John May (back row, left) in the Charterhouse team of 1947

JWH May

(extract from the Eton Fives Association Annual Report 1990/91)

Peter and John May, from Charterhouse, were perhaps the most accomplished pair of all time, and such was their domination of the Kinnaird Cup for the three years they entered, 1951-1953, that they lost but a single game. Had they not gracefully retired - pour encourager les autres? - while still maintaining their prowess and distinction in other sporting fields, they would have continued unbeaten for years.

When two such remarkable athletes turned their attention to Eton Fives, the results were devastating. The power and precision of their play allowed their opponents little respite and little time even to contemplate how to attempt to stand up to the unrelenting pressure they imposed upon a game, the result of which was never in doubt.

Earlier, there had been an astonishing display of power in the Public Schools Championship final of 1950, when John completed three consecutive, vital rallies in the fifth game by hitting the ball low off the right-hand wall dead into the box. It was a presage of what was to come.