Four Nations unites teams in Derby
THE first quarter of 2023 – the year of the LTA’S official launch of padel in the UK – has already been packed with competitive action which bodes well for the continued development of a robust tournament infrastructure in the UK.
One of the key additions to this increasingly vibrant competition landscape was the Four Nations Super Seniors Tournament at We Are Padel Derby on the first weekend in March, bringing women’s and men’s competitions together (for age groups over 50 years, 55 and 60 categories in the men’s event and over 45, 50 and 55 years in the ladies tournament).
It was a brilliant weekend for the English teams, all victorious and unbeaten in both the Ladies’ and Men’s events. The Irish players came a highly creditable second after dispatching fellow Celts Scotland and Wales.
The Welsh ladies managed to secure third place and real pride for the principality after beating the Scots and losing a narrow 2-1 to the Irish to tie the wooden spoon to an Alba bound pigeon.
However in the men’s event the Scots managed to avoid a double bout of ignominy when a 3-0 win over the Welsh meant the seniors Boyos were left in not so splendid isolation at the bottom of the table.
After taking taken time to reflect on the success of the tournament, sponsored by Padel Corner, Four Nations Super Seniors director Tim Edwards believed there was much that was pleasing to reflect upon.
He said: “It was massively positive that people were representing their country at padel, you put on that jersey and that is pretty special really. It was also fantastic that the ladies were there as it is not often they play at the same events as us. The cross over is negligible but with us all there at the same time it was fantastic and added to the atmosphere. The Four Nations produced a fantastic atmosphere and an event which was played in such good spirit.
“We had 11 courts jumping with people and it was great to see how seriously the players took the sport and just how much they were prepared to put in.”
Tim Edwards, Tournament Director
When it came to the reason behind England’s triumph in the Ladies tournament, team co-organiser Kate Hands believed the coaching of non-playing captain Libby Fletcher was vital to their success.
Kate, who plays at Sundridge in Kent, said: “I think Libby’s coaching and influence was the main difference for us. You are always told you should be going down the middle and playing safe but we had a lot of wonderful strategies which our coaching set-up had developed and a big thanks to Libby for these and of course to Sally (Fisher) for her creation of our superb structure.
“We also had a friendly fixture with Ireland at Surge Padel in Harrogate in the run-in to the Four Nations and all of that provided great foundations for our win at Derby.”
Kate had no doubt that the Four Nations Super Seniors can go from strength-to-strength and become an integral part of the super seniors infrastructure: “I think the Four Nations was hugely important as the sport is growing so quickly over here and we are seeing more and more people playing and that means spots for the team are more and more competitive.
“The more competitions we have the more opportunity it provides for people to play, showcase their skills, and so encourage more people to take up padel,” she said. “The great thing about the tournament was that it offered competition for both males and females across all the age groups. It was a unique opportunity to mix with other padel players.”
An important element of the weekend was involving players from the local community, with a tournament for players partnering with 4 Nations participants, a mix-in session and coaching for children.