Matches Nos 13 and 14
These two matches, against the Bob Carter Centre and East Anglia II were not played as our opponents were unable to raise a team. In both instances we were awarded a 16-0 walk-over. Technical Director Barry Starling said: "This is extremely frustrating. We can understand a small club like the Bob Carter Centre not being able to raise a team in August but there can surely be no excuse for a club the size of East Anglia fulfilling all their fixtures."
This week Cromer played their last away match of the summer in Division Two of the Norfolk SRA Summer League and although they once again gave a good account of themselves they had to settle for their seventh away defeat of the season as they went down 16-5 to Broadland IV.
Technical Director Barry Starling made just one change from the team who lost at Barnham Broom last week with former club champion John Baker once again available to play the first string match. Veteran John Chandler was unavailable which meant that team captain Martin Sanville was able to drop down to play at No.2 while young Alex Van Blerk who made a hugely promising debut last week retained his place at No.3 while his mother, Catherine Kerr once again filled the fourth string slot.
Kerr was up against the Broadland captain, Richard Hall but after a very close first game which she narrowly lost 12-14 she was well beaten in the next two to go down to a straight game defeat. Meanwhile young Alex was again showing that he is going to be a very good player as he came agonisingly close to winning his match against Hall’s son, Josh. He lost a marathon first game 17-15, drew level by taking the second and then went 2-1 down as he lost the third. However, his head didn’t drop and he showed a great deal of determination to draw level once again by taking the fourth game 15-13 only to be just edged out in a very close fifth game which he lost 13-11.
Sanville has had something of a torrid time this summer and suffered some disappointing defeats but, when he opened up a 2-1 lead it did look as though he was heading towards victory. He had, however, been forced to put a lot of effort into those three games and although he battled hard for the rest of the match he lost the next two games to go down to a 3-2 defeat.
With the match lost Baker was up against a very good first string player. He still hits the ball better than anybody else in the club but, because of other commitments, he has been short of recent competitive court time and this proved to be decisive as he used a lot of energy in winning the second game of his match before going down to a 3-1 defeat.
Starling said afterwards: “The 16-5 scoreline was not a fair reflection of how well the team played. After last week I decided young Alex deserved another chance and he came so close to winning his match. At one stage I thought Martin Sanville would also win while Johnny Baker was a bit off the pace towards the end of his match. Broadland have got a much bigger catchment area than us from which to draw players and this doesn’t help.”
John Baker lost to Chris Wilkinson 7-13 14-12 6-13 4-13
Martin Sanville lost to Andy Ford 8-13 13-7 13-11 4-13 7-13
Alex Van Blerk lost to Josh Hall 15-17 13-7 7-13 15-13 11-13
Catherine Kerr lost to Richard Hall 12-14 8-13 4-13
Although Cromer lost their last scheduled Norfolk SRA Summer League fixture of the season they can take heart from their performance against second in the table Barnham Broom II. They lost the match 14-4 but the match was much closer than the scoreline would suggest even though the result did nothing to improve the team’s current eighth place in Division Two.
The Cromer squad have received a welcome boost with the return to the area of Catherine Kerr and Technical Director Barry Starling was pleased to welcome her back into the team to fill the fourth string slot while her twelve year old son Alex, who two years ago was the Norfolk Under 11 champion, was handed his Norfolk league debut at No.3. At the other end of the age scale John Chandler was once again available to play at No.2 while, in the continued absence of other players, team captain Martin Sanville was again forced to fill the problematical first string slot.
Cromer made an encouraging start to the evening with Kerr winning her match 3-1. She just edged a closely contested first game 14-12 but after her opponent drew level by winning the second game she eased to a relatively comfortable victory by taking the next two games. Sadly for Cromer this was their only success of the evening. Young Alex Van Blerk was not overawed by the occasion and although he lost his match in straight games he played some excellent squash and pushed his more experienced opponent hard throughout the match and could quite easily have won both the two opening games.
Similarly John Chandler, despite giving some fifty years to his opponent, could with a little bit of luck taken something from his match. An odd mistake at crucial times meant he lost the two opening games but he recovered well to keep himself in the match by winning the third game and it looked as though he could draw level before he narrowly lost the fourth game 15-13 to go down to a 3-1 defeat.
