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Canary Wharf Squash Classic 2005
14-18 March, Jubilee Place, Canary Wharf, London

Ticket Hotline
0870 534 4444.
PREVIEW
REPORTS
Canary Wharf Squash Classic 2005
14-18 March, Canary Wharf, London

Canada Place Group Placings   

Jubilee Mall Group Placings

1. Jonathon Power [5] wins 3
2. Anthony Ricketts 
[8] wins 2
3. James Willstrop
[1] wins 1
4. Peter Nicol
[4]   wins 0
1.  Lee Beachill [2] wins 3
2. John White  
[7]  wins 2
3. Amr Shabana  
[6] wins 1
4 David Palmer
[3] wins 0
Monday 14th March
Power bt Nicol
9-4, 9-5, 9-0 (25m)
Ricketts bt Willstrop
9-5, 9-5, 5-9, 9-5 (40m)
Shabana bt Palmer 9-7, 4-9, 4-9, 9-5,
9-5 (52m)
Beachill bt White 10-8, 9-7  9-7 (42m)

Tuesday 15th March
White bt Palmer
9-5, 4-9, 7-9, 10-9, 10-8 (72m)
Beachill bt Shabana

5-9, 9-2, 8-10, 9-2, 9-5 (45m)

Power bt Willstrop
9-7, 4-9, 9-2, 9-6 (43m)
Ricketts bt Nicol
10-12, 9-5, 9-4, 9-7 (39m)

Wednesday 16th March
Power bt Ricketts
6-9, 9-5, 9-3, 9-5 (46m)
Willstrop at Nicol
9-4, 7-9, 9-5, 10-8 (36m)
Beachill bt Palmer
2-9, 9-5, 9-5, 4-9, 9-6 (60m)
White bt Shabana
10-8, 9-4, 8-10, 9-4 (37m)

Semi-finals
Thursday 17th March

White
bt
Power
 9-4, 9-6, 7-9, 0-9, 9-5 (81m)

Ricketts
bt
Beachill
9-3, 9-7, 9-6 (34m)

 

 

Finals
Friday 18th March
3/4th Play-off
Beachill bt Power 4-9, 1-9, 9-2, 9-3,
9-1 (49m)

Final
White
bt Ricketts
4-9, 1-9, 9-2, 9-3, 9-1 (49m)

 
Colin McQuillan & Martin Bronstein of SquashNow! reporting direct.


 

ISS Canary Wharf Squash Classic

at

The East Wintergarden, Canary Wharf

London, England

March 14-18 2005

 

Colin McQuillan & Martin Bronstein Reporting

 

Day Five....18.3.05....The Final

Just John White 's Night

Scotland’s seventh seeded John White fought back from two games down against Anthony Ricketts of Australia  tonight to win the 49 minute final of the  ISS Canary Wharf Squash Classic 4-9 1-9 9-2 9-3 9-1 at the East Wintgergarden in London’s Dockland.

     A straight games loser to England’s Lee Beachill on the first day of the qualifying pool play, White struggled through five matchballs to defeat David Palmer in the second round and then won a second place qualifying battle against Amr Shabana to make the semi-final in which he destroyed the hopes of Canada’s title-hunting Jonathon Power.

    Tonight he repeated the pattern by allowing Ricketts to totally dominate the opening phase of the final, but then struck back in devastatingly accurate hard hitting fashion to take the last three games at a cost of just five points.

    Ricketts was in the sort of sharp blistering form at the start that brought him the Tournament of Champions title in New York two weeks ago. By the end, though, he was suffering the same sort of confidence destruction that saw his relinquish a 10-4 lead against Peter Nicol in the Kuwait quarter-finals last week.

    The first sign of the Australian’s hidden fragility came when he came out of the court at 8-4 in the first game to argue that the introduction of a new ball after the original flew off the top of the tin and away into the ceiling was a bad ‘precedent’ to set for the rest of the match.

    “But the change of ball did not really alter anything,” Ricketts admitted later with a grin. “I won the next game for a couple of points so I couldn’t really complain. The fact is that when John starts hitting the ball like that there is not much you can do about it.

    The Australian born Scottish No1, who was born in Queensland, lives in Nottingham and is about to move to New Jersey in the USA, has been timed as the hardest hitter of a squash ball at more than 170 miles per hour.

    White could not explain what happened at the start of the third game. “I was arguing out the back with Andy Bunting of Prince about the first two game and I decided to just go out and try to enjoy the match. I couldn’t  get into the thing to begin with. Anthony was playing at such a fantastic pace that I just could not get into the rallies and could not set myself for a good shot.

    “I came off at the end of the second game after more or less watching Anthony decide what to do and when, and decided the only way forward was to try to slow the rallying down so that I could get a shot or two going. I guess it was my night, because that was exactly the right thing to do.

    “I got off a couple of good shots in the first few rallies of the next game and that seemed to unnerve Anthony a bit. He fell away from the high early pace and started to mix it a bit with me in the front court, which let me in really. The towards the end he seemed to lose his game plan completely and played at a sort of half-court pace that allowed me to fire in the shots quicker and quicker.

