“Eton Fives is a civilised – and civilising – game”: so wrote John Reynolds, 11-time national champion. It is an unusual sport in that, from the first House and School matches right through to National finals, the four players in court must referee it themselves; it underpins the whole sport that the players deal with their opponents with respect, honesty and diplomacy. It is also usually a new sport for our entrants and is truly co-educational: boys and girls can compete with and against each other.
Shrewsbury is one of the country's strongest schools in Eton Fives, which is a major sport in the Lent Term. The school has 14 Fives courts (refurbished in 2009) and regularly hosts major tournaments including the National Schools Championships. The sport is popular, with up to 150 boys and girls playing it on any given day.
School matches are arranged during the Lent term for boys and girls of all ages against all the major Fives playing schools, including weekend trips to play our London-based rivals. House leagues and knock-out tournaments are also central to the Lent term programme.
Both our boys and girls enjoy regular national success: 43 Shrewsbury pairs have won their age group titles in the last 20 years. Among these, in April 2015 we won the U14 beginners’ tournament, the first time a girl had been in the winning pair in the tournament, and we won it again in 2016 and 2019. We had all-Salopian finals of the girls’ Open and of the mixed tournament in 2018 and 2019 and rounded off a wonderful 2019 season with a win in the boys’ Open too.
A key part of the Fives philosophy at the School is to ensure the students want to continue playing when they leave. The success of this is evident looking at university teams: Oxford and Cambridge sides contain Salopians more often than not; one of our first ever girls to play went on to win a half blue and captain the Oxford ladies, winning the Universities Championship with her Salopian partner in 2016. The Old Salopians play in the national leagues and won both the 1st and 2nd divisions in 2019 and again in 2020.