Cromer Lawn Tennis & Squash Club

01263 513741

 Winter Season 2015-16

Match No.12

Cromer's 2015-16 Norfolk League squash season ended in anti-climax this week when the team hosted neighbours, Fakenham II, in a re-arranged Division Three match and they were soundly beaten 16-1.

Technical Director Barry Starling made just one change from the team who lost heavily away to Bannatyne's III last week as he returned to his normal duties on the balcony to be replaced by team captain Martin Sanville who was returning from holiday. This meant that John Chandler was able to drop down into the third string slot while Catherine Kerr and former club champion, Stephen Watts once again filled the fourth and first string positions.

Catherine played well in her match but was never in serious contention as she went down to a straight game defeat while on the adjoining court the veteran Chandler made too many unforced errors against a much younger opponent and, perhaps tired after his heroic exertions in the club's handicap tournament the previous week, turned in a disappointing performance to also lose 3-0.

Sanville, in contrast, had had two weeks away from the courts but his match too contained a number of unforced errors and although he had a good chance of taking the third game in his match he was not able to close the game out and became the third player to lose in straight games. In the final match of the evening Cromer did at least pick up a game as Stephen Watts took the second game to draw level at 1-1. After losing the third game to go behind once again he had every chance of taking the match to a fifth game but narrowly lost the fourth game 14-16 to lose 1-3.

Afterwards Starling said: "This was both a disappointing result and performance. At the end of the day we have got to put it down to being "One of those nights" but from the balcony I did spot one or two things which perhaps we could have been doing better and that will give us something to work on before the summer leagues start. We have had some good results this season so the basics are there in place"

Results:-
Stephen Watts lost to Gary Hastings 8-13 13-11 7-13 14-16
Martin Sanville lost to Jason Smith 6-13 8-13 11-13
John Chandler lost to Adam Manning 5-13 6-13 7-13
Catherine Kerr lost to Tom Horn 5-13 9-13 7-13

Match No.11

Two weeks ago Cromer's Norfolk SRA League Division Three match away to Bannatyne's III had to be postponed due to damage to the Bannatyne's courts which left them unsafe and unplayable. Cromer agreed to re-arrange the match for this week without realising that it coincided with the annual half-term holiday and with several players unavailable it was a much below strength team which travelled into Norwich to fulfil the fixture.

Former club champion Stephen Watts was available to play the first string match but veteran John Chandler was obliged to play at No.2 and even Technical Director, Barry Starling was pressed into emergency service at No.3 with Catherine Kerr filling the fourth string slot.

Catherine battled hard throughout but lost each game by the narrowest of margins which meant she went down to an unlucky straight game defeat. Both Starling and Chandler had been involved in tough matches the previous evening in the club's annual handicap tournament and these matches obviously took their toll as both Cromer players went down to heavy 3-0 defeats without ever really threatening their opponents.

The first string match, however, was a totally different story. Watts has been pacing himself well over the past few weeks and when he opened up a 2-0 lead and had match ball in the third it did look as though he would have a straight game victory. However, he lost that game 12-14 and after losing the fourth game had match ball again in the decisive fifth game before losing that one 14-12 which meant he lost 3-2 and the Cromer team lost 16-2.

Starling said:afterwards: "It was a pity that we were not able to put out a stronger team but Bannatyne's are a good side and have only lost one match all season - which was on our courts back in November. Stephen Watts was brilliant and could easily have won but sadly neither JC nor I were able to offer much.

Results:-
Stephen Watts lost to Gareth Jones 13-9 13-9 12-14 7-13 12-14
Jhn Chandler lost to Aubrey Ingham 6-13 4-13 2-13
Barry Starling lost Giles Hart 3-13 7-13 8-13
Catherine Kerr lost to Gary Gray 10-13 11-13 9-13

Match No. 3 (re-arranged)

With the Norfolk Closed Championships being held this week in Norwich there were no Norfolk SRA League matches scheduled but since John Chandler was the only Cromer player taking part in the championships – in both the Over 60 and Over 65 events – the team took the opportunity to re-arrange a previously postponed match against a youthful East Anglia V. The match should originally have been played back in October but the East Anglia side claimed they were unable to raise a team and although Cromer could have claimed a walk-over they agreed to re-arrange it in the second half of the season.


