Per Sonoma County orders, no more than 12 people, all wearing masks, may be present in any single room within OVA facilities.
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A rare sight at the Pétanque Courts this "rainy" season.

Regional pétanque clubs have resumed hosting tournaments within Covid restrictions. Kicking off regional tournament play on the weekend of April 10-11, 22 doubles teams played on Saturday and 26 teams (singles 6 boules, doubles 3 boules, triples 2 boules) played on Sunday at Furlan Ranch near Sacramento. Oakmont club member Jean-michel Poulnot reports that the 18 ranch courts of widely varied surfaces are in a beautiful setting along the Sacramento River. Nearest to Oakmont, the Valley of the Moon Pétanque Club in Sonoma hosted its season-opening select doubles tournament on April 24 at its multi-court complex in Depot Park.

Furlan Ranch’s walnut-sheltered courts along the Sacramento River.

With the long-standing lack of rain, the Oakmont courts had become rock hard, lightning fast, and dappled with a spring selection of dry weeds and grass. The club thanks the volunteer court maintenance crew of members Gordon Blumenfeld, Max Hinchman, Don McPherson, Jean-michel Poulnot, and Bob Stephens for watering, raking, and grooming the courts.

The first team to score 13 points wins in pétanque, and losing a game in a 13-0 shutout is called “being Fanny.” But an interesting pétanque scoring quirk is “la malédiction” (the curse) of taking a 7-0 lead in a game. Although it obviously doesn’t happen always, remarkably often a team leading 7-0 goes on to lose the game.
Pétanque is easy to learn and to play, but playing well consistently requires the ability to shut out distractions and stay focused. Perhaps it’s the rush of a quick 7-0 lead — more than half way to a victory – that tempts winning players to lose focus. Or perhaps knowing that the game is nearing the point of no return invigorates losing players to avoid the embarrassment of being Fanny and shifts momentum. Or …. maybe it’s that ancient Occitan/Provençal curse, “sept à rien ne gagne rien” (seven to nothing wins nothing), just taking control.

Margi Nielsen points as teammate Evelyn Zigmont looks on.

The Club welcomes all Oakmont residents to enjoy the challenge and satisfaction of pétanque. The Club sponsors open, friendly play every Wednesday and Saturday morning with teams chosen randomly.
Consistent with current Covid restrictions, players must wear masks covering both mouth and nose at all times except when in the circle to throw and must maintain a minimum 6 foot social distance from others at all times.
If you’re interested in playing or learning to play, come to the courts (between Berger and the OVA offices/Umpqua Bank and beside the Shuffleboard courts) at 9:45 a.m. on the Club play days of Wednesday and Saturday. We have boules to lend and we’ll have you playing immediately. No membership fees are required – just sign up to be on the Club roster.
The courts also are reserved 9:45 a.m. – noon for Club player-arranged pickup games on Monday, Tuesday, Thursday and Friday. Our first 2021 tourney, the Bastille Day Tournament, is tentatively scheduled for Wednesday, July 14.


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