    “By the time we started the fifth I was really enjoying myself and, as is always the case when that happens, everything I tried went straight down the slot. I even felt a bit sorry for Anthony by the end.

 

 

ISS Canary Wharf Classic

London

 

Final Result:

 

[7] John White (Scot)  bt [8]  Anthony Ricketts (Aus) 4-9 1-9 9-2 9-3 9-1 (49m)

 

Third Place Play-off:

 

[2] Lee Beachill (Eng)   bt   [5] Jonathon Power (Can) 9-7 9-4 9-6 (28m)

 

Qualifying Pool Positions:

 

Canada Place Group

[5] Jonathon Power

[8] Anthony Ricketts

[1] James Willstrop

[4] Peter Nicol

 

Jubilee Mall Group

[2] Lee Beachill

[7] John White

[6] Amr Shabana

[3] David Palmer

 

©SquashNow !

Day Four....17.3.05....The Semi-finals

 White & Ricketts Knock Off The Leaders

Both qualifying pool leaders were dismissed from the semi-finals ISS Canary Wharf  Squash Classic tonight as first Scotland’s seventh seeded John White, played with power and precision to reach the final 9-4 9-6 7-9 0-9 9-5  in 81 minutes at the expense of the fifth seeded Canadian, Jonathon Power and then the eighth seed, Anthony Ricketts of Australia, dismissed England’s second seeded Lee Beachill 9-3 9-7 9-6 in just 34 minutes.

    Beachill played with a smooth rhythm but lacked the usual grim punch with which he delivers his best shots. Against many players this might have eased him into the final on technique alone, but Ricketts is the rising player on the PSA World Tour.

    Just a couple of weeks back he pulverized the field of the Tournament of Champions at Grand Central Station in New York, and last week he looked good enough to take the Kuwait Open title until Peter Nicol caught him napping on a 10-4 matchball situation in the fifth game of their quarter-final.

    There was no napping tonight. In three hands and eight minutes the big Sydneysider was grinning his way back to his corner with the first game in his tucker bag for the loss of three points.  Another five hands and 12 minutes saw him back again after a slightly tougher fight for 9-7.

    Ricketts was so keen to get on with the battle that he managed to lock the court attendant into the playing area as the players returned for action after their two minute rest. Beachill was keen enough to carefully extend the rallies to build a 5-1 lead at the start of the third, but a long crisp backhand dropshot put an end to that and Ricketts was 5-5  three winners later and 9-6 at the end of another 10 minutes.

   “I hate to play third place play-offs,” Ricketts insisted. “John White hits the ball at a million miles an hour so I hope I am seeing the  ball as well tomorrow as I did today. It is good to find after such a hard run on the world circuit that the speed is still in the legs. I was comfortable and full of running tonight. I think I might be the fittest man in the game right now.”

Stiff Start  Reduces Power’s Possibilities

Power began stiffly and explained later that he has a small spasm in his back that refused to release until close to the end of the second game. In the third and fourth games he moved with something close to his best elasticity and, by cleverly reducing the pace of the rallying, induced the big hitting Australian born Scot to pepper the tin for a while.

    The single hand fourth game comprised less than four minutes of action and it was all from the Canadian, but he allowed White a 5-1 lead in the fourth from which he just could not recover.

    White acknowledged the fourth game coup. “Took me completely out of the game,” he said. “Suddenly no weight at all on the ball and I was trying foolishly to finish everything  off in the front court. It either hit the tin or set him up to kill me in the back court.

    “I saw him holding his back in the early part of the game. But then he often does that and it didn’t seem to stop him stooping and diving around. I got the first two games driving deep to line and length, so in the fifth I went back to that and it took me home.” 

    Power insists that he rarely gets the rub of the refereeing in Britain: “The refs here are always keen to show me the error of my ways,” he said “John is so big I have a bit of trouble playing around him and he tends to get the referee involved in the latter stages of the game.”

    Certainly tonight’s referee, Peter Lawrence of Wales, was unimpressed by Power’s ability to reach the ball despite severe interference from the long limbed Scot, and even the best placed shot from Power was deemed insufficient to gain a point if White could show the merest evidence of similar interference.

    Power was knocked full length into the top lefthand corner  at 3-5 in the fifth game, still managed to get the ball onto the frontwall, and still gained only a let-call for his efforts.

    At 4-7 the Canadian played White to e very corner of the court and finally delivered the ball into wide open created space in the deel righthand corner, only to have a let called.

    “It is always like that for me here,” Power repeated. “I made a lot of mistakes in that last game, which is unusual for me when I am playing freely, and it was too much with the referee seeing things the way he was.”

 

ISS Canary Wharf Classic

London

 

Semi-final Results

 

[7] John White (Scot) bt [5] Jonathon Power (Can) 9-4 9-6 7-9 0-9 9-5 (81m)

[8]  Anthony Ricketts (Aus) bt [2] Lee Beachill (Eng)  9-3 9-7 9-6 (34m)

 

©SquashNow !

