A Brief History Of The City of Norwich Winter Petanque League
The league was formed in 1979 to enable petanque players who lived in the Norwich area to continue to play throughout the winter, from November until the end of March.
The match format of one triples game followed by a pairs and singles game played simultaneously is ideal for a team with as few as three players, and many of the teams were and still are either families or sometimes two couples.
The matches were scheduled for Sunday mornings on a fortnightly basis, so there was always an opportunity to rearrange a match in the event of bad weather. One or two families played on their own small home terrain or shingle driveway.
Initially it was a requirement that matches should be played within three miles of the Norwich ring road, and some teams played in Chapelfield Gardens. The three mile rule has long gone, and teams are now willing to travel anywhere in Norfolk.
Matches played around Christmas and New Year were often very convivial occasions with ‘fortified’ flasks of coffee being the order of the day! Many matches were played on snow covered pistes, but usually the winter weather in Norfolk was dry with sunny blue skies. It was always advisable to keep your boules in the airing cupboard!
By 1984 the league had expanded to 25 teams as the popularity of petanque in the County grew. By 1990, the league peaked at an amazing 47 teams. By 1996, numbers had fallen to 32 teams and to 24 teams by 2002. Numbers have remained steady at around 20 teams for each of the last fifteen years.