October Boast

Financially Plumb Open 2002
Saskatoon, Canada, 24-27 October, $12k


The final of the Financially Plumb Saskatoon Open was contested by two qualifiers, England's Peter Barker and Canada's Sabir Butt, after they beat the top two seeds in the semi-finals, but it was Barker that emerged the victor ...

Financially Plumb Open 2002
1st Round
Thu 24th
Fri 25th
Sat 26th 
Sun 27th
[1] Ben Garner (Eng)  3/0
Mark Price (Aus)
Ben Garner
Borja Golan
Ben Garner


Peter Barker
Peter Barker


Sabir Butt

[5] Borja Golan (Esp)  3/1
[Q] Shawn Delierre (Can)
[3] Raj Nanda (Aus)  3/0
Scott Fitzgerald (Wal)
Raj Nanda
Peter Barker
[8] Patrick Foster (Eng)
[Q] Peter Barker (Eng)  3/0
[Q] Sabir Butt (Can)  3/0
[5] Ian Power (Can)
Sabir Butt
Alister Walker
Sabir Butt


Christian Drakenberg
[Q] Alister Walker (Eng)  3/1
[4] Mark Heather (Eng)
Rob Wilson (Can)
Ritwik Bhattacharya (Ind)  3/0
Ritwik Bhattacharya
Christian Drakenberg
Christian Drakenberg (Swe)  3/1
[2] Glenn Keenan (Aus)

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RESULTS & Reports
Peter Barker (ENG) def Sabir Butt (CAN) 3-1 (39 Min)

Game 1
Sabir started strongly and pulled ahead 8-4 in front of the Canadian crowd as Peter Barker looked a bit nervous perhaps feeling the pressure as the favourite in the final. Both players traded points to 13-8 as Sabir controlled the ball and moved Peter corner to corner front to back. Sabir closed out the first game 15-8 with a tight drop in the front right corner.

Game 2.
Sabir started quickly and went up 2-0 before Peter roared back to 2-all. Barker imposed some very long ralleys on Sabir to pull ahead 5-2. After trading points to move to 8-5 the match turned when Sabir went over on his ankle changing directions in midcourt. Sabir basically stopped playing at that point for the rest of the game and Peter took the next 7 points to take the second game 15-5 and even the match.

Game 3.
Barker went up 4-1 in game 3 and then traded up to 8-4. The ralleys started to get longer and Peter picked up the pace and kept the pressure on Sabir by volleying at every opportunity. Sabir started to slow just slightly and began to guess which side Barker would hit to and looked very impressive when he guessed correctly. Unfortunately for the Canadian, Peter would still recover and chase down Sabir’s volleys and played very determined squash. Barker began to pump his fist after tough ralleys and the crowd could feel the momentum shifting to the Englishman. Sabir started to stop going to the front court and Barker went from 9-6 to 15-6 to finish game 2 and take a 2-1 game lead.

Game 4.
The Canadian crowd began to urge Sabir on to extend the match and he gave it a valiant effort but the punishing rallies to the front began to show. Movement began to look painful. Barker started to hit nicks that Sabir had been picking up in the quarter and semi-finals not at this late stage in the tournament. At 4 all in the fifth Sabir gave a good show with a few circus shots but Barker started to drop from the back court as well as he sensed victory was close. Barker finished out the match 15-4 with drops to both front corners to claim the title as the 2002 Financially Plumb October Boast Squash Champion in front of the appreciative crowd. Sabir looked fatigued and perhaps he was satisfied with getting to the finals after winning two extremely tough physical matches with his wins over Alister Walker (ENG) in the quarters and Christian Drakenberg (SWE) in the semis. The matches had to take a toll on Sabir but he played extremely smart ball control squash throughout the tournament. Barker has a solid all-round game with strong retrieving skills, attacking shots at the front and a power game required to win at this level. Peter Barker used his aggressive shots, nicks to the front, and tight drops to front right corner to control the match and eventually win. After the match Sabir gave credit to Peter’s ball-striking ability and made no excuses.

Wait’l next year
The major sponsor Bill Plumb was very pleased and excited about the speed and power of the PSA players and promised to make the 3rd annual Financially Plumb October Boast Squash tournament a 1 & 1/2 star event next year.

