Lincou vs Matthew:
It took 39 minutes for Lincou to regain some of his pride in defeating England's world number 10 Matthew.
Since he became world number one at the start of the year, the French champion has had some miserable results and his reign at the top of the rankings was brief - within a month he had dropped to number two behind John White. Lincou was in danger of becoming a flash-in-the-pan Number One and although this tournament will do nothing for his ranking, he could regain some of his pride.
Lincou was slow to start while Matthew was quickly into his all-court game, playing with great confidence choosing his shots well. With the scoring system being used slow starting is not a good option. This was attacking squash and the two players established a precedent - the game would be won at the front of the court rather than the back corners. Matthew was showing confidence on the backhand side and his drops were either too good or too tight, putting Lincou under pressure for the entire game. Matthew took a 3-1 lead, Lincou pulled up to lead briefly 4-3, but then Matthew's speed and accuracy forced errors from Lincou and Matthew had the game 9-6 in just seven minutes.
This was entertaining squash with left wall duels rarely longer than four strokes before one of the players boasted or played a low volley drop. They were level at 5-5 but Lincou crashed another backhand cross court past Matthew to take the lead. He did it again to end the next rally and won the next point with a stroke to put him at game ball 8-5. Matthew fought back with a beautiful long drop shot to get his sixth point but by now Lincou was in overdrive and he finished the game with a marvelous overhead cross court into the nick to win 9-6.
Nicol vs Ong Beng Hee:
Peter Nicol keeps getting meaner with his shots; tight as paint, lower than the floor, cleverer than six foxes. You had to feel sorry for Ong Beng Hee who played quite well, but Nicol recovered from impossible situations to not only get to the ball but play a totally offensive shot. Nicol, still suffering from the virus that affected him so badly in the English Open last August, and which has affected so many of his results, will soon be off to the Himalayas to do some climbing. This is not the Nicol of two years ago who could play a three minute rally and come up smiling. Now a rally of forty shots leaves him looking as though he'd rather stayed at home. But no matter how tired, he pushes himself to one more shot, and another shot, and yet another until I'm sure Beng Hee wished he'd left for the mountains yesterday. He got a game but Nicol is just on another plateau and he won 3/1 in 42 hard minutes.
Beng Hee is still a little lost; he leaves the Harvey stable next week to move to Northern England where he will train with the Yorkshire camp: Willstrop, Beachill and Adrian Grant. He was going to the Aussie base in Reading but with Anthony Ricketts back in Australia having knee surgery, Beng Hee had to change plans. He is desperately looking for a new start in new surroundings to resurrect his career.
Thierry Lincou (Fra) bt Nick Matthew (Eng) 6-9,9-5,9-6, 9-4 (39mins)
Peter Nicol (Eng) bt Ong Beng Hee (Mas) 9-4, 9-7, 5-9, 9-7 (42 mins)
All recorded from rear of the court in high fidelity; no narration but with voice of referee. The DvD in NTSC version will play on USA, far East and multi-function; multi-region players (including computers); if in Europe must request PAL format IF you DO NOT have above listed devices. (Allow one week extra for PAL).