Celtic Challenge Report

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Scotland Squad for 2013 Celtic Challenge

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.

Results by Teams

Results by Nations

Results by Nations Summary

Photos (with thanks to Tony Smith)

Grand Prix 1 Result

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.

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Grand Prix 1 Results

Ranking points and standings in the Grand Prix Series are therefore as follows:

GP Series
Grand Prix Series After Round 1

Congratulations to Les Cremants, Grand Prix 1 winners:

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Les Cremants – Christine Thomson, Ed Strachan & Alison Swiffin

 

 

 

 

 

North v South Report

The Scottish petanque season began in earnest on Sunday 7th April at Perth Petanque Club with the annual North v South challenge.

A total of 56 (that’s 56!) players registered – the North v South is clearly a popular format! Hopefully we will see similar numbers attend club open and SPA competitions this year.  Players were divided into 10 teams for each side, with only 8 lanes available on the purpose built terrain, two games in each round would need to be played in the carpark – an unprepared surface with tiles, bricks and large stones scattered across it – a very real challenge!

Scotland’s clubs were well represented in the 10 teams on each side:

SOUTH; Troon (12 players), Inverleith (7), Penicuik (4), Birds & Bees (5)

NORTH; Birds & Bees (3) Perth (12), Inverness (9) and Fochabers (4)

The damp and cold weather meant that the planned five rounds were restricted to four.  The North roared to a 7-3 lead after the first round.  Honours were even in the next round meaning the North took their lead of 12-8 into lunch. The third round saw the North claim a further 8 victories, taking the match score to 20-10.  This left the South needing to win all games in the final round to tie and retain the trophy.

In the end the South claimed 7 games in the final round to leave the final score North 23 v 17 South.

The SPA would like to thank Perth Petanque Club for their hospitality including the breakfast roll, hot drinks and warming lunch which were much appreciated on such a cold day.

The next SPA event is Grand Prix 1 at Fochabers on Sunday 21st April.  Don’t forget that Fochabers Petanque Club are holding their ‘Spring Fling’ on Saturday 20th April (1 pm).

 

 

Byron Milton

 

 

It is with deep sadness and regret that I have to announce that former SPA President Byron Milton passed away on Wednesday 27th March.

In a playing career which spanned well over three decades Byron achieved countless titles  in Scotland and further afield, a regular place in the Scotland squad and was one of the most successful players in Scottish petanque’s history. One of petanque’s most memorable characters, he will be sorely missed by all.

On behalf of the SPA I would like to pass on our deepest sympathy to his wife Sandra and all his club mates and friends at the Birds & Bees.

Colin Stewart, President

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