Round 3 was held at Eastern Suburbs, belatedly because of two COVID-related cancellations in the season so far. (Under normal circumstances, this would have been Round 5). The conditions were fine and sunny. The maximum temperature was only just over 30˚ but it felt quite hot in the sun, especially after such a mild summer.
The Interclub Championship is still well and truly up for grabs, with two rounds to go (under a revised schedule). However, there is one title that is already all but decided. The title of ‘most competitive season in the history of the competition’ must surely go to 2021/22. We’ve had some close finishes before, but this season so far has been extraordinary…
For the second time in a row, the club that was sitting in fifth place has jumped to the top of the premiership table in one move. Also for the second time in a row, we are left with a margin of just 12 points separating first from fifth on the ladder. The clubs in between are each neatly placed at three point intervals. This is exactly the same spread we had after Round 2 – only the order has changed. (To put this in perspective, the average difference between 1st and 5th after three rounds, over the last five years, is 97 points.)
Another sign of competitiveness comes from a look at the medal winners. All seven participating clubs have now been represented among the nine teams to have graced the podium so far this season! Similarly, in the current round, all seven clubs featured amongst the top nine teams on the day.
The top honours went to the perennial performers from Eastern Suburbs, Alexi Alexi, Arwed Turon & Craig Stewart, providing another addition to their already bulging trophy cabinets. We wish them all well for the upcoming national championships. Their win was enough to catapult ESP back to its accustomed place at the top of the table. In second place was a team from Gawler comprising Rick Cary, David Willis & John Gejas – a fine performance from a new combination. Special congratulations must go to Rick for earning a silver medal on his League debut. It was also a personal best finish for David. Taking home the bronze was another team in training for the Nationals, featuring Dave Ward, Terry Hall & Jean-Philippe Guglielmi (and we wish them well too). This was a successful and most welcome return to the Interclub competition by one of the elder statesmen of petanque in our state, Jean-Philippe, after an absence of 11 years. It was great to have him back, along with Nora – SA’s most elegant petanquer. It’s never quite the same without them.
Thanks to the small but dedicated band of volunteers from ESP who kept everything running smoothly. Thanks also to the umpires and to Bruce Lucas for assisting with the scores.
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