Reminder: Roy Cotton Memorial Match this Sunday 4th September

Hello All

Just a reminder to come on Sunday to support the Roy Cotton Memorial Match. If you can be at the club for 11am to help prepare for an 1130am start please. 

It would be lovely to see a big turnout from members old and new. Roy gave lots of his time to get our club up and running, and provided many of us with tips on how to improve our game as well as being the club treasurer.
Hopefully, everyone will get a game and there will be a BBQ taking place. Plus do not forget there is a stunning trophy up for grabs between Harrogate and Leeds!

Look forward to seeing you there – 11am for 1130am start

Rolling in the Gard – part 2


Here’s the concluding part of Sam’s article – enjoy!

Now Frankie, painter and decorator only plays for money these days, and says he can’t afford not to and rarely plays melees where he can’t pick partners.  There is no such thing as shooting for two in triples.

At Ales, Saint-Ambroix, it was sudden death, as usual, lose and you are out.

His claim to a reputation was supported by the fact that a stream of blokes came up and gave a varying number of “muahs”and hugs. Two is they know you well, three, very well or owe you money and four are usually relatives, formal or otherwise. There appeared to be about twenty five to thirty of those. Frankie’s game plan was brilliantly simple, “Sa and me can shoot 4 boules and the other two are up to you Sam”.  Sa (probably a shortened nickname, so leave it) is a quiet, shy character starting to go grey and I would have guessed with Madagascar connections. I noticed in passing, the terrain is across the road from the funeral parlour which seems impressive forward planning.

Anyhow, we got off to a steady start, had not lost by midday and the field was down to a quarter.  

It was working well so far but advice about the folly of enumerating poultry prior to their incubation should have been kept in mind

Being France, here the trouble started. We finished bang on twelve feeling a trifle smug just as lunch was called. We agreed that a sausage sonvich was all we wanted. It was bright and hot,the day that is. We finished these while 100 metres of tables and chairs were being laid out. We then sat in a humid 30 degrees while an army of dedicated trenchers got stuck into a paella based four courser (13.90 veng compris). The host club members then gave an apres-desert singsong and a couple of party pieces.  At about three or as close as matters on a day like this, the arbitre got on the p.a. to set the agenda for the afternoon. First the sponsors were thanked and plugged at length, all 30 of them, garages, burger bars, bike shops, hairdressers and a local dominatrix service etc

( I made the last one up).    

Then the embarrassing bit. “Welcome friends and guests . Lovely to see you all etc. Second stage, unbeaten teams etc , equipe Lafleur includes Monsieur Porter Sam , un Irlandais who we warmly welcome,oui tres bizarre but they haven’t been beaten – yet.”

Had to be the kiss of death, and sadly so it proved. One more win and we are in the money. Bear in mind it was now well over three hours since we finished our sandwich. Sa had wandered off for an hour with some shifty looking acquaintance and I suspect had been sampling some relaxing local herbs.

You could say we had gone off the boil and lost the focus and, to put it bluntly, we screwed ourselves.  Frankie won the toss, I pointed a yard short with both boules. Frankie misses both his shots and Sa put a good one in which was shot – voila! 5-0 down. Sparing the gory details, we bowed out 13-6, having only played a few decent boules and being given a couple from shot coches. In games like these it’s all about least mistakes. You can expect each triple to shoot at least three and often four an end. We blamed the long break, heat, the dust, the slope and finally ourselves ,vying for who had played the most merde.    

I love these folk. The advice in the coaching manuals about staying relaxed and focused between games is not, I fear, based on a 3 hour lunch break in 30degrees +. 

At the end of play, Sa’s friend comes back for a word with Frankie. I got the distinct impression that he was organising a private game where spectators could have investment opportunities and he needed a couple of reliable gunslingers. Anyhow, Sa stayed behind but, try as they might, Frankie would have none of it, besides we had come in my car and he had already arranged for his partner to pick him up at Carrefour. Funnily, it was not mentioned on the drive back, we talked about families.  

