I hope you and you families are continuing to stay safe and well.
You will, no doubt, have seen the Welsh Government’s (WG) announcement today of the introduction of the “Alert Level 4” restrictions covering the whole of Wales from Monday 28th December.
The Government’s Coronavirus Control Plan: Alert Levels in Wales, shows how the different Levels affect Outdoor Activities and Sport. Level 4 means that organised outdoor activities and sports are NOT permitted.
This means that all Clubs MUST NOT meet for organised play while we remain at Alert Level 4.
The WG advice can be found here (and there is a link to this on our COVID-19 page.
We will issue a further update as soon as we have it.
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.
With the latest news from the Welsh Government (WG), and yesterday’s announcement of a further 4 areas of South Wales put into a lockdown state, the WPA EC feels it has no choice but to postpone the National events that were scheduled to be played in the next few weeks.
National Precision Shooting: Women & Men
National Mixed Doubles
National Singles: Women
National Singles: Men
Although this is regrettable, we hope our members understand that this decision was not taken lightly, but was done-so with everyone’s health, safety and well-being in the forefront of our minds.
We will continue to monitor the situation and we wish to assure our members that, when the circumstances allow we will look to reschedule as many of these events as we are able.
Although the WG advice continues to allow groups of up to 30 to meet outdoors for organised activities (subject to the same guidelines as we have published previously), and we would encourage all members to support their local clubs if they wish to continue to play, we must remind members that travel into or out of a lockdown area is only for essential purposes – and playing sports does not fall into that category.
We also understand that this is a difficult time for Clubs who may be missing out on some income that they rely on from hosting competitions, running open-days, etc.
If Clubs are struggling financially, we would like to remind you that, as we have previously briefed out, Sport Wales has a Be Active Wales Fund that clubs are encouraged to apply to for assistance.
Pontyclun PC, based at Pontyclun RFC, once again played host to a National Championships – this time for the Men’s Doubles.
Originally due to be held at another venue, a last-minute issue meant that an 11th-hour change was needed and the WPA are very grateful to the Executive of Pontyclun PC, and Marie Jones in particular, for making the arrangements that allow this event to go ahead.
Shortly after the notification of venue change was sent to all the entrants, the PA weer advised that the local council, Rhondda Cynon Taf, had introduced a more rigid covid requirement to ensure face-covering were to be worn in any public indoor space. This necessitate another communication to ensure everyone was aware of these restrictions..
A total of 10 teams entered – not the best number for a competition – so the playing format followed one used previously, with teams divided into 2 pools of 5, with play following a round-robin pithing the group and teams in each pool that had a bye, playing the “bye-team” from the other pool, all played using timed games. .
Following the completion of the pool games, the top-2 sides from each pool were drawn into semi-finals to play full-length (i.e. untimed) games, so Winner-Pool-A v Runner-Up-Pool-B and Winner-Pool-B v Runner-Up-Pool-A.
The Semi- Finals started at 4pm, with Richard Harris & Kon Tomczyk playing Gareth & Stewart Spencer and Ian Bailey & Jean-Yves Robic playing father-&-son pairing, Huw & Matthew Morris.
Bailey & Robic dominated their semi, winning 13-3, whilst Harris & Tomczyk had to work hard for their victory, finally closing it out 13-11.
After a brief pause, the final got underway at 5pm, with Harris & Tomczyk making the best of starts by taking 5 points on the first end. Bailey & Robic clawed a couple back before Harris & Tomczyk pulled ahead again. But they were unable to close the game out, allowing Bailey & Robic to drag their way back to level the scores at 10-10, before easing ahead to 11-10 and finally coming out as victors 13-10 and claiming the title.
Once again, the pistes played their part, but there was still some fine and accurate play in the final.
Huge congratulations to our 2020 National Doubles for Men champions, and, once again, our thanks to Pontyclun PC and Pontyclun RFC for hosting the event in a safe and sporting way.
Standings after Pool Stages:
Richard Harris & Kon Tomczyk
Ian Bailey & Jean-Yves Robic
Hugh Morris & Matthew Morris
Gareth Spencer & Stewart Spencer
Bernard Adshead & Roger Griffin
Jake Caston & Bob Pugh
John Attfield & Derek Jones
Roger Green & Sean Smith
Colin Sweet & Basil White
Jeremy Clare & Len Field
Next-up is the National Precision Shooting for Women & Men, currently scheduled for September 27th – venue still to be confirmed.
The first National competition was finally held on Sunday 6th September at Pontyclun PC’s base at Pontyclun RFC.
It seemed like a very long time since the last WPA competition was held, way back in March, when the President’s Cup was held at the Wheatsheaf Inn.
