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 Saskatoon Boast 2015
18-22 Nov, Saskatchewan, Canada, $10k
Ford beats Finitsis in Saskatchewan Final
James Stephenson reports

he bleachers were full for a much anticipated final for the 15th annual Saskatoon Movember Boast.

Tom Ford was looking to close out his second PSA 10K championship, the first coming two weeks ago in Ottawa at the Goodlife Open. Steve Finitsis was bouyed by a partisan, virtual hometown, crowd in his third Boast appearance since 2009.

The first game saw the young Englishman establish a solid left wall length and attack. He was able to dictate play to his forehand and Steve was unable to hit the lines he needed to prevent the left-hander from putting in accurate straight drops to the left front corner.Tom ran up to 5-1 and quickly to 10-2 with Steve looking for a solution to the accurate straight drop into that punishing front left corner.

The second game had Finitsis hitting more crosscourts to get out of the dangerous left wall battles of the previous game. Even with Steve avoiding the most dangerous weapon in Ford's arsenal, he was unable to put enough pressure on the young player to force many mistakes. The rallies had become long and gruelling with Ford being forced to continually reach and retrieve balls that were virtually dead in the back corners. His persistence paid off in forcing Finitsis to play lower and lower balls to the front.

Unfortunately for Steve, the increasingly lower target had him make key errors at the end of rallies with forehand drops catching the top of the tin. After the third tin in a row on points where he had total control of the middle of the court, he exclaimed, "Why do we have to play on 21-inch tin today?!" The frustration was obvious, but Ford stayed calm and collected, thankful for the free points that took him from 6-5 all the way to single game ball that was all he needed to take a 2-love lead.

The third and fourth games saw Finitsis change his gameplay completely. Steve played the ball continually straight down the right wall and answered any crosscourt with one of his own. Whenever The youngster hit a late or loose ball, Finitsis changed from straight and crosscourt drops to aggressive, full force crosscourt nick attempts.

This resulted in three of the most exciting dead rollers of the match with the ball rolling from the wall join with zero bounce. The crowd was amazed and enthoused screaming out, "SICK!!" at each of the unretrievable shots. The change in strategy worked, with Steve able to win the third and to fight back against three championship balls in the fourth to force a tie-break.

At 12-11, Steve was able to counter drop an extremely short ball into the front right corner. Tom desperately shot forward but was unable to get by the big Australian as he cleared. The crowd eagerly awaited the refs decision as Finitsis marched to the court door to leave expecting a no let.

As he reached for the doorknob, he asked, "What's the decision?" Other members of the crowd had already yelled out "No Let" and were ready to applaud the game victory.

The referee paused for what seemed an eternity, "I think that's a let ball", he said. The look of shock crept across Steve's face. "That's the first good dropshot I've hit all week!", he said. Unfortunately, the referee could not be swayed and they had to reply the point. The squash gods were kind to Finitsis and rewarded him the game victory on his very next game ball.

The crowd was ancy as the players readied themselves for a fifth and deciding game. Steve went back to the gameplay that had worked by consistently forcing play down the right wall. Unfortunately for him, the tin hadn't decided to be kind to him and as he was putting the finishing touches on well constructed rallies, the 17" demon took its toll on the Australian.

Tom was able to survive some very hard and punishing movements into all four corners, but his perseverance paid off in establishing a 5-0 lead in the decider. It was a lead that Finitsis couldn't overcome as he appeared to slowly resign himself to the inevitable.

Ford was able to continually stay in gruelling rallies and needed only one final championship ball to sieze his first Saskatoon Movember Boast title.

Saskatoon Boast 2015
18-22 Nov, Saskatchewan, Canada, $10k
Round One
19 Nov
20 Nov
21 Nov
22 Nov
[1] Charles Sharpes (Eng)
11-7, 11-8, 13-11 (37m)
[Q] Andres Herrera (Col)
[1] Charles Sharpes
11-7, 10-12, 7-11, 11-7, 11-4 (81m)
[Q] Nick Sachvie
[1] Charles Sharpes

11-6, 7-11, 11-8, 11-5 (72m)

[5] Steve Finitsis

[5] Steve Finitsis

11-3, 11-5, 9-11, 12-14, 11-5 (78m)

