MATT STORMS TO VICTORY IN OVER 35s
Matt Copeman proved himself to be the leading Over 35 player at Cromer Squash Club when he stormed to victory in the final of the annual Jeff Morris Memorial Trophy beating the 2009 and 2010 champion, Henri Paul 6-9 9-1 9-1 9-2 in a final which was nowhere near as one sided as the scoreline might suggest.
The two players actually met in the final of the 2009 tournament before Copeman was forced to retire through injury in the decisive fifth game but this year he made sure that the match would not go to a fifth game. Copeman, who was runner-up in the 2011 club championships, started the match with all guns blazing as he opened up a 5-0 lead in just one hand in the first game before Paul gradually clawed his way back to take the game 9-6 and open up a 1-0 lead.
This was as good as it got however for the man who has also won the club’s veterans’ tournament for the past two years, as Copeman was determined not to let any more leads slip. He played the percentages well whereas Paul was frequently guessing where the ball was going to go and he also seemed reluctant to play a drop shot at potentially crucial times. The second, third and fourth games all followed a similar pattern and despite a number of long and entertaining rallies which kept the large and enthusiastic crowd on their toes Copeman was always in control.
In the semi-finals Copeman, who was only seeded at No.3 had defeated the No.2 seed Alec Burrows whilst Paul beat the surprise semi-finalist John Pelton who in turn had his moment of glory when he defeated last year’s beaten finalist and No.4 seed, Adam Sexton in the quarter-finals. The 2011 champion Stephen Watts was unfortunately not able to defend his title owing to other commitments.
Afterwards Copeman said: “After the first game which I lost from a winning position I knew I had to concentrate all the while as Henri is a dangerous player and never knows when he is beaten. Although he only won four points in the last three games his play certainly deserved more than that and I am glad the match didn’t go to a fifth game. After losing in the final three years ago I was delighted to win what is my first major tournament at the club.”
The annual club veterans’ tournament for those aged 45 and over will start on December 3rd when Paul will be looking to put any disappointment behind him as he bids for a hat-trick of titles.