Marty Stoner and Rob Turnbull were bronze medalists in men’s doubles. (Photo by Don Bodger)

Pickleball players keep up the pace for 90 minutes

Development of a new tournament format an instant winner

The Vancouver Island Pickleball Association has developed a clear winner with the 90-minute tournament concept.

The second such tournament held during the summer was moved indoors to Cowichan Exhibition’s Mellor Hall Sunday from the Fuller Lake Pickleball Courts due to an iffy weather forecast, but another full field of players in the women’s and doubles events enjoyed the fast-paced action and usual camaraderie.

The first tournament in July filled up in a few hours with mixed doubles teams. The latest venture also reached capacity of 12 women’s and 12 men’s doubles teams — 48 total players — on the same day registration opened. It’s that popular.

“The first one we did was a mixed event and that was a test run.” said VIPA president Ken Holman. “We wanted to get feedback from the players. The ones that participated in the mixed doubles, they loved it.”

After the first one, “we were able to tweak the format slightly in the second one,” he added.

“We just randomly allocated the teams in the first one. In the one we did Sunday, we seeded the teams.”

Holman held out hope as long as he could that the latest tournament could be played outdoors, but finally thought it was best to play it safe and book Mellor Hall with players travelling from all over the Island to attend.

“We made that decision about an hour before I sent out the email to everyone,” noted Holman. “That decision was made on Saturday, later afternoon.

“We had sent them out an earlier one if there was going to be a change we would let them know.”

Anyway, all’s well that ended well with some great competition on an indoor section of six side-by-side courts.

“We had a lot of positive feedback from the players,” Holman indicated. “They really love the format.”

Holman himself got in on the action and combined with Barrie Hill of Victoria for first in the men’s doubles. Nanaimo’s Ronnie Pitcher and Pete Korvin came second, with Mill Bay’s Marty Stoner and Victoria’s Rob Turnbull taking third place.

Barb Lawrie of Ladysmith and Nanaimo’s Anna Edgar claimed first in the women’s doubles. The Black Creek combination of Lissy Rauber and Colleen Crowder claimed second spot while Nanaimo’s Pauline Davidson and Dawn Dueck teamed up for third.

That’s it for the tournaments this year, but Holman said a larger 90-minute tournament can easily be done to keep the momentum going next year. “We’ve already talked about it and we think we can do three events in one day.”

An entire women’s doubles, men’s doubles and mixed doubles competition to run from 10 a.m. to 4 p.m. on one day would clearly appeal to players.

“They play continuously,” Holman pointed out. “In a normal tournament, you play a match and you normally have to wait a half hour for your next match.”

There’s no such thing as the waiting game in this case.

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Marty Stoner and Rob Turnbull prepare for a return by Andy Daniel. (Photo by Don Bodger)

Clay Toresdahl and Neil Rich go on the attack. (Photo by Don Bodger)

Charlie Zhang and Werner Mollenhoff put the heat on their opponents. (Photo by Don Bodger)

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