Why has the sport come back across the channel where over 500,000 Frenchmen make Petanque the 2nd largest participant sport in France behind cycling?
The facts speak for themselves. The cost of a set of three competition boule with jack is around £80 and that's it, nothing else is required, thus Petanque is one of the least expensive sports to play. The sport requires a gravel or stony surface approximately 4M x 15M, any gravel drive or pub car park could suffice. The rules are very straight forward but the tactics involved can make chess look simple. The first team to score 13 is the winner and scoring is as bowls, the number of Boule closer to the jack than the closest of the oppositions count as points, however this is where Bowls and Petanque go their separate ways. In Bowls the teams take turns, whereas in Pétanque the team who are closest to the Jack do not throw until the opposition are closer. This is why to the casual observer, there appears no order to the players throwing. It is this simple rule that makes Petanque a game of advantage, good shots will force the opposition to throw, once they have used all their boule, or achieved a closer shot the other team can play. The team with boule left, if the opposition have run out of boule, can use them to score by putting them closer to the jack or by removing opponents boule. This is when Petanque becomes aggressive, ruthless, tactical and merciless. The game can be slow and thoughtful and then explode into action with
everything relying on the last boule thrown. There are no draws in Petanque thus the game reaches an exciting and inevitable climax.