JACKS . . . AND THE RULES
Just as the rules include specifications for competition boules, they also include requirements for jacks (also called cochonnets, bouchons, buts). Jacks, which may be natural or painted, must be made of wood or a synthetic material and have a diameter of 29-31 millimeters and a weight of 10-18 grams. Magnetic jacks, which are popular in informal, friendly games when players sometimes use dangling or telescoping magnetic lifters to retrieve their boules, are not approved for national and international competition.
Traditionally pétanque jacks have been made of boxwood. A small family-owned French company, Tournerie Monneret, is the world’s largest producer, supplying over one million per year. But since box tree caterpillars and moths are destroying boxwood trees in France, manufacturers are now supplying jacks made of other wood or of synthetic materials.
PLAYING TIP: FOOT FAULTS
In pétanque the circle effectively functions as a foot foul line. Players must stand inside the circle (le rond) to throw their boules. Although traditionally circles with an inside diameter of 35-50 centimeters were simply scribed on the ground, standard manufactured circles of 50 centimeters diameter, usually plastic or wire, have predominated since 2005.
A player’s feet must remain inside the circle and may neither touch the manufactured circle or the drawn line nor extend beyond it. Equally as important, however, neither foot may be lifted from the ground within the circle until the thrown boule lands. This rule is literally foundational to Pétanque, whose name derives from the Occitan/Provençal words “pés tanca” (feet planted).
WEDNESDAY & SATURDAY CLUB PLAY
The Club encourages all Oakmonters who may be interested in playing or learning to play pétanque (pay-tonk’) to come to the courts (between Berger and the OVA offices) at 9:45 a.m. on the Club play days of Wednesday and Saturday. The Club has boules to lend while you’re learning, and you’ll be playing right away. Anyone, regardless of experience, is welcome to enjoy the challenge and camaraderie of a simple game that is learned quickly, inexpensive, fun to play, and endlessly fascinating in its deeper levels of execution and strategy. No dues are required – just sign up to be on the Club roster. Club play days are casual friendly games with teams randomly assigned. The courts are also reserved 10 a.m. – noon for Club player-arranged pickup games on Monday, Tuesday, Thursday, and Friday.
Tournaments with potluck picnic lunches in 2022 are on Saturdays April 30 (Homage to Spring); July 16 (Bastille Day Fête); and October 22 (Oktoberfest). Evening Pétanque games and socials are also planned for dates to be determined in June and August.