2019/20 SAPL Singles Championships – Novar Gdns

This year’s SA State Singles Championships were held in ideal fine and mild conditions. A total of 45 players (another attendance record) took to the expansive Novar Gardens pistes to battle it out in the most demanding form of the game.
The Open attracted a very strong field and every win had to be earned. By lunch time, only 4 of the 32 players had managed to get through their preliminary games unscathed. However, morning form is not always a good predictor of afternoon form and it is the latter that matters most. On this occasion, three of those front-runners fell by the wayside in the qualifying rounds — quite spectactularly in some cases.
Ultimately, the cream rises to the top and it came down to a Final between two of the grand masters of SA pétanque. On one side was Lionel Pujol, the 2018 Champion and the only player to have gone all day undefeated. His opponent was Dominique Pierre, the 2016 Champion, whose one point victory in the semi-final against last year’s winner (Maurice Belz) was possibly the match of the day.
The Final was not the cliff-hanger that some may have hoped for. Dominique, the man who “hates singles”, once again reinforced his reputation as The Dominator. The other time Dom won the SA Singles it was a sign of things to come as he went on to claim concurrent State titles in Open Doubles, Mixed Doubles and Triples — a historic achievement that has never been matched. Is this victory another sign?

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Interclub Competition Round 4 Adelaide Hills – 19 January 2020

Attendance records continue to tumble for the SAPL Interclub competition, with thirtyteams competing in Round 4. This is not the highest number ever, but the last time we had this many the scores were being written with a quill dipped in ink.

The conditions were unseasonably cool for January and Stirling’s reputation for always raining on a League day was reinforced once again. However, this time it was just right — the precipitation was so light and so sporadic that it was barely felt, yet it was enough to dampen down the dust from the previously parched dolomite. The timing was also perfect, as it was only an hour or two after the proceedings ended that steady rain set in, bringing (a very welcome) 30mm or so to the area overnight.

The competition was once again unpredictable and very tight, as it has been all season, and this is illustrated by the following observation: Only two teams were able to win both of their games after lunch and only two teams lost them both. This is quite remarkable considering that the system used dictates there is always at least one of each (the team finishing first must win them both while the last-placed team must have two losses). Of the other twenty-eight teams, twenty-six of them registered one win and one loss!

Taking out the honours for the day was the in-form Adelaide Hills trio of Brian Tuckfield, Ralph Foster & Anthony Pietsch, proving in the most emphatic way that their Round 3 victory was no fluke. They are starting to get a reputation for clawing their way over the line when it matters most. In the silver medal position was the Prospect team of Janet Jenkin, Michael Frodyma & Martin Verdonk. This maintains Marty’s average at better than one League medal per season over a long periood of time whereas, surprisingly perhaps, it’s a first for Janet and Michael. Congratulations. The bronze medallists were Selina Dally, Ray Drummond & Craig Stewart, from Eastern Suburbs.

In terms of the championship, it was largely a case of steady-as-you-go on this occasion. There were no changes in ladder position, merely some adjustments to the respective margins. The biggest points haul went to Adelaide Hills, bringing them within 6 points of the League leaders and hot favourites, ESP. Adelaide maintained their buffer ahead of fourth-placed Prospect, while Prospect put some breathing space between themselves and Novar Gardens, who in turn did enough to keep in touch with the main pack and move clear of those below them.

In response to this year’s disastrous fire season, the host club decided to support the CFS Foundation, helping SA firefighters who suffer injury or loss as a result of their service. The raffle takings and other donations were matched by the club, raising a total of over $1400. Thanks to all who gave so generously.

Thanks also to the umpires, officials, and to all the enthusiastic volunteers from the Adelaide Hills club who once again turned on a first-rate show.

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Interclub Competition Round 3 Gawler – 24 November 2019

Round 3 was hosted by the Gawler club in fine conditions. The November sun was blazing, so the ample provision of shelters was most appreciated, but the air temperature was not too uncomfortable. Twenty-three teams participated, which was the best attendance at Gawler since 2008.

