Posts Tagged ‘competitions’

Well here we are almost at the end of the Petanca competitions, and back in Aragon at Mequinensa in sight of the castle next to the river for another day of bowling and catching up on things with friends.  However, because of the change in the weather, which thank goodness has cooled down, I found myself with difficulty in breathing due to a sinus infection (and I had two – yes 2 – flu jabs last December)

Anyway we started off playing well winning our first game easily, the second one was a bit of a battle but we won that. However, we had to wait for the other teams to finish their game before we could complete our third and final game.

It was at this point I became ill. I started coughing and being sick not the sort of thing you need in the middle of a competition, I needed my wife.  Because she was not playing she had wandered down to the river just below the courts, to take some  photographs, I could see her by the water’s edge so I made my way towards the river but began being ill again. Next thing I knew my wife was there helping me back to the courts sitting me down and getting me to relax.  Had I taken my anti histamine tablets that morning? I could not answer so she opened her handbag, produced two tablets, watched me take them then waited whilst I calmed down and breathed easier. (I am most thankful that she carries my tablets around, especially as when we are in a rush my mind is elsewhere on practical things I forget).  After assuring my friends I was alright  we resumed our game which we won.

I then joined my wife for a coffee sitting in the sun looking out onto the fountain which had a most soothing effect. Whilst waiting for the other teams to finish and the play offs begin, I sat drinking my coffee and looking round.  The hall where they hold the presentations is an airy spacious building, it sits at the back of the plaza with the fountain near the road. This fountain depicts a man holding a lantern in one hand with a long implement over his shoulder, here on competition days tables and chairs are set outside under the terrace. Inside the building you find the main hall large and spacious a tv is mounted over the bar with a kitchen and side rooms for meetings along one side, then off a small corridor you find the toilets, a must know for us oldies.

The other side of the hall is glass giving a fantastic view of the river, so you can sit watching both rowers and wildlife enjoying their day on the river.   Today however there was a long table set out with the prizes of large hams with a box of chocolates for the winners, large hams plus some excellent Maquinensa Olive Oil for the runners-up, followed by smaller hams for 3,4,5,6,7th then a bottles of wine with a dried sausage for everyone else.

The Play-Offs

The playoffs are held on a small court and an international course is laid out. This consists of two circles one at each end of the court with a spaced out measure of 8 strides in between (around 8ft).  In to the top circle a small red ball is placed (the bouletchi) then when a team’s name is called, the first bowler of that team stands in the bottom circle and bowls at the bouletchi trying to hit it or get as near to it as he/she can staying inside the other circle.  If they are successful then they score 2 points.  The next round is similar the second bowler tries for the bouletchi this is then replaced by a ball and the idea is that the bowler throws his ball at it trying to hit it, but, the bowlers ball must only land inside the circle before it hits if it does then that’s 2 points, but if it lands outside the circle then hits the ball no points.  The final bowler is the ‘picca’, he/she must throw their balls at the ball in the circle with the above rules applying. If it sounds complicated it isn’t really but it is hard to do.  The ground can slope one way or another or be slightly up or down hill, plus you only have 2 balls for each round.

To say that I was off bowling was an understatement to I was really surprised when after we had all bowled there was an announcement that a play off for second place between three teams was needed.  I did not do a very good bowl so it was up to my two team mates to rescue us and they did.  Perfect bowling and picking won us second prize. The Mayoress and other dignitaries presented the prizes, so here we all are at the presentation, brilliant players and an old duffer.

First prize of a ham and chocolates went to Ramona, Seraphi and Eunesio from Asco

Second prize of ham and olive oil went to Salout, Serrano and me from Mora de’Ebro

Fourth prize of a small ham went to Roca, Mohamed and Rayner also from Mora

After the presentations, my wife was asked to take group pictures of everyone so first, because the winners are in there came Asco hams and all.

Then came Tivissa who insisted Mora joined in so here we all are with hams and wine a good day had by all.  Cheers!

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Today being the last day of the fiesta we had a petanca competition, a tripletta, so our friends from the other towns turned up to take part.  Now a tripletta is simply what it says teams of three play against each other.  Today we were the hosts, as you can see we played under the ‘Mora’ trees that shade the clubs courts and provides shade from the sun. the wives who were not playing sat at the top table watching – except mine who wandered around with the camera.

We arrived around 8.30am to find everyone there eating their bocadilos, drinking either wine or water or both depending on whether they were driving.  Everyone was in good spirits with good banter doing the rounds, however we soon settled down to the serious art of playing.  My team played well and we won all our games so were in the play offs.  I spent the rest of the time watching the other games and seeing who we might be up against in the international playoff.

We have been invited to play at Tivissa at the end of September by ‘The Boys from Tivissa’  these are a team of young people who are very good players and who we – pure novices – beat a few years ago.  We have visited their club since then and played in competitions the last time my wife won a trophy.

