Cromer put on improved display on squash courts

SQUASH: After the demoralising 16-1 defeat at North Norfolk the previous week, Cromer turned in a much better performance in their second Anaco summer league fixture of the season away to Bannatyne's II.

But although they won two of the four individual matches they had to settle for a 14-9 defeat as their opponents took the four bonus points by virtue of winning ten games to Cromer's nine.

Captain Henri Paul was without both Richard Keeble and Alex Foster who were unavailable, which meant that former club champion John Baker was called up from the second team to play the fourth-string match – and he found himself up against a very talented lady player.

Baker himself, however, is both skilful and experienced and he needed both of these qualities to eke out a 3-2 victory, eventually squeezing home 9-6 in the fifth.

On the adjoining court Alec Burrows found the going tough in the third-string match and he will have been disappointed to lose his match 3-1 which put Cromer one game behind on aggregate.

At number two Paul had to come from 2-1 down to win his match, which left Cromer needing a win from number one Ben Herrieven if they were to return home with the bonus points.

When Herrieven opened up a 2-0 lead it looked as though he was on course for victory but his opponent gradually recovered and took the next three games for the loss of only eight points to win 3-2 and ensure his side would take the bonus points.

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Paul said afterwards: 'This was a much better performance than last week, and with a little more luck we could have won.

'We were not helped by two of our top three players not being available, but we have just got to play with the players we have and when Herrieven led 2-0 it did look as though we were going to pull off a victory.'

Results: Ben Herrieven lost to Rod Taylor 10-8, 9-6, 1-9, 3-9, 4-9; Henri Paul beat Shaun Nicholas 6-9, 9-1, 6-9, 9-5, 9-2; Alec Burrows lost to Andy Richardson 6-9, 10-8, 6-9, 1-9; John Baker beat Sophie Croft 3-9, 9-5, 9-1, 4-9, 9-6.

The previous evening Barry Starling's second team had entertained Wensum Lodge in a third division fixture and were rewarded with a fine 16-4 victory.

With neither Matt Copeman nor Steve Watts available they were boosted by the inclusion of first team player Ben Herrieven at number one although, ironically, he had to work the hardest of the four players for his victory.

Veteran John Chandler dropped the opening game of his fourth string match but then closed out the match relatively comfortably to win 3-1 while number three Martin Sanville had an incredibly easy passage, winning his match in straight games for the loss of only eight points.

John Baker had not picked up a racket since the end of the winter league season but he is a class player and, despite a momentary blip in the third game, won the second string match 3-1.

In the final first-string match Herrieven just managed to sneak home 9-7 in the fifth to give the team their 16-point maximum.

Starling said: 'This was a good start to the season. There were a few eyebrows raised when I selected Herrieven for the team but he had some tough first-team matches in the winter and suffered quite a few defeats. So, since he was still eligible to play, I thought this would boost his confidence if he could get a win under his belt.

'When I was two players short I was going to play myself but I knew I had a tough internal league match the next day and, where possible, I plan to concentrate more on my role as technical director. On paper, we have got a strong summer squad and I am hoping that this is the first of some good results.'

Results: Ben Herrieven beat Ian Pearson 9-7, 9-10, 9-5, 0-9, 9-7; John Baker beat Steve Cunningham 10-9, 9-4, 1-9, 9-4; Martin Sanville beat Graham Woodford 9-1, 9-4, 9-3; John Chandler beat Paul Parker 3-9, 9-6, 9-5, 9-2.