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2018 French Federal Championship Round 3 – Niort

The third round of the 2018 French Federal Championship took place in Niort on Saturday, with the first “Majeur” tournament of the year. The Majeur tournaments sees all of the Federal teams compete against each other in one big tournament and we had a total of 12 teams take part. The teams were split into four pools of three teams. Pool A saw the undefeated Paris White joined by Bordeaux B and Lyon. Poule B was made up of Bordeaux A, hosts Niort and Angers. Pool C contained Provence, Clermont and Lille. Finally, Pool D saw Paris Blue and Toulouse joined by new club Berry, who were competing in their first ever competitive tournament.

Pool A was unsurprisingly dominated by the in-form Paris White team, who racked up 3-7 (16) – 0-1 (1) and 6-9 (27) – 0-1 (1) wins over Lyon and Bordeaux B respectively to advance to the semi-finals. In the final match of the pool Lyon got the better of Bordeaux B on a 1-6 (9) – 0-0 (0) scoreline.

Bordeaux A got off to a flying start in Pool B, beating Angers 4-7 (19) – 1-3 (6) but had a much more difficult time of it against the hosts Niort. The lads from the south eventually came out the rightside of a tight match, beating their hosts 4-3 (15) – 1-6 (9). The hosts did make up for their loss however,, beating Angers 1-6 (9) – 0-1 (1).

Pool C, containing both Division 1 contenders Provence and Clermont was always going to be the group of death and so it proved. Provence laid down a big marker in their opening match, easily accounting for Lille on a 4-9 (21) – 0-0 (0) scoreline. Next up was the crunch match in the pool with Clermont facing off against Provence. We knew this would be a tight game and so it proved, with nothing between the sides at full time, the match ending in an identical 2-6 (12) – 2-6 (12) draw. This left Clermont with the task of bettering Provence’s score over Lille to top the pool and they did so with almost a dozen points to spare, winning 8-9 (33) – 0-0 (0).

Finally, in Pool D newcomers Berry were facing a real baptism of fire against multiple time champs Toulouse, and the strongest B side in the tournament, Paris Blue. Paris Blue won the opening game against Berry 7-2 (23) – 1-0 (3), whilst Toulouse also accounted for France’s newest side 6-12 (30) – 1-4 (7). A tough introduction to the Federal Championship for Berry but they should surely be proud of their performance. The crunch match came in the second pool game where Toulouse got the better of Paris Blue 0-12 (12) – 0-3 (3) to top the Pool.

The two semi-final matchups saw Paris White take on Toulouse whilst Clermont took on Bordeaux A. At the end of two highly competitive semi-final matches, Paris White and Clermont would emerge victorious to set up a repeat of the final of the previous round’s tournament in Clermont.

The matches between these two rivals have been fierce affairs with never more than a couple of points between the two sides at the end of proceedings. This match was no different, but in the end, it was Paris White who got the better of Clermont once again, winning by 3 points to win their third tournament on the trot and guarantee a place in the Division 1 final in Lyon later in the year.

Which two teams will join them in Division 1 will come down to the final tournament of the year in Toulouse next month. Bordeaux and Clermont are in pole position as things stand, but with only 9 points separating Bordeaux in 2nd and Toulouse in 5th, it’s all to play for next month.

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