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13 Jun 2024

World No2 Matthew & ToC Champion Willstrop Kept Apart In Nationals' Draw

29 Jan 2010

A repeat of last year's historic British Open final between Englishmen Nick Matthew and James Willstrop is the dream prospect of the climax of next month's British National Squash Championships in Manchester, according to the men's draw which is revealed today.

The Yorkshiremen and England team-mates' rivalry is the liveliest talking point in British squash since the pair fell out after their acrimonious British Open clash on the National Squash Centre's all-glass court last September.

Matthew won the title and went on to reach two in the world rankings - while this week Willstrop celebrated one of the biggest title triumphs of his career by winning the celebrated Tournament of Champions crown in New York following successive defeats of three Egyptian world number ones - Amr Shabana, Karim Darwish and Ramy Ashour.

But while Matthew, from Sheffield, is named as top seed in the British National Championships, world number seven Willstrop is the third seed - behind Londoner Peter Barker, who is ranked one place higher.

However, the draw suggests that Willstrop and Barker will face each other in the semi-finals before the winner reaches a predicted showdown with Matthew in the final.

Nick Matthew begins the defence of his title against a qualifier before a projected quarter-final clash with close friend and England team-mate Alister Walker, the Leeds-based fifth seed from Gloucestershire who is ranked 12 in the world.

Another England team-mate is likely to stand in the 29-year-old Yorkshireman's way in the semi-finals - fourth seed Adrian Grant, the world No10 from London whom he beat in last year's final.

Tournament of Champions champion Willstrop, 26, from Leeds, takes on Irish champion John Rooney in the opening round before a possible quarter-final meeting with eighth seed Joey Barrington, son of the illustrious squash legend and former national champion Jonah Barrington.

Peter Barker opens his campaign against Derbyshire's Joel Hinds and would be expected to reach fellow Essex player Daryl Selby, the sixth seed, in the last eight.

The 2010 British National Squash Championships will take place at the National Squash Centre in Manchester from 9-14 February.

Men's 1st round draw:
[1] Nick Matthew (Yorks) v Qualifier
[9] Tom Richards (Surrey) v Stephen Meads (Berks)
[5] Alister Walker (Glos) v Qualifier
[13] Alan Clyne (Scotland) v Qualifier
[4] Adrian Grant (Kent) v Qualifier
[11] Chris Simpson (Hants) v Scott Handley (Oxon)
[7] Jonathan Kemp (Shropshire) v Simon Parke (Yorks)
[15] Laurence Delasaux (Yorks) v Qualifier
[16] Joe Lee (Surrey) v Andrew Whipp (Cheshire)
[8] Joey Barrington (Somerset) v Qualifier
[12] Robbie Temple (Glos) v Qualifier
[3] James Willstrop (Yorks) v John Rooney (Ireland)
[14] Adrian Waller (Herts) v Qualifier
[6] Daryl Selby (Essex) v Eddie Charlton (Notts)
[10] Chris Ryder (Herts) v Arthur Gaskin (Ireland)
[2] Peter Barker (Essex) v Joel Hinds (Derbyshire)