Boston Open 2014

14-DEc, FINALS

WOMEN’S FINAL
[1] Millie Tomlinson bt [3]4] Lucy Beecroft  11/4, 11/5, 11/3 (19m)

MEN’S FINAL
[1] Charles Sharpes bt [2] Doug Kempsell  11/6, 11/2, 11/6 (29m)

SH_7803Charles Sharpes and Millie Tomlinson were crowned champions of the 18th annual BSPA Boston Open on Sunday after two straight-set final victories.

Sharpes and Tomlinson join previous winners on the honours board, including Adrian Grant, Simon Parke, Tania Bailey and Vicky Botwright.

SH_7798Millie won the women’s tournament without dropping a game – a class act throughout who always looked in control. Lucy Beecroft had played well to upset the seedings and beat Jessica Davis to the final courtesy of the only five-set match of the ladies’ event, but found it difficult to compete with the pace and movement of Tomlinson, who took 19 minutes to win 11/4, 11/5, 11/3.

SH_7801The men’s final was just under half an hour. Despite Sharpes taking a 4/0 lead in the first game, Kempsell brought it back to trail 6/7, but the top seed then pulled away to take the game 11/6 and the second set comfortably: 11/2. The final game took much the same shape as the first, leaving Sharpes to take the winner’s cheque: 11/6, 11/2, 11/6.

The presentations took place afterwards, and tournament organiser Mark Hildred thanked the volunteers and officials.

Charles Sharpes also said a few words, “Thank you to everyone’s who has helped organise the tournament, and all the referees for coming down. It’s been a massive help having the good quality of refereeing.

“It’s the event’s 18th year which is incredible. Thanks for the continued support and hopefully there’s another 18 years to come.”

SH_7754

13-Dec Day TWO:

WOMEN’S SEMI-FINALS
[1] Millie Tomlinson  bt [3/4] Alison Thomson [3/4] 11/7, 11/8, 11/4 (35m)
[3/4] Lucy Beecroft  bt [2] Jessica Davis [2] 11/3, 8/11, 11/5, 8/11, 11/1 (35m)

MEN’S SEMI-FINALS
[1] Charles Sharpes  bt [3/4] Bryan Byrne  9/11, 11/8, 11/6, 15/13 (52m)
[2] Doug Kempsell  bt [3/4] Nick Mulvey  11/4, 11/13, 14/12, 11/4 (61m)

SEMI-FINALS

SH_7748Lucy Beecroft raced into a 4/1 lead against Jessica Davis in the first game of the first semi-final, and maintained that lead to win the game on her second gameball, 11/3. This spurred Jessica into action and she went 4/0 up in the second game, which she went on to win 11/8, therefore leveling the match at 1-1.

Beecroft built on the good short game that she displayed in the first two games to take a 2-1 advantage, but the match was taken to a fifth set when, despite Lucy’s fightback to 6/7 having trailed 6/1, Jessica held firm to win 11/8. Lucy was on top form to take the fifth set at a canter, 11/1.

SH_7747The other women’s semi was one of attrition. Top seed Millie Tomlinson proved very hard to win points against. This combined with Alison Thomson’s endeavour to produce some viciously long rallies, as proven by the fact that the match time for Millie’s 3-0 victory was the same as the other, five-set women’s semi at 35 minutes.

SH_7749In the first of the men’s semi-finals top seed Charles Sharpes beat Bryan Byrne 9/11, 11/8, 11/6, 15/13. The fourth set was certainly the best game of the event. After Charles came from behind to lead 2-1, Bryan was fighting to stay in the tournament – and it showed. With Sharpes on a matchball at 10-9 a magnificent rally was played.

With 20-30 shots already played in the rally I began counting, and there were still 26 more. Charles tinned it, and Bryan then received a stroke and had a gameball. How quickly the tide had turned. It was a volatile wave though, as Sharpes leveled at 11/11 before receiving a stroke himself to lead 12/11. Yet another stroke to Byrne made it 12/12.

