The quaint village of Parcent -in Alicante- stands proudly beneath the great “Col de rates” mountain. This delightful Spanish haven has a surprising sporting tale to tell.
Pilota is a game played in the streets using only hands and a ball. The two player teams must bounce the ball off walls in a bid to score points. The roots of this unusual game can be found all the way back in ancient Greece. The term pilota derives from the Latin word pilotta -ball game- and in Valencia, Valencian pilota is considered the national sport. To play this game, a much higher coordination is required versus that to play tennis, squash or paddle.
With a population that barely reaches 1.000 residents, Parcent has accomplished what no one thought was possible. Their first ever Pilota Team has soared to unimaginable heights, and it all started by qualifying to play in the European Pilota Finals.
Team that qualified to play were from France, Italy, Belgium. Spain was represented by one team from the Basque Country and Benidorm, Relleu and Parcent from Valencia.
On the first Saturday of the competition Parcent played two games: one against Scalvaia from Italy and another against Maubeuge from France. The team was calm and got used to conditions very quickly, winning the two matches with conviction.
Sunday morning dawned, bringing semi-finals and nerves with it. The village team faced Thieulain and managed to keep their cool in a very passionate match. Their great win had now placed the incredulous team in the final against their Valencian neighbours.
Benidorm warmed up as the crowds gathered around in the pleasant town of Monticiano in Tuscany. Parcent faced a very young and fit looking team. Scoring in pilota is similar to tennis and the first to win six sets is named winner. The match was even for the first six sets with a tense 3-3. But experience soon kicked in and Parcent won the following three sets and ended up with a 6-3 win.
Onlookers cheered as the team were presented with the cup which they proudly took as they were named The Champions of Europe. Early Monday morning, a convoy of hire cars made their way home with the victors, taking with them unforgettable memories and a surprising win.