Two schoolboys have won the UK Schools Fives Doubles Championships despite having nowhere to play. Fives is a sport dating back to the 18th century when boys used the outside walls of buildings, often churches, to create a court. It is similar to squash, but instead of using rackets players use padded gloves to hit the ball.

Ewan Townshend, 18, and Jamie Graham, 17, live on the same street in Pinner, and are pupils at Merchant Taylors’ School, Northwood. When their school had to demolish their fives courts three years ago the two boys had to find other ways to practice the game. “There aren’t many courts near Pinner so we sometimes try and use squash courts and we travel to places where they kindly let us use their Fives courts” said Graham.

The Championships, held at the prestigious St Paul’s School, Hammersmith saw Townshend and Graham beat a pair from Alleyn’s School, Dulwich in a very tightly fought match by two sets to one: 12-10, 9-11, 11-7. In what was a remarkable finish their opponents showed exceptional sportsmanship when they called a foul shot on themselves on Championship point thereby handing the Merchant Taylors’ boys the title.