The RFA is sad to report the death, at the age of 80, of ex-President Geoff Sherratt, after a long illness.
Dave Hebden has compiled a personal tribute to Geoff.
Please see below for an account of Geoff’s long and outstanding participation in the sport of Fives.
Geoff Sherratt and Fives
Geoff started to play fives at the YMCA with Peter Woods in the early 1970s.They were encouraged and coached by Fred Beswick, and became regulars at Club nights and on tour. Geoff eventually became Club Captain for several years.
‘Manchester Championships’ (3 different names)
1977 Geoff organised the Lancashire Open Championships, taking over from Fred Beswick.
1978-79-80-81-82-83-84-85-86 Geoff organised the (renamed) Greater Manchester County Open Championships.
Then he organised the (again renamed) North West Open Championships 1987-88-89-90.
So Geoff organised the same regional event, with three different names, for 14 years. John Beswick took over as organiser of the North West Open in 1991.
Wood Cup (National Club Championship)
The YMCA have the proudest record in the Wood Cup competition: 16 wins out of 26 appearances in the final. We don’t know exactly how often Geoff played for the Club squad in the Wood Cup, but it must have been a large number of times. The following skimpy details are from the RFA Handbook, which was not always good at recording names of players.
In 1978 Geoff played a key role supporting the YMCA squad which succeeded in winning their first Wood Cup Trophy, with Enstone, Wynn, Murray and Woods playing in the final.
The following year Geoff was in the YMCA side to win the Wood Cup final (Enstone, Wynn, Sherratt and Murray). The semi-finals and final were played on the Merchant Taylors’ School courts, and the other finalists were the Old Merchant Taylors’.
The YMCA went on to win the Wood Cup in 1983, 1984, 1985, and 1986. In each of these years the winning final side was Enstone, Ashton, Davies and Hyde, but Geoff contributed in each of these campaigns in the earlier rounds.
In 1987 Geoff was back in the YMCA final winning team alongside Enstone, Ashton and Curry.
Although a late starter in the game of Fives, Geoff became a very good player. In addition to his contribution to YM Fives, Geoff was often to be seen on the open tournament circuit. He was always competitive and had some notable successes, including winning the South West Doubles with Dave Hebden in 1986 and having a good run in the National Doubles with Wayne Enstone in the late 1980s.
Geoff first qualified by age to enter the Veterans Championships in April 1987. He reached the final by beating Roger Freebairn in the semis, but lost in the final to Tony Hughes, his doubles partner.
Geoff’s glory years in the Veterans event were 1988, 1989 and 1990 when he won the Doubles with John Howe. He and John were also runners-up in 1991.
The Rugby Fives Association
Geoff was very proud to be elected President of the RFA in 2003. He played an important part in the administration and development of the RFA during the period 2001-2003 (as Deputy President) and 2003-05 (as President). He was an enthusiastic supporter of RFA events, presenting the trophies whenever possible, and he travelled without fail from Manchester to London for RFA Committee and Board meetings.