A new system has been introduced by the International Umpiring Commission for awarding penalties under Article 34 of the Official Rules. I saw it in action for the first time at the Espoirs Qualifier in Spain last month, which makes it easier for all concerned.
The following applies:
All EPA umpires have been issued with these cards and it will apply at the Home Nations and EPA Inter-Regional Championships for 2015. To help us get used to the idea, it will be introduced for the Grand Prix Series in order for teams to become accustomed to the idea.
The 2014 European Women’s Pétanque Championships was held in Mersin, on the southern coast of Turkey, between 26-28 September 2014. Twenty eight teams took part, including the three “Home Nations” of England, Scotland and Wales.
The Welsh team contingent was lead by WPA President Jean-Yves Robic, assisted by National Coach Peter Beresford. The Ladies Team consisted of Jill Brace, Gay Evans and Joanie Roberts.
The teams were all accommodated in the excellent Radisson Blu Hotel in the centre of Mersin, a short distance from the harbour. The organizing committee of the CEP and the Turkish Federation did everything they could to welcome the teams and their supporters, and to make the event the great success it undoubtedly was.
The Championships began with a 5 round “Swiss” system of timed games, and then a round in “poules” dividing into the Championships and the Nations Cup. The playing area was a covered stadium open at two sides and at the top of the stands. The surface could best be described concrete, being extremely hard, with only a small scattering of gravel.
Wales opened with a game against Spain. It was not a happy start as they lost to 13 in fairly short order! The Welsh team was not to know it then but the Spanish team went on to win the Championships very convincingly, inflicting the same result on one of the other Home Nations teams twice! The Welsh team had only played together as a team twice before, and struggled to reach their potential. After the shock of the first round the Welsh team could not at first get into its stride, losing 13-3 to Slovakia, but putting up a much better performance against Russia, where the score of 13-6 to Russia did not fully reflect the improving confidence of the Welsh team.
In the fourth round, Wales were unlucky to lose 10-12 to Sweden. It was a very close game which Wales could have won. But the fifth round saw Wales achieve a convincing win, 13-7, against Ukraine, a team which Wales had not beaten before.
The next stage, the untimed games, in the Nations Cup, gave Wales the opportunity to develop their game and use their tactical skills.
First, Wales played outstandingly to beat Sweden 13-12. No mean achievement in that Sweden went on to be Runners Up to Monaco in the Finals of the Nations Cup. This was another first as Wales had not beaten Sweden before.
In the next round Wales played another tight game to beat Hungary 13-12. It was a very close and highly “tactical” match. This too was a team that Wales had not beaten before. It also meant that for the first time ever a Welsh team had reached the Quarter Finals of the Nations Cup in either the European or World Championships.
Expecting to play Estonia, on the Finals day, Wales found themselves drawn against Ukraine. A revitalized Ukraine set off at a strong pace, quickly establishing a 7-1 lead. However Wales refused to give in, and slowly began to fight their way back, recovering to 8-5, but then Ukraine had some good luck when despite Brace shooting out two of their boules with one of hers, a couple of close boules from Ukaine and an unintended, unlucky “assist” from Roberts ended with Ukraine picking up 2 to get to 10-5. Some excellent play from Wales in the next end saw the score at 10-8, after an hour and a half’s play.
At this critical point Ukraine asked the Umpire for a 5 minute “comfort break”, which, despite objections from the Welsh Manager, Robic, the Umpire allowed. The whole Ukraine team left the terrain (something which they were to repeat in their next game against Monaco). After this disruption the end resumed, with Ukraine taking a point to reach 11-8.
What was to be the final end proved close run, and involved first class play from both teams. Ukraine started with their first boule touching the jack. Brace cleared it with her second shot.
Roberts then pointed, alongside the jack, well within 30 cms of the jack. Ukraine responded with a “semi carreau”, their boule almost touching the jack. Roberts’ second, and Evans’ first boules went behind the jack.
But Evans’ second boule, an extraordinary shot under huge pressure to stay in the game, some how got inside the Ukraine boule, almost touching the jack.
Ukraine then spent a long time considering their options. Any hit on the jack or even a “toucher” on Evans’ boule would almost certainly drive jack and or Evans’ boule onto Roberts and Evan’s other boules, which were behind the jack but in line with it, so any movement of the jack was very likely to take the jack to the two Welsh boules, and quite possibly move Evans’ boule there as well.
