Just pick up a paddle and get in a pickle with us! Fast growing sport picking up pace in Norwich

Members of the Norwich Pickleball Club practice their serve as they enjoy this new sport at the Wens

Members of the Norwich Pickleball Club practice their serve as they enjoy this new sport at the Wensum Sports Centre. Picture: DENISE BRADLEY - Credit: Copyright: Archant 2016

A sport with an interesting concept – and an even more interesting name – is taking off in the region.

Invented in the USA, pickleball fuses aspects of badminton, tennis and table tennis, and is rapidly increasing in popularity across the country – with Norwich one of the first places to catch on.

When Norwich Pickleball Club was founded in 2014, it was just the third of its kind in the UK.

This number has increased tenfold, with the UK Pickleball Association now boasting 32 clubs across the nation.

Megan David, 65, and husband Alan, 68, first began playing the sport in September 2014, after finding out about it through social media.

Mrs David, of Sprowston, said: 'We read a post about the sport on Streetlife and thought it sounded fun.

'Since we gave it a try, we haven't looked back – it's like an addiction.

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'It's such a great sport for fitness and for friendship; we've bonded with so many different people since taking it up.'

The pair have now found themselves playing their new favourite sport several times a week, and even recently went on a pickleball holiday to America, the sport's country of origin.

Mrs David added: 'We spent five weeks on the northwest coast of Florida and played six times a week. We carefully researched places to find the prime location for pickleball. We were made to feel very welcome and met people from all over the United States and Canada, who were all just as mad about pickleball as we are.'

Mr and Mrs David are now hoping that the sport's popularity will continue to grow in the region. Mr David has recently become a qualified instructor and the pair are keen to share their new hobby with as many people as possible.

'It's very accessible and is just the greatest fun,' Mrs David added. 'I think it could also be a great sport to be brought into schools. Because you use a lighter ball and smaller racquets, it could be much easier for younger children to try than other racquet sports.'

The club, which has grown to have around 20 members, with ages of members ranging between 25 and 75, is now hoping to compete in an international tournament in 2017.

For more information on the sport, or to get involved with the Norwich Pickleball Club, visit www.norwichpickleball.wordpress.com.

Do you have an interesting hobby? Contact David Hannant on 01603 693892.

To visit the Streetlife website visit www.streetlife.com