Martin Sanville was up against the Barnham Broom captain and he too didn’t deserve to lose in straight games. In three closely contested games he was just beaten in each one which gave a rather disproportionate look to the final score line.
Afterards Starling, who over the past thirty years has never been afraid to blood young players in the team said: “I was delighted with young Alex. I thought this would be an ideal opportunity to give him his debut and so it proved. I am sure he will soon be winning matches and it was good to welcome Catherine back into the team. The final score didn’t reflect the effort the players put in. Although this was the last scheduled match of the summer we have got three postponed matches to re-arrange over the course of the next two weeks so we will be aiming to pick up some more points.”
Martin Sanville lost to Stuart Bowes 11-13 10-13 9-13
John Chandler lost to Merrick Osbourne 11-13 10-13 13-10 13-15
Alex Van Blerk lost to Dan Roberts 12-14 11-13 8-13
Catherine Kerr beat Phil Davies 14-12 8-13 13-10 13-5.
It was a case of “fixture fulfilment” and “damage limitation” this week as Cromer travelled into Norwich to take on the three times Norfolk SRA Summer League champions, Oasis in a Division Two fixture. With the season now encroaching into August numerous players were unavailable for a variety of reasons and Technical Director Barry Starling was forced to field a team which would probably have given a good account of themselves thirty years ago but now struggled to do themselves justice.
Team captain Martin Sanville was obliged to move up the order to play the first string match, club stalwart Kim Payne again stepped into the breach to play at No.2 while Martin Braybrook played his first match of the summer at No.3 with Starling himself, who was struggling with full fitness, completing the line up in the fourth string position.
Braybrook was never seriously in contention in his match as he struggled to cope with the exceptionally warm glass backed Oasis court and the hard hitting game of his much younger opponent and he was soundly beaten in straight games. On the more evenly paced adjoining court Starling did open up a 9-2 lead in the first game of his match but he then lost eleven successive points to lose the game. This was his best chance of picking up a game although nobody could accuse him of a lack of effort as he took several heavy falls and even dived headlong towards the side wall, in a futile attempt to retrieve the ball, when trailing 11-4 in the final third game before he too lost 3-0
Kim Payne was involved in a marathon first game which he could and perhaps should have won before losing it 14-12 and after another long drawn out second game which he also narrowly lost he was well beaten in the third game to become the third player to lose by the same 3-0 scoreline. At this stage it looked as though Cromer could well return home pointless but fortunately Martin Sanville played a captain’s role in the final match of the evening to win the second game of his match before going down 3-1 to leave the final score 16-1 in favour of the home team.
Starling said afterwards: “I have never been in favour of playing league squash into August but it looks as though we have just got to go along with it. The courts were far too warm for our style of play as it is very difficult to control the ball and plays into the hands of the younger fitter players. I am hoping some of our unavailable players will be back for the last few matches of the season”
Martin Sanville lost to Terry Mayes 11-13 13-10 10-13 6-13
Kim Payne lost to John Milton 12-14 10-13 0-13
Martin Braybrook lost to Keane Pye 4-13 6-13 7-13
Barry Starling lost to Elliot Serruys 9-13 9-13 4-13
It was a case of “so near and yet so far” this week for Cromer as they literally came within one serve of winning their Norfolk SRA Summer League Division Two fixture against Potters Misfits. As it was they had to settle for a narrow 13-7 defeat when it could so easily have been a 12-7 victory as Stephen Watts was not quite able to convert a “match ball” in the fourth game of the final match of the evening.
With team captain Martin Sanville once again available Technical Director Barry Starling made two changes from the team who lost at Lime Tree Road last week. Veteran Kim Payne stepped down while Starling declared himself unfit after failing a test on his injured shoulder. Matthew Jordan came back into the team to play the fourth string match with veteran John Chandler and former club champion Stephen Watts at Nos 3 and 1.
The Misfits team are the former Beccles team and, for the second time this summer, Jordan was up against the Beccles Ladies No.1 player. He came out a comfortable straight game winner but on the adjoining court, in the battle of the two captains, the visitors drew level as Martin Sanville struggled to cope with his hard hitting opponent and went down to a 3-0 defeat.
On the warm courts John Chandler is struggling at times to find his touch but after a titanic second game which he won 15-13 he opened up a 2-1 lead but sadly for Cromer was not able to close the match out as he went on to lose the fourth and fifth games to go down to a 3-2 defeat.
