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Wednesday, 31 July, 2002, 20:29 GMT 21:29 UK

Power ends Nicol hopes

Jonathon Power again proved to be Peter Nicol's Achilles heel as the Canadian avenged his Commonwealth Games defeat of four years ago in Kuala Lumpur.

The 28-year-old's 9-4 4-9 9-0 9-0 win was his fourth tournament victory in a row over the world number one.

It could signal a change in the balance of power at the top of the men's game.

But world number two Power said: "It has gone back and forth between us over the last four or five years and I am just going through a good patch at the moment.

"Our rivalry is an inspiration for me to keep getting better."

"I am sure here will be a few people in Scotland who will be glad I did not win gold"
Peter Nicol

Power was delighted to at last win Commonwealth Games gold.

"I'm pretty psyched about it as it is up there with the best things I have won," he said.

Nicol had gone into the game with a 15-14 career record against Power, including that titanic tussle in Malaysia.

He also had the advantage of a partisan capacity crowd hoping he could do for England what he had done for Scotland before his change in allegiance last year.

"I am sure there will be a few people in Scotland who will be glad I did not win gold," said Nicol.

"I'm very disappointed, but he played better than I did.

"I began to feel tired in the third and make mistakes."

Nicol made his now customary slow start as Power built up an 8-2 lead.

Against lesser opponents in Manchester, Nicol had recovered without the loss of a game.

Power is a different proposition and wrapped up the game 9-4 despite a brief Nicol fightback.

The Canadian was commanding the centre of the court with his renowned classy stroke play.

Nicol was being worked all over the court, but his powers of retrieval brought him back into the game as he took an early lead in the second.

There was none of the barging from Power that made their previous Games meeting so contgroversial.

Power did have one dramatic tumble that led to a three-minute injury break, but it failed to break Nicol's concentration as he matched the scoreline of the first game in his favour.

It looked like the 1700-strong crowd were in for a long night.

But Power lived up to his name from that point on, the accuracy and control of his game taking its toll on his scampering opponent.

The third game quickly went the world number two's way 9-3.

And, with Nicol tiring, the Canadian swiftly killed the match off without reply in the final game.


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