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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