Match Ten Cromer 5 UEA II 17
Cromer's 2016-17 Norfolk League season ended in something of anti-climax this week when they entertained the high flying students from UEA II in their final Division Three match and were well beaten 17-5. They were not helped by a break down in communication which left them one player short as former club champion John Baker was under the misapprehension that the scheduled Tuesday night match was due to be played two days later.
Technical Director Barry Starling was pleased to welcome Alex Oliver back into the team to play the first string match and he was again backed up by Matthew Jordan, Martin Sanville and John Chandler while Ross Murray dropped out.
The veteran Chandler was first on court but he found he was giving around 50 years to his young opponent and not surprisingly struggled throughout. He did have a faint chance in the first game when he won four successive rallies to pull the score back to 11-12 but he then served a fault to lose the game 13-11 and was well beaten in the next two as he slipped to a straight game defeat. Martin Sanville had chances in his match against the students' captain especially in the first two games but was unable to convert leads into winning positions. He was 11-8 up in the first game before losing it 13-11 and similarly he had "game ball" in the second at 13-12 but lost the game 15-13 and was then well beaten in the third game to go down to a 3-0 defeat.
The match of the evening was undoubtedly Matthew Jordan's second string match against Tom Greenfield. After narrowly losing the first game 11-13 he trailed 0-9 in the second only to mount a recovery before losing it 7-13 to go 0-2 down. The third game was completely different as he led 7-1 before going on to win the game 13-10 and then went on to win the fourth game 13-10 after opening up a 7-3 lead. With the scores level the decisive fifth game could have gone either way and after twice saving "match ball" at 10-12 and 11-12 he had two match balls of his own before his opponent took his third opportunity, winning the game 16-14 and the match 3-2.
In the final match of the evening Alex Oliver played exceptionally well against a very skilful opponent to win his match in straight games which left the final score 17-5 in favour of the students.
Afterwards Starling said: "It is a great pity that we only had four players but it was a genuine misunderstanding and Johnny Baker has never got the dates wrong before in the last 30 years. Even if he had been there it wouldn't have affected the overall match result and his scheduled opponent did beat Olly in the match at the UEA. The Norfolk SRA computer also has John currently ranked 22 places lower and was predicting a 3-2 defeat. Olly did brilliantly to win his match 3-0 and with a little bit of luck Jordy could have won his match 3-2 so I am not too disheartened. It has been a good season and we are happy with a mid table finish.
Alex Oliver beat Ash Sinha 13-7 13-9 13-9
Matthew Jordan lost to Tom Greenfield 11-13 7-13 13-10 13-10 14-16
Martin Sanville lost to james Taylor 11-13 13-15 7-13
John Chandler lost to Ramish Aziz 11-13 4-13 9-13
Tom Vaughan (UEA) walk-over 3-0
Match Nine Broadland IV 7 Cromer 19
For their penultimate Norfolk SRA League fixture of the season Cromer travelled to Fleggburgh to take on bottom of the table, Broadland IV in a Division Three fixture. Technical Director Barry Starling made two changes from the team who won their last match at home to the Bob Carter Centre with former club champion John Baker coming back into the team in place of the unavailable Alex Oliver at No.1 while in the fifth string position the dependable Kim Payne dropped out to be replaced by the younger legs of Ross Murray, while Matthew Jordan, Martin Sanville and John Chandler once again filled the three middle order slots.
Murray, who is relatively new to competitive squash is gradually adapting his game to the demands of match play and after a few nervous moments especially in the second game which he lost 13-11, he evntually proved too strong for his lady opponent as he won his match 3-1. John Chandler, in contrast, has years of experience behind him and he needed to draw on all of this as he just won a closely contested fourth string match 3-2. After losing the opening game he won the next two before his opponent drew level at 2-2 and then led 10-4 in the decisive fifth game. Chandler, however, gradually clawed his way back into the game and after a succession of successful drop shots he evntually drew level and went on to take the game 14-12 and the match 3-2.
Martin Sanville lost the opening game of his third string match but dominated the next three to come out on top 3-1 which meant that Cromer could not be beaten although Matthew Jordan went down to a somewhat surprising defeat at No.2. He lost the first game but then won the next two only to lose both the fourth and fifth games relatively cheaply to lose his match 3-2.
