Fri 16th May, 2003:
 Jonathon Power bt 
15-11, 10-15, 13-15, 15-4, 15-14 (107m)
POWER CLAIMS SUPER
SERIES TITLE IN
Ian mcKenzie reports from Broadgate
Power claimed his first Super Series Finals title, beating three-time
winner Peter Nicol on the final, sudden-death, point of a great squash
match that spanned 107 minutes and had everything.
EARLY HONOURS EVEN
Power was away quickly, swishing his racket magically with winners flowing
so swiftly that Nicol struggled to adapt to the early pace. The Canadian
was moving easily and dominated the first, hitting 9 winners to Nicol's
three to take it 15/11.
It looked like Nicol
was going to have his work cut out to maintain his unbeaten record in
2003, but just when Power was in a position to press home his advantage he
let Nicol off the hook. Two unforced errors early in the second gave Nicol
a slender lead, and Power's shots loosened up just a little.
In the first game the ball had rolled down the walls, now it drifted out,
and Power was marginally slack in covering some of his
Nicol now had balls to
work with, and he took advantage, establishing a 10-4 lead. In PARS
scoring it's normally suicidal to fall this far behind, but suddenly Power
was slotting in winners again. "Back to work Peter," came a cry from the
crowd (from Nicol's coach, in fact), but Power continued to edge back and
came to 9-10.
THE REF GETS
At 10-12 Power received a "no let" that left the Canadian prostrate on the
floor while his racket was flung towards the back wall, and most of the
crowd bemused. A conduct warning followed as Power questioned referee Dean
Clayton's interpretation of "making every effort". The referee would play
a major part in this match, but more of that later.
Nicol closed out the
second, to his, and his coach's relief.
The third game could be
awarded to the referee. His policy of "no let" on "minimal interference"
was severe, and he appeared to be on a mission in this game. Firstly Power
fell victim to several harsh decisions and it disrupted his play. Then
Nicol - perhaps the player who plays the ball most of all - was penalised
as the referee received much advice from the crowd. In the play, Power had
found his length again and at times forced the easy ball from Nicol which
he used to send his opponent scurrying all over the court. Nicol was in
trouble, and the momentum was with Power again, but then some errors let
Nicol back in.
At the end Power was to
say "I didn't play the big
points well, except the last one" – but we will
come to that. Power had the chance to dominate,
but squandered it as Nicol stayed ahead to take the third 15/13
and go 2/1 up.
The fourth was tight
for a few rallies, but all the work Nicol had done, earlier in the week
and earlier in the match, began to tell. Once Power established a few
points lead Nicol stopped running and lost it 15-4. Was he finished, or
was he saving himself for the fifth. We would soon know.
THE FINAL GAME
Nicol was under pressure from the start of the final game, but he
struggled on, running down apparent winners and rescuing seemingly-lost
causes. Power controlled much of the play, but Nicol just hung in, took it
to 7-all, and hit winners to go to 10-7.
Power contrived an
injury break, twisting for a ball that was beyond him and falling
spectacularly. "No let, self-inflicted injury" intoned the referee as
Power walked off his apparent cramp. "No, no, no," cried Power. "Someone
in the crowd shot me with a pellet gun!". The roars of laughter grew
louder when Nicol chipped in with "Good shot!".
It looked like a
match Power should have won was drifting away
from him. Then there came the drama that has made this
such a brilliant event. Power came back to level,
and in dramatic scenes they levelled at 12 all, 13 all, and when Nicol
saved match ball with a brilliant forehand volley drop on a crosscourt
that Power did not put quite wide enough,
at 14 all.
THE FINAL POINT
Those in the crowd who were watching Power would have seen the single
finger raised. "I have been on
the pro tour for 13 years and I have never called set three, so I was not
about to start now," said Power afterwards.
Those not watching knew
when the referee called "14-all, match ball," and there was a murmur of
anticipation as the players grinned at each other and then the crowd fell
silent. It was not silent for long.
Nicol served, and on
the fourth shot of the rally the ball struck by Power disappeared down the
forehand and died out of Nicol's reach. The crowd rose to their feet to
hail the new champion, and a great match.
The whole week, the whole tournament had
come down to the last point and Power took it 15-14. The standing ovation
was well deserved. Get the video.
Corporate Challenge Final
Steve Richardson bt Mark Baker 9/2, 9/5
- 3/4: Thierry Lincou bt Anthony
13/15, 15/13, 9/7 (3rd to 9)
Conduct warning Power,
for saying 'Jesus'
"No, I said JEEZ, that's
someone totally different!"
No let to Power,
"No, no, no, someone in
the crowd shot me with a pellet gun!"
Nicol: "Good shot!"
"How is that not a let?"
"So you want me to do a
'So are you looking
forward to continuing the rivalry in Qatar?'
"No, I'm ahead in the
now, that's it, I quit!"