The petanca club of Tivissa are the people who made us welcome when we went to watch a match then invited us to stay on for the BBQ and yes our club was doing the cooking – try stopping em,  at which I tasted their local drink throughly enjoying myself.  So when on the way home with my wife driving, the Mossos (state police) stopped us on the roundabout at 1am and asked her if she had been drinking, it was me who leant forward grinned and said ‘no but I have he he’ the officer just looked and you could see ‘ English’ on his face then with a grin told my wife to ‘take him home’  oh such petanca memories.

Anyway there were 6 teams in the play off,  here we are waiting to start with Asco getting ready to bowl.  In yellow are Tivissa, I being me am in red whilst my team mates are in the white and green of Mora, Maquinensa in red and blue and  Fayon being all green.   A great deal of banter took place as the teams began to try to score points, with  teams finishing as follows:-

These are the first and second teams    Mora  and Tivissa  both teams won large dried hams.

The third and fourth teams are Asco and our team, it must have seemed strange to our President having to present herself with the prize of wine, I did offer to accept it on her behalf but strangely she declined the offer I wonder why….

These are teams five and six  Tivissa and Fayon, with their wine.  the other teams all received a bottle and chorizo sausage so everyone won something.  We returned home to relax and chill out before preparing for next weekend.  Cheers!!!!


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Well Christmas is looking good.  This week we were at Fayon along with other teams we play against, for the latest competition.  Fayon lies just over the border in Aragon, beside the river Ebro, and has a good cat fishing reputation.

We started out around 7am this morning, driving into town to pick up one of our club members, then drove to Corbera to collect our president. From here we drove to Gandessa then headed north, past Fatarella travelling through the wind-turbine parks across the mountain ridge. We now turned left and headed down the mountain into the river valley. The road was to say the least twisty with one or two ‘oh my God’ bends, but hey this is in the mountains.  Once we reached the valley we headed for the train station to pick up the other member of my team, then climbed again to Fayon.

This little town was at the center of battle in the Spanish Civil War and every year in August it hold a re-enactment of the battle that took place there.  They have planes, tanks and other army equipment and take this part of their history very seriously.

The Petanca courts were nicely laid out so it was not hard to find which court we were to play on.  When we arrived we paid our entrance fee and ate our breakfast which today consisted of a soft bread roll filled with a good helping of dried ham, to be washed down by red wine and water we then began to play.

It was nice to see the other teams and catch up on gossip, who would be in the playoffs, who did not make it, hear when and where the next competition was to be.  My wife got ribbed because she was not playing ‘ win a ham and get banned eh’ but she had the camera and as usual took pictures of the winners so she was happy.



Our friends from Tivissa  and  Mequinensa their groups some 12 strong all went home with hams and wine.

I have put Asco in with our groups as they play at our club every Saturday.

Our teams 6 in total had small hams and wine as did our friends from Asco they also won hams, so a lot of happy people wended their way home at the end of a very pleasant morning.

We arrived back in town and headed for Club Nautique for a couple of beers to celebrate. Cheers everyone.

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You have over the past year heard me talking about my new sport Petanca which I play most afternoon with my Spanish friends.  It was a game that was recommended to me when I was at school learning Catalan.  Eventually my wife and I visited the courts and were not only made welcome but positively encouraged to join so we did.

I will start with a quick outline of the game:

There are two types of teams triplettas (3 people) and doublettas (2 people).  In a tripletta each person has 2 balls making a total of 6 balls per team.  So in a doubletta each person has 3 balls (6).  The winning team is the first to reach 13 points – although in some competitions it’s to 15.  There is a ‘bouletchi’ a small red or green ball which the objective of the game is get as many of your teams balls close to it thus scoring points.  If the other team has a ball nearer than yours you can ‘pica’ (knock the ball off the bouletchi) leaving your team with the points.  Still with me?

The Ball in the middle above would be picered as it is the opposing teams ball and nearest the bouletchi, there is also a lot of measuring when two balls look an equal distance out comes the measure, nearest wins.  As you can see this is a game of tactics and can be fun, lots of shouting some swearing (and yes I can swear in Spanish lol) There are several ways of throwing the ball. 1) the aireal way in which the bowler tosses the ball in the air. 2) bowling along the ground and 3) a short toss with the ball rolling a short distance.  When you see the experts doing it it’s a real treat.

This is our club on a Saturday afternoon getting ready to play.

The rule seemed to be that the men played in the afternoons during the week and the women played on Saturday afternoons, (just as the golf clubs used to do in England) so we joined our club. Everyone was and still is kind especially to my wife who is by no means the best player in the world.  Still she has her moments and can produce some good shots.

In the summer there are often competitions between clubs where we go to play on their grounds or they visit us. We have made some good friends this way and been beaten by the best from several villages. We have also beaten some of these teams, winning coveted dried hams (Hammon) wine and olive oil as well as dried sausages and a cup. So I thought I would share some of our pictures and tell you of one or two events.