In the final match of the evening John Baker was simply too good for his opponent .Each of the three games followed a similar pattern with Baker easing his way to victory from 7-7 in the first and third games and 9-9 in the second without losing any more rallies. His 3-0 victory meant that Cromer won 19-7 - their best result of the season and their third successive victory.
Starling said afterwards:2 Broadland were a good bunch of lads but in all honesty I would have been disappointed if we had lost to them. That said it did look as though JC was going to lose his match and he had to battle hard to come from behind and win the final game. We are at home to the students from the UEA in our final match of the season next week and I think they will give us a tougher test.
John Baker beat Gary Powley 13-7 13-9 13-7
Matthew Jordan lost to Jordan Bowman 9-13 13-11 13-8 6-13 4-13
Martin Sanville beat Peter Dye 7-13 13-10 13-5 13-8
John Chandler beat Richard Hall 5-13 13-10 13-9 9-13 14-12
Ross Murray beat Kirstie Johnson 13-8 11-13 13-10 13-5
Match Eight Cromer 16 Bob Carter Centre 8
With club champion Stephen Watts, former club champion John Baker and promising newcomer Ross Murray all unavailable Technical Director Barry Starling was all set to fill the fifth string slot himself but fortunately club stalwart Kim Payne was once again persuaded to come out of retirement to play at No.5 while Alex Oliver, Matthew Jordan, Martin Sanville and John Chandler completed the line-up.
Payne narrowly lost the opening game of his match before showing his team mates what they had been missing during his absence as he dominated the next two games to open up a 2-1 lead before tiredness understandably started to show and after narrowly losing the fourth game by just two points he was well beaten in the fifth to go down to a narrow 3-2 defeat. On the adjoining court the veteran Chandler was up against another canny veteran in the fourth string match and in a match of few rallies he always had the edge and, after losing the opening game, came out on top 3-1.
This left the match evenly balanced but when Martin Sanville lost the third string match in straight games after letting a 12-9 lead in the first game slip Cromer needed to win the remaining two matches to take the bonus points. Matthew Jordan brought the scores level when, after a nervy third game and a very nervy fourth which he won 14-12, he won the second string match 3-1 and then in the final match of the evening Alex Oliver dominated the first string match from start to finish, never giving his opponent any chance at all, as he won 3-0, which gave Cromer their victory.
A satisfied Starling said afterwards: “This was an excellent team performance. I don’t think we can realistically hope to finish any higher than third but if we were able to turn out our top three players on a regular basis then we would be there or thereabouts. Alex Oliver was different class tonight and both Matthew Jordan and JC had to dig in to win their matches. I was delighted to see Kim Payne on court once again.”
Matthew Jordan beat Ian Pearson 13-6 13-8 7-13 14-12
Martin Sanville lost to Marco Valori 12-14 7-13 8-13
John Chandler beat Graham Woodford 6-13 13-10 13-9 13-9
Kim Payne lost to Paul Parker 10-13 13-8 13-7 11-13 5-13
Match Seven East Anglia IV 8 Cromer 15
For their final Norfolk SRA League Division Three fixtiure of 2016 Cromer travelled into Norwich to take on East Anglia IV and they returned home with a hard fought 15-8 victory, a result which, temporarily at least, propels them into third place in the league table.
With club champion Stephen Watts forced out of the team having ripped the muscles on the sole of his foot and former club champion John Baker unavailable due to work commitments Technical Director Barry Starling was fortunate that he was able to call upon the services of the talented Alex Oliver for only the third time this season to fill the first string slot while Matthew Jordan, Martin Sanville and John Chandler filled the middle order and Ross Murray, after his impressive debut in the previous match, was given another outing at No.5.
Murray would be the first to admit that he still has a lot to learn regarding court craft and positioning but he has excellent racket skills and these coupled with his power and mobility enabled him to win his match 3-2, a win which proved to be vitally important in the overall context of the match. The veteran Chandler came close in every game of his fourth string match but was not able to close a game out as he went down to a straight game defeat while Martin Sanville, as always, battled hard in his third string match but had to settle for a narrow 3-1 defeat.
