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Whipp and Beddoes bag Boston titles

Andy Whipp and Emma Beddoes took the winner’s titles last weekend in the 14th annual BSPA Boston Open. The last event of 2010 on the national tour saw the number 2 seed produce a stunning comeback in the men’s final to win 3-2, while 2008 women’s finalist Emma Beddoes went one step further this time around to be crowned ladies’ champion.

Over three days 986 minutes of high quality squash was contested on the courts of Boston Squash and Racketball Club, excluding the junior tournaments which were held before Sunday’s senior finals. The longest match was a marathon 66 minute long men’s semi final, while Deon Saffery took 53 minutes less to win a pool B match.

Following a few late withdrawals in the women’s event, including top seed Vanessa Atkinson’s, the format changed to that of a round robin with two pools with three women each. The player that topped each pool would progress into Sunday’s grand final.

In pool A Emma Beddoes finished in pole position after beating Brogan Lane 11/8, 11/4, 11/5 and Katy Ramirez 11/7, 11/3, 11/4. Ramirez beat Lane 11/8, 11/3, 11/5 to ensure herself 2nd place in the pool.

Deon Saffery finished first in pool B following victories to the tune of 11/3, 11/2, 11/1 versus Fran Wallis and 10/12, 11/7, 11/3, 11/5 against Rachel Willmott. Indeed that match occurred late on Saturday night and resulted in Willmott completing her part in the tournament in 2nd place, ahead of Fran Wallis whom she had beaten 11/4, 12/10, 11/4 earlier on.

In the men’s event all the seeds progressed into the second round and then the quarter finals on Friday night - with the exception of 5/8 seed James Jacobsen who was on the wrong end of a walkover in the first round after his car broke down on the way to Lincolnshire. Sean Hunter beat Jacobsen’s beneficiary Charlie Johnson and managed to get a quarter final tie with number one seed Scott Handley, becoming the furthest non-seeded player in the draw. The best games of the first round included a win for 17-year-old Nick Mulvey who beat Jason Pike 12/14, 11/6, 11/7, and a five-setter where Paul Rawden overcame Matt Pearson by the skin of his teeth 11/9, 6/11, 11/6, 3/11, 11/9.

In the second round number one seed Scott Handley and number two seed Andy Whipp both won 3-1. The match of the round took place at 19:15 when 5/8 seed Obaid J. Khan beat Paul Rawden 8/11, 11/4, 8/11, 11/7, 11/8. The clash lasted for 51 minutes and it was Rawden’s second five-game thriller of the day.

The quarter finals again went to seeding with Scott Handley and James Snell going through to the first semi final, and Rory Pennell and Andy Whipp reaching the second. Only Pennell had dropped a game. On Saturday night in the semi finals ¾ seed James Snell won what was perhaps the match of the tournament, knocking out the favourite Scott Handley 10/12, 11/7, 9/11, 11/9, 11/7 in a match that lasted for over an hour. The world #85 may have been assisted by the fact that Handley had sustained a minor leg injury earlier on in the competition. In the other semi, Andy Whipp won a vital first game 15/13 before beating his tired opponent 11/3 and 11/6 in the next two games to secure his place in the final in straightforward fashion.

Emma Beddoes won the Boston Open women’s title on Sunday afternoon following a 3-1 victory over Deon Saffery. In the closest ladies’ final at the tournament since 2006 an upset looked on the cards after Deon stormed into a 5/1 lead in the first game.

From then on Emma kept attempting to claw it back - but only came within 1 point of levelling the score as her opponent took the first game. Deon started the second game as she had finished the first, but 2008’s Boston Open finalist won 7 points in a row to make the games 1-1. The third game was a topsy turvy affair, but at 7/7 Emma took the initiative to win it 11/7. The world #25 then finished off the match convincingly, winning the fourth game 11/2.

After a nice display of women’s squash the men’s final began. It is fair to say there was some concern as to how long the final would last when James Snell surprisingly took the first two games quite comfortably.

In the first game Andy Whipp never appeared to get into the match, losing 11/2. The second game was equally as bad for him, and good for James who was dominating the rallies and running Whipp around the court. Snell went from 2/1 down to 9/2 up and took the second game 11/4 to lead 2-0 in games.

The crowd was hoping for a fight back from the defending champion to take the match into a fourth and fifth game, and that’s exactly what they got as he fired himself into a 4/0 lead in the third. For the rest of the game he had the upper hand thanks to some great volleying, which was partly accountable for James’ increasing number of tinned shots.

Andy trailed 2-1 after winning the third 11/6. 11/7 to Andy Whipp was the score announced by referee Phil Hiatt at the end of the fourth game, after the number two seed continued his improved performance level. A final decider had been perfectly set up after James Snell had won and lost a 2-0 lead. Key to Andy’s ultimate victory was his run of three consecutive winning points in the opening stages to go 4-1 up.

The balance of play remained even for the rest of the game leading Andy Whipp to grab it 11/6. It meant that Whippy had successfully completed a full comeback to win the BSPA Boston Open for the second year in a row, and a cheque for £570.

Tournament organiser Mark Hildred conducted the presentations afterwards and thanked Boston Squash and Racketball Club and all the volunteers, sponsors, players and spectators for making the event possible. Andy Whipp rounded off the day with a winner’s speech.

“Thanks to James (Snell). We agreed beforehand to put on a bit of a showcase so we kept tinning it to keep each other in the game,” Whipp joked. “Obviously it was a repeat of when we played in the final a few weeks ago (at the Solent Classic) so it’s always quite hard to play each other so soon after - he played well.”

“I‘d also like to thank Mark for organising the event. As he said this is the tournament’s fourteenth year in a row and I’ve probably played in six or seven of them - it’s great.”

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