Petanque, also known as French Boules, has been played in the south of England since the early 1970s when a group of friends started a club in Shedfield after playing on holiday in France.
Over the next four decades some 150 clubs have emerged across the UK, representing almost 3,000 members affiliated to Petanque England.
Currently there is a growing momentum for the sport to become a household name with a hoped inclusion at the Paris 2024 Olympic Games.
Petanque can be played as singles, doubles or triples and the goal is to toss hollow steel balls as close as possible to a small wooden ‘jack’ (known as cochonet in France). Although petanque is a sport that can be enjoyed by people of all ages and abilities, there is an extensive calendar of national and regional events offering players the opportunity to compete throughout the year.
One of the biggest competitions organised by Petanque England is the inter-regional championship that takes place on Hayling Island every year. The event attracts nearly 1,000 players to compete in the prestigious competition each year.
Petanque England has seen some great successes at European and World championships in the past couple of years, several players from the southern region included. Jamie Brooks, who is a member at Worthing and Adur, has recently been selected for the England junior squad and will be representing his country at the junior world championship.
Glenn Floyd, president of the southern region, is keen for clubs across the area to embark on getting more young people to take up the sport in a bid to find future champions and said: “We are very fortunate to have a number of young players across the south showing great potential and through dedication and commitment are part of the Petanque England squads. I want to see more young people encouraged as they are the future of petanque in England.”
Worthing Petanque Club is one of the biggest clubs in the Southern Counties Petanque Association region and often hosts national events. Earlier this year they hosted an international weekend for the first time which proved was hugely successful, attracting several teams from across Europe.
Worthing, along with Arundel and Adur Petanque Clubs, offer a good choice of playing opportunities to the residents of West Sussex. All clubs play in local six-a-side and nine-a-side leagues and offer coaching sessions to new members.
A sport for all the family, petanque is often played by different generations together on an equal footing. It is a social game with many health benefits and is open to people of all ages and abilities. Joining a club near you is a great way to make new friends, while getting regular exercise as it is a sport played outdoors all year round.
Details of all your local clubs can be found at www.southerncountiespetanque.org