Cromer squash team make encouraging start to the season

New Cromer squash champion Martin Guppy. Picture: Martin Braybrook

New Cromer squash champion Martin Guppy. Picture: Martin Braybrook - Credit: Archant

Cromer started their 38th season of Norfolk League Squash with a Division Three home fixture against the newly-formed Fakenham III.

And they made an encouraging start, picking up a 20 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, one of whom is England Masters player Philip Godfrey, who is now living in Cley.

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 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 13-3 to record a good straight game victory.

Godfrey, meanwhile, was not having things his own way against 15-year-old Alex Hagag who won the first two games but the Cromer man'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 hamstring strain.

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Jordan proved too strong for 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 3-1.

In the final match of the evening, with only pride at stake, John Baker was up against the unorthodox Devendra Mahatme. He raced into a 2-0 lead as he dropped just eight points and although he lost the third game normal service was soon resumedas he won the fourth game 13-8.

Results: A Oliver beat M Dack 13-9 14-12 13-3, P Godfrey beat A Hagag 9-13 8-13 13-11 9-3 (retired), J Baker beat D Mahatme 13-2 13-6 12-14 13-8, M Jordan beat S Horn 13-6 13-1 13-8, R Murray beat T Venes 13-5 10-13 13-10 13-5.