European Gateballers Come Together in Paris

Near Paris on  the weekend of 18th-19th September 7 teams from across Europe met for the first time in a series of Gateball tournaments arranged by Europe en Sport for 2021. This grouping only play 5v5 so it needed some adjustment of thinking by the German team from Gransdorf in the Eifel who normally play in the European Gateball League events of singles and doubles. What took even more adjustment was playing on artificial grass … very slippery sparking!

Most other teams had only recently started playing again, after months of Corona-induced lethargy and one team of youngsters had only been introduced to Gateball two months ago so that, while they mostly sailed through gate 1 their tactics were poorly developed.  Indeed only one other team managed to arrange a pass-touch in their games whilst Gransdorf was frequently able to destroy their opponents’ positions by creating pass-touch opportunities.  We lost in the round Robin games against the Italians from Sardinia with 15 points each but they had 2 Agari against our 1, a great game. In the final we met them again but the gransdorf team fell apart. Cagliari were consistently better than us at judging distance to the line… they play outdoors winter and summer.

The overall standard of refereeing was amateur despite my passing around the “what if” guide developed by me and checked by Bruce McAlister … maybe it was my version in French that was distracting them. The others need to practise their gestures as refs.

Anyway, it was a great weekend and at last a chance to build some bridges between them and us; I plan a triples tournament which should be a halfway house they find acceptable between pure 5v5 and Gateball with more playing time.

(Thanks to John Swabey for sending us this story. Australian Gateballers may remember that John and his wife Bettina played in the 2017 Australian Gateball Championships at Bateau Bay in NSW. Gateball Australia enjoys hearing from its overseas friends and is looking forward to a time when we can play together again. Some Australian players may also remeber the EGU players that many of us met in Brazil in 2018 )

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