First competition of the year was at home club of Gardonne on Saturday. 28 teams entered (triplettes). We felt hard done by with a tough draw. First round was up against the Ladies team who are currently champions of the Dordogne. We won 13-7 to progress to the next round, I was playing particularly well as premier pointer, Pierre was also in good form. Second round we came up against another big team, David, former champion of France, his partner and son. In a hard fought game they beat us 13-11 relegating us to the complimentaire. Here we came up against another very strong team led by Bernard playing with his brother, Gerard and wife Chantalle, they blew us away 13-7. Still we got a qualifying win, onwards and upwards.
Last month of concourse, fairly low turnout at the final Port Ste Foy concourse of the season, 26 teams of doublettes which is about half the normal turnout. Wednesday meetings at Gardonne continue to produce a high turnout along with excellent tough competition. Our road trip through Spain is now a distant memory and we are back to the usual garden and Petanque routine. Weather still excellent, always a nice month in this region. Sitting in the sun in 26c as I write this.
San Sebastian, North West Spain, close to the French border.
The annual big regional race of the year. Centres on our village which is lined with spectators from one end to the other. The striking thing for me was the tyre noise when the peleton (the pack) passes at speed, quite incredible. I find it hard to get as excited as some in the crowd who jump out dangerously close to cheer on their favorites. Serious stuff, bear in mind it is 30c +
Have not reported much this month, fairly quiet on the Petanque front. Things at the Port Ste Foy club continue to deteriorate. The secretary has now resigned and the members are pleasing themselves who they play with and more importantly who they don’t! Reminds me a little of cliques in the golf club!
Meanwhile I have continued to play at the Gardonne Club. Today I played the weekly club competition and won all four matches (winning five tickets) The standard of boule is much higher here and the ambiance is superb. The ticket system is very clever, you pay 2.50€ to enter and each game you win is worth one ticket (1€) if you win all four matches you win 5€. You can collect your tickets and spend them when you like. Some examples of ticket prizes, 1 ltr Whisky,12 tickets, 1ltr Ricard,15€’ Bon d Achat (gift voucher) in various denominations for Leclerc’s the local supermarket. I currently have 44 tickets which I will keep and cash in my final winnings nearer Christmas
Sorry to hear Scotland finished third in the home nations competition. Come on Scotland we can do better than that !
Wednesday at Gardonne was not too bad because there is lots of shade, in fact we played four games in total shade out of the sun (35c in the sun). Went to the Port today (Saturday) sat for an hour under the Prune trees with a nice breeze blowing, just chatting, I am very proud of the fact that I can be involved in these conversations, I remember when I was an outsider with not a clue what was going on. Everyone is exhausted through lack of sleep (28-30c overnight) there is not a lot of enthusiasm to play.
As an interesting aside, recently, a very loud and boastful Portugese man has been arriving, not a bad player but a real show off, anyway, he arrived half way through our chat, sat for five minutes then threw his boule down, basically he was saying, lets play! No response from anyone! A few minutes passed and he again said, is anyone playing? Again no response, he then picked up his boule walked to his car and drove off. After a few minutes, someone said, has he gone? Or is he hiding, he is gone, ok lets play! typically french! I understand their ways now and am comfortable with them, I suppose I should be thankful I am accepted.
A French favourite climbing rose, Pierre de Ronsard, beautiful, we had one at Gensac as well and it flowers all summer.
Playing in 35c is not easy anywhere, the terrain at Gardonne is particularly difficult. My normal game is the high lob point, on most terrain it is reliable. The ground is so hard and dry with large stones appearing on the surface. Today I went back to demi porte from a crouch position and that worked quite well. Very, very difficult. I always see situations like this as a learning process and experience can only aid my progress. All of you good players out there will know what I am talking about.
With the Open starting tomorrow will we ever see the likes of these guys again, for charisma, I think not.
Or, happy Bastille day to all petanque players.
Not a huge turnout, about 40 teams (doublette). Very hot, 35o in the shade. Playing with Claude from Montcaret. Lost our first game so relegated to complimentaire, however won through to final, lost 13-8. Terrain very difficult, hard and dry. We played well, 14€ better off.
For the past couple of months I have been playing once a week at Gardonne, a village not far from where I live and on the main road between Ste Foy la Grande and Bergerac. My home club at the Port seems to have declined in numbers over the last year and although you can get a game any day of the week it is always the same dozen or so people. Gardonne is a bigger club, most Wednesdays see around 60 players for the inter club competition. There are a lot of very good players there and I feel my game benefits from playing regularly with them. I have a big decision to make at the end of the season, whether or not to change my license from The Port to Gardonne. Tough decision as I have some good friends at The Port.
Here are a couple of interesting photo’s, they give in indication of how tough it can be.
A present from Santa, Christmas 2010
Yes, they are the same boules, had a hard time over the years as you see.