the page  “Officiating, Rules and Refereeing” is nested  under “About Gateball” on our website.

Again, thanks to all those who continue to referee and those making the effort to become accredited.

Two Candidates for Level 2 Referee Qualifications in Queensland

At Southport’s Mallet Sports on the Broadwater on Saturday 29th June, two Gateball players were supervised for their Theory Examination for their Level 2 Referee Qualifications by Margaret Barnard, QLD Director of Gateball Refereeing. Congratulations go to Margaret Dickensen from Toowoomba Croquet Club and Brian Mullins from Southport Croquet Club on successfully passing the theory exam. Their Practical Examination will be conducted throughout the QLD State Gateball Teams Championship to be held at Toombul Croquet Club 17th-18th August

Just a reminder to all Referees to complete their form for Reaccreditation and give it to Margaret.

https://gateball.com.au/wordpress/wp-content/uploads/2019/03/Ref-Reaccredtation-Card-2019.pdf