WATTS OVERPOWERS BAKER IN “FAST, FURIOUS AND FANTASTIC” FINAL
Cromer Squash Club’s 2013 club champion, Stephen Watts, can once again lay claims to the prestigious title. In the final on Friday evening Watts became the tenth player to win the title more than once when he swept aside the brave challenge of the four times former champion, John Baker, who first won the title more than thirty years ago, coming out on top 9-7 9-2 9-0.
Although the scoreline might suggest the final was one sided nothing could be further than the truth and the match was full of tremendous squash and long demanding rallies with Watts having a seemingly inexhaustible supply of energy as he covered every inch of the court and returned everything that Baker threw at him. In fact the watching Technical Director, Barry Starling, who was beaten by Baker at the quarter-final stage, described the match as “Fast, furious and fantastic”.
The match was played under the conventional scoring system and in the first game the serve changed hands more than a dozen times before the score reached 3-3. Watts then edged ahead 5-3 but Baker then held serve four times to lead 7-5 only for Watts to regain serve and serve the game out to win 9-7.
The start of the second game followed a similar pattern with Watts gradually opening up a 3-1 lead and then, after regaining the serve he won three successive points to lead 6-1, before eventually taking the game 8-2 to open up a commanding 2-0 lead.
In the third game Watts played a series of outrageous drop shots to open up a 4-0 lead and then after one brief change of serve won five successive rallies to win the game 9-0 and the match 3-0.
After the match Baker was gracious in defeat saying: “Stephen was absolutely brilliant and he thoroughly deserved his win. I played as well as I could and I know that I will play a lot worse than this and win a lot of matches. The first game was vital and if I hadn’t have missed one easy drop shot and served out twice I might have nicked that game. Unfortunately, apart from one brief spell in the first game I was never able to put a run of serves together and although I probably served about thirty times Stephen’s brilliance meant I just couldn’t put any points on the scoreboard.”
Next month attention will switch to the club’s annual Over 35 tournament where Baker is the defending champion so the two players could well meet again in the final of that competition.