Squad Training Day with Brian Stote – 29th October

The squad training day was designed for those players who had played for the Mercia Region at Hayling Island back in September AND to include any other players from the region who aspire to get into the squad next year, 2017.  Initially 32 players put their names down and so the list was split into two equal two-hour sessions (a.m. & p.m.). On the day, illness interfered and only 26 attended

Brian Stote set up several technical challenges and closely observed the players as they tackled these.  Even for experienced players, several of the challenges were “very challenging”!  On closely observing the players, Brian Stote gave individual advice to each on how they could improve and everyone left knowing what they had to work on over the coming Winter months.
    At the end of the day, Brian Forbes compared diaries with Brian Stote, and after “some toing and froing” the follow-up date in the Spring was set for Sunday April 2nd 2017, when the emphasise will be on “Game strategy”, “How to legally put the opposition off their game”, and “Piste presence”.   i.e. Things you need to know to win matches.  It is hoped that all squad players will attend on that date.
      (Please see below: Brian’s comments following his coaching visit)

      Firstly, can I thank you for your great hospitality yesterday, especially the lunch cooked by Zena and the coffee stream constantly offered?

      Secondly, I would like to say what an enthusiastic and friendly bunch of players you gave me to work with during the day. They offered, spontaneously, to help me with the carriage of coaching equipment at both ends of the day and most of them came to shake my hand at the end of each session and to express their thanks. Even those who found some of the tasks more than challenging, stuck at them and tried their best to achieve a measure of improvement.

      Thirdly, I will go through the notes in the next day or so and send them to you for distribution asap.

      Our thanks to Brian Stote.

      Eastwood Park Petanque Club – Rules Awareness Courses



      Eastwood Park Petanque Club were joined by members of Rainworth Petanque Club for three very informative Rules Sessions in the Hasland Hub Chesterfield during October. The sessions where detailed but also light hearted and interesting and enjoyed by all who attended.

      As a “new” club the rules appear a bit daunting but over the 3 sessions things became a little clearer. It was a very worthwhile exercise and we are extremely grateful to Morris Goodman who ran the sessions for his time and commitment.


      EPA Inter-Regional Championship – September 10-11th 2016


      This much anticipated weekend saw some 900 players competing in the English Petanque Association’s (EPA) premier event of the year at Hayling Island. The Inter-Regional Championships and Challenge Tournament brought together triples teams from all the 16 English regions and the Welsh PA, to compete against each other in two divisions. This being Mercia’s first entry, we started off in division two.

      The weather hit Hayling Island with a vengeance on the Saturday with heavy rain making conditions very difficult for the players and the playing surface, usually a hard, dry gravel base, swiftly becoming a muddy morass and in some areas completely flooded! Sunday’s sunshine reversed these conditions and instead produced pistes similar to the underside of baked tiles, on which it became extremely difficult to stop a running boule on the sloping surfaces.

      irc6Despite all this, the Mercia players battled on gamely, but ended the two-day event in last position of the second division. Nevertheless we can be very proud of our new region. Mercia were hot on the heels of regions that are much more established and with more experience.

      Of course finishing above any one of the regions would have been the icing on the cake and with 37 wins I think we were unlucky not to do so. In other years I am sure that wouldn’t have put us bottom, but that’s just the way things work out sometimes with leagues in any sport.

      Having a close look at the final tables, what stands out was the progress Mercia made on Day 2. We all grew into the event when our pre-event nerves were no longer a factor and it can be considered that Day 2 was a more accurate indication of our general performance level. It is remarkable that we finished only 6 wins behind the Welsh PA who have a lot of players who have played at the Home Nations International level. All of our teams played 12 matches, with three of our teams finishing on 7 wins each and another on 6 wins. So, 27 wins from four teams across 48 games is greater than 50% and this has to be looked upon as the target for all of our teams next year. When this is achieved, Mercia will be promoted to the top division. The gap between us and the regions immediately above us is very small and, if we set our minds to it, can be quickly closed. Even the gap to those at the top isn’t too large. We were anticipating that the standard of play in the second division could have been well above our current level, but that proved not to be so. Against the Isle of Wight, Anglia and the Welsh in particular, it was thought we were going to be blown off the piste, but it wasn’t like that at all. Eastern won the division with 60 wins but some of us managed to beat Eastern teams. We were all able to compete.

      The final count in Div 1 was close! Southern Region topped the table, the runners-up were Chiltern Region and third were Kent. Our congratulations go to them.

      Special thanks go to Jim and Judy Alsop for managing Mercia’s squad and to June & Mike Ricketts for all their help with accommodation, transport and club kit.

      The Mercia Squad

      Mercia Singles Championship

      Carl Shepardson  (Champion)

      The Mercia Singles Championship was held for the first time on Sunday 28th August.  This year the venue was Nottingham City PC and thankfully the weather was kind.


      Although the entry list wasn’t large the games were closely contested with Carl Shepardson the eventual winner with 6 wins from 6 played and +13. Well done Carl.


      Coming second was Steve Harrington with 5 from 6 but +34.

      In third was Diane Smith with 4 from 6 and +9. Di was the top lady player.

      Di Smith – Flexing her muscles as top lady at the Mercia Singles Championship.
      Steve Harrington  (Runner-up)

      Tri-Way Challenge – August 14th 2016

      After many weeks of planning this triples competition, and all the aspects necessary to carry off such a large event, the day finally arrived.

