Play The Game

There is archaeological evidence that a form of petanque (boules) was played over seven thousand years ago.

In 1588 Sir Francis Drake was supposed to be playing Bowls at Plymouth. He was playing with small metal cannon balls on a gravel surface, and was tossing the balls, not rolling them, Bowls requires a flat, smooth playing surface. The first lawn mower was not invented until nearly 300 years after the Spanish Armada, the official date for the establishment of Bowls as a game is 1856.

Boule was so popular in England within the working classes that it was outlawed by an act of parliament, this would explain why the sport died out in England and became popular in France.

There are no records indicating that there was any game remotely similar in France until very much later than 1588.

A new version of the game was developed in a small town near Marseilles in 1910, it is this version that has become the standard throughout the world, played to a set of internationally recognised rules.

Petanque is one of the least expensive sports to play, £40 for a set of competition boules, and a gravel or stony surface, and that’s it, nothing else is required.

The concept of the game is simple, resting your boules closer to the jack than your opponent.

The rule’s are easy to understand but the tactics involved makes chess look simple. At a high level of play, Petanque is aggressive, ruthless, tactical and merciless. The game can be slow 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.

The British Petanque Association (B.P.A), founded in 1974 is affiliated to the Fédération Internationale de Pétanque et Jeu Provençal ensuring that the B.P.A is a major force in the sport internationally, and that Great Britain is qualified to compete in the annual World Championship, the top honour for players, both junior and senior, to strive for.

Petanque is normally a safe sport and accidents are rare, however all players are required to take due care and attention at all times when playing and all players are advised to have 3rd party insurance valid for sporting and competitive events.

This is included as part of BPA membership and all players are advised to join the BPA through their local club.



Membership from January 1st to December 31st, is only £12.00, whether you play 3 times a week or once a year the cost is the same.