We hired a car for travel to the hotel and the pistes. And we only got lost 3 times …. The roads are very narrow, the hedges are very high and the signing is very small to non-existent!
But we had a lovely time. There were 60 teams (pairs) on the Saturday and some 40 triples teams on Sunday. Teams came from Jersey (there are 4 clubs on Jersey), The Netherlands, Guernsey of course, 'Other places' which included us from the UK – Bucks, Oxfordshire, Cornwall, Kent (about 15 people in all) and Gregory Conyers from the Seattle Club in the USA – just imagine all those people! Gregory was paired up with Marilyn of the MTTA club in Bucks, and on the Sunday he made up the triples with Maureen and Eric, also of MTTA. Gerry and I (representing Petanque Wallingford) played pairs together, and Maggie of the Guernsey Club completed our triples for Sunday. The Club has some 20 indoor pistes and 30 odd outdoor lanes, and they had ordered the weather too, so conditions were perfect. (I say odd, they are all different, so odd is probably the right word. Makes reading the terrain very important). Everybody was given a sticker with their name and team name. We all went round peering at each other's chests to find out teams - very useful!
There were 16 Leagues each consisting of 4 teams. In each league the teams played each other (3 games) then the top team went into the 'Main' Event, the second went into the 'Plate' and the third and fourth into 'Consolage' 1 and 'Consolage' 2 which meant that in the afternoon teams played other players of fairly equal competence.
We (Les Rouges) were in the second 'Consolage' group (more properly called the 'Consolante' in French - but the Brits seems to like their invented word!!) group. Les Rouges wore their red tops: one of the Jersey teams' tops are red too, so at first people thought we were one of the Jersey teams – till they discovered their mistake! However we came fourth in the division of second teams, winning 2 of our 3 games. Lee and Shane won overall and Jane and Brendon won the plate - follow this link for a picture.
On the Sunday, after we had been beaten in the triples we watched the playoff for one of the trophies – and saw how tirer au fer 'shooting on the metal' should be done! In fact, my stomach sank for the opposition whenever Norma (former Women's Triples Champion) stepped into the circle! Wow. One day I hope to hit something ….
The standard of play was very high in all the games and I am happy to say were not clobbered as hard as we thought we would be, we acquitted ourselves very well in the circumstances. We thank everyone at the Guernsey Club for making us so welcome. We hope to go to Jersey next year to play in their Open and then again in September for the Guernsey Open – we enjoyed ourselves that much!
What we learned:
Foremost, it is good to play and watch people 'better' than you – one can learn a lot.
'Reading' the terrain is very important – Guernsey has an array of different surfaces and you don't know which one you are going to play on until you win the toss
Have all your kit to hand: measurer, cochonnet, cloth, hat. Look after your belongings too.
Know your 'etiquette' – stand in the right place at all times; don't move or walk about when someone is about to throw. If your opponents are the 'silent' types – respect this and keep quiet!
Know the rules and know how to measure. If you are still in doubt, the umpire will do the job.
Petanque Wallingford is very lucky – we have been coached very well and so conducted ourselves well and had a comfortable, enjoyable time – Thanks Coach! I hope we can go again next year.