The FIPJP has confirmed that due to the continued situation with Covid-19 in mainland Europe, the World Championship: Triples for Men, which was to be held in Prilly-Lausanne, Switzerland, in July and postponed from 2020, has been cancelled.
This must be extremely disappointing for our friends in Switzerland who have worked tirelessly to host the Championships for the past 3 years. However, due to the ever-evolving nature of the virus and the restrictions placed upon organisations, the FIPJP, together with the hosts, decided that the potential quarantine conditions for teams arriving in Switzerland and on return to their country, as well as the constraints that would have to be imposed at the site were also considered too problematic.
Following up on the announcement from the FIPJP, The European Petanque Confederation (CEP) has stated that they “…continue to monitor the pandemic situation across Europe and remain hopeful that each of our championships will go ahead as planned; however, a final decision [by the CEP] on this year’s championships will be made in early July”.
We will, of course, keep you informed of any announcements concerning the European Championships.
A Cold and Wet Day for the opening round of Assessments
The morning (in particular) weather didn’t help the competitors in the first round of the Qualifying Assessments for the 2021 World Championships (Triples: Men), European Championships (Triples: Men) and European Championships for Veterans (Triples: Women & Men).
I need to begin with thanking the Monkstone PC for giving over their pistes for the day to allow us to safely spread out and run the three individual Assessments, as well as a distanced area for playing/warming up (a term I use lightly, given the weather).
I must also thank the people who marked each event – Jean-Yves Robic, Tony Smith and, especially, Lyn Babbage who stepped in at the last minute to help out after I had to pull-out due to illness.
There had been a lot of discussion among the Executive Committee and with the National Coach prior to the event taking place – firstly around whether it should have gone ahead at all. We always knew it would be a risk, starting such an important process in nearly December, and we have 2 further weekends for scheduled into the 2021 Draft Playing Calendar for more rounds for these events, as well as a separate event for the World Championships (Triples: Women). In addition, this is partly driven by the closing date for entries to the World Championships. Based on our experience earlier this year, the organisers will need full details of the team by early Spring.
Given this likely requirement, along with the uncertainty surrounding the Coronavirus restrictions in Wales, we decided it would be useful to get at least one round “in the bag” while we had a window of opportunity.
We added a second day to the Playing Calendar in case we needed that extra time, depending on the number of players who entered, but as it turned out, only the Saturday was needed.
With a slight evolution of the process, we used in 2019, the original plan for the day involved a number of timed triples matches between teams made up of the players not undergoing their individual assessments and taking place simultaneously with those. The plan was for these games to be observed and each player marked using the same process as our coaches follow at international events. Unfortunately, the lack of people available to undertake this observation & marking meant this element had to be removed from the event.
All the players who took part have been asked for their feedback on the event. I am grateful for the replies received so far and hope the people who haven’t responded yet, will be able to do so. All suggestions/thoughts/views will be considered before the next rounds.
The Standings at the end of Round 1 can be seen below. Each player’s individual detailed scoring will be emailed directly to them by the National Coach.
Congratulations to everyone who took part, and a big thank you again to Monkstone PC and the volunteer markers.
Let’s hope the following rounds take place in kinder conditions.
Another rearranged competition sees the National Precision Shooting competition wrap up the 2020 playing calendar.
After much debate amongst the Executive Committee, it was decided to go ahead with the National Precision Shooting competition in a different format to that in previous years.
Concerns about the weather and failing light potentially making an already difficult competition even harder, the competition was held as a one-round “all-or-nothing” shoot-out, with Pontyclun PC again acting as a host venue.
A number of last-minute withdrawals left a depleted field of 10 men and only 2 women.
One huge positive of the day was the number of players taking part for the first time, including the eventual Women’s winner, Gill Greenwell.
The Men’s competition went to a more experienced player – with Ian Bailey taking his first National Precision Shooting title, with Len Field coming second.
The plan now is to be able to hold the 2021 competition early in next year’s calendar with a more conventional format, and for it to be as part of the International Qualifying Assessments as well as a National title.
Congratulations to everyone who took part, and a big thank you to Pontyclun PC for preparing the pistes to allow the competition to go ahead,
Rainbows, Road-Closures & Floodlit Finale fail to Dampen Spirits
Re-arranged after being postponed as a result of the recent Welsh Government Firebreak, this year’s National Mixed Doubles finally got underway at Caerleon RFC PC.
