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A PROUD MOMENT AT HECKY

This weekend saw a first for Heckmondwike Petanque Club and a proud moment for the four of us pictured. On Sunday we received and played in our new Northern strip in a triangular match with Mercia and Heart of England.

In September we go to Hayling Island for a weekend spectacular of petanque where we will represent the Northern Region in the National Regional Championships. Around 1000 avid petanque players will play 12 matches over two days as the nations regions look to become national region champions. It promises to be a great experience.

Now the reason for my post. It’s not to tell you all how brilliant we are. I’m sure you can all recall recent games when you’ve beaten us. It’s a post to encourage all of our members to widen their petanque horizons and experience playing petanque at other clubs and terrains. It will greatly help you improve you standard of play as well as your enjoyment of the game.

The four of us above joined forces to “have a go at the Regional Qualifiers” some months ago. It’s a triples competition but because we were keen to try and the club didn’t have enough members of Petanque England who were available to field two teams of three it was our only opportunity. I guess that all would agree that four members adds even more nervous pressure to the already tense matches against some good teams but we managed to qualify for the Northern Championship team. Each one of us played our best game when sat on the sidelines. When you play and lose a game you feel the pressure to want to stand down for the next one.

However a team spirit and desire to do well will hopefully see us enjoy a great weekend at Hayling Island.

It would be great if a few other members would give it a try.  Join Petanque England next January and be prepared to set aside the necessary time to play qualifiers and perhaps go to Hayling Island. It will give us a chance to perhaps enter two or even three teams.

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EVENTS COMING UP

 

 On Friday a group of our members turned up for a bit of extra practise and we were presented with the West Yorkshire League trophy. We had finished the league just a single game ahead of a very good Leeds team who were also present to play the Final of the West Yorkshire Cup against Harrogate Montpellier. Some very good games were played but Leeds ended as the victors by 3 games to 2. Congratulations to Leeds on a very good season.

On Saturday 25th August, Bank Holiday Saturday, Great Yarmouth Petanque club are bringing a party of 10 members to play some games with us. The intention is to have 5 pairs each and plays three games in the morning. In the afternoon, after lunch, Great Yarmouth will only have 9 players so we will have three triples teams each and play 2 or 3 games depending on how time progresses. A list is on the notice board to put your name if you’re interested in playing in a pair or a triple team. Members not involved in the games with Great Yarmouth will be able to play a social melee. To accommodate the visit of Great Yarmouth we have moved the month end melee forward a couple of days to Wednesday 22nd August.

There is also a list on the notice board for members wanting to play in our team to defend the ASHES Trophy at Greenhead Park against Huddersfield. We will need 6 triples teams. We have proposed the match takes place on Tuesday 11th September but this has yet to be confirmed.

For those that were interested in the brilliant TOG24 La British Open T-shirts and Polo shirts I am told that the company still have some left and will send me a list of what is available. If anyone is keen to get their hands on these priceless mementoes of a great weekend please let me know or watch the noticeboard over the next week or so. We will also be discussing with TOG24 our club strip so more news to come soon.

OUR FIRST MEMORIAL YORKSHIRE DAY

      

Whilst the decision to choose Yorkshire Day as our first Memorial Day was taken some months ago the fine detail of the day was a little late in the planning. My sincere apologies to those who missed last week’s blog and didn’t get an advisory text either. You were not to know that we were starting an hour earlier than usual. Also a few folk still at the visitor stage or were just completing membership forms would not be on my contacts list so you too didn’t arrive until 1pm. I plead La British Open as a mitigating circumstance.

However, 28 members were in attendance as we unveiled our Memorial Bench. We were really pleased and honoured that Jane Armitage came to formally cut the ribbon. The seat is in place to give us a focal point by which to remember and reflect on the contribution made to our club by members who sadly have passed away. Early in 2017 we sadly lost Amy Best, one of our founder members and long serving committee member.  Jane’s husband, Rod, was a member for around six months in 2017 before he too tragically passed away. Rod was a brilliant member, full of enthusiasm and was rapidly developing into a very talented player. Jane played with us today and could well be a star of the future at our club.

Our three round melee today had extra at stake as the winner would become the first holder of our new Memorial Shield. It would even sit on their mantlepiece for a whole year. It was fitting then that it was won by a supremely house proud member who will polish the shield at least weekly and probably send us a few selfies of him sat admiring its sparkling gleam.

