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Rackets is quite simply the fastest and most exciting ball game in the world. The small white bullet-like ball travels at speeds up to 180mph.  It is rock hard, and deflecting off stone walls and floors, requires such fleetness of foot and sharpness of eye that it is a game sportsmen are unlikely to play well unless they start young.

Rackets developed in the 18th century in two of London’s big debtors’ prisons: the King’s Bench and the Fleet. The prisoners, apparently, wanted to speed up the game of fives, which is played with the palm of the hand, by using (real) tennis rackets.

Despite the antiquity of the game, rackets is flourishing as never before and national and world competitions have a regular home at Queen's. There are two courts at Queen's, one known as the Championship Court, the other as The Bridgeman.

Rackets Amateur Singles Championships

Wednesday 12th December 2017

The gallery was filled with schoolboys playing in the National Schools, all there to watch a clash of the old guard and QC Chairman of Rackets, James Coyne, against the Queens Club Fellow, 18 year old, Ben Cawston.

James started well in the first game taking a 5-0 lead with his customary aggressive play. Ben then started to gain some confidence and chipped away at James’ lead. Each player picked up points and they drew level at 8-8.  Ben initially pulled away but then Coyne got in the box and stormed to game ball.  Ben composed himself and managed to get to 14-14. A set to 3 was called by the Chairman and he got in briefly but could not make headway.  Ben sneaked the game 17/14.

In the second game Coyne was dominant and needed only 5 hands to take the game 15-1.

In the next game, Ben started well and kept his positive energy going with some audacious retrieving and drop shots.  James made some incredible winners on the return of serve but couldn’t quite find his rhythm on the serve.  He lost the 3rd game 15-5. 

The final game was similar to the penultimate. Ben kept his energy levels high and kept ahead of James Coyne throughout.  James looked like he had just ran out of steam and Ben took the game 15-5 with another exceptional drop shot.  Ben Cawston showed great composure for an 18 year old to win 3-1 and become The Amateur Champion, and inscribe his place in the history books.