In the final match of the evening Stephen Watts appeared to be heading for victory when he won the first two games of his match and even after losing the third game victory still appeared to be in his grasp. In a marathon fourth game he served for the match at 12-11 but his opponent won that point and the next two to take the game and draw level and then in a frenetic fifth game it was the Potters player who came out on top as he converted his first match point to win the game 13-11, the match 3-2 and also give his side a 13-7 victory
Afterwards Starling said: “It was so disappointing to come so close but I couldn’t ask for any more from the team. JC was in the lead at 2-1 but then a lot of his drop shots failed him while Stephen Watts was absolutely magnificent. When he had that match point in the fourth game I thought we were home and dry but all credit to the Potters boys and especially their No.1 who kept going right to the end.”
Results:- Stephen Watts lost to Sean Higginbotham 13-10 13-6 8-13 12-14 11-13 Martin Sanville lost to Stuart Supple 2-13 10-13 6-13 John Chandler lost to Terry Brookes 7-13 15-13 13-6 6-13 6-13 Matthew Jordan beat Bev Todd 13-5 13-9 13-4
Match No. 8
Cromer, this week, had what Technical Director Barry Starling described as "just one of those weeks" when a below strength team travelled into Norwich to take on East Anglia II in a Norfolk SRA Summer League Division Two fixture and failed to pick up a single game as they slumped to a 16-0 defeat. Cromer were not helped by the absence of both former club champion John Baker and team captain Martin Sanville as well as several squad players which meant that the ever dependable Kim Payne was called up to play the second string match while Starling himself made a rare appearance for the team playing at No.4. This left Stephen Watts filling the first string slot while veteran John Chandler was at No.3
Starling's lack of recent competitive match play showed through as he struggled against a much younger opponent and lost his match in straight games while on the adjoining court Chandler suffered the same fate although he could quite easily have taken the second game of his match which he lost 14-12. Kim Payne, similarly, pushed his opponent hard in the third game but he eventually lost it 15-13 to also go down to a 3-0 defeat while in the final first string match Stephen Watts gave his usual whole hearted performance but he became the fourth player to lose in straight games to complete a miserable evening for the Cromer team.
Starling said afterwards : "When we were short of players we could quite easily have called off the match as in fact the East Anglia team did when they should have visited us back in May but we always want to play our scheduled matches. I did think that our experienced team might have picked up a few games but at the end of the day whilst we may have had the skill the opposition were too young and too fit on the warm Lime Tree Road courts."
Results:- Stephen Watts lost to Jamie Foyster 10-13 4-13 9-13 Kim Payne lost to Neil Kelly 3-13 6-13 13-15 John Chandler lost to Andy Magem 8-13 12-14 7-13 Barry Starling lost to Sam ?? 8-13 5-13 7-13
Match No. 7
After making last week's long trip to the other side of Great Yarmouth, Cromer returned to their home courts this week for a Norfolk SRA Summer League Division Two match against Broadland IV. This was one of the matches Technical Director Barry Starling had earmarked as a likely win, especially as former club champion John Baker was available to play the first string match but his hopes were dashed as the team slipped to a 13-5 defeat.
With Baker once again available veteran Steve Booth was the unlucky player to miss out on selection while Stephen Watts, team captain Martin Sanville and fellow veteran John Chandler all moved one place down in the playing order. The evening started promisingly enough as Watts and Chandler played the opening two matches. Chandler opened up a 2-0 lead and appeared to be cruising to victory in his fourth string match against the visiting captain while Watts comfortably won the second string match in straight games but then things started to go wrong.
Chandler allowed his opponent back into the match as his drop shots weren't accurate enough on the very warm Cromer courts and he evntually lost the match 3-2 going down 13-10 in the decisive fifth game while Sanville, who narrowly lost a marathon second game 16-18 lost his third string match in straight games. In the final match of the evening Baker found himself up against the precocious talents of the current Norfolk Under 19 champion, sixteen year old Will Henden and no matter how hard he tried he found the youngster seemingly able to return the ball at will. He too went down to a 3-0 defeat which capped a disappointing evening for the Cromer team.
