Nine sets of siblings will be among those battling it out for a place at the Senior National Championships at this weekend’s Qualifying Tournament.
A total of 75 male and 18 female players have entered the tournament at the David Ross Sports Village in Nottingham – up from last year’s entries of 54 and 13 respectively.
The top 10 men and top 10 women will qualify for the Senior National Championships at the same venue from February 28 to March 1.
The competitors range in age from 12-year-old Jakub Piwowar to 51-year-old Terry Willson and from inside the top 20 to outside the top 600 in the rankings.
The presence of so many siblings may add spice to the proceedings, with seven sets of brothers and two brother-sister combinations in the field competing to join the elite of the domestic game at the Nationals proper.
The sets of brothers include Joe Cope, who took first place at the Qualifying Tournament last year, and his older brother Jack, plus Junior national champion Ethan Walsh and his older brother Luke.
The others are Naphat and Naphong Boonyaprapa, who have both won titles at the age group Nationals, another age group champion Sam Wilson and his brother Adam, Joseph and Jacob Goss, Umair and Zayd Mauthoor and Ryszard and Robert Pelc.
Also in the field are George Hazell, a qualifier last year, and his sister Alice, plus the Green twins Connor and Anna and their older sister Erin.
Added to them, Jack Bennett will be aiming to qualify – as he did last year – to join brother Josh, who is set to be invited to the Nationals proper by virtue of his place in the top 22 in the rankings.
Day one of the Qualifying Tournament will comprise group stages, with the focus on day two turning to a progressive knockout system, which will see the top male and top female players ranked from 1 to 32, with the top 10 men and top 10 women going forward to the Senior National Championships.
The players who qualify will be joined by the top 22 from the January rankings list – who will be invited to take their places at the Nationals, bringing the final field for both the men’s singles and women’s singles to 32.
If any invitations are not taken up, remaining places will be offered to players (in order) who finished between 11 and 32 at the Qualifying Tournament and, if any places remain after that, to players ranked between 23 and 50 on the January ranking list, who have not already qualified.