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Hat-trick on the squash court

PUBLISHED: 10:15 10 March 2010 | UPDATED: 10:25 13 July 2010

Finalists Martin Sanville (left) and winner Peter Foster after their deciding match.

Finalists Martin Sanville (left) and winner Peter Foster after their deciding match.

THERE was a packed balcony at Cromer Squash Club on Friday night when a large and appreciative crowd enjoyed another in a long line of classic finals in the club's annual handicap tournament.

THERE was a packed balcony at Cromer Squash Club on Friday night when a large and appreciative crowd enjoyed another in a long line of classic finals in the club's annual handicap tournament.

The tournament was being held for the 28th time and the final featured two long-serving club members, Peter Foster (7) and Martin Sanville (2), both of whom are in the large squad of second-team players, but neither of whom had previously appeared in the final of the prestigious club handicap tournament.

Veteran Peter Foster completed a unique hat-trick of firsts. He won the title for the first time, became the oldest player to be crowned as champion since the tournament's inception in 1981 and - since his son, Alex, was champion two years ago - he became one half of the only father and son duo to win the title.

Both finalists were playing off the same positive handicaps they held last year and the six-point advantage which the elder Foster had as a result of the handicapping system proved to be decisive.

In a cagey opening game Foster took three important consecutive points to go 14-10 ahead and eventually take the game 15-11. Sanville responded in the second game by taking six successive points to lead 12-10 before drawing level as he won the game 15-11.

The key game was the third. Sanville was trailing 10-11 when he made two successive unforced errors to go 10-13 behind. Although he saved 'game ball' at 11-14 and drew level at 14-14, the wily Foster then opted for a sudden-death point which he won to take the game 15-14 and open up a 2-1 lead.

The match looked to be heading for a fifth game when Sanville won 11 of the first 14 points to go 11-9 up in the fourth, but Foster then had a run of five points to hold 'match ball' at 14-11 before taking the game 15-12 to win the match on his second 'match ball' and become the 23rd player to have his name perpetually inscribed upon the winners' board.

Sanville was gracious in defeat saying: “I have got no complaints. Peter took his chances on the night and fully deserved his victory.

“I probably made too many mistakes but the handicap committee got the handicaps about right, although if I had received a couple more points it could have been interesting!”

In the semi-final Foster, who had a first round walk-over, had defeated his son, Alex (-15), the 2008 champion, after earlier victories over Jean Spruce (8) and Alec Burrows (-8) while Sanville scraped through in his semi-final against assistant tennis coach Richard Keeble (-8) after previously beating Terry Broughton (11), Matthew Jordan (8) and the 2003 champion Michael Holdom (-4).

The plate competition for first round losers was won by the 2007 champion and current first-team captain Ben Herrieven (-15) who needed all his powers of concentration, winning the first 74 points of the match and then the last 30, to beat one of last year's beaten semi-finalists, Sue Guest (12) 15-12, 15-12, 1-15, 5-15, 15-12.

In the semi-final he beat the 2004 runner-up, John Pelton (6) while Guest beat David Young (5).


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