Scotland’s bid for a Commonwealth Games medal on the squash court came to an end today at the Siri Fort Sports Complex in Delhi when Alan Clyne and Harry Leitch were squeezed out of the podium positions by Australians Ryan Cuskelly and Cameron Pilley in the bronze medal play-off match.
The first game was a tight affair until, with the scores tied at 4-4, Cuskelly and Pilley opened up a 10-4 lead to give themselves six game points. Clyne and Leitch saved one of them but the game went to the Aussies 11-5.
In the second game the Scots struck first to go 1-0 up before a controversial umpiring decision allowed Cuskelly and Pilley to level at 1-1, denying any momentum the Scots might otherwise have had. The Aussies took full advantage, opening up a 10-3 lead to give themselves seven match points.
Refusing to capitulate, Clyne and Leitch bravely saved four of those match points but in the end it just delayed the inevitable with the Aussie pair taking victory with a scoreline of 11-5 11-7 to claim the bronze medal.
Speaking after the match, Leitch was magnanimous in defeat:
“I don’t want to talk about decisions I just want to congratulate them on their medal. They played well and they deserved it.
“Winning and losing comes down to the smallest margins sometimes and things didn’t go our way today but that’s squash.”
Clyne continued: “There is an overall sense of disappointment. We felt we had a chance yesterday to win the semis and today we felt we had a chance to get the bronze. We played well and dominated some of the rallies but it didn’t work out for us.”
Although clearly disappointed, the pair were still able to take some positives from their experience and look to the future, with Clyne especially benefitting from the experience of Delhi:
“This is my first Commonwealth Games and it’s the biggest tournament I’ve played in. In Glasgow in four years time this experience will benefit me a lot.”
Leitch finished by saying: “We have a lot of people to thank – Scottish Squash, Team Scotland, sportscotland. It’s disappointing that we couldn’t get a medal for them but we put everything into it and couldn’t have done any more.
“In Melbourne I got to the quarters, this year it was the semis. It’s a long way away but hopefully in Glasgow we can reach the final and get a medal.”