rugby fives

  • @cmaume
Having once been run ragged round a handball court by a man in his 60s, it became clear to me that games of ambidexterity are as much about the brain as the body. With its public-school lineage, Fives, a cousin of handball, is one of sport's hotho use flowers, played with padded gloves on three- or four-sided courts, and there is an opportunity this weekend to see one version of the game, played by the cream of the country's young generation, at the National Under-25s Rugby Fives Championships, at St Paul's School, Barnes, with the singles tomorrow and doubles on Sunday.

Eton Fives dates back to the 1820s, when it was played between the flying buttresses of the College Chapel. Winchester and Rugby came afterwards - the Rugby Fives Association wasn't formed until 1927, and has a steady couple of hundred members. The RugbyFives court is a regular four-sided affair, similar to a squash court, and as in squash, outmanoeuvring your opponent counts as much as shot-making. For speed, grace and breathtaking skill, head down to Barnes.

14-15 Jan, National Rugby Fives Under-25 Championships - St Paul's School, Barnes