Eddie & Emma bag Boston titles

 Eddie Charlton and Emma Beddoes were crowned champions of the sixteenth annual BSPA Boston Open on Sunday.

It was Charlton’s first tournament win in Boston having entered on three previous occasions, while Beddoes achieved the notable accolade of winning the women’s event for the third consecutive year.

MEN’S

The squash kicked off on Friday with the men’s round of 32. All the seeds made it through in straight games, with the exception of Paul Rawden, who dropped the third game on his way to a 3-1 victory.

Later in the afternoon the second round saw top seed Eddie Charlton secure another comfortable 3-0 victory, while second seed Greg Lobban made hard work of beating the unseeded Nick Mulvey, eventually winning out 11/3 in the fifth.

Tom Ford and Kevin Moran won in straight sets, but their fellow 5/8 seeds did not progress as easily. Thoboki Moholo won in five games, while Paul Rawden was defeated 3-1 by Douglas Kempsell. Unseeded Tristan Eysele caused the major upset of the round, knocking out 3/4 seed Mark Fuller 11/9, 11/9, 11/9. Chris Fuller, the other 3/4 seed, made the quarters with a straightforward 3-0 win.

The second round upsets had certainly been due at the Boston Open, with last year’s tournament unfolding unusually precisely according to the seedings.

Saturday’s quarter finals as a collective were the best for a number of years. Eddie Charlton dispatched 5/8 seed Tom Ford 3-0, but the other three quarters were all five-setters. Perhaps the best of the lot was Chris Fuller’s victory over Kevin Moran. Fuller, renowned for his long matches, twice came from behind to win in an incredible 85 minutes. The match time was 19 minutes longer than any other match from the preceding two years.

Thoboki Moholo beat Tristan Eysele 12/14, 11/2, 11/3, 8/11, 11/6, and Greg Lobban fought back from 2-0 down against Douglas Kempsell to win 11/3 in the fifth, just as he had done in the previous round.

The crowd gathered for Saturday night’s semi finals, which are often the highlight of the event. The two matches were contrasting affairs. Eddie Charlton beat Chris Fuller in a ferocious 80-minute long encounter – 11/4, 11/9, 10/12, 14/12. Fuller played a total of 2 ¾ hours of competitive squash in one day, but still had the energy to exclaim “Stop with the gameplan, just hit the ball hard and run!” during the third game. The following match was good, but less than half as long, as second seed Greg Lobban beat Thoboki Moholo 11/6, 11/8, 12/10.

Sunday’s men’s final was therefore a battle between the top two seeds. Charlton beat Lobban 12/10, 11/8, 11/9, but despite the 3-0 scoreline the closeness of the match was evidenced by its length (50 minutes).

WOMEN’S

In the women’s event, three drop-outs meant that only one quarter final was held on Saturday afternoon. Kirsty West beat Emily Ison to earn her place in the last four, where she was knocked out 11/1, 11/1, 11/8 by defending champion Emma Beddoes. The following semi saw second seed Sarah-Jane Perry beat Samantha Ward 11/6, 11/2, 11/3.

Despite low overall numbers, the women’s final was only the second to go to five sets in the Open’s 16 years – the last occasion being in 2004. Rather unusually the women’s showpiece was longer than the men’s, because it took over an hour for Emma Beddoes to win 11/9, 10/12, 9/11, 11/9, 11/5. Sarah-Jane Perry hit a number of routine shots into the tin, which may have been the difference between the two players on the day.

WHAT THEY SAID

Tournament Organizer Mark Hildred: “I think this year has been a particularly good tournament. There’s been some cracking matches right the way through.”

Women’s champion Emma Beddoes: “Mark mentioned how long this tournament’s been running. I think I came [here] when I was 18 and I’m 27 now, so I’ve been coming a long time, and I think that speaks for itself really.

“Thanks to everyone that puts this on every year.”

Men’s champion Eddie Charlton: “They [the referees] do a good job and it’s a thankless task. I know there’s been arguments this weekend. It isn’t personal, it’s just our livelihood and we just care.

“Thanks to Greg for a great final. He’s a really good guy. He’s very fair and it makes for what I hope was a good match.”

Patrick Hildred

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