French fun with boules

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From left, Bev Attewell, Karen Bensdorp, Chris Taylor, and Marion Harrison.

Members of the Ashburton Club and MSA Petanque Club added French flavour to their game at the weekend, hosting the annual Bastille Day Open Doubles championship event.

Many dressed in French attire with berets, or clothing in the colours of France’s red, white and blue as they played in the mixed tournament vying for the Eiffel Tower trophy, donated by The French Bakery back in 2002.

Bastille Day is a public holiday and a day of celebration in French culture started when on July 14, 1789 troops stormed The Bastille (a Parisian fortress and prison) marking the beginning of the French Revolution and the establishment of constitutional rule in France.

The day is celebrated around the world.

Ashburton Club and MSA Petanque Club president Bev Attewell said 16 teams were involved in the day-long championship with two players to a team, regardless of club.

She said they represented their respective club’s but played as individuals.

“(Petanque’s) good social fun. Anyone can come along and have a look,” she said.

‘It’s great to get out and be able to do this. Almost everyone can throw a boule,” she said.

“It can be competitive (if you want it to be) but it can be great fun.”

The club, on Racecourse Road, has club days on Tuesdays and Thursdays from 1.30pm to 3pm.

Anyone interested was welcome to turn up, she said.

Among the Ashburton players to take part in the Bastille Day event were club members from around Christchurch, Timaru and Alexandra as well as a couple of players from France.

Bastille Day falls on July 14, and the petanque community take turns hosting the event each year on the Sunday closest to the date.

The championship was won by Ashburton’s Richard Browne and Christchurch’s Briand Westerbeek.

The club will next host the Ashburton Doubles Championship, also open to others from outside of the district, before gearing up to host the Canterbury Regional Championship on August 3 and 4.