PICKLEBALL: A NEW sport is taking Rugby by craze after enthusiasts decided to create a new sports club under the borough’s name.
Pickleball is a racquet sport which combines elements of tennis, table tennis, and badminton as one player attempts to win points off their opponent.
The sport currently has 60 clubs across the UK and 7,000,000 players worldwide – and growing interest has prompted enthusiastic players from Rugby to create their own club.
Meeting at the Queen’s Diamond Jubilee Centre in Rugby on Monday nights, the club’s players are hoping to reach out to future champions by offering those interested their first session for free.
Sam Basford of Rugby Pickleball Club said his interest in the sport started when a family friend became head of the UK Pickleball Association.
He said: “I found out about the sport through a family friend who is head of the UK Pickleball Association.
“I started out at a few clubs in Banbury and would travel every Thursday to take part, but we didn’t have a team in Rugby so decided to set one up.”
Though the sport’s identity remains largely unknown, it was first played in the late 1960s by a group of people in Washington, America.
It started when the group couldn’t find a shuttlecock to play badminton, so instead used a wiffle ball and lowered the badminton net.
Sam said: “The sport is a cross between table tennis, badminton and tennis too.
“To win a game you have to reach 11 points, but unlike in tennis you can only win points on your own serve.
“Rules are lengthy and they do vary, but winning points on your own serve is the main difference.
“There are currently 60 clubs in the UK so in the UK it’s a relatively small sport.
“However worldwide there are 7,000,000 players and it’s most popular in the USA. It’s played in Mexico, India and Australia too.”
Founded in January, the club now plays on Monday nights and its looking to recruit new players to compete.
Sam added: “We have ten to 12 consistent members and have had 20 other people come to play too.
“We’re trying to build interest in the sport and create a strong membership base.
“Hopefully we can target schools and get youngsters playing the game in PE lessons.”
Email firstname.lastname@example.org for further information about Rugby Pickleball Club and how to get involved.