Cromer Lawn Tennis & Squash Club

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Cromer started their thirty eighth season of Norfolk League Squash this week with a Division Three home fixture against the newly formed Fakenham III and they made an encouraging start to their new campaign picking up a twenty point maximum as they came out on top 20-4. Cromer are starting their fifth successive season in Division Three and having finished last season in third place Technical Director Barry Starling is hoping that his team will be able to go at least one better this time and gain promotion. 
 Starling has made a couple of new signings to his squad for the new campaign, one of whom is the experienced England Masters player Philip Godfrey who is now living in Cley. He recently reached the quarter finals of the North of England Masters tournament in Pontefract and some 35 years ago was a key member of the Outwell Crown team which rose from Norfolk League Division Five to the top flight in successive seasons so he has bags of experience and no little talent behind him. His presence in the team together with that of Alex Oliver who was runner up in the recent club championships means that the team should be strong at the top of the order and that in turn has enabled four times former club champion John Baker to drop down to No.3. These three were in action this week with Matthew Jordan at No.4 and the promising Ross Murray playing the fifth string match.

  Oliver was the first on court against the Fakenham No.1, Martin Dack and after an extremely close second game which he just won 14-12,  he stormed through the third game 13-3 to record a good straight game victory. Godfrey, meanwhile, was not having things his own way against fifteen year old Alex Hagag who recently won the plate event in the Norfolk Boys Under 17 championships. The youngster won the first two games but Godfrey’s years of experience proved decisive as he took the third game 13-11 and was well on the way to taking the fourth when his young opponent retired at 3-9 in the fourth with a re-occurrence of a hamstring strain.

  Matthew Jordan proved too strong for the Fakenham captain, Stephen Horn as he won the fourth string match in straight games while Ross Murray’s strength and hard hitting game wore down his opponent Tim Venes as he won his match 3-1.

In the final match of the evening, with only pride at stake, John Baker was up against the unorthodox Devendra Mahatme, a player who he has played many times before. He raced into a 2-0 lead as he dropped just eight points and although he lost concentration a little as he lost the third game normal service was soon resumed as he won the fourth game 13-8 and the match 3-1 to give Cromer maximum points.

  Starling said afterwards: “ We could hardly have had a better start to the season. We always have enjoyable matches with our friends from Fakenham and this was no exception. We will undoubtedly have some tougher matches as the season goes on but if we can field a strong team each week we could well be in the promotion mix come next February”


 Alex Oliver beat Martin Dack 13-9 14-12 13-3

 Philip Godfrey beat Alex Hagag 9-13 8-13 13-11 9-3 (retired)

