les bonnes boules de handcross

Handcross Vs Coquelles

 

Friday saw the majority of the Handcross team arrive in Calais for some pre-match bonding. In the evening, our hosts La Fanny Coquelloise, led by their President Thierry Fontaine, welcomed us all at the Bouladrome for our return visit.  There we received a huge welcome from our hosts who had laid on drinks and a magnificent buffet which everybody enjoyed as the French and English contingents mingled for the entente cordiale.  During the evening some of our team who had not previously visited the bouladrome tried their skills on the piste before we all returned to our hotel bar. The evening finally wound up about midnight following team talk and words of instruction from Justin “Rappelez-vous Boule en face”.

On arrival at the Bouladrome the following morning we met up with the five remaining members of our squad including our captain, Tony Kidd, all of whom had left England in the early hours to make the journey.

As 10:15 approached proceedings were launched with a few words from Thierry and our Chairman David. The draw had been made and as the respective teams met up on the piste, each of the English contingent was presented with a bottle of Brut and a tape measure whilst our hosts each received a coche; one Union Jack and one ‘Fanny’.

For many of our team this was the first taste of playing against the French and playing inside a bouladrome.  Nevertheless, as the opening games commenced all were keen to do their best and try to improve upon previous performances against a very accomplished French team.  Midway through the opening round the bell was rung as Mike Stanton and Michael Greenaway stymied their opposing partners with a 13-0 win over the French pairing who had to kiss the Fanny.  First blood to Handcross! Especially good as Michael Greenaway has only recently started playing. Well done team!

Unfortunately this excellent result was not repeated by our other teams, some of whom managed to gain a win, but we still lost the 1st round.  After a break to water the piste, the French got their revenge with the bell ringing for John and Bill to be the next ones to kiss the Fanny. We headed for lunch with Handcross trailing and only a miracle now could salvage the match.

With tables along the edge of the piste and 2 enormous caldrons of bubbling beans, sausage, pork, salami and more, our hosts led us to the tables for a long lunch and free flowing wine. The conversation and jollity was only interrupted by some impromptu dancing, the music was playing and the French bonhomie overcomes the more English reserve.

The afternoon session continued in a similar fashion with our hosts dominating overall.  The final score gave them an emphatic 32-12 victory over the Handcross Team.

The day finished with closing speeches and presentations between our Chairman David and their President Thierry on behalf of each squad, including a framed Handcross polo shirt signed by club members for display on their wall. The atmosphere in the bar was amazing with the French very excitedly talking about a return match at Handcross in 2017!

Following close of play the one day party returned to the UK whilst the remainder of the squad went on to a restaurant for a well-earned meal, a few drinks and some singing led by Jane. The evening culminated with a rendition of Bohemian Rhapsody from Justin on air piano and lead vocals.

Handcross Squad:

Anne Stanton and David Leech

Brenda and Mike Steptoe

Glen and Liam Floyd (junior player)

Hazel and John Harrison

Jane and Nigel Sibbring

John Bailey and Bill Mackrell

Mike Stanton and Mike Greenway

Sarah and Justin Ellis

Stuart Floyd and Steve Daykin

Tony and Peter Kidd

Vivienne Ley and Gerrard Poirier

Support from Hillary

A good time was had by all and losing 32-12 gives us something to play for on the return

(Bill Mackrell)