Fortunately for Cromer team captain Matthew Jordan was in good form and proved too strong for his older opponent as he won the second string match 3-0 and Alex Oliver was never seriously troubled as he too won his match in straight games to clinch victory for his team.
Afterwards Starling said: "This was a good team performance especially as we lost to this team on our own courts back in October. Without Watts and Baker I thought we might have struggled but Ross Murray didn't let me down, fully justifying his selection, and he showed that he could be a big asset to the team while both Jordan and Oliver dominated their matches. Three of the matches, which were played on the glass backed court, were captured on video and are now on the internet so this will give us something to work on and analyse as we move into the second half of the season"
Alex Oliver beat Elliott Shilling 13-7 13-6 13-8
Matthew Jordan beat Brian Day 13-11 13-7 13-10
Martin Sanville lost to James Close 6-13 12-14 17-15 12-14
John Chandler lost to Leo Kleinberg 11-13 10-13 13-15
Ross Murray beat Sue Kuhaudomlarp 3 games to 2
Match Six Cromer 3 Fakenham II 19
After the euphoria of last week, when they beat the Bob Carter Centre, Cromer came down to earth with a bump this week when they kicked off the second half of their Norfolk SRA League Division Three season with the return home fixture against high flying Fakenham II and were soundly beaten 19-3.
With Matthew Jordan unavailable Technical Director Barry Starling was forced into making one change and instead of filling the fifth string slot himself he decided to give a debut to one of the club’s leading tennis players, Ross Murray while both Martin Sanville and John Chandler moved up the order to play at Nos 3 and 4. Unfortunately for Cromer the Fakenham team were exceptionally strong and experienced and they completely dominated four of the five matches.
Murray showed plenty of nice touches in his first ever competitive squash and he did come close to winning the first game against Devendra Mahatme before just losing it 15-17. Whilst hitting the ball well he showed that he still has a lot to learn as regards positioning and court craft – something which will come with experience – and he lost the next two games to go down to a straight game defeat. John Chandler was also second best in his match against the visiting captain Jason Smith as he too lost 0-3 while former club champion John Baker also suffered a rare straight game defeat in the first string match against one of the Fakenham club’s seemingly inexhaustible supply of young players, Adam Manning.
While all this was going on club champion Stephen Watts was involved in a marathon second string match with Gary Hastings. He opened up a 2-0 lead and looked to be heading for a straight game victory when he led in the third but the Fakenham man fought back to take the game 15-13 and then drew level when he won the fourth game. The final decisive fifth game could have gone either way but Watts eventually came out on top 13-11 to win the match 3-2 and give Cromer their only points of the evening.
In the last match of the evening Martin Sanville was unable to repeat his heroics of the previous week and became the fourth Cromer player to lose 3-0 as he was well beaten by the veteran Fakenham club coach Bruce Bushell.
At the end of the match Starling said: “It was disappointing to only pick up three points but, on the positive side, Stephen Watts was absolutely magnificent. He and three of the others have been involved in some hard matches in the annual club veterans’ tournament and, without making excuses, perhaps these took their toll. I was pleased to have been able to integrate Ross Murray into the team and he will have gained some invaluable experience from his match against Doctor Dev.”
John Baker lost to Adam Manning 3-13 8-13 10-13
Stephen Watts beat Gary Hastings 13-10 13-7 13-15 8-13 13-11
Martin Sanville lost to Bruce Bushell 7-13 6-13 2-13
John Chandler lost to Jason Smith 7-13 9-13 10-13
Ross Murray lost to Devendra Mahatme 15-17 9-13 6-13.
Match Three (re-arranged) Bob Carter Centre 9 Cromer 17
Cromer reached the half way stage in their Norfolk SRA League Division Three season this week when they travelled to Drayton to take on the Bob Carter Centre in a re-arranged match and they returned home after a narrow 17-9 victory. Technical Director Barry Starling made two changes from the team who were beaten in their last match at the University with club champion Stephen Watts and Matthew Jordan once again available they came back into the team with Alex Oliver unavailable and Malcolm Crane standing down.
