A pioneering young pickleball player hopes to see the sport go from strength to strength after claiming bronze on her debut at the English Nationals.

Mollie Kubrick-Finney finished third in the women’s singles event in Bolton, bouncing back from semi-final defeat to UK number one Thaddea Lock in the semi-final to beat Jess Wilson to a place on the podium.

The Sawbridgeworth athlete is a relatively new convert to the sport after first seeing it in the USA last year but has quickly invested into the rapidly growing game.

The 26-year-old has already set up her own academy as well as convincing her tennis club to lay down four bespoke courts.

And now Kubrick-Finney hopes the sport continues its upward trajectory in the UK.

“I have a tennis background and picked it up when I went to play tennis in America,” she said.

“I came back and started playing at Roehampton with Louis [Laville] and Thaddea.

“I am really interested in coaching and growing my academy, Spicy Pickleball Academy. We already have four pickleball courts outside so I am really excited about that.

“I think I have come in at a really good time when it is growing. I got ahead of it its growth and got the courts down really quickly.

“Hopefully as pickleball grows, the academy grows.

“After a couple of months, I was like we need these courts. I just told the club committee that it was going to take off and it was really important to get the courts and be one of the first clubs to have dedicated courts.

“It is just growing through word of mouth at the minute, whenever someone plays they always come back.”

Over the past year, pickleball has seen a meteoric rise in the UK due to its inclusive and accessible nature, with an estimated 12,000 regular players and over 450 venues offering the sport across the country.

There are now 682 athletes attending the National Championships at the Bolton Arena, up from 430 at the 2022 event.

And Kubrick-Finney was particularly enthused by the number of new female players competing in Bolton.

“It was really competitive today and I like the fact that there were new faces which made it really interesting,” she added.

“We struggle to get females into sport in general so it is great to see new female players.”

2023 English Nationals takes place at Bolton Arena from Thursday 26th October to Sunday 29th October. This year’s English Nationals is sponsored by Skechers, Franklin, Scan and UK Pickleball Shop, Play will commence from 9am each day. Head to https://www.pickleballengland.org/ to find out more or to find your nearest place to play.