Cromer Lawn Tennis & Squash Club

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Stephen Watts is Cromer Squash Club’s new champion. Seeded at No.2 , Watts who won the Over 35 title in 2010 and was runner-up the following season ,was playing in his first final and he proved to be too strong for the veteran Alan Harper, who was also appearing in the final for the first time, as he came out on top 9-6 9-5 9-3 in a highly entertaining match which was much closer than the straight game scoreline might suggest and which was enjoyed by another large and appreciative crowd who were crammed onto the balcony at the Norwich Road club.
Harper, with three club veterans titles and a fourth appearance in a final behind him, was certainly not overawed by the occasion despite giving some twenty years to his opponent and he started the match confidently opening up a 4-1 lead in the first game. Watts, however, is one of the fittest players at the club, seemingly able to cover the court with the minimum of effort, and he stormed back to open up an 8-4 lead before taking the game 9-6.
Watts again dominated the opening stages of the second game and always seemed to be able to come out on top in some long and demanding rallies. In this game he led 6-1 and then 8-2 before Harper recovered to 5-8 only for Watts to close the game out 9-5 and open up a 2-0 lead. The third game followed a similar pattern as Watts led 5-0. To his credit Harper battled hard, playing some excellent defensive squash and he did pull the score back to 3-6 before a string of three straight points gave Watts the game 9-3 and the prestigious title for the first time.
Technical Director Barry Starling commented afterwards: “It looked very much as though Steve Watts had worked out his game plan from the start and he stuck to it throughout hitting the ball very hard and this and his natural speed around the court enabled him to dominate most of the rallies. That said it was a very good final and a credit to both players”
In the semi finals Watts was taken to five games by the unseeded Gary Spruce, who at one stage led 2-1 while Harper had a relatively comfortable straight game victory over new club member Peter Arbuthnot.
The plate competiton for those who lost their first round matches was won by Jean Spruce who played well to win 10-8 9-4 8-10 9-6 against the inexperienced Steve Price who lost to Watts in the first round but who had a good victory over Starling in the semi final of the plate.