WELCOME TO THE OFFICIAL BLOG for La Pétanque Marinière in San Rafael, California. LPM has been an active Marin pétanque club since 1972 and affiliated with the Fédération of Pétanque USA, since 1975. We welcome people of all abilities, ages and nationalities to come and enjoy pétanque with us.
The Pierre Joske Courts are located on Civic Center drive in San Rafael. (click for directions). Casual games are played every Thursday, Saturday and Sunday from about 1 pm. Tournament play is usually held on the second Sunday of every month.
Please consult the links on the sidebar to the right for more information on clubs in the bay area, nationally and world wide.
If you would like to play but haven't any boules, please contact our President, Christine Cragg, or Vice-President Ken Lee. They can bring some for you to use, as well as introduce you to the basic skills and techniques of pétanque. In addition, if you are looking to purchase boules but are unsure as to which size and weight are right for you, we have a range of different examples from which to choose.
Saturday, October 16, 2010
45th World Pétanque Championships
Those who have been following the World Championships that concluded last weekend know of the results: France won both the triples competition and the shooting contest. The team from Madagascar was second and Spain and Mauritania were collectively in 3rd place. A new world record in the shooting was set by Claudy Weibel of Belgium (66 points out of 100 possible).
And, the Turkish federation with only a couple of months notice, pulled off a very well organized event. You'll remember the championship had originally been awarded to Taiwan but earlier this year, it was determined they would be unable to fulfill their commitment to host it and Turkey, thankfully, took it on.
Here are some personal observations.
Well over a hundred of the world's best petanque players (48 triples teams) gathered for a few days of games in Izmir, Turkey, on the Aegean Sea, to sort out the best of them this past weekend. The New Zealand team had arrived days before in order to adjust to the time zone changes and the President of that federation told me it was strange to arrive at some airport on her way to find she had arrived before she had left New Zealand (International Date Line).
With coaches and delegates ( like me, for example) and accompanying spectators, there were about 500 of us, not counting the large staff of Turkish volunteers and those from the FIPJP (the international federation).
Arriving bleary eyed but very happy to be on terra firma, participants filtered in all day last Wednesday and made for the headquarters hotel adjacent to the venue, anxious to be assigned lodging and then have some of that strong Chai tea the Turks like, or failing that, a beer or rakki (Turkish version of Pastis).
Thursday was for the head of the delegations to stand in line at the hotel bottle neck getting the identification badges, meal tickets, and the latest update of the schedule of events and times to be in place, and surrendering their team's licenses until the end of the competition. Thursday evening was also the FIPJP board meeting and was as enjoyable as a board meeting can be.
Sadly for us, our candidate to be elected to the FIPJP Executive Committee, Robert Pierre, was not successful, but he made a good showing and was very helpful to me in making sure I understood what was going on in the meeting, conducted in French. In my other meetings with various officials and federations, Robert was indispensable to making sure our position was known and understood.
The teams sought out practice grounds in the dual purpose park containing trade fair pavilions and an amusement park with a roller coaster and bumper cars, etc. There were dirt areas and a practice court had been constructed outside.
Captained by Jean-Pierre Subrenat, our three other players on the team were Xavier Thibaud, Eric Bertin (all NYPC), and PJ Malette, well known Bay Area player. Steve Ginsberg, also NYPC, had signed on as coach. Jet lag aside, they were feeling good, looked sharp in their uniforms, and one could just sense they were going to play well together.
The large hall (FIPJP policy is to play under cover) had been configured with 24 courts and the concrete floor covered with about an inch of coarse and fine gravel. Indeed, there were some spots where a previously tossed boule had blown the gravel away, leaving bare concrete and a boule would descend from its plombée to land directly on bare concrete and then go soaring off the court.
By Friday, the shooting contest was under way with one player from each of the 48 teams going through the same sequence of shooting exercises that we use on our courts (shoot the boule, shoot the boule behind the jack, shoot the middle boule, etc, all from different distances. During the early part of this contest Claudy Weibel set the new world record of 66, but Bruno Leboursicaud (France) ended up winning with a 34 just because of the way the contest is configured.
On Saturday, there were 5 qualifying games using the Swiss System which arranges matches according to how well teams are playing, better teams end up being matched with better teams, worse teams with others that are not playing so well.
At the end of these 5 matches, our U.S. team was ranked a very strong 18th out of the 48 teams in the competition! Rarely in our 30 years of sending teams to the worlds has our U.S. team ranked so high in the qualifying matches. The chemistry and camaraderie was there, and on a personal note, it made me very proud to be a part of our delegation.
In these 5 games, we won against Czech Republic, Lithuania, and Russia, and lost against Thailand and Portugal. All the players on our team were put into various games.
Based on the Swiss ranking, our team was in the top 24 and had made the Concours! These top 24 teams were put into the Concours pools ( 8 pools of 3 teams each) and played each other. Lose twice and you are out of the concours though teams losing twice are given another chance by being put into the consolante (called the Coupe de Nations), which is where our teams usually are placed right away since we traditionally we are in the bottom half of the team rankings.
As it happened, our Concours pool included Morocco and Portugal, and we ended up losing twice and sent into the Coupe de Nations, where unfortunately for us, we lost to Djibouti, a strong team that got to the Coupe de Nations semi-finals. So then we were spectators which meant we were able to enjoy watching the best teams progress.
On Sunday, the matches concluded with some of the best petanque playing I will ever see. These players in the worlds are able to make a very high percentage of their boules count in the game, with only the occasional stray point or missed shot. And, many of their shots result in a carreau, so they will shoot a far away boule holding the point knowing there is a good chance their boule will sit in the same spot (sur place) or at least hang around for the point.
In the final for the world championship, it was France against Madagascar. They went back and forth on the score, but it ended up 12-12. In the last end, the jack was pushed out to 12 meters. France held a not too close point, Madagascar shot their last boule, knocking out the French boule. Their boule rolled very close to the jack giving them two points because they had another not so close boule. Philippe Suchaud made a clean shot on the Madagascar boule at 12 meters, leaving Madagascar with the winning point, but France had one more boule and Henri Lacroix pointed it in to win the game! The crowd erupted in cheering and the French team ran to each other hugging and kissing. It was a spectacular game!
After the awards ceremony with the winner's nation's flags being raised and medals looped over heads and bouquets of flowers presented, the 45th World Championship concluded.
That evening there was a gala dinner at a restaurant on the waterfront featuring a roasted lamb and pasta and much hugging between the players of the various teams, and trading of team shirts with one another, sometimes peeled off one player to be put on by another.
Monday morning several hundred players and delegates made their way by taxi to the Izmir airport for the flights home, mine via Istanbul, and NYC.
Quite an experience to be around so many excellent players but all enjoying the same camaraderie that you and I experience when we meet for casual play on our courts.
The next Worlds in in 2012, maybe you will want to start sharpening your game now.