From Vision to Reality
A huge thank you to Glenn Floyd, our president, whose long term vision of hosting an International Petanque Tournament was finally realised over the May Bank Holiday. Glenn has had the aspiration to host such an event for many years but seized the opportunity last year after Worthing PC were unsuccessful in their bid to host the National Titles weekend. He soon got the ball rolling working in partnership with Worthing Petanque Club and set up a planning Committee which included Hilary, Stuart, Hassi, Bob and Angela – and so the seeds for the Spectacular Weekend of Petanque were sown.
Spectacular proved to be exactly what the tournament turned out to be. With three days of wall-to-wall sunshine without a hint of a cloud in the sky, the mood for the event was one of excitement, fun, inclusivity and competitiveness. As players from across Europe and around the country started to arrive on Saturday, they were greeted with a warm welcome, festival-style ambience, and impeccable organisation for the day ahead.
There was a large contingent of players from Holland and Belgium who enjoyed friendly banter with their English hosts. On the Saturday, a group of French players who were over for a twinning weekend with Arundel PC also enjoyed a day of playing petanque in the relaxed friendly atmosphere while socialising with friends over a nice glass of wine and nibbles. And it was good see Petanque England directors, Martin Hughes and David Baxter joining in the festivities.
All the pistes were ready, several gazebos were dotted around providing shade in between play and refreshments and food available throughout the day. A special addition to the event was the colourful stand from JDC Sport BV, who had come all the way from Holland to sell a wide range of petanque products. The stand was run by a very friendly couple (Martin van der Linden and his wife), who offered service with a smile and were extremely knowledgeable and helpful to anyone who wanted to check out buying new boules or any other petanque goodies.
The competitions over the three days comprised of Doubles, Triples and Singles with players of all levels and abilities competing alongside one another – from some of the top petanque players from Europe to relatively new players. The format for the three days was morning leagues (random draw) and afternoon knockouts with a consolage in each category. It was heartening to see good sportsmanship as many of the top players provided guidance and encouragement to new(ish) players. The tournament also welcomed many junior players who showed great potential with some outstanding performances. Southern juniors Jamie & Liam made their mark on all three days but particularly shone in the Singles as Jamie reached the Gold Semi-Finals after beating Sylvestre Mananasy in the quarters and Liam reached the Gold Consolage Semi-Finals. Francesca played with Mum Julia in the Doubles and Marc joined Liam and Jamie in the Triples on Sunday where they reached the Silver Semi-Finals.
Hilary’s excellent planning, running and overseeing the competition was simply superb with her pragmatic approach and calm disposition maintained throughout. Glenn’s reference to Hilary as “one in a million” was echoed by everyone at the event.
Martin Hughes said “The setup, ambience, organisation (timed games in morning = very positive), technical pitches (not all, but good proportion), level of play, hospitality, international presence and competitive spirit was first rate. To me this sets a gold standard for the sport in England. I know only too well the effort and energy that is required to make these events a success.”
There were no real surprises in the Gold Finals as familiar faces reached the top and battled it out, treating the spectators to some spectacular, jaw-dropping Petanque.
Kees Koogje & Noel Kempeneers (from Holland)
Nic Baxter & Sylvestre Mananasy
Kees Koogje Noel Kempeneers & Nic Baxter
Sylvestre Mananasy, Monty Quaia & Dean Seville
A number of notable Southern players did make the cut in the Gold over the course of the three days namely:
- Dave Stubbs & Steve Daykin (Gold semi-finals)
- Callum Lombard & Stuart Floyd (Gold quarter-finalists)
- Chris Chubb, Leo Black & Paul Hayes (Gold quarter-finalists)
- David Cruz (Gold quarter-finalist) who played with Sam Blakey & Reece Gould
- Jamie Brooks (Gold Semi-finalist)
- Mark Robertshaw (Gold quarter-finalist)
- Steve Daykin (Gold Consolage Winners)
- Liam Floyd (Gold Consolage semi-finalist)
Congratulations to all the winners and especially to Kees Koogje who was clearly the ‘Man of the Tournament’ as he won the Gold title on all three days. It was a delight to watch this quiet young Dutch player in all the finals. With a calmness in his play, he simply amazed the audience with a level of Petanque many rarely get to witness and showed humility towards his opponents at every level. Truly superb.
Glenn summed up Kees in his final words on the day, saying “Kees was not only an outstanding player but an outstanding person of great quality”.
This is what Kees had to say about his visit to Worthing:
“I’ve really enjoyed coming over to Worthing, one of the best atmospheres I’ve ever experienced while playing a tournament. A big congratulations to the organisers! Everything ran really smoothly and there wasn’t any delay in playing games, something we all really enjoy which compared to other tournaments we’ve played all through Europe this has been the best thus far. And I’m not even going to mention the lovely weather, I guess every body did get sunburned or got a strangely looking shirt tan haha… I certainly did! I’m really looking forwards to next year! If I’m still allowed to come over…”
What a fantastic testament for our very first International Weekend of Petanque. At the close of this spectacular event a slightly emotional Glenn praised everyone for entering into the true spirit of the game and impeccable behaviour. Thank you Glenn, for your vision and leadership.
Tot gauw from your Happy Blogger