One good outcome is that my stock ball, the batard, a foot wide and a touch to the rear of the coche, worked a treat, better than the front boule and beat quite a few of these handy players because it looks easy.  We are talking players who will normally strike 8/10 times. From the circle, in bright glaring sunlight, I think the boule appears to be pretty much coche length and quite a few players dropped short and skipped on a rock hard piste.

It’s the simple things. But those two duff short points started the rot and were probably the most expensive I’ve played and won’t easily be forgotten.

I went to watch Frankie in the Gard Doubles, in effect the ‘France’ qualifier the following Saturday and again the wheels came off in the third as his partner wobbled. The title was up for grabs as the holders Ben and Tyson Molinei have now jumped ship to Lyon.

His analysis of the game was “Pfuuuf we didn’t play well”


Roy Cotton Memorial Match – Sunday 4th September 

Hello All

On Sunday 4th September we will be holding an event to mark the very special contribution, support and friendship Roy Cotton gave to pétanque clubs in Yorkshire. At our Leeds club terrain, a memorial match will be taking place between members of Leeds and Harrogate Montpelier Petanque Club, with members of Roy’s family also taking part.  The stunning trophy, shown below, was specially commissioned and designed to award to the winning team on the day.

Please can members add the date to their calendars and come along to support this special occasion. The start time is 11am but please come earlier to help with setup. A BBQ will take place on the day and members are encouraged to bring along dishes, crisps, drinks etc. to share.  All contributions welcome.

Any questions please speak to me, Neill or Paul before the day. Thank you, James.

Rolling in the Gard – part 1

Here’s the first part of another amazing article from our resident writer, Sam…hope you enjoy it as much I did! Fascinating insight into the world of petanque:

Just returned from the Gard (Dept 30), my favourite part of the world, where they play a style of petanque, involving shooting-any-boule–which-isn’t-yours. As I usually do, being a glutton for punishment, I check the local paper for village fetes with a petanque contest included, usually with a few centimes at stake. On the Friday, at a triplet melee at Montfrin while waiting for the rain to stop and the draw, which in any case sometimes takes place an hour after the play was scheduled to begin, I fell into conversation with a short, paint bespeckled Nimeois. Arriving straight from work, rejoicing in the name of F. Lafleur, Artisan painter, according to his shirt. He later confessed that his mastery of school English had peaked at…. “Alo, my name is Frankie, ow do you do” and he had no plans to extend it.

He turned out to be, not just your average carpet spoiler, as I soon found out, but one of the Schatz clan. Avid readers of petanque lore will recognise the name of a top class French player and, therefore the known universe, champion of a few of decades ago.  Michel Schatz, for it is he, is Frankie’s uncle, Jean-Francois Schatz, his cousin and it would appear that young Tyson Molinas, the next Dylan Rocher, is a cousin as well.  The extended family have produced a continuing plethora of crack players at all levels……Little wonder he can shoot a bit and claims to have once beaten Quintais 13-3 at singles, and I tend to believe him. He misses very few.

Nobody gets rich, anywhere, playing petanque despite the massive participation and even Japan boasts 10,000 licence holders.  The prize money in many games seems good but is soon ‘eaten up’ by travel, food and accommodation costs without regular wins. 

The terrains were full on Saturday and Sunday but, how many archers or clay shooters did you see and yet these are Olympic sports?  By sheer coincidence since writing most of this rant, I have heard a sports radio studio interview with some well known semi pro players Webel, Souchard, Quintais, Lequois et al. Fédération Française is pushing hard for Olympic inclusion and these players were making a similar point but added kayaking, fencing and volleyball to the list of sports less prolific than petanque. Amongst the banter, wit and pi** taking they agreed that we must concentrate more on the young players and raise their profile as entertainers, crowd pullers and role models . This will be greatly helped by exposure on the Olympic stage and the media. Despite some equipment and clothing sponsorships this is still, in real terms, an amateur sport. Change is coming, they agreed “observe how l’Anglais are now leading cycling”. At this, Claudie Webel suggested that Belgium would soon do the same for boules to cries of ‘merde’ from his French mates.

