A list of frequently asked questions about the terrain, club and petanque.

Can I practise on the terrain at Muscliff Park any time?

Everyone, irrespective of MPPC club membership, is welcome to practise on the terrain except when it is in use for official Club sessions. The terrain is adjacent to the Muscliff Park Community Centre in Shillingstone Drive.  It is used with permission from Bournemouth Borough Council and Muscliff Whittaker Foundation but is managed and maintained by the Club.  To access the terrain, please use the wooden corner gate adjacent to the Community Centre.

Please note that the MPPC toilets are only available for use during scheduled Club sessions.

Can visitors play at MPPC?

We welcome visiting petanque players to MPPC on any of our scheduled weekly playing sessions except for those reserved for members of U3A and REME.  Visitors to the town will find us listed on the Bournemouth OfficialTourism website under ‘Things to Do’ as well as the Bournemouth Borough Council website under the Parks department.

Our Club nights are Monday evenings from 7pm all year round but members also participate in scheduled sessions on Tuesday and Wednesday afternoons and Saturday mornings.

We have a selection of spare boules available for you to borrow if needed.

Visitors are welcome to play at MPPC up to three times without charge before being expected either to join the Club or to pay a casual fee of £1 per session thereafter. This stipulation is made so as to comply with the conditions made by our public liability insurers.

How long does a game last?

A game of pétanque typically lasts around 30-40 minutes, although games of 60-90 minutes are not unusual.

In some competitions there is a time limit and a whistle is sounded after an agreed time. Any teams still playing are allowed to finish their current end, after which the score is recorded.

How many points do you play to?

Each game is played to 13 points

Is it a “coche” or a “jack”?

The terms “jack” and “coche” (pronounced ‘cosh’) in petanque are interchangeable and both mean the same thing – it is the small wooden or resin ball that boules are aimed at. Coche is a shortened version of cochonnet, meaning “little pig” in French.

It is common for pétanque players in the UK to refer to “the coche”, but the official term used in Pétanque England rules (Article 3) is “jack”.

Article 3 – Approved jacks
Jacks are made of wood, or of a synthetic material bearing the manufacturer’s mark and having obtained the FIPJP’s approval in line with the precise specification relating to the required standards. Their diameter must be 30mm (tolerance: + or – 1mm). Their weight must be between 10 and 18 grams. Painted jacks are authorised, but at no time must the jack be capable of being picked up with a magnet.

What does “mugs away” mean?

“Mugs away” is a slang term used in club nights and other informal competitions, meaning that the team who lost the last game plays first in the next game.
It could be interpreted as “loser goes first”.

What is “pointing”?

Pointing is where a player throws their boule with the intention of placing it in a particular position, usually close to the coche. Any player can point, but players who specialise in pointing are known as pointers.

Although pointers will often be trying to place their boule closest to the coche, there are many occasions where it is necessary to place a boule in a blocking position to make it more difficult for the opposition to win points.

What is “shooting”?

Shooting is where a player throws their boule with the intention of moving an opponent’s boule or knocking it out of play. When the opposing team has a boule positioned very close to the coche, often the best strategy is to attempt to “shoot it”.

Any player can shoot, but players who specialise in shooting are known as shooters.
Good shooters can also choose to “shoot the coche”, bringing an end to an early conclusion.

What is a “carreau” in Petanque?

A “carreau” (pronounced ca-row) is a shot that knocks an opposing boule away from the jack and replaces it in almost exactly the same spot with the thrower’s own boule.
Generally considered the best, most technically difficult and most impressive shot a player can achieve.

What is a “fanny” in Pétanque?

To “fanny” the opposition is to win a game without the opposing team scoring any points – i.e. 13-0.

To be “fannied” is to lose a game without scoring any points – i.e. 0-13.
The origins of the term are a mystery, but in France when a player loses 13 to 0, they are said to fanny and must kiss the bottom of a girl named Fanny. In French pétanque clubs you will often find a picture, woodcarving, or pottery figure of a bare-bottomed girl named Fanny.

What is a Melee competition?

A melee is a competition in which players enter as individuals and are put together into teams of 2 or 3 by means of a random draw for each game.

Each player scores the number of points won by his/her team in each game, and the overall winner is normally the individual player who has posted the most wins and scored the most points.
Due to the nature of the competition, winning a melee is often a combination of skill and “a good draw”.

What is meant by a “dead end”?

When the coche is moved out-of-play and both teams still have boules left to play, it is said to be a “dead end”. Neither team scores any points from the end and it is re-started with the same team keeping control of the coche.

If only one team has boules left they win the end and score points equal to the number of their unplayed boules.

“Shooting the coche’ is a legitimate tactic, with a player deliberately knocking the coche out of play to either force the end to be replayed or to directly score points if the other team has no boules left.

What is meant by a “throw up” in Pétanque?

On club nights, ad-hoc teams are often chosen by a “throw up”. A coche is thrown and all players simultaneously throw one boule towards the coche. The relative position of each player’s boule is used to determine who they will play with.


These FAQs are adapted with thanks from Fareham Petanque Club