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Eton wall game


Eton Fives

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The Eton Wall game

King Henry VI founded the Famous public school popular with the Royal Family, Eton College in 1440. The College originally had 70 King’s Scholars or ‘Collegers’ who lived in the College and were educated free, and a small number of ‘Oppidans’ who lived in the town of Eton and paid for their education.
Like many old sports, it is not known exactly when the Eton Wall Game was first played, but the first recorded game was in 1766. The rules have been revised from time to time since 1849, but the game has remained essentially the same.

The field of play is a fairly narrow strip, about five metres wide, running alongside a not quite straight brick wall and about 110 metres from end to end. Like regular football, each side tries to get the ball down to the far end and then score. Players are not allowed to let any part of their bodies except feet and hands touch the ground, and there are also strict ‘offside’ rules but apart from that, almost anything goes.

Each phase of play starts with a ‘bully’, when about six of the ten players from each side form up against the wall and against each other, the ball is rolled in, and battle is joined. Occasionally the ball becomes ‘loose’ and a player may be able to kick it out of play: the next bully is then formed opposite where the ball stops or is stopped — quite unlike what happens in soccer or rugby.

The Eton Wall Game is exceptionally exhausting and is far more skilful than might appear to the uninitiated. The skill consists in the remorseless application of pressure and leverage as one advances inch by painful inch through a seemingly impenetrable mass of opponents. Few sports offer less to the spectator. This game is the climax of the season and great pride was at stake. This game was particularly tight which led to yet another nil nil draw.
Team colours: Purple and White – the Collegers
Orange and Purple - the Oppidans

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What is Eton Fives?

In a time when sport is often all about money and big business, it is good to find a game which has barely changed since its creation, nearly two centuries ago.

The rules of fives are similar to squash apart from when the ball hits the buttress. If you fail to hit the ball above the ledge around the court, you lose the point. Like squash, you can only score when you’re serving.

Players wear padded leather gloves, since the ball is quite hard. It is only played as a doubles game - two teams of two players. It’s a game of honour and with no umpire or referee, the players must confess their own foul.
Not only is it an extremely fast game, but also one of great skill.

Unlike most other sports, it is thought left-handers have a sneaky advantage owing to the design of the court. Better still, the ambidextrous players have an advantage over both, since shots can be played with either hand.

Eton Fives Kinnaird 2014 highlights

Selected Clips from the 2014 Kinnaird Cup final from the 'Overhead Camera' viewpoint. Thanks to Eton College for hosting the event.

Eton Wall Game

For Chariots of Fire click on

Eton Field Game


SLTV: Rhinos visit Eton

SLTV went along with Kevin Sinfield, Kallum Watkins and Zak Hardaker on Leeds Rhinos' ground-breaking visit to Eton College.

World Rackets Championship

Rackets is the ancient forerunner of squash and began in the 18th century Debtors’ Prisons like the King’s Bench and the Fleet. Gentlemen debtors in search of amusement, exercise and the chance to gamble on a game of skill began knocking a small hard ball around the walls of the outdoor courtyards where they spent part of their day. This fast and furious game soon caught on in the public schools and fashionable ale-houses would often erect an outdoor court to attract more customers (and encourage them to work up a thirst.)

Nowadays there are around 30 rackets courts in Britain, several of them in the public schools which mostly run evening clubs, so the game is now played by people from a variety of backgrounds, many with a grounding in squash, tennis or cricket, because to play it to a high standard demands fast reflexes, anticipation and speed of foot.

Rackets is played on high, black-walled indoor courts using chunky wooden rackets like longer and more powerful squash rackets and the scoring system and rules are very similar to squash. The small, hard, white ball cracks round the walls at speeds of up to 180 mph and the game is believed to be the world’s fastest rackets sport, just holding the edge over Pelota.

This World challenge was between the holder, US-based British professional Neil Smith, and former world champion James Male. It was staged over 2 legs, one in New York and the 2nd round in London.

In the end it was victory for the double-handed Male, an outstanding all-rounder who is also a top Real Tennis player, gives him the chance of an extraordinary double; becoming the first man this century to hold the world Real Tennis and rackets championships simultaneously.

Filmed in 2001 at St Pauls School, London.

Cricket Wicketkeeper Drill: Wall Game

A modern take on this classic cricket training drill for wicket keepers. As used by Ian Healy and Mark Garaway!

More drills and skills at


World Champ Doubles

Eton Fives at Westway

Eton Fives at the Westway Sports Centre, an introduction broadcast on National Television

Beckham in Eton

Beckham wonders the streets of Eton village.

WBS 1st XV - Highlights from Reading and Eton games

October 2009

Rugby Fives National Doubles Final 2013

Defending Champions Grant & Tristao take on Brooks & Ellison in this nailbiting final.

Only the first game was filmed.

The action took place on the 7th April and Alleyn's School, Dulwich.

Goal - AW - Field Game Final 2010.wmv

Field game Final at Eton College - 2010 - AW score the winning goal against NJR

Henley Regatta 2010 Eton College

Henley Regatta 2010 Eton College

The Field Game - as played in 2012

Saturday 3rd March 2012 sees a historic win for CHB Starlings' scratch over the 7th Field. Epic stuff as Boris' old men, keen as mustard, line up against the young whipper snappers of B & C blocks. Despite calls of sneeking that man and cornering that man from the opposition the old guard showed the youngsters how the game should be played (including the now legendary 'bully rush' to seal victory by a converted rouge...

Ocean vs Wall game 2

A tough overtime loss Taj had his 1st double double 17 pts & 11 assist

World Championship Doubles 1st game highlights

World Championship Doubles 1st game highlights

Rugby: Bishops XV vs Eton XV, 02 July 2016

Voice commentary: Tank Lanning (Bishops 1st XV 1988,1989) & Martin Bey (Bishops 1st XV 1990)
Aerial footage: James Shuttleworth, Flare Productions (current grade 10, Bishops pupil)

Hosts of the Independent Schools' Rugby Festival Bishops, play Eton from the UK in the pick of the fixtures on Day one. Join us LIVE at 4pm SA time.



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