Get to know some of our club members.
Click Profiles in the Categories list on the right-hand side of this page to read other profiles.
Ray Ager, founder member and Club President, November 2009-May 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 and 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’m on form I do enjoy shooting.
What boules do you play with? Again, ”It depends”. I’ve 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 Co-op and moved into the first ‘co-operative’ 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.
Since this interview took place (2010?), Ray has now left the club, Brighton and England for La Ciotat, a beautiful small port just east of Marseille. As this is the home of pétanque and Ray has always been a devoted Francophile, including speaking French well, and en plus a complete pétanque nut, you can imagine what a happy camper he is now. So, well done, Ray, thanks for helping to get pétanque going in Brighton and all the very best for your new life in France. Bien joué!
David Alfred, August 2012.