As Technical Director Barry Starling succinctly put it: “They claimed they were unable to raise a team, although I suspect they missed out the adjective “strong”. We always want to play squash so we were happy to go along with their wishes although we knew we would probably be penalising ourselves”


Starling made two changes from the team who beat Potters Misfits last week with former club champion Stephen Watts coming back into the team to play the first string match in place of John Baker who was unavailable and team captain Martin Sanville returning at No.2. This meant that young Alex Van Blerk had a well deserved rest while veteran John Chandler and Matthew Jordan dropped down the order to play the third and fourth string matches.


The East Anglia team did not have as much experience as Cromer but they certainly had youth and fitness on their side and this proved decisive as they returned home with a 13-5 victory although with a little bit of luck the match could easily have ended in an 8-8 draw.
Jordan had a tough fourth string match which involved both players in a lot of running and a lot of effort and after three closely contested and hard fought games Jordan was delighted to come out on top with a straight game victory. In contrast Chandler struggled at No.3 against an opponent whom he beat 3-1 on the Lime Tree Road courts earlier this month. In mitigation he was troubled by a back spasm which occurred during the first game and with one eye on the Norfolk championships he went down to a straight game defeat.


The key match turned out to be the second string one in which Sanville was up against a player who beat him 3-0 two weeks previously. This week however the match followed a completely different pattern as the Cromer captain opened up a 2-0 lead and had match ball in the third before narrowly losing this game and then the next two by the smallest of margins to lose 3-2.


In the final first string match Watts found himself up against a player who was as fit as, and probably fitter than, him. He battled hard in a match full of long demanding rallies but in the end his opponent just had the edge and he went down 3-0.


Starling said afterwards: “A 13-5 scoreline was not a true reflection of how well the team played and we deserved to take more out of the match. Both Matt Jordan and Martin Sanville were brilliant and although the other two both lost in straight games I couldn’t fault the effort they both put in.”


Results:-
Stephen Watts lost to Tom Lloyd 11-13 8-13 9-13
Martin Sanville lost to Pieter MacKeith 13-5 13-10 14-16 11-13 15-17
John Chandler lost to Sam Furness 8-13 6-13 6-13
Matthew Jordan beat James Close 13-11 16-14 13-10

Match No.10

After last week's narrow defeat against East Anglia V, Cromer returned to winning ways this week dropping just two points in an excellent 14-7 victory over visiting Potters' Misfits in their Norfolk SRA Division Three match. The result was especially good since back in November the Cromer team were well beaten 14-5 on the Potters' courts.

Technical Director Barry Starling was forced into making two changes from last week's team with four times former club champion John Baker replacing another former club champion, Stephen Watts, in the first string position while Matthew Jordan came back into the team at No.3 in place of the unavailable team captain, Martin Sanville. This meant that the team's oldest player, veteran John Chandler, moved up the order to play at No.2 with twelve year old Alex Van Blerk retaining the fourth string slot.

Young Van Blerk found himself up against one of the very few, and certainly one of the best, lady squash players in the league but this didn't faze him as he raced into a 2-0 lead. His experienced opponent fought back well however to draw level at 2-2 before Van Blerk surged ahead in the final decisive fifth game to win 3-2. Matthew Jordan won a marathon first game 16-14 and seemed to be heading for a straightforward victory when he also took the second. The Potters player, however, kept himself in the match by winning the third but Jordan regained control in the fourth to come out on top 13-9 to give Cromer their second victory of the evening.

