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Byron Shire
June 18, 2024

Pickleball takes Alstonville by storm as new courts open

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A little rain wasn’t going to stop an enthusiastic game of pickleball going ahead at Saturday’s court opening. Photo supplied

Alstonville now boasts tournament-standard pickleball courts that opened to an enthusiastic crowd and players last Saturday despite the rain.

The eight new tournament-standard outdoor courts have been developed by Alstonville Tennis Club at a cost of over $350,000, and were largely financed by the NSW government, complemented by $131,000 from the Club itself. 

The new Alstonville courts have an acrylic surface on a cushioned concrete base, and are  permanently marked for pickleball. Spectator areas are well provided, and LED lighting has been installed for night play.  

Alstonville has eight new pickleball courts. Photo supplied

‘Pickleball is emerging as an extremely popular sport Australia-wide. The Northern Rivers has an increasing number of indoor courts, but major tournaments are played outdoors, so our Club wanted a top class outdoor facility,’ Club President, Nathan Kempshall, told The Echo

Pickleball originated in Washington state, USA, in 1965. It is played using solid bats (‘paddles’) and a perforated plastic ball, across a net on a court about one third the size of a tennis court. Games are played as singles or doubles. Australia already has an estimated 20,000 players, and 163 clubs are affiliated with Pickleball Australia. 

Cutting the ribbon at the official opening of the courts was President of the NSW parliament’s Legislative Council and Northern Rivers local, Ben Franklin.

‘Ben had keenly supported the Club’s application to the state government for funding, and we were delighted that he could officiate on the opening day,’ Nathan said. 

The tennis and pickleball courts are adjacent Lumley Park and while they are a Council-owned community asset they are administered and managed by the club.

‘Ballina mayor, Sharon Cadwallader, strongly commended  the Club’s committee for its vision and commitment in bringing the project to fruition. Tennis NSW, and state and national pickleball associations were also represented at the opening,’ said Nathan.

Tamara Smith MP. Photo Tree Faerie.

Club house extension

‘Club members were even more thrilled when Tamara Smith MP announced an extra $95,000 state grant for extension of their club house at Wollongbar Sports Field’s tennis complex, which the Club also manages on behalf of Ballina Shire Council.

The Club’s membership has grown substantially in recent months, largely due to pickleballers, or ‘picklers’, joining. The new courts have already been tested by picklers from across the region, and leading local and Queensland players put on an exhibition match at the opening. 

Get involved

If you are interested in finding our more about pickleball contact the club via their website: play.tennis.com.au/AlstonvilleTennis. Monday evenings you can join in a pickleball competition at the Club from 6.30 to 8.30pm. If you’re interested in joining in a team in the Monday night competition email: [email protected].  

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