donderdag 23 januari 2003 02:00
PETER NICOL & LINDA CHARMAN
HEAD NATIONAL CHAMPIONSHIPS' SEEDINGS
England's Peter Nicol and Linda Charman, ranked one and four in the world
respectively, have been nominated as top seeds for the 2003 British National
Squash Championships, heading world-class entry lists in the event which will
take place for the first time at the National Squash Centre in Manchester
from 11-16 February.
Title-holder Lee Beachill, the world No9 from Pontefract in Yorkshire who
wrote himself into the record books last year when he became the first player
in history to successfully defend the men's title, will be aiming to become
only the third player to win the prestigious title three times.
The top eight seeds in the men's event are ranked within the world top 20,
with favourite and 1996 champion Peter Nicol expected to meet Scotland's
world No4 John White, runner-up in last month's World Open and competing in
only his second Nationals, in the final on the same all-glass court on which
the pair contested the British Open final in April. Nicol won that
encounter, but lost in last year's Nationals final to his Commonwealth Games
Men's Doubles gold medal partner Lee Beachill, who is seeded three.
World No10 Martin Heath, the reigning Scottish champion from Oban, is the
men's fourth seed and expected to reach the semi-finals for the first time.
Local interest in the men's event will be led by twice runner-up Nick Taylor,
the world No19 from Manchester who is the eighth seed.
Three-times runner-up Linda Charman, from Eastbourne in Sussex, is seeded to
win the women's title for the first time. Lincolnshire's former world junior
champion Tania Bailey, the newly-installed England No1 ranked 6 in the world,
is the No2 seed and expected to face Charman in the final.
Defending champion Cassie Jackman, who won her first of four titles ten years
ago, will make her England comeback at the event just three months after
undergoing back surgery for the second time in her career. World No7
Jackman, from Norfolk and seeded three, has reached the final in her last
five appearances in the event. Rebecca Macree, the profoundly deaf
31-year-old from Essex who celebrated a career-high world No9 ranking last
month, is the fourth seed.
After two days of qualifying at Manchester's National Squash Centre on Sunday
9th and Monday 10th February, the main draw begins on Tuesday 11th with
action from the quarter-finals onwards taking place on the all-glass court
from Thursday through to the Finals on Sunday 16th February.
Tickets are available from TicketMaster, either via the website
www.ticketmaster.co.uk or by phoning 0870-602 1188.
The complete list of men's seeds is:  Peter Nicol (Yorkshire);  John
White (Scotland);  Lee Beachill (Yorkshire);  Martin Heath (Scotland);
 Mark Chaloner (Lincs);  Alex Gough (Wales);  Simon Parke (Yorks);
 Nick Taylor (Lancs);  David Evans (Wales);  Nick Matthew (Yorks);
 Del Harris (Essex);  Stephen Meads (Berks);  Adrian Grant
(Kent);  Peter Genever (Sussex);  James Willstrop (Yorks); 
Bradley Ball (Suffolk). The women's seeds are  Linda Charman (Sussex);
 Tania Bailey (Lincs);  Cassie Jackman (Norfolk);  Rebecca Macree
(Essex);  Fiona Geaves (Glos);  Stephanie Brind (Kent);  Suzanne
Horner (Yorks);  Pamela Nimmo (Scotland).
The 2003 Championships, which will also include age-group competitions from
Men's and Women's Over-35 to Men's Over-65, are the third to be backed by the
Manchester Partnership, featuring Hi-Tec, Manchester Leisure Sport, Dunlop
Sport, www.squashdiscount.com, England Squash, Manchester City Council,
e-squash, Manchester Evening News, Slazenger, Goudie International, UltraFit
magazine and Honda Cars.
All the 2003 Nationals action will be covered by official media partner
www.squashmedia.org, featuring the event's dedicated website