Sharpes won the next rally before hitting the tin, and then won two consecutive strokes to take the game 15/13 and the match 3-1. 52 minutes the match time.

SH_7750The one match to beat that semi-final for length was the last one of the day, between Doug Kempsell and Nick Mulvey. The four-set clash was a remarkable 61 minutes, with only 15 refereeing decisions made in that time. After Nick Mulvey leveled the games score at 1-1 following a tie-break victory,

Doug dug deep to win the third set 14/12 after both players had wasted gameballs. That appeared to break the back of the challenge for the second seed, as he then took a significant lead in the final set, which he took 11/4.

WOMEN’S QUARTERS
[1] Millie Tomlinson bt Mari Taylor 11/5, 11/6, 11/1 (19m)
[3/4] Alison Thomson  bt Olivia Howell 11/9, 5/11, 11/9, 11/8 (39m)
[3/4] Lucy Beecroft  bt Steph Walton 11/4, 11/4, 11/2 (14m)
[2] Jessica Davis bt Kirsty West 11/8, 6/11, 12/10, 11/7 (42m)

MEN’S QUARTERS
[1] Charles Sharpes  bt Keith Timms 11/7, 11/8, 11/7 (27m)
[3/4] Bryan Byrne  bt Paul Rawden 11/3, 6/11, 11/5, 11/6 (29m)
[3/4] Nick Mulvey bt Robert Dadds 11/8, 12/10, 13/11 (41m)
[2] Doug Kempsell bt Patrick Rooney 11/4, 11/7, 11/8 (38m)

QUARTER-FINALS

The quarters went to seeding on day two of the Boston Open. Lucy Beecroft recorded a second straight-set win on court 4, this time against Steph Walton. Jessica Davis had a slightly trickier quarter-final against Kirsty West, but recovered from a second set defeat to win a close third 12/10 and eventually the match 3-1.

Millie Tomlinson made her first appearance on court this weekend and recorded a comfortable win over Mari Taylor: 11/5, 11/6, 11/1. Alison Thomson came out on top in the last quarter-final, beating Olivia Howell 3-1 in a match of careful, steady rallies with – from what I saw of it – few unforced errors.

The men’s quarters followed immediately. Charles Sharpes again won without conceding a game, while Bryan Byrne booked his place against Sharpes in the semis courtesy of a 3-1 win.

In an intense match Patrick Rooney presented second seed Doug Kempsell with a much sterner test than the 19 points he won would suggest, but despite getting to within a point of Doug at 9/8 down in the third, a nick left him to exclaim “oh no” as Kempsell progressed into the last four. Difficult three-game wins have been a bit of a theme this year, with Nick Mulvey also winning a high tempo quarter-final against Robert Dadds 3-0.

12-Dec, Day ONE :

It’s down to the quarter-finals in Boston after a busy first day’s play – Patrick Hildred reports:

The 18th annual Boston Open began on Friday afternoon with the men’s first round, and Dan McGinn and James Peach recorded two straight-set wins to kick proceedings off.

Mark Hildred achieved his first win in the tournament which he first entered in 1997. He recovered from being 2-1 and 9/7 down against Jeremy Harris to book his place in the second round after an 11/2 win in the fifth, and Gordon Harpur beat Sam Burton. Lincolnshire’s Harry Falconer lost 3-0 against Stuart George, but forced his opponent into long rallies and games, as shown by the total match time of 42 minutes.

At 6pm a busy second session commenced with the last 16 of the men’s and women’s draws. Have sympathy for the present author, who was at one point left alone to arrange referees, balls, marking sheets, prize money cheques, court allocations, reporting and photography while matches took place across four courts simultaneously – including one featuring the actual tournament organiser. Thankfully, Mark Hildred is now out having lost to Patrick Rooney!

The other men’s second round matches saw 3/4 seed Bryan Byrne dispatch Josh Turmel, while Paul Rawden managed to squeeze a win into 35 minutes despite having trailed 2-0 to Will Harris. Dan McGinn was competitive but lost a close third game 14/12 as top seed Charles Sharpes progressed into the quarters without dropping a game. Keith Timms beat Tom Chitty in the longest match of the day (48 minutes).

