October 2020 Dennis Bulloch from Rose Gardens Croquet Club in Palmerston North came down to Christchurch and ran four days of coaching, including gateball. See details and photos of the coaching.

For more information contact or Janet 021 247 0252 or Gay 021 977 714.
Cashmere Croquet Club is on Valley Road in Cashmere.

A Novice’s Guide to Gateball

Gateball was invented in Japan in 1947 and is based on the original AC rules.

It is normally played as a five-a-side game although games with teams of two and three are also played internationally.

The ten balls are played in numerical order with one team playing the odd numbered red balls and the other playing the even numbered white balls. You wear a numbered bib that corresponds to the ball that you can stroke (hit.)

The court is about half the side of a croquet court and the sticks (mallets) are smaller and lighter than croquet mallets. The balls are also smaller and lighter than croquet balls and the gates (hoops) are 3 times as wide as the balls which (in theory) makes it much easier to score a gate. Unfortunately, it is not as easy as it sounds as you only play every tenth ball so by the time it is your turn again your ball is unlikely to be where you left it. This is why the team strategy is important as the five players on a team have to work together to control the territory around each gate to prevent the opponents sparking (smashing) your ball out of the court. However, if their ball leaves the court as well as yours that is the end of their turn so control is very important.

A turn is similar to AC in that there are potentially three parts, the touch (roquet), the spark (croquet) and the continuation stroke but it is slightly different to AC as you pick up the ball you touched rather than your own ball. In a single turn a player can in theory, touch and spark all nine of the other balls but in practice this doesn’t often happen (unless you are called Duncan Dixon and your opponents are new to the game😊) You gain an extra continuation stroke if you pass your ball through a gate. You can score points with other balls as well by sparking them through a gate, but you don’t get an extra continuation stroke for this☹.

To make it even more fun in an official game you are only allowed 10 seconds from when the previous player’s ball stops to hit your ball and an entire game takes only 30 minutes with the strategy changing dramatically in the last five minutes.

There are three gates worth one point each and a goal pole (peg) worth two points so the maximum an individual player can score is 5 points and the maximum a team can score is 25 (a perfect score). Perfect scores are rarely achieved.