This Half Term, every pupil had a lesson rescheduled to become a Fives session, so the entire school played Fives on Friday or Saturday. It was wonderful to see St Bees Eton Fives Courts packed with staff and pupils. The courts were filled with noise and laughter from 9 am – 5 pm each day and the Saturday session even stretched onto a 10:30 pm finish!
St Bees School reopened a few years ago after several years of closure, and the School has championed Fives as a key sport for the future. The sport is inclusive and sociable as pupils can play it recreationally with any number of friends. Fives offers pupils to chance to embark on exciting trips and tours both at home and abroad. It also has superb educational benefits such as self-regulation. In addition, the hand-eye coordination skills it develops are well documented and thought to help most other sports.
St Bees focuses on exciting all-weather court games such as Fives, Squash and Badminton. These new opportunities enable pupils and staff of all ages and abilities to enjoy the sport socially, represent the School, and compete for House glory. There will soon be a school-wide Fives “top-step” singles ladder for staff and pupils.
St Bees participated in the Northern Championships this year and entered a staff pair and a girls and boys pair. Mr Wiseman (Coordinator of Fives), offered to further the strong connection between Mill Hill School and St Bees (St Bees hosted Mill Hill during the Second World War) by organising a three-day coaching session to introduce the entire school to Fives.
Howard Wiseman had also provided the same, having delivered a similar session 25 years ago. So, father and son experienced a joyous three days together in the presence of the most receptive staff and pupils that anyone could ever hope for! Everyone left the courts excited and keen to sign up for more… even those who had arrived with a determined opinion that they would be no good at it!!
Benches were moved to face the courts, and immediately, spectators began to appear to watch the evening sessions and inevitably join in once they had spotted the box of gloves. Everyone made huge strides forward, having played ‘hot-potato’, ‘£10 hit the box challenge’, ‘top-step’, ‘funny hand’, and full-court matches, with or without full rules, depending on experience and ability.
Overall, it was a fantastic visit; the courts were overflowing, and the School could not have done a better job exposing the entire school to the sport! St Bees have created the most wonderful schooling environment where it is clear to see how happy the pupils are and how well they all know and support each other. I am looking forward to future plans for summer Fives with barbecues and social sessions in the evenings.
The Wiseman Duo have promised to make more visits as part of an ongoing St Bee’s Fives programme. I cannot thank the Headmaster and all the staff for their wonderful hospitality and willingness to join in! In particular, thanks to the wonderful Laurence Gribble (Deputy Head) and Brad Simpson (Lead Teacher of PE) for their wonderful organisation, participation and company over the four days.
Coordinator of Fives