Just three members managed three wins so it was down to points difference to decide the issue. Well done to Roger Johnson with +13 points getting him third place. Runner-up was Jean McCulloch on +22 points, another excellent performance. However, the glory and the trophy went to Roger Farrar on +31 points.

Sadly there is only one true Yorkshire man in the celebration photo below. I’m sure it’s pretty obvious which one it is.

Month End Melee plus Memorial Day

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The July Month end Melee was quite a change from the recent few weeks. By the time we were kicking off the puddles from overnight rain were just about dried up but a monstrous wind was blowing. Come back summer, all is forgiven.

The change in weather didn’t put so many off as 37 members turned up hoping to earn some points. As you can see above several were sporting memento tops from last weekend’s brilliant La British Open. Obviously some still hadn’t recovered from the hard work they put in over the weekend.

Only four members managed to win all three games and also it was notable that four members gained their first points of the year.

In fourth place with three wins and plus 11 points was Jane Farrar to gain her first four points of the year. Third place went to Peter Wharton with three wins and plus 21 points. Also his first points of the year. Ralph Clegg found good form to win all 3 with plus 25 points and gain his first points. However the Champion this month was Ian Fitton with 3 wins and plus 28 points. His 9 points takes him up the table into second place. Well done Ian. All of today’s results can be seen on the RESULTS PAGE of the blog.

WEDNESDAY 1st AUGUST is YORKSHIRE DAY and we thought it would be an ideal day to hold our first club Memorial Day to officially “open” our Memorial Bench and to take a moment to remember members of our club no longer playing with us. In the past year or so we have lost Amy Best, one of our original founding members. She was a hard working committee member arranging several of our Xmas Lunches. More recently we have lost Rod Armitage who whilst with us a relatively short time made a great impact in our club and was making a name as a very good player and a great friend of us all. Our bench will be a place where members can occasionally have a quiet sit and reflect on friends no longer with us and how our club has proven such a brilliant place for folk to meet friends and enjoy playing an excellent game together.

This is a little short notice but we have been rather distracted by our event last weekend. However, we think we should have a “faith” lunch and a melee competition to become the first holder of our Memorial Shield. It would be great if members bring food for lunch. Perhaps a little of what you want to eat yourself plus a little to contribute to the buffet table.

To get all of this in WE WILL START PROCEEDINGS AT 12 NOON instead of our usual 1pm. Don’t forget the Yorkshire dress code but please – no whippets.

WHAT A FABULOUS PETANQUE WEEKEND

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.

GOOD NEWS AND MORE GOOD NEWS

The last time I did this the poor handrail on the stairs had bitten the dust before I’d published the blog. Therefore I know I’m tempting fate by showing our new handrails erected today by our fine Kirklees welding guys.

What’s more they are planning to return tomorrow to paint them!!!!

Even more good news, and certainly more important than the handrails is that we’ve just heard that Janet’s operation has been successful so far. The consultant has removed some drains today and so the next 24hrs will be important. More good news hopefully to follow in the next few days.

Finally for those with a sense of humour in the early hours you may want to tune in to BBC Radio Leeds tomorrow morning at 8am. We are planning to fill the airwaves as the first item following the 8am news when we will try to encourage folk to visit the “La British Open” competition and maybe give petanque a try. It could rival Round the Horne, for those with a long memory but more likely to emulate The Goon Show. Oh the good old days!!

Bastille Day Celebration Hecky style

It was certainly not as hot in Paris in 1789 as it was today in Heckmondwike or else the revolution would never have got off the ground. 41 members turned out today to celebrate the Bastille happening. It was all we could do to complete a couple of games of Petanque let alone run riot. Our usual BBQ had to be cancelled under council fire prevention orders so Gordon and Peter had the chance to enjoy a glass or two. However our brilliant committee girls provided us all with a fabulous buffet lunch. Well done ladies and thank you for a great effort.A As you can see here our French members were happier storming our gazebo rather than the prison walls. Some did manage attempts at our skill shot competition but even that proved a difficult event to complete as the heat defeated many.

Also on 14th July but I’m told not in 1789, true loved blossomed as Georgie and Ian Fitton tied the knot and today celebrated their Sapphire Wedding anniversary. Congratulations to you both.

The cool of the clubhouse and a brilliant lunch before a final game for those with a little energy left. Well done everyone and thank you for your support.