Cromer Squash team wins relegation play-off

Cromer second team went into their Norfolk League Division Three relegation play-off against UEA II more in hope than expectation but, helped by some dogged determination, they came out on top to makde sure of retaining their place in the division with a hard earned 3-2 victory.

With only three wins to their credit this season Cromer could have been forgiven for thinking that they had little chance but two of those victories did come against the students' second string.

Technical Director Barry Starling was able to select a strong team with Matt Copeman, despite not being fully fit, available to play the first string match, former club champion John Baker at No.2 and the experienced trio of Martin Sanville, John Chandler and Kim Payne at 3, 4 and 5.

Payne got the match under way and although he went down to a straight game defeat he pushed his young opponent all the way and could easily have won both the first and third games of his match before losing them both 9-8. At No.4 veteran Chandler, who had lost his last four matches, was in a determined mood. He opened up a 2-1 lead after just taking the third game 10-8 but when he was unable to convert a match point in the fourth and lost the game 10-9 it looked as though his chance had gone. However, despite conceding 46 years to his opponent, he fought back brilliantly to take the decisive fifth game 9-4.

Sanville looked to be heading for defeat when he lost the first two games of his match and with only one win to his name all season his confidence appeared to have gone. However, in a remarkable transformation he won the next three games for the loss of just five points to win 3-2 and give Cromer an important advantage..

The dependable Baker was playing the second string match and when he opened up a 2-1 lead victory seemed assured but this match too was remarkably transformed and the former club champion was not able to win a single point in the next two games as he went down 3-2 to set up a nail-biting final first string match.

Copeman almost had to pull out on the morning of the match but his competitive spirit and determination came to the fore as he opened up a 2-0 lead. He trailed 5-8 in the third and then won five successive points to take the game 10-8, the match 3-0 and give the Cromer team the 3-2 victory they needed.

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Starling was overcome with excitement at the performance of the team and said: 'I am proud of the way they all played. I couldn't have asked for any more effort and it is just a pity that we found ourselves in this position at the end of the league matches. Hopefully this will be the turning point and we will remember what we can do when the chips are down'

Results: Matt Copeman bt Adam Morfakis 9-4 9-5 10-8, John Baker lost to Philip Slack 9-6 4-9 9-5 0-9 0-9, Martin Sanville beat Ben Constant 6-9 5-9 9-2 9-0 9-3, John Chandler beat Calum Pearson 9-5 4-9 10-8 9-10 9-4, Kim Payne lost to Andy Keel 8-9 2-9 8-9.