The veteram Chandler is finding that his legs are not as quick as they were and if his drop shots are not accurate enough he is under pressure. This was the case this week as, after winning the opening game of his match against the visitors' captain, he was well beaten in the next three to go down to what he described as "a disappointing 3-1 defeat".

With Ed Crookenden currently in New Zealand, John Baker is once again the best player at the Cromer club and his class showed through in the final first string match. He did lose the opening game against a very good opponent but after that he was rarely troubled and he took the next three games relatively comfortably to record a very good 3-1 win which cemented Cromer's fifth victory of the season.

Afterwards Starling said: "This was a very good all round performance although I know JC was disappointed not to have done better in the second half of his match. After last week's defeat we worked on one or two little things during training and if we can keep this standard up in the last three matches we could figure in the promotion shake up at the end of the season."

Results:-
John Baker beat Mark Heazle 10-13 13-4 13-11 13-3
John Chandler lost to Stuart Supple 13-11 5-13 1-13 5-13
Matthew Jordan beat Rob Sherrington 16-14 13-10 8-13 13-9
Alex Van Blerk beat Bev Todd 13-11 13-9 10-13 9-13 13-4

Match No.9

After their Christmas and New Year break, during which Technical Director Barry Starling put them through some interesting and demanding training routines, Cromer returned to Norfolk League action this week with a trip into Norwich to take on East Anglia V in their Division Three fixture.

With club champion Ed Crookenden now travelling on the other side of the world and former club champion John Baker also unavailable Cromer were pleased to welcome back another former club champion, Stephen Watts, for his first match of the season. He slotted back into the first string slot with team captain Martin Sanville at No.2, fellow veteran John Chandler at No.3 and twelve year old Alex Van Blerk at No.4.

Van Blerk has had a series of demanding matches over the New Year period during which time he played in the British Junior Open in Sheffield and tiredness probably started to kick in. After losing the first game of his match he worked hard to take the second and draw level but his older and stronger opponent then regained control and comfortably won the next two games to come out on top 3-1.

Chandler also lost the opening game of his match against the East Anglia captain but he is a wily competitor with a wealth of experience behind him and after drawing level he went on to take the second and third games to win his match 3-1 which meant the scores were level and the overall match result was finely in the balance.

Sadly for Cromer Sanville was not able to take anything out of his second string match, despite having chances to win the second game and he went down to a straight game defeat which left Cromer needing a 3-0 victory in the final first string match if they were to share the bonus points. Watts' lack of recent competitive match play showed through at the start of his match as he lost the opening game and although he went on to achieve a comfortable 3-1 victory it was the home team who took the four bonus points by virtue of having won eight games to Cromer's seven which meant the final score was 12-7 to East Anglia V.

Sanville tended to blame himself saying: "It was my fault we lost. If I had made my game point in the second game we would have drawn" Starling, however, was more philosophical saying: "Life is full of ifs and it was just a pity we narrowly missed out. It was a pity John Baker was not able to play but it was good to welcome Stephen Watts back and that can only be a plus point"

Results:-
Stephen Watts beat Katie Cox 5-13 13-11 13-9 13-4
Martin Sanville lost to Pieter MacKeith 7-13 14-12 7-13
John Chandler beat Sam Furness 9-13 13-11 13-8 13-8
Alex Van Blerk lost to James Close 8-13 14-12 5-13 5-13

Match No.8

A below strength Cromer team travelled to Fleggburgh this week to take on bottom of the table Broadland IV in their Norfolk SRA League Division Three fixture and despite being without both club champion, Ed Crookenden and former club champion, John Baker they were still strong enough to ease their way to a comfortable 13-5 victory.


With both Crookenden and Baker unavailable team captain Martin Sanville came back into the team to play the first string match while veteran John Chandler and twelve year old Alex Van Blerk moved up the order to play at Nos 2 and 3 with Catherine Kerr proving to be a more than useful replacement at No.4.


