Derby Moor Fives has been in existence for many years but until 2003 it was known as 'Derby Mercia Fives Club' and played on the courts at Denstone College, Uttoxeter. The Club certainly existed prior to the 1970s and originally included some players who had learnt their Fives at Derby School. The Denstone courts eventually became unsafe to use and we sought somewhere else to play. In 2001 we started a project to make two courts at the then Derby Moor Community School playable once more.
Derby School was previously located at St. Helen's House in the centre of Derby and included a single Winchester Fives court with a buttress on the left hand wall. This court had been built on the site of an old 'Tin Tabernacle' located on King Street, on the opposite side of the road from the 'Seven Stars' public house. This corrugated iron church had been demolished after its replacement with an adjacent brick-build chapel. It is not known when the court was built but the Derby Mercury in 1899 contained a report of a 'Derby School Dramatic Entertainment' including amateur dramatics and music by the School Orchestra to raise funds to build a Fives Court, thus indicating the early years of the 20th century.
The current courts at Littleover date from 1966 when Derby School moved out of the city centre to new buildings. Two Rugby Fives courts were built and Fives continued to be played at the school until the then boys grammar school was converted to a co-educational comprehensive in 1974.
The courts were used very little, except for the occasional squash game, and became increasingly derelict until our approach to the school in 2001. The then head teacher, David Roles, was delighted to support the project of refurbishing them.
During 2002-2003 we restored the courts at a total cost of around £20,000. The money for this project was largely contributed by members of the Club and the Fives-playing community, with contributions from Derby Moor Community School and the Rugby Fives Association Charitable Trust. The courts were officially opened in June 2004 with an Invitation Tournament to which several of the top players in the country were invited. The British Number One, Hamish Buchanan, played, as did the then National Singles Champion, Phil Bishop, an ex-member of Derby Moor Fives who helped in the initial stages of refurbishment.
With a change of name to Derby Moor Fives, an influx of new members and regular play on good courts we have had increasing success in national and regional tournaments (see Successes.). The popularity of the game is growing. With the support of the College we have given coaching to children in Years 7-11, a number of whom attend the Saturday or Sunday Junior Clubs and, in some cases, the Tuesday and Thursday Club evenings.
During 2015-16 we added an enclosure to the back of the courts to protect players and spectators from the weather, particularly during the winter months. This has allowed us to make the facility much more hospitable with furniture and a water fountain with the expectation that it will help us to attract and retain more players. The £55,000 cost of this project was covered by members of the Club and the Fives-playing community, with contributions from the Rugby Fives Association Charitable Trust and from Derby Moor Community Sports College.
In June 2018 the render at the base of the left hand wall was repaired after it had started to break up and the lights were upgraded to replace the old and dim flourescent tubes and their fittings with modern LED units at a total cost of £3,000. The money for these improvements came from the donations of Club members.
Each year on the last Sunday in June the Club holds an Invitation Doubles Tournament. Past winners are:
2004 John East & Phil Bishop
2005 Stuart Kirby & Hamish Buchanan
2006 John Beswick & Matt Orr
2007 Anthony Goodwin & John Minta
2008 Ashley Hill & Bob Sandie
2009 Max Frost & Phil Bishop
2010 Wayne Enstone & Jay Gravatt
2011 Mike Baxter & Tim Widdop
2012 Mike Baxter & Jay Gravatt
2013 Anthony Goodwin & Bob Sandie
2014 Ashley Hill & Tim Widdop
2015 Chris Davey & Anthony Goodwin
2016 Hamish Buchanan & Lewis Keates
2017 Rob Whitehorn & George Terry
2018 Anthony Goodwin & Bob Sandie