Cheers & good squash, Daryl Foreman, Organizing Committee Member
Practise partners still good friends
Peter Barker (ENG) beat his countryman and training partner Ben Garner (ENG) in an upset that saw the number 1 seed ousted from the tournament 3-2 in the semi-final. The match featured great gets, great shots, and an excellent example of sportsmanship as both players largely called their own shots and gets. Barker was pumping his fist throughout the fifth game as he captured a 4-1 lead and never gave it up. Barker later said he felt he could carry a strong lead to the finish given the point-a-rally scoring system. Ben Garner was a gentleman in defeat and gave credit to his countryman for playing a strong match. Both players were seen having a chat between the 4th and 5th games discussing the fact that this may be the start of a strong rivalry.Barker won 15-5, 14-15, 13-15, 15-8, 15-8. Asked about why he called set 1 in the first game, Peter replied that he had some success with Ben in practice matches by calling set one and it just felt right at the time.

Sabir Butt carries Canadian hopes into the finals
Christian Drakenberg's run at the 2002 Financially Plumb October Boast Squash tournament came to an end when he came up against Sabir Butt (CAN) in the semi-finals. Sabir defeated Drakenberg 3-1 before an appreciative audience at the YMCA venue in Saskatoon. Sabir again controlled the tempo of the match by varying the speed and height of the ball and using his great anticipation and mental toughness to grit out another 3-1 victory in 70 minutes. Drakenberg had been the last match of the evening since the opening round and the two late night long matches may have eventually caught up to the tall Swede. The Canadian Sabir used deception and strong retrieving skills to hang in when he needed to and wrestle the control of the match away from Drakenberg. Sabir at 33 is the oldest player in the draw but his desire, skill and determination again carried the day. His match wasn't pretty but he did control the flow of the game for the large part and just when Drakenberg seemed to have the Canadian at the breaking point Sabir would come up with a remarkably tight shot to change quickly from defence to offence. The young Swede did show that he has strong skills himself and will be a force to be dealt with on the PSA tour.
Ben garners victory
Ben Garner (ENG) defeated Borja Golan (ESP) 3-1 to take last weekend’s winner out of the 2002 Financially Plumb October Boast and halt the Spaniard’s winning streak. Ben controlled the match with his retrieving and pressure volleying. Afterwards Golan said that he was mentally fatigued from playing 4 tournaments in a row and that he lost his mental toughness against the fluidly moving Englishman. Ben said that his first round match was much easier and that playing a lot of tournaments right in a row definitely does take a lot out of you physically and Borja’s schedule had been tough.

Barker practises referring himself (during his own match no less)
Peter Barker (ENG) def Raj Nanda (IND) 3-1 in 92 minutes as Peter looked solid and played very tight, aggressive squash. The match proved tough for the local referee as both players came out time and time again to ’educate’ the ref on lets and strokes. Eventually Barker took control of the match with his court coverage and he capitalized on a few unforced errors from Nanda to close out the match 3-1.

Sabir displays exceptionally quick debating skills
Sabir Butt (CAN) defeated Alister Walker (ENG) 3-1 in a punishing match that showed Sabir's ability to move the ball and his opponent around the court almost at will. Alister tried to increase the pace and tempo of the match but the veteran Canadian used his lets and super anticipation skills to keep Alister guessing at the front of the court. Sabir's verbal skills in debating calls with the referee also may have helped to control the tempo of the match. Sabir showed the crowd and the other players that he is a tiger to be dealt with as his cat-like quickness and understanding of which shot to play at exactly the right time lead to his victory.

Drakenberg loves Canadian climate
Christian Drakenberg (SWE) continued his winning ways after upsetting the number 2 seed Glen Keenan (AUS) in the first round by eliminating Ritwig Battacharya (IND) 3-1 in 98 minutes in the final match of the 2nd round. Drakenberg showed his ability to retrieve and play error free for extended stretches of time in his victory. Battacharya has very clean strokes and is a very patient player but on this night the Swede was too much for him. Drakenberg seems to favour the cooler Canadian climate as he is playing very keen at the moment.
First Round  
Ben Garner (ENG) demonstrated his fitness and speed to the ball in his first round match victory over Mark Price (AUS) winning 3-0. Ben never let Mark get into a rhythm and controlled the T throughout the match. Mark showed flashed of great play but the strength of Ben's physical game was the story of the match.

