KEEBLE’S SPEED AND ATHLETICISM IS TOO MUCH FOR BRAVE COPEMAN
No.1 seed and defending champion, Richard Keeble, became only the fifth player in the 30 year history of Cromer Squash club’s annual club tournament to successfully defend his title on Friday evening when he wore down the brave challenge of No.4 seed, Matt Copeman, who was appearing in his first ever final, eventually coming out on top 9-2 9-10 9-1 9-5 after 42 minutes of top quality squash.
Twenty seven year old Keeble, who is the Association’s tennis coach is a natural athlete and despite not having received any formal squash coaching he is undoubtedly now the most naturally gifted player in the club. He used his speed and athleticism to the full, retrieving numerous lost causes and by hitting the ball hard throughout and keeping it mainly to a length he was able to dominate the rallies against an older opponent who battled gamely throughout and played some excellent squash of his own.
Keeble started the match at a frenetic pace opening up a 5-0 lead in the first game and despite some long and demanding rallies he took the game 9-2. The second game however followed a different pattern. Copeman, who was runner-up in the club’s Over 35 tournament two years ago, changed his game plan realising that if he was to have a chance of winning he could not afford to be drawn into long rallies and it was he who opened up a 5-1 lead before Keeble fought his way back to draw level at 8-8 and lead 9-8 only for Copeman to win three successive points to take the game 10-9 and draw level at 1-1.
The effort involved in winning this game took its toll however and after the ninety second break between games Keeble again stormed into a 5-0 lead and took the third game 9-1 to open up a 2-1 lead. Copeman fought back at the start of the fourth game to lead 3-0 but Keeble then won seven successive points to lead 6-3 and then it was only a matter of time before he won the three remaining points he needed, winning the game 9-5, and the match 3-1 to give him his second successive title.
Tecnical Director, Barry Starling was among the large and appreciative crowd on the balcony who gave him the applause his performance deserved and Copeman was gracious in defeat saying: “I had no complaints. I was pleased to be in the final and played as well as I could. Richard chased every ball down and thoroughly deserved his victory.” Keeble in turn said: “Club legend Steve Mutton won three successive titles and my aim now is to equal his achievement. The club’s technical director has helped me a lot over the past twelve months, especially with my drop shots, and I will be aiming to build on this. The scoreline tonight wasn’t a true reflection of how well Matt played.”
In the semi final Keeble defeated the No.3 seed and beaten 2008 finalist Alex Foster while Copeman had an excellent victory over the No.2 seed Ben Herrieven who could not improve upon his 2009 and 2010 runners up position.
The plate competition for those who lost their first round matches was won by David Young who beat Jean Spruce 9-7 9-3 9-6.