First pickleball tournament marks local milestone for growing sport

Sep 19, 2021

MATTAPOISETT — Mattapoisett Recreation held its first Pickleball tournament on Saturday, Sept. 18 at the Hammond Street courts.

Pickleball is a quickly growing sport that closely resembles tennis. However, it is played on a smaller court and uses a wiffle ball and paddles rather than the normal tennis ball and rackets.

About 20 people participated in the tournament. Games were played in pairs but scores were kept for each individual and teams were rotated after each round.

Participants paid a $25 entry fee for the tournament which will go toward future maintenance on the courts.

The day’s winners were Dave Donaghey on the men’s side and Cynthia Belinkov on the women’s. Eric Belinkov and Pat Richardson were the runners up for the men’s and women’s list respectively.

“I love it. I’m addicted to it,” said Cynthia Belinkov of the sport, adding that she was honored to win MattRec’s first tournament.

Cynthia and Eric Belinkov owned Dartmouth Tennis until selling it just a few weeks ago. They said that they had a huge pickleball program there.

“It’s a great sport,” said Eric Belinkov. “You can’t even compare it [to tennis] because it’s a completely different stroke and strategy, but you can still get just as much exercise.”

Mattapoisett Recreation Director Greta Fox said that pickleball only started catching on in town over the last five years or so, but it has quickly become a local favorite with anywhere from 12 to 20 people showing up for drop-in sessions.

Drop-in games are held on Tuesday and Thursday evenings from 5 p.m. to sundown, and on Tuesday, Thursday and Saturday mornings from 8 to 11 a.m. All drop-in sessions are free and open to the public.