The Guernsey Veterans padel team were Fletcher Sports’ Team of the Month for May. We caught up with Captain Rick Denton, who is also coach/ manager of Guernsey’s Island Games tennis team.
FS: Let’s talk padel, it’s relatively new sport to Guernsey isn’t it?
RD: It is, but thanks to our new facility at Longcamps, envisaged and built with the inspiration of Tony Woodland and Gary Naftel, it’s a sport that is rapidly growing. It’s also thanks to the Guernsey Tennis Centre for having faith in the new sport and for being part-investors in the new facilities. Padel is the fastest growing racket sport in Europe and combines tennis skills with squash and badminton, so it suits many racket sports players who use their own styles in competition. It is a doubles game, so employs different strategies than singles play and is less stressful on the body, being played in a smaller court than tennis. What’s not to like?
FS: And in May, you had an international match, is that correct?
RD: Yes, we played a Guernsey veterans match (for over-45s) against Ireland on 24 May. It preceded a gold open padel tournament held in Guernsey on 25/26 May where international top players and top veterans from around the world competed. The team consisted of three pairs that each competed in three matches against the Irish pairs. Playing together were Tony Woodland and Andy Privett (a tennis professional at the Guernsey Tennis Club), Dominic Woolland and Lester Boscher and then there was Gary Cousens and myself. Reserves for the team were Kevin Taylor and Andy Platt.
The origins of the match were from our tournament last year when the winning pair in the veterans event enjoyed it so much they wanted to bring a team over for a match against us. This was their Irish captain Barry Coffey and his partner David who play for Britain and are one of the leading veteran pairs on the world tour. The Irish group also co-opted in another British national veteran player. Not surprisingly we lost the match 7-2, but considering most of our team have only been playing padel for just over a year, this was a positive result!
FS: What’s next for the vets?
RD: An annual fixture is planned, to coincide with our annual open event. This is just the start for our Padel Club and we have already competed in Spain and the UK. A sequence of international tours and matches will follow.
FS: We have to mention the kit, which was created by Fletcher Sports… what did you think?
RD: The kit was great! Designed by Gary (an chartered surveyor) with the help of Ben from Fletcher Sports. Wearing it gave a real sense of pride in Guernsey and helped our team spirit. Go greens!
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