The 60th French triples championships took place in Marseille over the weekend of June 25-26. The department of the Bouches du Rhone, the birthplace of Pétanque, had never before hosted the event (another indication that the frigid relations between the Marseille Pétanque world and the French Federation are thawing). The event was organized by the Boule Florian, the largest and most professional club in Marseille.
In the early years of the championship, teams from the Bouches du Rhone dominated, winning 11 championships in the first 15 years of the competition (1946-60), with the neighboring department to the east, the Var, winning two more. Since 1960, the department has only won three times, the last being in 1978.
The local team of stars, Eric Bartoli-Michel Adam-Jean-Marie Puccinelli, had the best chance of regaining the title for Marseille. But it lost in the 1/32 finals, to the 2002 national champions, Bruno Rocher, Bruno Leboursicault, and Julien Lamour. In another early game of note, the 1/4 finals featured a spectacular battle between Loy-Sirot-Weibel and Fazzino-Raphael Rypen (winner of the 1999 edition)-Frédéric Perrin. Fazzino won the 4-hour marathon, 13-8.
In the finals, Fazzino met the team of Foyot-Milei-Usai. Perrin pointed perfectly, utterly destroying Usai, and Foyot missed more shots than he hit from the middle. Only Milei, who hit 17 of 20 shots, played up to his usual level. Fazzino, as first shooter, went 8 of 11, with four perfect carreaux. As the shooting statistics show, the game featured two opposed styles. Foyot’s team played aggressively, shooting everything within sight of the bouchon. Fazzino’s trio focused on pointing, shooting less than half as many times as their opponents. The climax came in the ninth round, with the score 10-6 for Fazzino. Fazzino had two points on the ground, 6 inches behind the bouchon, with two balls left to be played, one for Foyot and one for Fazzino. Foyot won a very delicate point just to the right side of the bouchon, leaving Fazzino with a last ball. From nine meters, Fazzino made a perfect carreau to win, and the arena exploded.
The department of the Allier, which is part of the Auvergne league, has now won four of the last eight championships, an incredible feat. The south of France long ago lost its dominance to other regions (this year, the semi-finals pitted three teams from the Auvergne league.) Fazzino has now won 12 national championships, more than any other player, including 5 triples titles (1984-89-98-02-04).
For Martha’s photos of the 2005 Triples Championships.
The French singles and doubles championships were held in Caen, July 9-10. Daniel Rizo, of the DUC-Nice won the singles, and Bruno Leboursicauld and Bruno Rocher, won the doubles for the second time in four years (and they barely lost the final of the 2004 event).
In September, Leboursicauld and Rocher, joined by Loy and Damien Hureau, defended their world championship in Brussels. They were eliminated by Lacroix-Suchaud-Lamour-Cortes in the semi-finals, and the former went on to beat the Belgians in the finals (see my next posting on the Brussels’ Worlds). French teams have now won five world championships in a row — it has won each year that Nataf has chosen the teams.