James Peach was playing well and did pull the score back to 2-1 with a third game victory, but ultimately he was unable to cause an upset against second seed Doug Kempsell. In the final matches of the day, 3/4 seed Nick Mulvey survived a close first game to beat Stuart George 3-0, and Robert Dadds beat Gordon Harpur as the clock clicked to 9pm.

The first women’s match of the tournament saw 3/4 seed Lucy Beecroft beat Hannah Shipley in a quarter of an hour. In an absorbing game Kirsty West beat Ali Hemmingway, who was agonisingly close to taking the match to a deciding fifth set, losing 14/12 in the fourth.

Emma Custace-Baker and Mari Taylor were next on the hardback rainbow court, with the latter winning 3-1. Emily Peach and Alison Thomson [3/4] followed on, with the latter booking her place in the quarters while Olivia Howell beat the returning Roxy Keshavarz 3-0.

DRAWS & RESULTS

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12-Dec: DRAW CHANGES

World #68 Charles Sharpes is the men’s top seed, replacing Adrian Grant who was forced to withdraw earlier this week through injury. Charles won the British U23 National Championship in April, and lost to Andy Whipp in a five-set semi-final at the Boston Open in 2011

Due to Lily Taylor’s withdrawal, Jessica Davis becomes women’s second seed and has a bye after Emily Ison’s withdrawal. Lucy Beecroft takes Jessica’s 3/4 seeding and will play Hannah Shipley, while Olivia Howell comes into the draw in Lucy’s original unseeded place.

18 years of the Boston Open

Preview from Patrick Hildred

SH12356During my mammoth programme writing/producing/editing session, now that my degree deadlines have briefly passed, I was once again struck by the history of the Boston Open. The fact that it has run for 18 consecutive years helps to explain why every single one of the top 13 English players in the current men’s world rankings has played at our humble club.

We have instances of players who have featured in the draw 15 and 17 years apart. I could show you old programmes printed in black and white. The format has seen games played to 9, 15 and then 11 points.

For the proud achievement of seeing this tournament to its adulthood, thanks as ever go to all the sponsors, the BSPA, players and organisers that contribute their bit.

Last year boasted fantastic draws in both the men’s and women’s events. This year, the top seeds are as impressive as ever, and while the men’s draw is down on numbers, the first round of 16 in the women’s competition since 2008 compensates.

World #27 Adrian Grant won the Boston Open back in 2005 with a 3-2 win over Simon Parke in the final. He is favourite in this year’s draw, on the back of Commonwealth doubles silver in the summer and victory at the Lagos International Classic in November.

21-year-old Douglas Kempsell is the second seed. As the world #116 he is the third highest ranked Scottish player. This is Doug’s third consecutive Boston Open appearance, having been knocked out in the quarters for the last two years.

Born in Kilkenny, 29-year-old Bryan Byrne makes his debut in Boston as a 3/4 seed. Nick Mulvey has also been seeded 3/4 and will expect to surpass his second round appearance here last year.

The top women’s seed is a promising prospect. 22-year-old Millie Tomlinson from Derby is already world #77. As a 5/8 seed she won the World University Championship in Chennai in September. Last month saw Millie’s first WSA World Tour title victory, winning a 90-minute five-set final to claim the LiveStuff Open title in New York. The second seed is 18-year-old Lily Taylor. A semi-finalist here last year, she is currently ranked world #94

There are 36 players in the draw. Thousands of pounds in prize money up for grabs. Ranking points to be had.

For us spectators, it’s another entertaining weekend of squash. For the players, it’s another weekend of gruelling competition.  For the referees, it’s another weekend of batting away desperate pleas for points by stroke and argument.

And none of us would have it any other way.

Patrick Hildred

DRAWS & RESULTS

View the PROGRAMME (28 page pdf)

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