Forward thinking – world title holders Clyne and Lobban eye Commonwealth Games boost at World Championships

World squash champions Alan Clyne and Greg Lobban already have one eye on next year’s Gold Coast Commonwealth Games as they aim to defend their world doubles title in Manchester next week (Tuesday, August 1-Saturday, August 5).

Clyne and Lobban have fond memories from the last time they teamed up in Scotland colours Down Under.

Last August, the duo shocked home favourites David Palmer and Zac Alexander in the final of the World Doubles Championships in Darwin.

Lobban, who has recently returned to action following a hamstring injury, believes another strong showing in Manchester can help them medal at Gold Coast 2018.

The Black Isle pair begin their world title defence on Tuesday, 11am, against Indian’s Vikram Malhotra and Mahesh Mangaonkar in a Group A clash.

Lobban said: “The world doubles will be a good indicator ahead of the Commonwealth Games.

“We’re targeting a successful trip to Manchester because we know if we do well we’ll be seeded higher in the Gold Coast.

“I am confident we can come away with a medal next year in Australia and a good showing down south can really help our cause.

“To win the world title last year was amazing and we’ll look to do the same again.”

He continued: “We played some Test matches against England and Wales recently and won having not played together since last August, so it was good to get back on court with Alan.

“The last few weeks have been about getting more time on court, getting used to each other again.

“It feels pretty natural to be on court with Alan and we’re confident we can do well in Manchester.”

Alan Clyne believes threats will come from a number of nations this year and has not ruled out a potential rematch with Australian pair Alexander and Palmer in the latter stages.

The Scottish duo have been drawn in Pool A alongside the Indians and teams from Malaysia and Holland.

Clyne, world ranked 26 in singles, said: “Both Australian pairs at the event are going to be tough to beat along with the New Zealanders and English who will be keen to do well on home territory.

“Even teams from Wales, India and Malaysia will be strong and then there’s Kevin (Moran) and Doug (Kempsell) as well. It’s a really competitive competition.

“Greg has done a great job coming back from six months out injured and he has looked really sharp.

“We get on well off the court and our styles complement each other on court which stands us in good stead.”

In a busy opening day for the Scots, Lisa Aitken and Carrie Hallam begin their Women’s Group D campaign at 11.45am on Tuesday against the strong home pairing of Laura Massaro and Sarah-Jane Perry.

Aitken is scheduled to be back on court in a Mixed Group A match alongside Doug Kempsell at 12.30pm against Welsh duo Joel Makin and Deon Saffery.

At 2.30pm Scottish Men’s Doubles Champions Doug Kempsell and Kevin Moran get their Group D campaign up and running against Kiwis Paul Coll and Campbell Grayson at the same time as Chris Leiper and his partner Carrie Hallam begin proceedings in Group C of the mixed event against Indian pair Vikram Malhotra and Joshna Chinappa.

Full details on the draws and results can be found clicking here 

To purchase tickets for the event at the National Squash Centre in Manchester, click here.