From Russia with success! Boston squash duo in Eastern European action

Chris Clements and Mark Hildred.
Chris Clements and Mark Hildred.

BOSTON Squash and Racketball Club duo Chris Clements and Mark Hildred have returned from Moscow after competing in Eastern Europe’s top squash tournament for professionals and amateurs.

The duo entered the event following an invitation from Russia’s top veteran Sergey Kostrykin – whom Mark beat on his way to the last eight at the European Over 45 Championships in Porto in September.

Chris and Mark proceeded to book their places in the draw, for which the tournament organisers were keen to include an English contingent. 

Chris was seeded 9/16 in the amateur event and second in the group pools, however he exceeded expectations by winning all three of his pool matches.

The run included wins against players from Ukraine and Russia, as well as a hard-fought 3-2 victory against group favourite Japie Hugo, from South Africa.

Having qualified as group winner, Chris then progressed through the rounds of the last sixteen by a 3-0 scoreline against another Ukrainian, before losing in the quarter-final against the number-three seed Paul Linehan.

Chris had played well throughout the tournament and produced an excellent show in the last eight match, eventually suffering a 3-1 defeat. 

 In addition to the amateur competition, Mark was also placed in that of the professionals, where he lost to the Ukrainian number one, Russlan Sorochinsky, in the first round in three very close games.

This entailed Boston’s number one going into the play-offs for places in the plate event, which meant three further matches in the competition, as he went all the way through to the final, defeating Paul Linehan from Ireland 11-7, 9-11, 13-11, 11-3 in a hard-fought 70-minute contest.

Earlier in the competition Mark had defeated the Israeli number three player 3-0, as well as the Turkish number one player Huseyin Gumus by the same scoreline.

Hildred also had an excellent run in the amateur competition, winning all three of his pool games against the Estonian number one and players from Russia and Turkey.  Further wins against fellow Englishman Andy Tyler, a Russian, and a top Ukrainian junior, meant that Mark was through to the amateur final.

It proved one match too far, as he went down to the Israeli number two player Ori Elimelech 7-11, 7-11, 11-13.

However, the prize of 12,000 Russian roubles was of great consolation, plus a slot on a Russian sport channel that televised the finals.