Grand Prix de Saint-AvertinSaint Avertin, France July 2019
Saint-Avertin, a little known, small commune just South of the city of Tours, in the heart of the Loire Valley. The town put itself on the map this month when it held its premier Grand Prix de Saint-Avertin pétanque tournament.
Held at the Boulodrome de Saint-Avertin, along the Southern side of the river Cher. The tournament, played in the doubles format would see 128 teams competing for the trophy. World Champion players, Phillipe Suchaud & Philippe Quintais were in attendance.
Had they been playing together, they would certainly have been the team to beat. However, Suchaud played alongside Thomas Quiène and Quintais partnered with Laurent Magne. Both these players are local to Saint-Avertin and still formed formidable teams with the World Champions.
In something of a shock result, team Suchaud were eliminated at the last 64 stage, the first game of the afternoon. But as we all know in this sport, anything can happen. Quintais had a better run of results after making it through the Poules stage via the barrage, then going all the way and playing out to a win in the final under the last rays of light from the setting sun well after 9pm.
With the tournament consisting of players from mostly local clubs of the Touraine region and neighbouring departments, there was one other team that had travelled from further afield. The English team of Barry Wing and Jason White, invitees and guests of the organisers were treated like celebrities. Many of the locals wanted a picture with these English pétanque stars, as well as a few autographs.
It wasn’t to be for the English team though, as the afternoons first knockout round of 64 would be their final match. We caught up with them post-match and although disappointed with the final result, they were still enjoying the experience of not only playing in this prestigious competition but being well-received ambassadors for the sport of pétanque in England.
A superbly organised event, that had been preceded by an evening of training for the regions young petanque stars on Friday. Philippe Suchaud dropped in to tutor and guide the young players with their development.
With plans already underway for next year’s tournament, there is the talk of inviting more teams from England. The possibility of running a women’s competition alongside the main Grand Prix is also being discussed. In addition, it is highly likely that Suchaud & Quintais will return again next year. Our media team also looks forward to returning to this fantastic tournament in order to bring you the very best coverage of the event.