To everyone who took part in training sessions earlier in the year, thank you all for helping Sofiane and I fund our world championship training programme. We hope you have all enjoyed the lessons and in the few months that have passed, have had enough time to start seeing improvements.
To everyone who couldn’t attend thank you for the good wishes and all the support.
Personally I had an unforgettable first world championships with some great games against the best in the world. I gained some valuable experience that will help me both on and off the piste and I was lucky to share it with Sofiane and our coach Nic.
Our results were as follows:
Doubles (Sofiane and Monty)
We beat Ukraine in the first qualifying game and lost 10-12 against the Belgium team of multiple time Vice world champion Joel Marchandise and multiple time world champion Claudy Weibel in a timed game that we pushed them all the way in. Needing to win our third game to give us a chance of qualifying, we managed to beat Turkey. We then had the fourth qualifying round which was essentially a straight knockout of all the teams on 2 wins with the winners qualifying for the top 16 and this round brought up a lot of big matches between two big teams who could both be contenders. We got drawn against Ivory Coast who I knew very well as I’m good friends and have played with their shooter. He is one of the most feared players due to his unbelievable ability and experience of beating all the world champions regularly on the circuit in France. We did not play as well in this game and had a mixture of very good boules and very poor boules. They were playing very well but on the ends we were losing we managed to keep it down to 3 or less although they were playing near perfect petanque and managed to create and take our chances. We tried many different tactics swapping position in the game a few times and managed to stay within touching distance at 9-12 with two more ends to play as this round was also timed. We played out an end which only those who were there or have seen the stream can believe. From a bad position, Sofiane moves the jack to give us 5 points and still having one ball to play while are opposition had 5. With the pressure they managed to play 4 times without beating our 4 nearest so we were now sitting 13 points on the floor with one ball each before they played a saving ball which not only stopped us having 4 but pushed to jack to make 4 points of their own at 12.5 metres. We were one boules away from knocking out the team that eventually won a bronze medal and deserved to be finalists. So close!
I begun my tournament beating a strong USA player and quickly beating Slovakia to be 2/2 wins and essentially guaranteeing my third game would be against one of the big nations knowing that if need to win one of my last two games to qualify for the top 16. The third game drew me against Abdessamed El Mankari (Morocco) who is a precious world champion in the precision shooting. This was by far my worst game of the championship in doubles and singles and while he played well, I managed to create chances but didn’t take them and got decisively beaten 13-3. I was now in the same position as in the doubles, knowing that there were some big nations I wanted to avoid in order to qualify. I got drawn against Maiky Molinas (Switzerland) who I knew would be a very tough game as he is a talented and experienced young player, winning a silver medal in the senior European championships a few years earlier. I played this ahem in between Diego Rizzi and Henri Lacroix who were in the same position needing to win their last game to qualify for the top 16. This meant there was a full crowd around our games and while the two big names on either side of me won quickly the crowd stayed on to watch our game as it was a very high quality match with tactical boules and close ends. I was pointing very well but not on my top form shooting and this in the end proved the difference. After leading through the beginning of the game it became a great battle in the middle and Maiky eventually won 10-13 before going on to win the world championships.
If anyone is interested in another club group session or one to one lesson, please let me know and we can try to find a date to schedule a follow up session.
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Happy petanque season everyone!