25, 2002 by Martin Bronstein © 2002 SquashTalk, photo: © 2002
Fritz Brochert, may not be reproduced without express permission.
DOES IT AGAIN
Sunday in Manchester Lee Beachill scored a double double; the
first Brit to win the national title two years in a row and also
his second victory over Peter Nicol.
Now I know that I forecast
Nicol to win but I also said the at Beachill was the one player
who had proved he has the skill, the strategy and the fitness
to beat the world number one.
Although I did not see his
second victory, I was at the British open when Beachill beat Nicol
so comprehensively, so decisively and with such authority that
I could not quite believe my eyes. Beachill demonstrated then
that the age of the English hacker was dead: he beat Nicol with
a combination of defence and attack that was as solid as steel.
Yes, he used the oldest and perhaps the first rule of squash:
keep your opponents in the back corner. But that is all a hacker
can do while Beachill has the armoury to finish the rally with
a winner after he has forced his opponent onto his back foot.
Nicol has tremendous court coverage, but even he found no answer
to the Beachill strategy and when Beachill put in the winner,
it stayed put. Beachill did the same thing in Manchester to demonstrate
that last years victory was no fluke.
Nicol said that he was not
happy with his movement, referring perhaps to the ankle he jammed
in the semi-final of the Tournament of Champions, which may have
hampered his performance in the final. I would subscribe to a
psychological cause: Nicol knew that Beachill was not cowed by
the prospect of playing the world champion. Nicol knew that Beachill
had beaten him and beaten him well before.
And with those thoughts nagging
at the back of his mind, he could not summon up the confidence
and belief that is such an important part of his game.
Beachill is making rapid strides
into the upper echelons of squash, his progress halted occasionally
by ill health. On two occasions, a virus has laid him low, suggesting
that he needs a specialist to give him the right treatment and
the all-clear to train at full tilt. Three weeks ago in New York
he kept Jonathon Power on court for one hour and 50 minutes before
losing 3/2. Power went on to beat Nicol 3/0 in the final, an indication
of just how well the Canadian was playing. With this Nationals
result over Nicol, Beachill must now become a front runner together
with Stu Boswell and Ong Beng Hee for a world championship title
within three years. Certainly he will be feared in the British
Open in April.
CORBY IN CONTROL - PLAYERS
Ah! yes the British Open.
England Squash is in disarray after the mass resignation of the
board of directors. Sport England ( a government agency that hands
out money) sent in an expert to sort them out when the Fablon
deal fell apart leaving England Squash $150,000 out of pocket.
The expert said the organisation was an absolute mess and no further
cash would be granted unless the board resigned and a whole new
management structure was put in place.
Meanwhile the British Open,
now in the hands of club owner Mike Corby, will go ahead with
very little input from England Squash who own the rights to the
Wimbledon of Squash.
\Corby, using his position
and considerable financial resources, is making every one dance
to his tune. He is still refusing to register both the mens and
womens tournament with the PSA and WISPA which will rob them
of world ranking points. Both organisations are duty bounds to
advise their players from participating on the grounds that they
are not protected by the rules that govern a registered tournament.
Peter Nicol is ignoring the advice and says he will play because
he wants the title. According to my sources in Manchester, almost
every man and woman up there said they will play in the British
Open, regardless of low prize money and nil ranking points.
So Corby wins this battle,
but will he win the war? Will this bullying tactic buy him friends
in the WSF when it comes to voting for the next president of the
WSF? And how will the players thumbing of noses at the PSA affect
Gawain Briars position after the debacles of Melbourne, the World
Open contract and the Fablon deal?
CASSIE DOES IT, BUT NOT
It may be carping to criticise
Cassie Campion who won the national title without dropping a game,
but this former world champion still exhibits signs of mental
frailty that, against stronger opposition, will cause her to lose.
But one seasoned observer said that the standard of squash in
the womens tournament was dire.
Campion really should have
won without ever being challenged in a game but in at least two
matches she lost concentration badly and gave away points at no
cost to her opponents health.
She confessed to being nervous;
surely those days should be behind her? With the news that Sarah
Fitz-Gerald is withdrawing from some tournaments, and with Leleini
Joyce already sidelined, Campion has the opportunity to add a
few WISPA titles to her national title.
Maybe I am being a little
harsh it was only last year she had back surgery and perhaps
it takes time to regain full confidence in her body. But time
is running out; it would be wonderful to see her regain that form
that took her to two magnificent wins over Michelle Martin and
the world title. And even better if she can deliver a real challenge
to Sarah Fitz-Gerald.