The Quesnel Pickleball Club held its first tournament at the Quesnel Seniors Centre on Wednesday (March 27).
A dozen or so players took to three makeshift courts in the main hall of the centre and played a series of doubles games with different partners to determine who would emerge as champions.
While the mood was high, and there was plenty of sportsmanship on display, the contestants were highly competitive, often rushing to the net after serves to slam the airy plastic ball past their opponents with vigour.
Bob Merta and Rick Prosk ended up tied for first place in the Men’s Division, while club president Sharon MacDonald took first place among the women.
“The tournament was just for fun,” says MacDonald, who picked up a women’s doubles title at the 55+ B.C. Games in Cranbrook last summer with her partner Sherry Jasper.
“Some people had never had the experience of tournament play, so this was organized to give them an idea of what to expect.”
While the teams played as doubles, they would switch partners every game and tally their individual results.
Everyone had a chance to play with a variety of partners, which made the event a little more even and increased the fun.
It does not get more fun for lovers of pickleball.
The sport is rocketing in popularity among Quesnel residents, with groups playing in schools and church halls across the city this winter. There are also outdoor courts at West Fraser Timber Park that are getting more and more use each year.
“When we first started playing, we were always looking for a fourth,” says MacDonald. “But our membership has grown tremendously.
“I think we started up with about eight to 10 members, and I think we’re now up to almost 40 people coming out.”
The club will be holding its first workshop next month (April 17-18).
The session will be in collaboration with Manta World Sport, a pickleball paddle manufacturer based out of Kamloops.
“I contacted them to see if they were interested in coming up and they said absolutely,” says MacDonald. “They’ll be putting on clinics for different levels.”
In the meantime, the club caters to beginners who are interested in the sport but are nervous about trying something new.
“We have a special class just for beginners on Thursday,” says MacDonald.
“Last week Al Fleck did a thing on serving for beginners that was very well received.”
First Place (tie) — Bob Merta/Rick Prosk
2nd Place — Mark Forsythe
3rd Place — Rick Kirby
First Place — Sharon MacDonald
Second Place — Marie Murray
Third Place (tie) — Liz Sales/Sue Demaine