Borja Golan (ESP) had a much tougher time dispatching of the young Canadian upstart Shawn De Lierre (CAN). Shawn had excited and whipped up the support of the pro-Canadian crowd of Saskatoon by coming back from 2 games down to win in his qualifying match over Constantino Casas (ESP). But as Ian Power put it "Borja won't fade like Constantino did". The match went for an hour and 25 minutes as both players showed their ability to volley, hit tight drops and great length and still dig up nearly everything. Shawn started slowly as is his custom and lost the first game by quite a margin. The second game was very close but Borja worked hard to pick up Shawn's delicate forehand drops and punishing volleys to go up 2-0. Shawn made it interesting by winning the tired before finally losing 3-1. Shawn looked a little tired at the end and the 5 game match of the day before may have had something to do with that. Shawn shows promise and has the quick hands and feet to climb much higher in the PSA rankings and we will continue to watch him with interest. Speaking to Borja after the match, he gave credit to Shawn as a very tough player. Borja said he lost a bit of concentration in the 3rd game and he would rather have closed out the match in 3 straight but that Shawn had played well and earned the game. One can only wonder if the extra game that extended the match well past the hour and a quarter mark would come back later to haunt Borja who has played in 4 successive tournaments and whose body has taken a pounding.

Raj Nanda (AUS) showed very pretty strokes and good deception in his victory 3-0 over Scott Fitzgerald (WAL) Raj looked like he may not be especially match fit but his ball placement and mastery over pace and length proved too much for the Welshman on this day and the match did not break the hour mark.

Peter Barker (ENG) defeated Patrick Foster (IRL) in an upset bur the qualifier Barker showed great tenacity and mental toughness in his workman-like approach involving boasting his opponent to the front and moving up to volley any returns to the back. Patrick may have been feeling a bit of jet-lag from the flight into Saskatoon but he showed a great deal of class and sportsmanship in defeat and we know he will be back stronger next tournament.

The all Canadian match up of Thursday pitted Sabir Butt (CAN) against Ian Power (CAN). Sabir has been training in Brazil and his his ball control and effortless movement around the court was evident. As the oldest remaining player in the draw, perhaps Ian could exploit that to his advantage and play a long tough match. As it turned out Sabir showed the form he had in years past when the writer saw him playing against Garry Waite in the Canadian National Final tournament of approx 15 years ago. Sabir's ball control and punishing anticipatory volleys worked Ian around the court in the first game and Sabir took the first game. Ian gamely fought back in the 2nd game and started to really work and put the miles on as he ran corner to corner on several rallies and showed his physical toughness. The 2nd game was close up to the end with a couple of nicks and a clinging forehand tight to the wall giving Sabir the 2-0 lead. Sabir kept the pressure on in game 3 and did not let his countryman back into the match and won pulling away. The match featured a local referee for the first game only as Sabir requested and got a PSA player to finish the match perhaps to the relief of the local who hasn't called matches at this speed or intensity. Sabir showed his toughness as he was nursing a sore knee from the previous weekend's Calgary Talisman Squash tournament. After the match Sabir said he was feeling better physically every day and hoped to continue his strong play. To be fair to Ian the tournament organizer had pressed him into refereeing the match just prior to going on court against Sabir and on top of that Ian's racquet had disappeared from the top of his bag and he spent 10 minutes scouring the club for his racquet just before going on with a spare racquet. Although Ian played well and his racquet did turn up after his match this could not have helped his pre-match preparation. Ian showed great reserve and class and gave credit to Sabir for the victory after the match.

Alister Walker (ENG) sought and gained a measure of revenge over Mark Heather (Eng) in the next match as Walker had lost 15-13 in the 5th the prior weekend in Calgary to the eventual finalist Heather. Walker utilized his fluid movement and great wingspan to volley and keep applying pressure as he defeated Heather 3-1 in a match that went 1 hour and 40 minutes. The match began with both players playing safely up and down the walls for length and only dropping the ball on loose opportunities. The crowd saw how matches can go long if both players are fit and like to play extended rallies. Mark Heather eventually seemed to show the stress and Alister prevailed 3-1 before the appreciative crowd. The match did take a lot out of both players and Alister had to work very hard to move along into the second round.

Ritwik Bhattacharya (IND) defeated local wildcard Rob Wilson (CAN) 3-0 in a match that saw Wilson getting a good hard run. Ritwik used his great length and ability to hold his strokes before hitting boasts and good drops to the front to move the Canadian Wilson around the court. After the match Wilson said it was good to play at that level of PSA squash again and that it took him a game and a half to get his squash legs back and by that time it was too late as Ritwik had the match firmly in his control.

