PIC: Top row (left-to-right): Chris Clements, Mark Hildred, Colin Fisher.
Bottom row (left-to-right): John Secker, Ady Proctor, Jake Fountain.
BOSTON Squash and Racketball Club have collected two county cups and both Lincolnshire Leagues titles after a smashing season which also included national success as the town's Over-45s team won the national veterans' plate.
After a long season Boston 1 won the Lincolnshire Leagues Premier Division by a tantalising two points, finishing on 160 points from 16 matches whilst runners-up Hiatt Decorators achieved 158 points. It marks the tenth time that Boston have been crowned county champions since 2000.
Boston 2 had success of their own in the county's other, Division 1, beating runners-up Metheringham to the title by 27 points having chalked up 137 points over 12 matches. They will now compete alongside Boston 1 in the Premier Division next season.
The County Cups Finals weekend was held at Metheringham on Sunday (12th June). In the Alford Cup, which is contested by clubs’ Over-35s teams, Boston faced Eastgate. The first match was between John Secker (Boston) and Lynn Turner (Eastgate) at fifth string. Secker took the first game 11/9. The second game at one point looked like becoming never-ending. Secker came from 6/3 and 9/7 down to earn a gameball at 10/9 up, but he lost the point and the match went to 10/10 and two-clear. The Boston #5 then saved two gameballs before failing to capitalise on another two of his own, but eventually won the game 16/14. Secker wrapped the match up 11/9 in the third to give Boston a 1-0 lead.
The second match saw Boston’s Ady Proctor go head to head with fellow #3 Chris Norris. It was a fairly straightforward win for Proctor, who dispatched his opponent 11/6, 11/6, 11/8.
Colin Fisher was next on court for Boston at fourth string and faced Phil Hiatt. Fisher used his power well to drive himself into an 11/6, 11/8 lead. In the third game he fought back to 7/7 from 7/4 down and pushed on to win the final game 11/8, securing the Alford Cup for Boston in the process.
At second string John Hand played Eastgate’s Hugh Bochel. At 7/7 in the first game Bochel ironically suffered a hand injury. He soon recovered and Hand then wasted and saved a gameball before grabbing the first game 13/11. He won the next game 11/5, but Bochel responded in the third by firing himself into an 8-2 lead and taking the game 11/8. It proved to only be a consolation though, as Hand won the next game 12/10 thanks to a stroke. He had survived a gameball at 10/9 down and the victory was one of small margins.
The final match was between the teams’ #1s, Mark Hildred (Boston) and Dean Hiatt (Eastgate). Hildred won the first game 11/8. In the second game the match became heated with Hildred frustrated at the number of lets being awarded and Hiatt consistently finding his opponent in the way. Hildred went 7/6 up but some impressive backhand drives from Hiatt won him the game 11/7 to level the score at 1-1. In the third the score reached 7/7 and Hiatt took the game 11/7 to put him on the brink of a consolation victory for Eastgate. However, Hildred won the fourth game 11/5 to set up a decider, in which he kept a slim lead throughout before securing the game 11/7, and thus the match, with a backhand cross-court that Hiatt was not able to successfully retrieve.
Having secured the Alford Cup 5-0, Boston’s main men’s team then began the hunt to win the Parker Cup. Standing in their way was Rustons (Lincoln).
The first match was between Jake Fountain (Boston) and Andy Reedman (Rustons) at fifth string. In a tight first game Reedman edged it 13/11. This was in contrast to the next two games where Fountain took the second 11/2 before losing the third game 11/4. Boston’s #5 won the grabbed two games 11/6 to be crowned the winner of a five-set thriller.
At fourth string Boston’s Chris Clements faced Dom Burke. Clements won the first two games 12/10, 11/6. In the third game he earned two matchballs with a rally that produced applause from the crowd, but lost the advantage as Burke drew back to 10/10. Clements then lost another gameball as Burke stretched across and just managed to play a volley that agonisingly sneaked up. Clements then saved a gameball himself before winning the game 14/12 to win the second match of the final for Boston.
Colin Fisher represented Boston at third string and was unfortunate not to get a game off Adie Nichols. He lost the first game 12/10 having had a gameball at 10/9 up. The second game also reached 10/10 and Colin played a clever, deceptive dropshot to go 11/10 up and within one point of taking the game. He reached the same position at 12/11, but lost the game 14/12 as Nichols buried the ball away with an instinctive reactionary shot after Fisher had delivered a ‘bodyline’ drive. Nichols won the final game 11/9 to halve Boston’s lead in the final to 2-1.
The second string bore witness to a five-setter between Ady Proctor (Boston) and Gareth Clarke. In the first game Proctor saved two gameballs but it was third time lucky for Clarke who secured the game 13/11. Ady sped into a 10/3 lead in the second game and proceeded to level the score with an 11/7 victory. The third reached 8/8 but Clarke won the next three points to take the game 11/8. The start of the fourth game was even but Ady dominated the second half and won the contest 11/6 to take the match into the fifth. Unfortunately the final game was a reversal of the previous one and Clarke won 11/6 to draw Eastgate level in the final at 2-2.
The title of County Cup winners came down to a showdown between Boston’s Mark Hildred and Rustons’ Russell Watkins, the teams’ #1s. Hildred won the first game by a comfortable 11/2 scoreline. In the next game Boston’s player was stuck at 7/6 down for a series of lets, but eventually completed the game without losing another point and doubled his lead to 2-0 via an 11/7 scoreline. In the third game Hildred went 4/2 up, after surprisingly managing to chase back a shot that had seemingly gone across and past him. Boston’s #1 skilfully dropped a forehand volley crosscourt to go 10/4 up, and Watkins could not return one of Hildred’s lengths in the following rally, meaning that Boston had retained the County Cup 3-2.