Cromer got off to the best possible start with Kerr dominating her young opponent as she cruised to a straight game victory while Van Blerk, who is well on the way to becoming Cromer's player of the season, also won his match 3-0.


These two victories put Cromer in an unassailable position once Chandler had won the opening game of his second string match. The rest of his match, however, was far from being plain sailing as he lost the second and third games and could easily have gone down to a 3-1 defeat before his years of experience and sheer determination enabled him to save match ball in the fourth before eventually winning it 18-16 and then going on to take the decisive fifth game 13-11.


In the first string match Sanville was up against one of Broadland's most promising junior players and he was always chasing the game as he went down 3-0 to give the home team a consolation victory.


Technical Director Barry Starling said afterwards: "This was a good all round performance and although the Broadland team are currently bottom of the division we have lost these sort of matches before. Neither Catherine nor young Alex gave their opponents a look in and although John Chandler's opponent lost 3-0 at Cromer in October he has improved immensely and JC really had to dig deep to win"


Results:-
Martin Sanville lost to Oliver Gollop 6-13 10-13 10-13
John Chandler beat Gary Powley 13-11 8-13 8-13 18-16 13-11
Alex Van Blerk beat Jordan Bowman 13-7 13-8 13-11
Catherine Kerr beat Oliver Miller 13-6 13-7 13-6

Match No.7


Last month Cromer were well beaten by the UEA II in their Norfolk SRA League Division Three match but this week in the return fixture on their own courts and showing three changes from the October line-up they gave a much better account of themselves and just had the edge as they recorded a narrow 13-7 victory.


Technical Director Barry Starling made just one change from the team who earned a highly creditable draw at Fakenham last week with team captain Martin Sanville taking a well deserved rest and former club champion John Baker, fresh from his triumph in the club’s Over 35 tournament, taking his second string slot. This meant that fellow veteran John Chandler again played at No.3 with the highly promising Norfolk Under 13 champion, Alex Van Blerk at No.4 and new club champion Ed Crookenden again at No.1.


As was to be expected the twelve year old Van Blerk was up against a much physically stronger opponent who hit the ball very hard but this didn’t faze the youngster as he took the opening game 13-7. However his opponent gradually wore him down as he was forced to run all over the court and he lost the next two games to go 1-2 down and then just lost an absorbing fourth game 13-15 to go down to a narrow 3-1 defeat.


On the adjoining court Chandler was up against the students’ captain, a player he beat in this fixture last year and this was a match which could have gone either way. After losing the first game Chandler drew level at 1-1 and again at 2-2 before just losing the decisive fifth game 11-13 to go down to a narrow 3-2 defeat. These two results meant that Cromer needed to win the final two matches and drop fewer than three games if they were to take the four bonus points on offer and so it proved.


Crookenden stormed through the first game of his match, dropping just a single point but after taking the second 13-8 he seemed to lose concentration as he lost the third and then had to battle hard towards the end of the fourth as he eventually took it 13-11 to win 3-1.
This left John Baker needing to win 3-1 for Cromer to snatch victory but, in a classy performance, he went one better than this as he won his match in straight games which meant that both teams had won two ties but Cromer took the bonus points by virtue of having won nine games compared to the students’ seven.


Starling said afterwards: “This was a fine victory against a young fit team who were very talented. It was a pity that young Alex couldn’t have taken the fourth game as I think he would have gone on to win and JC could easily have won his match. Ed Crookenden again showed that he is a huge talent and John Baker showed that class is permanent”


Results:-
Ed Crookenden beat Jamie Nesbit 13-1 13-8 10-13 13-11
John Baker beat Ash Sinha 13-11 13-6 13-7
John Chandler lost to Tom Greenfield 10-13 13-9 9-13 14-12 11-13
Alex Van Blerk lost to James Taylor 13-7 9-13 7-13 13-15

Match No.6

Technical Director, Barry Starling, described his Cromer team's Norfolk SRA Division Three league match away to the new table toppers, Fakenham II, as " a tremendous match which neither side deserved to lose and which was a credit to all eight players" as the two teams battled their way to a hard earned and well deserved 10-10 draw.


