YMG Capital Classic 2001
Toronto, Canada, 18-23 Nov, $50k

This tournament featured groundbreaking LIVE audio commentary, from Alan Thatcher and ...

[1] Sarah Fitz-Gerald (Aus) bt [2] Pamela Nimmo (Sco) 3/0  21m

[3] Peter Nicol (Eng) bt Stewart Boswell (Aus)
16-17, 15-11, 15-11, 15-13   97min

 LIVE audio commentary from Toronto ...

YMG Capital Classic 2001
1st Round -
18/19 Nov
Quarters -
20/21 Nov
Semis -
22 Nov 
Final - 23 Nov
[1] David Palmer (Aus)
15-9 15-11 15-5
Paul Johnson (Eng)
David Palmer

13-15 15-9 15-10 15-12

Lee Beachill
Lee Beachill

15-10 9-15 17-15 15-7

Stewart Boswell

Stewart Boswell


16-17 15-11
15-11 15-13


Peter Nicol

[6] Mark Chaloner (Eng)
12-15 15-4 15-9 15-3
Lee Beachill (Eng)
[4] David Evans (Wal)
15-10 15-7 15-8
Q] Stephen Meads (Eng)
David Evans

15-12 15-9 15-11

Stewart Boswell

[7] Martin Heath (Sco)
15-12 15-5 15-10
Stewart Boswell (Aus)
[8] Ong Beng Hee (Mas)
11-15 15-7 15-8 17-14
[Q] Rodney Durbach (Rsa)
Ong Beng Hee

15-9 15-9 9-15 15-10

Peter Nicol

Peter Nicol

17-15 9-15 6-15
15-7 15-13

Jonathon Power


[3] Peter Nicol (Eng)
17-16 15-7 9-15 15-13
[Q] Anthony Ricketts (Aus)
Graham Ryding (Can)
15-13 9-15 15-5 15-12
[5] Paul Price (Aus)
Paul Price

15-13 11-15 17-14
14-15 15-14

Jonathon Power

[Q] Shahier Razik (Can)
15-4 15-8 15-6
[2] Jonathon Power (Can)
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RESULTS & Reports

[3] Peter Nicol (Eng) bt Stewart Boswell (Aus)
16-17, 15-11, 15-11, 15-13   97min

Nicol Beats Boswell To Take Toronto Title
Peter Nicol of England used his experience to defeat rising star Stewart Boswell of Australia in the final of the $50,000 YMG Capital Squash Classic in Toronto

The London-based Scot-turned-Englishman dropped a close first game, then dominated the next three to overcome his plucky opponent from Canberra 16-17, 15-11, 15-11, 15-13 in 98 minutes in a fitting finale to the second YMG Classic at BCE Place. The 28-year-old world No2, who beat his great rival Jonathon Power in front of his home crowd in the semi-finals, is determined to reclaim the world No1 slot he lost to David Palmer in September - though the Australian, a surprise quarter-final loser in Toronto, is certain to retain his status in the next (December) list. The YMG success marks Nicol's seventh PSA Tour title triumph this year, and the 37th of his career.

The ever-improving Stewart Boswell did not sneak into the final through the back door: Unseeded, he not only defeated David Evans of Wales, the tournament's number four seed, but also knocked out Lee Beachill of England, who turned giant killer in the tournament by eliminating top seed David Palmer, the top player in the world. After his second major final this year, the 23-year-old is sure to improve on his current sixth-placed world ranking.


Stewart Boswell (AUS) bt Lee Beachill (ENG) 15-10, 9-15, 17-15, 15-7 (73m)
[3] Peter Nicol (ENG) bt [2] Jonathon Power (CAN) 17-15, 9-15, 6-15, 15-7, 15-13 (103m)

Nicol To Face Unseeded Boswell In YMG Final
Defending champion Jonathon Power was defeated by English arch-rival Peter
Nicol in the semi-finals - in five games that had a capacity, pro-Power, crowd on the edge of their seats for 103 minutes.

It was the 25th clash of their professional career, and no less exciting than the previous 24.  Power led 2-1 in games, then trailed 9-13 in the fifth game, with the partisan audience hoping that their hero might pull off another miracle finish as he did in his quarter-final clash with Paul Price of Australia - in which he rebounded from a four point deficit in the crucial fifth game.  In the dream semi-final against Nicol, Power ran out of rabbits to pull from a hat. 

The former Torontonian fought back from a 9-14 deficit, but fell one point shot of tying the match as world champion Nicol claimed his 17-15, 9-15, 6-15, 15-7, 15-13 victory to reverse the result of the 2000 YMG Classic final, and extend his head-to-head lead to 14-11.

Nicol's surprise final opponent is Australia's unseeded Stewart Boswell, who triumphed in the other semi-final when he beat fellow non-seed Lee Beachill 15-10, 9-15, 17-15, 15-7 in 73 minutes to reach his second major PSA Tour final this year.  Boswell, the 23-year-old world No6 from Canberra, last faced Nicol in the final of the Scottish Open in July - which he also reached unseeded!

Peter Nicol, the former Scot who 'defected' to England earlier this year, will be seeking his seventh PSA Tour title this year in Toronto - eager to erase the memory of his last loss in a final, to Power in the 2000 YMG Classic twelve months ago.

Grapevine from Toronto     Nicol v Power - full history 


Quarter-finals (2nd day):
[3] Peter Nicol (ENG) bt [8] Ong Beng Hee (MAS) 15-9 15-9 9-15 15-10 (63m)
[2] Jonathon Power (CAN) bt [5] Paul Price (AUS)   15-13 11-15 17-14 14-15 15-14 (87m)

Price Edged Out In Toronto Power Game
Canada's defending champion Jonathon Power thrilled local fans in his former hometown Toronto when he came back from the dead to win his quarter-final match against Australia's fifth seed Paul Price.

Twice Price pegged back the game advantage gained by the second seed, and then in the fifth and final game reached matchball at 14-10. The mercurial Power called upon all his reserves as he clinched five points in succession to pull off a sensational 87 minute victory. The world No3, now based in Montreal, will next play the semi-final match eagerly anticipated by squash fans the world over - against his long-time rival Peter Nicol.

England's former Scot Nicol, the third seed but now ranked ahead of Power at No2 in the world, overcame his London Connaught Club stable-mate - and room-mate in Toronto - Ong Beng Hee in the other quarter-final. The former world junior champion from Malaysia, who is still looking for his first victory over Nicol, claimed his first game against his mentor, but ultimately went down 15-9, 15-9, 9-15, 15-10 in 63 minutes.

The Nicol/Power clash in Toronto will be the pair's 25th - just over six years since the first in the Canadian Open in Burlington in October 1995, which was won by the Englishman. Power won their last meeting in Toronto, in the YMG final in December 2000, but Nicol leads the current 'head-to-head' standings 13-11.

Houdini Power escapes Price Stranglehold - Grapevine reports

Stewart Boswell (Aus) bt [4] David Evans (Wal)  15-12 15-9 15-11
Fourth seed David Evans crashed out to Stewart Boswell, who has overtaken Evans in the rankings, and was always ahead of the Welshman in this match.
"I played well," said Boswell. "I managed to get in front and keep David moving around. The court's a bit slow, so I was pleased that my short game was going well."

Lee Beachill (Eng) bt [1] David Palmer (Aus) 13-15 15-9 15-10 15-12
National champion Lee Beachill sensationally downed world #1 and top seed David Palmer in the second quarter-final.
Palmer won a close first game, and in the second Beachill was forced to take an injury 'time-out' after an accidental collision which gave Beachill a 'dead-leg'. Beachill returned full of determination, storming to winning leads in the second and third, then moving clear from 7-7 in the fourth.
In the British Open Beachill beat then world #1 Peter Nicol, then lost to Palmer, but today avenged that loss, beating another world number one into the bargain.
"I felt confident and played well," said Beachill, "but David didn't play to his best and didn't know what to do with me."

Grapevine from Toronto

First Round  
[1] David Palmer (Aus) bt Paul Johnson (Eng) 15-9, 15-11, 15-5
Lee Beachill (Eng) bt [6] Mark Chaloner (Eng) 12-15, 15-4, 15-9, 15-3
Stewart Boswell (Aus) bt [7] Martin Heath (Sco) 15-12, 15-5, 15-10
[4] David Evans (Wal) bt [Q] Stephen Meads (Eng) 15-10, 15-7, 15-8

[8] Ong Beng Hee (Mas) bt [Q] Rodney Durbach (Rsa)  11-15, 15-7, 15-8, 17-14
[3] Peter Nicol (Eng) bt [Q] Anthony Ricketts (Aus) 17-16, 15-7, 9-15, 15-13
[5] Paul Price (Aus) bt Graham Ryding (Can) 15-13, 9-15, 15-5, 15-12
[2] Jonathon Power (Can) bt [Q] Shahier Razik (Can) 15-4, 15-8, 15-6

Power in Control in Toronto while Nicol Tested
Canada's defending champion Jonathon Power, the second seed, cruised to a straight games victory in his first round match in his former hometown Toronto, while arch rival Peter Nicol, the third-seeded Englishman who is now ahead in the world rankings, struggled to a four-game win in his opening encounter.

