2022-2023 InterClub Competition Round 4 – Adelaide Hills Petanque Club – 22nd January 2023

Round 4 of the 2022-2023 InterClub Competition  was held at Adelaide Hills Petanque Club on Sunday, 22nd January 2023. Breaking news! Novar Gardens Petanque Club’s Christian Puccini and Justin Smith have won their first InterClub gold medals.

Round 4 was played at Stirling in fine and dry conditions. The summer sun was fierce but the cool hills air kept things comfortable in the shade and the impressive new shelters at the Hills club were put to good use. A turnout of 96 players was a record at this space-challenged venue, but, with a bit of improvisation, everyone was accommodated.

The current season continues to be one of the most competitive and unpredictable seasons we’ve had. On this occasion, after 79 games had been completed, the top two positions on the premiership ladder were still not decided until the last ball of the last game of the day. That was the playoff for the gold medal and the scores were locked at 12-12. It doesn’t get much closer than that!

On one side of this contest were Novar Gardens’ Justin Smith, Selina Dally & Christian Puccini, the silver medallists from Round 3 aiming to go one better this time.  Their opponents were the established Adelaide Hills trio, Mike Read, Peter Davies & Brian Tuckfield, who have also tasted success this season, winning Round 2. They must have liked the taste and were coming back for more. However, the crucial point was ultimately claimed by the Novar Gardens team. Cool in the pressure of the moment, special congratulations must go to Justin and Christian – two relatively new players – for their first gold medals in this competition.

Finishing in second position (by the ‘snakes and ladders’ system) were Lynda Rousse, Wayne Twigden & Lionel Pujol from Club d’Adelaide. This result was also a personal best for Lynda – well done. Taking home the bronze were Quentin Jones, Ross Coleman & Dirk Seret from Adelaide Hills – their second podium finish this season.

Backing up their Round 3 heroics by once again earning the big points that come with the gold medals, Novar Gardens have consolidated their position at the top of the leaderboard with a clear margin that has now increased to 18 points. That’s a handy lead with just two rounds to go. History beckons. Only three clubs have ever won the SAPL Interclub competition. The last one to do so for the first time was ESP, more than 15 years ago.

In this round, the only other club to keep pace with Novar in the points race was the host club. Adelaide Hills once again demonstrated the depth of their squad, with three teams in the top seven, picking up enough championship points to move into second place. Prospect also did enough to move ahead of ESP and thus maintain their third-place position, while fifth-placed Adelaide gained ground on the two clubs ahead of them. It’s all set up for an exciting finish to the season.

Thanks to the Adelaide Hills club and volunteers for making it all work, despite the space constraints, and for providing the usual sumptuous meal.

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