David Palmer, the defending champion, reached another Legends of Squash final at the Bermuda Squash Racquets Association when he came from behind to beat Nick Taylor and set up a meeting with Peter Nicol tomorrow night.
Taylor was halfway to an upset when he won a first game tie-break 15-13 in the final round robin match in the Randall & Quilter group. However, Palmer came back strongly to win the next two games 11-8, 11-9 as Taylor put up a huge effort in the 40-minute match, blowing a chance to tie it up at 9-9 in the third game as Palmer moved to match point.
Palmer goes into the final with a 3-0 record and will meet the left-handed Nicol, of Scotland, who also won all three of his matches in the Sompo International group.
“All credit to him, I knew he was going to be tough, he’s in great shape,” Palmer said of his opponent. “He hit some amazing shots out of the back corner. The better shot I hit the better he hit it back, and ironically the last shot shot I hit was down the middle and he hit it out. It was a fun match and I’m happy to get through again.”
Taylor praised his opponent for a good win: “I kept saying to myself ‘hang in there’ but Dave is so strong in the middle of the court,” Taylor said. “He plays that nagging length where the ball is always going away from you.”
The final match of the night saw Nicol get by John White 11-7, 12-10 to make it three straight wins in his group. “I’m really looking forward to playing David tomorrow, it should be something special, we haven’t played in a long time.” Nicol said.
“Just to be back on court again with these guys is special. We’ve done it for 25 years so I had a smile on my face the whole match even though it was painful at times.”
White said: “It’s always great to come to Bermuda, the crowd’s great, the refereeing’s crap,” he joked to the crowd in his post-match interview. “When you come to events like this you get to know the locals and it’s a pleasure to come back. Hopefully we can keep coming back and doing the best we can.”
Bermuda’s Micah Franklin picked up his second win of the week and will now play White in the third place playoff match this evening. Franklin got by Joe Kneipp who retired after pulling a muscle in his back with the score tie at 1-1 in the third game. Franklin won the first game 11-6 before Kneipp, a late fill-in, won the second game 11-9.
“I went for a lunge and felt my back go out,” Kneipp said. “I’ve done it numerous times and knew the second it happened that I was done.”
Kneipp went off for some treatment before coming back a few minutes later and conceding the match.
“It is something that will take at least a week, maybe two, and when I cool down I’ll be walking like I’m 106 [years old]! It’s going to be very bad.”
Kneipp, who manages a squash club in Tortola, British Virgin Islands, got a call from Patrick Foster just a couple of weeks ago to come and fill in following a withdrawal. “I didn’t think I was goint to be playing so I wasn’t prepared,” he said. “I love coming here, but I’m not as fit as these guys. I’m not playing much, managing the club and coaching.”
Franklin was disappointed to see the match end just as it was shaping up for an exciting third game. “Unfortunately when you watch these squash matches and guys are pushing their bodies to the limit you always think something can happen,” the 24-year-old from Spanish Point said.
“These things happen, but he’ll rest and come back. I was really looking forward to a third game, he’s a great competitor and I was enjoying it out there. It was only 1-1 in the third when we stopped but it would have been nice to keep going.”
In the opening match Jonathon Power beat Simon Parke 11-8, 11-7.