Medal haul for Port Stephens Pickleball Club contingent at NSW Open tournament

Port Stephens Pickleball Club representatives Cheryl Sanderson, Tony Mayers, Kevin Bell and Christine Johnson display their medals at the recent NSW Open staged at Wahroonga.

WHEN Fingal Bay resident Tony Mayers was introduced to the fast growing sport of pickleball through friends last May, he wasted no time venturing into the unknown.

The popular indoor or outdoor paddle sport piqued his curiosity and before too long an intrigued Tony – urged on by close associates Jane and John Eyres – had joined the Port Stephens Pickleball Club based in Nelson Bay.

Fast forward twelve months and the durable Mayers, who turns 65 in June, has produced medal-winning achievements at various competitions across the State including doubles gold at the recent NSW Open.

A converted Tony told News Of The Area that the sport of Pickleball was “a great way to stay fit and healthy and meet new friends”.

“You get the opportunity to travel and broaden your horizons by meeting and playing with both male and female competitors in fun surrounds,” said Mayers, who has quickly accumulated a swag of medals on the doubles and mixed doubles circuit.

“The friendships formed are invaluable,” he added.

Tony was one of five Port Stephens Club representatives that competed at the NSW Open at Wahroonga – clinching gold medals in the 65yrs + Men’s Doubles with club mate Kevin Bell and 65yrs + Mixed Doubles with Christine Johnson.

Jack Johnston paired with Maria Hawe to snare a silver medal in the 65yrs+ Mixed Doubles while Cheryl Sanderson and Christine Johnson teamed up to claim silver in the 65yrs+ Women’s Doubles.

Pickleball involves two players or four players hitting a wiffle ball over a 36-inch-high net using solid-faced paddles.

Opponents on either side of the net hit the ball back and forth until one side commits a rule infraction.

Growing up in Taree, the versatile Mayers played rugby league, hockey and tennis in his youth.

He was a talented rugby league five eighth with Taree Zebras and Taree United and a capable defensive hockey fullback with Port Stephens, Mayfield and Campbelltown Colts.

Tony entered his first Pickleball tournament last September – the Sydney Doubles – and collected a bronze medal after teaming up with great mate John Eyres of Salamander Bay.

The pair competed at the Australian Open in Brisbane last October – with John clinching the Mens 60yrs + singles championship gold medal and teaming up with his wife Jane (Mixed Doubles) and Tony (Men’s Doubles).

Tony teamed up with Hervey Bay’s Trixie Flegler in the Mixed Doubles.

Earlier this year Mayers and Eyres competed in the Men’s Doubles at the Victoria Open on the Mornington Peninsula with Tony also partnering Cairns player Glenn Lawler to reach the Mixed Doubles quarter finals.

Tony and John also play in Newcastle for the Hunter Pickleball group that meets at the Wickham Badminton Courts.

Port Stephens Pickleball Club meets Mondays and Wednesdays (10am to 12 noon) and Thursdays (2pm to 4pm) at the Nelson Bay PCYC at 7 Austral Street.

The Club has organised a Social Pickleball Challenge with Halliday’s Point on June 2 but is currently tuning up for the Barrington Coast tournament on May 20-21 in Taree.

By Chris KARAS

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