Day Three....16.3.05....Last Pool Rounds

Power Here To Win

England's Lee Beachill and Canada’s Jonathon Power eased undefeated into the crossover semi-finals of the ISS Canary Wharf Squash Classic tonight, respectively beating the Australians David Palmer and Anthony Ricketts to top the two groups after the  final qualifying matches of the event.

    Power dominated the  Canada Place Group, while the bottom places were played out in lighthearted style when last year’s champion, James Willstrop, took a  flamboyant  win over the event organiser, Peter Nicol, to force the former leader of the pack into an unaccustomed win-less fourth position.

     Ricketts will tomorrow face Beachill, who topped the Jubilee Mall Group after dealing straightforwardly with what could have been a problematical final qualifying encounter against Palmer, the big Australian who arrived in London tired from a tough campaign winning the Kuwait Open last week and just missed victory in both previous rounds at Canary Wharf. 

No Three Way Battle

    A Palmer win would have opened up the Jubilee Mall Group to a three-way battle as John White of Scotland and Amr Shabana of Egypt went into the last qualifying round with a win apiece. Instead the packed Canary Wharf audience was rewarded with a live last match of the evening with the fourth semi-final place at stake.

    White, the big-hitting Nottingham based former Australian who is planning a move into the USA in the near future, found a level of inspiration that has previously been less than evident in his play at Canary Wharf. He dominated most of the last match, with the mercurial Shabana firing only from 4-5 in the third game to take the tiebreak in clinical style.

    But White bounced back to lead 5-1 in fourth and the Egyptian could regain service only three times more as the semi-final place against Power ran away from him 10-8 9-4 8-10 9-4 in 37 minutes. Perhaps Shabana had seen the Power match at the start and decided to save himself unnecessary pain tomorrow.

Good Enough To Win ?

   Power’s win left the fifth seeded Canadian undefeated in the tournament so far and looking at what should be the easier semi-final against White, the second placed man from the Jubilee Mall Group.

    He explained: “I was a bit tired at the outset tonight, but once I settled into the game my body was working well and I started to enjoy things. When I am enjoying my squash I always play that much better. I think I might be playing well enough to win here if all goes well.”

    He was certainly playing pretty well through the second and third games, which he won  in just six hands, displaying at least a measure of the shot assurance and court coverage that once made him the most feared player on a sharp reacting shot-accepting glass showcourt such as the brand new version mounted in the East Wintergarden at Canary Wharf.

    Ricketts, the rising Australian who took the Tournament of Champions in New York a couple of weeks back and held matchballs at 10-4 in the fifth over Peter Nicol in the Kuwait Open last week, was also undefeated coming into the last qualifying round. But a slight hamstring problem perhaps inhibited his pursuit of Power’s unique rallying style tonight and by the fifth game he was beginning to fire shots impatiently into the tin as the match ran away from him.

Beachill Avoids The Math

David Palmer carries a pretty good grudge against Beachill for the manner of the Englishman’s win in the World Open semi-finals last year, so a third win for Beachill was by no means assured tonight.

    When he came out like a well oiled machine to level the match winning the fourth game in three hands of almost faultless movement and easy long-reaching racket-play, it seemed Palmer was determined to throw a spanner in the Jubilee Mall qualifying works. When he reached 3-3 in the fifth as the ball bobbled through a groove in the floor of the lefthand court for a second time, it looked as if the fates might be thinking the same thing. But Beachill was not convinced.

    The Englishman played the next rally with a chilling precision, eventually forcing Palmer to scrape desperately at a clinging drive on the righthand wall and then chase almost hysterically after it to miss again on the backwall. Even a heavy crashing fall onto his shoulder against the forehand wall could not stop Beachill after that.  He took a couple  of points forcing tinned errors from Palmer on either side, hit a couple of inch perfect long dropshots of his own and then had the satisfaction of watching the big Australian walk out for a new racket in an attempt to delay the last rally before striking the matchball furiously into the tin.

    “I am going to change my racket because I am fed up with this one,” Palmer told the referee. Actually he appeared to have broken it on the wall chasing the backhand version of Beachill’s dropshot bracket. But there is nothing in the rules that allows a player to change rackets because of he is ‘fed up with it’.

  

 

 

 

ISS Canary Wharf Classic,

London

 

Third Pool Round Results

 

Canada Place Group

 

[5] Jonathon Power (Can) bt   [8]  Anthony Ricketts (Aus) 6-9 9-5 9-3 9-5 (46m)

[1] James Willstrop  (Eng)  bt [4] Peter Nicol (Eng)  minute 9-4 7-9 9-5 10-8  (36m)

 
Jubilee Mall Group

[2] Lee Beachill (Eng) bt  [3] David Palmer (Aus)  2-9 9-5 9-5 4-9 9-6 (60m)

[7] John White (Scot) bt [6] Amr Shabana (Egy)  10-8 9-4 8-10 9-4 (37m)

 

 

Day Two....15.3.05....Second Pool Rounds

Beachill, Power & Ricketts Unbeaten

England’s Lee Beachill laid claim to the top semi-final place from the Jubilee Place Group of the ISS Canary Wharf Squash Classic in London tonight, containing the brilliance of Egypt’s Amr Shabana to win their second pool round match 5-9 9-2 8-10 9-2 9-5 in 45 minutes.