Starling said afterwards: "I wasn't really banking on young Will Henden turning up to play but even so we were well beaten without being disgraced. It looked for all the world as if JC, who was awesome for two games, was going to win his match in straight games and if he had we would have got a share of the points while Martin Sanville could quite easily have won the second game of his match.Stephen Watts was brilliant again and at the moment he is picking up most of our points"
Results:- John Baker lost to Will Henden 5-13 6-13 9-13 Stephen Watts beat Josh Hall 13-8 13-7 13-6 Martin Sanville lost to Ollie Gollop 5-13 16-18 6-13 John Chandler lost to Richard Hall 13-7 13-6 9-13 3-13 10-13
Match No. 6
After two successive Norfolk SRA Summer League Division Two victories Cromer made the long journey to the other side of Great Yarmouth to take on Potters Nomads with a degree of confidence even though they had lost the home fixture 16-2 in the first match of the season. However they were handicapped by the absence of former club champion John Baker which left Technical Director Barry Starling with something of a selection dilemma and in the end Cromer had to settle for a 15-6 defeat which was much closer than the scoreline might suggest.
In Baker's absence another former club champion Stephen Watts moved up the order to fill the first string slot and with Matthew Jordan also unavailable and Starling himself now troubled by an injured shoulder Steve Booth came into the team to play the fourth string match while team captain Martin Sanville and veteran stalwart John Chandler filled the middle order
On a hot sultry evening the Cromer team found the ball flying around the court which did not help their style of play and they were never quite able to close out their matches. Steve Booth has not played many matches under the Point A Rally scoring system and he had to battle hard against a deceptive opponent. Considering his recent lack of competitive match play he did exceptionally well to only just lose the first two games by the narrowest of margins before keeping himself in contention by winning the third only to lose the fourth to go down to a 3-1 defeat.
John Chandler looked as though he would be heading for a straight game victory as he took the first two games of his third string match only for his opponent to draw level by winning the next two. Chandler recovered well however to win the decisive fifth game to keep Cromer's hopes of victory alive. Martin Sanville was up against the Potters captain and, like Booth, he narrowly lost the opening two games but he recovered brilliantly to draw level at 2-2 before tiredness took its toll as he lost the fifth game to just lose the match 3-2.
Stephen Watts had the misfortune to come up against one of the most deceptively strong players in the division and despite chasing down every ball he was having to do the majority of the work and it was no disgrace that he lost 3-0.
Starling said afterwards: "We were beaten but not disgraced. The Potters boys are a good team - we pushed them hard but even if we had been at full strength I think we would have struggled. We are now in the second half of the season and hopefully our hard work in the first half is starting to pay off"
Results:- Stephen Watts lost to Cliff High 7-13 10-13 7-13 Martin Sanville lost to Darren Green 10-13 12-14 13-7 14-12 6-13 John Chandler beat Graham Fackman 13-10 13-4 7-13 9-13 13-11 Steve Booth lost to Richard Soanes 11-13 15-17 14-12 7-13
Match No. 5
After last week's excellent and much needed victory over the former league champions Oasis, Cromer this week went into their Norfolk SRA League Division Two fixture against top of the table Barnham Broom II with a renewed degree of confidence. Although Alex Oliver and team captain, Martin Sanville, were both uavailable Technical Director Barry Starling was pleased that former club champion John Baker was able to return at No.1 while the fourth string position was filled by the steadily improving Matthew Jordan. Another former club champion, Stephen Watts, and evergreen veteran John Chandler filled the second and third string positions.
The previously unbeaten Barnham team had two relatively young players in the middle of their playing order and both Watts and Chandler had to call on all their experience against two very fit and rapidly improving players. Watts did lose the first game of his match, narrowly going down 13-15 but was then able to take control to win 3-1 and keep his season's unbeaten record intact. Similarly Chandler, who had surprisingly lost all four of his previous matches this summer, lost the second game of his match 12-14 but his court craft shone through as he took the next two to also win 3-1.
With two wins under their belt Cromer were well placed and Matthew Jordan made sure of victory when he won his fourth string match in straight games. In the final first string match John Baker couldn't quite make it a clean sweep as he lost a very close and well contested match against the Barnham captain, going down 3-1 to leave the final score 14-5 in Cromer's favour.
