The third edition of the Hereditary Prince Jacques Challenge boules tournament took place this latest weekend in the Principality.
And it was as exciting as it is popular. Imagine 256 teams of three including many teams from the Principality. Not to mention that more than another hundred teams were knocking on the door to be admitted. But due to the sanitary protocols, there had to be a common-sense limit on the number of teams who were fortunate to qualify to play. And, in all, there were fifteen teams representing the Principality.
The best triplet among them, from the Monegasque boules club, was that of Christophe Mancini, José Rivière and Raphaël Ferrandez. Well done, they made it into the round of 16.
What is it lately with dark horses stunning the veterans in tournaments! An unseeded player just took the US Open tennis trophy by surprise. The same happened in the Hereditary Prince Jacques Challenge. It was finally a surprise French team from La Ciotat, made up of Jérémy Boi, Joseph Moreno and Jean-Marc Eric, who turned heads on the way to the Sunday final.
World Champions were swept away in their wake. The triplet from La Ciotat saw off the Belgian and Spanish national teams, and also the formation of Henri Lacroix, nine times world champion in triplet! And they had to contend in the final with yet another prior winner of the tournament. Would their skill and good luck hold against Italian titans?
The Ciotadens, notwithstanding having to meet favoured Diego Rizzi, who had teamed up for the final event with Alessio Cocciolo and Florian Cometto, had a secret weapon. It was Joseph Moreno, who probably should be awarded MVP of the tournament in the way he dominated the opposing triplet. Dazzling all with precise shots the French team from La Ciotat were able to prevail, winning 13-6 with flair.
Prince Albert himself was among the guest spectators present in the stands and able to enjoy the rare spectacle of the French underdogs overwhelming all competition to secure the trophy.
This pétanque weekend has been such a success that the organisers are surely already putting their heads together planning the fourth edition of this Monaco International. And the president of the Monegasque Boules Federation, Didier Fulconis will no doubt be crossing fingers for a Monégasque team to make the finals and prevail the next time around.