Lengthorn To Make England Debut In European Championships

19 Apr 07

Lancashire's Laura-Jane Lengthorn has been selected to make her senior England debut in next month's European Team Championships in Italy.

Yorkshire's world No7 James Willstrop and Lincolnshire's world No4 Tania Bailey will lead the men's and women's teams, respectively, in defence of their titles in Riccione, from 2-5 May.

The two five-player squads, announced by England Squash, are:

Men: James Willstrop (Yorkshire), 23, from Pontefract; Nick Matthew (Yorkshire), the 26-year-old world No8 from Sheffield; Lee Beachill (Yorkshire), the 29-year-old world No12 from Pontefract; Adrian Grant (Kent), the London-born 26-year-old world No15 from Halifax; and Peter Barker (Essex), the 23-year-old world No18 from Upminster.

Women: Tania Bailey (Lincs), 27, from Stamford; Vicky Botwright (Lancs), the 29-year-old world No5 from Manchester; Alison Waters (Middx), the 23-year-old world No9 from London; Jenny Duncalf (Yorks), the world No11 from Harrogate; and Laura-Jane Lengthorn (Lancs), the 23-year-old world No12 from Preston.

"We have two strong squads and are confident that we can retain our titles in Italy," said National Coach David Pearson, who will be accompanying the players, with Assistant National Coach Paul Carter, in Riccione.

"If they field their top line-up, we would expect to meet France again in the men's final - for the eighth year in a row. Undoubtedly they are a strong squad, but we feel our strength in depth will continue to give us the edge," added Pearson.

While England's men have held the European Team title for the last 14 years successively - and all but three years since the inaugural men's event in 1973 - England's women are looking to win their 30th successive title, having never been beaten in the history of the women's championships since 1978.

"The fact that we've never lost the championship puts extra pressure on our women's team - but, again, we feel confident with the squad we have," added Pearson. "We are particularly pleased to be welcoming Laura to the team for the first time after the great year she's had."