YORKSHIRE’S leading duo of James Willstrop and Nick Matthew return to the world stage today, with no sign of any let-up in their long-lasting rivalry.
Both men – Willstrop currently being world No 1 ahead of Sheffield-born Matthew – return from a slightly longer-than-usual summer break to contest the British Grand Prix in Manchester.
Situated at opposite ends of the draw, the Yorkshiremen should, if matches go according to seedings, meet in Monday night’s final.
Both have difficult opening ties, with top seed Willstrop up against fellow Englishmen Daryl Selby, currently world No 11.
Willstrop has yet to lose to Selby in nine meetings and beat him comfortably in the semi-finals of the Tournament of Champions in New York back in January, before losing to Matthew in the final.
Matthew comes up against Tom Richards, who has yet to beat him but handed him a scare in the second round of this year’s British Open.
Should Matthew prevail, as expected, he could come up against Harrogate-based Chris Simpson in the second round.
The 25-year-old set up a first-round meeting against Alister Walker in the first round proper after defeating Joe Lee 3-0 in Wednesday night’s qualifiers.