Games: Harry Leitch hoping to emulate Andy Murray with gold

Harry Leitch signs autographs at the Commonwealth Games.
Harry Leitch signs autographs at the Commonwealth Games.
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Harry Leitch will today take further steps to emulate a Scottish contemporary in the racquets world by gaining a medal at a multi-sports event.

Edinburgh-born Leitch is through to the quarter-finals of the men’s doubles partnering Alan Clyne in the latest stage of a sporting journey which began with him cutting his teeth in a competitive environment alongside the likes of Andy Murray.

The fourth-seeded Scots pair beat Zambia’s Mwinga Lengwe and Kelvin Ndhlovu with minimal fuss to book a last-eight showdown with Australian sixth seeds Ryan Cuskelly and Matthew Karwalski.

For Clyne, that runaway win contrasted with later in the day when he bowed out of the mixed with Frania Gillen-Buchert, losing 9-11, 11-9, 5-11 to New Zealand’s Amanda Landers-Murphy and Paul Coll.

Leitch said: “My first experience of tournament play was the Waverley under-ten tennis Open and Andy Murray wasn’t the only one of our group who went on to make an impact.

“There was his brother, Jamie, and also Colin Fleming and Jamie Baker (GB Davis Cup).

“It didn’t end there with Gavin Rumgay, who is part of the Scotland table tennis team, around at that time. Waverley’s tennis tournament was my launchpad although I also had a squash racquet in my hand as soon as I could walk.

“Andy has an Olympic tennis gold – hopefully I can get something from these Games.”

Leitch and Clyne were in commanding form and the plaudits really belonged to compatriots Greg Lobban and Stuart Crawford who are based at Heriot Watt University’s squash complex and beat Sauray Ghosal and Harinder Pal Sandhu, seeded one place higher at eight, in three tense games.

Crawford, 34, is actually playing to extend his career in men’s doubles before concentrating on duties as Scotland’s assistant national coach.

“I was two points away from retirement,” quipped Crawford as he reflected on how the opposition came back from 7-10 to within a point in the third game of the first-to-11 points contest before victory was clinched.

They now face second seeds David Palmer and Cameron Pilley of Australia.

Pilley was pushed to the brink along with his partner Kasey Brown when confronted by Grange club pro Kevin Moran and US-based Alex Clark in the last 16 of the mixed.

The Scots eventually went down 2-11, 10-11 but not before holding three game points against the reigning champions and top seeds.