Eurocup semi final – Whitnash 8 April 2018
Report from Barry Scott – Team Captain
So on an unseasonably dull, rainy and chilly April weekend, and with a depletion in team number at the eleventh hour, seven London Petanque players arrived in Whitnash, Warwickshire to contend one of the semi-finals of the this year’s eurocup.At this level there was no such thing as an easy draw and they found themselves up against teams from Cobbetts, Beacon View and Hereford with the triples and singles all to be played on the Saturday and the doubles the following day.The teams were chosen and all triples matches across the group were played simultaneously with London meeting Cobbetts in the first round. The newly formed London teams had to learn quickly about how each other played, alongside getting used to the rather unpredictable terrain. With just one tricky game ending in an 8-13 defeat, the other five were won pretty convincingly.
The second round against our nearest rivals, Beacon View was the crucial one with both Cobbetts and Hereford becoming less and less in contention even at this stage.
We set ourselves the target of three wins from six against them which would still leave us in a strong position going into the Sunday and our doubles matches. After winning two of the first three, a quick calculation told us that if we could win a further two out of the remaining three games, we’d only need to win one out of three doubles against them the next day to qualify and may even be able to treat ourselves to a glass of wine with dinner!
We had two very close matches which we won 13-12 and 13-11 but were more than happy to win the round with four wins from six.
A clean sweep against Hereford and a finish time of 7.15pm meant our work was done for the day and we all headed out for dinner.
After a relaxed couple of hours with steak and wine (enough but not too much – after all there was still a job to be done the next day!) we headed off to get a good night’s sleep.
We were back at Whitnash and ready for the off at 10am the following morning with the crucial doubles matches against Beacon View uppermost in everyone’s minds.
First of all, Cobbetts. Thankfully we had already won our match against them having scored enough points the previous day as to say it took us a while to warm up was an understatement! Although we did win 2 out of three which was probably a fair result.
Then on to the all important matches against Beacon View. Lots of discussion had taken place as to who we should pair with who, who we thought the opposition might put together and then the random draw of who played who all added to the build up.
Thanks to our solid result on the Saturday, we only needed to win one out of the three games while they needed to win all three but even so, in the cold and the rain we knew that nothing was a foregone conclusion.
In the event, all three teams definitely upped their games as we were determined to ensure the win and just to make sure, the three games all finished within a few seconds of each other – three wins and huge congratulations all round knowing we’d qualified for the final.
Another clean sweep in the three games against Hereford meant a welcome early afternoon finish and we could make our way home.
Overall we were more than happy with a good, solid performance from a smaller than anticipated squad who played together well and in the correct spirit of the game once again putting London Petanque Club firmly on the map.
PS: Pics were twitted on the day available on Twitter: @londonpetanque / http://londonpetanqueclub.uk/lpc-on-twitter/