The bad rules of boules

Now and again something is so bad that it’s good.  We present…..

The Bad Rules of Boules

Found on the web at a site where they sell boules (HPC comments in brackets). If they know this much about the rules how much do they know about the boules they sell…

Petanque is also known as Boule (No – Boules. one boule is the lump of metal that you throw) and Bocce (No this is another game played mostly in Italy).  Being a traditional pub game (no it’s not) without any national governing body (The English Petanque Association would argue), variations of equipment and rules abound. Where there is doubt, locally played rules should always apply.

Please note that 1 metre = 100 cm = 3.28 feet. (actually it’s 3.08)


The surface of a Petanque pitch can be of any material (plutonium is not recommended) but thin gravel or sand is most appropriate. (Sand plays no part in the pitch it’s usually compacted sandstone or limestone with a light gravel topping).  The shape can be either a thin strip 25 – 30m long (no in most clubs it’s usually 12m) and 3m wide (can be wider) or it can just be a large flat area.  In the case of a thin strip, lines often define the playing areas:- a line 2m from either end beyond which a boule is out of play (No – it’s 1m for international rules but more often 50cm for local rules) and at 5m from either end behind which a player must remain while playing each boule. (No)

Each boule is made of metal and is between 7cm and 11cm in diameter (No 8cm max), weighing about 800 grams although boules up to 1.3kg are allowed (No between 650g and 800g and most people like around 700g).  In singles, each player has four boules (No – 3), in doubles, each player has three boules and for triples, each player has just two boules.  The jack or cochonnet is a small wooden ball around 1 1/2 inches in diameter. (In the UK we say coche – in France they never say cochonnet more usually le petit or le but).  Normally a tool called a baguette is used to measure the distance between boules in close situations. (We eat them round here. Tape measure are better in this instance. We don’t measure the distance between boules – we measure how far they are from the cochonnet).


Boules is most commonly played in teams of three (No).  A good team of three will often consist of a “pointeur” who is best at getting the boules nearest to the cochonnet, a “tireur” who specialises in knocking opposing balls out of contention and a “milieu”, the captain (not necessarily) who is an all-rounder.  To begin with players (teams) draw lots (toss a coin) to decide who goes first.  After the first leg, the player who threw the closest boule in the previous leg (we call them ends) starts the next leg from the position of the cochonnet. (No the team chooses who throws and they have the option of moving back to throw if there isn’t enough room for a 10m throw)

The player who starts the leg must first draw a circle around her feet with a diameter of between 35 and 50 cm.  Often, the measuring baguette is used to perform this duty (It will make it difficult to eat).   All players must keep both feet on the ground and within this circle when throwing.   The player then throws the cochonnet which must land between 6 and 10 metres away and be at least half a metre away from any obstacle such as the edge of the pitch or a tree.

The nearest boule to the cochonnet is always called the “best boule” (we don’t use these words).   Each player throws boules until that player runs out of boules (no – the team chooses which member plays next) or throws a boule that is best boule.  Once a player achieves best boule, the next player on the opponents team plays in the same way.  When a player runs out of boules, the next player in the same team takes over (No).  Note that the first player therefore always throws just one boule before retiring from the throwing circle because the first boule is automatically best boule (No).  When all the players in a team run out of boules, the opposing team finishes the leg by playing all their remaining boules in an effort to increase their score.

Scoring is the same as for Lawn Bowls – the winner of the leg scores one point for each boule that is closer to the target than the opponent’s best boule.  The team that reaches 13 points first wins.

While I’m here

A set of 6 Chromed boules in an attractive, robust wooden case with carry handle. The wooden case makes a nice alternative to the more common aluminium style. This set includes 3 silver boules and 3 black boules. Great for identifying whose boule is whose!

The set also includes a jack and a measuring cord. (Measuring cords don’t measure – they’re just pieces of cord)


Real competition boules come in sets of 3. They have the manufacturer’s name, the weight in grams and a unique reference number stamped on each boule. They cost at least £60. Your set of 8 boules is 4 pairs of 2 boules which is OK for fun but not competitions.


December Melee

Warm then Cold. Final game was played to 10 points as everyone was chillin’ and it wasn’t that cool. Fred had good day with handsome points score to add to his 3 wins. Reg and Pete also won 3 games so won the big points on offer.

Fred 3 30 13
Reg 3 17 12
Pete 3 11 11
Sue 2 8 10
Nigel 2 6 8.5
Paul 2 6 8.5
Margaret 2 5 7
Malcom 2 1 6
Sandie 2 -7 5
Amanda 1 5 4
Maureen 1 1 2
Sandra 1 1 2
Roy 1 1 2
Brendan 1 0 0
Yvonne 1 -4 0
Robin 1 -17 0
Elaine 0 -8 0
Alasdiar 0 -11 0
Geertje 0 -20 0
Rita 0 -21 0

