Rugby Fives is a handball game, similar to squash, played in an enclosed court. It has similarities with Winchester Fives (a form of Wessex Fives) and Eton Fives. It is played mainly in the United Kingdom.
It is most commonly believed to be derived from Wessex Fives, a game played by Thomas Arnold, famous Headmaster of Rugby School, who had played Wessex Fives when a boy at Lord Weymouth's Grammar, now Warminster School. The open court of Wessex Fives, built in 1787, is still in existence at Warminster School although has fallen out of regular use.
An early mention of the game can be found in the novel Tom Brown's School Days (1857) by Thomas Hughes. The author attended Rugby School during the period when Dr. Arnold was Headmaster.
The game is played between two players (singles) or between two teams of two players each (doubles), the aim being to hit the ball above a 'bar' across the front wall in such a way that the opposition cannot return it before a second bounce. The ball is slightly larger than a golf ball, leather-coated and hard. Players wear leather padded gloves on both hands, with which they hit the ball.