This week’s World Doubles Squash Championship, which begin today in Manchester, could turn into a private battle between four training partners at Heriot-Watt University’s Oriam performance centre.
Defending champions and No.1 seeds Alan Clyne and Greg Lobban are scheduled to meet Australians Cameron Pilley and Ryan Cuskelly in Saturday’s final, but their biggest threat may come from closer to home after Doug Kempsell and Kevin Moran handed them a shock defeat in last month’s Scottish Championship final.
“We’d been playing well, but Kevin and Dougie played out of their skin,” recalled Clyne. “They didn’t make many errors and really took it to us in the final. We needed to learn from that and use it as a wake-up call.”
Lobban admitted: “It wasn’t our best performance, but Kevin and Dougie played really well, to be fair. Because we all train together, it seemed a bit like a practice match and we know each other’s games so well. That defeat gave us something to think about and since then we’ve worked harder in training, so maybe it was a blessing in disguise.”
Kempsell added: “Me and Kev have had a good couple of weeks and we’re looking for another good result to qualify for next year’s Commonwealth Games.
“We’re seeded 12, but we believe we can finish much higher. We definitely feel we can challenge for the top eight after beating Alan and Greg. We’re hitting form when it matters and we’ll try to win every match.”
Clyne and Lobban begin their title defence this morning against India’s Vikram Malhotra and Mahesh Managonkar in Group A, while Kempsell and Moran face a testing Pool D opener against fourth seeds Paul Coll and Campbell Grayson from New Zealand.
Kempsell is also involved in the mixed doubles with Scottish No.1 Lisa Aitken, who teams up in the women’s event with Edinburgh University student Carrie Hallam. Hallam will play mixed doubles too with Aberdeen’s Chris Leiper.