Cornwall's squad for the English Petanque Association Inter-Regional competition came home with its best result since 2012, winning 26 of the 48 games played over the weekend and just missing out on promotion.
Kernow Petanque, the smallest of the EPA's regions, took part in Division 2 of the Challenge competition, sending a squad of 13 players and a team manager to compete against teams from Wales, West Midlands, Thames Valley, Sussex and eastern and northern England. The event, held at Hayling Island near Portsmouth over the weekend of 12-13 September, was attended by hundreds of petanque players from all over England and Wales.
Cornwall's most successful team was Kernow 2 - Colin 'Boot' Booth, Roy Pemberton and Graeme Kirkham - who won eight of their 12 games and lost another to the frustratingly small margin of 12-13. They ended the competition with a points difference of +16.
Kernow 1, made up of Pete Lynas, Paul Rundle and Susan Williamson, won seven games (+10) with two narrow defeats of 12-13. Last year, playing at Kernow 4, the three were members of Cornwall's top team, gaining nine wins.
Terry Jones, Rob Sullivan and Andy Rose made up Kernow 3 and took six wins (-1).
Kernow 4 - Pete 'PD' Downing, Robert Herrick, Andrew Jarvis and Enid Rose - had five wins (-12), but again had two narrow losses, 12-13.
Team manager Kate Herrick did a great job keeping tabs on progress and making sure that teams were where they were supposed to be at the right time, as well as providing general encouragement and moral support!
The 26 Cornwall wins this year compare with 27 in 2012, a result which took us briefly into Division 1 of the Challenge in 2013; just 18 wins that year meant back to Division 2 in 2014, when we won 23 games.
This year's result put us in fourth place in Division 2 and narrowly missed gaining promotion into Division 1 of the Challenge, with our points difference just falling short of the team above. The number of 'near misses' in the results means that even a small improvement in our game for the 2016 event could see us move up the following year to join our neighbours across the Tamar, Devon region, who this year for the second year running took first place in Division 1.
A big thank you to EPA President Martin Eggleton and his team for the smooth running of the event, and to whoever was in charge of the weather: despite the forecast we had perfect warm and sunny petanque conditions over most of the two days of play!