If you’ve played pétanque in Provence, you’ll know that most terrains have lots of trees, usually Plane trees, to provide shade from the sun. The trees and their roots form natural obstacles on the terrain that local players will often use to their advantage.
In friendly games, the norm is that ”anything goes”, nothing is out-of-bounds and the borders and any other obstacles are all part of the game. Boules will be bounced off wooden surrounds and nothing is taken out of play. All good fun! This has been the case at every terrain I’ve played on in France but always best to check ”local rules” before you play.
Of course, if you’re playing in an ‘official’ competition, then the rules of the game must be respected. It’s always important to establish what is an obstacle and what is a boundary. The most important thing to bear in mind is that obstacles form part of the terrain and anything that hits an obstacles – boules or the jack – remain in play, whereas anything that hits a boundary is taken out of play.
You should also be aware of the different rules that apply to obstacles:
- For the thrown jack to be valid, it must be at least 1m clear of any obstacle.
- The jack must be visible from the circle and not masked by an obstacle.
- The throwing circle must also be at least 1m clear from any obstacle.
In the latter case, the circle can be moved – in any direction – such that it is clear of the obstacle.
Shooting a Hidden Boule
How can you shoot a boule that’s hidden behind a tree? Impossible? Not for Bebert de Cagnes, one of the legendary players. He was reputed to be able to shoot a boule hidden behind a tree by placing another boule at the side of the tree and then shooting at an angle to hit the hidden boule – voilà!