This year’s State Singles Championships were held in extremely comfortable weatherconditions. It was fine all day but cooler than one would normally expect in February. Ten players competed in the Women’s competition and thirty-four in the Open, making the total attendance figure just shy of the record set last year.
Both tournaments were very competitive. Of the 145 games played in total on the day, only 3 resulted in a score of zero, and no player in either division managed to get through the whole day without conceding at least one game (more orders for “I beat the Champion” Tshirts).Over the last year or so, the talent pool of SA petanque has been bolstered by the arrival of a number of new but experienced players. Several of these new faces featured prominently in the day’s proceedings...
In the Women’s competition it was Giselle Whiteaker, appearing in her first SA Singles, who put up the strongest showing during the preliminary and qualifying rounds. However, a couple of marathon efforts at the end may have taken their toll. In the final, it was the other standout qualifier, Melissa Scott, who finished with the upper hand. As the defending champion, Melissa’s victory makes her the first person in the history of the Women’s Singles competition to successfully defend her state title and win it twice in a row – a great achievement.
In the Open category there were plenty of upsets in the morning session, resulting in some of the fancied contenders and previous champions not making the cut into the final 16. But no-one was too surprised to see who was holding up the trophy at the end of the day – the young master, Van Nguyen. It’s been twelve months since Van made his SAPL debut at last year’s Singles. Although he missed out on the ultimate prize, his performance on that occasion was awesome and left us with predictions of big things to come for the new recruit. We have not been disappointed. However, after a series of near misses in the various different formats, the one thing that had eluded him until now was a State Championship title. Well done, Van. It will no doubt be the first of many.
The only undefeated player heading into the final, and the eventual runner-up, was the evergreen Arwed Turon. A former state champion in Doubles and Triples, this was Arwed’s best result in Singles. His previous claim to fame in this format was in winning the veteran’s tournament, back in the days when state championships included a separate veteranscompetition (2006). The fact that he is still good enough today to make the final illustrates why the separate veterans category is no longer a feature of SAPL competitions.
The two other semi-finalists also deserve honourable mentions. For Kenny May, it was a PB result in state championships. For Peter Masri, it was a rather auspicious SAPL debut after recently relocating to Adelaide from Sydney – another one to keep your eye on.
Thanks to the SuperNovar crew for their usual excellent job of hosting the event and a special thank you to Brett Williams for carrying the entire umpiring burden on your own over the vast expanses of the Novar Gardens grounds.