The original match should have been played in October but when Cromer were experiencing difficulties in raising a team on the scheduled night the Carter Centre sportingly agreed to rearrange the fixture and Cromer took full advantage of their hosts’ generosity. John Chandler, who is the team’s oldest player, was first on court and he opened up a 2-1 lead in his fifth string match and looked to be heading for victory. However he was not quite able to close out either of the fourth and fifth games losing them both by a narrow two point margin and had to settle for a 3-2 defeat.
Martin Sanville has not enjoyed the best of luck in his team matches but in recent weeks his form has returned and he followed up his victory against Broadland by reaching the final of the club’s Over 35 tournament. This week he trailed his opponent 2-0 but battled back brilliantly to win the next three games to take the fourth string match 3-2 and leave the match finely balanced. Cromer, however, fell behind when team captain Matthew Jordan, after winning his opening game, lost his third string match 3-1 which meant that John Baker and Stephen Watts had to win the first and second string matches if Cromer were to take the bonus points.
Watts, who was playing the home team’s captain, eased his way to a comfortable straight game victory at No.2 and Baker showed that he is still a class player as, after losing the first game 10-13, he overcame his determined and competitive opponent 3-1. This meant that Cromer had won the match 17-9, a win which has consolidated their fourth place in the division and leaves them well placed for the second half of the season.
After the match Starling said: “This was a fine team performance. For the second time in three matches Martin Sanville has turned in a magnificent performance to turn a likely defeat into victory and our two class players at the top of the order both came up with victories. I think we can start to move forward with confidence into the second half of the season”
John Baker beat Graham Sibley 10-13 13-11 13-4 13-11
Stephen Watts beat Ian Pearson 14-12 13-11 13-9
Matthew Jordan lost to Dave Cartwright 13-8 9-13 11-13 5-13
Martin Sanville beat Graham Woodford 8-13 12-14 13-7 13-10 13-8
John Chandler lost to Paul Parker 13-7 5-13 13-10 11-13 11-13
Match Five UEA II 19 Cromer 4
After the euphoria of last week when they recorded a thrilling victory in the last game of the evening Cromer came down to earth with a bump this week when they visited the UEA and were soundly beaten by the students’ second string 19-4 in their Norfolk SRA League Division Three fixture. The result was not entirely unexpected however as the students have two particuarly strong squads this season with the second team currently well clear at the top of the division having dropped just one point prior to this week’s match.
Technical Director Barry Starling was forced to make two changes to last week’s winning team with neither Matthew Jordan nor club champion Stephen Watts available. Former club champion John Baker came back to play the second string match and Alex Oliver was available for the second time this season to play at No.1. In addition Starling decided against playing himself at No.5 and recalled fellow veteran Malcolm Crane to fill the problematical fifth string slot.
The evening did not get off to the best of starts as both Crane and John Chandler found it difficult to concede fifty years to young opponents on extremely warm courts. Crane struggled throughout and went down to a straight game defeat and although Chandler did pick up a few more points in the third game of his match he too was beaten 3-0. Cromer suffered their third defeat of the evening when Martin Sanville also lost 3-0 although he did have chances to win an extremely close first game before his opponent edged it 15-13.
At this stage Cromer feared a whitewash but Baker showed some of the form that enabled him to win the club championship four times more than a quarter of a century ago. He trailed his young opponent by 2 games to 1 but drew level when he stormed through the fourth game 13-2 and showed terrific determination and racket control to take the decisive fifth game 13-11 to come out on top 3-2. Alex Oliver, playing at No.1, was up against arguably one of the best players in the division and he didn’t disgrace himself as he took the second game of the match 13-10 before going down to a 3-1 defeat.
Afterwards Starling said: “This was one of the strongest UEA second teams I can remember for a long while and it was certainly no disgrace to lose to them. Alex Oliver did well to take a game of their No.1 player and Johnny Baker was absolutely magnificent. He is now up to No.123 in the county rankings and I will be helping him as he bids to reach the top 100 during the second half of the season. We are still fourth in the division and hopefully we will be able to push on from here.”
