Doug Kempsell’s golden dreams were shattered yesterday as the Edinburgh player and Lisa Aitken suffered an agonising quarter-final defeat at the World Doubles Squash Championships in Manchester.
The Scots had won all four group matches en route to the last eight, beating top seeds and defending champions Joelle King and Paul Coll on Wednesday, but they were about to discover that there is no room for error in the knockout stages.
Aitken and Kempsell began well against Welsh duo Tesni Evans and Peter Creed, taking the opening game convincingly, and even after the seventh seeds hit back to level the score, the Scots appeared to be in control when they led 5-2 in the deciding game.
A series of disputed refereeing decisions then seemed to rattle them and they eventually went down 11-6, 6-11, 9-11 after exactly an hour’s play.
“We got a wee bit tense and flustered,” admitted Kempsell. “To be fair to the Welsh, they played a really ballsy game and took it to us.
“The refereeing has been getting worse over the week and that’s getting to the players and making us agitated, but I wouldn’t blame the referees for our defeat. On another day, it could have been a different result.
“We wanted to finish in the top four, but it’s been a very positive week for us and we can still finish fifth. We want to play as many matches as possible and finish on a high.”