PIC: Boston Open 2017 winners Millie Tomlinson and Rory Stewart
World top 30 player Millie Tomlinson made history at Boston Squash and Racketball Club at the weekend by becoming the first player to win the BSPA Boston Open for four consecutive years.
She was joined as a champion by Scottish #4 Rory Stewart, who upset the seedings to beat favourite Jaymie Haycocks in the men’s final. After 19 years without a Scottish winner in Boston, despite a number of runners-up, Stewart is the second Scotsman to win the tournament in the last two years.
It was the 21st edition of the club’s annual professional tournament, which is one of just a handful on the UK’s prestigious ‘Grand Prix’.
A weekend of action began on Friday (1st December) when Lincolnshire’s own Harry Falconer featured in the best match of the men’s round of 16. He played Julian Tomlinson, and even though the match did not go to five, it was a 69 minute slog full of excellent rallies. Falconer pulled through 11/8, 11/2, 10/12, 11/8. Former Lincolnshire county champion Martin Gibson, who first appeared at the Open 18 years ago, also rolled back the years to win his opening match 3-1. Boston’s Adam Hildred lost in straight sets against 3/4 seed Rob Downer.
Saturday’s quarter-finals included a five-setter in which Charlotte Jagger overcame Ali Hemingway, and all the other seeds also progressed in the women’s draw.
In the men’s event, Harry Falconer’s run came to an end at the hands of top seed Jaymie Haycocks. Brazilian Vini Rodrigues contested a real humdinger against Nick Wall. The latter had looked like causing an upset and knocking out the 3/4 seed, but his failure to capitalise on a matchball in the third proved costly, and Vini Rodrigues eventually took a 22 minute-long third set 17/15, which set him on course for a five-set victory marked with a roar of celebration. Second seed Rory Stewart knocked out Martin Gibson to book his place in the semis.
Georgia Adderley knocked out second seed Elspeth Young to secure her place in the final against reigning champion Millie Tomlinson, while the men’s semis went to seeding with Jaymie Haycocks and Rory Stewart going through to the final. Stewart had the harder of the semi-finals. He was pushed all the way by British Under 19 champion Tom Walsh and won 11/4 in the fifth. It was the third match of the tournament to last more than an hour.
In Sunday’s finals Millie Tomlinson reigned supreme once again. She was just too good for 16 year old Georgia Adderley, who produced a determined performance and clearly has a very bright future despite a 3-0 loss on this occasion.
The men’s final saw the “Scottish hoodoo” well and truly banished. Rory Stewart bagged a run of points at the end of each of the first two sets to take a commanding 2-0 lead. Jaymie Haycocks threatened to hit back by going 8/2 up in the third, but Stewart fought back to 8/8. What proved to be the final few rallies of the match were tense, with neither player able to afford to make a single mistake. Despite saving a matchball at 10/9 down, Haycocks was unable to prevent Rory Stewart from taking the third set on a tiebreak and becoming the Boston Open men’s champion 2017.