Thursday, May 22, 2008

One weekend, 6 tournaments, all of them fun!

The first ever FPUSA National Mixed Triples tournament and the National Singles tournaments for men and women were a grand success over the May 17-18 weekend, superbly hosted by the Club Francais de Sacramento (CFS) on their home courts in Rancho Cordova.THE MORNING DRAW (l to R, Reid, Ed,Kevin, Jose,Alain)

In unseasonal fry-an-egg-on-the-car-hood heat, the shade from the “platanes” felt life saving and the water misters brought in by CFS’s Kevin McGill attracted players like robins to a bird bath.PLATANE TREES JUST LIKE IN EUROPE

Forty-nine players from 13 different clubs all over the country (see list at end) were enrolled in Saturday’s Men’s and Women’s tete-a-tete tournaments, and 66 players formed up for Sunday’s Mixed Triples. Plus, there were consolantes for each, so a total of 6 tournaments for the weekend, a real challenge, expertly scheduled by tournament organizers, Kevin, Reid Evans, and José Gonzalez, assisted by FPUSA Sport Director, Ed Porto, and supplying as many petanque games as any player could wish for, as many as seven each day, not counting pickup games worked in here and there.

Saturday’s singles were formatted using 25 courts, three morning 11 point qualifying games, followed by a welcome lunch of baguette sandwiches, chips and soft drinks, just the energy recharge needed for what looks to spectators like a “no-sweat” sport, but one that is in-fact a real calorie burner.

After lunch, those players with the best win/point spread records were slotted into the single elimination 13 point concours playoffs, and others began the same in the consolantes. (16 of the 32 men into the concours, 16 into the consolante, 9 of the 17 women into the concours, 8 into the consolante)

The sloping, uneven, but beautifully prepared courts were devilishly difficult to point on ( generally, a good thing because we like a challenge, right?) Often a good point was followed by one that went crazily out of play, even though the player thought the release was the same as before, so there were many one point ends.
Louis Toulon, Men's Singles Champion with Joe Martin

By late afternoon, with water and Gatorade bottles strewn about and overflowing the garbage tubs like movie popcorn , we had our winners. In the men’s it is Louis Toulon (LPM) in first place over PJ Mallette (VOMPC), and Mickey Coughlin (WBC) took 3rd over Patrick Vaslet (VOMPC). In the women’s, it was Erin McTaggart , over Barbara Hall , and in 3rd, Narin Garrett (all three from VOMPC! ), and Diana Jacobs (LAPC) taking 4th.(l to r, Narin, Erin, Barbara, & Diana)

In the singles consolantes, for the men, it was Joe Martin (PPC), Hans Kurz (VOMPC), and Philippe Arnaud (CFS) places first through third, respectively. And the women’s consolante produced Mary Jane Campbell (OPC), Elizabeth Gonzalez (CFS), and Tish Harris (OPC), first, second and third.

Wonderful players all, and watching this level of play is always engrossing.

(l to r, Bill Albright, John Morris, & Reid Evans)

And, then a fun part of the day, the serving of the traditional “apero” or aperitif on the courts while awarding medals, and before meeting up later for a nicely planned banquet at a local restaurant, which ended early enough to allow a full night’s rest before Sunday’s round of play, the National Mixed Triples.

Sunday’s inaugural Mixed Triples was cleverly combined for play on the same weekend as the singles, thus giving players an additional reason to gather: one “road trip”, two different tournaments, what a deal!

Again, the format began with three 11 point qualifying games in the morning, and a good thing, too. One of these eleven pointers went to two hours, threatening a long day for the tourney to play out.

By the time the mountain of pizzas were opened and loaded onto plates next to a tasty green salad for another satisfying lunch, the morning games were finishing up and 14 of the 22 teams had moved into the concours, and the remaining 8 into the consolante, all single elimination 13 point games.

While it didn’t seem quite as hot as the day before, plastic drink bottles were again being emptied and discarded, one after the other, and the host club was kept busy refilling ice chests with fresh cases. What troopers they were and how much we players appreciated their work to keep us hydrated and happy!

As the sun approached the horizon and the light began to fade, we had our winning teams.

Playing on the “carré d’honneur”, it was the team of Raymond Nielsen, and Pym Nielsen (both LBD), and Eric Thiebault (LPC) emerging in first place over Michel Cardon, Diana Jacobs, and Max Legrand (all LAPC). On another court, PJ Mallette, Peter Mathis, and Narin Garrett (all VOMPC) bested fourth place winners Ed Porto (VOMPC), Jean-Pierre Subrenat (LBNY), and Erin McTaggart (VOMPC).
First Place (l to r, Kevin, Eric ,Pym, Raymond, & Joe)

Second Place (l to r, Kevin, Diana , Michel, Max, & Joe)

Third Place (l to r, Peter, Narin, Joe, PJ, & Kevin)

Fourth Place (l to r, Erin, Joe, Jean-Pierre, & Ed)

And finishing up the consolante in First was CFS team, Reed Evans, Pierre Bremont, and Helen McGill. In second was John Morris, Caleb Morris, and Sara Davis, all also CFS, and in third place it was Joe Martin (PPC), Frank Pipal (VOMPC) and Christine Cragg (LPM).
First in the Consolante (l to r, Pierre, Joe, Reid, Helen, & Kevin)

And yes, there was another round of medal presenting also accompanied by another generous “apero” offering by our fine hosts, the Club Francais de Sacramento.

It was an altogether glorious weekend, made so by the excellent organization of the Sacramento club and a big bunch of very good players with very good attitudes.

These are fun events, the capstone to showing up on your club’s courts week end and week out for practice.

Come on out for the next one, you’ll be happy you did!

(Clubs participating: NE Region- Maine Boules Club(MBC), La Boule New Yorkaise(LBNY), SW Region-Fresno Petanque Club(FPC), Los Angeles Petanque Club(LAPC), Oakhurst Petanque Club (OPC), NW Region-Club Francais de Sacramento(CFS),La Boule d'Or(LBD),La Boule Joyeuse(LBJ),La Petanque Mariniere(LPM), Lamorinda Petanque Club(LPC), Portland Petanque Club (PPC), Valley of the Moon Petanque Club(VOMPC), and Willits Boules Club(WBC)

Special thanks for photos from Tim Channell, (FPC)