Barker and Lengthorn win squash finals

IPSWICH Sports Club hosted three days of world-class squash at the weekend.The Head BSPA Grand Prix finals produced its share of great games and upsets, but ultimately world number 12 Laura Lengthorn won the ladies' title and Peter Barker, the world number 16, won the men's event.

IPSWICH Sports Club hosted three days of world-class squash at the weekend.

The Head BSPA Grand Prix finals produced its share of great games and upsets, but ultimately world number 12 Laura Lengthorn won the ladies' title and Peter Barker, the world number 16, won the men's event.

Ben Ford produced a real shock, pulling off the result of his career. The world number 134 from Kent beat world number 15 Adrian Grant - also from Kent - 11-7, 7-11, 6-11, 11-9, 11-9.

This was a truly tremendous match - with a couple of great fightbacks from Ford, notably at 6-2 down in the fifth - and some really great drama.


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The other player to catch the eye was Simon Parke, the former number three in the world, who is fast approaching 35 and the seniors' events.

He still doesn't know when to give in, however, and he showed up-and-coming Colchester player Daryl Selby, world number 36, that he still has real class. Selby often looked in control, yet never looked like winning and Parke went through 3-0.

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Peter Barker saw off Parke in the semi-finals on Friday and was then faced, on Saturday, with the world number 18, Malaysian Ong Beng Hee.

This was without doubt the game of the tournament. Ong took a 2-1 lead. Barker had to find answers in the fourth and find them he did, blasting through the game 11-2.

In the fifth it looked as though the efforts of the previous game had finished Barker off as Ong took a 6-2 lead.

Yet again, however, the game swung Barker's way as Ong lost his focus briefly and Barker took eight straight points.

Ong made one more push, but the match went to Barker, after one hour and 21 minutes, 6-11, 11-8, 11-13, 11-2, 11-8.

After world number six Vicky Botwright had withdrawn due to a back injury, there was a repeat of last year's women's final, with world number 12 Laura Lengthorn taking on world number 25 Lauren Briggs.

Last year's final had been somewhat one-sided and one feared a repeat, particularly as Briggs had been out for five months with an injury.

Initially it looked as though Lengthorn might dominate again, but by the end of the first Briggs was finding her feet. She lost the first 9-4, but in the second raced away into a

5-1 lead and had several chances to take the game.

However, Briggs couldn't quite finish the game off and eventually Lengthorn went 2-0 up, winning the second 9-7.

In the third, Briggs went ahead early on again and although Lengthorn came back at her, this time Briggs hung on for a 9-6 win.

In the fourth, Lengthorn stepped up a gear. Briggs fought hard to get back into it, but in the end Lengthorn hung on for 3-1 win - 9-4, 9-7, 6-9, 9-6.

The match was a great advert for women's squash on what was a great weekend of at Ipswich Sports Club with two fitting finals.

Ipswich Sports Club looks forward to hosting the same event next year.

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