Cromer Lawn Tennis & Squash Club

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As has become the norm over the past thirty one years there was once again a packed balcony at Cromer Squash Club on Friday evening where a large and appreciative crowd enjoyed yet another exciting and thrilling match in a long line of classic finals in the club’s annual handicap tournament.

At the end of the evening the club’s second team captain, Martin Sanville, who was playing off a handicap of +4 took the title for the first time and became the twenty fifth different player to win the tournament when he avenged the defeat he suffered in the 2010 final by beating his fellow second team player, Peter Foster, who was playing off +6 and had a three point advantage in each game, 15-9 15-13 14-15 15-12.

Surprisingly this was the first time in the history of the tournament that two players who had previously met in a final contested a second final and both proved themselves worthy of creating their own little bit of history. When Sanville lost the 2010 final he had to give his older opponent a six point start and said “if I had received a couple more points it could have been interesting!” This year that start was cut in half and this difference probably proved decisive.

The first game of the final was closely contested until Sanville took five successive points to close out the game 15-9 and then in the second game he led 13-11 only for Foster, who was the oldest player taking part in the tournament, to draw level before he regained the serve and took the game 15-13 to open up a 2-0 lead.

Knowing that he had to win the next three games Foster stormed into a 9-1 lead in the third game before Sanville pegged it back to 7-9 but Foster kept his concentration, kept his lead throughout and took the game 15-14. The fourth game seemed to be following a similar pattern as Foster opened up a 7-1 lead but an excellent series of serves took Sanville into an 8-7 lead and as Foster visibly tired a few unforced errors crept into his game and Sanville took his opportunities to win the game 15-12, the match 3-1 and the prestigious tournament for the first time.

Sanville had reached the final by beating newcomer Steve Price (+10), veteran Malcolm Crane (+6) and, in the semi-final another second team player, Daniel Jackson (+6). Foster’s path to the final was not easy as he beat the hard hitting Catherine Kerr (+6), Matthew Jordan (+6) and another newcomer, Tommy Cove (+9).

The plate competition for those who lost their first round matches was won by Catherine Kerr who made light of the two points she had to concede to veteran Martin Braybrook as she won the final 15-9 15-13 15-8.

At the end of the evening technical director, Barry Starling, who acted as referee and marker for both finals said: “All credit to Martin Sanville. He has had some tough matches and heavy defeats this season in the Norfolk League and perhaps these results influenced the handicapping committee. Nevertheless it is always good to see a new name inscribed upon the honours board in the club house and I think everybody agreed that on the night he deserved his victory.”