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Ooh la la ! You'll be 'bouled' over by new French game pitch in Greenhead Park

The flat, open space where petanque is played is called a terrain and in the park it has replaced the former putting green, which was closed some years ago

The new petanque area in Greenhead Park

A continental touch is on the way to Greenhead Park.

Huddersfield’s historic and revamped park is soon to have a new attraction.

Petanque, or boules, is coming to the park after work has been completed on a new court.

The flat, open space where petanque is played is called a terrain and in the park it has replaced the former putting green, which was closed some years ago.

It is expected the terrain will be open within weeks but council officials are working with local exponents of the sport to decide how to widen its use.

Meetings are planned to get things moving but it is expected to put on some taster sessions at weekends in October for people to try the game and sign up to join a club.

Park manager Robert Whittaker said: “We set up a boules terrain in Firth Park, Heckmondwike, last year. We did not know how it would be received but it has proved extremely popular and there has been a real demand.

“It may well be that a club is set up in Greenhead Park for players.’’

The game involves standing inside a starting circle and throwing hollow metal balls as close as possible to a small wooden ball called a cochonnet, or jack.

Any relatively flat, open space can be used as a terrain. In France, terrains are frequently natural terrains, typically the village square, or areas in parks.

Players using the facilities in Heckmondwike describe it as a very tactile and sociable game.

Paul Simpkins, who has been involved at both Heckmondwike and Huddersfield, said: “It’s a game that everyone can play. We have found it does attract mainly older people but there are no restrictions.

“Greenhead Park is looking very good and it will be great for the town. We hope that once it is ready, we can arrange taster sessions for people to get involved”.

Clr Judith Hughes, who has played a leading role in the project, said: “It is something for all the family and we hope it will really take off. Petanque is a very popular sport and this facility will be open year round for people.

“People will have to have their own equipment but I’m told it need not be expensive, with a set available for �40, and we hope we may be able to have sets available.”

FACTFILE

The modern version of petanque dates from Provence in 1907 but there are links back as far as Ancient Greece

The first tournament was in France in 1910 and the first world championship in 1959

It’s played by teams of two, four or six

In France, the terrains are hard-baked earth but here they are hard surfaces

The metal boules used by players must weigh between 650 and 800g.

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