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Encyclopedia > Fives

Fives is a British sport believed to derive from the same origins as many racket sports. In fives, a ball is propelled against the walls of a special court using gloved or bare hands as though they were a racquet. The following is a list of sports, divided by category. ...



The name may be derived from the slang expression "a bunch of fives" (meaning a fist). The game has also been known as hand-tennis and historically was often played between the buttresses of church buildings in England. There are links between Fives and the Irish and North American handball games and indeed, in recent years, British clubs have begun to establish ties with clubs in those countries. Slang is the use of highly informal words and expressions that are not considered standard in the speakers dialect or language. ... A buttress (and mostly concealed, a flying buttress) supporting walls at the Palace of Westminster Three different types of buttress: diagonal, on the statues plinth; an ordinary buttress supporting a flying buttress, to the right of the statue; a small ordinary buttress to the right side of the picture... It has been suggested that Ecclesia (Church) be merged into this article or section. ... Motto (French) God and my right Anthem God Save the King (Queen) England() – on the European continent() – in the United Kingdom() Capital (and largest city) London (de facto) Official languages English (de facto) Unified  -  by Athelstan 967 AD  Area  -  Total 130,395 km²  50,346 sq mi  Population  -  2007 estimate... American (or court) handball, usually referred to simply as handball, is an American form of fives played against one or more walls. ...

Fives is not the same as Long Fives, which is played in a real tennis court. Fives is a British sport believed to derive from the same origins as many racket sports. ...

The game

There are two main forms of one of the last gentlemen's games:

Rugby Fives is a handball game, similar to squash, played in an enclosed court. ... Eton Fives, one code of the British game of Fives, is a hand-ball game, similar to Rugby Fives, played as doubles in a three-sided court. ...

Eton Fives

Eton Fives is played competitively as a doubles game, whilst Rugby Fives is played as both a singles and a doubles game. The rules for Eton and Rugby Fives were both published in 1931, and Rugby Fives had an official varsity match from 1925. The ball in rugby and Winchester Fives are fairly hard and so the gloves are thicker. In Eton Fives the ball is softer and lighter, and the gloves are fairly thin. Year 1931 (MCMXXXI) was a common year starting on Thursday (link will display full 1931 calendar) of the Gregorian calendar. ... A varsity match refers to a sporting fixture between two university rivals. ...

The Eton Fives court is modelled on part of Eton College's Chapel and is enclosed on three sides and open at the back. A small step splits the court into upper and lower sections, and sloping ledges run horizontally across the walls, one of which forms the "line". The first courts at Eton were built in 1840. The Kings College of Our Lady of Eton beside Windsor, commonly known as Eton College or just Eton, is a public school (privately funded and independent) for boys, founded in 1440 by Henry VI. It is located in Eton, Berkshire, near Windsor in England, situated north of Windsor Castle... 1840 is a leap year starting on Wednesday (link will take you to calendar). ...

Eton Fives has a more complex variation and some specific court features or 'hazards'. Eton Fives, one code of the British game of Fives, is a hand-ball game, similar to Rugby Fives, played as doubles in a three-sided court. ...

Rugby Fives

Rugby Fives, developed at Rugby School, uses a simpler court, quite similar to a squash court, and has a back wall - here there are no hazards. So to play Rugby Fives on a court with hazards, one plays a let when the ball hits the hazard and when playing house rules - then the the hazard affects play. Rugby Fives is a handball game, similar to squash, played in an enclosed court. ... A view of Rugby School from The Close, the playing field where according to legend Rugby was invented Rugby School, located in the town of Rugby, Warwickshire, is one of the oldest public schools in England and is one of the major co-educational boarding schools in the country. ... Squash racquet and ball Players in a glass-backed squash court International Squash Singles Court, as specified by the World Squash Federation Squash is an indoor racquet sport that was formerly called Squash racquets, a reference to the squashable soft ball used in the game (compared with the harder ball...

Winchester Fives

A further variation is Winchester Fives which differs again by the addition of a buttress (resembling the tambour of a real tennis court) on the left-hand wall - something also found in Eton Fives. Winchester Fives also has a lower backwall than Rugby Fives. Winchester College is a well-known boys independent school, and an example of a British public school, in the city of Winchester in Hampshire, England. ... Jeu de paume in the 17th century. ...

Clifton Fives - and other variants

Many public schools have their own variation on the court - at Clifton College for instance, the court has a half-height back wall. If one were to play Clifton Fives, one would use the back wall as part of the game - so a ball going out, would be out - but if you were to play Rugby Fives rules on the court, then the ball going out would merely be a let. An 1898 etching of the College Close Clifton College (grid reference ST569737) is a major coeducational public school in Clifton, Bristol, England. ...


Fives is a small sport played by enthusiasts numbering perhaps 4,000 active adult players in the United Kingdom. A similar number play in schools.

About forty schools are affiliated to the Eton Fives Association (the governing body of the Eton Fives variation), and there are a number of Old Boys' and university clubs. There are some well-established clubs overseas, such as the Zuoz Fives Club in Switzerland, and the game is also vigorously pursued in northern Nigeria. An alumn (with a silent n), alum, alumnus, or alumna is a former student of a college, university, or school. ...

The Rugby Fives Association (the governing body of Rugby Fives, founded in 1927) has affiliations from over forty schools and thirty-two clubs, from Edinburgh to Tavistock, and there are also a number of clubs overseas, for example in South Africa and the United States. Year 1927 (MCMXXVII) was a common year starting on Saturday (link will display full calendar) of the Gregorian calendar. ... This article or section does not adequately cite its references or sources. ... Location within the British Isles This article is about the town in Devon. ...

Early match

The first match on record between schools was when an Eton pair played at Harrow in 1885 (F. Thomas and C. Barclay of Eton beat E.M. Butler and B. R. Warren of Harrow). Eton can refer to several things: Eton, Berkshire, a town in England. ... It has been suggested that Houses of Harrow School be merged into this article or section. ... 1885 (MDCCCLXXXV) is a common year starting on Thursday of the Gregorian calendar (or a common year starting on Saturday of the 12-day slower Julian calendar). ...


Although the image of Fives has been dominated by the well-known eponymous public schools, courts do exist at state schools, and in recent years many of these have been brought into full use. The advantages of economy of space and low playing costs (ball and gloves) make it an attractive sport for schools. Fives continues to develop in England and has started to attract interest from the wider community.[1]

There are also numerous championships, notably the (doubles) Eton Fives Kinnaird Cup and the Rugby Fives Open Singles championship (The Jesters' Cup) and Open Doubles championship (The Cyriax Cup). Other events include schools (Under 13 singles and doubles, Under 14 singles and doubles, Colts singles and doubles [U16], Open singles and doubles [U18]), university, age-group, Winchester and (recently) Ladies championships (See [[2]] for more details.)

Notable players in recent times have included:[citation needed].

  • John Patrick Reynolds
  • Brian Matthews (Old Citizens, Kinnaird Cup).
  • John Pretlove (Alleyn's).
  • Wayne Enstone (Manchester Y.M.C.A., Rugby Fives) setting a record of 23 National Rugby Fives Singles Titles, and over 140 tournament wins.
  • Dave Hebden (Alleyn's and Cambridge) who recently won his 100th Rugby Fives tournament.
  • Ian Fuller (Tonbridge).

This article or section does not adequately cite its references or sources. ...

External links

  • Eton Fives
  • Rugby Fives Association (UK)
  • Cambridge University Rugby Fives Club
  • Executioners (A London Fives Club)
  • White Rose Fives Club (A Club based in West Yorkshire)

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