Reasons behind Cromer Squash Club’s struggles

It has been a disappointing season for Cromer Squash Club, with the first team finishing bottom of Division One and the second team having to face a relegation play-off before securing their place in Division Three for another season.

Squash correspondent Martin Braybrook put the club's Technical Director, Barry Starling, on the spot and asked him what went wrong.

MB: Having finished the 2010-11 season in third place you started the season with high hopes of building on this success. What went wrong?

BS: I think there are three things:Firstly the Norfolk SRA re-structured the leagues so that there were only seven teams in the Premier Division whereas last year there were 11. This immediately meant that those four teams dropped down into our division and there was also no promotion into the top division. After finishing third last season there were immediately six stronger teams than us in Division One.

Secondly, we lost a player after just one match when Alex Foster went off to the other side of the world. He would have been a tremendous asset in the middle of the order, playing the third string match, but as it was captain Henri Paul and Alec Burrows had to move up the order and we were always struggling to fill the fifth string slot.

Thirdly, Ben Herrieven battled gamely throughout the season at No.2 but he was carrying a knee injury and not being fully fit he struggled throughout picking up only a couple of games all season. With Burrows also struggling it was left to Richard Keeble at No.1 and the captain, Paul, to shoulder most of the responsibility and between them they picked up 36 of the team's sixty one points.

MB: You are technical director. What are you doing to improve things for next season?

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BS: A good question. We need some of the club's younger members to put pressure on the more established members and force their way into the team. Realistically the third tier of Norfolk squash will suit the team's abilities more and I will be putting the players through some tough training routines during the summer.

MB: What about the second team. Aren't there any players there good enough to step up?

BS: A good point. The difficulty is the availability of players. Steve Watts, Matt Copeman, former club champion John Baker and Michael Holdom are all good enough to play but we need some consistency. No fewer than 13 players played for the second team this season and most of them are getting a bit long in the tooth and some of us are actually drawing the old age pension. Again we need some younger players who are prepared to stand up and be counted and travel to places like Diss or King's Lynn on a t winter's evening.

MB: So the message is?

BS: I believe we have the ability to come good. A few more players would help but everyone will be working hard during the summer and I plan to make the training fun as well as hard work.

n Cromer Lawn Tennis and Squash Club have announce the appointment of Lisa Kingsmill as their new squash coach. Lisa is an experienced level 2 coach and will be a valued addition to the coaching team. For further details on coaching contact manager Danny Holdom on 01263 513741.