2021/2022 SA State Doubles Championship
This year’s State Doubles Championships were held at the Prospect Petanque Club and the conditions were absolutely glorious. Perfect weather for petanque and the best attendance we’ve seen for many years.
The Women’s event attracted a field of nine teams and it provided a tight competition. Most of the games were close and no team got through the day undefeated. The only team to progress unscathed through the four preliminary rounds fell at the first hurdle in the knock-out rounds, while the eventual winners got off to a slow start but managed to find their stride at the business end of the tournament.
The new Women’s Doubles Champions are Judy & Giselle Whiteaker and their victory is historic for a whole swathe of reasons. Theirs are the first new names to appear on the perpetual shield since 2015 and they are probably the first players to win the title at their first attempt since the inaugural event. They are certainly the first mother/daughter combination to win it. They are also the first State Champions to come from the burgeoning Novar Gardens squad and that club will now proudly house the shield for the next 12 months. The runners-up were Tina Stockley & Rada Pierre.
In contrast, the Open Doubles event has a history of bringing out different winners every year but this time it was the reigning champions , ESP’s Alexi Alexi & Maurice Belz, who again claimed the honours. (Rumours of Maurice’s impending departure were clearly exaggerated – he couldn’t tear himself away without first collecting a bit more South Australian silverware.) Last year, Maurice became the first player to win the championship twice in a row. Along with the ‘threepeat’, he and Alexi now become the first team to successfully defend an Open Doubles title.
The stand-out performers from the qualifying rounds, and eventual runners up, were Gavin Scott & Van Nguyen. Going into the final they were the only undefeated team and midway through that match it looked likely that they would stay that way. However, the boys from ESP regrouped and steadied and clawed their way back to a 12-12 scoreline, before clinching victory in an epic contest. After near misses on debut in both the Singles and Triples as well, young Van will have to wait a little longer to get his hands on a State Champion’s trophy. It is surely just a matter of time.
Congratulations to all the winners. Thanks to the Prospect club for hosting, to the umpires for officiating, and to all who participated.