Extra sponsors boost prize fund to $35k
By ALAN THATCHER
Daryl Selby and James Willstrop are top seeds in the PSA Men’s $35k Wimbledon Club Squash Squared Open taking place from March 18-23.
The two long-serving England players, who teamed up in the 2014 Commonwealth Games doubles, last met in the National Championships in Manchester, with Willstrop winning their quarter-final battle in straight games. They will be joined in the main draw at Wimbledon by Declan James, who will be accompanying the two seasoned internationals on the plane to Gold Coast for next month’s 2018 Commonwealth Games.
Other Wimbledon entrants preparing for the Games include Greg Lobban of Scotland and Joel Makin of Wales. Top seed Selby faces Omar Abdel Meguid of Egypt in the first round and, if successful, is scheduled to meet Lobban in the quarter-finals in a re-run of their recent Edinburgh Open final which was won by the Scotsman. First, Lobban must beat Raphael Kandra of Germany. Welsh No.1 Makin meets No.3 seed Zahed Mohamed of Egypt.
Another fascinating rematch involves Ben Coleman and France’s former world No.6 Mathieu Castagnet. Coleman beat Castagnet in a best-of-three qualifying battle in the recent Canary Wharf Classic, a tournament won by the Frenchman in 2016.
Former World No.1 Willstrop, winner of the first PSA event at TWC, meets a qualifier in the first round.
This is the third PSA event run at The Wimbledon Club. The prize money has been increased every year and this year the prize fund has risen to a healthy $35,000 thanks to increased sponsorship.
Main sponsors are Mercer Taylor, a residential sales and lettings company, with further support from Pelham Smithers Associates and Fabricari.
The event supports the Squash Squared programme. The project is currently working with four schools (two primary and two secondary), delivering classes to 80 children weekly.
Secondary Schools are St Cecelia’s in Southfields and Overton Grange School in Sutton with 15 children per school, and the aim here is to positively affect GCSE outcomes.
The Primary Schools are Sacred Heart and St Mary’s in Battersea, with 25 children per school.
Co-founders are Wimbledon Club Squash Director Stacey Ross and Jared Brading, Executive Head of Sacred Heart and St Mary’s in Battersea.
Founded in 2015, Squash Squared is the UK’s first Urban Squash Programme. The project is funded by the Wimbledon Foundation (the charitable arm of the All England Lawn Tennis Club) and the England Squash Foundation. New sites are due to be added this year.
PSA M35 The Wimbledon Club Squash Squared Open, London, England.
First Round (March 18):
(1) Daryl Selby (Eng) v Omar Meguid (Egy)
(6) Greg Lobban (Sco) v Raphael Kandra (Ger)
(7) Tom Richards v Qualifier
(3) Zahed Mohamed (Egy) v Joel Makin (Wal)
(4) Declan James (Eng) v Qualifier
(5) Mathieu Castagnet (Fra) v (WC) Ben Coleman (Eng)
(8) Lucas Serme (Fra) v Qualifier
(2) James Willstrop (Eng) v Qualifier
Top eight seeds are Chris Simpson (Eng), Olli Tuominen (Fin), Todd Harrity (USA), Youssef Soliman (Egy), Nathan Lake (Eng), Iker Pajares Bernabeu (Spain), Josh Masters (Eng), Richie Fallows (Eng).
Picture courtesy of England Squash