With neither former club champion, John Baker nor Matthew Jordan available Starling was forced into two changes with team captain Martin Sanville returning to play the second string match while the Norfolk Under 13 champion, twelve year old Alex Van Blerk came back into the team at No.4. This meant that veteran John Chandler, who is probably the oldest player currently playing regular Norfolk League squash, retained the No.3 slot while the new club champion Ed Crookenden again played at No.1.


In the fourth string match young Van Blerk struggled in the opening game against a very hard hitting opponent but, showing a great deal of character and determination, he gradually forced his way back into the match and only just lost the second game 11-13. At 0-2 down a lot of older players would probably have folded but he played brilliantly in the next three games to firstly draw level at 2-2 and then to take the decisive fifth game 13-11 to win the match 3-2.


On the adjoining court the veteran Chandler found himself having to work hard against an awkward opponent. He lost the first game but easily won the second game 13-4 before losing the next two to go down to a 3-1 defeat. Crookenden meanwhile was already well on the way to victory in his first string match and he won in straight games to leave the match result hanging in the balance.


At this stage Cromer held a narrow 7-5 advantage which left the outcome dependent upon the result of Martin Sanville's second string match against Gary Hastings. Sanville had chances to win the opening game, narrowly losing it 14-16, but he just took the second game 13-11 which ensured that Cromer would at least share the points. The third game again could have gone either way but the Fakenham man edged it 13-11 and then clinched the match 3-1 as an exhausted Sanville visiblt tired in the fourth.


This meant that both teams had won two matches and eight individual games which then gave them a share of the four bonus points on offer.


Starling went on to say: "This was a magnificent team performance. I can't speak too highly of young Alex Van Blerk's absolutely brilliant performance as he came back from 0-2 down. Ed Crookenden did what we expected while the two elder statesmen both picked up vital games."


Results:-
Ed Crookenden beat Jason Smith 13-8 13-7 13-9
Martin Sanville lost to Gary Hastings 14-16 13-11 11-13 2-13
John Chandler lost to Devendra Mahatme 9-13 13-4 10-13 9-13
Alex Van Blerk beat Martin Dack 6-13 11-13 13-10 13-10 13-11

Match No.5

Cromer returned to winning ways this week when they turned in an excellent all round performance to defeat the previously unbeaten Division Three leaders, Bannatyne's III, in their Norfolk SRA League fixture. Technical Director, Barry Starling, made just one change from last week's team as he was able to call upon the new club champion, Ed Crookenden, to play the first string match for the first time. This enabled former club champion John Baker, fellow veteran John Chandler and Matthew Jordan all to drop one place in the playing order while twelve year old Alex Van Blerk, who has made such a promising start to his fledgling squash career, was given a well deserved rest.
Jordan and Chandler were the first two players to take to the court and Jordan soon took control of his fourth string match as he opened up a 1-0 lead. He had to battle hard to take the second game but eventually took the game 18-16 and then closed out the match to record a good straight game victory.


Chandler, who two days previously had put himself through a hard individual training session with England International Martin Pearse, at first struggled to impose himself in the third string match. After failing to convert a game ball he lost the first game 12-14 and was well beaten in the second before rediscovering his touch as his accurate drop shots proved decisive. He took the next three games relatively comfortably to close out the match 3-2 and put Cromer firmly in the driving seat.


Ed Crookenden, as was to be expected, found himself up against a very good opponent but the Cromer champion's athleticism and speed around the court amazed the watching spectators. After winning the first game he had a temporary blip in the second when he tried one or two too many ambitious shots but he was in complete control in the third and fourth games as he won 3-1 on what was a very fine debut.
When John Baker opened up a 2-0 lead in the final second string match it did look as though Cromer would record a rare maximum especially when his opponent had an argument with the court wall. This seemed to spur the Bannatyne's man on however as he dominated the next two games to draw level and then in a decisive fifth game he just edged home 13-11 to win 3-2 which left the final score 15-6 in Cromer's favour.


