After last year’s cloudburst at the start of the tournament, the view of the organisers was that surely it couldn’t be wetter this year. Well as we all know it could and it was. One of the founding fathers of the tournament, Dr Colin Owen, officially opened the proceedings with highly tuned irony, welcoming everyone to another ‘hot and sunny Saturday in Sherston’.
With rain falling pretty much all the time from about 7:30am until 11:00 the state of the pistes was a major concern but the intrepid boules players who keep on turning up year after year were not going to be put off their game by a spot of moisture on the terrain! The view from Boules Control consisted of a sea of umbrellas until later in the morning when thankfully the rain stopped and allowed more cheerful playing conditions.
The previous seven times winners Gien, the team from the Loire valley in France, were not competing this year, so the competition was wide open with the Piste Artists and Annie’s Rollers looking like early favourites. Although no French team as such in the tournament, there were many French accents around with both finalists relying on Gallic skills and Les Cardaillacois 2 making decent progress through the tournament. The Harrow Riflemen from Middlesex looked threatening but eventually it was the Bates’s Boulers and the Piste Artists that ended up battling away in the final. The match was closer than the scoreline suggested but the Welsh/French combo of the Piste Artists prevailed.
There were excellent performances from a number of local teams with the Minety based Petanglais featuring previous finalist Andrew Lloyd getting to the semi-finals; there was the all Sherston team of Coches for Honours bowing out in the quarter-finals and the Luckington/Sherston combination of the Flashers also making it to the quarters.
The trophies and prizes were presented by another co-founder of the tournament, the previous Vicar of Sherston, the Rev. Hugh Thomson-Glover.