 John Baker beat Devendra Mahatme 13-2 13-6 12-14 13-8

 Matthew Jordan beat Steve Horn 13-6 13-1 13-8

 Ross Murray beat Tim Venes 13-5 10-13 13-10 13-5

Cromer Squash Club made it two out of two this week when they travelled into Norwich for their Norfolk SRA League Division Three match against the Wensum Sports Centre and returned home with a hard earned but thoroughly deserved 17-9 victory.
Technical Director Barry Starling was forced into one change from the team who got the season off to a flying start last week with a twenty point maximum with veteran John Chandler coming into the team in place of four times former club champion John Baker who was unavailable. Chandler slotted into the fourth string slot with Matthew Jordan moving up the order to No.3 while Ross Murray retained his place at No.5 with Alex Oliver and Phil Godfrey once again filling the first and second string positions.
Murray has twice been runner up in the club’s annual tennis tournament and is still a relative novice to competitive squash but he turned out to be the team’s hero as he recovered from the loss of the first two games against the home team’s captain to grind out a superb 3-2 victory, a victory which turned out to be vitally important as the evening progressed.
John Chandler’s match could easily have gone either way as he lost the opening game, went ahead by winning the next two only to lose the fourth and then the fifth by the narrowest of margins, 14-12. Matthew Jordan who was playing one place higher than in the previous match struggled against his deceptively good opponent and although he managed to pull one game back to trail 2-1 he went down to a 3-1 defeat.
At the top of the order Cromer had no real problems. The experience of Phil Godfrey is already proving to be a big asset to the club and he comfortably won the second string match in straight games while in the final first string match Alex Oliver, who is now 77th in the county rankings proved to be too good for his young opponent as he came out on top 3-1.
Afterwards Starling said: “We have been coming to Wensum Lodge on and off since 1980 and it is not an easy place to win at.This was a good all round performance but I must say Ross Murray was absolutely brilliant and thoroughly justified his place in the team. We have now got two good wins under our belts which should give us something to build on for the rest of the season”
Alex Oliver beat Josh Hall 13-5 13-4 6-13 13-10
Philip Godfrey beat Keane Pye 13-11 13-11 13-11
Matthew Jordan lost to David Horrex 8-13 4-13 13-8 10-13
John Chandler lost to John Milton 6-13 13-7 13-6 7-13 12-14
Ross Murray beat Ben Serruys 4-13 3-13 13-11 13-11 13-11
Cromer’s impressive start to their Norfolk SRA League season continued this week when they made it three wins out of three as they ground out a hard fought, yet well deserved, 15-10 victory over their visitors from the Bob Carter Centre in their Division Three fixture. With Matthew Jordan unavailable Technical Director Barry Starling made just one change from the team who won their previous match with four times former club champion John Baker coming back into the team in the middle of the order.
After two impressive performances Ross Murray retained his place in the team at No.5 and he won his third successive match as he proved too strong and too fit for the veteran Paul Parker coming out on top 3-1. In contrast, Cromer’s oldest player, John Chandler was struggling throughout his fourth string match with a troublesome knee injury and although he did manage to win the second game of his match against Marco Valori he was well beaten in the next two as he slipped to a 3-1 defeat.
In the third string match John Baker raced into a 2-0 lead against the visiting captain Ian Pearson and looked to be well on the way to a straight game victory but he uncharacteristically lost his way in the third and fourth games allowing his opponent to draw level before regaining the upper hand in the decisive fifth game which he won 13-9 to win his match 3-2.
Like Murray Cromer’s new signing Phil Godfrey went on to win his third successive match as he beat Graham Sibley 3-1 in the second string match. After a tight first game which he won 16-14 the second and third games were shared before Godfrey wrapped up victory by taking the fourth game 13-7. In the final first string match Alex Oliver was up against Tim Allenden who should really be playing at a higher level than Division Three and although he played well throughout he was always second best as he went down to a straight game defeat.
Afterwards Starling said:- “This was another good team performance and I am struggling to remember when we last won three successive matches. We knew we would have a tough match as John Chandler was struggling with his knee which affected his mobility and Alex Oliver was up against a class player who is currently ranked at No.23 in the county, some 53 places higher than Alex.The other three players all delivered although we did have a few anxious moments when Johnny Baker surrendered his 2-0 lead”
Alex Oliver lost to Tim Allenden 8-13 9-13 9-13
Phil Godfrey beat Graham Sibley 16-14 13-9 8-13 13-7
John Baker beat Ian Pearson 13-7 13-11 6-13 7-13 13-9
John Chandler lost to Marco Valori 8-13 13-11 5-13 6-13
Ross Murray beat Paul Parker 13-9 5-13 13-8 13-9
Cromer’s excellent run of form continued this week when they entertained Broadland II and recorded a comfortable 17-5 victory which was their fourth successive win of the season and one which consolidated their position at the top of Division Three of the Norfolk SRA Leagues.
Technical Director Barry Starling was forced into two changes from last week’s winning team with veteran John Chandler side-lined as a result of his troublesome knee injury and the unbeaten Ross Murray also unavailable. Matthew Jordan came back into the team to play the fourth string match while Starling gave a team debut to Eamonn North who last month beat him  in the first round of the annual club tournament before bowing out at the semi-final stage. Alex Oliver, Phil Godfrey and John Baker once again filled the top three slots.
Jordan was first on court and got the team off to a good start as he won his match against Mike Cramer in straight games. After comfortably taking the first game he trailed 8-12 in the second before saving five game balls in the second eventually taking the game 15-13 and then dominated the third game to close out the match 3-0. On the adjoining court the experienced Godfrey was not having things all his own way against his young opponent Jordan Bowman.. He opened up a 2-1 lead and looked to be heading for a relatively straightforward victory when he led 11-5 and then served for the match at 12-8 in the third. However his opponent fought back well to win the game 15-13 and after the players traded point for point in the fifth game Godfrey just edged home 14-12 to win 3-2 and maintain his season’s unbeaten record.