After all the uncertainty surrounding the COVID-19 pandemic and after the relaxation of the lockdown restrictions imposed by the Welsh Government, the WPA finally kicked its season into play, when 6 teams entered the National Doubles for Women.
A trial doubles competition had been held at Pontyclun and the lessons learned were used as the basis of the play for this competition.
For the vast majority of the players, this was their first competitive outing of the year, and a number of the teams were new to each other having not played together previously, as well as a few more familiar pairings. The competition was played under the WPA’s published guidelines, including the regulation 2m social-distancing requirements. These included enhanced hygiene, recording of everybody’s temperature, recording of personal contact details for compliance with the Welsh Government’s Track, Trace, Protect programme, 30-person-limit within the “activity bubble” and full 2m social distancing.
With 6 teams entered, the “round-robin” format was adopted so every team played the other 5.
September being what it is, we experienced hot sun, chilly winds, light rain – often all within a few minutes!
The pistes at Pontyclun are renowned for their unforgiving nature, but this didn’t deter any of the teams and the quality of play overall was of a very high standard. This was evident by the start of Round 5 where, despite one team having built an unassailable lead, 4 of the remaining teams were in with a chance of the runners-up spot.
This finally went to the “locals’, Kath Attfield (justifying her award of Most Improved Player of 2019) and Marie Jones, who won 3 of their games – 2 of which were extremely tense finishes of 13-12 & 13-11.
The honours of the day, with a clean-sweep of 5 wins out of 5 matches went to the Monkstone PC-based pairing of Gill Clarke and Gill Greenwell.
“The Gills'” victory is even more remarkable because, not only was it their first competitive pairing, it was Gill Greenwell’s first National competition, it was her first visit to Pontyclun and she only started playing pétanque in June of 2019.
Gill Clarke & Gill Greenwell
Kath Attfield & Marie Jones
Chris McCaddon & Karen Robbins
Gemma Foster & Tansy Mayfield
Trudie Merry & Michelle Spencer
Vickie Adshead & Jayne Dunn
Huge congratulations to our 2020 National Doubles for Women champions, and our thanks to Pontyclun PC and Pontyclun RFC for hosting the event in a safe and sporting way.
We now feel in a position to resume a number of National Competitions.
As a result, we have now published an updated Playing Calendar on the WPA Website.
Earlier this week, we wrote to all Club Contacts asking if they could host any events and at the time of publication we are still awaiting some responses. As a result, all events are currently awaiting confirmation of Venue, so these will be updated as we know them.
ALL EVENTS WILL BE PLAYED UNDER THE WPA-PUBLISHED COVID GUIDELINES.
Please note that we have added an alternative arrangement for paying Competition Entries to the drop-down list in the on-line entry form. We now have the capability of paying “on the day” by card – either via chip & PIN or (preferably) via Contactless payment (including Apple & Google Pay). This will help us to minimise the amount of cash we need to handle – and with this in mind, we would ask that if you have to pay with cash on the day of the event, please make sure you have the correct money. NO CASH CHANGE WILL BE GIVEN.
The Cut-Off for each Competition will be 7 days before the date of the event. As you will know, this has always been the case, but due to the need to plan the piste-layouts and draw, we need to have the numbers of entries finalised in advance to enable this to happen. I would, therefore, ask you to not delay entering.
You will also see that we have separated most events into Women & Men’s events as this will help us with managing the event under the current COVID regulations. In addition, we have added 2 “qualifying” dates for the Men’s Doubles – this may be reduced to just the Sunday if entries permit.
If these events prove successful, and subject to further changes with the WG COVID Regulations, we hope to add further events in the coming weeks.
We hope you feel comfortable enough to consider entering these events and we look forward to welcoming you back and seeing you on the piste.
The WPA Executive Committee has been closely monitoring the situation with regard to the official advice from the UK and Welsh Governments and NHS and NHS Wales.
In light of the latest official information, as well as the Press Release issued today by the F.I.P.J.P., we have taken the decision to suspend ALL WPA events, competitions and meetings from midnight on Sunday 15th March 2020 until further notice.
This includes all formal and leisure-playing of the sport.
We understand that some of you will be disappointed by this decision, but we recognise that we have a duty of care to all our members and feel that now is the right time, in view of the age-profile of our members themselves as well as the potential to pass the infection on to vulnerable people with whom we may come into contact.
This action brings us in line with our friends in England, who have already announced a suspension of all their competitions and meetings.
Although our member clubs are autonomous bodies, we feel we should advise them that we believe that they should also implement a similar suspension of they playing activities.
Hopefully, this suspension will be temporary and we can all get back to playing the sport we enjoy soon.
The EC will continue to monitor the situation and will issue further updates as we have them.
In the meantime, we hope you and your families stay healthy.