Promotion setback for Cromer squash team
Any hopes Cromer may have had of gaining automatic promotion from Division Two of the Norfolk SRA Leagues were virtually ended when they lost their second successive match, narrowly going down 17-10 at home to fellow promotion hopefuls, East Anglia V. The result means that with just three matches left to play Cromer have dropped down to third, eight points behind new leaders Bannatyne's II.
Against the East Anglia team Cromer were without former club champion John Baker who was unavailable but they cannot really use this as an excuse as the visitors were without their regular second string player which meant the result of the fifth string match between the two substitute No 5s on the night could prove decisive. This is in fact what happened as Cromer's Nick Dunnett won the opening game only to lose the next two and then trail 1-8 in the fourth before recovering to draw level when he took the game 9-8. Having put all his efforts into this game he then had little left for the final decisive game which he lost 9-3 to go down 3-2.
At No.4 Alec Burrows is still regaining match fitness and he found his young opponent too fit as, for the second successive match, he was beaten 3-1. Club champion Ben Herrieven and captain Henri Paul, two days short of his 50th birthday, kept Cromer in contention as they won the second and third string matches 3-2 and 3-1 respectively but in the first string match Richard Keeble was unable to repeat the 3-1 victory he had against the same opponent on the East Anglia courts back in November and was well beaten by the same 3-1 scoreline.
This result means that if Cromer are to regain their place in Division One they are almost certainly going to have to do it through the lottery of the play-offs.
Results: Richard Keeble lost to Nick Stringer 2-9 3-9 9-7 2-9, Ben Herrieven beat Johnny Lawes 9-10 9-6 9-3 2-9 9-5, Henri Paul beat Tim Lawes 0-9 9-3 9-4 9-7, Alec Burrows lost to Paul Harvey 1-9 6-9 9-2 2-9, Nick Dunnett lost to Peter French 9-2 6-9 4-9 9-8 3-9
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On the same night the second team travelled to play Fakenham II and with technical director Barry Starling declaring himself fit to play after injury he decided to pack the team with experience in the hope that this would bring success against a much younger side. This selection tactic didn't work out as the four pensioners at the bottom of the order all lost their matches in straight games.
By the time team captain Martin Sanville took to the courts the match was lost and although he opened up a 2-0 lead in the first string match he was hampered by his troublesome shoulder and he was only able to pick up just one more point as he went down to a 3-2 defeat which left the final score 20-2 in favour of the home side.
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The team are now rooted to the bottom of division three and it is hard to see anything other than relegation.
Results: Martin Sanville lost to Nick Fairbrother 9-6 9-1 1-9 0-9 0-9, John Chandler lost to Gary Hastings 4-9 4-9 5-9, Barry Starling lost to Jason Smith 1-9 1-9 1-9, Peter Foster lost to Stephen Horn 1-9 2-9 0-9, Malcolm Crane lost to Jono Lynn 4-9 7-9 3-9