Old Salopians 50th

Marc Quinn reports:

The of the Old Salopians Eton Fives Club took place at Royal Mid-Surrey Golf Club on 6th June 1998. The inaugural meeting of the club had taken place on July 18th, 1948, and at that meeting the raison d'etre of the club was to provide a means whereby Old Salopians could get a game and that Shrewsbury should be represented in the Kinnaird Cup and any other competitions.

Since then there have been some distinguished members of the club. Names such as A T Barber in whose honour we play the Barber Cup, A R Kittermaster and A R B Moulsdale who had a hat-trick of Kinnaird victories in 1954, 1955 and 1956 and others such as Mark Williams who had coached many of the more recent Barber Cup victors.

Speeches were given by M L Charlesworth, a founding member, M P Hughes and A R B Moulsdale, our President, M L Charlesworth pointed out that 1948 was actually the refoundation of the club. Records had indicated that in 1929 A T Barber had founded the O S Fives Club and Golf Clubs on the same day but that no other record of the club had been made until its revival in 1948, The main instigator of the refounding of a club he had already founded twenty years earlier was no other than A T Barber! At that time there was a subscription of £1 for life and the Vice-president was Stephen Lee, who had built the first ever Eton Fives Court at Oxford University, at his own expense.

Mike Hughes' speech concentrated on the recent success of the club under Mike Harding's influence, who orchestrated an extensive fixture list second to none. Mike noted that Harding has the best league record of any Old Salopian, 'namely played one, won one, a feat he is keen to point out on any occasion.' He also mentioned that among Old Salopians it was 'Fives for Fives' sake, usually followed by 'beers for beers sake' and that this sense of camaraderie had not been lost on other clubs since the Old Cholmeleians, Reptonians and Citizens had all been willing guests for us in the league.

The evening was a great success which the fifty or so guests enjoyed immensely. But one question was raised by M L Charlesworth which has remained unresolved - How did Fives ever get instigated at Shrewsbury? In the 1880s four courts had been built but certainly not under the influence of the then headmaster who disliked the game very much. This still remains a mystery.