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.
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If you would like to play but haven't any boules, please contact our President, Christine Cragg, or 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.
Thursday, August 11, 2011
Wrap-up of Fresno Juniors trip to Luxembourg
Eugene International Pétanque Club
It was a wonderful experience and we are all glad to have had the opportunity to go represent the USA at an international tournament. We appreciate the support of all those who helped make it happen, especially the FPUSA, individual club donations, and the Fresno Petanque Club whose significant financial support reduced the burden for us all.
To give you all a brief overall impression, this was a well run tournament to which Paul and I believe we should consider sending teams again. We both especially appreciated that it was in the summer so the kids didn't need to be pulled out of school as they would have if we were to have gone to the recently scheduled World Championships in Turkey this October. Neither Paul nor I expect to go to Turkey. With national and local level teams participating, this tournament was a very good test of our level. We played against the best, but also got to play against other teams whose levels more closely matched ours.
The exposure for the FPUSA was positive with many teams expressing their appreciation for us being there and several inviting us to tournaments in their areas. For the kids, having seen the level of international play for boys, girls, and women, we believe they have been motivated to improve and do better next time. Both Paul and I look forward to improving the US junior program and being more competitive in the future. We have a long way to go to win an international tournament, but with a strong base in place we hope to move up in the standings quickly.
This annual tournament is in its 7th or 8th year and had many sponsors, foremost of which was Ferrero who makes Nutella. (The president or vice-president of Ferrero used to be a member of the Kayl club.)
There were 32 women teams and 22 junior teams who played on 24 pistes with another section of the terrain reserved for a concurrent shooting contest. The pistes were small (approx. 3m x 12m) and the surface appeared to be of crushed limestone like you find on the pathways in most French parks.
The sponsoring club was in Kayl, a ten minute drive from Livange where our hotel was and a 25 minute drive from Luxembourg city center. Transportation was provided, but having a car was very advantageous for those who had them. Most teams drove to the tournament from France, Germany, or the Netherlands. Teams also came from Spain, Sweden, Denmark and Israel.
There were tents set up for eating, preparing the food for over 175 people, distributing and selling gifts and a daily snack, as well as petanque equipment. Dinner and lunch were provided each day, prepared by the Ferrero company cook flown in from Italy for this event. All participants received parting gifts including a jar of Nutella, hats, T-shirts, candies and a bottle of Italian wine for the coaches/delegates.
Trophies were given to each player in the top three finishing teams of the concours, consolante, and complimentaire. Substantial awards were given for many of the top finishers including a Wii for each 1st place player and MP3 players for 2nd or 3rd places of the concours. It was quite a production. The main organizer of the tournament, Fabio Foccacetti, begins preparing in January each year.
One drawback for the American teams was the amount of smoking that was tolerated everywhere, including on the pistes and in the dining tents. Since we were invited back, I spoke with Fabio about the issue of smoke. He said there is a good possibility that they could set up a non-smoking tent away from the others tents in the future if we request it.
FYI, Fabio is a former Luxembourgeois champion and one of the Ferrero chauffeurs, Joris Gilet, is a former junior national champion in pétanque and boules lyonnaises for France. Joris is probably in his early 20's now and left Friday to compete in the national boules lyonaises championship, in Lyon of course.
The first day went from 10:00 am to 10:30 pm with 7 matches per team including byes. Luckily, or mercifully, the US junior team got two byes which were scored as 13-7 wins. Unfortunately we played the eventual first and third place teams in our first two games. We only won one game all weekend, but we played well and got better with each game and were never fannied. There were some very good teams at this tournament who would give our adult teams in the US a run for their money. We are proud to have scored 3 points on France #2, the eventual champions, who got at least two fannies on other teams in the first day and didn't let anyone score more than three points until Germany #2, who eventually took third place, scored 4 on them. (We scored 4 on that German team!) France #2 even beat France #1 by a score of 13-1 on the second day. (The numeration of the two French teams was not indicative of who was better. For them, this was a qualifying tournament to help determine which combination of the 6 French players they brought would be on the national team in Turkey.)
