Lake and Tomlinson top seeds for England Squash Challenge in Manchester
By ALAN THATCHER – Squash Mad Editor
England Squash are staging a three-day Challenge event in Manchester next week for male and female national squad players.
The National Squash Centre will host the AJ Bell England Squash Challenge between Tuesday and Thursday (November 24-26) with all the action streamed live on SQUASHTV and Facebook.
The men’s and women’s tournaments contain eight players each. There will be two days of pool stage action before the play-offs for first to eighth place on the final day.
England’s World No.40 Nathan Lake headlines the men’s draw, while World No.27 Millie Tomlinson is the highest-ranked player in the women’s event. To feature in the tournament, a player must have won less than five caps at senior World and European Team Championships.
The top six ranked players that fit the above criteria will feature in both draws. That means Lake is joined in the men’s tournament by George Parker, Richie Fallows, Patrick Rooney, Ben Coleman and Joshua Masters. Two National Coach picks are also included, and these are British Junior U17 Champion Sam Todd and 22-year-old Charlie Lee.
Julianne Courtice, Lucy Turmel, Jasmine Hutton, Anna Kimberley and Lily Taylor join Tomlinson in the women’s event. The National Coach picks are 23-year-old Georgina Kennedy and European Junior U19 champion Alice Green. It will be a great opportunity for Kennedy to finally launch her professional career on home soil after graduating from Harvard.
Pool stage action will begin on Tuesday at 2:30pm. Four matches will be played on the glass show court, while four matches will take place on the ‘traditional’ side courts.
The pools continue on Wednesday, when play begins at 10:30am, with the final match of the day scheduled for 18:15. Eight matches will take place on the glass court alongside eight matches on the side courts.
For the 1-8 playoffs on Thursday, matches start at 10:30am, with the two finals (featuring the top players from each pool) held at 12 noon and 12:45pm.
All glass court matches will be shown live free to SQUASHTV digital subscribers as well as on the official Facebook pages of the PSA World Tour and England Squash, as well as englandsquash.tv. The side courts will also be broadcast on those channels, plus the PSA SQUASHTV YouTube channel.
“We’re delighted to have this opportunity to put on an event that will create additional playing opportunities for our players who currently sit outside the national teams,” England Squash National Senior Coach David Campion.
“The COVID-19 pandemic has resulted in the cancellation of numerous squash tournaments both in England and around the globe. We felt it was important to ensure that our athletes lower down the rankings had the chance to return to competitive action and we are thankful for the support of AJ Bell in helping us stage this event with the PSA.
“We’re pleased to collaborate with the Professional Squash Association to broadcast the AJ Bell England Squash Challenge around the world and I look forward to watching all of our players in action later this month.”
This latest initiative sees AJ Bell extend its relationship with England Squash and increase its presence in the sport having previously sponsored the 2013 and 2017 AJ Bell PSA World Championships, the 2017 AJ Bell European Championships as well as the last two editions of the AJ Bell British National Championships.
PSA Chief Operating Officer, Lee Beachill, said: “We have worked closely with England Squash on a number of previous occasions and have provided live coverage from tournaments such as the British Nationals and the British Junior Open previously in collaboration with them.
“We look forward to extending that to the England Squash Challenge as we showcase their players on our SQUASHTV OTT platform as well as our social media channels.”
England Squash Challenge, National Squash Centre, Manchester, November 24-26.
Men’s Entry List:
Women’s Entry List:
Pictures courtesy of Patrick Lauson and Harvard Squash