On point: Ballarat Petanque Club member Lisa Boyd tosses a boule during a recent Friday match at the organisation’s Golden Point home. Photo: ALISTAIR FINLAY

Meet you on the piste

April 29, 2021 BY

OVER many years, petanque has been played across Ballarat at private facilities.

But when Gordon Oliver and friends saw the game increase in popularity and start to outgrow their pistes, they decided to establish the city’s first official group for the sport.

On Thursday, 6 February, 2020, the Ballarat Petanque Club was formed and officially registered, finding their home on a spare, unused green at the Ballarat East Bowling Club.

It’s the 25th club of its kind in Victoria, and the 52nd in Australia, playing to the rules of the Petanque Federation of Australia.

Mr Oliver is the president of the group, which has gathered more than 50 financial members in just 14 months, ranging from age six to over 75s.

“We’re able to offer more people the opportunity to enjoy the game that we all love playing,” he said.

“Petanque is an outdoor sport that originated in France, and is often referred to by people as bocce or boules. It is a relatively simple team-orientated game to play… on any terrain by players of all ages.

“It is a social, casual sport that accommodates players of all genders, ages and abilities, and it’s a family-orientated game. Singles, doubles and triples are played within a defined area and only require a scorer, ring, jack and boules to play.”

Ballarat Petanque Club supplies all equipment and can accommodate 120 payers at once, often welcoming community groups to their space to try their hand at the game.

Recently they hosted a This Girl Can come-and-try, attracting eight new people. They also host school groups, Pinarc Disability Support clients, festive break-ups and business social events, and the University of the Third Age.

“We are now at the stage of being able to enter member teams, and compete as a club, against other clubs at competitive tournaments, and hopefully hold inter-club challenges in the near future which is great,” Mr Oliver said.

“It offers new challenges to those members wishing to participate at a higher or competitive level.

“Our future is bright, we are focused on our vision for Ballarat, and encourage everyone to come and enjoy, or observe the experience for themselves that petanque offers others.”

Anyone is welcome to try the game before they officially join the Club. Members are not required to play consistently.

There are three levels of affordable memberships; playing, non-playing social, and junior. Play is scheduled for every Tuesday and Friday afternoons from 1pm.

For players with work and school commitments, the pistes are available every second Sunday from 1pm.

Ballarat Petanque Club’s Facebook page is updated weekly at bit.ly/3d3OCjD. They are based at 300 Bradshaw Street, Golden Point, and playing days and times are always under review.

Contact 0418 420 490 for more information.