Every Easter Monday Crondall Petanque Club (just west of Guildford) hold an important open doubles competition attracting teams from all over the country.
Undaunted by the blazing heat – the country’s highest ever April
temperature of 27.8º was recorded in nearby Wisley – Tony Mann,
shooter, and David Alfred, pointer (team name The Ex-Presidents) popped
up to Crondall for what turned out to be a memorable day of pétanque.
36 teams (the maximum number) were divided into nine groups of four.
The 9 group winners and 7 of the best-placed runners-up would qualify for
the Main competition. The Plate competition would be made up of the 16
best-placed teams from the morning groups. The last 4 teams would play
a Spoon round robin. In both Main and Plate, the 8 losers after the first
round would go into separate Consolage competitions.
Tony and David came second in the first round after losing to a team from
Kent who went on to be runners-up of the Main, and winning the other
two games, one from 2-8 down. (Unbeknown to them, this would be good
practice for the afternoon session.)
So Tony and David found themselves in the 16-team Plate – the teams
were probably seeded based on the morning’s results – play starting just
Game 1. Tony and David won 13-1 against a team from Kent.
Game 2: quarter-final. Due to circumstances that seemed beyond their
control, T & D found themselves 4-11 down to a Bournemouth (Southern
Region) team. Something had to be done to prevent an early ejection
from the tourney. Tony agreed to David’s suggestion they switch roles as
he was pointing so feebly. Thereafter, a combination of Tony’s excellent
pointing and a deterioration of the opposition’s play resulted in T and
D getting up to 9-12. In the next end, the opponents point to 6” to the
left of the jack. David shoots a carreau with his first boule. With the last
two boules in the end, David shoots two more carreaux (in the wrong
order through a fortunate deviation of direction), leaving 4 points “on the
carpet”. T & D win 13-12.
Game 3: semi-final with a nice couple from Cobbetts PC. As above, again
trailing 4-11, Tony, having missed quite a few shots, suggests they switch
again. Now, Tony again points superbly, getting in every first point, and
the opponents’ game again falls apart. In the last end T & D take 3 points
with David successfully hitting (though not at all straight) one crucial
boule. T & D, who should now be renamed the Houdini Two, win 13-11.
Game 4: final. Tony and David meet David Randall (of our club) and Ash,
a comrade from Croydon. In the first end T & D had played 2 boules while
the opponents had played all 6 but were holding with one right by the jack at over 9 metres. Tony’s shot hit it so hard the jack flew about 35 to 40 metres into a neighbouring field but one. It was intensely amusing to watch. Three boules left in hand: 3-0.
In the second end, with his penultimate boule, David R shot and hit the
jack sideways by about 12 metres. The competition organizer decided the
terrain was now ‘open’, so we continued. David R fluffed his last point and
Tony pointed in well for 2 points. 5–0.
In the next end but one, the opponents were left holding the first, third
and fourth points. However, with the last boule in the end, David R shot
their own holding boule. 6-1.
Thereafter, with ours the last game on the large terrain, gone 6.30pm,
and with the sun still blazing, David R went on, uncharacteristically, to
miss many shots, while Tony and David continued to play well, resulting in
their winning 13-2 and the Plate.
So, as you might imagine, our intrepid Ex-Presidents were very chuffed
with the day’s play, the reward of four bottles of wine each and the nice
face and arm tan.
Report by David Alfred.