Cromer Lawn Tennis & Squash Club

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Alec Burrows is the new Veterans champion at Cromer Squash club. In a hugely entertaining final in which the advantage swung first one way and then the other the Sheringham school teacher who was runner-up two years ago and also runner-up in the Over 35 event back in 2007, defeated the reigning champion and No.1 seed, Henri Paul 8-10 2-9 9-1 9-2 9-7.
Paul , who was Over 35 champion in 2009 and 2010 but was beaten in the final of this year’s tournament just two weeks ago, was bidding to complete a hat-trick of veterans’ titles but when he trailed 7-2 in the opening game this seemed to be a forlorn hope. Burrows, however, then seemed to be hit by “court fright”. A succession of unforced errors which were perhaps brought on by nerves as he sensed he had the chance of winning a title for the first time or because he was not used to the pressures of playing in front of such a large crowd enabled Paul to draw level before taking the opening game 10-8 and then open up a two game lead as he took the second game 9-2.
The result at this stage looked to be cut and dried but Burrows, who was the No.2 seed, somehow fought his way back as Paul’s game became more predictable and feeding off the power of numerous cross court shots he won the third game 9-1 and then drew level as he took the fourth game 9-2.
At this stage the title could have gone either way but the hat-trick looked to be a certainty when Paul stormed through the opening rallies of the fifth game to lead 7-2. With just two points required for victory however there was yet another twist as Burrows regained the serve and then won seven successive points in one hand to take the game.
Burrows said afterwards: “I had begun to think that I would never get my name on an honours board in the club house and I knew that at 0-2 down I had to try and change my game. I have played Henri probably fifty times or more over the past few years and we know each other’s game inside out. Hopefully everybody who watched the match enjoyed it even if a lot of mistakes were made.”
After successfully negotiating a potential “banana skin” against Technical Director, Barry Starling in the quarter final Burrows reached the final by defeating former club champion and No.3 seed, John Baker 3-1 in the semi-final. Paul in fact nearly didn’t make the final as, after beating Martin Braybrook 3-1 in his quarter-final, he twice survived match ball in his semi-final against No.4 seed and second team captain Martin Sanville before eventually winning 3-2.