Newton Stewart to host World Tambourellii Championships

Galloway tambourelli champion Graham Moffat in action
Galloway tambourelli champion Graham Moffat in action

Players from all around the world will be descending on Newton Stewart this weekend for the World Tambourelli Championships.

The game, which is a racquet sport with a shuttle cock, originates in the town from the 1970s and over the years it has been taken to schools, festivals, clubs and tournaments over the world as its popularity has grown.

Around 60 participants will be competing at Merrick Leisure Centre in various competitions – men’s, women’s and children’s and singles and mixed doubles.

The two-day event starts at 9am on Saturday but there will be an official ceremony with highland dancing.

Chloe Bruce, who has been playing for over 20 years, is in her 50s and was mixed doubles champion last year with Germany’s Ringo Sobiella, said: “It’s getting exciting.

“We are still looking for players in the 16-21 age category to play in the tournament so come along and have a go.

“Tambourelli is played in pockets around the world. They have taken it on big time in Germany in areas like Dresden where they have over 100 members.

“They love the game and the Scottish people. It’s good for your cardio fitness, the court is in a very small space but you work up a sweat, it’s good for everyone. There is a very much a social aspect to it too.

“I live in Newton Stewart and met the people who invented it. I just enjoyed playing, I wasn’t that sporty at school. You have to be agile but you don’t have to run. I’ve been playing weekly for the last 20 years.”

Chloe, who was also runner-up in the women’s singles last year where she lost to Germany’s Katrin Ueberfuhr, has a son Bazil Hughes.

The four-time men's world champion is hoping to defend his title this year.

He still has a bit to go before he can overtake Malcolm Heyes, who has won it seven times and has worked to develop and grow the game.

Bazil said: “Some of my favourite tournaments were ones where I went out early so I got to take part in more of the social side of things.

“Of course winning is great – I’ll be going for my fifth title this year and that’s the main focus for me – but whatever happens on the court it’s an event I’d recommend to anyone.

“How often do you get to hang out with a load of new people from all over the world?”

If you are interested in finding out more about the event and thinking about playing email for more details.