A National Coordinator of Gateball Refereeing

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Pic: Refereeing at a WGU Championship

At its meeting last week, the ACA Board appointed Bruce McAllister as National Coordinator of Gateball Refereeing. Bruce was selected from a field of three high quality applicants, all of whom had much to offer the Gateball Community in administering this specialised aspect of the game. 

Bruce has been on the Gateball scene for almost 20 years. His first exposure to the game in the early noughties came through his parents-in-law, who were early adopters of the game at the Ipswich CC. They had managed to co-opt Bruce’s son into playing too! But, because he was working long hours, it took a while before Bruce decided to go along. His intention at the time was primarily to play with his son and in-laws.  He remembers that it did not take long before he was engaged in playing at the small circuit of competitions at Queensland Clubs, which included McIlwraith, Ipswich and Rockhampton. 

Keith McCleod, the first National Director, moved from Victoria and started playing at Broadbeach. He encouraged Bruce to apply to be the Queensland Director of Gateball from 2005. Bruce held this role for 13 years.

Although the first priority at the time was to grow the game, the WGU also encouraged Gateball Australia to develop a refereeing system.  At the 2005 Australian Championship in Mossman about 10 players (3 Vics, 1 NSW and 6 Qld) were given a written exam by Jun Nogami from the WGU and, on passing, deemed to be referees.  Bruce was one of that number and went on from here to provide practical support for Keith McLeod as they developed the foundations of our current GA system: Levels 1 and 2 and a practical component, for which Bruce was a strong advocate.

At the AGC in Rockhampton 2009, three Australian players, including Bruce, took the International Referee Examination.  Two of this trio were the core of a group of Australian Referees that formed a team to officiate at the 2014 World Gateball Championships in Japan.

Since those early days, as Qld Director of Gateball and more recently as a member of the Gateball Australia Referee Committee, Bruce has been an advocate for the maintenance and improvement of our standards and for there to be processes in place which are known and followed by all.

In his new role Bruce has thought about a few general directions, which include:

– continuing to develop the role of the GA Referee Committee. 

– continuing to align GA processes with those of other codes of mallet sports and Sports Australia processes

– implementing and reviewing GA processes 

– conducting a review of processes around International Referees

– referee training course

– recorder training course

– on-line referee theory exam

– on-line referee practical training

– on-line referee practical assessment

Over the next month or two the NCGB and the NCGBR will complete a handover of GA referee functions.

Gateball Coaching

Gateball Coaches have now been trained in 4 states in SE Australia.

There are 3 levels of coaches for Gateball:

A Level 1 coach is trained to work alongside beginners to develop the basic routines for stroking, sparking and sliding, to work with a captain and develop the ability to stroke, spark and slide with increasing accuracy and to a variety of lengths.

At Level 2,  a coach is working with players who are aiming to become consistent in a series of plays as part of a team aiming to compete effectively in interclub competition. 

At level 3, a coach also needs to be a referee and  has the skills to work with others to develop  a player’s strategic understanding and ability to call a game as a captain. Teams aiming to do well in higher level competition and to participate overseas should work with a Level 3 coach. 

Unlike our refereeing processes that are managed internally by Gateball Australia, coaching is managed in each state by a State Coordinator of Coaching. Arrangements in each State are to be found through the links below:

In Queensland, the latest count of coaches trained is shown on the CAQ website . There are 11 Level 2 coaches and 6 Level 1 coaches

In CNSW 8 Level 2 coaches and 6 Level 1 coaches are listed on the Gateball Coaches page.

Croquet Victoria has a dedicated coaching page which lists both its processes and the State’s 1 Level 1 and 2 Level 2 coaches.

In SA 4 Level 1 Coaches have been trained and are listed on the State’s Coaching page.

One of our Qld coaches is a part time member of a Tasmanian club, so we could claim there is half a coach there! It is hoped that a visit to WA will train some Level 1 coaches 

New Gateball Referees

Robyn Irwin, Alan Gray and Marion Davies pictured with Tournament Referee – Bruce McAlister.

At the recent NSW Gateball Championships, three players from Toronto and Newcastle National Park NP were awarded their Level 2 GB referee badges after successfully completing a rigorous practical assessment. They were assessed by International GB referee Bruce McAlister assisted by Level 1 referees Glen Whitehead and Geoff Crook and National Coordinator, John Park.

Three players from Canberra and Newcastle NP have passed their theory exam and will likely be assessed at the Newcastle NP Triples and Teams event in July.

2021 NSW Gateball Championships

What a great location for a tournament. Lake Macquarie is a magnificent backdrop to the Toronto Croquet Club who were the 2021 hosts for the NSW State Championships.

The 4 GB courts were all but swallowed up in the vast cricket oval. Perhaps a venue to be considered for an Australian Championships or at their new 2023 Glendale location?

GB players are prepared for all weathers and our gear was well tested on Friday for Day 1 of the Doubles. The cold wet day did not detract from the standard of play with a high level of skills and strategy resulting in some extremely close scores.

It was wonderful to see 4 pairs of Doubles representing South Australia, the ACT, and Queensland competing for the trophy. In an incredibly tight fought game the ACT pairing of Glen and Kristina Whitehead beat Geoff Crook (Woodville) and Barry Jennings (Hyde Park) 8 cb – 8 and the 2 Queensland teams finished 10 – 9.

In a nail biting finish Glen and Kristina pulled out a 12 – 11 score to beat Bruce McAlister and Peter Sweet.

On a warm and sunny Saturday Pam Durie, founder of the Toronto CC, opened the Tournament and awarded the trophy and badges to the Doubles winners.

Eight teams entered the Teams Championship. Many high scoring matches resulted in a finals contest between Canberra Mavericks on 6 wins/34 net hoops and Canberra Sparkers on 5 wins/25 net hoops. The Mavericks showed considerable skill and determination in their 17 – 6 win. In third place was the Queensland team from Southport, Rockhampton and Ipswich with 4 wins/17 net hoops.

Winners in the teams Championship, the Canberra Mavericks

A very relaxed ‘line-up’ of Canberra Sparkers players after receiving their badges as Runners Up for the teams event.

The Sydney EPSTARS, made up of players from 4 Sydney clubs, improved their performance throughout the tournament and Strathfield benefitted from the strategy of Geoff Crook from the SA Woodville CC.

It was such a pleasure to hold this event at such a happy and welcoming CC where so many volunteers contributed to a smooth and efficient tournament.

All scores for this tournament can be seen in Gateball Scores at this link:

Judy Tier
Coordinator – NSW Gateball

Congratulations to 3 Rockhampton Coaches

Two coaches from Rockhampton were provided training by Lynda Davis, Jim and Barbara Northcott to be re certified as Level 1 and Level 2 Gateball Coaches. They are Lynne Farry and Mary Jones.

Level 2 Coaches- Mary Jones and Lynne Farry

Another member of the Club- Cheryl Kele- received training and is now a Level 1 Gateball Coach. Congratulations to all three members of Rockhampton Mallet Sports Club on achieving these qualifications. Their volunteer work within the Club will be of great benefit to all members or prospective members.

L-R Mary Jones, Cheryl Kele and Lynne Farry