    With Australia’s David Palmer twice beaten in the group and Scotland’s  Australian born John White making a belated start winning 9-5 4-9 7-9 10-9 10-8 in their 72 minute clash earlier tonight,  it will take a resounding but  pointless victory for Palmer over Beachill tomorrow to upset the progress of the England No1 towards the trophy won last year by his younger training partner, James Willstrop.

    Willstrop was  later removed from contention when Canada’s Jonathon Power  defeated him 9-7 4-9 9-2 9-2 in 42 minutes
in the Canada Place Group after he dropped his opening match to Anthony Ricketts, the other Australian in the field.

    The last match of the evening in the same group featured Peter Nicol of England against Ricketts and the Australian was just a bit keen to avenge the loss from 10-4 matchball he experienced at the hands of Nicol in Kuwait last week.

    He managed it 10-12 9-5 9-4 9-7 in 39 minutes and finished forcing Nicol into the backhand dropshot error on one side and then cracked a forehand crosscourt  straight  down the lefthand nick. Pity he had to collect a conduct warning for a mouthed obscenity at the end of the first game.

        Shabana had the measure of Beachill a couple of times earlier in the season. “He gave me a  bit of a caning really,” the Pontefract man admitted. “But I  got a good win over him in Kuwait last week and I guess I learnt a thing or tewo about how to deal with him.

    The easy shot-making style with which  the fast little Egyptian dealt with Palmer on day one suggested that he might just be in the mood to lift the second Canary Wharf title the way he slipped through to win the 2003 World Open title in Lahore against all expectation. But his will seemed  to come and go tonight as Beachill fought back, particularly in the top lefthand corner to take the second  and lead 8-5 in the third.

    A spectacular single hand run through the tiebreak from 8-8, uniquely referred to in this tournament as ‘deuce’ and ‘advantage’ as if it were a tennis match, again suggested Shabana was about to impose himself, but he was almost apologetic allowing Beachill to hit a new rhythm in the fourth game to level the match in two hands and four minutes of complete court control.

    The fifth began on a no-let call for Beachill and ended on  tinned error from Shabana after a penalty stroke gave him a fleeting service hand. In between the Egyptian contributed an error to balance every moment of racket brilliance, which is not a particularly smart approach to a solid striking player like Beachill when the scent of victory is in his nostrils.

Last Gasp Win For White

Earlier the second round of pool matches had started off with  an excellent battle between two tall Australians, players who were brought up playing to the same rules of fairness and mutual respect.  They understand the correct movement around the court  so the match was played with the minimum of contact. It was fortunate that the Olympic ‘examiners” chose this night and were treated to this match between John White and David Palmer, who had both lost their first round matches and were looking to keep themselves in the running for the lucrative semis and final.

    White started off well, hitting crisp tight shots  and finding rich pickings in the back right corner, (right in front of my seat) where the nick was a little wider.  Four times a low tight drive down the right wall eluded Palmer  and he could do nothing as White took the game 9-5 in ten minutes.

    In the interval Palmer’s coach Shaun Moxham had obviously instructed him to keep the ball low and take White to the front of the court whenever possible. Palmer’s low boasts were doing just that and White was tinning the attempted drop shot. Palmer’s  4-1 lead seemed comfortable until  White hit one of his blue streaks, slamming a service into the nick,  followed by an ungettable backhand drop shot and then a screaming forehand drive to pull back to 3-4.   But all that good work evaporated as Palmer kept  to his game plan, increasing the number boasts and eliciting three unforced errors from White on his way to a 9-4 victory in a short 8 minute game.

    The third game was tighter and harder as both players tried to control the game and keep the upper hand. For most of the time the pace was fierce and it appeared that White was doing a lot of work  as Palmer kept slamming the ball to both sides of the court, keeping the pressure and preventing White from attacking. Once again White made errors as he allowed his natural instinct to go for winners take over. With Palmer at game ball 8-7 White hit a real screamer down the middle of the court straight at Palmer’s belly button. With amazing reaction Palmer got his  racket to the ball which hit the front wall an inch above the tin for a winner to clinch the game. Or so it seemed to me and a few others in the front row.  White claimed the ball was down and the referee agreed. Palmer kept his cool  and served again for the game but this time White ended the short rally with a silly attempt at a reverse angle to lose the point and the game.

    The fourth game became a serious contest and kept the packed bleachers totally enthralled. Palmer’s 4-0 lead was   whittled away and then his 6-4 lead was squandered with  two errors. There were some huge, breathstopping rallies and  we wondered again how two six footers could move so fast  and avoid collision. It was Palmer’s turn to top the error count. He served for the game at 8-6, 8-7 and 9-8  but an easy drop was tinned, an error that put White level again at 9-9.  White took the next two points  to finish the 17 minute game  and even the match. (Much to the delight of the spectators who could have happily watched this pair all night).

