Quick-fire finals crown Boston’s 18th birthday bonanza
By PATRICK HILDRED – Squash Mad Correspondent in Boston
Boston Squash and Racketball Club hosted the 18th annual BSPA Boston Open at the weekend, with top seeds Charles Sharpes and Millie Tomlinson taking the crowns.
Sharpes, the world #68, stepped in after original #1 seed Adrian Grant was forced to withdraw through injury – and won the men’s event and a cheque for £570. Tomlinson was supreme in the women’s competition and never dropped a game.
The action began on Friday afternoon. Boston’s Mark Hildred recorded his first win in the tournament which he first entered in 1997, recovering from 2-1 and 9/7 down to beat Jeremy Harris 11/2 in the fifth.
Among the other four first round matches, Lincolnshire’s Harry Falconer lost 3-0 against Stuart George. The scoreline was not reflective of the long rallies and games that Falconer forced George into, with the three games taking 42 minutes.
Friday evening saw the busiest session of the tournament with the men’s and women’s last 16. For a significant period four of the club’s five courts were in use. Mark Hildred lost to Patrick Rooney, and all the seeds progressed.
Saturday began with the quarter-finals. The ladies were first on court, and top seed Millie Tomlinson won through to the semis, as did second seed Jessica Davis and ¾ seeds Lucy Beecroft and Alison Thomson.
Similarly, the top four seeds progressed into the semis in the men’s event. Charles Sharpes, Doug Kempsell and Nick Mulvey all won high tempo matches in straight games, while Bryan Byrne dispatched his opponent 3-1.
The evening’s semis saw Lucy Beecroft cause an upset, knocking out second seed Jessica Davis. Beecroft demonstrated an excellent short game and despite squandering a 2-1 lead, she won the fifth set at a canter, 11/1.
The other women’s semi was one of attrition with some viciously long rallies, as proven by the fact that the match time for Tomlinson’s 3-0 victory was the same as the other, five-set women’s semi at 35 minutes.
In 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, with a rally of over 50 shots played as Byrne defended Sharpes’ first match ball. After a topsy-turvy tie-break, Sharpes eventually won two consecutive strokes to win the match and a place in the final.
The four-set semi between Doug Kempsell and Nick Mulvey was a remarkable 61 minutes. Doug dug deep to win the third set 14/12 after both players had wasted gameballs, and that appeared to be a decisive point in the match, as he then took a significant lead in the final set, which he took 11/4.
Sunday’s finals were well attended, but Millie Tomlinson simply had too much for Lucy Beecroft in the women’s final, taking only 19 minutes to win 11/4, 11/5, 11/3.
The men’s showpiece 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.
Winner Charles Sharpes also said words of thanks and added: “It’s the event’s 18th year which is incredible. Thanks for the continued support and hopefully there’s another 18 years to come.”
Boston Open 2014
Millie Tomlinson  bt Lucy Beecroft [3/4] 11/4, 11/5, 11/3 (19m)
Charles Sharpes  bt Doug Kempsell  11/6, 11/2, 11/6 (29m)
Pictures by Boston Squash and Racketball Club