BAKER AT THE DOUBLE!
Forty nine year old John Baker, who last month won Cromer Squash Club's Over 35 tournament , this week became Club Veterans champion for the first time as he beat John Chandler, who was appearing in his first ever final at the club, 9-3 9-2 9-2.
Chandler, who is one of the oldest players at the club and was in fact the oldest player taking part in the tournament is no stranger to tournament play having narrowly lost, earlier this year, in the semi-finals of both the Over 60 and Over 65 events at the Norfolk Closed Championships but he found that having to give nineteen years to his opponent was a step too far.
Baker was in fact runner-up in this tournament last year and after a cagy opening in which the serve moved to and fro it was Chandler who opened up a 3-1 lead and looked as though he might be on course to cause an upset. Sadly for him, however, this was as good as it got as he made a series of unforced errors which handed the initiative to his younger opponent and Baker took the opening game 9-3 as he won eleven of the next thirteen rallies.
Baker dominated the second game from the start and eased his way into a 5-0 lead before his relentless pressure told and he took the game 9-2 to open up an unassailable 2-0 lead. The third game followed a similar pattern. Baker again opened up a 5-0 lead and although Chandler briefly recovered to make the score 2-5 Baker won five successive points to win the game 9-2 and the match 3-0.
It is thirty years ago since Baker won his first title at the club when he won the club Handicap tournament and after two more handicap victories and four club championships he has now become the first player to have won all four titles – an achievement which is unlikey to be equalled for some considerable time.
Technical Director Barry Starling who was among the large crowd which watched the final from the balcony said: "Johnny B thoroughly deserved his victory. He still hits the ball as cleanly as anybody in the club and John C knew that he had to try and take the pace off the ball and go for winning drop shots. Unfortunately for him this was a high risk strategy and he did make too many mistakes to give himself a realistic chance"