It was almost 11pm on Thursday night when Scotland finally came out victorious of a ferocious battle against Malaysia, their number 3 Dougie Kempsell bringing the decisive point. The Scots have reached their top 8 goal and will be going into their quarters against Egypt with no pressure.
By Jérôme Elhaïk and Jenny Lavaud
Pictures from Nathalie Goossens
Malaysia and Scotland ended today’s matches on the glass court. It was set to be a close encounter. They had played each other 5 times before, Scotland being just ahead 3-2. However, they hadn’t played since 2005 so the outcome was likely to be different. Seeded 9 and 10, each team was looking for a place in the quarters and a long, fierce battle was to be fought.
Eain Yow Ng and Greg Lobban started off. After a difficult debut for both players, Scotland won the first game 11-9. Back on court, Malaysia quickly took the second game 11-5. The third got off to a slow start with both players winning points alternately. Ng broke away but made a few mistakes allowing Lobban to level up at 8-8 and to eventually take the game 11-9. At 7-3 in the third, Lobban was looking set for victory but Ng climbed back. However, Lobban clinched the game 11-7 after a few long rallies at the end of the match. Alan Clyne and Nafiizwan Adnan were next on court. They have played 8 times in all : 5- 3 in favour of Adnan, his last win being at the HKFC International. Athough he didn’t seem to be moving around the court easily, Adnan started off well, winning the first game 11-7 due to his precise shots and good length balls. Clyne raced through the second 11 -1. The third game set a much slower pace with both players observing each other. It was a seesaw game – Adnan leading 6-3 , Cylne pulling back to 6-6 and then taking the game with an amazing volley after a long, hard struggle. Adnan came back in the fourth in fine form, winning 11 -2 and taking the match into a fifth game which he also won. Consequently, the deciding last leg put both Mohd Syafiq Kamal and Douglas Kempsell under a lot of pressure. It was a tense encounter with Kempsell frequently questioning the referee’s decisions and making comments. First game to Scotland 11-3. The second game was a different picture with Kamal, in the lead from the beginning, taking the game 11-3. Kempsell won the third 11-5. At 8-8, it was looking as if Scotland were to win but Malaysia fought back and took the game 12-10. Scotland retaliated and won the final game 11-5. A great win for Scotland who will now play Egypt in the quarter final..
Comments from Greg Lobban after his win for Scotland
“We knew it was going to be a tough match and especially going on first, you want to get the team off to a good start. I think we knew all three ties tonight were going to be pretty close. I’ve been really looking forward to this team event. You really want to go out and give your team momemtum for going forward so I’m happy about tonight. I got the ball rolling. Playing on the glass court is always very special because we don’t do it all the time. In France, we know there will be glass courts and it’s great. We are always pleased to come back here.”