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BSPA Grand Prix Finals

Barker and Hill on Grand Prix High

Barker and Hill in Grand Prix High

The Head BSPA grand prix series at Ipswich Sports Club saw a fitting finale to a great tournament and a great seasons squash.

Firstly the Ladies:

A repeat of last years final, Laura was simply too strong for Lauren last year, after hearing that Lauren had only just got back after injury you had to assume, that today’s final would be no different.

The first game did indeed see Laura dominate. Although Lauren was getting onto the ball early to pressure Laura, Laura was using her reach to counter and dominate Lauren, Lauren seemed to be the one doing the work, and although Lauren produced a couple of great shots at the end of the game, she never looked like getting back into it, the first set going to Laura 9-4.

In the second Lauren really started to use her speed to attack Laura, she started to cause Laura some real problems. She went 5-0 up in quick time and Laura had to dig deep herself to get back into it, at 7–7 a couple of loose balls through the middle from Lauren, a couple of cheap strokes and Laura was 2-0 up. Lauren must have been kicking herself.

In the third Lauren kept up the pressure, everything to the front she was onto quickly and although Laura was using her volley to attack anything loose through the middle, Lauren was able to keep the pressure up, she was able to stay ahead of Laura and work her. A couple of great shots from Laura in the middle of the game were to no avail as Lauren finished the set off with a couple of great shots of her own.

In the fourth Laura tightened up and began to create more opportunities to volley, a couple of her backhand volley drops were particularly special. Laura got herself 7-3 up and although Lauren then got on to a couple of Laura’s shots very early to counter with a couple of great drops of her own, to claw her way back in, Laura wasn’t going to give her a chance to go to five.

Laura, inspite of looking tired, stepped up again to volley more and she took the fourth 9-6.

9-4, 9-7, 6-9, 9-6 for Laura, and as Melvin Robinson, Ipswich Sports Club Squash Chairman said, “A great advert for women’s squash.” It certainly was that.

The Men
On to the Mens, Ong Beng Hee or Peter Barker, after Ong Beng Hee’s lightening fast game against Ben Ford last night a lot of people fancied Ong to take the title today to complete a Malaysian Double, Aslan Iskander winning last years final.

Peter started off with some lovely balanced controlled squash, not allowing Ong Beng Hee to play at the speed he’d used the previous night.

Ong was very patient, awaiting his chances to step up the court. There were some tough, gruelling, old rallies out there, each player using the full court to work their opponent to the full. At 5-4 Ong pulled away, and after one controversial decision Peter lost his focus and the game was gone 11-6.

At the start of the second Peter still seems somewhat fired up and Ong used his chance to go 3-1 up. At this point Peter steps up a gear; the rallies are just as long and just as much a grind, but Peter is a touch earlier onto the ball and he begins to sneak ahead. There are some unbelievable rallies and both players get some incredible balls back and produce some unbelievable shots. They really are trying to play everything and it’s a pleasure to watch. Peter gets himself back into it and takes the 2nd 11-8.

If its possible the rallies get even longer in the third, but Ong is always just ahead, 5-2, 5-5, 7-5 Ong.
At which point both Peter and Ong produce a couple of blinders just to let us know they can given the chance. A harsh no-let at 9-8 for Ong sees him go to game ball. Peter hits a roll nick boast and a brilliantly crafted rally and we are in a tiebreak.

Ong produces yet another blinder and Peter leaves one really loose in the middle, 13-11 for Ong Beng Hee.
Peter comes out with all guns blazing at the start of the fourth and Ong loses his focus for a moment, it really is such a finely poised game, if either one lets up his opponent has the ability at any time to finish off the rally very quickly.

In a very short space of time Peter has taken the fourth 11-2.

In the fifth Ong starts off the better, his focus is back again and he is on to the ball a touch earlier, at 6-2 you’d think he must have it now. Peter digs in again and Ong loses his perfect balance, just a little but enough.

The rallies are long and protracted but Peter looks the better balanced of the two and he reels off 8 points in a row, Ong pushes again, but its too little too late, Peter runs out a very happy 11-8 winner in the fifth.

At the end of the night Peter Barker thanks the match night sponsors Isles, Storer and Emsden Match Night sponsors, Head the main sponsors and the club for its warm welcome.

Myself, I’d like to thank the players for some great squash and the club for its support. Tonight’s games were yet again proof of what a great game this is. The Mens final tonight took 81 minutes, what a match and the ladies were out there for an hour. Great to watch and I look forward to seeing more of the same next year.

Ipswich Sports Club looks forward to hosting the BSPA finals next year.