Afterwards Starling said: "This was a good win against a good team who, coming into this match, were unbeaten. With two players out I was going to play at No.4 but I thought Matt Jordan would be a better option and he proved me right. I was pleased that JC got a win under his belt and Stevie Watts is currently enjoying a rich vein of form. We can now build on this during the second half of the summer.
Results:- John Baker lost to Stuart Bowes 11-13 14-12 6-13 11-13 Stephen Watts beat Merrick Osborne 13-15 13-4 13-5 13-9 John Chandler beat Phil Davies 13-7 12-14 13-5 13-6 Matthew Jordan beat Colin Winkworth 13-4 15-13 13-10
Match No. 4
Cromer's Technical Director Barry Starling was all smiles this week as, after three successive defeats, Cromer won their first match of the summer in Division Two of the Norfolk SRA Summer Leagues defeating visiting Oasis 12-6. Captain Martin Sanville made just one change from the team who were narrowly beaten last week with young Alex Oliver coming in for his first match of the summer to play the first string match in place of the unavailable former club champion John Baker while another former club champion, Stephen Watts, Sanville himself and veteran John Chandler completed the line up.
Chandler was first on court and he found himself involved in a marathon fourth string match which was the only match of the evening to go to more than three games. Chandler started slowly, losing the opening game as he found the warm court unconducive to his deliberate style of play but he recovered well to take the next two games and open up a 2-1 lead. His much younger opponent however coped much better as the match went on eventually taking the fourth and fifth games to come out on top 3-2, but the two games Chandler won would prove important in the overall context of the match.
On the adjoining court Stephen Watts found himself involved in a hard hitting and somewhat frenetic second string match. He won the first game 13-8 but then trailed 7-12 in the second game before, in a remarkable turnaround, winning seven consecutive points to take the game 14-12 and open up a 2-0 lead. This recovery seemed to knock his opponent's confidence and Watts went on to win the third game and record his second successive straight game victory.
Alex Oliver's first string opponent struggled throughout with a pre match injury but the youngster quite rightly took a number of cheap points that were on offer as he cruised to a 3-0 victory which ensured that Cromer could not be beaten and would collect the bonus points. In the final third string match captain Martin Sanville played well but struggled to read the deceptive wristy game of his opponent and lost in straight games which meant that both teams had won two matches but Cromer took the bonus points by virtue of having won eight games to their opponents' six.
Afterwards Starling, who seven days previously had become a grandfather for the third time, said this was an excellent performance and capped an excellent week for me. Oasis were Norfolk League champions for three years in the 1990s and although they are not as strong as they were they are still a very good side. Stephen Watts was tremendous and it was remarkable how he won the second game of his match after being 7-12 down while Alex Oliver did what he had to do against a very experienced opponent.
Results:- Alex Oliver beat Terry Mayes 13-4 13-5 13-5 Stephen Watts beat John Milton 13-8 14-12 13-8 Martin Sanville lost to David Horrex 10-13 7-13 9-13 John Chandler lost to Keane Pye 8-13 13-10 13-10 8-13 8-13
Match No. 3
Although Cromer turned in a much better performance this week in the Norfolk SRA Summer League Division Two, doubling their seasonal points tally from six to twelve, they still couldn't quite register that elusive first victory of the summer as they lost to the Bob Carter Centre 13-6. The team showed two changes as Technical Director Barry Starling searched for a winning formula with former club champions John Baker and Stephen Watts coming in at the top of the order while veteran Kim Payne and last week's winner Matthew Jordan, who was not fit, dropped out.
Cromer went into the match with hopes of winning but their hopes were dented when the usually dependable John Chandler went down to a 3-2 defeat in the fourth string match. Against an opponent he would normally have expected to have beaten he struggled to cope with both the pace of the court and a wily opponent and despite twice drawing level he was well beaten in the decisive fifth game.
Captain Martin Sanville was up against a strong third string opponent and despite pushing his opponent hard in each of the three games he narrowly lost each one to go down to a straight game defeat. In contrast Stephen Watts who was playing his first competitive match for six months seemed to have benefitted from his long lay off and was in imperious form as he swept to a 3-0 victory dropping no more than five points in each of the three games.
At No.1 John Baker was playing one of the most experienced players in the Division and he started slowly losing the first two games. He recovered well to win the third game but this needed a monumental effort and this effort took its toll in the fourth as he lost it 13-8 to lose the match 3-1.