Eamonn North gave a good account of himself in his first team match as he pushed his opponent, Gary Powley, hard for two games before he ran out of energy in the third to lose 3-0 but four times former club champion John Baker made sure of Cromer’s  victory as he proved to be too strong and too consistent for his opponent, Richard Hall, coming out on top in straight games.
The final first string match was something of an anti climax as Alex Oliver eased his way to a 3-0 victory against fifteen year old Kye McCourt-Hall. After two reasonably competitive games the Broadland youngster, much to the annoyance of his team mates, seemed to lose interest in the third and Oliver became the third Cromer player to win in straight games.
Starling said afterwards: “This was a fine all round team performance. I thought Eamonn North deserved his chance to play and he certainly didn’t let himself down. Phil Godfrey’s match, between two players at opposite ends of the age scale, was brilliant to watch and everybody thoroughly enjoyed it. The only disappointment was the attitude of the young Broadland first string player who gave up in his match but hopefully he will learn.”
Alex Oliver beat Kye McCourt-Hall 14-12 13-10 13-5
Phil Godfrey beat Jordan Bowman 13-11 50-13 13-8 13-15 14-12
John Baker beat Richard Hall 13-7 13-11 13-11
Matthew Jordan beat Mike Cramer 13-6 15-13 13-7
Eamonn North lost to Gary Powley 10-13 12-14 3-13.
It is said that all good things must eventually come to an end and this was certainly the case this week when Cromer’s run of four successive victories in Division Three of the Norfolk SRA Squash Leagues was abruptly ended by the league’s new boys, Harleston, who comfortably came out on top 19-4 although the Cromer team do remain top of the division.
For Cromer’s longest away trip of the season Technical Director Barry Starling did, as a result of a combination of injuries, work commitments and general unavailability, struggle to raise a team and at one point he was on the verge of playing himself. However, he did persuade veteran Kim Payne to once again come out of his self imposed retirement to play the fifth string match while fellow veteran Malcolm Crane played his first match of the season at No.4. Matthew Jordan moved up the order to play at No.3 while the unbeaten Phil Godfrey and the talented Alex Oliver again filled the first two slots.
Sadly for Cromer both Payne and Crane struggled on the cold court in their matches against much younger hard hitting opponents and both went down to straight game defeats which put Cromer on the back foot. Matthew Jordan played exceptionally well in his third string match and did have a genuine chance of winning but he lost important points at vital times in both the second and fourth games which he could and perhaps should have won and lost 3-1 which meant that Cromer’s unbeaten run had come to an end.
Alex Oliver was never in serious contention at No.1 and he became the third Cromer player to lose 3-0 but the match of the evening was Phil Godfrey’s second string match in which he came back from 1-2 down to win both the fourth and fifth games to take the match 3-2. He lost the opening game, fought back well to take the second 14-12 and then trailed 1-2 as he lost the third. However, he fought back brilliantly as he won both the fourth and fifth games with the same 13-9 scoreline.
Afterwards Starling said: “It was disappointing to lose our unbeaten record like this but Harleston were just too good for us on the night and thoroughly deserved their victory. Both John Baker and Ross Murray had to work and the reliable John Chandler and Martin Sanville are both carrying injuries. Phil Godfrey was once again absolutely brilliant and he got three quarters of our points. We have now got a free week which hopefully will give us chance to recover and regroup.”
Alex Oliver lost to Ollie Bickley 8-13 4-13 6-13
Philip Godfrey beat Dale Foreman 8-13 14-12 11-13 13-9 13-9
Matthew Jordan lost to Ollie Farmer 9-13 12-14 13-10 14-16
Malcolm Crane lost to Cameron Smith 5-13 4-13 6-13
Kim Payne lost to Ed McNamara 0-13 4-13 3-13
A month ago today Cromer were sitting proudly at the top of Division Three of the Norfolk SRA Squash League after a four match unbeaten run but now they have lost two successive matches and have dropped down to third place in the table having played one more match than the two teams immediately above them. They have not been helped by a sudden unavailability of key players and this week, due to injuries, illness, work commitments and family commitments they were forced to travel to Lime Tree Road in Norwich to take on East Anglia IV with only four players and although playing with one player short they were only just beaten 16-8 and in fact could easily have won the match.
Ross Murray, who is still relatively new to competitive squash, was forced to move up the order to play the fourth string match and he found the difference between No.5 and No.4 a significant one as he went down to a 3-1 defeat. In the absence of John Baker, who was one of those with work commitments, Matthew Jordan again filled the third string slot and when he won the second game of his match to draw level and had a succession of “game balls” in the third game he looked to be heading for victory. Sadly he eventually lost that game 12-14 to go 2-1 down and then in another extremely close game lost the fourth game 15-13 to also lose 3-1.
In contrast Phil Godfrey, who was runner up in the recent club Over 35 tournament, is enjoying a fine run of form and after just winning an extremely tight opening game 17-15 comfortably won the next two games to win 3-0 in what was his sixth successive victory for the team this season. At No.1 Alex Oliver is having something of a mixed season and after he went 2-0 down he looked to be heading for defeat. However he recovered well to win the next three games to win the match 3-2 which left Cromer rueing what might have been.
Technical Director Barry Starling said afterwards: “It was annoying that we could only field four players but at least five of our middle order players had genuine reasons why they couldn’t play. I nearly played the fifth string match myself but I am far from being fully fit and it wouldn’t have helped the scoreline at all. We will now regroup for the second half of the season.”
Alex Oliver beat Simon Elphick 13-15 4-13 13-9 13-8 13-4
Philip Godfrey beat James Thacker 17-15 13-8 13-8
Matthew Jordan lost to Olli Phillips 8-13 13-9 12-14 13-15
Ross Murray lost to Phil Ringwood 8-13 13-11 6-13 7-13
Walk-Over to Clifford Fox in fifth string match


