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Nicol claims maiden title in legendary final

Home favourite: Franklin took a set off of White, but narrowly missed out on third place while Nicol, below, celebrated his first Legends of Squash crown (Photograph by Akil Simmons)

Third time proved to be a charm for Peter Nicol, who captured a maiden Legends of Squash title after dethroning champion David Palmer 14-12, 7-11, 14-12 in an epic final pitting two former world champions against each other.

The Scotsman recovered from a late wobble in the opening game to take early control of the match.

But Australian Palmer came roaring back in the second game, jumping out to a five-point advantage and then withstanding Nicol’s late rally to send the match to a third and deciding game.

With the title hanging in the balance, the two rivals continued to produce some of the most stunning squash witnessed at the Bermuda Squash Racquets Association, in Devonshire.

The final game featured nine lead changes as Nicol and Palmer gave it everything they had on court during a series of rallies that seemed to go on for ever as the pair brought the crowd to its feet on several occasions after producing some amazing winners.

Both players squandered opportunities to seal this absorbing thriller on match ball before the left-handed Nicol reeled off back-to-back winners; surging ahead 13-12 with a drop volley and then finishing Palmer off with a backhand volley.

“It was a classic Palmer versus Nicol final,” Nicol, who went undefeated to the title, said. “He was controlling and volleying hard and I was running around and it just reminded me of all the great matches we’ve had before. It could have gone either way.”

The loss was Palmer’s first of the tournament.

“I gave everything I had tonight and I couldn’t come much close,” he said. “I think I had one match point but it just didn’t go my way.

“He was fighting really well. He was moving very well and I threw everything at him and he got it back.”

In the preceding third/fourth place play-off, John White beat Bermuda national champion Micah Franklin 11-9, 10-12, 11-7, while Jonathon Power and Simon Parke beat Nick Taylor and BSRA director of squash Patrick Foster 15-11 in an exhibition doubles contest.