Pickleball power couple Cathy and Albert Ball hope the sport can spread across Salisbury after both claimed medals the 2023 English Nationals in Bolton.

Cathy, 65, took gold in the women’s 65+ doubles alongside Carole Scurr while Albert, 67, won bronze in the men’s 65+ doubles.

The pair, who hail from Liverpool but now live in Salisbury, narrowly missed out on another medal after teaming up in the mixed doubles, but both hailed the joy of a sport that is rapidly on the rise.

“It has been a brilliant successful weekend, the fact we won a medal is a bonus,” said Cathy.

“What has been particularly good about this competition has been the level right across the board has been really good. Every game has been a really good game.

“There is a whole pickleball community which is absolutely brilliant.

“It is so friendly, from the younger people who play to the older, everyone is really inclusive and that’s what I love about the game.”

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.

The game boasts a large population of older players, with many transitioning from other sports thanks to its lower impact on the body.

“I used to play badminton and table tennis but slowly my body was struggling a little bit,” explained Albert.

“We have a daughter who lives in Canada, we were over there visiting her and saw this game.

“We didn’t know what it was, it was pickleball, we gave it a go and came home and found a local club.

“It is not as high impact as badminton. You tend to always play doubles and it is just easier on the body.

“There are obvious health benefits from being active but we really enjoy the competitive side as well.

“There are just lots of friendly people in pickleball. You go to competitions and you get to know people, where they’re from and it’s a really supportive and friendly atmosphere.

“There is just a very good community. It’s a nice, addictive sport that is easy to play.”

Cathy added: “I would hope it just gets bigger and bigger, so we have proper courts rather than playing on every other court.

“We only have 16 members, we are a very small club but we hope to expand if we can get the facilities.”

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.