    The fifth game was just as close  and White recovered from a 4-1 deficit with a five point run to lead 6-5.  They fought to 7-7  and then Palmer hit a fierce drive to get to match ball.  The really ended with an appeal, and the decision should have been stroke to Palmer to give him the match.  The referee chickened out and gave a let.

    Palmer clenched his teeth after silently mouthing an epithet and served again. They reached deuce at 8-8 and then White produced one of his sublime winners to get to match ball.  Palmer hit a loosish ball down the left wall  with White standing right behind him – it was a textbook  stroke  for White –  to give him the match. Once again the referee called it wrong and gave a let, sending White into a screaming shout of objection. He got over it and  he got his reward when he finished the match with a  tight mid-court backhand drop that eluded Palmer’s grasp and after 71 minutes White walked off the winner, while Palmer once more mouthed something at the referee.

 Power Wins The Fireworks Display

 

Jonathon Power and James Willstrop produced  a 42 minute firework display  that kept the lively partisan crowd (“Come on James!”) involved until the last point. Willstrop still has the enthusiasm of youth and has no intention of ‘hanging back’ (as he put it) just because he’s playing the Canadian magician.  Willstrop volleys everything in sight and  looks to bury the ball in the nick whenever the slightest opportunity presents itself; going completely against his English heritage.

    He’s not shy that Willstrop kid. With Power leading 6-4 in the first game, Willstrop forced a loose shot out of Power than ended up in the middle of the court  five feet from the front wall. Willstrop’s racket performed a feint, a double pass, and then another feint before sending it down the court.  Power finally won the rally, but that wasn’t what it was all about. It was about the kid trying to fool the master.

    “I am just pleased that I will be retired before James gets to full maturity as a player,” Power said after the match. “I would hate to be chasing that when he really gets the hang of it.”

    Power won the first game  but found himself on the wrong end of  the stick in the second as Willstrop kept pushing, boasting, dropping, volleying and generally taking the game to his opponent, avoiding errors. It paid off with a 9-4 victory and Power looking a little unhappy.

    In the third game the youthful win-or-bust attitude came apart on errors; shots that in a year or two Willstrop will think should not so often be attempted from an unbalanced stance. The last three points were messy: strokes and an error  to give Power his second game in just eight minutes.

    Willstrop enjoys the nine point game because he doesn’t need to conserve energy as in  the 11 point game,  and he was still chasing moonbeams in the fourth game and even led it 4-3 courtesy of an audacious long drop from the back of the court that left Power helpless.  But  Power  kept the pressure and the accuracy at a high level  and it was apparent that even the nine point game is hard on Willstrop’s young frame. Power controlled the game to win 9-6. 

  

ISS Canary Wharf Classic,

London

 

Second Pool Round Results

 

Canada Place Group

[8]  Anthony Ricketts (Aus) bt [4] Peter Nicol (Eng)  10-12 9-5 9-4 9-7 (39m) 

[5] Jonathon Power (Can) bt [1] James Willstrop  (Eng) 9-7 4-9 9-2 9-6 (43m) 

Jubilee Mall Group

[7] John White (Scot) bt  [3] David Palmer (Aus)  9-5 4-9 7-9 10-9 10-8 (72m)
[2] Lee Beachill (Eng)  bt [6] Amr Shabana (Egy)  5-9 9-2 8-10 9-2 9-5 (45m)

 

Day One....14.3.05....First Pool Rounds

 Power Cruises Past Jaded Nicol

Perhaps travelling overnight from the final of the Kuwait Open to play Jonathon Power in the opening pool match of his own ISS Canary Wharf Classic in London was not Peter Nicol’s best idea of 2005.

    The fourth seeded former world champion lost to the fifth seeded former world champion 9-4 9-5 9-0 in 25 minutes of lack luster movement and poor shot production in the first match of the Canada Place Group. It was their 41st meeting and it brought their lifetime tally to 22-19 in Nicol’s  favour.

    “But it was probably the worst performance of the lot,” Nicoll admitted afterwards. “I never like losing much but I like to give the spectators some value for their money even when I lose. I can’t say I did tonight.”

    The 31-year-old put a great deal into the Kuwait open, reaching the semi-finals with an extraordinary fight back win from 4-10 down in the fifth  game against Anthony Ricketts before b eating the World Open Champion, Thierry Lincou, and taking a game from David Palmer in the final. “Another day of rest would have been useful,” he agreed. “But we have to be able to front up for our matches and I didn’t do that today.”

    To be fair Nicol was carrying a painful insect sting on his right hand, a gift from Kuwait Airways on the way home, and the court – his own all-glass showcourt since his promotion company, Eventis, bought it in partnershipwith Roluvents (the Belgium-based promoters of the 2003 World Open) – seemed programmed to give Power the run of every nick and angle.

