EPA Festival of Petanque, Gardens of Hanbury 29/30th July 2017
Report and photos by Andy Wilmot
So finally after months of planning and preparation, the weekend finally arrived for the first EPA Festival of Petanque at the Gardens of Hanbury.
This event also incorporated the inaugural English Junior International Triples with teams from Belguim, Netherlands, France, Slovakia, Luxembourg and three teams from England.
The festival kicked off really well on Friday afternoon with the arrival of the junior teams. The venue provided somewhere for the teams and coaches to meet, to practice and also somewhere to eat. Watching all the competitors practicing gave us an appetizer to the long anticipated weekend of competition ahead.
Despite the weather forecast not being great, Saturday morning started with high broken cloud and sunny skies as both the Junior and Open doubles competitions got under way.
We had the magnificent turnout of 36 teams for the Open doubles. The Gardens of Hanbury were almost full to capacity, such a great sight to see.
As the day progressed however we saw the cloud building and inevitably the rain started to fall in the middle of the afternoon. Although it did not spoil the quality of competition the one victim of the rain was the live music which had been planned for the evening.
Although we had put up a marquee to protect the band from the elements, there were puddles forming on the ground around where the band would be performing. We therefore decided that this combined with electric instruments and amplifiers might not be a good idea.
At the end of day one, the Open doubles competition had been won by Callum Lombard and Stewart Floyd, winning the first prize of £250 with Jack Blows and ECR's own Simon Bird second (£150).
Jeremy Huntley & Sarah Huntley and Monty Quaia and Sylash Smiker each won £100 as losing semi finalists.
Day 2 started once again with high clouds and sunny skies however this time they hung around. Indeed with the exception of a couple of very quick showers in the early afternoon, it cleared up in the afternoon to provide a beautiful sunny finish to the competition weekend.
As well as the continuation of the junior competition, Sunday was also the men's and women's national ranking triples competition.
Proceedings were interrupted at lunchtime in order for the presentation of the junior teams to those watching as well as our EPA president, Martin Eggleton.
The first result of the day was the junior competition with Belgium running out winners against the Netherlands in the final. England 1 claim third place jointly with Luxembourg.
Belgium also doubled up by winning the Tir de Precision as well, courtesy of their shooter, Tristan Alexandre.
The men's triples was won by Callum Lombard and Stewart Floyd, who had won the doubles the previous day, with teammates, Jean-Denis Scatena and Martin Gordon. A great weekend for Callum and Stuart winning 13 out of 13 matches over the two days.
The women's triples were won by England regulars, Sarah Huntley, Sabrina Seville, Tracy Spillett and Emma Louise Longstaff.
Overall the weekend was a great success apart from the Saturday evening.
The EPA thanked the efforts of the club members to ensure the weekend ran smoothly and as president of the club I would also like to extend my thanks as well to those that helped make it a great weekend.
Finally a special mention must go to Martin Hughes for organising the Open doubles and ranking triples competitions on the two days and to Steve Slade who not only cooked for the entire junior section but also provided barbecue and sandwiches to all competitors over both days.