Another Home Nations is done and dusted – though the weather meant there wasn’t much dust in the air – and I’ve had a couple of days to reflect on the event and felt I should share my thoughts with the members.
Firstly, some thanks – I think I covered everyone on the weekend at the Presentation and there are too many people who’ve given their time and effort to make this event run well to name individually, with a few notable exceptions.
I think I spoke to most of the volunteers during the weekend and expressed my thanks on behalf of the Association for their efforts, but just to reiterate my sincere thanks to the Executive Committee and members of the Monkstone Petanque Club, the Penylan Club and the members of the other Clubs, including Pontyclun and Caerleon, who came and helped with lunches, teas, coffees, refreshments, piste preparation and maintenance and generally supporting the event. Anyone who has been involved in the organising and running of any competition knows only too well that these can’t go ahead without volunteers. Thank you all.
Secondly, I would like to thank the visitors who came along and lent their support to all Teams – I know it makes a difference to the players and especially so given the inclement weather throughout much of the weekend.
Thirdly, I know I said the volunteers were too-many to name, but I must call-out and thank a few people without whom the event simply wouldn’t have been as successful:
Our sponsors – Telent, CMS Teamwear, Ken Aston’s Catch and Despatch, Bailey’s DIY, Pen-y-Coed Petanque.
My colleagues on the WPA Executive Committee – Derek Jones, Kon Tomczyk and Tony Smith who worked tirelessly to get everything ready for the weekend. Food, gifts, awards, brochure-production to name a few tasks.
An additional thank you to Derek Jones for taking on the role of Umpire and making sure the event ran as smoothly as possible.
Michelle Spencer for being a fantastic Team Manager for Wales. We’ve been lucky to have some great Team Managers in the past and Michelle fitted in really well and kept everyone in line – it’s a huge help to the players.
Andrew Howard for supplying us with a portable PA system, which turned out to be not needed, and also for loaning us waterproof jackets, which absolutely WERE needed!
Steve Snudden deserves a special mention for developing and sharing the software we used for scoring the event. Not only were we able to keep everyone on-site up to date, but also allowed us to post results to the WPA Website as each game finished to let everyone at home keep as up to date as possible. It’s impossible to grasp the effort Steve has put into this and the other countries Heads of Delegation were very impressed and are hoping to use it for as many future competitions as possible. Already lined-up for the PE Inter-Regionals in September, Steve is also developing it for next-year’s Celtic Challenge.
Lastly I want to thank all the teams who came from England, Jersey and Scotland, along with their Heads of Delegation, Captains, Managers and supporters. Conditions were extremely difficult at times but everyone just got on with the play and did their best.
My congratulations to England on retaining the trophy again. I think this was the closest competition I’ve ben involved with – up to the end of Round 8, any of Wales, Jersey or England could’ve taken the lead.
As such, I need to finally thank all the players who represented Wales so well. You all contributed to a superb performance and should be very proud of your achievement. Particular congratulations to the top Welsh team; Wales 1 – Jeremy Clare, Len Field & Peter Westall.
Thinking ahead to next season, I think the EC need to look more closely at the order we play teams in these kinds of competitions. The WPA’s Competition Rules of Entry give the EC the authority to rank teams as they see-fit, and this year’s Celtic Challenge and Home Nations statistics show that we need to think much more about this. After the PE Inter-Regionals we will have a full-season’s statistics to review and look at the best way to move forward.
It only remains for me to thank everyone once again and say roll-on Troon, 8/9 August 2020.