All the action is about to start in the English playing season. Here are four of the highlights.
At last the winter seems to be behind us and another new playing season is about to begin in earnest. Many regions have already started the process of finding their squads to compete at Hayling 2015, and Positive Pétanque is picking out its 4 favourite English tournaments from the calendar.
Home Nations Qualifier and Home Nations Tournament
For the past few years the HN Qualifier has been one of the best supported competitions organised by the EPA. One of the reasons for this is that there’s eight places up for grabs to represent the country in the annual showdown with the Welsh and Scottish Petanque Associations. This year, it’s off to Wales for what should be a competitive and fun weekend at hosts Monkstone PC. We’re expecting 40+ triples to fight this one out at the day long qualifier at Nottingham Pétanque Club and the Swiss System format is bound to throw up its usual surprises. Get involved – you’ll regret it if you don’t. Triples (can play as a four) – Sunday 10th May at Nottingham City PC – www.nottinghampetanque.com
National Titles Weekend
Many a tear was shed when it was announced that the annual trek to the Isle Wight was coming to an end given the great hospitality of Hurricanes PC. All good things must come to an end, and a return to Exeter after many years has been agreed. It’s all going down from 23rd to 25th May at the ISCA Centre – see www.leisurecentre.com/isca-centre
Saturday is for Singles and the chance to represent England in both Men’s and Women’s categories. Sunday is for Doubles and Monday is for Mixed Doubles. No doubt the social activities will be fun although it is not known whether the fancy dress partying of the last two years is on the agenda.
Men’s and Women’s International Qualifiers
This is going to be fascinating as the EPA has chosen to pay the two qualifying rounds plus the Top 8 at the same venue, Arlesey PC. The pitches here are pure torture and require lob pointing and boule to boule shooting. The rumour mill is in full swing about which teams will battle it out and the the prize is a place in the 2016 World Championships for the Men and the 2016 European Championships for the Women. We await the format for this one – last year it was Swiss for the qualifiers and then seeded barrage for the Top 8. Could there be a change? Qualifier 1 is 31st May, Qualifier 2 is 5th July and the Top 8 is 2nd August. Triples – but playing as a four is compulsory.
The London International Doubles
The real deal. It looks like 10 different nations will be represented at this one and last year saw probably the highest level of pétanque in England. If nothing else, competing gives you a benchmark for where you need to improve to cut it at international level. It all happens on 30th August at Harrow PC and is limited to 64 teams. Cash prizes…organiser Hervé Bavazzano promises £400 for the winners and £1,000 in the prize fund –http://londondoubles.yolasite.com