Pétanque, that game so popular in France, played in the sunshine under the shade of the trees. Villagers, mostly men, gather in the late afternoon to compete with each other and the ladies bring their knitting and sit and chat. Most villages have their own Pétanque Terrain varying in size and topped with the gravely surface required. Regrettably in Burnham we don’t have such a facility but we do have a newly formed Pétanque Group.
Instigated by Geoff Charge in July it was decided that on the first Wednesday in September at 16.30 we would have a trial to see what response there was from U3A members – we hadn’t expected so many. Finding a suitable surface in Burnham was a challenge (and remains so) but we weren’t daunted and found a playable area in the Riverside Park, by no means perfect; but with a wonderful view!
The day arrived and the afternoon sun shone until mid-afternoon when the rain came; at first playing was looking doubtful but luck was on our side, with the rain stopping just in time. It was most encouraging that fourteen people arrived, many with their own boules and some looking very professional with magnets on strings to help them pick up their boules.
We split into four teams, the Burnhamites, Dizzy Rascals, Useless (they weren’t) and Chatterboxes (they were) and play commenced. We quickly found out how competitive everyone was. Rules were broken when one player stepped out of the throwing ring to toss his boule and the opposing team declared his throw void – all in good spirit. On occasions measurements were needed to find the winner; it was all good fun.
The winners of the day were the Dizzy Rascals with Useless and Chatterboxes following close behind – the Burnhamites did not do so well. We were almost due to finish when the rain returned and we all made a hasty departure.
The next session brought additional members and another selection of team names (Pat’s Pansies, Fab 3, Number Ones – who won, and Wombats – who were trounced); the group now has around 20 members.
This group plans to run from April to the end of October and the remaining dates this year are the 1st & 3rd Wednesdays in October starting at 4.00. Geoff says it will be a democratic group and if the day, place or time need to be changed to meet members’ needs it can be discussed. If you would like to join please give Geoff a ring – his number is on the back page along with all the other group details.