Cromer squash players edge victory over Harleston

Veteran Henri Paul won his match at Cromer Squash Club.

Veteran Henri Paul won his match at Cromer Squash Club. - Credit: Supplied by Martin Braybrook

After the Christmas and New Year break Cromer Squash Club resumed their Norfolk League season this week with a trip to Norwich to take on East Anglia III in a Division Two match.

Back in October Cromer had beaten the Lime Tree Road based side 15-4 on their own courts but they were forced to travel to Norwich without their No.1 player, club champion, Richard Keeble who was being obliged to self isolate after a positive Covid test so they knew they would be in for a tough evening.

Veteran Henri Paul received a late call-up for the second time this season and he filled the third string slot with Alex Oliver and team captain Matthew Jordan moving up the order while fellow veteran John Baker retained the fourth string slot.

This was still a strong line up and the team battled hard  to record a narrow 10-9 victory and maintain the pressure on the league leaders, Harleston who, after seven matches played lead the division by just eight points.

Baker is now one of the most experienced players in the Norfolk Leagues and he proved to be too strong for his opponent as he eased his way to a comfortable straight game victory while on the adjacent court Paul was having a tremendous battle with an opponent who was unbeaten this season and who inflicted a 3-2 defeat on Alex Oliver earlier this season.

Paul won the opening game 13-9 but his opponent drew level when he took the second game 14-12 but Paul battled through to regain the lead as he won the third game 13-11 and then clinched victory by taking the fourth 13-7.

Matthew Jordan found himself up against the newly crowned Norfolk Junior champion, Brady Mackenzie and the young man showed his class and skill as he won a closely contested second string match 3-1 and then in the final match of the evening Alex Oliver, who was playing at No.1 for the first time this season, picked up one game in the first string match which meant that both teams had won two matches but Cromer had won one game more which gave them their victory.

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After the match technical director Barry Starling said: "When Keeble was forced to drop out we knew that we would be up against it as it does mean everybody else has to step up.

"However everybody picked up vital games and our two veterans came up trumps to ensure that we just edged it."

Results: Alex Oliver lost to Sam Perry 6-13 7-13 13-4 11-13; Matthew Jordan lost to Brady Mackenzie 10-13 13-10 8-13 11-13; Henri Paul beat Simon Elphick 13-9 12-14 13-11 13-7; John Baker beat Jack Andrews 13-7 13-8 13-6.