[3] Tom Ford

[8] Leandro Romiglio (Arg)
 11-1, 6-11, 7-11, 11-9, 11-4 (72m)
[Q] Nick Sachvie (Can)
[5] Steve Finitsis (Aus)
8-11, 11-6, 11-6, 11-3 (41m)
[Q] Emyr Evans (Wal)
[5] Steve Finitsis
11-6, 7-11, 11-7, 11-6 (50m)
[4] Eric Galvez
[4] Eric Galvez (Mex)
11-5 11-3, 11-6 (27m)
Matthew Serediak (Can)
Cameron Stafford (Cay)
7-11, 8-11, 11-4, 11-5, 11-4 (57m)
[3] Tom Ford (Eng)
[3] Tom Ford
13-11, 11-7, 11-6 (49m)
[7] Andrew Schnell
[3] Tom Ford

5-11, 7-11, 11-4, 12-10, 11-7 (61m)

[2] Peter Creed

[wc] Thomas King (Can)
11-3, 11-1, 11-3 (24m)
[7] Andrew Schnell (Can)
Joe Green (Eng)
7-11, 11-4, 12-10, 11,8 (51m)
[6] Carlos Cornes (Esp)
[6] Carlos Cornes
11-5, 12-10, 8-11, 11-6 (62
[2] Peter Creed
[Q] Bryan Cueto (Mex)
11-5, 11-7, 11-3 (35m)
[2] Peter Creed (Wal)
Ford & Finitsis in Saskatchewan Final
James Stephenson reports

Steve Finitsis (Aus) 3-1 Charles Sharpes (Eng)

First on court tonight, it was a rematch of the matchup from the World Open qualifying event less than two weeks previously. In Seattle, Sharpes was able to sneak out the five game victory in almost two hours on court.

Steve was eager to get his revenge on courts that he had played on twice previously. The first game started with both players testing their opponents into the back court and keeping the majority of play in the back, waiting patiently for a loose ball before stretching their opponent with a front court attack. Once they hit 6-all, Finites started to find the nick and ran up 5 straight points to capture the first game.

Charles refocussed his attack in the second but Steve was very resilient. This time it was at 7-all we Sharpes started to get in front of the tall Australian and have him cover the entire court in some very hard lateral movements. It wasn't without some controversy, as Sharpes began to question the referee for some calls that he was convinced were points for him that remained lets. Arguing with the officials is not usually able to improve mental focus, but Charles somehow put that behind him and was able to bear down and win the final four points to take the second game.

The third game was very tight. Both players showing excellent focus and execution of their game plans. Level pegging up to 8-all. Stavs seized the opportunity on a loose pall at the front and absolutely caned it crosscourt into the nick, dead as a dodo. This inspired him to finish the game with two more deft points.

The fourth showed a little desperation from the Englishman. Finitsis had come into his own and was showing confidence in his ball control. Steve was able to build a lead to 8-3 and Sharpes was unable to find enough fight to deny the Australian his first November Boast Final appearance.

Tom Ford (Eng) 3-2 Peter Creed (Wal)

The second match featured a young Englishman, fresh from his maiden 10K victory in Ottawa, playing his best squash of his young life, versus an explosive, exciting, fiery Welshman with nothing but victory in his sights.

The first two games had Creed playing beautiful straight balls and keeping Ford on the defensive. Peter was all positive with very good short balls and outright winners in the front. The third game showed Creed taking a bit of a break from his successful strategy and trying to put some work into Tom's legs. He was playing too loose for the youngster and was definitely on the wrong side of the momentum going into the fourth.

Ford was able to pull away in the next game from 4-all to 9-4. Then Creedy finally woke up and went back to what would work, straight balls to the back and front. Peter forced it into a tiebreak and he could sense victory. Tom was able to redouble his focus and scored the crucial two points to force a fifth.

Ford came out very strong and everyone could see that Creed had lost the sharp mental focus that won him the first two games. Peter called himself a "complete Cactus-Head!" after losing a point to go down 9-2.

It was enough to rekindle the fire in himself to win 5 straight points but in the end, it wasn't enough to deny Ford a second 10k final in as many weeks.

Top seeds through to semis in Saskatchewan
James Stephenson reports

Charles Sharpes (Eng) bt Nick Sachvie (Can)

The match between Charles and Nick was very entertaining. The crowd was treated to some wonderful squash and everyone thoroughly enjoyed it.

In the first game both players were stepping up the court and attacking. Charles showed why he was the higher ranked player by making a couple less errors and closed it out with a cross court nick. In the second and third games Nick controlled the middle better, was more patient with his attacks and didn't let Charles hit his signature kills. Nick was rewarded with a 2-1 lead and the crowd was hoping to see the young Canadian cause a major upset.

However in the 4th game Charles found his length, was more the more patient and consistent. He stayed off the tin while attacking and worked Nick around the court. This approach earned him the 4th game and sent the players to a deciding 5th game. Charles kept the same mentality in the 5th and Nick was unable to counter it effectively and Charles earned the victory in 5 games.

