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Petanque club reaches milestone


Thirty proud years of petanque have been celebrated this week by one of New Zealand’s oldest clubs, the Masterton Petanque Club.

A group of enthusiasts held the first meeting to form the club on May 22, 1994, and over the next three decades, the club has forged a proud history.

The Masterton Petanque Club was one of the first clubs to register its members with the newly formed New Zealand Petanque Association, and its members have gone on to play pivotal roles not only on the terrain but also in administration.

Life for the club began on an area behind the Masterton Croquet Club where club members started to learn the skills and tactics of the game. After a couple of years, the club moved in with the Park Bowling Club, now the Queen Elizabeth Park Sports Centre.

From these small beginnings, the club grew to be one of the strongest in Wellington and, indeed, the country.

Over the 30 years, Masterton Petanque Club has held the Jacques Cochonnet Trophy for a record number of defences. The Jacques Cochonnet Trophy is played for on a challenge basis by clubs in the Wellington Petanque Association. Masterton has played a record 98 matches for the trophy, of which 10 were successful challenges, and defended it a record 69 times for a success rate of 81 per cent. In one tenure, Masterton held the trophy undefeated for almost three years.

Masterton club members have also been prominent in winning Wellington, National and International titles.

Among those are 16 Wellington titles and eight national titles. As a club, Masterton has been successful at the New Zealand Club Championships, placing 3rd in 2010 and runners-up in 2012, 2013, and 2014. Masterton won the New Zealand Senior [over 60] Club Championship in 2018.

Success has also been achieved at the international level. Nine club members have represented New Zealand in the Trans-Tasman, Oceania, Asian, and World Championships.

At the Oceania Championships in 2002, Barbara Johnston won the gold medal in the women’s singles and followed that success up with a silver medal in the triples at the 2005 Oceania Championship and again in 2010 with a silver in the women’s shooting championship. Shooting is a skill required in the game to knock the opponent’s boule away when it is difficult to point [draw] a boule in closer. Johnston also won a bronze medal for the same discipline at the 2009 Asian Championships.

Founding member Claire Wilson also had international success, winning a gold medal in the pointing discipline and a silver medal in the women’s triples at the 2017 Oceania Championships.

The Masterton Petanque Club has also been prominent in administering petanque in New Zealand. Graeme Morris was President of Petanque New Zealand from 2001 to 2006 and also managed the New Zealand teams at the World Championships, Trans-Tasman, and Oceania tournaments. He has also coached the New Zealand women’s team at Trans-Tasman and Oceania tournaments.

Morris was awarded Life Membership of Petanque New Zealand in 2006.

However, Masterton Petanque Club is not all about Wellington and National representation and titles. The club has a core membership of 28 who meet twice a week [2pm summer and 1pm winter] on Thursdays and Sundays for club day and is always on the lookout for new players to come and try out the sport.

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