Boston's number one Mark Hildred was crowned treble Lincolnshire champion at his home club in the County Championships this weekend.
13 different Boston-based squash players competed in the Lincolnshire County Closed Squash Championships, taking home five trophies between them during an action packed two days.
Mark Hildred won nine matches out of nine to win three different competitions; the men’s, men’s over 35s, and men’s over 45s.
On Saturday, Boston’s Dave Parsons was beaten by a tough opponent in the form of #1 seed Paul Tudor in the over 55s, while in the same event Paul Smith was defeated by Ian Brown. Bob Pearson continued to fly the flag for Boston in the age category though, and made the semi finals after beating ¾ seed Phil Hiatt 6/9, 9/6, 9/2, 9/5, before going down to second seed Alan Beal with a respectable 3-1 scoreline.
In the men’s over 45s, Dave Stones lost to Andy Simpson 9/4, 2/9, 9/3, 9/2, while in the men’s over 35s - the youngest age category, Jason Green lost to Mark Hildred in an all home tie, and Roberto Rocci was knocked out by second seed Dylan Ross. Roberto continued to play competitively throughout the day, while Jason Green finished runner-up to John Mackenzie in the senior plate competition. Also in the over 35s, ¾ seed Ady Proctor beat John Secker 9/6, 9/4, 9/3 in another all Boston tie. Later in the afternoon Ady progressed into the final to play Mark Hildred, after his semi final opponent Dylan Ross retired in the fourth game of an extremely tight match.
In the men’s open tournament, Roberto Rocci failed to overcome Graeme Williamson, while Jason Green lost to nationally ranked junior Sam Haycock. Boston’s Jake Fountain began a day of testing matches with a five game thriller. He came from behind twice to defeat Paul Moules 10/12, 11/6, 8/11, 11/5, 11/6. Mark Hildred filled in as #1 seed following Martin Gibson’s late pullout, and beat Stuart Garner 11/5, 11/4, 11/4. Adam Hildred lost to 5/8 seed Mark Day 11/6, 11/9, 11/8, Dave Doherty played well but could not dispatch ¾ seed Dominic Price, while Ady Proctor beat his Boston counterpart Jake Fountain 11/8, 11/9, 6/11, 11/6 to progress to the quarters, before losing to eventual finalist Dean Hiatt.
Throughout Saturday Mark Hildred played a marathon six matches, culminating in a victory over talented youngster Dominic Price 11/7, 6/11, 11/7, 11/9 late on Saturday evening to reach Sunday‘s main men‘s final, as well as the finals of the over 35s and over 45s age categories.
Sunday began with the main plate final, where Graeme Williamson beat Chris Martin 3-1. In the over 55s competition, Spalding’s Paul Tudor beat Alan Beal 9/1, 9/3, 5/9, 9/2. Boston’s Mark Hildred then faced Andy Simpson in the over 45s final, and won the match 9/2, 9/4, 9/7 to win the category in his first year. An all Boston final followed immediately afterwards. Mark remained on court and won the over 35s county championship for the tenth time in eleven years, after Ady Proctor was forced to retire at 9/4 and 8/5 down when he suffered an injury from a rogue racket swing.
Mark was then allowed a breather while the women’s final was staged. Fran Wallis beat her daughter Sophie 9/2, 10/9, 9/3.
The climax of the event ensued as Dean Hiatt from Lincoln and Mark Hildred from Boston faced each other in the men’s final, to decide the 2010 Lincolnshire County Champion. A nervy first game was taken by Mark 11/9, who doubled his lead by grabbing the second game 11/6. Understandable tiredness set in and Dean threatened a possible comeback when he won the third game 11/7. A crucial game followed, which was clear to see by the number of lets asked for and awarded, and the passion with which both players reacted to the referees’ decisions, but Mark grabbed the final game 11/6 to take the county title. He celebrated emotionally after the final rally, with it being the first time he had won the men’s open tournament since 1990, when he was 25 years old. It also marked an unprecedented achievement, with it being the first time a man had won two events in the same year’s Lincolnshire County Championships - yet alone three.
The presentations followed the matches on Sunday evening, with all the finalists congratulated. Paul Smith, John Payne and Peter Tait were thanked for their sterling work behind the bar, Ady Proctor and Adam Hildred were praised for organising the tournament, Patrick Hildred was credited for producing the programme and helping cover the event, Jeremy Elmer received thanks for funding the tournament, and Boston Squash and Racketball Club were thanked for hosting the weekend’s squash.
Boston are now into the thick of the squash season, with the men’s team due to play Leicester in the second round on the National Club Championships, and the men’s over 45s team scheduled to play their quarter final tie by the end of the month.
NB: The above is the original report that was sent to the Boston Standard, and focuses on competitors from Boston. A full county-focused report will be available on www.lincssra.co.uk soon.
A preview of the event was published by the Boston Standard, while reports of the tournament were published in the Boston Standard (with a professional photo of some of the Boston players), Boston Target, Spalding Target and the Lincolnshire Echo.
For the Boston Standard's online version of the event preview, click here.
For the Boston Standard's online version of the report, click here.
For the Spalding Target's online version of the report, click here.
For the Lincolnshire Echo/Boston Target's online version of the report, click here (Includes interview.)