Published: 01/12/2017 10:00 - Updated: 30/11/2017 22:53

Inverness squash star Alan Clyne fancies his and Greg Lobban's chances of Commonwealth Games success

Written byJamie Durent

Greg Lobban and Alan Clyne had their Commonwealth Games selections confirmed this week.
Alan Clyne and Greg Lobban have been representing Scotland at the World Team Championships in France this week.

 

ALAN Clyne reckons he and Greg Lobban have a fighting chance of success at next year’s Commonwealth Games.

The Inverness squash duo will team up in the men’s doubles at the April Games, as well as looking to forge their own paths in the singles.

However, given the form they have shown as a pair, there is no reason why they could not emerge as serious medal contenders.

It has been an impressive year on an individual level for Clyne, who won his seventh Scottish national title and has seen his world ranking climb to a career-high 24.

He also finished runner-up alongside Lobban in the World Doubles Championships in August, a year after they won the title in Australia.

The two Black Isle players will renew partnerships again in April, as they spearhead Scotland’s squash squad at the 2018 Commonwealth Games in the Gold Coast.

Both will compete in the men’s singles alongside the doubles, with Clyne heading into his third Games. He missed out on bronze in the men’s doubles semi-finals in Glasgow and forecasts better chances for him and Lobban this time around.

“It’s been in the back of my mind for a while because it’s the big one,” said Clyne. “We only started playing doubles together a couple of years ago and won the World Doubles in our first tournament.

“We work really well as a pair and although we both rate our chances in the singles draw, the doubles is especially looking good.”

That singles ranking could be boosted further by the World Squash Championships in Manchester, which takes place between December 9-17.

Clyne and Lobban will team up for Scotland at the World Team Championships later this month.
Clyne and Lobban will team up for Scotland at the Commonwealth Games in April later this month.

 

“I’ve been battling around a similar ranking for a while and moved up to 24 this month,” added the former Fortrose Academy pupil. “Getting into the top 24 is a big marker to get into the World Series events. I’ve now got to try back up those previous results.

“Getting into the top 20 has been a goal of mine for a while and I’m only four spots away. But sometimes it can take a good few wins to get there, because there’s a lot of quality players out there.”

He was also full of praise for Lobban, who made his comeback earlier this year from six months out following hamstring surgery.

Lobban, from North Kessock, won three titles over the summer – two in New Zealand – and is only four spots behind his career-high ranking of 36.

“He’s done amazing and seems even stronger than he was before the injury,” said Clyne. “He’s been getting some great results and I think he’s due to go higher (in the rankings) than he was before.

“Luckily I’ve never had any injuries that have kept me out for that period of time, so I don’t know what it’s like. But seeing the rehab he’s done and the work he put in, it must have been tough. But he’s getting the rewards now.”

The pair have been on Scotland duty this week at the World Team Championships in Marseille.

Scotland came through Group G in second place behind winners Germany, with a win over bottom-placed Jamaica enough to seal their progress to last night’s last-16 contest.

Greg Lobban and Alan Clyne in action in Saturday's World Doubles final against Ryan Cuskelly and Cam Pi
Greg Lobban and Alan Clyne were World Doubles champions in 2016.

 

A win over Malaysia last night in a dramatic game earned them a place in the quarters against tournament-favourites Egypt today. 

Lobban opened with a win against Eain Yon Ng, before Clyne was taken down in a see-saw five-setter with Nafiizwan Adnan. It was down to Kempsell to see off Mohd Syafiq Kamal, winning 3-2 in just over am hour to book a spot in the last eight. 

“I played their number two in Qatar and played a tournament in Malaysia recently and trained with them, so I know them quite well,” said Clyne. “It had that big-game feel.”

In their first group game on Tuesday, Scotland were beaten 2-1 by Germany, with Clyne losing the first rubber 3-0 (11-7, 11-7, 11-9) against Simon Rosner. Rudi Rohrmuller won a 73-minute epic with Kempsell, besting him over five games, before Lobban secured the country’s first win, beating Raphael Kandra 3-2 (9-11, 11-3, 12-10, 10-12, 11-8) in just under an hour.

Wednesday was much more smooth sailing for Scotland against the Jamaicans, as they won all three ties to progress to the round of 16.

Munlochy’s Clyne was first up against Christopher Binnie, taking just 27 minutes to win 11-7, 11-1, 11-6. Lobban only took 10 minutes longer to dispose of Lewis Walters 3-0 (11-9, 14-12, 11-6) and Kevin Moran finished the job, cleaning up Bruce Borrowes in just 22 minutes.

“We wanted to beat Germany but it’s not ended up too badly, with Malaysia beating India,” said Clyne. “I seem to play Simon (Rosner) at every Europeans and on the PSA Tour.

“Dougie came back from two games down but lost in the fifth and even though it was a dead rubber, Rafa and Greg were playing some ridiculous squash. It was almost exhibition stuff.”

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