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Historic Game Revived at Oswestry School

Published on isbi School News dated Thursday 2nd of December 2010

Oswestry School is pleased to have added another sport to its already comprehensive portfolio, with the opening of its recently refurbished Fives Court.

The opening ceremony was conducted by Dr John Taylor on Saturday, as part of the School Founder's Day celebrations. Dr Taylor was a pupil at Oswestry from 1933-41, when he was a keen player of the sport of Rugby Fives.

Fives is a ball sport in some ways similar to Squash, in which a hard ball is hit against the walls of a special court using gloved hands in place of a racquet. The aim is to hit the ball above a bar across the front wall in such a way that the opposition cannot return it before a second bounce. Matches can be played as singles or doubles, the winner of a game being the first to reach 15 points.

The original Fives Court at Oswestry was built sometime during the 1880s. Matches were played there until the court fell into disuse and was converted to a drama store in the 1970s.

'We are very pleased to have had the court restored for its original purpose, thanks to the generosity of one of the School governors,' said Oswestry School Headmaster Douglas Robb. 'I am especially glad that Eric Marsh, who is a former teacher at Oswestry and also a national champion of Rugby Fives, has agreed to help us coach the School Fives Club.'

As he opened the court, Dr Taylor commended Fives as a sport for keeping fit and pointed out that it helps players to develop ambidextrous skills 'especially useful for surgeons'.

Following the opening ceremony, an exhibition doubles match was played by four visiting members of the Rugby Fives Association: Stuart Kirby, Andy Pringle, Clive Butler and John Minta. 'I hope that the brief demonstration we gave will help to inspire plenty of people to take up the game, whether for the first time or rekindling an old passion,' said Andy. 'We certainly enjoyed playing on the court and I'm sure many others will do so in the future.'

Pictures: Dr John Taylor OO opening the Oswestry School Fives Court.
Mr Douglas Robb (Headmaster), Dr John Taylor, Mrs Sally Yuill (President of the Old Oswestrians Society).
Rugby Fives Association members Andy Pringle, Clive Butler, John Minta and Stuart Kirby in action on the new Fives Court
Historic Game Revived at Oswestry School - Photo 1Historic Game Revived at Oswestry School - Photo 2Historic Game Revived at Oswestry School - Photo 3
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