So, Finals Night – and where to start? At the beginning, as someone once said, and that was in the Ladies’ Plate, where Cathy Cramer had a good match with Marisa England, winning 3-0. The Men’s C Plate saw Leo Kleinberg take the first game before going down 3-1 to Ben Margolis. Mark Bagnall emerged as 3-0 victor in a tight-fought Men’s B Plate Final, and in the first of their two games, Will Henden defeated Robert Thirst 3-1 in the Men’s A Plate Final.
Then, of course, it was time for the main draw, which kicked off with the veterans. In the O70 Final, Martin Pearse defeated John Chandler 3-0, before losing out 3-0 to the defending champion, Nigel Reeve, in the Men’s O65 Final. David Cook is our new O60 champion, beating Richard Soanes 3-0, and Robin Chipperfield battled hard against Gary Snelling to take the O55 title in a 3-1 win. To finish, Steven Moxey and Rob Hambrook had a thumpingly good game in the O45 Final, with Steve Moxey eventually emerging as the 3-1 winner, before the youngsters bounded onto court for the U23 Final. Robert Thirst tried his best to avenge his previous defeat at the hands of Will Henden, but in the end, it was an identical scoreline, with Will taking his second title of the night. It was also a case of déja-vu for Gary Snelling, who lost 3-0 to Billy Draper in the Men’s C Final, and for Robin Chipperfield, who claimed his second scalp in the Men’s B Final, beating Kevin Harvey 3-1.
The Ladies’ match was a contrast between the hard-hitting Katie Cox and the touch-perfect Bonnie Butler, with Bonnieemerging as the new Ladies’ Champion; and last, but certainly not least, was the much-anticipated Men’s A Final. The reigning Norfolk Champion, Jamie Goodrich, claimed a tight first game 14-12, and the second 13-8; but just when the champagne corks may have been popping, Matthew Bolt snatched the third 13-9; and suddenly, the whole face of the match changed. Bolt dug deep and held on to the fourth too, with a 13-11 win, but in the end, Goodrich won through, taking the match 13-4 and winning his seventh Norfolk Closed title – a truly remarkable achievement.
Congratulations to all of those players who took part, and thank you all for your sportsmanship and good humourthroughout the competition. After an exhilarating week of brilliant squash, tight matches and tense finals, it’s over and out for the match reports. It remain only to say that we look forward to seeing you for the Norfolk Closed 2018, and hopefully, before!
Match Of The Night: Ladies’ Final, Bonnie Butler v Katie Cox. This truly was a game of two halves. Katie came out with all guns blazing, taking two games 13-8, 13-6 in quick succession before Bonnie came storming back to equal the score with 15-13, 13-5 wins. The final game was level-pegging all the way before Bonnie broke the deadlock to win the match 16-14. A fantastic showpiece for two young ladies with a lot of guts, talent and determination. Well played to both of you, and congratulations to our Ladies’ Champion.
Player Of The Tournament: Matthew Bolt. A 3-2 win over Kevin Harvey, followed by a 3-2 win over Paul Gedge, followed by a 3-2 win over Jordan Creed, followed by an eventual 3-2 defeat in the final. This was never going to be a cut-and-dried tournament anyway, but Matt has kept us on the edge of our seats for the whole week and put up a great performance in the final. Well done, Matt.
Special Mention: Richard Soanes. The first entry on the list every year, he made his first-ever final and lost out narrowly to David Cook. Plus, he’s a generally good egg and looks a little bit like a pirate.
Best Beard Award: Ben Margolis. A four-game Men’s C Plate Final and there still wasn’t a hair out of place.
Guest Appearance: Ryan Martin. Fresh from his off-slope antics in Andorra, Ryan turned out to present the prizes on behalf of our sponsors, Top Spin Tennis and did a sterling job. If he doesn’t achieve his lifetime ambition of becoming a ski instructor, he’s got a burgeoning career as a public speaker ahead of him.
Hero Of The Night: The huge crowds of spectators who turned out to watch the finals take place. Thank you all so much for your support, and we hope you enjoyed the week!
Villain Of The Night: Adam Goodson’s Engine Management Light. ‘Sorry I’m late’ has never been said with quite so much feeling.