     The Canadian decided against playing in Kuwait. “I didn’t enjoy it much last year and the journey is always exhausting,” he explained. “I had a week off instead and came into this event pretty fresh and ready to play. You don’t often find Peter that jaded so I was pleased to take advantage of it.

    “The unique nine point American scoring of this event is my style. I would play three point games if they let me. I hear that played a seven game final last year, but they have abandoned that so I might just try to go all the way this year.”

Thrills From The Future

     Later the quality of  Nicol’s Kuwait effort became clear when Anthony Ricketts came on for the second of the Canada Plavce matches and brushed past the defending champion, James Willstrop, 9-5 9-5 5-9 9-5 in 40 minutes.

  The pair  thrilled the crowd, though, in the way that Nicol and Power used to. This confrontation could take front and center stage over the next five years, a perfect contrast of the focused,  hard-hitting Ricketts against the flair and audacity of the 6ft 5in Yorkshire youngster.

    Right now Ricketts has a five year advantage over the 21-year old Willstrop;  five years of experience that tells him when to chance his arm or  when to play it hard and safe and  it finally told in a 9-5 9-5 5-9 9-5  victory over 40 minutes. They still supplied some wonderful squash  with the accent on attack and rarely  dropping the pace to duel down the left wall.  Ricketts  is looking for blood in London after letting Nicol off a 10-4 matchpoint in Kuwait City. Willstrop perhaps needs  another year or two to get to the very top but, when he gets there, he will be hard to displace.

Shabana In Sparkling Form

    David Palmer’s entry into the Jubilee Mall Group carried the same signs of overwork that Nicol displayed. He went down in bad humour to Amr Shabana of Egypt  9-7 4-9 4-9 9-5 9-6 in 52 minutes, only extending his presence in the fifth game by pretending to the referee, Peter Kramer, that when he had obviously walked off a serve at 4-8 and matchball down and been given the let by the commendably observant official, he deserved to have the point played again because he had not actually verbally appealed for the let.

 

    Shabana, who fell out of the Kuwait quarter-finals when unable to adjust mentally as his match against Lee Beachill was started on the open air glass showcourt but then switched to the plaster club court via a massive traffic jam after an unexpected rain storm, was in sparkling form and enjoying the atmosphere of a fine auditorium packed with appreciative squash fans from the dockland offices.

   Shabana is probably the only player on the circuit with more audacity than Willstrop. He is incapable of ignoring a loose shot and in this match, most of those landed in the nick. Even with Palmer breathing down his neck expecting the drop shot, Shabana executed them so perfectly that Palmer could only watch them roll dead.  It was an  entertaining  see-saw match with Shabana shooting his way to an 8-4 lead in the first game  only to relax to allow Palmer to fight back to 7-8. He finally took the game ball with a stroke but it was looking close.

    There was the odd long rally but  Shabana’s game doesn’t allow for 80 shots duels; he either wins the point with a winner or loses on an error. Palmer  is experienced enough to know that and he waited for the inevitable errors which came in the second game  which he won 9-4 in just six minutes.  He won the third game by the same margin in the same time and it looked as though Shabana was about to let it go.  But he calmed down in the fourth, was judicious in his shooting and the two players  played hardball until 5-5, with barely an error to be found.  Three times Shabana reached up high and hit a backahand volley into the dead nick on his way to  an 8-5 lead  and when Palmer put the ball out of court on the next rally, the match was tied.

    Although Palmer led the fifth game  he was never really in control – can anyone control Shabana? – and fell victim to a lovely piece of deception as Shabana  flicked the ball one way to send Palmer the other. Shabana led 7-4 and then tinned the ball from a Palmer backwall boast, a dreadful error seeing as he had Palmer at his mercy.  Once more Palmer staged a comeback  to get to 6-8 but could do nothing on the match ball as Shabana hit a fine, tight forehand drive to win the point, the game and the match. 

 Beachill Drives It Home

It was left to the last match of the evening to get some good old-fashioned length driving, with rallies that last longer than six shots. Lee Beachill  and John White are anything but hackers, but Beachill knew he had to keep it tight and long against White, the renowned shotmaker. And Beachill did just that; hard tight drives, perfectly placed cross courts and  inch perfect drives left White very little to play with.

    The first game went to overtime with Beachill just snatching it 10-8, White hurling his racket on the last point to get a conduct warning. "Bit over the top," mutttered Andy Bunting, the Prince man, not making clear whetehr the player or the ref was in his sighhts. But you could feel the spectator sympathy with White who didn’t play badly or do anything wrong; the ball simply wasn’t rolling for him.

    He came out refreshed and full of fight for the second game to outplay Beachill and lead 7-2. Ah! We thought, at last we have a real fight. But the fight came from Beachilll who refused to give White an inch and climbed back to  tie the game 7-7. Three points came from White’s loose shots  that resulted in strokes against him and Beachill finished the game off  to win 9-7.

    In the third game White led yet again  but failed to keep the lead. Beachill was playing well, playing accurately and moreover  reading White’s every move. So there really wasn’t a lot that White could do to wrest control. His frustration grew – he has not had a great year – and even though there are no ranking points involved, he would like to notch up the odd victory. 