Steve Finitsis (Aus) bt Eric Galvez (Mex)

The crowd was buzzing as these two veterans of the Saskatoon Boast took the court for the second quarter final match up. Glaze, a previous champion of the event, started shooting right out of the gate. He was able to get a 4-1 lead by taking the ball early into the front and not letting the tall Australian dictate the line and length he is known for.

Steve began to lengthen the court and tighten his lines and started to force the speedy Galvez to chase balls out of the corners of the court. Whenever a loose ball was in the middle, the tall Finitsis was able to provide a clinical finish. Steve ran up to a 10-5 lead and only needed two game balls to take the first.

The second game had Galvez increase the pace and play many shots without letting Steve get ahead of him. He was able to find his length and the court opened up for him. Steve had a hiccup in his gameplan for for the moment and Galvez was able to capitalize.

The last two games had Finites returning to the tight length game that had paid dividends in the first. Aided by errors from the Mexican player and a diminished pace, the Aussie closed the last two games in complete control.

Tom Ford (Eng) bt Andrew Schnell (Can)

Two young players with excellent skills took the court for the third quarter final. Ford is playing some of the best squash of his young career, and Schnell has risen to Canada's number two position in recent years.

A very close first game had Tom build a controlling lead up to 6-2, only to have the Canadian put together seven deft points to get a three point lead of his own. Ford would not be denied and came back to get the first game ball opportunity. Schnell showed his grit, focussing and denying Tom not once, but twice at game ball, but finally succumbing on the third attempt. The second game was interrupted with a blood injury at 2-2.

Ford had dived forward and cut his thumb near the nailed. Unfortunately for the Canadian player, he came back on court and was in possession of the momentum to mount an quick 3 point lead that he would take to the finish of the game.

In the third game, Schnell was unable to string together points and Tom steadily pulled away with a smooth three game victory.

Peter Creed (Wal) bt Carlos Cornes (Esp)

A true match up of different styles in the last match of the night. Creed, the aggressive, lightning quick speedster. Cornes, the smooth and effortless mover with a relaxed demeanour. Peter began by blitzing the Spaniard with quick points, and by the time Carlos had gotten into a rhythm, he was 4 points down and couldn't hold the Welshman back.

The second was very close, with Cornes fighting back from a 9-5 deficit to force the tiebreak. Creed was able to refocus and straighten his game and was helped by a very fortunate nick in the backcourt to close the game.

The third game saw the Spaniard string together well constructed points and make few errors up to a five point lead at 9-5. Creed was able to bear down and grind back to within one point but failed to stop Carlos from getting the game. The fourth had a very sharp Creed building a quick 6-1 lead.

He stopped hitting wild boasts and straightened the ball much better than the previous game. Cornes showed up for four points in a row to cut the lead but the quick Welshman decided he had had enough, he finished the match with two more back court nicks.

Round One in Saskatchewan
James Stephenson reports

Charles Sharpes (Eng)  Andres Herrera (Col)

The No. 1 seed started the game pushing the pace to the young Colombian player. Andres was able to contain the pace and make few errors to an early lead 3-0. Sharpes was able to strike back and keep his opponent guessing to level the game at 4-all. They reached 7-all and Charles showed his ability to force his opponent to chase the balls into the back corners with dying length. He scored the final four points to take the first game. The second game, Andres started with an early lead but wasn't able to put together more than one point at a time. When Sharpes took the serve, he was able to string together 2 or three successful points and continuously edged away to a lead that held up to 11-8. The third game saw the match taking a scrappy turn with the younger Colombian trying all out to get every point and not giving in at any time. It was level pegging up until the underdog took a small lead at 6-4. Sharpes came back with four excellent points. Sharpes had his first match ball at 10-8 but Andres held off the first few attempts to end it. From 10-all tiebreak Herrera fought to one game ball before Charles closed the match at 13-11.

Nicholas Sachvie (Can) bt Lendro Romiglio (Arg)

The Canadian qualifier Sachvie played very well and took out a main draw player tonight. Nicholas played one of his best matches as he took the first game easily and then fought back from a 2 game to one deficit to take a hard fought fourth game before closing out the fifth 11-4. Romiglio hit 3 tins to end the fourth game and another 3 to start the fifth game and that seemed to turn the match in the young Canaidian's favor. After the match Romiglio gave credit to the Canadian and said Sachvie has improved and is playing above his present PSA ranking. The matches only get tougher as you get deeper into the draw however and Sachvie plays the number one seed Chares Sharpes of England Friday evening.

