The 2014 Celtic Challenge will be hosted by Fochabers Petanque Club on 3rd and 4th May.
Perth Petanque Club hosted Grand Prix 3 on Sunday 23rd June. Players from the same 14 teams who contested Grand Prix 2 were welcomed to bacon rolls in the morning and ‘picnic baskets’ of cold meats, cheese, bread, pickles and salad for lunch. The SPA would like to thank all the volunteers from Perth for all their hard work.
With a number of teams in the hunt for the SPA Grand Prix Series it was sure to be an interesting day’s play. And so it turned out with the top 3 ranked teams after Grand Prix 2 seeming to struggle this time around.
In the end Grand Prix 3 was won by Pretty Vacant with a perfect 6 wins, the Champignons were second and the Sex Pisteols were third, both with 4 wins.
The Grand Prix Series was won by the Champignons with Pretty Vacant climbing into second place and third place went to Les Cremants. Congratulations to all.
Fourteen teams fought for Grand Prix 2 at Troon Petanque Club on Sunday 26th May. Once again the weather defied the forecast and it was warm and sunny for most of the day. Troon PC pulled out all the stops, making the competitors feel very welcome with bunting, balloons and a feast of lasagne, baked potatoes and home baking. The SPA would like to thank Troon PC for all their hard work.
For the second year running at Troon the Champignons (The Monty Clan plus John Watson) dominated the day and secured the trophy with 5 wins. They must like Troon’s piste!
The standings after 2 Rounds are as follows: After 3 rounds are complete teams 1-12 will be invited to compete in the SPA Masters in Septemer and teams 1-8 will be invited to represent the SPA at the 2014 Home Nations.
Saturday 4th & Sunday 5th May brought the 25th Celtic Challenge to the Wheatsheaf Inn, Llanhennock, nr Newport, Wales.
We were welcomed at the piste on the Friday night for a practice on the challenging surface (bare, hard and sloping car-park) followed by a buffet and musical entertainment. A nice welcome after our long journey.
Saturday arrived and the customary opening ceremony was held in the morning mist. Play started a little after 9 am with Scotland facing Ireland first. Scotland took a commanding lead following 3-1, 3-1, 4-0 and 3-1 victories in the first four rounds. Indeed after the final round against Ireland teams 1,2 and 3 from Scotland were unbeaten. After 4 rounds the scores read: Scotland 13, Wales A 10, Wales B 6, Ireland 3.
During the lunch interval the presidents of all three associations decided to complete seven rounds on Saturday to give more time on Sunday for preparations for the dinner. More on that later.
Up next for Scotland were Wales B. With three rounds to be completed this was an opportunity for Scotland to put down a good lead overnight. And so it proved to be, when play finally finished (at 9pm under floodlights) Scotland went into the overnight break having secured 3-1, 4-0 and 3-1 wins against Wales B. However, Wales A also had a good 3 rounds against Ireland and therefore the scores overnight were: Scotland 23, Wales A 20, Wales B 8, Ireland 5.
Scotland took round 8 first thing in the morning on Sunday with a score of 3-1 meaning the scores with just four rounds to play the scores were Scotland 26. Wales A 24, Wales B 9, Ireland 5. It would all therefore be settled in the head to head with Scotland and Wales A in the final four rounds. It is worth noting at this point that Scotland 1 (Johnny, Robbie & Paul) and Scotland 3 (Shirley, Lynn and Richard) were both unbeaten.
Then a hammer blow as Wales A took round 9 with a score of 4-0 over Scotland and took the lead. Round 10 was not much better with Wales bagging the round 3-1. This left Scotland with only the slimmest of hopes of retaining the title. With the head to head score at Wales A 31, Scotland 27 a big come back would be required. With round 11 tied at 2-2 the contest was effectively over with Wales holding a 33-29 lead with vastly superior points difference. However, pride was at stake and, with 10 wins from 11 so far Shirley, Lynn and Richard were within touching distance of being the weekend’s top team – but they would need to beat Wales 4 in the final round.
Scotland won the final round 3-1 but sadly Shirley, Lynn and Richard didn’t manage to beat Wales 4 and lost out on the top team prize. Final score Wales A 34, Scotland 32, Wales B 17, Ireland 13.
A big thank you to the Welsh Petanque Association and the Wheatsheaf Inn for being fantastic hosts. We very much look forward to welcoming everyone back to Scotland in 2014.
Final result: Wales A 34 – Scotland 32 – Wales B 17 – Ireland 17. Report and stats to follow.
Scotland 23 – Wales A 20 – Wales B 8 – Ireland 5
After 3 rounds the scores are as follows:
Scotland 10 – Wales A 7 – Wales B 5 – Ireland 2
Good luck to the four triples teams representing the SPA at this weekend’s Celtic Challenge in Wales. Scotland are aiming to retain the trophy having won it in 2011 and 2012. The Scotland 1 team of Paul Bretenoux, Robbie Stronach and John Wilson have not been beaten in a Celtic Challenge since 2010.
12 teams arrived at Fochabers PC on Sunday 21st April for the first Grand Prix of 2013. Players were greeted to bacon rolls & coffee at breakfast (thank you Shirley) and a veritable feast of chilli, nachos and Mrs Stronach’s famous home baking for lunch. The SPA would like to thank Fochabers PC and all their volunteers for their hospitality over the whole weekend. We were delighted that the SPA’s founding President, Chris Pern, paid a visit to the piste during the competition.
The SPA are using the Swiss Ladder system to determine the order of play and the BHN/fBHN ranking method. In addition, timed games have been reintroduced this year. Games are limited to 60 minuted plus an additional end (with a one boule each tie breaker if necessary).
The teams seemed to adapt to the new format quite easily and, with play ceasing bang on 6 pm the timed games element worked out perfectly.
Ranking points and standings in the Grand Prix Series are therefore as follows:
Congratulations to Les Cremants, Grand Prix 1 winners: