Cobbetts – Le Havre Twinning
The twinning with Le Havre now takes place over the August Bank Holiday Weekend alternating between England and France. In the early days it was part of the official Southampton – Le Havre twinning with Cobbetts Boules Club, then of Botley, paired with ABC (Amicales Boulistes de la Commune), Le Havre.
The overnight P&O ferry from Southampton saw the Cobbetts players arrive in Le Havre at around 6 a.m. and an early morning visit to the Bar Rallye in the Place de la Commune! This arrangement proved to be very tiring and so the Friday afternoon sailing soon became the norm for both the English and the French. Clashes with other boules competitions also saw a move away from the official Southampton twinning date although the City of Le Havre continued to provide prizes and gifts for the ABC club.
In more recent years the French have formed a new group, The Botley – Le Havre Twinning Association, breaking the link with the ABC club.
The 30th anniversary of the twinning was celebrated in 2004 with a coach trip to London and a journey on the London Eye. In 2009 twenty-two of our members visited Le Havre where we celebrated the 35th anniversary and the French returned the hospitality with a trip to Paris and a tour of the Eiffel Tower.
There were 21 of us on Friday morning ferry to Le Havre. On arrival it was straight to the terrain to prepare for the evening’s France v England match.
After 3 rounds two English teams were on 3 wins +21 so a three end play-off was required to find the best English team. Dave, Richard and Lee won both the first two ends to take a 2-0 lead but were then narrowly defeated as Callum, Glenn and Steve Daykin scored 3 in the final end.
This team then went on to defeat Jean-Louis, Gilbert and Patrice in the final to bring the trophy back to England. After the final we were treated to aperitifs followed by an excellent Paella.
Saturday morning was spent relaxing with our French hosts before meeting up at the Le Havre Tennis Club for another fine meal. The afternoon was spent visiting the hanging gardens followed by the melee competition and a lovely buffet.
Sunday morning saw the final of the melee and a very narrow victory for Steve, Callum and Vincent against Lee, Diane and Jean-Louis, runners-up for the second year running. For the first time we also had a precision shooting competition organised by Jean-Louis. This was won by Steve Lombard with Glenn as runner-up.
After the presentations and lunch it was back to the ferry terminal for the evening sailing back to Portsmouth. The end of another great weekend with our friends from Le Havre.
England v France
- Winners: Steve Daykin, Glenn Floyd, Callum Lombard
- Runners-up: Jean-Louis, Gilbert, Patrice
- Winners: Vincent, Callum Lombard, Steve Lombard
- Runners-up: Jean-Louis Biez, Lee Redfern, Diane Redfern
- Winner: Steve Lombard
- Runner-up: Glenn Floyd
Our French friends arrived at Portsmouth on Friday evening on the sailing from Caen. They greeted us with a giant French flag and a chorus of “we are the champions” to remind us of their football World Cup victory!
A sunny Saturday morning for the melee with hosts and guests playing together where possible. After 3 timed rounds of 35 minutes, two teams had won all 3 games. Dave, Ali and Daniel and Lee, Diane and Jean Louis. The final was a very close contest with Dave, Ali & Daniel holding a 9-6 lead when the timer went off.
One more end was played and Lee, Diane and Jean-Louis just failed to close the gap with the game ending at 9-8. After enjoying a fish and chip lunch at Burridge, the afternoon was free. A large party visited the Watercress Line making the return journey bertween Alresford and Alton while another group went to St Mary’s Stadium to see Southampton lose to a late Leicester goal.
Back to Burridge for the evening barn dance and a lovely buffet supplied by Lyn. Many thanks to Steve and Heather for helping with the catering and bar.
After a leisurely breakfast, we assembled at noon at Burridge for the England V France match. As we played the rain got harder and harder and the rivers across the terrain wider and wider! Full credit to everyone for completing the 3 rounds of games in atrocious conditions. Jean-Louis and Pascal were the best French team and Ali, Mike and Paul were the best English team. In light of the weather and with the French being the only team to win all 3 games, they agreed to forego the final and declare Jean-Louis and Pascal the winners.
Hasty arrangements were then made to move the afternoon festivities from Richard and Sue’s garden to Burridge. After a very good hog roast, the speeches and presentations were made before we took our visitors back to Portsmouth for the 22:45 sailing back to Caen. Despite the Sunday weather, another very enjoyable twinning.
- Winners – Dave Stubbs, Alison Stubbs and Daniel
- Runners-Up – Lee Redfern, Diane Redfern and Jean-Louis
England v France
- Winners – Jean-Louis and Pascal
- Runners-up – Alison Stubbs, Mike Porter and Paul Leverett
It was the turn of Cobbetts Boules Club to visit Le Havre over the Bank Holiday weekend of August 25th – 27th. With no sensibly timed sailings to Le Havre for everyone to travel on, the Cobbetts players travelled by various routes on a variety of dates but all met up at the indoor terrain in the port at 4p.m. on the Friday.
Unusually, the weekend started off with the melee with hosts and guests playing together where possible. After 3 rounds the winners were Steve and Hannah Lombard playing with Vincent. Runners-up were Callum Lombard playing with Yohann and Arc’hantael.
Saturday morning saw an early start with a coach picking us up for a visit to the cheese factory at Livarot. After a tour of the factory, there was a tasting of the four cheeses produced, Livarot, Camembert, Pont L’Eveque and Neufchatel. From here we went on to a restaurant with the seating inside barrels! A very nice meal of Normandy specialities including of course much cheese! Back on the coach for the short trip to the Calvados distillery and another guided tour. This was followed by some more tasting this time of Calvados Pays d’Auge, Pommeau and Creme de Calvados. A short stop was then made in Honfleur to view the pretty harbour and partake in a beer or coffee. The evening was spent with our various hosts and visits to restaurants around the area.
A 9 a.m. start to Sunday morning for the English v French competition. There were 6 Cobbetts teams up against 6 teams from Le Havre with both sides having 4 triples and 2 doubles. The doubles were matched against each other as far as possible in the three 40 minute rounds. Defending champions Richard and Dave again reached the final, playing as a double as Steve Daykin was unable travel to France this year. They had 3 wins +26 to finish ahead of several other teams with 3 wins. Jean-Michel also reached the final again winning 2 games playing with Vincent and Jean-Loius from the hosting GPMH club. Dave and Richard raced into a 9-1 lead but 6 in one end from the Le Havre team put them right back in the game. At 9-8 it looked like a tense finish was in store but Dave and Rich rediscovered their form to retain the cup with a 13-9 win.
The final was followed by the speeches, presentations and a buffet lunch before some of the party had to depart with their cars for the 5p.m. sailing back to Portsmouth. With others staying on for some extra days in France, and no departing foot passengers, there was for the first time in twinning memory no big farewell at the ferry terminal.
- Winners – Steve Lombard, Hannah Lombard and Vincent
- Runners-Up – Callum Lombard, Yohann, Arc’hantael
England v France Final
- Dave Stubbs and Richard Greeves beat Jean-Michel, Vincent and Jean-Loius 13-9.
The annual twinning between Cobbetts Boules Club and Le Havre took place over the Bank Holiday weekend of August 26th – 28th. There were twenty-six French visitors on the 9:15pm arrival at Portsmouth. Unusually they had sailed from Caen as the timings from Le Havre were not suitable. Lee & Diane were hosting for the first time after Pete & Sian unfortunately had to drop out at short notice. They received Jean-Lois and Aliette on their first visit to England. Dave and Ali hosted Daniel, who this time was joined by his wife Pierette, also on her first trip here.
After a Friday evening spent with their hosts, there was an early Saturday morning start to the English v French competition. There were 7 Cobbetts teams up against 5 teams from Le Havre. Defending champions Eric and Jean-Michel again reached the final with 2 wins +13, just ahead of Daniel and Sylvain who had 2 wins +6. Two English teams won all three of their matches, Ali, Mike & Diane and Dave, Richard & Steve Daykin. Dave, Rich and Steve had a slightly better points difference (+26 against +22) and maintained their superb form on the day to win the trophy back for Cobbetts with a 13-3 win in the final.
The final was followed by an excellent roast dinner and pudding at the Elm Tree, Swanwick. Some departed to watch Southampton play Sunderlad while the rest took advantage of the fine weather sitting in the pub garden. The evening saw a very enjoyable skittles evening and buffet at Twyford Social Club.
A midday start to the Sunday melee allowed time for hosts to offer a big English Breakfast and also a little time for sightseeing. There were 14 teams taking part in this competition with hosts and guests playing together where possible. The draw unfortunately led to some rather unequal matches with Steve Lombard, Vincent and Ghislaine only dropping 1 point in their 3 games (+38)! They were joined in the final by Mike and Sylvain who only dropped 7 points (+32). Steve Love and Jean-Michel were unfortunate to miss out with 3 wins +27! Steve, Vincent and Ghislaine continued their good form in the final and ran out winners by a fairly big margin. The afternoon was rounded off with an excellent hog-roast in Richard and Sue’s garden. A wonderful venue that allowed some more friendly games of boules to christen Richard’s newly built terrain, some games of croquet and much eating and drinking in the two large marquees (with a barrel of Goodens Gold in the beer tent!). All too soon we had to return to Portsmouth ferry terminal for the final farewells to be made before our guests departed on the 10:45pm sailing back to Caen.
England v France Final
- Dave Stubbs, Richard Greeves and Steve Daykin beat Eric and Jean-Michel 13-3.
- Winners – Steve Lombard, Vincent and Ghislaine
- Runners-Up – Mike Porter and Sylvain
The annual twinning between Cobbetts Boules Club and Le Havre took place over the Bank Holiday weekend of August 28th – 30th. There were seventeen of us on the 10am Friday sailing from Portsmouth to Le Havre. This included Lee & Diane and Pete & Sian who were all taking part in their first Cobbetts twinning on French soil. The earlier than normal arrival in France allowed time for the melee to be played on the Friday evening. Daniel and Dave, playing with Ali this time, were successful for the second year running being the only team to win all 3 games. Glenn, Stuart and Nicolas were runners-up.
Saturday morning saw the English v French competition. There were 6 Cobbetts teams up against 4 teams from Le Havre. Eric again reached the final playing this year with Jean-Michel. Two English teams won all three of their matches, Lee & Diane and Glenn, Stuart & Steve Daykin. Lee & Diane had the better points difference and so reached the final at their first attempt! Unfortunately, they could not quite maintain the fine form they had shown in winning their earlier games and, much to to Eric’s delight, the home team won back the trophy.
The final was followed by an excellent pork paella and much drink provided by the hosts. In the evening we were taken to a restuarant for more food and drink!
After a free Sunday morning, it was back to the indoor terrain in the docks for the exchange of gifts, the prizegiving for the two competitions and yet more food and drink. All too soon the farewells had to be made before our departure on the 17:15 sailing.
- Winners – Dave Stubbs, Ali Stubbs, Daniel 3 wins
- Runners-Up – Glenn Floyd, Stuart Floyd, Nicolas 2 wins
England v France Final
- Eric and Jean-Michel beat Lee and Diane Redfern in the final.
The 40th twinning between Cobbetts Boules Club and Le Havre took place over the Bank Holiday weekend of August 22nd – 24th. Twenty-three made the trip from Le Havre, with a good mixture of younger and older generations. We also welcomed some new faces joining the twinning for the first time. The ferry arrived at Portsmouth at 9:30pm and the majority of our visitors were taken to Alan and Penny’s house for a welcome drink and some nibbles.
The weather for the whole weekend was as forecast, dry and sunny, which was very fortunate given the appalling conditions on the Bank Holiday the next day! The English versus French competition at Burridge saw an English team win back the trophy that had been in France for a year! There were 6 Cobbetts teams up against 4 teams from Le Havre. After 3 rounds there was just one Cobbetts team and one Le Havre team with 3 wins. Steve Daykin, Glenn Floyd and David Cruz finished with an impressive points difference of +33. They met Eric and two of the newcomers, Sylvain and Daniel, in the final and regained the trophy with a 13-5 win.
The final was followed by an excellent meal at the Horse and Jockey pub at Curbridge. In the evening we gathered back at Burridge for a barn dance and a very nice buffet supplied by Lyn. The dancing went down very well and a great time was had by all!
After a free Sunday morning, it was back to Twyford for dinner and puddings prepared by Lyn, ably assisted by Mike and Chris. As usual for the melee, the English hosts teamed up with their French guests. Three teams won all 3 of their games. Daniel playing with Dave and Chris Lewis took home the winners trophy to go with his runner-up trophy from the day before. Steve Love, Mike Knight and Jean-Michel were a close second while Glenn and Liam Floyd, teamed-up with Nicolas, were third. Back to Burridge for the final prize givings and farewells before departing for the ferry terminal and the sailing back to Le Havre.
