Fernwood PC triumph in France (From the Newark Advertiser)

A group from Fernwood earned bragging rights in the French sport of petanque as they defeated opponents from Newark’s twin town.

imageWith the trophies they were presented with after the petanque competition in St Cyr-sur-Loire, France, are, left to right, Mrs Denise Proctor and her husband, Mr John Proctor, and Mrs Josie Pikett, all of Fernwood. They are pictured with fellow members of Fernwood Petanque Club.

Despite forming only three years ago, members of the Fernwood club defeated a number of talented opponents to emerge with three out of four trophies.

Petanque is a form of boules originating in France, where the goal is to throw hollow metal balls as close as possible to a small wooden ball.

The chairman of Fernwood Petanque Club, Mr John Proctor, said while he was proud that they did so well, the goodwill of the tournament was the highlight.

“It was quite a surreal experience. The competition was such that we had no idea how we had done until the result was announced,” he said.

“The standard of the French players was high so to come back with three trophies was a great success.

“I got on well with the overall winner and before we left he swapped my second place trophy and gave me his winner’s trophy.”

John’s wife, Mrs Denise Proctor, received a trophy for third place.

There was also an award for Josie Pikett, who was the best-placed female outside the top three.

Mr Proctor said it was an amazing trip to have been involved in.

“The people were so welcoming and they made it such a wonderful few days,” he said.

“There was dining and dancing and a great atmosphere.”

More than 50 people took part in the trip, including members of Newark Twinning Association and The Rattlejag Morris group, of Newark and Retford.

The chairman of the twinning association, Mrs Rita Crowe, said it was the first time they had been able to organise an official group visit to St Cyr-sur-Loire, which is in central France.

“We have been twinned for 21 years and they have often said they wanted us to come and do an official visit but we struggled for numbers,” she said.

“There have been a lot of private visits in the past, but this is the first time we had actually gone with a whole group.

“We came across John’s group and the morris dancers and everything seemed to move forward from there.

“I had been trying for a long time to arrange something like this and it was lovely. Everyone seemed to gel really well and it was a good mix of people.”

The trip was so successful that members of the petanque club are already planning a return journey.

Mr Proctor said: “As soon as I got home, we drew up some plans in the hope they can come and visit at some point next year.

“They were so hospitable, we would like to offer a similar experience for them.”

Fernwood Petanque Club has 31 members who meet five times a week near the tennis courts on the village sports ground.

All ages are welcome.

Anyone interesting in joining can contact Mr Proctor on 01636 673736.

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