A worldwide sport

Petanque (pronounced ‘pay-tank’) is derived originally from the local Southern French dialect pès tancats, meaning ‘feet together’.

The sport, recognised by Sport England and also the International Olympic Committee was first played in 1907 in the southern France town of La Ciotat, near to Marseille.

It is now played by millions of people worldwide with some 600,000 officially licensed players in over 90 countries.

On the face of it, it is a straightforward game. It involves two teams playing each other at singles (where each player has three balls), doubles (where also each player has three balls) and triples, the classic form of the game (where each player has two balls). The pitch it is played on is usually hard dirt or gravel and the surface can vary considerably.

Official competition balls vary in size, weight and hardness but must be hollow metal and have a diameter of between 70.5 and 80mm and weigh between 650 and 800g. There are a few manufacturers such as Obut and KTK.