David Palmer, the third best player in the world at the moment, last night won a dramatic victory for Churchill Edgbaston Priory in the opening round of the new Premier Squash League.
Palmer's victory over Nick Matthew, the world No 9, gave Priory a 3-2 win over Benz-Bavarian Duffield in the inaugural match of the latest incarnation of the national squash league.
Palmer's was a timely triumph with the match poised at two rubbers apiece.
Only briefly, in the third game, did Palmer look like being troubled by Matthew, who was guilty of too many unforced errors to really threaten his higher-ranked rival.
Having claimed the opening two sets 9-5 and 9-6 [won on a stroke penalty], Palmer's Australian confidence deserted him and he lost 9-1 in the third.
The confidence - some call it Aussie arrogance - returned when he played an audacious shot between his legs in the fourth before, from 2-5 down, winning the next six points with brilliant shots to the angles to win 9-6.
His lapse in the third game was not the only scare of the night.
It is sometimes difficult to determine to where Adrian Grant's mind wanders during a match.
Priory's world No 14 started imperiously in his match against Joey Kemp - a former Priory player. Grant raced to an 8-3 lead in the opening rubber when, in the time it takes a ball to travel from the front to back wall, his concentration absconded allowing Kemp to pull back to 8-7.
Grant regained his senses in time to finish the first game with a superlative over-head drop shot.
Some players bludgeon their opponents into submission; Grant beguiled Kemp with his array of shots, winning the rubber 9-7, 9-3, 9-5 in just 28 minutes.
Peter Barker, the world No 23, proved too strong for his Duffield rival Laurence Delasaux, the flamboyantlymonickered England No 29.
Barker, who has won six Professional Squash Association titles since joining the world tour three years ago, was slow to get into his rhythm but eventually closed out the opening game 9-5 in 15 minutes with a deft drop shot.
Into his stride and having gained the ascendancy, he needed just five minutes to wrap up the second, his disguised shots in the front court just too clever for Delasaux.
Had it not been for the fierce resistance of Delasaux in the third game, Barker's 9-5, 9-3, 10-8 victory would have come much quicker than 35 minutes.
World No 33 and England No 10, Becky Botwright, younger sister of Vicky who is playing in Japan, put up a staunch fight for 62 minutes before succumbing 9-4, 5-9, 8-10, 9-6, 6-9 to Laura Hill the feisty England No 13.
Adam Stevenson, drafted in late yesterday in place of Hadrian Stiff, who pulled a muscle trying to ease stiff legs - no pun intended - lost 9-6, 9-7, 9-2 against the vastly more experienced Paul Hargrave.