Video: Is it tennis? Is it badminton? No, it's pickleball

Gill Smith and Brian Hook, front, with fellow pickleball players, from left, Pauline Foskett, Jacky Jordan, Ashley Chapman, Liz Evans and Mary Hancock

Gill Smith and Brian Hook, front, with fellow pickleball players, from left, Pauline Foskett, Jacky Jordan, Ashley Chapman, Liz Evans and Mary Hancock Buy this photo

First published in News

SOME of these people might not look like your average athletes, but today they’re heading off to Amsterdam to represent the UK.

They are part of Oxfordshire Pickleball Club, which plays an obscure racquet sport originally from the US.

As far as its members know, the club is the only one in England that plays.

Abingdon resident Gill Smith, 77, is one of the 13-member team going to the Netherlands.

The great-grandmother of two said: “I am terrified but absolutely excited.

“I have loved my sport and played a lot of them but this is the first time I have represented my country at anything.

“We became involved because we happened to be playing badminton, and we were asked to play pickleball. We gave it a go and we got hooked more or less immediately because it is such a good game.”

Mrs Smith, who used to be a teacher in Nottinghamshire, said: “My family thinks it is absolutely wonderful and they are very pleased I am keeping active.”

She said there would be teams representing countries such as Spain, France and Canada at the two-day international pickleball competition, which is being held in Europe for the first time.

Club co-founder Maureen Wilson, 63, said: “There are groups in Abingdon, Kidlington and Witney, and they are the only groups we know of in England, though there is one in Scotland.

Related links

“People cannot believe how it has taken off. It is a milder game than tennis so it’s easier to play. Over in Florida most of the players are 50 or over.”

She said the sport was introduced with the help of Oxfordshire Sports Partnership’s Go Active team because the racquets are not sold in the UK.

Go Active coordinator for Cherwell, Christina Higgs, said: “It is an adaptation of tennis which makes it easier to play and more accessible.

“We have a newsletter which goes out and we promote it on there.”

People can attend practice sessions at Kidlington and Gosford Lesiure Centre on Fridays, between 7.30pm and 9pm, or at the White Horse Leisure Centre in Abingdon, on Tuesdays, between 2pm and 3pm. Alternatively email info@pickleballoxon.org.uk

But what is pickleball? Watch this video 

Our top stories:

UPDATED: Man charged with 19 crimes against 10 people appears in court after slavery raids

Oxford Mail:

8:14am Saturday 28th March 2015

A 44-YEAR-OLD man has appeared in court this morning charged with 19 offences against 10 people following Thursday's anti-slavery raids.

Surgeries get £6.4m to extend buildings

Oxford Mail: NHS

9:30am Saturday 28th March 2015

THREE Oxfordshire GP surgeries have been awarded a total of £6.4m to expand.

Child rapist jailed for 18 years after string of brutal attacks

Oxford Mail:

9:30am Saturday 28th March 2015

A 62-YEAR-OLD man has been jailed for 18 years for a brutal campaign of rape that started when his victim was 10 or 11.

Oxford United leave it late on whether O'Dowda starts against Carlisle

Oxford Mail:

9:30am Saturday 28th March 2015

Michael Appleton will make a late call on his line-up, with a decision to be made on whether Callum O’Dowda is fit to start the crunch home clash with Carlisle United this afternoon.

Body in river is paedophile headteacher + video

Oxford Mail:

9:00am Saturday 28th March 2015

A PAEDOPHILE due to be sentenced for molesting young boys was the man found dead in the River Thames on Tuesday.

Bollywood’s ‘Tom Cruise’ proves a big hit at Blenheim

Oxford Mail:

9:00am Saturday 28th March 2015

MOVIE legend Tom Cruise filmed his latest Mission Impossible blockbuster at Blenheim Palace in December.

Get an appointment with the doctor via email or video link

Oxford Mail:

9:00am Saturday 28th March 2015

VIDEO and email GP appointments will allow people in Oxfordshire to see their doctor at evenings and weekends in a year-long pilot.

Customers welcomed by staff gnomes

Oxford Mail:

8:30am Saturday 28th March 2015

GNOME matter what they looked like, staff at a Frilford garden centre donned fancy dress to help raise funds for charity.

School head turns away 200 children over lack of places

Oxford Mail:

8:00am Saturday 28th March 2015

A HEADTEACHER has said a lack of funding forced his secondary school to turn away more than 200 pupils.

Hats the way to do it! Pupils show off bonnets

Oxford Mail:

7:30am Saturday 28th March 2015

A HANDMADE Easter bonnet parade ended in sweet surprise for junior pupils from Rye St Antony School, Headington, who caught a glimpse of the Easter Bunny.

Bus drivers plan to strike in row over pay

Oxford Mail: Oxford Bus Company

7:10am Saturday 28th March 2015

OXFORD bus drivers are planning to go on strike for at least one day and possibly three.

A420 to shut for repairs as embankment starts to slip

Oxford Mail:

7:00am Saturday 28th March 2015

CONCERNS have been raised about plans to temporarily divert traffic from the A420 Cumnor bypass through nearby villages during roadworks.

Youngsters’ technicolour dream show

Oxford Mail:

7:00am Saturday 28th March 2015

CHILDREN took to the stage to put on a colourful performance of Joseph and the Amazing Technicolor Dreamcoat.

OAP is finally in the clear after legal battle over dad’s medals

Oxford Mail:

6:30am Saturday 28th March 2015

PENSIONER Tony Berridge defied his doctor’s orders to clear his name in a Paris court, as a legal battle over his father’s medals took a new turn.

 

Send us your news, pictures and videos

Most read stories

Local Info

Enter your postcode, town or place name

About cookies

We want you to enjoy your visit to our website. That's why we use cookies to enhance your experience. By staying on our website you agree to our use of cookies. Find out more about the cookies we use.

I agree