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Despite the popularity of other ball games like football and basketball, petanque remains a relatively lesser known sport in Singapore. You can learn more about petanque with the outline of rules below.
The main objective of the game is to throw small metal balls as close as possible to a wooden ball – known as cochonnet or jack – from the player’s fixed position in a circle. Petanque loosely translates to ‘feet together’ and refers to the player having both his legs together firmly on the ground while making a throw.
Played by two teams consisting of up to three players, the game is played on either open space or marked terrain. For sporting events, it is played on marked terrain, traditionally marked using strings that are wound around nails that have been driven into the ground.
The game begins with both teams tossing a coin to decide who goes first. The team that wins the coin toss will then place the circle, before throwing the jack, and the first boule to start the game. A boule is considered the act of throwing or rolling a ball towards the jack. The first player has to ensure that the jack is thrown between six to 10 meters away from the circle, or the jack will have to be rethrown in order for the game to start.
Once the first boule is thrown, the opposing team will then throw a boule. After which, the team with the ball further away from the jack will be given a turn to throw another boule. This continues until the team that has the turn gains a point by having a ball closest to the jack, or until they run out of boules. Once a team has run out of boules, the opposing team will then continue throwing the boules until they have also run out.
Each game consists of several rounds (which is also known as innings or une mene – ‘the end’, when translated to English). Each round ends when both teams have finished their boules. If the ball crosses the boundary line in a marked terrain, then it is considered a dead ball and will not be counted.
At the end of the round, the team with the ball closest to the jack scores a point for every ball that is closer than the opposing team’s balls. The winner of each round will begin the next, and rounds proceed until one of the team reaches 13 points in total, whereby they are considered the winner of the game.
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