After two successive defeats in Division Three of the Norfolk SRA Leagues Cromer returned to winning ways this week with a resounding 20-2 maximum against a below strength and injury hit Fakenham III who, despite being at home, were only able to field a team of four players.


Cromer were too strong for their hosts, who lost 20-4 at Cromer in the first match of the season back in October, so Cromer were in the rare position of completing a 40 point double over their neighbours. Technical Director Barry Starling was able to field what is probably a full strength line up with John Baker once again available to play the third string match with Matthew Jordan dropping down to No.4. Alex Oliver and the unbeaten Phil Godfrey played at the top of the order while the unfortunate Ross Murray was denied a match as he was awarded a walk-over at No.5.


Jordan has had something of an up and down season as he has suffered three narrow defeats but he notched up his third straight game victory as he proved to be too strong for the Fakenham veteran Tim Venes. Similarly Baker, who was playing the home team’s captain, Stephen Horn, ran out a comfortable 3-1 winner despite an uncharacteristic blip in the second game.


Godfrey started slowly in his second string match, losing the opening game against Tom Horn but his class shone through and he won his seventh consecutive match as he eased his way to a 3-1 victory while at No.1 Alex Oliver comfortably beat Rob Pawley in straight games.


Starling summed up the match afterwards saying: “It was a great pity that the Fakenham boys had problems raising a full team as we always have good matches with them and they usually have a production line of good talented youngsters coming through. That said our team did what they had to do and I couldn’t have asked for any more. We have now got a month’s break until our next match on January 9th but we will need to win at least five of our remaining six matches, if not all six, if we are to win the Division.



Alex Oliver beat Rob Pawley 13-7 13-9 13-5

Phil Godfrey beat Tom Horn 9-13 13-11 13-6 13-5

John Baker beat Stephen Horn 13-10 10-13 13-7 13-7

Matthew Jordan beat Tim Venes 13-11 13-8 13-11

Ross Murray walk-over at No.5




After their Christmas and New Year break Cromer returned to Norfolk Squash League action this week with a trip to Drayton to take on The Bob Carter Centre in a Division Three fixture. Earlier in the season Cromer had narrowly beaten their opponents 15-10 on their home courts so they travelled expecting a hard match but in the hope of achieving their second “double” of the season.

