Close fought matches at a prestigious Pickleball Championship saw tennis coach Sue Wiltshire and her doubles partner on the winners’ rostrum, in a first for the Sidford based coach.

Although Sue has been in the GB seniors team as a doubles tennis player, the Dutch Open was the first time she had ever competed in a pickleball tournament at any level.

She said: "I really wasn’t sure we could do so well.

"For me, it was a case of feeling my way.

"I met my partner Sheena at a Pickleball coaching event and she asked me to team up for the Dutch Open.

"She’s been playing and representing her club in Kent for years.

"Her experience for the competition as we went through the knock out stages was vital!"

Sidmouth Herald:

Pickleball, the fastest growing sport in America and increasing popular here, is played with hard paddles and plastic balls.

Amongst enthusiasts are former tennis star John McEnroe, actor Emma Watson and Olympian Michael Phelps.

Sue continued: "it can be a very fast and furious game.

"Sheena and I were a match point down in our semi-final against a German and Belgium pair, but managed to get it back to win.

"The final was against an all Belgium couple and we got the two point lead to secure the win at 15-12".

In Pickleball, a game is usually played to 11 points but the winner must be a clear two points ahead.

The Dutch Open at Haarlem included teams from Europe, Scandinavia and

Canada with more than 350 players across a variety of categories decided by experience and age.

Although Sue would have been counted as a novice the experience of Sheena meant they played their matches at the second highest level.

Sue, who holds Pickleball sessions and tennis coaching at Sidmouth and Sidford Tennis Clubs, as well as two weekly Walking Tennis groups, added: "I hope to do more such competitions.

"It was a fantastic experience, and incredible atmosphere.

"The great thing about Pickleball is that it can involve people who may not be tennis players and it really allows them to have a really exciting game".