Rose Gardens Croquet Club recently hosted the first New Zealand Open Gateball Championships on their lawns in the Esplanade.
A third of the players in this tournament were from Rose Gardens and the balance from Australian clubs; Rockhampton (Qld), Southport (Qld) Canberra, Mount Gambier (SA), Kew (Vic), Caloundra (Qld) and Eildon (Qld). Some New Zealanders were guest players for Australian clubs and Croquet New Zealand President, Kathie Grant played for Southport as she is a member of that club.
The Mayor Grant Smith, having opened the tournament and run the first hoop, Saturday saw teams of five competing. Here, the tactics of the experienced Australian players told, with the eventual winners, Southport Red, being unbeaten in their five games. The Mount Gambier team were runners up. The better performing of the two Rose Gardens teams was Red Sparks, in fourth place with two wins.
Sunday was occupied with Doubles play, and was notable for the play of the five participating Rose Gardens teenage members against their more experienced Australian opposition. Logan McKinnon and Jacob Mildenhall were unbeaten in section play, and in the final, lost a close game 16-12 to Philip Brown (Kew) and Leah O’Neill (Mount Gambier) to be runners up. Callum McKinnon and Bradley Forsyth, were second placed in their section and lost narrowly 16-12 to Kathie Grant and Barbara Northcott (Southport) in the playoff for third place.
At Rose Gardens, gateball is offered to members as a code additional to association and golf croquet, and a dozen members turned out for this tournament. We look for bigger numbers for this Tournament, next year, as interest in the game is being shown in other parts of New Zealand, and we would expect more overseas players to participate.