ALL ABOUT BOULES

With the gift-giving season at hand, popular blogsite All About Petanque (petanque.wordpress.com) recently announced that Pétanque America (petanqueamerica.com) is once again selling competition grade La Franc boules. La Franc, headquartered in Thailand, is the world’s second largest boule manufacturer after France’s Obut, which has 80% of the market.

Priced below Obut for high quality, competition boules, La Franc was long a popular choice of U.S. players until shipping and supply problems appeared. Apparently those problems have been solved. With an increasing American demand for boules in a variety of weights, sizes and groove patterns and a favorable dollar/euro exchange rate, Pétanque America has resumed selling La Franc in addition to Obut.

Recreational players don’t need to buy the more expensive competition-certified boules if they don’t intend to compete in FPUSA-sanctioned tournaments. Reasonably priced generic boules are fabricated, like competition boules, from carbon, stainless or nickel chromium steel. They meet FPUSA size and weight standards but are not number-stamped and certified.

Another non-tournament alternative is leisure boules, which are chrome-plated, thin steel and available from a variety of suppliers. All About Pétanque cautions, however, to be wary of inexpensive eight-boule sets frequently offered on sites like Amazon as “bocce/pétanque balls.”

The eight-boule sets contain 4 pairs of differently grooved/patterned boules. The problem is that players’ boules are distinguished by their grooves or patterns and pétanque requires three matched boules per player for singles and doubles (two matched boules for triples). Pétanque players therefore need to look for sets of either three boules with the same pattern or six boules with each set of three similarly patterned.

Both Pétanque America and All About Pétanque offer size/weight purchase guides.

CURRENT RULES FOR PLAY

Pétanque play via player-arranged pickup games continues on the Oakmont courts between Berger and the OVA offices/Umpqua Bank. Using the two side courts and leaving the middle court vacant to promote social distancing, the maximum number of players currently permitted is 12.

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.

Scoreboards, throwing circles, extra boules, chairs, and benches may not be used. Gatherings before and after games are prohibited. No one feeling ill may come to the courts and individuals play at their own risk. During play, no one may touch anyone else’s boules. Each team must use one designated player to throw out and pick up her or his own cochonnet.

The Club will announce when it will officially resume sponsorship of open, random team selection Club Play on Wednesday and Saturday mornings in the regularly scheduled 9:45 a.m. – noon time slot.


La Franc competition boules available again in U.S.
(photo by Pétanque America)

“Bocce/Pétanque Balls” 8-boule set to be avoided.
(photo by Amazon)

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