This season is shaping up to be one of the most competitive we have seen for some time. On this occasion, for the second time in a row, five different clubs were represented in the top five finishing positions.

Taking out the bronze medals were Dave Ward, Tory McBride & Lionel Pujol, from Eastern Suburbs. Having won a League round in each of the last four seasons, this team was perfectly poised to extend that remarkable record into a fifth year, but, at the end of the day, weren’t quite able to seal the deal. (Three rounds down and three to go). In the silver medal position was the local team of Dave McKinnon, Glenis Head & Stan Wilson. It’s the second medal for Glenis so far this season, but for Dave it was the first of his pétanquing career. Congratulations. Nevertheless, there was only one undefeated team on the day and that was the reigning state champion combination of Ralph Foster, Brian Tuckfield & Anthony Pietsch, taking some Interclub gold up to ‘them thar Hills’ for the first time in over five years.

These results have given the premiership table quite a shake-up. Gawler doubled their points tally for the season and moved up to sixth place, with a healthy advantage over FAB. Prospect also scored well and climbed two places to fourth, leaving Novar Gardens squeezed in between with a very slender margin on both sides. At the top of the table, a severely depleted ESP squad did enough to maintain their prime position, but they lost ground against their three nearest rivals. Of these, the biggest winner of Round 3 was Adelaide Hills, who have stormed into second place ahead of Club d’Adelaide and are now positioned closer to first than to third. All in all, the remainder of this season promises to be most intriguing.

Thanks to all who attended, to the umpires, and to the small but dedicated Gawler crew who took good care of us on the day.

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2019/20 SAPL Mixed Doubles Championship – ESP

This year’s SAPL Mixed Doubles Championship was played in ideal fine and mild conditions. Twenty-four teams participated ‒ the biggest turnout we’ve seen in the four years that this event has been running. While very competitive, the atmosphere was also quite convivial and sociable, as it usually tends to be with a mixed doubles format.
At the end of the day, there were only two undefeated teams left to fight it out in the final. The defending title-holders, Wendy Bensen & Alexi Alexi, had seen off allcomers to this pont in resounding fashion, but on this occasion had to settle for the runners-up trophy. They were no match for the new undisputed champions,

Selina Dally & Maurice Belz – Mixed Doubles Champ

Wendy Bensen & Alexi Alexi – Runners Up

In taking this title for the second time, Selina can add “first multiple winner in Mixed Doubles” to her already impressive list of SAPL records. As for Maurice, already the reigning State Champion in Singles and Open Doubles, this is another box ticked. It caps off a remarkable twelve month period which has also included four Interclub appearances yielding three gold medals and a silver. Maurice’s arrival in Adelaide has possibly set the bar higher for the rest of us than it’s ever been before.
A special mention must also go to Evie Beresford, the youngest player in the field by a considerable margin. Teamed with coach Tim Whelan, Evie showed that she has already become a very accomplished pétanque player in a short space of time, holding her own against others that have been playing since since before she was born. Evie & Tim not only made it all the way to the the semi-finals, their score of eight points against Selina & Maurice in that game was the best that any team could manage on the day.
Thanks to all who participated and to all the helpers from the Eastern Suburbs club who ensured everything ran smoothly.

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Interclub Competition Round 2 NOVAR Gdns – 22 September 2019

The renaissance of SA pétanque continued in Round 2 with a population explosion. Undeterred by the threat of showers (which fortunately stayed away for the most part), a staggering turn-out of 87 players took to the pistes at Novar Gardens. That’s 15 more than in Round 1, which in turn had the most we’d seen for over a decade.

Five different clubs were represented in the top five positions, but the winning team was the highly-credentialled and experienced trio of Selina Dally, Wendy Bensen & Maurice Belz, from ESP. No surprises there. However, also on the podium were some of the newer entrants to the field and potential stars of the future. In second place, and all taking home their first League medal, were Mike Read, Ashton Claridge & Mal Bedsonfrom the Adelaide Hills club. Bronze went to the Novar Gardens team of Jonathan Giddings, Bruce Lucas & Jean-Luc Gonnet, with Bruce also registering a personal best. Congratulations and well done to all.

