We asked competitors for their comments about the Australian Gateball Championships.We’ll add another post in a couple of days. so it’s not too late to send in your comments or stories to email@example.com
Here’s what Philip Brown told us about the event.
For me, Kew’s three most memorable games were all against the Chinese teams – with an honourable mention to Barbara Northcott’s threading a ball through gate two without touching either of the two balls resting against the two gate legs. I’m still not entirely sure how she managed it.
In the block stage, Kew’s strong performance was mostly attributable to the team, not individuals. Each player played their part – sometimes taking the glory shots and sometimes doing the team thing by placing their ball as a bridge, or blasting out an opponent’s ball near the line.
The game Kew came closest to losing was against eventual champions Shen Yang. We were behind until an unintentional agari by one of the Chinese players. Although the two points helped Shen Yang, the remaining 15 minutes were 5 balls against 4. This allowed Kew to take control and, eventually, push past Shen Yang to take the game. Thanks to a gate-and-touch by Kerry and a brilliant down-hill shot on Court 2 to touch the opponents ball.
In the semi final against Hu Nan, Anthony’s incredible turn to score three points (gate two for himself and a very long range agari for another ball) will be with me for a long time. The shot would have been difficult enough in fine weather, but to succeed at the spark during a rainstorm of such epic proportions was truly magnificent. I could barely see the goal pole – that one’s for you Anthony – let alone spark a ball onto it!
The third game, of course, was the final where Kew couldn’t quite make it happen for the win, but the game had a lot of twists and turns and was, I hope, entertaining to watch.
I also feel I learned a lot about captaincy during the tournament. Kew is lucky enough to have multiple players who could captain, if needed, but whose advice and insight I could draw on during the game. We did this at multiple times throughout the tournament, often to very good effect. This was also the first tournament where I had, deliberately, at about 5 minutes to go in a game, decided which ball I wanted to be the last to play. A couple of times this meant deliberately speeding up so that we could score more points but leave our opponents nothing at the end (sorry to the Hunter Allsorts particularly on that score).
Despite Kew’s strong performance as Runners-Up, I think I am most proud that I managed to help organise a tournament where so many people had such a good time and so many games were played in such good spirit. The ovation on returning to the club rooms was heartwarming. I was also very pleased to see a few newer players seemingly bitten with the bug of gateball and asking questions about captaincy, about refereeing and more. Welcome to the club.
I am earth-shatteringly tired, but I wouldn’t have changed a thing. Well, maybe I would like a do-over on one game…. but that’s going to have to wait for 2021!
Captain of Kew Gateball