A big thank you to all those helpers for all their hard work in organising the weekend, especially the Saturday night and Sunday lunches. Also many thanks to the Twyford Social Club for allowing us to use the club and again take over their whole car park on the Sunday!
England v France Final
- Steve Daykin, Glenn Floyd, David Cruz beat Eric, Sylvain and Daniel 13-5 in the final.
- Winners – Dave Stubbs, Chris Lewis, Daniel 3 wins +25
- Runners-Up – Steve Love, Mike Knight, Jean-Michel 3 wins +21
- 3rd – Glenn Floyd, Liam Floyd, Nicolas 3 wins +19
The 39th twinning between Cobbetts Boules Club and Le Havre took place over the Bank Holiday weekend of August 23rd – 25th. A smaller contingent than in recent years, with 17 making the very early trip to Portsmouth for the 7a.m. Fastcat. After lunch with our hosts we moved to the indoor terrain in the docks for the English/French melee.
The Saturday saw a return to the indoor terrain for the English v French match. Ali, Mike and Lyn ran out best English team but were beaten in the final.
For the Saturday night we all met at a restuarant in the city centre for a very nice meal. After a leisurely Sunday morning, it was back to the terrain for a couple of friendly games before the prize giving and speeches. Then it was off to the ferry terminal for final goodbyes and the 5pm LD Lines ferry back to Portsmouth.
England v France Final 2013
- Vincent and Jean-Michel beat Mike Porter, Lyn Porter and Ali Stubbs in the final.
- Winners – Steve Lombard and Vincent
The 38th twinning between Cobbetts Boules Club and Le Havre took place over the Bank Holiday weekend of August 24th – 26th. Fifteen adults and seven youngsters made the trip to England on the ferry from Le Havre arriving at Portsmouth at 9:30pm. Our visitors were taken for a welcome drink and some food, with a large majority of the contingent ending up at Alan and Penny’s house for some much appreciated hospitality.
The weather forecast, particularly for Saturday, was not good but amazingly, apart from a short shower on Saturday morning, the weekend stayed dry and fairly sunny.
The English versus French competition at Burridge saw the English win back the trophy that had temporarily stayed in France for a year! There were 7 Cobbetts teams up against 5 teams from Le Havre. After 3 rounds there was just one Cobbetts team and one Le Havre team with 3 wins. Steve Lombard, Callum Lombard and Pete Young finished with an impressive points difference of +34. They met Frank and Jean-Michel, who ended the morning on a very respectable +26. An excellent final, saw the two teams go neck and neck until the home team eventually ran out victorious 13-11.
The final was followed by an excellent hog roast at the Burridge Village Hall, prepared by Chris Barron ably assisted by Lyn. In the evening, we gathered at Twyford Social Club for a buffet and a game of skittles. The winning team was Alan, Valere, Richard and Eric. Alan was also the highest scoring male with Muriel beating Gyslaine in a play-off for best lady player. Callum and Florian were the best juniors.
After a free Sunday morning, it was back to Twyford for a hot dinner, puddings, cheese and afternoon cake, prepared and served by Lyn this time ably assisted by Chris! As usual, for the melee the English hosts teamed up with their French guests. Steve and Callum, this time playing with Vincent, were again on the winning team. They won all 3 of their matches as did Mike, Chris and Frank and Dave and Jean-Claude. Back to Burridge for the final prize givings and farewells before departing for the ferry terminal and the sailing back to Le Havre.
A big thank you to all those helpers for all their hard work in organising the weekend especially the Saturday and Sunday lunches. Also many thanks to Phil and Sue for making us all so very welcome at Twyford Social Club and for being so helpful in allowing us to use the club and again take over the whole car park on the Sunday!
England v France Final 2012
- Steve Lombard, Callum Lombard, Pete Young beat Frank and Jean-Michel 13-11 in the final.
