Our local MP, Tracy Brabin, opened and started what turned out to be a brilliant weekend of petanque as 34 triples teams came from around the UK and Europe to compete in our inaugural “TOG24 La British Open” championship. Our local Councillors, Viv Kendrick, Steve Hall and David Sheard have supported and promoted our club over the last six years and we were really pleased that they were present over the weekend to share our spectacular event.
Several of our members, including several from Huddersfield and Mirfield with dual membership of our clubs entered teams so there was always some of our members to cheer along. Whilst we didn’t figure in the prize money all of our teams gave an excellent account of themselves and I’m sure took away many pointers to help improve their games. There were a multitude of national representative players on view and we were treated to a great display of pointing and shooting. Some amazing performances from youngsters too. One 10 year old from Suffolk played with his elder sister and dad and was an amazing player. He’s already been selected for the England youth B team.
No event of this magnitude can be successful without a dedicated team of volunteers and this was no exception. To attract players from far afield there was a need to offer suitable prizes and we are greatly in debt to the wonderful companies and private individuals who supported us. TOG24 were our senior sponsor and came on the day with a stand promoting some excellent clothing and a fabulous array of banners that turned our terrain into a spectacular sports arena. “Boules of Steel” was the most photographed and the most quoted phrase of the weekend.
When it comes to work and hospitality there is absolutely no-one to equal the fabulous Hecky Crew pictured above plus Mary on the other side of the camera and several others who sadly missed the photo. Most clubs can only dream of having such wonderful members who needed no prompting to be there from crack of dawn to dusk to set up and take down the whole arena not once but twice, provide tea and coffee, run a bar, service toilets and a multitude of other tasks. A massive thank you and well done. The reviews on social media are numerous and very positive for our club.
On the more technical aspects of running a large competition we were guided by James Hart, with assistance from his wife, friends and our very able MC, Matt Blyton. How they managed to run the competition and play in it I will never know. No-one would have heard of our competition, let alone entered, if it hadn’t been for the amazing social media efforts of Chris Kitson and Aly Sebastion. Even living in France didn’t stop them from giving Heckmondwike Petanque Club some wonderful exposure. Well done guys and thank you so much.
It was really good to see many more of our members turning up to watch the action. I’m sure club days will be different now as everyone tries out the techniques we witnessed from the leading players.
I missed most of the finale and presentation but I did note that the top prize went to the lads from Chiltern region who beat a London team in an excellent game.
The day was topped off brilliantly when we received news that TOG24 would be happy to support us again next year. Petanque England were very positive about our performance and the prospects of us hosting further national level competitions in the future are looking very bright.
For those looking for more visions of the weekend Petanque England and La British Open facebook pages have thousands of great pics and some live streaming of some of the matches on the ‘show terrain’.
Overall a weekend of fabulous petanque, making new acquaintances and friends from around the country and a brilliant, if very tiring, experience. The everlasting memory – being shown how to shoot and point by a very talented 10 year old.