Rory Stewart and Greg Lobban won Scotland’s first Commonwealth Games medal since 1998, after a stunning 2-0 third place victory in the men’s doubles against Malasia’s Eain Yow Nq and Ivan Yuen.
After a tough first game which finished 11-10, Rory and Greg closed out the last game in style, winning 11-6. Rory and Greg’s partnership of youth and experience proved a potent combination, with Greg competing in his third Games and Rory enjoying his debut in Birmingham.
The pair started in impressive fashion, beating Pakistan’s Tayyab Aslam and Nasir Iqbal 11-4, 10-11, 11-3 in the last 16, before a dominant display in the quarters, where they beat Zac Alexander and Ryan Cuskelly from Australia 11-2, 11-9.
The pair came back from a game down to draw the semi 1-1, before finally succumbing to England’s Daryl Selby and Adrian Waller 11-8, 8-11, 11-6 in a hard-fought contest. Though the silver and gold was out of reach, the pair found the resolve to win their third place playoff in stye, bringing home a well-deserved bronze for Team Scotland.
Elsewhere in the men’s doubles, Alan Clyne and Edinburgh’s Douglas Kempsell were knocked out in the last 16, losing 2–1 to Velavan Senthilkumar and Abhay Singh from India. Clyne and Kempsell, who won bronze at the World Doubles Championships in Glasgow earlier this year, won the first game 11–8, but despite a valiant effort, were edged out in the next two games 11–10 and 11–8 to go out of the competition.
In the men’s singles, Greg Lobban and Rory Stewart both had impressive runs to the quarter finals, where both missed out on a semi spot by the smallest of margins. Alan Clyne made it to the last 16 after being edged out by Wales’ Joel Makin 11-3, 11-4, 11-4.
Rory came agonisingly close to a place in the semis after an epic 3-2 loss against England’s James Willstrop, which finished 11-5, 9-11, 7-11, 11-6, 11-8. It was bitterly disappointing for Rory, but a great effort on his first outing.
Greg came close too, with a hard fought 11-5, 8-11, 11-7, 11-3 loss to India’s Surav Ghosal inside 59 minutes. Prior to that both Greg and Rory enjoyed impressive wins in the last 16 and second rounds, including two five game thrillers – for Greg against Malasia’s Ivan Yuen 11-3, 9-11, 11-9, 7-11, 11-7 and for Rory against England’s Patrick Rooney 12-10, 7-11, 10-12, 13-11, 11-5.
Rory said: “For the past 18 months we’ve put a big effort into doubles as well as singles so we are really glad that we headed back home with a medal.
Losing in the semi-final was obviously disappointing but I quickly I took myself away from the situation. Greg came and found me and reassured me. We still had a lot to play for, and while we could be disappointed now, in half an hour’s time, we needed to get it out of our heads and move on.
Maybe it’s my personality at times, but I don’t get too high and I don’t get too low. That probably helps as well with getting over it and understanding that, the following day, I had a bronze medal match. Scotland have been in that situation a few times over the years and were delighted to get it right this time.
A big shout out to all the travelling support. I think there were a few sore heads the following morning!”
Greg said: “Each Commonwealth Games is a real privilege to be part of and Birmingham was no exception. Its on a different scale compared to the PSA tournaments, and it feels significant.
It was amazing for Rory and I to pick up a bronze medal. Scotland had to wait for 24 years for a squash medal at the Games, so it felt truly special. We got really close the last few times, so to come home with bronze was a serious highlight and one Rory and I are really proud of.
It was tough to come back after a difficult quarter finals day when four out of five of our partnerships got knocked out. We all had a great chance of winning, so it was a blow to the team when we were down to one. Its was hard to take, and tough to come back. So to come out with Rory and win two out of the next three matches was a big achievement.”
The women’s singles witnessed some fantastic performances with England’s Georgina Kennedy winning Gold. Scotland’s Georgia Adderley was on impressive form during her Commonwealth Games debut, beating Bermuda’s Emma Keane 3-0 in the second round, before losing out in the last sixteen after a hard-fought match against the number 1 seed Joelle King from New Zealand (11-3, 11-5. 11-5).
Georgia Adderley and Lisa Aitken built on their world doubles partnership, with a strong quarter final finish in the women’s doubles draw. After a convincing 11-1, 11-3 win against New Zealand’s Abbie Palmer & Kaitlyn Watts in the last 16, the pair put on a brave display against England’s Sarah-Jane Perry and Alison Waters, narrowly losing 11-7, 11-8.
The mixed doubles featured the seasoned partnership of Lisa Aitken and Greg Lobban who came agonisingly close to a shot at the medals after their quarter final exit at the hands of Australia’s Donna Lobban and Cameron Pilley. The match ended 9-11, 11-8, 11-8. Lisa and Greg’s run to the quarters was impressive and included a 11-4, 11-7 victory against Marlene West and Cameron Stafford from the Cayman Islands.