Battling Scotland clinch quarter final berth with stunning win over Hong Kong

Scotland secured a spot in the top eight of the World Team Championship with a battling win over Hong Kong.

This was Scotland’s toughest match so far, and the resilience shown throughout will stand the team in good stead in the quarter-finals.

With huge roars from the Scottish players and fans in the crowd, belief appears to be growing at just the right time.

Alan Clyne v Wong Chi Him

Scotland’s longest serving player started things off with a match against world number 102 Wong Chi Him.

The first game was characterised by a series of backhands, consistently hugging the wall until an error was forced.

Alan would find himself 10-5 up, but a hugely impressive seven consecutive points for his opponent saw Scotland drop their first game of the entire event.

In spite of the high stakes, Clyne continued with his trademark high quality drops, showing faith in the game which has served him well.

The Scot covered every inch of the court, but was unable to stop Him’s charge to an 11-8 win in the second game.

The Hong Kong player clinched the final game with the same scoreline, and Scotland found themselves in unfamiliar territory – trailing in a match for the first time at this event.

Greg Lobban v Tsz Kwan Lau

When a steady hand is needed, who better to call on than Scotland’s top ranked player, Greg Lobban.

While those watching might have been feeling the nerves of the occasion, the Scot showed no signs that he was.

His powerful shots, particularly on the backhand, proved challenging for his opponent in the early exchanges.

A moment of contention with a disputed call for Lau could have thrown a lesser player off their game, but the cool, calm and collected Scot’s momentum was uninterrupted.

The Inverness squash star’s quality shone through at the conclusion of the first game, with a sweet boast followed by a huge smash in the final two points rounding it off 11-6.

The players could hardly be separated in a tense second game, where Lobban ultimately triumphed 12-10, concluding with yet another smash his opponent had no chance of returning.

The third game featured more contention with a conduct point awarded to Lau for ‘unnecessary contact.’

The players went point for point, in a hard-hitting game, before Lau pulled ahead into a 6-4 lead.

Greg fought back as the game grew increasingly heated, but it was the Hong Kong player that sealed the third game 11-8.

The fourth game was characterised by Lobban’s quality, as a combination of drop shots and powerful drives sent the Scottish contingent wild.

He pulled away to win 11-4 – Scotland and Hong Kong were level.

Rory Stewart v Leung Chi Hin Henry

As it approached 1am in the UK, so too approached the business end of the match.

This was sporting drama at its best, and certainly not one for the for the faint hearted.

Rory is the master of the long rally, and he was happy to keep the ball in play in the early goings of the match, allowing his opponent to make errors.

The first game was hard fought, resembling two boxers feeling each other out, happy to hold off the search for a knockout blow knowing there was plenty of time to play.

The Scottish star would eventually triumph 11-4 – first round for Rory.

As a hush descended in the arena – with Scotland’s game the last one standing, Stewart and Henry were putting on a show.

Both players zipped around the court, straining every sinew to win crucial points.

Rory would win the second game 11-7, and suddenly things were looking very bright for Scotland.

There was still time for a nervy finish as Henry won the third game, but Rory showed tremendous resilience to fight back – finding all the right shots at all the right times – to clinch the fourth game and the match.

What they said

Rory Stewart said: “I am delighted that we got through the tie as winners.

“On paper we were favourites, but Hong Kong have three top players so it was never going to be easy.

“Credit to Greg for getting the victory when the pressure was on and keeping the tie alive.

“Henry and I often play practice matches for lunch on tour and I had to buy his lunch last time, so I knew I had to bring my A game.

“Hong Kong are by far the strongest team we’ve faced so far, so to get through to the quarter-final is a great achievement.”

Scottish Squash Elite Performance Coach Paul Bell said: “We knew that they were all going to be tight matches today, and they were all pretty much fifty-fifty.

“Greg went on and led by example with a really good performance against a tricky opponent which gave Rory a lot of belief.

“He played really well in the first two games, and even when he was 5-0 down in the fourth match he came back to win.”

“It’s the quarter-finals of a World Championship so we’ll go out and give it our best shot tomorrow – you never know what can happen.”

What’s next?

Next up, Scotland take on defending champions and top-seeds Egypt in the quarter-final.

The match gets underway tomorrow morning at 5am (GMT) and will be streamed for free on, the official streaming platform of the World Squash Federation.

Fans can also watch action from the Mercury Arena on the Olympic Channel, and on SQUASHTV (subscription required).