Culloden Academy’s Alasdair Prott completed a great double with victory in his debut appearance in the Under-17 event at the Scottish Junior Open at Edinburgh Sports Club.
With new sponsors Eye and JC Lindsay on board at the annual event that attracts players from all around the globe, Alasdair followed his Under-15 victory from last year with an 11-4, 11-4, 14-12 victory over Canada’s Sam Scivier in an high-class final.
“The first two games I played really good squash and felt quite relaxed,” said the new champion. “But then the pressure got to me a little in the third and I started to think about the win.”
Orla Young (Hutcheson’s Grammar School) was also a Scottish finalist – she lost 8-11, 5-11, 6-11 to English top seed Katie Maliff in the Under-15s.
In his fourth year at Culloden Academy, Alasdair has six National 5 exams on the agenda this session. But he is happily juggling study and sport.
“If you approach everything correctly, then you can find the right balance,” suggested the 15-year-old.
“I want to go on and become a professional squash player, but I would also like to go to university.
“My grandfather was a physical education teacher at Culloden and I want to do something down the same sort of route.”
Alasdair is a member at Inverness – the same club that produced Scottish No 1 and world No 34 Alan Clyne – and also visits the Scottish Academy at Heriot Watt University in Edinburgh once a month.
Malcolm McKay is the coach at Inverness, and the youngster is full of praise for his mentor. “He’s a great coach,” said the teenager. “He deserves a lot of credit. He keeps up to date with all the latest developments.”
Orla also wants to become a full-time squash player. Yesterday the third year pupil was delighted to have had the day off school to compete in the final.
Winner of the Swiss and Nordic Opens this season, Orla started as a member of the Newlands Club and is coached by former Scottish internationalist Peter O’Hara.
Paul Bell, a former junior England player, is the relatively new Scottish national coach, and he is delighted with the current group of youngsters.
“It’s a good group and they are definitely improving,” said Bell, who worked as an England Junior and Irish assistant national coach before coming to Scotland.
“It is great to see a lot of juniors coming through and I want them to get more opportunities to play overseas, in events such as the Nordic Open.
“The schools in Scotland are all very supportive towards the players. The top guys need a lot of time off.”
The Scottish National Championship in Aberdeen at the start of next month is next on the list for Alasdair and Orla.
“Winning a national title is always a high priority,” confirmed Alasdair.