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Green Outdoors: Play Petanque in Maine

3:43 PM, May 7, 2012   |    comments
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AUGUSTA, Maine (NEWS CENTER) -- Called "the most popular game that no one ever heard of" petanque has a small but loyal following in Maine.

Pronounced "pay-tonk'," the game is similar to bocce. Ten courts have just been built in Augusta next to the Kennebec River.

Petanque originated in Provence, France in 1906. The game is played on a "court" that's approximately four by fifteen meters or about fourteen by fifty feet. Sides are made up of one, two or three players.

The game begins when a target or "cochonette" is tossed between six to ten meters.  Then one team will roll or throw a 1.9 lb. hollow steel ball at the target. 

The other team then takes its turn tossing or rolling balls until they get one closer than the first team.  The first team tries again and so on.

At the end of each "end" or inning, a side will receive a point for each ball which is closer than their opponent's nearest ball. Games go until seven or thirteen points are scored.

Ray Fecteau drove the effort to build ten courts in Augusta.  He points out that the courts feature breaks like a golf putting green.  He expertly rolled and tossed his balls saying, "It's a game that takes five minutes to learn and a lifetime to perfect."

There are also petanque courts in Blue Hill and Old Orchard Beach.

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