2024 Wine Country Open

Yesterday, we drove to Sonoma to watch the 2024 Wine Country Open finals (the Clash of the Titans) and we were not disappointed! For once in a long time, the weather cooperated and provided us with an almost perfect day.

From left to right: Hureau, Greenberg, Roland and Ziggy

Upon our arrival around 10:30 am, the field was bustling with activity. With 64 registered teams, we had 128 active players, plus numerous bystanders… and their dogs. In other words, “la foule des grands jours” a true gathering of enthusiasts.

From what I could observe, everything was exceptionally well organized, and I have nothing but praise for the organizers.

My real purpose at this event was to witness great players and above all, take some interesting photographs.

Capturing sports moments requires much more care than casual snapshots. The key factors are weather conditions and sun positioning. Like when photographing wildlife, it demands a specific technique. With wildlife, you aim to face the wind to mask your scent, while for sports events, it’s best to have the sun at your back to avoid irritating shadows.

Yesterday though, things were a bit more challenging than usual due to a sprained left ankle I sustained about a week ago. Like a war photographer, a sports photographer needs agility and readiness to maneuver. Because of my injury, I couldn’t move as swiftly as usual and probably missed some good shots, but “c’est la vie.”

The highlight of yesterday’s matches was without any doubt, the semi-final game between Hureau/Greenberg and the German team of Wagler/Laukart. The Germans were under intense pressure and had to resort to desperate measures to avoid defeat. Laukart, the designated shooter (an extraordinary shooter), fired the cochonnet four successive times to stave off defeat but ultimately lost after an exhilarating (and lengthy) game.

The finals were a letdown. It was over in a few minutes with Hureau/Greenberg crushing Ziggy and Roland 13/0.

And now, let the following pictures do the talking.