A repeat of this year’s men’s world championship final is the mouth-watering prospect for the climax of next year’s British National Squash Championships - such is the anticipated quality of the men’s field which is expected to line up at the National Squash Centre in Manchester from 6-13 February 2011.
After contesting both the Commonwealth Games and World Open Championship finals in 2010, Yorkshiremen Nick Matthew and James Willstrop are certain to be seeded to decide the men’s 2011 British National title at Sportcity on Sunday 13 February.
Matthew emerged triumphant both in Delhi in October to win one of two Commonwealth Games gold medals, and in Saudi Arabia in December to become England’s first ever world squash champion. And later this month - again in the Indian capital Delhi - the 30-year-old from Sheffield beat Willstrop in the final of the PSA Masters to ensure that he begins 2011 as world number one.
Defending champion Matthew will be hoping to win the British National title for a fourth time since 2006, while Willstrop, the 27-year-old world No4 from Leeds, will be aiming to reach his fifth final since 2005 and add to the titles he won in 2007 & 2008.
But the Yorkshire pair will face stiff competition from a number of players – none more so than England team-mates Peter Barker, Daryl Selby and Adrian Grant. Londoner Barker has consolidated his status in the world top ten after reaching December's World Open semi-finals against expectations, and will make his first appearance in the PSA World Series Finals in London in January.
Selby, from Essex, secured four PSA World Tour final appearances in 2010 and will begin the New Year in the world top ten, while Londoner Grant also enjoyed a successful year which included partnering Nick Matthew to gold in the Commonwealth Games Men's Doubles in Delhi.
But the England quintet cannot guarantee to have it all their own way with a field which will also include Shropshire's Jonathan Kemp, the world No28 from Halifax; Tom Richards, the world No30 from Surrey; Somerset's world No34 Joey Barrington; and former World University champion Chris Ryder, the world No35 from Leamington Spa.