Afterwards Starling said: "This was a splendid performance against a good team. After our defeat last week and thanks to our opponents, we spent some time doing a video analysis of our performance which helped considerably. We were also helped by Ed Crookenden's availability which enabled everybody else to drop a place in the order and John Chandler was obviously helped by his session with Martin Pearse. I couldn't really have asked the team for any more."


Results:-
Ed Crookenden beat Gareth Jones 13-6 12-14 13-5 13-5
John Baker lost to Aubrey Ingham 13-9 14-12 8-13 3-13 11-13
John Chandler beat Giles Hart 12-14 5-13 13-5 13-8 13-6
Matthew Jordan beat Andy Richardson 13-7 18-16 13-6

 Match No.4

After two weeks of inactivity Cromer returned to Norfolk League action this week with a trip to the other side of Great Yarmouth to take on Potters Misfits in a Division Three fixture. Technical Director Barry Starling made two changes from the team who were beaten in their last match as he welcomed back former club champion John Baker for his first match of the season and fellow veteran John Chandler following his annual early autumn holiday. These two filled the slots at the top of the order while Matthew Jordan and the very talented Norfolk Under 13 champion Alex Van Blerk played at Nos 3 and 4.

With one victory and one narrow defeat from his two previous matches young Van Blerk fully deserved to retain his place in the team and he controlled his fourth string match against a much older opponent to come out on top 3-1. Jordan, meanwhile, who has had an impressive recent set of internal league results to his name, looked as though he would win his third string match as he opened up a 2-0 lead. However, he was forced to put a lot of effort into winning his second game which seemed to affect him more than his opponent and he lost the next three games to go down to, what was for him, a slightly disappointing 3-2 defeat.

Since returning from holiday Chandler has put himself through some intensive training sessions but these are no substitute for competitive match play and he was never really in contention against the Misfits captain as he went down to a straight game defeat. Baker, too, is short of recent match play but although he also lost 3-0 he could just have easily won his first string match against a very good opponent as he lost both the opening game and the decisive third game on tie breaks. This left the final score 14-5 in favour of the home team but was not really a true reflection as to how close the match was.

Starling said afterwards: "Having a two week break at this stage of the season is not ideal and that is why I was cross when our opponents last week called off. We did have a very good training session on the day before this match but that is not the same as having a hard competitive match. On a positive note young Alex again turned in a very mature performance to win his match 3-1"

Results:-
John Baker lost to Sean Higginbotham 15-17 8-13 13-15
John Chandler lost to Stuart Supple 9-13 8-13 4-13
Matthew Jordan lost to Richard Copland 13-11 18-16 4-13 10-13 9-13
Alex Van Blerk beat Glen Richmond 13-7 13-9 9-13 13-11

Match No.3

Cromer's Technical Director Barry Starling was far from happy this week when his team's scheduled opponents, East Anglia V, called off their scheduled Norfolk SRA League Division Three match the day before it was due to take place claiming they were unable to raise a team.

Starling said: "For a club the size of East Anglia which is the largest in Norfolk it is ludicrous to call matches off. I don't know how many members their club has got but we are only a small club with a limited number of players and, come what may, we always do everything we can to fulfil our fixtures even if it means fielding a much weakened team. We would have been entitled to claim a walk-over, and some teams in our position would have done that, but we believe that the matches are meant to be played so we will be looking to re-arrange it later in the season. The previous week was our scheduled "free week" which means that the team will have now gone two weeks without a competitive match so any momentum we built up has been lost"

Last summer the East Anglia club only fielded two teams and the second team who were in the same Division as Cromer called off a number of matches, including their scheduled visit to Cromer, claiming team raising difficulties.

