Scotland suffer quarter-final defeat at hands of defending champions

Scotland faced the sporting equivalent of Mount Everest this morning, with a tough match against Egypt.

The tournament favourites have won four of the last five versions of the event, and have a star-studded line up filled with several of the world’s top squash players.

Scotland knew that this one was going to be tough, but they gave it their all in their first outing on the show court in New Zealand.

Greg Lobban v Ali Farag

The first match on court featured the top players from both nations – with Greg Lobban facing off against world number one Ali Farag.

The pair shared several long rallies, but Farag’s quality shone through at all the crucial moments.

The Egyptian made light work of the first game, losing just one point in the process.

Greg bounced back in the second game, winning two points in quick succession, first with an unreturnable backhand followed up by a perfect drop shot.

This game proved to be much closer, with Scotland’s top player battling for every point, to 7-6 only for Farag to pull away and take the game 11-6.

Throughout the match Farag displayed all the shots in his arsenal, with skilful boasts, sublime drop shots and consistent drives.

Greg varied his game, using lobs – at times to great effect – to throw his opponent’s rhythm off.

The world’s top player pulled through, taking the third and final game 11-6.

Alasdair Prott v Mezan Hesham

Scotland’s youngest representative in the tournament was up next, taking on a player ranked 110 places above him in the world rankings.

Few would have given Alasdair a chance, but the youngster showed moments of class to give his opponent something to think about.

Many of Prott’s points came through his own great play, forcing errors from his opponent, or leaving his opponent little opportunity to return his shots.

Ultimately, Hesham would win in three games 11-6, 11-3, 11-5, but Alasdair will take great learning from the opportunity to play one of the very best in the world.

With Hesham seven years his senior, Scotland’s youngest player still has plenty of time to develop his game, and experiences like this morning will only help that process.

A tough shift for Scotland who gave it their all against the strongest possible opponent.

What they said

Alasdair Prott said: “It was a tough match against the world number 7 tonight.

“It was great experience getting to play someone of that quality.

“It wasn’t my best squash as I was under pressure for most of the match, but I tried my best to stick in as much as possible, but ultimately I couldn’t compete with his quality.”

Scottish Squash Elite Performance Coach Paul Bell said: “It was always going to be tough against such a highly ranked opponent.

“It was a great occasion for the boys to play a world championship quarter-final against some of the best players in the world.

“Greg put in a good performance against the world number one and Alasdair had the chance to play he highest ranked opponent he has ever played, learning a lot from the experience.”

What’s next?

Scotland will compete in the 5-8 playoff with their next match against the USA tonight at 11pm (GMT).

The match 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).