July 15, 2012

A game, and a culture

By Betty Adams badams@centralmaine.com
Staff Writer

AUGUSTA -- It was the luck of the draw.

click image to enlarge

Erica Golden, left, and Cecile Gregoire react to Gregoire's shot during the petanque tournament held in Mill Park as part of the Festival de la Bastille on Saturday afternoon in Augusta.

Staff photo by Joe Phelan

click image to enlarge

Referee Michel Voyer, from Wissous, France, measures the distance between the green target ball, called a cochonnet, and the larger boules tossed by players to see which got closer during the Festival de la Bastille on Saturday afternoon in Augusta.

Staff photo by Joe Phelan

That's how Ray Fecteau of Augusta and Jim Brogan of Fayette ended up as partners in Saturday's pétanque mini-tournament and then as winners.

They each took home a tall trophy of a classic pétanque player.

The trophies themselves had more miles on them than most of the boules, or metal balls, the size of baseballs that are tossed overhand or underhand during the game. They are aimed at a small wooden brightly colored ball that serves as a moveable target.

Michel and Annick Voyer of Wissous, France, brought six trophies from France to the tournament. The first and third place trophies were donated by Wissous Pétanque, and the second place trophies were donated by L'Amicale des Sarthois de Paris.

Michel Voyer, tournament director for Wissous Pétanque, was the tournament judge.

Several times he brought out a small wooden folding ruler and sometimes he used a tape measure to make a ruling about which ball was closest to the target cochonnet or "piglet."

He indicated he spoke only French, and he and Fecteau and several others had a couple of animated conversations in French on the sunny, stonedust courts.

Eight pairs of players started the tournament, and all entered the knock-out round in the afternoon at Mill Park in Augusta, on the west bank of the Kennebec River. The competition was scheduled to coincide with Le Club Calumet's celebration of Le Festival de la Bastille, taking place at Pete Gagne Memorial Field off Old Belgrade Road.

"Our players are really not used to playing," Raymond Fecteau said. "They haven't done a full tournament."

Lucette Fecteau and Jeannine Vigue took second place and Chrystal Toner and Clem Labonte took third. All are from Augusta.

Erica Golden, a defending champ from last year, and partner Cecile Gregoire, were knocked out in the semifinals.

Annick Voyer got knocked out as well.

"She doesn't have her own boules here, so she has to use the ones that we have and they're not calibrated like the others," said Fecteau.

Raymond Fecteau said the next tournament, where teams will include Augusta City Councilors, is set for Aug. 11.

Betty Adams -- 621-5631



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