Petanque national championships being played in Exeter at end of May

PUBLISHED: 21:47 19 May 2017 | UPDATED: 21:47 19 May 2017

Petanque

Petanque

Archant

The Devon Region of the English Pétanque Association (EPA) is pleased to have been selected, for the third consecutive year, to host the National Championships at the Isca Centre, Exeter, writes Chris Bigmore.

Preparations for the event were launched this week by the organisers and officials including John Thatcher, president of the Devon Pétanque Region of the EPA and Mike Pegg, international umpire and president of the Confédération Européenne de Pétanque (CEP)

The tournament will include men’s and women’s singles, men’s and women’s doubles and mixed doubles contested over the Spring Bank Holiday weekend of May 27 to 29.

Top players in the sport from all around the country will be competing, as well as some West Country based players.

Pétanque is the most popular and widely known of all the games in the family of boules. From its origins in France it has now spread throughout the world and growing rapidly here in the UK.

Though it can still be enjoyed in a leisurely environment, it is now established as a sport and more and more clubs are becoming part of the community’s sporting facilities - playing on purpose built terrains such as the one at the Isca Centre.

The sport is governed by the English Pétanque Association, itself affiliated to the world governing body (FIPJP) and Sport England, and there are now almost 3,000 registered players in this country, playing in 220 clubs.

Players of all ages and abilities can participate in the game, and leagues and tournaments are played at regional, national and international level.

These National Championships are at the very top level of competition in England. Mike Pegg, who will be officiating at Exeter, and has recently returned from duties at the World Championships held in Ghent, Belgium, says: “The England team performed extremely well at Ghent illustrating the progress that is being made by players in this country.

“I am expecting to see a high standard of competition at Exeter.”

John Thatcher hopes that holding the Championships in Exeter will help raise the profile of the sport in the West Country.

He said: “A tremendous amount of work goes in to staging this event from a small army of volunteers not least in the construction of a playing area, by converting a part of the car park, to accommodate the hundred plus competitors attending.

“We welcome them and very much welcome the public as spectators for this great event - entry is free - at any time over the three days.”

The tournament schedule is: Saturday, May 27: The men’s and women’s singles. Sunday, May 28: men’s and women’s doubled and Monday, May 29: the mixed doubles.

All the action will take place at the Isca Centre in Summer Lane, Exeter (post code EX4 8NT). Play on each day will run from 10am through to 7pm.

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