Nicol, Michelle win gold
Thursday, September 17, 1998

THURS: The melody from the bagpipe just before the men's singles final set the stage for Scotland's Peter Nicol to clinch the gold medal in a nail-biting clash against Canada's Jonathan Power at the National Squash Centre yesterday.

And what a final it was as both played brilliant squash and made the match a fitting finale for the capacity crowd.

Both players tried to outwit each other for 80 minutes before Power surrendered the gold to the world No 1 with a 3-9, 9-2, 9-1, 2-9, 9-2 score.

The victory not only made amends for Nicol's six consecutive losses to Power, but also gave Scotland their first gold of the Games.

Yesterday, Power again demonstrated his racquet skills to perfection and his court antics often brought cheers from the crowd.

But it didn't help his cause.

The Canadian was in control in the first game and his deft dropshots and deceptive flicks caught Nicol on the wrong foot several times.

Nicol, 25, hung on in the second and some questionable let calls by referee Peter Lawrence rattled Power, who lost 9-2.

Power then lost concentration and oten disputed the referee's decisions. Nicol took the third easily at 9-1.

Once, Power even complained to the referee that Nicol pushed him, which was overruled.

"You mean there is a light push and a medium one in squash?" asked a bemused Power, which drew laughter from the crowd.

But the Toronto-born Power got back his deft touches and humour in the fourth, which he won comfortably.

Both were evenly matched in the fifth but Power's failure to finish off the task at hand made him lose the match.

"I am very happy, not only in beating Power for the first time after six losses but winning the first gold medal here for Scotland," Nicol said.

"This win is as important as my British Open win. I'm looking forward to the World Open in December to complete my target this year."

Asked about Power's court antics, Nicol said he was always been like that in almost every matches.

"It was slightly a bit too mouch today as his racquet almost hit my head.

"Sometimes disputes against the referee helps him but I didn't think it helped him today," added Nicol.

Power said he played very well and was unfortunate not to win.

"There were some bad calls and I missed a few points which should have been awarded but it does not really matter now," he said.

In the women's final, in-form second seed Michelle Martin demolished top seeded compatriot Sarah Fitz-Gerald 9-0, 9-6, 9-5 to win the gold.

Sarah was simply trying too hard to beat Michelle, who had won four out of five meetings this year, the last being at the Singapore Open final three weeks ago.

But Michelle stood like a rock and the gold medal has made her the most complete woman squash player of all time, after having won the world championships three times and British Open six times.

"I've won the world title and British Open but this win rates higher than all of them as this is the first time squash is in the Commonwealth Games," said Michelle.

"Sarah is a tough competitor and there was no certainty of the gold until I clinched the final point.

"I know Sarah is very disappointed, particularly as it was against me. But I'm sure she will bounce back in the doubles."


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