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23 Jun 2024

Hitchens Faces Favourite Matthew In British Nationals Debut In Manchester

27 Jan 2011

Making his debut in next month's British National Squash Championships in Manchester, Essex 24-year-old Neil Hitchens will line up against favourite and world number one Nick Matthew in the first round, according to the draws for the premier domestic event announced today by England Squash & Racketball.

The 2011 British National Squash Championships will take place at the National Squash Centre at Eastlands from 6-13 February.

Matthew is seeded to extend Yorkshire's grip on the men's title for the seventh successive year - and is the firm favourite to become the county's most successful champion, winning his fourth title since 2006.

Born and based in Chelmsford, Hitchens is ranked 121 in the world and turned professional in 2004.

Matthew is expected to go on to face his England team-mate and Delhi Commonwealth Games gold-medal-winning doubles partner Adrian Grant in the quarter-finals. The left-hander from London is the event's fifth seed and was runner-up to Sheffield-based Matthew in the 2009 final.

Another London left-hander is likely to await Matthew in the semi-finals: Tour rival Peter Barker is the third seed and ranked eight in the world.

James Willstrop, the second seed who is expected to face Matthew in the seventh all-Yorkshire men's final in the last ten years, opens his 2011 campaign against a qualifier. The 27-year-old from Leeds, winner of the title in 2007 & 2008, is expected to face England team-mate Daryl Selby, the fourth seed ranked 10 in the world, in the semi-finals.

Jenny Duncalf, the world No2 from Harrogate who is favourite in the women's event, will face Yorkshire-based Welsh number one Deon Saffery in the opening round. The two-time champion is expected to face Irish rival Madeline Perry in the semi-finals.

Perry, the world No6 and winner of her 12th Irish national title in December, is bidding to become the first Irish finalist in the event's 36-year history.

Defending champion Alison Waters is the No2 seed. The world No3 from London is predicted to reach the final for the fifth year in a row - but will first have to overcome Warwickshire's Sarah-Jane Perry, the 20-year-old former European Junior Champion from Kenilworth.

Lancashire interest in the women's champion will be led by fourth seed Laura Massaro. The world No10 from Preston begins her bid to reach the final for the first time since 2008 against a qualifier - then is expected to line up against England team-mate Waters in the semi-finals.

Men's 1st round draw:
[1] Nick Matthew (Yorks) v Neil Hitchens (Essex)
[9] Chris Simpson (Hants) v Qualifier
[5] Adrian Grant (Kent) v Peter Creed (Wales)
[13] Laurence Delasaux (Yorks) v Qualifier
[3] Peter Barker (Essex) v Qualifier
[11] Alan Clyne (Scotland) v Ben Coleman (Essex)
[7] Tom Richards (Surrey) v Anthony Graham (Glos)
[15] Eddie Charlton (Notts) v Qualifier
[16] Andrew Whipp (Cheshire) v Simon Parke (Yorks)
[8] Chris Ryder (Herts) v Scott Handley (Oxon)
[12] Joe Lee (Surrey) v Qualifier
[4] Daryl Selby (Essex) v Qualifier
[14] Joel Hinds (Derbyshire) v Ben Ford (Kent)
[6] Jonathan Kemp (Shropshire) v Tom Pashley (Sussex)
[10] Adrian Waller (Herts) v Qualifier
[2] James Willstrop (Yorks) v Qualifier

Women's 1st round draw:
[1] Jenny Duncalf (Yorks) v Deon Saffery (Wales)
[5] Sarah Kippax (Cheshire) v Dominique Lloyd-Walter (Middx)
[3] Madeline Perry (Ireland) v Qualifier
[7] Tania Bailey (Lincs) v Qualifier
[8] Victoria Lust (Beds) v Lauren Selby (Essex)
[4] Laura Massaro (Lancs) v Qualifier
[6] Emma Beddoes (Warwicks) v Qualifier
[2] Alison Waters (Middx) v Sarah-Jane Perry (Warwicks)