Clyne topples top seed Lobban to clinch eighth title
By ANDY WESTON
Alan Clyne claimed his eighth title and Lisa Aitken won a second after some high-quality competition in the Sterling Trucks Scottish National Championships at Edinburgh Sports Club.
Clyne beat fellow Black Isle ace and close friend Greg Lobban in the final to clinch his third title in succession.
Seeded two this year, he defeated 2018 Commonwealth Games doubles partner and top seed Lobban 11-3, 6-11, 11-2, 11-6.
It was a composed performance from the 32-year-old who managed to play the most consistent squash, which proved the difference between two evenly matches players.
On the way to the final Clyne didn’t drop a game in seeing off James Taylor, Jamie Henderson and Stuart George, the latter who claimed a bronze medal by beating Rory Stewart 11-5, 14-12, 2-11, 8-11, 11-6 in the third-place play-off.
A delighted Clyne said: “I knew it was going to be a tough final. It always is against Greg, who I have played many times.
“He won when we met last time and it’s hard to play him because first he’s a good player but also because we are good mates.
“I was quite relaxed going in to the match, played really well and managed to take advantage of the spells when Greg maybe wasn’t on his game. I kept my concentration levels up the whole way as well which sometimes can be a bit up and down.”
On claiming an eighth title he added: “I was saying to my wife Olivia before the final that you don’t really think about the numbers.
“I am just delighted to have won this year and then I’ll move on to the next one. Maybe when I retire I can reflect on a good achievement.
“I feel like I have had a good summer training and physically, mentally and technically I’m still improving.”
Montrose’s Lisa Aitken claimed an emotional second national title. The 28-year-old beat Gold Coast Commonwealth Games doubles partner Alison Thomson in the final.
It comes after her maiden title eight years ago having last competed and won the national title back in 2010.
Despite their close friendship off court the opening exchanges of the final between top seed Aitken and Thomson (2) were feisty and engrossing to watch.
Thomson started impressively and was ahead for most of the first game before an initially nervous Aitken pegged her back to win 11-8.
It proved crucial as the more experienced Aitken then settled into the match and won the next two games 11-5, 11-4 and with it the title.
The two-time champion said: “There is no tournament pressure like the pressure of playing in your national championships.
“To be the best in your country and prove to everybody that you are the best and deserve to be top seed is very different to if I was playing Alison in a PSA Tour event next week.
“I let the pressure get to me a little bit on Sunday having not won or played since 2010.
“This was a title that I really wanted to win and to start off the season well.”
She continued: “Every year when the nationals have gone by and I haven’t played, I’ve felt frustration and disappointment that I couldn’t compete. So it’s quite emotional in a way, 2010 seems like such a long time ago.
“That first game was crucial because I was behind for most of it and it was almost a relief to reset after that.
“I would like to have been more controlled but sometimes you just have to find a way and I did that.”
In the semi-finals Aitken defeated Katriona Allen (4) 11-1, 11-4, 11-7 whilst Thomson recorded a fine victory over defending champion Georgia Adderley (3) 11-9, 12-10, 11-2.
Adderley secured bronze in the 3/4 play-off with Allen, winning 11-7, 11-6, 6-11, 11-7.
Article by ANDY WESTON. Edited by ALAN THATCHER
Pictures courtesy of Weston Sports Marketing and Scottish Squash