Greg Lobban and Alison Thomson Secure Titles at Thrilling Scottish National Championships

Alison Thomson realised her dream of winning the Scottish national title as she took home top prize at Newlands LTC at the National Championships which took place over 17th – 19th February. A finalist several times, Thomson got over the line with a 3-0 win over veteran former champion Senga Macfie. In the men’s draw, reigning champion Greg Lobban took the title for a third time in his career, overcoming his Commonwealth Games teammate Douglas Kempsell in the final [3-0]. 

A thrilling weekend of squash was well attended at Newlands, with the main hall buzzing from Friday afternoon onwards, creating a great atmosphere to see the top talent in the country battle it out. There was genuine excitement too for some of the playoff match ups, as a string of close games and gruelling back-and-forth five-game thrillers were witnessed on Saturday in particular.  

An increased entry in the women’s draw for 2023 highlighted the continued growth of women and girls involvement in squash in Scotland. Rising star Robyn McAlpine continued her excellent run of form to begin 2023, with the 16 year old taking home the bronze medal at Newlands, to go alongside first place finishes at U17, U19 and U23 level this year already. A stellar run of form in the tournament saw five-time champion Senga Macfie back in the final at 54 years young, a run which included a standout quarter-final battle with Ellie Jones [3] ending 12-10 to Senga in the fifth.  

Alison Thomson’s journey back up the world rankings after an injury setback in early 2022 continued with an excellent second-place finish at the Kent Open in early January. The women’s number one seed re-joined the world top 100 in mid-February and her focus in the final was clear to see. Despite some crafty play from Senga and a few sensational rallies, Thomson’s dynamic game plan saw her through to victory 11-5, 11-4, 11-6. Alison was delighted to secure her first senior national title, proudly following in the footsteps of her father Alan Thomson, a former Men’s National Champion.  

Alison said: ‘I am extremely happy to win the Scottish Nationals, it’s such a prestigious event so it has always been a goal of mine to take the title! My Dad won it back in 1985, so ever since he told me that, it inspired me every year to play the tournament and eventually become Scottish National Champion just like him! 

Women’s Results

  1. Alison Thomson 
  2. Senga Macfie 
  3. Robyn McAlpine 
  4. Katriona Allen 
  5. Ellie Jones 
  6. Carys Jones 
  7. Edith Mackenzie 
  8. Natalie Main 
  9. Sarah Blair 
  10. Rowan Niven 
  11. Catherine Holland  
  12. Beth Moglia 

Alasdair Prott, Robyn McAlpine, Senga Macfie, Alison Thomson, Greg Lobban, Douglas Kempsell, Maggie Still (Scottish Squash CEO)

The men’s draw featured a host of highly competitive matches, and early round wins for Chris Murphy and Alex Ralston over Fraser Steven [11] and Tino Mackay-Palacios [15] respectively set the tone. Elsewhere in the draw, excellent performances from John Meehan saw him surge to a fifth place finish. A strong showing from Newlands’ own Matt Bedwell saw him finish well in 9th place which included a superb five-game triumph over U19 champion Kyle Penman with a lively crowd of members watching on. Runner-up to Penman two weeks previous, Rory Richmond notably outplayed his seeding with a sixth place finish in the senior category, proving his status as an emerging star with a fantastic win against Martin Ross [5] in the playoffs.  

Saturday afternoon also saw one of the standout matches of the event, with Alasdair Prott and Douglas Kempsell going head-to-head in the semi-final; Alasdair driving home winners in the third game only for Douglas to fight back from 2-1 down and take the fifth 11-6. In the other semi-final, eventual champion Greg Lobban proved too strong for Fergus Richards despite a great run of play in the tournament from the number four seed, in a repeat of their semi-final match from 2022. 

An eager crowd watched on as the top seeds and Scotland’s Commonwealth Games stars put on a superb display of skill in the final, with Lobban’s accuracy and shot-making ultimately overcoming Kempsell’s power and high energy on court. A third national title for Greg was sealed 11-4, 11-5, 11-6 to great applause before the presentation ceremony, attended by Scottish Squash CEO Maggie Still. 

Greg said: Nationals always has a different feel about it as you’re essentially competing against your training partners, and it felt a little strange this tournament not having the likes of Rory [Stewart] and Alan [Clyne] here, but I still felt like the draw was really competitive, which is credit to the work that Paul [Bell] and Kylie [Lindsay] put in every day to the Performance Programme. Now that I’ve moved back to Edinburgh full time, I would also like to help drive the standards in training and hopefully help to improve these young Scottish athletes coming through. I’m just happy to come out on top this time anyway!’ 

Men’s Results

  1. Greg Lobban 
  2. Douglas Kempsell 
  3. Alasdair Prott 
  4. Fergus Richards 
  5. John Meehan 
  6. Rory Richmond 
  7. Martin Ross 
  8. Chris Leiper 
  9. Matt Bedwell 
  10. Chris Murphy 
  11. Kyle Penman 
  12. Albeer Mehmood 
  13. James Singh 
  14. Finlay Scott 
  15. Craig Valente-Wallace 
  16. Alex Ralston 
  17. Fraser McCann 
  18. Pietro Gagliardini 
  19. Fraser Steven 
  20. Bruno Macari-Shaw 
  21. Finlay Halton 
  22. Oliver Hunter 
  23. Tino Mackay-Palacios 
  24. Euan Allison 
  25. Thomas Clark 
  26. Sandy Niven 
  27. Angus Woodward 
  28. Jesse Mills 
  29. John Green 
  30. Joseph Ewen 
  31. David Morrison
  32. Andrew Roberts 

Scottish Squash would like to thank the excellent team at Newlands LTC for supporting and hosting the event. We look forward to seeing them again soon for the next PSL home fixture: Alba Storm vs. Crawley on 18th April – tickets available here!