Saturday, July 21, 2012

Playing Pétanque in the Luton Community Games

An introduction to the sport of Pétanque at the Luton Community Games at Luton Regional Sports Centre.

As part of the Luton 4 Life Community Games weekend Emily and I headed to Luton Regional Sports Centre in Stopsley to take part in the Pétanque sessions. 

Richard throwing a boule in a game of Pétanque at Luton Regional Sports Centre

We were welcomed by a chap called Alan from the Chiltern Region of the English Pétanque Association; his Polo shirt also denoted that he was the 'Team Manager'. After being introduced to some different sizes and weights of boules we got straight to having a few practice throws and were given an introduction to the rules of the game.

Playing Pétanque in the Luton Community Games
Emily playing Pétanque in the Luton Community Games

We’ve both previously played Boules, but never received instruction in the game so it was nice to be given the ‘pro’ rules and told about the different game formats and how to score properly by the experts.

Richard throwing a boule in a game of Pétanque

We then paired up with a club member, with Emily and Alan taking on me and a fellow called Ian. With each player given three boules and the aim to reach 13 points to win, we began playing up and down the terrain/piste (the pitch) and each time a team scored points the playing area changed. This was because the cosh (or jack) was thrown into place between 6-10 metres from the last position of it. Therefore one of the tactics is to work out where the ‘break’ on the terrain is and how much pace and/or spin is required for each shot – no two games will be played on the exact same playing surface or area! In our first game Emily and Ian picked up the win 13-9.

Pétanque in the Luton Community Games
The Result of Game 1 of the Pétanque in the Luton Community Games
Emily sat out the next game as Ian and I once again teamed-up, this time facing Alan and a chap called Kier (I think). This match was shorter and after scoring a four Alan’s team had a good lead. After our lack of scoring since the middle of the previous match we managed to win back the throw of the cosh and score a few points, but unfortunately Ian and I continued our 100% losing streak with a 13-4 loss.

Pétanque in the Luton Community Games
The Result of Game 2 of the Pétanque in the Luton Community Games
A great fun way to spend a late morning and early afternoon in Luton. We were told that there are 28 clubs in the Chiltern Region. There are also some novice competitions played during the season and the club also has teams in a couple of leagues, with some players also in the England and Great Britain teams. The team have club nights on Friday’s at Luton Regional Sports Centre and will be moving to the new Inspire sports centre in Luton when their current season on the existing terrain finishes.

"Spot the Boule" contest - click here for a hi-res image - and scroll down for the 'answer'
Pétanque is a great fun sport that is easy to pick up and play, but like so many sports and games, difficult to master. The team running the Luton Community Games Pétanque sessions were nice and friendly and I could have easily spent the entire day playing the game. I’d definitely play again and hopefully next time I'll pick up a win!


Related Blog Posts:
"Spot the Boule" - it was on me 'ead!?

Emily captured the boule mid-flight and in perfect line with my bonce!


Richard Gottfried said...

Looking at the photos it was quite a coincidence that Emily and I both turned up wearing the 'club colours' of blue!

Lemony said...

I really enjoyed Petanque. The coaches were really nice & friendly and they really made an effort to get you in and playing...

It was nice to beat Squire also ;-)