    As expected Beachill won the third game  9-7, and looking good for a spot in Friday’s final.

 

 

 

ISS Canary Wharf Classic,

London

 

First Pool Round Results

 

Canada Place Group
[8]  Anthony Ricketts (Aus) bt [1] James Willstrop  (Eng) 9-5 9-5 5-9 9-5 (40m)
[5]Jonathon Power (Can) bt [4] Peter Nicol (Eng)  9-4 9-5 9-0 (25m)


Jubilee Mall Group
[2] Lee Beachill (Eng)  bt  [7] John White (Scot)  10-8 9-7 9-7 (42m)

[6] Amr Shabana (Egy) bt [3] David Palmer (Aus) 9-7 4-9 4-9 9-5 9-6 (52m)

Previews

London squash fans have the prospect of seeing flamboyant Canadian Jonathon Power in action at this year's ISS Canary Wharf Squash Classic.
    Tournament organisers have confirmed Power's entry into the event, which takes place at the East Wintergarden at Canary Wharf from March 14-18.
    Power is a colourful, often controversial character, sometimes refreered to as the "McEnroe of squash" because of his flamboyant rackets skills and colourful exchanges with referees.
    The Montreal-based star is a great rival of England's former world champion Peter Nicol, who is one of the co-promoters of the ISS Classic event. Nicol currently leads their head-to-head series 22-18 over ten years of intense and dramatic competition, including many major finals throughout the world.
    One of their most spectacular battles was in London 18 months ago, when Power beat Nicol 15-14 in the fifth game of the PSA Super Series final at the Broadgate Arena.
    A tournament spokesman said: "We are delighted to confirm Jonathon's participation in this year's event and look forward to him bringing his unique and dazzlingly entertaining style of squash to Canary Wharf. Jonathon is renowned as the great showman of squash and we know that London audiences will flock to see him play."
     Power is the reigning Commonwealth Games champion, having beaten Nicol in the final in Manchester in 2002 to gain revenge for Nicol's win in Malaysia four years earlier.
    Their most recent encounter was in the last 16 of the 2004 World Open in Qatar, when Nicol triumphed 7-11, 11-8, 11-5, 11-4.     

    Power claimed his first title of 2005 when he beat Egypt's Karim Darwish in the final of the Apawamis Open in New York. Power said: "I am really starting to feel fit and strong again, and that's just fun. When the body's feeling good, that's when I enjoy playing."
    New England star James Willstrop, who won the inaugural Canary Wharf Classic in 2004, has climbed to No.5 in the latest PSA world rankings.
    France's world champion Thierry Lincou, the man he beat on that famous occasion, when the final was played over the best of seven games for the first time in squash's history, has returned to No.1 above England's Lee Beachill.

Video Replays For Refs

Organisers of the ISS Canary Wharf Squash Classic are planning a major initiative for the sport with the trial of video replays for referees.

     The speed of the game can often lead to volatile clashes between players and officials, they say, but now technology is at hand to solve any problems and remove such confrontations from the sport.

      Extensive tests will be run during the tournament, which takes place at the East Wintergarden at Canary Wharf from March 14-18 and features eight of the world’s leading 11 players. The tests will go “live” in actual match play on the Wednesday (March 16) featuring all four fixtures on that evening’s schedule.

      The project is being developed by Horizon Software, who are technology partners for leading sports events in the UK and worldwide.

      Suitably, one of the stars competing at Canary Wharf is the controversial Canadian Jonathon Power, the great showman of squash who is renowned for his colourful clashes with officials.

      Former world champion Peter Nicol, who is one of the event co-promoters and who meets Power in the tournament’s opening match on Monday March 14, has backed the move.

     “We all know that squash referees have a difficult time simply because of the speed of the game" Nicol explained. "For example, there is an average time of something like 1.5 seconds between shots; often less at the top level if players are taking the ball early and volleying.

     “The technology is there to help match officials in squash, just as it does in other sports like cricket and rugby. Having the benefit of video replays can help to avoid unpleasant disagreements between players and referees, and if the replay is shown on giant screens then it can add to the visual appeal for spectators.

     “Although this is just a trial, the players are all excited by it. All sports have to adapt as the years go by and squash is no exception. What this really shows is just how tough a job the referees have in squash.”

