Celtic Challenge Report

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The 28th Celtic Challenge was held at Caerleon RFC Petanque Club, Wales, on 30th April and 1st May.  Four triples teams from Scotland competed against teams from Ireland and Wales A and B squads.

The teams arrived on Friday evening and were treated to a sumptuous buffet, as well as having the opportunity to try out Caerleon’s new terrain.  The surface was variable, with 4 of the 8 lanes playing fast, while the other 4 were challenging with large chips, which made for difficult pointing conditions.

After the formal welcome and announcements, play commenced with the Scots pitted against Ireland, while Wales A and B locked horns.  Round 1 saw Scotland and Ireland share the spoils with 2 wins each.  But as the rounds progressed, Scotland upped their game, taking three wins from rounds 2 and 3 and taking 4 wins in round 4.  Meanwhile, Wales B emerged with 10 wins against Wales A’s 6.

After 4 rounds the standings were:

Scotland 12, Wales B 10, Wales A 6, Ireland 4

In rounds 5 – 8 Scotland would play Wales B while Ireland were up against Wales A.  Scotland continued their strong performance without dropping a game at all in round 5 and 6.  Meanwhile, Wales A tooks 6 wins to Ireland’s 2, meaning at the close of play on Saturday the standings were:

Scotland 20, Wales A 12, Wales B 10, Ireland 6

It looked like Scotland might run away with the victory.  The Scottish performance had been truly excellent  with Scotland 1 – 4 wins, Scotland 2 – 5 wins, Scotland 3 – 6 wins and Scotland 4 – 5 wins. On to Sunday – could Scotland continue to dominate?

In rounds 7 and 8, Scotland and Wales B shared 4 wins between them, while Wales A took 6 wins to Ireland’s 2.  This meant Wales A had closed the gap, but were still 6 wins behind Scotland going into the final 4 rounds. The standings after 8 rounds were:

Scotland 24, Wales A 18, Wales B 14, Ireland 8

By this time it was pretty clear that Scotland would need to amass 30 wins to secure the trophy (although 29 might be enough with points difference looking very much in Scotland’s favour).  All Scotland would need to do was hold their nerve…..

Round 9 saw Wales A win 3 games to Scotland’s 1 – they were slowly but surely catching us and nerves were beginning to show in all of the Scottish teams. Round 10 was tied with 2 wins each, meaning that Wales A remained 4 games adrift with 2 rounds to play.

Round 11 saw Wales A again take 3 wins to Scotland’s 1, meaning that, going into the last round Scotland had 28 wins and Wales A had 26.  By this time is was clear that Scotland’s points difference meant that if the teams were tied on 29 wins, Scotland would win.  Wales had to win all 4 games.

The first 2 results from round 12 were both wins for Wales A.  The teams were tied on 28 wins each with 2 games to go.  Thankfully, Scotland 3 held their nerve to win convincingly and secure the trophy for Scotland.  This was followed shortly by a win for Scotland 2.

The final standings were:

Scotland 30, Wales A 28, Wales B 23, Ireland 15

Congratulations to all the players.  A big thank you to our hosts, Caerleon RFC Petanque Club who really did put on a great weekend.

The final tally of wins for the Scottish teams were:

Scotland 1: Christine Thomson, Alison Swiffin, Ed Strachan – 4 wins

Scotland 2: Robbie Stronach, John Wilson, Derek Adam – 7 wins

Scotland 3: Lynn Jenkins, Shirley Legge, Richard Carter – 10 wins

Scotland 4: Emma Montgomery, Paul Fletcher, Kevin Johnstone – 9 wins

 

Celtic Challenge 2016

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This weekend, four triples teams will represent the SPA in Wales in the annual Celtic Challenge against our friends from the Irish and Welsh associations.  This year, the competition is being hosted by Caerleon RFC Petanque Club and we look forward to the weekend – a highlight in the annual calendar.  We always get a great welcome in Wales and we’re sure this weekend will be no different.   Winning in Wales is always a stiff challenge, the last time we managed it was in 1998, but Scotland have won four out of the last five Celtic Challenges and we have a strong team once more.  Good luck to all.

The teams representing the SPA are:

Scotland 1: Christine Thomson, Alison Swiffin, Ed Strachan

Scotland 2: Robbie Stronach, John Wilson, Derek Adam

Scotland 3: Lynn Jenkins, Shirley Legge, Richard Carter

Scotland 4: Emma Montgomery, Paul Fletcher, Kevin Johnstone

Billy McQueen

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The SPA are sad to learn of the death of Billy McQueen, former Birds & Bees PC member and Scottish international player.  Billy enjoyed a lot of success in SPA competitions over the years, playing as ‘Les Pirons’ team with Paul and Pierre Bretenoux. Our thoughts are with Billy’s family and friends at this difficult time.

