SUCCESS might be hard to come by for England’s footballers this summer, but the UK’s pickleball players already have something to toast.
The Oxfordshire-based pickleball team flew to Amsterdam last week to take part in a world championship competition.
Now they have returned to the country with five bronze medals in a number of different categories.
Pickleball is a racquet sport which was created in the USA in 1965, combining tennis, badminton and table tennis.
Abingdon resident Gill Smith, who won bronze in the mixed doubles, is a 77-year-old former teacher.
She said: “It went really well for us – it was wonderful.
“Representing our country was fantastic. It was one of the best occasions of my life. I feel so proud.
“We took a Union Jack with us and draped it around us when we won.
“Next year if we are fit enough we will do it again.”
The Oxfordshire Pickleball Club is believed to be the only such club in England.
It was formed in 2011 by Kidlington residents Maureen and Ian Wilson who first encountered the game while visiting Florida.
The tournament in Amsterdam featured teams representing the USA, Spain, France, Canada and India.
Brian Hook, who also won bronze in the mixed doubles, said: “There was a good atmosphere and all the games were played in a respectful manner.
“We had a lovely time there.”
Bronze medals were also won by Frances Bird and Alison Eastgate in the ladies doubles and by Ian Wilson in the mens doubles.
Pickleball was introduced to the county with the help of Oxfordshire Sports Partnership’s Go Active team because the racquets are not sold in the UK.
There is a pickleball group in Scotland, but this was not represented at the recent world championships.
People can attend practice sessions at Kidlington and Gosford Leisure 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 email@example.com
3:37pm Friday 9th October 2015
A 19-year-old woman killed in a crash on the A40 this morning has been named locally as Katy Pancott.
7:00am Friday 9th October 2015
A MOTHER who received horrific burns in a caravan fire has spoken of her two-year fight to recover from her injuries.
6:24pm Friday 9th October 2015
A car crash has blocked part of the slip road off the A34 this afternoon.
6:26pm Friday 9th October 2015
AN AUTISTIC teenager who died during a stay at an NHS unit had been improving and making friends, an inquest heard.
4:23pm Friday 9th October 2015
A BROKEN-down caravan is causing traffic delays in Headington.
3:10pm Friday 9th October 2015
A "DANGEROUS" rapist and a second man who tried to damage his victims' character have been jailed.
4:07pm Friday 9th October 2015
THE WOMAN who fatally stabbed a 23-year-old man in her Banbury home feared she had "ruined" her life, a court was told.
6:52am Friday 9th October 2015
A 23-YEAR-OLD man has been arrested on suspicion of manslaughter after a 19-year-old woman was killed in a crash on the A40 this morning.
9:00am Friday 9th October 2015
WHILE no hall of residence room is complete without a mug tree, students in Oxford are quite hung up on how to fill their wardrobes.
8:00am Friday 9th October 2015
MUSICIANS had their hopes for a new concert hall in Oxford dashed after a study said it would not be successful.
6:30am Friday 9th October 2015
FRIENDS of a mum who was in a coma for five months after suffering horrific burns have praised her strength for pulling through.
6:00am Friday 9th October 2015
A FILM aiming to break down the stigma surrounding homeless people in Oxfordshire will premiere tonight at an Oxford cinema.
5:10pm Thursday 8th October 2015
A 15-YEAR-OLD girl was raped in Barns Road, Cowley on her way to the bus stop.
5:00pm Thursday 8th October 2015
A boy has been taken to hospital after being involved in a crash in Bicester.