ESRA Mallorca

English-Speaking Residents′ Association - Mallorca

Apr 23, 2021

2016 - South West Pétanque

Pétanque:  The Annual  Jean Cowan Trophy Competition.

 Of all the leisure activities engaged in by South West members of ESRA, Pétanque is easily the most popular. Sessions take place every Monday and Friday morning at the Courts in the little Park in Son Caliu and there is seldom less than 20 members taking part in each session, and often, there will be six players on each of the six courts.  Usually,  each session will include three games and afterward many of the players retire to the nearby Restaurant El Cruce for coffee and conversation.

Over the years, many members have contributed to the smooth running of the sessions, not least Kathryn Stych and Maureen Stokes, who are the current, titular organizers, as well as Robin Musters and Allen Oliver who have spent many an early morning raking stones and leaves from the courts, in advance of the games.  But it is generally recognized that it was Jean Cowan who guided South West Pétanque in its first faltering steps.  And so each year, since 2013, Jean´s contribution has been remembered in the playoff for a Trophy in her name.  This year, the competition was held on Monday 3rd of October.

 Thirty players assembled at 10.30 a.m. and they were divided by lot into teams of three.  Twenty minutes was allowed for each game at every level, from first round to the final, with the winning team in a game, proceeding to the next level.

If you have never played, or even seen, a game of Pétanque, then you should know that at its simplest, Pétanque or, petanca,  is a game where the object is to toss or roll hollow steel balls as close as possible to a small wooden ball.

 The steel balls are called boules and the wooden ball called the Jack.  (Although French players call the Jack  cochonnet, literally "piglet"). Petanque is also known around the world as Boules (boule is ball in French, just as bocce is ball in Italian).

 Pétanque was created, probably, in 1907 or 1910 in the town of La Ciotat in France by one Jules le Noir. In 1945 the Fédération Française de Petanque et Jeu Provençal (FFPJP) was founded to act as an international bodyguard for the game and now has more than 450.000 members and worldwide there are more than 600.000 licensed petanque players. Petanque is by far the most practised game of bowls on earth, undoubtedly because of the simplicity of its rules.


Robin gets the raking done

Pétanque may be a simple game but it does have some very strict rules, laid down by the FFPJP, and you must obey these rules if you play in serious competition under FFPJP jurisdiction.  Boules have to be of a certain weight and circumference, and play must start from within a circle at each end.  And Boules must be thrown, or rolled, with the hand held palm down.

 But South West doesn’t play under FFPJP jurisdiction, we play under a much more relaxed set of Rules and Pétanque, the way we play it, is all the more enjoyable for our members as a result.  Well, if it wasn’t, would so many of them keep turning up to play, every Monday and Friday morning through the year?

The Final proved slightly one-sided. The winners scored the maximum 6 points on one end and, despite a major effort, their opponents couldn´t quite make up the deficit.  So, the team of Gary and Hazel Edwards and Cecily Kelly had to concede the win, and the Trophy, to the team of Gerald Baker, Barry Stokes and Brian Kelly.


 A pre-game tactical discussion is important?
“ O.K. Fellahs, this is how we´re gonna win it!”   Pétanque can be a tiring game – especially if you´re not winning!
Gary prepares to start in the semi-final   Jasmine and Peter only have eyes for the game!

Concentration is key to bowling well
– especially if there´s a chatting crowd around you!

 The players can't agree who's won - Judge Kathryn is called on to decide!

“Wipe the boules before you throw and they'll run straighter”  
Where is that one going ???   Peter has an attentive audience for his throw

Losers and Winners: Finalists All
L to R: Cecily, Hazel, Gerald, Barry, Brian, Gary.

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