  With former club champions John Baker and Stephen Watts both unavailable and veteran John Chandler still recovering from injury Technical Director Barry Starling was faced with something of a selection problem especially as he himself was unavailable as he recovered from a dislocated shoulder. Fortunately Martin Sanville had recovered from a severe case of “tennis elbow” and he came into the team for the first time this season to play the fifth string match while the rapidly improving Ross Murray moved up the order to play at No.4 with Matthew Jordan at 3 and Philip Godfrey and Alex Oliver filling the second and first string positions.

  Sanville got the team off to a good start as he won his match against Graham Woodford 3-1 with the two opening games, both of which he won, being hard fought and closely contested. On the adjoining court Murray was also in good form and he too won his match 3-1, playing exceptionally well against Marco Valori, an opponent who beat John Chandler 3-1 at Cromer back at the end of October.

 The closest match of the evening was the third string one in which Matthew Jordan was up against the home captain Ian Pearson. The Drayton player had taken John Baker to five games in the October match  so it was no mean achievement for Jordan to come out on top 3-2 which meant that Cromer had won the match.

 In the second string match Phil Godfrey, who the previous evening had finished as runner-up in the Over 60/65 event in the Norfolk Closed Championships proved too skilful for Graham Sibley as he won in straight games to record his eighth victory in eight Norfolk League matches, while in the final first string match Alex Oliver also won 3-0 against the Drayton No.1, Billy Draper to leave the final score 20-4 in favour of Cromer.

 Afterwards Starling said: “This was an excellent all round performance and our third 20 point maximum of the season. With my discolated shoulder I have not been able to take part in the training sessions but the boys have worked well over the past six weeks and with just four matches remaining they should be there or thereabouts at the end of the season.”


