The 2018/19 State Doubles Championship was held at Eastern Suburbs in cool but fine conditions. Twenty pairs took part in this open competition including male, female and mixed-gender teams.
There were plenty of strong contenders and most of the pre-tournament favourites made it to the pointy end of the day. But, with so much talent on show, it was no great surprise that nearly every team suffered at least two losses throughout the course of the day. There was just one exception, who stood head and shoulders above the rest of the pack…
The exceptional team was Raja Jamaleddine & David Lefer, undefeatedand never really threatened from beginning to end. They arrived with intent, talked the talk and then walked the walk, culminating in an awesome display in a one-sided final. Their very worthy opponents, Louis Oltarczy & Jean-Paul Bouyer, could find no way to halt the onslaught.
This is David’s first state title since his win in the inaugural State Triples Championship in 2007. After something of a mid-life hiatus in his petanque career, he is back to his best. For Raja, meanwhile, his second State Doubles title completes his second full set of singles, doubles and triples crowns. Raja becomes the first player in the history of SAPL state championships to win twice in all three formats — an outstanding achievement.
There was no separate women’s competition this year due to low numbers. However, as the highest finishing women’s team, Selina Dally & Deb Rodda retained the title they won last year. To prove that they thoroughly deserved this honour, they put on an outstanding display in the Open competition, finishing top of their pool in the morning session and going as far as the semi-finals in the afternoon. This extends Selina’s reign as women’s doubles champion into its fifth year.
Finally, it is interesting to note that the first two teams to register for this event turned out to be the two finalists. What does that tell you?