East Midlands Pétanque

REPORT

 

YOUTH DEVELOPMENT

Youth Development Officer’s Report on East Midlands Junior Squad

Setting the scene

Let’s start by going back to the 23rd February 2015. This was the Junior coaching day at Whittlesey where 23 juniors from all Regions turned up to be coached by the National Junior Coaching Team in which I was involved. Our aim was to select the ten best junior players who would form the National Junior Squad. These ten would then compete against each other in shooting and pointing competitions to finally arrive at the most proficient six. These six would then represent England in two events - with three players going to Brussels and the other three competing in Luxembourg. Finally, four of these players would be chosen to represent England in the World Championships in November in Thailand

Whittlesey (February)

So, on the 23rd February four of our East Midlands Juniors (Jack and Megan Winter, Ben Fowler and Daniel Raine) went to Whittlesey to compete. At the end of a very long day the coaches deliberated on the day’s performances and I was delighted that our juniors came in 1st (Daniel), 3rd (Ben), 5th (Jack) and, just missing out in twelfth place, Megan

Mansfield (April)

So, we had three in the top ten who went on to the next Junior selection day on 25th and 26th April at Mansfield. This was a very full weekend made even more intense for the juniors with the attendance of an International coach from Germany (Alex Bruar). The weekend went well for our three juniors (Jack, Ben and Daniel) although Jack and Ben played well below their standard. Maybe it was the pressure and trying too hard to get to the final six. Daniel, on the other hand, had a terrific weekend, winning the tir-de-precision on the Saturday with a score of 36 (with second place only scoring 18), then going on to win again on Sunday with a score of 26 after a final shootout against another junior shooting side by side, who scored zero. I think he was in awe of Daniel and could not concentrate on his own game

After the weekend the coaching squad put their heads together and, armed with score sheets from pointing, shooting, etiquette and team play, came up with the last six. Jack just missed out, coming 7th, but again I was delighted to hear that Ben and Daniel had made the grade which meant that Ben was off to Brussels (18/19 July) and Daniel to Luxembourg (11/12 July)

Langford (June)

So, now the big one. The final six consisted of Chris (Eastern), Connie (Heart of England), Ben and Daniel (East Midlands), Ollie (Chiltern) and Alex (Kent). These selected six were now to battle it out at Langford (Chiltern) on the 21 June where again it was a very intense day and I think it showed. None of the six juniors were at their best. Even Daniel getting his lowest score yet in the shooting competition - he came last but showed great character in going on to get the highest percentage at pointing which impressed most of the coaches, including myself

Final selection

So again after lots of deliberation and score sheets being totted up, the coaching squad finally came up with the top four who will be going to the World Championships. I was hoping that Ben and Daniel would make it but Ben just missed out in 5th place. The good news is that Daniel is in and will be the youngest ever to represent England, not only as a squad member, but also as England’s representative in the tir-de-precision (shooting). It is possible that Daniel will be the youngest ever shooter in the Junior World Championships. (The other three members of the squad are Chris, Connie and Ollie)

Concuding remarks

I am so proud of all our East Midlands Juniors - as we all should be. It is also the best year our Juniors have had in the Regional Qualifiers. I have high hopes for Hayling Island

All our juniors have worked really hard this season as some of their results have shown. But we must not stop now. I want to thank all the East Midlands players who have supported our juniors by playing various competitions with them because it is only this practice that will make them our stars of tomorrow

Tony Moulding

EMPA Regional Youth Development Officer

01 July 2015