Rugby strengthens ties with padel
Eight Scottish rugby players are among 15 new investors supporting the UK-wide expansion of Smash Padel, which has revealed plans for clubs in Whitstable, Windsor and Cardiff early next year to add to its first location, three-courts at Bicester Hotel Golf and Spa in Oxfordshire.
The players – Adam Hastings, Adam Ashe, Richie Gray, Hugh Jones, Peter Horne, George Horne, Blair Kinghorn and James Lang have with the other investors injected £500,000 into the business, which aims to announce another four padel sites in 2024, bringing its total to eight.
Whitstable is being developed in conjunction with the town’s rugby club. The three-court site is expected to open in March. More information is awaited on the further six Smash Padel clubs.
Adam Hastings, a Scotland international who plays for Gloucester, said the game of padel ‘made sense’ to rugby players: “Rugby gets a little trickier as you progress but it is easy to pick up and it doesn’t take much to get you hooked. So we can see parallels with padel and we identify with any social game that has its foundation in friendships for life.”
Carson Russell, COO of Smash Padel and former CEO of London Scottish Rugby Club, added: “We believe that padel offers a comparable thrill and can be enjoyed across a far wider spectrum of age and physicality.”
Smash Padel Bicester has quickly established itself for a strong junior coaching programme – teen players Andrew Dunn and Harley Dixon recently won the U16 title at the Padel Weekend by HOP and the U16 trophy at a Rocks Lane, Chiswick, junior tournament.
CEO Paolo Toffollo said: “We see juniors as the cornerstone of community and our junior Smashers programme is illustrative of our desire to drive participation across the age spectrum.” 🎾