Issler-Simmonds/Issler Storm to =46th in London Open Doubles, Sunday 24 August

Alan Issler writes: “On August 24 2014 myself and Joe participated in the annual London Open Doubles competition at Harrow Pétanque Club. This is an annual competition of 64 teams with a great range of top teams participating from England, France, Monaco, Belgium, Holland, Denmark and Hungary to name but some. As the sole national representatives of Cricklewood and Brighton we were not cowed and immediately decided we would aim to score at least one point and finish no lower than 63rd overall. Whist our joint training and strategy policy combined conversation, very little sleep, random attire and cider, we hoped this might prove effective in an unorthodox manner and not cause any problems with the EPA code of conduct or fashion police.  The morning consists of three games to decide who goes into the main and who into the plate- a simple 32/32 split. If you win two games you are through to the main. If you win no games you are through to the plate. If you win one game and lose one game you third game is a ‘barrage’ – if you win you go through to the main, if you lose through to the plate. Morning games are to 11 though not timed. Our fist game was against two England Juniors one male and one female and we were both really on song. Got two ends of five and won comfortably 11-3. Do you play regularly they asked Joe. No he told them which did not make them feel that much better! Our next game was against Ross and Dean (aka Bam Bam) two real top national players. I have to say after one stunning first point things did go a tad downhill from there and we lost 11-1. They are real class players but I think we should have made it a bit harder for them. Our last morning ‘barage’ game was against a Belgian national side. I think we played our best game of the morning against them though we lost 13-4. Their shooter was fantastic with a great action and about 98% hit rate! I deliberately pointed well so he could keep shooting me out. Joe did some great shots for one of which the Belgian shooter gave him a cursory nod. He was not a demonstrative chap so I think in his book that was the equivalent of him shouting ‘whoop whoop- well done that man from Cricklewood – zut alors!’ Our afternoon game in the Plate was against another couple of England Juniors Vicky and Christina. Again we started on good form, Joe shooting particularly well (‘intense’ was how one of them described it) and we got up to 10-3 ahead. Then, inexorably they found their form and started coming back till it was eventually 11 all, and I have to say, I thought they had the advantage and would be more likely to win. However a back and forth end with the jack going long and one of our boules in on the string meant we managed to prevail and win 13-11. It was something like an hour and a half or so game and we were quite knackered. Our next game to try and get into the last 8 was against a team who had been waiting 5 hours due to lunch/quicker games and a bye. This did not seem to count to our advantage. They were outplaying us and went into a good lead but we managed to pull back to 4-8 down. We then had the end from hell where Joe had to go for a shot and unluckily hit our boule instead. I then did 3 awful points in a row, consistent or what, the upshot being when the opponents came to point we had very little defence and they got 5 to win which was disappointing. I don’t know if we would have beaten them but we were coming back. Overall it was a great day. This is the second time I have played in this competition, last year partnering Ian Maynard where we also won our first game of the afternoon before being knocked out. There are only 16 pistes, 64 teams- very many of them top class but somehow Herve, the organiser and the people helping him manage to run the competition well, apparently effortlessly without appearing at all stressed or participants moaning. Herve perpetuates the event can be very friendly and very competitive at the same time with people expected to show each other ‘le respecte.’ It pretty much works and considering the challenging logistics and one or two of the egos about that is no mean feat so maximum respect to him. Good moments I recall include Joe’s first shot of the first game being a perfect carreau and Vicky and Christina’s expressions when after asking him if he played regularly he confirmed he did not. Best perhaps was Vicky trying to persuade Joe that Hayling and other big pétanque events were full of young people doing cool young people type things and not dominated by, er, older people a tad too partial to the odd libation: I’m not sure he was persuaded …”

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2 Responses to Issler-Simmonds/Issler Storm to =46th in London Open Doubles, Sunday 24 August

  1. Tony says:

    Great report Alan. Vikki is one of our Association’s top Juniors and Christina one of our top Espoirs, so that was a good result.

  2. alan issler says:

    Cheers T-much appreciated

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