Two pairs of brothers are set to battle it out for honours at the Butterfly School Individual Championships in Wolverhampton on Saturday.
Ben Hee and Joseph Hee won the Under-13 and Under-16 Boys’ events respectively last year and both will be top seeds as they return to defend their titles.
However, they will face a strong challenge from the second seeds, who are also brothers – Naphong Boonyaprapa in the Under-13s and his older sibling Naphat in the Under-16s.
Naphong, Under-11 champion two years ago, is in good form, having won bronze at the Cadet National Cup last month, but this category is arguably the strongest of the eight to be contested at Aldersley Leisure Village in Wolverhampton.
A number of players are likely to be in realistic contention, including third seed Rhys Davies, England 9-13 Squad players Bertie Kelly, Felix Thomis and Ben Piggott, plus Under-12 National Cup bronze medallist Nathaniel Saunders.
Meanwhile, Joseph Hee and Naphat Boonyaprapa could be challenged by the likes of Harry Watson, Freddie Osenton-Brown and Thomas Rayner in the Under-16s.
In the other categories, two defending champions step up in age group, with the Under-13 and Under-16 Girls’ winners from last year both entered in the Under-19 class this time.
The winner of the older category last year was Charlotte Bardsley, and she will be top seed for the Under-19s, just ahead of England Youth Squad colleague Mollie Patterson, with last season’s Under-13 Mari Baldwin the third seed.
The other categories will have new champions, though the Under-19s third seed Ethan Walsh was Under-13 champion in 2015. With top seed Sam Kwan having withdrawn from the Under-19s, Walsh and second seed George Hazell will be gunning for the top prize.
In the Under-13 Girls, third seed Erin Green will hope to emulate her younger twin brother and sister Connor and Anna, who won the two Under-11 titles last year. Erin is ranked behind Angharad Beman and Amy Marriott. The Under-16 Girls’ field is headed by Gemma Kerr and Katie Holt.
In the youngest age group, the two silver medallists from last month’s Under-12 National Cup both feature – Bethany Ellis is second seed in the girls’ event, behind Maliha Baig, while Jakub Piwowar is also seeded No 2, behind Oliver Maric-Murray, in the boys’.