Highland squash pair lead Scotland to bronze
Scotland’s national coach Paul Bell was full of praise for Inverness squash players Alan Clyne and Greg Lobban after their performances at the 2019 European Team Championships in Birmingham.
The Highland duo led their country to a stunning bronze medal.
In the third place play-off match on Saturday, Scotland beat top seeds and defending champions France 3-0 to seal a podium finish at Edgbaston Priory Club.
Greg Lobban, ranked 30 in the world, first took on a familiar opponent in the form of world number 16, Gregoire Marche.
Lobban lost to Marche in the opening round of this year’s world championships.
But this time Lobban produced a brilliant performance to defeat the Frenchman in five games, 11-4, 11-6, 9-11, 6-11, 11-6.
Alan Clyne (WR47)then went on to defeat Lucas Serme (WR41), 11-6, 11-7, 11-5.
Crieff’s Rory Stewart (WR165) sealed the win with a superb victory over Victor Crouin (WR73), with Angus Gillams shaking hands with his opponent Baptiste Masotti at one game apiece.
Bell said: “We played France in the group stages and got a 2-2 draw so knew we were in with a chance.
“Every one of the players performed unbelievably well.
“It was brilliant to have Alan and Greg lead us out.
“We knew they both had a great chance in their matches.
“Alan Clyne played superbly well and Greg was in a massive battle.
“He went 2-0 up and had a good lead in the third before Marche pulled it back to 2-2.
“For Greg to go out and then finish the job was huge.”
He continued: “In the past we have got really close and just fallen short at the final hurdle.
“This week seemed to be different and we have done a lot of work on the mental side of the game.
“The work paid off because every single time we have been in a tough situation we have managed to get over the line which has been the best thing from my point of view.
“We have always had the ability and talent to compete with these players. It’s one thing to compete with them and it’s a completely different thing to beat them.”
In their first top fight appearance since 2012, Scotland’s women, seeded eight, upset the odds to finish fourth, their best finish in 14 years.
England won the men’s event with France winning the women’s event.