Match No.2


After last week’s fine sixteen point maximum Cromer came down to earth with a bump this week when they visited the UEA to take on the student’s second string and were on the wrong end of a 15-4 defeat. Technical Director Barry Starling knew that his team would be up against it since last week’s No.1, Alex Oliver, was unavailable as were four times former club champion John Baker and fellow veteran John Chandler. This meant that the team all had to move up the playing order while Catherine Kerr came into play the fourth string match.

Catherine was, in fact, the team’s only winner turning in a tremendous performance against a very fit student. After narrowly losing the first two games she could easily have suffered a straight game defeat but her experience and court craft proved decisive and after getting herself back into the match by taking the third game 13-10 she went on to take the fourth and fifth games, both with the same 13-7 scoreline, to come out on top 3-2.

Twelve year old Alex Van Blerk started his match well against the UEA captain, winning the opening game 13-6 but the older and physically stronger student gradually got on top winning the next three games although Alex battled hard and was certainly not disgraced and hopefully will not be too disheartened by his 3-1 defeat.

Both Matthew Jordan and captain Martin Sanville were playing one place higher in the order than they ideally would have liked and both went down to straight game defeats. Jordan never really got into his match, struggling against a good opponent and a warm court and although Sanville came close to winning the second game of his first string match he was always struggling.

Starling was not too disheartened afterwards saying: “It is still early days. It was just a pity that we weren’t really able to field what I would call a first string player although I am hoping that we might have a new player available for our next match which will be a big plus. That said Catherine was magnificent in her match and young Alex gave another very mature performance despite his defeat.”

Results:-
Martin Sanville lost to Jamie Nesbit 6-13 13-15 7-13
Matthew Jordan lost to David Barkwill 9-13 4-13 9-13
Alex Van Blerk lost to Tom Greenfield 13-6 7-13 9-13 11-13
Catherine Kerr beat Louis Coningsby 10-13 12-14 13-10 13-7 13-7

Match No.1

Cromer started their thirty sixth season of Norfolk League Squash this week with a home match against Broadland IV in Division Three of the Norfolk SRA Squash Leagues. The Norfolk SRA committee have made one significant change to the rules for this season by stipulating that teams will consist of four players rather than the traditional five. This does mean that matches can finish as “draws” but it will also mean that they finish at a sensible time and clubs should be able to always raise a team.

With both four times former club champion John Baker and veteran John Chandler unavailable Technical Director Barry Starling was on the verge of having to play himself but luckily on the day of the match Alex Oliver declared himself available to play at No.1 which meant that team captain Martin Sanville and Matt Jordan filled the second and third string slots while the highly promising twelve year old Alex Van Blerk was handed his winter league debut at No.4

Two weeks ago Alex won the Norfolk Under 13 title and he continued his good run of form with a straight game victory over fourteen year old Oliver Miller who like Alex has been selected to play for the Norfolk Under 15 team. This was a match of high quality and a credit to both boys, both of whom look as though they have got a good squash future ahead of them.

Both the Broadland second and third string players were relatively new to competitive squash and both Jordan and Sanville took full advantage to record convincing 3-0 victories without ever coming under any serious pressure. These wins ensured that Cromer would take the four bonus points on offer and then in the final first string match, after a somewhat lacklustre start, Alex Oliver eased his way to a comfortable 3-1 victory which meant that Cromer started their season with a 16-1 victory.

Starling said afterwards: “It was important to get our season off on the right footing and after some good training sessions I tried to select a team that would get us a victory. The Broadland team probably weren’t as strong as they have been in the past but their first string player was very experienced. Alex Van Blerk did very well and he will learn a lot by playing these sort of competitive matches.”

Results:-

Alex Oliver beat Kevin Cooke 6-13 13-6 13-6 13-7

Martin Sanville beat Gary Powley 13-8 13-9 13-8

Matthew Jordan beat Steve Robinson 13-5 13-5 13-4

Alex Van Blerk beat Oliver Miller 13-6 13-4 13-11