John Pretlove 1932-2018

John Pretlove (Alleyn’s School and Gonville & Caius College) — multiple National Rugby Fives Champion.

John died on Easter Sunday after a long period of failing health.

John was an extraordinarily gifted young sportsman who excelled in football, cricket and fives. While at Alleyn’s John Pretlove won the Public Schools Singles, as it was then known, in 1950 and 1951, and the Doubles in 1951 with JST Fletcher.

He represented Cambridge University in the Varsity Match in 1954, 1955 and 1956, each time playing at number one. He won Blues for football and cricket while an undergraduate at Gonville and Caius College. He was a loyal supporter of Cambridge fives, regularly attending the Past versus Present and playing in the last match at Portugal Place in 1995. He was also a stalwart of the Alleyn Old Boys and coached fives at Alleyn’s School

A superb left-handed striker of the Jefferies Malings and Slazenger balls John won the Amateur Singles four times, in 1953, 1955, 1956 and 1958 and was runner-up on three later occasions. He, fellow Cambridge player Andrew Cowie and Oxford’s John East remain the only players to have won the National title while undergraduates.

Between 1952 and 1967 John won the Amateur Doubles Championships 7 times and was runner-up twice. Among his four doubles partners were pre-war Cambridge legend Lloyd ‘Bill’ Bailey and his Cambridge contemporary, Dennis Silk.

John Pretlove’s cricketing commitments largely precluded participation in those few regional tournaments which existed in his heyday, but he did win the Vintage Doubles in 1993 with fellow AOB and Oxford adversary, Roy Birmingham.

John served as General Secretary of the RFA in the 1990s and previously as RFA President (1985-87).

For details of his lifelong connection with Alleyn’s School click here

For information on his cricketing achievements with Kent County Cricket Club click here

Schools Champion 1950

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