Wrong Boules!

By Mr.Bordsenius at 2002-03-14

by Ray Ager
- “Oh, 710s. Did you not bring any 740s? That’s what most of us use here, on this terrain, you know. 7mm branvil chippings to dust on a 12mm blackbart hoggins pre-compacted sub-base. We find they’re more accurate, especially after the odd shower – look at those clouds looming. I think I just felt a spot.”

Best Boules?
You can also create doubt about whether or not the visitors have made the best choice of boules for any particular terrain. Discretely have a look at the weight of their boules, then say,

Hopefully the opponents will now be unsure about their choice of boules, believing your superior knowledge of the home terrain must somehow be correct and leaving them at a disadvantage. Most importantly playing in England, you’ve made them unsettled about the weather.

You can cast doubt on the correct choice of a shooter’s boule and at the same time, pass a comment on their technique.
- “I’m sure our coach would advise on a bigger boule, with a grip like that. That is unusual.”
Do not make any specific remarks about their technique, just vague generalities that question how they are playing. It’s also important that the Coach is not present, so there’s no danger of them actually being called to give their opinion. If the opponents question what you say, reply with something like,
- “That’s fine, you play your own style. I’m sure these experts can’t be right all the time.”
Again, whilst ostensibly making a supportive remark, you’re still implying there is something wrong with their technique.

Giving the Opponents a Leg-Up
“Not accusing” the opponents of infringing the rules is a more advanced ploy in Boules-Upmanship. An example: sometimes beginners lift a foot or leg when playing, strictly forbidden, of course, by the rules. An opponent may be playing perfectly legally but you can still create doubt, without actually making any direct accusations. Each time they play, indicate “lifting a foot” to one of your teammates, shake your head and wag a finger vigorously. Of course, this is done in such a way that the opponent sees it as well. After all, this is who it is really directed at.

If the player is at all unsure, they will now be thinking about how they throw and you should have succeeded in disrupting their natural style of play. Should they ask you if you consider there is any problem with how they are playing, you simply say,
- “No, no, no. Absolutely fine, nothing for you to worry about, do carry on. I was just showing my partner here, who is fairly new to the game, what not to do in a competition. I hope I didn’t distract you.”
Of course, your partner probably is not new to the game but the opponents aren’t to know that. Boules-Upmanship.

Expert Boules-Upmanship
The best example of this, in a story frequently recounted before a match in clubhouses he visits, told by Jean-Luc the butcher from Boulogne: playing in an important competition, he kept indicating to his partner, “lifting a leg”, each time the opposing shooter was playing. Of course, nothing was actually wrong. Nevertheless, the opponent in question became more and more agitated, changing his stance each time he played and, at the critical moment when he had to shoot to save the game, Jean-Luc lifted his leg just as the opponent was about to shoot. The poor shooter was by now so wound up, he tried to stop himself halfway through his throw, worried about his leg, and much to the amusement of the large crowd that had now gathered round to witness the spectacle, actually fell over out of the circle, landing awkwardly and painfully on his hand. The boule fell out of his hand, slowly rolled about 1m in front of him and was duly deemed played. In falling, he’d injured his arm, was unable to play his remaining boules and had to conceed the match, even though Jean-Luc’s team hadn’t actually played all their boules.

Boules-Upmanship at the highest level, winning without either side having to play all their boules.

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