This was our second visit to the ‘Belt and Road’ Jinxi cup tournament and despite being on the wrong end of some gateball “lessons” last year, we travelled to the tournament optimistic that we wouldn’t place last this year. We had some excellent new team members, Barry, Ros and Judy and a bit less fear of the unknown.
As it turned out the optimism was not totally unfounded, and despite placing 16 th again, I didn’t feel we were as outclassed as last year. The atmosphere was fantastic and everyone was friendly, with the tournament being played with great spirit.
One thing that hadn’t changed was the lightning fast artificial grass lawns, and a number of times we suffered at the hands of the merciless pace. We did manage to keep our balls on in the second game and were in control for the first half until an inexplicable miss by your correspondent let the local Jinxi team in, and we ended up losing 14:9.
Our final game against Singapore attracted a large and vibrant crowd, who cheered us on, especially when a long touch by Barry took off the opposition balls. This allowed us to recover from a difficult start, and the game ended 12:12. We lost on count back, but really should have won the game – the perceived wisdom from the crowd suggests an error in strategy, but I don’t think either option was easy and sometimes you just have to pick one.
The tournament was a lot of fun and maybe we will take advantage of invites to Hong Kong and Macao next year!
Thanks to the Jiangsu Gateball Association and everyone involved in the management of the event, together with my team mates – Barry, Judy, Peter, Ros and Trish.
Woodville Croquet Club