Having offered to host the original event, we were delighted that Caerleon were able to also meet the revised date. Our thanks to the Rugby and Petanque Clubs Committees, and especially Richard Harris for making it happen.
The build-up to this event was, I think it’s safe to say, less than ideal. With more teams entered than the Welsh Government limit of 30 people allowed, it meant we unfortunately had to decline the entries of a few teams. It’s rare for us to run an oversubscribed event, and our sincerest apologies to these unlucky players. We were able to accommodate some more, when a few teams dropped out at the last minute, which left us with 12 teams fighting for the title.
There’s a clear risk to holding competitions mid-November, and today we found out enough weather to prove this, with sunshine, light showers, proper Welsh rain, winds and hail making it a challenge.
Four rounds of timed games including a short lunch break, led to the top four teams heading for the semi-finals, where Maesteg PC’s Julie & Ian Bailey defeated Wheatsheaf PC’s Gail Brooksbank and Robert White, and club-locals Tansy Mayfield and Richard Harris defeating Monkstone PC’s Jayne Dunn and Peredur John.
With the semis and final being untimed, the light was fading-fast as the finalists threw the first boule. Ironically, as the light faded, the clouds parted and the sky truned out be the clearest it had been all day!
Mayfield & Harris got off to a flying start with a 1 and 6 on the first 2 ends taking them into a strong lead – the 6, in particular, coming from some outstanding pointing.
Just at the point when many teams would crumble, former champions, the Baileys, dug deep and began their recovery, clawing their way back in 1s and 2s, till the edged ahead as the light went completely and we had to resort to using temporary floodlighting (thanks to Marie & Derek Jones for the inspirational decision to throw them into the bag of the car in the morning).
The next few ends saw the lead change hands until both teams were tied on 11 each, with Baileys taking the point on the next end, just missing out on the winning point, before finally closing the game out 13-11.
Huge congratulations to our 2020 National Mixed Doubles Champions, and, once again, our thanks to Caerleon RFC PC for hosting the event in a safe and sporting way.
Next-up is the National Precision Shooting for Women & Men, currently scheduled for November 22nd – venue still to be confirmed.
Part of Caerleon Road will be closed to allow urgent work to fell a significant number of mature trees affected by Ash dieback disease.
Diversion routes for most vehicles will be via New Road, Belmont Hill, Royal Oak Hill, Chepstow Road, Clarence Place, Old Green roundabout and A4042 but heavy vehicles will use the B4236, Ponthir, Llanfrechfa and the A4042.
The B4236, Ponthir, Llanfrechfa and the A4042 is a larger road and come in from the top of Caerleon.
I hope you and you families are continuing to stay safe and well.
You may have seen in yesterday’s announcement from the First Minister that outdoor gatherings of up to 30 people will be allowed again from Monday 9th November.
Coupled with the lifting of travel restrictions WITHIN Wales, this means we have decided to commence competitive play, as we’d previously said we would do if possible.
The WPA Playing Calendar has now been updated with the addition of 2 National events – the National Mixed Doubles has been scheduled for 15 November, and the National Precision Shooting (Men and Ladies) for the weekend after, 22nd.
Please note – the Venues for all these events are still under review and will be confirmed as soon as possible.
In addition, we are intending to run the first 2 Assessment events, as we’ve done in previous years, to find Teams to compete in the 2021 World and European Championships. Initially, this will be for the Men’s teams, with the Ladies teams to follow (this is because the Men’s competitions are earlier in the 2021 Calendar than the Ladies – so there’s a little more “breathing space” for them). It is still our intention to run these as early as possible in order to give the qualifying teams as much chance as possible to play together in 2021.
I hope you and you families are continuing to stay safe and well.
You will, no doubt, have now seen the Welsh Government’s (WG) announcement of a “firebreak” lockdown covering the whole of Wales from 6pm on Friday 23rd October until Monday 9th November 2020.
We have been advised by Sport Wales (SW) that during this period, all organised sport and facilities will be paused. This means that ALL our affiliated Clubs MUST remain closed.
In addition, the WG advice is very clear that, although exercise is permitted, and even encouraged, it MUST be local – starting and ending at home, and there must be NO gatherings between households. This means that, even if you live within walking-distance of a nearby playing area, you MUST NOT meet with anyone from outside your household.
The WG advice states:
People must stay at home, except for very limited purposes, such as for exercise.
People must not visit other households or meet other people they do not live with either indoors and outdoors
No gatherings will be allowed outdoors, such as Halloween or fireworks/Bonfire night or other organised activities