Celtic Challenge 2019 – Some thoughts from the President

So, another Celtic Challenge comes to a close.

The weather was kind, the pistes were challenging, the play was mostly of a very high standard (not necessarily my own and notwithstanding a few unlucky kicks and bounces off the stones) and the craic was great.

I’ve heard lots of talk about the Celtic Challenge and the spirit in which it’s played. This year’s event being my first one, I didn’t have any first-hand experience of it, but now I have, I fully understand. I “get-it”.

The Executive Committee and members of Pontyclun Petanque Club can hold their heads up high and be rightly proud of their efforts (having been involved with the organising of the 2010 competition in Wenvoe, I know only too well what’s involved) so my personal thanks and congratulations to the whole Club. I know it was a team-effort, putting up banners, helping visitors around the site, taxiing people, running the raffle and all the other “stuff” that goes on unseen, but a special mention must go to Derek & Marie Jones and Graham Attfield for all their hard work.

It was also fantastic to see the support the Petanque Club received from the Committee and members of Pontyclun Rugby Club and the surrounding community. From the playing of the National Anthems at the start (that could become a regular feature, maybe?) to manning the bar last night while the music and singing continued, they’ve been 100% behind this project from the outset, and the event’s success is due in no small part to that support and the pride in the local community shown by the people of Pontyclun, not least illustrated by Margaret and Paul Griffiths for opening the proceedings on Saturday morning.

A special thanks must go to Bob Parker for giving up his weekend to umpire the event. Thankfully he didn’t have too much to do, and to Kath and Graham Attfield for hosting him..

At last night’s excellent Gala Dinner, it was a pleasure to present awards to the Top Team from each Country:

Ireland 1: Jacques Di Pizzo, Mstaslav Cozloukov & Vincent Belingard
Wales B 4: Peter Westall, Lenny Fields, Jeremy Clare
Wales A 3: Derek Jones, Jean-Yves Robic, Ian Bailey, Julie Bailey
Scotland 1: Derek Adams, Robbie Stronach and Shirley Legge

Congratulations to Scotland 1 for also being the Top Team overall – unbeaten on 12 wins.

And finally, congratulations to Scotland on retaining the trophy for the 6th consecutive year – an incredible achievement.

So that’s it for 2019 – onwards to 2020 and it will be Scotland’s turn to host.

We look forward to meeting everyone again, and hopefully bringing the trophy back home to Wales.