EPA Membership 2018

Mercia Petanque Association is now able to process your EPA membership subscriptions for 2018.

if you are renewing your subscription or taking out a subscription for the first time with Mercia, June Ricketts is able to help with your requirements. Please download and complete the Membership Application form and send to June with a cheque for £25 to cover the subscription fee.

EPA Membership Form (Mercia) 2018 (Click to download)

Thank you.


An inspiration to us all

The Home Nations Championships were held last weekend (12/13th August), this annual challenge competition is hosted by one of the competing nations every year, and this year was England’s turn to host the event at Hayling Island. England, Scotland, Wales and Jersey were all competing for top honours and at the end of the weekend’s play, England comfortably retained the title with 77 wins, Jersey were in 2nd place with 51 wins, Wales were 3rd with 36 wins and Scotland were 4th with 28 wins.

As many of you know, a small number of Mercia players qualified to represent England at these championships, amongst them was Brian Eldridge from Chesterfield Petanque Club. At the awards ceremony Brian was singled out by the president of the EPA to have the honour of collecting the cup on behalf of England. Martin Eggleton ( EPA President) gave a speech to the effect that Brian has proved that whilst being registered Blind, he can still perform at the highest level and proves that petanque has no boundaries for those that wish to play our sport. Martin went on to say that Brian was an inspiration to others who pick up their boule and play with the best. Needless to say the place erupted when Brian collected the cup on behalf of England.

Well done Brian and congratulations to England on retaining the title.



EPA Events 2017

The EPA playing calendar for 2017

19th March 2017 – National Espoirs Squad Day – Brentwood
25th March 2017 – National Youth Squad Coaching Day – Oxshott/Burwell/Mansfield
26th March 2017 – EPA Cup Final – Luton
26th March 2017 – EuroCup Final – Rayne Swan
22nd April 2017 – National Youth Squad Selection Day – Langford
7th May 2017 – Home Nations Qualifier – Nottingham
13th & 14th May 2017 – National Youth Squad Francois Grange (FFPJP) Coaching weekend – venue tbc
14th May 2017 – Men’s and Women’s Singles & Precision Shooting Rankings – Gravesend
27th – 29th May 2017 – National Titles weekend – Exeter
18th June 2017 – Veterans (+55) International Qualifier – Oxshott
2nd July 2017 – Men’s and Women’s Doubles Rankings – Worthing
23rd July 2017 – Men’s and Women’s Triples 1 Rankings – Arlesey
29th July 2017 – Festival of Petanque Doubles – Hanbury
30th July 2017 – Men’s and Women’s Triples 2 Rankings – Hanbury
23rd & 24th September 2017 – 50+ Doubles/50+ Champion of Champions – Hanbury
7th & 8th October 2017 – Champion of Champions Doubles/Triples – Oxshott

If this sport is to prosper from the large number of players that live and play in the Midland and Northern regions, and who would like the opportunity to participate in more EPA events that are within a reasonable driving distance, then more needs to be done to distribute these EPA events evenly across the country.

EPA Men’s Playing Programme 2017

The document shown below has been released by the EPA regarding plans for the Men’s Playing Programme – 2017.

Following discussions held at the EPA Management Committee on 14th January 2017, it has been decided to adopt a new approach and introduce rankings competitions that will ultimately be used to inform selection for international representation.

This document examines the current system and explains the new system that will apply in 2017

Current basis for international representation

For many years, the basis for qualification for the men’s international representation in Triples (alternately each year for the European and World Championships) has been via two single day qualifying rounds (usually of five games using the Swiss System) and then a single day Top 8.

In recent years, the number of teams entering the qualifying rounds has been limited, leading to a situation where only a few teams have been eliminated in the early stages. The qualifying rounds’ principal function has been to establish rankings for the Top 8 which has comprised two poules of four teams playing barrage to find the teams for the straight knockout semi-finals and then the final.

The whole process has been completed over three days.

The format also requires teams to play as a four in at least one of the qualifying rounds and the Top 8 itself. The reason for this requirement was the decision made by the MC some time ago that in Triples, international representation shall always comprise of four players to maximise competitive and tactical advantage, matching the approach followed by international opponents.

