Pétanque England has awarded Mike Cubitt, Chairman of the Gravesend, Kent Pétanque Club and President of the Kent Pétanque League, its inaugural President’s Medal. The award recognizes his success in expanding interest in pétanque and building a facility capable of hosting county, regional and national tournaments. According to a recent article in Kent on Line, Gravesend – with only 18 active members – is the envy of U.K. pétanque clubs and the anchor for more than 30 clubs and two leagues in Kent County, southeast of London.
“We started on some rough old ground,” Cubitt explained, “built the pistes (individual courts) and we now have 24 international sized pistes.” As to the national titles, “we have held it there three years running,” Cubitt said. “I think our venue is the best. In 2019 we had 11 world champions playing.”
The most distinctive feature of the Gravesend Club’s facilities and the key to its success is a canopy structure covering a number of its courts. With the cooperation of the Gravesend Council in 2017, the Club was able to secure and install the canopy from a former outdoor public market, allowing all-weather play.
Cubitt said the appeal of pétanque is simple: “It’s a game that anybody can play. People who haven’t got the ability to run around can be playing all day, and you can have mixed teams of men and women. It’s not an expensive sport. It can be played by people of all ages.”
Cubitt said his next big League objective is to target both schools and senior organizations. He believes that both youngsters and seniors can be attracted to a quickly-learned life sport that they can enjoy playing socially and also excel in competitively. The Gravesend Club sponsors a senior night weekly and invites both senior organizations and schools to use its facilities, loans equipment and supplies instructors to all who want to learn the game.
CURRENT OAKMONT RULES
Club play remains suspended due to the Health Order but player-arranged pickup games continue under the Club’s Reopening Rules on the Oakmont courts between Berger and the OVA offices/Umpqua Bank.
Those using the courts are reminded to keep a minimum of 6 feet social distance at all times and to bring and use their own equipment, face covering and hand sanitizer. Masks covering mouth and nose should be worn at all times. Gatherings before and after games are prohibited.
The Club warmly welcomes interested Oakmonters. As soon as the Health Order permits, the Club will announce when it can officially resume sponsorship of open, random team selection Club Play in the regularly scheduled 9:45 a.m. – noon time slot on Wednesday and Saturday mornings. No prior experience with pétanque is required, and we have boules to lend. Our first 2021 tourney, the Bastille Day Tournament, is tentatively scheduled for Wednesday, July 14.
IMAGE: GRAVESEND CANOPY
(Photo by Kent on Line)
The Gravesend, Kent canopy-covered terrain is the envy of British pétanque clubs.