Wow, wow, wow! Wow seemed to be the key word on Sunday 28th November, as players arrived at the impressive Sunnyfields Southern Boulodrome for the SCPA Open Doubles. More on that later, but first…
It all began when Mark Duncan recognised the potential of Sunnyfields Farm on a casual visit to an event there early in the year… but, with busy Spring and Summer seasons ahead for the farm, the time was not yet right to pursue the opportunity.
However, fast-forward to early September, and Hassi & Paul visited Sunnyfields with Mark and met with Tom – son of the farm’s owner “Farmer Ian” – who was excited by our ideas for running an indoor Petanque event in their impressive permanent marquee. It needed to be after the end of the pumpkin season so we set the ball in motion, agreed a date, and formed the Boulodrome Team comprising Mark, Hassi, Paul & Hilary – and young Will assisting whenever we visited the farm.
The Team’s roles were nicely divvied-up, starting with Mark and Paul looking into the practicalities of turning the Sunnyfields Marquee into a 32-piste Boulodrome for 64 teams. A fantastic early win from Mark was in securing all the timber edging from local Petanque player Adam Bancroft of Totton Timber. Adam not only provided all the timber for free, but delivered it to the farm and spent a long day with Mark and Will constructing the surrounds. We arranged to borrow 32 scoreboards from PE and collected, cleaned and re-numbered them. And bought 700m of string!
Meanwhile, Hassi designed and publicised a poster advertising the event and produced an information leaflet along with Paul. Hilary quickly set up a system to deal with the influx of entries that followed within minutes of publicising on our Facebook page. Phew, we had not anticipated the take-up to happen so fast! The event was sold out within days and a reserve list was started. We agreed a playing format and Hilary took charge of communicating with the players, and later carried out a ‘live’ draw on Facebook, which saw the 64 teams randomly drawn into 16 Groups.
One week before the event, the team (joined by Will & SCPA President Steve Lombard) spent another full day at Sunnyfields getting the terrains stringed, scoreboards fitted, wood secured, furniture in place… and we even managed to introduce our wonderful host Farmer Ian to the game. Ian enjoyed playing so much that on the eve of the Boulodrome Doubles he organised a special Petanque party for some friends to celebrate a birthday!
Being ready a week early allowed us to also use the Boulodrome on the Saturday before the competition, for practice and informal games. We had a steady flow of players and passers-by come along to check-out the terrains, undeterred by the sleet and gale-force winds of Storm Arwen raging outside. It was also a great opportunity for Steve Daykin, one of our most esteemed coaches, to run a coaching session for a group of junior players from Muscliff Park Petanque Club. Watching our young players produce spot-carreaux under the guidance of Steve was heart warming and inspiring.
The Boulodrome Doubles
Our big day was finally here and thankfully the storm had calmed down. And though it remained a bitterly cold day, the sun was shining.
As players began to arrive from far and wide, there was a wonderful hubbub of wow’s! Farmer Ian and his great team were all ready to serve up bacon rolls during the registration process.
Following the announcements, the players quickly took to their allocated pistes awaiting the sound of the klaxon to begin play. Timed games ran like clockwork and the three morning games all finished in plenty of time to allow players a decent lunch break. The well-organised Sunnyfields team ran a tight ship and served-up delicious hot food including locally-produced burgers from their Farm Shop’s butcher, and pumpkin soup made from their own pumpkins!
Hilary totted-up the scores and placed 16 teams each in their respective categories of Gold, Silver, Bronze & Pewter. With prizes at all levels, teams with varying amounts of experience and skill were able to achieve wins.
Perhaps the most noteworthy morning league was Group C (labelled the ‘Group of Death’), all of whose teams each went on to win their respective categories in the knockouts, after winning every game in the afternoon.
Thanks to timed games, all the finals were played at the same time and it was good to see a sprinkling of spectators staying on to watch these. The very last match to finish was the Silver Final against our all-junior team of Ella Slade & Sam Rattue who gave a good fight but were beaten by their coach Scott Ashby playing with Matt Horrigan.
Well done to our England duo Dave Plumoff & Jack Blows, who clinched the Gold beating Steve Daykin and Phil Bradshaw in the finals.
The Bronze final was an all-Southern affair with Callum Lombard & David Cruz playing Tony & Peter Kidd. It was the former team (from Group C) who were victorious.
Amazingly, the final team in Group C, Clifton Gonsalves & Ray Stanton also secured a win in the Pewter with Adam Bancroft & Ryan Drake finishing as runners up.
Congratulations to all the winners (full results below).
Our biggest thank-you has to go to Sunnyfields Owners Ian, Louise & Tom for allowing us to transform their event marquee into a Petanque venue and run our first Indoor Boulodrome competition. Also massive thanks to Adam Bancroft for supplying all the wood edging. Without their generosity and time, this event would not have been possible.
Thanks to all the players who showcased the very best of our sport and to the spectators for cheering on the teams, and for all the lovely comments.
And finally, thank you to Hilary for running the competition in her inimitable calm manner and always with smile 😊.
Here’s just a few of the comments that sum up the day …
“A superb day with great organisation. So lovely to see such a wide range of players in one venue again. Thankyou for a great day”
“Well done team. A great venue and a good day of boules 👏
“ A fantastically organised event at a wonderful venue. Well worth the trip from Devon especially to see our SCPA friends again. Thanks Team Southern, looking forward to the next one.”
Till next time…. sayonara from the Happy Blogger 😊
SCPA Boulodrome Open Doubles – Results
- Winners: Dave Plumhoff & Jack Blows
- Runners-up: Phil Bradshaw & Steve Daykin
- Semi-finalists: Dean Ashby & Rowland Jones
- Semi-finalists: Ashley Jamieson & Nick Baxter
- Quarter-finalists: Dave Lucas & Liam Kidd
- Quarter-finalists: Dave Stubbs & Richard Greeves
- Quarter-finalists: Aston Monk & Jason White
- Quarter-finalists: Monty Quaia & Jonathan
- Winners: Vince Wills & Josh Tombleson
- Runners-up: Mike Porter & Alison Stubbs
- Winners: Scott Ashby & Matt Horrigan
- Runners-up: Sam Rattue & Ella Slade
- Semi-finalists: Sammy Ogles & Kaylee Thatcher
- Semi-finalists: Stuart Cursley & Reg Jupp
- Winners: Rod Bennett & Alan Forse
- Runners-up: Colin Crofts & Stan Cox
- Winners: Callum Lombard & David Cruz
- Runners-up: Tony Kidd & Peter Kidd
- Winners: Grant Goodwin & Sandra Goodwin
- Winners: Ray Stanton & Clifton Gonsalves
- Runners-up: Adam Bancroft & Ryan Drake
- Winners: Paula Fauvel & Robert Cleaver
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