Rising fives: QE nominated for Team of the Year award

Rising fives: QE nominated for Team of the Year award

The recent rise of Eton Fives at Queen Elizabeth’s School has now been recognised with a nomination for the Team of the Year award from the sport’s governing body.

Having last year won the Eton Fives Association’s U14 Beginners’ competition, the Year 10 QE pair of Yash Kedia and Zayn Phoplankar went one better this season, becoming fully fledged U15 champions after beating Berkhamsted School’s best in the National Schools’ Championship. It is thought to be the first-ever national championship title for a QE Fives pairing.

In a further sign of the sport’s growing strength at the School, Year 9 novices Veer Gali Sanjeev and Ishaan Mishra reached the final of this year’s U14 Beginners’ Competition.

Headmaster Neil Enright: “I am super-proud that we have been nominated for such a prestigious award. My congratulations go to our Director of Sport, Jonathan Hart, his colleagues and, of course, our brilliant student players.”

The EFA citation for the award begins: “With just one court, the success story in recent years of Fives at [QE] is quite remarkable.” It goes on to praise the “large numbers of players produced” and the “strength in depth” evident at QE.

The Team of the Year award will be decided by a vote of EFA members.

Other Team of the Year nominations include independent Ipswich School and St Olave’s Grammar School in Orpington, as well as clubs associated with: Berkhamsted; Magdalene College, Cambridge, and the Old Salopians (alumni of Shrewsbury School).

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.

QE’s association with the sport goes back more than 140 years. Its first Fives courts at QE were opened at the School’s previous Wood Street premises in 1880, following a £10 grant from the Governors and a special fund-raising concert.

After QE’s move to an entirely new site in Queen’s Road in 1932, the sport languished for some years and it was not until the post-World War II rebuilding programme in 1951–52 that plans for a single new court were considered. By 1954, the court was complete, and the School was affiliated to the Eton Fives Association and entered the Public Schools Championships in 1955.

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.

Old Elizabethan Sunil Tailor (1999–2006) is now an EFA trustee.