Taste of France comes to Yorkshire as region gets to grips with boules

PETANQUE players are usually found in a French town square or on the Riviera coastline – not a South Yorkshire park.

But, owing to the growing popularity of the sport – a form of boules – a petanque court has now been built in Rotherham's Clifton Park.

Sited behind Clifton Park Museum, the Rotherham piste is already attracting boules players from across the country. Those who have tried their hands on the new court include Sue Kirby, the over-50s All England Boules Champion for 2008, and her husband Brian Kirby, who took the time to teach Jane Bonney, Clifton Park's horticultural officer, how to play.

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Alistair Farr, manager of Clifton Park, said: "The petanque piste was built because petanque or boules is growing in popularity and is the perfect game for a park setting. Anyone wishing to play can simply turn up and use the facility for 1.50 per half hour. Visitors can then also enjoy the various other facilities across the park."

The growing popularity of petanque is also reflected by the number of clubs established in locally, many attached to local pubs such as Brampton Hall and the Rawmarsh Trades and Labour Club.

There are also petanque clubs in both neighbouring Barnsley and Doncaster.