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London 18 May 2007: June 2nd is World Petanque Day when clubs will be holding celebratory games in the UK and 70 countries on 5 continents.

On June 2nd over 150 petanque enthusiasts will gather for the English Petanque Triples Championship* at the Crondall Petanque Club, Mill Lane, Crondall near Farnham in Surrey. Play starts at 9.30am and the Championship will be decided by about 7.00pm. Admission is free to the public.

Also known as Boules, the game has grown in popularity and stature in the UK in the last 45 years, with more than 300 affiliated clubs and several thousand playing members.

The Championship is open to registered members of the English Petanque Association and 40 or more team entries are expected, fielding more than 150 players.

A form of Petanque was believed to be played in ancient Egypt, but it is accepted that today’s game started in La Ciotat near Marseilles in 1907. Records show in that year a famous petanque exponent withdrew from playing ‘jeu provençal’ because of rheumatism.

That year, players agreed to place the feet within a small circle, rather than have free-movement, when throwing the boule. The term Les Pieds Tanques means feet tied together or restricted movement, and this is how the game is played today. La Ciotat is the mecca for all petanque players who visit the place where it began.

For interviews with the organiser or a member of the English Petanque Association, press passes for the event or further information please contact Colin Lewis or Eugene Bacot on 020 7731 1700.

*Petanque Triples means a team of 3 or 4 players. A team member may be substituted and his or her place taken by the team’s registered reserve player. Teams can be of either or both sexes..

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Notes to Editor:

A more detailed history of Petanque is available on website www.britishpetanque.org.uk

Petanque comes from the words “pieds tanques” which means feet tied together

Petanque or Boules is a game played with metal balls and a small round wooden ‘jack’. Players either play with 2 or 3 boules, the object is to get their boules closest to the jack

Two balls and a ‘jack’ were found in a sarcophagus of a 52nd century BC Egyptian prince, while different forms of the game are believed to have been known to both the Greeks and Romans

The game was popular in the middle ages, especially among the military, to such an extent the French King Charles V tried to ban it because it had an adverse effect on training his soldiers

Bored or besieged fighting men whiled away time by playing with canon balls the weight of which were uniform and kept them fit. In a very short time the game spread throughout France and adopted the ‘petanque’ name

The earliest club in the UK was formed in the mid-1960’s in Chingford, Essex and then other clubs were formed in towns nearest the French coast and the Channel ports.
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