Grand Prix 1 Report

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Sixteen teams competed in the first Grand Prix of the 2016 season, played at Fochabers PC on Sunday 17 April.  It was nice to see some new faces competing this year.

Play was over 6 rounds, using the Swiss Ladder format and timed games as per in previous years.  The Swiss Ladder always makes a very competitive competition and so it proved to be again.  Triaxle and Les Cremants started strongly and after 3 rounds at the lunch break, were the only 2 on 3 wins – the Swiss would of course pair them in round 4.

Triaxle won the round 4 tie and looked like they were on course for the win.  However the Sex Pisteols had other ideas and ended their winning streak in round 5.

Going into the final round it was anyone’s competition with Pretty Vacant, Triaxle, Les Champignons and Sex Pisteols all on four wins.

In the end, Pretty Vacant emerged the winners on points difference, despite their stutter in round 1.  The Sex Pisteols were second, two points behind the winners, and Nord Ecosse were third.

Thank you to all the volunteers at Fochabers for their hospitality and a delicious lunch.

GP1 Results

GP1 Standings

Grand Prix 1 & Fochabers Spring Fling Arrangements

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SPA Grand Prix I is on Sunday 17 April and the hosts are Fochabers Petanque Club. Registration will run from 09.00-09.15AM for a 09.30AM start. The club will have tea / coffee / cake available all day and will have options for lunch.

The host club will also run their “Spring Fling” on the Saturday afternoon. Registration at 1.00pm for a 01.30pm start. Format dependant on numbers & weather.

SPA Competition Rules 2016

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The rules for all SPA qualifiers and other competitions have been finalised and can be viewed here.  Players are asked to familiarise themselves with them.

As a reminder, the 5 June qualifier format and venue will be determined once entry has closed.  It is anticipated that the day’s play will include a mixture of singles, doubles and mixed doubles games.

North v South Report

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A total of 49 players from club’s across Scotland (Troon, Ayr, Inverleith, Perth, Fochabers, Penicuik and our newest club, Melrose) attended our traditional curtain raiser to the season at Perth on Sunday.  9 teams per side split roughly according to geography, played 4 rounds.

The weather was cold a damp for most of the day, only brightening up at around 3 pm during the final round.

Round 1 was tightly fought, ending with the North holding a slender lead 5 wins to 4.  The North had a very strong round 2 with 6 wins, taking the score at lunch to North 11, South 7.  Round 3 was a complete reverse of round 2, meaning that going into the last round, the score was North 14, South 13.

The final round was edged by one win for the South, meaning the teams were tied on 18 wins each.  Totting up points scored, the South emerged as the winners in one of the tightest contests we’re ever seen.

The SPA would like to thank Perth Petanque Club for their hospitality.

The next SPA competition is Grand Prix 1 at Fochabers – registration is 0900 – 0915 sharp, for a 0930 start.

 

Qualifier 5 June – FIPJP Singles, Doubles & Mixed Doubles

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The FIPJP are holding the first combined Singles, Doubles and Mixed Doubles World Championship for men and women in Gent, Belgium on April 13-16th 2017.

On Sunday 5 June 2016 the SPA will hold a one day qualifying competition for this. Teams of 2 men and 2 women are requested to register in advance for the competition. The venue will be confirmed after registration has closed. The format will depend on the number of entries, but it is planned that it will include singles for men and women, doubles for 2 men and 2 women and mixed doubles games. The winning team of 4 will be those who accumulate most wins over the day. Teams are required to nominate their male and female singles players. The other 2 members of the team will form the mixed double. The 2 men and 2 women will also play together in ‘single sex’ doubles matches. It is anticipated that the event will be a full day (9.30 to around 6pm).

Teams who play in the qualifier must be available to represent the SPA on the dates given above. The SPA cannot offer any financial assistance for this.

To register please fill in all details in all of the sections in the form (link to this is below). Only one player from each team should submit an entry please. If you need to make changes to your entry after it is submitted or have any difficulty please email colinstewart1976@gmail.com.

The closing date for registration is Friday 29 April 2016.

Online Registration Form

North v South arrangements

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Players who wish to play in the North v South on 3rd April should note the following:

  • Registration is 10 am for 10.30 start.
  • Coffee and croissants will be available at registration.
  • Please bring your own lunch (the cafe at Bells is likely to be very busy – see below).
  • Due to a major gymnastics event being held at Bells Sports Centre on the same day parking is likely to be scarce in the public car park and Perth PC’s private car park is not available that day either.  Players are advised to allow extra time as you might need to find street parking elsewhere.
  • We will play 2 rounds before lunch and 2 or 3 in the afternoon, depending on the weather etc.

We look forward to seeing you at our  season opener.

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