ISPO Grand Masters Legends – Israel Squash Players Organisation is hosting its 2nd Grand Masters weekend and have included a Legends of Squash event to run alongside.
The veteran Legends attending are John White and Peter Nicol, with Frenchman Thierry Lincou making his debut on the circuit after announcing his retirement from the PSA tour at the end of last year.
In the opening match, Thierry Lincou played John White in front of 300 squash fans in the Raanana Squash Club. With Lincou preparing for the World Teams in France at the start of next month, his conditioning and slight age advantage meant he was a likely winner, however, you can never write off the charismatic and exciting Scot.
A thrilled audience saw 5 games of the highest quality with both players throwing themselves around the court – White a little more, including a few spectacular dives! After just over an hour of squash Lincou won the deciding game 11-9 to win his first ever Legends match.
Score: Thierry Lincou bt John White 11-9, 7-11, 9-11, 11-5, 11-9
He said immediately after, “I’ve missed playing John. His style is unique and challenging but also makes for an enjoyable game. I’m delighted to win my first match on the tour and look forward to a day off before playing Peter on Sunday.”
A tired White explained where he lost the match, “After the 4th game I offered Thierry a sudden death one point takes all 5th game – he refused and after taking a good lead of 5-2, I ran out of energy”.
The second match of the Legends event is tomorrow when Nicol plays against White in what is a must win encounter for the Scot.
Alongside the Legends event an tournament is being played by the best players in Israel. The ISPO Grand Masters Weekend is a season ending tournament where the top 8 players in 3 categories (Elite, Level A, and Level B) compete for the title of ISPO 2013 Champions in each Category and total prize money worth 10,800 NIS.
Peter Nicol bt John White 11-9, 8-11, 8-11, 11-6, 15-13
In the second match of the ISPO Grand Masters Legends event in Raanana this afternoon, Peter Nicol came back from 2-1 down to win which eliminated John White from the event. In front of another full house, the two former Scottish compatriots fought out a fast paced and frenetic match. White started the slower, looking a little jaded from his tough 5 setter with Thierry Lincou yesterday, losing the first game 11-9.
However, White came out at the start of the second game hitting the ball harder and pushing Nicol continuously around the court to level the match up after two games. Then, in the middle of the 3rd game, Nicol rolled his ankle by accidentally stepping on Whites foot. After a short break the match resumed but Nicol failed to win another point and was very quickly 2-1 down.
White seemed to ease off in the 4th game as Nicol struggled to move around the court due to his ankle, hitting 8 errors on his way to losing the game 11-6.
The 5th game went all the way, both players hitting a stream of winners and mistakes until Nicol finally managed two winners in succession to take the match 15-13.
Nicol said afterwards, “When I rolled my ankle I was worried my whole tournament was over but thanks to some help court side I was able to get back on court and compete. My movement was not particularly good but John took his foot off the gas and once that happened, he then really struggled to get going again. I was very lucky to not injure my ankle badly and hope to be fit and healthy for tomorrows final match with Thierry”.
A tired White said, “The first 3 games went as normal, both of us playing a fast paced match that created some exciting squash. When Peter went over his ankle, we came back on and I won fairly comfortably. Starting the next game I switched off and although I managed to get going again in the 5th, it ended up being a shoot out that I lost!”
The final match between Thierry Lincou and Peter Nicol of the inaugural ISPO Grand Masters Legends is scheduled for 6pm local time. It will be the first time these two players have been on court since the quarter final of the World Open in 2006, Nicol’s last match on the PSA Tour – Lincou won 3-1.