10:13 pm
24 May 2024

World Champion Palmer Heads World-Class Prince English Grand Prix Field

29 Aug 2007

Australia's World Open squash champion David Palmer heads a world-class field which will compete in the Prince English Grand Prix - Birmingham 2007, a new 5-star PSA Tour championship which will take place at the Edgbaston Priory Club and University of Birmingham from 6-9 September.

It will be popular return to the city for the world No3 from New South Wales who represented Edgbaston Priory in the English Premier League for three seasons, leading the team to the 2004 final.

But the four members of the England squad which won the European Team Championship title for the 15th time in a row this year will also be seeking individual glory on the all-glass court in Birmingham. England number one James Willstrop leads the home challenge: the 24-year-old from Leeds, seeded four, is joined by fellow Yorkshiremen Nick Matthew, the British Open champion from Sheffield who is seeded five, and Pontefract club-mate Lee Beachill, the seventh seed; and Essex's Peter Barker, the No8 seed who will arrive in Birmingham fresh from his third successive PSA Tour win in the Colombian Open in Bogotá.

Palmer, who faces a qualifier in the first round, is expected to meet world No7 Willstrop in the semi-finals - en-route to a final showdown with top-ranked Frenchman Gregory Gaultier, the No2 seed. Gaultier, the four-times European champion from Aix-en-Provence was runner-up in this month's ATCO Super Series Finals in Manchester.

Gaultier is joined by compatriot Thierry Lincou in the Birmingham draw. Like Palmer and Beachill, Lincou is also a former world number one. Seeded three, the 31-year-old from Marseille faces local hero Jonathan Harford in the first round.

Harford, a former student at the University of Birmingham, led the University team to the Premier League national play-offs in their debut season in the league this year. The 24-year-old from Gloucestershire, now based in Leeds, has been awarded the wildcard into the event.

Australian Stewart Boswell also provides further local interest in the event. The sixth seed from Canberra represented Edgbaston Priory with distinction in the Premier League - establishing a league-record 25-match unbeaten run over four seasons.

Launched by sports management company internationalSPORTgroup, the Prince English Grand Prix - Birmingham 2007 will boast a $50,000 prize fund and will be supported by a full programme of masters and junior events which are expected to attract over four hundred competitors.

1st round draw:
[1] David Palmer (AUS) v Qualifier
[5] Nick Matthew (ENG) v Cameron Pilley (AUS)
[4] James Willstrop (ENG) v Alex Gough (WAL)
[8] Peter Barker (ENG) v Alister Walker (ENG)
[7] Lee Beachill (ENG) v Qualifier
[3] Thierry Lincou (FRA) v Jonathan Harford (ENG)
[6] Stewart Boswell (AUS) v Qualifier
[2] Gregory Gaultier (FRA) v Qualifier