Alex Oliver lost to Tom Vaughan 5-13 13-10 6-13 7-13
John Baker beat Tom Greenfield 8-13 13-9 9-13 13-2 13-11
Martin Sanville lost to James Taylor 13-15 3-13 8-13
John Chandler lost to Riyad Sheikh 4-13 7-13 10-13
Malcolm Crane lost to Eoghan Forde 4-13 2-13 5-13
Match Four Cromer 16 Broadland III 10
Cromer moved up to fourth place in Division Three of the Norfolk SRA squash leagues this week with a narrow, nail-biting 16-10 victory over Broadland III. The match could hardly have been closer and although the visitors were only able to field a team of four players the overall result was in doubt until the final game of the evening which Martin Sanville won 13-10 to win his match 3-2, a win which gave Cromer victory 16-10.
Although former club champion John Baker was unavailable Technical Director Barry Starling was able to field a strong team with the newly crowned club champion Stephen Watts at No.1 supported by Matthew Jordan and Martin Sanville in the middle of the order with veteran John Chandler returning from holiday to play at No.4. Starling himself would have filled the fifth string spot but he was not needed and was able to claim a rare victory by way of a walk-over.
Chandler was probably giving almost fifty years to his young opponent and he opened up a 2-0 lead although he had to battle hard to win a marathon second game 19-17. The effort he expended to win this game seemed to take its toll as he was well beaten in the next two games but recovered his touch to take the decisive fifth game 13-9 and win the match 3-2. In contrast Matthew Jordan struggled in his second string match and his legs seemed tired as he made a number of uncharacteristic unforced errors and went down to a straight game defeat.
After his brilliant performance to win the previous week’s prestigious club championship Stephen Watts would have expected to win his match against the former Wensum Lodge player, Steve Cunningham but he was forced into a marathon match full of long demanding rallies. He lost the first two games but when he won the next two to draw level at 2-2 it looked as though he was heading for victory only for his opponent to step up his game again to take the fifth game 13-7.
This left Martin Sanville needing to win the final match of the evening if Cromer were to win and he would be the first to admit that he has had something of a torrid time of late suffering a number of defeats. However, this was the week when he came up trumps and after going 1-2 down he drew level when he won the fourth game 13-6 and then with the result of the whole match dependent upon the final game of his match he took the game 13-10 to give Cromer their victory.
Afterwards Starling said: “It is a great pity that our friends from Broadland were only able to bring a team of four players but this helped our cause as I am not sure that I would have won the fifth string match. John Chandler looked suitably refreshed after his holiday and Martin Sanville was absolutely brilliant as he came up with a victory when we needed it. Our aim now has got to be to move up the league table and if we can get a full strength team out we ought to be challenging for second place.”
Stephen Watts lost to Steve Cunningham 8-13 12-14 13-8 13-2 7-13
Matthew Jordan lost to Nathan Shearing 10-13 8-13 9-13
Martin Sanville beat Gary Powley 5-13 13-11 6-13 13-6 13-10
John Chandler beat Jordan Bowman 13-4 19-17 8-13 4-13 13-9
Barry Starling walk-over.
Match Three:- Bob Carter Centre v Cromer Match Postponed
Match Two:- Cromer 9 East Anglia IV 17
Cromer’s Technical Director Barry Starling was able to field a full five man team this week for the first Norfolk SRA League Division three home match of the season against East Anglia IV and was even able to afford the luxury of leaving himself out of the line which enabled him to direct proceedings from the balcony. With Alex Oliver unavailable former club champion John Baker came back into the team to play the first string match with Malcolm Crane at No.5 while Stephen Watts, Matthew Jordan and Martin Sanville retained their places in the middle of the order. Sadly for Cromer, however, they couldn’t quite pull off the result their performance deserved and they had to settle for a narrow 17-9 defeat.
Crane was first on court and, in his own words, “played as well as he had for a long time” but struggled against the silky skills of the young Thai PhD student Sue Kuhaudomlarp and went down to a straight game defeat. On the adjoining court the 2013 club champion, Stephen Watts, was continuing his previous week’s good form and after a shaky opening game which he lost 6-13 he dominated the second game, winning it 13-2 and after being pushed hard in the third eased to victory in the fourth to win his match 3-1.