The infrastructure is there, Nimes has a bouledrome about the seize of Terminal 3 for the winter and most village clubs can host a good sized contest on the open terrains.

But I digress; as the language at terrain level here is delivered mercilessly clipped and argot-peppered at high speed with my word catching ratio at about one in five,  I will abridge the gist. ” Bonjour. My name is frankie. You are not French? Vrai… allemagne? Non …anglais?”. “Non, grace a Dieu, Irlandais!”  (Sorry friends, but being able to avow an Irish birth certificate has always kept me in good odour around here even in the lamb burning years and treacherously slandering the land of my bread and butter maintains my dubious credibility )

“Ah Bon , Great football team! Fancy a game while we are waiting” “Oui ok” “How many players have you got in Ireland?”   “About 46 as far as I know”. “How many? ” “But I actually live in England where we have got 3000 or so”.  “Oh,were they mostly French?”

Off we go, ‘Tete a Tete’ with three boules each. Point on the bouchon then a carreau. Next point rests on his boule touching,that gets shot and his boule does not move. Point, shoot, point, shoot, shoot, point and so on to 13-1. He says , “I won the Gard singles championship you know,” Cheers Frankie I might have guessed. Having a chat later after we were both knocked out of the melee in the 3rd round, (our triple after a win,a bye and a 12-12 shootout), he said “Listen Sam, tomorrow at Ales, big triplet with a 2500euro pot, winners get 500, do you want to play with me and my copain? You are not a bad pointer and Sa can shoot well I’ll give him a ring”. To be honest, I think it was as much because trying to find someone prepared to lob in a third of the 50 euro per team entry fee, at short notice, for a Saturday early doors start was tight and you’ll do. “A oui , says I, count moi in mon mec”. (What’s a £20 note for a days education.!!!) 

What happens next? Look out for part 2 coming out shortly….

Thank you again Sam. Brilliant read.

AGM Minutes 2nd August 2016

Tuesday 2nd August 2016 Brief Minutes

1. Present, Paul Matthews (Chair), James Brownjohn (Secretary), Mike Bulmer (Treasurer), Neill Rank (Captain) and 12 members.

2. Last Year’s minutes accepted as a true record.

3. There were no matters arising

4. Chairman’s report touched on several successes from last year including; the Kirkstall festival, the Waterfront festival at Brasserie Blanc, the Open Day, winning the York League again and coming 2nd in the new West Yorkshire league. So far in 2016 we have supported the Kirkstall festival and a special event called ‘Talking Statues’. Both went very well. Unfortunately, we were not able to support the Waterfront festival due to special circumstances.

5. Treasurer’s report showed the club’s accounts remain in a good position supported by new members and little expenditure within the year.

6. The existing officers for club chair, captain and secretary stood for re election and were appointed. Mike B was officially added as club treasurer and thanked for his support.

7. 2017 will include repeating our support for the Waterfront festival and Kirkstall Abbey festival. Playing in the new West Yorkshire league and continuing to play in the York league.  It was agreed next year the club would reinstate the Melee and club singles competitions.

8.  Agreed the annual club members fees will be determined at the start of next year at the AGM. 

9. More club fleeces and polo shirts were needed and it was agreed it would be looked into. The previous supplier no longer exists.

10. In honour of our much missed friend and member, Roy Cotton, a memorial match match between Leeds and Harrogate pétanque clubs will take place on 4th sept consisting of 2 x triples and 3 x pairs matches. A specially designed cup will be awarded to the winners.  The Club Captain will be determining the Leeds teams. Robin is doing bbq and club funds available for food to be available on the day. All members are asked to put the date in their dairy.

11. Pam asked the members about how they would like to participate in the West Yorkshire league as this year it was challenging to get a team together for every match. It was agreed the usual members who participate would be asked first and then all remaining members.

Thank you.