      Heart of England and Northern  Petanque regions arrived at Mansfield PC’s home in Titchfield Park  very early after long drives to the venue. At a previous meeting between the Heart of England and Northern region, the two regions discussed and agreed that it would be more acceptable to share the distances involved and hold future competitions near halfway between their two regions, Mercia Region’s Mansfield Club seemed to be ideally placed and the Mercia region was accepted as a third challenger. This would be Mercia’s first major team event since its inception and Mansfield PC had previous success at organising important competitions, notably the Home Nations in 2014.

      Mansfield Club members and volunteer helpers from other Mercia clubs were involved in the preparation and duties of producing this day to remember and many thanks to you all who helped during the day.

      The day started very early for the volunteers as three gazebos had to be erected, pistes to be prepared and breakfasts to be ready in time to welcome Mercia’s guests.

      Registration over, play began around 9.30 with the first of six rounds amid the colourful scenery of the park.  After three rounds the welcome lunch break arrived, a cold buffet provided and serviced by Mansfield PC and their brilliant volunteer force.

      tri-way1Very soon, it was back to business for the teams, who continued to play until evening time when the results were counted and verified, giving very quick updates and a final result. Mercia Region came third with a very respectable 22 wins in their “virgin” tournament. Both Northern and Heart of England Regions tied on 25 wins each with the Challenge Trophy being awarded on points difference to Heart of England, our congratulations to them.

      Best individual team award went to Mercia, so honours were well shared out.

      tri-way2Mercia’s visitors then began their long treks homewards and Mansfield PC’s willing band of helpers continued to work tirelessly until all the club’s equipment had been put away.

      The final verdict on a fabulous day’s competition was that everyone had enjoyed the experience, which had been played in a wonderful friendly atmosphere and all in all a very successful occasion and another large step forward for the Mercia region.

      Many thanks to everyone who came and helped to make this day a resounding success.

      Ladies Day – 13th August 2016

      Pre-event Posters were distributed to all the clubs in the Mercia Region and immediately generated excitement and anticipation. The theme of “BLING BLING” was well received by many of the ladies. The event was also opened up to any novice ladies who just wanted to have a go and not feel they would be letting their team down.

      lady4Questions were asked prior to the event as to what format should be taken in order to please the majority of ladies participating. It was unanimously agreed that a FUN day rather than “a long day of boules” was most appropriate.

      With FUN in mind 33 ladies had entered although only 31 ladies participated on the day (sadly 2 ladies unable to play due to personal reasons – hope to see them next year!)

      The weather was kind with no rain. Wind yes – but then we are English!!

      Most ladies wore BLING of some sort or another and it was a pleasure to see the effort made by the ladies. We even had one gentleman wearing his bit of BLING – just for a laugh!

      It was agreed by the sub-committee from Chesterfield that the men would run the event and for a change the ladies would do as they are told. Now there was a challenge!!!

      The men also chose the Best BLING lady of the day by having one vote each and the overall winner was Carla from the Chesterfield Club. But ALL the ladies must be congratulated for the effort they put into their attire. They were all brilliant.

      We started the day at 10.30pm. Note the later starting time, so that the ladies had plenty of time to do their make-up & arrive relaxed & ready for some fun.

      • 1st discipline was a three end competition where points could be gathered for wins and draws, then logged against the day’s events.

      This was a ‘scratch team’ effort so as to ensure that all the ladies were mixed, with time to chat and enjoy getting to know their new team mates – especially from other clubs.

      • 2nd discipline was a condensed shooting competition.
      • 3rd discipline was a condensed pointing competition.

      A relaxed lunch break followed at which the ladies enjoyed their healthy, picnic   lunches. Tea, coffee and delicious, homemade cupcakes were on sale and again served by the men. Delicious complimentary Buck’s Fizz was available for the ladies – thanks to a  donation from Nottingham City Pétanque Club.

      • 4th discipline was The Mouse Hole Game where again points could be won and logged.
      • 5th discipline Slide game and again even more points to be won.
      • 6th discipline was our unique bouncing EGG game which created even more FUN and if you were incredibly lucky, more points.

      lady2EGG Game 2 was then made available primarily for the men to be able to participate with a top prize of a bottle of Brandy. But the men were outclassed and Margaret won!!!!

      A points board was on display through-out the day for all to see their tally of points. A fantastic array of Raffle Prizes was on display, as were the Chesterfield Clubs’ trophies for all to see.

      Prize time (after all the days points had been calculated)

      Zena from NCPC was our overall winner with Sue from the new Eastwood Park Club the runner-up. Not only was BLING the theme but BLING were the prizes. Plus delightful, celebratory bottles of Cava.

      Wash Up

      We believe a GREAT DAY was enjoyed by all the ladies and again all agreed it was a really FUN day. A few of the ladies said they would have liked to see a little more Pétanque, which we take on board and will incorporate next year. However, most ladies preferred less boules, more fun and certainly did not want the day to go on to silly o’clock – and shattered!

      EPPC Launch Date – 12th June

      The Hasland Gala on the 12th June is to be the official launch date for the newly formed Eastwood Park Petanque Club.

      IMG_0539aIt has been confirmed that the Lord Mayor of Chesterfield who will be attending the Gala will perform an official opening of the Eastwood Park Petanque Club. The Gala starts at 12.00pm and the EPPC opening should be around 12.15pm.  EPPC members will be promoting the Club at the Gala and inviting people to have a try. If you are free on the 12th June, please visit our new friends and show your support.

      We will be providing contact details and playing session information for EPPC within the next few days. In the meantime we wish Peter, Janet, Chris and Sue every success with their new venture and a guarantee of Mercia’s full support.