SPA Fields Four Teams to Compete in Arizona Pickleball Players League

Participating in tryouts for the 3.0 65+ men’s SPA APPL team are John Roberts (left) and Terry Jackson (right), on the far side of the net, and Ron Blake (left) and Tom Atkins (right) on the near side of the net. (Photo by Raymond Goettsch)

Raymond H. Goettsch

SaddleBrooke Pickleball Association, Inc. (SPA), is fielding four teams to compete in the Arizona Pickleball Players League (APPL) for the coming season. The teams are all 65 years of age and older (65+): 3.0 65+ men, 3.0 65+ women, 3.5 65+ men, and 4.0 65+ women. Currently, the team participants are engaging in practice and tryouts to determine the core members of the teams.

Bill Gray and Greg Wilkins are the captain and co-captain, respectively, of the 3.0 men’s team, which will have 10 members. Although the team is identified as 3.0 skill level, tryouts are open to men with a rating of 2.5, 3.0, or 3.5, as well as those who can compete at those levels. Currently, the prospective members are practicing on Tuesday and Thursday afternoons. According to Bill, in November, the prospective members will participate in ladder play to determine the 10 members as well as the best pairings for competition.

The captain and co-captain of the 3.0 women’s team are Donna Watson and Cheryl Simpson, respectively. The team had 32 women signing up to participate. The team had two mini-tryouts in October, with aspirants playing each other, and the scores from those tryouts have been recorded. However, Cheryl reported that the team is waiting for the return of snowbirds who expressed an interest in participating. As a result, in November, more mini-tryouts will be held before determining the core members of the team.

The 3.5 men’s team is captained by Gary Stithem and David Palmeri. For tryouts, the 16 aspirants plan to participate in round-

robin play. Ladder results will also be considered in selecting the team members.

The 4.0 women’s team has not yet selected its captain and co-captain. According to member Cindy McAlbin, the team members are essentially the same as last year’s team. As a result, the members are experienced in playing with each other.

Matches between SPA APPL teams and opponent APPL teams will begin in January. Home matches will be held in the afternoon at the Ed Robson Pickleball Center on the following days: 3.0 women, Tuesdays; 3.0 men, Wednesdays; 3.5 men, Fridays; and 4.0 women, Saturdays. A full schedule of home matches will be published in January.