PIC: 2016 winners Kevin Moran and Millie Tomlinson
Millie Tomlinson and Kevin Moran took the titles at the 20th annual BSPA Boston Open. It was Tomlinson’s third consecutive Boston Open crown while Kevin Moran became the first Scot to win the event, despite previous finalists including compatriots Alan Clyne, Greg Lobban and Doug Kempsell.
The tournament began with five men’s qualifiers for a place in the round of 16. Aaron Allpress progressed in straight sets, as did Lincolnshire’s Harry Falconer, as well as Nick Wall and Dan McGinn. Jamie Henderson had a slightly trickier passage, 3-1.
There were no major upsets in the women’s first round. Top seeds Millie Tomlinson, Nadia Pfister and Kace Bartley all received byes. Catherine Rae beat Charlotte Kirkwood in straight sets.
Sam Ward, returning from a year travelling, beat Lincolnshire’s Katie Wells 11/6, 11/7, 11/7 in 22 minutes. Japan’s Tamaki Marumo and Brazilian Bruna Petrillo were knocked out by Ali Hemingway and Solent Classic winner Lucy Turmel respectively. Heidi Albinson beat Charlotte Jagger in the match of the round – coming from 2-1 down to win 12/10 in the fifth in 40 minutes.
Friday’s action concluded with the men’s round of 16. The first two matches to finish saw 3/4 seed Miles Jenkins and 5/8 seed Kevin Moran go through. The unseeded Jamie Henderson beat Matt Sidaway [5/8] in straight sets, and it would prove not be Henderson’s only scalp of the competition.
Following his qualification, 17-year-old Aaron Allpress impressed, putting up a good fight against second seed David Haley. He played well and took the second game to draw level, but eventually succumbed to a 3-1 defeat.
Top men’s seed Ben Grindrod actually lost his first game of the tournament to Dan McGinn 16/14, but recovered to win the match 3-1.
There followed three excellent final matches of the round, the last two of which had been scheduled for 8.15pm - although play did not finish on Friday night until 10pm. The evenly-matched Stuart MacGregor and Stuart George took 51 minutes for a four-game contest culminating in MacGregor’s victory. “Come on Stuart!” shouted Harry Falconer’s dad Neil at one point - adding, “MacGregor, for the avoidance of doubt.” Vini Rodrigues beat Nick Wall 3-1 in a fiery encounter.
3/4 seed Rory Stewart and Lincolnshire’s Harry Falconer, who had both been in Boston the year before, were forced to wait until late before stepping onto court. When they did, it seemed they were determined to get as much game time as waiting time. They battled it out in the longest match of the event. Falconer recovered from a first game defeat and took the next two by two-point margins. But Stewart slogged his way to victory 11/7, 9/11, 11/13, 11/7, 11/8 in 66 minutes.
As usual, day two began with the women’s quarter-finals. Second seed Nadia Pfister, the Swiss #1, did not struggle in her first match, beating Catherine Rae in three. 3/4 seeds Kace Bartley and Lucy Turmel also made their way into the semis while Millie Tomlinson was in usual efficient form, beating Heidi Albinson 11/4, 11/4, 11/2 in a quarter of an hour.
Unlike the women’s quarters, Saturday afternoon’s men’s quarter-finals did see some shocks. Kevin Moran beat 3/4 seed Miles Jenkins. In an even bigger upset, the unseeded Jamie Henderson, who had already knocked out one seed, dispatched second seed David Haley. He lost the first game 7/11 but took the next three 11/8, 11/9, 11/7 to win in an hour.
Ben Grindrod did not suffer a similar upset though, winning in three against Stuart MacGregor. The New Zealander’s victory prevented two all-Scottish semi-finals, with 3/4 seed Rory Stewart beating Vini Rodrigues 11/8, 11/4, 11/5.
A short break followed before the women’s semi-finals. They were among the three closest matches of the ladies’ event. 3/4 seed Kace Bartley caused an upset by beating second seed Nadia Pfister 11/7, 9/11, 11/5, 11/7 in half an hour. There was no such surprise in the other semi where Millie Tomlinson beat Lucy Turmel 11/6, 11/9, 11/5, although the scoreline in the first and third games belied the quality of the rallies in what was an enjoyable match to watch.
While these matches were taking place on one court, another was playing host to world #35 Alan Clyne. He wasn’t in the competition, but had stopped off in Lincolnshire.
In the well-attended men’s semis Kevin Moran booked his place in the final with an 11/6, 11/6, 11/9 win in 40 minutes over the unseeded Jamie Henderson.
Ben Grindrod also won in three, making it an unusual double of straight set men’s semi-final wins. The number one seed was allowed time to stem a nosebleed after the second game and beat 3/4 seed Rory Stewart 11/5, 13/11, 11/8 in 36 minutes.
The women’s final was a much more straightforward affair than the year before, with Millie Tomlinson taking just 16 minutes to seal a 3-0 victory. Kace Bartley did lead 2/1 at the start of the first game before Tomlinson won nine consecutive points. In truth, she was always in control, winning 11/4, 11/5, 11/6.
The men’s final was also a three-gamer, but this time the showpiece did not go to seeding. 5/8 seed Kevin Moran had looked impressive all weekend and raced into the lead, winning the first game 11/3. He then established an 8/4 advantage in the second, before top seed Ben Grindrod fought back to lead 9/8, at which point the direction of the game and match was anyone’s guess. Moran responded though and took the game 11/9, a score repeated in the third to secure an 11/3, 11/9, 11/9 victory in 38 minutes.
“It’s been a great event,” said tournament organiser Mark Hildred.
“We fully enjoy it and we fully intend to run it next year.”