USA edge out Scotland in 5-8 playoff

Scotland faced the USA in what promised to be an enthralling match in the 5-8 playoff in New Zealand.

The Scots, seeded 7th, faced an uphill struggle against their 5th seed opponents, but looked determined to give it their best shot.

After days of bruising squash, both sides knew they were going to have to be at their best to come out as winners.

Greg Lobban v Timothy Brownell

Scotland’s top player and only ever-present at the event so far got things underway with a match against world-ranked 42, Timothy Brownell.

Greg started well, with a great smash stopping dead in the back corner – a sign of things to come, Scotland hoped.

The American player had different ideas, as he raced into a lead, with a series of excellent winners.

He would see out the game 11-5, increasing the pressure on Scotland’s talisman.

The second game followed a similar pattern, with long rallies bearing little fruit for the Scot.

Lobban fought hard – in his trademark style – but unfortunately, it was not to be, as his opponent pulled two games clear.

It was all to do for Greg in the third game, but his opponent put in a strong performance to take the game and the match.

A difficult start for Scotland.

Rory Stewart v Andrew Douglas

Having played the decisive match against Hong Kong, Rory is no stranger to pressure at the World Team Championship – with a win required to keep the match alive.

In the early going it looked like the pair would not be easily separated, with Rory edging ahead to win the first game 11-8.

The Perthshire player showed several touches of class with his trademark drop shots causing issues for his opponent, and showing an impressive level of belief in himself, given the stakes involved.

Rory pulled ahead and secured the second game 11-2, a particular highlight a disguised shot leaving his opponent no chance of return.

The third game resembled the first in its closeness, with quality, composure and consistency on display from both players.

Rory held his nerve to win 12-10, once again showing incredible character to win when it mattered most.

Scotland’s ironman was next – facing an uphill battle against the world number 69.

Alan Clyne v Spencer Lovejoy

Alan Clyne showed all his experience in the first game with long rallies and consistency a clear theme.

It was a 16-minute game that felt much longer, with every point a battle.

Lovejoy found enough openings to sneak ahead, ultimately clinching it 11-7, with victory slipping further from Scotland’s grasp.

The second game followed a similar pattern to 5-5, with the Scotland player knowing that every shot had to be inch perfect to keep his opponent at bay.

The American pulled ahead and didn’t look back, 11-7 in the game, 2-0 in the match and surely job done for the USA.

The third game faded away from Clyne, with the young American pulling clear to win 11-1.

Just as he has done in every match since his debut in this event in 2005, Alan Clyne gave it his all, but was beaten by a strong opponent.

What they said

Scottish Squash Elite Performance Coach Paul Bell said: “The boys battled hard – it’s always tough coming back after a loss.

“Greg’s opponent played really well and all credit to the USA on that one – they really got a good result there.

“Rory had a great game to take it to the decider, but unfortunately Lovejoy played well and just had a bit too much for Clyney.

“It’s unfortunate, but we’ve got a really good match coming up tomorrow so let’s try and finish with a positive performance.”

What’s next?

Scotland will compete in the 7-8 playoff with their final match of the tournament tomorrow night at 10pm (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).