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The 1990 Pétanque League

Pétanque (French Bowls)

Typical Pétanque play in France A description of how the game of pétanque occurred and it's playing in Leicestershire.

Although widely played in France and often considered to be a French game, this game started in several different parts of the world at more or less the same time. It started because cannon were becoming a defence tool and associated with these were stacks of cannon balls. Originally these balls were only about the size of a baseball ball or an English cricket ball. The balls were stacked near to the cannons on ramparts that were often gravelled. It was a simple step for bored soldiers to start playing about with these handy objects. Thus the game arose spontaneously in places where the cannon proliferated.

During July 1969 I was in France. I was astonished to see a group of people that blocked off a portion of public road using several rather battered 2CV cars. Then they started to play boule on the slightly molten tarmac surface of the road. They were a friendly crowd, (much wine was consumed), and they showed me the rudiments of the game and allowed me to 'have a go'. I have played the game ever since that occasion in all sorts of places and I have thoroughly enjoyed every minute of it.

A Group of like minded individuals started to play on various pub car parks local to where I live... A league was formed... (Melton & District) we had six teams originally, Gaddesby (The Cheney Arms) was one of them. The league grew and became 'The Leicestershire Pétanque Association' (LPA). Owing to dwindling numbers in our particular team we moved to play at Saddle Inn at Twyford. During my time at the Saddle many players became disgruntled with the way the league was administered. A number of teams formed a new League...'The 1990 Pétanque League' (named after the year of it's first competitive season). When I heard that Gaddesby were re-forming a team I decided to join it to lend my experience to the newly formed team... Gaddesby has always had a place in my affections as well.

After a few years of playing at Gaddesby, I found it difficult to get a game as the captain favoured his friends, rather than picking a winning team, so I sought another group to play with and found a newly established team at the Prince of Wales at Thurmaston, where my experiance was considered useful. A couple of seasons were played there, until the landlord took over what was the 'Unicorn and Star' Pub in Thurmaston, Renamed the 'Top House'. All of the teams decided to move to the new venue and a set of three new pistes were laid down in 2005.

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