Veteran returns to court after three years

Matt Copeman who was playing his first Norfolk League match since November 8, 2018.

Matt Copeman who was playing his first Norfolk League match since November 8, 2018. - Credit: Supplied by Martin Braybrook

After their last Norfolk League match fell victim to Covid in their opponents' camp, Cromer Squash Club returned to Norfolk League action last week, making the short journey to North Walsham to take on the home club's young third string in their Division Two fixture.

With Alex Oliver still unavailable and Henri Paul ineligible to play against his parent club technical director Barry Starling called up veteran Matt Copeman to play his first Norfolk League match for more than three years.

Copeman, who has twice been runner up in the club championships and was veterans champion back in 2013 has been concentrating his efforts on Squash 57 over the past couple of years and understandably he found it difficult to adjust to the speed and bounce of the smaller squash ball.

His racket skills were still there but he found his younger opponent, Will Riches, too good and went down to a 3-0 defeat in the opening fourth string match.

On the adjoining court fellow veteran John Baker moved up the playing order to play the third string match against the home captain Matt Dyke and he too struggled.

For some unknown reason Baker has always found it difficult to play on the North Walsham courts and he was not able to come to terms with his opponent's short game as he too went down to a straight game defeat.

With two defeats from their first two matches Cromer needed victories in the first and second sting matches if they were to salvage a draw from the evening and club champion Richard Keeble and Matthew Jordan took to the courts more or less simultaneously in an attempt to do this.

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Keeble is slowly moving up the county rankings, currently standing at No. 35 and he was always in control of his first string match against Harvey Edmonds, who is currently ranked 13 places lower.

Both players played exceptionally well but it was Keeble who came out on top, winning the match 3-0.

The match of the evening, however, was the second string match between Matthew Jordan and the home club's Henry Geaves. Geaves had twice beaten John Baker back in the summer of 2018 so Jordan knew that he would have a tough game and so it proved.

The home player won the first game 13-7 but Jordan drew level as he took the second 13-9 only to fall behind again as Geaves won the third 13-11.

The key game was the fourth and this could have gone either way before Jordan just edged it 15-13.

In the final decisive fifth game Jordan's fitness was probably the deciding factor as he won the game 13-10 and the match 3-2 much to the delight of the travelling Cromer supporters.

This left the match result at 2-2 with both sides sharing the four bonus points on offer and overall North Walsham picking up 10 points to Cromer's 8.

Afterwards Starling said:" This was a very good result against a very fit, young side.

"It was good to see Matt Copeman back on court again and Matthew Jordan showed terrific determination to claw his way back into his match and grind out an excellent win."