Baptism of fire awaits Scottish contingent as they bid to upset the odds at the British Nationals
Scotland’s leading quartet will be hoping to gain a few scalps as they face some of the world’s finest at this week’s British National Championships.
The Manchester event, held at the National Squash Centre, will provide some valuable high-calibre competition ahead of the Commonwealth Games, with three of the world’s top 10 ranked players – including world number one and defending champion Nick Matthew – presenting stiff opposition for the Scottish contingent.
World number 38 and Scottish number one Alan Clyne opens his campaign against Andy Whipp of England, while 21 year-old Scottish National champion Greg Lobban (pictured right) is seeded to face triple-world champion Matthew on Thursday; provided he overcomes outsider Adam Auckland in the opening round.
A result against the best player in the world in the last 16 would provide Lobban with the first of the two big victories he requires to qualify for the Singles Event at the 2014 Games.
World number 126 Kevin Moran faces a stern test against world number five and second seed James Wilstrop on the opening day, while qualifier Douglas Kempsell plays 9/16 seed Charles Sharpes for a spot in the last 16.
Scotland’s National Coach Roger Flynn is confident his charges can reap the benefits of taking on such high quality opposition.
“The squad is going to be tested to the extreme this week,“ Flynn said. “These are the sorts of matches that bring that something extra from a player and so this should really motivate the boys ahead of a busy summer.
“This event marks the start of the qualifying campaign for the European Team Championships, so all the boys are looking to impress and test themselves for that reason too and of course, playing against the best in the world this week is the perfect preparation going into the Commonwealth Games.