This weekend sees the Celtic Challenge return to Cork and we look forward to renewing our friendship with the Irish and Welsh teams and supporters. The four Scotland teams are:
Scotland 1 – Derek Adam, Istvan Poka, Colin Stewart
Scotland 2 – Jimmy Johnstone, Kevin Johnstone, Paul Fletcher
Scotland 3 – Richard Carter, John Wilson, Robbie Stronach
Scotland 4 – John Watson, Emma Montgomery, Mags Montgomery
The teams will be looking to put in a strong performance and retain the title, having won it on 3 of the last 4 occasions. We will try to keep you updated throughout the weekend with the state of play.
The Scottish Women’s team of Dani Cassini, Emma Montgomery, Lynn Jenkins and Shirley Legge competed in the Women’s European Championships in Mersin, Turkey, last weekend.
The opening rounds followed the Swiss format and the Scots were drawn against Ukraine first up. The results from the Swiss were as follows:
1. Scotland 13-7 Ukraine
2. Scotland 0-13 Italy
3. Scotland 13-2 England
4. Scotland 13-6 Portugal
5. Scotland 11-12 Slovenia
A great performance placing the Scots in twelfth place after the Swiss rounds and qualifying for the last 16 in the main competition.
The last 16 format was 4 seeded pools played under the barrage system. The Scots faced Denmark in the first game and were beaten 13-0. Up next was Slovenia and a must win game to stay in the competition. And that they did, winning 13-7 and reversing the result from the Swiss round. So, with one win and one loss, the Scots found themselves in the barrage match against the Spanish, the winner would secure a spot in the last 8 knock-out phase. Sadly for Scotland it was not to be and the Spaniards won without conceding. So the Scots were out, but achieved the highest ever ranking of a Scottish team in an international event and they will no doubt look back on the weekend as a triumph.
Interestingly, the Danes and Spanish (both of whom Scotland faced in the last 16 pool) contested the final, with Spain coming out on top. The Scots can therefore be very proud of their achievements against such high calibre opponents.
This bodes very well for the game in Scotland. Bit by bit players are getting experience of playing at the highest level and this can only benefit all players as our standard improves.
The 2014 Home Nations was held and Mansfield Petanque Club on 9th and 10th August.
The teams arrived on Friday 8th August and many headed to the pistes for a practice, to find them waterlogged after torrential rain. With practice impossible, the socialising started early!
The Scots, Welsh and English players arrived at the well manicured pistes at 8am on the Saturday morning, to find no sign of the flooding from the night before. An army of volunteers from Mansfield PC had clearly been up early to prepare the pistes and catering – a sterling job and much appreciated by the players. After welcome speeches and photographs the games commenced at 9 am. The weather forecast for Sunday was very poor and therefore it was decided to play 7 rounds on the Saturday as a contingency against delays on Sunday.
As play commenced on Sunday heavens opened and, by the end of round 8 almost all the pistes were waterlogged and unplayable, despite the pump. A meeting of the heads of delegations was hastily arranged and it was reluctantly agreed that play could not continue and the competition would be cut short to 8 rounds. A disappointing end to what was otherwise a great weekend.
In the end, many of the Scottish teams struggled with a total of 24 wins across the squad. The English team did what they needed to with 43 wins and the Welsh held a solid second place on 29.
Notable exceptions were the Scotland 2 team of Lynn, Shirley and Robbie who amassed 6 wins from 8 to be the top Scottish team of the weekend, closely followed by Scotland 6 Christine and John Mudd and Gordon and Pat Scott who secured 5 wins.
The SPA would like to thank all of the volunteers from Mansfield PC and the English Petanque Association for their hard work during the weekend. It was sad that they were beaten by the elements in the end, but their efforts and planning were greatly appreciated.
The SPA are delighted to report that we have received an invitation to nominate both a female and male player to represent Scotland at the forthcoming World Singles Championships in Nice in January. To this end it has been decided that the highest placed female and male players in Saturday’s SPA Singles competition will be offered our places.
