A FANTASTIC, fun, and thoroughly European past-time is flourishing in Eastbourne.
The Cuckmere Valley Pétanque Club is a friendly group of people who get together to play at weekends and some weekends and is welcoming new members for the summer.
It is based at Saxon Nursery, Hankham Road, Hankham, and members can take part in competitions and tournaments against other clubs in the south-east and also in-house contests and league matches throughout the summer season.
Club secretary Alan Ranger said, “Although many people enjoy a casual game of boules on holiday in France or Spain it isn’t generally known that a club exists locally for playing this increasingly popular sport. “Eastbourne is fortunate to have the Cuckmere Valley Pétanque Club,
“Pétanque, a form of boules, is one of the fastest growing sports in the UK.
“It’s a game for all ages, both sexes and from every walk of life. There is no need to be especially agile or athletic.
“There are pétanque clubs world-wide, from Tel Aviv to Thailand, Spain to South Africa and hundreds all over Britain. The memberships grow weekly and new clubs are opening all the time.”
The game is played in teams and the basic concept is to throw metal balls, (boules) so they land as close as possible to a small wooden ball called a cochonnet, (French for baby pig).
The word pétanque comes from the Marseillaise dialect meaning “stuck feet.” - when throwing a boule the feet have to remain firmly fixed together on the ground.
The game can be played on any level, firm surface. In France it is sometimes played casually on quite rough ground, but the Cuckmere Valley Pétanque Club has ten properly constructed pistes.
The rules are straightforward and the game leisurely and sociable although at competition level skilled players can display some merciless tactics.
If you would like to try your hand at the game you will be given a warm welcome at the club.
They will loan you a set of boules, provide instruction and you can be up and playing within 10 minutes. No other equipment is necessary – just a pair of comfortable shoes and a drink for half-time.
For further details and times of play, please contact Alan Ranger on 01323 469340 or membership secretary, Tony Jewiss on 01323 506225
For further information on pétanque visit the British Pétanque Association website: www.britishpetanque.org