The 27th Celtic Challenge was once again a memorable affair, held at Frankfield Petanque Club in Cork on the 2nd and 3rd of May 2015.
The players arrived at Frankfield house on Friday evening to a friendly welcome with a homemade curry before being handed an array of goodies and enjoying the local ales whilst catching up with old friends and meeting new ones. Practise was sadly off the cards on Friday night due to the dank dreary conditions.
We arrived at the piste on Saturday morning to a warm welcome from the Lord Mayor of Cork and the torrential rain! Rain aside, play commenced at 9.30 with Scotland battling against Wales and Ireland A and B against each other. After the morning Rounds Wales were edging ahead with 7 wins to our 5. We had a little more to do in the afternoon.
We ended play on day 1 with 13 wins out of a possible 24 with Ireland B also on 13 wins, and Wales and Ireland A on 11 wins each. Going in to day 2 it was all to play for. The top team going in to Sunday were Pretty Vacant as Scotland 3 on 6 out of a possible 6 with + 67.
Day 2 started a little less wet than Saturday but that wasn’t to last and with several references made to Fochabers last year with the flooded piste, there was a definite sense of déjà vu in the air!
Scotland Started out Sunday morning with 9 out of 12 wins which saw us edge up to 22 wins + 66, jumping ahead of Wales in second place with 18 wins and then Ireland A and B battling for 3rd place it was very exciting going in to round 10!
Round 10 was the round of the weekend where all our teams won their games and saw us jump up to 26 wins + 92, a very credible score which sealed the win for us! The focus then turned to Triaxle as Scotland 2 with 5 out of 6 wins on day 1 and by the end of round 10 saw them edge up to 9 wins. They had 2 more games to make be the clear cut best team of the weekend, which they duly did with a score of 11 out of 12 wins + 55. The second best team of the weekend overall were Scotland 3 with 9 wins +67.
Retaining both the Celtic Challenge Trophy and the Best Team Shield for a second year in a row was a real treat and put a ray of sunshine on what was a very wet weekend.
Final Placings were Scotland with 32 wins +129 Wales 25 wins + 35 Ireland B 20 wins – 96 and Ireland A 19 wins -66
The SPA would like to thank Frankfield Petanque Club and the Irish Petanque Association and their dedicated volunteers for assisting us during the weekend and making it another memorable trip to the Celtic Challenge. We look forward to 2016 in Wales, where we can do it all over again and Scotland can begin their hat-trick campaign.