- Winners – Steve Lombard, Callum Lombard, Vincent 3 wins +22
- Runners-Up – Mike Porter, Chris Barron, Frank 3 wins +19
- 3rd – Dave Stubbs, Jean-Claude 3 wins +10
The 37th twinning between Cobbetts Boules Club and Le Havre took place over the Bank Holiday weekend of August 26th – 28th. Nineteen adults and four youngsters made the trip Le Havre. We had to leave early on the Friday morning on the Fastcast as there is no longer a lunchtime sailing. This obviously meant a much earlier arrival in Le Havre even with an hours delay! However, this seemed to work well and after being fed and ‘watered’ by our hosts we met at the indoor terrain in the docks for an evening melee. Only one team won all three games – Steve Lombard playing with Alan and Vincent. Runners-up were Richard, Sue and Eric.
Saturday morning was free time with our hosts and lunch was provided at a cheese fondue restaurant. The afternoon and evening saw the English versus French competition and, with very heavy rain showers, we were very pleased to be playing indoors again! Several English teams won 2 games but Alison, Mike and Lyn were our finalists winning all 3 of their games.
Jean-Michel and Vincent did likewise for the French. A hard fought final eventually saw the trophy stay in Le Havre after 2 years in England. Congratulations to Vincent on being in the winning team in both competitions.
Sunday morning was free before we returned to the terrain for a few friendly games followed by the President’s speeches, the exchange of gifts, prize-giving and a very tasty paella. Jean-Claude was presented with a book of photos covering our previous visits to Le Havre. The change in ferry times meant an earlier than usual departure at 5pm but at least it meant we got home the same evening instead of travelling overnight. A most enjoyable weekend was had by all.
The 36th twinning between Cobbetts Boules Club and Le Havre took place over the Bank Holiday weekend of August 27th – 29th. Sixteen adults and eight youngsters made the trip to England from Le Havre on the Fastcat service to Portsmouth. After a slightly delayed arrival our visitors were taken home by their hosts for a welcome drink and some food.
After several days of rain, we were pleased to wake-up to clear blue skies on Saturday morning. The English versus French competition at Burridge saw a win for the English for the second year running. Amazingly 7 of the 9 Cobbett’s teams won 2 games with Dave Stubbs, Richard Greeves and Alan Forse reaching the final with a points difference of +21 ahead of Alison Stubbs, Mike Porter and Lyn Porter on +12. Gerard and Alain won all 3 of their games to be the best French team.
The final was followed by drinks and nibbles in the Burridge bar and then a roast dinner at the Hunters Inn. In the evening, we gathered at Twyford Social Club for a buffet and a game of skittles. This was won by Andrew Love – who also won the Irish bingo!
After a free Sunday morning, it was back to Twyford for a hot dinner and then a melee with English hosts teamed up with their French guests. Alan was again on the winning team. Playing with Alain and Robert they won all 3 matches and beat Steve, Callum and Ghislaine on points difference. Back to Burridge for the final prize givings and farewells before departing for the ferry terminal and a delayed sailing ikack to Le Havre.
A big thank you to Lyn and Mike for all their hard work in organising the weekend especially the Sunday lunch. Also many thanks to Phil and Sue for making us all so very welcome at Twyford Social Club and for being so helpful in allowing us to use the club and take over the car park on the Sunday at very short notice!
England v France Final 2010
- Dave, Richard and Alan beat Gerard and Alain 13-1 in the final.
- Winners – Alan Forse, Robert Wyles, Alain 3 wins +25
- Runners-Up – Steve Lombard, Callum Lombard, Ghislaine 3 wins +18
The 35th twinning between Cobbetts Boules Club and Le Havre took place over the weekend of August 28th – 30th. Twenty-two members made the trip across the channel which unfortunately was a little rough and there were a few green faces! Not a good start to the weekend but as ever our hosts made us extremely welcome on our arrival. To celebrate the 35th anniversary we were treated to a coach trip to Paris on the Saturday for a visit to the Eifel Tower and a very nice lunch in a Parisien restuarant. Sunday morning saw the English v French boules match at the new indoor terrain in Le Havre docks. After a break for aperitifs, a buffet lunch and more drinks the final was eventually played and, after several years of coming second, we at last got our name on the trophy again. The serious boules was then followed by a friendlier melee with guests playing with their hosts. The evening was concluded with the traditional exchange of gifts and the prize-giving. As part of this ceremony Chris and Ann Lewis, who have been involved with the twinning for all 35 years, were awarded life membership of Cobbetts Boules Club.
England v France Final 2009
- Glenn, Callum and Steve Lombard beat Gerard and Frank in the final