The last match of the day featured an upset as Christian Drakenberg (SWE) defeated the number 2 seed Glen Keenan (Aus) 3-1. Although Christian had lost his last 3 encounters with the tough Aussie, today he would not be denied. Christian used his height and great reach to continually dig up the balls at the front court and kept the pressure on the right side to Keenan's backhand. Keenan showed how tough he could be as the match got quite physical with an unintentional clash of heads at one point. The long flight to Canada and playing on very little rest and sleep eventually caught up to Keenan as his weary legs did not have their usual jump. Still Drakenberg played perhaps his best squash to keep control of the match and work Keenan with soft forehand drops and punishing long ralley's. Keenan got the benefit of 2 lets on turn calls that one rarely sees at this level of play. Keenan tried to fight his way back into the match but the Swede would have none of it.Keenan was gracious in defeat and gave credit to Drakenberg for playing a tough match. Keenan said he was absolutely knackered after the match and the travel did not help.

Qualifying Finals:
Peter Barker (ENG) bt Matthew Giuffre (CAN) 15-13,17-15,15-7 (58m)
Sabir Butt (CAN) bt Peter Hughes (AUS) 15-11,15-9,17-14  (63m)
Alistar Walker (ENG) bt Karim Yehia (EGY) 15-8,15-12,15-9  (50m)
Shawn De Lierre (CAN) bt Constantino Casas (ESP) 9-15,14-15,15-7,15-5,15-7  (80m)

Daryl Foreman reports from Saskatoon
By far the most exciting match of Wednesday was Shawn De Lierre (CAN) vs Constantino Casas (ESP). Constantino quickly went up 4-0 with Shawn firing shots into the tin. Shawn looked to be feeling the pressure of playing in front of the polite Canadian home crowd. Constantino was playing perfect length and won the first game 15-9 using delicate tight drop shots to the front left corner aided several unforced errors from Shawn. In the second game Shawn settled down and both players traded winners and fine gets to 5-5, Constantino went up 12-10 but Shawn pulled even at 14 all. Constantino called set 1 and Shawn toured Constantino on game ball working the rally for the back wall return for the set up in the middle of the court. Shawn promptly drove the backhand into the top of the tin to give Constantino a 2-0 game lead. The third game started with 2 tin from Shawn but a long 4 minute ralley seemed to take some of the wind out of Constantino's sails and he looked visibly tired. Shawn pulled ahead 6-3, 8-4 and took the 3rd game 15-7. Constantino started to have trouble moving to the front and Shawn started volleying more standing a foot in front of the T and kept up the pressure. Constantino started to play for winners and conceded the 4th game 15-5. Game 5 saw the tide had definitely turned and Shawn went up 5-0, and 11-5 before closing out the match 15-7 with an array of fancy showman shots. Ian Power (yes Jonathon's brother) later said Shawn showed how quick his hands and feet are by moving the bigger man around the court.

Sabir Butt (CAN) showed soft hands with short drop shots into the front right corner and great anticipation as he defeated Peter Hughes (AUS) 15-11, 15-9 and 17-14 in 63 minutes. The feeling was that Sabir wanted to end the match in 3 games and not let the fast young Aussie into the match.

Peter Barker (ENG) showed determination and patience in ousting young Matthew Giuffre (CAN) 15-13, 17-15, 15-7 in 58 minutes. Matthew made too many unforced errors and feasted on the tin just when he seemed to start to gain control of the momentum. Peter seemed to come ip with the wallpaper tight length shots just when he needed them and prevailed in a gentlemanly match with both players calling their own carries and double bounces.

Alister Walker (Eng) defeated Karim Yehia (EGY) 15-8, 15-12, 15-9 in 50 minutes. Karim's drop shots and lobs to the back were expertly volleyed and attacked by Alister as he workmanly moved Karim around the court. Karim, the semi-finalist in the Saskatoon, Canada tournament of last year showed that he hasn't quite regained his former form as he is recovering from a leg injury. Still, Karim played admirably and just lost to a better player on this night.

Qualifying first round:

Matthew Giuffre (Can) bt  Justin Van Derleest  15-9, 15-6, 15-7
Peter Barker (Eng) bt  Juan Jose (Col)  15-1, 15-3, 15-8
Shawn Delierre (Can) bt  Darl Foreman (Can)  15-5, 15-5, 15-7
Constantino Casas (Esp) bt  Joe Forster (Can)  17-16, 15-12, 15-3
Karim Yehia  (Egy) bt Mohd Ilyas Changazi (Pak)  15-3, 15-4, 15-6
Alister Walker (Eng) bt Armando Zarazua (Mex) 15-10, 15-8, 15-5
Peter Hughes (Aus) bt  Tim Landeryou (Can)  15-2, 15-6, 15-9
Sabir Butt (Can) bt Russ Warner (C) 15-5, 15-3, 15-3

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