 Alex Oliver beat Billy Draper 13-9 13-9 13-9

Philip Godfrey beat Graham Sibley 13-9 13-11 13-8

Matthew Jordan beat Ian Pearson 13-7 12-14 13-9 6-13 13-7

Ross Murray beat Marco Valori 13-7 13-3 7-13 13-7

Martin Sanville beat Graham Woodford 13-11 14-12 6-13 13-9
Cromer kept up the pressure on the Norfolk SRA Division Three league leaders Harleston when they won their third successive match this week, beating Broadland II 16-8 to move to within nine points of the South Norfolk side with both teams having three matches remaining – one of which is between the two teams on the Cromer courts.
Technical Director Barry Starling, who is still recovering from his dislocated shoulder, was able to name an unchanged team for the trip to Fleggburgh which meant that Martin Sanville, who is still fighting his way back to full fitness after a severe bout of “tennis elbow” was at No.5 with the rapidly improving Ross Murray at 4, team captain Matthew Jordan at 3, the unbeaten veteran Phil Godfrey at 2 and Alex Oliver in the first string slot.
Sanville started off well as he opened up a 2-0 lead against his opponent Mike Cramer but the Broadland player gradually fought his way back into the match to draw level at 2-2 and then in a fifth game which could have gone either way he just came out on top 13-11 to create a remarkable turn around and win the match 3-2.
Murray has lost only one match this season gradually moving up the county rankings in the process and his run of good form continued as he comfortably won his match against Jodie Dowe in straight games and then Jordan edged Cromer ahead as he won his match against the Broadland captain Gary Powley 3-1.
Back at Cromer in November Phil Godfrey had a tremendous match against young Jordan Bowman eventually winning 14-12 in the fifth but this time he had no such problems as, with the match seemingly finely poised at 1-1 he dropped just eight more points in the next two games to come out a convincing 3-1 winner – a win which ensured Cromer would take home the bonus points.
This was just as well since Alex Oliver was not at the top of his game in his first string match going down in straight games to another youngster, Kye McCourt-Hall, who he comfortably beat 3-0 earlier in the season at Cromer.
After the match Starling said: “This was another good win for the team and the match was not as close as the 3-2 scoreline might suggest. Martin Sanville really ought to have sewn up his match and Alex Oliver will be kicking himself that he lost each of the three games by just two points. Sixty eight year old Phil Godfrey is remarkable – that’s now nine wins from nine matches and it is good to have someone like that in the team.”
Alex Oliver lost to Kye McCourt-Hall 13-15 11-13 11-13
Philip Godfrey beat Jordan Bowman 13-6 6-13 13-3 13-5
Matthew Jordan beat Gary Powley 13-7 6-13 13-9 13-9
Ross Murray beat Jordie Dowe 13-7 15-13 13-6
Martin Sanville lost to Mike Cramer 13-9 13-10 8-13 7-13 11-13.
Cromer turned in arguably their best performance of the season this week when they took on fellow high fliers, Harleston, in a Norfolk SRA League Division Three match and defeated the visiting South Norfolk side 19-7. They did it as well without their most consistent player of the season, Phil Godfrey, who was struck down with illness on the day of the match which meant that John Chandler was pressed into emergency service to fill the fifth string slot while John Baker, Matthew Jordan and Ross Murray were all forced to move one place up the order with Alex Oliver continuing at No.1.
Due to injury Chandler had not played a match for three months but after putting himself through a late fitness test with Technical Director Barry Starling who is himself still recovering from a dislocated shoulder, he declared himself fit and able to play and at one stage it did look as though he might pull off an unlikely win. After losing the opening game of his match he won the next two to open up a 2-1 lead but then understandably tiredness took over and he had to settle for an honourable 3-2 defeat.
Meanwhile, on the adjoining court Baker was involved in a titanic struggle in his second string match. He opened up a 2-0 lead and looked to be heading for a straight game victory when he served for the match in the third game. His opponent, however, showed tremendous resilience and determination to claw the game back 19-17 and when he drew level after winning the fourth game 13-11 it looked as though Cromer would lose their second match. Baker however is an experienced player and he won the decisive fifth game 13-7 for an extremely close 3-2 victory in a match of more than 120 rallies.
Ross Murray is in his first full season of competitive squash and he is now learning how to close games out and win important points. This was apparent in his fourth string match which he won 3-1 with two of the games finishing with 15-13 scorelines and then in the third string match Matthew Jordan turned in a good performance to also win 3-1, a win which ensured Cromer would take the bonus points and move above Harleston at the top of the table. Alex Oliver wrapped up a highly satisfactory evening for the team as he won his first string match in straight games – a match which was more straightforward than the game scores might suggest.
Afterwards Starling said: “This was an excellent all round team performance and with just two games left to play we could go on to be promoted as divisional champions. It would be wrong to single out any one player for praise but Johnny Baker was magnificent especially as he lost the third and fourth games of his match.”
Alex Oliver beat Mike Earrye 14-12 13-7 14-12
John Baker beat Dale Foreman 13-7 13-8 17-19 11-13 13-7
Matt Jordan beat Richard Self 13-11 13-10 10-13 13-9
Ross Murray beat Sam McCluskey 11-13 15-13 13-6 15-13
John Chandler lost to Justin Martin 6-13 13-10 13-7 3-13 8-13.
Cromer now know that promotion from Division Three of the Norfolk SRA Squash Leagues is in their own hands. After an excellent 20-7 victory this week over East Anglia IV they are three points clear at the top of the table and know that 18 points from their final match of the season at home to Wensum Sports Centre next week will leave them in an unassailable position and divisional champions.
