Eton Fives stars shine at Shrewsbury!

Eton Fives stars shine at Shrewsbury!

Fives pair Yash Kedia and Zayn Phoplankar are fully fledged national champions in their sport after beating off multiple challenges in the U15 finals.

They sealed their achievement – thought to be a first for QE – with a win against the top pairing from local rivals Berkhamsted School in the Eton Fives National Schools’ Championships at Shrewsbury School.

Director of Sport Jon Hart said: “Huge congratulations go to Zayn and Yash on their success in the finals. Last year, they started making a name for themselves when they won the U14 novices championship – thought to be the first time a QE pair had even reached a Fives final.

“Now they have gone one better by becoming fully fledged national champions. It’s a brilliant result that really puts QE on the Eton Fives map.”

QE’s leading Year 10 pair first took on hosts Shrewsbury School in the group stages, beating them 2-0, with scores of 12-1 and 12-7. The quarter-finals saw Yash and Zedia face St Olave’s Grammar School, Orpington, whom they defeated 3-0.

Having successfully made it through the day and returned very late to Barnet, they were back in Shrewsbury the next day for the climax of the U15 competition.

In the semi-finals, they took on Berkhamsted’s number 2 pair, beating them 12-8, 12-4, 14-11. The final against Berkhamsted’s top U15 pair represented their toughest challenge yet. “They managed to beat Berkhamsted in a five-set thriller (7-12, 12-7, 12-8, 4-12, 12-6),” said Mr Hart.

“This is a fantastic achievement for the boys. Having won the U14 beginners’ tournament last year, to go on and win the ‘main’ a year on, really shows their development, talent and teamwork,” said Mr Hart.

“These boys are role models to the rest of the QE Eton Fives squads and will hopefully spur others on to follow in their footsteps.”

“There were lots of really positive comments from the Eton Fives community, offers of extra coaching – and some disbelief that we only have one court!”

There was also success at U14 level again this year, where Year 9 pair Veer Gali Sanjeev and Ishaan Mishra came close to emulating Yash and Zayn’s 2022 feat in the U14 Beginners’ Competition. They reached the final, before being beaten by host school Shrewsbury’s number 1 pair.

Eton Fives is a hand-ball game developed in the late 19th century at Eton College. It is played only as ‘doubles’ (i.e. by two pairs of players); there is no official ‘singles’ version of the game.

The ball may only hit the floor once, but may bounce off the walls and ledges any number of times. Games within a match are generally played up to a score of 12, with a pair only scoring when it is their serve.

The ball, which is a little larger than a golf-ball and made of cork and rubber, is quite hard. Players wear padded leather gloves.

Like all Eton Fives courts, QE’s, has only three sides, and is open at the back. It includes architectural features of the Eton College chapel, including a protruding buttress.