AT THE turn of the century, petanque players in Bridlington were left facing the prospect of having nowhere to play their favourite sport. They had lost their pistes at Park Rose Pottery in Carnaby and needed to find a new home.
It took 18 months before the Bridlington-Millau Club moved into a new base but since then it has established itself as one of the main venues in the region for the sport of French boules.
With the help of grants from East Riding of Yorkshire Council, Bridlington Town Council, the Lottery’s Awards For All scheme and the Single Regeneration Budget, the club managed to pull in more than £8,000.
That was enough to get established at a playing area at Bridlington Sports and Community Club at Dukes Park.
In a corner of Moorfield car park, you will find 12 pitches and a band of dedicated players, bringing a touch of the Continent to East Yorkshire.
This month, the club celebrated its 10th anniversary at its home, with a cake and the knowledge that some of its members will be competing at one of the sport’s most prestigious competitions later this year.
Petanque is not a sport too many people will have heard of, never mind had a go at.
While there are four bowls clubs in Bridlington, and many opponents to play against within a half-hour drive, petanque is very much a minority sport
The club has around 25 members, but as with many of the sports which do not enjoy media exposure, finding the next generation of players is proving almost impossible.
The youngest person currently representing Bridlington is in his 40s, while some are in their 80s. There are only four regularly-playing members who were with the club when it moved to Moorfield in July 2001.
Bridlington is the most Northerly club in England, and there are only a handful of venues in Yorkshire.
Travel to the South Coast however, and you will find clubs in most towns, as the prospect of travelling across the Channel to the home of petanque is a little more realistic.
However, those who do play it in Bridlington are keen to spread the word about its positives.
The club’s publicity officer Christine Cann said: “One of the appeals, compared to a sport like bowls, is that you can play in winter. There are no worries about damaging the playing surface and it’s not the same playing indoors.
“It’s not a strenuous sport, but it is a very social sport that any age can play.
“It is not expensive. A set of boules costs £70 upwards, but once you have them it is just the club fees and travelling.
“The furthest we travel to is Leicester, and the nearest other club to Bridlington is Brandesburton. We could do with teams starting up at Scarborough, Filey and Driffield.
“If you want to play competitive boules, you have to be prepared to travel but you can play at whatever level you like.”
If you want to have a go, the club meets on Thursdays and Sundays at 1.30pm.
All ages are welcome to go along and try it out. For details, call Mrs Cann on 678278 or Madge Jordan on 601015.