Elgin’s Fergus Richards has received his first call-up to the Scotland squash team for next month’s World Team Championships in Malaysia.
Richards has enjoyed an excellent year, in which he has reached a final and semi-final at two Professional Squash Association Challenger Tour events.
In order to secure his place at next month’s tournament, which will take place in Kuala Lumpur between December 7-12, Richards came from 2-0 down to overcome Inverness’ Alasdair Prott in the final of a senior selection competition at Heriot-Watt University.
Richards will be joined in the Scottish team by Inverness pair Alan Clyne and Greg Lobban, along with Perth’s Rory Stewart.
Richards said: “I’m delighted to be selected to represent my country. I’m buzzing and I can’t wait to get out there and show what I can do.
“Coming back from 2-0 again Alasdair to win the selection tournament was a great feeling. It will be an honour to wear the shirt for Scotland.
“It’s been a tough couple of years with all the Covid disruptions, so this feels extra special. It’s been hard keeping motivated, doing all the training without an end in sight.
“I’ve tried not to think too far ahead and take each day as it comes.
“Since returning to the circuit, I’ve been feeling great and managed to turn that energy into some decent form on the PSA World Tour.
“I’ve got an event in London and Birmingham over the next couple of weeks before flying out to Kuala Lumpur for the World Team Championships. I can’t wait.”
Experienced pair Lobban and Clyne still relish Scotland recognition
Lobban, who is Scotland’s highest-ranked player at 34th in the world, has represented Scotland over 100 times and will take part in the World Team Championship for the fourth time.
He said: “Firstly a big congratulations to Fergus for winning his first cap – it’s a real honour representing your country. I’m sure he’ll enjoy the experience. A first cap is something special.
“I’ve been lucky enough to represent my country several times, but it never tires, and every occasion feels different.
“We spend 95% of our time playing individual tournaments so the team structure is a welcome change. I really like the camaraderie and representing your country adds something extra.
“I’ve had a tough 12 months due to Covid disruptions and my performances have suffered a bit as a result – but the World Team Championship is a real opportunity to play well and kick on from there. We also have the Commonwealth Games round the corner, so 2022 will be a big year.”
Clyne, who is Scotland’s most experienced player with more than 150 caps to his name, said: “The world teams is one of my favourite events.
“I was disappointed to miss out on the 2020 and 2021 European Championships due to the Covid pandemic. This will be my first major tournament since the World Team Championships in 2019, and I can’t wait to get out there.
“Playing for Scotland is a unique experience. Squash can be a lonely sport, so the teams format brings a fresh take on things. We support each other, and everyone has each other’s back. It’s a great feeling.
“There’s no doubt it’s been a hard road back to form for me since lockdown. I struggled to find my rhythm at the start of the season and lost a bit of confidence in my game.
“More recently I’ve got to the semi-finals at the Marietta and HSC Opens in September and October, so I feel like I’m beginning to turn a corner. 2022 is going to be a big year, and I can’t wait to get going.”