Quintais' Revenge!! Philippe coaches his old team to victory!
Philippe Quintais retired from International Competition after being defeated last year by the new French team of Rocher, Leboursicaud, Loy and Hureau but he returned as coach of the "second string" France team comprising his old team mates Henri Lacroix and Philippe Suchaud now with Julien Lamour and Simon Cortes to earn a well deserved victory.
The Brussels venue was smaller than those of recent years but the organisers delivered an excellent competition in an intimate atmosphere. The organisers are to be congratulated on delivering a great competition for the fans of pétanque with none of the petty restrictions that have blighted recent World Championship tournaments. Fans could access any area of the boulodrome so that it was possible to support your team or get to see your heroes.
The Brussels organisers Luc De Wilde and Jean-Jacques Vermijlen who masterminded a great tournament
Winners on the rostrum
Team France 1
l to r. Simon Cortes, Philippe Suchaud, Julien Lamour and Henri Lacroix, The 2005 World Champions
The first round
The 54 teams were drawn into 8 pools of 6 or 7 teams and played each one of their fellow pool members once. The top 4 in each pool going through to the last 32. Despite some good wins by underdog sides [Holland and Ivory Coast over France1; Tahiti over France 2; Finland over Belgium 1] all the fancied teams advanced to the last 32 albeit with the eventual winners France 1 only 4th in their group.
The Last 32
8 pools of 4 played on the barrage system, so 2 from each pool qualified for the last 16. A great performance by Holland saw them straight through in their pool leaving Italy having to qualify via the barrage game at the expense of Spain. Other fancied teams that had to come through the barrage were France 1 and Belgium 2. The most significant casualties were Cambodia who lost their barrage game to Estonia and Tunisia who lost to France 1.
Great Britain 2005
The Great Britain 2005 team was Marcus Hilton, Paul Bond, Neil Dobbins and Sofiane Lachani with team manager Mike Pegg.
Despite playing some good boule with plenty of flair there wasn't the consistency to progress in the main and so finished 33= the same as GB 2004.
In the Coupe de Nations GB progressed to the second round with a 13-10 win over New Zealand and then two excellent 13-0 wins in the second round against Singapore and Benin put GB into the last 16 where a tight match against Monaco was lost 8-13.
The Last 16
The battle to get into the quarter finals followed a similar pattern to recent years with the regulars France, Madagascar, Belgium and Morocco being joined this year by Thailand, Algeria and Mauritania. Missing from the 'usuals' was Tunisia and Spain.
The Quarter Finals
Thailand and France 2 were too strong for Algeria and Mauritania respectively but the Madagascar v Belgium match was an exciting affair, evenly matched until Belgium finally got the upper hand to win 13-9. The fourth QF seemed to be going smoothly for France 1 at 12-8 when they had a bad end, two short points, a missed shot and two spot carrauex by Morocco and suddenly they were pointing for 4 with a chance of 5 if they got a nibble on the coche. In the event it was a 4 to tie the game at 12 all but the french nerve held to take the final end and advance 13-12.
The Semi Finals
Under FIPJP rules, if a country has two teams in the semifinals then they must play each other. Therefore, Belgium played Thailand and with the crowd behind them and some lucky coche moves Belgium won comfortably 13-6. The France 1 v France 2 game was very tight when after 9 ends and a score of 6-7 France 2 suffered when 3 shots hit target boule but in one case did not move it far enough and in the other 2 cases tickles on the coche left them vulnerable. Philippe Suchaud responded with a carreau. Damien Hureau put up France 2's last point which Suchaud shot and stayed around. His team mates pointed in their remaining three boule to score a six and leap to 12-7. In the next and final end Lamour pointed well and was shot out but then pointed poorly and was out pointed by Rocher who had just come on as sub for Hureau. Suchaud shot and missed. Then although 2 boule down he decided to shoot again. He missed but moved the coche to Lamour's second point a lucky move that the opposition couldn't beat and so France 1 were through 13-7. Proving that talent and a bit of luck are an unbeatable combination!
Contested over 13 ends 9 of which were played at 9 metres or more. There was great expectation from the home crowd which seemed to affect Hemon who took quite a while to get into his stride. In the first 6 ends he had 10 shots but only hit 4 during which time France built up a lead of 8-3 and a momentum and confidence that could not be stemmed even with 7/9 shooting from Hemon and 5/7 from Weibel. France maintaining their grip to win 15-6
The terrain this year was compacted but the surface was quite soft and friable with a scattering of stones.
Close up of the piste showing the dusty surface taking a footprint and the small stones that were quite loose in the surface layer. Just ideal for the high lob point.
The entire story has been contributed by David Baxter.
the original text is here
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