This year’s Whitnash Open Spring Triples had a record number of entries from outside of the Heart of England region. With over 100 competitors, 56 were from within the Heart of England, and the rest were from nine other regions, with players coming from as far as Bridlington, Kent, Manchester and Bath as well as three teams from Whitnash’s twin town of Villebon-sur-Yvette. Play was of a very high standard with some of the best teams in the country taking part, including England’s No. 1 team, Dean Seville, David Plumhoff and Sam Blakey, all of whom are representing England in the World Triples Championships later this year. Also present was Jack Blows who recently partnered Dean to a top 16 finish in the Men’s Pairs World Championships in Ghent.
The 32 teams were placed in groups of four and played a three-round match in the morning, with the winners of each group progressing to the Gold Competition, the second placed teams to the Silver competition, the third placed teams to the Bronze with the fourth placed teams playing in the Tin. The afternoon session then consisted of a knockout round, leaving only 16 teams left who then played semi-finals and finals in each category and a 3rd/4th place round in the Gold, Silver and Bronze groups.
Such was the quality of the competition, that only one team from the local region reached the Gold competition. David and Lynn Roberts from Whitnash Petanque Club, together with Coventry’s Tony Thompson played well in their group in the morning, but were knocked out at the quarter-finals stage, as were a team from Villebon-sur-Yvette. They were in good company as England 1 also fell at this stage, going down 13-9 to a strong London team lead by former England World championship player Nic Baxter.
The Semi-Finals brought together 4 teams comprising home countries internationals. In the first, Jack Blows’ team were victorious against a team from the Northern region, winning 13-5. The other semi-final pitched two predominantly London triples against each other, with Barry Scott, Vince Willis and Chiltern’s Jez Huntley victorious in a marathon match over Nic Baxter’s team.
The Gold final was a terrific game between two very experienced accomplished teams, where pointing and shooting were expertly and brilliantly executed on both sides. In the end, Reece Gould, Jack Blows and Oscar Panadero (from Chiltern, Kent and Southern regions) were narrowly beaten 13-9 by Vince Wills, Barry Scott and Jeremy Huntley (London and Chiltern), taking home the £150 first prize.
In the Silver league, a team from Severn Valley comprising Roger Seabury, Paul Hunt and Terry Robinson, retained their Silver title from last year, beating a team from Bath.
Several Whitnash members played in the Bronze competition, with Glen Woodward, Hannah Griffin and Carol Woodward and Charlie Caruana, playing with members of Nomades PC, though both teams lost out in the Quarter finals. Neil Muddeman, Chris Rand and Rachel Kelly fared slightly better, winning through to the semi-final of the Bronze before being defeated. Ross Woodward from Whitnash PC, playing with Gary Durant from Solihull and Phil Price from Nomades won through to the final to take the Bronze title.
Whitnash teams including Richard Sparkes, Brenda Sparkes and Sue Sutton, Aimee Colley and Rachel Stangoe were knocked out in the quarter-finals of the Tin, but Jim Patrick, Val Wingrove, Chris Caruana and Shirley Greenwood went one stage further to finish fourth in this category.
Whitnash PC was pleased to welcome a national umpire, Gareth Sullivan, to oversee the competition, and his attendance was much appreciated by the Club.
During the course of the day, the Mayor of Whitnash, Cllr Simon Button and his son, Matthew paid a visit to the terrain, where they were introduced to the England team, and stayed to watch some of the play. With so many players a fair crowd was assembled to watch the later stages, joined by some viewers online as the event was streamed live on Facebook.
All entry fees were returned in prizes for the competition, but a bumper raffle of 52 prizes was well supported earning extra funds for the club. Thanks to all who contributed. Cathy and Adrian provided a barbecue which proved popular with the competitors and spectators and thanks are extended to everyone who helped to make it another spectacular event.
For full results see below: