Power Surge in Aberdeen
By ALISTAIR GORRIE
In a repeat of last week’s St George’s Hill final against David Palmer, Canadian maestro Jonathon Power reversed last week’s result and got the defence of his Aberdeen title off to a flyer.
Third on court tonight, playing in front of a raucous Aberdeen crowd, Power and Palmer put on display of squash worthy of any final. The now leaner looking Canadian has a formidable record in Aberdeen, unbeaten in fact following British Open ‘99 and Legends ’11 success, brought to the court his full artillery.
A quick start from Power saw him race to 4-1 and 7-4 leads. The rallies were fast-paced, constructive and most of all entertaining. Palmer worked hard and a combination of winning lengths and trademark volley drops saw him level up at 8-8. Power’s wand soon came back to life though and a winner in the front left corner that was so fast and complex that I can’t even begin to describe it, pulled him two clear at 10-8.
An outrageous volley nick from Palmer took him within one point, however a precision forehand straight drop from mid-court from his opponent and it was first blood to the Canadian.
Game two formed a similar pattern but it was Palmer in the ascendancy this time as he drew clear from 2-2 to 6-2. A string of points however from Power saw him leap to an 8-6 lead, with the squash on display of the absolute highest standard. The referee was being called into action a lot more at this point, but in fairness to both players all was well above bored and despite some involvement from the crowd, few could argue with the decisions being made. Palmer leveled to 8-8 and then grabbed a game ball at 10/9. Power hit one of the most sensational winners I’ve ever, an overhead behind the back backhand straight volley rolling drop. Sensational. It spurred him on to a few more inspirational rallies and the magician closed the match out 13-11 to end The Marine’s 100% legends record.
Early in the evening the crowd welcomed first of all to the court Welshman Dave Evans and local hero Peter Nicol. Nicol endured a tough Aberdeen Legends debut last year finishing the tournament without a win, tough for any local to take but especially one with Nicol’s pride. Things started badly too as Evans imposed himself around the court to open a one-game lead courtesy of some beautiful squash.
Whether it was the work Evans had put into winning the first game or Nicol loosening off, or perhaps a combination of the two, The Boss took control of the T, turned retrieving into attacking and 15 minutes late the match was his much to the delight (and relief) of the home crowd.
The match that followed saw adopted Scotsman John White put on a real show against last year’s runner-up Derek Ryan. The Aberdeen crowd had gone eight years without seeing White in action and based on the performance tonight they will be making the most of every minute he spends on court this weekend. It was, however, Ryan who started the brighter of the two, racing to a 5-1 lead.
White soon turned on the magic though and a serious of well directed slashes of the racket saw him surge ahead and eventually take the game 15-13. Despite all his efforts and fight Ryan simply could not stem the slow of winners coming from the racket of White and an 11/9 scoreline saw White close out the match 2-0.
Final match of the evening saw adopted local lad Simon Parke take on Aberdeen regular Tim Garner. Parke came out the blocks the faster of the two and despite some resistance from his opponent he took the game 11-3 in quick time. A complete reversal saw Garner dominate proceedings and again in quick time the game was over 11-3 and we were tied at 1-1. A joint push from himself and his Aberdeen crowd saw Parke start the deciding game in better fashion. Now constructing the rallies with more purpose the Yorkshire player built and maintained a three-point gap to close out the match 2-1.
A thoroughly enjoyable start to the event. All eight players showcased some hugely impressive and entertaining squash and the Aberdeen crowd will come back in their masses tomorrow eagerly anticipating more of the same.
Peter Nicol bt Dave Evans 2-1 (7-11, 11-7, 11-5)
John White bt Derek Ryan 2-0 (15-13, 11-9)
Jonathon Power bt David Palmer 2-0 (11-9, 13-11)
Simon Parke bt Tim Garner 2-1 (11-3, 3-11, 11-7)