HERRIEVEN’S THIRD FINAL BRINGS SUCCESS
Twenty six year old Ben Herrieven is the new Cromer Squash Club champion. The No.2 seed who was beaten in both the 2009 and 2010 finals and lost in the semi-final last year took the prestigious title for the first time as he beat the No.1 seed and defending champion, Richard Keeble 10-8 4-9 9-2 10-9 in a pulsating final which lasted for thirty three minutes and which was enjoyed by another capacity crowd who were crammed onto the Norwich Road balcony.
Keeble, who is two years older than his victorious opponent, who he defeated in the 2010 final, was bidding to complete a hat-trick of titles and when he opened up an 8-5 lead and served for the first game it looked as though he was well on his way to achieving his objective. However after regaining the serve, Herrieven proceeded to win five successive points to take the game 10-8 as he began to believe that perhaps he had a genuine chance of causing an upset.
Keeble drew level as he easily took the second game 9-4 but Herrieven regained the initiative as he led 4-1 in the third and then went on to win five successive points to take the game 9-2 and open up a 2-1 lead. At this stage the crowd began to share Herrieven’s belief that an upset was possible but when Keeble led 6-1 in the fourth it looked as though the immediate crisis was over and that the match would go to a fifth game.
Not for the first time, however, Herrieven , who was playing on the court sponsored by his own building company, put together an impressive series of rallies to lead 7-6 and put himself within two points of the title. The players traded point for point, Keeble saved match point at 7-8, had a game point of his own at 9-8 but after regaining the serve Herrieven converted his second match point to take the game 10-9 and the match 3-1.
Technical Director Barry Starling said “This was an excellent performance by Ben. He went into the match as the underdog but had a game plan and stuck to it. He won the big points when it mattered and in hindsight Richard will probably be a little disappointed that he didn’t try and vary his style of play more and break up the rallies. That said it was another terrific final and a credit to both players.”
In the semi-finals Keeble was pushed hard by the veteran Alec Burrows (seeded 3/4) and in fact came within three points of defeat before winning 5-9 9-1 4-9 9-7 9-0 while Herrieven was pushed hard by the second team captain, Martin Sanville (seeded 5/8) eventually winning 10-8 7-9 9-4 10-8. Sanville had created the other major shock of the tournament when he defeated the other 3/4 seed, Henri Paul ,in the quarter-finals.
The plate competition for those who lost their first round matches was won by the club groundsman Matthew Jordan who beat the tournament’s oldest entrant, Peter Foster 10-8 9-5 9-6 in a well contested final.