The other key element is that the qualification at the end is for the following year. This means that the successful team does not actually play in the international competition until around 15 months or more later. The rationale for this was that teams can prepare over an extended period.

Features of the current system

There are several features of the current system:

The fundamental basis of the system relies on teams self-selecting. The judgement is therefore made by players themselves and this is inevitably influenced by friendships, geographical and club location as well as assessments on what might constitute a winning team. Whilst solid inter-personal relationships within any team are critical to success, it does not necessarily follow that such self-selection leads to the strongest combination;

The system itself is not particularly rigorous. The relatively small number of entries of late means that the qualifying rounds are not very challenging and there is not even any great advantage in seeding as all teams know that it will come down to a small number of games at the Top 8 (a minimum of four, in fact) that must be navigated;

The three rounds involve only limited commitment. In fact, one of the team members need only attend two days. This is less commitment than is required by many regions for qualification to the inter-regional championships and in most instances, far less actual matches;

The ‘qualify one year, represent the next’ means that there is a very lengthy gap which risks loss in motivation and focus. It also does not consider form, which can vary significantly or changed personal circumstances. Another motivational issue is the possibility that the team that has not yet represented the country could fail in the following year’s qualification or could split up prior to the following year’s qualification. In practice, it has been difficult to identify any clear playing or competitive advantages to this delayed representation;

The system is restricted to trying to identify Triples Teams. Recent expansion and development in the international playing programme also requires representation in other formats of the sport such as Singles and Doubles (same gender and mixed). We have relied largely on the results of the National Titles weekend – like the Top 8, a ‘single day competition’ – to identify players to represent the country in these other formats. As with the current system for the Men’s International Qualifiers, this is a limited and partial test of performance.

The 2017 & 2018 system

The proposal is to introduce a rankings system based on the approach already used for our elite women in 2016.

The competitions that will form part of the national rankings will be:

  • May 14th 2017 – Singles and Precision Shooting (Rankings);
  • May 27th 2017 – National Singles;
  • May 28th 2017 – National Doubles;
  • May 29th 2017 – National Mixed Doubles;
  • July 2nd 2017 – Doubles (Rankings); and
  • July 23rd 2017 – Triples (Rankings).

In the case of the Triples (Rankings), teams can play as a three or as a four. As with the Women’s Rankings in 2016, Juniors will be allowed to compete in all these competitions. The format for the competitions will depend on the entries received, but the default approach will be to combine poules and knockout, with seeding used.

The top 4 in the Precision Shooting will gain automatic entry into the recently introduced Precision Shooting competition at Hayling.

Rankings points are gained by individuals and the result at the end of 2017 process will identify the top 16 Men. Ranking points will be allocated to those players that finish in the Top 16 of the competitions as follows:

  • 1st – 30pts
  • R/u – 24pts
  • Losing semi-finalists x2 – 16pts
  • Losing quarter finalists x4 – 8pts
  • Losing Top 16 x 8 – 4pts

The National Performance Team1 will construct a programme with the top 16 players, where international playing opportunities will be identified along with appropriate international coaching input.

The playing programme will then be transacted again in 2018, following the same process. The results of the rankings competitions in 2017 will also be used in making selections for tournaments, which may take place between the conclusion of the 2017 programme and the 2018 programme.

1 It is the objective of the MC to create an integrated National Performance Team that will take a strategic view of all our elite players and teams. This will combine individuals with responsibility for our Youth, Espoirs, Women and Men and the Chair of the EPA Playing Commission. This Team will also make decisions on selections. Current vacant positions for coaches for our Women and Men will be advertised shortly.

All the competitions in the rankings will be standalone and players can choose which ones they wish to participate in. All entry fees for these competitions will be returned in cash prizes. The competitions provide the opportunity for the best players in the country to compete against each other in all formats of the sport.

In terms of format, whilst there has been an argument to try and replicate the initial stages of major international tournaments through use of the Swiss System, the actual numbers of entries in recent years in the Men’s Qualifiers has meant that this format has not functioned in an optimal way. Familiarity with and preparation for tournaments using the Swiss System can be achieved without its imperfect use within EPA national competitions.