Players will be asked at registration on Saturday whether they wish to be considered in principle for selection. This decision is not fully binding as full details have not yet been published by the FIPJP, but those who wish to be selected should be prepared in principle to participate. Please note that the SPA cannot offer any financial assistance to the successful players. The SPA will provide full details as soon as they become available – we expect this in August.
This is an exciting opportunity and we wish all of our competitors the very best of luck.
The Scottish squad of Christine Thomson, Ed Strachan and Douglas Hamilton competed in the European Veteran’s Championship in Lulea, Sweden, last weekend. The team faced a tough draw against Denmark (8th in the competition 2 years ago) in the opening round but put up a strong fight. Here are the results of the first 5 Swiss rounds:
With a record of 5 wins and ranked 10th after the Swiss rounds, Scotland faced an elimination match, again against Poland. The winners would qualify for the main competition with the losers into the Nations Championship.
Elimination Round: Scotland 11 – 13 Poland
So Scotland went into the 1/4 finals of the Nations Championship and were drawn against Norway
1/4 Nations Championship: Scotland 3 – 13 Norway
A very creditable effort from the Scotland squad who faced tough competition along the way. The main competition was won by Monaco who defeated Denmark in the final. The Nations Championship was won by England who fannied Norway in the final.
Fochabers PC hosted the 2014 Celtic Challenge on 3rd and 4th May. The main sponsor was Diageo.
The players arrived to a warm welcome at the piste with nibbles and refreshments – a chance to practice and renew acquaintances.
After a welcome by Colin, Shirley and Linda Mellis from Diageo, play commenced at 9.00 am on the Saturday morning with the Scotland A & B teams up against each other, while Ireland faced Wales. The round ended after 11, with 2 games going beyond the 2 hour mark, with Wales in a narrow lead, closely followed by Scotland A & Scotland B.
The results of the first 4 rounds of matches were: Scotland A 11-5 Scotland B, Wales 10-6 Ireland.
Play continued in the afternoon in the sunshine although no team managed to dominate Scotland A managed to extend their lead and Scotland B had pulled themselves into 3rd place. The standings at the end of the first day’s play were: Scotland A 16, Wales 13, Scotland B 10, Ireland 9.
Sunday morning arrived with the threat of showers in the weather forecast and everyone hoped for dry weather. Scotland A took the 4 rounds against Wales with a score of 10-6 whilst Scotland B recorded an 11-5 score against Ireland. After 8 rounds the standings were therefore: Scotland A 21, Wales 16, Scotland B 16, Ireland 11. Scotland B were only 3rd by virtue of points difference.
One more round was completed before lunch and then, just as round 10 got going and everyone thought we might stay dry, it started to rain. And rain. And rain. The umpires called a break in play as the rain poured down the piste and flooded pistes 1 & 2 to the point that they were unplayable. Thankfully the rain subdued after around 30 minutes and all but piste 1 was playable. Cue frantic channel digging to attempt to drain piste 1 while play continued on pistes 2-8. By the end of round 10 piste 1 had drained sufficiently to be clear of water, although with all the mud and silt that had been washed down the piste it was very soft.
By the end of Round 11 Scotland A had done enough to win the competition, being 5 wins ahead of second place but the question remained which team, Scotland B or Wales, would finish in second, both were on 22 wins. Wales emerged from the last round with 3 wins to take second place. The final 4 rounds results were: Scotland A 8-8 Ireland, Scotland B 7-9 Wales.
The final standings were therefore:
1st Scotland A 29
2nd Wales 25
3rd Scotland B 23
4th Ireland 19
Congratulations to Scotland A. They will be hoping to retain the trophy when the Celtic Challenge returns to Dublin in 2015.
The SPA would like to thank Fochabers PC and volunteers, Diageo and the other sponsors and anyone else who contributed to a fantastic weekend’s sport and socilalising.
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