The first round of the new season was well attended despite the threat of showers, which fortunately did not materialise. Conditions were cool, but pleasant enough.
Last year, in the 2017/18 championship, the pecking order was fairly well established after Round 1 and barely changed for the rest of the season. This time around, the early indications are that the season to come may be a bit more interesting than that.
The dominant club on the day was Eastern Suburbs, with their three teams all finishing in the top five. Congratulations to the gold medal winners — Alexi, Arwed & Lionel. The resultant points haul puts ESP well ahead of the rest of the pack, at this early stage.
Reigning champion Adelaide sits in second place, on the back of a silver medal performance by Dominique, Rada & Alain. However, with a depleted squad and only one team in the points, they only just got their noses in front of the next three clubs who are all tied for third ‑‑ Adelaide Hills, Gawler and Prospect. Rounding out this tight pack are FAB, who, in sixth place, are a mere 6 points shy of second!
Such a tight contest is good for the competition and leaves us eagerly anticipating the next round. Thanks to the Prospect club and all their volunteers for doing a great job as hosts.
* * * * *
Round 1 is also the time we present awards for the best players from the previous season. This year, the major honours (Best Overall and Best Veteran) went to Louis Oltarczy, from Club d’Adelaide. Louis played in all six rounds, finishing in the top six on each occasion and four times on the podium.
The Best Female award went to Wendy Bensen (ranked fifth overall), while Glenis Head was the top-ranked lady in the Over 60’s category.
The award for Best New Player was hotly contested this year, with several strong contenders emerging from a much larger field of candidates than we are used to. As part of the team that took the silver medal in the final round, the winner in the end was Jean May from Novar Gardens.
Congratulations to all the award winners. The full list of Player Rankings can be viewed on the SA Pétanque website.