As we began the first match against France #2, we didn't know just how good they were. Sure they had just fannied a Luxembourg team of 10, 11, and 12 year old munchkins, and scored nine on us in the first two ends, but then they missed three shots on a great point by Hai and anything Pengsue didn't shoot out they left behind the coch like rookies. Hai had pointed in one early, then Carly had pointed in one later, and then Pensue pointed in one at the end after shooting one out earlier. They each got one against the champs!! Carly pointed in for two more points and the US juniors confidence edged up a notch as we brought the game back within reach, 9-3. With some of their butterflies settled, the US kids went into the next end with some hope that they really could compete at this level if they played like they knew they could. In fact, France seemed worried. Immediately after the US scored three on them, the French coach called them to a huddle and, calmly, but in no uncertain terms let them know that they could not, under any circumstances, let that happen again. (I happened to be sitting right next to them so I could hear it all.) He told them that they would point short, regardless of how short, then when we pointed in closer, shoot us out. That's exactly what happened and, in an impressive display of skilled shooting, they surgically removed our boules with carreau after carreau, ending our hopes of a Cinderella comeback in the next two ends.
In the next game, despite losing to France, the kids were feeling okay because, after all, they lost to France. Even when Germany #2 took a 6-0 lead in the first three ends, it was clear to everyone that if we were competitive. In the fourth end we settled down and really showed what we could do. They had missed several shots from 8.5 meters and left some boules close, but on the side. We had one right next to the coch and one behind that was in third position. With two boules left, Carly pointed in a second point then added two more points by bringing the coch back 2 inches to boule sitting in third position. All of a sudden we were only down 6-4! We had already surpassed what we scored in the first game with more strong play. There was no team huddle for Germany #2, but clearly we had gotten their attention. The coach barked out some things in German and they scored 4 in the next end. Even though we held them to short gains from there, we never got another point. (FYI, the shooter for the German #2 team won the shooting competition this weekend with a score of 34 and holds the German record from last year with 58 points. The high score in the competition was 39 by one of the players from France #1.)
There was a significant break between the round 2 and 3 for the juniors so after lunch they played a pick up game with a very young from Luxembourg that had lost to France #2 by a fanny. The US kids played loose and fun. They beat the little ones badly. Unfortunately, moments later in the real game, Luxembourg #2 showed that size doesn't really matter and in a very competitive round, they beat the US 13-10. The US was in control for most of the game and it always felt like they just needed to take advantage of one good end to finish them off. But they let Luxembourg hang around and build their confidence. It was a game they should have won, but a great lesson about competition.
The kids were a bit tired by now because this game didn't start until about 8:00 pm. Nonetheless, the US knew they could compete with at least some of the teams here and started out well controlling the first two ends, though not taking advantage of all the points they could have gotten. This German team scored 5 in the next round and the momentum shifted. The game went to 8 ends, and again, the US juniors played well, but not consistently well in the same end. Final score, 13-3, Germany wins.
Last chance to win something today and mother nature comes into play. Starting at 9:30 pm, skies that had threatened intermittently throughout the day opened up with a deluge that lasted the whole game. It changed both pointing and shooting considerably. Tirs à la raffle, low skim shots, bounced over their targets and carreaux turned to wasted boules. Shirts and shorts became jackets and warm-ups. At this point, with nothing really at stake, the kids played their best game while Haute-Savoie, another French team (but not one with national contenders), played their worst. We pointed and shot like champs most of the game winning the first three ends and going ahead 5-0. Haute-Savoie seemed lost and did not play as well as they had earlier in the day. They had won several games, but in this one they may have hit a shot or two in the whole game and consistently choked when pointing with plenty of space to point in. Even though it wasn't the best display of skills and they did creep back into it when we had a few lapses, the US controlled the game comfortably. Pengsue shot like a champ in this round making carreaux at 10 meters a foot from the out of bounds line twice in a row in one end. Hai pointed like a champ, especially in the last games when he was consistently making the shooter use his boules early. Carly did not need to shoot often, but she hit her shots when she needed to and pointed in for points after Pengsue cleared the opponents points out. Great way to end the day!
