Champions Return To Defend Dunlop British Open Masters Titles In Liverpool
1 May 2008
Nine defending champions will compete in the Dunlop British Open Masters in Liverpool in one of the strongest entries in the history of the world's largest annual Masters squash event.
Thirteen age-group events, ranging from men's and women's Over-35 categories to men's Over-70, will run in conjunction with Dunlop British Open - Liverpool 2008 men's and women's championships which will be held at the city's new ECHO Arena Liverpool from 10-12 May, following qualifying and early rounds at the Liverpool Cricket Club from 6 May.
Such has been the demand for places in the Masters draws in the event's first ever appearance in Liverpool that Crosby Northern Sports Club have agreed to support the championships as a hosting partner, alongside the ECHO Arena Liverpool and Liverpool Cricket Club.
Crosby Northern Sports Club will host Masters matches on Thursday 8th and Friday 9th May 2008 from 9.00am to 10.00pm. Full details of the Masters schedule can be found at www.britishopensquash.com
"I would just like to say how pleased we are at Crosby Northern Sports Club to have been selected to host the first two days of the Dunlop British Open Masters Tournament," said the club's Squash Chairman Roy Grainger. "As this is the premier event in the squash calendar, we are eagerly looking forward to seeing some of the best squash in the country being played on our own doorstep."
England High Performance Coach David Campion is top seed in the Men's Over-35 championship. Runner-up in the 1990 World Junior Championship, the Yorkshireman is appearing in his first Masters event.
Dutchman Lucas Buit is seeded to retain his title in the Over-40 event. The nine-time national champion is expected to face Manchester's Yawar Abbas, the British National Over-40 champion, in the final.
Gloucestershire's 2006 champion Mark Woodliffe is expected to reclaim the Over-45 crown he lost last year. It could be a Woodliffe family double - as father John Woodliffe is also seeded to reach the Over-70 final. But the reigning World Masters champion will have stiff opposition from fellow Surrey veteran Pat Kirton, the defending champion who is seeded to win his ninth Masters title!
Yorkshireman Ian Parke is returning from his home in Brno, in the Czech Republic, to defend his title in the Men's Over-55 event. Philip Ayton is the overwhelming favourite in the Over-60 championship having followed his victory in last year's British Open event by winning the National title too in February.
Further Yorkshire success is also expected in the Men's Over-65 event where Hull-based Mike Clemson is expected to retain the title.
A new champion is predicted in the Women's Over-35 championship where National champion Jeannine Cowie, from Wigan, is expected to face last year's runner-up Claire Walker, from Yorkshire, in the final.
The 2007 Women's Over-45 champion Victoria King, from Middlesex, is also expected to reach the 2008 final - but the event's top seed is Lincolnshire's Fran Wallis, the National champion in the age category.
Reigning Over-50 National champion Helen Gould, from Avon, is expected to add the British Open crown to her collection in Liverpool.
It is a similar tale in the Over-55 championship where National champion Averil Murphy is the favourite. But the Essex veteran will undoubtedly have still opposition from Worcestershire's defending champion Bett Dryhurst.