Happy return for Guppy as he wins Cromer Squash title

New Cromer squash champion Martin Guppy. Picture: Martin Braybrook

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

Top seed Martin Guppy is Cromer Squash Club's new champion.

In the final on Friday he became the 18th different player to hold the title since it was instigated in 1981 as he overcame the youthful challenge of Alex Oliver who, like Guppy was playing in his first final, 9-2 9-2 10-9.

Guppy has recently rejoined the club after a long spell away from the area and he also has dual membership with the North Walsham club where he currently plays Norfolk Premier League squash. Ranked at No 38 in the county Guppy is 31 places higher than Oliver, who four years ago was also runner-up in the club's annual tennis tournament, and this was apparent in the first two games.

Guppy won the first four points of the match to open up a 4-0 lead from which he never looked back. The serve did change hands half a dozen times. during which time Oliver picked up a couple of points. but Guppy won seven of the last eight hands to take the game 9-2.

Oliver started well in the second game as he broke serve and led 2-0 but then it was one-way traffic as Guppy won 11 of the next 12 hands to again take the game 9-2.

To Oliver's credit, however, he battled back well. His unforced error count reduced and the players traded point for point as the serve changed hands numerous times.

At 8-7 he served for the game and served three more times as he led 9-8 but on each occasion Guppy won the point before going on to take the game, which featured 50 hands of squash, 10-9 and the match 3-0.

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Cromer's technical director, Barry Starling, who was among the large crowd watching from the balcony. said afterwards: 'This was a terrific match and it was much closer than the 3-0 scoreline suggests. The key factor was probably Martin's consistency and his greater use of the angles of the court.

'Alex had his chances in the third game and if he had been able to nick this the result could well have been different.'

In the semi-finals Oliver had to come from 2-1 down to beat the four times former club champion John Baker 4-9 9-6 8-10 9-4 9-3 in another closely-contested match while Guppy had an easier passage against the surprise semi-finalist Eamonn North.

Next month attention will switch to the club's annual Over-35 tournament for which Guppy will be a warm favourite.