This year’s State Singles Championships were held in fine and mild conditions, continuing the remarkable trend of near-perfect weather for all our SAPL events so far this season.
After the unfortunate cancellation of our November round due to a brief COVID-19 outbreak, we have at least struck it very lucky with the weather this season. For this round, we had mild temperatures to offset the mid-summer sun and a gentle breeze kept everyone comfortable –about as good as it gets in January. On the previous Sunday, we would have encountered temperatures over 40C and a massive smoke plume from the large bushfire raging within a few kilometres of the Stirling venue.
The competition itself was very tight. Only 4 teams won all three of their prelim games and only 5 won both of the afternoon games. Just one team managed to do both and that was the winning combination of Alexi Alexi, Craig Stewart & Maurice Belz, from Eastern Suburbs.
Last season, 2019/20, was notable as the first time in ten years that Alexi didn’t win at least one Interclub gold medal, but he’s more than made up for it this season. This makes it three wins in a row for Alexi and Maurice – a remarkable feat not seen since 2013. On that occasion, it was also a team featuring Alexi, playing with George Lainas and Arwed Turon. (Prior to that, the only others to achieve it were the awesome world-class trio of Suki, Ken and Raja, also from ESP, who many will remember.) The big question now, as we are only half-way through the season, is “how far can they take this?” History beckons.Continue reading
This year’s State Doubles Championships were held at Prospect in fine and mild
conditions. For just the second time in five years, there was sufficient demand for a
separate Women’s competition and the turnout of ten teams for that event was great
At the end of the day, it was no surprise to see Deb Rodda & Selina Dally emerge as the
Women’s Champions. It doesn’t seem to matter whether there is a separate
competition or if the title is awarded to the best-placed female team in a combined
tournament, these two legends of the game (and reigning Open Triples champions)
have been keeping a firm grip on the Women’s Doubles title for some years now. It is
Deb’s fourth time in a row, while for Selina this makes six out of the past seven.
The only other team to get through the four qualifying rounds unscathed, Anna
O’Connor & Tory McBride, also continued through to the final and finished as
In the Open, there were a few upsets in the morning session, but the cream rose to the
top in the end. The new Champions are Alexi Alexi & Maurice Belz. That makes two in
a row for Maurice and it’s also the second for Alexi, although the latter had to wait for
eight years to replicate the feat. Alexi now has one State Singles trophy, two Doubles
trophies and three Triples trophies to his name.
After a steady start to the day, Alexi & Maurice made it to the final via an epic semi
against Lionel Pujol & Dominique Pierre (whose path to that point had not been quite
so straightforward). That game hung in the balance right until the end. In contrast,
the much-anticipated final against David Lefer & Lionel Chazal was all over in half an
hour and rather one-sided.
Last season’s winner was COVID-19 but, fortunately, the 2020/21 State Triples Championship was able to go ahead as planned – 14 months after the 2018/19 event. It was very well supported, with 69 players in attendance. In just a couple of years, the number of entrants for this competition has nearly doubled, with many participating this year for the first time. The conditions were cool but mostly fine and the competitive spirit was excellent.
The random draw added some spice to the morning session as a number of the early favourites were drawn to play each other in the preliminaries, in the ‘pool of death’. Only the strongest survived while others did not make the cut. Hence, it was not just the usual suspects making up the final eight. Some of the newcomers also took their opportunity to shine. However, as is so often the case, experience won out in the end.
The new champions are Deb Rodda, Selina Dally & Wendy Bensen. Their exploits are already legendary – they hold numerous records and all three have performed with distinction representing Australia on the world stage. This latest win is also historic as they are the first all-female team to win a South Australian Open championship in any format. Selina becomes the first female player with two Open Triples titles to her name. Deb and Wendy add an Open crown to accompany the Women’s Triples trophies they won in the last two years that a separate women’s event was run (before being discontinued in 2008).
The runners-up were Jean-Luc Gonnet, Bruce Lucas & Jonathan Giddings. These three are rapidly establishing themselves as a new heavyweight combination on the local pétanque scene. Having already seen off the defending champions in the quarter-final, they earned their place in the decider by virtue of a commendable return bout against the formidable trio of Alexi, Dave Lefer & Maurice Belz in the semis. (It’s uncanny how often you get two different winners when the same teams play each other twice within a tournament.)
The Consolante winners were another experienced all-female team, Rada Pierre, Jenny Key & Tina Stockley, so it was definitely a day for the girls. It looks like SA will have some strong contenders in the women’s competitions when the Easter Nationals finally come to Adelaide.
To conclude, one more team that also needs a mention was from the Adelaide Hills club, comprising Neil Maslin, Robin Austin & Rob Mawson. In their first state championship, these three had the misfortune to face a preliminary draw against three daunting teams that, between them, did not contain a single player without international experience as Australian representatives! Lesser men might have been a bit demoralised by lunchtime, but these guys took the attitude that “if it doesn’t kill you it just makes you stronger”. They performed creditably in all three of those games and then went on to win the Conviviale in the afternoon, fighting all the way to the end. One would have to say that their bottle of wine was well-earned.
Congratulations to all the winners. Thanks to those who made the day possible, especially the volunteers from host club ESP and the umpire, Terry Hall.
The State Triples is an open competition for male, female or mixed teams of all ages.
Entry fee $10 per player. (Pay by 9:15am on the day.)
Games start at 9.30am.
Lunch (cost of $8), a licenced Bar (No BYO) and tea/coffee will be available.
This tournament is open to licenced players only.
The playing format will remain flexible until final entry numbers are known.
Timed games in prelims (timed game rules) and untimed finals in the afternoon.
There will be a consolante for those who do not qualify for the finals.
If unable to attend after registering for any reason (especially if you are feeling unwell) contact Tournament Director Anthony Pietsch ASAP.
The day will be run observing all COVID regulations, covering physical distancing, hand sanitizing, equipment handling and beverage/food service.
This post is the rankings for last year’s InterClub competition.
The attached document shows the complete list for the last year.
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?
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.
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.
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.