In his first PSA Tour appearance in Toronto since moving to Montreal in the summer, Power crushed qualifier Shahier Razik, his team-mate in last month's World Team Championships in Melbourne, 15-4 15-8 15-6 - showing no signs of the injury which bedevilled his country's campaign in Australia. The title-holder now faces Australia's 5th seed Paul Price, who also eliminated a Canadian, Graham Ryding, 15-13, 9-15, 15-5, 15-12.

In their first meeting since December 1999, world champion Peter Nicol survived a close encounter with Australian qualifier Anthony Ricketts, ultimately winning 17-16, 15-7, 9-15, 15-13 to move into the last eight.

Nicol will face London Connaught Club stable-mate Ong Beng Hee in their third clash this year. The Malaysian eighth seed reversed an English National League result at the beginning of the year when he beat South African qualifier Rodney Durbach 11-15, 15-7, 15-8, 17-14.

Grapevine from Toronto

Beachill & Boswell in Contrasting YMG Classic Upsets
England's Lee Beachill and Australia's Stewart Boswell, both unseeded, pulled off contrasting upsets on the opening day's play.

Beachill, the British national champion from Pontefract in Yorkshire, faced England team-mate Mark Chaloner - recently installed as England No1 - in their first meeting since the 23-year-old upset the Lincolnshire lad en-route to his unexpected national title in February. In a remarkably similar scoreline, Beachill again came from a game down to dismiss the 6th seed 12-15, 15-4, 15-9, 15-3 to take his place in the Capital Classic quarter-finals, where he will take on top seed David Palmer, the Australian world No1 who defeated England's Paul Johnson 15-9, 15-11, 15-5 in 36 minutes.

Boswell's bonanza was less of a surprise, as the Australian is now ranked one place higher than his seventh-seeded Scottish opponent Martin Heath. The world No6 from Canberra cruised to a 15-12, 15-5, 15-10 over Heath - and will now face a further Briton David Evans, the fourth seed from Wales who beat English qualifier Stephen Meads 15-10, 15-7, 15-8.

Grapevine from Toronto


Final Qualifying:
Rodney Durbach (Rsa) bt Ian Power (Can) 15-12 15-11 13-15 15-3
Shahier Razik (Can) bt Wael El Hindi (Egy) 15-11 13-15 15-13 15-10
Stephen Meads (Eng) bt Doug Parent (Can) 15-6 15-10 15-5
Anthony Ricketts (Aus) bt Nick Matthew (Eng) 15-7 12-15 15-9 15-5

First round, Fri 16th: Rodney Durbach (Rsa) bye, Ian Power (Can) bt Jago Nardelli (Eng), Shahier Razik (Can) bt Rob Wilson (Can), Wael El Hindi (Egy) bt Jeffrey Osborne (Aus), Stephen Meads (Eng) bt Matt Guiffrey (Can), Doug Parent (Can) bt Matt Jenson (Aus), Nick Matthew (Eng) bt Shawn DeLierre (Can), Anthony Ricketts (Aus) bt David McNeely (Usa)

Power takes on the local youth


Palmer World No1 Ranking Assured In YMG Classic
Australia's David Palmer, top seed in the $50,000 YMG Capital Squash Classic which gets underway in Toronto tomorrow (Sunday 18 November), knows that even if he loses in the first round he cannot be dislodged from his world No1 ranking in the end-of-year list due to be published on 1st December.

The world's leading players are competing in Canada in the first major PSA Tour event since last month's Men's World Team Championships in Australia, where Palmer led the hosts to success for the first time in ten years.

The Belgian-based 25-year-old faces England's Paul Johnson in his opening first round match on Sunday, while arch-rival Peter Nicol, the world No2 from England, takes on a qualifier in his first round encounter on Monday. Despite inching closer to Palmer in the November world rankings, following his victory over the Australian in the final of the Qatar Classic in October, third seed Nicol cannot immediately reclaim the world No1 ranking he lost to Palmer even if he lifts the Toronto title.

Domestic interest in the YMG Capital Classic will be led by No2 seed Jonathon Power, the Toronto-based world No3 who thrilled local fans just under a year ago by winning the first YMG title. Power also faces a qualifier in the first round. He is drawn to meet Nicol in the last four, and expected to face Palmer in next Friday's (23 November) final at the BCE Place in Toronto.

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Alan Thatcher reports

26 Nov 2001

I am writing this at 37,000 feet and it's minus 63 degrees Fahrenheit outside the Air Canada 747 as we head out over Goose Bay towards the North Atlantic bound for London's Heathrow Airport. It's late at night and the cabin lights are dimmed as travellers try to catnap on the seven-hour flight. I can't sleep. All week we have been running on pure adrenalin as ambitious plans for the world's first live Internet broadcast of a major squash championship became a reality.

Producer Jean De Lierre deserves all the credit for masterminding the week's ground-breaking SquashLive.com production. As well as a technical crew to maintain the link to the outside world, sound levels had to be constantly monitored and additional helpers were brought in to keep the scores and supply an ongoing flow of match by match statistics. Our special thanks go to Julia Hamilton for scoring the matches, and she was such a trouper she came back to action despite feeling desperately ill one day. She also had to cope with the added stress of keeping her eye on the stars while Graham Ryding was making live on-air demands (of a statistical nature, I should add!) during the final between Peter Nicol and Stewart Boswell.

In the absence of a scoreboard in the BCE Place arena, two young helpers (Jean's son Jason and his pal Dane Sharp, both promising juniors) sat in front of the commentary position holding handmade scorecards to reduce the risk of a live, on-air mistake from me had a referee's score announcement been muffled by the crowd. It was that attention to detail, no matter how rudimentary its appearance, and the willingness of De Lierre's volunteer crew to stay focussed from the opening Sunday's first shot to the last ball of Friday night's final, that helped the production go so smoothly. And, while all of this was going on, De Lierre also had a camera team in place filming every match for his extensive squash video archive.

Sure, there were a few problems, but most of those were beyond our control. The audio link occasionally faded, and sometimes we received calls saying my co-commentator was not speaking loud enough. But generally the messages that flooded in from all over the world confirmed that the reception could be picked up loud and clear in every corner of the globe. The live broadcasts, with a star-studded cast of co-commentators, and immediate post-match interviews with many of the players, were certainly appreciated by squash fans starved of real-time media coverage until the recent live transmissions from the British Open and PSA Super series finals. Until the advent of the Internet, squash fans had to wait weeks or months to catch up with the latest news. Here, they could simply tune in and listen as they went about their daily or nightly chores. Some people, we know, stayed logged on for five or six hours, capturing the whole sessions' play and post-match comments.

We had messages from some unlikely squash outposts, including China, Korea, Colombia and Hungary. We know that the players themselves helped to spread the word by calling home to tell their friends and families to listen in, no matter what hour of day or night it was! Because of the timing of the tournament, we knew that our biggest audience was likely to be in North America, and that's exactly as it transpired. It was afternoon time in Australia, so many people were able to tune in to the broadcasts while going about their day's work. I sincerely hope nobody got fired for logging on in company time!

It was early morning in Europe and my grateful thanks go to SquashPlayer webmaster Steve Cubbins for staying up through the night to oversee the live scoreboard (updated point for point via the commentary) and also for monitoring the sound quality. He was frequently sending email messages to Chris Hollow, our technical director, and his pal John, saying "Alan's coming through loud and clear, but tell Mike Way (or whoever) to speak up a bit."

Mike's coaching programme is clearly breeding a wave of exciting young Canadians, and many of the youngsters were employed on a daily basis as the keenest court-cleaning crew I have ever seen. It may have been child labour, but they got to see the world's top stars for nothing, they all got a T-shirt, and many of them got a chance to have a hit with the players on the Perspex court after most of the matches!

So thanks to Jean for having the courage to invest a large sum of non-recoverable funding into the project, and thanks again to all those players, coaches and celebrities who joined me in the back row of the bleachers for commentaries and interviews. They included (ladies first) Sarah Fitz-Gerald, Pam Nimmo, David Palmer, Peter Nicol, Jonathon Power, Stewart Boswell, Rodney Durbach, Paul Price, Lee Beachill, Mike Way, Steve Hall (Dunlop USA), Dean Brown (the Cambridge Club pro), Jason Matthision (Jonathon Power's manager), and promoter John Nimick, who masterminded a great show.

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