  

ISS CANARY WHARF CLASSIC SCHEDULE

 

Pool Rounds:

 

Canada Place Group
1 James Willstrop  (England)
4 Peter Nicol (England)      
5 Jonathon Power (Canada)
8  Anthony Ricketts (Australia)
       
Jubilee Mall Group

2 Lee Beachill (England)
3 David Palmer (Australia)
6 Amr Shabana (Egypt)
7 John White (Scotland)     
           

Monday 14th March
6pm   Nicol v Power
7pm   Willstrop v Ricketts
8pm   Palmer v Shabana
9pm   Beachill v White

 

Tuesday 15th March
6pm   Palmer v White
7pm   Beachill v Shabana
8pm   Willstrop v Power
9pm   Nicol v Ricketts

Wednesday 16th March

6pm   Power v Ricketts
7pm   Willstrop v Nicol
8pm   Beachill v Palmer
9pm   Shabana v White

Thursday 17th March

6.30pm   Winner Canada v Runner Up Jubilee
7.30pm   Doubles/Celebrity Challenge
8.00pm   Winner Jubilee v Runner Up Canada

Friday 18th March

6pm    3/4th Play-off
7pm     Charity Auction in aid of Tsunami Appeal
7.30pm   Grand Final

The Ticket Hotline is 0870 534 4444. Tickets can be booked online via the Ticketmaster website http://www.ticketmaster.co.uk

 

Eventis Buy Their Own Glass Court

Eventis Sports Marketing have joined with Roluvents (the Belgium-based promoters of the 2003 World Open) to purchase the PSA-endorsed McWil Courtwall Glass Squash Court.  The court will be showcased for the first time at the forthcoming ISS Canary Wharf Squash Classic in March.
    Angus Kirkland, of Eventis, said:  "Eventis are delighted to be partnering with Roluvents on this venture.  Not only are they experienced promoters they also have vast court building knowledge.  The court allows both companies to have control over their events and we look forward to working with them on this and other projects into the future."
    PSA Executive Director Gawain Briars added:  "PSA are delighted that Eventis have shown their long-term commitment to the sport through the purchase of the PSA-endorsed McWIL Courtwall portable glass court.  We are sure that the professionalism and enthusiasm they have shown in their own events will be passed on to those events that take advantage of the new Eventis/Roluvents court partnership."
    Luc Mattens of Roluvents further endorsed this, stating:  "Roluvents is proud to be partnering with Eventis, a company led by people who have shown to have a heart for squash as a sport.  They have proven this by playing the sport in a professional way and now they do so by creating opportunities to elevate this sport on a place where it belongs.  Together with Eventis we are sure that we can achieve these goals in Europe and maybe further."
    McWIL Courtwall CEO Wolfgang Denk added:  "McWIL Courtwall is delighted that Eventis/Roluvents has chosen its PSA-endorsed tournament court to showcase their events.  The supplied court is the same as the one we provide for the US, Canadian and Bermuda Opens.  The promoter of the Kuwait Open has also recently purchased from McWIL Courtwall so the Eventis/Roluvents endorsement is very welcome."
    The court will be available to fellow promoters, and all enquiries should be forwarded to Angus Kirkland at akirkland@eventis-sports.com or 00353 86 384 5746.  See
www.eventis-sports.com

 

©SquashNow !

 

Preview

ISS CANARY WHARF SQUASH CLASSIC

TICKETS GO ON SALE FOR ISS CANARY WHARF SQUASH CLASSIC

TICKETS go on sale this week for the ISS Canary Wharf Squash Classic 2005. The star-studded event, featuring eight of the game’s star names, will be staged on the all-glass showcourt at the superb East Wintergarden venue in Jubilee Place, Canary Wharf, from March 14-18, 2005. 

Former world champion Peter Nicol MBE, a director of co-promoters Eventis Sports Marketing, said: “We attracted full-house crowds to Canary Wharf earlier this year in our inaugural tournament and we are confident of doing the same in 2005.  

“We know that the spectators thoroughly enjoyed the entertainment served up by eight leading players who were totally committed to providing a spectacular feast of squash. 

“We experimented with a new style of scoring, playing point-a-rally to nine, and the feedback from all quarters was extremely positive. Therefore we have decided to retain this scoring system in 2005 to maintain the tournament’s unique style and flavour. 

“With just a few shopping days to go before Christmas, I am sure that tickets for the 2005 ISS Canary Wharf Squash Classic will be an extremely popular gift for any squash fan.” 

The Ticket Hotline is 0870 534 4444. Tickets can be booked online via the Ticketmaster website http://www.ticketmaster.co.uk/artist/940909  

BOOK NOW!

Canary Wharf Group plc are the Host Sponsors and the spectators drawn to the East Wintergarden will once again be able to enjoy the shops and restaurants in the Jubilee Place shopping mall beneath the venue. 

High quality Corporate Hospitality packages are also likely to be extremely popular with Canary Wharf companies. Chelsea Catering will once again be providing fine food and wines in the mezzanine level restaurant which provides a superb view of the action down below on court. Further details from Chelsea Catering on 020 7403 0538. 

Peter Nicol added: “I have played in some fabulous venues all over the world but the East Wintergarden restaurant provides the best view of squash I have ever seen.” 

ISS CANARY WHARF SQUASH CLASSIC

Tournament Information

Dates: March 14-18, 2005

Venue: The East Wintergarden, Jubilee Place, Canary Wharf

Tournament Sponsor: ISS Facility Services

Host Sponsor: Canary Wharf Group plc

Further information from Alan Thatcher
Telephone or text: 07971 639 829
Email: alan@squash247.net 

Tournament website: www.canarywharfsquash.com

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