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Commonwealth Games 2002
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Squash Sunday, 28 July, 2002, 20:46 GMT 21:46 UK
Heath first seed out
Peter Nicol beat Anthony Ricketts to make the quarter-finals
Nicol saw off Ricketts to reach the quarter-finals

Scotland's squash pride took another battering as Martin Heath suffered the first upset of the Commonwealth Games - at the hands of an Englishman.

Heath had gone into the tournament with a dream of stopping world No.1 and former Scottish team-mate Peter Nicol retaining his title, this time in the colours of the Auld Enemy.

But the former world No.4, currently ranked No.9 and seeded seven, was knocked out in the third-round by veteran Chris Walker on Sunday.

A nervous-looking Heath was behind in every one of the five games.

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I would be disappointed not to come away with a bronze medal at least
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Chris Walker
But his resolve finally disappeared in the decider as Walker swept to a 3-9 9-6 7-9 9-7 9-1 victory.

It is Walker, also a former world No.4 but now ranked three places behind Heath, who now has the chance to do battle with Nicol should they both progress to the semi-final.

And Walker believes he has what it takes to defeat the man who defected to England over a funding row, with a little help from Nicol himself.

"The team spirit is great and everyone has welcomed him into the team," he said.

"His input into the team is priceless, but I still want to beat him and would be disappointed not to come away with a bronze medal at least."

Walker feels a special motivation playing for his country in front of his home fans in the Commonwealth Games.

"It is the pinnacle of events for squash and I know it could be my last time," he said.

Heath did not feel weighed down by having been handed the burden of Scottish expectation once shouldered by Nicol.

"I did not feel any pressure as in squash it is just you against another guy," he insisted.

Heath put his defeat down to a couple of umpiring calls that went against him in the second and fourth games - and a recent two-month lay-off with a niggling injury.

"I was a bit mentally shattered going into that last game, but he played well on the big points," he conceded.

Nicol had watched the start of the match before quickly disposing of Australian Anthony Ricketts by 9-5 9-0 10-8 to march into the quarter finals.

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I had to change my shirt as the Australian was in white
end quote
Peter Nicol

The world No.1 insisted that it did not feel strange urging on an Englishman against a former team-mate representing his homeland.

"I have been in England for 12 years and most of my education and coaching has been here," he said.

"Chris is also a good friend and we room together on tour."

Nicol also dismissed suggestions that his navy blue shirt was a nod towards his former allegience.

"I had to change my shirt as the Australian was in white," he said. "But it still has the English rose on it."

Nicol admitted to being a bit nervous at first against Ricketts but was delighted with the response of the English crowd.

"It was fantastic, the biggest crowd I have played in front of here since the British Open in 1998," he said.

Nicol's quarter-final opponent will be Canada's Graham Ryding, who caused another upset by ousting sixth seed Beng Hee Ong of Malaysia 3-9 9-4 9-2 9-0.

Fifth seed Mark Chaloner also fell, the Englishman being muscled out the tournament by big, strong Australian Paul Price, the No.12 seed, 9-7 9-6 9-4.

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See also:

27 Jul 02 | Squash
25 Jul 02 | Squash
24 Jul 02 | Squash
20 Jun 02 | Squash
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