For some reason Martin Sanville always struggles to get the results his all round performances deserve and this was the case again this week. He lost the opening game of his fourth string match, drew level at 1-1 but then he was hampered by a number of unforced errors as he lost the next two games to slip to a 3-1 defeat. The key match turned out to be at No.3 where Matthew Jordan opened up a 2-0 lead and looked to be heading for victory. However, he will be kicking himself that he let the advantage slip as he was narrowly beaten 13-11 in the third and then lost the next two games to go down 3-2.
These results meant that Cromer had lost and that four times club champion John Baker only had pride to play for in the final first string match. Earlier in the day he had played and won a tough quarter final match against Barry Starling in the annual club tournament but this seemed to be to his advantage as he won the first two games before losing the third 3-13 and then the fourth 12-14. At this stage it looked as though tiredness might be playing its part but he fought back brilliantly to take the decisive fifth game 13-7 to win his match 3-2.
A rueful Starling said afterwards:- “This was a case of what might have been. Matthew Jordan looked for all the world as though he was going to win his match 3-0 but all credit to his opponent for retrieving what appeared a hopeless situation. Both Johnny Baker and Stevie Watts were absolutely brilliant and if we can play like this every week I am sure a win will soon be forthcoming”
John Baker beat Elliott Shilling 13-8 13-7 3-13 12-14 13-7
Stephen Watts beat Sam Furness 6-13 13-2 14-12 13-3
Matthew Jordan lost to James Close 13-11 13-10 11-13 9-13 8-13
Martin Sanville lost to Matt Firman 8-13 13-7 8-13 7-13
Malcolm Crane lost to Sue Kuhaudomlarp 9-13 8-13 7-13
Match One:- Fakenham II 16 Cromer 8
Cromer's Technical Director, Barry Starling was bemoaning his luck this week when a combination of late holidays, injuries, illness and work and University commitments meant that his Cromer team were only able to raise a team of four players for their first Norfolk SRA Division Three match of the season, away to Fakenham II.
Ironically Starling himself was one of the holiday makers but nevertheless the four players who made the trip were strong enough to give themselves a fighting chance of taking something from the fixture. Martin Sanville filled the fourth string slot with Matthew Jordan one place above him at No.3 while former club champion, Stephen Watts was at No.2 with Alex Oliver playing the first string match.
With the fifth string match conceded 3-0 Cromer needed to win three of the remaining four matches if they were to take the five bonus points on offer and they came agonisingly close to doing so. Both Sanville and Jordan's matches followed similar patterns but sadly for Cromer only one ended in victory. Sanville was involved in three extremely close games against Stephen Horn but the all action style of his opponent proved decisive as he won in straight games but while Jordan's games were equally close he just had the edge in all three beating Horn's namesake, Tom 3-0.
Stephen Watts kept Cromer in contention as he won a five game thriller against Gary Hastings eventually coming out on top 13-9 in the fifth which left the overall outcome of the match dependent upon the result of the first string match between Alex Oliver and Adam Manning. This match featured some fine squash from both players in a marathon contest which neither player deserved to lose. Oliver lost the first game 12-14 and after drawing level at 1-1 was involved in another marathon tie-break situation in the third game which he eventually lost 14-16. He drew level for a second time as he won the fourth game but the Fakenham player just did enough to edge home in the fifth game 13-10 to win the match 3-2 and give his side a narrow 16-8 victory.
Starling said afterwards:-"It was annoying to only have four players but I couldn't have asked for any more from the team who played and we have just got to get on with it. If either John Baker or John Chandler had been available we would probably have won the match but we have just got to move on and hope for better results in the weeks ahead"
Alex Oliver lost to Adam Manning 12-14 13-8 14-16 13-7 10-13
Stephen Watts beat Gary Hastings 13-6 11-13 13-5 4-13 13-9
Matthew Jordan beat Tom Horn 13-11 13-11 13-10
Martin Sanville lost to Stephen Horn 11-13 10-13 10-13
Fakenham 3-0 walk-over in fifth string match.