11:46 am
21 Feb 2019

Comeback Hero Boswell Triumphs In Christchurch

17 Apr 2005

Australian Stewart Boswell has made a triumphant return to the international squash circuit by winning today's final of the South Island Championships in his first PSA Tour event for almost two years.

The former world number four has spent the last 18 months on the sidelines with a crippling back injury. Boswell, 26, from Canberra, was only in the draw as a qualifier, but proved too good for top-seeded New Zealander Kashif Shuja in the final, winning 11-8 11-4 11-4 - surviving the entire event without dropping a single game!

"I wasn't sure how my match fitness would hold up after being out for so long, so to win is a real bonus," said surprise champion Boswell. "Thankfully, I won all of my early round matches in straight games, so I had a bit of energy saved up for the final."

The extra puff proved vital, with the Australian pushed hard in the early stages of the decider. "It was pretty tight in the opening game, but I managed to start exerting some control in the second game, and from then on I felt pretty good."

Kashif Shuja is anything but downhearted at his defeat to Boswell. The kiwi number one says the match provided good insight into what to expect when he rejoins the world circuit full time next year. "Stewart was in a different league to what I'm used to facing, but I'm encouraged by how competitive I was. The first game was really close, but unfortunately the 90-minute battle I had in the semis caught up with me, and I ran out of steam."

Shuja says he's hoping for a rematch at the South Island Classic in Invercargill next weekend. "I've definitely learned a few things from today's final. Stewart plays a lot faster game than I do, but if I can slow him down, I may be able to get a bit closer next time around."

Meanwhile, a qualifier has also taken out the women's WISPA World Tour event.

New Zealander Sarah Cook outlasted fellow kiwi Jaclyn Hawkes in the decider, winning 9-1 7-9 4-9 9-3 9-0. Like Shuja, fourth-seeded Hawkes appeared to suffer from a dose of fatigue after winning a gruelling semi-final in five games the previous day. The victory, however, marked part-timer Cook's third win over Hawkes, having beaten the world No57 from Dunedin in the last two New Zealand national championships.

Men's final:
[Q] Stewart Boswell (AUS) bt [1] Kashif Shuja (NZL) 11-8, 11-4, 11-4

Women's final:
[Q] Sarah Cook (NZL) bt [4] Jaclyn Hawkes (NZL) 9-1, 7-9, 4-9, 9-3, 9-0