Semi-finalists Mat Scholefield and James Rondel with the Predident Andy Limbrick


Rob Birch


Rob Birch is Jersey’s new singles pétanque champion. He won the JPA competition , played at the Carrefour Pétanque Club, after a master class in pointing, not to mention some excellent firing as well. Even he was surprised at the quality of his placing: “It was ever so good today but even I couldn’t believe how consistent I was.”
He beat Geoffroy Buffetrille 13-6 in the final which reached exceptional levels of play at times with both players frequently firing out their opponent’s boules adjacent to the cochonnet.  It’s the first time Birch has won the title, although he was runner-up in 2006.

Matt Buesnel was unavailable to defend his title having decided to attend another sporting event – the Grand National at Aintree.  

Birch’s victory came after he lost his opening game 13-12 to Matt Pinel in the first round of the competition which was played on a league basis with the top two in each of the eight divisions going into the last sixteen. 

There were half a dozen women players among the forty players who took part, which was itself a record number for the event.  Joy Hart was the only one to get into the last sixteen but was narrowly beaten 13-11 by Keith Boleat in the next round.

Birch meanwhile edged out the new JPA chairman, Andy Limbrick, 13-12 while Buffetrille beat Richard Williams 13-8.

The round saw two surprises, Mike Ritzema beating Matt Pinel 13-8 and James Rondel winning 12-8 against Mark Nicol after their game was timed out.

Rondel and Ritzema met in the quarter-finals but it was the former who had the upper hand, winning 13-5.

Elsewhere Andy Bellamy-Burt felt he was playing at the top of his game but lost 13-9 to Birch; Buffetrille meanwhile beat Callum Stewart 13-8 while Keith Boleat lost out 13-11 to Matt Scholefield.

The semi-finals were both close-fought affairs although that wasn’t really reflected in the scorelines. Birch was in top form in his match, winning 13-6 against Scholefield, while Buffetrille came from behind to beat Rondel 13-8.

Finalists Geoffroy Buffetrille and Rob Birch