Ray Ager – Club President 2010
Date of Birth 2nd May 1952
Occupation Minibus driver and support worker for two local day centres for older people.
How long have you been playing? I started in 1995, on The Level, in Brighton. A group of players quickly formed and we started the Brighton & Hove Pétanque Club.
What position do you play? I have an answer for most things in pétanque, ”It depends!”. I like to think of myself as an ”all round” player, capable of pointing and shooting. The position I play in a team will depend on whether it’s Doubles or Triples and, of course, on the abilities of the other players. I’m probably a better pointer than a shooter but when I am on form, I do enjoy shooting.
What boules do you play with? Again, ”It depends”. I have accumulated quite a selection of boules – I used to be a retailer, which didn’t help! However, I mainly play with 76mm 700g boules, currently CX COU, a semi-soft carbon steel boule from La Boule Noire, which I’m really pleased with.
However, I also have a set of 75mm, 710g Obut Bi-pôle, which I’ll use for pointing. Occasionally I use a set of 77mm 680g for shooting. I do have quite large hands, so play with slightly larger boules. Sometimes, I just choose a boule that ”feels right” on the day.
Any pétanque anecdotes? Plenty but I’ll always remember the first time I played at a club in France. It was in Paris and there was a group of three men sitting on a wall at the side of the terrain. I asked if they were looking for a fourth player – ”the only thing we’re looking for, my friend, is the sun!” was the reply. Two minutes later they were playing with their friends. Later I got a game and everything was fine.
I’ve played twice in La Marseillaise one of France’s biggest tournaments. The second time I played with a couple of local guys from Marseille. Philippe Quintais was playing on a nearby terrain and there was a huge crowd watching. Of course, nobody watched us!
We had a fairly comfortable win against a local team and they were not happy getting beaten by an English guy and started quite a heated argument amongst themselves as to who was to blame!
Any other hobbies or interests? I’m keen on backgammon but don’t play an awful lot these days. I was one of the founder members of the Brighton Backgammon Club and used to play in the various UK competitions. I try to draw but I’m not very ‘artistic’ but it’s something I would like to learn to do properly.
Tell us something that club members don’t already know about yourself?When I moved to Brighton, about 30 years ago, I joined the Two Piers Housing Coop and moved into the first ‘cooperative’ house in Brighton, in Major Close, Hollingdean.
Any plans for next year? I hope to qualify again for the Regional Squad and would like BHPC to progress further in the European Cup for Clubs. I also hope to have a junior team in Brighton. I know this is going to be quite a challenge – let’s hope we succeed.