Even with a 3-4 record on Saturday thanks to byes, the US juniors don't make it to the concours (pool seeding of +66 to +28) or the consolante (+24 to -2). They are at -15, in the middle of the complimentaire seeding which included teams from -13 to -28. With one more win the US could have made it to the consolante. The first round was a bye and we lost the second game to another German team, but played well. We toasted a respectable showing, great learning experience, and a fun, memorable trip.
Notes for this last game are included with the scoring details below.
Pengsue got 13 in the shooting competition but had a foot fault that cost him three more points. He ranked 12th out of 21.
Round USA Score/Opponent
1 13 7 Bye
2 3 13 France #2
3 4 13 Germany #2
4 10 13 Luxembourg #2
5 13 7 Bye
6 3 13 Germany Dreiechenhain
7 13 8 Haute Savoie
Sunday (Single Elimination)
Round USA Score/Opponent
1 13 7 Bye
2 8 12 Germany (Called on time limit of 50 min. + one end)
Saturday - 7 Rounds
Round 1 bye - US 13-7
France #2 v USA
9-3 Yea! No fanny!
13-3 Yea! We lasted 5 ends!
Germany 2 v USA
13-4 Getting better!
Luxembourg 2 v USA
13-10. Oh snap!
Round 5 bye 13-7
Germany Dreiechenhain v USA
Haute-savoie v USA
8-13. Yea!!! Our first win in a steady rain at 9:30 in the pm.
Sunday - Single elimination
Round 1 Bye - USA 13-7
Germany v USA
5-3 Pengsue shoots two out at 9 meters, Carly points in one on the coch that they can't shoot out and puts in another.
8-3 Our shot nicked their boule and we didn't point in. Shooting is a lot harder on the wet ground. Carreaux are hard to come by.
8-4 Pengsue shoots out their boule at 9 meters with a chapeau that leaves the coch that was just behind by making their boule jump over the coch. What a shot!
9-4 Carly points short in front but does not get the point. Pengsue shoots and misses long on their boule behind twice but Hai pushes Carly forward. Great pointing! Germany shoots out its own boule, but finally takes the point by pushing us out with a point. Hai has to shoot and is close, but misses.
11-4 9 meters they point and Carly improves on their point. They take the coch and are 5" away. Carly points right on their boule and takes the unshootable point. They point in at 2". Pengsue shoots both their boules out using two boules. They point in again at 1". Hai pushes them. Not enough. Hai pushes again but takes the coch and they get two. Nice try.
11-7 Great pointing by us, poor shooting by other team with Hai's point and Carly's boule blocking. Pensue points in.
11-8 Carly points in 2 they use 6 to take it but, when shooting them out to clear and point in more, Pensue shoots Carly. Hai points in close, then Pensue shoots again and takes coch. We get one, but could have had more. Time limit is 50 minutes plus one end. The 5 minute warning whistle blows.
12-8 We point in and have two points. They shoot and miss badly, but randomly hit the coch which rebounds off a boule sending it backwards to about six meters and giving them the point, though within a pointable distance. We are down 3 points and have only three boules while they have two left. We miss our first two points. Pressure! With our last boule, we could shoot for carreau and take three to tie, but they would still have two boules to easily point in and either win the point or reduce our gain to two. With time running out and a bit of miscommunication from coaches to players, we point to prevent them being able to get two points and win, but we miss it just as time runs out anyway. They get one point for a final of 12-8.
Despite losing, we played well and had a great time in this last game as we overcame adversity and made a comeback run. We really felt we could win it with more time. But in the end, if we had won, we would have gotten a trophy, so it's actually not a bad thing to have lost. Who has room for a trophy in their luggage? This way, we got to watch the finals between France and Italy.
It was one of the most exciting finals they've ever had at this tournament, France #2 was surprised by Italy who took an unexpected 5-0 lead. With Italy in control most of the game, France nonetheless crept back and finally tied it at 12-12. It was quite a display of skill, strategy, and the effect of pressure. The second to last end was climactic. France was 2 inches in front of the coch at 9 meters and had a second off to the side. Italy was down in the count and having difficulty pointing in close enough to merit shooting. With three boules left, they had their middle shoot out the boule in front of the coch then their shooter came in and shot out the coch on a direct hit for a nul end. Despite the momentum Italy gained from this end, France won the next end when Italy could not point in and waited too long to shoot.