Starling said afterwards: "This was a much more encouraging performance and with a little more luck we could easily have won the match. It was a pity that JC was a little off the pace tonight but the big plus was Stephen Watts' form as he was awesome throughout.
Results:- John Baker lost to Graham Sibley 5-13 9-13 15-13 -13 Stephen Watts beat Ian Pearson 13-3 13-5 13-5 Martin Sanville lost to Marco Valori 10-13 14-16 11-13 John Chandler lost to Paul Parker 8-13 13-11 7-13 13-9 6-13
Match No. 2
After two weeks of postponements Cromer returned to Norfolk SRA Summer League action this week when they made the long journey south of Great Yarmouth to take on Potters Misfits in a Division Two fixture. The Potters team is basically the former Beccles team who have decamped to the East coast holiday resort so Technical Director Barry Starling was fully aware that his team would be in for a tough evening. With former club champion John Baker unavailable Starling was tempted to play himself but after a run of shaky internal league results he decided against it and called up the dependable veteran Kim Payne to join team captain, Martin Sanville fellow veteran John Chandler and the rapidly improving Matthew Jordan in the line up.
Jordan was in good form in the fourth string match and although he dropped the second game of his match against the leading lady player from Beccles he was never in any serious difficulty and went on to win 3-1. On the adjoining court John Chandler took time to come to terms with the speed of the court and was never in contention in the first two games. As he got used to the conditions he recovered well to take the third game but his efforts took their toll and he narrowly lost the fourth game by just two points to go down to a 3-1 defeat.
With the match finely balanced everything depended upon the result of the first and second string matches but both Kim Payne and Martin Sanville found their opponents too strong. Payne, as always, battled hard against the home team's captain but lost in straight games and the same fate befel Sanville although he could easily have taken the second game to draw level. The final result was 14-4 in favour of the home team which was probably a fair reflection of the evening's squash.
A philosophical Starling said afterwards:- "I knew from the start that we would be up against it and it didn't help that neither of our former club champions were available to play at the top of the order. I have had some horrendous results so didn't think I would do the team justice if I had played. As it was the four who played all played as well as their opponents allowed. We will work on one or two things during the week and hope for a better result in our next match"
Results:- Martin Sanville lost to David Hall 9-13 13-15 3-13 Kim Payne lost to Stuart Supple 2-13 4-13 9-13 John Chandler lost to Richard Copland 3-13 5-13 13-6 11-13 Matthew Jordan beat Bev Todd 13-8 10-13 13-3 13-11
Match No. 1
Cromer's Technical Director Barry Starling offered no excuses this week as Cromer lost their first match of the season in Division Two of the Norfolk SRA Summer League going down to a heavy 16-2 defeat at the hands of visiting Potters Nomads. Although summer league squash is traditionally not as competitive and intense as it is in the main winter season all eight of the players involved played in the last match of the 2014-15 winter season - a match which Potters won 17-6 - so it was no great surprise that the visitors again came out on top although with a little more luck the Cromer team could easily have picked up some more points.
The team's oldest player, John Chandler who was playing the third string match was first on court against the visiting captain and his match was a case in point. He narrowly lost the first game 13-15 and the second 10-13 and then after recovering well to take the third game 17-15 luck deserted him as he just lost the fourth game by two points to go down to a 3-1 defeat which was not a true reflection of the closeness of the match and how well he played.
Former club champion John Baker was in a similar position at No.1. He had chances to win both the first two games of his match before losing them 12-14 and 16-18 but after these two marathon games tiredness played a part and he lost the third to lose in straight games. Captain Martin Sanville also lost his match in straight games but he was up against a very deceptive and unorthodox player who was playing one place higher during the winter. He battled hard throughout but the final score was never really in doubt.
In the final fourth string match Matthew Jordan was playing a wily and experienced player and although he was quicker around the court and hit the ball harder he struggled to read his opponent's game. He did take the second game 13-8 to draw level at 1-1 but lost the next two to be the second Cromer player to lose 3-1.
Afterwards Starling said: "We have got no excuses. Potters were simply better than us and as soon as we saw who was in their team we knew our chances of getting anything out of the match were slight. I am still hoping to blood one or two of the club's younger players during the summer but it is a case of finding the right opposition for them."