England & Ireland secure Four Nations Super Seniors victory

While the Six Nations were battling it out for glory on the rugby field at the weekend, the Four Nations Super Seniors were going for glory in the 2024 tournament at Rocket Padel in Bristol. RJ Mitchell reports

Four Nations Super Seniors founder Tim Edwards is in no doubt that the weekend’s 2024 event proved the best yet.

With Team Ireland claiming an historic first ever tournament victory in the men’s competition, played in the +50, +55, +60 years categories, and Wales claiming their first international victory over ‘wooden-spoonists’ Scotland, the bar was set high.

In the women’s competition, played in the +45, +50, +55 years categories, England were imperious as they continued their Four Nations winning streak, securing victory without dropping a single set against beaten but unbowed Celtic opposition.

The winning Irish men's squad, with captain Barry Coffey (centre).
England ladies Four Nationals padel squad
The victorious England ladies with Susie their mascot in the arms of Jo Wood.
The competitors.

With the 2024 version enjoying the sumptuous setting of Rocket Padel as its ‘des res’ location, and sponsors Fishers Gin and Padel Corner underscoring a flawless composition, sweet music was made on court over the weekend. All of which left a satisfied Tim Edwards to reflect: “Every year I say that respective tournament was the best yet but I have absolutely no doubt in saying the 2024 event proudly maintained that tradition.

“In the women’s event England may have won all their matches but what struck me was just how much improvement there was in all of the women’s play – it really was fantastic! Almost all of the matches were very tight and the final tie between Ireland and Wales was a fitting finale to the tournament. It went to the final game and it was very hard fought, with lots of superb rallies and just full of very skilful padel, and Ireland edged it 2-1, what a match.

“We also have a Calcutta Cup trophy and England beat Scotland in both of these matches 3-0 in the Ladies and 2-1 in the men’s.

“The Four Nations is now an established event and everyone just loves it. The 2024 championship certainly didn’t disappoint anyone when it came to quality of play and standard.”

Crucial match

When it came to the men’s event Tim had no doubt in highlighting Ireland’s pivotal 3-0 victory over England as the key to their success: “The very first match pitted the Irish against the English and that was always going to be the crucial match.

“The Irish were superb and finally got the victory they had been yearning for – but then they had to sit through the rugby in front of the big live stream feed and England got their revenge there!

“It was the first ever international tournament win for an Ireland team and the other big highlight was the Welsh victory over Scotland, which was their first ever win.

“But again overall I have to say that the standard had massively improved in the men’s tournament, the depth and quality is definitely at an all-time high.”

New faces

For Tim another highlight was the number of debutante players taking their maiden bow in Bristol: “We had lots of new faces, with the Welsh team in particular almost 80% newbies which was a huge positive of this particular Four Nations. It was also great to see Paul Jenkins urging his Boyos on from the sidelines as a non-playing captain.

“England have such a big playing pool that they were able to vary their team and with it not being an official tournament they could blood a lot of new players and expose them to pretty high quality competitive padel and especially in the women’s event they really made that count.”

Sweet success

For victorious Ireland skipper Barry Coffey his team’s seminal success was one to be savoured: “It just feels great. I’ve been playing in these competitions with the Irish team since 2017 and always hoped it would happen one day, and maybe still while I was president of the Irish Padel Association, and at last all our dreams came true!

“Beating England was quite special as in all the matches I’ve played over the years we’ve never got the better of them and in fact I’ve never won a match against them.

“On countback last year we finished on the same amount of points as England but because they had beaten us 2-1 in the head-to-head they were declared the winners which was correct. So getting the win over them this time was really sweet.

“I normally play at +60 years because I’m ancient but I was drafted down to play at +55 which made it more of a challenge, but with my partner Connor McCulloch we managed to win in two tight sets and that set up the victory. Also the victory over Scotland was a big one but the key to our success was that we all played well as a team.”

Barry is hopeful this long hoped for international success can help hothouse the game’s growth at home. He said: “I’m sure the Four Nations Super Seniors win will help the sport in Ireland a lot. We are at a stage where we are in positive talks with Tennis Ireland and Sport Ireland in the hope of doing something similar to what has been done in the UK with the LTA and their merger with British Padel. So we hope we can replicate that now in Ireland.”

The Welsh men's squad

Evolving game

In the women’s event an England team, which drew players from Kent, Yorkshire, Surrey, and Essex, proved untroubled as they serenely cruised to victory.

Assessing the positives, England’s Sally Fisher summed-up: “Firstly I have to say thanks to Tim, he has done an amazing job as always running it and it was a great weekend.

“Although England Ladies didn’t drop a set, the level from all the countries was a notch up from last year. So it’s great to see how the game is evolving and the level of all the players lifting. We just also had some great matches.

“I think for us the key was that we just had a very strong squad with Jo Ward as captain, the 40+ pair was going to be Jo and Sarah Lochrie but Jo had a terrible flu and sadly struggled to even support us on the sidelines on day one.

“But Elvira Campione partnered Sarah in the 45+ in a new partnership which gelled really well and then in the 50s another new partnership with Kate Hands and Lou Baker was excellent and then in the 55s an established partnership with me and Nicky Horne.

“With some of the players playing for GB in the World Championships at La Nucia (April 15-20th), the weekend produced some great practice for these players and then there are also the UK County Championships, so again fantastic preparation to set us up.”


Tim thanked the key players who made the tournament such a success. He said: “Our venue was Rocket Padel for the first time and it looked after us brilliantly. They are very nice people and couldn’t have done more for us, so I have to sing their praises and especially the club manager Marcus Ballyn. Rocket is hosting the Senior County Championships this coming weekend, so the very best of luck to them with that. I must also mention the effort made by Ireland and Scotland to travel down and support us; it was fantastic.

“We had Fishers Gin as a sponsor and that allowed us all to unwind on the Saturday evening and it really was a lovely atmosphere with a nice social element to it which is very important. A big thanks to Fishers Gin and our ball sponsor Padel Corner, both were a great help to us.”

As a thank you Team Ireland skipper Barry Coffey presented Tim with a Masters Edition Metalbone CTRL limited edition Adidas racket. Tim was almost lost for words, but recovered well: “I would like to thank Barry for saying thank you with a superb Adidas bat, it was a lovely gesture and very much appreciated.” 🎾

Barry Coffey and Tim Edwards, Four Nations Super Seniors
Barry Coffey (left) and Tim Edwards.