Squash duo Frania Gillen-Buchert and Alan Clyne off the mark

Alan Clyne in action at Scotstoun. Photograph: Getty
Alan Clyne in action at Scotstoun. Photograph: Getty
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There’s been Splash, based on diving, and television next week launches Tumble, in which celebrities attempt to emulate gymnastic skills.

So, is the notion of Strictly Come Squash so far fetched?

That was the intriguing idea thrown up in conversation with Frania Gillen-Buchert after the Edinburgh-based athlete had successfully launched a bid for a Commonwealth Games mixed doubles medal in partnership with Alan Clyne.

Of all 17 sports in this jamboree, doubles squash is perhaps hardest to identify with as until Glasgow 2014 the only Scottish court of appropriate size was in Shetland so insight was especially welcome.

“Fortunately Alan and I have been playing together for a very long time. Doubles is a bit like having a dancing partner,” said Gillen-Buchert.

“It isn’t about going on court with someone and hoping to hit it off. The more you play and practise together the better you become.

“The pairs who haven’t practised together risk hitting out of court or not hitting the ball at all because they think their partner has things under control.”

Avoiding expensive flights to Shetland – “it could cost up to £250 at weekends” said Gillen-Buchert – or heading south appears to be paying off.

From the off, the Scots combo were very much in step in beating Papua New Guinea 11-0, 11-6. “I’m glad the first match is in the bag because I was a bit nervous not having played singles,” said Gillen-Buchert.

“We won comfortably but doubles is such a great leveller that you cannot afford to get complacent.”

In an enclosed rectangle not much bigger than a boxing ring, spacial awareness and peripheral vision is everything and Gillen-Buchart was not the only one for whom the doubles couldn’t come quickly enough due to sitting out the singles.

Edinburgh-born Harry Leitch put it more graphically. “I was bouncing off the walls,” said the one-time Waverley club member who has spent the past four years since exiting just short of a medal in Delhi also in partnership with Alan Clyne studying for a Phd.

His 11-3, 11-4 win lasted a mere 13 minutes against Trinidad and Tobago and a subsequent win over Wales to book a place in today’s knock-out round of 16 was achieved in similar time. Leitch’s speciality subject is stem cell research and the Games website pays tribute to his work in “pluripotency and the germline” at Cambridge University, from where he is on temporary leave.

“I could not have picked a better way into the Games,” he said. “For the first couple of weeks after my final exams I was spaced out.

“Then the pressure was finally off for a few weeks and I’ve no concerns other than (achieving) anything better than Delhi.”

The chemistry is clearly good enough so far and the Scots pairing of Stuart Crawford and Greg Lobban also made a winning start against St Vincent and Grenadines.

Gillen-Buchert and partner Alex Clark lost their opening women’s doubles tie 2-0 to England and now face a battle to qualify for the knock-out stages with fancied Malaysia lying in wait.