Ukraine decided to shoot. Their top shooter stepped up, but her boule went just a fraction over the top of Evans’ “on” boule, and out of the “head”.
Ukraine’s middle player stepped up. Would she point or shoot? It was risky to shoot as she had not been shooting in the game, and it could be very costly if it went wrong. But she decided to shoot. It was a superb shot, taken very coolly under pressure, and it cleared Evans’ boule cleanly without disturbing the “head”. Ukraine’s next boule landed in front of the jack, but just close enough to settle the outcome of the end and the match, making it 13-8 to Ukraine.
Ukraine went on to play Monaco in the Semi Finals. Monaco won, and went on to beat Sweden in the Finals to win the Nations Cup.
In the circumstances this was a remarkable outcome for the Welsh ladies team, and an historic achievement in terms of final position in the Nations Cup and important victories on the way, after a daunting start. The Welsh players showed great character and determination.
Gay Evans also took part in the European Precision Shooting Championship qualifying round and finished 27th.
Dan Murphy, with an additional comment by J-Y Robic.
Over the weekend of 23/24 & 25 January, Jake Caston (Wheatsheaf Pétanque Club) represented Wales in the Singles World Championship in Nice, France, he was accompanied by Jean-Yves Robic, the WPAs National President.
The qualifying phase comprised 5 rounds using the Swiss System, Jake’s results were:
Round 1 – Sweden, lost 13:1
Round 2 – Luxembourg, lost 13:7
Round 3 – Austria, lost 13:9
Round 4 – Mongolia, won 13:11
Round 5 – Scotland, lost 13:9
Upon the completion of the qualifying rounds, the top 8 countries automatically qualified for the World Championship. The next 16 teams played a barrage to find the final 8 teams to join the top 8.
For the Nations Cup, the top 10 countries automatically qualified , with the next 12 teams playing in a barrage to find the last 6 countries.
In the barrage Jake was drawn against Belarus, which he won 13/10, which took Jake in to the first round of the Nations Cup against Slovakia. This win took Jake into the quarter-finals.
Unfortunately, Jake was drawn against Austria who he met in the third round of the Swiss System, Alberto Hinojosa won 13:7, who then went on to win the Nations Cup.
Our congratulations go to all the players who took part in both the Men and Women’s World Championship and especially to:
Yolanda MATARRANZ (Spain) – Women’s World Champion.
Charles WEIBEL (Belgium) – Men’s World Champion.
Mia CARLSSON – Denmark
Alberto HINOJOSA – Austria
The WPA Executive was notified very late into the season that the Singles competition had been upgraded to a full men’s and women’s World Championships by the FIPJP. As a result of this late notification, this competition had not been included in the selection process for the ladies in 2014.
The WPA Executive, in conjunction with the National Coach, assessed several potential candidates selected from the 2014 Ladies squad and the results of the National Singles.
As no consensus could be reached, the WPA Executive has decided not to send any women to the event in 2015, but to include this competition as part of the selection process in 2015 for both men and women.
Sadly it has been announced over the weekend of the death of John Humphries at the age of 96. John was one of the founder members of the Penarth Pétanque Club with his wife Peggy. John had not played for a number of years, but was always interested in what was happening in Penarth and Wales.
Our thoughts are with his family at this sad time.
Today has been the first day of play at the Ladies World Championship, the Welsh team of Julie Bailey, Gemma Foster, Tansy Mayfield (captain) and Gay Evans supported by Jean-Yves Robic and Peter Beresford are now well into the 3rd qualifying round.
Round 1 saw the Welsh team drawn against the Moroccan team, who are a very strong team. Wales lost this first round 13:2. Round 2 saw Wales drawn against Bulgaria, again Wales lost 13:8.
Rounds 3, 4 and 5 will be played Saturday morning.
At the time of writing the shooting competition is currently underway.
News of the other Home Nations teams:
Scotland 13:6 Bye
England v Hungry 13:2
Netherlands v Ireland 13:4
Scotland v Mauritius Islands 5:13
Spain v England 13:2
France A v Ireland 13:0