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Gee, (that’s a) long way from home!

Riki Houlden reports:

08/03/24: Last week, I had the pleasure of visiting Geelong Grammar School (GGS) in Australia, a stone’s throw from Melbourne and home to the world’s southernmost fives courts.

I was warmly welcomed by Mr Sam a’Beckett, a Head of House, Senior English Teacher, and the Teacher-in-Charge of Eton fives.

A group of Year 7 students with no prior fives experience gathered during their lunch break to try out this mysterious game. What followed was a crash course on striking the ball, back step play, and top step games. It was a joy to see the enthusiasm and awe of people playing fives for the first time, as well as trying to wrap their minds around the hazardous court design! There was an impressive learning curve from the young pupils, with a couple even able to play left-handed block volleys from buttress in a mere 30 minutes. The hope is that by introducing the game to this younger cohort, they will aid the growth and development of the game at the school in the coming years.

Clearly though, some further support from the UK would not go amiss. I have been in contact with GGS and with the EFA to see what next steps might be to rebuild this (very long!) bridge. Watch this space!

My thanks go to GGS for their hospitality and to Mr Sam a’Beckett for skipping his lunch break to make the afternoon possible!


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