For many seasons the Old Salopian Eton Fives Club has been reaching finals of the Barber Cup and EFA Trophy and progressively doing better in Division 1 since fielding a team three years ago in both leagues.
However, we have all been acutely aware that we have been falling at the final hurdle in so many of our competitions. In fact, it has been 16 long years since the club last won silverware (Alan Barber Cup in 2003).
As a reminder our major club competitions and the Salopian record in each are as follows;
1. The Alan Barber Cup – the Champions League of Fives;
a. Winners 3 times - 1993, 1999 and 2003 (4th in overall wins).
2. Division 1 – The Premier League of Fives;
a. Winners 3 times - 1986, 1993 and 1997.
3. The EFA trophy – The FA Cup of Fives;
a. Winners 8 times - 1992,1994,1995,1999,2001,2004,2013,2014.
The Salopians have a unique accolade in being the club who have been losing finalists more than any other team in the history of the Alan Barber Cup (23 times finalist and 3 victories since it started in 1965) including losing 8 times in the final between 2010 and 2018.
Alan Barber was himself a Salopian and distinguished Fives player and Richard Barber (SH 55-60) is the current OSEFC President. The Barber Cup has always and will always be an incredibly important competition for the Salopians.
However, my note today focuses on the Premier League of Fives. Division 1.
It has been an even longer 22 years since we won Division 1. Consistency and strength in depth are crucial to being successful in the league. Consistency is not a word attributed to Salopians often. Very talented, and on our day can beat the best, yes. But consistent… no.
So, we have been working hard to build the club not only in numbers but improving individual players and pairs to improve our consistency. We have felt over the last couple of years that not only do we have the depth needed to win - rather than challenge – but we have improved as a group of players significantly.
It is therefore with great pleasure that I can report the Old Salopians have won Division 1. In true Salopian fashion rather than just winning it for the first time in 22 years, we were unbeaten – a first for a Salopian team.
The Salopians now have their name on the Division 1 winners cup for the 4th time and I am very proud to say that the 2019 OSEFC vintage will go down in the history books.
Chris Hughes (SH 2004-09)
It's been a long time!