After 3 events this is the running total

Name oct nov dec Cum
Pete 12 11 23
Sue 10 0.5 10 20.5
Fred 0 4 13 17
Sandra B 12 3 2 17
Yvonne 11 5.5 16.5
Marie 9 5.5 14.5
Robin 5 8.5 13.5
Rita S 13 0 13
Brendan 13 13
Reg 12 12
Christine A 11 11
Paul 2 8.5 10.5
Nigel 2 8.5 10.5
Amanda 6 0 4 10
Pauine 10 10
Malcolm 3 0 6 9
Roy 7 2 9
Sandra  L 0 8.5 8.5
Margaret 0.5 7 7.5
Elaine 7.5 0 7.5
Alasdair 7.5 7.5
Sandy 0 0 5 5
Barrie 4 0 4
Maureen 0 0 2 2
Maggie 1 1


Players player of the Year

At the annual dinner in January we are giving out Oscars again. This year we are asking club members to choose their player of the year. Anyone can nominate anyone for any reason. They’re a good player; they’re a good laugh; they bring sweets/pies/bottles of rose wine to share; they rake the terrain or help to clear up; The choice is yours

Voting is easy. Write your name and the name you want to win the award on a piece of paper and put it in the ballot box in the shed. One nomination per member. Add the reason why you nominate your favourite. Results announced a annual dinner.


Storm damage and the new clubhouse

Not a pop group from the sixties but an update on a lot of hard work being done by the committee. A week or so ago there was a storm and the little shed suffered.

The felt blew away and it starting shipping water. Fred spotted the damage and a rescue party led by Robin braved the wind and rain and replaced the lost felt with a new section.

Pictures show you what’s been done but the underlying problems are still there.The shed only cost £800 which we funded ourselves and it was lightweight with occasional drips in bad weather. It was always warmer in the shed than outside in bad weather but over 10 people and it became crowded. With the accumulation of playing equipment it started to feel full..

So the committee hatched a plan to replace it with a bigger better building. Read more with pictures by clicking on Clubhouse in the menu bar.

Annual Dinner 2018

Time is running out for people who want to attend our Annual dinner on Friday 12th January 2018. The limit is 40 people and we have 32 booked so there are only 8 places left. All it takes is a £10 deposit plus you to choose your meal from a list of choices and you’re booked. There are menus in the clubhouse  and in addition to the meal there are many games and awards to play and hand out.

Total cost is £25 which includes a two for staff. We’ve had a few of these and they’re good fun. We will be presenting 5 petanque oscars on the night and there will be plenty of prizes for the games and the raffle. Ask a committee member if you want to now more.

December Members Melee is on Sunday so there will be plenty of people to tell you what the dinner is like.

Stewards enquiry at November Open pairs

8 pairs played out a cool pairs competition on Sunday 12th November. Cool because it was only about 5 degrees but also because we had some visitors from Rainworth (near Mansfield) where they have a Petanque club and where we will probably have a trip next summer to play an inter club fixture. Pictured are Patrick and Diana from Rainworth who walked away with the second prize on the day. Read more below.The games were drawn and everyone started to keep themselves warm. We were worried that we might not finish in the light but in the end everyone played their 3 rounds. Two teams didn’t win at all; one team won a single game; four teams won 2 games but one team won all 3 and were therefore the winners. Well done Maureen and Nigel. Pictures may follow. With an entry fee and cash prizes that meant they had £16 to divvy up.

Pat and Diana were second with 2 wins and the best points difference thanks mainly to a 3 end 13-0 win in round two and took home £12. The Rebels were 3rd (£6) and the Beeches 4th.

But as Pat and Diana were driving home they realised that the points difference read out at the end wasn’t right and they began to worry if they hadn’t in fact won second place. The evidence (the scoresheet) was in the shed but could not be accessed until Monday evening when an enquiry was launched under Chief of Detectives Roy Henstock with the result that the First and Second places were declared fine and dandy and thoroughly deserved but the points difference had been added up incorrectly. The enquiry continues into minor places.  Moral of the story: Check your points differences.


Guy Fawkes Melee

25 turned out on Bonfire afternoon and only 3 members won all 3 games.
Christine A +19, Pete +22, and the winner was Brendan with +29
W Pts Points
Brendan 3 29 13
Pete 3 22 12
Chistine A 3 19 11
Pauline 2 17 10
Sandra L 2 10 8.5
Robin 2 10 8.5
Roy 2 7 7
Marie 2 5 5.5
Yvonne 2 5 5.5
Fred 2 4 4
Sandra B 2 2 3
Nigel 2 1 2
Margaret 2 -1 0.5
Sue 2 -1 0.5

And when the 2 events are added up it looks a bit crowded at the top… Notice 7 out of the top ten are all women and none of them come from Wigan!

Yvonne 2 16.5
Sandra B 2 15
Marie 2 14.5
Robin 2 13.5
Brendan 1 13
Rita S 2 13
Pete 1 12
Chistine A 1 11
Sue 2 10.5
Pauline 1 10
Sandra L 2 8.5
Alasdair 1 7.5
Elaine 2 7.5
Roy 1 7
Amanda 2 6
Barrie 2 4
Fred 2 4
Malcolm 2 3
Nigel 1 2
Paul 1 2
Maggie 1 1
Margaret 1 0.5
Maureen 2 0
Sandy 2 0
Elizabeth 1
Geertje 1

Next one’s on 3rd December. Sunset is 1554 so very near the shortest day.