The 2022-2023 SA State Doubles Championship was held at the Prospect Petanque Club on 23 October 2022:
- Open Doubles Champions: Raja Jamaleddine & Lionel Chazal
- Women’s Doubles Champions: Selina Dally & Ha Nguyen
This year’s State Doubles Championships were held at the Prospect Pétanque Club in trying conditions. The forecast was for a couple of showers and that was what we got. The problem was, the first one lasted for about five hours and the second for another three hours or so! Brollies and raincoats were the order of the day. Fortunately, it wasn’t windy nor particularly cold and the rain was only light. Yet it was so persistent that, if it wasn’t for a brief respite in the early afternoon, the sodden grounds may have been unplayable by the end.
The Women’s competition attracted what may have been the strongest field ever seen in this event and was very competitive. By lunch time, each team had suffered a defeat in at least one of their three games and everything was still up for grabs until the final qualifying round was completed. In the end, it was Ha Nguyen & Selina Dally who emerged victorious and took the crown. Their win raises Selina’s awesome record to a total of seven State Women’s Doubles trophies over the last ten years. On the other hand, it’s barely six months since Ha burst onto the local pétanque scene. In that short space of time she has followed the example set by her husband, Van, and established herself as another force to be reckoned with. This is her first state title and it may well be the first of many. The runners up, Penny Lyons & Paula Puleston, also recorded a personal best at this level. For the record, they become the first team from the FAB club to make the final of a state championship.
In contrast to the Women’s, the Open competition featured a more diverse field. Four stand-out teams went undefeated through the qualifying rounds and these four all progressed through to the semi-finals. Ultimately, it came down to a face-off between the two teams who started the day as clear favourites. On one side were Alexi Alexi & Van Nguyen, with Van, runner up last year, trying to go one better than that and Alexi vying for his third title in a row. Their opponents were Raja Jamaleddine & Lionel Chazal, both of whom also have very impressive records at the state, national and international level.The final was hard fought and, despite the difficult conditions, was an impressive demonstration of the game played at the highest level. After a long and tense arm wrestle, Alexi & Van had the ascendancy with the score at 10-8. But then, a five-point end to Raja & Lionel suddenly turned things around and sealed the deal for the latter. Surprisingly, perhaps, this is only the second time Lionel has won this event. He now joins Raja in the record books as the only two players to have won multiple SA State Open championships in each of Singles, Doubles and Triples. Congratulations to all the winners and place-getters.
Thanks to the umpire, Brett Williams, and to the Prospect club for hosting the day and keeping everything running smoothly.