First steps back to playing

After over ten weeks in COVID-19 lockdown, petanque players across the Southern region are slowly emerging into the sunshine as a number of clubs are able to access their pistes again. Following strict guidelines of only playing singles and adhering to the 2m distance rule, it is good to hear how clubs and their members are easing back.

During the lockdown it has been great to follow our junior players via live video streams on Facebook, as they have been taking part in the NYA Precision Shooting competition organised by Toni Gates. Each junior was paired with an experienced adult player in a head-to-head competition, albeit in different locations. It was particularly impressive to see our juniors showing passion for the sport and negotiating some garden space to create their makeshift terrains to practice on, and the improvement in their shooting and technical abilities has been clearly evident.

A number of Southern players are also taking part in ‘The Big Shoot Off’ organised by Dave Plumoff, with every player being required to live stream their session. Results are ranked in a league, with the top 16 going through to finals. Good luck to everyone taking part and thanks to The Hoff for organising this creative way of competing.

Here is a round-up of news from some of the clubs/members activities as we gently ease out of lockdown:

Worthing PC was one of the first clubs to take advantage of the lockdown easing as West Worthing Club opened up for outdoor sports on 13 May. Although a number of Worthing members fall under the vulnerable category or who are shielding and wary about coming back, Bob Ainsworth said: “…we get a dozen or so on a sunny day with a maximum of 16 due to distancing rules. Playing with no circles, scoreboards or a shared coche takes a bit of getting used to, but it’s settled down quite nicely now. We’re running a Singles league over the summer, which we have done for a couple of years, which is a round robin so everyone has plenty of purposeful games, as well as the usual friendly stuff. One thing people have twigged is they don’t all need to turn up at the same time for a communal throw in like they have been used to for many years. It will seem strange when we are able to play with a partner again!”

A number of Oxshott PC members returned to playing singles last week which saw four games of singles played simultaneously (two games on the upper terrain and two on the lower terrains). Everyone thoroughly enjoyed getting ‘back to petanque’ whilst keeping in mind the 2m rule! Thanks to Ann Pickering for sharing this photo of some of their club members demonstrating social distancing.

Muscliff PC is attracting six players (playing three singles games) each morning and each afternoon. Players are making their own arrangements with playing partners and it all seems to be going OK with everyone abiding by the rules.

Adur PC has attracted 6-8 members since the easing of the lockdown. The members attend at various times of the day and days and so there may be only two playing, or up to a maximum of eight at one time. They are all social distancing and playing singles and following the guidelines as set out by the Government & PE. The terrains have also been used by Jamie Brooks for his ‘Big Shoot Off’ session. However, with the Leisure Centre remaining closed, the majority of Adur players are unlikely to return for some time.

Members of Cobbetts Boules Club have enjoyed having access to their terrains, and a number have privately arranged to play singles matches whilst observing the social distancing and playing rules as set out by PE and endorsed by SCPA. The car park remains closed so players need to park at the community centre and walk across the sports field to the club.


If you would like to share your club’s news and photos as we ease out of lockdown, please email