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James Willstrop tops high quality Nationals field

Top two seeds James Willstrop (front) and Daryl Selby in action

Home hero Declan James hopes to shine in Nottingham
By DONNA HELMER

Commonwealth Games Gold medallist James Willstrop will headline a top-class men’s draw when the 45th edition of the AJ Bell British National Squash Championships gets under way in Nottingham on February 14.

The former World No.1 nicknamed The Marksman will be starring in his 21st Nationals, and bidding to reach his 10th final and claim a third Championship title.

The 35-year-old from Yorkshire will be joined by some of the biggest names on the British circuit including 2011 champion and Commonwealth Games silver medallist Daryl Selby, who is seeded to meet Willstrop in the final.

Hungry to reach their first championship final and claim a maiden title are 3/4 seeds Tom Richards and Commonwealth Games Bronze medallist Declan James, ranked 20 and 21 in the world respectively.

At the start of the season, James edged top seed Willstrop in the final of the Open International de Squash de Nantes, and the full support of a vociferous home crowd could be enough to spur on the Nottingham-based star to triumph further.

Scotland No.1. Greg Lobban will be striving to advance to the last four after reaching the 2018 quarter-finals, and is joined by George Parker, Chris Simpson and Adrian Waller as 5/8 seeds.

Welsh No.1 Joel Makin, recovering from an injury sustained in the Tournament of Champions in New York, is not on the entry list.

A youthful quartet comprising of Nathan Lake, Joshua Masters, Richie Fallows and Charlie Lee all seeded 9/12 will be hungry for Nationals glory and looking to spring an upset on the more established players.

Welsh hopes will be carried by qualifiers Elliot Morris Devred and Jayden Gough following Joel Makin’s withdrawal due to injury.

The men’s qualifying event will take place on February 12-13 at Nottingham Squash Club and will see the top four advancing to the main draw.

AJ Bell British National Squash Championships 2019 – Men’s Entry List:
[1] James Willstrop (ENG)
[2] Daryl Selby (ENG)
[3/4] Tom Richards (ENG)
[3/4] Declan James (ENG)
[5/8] Greg Lobban (SCO)
[5/8] George Parker (ENG)
[5/8] Chris Simpson (ENG)
[5/8] Adrian Waller (ENG)
[9/12] Nathan Lake (ENG)
[9/12] Joshua Masters (ENG)
[9/12] Richie Fallows (ENG)
[9/12] Charlie Lee (ENG)

Article by DONNA HELMER (England Squash). Edited by Alan Thatcher.

Picture by STEVE CUBBINS courtesy of England Squash

 

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