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“Go and win it” was Greg Lobban’s message to his wife Donna as they embraced after she prevailed in their highly-anticipated mixed doubles clash at the Commonwealth Games.
Scotland squash star Greg was facing his other half, who represents Australia, for the first time in competitive action after they were drawn against each other in Birmingham.
Greg, 29, and teammate Lisa Aitken took the opening game 11-9 before Donna, 35, and her partner Cameron Pilley - who is also her cousin - took the second two games 11-8, 11-8.
“Gutted,” said Greg. “It was a very close game and we came up short. I’m just really proud of Lisa and how she handled today, she played a really good game and I’m proud of her.
“It was really tough out there but we had a game plan going into it and I think myself and Donna both expected it, we’re both competitors, that’s our profession.
“It’s what we’ve been doing for a long time so we knew how to split that apart and I think we did. We treated it like any other match and I think we did. We can be proud of our performances.
“I just said I was proud of her and to go and win it now. I felt that was potentially the best teams on court and I think we got unlucky with the draw, they probably felt the same.
“If I was to lose to one team it would be them but I’m just absolutely gutted for us that it’s at the quarter-final stage and not in the medal matches.”
This summer, Team Scotland, supported by funding raised by National Lottery players, compromises of over 250 athletes, all vying for medal success.
The quarter-final meeting attracted huge attention in the build-up and lived up to its billing as the two pairs traded points throughout in a thrilling battle at the University of Birmingham.
After swapping the first two games, the decider went down to the wire and with the scores locked at 8-8 Greg Lobban was left frustrated by a call as the Australian pair edged ahead.
That lead proved decisive as the 2018 gold medallists held their nerve to prevail before husband and wife hugged it out on the court - and Donna admitted to mixed emotions after the match.
“I probably tried not to think about it being my husband on the other side of the court,” she said. “I’m glad he was on the other side of the court and not on my side.
“That would have been way, way worse. We just tried to treat it as professionally as possible, like it was any other match as much as we can, and I think we both did a god job of that.
“People were probably looking out for anything to talk about so we weren’t given them too much. He did whack me on the thigh but I’ll take that. I might have to put up with him being in a mood for a while but if I had lost then I would have been a terrible loser.”
There was a silver lining for Greg after his wife made a bet with him that he would have to cook dinner for a month if he won, with Donna regretting she had not put more at stake.
“I should have made the bet that if I win, I get to shave off his mullet and his moustache. I don’t know why I didn’t think of that. I said it afterwards and it was too late. Imagine!”
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