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Phuket dominates international Petanque Challenge



PHUKET emerged as the clear winners of the Phuket-Dubai-France Petanque Challenge held at Saphan Hin last weekend, winning 52 of its games.

Six pairs from each team played 12 opponents – six from each side – for a total of 108 matches throughout the two-day tournament. France came second, winning 32 games, and Dubai came third, with 24 victories.

The tournament was an expanded version of last year’s Phuket-Dubai Grand Slam, which the home team also won convincingly 48-20.

Dubai largely failed to contend with skilled opponents from both camps, firmly ending up with the wooden spoon in the new-format, three-way event.

Phuket’s top pairing of Thanyawath Inglub and Thumrong Khumphet won all 12 of their games to take the title, beating each of their adversaries by an average score of 13-5.

Day one came to a nail-biting close, drawing a big crowd, as Nittra Phateard’s pairing turned the screws on Dubai star Karim Kahla’s doubles unit. The Tunisian marksman’s normally unerring shooting went awry, and the ladies won the match by a convincing 13-8 margin.

But the real spectacle was the day two battle between Inglub and Khumphet against the eventual runners-up, Manu and Laurent of France, who won 11 of their games in a tussle that went down to the wire – leaving the packed house riveted.

Phuket also took third place, with pair Wanlee Singtonyam and Club Captain Lung Tormor going 10 out of 12.

Based on the same principles as lawn bowling and curling, the game of petanque involves throwing the ball through the air rather than along the ground, to land as close to a wooden jack as possible.

Pointers try to establish accurately placed balls close to the jack, while shooting is an attempt to displace the balls of well-positioned opponents, by throwing the metal boules with which the game is played, at high velocity.

“We had more victories than last year, but the Phuket club still won,” said Marc Molatte, president of Dubai Petanque.

“The atmosphere was great, and the weekend was superbly organized. This event is growing. Next year will be even bigger and better.”

In commiserating with his Dubai opponents, Saphan Hin team captain Lung Tormor said “I was happy to see the level of Phuket’s opponents has improved.”

— Peter Shaw-Smith


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