For their match this week Technical Director, Barry Starling was forced into two changes as Martin Sanville replaced fellow veteran John Chandler, who is still not 100% match fit after his injury lay off, in the fifth string position while Matthew Jordan who was still recovering from his exertions in the previous week’s club handicap tournament followed by a hard competitive game of football was suffering from a slight groin strain. The unbeaten Phil Godfrey, however, had recovered from his recent bout of illness and he came back into the team at No.2 which enabled John Baker to drop down one place to No.3 while the team’s two youngest players, Alex Oliver and Ross Murray, again filled the two remaining slots.
Back in November Murray was beaten 3-1 on the Lime Tree Road courts by his opponent, Phil Ringwood, but over the past three months his game has improved dramatically and he got the team off to the best possible start with a comfortable straight game victory. Meanwhile on the adjoining court Baker was up against one of the quickest players seen at Cromer this season and when he trailed 2-1 and his opponent was retrieving everything it did look as though he would lose. Baker, however, is an experienced competitor who still hits the ball as cleanly as anybody in the club and he recovered brilliantly to draw level and then take the decisive fifth game 13-11.
In the fifth string match Sanville was playing one of the top lady players in the county, who recently reached the quarter finals of the Norfolk Ladies championships, and he had a terrific battle for four evenly contested games before his greater power and strength enabled him to cruise through the fifth game 13-3 and win 3-2. With three wins under their belt Cromer knew they had won the match and then Phil Godfrey continued his remarkable unbeaten run as, despite not having fully recovered from his illness, he made it ten wins from ten matches as he beat the East Anglia No.2, James Thacker 3-1.
In the final match of the evening Alex Oliver, despite going behind 2-1, always looked to have enough in hand to win the first string match and he comfortably won the fourth and fifth games to win his match 3-2 and round off a highly satisfactory evening’s work for the Cromer team.
Afterwards Starling said: “This was a brilliant result against a team who beat us earlier in the season. There is now a complete log jam between three teams at the top of the division but we know what we have to do in our last match to ensure we get promoted. Depending upon other results we may not even need eighteen points but we will need to win to make sure”
Alex Oliver beat Simon Elphick 11-13 13-7 13-15 13-4 13-8
Phil Godfrey beat James Thacker 9-13 16-14 13-11 13-9
John Baker beat Oliver Phillips 14-12 11-13 8-13 13-7 13-11
Ross Murray beat Phil Ringwood 13-2 13-10 13-4
Martin Sanville beat Sue Kuhaudomlarp 10-13 13-10 13-7 12-14 13-3
Cromer’s last match of the season in Division Three of the Norfolk SRA Squash Leagues proved to be one match too far in what has been a long and demanding season as they went down to a 15-7 defeat at home to fellow promotion hopefuls Wensum Sports. Cromer were up against it before a ball was hit as four times former club champion John Baker was unavailable due to work commitments and fellow veteran Martin Sanville was forced to pull out on the day of the match as he succumbed to illness.
After several fruitless phone calls the club tennis coach Andrew Margarson, who was runner up in the club championships way back in 1996 agreed to play the fifth string match and although he understandably tired towards the end of his match he turned the clock back and showed that after almost 22 years his racket skills and movement around the court have not gone away as he came out on top 3-0, taking the all important third game 16-14.
On the adjoining court one of Margarson’s assistant tennis coaches, Ross Murray, continued his run of good form winning his fourth string match 3-1 and he has not been beaten since the end of November and, in what has been his first season of regular Norfolk League squash, has lost only one match throughout the season.
Sadly for Cromer this was the end of their success for the evening. Matthew Jordan, playing at No.3, found his hard hitting and super fit opponent too strong and went down to a straight game defeat while in the second string match Phil Godfrey’s phenomenal unbeaten run came to an end as was not quite able to give almost fifty years to his young opponent and was beaten 3-1. He narrowly lost the first game 12-14 and had he been able to win this game the result could well have been different as he comfortably won the second game 13-5 before just losing the next two.
In the final match of the evening Alex Oliver was up against an opponent who is simply too good to be playing in Division Three and the result of his match was never in doubt as he went down to a straight game defeat.
Cromer have finished their season with nine victories from their twelve matches and a highly creditable total of 183 points. They now have to wait for the results of other matches to see whether they finish the season in first,second or third place in the division.
Technical Director, Barry Starling, was forced to miss the match but he was kept up to date with the team’s progress throughout the evening. He did say “When we won our first two matches I did think we might get another victory but Phil’s unbeaten run had to end sometime and at the end of the day our Wensum friends just had the edge on the night. We have had a good season and everybody who has played has acquitted themselves well.”
Alex Oliver lost to Mark Bagnall 4-13 8-13 9-13
Phil Godfrey lost to Josh Hall 12-14 13-5 9-13 10-13
Matthew Jordan lost to Keane Pye 4-13 10-13 10-13
Ross Murray beat Ben Serruys 10-13 13-6 13-10 13-9
Andrew Margarson beat John Milton 13-10 13-8 16-14