Steven Finitsis (Aus) bt Emyr Evans (Wal)

The experienced veteran started early going very short, asking questions of the young players movement. Emyr was able to answer well and took an early lead 3-1. Finitsis was able to catch up and it was level pegging up until 8-all. Emyr was able to pounce on the last three points to take the game. An obvious change of strategy in the second began to pay dividends for Stavros. More patient length made gave him the ability to go short with better results and to hold and redirect the young Welshman. As the games went on, Finitsis was able to show more exhibition style shots and use the strings for side spin cuts of the ball and taking tons of pace of his shots with impressive skill. It got progressively easier for the veteran to play at his own pace and tire the youngster to a comfortable 3-1 victory.

Eric Galvez (Mex) bt Matthew Serediak (Can)

The third best player in Mexico returned to the Saskatoon courts to a tournament he has won previously and did not disappoint. He put the young improving Canadian through a tough initiation and showed him all the corners of the court again and again. It looked like the pace of play was challenging for Serediak and he found himself out of position at the end of the rallies. Galvez was hitting tight, crisp drops to both the forehand and backhand corners and although Serediak fought on gamely, he found himself stretched further and further through the match. Serediak pushed hard in the third game and the crowd was behind him but the experienced Galvez closed out the third game 11-6 after 27 minutes to move into the second round. He will face Steven Finitsis of Australia in the second round.

Tom Ford (Eng) bt Cameron Stafford (Cay)

Ford was coming of a huge victory in the $10K Goodlife Open in Ottawa. He wasn't expecting Cameron to not wait a second before shooting for the nick from absolutely anywhere! Stafford ran up to a 6-4 and 9-6 lead with a rapid fire arsenal of outright winners. After winning the first 11-7, Stafford was feeling it! 3 absolute winners to start the second game. Ford was able to contain him for a while and eventually got within a point at 6-7. Cameron hit two forehand crosscourt dead nicks to get back a three point lead that he didn't relinquish. 8-11. The third game showed the player in form starting to dictate the pace. Ford was able to close the court and take an early 3 point lead. that stretched to a four point lead at 7-3 and Stafford was still shooting but with limited success. Tom started the fourth game with a three point lead and the fifth with a 6-0 lead. Cameron continued to go for everything but his early fire had waned. Ford rose from the ashes to pull out a 5 game victory.

Andrew Schnell (Can)  Thomas King (Can)

The young local Sakatchewan wildcard had to face the current Canadian number 2. King was able to score a few points in the first but Schnell was able to nullify many of the youngsters attacks. The second had Andrew shooting a bit more and having considerable success. From 2-1, Shnell ran 9 straight points to close the second game 11-1. King knew he had to make something happen in the third and gave his best to score on his terms rather than waiting for Andrew to make errors. Andrew played well and had a good familiarity with the courts that he has had experience and success in the previous Boast Main draws. A valiant showing from King in the first of hopefully many Wildcard placements in the future.

Carlos Cornes (Esp) Joe Green (Eng)

Joe came out with something to prove after waiting since his Sunday arrival for a competitive match. Chomping at the bit, he was smashing the ball to length and forcing Carlos to accelerate his languid, relaxed pace. Running out to a 7-1 lead, Green looked to be in control. Cornes fought back and was able to get to 7-9 before Joe finished the first. It seems as though Carlos had a much different game plan in the second, he was able to keep Joe from shooting and taking enough time away to stop him from stepping into the ball with nearly as much power. A comfortable 11-4 win. The third had huge momentum shifts and it seemed like anyone could win. from 2-2, Carlos ran up to 6-2 before Green answered back. From 8-all they level-pegged to a tiebreak. Cornes was able to close out the last two points. The fourth had some excellent entertaining squash with Joe having a slight injury break for a re aggravating a previous right knee injury. He came back on court with a right knee tensor but Cornes was able to run 3 quick points. Joe defended one match ball but unfortunately was squeezed on a tight forehand against the wall and it was match to Carlos.

Peter Creed (Wal) Bryan Cueto (Mex)

The final match of the night featured one of the fastest movers the Boast has ever seen in Peter Creed. The young Mexican newcomer put on a game effort but was not able to continue retrieving with the lightning fast Welshman. Creed was able to keep the ball well above the tin and make the Mexican chase balls to all four corners of the court. Peter looked like a veteran on the Saskatoon courts and played relatively error-free. By the third game Creeds patience was paying off and Bryan's movement had slowed considerably. After establishing a 4-1 lead, he was able to stay ahead and close out the match 11-3. It will be interesting to see this speed demon as he is challenged by higher ranked opponents in the next rounds.

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