The format that will be employed will therefore be the same as used with the Women’s Rankings competitions in 2016, namely seeded poules and then knockout. The exact format (e.g. numbers of teams in each poule) will depend on the numbers of entries.

A decision on the Men’s representation in the World Championships in 2018 will not be made until July 2018, once the 2018 rankings competitions have been completed. It is expected (although not confirmed) that the World Championships will take place in December 2018.

The results in both 2017 and 2018 will be reviewed to aid the final selection decision along with performance assessment at international level and external input from international coaches.

The major difference between the current system and the new system is that it requires a much greater level of consistent performance in more competitions over an extended period. This also inevitably requires a greater level of commitment from players above and beyond the current system; something which the EPA MC believes should be part and parcel of the approach and which will ultimately give much more value to achievement, performance and ultimately representing the country at international level. Any male member of the EPA has the chance with the new system to win ranking points and this can be achieved across different formats of the game. It is hoped that this will attract more of our players to compete as they seek to establish a personal national ranking and from year to year seek to maintain or improve their rankings. It will also allow the National Association to give recognition to players that are the most improved or the best in their age group.


  • Men’s Rankings to be introduced in 2017;
  • 7 separate competitions will feature in 2017;
  • All competitions are standalone; players decide their own participation/team selections;
  • For the Triples, no requirement to play as a four although that option is open to teams if they so wish;
  • Junior players permitted to compete if they wish;
  • All entry fees returned in prizes;
  • Results in 2017 competitions will result in Top 16 rankings;
  • Playing programme and coaching constructed for Top 16;
  • Format for competitions based on seeded poules and knockout, no use of the Swiss System;
  • 2018 Rankings results (a further 7 competitions) reviewed alongside 2017 results;
  • International tournaments which require selection between the 2017 and 2018 ranking competitions will use the rankings results available at the time of selection;
  • National Performance Team to be created; and
  • Final decision made on World Championship selection in July 2018.

EPA Men’s Playing Programme – 2017 (Download Version)




Eurocup Format Update

This article was posted on Facebook by Martin Hughes (EPA Vice President), regarding the proposed changes to the Eurocup format for 2017.

*EuroCup 2017 Update*

As you may have seen elsewhere, the new format for the competition issued recently by the CEP has led to us revisiting our approach. In looking at options we wanted to ensure that the impact on the previously issued national calendar was as limited as possible as many of our regions had populated their own calendars on the basis of the national calendar.

As a result, discussions with our EuroCup organiser Alan Roden has led to us deciding to proceed as follows:

1 – There will be a ‘home’ and ‘away’ draw;

2 – Notices to go out by middle of May with draw to be made at June MC meeting;

3 – First Round to be completed by 20th August;

4 – Second round to be completed by 1st October;

5 – third round to be completed by 26th November (with only one match to be played (i.e. three rounds);

6 – fourth round to be played over the weekend of 24th/25th March 2018 at two venues to be decided;

7 – finals to be played on 22nd April, 2018.

This approach offers flexibility to our clubs and regions to work around calendars and there is now no set date in the calendar for playing the matches, just lengthy ‘windows’ where the clubs concerned can make the arrangements. You will appreciate that the combined round 2 and 3 has now been dropped. This was introduced as under the old format (2 x triples and 3 x doubles) it was felt that travelling could be minimised through combination. Under the new format with the introduction of the Singles round, there are now three rounds per match (6 x singles, 2 x triples and 3 x doubles), so it is felt that the doubling up could lead to very lengthy days.

The removal of the November (4th) round originally in our calendar for 19th and 26th November means that we can relocate that to the following March after the clocks change. It also means that there is more time available to transact the preliminary rounds (rounds 1 – 3 can be played between late June and late November). We hope that this will mean better conditions for the most important stages of the competition. This also applies to the Finals, where the light and hopefully the weather will be even better than the fourth round (although there are no guarantees).

The result is that there are now no fixed dates in our national calendar 2017 for EuroCup except the deadlines by which rounds need to be played. This should mean that any potential clashes with competitions already set/proposed by our regions is not a factor.