We have had a few delightful competitions one where my wife won the ham I cut my finger carving (Silly Old Fool blog) and these two.  The first one was at the club a combination of triplettas and doublettas.  I, my wife and Gregoria made up a tripletta, and believe it or not we beat the champions from Tivissa – the guys in yellow but we were all beaten by the champions from Fayon – in green- with  our friends winning small hammons.  We won a bottle of wine with a large chorizo.

We spent yesterday at Tivissa watching the clubs play in a friendly competition. I call it a ‘fast’ competition as each team of 2 players had 20mins to play their game. Then a whistle blew scores were noted and off they went again untill every team had played their opponents in their group. Then after the scores were worked out and before the runners-up played for 2nd, 3rd & 4th place we had a BBQ. There were various types of sausage, pork on sticks and fresh bread with wines to wash them down followed by hazelnuts, almonds, pastries and good banter.

So well fed and watered the teams went off to play the playoffs and I followed to watch whilst my wife helped clean up.  My wife joined me shortly then in the middle of a game the flood lights went out, it felt a bit like a scene from MASH so we sang a chorus of when the lights go again all over the world he he he.

Then around midnight came the presentations as we watched our friends collect their prizes a lovely end to a perfect day.

These are the prizes waiting to be presented to the winners, by a lady to whom I must apologise to for not getting her name or position in Tivissa. She was introduced by the chairman of the club who made a very nice speech.

I would like to thank you to the Tivissa club for making us feel so welcome, we really enjoyed our day even if we were not playing.

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It has been a strange day, although it started out quite normal. Today was our paella day at petanca so an early start was called for. Up by 7am so we could get ourselves and our things ready and make sure we were there by 8.30 for the traditional breakfast of a boccadillo, black olives and red wine, which proceeds all the festivities.  When we arrived we saw many old friends who had been busy with harvests of various kinds all summer so lots of jokes and commiserations to be shared.

After breakfast came the competition.  For this everyone is given a number. This is drawn from a bingo style cage with each number being written down against a name on the entrance list. Next starting in numerical order from 1 to 28 the names are made up into teams of either 3 or 2.  We then play a knockout style of games and the top teams play each other for 1st, 2nd, 3rd place and so on.  Today I was paired with Pilla and we came top, beating everyone, we each won a leg of dried Hammon, whilst my wife and her partner Salu came 4th and won a dried hand of Hammon so we will eat well this winter.

Whilst all this was going on the men who were not playing began to make the paella, which being inland is made from meat, fresh herbs, rice, chicken stock and saffron cooked over two large gas BBQ’s.  We took our own wine, salad, olives and melon but you end up sharing it with friends and the coffee and whisky do the rounds along with liqueurs.  Then after everything was packed away there were a few more games of petanca before we all drifted home. Wonderful!

But! we found the strangest thing today was not easily answered.   When we looked out of our kitchen window this morning we saw a Storm Trouper standing sentinel like on the south field.

Then we remembered the ‘satellite’ that NASA said had come down, but claimed they did not know where. We all know these storm troopers are tricky people, so I wondered if there are two lost androids wandering around out there and if the ‘satellite’ was in fact an escape pod!!!!!

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This is the Club House

We have liked this little summer sailing club ever since we have been here. It sits by the side of the river Ebro, quiet in the late autumn and the early part of the year. But come July an air of expectancy arrives, what date will it open this favourite place, who will be running the bar, will they be any good? Over the past years we have seen good and bad students running it. This year we were in for a treat.  Mohammed, Paul, and  Ivan took over, it was like an open air restaurant.  Waiter service, drinks and snacks were brought to your table, tables wiped and cleared no mess anywhere these young men showed a talent for people care.

A typical evening

When you consider that the girls and boys who train for the muleta races are there every night plus parents and friends it says a lot.  I have been watching them play chess and played the odd game, I do like chess, whilst others play cards as they wait for their turn in the boats.

Then off they go 6 to a boat rowing down stream with the current but pulling hard as they come back up against a 6knt flow again and again.  Sitting there in the evening looking out over the river with a cool glass of beer or wine and a gentle breeze, whilst watching the youngsters training is very pleasant.

There is also a swimming pool here for members, which is well used, especially in the afternoons. Not only by the grown-ups but but the young people as well.  We often arrives in the evening to see them coming from the pool to sit with their friends. There are bar meals available at reasonable prices, so like us people come to eat.

This is practice


This year there the anual Mora Marisca was cancelled, so there was much activity as boats were taken to other villages on the river for racing.  We managed to catch some of them and the pictures below are an indication of the size of a muleta, which takes 6-8 youngsters to move. This weekend is the last one the bar is open till next year so we are sitting here enjoying our last meal of the season, looking out over the river.  I hope you enjoy our favourite summer bar.

The Races



And the outcome of all this fun? Why the girls got a cup 3rd but it is still a cup!  Well done senoritas!!

The Parakeets??  Well they live in the trees by the hospital behind the club, and squark and fly around.  One complements the other.

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