Selina, Maurice, WendyMike, Ashton, MalBruce, Jonathan,
Jean-Luc

This was one of those rounds where the pattern of results did not fit what we would normally expect. In particular, we had a very unusual situation in Pool A where five of the fourteen teams won all three of their preliminary games, with only one of the others winning more than one. This created a few apparent anomalies in the final rankings, such as one team that won all five of their games but couldn’t climb up to a medal-winning position because their morning points tally was ‘only’ +19.

In terms of the championship, the lesson was that there’s safety in numbers. Despite the fact that each club can only claim the points from their two best-placed teams, it was the three clubs with five or more teams that picked up the biggest hauls ‒ Eastern Suburbs cemented their place at the top of the table, while Adelaide Hills and Novar Gardens were the big movers. The latter two have climbed up into third and fourth place, respectively, at the expense of FAB and Gawler, while Adelaide (2nd), Prospect (6th) and Port Noarlunga (8th) all maintained their first-round positions.

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2019/20 SA State Doubles Championship

at:  Prospect Pétanque Club                  25 August, 2019

This year’s State Doubles Championship was held at Prospect in fine and mild conditions. Twenty-five pairs took part, including male, female and mixed-gender teams, which was the best attendance at this event for at least ten years.

The competition was more even than some might have predicted, with lots of close games and plenty of upsets. By the end of the four preliminary games, only one team remained undefeated and that was a portent of what was to follow.

The stand-out team on the day was the pairing of a young gun and emerging star with an established grand master of the game — Nick Armstrong & Maurice Belz swept all before them and are the new state champions. Well done, messieurs! This is the second SA state title for each of these players. Nick’s winner’s trophy will sit next to one from the 2107/18 Mixed Doubles, while Maurice is now the reigning champion in both Doubles and Singles.

Maurice Belz & Nick Armstrong

Congratulations must also go to Sue & Peter Matthews, who performed strongly all day and finished as runners-up and ‘the best of the rest’. Sue & Peter were part of a large contingent of teams from the fledgling Novar Gardens club that, on the whole, accounted for themselves very well.

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Changes in SAPL Calendar

Due to an unforeseen clash with a large public event at Gawler on the 22nd of September, the venues for Rounds 2 and 3 of the Interclub competition have been swapped around…

Round 2 will be held at NOVAR GARDENS on Sept 22

Round 3 will be held at GAWLER on Nov 24.

Also, note

The Trebes Cup at FAB has been moved from Sept 8 to Sunday, Sept 29, to avoid a clash with the Interstate Challenge.

Petanque Calendar  Version b

Interclub Competition Round 1 ESP – 29 July 2019

In fine and mild conditions, the 2019/20 season got off to a roaring start with twenty‑four teams in attendance. This turn-out has not been matched since 2012 and the last time we’ve had more than that was in 2008. What makes it all the more remarkable is that this happened at a time of year when quite a number of regular players from various clubs are absent. Host clubs be warned — we might be in for some big crowds this year!

As is customary for the first round, the day began with the presentation of medals for the most outstanding players of the season just completed. Congratulations to Wendy Bensen for winning the Best Player award, and to Alexi Alexi (Best Male Player); Susan Krieg and Mark Reardon (Best New Players); and Tory McBride, Lionel Pujol & Dave Ward (Best Veterans). Wendy is the first woman to win the overall award, making it the first time the medal for ‘best player of the other gender’ has been for the ‘best male’.

At the end of the day, there was another set of medals to present. The gold ones went to the only undefeated team, the very experienced Adelaide trio, Jean-Paul Bouyer, Louis Oltarczy & Alain Rousse. They appear to have recaptured some of the form that saw them dominating the competition a couple of years ago.

Gold Team – Jean-Paul Bouyer, Alain Rousse & Louis Oltarczy

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