The first major EPA competition of the year took place in Nottingham on Sunday May 8th to find the eight teams that will represent England at the annual Home Nations tournament to be held at Monkstone Petanque Club (Wales) over the weekend of 8th/9th August 2015.
37 teams of triples competed in a 5-round Swiss System tournament and as usual it came down to a number of crunch games in the final round.
Due to the odd number of entries, three teams had won all four of their games as round 5 began: Matt Blyton, Lee Edgar & Barry Scott, Phil Winston, Jack Blows & Simon Bird and David Plumhoff, David Cruz, Sean Prendergast & Martin Hughes. All of these teams had qualified, leaving 9 teams on three wins contesting the final 5 places, although there was a permutation where a team on two wins could secure a place by winning their final game on a Buchholz tie break.
Team Blyton faced Team Blows, whilst Team Cruz faced the team of Sofiane Lachani, Rich Powell, Ben Treend & Trevor Treend, the latter requiring a victory to assure qualification as they were on three wins.
In the end, Team Blyton prevailed in their match to be the only undefeated team on the day, qualifying as England 1. Team Lachani defeated Team Cruz, assuring their place in Wales.
The deciding matches elsewhere involved Adam Sullivan, Ross Jones & Dean Seville versus Alex Hepburn, Steve Daykin, Reynald Guillaud & Graham Elcome; Clive de Silva, Adrian Williams & Martin Britton versus Simon Doble, David Freeman & Theo Diecket; Allan Edwards, Andrew Roe & Richard Taylor versus Kevin Moss, Phil Boarder & Marion Halsey; and finally Mark Robertshaw, Harrison Ash & Dave Lucas versus Joyce Nash, Mick Nash, David Baxter & Margaret Baxter.
Teams Jones, de Silva, Boarder and Ash ended up victorious, leaving one team on five wins and seven teams on four wins. For once, the Buchholz tie-break was not needed to fid the top 8 as the ninth placed team was on three wins. The Buchholz was used however to establish the rankings which gave:
England 1: Team Blyton
England 2: Team Cruz
England 3: Team Lachani
England 4: Team Jones
England 5: Team de Silva
England 6: Team Blows
England 7: Team Boarder
England 8: Team Ash
Team Ash was the only qualifying team who lost their first round and their task had been made harder by getting the bye in the second round, randomly drawn from the 18 teams that had lost in round one.
There was an all Junior team in attendance and this included Ollie Zimmerman, Connie Bell, Daniel Raine and Ben Fowler. The team performed very well, winning three games and ending up ranked 16th.