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16 Apr 2024

Yorkshireman Willstrop Favourite To Win Mamut English Open Crown In Sheffield

21 Nov 2007

James Willstrop, the England No1 and world No5 from Yorkshire, is named as top seed for next month's Mamut English Open in Sheffield - and is expected to face England team-mate and Sheffield-based Nick Matthew in the final of the 5-star PSA Tour event less than a week after the pair hope to lead England to a successful title defence in the World Team Championship in India.

"I can't think of a better way of rounding off the year than winning the Mamut English Open in my home county after helping England to win the world title for the second time in a row," said 24-year-old Willstrop, the British National champion from Pontefract.

The 2007 Mamut English Open - the final PSA Tour event of the year, which is hosted by Sheffield City Council - will take place at the English Institute of Sport in Sheffield from Saturday 15 December to Tuesday 18 December.

The star-studded line-up also features a further member of England's world team championship squad - Peter Barker, the world No13 from Essex who is the fourth seed, behind third seed John White, the hard-hitting Scot who won the inaugural English Open at Sheffield's famous Crucible Theatre in 2003.

After reaching the final two years ago, Nick Matthew would like nothing more than to go one better and win this major Tour title in his home city of Sheffield in December.

Since becoming the first player to hold both the British National and British Open titles at the same time last year - as well as becoming the first true Englishman to win the British Open crown for 67 years - the 27-year-old has continued to extend his portfolio of international squash titles by winning the US Open trophy this year.

In the draw announced today by event promoters Eventis Sports Marketing Ltd - the company led by the sport's four-times Commonwealth Games gold medallist Peter Nicol - Matthew will face a qualifier, while Willstrop opens his campaign against Italian number one Davide Bianchetti.

1st round draw:
[1] James Willstrop (ENG) v Davide Bianchetti (ITA)
[7] Renan Lavigne (FRA) v Qualifier
[4] Peter Barker (ENG) v Daryl Selby (ENG)
[5] Alex Gough (WAL) v Qualifier
[6] Shahier Razik (CAN) v Chris Simpson (ENG)
[3] John White (SCO) v Qualifier
[8] Bradley Ball (ENG) v Jonathan Kemp (ENG)
[2] Nick Matthew (ENG) v Qualifier

Tickets, priced from £12.50 - £25.00, are available with immediate effect from Ticketmaster, either via the website www.Ticketmaster.co.uk or by telephone on 0870-150 0541. All details are available on the event's official website www.englishopensquash.co.uk