French League Play-off Finals 2002
01-02 June, St Etienne

Men's Final:
Rouen Squash  3-2  Capitol St Cloud
Peter Nicol
bt Jonathon Power  9/7, 9/1, 9/1
David Palmer lost Lee Beachill  9/6, 4/9, 7/9, 0/9
John White beat Mark Chaloner  9/6, 6/9, 8/10, 9/3, 9/1
Martin Heath beat  Alex Gough  1/9, 9/1, 9/6, 5/9, 9/4
Gregory Gaultier lost Simon Parke  9/3, 10/9, 8/9, 6/9, 8/9

Arthur Poupel reports on the French play-off final between reigning champions Capitol St Cloud, who had won the event for the past 12 years, and Rouen.

With Jonathon Power the No.1 for St Cloud and Peter Nicol leading a strong Rouen challenge, the fans in St Etienne expected plenty of fireworks. They were not disappointed.

In this eight-hour final , rising French star Gregory Gaultier played first and opened up a 2-0 lead against Simon Parke and held one match ball in the third. But Parke hit back to take the match to a  fifth game, where he saved another three match balls before winning an amazing match 9-8 (1-0 to Paris).

Then came Martin Heath, who lost 2-0 last year to Alex Gough because of an injury. This time he took his revenge, making Alex run everywhere. Alex did so much running that in the last two games he was suffering from  cramp.

Then the action moved from the club to the glass court, and what a match to begin the action: Nicol v Power!  Peter played his best squash, taking the ball early, covering the court brilliantly and defending so well against power's shots. It was perfect squash but Power was really stressed and was asking for lets all the time,  frequently leaving the glass court to
argue with the referee and bawl him out sometimes.

Nicol clinched victory by a massive margin 9-7, 9-1, 9-1 and so Rouen, who had lost the last three times in the final against Capitol,  were leading 2-1. Then David Palmer went on court to win the first game for Rouen, but Lee Beachill played perfect, precise squash and stretched Palmer with his great drop shots to win 3-01 and level the match at 2-2.

Just as in the English National League final, it all went down to the last match on court, with the decider between John White (Rouen) and Mark Chaloner.  John won the first and then lost the two next games (deja-vu ... last year Capitol led 2-0). Suddenly White stepped up a gear and played amazing squash with terrific power and great nicks  to win 9/3 9/1 against a disappointed Mark.

What a finish! Everyone rushed to the door waiting for Johnny ,who was a real hero !!
Arthur Poupel

3/4 Play-off:
Squash 92 bt Squash Passion 3-2
Ryan bt Bigot 3-0, Ball bt Villier 3-1, Berrett bt Perrin 3-0,
Scianimanico lost Khan 0-3, Surget lost Verseille 0-3

Menís semi-finals:

Rouen Squash  5-0  Squash Passion
David Palmer bt Rodolphe Bigot 3-0
John White bt Emmanuel Villier 3-0
Martin Heath bt Yann Perrin 3-0
Gregory Gaultier bt Sameer Khan 3-0
Alexander Bell bt Fabien Verseille 3-1
Capitol Saint Cloud  5-0  Squash 92
Lee Beachill bt Derek Ryan 3-0
Mark Chaloner bt Bradley Ball 3-0
Alex Gough bt Marcus Berrett 3-0
Del Harris bt Scianimanico 3-0
Renan Lavigne bt Surget 3-0
Women's Final: 
Squash 92 St Cloud beat Squash Fontenaisien

Women's 3/4: Squash Passion bt Antibes 3-2

Womenís semi-finals:

 Squash 92 St Cloud 5-0 Rackets Antibes
Squash Fontenaisien 3-2 Squash Passion
Results & photos provided by Arthur Poupel