2022-2023 InterClub Competition Round 6 – Novar Gardens Petanque Club – 28th May 2023

Round 6 was another wet one, with several periods of rain during the middle of the day. But no amount of rain would have been enough to dampen the enthusiasm of the 32 teams that took part in what was the final and deciding round of the Interclub competition. The stakes were high, as there were five clubs still in with a chance of winning the championship – something we’ve never seen before (and may never see again). Fortunately, the showers stopped just in time to avoid rendering many of the pistes unplayable.

As the day progressed, what emerged was another evenly poised contest. At the lunch break, there were six different clubs represented amongst the top eight teams vying for the top positions, leaving every position on the ladder still in contention and keeping the excitement alive right to the end. It was a fitting end to what has been a very competitive season. Ultimately, it came down to a handful of pivotal games.

In the fourth round, a victory to ESP’s Vincent Bulone, Haejung Jang & Peter Masri over Prospect’s Melissa Scott, Ha Nguyen & Van Nguyen meant the former secured a place in the gold medal match while the latter had to settle for the silver medals at the end of the day. (If this game had gone the other way, with other results as they transpired, it would have been enough to secure the championship for Prospect by two points.) At this point, we could have seen two ESP teams in the gold medal match, which would have sealed the deal for that club after the fourth round. However, that scenario was thwarted by Greg Anderson, Ralph Foster & Rob Mawson from Adelaide Hills, who were also in fine form and were keeping their club’s hopes alive with a tilt at the top honours.

Finally, as the scores from the last round of games started to come in, it became clear that the final result was going to hinge on that one crucial game, with the winner earning 30 points for their club while the loser gets 18. A win for Greg, Ralph & Rob would see Adelaide Hills finish at the top of the table and, for the first time ever, the Hills mob would be basking in premiership glory. But they would not be the only ones. The Prospect mob would also be celebrating, with the result being an unprecedented tie for first place! (…and there would have been a margin of just three points between first and fourth on the ladder.)

The game started as an arm wrestle. At one point, with the score at 7-6 in favour of ESP, it was shaping up to be a cliffhanger. Yet all it took was one more end – a six-pointer – and it was abruptly done and dusted. Vincent, Haejung & Peter were the heroes of the day. Three skilled and experienced players (but all relatively new to this competition), they collected their first Interclub medals in fine style and, in doing so, secured a fifth consecutive series win for Eastern Suburbs. Meanwhile, the other clubs were left to contemplate what may have been.

Thanks to the umpires and to Novar Gardens for hosting the event. Thanks also to all the players who have participated throughout the season and contributed to creating such a wonderful atmosphere for playing the game we love. Long may it continue.

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