On Wednesday 23rd January four girls made the journey to Eton, to take on over 70 others from schools across the UK at the National Girls Fives Festival. Our opponents hailed from schools such as Berkhamsted, Shrewsbury and Highgate, with professional Fives coaches and hours of practice each week. In contrast, our junior pair have played just one match so far this year, while our senior pair were playing in their first Fives match since prep school!

Despite this, Cranleigh very nearly ran away with it. Our U15 pair of Ella-Grace Goode and Ruby Halstead played superbly to win all of their matches in the group stage, including a hard fought 8-7 win over an U16 pair from Highgate where they came back from 7-5 down to win. Our U18 pair of Ella Job and Rosie Hope were unlucky to lose their first match to a strong pair from Berkhamsted before they had warmed up, but then showed excellent shot selection and very effective placement to win the next four matches with ease.

The U15’s thus reached the top group for the second round, where they played the winners of the other pools. Here, Ella-Grace and Ruby continued their winning form until finally stopped by the eventual winners, Shrewsbury’s U16 pair, who won the last game 8-2. Meanwhile, in group 2 Ella and Rosie were by now into their stride, chalking up three strong wins and would have happily taken on any remaining pair in the tournament, had time not run out.

Overall, with 12 wins from 14 matches played, Cranleigh came second to a strong Shrewsbury squad, and all four girls performed magnificently, playing with enthusiasm, treating their opponents with respect and acting throughout as superb ambassadors for the school. Well played!